Thursday Caps Clips: Caps @ Rangers Game Day

Your savory breakfast links:

  • Previews of tonight's game against the Rangers from Vogs, Peerless and NHL.com, and be sure to check out our SB Nation partner Blueshirt Banter for coverage from the other side of tonight's match up.
  • To refresh your memory, this is the third meeting of the season between these former Patrick Division rivals, with the Rangers taking an early-season 4-3 decision at Verizon Center and the Caps avenging that loss in the game that launched Matt Bradley into cult hero status in mid-November.
  • The latest rumor on Nicklas Backstrom's contract negotiations pegs the deal at 7-10 years and between 36 and 47 million Swedish kronor per year. The good news? That's in the $5-$6.5 million range. [Expressen (huge h/t to Ice Warrior)]
  • The offensive juggernaut that is the Caps is nearing historic dominance... [The Globe and Mail]
  • ... and confidence is at an all-time high. [WaPo]
  • Speaking of The Post, kudos to them for "trying to do a much better job at linking to all of the wonderful Caps-centric blogs whenever they have new content." Seriously. Help 'em out by sending tips their way. [WaPo]
  • Alex Ovechkin is taking rather nicely to the captaincy. [D.C. Sports Bog]
  • My new favorite pastime: reading Mike Knuble praise. [DCEx]
  • Does Ovi have a shot at breaking The Great One's all-time goal mark? It could happen. [ESPN]
  • While deciding which is more surprising as between AO's assist total or Sidney Crosby's goal total, Michael Farber notes that Nicklas Backstrom "still has yet to develop an NHL body," which is an odd thing to say, given that I could probably count on one finger the number of times he's been pushed off a puck in his NHL career (I'll let you guess which finger). [SI]
  • Steinz breaks down the Ovechkin/Johnny Boychuk bumper cars shift. [D.C. Sports Bog]
  • One thing on which Caps and Pens fans can agree (other than that the Flyers [draw into the mouth by producing a partial vacuum by action of the lips and tongue]) - NBC's hockey coverage leaves a lot to be desired. [PensBlog]
  • The Caps' television ratings are going through the roof. [D.C. Sports Bog, TimLemkeSports]
  • Red Rocker Sarah's favorite book? Facebook. Awesome. [Capitals via @scottcarefoot]
  • Ovi takes a few minutes out of his day to do some good. [D.C. Sports Bog... damn, that's four in one day]
  • Jumping on the Hart Threepeat bandwagon. [The Puck Stops Here]
  • There's been a Corey Masisak sighting. [DCEx]
  • If you don't have Braden Holtby on speed dial, here are some thoughts on the differences among the ECHL, AHL and NHL. [In Goal Magazine (h/t YNC)]
  • Stefan Della Rovere had himself a game last night. An All-Star Game, in fact. [CP]
  • The Blue Jackets fired Ken Hitchcock yesterday (making these t-shirts moot?) and replaced him (on an interim basis) with former Cap Claude Noel. Noel joins Terry Murray, Joel Quenneville, Joe Sacco, Dave Tippett and Rick Tocchet as former Caps now serving as NHL head coaches, meaning that fully one-fifth of NHL bench bosses have dressed for the Caps.
  • Finally, happy 41st birthday to Sacco (twice in one post!) and happy 66th to Gary Smith.
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