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Boudreau: Karl Alzner could be back soon

One day after Karl Alzner was sent down, Coach Bruce Boudreau said the young defenseman's demotion to the Bears might only be temporary.

"We're healthy with eight defensemen and we wanted that right-hand guy in there [Brian Pothier], so if [Alzner] was going to sit out a couple games, why have him sit out? He's [21] years old, let's get him playing," Boudreau said. "He was struggling a little bit. But he's still going to be a great defenseman for us. We envision him being back here in the not-so-distant future."

So Alzner's out and Brian Pothier returns from an 11-game layoff with a broken rib tonight against the banged-up Senators, who will be without first-line forwards Jason Spezza (right knee) and Daniel Alfredsson (separated shoulder).

As I've mentioned before, Boudreau doesn't show his lines and pairings on gameday mornings. But I think it's safe to assume that Pothier will simply replace Alzner and skate alongside John Erskine on the third 'D' pairing. (That means the other tandems will be Shaone Morrisonn-Mike Green and Jeff Schultz-Tom Poti).

Based on the morning skate, the forward lines also did not appear to change much. Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble will likely be the top line, leaving Alexander Semin on the second line with Brooks Laich and Tomas Fleischmann, who'll be back at center after a one-goal, two-assist debut in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Montreal.

"All three worked," Boudreau said of Fleischmann's line. "I so want them to be consistently good. Because if they're going to be consistently good -- you know that Nicky and Alex aren't going to get shut out for too many games in a row -- so now, all of a sudden, you've got two lines working, which makes it so much hard to check these guys."

The fourth line appears to be the only combination that's going to change. Quintin Laing is going to be a "healthy" scratch, even through Boudreau said the gritty winger is nursing some bumps and bruises related to "the way he plays." (Laing told me he could have suited up).

That means Boyd Gordon will be back in the lineup and will play with David Steckel and Matt Bradley.

"Boyd Gordon played really good the last game he played in Los Angeles," Boudreau said. "He's a mainstay on our team and ... we need to keep him active."

In goal, Jose Theodore will make his second start in eight games. And for the second straight day, Boudreau did not mince his words when discussing the game's importance for the veteran netminder.

"He had a really good practice yesterday," Boudreau said. "I have a [regularly-scheduled player-coach] meeting with him tomorrow. I don't even need to talk to him. He knows the importance of him playing well. We have two young kids really knocking on the door in the NHL. He knows he needs to step up on a consistent basis. There are nights where he's unbelievable, as a veteran should be. Then there's nights where you sit there and you go, 'He just doesn't have the right stuff.' Or something happens like a soft goal goes in. We think he's a great team guy and we want him to step up and be great all the time like he was earlier in the year."

Some other notes and quotes from this morning:

*Ovechkin skated only briefly this morning but is healthy, according to Boudreau, who added: "Sometimes he likes to watch video."

*Tyler Sloan will join Laing as a healthy scratch.

*The Caps are 6-1-2 in their last nine games against Ottawa.

*The Caps have gone four games in a row without scoring a goal in the first period but still lead the league with 49 first period markers.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 7, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
 | Tags: Boyd Gordon, Brian Pothier, Jose Theodore, Karl Alzner, Ottawa Senators, Quintin Laing, Tomas Fleischmann  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Senators at Caps

Comments

I don't understand BB's love for Boyd Gordon. Did he really play that well in Los Angeles? Mainstay on the team? Huh? I don't get it.

Posted by: IceNutz | January 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Alzner stay up here, but I can understand why he was sent down. Hopefully he'll be back up soon.

6-2 Caps win tonight. You heard it here first.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Primus!

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 7, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't like Laing being benched.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

last game was nice...but to break this cold streak, we need to punish the shorthanded Sen's...

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Boyd Gordon played really good the last game he played in Los Angeles," Boudreau said. "He's a mainstay on our team and ... we need to keep him active."

