Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green (52) tries to keep possession of the puck as he is pressured by Boston Bruins' Chris Casto, bottom left, Alexander Khokhlachev, right, of Russia, and Dennis Seidenberg, of Germany, in the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After ‘scary’ conditions last year, Caps won’t play in Baltimore


After two unpleasant experiences playing preseason games in Baltimore Arena, the Washington Capitals have decided to pass on going there in 2014, per CSN Washington.

The Capitals first attempted to play there in 2011, but the ice conditions were bad to the point that there were puddles.

“The ice was soft but it’s over,” Alex Ovechkin said at the time. “So thank God nobody got hurt everybody feel healthy.”

Ovechkin was put at risk again when the Capitals returned in 2013. That time he was barely able to avoid a collapsing pane of glass in an incident then Capitals coach Adam Oates described as “very scary.”

“You can’t hold the puck, you can’t shoot it,” Ovechkin said in 2013. “Afraid to go to the boards because it’s too dangerous.”

With all that in mind, it would have surprised Baltimore Arena general manager Frank Remesch had the Capitals actually decided to come back for a third attempt.

“It was just a matter of us not being prepared operationally and it was embarrassing,” Remesch admitted. However, he added that the plexiglas falling was something that could have happened at an NHL arena and the ice conditions are better now.

Without the Baltimore game, all of Washington’s preseason home contests will be played at the Verizon Center.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks