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Alexander Semin has a hat trick, but Caps still lose


(Getty Images)
Morning roundup


Three games, three hat tricks by three different players, five goals scored in each, yet only one win. Weird. But not even the most noteworthy event yesterday, which would be Semyon Varlamov's return to the net in a 6-5 loss to the Senators at Scotiabank Place.

"It was an ugly display," a furious Boudreau said. "I thought our defense was horrible and our goaltending was horrible. You're not going to win when you give up six goals and maybe five of them are bad ones and our 'D' can't make a play. It's awful."
Varlamov, who was making his first start in the NHL since Dec. 7 because of groin muscle and knee injuries, gave up a goal to Jason Spezza on the Senators' first shot of the game, and his fortunes improved little. Varlamov faced 28 shots and suffered only his second regulation defeat, while the Senators won for the 13th time in 14 games. | Full story »

*"God bless the Caps for playing a wide-open game, against the grain of today's boring defensive systems most teams deploy." (Ottawa Citizen)

*Shots from the Caps' visit to the capital. Heyyy, I get it! (Ottawa Citizen)

*Reaction from Peerless, Storming the Crease, Japers Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks, Ed Frankovic, Sports Talk Buzz.

*Game video:

*Bog offerings: Caps loss smashes ratings, Caps on their Olympic hockey rooting interests.

*Who's your hero? (On Frozen Blog)

*Ovechkin on the Olympics, goals, etc. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

*When is a goal not a goal? (Homer McFanboy)

*What do the Caps need to add? (Examiner)

*Perhaps a d-man? (ESPN)

*Hershey Bears are chasing down history. (Lebanon Daily News)

*Ovechkin and co. talk some Olympic trash. (Canadian Press)


Alexes Semin and Ovechkin share a laugh with countryman Anton Volchenkov. (Getty Images)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  February 12, 2010; 5:41 AM ET
 | Tags: Morning roundup, Ottawa Senators  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Varlamov, defense struggle in 6-5 loss to Senators
Next: Jason Chimera 'questionable,' Tom Poti out

Comments

Pothier absolutely hit the nail on the head with this: "When you win 14 straight, you maybe start expecting good things to happen instead of making them happen."

That's exactly what it's looked like from the couch.

Congratulations to Sasha for an awesome game. What an incredible shot he has! I won't mind a continuation of the team hat trick streak at all as long as we hold the opponents to 2 or fewer goals.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 12, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

To all the bloggers who were recently complaining about Semin only scoring in games when it didn't matter: well? How about that hat trick last night? Maybe all you Semin-bashers will give him some credit now, but if you are consistent, the next time he has a pointless night you will be on his back again. I think Semin is one to keep for as long as the Caps possibly can.

I love Ovi so much---but that penalty last night was so unnecessary and probably cost the Caps the game in the end. Moving another player's stick with his stick after the player had dropped it on the ice? Was it just thoughtlessness on Ovi's part? While he was in the box, Ottawa scored the winning goal, I think.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 12, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I have a trade that you might like. Lets trade Craig Laughlin for Keith Jones. If any of you ever heard Jonesy do a game, he is pretty good. He knows the game and adds some humor when needed. I am not saying Laughlin is not humorous, but he talks way too much. I would be quite surprised if Joey B does not get annoyed with him. I am sick of the PP, PK, biscuit in the basket and all the other crap he says.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | February 12, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I'll take Laughlin over Millbury any day. He may talk but he makes actual analytical observations and talks about the other team. I love Semin too and hope he stays a Cap for a long time too. But he several defensive lapses last night too, one of which led to a goal that Varly probably should have caught. But I agree his goals were things of beauty. Still disappointed in Ovi's careless penalty which did lead directly to a goal, although I thought Varly should have had that one as well. We might have pulled it out with Theo but I expect we shall see him for the last game. That may be why BB was so hard on Varly. We can't have bad defensive and bad goalie play and that is what we got last night. Honestly the break couldn't come sooner enough for me.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the problems have been creeping in over the last several games -- complacency on the part of the Caps, defensive breakdowns, feeling they can overcome deficits by turning it on in the third period etc. However, Boudreau also bears part of the blame last night. Why start Varly against a hot team like the Sens after he's been off for so long? Yes, it's Varly's job to be ready, as BB stated, but you still have to expect some rust. Starting Theo instead and keeping Varly for the St. Louis game would have made a lot more sense. Also, the coaching staff has apparently not been able to address the weaknesses they've observed cropping up. So -- there's blame to go all around here, not just on the players.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | February 12, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I have a trade that you might like. Lets trade Craig Laughlin for Keith Jones. If any of you ever heard Jonesy do a game, he is pretty good. He knows the game and adds some humor when needed. I am not saying Laughlin is not humorous, but he talks way too much. I would be quite surprised if Joey B does not get annoyed with him. I am sick of the PP, PK, biscuit in the basket and all the other crap he says.

Posted by: TheSmurfs

Trade Laughlin for any one or anything - but just get rid of him!!! Jonesy is great but works for the Flyers as their regular color guy, too bad.

Posted by: CapCenter105 | February 12, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

If BB thought the goal tending was "horrible"..which it was along with the D....why didn't he pull Varly after 2 goals? ..it was clear to me and I assume most viewers that he just wasn't quite ready to return long before the first period was over..

As for the Locker basher's..totally disagree.....he's the best in the business in my humble opinion. I get really bummed out when I don't get a Washington feed and have to listen to other biased, uninformed announcers/colour commentators.

Posted by: capper3 | February 12, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Barry Melrose made a great comment after the Montreal loss. When a team is winning, a coach can't criticize, even if the wins are the result of pure talent, rather than sound team discipline. With a sloppy loss, the coaching staff can now run some tough instructive practices to return the team to the strong fundamentals that eroded during the streak.

Posted by: beeman | February 12, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I have a love-hate relationship with Semin. I think a lot of fans do. It's because we see how unbelievable he can be when he's on his game and focused. Last night was a prime example. He was awful in the first period. It was his pathetic effort that led to Spezza's goal. It was one heck of a shot but Semin did nothing but flail his stick at him. Need better effort than that.

Some nights he'll look like he's just skating around and taking stupid Semin penalties and then other nights he'll play like he did last night. This is why he's frustrating. He can be a pain to watch one night then he can be a joy to watch another night. Or in this case, in each periods.

lol, I'm more interested in seeing what trades we can make to bolster our defense. I have no problem with Locker. I think he's hilarious but I would like him to stop saying we've won the game already when we're up 2 with 5 minutes to go.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I very rarely disagree with decisions by Gabby and GMGM, but they have only themselves to blame for Varley's poor effort in goal last night. I watched Varley's rehab start with Hershey on Sunday, and he clearly looked like a netminder who had been out for a month with lower body injuries -- bad rebound control, slow reaction time, and simply out of rhythm. Put simply, he didn't look like a good AHL goalie, let alone a goalie ready to play one of the hottest teams in the NHL. If I can see that, surely the Caps brain trust can too -- yet they brought Varley up and started him, and got predictable results. It'll be interesting to see if RU will still have Varley on its Olympic roster -- if not, he should split time in Hershey with Neuvy over the break.

Posted by: tfirey | February 12, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't Boudreau pull Varlamov?

Because he needed to play. He's not going to shake off the rust playing in Hershey. It's not fast enough. He needed to play.

Posted by: irockthered | February 12, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov was a slow started this year too... it took him a game or two to find his rhythm. If I were Boudreau, I'd start him on Saturday, too. Shake off all the rust before you have two weeks to let it accumulate again in Vancouver.

Posted by: irockthered | February 12, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1 (and others):

I appreciate the Semin appreciation. I can't even read Japers Rink anymore because of the anti-Semin bias. Only in D.C. do we complain and get anxious when we win, and this seems to extend to complaining about players who have amazing games. It must be that his steadiness on the ice makes him appear uninterested to some. Have we forgotten so easily about Semin's incredible January or his current ridiculous hot streak -- despite being taken away from Ovie and Backie for most of these games? What an underappreciated player.

Posted by: BigMogilny | February 12, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

You make good points tfirey but if not last night, then when would they play Varly? It has to start somewhere, the sooner he could play, the better. He's gonna be rusty the first game back, that's inevitable. I think BB is right in giving him a lot of the blame because even if you're rusty how do you let in goals right through the 5 hole like that third goal? Like he said, that's a routine stop. He just seemed way out of sorts, way out of position, uncomfotable all night. I have my fingers crossed that BB taps Varly for Saturday. He needs to play tomorrow.

---------

Anyone know the record teams have this year when someone scores a hat trick?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree that starting Varly seemed premature. His play in Hershey was way short and he had not had much practice. Better to have let him get in weeks of full practice in the Olympics and get started fresh after that. I don't think he should be in Sat night -- he has not earned and he still needs to get his legs.

I think Locker's great. Joe B is one of the best in the business play by play. Locker's a great color guy and they interact very well. I don't know if you all listen to many out of town guys -- we're fortunate to have these two and they're a great pair.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 12, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that Semin kind of looks like Luke Skywalker after he was attacked by the wampa in Empire? After the wounds healed of course, just post-accident Mark Hammil

Posted by: mattbuckley801 | February 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I disagree entirely with the claim that Semin was "awful" in the first. Yes, he did not stick check Spezza, but Spezza's play and shot were sneaky (unanticipated) and utterly awesome -- just the the way Sasha often beats many of the top defensemen in the league on a regular basis. Otherwise, I observed that Semin seemed to have his legs in the first, made some nice plays on both sides of the blue line, and looked to me like he was going to have a breakout night. He did.

Posted by: Sonyask | February 12, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

A pk playing, mean S@H blueliner is REQUIRED or no summer hockey

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 12, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I think Varly injured his five hole while he was out. I still think he should've been given two or three starts at Hershey before being called back to the big league club. Not sure how what anyone expected after Varly's month-long plus injury hiatus and one start in Hershey, in which he gave up four goals.

Posted by: CDon | February 12, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@BigMogilny

I totally agree with you about Semin. Admittedly, he is my favorite player, but I also admit that I get frustrated with him, too, sometimes. However, his talent is amazing and I think too many people just don't understand him. People are more critical of things/people they do not or cannot know. His poise and patience on the ice are what separates him and his talent from Flash.