Uhhhh.......usually I agree with most of what the Coach says, but I think he may have been drinking this morning...Wow

What are the Caps, something like 2-8 with him in the lineup...

Posted by: opus1m | January 7, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

OOPS! Tertius

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

it's going to take a while for Gordon to play his way back into form, but he is a premium guy on the PK unit and if you look at the NHL rankings that is the one area where this team has continued to struggle a bit.

if the Caps can be merely solid on the PK that is going to be a big plus going into the postseason.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems more likely that Potheir would end up with Poti, but who knows.

Posted by: EricS2 | January 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@IceNutz: Gordon is their second best face-off guy, somthing like 57% last year, after Steckel. They just signed Steckel to an extension based almost solely on his face-off ability. So, they clearly value face-off ability. On a happier note, Flash was 6 of 9 in his first game as a center.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 7, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Pothier and Poti are both puck moving defensemen so they won't be a pairing. 2 and 4 have been paired up on many occasions.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Gordon is their second best face-off guy, somthing like 57% last year, after Steckel. They just signed Steckel to an extension based almost solely on his face-off ability. So, they clearly value face-off ability. On a happier note, Flash was 6 of 9 in his first game as a center.


I think we all agree Steckel brings more to the game than just faceoffs

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 7, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The PK has been a problem area throughout Boyd Gordon's tenure with the club. If the stats were markedly better when he's in the lineup I'd cut him some slack, but I just haven't seen where he makes much of a difference.

Posted by: chombie13 | January 7, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Gordo is also huge on the PK.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Face offs can be very important...especially with our high caliber shooters! I love it when we win a draw cleanly, pass it off shoot and score! It is a thing of beauty!

Posted by: capscoach | January 7, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

With face-offs being as important as they are it seems strange that in critical points of the game when we are on the PP that Steckel isn't used to win draws and then provide a screen. BMo and Backs lose a lot of offensive draws right at the start of the PP. Probably because the team we are playing is using their Stecks to win the important D-zone draw.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 7, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

To add to that. I could see using Stecks on the draw and replace someone other than Backs on the PP. Backs HAS to be on the PP regardless of his face-off ability. Hate to say it because I thought Knuble would be more of a factor but Stecks would probably replace the likes of Knubs or Laich on the PP. Again, his orders would be, win the draw, and plant your lanky body between the goaltender and the shooter.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 7, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Draws matter even more in the defensive end, like the ones that happen to start the PK, since the key to a successful PK is to get the puck. If the shorthanded team wins the draw and clears, it's much easier on the PK'ers than if the PP team wins and they have to get the puck to clear it. If you as a PK'er can make the other team skate 200 feet, you tire them out, not you, and you can get a line change to keep your shifts short, conserving your energy for later in the game. So, having Gordo and Steckel on the same line, whether for D-zone draws or a PK, helps quite a bit because if Stecks gets tossed out, Gordo comes in.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Boyd Gordon is a better and more valuable player than Laing. I like Laing but the poor guy just doesn't have much skill or size. We already have a smallish, scrappy winger in Bradley who can also knock in 10+ goals from the fourth line. The other wing on the fourth should be a bigger, tougher player (no thugs though, please).

Glad to have Pothier back. Can we get rid of Poti now? Please?

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Stop pairing Alzner on the third line with Ernskine. Move him up to the same line as Poti and see how he does.

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 7, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

having Gordo and Steckel on the same line, whether for D-zone draws or a PK, helps quite a bit because if Stecks gets tossed out, Gordo comes in.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 7, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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

I hardly ever see Steckel sent out. The man is a wizard.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Erskine, but he is our biggest strongest d-man. Who do you suggest move and check a power forward parked front of the net come playoff time?

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Barring injuries, Erskine will be a healthy scratch in the playoffs... either they will get a d-man via trade or he'll be replaced by either Carlson or Alzner

Posted by: joek443 | January 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I think Alzner with Pothier is a good pairing to go along with the other two.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Barring injuries, Erskine will be a healthy scratch in the playoffs... either they will get a d-man via trade or he'll be replaced by either Carlson or Alzner

Posted by: joek443 | January 7,2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What caliber D-Man are we talking about? Is this a guy that would serve on one of the top 2 lines or someone on par with Poti and Morrison?

