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Boudreau: 'I'm Still Sort of Stunned'


(Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)


Here's some of what Coach Bruce Boudreau had say at KCI earlier today:

Q: Are you still stinging 48 hours later?
A: I'm still sort of stunned we could play as a unit as we played in Game 7. You try to search for answers. You watch the games last night [Anaheim-Detroit and Boston-Carolina], that's what the Game 7s I anticipated were. So I don't know. Everything I think of is an excuse. But I don't want to make any excuses. We just came up with a clunker at the wrong time of the year. I haven't really wanted to go watch the game again. I've gone to turn it on a few times, and I can't watch. I can't watch it.

If there's anything I look at as an excuse ...when you have to face elimination five times and have to win all five times. We remember how we were in the first and second game [when facing elimination]. And it was Pittsburgh's first chance at elimination; there's such a different feeling of determination. Maybe we were a little too complacent, thinking, 'Hey, we're going to stave off elimination again.' But it didn't feel the same as Game 6. I certainly didn't feel that way in and around the dressing room.

Q: Is there a void of leadership?
A: I'm not in the room a lot. So I don't know what's said. ... I don't want to be blasé and say, 'It just happens.' But I know that group in there and none of them want to go home. And after last night's games, they are all bummed out because they think they could have beaten Carolina or Boston. I did the same thing. I watched that game. I would turn it off and then watch, turn it off and then watch it. I got so mad thinking that we were capable of beating the next team. It also gave me hope because we're very close. I think we're a real good team now with certainly the core coming back.

Q: Was a there a lack of maturity?
A: I don't think there was a lack of maturity. I just think every year your younger players are going to take lessons and be more mature. Look at Mike [Green] being 23, and Alex [Ovechkin] being 23, and Nick [Backstrom] being 21 and [Alexander] Semin being [25]. There going to understand it more next year. This experience is going to make them better and make them go further in the future.

Q: How long does something like this stay with you?
A: Well, I'm getting over [last season's] Philadelphia loss now. Outwardly it's over now. The anger sets in. You're mad now, rather than disappointed. We have to move on and get better.

Boudreau also added that he's going to Hershey next year to see which players might be ready to make the jump to the NHL next season.

Q: You promised to details the injuries. What were they?
A: Other than ones you know -- two guys playing with a broken foot. But I think we are going to keep it in house. I'd like to sit there and say we were so banged up we had nowhere to go. But I'm sure other teams are banged up, too. All our key players had an injury. I don't know what the other teams have.

Q: What are some of the areas where the team has to get better to take the next step?
A: We were at the top of the league in power play and goals for. We want to make the discrepancy between goals for and goals against bigger. We have to get better defensively. We don't want to win every game 4-3. We have to be a little more comfortable and win games 4-1. We want to be best offensively, defensively, PP, PK. We want to use our attributes. We don't want to all of a sudden become a team that traps all day long and wins 1-0. We have too many offensive weapons to do that. We just have to make the offensive weapons a little more responsible when we don't have the puck.

I don't think it's systems. We just have to get them to play the systems a little bit better. They've learned it for a year now. I'm not in charge of the personnel. But we'll see what the personnel looks like next year.

Q: The Penguins scored a lot of goals on the doorstep; was there a lack of that with your team this season?
A: Sometimes you try to change people. And sometimes they don't want to change. Every team in the NHL would want guys who drive to the net. That's one thing coaches love. But sometimes you have guys who you know are going to play a little bit on the perimeter. It doesn't always work. But they have such great strengths in other areas. What do you do? You either go to the net because you don't mind it or you don't.

Q: What was wrong with Mike Green? Was he overwhelmed?
A: I think it a little bit has to do with the overwhelming thing. Ever since he broke the scoring record. Here's a quiet kid who played his junior hockey in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and now he's getting national spotlight everywhere he goes, the toast of the town everywhere he goes. He could make mistakes in the past and no one would notice. Every mistake he made in the playoffs was definitely magnified beyond what it was. Probably more than anyone in Game 7, it got to him a little bit. He probably wasn't as good as we needed him to be at that point. He's a young man that will be bounce back that has a good chance of winning the Norris Trophy. He's the foundation, with Alex, of this team.

Q: Will Green need surgery?
A: I don't know. I know he's got some things wrong with him. But I don't know if surgery is one of things that's going to help him.

Q: At the end of Game 5 (Evgeni Malkin's OT winner off of Tom Poti), was Shaone Morrisonn hurt? Is that why Sergei Fedorov went on as a defenseman?
A: Yes. He got hurt in the third period. He tried it, but in overtime he couldn't go. That's why Feds jumped [over the boards]. Unfortunately, Feds was the closest one because we had had him playing defense at that point. Still he did a good job. He poke-checked Malkin and it went back on Malkin's stick and then the unfortunate Tom Poti incident.

Q: How is your relationship with Michael Nylander and what is his status on the team?
A: That's a really tough question. It's been a really tough year for Mike, no doubt. I feel for him. I'll sit down and have a talk with him and see what he thinks. But the best way to answer is that it was a very tough year for him to keep his focus with all the stuff that was going around. We'll take it from there.

Q: Will Nylander have a tough time coming back and playing here?
A: I don't know what Michael's thoughts are or what George's thoughts are yet, so it's too early for me to comment on that.

Q: How do you explain all the undisciplined penalties?
A: I don't know how you explain them. ... It's a concern because we've got guys who can play just as hard without taking penalties. We have to address that with guys we feel take a lot of undisciplined penalties, because it's not that they haven't been told or warned or all of the above.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 15, 2009; 4:17 PM ET
 
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Comments

Q: Will Green need surgery?
A: I don't know. I know he's got some things wrong with him. But I don't know if surgery is one of things that's going to help him.


Uh oh.

Posted by: panic13 | May 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

interesting Q&A. Thanks Tarik.

I'm eager to see how the nylander situation plays out.

Posted by: jogabonito | May 15, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What player had the most points per minute played in the NHL?

Crosby? NO.
Malkin? NO.
Datysuk? NO.

Oh I know, Ovechkin? NO.

It was Sasha Semin. Semin for all of his many quirks is a offensive juggernaut at 25. I have no idea what some of you people here want but trading the most skilled player on our team because you think he is ___fill in the blank___, is just plain unintelligent.

While we're at it, lets trade Green. Actually, lets trade our team for the Rangers.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting non-thoughts on Nylander...

Posted by: Greg S. | May 15, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

dragging this oevr from the last thread:

a couple of things posted at the Wash Times that I haven't seen here:

Green is unlikely to need surgery. The major injury is to his AC joint in his shoulder.

Kozlov wishes to remain a Cap (did you ever think you'd see the day where people didn't want to leave?), but won't make any decisions about his future until he talks to his family

"Poti said he hasn't heard from anyone at USA Hockey about being invited to their summer Olympic camp, which will be in Chicago. He hinted that his relationship with the organization is not great (he's not alone in that regard)." Ummmmm, anyone got to scoop on this?!?!

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

another tidbit, from Puck Daddy (who may or may not be hitting the pipe based on stuff like this: "One thing is certain: Green's level of, and commitment to, fitness needs to improve for next season." Um, really? He's one of the best conditioned guys ont he team)

"McPhee talked about trades more than free agent poaching as a way to improve the team."

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Tarik-


Boudreau also added that he's going to Hershey next year to see which players might be ready to make the jump to the NHL next season.


Should read going to Hershey THIS WEEKEND. not next year lol.

Posted by: cocorules | May 15, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all of the coverage today!

Posted by: CapsChick | May 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Again....wonderful season boys!!
It was a pleasure to watch this team play. Tarik, Thank You for all the great coverage and writing!!
October can't get here soon enough.

Posted by: j3rockstar | May 15, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

great comments by BB, thoughtful of his players' feelings. He's a good guy in my book.

Of the old guys, I think Koz is the most useful. Feds is great but he doesn't quite have the legs anymore. Maybe bring him in as an assistant coach more than anything.
I'd consider Koz as 2nd line center, a bridge to Gustaffson, unless we can get someone in a deal.

Down in Hershey, would def give Osala, Giroux long looks. I think Fehr also should get nudged up to a top line for the entire season. (Esp with Koz at center...)


Posted by: WritingLight | May 15, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep saying this until I'm blue in the face......GMGM(or his scouting staff)doesn't HAVE A CLUE on First-round draft picks other than the obvious.Eminger,Sutherby,Gordon(first-rounders aren't supposed to be 4th line checkers),Schultz(ahead of Green),and WORST OF ALL Eric Fehr over Ryan Getzlaf(a goal-scorer with an attitude of doing ANYTHING to win).Until Ted( a loyal-type owner) brings in someone who can build a PLAYOFF-TYPE team,we'll continue to have "pretty-boy" scorers with all the highlight reel footage for the nightly sport center channels during the regular season,but "too soft" for the playoffs(the REAL SEASON).Look at Scott Walker,a guy who stood up for his teammate in game 5,and ends up scoring the OT winner in Boston.Yes,we need the "pretty boy" scorers,but we also need the Matt Cookes(GMGM refused to resign him),Scott Walker types if we ever intend to go further(and I haven't even started to talk about our lack of physical Dmen who would rather hit you with their pillows than their bodies,sticks,and yes fists).

Posted by: roccky | May 15, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Writing, you want to ditch Feds because of speed, but put Koz as 2nd-line center - wow. Federov still wins loose pucks way more than Kozlov ever does.

I don't think Kozlov gets nearly enough out of his size, and I don't see him as a top 2 line NHL center - and no coach that I'm aware of ever has, either.

Posted by: govtimbo | May 15, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

This is why I really like BB. He cares so much and isn't shy about it. I felt exactly the same as he did about last years game 7 (that lingered like a stale fart all season and may never be completely exorcised from my brain) and last night's game sevens (great games, but oh so depressing). Game 1 of Canes-Pens will be really hard to watch, too. Don't know if I will or not.

Two ways to interpret the Nylander comments;

1) BB likes the guy and wants him back, but he has some personal stuff going on that we don't know about and that's is his excuse for a crappy season, or 2) He really wants Nyls off his team and is being as diplomatic as he can without coming out and saying he wants him back.

@ WritingLight

Barring significant improvement in camp and during next season, I don't see Fehr as a top line player at this point.

Posted by: JS26121820 | May 15, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Not Giroux. He had a number of tries here this year and couldn't finish. In Hershey the last few games (yes, been there, watched him) he seems more interested in admiring his latest shot or pass than being ready for the next play and gets planted in the ice for power plays. Seems to think there is an "I" in team. He is a UFA and stated (paraphrased here)wants to be where he has a real chance to play with the big boys next year. So may not even be willing to re-sign unless he's really convinced he'll be on a first or second line. Osala - yes! He goes to the net very well and will crash and bang.

Posted by: Varly | May 15, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Katie, Lindsay and everyone else: Great work this year on the blog. I am addicted to it...

Posted by: MeinMann | May 15, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Really,the coverage if fanastic here. I love the summer. But,I really am going to miss the games and all the news and updates about the Caps. Rooting for the Canes for sure,this next series. Hope they bang the heck out of the Pens.

Posted by: ridgely1 | May 15, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Just bought my tickets to go see the Bears tomorrow! Very excited, can't wait to see our boys in action!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 15, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Green doesn't need surgery. He needs rehab. Not the physical kind. The 12 step kind.

Posted by: markfromparkville | May 15, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

jmu and anyone else comming to Hershey tomorrow is party on the plaza starting at 4:30. a band and refreshments will be there.

Posted by: cocorules | May 15, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Ken Beatrice ("432-WMAL...THAT'S how you reach us!") used to say that to win a Stanley Cup you need two gunners, a solid defense, a hot goalie...and a little luck! I still agree with him.

Not to take anything away from the Penguins, they were the better team during this past series. And, it's still noteworthy that our team was decimated with injuries.

Those injuries took their toll on team depth. They also impaired our ability to perform...to forecheck, backcheck and protect our goalie.

I hope everyone is able to heal this summer--including Nylander, whom I had suspected still hadn't recovered from his shoulder injury. For everyone else, they better stay in shape! It's going to be a war during training camp!!

Posted by: Terptwin | May 15, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Look at Scott Walker,a guy who stood up for his teammate in game 5,and ends up scoring the OT winner in Boston.

Scott Walker is the exact sort of dirty (and not in an "oh, he's willing to go to the net and score goals and create screens" sort of way) that I never want to see on the Caps. I have no respect for guys like him.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

@Red Birdie

Thanks for the update on Schultz's injury. Any news about Eric Fehr's injury?

Posted by: Terptwin | May 15, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Graham Mink seems to have the qualities of a power forward. If only we could get him to improve his skating!

Posted by: Terptwin | May 15, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

For everyone pointing to Matt Cooke, remember he wasn't brought back because we had already given Bradley a new deal, a guy considered to play the same type of role as Cooke. The validity of that is open to debate, but Bradley's contributions both in the goals he scored to spark this team in the 1st round and the cog in the machine of that 3rd line helped propel us as far as we got. I did love Cooke when he was here and it was a numbers crunch, we stuck with the guy we knew about.

It's hard to know the true impact of the injuries on the team, but having been there to see Game 7 the team just looked like it didn't have anything left to give. Some of that is bad luck I'm sure with the injuries, some guys might need to take extra steps to avoid that type of thing for the "2nd season".

Will have to see what moves are made, it's interesting GMGM has claimed he isn't going to buy out Nylander. I want to see what cuts are going to be made to give us room under the cap, as getting Semin and Backstrom new deals are essential in my mind when looking at the next 3 to 5 years.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | May 15, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Ken Beatrice also said - wise man he was - injuries ARE a fact.
So unless any1 of us has had a job that requires ppl smashing into a injured body part for 25 minutes while running back & forth, I'd say our injuries affected the series for sure.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 15, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Terptwin, no. If I see something elsewhere, I'll post. I am worried, though, that it could be a recurrence of that nearly career ending back injury he had.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

cocorules, thanks! I was trying to decide what time to drive up there. Guess I'll make it a bit earlier than I planned!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 15, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse


What player had the most points per minute played in the NHL?

Crosby? NO.
Malkin? NO.
Datysuk? NO.

Oh I know, Ovechkin? NO.

It was Sasha Semin. Semin for all of his many quirks is a offensive juggernaut at 25. I have no idea what some of you people here want but trading the most skilled player on our team because you think he is ___fill in the blank___, is just plain unintelligent.

While we're at it, lets trade Green. Actually, lets trade our team for the Rangers.


Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

No one is going to trade Semin for a bag of pucks. But let's say you can trade him to Nashville for David Legwand and their 2nd round pick. Would you do that? I would. Then you turn around and sign Knuble and Upshal and you have the grit that you need. Yes, Semin is an amazing talent but he has an enigmatic side that may continue to hurt his maturation and overall potential.

Posted by: diner99 | May 15, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

RANTDINO:

since you know EVERYTHING, how about coming up with something better than whining about injuries, JT and officiating for why the Caps are out!!!! you have basically done that all season, mr. statistics guru.

seriously man, your anaylsis is total BS!!! dont change a thing, correct?? that is total BS and i think there are more people on this blog that think change is needed than your completely MORONIC talk about how perfect the Caps currently are. seriously man, WTF makes you such an expert?? where is your blog??? are you a professional writer?? shut your chump mouth, you whiny punk. your opinions are about as valid as anybody else here (including trolls who are more on spot than you).

you are a D-bag and I for one get sick of you self-inflated superiority complex. by the way, how tall are you, about 5'2"??? napoleon complex, indeed!!!

Posted by: doughless | May 15, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse


ROFLMAO! excellent!

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 15, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I know everyone hates him but what about the possibility of trying to sign Sean Avery? If he played like he did in most of the games against us, he would provide the net presence the Caps so desperately need. I could picutre him on a line with Ovie and Backstrom where Avery would be the guy would get the puck out from behind the net and when the puck was in the offensive zone he would be the guy in front of the net. He would also provide more defensive zone responsibility over say Kozlov or others.

Avery is obviously a risk with his idiotic behavior and his penchant for acting like a jacka*s. However, I think he only signed a 1 year contract with the Rangers(I could be wrong on that) and adding him or someone like him might be worth the risk.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to check, but I'm fairly sure that when the Rangers claimed Avery off of waivers, they are also committed to his contract, which was several years.

Never mind that Avery is a known locker room problem. And Bruce already had his fill of coaching Avery in the minors.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

ok, found it. Avery is signed with the Rangers through 2011/2012. he made 3.5m this year, and will make 4m for the remaining 3. I know the Stars payed half his remaining salary once the Rangers picked him up, but I'm not sure if that's the case for the remaining years on the contract.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Nyls has had back problems all year. Nothing is wrong with his shoulder. I am not sure if BB knows abouot the chronic back issue but I have to assume he does. His shoulder is fine. He can get good care in Sweden this summer. Otherwise, he is very fit, a very nice guy and very determine.
He doesn't fit well in the current system and he and BB both have lost confidence in his (own) play.
I am sure that he will work hard in the off season to and hope to get his confidence back. We will see.

Posted by: atybat | May 15, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The only guy I can recall BB expressing consistent displeasure with regarding irresponsible play.

Other "starters" playing to their potential is great, but I get frustrated in the appearance that he seemingly isn't willing to bring up people to give them a chance to prove they can do a better job than someone playing to their potential, beyond injury call ups.

Posted by: austinsteve | May 15, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie - AC joint? Oh gods, I feel for Greenie. I've HAD that particular injury. It hurts like a ringtailed slang term for a female dog that I can't use on here. And I'm nobody's athlete. When I did my AC joint, I had trouble just holding my arm in a neutral position. There's no WAY I could have done anything half as physical as play hockey! WOW. Poor baby! :(

Posted by: irockthered | May 15, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

oops the "irresponsible play" sentence should say:

"There's only one guy I can recall BB expressing consistent displeasure with irresponsible play."

But that's less frustrating to me than the second part

Posted by: austinsteve | May 15, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

irockthered, OUCH! Its not an injury I've ever heard of. What exactly is an AC joint? jesus, though, it sounds painful. I've dislocated twice and that was bad enough.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

legwand? knuble? upshall? for semin? que? I don't want any part of that pipe.

IF bb is on the up and up, I'm more than a little curious why he doesn't go into the locker room much, why he is unsure about nylander, etc

Can't say the q & a made me feel any good.

Posted by: oo7 | May 15, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Are there any players who are similar to Avery who will be available on the free agent market or who may be avaiable to get via a trade?

Also, the need for a quality #2 center is a pretty big need(with D being #1). Fedorov is a good player but might be more of a 4th liner now who can fill in for some shifts higher up when needed. I would like him to return, but a a significantly lower price. No more than $2 million.

Could Antropov be a possible answer there(just a coincidence with 2 rangers being named). Obviously not if he requires a huge pay day. But if he could be had for the $4 million Fedorov was making, that may be an upgrade.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

"Green is unlikely to need surgery. The major injury is to his AC joint in his shoulder." - This folks is a shoulder separation. While surgery is most likely not needed, the shoulder is unusable and needs to be immobilized for a while using a sling. Mike Green played like a 1 arm paper hanger - it was a shame he was so badly injured and it definitely hurt the Caps.
Here's a lot more on this injury and its treatment. http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/shouldersurgery/a/separation.htm

There's probably also a mental factor going on with Green as well - 23 is pretty young to deal with all the attention and adversity, and it can take a toll. Hopefully the Caps will get him the necessary support - for the shoulder and the head.

As for the so-called mystery for why the Caps played so poorly in game 7, here's a pretty simple explanation. They play hard for 10 minutes, then a questionable penalty gets called (again), Pittsburgh gets a goal on a double redirect that lands on Crosby's stick and down 1-0, then 8 seconds later poof, Varly blows the save, down 2-0. The guys went through stuff like this in the regular season with Theo and it just sucked all the confidence and fight out of all of them. Sometimes you can only play at heroic levels for so long before you are simply overwhelmed. The Caps did this for game after game after game with Pittsburgh. It happens, it's very unfortunate to happen in game 7, but this explains how the entire team could collapse and not just a few guys. Plus all the injuries were the last straw. All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put the Capitals together again in Game 7. But they'll come back stronger in 2009-2010. It's a painful growth experience and with a few right moves by GMGM, we'll rise to the next level.

Posted by: remy117 | May 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

remy, I agree. On everything.

Green also seems like a real emotional guy. Not a total basketcase like Semin can be at time, but certainly not like Backstrom, who never seems to get flustered, nor does he feed off of everything like Ovie (but then again, who does?). He's also hinted a couple times that he's having a hard time with the off ice attention, that everyone wants to be his friend because he's Mike Green the Hockey Star, not because he's Mike Green, the guy with Gary the Bear as a good luck charm.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Katie, and Lindsay: Another season done too soon. Thanks for the great coverage this season and making Caps Insider a daily must read. Thanks for stepping it up during the playoffs. (I still can't believe the amount of WaPo coverage for the Caps.) The online chats during the games were fun to read. Thanks to Dan for his blog entries and different views on the team and its fans. Mike Wise's article on Brash was the most moving sports related article that I have ever read. His online debates were also a cool feature. And Tom Boswell writing about the Caps was awesome. While some may think only bloggers are the way to go, mainstream journalists have the time and access to bring information to readers that no part time blogger can and having WaPo embracing the internet to the extent it has with the new features during its playoff coverage has been amazing.

Posted by: NovaCath | May 15, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I would never in a million years, with a gun pointed at my head and the threat of having to listen to Celine Dion for the remainder of my life trade Semin for Legwand and 2nd round pick.

"Yes, Semin is an amazing talent but he has an enigmatic side that may continue to hurt his maturation and overall potential."

Even if he doesn't mature at all and this is the Semin we get, his overall potential would be rated as a top 20 winger in ALL OF HOCKEY.

This so reminds me of last off season when people wanted Green run out of town. People wanted jokes like Wade Redden and John Michael-Liles. Now people want Legwand instead of Semin. Amazing.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Katie, Lindsay,

Enjoyed the coverage of the Caps. Thanks for all the news; etc. Better luck to the Caps next season.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine its got to suck having to make that adjustment. We saw Mike at Kettler last Sunday, he seemed like a nice guy rather than an arrogant tool like some other athletes of his caliber. I would have been annoyed to come out of Kettler on my way to the airport and gotten surrounded, but he was really kind to the kids. I find entertainment in watching Semin. True his emotions run deep, but therein lies the passion. He cracks me up when his emotions flare. We can't all be Backstrom cool like that. PS Ovie, if you are reading the blog again, have a good summer speeding all over Russia!

Posted by: kmr2r | May 15, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Semin made drastic strides this season from last.

Does he still make stupid stick penalties? YES.

Does he not shoot enough? YES.

Is he more defensively responsible this year than last? YES, he was 11th in +/- for forwards.

I can not believe I need to defend Semin, not after the year he had.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

the most entertaining thing about Semin is watching him yell at the refs, which results in some idiot ref having a stunned look on his face that just screams "You speak English?! And what did you just say about my mother?!"

It was amusing to happen to stumble upon Semin, Kozlov, Fedorov and some Caps staffer at six flags last year. I guess Semin dropped his phone on one of the roller coasters and was upset-ish. Fedorov went back to go get it, Kozlov's trying to explain things to the staffer, Semin looks like he just lost his lunch money, and the staffer is telling Kozlov "But Sergei is going to go get it, it'll be fine!" Kozlov is stuck going "Yes, but...." I have no idea what is so special about that phone.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they say that everyone is injured during the playoffs but it certainly sounds like the Caps were in worse shape, injurywise than the Pens. Poti with a broken foot, Green, with his shoulder, Ovi with an injured wrist and groin, Erskine with a broken foot, and Semin with an injured thumb. Of course, there are no clues as to what's wrong with Semin's thumb, besides injured. Haven't heard if it's a jammed thumb, a broken thumb or what.

Overall, there were things that were better this year. The Caps went one Round further in the playoffs. It's still maddening that Carolina who finished behind us in the division is going further in the playoffs. And Pittsburgh .... must admit I like them even less than before. They're a good team but dislike their cast of characters.

Flash started off great but tailed off due to his pneumonia. No strength or stamina. Pneumonia is a serious illness. He still had a much better season than last year.

Fehr was better than last year even though he had a lousy playoff series and ended up injured.

Green and Semin were both much better players than last year. With the injuries, Green couldn't do much in the playoffs. Get well, Mike. Semin was a much better player this year. He actually was playing defense this year and had a wonderful Plus/Minus rating for the regular season. He did well against the Rangers but was hurting too much to do anything against Pitt. Yes, he sometimes has stretches when he might seem out of it but he seems to be a resiliant sort who bounces back. He actually had two important assists for Game 1 of the Pitt series and this was AFTER Orprick slashed him in the face (and he needed stitches).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Semin would've had 103 points had he played all season. Crosschecks to the back aren't that fun.

3 players had 100 points this season. 3 out of 420, and you want to trade him Legwand who had 42 points in 73 games and was -3.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

Join the club, in the need to defend Semin in spite of the year he had. I'm sure it would have been even better if not for the injuries he had during the season. The Plus/Minus rating would likely have been better. And of course more goals and assists.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Legwand .0295 points per minute played
Fehr .0364 points per minute played

Semin .0662 points per minute played...

My point... I wouldn't trade Fehr for Legwand.

Trading Semin for Legwand = trading Semin for a bag of pucks that will cost you $5.0M a year.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

While we're at it, lets trade Green. Actually, lets trade our team for the Rangers.


Posted by: JSchon

Great idea! Lets trade our team for the Pens. They can get SC this year.
But having Pens as my team? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Randolph2 | May 15, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

Agree with your calculations. Once someone complained about Semin's inconsistency this year and then I went and calculated the number of games he played where he had a point of some sort (goal or assist) and it was really high, like over 80%.

In some ways, Semin reminds me of my first child. They're about a year apart in age and she had been accused of "lack of focus". (Plus, they're both Pisces with moon in Pisces.)

Then again, I guess I share similarities with Semin as well. My passions and emotions run deep.

I love Ovi. He actually shares similarities with a couple of close friends from work I've had over the years. But I probably identify more with Semin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

remy117

I agree that the second goal unhinged them. Everything collapsed after this. But why should a good team become completely undone ten minutes into the game and, in fact, the most critical game in the playoffs this far? To me it's like living beyond your means on credit. You can go on for so long until debts catch up and the bubble breaks. It shows how much "beyond their means" they were extended. You can't keep winning by one goal when you are outshot and outplayed. Some foundational piece is missing--whether it's strength in certain positions or maturity or a lot of things.

And how can BB say they don't lack maturity? For one thing, the team's inability to reign themselves and stay out of the penalty box IS a sign of immaturity and lack of discipline.

I am absolutely sure that they will emerge a better team. But I think it takes a bit more fundamental re-thinking than just fine-tuning or excuses.

I do not buy the injury bit. I bet every single team in NHL, especially in the playiffs, is struggling with similar injuries.


Posted by: caraveli | May 15, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

does he not shoot enough? That I'm not sure about. He took 223 shots on goal this year, 52nd in the NHL. Keep in mind, everyone who finished ahead of him played more games than he did (a mere 62). Actually, the only player ranked higher than him that played less than 70 games? Mike Green. And I'm not fully convinced that Mike Green is human.

Just to give you an idea, for Semin, that works out to 3.59 shots per game. Green got off 3.57. Ovie gets off an absolutely mindblowing 6.68 shots per game. Eric Staal finished second in shots on goal (in 82 games) and averaged a 4.53 per game. Zetterberg, a noted sniper, finished 5th in shots on goal playing in 77 games. He averaged 4.01 shots per game. (which just gives you an idea of the absolute insane shot making ability Ovie has)

So, had Semin stayed healthy and played every game, that works out to 294 shots, which would make him a top 15 player (294 would rank him 8th, but most guys seemed to be averaging about 77 games, so figure their production would go up, too, just not as dramatically as Semin. So top 15 seems like a fairly accurate estimate because I don't feel like sitting here and figuring the math on the top 52 shot-takers in the NHL)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I was in a discussion with a co-worker. A fellow co-worker had made a major mistake but he wasn't being castigated for it. My one co-worker compared the other co-worker to teflon, in other words being impervious to criticism.

Of course, if I had made a similar mistake, I'd be castigated (or even fired). I'm probably more like velcro.

Related to the Caps, it seems that there are some people who seem to be relatively immune to criticism (or the criticism of them is relatively mild.) Guys like Laich and Poti.

Others are always criticized. Semin, Schultz, and, these days, Green.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

294 shots @ 15.4% = 45 goals, tied for 3rd in the league.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl

Have you now graduated from JMU or do you still have more time left?

I have some friends, whose son was scheduled to graduate from there as a music major.

Enjoy the trip to Hershey for the playoffs. Maybe some of their boys can stick with our team (and show us how to win playoff games.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Criticizing Schultz for the most part is justified and is made easier with guys like Alzner/Carlson/Godfrey in the pipeline.

Criticizing Semin and Green to the point of suggesting we trade them away is baffling.

I love to bash Tom Poti. I won't do it here, now, but Poti is a joke.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

oh, Semin also finished with a +25, which is making my jaw drop. (Green had +24. But isn't he like the worst D man in the league or something?)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli, @remy117

Yes, the second goal seemed to unhinge that Caps in Game 7. They seemed to run out of gas.

Remy, are you in Section 117 by some chance? No relation to Jerry Remy, the Red Sox announcer by any chance. (A fair number of Remys had Americanized it to Ramey in this country.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Green is horrible, most top 3 candidates for the Norris are awful defenders.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

I had noticed that Green and Semin had very similar stats this year. Especially amazing when both missed significant parts of the season.

They were our best Plus/Minus guys. Not bad for a defenseman who supposedly is our worst at defense. And a forward who supposedly does not play defense.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

294 shots @ 15.4% = 45 goals, tied for 3rd in the league.

I was just going to post that Semin finished 16th in goals, again on a very abbreviated season. Of the top 30 goal scores, he played the least, and only one other (Greenie) played less than 70 games.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

JSchon, why the Poti hate? (I've read all about "What Wrong With Poti?" at the various blogs, but can't quite get behind it.)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Is anybody else concerned about Varly's breakdown at the 7th game? Not that I changed my mind about his enormous talent or that I don't think he is the best option we have!..And not to imply that goalies, even the best, don't have bad nights. It is just that it was the most critical game in the series, and this was his second breakdown in 7 games. Can he cut the pace and pressure?

He, himself, said something about having to play too many games and being tired. But that's what being a number one goalie, and playing through the playoffs, means.

I am not placing as much emphasis on the age as everyone else does, either. Crosby, after all, is the same age, isn't he? I am pretty sure he is 21. And he is absolutely consistent, reliable, focused and mature.

I am not worried. Just a tiny red flag went up, given the question the coaches had raised about his stamina and, I guess, all of your stories about Jim Carey.

Posted by: caraveli | May 15, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

confused - um, theo you might be the only one who's confused. 4 goals in a playoff game to a team that scores 4 in a week...ok, not all his fault, but still.
Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 15, 2009 3:55 PM |

By that logic we should be worried about the 8 in the last crucial games by Varly.
It's all about he understudy for DC fans apparently.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 15, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

well, i would say that giving up 8 goals in two games to the pens is a little bit more understandable than 4 in one game to the rags. particularly since theo's goals were given up in game 1 of the playoffs and varlys were in his 12th and 13th games in three weeks. but if you want to argue that theo was better than varly, be my guest.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 15, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

conditioning and endurance was always a concern with Varly. That's why the Caps wanted him to come to North America and play a couple of years in Hershey and get used to that grind. Unfortunately, he got hurt while in Hershey, and he was thrown into the shark tank to save the playoffs. He was bound to "breakdown" at some point. He was supposed to have another 18-24 months before being the everyday NHL goalie.

I'm not worried. I'm not on the "Varly is Jesus!" bandwagon, either, but I don't think this signals the beginning of the end for the kid.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

It probably is time to let some of the kids from the farm move up to our blue line.

I'm not sure who we should get rid of. Morrisonn is a free agent. I know he didn't have that great of a season but stepped it up for the playoffs. He's still not that old -- 26.

Schultz is a free agent. He's relatively young (23). In spite of all the criticism, he was actually our 2nd best D-Man in Plus/Minus. Yes, Schultz was 2nd in that department. So, I'm wondering if it's premature to give up on Schultz.

But who can we give up so we can let the kids play. Alzner is probably ready now. Is Carlson ready yet? I've heard great things about him so far.

Poti is 32. While he is providing leadership, would he be our best trade bait (to acquire a gritty forward.) Pothier is an inspirational story on his comeback but he is also 32.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

My dislike of Tom Poti is well documented and it started last year. He is suppose to be veteran of the group, yet he makes some of the most egregious mistakes. He is suppose to be a puck moving offensive minded defender, in 123 games played with the Caps he has 5 goals and 37 assists. He isnt the puckmover we brought him for and he is a mediocre defensemen at best and to boot he is paid $3.5M.

On Crosby's 3rd goal in game 2, Poti was playing sword fight with Crosby instead of knocking him out of the way. Watch the replay, Poti actually trips himself and falls over.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli @redBirdie,

Yes, in the playoffs, Varlamov has played more games more frequently than he has in the regular season.

There was never any question about the kid's talent. Just his endurance.

On the comparable age of Crosby and Varlamov -- I've heard it takes more time to develop a goalie than it does a forward. How many first string goalies are there in the NHL? Okay, Steve Mason but that's about it. Cam Ward of Carolina is fairly young -- 25. He was thrown in the playoffs at a critical time, did well but has had some struggles in his life.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, Just graduated last weekend with a business degree, although I'm working on campus for the time being. Thought about changing my "name", but figured it was a waste of time trying to come up with something new when everyone "knows" me as JMU.
As to your point about "team goats", I agree, it's life. I think "Mr. Consistency" guys like Laich & Backs make it hard to criticize them. If they have an off night, the chances are good the rest of the team did too, so its easier to overlook their mistakes. Schultz, on the other hand, will probably be criticized until he eats a small child at center ice during warm-ups, then kills 8 guys without taking a single penalty. Semin might take an entire season without a single PIM and 50 goals.
I'm not saying I've never had a single negative thought about any of our guys, but most of them are just head-in-hands, "Oh, come on! Don't be such an idiot." moments that are less rage-filled than my 15 minute morning commute.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 15, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie: Good. You are boosting my faith in him. "I'm not worried...I don't think this signals the beginning of the end for the kid." It was a vey unfortunate ending of the season for him as well.

Posted by: caraveli | May 15, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Look, I'd rather keep Schultz and dump Poti. But I understand the criticizing of Schultz. He is at times the most frustrating Cap. What I'm trying to say is his mistakes are most glaring. He is young but you can't keep every young player.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

You are also comparing a generational prospect in Crosby to Varlamov.

Thats like comparing Ovechkin to Corey Perry.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl

Semin would essentially have to put up MVP type numbers to be immune from criticism.

While Schultz is no where near a favorite of mine, I think he is hated out of proportion to his deeds. He did have the second best Plus/Minus for our defenders.

I got downright offended when fans were actually happy to see him injured back in November when he broke his finger. And then when he was injured in Game 12 versus the Rangers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Schultz is a Pisces also. Is there a correlation somewhere?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

I know we can't keep every young player. For the record, I'm torn as to what defenders would be best to keep or go.

Morrisonn is relatively young but he's a free agent. Usually, he's gone to arbitration. So there's a good chance that he'll be gone next year.

Schultz is young but he can be frustrating to people.

I figure Poti could be used a trade bait. I don't know about Pothier. He's come back from his concussion. Are we best off keeping or using him as trade bair.

Green, we'll keep, of course.

I assume we'll keep Jurcina and Erskine.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie - This is the joint between your clavicle (collar bone) and acromion (the topmost point on your scapula). There are several different types of separation; mine only required several months of chiropractic care to fix, but others do require surgery.

If you want detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acromioclavicular_joint

It's pretty accurate.

Posted by: irockthered | May 15, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Well we arent trading Poti.

The definites are...

Green
Erskine
Poti

I'm almost positive they will resign Jurcina.

Green
Erskine
Poti
Jurcina

My gut tells me they will resign Schultz.

Green
Erskine
Poti
Jurcina
Schultz

That leave 1 spot for Alzner and any FA.

If I had the keys to the car...

Green/Komisarek
Alzner/Jurcina
Erskine/Morrisonn

Trade Poti and his contract.
Do not resign Schultz.
Sign Mo back for 1 more year to hold Carlsons spot.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

ooops I forgot about Pothier. Pothier in for Mo.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75 - You're right; in general, goaltenders and defensemen mature into their positions later than forwards do.

Posted by: irockthered | May 15, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

said: "...required several months of chiropractic care to fix.".

Chiropractic care to fix an AC joint? several months of care? I can't stop laughing... Next time, go see a good physical therapist.

Posted by: atybat | May 15, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

Would agree with you on your assessment of them resigning Schultz (due to $ and BB's faith in him). Not entirely sure that Juice will be resigned but:

So:
Green
Erskine
Poti
Jurcina
Schultz
Alzner
Pothier

Carlson will need some time at Hershey so not considering him at all.

End of the day...too many. Hence I sense a trade. Like the idea of Komisarek. Cannot say entirely familiar with his game but think he may be the physical presence we are lacking from the Dcorp. You think?

Posted by: ralCapsFan | May 15, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

markfromparkville: Your accusation that Green needs a 12 step program is a pretty serious statement. I get tired of people like you acting like you know something that everyone doesn't. If he's been seen at bars, SO WHAT, he a young kid. His performance this season does not reak of someone dependent on alcohol or drugs. What a stupid stated.

@JSchon: The play you are talking about between Poti and Crosby is of course Crosby's 3rd goal at the tail end of Game 2. If you still have it on tape watch it again. That was the play that Kunitz cross-checked Varly thus leaving the net wide open. Poti was actually playing goaltender because Varly was trapped out of position. If Varly were in place Poti could have just put a body on Crosby, IMO, he didn't want to push Crosby out, leaving the net open for someone else to poke the puck into an open net. Just my opinion.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

agree w/ JSchon. semin is amazing.

Posted by: am_jim | May 16, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

from what I have seen as a STH for the Bears. Someone mentioned about Mink, I honestly believe he is the reason the Bears have scored so much because he does not shy from going to the net looking for tips, rebounds,and screens. Osala is starting to get better at that also. Carlson is just a freaking a beast, he has long reach, heavy slapshot, and hardly ever makes a bad pass. I think Alzner is good but I think Carlson is actually better.

Posted by: cocorules | May 16, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Putting a good defensive core together is not as easy as just finding the toughest, crease-clearing player available. Mobility, passing accuracy, etc... are just as important. The "Schultz" bashers do not seem to recognize this. Their take "... he's big, so he should be out there thumping people". No doubt, he is conservative in that area, but rarely does he take himself out of the play by ending up in a pile of body parts. While we are all entitled to our opinions and enjoy bouncing ideas off each other, I am certain the coaching staff does everything to maximize player output. They know best. Example: We know BB schools Schultz about how he expects him to play the position. Perhaps he wants him to be more of a puck mover than a hitter. Aside from Nylander, Schultz has seen the brunt of hateful comments, especially after his gaff against the Rangers. Sure, it was costly, but after finding out his play had been compromised by a cracked rib kind of puts things in a different perspective. None the less, many Caps "fans" spewed their disdain his way. When I read negative comments from the Caps faithful, I only hope the players have no time to read them as well, and if they do, have the confidence to consider the source and not take anything from it.

Posted by: gonchpup | May 16, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

Agree with you on the fact that it's hard to put together a good defensive corps.

Schultz is certainly bashed out of proportion to his misdeeds. Granted, he made an error in the Rangers game. But the fact that he was playing with a cracked rib. In spite of all criticism, he was our D-man with the second best Plus/Minus. Yes, Schultz (after Green). Not Poti, Morrison, Jurcina, Erskine, or Pothier. It was Schultz.

It brings back memories. There was once another defenseman on the Caps who was off criticized. The Caps eventually got rid of him and he bacame a hall of famer. That's right -- Larry Murphy of "whoop whoop" fame.

I take it you were a real gonchar fan until he left the team. BTW, gonchar is Russian for potter. The Russian equivalent of Harry Potter would be Genrikh Gonchar.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Time for me to join a 12 Steps program -- Caps Fan Anonymus. Overcome my addiction!

Normally, I move on to baseball and swim team once the hockey season is over. Except that the baseball teams (Nats and O's) are terrible. And we're at the end of the line for swim team anyhow.

Anyway, see everyone next year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are a very young team. Everyone's expectations were very high, but they're still learning what it takes in the playoffs. I'm still very optimistic.

The Pens outplayed the Caps. Crosby did not outplay Ovechkin. Ovechkin had 1 more point, in fact and that's despite playing with injuries. Having said that, Crosby earned my respect. He's an excellent, very intelligent player who plays very hard for his team.

I'm beyond sick of hearing the same old bullcrap about good ol' Canadian boys and Euros. Open your freaking eyes. All 4 teams that are still in the race for Lord Stanley have tons of Euros on their roster. Detroit, the most Euro team in the NHL has been consistently the best team in hockey for over a decade.

There are tons of Euros that are extremely brave, tough and play very hard in the playoffs. Just look at some examples from this post season. Flyers' D Kimo Timmonen getting right up after a devastating blind side hit by Chris Kunitz and playing a very good game after that. Hjalmarsson getting right up after being freight trained behind the net in Chicago's last game vs. Vancouver. Hudler returning to action shortly after getting annihilated by Brown. These are just three examples that stand out the most.

I don't get why so many North American fans hate skill. I can't remember the last time a team made up of grinders won the Stanley Cup. I appreciate what hard working grinders do, but you need a high level of skill to score goals, especially in the playoffs when defenses are tighter.

Not to mention that hockey would be a boring game if every goal was scored on a deflection of a point shot or a rebound off a scrum in front of the net. If you enjoy that kind of hockey why not stick to watching your local beer league or perhaps the ECHL?

As for a few commenters who would like to trade Semin, turn Green into a forward or fire Boudreau why don't you stick to posting about something you actually have a frigging clue about on the Food Network blog and spare us your "thoughts" on hockey matters?

Posted by: ranndino | May 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@ POOR & SLANTON1

See, I can play this game of coming up with "clever" versions of handles too, but if you want me to actually read your replies it would help if you spelled mine correctly because unlike you I do have a life so I use page find to look for replies so noticing your latest reply was a pure accident.

Now that we got that out of the way I have more hockey knowledge in my left shoe than you do in that thing you wear a hat on. Yes, I have written professionally about hockey for many years and no, I'm not 5"2 and don't have any kind of Napoleon complex. But thanks for your concern and I'm quite impressed that you've heard of Napoleon.

In fact, I constantly praise posters who actually have a brain and a good deal of knowledge.

