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Backstrom: 'Absolutely We're Not Done'

After tonight's 2-1 loss at MSG, the Caps, who have not advanced past the first round since 1998, are down three games to one and in danger of another first-round flame out.

"It's a little bit frustrating, for sure," Nicklas Backstrom said. "Absolutely we're not done. It's hard, but it's not ever yet."

But it could be on Friday, when they'll face elimination at Verizon Center.

It's been a long day and I've got an early train, so I'm going to keep tonight's notes short and to the point:

Long Odds
Well, if you thought the Caps' hopes of rebounding from a 2-0 deficit were long, those odds just got longer. Only 20 times (out of 229) has a team come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best of seven series. The last time was in 2004, when Montreal did it to Boston in the quarters.

King of New York
For the second time this series, Lundqvist was the best player on the ice. He stopped 38 shots, including all 11 while shorthanded. His save total matched a career high for him and improved him to 14-13 all-time in the postseason.

"Somebody is going to have to score on this guy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We need everybody to step up.You can nitpick all you want, we took 39 shots. When you outshoot a team 19-5 in their building and you're down 1-0, the other goalie is doing something right."

The Caps have out-shot the Rangers 149-99 in the series, but have only one win.

Powering Down
Lundqvist was a big reason the Caps' second-ranked power play went 0 for 6. But he wasn't the only reason. There were too many passes and not enough shots or traffic in front of the Rangers' crease.

"Obviously too much passing and not enough going after the net," Boudreau said.

Alex Ovechkin added: "We just didn't play our game on the power play. Sometimes we play well and sometimes we get too cute. Lundqvist saved the game again."

The Caps had two power plays late thanks to some Sean Avery. But they mustered only one shot on each of them.

Avery's Antics
It's unclear whether Rangers agitator Sean Avery will face disciplinary action for his gloved punch/butt end of Milan Jurcina's face. But Boudreau certainly hopes league disciplinarian Colin Campbell looks at it.

"Well, he gave us a chance," Boudreau said when asked about Avery. "I don't know if you have to hurt a guy or what the criteria for a high stick is for the league to review it. They'll look at it. And if they deem it's [worthy] of a suspension, they'll give him one game. He plays hard. Sometimes he plays too hard"

In four games, Avery has been assessed 24 minutes in penalties, including a misconduct. He's always played the game on the edge. He's definitely been over the edge for most of this series.

Varlamov's Miscue
Rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov has been nearly perfect since taking over prior to Game 2. But tonight he made his first mistake -- and it was a costly one. He failed to squeeze an unremarkable shot, dropped the puck and then allowed Chris Drury, who is literally playing with one healthy arm, score from an impossibly tight angle.

"I tried twice to squeeze the puck, but I couldn't and I dropped it," he said through interpreter Dmitri Chesnokov. "Hockey is a game where if you make a mistake you have to forget about it and move on."

Odds and Ends
The Rangers won 67 percent of the faceoffs. ...Alex Ovechkin played 28:47 (or about five minutes too many, in my opinion), averaged 1:15 per shift and took a game-high 11 shots. ...Mike Green got 29:51, which was probably four minutes too many. Paul Mara's goal was his first in the playoffs since 2007.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 23, 2009; 12:32 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Reading List: Game 4 Aftermath

Comments

I've been through every frustrating loss since 82. This one is right up there with the best of them. It's not over, but the road just got much tougher. Tighten it up and play your game guys. We can beat these guys.

This message was brought to you by a 12 pack of AMBERBOCK!

GO CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: fiend970 | April 23, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

LETS GO CAPS!

NEVER GIVE UP

Posted by: apollak8 | April 23, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

LeBrun's blog about tonight pretty much sums up my thoughts in a general sense about the series. I think it's clear who our goalie is going forward at this point, and that this series would be even 2-2 had he been playing the whole time. Too late to point to that though, somehow we need to beat Henrik and get the series back to NY.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Nick, you're done.

