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Boudreau Makes Changes

With Micheal Nylander apparently set to return to the lineup tomorrow against Buffalo, here's what the combos look like today:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Nylander-Pettinger
Laing-Steckel-Bradley
Brashear-Laich-Motzko/Fleischmann

The 'D' pairings went like this:
Jurcina-Poti
Green-Morrisonn
Schultz-Pothier
Eminger-Erskine

Note:Chris Clark, out the past six games with a strained groin muscle, did not skate.

Update:I have received confirmation of Nylander's injury. It is indeed a shoulder problem. GM George McPhee again refused to comment on Nylander's condition today, but it appears as though Nylander will be back in the lineup tomorrow against the Sabres, barring any setbacks.

As far as the disclosure of injuries, I'm told the league is aware of the Caps' reluctance to comment on some injuries, and that there has been some discussion of whether the team is breaking any rules. Stay tuned.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 13, 2007; 12:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

In my opinion, scratch Flash, and when we get everyone back, send him to Hershey and let Laing keep his spot!

P.S.--FIRST!

Posted by: Matt | December 13, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Too bad, I was getting used to Nylander not dragging down our offense...

Posted by: MikeZ | December 13, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

So when Nylander comes back are the Caps aloud the tell everyone about his mysterious injury?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Please scratch the Flash!!

Posted by: Brad | December 13, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with Matt on this one.
Flash is the odd guy out.
He needs a rest anyway.

It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Nyls has on the team.
He fits well in a puck-possesion type offense, but I'm not sure he's the right fit for a hard-forechecking offense.

He and Koslov were maybe the right players for what we had planned on doing, but they may not be the right type of players for what we have evolved into.

flame on...

Posted by: pmoravek | December 13, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Nylander-Pettinger
Fleischmann-Steckel-Bradley
Laing-Laich-Motzko

Just to see what would happen with out 87 in the line-up. They'd be faster.

Posted by: CantMissKid | December 13, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Pettinger should have stayed on the first line?

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I know it doesn't work this way, but Motzko actually earned/deserves a sweater for Friday with his play yesterday. Yes, we all know he's no superstar (see the previous posts where we moanded loudly at having him back), but what more can the guy do to earn time in the bigs? The guy flirted with a hat trick!

Posted by: old time hockey | December 13, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Can Caps fans please buy tickets for tomorrow's game? The last Buffalo Sabres game here was ridiculous with how many Sabres fans there were in attendance. It was like Tim Russert was cloned thousnads of times! While Buffalo fans are probably good for beer sales, we need real fans to support the Caps!

Posted by: Jack, DC | December 13, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Flash most likely Won't be scratched. He played for BB in Hershey and he knows the system. He's not scoring like we all like him to, but he adds speed and does make plays.

Posted by: CantMissKid | December 13, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I got my tix!
AND it's Blanket nite!

Posted by: CantMissKid | December 13, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

lets hope that second line gets HOT, i just trademarked the nickname the SNYPER line. thats trademarked, so anyone who posts using it owes me royalties. tarik, goes for you too, at a discount of course.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 13, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I have my tickets!! Hope the blanket looks good!! Don't forget to bring a toy for Toys for Tots.

Posted by: Erika | December 13, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

by the way, good thing petty plays R and semin left, otherwise it would have been the PENYS line. yeah baby, giddy with a three game winning streak!

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 13, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Flash may be the only player on the team slower than Brash. I wish he were fast, I was looking forward to him having abreak out year, but the fact is he has AHL speed, not NHL speed. Glad to see that Erskine played his way into the press box last night! One more game like that he should be buying tickets.

Posted by: Bob | December 13, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Last night was the best Cpas game of the season. They're playing so well I dont want the lineup to change. I mean, why rush Nylander back? If he's really injured, let him rest some more and let the boys that beat the rangers all play again. The Brashear line was just awesome. Talk about new life!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 13, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm suprised he moved Petty off the line with Backstrom and Ovie. That line has looked really good the past 2 games, and I think Petty had his 2 best of the season on that line. AFterall, his goal was waived off last night. I like his speed on that line and Kozlov has been such a disappointment with Ovie so far, will be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: Jordana | December 13, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

> I know it doesn't work this way, but Motzko actually earned/deserves a sweater for Friday with his play yesterday.

Yes it does because he is hot. Ride him while it lasts...

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

so its his shoulder huh? can you confirm that now that we all know please?

Posted by: sheesh | December 13, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind having either Swede centering Ovechkin. Seems like both combinations are working well. Kozlov should stay on a wing.

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Two random comments:

1. Why do they keep giving away "The music of Seal: On Ice" tickets? Its hilarious that theyre that desprate.

2. Did anyone at the game notice that everyone could guess the Cap (Rod Langway) when they only revealed his nose? HAHA Classic!

Go Caps

Posted by: Metal Cap | December 13, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

> so its his shoulder huh? can you confirm that now that we all know please?

Why do you guys want to know? Do you think scouts don't read this blog? Frankly I am not even happy when the line combinations are published for that reason.

If Nyl has shoulder problem, the other team can take him out easily, one good check and even if he'll continue to play, he'll be invisible. Same for ribs (this is what I suspect)

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Michael", not "Micheal", Nylander?

Posted by: Bret | December 13, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

If you honestly believe the Caps are better without #92 & #87 in the lineup then you clearly are not paying attention

Posted by: Phil | December 13, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Matt. Flash has looked slow and lazy lately. Motzko and Laing really worked hard since their recalls. I also agree that they shouldn't rush Nylander back. We need a player who actually shoots the puck. There is no way that Nylander would have had 2 goals last night.

Posted by: Bears Woooo | December 13, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

On the first two lines the worst player is..........

Semin

Talk about a loooooser. He is the reason why we are a bad team. 5 points WOW
for a player that sign a 9 millions deal

We should trade him for Ryder, at least he can score

Posted by: John | December 13, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I would have preferred to see Pettinger stay on the first line...he just looks on the verge of breaking out of his slump and his numbers should skyrocket with Ovie. If things go sour on Friday, expect Boudreau to swap Kozlov and Pettinger during the game.

Posted by: :-/ | December 13, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Wake up, George!

"Flyers' general manager Paul Holmgren and Richards' agent Pat Morris are reportedly finalizing the language of the contract, which sources suggest is a whopper in terms of length, in excess of 10 years, perhaps as many as 12."