But hey, I'm glad you're at least keeping each other entertained. Why don't you two make babies since you love each other so much and are always in agreement? I can't wait till your baby learns how to type (by age 30) and can enlighten us with some more of that amazing combination of hockey knowledge and ability to reason that you both display constantly.

BTW, if you were actually paying attention I've given the Pens a ton of credit for winning this series all throughout, but then again facts don't matter to you.

P.S. From now on I'm done wasting my time on reading posts by or replying to anyone with an IQ under 3 digits.

Posted by: ranndino | May 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

You better be careful defending Semin and Green like this. The idiot brigade lead by Cstanon1 and Dougless that wants the Caps to be made up of 20 Boyd Gordons will jump on your back shortly, if it hasn't already.

Posted by: ranndino | May 16, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

the last "grit" team to win the cup? Probably the Ducks, but I would argue that the Ducks weren't so much gritty as a much of thugs on skates who got away with everything just short of murder because the refs were scared that Pronger would kill their mothers if they whistled the Ducks for anything.

Surprise surprise, Kunitz and his cross check to the neck came from there.

I was very happy to see the Ducks ousted by the Wings the other night.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Q: "With Green hurt and unable to pass, shoot, check or do anything except stand there while Crosby scored on our helpless goalie and make blind passes to Penguin players, did you ever think that maybe it might be a good idea to scratch him and put in Alzner or anyone who wasn't unable to perform at any level on the ice?"

Posted by: EricinMD | May 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@atybat - Why are you always such a flaming jerk?

A physical therapist will strengthen the muscles around a joint after it's where it belongs, but can do NOTHING to put the joint back where it's supposed to be. That is not their job. And what makes you think my chiropractor didn't hand me therapy exercises while he was fixing me? You never ask, you just assume, and we all know what THAT does.

My AC was separated visibly - you could see my clavicle sticking up from the top of my shoulder (further than it was supposed to). A therapist would just strengthen it in that position. I've BEEN through physical therapy, for several injuries. If all I'd done was PT, the joint would still be in the wrong place today.

Posted by: irockthered | May 16, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl, congrats on the degree.

i have noticed that a lot of people switched from saying that the caps were going to win the cup to saying all the players should be traded. that's a silly and unrealistic jump.

i have also seen a lot of people saying that the caps shouldn't have played injured and all these hershey call ups should have been made. that shows a limited set of experiences with hockey. hockey is unlike basketball, baseball, or football in that the players play with injuries in order to help their team.

Posted by: am_jim | May 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino

Good point! It seems that our idiot brigade has forgotten all about any contributions that Semin and Green have made to the team prior to this one playoff series. Boyd Gordon's skill set is certainly needed but 20 of him would be too much.

@jschon,

Keep defending Semin and Green. They need it.


By the way, I think Semin is tougher than people give him credit for being. He may take some stupid penalties or overreact at times but he's a much improved player.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@randino

2 hoots about cstanton and doughless.

I know karate.

Posted by: JSchon | May 16, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand a lot of the people around these parts. Euro's aren't soft. Its just that we have some soft Euro's. I wouldn't call Franzen soft. I don't think anyone is calling Ohlund soft. Lidstrom? Unlikely. Flash? Well.. Kozlov? 6'5" of marshmallow. Its just a matter of playing styles, and no one should be shocked that Flash and Kozlov weren't physical enough in the post season, Though Kozlov had his best playoff performance to date. If you WERE shocked, well then you're just catching up.

Trade Semin? Plus points: he would bring a significant return. Minus points: you just traded the most sublime offensive talent in the NHL. Again, and listen close, you can't teach what Semin can do. Just like you can't teach what Stevie Ray Vaughn could do; that is to say, you can teach the theory but you can't teach the natural ability. If you're going to crap on him for having an injured thumb, come over, I'll wrap a stick across your thumb repeatedly (there will be no penalty called, but I'll invite 4 refs over so you get the full sense of it), and we'll watch what you can accomplish with your hand for the next 10 days.

You need the right balance of grit and skill to win the cup. The Ducks had it, the Wings have it (see: Franzen, McCarthy, Draper, Chelios, et al) the Devils had it, The Avs had it, every f-ing team that has won the Cup has had it. Find the team that won with soft wingers in the top 6.

For the record, with the depth the Caps have, I would have sat the guys with broken feet and twisted ankles in favor of guys that could keep up. Too many significant injuries to key positions. Half your blueline broken against Crosby and Malkin? I would have done things a little differently. Wouldn't we all.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

I read your comments on the Ducks and that they have so many thugs and that Kunitz (the weasel) is an ex-Duck. This year, I plan to root for the Western Conference team in the Stanley Cup. My hate for certain teams runs too strong.

The unfortunate thing is, the Caps probably need an enforcer type who has skill to play on one of our top lines (either offensively or defensively) in order to advance in the playoffs. Someone like Orprick or Kunitz or David Backis. Yes, I'm naming off many of my least favorite players.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

irockthered, just ignore him. I'll vouch for the advantages of a trained chiropractor with rehabilitation training. I saw one last year for a knee injury and he focused on fixing all my alignment problems, not just strengthening the muscles around my knee, which is what multiple physical therapists had done for years. My problems stemmed from a lifetime of misalignments and less than ideal patterns of movement; my knees were taking a ton of extra impact because my hips and ankles were not working correctly. It was a lot of hard work and frustrating at times, but my body has never felt better. The chronic, nagging injuries are gone.

A physical therapist was great when I injured my elbow, but that was a trauma injury, not chronic. I've found that they are great at dealing with the specific issue, but aren't so good at really digging down and finding the underlying structural problems.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

the only thing Chelios brings to the Wings anymore is a walker and depends.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 16, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

When I read that Green was on the ice for 6 of 8 Crosby goals, it made me a bit angry that we did not make any changes. I am not sure that anyone could have done better but I hope that our prospects in Hershey are close enough to be better than Green with one arm. Many of them had played in the NHL before over the course of the season. It is easy to question in hindsite but it still seemed obvious to me as the series went on. That and resting Varly for one game of the back to back are the two things that I would change.

Posted by: Richmondcapsfan | May 16, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks so much for the kind words, NovaCath, CapsFan75, MeinMann -- much appreciated, and glad you enjoyed this year's coverage.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | May 16, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie - Exactly. You fit the tool to the job.

I used a physical therapist after my knee surgery last year; they were the perfect tool for that job.

You don't use a screwdriver when you need to put in a nail, and you don't use a hammer to pull out a screw.

@jmu_capsgirl - Seconded (thirded?) congrats on the degree! Well done! :-)

Posted by: irockthered | May 16, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay, Tarik & Katie: thanks and much appreciation from me also. Fantastic coverage all year and great communication with all of us. Tarik, your last piece about what the Caps need to move forward was comprehensive and insightful. Right on target. Great work.


Posted by: caraveli | May 16, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I also wanted to know what team you are rooting for in the playoffs--Pens or Carolian. It's hard to even glance at a game because I feel we should be in round 3 instead of them (though I have to say that it became clear why we are not and don't deserve to be). The Pens beat us but Carolina is more of a thorn to us since we are in the same division.

Posted by: caraveli | May 16, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm going with Carolina. The only Cup I want Crysby to touch is Lemiux's old jock strap.

Posted by: ejohnsto | May 16, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

the only thing Chelios brings to the Wings anymore is a walker and depends.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 16, 2009 12:31 PM

Now maybe, but not in the years that he won those 3 Stanley Cups, right?

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Chicago is going to the Finals. They have played two immensely entertaining series, and show no signs of slowing. They made it past a gritty Calgary team, and have taken out two of the best goalies in the nhl (arguably, have it, I dont care). Not only that, they've beaten those goalies soundly. They generate tons of traffic, the drive the net, they score from the blueline, they are fast as hell and they have balance throughout their lineup. Detroit-Chicago will be fun to watch, and the Wings are certainly formidable, but Chicago has better goaltending. Osgood, however, is no slouch in the post season, despite what others have said.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Ovi is the draw on NBC. Now that our Caps are gone the Pens aren't getting any games on NBC. The series against the Pens was purposely scheduled (7 games in 11 days) to make sure games made it to NBC. Hmmm, who does the National audience like to see?

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 16, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

fanohock, no one wants a chicago-carolina finals (except me) so thats exactly what they are going to get.

Probably not acurate to say Ovie was the draw. I'd say it was Crosby vs ovechkin that was the draw. Staal vs Staal? not so much. Its too bad NBC got in it at all. I could have done without those clowns and their shrill, annoying voices rooting the Pens on for 7 games.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to post this for any more trolls that happen on, talking about how much better Crosby is than Ovi---

"To say that Sidney Crosby was a better player than Alexander Ovechkin in the series is not really fair to Ovechkin. At the end of the day, the Capitals did not get nearly enough from Mike Green and Alexander Semin, two marvelously talented players and game-breakers in their own right. I'm sure there will be all sorts of talk about injuries and what may or may not have been ailing them but they simply didn't produce." - Bob McKenzie

And this is the same Bob McKenzie who halfway through the season, was the only one on the panel to pick Crosby over Ovi (basically saying when in doubt, go Canadian).

Posted by: dfe1 | May 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Jesus guys....

I guess with the Caps not playing all bets are off with the arm-chair GMing!

Semin for Legwand? word.....lol..

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Detroit is the glamour team and Chicago is the 3rd largest market. Thats why they are on TV.

I dont think Charlotte and Pittsburgh even come close to the size of Detroit, let alone Chicago.

Detroit 1.1M
Charlotte .53M
Pittsburgh .330M
Chicago 2.8M

Posted by: JSchon | May 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

McKenzie is an idiot. If he knew anything he would have said, from the get go, that Green was obviously injured. Instead, he said, over and over, that "Mike Green hasn't shown up". Should Green have played when he was so debilitated? I dont think so, but thats just me. Either way, McKenzie only sees whats right in front of his face, so his opinion, whether picking Ovechkin over Crosby or not, means nothing. He's just a candaian news broadcaster, and canadian tv is no better than the local news in huntsville alabama.

There aren't going to be many who say Ovechkin was better thatn Crsoby, becasue Sid put in an outstanding performance and the Pens moved on, despite ovechkins heroics. Its caps fans against the rest of the NHL from here on out.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Chicago is going to the Finals. They have played two immensely entertaining series, and show no signs of slowing. They made it past a gritty Calgary team, and have taken out two of the best goalies in the nhl (arguably, have it, I dont care). Not only that, they've beaten those goalies soundly. They generate tons of traffic, the drive the net, they score from the blueline, they are fast as hell and they have balance throughout their lineup. Detroit-Chicago will be fun to watch, and the Wings are certainly formidable, but Chicago has better goaltending. Osgood, however, is no slouch in the post season, despite what others have said.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 2:08 PM |

CHI/PENS final please.

should be an awesome series between 2 young teams.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Its Raleigh, not Charlotte.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

don't look at just the city population, look at the entire metro area. Detriot's viewing area extends far south to the Toledo suburbs. Chicago's is easily 10 million plus.

