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Friday Caps Clips: Capitals @ Panthers Game Day

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Previewing tonight's clash with the Cats, Neuvirth heads to Hershey, the best holiday card ever and more.

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Your savory breakfast links:

  • Previews of tonight's showdown in Sunrise from Vogs, NHL.com, AP, Peerless, the Panthers and Sun Sentinel, and be sure to check out our SB Nation pals over at Litter Box Cats for the other side of tonight's matchup.
    • The Panthers may be without Tim Thomas after the veteran goaltender left practice yesterday with an injury. That he has nine of their ten wins is just one reason we're not sad about this. [On Frozen Pond, Miami Herald, PHT]
  • Your Capitals Minute for today. [Capitals Voice]
  • Faceoffs, the absence of Brooks Laich, and fighting an army of Brouwer bobbleheads (seriously) in this week's Mailbag. Keep those questions coming - you ask, we answer! [Rink]
  • Leftovers from the shootout win over Tampa:
    • Mike Green took 18 - 18 - penalty minutes on Tuesday night. But he apologized to his teammates, and they've forgiven him, and the team won anyway, so let's all move on. [WaPo]
    • Be sure to check out Clyde's awesome shots from Tuesday's win - including several right before Alex Ovechkin goals, because he's just that good. [Rink]
    • Ovechkin broke one record with his two power play goals - but how close did some other historic marks come to falling in the same game? [CSNW]
    • That little post-goal swim Ovechkin went for after his fourth goal? Yeah, he just tripped. So even falling down he creates a... splash. Tip your waitresses. [RMNB]
  • News and notes from out at Kettler yesterday:
    • In general. [Monumental video (Oates, Rinkside Update/Oleksy)]
    • Good news: Brooks Laich skated again ahead of practice. Bad news: They still don't have a flipping clue what's wrong or when he'll be back. [WaPo]
    • Meanwhile John Erskine could be back very, very soon... [WaPo, CSNW]
    • ...and Michal Neuvirth is back where it all started, as he heads to Hershey for a conditioning stint. [WaPo, NBC4, AP, Patriot-News]
  • After his overly chatty agent talked of trouble in paradise, Dmitry Orlov is happy sticking around in DC... as long as he's playing. Hockey player wants ice time, film at 11. [CSNW]
  • Mikhail Grabovski is also pretty happy in DC these days. And we're happy to have him here. [WaPo]
  • Positive trends, shot attempts, John Carlson and more in this edition of StatTalk. [Capitals Voice]
  • More on Ovechkin's quest for 50-in-50... [PHT]
  • ...which does not impress Ron Maclean. See, they say if you spend too much time with Don Cherry you become just as crotchety as he is. [RMNB]
  • Most people, of course, are impressed by Ovechkin - and with his return to form and Sidney Crosby's continued dominance, it's back to Sid vs. Ovi all over again. Hooray! [Yahoo Canada]
  • Ovechkin + even-strength improvement = climbing the power rankings, baby. [SB Nation]
  • Do the Capitals have an identity? More importantly, does anyone ever ask (or care) if a team is winning? [TeleManagement]
  • A bit of a rough stretch and some inconsistency between the pipes has probably cost Braden Holtby a shot at a roster spot on Team Canada this February. [Puck Daddy]
  • Checking in on the farm:
    • The Bears kick off the weekend with a trip to Hershey, and a chance to start a winning streak. [Patriot-News]
    • After struggling a bit in recent years, Caps' prospect Stanislav Galiev is turning into something of a bright spot for Hershey. [Patriot-News]
    • Miami University stud and Caps' prospect Riley Barber talks the upcoming World Juniors and his college career. [THW]
    • No more ugly Christmas sweater jerseys?? Perish the thought, you Scrooge! [Puck Daddy]
  • Happy Holidays from the Washington Capitals! [Rink, Monumental video, WaPo, Puck Daddy, RMNB]
    • Check out some outtakes, and the captain checking out his own work. [Monumental video (outtakes, Ovechkin), Capitals Overtime (pic)]
    • The stories behind the music. [CSNW]
    • Ranking the festive sartorial choices of the Caps. Our vote? They're all amazing. [SI.com]
  • Recapping the Family-to-Family event that saw some of the Caps team up with other local athletes to deliver gifts and holiday cheer to some deserving families. [Monumental video]
  • Finally, happy 38th birthday to Amazing Race-winner Bates Battaglia, happy 28th to Andrew Gordon, happy 80th to Doug Mohns and happy 44th to Sergei Fedorov.