I apologize for the late update today. I had a lot going on and I'm fighting off an upper body injury (okay, so it's just a minor cold). Anyway, here are some post practice tidbits:
*Judging from the pace of today's session at KCI - which was a bit unusual considering the busy schedule this week - it seemed to me that Coach Bruce Boudreau was sending a subtle message to his players after they were badly out-played early in yesterday's 3-2 victory over the Red Wings.
"We didn't work anywhere near the level of the Detroit Red Wings," Boudreau said. "Every now and again, you can rely on your goaltender to steal one for you. And he stole one for us yesterday. But you don't want to go into every game saying, 'I hope the goalie is great.' We know our work ethic has to be picked up."
*Despite the lack of shots (they've actually been limited to 22 and 23, respectively, the past two games) Boudreau did not tinker with his forward lines. The D-pairings were tough to decipher because Mike Green was absent. Boudreau said his No. 1 defenseman was nursing some bumps and bruises and was taking a "maintenance day". When pressed on whether he expects Green to play in Pittsburgh, Boudreau said, "No one has told me otherwise."
*Injured defensemen John Erskine and Brian Pothier practiced again today but Boudreau made it sound like neither will play Thursday. "They're both getting closer," Boudreau said. "If not tomorrow they'd be ready for the weekend at some point."
*Boudreau on the importance of tomorrow's showdown in Pittsburgh: "We beat them 3-0-1 last year and it didn't mean a hill of beans."
*Speaking of Pittsburgh, there are lots of good quotes in my preview story that's running in tomorrow's Post. Check them out here.
*Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury (broken finger) did not practice today. That could mean the Caps will face former teammate Brent Johnson tomorrow. Johnson, by the way, is 4-0-0 with a 1.16 goals against average and .952 save percentage all time against the Caps.
*Boudreau doesn't usually announce his starting goaltender until about game time. But considering how well Jose Theodore played against the Wings, coupled with the fact that Michal Neuvirth spent a lot of extra time after practice working with goalie coach Arturs Irbe seemed to indicate that it will be Theodore, who has won four straight games while posting a 1.76 goals against average and .951 save percentage in that span.
*Asked whether he was "worried" about Alex Ovechkin being held with a shot by the Wings, Boudreau said: "No. That was what, the third time in his life he's been held without a shot on goal? Ovie will be the first one to tell you that he didn't skate as well as he normally does. You can't keep up the pace. ...Usually when a player is Player of the Week, they're not Player of the Week twice, because it's hard to keep up."
That's it for now. I'll be joined in Pittsburgh by Dan Steinberg. So check back tomorrow for updates here and on The Bog.