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Boudreau Facing a Big Decision

Coach Bruce Boudreau has a choice to make: stick with Jose Theodore or turn to rookie Simeon Varlamov.

Boudreau has two days to mull his decision before Game 2 on Saturday.

It's not one he plans to rush into, but he was certainly down on Theodore's performance after tonight's 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Theodore faced only 21 shots, and probably could have stopped any of the Rangers' four goals.

"He's right," Boudreau said when he was told that Theodore accepted the blame for the loss. "You need the save and he didn't make the save. But I'm sure he's going to bounce back. He's a professional. He's played this game long enough, I'm sure he feels bad enough."

Boudreau said he never considered pulling Theodore, who has now yielded 10 goals the past two games, because, "You never want to look like you're panicking. And that's how that would have looked to me."

Boudreau wouldn't say which goaltender he's going to start on Saturday, but it's probably going to be tempting to start Varlamov, who is 4-0-1 with a .918 save percentage and 2.37. The only problem with turning to the 20-year-old is this: What if he struggles? Then what?

"There's a chance anything can happen," Boudreau said. "When you lose, you make changes. I'm not saying in goal. But, I mean, there's a chance for changes in a couple of positions."

Some other notes:

Lundqvist Shines
King Henrik showed exactly why he's considered one of the game's best goalies. He stopped 31 shots, including all 14 he faced in the first period. Alex Ovechkin, by the way, outshot the entire Rangers team, 6-4, in the opening 20 minutes.

Kozlov, Finally
Viktor Kozlov scored his first NHL playoff goal in the second period after he steered a pass from Nicklas Backstrom around Lundqvist. Kozlov had not scored in 21 previous playoff contests.

Schultz Struggles
Theodore wasn't the only player who had a rough night. Jeff Schultz also didn't have one of his better games, particularly on the game-winner scored by Brandon Dubinsky.

Dubinsky put the puck through Schultz on a rush, then went in and scored. Schultz actually lost his balance and fell as Dubinsky raced around him.

"This is the NHL; you get beat one-on-one, you can't hide from that," Boudreau said. "That's not an error of anything other than he didn't get the job done on that play."

Avery Annoys
Sean Avery is a pest. He's also very good at what he does. He got under the skin of Mike Green early, then got in Jose Theodore's face late.

"I don't know. Was he out there?" Boudreau said, attempting to deflect some attention from a player who is determined to make himself a focal point in this series.

Odds and Ends
Tomas Fleischmann's goal was his first playoff point. ...The Caps won 46 of 56 faceoffs (70) percent, out-hit the Rangers 35-27. ...Mike Green skated a game-high 30:47.

That's it from me. Look for much, much more in tomorrow's paper (and online) from me, Katie, Dan Steinberg and Mike Wise.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 16, 2009; 12:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Reading List: Game 1 Aftermath

Comments

FIRST!

Posted by: pdo3 | April 16, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

first

Posted by: The_Spear | April 16, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Just gotta focus on game 2. Even if we had won tonight all we would have to be concerned with is Game 2. Win Game 2 and everything is fine. Game 1 is history. This 1 loss isn't a big deal.

Posted by: pdo3 | April 16, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

The D has been soft all year.

Posted by: Realness1 | April 16, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I think ovie should take fewer, better shots.
NY's plan was simple: play strong defensively and make themost of the caps mistakes. The caps scored three, but need toceash thenet more. too much long distance shooting, too many telegraphed passes. NY took away the passing lanes and were well prepared. Caps have two full days to reboot and get ready. all is not lost. changes to line ups will be made. But BB doesn't want to kill Schultzs confidance after the gaff. He's a players coach, right? Pork wasn't ready for this game. Erskine was pretty good.

Maybe, just maybe, the system isn't appropriate for the blueline and goalie they have.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion, they have to start Varlamov on Saturday. Clearly, they don't want to have to go to him down 2-0 at MSG, and they don't have the luxury of letting Jose give up 2 softies before they decide he is not sharp on Saturday afternoon. Remember, if Johnson does not get hurt, Jose might not even be the starter now. His performance was dreadful tonight!

Posted by: nomarjax01 | April 16, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

You know I expected BB to offer a strong endorsement of Theo in his post-game comments. The fact that he was even a little ambivalent leads me to believe that Theo will be on an EXTREMELY short leash for the rest of the series. I hope Varly is ready.

Posted by: donknutts | April 16, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

All Schultz had to do was take the body on that last goal. He just had to lay into the guy. Thats what cost them the game. If he's unwilling to hit, he shouldn't be playing.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

We all know you have been a Schultz apologist all season but what would you do if you were coach for the next game???

Schultz sucked this past season. In his limited stint he sucked in the playoffs last season. He has pretty much sucked since he was in the minors. He is the Marc Wilson (Raider's reference) of the Caps. The apologists for this guy need to start eating crow.

Lets start the crow eating with you! :)

Posted by: asharifi10 | April 16, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if we see clark pothier and varly in next game as the changes. Better to go with rookie at home and not at MSG.

Posted by: samb99 | April 16, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Something is wrong with Green (and to a lesser degree Ovi) being on the ice >50% of the time. His legs must have been dead by the third period. Sure, PP and all that stuff but still, he needs some rest too.

Posted by: fnralch | April 16, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

oo7:
Caps have two full days to reboot

should they check the bears web site - see if they can upload any critical patches? maybe do a virus scan of the D - clean up some of the infections?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 16, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I disagree that Avery is "a player who is determined to make himself a focal point in this series". He is a player who THE MEDIA is determined to make a focal point in this series. We need to focus on much more than him if we're going to win this series. I was at the game and hardly noticed him...but I did notice Scott Gomez!

Posted by: BGSU91 | April 16, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I will say it again, goalies do not win games, offenses do. Goalies don't score, offenses do. BB has curtailed the natural abilities of some of our forwards, they are uncharacteristically trying to play old North American hockey style - shoot-and-hope - that style will never win. It is not how many shots on goal you accumulate it is how many goals you score. Our quality of shots are poor, with the exception of two or three players there is not team play.

PP sucks, it is predictable. BB has to change it, otherwise this team will be out on 4 more games.

The rangers were well prepared, I am afraid the Caps were not.

