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Boudreau Is All Business

On a day dedicated to the Capitals' suddenly powerless power play, perhaps the most important thing Coach Bruce Boudreau did during practice this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex was give his team a stern lecture on effort. After the Caps went through drills for about 25 minutes, Boudreau pulled the team to the side of the ice and lambasted them as a whole for the shoddy effort of a few players.

"The day before the game has to be your best practice," he yelled at them. The rest of Boudreau's talk was not suitable for a family blog, but he wanted to make sure everybody understood that effort in practice translates to games.

"I was [ticked] off at a couple guys," Boudreau said after a harder-than usual practice. "They've got to work harder. ... It's not like a tap: You can't just turn it on and off. You create the habits that you do. If you have a bad work day here, then it's gonna start off as a bad work day tomorrow. So you have to get the good habits of working hard all the time. And then practice, obviously, becomes shorter as the year goes on, but still, the work ethic should be at a high level. And when it's not, you get mad at people."


Minor penalties have cost the Capitals during their recent four-game losing streak, and they next face a San Jose squad that trounced them 7-2 last season at the Shark Tank.

Once Boudreau got all the yelling out of his system, the team went to work on the power play, which he said Tuesday he tinkered too much with during an 0-for-5 showing against the Devils. Judging from practice, the two power play units looked like this:

Mike Green-Alex Ovechkin-Brooks Laich-Alexander Semin-Nicklas Backstrom

Brian Pothier-Tom Poti-Eric Fehr-Mike Knuble-Brendan Morrison

As for what has been ailing the power play in recent games, Ovechkin said it comes down to "simple game and simple passes," and that it's only a matter of time before the unit clicks again.

Laich echoed the same sentiment, though he said there's a little more to it than just putting in more effort, while not trying to do too much with the puck.

"The other thing I think is trust, trust on the power play, trust that other guys are going to do their job and be in position for you," he said. "And they have to trust you that you're going to do your job and be in position for them. ... Teams know that we have a very good power play; we're not sneaking up on anybody. We finished second in the league last year, so they know it's a big task for them to kill. So for us it's a challenge, we have to be better, we have to stick to the system."

Said Boudreau: "The same thing happened last year and we caught (fire) late in October and the power play was very good after that. So I anticipate it's gonna be really good, it's just a matter of when. When we realize that we don't have to do it all ourselves -- as much as they wanna try -- when we work as a team, as a five-man unit, then success usually follows."

Other News and Notes from Practice:

>> Boudreau said he "doubts" defenseman John Erskine will play in tomorrow's game with what is believed to be a hand injury from blocking a shot against New Jersey. Boudreau declined to say what other defenseman would be watching from the press box tomorrow night.

>> After missing practice on Tuesday, forward Boyd Gordon left practice early for precautionary reasons because of his balky back. Boudreau: "According to Boyd, nothing was wrong, he went out there, felt fine, but didn't want anything to happen so he thought it was better to get off in case anything did."

>> Poti skated the entire practice after missing Tuesday's session.

>> The lines looked the same as yesterday, with Morrison centering the top line with Ovechkin and Knuble and Backstrom centering the second line alongside Semin and Laich.

>> Boudreau on the importance of beating San Jose considering the Caps have been unable to score wins over some of the league's perceived elites aside from the opening-night win over Boston: "Whether we win by eight or lose eight tomorrow, we're still gonna believe we can play with the big boys. Obviously it would be nicer to win because they thumped us pretty good last year in San Jose, but I don't think in the scheme of things it's gonna make use think that we're not very good."

>> Last night was the Capitals' annual season ticket holder event at Six Flags America. Players signed autographs and mingled with fans, and Caps PR guru Nate Ewell even got Semin to say a couple words of English on camera. Check out the Caps' Web site for video proof.

>> Ovechkin said there are amusement parks in Russia, but that they don't have big roller coasters. So it makes sense that his favorite ride last night was the Superman, which features a 20-story drop.

