Bruce Boudreau just said that Jose Theodore will start tonight in net against the Rangers. Brent Johnson was expected to start, but Boudreau said he is sick.
Andrew Gordon will make his NHL debut tonight. His dad was trying to fly in from Nova Scotia for the game, but a snowstorm (snow in December in Nova Scotia — not shocking, I know) has backed up flights and he isn’t going to make it. Gordon will play with Brooks Laich and Tomas Flesichmann.
Here is the list of guys who won’t play tonight for the Caps: Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov, Mike Green, Tom Poti, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine Donald Brashear, Chris Clark and Brian Pothier (and Johnson can be on this list).
Here is the list of Rangers who are not available tonight: … uh, yeah
Andrew Gordon will be the 35th player to dress for a game for the Caps this season (34 if you don’t count Stretch, but we will always count Stretch on this site).
Here are the Caps’ lines (I am doing some surmising) with the other three:
UPDATE: Here’s an interesting tidbit — Andrew Gordon saw his first NHL game in this building when he was “about nine” years old. He and his father came to Manhattan on vacation and caught a Rangers-Bruins game. It was during the 1992-93 season, so Gordon was actually seven or eight. He said he doesn’t remember much about the game, but that he did slap hands with Mark Messier as he was walking through the players’ tunnel.
As for Boudreau’s response to why Bryan Helmer was the defenseman recalled, “I wanted Bryan.” Simple enough.
This is also Boudreau’s first game as an NHL coach in this building. Other than Edmonton’s Rexall Place, this is the least of the venerable NHL barns that Boudreau hasn’t been to with the Caps. He said he was last year in 1979 with the Leafs, and as he recalls he “saw a movie, ate some Burger King and sniped two goals in a 3-3 tie.”
Boudreau also said he’s never been to Edmonton as a player or coach. He was sent down to the minors when his team was on a Western Canada road trip, and he only got to be there for the Calgary game.
Finally, Boudreau was asked about Nicklas Backstrom and his response was pretty interesting:
“I think he is one of the best up-and-coming centers in the league,” Boudreau said. “I don’t know who is his age that is better. Jonathan Toews is very good in Chicago, but I think Nicky Backstrom is as good a 20- or 21-year-old center as there is in this game. I don’t think it is that far down the road that a 100-point season will be within his grasp.”
When reminded that by including 21-year-olds, he was possibly opening a can or worms that one of his prominent Russian players opened earlier this season, he said, “Oh Sidney [Crosby] — yeah, he’s pretty good too. I didn’t say [Backstrom] was the best. I said he’s one of the best. But Sidney seems like he’s been around forever, so I think of him as like a 26-year-old.”