Posted by: opita1 | April 16, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

capt kirk, they need to refocus and work on standing in the crease. they need to sit nylander in favor of someone who actually wants to make a difference, they need to sit schultz in favor of someone who will hit, they need to make Ovie and Green take less ice time, they need to adjust the game plan and not run and gun with theo in net. I agree with varlamov instead of theo to light some fire and pull the team together. Play a rusty Clark? will he bring something to the team? will they listen to him? make the changes that must be made, strongly consider the changes they could make and stop worrying about mining the bears lineup. the Stanley cup I'd more important than an ahl championship. do it and reboot!

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

With all due respect to BB, whom I consider the best thing that happened to the Caps, he should have know he was taking a risk in his unwavering support of Theo. Though he improved, he has not proven himself to be a playoff goalie all year. Every sports analyst has consistently assessed weak goal-tending as the team's most obvious obstacle in reaching the Cup. Yet neither he nor GM made any move to trade up. What did he expect?

For all we know, maybe BB's confidence in Theo will pay off and he will be transformed from game 4 on. But if not, it will be a shame to hold back a talented team because of weak goaltending and D. It must be disheartening to lose after 35 shots.

Game 2 should be interesting.

Posted by: caraveli | April 16, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

2 of NY's goals came on missed calls by the refs, which pissed me off to no end.

i dont want to make excuses but the gomez goal, there were two interference calls that could have been made, and on the 2-1 goal, morrison got his stick slashed out of his hands right in front of the ref. Right when that happened i said to myself they were going to score.

But no excuses, we should have converted on our PP.

Posted by: mikejc80 | April 16, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of unwavering support, why do you think BB seems to have confidence in Schultz? Does he have a blind spot or are we misjudging?

Posted by: caraveli | April 16, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

On the game winning 2 on 1 goal: It's Hockey 101. The defenseman's job is to absolutely make sure the puck carrier does not pass the puck across to the other forward, because the goalie is then unable to slide across the crease fast enough. Easy goal. So the goalie is one on one with the puck carrier. He absolutely never, ever, should give him the short side as Theodore did. He must make that save in the playoffs. Period. I'd go with Varlamov.

Posted by: chevychase10 | April 16, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

reasons i was nervous and how they were confirmed:

1. goalie match-up. No explanation needed.

2. Avery factor. They let this guy get to them. He drew at least two dumb penalties and already seems in green and erkstine's head

3. hot team factor. caps were coasting rangers were fighting for slot.

4. new team. this is a much different rangers team than for 3/4 of season and they seem to be figuring it out now.

Posted by: chrislarry | April 16, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I think the impact of the special teams need to be pointed out in this game. I don't think anyone is going to deny that we dominated the flow of that game, but their 2 PP goals killed us. That and our PP's inability to bury it given how many chances they had.

We need to tighten up the PK and deliver more on the PP.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 16, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

caravelli, he doesn't want to kill his confidance. No worries now. I don't hate schultz. he's young. but if he isn't going to hit, and again that's all he had to do to Dubinsky, he shouldn't play. This isn't the Swedish elite league.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Schultz doesn't even give guys a chance to burn him. He just falls down.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 16, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

phil, our pk is definetly an issue.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'll admit I'm feeling down about the Caps today. I'll admit I've seen too many playoff disasters in the Caps past and get worried, as a result. Especially when it's a game they should have won.

They had numerous shots on goal but couldn't convert early. It seemed like they'd nearly kill off a penalty and NY would score when there were a very small amount of seconds left. (They've done that in the regular season a lot.) They'll do well and then lose concentration for a split second and the other team scores.

At least the guys came back and tied it after being two goals down. That's a good sign. (But things broke down again.)

Theo did let in the Rangers' first goal when a penalty should have been called on them.

There probably is a reason playoff series are 7 games. People have made comebacks from one game down. I'm sure Boudreau's capable of making adjustments to the team as needed.

Theo's performance was bad. But to get perspective, he did no worse this year than Huet who left us. Huet is a backup (and why did Chicago sign him up anyway when they had Khabibulin). Is it time for Simeon yet? I know he's kind of raw but we probably have nothing to lose by giving him a shot.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 16, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Very funny comment. Great computer analogy about rebooting the Caps, uploading critical patches from the Bears web site, and doing virus scans to clear out the D's infections.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 16, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov and Theodore rely on their athleticism, positioning is the ky problem with both these goalies. I agree Varly has the upside in learning the difference, but that doesn;t help us now. I think the problem is that we need to completely dominate the other teams offensive output. Which has been the problem all along. We need scoring from all of our first three lines for success, or a super human effort from the first two. I would ove our defense to dominate but it's hard when we have a few break downs and our goalie doesn't have success when this happens. I guess we can only hope for Theo to get hot, i hope our teams support of him stems that, and he stops trying to do to much. His play reminds me of early in December. Hopefully it changes in the next few games. Lets go CAPS.

Posted by: joshekurtz | April 16, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

oo7:
i don't disagree with putting in varly - not because theo sucks (he doesn't - he's not elite either though) but because i think the team as a whole plays smarter when they have to look out for the kids. they did this for neuvirth and varly in their early starts. i believe they would tighten up on D (this includes the forwards) all around. i also do not like that schultz doesn't HIT - he is big enough to send a message - beware when you come around me. he just doesn't do it and it would be interesting to find out why. i'd like to see clark and brash back in the lineup - i think there is something to be said about experience. they aren't going to score but i think they could both put in minutes that would allow the first line (OV) to keep their minutes down just a little. they need to play a full 60 and stay out of the box.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 16, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

@oo7

On the PK. So many times, including tonight, the Caps get so close to killing off a penalty and then allow a goal in the last few ticks of the penalty. Like one time with 11 seconds left. (I recall that happening on at least one of Semin's infamous penalties earlier this year.) Not to mention a few times where they'd kill off the penalty only to give up a goal almost immediately after.

They'll play well, and then someone momentarily loses focus and ... score. So close and yet so far away.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 16, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

@oo7

On the PK. So many times, including tonight, the Caps get so close to killing off a penalty and then allow a goal in the last few ticks of the penalty. Like one time with 11 seconds left. (I recall that happening on at least one of Semin's infamous penalties earlier this year.) Not to mention a few times where they'd kill off the penalty only to give up a goal almost immediately after.