By Mark Giannotto  |  October 14, 2009; 3:03 PM ET
 
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Comments

serious practice makes for serious game face going into tomorrow. expecting the best ....

Posted by: ccape1 | October 14, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Nylander to Leafs for Kaberle is getting a lot of whispers

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

lyle, nyls to the leafs for cab fare would be ok with me. kaberle would be a bonus...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Nylander for Kaberle, straight up? That sounds too good to be true... I must be missing something.

Posted by: hillg | October 14, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Nylander for Kaberle, straight up? That sounds too good to be true... I must be missing something.

Posted by: hillg | October 14, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

That's because it isn't going to happen. Even though Kaberle is stinking it up in Toronto, they would not trade him for Nylander(No Movement Clause).

Posted by: opus1m | October 14, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

That's because it isn't going to happen. Even though Kaberle is stinking it up in Toronto, they would not trade him for Nylander(No Movement Clause).

Posted by: opus1m | October 14, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse


Probably not, but we can still dream

Posted by: superpaqman | October 14, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Toronto has good schools for Nyls kids, plus he can eat at Gretzy's and Tim Hortons. How I miss Timmy's, Dunkin Donuts suck!!!

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 14, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone has seen this before since it's kind of old, but I just saw it and it blew my mind.

http://www.philadelphiarams.com/archives/2009/08/defense_over_go.php#comments

I wonder if they have a graphic like that for the caps.

Posted by: superpaqman | October 14, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I would pay money to be on the ice when BB gives one of his "all business" speeches

Posted by: Moose33 | October 14, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

opus. remember, nyls NMC ends this year. so if you are looking for a rental center for the year, he could be your guy...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Semin's English is way better than he lets on... I'd heard this before, but now there's proof!

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

who's this Mark fellow writing the articles?

Posted by: _stevo | October 14, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

looks like BB got the message from Ted...."step it up, no more coddling."

Posted by: doughless | October 14, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Nylander to Leafs for Kaberle is getting a lot of whispers

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 3:03 PM |

Link or it didn't happen. Seriously though, I'd take picks, prospects, and probably peanuts at this point to get rid of his cap hit. Bonus if it's Kaberle, who is UFA at the end of the year. What's in it for the Leafs?

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

lyle probably got it from hockeybuzz where the caps writer steve hindle mentions that it would be a good trade for both teams. Toronto needs a veteran first line center, would help when Kessel is ready. And we need a stable force on the blueline. Thats the only place I have seen it.

Posted by: ThePat | October 14, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Bonus if it's Kaberle, who is UFA at the end of the year. What's in it for the Leafs?

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 4:08 PM

That's what I get for reading a Maple Leafs forum. Kaberle's contract goes til 2011, so he's probably not a good fit for us anyway.

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

lyle probably got it from hockeybuzz where the caps writer steve hindle mentions that it would be a good trade for both teams. Toronto needs a veteran first line center, would help when Kessel is ready. And we need a stable force on the blueline. Thats the only place I have seen it.

Posted by: ThePat | October 14, 2009 4:15 PM

Let me rephrase. Links to a rumor from someone who is NOT Hindle, who has basically been posting any and every pipe dream solution to the Nylander problem. Moreover, Nylander would have to agree to go to Toronto, a team that's in the basement. Also, is Nylander really a Brian Burke type of player? There is so much wrong with this rumor that it shouldn't even be entertained.

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Good trade - but I'm sure Burke will be looking for picks also.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Nyls has a NMC but if the situation for him here becomes utterly unbearable, I see him waiving it to go play for someone else. Toronto is perfect. It's a cosmopolitan city (sort of), it is the center of the hockey world, and the Leafs desperately need of some scoring.

Posted by: Andoy | October 14, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I got it off ESPN

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

from Buccigross who is a friend

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm digging the serious tone of the practice. Let's get these boys focused.

I'm also a fan of moving Nick to center Semin. That line looked good together in the Philly playoffs series and they work together on the power play so chemistry shouldn't be an issue.

