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Afternoon roundup: Caps top Habs, WJC, etc.

Making up for lost time now that our blog software has returned from a brief hiatus...


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


A quick, Caps-centric recap of the last 24 hours (in reverse chronological order):

*Caps assign D Karl Alzner to Hershey.

*David Steckel signs for three years, $1.1 million per. Tyler Sloan signs a two-year extension for $700,000 per. Brian Pothier is ready to return from a rib injury. Jose Theodore will likely start tomorrow against Ottawa. John Carlson is a winner. Semyon Varlamov's injury, according to coach, isn't serious. Tweet tweet tweet.

*Bog: Caps celebrate Captain Ovechkin.

*Video and postgame wrap-up: Caps had their best first period in a long time.

*Caps win Ovechkin's debut as captain: Washington 4, Montreal 2. (Photos, game summary)

*Video by Stretch: Ovechkin puts on the 'C'

*Caps name Ovechkin captain. (Previous captains)

USA! USA! World Junior Championship roundup:

*Caps' own John Carlson scores goal No. 2 in overtime and the United States upsets Canada, 6-5, to capture gold. (NHL.com) and (ESPN.com)

*WJC final photos. (NHL.com)

*A "fitting and heroic end" for Carlson. (Puck Daddy)

*Carlson's OT winner:

*Hershey Bears are happy for Carlson. (Patriot-News)

More Caps stuff:

*Habs-Caps postgame notes. (Washingtoncaps.com)

*Everything is awesome. (Ted's Take)

*Interesting night in Capsland. (Examiner)

*ESPN's midseason awards shut out the Caps: Sidney Crosby bests Ovechkin for the Hart, Tyler Myers takes the Calder over Varlamov, Dan Boyle steals the spotlight from Mike Green again for the Norris, Joel Quenneville over Bruce Boudreau for coach of the year. Ouch.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  January 6, 2010; 2:43 PM ET
 
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Next: Notebook: Pothier ready to play again

Comments

WOW.....First

Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

WOW.....First

Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

WOW....First

Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I saw the ESPN mid season awards and I was p$ssed off again. Crosby as the Hart Winner? Seriously? When Gonchar and then Malkin were out with injuries, they didn't win much. Crosby scored alot, but the team isn't great without those other guys.

The butt-kissing of the supposed superstar Crosby is mind boggling. Can I get an amen?

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 6, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

On a larger note....as for the awards...Crosby for the Hart, what a crock!. He is have a great season, but even in my Cap centric mind it needs to go to Joe Thorton. He makes San Jose go....Rookie....if Varly gets and stays healthy he has a shot (but the curse of goalies getting the Calder is something I don't wish on him....i.e. Mason in Columbus. As for the Norris, if Green can continue to show a gritty side like he did last night and lower his giveaway rate he will have a great shot at the Norris. Finally, Coach of the year, love Bruce but at this point Sacco or Tippet...LeBrun needs to know coaching with all the talent he has and at this point no need for salary cap hardships is a little easier then a small market team like Phoenix or Colorado.....

Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

What is going on with Alzner???

Posted by: irockthered | January 6, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

The list of prior captains seems to have a bit of an error. Kono was traded on 22 October 2003, so it's impossible for him to have been captain through 2004.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 6, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I would think Thornton would be getting some Hart love.

Crosby? Doesn't Miller get put above Crosby? And Brodeur?

You can argue for Crosby in the Top 10, but not for #1.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 6, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Pothier is back. I'm fairy certain that's why Alzner is going down.

Posted by: EricS2 | January 6, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that with Pothier coming back Bruce was going to sit Alzner. So instead of keeping him on the bench Alzner will get some playing time in Hershey.

It could also be done to try to boost Alzner's confidence and get him playing more comfortable. He has had a rough stretht he past few games but that is to be expected from such a young player.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 6, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"WOW.....First
Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM
WOW.....First
Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM
WOW....First
Posted by: sazzwho | January 6, 2010 2:46 PM"

When is this childish behavior going to stop?

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | January 6, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

asking the input of the appointed leaders/moderators of this board...

in regards to alzner and the defense log-jam:

1) Do you see a UFA/RFA defenseman getting dealt by the deadline to make permanent room for Alzner (and/or Carlson)?

2) Cap room is abundant now, does GMGM make a run at Rafalski, Zdlicky, or another defender?

3) Poti? Stay, go, buy-out, keep?? Input please.

Thanks...

Posted by: netminder71 | January 6, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

When is this childish behavior going to stop?