They'll play well, and then someone momentarily loses focus and ... score. So close and yet so far away.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 16, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

this series is wayyy more than just goaltending. The Rangers PK unit will not crumble against the Caps PP. You saw it tonight, the caps had a hard time penetrating that Rangers PK box. Thats why they're #1 in the league. Good defense ALWAYS beats good offense. Period. That's rule #1 of hockey. Our brain trust has put way too many eggs in the offensive skill basket and not much in other critical areas. No surprise to me that this is how things ended in game 1. We all know what happens in game 2 since Boudreau and the Caps are overly predictable in their responses. Boudreau will insert Pothier for Schultz and either Clark or Brashear for Fehr.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of unwavering support, why do you think BB seems to have confidence in Schultz? Does he have a blind spot or are we misjudging?

Posted by: caraveli | April 16, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

1) McPhee drafted Schultz and he loves him
2) Boudreau is playing Schultz because his only other option is Pothier, not at all a clear cut upgrade. It isn't like McPhee was able to acquire any semi-average or better defenseman at the deadline to help out his coach.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

I think the impact of the special teams need to be pointed out in this game. I don't think anyone is going to deny that we dominated the flow of that game, but their 2 PP goals killed us. That and our PP's inability to bury it given how many chances they had.

We need to tighten up the PK and deliver more on the PP.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 16, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

not gonna happen. This is the 21st ranked PK in the entire league, remember. Leopards don't change their spots. This PK will continue to suck because its the same system and same personnel. And if Boudreau wants to be a big fat fool and play guys like Flash on the PK, he's going to get burned.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

someone said the D has been soft all year - tonight I thought our D wasn't that bad. Mo and Green and Erskine were all hitting pretty regularly. Schultz was the clear weak link in that group, along with Poti who has no idea how to play defense anymore. He was late covering his man all night tonight.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

JOSEKURTZ said everything i have!!!!!

Posted by: ace24 | April 16, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm depressed enough to sleep now. nite all. sweet dreams.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

To those people who said "If you blame Theo for tonight's loss you are an idiot!"

Theodore you must be an idiot!

BB your must be an idiot as well!

Posted by: sonotgrood | April 16, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Were there a few defensive lapses, yes, but nothing that couldn't have been overcome. However, Theodore's performance is a different story. He looked nervous and uncomfortable all night. Everything about his game tonight was terrible, pure and simple. Stating the obvious, the Capitals are the better team but the Rangers have the better goaltender and that may be all that matters in the end. I have seen games where the better team lost because the goalie stood on his head but that was not the story tonight. Although Lundquist was good (not great he gave up three), this was more about Theodore being bad. The Capitals cannot win this series if Theodore plays like that for the remainder of the series.

Having said that, I don't want to see them play Varlamov. His future is too bright. Playing him could result in the destruction of his confidence which is typically fragile in a young netminder. Just ride out Theodore win or lose.

Let's keep this in perspective tonight. The Caps are a very young team and its highly likely that they are going to be good for a very long time. What we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. They are only going to get better as they mature and a few more of their highly rated prospects develop. Young teams in all sports go through this. The key is patience.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 16, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

do the Caps look much better in this year's playoffs than they did last season? The same problems still exist. Weak PK and getting outhit in every game.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

http://www.hockeyfights.com/forums/f44/wilkes-barre-hershey-4-12-09-a-119997/

clip of our future tough guy Finley getting an easy beatdown at the hands of a Penguin

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 16, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone expect anything different from Theodore? He played as well as we've seen him play all year. The same goes for Schultz. Pooh on GMGM and Boudreau for not fixing these issues earlier. You can only sit back and hope that someone will turn their game around for so long.

I keep hearing people call out stats for Theo, that he is playing up to the caliber when he won 4 first round series. With those numbers he has never advanced past the second round. What makes them think this year will be any different now that he is older and has a terrible defenseman in front of him like Schultz.

I'm not putting all the goals on Schultz, but that's the one that mattered. He is not NHL caliber and the coaching staff needs to remove their heads from their asses realize that. Alzner should be playing over Schultz. I don't think I have to explain that anymore.

With Theo and Schultz in the game we have a slight chance at winning this series. No chance in the second round if we make it, IF! Varlamov amd Schultz may not be the final answer, but what do we have to lose at this point. Might as well see what we really have in those two. My guess is that it will work out for the better.

Either way, I love my caps but the way they are playing right now will likely get them eliminated in the first round. If they do make it past the Rangers THEY WILL NOT MAKE IT PAST THE FLYERS OR PENS! Unless there is a shake up in the goaltender and defense.

Posted by: eorr | April 16, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

The Flyers? The Lightning can make it past the Flyers with the way they've been playing.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 16, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

based on almost all of the comments here - i guess i can at least look forward to next oct
GMGM - out
BB - out
and while your at it - dump OV while you can still get something for him - it is time to start the real rebuild

good night all

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 16, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm hearing people bash our PP. Did I miss something, or weren't we 2/7 tonight?

That's higher than our regular season output - you can't score 'em all. I think Green has to play smarter, Schultz has to play less nervous, and Theo has to stop letting short-side goals in.

It's like Kolzig all over again.

Posted by: Raber | April 16, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

2/7 doesn't cut it if we aren't scoring even strength. My main concern was our PK, which was 2/4. Either way you look at it, tighten up the special teams.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 16, 2009 2:58 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see him not simply bench a player for someone who's hunger he's hoping translates to a better team performance.

I'd like him to give the player(s) in question who he chose to start the opportunity to show him they deserved the spot he gave them for Game 1. (And tell them so, and maybe us). JT being a tougher call maybe than others.

Either way, coach knows best.

Posted by: austinsteve | April 16, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Theo will get yanked early on Saturday. Bruce has no choice. When he gets shaky like this,he sure ain't gonna turn it around quick enough to save a quick exit. He's been up and down all year.The pressure is on now. I just keep thinking bact to all the 1st shots he's let in.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 16, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

I wish Lundqvist was ours.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 16, 2009 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Jose that said you lose a game 5-0, bounce back, win the next game and you're right back in it.

I hope this is true for his sake if he's in net on Saturday.

Posted by: bajgirl | April 16, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

look the Caps played very good tonight...except for the "Usuals" Schultz and Theo! Throw the sludge Nylander in the mix also. BB has forgotten more about hockey then I will ever know ( i only played ccha) but anyways we the "dummies" have said it all year long get Schultz's out of the line-up as well as theo. but nope let's wait until the playoff's.

game 2 out- Schultz, Theo, Nylander
game 2 in- Varley, Pothier or Alzner, Brash

last night was a joke BB don't let it happen again OVie can only do so much! For the record I love Avery I wish he was on the Caps, but since he's not they have got to punish him.