Ovechkin can click with anybody, so I'm not to worried about having BMo center the first line. Looking forward to tomorrow

Posted by: blwiseass | October 14, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

doughless

Boudreau does not need any prompting from Ted. He has been a tough, no-nonsense coach from day one, and he never minced words about holding people accountable to the press. His strength is the real deal, however. It comes out of confidence and calmness rather than panic or reactiveness.

He and Zorn (at least the way he is depicted by the media) seem to be studies in contrast.

Posted by: caraveli | October 14, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

cap hit for kaberle is the same as nyls for this year and next year. so if you make that deal, we still have cap issues this year. however, at least we get someone who can play...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

correction, kaberle is about $600K cheaper in cap hit. his salary is higher than nyls next year. however, both guys are signed through next year and UFA's at the end.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Burke may favor grittier players but look at their situation right now. Obviously, stocking up on toughness alone ain't getting things done.

Posted by: Andoy | October 14, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Even if the cap hit were the same, I'd rather spend the money on a veteran defenseman who plays than on a forward who doesn't.

Posted by: hillg | October 14, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

no cap issues if you package a couple other of our scrubs with him.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

nyls plus a second rounder for kaberle. we get nothing from our second rounders anyway...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

lyle, good point...you're not suggesting throwing in 55 are you? gonna make a lot of people here mad....

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

No chance the Caps move Nyls for Kaberle. They don't want Kaberle's cap hit with Alzner and Carlson in the wings.

As I understand it, after this season, Nyls' no movement clause expires, and he'll get waived, and if he remains unclaimed, he'll be sent to Hershey.
If he reports, the caps have to pay him his full salary, if he refuses to report, the Caps can suspend him, and Nyls will sign overseas or retire. Either way his cap hit will be gone after this season

Posted by: blwiseass | October 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Fehr, Fleischman, Schultz, Erskine, Clark, Morrisonne, Poti, a whole slew of young forwards in the minors - draft picks...there are a lot of expendable players...don't everyone yell at me, but really? We can lose one of your favorites to get some defense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

(FWIW blwiseass comments were me. Been a while since I logged in and used the wrong email address at first)

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 14, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

bl,
either way you have a similar cap hit, why not get a player who will play? yes, it means no alzner/carlson this year barring injury...but you've got that now. they have cap space next year with theo amoung other gone, even with backs and semin to be signed.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan

I will love 55 when he plays up to his size.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Fehr, Fleischman, Schultz, Erskine, Clark, Morrisonne, Poti, a whole slew of young forwards in the minors - draft picks...there are a lot of expendable players...don't everyone yell at me, but really? We can lose one of your favorites to get some defense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 4:53 PM

Mostly agree on that point. That being said, I'm not sure Kaberle's the right fit for us with the large cap hit next year. The whole point about those "expendables" is that they produce (+/- or points) above their salary hit, so the more we give up the less benefit we get from Kaberle.

Glad to hear someone other than Hindle thinks this makes sense. It gains a slight bit of merit.

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Kaberle NTC...

Tomas Kaberle, TOR - NTC [can name 10 teams that he will accept a trade to; if the Leafs miss the playoffs in 2008-09 or 2009-10, he can be traded without restriction from that Entry Draft until August 15]

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

FYI, Kaberle NTC...

Tomas Kaberle, TOR - NTC [can name 10 teams that he will accept a trade to; if the Leafs miss the playoffs in 2008-09 or 2009-10, he can be traded without restriction from that Entry Draft until August 15]

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 5:05 PM

Kaberle would waive it to come here anyway.

Posted by: Raber | October 14, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Kaberle / Nyls trade - not going to happen.

With signing Semin and Backs to new contracts next year. Kaberle's cap hit for next year of $4.25 does not help the Caps situation. Also, Caps will not spend $13 million of 3 defencemen next year (Green, Poti & Kaberle).

Next rumor please.

Posted by: puckman | October 14, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1 - The caps wouldn't want to add Kaberle's contract because Backstrom and Semin will both be RFA's after this season. They need to clear Nylander's contract from the books to keep the band together.

