- The Washington Times - Friday, March 6, 2009

SEEN AND HEARD AT VERIZON CENTER

For the Ohio State hockey team, the chance to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament - which culminates with the Frozen Four here next month - is nearing an end. The Buckeyes play host to Bowling Green in the first round of the CCHA playoffs, and fifth-seeded Ohio State needs to win the best-of-three series against the 12th-seeded Falcons to keep hope of a national tournament bid alive.

One Washington Capitals player, center David Steckel, has an vested interest in the Buckeyes. Steckel played for Ohio State from 2001 to 2004, and he likes to keep tabs on his former club.

At 20-12-4, the Buckeyes are one of a handful teams trying to grab one of the final couple of spots in the 16-team tournament. Ohio State is not a traditional hockey power, with only one Frozen Four appearance (1998) and one CCHA championship (Steckel’s senior season).

“I get the e-mails from the alumni, and I check the Internet for the scores,” Steckel said. “It is a great recruiting tool for a lot of schools, and especially our school. It is a football school first and then basketball as well. When we go to the NCAA tournament, you can keep recruiting the top kids and make sure you’re good, year in and year out.”

ADD IT UP

While post-lockout rule changes have made points easier to come by, the Caps could break the franchise record for most in a season. That mark was set in the 1985-86 season, when the Caps collected 107 points.

THREE STARS

Martin Gerber

“Darth Gerber” showed the Caps no mercy in his first start with the Leafs

John Mitchell

Set up the winner and had a goal disallowed by goaltender interference

Alexander Semin

His goal was too little too late but had a good night on the offensive end


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