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Big Night For Knuble, Schultz

While it's a big, measuring-stick type game for both the Caps and Flyers tonight, it's a considerably bigger for Mike Knuble and Jeff Schultz.

Knuble, of course, is back at Wachovia Center for the first time since he and his Flyers teammates were eliminated by the Pens last spring. The veteran winger grew so antsy at the hotel this morning, he couldn't wait for the team bus to the arena. So he came on his own -- 45 minutes before any of his teammates.

When I arrived, Knuble was standing on the visitors' bench by himself looking up into the empty arena.

"I was bored at the hotel," he said half-jokingly. "I figured it was a nice day so I should get out. I figured I might want to talk to a few people."

Just to make sure he got some of the nerves out of his system this morning, Knuble also took part in a morning skate for the first time this season.

"It's going to be a unique night," he said.

For Schultz, tonight marks his first chance this season to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves a regular spot in the lineup. He spent most of last season in the Caps' top four, but has not played since suffering an injury in Game 1 of the playoffs.

"I want to get myself back to playing at a high level again," Schultz said. "But I don't want to put too much pressure of myself to the point that I'm over-thinking out there. I just want to go out there and play like I did in the preseason and hopefully the coaches like what I'm doing, so I can stay in the lineup. I want to make it hard for them to take me out of the lineup."

Looks like Schultz will skate with Milan Jurcina on the third pairing tonight. Schultz is replacing Brian Pothier in the lineup.

"If Jeff Schultz plays the way Jeff Schultz can play, he's a very good defenseman," Boudreau said. "The six defensemen who finished [last] year deserved to start the year, if they're all here. But Jeff Schultz was in our top four for 80-percent of the year. So he'll get a chance tonight and we'll see how he does."

"In the end," Boudreau added, "and I don't know if that's two weeks or three weeks from now or whatever, the best are going to play all the time."

Some other notes from the morning skate:

*With the Flyers having the last change and four really good defensemen (Chris Pronger, Matt Carle, Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn), it's going to be impossible for Boudreau to get a favorable matchup for his top line.

"We're not going to try," Boudreau said. "They are going to get the matchup, and that's fine. You wish you could, but Pronger is a great defenseman and he's out there half the game anyway."

*Boudreau on the decision to start Semyon Varlamov: "I thought this would be a great test for Varly on the road in front of these fans. I want to see how he handles it."

*Boudreau on Ray Emery: "Obviously, Ottawa was going through some turmoil the last time we saw him and he seemed to be at the center of that. He took a year off from North American hockey and he's come back with a lot to prove. A Ray Emery who's got a lot to prove is tough to beat. He took Ottawa to the finals three years ago. So he's a great goalie."

*Boudreau's quote of the day: "I couldn't care less who scored, as long as we get more than them."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 6, 2009; 1:08 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Flyers

Comments

I can't wait!!!! Go CAPS!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | October 6, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

From previous thread:

I guess BB has to stretch his luck sometimes. I will have my defibrillator on standby with Varly starting aginst Philly.

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Goon-Ville......

Posted by: SA-Town | October 6, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Drop puck. Win game.

Posted by: saintex | October 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I think the best match-up is AO and the of the Flyers net. See if you can set that one up.

Posted by: saintex | October 6, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

back of the Flyers net.

Posted by: saintex | October 6, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Repost; Some Quotes for Tonight:

"The winner of this game is going to win the Cup," deadpanned Flyers' defenseman Chris Pronger, tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Left winger Scott Hartnell:
"We did our job on the road, and here in front of our fans, we need to set a precedent early and not start off on the wrong foot, especially against Washington. They're a high-powered team. Obviously, Ovechkin is a great player, but they've got other players, too. So we're going to have to roll four lines and stay out of the box [because] they have a power play that is going to be right up there among the tops in the league. [Knuble]'s got a big body in front of the net and is hard to move off the puck. We'll definitely try to get him off his game and hit him every chance."

Flyers coach John Stevens wasn't sure which defensive pairings would be matched against left winger Ovechkin. Pronger will sometimes face him, and Stevens is contemplating moving Kimmo Timonen (who is paired with Braydon Coburn) from the left side to the right so he can be matched against Ovechkin.

The Pronger-Ovechkin matchup intrigues even some of the players.

"That's why he's here, to stop the big boys from scoring," Hartnell said with a laugh.