Yes, lately he seems to be back on the penalty train. Sometimes I think the refs just have his number. My 3 boys play and I can tell you that when we have certain refs, we say, "watch out!" We tell them it's like whe they see how an ump is calling one of their baseball games: they need to adjust their own game for it. I wonder if Semin was a little tentative at first in fear of getting a penalty. Who knows?

I have virtually quit posting at Japers' because there are just too many nasty commenters there and it's not my style. There is good info there, but I can live without the snarky, low-brow humor, and those who will only give Semin qualified accolades.

It's funny, even in Tarik's gamer, and unless I missed it, I did not see a mention of the ridiculously stupid penalty Ovi took that resulted in the game winner for the Sens. If Semin had committed that penalty, hell would be down on him so fast his head would snap faster than his wrister.

I hope he stays here, too. I sure would like to see more of what I saw last night, but I also will take him as he is.

Posted by: Steakum | February 12, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Not just in this game, but throghout the season, the caps do not seem to block shots! I mean Volchenkov blocked almost every shot OV took! Why aren't our D blocking shots. I mean don't they feel a little bad that they would be the only possible thing to keep us from a cup. They need to step it up!

Does anbody know what Laing was not played? We could have used his shot blocking!

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

@ rachel216

Good response, but I disagree. The Varly I saw in Hershey wasn't ready to play with AHLers. The only reason he got the win on Sunday was because the Bears allowed less than 10 shots over the final 30 minutes. (Hmm, recall Bryan Helmer?) More AHL work would be a challenge for the Varly I've seen over the last two games.

Posted by: tfirey | February 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

If Theo starts last night and steals another game, perhaps the players continue to ignore their miscues. If there is anything positive to take from the game, perhaps it will be that the players take more accountability. We'll see tomorrow night.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Steakum: Hate to say it but most of Semin's penalties that he takes are legit... it's not because the refs have his number. When he takes penalties, it's sometimes because of laziness and it's sometimes because he is trying to hard or trying to make up for a turnover. But I agree with you that Ovechkin's penalty was very stupid and unnecessary. He should know better than that. But of course I think Varly should've stopped that Kovalev shot. It may have been deflected and he might've been screened... I can't remember.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

No screened, not deflected. Straight down his 5 hole from the right circle. Very stoppable IMHO. I think after they saw him let in Alfredson's shot from the same location, Kovalev put it there on purpose.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

There are rumorsof Ethan Moreau coming to the Caps.

He would basically cost nothing (low draft pick) and could be a good 4th line LW and provide some depth up front. He is a big guy and is known as a grinder.

But I think he is also known as being a pretty good penalty killer which is definitely needed for the Caps.

Could be worth acquiring if the cost is extremely low.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

They may or may not be legit (some I know have been marginal). My point was that sometimes many legit penalties are not called and players can get away with more with certain refs and vice versa. It happens all the time. Last night there were not many penalties called (2 for each team), but I don't think that means there were only truly 4 "penalties" the whole game. Some players are watched more. I also believe that many of Semin's are more due to his competitiveness than "laziness," and desire to make up for a bad play (whether his or someone else's), but that does not mean they are "lazy."

Posted by: Steakum | February 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Cris Huet stoned us in 2 games in 2007 for the Habs.

Knuble won the series against us in 2007 for philthy.

Chimera distracted the team and got DC's goat earlier this season.

Volchenkov is a UFA after this year. He is chummy with our Russians. He shut Ovie down last night in a way few have. He's the missing piece.

If only the Sens were to suffer a serious slump, putting them out of the playoff picture.

Posted by: large23220 | February 12, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

AleksanderOMunchkin: Yeah that's what I thought. That goal should not have went in. And I think you are correct, these last 5 games or so may be a blessing in disguise.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I know there's lots of concern here about Flash's lack of faceoff effectiveness; last night was a glaring reminder of how critical it is to win defensive zone faceoffs (or at least not get beaten cleanly). However, I do like how he plays center in the run of play. He's responsible defensively, he passes well and has good vision.

How crazy would it be to have Laich take the faceoffs but have Flash be the center once the puck is in play? This assumes Laich is better on faceoffs than Flash.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

GMGM has till 3pm ET to make a deal or he has to wait till the Olympics are over. I am sure that his phone is very busy right now, as are those of most GMs in the league.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 12, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The Sens are not going to give up Volchenkov now that they are clearly making the playoffs. would've been nice though!

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Chris Botta of NY Islanders Point Blank has the Caps interested in Islanders D-man Andy Sutton and their Goalie Dwayne Roloson.

http://www.islanderspointblank.com/2010/02/interest-intensifies-in-sutton-rolosonnyi-could-benefit-from-bidding-war-before-deadline/

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 12, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Eklund includes us in a list of possible destinations for Ray Whitney.

Can't be us, because we don't need a left wing. He wouldn't dislodge 8 or 21 from the top 2 lines, and The Brass wouldn't spend all that money on Chimera just to put him on the 4th line.

Posted by: large23220 | February 12, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Jeez. Do we need another goalie? 5 goalies might improve the PK. I guess the Isles are packing it in for the season.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

i was not 1 big on making any trades and thought we could stay within the club for help but, i think we could use a gritty big C that plays good 2way hockey and definately a good solid d-man for the push for the cup. pk has been horrible on the road and so has the goals against! imho i think Carlson plays much better than Alzner both ways, why doesnt he play more, is it because of waivers? great game Sasha, and please stop all the blind passes in our end. all they do is lead to turnovers. Lets Go CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bigBinMd | February 12, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Is this another streak going for the Caps. 3 consecutive hatrick games??
Is this an NHL record?

I'm calling a Backs hat trick on the Blues...

Posted by: guer_j | February 12, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think beeman is correct, that BB didn't come down hard on the team while they were winning, but now that they have lost due to the bad habits he can, tho' he did allude to the defensive lapses a bit in his last few post game pressers.

BB was not going to start Varly until the streak was broken IMO. Once it was then play him rust and all--Varly just never got focused last night and I do hold him accountable. He is no longer an AHL goalie that has to be "carefully" thrown into the big league. When Neuvi was outgunned in his first few outings, BB made it clear that he needed to face more NHL type shots before he was ready to be in the big league. He treated him like a newbie.

Varly is NOT in that position--he's in a battle with Theo to regain his number one standing after a very long injury. And Neuvi is trying his hardest, like Alzner, simply to break into the lineup. Varly was not mentally ready last night. He was not squared up, late reactions, and was not in the moment.

Varly should have maintained his rhythm after his pretty good second period. But he got shaky in the third. Couple that with poor defensive play and we get an ugly game. The first really ugly game in my view since the hapless trip out West at the time of the trade.

The team never rallied--for whatever reason--fallout from the emotional high of the Pens game, losing in OT to the Habs and breaking the streak in the process, Olympics on the horizon, sheer exhaustion from maintaining the streak, and finally line changes and injuries messing with the chemistry. Whatever the reason(s) it was time for BB to throw the book at them--metaphorically speaking.

Of course I still have faith in our boys--a 14 game wins streak with peaks and valleys in quality of play but still pulling out the wins when needed is an amazing feat and I am still in awe of the marvelous ride the Caps gave us fans this past month.

Time to regroup, refocus on the BB's systems and commit to shared defense by all of the players. Because when the guys don't play his system responsibly the breakdown can turn into an ugly game. And when they do play it the way BB expects them too, then we get sublime games from our guys.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I have not read all of the above comments, but has anyone mentioned that we were without 2 of our top 4 Dmen?

I think the flow of the game is very different with Poti and Shamo in the lineup.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | February 12, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Gotta play Varly sometime to get him ready, so why not now? Not surprising that he showed some rust.

Nice picture of the Alexes and Volchenkov. It would be even better if we could change A-train's jersey to look like the other two.

Posted by: zmega | February 12, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I am overthinking things, but did anyone else get the feeling that GMGM might be working some sort of deal and that's why ShaMo was out with the "flu" last night.

The rumors of the Caps acquiring Sutton or Hamuis are out there. I would love Hamuis but I think he would cost a roster player such as Fehr and that may be too much (unless GMGM was already planning on not re-signing Fehr because he will be too expernsive this offseason).

Today has sort of a trade deadline feel to it. I wonder if anything is going to happen or if it is all just hype.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Poti and ShaMo played vs. Canadiens. The defense in that game was just as bad as last night's.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

While Bruce's tirades can quench one's thirst for some kind of accountability from the team, I always his anger is misplaced. For one, he should be able to make adjustments during a game instead of simply ranting about it after. Even when the Caps were on their winning streak, we won some games frankly that we could have easily lost if not for the stellar goaltending we rec'd over much of that time. So now, inspite of his team's breakdowns (and the forwards bear equal if not more responsibility than at least half our defensemen), Bruce is calling out our goaltending and the "D". Its BS. I thought Schultz was awful against Montreal but he played better last night. Mike Green was Mr Turnover machine last night but Pothier has been very good for a while now. The bigger issue really is the support from our forwards. And Bruce will gloss over mistakes his forwards make that lead directly to goals and quality chances against, as long as those forwards are our scorers (i.e. Flash, Semin etc).

Its hypocritical. I think over the streak when we played well defensively we got much better support from the forwards. I think the actual "D" has been playing the same way for a while now. But the difference between 40 shots on goal and 6 goals against is the support in our own zone provided by the forwards, and most notable against the boards. I don't know how many times our defense has done their job only to have our forwards blow it against the boards by either not jamming the puck out or simply handing it back to the other team weakly the way Flash did last night for that go-ahead 5th goal.

I don't mind the team losing games. As fans like to say, "quit whining we're bound to lose a game here and there"
Its HOW you lose games. I'd rather lose a 3-2 game thats hardfought, well-played defensively (don't take that to mean a boring defensive style either please), and as close to a 60min effort as possible, versus watching the Caps go into a predictable 15 min lull during the 1st two periods and then mount a furious 3rd pd comeback time and time again.

I may be in the minority but I've seen a successful playoff team implement that kind of turn it off/turn it on run and gun hockey. Not one that makes it past the 2nd round anyway. The playoffs have a knack for trimming out teams like that. You still need to be a great defensive team to win the Cup and its not about simply trading for big name defensemen. A lot of that responsibility comes from the forwards, and the head coach has to espouse that mentality.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216: I completely agree with your take on Semin. My sentiments, exactly.

Considering our depth, one would expect GMGM's phone should be the one ringing and he should be the one putting a high price on our players. If GMGM is the one making the calls, my guess is that on or before March 3, he'll be explaining that the asking price was too high, again. In all likelihood, when we see the price of the blockbuster trade made (a la Pronger), I think I'll probably agree.

Posted by: hockeyweasel | February 12, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

typo edit: I may be in the minority but I've NEVER seen a successful playoff team implement that kind of turn it off/turn it on run and gun hockey.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Anyone think that maybe Bruce put Varley in net to show the Russian Team that he is ready for the Olympics? (not that the performance showed it really)

What I am getting at, is whether or not BB wanted Varley to make the team and needed to show he was available for play?

Posted by: CapsKnewbie | February 12, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

There are rumorsof Ethan Moreau coming to the Caps.

He would basically cost nothing (low draft pick) and could be a good 4th line LW and provide some depth up front. He is a big guy and is known as a grinder.

But I think he is also known as being a pretty good penalty killer which is definitely needed for the Caps.

Could be worth acquiring if the cost is extremely low.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how much Ethan Moreau has left in his tank but if he's healthy he's a perfect veteran leader who works his tail off every night and is a gritty tough competitor. I haven't seen him play in a while though and he's had some tough injuries. And frankly, if you give Laing a chance with the right linemates, he'll come close to giving you the same type of effort you get from Moreau. Maybe EM is slightly better with the puck. But to me its not a huge upgrade. Laing got sat because Bruce didn't want to mess with the winning streak. Then Laing comes back in and ends up with Boyd Gordon as a linemate who he has absolutely no chemistry with. We lost against Montreal and Laing goes right back to the bench. Quintin Laing needs to be on this team, preferably with Steckel and Brads as our energy checking line, and thats it man. Let em do their jobs down low and don't worry about inserting in more offense into the lineup.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Points-per-minute update:

Actually it's a stat ESPN keeps track of called PROD, which is minutes of ice time per point, so it's backwards, i.e. lower is better.

Your top 30 so far (minimum 30 games played):

1. OVECHKIN 12:58
2. H. Sedin 14:32
3. D. Sedin 14:54
4. SEMIN 15:40
5. J. Thornton 16:20
6. BACKSTROM 16:26
7. S. Crosby 17:23
8. P. Kane 17:36
9. E. Malkin 17:51
10. S. Stamkos 17:58
11. B. Richards 17:59
12. M. Gaborik 18:02
13. M. St. Louis 18:35
14. D. Heatley 18:38
15. FLEISCHMANN 19:09
16. I. Kovalchuk 19:47
17. Z. Parise 19:59
18. P. Marleau 20:10
19. KNUBLE 20:13
20. T. Connolly 20:26
21. D. Alfredsson 20:31
22. E. Staal 20:34
23. T. Plekanec 20:38
24. M. Hossa 20:40
25. A. Kopitar 20:55
26. FEHR 21:00
27. A. Burrows 21:02
28. R. Getzlaf 21:09
29. V. Lecavalier 21:09
30. C. Stewart 21:10

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Barry Melrose made a great comment after the Montreal loss. When a team is winning, a coach can't criticize, even if the wins are the result of pure talent, rather than sound team discipline. With a sloppy loss, the coaching staff can now run some tough instructive practices to return the team to the strong fundamentals that eroded during the streak.

Posted by: beeman | February 12, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Is that really true though? I've heard coaches criticize their teams even after a win and I've comments to the effect of "if we keep playing this way we can't keep expecting to win".

I don't really hear that from Bruce though. There were at least 4 or 5 opportunities during the streak for him to pull his team back to ground zero and address some of the defensive lapses (esp the last few games of the streak). He chose to just make jokes about the bad turnovers or whatever. He glosses over that stuff, granted we don't know what he says privately but its not a good indication that he's taking things too seriously the way he sounds in public sometimes

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I love Ovi so much---but that penalty last night was so unnecessary and probably cost the Caps the game in the end. Moving another player's stick with his stick after the player had dropped it on the ice? Was it just thoughtlessness on Ovi's part? While he was in the box, Ottawa scored the winning goal, I think.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 12, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

and if Mike Green hadn't made a blind careless slow pass right to the Ottawa player, that penalty never would have even had the chance to occur. Green turned it over with absolutely no pressure on him, the puck was kept inside our zone, and then Ovy ended up backchecking and took that penalty. Wasn't a necessary penalty but when the fundamentals start breaking down, players start showing frustration.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think Moreau has a little more size than Laing and is more skilled. Could be useful for generating cycling and energy. Cycling the puck in the other teams zone is a great way to play defense for an energy line. The ability to get a goal here and there is useful too. That is one of the reasons Bradley is such a great 4th liner.

I would not give up anything of substance for Moreau, but a low draft pick (5th or 6ht round) would be worth the risk and would also add depth in case of injury for very little cost.

I think the Oilers are just looking to get rid of him.

If the Caps deem Moreau as better than Laing then go for him, if not, then there is little need for Moreau.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

This losing thing blows but, let's face it, it's happening at the perfect time. After being on such a high from winning so many straight, this thing has potential to spiral out of control as a losing streak at this point. However, with the Olympic Break coming up, BB will have time to right the ship, and this losing thing won't get out of hand.

Being outscored 16-15 in the past 3 games. The team has scored 5 goals in each of those games and are 1-1-1 in that span. Pothier's words are completely true. They're just "expecting" things to turn their way, and they cannot do that any more.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Moreau is one of the best PK'rs in the league.

Other than that, don't know much about him. He's fast.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I should note, from my previous post, that I fully expect the Caps to beat St. Louis, but if they don't, then BB has time to right ship. I just don't want people to think I am bailing on the team because of a 0-1-1 stretch, as some fans on here seem to do.

Posted by: Aldred15 | February 12, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Cstanton is gone during the entire streak and comes back now to talk about how bad their defense is.

We've been talking about how bad the defense was for the last 6 games, where were you? Waiting for the losses to show up?

yawn...

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Nope BB has called out the forwards too in his post game pressers--particularly in the one after the Habs game--in fact he was harsher towards them and said that they can't keep leaving their defense out to dry.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The rumors of the Caps acquiring Sutton or Hamuis are out there.

_____________________

Kubina.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Also, someone needs to crop that photo with a Caps jersey over Volchenkov.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Some observations: The Caps will be fine once Chimera, Poti and Pothier(?) come back. Everyone can relax.

I'll take Laughlin over anyone else out there. Look at all the other announcers out there. BOS-Jack Edwards sucks, NJ- Dick Emerick sucks, just to name a couple.

As much as I hate Melrose and everything ESPN, he's right.

All the Semin and Schultz bashers should just relax. THIS TEAM WILL BE FINE. No trades needed.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Reading the postings from the Semin's critics makes me wonder where and how did the term "lazy penalty" came about? The only lazy penalty I have seen is the one that OV made last night. Most penalties are either a product of someone trying hard to make a play (being competitive) or trying to recover from a bad/good (depending on what side you are on) play, either case it is a byproduct of competition not laziness. Of course there is the "stupid" penalty, that is the one where you instigate a fight - thank goodness the goons are going out of style, for that I watch the UFC.

By the way, a great play by the opposition does not mean a lazy play by our guys. Spezza move on Semin was a great play - give credit where it belongs and enjoy the game, you are watching some of the best athletes on the sport.

Posted by: hock1 | February 12, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The Chimera trade was an obvious prelude to another trade.

I don't care what GMGM says. Anyone can see that he was making room for a potentially bigger rental.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Cstanton is gone during the entire streak and comes back now to talk about how bad their defense is.

We've been talking about how bad the defense was for the last 6 games, where were you? Waiting for the losses to show up?

yawn...

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

explain to me again why your comment has any relevance ? I wasn't calling out posters for defensive discussions. I was calling out the Caps org.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Moreover BB has been complaining about the defensive lapses ever since the team started giving up so many goals. He was just gently firm about their lapses rather than tear into them like last night. Have you actually listened to all of his commentary?

Also I know commenters kinda come and go with posting, myself included, but geez you really do just show up at the bad moments. I usually find your analysis useful but ALWAYS negative and unbalanced. There was a period when you were going on about hitting and Caps vs Pens in this regard when you actually said something marginally positive about BB and the team in terms of his ability to unlock the players' creativity especially in scoring. I found it very perceptive.

I wish you would use your analytical abilities across the board and weigh the good with the bad. Because this team has a lot of good too. This streak had many games with great defensive work by ALL of the players and some magical games, many that came right after that unreal Detroit game, which they had no business winning. The first Pens game was very good defensively by our guys.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wait you've never heard of a lazy penalty? I mean lazy penalty as in not giving effort in trying to play defense and therefore being out of position and having to hook, hold, or trip a guy or something like that. When you're not moving your legs, you tend to take lazy penalties.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Other than that, don't know much about him. He's fast.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

not surprising. And he's not fast unless you're comparing his skating to yours. He's an old beat up grinder in the Dave Lowry mold. He's a hardnosed veteran who will hit, fight, and provide a defensive checking presence. But he skates no quicker than Mike Knuble.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Even Crosby admitted it in his post game interview--the Caps defensive shutdown once they had gained the lead.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm ready for Chimera to return. He does bring speed and energy to that line. I thought that line did okay last night, especially BMo, despite missing Chimera. I think BMo was a plus 3 or 4.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I wish you would use your analytical abilities across the board and weigh the good with the bad. Because this team has a lot of good too. This streak had many games with great defensive work by ALL of the players and some magical games, many that came right after that unreal Detroit game, which they had no business winning. The first Pens game was very good defensively by our guys.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

if you read what i wrote today, I did state that the difference between when we were giving up less shots/less goals and how we played over the last several games has been the play of the forwards. I said that after the Montreal game in fact before Boudreau stated it the next morning.
Trading for a defenseman will have a marginal impact. Getting the forwards to help out the defense esp along the boards will have a greater impact. And getting them to actually forecheck before they're down 3 goals, will have an even greater impact. I never said the Caps didn't play well defensively during the streak though.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

My relevant point was that your points have already been addressed here on CI. The points you make that are just false, capsyoungguns and others have corrected. So really, who is making the irrelevant comments? You're gone the entire winning streak, come back when we lose, and point out things in remarkable tirades as if we don't already know and have been discussing it already.


You don't even show yourself when the team starts to play bad and we win. (That was obvious with the completely false statement you made about BB during the streak..which capsyoungguns has corrected) You wait until we lose. Oh man, How unprecedented of someone who spews nothing but negativity to be absent during the streak and show up at the 2 losses.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

not surprising. And he's not fast unless you're comparing his skating to yours. He's an old beat up grinder in the Dave Lowry mold. He's a hardnosed veteran who will hit, fight, and provide a defensive checking presence. But he skates no quicker than Mike Knuble.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:41 AM |

Can you read at all?

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think acquiring a quality defenseman will have more than a marginal impact.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I actually like the New Jersey broadcast team. I prefer Joe and Craig though.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Wait you've never heard of a lazy penalty? I mean lazy penalty as in not giving effort in trying to play defense and therefore being out of position and having to hook, hold, or trip a guy or something like that. When you're not moving your legs, you tend to take lazy penalties.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

its funny, you mention "lazy penalty" and "Semin" in the same breath and suddenly you're a basher. It can't possibly have any truth to it of course.

Fact is, a player can have a bad game even when they score a goal (or two). And a player can have a great game and never show up on the scoresheet. Equating points to performance is a slippery slope. I think the best overall forward we've had over the past 20 games has been Laich. He does it all and he's picked up his grinding as well. He let that slide earlier in the season. Now he's working his butt off but he doesn't always get good support from guys like Flash or Semin even though those 2 put up their share of points.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I still do not think that we need to make a trade. In the playoffs we won't have Sloan in the lineup. I do question calling up Bourque who we now will have to try and pass through waivers when we get healthy instead of playing Laing for the game.

As for a trade I hope they do wait until after the Olympics especially if we are trading from someone who is playing in them. Last thing we need is to have our new player get hurt before playing a game for us.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 12, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"I mean lazy penalty as in not giving effort in trying to play defense"

If that is the case, what was the player committing the penalty doing? It seems to me like he was making an effort and trying to make, or recover from, a play. He could not have been just standing still looking lost? Could he? Or could he just have being outplayed and now is trying to recover? In any case I don't think he was standing still and the ref just called a penalty for being lazy.

Posted by: hock1 | February 12, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@sgm

I think acquiring that checking center/PK'r would have a greater impact though.

Steve Ott.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Can you read at all?

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

sure I can. You said Ethan Moreau was "fast".
lol, good one RichPhil. I love how you say you don't know much about him except of course that you think he's fast. wow

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Trade freeze for the Olympics starts at 3 p.m. Eastern today, I hear.

Then there are 63 hours between the end of the trade freeze (11:59 p.m. Feb. 28) and the March 3 trade deadline.

"Washington, which has allowed six goals in each of its last two games, could be looking to add some muscle to its defense corps. Possibilities include Edmonton's Steve Staios or Jason Strudwick, Carolina's Andrew Alberts or Aaron Ward or the Islanders' Brendan Witt."

- http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=517347

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think acquiring a quality defenseman will have more than a marginal impact.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Not if the forwards continue to play hot and cold defensive hockey. I mean look at the options out there -- Souray, Jackman. Those 2 would bring some more meanness to the blueline and Souray brings some offense as well. But they don't go skating end to end with the puck. Jackman's a throwback defensive defenseman who takes out his man along the boards and then tries to throw the puck up safely along the boards. If his forwards don't jam it out against a pinching defenseman or commit to winning that battle along the boards, he'll end up running around the way Erskine did last night after he bailed Flash out not once, but twice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I think both additions would be helpful.

If I could only choose one I would choose adding a quality defenseman over a center. I think the Caps talent and depth at D is much weaker than their depth and talent at forward. I think adding a top 4 D man would not only make the top 4 better but also the 3rd pairing (a top 4 guy is then moved down to the 3rd pairing).

But I do see how someone could take the opposite approach.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The period was supposed to be quizzical. Replace it with a question mark if you must. The cliche is that every Edmonton player is fast. Yawn..
________________________________

"Washington, which has allowed six goals in each of its last two games, could be looking to add some muscle to its defense corps. Possibilities include Edmonton's Steve Staios or Jason Strudwick, Carolina's Andrew Alberts or Aaron Ward or the Islanders' Brendan Witt."

All these listed names...meh. Is Staios a pending free agent?

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Washington, which has allowed six goals in each of its last two games, could be looking to add some muscle to its defense corps. Possibilities include Edmonton's Steve Staios or Jason Strudwick, Carolina's Andrew Alberts or Aaron Ward or the Islanders' Brendan Witt."

- http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=517347

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

this is why this defensive lapse streak couldn't come at a better time. So McPhee couldn't delude himself into thinking that he doesn't need to swing a trade, ala last year.
FTR, Staios and Strudwick are marginal players, the intangibles they provide is character. Witt is hit or miss. Good game, bad game.
Alberts and Aaron Ward though, those two I would take in a heartbeat.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

This is where you lost me in your post: "The bigger issue really is the support from our forwards. And Bruce will gloss over mistakes his forwards make that lead directly to goals and quality chances against, as long as those forwards are our scorers (i.e. Flash, Semin etc)."

BB has ALWAYS insisted that the forwards have to be defensively responsible in order for his system to work effectively. If a defensemen goes on the attack the forward has got to drop down to take his place. Moreover BB has his rhythms too about when to shout and when to whisper and when to encourage and when to say nothing--well Gabby always has something to say!

Last night was definitely a time to shout. He was not being hypercritical IMO. And I applauded his tough words. That was an ugly game last night.

They've played great games and poor games ever since Tampa Bay and our Bradley Fighting Vehicle coming to our new Captain's aid. And the guys have shown much character and the ability to close games out--a major problem with them last season. But last night the team fell apart--from Ovi down--despite some sublime play especially by Semin and decent work by some such as BMo.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I feel like I don't need to explain it anymore. Everyone knows when a player just took a lazy penalty. Read Tarik's article from a few months back titled "Capitals cut down on costly penalties."

"Boudreau's constant reminders to his players about keeping their legs moving as opposed to reaching with their sticks while defending opposing players; and the fear of being in the penalty box when the winning goal is scored."

Hooking, holding, tripping are all considered lazy penalties.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Caps (among others) are reportedly interested in Islanders defenseman Andy Sutton AND goalie Dwayne Roloson.

http://www.spectorshockey.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=958:friday-nhl-trade-rumors-february-12-2010&catid=5:trade-rumors&Itemid=4

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I do agree the forwards need to backcheck better, but either way, improving the defense would still more than marginally improve the team. IMO.

Hypothetically, if you had the Canadian team's defense on the Caps for last game I am pretty sure they do not give up 6 goals or anywhere near there, even if the forwards backchecked exactly the same. So having better defensemen would improve the team defense.

So while I agree that the backcheck by the forwards definitely needs to be improved to help improve the team defense, that doesn't mean that improving the defensive end won't improve the team defense.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Hooking, holding, tripping are all considered lazy penalties.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 12:02 PM

It depends. If your partner gives a breakaway to someone, you better damn well hook/hold/trip the guy to prevent the scoring chance.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

McPhee did delude himself last year by making no trades by deadline-he was hamstrung by cap room. This season the cap room is there but perhaps the right trade isn't. If he can finalize the right trade he will. It takes two to dance and I for one do not want to lose one of our Fab Five in order to rent someone. I think the Chimera trade was perfect for example. Despite the fact that I am still a huge Clarkie fan.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What Squishy??! Isn't Doc Emrick the play by play guy for the Devils?

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Guys I agree with you on the game last night, obviously Varly played horrible. Let's put things into prospective though, he missed 2 months and is still not 100%. Most of those goals, Varly would save normally but he's rusty. I was disappointed with the loss as well, but having Varly back to 100% and getting the rust off is worth losing 1 game. Let's face it, Varly is the most talented of our 3 goaltenders and was having an incredible season until his injury. He really was our #1 Goalie and would have easily been the Calder Cup winner if he stayed healthy all year. Once Varly gets back into the swing of things, he'll be okay. Just give him some time. Now, in regards to the D, the D has been horrible as of late. I think we all know that we need a #1 man or at least a defensive, fast skating, puck moving defensemen on this team. I think we all know that, but the last few games show we desperately need it. I think a guy like Neidermeyer from the Ducks would be a great fit as long as we don't have to give up a ton. We don't even need someone as good as him, just a D man who can play. Just MHO.

Posted by: DCSportsFan28 | February 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: Well of course in that situation it is.

Squishy: We don't need Roloson do we? Is he an upgrade? I don't think so.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

TYPO: I mean McPhee did NOT delude himself last season regarding trades. I don't think he could swing it with Nylander on the books and took a calculated risk.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"a guy like Neidermayer.."

Sorry, but that made me laugh. Neids brings a pretty unique resume to the table. There aren't really any guys "like him" playing in the NHL.

I'd take Nieds on, but his price is going to be higher than those listed above.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

BB has ALWAYS insisted that the forwards have to be defensively responsible in order for his system to work effectively. If a defensemen goes on the attack the forward has got to drop down to take his place. Moreover BB has his rhythms too about when to shout and when to whisper and when to encourage and when to say nothing--well Gabby always has something to say!

Last night was definitely a time to shout. He was not being hypercritical IMO. And I applauded his tough words. That was an ugly game last night.

They've played great games and poor games ever since Tampa Bay and our Bradley Fighting Vehicle coming to our new Captain's aid. And the guys have shown much character and the ability to close games out--a major problem with them last season. But last night the team fell apart--from Ovi down--despite some sublime play especially by Semin and decent work by some such as BMo.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:01 PM |

He has his "pets". And Flash is one of them. And if I had to pick a forward who has been the guiltiest of playing weak defensive hockey in his own end, I'd say it was #14. And I don't ever remember Flash losing ice time or being called out by his coach.
Also, when Boudreau laments about his defense, he really needs to identify the pieces who are guilty. Some of his defensmen have been playing well, some not so well. To group them all in together is unfair. He had no problem nailed Jurcina to the wall last yr at the end of a game in which Juice made one questionable play. Unfortunately it led to the winning goal.

Mike Green makes a terrible turnover against Pittsburgh and Boudreau makes a joke about it later. If we had lost the game, then suddenly the bad giveaway has more prominence. But because we pulled it out, its all fun and games. Its when you gloss over mistakes like that is when you set yourself up for it catching upto you. How many mistakes has Poti made over the past 2 seasons ? He's pretty immune from the coach's wrath and his ice time doesn't suffer either. And now that he thinks he's MG and jumps up into every play, the coach doesn't seem to care as long as Poti starts chipping in points.

This team concept is geared towards offense. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to BB when his team gives up so many shots and goals. And its not on the goaltenders either. His goalies actually helped keep the "streak" going inspite of shoddy overall play from the team (outside of the 3rd pd)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1 - I have a hard time evaluating other teams' defenders, so I'll take your word for it and will root for Aaron Ward or Andrew Alberts.

It kind of sucks that the Caps' best chance in many years to get to the finals has to be in an Olympics year. Ovechkin and Semin and Backstrom and Fleischmann have to play that many more games in the Olympics, plus have to go deeper in the playoffs than ever before (assuming they do actually get to the finals). The other playoff teams have Olympians too, but I doubt any one team has four forwards that are both so valuable and so young. Kinda sucks.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@DCSportsFan28

I agree with you about Varly. He needs to keep playing to regain his form. But at this level not at Hershey. I was glad that BB kept playing him despite his inconsistency.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yes, rachel. I think I like Emrick. But then I don't have to listen to him that often.

I really, really like Joe B though. I think we are lucky to have him in Washington. His voice is pleasing to the ear, he is very knowledgeable about the game itself as well as what's going on around the league, he has a pretty good vocabulary, and he works well with any analyst you want to put him with. He's a star.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I hate Poti so much.

Also, Aaron Ward sucks. Maybe it's just being in Carolina, but he doesn't do anything. He's a slow, pylon, and we have enough of those.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone mentioned, but it looked like to me that BMo was playing on a line (#2) w/Semin & Laich the second half of the game and Flash was with Fehr and Bourque.

And BMo was more effective yesterday.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 12, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

A few guys on waivers..Cheechoo..

None of the names are interesting though except Brad May.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@Rachel
You don't have to explain anything. I know what people call "lazy penalties", all the ones you mention, and Tarik would be one of the last persons I would look for to explain hockey to me. BB constant reminders of his players to keep moving is par for the norm, that is one of the coaches job. BB frustration when he sees his players not being in position is understandable, calling them lazy is not.
There is such a thing as being outplayed and that does not mean you were lazy. I am sure if BB really saw a player being lazy in the ice, he would take him out of the game and limit his time on ice to zero or close to it. Lazy is just an adjective spewed out of frustration by coaches and the Tarik's of the world take it and run with it.

Posted by: hock1 | February 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

From the bottom photo: "Alexes Semin and Ovechkin share a laugh with countryman Anton Volchenkov."

Think the 2 Alexes are whispering in his ear to blow off Murray's contract offer and join the Caps next season?

Posted by: thomas20 | February 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: The roster freeze is 3 pm today. If they haven't sent Bourque down, it means he stays on the NHL roster through the break. All Caps have to do to avoid having him claimed then is hold him on NHL roster until the deadline passes March 3rd. After that, they can send him down because no other team can claim him and have him eligible for playoffs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Semin is lazy. Go USA!!!

Posted by: doughless | February 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Can we trade CBo for his brother? I think the Rags have his rights.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

See your posts have returned back to where they always go--I read your analysis as BB and his system is too offensively geared to ever be effective defensively ergo we will never win a Cup. I just happen to disagree with you.

But you are again being inaccurate in your statement--stating that when his team gives up so many shots and goals....--, because for a good portion of this streak the team gave up very few goals, keeping the other team to one or two only. They started giving up a lot since the Rangers game I believe.

I get it--you prefer a defensively oriented system and don't believe in BB's system, which I concur is to push offensively, but at the same time it stresses the need also to drop back and shore up the defense.

I leave this argument alone now--we can just agree to disagree about BB and the Caps.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Aaron Ward sucks? Let me look at this year's stats.

OK it looks like Andrew Alberts is leading his team in +/-, while Aaron Ward is 2nd worst on his team and the worst defenseman on his team at +/-.

OK, so I'll just root for Caps getting Andrew Alberts.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Don't agree to disagree, please, with anyone, ever. Just say no.

Thank you,
Cliche-Hatred Department

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

No there are definitely times out there when you can tell a player is being lazy. I won't name names but we all know. What's that saying where defense is 100% desire? You have to want to play defense.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 12, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I saw that too, moving BMo to the second line. But I wasn't sure exactly when it happened during the game. Thought he was effective.

Sad that two hat tricks in a row go to waste

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I very much preferred the "I leave this argument alone now." That was nice. But really, we must collectively do away with this "agree to disagree" phrase. It's really getting on my nerves. You don't need someone else's consent or agreement to disagree with that someone--you just disagree or else you don't. I dunno. I hate it.

Thank you!

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

Okay!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that the trade/roster freeze is before the last game prior to the break? Wonder why they would do that.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

Or should I say "agree to disagree"--LOL.

I really was just trying to be courteous to someone with a different point of view.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I would guess BMo was moved to the second line the shift after Flash lost a clean draw to Spezza that resulted in the Sens' second goal.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it seem a bit odd that the trade/roster freeze is before the last game prior to the break? Wonder why they would do that.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 12:34 PM |

Some teams play Sunday.

Also, about the faceoffs. Don't have the stats on me, but from watching the game, it seemed like we lost every single draw when Spezza was in there. I bet the faceoff numbers and blocked shot numbers are ridiculously skewed.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

If you want to disagree with me, I'm not sure what all I can do about that other than leave it at that, persuade you to change your mind, or become persuaded to change mine, but I know for sure that I will NOT just agree to be disagreed with. I hereby reject EVERY future offer from everyone that we agree to disagree about anything. REJECTED, OK? Do you understand? No agreements to disagree will involve me, and that is for sure.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

Or how about: "it is what it is". I rather like that Ovi favorite because it says everything and nothing at the same time.

Gotta find some levity after such a dispiriting game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that Semin kind of looks like Luke Skywalker after he was attacked by the wampa in Empire? After the wounds healed of course, just post-accident Mark Hammil

Posted by: mattbuckley801 | February 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Yes. He does look a bit like Luke Skywalker post Wampa Ice Creature fight. If only he could use the force and not take penalties all the time! Cue Yoda voice: "hooking. Slashing. This leads to the dark side yes! Clears throat: "move legs you must....skate harder you will. "

Posted by: SkinsFanInNYC | February 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Anybody see this?

Ottawa acquired forward Matt Cullen from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Alexandre Picard and a 2010
second-round draft pick.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Yea, that happened a bit earlier. Good trade for both teams.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

OTOH,

You Must Construct Additional Pylons.

ET VRBA PENNSILTVCKIAM DELENDA EST

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 12, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@ youaresquishy

LOL--you are on a roll today. And I promise to never ask mindlessly whether you've had a nice day. Some cliches really need no reply do they.

I agree that to agree to disagree is disagreeing. See I'm agreeable. Now I think I'll leave this argument alone and go have lunch--laughing at least.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I know, it's widely considered a conventional sort of courtesy phrase. I just don't like that state of affairs. I would prefer a substitute. And I predict you'll soon see more and more people joining me in this cause, and I strongly suspect it's on its way out of favor.

I don't think it's a non-nice thing to say though. And I do not intend to criticize you personally, or anyone else who ever says it. I've just heard it enough times now that it's starting to bug me a little bit.

At this point I think I'd rather hear the not-so-nice argument-ending "talk to the hand," which I haven't heard anyone seriously do in quite a while. I guess it doesn't work so well in writing though.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Also, Aaron Ward sucks. Maybe it's just being in Carolina, but he doesn't do anything. He's a slow, pylon, and we have enough of those.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Lets see, Aaron Ward has played on THREE Stanley Cup teams, and won 2 Cups. And as recently as 4 yrs ago he was one of the primary reasons on defense that Carolina won their Cup.

I dunno, I think "SUCKS" should be reserved for a player like Jason Doig. Ward may not be the player he once was, his battering style has worn him down over the years. But he's still good enough to push one of our lesser players on D out of the lineup. Unfortunately, the player he would end up replacing would be Pothier or Erskine, both of whom can be effective 3rd pair players. The upgrade should really occur at the Tom Poti level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I really hate "it is what it is," but some of my favorite people still say it from time to time.

I think it means something. Y'know, it's a way of saying, maybe, "You can't change the nature of it," or maybe, "There's only so much you can really do about it and for the most part you just have to work with it as it is in its current state." But I still hate it, just because it's been used too often at this point.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Squishy, we'll just have to agree to disagree about agreeing to disagreeing.

:)

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Hamhuis reportedly will be dealt soon.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Wait, do we like Hamhuis? We like him better than Sloan, don't we?

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Squishy, we'll just have to agree todisagree about agreeing to disagreeing.

:)

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:50 PM


Uh-oh...Now you've gotten him started!!!

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hamhuis...isn't that the place where you can get a complete dinner package for Easter or Christman for a single all-inclusive price?

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 12, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

youaresquishy:
this is even better:
"my opinion is right and your opinion is wrong - end of story"
you can use this whenever you want, it's free

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 12, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't know much about Hamhuis, but everything I read says he's a good defense man. Don't watch too much Preds hockey.

Apparently BUF, NJ, and us are in on it.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I get it--you prefer a defensively oriented system and don't believe in BB's system, which I concur is to push offensively, but at the same time it stresses the need also to drop back and shore up the defense.

I leave this argument alone now--we can just agree to disagree about BB and the Caps.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

for the sake of one last discussion on this lets diagram this out. Do you consider the recent Penguins teams to play a style of hockey that you agree with ?
I certainly like the way they play. And that team does some things very differently than what Boudreau's team does.

1) Philosophically on the PK units, Pittsburgh employs forwards who make life miserable for the point men, the Caps do not. You'd never see Flash killing a penalty for the Penguins. They use guys like Talbot, Kennedy, Cooke etc. Gritty in-your-face forwards with speed. We use Bradley and Steckel but then we also use Semin and Flash. For offense. While on the PK kill. Which is why sometimes we get 3 guys caught up ice while we're killing a freaking penalty. Or the other team gets to pass that puck around at will in our zone because our forwards put little to no pressure on the point.

2) Finishing checks. There's a commitment on the Pens to finishing checks, and that commitment has been there for about 2+ seasons now. Its in the numbers, its something tangible you can see with your eyes. The Caps don't seem to mind going thru a few games where they average 15 hits or under in games. The Pens, Rangers etc always seem to get near that 30 hit mark. Makes for an easier transition to playoff-style hockey. Even the Wings were putting up monster hit totals in the playoffs.

3) Overall defensive philosophy. The Penguins inspite of their top shelf talent still take a lot of pride in playing team defensive hockey. Their forwards do a much better job across the board of helping out their D. If they didn't play like that, they wouldn't have won the Cup. Or made it there 2 yrs in a row. The Caps CAN play good team defense, but they don't do it often enough. I don't think that makes me a Caps basher. I just think the commitment to playing strong team defense isn't as emphasized under Bruce as it is on some other teams. He's a run and gun guy, there's not enough balance. And he only seems to have his freakout sessions when the team loses instead of correcting those errors aggressively even after a win.


Both those teams es

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Define soon. I'd like to know if I can stop refreshing the TSN Transactions page every 5 minutes for the rest of the day.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this has already been posted but it appears the Florida Panthers are going to have a fire sale - here's their letter to their fans:

http://panthers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=517345

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | February 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Hamhuis isn't big but he plays big, competes hard. And more importantly, he plays thru all his injuries. I couldn't see him missing a game for any reason except a broken leg. He's played with elbow injuries, cracked fingers, chest contusions, groin injuries. He's like an iron man. A guy like Schultz could suffer an injury right before the playoffs and we wouldn't see him until next year. Hamhuis is durable as durable gets.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else think it hurts the Caps, when it comes to trade options, that the rest of the division might not make the playoffs since these teams will be reluctant to trade a player within the division?

If not, then let's agree to disagree and say "it is what it is."

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hamhuis is +1 on a team that I believe has about 44 more pluses than minuses in total so far this season. He is the 4th best regular defenseman (at least 20 games played) on the Predators in that stat this year, and was the 5th best last year (-4). And I don't think he's used as one of the top 2 defenders or anything (i.e. I don't think it's the case he's always up against the very best players of his opponents).

I'd feel better if the defensive defenseman we get is a +/- leader amongst the defenders on his team, or, if not, his numbers can be excused by the top line quality of the matchups he usually gets.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow...

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

gotta respect the Panthers for holding themselves publicly accountable. The beginning of the end for them was trading two of the brightest young defensive prospects in hockey at the time - Warrener and Jovo. Since they dealt those 2 guys they've been under .500 and have never made the playoffs again.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

But Sloan's -2 on this team that is about as + as it gets is very telling. He should not be on the roster during the playoffs, one way or another.

I'd be happy to replace SMo as well. My eyes tell me we could use an upgrade there.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

A players +/- may be lower if they are on the top D pairing and always facing the opposing teams best players. +/- has some value but only when you consider it amongst many other factors.

Hamhuis is a very good player and would be a significant upgrade to the Caps D.

The Florida letter is jaw dropping. Don't they have two pretty decent defenseman in Leopold and Seidenberg? Cost for either of them might just be draft picks too.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

When you got Suter and Weber leading the charge, you're not going to see top pair minutes.

I don't particularly like using +/- as a defensive engagement though.

I'm still rooting for Kubina. Big body who delivers huge hits and has a rocket shot.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hamhuis is +1 on a team that I believe has about 44 more pluses than minuses in total so far this season. He is the 4th best regular defenseman (at least 20 games played) on the Predators in that stat this year, and was the 5th best last year (-4). And I don't think he's used as one of the top 2 defenders or anything (i.e. I don't think it's the case he's always up against the very best players of his opponents).

I'd feel better if the defensive defenseman we get is a +/- leader amongst the defenders on his team, or, if not, his numbers can be excused by the top line quality of the matchups he usually gets.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

don't get too caught up in that number. There's examples of solid defensemen in this league who don't fare well in that dept. Look at Kevin Bieksa, he's been overall a minus player on some good Vancouver teams. There's not a team in this league who wouldn't want to get him.
Hamhuis is solid. You're never going to pry away a Shea Weber so you have to look past the sheer numbers if you want to swing some deals. It comes down to your pro scouting dept. Are they intelligent enough to spot a good addition and look past the numbers ?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

+/- stats can be very misleading. What I look at is ice time. Any top two or three D man in even strength ice time per game for their team is likely to be at least a decent player and probably a good pickup.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The Florida letter is jaw dropping. Don't they have two pretty decent defenseman in Leopold and Seidenberg? Cost for either of them might just be draft picks too.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Seidenburg coulda been had for FREE by any team this year. Florida finally signed him up. I thought he came into his own last yr in Carolina, havent watched him much this yr.

You gotta see what your team's needs are. We have different needs on D than some other teams. Sharks may be looking for more of a PP guy. We should be looking at defensive defenseman who can hopefully bring some teeth and some snarl.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

But, I think both Alzner and Carlson are already better options than Sloan, so don't we really have the Sloan issue already taken care of?

I'm glad we jettisoned Jurcina. I'd like to see SMo not be a regular at least and possibly Pothier. That's where the upgrade should go.

Green-Schultz-Poti-that's OK stuff, I think. Erskine is +17 in 41 games and doesn't seem reprehensible or anything and is the only semblance of an enforcer Caps have, so if he just stops being hurt and/or we start playing Carlson, I think Caps are OK for the playoffs, but I'd like Pothier and SMo upgraded.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Red Rocka Recap from last night's Ottawa tilt:

http://capseye.typepad.com/

Posted by: meagle | February 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

+/- stats can be very misleading. What I look at is ice time. Any top two or three D man in even strength ice time per game for their team is likely to be at least a decent player and probably a good pickup.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 1:19 PM |

Well, less misleading if you just stick to comparing a player's +/- to his teammates', but yeah it can be misleading. We'll agree to agree on that.

I bet that's a good point about ice time at even strength. Maybe not so much on a very poor defensive team, but I get what you're saying. I have to look at some kind of numbers, because I don't remember anything about most of the defensemen on the other teams.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

i feel the opposite. Neither Pothier nor ShaMo is the problem. I wasn't a big Pothier fan before but the way he's been playing for most of this season he's won me over. He's not a liability.

BP and Erskine should be on the bottom pair or get rotated in.
Green needs to play better defensively.
Schultz needs to play harder and not have games like he did v Montreal where he went back to being a timid pylon. And ShaMo is more than acceptable because he's one of the few players we have who cleans up forwards along the boards and he can skate better than Erskine.
Carlson > Alzner and he proved it in his last callup.

Poti needs to go. And thats where a good trade pickup would benefit us most imo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have Carlson for the playoffs than Alzner, actually. I'm not yet sold on Alzner, but, I'd still like him better than Sloan I think.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

and Sloan's awful. The only value he has is as a big body on the 4th line. If he can commit to playing the type of role that an Aaron Voros plays for the Rangers then I'd say put him in. But he's very inconsistent. The longer he's in the lineup the worse he looks. His best games are usually when he's been benched and he comes back into the lineup with a chip on his shoulder.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Ideally, I would like the upgrades to happen at Poti and either Pothier or ShaMo.

Green-Schultz
Blank-Blank
Alzner-Pothier/ShaMo

Erskine


Sloan

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The big advantage Carlson has over Alzner is strength. Alzner has to try pretty hard to push anyone off the puck. Carlson seems to do it effortlessly. And he's great at pinching in and keeping the puck in. He's also tougher in the crease. I was disappointed in his first callup but he played like I thought he could play in his 2nd callup. Skating well, banging bodies, clearing the crease. Its been a long time since any Caps draftee on D has been able to look this well-rounded.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Alright, Poti then. I don't really mind him going.

I'll take Green and Schultz and Carlson and Erskine and if you want Pothier on the bottom pair it's OK I guess.

But I don't like ShaMo, and I'm not good at explaining why, other than to tell you at his +/- relative to his teammates' and fellow Caps defensemen every year he's been here.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Poti has been a top 3 D man on the Caps all year. I think trading him would be a mistake. The Caps want to acquire a top 4 D man and push out #6, not #3.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Well you aren't you the patronizing jerk. You lost my respect for your opinion with "let me diagram this for you."

I never brought the Pens up in my posts. That was not the point of the discussion. It was not a comparison of the two coach's systems. There is much I admire about the Pens team and I have always been a fan of superb players such as Crosby even when I root against them and prefer the Caps.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

and i would say NO to Eric Brewer. If we're going to deal with the Blues pls let it be Jackman instead.

And Erskine is a good situational player. If you're playing a team like Boston, you want him in there. If you're playing a team with better team speed, he may get exposed more. I thought Erskine was perfect against the Rangers last yr.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Problem with Poti is that, is he able to be moved?

ShaMo and Pothier are our two pending UFAs.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps 2nd D pairing in the playoffs is Erksine and Carlson, then the Caps are in serious trouble.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Well you aren't you the patronizing jerk. You lost my respect for your opinion with "let me diagram this for you."

I never brought the Pens up in my posts. That was not the point of the discussion. It was not a comparison of the two coach's systems. There is much I admire about the Pens team and I have always been a fan of superb players such as Crosby even when I root against them and prefer the Caps.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

i'll give you a pass since I could easily jump all over you sht. I wasn't being patronizing and I'm sorry it came off that way. I was making a genuine attempt at a conversation.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Carlson is going to be an All-Star one day. I've seen enough. Might as well get him started right now. He's quite a point-producer in addition to his physical/defensive skills.

I've seen enough of Sloan though. I'm not sure he's really an NHL-level guy.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Barring a series of injuries to the D corps, I don't see Carlson playing in the playoffs with only 6 NHL games under his belt. He's the cure for the Caps needs next year and beyond but not this year.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps 2nd D pairing in the playoffs is Erksine and Carlson, then the Caps are in serious trouble.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Your playoff lineup is DYNAMIC. It changes depending on the lineups or the teams you face. In some cases Erskine playing 20 minutes works well, in some cases he needs to get dropped to the 3rd pair, in other cases he gets rotated out of the lineup.

but I think if you get a really solid dependable veteran defenseman in a trade, then I wouldn't freak out over having Carlson play big minutes. As long as he has time to get acclimated before the playoffs start.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

i mean, pairing Carlson with that solid trade pickup would not scare me. I don't think Carlson fits in real well with any of our current defensemen except Morrisonn. And it does look like the Caps would like to deal ShaMo at some point soon.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Carlson looks like he will be a very good to a great defenseman, but the time to get him started isn't in the playoffs.

The Caps already chose to have him play this year in the AHL (right or wrong). I would not want a 2nd pairing defenseman playing in the playoffs with less than 10 games of NHL experience.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Thank you--it most definitely did come off that way to me. But I accept that this is an imperfect medium in which to have a discussion. Much like email but with more pixels

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | February 12, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I thin Poti would be a great 3rd pairing D guy. If the Caps acquire a top 4 D man. My pairing would be:

Green/Schultz
New Guy/ShaMo
Poti/Alzner

Bench (Pothier/Erskine)

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

at some point though you have to weigh a player's ability vs his experience. Florida went to the Finals with 2 rookies on defense pulling down major major minutes. All things being near even obviously you don't play a raw rookie. But Carlson could be enough of an upgrade to our defense that i think its worth a look.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

...and for those folks just joining us, welcome back to the cstanton1 show, where he talks, you listen. Any doubts about the process, just shut it because in his world and his eyes, he's right and you're irrelevant. Now, let's move on to our next victim...I mean, our next poster....

=P

Treat him like a troll, don't bother with addressing him and he'll go away. He's like the Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire of the washingtonpost.com boards. Just mute the button and scroll past him.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 12, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree with playing a rookie if he plays during the regular season, but Carlson has played so few games.

If he was called up and played the last 20 games of the season after the break, and played well, then I would be more comfortable with him playing (preferably 3rd pairing). But I don't think BB and GMGM are going to do that.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3,

I think ShaMo i going to be gone by the trade dedlin, and Pothier has not been our weakest defensemen lately, so I am not sure why you have him benched? Our problem in the D zone has been getting the puck out in a timely manner, and Pothier is probably the best at that.

My D Pairings,

Green/new SAHD
Poti/Alzner
Pothier/Eskine

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I thin Poti would be a great 3rd pairing D guy. If the Caps acquire a top 4 D man. My pairing would be:

Green/Schultz
New Guy/ShaMo
Poti/Alzner

Bench (Pothier/Erskine)

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Traditionally, teams that go into the playoffs have a certain "look" on their 3rd defensive pairing. That "look" is usually 2 defensive defensemen who crash and bang bodies and they're used primarily to match up with the other team's 3rd and 4th lines. To neutralize the effect of an all-out forecheck. Poti/Alzner don't quite fit that mold imo. But since the Caps are hellbent in reinventing the wheel, I could easily see that occur :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Pothier has been good this year. I'd really like to see him come back.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | February 12, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

lol, there's not a bigger troll imo than LeftCoastCaps fan. Has nothing hockey-related to say except bash other posters. That to me is the pure definition of a troll. I think you just lurk around and then show up when I do because your panties get all bunched up when I say anything you perceive as negative.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Here's a sort of sabermetrics style website, listing Tom Poti as around the 50th most valuable defenseman so far this season. Pothier is much further down the list, just after Andrew Alberts actually (one of the trade bait mentions). Then you've got to go down much further still to find Erskine and then ShaMo. Carlson and Alzner are even further down.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2009/gvt.php?sort=14&mingp=&team=&pos=D

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

But you've got to go almost to the bottom of that list to find Sloan (and Jurcina, by the way).

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I didn't mean to bench Pothier for bad play or anything. I just thought the other 6 would be better. But I think you may be right in the ShaMo gets traded. If so, I would put Pothier with Alzner and Poti with the new guy. I saw in your pairing that you didn't include Schutlz, was this an accident or intentional?

@cstanton1

Just because teams traditionally put out their big guys to go against other big guys doesn't mean it is necessrily correct. I just like the idea of putting your top 6 D guys out there, and speed and skill is very helpful in clearing the zone against forecheckers

Also, most teams put their big D men on the 3rd pairing because they don't have 6 defensemen with skill and speed, so they throw out whoever is best that they have left.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I think if you use numbers, its near impossible to gauge how valuable a player is to a team. If you look at that list, Steve Eminger is rated about the same as Craig River? And Eminger easily beats out Mark Stuart? No one in their right mind would value Eminger that highly. Sami Lepisto ranked higher than Doug Murray. Jim Vandermeer and Matt Carkner (essentially John Erskine types) ranked in the top 3rd.

Sorry, that list is whacked because it just proves how hard it is to rank or quantify nhlers.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Also, most teams put their big D men on the 3rd pairing because they don't have 6 defensemen with skill and speed, so they throw out whoever is best that they have left.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

not true at all. Most teams have much better skilled defensemen playing in the minors who can never beat out the parent team's 3rd pair guys on defense. The reason is, teams employ ROLES. Its all role-based. Thats why grinders on your 3rd and 4th lines usually don't have to worry about losing their jobs to more skilled players like the Bouchards of this world. The reason teams don't employ 6 skilled defensemen is because you can't win like that. Do you really think that John Erskine is more skilled than some of our defensemen at Hershey? Even the Caps who generally lean towards employing more skill than other teams, know enough to not simply play their top 6 skilled defensemen.

Which is why teams replace injured players relevant to the role they play. If we lose a top 6 forward vs a bottom 6 forward, we use different replacements from Hershey. Sometimes Beagle makes more sense than Perrault or Aucoin. Sometimes Osala will make more sense than a Bouchard type.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Pothier, Poti, ShaMo, Shultz and Lumberjack have been fine on defense. everyone all kooky bout Alzner. at this point i would say at times he is "steady." Frankly, I would like to see a little more of Carlson

Posted by: doughless | February 12, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's another list, where Carlson is 3rd in the NHL (there's no minimum) amongst Dmen. I think this one is better:

http://www.behindthenet.ca/2009/new_5_on_5.php?sort=7§ion=goals&mingp=&mintoi=&team=&pos=D

Capitals in order: Carlson, Schultz, Green, Pothier, Poti, Erskine, ShaMo, Sloan, Alzner.

Carlson, Schultz, and Green are all near or somewhat near the top. There's a pretty good leap down from Green to get to Pothier, and similar-size leaps down to get to Poti and then from there to Erskine.

But then you've got to go a ways to find ShaMo, Sloan, and Alzner, who are all pretty close to the bottom.

This stat the website just calls "RATING" is basically +/- per 60 minutes on the ice minus your team's average +/- per 60 when you're off the ice, I'm pretty sure. This website does a poor job of explaining itself though.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

2:21 PM and no trade news yet. No rumors. 39 Minutes to go!

Posted by: eyechip | February 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'll give up with the numbers for now. If quality of defenseman really is susceptible to boiling down to a single number, I'm not getting the feeling that anyone's really figured out how yet.

I'll just leave it up to those that watch the defensemen more carefully than I do to figure it out. Freeze is like a half hour away, so it's starting to look like no more trading until after the Olympics.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Freeze is like a half hour away, so it's starting to look like no more trading until after the Olympics.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:25 PM

And 3 hours of hitting 'refresh' are all for not.

Posted by: Nephandi | February 12, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Just because you have skill does not mean you don't have size. Lidstrom, Niedermeyer, Green, Duncan Keith, all have great skill. None of those have the Erskinse size, so according to your last statement they should all be in the minors and not on teams top pairing. Or if you had a team of 6 of them, only 4 should play because the 5th and 6th defenseman have "roles" to fill.

When you measure a player's ability you look at ALL of his attributes and take into consideration his stick skills, speed, size strength, etc. No, you do not want a tiny defenseman playing with no checking ability only because he is fast. On the other hand, you do not want a large, mean D man playing if he can barely move.

Just because a group is called the "3rd pairing" does not mean they need to be 6'6" 250 lbs and slow. I think they just want the best 6 overall players. Then on gameday, you mathcup your best 6 players accordingly with the other team based on who they have.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 12, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Tarik...anything happening?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 12, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I just want to say, before I go, that lazy or not, dumb penalties, lazy penalties, or good ones, Semin is a living god, and you should bow down before him and worship him and everything that is him.

When he's on, he makes it seem like he could get a hat trick every night. When he doesn't, this can result in fan frustration. I understand. I think he's going to be our playoffs MVP! I've just got a feeling.

Alexander Semin, I love you as much as a straight man can possibly love another man that he has never met. Please bring us a Cup.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Semin looks lost half the time

Posted by: doughless | February 12, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Ø Check on Eklund's site....he knows what he's talking about... Ø

lulz

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

How strange is that?

On the yahoo nhl website is a photo of a man in a red jersey with a white No. 8 on the shoulder ... and it is not Ovie ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | February 12, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Just because you have skill does not mean you don't have size. Lidstrom, Niedermeyer, Green, Duncan Keith, all have great skill. None of those have the Erskinse size, so according to your last statement they should all be in the minors and not on teams top pairing. Or if you had a team of 6 of them, only 4 should play because the 5th and 6th defenseman have "roles" to fill.
--------------------------------

I didn't say that skilled players belong in the minors. I said that you don't automatically play your top 6 most skilled players on defense. Which is what I think you implied when you said that the reason teams don't play their top 6 skilled players on defense is because they simply don't have that type of depth. And thats not true. Many teams leave MORE skilled players in the minors or on the bench because they don't fit into a specific role on your team. Which is why players like Erskine and Strudwick have found gainful employment over the yrs despite their obvious lack of skill.

You're equating the element of skill with being your best players. IF thats the case why haven't Giroux and Aucoin replaced Bradley and Steckel. There's no way Brads and Steckel can put up the sheer offensive numbers in the minors that Giroux and Aucoin have. Why hasn't a Patrick McNeill in Hershey replaced Erskine? He has a lot more skill, but he doesn't provide the role they need that Erskine does.

So to simply say you dress your top 6 skilled players on D or your top 18 skilled skaters in your lineup... no one does that.

Most teams follow a model with some variations whereby your top 6 fwds need to have a certain degree of skill and a lesser degree of grit. The bottom 6 forwards are the opposite.

The top 4 defensive pairings will also have a different set of requirements than the bottom 3rd pairing. Which is why you see teams like Ottawa use that 3rd pairing to provide toughness, not skill. Matt Carkner only cracked the Ottawa lineup because they needed more of a heavyweight to take the burden off Chris Neil. Players like Sheldon Brookbank, Staios, Strudwick, Valabik, Matt Walker, Erskine etc all have less skill than other players in their respective organizations and yet still beat them out for roster spots. The same reason you employ a heavier grit element on your 4th line, you do the same on your bottom pairing on defense. It has nothing to do with "best player" or "most skill".

Obviously if you had 6 Mike Greens at your disposal you may want to give that strategy more thought but I've seen teams actually trade away assets and skill because they feel they have an abundance of it and they need a different element to balance their teams out. The Caps did that when they dealt Darren Veitch (an offensive defenseman) for Barrett and Smith (2 unskilled but hardnosed defensive defensemen). We traded Kevin Hatcher for Tinordi. We dealt Gartner and Murphy for Dino/Rouse. On paper, we gave away skill to add different elements.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Dealing Gartner and Murphy for Dino and Rouse is definitely one trade I'd like to have not done.

Ouch.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

sorry this is kind of winded - but here's my take

this is not a pick and choose of the best from the schedule - but 10 consecutive games
games 2-11 of the streak with who played d

tor 6-1
carlson, green, morrisonn, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

phi 5-3
carlson, green, morrisonn, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

det 3-2
alzner, green, morrisonn, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

@pit 6-3
alzner, carlson, morrisonn, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

phx 4-2
alzner, erskine, green, morrisonn, poti, schultz & neuvy

@nyi 7-2
alzner, erskine, green, morrisonn, poti, schultz & theo (w), neuvy

ana 5-1
erskine, green, morrisonn, pothier, poti, schultz & neuvy

fla 4-1
erskine, green, morrisonn, pothier, poti, schultz & neuvy

tb 3-2
erskine, morrisonn, pothier, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

@bos 4-1
erskine, morrisonn, pothier, poti, schultz, sloan & theo

total ga = 18 (1.8 per game)
6 2/3 games by theo with 7 wins and 3 1/3 for neuvy with 3 wins
only three d men played in all 10 of these games: morrisonn, poti & schultz
i was surprised to see sloan in for six of these

what some of this tells me is that when they play as a team - they are capable of playing some d

true or false - there are better d men out there than what the caps have?
true

true or false - any d man picked up by the caps will automatically makes the caps d better?
false
it would be likely that they get better but it is not automatic
if they give up too much to get said d man they could become worse

no matter what moves on d are made: to be consistent they will have to play team d (the forwards must be involved)
8 different d in those 10 games and all but alzner, carlson & green have been offered up to be gotten rid of
imo - these guys are sufficient to have an effictive defense
they will never have nj type numbers but do allow the team a decent chance of winning

i could only find two instances where the caps gave up 4 or more goals in a row for three straight games
games 2, 3 & 4: 6-4 win, 6-5 ot loss & 4-3 loss
the last three games: 5-4 otw, 6-5 otl & 6-5 loss
i see this as the exception, not the rule

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Alright, I guess nothing else happened today other than the Senators getting Cullen.

Olympic freeze has started. Teams want to wait until the last minute and whatnot.

Team Russia's first game is Tuesday night at midnight Eastern. Hope y'all have DVRs or other recording devices so you can watch Ovechkin, Semin, Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk et al. destroy Latvia. Then they play Thursday night at midnight Eastern against Slovakia. I think they'll be on TV somewhere, like MSNBC, or CNBC, or something. I'm going to watch every minute. Ovechkin's last Olympics was AMAZING. And this year, Team Russia will be even more entertaining.

Bookmark this http://www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-hockey-schedule-results/.

Bye for now!

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Dealing Gartner and Murphy for Dino and Rouse is definitely one trade I'd like to have not done.

Ouch.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

except the Caps went further than they ever had without them in the lineup :) For the first time ever, instead of losing in rounds 1 or 2, the Caps advanced to the Conf Finals. And if they had had Dino in the lineup instead of being injured, they may have had a chance. So it isn't as cut and dry as simply winning a trade on paper. Intangibles and roles play a big part in how trades work out. For my money, I think the Caps have enough skill and I wouldn't mind seeing Flash's spot in the lineup taken up by a different type of player. Just the way he's played the last 2 games, he's been just horrible. He loses a faceoff, then stops to pick up his glove, then is late on the backcheck, leads to a goal. Then loses another faceoff, stands around, doesn't move, and whammo, goal #2 against. You can't often trace a bad game to a player's +/- but in some cases you can. Flash was a -3 last night despite scoring an even strength goal. He played an active part in at least 3 of the goals against last night if not all 4. He was the main reason we gave up goal#5 to Montreal. You cannot in a tied game in the 3rd, simply refuse to engage a player along the boards. And thats what he did that entire shift. And finally when Erskine worked the puck free, Flash picked it up and promptly lost it again.

At least Bruce finally made a minor adjustment in last night's game when he replaced Flash with Morrison. Long time coming. I guess even he finally got sick of watching his lackluster play.

So while the focus is aimed on our defensive corps, so much of it starts with the forwards. If you don't forecheck, the other team comes out with a head of steam. If you don't backcheck, then they break in cleanly making life tough for your defense. If the forwards don't win puck battles on the half-wall, then your defense has to either clear the puck up the middle or keep rifling it along the boards only to have it get intercepted and shot back on net. Its a no-win.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow that was exciting, waiting for nothing to happen. I guess it'll be March 3rd.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 12, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, here's a TV schedule. http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv-listings/zone=ET/sport=IH/index.html

I'm not sure why this says 12:30 a.m. Eastern and the Olympics website says 9 p.m. Pacific. But, whatever. I'd tune in at midnight if you're on the East Coast, just to make sure.

Says the first two Team Russia games will be on CNBC.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Panthers are going Scorched Earth:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/The-end-of-the-Florida-Panthers-as-we-know-them?urn=nhl,219385#remaining-content

I can't be the only one daydreaming about Vokoun Rockin' the Red :)

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 12, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Didn't you hear the big news?

Philly resigned Betts to an extension and LA assigned Scott Parse to Manchester.

These two moves are HUGE!

Oh and the Sens have made a contract offer to Volchenkov.

zzzzzzzzz

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Brad May placed on waivers by Detroit. Would love to have him on our fourth line -- plenty of grit. Comes to play with passion every night. Hits everything that moves.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and this:
The Chicago Blackhawks have dealt defenceman Cam Barker to the Minnesota Wild for defenceman Kim Johnsson and 2009 first round pick, defenceman Nick Leddy.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

caps consecutive games with fewer than 3 goals:
11/30 to 12/7
3-2, 6-2, 8-2 & 3-0 wins
12/19 to 12/26
4-2, 5-2 & 4-1 wins
1/2 to 1/9
2-1 (L), 4-2, 5-2 & 8-1 wins
and then there were 6 games during the streak from 1/23 to 2/2

record when giving up 4 or more
7-5-5
when less than 3
29-1-2
and 6-5 giving up 3 goals

32 games at less than 3 goals - alomst unbeatable
28 at 3 or more - less than 50% chance of a win

the d needs to get better - but i think the imporvement needs to come from team play - not just an upgrade to one or two players on the d

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 12, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As I stated last night, the Blackhawk that the Caps need is John Madden. Perfect center on the third line. He would bring Cups, leadership, loads of experience, penalty killing, faceoff prowess, speed, and could hound/shadow the best centers the Caps will face in the playoffs (e.g., Crosby, Zajac, etc.). He would also teach the Caps how to penetrate the Devils smothering playoff trap. As has been stated regularly, the Hawks HAVE to unload some salary. You have to give something to get something in this league. Dangle Neuvirth (seriously) in front of them and watch Chicago jump. Madden is the playoff tested, shutdown center that the Caps need to reach the finals. Flash would be the odd man out, I would think, but could bring back a solid stay at home, clear the crease kind of defenseman the Caps need as well.

Stirring the pot!

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 12, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

jody shelley to the rangers for a 5th rounder

Posted by: _stevo | February 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Saw this in the article about the Bears concerning Alzner and Bourque.

"Both will be returned to Hershey following Saturday's game in St. Louis, Washington's
last game before the Olympic break."

I guess they are not concerned about a team plucking Bourque off re-entry waivers. Or perhaps this is prohibited because of the roster freeze.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | February 12, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe there's not more outrage about the idea that the Gartner trade could possibly have been a good thing. That was terrible!!! (As it would be to lose Semin.)

Posted by: BigMogilny | February 12, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What a player Larry Murphy was too, with the Capitals, and later with Pittsburgh, and then with the Red Wings too. Trade worked out well for him, for sure, with the 4 Cups he won. I guarantee you he is loved by just about all Penguins and Wings fans.

I would not trade either Gartner or Murphy individually for both Dino and Rouse.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 12, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Barker was drafted third after ovie and malkin. Imagine if we had not one the lottery and were slated to pick third.. Yikes where would we be now. Also I would not be surprised if GMGM does what he did today at trade deadline He likes to play it safe.

Posted by: samb99 | February 12, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Barker was like Alzner. He came out in a draft year with virtually no competition to speak of defensively.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 12, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1

i guess you just the missed the whole point

Posted by: samb99 | February 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

Interesting take on the forwards' roles in our defensive issues. I suppose I have been placing too much blame on the defensemen.

I still think we need upgrades on the blueline but I wasn't tuned into just how much are forwards are also contributing to the problems.

Your posts are great even though I've seen people jumping on you in the past for simply calling it like you see it. You know a lot of hockey. Please keep posting as much as possible.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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