Sports Outside the Beltway

Alex Ovechkin suspended two games for Campbell hit

The Russian hockey star slammed the Chicago Defenseman into the boards during a game yesterday. From ESPN-

The NHL has suspended two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin two games for his boarding hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell.

It is the second suspension of the season for the two-time defending Hart Trophy winner.

Ovechkin, who was suspended for two games on Nov. 30, 2009, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits $232,645.40 in salary, based on the number of games in the season (82). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Ovechkin will miss Washington’s next two games — March 16 at Florida and March 18 at Carolina. He will be eligible to return March 20 at Tampa Bay.

Ovechkin met with NHL head disciplinarian Colin Campbell on Monday to discuss the incident in Sunday’s game, according to’s Pierre LeBrun.

Ovechkin was ejected from the nationally televised game for pushing Campbell from behind into the boards in the first period and received a major penalty and a game misconduct. Campbell, according to league sources, suffered a broken clavicle and at least one broken rib, and it’s questionable whether he’ll return this season.

“There’s nothing I can do right now. He just fell and this happens,” Ovechkin said after the game.

No Alexander Ovechkin, you shoved Campbell unnecessarily into the boards. Here’s the proof.

Case closed, Ovechkin deserves to be suspended. Now someone tell me how Colin Campbell doesn’t look even more like a jackass for not suspending Matt Cooke?

Bueller? Bueller?


Alex Ovechkin ejected for hit on Brian Campbell

The NHL’s leading scorer could be facing a suspension. From ESPN-

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks after receiving a game misconduct penalty for boarding.

With 7:44 remaining in the first period and the Capitals trailing 1-0, Ovechkin checked Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards behind Chicago’s goal, moments after Campbell had released the puck.

Campbell went face-first into the boards and lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the dressing room.

Ovechkin was given a five-minute major for boarding in addition to the game misconduct. A game misconduct penalty automatically incurs a fine and further review by the commissioner’s office for possible suspension.

Ovechkin was suspended for two games earlier this season for a knee to knee hit. I suspect the NHL will hand down a similar penalty here but who knows. NHL fool official Colin Campbell, might give Ovechkin a penalty shot instead.

Note- I watched the end of the Chi-Wash game which saw the Capitals come back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to win in overtime. The hit on Campbell was dirty and unneeded.

Here’s a video of the hit


NHL suspends Washington Defensemen Mike Green suspended for 3 games

From AP-

Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has been suspended three games for elbowing Florida Panthers forward Michael Frolik in the head.

The NHL announced the discipline on Saturday.

Green delivered the hit in the first period of Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Panthers. Frolik was not seriously injured and Green was given a minor penalty for elbowing on the play.

The defenseman later had to be helped off the ice after bruising a thigh in a collision with Dmitry Kulikov while going for a loose puck.

The thigh injury may have kept Green off the ice for the same amount of time as the suspension handed down to him.

Here’s a video of his hit on Frolik.

It was without question, a deliberate elbow to the face. Then why was Green penalized only two minutes last night? BTW I was watching the game at the time.

Just one more instance of cockamamie officiating and disciplinary decisions involving the NHL. Florida Panther David Booth may finally come back next week from a concussion that happened as a result of a hit from Philadelphia Flyer Michael Richards. Richards drew a five minute penalty but no suspension and Booth is lost for 3 months. Green draws a two minute penalty, a 3 game suspension and Frolik is able to continue playing. Does anyone else think this is an appalling lack of consistency?


Alex the Great- Washington trounces Toronto 6-1

Alexander had his best game of the 2009-10 NHL season tonight.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and a career-high four assists, Mike Knuble scored twice, and the Washington Capitals got 28 saves from Jose Theodore in a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.Tor-Wash

The five points were a season high for Ovechkin, the reigning two-time NHL MVP. He scored his 29th goal with only 49 seconds elapsed to get the Capitals off to a quick start during their third game in four nights, then assisted on Washington’s next four goals.