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that it's easier for a team to score 4-on-3 than 5-on-3 because the puck-possessor has fewer options,thereby stopping the cute passing from man to man and instead,find the open guy. Just curious,is there a way to find out from the NHL what percentage of goals are scored in each situation? In 3 straight games we had 5-on-3's,passed the puck around like it was a "hot potato",and came up empty,thus causing us a win/tie game in LA.

Posted by: roccky | January 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Let me reword that, would it be someone that would essentially be guaranteed to start on the top 2 lines and would only be bumped down to the second line because they're a righty?

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 7, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

{Apologies for a comment I tried to send yesterday but could not due to WP technical difficulties.)

Tuesday was a great day/night for the Caps–OV named captain, a home win over MTL, and Carlson netting the GWG in OT to win the world jr championship for the USA–but not big enough for hockey to even crack the front page of the Washington Post sports section Wednesday. Nope, it was *fully* devoted to those two dysfunctional franchises, the Redskins and Wizards. Pathetic. Tarik does a great job but could the Post sports section *consider* hiring a *second* writer who has a clue about the sport played by DC’s only decent team/organization? (It doesn't count to have one of the usual football/baseball/basketball specialists pretend to know something when the Post grudgingly feels it has to produce a column, eg, some home playoff games.) Hint: There’s a guy named Masiak available…

Posted by: jhershb | January 7, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Erskine, but he is our biggest strongest d-man. Who do you suggest move and check a power forward parked front of the net come playoff time?

Posted by: SA-Town | January 7, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Barring injuries, Erskine will be a healthy scratch in the playoffs... either they will get a d-man via trade or he'll be replaced by either Carlson or Alzner

Posted by: joek443 | January 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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

AGREED. Erskine is by far our worst defender. Yeah he's big and tough but he's SO SLOW and so often out of position. I hope they put Alzner with someone more competent when he gets called up. I like:

Green-Schultz
Pothier-Alzner
Morrison-whoever's left

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

So a guy get's called a "mainstay" for having the second best draw % on the team and is the second center on the PK when the first guy gets thrown out. Gordo has been around awhile and the Caps PK has always stunk. I agree w/ 99% of what BB does but he's blowin' wind on this one. I'd rather have Laing, Perrault, Aucoin, Wilson, even Slapshot in the line-up than Gordo.

Posted by: meagle | January 7, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

From Eklund(grain of salt):

Souray and a pick could be headed to Washington for Theodore, Fehr, and Canadian World Junior Player/Tazmanian Devil Stefan Della Rovere plus a second and fourth round pick.

Or Theo for Kaberle - Toronto needs a goalie even a crappy one like theo

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Barring injuries, Erskine will be a healthy scratch in the playoffs... either they will get a d-man via trade or he'll be replaced by either Carlson or Alzner

Posted by: joek443 | January 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

i will beg to differ. erskine was one of our best dmen in the playoffs last year. recall his performance against avery. however, i do agree that there will be a trade in the offing before playoff time and depending upon who that is, erskine could see some pine time.

i doubt carlson will take his place. he's a nice player who will be great for us long term, but i doubt they put in a 19 year old into the playoff fire. perhaps if he gets an extended look up here he stays around, but i doubt it. then again, i didnt think they'd throw a 20yr old in the nets last year either...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

From Eklund(grain of salt)...

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 7, 2010 2:59 PM

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

More like a pound of salt. Eklund's JOB is to make stuff like this up. I don't think I've ever seen a trade rumor from him come true.

