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Boudreau: Caps need to 'not be happy with mediocrity'

The theme of Friday's very optional morning skate at KCI was a simple one: To a man, the Capitals know they need to keep their intensity up even after establishing a sizable lead. The 4-3 win against Atlanta last night was the latest installment in what is becoming a dangerous habit for the Capitals, who allow teams back into games far too often.

"Sometimes a win is a win, but we want to come away happy from a win," Chris Clark said. "I don't think we did last night. Most of the guys were pretty upset with the way we played, especially the last 15 minutes or so. It's definitely something we need to take care of."

It's a combination of mental mistakes as well as a tendency to ease up and act "casual" after unleashing a flurry of goals and building up a significant lead in a game, Coach Bruce Boudreau said. If Washington could maintain or add to those advantages, perhaps they could rest some of their star players and wouldn't need goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Jose Theodore to make series of eye-popping saves to preserve the edge.

"Its an easy thing to be satisfied with mediocre success," Boudreau said. "But if we want to be great, you've got to take these opportunities and not be happy with mediocrity."

Boudreau went on to explain that while it's a natural thing to ease up when a game seems to be in hand, that's what the average player does; not a great one.

"I always look at Gretzky," Boudeau said. "If they were winning 5-1 or 4-1, Edmonton, they end up winning 7-1 because Gretzky would end up getting three points in the last 10 minutes when the other team had given up. That's what you want to do, you want to have that killer instinct to make [opponents] not want to play you anymore. We've let a lot of teams back in the game. Even though we've been successful and won most of them this year, it's been too close."

We'll see tonight if the Capitals can maintain their intensity against the Islanders, who are scraping to make strides in close contests. Out of 11 games this season, New York has played in seven one-goal games, six of which went to overtime or a shootout.

"That's the way we were the first couple years after the lockout," Clark said. "We were losing games 2-1, 3-2, in overtime. It's very frustrating to keep doing it and keep losing that way. It wears on you. So if we can get a lead and keep them down and not give them any kind of hope in the game, we have to make sure we can keep on them."

*After Thursday's game, most players chose not to skate this morning. Those who did were Clark, Theodore, Jeff Schultz, Brian Pothier, Tyler Sloan, Keith Aucoin, Tomas Fleischmann, Matt Bradley, David Steckel and John Erskine.

*Theodore will likely get the start in goal against the Islanders.

*Boudreau said Eric Fehr (ribs) is progressing but won't be ready to face the Islanders. Erskine (bruised hand) stayed on the ice late this morning, so he'll be another scratch.

*For the stats junkies, there have been a few changes to the score sheet against the Thrashers. Keith Aucoin has been awarded the second assist on Clark's goal in the Oct. 22 game against Atlanta. Also, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich were on the ice for Atlanta's final goal last night and will be credited with minuses, while Fleischmann and Steckel's plus/minus ratings improve by one.

By Katie Carrera  |  October 30, 2009; 12:28 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Islanders at Caps

Comments

If everyone would just play like Gretzky, we would be a pretty good team.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 30, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Clark's goal? I thought the goals were AO AO Bmo Knuble. I think the goal adjustment - mystery that it is - might need some looks.

Posted by: saintex | October 30, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

ummm clark scored last night?

Posted by: _stevo | October 30, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Detroit lost one of their centers to a broken wrist, Filpula.....maybe a trading partner for Nylander??? I know we would have to take a bit of salary back due to cap restaints, do they have any UFA at seasons end that we could take back as a rental maybe?

Posted by: PhilR | October 30, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

It says 10/22, which was the last Atl game when Clark scored.

Posted by: topshelf | October 30, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Italy expects swine flu to peak between December and January, with 1.5 million to 3 million cases. A vaccination campaign beginning Nov. 15 will immunize up to 40 percent of Italy's 60 million people.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 30, 2009 11:02 AM

Hey all, thank goodness the boys hung in there last night yeah! LET'S GO CAPS!

