Share This Page

Penguins notebook: Rivalry with Capitals as heated as ever

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 9:16 p.m.

The rivalry between the Penguins and Capitals seems to have faded since the teams met in the Winter Classic two years ago, largely because of Alex Ovechkin's diminished production and Sidney Crosby's inability to get healthy.

Still, players on each side maintain the rivalry remains heated.

“It's always a big deal when we play these guys,” Washington center Jason Chimera said. “I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. Look at the names on the back of the sweaters on these teams. Lots of talent there.”

Ovechkin is always the center of attention when the Capitals come to town and smiled sheepishly when asked about having only five points in the first 10 games.

The Washington captain admitted he must play better and did note one difficult aspect of this season.

“Right wing,” he said. “It's new to me. I'm still learning.”

Ovechkin has played almost his entire career on the left side, but new Washington coach Adam Oates moved him to the right side this season.

• NHL data confirmed the Penguins remain among the league's most popular teams. The league released information Thursday that shows four Penguins jerseys among the 13 best sellers in the NHL in January. No other team has more than one player in the top 13. Sidney Crosby (third), James Neal (fifth), Kris Letang (sixth) and Evgeni Malkin (13th) all found themselves in the top 20. The top sales belonged to Philadelphia's Claude Giroux followed by Chicago's Jonathan Toews. New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan was fourth.

• The Penguins played without Letang on Thursday. The defenseman left during the morning skate, after which coach Dan Bylsma called him a “game-time decision.” It is believed Letang sustained the lower-body injury during the team's recent road trip to Washington and Long Island, N.Y.

• Center Dustin Jeffrey and LW Eric Tangradi were healthy scratches again. Tangradi has been scratched six games in a row, while Jeffrey has been out the past four games.

—Josh Yohe

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.