The Canes play in Raleigh, not Charlotte, btw. two very different metro areas.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 16, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Phil, I don't want the pens going anywhere but hell.
Many have said you want your team to lose to the ones that go on to win the Cup, and generally yes, but not if its Pittsburgh. No way. If they made it to the finals, theres a chance they could win and thats a chance I dont want them to ever have again. Ever.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

My point is not population only, but 2 large markets vs two small markets. Raleigh is about the same size as Pittsburgh.

Posted by: JSchon | May 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't really care at this point. My sarcastic hate towards Caps rivals gets put on hold once the Caps are out.

The Pens are the best team in the East, and they definetely deserve to win the East again. Do I want them to win the Cup? Hell no, CHI all the way, but it would make for a great series. Possibly (though not probably) greater than the Caps/Pens series.

Plus, as much as I hate Pittsburgh for stomping all over my heart in 90s, I REALLY hate the Canes. At least with the Pens there is a history of rivalry there and you can appreciate it. The Canes are like that new kid at school who you don't really hate, but really annoys you. Plus, I can't stand E.Staal's goofy looking a**.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wings/Pens would also make for a great series, you know with all the Hossa stuff, etc.

Too bad that would be lame, boring, and predictable.

I think this time the Pens will score at least 1 goal against them in the first 3 games though...hahaha.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

2*

my bad.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

The Canes drew very low numbers the year they won. It was some of the lowest ever. TV exces, looking purely at the bottom line, wouldn't touch that again. I don't think many people tune into The Carolina Panthers either.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Fluery didn't impress me. Ward played better against the Bruins, who played much more cohesively than the Caps. The blue paint in that series did not look like those in the Caps-Pens matchup.

I have to admit, I wanted to see Thomas go farther.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

But, the Canes are in the Southeast. If they went to the finals, then the post season runner up and the #2 regular season team both came from the Southeast, while the 3rd place within the division barely missed the playoffs in a tight race.* Not only that, but I don't believe Tampa being down for longer than one season, as they'll be active in the off season.** That means the Southeast is not only getting tougher for the Caps to succeed in, but that the rest of the league have to face them as well. Southeast Division means something again, even more if Carolina makes the finals.

*All tightness here counting only as 5/3rds the worth of total points accumulated and preexisting the 3pt game system.

**Tocchet is going to convince mngt what kind of players they need. As a throwback to the old school style, meaning physical, in your-face, determined as well as skilled, Tocchet is going to try to reshape that team into his own image. Don't count this guy out. He was running pretty big numbers, on the ice and in his wallet. The only guys to become successful bookies and run gambling rings are the ones that can do math in their heads.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Pens & Carolina were way below us in points during the regular season and, at one point, weren't even sure they would make the playoffs. Now they are both ahead of us--not only because they made it to round 2, but because they played with the energy, aggressiveness and consistency we lacks. Why do you think this is? Coaching changes are not enough of an explanation for me. What DID the Pitts' new coach actually did to make such difference? How much of an effect did the trades have?

Posted by: caraveli | May 16, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Like the rest of you, I'm totally annoyed at the fact that Pitt and Carolina were way below us in points during the regular season and nearly didn't make the playoffs and have gone further in the playoffs than us.

One thing I noticed is that Bylsma had more practices during the season and the playoffs than Boudreau did. I wonder if that could have possibly made a difference I don't know what Carolina did differently coaching wise.

I don't particularly like Carolina. They remind me of the annoying younger sibling who your parents seem to like better for some reason. Yes, I had such a sibling. That being said, I plan to root for Carolina against Pitt since I really hate Pitt.

The Pens' superstars remind me of a girl who my younger daughter had trouble with in middle school, one who spread gossip about her. This was a girl who had everything going for her. Fabulous student, great swimmer, great singer. She had it all but still spread crap about my daughter. And then there's Brooks Orpik, my hypocritical goon himself, who injures other players and has the nerve to complain about our guys. I actually like Pittsburgh even less after this series. I would be saying the same thing even if the Caps had won the series. Pittsburgh is a good team but they are such jerks.

It lead me to wonder. There's no point in trying for first place in the conference or even the division. What did first place get the Bruins or the Sharks? Nada. Zippo! Zilch! Okay, home field advantage for round 1. It almost seems that a team is better served by being in 4th or 5th place come March and making trading deadline acquisitions and then turning it on.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Both the Pens and Carolina came back from dour first halves and went on a torrid winning spree. The Pens lost twice in regulation in the last 21 games. Carolina came from the brink of the golf summer outing by doing the exact same thing. The teams gelled at the right times and picked up players to get over the road bumps, those bumps being the Caps, Habs, Boston and NJ, all who faltered. It almost seems as if the teams that put forth a modicum of energy without digging too deep a hole, as the Isles or Lightening did, had enough gas to storm into the playoffs and move past teams that were hurting physically and playing complacently with safe leads.

As for points in the regular season, this post season proves that the regular season means nothing more than a spot on the battlefield or view from the stands.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Seom people will feel consolation if the team they lost to is the one that eventually wins the Cup. Not me. I hate this group of Pens too much. I'll root for anyone against the Pens, even Carolina. I even rooted for Philthy against then in Round 1. Yes, that's right, I rooted for Philthy. I guess since I have positive feelings for other Philadelphia area teams and had once had negetive feeling for other Pittsburgh teams. Plus, according to legends, my paternal ancestors were from near Philly at some point (and my husband formerly lived in Philly).

In any case, no matter who wins the Eastern Conference final, I will root for the winner of the Western Conference final regardless of whether it's Chicago or Detroit. BTW, if either the Rangers, Flyers, New Jersey, or even the New York Islanders had advanced, I'd be supporing the West winner as well. I have too much atavistic hatred toward New York teams in general.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Pens & Carolina were way below us in points during the regular season and, at one point, weren't even sure they would make the playoffs. Now they are both ahead of us--not only because they made it to round 2, but because they played with the energy, aggressiveness and consistency we lacks. Why do you think this is? Coaching changes are not enough of an explanation for me. What DID the Pitts' new coach actually did to make such difference? How much of an effect did the trades have?

Posted by: caraveli | May 16, 2009 4:07 PM |

As I said, regular season means absolutely nothing outside the sole fact that you are in the top 8 or not in the top 8.

Presidents trophy...home ice...division banners...All nice, but don't mean anything.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 16, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and it also proves that 82 games are too many, and that with 10-15 fewer games a year (and fewer exhibition games) we would see entirely different, and probably much, much better, postseason performances.

Might have killed Calgary this year, though.

Posted by: oo7 | May 16, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@oo7

Agree with your comments on the regular season meaning nothing more than a spot on the battlefield. (Another way of expressing my sentiment.)

I would also have rather seen Thomas advance than Ward since I was rooting for Boston to beat Carolina. Boston was the one and only team among the Eastern contenders that I can stand outside of the Caps.

At least in baseball, the regular season means something, unlike hockey.

Instead, the idea is to not stink up too badly from October to Feb and make your move in March. With playoff hockey being different than regular season hockey.

Next year, I promise not to get too worried if the team is in 4th-6th place in March. As long as they stay somewhere in the top 8 and are on an upswing. I don't want a repeat of 2007-2008 where they had to win everything to even squeak into the playoffs so they had nothing left.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Amen, the regular season rewards, like Presidental Trophy's, division banners, home ice don's mean squat.

I have to confess I was not really that psyched up for the Caps to overtake Boston. Unfortunately, I was psyched up seeing them pass up NJ. Turns out that was misplaced.

For the future, be satisfied with middle of the pack among the playoff contenders in the conference and then turn it on in March and beyond.

Yes, the regular season is way too long when it isn't very meaningful after a point. Maybe it should be cut down to 60 games. This is especially true when everyone's doing World Championships with their native country and other competition.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

Why are you even comparing Varly's consistency and maturity to Crosby's? The only thing they have in common is age but that's where the similarities end. For one, Sid is in his 4th NHL season and is a FORWARD. Varly is a GOALIE in case you hadn't noticed and you really can't even consider him a "rookie" because he is still a minor-league player who was thrown into an extraordinary situation. In a month he went from being practically a nobody to being a god and that can be difficult for even the most seasoned professional to handle. Yeah, he choked in Game 7 but he didn't do it alone. If he is this good now, imagine him 3 or 4 years from now!

Posted by: AmyS1 | May 16, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully this year it'll be Chicago vs. Carolina. Detriot vs. Pittsburgh AGAIN would be so boring.

It's tough now that the Caps aren't playing anymore. It doesn't feel like it's over. It feels like we'll be starting round 3 tomorrow. =(

Anyway go Bears!

Posted by: rachel216 | May 16, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

No matter what happens in Round 3, I will be rooting for the Western Conference team in the Stanley Cup. That being said, I still hope Carolina dumps Pittsburgh. They are the lesser of two evils.

I'm getting withdrawal symptoms.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 16, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

AmyS1
You have a point in that in "a month he [Varly]went from being practically a nobody to being a god..." and that this is his first appearence in NHL. I will buy this, but not that being 21 is an automatic excuse. There are many elite athletes in many sports who are 21 and younger (my point in bringing up Crosby.

The (very) little red flag went up for me because the Caps organization already had some concerns about Varly's conditioning, stamina and toughness. And folks around the country were cautioning that there have been overnight stars (like Jim Carey) who were not reliable for the long run and that Varly had to be tested a lot before he proved himself. Well, he passed most of the tests but failed a crucial one. I don't know what this means, if anything. All I am saying is that I am not yet convinced that we are out of the woods with the weak goalie situation that we have faced for 2-3 years.

And I don't know how much weight one can place on camp performance.


Posted by: caraveli | May 16, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

JSchon,

What player had the most points per minute played in the NHL?

Crosby? NO.
Malkin? NO.
Datysuk? NO.

Oh I know, Ovechkin? NO.

It was Sasha Semin. Semin for all of his many quirks is a offensive juggernaut at 25. I have no idea what some of you people here want but trading the most skilled player on our team because you think he is ___fill in the blank___, is just plain unintelligent.

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Look, we all agree with you. We all want Sasha to go no where and the trade talk is us just venting. I think he has matured each year in leaps and the next few will reveal a more complete player. I could be wrong but deep down, Semin knows he has an organization that is behind him.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | May 16, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Carolina and Cam Ward is prooving why they have rings. Other than Brodeur, Ward is the only #1 goalie in the east playoffs to win a cup. I'm thinking 'Canes take Pitt, not because I hate the pens but again, Ward will show why he has a ring.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | May 16, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"There going to understand it more next year."

This would make a lot more sense if you used "They're" instead of "There." Both useful; not interchangeable.