Posted by: Section117 | April 23, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Dave, last post you proved my point exactly, we had our chances I'm glad in this post I didn't hear, "We didn't get the bounces". But once again I hear the "We were too cute" then NOW is probably a good time change that.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

There is one other thing that bugged me tonight along with the other 85 games, the officiating, good Lord! I try to give referees the benefit of the doubt, but the non-call on Pothier for tripping Drury (unless that wasn't a penalty cause the play was offside), the non-call on Jurch for tripping Avery, the non-call on the Ranger who cross checked Semin (then Semin was dumb enough to blatantly trip Avery), I'm sure there was others.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

When can we expect the Kornholer column?

Oh yeah, forgot he doesn't work there anymore...

Posted by: Hatfield223 | April 23, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

We out shot them by 50 and outscored them 8-7 through 4 games. Sometimes that's just how it goes.

We can say blah, blah, blah. Should have done this or that. But the bottom line is this if this is any other goalie aside from Brodeaur, we probably would have swept them.

Posted by: lightshow | April 23, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse


One thing that does bother me.

Where is MIKE GREEN? Did Avery completely ruin him in Game 1?

Posted by: lightshow | April 23, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Love the optimism but let's face it, more than likely they are done. They admit to too much cute stuff on the PP but do nothing to change it! They talk about going to the net but all you see is a Ranger standing there with nothing to do. As we say every April... there's always next year.

Posted by: PWA_FCVA | April 23, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

I dunno lightshow, there's a rumor he's having some relationship drama. Iheard that on a previous post, so take it for what it's worth.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Suggestion to guys for next year. No more planning to get mohawks, red streaked hair, or any other crazy hairstyles until you make it to at least Round 2.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 23, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

PWA, I've said it before, we should go the net and not stop, bulldoze Lundqvist and we might score a goal like Crosby did the other day and as an added bonus might hurt Lundqvist in the process, not that I'm wishing for anyone to get hurt.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if avery should get suspended for the high glove thing,and it can't be a glove/buttend, only one could have made contact, and I don't think he was trying to use his stick. But anyway, my point is that about 100 times a season I see players make that move, as they go into the end boards they swing arou d and crash in backwards and their arm either hits the boards high next to the other players head or comes across their shoulders. I have always thought it was a nasty play, but it rairly "works out" like this were the nose is the only thing clipped. The fact that it wasn't imidiatly called by either red shows how the situation needs to be addressed, and one wonders if it was Gomez or Ovechkin or a player like that if it's a penalty, and how did they come up with 2 min when there was blood ? Again, it shows the refs were not sure what to do, and I think theonly reason their would be a suspension would be due to his name, and that's not ok in my book.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm sick of BB talking about the need to cut down on the passes on the PP and the lack of traffic in front of the net. I've heard this talk all season and it still hasn't happened on a consistent basis, yet he keeps putting the same guys out there. No more talk, just get it done. If the players we currently have can't get it done, it's time to make changes to the roster.

Posted by: zallera | April 23, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Capsfan...I can tell you if the caps had two things they would be leading the series, and be a threat to every team. You have the star power on offense, the D is good enough and the netmi dee is solid enough to win and will get even better with more games. What's missing is a Callahan, Prucha, Avery(minus the antics) type who is fearless and will drive the net and go it I the corners against any foe leaving the top end tallent to just worry about scoreing. The other thing, even though the rangers PP didn't score it got them or he their momentum, other teams would have done more damage to the caps, a true pk guy, who loves to shot block ala betts orime ortmyer did for the rangers would would take the wind out of the sales of most pps like the rangers did at times to the caps. Oh yeah, and get rid of purse boy poti.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 23, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Think of it like this guys. Before last night we had to win 2 consecutive games anyways, then get another one. Now we just have to win 2 games back to back and then get that third right after. No big deal I have the faith.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 23, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Umm its OVER. Sorry boys. Go get a new GM in the offseason, one who knows how to build a PLAYOFF roster, not just a regular season one.


As to Mike Green - the blame lies on Boudreau, not Avery. Boudreau took Green aside and talked to him about easing up on the intensity and physical play, he felt it was taking away from Green's offensive game. Way to go Boooodreau.