If the worst case scenario is Nylander sits all season, so be it, but I would be shocked and angry if the Caps add Kaberle. What Kaberle brings to the table is nothing that the Caps current crop of D doesn't already provide, and being stuck with an extra year of 4.5 million or so Cap hit could cost us one of the young guns in the off season

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 14, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

aaaaaaaaaaaand puckman beat me to it, so if there was an edit button i would replace everything i typed with "what puckman said"

Posted by: SombreroGuy | October 14, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I think backstrom WILL be resigned - not sure Semin is as high on the GMGM radar...especially with his inconsistant play.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I think Backstrom WILL be resigned - not sure Semin is as high on the GMGM radar...especially with his inconsistant play.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 14, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

as long as they keep playing The Hockey Songs during the games at the Phone Booth I don't care if the players listen to BB or not!!

Posted by: doughless | October 14, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

as the trade deadline nears - nyls knows that his control over where he ends up is ticking away.
i believe his position is weakened a little bit each day. at some point he will need to wave the NMC and try to end up in the best possible city for him and his family.
right now i think it is just a p*ssing match between he and GMGM
either way once the NMC expires - nlys is gone.
one way he gets to have some say and the other way he will be told

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

FWIW: From various blogs, I see DirecTV and VS are still talking, which I guess is some form of good news...understand the Hawks comeback over the Flames the other night on VS was must see TV...sigh...

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | October 14, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon: Dude, really? One doesn't simply conjure elite defensemen from thin air. One doesn't conjure cap space from thin air, either, lest some bright boy suggest that we should have signed one of the UFA's.

So, that means a trade for one of the ones out there in the NHL. That means that we have to find a trade partner who (a) wants something we've got, (b) has the cap space to take on what they'll get in trade, and (c) has a defenseman that we'd want and can clear cap space for via trade. What's more, said defenseman cannot have a contract that would cripple us in resigning Backstrom or Semin next year.

A defenseman of the caliber you're looking for is going to run you $3.5 million, maybe more. As someone else pointed out, we've already got ~$9m wrapped up in two defensemen (Green and Poti). The wisdom of wrapping up that much money into three guys is questionable at best, but never mind that for the moment.

Let's say Ted and GMGM are willing to do that - go after a vet defenseman after just six games into the season. Ask yourself two questions - who can we trade, and who do we want? From there, you get into questions of "what is the other team likely to want in return?"

Approach it from a logical standpoint, and construct a logical, believable trade that works under the salary cap of BOTH TEAMS, and I'll entertain the idea. Until you do that, a wild statement like "Let's trade everybody and get some defense"just sounds retarded.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 14, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

RE: Kaberle, last season he said he would waive his NMC/NTC (his position was basically if they don't want me, I don't want to stay). So I would not assume that he is ruled out because of a NMC/NTC (for DC or another team).

Posted by: Boo- | October 14, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

One more note: There is one thing that teams looking to trade with the Caps WILL have their eyes on and will probably come into play in any trade talks - young goalies. The Caps currently have two goalie prospects who are NHL-ready or very nearly so, and a third who is younger but shows considerable promise, which is unusual depth in goal in an organization. Teams prize situations like that. Do not be surprised if any trades or deadline deals involve one of Varly or Neuvirth, and I am of the opinion that it's too early to trade one or the other, as we don't have enough information to know which one we want. (I'm leaning towards Neuvirth, personally.)

Posted by: kittypawz | October 14, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz:
I'm leaning towards Neuvirth, personally

i'm not sure if you mean to keep him or let him go

at this point i'd offer up holtby as the goalie prospect

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the best route for Boud to take at this point - assuming he feels he is not getting 110% out of each player - is to actually play Nylander. From all press accounts he continues to act the consummate professional and I'm sure he is not happy with life as he knows it now in DC. Guaranteed, that given some real ice time, he would give 110%, others would be pushed to do so as well and at the same time perhaps Nyles is 'showcased' for anyone else who might be on his trade list to further consider him or maybe the Caps have a new take on his place on the team for this season. What does management have to lose by doing so? He might actually add something positive on the ice in his own right, lest we all forget he is still a good quality professional.