Pronger was asked if he had played against Ovechkin enough to call him the best player he had ever faced.

"No," he said, noting he had been matched against Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, and Peter Forsberg in their primes and that he had faced Ovechkin only a handful of times.

"He's going to try to be creative and make plays," Pronger said of Ovechkin. "You need to understand that and know where he is on the ice. You've got to make sure you're positioned well at all times.

"You've got to have that constant pressure on him. He's got to feel guys coming in from behind trying to strip the puck. He can shoot in traffic - you've got to be in shooting lanes."

Hartnell said the Capitals are "so fun to play against; they're go-go-go. They're very offensive, and if you check well and come back hard, you're going to get opportunities the other way."

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I HAVE DIRECTV if you have DECENT internet watch the game here.

atdhe.net and it streams live.

Does anyone know what Teds email address to his aol account? Thanks

Posted by: whsqb10


i tried using hockeystreams.com (bought the HD+ feed) on opening night and had issues with buffering both the HD and HD+ feed. the HQ (high quality) feed worked without any issues - but the quality was not good at all IMO.
i ended up watching the game on atdhe.net - feed quality was as good as hockeystreams HD+ feed and there were no buffering issues

i hope vs and dirttv get their acts together soon - seems the customer always loses during the p*ssing matches (i'm wearing my raincoat and using an umbrella to try and stay dry)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 6, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Any MD bars showing VS tonight? Help me out!!

Posted by: panic13 | October 6, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Anyone interested in :Brendan Shanahan(notes) is on waivers. [McKenzie]

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Continued from the last thread... overall VERSUS to me is a Mickey Mouse channel and I pray for the day that ESPN reacquires the NHL rights.

Posted by: donknutts | October 6, 2009 11:52 AM


@ donknutts: Funny you should say that, when in fact the owner of ESPN is...you guessed it, folks:


The Walt Disney Corporation...

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 6, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Anyone interested in :Brendan Shanahan(notes) is on waivers. [McKenzie]

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 6, 2009 2:02 PM |

Wait..he had a contract? I thought he just had a tryout with NJ and they released him?

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, good article - but you neglect here and in an earlier post to make clear that Emery didn't take a year off from hockey, just from the NHL. He played in Russia last year, which may not be the NHL but is clearly challenging to be the 2nd best league in the world. It's already way better than the A, there's no doubt about that.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 6, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Shanny wasn't quick a decade ago, now at best he'd be about a zone behind the play. No, thank you!

Posted by: govtimbo | October 6, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

He'd be good for a team who have the roster spot and needs a PP boost.

But that's about it.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Shanny signed 1 year for 1 mill back in late July or August. So they had to waive him to get him off the salary cap.

Posted by: ThePat | October 6, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

re: varly in front of philly crowd...does a philly crowd in october equal an MSG playoff crowd...or a pens crowd in game six down 3-2? hmmm...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 6, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

1) Shanahan was signed to a 1 million dollar contract. So the devils(unless he's traded or signed off waivers) are on the hook for it regardless of retirement, etc.
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: fauxrumors | October 6, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

My hockeystreams.com has worked great (HD and HD+) so far this season. Like I passed along after the last game I watched, I have a new MacBook, FiOS, and I run it through my wireless router at home using QuickTime in a seperate window. Beyond that, the technical stuff is sort of over my meatball.

If you aren't sure how well it might work for you then get a one-day pass and give it whirl.

Funny that I don't have cable or dish TV at my house and now I hear how those that do are getting screwed - I feel for you guys and gals.

Posted by: saintex | October 6, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The crowd in Philly is much tougher then Pittsburgh.

In Philly, it holds 3k more people. Also in Philly they boo non-stop..The place is hostile...just watch...Carcillo could take out Backstrom's knees...punch him in the face..and the place would go nuts if he got 2 minutes for roughing...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 6, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's to hoping our PP can stay hot. They're going to be busy tonight.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Govtimbo

Tarik said (above) he took a year away from North American hockey - seems pretty accurate to me...

Posted by: NJNJ | October 6, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait to watch the game tonight!!! Oh wait, I have DirecTV and super slow broadband... :(

Posted by: Joe69 | October 6, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If Knuble gets booed tonight then that will show you how stupid Philly fans are..

but they will probably boo our entire team. But I'm very suprised to see that Varly is starting.. I think this is the wrong move. BB said Theo is the number one goalie so he should be getting the bulk of the work, he's the one that needs to get into a rhythm plus we don't want to see Varly giving up 3 goals in periods again. But we will see who's right tonight. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: rachel216 | October 6, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Forehand, backstrom!