The real positive (and surprise) in this series has been Erskine. He hasn't looked out of place. I've been disappointed in Laich. He hasn't gritted up his game for the playoffs. He had numerous chances again tonight to really set a tone and ram some Rangers into the boards and he pulled up and took the easy way out. Boo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse


MIKE GREEN IS PLAYING INJURED SINCE GAME 1. Wait till CAPS ARE out of playoffs and it will come out.

So he is pretty much playing as a DECOY.

Just some inside information to pass.

Posted by: lightshow | April 23, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

@cs

I agree Erskine has really earned his spot 2nd half of the year and in this series. I've been a detractor of his in the past but I'm a believer now. Think of it this way if we had Varly/Pothier in over Theo/Schultz this series would be 2-2 and we'd be talking about how Lunq had to steal both wins. Pothier has been pretty darn good all things considered. I'm not sure if your theory on Green is the whole reason for it...but he definitely needs to change something.

It's never over. Laich could step it up but it hasn't helped he's been getting stuck with Feds/Kozlov for long stretches. All they can do is go out Friday and force a Game 6. See if they can pierce Lunq for a few goals, because it won't take much with how Varly has been playing.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

this isn't rocket science fellas/ladies -- Boudreau is clinging to the fact his team outshot the Rangers by a wide amount in two games that he thought he should have won. Well..its not about shots on goal. That doesn't tell the story. The Rangers when they need to can clamp down and minimize the quality shots. And I don't care about pucks hitting the post either. The goalie still played the angle correctly, its not a "lucky" save. Good defensive teams beat good offenses. That has always been the case.

What is the one recurring theme this season with the Caps ? This team cannot ramp up their intensity game in and game out. And they have only delivered ONE playoff effort in FOUR playoff games. Whatever lessons they relearned in game 3 was lost in game 4. The grit shown in game 3 disappeared. There wasn't enough traffic especially in the 1st two periods in front of Lundquist. This game was typical of the Caps effort over the past 2 months while the Rangers HAVE been playing playoff-style hockey since the trade deadline. That is a better team and they deserve to advance. The Caps are only better on paper. That's why even before this series started I called the Rangers to win this in 6 games or less. I had ZERO faith that the Caps could suddenly flip a switch and learn how to ramp up their game to a necessary level for the playoffs.

The players themselves admit as much when you hear Ovy talking about how "cute" his team is at times, Boudreau talks about his team overpassing the puck on the PP instead of going to the net - broken record. i've heard it all season.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Dave - adding to your point re: Schultz. Why hasn't Bruce Boudreau figured out by now that his choice of on-ice personnel is critical to the success of a team? There is no excuse for a coach putting in the wrong players.

Schultz failed to deliver in last year's series when he got inserted against Philly, he eventually found himself on the bench. This year, same situation.

You can't win when your own head coach puts in the wrong players. Nylander and Schultz had no business being in the lineup and their presence robbed us of two important roster spots. You don't just p_ss those away.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

and btw, if Schultz was injured and thats his excuse for not playing well, thats still the coach's fault for putting in an injured player.

if the caps lose in 5 or 6 games, it is safe to say that this season was largely a waste. They did not take a step forward from last season and that is what you look for from a team, is it not? That they make strides every year. The Rangers were arguably a weaker playoff opponent for us this season than the Flyers were last season. Only bright spot is that you know you have a promising goalie prospect in Varly.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:22 AM | Report abuse

I mean, all year I hear total tools on here give fans grief if they complained about the Caps. Gloom and doom they said. Well guess what, those of us who offered up criticism backed by argument, were right. Many of the same core issues that plagued us all season are coming back to bite us. And that fallacy that a 2nd ranked team is automatically better than a 7th ranked team..well thats never been the case in hockey as far as I can recall. We are not the Bruins. They are built for the playoffs, we are not. They are a legit top seed, we were always pretenders. I don't mean that in a mean hateful manner. But the Caps really were always pretenders who relied on a skill advantage to defeat opponents. You can get by on that in the reg season. only.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

There is always roster tweaks that can be deduced after watching a series. I agree that it's pretty much a dead lock that Varlamov is our #1 guy going forward. Theo might not ever play again in a Caps uniform. I disagree that we didn't give a playoff effort tonight. I don't buy that shots hitting the post are always a case of the goalie "playing the angle right" or the shooter having "nothing else to shoot at other than the post". I'd say that is rarely the case to be honest as both Feds blast and Ovie shot tonight had Lunq beat, they just a fraction off.

