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After fast start, Caps managed to right themselves against Bruins

By Katie Carrera

If you haven't already checked out the game story for Saturday's hard-copy edition of The Post, the Capitals did quite a good job at limiting the Boston Bruins through the first 40 minutes of regulation and held a three-goal advantage while outshooting their opponents, 25-9, over the first two periods.

During a brief lapse by the Capitals, Boston used a pair of power-play goals 55 seconds apart to work its way back into the contest before eventually tying the game with roughly 10 minutes remaining in regulation. Washington managed to right itself for a 5-3 win, however, with a go-ahead goal by John Carlson and a four-save relief outing by Braden Holtby, who made his first regular season NHL appearance when Coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Michal Neuvirth.

There was little to complain about through the Capitals' first two periods as they focused on winning physical battles against the Bruins, who had defeated Washington twice this season. But after being able to shut down opponents well through most of the first month, Mike Green said the Capitals must find a way to put it all together.

"I think now that things are going well especially offensively -- we're scoring a little more goals than at first -- I think we're getting too confident and we have to stay [on an] even keel," said Green, who recorded two points. "This team gets a little too high at times and until we can figure out how to play an even keel game for 60 minutes this is going to happen to us."

Here are some other notes, quotes and observations from Friday's game:

* The third line trio of Jason Chimera, Boyd Gordon and Eric Fehr had a particularly strong game and managed to work their way on to the scoresheet with a round of pluses when they were on the ice for Carlson's eventual game-winner.

Early on they were especially noticeable as they gained a territorial advantage against Boston's top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton. The Capitals' line managed to create pressure down low and appeared to be getting under the Bruins' skin at times as they matched physical play and jockeyed with their foes at any opportunity.

"They came to play and you can see signs of some guys -- like Eric playing better on Wednesday and I thought he played real good tonight -- breaking out of slumps and things," Boudreau said.

They also all contributed to Carlson's tally, which gave the Capitals a 4-3 lead. Gordon won a faceoff to the right of the Bruins' net, Fehr chipped the puck back to Carlson and Chimera created traffic in front of Tuukka Rask, who might not have seen the shot.

* Tyler Sloan recorded his fourth NHL goal almost a year to the day to his most recent marker a season ago. After missing two games with a hip-flexor injury, Sloan couldn't have asked for a much better return to the ice.

"I felt really good tonight actually my leg, hip had no problems," said Sloan, who also earned praise from Boudreau. "I had a meeting with Bruce and he said just play, play with confidence. And he mentioned shooting the puck, shooting it hard, through traffic and getting it on net so I tried to do that.

"Flash had a great faceoff, the puck came right back to my stick," Sloan said about his goal. "I just took a half wind up, put my head down and buried it. I just wanted to make sure it got through."

--Boudreau said he pulled Michal Neuvirth because he thought the 22-year-old goaltender "didn't look very good on goals two and three."

On the bench, Braden Holtby was quite surprised to find out he was going in the game.

"I was pretty shocked when Bruce told me," Holtby said, "but it was kind of cool to go into a tight game. Definitely got the heart pumping, but I'm glad Johnny could pull out a big shot for us to get the win."

By Katie Carrera  | November 6, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Boston Bruins, Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Mike Green  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Capitals vs. Bruins
Next: Marcus Johansson: 'It's boring' sitting out

Comments

Obviously, coughing up three third-period goals is not good. On the other hand, there was a great deal to like tonight. Mike Green is just making forecheckers look silly, and his goal was a thing of beauty. Semin played one of his best games as a Cap. And could Boyd Gordon be developing into a legit third-line center? He's been playing extremely well recently.

Good to see BB go back to the usual lines after things started to break down.

Posted by: Kirg | November 6, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I liked period one except for the ineffective 5 on 3. The second I loved. The Caps bought into a defensive system that will work well in the playoffs. I hated the third: stretch passes and OV floating again. At what point does the coach punish his captain for not playing his system? Or did BB give OV and Backis the green light to try run and gun again? One way or another BB needs to improve his coaching. I hope Holtby starts the next game because Neuvy looked devastated on the bench. The kid takes loses too much to heart. And the third goal was on Alzner. He should cover the pass or take the puck away from the shooter. But love tapping the shooter and not in position to stop a pass leaves a goalie hanging. Hopefully, BB can give Neuvy a pep talk and the Caps can learn from how well periods 1+2 went versus P3 when the B's lived in Cap's zone for the most part.