Posted by: ReedRothchild | April 16, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Last night was tough. Our PP was good and we did a pretty good job of limiting their opportunities. We were great at faceoffs and, while I don't have the numbers, I don't think they outhit us. The Rangers were given a couple huge breaks and they took advantage of them. Theo should not be happy with his performance, however, he should be back in net Saturday and he will redeem himself sufficiently to give the team the chance to win the game.

If memory serves me correctly, it is a best of seven series, so we still have opportunity. This team can still do it.

Posted by: _Mark | April 16, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

@people complaining about the PP


So I guess 33% is not good enough against the #1 PK in the league?

Posted by: BuffaloCrunch | April 16, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I think too much blame is placed on Schultz. Yes, it was a bad play ... but there were plenty of bad plays to go around. Theo and Sergei share in some of the blame. And a little backchecking on Schult'z side during that play would have been nice.

Bottom line .... team loss. Plenty of blame to share. The Caps are a better team than the Rangers, and there's no reason on earth why a single loss should derail their playoff season.

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 16, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Edit: 28%.

Posted by: BuffaloCrunch | April 16, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

a thing to look back on is how well the Caps played early in the season when we had half bears and half Caps? we would let in 3 goals but would score 5 or 6! JT i've stood behind you all year buddy, but its time to put up or shut up!!!!Schultz needs to take a visit to hershy for awhile! C U sat @ VZ.. LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: TracyMD1 | April 16, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse


"I don't care how fast a skater you are, if you don't play this game with a big heart and a big bag of knuckles in front of the net, you don't got dinky-do."
-Donnie Shulzhoffer, Mystery, Alaska

Jeff Schultz you don't got dinky-do, but your brother Ian (St. Louis Blues property) does!

Posted by: ReedRothchild | April 16, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for a great 1st half of the season, see you in October.....

Posted by: 555Mass | April 16, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

You can blame me for the loss. Instead of the usual chicken tenders and coke, I went with hot dogs and sprite. I am sorry.

(Really, Theo was soft, but the entire team was iffy in that second.)

Posted by: koalatek | April 16, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Why on the last few PPs was OV the only one allows to shoot? Lundqvist could've just sat on that side of the net and waited for them to pass it to him? Also, not many high glove shots on Lundqvist tonight, most in the pads, which is no good.

Additionally, why is Nylander in the lineup? He doesn't skate hard, never looks to shoot, and instead always loops around and lets the defense get setup instead.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | April 16, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

While we're all clamoring for Theo to sit, is Varly the answer? I was thinking back to his games in the closing weeks, and while he was goof, his rebound control can be unsteady. If he gives up any 8 foot rebounds in the slot, he'll be lit up like a Christmas tree. Tough call for BB, that's for sure. Personally, I'm inclined to start Varly and take our chances in hopes that he'll be ready next year.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 16, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

At least 2 of those goals should have been waved off. The first one deffinatly should have been waved off. If you dont let the rangers into that game on that first goal they scored who knows what would have happened.

Yes I agree that Theo let in a couple that he shouldnt have, but I stil think this was another officiating let down.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | April 16, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

This is actually really funny to me. The same people that were on my case about saying that Theo was no good when we signed him are now all of a sudden jumping on the band wagon because we lost 1 game in the playoffs. Now I agree it was a tough loss and Theo's performance was poor last night, but his performance has been average at best all year. So everyone made the decision early in the season that they were going to have confidence in this guy so you can't back away from that now.

History repeats itself.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 16, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

We're going to need it, we're going to need it," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "As I said, goaltending is a key part of winning, and if we're going to be able to compete, we're going to have to get good goaltending."


This is a Formula the caps GM hasn't been able to figure out for years.

Posted by: CapsFan44 | April 16, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

It's this simple: if the Caps outplay you in the first but don't outscore you, you win.
I've seen Schultz pitch no-hitters before, but the guy was cringing from the entire game last night--"oh no! Not an easy chance to keep the puck in the O-zone! Run aWAY!"
As for Theo, the guy's given up a lot of Ordinary goals--not cheeep, but hardly unstoppable--this year. After the next one, show me Varlamov. Or Leonhardt, I mean what the hell.

Posted by: redlineblue | April 16, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

BB overplayed the stars. You HAVE to have secondary scoring to win the cup. We tried to be a one line team. Fehr, Fleischman and Nyls looked good, but can't score from the bench. Young coaching mistake, 30 mins for Green??

Posted by: Freez | April 16, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

As much as Theo and Schultz stunk last night, I take full responsibility for tonight's loss.

The fiancee and I were out running errands last night and I was listening to the game on the radio in the first period. We started working on a project when we got home and I flipped the radio back on when the score was 1-1. In the course of only a couple of minutes, the Rags scored a quick 2 to go up 3-1, and I promptly shut the radio back off. Anticipation got the best of me, and I turned the TV to the game right when the 3-3 tying game was scored.

The rest, as we say, is history. :(

I'm sorry, I'm a jynx. They always lose when I watch (on TV). I'm not going to watch any more games for the good of the team...

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and by "Right when" I mean "Just after."

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 16, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Goodbye Theo and Schultz.

Hello Varly and Pothier.

That game made me sick!

Posted by: NatyBG | April 16, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

He lets in 1 out of every 5 shots, ends up with 18 saves. The only player on the ice last night who was not better than his Ranger counterpart was Jose. For this game there is no blame to go around it is not needed. At least he manned up in the paper.

Posted by: majiksea | April 16, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Yeah lets put a rookie goalie in who only has 4 games in the NHL under his belt. Good call everyone.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Stupid Shultz.

Posted by: jgprentice | April 16, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

They'll bounce back. Chill out. If anything a game one loss will keep them (and us) humble. Have faith for once and all will be well.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

With the Caps risk taking offense,which includes the "D" as a essential part of the offensive attack,they absolutely have to have someone that can get back in a hurry as well as a goalie that can come up with the big save when they turn it over.

The odd man rush is going to happen against the Caps. We give it up to get the extra offense.

If the opponent's goalie plays huge and our "D" gives up goals it shouldn't... We're toast, plain and simple.

Posted by: muddapucker | April 16, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Last year the only teams to come back to win a series after losing game 1 were Philly (twice) and SJ. SJ was the only team to lose at home in game 1 and then win the series. For both teams, their Game 1 losses in the 1st rd were 1 goal losses. And then they both eventually won in Game 7.

