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Thursday Caps Clips: Joy and Pain

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Three of five Caps Olympians are headed to the semi-finals, but their Captain is not among them. Alex Ovechkin and Russia's terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day. Plus aftermath.

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Your savory breakfast links:

  • Gold, silver, and bronze medals will be awarded today in women's hockey.  Switzerland and Sweden will face off at 7am (Eastern) for bronze, and then the puck will drop at noon for CAN-USA in the gold medal match. [Rink, TheScore]
  • Sweetness: Congrats are in order for Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, and John Carlson, who helped Team Sweden and Team USA secure berths in the Olympic semifinals. In a rematch of the past two Olympic finals, Sweden will take on the Finns, and USA eagerly awaits Canada.
  • Sorrow: Once again, Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia found themselves on the outside looking in, having lost their quarterfinal match to Finland.  Then Martin Erat and his Czech team ran into the American buzzsaw and will also be headed home empty-handed.
  • Recaps and assorted musings on:
    • SWE-SLO, final 5-0.  The clock struck midnight for Slovenia's Cinderella Olympic debut as the Swedes locked down their first semifinal berth since 2006. [NBC-O, IIHF]
    • USA-CZE, final 5-2.  The Czechs had fought their way past the Slovaks but had few answers for a rested and ready American squad. [NBC-O, IIHF, Yahoo Sports, THN, ]
    • CAN-LAT, final 2-1.  The Latvian 'tender stood on his head for two and two-thirds of a hockey game, but could not fend off Shea Weber's big shot as the Canadians advanced to face the US in the semi's. [NBC-O, IIHF, THN]
    • And the one we'll be chewing over for a while - FIN-RUS, final 3-1.  The Russians scored early and then gave up three straight as whatever chemistry they had managed to build deserted them entirely. [NBC-O, IIHF, Habs EOTP, WaPo, Puck Daddy]
      • The Russian stars, and their fans, went quietly. [Yahoo Sports]
      • The Russian coach, not so much, as he tossed Ovechkin under the bus. [Puck Daddy, CBS Sports]
      • As did the usual suspects, Milbury and Roenick. [WaPo]
      • Hold on there, sez Craig Custance. Let's not be hasty. [CBS DC]
      • You bet, sez Ken Campbell.  Coach Bill, this one's on you. [THN]
      • Nightmare fuel. [ESPN]
      • Sad Ovi is so very sad. [Guyism, RMNB]
      • "But this tournament meant at least as much to Ovechkin as any in his life, and by his body language and voice, it was clear this loss would not so easily be put behind him." [WaPo]
      • Here's a fun game:  "What if..." [Hockey Prospectus]
      • Another fun exercise: Trying to find the "why" in it all. [WaPo]
      • Which NHL teams should hate the Olympics? Yep. [THN]
  • Your Capitals Minute for today. [Capitals Voice]
  • In happier news, the winter break is over for the non-Olympians and the Caps held their first practice yesterday.  [CSNW (video)]
    • Mike Green, Mikhail Grabovski, and John Erskine have medical clearance to rejoin the team.  Aaron Volpatti is still dealing with a shoulder injury and Jack Hillen is skating but most likely still a ways away from playing. [CSNW]
    • Ovechkin's Caps teammates are quite naturally concerned for their Captain's well-being and state of mind... [WaPo, CBS DC]
    • ...as is his coach... [CSNW, NBC4, RMNB]
    • ...and various pundits. [WashTimes, WaPo]
  • Finally, happy 58th birthday to Rick Green, happy 57th birthday to Glen Hanlon, and happy 39th birthday to Brendan Witt.