I also like having Gordon and Bradley in the line up. They are good on the forecheck/cycle and play responsibly in their own zone. Having Green back to move the puck up ice is also a nice plus.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | November 6, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

@Csanton1

Did you notice how much traffic was in front of Thomas on Carlson's goal. Since Carlson put it on net, and Thomas had no puck to see, it went in. Just like we should have done to Halak in Round 1.

Green's shots weren't on net in the playoffs !

We had no traffic in front of the "soon to be Hall of Famer" Halak !

Ovi has got to start playing team defense or BiggameSid's predictions will come true.

Cstanton1 your game misconduct is over.

Chimera and Fehr are worthless.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS1: I just don't buy you blaming Ovi in any way shape or form. He was not in the box for either PP goal against. He was not on the ice trying to kill either of the penalties. On the tying goal he was going down the slot when Semin fell and two Caps collided at the blue line leading to the 2 on 1. Neuvirth played pass the entire sequence making Thorton look like a 50 goal scorer. I just don't see how you can throw Ovi under the bus for the 3rd period collapse. I was at the game and Ovi's pass to Green in the 2nd was unbelievable. I could see Green entering the zone on the weak side but for Ovi to see him in the mass of bodies surrounding him his unbelievable.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 6, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Hunter: Chimera and Fehr shut down the Bruins top line at even strength. Hardly worthless. Besides having team mates at the blue line lead to a 2 on 1 Ovi wasn't on the ice for a goal against. Some of you just love to trash Ovechkin for some crazy reason. Your blog name sake, now that was a bonehead that took penalties for selfish reasons at the EXACT wrong time. He was a glorified goon.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 6, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Just read the posts about Laich and DJ King. Wow, Brooks is a great guy, but he had a horrific series against the Habs.

To those who think we don't need Erskine, Hendricks and King in the line up against the Flyers, what hockey have you been watching the past ten years? Reston Raider Midgets?

How many years did Bradley lose from his career because GMGM persued this lame idea of "team toughness". DJK will make sure that nothing cheap is thrown at Ovi, Backy, Green, etc. The man is feared. The entire NHL could not stop talking about the Boogaard beating last year.

This is not a hockey town. So, there are fans here who don't understand how the NHL game is played. (That's why GMGM has been able to pull off this fraud this long, including the "team toughness" dream)

Geez, you nutballs. Carcillo needs to see DJK over there on the bench. Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Hunter: The kind of team you and your buddy cstanton1 want is the type the Capitals organization had for years. It was Captained by your goon and they won ZERO Cups. I'm not saying Hunter didn't work his butt off, because he did, but to pretend that he was some kind of phenomenal hockey player is rediculous. Last year some of you complained we needed some grit so they brought in King and Hendricks. Nobody that wants to dislike GMGM wants to throw Hendricks in the off-season addition pile because it is easier to keep adding to the GMGM hate by saying King is the only new acquisition. The Caps had Belanger and his 1.8 mil walk, promptly invited Hendricks to training camp in that slot, and signed him after a strong camp.

Please don't come with the Belanger is scoring in Phoenix because he hasn't gotten a point in the last 3 games and is sinking in team stat standings. I saw him live in Phoenix last week against TB and he stunk. I realize he gave up some chicklets during the playoffs last year, and I appreciate the effort, but Laing trashed his jam blocking a shot in the regular season and he's not back either.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 6, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

After last year, I personally am not putting too much weight into the regular season and the standings...just get in and win in playoffs..

That being said, Sunday is a game that needs to have Game 7 intensity. Go Caps!

Posted by: SA-Town | November 6, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

No reason to be negative about anything the Caps did last night. They won. period the end. BTw, Semin has been the best two way player all year for the Caps. He looks better than OVi in every game I have watched. Be fair at least. I blast Fehr but he really is playing better since being benched. And Chimera is one of the hardest working Caps. Give it a rest guys. Some people out there would have us trade Semin and Green for a third round draft pick. Lets stop talking about last year's playoff failure and move on. the subject is getting stale.