As much as we dominated the Rags, this series will probably go 7. That's why you stick with Theo and hope and regains his form and confidence. Or you do what the Canes did in 2006 and pull your starter (Gerber) halfway thru Game 2 and put in a rookie (Ward). And we all know what Ward did the rest of the way.

Posted by: tywright | April 16, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Putting Varlamov in at this point is nonsense. Theodore is what we have to work with now and we need to stick by him. I'm more concerned with lame defensemen (Schultz) getting undressed and falling on his face. I was literally embarrassed watching that play. That was the game winner. Was that Theo's fault? No. Get over it and move on. Just remember that Caps won game 1 last season against the Flyers and we all know how that ended.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | April 16, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan44: "This is a Formula the caps GM hasn't been able to figure out for years."

Uh, we have three pretty promising goaltenders on the come-up, so I think GMGM is aware that goaltending is important. You can't blame him for Theo, he was really the only viable goaltender available last offseason after Huet screwed us. It is what it is at this point.

opita1: "I will say it again, goalies do not win games, offenses do."

In playoff hockey, goalies win games all the time. Did you catch the Canucks-Blues last night? Vancouver's offense manages few chances but Luongo is a rock back there.

Posted by: donknutts | April 16, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@cappies
Agreed. I have absolute faith that Bruce will figure out what's wrong and correct the problems. And I would be very surprised if he starts Varly in game 2. I think Theo gets a chance to redeem himself. Although I would like to see him sit Schultz and either play Pothier or bring up Sloan. [I didn't say bring up Alzner because, while he's positionally very smart, he just doesn't hit guys.]

Posted by: tess2201 | April 16, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov has an angel on his shoulder.

He gives up HUGE rebounds, and overcommits himself so that he's all the way on one side of the net when the puck could easily drop in on the other side from one of those big juicy rebounds.

And I don't want to see this board turn on him like the jackals y'all are when he gets eaten alive in the playoffs. Theo's been being hated on all season, and we know he has confidence problems.

I don't want you people to have Varlamov too!

Leave the coaching to BB.

Posted by: irockthered | April 16, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Tarik & Katie & the Post do a fine job of covering the Caps, but does anyone see the point of the graphic (which appears both online and in print) showing Ovechkin's 13 shots in excruciating detail, considering that none of them ended up behind Lundqvist?

I don't get it at all. To me it just reinforces the view of the Caps as "Alex Ovechkin and some other guys". I don't see them that way, and I doubt that Ovie does either.

Posted by: chrisd3 | April 16, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Also... when I went to the Caps website to look at Varlamov's stats...

JOHNSON is listed in the backup goaltender spot! (It's been Varlamov for weeks now.) Is Johnny ready to start playing??

Posted by: irockthered | April 16, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Come back, Cristobal. We miss you.

Posted by: thiazzi | April 16, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

IRTR, if you're gonna be all sensible about it, well jeez.
All I know for sure is that I did -not- think Schultz was available in a lower-testosterone version. Last night shows how much I know.

Posted by: redlineblue | April 16, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree w FREEZ, the ice time needs to be a little more distributed. The Dubinsky goal looked awful for Schultz, but Green was wiped at the end of a 2:00 PP shift and couldnt get back to cover.

Dave Prior has said that goalies get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses. The Gomez goal looked stoppable but I am not ready to absolve the rest of the crew for the loss.

I think you have to stick with Jose for Game 2...you have to show confidence in your key players...he's shown he can rebound...and I am not ready to give a novice the keys to the car unless there is really no hope for Jose.

Posted by: justbrewit | April 16, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Schultz must go!

This is ridiculous. How many goals was he on the ice for... 3? He's slow, unskilled, not physical and clearly a liability out there. GM and BB's love afair with this guy must end. Shultz should be in Hershey.

What I really don't get is why he's out ther on the PK. He doesn't push anyone around in front of the net, doesn't tie up anyone's stick. What he does is create a nice big screen for the oposition. At times, he not covering a man.

I would much rather see Pothier or Alzner playing. Schultz is a mistake waiting to happen.

Posted by: honker | April 16, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Excerpt From Pierre LeBrun's interview with Jeff Schultz after the game:

PL: Jeff, that was a tough game...
JS: Yeah, the Rangers played well...
PL: You often have been critized for not playing a physical game?
JS: Yeah, it's geting annoying! This whole "checking" thing is overrated, and frankly sometimes it hurts.
PL: But you are a big player...
JS: Yes, but I think hitting people is mean. I'm much better at waving my stick back and forth really fast in the air...if you do it fast enough it makes noises like farts! Plus, I know Jose is behind me, so that pretty red light will come on and it gives the stick the strobe effect which is cool along with the farting noises.
PL: What happened on the Rangers fourth goal?
JS: Dubinsky is really fast. If I push him into the wall and stop the play...I stop. I'm so slow that if I stop it takes me half a shift to get going again. He came down the wing and I looked at my skates to make sure they were still on...I have to look...have you ever walked on ice without skates? It's cold, man...really cold! So he goes by me, and I tripped on something? I looked down and it was my jockstrap...I could tell it was mine because it had Schultz written on it.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 16, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

PK is not the issue. The PK did a good job last night. Those two PP goals were definitely on Theo. They were straight ahead with nobody in front of him. Those were shots that a decent goalie stops 9 times out of 10.

The other two goals came when Green and Schulz tripped over their own feet. Even though a decent goalie probably stops 1 of those 2 as well. Every decent shot got by Theo. On top of falling down on the game winner Schulz also did not keep the puck in the zone a couple of minutes earlier. It was like he had a major brain fart. Everyone in the place groaned.

Posted by: srobert1117 | April 16, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is everyone hitting the panic button a little early? I mean we completely outplayed them and barely lost. If we play this way for the entire series, I don't think we lose...

Posted by: Buttertown | April 16, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is screaming about bad defence. The "D" was not terrible last nite. We had two awefull line changes, and a goalie who didn't come up with any big saves. The Rangers didnt have alot of scoring oppertunties, but the cashed in on the ones they had.

It's the best of seven....I still like my chances with the Red team over a best of seven. I would not hesitate to put Varly in nets, he has russian elite team playoff expierence. He is a bigger body in net too.

I have noticed that sometime even if he doesnt see the puck, his positioning is good and the puck hits him. With JT if he doest see the puck, he is smaller it hits the net.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 16, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@lyle - great interview you should apply for the job.