Now, I know this is a hockey blog, but swine flu stories continue to be posted here. As such, I feel compelled to try to provide a counter balance. Just as Quintin Laing was only diagnosed (and not actually tested) for H1N1, many other sick people are also being thrown into this convenient catch-all category of having contracted swine flu. Due to the attention H1N1 has received, many other sicknesses that produce the same symptoms year after year are being discounted. The current situation is much like the largely overblown swine flu scare of 1976, when many more people died from the vaccine than from the virus itself. Historical reference here:

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/27/science/sci-swine-history27

and, an in depth study of current events here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15860

Please keep in mind that if the untested H1N1 vaccines that are currently being used cause any kind of harm, the pharmas CANNOT be sued for damages, a direct result of millions of dollars of payouts resulting from the 1976 debacle:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31971355/ns/health-swine_flu/

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | October 30, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Clarks' goal on 10/22 not 10/29.

Posted by: _Mark | October 30, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Sheez. How much time has to elapse before they stop analyzing old games? A week seems a bit excessive.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | October 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm pleased to hear Flash practiced. Back to back games + a practice. Hope he shakes off the rust tonight.

Posted by: Sonyask | October 30, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

guess it was a skate, not practice. Still. Aucoin to Flash tonight. Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | October 30, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hope BB's demands are met and we play the full 60 mins and get the win. It will be painfully obvious if we don't and if so, BB better put his money where his mouth is and act accordingly. So far that has been the problem. He makes demands but does not hold players accountable. We will see tonight just how serious our boys are about going all the way.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | October 30, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I thought Flash had a couple of great opportunities snatched from the air last night. Here's to a good season for him. I was much more pleased with what I saw last night than what I saw on Saturday in Hershey...

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Interesting quote from Atlanta's paper in the interview their beat writer did with Sarge regarding if he likes to read books:

“People ask me that all the time. I’m like, why? Why read a book when I can watch TV?”

Posted by: superpaqman | October 30, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else disenchanted by Clark? I've not seen that much of him to warrant a rant...but in saying that...he's not been noticable in the games. (i know he scored last wk)
My point is...he's not been persorming the way he is capable of. I think we should package him and 92 together...a kind of buy one..get one free. IMO

Think Aucoin is much hungrier and worth it than Clark.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | October 30, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

performing...not persorming

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | October 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

metalcapsfan
Most people don't pay attention to the facts, only to the misinformation put out by the media. Had a discussion over at Japer's the other day & all I got was regurgitated pablum from the media in stead of facts.
Glad to see someone else paying attention to what is really happening.

Posted by: sidehillman | October 30, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think that that maintaining intensity after mounting a large lead is more the captain's responsibility than the coach's at this point.

Until someone who is part of this team's long term strategy becomes captain and actually follows thorugh with the associated responsibilities, this team will lack true identity.

Also, please spare me any defense of Chris Clark as a player/leader/motivator/grinder/scrapper, etc etc. His results speak for themselves (non-existent, he is grossly overpaid, and the team's performance doe snot suffer in his absence or improve in his presence.

Posted by: LesGrossman | October 30, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

these third period letdowns are mostly on the players. the coach can only yell and scream so much before the players tune him out.

I'm pretty sure Glen Sather didn't have to yell and scream every game to motivate Gretzky and Messier.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Like it or lump it, Clarkie's $2,633,000 cap hit is with us through 2010-11.

With 12 games under his belt this season, Clark is 2/3rds of the way to the TOTAL number of games he played in 2007-08 (18).

His penalty minutes (9 in 12 games) are down over last year (32 in 32 games) and significantly down over 2007-08 (43 in 18 games).

His production is down this year so far - but he has never in his professional career been a point-a-game player. His career best numbers were in 2006-07, pre-injury, when he scored 54 points in 74 games for .729 points per game. That was, of course, under Glen Hanlon.

So: opinions - Why is Clark seemingly unable to produce points at this stage in his career?

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

because he's useless

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | October 30, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

these third period letdowns are mostly on the players. the coach can only yell and scream so much before the players tune him out.