Thoughts? Am I out of my mind on this one?

Posted by: Mitch_Greenstein1 | October 14, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not in a position to guess what GMGM is thinking, but I for one would be happy to see what we could get for Semin.

He's a pain in the @$$, he is one of the laziest kids out there in terms of consistent effort, and in terms of the kinds of penalties he takes.

He's culprit #1 when Gabby talks about guys who have the talent to win games all by themselves, but slack off and are not team-minded because they know how good they are.

I'd love to see GMGM trade him right now when we can still benefit, and his stock is high.

Posted by: large23220 | October 14, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Where did this Kaberle for Nyls rumor come from anyway? I googled every combination of words I could think of and checked all my hockey sources and could not find anything.

Posted by: caraveli | October 14, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I mean anything newer than a few months ago.

Posted by: caraveli | October 14, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

And why in the world would these guys be trying to bring Kaberle here? He's as one-dimensional as Green.

We already have a high-dollar Offenseman.

What we need now is a blue-collar counterpart to Green and Poti who will wipe their @$$e$ when they make a mess. Because they are not getting any better defensively.

Posted by: large23220 | October 14, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I for one would be happy to see what we could get for Semin.

He's a pain in the @$$, he is one of the laziest kids out there in terms of consistent effort, and in terms of the kinds of penalties he takes.

He's culprit #1 when Gabby talks about guys who have the talent to win games all by themselves, but slack off and are not team-minded because they know how good they are.

I'd love to see GMGM trade him right now when we can still benefit, and his stock is high.

Posted by: large23220 | October 14, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

He's one of the few players who match a certain profile -- he's attractive enough to teams that are desperate for scoring with his skillset and point production that he can garner a quality return. And he's unattractive enough to us to let him go for the reasons you (and others) have mentioned.

Lets hope Bouchard finds a way to get his act together. I don't know how many other scoring talents we really have at the wing position to help mitigate Semin's loss besides Bouchard, Flash, and any prospective player you get back in a trade.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

What we need now is a blue-collar counterpart to Green and Poti who will wipe their @$$e$ when they make a mess. Because they are not getting any better defensively.

Posted by: large23220 | October 14, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Poti gone, the coaching staff actually demand better play from Green, and a defenseman like Komisarek or Exelby in here. We're not getting a Chara so lets opt for something better than what we currently have until a couple of the kids at Hershey are ready. I still have no idea why we let Staffan Kronwall go. He has the size, the presence, and he skates well enough to be a better longterm option than someone like Schultz.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Guys? This team is not run by Jacques Lemaire. Get over it. If you want defense first, please go root for the Devils and leave those of us alone who would rather watch hockey than sleep. Team defense makes own-zone play go round, it really does, and when we see an equal commitment to defense from everyone, then you'll see the shot and goal totals drop.

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ: I'm leaning towards keeping Neuvirth, sorry for being unclear :) He's calm, technically solid, square to the puck on a consistent basis, and that glove hand of his is something else. I think he's got more upside in the long term than Varly.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 14, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

large23220:
i don't get the impression that semin slacks because he knows how good he is - but more because he has probably never had to alter his game (backchecking/hitting/digging in the corners) to match the talent he is playing against.
i think he is the most skilled player on the team - but lacks the 'drive' (personal pride maybe?) to be the best - which is what makes ovi the elite player that he is.
i agree that a dman that is willing to put a 'camping' forward on his *ss is what is now most needed.