OF92801, Grammar Cop

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | May 16, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Bears lose game 1 to Providence 3-2. Both Bears goals by Oskar Osala.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 17, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Osala and Beagle are 2 guys on Hershey I expect to push for roster spots next year.

On the Varly talk...some perspective needs to be pointed out I think. Honestly what kid with a robust 6 NHL games under his belt has been asked, and subsequently succeeded, to win not one but TWO Game 7's in his first 2 NHL playoff series. I'd be curious to hear how many (if any) goalies have pulled that feat off.

Perception and reality don't always make sense like you think they do. People keep pointing to Cam Ward's sterling 4-0 record in Game 7's. They forget to mention that if the Devils and Marty don't give up 2 goals in 1:20 in a game Ward was losing 3-2 he'd be 2-1 lifetime and you'd never hear another thing about it.

Yeah, I heard all this Semin trade talk for a couple years now at the deadline. Get serious.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | May 17, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from Hershey. Bummed the guys lost, but it was fun. Agree with Dave, Osala & Beagle could both play NHL level. I was impressed with Carlson. Granted, I'm hardly an NHL scout, but he's solid, maybe more so than Alzner was the first game I saw him up there. I'd be surprised if he ever pulled on a Knights sweater again.
I could be wrong, but I thought I saw Schultz & Gordo when I was parking. Definitely saw the Caps media guys. I was starting to dream of "how cool would it be if they did 'Unleash the Fury'" when I got my wish. They did a mini-version with about 9 minutes to go. Unfortunately, I think I was the only one in my section who "got it" and yelled. All in all, a good trip worth the 6 hours stuck in a car.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 17, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

COME ON! The CAPS need more than "growing up" to win the cup.

Tarik, Mike, Katie, etc.
Thank you for the great coverage of this exciting year.

Posted by: SarahKate | May 17, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Wow ... no updates since Friday. So it's true - the summer really is here. *sniff-sniff* :-(

Here are a couple of tidbits from The Onion about Ovi and "the" series:

http://www.theonion.com/content/infograph/alexander_ovechkin

http://www.theonion.com/content/sports_fan/on_the_exciting_penguins

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 17, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, Katie and Lisa should have a few posts about what the users here do in the off season.

That would be exciting.

Posted by: JSchon | May 17, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

JSchon:
When does the circus come back to town? (BTW, can I get a new gig, please?)

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 17, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Help wanted

Wapo Circus needs a bearded lady, preferably a lady and preferably bearded. Top pay and benefits. All the popcorn and hot dogs you can eat. References needed, apply within.

Can you be the Palm Reader Boo?

Posted by: JSchon | May 17, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

JSchon:
Sure! I can even juggle!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 17, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

This is so funny. Every team has people who club talented players. From what I'm reading in Montreal, they can't wait to either sign Komisarek to $1.5 to $3.0M dollar contract or ship him out and pay Bouwmeester $7.

Monteal could have Markov, Bouwmeester and Hamrlik making a total of $18.0M next season, if the fans get their wish.

I'll gladly take Komo for $4.0M per and pair him with Green.

Posted by: JSchon | May 17, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Ah, my favorite CheapSeats post of all time! Ladies and gentlemen, if you're new at this, may I present DC CheapSeats Off-Season Survival Guide! It's a bit old, may need some updating, but it's going to be a looong summer.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 17, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@Davethecapsfan
"On the Varly talk...some perspective needs to be pointed out I think. Honestly what kid with a robust 6 NHL games under his belt has been asked, and subsequently succeeded, to win not one but TWO Game 7's in his first 2 NHL playoff series. I'd be curious to hear how many (if any) goalies have pulled that feat off."

Not exactly the same, but Ken Dryden's situation in 70-71 was pretty close. He played 6 games for the Canadiens during the regular season. In the first round he beat out Boston in 7. He got a break in the second round and only had to play 6 games. The finals again went 7, with Montreal taking the Cup.

Posted by: swags | May 17, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

the Boston Globe
Capitals coach on hot seat?

Bruce Boudreau, who took over the Washington bench in November 2007, has had a lot of success since succeeding Glen Hanlon. But if he's going to move his slick bunch beyond first- or second-round KOs, he's going to have to install a defensive template that even his high-end trapeze artists can adhere to and still perform. There was no safety net in Game 7. Or at least no one paid attention to it. Either way, there's a problem. Could the Caps already have outgrown their let-it-all-hang-out-there coach? It might sound crazy, given how they've delivered during the regular season under Boudreau. But keep in mind, for different reasons the Penguins were asking themselves similar questions last June after Michel Therrien led them to the Cup finals. For all their success, they looked as if they needed something, or someone, more. Late in the season, GM Ray Shero finally ditched Therrien and now the Penguins are back in the Eastern Conference finals - having found clear passage around those Washington torpedoes.

Posted by: skinsst21 | May 17, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

And now Ryan O'Halloran of the Wash Times is calling for trading Semin (for Pronger or another shutdown defenseman.) God, he sounds like CStanton and all the other Semin bashers who come here.

Don't agree with trading Semin for Pronger given the relative ages. Pronger turns 35 this October. (With our luck, if we signed Pronger to a long term contract, he'd be a bust after Year 1. We don't have good luck signing old guys to long term contracts.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

could you imagine the outrage that would happen if a semin for pronger trade was made and in a year or two pronger turning out to be the next nyls? GMGM needs to keep semin, hope he can find a steady S@H d-man (or two - for a reasonable price) and go from there. this team is not that far away from being a yearly cup contender. i don't agree with many here that *seem* to want the caps to make personnel moves just for the sake a making a move. i'm glad GMGM didn't do something rash at the trade deadline. there is now plenty of time to make some rational personnel decisions that will help move this team forward.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 17, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Semin = Jagr

Jagr = Semin

Plain and Simple. Enigmas at their finest

Posted by: diner99 | May 17, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Trade Semin? Sure, why not? He's about as useful as Jagr. Throw Ovechkin and Green in. Lets just start the whole rebuild over. Why keep 25 year old talent that has yet to hit its peak when we can try to win with inexperienced gambles all over again? Why not just rebuild indefinitely and give up top players for aging vets rather than trade unproven prospects that might never stick. Makes sense. While we're at it, fire Bruce since he's only taken us to the playoffs and then the semi finals in his first year and a half as coach. We definitely don't need Backstrom. He's soft and he only puts up numbers because he plays with Ovechkin and Semin. I'd like to have Drury and Gomez, Hatcher, and a couple more ice girls. Maybe Hartley still wants to coach. Or, just wait till Toronto runs Wilson out of town and we can pick him up before the playoffs.

Makes sense.

Posted by: oo7 | May 17, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I understand that most players have an almost "built-in" style of play, but that does not mean that they cannot be coached into adapting to be a role player. Many say we need a forward who can muck it up in the crease and a stay-at-home defender. I am confident we have a few that, if pressed firmly enough by the coaching staff, could fill those roles - bench those that lose track of their assignment on a consistent basis. Laich, Stecks, a healthy Clarck are all capable of playing in the crease. Jurcina and Erskine have proven their worth in front of Theo or Varly. I hate seeing names like Semin being suggested as bate for a Pronger type. As mentioned by others, picking up the expensive, older players has rarely worked for the Caps, and when it has, only for the few remaining years of their careers. I say be patient and give the kids a chance. We've been waiting 30-some years...what's a few more?

Posted by: gonchpup | May 17, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Boudreau's on the hot seat. Are you kidding? That may be the dumbest thing I've heard or read this year. We went a round further in the playoffs and had the most points in team history in the regular season. Therrien got canned because the Pens were flirting with missing the playoffs and the team was showing signs of having stopped playing for him.

All we've done under Boudreau is go further. The Pens were going backwards under Therrien in the regular season, THAT's why he got canned.

Unreal some of the idiocy that's popping up.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | May 17, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@Davethecapsfan

How the h*** did the Penguins do it? Therrien led them to the Stanley Cup last year and then this year the Pens didn't seem to play for him anymore and they were in danger of missing the playoffs. I guess Bylsma must be that great a coach and the Caps (and all other teams) should learn from him on how to operate things.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Agree with you about the outrage if that trade took place (Semin for Pronger). I was imagining a similar scenario.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Semin is NOT Jagr. From what I can remember, Jagr was a great player with the Pens back in the 80's and 90's. He was a bust with us and eventually joined the Rangers.

Jagr had trouble getting along with Lemieux towards the end of this term with the Pens which contributed to his departure. In contract, Semin and Ovi get along great. In fact, he's Ovi's best friend on the team.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

One and Seven!

Posted by: malkinshockeyskates | May 17, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

malkinshockeyskates:
you must be desperate to feel good about your pens, yes they beat the caps again. are you insecure about your chances against the canes? are things so slow in your life that you think coming here 'to rub it in' will give you something to do? there is nothing we can do to change the fact that the caps go bounced by the pens again. but for you to think that you'll get a rise out of caps fans and have everyone 'all fired up' again is quite pathetic. i'll try and make you feel better anyway.
with as much sarcasm as i can muster:
* the pens suck - i hate them
* all of our core players were hurt
* the refs didn't call ANY penalties on the pens
* wait til next year

i hope this is the reaction you were looking for. now you can go back to your pens blog and let all your friends know how 'you gave it to the caps fans'

congrats - i don't like the pens - but the better team won that series

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 17, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

Agree with your post. We tried winning with old, high priced guys and that didn't work. Continue to give the kids a chance.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@oo7

I can see the sarcasm dripping all over your post (about all the idiotic things that have been suggested).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

We don't have to trade Semin to get a shutdown defense man. We've got stock to trade that isn't our core....

Posted by: richmondphil | May 17, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Therrien was fired because his players didn't respect him. Hossa and the other free agent vets left Pittsburgh, in part, because of him. By December, the team was completely dysfunctional.

Certainly, Blysma was part of the reason the Pens bounced back. But getting Gonchar back and doing some significant roster re-tools at the trade deadline to get Kunitz and Guerin were huge. Without those three players, not even Bylsma was going to be able to get that mess of a team this far. They might have made the playoffs, they likely would have been bounced in the first if they did.

All that said, I'm wondering how Sherro is planning on replacing 10 free agents with the estimated 9-10 million he has to work with.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 17, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

CHI ties it.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 17, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

And if anyone wants to tell me that there is no way we can afford a Pronger without giving up someone like Semin, remember that I just a shutdown defense man. We don't need the Pronger's and Lidstrom's, we need the Eaton's and the Scuderi's.

And the Ducks had 2 hall of famers on their blue line and look how far that got them.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

just said*

Posted by: richmondphil | May 17, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

No new post since the 15th. How am I going to survive? It's hard to watch the playoffs cause it makes me angry. It should be US. =( I don't care for any of the team, my only request is that Carolina knock of the Pens.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 17, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

man, this Wings-Hawks game is to die for. None of this muckity muck "playoff hockey." No, two teams just flying up and down the ice and full speed for 60 minutes. Beautiful. This is what hockey should be, every game. So much more enjoyable than what I'm sure is going to be a terribly boring mucking it up along the board defensive battle (with the refs throwing power play after power play to the Pens...) that the EC finals is sure to be.