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | January 6, 2010 3:11 PM |


When Sid moves out of Mario's house (read: never)

Posted by: Fro_ | January 6, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Wiley_One1 - I suspect the triple-post had something to do with the blog being stupid, not the poster... maybe...

Posted by: irockthered | January 6, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Also, just saw this over at Japers. Pretty sweet.

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/1/6/1236434/carlsons-no-look-shot-in-20-frames

Posted by: Fro_ | January 6, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

i am the only person that felt that aside form the 11 shots, the Caps looked out of sync the 1st period?

Crosby leading midway for the Hart?? Seriously?? Someone is smoking something. As someone else pointed out, I would say Miller or Brodeur at this point. Crosby not in my top 3.

Posted by: doughless | January 6, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Alzner to Hershey? WTF???????????

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 6, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

i think that the time is rapidly approaching that the caps coaching is going to have to make someone decisions regarding line combinations and goalies. This constant switching of lines and personnel, i believe, is a negative in that guys aren't able to build chemistry. I understand that there may be some minor movements up and down, but enough of the wholesale changes already.

Posted by: doughless | January 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what ESPN has to say about hockey? They gave up any hockey cred when they decided to drop coverage of the games after the lockout. Look at Sports Center... when do you see any hockey highlights? If there isn't anything else going on in the world of sports, maybe a goal or two. And I do mean anything else!

Posted by: Blah-Blah-Blah | January 6, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface:
I have to agree with sgm3 from above that some time in Hershey will do Alzner some good. He's shown some chinks in the armor, a confidence boost will help a lot more than riding the pine...

Posted by: Chad8 | January 6, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

alzner is the only one who can go down w/out clearing waivers. thats the problem with being young i suppose. just shows that the log jam at d needs to be broken soon. he'll be back.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 6, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

in regards to alzner and the defense log-jam:
1) Do you see a UFA/RFA defenseman getting dealt by the deadline to make permanent room for Alzner (and/or Carlson)?
2) Cap room is abundant now, does GMGM make a run at Rafalski, Zdlicky, or another defender?
3) Poti? Stay, go, buy-out, keep?? Input please.
Thanks...
Posted by: netminder71 | January 6, 2010 3:23 PM

1) right now i would say no. if alzner is ready to stay (coaches make this call) then they can choose to 'not' sign a current dman
2) just because they have some money right now doesn't mean they should spend it - yet
IMO it is more important to wait and see what you need later (injuries or just poor play) before going shopping
3) depends on what happens with alzner/carlson/deadline deals/injuries etc. buy-out IMO never makes sense - still paying clymer $367K and he hasn't here for a couple of years

i would add that the 'nhl caliber' dmen the caps have are mostly 3rd pair guys, if gmgm comes across a quality (at least 2nd pair) dman he should take a real close look if it doesn't involve 'giving away the farm'

a deeper cup run might have been possible last year if gmgm had some cap space to work with - that cap space could be available this year nearer the deadline, when it will be more apparent what the needs are then, if it is not spent willy-nilly right now

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Anyway congrats to Carlson and Team USA. The only thing though that concerns me about that result is the fact that Team USA gave up 5 goals with Carlson on the roster. I guess the goalies at that level develop slower then the skaters.

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 6, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

I once saw the caps give up 7 goals against the pens including 5 by Lemieux and that team was led by Langway and Stevens on defense.

hockey is still a team sport and Carlson can't be on the ice for 60 minutes... means nothing.

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Alzner has not had the best run...he seems to be getting beat, but they probably don't want to carry 15 defensemen on the roster!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

maybe they will give Carlson another shot with the big boys... he should be the second PP point man next to Green.

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

i think that the time is rapidly approaching that the caps coaching is going to have to make someone decisions regarding line combinations and goalies. This constant switching of lines and personnel, i believe, is a negative in that guys aren't able to build chemistry. I understand that there may be some minor movements up and down, but enough of the wholesale changes already.

Posted by: doughless | January 6, 2010 3:43 PM

while it is frustrating to watch some of the inconsistency with the 'ever' changing lines. i think it is a good idea to have each of the forwards play with the others in real game situations. when backs missed two periods unexpectedly with his migraine - bb needs to know what could work best with what is left on the bench - sometimes there is no way to know what you have to work with so - mix it up when they are healthy. i hate for bb to wait until the playoffs to try and figure out what combos will work - if it takes more than 3 losses then he would never find out.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The "C" looked good on Ovechkin's jersey. I think he'll do well. :)

Yes, great goal by Carlson and a great win by the USA to get the (Canada) monkey off their back.