Posted by: pkme | November 6, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1: Criticising Dale Hunter like that to some of us is like walking into Congress and saying smack about George Washington :).

Yes, when Boyd Gordon was drafted out of the WHL in 2002, the line even at the time was defensive minded. If you go back and ask what we expected (I recall McPhee quotes), 3rd line center would be it. It's been 8 years, but if his health holds up, it's possible. Some players, like Knuble, it takes longer. Fehr is another, expectation was #1RW coming out of draft and when he scored 50+ two straight years in WHL.

At least starting with Carolina our third and fourth lines have been cycling (some). I always loved it when the lunch pail Caps would tire out other team #1 line with cycling, just like some teams try to do with Ovi line now.

Nothing but good things to say about Semin, but to possibly contradict written above, I've seen Laich, Backie and Flash also do the give-n-go.

Finally, hate to beat the dead horse, but I will, we MUST HAVE a shutdown, veteran defenseman to throw out there when the boys get nervous. I've posted before, but every Cup winner back to the 50s has been anchored on the blue line by a HoF defenseman. Maybe exception Carolina (Wesley?) and Tampa (Boyle?) and 09 Pens (Gonchar?). You could argue that maybe Green will be HoF, too soon to tell, but he certainly isn't, at this point in his career, comparable overall to Potvin, Robinson, Lidstrom, Stevens, Niedermeyer or even Foote when it comes to shutdown. Except for Poti, a mid-second pair talent, every D man on the team is a "kid." And our goalies are kids.

Caps are very good team but spend way more on avg per player salary on O than D and it shows. Go check most teams on capgeek - d-men, because there are only six, avg more than the 12 forwards. Caps are exception.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@fanhock

If Chimy is the fastest guy in the NHL why don't we ever see him invading the other team's slot with the puck on his stick, ready to slam dunk home a goal. You folks make him sound like he's got the speed of Mike Bossy. (He just doesn't have the guts Bossy did in front of the net. I had to watch Bossy slam dunck home pucks on us at Cap Center for years. It started with his speed, but he finished. And, often had the guts to get his own rebound IN TRAFFIC.)

Fehr. When you're that big, you've got to make life tough on the other team's goalie and require that they put their best defensemen out there to contain you. Other teams D-men should be seen attempting to push you out of the slot. Fehr plays like he's Hunter's size. In fact he plays smaller than Dino. Does Fehr ever put in any "Dino-like" ugly rebounds, or is he always out of harms way?

Dale had more hockey guts than your two ice princesses have combined. No cUp with Chimy and Fehr playing major roles on this team !!

I'm sure you're going to tell me the NHL has changed, and I'm too old. Not old enough to forget all the cUp winners pounding our team on the way to the cUp. The old guys saw how those teams were constructed. That's why GMGM's Chimy and
Fehr choices drive us nuts. They're not cUp carriers. They're wimps. They lost to a Habs team that was weak and small. (Pens lost 2 great D-men, or they beat the Habs in 6 last year.)

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I still have question marks about BB. lately he seems to be getting more creative with line changes and mixing things up a little bit. Defensively this team is much better. Do not give me the three goals in the third period. Bruins are the best defense in the NHL currently and they gave up five last night.

Posted by: pkme | November 6, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

How many years did Bradley lose from his career because GMGM persued this lame idea of "team toughness". DJK will make sure that nothing cheap is thrown at Ovi, Backy, Green, etc. The man is feared. The entire NHL could not stop talking about the Boogaard beating last year.