@opita1 - You are right that goalies don't win games, but they do lose them, as JT did last night.

Caps D needs to be more aggresive in the neutral zone. They let the Rags get in the O zone too easily. NY can be beaten in the neutral zone and that would even help the transition game. The O played pretty well last night, just seemed that the 3rd line was kind of invisible on most of their shifts.

Posted by: ds_kelly | April 16, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@lyle

Now that's rich!!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Schultz was horrible on that last goal (and did not help on the second or third when he was in the way again). Theodore looked shaky at best and should have stopped the first goal (and some monster saves along the way would have been nice to get his confidence back up).

Bottom line is that first soft goal was a killer. Not only did it come right after we scored, it was one he should have stopped and certainly one he knew Lundqvist would have stopped. I am sure that Theo (whether he will admit it or not) had to immediately start thinking about what the media would say, what the fans would say, he probably was already imagining the next day headlines. If he makes that stop we could have seen a different game. Instead there are polls on how bad he was and people already calling for him to get the hook.

Saturday is such an important game. Theo plays well that game and we win, and I think that we will be okay. I really expect Schultz to get a suit on Saturday and think if he starts off bad or we lose that will be all of Theo we see this season.

Posted by: Kim-3 | April 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

No, keep Theodore in, give the guy a chance!!!

- Alan from Section 405 at MSG :-)

Posted by: ckck94 | April 16, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I honestly would be more worried for the Rangers. You give up 30+ shots, your outplayed and out hit, you give up bad lazy penalties as a result to being worn down and unable to keep with the Caps size and speed. Luckily and fortunately you jumped on a few D breakdowns and pretty much praised the lord for the few Theo should have had.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Who are all these people and what are they doing on the caps insider blog? Its really funny when people we haven't seen all year post things like "the caps must do blah blah blah or they'll be swept" or "the defense has been soft all year." PLEASE!

Yes Theo was awful
Yes Schultz fell down
Yes there were missed calls

HOWEVER - we still dominated the game and only lost by 1 goal. This is NOT the end of the world. Theo makes one big save and were in OT. He makes two big saves and we win.

Theo made 0 big saves...so we lost. He did not have a good game - he didn't even have an average game. If Theo comes back (or we use Varly) and he's even average - we win the series in 5 games. Even though we lost - there aren't many negative things to take away from this game.

The PP was awesome. 33% against the number 1 PK in the league?!? Seriously - I would have been happy with 1 PP goal.

The PK wasn't bad. There was one mistake (NY came with speed across the blue line and our D stepped up too late - by the time they challenged they were screening Theo) which cost us a goal. The other goal the PK allowed was a non-call by the refs combined with a decent shot. It's still a puck Theo needs to stop.

We dominated 5-5 with the exception of maybe 5-10 minutes in the second period. That's good hockey and it will win you 95% of NHL games.

The only issue we need to sort out is goaltending. I still have the Caps in 5.

Go Caps!

Posted by: patrone | April 16, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

We were 6-0 during the season when giving up 21 shots or less

Posted by: tywright | April 16, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Way too much panic. It doesn't feel good to lose, but reasonable people knew this would not be a cakewalk. The good guys will step it up in the next game, our coach will make the right adjustments, and we should be looking at a different end result Saturday. Best of seven is what it takes and I still like our team and odds.

Posted by: _Mark | April 16, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Amen @ Patrone. Henry gave up 3 goals (one short of Theo) sure we had way more shots but we can get that many shots every game. Theo has to be good. Lunquist has to be down right amazing....Every game.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The defense isn't strong enough this year. They are too soft. The Rangers have no fear driving to our net and nobody clears the crease. They let Avery part himself at the edge of the crease during the PP all night. Caps need to rethink the defense this summer and lose all the dead weight. They Caps defense is just not mean enough. Look at Anaheim's defense from 2 years ago as an example.

Posted by: madflava | April 16, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I'd probably give Theodore one more game. He was brutal last night but I'm not sure that I would put in Varlamov yet. The Rangers didn't really get too many great chances all game and still scored 4 goals and hit a few posts. If the Caps can limit them to a similar number of chances next game maybe Varlamov would be a good choice. I don't recall one positive play that Theodore made. Any good saves were bailing himself out on bad rebounds. But Varlamov still gives out some crazy rebounds so it's a tough call.

Posted by: Stu_c | April 16, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Theo is and has always been since the start of the season, a garbage goalie.

Posted by: gtydings | April 16, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I kind of miss the way it was more so last season where we would rally from behind and actually win the game. Besides the December 23rd game, I really do not have any real recollection of that happening this season. We have definitely rallied to match games a bit, (these last two games...), but lack that finishing touch, that extra push.

I think the caps did play a pretty decent game last night. One thing I really liked was their puck control, and even their patience with the puck. There were many times where they opted to gain better puck control while heading in the zone, instead of just that run and gun try to get the puck ahead and make that obvious cross ice pass when just getting in the zone, or blind passing.

Also, I liked that they adjusted their power play after being held to the perimeters (mostly) by the box system in their first two pp chances, they got a bit closer in their later power play chances (NY still had a good box system PK going, but it was a bit tighter, creating more traffic in front of Lundy....and the fact that they were closer created better rebound chances, ala semin's goal!).

Anyway, I really think that Putting Theo in next game (albeit on a tight leash) would be the right call. If you sit him after just one game, what messages would you be sending to the team....say BB puts in Varly, and it went wrong....who do you put in after that?

Game 2 should be fun!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | April 16, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Ovie needs to take more 'quality' shots - just shooting from anywhere no matter how many bodies are between him and the net doesn't get the job done - find the open man.

I think Theo will bounce back - too much pressure to put on Varly in - let's face it - a MUST WIN situation.

Shultz sucked in Hershey - he sucks in DC - he needs to sit down and let Pothier play - I don't know why BB continues to play this guy.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | April 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

good call. Throw in the towel, we are done for so stop posting and we'll see you all back here next year. You can spend your time doing something else now.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Jeez! Sounds like you guys have packed in the series already!

We have 2 things to solve. Weak goaltending and Sgt Schultz. Easy solution is to sit Schultz. We have the D to do that. No need for any call-ups.

I'm most worried about goaltending. I am very uncomfortable putting Varly in net. Playoff games are not where you want to test an inexperienced goalie. At the same time, how deep in a hole do you go before doing an experiment?

