Interesting news from the world of sports

At 7:00 PM tonight, the puck hits the ice in the Igloo for Game 3 of the Capitals-Penguins Losenoidoomock series. But what can we expect tonight that could possibly top Game 2?

How about a Crosby-Malkin line?

As of today, the NHL could not have scripted the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs any better if, you know, all those conspiracies floating around the Interwebs were actually true.

Even the players concur. "It was amazing. Two of the star-power players in the league and each getting hat tricks in the same game - you couldn't have scripted it better," Capitals forward Chris Clark told reporters after the game Monday.

Turns out truth is often stranger (or at least more jump-on-the-couch/shake the arena exciting) than fiction. Especially with the Capitals and Penguins, who have already created two instant classics.

Malkin and Crosby on the same line could come close to matching the intensity of Monday's hat trick fest, at least if that "two-headed monster" can live up to the hype. Malkin would move to wing and Crosby would center the line if Pittsburgh Coach Dan Bylsma sends out the pair that is its own dream package.

While nothing is confirmed, Bylsma hinted to that playing the Pens top forwards on the same line was a possibility, adding, "It's something I do in different games and different situations."

Tossing a slumping Malkin out with Crosby, who leads NHL skaters with 8 playoff goals, could be the spark of energy the Penguins need to climb out of their 0-2 hole going into tonight's tilt. The possibility is certainly worthy of note by the Caps.

Sid vs. Ovi

The obvious story line thus far has been the Crosby vs. Ovechkin showdown that has the two MVP's facing off in the postseason for the first time to prove who really is King of Hockey.

From the moment the matchup became a reality last Tuesday night after the Rangers and Devils were both eliminated with Game 7 losses, there have been countless prognosticators surmising who would wind up on top and why.

As I watched Carolina score goals 3 and 4 to bury Marty and the Devils post Caps victory at the Verizon Center, the sea of red in D.C. erupted in chants of "Crosby Sucks" and buzzed with conversation about how the Capitals would defeat Sid and the rest of the Pens. The deluge of blogs, columns, stat comparisons and embedded polls have continued to burst forth.

Much like how the Bachelor tries to out-do the last emotionally twisted season with each new series, Game 2 more than upped the ante of Crosby and Ovechkin both putting up tallies in Game 1, which was certainly noteworthy enough on its own.

Dueling hat tricks from Sid the Kid and Ovi in the Stanley Cup Semi-Finals? I'm not sure how exactly to quantify the anti-uppage; a thousand-fold? Maybe a googleplex-fold?

In addition to Alexander the Great getting his first playoff hat trick, it was the first time in 13 years players from both teams had hat tricks and it was the first time ever back-to-back MVP's were the scorers.

The third man in the equation, Evgeni Malkin, has yet to light the lamp this series despite stealing the scoring title from Ovechkin in the regular season.

Ovechkin seems to have turned the tables and knocked Malkin off his game. Despite the so-called rivalry supposedly dissipated, it certainly seems as if Ovi has a bit of a proverbial bulls-eye on Malkin's back every time they share the ice and he has leveled some hits on Geno that were hard to ignore.

All of the elements leading up to tonight create the opportunity for a perfect storm leading to a breakout night from Malkin. Or, should I say, Hurricane Kolapadaar Geno. You can see more about seo hero contest here.

SP Ross Detwiler and CF Willie Harris

A spectacular performance by SP Ross Detwiler and CF Willie Harris combined for a solid one-two punch to help defeat the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday to ensure a series victory with a 5-3 walk-off 2R HR by Willie Harris at Nationals Park. See more here.

Detwiler pitched seven stellar innings in one of his best performances of the season as he searched for his first win. He was pulled after 99 pitches. Dukes helped Detwiler's cause with a double that he tried to stretch into a triple. He was ultimately thrown out at third base, but drove in Nick Johnson before the out. Kip Wells came entered the game in relief with an inherited runner and after a single to LF, Adam Dunn failed to locate the cutoff man and proceeded to throw the ball to home plate allowing the tying runner to advance to 2B and scoring position.

Wells retired two batters in the 8th inning after allowing another run. He was relieved in place of Joel Hanrahan, who twice hasn't been able to hold down the closer status.

After the 7th inning MacDougal could have been called into the game or when Wells found himself in trouble. Instead MacDougal wasn't brought into the game until it was headed into extra innings. If he could log the two innings then why not preserve the victory and call in the closer in the 8th inning?

Ultimately the game was won by a 12 inning walk off 2R HR by Willie Harris who earlier in the game manufactured the first Nationals run of the game almost single handedly with a double and a steal. He also made an unbelievably difficult catch in CF to rob the Blue Jays of a sure hit.

Could extra innings have been averted? Fans will never know. 3B coaches usually get the pink slip for too many bad decisions about sending or not sending runners home. Managers get judged more often by keeping the locker room together as a cohesive group and managing the pitchers. Manny Acta's done a phenomenal job of keeping the team together and looking forward every game, but his handling of the pitchers leaves something to be desired.

Manny often makes similar calls time and time again regarding the pulling of starting pitchers very early in games without allowing the young pitchers to learn how to manage their own pitch count, how to pitch without their best stuff, and how to adjust during a game after the batters have adjusted with their third at bat. Otherwise Manny is creating middle relievers that start the game. It's the experience the starters gain in the later innings that make them a better starter. What clouds the evaluation of Manny's decisions about pitching is the talent he's had over the years on the staff. It will be interesting to see if decisions become easier and better as the talent improves.

The initial signing of Michael Nylander had the makings of everything

The initial wix contest signing of Michael Nylander had the makings of everything the Caps looked for on paper, but went against virtually most reports of GM George McPhee's stance of taking on long term contracts to players over 30. More about wix contest here.

The Contract:

Nylander at the age of 34 signed a 4 Yr $19.5M deal with a no trade clause in 2007 which years earlier (a no trade clause) was denied to Peter Bondra. All the pieces for a potential disaster in the making were set to occur. For a team with aspirations of becoming Stanley Cup Champion, it's Nylander's salary cap hit impacting personnel moves that's proving the most devastating.

It's not the player or agent's fault for getting the most money over the most number of years during contract negotiations. The Caps earned the right to another bad contract the hard way and signed the deal themselves. Two years into Nylander's contract it's easy to see the disappointment on both sides.

The contract situation should have been resolved well before the draft and free agency period. Now the Caps have let another offseason year go by with a significantly high salary cap hit that's hand cuffing potential roster moves.

The Solution: Take Action Like Dan Snyder

It's time for the Capitals to pull a Dan Snyder move. That's right! Redskins fans probably recall the infamous shot heard 'round the metro area after Laveranues Coles requested a contract extension that put the Santana Moss trade on hold. Snyder let him know that he'd send him a flat screen TV to watch games because he wouldn't be wearing a Redskins uniform the remainder of his contract. Eventually Coles was dealt for Moss.

A similar stance wouldn't hurt with Nylander. If Nylander wants to play hockey in the NHL then he has the power to remove the no trade clause, if he wants to play in Russia he also has the ability to make that happen, and if he refuses to take any action then he can file for retirement because the Caps need to let him know he's not in their plans - at all.