Both of Knuble’s goals came in the second period, boosting the Capitals’ lead to 4-0. He has five goals in his last five games.


Vesa Toskala, who blanked Philadelphia just 24 hours earlier in Toronto, yielded a goal on the first shot he faced and fell to 7-10-2.

Crazy as it may seem, Toronto who is 14th of 15 in the Eastern Conference points standings, split its four games with Washington this season. The Capitals sub par goaltending creates odd results like this. Last season the Florida Panthers split its 6 games with Washington, and two of those cat wins were by 3 goals or more.

Washington Capital defensemen Mike Green got 2 assists tonight, bringing his total to 34. His 46 points is an obscene total for a blueliner. Nevertheless, Green wasn’t slelected to play for Canada in the upcoming Olympics. His defensive skills don’t quite match his offensive.


Collapse- Washington wins in shootout, beats Florida 5-4

Last night’s game was the low point of the Panthers 2009-10 season so far as I am concerned. From AP-

The Washington Capitals have already proven they can beat Florida without Alex Ovechkin. Having him in the lineup sure didn’t hurt, though.FL-Wash

Tomas Fleischmann scored in the sixth round of a shootout to give the Capitals a 5-4 comeback victory over the Panthers on Wednesday night.

Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, Brian Pothier and Nicklas Backstrom scored in regulation for the Capitals.

“We started working pretty hard in the second period and the third was the same thing,” Fleischmann said. We came back and lucky for us we did.”

Michael Frolik, Dominic Moore, Stephen Weiss and Gregory Campbell scored for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 33 shots.

Jose Theodore stopped all 15 shots he faced after replacing Michal Neuvirth with Florida leading 4-1 midway through the second period.

The Capitals goaltending was crappy last night, as it was the night before when the team lost 7-4 to Tampa. Why did I pick this team to win the Eastern Conference when their Goalies are so sub par? Particularly since I blogged about it multiple times during the 2008-09 season.

Last night’s game was depressing. It was at least the 2nd time this year Florida blew a 3-goal lead. You can’t ever let up against a potent offensive team like Washington. The Capitals were tired as they had to play back to back where as Florida hadn’t played a game since Saturday night.

Both the 2nd and 3rd periods saw Washington score in the first minute after play resumed. Florida came back to score two goals in the middle period, but couldn’t capitalize on some great scoring chances in the third.

Gregory Campbell got his first goal of the year finally. I expect Peter DeBoer to promote Campbell to the 2nd line any day now as a reward. No, I’m not being sarcastic.

Is there any good Florida Panther news out there? Last year’s leading scorer, David Booth, has begun to practice again. Booth hasn’t played since suffering a concussion almost three months ago.

Florida’s record is now 18-20-8. Not even Pollyanna would be confident enough to predict the Panthers making the 2009-10 NHL post season.


NHL Eastern Conference at the mid point of the 2009-10 season

Due to the Winter Olympics, the NHL season is being being played at a more accelerated rate than normal. For instance, prior to Christmas week the Florida Panthers had four games in a week, five straight weeks in a row.

A NHL season is 82 games in length. Half of 82 is 41. Most teams are at 41 games or more

New Jersey 39 games 28 wins 10 losses 1 overtime loss 57 points
Buffalo 40 25 11 4 54
Washington 40 24 10 6 54
Pittsburgh 42 26 15 1 53
Boston 40 21 12 7 49
Ottawa 41 21 16 4 46
Montreal 43 21 19 3 45
NY Rangers 41 19 17 5 43

Tampa Bay 41 16 15 10 42
Philadelphia 40 19 18 3 41
Atlanta 40 18 17 5 41
NY Islanders 42 16 18 8 40
Florida 41 16 18 7 39
Toronto 41 14 18 9 37
Carolina 41 11 23 7 29

Bold denotes all teams who would make the playoffs as of this minute.
The above standings are as of 6 p.m. on Saturday January 2nd.

Teams all but certain to make the playoffs- Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Washington
Team that won’t make the playoffs- Carolina

That’s hardly rocket science based on the above.

