The Washington Capitals have a date with the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night. This will be the 11th time the Pens and Caps have faced off with both Sid "the Kid" Crosby and Alex Ovechkin in the line up.
Crosby has 7 goals and 19 points in his career against the Caps (although you could count one of Sid's goals to Nick Backstrom, but I am not really going to get into that), while Ovechkin only has 6 goals and 15 points. So far this year both players have gotten off to slow starts, Ovi has only scored in one game so far (albeit 2 goals and a slew of really good hits) and the Kid has only has two assists through 4 games.
The Penguins are a different team this year. No Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Marian Hossa. Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney are out of the line up with injuries. If anything, the Pens seem to be a bit vulnerable unlike the past few years these two have met. Even though both Ovi and the Kid down play the rivalry between them, every game has been highly competitive and pretty exciting to watch. The Pens are coming off an emotional OT win over their cross-state rivals.
The Caps are coming off of a big win against the Vancouver Canucks where their team defense only allowed 10 shots against, a franchise record. Viktor Kozlov is out of the line up for at least two weeks with a leg injury. He was cut down in the second period (about 9:04, Rob Davison took out Kozzies legs after he had dished the puck away). If this Capitals play to their potential, then we could be looking at a Penguin/Caps swing in wins between the two clubs with their superstars.
In Moscow, thousands came to mourn the sudden passing of Alexei Cherepanov who collapsed during a game in the KHL, the Russian league. While we on this side of the pond didn't really know the New York Ranger prospect well, it is a sad day for hockey everywhere. It brought back memories of Jiri Fischer's collapse on the bench in Detroit. Unfortuneatly this didn't have a better ending.
Okay, I am a little bit over this no commercial break on an icing call. I think the NHL shouldn't have changed this rule. The reason, television broadcasts now are scrambling to put in their commercial breaks later in the period and in the smattering of games I have seen so far it seems like tv was going to commercial at every whistle. I was much happier when I knew that the commercials were relatively balanced through out the game (to time out bathroom breaks, beer runs, etc.). While it's fun to watch nearly 20 to 30 minute of hockey at the beginning, sitting through commercial break after commercial break at the end of the period gets a bit frustrating.