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Boudreau: Not 'A lot of Like' Between Caps and Flyers

Mike Green said he'll be ready to face the Flyers in Philly tomorrow afternoon, but Alexander Semin is questionable (at best) for what might be the most anticipated game of the season for the Caps.

Some other tidbits from practice:

*Semin's chances of playing tomorrow? "He's a treatment and day-to-day kind of guy," Boudreau said. "I'm hoping he can play tomorrow, but you never know."

*I just saw Simeon Varlamov. He did not look happy. But both GM George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau said it was a move that had to be made.

"At this time, right now, we have two healthy goalies and he needs to play a lot, not just once in a blue moon," Boudreau said. "He needs to get the whole back-to-back thing down because he gets really tired after games. We're really happy with him, but Hershey plays three times this weekend and he'll get a chance to play in maybe two of them."

McPhee added: "One of the things European goalies have to adjust to in their first year in North America is playing a lot of games. He expends a lot of energy in a game. He has to learn to be ready to be able to not only be ready to play the next night. Right now, he expends so much, he's drained the next day."

*Brent Johnson is expected to start tomorrow, and will be backed up by Jose Theodore, who said his hip flexor had been bothering him for about a week before he went to the sidelines.

*Boudreau said he hopes the play of Johnson and Varlamov will light a fire under Theodore.

"Theo will get his chance," Boudreau said. "I think he sees, 'Holy smokes, the other goalies are playing well.'"

*Brooks Laich wore a black jersey in practice today and spent time with the defensemen. I'll let Boudreau explain it:

"He said he thought when he played defense in Minnesota that it was easy," Boudreau said. "So I told him, 'Okay, go out there again.' Then he came back and said, 'Okay, it was a little more difficult than I thought.'"

"When you have six defensemen and only five played in the third period last night, so I thought they might be a little tired," he added. "So with Clark practicing with us today, I let Brooks be the extra defenseman to give [folks] some rest. And who knows, if we have a 'D' go down tomorrow and we need a forward to play defense, and Feds isn't dressed, he might be the guy we call on. It's sort of an experiment."

*Chris Clark (fractured forearm) took part in his first team practice in more than three weeks. So he's close to returning. But how close? When I asked him whether he expected to play before or after the holidays, he said, "Maybe before."

Boudreau was more cautious: "The one thing we don't want to do with Chris is force him into a position of playing hurt again. If it takes a week, 10 days, two weeks to get him 100-percent healthy, we want to see the real Chris Clark return."

*McPhee said Jeff Schultz (broken finger) is "a week to 10 days" away. Schultz did not practice today.

*When I asked how the return of Clark and Schultz to the active roster might affect Karl Alzner, McPhee said: "You go game to game right now with the injury stuff. I don't know from one game to the next who is playing and who isn't."

*Boudreau on the Caps' first meeting with the team that vanquished them from playoffs last spring: "We know them pretty well. Their core group is completely the same as the core group they had last year. As is ours. I don't think there's a lot of like on either side."

"I'm looking forward to it because it's always a great atmosphere, a good hockey atmosphere in Philly," he added. "You always get 20,000 screaming so and so's there. And Philly is playing so good right now, that it's going to be a great challenge for us."

*After practicing with the team yesterday, John Erskine only skated for a few minutes today. Looks like this concussion may linger. We'll see.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 19, 2008; 12:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Varlamov Disappointed, But Understands

Comments

I have always believed flyers are the Caps natural enemies.

Posted by: uncatim | December 19, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd put the Penguins just a smidge higher. They single-handedly made my childhood miserable at times.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | December 19, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

correct flyers are our blood enemies forever

Posted by: _stevo | December 19, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

How many time do the Philly fans break out their time tested "A@@-HOLE" chant?

Posted by: Steve_R | December 19, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

ahh can't wait in about 24 hours i will be in the enemies house, watching the caps beatdown those tools

Posted by: _stevo | December 19, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"So and so's" is a good way of putting it

Posted by: honed | December 19, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

stevo, what number jersey will you be wearing and red or white?

Posted by: Steve_R | December 19, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

*I just saw Simeon Varlamov. He did not look happy. But both GM George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau said it was a move that had to be made.

By Tarik El-Bashir | December 19, 2008; 12:19 PM ET

Dude is a competitor. I like the fire. We'll see you back soon enough, Iron Curtain!

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 19, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

just when you think you can't love brooks laich anymore... he goes and starts playing D too! seriously, is there anything this guy doesn't do for our team?

Posted by: finnmeg | December 19, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Usually you here the word "gamer" applied to a guy without a lot of talent. Brooksie is a gamer with a ton of skills. I guess trading Bondra for him worked out ok. :^)

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 19, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is "Iron Curtain" about the best nickname of all time?