My point is we need more out of the entire lineup so that you aren't susceptible to little details like an unlucky bounce or ringing the pipe a few times determining the outcome of the game. We have out-shot them in this series. We've outscored them in this series. It may be too late to save it, but you can look at this series and see where on the roster we need to make changes and where moves have turned out better than we thought.

It's clear after this that Theo, Schultz, Kozlov, Nylander, and maybe even Feds are dead weight going into next season. It's clear in my mind Aucoin deserves a roster spot. I only wonder how a guy his size or say someone like a Chris Borque will handle the physical play in the playoffs. I assume guys like Osala and Beagle will need another year in Hershey. Maybe Alzner too haven't heard much good about him of late.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

I definitely complained about Doom and Gloom. The funny thing is the #1 thing people would doom and gloom about was our D with #2 being our goaltending. Outside of Theo in Game 1, neither one of those can be complained about with 7 goals allowed in 4 games.

The only things that have really come out in my mind is the lack of secondary scoring showing up, Mike Green pulling a disappearing act in this series, and the lack of veteran presence that actually showed up for the playoffs. Guys like Circles, Feds, and Kozlov on the whole have not been positives at all in this series.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:42 AM | Report abuse

@cs

Honestly I think LeBrun's blog sums it up well though. For all the stuff even I think we are lacking in the series, Lunq is the only reason we are losing this series. Well him and Theo in Game 1.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:44 AM | Report abuse

dave, i'm not talking about hindsight here. i'm talking about foresight. The coach should have had the foresight given the play of both Schultz and Nylander that neither one of them was going to be useful in this series. It wasn't like their play just dropped off once game 1 commenced. Their play has been putrid all year long.

also, about Mike Green pulling a disappearing act. Give credit to the Rangers. Again, good defensive teams will find a way to target and shut down certain players and Green was a heavy target. Same way he fell on his face last playoff season vs Philly once they started to target him. Remember how they swarmed him in the latter half of the series and forced him into critical mistakes?

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you that Schultz and Nylander should not have been in the lineup to start. It's easy to say Varly should have been playing too but on that one I don't see how they would just turn to the kid with 5 starts and say "team is yours".

It's not so much that Green has toned down the physical play, but I don't see him taking as many chances...not even as a result of their forecheck or targeting him. On the PP I can't think of any times I've seen him do his usual sneak down for the back door feed. He's holding the line more and trying to play a little more responsible. But there needs to be a healthy balance with his game. He needs to know how much slack to give himself to cut loose.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Regarding deadweight heading into next season --

Kozlov, Schultz, Nyles, Fedorov, BGordon and Nylander SHOULD be done. However, of that group, Schultz will still be around, count on it. And possibly BGordon.

the only Hershey replacements worth their salt IMO are Andrew Gordon, Quintin Laing, Jay Beagle and Oskar Osala. All 4 of those players possess the requisite frame, strength and ability to play at the NHL level. Beagle is an upgrade over Gordo. Andrew Gordon and Osala are two players who consistently generate chances and a heavy forecheck. And Laing quite simply makes Steckel and Bradley much better players and adds a huge intangible presence to our lineup.

Not an Alzner fan so I won't comment on him. Kronwall has been playing dynamite in the Hershey series v Philly. He should have rec'd a better chance to crack our lineup here.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Over? Did you say over?.............lol, sorry I couldn't resist. I still have faith, they forced game 7 last year, so who knows. Maybe we should tell them we're the 7th seed, so we can play as the underdogs.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

I really don't see how Aucoin didn't stay up and they just dispensed with the idea of even giving Nylander a shot. With Schultz I can see them being wary of trusting Pothier to raise his level to a playoff caliber given his lack of time to get back into the swing of things. He's been a pleasant surprise although on the whole guys like himself, and Poti should be contributing more in the offensive zone. Granted Poti does have a goal in the series but you can pretty much grant Nicky Backstrom the majority of the credit on that one.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

btw, i skipped Chris Bourque intentionally. I don't know if he has a tendency to "pout" when he gets sent back to Hershey but I've heard rumors about it and frankly when I watch him in Hershey he can be incredibly selfish and lazy. For a kid who's barely tall enough to ride the ride, he has no business ever being a lazy hockey player. He's played decently while he's been up but Osala, Beagle and AGordon (Aucoin's hit or miss) should all be ahead of him on the depth chart. I hope the Caps don't try to force Bourque into the nhl lineup because of politics.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