Posted by: Raber | January 7, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Souray doesn't fit within the cap next year and he surely doesn't come close to fitting the year after. I can't see GMGM recreating the Nylander situation again.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1

i think souray is a cap hit this year and next year. not after that. regardless a big a guy that plays small and is more of a power play guy

Posted by: samb99 | January 7, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

i will beg to differ. erskine was one of our best dmen in the playoffs last year. recall his performance against avery.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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

Sean Avery the offensive powerhouse?

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Liles is on the block - that would be someone that might interest us?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

eklund did get the clark/ chimera trade right

and that is way too much to give up for souray. maybe drop one of the picks and della rovere out of that trade and it is alright

Posted by: _stevo | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Eklund didn't get that right, it was all around twitter/other forums before Eklund chimed in on it.

Liles and Souray- No.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Souray is a $5.4M hit this year and then through the 2011-12 season. I think he fits the rest of this season, especially if the rumored players go to EDM. Next year, subtracting Fehr and a marginal d-man and putting Souray, we are like $2M over. The following year we are right smack dab against it, before Souray, unless Semin is gone.

I don't think he's the answer. We need a defensive defenseman.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 7, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Cap Hit: $5.4 million. 2009-10: $5.5 million. 2010-11: $4.5 million. 2011-12: $4.5 million. 2012-13: UFA.

This is the cap hit for souray. maybe if they take nylander for next year. he is ready to play in edmonton.

Posted by: samb99 | January 7, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse


Oooooo, I like the idea of shipping Theo to Toronto, if only for a draft choice (do they have any prospects?) and "future considerations." We don't need Kaberle. I know many people like to trash our D, even our goalies, but look at the stats -- Caps have 4th lowest goals allowed in Eastern Conference (1st in goals scored, by A LOT). Not bad.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | January 7, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Re HockeyBuzz. Its more like Hockey Bulls**t. Anything he says is always false unless its been reported three other places first, and then it only has a 75% chance of being false.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 7, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Gordon is a really solid player to have. He's going to need a few more games to get going but is going to be one of their top penalty killers once he does. There are some situations where you really want a guy like him on the team.

I'd like to see another defender get moved to keep space open for the young guys.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 7, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Liles is one of those classic d-men Pierre LaCroix [Avs GM] used to love to pick up, aka Derek Morris, or Bruce Driver - aka, smooth skater, looks great out there - but not very physical, and not the kind of accurate passer you'd want [and expect] from a so-called 'puck-moving' d-man.

In a word, No on Liles.

Posted by: govtimbo | January 7, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

i will beg to differ. erskine was one of our best dmen in the playoffs last year. recall his performance against avery.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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

Sean Avery the offensive powerhouse?

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

go back and watch the series. avery is a good player when under control, which is rare. he is very good at baiting players into taking penalties. it seems that erskine was his target. erskins took a punch to the chin and let avery penalize his way to the bench. it was a key to the series.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I think ShaMo will be the odd man out on the blue line when a trade is made, mabye Pothier but less likely since he's a UFA. They might trade a d man for a pick or prospect and then sign a veteran UFA for the playoffs. Then after the season they would have $$$ to sign Backs and Flash and with Pothier and Theo off the books next year they can work on a longer deal for Semin (if he doesn't go to Atlanta for Kovy, ha ha). Next season they will expect Alzner and Carlson to step up and fill the spots in the D.

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 7, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

People, if Theo is shipped, and Varly goes down with an injury, are y'all ready for Neuvirth and Holtby to be our 1/2 throughout the playoffs? I'm not.
As someone (TominFL?) pointed out, Varly is ALMOST NHL ready, Neuvirth is AHL ready, and Holtby is ALMOST AHL ready. As weird as it sounds, we need Theo (or another veteran) to be around for the playoffs.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 7, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Theo and Erskine for Marty Biron and Brendon Witt.

Posted by: numero94 | January 7, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Fro_ |

lets just say that we would rather have holtby in net rather than theo. look at how awful theo was in net in carolina. My friend has only gone to a hand full of caps games and he noticed the difference between neuvy and three or more.