I thought the forechecking and hitting was great last night. We kept offensive pressure up in their zone. We took the puck away in the defensive zone and got it out pretty good (Poti STILL needs to find the far side of the blue line, though).

I'm most concerned about goaltending. But this is an issue we've seen before and we worked through it.

How's Johnson coming along?

Posted by: Greg S. | April 16, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

all through the game i couldn't help but notice the pillows that Lundqvist had under his jersey. what is it with his garth snow BS padding? they should measure his girth.

Posted by: changestate | April 16, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the team can take any solace in out-shooting, out-hitting or out-playing the Rangers. None whatsoever.

For one, the Rangers played a typical road game. Bend, don't break. Weather the early storm. Take advantage of your opportunites. When all else fails, depend on your goalie. That's the formula when you're on the road, boys and girls. (And besides, the out-hitting often meant Caps leaving their position to line someone up. Sure, I cheered with everyone else every time Avery got knocked down... but that's exactly what the guy wants. Worry about him... while his teammates do the damage.)

But more importantly, out-shooting and out-playing a team like we did only puts the spotlight even more on goaltending. It is so demoralizing for a team to out-play their opponent only to have your goalie fail you.

At the trade deadline, a lot of us said that as good of a job as GMGM has done -- and it's been outstanding -- he made a HUGE error not grabbing a back-up goalie with NHL and playoff experience.

He has left BB in a complete bind. Start Three-or-more and hope and pray you score more than he and the D let in... or go down 2-0 at home.

Or, start someone who has played 6 NHL games and hope and pray he's up to the task (and none of us really know if he is)... or go down 2-0 at home.

Worse, then you have to go back to an already fragile JT.

I still think we can and will win this... the Rangers are not an elite team. But really, how many series can we win after that?

Posted by: sinbin | April 16, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I wouldnt give Theo game 2. Let him sit and stew. Maybe that will keep him focused, watching from the bench. Let Varlamov get his dose of playoff experience, so that next year it isnt new to him. He might get lit up, or he might light up and catch fire. Only one way to find out. After all, at this point, after this season and his performance, we can't bank on Theodore. That much should be obvious to all. And if it isn't yet, it will be. But thats just my opinion.

Posted by: oo7 | April 16, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Geez...I must have seen a different game than a lot of you.

The Caps were not outplayed. They didn't take many stupid penalties...at least not nearly as many as the Rangers did. They controlled the flow of most of the game. The defense was solid except for a couple of Schultz's. He was a nervous clown. Besides his obvious gaffe, he made several tentative plays (or lack thereof) in the offensive zone. A confident player keeps those in the zone.

They got beat because the Rangers took advantage of the couple mistakes the Caps did make.

Theo wasn't that bad. He had good position on all four goals. He wasn't flopping out of control or out of position much. The first two Ranger goals were money shots over his shoulders. The third goal was on a screen. I didn't have a good view of the fourth, but I feel it was probably weak. However, not nearly as week as Schutlz's play just prior.

The Rangers played with the exceptions of their penalties a solid road playoff game. Keep it simple. Take advantage of mistakes.

What actually disturbed me the most was the vibe in the building. After the first half 10 minutes of the first period, it didn't seem like the Red was Rockin too much except at the exhortation of the in house entertainment (and horn guy). The Caps weren't lighting up the scoreboard and the crowd seemed Schutlz-like that their expectations weren't being met so they were tenuous (What we're not killing them?).

The only change I'd make is Pots for Sarge. Show confidence in Theo and keep him in.

Someone else mentioned getting the puck to Ovie too much. Other guys need to shoot when they've got a shot. Backstrom gave up a good PP shooting opportunity to make a tough cross ice saucer pass to Ovie that he couldn't quite corral. Backs had a good screen out front from Laich and a lane to shoot. Take it.

The Rangers aren't a better team.

Posted by: SuperG5 | April 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

While I understand one of the rights of the Fan - that is to speak one's mind and gripe while yet still loving the team, I cannot contribute in that fashion. I will forever love my Caps. Yes, MY Caps. For they are as much a part of my joyful life as is breathing! I had A wonderful time last night, win or lose. I painted my head, Got interviewed with my beautiful wife by the lovely Jill Sorrenson, made it on the Jumbotron 4 times, and had a video clip shot for an upcoming commercial, vid clip or something where I had to yell GO CAPS in my most fan appreciative way. To top it all off, I got to shake Brash's hand! ( Only bummer - didn't have a frakkin pen with me and I was wearing his jersey!)

So....

C-A-P-S! CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Good bad or indifferent, I will love em and support em! GO THEO! GO SARGE! Take em' by Storm! Unleash the FURY!

So we win in 5 instead of 6, just means I get to go to another game!

Posted by: jdhoover | April 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Oops.. darn fingers... should be 5 instead of 4.

Posted by: jdhoover | April 16, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

One more thing: Please, a moratorium on complaining about the refs. The two "penalties" on the Rangers first goal were marginal—at best. If anything, the refs were favoring us all night, a lot of ticky-tacky calls went our way. The refs had nothing to do with why we lost.

Posted by: donknutts | April 16, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

repost from last thread

Excerpt From Pierre LeBrun's interview with Jeff Schultz after the game:

PL: Jeff, that was a tough game...
JS: Yeah, the Rangers played well...
PL: You often have been critized for not playing a physiacal game?
JS: Yeah, it's geting annoying! This whole "checking" thing is overrated, and frankly sometimes it hurts.
PL: But you are a big player...
JS: Yes, but I think hitting people is mean. I'm much better at waving my stick back and forth really fast in the air...if you do it fast enough it makes noises like farts! Plus, I know Jose is behind me, so that pretty red light will come on and it gives the stick the strobe effect which is cool along with the farting noises.
PL: What happened on the Rangers fourth goal?
JS: Dubinsky is really fast. If I push him into the wall and stop the play...I stop. I'm so slow that if I stop it takes me half a shift to get going again. He came down the wing and I looked at my skates to make sure they were still on...I have to look...have you ever walked on ice without skates? It's cold, man...really cold! So he goes by me, and I tripped on something? I looked down and it was my jockstrap...I could tell it was mine because it had Schultz written on it.

Posted by: lylewimbledon
-----------------------------------------

I have been pissed of since getting home from the game last night, was in a sour mood while reading this thread but this has me laughing. So it's 0-1 time for the Caps to step up. Avery took a bit of a hammering too.