I think Osala and Beagle might need another year down in the AHL. I liked what I saw out of Beagle in limited time and I thought Osala's 2nd stint up on the big club was much better than his first game.

Agreed on Kozlov, Schultz, Circles, and Feds. Gordon/Steckel you should only keep one. Maybe the other can be a depth player. Stecks gets the nods there by far. It's hard for me to keep giving Fehr chances. Flash hasn't really shown up much either since his hot start this season but I at least see him making the D work on occasion. Fehr will do some work to get in a position to maybe make a play and always blow it.

I love Laing and would always give him a spot on our 4th line. The guy is all heart and somehow always manages to be a positive in every game I've seen him play.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

I too have been surprised by Pothier's play but I don't think he should be looked as a critical piece to the longterm puzzle. I used to dislike Poti, then briefly became a Poti fan, and now I really am counting down the minutes to his contract.

This team needs to get better down the middle and they need to do more than pay lip service to d e f e n s e

i know BB focuses heavily on offense and McPhee has neglected the defense for a long time. Carlson was a great move and he should be counted as a core component of a rebuilt defense.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

lol "circles" - i just got that. That's great!

agree on Fehr - he's not quick enough out there and he doesn't have the nose for the net (yet) that I was hoping to see. He's also pretty damn weak on the boards.

Flash has made strides. But they're going to have make a decision here at some point about how many one dimensional skill players they can afford to keep on this roster.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 3:03 AM | Report abuse

I still think we need a durable, vocal leader. I actually saw OV yelling at Flash at one point on the bench. But changes do need to come

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 3:04 AM | Report abuse

Your comments on Poti are pretty much dead on for me hahahaha. I don't know how much that lingering groin injury has affected his play this year so I'll pass judgement. But he's not a top 2 guy at all. I'm not looking at Pothier as long term top 2 or even top 4, but I like him and Erskine playing together as our 3rd defensive pairing atm, and possibly going forward as well.

Our D has been pretty good this series, all things considered. Down the middle has gone south in a hurry with Feds showing his age very quickly. As I posted earlier you could stick Laich at the pivot but he's been our 3rd best winger the past 2 months.

Carlson will be a monster and if Alzner ever turns into what they hyped him to be they would go a long way to being a fix.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 3:05 AM | Report abuse

I noticed one of the rangerfans saying we need an all out player like Calahan and Avery - antics, isn't Della Rovere a player like that, though I know he's barely scratched the surface of AHL

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

With regards to Flash, the only way they can keep him on as the one dimensional skill player (although he has shown more of a nose for board play this year) is if he's a top 4 winger. If he's not earning his spot on one of the 2 scoring lines we would be better served to have someone with more size and grit who is an asset on both ends of the ice. He did show flashes this year though of turning into that 25-30 goal scorer and I still think finding a consistent line for him would really help him out.

As far as vocal leader goes I was pleased to see Ovie yelling at Flash on the bench watching NHL On the Fly. That's the kind of stuff we need without a true captain on the ice right now.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

All right, enough on that for one night. We can play GM another time again cs.

I still don't think it's over yet though. Call me crazy. And whatever might be said about not being "playoff ready"...I will always know we were a Varly start and a fluky goal less away from being up 3-1 instead of down 3-1 in this series. Do or Die Friday night.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 23, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Looking down the road I think this will be a very interesting team to watch, with prospects like Carlson and Alzner on D, Varly and Neuvy in goal and our young play maker Backstrom, along with our Star Ovie, and of course Orrish D Greenie. Things will indeed be interesting and entertaining.