I will be greatly surprised if Florida, NY Islanders, or Toronto are playing in the post season. The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years and this will be no exception. How is a team that hasn’t won more than 3 games in a row since March 2008 supposed to get the momentum up for a playoff run?

Tampa Bay and Atlanta have been pleasant surprises this year. I’m still not convinced either team can make the playoffs. Particularly so in the case of the Lightning who are most impotent offensive teams in the league,(28th of 30 teams)

Honestly I think the teams who are currently 1-8 will all make the playoffs. There will be reshuffling but I think the 7 other teams each have enough liabililites that it will keep them out of the postseason.


Crystal Ball Time

My annual sports predictions for the upcoming year. Due to some unknown reason, I skipped doing this a year ago. What matters is I came back, right?

1 Cleveland beats the LA Lakers for the NBA Championship
2 Indianapolis defeats Arizona in the Super Bowl Crystall ball
3 San Jose defeats Washington for the Stanley Cup
4 St. Louis beats the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series
5 Tiger Woods returns to golf, wins at least one tournament but no major championships. That is a risky prediction in light of the fact that Tiger has won majors on 3 of this year’s host courses.(Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews)
6 Phil Mickelson wins the US Open
7 Michelle Wie wins at least two tournaments, one of which is a major championship
8 Ji Yai Shin is LPGA player of the year
9 A non-Korean golfer will be LPGA rookie of the year
10 Yu-Na Kim wins figure skating gold at the 2010 Olympics
11 The Miami Dolphins don’t make this year’s playoffs but have a winning 2010 season
12 The Miami Heat make the playoffs but lose in the 1st round
13 The Florida Marlins have a winning record but don’t make the playoffs
14 Urban Meyer doesn’t return as coach of the Florida Gators
15 Joe Paterno announces his retirement after the 2010 Penn State season is complete
16 The Florida Panthers don’t make the playoffs
17 The Florida Panthers trade Goalie Tomas Vokoun
18 Manny Pacquiao loses to Floyd Mayweather
19 Kansas defeats Purdue for the NCAA Basketball Championship
20 Texas defeats Alabama in the BCS Championship game
21 Army has a winning football season and gets a bowl invitation
22 Washington Redskins fire Coach Jim Zorn
23 Serena Williams wins at Wimbledon
24 Versus and Directv finally settle their dispute
25 A North American horse racing track closes its doors.
26 Sebastian Vettel wins the Formula World Drivers Championship
27 New York Rangers fire Coach John Tortorella
28 The New Jersey Nets don’t finish with the worst record in NBA history
29 Connecticut defeats Tennessee for the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship
30 At least half these predictions are wrong

We’ll come back on December 31st 2010 and see how I did.


Preview?- San Jose beats Washington 5-2

Are these the two teams that will face off in the Stanley Cup finals. From AP-

Joe Thornton had an unusual decision to make when he prepared for his penalty shot in the third period. Having watched teammate Ryane Clowe already convert a penalty shot with a backhander, Thornton figured he needed to try a different tact.SJ-Wash

“I was thinking of going to the backhand but Clowe kind of perfected that earlier,” Thornton said. “So I thought I’d go with the shot and see what I could do.”

Thornton delivered, making San Jose the first team in more than 27 years to score on two penalty shots in a game. The Sharks went on to beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 Wednesday night.

“It’s kind of strange having two in one game,” Thornton said. “I’m not sure the last time that happened.”

It hadn’t happened since Feb. 11, 1982, when Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka converted for Vancouver in Detroit.

That Clowe and Thornton managed to do it could be somewhat surprising considering their records in shootouts. Thornton has missed both shootout attempts this season, while Clowe has made just one of five.

A single penalty shot doesn’t happen very often. For instance, my favorite team the Florida Panthers, hasn’t had one occur in any of their 40 games this season.

