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Alexander Semin and the empty net


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)


Morning roundup


Alexander Semin is one of the league's most dangerous offensive players. But through five playoff games, he has no goals and one assist, and his propensity for seemingly drifting in and out has only fueled the story line.

"I think mentally it's a good thing he doesn't speak English," teammate Alex Ovechkin said Sunday, smiling. "He can't listen to [the media]. But I think mentally, the most important thing is [that his] teammates help him a lot. He's trying, and I think last game he played very well. He played pretty hard, made some hits, shoot the puck." | Story by Barry Svrluga »

 

Game 6: Capitals at Canadiens
Washington leads series, 3-2
Bell Centre, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: The Fan 106.7

Today's collection of morning links:

*Notes from yesterday's practice, which (again) was all about the power play.

*Montreal's six men on the ice. (Bog)

*Habs will "set the tone" by placing the flag-waving kid somewhere he can't get "snowed" by Alex Ovechkin, which probably accomplishes nothing except disappoint a kid who wants to stand near Alex Ovechkin. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom are "Out on the Town." (RMNB)

*Caps need a faster start in Game 6. (Ed Frankovic)

*Don Cherry weighs in on the Caps' too-many-men penalty, has no idea how to pronounce Varlamov. (CapsBlog)

*Q&A with Michael Jenkins. (RMNB)

*Mike Green: "We are well aware" that our power play is awful, thanks. (Fanhouse)

*A Norris Trophy candidate NOT named Mike Green is starting the playoffs slow? You're in the clear, Greenie! (Kuklas Korner)

*Some hockey-tough guys. (Peerless)

*Ted's Take: Commish is tech-savvy | NBC=Nothing But Cup.

More to come soon from Tracee Hamilton (chatting at 9:30) and Tarik at the morning skate.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 26, 2010; 5:42 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tracee Hamilton to discuss the Capitals during First Things First
Next: Theodore named a finalist for Masterton

Comments

LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: ludeman95 | April 26, 2010 6:01 AM | Report abuse

*Don Cherry weighs in on the Caps' too-many-men penalty, has no idea how to pronounce Varlamov. (CapsBlog)

Varm-la-kov???

Posted by: R_Milot | April 26, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Need to win tonight!!!!

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 26, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

how do you get porn off your computer? Just a general query. This stuff lingers.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 24, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Sec423 | April 26, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Just Win Baby...Just Win...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 26, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Green, and Semin we NEED at least 1 of you to show up...tonight would be nice...

Flash, we don't need you to show up in Montreal...hopefully the coaches gave him directions to the old Forum instead of the new Bell Centre...(and yes, I'm aware that they are 2-3 blocks away from each other).

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 26, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Green, and Semin we NEED at least 1 of you to show up...tonight would be nice...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 26, 2010 8:05 AM

That's what i was hoping for the lllllaaaaaast game

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 26, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping for something along these lines for the forwards:

Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-BMo-Semin
Chimera-Belanger-Fehr
Walker-Gordon-Bradley/Laing

C'mon Caps! Let's get some positive energy flowing!

Posted by: Justafan | April 26, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I hope the team doesnt have a "weather the storm" approach to the 1st period. Have to score first tonight.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 26, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Question: Do refs get evaluated after games? How does that process work and how can there be NO repurcussions for not seeing a 20 second too many men on the ice!!!


Oh and Don...it is Var-la-mov you zenophobic Canadian freak!

Posted by: capscoach | April 26, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope the team doesnt have a "weather the storm" approach to the 1st period. Have to score first tonight.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 26, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

totally agree... they should be the ones creating the storm in the first period for once, not just weathering it.

Posted by: joek443 | April 26, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Question: Do refs get evaluated after games? How does that process work and how can there be NO repurcussions for not seeing a 20 second too many men on the ice!!!

Oh and Don...it is Var-la-mov you zenophobic Canadian freak!

Posted by: capscoach | April 26, 2010 8:58 AM

Answer seems to be no. Devorski still has a job.

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 26, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everyone here. The first 10 to 15 minutes are going to be huge. It will be important for the Caps to give to the Habs then and hopefully get a goal or two. But to be extrememly physical, finishing all checks and crashing Halak hard.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 26, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Who would evaluate the refs? Colin "double standard" Campbell? The officiating this playoffs has been lousy and the fact that Hossa didn't get suspended for the same hit that Ovi got 2 games for is why most people consider the NHL the complete joke of the sporting world. It is getting as bad as NASCAR

Posted by: hart2014 | April 26, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The goal the other night for the Sens is a classic example as to how the NHL is PRO PENGUINS! It is so disguisting! Also, OVIE gets suspended for an "agressive" hit and Matt Cooke gets ZERO for a blatant cheapshot.

