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Boudreau: Johnson Earns Start Against 'Canes

This morning's practice was canceled, but Coach Bruce Boudreau talked to the beat writers on the phone a few minutes ago. The topic du jour - you guessed it - was the goalie situation.

There is no controversy, according to Boudreau. But Johnson will make his second straight start tomorrow night against Carolina at Verizon Center.

"I don't think [either is] going to play 10 games in a row," Boudreau said. "But we're going to go with the hot hand."

And right now, the hot hand belongs to Johnson, who stopped 42 shots in the Caps' 2-1 overtime loss to the Senators. Johnson is 1-1-2 with a 2.47 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. Jose Theodore, meantime, has a 3.44 goals against and a .877 save percentage.

"We haven't given up on Theo or anything, or think anything less of him," Boudreau added. "Right now, Brent played really well last night, so I've got to believe he's earned another start tomorrow night."

Boudreau said after last night's game that goaltending coach Dave Prior told him that Johnson's performance at Scotiabank Place was his best as a Capital.

"He's not old by goaltending standards," Boudreau said of Johnson, 31. "So I've got to believe that he's going to get better. He's better than when he was 25 and he's better than when he was 29. I don't know if he would have been able to poke check Daniel Alfredsson on a breakaway five years ago."

Boudreau is clearly pleased with Johnson's play this season (he was also very good in the preseason). But the coach also wasn't willing to say that there's been a change in the hierarchy. Theodore is still the Caps' No. 1, Boudreau said.

"Who knows, if Brent goes in and is crappy tomorrow obviously we're going to go with Theodore against the Rangers on Saturday," Boudreau said. "All I'm looking at is tomorrow night's game."

He added: "Theodore is still the No. 1 goalie we have. But for tomorrow, Brent is getting another start. Theodore started five games in a row. Brent came in a did well, so he's earned another start."



By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 5, 2008; 11:23 AM ET
 
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Comments

I think Brent has played very well when he has been given the chance to play.

Posted by: MReilly9 | November 5, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Excellent!

Now the Capitals just need to give Johnny some "run support"

Posted by: Cerealman | November 5, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Good call with giving BJ the start tomorrow night. Now let's put some goals. One a game ain't gonna cut it most nights.

Posted by: cbs75 | November 5, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Sonny vs Billy = Jose vs Brent

We love us a controversy here in DC, quarterback or goalie!

Of course, 90% of you young'uns dont have a clue who Billy and Sonny are. That was when headlines used to read "Soon railroads will span the continent!!!"

Posted by: basrfg | November 5, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I think you have a typo on JT's save percentage

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

fixed. thanks.

Posted by: el_bashir | November 5, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Thursday will have a playoff atmosphere. I hope Brash drops them early to light a spark in this team.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 5, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Good stuff. I'm not giving up on Jose but Johnny has looked stronger in limited action, and we need to get a W on the board ASAP. Ovechkin looked sluggish so I am hoping a day off to rest and a chance to play in front of a home crowd will energize him.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 5, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Johnny was on fire last night. Let's we can FINALLY get everybody going at the same time tomorrow night. If #1 plays well and the forwards score, we're gold.

Posted by: _jordan | November 5, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

i feel weird saying this but i don't mind johnson getting the start

Posted by: _stevo | November 5, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

basrfg,

I like Billy...

Posted by: NJNJ | November 5, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What does this guy has to do to prove that he is a good goalie? He should have been our number one goalie the last couple of years and right now he is much better than Theodore.