How do we go about making that official?

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | December 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What a BS statement by GMGM. Usually I support the guy but, shouldn't Varlamov give his all in the game. Aren't they supposed to leave it all on the ice? sounds to me like GMGM just called out a young kid on his fitness level in the media for no good reason.

I like the GMGM that keeps his mouth shut and gives no information much better that the one that puts down a guy that just played to very good games. Call it a financial decision and a decision for him being the future and not the present. Not because he is a "European". Dang GMGM. What a jerk.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 19, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

How tactful of Gabby.

The Flyers are the only team I hate.

I'm enough a fan of the sport (not just the Caps) that I'll happily watch other NHL games, college teams, Olympic games that the U.S. isn't in...and I don't hate anyone who plays hockey. Except Philly.

Posted by: jen-s | December 19, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@Steve_R

I will be rocking my black #4 John "sexy lumberjack" Erskine, it is on an unbelievable winning streak

Posted by: _stevo | December 19, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

i only wish we had signed bondra again when he wanted to come back...a farewell tour!!!

i saw this brooksie kid play out here in seattle quite a bit...and have had my eye on him since we traded bondra for him...glad to see that one is paying some dividends...

we need to get mcphee to gm the skins!!!

Posted by: deadskin | December 19, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@deadskin, I don't think that would do any good unless Ted also bought the team

Posted by: doncosmic | December 19, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@ lornemyyoung

McPhee isn't calling Varlamov out of shape, it's about refining his style. He's raw and athletic and moves around a lot. He has to become more efficient with his movements and yes - because he is young and not because he is out of shape - build stamina in those leg muscles that he's never had to use for 65+ games.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 19, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Clark coming back until Schultz is ready. no way they can afford to play without Alzner right now.

There might be some hard feelings, but Alzner has been much more valuable than Clark this year. However, a gritty goal scoring Clark of two years ago would be something the Caps don't have right now on the third line.

Posted by: stormblue | December 19, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

jen-s: I agree with you about hate except for one non-flyer player. I hate jagr.

Posted by: uncatim | December 19, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Iron Curtain is a great nickname.

Posted by: uncatim | December 19, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I vote for "Iron Curtain" Varlamov.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 19, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@ThisGuy

Either way it is intended or not intended, my thought is that you don't say that to the media. You say it to the player itself, but not to the fans and the press. My thought is that it surprises me that someone (GMGM I mean) that usually says nothing with great verbosity, said something so specific and depending on perspective negative.

I just don't think, true or not, it needed to be said.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 19, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

No time to read much, but as I said in the previous thread I reviewed the Semin incident on NHL on the Fly and it appears to me that he did not dive. He was trying to pull that move he does when he pushes the puck through a player and tries to sorta jump around him. This time he just didn't land on his skates. It's hard to tell 100%, but that's what it looks like to me after watching it like 10 times.

Posted by: ranndino | December 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Adding to my previous. I really like GMGM and the job he does. I'm just perplexed by him actually answering a question.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 19, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

do what must be done to keep Alzner. kid is fine by me. if we can keep schultz, keeping Alzner should be a no brainer.
varlamov played great, but he has to learn to consolidate his energy. The more he plays the better he'll be. was he not happy sad or not happy angry? Theo costs too much to have as a 3rd. Erskines concussion issues are going to be a problem. in the time he's been a cap, he's had too many.

Posted by: oo7 | December 19, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

1. "Iron Curtain" is hereby approved. Tarik, please take note.

2. I'm not sure if I hate the Flyers or Pens more, but I will say that a Flyers-Pens game is like the Iran-Iraq war: its a shame they both can't lose.

3. GMGM needs to start making trades of extra parts. For the first time in many many years as I look up and down the roster (and Hershey), I think... We have too many of everything.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 19, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of teams I hate, I have something of a "Christmas Miracle" to share. After last night's game, my friends, brothers and I went to Rocket Bar. My brothers showed up late due to work obligations, and missed the bobbleheads which I was bummed about because I had hoped to convince them to give theirs to our dad.

I was talking to my friend who bartends at Rocket bar about how after the game I ran around a few different sections hoping to find an Ovie bobblehead left behind, but had no luck.

I then got tapped on the shoulder and handed a Bobblehead by a guy in a caps shirt and hat, who explained that he has lived here for long enough for the Caps to become his "second team" but he's a pens fan first and foremost, and he said it sounded as if my dad would appreciate the bobblehead more.

I refused to accept it at first but he insisted. Very cool and very shocking.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung

WHen I read that, I didn't take him to be seriously criticizing Varlamov, just talking about the difference between a rookie NHL goaltender and an experienced #1 goaltender. #1 goaltenders are efficient in their craft and play excellently and keep enough energy to be able to play 70 games a season (a la Martin Brodeur). At this point, Varlamov has played twice in a week, and has tired himself out.