Posted by: samb99 | January 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

go back and watch the series. avery is a good player when under control, which is rare. he is very good at baiting players into taking penalties. it seems that erskine was his target. erskins took a punch to the chin and let avery penalize his way to the bench. it was a key to the series.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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

Sure, but that's hardly the same thing as being able to play defense against another team's #1 or 2 line.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Ok, a little OT, but I will be switching channels tonight between the Caps and Texas.

GO CAPS & Hook 'Em Horns!

On topic, though, I am not comfortable shipping Theo anywhere until/unless Varly is totally healthy and/or there's a 3rd one who is not rookie status. Having to suddenly fly a goalie from TX, SC, or elsewhere at the last minute, or suiting up Stretch is a bit too dicey for me.

Posted by: Steakum | January 7, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@ButcherBaker

Curious, if you consider 6'3" and over 200lbs to be smallish what is your definition of large?

Posted by: seetrice | January 7, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

From Eklund(grain of salt):

Souray and a pick could be headed to Washington for Theodore, Fehr, and Canadian World Junior Player/Tazmanian Devil Stefan Della Rovere plus a second and fourth round pick.

Or Theo for Kaberle - Toronto needs a goalie even a crappy one like theo

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

hmm, a 33/34 year old dman with a big cap number for two more years after this one? doesnt sound like someone the caps would deal for. certainly not give up della rovere plus two more picks...dont think so. besides, i think they'd be more likely to move one of their dmen than fehr.

i think the deal the caps are likely to make is to trade one of our dmen (shamo) plus a pick or mid level prospect for a soon to be UFA dman. let some bottom feeding team get a return on a ufa that they would otherwise get nothing for...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

What about this: Theodore back to Montreal for Halak or Price.

Gainey has had dealings with McPhee in the past (see: Huet, C.). Both Price and Halak are UFAs this summer, but it's doubtful Gainey will be able to (want to?) keep both guys. It's been mentioned through several media sources that Halak recently asked for a trade because he wants more playing time (Philly apparently turned it down), and Price has been put through the wringer by the press in Montreal. If such a trade were to occur, Gainey might be able to save a little face by bringing Theo back to Montreal, a Quebecois goaltender who won the Hart and Vezina while wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge.

So, who do you want for Theo?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

go back and watch the series. avery is a good player when under control, which is rare. he is very good at baiting players into taking penalties. it seems that erskine was his target. erskins took a punch to the chin and let avery penalize his way to the bench. it was a key to the series.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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

Sure, but that's hardly the same thing as being able to play defense against another team's #1 or 2 line.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

i'm pretty sure avery was on one of the top two rangers lines last year. but the point is, erskine was valuable in the playoffs last year and having someone like him who can actually move a body or two would be valuable in the post season. perhaps if he were out there more against crosby in the second round, we'd have had more success.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Price is probably the better goalie at this point, but I would want Halak hands down.

I'm sure you know this, but it would take more than just Theo for either of them.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@seetrice -- Check out the roster:

http://capitals.nhl.com/club/roster.htm

Pretty much every forward is 6'1-6'3 and Laing is the lightest weight of all of them except B.Mo and Flash (who has put on some muscle this year).

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@ all the Erskine defenders:

The numbers support what my eyes tell me:
http://www.japersrink.com/2009/12/15/1200785/a-look-at-the-capitals-blueline

Erskine is a bad hockey player.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

per Fro_ "People, if Theo is shipped, and Varly goes down with an injury, are y'all ready for Neuvirth and Holtby to be our 1/2 throughout the playoffs? I'm not.
As someone (TominFL?) pointed out, Varly is ALMOST NHL ready, Neuvirth is AHL ready, and Holtby is ALMOST AHL ready. As weird as it sounds, we need Theo (or another veteran) to be around for the playoffs."

Couldn't agree more. People get all giddy because they read Holtby is on a tear and don't recognize that there are a whole bunch of career ahl players in front of him every game helping with those wins. Enjoy the fact we have a good problem of being flush with talented goalies. Holtby needs to be exposed to NHL pressure before everyone starts trading Theo away. His time will come. headed for metro to VC. enjoy the game everyone.