This is not a hockey town. So, there are fans here who don't understand how the NHL game is played. (That's why GMGM has been able to pull off this fraud this long, including the "team toughness" dream)

Geez, you nutballs. Carcillo needs to see DJK over there on the bench. Wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------------------

I disagree quite a bit with your post. Did you catch the Flyers and Rangers the other night? Derek Boogaard and Jody Shelley had a pre-arranged playdate fight and then later in the game when the Rangers were getting whooped Boogaard just ended up taking stupid penalties when nobody would fight him. Carcillo still ran Fedotenko with a cheap hit and it was Prust who ended up fighting him to settle the score, not Boogaard. I'm all for having a tough guy on the team, but he has to be able to play or it's a waste of space. From what I've seen of DJK, he can't play, so it will end up being Hendricks, Bradley and Erskine sticking up for the rest of the guys. Having a guy like Boogaard or DJK is useless if they only end up fighting each other in meaningless situations.

Posted by: cainoo7x | November 6, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

No reason to be negative about anything the Caps did last night. They won. period the end.
----------------

If that's the attitude then you haven't learned a thing from what happened last year. If they closed out the third period like they played in the first two then I would agree but they did NOT which is too typical about this team.

Till they learn to play 60 minutes of hockey consistently, there's plenty of things to be negative about.

Posted by: joek443 | November 6, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Here's an example, since we could play these guys deep in Playoffs:

http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=5

$18.5M for 7 defensemen. I realize they have cap problems. But, out of our 7 d-men, JOHN ERSKINE is midpoint in salary (three higher, three lower, depending if Alzner gets bonuses). OK, so Carlson and Alzner are cheap due to rookie contracts, but that's part of the issue.

A team can be cheap (under $1M salary) with 3rd and 4th line and back-up goalie. Maybe the 7th defenseman a cheap vet and maybe one rookie.

So, beating that dead horse, but at least I put some facts and numbers.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@fanhock

Did you watch the finals last year ? Do the Caps ever play with that kind of passion. This team is short on guts. Our D-men don't scare anybody. I want a team that scores alot of goals, AND PLAYS TEAM DEFENSE LIKE THE WINGS AND HAWKS DID LAST YEAR. This requires toughness that this group does not have. The old Caps teams did not have any scoring because our owner was too cheap.

Ovi floats around too much.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I meant, A TEAM THAT PLAYS TEAM DEFENSE LIKE THE HAWKS AND FLYERS DID IN THE FINALS.

SORRY!

Cstanton are you alive out there ?????????????

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Joe

I know what you mean. But very few hockey teams ever play 60 minute hockey. There are ebss and flow in all sports. My only point is that the Caps have looked decent in their last three games. Things seem to be getting better.

Posted by: pkme | November 6, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@cainoox7

I don't know the details of the Rangers game. I do know that DJ King can play hockey, as most of my family are Blackhawks fans who live in Chicago. He is not a waist like Brash was. King has not looked good as a Cap, and I don't know why. Honestly, he looked out of shape during his fight with Orr. (BB not kicking guys butts to stay in shape ? Or is King doing a Haynesworth ?)

I remember many years ago when Sutton threw two cheap, high elbows in one shift at Mike Green at the phone booth near game's end. Three of Sutton's teammates got their rears kicked in before the game was over. Brash seriously bloodied one of their defensemen at center ice. What was said to Sutton in that locker room ?????????????

DJK is a Brash who can skate and play defense. Will BB play him enough ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@cainoox7

I don't know the details of the Rangers game. I do know that DJ King can play hockey, as most of my family are Blackhawks fans who live in Chicago. He is not a waist like Brash was. King has not looked good as a Cap, and I don't know why. Honestly, he looked out of shape during his fight with Orr. (BB not kicking guys butts to stay in shape ? Or is King doing a Haynesworth ?)

I remember many years ago when Sutton threw two cheap, high elbows in one shift at Mike Green at the phone booth near game's end. Three of Sutton's teammates got their rears kicked in before the game was over. Brash seriously bloodied one of their defensemen at center ice. What was said to Sutton in that locker room ?????????????

DJK is a Brash who can skate and play defense. Will BB play him enough ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 6, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hunter: I blame the coach for Ovi floating. BB should take out a bullhorn and tell them to circle the wagons and play D.

