Capitals Notebook

Washington General Manager George McPhee Is Unhappy With the Officiating in the Capitals-Penguins Playoff Series

The FBI has investigated a death threat made against Alex Ovechkin.
The FBI has investigated a death threat made against Alex Ovechkin. (By Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
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By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 8, 2009

PITTSBURGH, May 7 -- Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee is not one to seek the spotlight. But on Thursday he did, going before cameras and microphones to voice his displeasure with the officiating in his team's second-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals lead Pittsburgh, two games to one, but the Penguins have enjoyed 17 power plays to the Capitals' nine. In Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory Wednesday, the Penguins had a 7-2 edge in power plays, and, at one point, six straight penalties were called against the Capitals, the most penalized team in the playoffs.

The Penguins scored once on the power play and took 12 of their 42 shots while enjoying the man advantage in Game 3.

"I was disappointed with the officiating last night," said McPhee, who made the comments knowing he could face a stiff fine from the league for commenting about the officials. "One team gets seven power plays and the other team gets two; it's hard to win that game. Your defense is tired, your role players are tired from killing penalties all night, and your top players don't get on the ice as much as they'd like to."

McPhee said he was disappointed with two calls in particular: slashing infractions assessed to goaltender Simeon Varlamov and defenseman Mike Green. McPhee also mentioned Chris Kunitz's slash to the neck of Varlamov in Game 2. No penalty was called on Kunitz, but the Penguins' forward was later fined by the league.

In the second period Wednesday, Varlamov was whistled for slashing Evgeni Malkin with his stick moments after Malkin had made contact with the goalie in his crease. No penalty was assessed to Malkin. Earlier in the period, Green was sent to the penalty box for slashing Penguins center Jordan Staal after receiving a heavy hit in the Washington zone.

"Some penalties you deserve, and some of them shouldn't be called in an NHL playoff game," McPhee said.

Washington has been assessed 57 minor penalties this postseason, 10 more than any other team entering Thursday's games. The team was also among the most penalized teams in the regular season, taking the seventh-most minor penalties.

Death Threat

The FBI and other Pittsburgh authorities have investigated a death threat made against Capitals star winger Alex Ovechkin on a Penguins' team Web site.

The threat was made moments after Ovechkin scored a hat trick Monday night to propel the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Penguins in Game 2. It was posted on a fan message board and read, "Im killing Ovechkin i'll go to jail i don't care anymore."

Once aware of the threat, Capitals officials contacted NHL security.

"We became aware of an inappropriate comment on a message board and referred it to appropriate authorities," the Capitals said in a statement. "We appreciate their diligence and have every confidence in our club's safety."

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