The Caps just finished up the morning skate at Joe Louis Arena where they will take on the depleted Detroit Red Wings tonight. Jose Theodore will start in net, because as Bruce Boudreau said, ‘That’s my perogative.’ Until one of the goalies starts tossing shutouts, it is fair to say there isn’t going to be a set rotation or dividing up of duties between the two.
From the guys left out on the ice, it looks like John Erskine and Jeff Schultz will be the healthy scratches on defense, joining Michael Nylander on the not dressed list.
The last time the Caps were here (a 4-3 shootout loss in December 2007) remains one of, if not the best regular season game of the Bruce Boudreau Era. There have been plenty of exciting games/finishes, but in terms of quality of play and pure talent, that night was incredible.
When were shooting the breeze before his post-skate scrum, Boudreau said that game might have been the turning point for the great comeback that defined the 2007-08 season. It was that type of performance early in Boudreau’s tenure that helped make everyone believe. (Note: There might be something about that in his forthcoming biography).
“I remember that it was a 3-3 tie and Semin scored off a faceoff with 2:12 remaining [to tie the game],” Boudreau said. “We took it into a shootout and I think we had 40 shots on goal, which was the most they had given up all year at home to that pointer. Then they put three FABULOUS moves on our goaltender to win the shootout.[Note: It was the same move three times, so note the sarcasm ther. Also, Boudreau might have a great memory, but rattling off all those details speaks to the magnitude of the last trip to this building.]
Tonight also marks a return home for Mike Knuble, who grew up in Grand Rapids, went to Michigan and won two Cups with the Red Wings in his younger days. The names of all the players who were on the Cup winning teams are on the walls near the locker rooms here at the Joe, so there is plenty of proof Knuble was a part of history.
“I’m going to make sure I show everybody, just in case they didn’t see it on the way in,” Knuble said. “It is [special], especially with tonight being a Saturday so a lot more friends and family are going to come down. It is always a special spot, growing up here and playing here as a kid.”
Knuble played in this building for the first time when he was 12 or 13 in a Little Ceaser’s youth league championship game. His first NHL game was here, and those two Stanley Cup rings are pretty nice keepsakes from his time with the Red Wings.
“I was kind of just a kid along for the ride, but those are great memories,” he said. “It was just a great to start your career off. It was a lot of fun, and I got to be around some great players and learn a lot.”