Don't know if you are old enough to remember Dean Smith, for many years head coach at North Carolina. The reason college basketball has 45-second clock is because it was done to counteract Dean Smith strategy. He always had some great players (Jordan) but you never knew how great they were because the system came first. Tarheels would get the lead any time in the last 12 minutes and (as Terps fan) you would hate Smith like the devil because there he is, standing up and putting up FOUR fingers. Yes, FOUR fingers, and that meant the four-corners on offense. One little guy running around like mad and the other four players in the corners of the offensive half of the court. The Heels would do that for the last 12 minutes or whatever of the game and they were almost unstoppable. Either the little guy would break free for a lay-up or else eventually the other team would foul.

Did I mention that Smith's teams always led the ACC in free-throw percentage?

Smith had great athletes but they won, constantly, due to discipline. They played the way the coach told them and they made their free-throws. I knew Micheal Jordan was very good in college but had no clue he was so great until becoming a pro. Smith took some criticism for "holding back" the great ones, but you can't deny the team won.

Until BB gets some Dean Smith in him and orders a certain style after getting ahead, the Caps will struggle with the lead. Actually last night, the style they played first two periods to get ahead was that style needed to clamp down. We needed to keep cycling and frustrating Boston, but we let them escape out of the bottle.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Also, King was awful the other night against Toronto. He needs to play at least SOME defensively in his own zone. Caps were essentially shorthanded every time he was out there. He done OK on the forecheck but his defensive zone play has not been there. Cstanton always talked about King throwing body around in O zone but don't recall what were expectations defensively. If it were me choosing, Boyd Gordon plays before King.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@tom - I think you make a very good point, I've felt for awhile that the Caps overpay for players who are ave-ah-rage.

As for DJK, while I'm not totally convinced he can actually play, he adds value to the team regardless - how many times last year did we see other teams run Ovie [and especially Semin] with cheap shots / dirty hits? They seem to have gone way down this year, to these eyes - and I don't think it's any coincidence that Semin has been playing terrific, two-way hockey almost every game.

As the late, great cstanton1 reminded me, once Chris Simon [and especially Adam Deadmarsh] left CO, Peter Forberg's injury rate increased dramatically - and I don't believe it was a coincidence. As with Bradley's career potentially being shortened by having to face legit heavyweights, I've long felt Pierre LaCroix committed professional malpractice by not bringing in someone to replace them.

Pro hockey "in the NHL, the highest level, is a ferocious game. If you're not actually on the ice, you can forget that." Jim Schonfeld, doing commentary for a 2001 Avs-Pens matchup, marveling at Forsberg's unique combo of sheer power and tremendous skill - and seemingly questioning how long he'd be able to keep dishing out and absorbing the type of physical punishment he was witnessing without a bodyguard anywhere in the vicinity. [Gretzky always had a phalanx of 'em].

Posted by: govtimbo | November 6, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I agree with you that the Caps should get a veteran, defensive defenseman at some point this year. It doesn't have to be now. If anything, not having that defenseman now allows Carlson and Alzner to be put in more pressure situations, which is good for learning. I'd say around January or February the Caps will pick one up.

Kevin Bieksa is likely to be traded once Sami Salo gets healhty and off the injured list. The Canucks will have salary cap problems so he is still a possibility.

I also agree that the Caps have overpaid for average guys(i.e. Steckel, Sloan, Erskine, and Bradley and BGordon are probably overpaid too). That isn't to say they aren't good players to have on the Caps, just that they are all being paid slightly over the market rate.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 6, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

So Crysby was mouthing off again last night...he is one whiny dude. That team is struggling, but if they get healthy for the playoffs they will be pretty formidable. If they continue to have injury issues they are gonna struggle b/c they are right up on the cap.

The Caps are slowly getting better. As long as they move in the right direction then I will be happy. I don't want them to peak yet...I mean they responded really well in this Boston game. BB adjusted the lines, had them forchecking and backchecking, yeah they had a ten minute brain fart, but overall that was a superb reaction to two previous losses. They also chased Tim Tom from the net which is not an easy task for ANY team.

Posted by: capscoach | November 6, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

sgm: There are five teams only making the cap due to LTIR. Detroit is so close they can't call anyone up if short-term injury. Hawks also close and Pens. That means #1 some trades will occur and #2 teams that are too close can't add anyone on. Caps have 3.2 of space if you discount Fahey. The season is already almost 20% used up (another week or two) which means we are already up to taking back almost $4M and by first week of January (halfway point) we can take on 6.4 (plus half of anything we give back).