I think that's all he was saying. He'll develop efficiency in the AHL.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 19, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Can the Caps just switch divisions? Move the Isles to the Southeast. The Caps seem to have more a rivalry with Philly, Pittsburgh, and to an extent the Rangers, than any of the other Southeast teams.

Posted by: GoCaps08 | December 19, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. I'm going up to Hershey Saturday night to watch the Bears - going up early and catching the Philly game too is a tempting idea and should be doable. I just hope we don't lose twice in one day - what a disappointment.

Concur that there's no love lost between these two teams. I think our boys are going to come out looking for blood, but the Flyers are really, really hot right now. That is going to be a dirty, nasty, hard-nosed, hard-fought game, and both sides are going to give it everything they've got.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@ lornemyyoung

I don't see the comments as being insulting. I doubt other fans see it that way either. He's 20 and he has things to work on...why should that be kept a secret? Especially for a guy Caps fans have been expecting for 2 years now...McPhee knows we want an explanation and I for one am satisfied with it.

Posted by: ThisGuy | December 19, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sombrero,

Were you hanging out in 433/400 right before puckdrop last night? I've seen the Sombrero before, but, I'm sorry to say, I've seen a few different sombreros, so...

J/W.

Great Christmas story, btw. I wonder if the Pens' fan's kindness has anything to do with the whole Malkin-Crosby-Ovechkin line thing...

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 19, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino - That's what I've been saying: people don't tend to take dives along the boards where they're gonna get hurt if they muck it up. (If they do "dive" along the boards, the typical move is to slap the board hard in front of them, with their body between them and the referee so that a hit looks worse than it does.) The ones I've seen have been out in the middle of open ice, trying to draw a trip.

Backes is a dirty, rotten skunk.

The Philly game is going to be nasty, though... WOW! We've still got a serious grudge against them for Game 7 last year. Glad to see Johnny's getting the start, though, and I hope Green can play, even if Semin can't. With one of the two, we still should be OK out there.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@ This GUY

I to find it very insulting that GMGM through the IRON CURTAIN in the WASH.

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | December 19, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

VERBOSITY the word of the DAY...Great one there Lornemyoung....your my hero

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | December 19, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ irockthered

The interesting thing about this team this year, is that even if Green and Semin ARE out, we can handle it. Just look at what we [Johnny] did to Boston.

I just hope we can get over this "road" thing and play good hockey.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 19, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner - yeah that was me. My buddy just had knee surgery so he had to get relocated from his usual seats to those so he could keep his leg extended

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to saturday. Hoping semin's injury is not that serious.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

reposted...

"Adventures in Questionable Officiating, Volume Two: David Backes blatantly cross-checked Alexander Semin in the back, injuring the Capitals winger and causing Ovechkin to start a skirmish near the boards. No call on Backes, and Semin is day-to-day with nasty bruise. ..."

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero,

Wow, what a shafting in Tampa. Maaaaaybe he threw his stick, but its kind of a stretch to conclude that.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 19, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

That was a cool story, sombrero guy. I have a friend who's a pens fan. he's pretty cool about it as well. It's easier to be cool about it when your team has been spanking the other for a decade.

That said, I hate the pens. I never wish anything good for them. I like them in Pitt and not Kansas city. But if they lost every game (disclaimer: I have malkin on my fantasy team, so I want them to lose but I want malkin to score lone goal/ exist; unfortunately that Crosby kid keeps getting involved; I'm going to hell but) I wouldn't cry.

I love to hate the flyers. but I respect them as the Apollo creed to our rocky. If tjeyvwerent there, wede be less for it. They've had some good teams and have been fun to watch in the playoffs, when they're killing the pens. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. What some people do to their friends is dispicable.

Posted by: oo7 | December 19, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: previous thread
Semin is not a Russian Machine. This belongs to Ovechkin only.

Ovechkin - Russian Machine
Semin - Russian Roulette
Varlamov - Iron Curtain
Kozlov - Molotov Cocktail
Fedorov - Sputnik

:-)

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 19, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I just replayed the 3rd period. I had fallen asleep last night (happens when you get up for work at 5 am then drink wine with dinner). Anyway, Semin has a reputation for diving so the refs give the other guy the benefit of the doubt. The crosscheck: you so much harder hits every game in front of the goal - uncalled. My guess is Semin has a very sensitive spot from prior injury and that's where he was hit. Suspension for Backes? I seriously doubt it. Varlamov? If things stay exactly the same as now (Theo's play continues to be ragged) then Czarlamov can come back for the playoffs with no cap hit. Remember: anyone can play in the playoffs. Czarly could be brought in with a week or two to go just like Huet was brought in with a month to go last year. The Caps it seems can make the #3 seed with a half effort. There are a million options once the playoffs start.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 19, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin - Russian Machine
Semin - Russian Roulette
Varlamov - Iron Curtain
Kozlov - Molotov Cocktail
Fedorov - Sputnik

HAHAHA CodePoetry you are hilarious!