Went to the Nationals game last night. A great many Phillies fans felt the need to express how much they hate the Penguins, hate Crosby, hate Pittsburgh in general. Overwhelmingly, they raved about Ovie.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 17, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Playoffs make me angry also. I just hope someone dumps the Pens, I don't care who. I regard Carolina as the lesser of two evils and would prefer that they do the dumping. (And to think we were a better regular season team than both Carolina and Pitt.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

I knew there was a reason I rooted for the Flyers over the Pens. I guess we can say, the enemy of our enemy is our friend

I'll be attending some Nats games this year -- like this coming Friday. I was so preoccupied with the Caps' playoff run that I haven't gotten to any Nats games yet.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I actually wanted to see what Ducks fans thought about the Pronger for Semin trade rumors so I tried to register on their board. My E-mail addresses got rejected. (Gee, are the boards smart enough to know that my E-mail addresses are already associated with the Caps?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 17, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Hershey Bears tied 0-0 after 2

Posted by: uncatim | May 17, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Rachel: I know what you mean. I also keep looking for new posts and can't stand to watch other playoff games. I am jealous. It was so exciting to see our team and players front and center everytime you logged onto the NHL page. What are we going to do?

Posted by: caraveli | May 17, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Bears win 2-1 series even at 1-1

Posted by: uncatim | May 17, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking the Caps need two players to get to the top - a #1 RW and a first-pair defenseman.

Caps have the best LWers in hockey, if you count Ovie, Semin, Laich and, say, Beagle. And a very good crop of centers, if you go Backstrom-Fedorov(at $2M)-Steckel-Gordo. RWers though are weak. Even if you switch Semin over to RW, we still need the guy I thought Fehr would become - the guy to fight in front of the net like Holmstrom. Just look how Guerin, with his grit, made a difference vs the Caps - and he only cost a #3 pick!

I think the defense is one year away from being really good, one year from Carlson and Alzner being playoff-anchor blueliners. That year would be 10-11. For next year, Poti, Pothier, Alzner and Erskine I feel are adequate as #3-6 defensemen. Green is clearly a #1 pair. Would love to get a Langway (Phaneuf?), but they player likely can't be had. Komisarek might be best option.

I would trade Semin, but only to get Phaneuf or that calibre of player.

I also feel the Caps need someone on the coaching staff to serve as "defensive coordinator." The best team in hockey is Detroit. Therefore I compare Caps to Detroit. If you aren't better than they are, you won't win. We just lack the defensive skill. Lidstrom does things so effortlessly, like Rod Serling let him watch the game first and then he gets to play it. It's the ability to slow it all down. We just need some Lidstrom on the blue line and some Holmstrom in front of the net.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 17, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking the Caps need two players to get to the top - a #1 RW and a first-pair defenseman. Posted by: tominfl1 | May 17, 2009 8:54 PM

Its been like that for years. That is essentially why they passed on Getzlaf for Fehr; there were no high caliber RW's in their system and they had marked Eric as their guy. Clark filled in beautifully at RW with Ovie, putting up 30 goals, but more like 23-25 because 5-7 were Semin goals that touched his Jersey on the way in. No Clark and a less than impressive Fehr leaves the Caps with few options at RW; They Have Bouchard and Gordon in Hershey, but both are barely 6-0 and 180lbs. Not the power forward the Caps need at RW to complement 8 and 19. Mink hasn't made anyone insist he be included on an NHL roster, but has the size and grit, just not for the top line (or even 2nd, really, as he isn't a good enough skater).

So there you have it, the Caps, perennially weak on the right, heavy on the left, with a contingent of slight, barely 6' centers.

As for Holmstrom in front of the net, I think Laich can do that job just fine, and when he was finally on the PP, Semin was able to put it right where it needed to go. Lidstrom on the blueline is tougher, which is why they drafted so heavily in favor of defensemen, but they take a lot longer to come together.

Those are my thoughts on the RW situation. Either Clark gets healthy or a trade is necessary because that side is sorely undermanned.

Posted by: oo7 | May 17, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it strike you as noteworthy that both Pens and Carolina has coaching changes in the second half of the season and entered the playoffs with a momentum? I don't remember if the Western teams had a turnaround the second half of the season. I don't think Detroit did. I believe they also had a slump.

Anyway, maybe it is not just that these new coaches were fantastic, but that the change provided a jolt at the right time. There is something disturbing with the slump we experienced since the end of February. Many of you were confident that the playoffs would re-energize the team, but now it seems that the slump carried through the playoffs. While the team played better than the regular season, they still failed to be "on fire," and rise to the level needed. It was a very odd thing how the burst of dynamism they achieved for the first half of the season (maybe 3/4 of the season) steadily fizzled out and reached complete collapse in the 7th game. Don't you see it as a problem that started well before the playoffs?

I don't know if BB will reconsider anything about the coaching approach or pacing or anything related.

Posted by: caraveli | May 17, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1, 007,
No mention of where yoos think Bradley fits into the RW hierarchy.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | May 17, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

BernieWolfeFan, Bradley fills in nicely on lines 3 and 4. I was speaking more in terms of the top 2 lines, where the fire power is. I like Bradely, and until someone comes in and steals his job, he's good at what he does.

Posted by: oo7 | May 17, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to defense and our braintrust behind the bench, unfortunately Boudreau, Eveson, and Leach are all former forwards. I'm not saying that is a definitive liability but that fact does have to be considered. If any of those three were Scotty Bowman, ok, no need to analyze that but, just sayin'.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | May 17, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

The only team in the final 4 that *didn't* make a coaching change this season was Detroit.

As for the defense, the Caps have the "happy" problem of having too many NHL defensemen like they did at the end of last season. Coming into 2009-10 they have these guys as definitely on the team:

Green, Alzner, Poti, Pothier

Green is a Norris finalist, and Poti is the best at eating minutes. Alzner should make this team (and ideally be paired with Poti) and Pothier, while not necessarily the best of the remaining lot, has zero trade value since that injury will scare other teams off. I personally think he's fine, but concussions are tricky things, and likely Pothier is one hit away from retirement...of course, every player is, but Pothier is closer than most.

That leaves two open spots and the following candidates:

Erskine
Jurcina
Morrisonn
Schultz
Carlson
Lepisto
Collins

Three of those guys make the team and four don't. There are teams in the NHL were any of these guys would be a regular (and in some cases, like Tampa and Atlanta, be a top 4 d-man).

The one thing the Caps lack on the back line is the big hit maker, like a Pronger, Rob Blake, or from the team's history, Mark Tinordi, Joe Reekie and, of course, Scott Stevens. They're hard to come by, but there are some out there who can be obtained via trade. Pronger is one of them, Anaheim didn't look to move him at the deadline, but they might at the draft, esp. if Niedermayer and Selanne both say they're not coming back (they'll want some bodies back there). Package up the right number of players, prospects and picks and Pronger can be had. I don't expect them to get that big an impact player, but they are out there. Maybe they can work a deal with the Avs for Adam Foote, who may want one last run at the Cup (question, if the Caps get Foote, does Green give up 52, or does Foote change his number?)

I am sure the team will make the right call on this, as the progress has been steady and in the right direction for the past 4 seasons. The Caps had a 5 year plan...next year is year number 5...

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | May 17, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I'm trying to ween myself off Capitals Insider. I'm having Caps withdrawal problems. It wasn't supposed to end like this. I can watch Detroit/Chicago, but I don't know about Carolina/Pittsburgh. I've been through lots of years of Caps heartbreak, but this year it's tough. Even though the potential is there for many successful seasons, I have an uneasy feeling we wasted a golden opportunity this year...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 17, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

We need to trade Semin and Green to the Isles for Tavares.

I keed, I keed...

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 18, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

About having withdrawal symptoms.

I know the feeling.

Posted by: RedRocker1 | May 18, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1,

Was just stopping by to lurk, and saw your posts. It was good to read you again. Miss our chats on the old espn board. Thin Icer & I were talking about you about a year ago. We were concerned for you after your last post on espn. Hope all is well now for you.

PS: Interestingly enough, I sit with JSchon at the games.

Posted by: btcg | May 18, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Phaneuf definetely ain't no Langway.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

BernieWolfe: Yes, oo7 summed it up, Bradley did very well in his role. I believe most would agree that Clark (if healthy, and back to his old self), Bradley and Fehr are adequate as #2-4 RWers. Laich might be a #1 one day, but he isn't there yet. He really filled the role of #3 LW very well. Moving people into a higher role, that they can't quite fill, and then leaving a hole in their old role, that they filled nicely, is never the answer in my book. That's why I'm wanting a power forward #1 RW to go with Ovie and Backstrom. Someone in an earlier note suggested Boudreau learn to "pace" the team. One player who should be paced, else he'll be burnt out before 30, is Ovechkin. One way to pace him is that he is the sniper, and "Tim Kerr" is the PF (he was the best, back in the day).

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 18, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Have to keep reminding myself: Aucoin has a one-way next year and Bourque is a RFA who will get a one-way deal (and since the value will be beneath the threshhold for draft-choice compensation, the caps will match). That means if they make the club, someone named Fehr, Flash or Gordon might not be back. I like Aucoin, at least from what I saw. Also, with Jurcina and Morrisonn RFA, the Caps might at least get draft choices if these guys sign offer sheets. I expect though for Morrisonn to do the arbitration route, as I think he can get more money that way. Does anyone think Mo played well enough for some team to offer $2.5M a year? And give up a 2nd round pick for compensation?

Someone mentioned Bouchard. His numbers at Hershey suggest he isn't that close.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 18, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

This is a tough day. Should be game day. Sigh.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 18, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | May 18, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie: Of course Philthy fans hate Pittsburgh, that is the point I have been making since the start of the series. They are the Pens rivalry. I hate Philly! Richards, Hartnell, Carter, their smug-a$$ coach, the fans, and the arena. Hatred runs deep. Pittsburgh fans do not hate the Capitals (or their fans). I am in awe with Ovie, love watching Semin and Backstrom when they are on, and wish we had Steckel. You can hate all you want, but the Caps will NEVER replace Philthy as our rivals. I was at 35 Pens games this year and the only fans that really get heckled are Flyer fans. That said, we are in for more great series in the future. They rave about Ovechkin because he doesn't stick the dagger in them consistently as Sid does. I would hate him also, if he did that to my team.

Posted by: penscapsNOTarivalry | May 18, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

the Caps need balance. i believe they are too heavily oriented toward an offensive strategy that gets them burned more often than not. in order to have more of a balance of defense, they are going to HAVE to make some moves.

someone earlier suggested a defensive coordinator. that is an interesting idea.

Posted by: doughless | May 18, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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