I'm pretty sure Glen Sather didn't have to yell and scream every game to motivate Gretzky and Messier.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2009 2:07 PM

No, and I doubt that BB has to yell/scream at Ovi or Backs either. As BB has mentioned, the great ones don't let up.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 30, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

So: opinions - Why is Clark seemingly unable to produce points at this stage in his career?
-----
I think it's b/c he was hurt all of last season (most of it anyway) and is getting his feet. I think he should be well ahead of where he is at the moment. I'm hoping it's a line combo malfunction because we could certainly do with him and Aucoin/Flash chipping in with a couple points per game

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | October 30, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

So: opinions - Why is Clark seemingly unable to produce points at this stage in his career?


Old / Slow. Plays on 4th line. A classic chicken or the egg scenario.

Posted by: LesGrossman | October 30, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

clark's best scoring days are behind him, barring a promotion to the top two lines. his value is going to be as a third line winger, providing a spark but focusing on being more of a defensive forward than someone focused on offense. i also hope he stays healthy because his type of player would be invaluable in the playoffs, on and off the ice.

i would like to see him get some more pp time as a guy who gets infront of the crease. he's not the biggest guy but he has no problem doing the dirty work.

i think a solid season from him would be to play 70+ games, get 10 goals and 20 assists or so.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 30, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Tarik. Whats the latest on Nylander? Hows he playing? Any rumors?

Posted by: caps4life2 | October 30, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

these third period letdowns are mostly on the players. the coach can only yell and scream so much before the players tune him out.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2009 2:07 PM


absurd. If the coach is ineffective verbally, then he has to find other ways. Thats his job. God forbid he benches a name player for a period or two if not an entire game to get his point across. Fact is, these players have no fear of Boudreau because unless you're a grinder or 3rd pair defenseman on this team, you'll rarely if ever find yourself benched for consistently slack play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

the kind of player Chris Clark needs to emulate is Scott Walker (when he's healthy).

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 30, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

broken record here. how many times can this get repeated until Caps man up??

Posted by: doughless | October 30, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I had the Caps minus 1 1/2 goals last night!!!!!!! There goes the 529 fund!

Posted by: pdanziger | October 30, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Clark has been disappointing. With Flash back and playing with Aucoin he's got a good potential niche crowding the crease and stuffing in rebounds off Flash and Aucoin's shots. When he came back last year, though, he seemed to have a lot of trouble putting those away. No reason to think he can't improve on that.

Posted by: Sonyask | October 30, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

also, Caps have GOT to get a second line scoring on a regular basis. it is great to have a superstar top line, but is that enough to win a stanley cup. second line needs more balance. perhaps Flash needs to move up once he gets his legs.

Posted by: doughless | October 30, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@caps4life2 - Nylander has 5 assists in 4 games with Grand Rapids. He's running at better than a point a game right now; last season with the Caps, he had 9 goals and 24 assists in 72 games (.458/game). The Griffons have won four of the five games that Nylander has played with them, and prior to that, won one of their first five games.

Offhand, I'd say he's contributing fairly well. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

News Flash - Crosby goals in Game 6 against the Caps were reviewed and disallowed thereby causing the Caps to beleatedly recieve the news that they are in fact the real winners of the East Finals, the NHL yesterday ran a computer simulation and the Caps actually beat the Wings and won the Cup.

And Clark was awarded Crosby's goals....

Posted by: WhyGo | October 30, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

RedWings will try to take Nyls if they can get the deal low enough. They need him right now, he plays for the farm team and won't play him. hopefully the marbles will line up and everybody will sorta break even and move on.

'cept for those bags of money that Nyls got from the bossmann, that is.

Posted by: WhyGo | October 30, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

forgot to insert "WE" won't play him.

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

@WhyGo - Buh-whahuh? Cute. Unlikely. But cute.

As for the Red Wings - Filppula is out for 8 weeks.