Mitch_Greenstein1:
i think they should give nyls a chance too. the problem is that nyls is a playmaking center not a checking line center. i know you don't replace backs with nyls but can you replace bmo with him and actually make the team better. i only see nyls on the ice if one of those two goes on LTIR and even then i'm not sure GMGM (my opinion only) will allow BB to put him on the ice. i don't think nyls can produce like a $5.5M player anymore - but he is still collecting a check - so any production you get from him could only be a plus as far as i'm concerned.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:
with semin at $5M and due a raise - i'm not sure who would have the dman we'd need and the room to take him. i really like semin (even with his bad penalties) - he is a joy to watch on the ice.
based on what d was kept - kronwall would be a blessing right now.
kittypawz:
i actually enjoyed watch the 'langway' caps play. there might not have been as much flair on the ice but much like this team they were in a position to win on most nights

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk_in_AZ "i don't think nyls can produce like a $5.5M player anymore - but he is still collecting a check - so any production you get from him could only be a plus as far as i'm concerned"

But isn't there a concern that if he does get on the ice and gets (re)injured he will be hard to trade later on in the season when he's not so big a cap hit?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 14, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't at the STH party yesterday. It's too hard for us to try to get to Six Flags in Maryland from Reston, VA during rush hour.

Sounds like everyone had a good time. It's obvious, Semin and Ovi are like brothers (although someone reported that Backstrom and Ovi are like brothers, also.) The players seem to enjoy being with each other, in general. I could see one practice where I saw Fehr, Semin, and Laich bantering around and playfully nudging one another.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Guys? This team is not run by Jacques Lemaire. Get over it. If you want defense first, please go root for the Devils and leave those of us alone who would rather watch hockey than sleep. Team defense makes own-zone play go round, it really does, and when we see an equal commitment to defense from everyone, then you'll see the shot and goal totals drop.

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ: I'm leaning towards keeping Neuvirth, sorry for being unclear :) He's calm, technically solid, square to the puck on a consistent basis, and that glove hand of his is something else. I think he's got more upside in the long term than Varly.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 14, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

1. Offense first teams NEVER win championships - even the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980's thought defense first in the playoffs and the Caps aint NO oilers.

2. The era of technical goalies is long gone. they can have good careers but you need a goalie who can be spectacular in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

joek443,
that has got to be one of the most ignorant things i've read in here. thank you for being consistent at least.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 14, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

name five goalies that aren't "technical" that have won the cup.

Posted by: MNMNT | October 14, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

1. MAF
2. Hasek
3. Roy
4. Brodeur
5. Fuhr

the last great technical goalie was Mike Richter of the Rangers.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

needless to say every successful goalie has to be technically sound - Hasek being an exception - but he also has to be capable of being spectacular when needed to have success in the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

dccitizen1:
i think the risk of not playing him (trade wise) could be just as much as risking an injury with putting him on the ice. agreed - any tweak or twinge could cause his stock to go down. even knowing that there hasn't been much interest in him and all the speculation and rumors just have not panned out. if i had my way (which i don't) i'd put him out there and see what he could do.
i just hope that nyls ends up in a place that he wants to go. circles or no circles he always seemed to give 100%

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

joek443:
spectacular goalies tend to be streaky goalies - also something you do not want in the playoffs.
sometimes a technical steady goalie is what is needed.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The oilers of the 80's weren't offense first? Mmmm, ok.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The oilers of the 80's weren't offense first? Mmmm, ok.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Not in the playoffs they weren't... they could light it up during the regular season but in the playoffs, they could play defense with the best of them.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

the only way the Caps can go farther in the playoffs is by playing better TEAM defense because the Caps do NOT have great defensive defensemen like the Oilers did - Keven Lowe, Charlier Huddy and Craig Muni.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

correction - Kevin Lowe, Charlie Huddy and Craig Muni

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

joek443:
spectacular goalies tend to be streaky goalies - also something you do not want in the playoffs.
sometimes a technical steady goalie is what is needed.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

again just look at the list goalies who have won the Stanley Cup since 1980... all of them were capable of being spectacular when called upon, even a goalie like Mike Richter who was a textbook goalie. and Hasek wasn't anyone's definition of a "technical" goalie.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Doubt Burke is dumb enough to trade Kaberle for Nylander straight up but then again he traded two number one draft picks and a second for Phil Kessel. I would be all for getting rid of Nylander finally but I think Mike Van Ryn is a more realistic outcome. The added benefit is his salary is only 2.9 million and he's a UFA at the end of the season.