Posted by: opita | November 5, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

We can at least note a few trends this early in the season:
-Despite Laughlin's mentioning that the club is happy with Shultz's development, he consistently looks slow and out-muscled. Big and soft is a fair description after a year and change of watching him play.
-Morrison has been below average in every game. Periods of making good plays and sound coverage followed by terrible mistakes.
-JT playing OK but way too inconsistent for a "Stanley Cup contender"
-Kozlov has also looked slow to react and his passes way off pace and point.
-OV pressing and getting poke checked to often enetering the zone.
-Green playing irresponsible D. Soemon f his skating ability should not be getting turned around as often as he has.
-Erskine would have a diffciult time making most NHL rosters today, but we get lucky enough to watch him fumble pucks for two more years.
That said, I believe the CAPS can (and will) turn it around. Alot can be said for chemistry and all it takes is solid few games in a row to get the confidence it takes to snowball.
IMO it comes down to consistent, aggressive forecheck and tough, angry defense. The former we haven't done enough of thus far and the latter I don't know that we have the personnel for.
Thankfully FEDs has played well and the creativity of the second? line has kept us competitive.
We'll see what happens Thursday against the Canes. Go CAPS.

Posted by: Shipdriver | November 5, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"... That was when headlines used to read 'Soon railroads will span the continent!!!'" - basrfg.

And when men were men and women were thankful? LOL - just kidding, ladies. But, it was the time when QBs called their own plays, and Billy was smarter.

Posted by: opita | November 5, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

These guys need to get mean. Playing like cardboard cut-outs out there.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow night is a real "four-pointer" pretty early into the season. Can't let the Canes build up a head of stream.

3 wins out of 3 at home and everything will be sweet. *crosses fingers/toes*

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 5, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Hard to type like that, isn't it Dave? :)

Oh, and I thought the quote went "when men were men and sheep were nervous".

Posted by: _Mark | November 5, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

good for Johnnie

Posted by: doughless | November 5, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

we need ov-feds-semin line to turn things around... backie-kozzie should go to the 3rd line or even the 4th with clark, under performing this year with the best player in the world on their line

Posted by: vik191 | November 5, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

NJ is in need of a goalie.... We can always use an extra bag of pucks.... Think Theo likes the garden state?

Or do we just bring up Laing and solve all of our problems? Cause the only reason we're playing like crap is lack 'o Laing.

(the above is sarcasm)

Posted by: Steve_R | November 5, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If Johnny can string together games like last night, we'll see more of him between the pipes and JT at the end of the bench.

If we see Schultz (aka: Beaky Buzzard http://www.nonstick.com/characters/beaky.html) continue to glide in our defensive zone and not deliver any hits, we'll see him in the press box and Sloan or Lepisto on the blue line.

Posted by: puckman | November 5, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Remember last year the comments about Schultz being "Prongeresque" in size...? Shame he doesn't share the mean streak as well.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 5, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Sonny vs Billy = Jose vs Brent

Posted by: basrfg | November 5, 2008 11:39 AM
------------------------------------------
I'd say it's probably Heath vs. Gus right now.

Posted by: Section117 | November 5, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm bringing my kids to their first game ever on Monday to hopefully see the boys shell Olie and the rest of the Bolts....we live in western Maryland so plan to get a hotel and spend the night....anyone now of a decent hotel near Verizon or one of the nearby metro stations that isn't horribly expensive?? don't want to stay in a flea bag but don't want to spend out the nose either!!! and thanks to Uncle Ted for the Family Packs.....that is the only way we can aford to go!!

Posted by: PhilR | November 5, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's about time Johnson got a bit of a run. I still don't have too much faith in him as he's too inconsistent overall, but Theodore has been consistently bad this year. Just look at the GAA and save %. Johnson's are WAY better (he's played fewer games, but still).

I also would like to see the Russian line that did so well in the World championship on the way to the gold medal. I can see each of them frustrated half the time with the actions of their current line mates. They expect one thing and something else happens. Put them together for a game or two and see what happens. I think they'll do great.

The 2nd line then could be Fleischmann - Nylander - Kozlov or Fleischmann - Backstrom - Kozlov. Not bad.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm ready to see the Ovechkin/Backstrom/Kozlov line dismantled. As BB has mentioned a few times, this is not last year. I could not agree more. They were last years #1 line and played lights out. This year, so far, their play has warrented third line status if BB continues to try to keep three scoring lines together. I was hoping to see changes made to that line last night. Maybe, against the 'Canes I'll see it? They can always be reunited. I think at this point, it's boderline "beating a dead horse" to continue to play them and expect goal production. I was happy but sad to see Captain Chris moved to the fourth line. If it's confidence, game shape issues or lingering effects from the injury, let him rebound to form on a line not counted upon for the bulk of the scoring. Of course, I hate to think this about him but it's strictly an observation about productivity or lack of it. Good move there-BB

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 5, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Sonny can still throw better than Billy ever could.

Congrats to Brent, imho right now he is #1

Posted by: RongCapsFan | November 5, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Johnny deserves to get a run of starts to see what he's got - he's faster and more athletic than Theo. Might have said Theo was more techincally sound before, but not now after watching Johnny's positioning last night. Very solid... Kozlov is beginning to frustrate me a lot (from reading above, all of you too), and the team still is a little to soft on the puck in clearing the zone and in making plays. Crisp passes and clears, or just dump the thing! Lines may need a shuffle, and I think ranndino has it right - try the Russian line. Ottawa puts the big 3 together and it usually works, so why not us?
Ovie-Feds-Semin
Flash-Nylander-Kozlov
Laich-Backstrom-Bradley
Fehr-Gordon/Steckel-Clark

Brashear is usually pretty solid with the puck and makes good decisions, but has been off lately and really rough carrying it. Anyone see him at center ice last night when he got turned around and had to carry it? Yikes...

Posted by: Roose | November 5, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@steve: so all knowing one what is the think that we are missing if it isnt Laing?We presently are 19th the league
we play with little or no emotion our captain in horrid and our superstar is invisible. Are we underachiving or was last year a fluke? Oh pray enlighten us oh learned one

Posted by: wendel2 | November 5, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I miss Don Beaupre

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: puckman | November 5, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jeff Schultz-

Please walk into moving traffic today. Here's hoping that you will stop cars as well as you stop forwards, and it will be your first hit on the year.

Warmest regards,
Caps Fans

P.S. Can we stop blaming every loss on Erskine. Big sexy lumberjack blocked a few shots last night and delivered quite a hit although it was blocked by a stupid promo for the wizards. Thanks comcast.

P.P.S. Can we all recognize how ridiculous the amount of money Mo wanted in the off-season. He is struggggling to say the least.

Posted by: joshipants | November 5, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Puckman

Thanks for the link - brings back memories especially the Christian family sticks!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

PhilR:
You may want to try the Sheraton Four Points in downtown DC - it's within walking distance of Verizon and reasonably (for DC) priced. Very decent for families.

Posted by: basrfg | November 5, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Johnny can't be our #1 goalie simply because he's not getting the #1 salary.

Is it too early to think about how to get rid of Theodore? Unfortunately he sucks so bad that no other team would want him.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 5, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@pants

very eloquently put

Posted by: _stevo | November 5, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

basrfg,

Thanks for the info....I'll check it out on the net...My girls are already driving me crazy saying "how many days till we see Ovie???!!!"

Posted by: PhilR | November 5, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Jose sitting on the bench will motivate him...that said - the same thing happened in Colorado where he sucked except for a couple weeks. He has been washed up for a while - the Aves could not wait for his contract to end. GMGM got snowballed into that deal when all along he wanted Huet back. When Huet signed with Chicago, GMGM was left with only Brent. So we are stuck with a crappy number one for two years. That does not bode well. Crappy #1 goalie + crappy defense in front of him = a very long season.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

why is it that whenever our goalie plays well and gives up a goal, we can never score enough goals for him??

Posted by: rachel216 | November 5, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

because there is no chemistry on the O lines... they have different styles and dont know where the other will be...

Posted by: vik191 | November 5, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Can we get rid of JT, or are we really stuck with him for 2 years and eat the losses, regardless how horrible he is? That's just not fair to our other great players.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 5, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I personally think there are many facotrs involved in this funk the team is in. It saterted with Sluggo. Then they traded Zubrus. Laing ins't playing in the bigs. It's had a snowball effect.

Perhaps the team could make a trade with chicago. We give them Hoe Say (and a bag of pucks) and we get Huet!

Now, seriously. OV is pressing much too hard. He wants to put the team on his shoulders, but that's not the way it works. There is no fire on the team right now. They are playing like last season just sort of happened, that they didn't have to work for what they earned. Maybe Someone other than Fehr needs to sit. Like Kozlov. Or Backstrom. Or maybe JT needs to visit chocolate town USA to rebuild his confidence.

Posted by: Leeguru | November 5, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I love how the caps can have a slump and still be near the top of the terrible southeast. As long as the division stays bad, we'll always have a chance. As for Johnson, he should have had way more starts this year already. I've seen maybe two games where Theodore impressed me. One of them has to step up or we need another trade deadline acquisition if we want to contend.

Posted by: JSeagull1 | November 5, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

boy does my typing suck sometimes!

Posted by: Leeguru | November 5, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be interesting to see what happens this year, and especially after the season. If memory serves me correctly, Johnny's contract is up - so what does that mean for the goalie situation? If Johnny jumps up and becomes the #1 and Theo sits, what then? Buyout Theo's contract and pay Johnny a raise with Varlamov or Cheese as the backup... If neither plays well then Johnny may be gone and Varlamov or Cheese push Theo and maybe outplay him because we are stuck with his 2nd year under contract. Any thoughts? Is Sombrero Guy out there to breakdown the numbers? (I don't do math...)

Posted by: Roose | November 5, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

No more Blackhawks games. No more Blackhawks, actually.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-blackhawks-fan-deadnov05,0,1606541.story

Posted by: Section117 | November 5, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

You guys are expecting way too much from this team. Look at them...very young with inexperience on the blue line, barring Tom Poti and maybe Morrisson. I don't think Jose will play this bad for the entire year, and Johnson will be a reliable back-up. That said, this team just needs to tread water until its offense starts to click. They have the tools to win; those games will probably have scores of 5-4 and 4-3 because our defense is so poor, but we can get it done. And honestly, I don't really like the way Jose is playing either, but you cannot lay the blame solely on him and try to run him out of town after only ten games. His defense has been absolutely atrocious and he get's hung out to dry on almost every goal. Johnson can attest to that last night and if he had not played brilliantly and made 42 saves, would we be saying how much Johnson sucks? Seriously guys, with all the negativity going on right now with the caps having a "WINNING" record, I sure would hate to be reading what was posted on this blog this time last year. Lighten up, let the team sort it out themselves, and if in 25-30 were staring Tampa Bay in the face in the standings, I'll jump on the trade Theo, break-up the team bandwagon. In the meantime, let's hope the Caps can turn it around in this relatively young season.

Posted by: reesem37 | November 5, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

As much as I would like to see Fehr get a shot, I think a few things became more obvious to me last night than they were originally:

-Ovechkin looks sickly. His first period was alright, but he got tired much more quickly than ever before -- he's only been gone a week, it's got to be something specific.

-Backstrom is waking up, albeit slowly. I think he'll be fine. After all, as everyone points out, it's 11 games in, people.

-Kozlov looks like he's still hurt. There were times last night where "he doesn't get caught on the backcheck last year" and "that first stride definitely isn't as powerful as it was." I think he should heal correctly. That'd be a good time to call Fehr up into his position -- seriously, they're already slumping bad, i don't think it'll get much worse; give Fehr a chance!

-Green is slumping seriously right now, too. Whether it's the increased attention he's getting on the ice or what, he's not getting deep into the zone like he used to, anymore. He's getting caught at the hash-marks and getting the puck stripped. I can't remember him having anywhere near the puck-carrying trouble last year as he's having this year.

-The rest of the defense looks weak and scared, essentially (excepting Poti, really -- arguments could be made for Erskine and Jurcina, too, as they haven't been as bad as Schultz and Morrisonn).

Don't remember the original point, but yeah. Ovechkin doesn't look quite right, Kozlov still looks hurt, but, amazingly, I think Backstrom's starting to turn the corner -- maybe that ankle is finally healed.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 5, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to get me a copy of the original transcript of Semin's interview since I'm fluent in Russian. I'd tell you if anything was really "lost in translation".

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is going to be on the Mike O'Meara show a little after 4 this afternoon. Just a heads-up.

Posted by: _jordan | November 5, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@Reesem

I agree with you completely...we should give this team some time to work it out, but it's the major trends that keep me worried. Those trends being horrible defensive play and an inconsistent #1 goalie. If they do not work out those issues, then the damage may be too much to overcome. It's also extremely frustrating having sat through many years of re-building, and then finally putting together a team that should compete for the Eastern Conference title - only to play uninspired, sloppy hockey so far.

Expectations are extremely high, as well as they should be. This team should be winning.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Can we get rid of JT, or are we really stuck with him for 2 years and eat the losses, regardless how horrible he is? That's just not fair to our other great players.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 5, 2008 2:46 PM
==========================================

Sweet. Here's another idea. Let's ditch the other dreadful players because they're costing us more, too. Then we could bring up Alzner, Osala, and half a dozen other Bears and relly have a team.

Like this Ovechkin guy. Man, for shellin' out 9.5 Million in cap hit, he's doing squat for us.

Backstrom. Zip, zero nada for him, too.

Let's package up the D, too, for a bundle of sticks.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 5, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I still think that goaltending is out number one issue. Jose did not get hung out to dry as someone said. He has allowed a TON of bad goals. When the team does not feel confident about their goaltending it has a snowballing effect on their whole game. They tend to take a lot less chances so even the offense suffers. The reason we played high flying hockey at the end of last year is because the players' confidence in the goalie (Huet) was sky high. They knew that if they made a mistake he'd bail them out most of the time, so they played loose and created a ton of chances themselves. These days everyone on the ice is so tense because they're scared to death to make a mistake because it seems that just about any shot on Jose can go in.

I don't know what the answer is. Some of the suggestions so far are unrealistic due to the salary cap. I'm afraid we're stuck with JT and there's not much GMGM can do. I was very concerned with our goalie situation ever since Huet bolted and we had to pick up Theodore.

On another note, I'd love to get me a copy of the original transcript of Semin's interview. Since I'm fluent in Russian I'd tell you if anything was really "lost in translation".

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Poked around and found a bunch of copies of the Semin interview on Russian sites, but they all seem to be translations back from English.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness! I am so happy to see Johnny starting tomorrow night. I thought he played great last night and that both of the goals were because of bad defense, not bad goaltending. I've been disappointed with Backstrom, he really hasn't done anything so far this season. When is he going to wake up?

To Shipdriver:
"Green playing irresponsible D. Soemon f his skating ability should not be getting turned around as often as he has."

I completely agree with you. Green is playing terrible defense the last several games. He really needs to get back on track.

To joshipants:

Couldn't agree with you more about Jeff Schulz

Posted by: ILikeLaich | November 5, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

(I agree Green has been playing irresponsible defense)

Bill and Ted's Excellent Hockey Team:

BILL: "Dude, first we need an awesome goaltender, and then the other team will score less on us, and we will be most triumphant."

TED: "No dude! We need a most excellent defense, and then the other teams won't shoot as many on net, so we won't need a bodacious goaltender."

BILL: "But Ted, if we get a totally kick-ass offense we will outscore all of our foes and then we won't need an excellent defense"

TED: "But what if the other teams have an awesome goaltender or a most excellent defense?"

BILL: [scratching head thinking...]

BILL AND TED: "Let's Play Hockey!!!"

[electric guitar riff]

Posted by: austinsteve | November 5, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me which Caps D man led the team in +/- last year?

Posted by: WVPhil | November 5, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

There is a Red Roof Inn at 500 H ST that is in walking distance of the VC and is not a bad hotel at all.

Posted by: majiksea | November 5, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately our D has some serious size but most are lacking in skill

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 5, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

VWPhil -- I am going on memory but Schultz had the highest +/-, no? It was like a +12 or something...?

Too bad this season he has one of (if not) the worse +/- on the Caps D.

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 5, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Ugh -- I sicken myself...really, who needs to remember exactly what Jeff Schultz's +/- was from last season -- apparently me.

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 5, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

WVPhil

Schultz did, but that doesn't mean much. The number of times he's on the ice in PK situation and we've been scored on is amazing. No minuses for that. What that stat says is that he was on the ice on even strength situations where the offense scored more than we were scored against. So he was 12 to the good on that.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 5, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

RE: hotels, it would probably be cheaper to stay in MD or VA and take the metro in.

Posted by: Boo- | November 5, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Phil - Check these out ...

http://dc.about.com/od/hotels/a/budgethotels.htm

http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm

Plus these were the only hotels listed as a "Fodor's Choice" in the more affordable range:

Woodley Park Guest House
Member Rating: 4.8
This warm, peaceful B&B on a quiet residential street lies... ยข-$

Latham Hotel Georgetown
Many of the small, beautifully decorated rooms at this elegant... $

Lastly, from Frommer's:
Best Inexpensive Hotel - The boutique Jurys Normandy Inn charges $89 to $239 for personable service and rooms that are small but charming. Extras like an exercise room, a pool, and a restaurant are available at its sister hotel around the corner.

Good luck!! :-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 5, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I just think the guy gets an unfair wrap because he is "big" and doesn't hit anyone. You don't have to be a bruising defenseman to be a good one. There are plenty of guys that can play technically sound with good positioning and not destroy someone in the corners.

Yes Jeff_, pretty sad indeed! :) j/k

Posted by: WVPhil | November 5, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

you would need a hotel near a metro stop and remember you are riding it in at rush hour and PhilR remember it will cost $3/4 per person each way on the metro so you need to factor that in on the cost of hotel close or hotel out.

Posted by: majiksea | November 5, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I think Schultz plays positionally well, most of the time. Last night was a very poor performance on his part. People can try to argue that he's adjusting to playing with Green, but his 2 mistakes (letting a man coming out of the box get behind him, and somehow missing the pass back to the point by lifting his foot) are all about him and not about his defensive partner.

Overall I don't have a problem with Schultz. To me he's one of those guys that you don't really notice for doing anything good or bad (I notice Erskine, and increasingly Mo for significant positional blunders). Schultz's upside is limited, and for him to be effective he has to keep glaring mistakes out of his game. Let's hope he gets back to at least playing strong positionally even if he never turns into the physical presence his size suggests he could be.

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 5, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Phil:
majiksea makes a good point. Also, if you decide to drive in, parking is about $20 at most places near the VC. However, if you eat dinner downtown, a lot of places have cheaper valet parking.

Posted by: Boo- | November 5, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Jeff_,
Well said. I do think he is struggling a bit this year, but virtually the whole team is. I think of all the defensive problems we have, he is not the one at the top of the list.

Posted by: WVPhil | November 5, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is still pushed around too much, and he still panics when he's under pressure. And I'm tired of his "half panzer sissy I-don't-really-belong-on-offense slapshot" - for crying out loud shoot the darn puck.

Yesterday the whole team, except Brent, Fedorov and Semin (and Flash a bit), played terrible. Morrison... oh my goodness, he's a liability right now, replacing him with Sloan is a no-brainer right now. Green needs to step up and show us the money.

We couldn't get out of our zone, we couldn't stay in their zone.

We're not mean enough, and have no killer instinct at all.

If someone on the team read this, it's not to bring you down but a reminder to how you're wasting your god-given talent when you play as individuals and forget to forecheck and fight together, which is the reason you were so great last year.

It's not lack of effort, is the lack of the right effort, to sacrifice for the team, which is fundamental in hockey.

Posted by: mauree | November 5, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

good thing we signed all our young guns to long term deals before we made sure they were the real deal not 1/2 season wonders. Now we are stuck with overpayed young duds
and a smattering of guys coasting to retirement

Posted by: wendel2 | November 5, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

wendel,

let's not be all that negative :D

I think these guys have it in them. They just need a bit of mentality change, and understand the road to victory is through sweat and blood, not just fancy passes.

Once the furious fore-checking starts again, and the points are more organized and disciplined, we'll be back on track.

Posted by: mauree | November 5, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

basically same team as last year but they need a mentality change? Do u really think they just forgot what they have to do to win? Or is there a deeper reason?

Posted by: wendel2 | November 5, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

"If we see Schultz (aka: Beaky Buzzard http://www.nonstick.com/characters/beaky.html) continue to glide in our defensive zone and not deliver any hits, we'll see him in the press box and Sloan or Lepisto on the blue line."

Incorrect. it doesn't matter how schultz plays, he will not be benched. Last season boudreau wanted to bench schultz but was overruled by the higher ups. he was mcphee's personal pick. aint gonna happen.

Posted by: alanb1 | November 5, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@alanb1
If I remember correctly BB benched him once last season, although it was 1/2 punishment 1/2 rest.

@wendel
Yes, I think it's mostly mentality and character. At the start of this season this same team was dominating, playing even better than last year. Against the Pens for example, what an epic game that was. It was the same kind of domination that Detroit showed the whole last season.

I think that got a bit in the (Caps) players head, maybe now they think they don't have to play as hard to win, they can get a good result with less effort, given the enormous talent they have.

Whatever it is, I think this very team can really play as SC contender if they change "mode", from individualism to team effort, but that necessitates character.

Now, you mention a "deeper reason"... I think mentality and character is probably THE main reason any team win the SC. There's nothing deeper than that. Talent will help, but w/o character and mentality we're toasted.

Posted by: mauree | November 5, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone mentioned this yet?

VARLAMOV READY TO GO, GOEPFERT TO SC
http://johnwaltonhockey.blogspot.com/

Posted by: uncatim | November 5, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess if it's Heath vs Gus, Brent will be running for Michigan political office in 15 years.

Posted by: Whitermage | November 6, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

"Last season boudreau wanted to bench schultz but was overruled by the higher ups."

Posted by: alanb1 | November 5, 2008 9:57 PM
-------------------------------------------
Link?

Posted by: Section117 | November 6, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Wendel,
Which of the "overpaid young duds" are you suggesting we jetison? Backstrom, Liach, Semin, Green?

Ovechkin is young, paid almost double the next highest earner and with only 2 goals this season obviously isn't performing.
Lets replace him with Laing and see if we can get a couple of decent picks for him eh? Great idea. I actually think you would be happy if we did.

Boo!
See you can now add "travel advice" to your list of talents. Where did you get that from?? :)


Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Majiksea & -Boo,

Thanks so much for all the help....gonna look through our options today and see what I can come up with. My kids are so excited, they asked again this morning if this was the day they could see Ovie....Hope I can get them down to the glass for warmups....If they got a practice puck or just to touch one of the players on their way on or off the ice they would be in heaven!!! Again thanks for the research you guys did....I really appreciate it!!!

Posted by: PhilR | November 6, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Dave:
I learned from the best! :-)

Phil:
NP. BTW, you can get down to the glass for warm-ups. Don't know if you'll have a close encounter with a player, but at least you will be on the glass. Be sure to get there early. Have fun!!!

Posted by: Boo- | November 6, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure when the last time something as simple as this was posited on this board (probably more recently than I remember), but regardless of the problems that this team is going through, I love the Caps and am more excited about going to tonight's game than I am about the weekend approaching.

Something simple and positive, and I figure it's worth saying.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 6, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner:
AMEN!!!

Posted by: Boo- | November 6, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

DP,
You said it! Some people need some perspective. Count yourself lucky you are able to go see your team regularly, that you get to see the world's best player 40-odd times a season, that you get to see NHL hockey at its high speed, dangerous, skillful, graceful, violent best in the flesh.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 6, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I fear that Ovechkin had a good summer enjoying his riches and super star status in Russia. Semin worked his bottom off all summer and got ready to show that he IS more skilled and talented than Ovechkin. He did not have time to work on his English. I forgive him that one..perhaps it is good for hockey that HE is not concerned with be a super star.

Leonsis needs to have a good chat with his star! What protection did they build into that contract for underperformance?????

Posted by: hockeymom03 | November 6, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

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