Posted by: coatesolivia87 | December 19, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

007,

Flyers are more Clubber Lang than Appolo imho.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 19, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Lifelong caps fan living in Philly. The "screaming so & so's" here are going to be loud and obnoxious. Cannot tell you how many "Jeff Carter has a better shot than Ovechkin" debates I've had this week. Ridiculous. I bought some tix for the game and will be screaming my head off hoping the caps demolish this team.

Posted by: Beggarsandthieves | December 19, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Side note:
I never miss an opportunity to remind Flyers fan of Dale Hunter's game 7 OT winner and Hextall's classic reaction afterwards.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rg2EiSBZ6Y

Posted by: Beggarsandthieves | December 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: gary_xiix_spg | December 19, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

hello all,

what does chris clarke do when healthy.....??
I was trying to explain to my girlfriend that I was exited that he was coming back this year and why OV was not captain BUT.....then I saw him play!

Posted by: bryaningrocery | December 19, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Re: previous thread
Semin is not a Russian Machine. This belongs to Ovechkin only.

Ovechkin - Russian Machine
Semin - Russian Roulette
Varlamov - Iron Curtain
Kozlov - Molotov Cocktail
Fedorov - Sputnik

:-)

Posted by: CodePoetry | December 19, 2008 2:04 PM

@CodePoetry:

I like it...but I also liked "From Russia With Glove"


I don't like Philly much either, but as I have said in a previous thread: Caps fans understand the difference between a Rival and an Enemy.


A Rival is someone you want very much to defeat, but there is also respect. Examples: TOR, BUF, BOS; to a lesser extent NYR and PHI (less respect, that is).

An Enemy, on the other hand, is someone you just want to crush, disgrace, and humiliate because you hate em, Hate 'Em, HATE 'EM!.


There is only one Enemy. And that Enemy is Pittsburgh.

'nuff said!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 19, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

An Enemy, on the other hand, is someone you just want to crush, disgrace, and humiliate because you hate em, Hate 'Em, HATE 'EM!.


There is only one Enemy. And that Enemy is Pittsburgh.

'nuff said!


Posted by: Rhino40 | December 19, 2008 4:13 PM

truth!

Posted by: coatesolivia87 | December 19, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I saw the cross-check on Semin and it was a cheap shot, but one that often goes unpenalized when you're ahead in a game. It looked worse because Semin's back still must be a little sore and he got hit above his padding. I'd be shocked if the Caps risked him against Philly who would be trying to hit him in the back as often as they could until the left the game.

Good to hear that Greenie is okay and will tomorrow. With most our wingers back including Fleischman, I think we'll be able to withstand the loss of Semin for a few games...we need him healthy for the long-term.

Posted by: wizfan89 | December 19, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

As for nicknames, Varlamort is my fav.

Posted by: remain | December 19, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

As for nicknames, Varlamort is my fav.

Posted by: remain | December 19, 2008 5:15 PM

@remain:

What about Darth Varlamov?

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 19, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - re: Semin vs. Backes.

Backes is a cheapshot artist. If you look at his rap sheet, he has taken FAR more "hard" penalties - boarding majors, boarding minors, slashing, etc. - than Semin has taken (this year) for diving. In fact, NOBODY on the Caps team has taken a diving penalty this year (that I'm aware of, and I will be able to confirm that for sure soon).

If it were up to me, I would take the side of the person LESS likely to injure someone by their actions in a case like this. Backes' hit was a dirty hit, and I'm still very angry about it. Semin may have a "reputation" for diving, but he hasn't done it yet this year, at least not and been caught at it - and Backes has (in no particular order) a boarding major, TWO game misconducts, a regular misconduct, 7 or so roughing penalties, and a regular boarding penalty, and two for hi-sticking... and that is documented.

Eff Semin's "reputation" - Backes is a dirty rotten skunk, and he should have been kicked off the ice for that hit.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I hate whoever we play next. But old Patrick division foes are more fun to hate. I root for anyone who plays the Rangers, the Isles, the Flyers, or the Pens, I root for anyone playing Carolina, Florida, Atlanta or Tampa too. It's a tossup for me; who I hate more. Pens, Flyers? I hate `em the same, which is intensely, bitterly, eternally. Caps 4 Flyers 3. Kill them. (Figuratively. It's just a silly game on skates played with a "puck", afterall.) KILL THEM!!!

Posted by: kevbnyc | December 19, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

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