Posted by: rockdaredlangely | January 7, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Price is probably the better goalie at this point, but I would want Halak hands down.

I'm sure you know this, but it would take more than just Theo for either of them.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 7, 2010 4:49 PM

Yeah, I'm on board with Halak over Price. Halak's agent was on XM earlier this week. When asked where things stood regarding a new contract, the agent said Gainey hadn't approached their camp as of yet. However, that doesn't mean much as Gainey has stated, in deed and word, that he doesn't like to do deals during the season. That practice may lead to the Habs losing Tomas Plekanec, a pt/gm player this year who's a UFA this summer. Maybe he ends up as part of a trade day deal as well?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Numero94

Isles don't need another goalie with Ricky de Pietro coming back

Posted by: jeets | January 7, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

@ all the Erskine defenders:

The numbers support what my eyes tell me:
http://www.japersrink.com/2009/12/15/1200785/a-look-at-the-capitals-blueline

Erskine is a bad hockey player.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

you mean the one that said erskine has the lowest goals against per 60 minutes of all dmen? isnt that the object of the game?

the guy is probably not going to win the norris this year. but the original point on erskine is that he will sit during the playoffs. i would think anyone would agree that he played well for us in the playoffs last year and should get a sweater for this spring, barring injury to him or some significant dman trade. as we know, someone's performance during the regular season can sometimes have no bearing on playoff performance. see green, mike.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 7, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Fro_

Actually I think I said that Neuvy was almost NHL ready and Holtby seemed AHL ready enough not to send back to the Stingrays. Varly is definitely NHL ready except for the injury problem.

Opening next year with Varly/Neuvy in DC and Holtby with Bears is not much risk because you can always get a cheap veteran for the stretch if someone gets hurt.

It's just weird to have three goalies in your system, all the same age. Eventually you will have contract and playing time issues.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 7, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I would have Erskine currently be the 7th D man. With Green/Morrisson, Schultz/Poti, and Alzner/Pothier.

In each pairing you have one guy who is a little more physical and another who has a little more speed.

While I agree that Erskine is the most physical of all our D-men, his lack of speed is too d*mning when playing against the high-end teams we will face in the playoffs.

I would not want Erskine on the ice when Crosby or Malkin are on.

Either way, the Caps need to add a top 4 d-man by the trade deadline.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 7, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why we keep talking about trading Theo. Someone posted a list the other day of 7 or 8 other back up goalies who were currently available and they were all younger and cheaper than Theo. Why would anyone want to trade for him?

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 7, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth...Nylander tied for 2nd on Grand Rapids in assists with 14 in 16 games. The guy he's tied with has played in 31 games.
As far as Erskine: some nights the guy really plays well. At least he's willing to lay a knock on somebody when it's needed.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 7, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

no way they trade della rovere. he is the pest/wrecking ball that this team is looking for on the 3rd/4th line.

Posted by: brian58 | January 7, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan -- yes Erskine is okay 5-on-5 (partly because he plays against weak competition), but the numbers show he's worthless on the PK and gives up the puck a ton (and then can't catch up to the guy he turned it over to). I also think he's the completely wrong guy to pair with Alzner. I'd like to see Pothier-Alzner.

Anyways, I like Erskine as the 7th D. He is useful in some games and situations. I like him better than Poti at least :D.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 7, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why we keep talking about trading Theo. Someone posted a list the other day of 7 or 8 other back up goalies who were currently available and they were all younger and cheaper than Theo. Why would anyone want to trade for him?

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 7, 2010 5:31 PM

Theo would be a mere throw-in in a potential trade, not the principal. Any trade would likely include players who have yet to blossom/prospects/draft picks. So, another team who may have a small need for a goalie, but is actually trying to fill other roster spots/re-stock through the draft might be be willing to take Theo back to get those other pieces. Since his cap hit for the remainder of the year will be relatively small by March 3rd, and he's an UFA, it could be worth it to take him off the Caps hands if the pot was sufficiently sweetened.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Was skiing for a few days so just caught up with all the hockey happenings last night and today. Briefly...