Posted by: madflava | October 14, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Pitt and Carolina are tied at 2 apiece today. Ouch, Carolina may be waking up.

That is one of those games where I wish I could root against both teams. (I feel the same way about any game between Pitt and Philthy.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I used to watch the Caps of the Langway era also. And Gartner and Carpenter. (Carpenter's problems came after my elder daughter was born and I started paying less attention to hockey, as a result.)

Am I just a sucker for hard luck cases, when it comes to picking favorite players?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

edm oilers - goals per game for all series
yr goals for / goals against
84 4.94 2.94
85 5.44 3.16
87 3.14 2.33
88 4.66 2.94
90 3.68 2.22

it would appear that you are correct about 87 and 90 but 84, 85 and 88 was all about the offense.

i'm not going to pretend i know the style of every SC winning goalie since 80 - mabye you can help me
billy smith
grant fuhr/andy moog
patrick roy
mike vernon
tom barrasso
mike richter
martin brodeur
chris osgood
ed belfour
dominik hasek
nikolai khabibulin
cam ward
jean-sebastien giguere
marc-andre fleury

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh won in the shootout, thanks to Goonitz himself. (Gee, will those guys ever lose?) Okay, they lost once.

I'm showing I'm a true hater of the Pens by not being happy with them beating Carolina, the divisional arch-competition of the Caps.

I would not be surprised if the Pens finish with the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference. I'm sure, the Rangers will collapse, sooner or later. They always start off fast and then fade.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

It seemed that the Caps would always run into the hot goal tender in the playoffs during the mid-late 80's. I recall their offense of that period.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

edm oilers - goals per game for all series
yr goals for / goals against
84 4.94 2.94
85 5.44 3.16
87 3.14 2.33
88 4.66 2.94
90 3.68 2.22

it would appear that you are correct about 87 and 90 but 84, 85 and 88 was all about the offense.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

my point is that they were CAPABLE of playing great defense when needed to. Their GA was considerablely better in the playoffs than during the regular seasons.

One simple truth - being technical is something that can be taught but being spectacular is NOT. I would much rather have a goalie who can be spectacular because the rest can be taught.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
i'm with you
car > pit - unless we need car to lose to get into the playoffs

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

CAPABLE
thats the key word that was missing. i don't believe the oilers of the 80's ever actually thought defense first - playoffs or otherwise

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I can only think of one thing worse than Crosby with the Penguins. Crosby with the New York Rangers. The hype would be ridiculous.

Now, I dislike the Pens worse than the Rangers at the present time. I dislike the Pens worse than any other hockey team. But Crosby on the Rangers would tip the balance, especially if the Rangers were actually good.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 14, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

the best defense in hockey is having the puck in your zone the least amount of time. That's how the Oilers played defense.

you might have 5 Langways back there but if the other team keeps it in your zone for 2 minutes like the Devils did in the third period the other night, the puck will eventually find its way in the net.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

i'm not sure 5 gretzky's could keep the puck in the o zone for two minutes against 5 langway's

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

haha this conversation is stupid i can't even begin...

Posted by: MNMNT | October 15, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

What about Gordies against Bobbys?

Posted by: --Boo-- | October 15, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

MNMNT:
thanks for noticing - i work hard at my craft

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 15, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

--Boo--
i'd be even less sure about that matchup

last couple of days on here have been real interesting - four losses in a row can make some get wound pretty tightly

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 15, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Kirk:
It's early - I ain't worried.

Posted by: --Boo-- | October 15, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

You people that want to trade Semin are flat out idiot armchair GMs. He is hands down the most naturally gifted offensive talent the capitals have.


Semin's bread and butter is being the crafty guy who skulks around the ice controlling the puck. He doesn't need to hit, he doesn't need to clutch and grab, he just needs to pickpocket a puck then then he dictates the game.