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Green has more goals than Jagr ... that's nice!! :-)

I WILL BE THERE FRIDAY!! In addition to our two seats (we are STHs), we will have 2 other people with us.

LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 13, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

am i the dumbest player in the league or just a glutton for punishment? donald gave me the beat down again last night. i started strong but ended up turtled at the end. when will i ever learn? sure hope he gets suspended for the next game so i can take unmolested runs at ovechkin.

Posted by: Colton Orr | December 13, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

John, go take your medication

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey I thought I saw Brian Leetch out there last night. Then I realized the player had "52" on the back of his jersey and not a "2". I then realized that he was wearing a Caps jersey and not a Ranger jersey.... nonetheless the similarities were there. Way to go Green !

Posted by: deano | December 13, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

HE Finn

Why?

Cause I am telling the truth.

I know that Semin was injured but now, he is playing and show nothing

5 pts in 11 games. Do you really think he will have 40 points. Semin will finish the year with 8 goals and 19 assists for 27 pts causse he is overrated and you know it

Posted by: John | December 13, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Product aside, Semin looks completely lost out there on the ice. Maybe he's just having problems adjusting to the system....

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

above, Product should have been Production. :)

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

John... good one! You do know he has missed most of the games right? Semin is just getting back into action - did you not see his moves last night... had he scored on that play - it would have been the top goal of the season for all teams. Let me guess John - you think the best player on the Caps is Eminger.

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Some of you guys....

1. 87 beat down Colton Orr's attempt to create some momentum. He made two very nice passes for assists and you want to scratch him? The guy is a leader. He wears the 'A' and he does his job.

2. Keep Petty on the 2nd line? As an offensive player Petty is not producing. You want to scratch Fleischmann(which I agree with) with 4 goals and keep Pettinger on the 2nd line with 2? Pettinger has 1 pt in the last 19 games.

Motzko has 3 in the last 2 games as a comparison.

Posted by: Rob | December 13, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The truth is that the most overrated player on the Caps team is Kolzig, and not Semin.

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Why do people keep calling to bench Brash? Do you want to see AO in a heap on the ice in one of the corners? Who's gonna come protect him? Schultz? Jurcina? While this isn't the NHL of old, it's still not "The Music of Seal on Ice" quite yet... but it's getting close.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

828, John is just another anti-euro guy

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm much less worried about AS than I am about Poti, Koz and Nyl. These guys weren't injured and still aren't producing squat for the team. I know that Koz has assists and Nyl has been out a week. We're not paying them for assists. We're paying them for goals.

Semin will find himself.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Why do people keep saying AO needs protection? He is 10th in the league in hits and he is built like a bull. I don't think Brash should be benched, he is playing really well. I just don't think Alex needs the protection unless he is with the ladies.
I agree Finn

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think this board needs to find a way to link peoples comments back to them, and you could then just go back and read everything they've ever said.

The way people come out and trash a particular player, or a decision by management, only to be proven wrong or (in some cases) shown to be stupid, would go a long way to show why we are all posting here as opposed to actually being involved in some sort of decision making role.

At least some people are willing to say they are wrong, and in this case I'm referring to Puckguru who initially appeared outraged by BB getting the interim coaching gig, only to admit he was completely wrong.

I think I'll go back and read the thread after Hanlon was fired and BB got promoted...there were some great postings about how BB was just the wrong man for the job...

And what about last year when everyone was saying how Green was a bust and another example of how GMGM is a joke? I'm not saying he hasn't made mistakes, but it sure would suck to hold a job that you get blamed for all failures and the only "credit" you get is being told your successes are only the result of luck.

Posted by: Jeff | December 13, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Give it a rest on the Semin hate. There are times he needs to be a little quicker with passing or shooting, but he is not the worst player on this team. Y'all need to give it up. Focus your energies on something positive instead of trying to anger the rest of us. It's pathetic and unnecessary.

Posted by: SLM | December 13, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@Phil C.

Do you actually watch hockey? who hits more and harder, AO or Brash? Brash will fight the other teams thug (a la Colton Orr last night) but other teams fear getting hit by AO. Last night, Ovie smacked some guy, fell on top of him, and then HIT HIM AGAIN before standing up. Let me see Crybaby Crosby do that!

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

While Brash may not be the fastest guy on the ice, he does play a role on this team. And he has pretty soft hands for a goon. He had many hits last night that resulted in turn overs. His work along the boards last night was great. He also put Orr in his place early in the game, no troubles from him the rest of the night. Even though the game is changing there is still a need for toughness.

Posted by: Bears Woooo | December 13, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

828, i think the issue is that you don't want OV out there brawling with those soon-to-be $10M hands when brash's $1M knuckles will do. sure he can take care of himself, but anything that can be done to keep guys like orr, etc off of him is worth it. i'm not sure i buy the line that having brash out there (or on the bench) gives OV more space, but it sure does keep other guys from taking runs at him. look at what happened last year at MSG when brash got the boot. orr went right after ov w/ a high stick.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 13, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

1) Green will continue to improve. Lock him up before the end of the season with an incentive laden contract so that we get the best deal we can. He appears to be the real deal. Clearly he's on a bit of a hot streak, and is benefiting from BB's presence, but over the course of the season he should put up more than 40 points for us. My one concern is that he doesn't have more assists. Most of the top d-men who produce year in and year out are guys who are also great set-up men. I hope to see more of this out of him down the road. In the meantime, his goals have been fun to watch.

2) A couple of things about Sargent Schultz:
His position play was pretty good last night and he did in fact have a few good hits, one behind the net and another along the left side boards. If his position play continues to improve, he likely feel more comfortable taking the body. Earlier this year I think that he was been burned too easily when going for a big hit, and so it appears that he's focusing more on his position play. I'm not excusing his mistakes and bad turnovers, but I think his play has started to look up defensively. Also, while he has scored 3 goals, most of them were pretty unexciting plays on his part that simply involved him a) shooting more than he has been, leading to b) some lucky bounces and screens. Clearly he has a decent shot from the point, but he is not really supposed to be an offensive defenseman for us. His role is that of a position player to form a solid back line. Given that d-men take so long to develop in the NHL, I'm happy to give him more time to mature.

3) With respect to Olie Kolzig:
We should count our blessings. Goalies usually take even longer than d-men to develop. We are extremely fortunate to have a good goalie who is a) not a headcase, and b) puts up a pretty consistent performance night in and night out. He is not really a streaky goalie. Sure he lets in an occasional soft one, but we are very lucky to not be a team that is constantly searching for a quality netminder and therefore trading for a new goaltender every year. Most teams have a revolving door at this position. The ideal scenario would be to have Kolzig stick around next year to mentor Varlamov and possibly Neuvirth. A great example is Montreal with Carey Price coming up through the ranks. Then again, they also illustrate my point of how lucky we are to have Kolzig. Look at the netminders they have had the past few years. Theodore, Aesbischer, Huet, and now Price. All are decent goalies, but Kolzig has been the most consistent over the years. I'll take him over that scenario any day.

Posted by: Ogilthorpe | December 13, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

AO needs protection because he needs the space to work his magic. His hitting is terrific in that it coughs up the puck and makes others worry about him. Like you said, he's 10th in the league in hits. Everyone knows that. So he's on your mind when you skate.

But when HE has the puck, you don't want anyone pressing him and hitting him blind sided. He needs the space and time to do his magic. That's what the other 4 guys have to give him, by making the other teams know that if they so much as touch AO, they'll pay a heavy price. Psychology does the rest. I won't hit him cause I'll be pounded.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Thank you ogilthorpe, finally someone who realizes how valuable actually is in this league/ on this team.

Posted by: Chris | December 13, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Lee

Do you think AO would be playing that tough if Brash weren't around to protect him from getting run at and having cheap shots taken at him? He has to be in the lineup. End of story.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

AO doesn't need Brash to protect him. He's more than capable of holding his own. Backstrom and Semin, on the other hand, might need the extra intimidation.

Keep in mind that Nylander was injured during the week that BB was really drilling in-depth on his system. We have yet to see how Nylander plays in that system, but I'm willing to bet that his puck-possession skill will fit into it just fine.

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 13, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Phil,

Oh, we need a knuckle dragging goon (every team does), all I say is that I think OV takes care of himself, and doesn't need Brash to do it.

Oh, and the story doesn't end when you say it does! ;)

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

BUT, look what happened last night when Gomez took a cheap shot on one of the players... the first thing he did was look for AO... he was scared. Most of the players are scared of AO because he will hit you when you have the puck or when he has the puck. He is like a fricken shark out there - you never know when he is going to strike. I believe he makes his own space - he has a very good hockey sense and does when it takes to get into the open ice. As long has he keeps playing physical, people are going to come after him... you can't stop that. Players like Dayatsuk(sp?) people won't go after him because he is not as physical.
Either way, Alex is a bull or a shark... "no, it's gotta be your bull."

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Caps fan, but I have to say those Buffalo fans are pretty impressive. I sat next to some at the last game and they drove down from Buffalo because they said it was easier to get tickets here than in Buffalo (I thought that Buffalo was very small and people could get tickets easily up there).

Wish DC hockey fans were that passionate. With that said, I hope the Buffalofans have a long drive home after a loss!

Posted by: John | December 13, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Here are a few of the wonderful comments that were made after the firing of Hanlon. I decided not to include the name of each poster, as a number of them continue to post and (in my opinion) understand hockey. No need to call people out by name.

I guess I just don't understand why people couldn't even let the guy coach A SINGLE GAME before these comments were made.

Sorry for wasting your time on this -- it's just after every little event (whether it's a win, a loss, a trade, a line change, a benching, etc) people make comments like this. It's amazing to me that people are unable to look at the bigger picture, and not just a single event in a game, or a single transaction.

--------------

I'm glad, but Boudrdeau?
Another AHL coach... *sigh*

I would've preferred an NHL coach as replacement and don't see much upside of Boudreau changing the team's perception of itself or getting many wins.

Interim coach ... please no permanent AHL coach. Happy Thanksgiving and good riddance Hanlon! McFailure, do DC a service and get lost too!

I hope they make a concerted effort to find the RIGHT coach, not just the one most available. Boudreau has never had to deal with an elite player, let alone 6 or so. This is why I don't like them coming straight from AHL into NHL without first passing through an Assistanceship first.
OK, guys. Expect more of the same - ie. losses - until Boudreau has this figured out.

Now come on, folks! You want NHL calibre, bring in an NHL coach.

Why are we the only NHL team that doesn't hire NHL coaches? Hasn't Ted learned that coaching is not the place to be frugal. One can only HOPE that GMGM gets canned tomorrow and the new NHL level GM brings in a real NHL coach

WTF? Couldn't GMGM have asked Waddell for Hartley's phone number after last night's game? I guess GMGM wanted another puppet, grateful to have an NHL job coach, eh?

Fire one coach bring in another minor leaguer to take over and under pay him and let him go. I know there isn't much out there right now, but this just shows they really didn't have a plan.

The scary thing is that GM is the one that probably called the shot which means he is still in control. Ted doesn't know the first thing about Hockey so he has to rely on someone and unfortunately it's GM.

Pulheeezze hire a real experienced coach who can lead, teach and game plan.....

Backstrom is sharing time on the fourth line shows that another clueless idiot was hired. Fire the AHL coach Boudreau!

FIRE BOUDREAU!!

----------------

Posted by: Jeff | December 13, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of arguing for enforcers. Last night's game was a good example of why we need Brashear, and why we need tough physical play. Last night we had 4 "energy" lines because everyone played hard and physical (offensive lines, not Schultz). That hard play was pre-lockout hockey. That was also the era of the Brashear-type player. They're still relevant. They keep players honest. Orr tested the waters and found it to be very HOT.

The refs let the players determine the game. They did a hell of a job letting them play the game and still keep it under control.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Ovie can handle himself in a fight, but the point is that you don't want Ovie involved in scrapes. Let Donnie take the 5 min breaks for him.

Posted by: tallbear | December 13, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

John, they sell out up in Buffalo because there is nothing to do in Buffalo. When they do their stupid chant, "Let's go Buffalo" I always yell, "What's in Buffalo" Here is DC, there is so much diversity - football, baseball, basketball, soccer, museums, plays, politics, etc...
I hope we beat them... I can't stand those fans... I have always wanted to bring a sign to the game ~ "Thank you Buffalo fans for supporting the Caps! All the beers you drink are paying AO's salary... Please drink up and have a safe drive home."

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

828, them and the drunk Pittsburgh fans...

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

As silly as it sounds to call AO a shark, I think it aptly describes his ability to turn it on in an instant when an opposing player is least suspecting it. His first couple of strides with the puck are explosive.

Even on defense AO plays explosively. Just look at that goal last night where Kolzig was lying face down thinking that the puck was underneath him. When the puck was weakly cleared by Backstrom, only AO turned it on and came charging out to the point. Everyone else seemed to stand there waiting for something to happen, which is unfortunately just what transpired. Backstrom or one of the d-men should have at least moved out a little to the left to cover the guy who eventually scored (can't remember who it was). I think AO may have the most complete game in the league right now.

Posted by: Ogilthorpe | December 13, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo fans are also VERY big whiners. After OV hit Brieir last year etc. And their radio announcers are just as bad! I listen to games on XM, and you get the local feed. They are the worst!

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@Jeff

I see me in there. :)

In my defense, I did say that he's here, so it's his to win or lose so he should make the best of it. If he proves he can handle it, then they should keep him, but to keep looking for the permanent coach.

I don't think I'm still that far off. He is certainly proving that he can handle these guys (my quote was about handling elite players, and finding the RIGHT coach rather than the most convenient). So far looks like he might be the right one. My fear was that in typical GMGM fashion, he'd jump at the first available coach, not the best available.

I will gladly sit at the table to gnaw on my portion of crow...at the all star break. I already have my fork and knife ready.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Ogilthorpe:

Regarding Olie, what you said!! :-) People who criticize Olie do not really look at the stats (he IS a legit keeper!). Sure, he has let some softies in this year, but he is getting into a groove along with the rest of the team. Frankly, I am more concerned about our backup keeper - we need a higher caliber player than Johnson preparing to take over. I'm sorry, but I just don't think Johnny is our guy - I think he is destined to be #2, and we need a #1 in the making.


Jeff:

I agree completely about BB!! Someone said (back when those posts were going up) that, just like the minors developed players, they developed coaches, too, and that we should give him a shot. Someone else said that we should give him at least 10 games before judging him. I was on board with all of that ... and I think he has panned out! They said he was interim for a reason, but I think he has EARNED a permanent spot.

Posted by: Boo! | December 13, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Jeff,

Did you even bother to read my other comments in that thread?

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 13, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I've been following this board this season and it's been enjoyable watching the number of posts (and quality posts) grow. Look forward to adding my $0.02 from time-to-time.

For now: the biggest disaster of the season occurred during training camp when Teddy (who I love...couldn't ask for a better owner) declared the rebuild "over" -- a major PR blunder. In fact, we didn't know how the new players would mesh (it's been so-so obviously) and we didn't know if last year's players would have made any real strong improvements in their own games (Green -- the revelation of this season so far -- and Ovie, from a defensive perspective, come to mind as the only players who really have) The best way to declare a rebuild "over" is to win games and go to the playoffs. I think, however, that the rebuild is continuing to progress (we should be a borderline playoff team as currently composed, though clearly not a Cup team yet) and the latest development of bringing Bodreau on board is a big additional step in the right direction. I fell for Gabby as soon as I watched his press conference on thanksgiving day. I think he has the potential to be a great NHL coach and hopefully a staple in Washington for years to come as this team really does develop into a Cup contender. He's motivated the team and his system has garnered instant results: 6-3-1 against better teams than we lost to in the 1-9 stretch!? In addition, watching Backstrom develop this season has been awesome. He is a #1 center with amazing ice vision and hands and unbelievable patience for a 20-yr-old. There are things to be positive about this Holiday season for Caps fans after a truly brutal fall. Here's to hoping the boys keep this run going with a big win Friday against Buffalo. I'll be there.

Posted by: MTB | December 13, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg S: I'm not even saying that BB is the best choice, or that he has proven he is the coach for the next X years.

HolyOlie: Honestly, probably not. I read your first one, added it to the list, and moved on.

Like I said, I wasn't trying to call any SPECIFIC person out. My point is that we ALL (including me!) are soooo fast to judge and opine. Some of that is needed -- but seriously, to complain that a new coach (who had coached 8 of these guys to the Calder Cup and/or the Finals) was a mistake simply because he wasn't an NHL coach before he got this job, before he even coached a game...that to me is unfair.

And HolyOlie, if you feel like I posted one of your entire posts without giving you credit for subsequent posts, I apologize. But you have to admit, you said it, I did not adjust or omit any part of that post, and it WAS the first post you made in the thread -- and nobody knows which one we are talking about anyhow. 'tis all.

Posted by: Jeff | December 13, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

MTB:

I still maintain that Ted deserves a little defense on this one - the rebuild SHOULD have been over. We now have the talent, it is all about getting them to perform as a team. They have been doing that lately ... hopefully it will continue!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 13, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Imagine Backstrom and Alex in a few years... I am really glad they are finally on the same line - the future looks bright - def something to be excited about.

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

AO can definately protect himself but I'm with whoever said that they can't afford for him to be getting into fights. We need someone else to take the 5 minute penalties and we definately can't afford for him to get hurt!
He is a beast out there though b/c those Devils were cringing whenever he came near.
I think Brash has been showing improvement since BB took over. The one I'm not convinced about is Kozlov...

Posted by: K | December 13, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I've mentioned it before and it's worth saying again. Coaches are hired to be fired. Coach B is doing a great job and I hope he keeps it up. He's earning his shot at it in spades.

Can you please pass some salt for this crow?

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Fellow Cap fans,

I had a question regarding the hit statistics. I know that they are tracked somewhere, however, for the life of me I can't find where! I've looked on NHL.com, ESPN, Yahoo, every canadian hockey site I could think of and found nothing. I'd love to know where OV ranks in hits and who are some of the guys ahead/behind him.

If anyone has a link to these stats I would really appreciate it!

Posted by: AOthegr8 | December 13, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Not sure where the hit stats are - they announce them on the TV - Alex had 74 a game or two ago and he had at least 5 last night.

GOOD NEWS - We are not alone any more at the bottom of the NHL - Coyotes and Kings are tied with us at 26!!!

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Lee

Ok, point taken and point taken! ;)

What I am saying is that AO CAN take care of himself, but he shouldn't HAVE to take care of himself. I think there are only about 3 people on this team that check anyone: AO, Brash, and Bradley. We need AO to continue to play the way he does and develop into a true power forward with skills. However, the need for a player like Brash is clear in a game like last night... or any time the Flyers and their team of cheap shot artists come to town.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

On NHL.COM look for Stats and RTSS sort on Hits.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Phil, Then you and I are in agreement! Beer for all!

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Larry Brooks (yeah, I know) claims that Nylander has a rotator cuff injury.

Posted by: norske | December 13, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

K- I agree, in fact, I'd ride the hot Minnesota Motzko like Matt originally posted, and put him in Kozlov's place. Motzko might be the gritty scorer we need around the net, to put in some OV rebounds, for example.

And Semen should be a good player, once he grows up. He has the skills, just needs to man-up consitently...." It's like the old addge, "Hockey is a game of men, whoever has the most, wins".

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 13, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think the Caps NEED to keep Brash in the lineup, but not to protect OV, but to be more of a role model than anything. He is one of the few veterans on this team, and he truly understands the game. It's a bonus that he drops the gloves and keeps the other team honest, but he also has talent and can pass and score on occasion. If the man wasn't talented and all he could do is fight, he would be in a boxing ring or in the WWE, not playing in the NHL. Another HUGE plus with Brashear is that he has played in the playoffs, and if this team can keep this roll going, he knows what it takes to make it into, and succeed in the post-season.

When the Caps get healthy, you know Motzko will go back to "Chocolatetown", but I think Laing should keep his roster spot over Flash. Flash still seems like he could use another year in Hershey, just like Green had last season.

When Green was reassigned, he came to Hershey with a vengence and was easily the Bears' best player in the run to the finals. I live in York, PA and see a lot of Bears' games, and without Green coming back they never wouldv'e made it all the way back to the Finals. It seemed like Green was developing more and more each game he played for the Chocolate and White, last season, and maybe that same thinking will work with Flash.

Being sent down to finish the year in Hershey will make him want the NHL even more, just like it did with Green.

The only down side to sending Flash down is that he could be picked off of waivers, Green didn't have to clear waivers last season, but Flash would have to.

Posted by: Matt | December 13, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

How many Red Mullets would have been on the ice if Motzko got a hatrick last night?

We should take a poll:
A) 1-200
B) 201-500
C) 501-1000
D) 1001+

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Did I read that OV is being traded to the Sharks for Patrick Marleau?

Posted by: Bubba | December 13, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Got it, thanks Greg S.

Posted by: AOthegr8 | December 13, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree Kozlov hasn't been the factor I had hoped for this year, not like he was for the Isles last year. But part of me thinks he was brought in here for OV. OV practices with him in the off-season and also has played with him before. Perhaps this is why he keeps landing back on the top line? I could be way off... but if OV told me thats who he wanted to play with I'd probably put him up there too.

Posted by: gamer | December 13, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

If Washington is out of the hunt for the post-season near the end of the season, do you think there is a good chance that Steckel would be sent down to help the Bears' in the post-season? I know he doesn't have to clear waivers to go down. same question for Schultz, too? (Not that he does a D*MN thing in Hershey!)

Posted by: Matt | December 13, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

828

I'm not sure they have quite the aerodynamic flying quality of A) a hat, B) an octopus, or C) a plastic rat, but there is no doubt they would have made it there somehow.

As an aside, do you guys remember those clips of the old Panthers playoffs when they used to throw those plastic rats at the opposing goalie when they scored and he'd have to hide in the net?!? Classic.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

there is no reason a team should have to disclose injuries -- it just encourages other teams to take advantage of them in future games and make dirty slashes/etc. to try to take them out of the game

Posted by: bonzai | December 13, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"Beer for all!"

COOL DEAL!!!
Where we meeting up?
Lee is buying the first round!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 13, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Gamer- that's a good pt., if OV wants Kozlov on his line, then so be it. ;)

Phil C- I'd forgotten about those rats!- thx for the chuckle.;)

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 13, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

why would you scratch brash against a team with peters in the line up?

Posted by: capsfan87 | December 13, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

john, with every word you type youre proving more and more ignorant and foolish. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOURE TALKING ABOUT.

Posted by: sheesh | December 13, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with the consensus on Kolzig: the dude just ain't what he used to be. I gotta hope that we start to see the "next" great Caps goaltender get a few starts soon.

Posted by: Johnny Squat | December 13, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse


Aerodynamic flying quality!!!
LMAO!

We are debating the aerodynamic flying quality of a red mullet wig.

I LOVE IT!

Posted by: pmoravek | December 13, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Crikey! Check this out.

Mike Ribeiro, 27 yo, 7 yr pro, makes $2.8 as a centerman, UFA over the summer. He has 13 G 14A 27P, +5, 6 PIMs on 28 games played. His shooting percentage? 36.11%

Ready for another scary one? He's played 24 games, has 4 goals, 1 A, 5 P and a shot % of 33.3. Yes, Caps fans, none other than our Pillowhead.

Another to watch out for over the summer is St. Louis' Brad Boyes with 18/9/27 and a +9 on 28 games. Center but plays RW. Is RFA at $1.5.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think you need a bit more weight to your object than the red mullet could provide...

For example, in Detroit those octopi could really fly.

Posted by: Jeff | December 13, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Someone from about Row K in the 120s threw theirs after Green's gwg. It didn't make it.

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Lee, I'll take a Guiness please.

Posted by: Steve R | December 13, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I sit 8 rows up... I would have helped the wigs get onto the ice from the upper sections.

I do love it - debating about if the red mullet wigs would make it onto the ice...

Posted by: 828 | December 13, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Now perhaps if you stuffed your mullet wig in a hat or wrapped it up in some octopus tentacles, then you'd have something...

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Steckel going anywhere, regardless of the Caps' status this spring. He's proven he's an NHLer.

Posted by: Tarik | December 13, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Great blunders in PR

"Mission Accomplished" -G.W. Bush
"The Rebuild is over" - Ted Leonsis

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | December 13, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"Read my lips: no new taxes" - yet another Bush

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I want to discuss the low level of support of the Caps by the Washington Post and other media. If you pick up a newspaper in South Florida, there are pages of solid coverage. Also, the Caps article on the Ranger game was puny and the sole picture showed Don B punching Orr. What about the hockey? Ted should go after the Post on this. A little good press will fill the arena.

Also, did anyone see the NHL channel spot coverage of the results last night? They gave 20% of the coverage to a tape of the Rangers coach complaining. The Caps got no support in the commentary and the 6-3-1 coach whose team came back from a 2 goal deficit got not one word. Why are the Rangers the story?

'Sup with that??

Posted by: ManX | December 13, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

ManX- It's probably b/c the Caps are the bottom of the barrel...I'm hoping that we're the sleeping giants of the NHL :)

Posted by: K | December 13, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"beer for all" - Lee

Um, uh, i'm not allowed to go out for beer anymore....

Steve R, you don't drink Guinness.

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

K, are you sure it's because we're the bottom of the barrel? I mean, how good was our coverage back when were playoff regulars?

I always thought it was just because we're a small market for hockey.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 13, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I like Petty on the first line...He plays a lot like Clarky. He'll hit you, he has the ability to score, and all he does is hustle. I think that Petty is better for chemisty purposes. Backstrom would be your playmaker centering your sniper/dangler in OV and Petty is your hardworking grinder with 20 goal potential. i just think that Petty brings exactly what Clark brings to that line.

Posted by: Raymond | December 13, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@Man X,

Actually, I've found the WaPo's coverage in the print edition pretty good (except on Mondays--see below). In fact, Tarik had two lengthy articles in the past couple of days, and there has been a full page devoted to Caps or NHL in the past few days. This morning, the gamer was top left placement above the fold. All in all pretty decent coverage for a team that was bordering on relegation (ok, we don't do that here) just a few weeks ago. But, its this poor record that keeps us from getting a lot of national coverage.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have my critiques of the paper's hockey coverage. (To be clear, my beef is with the editorial decisions and not the coverage by Tarik which I find to be very straight-ahead and informative.)

The WaPo needs to give more coverage to the league as a whole- i.e., better summaries of other games. To make this possible, they need LESS coverage of the Orioles and Ravens. (We are not Baltimore. Let the suburban papers like the Sun cover their own teams.) Most critically, they need way less coverage of the NFL franchise here in DC. They stink, yet, every Monday there are no less than 5 pages disecting the game with summaries, editorial commentary on why the team is either a) clearly being cheated by tge league because Joe Gibbs' can't possibly lose this meany games or b) discussions of how many laps around the city the super bowl parade should make. Even today, there was a good 2 pages getting ready for a game that isn't for 4 freakin' days. All this superfulous coverage takes up column inches and prevents better hockey coverage generally.

In the WaPo's defense, however, and as Tarik has mentioned in the past, its not the WaPo's job to promote the Caps. If the subscribers want all football coverage, they will get it. If the Caps make the playoffs, they'll get better coverage because people will want to read about it. (Especially since no one will know where to find the games on TV.)

Posted by: old time hockey | December 13, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

We probably aren't going to see good Caps coverage for a while still. Maybe we'll get an expanded piece if they go on an extended tear, and another if we make the playoffs but other than that...

The Caps and the fans need to bring it consistently for a long while yet before the Post or anyone to really take this team seriously. And for all of that, maybe Ted doesn't open his wallet for Green and/or others who start breaking out. Then what?

And the NHL needs to get back on ESPN, but that's another story.

Posted by: austinsteve | December 13, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Sadly enough guys, it's just not a hockey town. It's definitely a Redskins town and they are going to hog (pun intended) all the coverage. When the Wizards are playing well, they can be a close second. College basketball is probably third. The Nats could solidify that 3 spot if they turn it around. I would say that unfortunately the Caps are fighting with DC United for 5th place. With as well as DC United has done (our only consistent winner), it's a shame they are at the bottom, but that's the way it goes.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

austinsteve

You are absolutely right about ESPN. You can not be a ligit sports league in this country if you are not getting the coverage on the four letter.

Posted by: Phil C. | December 13, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Jeff, thank you for that last post. I remember some of those names too. I lobbied for Bruce to get the job, last year. His ass was riding buses his whole career and all he did was win. Some people pissed and moaned that they did not want an AHL coach and knew nothing about the guy. He is a proven winner, give him a chance, and take the interim tag off him, let him finish the year with this team. JEFF YOU ARE THE MAN, YOUR POST WAS BETTER THAN THE MITCHELL REPORT. THANK YOU.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | December 13, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Who reads print editions? :-)

Posted by: paperless dude | December 13, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Flyers just signed Richards to a 12 year contract. For over $60 mil. We need to sign Ovechkin quick.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 13, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree Phil

...

Well I certainly don't read the print edition, but then I don't know of any paper route that travels 1530 miles (according to google maps)

Posted by: austinsteve | December 13, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

@paperless

I read the print edition. (Hey, I'm "Old time", right.) Reading the paper in the morning is a great way to start the day, whether at home over breakfast or on the metro on the way to work.

(Tarik, I'm sure your bosses will give me a lifetime free subscription for this endorsement. Let me know how I claim that...)

Posted by: old time hockey | December 13, 2007 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Gotta have reading material for my, uh, "breaks" while at work. so i too read the print edition

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

@Phil C.

I wouldn't say the United's at the bottom of the coverage pile. Granted, I don't get the Post but I do read the Express and during their season they are constantly featured in the paper (with articles that come from the main edition of the paper). Today they had a large article on Boswell being traded to Houston...nothing about the Caps though.

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

okay, that Flyers/ Richards deal could be a wild rumor. But still...F/O puhleeze sign Ovie longterm and endorse Gabby for the remainder of the season ASAP.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 13, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post devotes itself to Washington football coverage like Ruppert Murdock is devoted to page 2 girls: the more you show, the more they'll buy. The football club is the tail that wags the editorial dog.

Our only hope for more coverage of the Caps is if Washington football club fans finally get discouraged by Danny boy's play toy and stop buying the drek for which he overcharges. (How many years has he owned the team?)

Bear in mind, the NHL and Ted for their respective reasons (1 year lockout, mismanagement) have contributed to the state of interest in the area. I wish it weren't so. But I do think it is irresponsable to show such little interest in, a what, a $170,000,000 enterprise that is a major tenant of the phonebooth, especially after the Post made an investment in the team to buy seats in the 80's when Abe Pollin was in trouble.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 13, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

McPhee "refused to comment on injury"

WHAT A DIGRACE.
Like the Caps (DEAD LAST) are protecting their player or themselves from all NHL teams chasing LAST PLACE, or attempting to gain leverage against "Spin-o-rama"

3-0 and they want to insert him into the lineup.
BB, Welcome to the GM show, politics are just as important here as wins.
Not only must you produce wins, but do it the way GM says or else.
It must suck getting something fixed only to have the boss break it, AGAIN.

Posted by: Chief | December 13, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

my bad, I just checked the forbes article. They are only valued at $145,000,000. I guess that is just under the treshold of WaPo's editors' interest.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 13, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Gary Sheffield gave Nylander some of "the cream" steriod rub for his shoulder. Expect a hat trick tommorrow...maybe even a fight or two.

Posted by: Ron Burgandy | December 13, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I now read the Post thru the RSS feed mechanism. When the Sports Section started covering Title 9 sports with less coverage of the Caps, I cancelled it after 25+ years.I now refer to the Post as "The El-Bashir, Boswell, & Peagoraro Report. lol

And hockey should be more popular than it is, in DC. This area is loaded with ice rinks with both kids and adults playing the game.
Also, if makeup of the player population was more diverse, more people would be interested in checking out the game.

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 13, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

@ Chief,
Yeah, no sh-t. You got THAT right.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 13, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

With respect to the projected line-up for tomorrow's game, I have to wonder if Kozlov and Petty switched places because:

1. AO wants to play with Kozlov or:

2. While I like Semin and Kozlov, both get knocked off the puck a little too easily. Maybe Petty being switched is a statement that the second line needed a little more muscle.

Posted by: Kim | December 13, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Kim,

That's actually a very interesting take on the situation. You may be right. Gabby may be trying to "even things" out by putting a little bit of grit into the second line.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 13, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

From Dump and Chase on why GMGM doesn't disclose injuries.

Imlach spent a decade as the Toronto Maple Leafs' head coach and general manager. His teams won four Stanley Cups during that time, including three in a row. As everyone knows, the Leafs haven't won one since.

Here's a paragraph from the book:

"Here's the thing about injuries - I want to hear from the players but I don't want to let anybody in the press know. So if a guy is playing with an injury it's a good reason to keep the dressing room door locked a while at the end of a game. The reason I don't want the press to know about it is that if an injured player can possibly play I don't want other teams knowing he's hurt. I only go on what I would do myself. If I knew a guy playing against me had a bad leg, well, everything's fair in love and war. If he's got it, what the hell, exploit it. It's just like on the battlefield. There is a hole in the line. You know it's weak there. What are you going to do, go and attack someplace else? You try right where the weakness is. So I don't want to let another team know I have any weakness. I let the guy play. If the other team doesn't know he's hurt, he may get through the game without any trouble. If they know he's hurt, he's going to take more abuse because they've been tipped off that he's hurt, and exactly where."

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

alexovetjkin-
Nigh-ty night rab-bit.
Love that.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 13, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

This was a ways up, but I think it's amazing that people still have a problem with Semin/Brashear.

Semin's been hurt and will start to score -- 'when' is the question, but it will happen. And in droves. he's a streaky player.

Brashear has looked like a freight train ever since BB took over. He's been hustling, winning fights, and scoring points, even. He has looked better in these past 9-10 games than I've ever seen him play in his CAREER.

Nylander, too. I think it's funny that everyone seems to think his stats have no bearing on his play. he's still second in points. Horrible +/-, but I don't think that's entirely his fault. I think the next 10 games, that he plays, will be a better example of his role on the team, now that things seem to be going in a better direction.

And, yeah, I wonder if Kim isn't correct in her judgment about Pettinger and Kozlov, because I'd certainly keep the Ovie-Backs-Petty line together, myself. They look good together.

oh, and I don't remember who said it, but yeah, Kolzig is the most overrated player. He's not overrated by a whole lot because he is a great, great goalie when he's on an "on-night." But, other than those nights, he's above average at best. Way too many fluky, weak goals.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 13, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, production aside, Semin looks lost on the ice.

My bet is that it's the system. The boys seem more vocal on the ice and maybe he's a little confused on that front.

But if you watched him last night, there were numerous periods of sluggishness. When he had the puck on his stick, he definitely lit up and had some beautiful moves but much like last year, he spends much time waiting for the puck to find its way to him.

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

@keef

I am not Semin's fan, but I can guarantee you he plays injured. No way his wonky ankle would heal all of a sudden.

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 13, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

@ Jeff,
I appreciate the acknowledgement. Thanks....

Posted by: Puckguru | December 13, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

@keef

I agree. But I want to talk about production too: I don't see much of that from Semin. I see flashes of god-like skills, but no production. During the Ranger's game he gave up the puck a couple of times with NO fight and seemed like he didn't care. If AO by any chance gives up the puck, he's going to chase it and fight for it. I just don't see the passion, the will.

I hope he'll prove me wrong soon cause we need him.


Posted by: mauree | December 13, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Ouch! From TSN.CA

When the players took the ice for pre-game warmups, there were maybe 500 people in their seats.

"I think the ushers and the families were the only ones in the stands,"

This was today's NJ/Boston @Boston. Boston has a major snow event.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Given the Mitchell Report today on the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, and given our knowledge of their use in other sports (even alledged in golf), are we naiive to think that it's not going on in hockey?

Perhaps I'm a cynic, but...? Many say that it would not improve the performance of a hockey player because of the skill necessary for the sport. C'mon...this ain't golf!

If you could opine on this, I would appreciate your perspective.

As a baseline, my feeling is that the NHL players are head and shoulders above other athletes in class and integrity. I would love to hear that you would be able to completely substantiane that.

Could this be addressed in your column?

Hope to hear from you on this. Thanks!

Posted by: OleMiss | December 14, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

@Lee,

As Guiness is the only stout on sale at the phone booth, I don't have a lot of choices. If they want to start supplying Stoudt's Fat Dog, Victory Eagle Imperial, Brooklyn Brewing Co stouts I'll be a happy camper. Until then, the next game we go to, I'll take a Guiness.

Posted by: Steve R | December 14, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Unbelievable the remarks some people make about Semin.
Kolzig, God bless him, it is not that he is bad, it is just simply that he is old and his reflexes are not what they used to be. He still makes spectacular plays, unfortunately he gives up too many rebounds and enough soft goals to help assure defeat.
And, Tarik, good body, people here have been kissing your arse for quite some time, how about getting them some of the answers they keep asking. For instance, ask BB his reasons behind a line changes. The answer might be mundane or it might reveal a bit of what the coaches views are on certain players. There a lot more interesting questions, but start with that, ok?


Posted by: Joe | December 14, 2007 2:16 AM | Report abuse

You know, it really is not unusual for a player that misses the first part of the season struggles to find their game. Semin will find it, but it is going to take some time, and he won't find it in the press box. (oh, and combine that with playing for a new coach!).

Semin is arguably a more creative goal scorer than our dear Ovie. Just for his entertainment value scoring goals, I am willing to entertain his lapses in judgement. He is maturing, and he will be deadly for opposing teams for years to come.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 14, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

@SteveR: Be careful what you wish for. The Guinness at VC is far from what Guinness is out of any other local tap (which is a far cry from how it should really taste to begin with, but I digress).

In other words, the Guinness at VC tastes like dish water. You're better off patronizing the Red Hook stand next door.

Posted by: keef | December 14, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

@Joe: How are the Semin remarks unbelievable?

Posted by: keef | December 14, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Clarendon, don't confuse production with play. My comments relate in now way to his output. It's just his reactions on the ice - which have NOTHING to do with his ankle. He seems out of place and as if he doesn't know what he should be doing, so again, perhaps it's indicative of him not picking up this new system as quickly as some of the other non-Hershey folks have.

Posted by: keef | December 14, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

why are folks down on GMGM for not commenting on injuries? he's doing it to protect his players. in this area, he gets high marks from me (along with the willingness to duke it out with opposing GM's). lets get back to grilling him for his draft picks and FA signings.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 14, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

So Keef,

What do you suggest? SIt him?

He has to play so he can get in tune with Gabby's game. I would rather him out there a little lost but full of spirit then his lackadaisical countryman Kozlov. Admittedly, Semin is enigmatic and erratic, but he is way fun to watch when he gets going good.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 14, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I once had an employee from Korea. Very bright, knew his stuff. He was a very frustrated guy because I couldn't use his talents fully even though I knew he had them. The reason was his english language skills were deficient. He had difficulty verbalizing what he needed others to do. The result was that he underperformed and often looked like he didn't know what he was doing.

I wonder if Semin is having the same problems. Since he has difficulty communicating directly, he can't quickly grasp the need, or describe where he wants his linemates to go. Everything is filtered through interpreters. Maybe the message is being lost in interpretation?

Posted by: Greg S. | December 14, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm very curious about tonight and tomorrow games. They will tell a lot about the rest of the season: can the Caps show the same desire and beat average teams (Sabres, Bolts) as when facing good teams?
Can a win like Wednesday's go into their head so that they'll underestimate the opponents?

We'll see.


Posted by: mauree | December 14, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@mauree

So how was Italia?

I agree that these next few games will speak volumns. I have a theory that the Caps play to the skill level of their opponents. Look what they did with the Sens, NJ, Philly, NYR, yet lose to Florida?

Posted by: Greg S. | December 14, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@GregS

I wouldn't think so Greg. Hockey is hockey, and Semin has been on the team for quite some time now. I play pick up street hockey in an environment where foreigns come and play and I notice the language of hockey is quite universal and independent of the English language skills. Ok, the NHL is quite different from pick-up hockey lol.

On a positive note, I noticed that Semin is getting a bit better every game. He should accelerate though, at this pace he'll be good after 20 games.


Posted by: mauree | December 14, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm going tomorrow Greg. Will miss the Bolts game, but nothing will stop me from watching Detroit at 3am lol, not even big morning meeting the day after :D

Posted by: mauree | December 14, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Mauree-
Buffalo may have an average record but they put 7 goals on us in October. No matter-I thinks the Buffalo fans go home sad tonight. And I'm sure Ted will get "saluted" by soem of their fans as well!

Posted by: dave | December 14, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

GregS, I thought the consensus was that Semin is much more proficient than he lets on. I think he's just a "set routine" kind of guy. Having a rotating set of linemates doesn't seem to help.

Posted by: tallbear | December 14, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Dave,

Buffalo should not be underestimated at all. They can be a hot team. They beat Carolina 8-1, and Ottawa 4-2. Well, then they lost against the Kings 2-8.

The Caps will win if they play with the same desire/intensity as the last two games.

Posted by: mauree | December 14, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@ Joe,

Why are you commenting on whether Tarik has a "good body". I'm sure Tarik's flattered and all,but kind of an odd comment.

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | December 14, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@ keef. You ask, "How are the Semin remarks unbelievable?"

Here are a couple of examples:

"On the first two lines the worst player is..........

Semin

Talk about a loooooser. He is the reason why we are a bad team. 5 points WOW" - John

"Semin looks completely lost out there on the ice." -keef

I see that many others disagree with you, and I respect your opinion but I must disagree too. He might look, to you, lost on the ice but that might be because of your lack of understanding of what is going on at any give moment. I will need a lot of space to explain in detail, but suffice to say, that I could make the same comment out of any other player, including AO. It is more of a coaching problem, players adjusting to a system or playing as a team - we can only speculate or assume what the role of each player is, which is, I think, what you are doing - It might turn out that you are right, but I doubt it, I think Semin is a great player and you are not taking into consideration a lot of other variables, like time of ice, injuries, constant changes of line mates, etc, etc.

Anyway, while reviewing this post so that I could answer your question, I noticed that there are less negative comments toward Semin now than before and I am glad to see that.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

that previous anonymous post was mine. I forgot to put my name, I am sorry.

Posted by: Joe | December 14, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@Schultz for Calder
Ten-Four, good buddy! I hear you loud and clear.
LOL. I sometimes write with a foreign accent.

Posted by: Joe | December 14, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

McPhee "refused to comment on injury"

WHAT A DIGRACE.
Like the Caps (DEAD LAST) are protecting their player or themselves from all NHL teams chasing LAST PLACE, or attempting to gain leverage against "Spin-o-rama"

3-0 and they want to insert him into the lineup.
BB, Welcome to the GM show, politics are just as important here as wins.
Not only must you produce wins, but do it the way GM says or else.
It must suck getting something fixed only to have the boss break it, AGAIN.

Posted by: Chief | December 14, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

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