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Capitals Notebook

New York Rangers' Sean Avery Continues to Rough Up the Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin's first goal of the playoffs couldn't lead the Capitals past the Rangers, as Washington falls, 2-1, on Wednesday night and heads back home down 3-1.

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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sean Avery was at it again, and this time Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau hopes league disciplinarian Colin Campbell reviews the controversial New York Rangers agitator's antics.

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Avery was assessed a roughing penalty midway through the third period of the Rangers' 2-1 victory on Wednesday for jabbing Capitals defenseman Milan Jurcina in the face with his gloved hand along the wall after an icing call. Perhaps caught by the butt end of Avery's stick, Jurcina crumpled to the ice bleeding from the nose.

"I don't know if you have to hurt a guy, or what the criteria for a high stick is for the league to review it," Boudreau said. "They'll look at it. And if they deem it's [worthy] of a suspension, they'll give him one game. He plays hard. Sometimes he plays too hard."

Avery was later whistled for high-sticking Brian Pothier on the jaw after swinging his stick recklessly as the two jostled.

"That's what he does," Pothier said. "If he wants to take a penalty with four minutes remaining in the game. I don't think he was intentionally hitting me in the face with his stick. He's competing. He's a rugged kid and he wants to play hard."

Avery did not speak to members of the media after the game.

Earlier in the day, Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin poked fun at Avery, who had four minors and a misconduct on Monday. In the series, Avery has 24 minutes in penalties.

"He's a great player but everyone knows that he kind of wants to disrespect the [opponent's] goalie," Ovechkin said of Avery. "I remember what he did last year against Martin Brodeur. He was just dancing over there. It's too bad there was no music."

Nylander Sits Again

Michael Nylander was a healthy scratch for the second straight game on Wednesday. In the series' first two games -- both Capitals losses -- the 36-year-old center had no points, a plus-minus rating of minus-1 and had not attempted a shot on goal.

On Monday, Boudreau scratched Nylander, inserted enforcer Donald Brashear and scrambled his forward lines. David Steckel replaced Nylander on the revamped third line where he centered Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr.

"I thought he played good," Boudreau said of Nylander. "I just wanted a different dynamic in the game. That was it. It wasn't a question of taking Michael out because he didn't play good. Sometimes, you just want a different type of team."

As for the Laich-Steckel-Fehr unit, Boudreau said: "It makes for a pretty big, strong, physical line. Playoff hockey is more physical than normal. And they can score."

Nylander received only 8 minutes 21 seconds of ice time in Game 2, his third-lowest total of the season.

More Boudreau Subterfuge

Gamesmanship is common in the playoffs, but Boudreau took it to a new level prior to Monday's Game 3. The Capitals coach attempted to confuse his Rangers counterparts by switching his forward combinations between the warmup and the opening faceoff.

"I don't know if it does anything," Boudreau said. "But when you're down 2-0, you try every little thing that you can to win. We probably won't do that [on Wednesday]. . . . Maybe."

Boudreau pulled the same stunt for Game 4.

Boudreau also complained about the quality of the Madison Square Garden video feed that his coaching staff uses to scout games. "It's really bad quality when we get the tapes here," he said. "I don't understand that. It's not [the Rangers]. It's the building and the wiring that is a little old. So we have to watch stuff two or three times to make sure we're watching the right stuff." . . .

Defenseman Jeff Schultz, who has not played since suffering an undisclosed upper body injury late in Game 1, said he attempted to skate the day after getting hurt. But he has not been on the ice since. He's officially listed as day-to-day.


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