I mean he plays beautifully, scores a good amount, and even got into a fight. What more do you want?


Posted by: trunkenmath | October 15, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

fewer giveaways and bad penalties

Posted by: Sonyask | October 15, 2009 5:21 AM | Report abuse

Dunno about giveaways but if you want fewer penalties maybe we should trade ovechkin and green since they both have similar rap sheets?

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 15, 2009 5:30 AM | Report abuse

i think what has to be mentioned in all this talk about signing nicky and semin is that the way the gmgm and bb are treating nylander is bound to have an impact on how nicky feels about staying here long term. don't think backy isn't watching the nasty way things are with nylander, someone who mentored him, someone he lived with, someone who is like a dad to him. i think signing sasha is going to be a breeeeeze by comparison, provided ted doesn't totally alienate sasha by calling him a spoiled kid. it might require some serious buttering up and sweetening with both those guys, because they are fantastic players, and we need them both.

Posted by: spinner-33 | October 15, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

spinner, do you know backstrom personally? i dont, so i wont speculated on what he is or isnt observing about the nylander situation. what i do know is that he was hanging w/ ovie at the skins game after having spent the night at his house. my guess is that backs and ovie have developed a pretty good bond and enjoy playing with each other. not only that, but from a business standpoint, they know the other is going to make them better and more valuable. so i would say that playing w/ ovie with a chance at a sustained run at the cup, will out weigh any feelings he has about nyls situation. besides, one way or the other, this way always going to be nyls last year in dc.

i'm going to guess that they sign backs mid year or so. around the time they signed ovie. it will be a long term deal. most atheletes i've observed are motivated by winning and money, in some order. backs will get the opportunity for both here.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 15, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

On a good note...at this opoint in the season with a whopping 6 points, we eeeeeek into the play-offs at the # 8 position. If the wind blows the right way we breeze by Tampa and secure the # 3 slot in the standings......stay tuned for further play-off updates through out the season.........hey has any one seen what the stretch run is looking like yet??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 15, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

October is no time to "panic". It's just too early. You don't have to be the best team in October, or at anytime during the regular season. You just have to be good enough to make top-8 in the east, and then play well (and be healthy) for playoff season.

That said, I so think tonight is kind of important to the Caps. They apparently had a hard practice, and a few were admonished by their coach. Tonight, at home, they need to bring maximum effort and get a win. A loss would be 5 in a row, and close games notwithstanding, not a whole lot of Stanley-Cup calbire teams lose 5 games in a row.

The Caps have arguably the best offensive talent in hockey. But even the best offensive talent won't be enough if there is inconsistent defense and/or goaltending, the taking of bad penalties, or from not giving enough effort and hard work (as BB said). Time to right the ship.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | October 15, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

jeff, as a pens fan you know first hand how meaningless october can be in the grand scheme of things.

as BB has said, its about developing good habits. the team has lost four 1-goal games to playoff teams from last year (two in OT). it not like they got shut out by phoenix at home (jeff?). however, they learned a lesson last year that you just cant turn it one when you want to. they came as close as you can to losing in round 1 last year after limping into the playoffs. need to develop those good habits now...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 15, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Man, I can't wait for the game tonight. There's going to be some amazing talent on the ice from both teams. Arguably, two of the best offensive lines in the NHL will be on the ice tonight. That's if BB keeps Backs and Ovie together, which I hope he does. Hope I find tickets.

Posted by: JD09 | October 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I just saw that Aucoin was recalled. Interesting...

Posted by: hillg | October 15, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

i guess gordo can't/won't go tonight since they are bringing aucoin up

also breaking news....no nylander

Posted by: _stevo | October 15, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Let the "why don't we suit up Nylander" chants starts in 3....2.....1.....

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 15, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Why would one hope to keep Ovi and Backs together when the article preceding the message board indicates that Ovi is being centered by BMo and Backs is centering Laich and Semin? Reading comprehension. It's a lost art, it seems.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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