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to those who have Directv and no longer receive Versus. I had ordered Directv for my parents' place and had only discovered that Versus was a channel I had, during the early part of this year.

When I moved out, I was "stuck" with Charter Communications. Lo and behold, I still have access to Versus with that company and sadly, Versus is inactive on Directv. =/ If anyone is in Pasadena, California and has Directv and wants to watch the game, albeit, recorded on the DVR, feel free to hit me up and we can watch it together.

Good luck, everyone, with the online feeds. Let's Goo Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 6, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I emailed Versus and got the same message they had up on their website. I'm so angry!!! Such an important game tonight and I can't watch!!! This sucks!

Posted by: rachel216 | October 6, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhmJZJ8K-NY

Posted by: richmondphil

ew gross!!

Posted by: rachel216 | October 6, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil,

What the hell?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 6, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

You can watch the game online.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 6, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I found it hilarious. That has got to be the most awkward moment ever.

Maybe my humor is a bit skewed...

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

We are going to run into this DirectTV/Vs problem again on Oct 27th., again a Flyers game.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 6, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't object to pulling Pothier out to let him rest up for a game. He's played very well, but I don't relish the thought of him on the ice with Chris Pronger... at all.

As for Varlamov vs. Theodore, Boudreau is probably doing the swap off on who gets to play at home. Theodore, yes, is the #1 goaltender, according to Boudreau, but Varlamov needs ice time, and early in the season is good to make sure he gets it.

I am guessing Theodore will get the start at home on Thursday against the Rangers.

Posted by: irockthered | October 6, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil,

Just a tad skewed.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | October 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing Theodore will get the start at home on Thursday against the Rangers.

Posted by: irockthered | October 6, 2009 3:49 PM

Me too. Barring an insane display by Varlamov.

Posted by: richmondphil | October 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
thanks for the video - i just got back from lunch and threw up a little. you're a sick, sick man!! :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 6, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

For those who are looking for a place to watch tonight, a friend of mine was able to watch the last Versus game at Greene Turtle.

I hope Schultz goes out there tonight and proves all of his detractors wrong. This is going to be a tough game and everyone really needs to bring it. Let's go Caps!!

Posted by: hillg | October 6, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Not to bring up the whole rivalry debate again, but I found this article/poll interesting:

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=501108&navid=DL|NHL|home

You will notice our boys on there twice.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@ rachel216

Any true Flyers fan won't be booing Knuble tonight. Some may be still upset that he signed with Caps for more money than taking a home town pay cut, but most still think he's a class act.

No doubt we will boo the rest of you though.

Posted by: ASharon004 | October 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Crap. I misread. I'm seeing Caps double today.

Not as interesting as originally thought.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Good. Ovie said he likes the boos. Keep em coming...

Posted by: ejohnsto | October 6, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

one of my buddies who works at carpool in ballston said that Ovie, green, semin and backstrom all came there after the redskins game on sunday.... with about 8 redskins cheerleaders

must be nice

Posted by: _stevo | October 6, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I am guessing Theodore will get the start at home on Thursday against the Rangers.

Posted by: irockthered | October 6, 2009 3:49 PM


@irockthered:

Maybe. Maybe not; IIRC, Theo didn't do so good the last time he faced the Rags in a game that counted. It was Varly got us to the next round. Best if we don't read too much into it either way. No matter who's in net, I get the sense there may not be any "easy" wins for us this year. With that said: easy or not, I share with you the hope there will be lots of them :D

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 6, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

But I'm very suprised to see that Varly is starting.. I think this is the wrong move. BB said Theo is the number one goalie so he should be getting the bulk of the work, he's the one that needs to get into a rhythm plus we don't want to see Varly giving up 3 goals in periods again. But we will see who's right tonight. Let's go Caps!

Posted by: rachel216 | October 6, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

But BB also said that the two would split the work pretty evenly in the first half of the season, and then he would go with whomever is playing better down the stretch. I think that's the smart thing to do. Theodore is in the last year of his contract, and likely won't be back next season, with Varlamov and Neuwirth ready to take over. This way, you ramp up the number of games Varlamov plays in, acclimating him to the longer NHL season, and giving him the experience that he needs. If he continues to develop, he should be ready to be the number 1 guy next year.