I watched several of the juniors games. Man those kids are good. There were many future NHLers playing. Carlson played well, but he didn't look significantly better than everyone else. There were games in which Fowler was arguably the best USA defenseman. That's how good the juniors players are. BTW, Fowler isn't draft elgible until the 2010 draft.

ESPN mid season awards? What does ESPN know about hockey?

Pothier in Alzner down would be my guess. It's not a bad thing. Better for him to play than be a healthy scratch.

I suspect you'll see the line combos and defensive pairings settle down...at least until the trade deadline gets closer. ;)

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | January 6, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Alzner would look better if we didn't keep pairing him with Erskine...

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 6, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

John Buccigross at ESPN probably knows more about hockey than anyone on here...

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Henrik Sedin should be the Hart front runner at this point. Thornton has way more support than he does and Sedin's stats are better:

Points - 58 (1st overall)
Goals - 20 (tied for 6th overall)
Assists - 38 (2nd overall)
Even Strength Points - 42 (1st overall)
Plus/Minus - 16 (tied for 4th)
PPG - 1.35 (tied for 2nd overall)]

Pretty impressive considering he's 57th in average ice time for forwards.

Posted by: jakopz | January 6, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It seems Stefan Della Rovere is maturing:
http://www.theliberal.com/News/Vaughan/article/101353

Posted by: uncatim | January 6, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Switching up lines is pretty common. Yes, some chemistry is nice, but they run a system and guys generally know where other guys will be. Switching from wing to center or vice-versa can be trickier, and I thought that while Flash was pretty good at center, there were more than handful of breakdowns where too much (or not enough) red was in one spot on the ice.

Alzner has been ok, but just ok. I think he wasn't much of an impact on the West Coast, and the Caps already have plenty of D who are good, but don't make any impact. He'll be back.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 6, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Crosby for the Hart is disgusting. I am so tired of this crap. I hear it all the time in Canada, I didn't realize ESPN was throwing him down the throats of American's to that extent as well. The following players should be, in my own order, the Hart nominees:

1. Miller
2. Thornton
3. Bryzgalov
4. Ovechkin
5. Gaborik
6. H. Sedin
7. Crosby

2 goalies likely wouldn't both be nominated for the Hart, but Miller and Bryzgalov are probably the most valuable players to their team at the moment. Other nominees have support (Gaborik not really), but those two goalies have been unreal this year. But that's jsut me. Regardless, Crosby should not be top 3; top 5 MAYBE, as a stretch.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 6, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering if Pierre LeBrun can breathe...with his nose buried that far up Crosby's hoo-hah? =)

AMEN, jmurray, AMEN.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 6, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

BetterOffWithFedorov: "ESPN mid season awards? What does ESPN know about hockey?"

let's say it's just 'ESPN prediction' - ESPN is not always right and it's still mid season anyway. Hope our boys will do well.

Posted by: arakakij | January 6, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

i just assumed that ESPN gets their hockey info from TSN.ca

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I second the "amen", jmurray, about Crosby.

Ovie was great to not accept being captain when his English was not up to snuff. He speaks well enough now, and his actions speak even louder. Great, logical choice for captain.

Poti was terrific last night, imho. What was he drinking?

Watching Semin score two was great---Flash at center is another thrill.

So glad Stecks has been signed for three years at a fair price. Sloan is great to have on board too.

Why are people saying good-bye to Gordon? Did I miss a trade or something?

All this good stuff with the Caps is just causing me to take a moment to say "Ahhhhhh...."

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness somewhere in the "local" paper, the USA's win in the WJC is mentioned. Congrats to the USA Juniors for winning the gold.

Since the Under-17s won gold earlier in the week and the Juniors won gold last night, lets hope for a HATTRICK as the USA Olympians head to Vancouver.

Posted by: BillY17 | January 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

speaking of tsn

CYBULSKI: TOP TEN THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORLD JUNIORS
http://tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=304947
9) This was a friendly reminder that Special Teams can decide a short tournament... perhaps another reason why Mike Green would be worth the risk in Vancouver.

green still getting some luv from up north

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 6, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

(From my admittedly too-long, 3-part post from the "Morning roundup: Home sweet home ice" thread yesterday):

[Flames' GM] Larry Sutter (After being told GMGM that there was no way in #311 he would trade Ov for anyone--even Phaneuf):

"Sorry, George. But I had to try. You know how much people everywhere love that crazy Russkie of yours. Even with Cherry and Bettman trying to forcefeed Crosby to the entire hockey world. Can you imagine what it would mean for us to have him up here?[in CGY]"

LeBrun = Bettman stooge or Crosby shill--take your pick.
All other hockey media coverage > ESPN.