Their cap space stands right now at $2,570,977 overall ($3,025,601 acquisition space).

Nylander's salary right now is $4,875,000. His daily cap hit is $25,259, and his remaining salary for the year is $4,142,487.

Do the math.

They have Franzen ($20,490), Fillpula ($15,544), and Lilja ($6,477) all on LTIR.

In order for the Red Wings to take Nylander, Nylander's remaining salary for the year needs to be below their cap number. And that will not happen any time soon.

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

irockthered - don't forget though, we may take a contract back, which would open more cap room for them, and be doable on our end since we loose Nylander's hit at the same time. Not saying it will happen, in fact I know it won't (not insider info or any craziness like that, just instinct), but it'd be nice and somewhat within the realm of possibility.

Posted by: superpaqman | October 30, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Red Wings would have to drop some salary. But what do they have that A) is enough, and B) we would want?

They need to lose at LEAST $1,551,510 to fit Nylander into place.

If they gave us Tomas Holmstrom (ha-ha-ha), they would save $1,911,917.

Niklas Kronwall would save them $2,549,223.

Heh. Heh. Like they'd give us either of those players - or similarly salaried - for Nylander... not bloody likely!

Now, in the low end pay scale department... defensemen under $1M each include:

Derek Meech - $410,708
Brett Lebda - $552,332
Jonathan Ericsson - $764,767

Any two would do... but wait. That would leave the Red Wings short on the Blue Line. Not gonna happen!

Holmstrom is the lowest-paid single player they could move to pick up Nylander.

Take a look at http://www.capgeek.com/tracker/team.php?Team=15 and you'll see what I'm getting at.

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know what channel the game is on? I have Comcast and the channel is usually 8 (for regular) or 251 (for HD). However, I checked my listings last night and it says that comcast is showing the Wizards game on 251. Each website says that the Caps game is on CSN+. Anyone know what channel CSN+ is for Comcast users???

Posted by: briyau15 | October 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Also, we need to be concerned with the length of the contract we'd take from them. We have to sign Semin and Backstrom at the end of this year.

Also... our UFAs are: David Steckel (Faceoff GOD), Quintin Laing (Puck Blocker Extraordinaire), Keith Aucoin (who IS contributing this season, dammit!), Brian Pothier, Shaone Morrison, Milan Jurcina, Tyler Sloan, and Jose Theodore.

If both Varlamov and Neuvirth are not ready to step into place, we may need to resign Jose for another season.

RFAs are Fehr, Gordon, Flash, and Schultz.

And anyone who says let Schultz go is getting kicked in the patootie. He's GOOD this year!

Rent-a-Players who go UFA at the end of this year on the Red Wings' roster include: Holmstrom (surprise!), Bertuzzi, Williams, Maltby, May, Lilja, and Lebda.

Lilja is out of the picture for several weeks due to injury.

Posted by: irockthered | October 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Is CSN+ on channel 4 for Comcast subscribers?

Posted by: briyau15 | October 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Tarik? H1N1?

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 30, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

TarikElBashir: Semyon Varlamov came off the ice first, which likely means he'll start tonight in ATL.
7:59 AM Oct 29th from UberTwitter

Tarik's fingers barely typed the last tweet and pushed the 'Send' button. He whispered, H 1 N 1 ....


Posted by: CodePoetry | October 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Does Cox (fairfax) even have CSN+? I couldnt find it.

I wanted to record it, even though I'll be at the game...I like to go back and see any sick goals, or little things I missed live..

Posted by: SA-Town | October 30, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

So: opinions - Why is Clark seemingly unable to produce points at this stage in his career?

So that bloggers can replace Nylander in the trash department?

Posted by: hock1 | October 30, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/zipcode

Try this link...It will tell you where CSN+ is in your area.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The Caps can't break the puck out of their own zone. The problem is not Chris Clark, or that the Caps stop trying - simply put, very few of the Caps D are able to consistently execute a clean breakout, with a crisp first pass. Granted, putting that breakout pass is on the guy's tape is much easier said than done, but if you can't breakout you will have 3rd-period letdowns. Guaranteed.