GARY is turning the NHL into the NBA...which is the most superfiscial (sp?) sport on the planet.

We need to get Gary OUT...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 26, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Allons-y Capitals, ce soir, bonne chance!

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

lets go boys, jump on them right outta the gate! Sasha find your place of Zen and light these guys up, we all know you have it in you and i know the puck isnt bouncing your way, but it will. keep diggin and good things will happen...play 60 mins of WFO hockey and they cant hold us back in no way shape or form!!!!!LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: bigBinMd | April 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I have never dreamed about hockey in my life.

But last night I dreamed that Semin scored multiple goals.

Wouldn't mind seeing that dream come true in conjuction with a win tonight.

I want to see an all out effort tonight!

IF WE DO THAT WE CAN'T LOSE!

I think we could all use a break from the anxiety these games bring.

GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 26, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

@wtf_e_fehr

I really hope you're right.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 26, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Just a thought...I would like to see Chimera on the Semin line. His speed would create great scoring chances for Semin and Semin would need to rush into the zone to keep up!

GO CAPS

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | April 26, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@wtf Fehr..

me too.

And I hope Mike Green doesn't fumble anymore passes in the offensive zone! Not the ones that he skating toward the net, the ones that come cross the blueline...

Come on Greenie, FOCUS!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 26, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

Agree on Green fumbling those passes. He really needs a goal to get his confidence up. You can tell he is gripping his stick too tight.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 26, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

That shot of Semin pretty much sums up his entire approach to the playoffs. Asleep at the bench while everyone else is trying to figure out how to get past Montreal. That guy has no heart.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 26, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how Beninati reacts to the last minute of game five when the Caps pulled Varly leaving the net open, but replacing him with a skater - thus leaving it at "Even and Full Strength, five on five" for what ever that ever meant aside from the Department of Redundency department of the most inane things said on in sports. Maybe now he will take up saying "Even and Full Strenght five on five with (or without) one (or two) goalie(s)".P.S. Joe B: It has been since at least the early 70's that the TV screen for all broadcasts shows a clock for the penalties and discloses the fact that there is one making your statement not only superfluous but annoying. Now if "Locker" will expand his vocabulary to include some thing other than "Big Rig" to describe someone who is allegedly "big"(but never says how big).

Posted by: CapCenter105 | April 26, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I see complete frustration is Semin's face in the posted picture. If he is asleep send him back into the locker room for a nap and some cookies.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | April 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Lloyd,

How do you know what's going on in Semin's head? Get off his back and get behind the team.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

No suspension for Hossa, you've got to be kidding me. What a joke. They should at least just come out and say "If you're not Ovechkin, you probably won't be suspened".

And I love that Quenville was complaining about the major penalty. He was crying like a baby when it was has guy.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | April 26, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Haha. He's frustrated that Halak isn't welcoming his shots, from the circles, with open arms and into the net. When his shots are on net that is...

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 26, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

HAHA I'm 101% behind the team. That's why I want Semin gone. I think the Caps deserve better. He's just not a playoff player and is taking up space on a more deserving second line. Belanger lost 8 teeth and was back on the ice within minutes. Now that's heart.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 26, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

That look was probably after Flash fired his pass straight into Halak's glove.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

So, if Semin were to loose some teeth tonight and keep on playing that would change your opinion of him?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

We need positive vibes here for tonight folks.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@Florida Caps fan..

I'm with Lloyd (on some accounts). I think that Semin marches to the beat of his own drum. With Federov here, that kept him a little bit in line.

He is EXTREMELY talented, probably the most talented, but he really doesn't have much heart. He looks disinterested this year.

In the past 2 playoffs, he did play well. I thought he contributed a ton...

I want to win so badly, I don't care if Mike Green scores all the goals from here on out (and I hate Mike Green, as a player).

But Green and Semin should be playing to be a part of this team. Because as far as I'm concerned, they both can be great explosive weapons, but can also be tremendous liabilities...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 26, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Lindsay, not to be picky, but you got the summary of the Alex Ovetjkin link completely opposite. You said:

*Habs will "set the tone" by placing the flag-waving kid somewhere he can't get "snowed" by Alex Ovechkin, which probably accomplishes nothing except disappoint a kid who wants to stand near Alex Ovechkin.