Semin is one of our young guns I'm unsure about, a lot of talent offensively, but yet so undisciplined and frail. I really don't see him fitting in anywhere else except Russia. Maybe in ATL with Kovalchuk.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Can we spend some time ragging on Kozlov? He is, what, 6'4"? 235lbs? I think Clay Aiken could knock him off the puck. The guy has no grit, no sense of urgency. I can't think of a single positive from him in the whole series. I still can't figure out why he's on the second line. I'd rather they suit up Leonardt (probably mangled his name but too tired to look it up) and run him in Kozlov's place.

At least Fehr and Fleishman are showing some effort (and at least have some potential...or HOPE of potential), though they have also been largely useless.

Posted by: basementcat | April 23, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Let me make this short, sweet, and as painless as possible. I TOLD YOU SO. As a matter of fact, I've been spot - on ever since I first joined you guys with my "OLIE AIN'T S- IT" piece. Remember that?
After this is all over, I'll enlighten you as to what needs to be done ( Personnel wise ). As much as many of you hate to admit it, it's plain to see why I'm respectfully called "Guru." Peace.

Posted by: Puckguru | April 23, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Dude, with all due respect, you are the one who gave you the name guru.

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 23, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Maybe they should act like they did after Game 2 and not talk to the media anymore.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 23, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

why is no one, except one guy last night on Comcast Sports Net postgame mentioning the obvious.

It's not Lundqvist. he's made some really good stops, but so has Varly,

The absolute fact of the matter is you score off rebounds 5ft from the net, not off 39 shots from 20ft out

pay attention to how many rebounds the Caps have an opportunity to get in front of the net and how many times there isn't a soul around to whack it back at goal; everytime the caps have lost this season and they have lost more than a few 4-0, 5-0 games; it is the fact that no one is ever crashing the net; Ovie's right, they are too cute and that's most of the time; they'll never get out of the first round playing like that

Posted by: jbrady84 | April 23, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

@puckguru,

Hey, please send me your resume reflecting the experience you've had coaching or managing a professional hockey team. Oh, you don't have one? If you did, I'd make sure that Ted and some others in the business got a look at it. Seriously, get over yourself. Perhaps you and the other wannabe coaches and GMs who post on this site should get together with your guru self, go to Jonestown, and drink a whole bunch of kool aid.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | April 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

God this series has been frustrating. I'm watching this series as I've watched the Caps for the past several years. I'm a Wings fan first, but Caps season ticket holder. Just a few thoughts.

1.) Mike Green has been awful. Isn't it time to make him a forward? He isn't interested in the least in actually playing defense. So in a series like this where he has not scored, he has simply been a liability. He is a minus three which is dead last among defensemen and tied for dead last on the team (tied with Eric Fehr). Without some stellar saves by Varly, he could easily be worse off.

2.) As noted above, the Caps can't put away the rebounds. While watching the Wings and BJs (admittedly, not a great team), I watched Holmstrom shoot the puck and drive the net. He poked in a rebound of Marian Hossa's shot, which was a rebound of Holmstrom's first shoot. That is playoff hockey. That is how you score in April May and June. When I watch the Caps, I watch pucks slowly roll to the side of the ice where no one is there. If there is someone there, they misplay it. It is infuriating.

The Caps are close to being great, but they aren't there yet. I sense most of it still mental. They need a good leadership defensemen to push them over the top.

Posted by: hackeynut | April 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

wow, NorthFork is a true man calling everyone out (and supposedly wanting us all to die) for wanting to vent about a team they enjoy watching but who is losing to an inferior opponent; this guy was reading White House watch, randomly perused over to the Caps Blog b/c you know it just happened and is now taunting strangers 'cus he's a jerkoff; while I drink KoolAid, go sit on a plunger guy

Posted by: jbrady84 | April 23, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It's over. I can't wait for the Owner's Corner that praises the improved in-game presentation.

Also, Mike Wise is a hack.