It would be one thing if this were a new problem for the Caps - their lack of true puck-movers on the back line. It definitely is not, unfortunately.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

what does 0 mean, does that mean I don't have csn+??

LOL guess it's a price I have to pay for living in howard county

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

absurd. If the coach is ineffective verbally, then he has to find other ways. Thats his job. God forbid he benches a name player for a period or two if not an entire game to get his point across. Fact is, these players have no fear of Boudreau because unless you're a grinder or 3rd pair defenseman on this team, you'll rarely if ever find yourself benched for consistently slack play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 30, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

STUPID... if coaching was that easy, even you will be able to do it.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

SA-town, thanks for the link.

I am in the 20171 zip code in Fairfax and the link shows that CSN+ is channel 8 for Cox, however, I seldom see any sports there as it is primarily a local news channel. I see most of the Caps games on Cox ch.57 and 734 (csndc and csndchd respectively) with an occasional ch.20 and 74 showing when the Wizards are on.

Posted by: hock1 | October 30, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

SOS Caps. They're showing it early. In time for y'all NOT to be shocked when they get knocked in Round 1. The D ain't THERE!!! They can't clear the zone in tight games. SOS.

Posted by: bundy44 | October 30, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

The Caps can't break the puck out of their own zone. The problem is not Chris Clark, or that the Caps stop trying - simply put, very few of the Caps D are able to consistently execute a clean breakout, with a crisp first pass. Granted, putting that breakout pass is on the guy's tape is much easier said than done, but if you can't breakout you will have 3rd-period letdowns. Guaranteed.

It would be one thing if this were a new problem for the Caps - their lack of true puck-movers on the back line. It definitely is not, unfortunately.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 30, 2009 5:00 PM |

If so why is that not a problem for the first two periods? We are playing with the same "D-men" when it is going well??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 30, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Take any team on any sport and you can nitpick it to death. If you find a team that can play to your expectation you will have an unbeaten team who everyone would hate ... alas, no pleasing some people.

We have a great team, it is what it is, enjoy the GAME and root for the Caps - you will be pleasantly surprised at the experience.

Posted by: hock1 | October 30, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town - Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure it's channel 74 on Cox in Fairfax. The channel listing is usually all kinds of messed up so don't be surprised if it doesn't show right there.

Posted by: superpaqman | October 30, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

My Comcast screen has channel 4 as CSN + so I guess that is the channel even though it does not list hockey.

Posted by: MKadyman | October 30, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Technical Question: In what order do teams have a shot at picking someone up off the waiver wire. Present standing or end of the year? Detroit is off to a slow start, so maybe they could take NYLS off of waiver before to many other teams have a shot. Thanks

Posted by: RichC3 | October 30, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

on comcast in virginia, csn+ is on channel 21, but only when there is a caps or wizards game on it, the rest of the time it is a different channel, the same way that MASN2 is CSPAN2 most of the time

Posted by: doncosmic | October 30, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

RichC3:
i believe at the start of the season the order is last place to first place based off of the previous seasons standings. at some point (i think it might be 10 games in) then the waiver order is current league standings of last to first. the calc for a teams position is standings pts/games. this accounts for the difference in # of games teams have played to date.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 30, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

RichC3:
also - i don't know what the tiebreaker is for teams with the same # of pts per game. when bourque was waived, pit was last in the waiver order based on being the SC champs. the other 28 teams passed on him.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 30, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Waiver order rules...

Through October 31st waiver order is determined by last years standings. After November 1st, order is determined by winning percentage.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | October 30, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

What Caps need, as many have said, is the big mean defenseman. A guy like Tinordi. I liken this player to the closer in baseball, the player who can most shutdown the other team.

Will be rocking the red again tonight. White wine for road games, red for home. So I got a big, juicy sirloin to go with the red.

I would take Bertuzzi for Nyles if the cap hit thingy would work.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 30, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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