Posted by: Redwolf1 | April 16, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Sitting THEO is exactly what he needs. Here's a great scenerio: Varly starts, stands on his head, Caps win. It's the jumpstart we needed all year. OR Varly starts gm 2, sucks it up, gives up 3 goals in the 1st pd, bring Theo back in a hopefully is reserected.

Cristobol is Chicago that fun???

Posted by: bhound69 | April 16, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. This is our team and our goalie. If it's not what you want then stop watching until you are 100% satisfied. I truly believe this lineup can outmatch and win against any team in this league.
A loss is humbling and it's always what makes us stronger.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Theo needs consecutive starts. Just like we saw all year. That's when he's at his best. He's not gonna magically become unstoppable by sitting there and thinking about it. Anyone who has played goal knows this. He'll find his flow. Chill.....
and yes Erskine and Mo were machines last night. Especially on Avery.

Posted by: cappies | April 16, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Patrone put a great spin on it. Its one game.

This morning I am certainly bitter, in a bad mood, snappy, cranky, petulant, grumpy, testy, grouchy, querolous, crabby, bad-tempered, and generally cantankerous (bonus points for working that into a sentence)

Go CAPS!!

Posted by: bhound69 | April 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Listen up bloggers - CHILL!!!

It's one game, eh best of 7 series. Last year we won the first and lost the next 3, short memory.

The Caps outplayed the Rags. The big difference between the game was goaltending. Theodore is not the same caliber of Lundqvist everyone knows this. However, JT60 needs to play respectable for the Caps to win. Last night he couldn't stop anything top shelve.

Theo as he himself said played rotten. This game could have been 6-3 with the 2 posts NYR had. Good thing, Theo "fought for those inches" (Al Pacino). :P

I predict BB gives the start of game 2 to Theo. If he falters, Varly gets the next nod. So what he gets his 1st playoff start in NY - his 1st game was in Montreal. Wasn't it years ago that a young Cam Ward came in for a struggling Gerber and went on to win the Stanley Cup?

Schultz has to sit game 2. No second chances for him. Someone tell BB for me.

Other than a few other adjustments and things can be fine.

Lot of game left so lay out the panic button!

Posted by: puckman | April 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it would have been nice for Theo to stop at least two of those goals, and Varlamov looks like he's got stronger nerves and better reflexes. But frankly, if the uniforms were reversed, we'd all be raving about what wonderful, precise, accurate shots they all were, not blaming Lundqvist. And each goal had extenuating circumstances, spreading the blame; on the first, Avery interfered with Green at the blue line, allowing Gomez to break in alone; the second goal was actually deflected by Shamo; the third was enabled by the collapse of the Caps' defensemen (esp. Poti who had a lousy game); and on the fourth, Dubinsky undressed Schultz tp create a 2-on-1. Worse, the Caps got too cute on offensive, especially on the PP, endlessly and predictably trying to set up the same play (Backstrom cross-ice to OV's one-timer) instead of mucking it up in front and getting the puck to the net for messy rebounds. Had they taken care of business on the PP, they still should have won.

Posted by: jhershb | April 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad none of you panicky people who want to dump Theo for Varly are in charge of this team. Yes, he was substandard but all but one of those shots were close in and excellent, unlike most of Ovie's shots. Most of the Caps shots were not difficult to stop -- note that we did get three past Lundqvist when we worked in close and got people in the crease. The Rangers got good, close in shots because, once again, the Defense sucks, particularly Schultz, who is a substandard embarrassment and belongs in the ECHL, at best. Can someone explain to me why he is on this team, and why so many otherwise bright people defend him?

Posted by: bucknelldad | April 16, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

If Boudreau is going to make the change, the time would be in Game 2 when Varlamov would be in front of the home crowd. Another lousy game by Theo and we could be down 0-2 and heading to NY with our season on the brink. Just as big of concerns are the poor play of Schultz (weakest of our regular defensemen all season) and Poti. Replacing Schultz with Pothier should be a no-brainer, although Alzner might be an option as well. It looks like Poti is being limited by the groin injury which won't get better this season.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

rachel216-

funny you should say that about The King. I just posted that and feel the same way.

I still don't think we should panic with Theo. It's one game. Albeit a really bad game, but just a game. It's a seven game series guys. Cheer up! :o)

Posted by: 1800DrWong | April 16, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

opita1: "I will say it again, goalies do not win games, offenses do."

In playoff hockey, goalies win games all the time. Did you catch the Canucks-Blues last night? Vancouver's offense manages few chances but Luongo is a rock back there.

Posted by: donknutts | April 16, 2009 9:14 AM

Yeah, goalies don't lose hockey games, goals do! (?)
:)

Posted by: austinsteve | April 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

GMGM built this team with no veteran defenseman to mentor the younger players. The Poile teams had the young draft picks Stevens and Hatcher being mentored by Rod Langway and Larry Murphy. Both Hall of Famers. Come on GMGM, look what LA did and learn a lesson. They signed Sean O'Donnell to a two year contract. The guy is a mentor for the Kings young defense. Learn from other GM's how to build a team and not always think about youth first. Yes, this is a rant on GMGM but it is a legitimate one. You need to sprinkle veterans in with youth. Potheir and Poti are not role models. Have either one of them every won a cup? Have they ever been to the finals? Come on GMGM, you needed to add a defenseman at the deadline and you didn't. Shame on you. Not to mention the knee jerk reaction of the Theodore signing. Ty Conklin would have been a better value and we probably could have gotten him on a one year deal. Bottom line is Mcphee pulled the trigger to quickly after they lost out on Huet. What about a trade with the Hawks on July 1, 2008 to get Khabibullin. All water under the bridge but something to think about.

It's time to bring in a new GM at seasons end. There are many qualified candidates out there.

Posted by: diner99 | April 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

All this advice for BB from people who know nothing about playing the game, but "think they do" because???? Give it a rest and support your team. They finished 4th in the league! Have the most dynamic player! A record setting D-man! #2 powerplay! ETC, ETC, ETC... and you want to zero in on Schultz for an obvious blunder. Yep, he screwed up, but that will happen, and that's why we don't win 10-0 every night. You forget that the opposing team does their best to put together a winning squad. They look for forwards with puck-handling skills to undress defenders and last night THEY were successful. You "fans" pick out one player and spend the game watching for mistakes to justify your wrath. You know so little....maybe that's what makes reading these blogs so much fun...free entertainment!!!

Posted by: gonchpup | April 16, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

gonchpup:
you nailed that one.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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