1. The WJC final was incredibly fun to watch. Played at warp 9 speed all the way, back and forth, insanely dramatic finish. WJC always has a few games that are absolutely delicious. The US team deserved to win. Great combination of team play and excellent individual players. Unbelievable speed. Happy for our boy, Carlson.

2. Glad to see that the Caps awarded the C to the right guy. I've already written before why Ovie is the one who should be captain, but if anyone doubts this decision the standing ovation by the players when it was announced is proof that it was the right choice. Ovie is extremely well liked and respected by everyone in the locker room. The only thing is that he should really take some English lessons now that he's officially been named captain. His English has stalled at the broken / charmingly funny stage for a few years now.

3. Great game by the Caps vs. Montreal. Quite a debut for Flash at center. Neuvy was good again when he had to be and Semin was a monster. Thank god his shot on the 2nd goal didn't hit anyone. What a bomb!

4. Theodore gets his chance tonight. He's obviously been upset about the lack of playing time, but you gotta prove that you deserve it when you the chance, not only because you're a vet and make a boatload of cash. Last time he played he turned in a real stinker. It's up to him and no one else tonight to earn more PT.

Posted by: ranndino | January 7, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

am somewhat disappointed AO semi-stood up for Gilbert Arenas today. I am so sick of excuses being made for people who do dumb crap.. GA knew what he was doing and according to the new info that is coming out things are going to get more serious. AO doesn't have to bash Arenas if he is a fan, but making excuses for dumb behavior as a captain of a team bothers me. The captain is part of the "holding people accountable" brigade.

Posted by: kmr2r | January 7, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

One more thing. Checked the fallout from Russia's disastrous performance in the WJC in the Russian media today. Wow, quite a war of words between Nikita Filatov and head coach Vladimir Plyushchev. Plyushchev basically blames Filatov as a poor choice of captain who didn't wanna listen to anything, displayed a prima-donna attitude, was late for practices, etc. Filatov shoots back saying that Plyushchev never practices any tactics, didn't know much about the opponents, didn't have any video sessions to show mistakes, was very negative and derogatory towards the players and finally talked behind Nikita's back to his teammates while failing to bring up any issues directly. Quite a soap opera.

Posted by: ranndino | January 7, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Fro_

My question would be is Theo NHL ready? Or rather, since he's not a rookie, is he still an NHL caliber goalie? To me the answer is clearly "no". His atrocious statistics since he signed with the Caps back up what I have seen on the ice. He ranks as one of the worst goalies in the NHL in the past 2 seasons in both GAA and save %.

I don't get this preoccupation with having a veteran goalie. The question should always be is the goalie good, not whether he's a veteran or not. If a veteran goalie is bad, he's still a bad goalie despite being a veteran. If a rookie goalie is good he's still a good goalie despite being a rookie. The veteran status or lack thereof is irrelevant.

I'd be willing to bet that had Theodore been a rookie and played as bad as he has for us all of his current defenders would conclude that he's not NHL ready long ago. The team management would conclude that as well and he would be playing for Hershey at best. The only reason he's still with the Caps is his veteran status and his huge one way contract.

Posted by: ranndino | January 7, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

+1 on what Ranndindo said. Theo is not a SC winning goalie. He got pulled in last year's playoffs for a rookie. Theo has never won a second round series. Varly is something like 12-1-2 while Theo is around a .500 goalie (if you count OTL; he is something like 10-6-4).

I would rather go with an unknown young quantity in net who MAY melt down but may backstop me to the cup rather than a veteran who has mediocre stats and does not appear to be a game changer in any way.

Posted by: calhokie | January 7, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

【 live score】 and 【odds advise 】
http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: bgfgf402 | January 10, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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