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Midseason Report

Recent play promising, but Caps need Ovi of old

Wednesday, 01.11.2012 / 1:50 PM / Midseason Report

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Through 40 games, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin is on pace for career lows in assists, points, shots on goal, game-winning goals, and time on ice per game. He's also only one goal ahead of the pace he set last season, when he scored a career-worst 32 times.

Alex Ovechkin
Left Wing - WSH
GOALS: 17 | ASST: 16 | PTS: 33
SOG: 152 | +/-: -8
Nobody has to tell Ovechkin all of that -- or remind him how important the second half of the 2011-12 season is for him and the Capitals.

Ovechkin is keenly aware that his 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points, 152 shots, and one game-winning goal at this point of the season are not nearly enough for a player of his stature. Likewise, he knows that his tamed production is one of the reasons why Washington sits in 10th place in the Eastern Conference heading into a showdown Wednesday against the similarly-slumping Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).

"You know what, it's a situation when you go way high, and if you don't have those kinds of numbers, people think, 'He's done, he don't care about his personal stats, he don't care about nothing. He just go there, and if he score, he score,'" Ovechkin said. "I'm not that kind of person. I don't put my head down and say, 'OK, you guys, you won, I don't want to score goals and I don't want to play with my emotions.' I do my best."
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Improved Avalanche expect better second half

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 4:29 PM / Midseason Report

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

The 2011-12 season reaches its mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

DENVER -- The possibility of earning a playoff berth seemed remote for the Colorado Avalanche in early December, after the team managed just seven wins in a 22-game stretch to slip three games under .500 and plummet to near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
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12 stories to watch in the second half of the season

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:30 PM / Midseason Report

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The 2011-12 season reaches its mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

The first half is finished, in the books. The second half is under way and prepared to bring us trade-deadline hype, down-to-the-wire playoff races, individual trophy chases, and so much more.

These are the 12 storylines NHL.com has identified as the ones to watch in the second half of the 2011-12 season:
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Campbell leads list of first half's surprising players

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Midseason Report

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 2011-12 season reaches it mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But, NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

Certain NHL players come with preconceived expectations. So it's no surprise to see a Sedin or two atop the scoring race, Steven Stamkos leading Rocket Richard competition or Tim Thomas near the top of the major goaltending marks.
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Blues' surge has Hitchcock excited for second half

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 12:03 PM / Midseason Report

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- After a resounding victory Saturday night that improved their record to 24-12-5, the St. Louis Blues believe they will be serious players in this year's Western Conference.

In their 44th year of existence, the Blues reached the midpoint with the fifth-best point total in franchise history.

The previous four teams all made the Stanley cup Playoffs, which bodes well for the current Blues.

Who would have thought they'd be in the position they're in after making a coaching change in early November and playing with a lineup missing some key pieces because of injury?
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Quote of the Day

The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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