This LeBrun sounds like a real a$$#at...LOL. I don't know why I still find that expression amusing, but I do.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 6, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I was soooooo looking forward to seeing Alzner and Neuvirth play tomorrow night.... ahhh poo on me! Alzner to Hershey and Theo in goal. Very pleased and impressed with both of them!!! Bring Alzy back to Verizon!

Posted by: dsphvywght | January 6, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

'Game over Carlson’ has a nicer ring to it… just saying

Posted by: guer_j | January 6, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Let Crosby win the Hart... let him win the next 10 Harts for all I care

this is a TEAM sport, those individual awards mean NOTHING!

Posted by: joek443 | January 6, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't get why we are keeping Sloan up. He barely plays, and doesn't seem to be doing all that well. Maybe I am just not seeing it...is Sloan better than what I am thinking?

Posted by: capscoach | January 6, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred -
That's a pretty good list. My compliments.

Posted by: zmega | January 6, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

This afternoon GMGM was on the Canadian radio show that is telecast on the NHL network. The first thing that the hosts asked him was about his nationality - "you're American, right?" Responding to follow-up questions, GMGM said that he was born in Ontario but is now a U.S. citizen. I realize that the Canadians may have their backs up a bit after the World Juniors, but wasn't that way out of line?

Posted by: zmega | January 6, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

no reason to make a trade simply to make room for Alzner. He again proves that he is not ready for this level of play. And the Erskine-Alzner experiment was horrible.

I know the Caps are probably looking to add one top 4 defenseman at the deadline or before that. I think they really need TWO d-men. Would be nice to get someone like Souray and Barret Jackman. Then we'd really be set up to make a deep playoff run.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

NHL.com is also doing their half way trophy selections http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=512581. They have Marian Gaborik as the leader since without him NYR would only have 82 goals. They have Ovechkin as one of the runner ups (which Crosby didn't make) mainly losing to Gaborik because the Caps did so well when he was out of the lineup.

I also noticed they seemed to forget Varly when looking at the Calder he wasn't mentioned at all even in the Honorable mention catigory.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 6, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

my bad above it is 84 goals not 82 for the rest of the Rangers. Wonder if this blog will ever get an edit function.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 6, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I am an Alzner fan, but I can't argue with your basic point. I don't know how to read his demotion to Hershey as anything other than an expresssion of team management's dissatisfaction with his play. I wonder, though, if maybe they should be more patient with him. Is the bouncing back and forth between DC and Hershey affecting his confidence? If he is as talented as many believed when they drafted him, maybe they have to live with some growing pains for a while as he develops.

Posted by: zmega | January 6, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

zmega

I agree! This up and down with Alzner is probably doing nothing good for his confidence. He had a couple of rough games, but so have a lot of players lately. Why can't we jut let him be for a while. I really think he might play better if he didn't have to worry that every bad play could mean he is sent down.

Posted by: capscoach | January 6, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

while it is frustrating to watch some of the inconsistency with the 'ever' changing lines. i think it is a good idea to have each of the forwards play with the others in real game situations. when backs missed two periods unexpectedly with his migraine - bb needs to know what could work best with what is left on the bench -
-----

agree totally. I have never traditionally had a problem with a coach switching up his lines. It makes for a more versatile team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 6, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

What makes this Alzner thing more frustrating is that Schultz is a main fixture up here. Sorry but right now Alzner is just as good if not better than Schultz. Yeah I know Schultz is cheaper but money isn't our issue anymore. Pretty sure Schultz would clear waivers and if not who cares. Right now is who do you think has more upside? I don't know that KA is gonna get much more out of spending time down in Hershey.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 6, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I am Caps fan. Crosby is an unbelievable talent and makes the Pens what they are. Stop the hating. Who cares what the Canadian media thinks. There is a reason why OVI has won two MVP awards. I actually enjoy watching the skill of any of the great young players out there. Lets enjoy the game and stop bashing every player who does not play for the Caps.

Posted by: pkme | January 7, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@pokerfacei208: Careful there, Kemosabi. You will start a riot if you engage in any Schultz bashing. He wouldn't clear waivers, other teams would pick him up and we would get nothing in return. And that's me saying that, and I'm not a big Schultz fan.

@pkme: Crosby is overrated. You need to understand that. Although he is uber-talented and we would love him if he played here, he isn't the savior everyone thinks. He isn't the engine that makes his team go.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 7, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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