I am wondering if Phaneuf will last in Toronto after he recovers. He has been taking some abuse there and has salary I think 6.5. Leafs have cap issues. Kaberle not bad as it would give you Green, Kaberle and Carlson three RHD with similar style. Anyway, Jan 1 good time to swing a deal since cap hit is half rest of season and gives new player time to fit in.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

NHL.com's top stories from yesterday -

*"Can't miss: Sid, Getzlaf mix it up after hit" - (Cindy gave Getzlaf a half-hearted push while skating away to the safety of the bench, then mouthed off from the bench while standing behind a teammate - see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0zLrbwwMPg ).
*"Ducks survive Crosby's pair in 3-2 victory"
[Save of the Year?: Khabibulin's fingertip stop]
* "Caps blow 3-0 lead, but still beat Bruins 5-3"

The Pens record is now 6-7-1. The Ducks beat an average Pens team (the Ducks "survive") and that is given more prominence than the 9-4 Caps beating what has been the league's best team (they "blow a lead)." The choice of words emphasizes the Pens' "gutty" comeback and the Caps weakness in holding a lead. I guess that passes for objective reporting these days.

The NHL's constant forcing of the superstar treatment for Crosby (and the resulting publicity for the Pens) increases the disrespect that so many fans have for him. I guess the disrespect should more appropriately be directed at the NHL.

Posted by: zmega | November 6, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@ Hunter..I knew Dale Hunter and you sir are no Dale Hunter...you said you like the traffice in front of the goalie on Carlson's goal and then said Chimera & Fehr sucked, who do you think were the two forwards on the ice ...look at the replay

Posted by: boomer44 | November 6, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@Tom...I know we could use a top defensive dman, but I don't know of anyone out there this summer at the right price, I belive the plan is to give Carlzner lots of ice time and add someone at the deadline for d depth...if we spent the amount of $$$ Volchenkov received we couldn't have kept this roster together...even with thwe playoff collapse last year, this team was #1 in the regular season, and they will be athe top again this year...I believe we need betteroverall teaqm defense and the team and the goaltending has improved...they are making progress & we have alot of games left this season to perfect the overall balance between O & D. Remember that we will need Cap sapce the next couple of years to resign Alzner, Carlson, & Varly?
And what is on the menu for Sundays titlt v Flyers?

Posted by: boomer44 | November 6, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@tom - Kaberle shoots left but you make good points nevertheless, and I agree Phaneuf's at times questionable decision-making will increasingly open him up to abuse from the TO fans, who are both knowledgeable and critical of their d-men.

@sgm - you're starting to convince me about Alzner, he really has played very well and he and Carlson seem to complement each other's skill-sets quite well. As young as our D and goalies are, the Caps really have been playing some dang good D, thus far.

Posted by: govtimbo | November 6, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

boomer: I've got steaks in the refrigerator but they might not make it till tomorrow. It's a 2 pm start for me so I'm not sure yet.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 6, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I don't think the Caps will go after a defenseman who has a big contract that extends longer than this year.

The ramifications of getting Phaneuf would be the cap hit in future seasons. Then when Mike Green hits free agency he will say "look, you have to pay me more than Phaneuf, I am our best defenseman"(or something like that). In addition, a $6.5M cap hit next year for a defenseman could be pretty limiting.

But waiting until January or February will allow the Caps to pretty much acquire any pending UFA defenseman. And, as you noted, the competition to acquire these guys is greatly reduced because of the salary cap situation of most of the SC contenders.

It will be interesting. But I am all for playing most of the young guys now and putting them in pressure situations(Carlson and Alzner and Flash in important situations as a center).

I would also be for giving MJ some time as the 4th line center replacing Steckel. Then MJ won't have to worry about offense too much and can focus on defense and creating offensive zone time. Then offense will eventually flow from that.

Once BGordon gets injured again, then MJ can take over 3rd line centering duties.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 6, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I would also be for giving MJ some time as the 4th line center replacing Steckel.
------------

Please, yes!

Posted by: govtimbo | November 7, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

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