Posted by: brihobbs | April 23, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@jbrady84,

Been a Caps fan and season ticket holder for many years, had to give up the tix when we moved out of the area...didn't call you out, just puckguru and the others who seem to think they know much more than those who actually make a living doing this stuff. It was puckguru's delivery that got to me. Live with it, Dude.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | April 23, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@puckNOTguru

You know there are a lot of you over in Northern California right about now too. You're really going out on a limb to predict that a team won't get passed the 1st or 2nd round when they haven't done it in over 10 years. Let me guess, you also have the Rangers going out in the next round? Sheer brilliance I must say.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | April 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"It's a little bit frustrating, for sure," Nicklas Backstrom said. "Absolutely we're not done. It's hard, but it's not ever yet."

No Nicklas it is not "a little bit frustrating," it is beyond belief that the Caps are down three games to one to a vastly inferior team.

Posted by: EricinMD | April 23, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Def hard to believe Caps losing given the on-ice dominance. Rangers are strangely passive in this series. The Caps do have a chance. The first goal is crucial, as always, more so because the Rangers turtle with the lead and become hard to penetrate. All five players below the circles almost all night long, I don't think I've ever seen it...

Avery is the strangest thing in the series. The penalties he took late last night were inexplicable and damaging to the Rangers. He got away with one - barely - then goes and takes another one right away. It's hard to believe Torterella keeps putting him out on the ice.

Posted by: WritingLight | April 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I noticed one of the rangerfans saying we need an all out player like Calahan and Avery - antics, isn't Della Rovere a player like that, though I know he's barely scratched the surface of AHL

Posted by: Osfan092589 | April 23, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm not even sure if the CAps would allow Della Rovere to be an "all-out" player. This team doesn't like those kinds of guys. The first boarding or roughing penalty he took would probably result in a talking-to by his coach.

"You know Mr Rovere, we can't have you giving opponents power plays since you're not a top line player and our 3rd and 4th line guys are supposed to be aggressive without ever taking penalties.."

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Dude, with all due respect, you are the one who gave you the name guru.

Posted by: --Boo-- | April 23, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse


lmao!

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I wish people here would stop bringing up ancient history. Ovechkin (23), Varlamov (20) and Backstrom (21) are not responsible for the fact that VETERAN Capitals teams failed to advance in the playoffs in the 1980's and early 1990's.

This is a new team and one that has very little postseason experience outside of Sergei Fedorov, whose play has declined at 39 from what it was even a season ago.

The Caps are 90% there.

The emergence of Varlamov was the biggest part of the remaining puzzle for 2010 because it means the club can focus on acquiring the two things that it currently lacks to advance to the Stanley Cup:

1. An anchor defenseman in the mold of a Chris Pronger or Scott Niedermayer to complement Mike Green. Green is a fine player but the team needs a playoff tested veteran defenseman who has the skills AND the toughness to make others pay in the postseason for playing in front of the Caps net.

2. A power forward with good hands to stake out territory in front of the net and simply stand and wait to collect 25-30 garbage goals from rebounds and the crisp passing of Backstrom, Semin and others.

With the expiring contracts of Brent Johnson, Sergei Fedorov, Viktor Kozlov and Shaone Morrisonn the Caps should have the room under the salary cap to address these needs in the offseason.

And this is all assuming the Caps don't come back from 3-1. I still don't think this series is over because NY rarely if ever dominates 5 on 5 play and seems to rely on Lundqvist for all of their momentum.

Posted by: leopard09 | April 23, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

wow, NorthFork is a true man calling everyone out (and supposedly wanting us all to die) for wanting to vent about a team they enjoy watching but who is losing to an inferior opponent; this guy was reading White House watch, randomly perused over to the Caps Blog b/c you know it just happened and is now taunting strangers 'cus he's a jerkoff; while I drink KoolAid, go sit on a plunger guy

Posted by: jbrady84 | April 23, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

yeah i love how the fans who were right all along are the ones to be made fun of. You got it the wrong way around there Northfork. Its you and your naive overly optimistic bunch who needs to make that visit to Jonestown. The "wannabe" coaches and GMs would find it very easy to coach this team to another 1st round exit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to believe Torterella keeps putting him out on the ice.


Posted by: WritingLight | April 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse


Torts has no choice really. Avery is not his type of player, he's a Glen Sather type of player and Torts was given a chance to coach this roster and he's going to acquiesce to Sather's wishes. And when Avery is in the lineup, the Rangers usually win. Can't argue with that fact.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 23, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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