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No barking from Beagle on recall to Caps

Friday, 05.08.2009 / 2:09 PM / Conference Semifinals: Washington vs. Pittsburgh

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Washington Capitals Playoff GearPITTSBURGH -- Jay Beagle got the call Thursday from Washington General Manager George McPhee. He was told to pack up a bag, hop in his car and drive from Hershey, Pa., to Pittsburgh because the Capitals need him for Game 4 against the Penguins.

Instead of playing in the Hershey Bears' Calder Cup Playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Beagle will be on the right side of the Capitals' fourth line Friday night at Mellon Arena in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the real Penguins (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

Defenseman Karl Alzner was sent back to Hershey.

"When I got told a lot of emotions went through me right away," said Beagle, who has two points in seven Calder Cup Playoff games this season. "I am probably the happiest kid in the world right now, just excited and ready to go."

Beagle, who will be starting Game 4 with Boyd Gordon and Tomas Fleischmann, believes he was brought in to add a little grit to the lineup. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound wing will likely play for Michael Nylander. Eric Fehr is probably out for the second straight game with an undisclosed injury.

"My game is to add a little bit of grit, to be physical out there, finish the body and put a good forecheck on," Beagle said. "I'm going to go out there, try to play my game and finish the checks."

Beagle became the seventh Capital to make his NHL debut during this past regular season when he suited up on Feb. 11 at Madison Square Garden. He played 47 games in Hershey and just three in Washington after being the last guy cut after training camp.

Friday will be his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Beagle said. "I'm sure after all this is done I'll look back on it and say, 'Yeah, crazy year,' but now I'm in the moment and just focusing on the task at hand and taking it all in.

Mental health day -- Outside of some media obligations for select players, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau gave his team a complete day off Thursday just to take a rest.

"We've watched video and had meetings every day since the end of the season, so I just told them to take a rest, no meetings and no video," Boudreau said.

The Caps took advantage.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin went for lunch at a local fish restaurant with a friend. Nicklas Backstrom said he had some friends in town and he went to dinner with them after watching TV during the day.

"I spent time with them, talking about other things in my own language," Backstrom told NHL.com. "That helps."

Chris Clark said he took a walk near the Allegheny River and took a look into PNC Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"We do it every once in a while and it's good to have a day away from the rink," Clark told NHL.com. "It's good to get guys away from it because you get hungry again. You kind of get videoed out when you see it repeatedly."

Still, Clark and Backstrom both said hockey was still very much on their minds.

"There is no doubt," Clark said. "You don't go five minutes without thinking of something. It's in your mind, but you do have that kind of downtime to get away."

Briefs -- Defenseman John Erskine, who has not played yet in this series due to what is likely a lower body injury, skated Friday morning, but said he was still questionable for Game 4. … Semin did not participate in the morning skate, but Ovechkin said he's going to play. Since Boudreau talked to the media before the Capitals skate, nobody had a chance to ask him about Semin's health. … After voicing his displeasure with the officiating in this series on Thursday, Boudreau offered this on Friday: "I'm usually not a whiner and I think I have exhausted my bad officiating comments, so let's let it go from what it was yesterday, move on and just hope the better team is the better team."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com


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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

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