- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 30, 2008

SEEN AND HEARD AT NATIONWIDE ARENA

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This weekend was David Steckel’s only trip this season to the city he calls home in the offseason, but he wasn’t going to be able to actually make it home. After their 3-0 win Friday night against Montreal, the Caps arrived in Columbus too late for him to leave the team hotel. On Saturday, Steckel did not want to disrupt his normal game-day routine, so he went back to the team hotel after the morning skate for his usual nap.

Steckel still expected as many as 45 to 50 of his friends and family to be in attendance. His family is from Wisconsin; Columbus is the second-closest game this season. (His mom couldn’t make the contest at Minnesota.) Steckel’s wife, a basketball player when they attended Ohio State, is from Bowling Green, Ohio, so some of her relatives were also making the trip.

This was Steckel’s second game in the city where he played college hockey. It was also the first time he faced his former college teammate, R.J. Umberger, who signed with the Blue Jackets this offseason. Steckel also trains with several Blue Jackets here during the summer.

PROSPECT UPDATE

Francois Bouchard, a second-round pick by the Capitals in 2006, had the winning goal in overtime of a 3-2 Hershey victory against Albany on Friday night. While the Caps have been slammed by injuries, the Bears have seen key players join the big club — and they still keep winning. After Saturday’s 9-0 win against Philadelphia, Hershey has won eight in a row and has an AHL-best 35 points.

—Corey Masisak

THREE STARS

Steve Mason

The Blue Jackets could be set in goal for the next decade or so

Rick Nash

In two games against the Caps, he has four goals, including two shorties; he’s looking forward to the extra meeting this year

Eric Fehr

New second line created again; Fehr hit a crossbar and just missed a couple of other chances

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