- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Senators give Capitals taste of playoff agitation
Chris Neil, Ottawa provide glimpse of what series would be like.
Question of the Day
Steve Oleksy didn’t even see the hit, but he tried to get to Chris Neil. The Ottawa Senators agitator decked Jason Chimera from behind and was heading to the penalty box, but that didn’t seem like enough.
“He hit a guy from behind, a couple dirty things,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “He’s a guy that you try to get under his skin a little bit and sometimes you go a little bit too far trying to get him to take one. I don’t know. I don’t think he’s as bad as some of the guys, but he got our attention tonight.”
Perhaps too much, as the Caps looked off their game. It didn’t help that they had nothing to play for after already clinching the Southeast Division and that Ottawa needed (and got) a victory to get into the playoffs.
But there were more than a few post-whistle skirmishes. “Probably a little bit more than we’d like,” coach Adam Oates said. From Neil down the lineup, the Senators gave the Caps a taste of what a playoff series against them would look like.
That the Caps lost for just the second time in 12 games, each time to the Senators, doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of the regular season. Washington had nothing to play for, and Oates said of the Senators: “We knew that they’d be a desperate team and trying to create a playoff atmosphere and jack it up.”
But how the Senators jacked it up should be a concern for the Caps, who lost on a power-play goal created by Mike Ribeiro’s second penalty of the third period. Led by Neil, Ottawa likes to take some liberties after and between the whistles.
“When you’re battling around the front of the net and stuff, I think if they’re giving you extra shots, you’ve got to kind of fight back to a certain point where you’re retaliating,” Erskine said.
“I played against him in junior for a year or two and in the minors and here,” Erskine said. “I know what he’s all about. He just plays hard and you’ve got to be careful you just don’t retaliate with him.”
It’s a difficult line to toe, for the Caps or whichever team draws the Senators in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals next week. How much is too much focus on Neil, who makes a habit of seeking out hits wherever he can get them.
“He’s one of those players that he’s looking to finish his check every time and you’ve got to be aware of him,” Oleksy said. “Even if you already got rid of the puck, he’s coming and you’ve got to do what you can to try to avoid it and do your best to protect yourself in those situations.”
Tough guy Aaron Volpatti called Neil one of those guys “that you’ve got to know when they’re on the ice.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq