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Posted at 11:47 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Alexander Semin not out for Caps' practice

By Katie Carrera

Alexander Semin is not out on the ice with the Capitals for practice this morning at KCI, marking the third straight session he's missed this week.

It's unclear if Semin is still suffering from the flu-like symptoms that have swept through the Washington dressing room, which Coach Bruce Boudreau attributed his absence to earlier in the week, or if he is injured. He is listed as day-to-day by the team.

All other players, except for Boyd Gordon, who is out 1-2 weeks with a lower-body injury, are on the ice and participating fully in drills. The team's been on the ice for more than 45 minutes now with no real sign of slowing down.

More to come.

By Katie Carrera  | December 16, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  Alexander Semin  
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Comments

Skate 'em hard Bruce, make them get their a@@es out of their heads.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 16, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

It has arrived just in time for Christmas; the great vanishing Semin!

Posted by: doughless | December 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

sgm3

"I disagree. If Ovie and Hannan both went aggressive after Getzlaf that would've allowed Getzlaf pass to a wide open player in the center of the ice creating a 2-on-1 in front of the net and probably an even higher percentage shot than the one Getzlaf took."

1) He would have to complete the pass through 2 players charging at him.

2) I did not say that it would not be a mistake to both attack Getz. I said it is better to make an aggressive mistake in the d-zone then a passive mistake.

Either, Hannon or Ovi should have had the responsibility to slide in that instance. Both sliding would be a better mistake then no-one sliding. It seems to be this teams M.O. lately to sit back and watch the play happen, instead of making the play to happen.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@cadlecreek1 @sgm3

That play is on Ovi. I just watched a highlight of it. Carlson kind of gets picked and Getzlaf literally skates to within 5 feet of Ovi and Ovi just stands there. Hannan started to come from the opposite side of the ice but there was no chance he was getting there in time.

Posted by: ThePat | December 16, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@pat I did not want to bash OV more then I already have in the past week. I would blame OV for not sliding on that play, too.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

KC, college here, any chance Semin's been traded, you never know, I know that's wacky but need to consider every possiblity.

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

For a team that has forgotten how to score goals, trading Semin (the only one of the Big Four who has scored with any consistency this year) would be a surprising move, to say the least.

Posted by: zmega | December 16, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Im wondering if his retaliation the other night has anything to do with him being out now...injury wise. Maybe he got whacked good, hence he retaliated. And now the injury from the whack is presenting itself.

Personally, I'm hoping it is just a bug and he will be good to go come Sat. We are going to need him against the Bs.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 16, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Any body listen to Smokin Al last night on the radio after the, was listening on the drive home.

I know we joke on here about the Kool Aid Drinkers but Smokin Al has so lost the plot. One guy asked/posed the question if the caps lost a couple more was BB's job in question. He laughed it off and sai something along the line of "The fron office love BB theres no way they would let him go"

Guy has lost it, too much kool aid for him :)

Posted by: bqts | December 16, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

No doubt, more like stunning, but I've spent the morning throwing up in my trashcan after the HBO embarrassment last night and the bad 3rd period against ducks, I'm not sure anything would surprise me. Hey by the way, speaking of goal scoring, can we get Flash back? Anyone thinking that last goal was Hannan's fault, talk about hesitation.

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@wiley1

You hurt my feelings....yeah, right. I could care less if you or anyone else reads my posts. I invite you to go through the archives and see what I've written. You can call me Prophet from now on, wiley.....

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 16, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I've tried to watch Hannan closely since he arrived. He is still learning the system and the players around him, but I think he will be fine. One concern I heard was speed, but his speed is adequate. He is nowhere near Byfuglien, for example, who is the slowest that I have seen in the NHL. I really didn't see the Getzlaf goal as his fault.

Posted by: zmega | December 16, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

sgm3

"To be aggressive without regard to your own defensive responsibilities will lead to many great scoring chances for the opposing team."

I'm not saying every one on the ice jump the puck carrier like a swarm of bees. When in doubt make the aggressive play on the puck carrier. Don't everyone think it's 'not my job' and let someone have a free, quality shot. It is much better to be wrong being aggressive then being wrong watching when you are the next man in coverage on a play in a high quality area. Your still wrong as a player, and it MAY lead to a quality chance, where as watching WILL lead to a quality chance.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@ collegehockeyfan

You need to go back and look at the replay again. That goal is on OV,he was right there, no way Hannan could have got there.

Posted by: bqts | December 16, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

sgm3

"To be aggressive without regard to your own defensive responsibilities will lead to many great scoring chances for the opposing team."

I'm not saying every one on the ice jump the puck carrier like a swarm of bees. When in doubt make the aggressive play on the puck carrier. Don't everyone think it's 'not my job' and let someone have a free, quality shot. It is much better to be wrong being aggressive then being wrong watching when you are the next man in coverage on a play in a high quality area. Your still wrong as a player, and it MAY lead to a quality chance, where as watching WILL lead to a quality chance.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

i agree with cadlecreek1's observation on ovi and hannan. but most especially with ovi's inability to defend. i think i saw him also in that area or position during panther's game and the scored. i hate to see ovi not moving or how to find a spot where he can shoot.and speaking of shooting, he really needs to accept the fact that he needs practice. he should have made that breakaway. i just remembered the 2009 playoff game 7 and 2010 palyoff. he was involved in those breakaways and he did not deliver. C'MON OVI, PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE!!! FOR PETE'S SAKE. YOU CALL ON YOUR TEAMATES, BUT YOU YOURSELF DOES NOT DELIVER. C'MON.

Posted by: capsfan2007 | December 16, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest, Ovechkin hasn't been himself since the Olympic failure.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 16, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

bqts i won't disagree, ive seen the play 2 or 3x and ovi didn't jump out at me. Don't you think Hannan has to at least step up and not fold and/or put stick in the lane, that's one of the first things they teach young D, bend elbow in, keep hands high so you can poke effectively with your stick, simple hockey play. his reaction was slow when Getz spun out of JC's check, I'll go back and look for ovi but this thread wil be old by then, I'll catch you later, thanks for reply.

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

It is much better to be wrong being aggressive then being wrong watching when you are the next man in coverage on a play in a high quality area. Your still wrong as a player, and it MAY lead to a quality chance, where as watching WILL lead to a quality chance.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 |

Being aggressive may lead to a higher quality scoring chance while being conservative will lead to a lower quality scoring chance.

Lets say hypothetically that you were Ovie in that situation.

You see Getzlaf curl around and you see see Carlson go off towards the corner. In your peripherary you see Hannan take a step towards Getzlaf, so in your head you think Hannan is going towards Getzlaf. Then it is Ovie's responsibility to guard the passing lane to the point(which he did). Remember, all of this happens in less than a second.

The reaction of Hannan and Ovie is based off of a quick glance of the other. Each thought they saw the other going towards Getzlaf and reacted accordingly. However, since both were under the assumption the other was going toward Getlzaf the other did his job and covered the passing lane. Unfortunately both read that the other was going after Getzlaf which led to the open shot. Shots like this happens multiple times by every team in every game in the NHL.

Again, this takes place in less than a second and is a quick reaction based on(if you are Ovie) what Getzlaf, Carlson, and Hannan do in that very instant. It is a very quick read.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 16, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - I don't agree. OV's in a slump for sure but the effort is there. I don't understand all the ripping into OV. He's giving all he's got. It wasn't an issue when everybody else was scoring and he was the assist guy because he was creating chances. He's still creating chances but they're not going in now. Call it a slump or whatever you want but it won't last the rest of the season if the effort stays there.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 16, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

@ collegehockeyfan

Think he got away from Carlson, thats one player, ovie is probably with 5 feet of him, second player and then add a third player, Hannan, in overtime????? While I agree on his reaction time but again he wasn't the closest.

Not to worry the other side of the Hannan trade had a hat trick last night and getting lots of ice time in his natural slot. I still don't want Flushman here as I think it is just going to take a little time for Hannan to get it down.

Posted by: bqts | December 16, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@college

I just watched the frame by frame. I think Hannon should have switched and taking Getz coming out of the corner. and let JC take the guy circling behind the net.

You can see OV watching, from the top of the circle, Getz turn and move into the dot. He reacts late and slow. My whole point with sgm3 is, that he should have slid down and planted Getz when he turned outside even though Hannon was starting to move out (Wrong but aggressive). Getz would have to move the puck up to the point which is better then a shot from the faceoff circle by a goal scorer.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

sgm sorry to beat this horse dead but they should read off each other there but I don't think they did, Hannan never looks to his winger there, he was just slow to react, bqts says it's Ovi, I'll watch tape again, but to me when Hannan sees Getz spin out of JCs check at half wall or deeper that's the D partner all the way, especially when he's in FO circle, he's right there. Maybe you've ID'ed prob w/ this team, everyone is waiting for everyone else to make a play. Sorry have to add one thing, has anyone seen Flash in CO, by my count 6 goals, maybe we have the Skins curse of coaches who don't know how to properly utilize their players.

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This is system breakdown and lack of talent. Not slump. No second and third line center and we knew it as soon as Belanger did not sign. We got worse, other teams got better. Ovie has not been the same player since the suspension; no physical play, no burst of speed, single-minded crossover inside the blue line looking for a shot and losing the puck or getting it blocked. Backstrom's been befuddled and frustrated for weeks and has not been able to create. Green's been good in spurts, but not consistent. And mistakes have not been corrected. The power play is terrible, and the five on three worse. All this adds up to ineffective coaching and need for more talent.

Posted by: Bjoad1 | December 16, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

sorry to beat this horse dead but they should read off each other there but I don't think they did,

@collegehockey

I think that's exactly what they did. Hannan read that Ovie was going for Getzlaf and Ovie read that Hannan was going toward Getzlaf. They each made the wrong read. The read is done in such a short instant that by the time each player realized the other wasn't going after Getzlaf the shot was off.

So they did what they were supposed to do, but they just made the wrong read. It happens, but hopefully that will be minimized with more experience from Hannan with the Caps.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 16, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

sgm3 "Unfortunately both read that the other was going after Getzlaf which led to the open shot." This is why practice is important.
It should be automatic who has primary and secondary responsibility.

I would rather have a forward on their A$$ with a pass to the point and a high 2-1 or 3-2 then let someone walk-in and shoot from close range. It is a difference in preferred styles between us. I would rather play a more aggressive sliding-attcking defence then a read and react defence. Both are viable systems. If the caps are playing read and react then the forwards are too high and wide on the point coverage, if the caps are using an aggressive attacking style defence then someone should tell the players.

A question for all:

Does it seem like Varly has trouble with pucks on the stick side?

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 16, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: It's a number of things with Ovi. He's not backchecking as much. He's whiffing and losing the puck a lot. He's not running through people as much. He seems to have less relative strength compared to other players. The combo of the Olympic loss and the suspension after the Campbell hit seem to have done a number on him.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 16, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"This is why practice is important.
It should be automatic who has primary and secondary responsibility."

@caddlecreek

I agree that practice is important and hopefully the more Hannan plays with the Caps the less this will happen.

But these sort of opportunities happen multiple times by every NHL in every NHL game ever played. They will happen and goals will be scored off of them, the goal is to minimize them.

It was a nice play by Getzlaf to create the oppportunitiy by keeping possession of the puck and then to bury the opportunity when the Caps made the misread.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 16, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I love the chalk talk of the game and respect the comments, having read them I'll watch again tonight. All good.

Varly pucks to stick side: you know the only thing I can say about that is his stick's has always seemed too long to me but I'll leave that to him, he always carries his stick flat, toe up, not fund sound. I'm not a goalie, I don't know. Maybe we can combime Varly and Newvi and get one great goalie.

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal, you nailed it.

OV hasn't been right since last year. he simply has not adapted his game to adjust to the changes made by opposing defenders. they are taking away the goals he used to score in transition. the D no longer backs off as he carries the puck over the blue line and they now look to block/spoil what was his bread and butter, the wrister through their legs. Occasionally, he tries to curl and drag, but, 9 times out 10, he loses the puck and the possession is over and the other team is racing into our end, often with an odd man break. The same happens when OV fires a wrister into a shin pad, the possession is over and the puck is headed back into our end.

An OV attempt at a low-percentage scoring chance is really just another bad turnover. He's got to figure that out; moreover, BB has got to encourage this understanding and get his game to evolve. It's not about effort or toughness; it's about smarts and tactics. And it's not about being more defensive; it's about finding new ways to create your offense. Diversifying your game.

OV (and the first two lines in general) need to stop thinking about scoring and starting thinking about maintaining possession of the puck deep in the offensive zone, that means forgoing mediocre scoring chance on the rush and, instead, looking to set up shop in the O zone. Establish a forecheck. Wear the other team down. The scoring chances will come (as will the penalties from the other team). You can still be a high-powered skill team and cycle the puck!

In particular, for OV, with the D crowding him, he needs to chip the puck in and then beat the D, who's at disadvantage because he's crowding OV, to the corner. If OV doesn't get on the puck first, then crush the defender into the dasher. OV should be a monster along the wall. The D should fear going to get the puck. And OV should relish playing the cycle. With his size, strength, and speed, he should be impossible defend along the wall. Backstrom is very strong on the puck, has tremendous vision, and is slippery as hell. The two of them should be a nightmare to defend on the cycle. With Knuble too, they should absolutely wear teams out.

To me, it's a matter of tactics, not effort. Effort and emotion are bound to wane when you continuously fail while doing the same thing over and over. BB should quit berating them for a lack of confidence or fire and focus, instead, on providing the players with the detailed adjustments necessary to allow them to succeed.

The team is playing exactly like their coach is acting; they're doing the same thing over and over again and getting exasperated and enraged when they --surprise!-- continue to get poor results.

Posted by: garbageman | December 16, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

So Cal Tom - good call on Ovi, he doesn't have soft hands, never will, he's a bull and his curl and drag into full D screen is on video and has been countered, maybe what he needs is a power winger on other side to open a little more space for him, say a Milan Lucic, I know I'm dreaming and you're all going to tell me I'm smoking something but why not Semin for Lucic, Bruins probably wouldn't touch & GMGM doesn't have the guts, he's never pulled off a true blockbuster, just a bunch of veteran pulls (Feder, Bellows), 2nd rounder give ups, what do you think?

Posted by: collegehockeyfan | December 16, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@garbageman: best post I've read in a long, long time. Good analysis of Ovi and what needs to be done with him.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 16, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, DC.

It's been building since last year. These issues aren't new. To me, it's the fundamental flaw with the team's style of play. The defense is fine. The goaltending probably okay. It's the stunning lack of a forecheck and subsequent cycle from the top lines that holds this team back. Everything flows from deploying an effective forecheck and cycle game. The D gets better because they defend less. The transition O gets better because the other team is worn out by the checking, not to mention the opposing D begin to allow more space because they are tired of getting kabonged in the corner because they have no time to play the puck.

It concerns me greatly that I keep hearing talk about effort and want-to and confidence, when the problems seem tactical more than anything else. For instance, all the blather about guys not going to the net and paying the price... how are you supposed to set up traffic in front when the shot is taken by the guy leading the rush, aka the first man in the zone. How about making adjustments there instead spouting a bunch of hockey cliches about guys not wanting to pay the price?

Until this team learns to forecheck, they will never be a good playoff team. The transition game dries up even more in the post season. With the skill and size the Caps have, they should be an awesome forechecking, cycling team. The puck should never leave the O zone, but, for whatever reason, they don't adapt. Maybe someone who knows the game better than I (I only played Midget level), can explain it? Is there something fundamental to BB's so called system that hamstrings the forecheck?

Last night's game gave me no hope. Just look it how easy it was for the Ducks to exit the zone, whereas, for us, against the Ducks good forecheck, it was an adventure just to get the puck over our own blueline.

And that OT goal, I'm pretty sure that came after OV turned the puck over on the rush (was it a curl and drag, trying to remember?).

Posted by: garbageman | December 16, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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