Actually, if you read the link, they say that they WON'T change their pre-game ceremony and the kid will stand in exactly the same place.

Lloyd Christmas, you really think that the shot shows that Semin has no heart? I'm guessing that's a joke; there are so many times when I sit across the bench and I see Ovi in exactly the same pose during a break. It's called trying to catch your breath after skating hard.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 26, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I am 100% confident that they are doing their best. They are only too aware of what is going on and what is most likely being said (I hope they don't visit this blog). Being negative isn't going to help them (you, maybe) or make them play "better". Now, if only the other team would roll over and give in.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Lloyd, I was at game 5. Semin worked hard backchecking getting open space and working the puck hard in the corners to get open. I don't know what he's thinking and either do you, but I know what I saw, He was one of the few trying to win.

Posted by: billd2 | April 26, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game and Semin was our best forward throughout the evening. Nine shots on goal of which at least four were quality ones. Give Halak some credit as he had a brilliant save on the PP in the 3rd when Semin was set up by Backstrom. Semin also hustled and broke up a breakaway on a power play when Green whiffed on a shot. I think the goals will eventually come from Semin as he seemed to be back on his game Friday night.

Green is a different story. A lot of TO's, whiffing on a couple of changes, and generally looking tentative. By the third period, he was looking to Backstrom or even Schultz to move the puck up ice. It appears he's lost a lot of confidence on both the offensive and defensive ends. BB should be using Poti and Corvo more on the PP at the points with Semin, Backstrom, and Ovie as our forwards.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 26, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@billd2

I agree. Semin for the most part has worked very hard offensively and defensively. He is in 2nd place in shots on the team (I Think) and if you notice a player backchecking then that is a great sign of recognizing defensive resonsibility.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | April 26, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I miss hearing what Tominfl1 is having for dinner for the games. It's a road game tonight, so maybe a seafood dish and a nice Cabernet Blanc?

GO CAPS!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 26, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

oops, i meant savignon blanc

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 26, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Just blow the Habs out tonight!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen1,

And maybe some favre beans as a side? sssvvvvhhhh.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 26, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@wtf Fehr:

you posted, "But last night I dreamed that Semin scored multiple goals."

My comment: Wow, what a good head shrink could do with this dream!" :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | April 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

PK Subban recalled by Montreal... interesting. He and Carlson were, by far, the two best defensemen in the AHL this season.
My guess...Martin has seen enough of MA Bergeron...
Considering Subban's style, I would venture to say that Martin believes that there only chance of winning will be balls to the walls on the opening face off. If we can bring it to them in the first 10 minutes, I think we will be all right.
One thing that bothers me a bit is that BB has not felt necessary to tweak his system since the beginning of the play offs.
I would like to see the wingers come back on the D side of the red line to relaunch the attack, as a counter to the Habs shutting down the passing lanes along the board. I would also like to see the guys moving the puck across the middle in the neutral zone and force the Ds to commit to the middle. Just my 2 cents....

Posted by: atybat | April 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing...

Maybe TominX will have that seafood dish "with some fava beans and a nice Chianti".

or

He could take "Dorothy Mantooth out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again."

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 26, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else go to the Tracee Hamilton chat this morning? Anyone else find them a complete waste of time? Of 24 questions, only six she answered were about the Caps. And I never find the answers all that insightful. Someone asked if Walker could come in and Chimera move to the third line and her response was "why not?" How about discussing the lines that were seen in practice yesterday and whether Walker starting would be consistent with them (it would), or at least mentioning the fact that Steckel would also be an option to put in on that fourth line? It's frustrating that a chat that is supposed to be Caps focused provides so little analysis (and so few Caps questions).

Posted by: Steph22 | April 26, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

We could have had Subban, instead we chose Josh Godfrey.

Alzner may be the only quality prospect for us, to come out of that draft.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 26, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Nice Hannibal references, FlCapsfan and wtf_e_fehr.

I don't know Tracee's background on hockey. Her articles don't seem to have much depth of knowledge or expertise, although I generally like her writing.

We could use a live chat with BB!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 26, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Tarik on twitter wrote that Gomez not at MTL morning skate. Any work on him? That would be great if he was out tonight.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 26, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Winning 3 in a row in Montreal is almost an unrealistic expectation. I see this going 7 games. Semin and Green just don't react to pressure very well. They wilt. Last year Green was not held culpable for his lousy play due to his "shoulder injury". No excuses this year.