Posted by: rbpalmer | October 6, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else wishing we had Brashear/an Enforcer in the line up tonight?

Posted by: FLDave | October 6, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any early regular season game is more pressure packed than a playoff game. But since the Flyers are a team the Caps and Varly may have to beat in the playoffs so might as well get him used to facing them.

Posted by: joek443 | October 6, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is, we need to hope Mike Green stays the hell away from Chris Pronger. If he hadn't run into him last season in Anahiem; we're sitting he saying we have the MVP and Best D-Man.

Posted by: MaineCapsFan | October 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Is there any news on Michael Nylander yet?

Posted by: MaineCapsFan | October 6, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes - remember the Nylander situation would be resolved by Tuesday...umm, back in September before the final rosters were set.

Oops, guess that never happened.

Can't wait to watch Schultz get undressed for a goal, and then everyone on here will be like: "he's one of the top +/- in the league!! LOL.

Posted by: Jaymagz | October 6, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Splitting time in a professional level has never meant exactly equal playing time. Usually a coach will play the goalie who has the momentum, keeping a rythm and more importantly consistency in the defensive end. I can't venture a guess as to what BB is doing pulling Pothier and starting Varly.

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Schultz and Jurcina. That might be the slowest line of defense in the entire NHL.

Posted by: blanknerc | October 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Erskine is slower than either of them.

Posted by: joek443 | October 6, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

From previous post:

JohnWWW:

"I love this coach! He is definitely confident enough to look at the bigger picture instead of just over his shoulder..."

I agree. What a difference between BB and his predecessorm, Hanlon,
(and even the Redskins' Zorn) who are too afraid to lose to experiment or let the players play free. It is this confidence and longterm view that freed the players from timidity and fear and made the Caps into the explosive team that they have become.

Let's hope that Varly tonight will be the Varly of most of the playoff games and not the one who lost game 7.

Posted by: caraveli | October 6, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@ rovingbandit: But you know many will venture a guess and blow a gaskit if no one else believes them or take it personally if they're wrong. People tend to forget we're SPECTATORS. We're meant to be passive observers of their skills and abilities. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping BB rolls out the NOS line...Too Fast, Too Furious!

"The 'NOS' Line" Washington Capitals—Niklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Alexander Semin Named after a common name for Nitrous Oxide

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Splitting time in a professional level has never meant exactly equal playing time. Usually a coach will play the goalie who has the momentum, keeping a rythm and more importantly consistency in the defensive end. I can't venture a guess as to what BB is doing pulling Pothier and starting Varly.

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980's won an awful lot of games and Stanley Cups with both Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr playing just about an equal amount of time during the regular seasons.

Posted by: joek443 | October 6, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Also if you think Theo should be starting the majority of the games then you must've missed the playoffs last season.

Posted by: joek443 | October 6, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Our lack of defense is what did Theo in last year. Seems we've got it back this year, so far.

I still stand by my comments that I don't think Varly quite has "it" yet. He needs one more year.

I am not ready to compare the Caps to the Oilers of the 80's. Let's get a couple Cups before we get ahead of ourselves...

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Too true Left Coast!

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 6, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Carcillo had 80 PIMs in only 20 games for the Flyers last year.

In 07-08, he had 324 PIMs in only 57 games for Phoenix.

Good god.

Posted by: Fro_ | October 6, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

NJNJ - just pointing something that should have been explicitly stated - both here and in a previous post - was all. And it was BB who said it, anyway.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The only reason to put Schultz in the lineup tonight is that he is more physical than Pothier but what I don't like is that he's always behind the play. And to pair him with Jurcina, I don't get it. Our D really died in the 3rd period against Toronto. This could get ugly tonight like it did early last season in Philly.

Posted by: chillwill1 | October 6, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love the Caps and their offense, this team isn't going to win a Stanley Cup and they will be lucky to get to the Finals. They don't play defense. At least not enough defense. Why is it the Flyers add guys like Pronger...we needed him. It's gotta burn a guy like Ovie that Richards has a hat trick. Maybe its not goaltending totally just lousy defense. Their best defense is a good offense. That doesn't work in the playoffs.

Posted by: oneft2dice | October 6, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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