San Jose with Thornton, Deny Heatley, Patrick Marleau plus Evegeni Nabokov in goal, I think is the class of the Western Conference. I’ve always put down Washington because of their mediocre goaltending(Jose Theodore and his 3.05 Goals against average stink but The Capitals other goalies this year have been good to very good.). It is hard to bet against a team with someone like Alexander Ovechkin. I do think there is a 50% chance or more that Washington and San Jose will play for the Stanley Cup next spring.


Whacked- Washington Capitals beat Florida 7-4

After 15 games I am ready to declare the Panthers dead for the 2009-10 NHL season. From AP-

Even without two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals are still quite adept at putting the puck in the net — especially against the defensively challenged Florida Panthers.Washington Capitals 11-7

Tomas Fleischmann scored twice during a five-goal third period, and the short-handed Capitals beat the Panthers 7-4 Saturday night for a sweep of their home-and-home series.

Washington played a third straight game without Ovechkin, who has an upper body injury. The Capitals were also without injured defensemen Mike Green and Jeff Schultz, both of whom were hurt Friday night during a 4-1 victory in Florida.

But Washington prevailed anyway, amassing a season-high seven goals in the process.

The Panthers scored four goals without David Booth and Radek Dvorak. I will repeat it again, Washington will not make the Stanley Cup finals as long as they try to ride the back of Goalie Jose Theodore to get there.

As mediocre as Theodore is, one half of Florida’s goaltending tandem is even worse. Scott Clemmensen has played in 4 games this year for Florida and been horrible in three of them. In addition to last night’s seven goals, he gave up five to Dallas in a game a little over a week ago, and before that against Buffalo gave up two goals in the first 90 seconds of play. Coach Peter DeBoer yanked Clemmensen but the damage was already fatal. Florida went on to lose 5-1.

Here’s a question for any NHL stats officianados- Why didn’t Clemmensen get the defeat for the 5-1 loss to Buffalo? He left the game early but Florida never tied the score after he left the game. In baseball if a starting pitcher leaves a game and his team never regains the lead later on or ties the game, he gets the loss. No matter what the score was when the starter was removed.

Back to Clemmensen, his stats are horrific this year other than his 2-1 record in goal. He has a .838 save pct and is allowing 5.14 goals a game. What if Alexander Ovechkin had been playing last night? Dallas was without Mike Modano when Clemmensen let five pucks get past him in that game.

Florida had great goaltending last year with Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson. They combined for nine shutouts and that is no easy feat as the Panthers Defensemen with the exception of now departed Jay Bouwmeester, always had problems when it came to getting the puck out of the Florida zone. In the offseason, Anderson became a unrestricted free agent and eventually signed with Colorado where he has continued to to excel in goal.

The Panthers signed Scott Clemmensen who was coming off a breakthrough year in New Jersey. Clemmensen was excellent last year, but had shown very little before that said he was a quality NHL Goalie. Florida signed Clemmensen rather than Anderson probably in order to save the team about 1.5 million dollars over the next two years.

Clemmensen is a bust in my opinion and if Florida was serious about fielding a winning hockey team, they’d let this bum go and call up Mike Brodeur or Alexander Salak from Rochester. Of course Florida management will let financial considerations decide their personnel moves, and because they’d have to eat Clemmensen’s salary were they to release him, GM Randy Sexton will keep him on the Panther roster to the absolute detriment of the team he is supposed to be running. Just like Washington keeps playing the underperforming Theodore. Unfortunately Florida doesn’t have the talent to make a five goals a game goalie a winner in the NHL.

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NHL Goalie Olaf Kolzig retires

The South African born 14-year veteran played all but the last year of his career with the Washington Capitals. He was a quiet, low key player. Enjoy your retirement Olie.

Veteran goaltender Olaf Kolzig is retiring after 14 seasons in the NHL.

The 39-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner — known as “Olie the Goalie” — spent most of his career with the Washington Capitals.

He says he plans to spend time with his family but wants to remain involved in hockey.

His 303 career wins rank 21st in the NHL. He finishes his career with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. He posted 35 shutouts in 719 games.


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