The great ones - Ovi, Crosby - are able to elevate their games when the heat is on.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | April 26, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I do not like Tracie Hamiltn's writing.

Posted by: capscoach | April 26, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

"Speculation is that Volchenkov will seek as much as $5 million per season on a multi-year deal. A steep price for a defenseman, whose 4 goals this season equaled a career best."

I absolutely LOVE this guys game, but is Anton Volchenkov worth $5 million?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 26, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Semin needs to get in a fight and play the bongos on a Canadien player. That usually gets him going.

Posted by: larryn703 | April 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

You have three important players laying a big fat egg. Semin, Green and Flash. Green was the worst player on the ice Friday. Too many of the Caps are regular season flashes and wilt in the intensity of the playoffs.

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@ wtf_e_fehr:

I also had a dream about the Caps playing hockey - weird!! It was Saturday night. I've had dreams before about myself skating/playing but never like I was watching an actual NHL game.

In my dream, there was a flurry of Hab activity around the goal and they scored the first goal. Then, Nicky and Ovie scored two goals in succession. Thinking back, it seemed so, so real as some dreams do. But I was at ice level behind the glass, so that should've tipped me off right away (we usually sit up top against the very back wall). I couldn't tell who the crowd was though...If anything, I feel that it was my brain/sleep mind attempting to right a perceived wrong.

Anyway, yes, the PP def needs to snap to it, the casual, "cute" plays need to stop, guys need to come out strong and stay strong for 60, the apparent loafers need to score goals and everyone needs to stop taking groan-worthy penalties (although, 1. not sure how much this is always controllable with the established spotty refing and 2. I like the PK's scoring chances!), these things (plus many more) we all know here, ad nauseum, ad infinitum and, sometimes, ad absurdum.

As a fan, I'll continue to cheer my head off for this team and hope the guys hear me in Montreal tonight! :)
GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: nena1 | April 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Semin needs to get in a fight and play the bongos on a Canadien player. That usually gets him going.

Posted by: larryn703 | April 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

What I noticed after that incident was he became a more passive player. Leading upto that Rangers game, Semin had played 7 or 8 games in a row with a lot of intensity (for him) and he was finishing checks and going into the corners and getting in people's faces in scrums. But after the Staal incident its almost like he went into shock and maybe some embarassment but he had an immediate dropoff in certain parts of his game. And I haven't seen him get back to that level of emotion and intensity that he had prior to that play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 26, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Anton Volchenkov would without a doubt be worth $5mil a year to any team. He would not be acquired for goal scoring, he's a shutdown defenseman. Rod Langway never scored more than nine goals in any season with the Capitals. The year he scored nine goals he won his second consecutive Norris. The previous year, in which he also won the Norris, he only scored 3 goals.

My biggest concern with Volchenkov would be his injury record as of late. He has missed 47 regular season games over the last 3 years. That is directly related to his desire to block shots so I guess it would be acceptable as long as he is available for the playoffs.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 26, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need to stay away from the BS. The Canadiens are playing what we used to call "Caps hockey." They close the gap on talent by being scrappy. I'm not saying they need to shy away when bodies start flying in front of the net. The after the whistle chirping is something they can absorb and ignore.

For those criticizing Green's game and constantly want to throw Duncan Keith out as a great player need to take note of his play. He was eaten alive on Saturday. There was one goal scored where the camera angle allowed us to see what Neimi saw. There was a Predator standing right in front of Neimi, along with another Predator just to the side of the net. You could read Keith 2 on one player and Seabrook 7 on another. Neither of them attempted to clear the net or gave any indication they even knew the Predators were behind them. Keith was also on the ice for a shorty scored against the Hawks.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 26, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

please, Duncan Keith isn't being extolled on these boards. A lot of people know that he's overrated and that Seabrook has been the single most important reason for Keith's success and development.

And Green has been subpar at best so far. I don't want him benched but he needs to play much better. He's nowhere near any type of norris-trophy level. The Green criticism is fair. And Duncan Keith should not be up for the Norris.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 26, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Okay another pro-Semin post - has any other player on the team in the last 3 games created more chances or carved out more space? He did go one v. three to set up the game winner in game 4. I don't see that player on the DVR. He's not floating, he's just not getting help. He needs to keep putting the quality shots in the area of the net and the other guys need to take advantage of the loose pucks and rebounds.

(Granted, it was very unflattering when the camera caught him sending text messages in the neutral zone the other day, but...)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 26, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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