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Boudreau on Bradley, Erskine and no excuses

Tidbits from this morning's skate at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla:

*Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said he was informed that the instigator penalty levied on Matt Bradley during Tuesday night's 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay had been rescinded after a review of the game videos. Boudreau, who said he received the call on the team bus after the game, and Bradley had contended that Bradley did not leave the bench to step between Alex Ovechkin and Steve Downie, who had both shed their gloves after exchanging words after their simultaneous penalties for roughing ended.

Bradley, who said he had been replacing Eric Fehr, flew in to intercede for the Capitals' two-time MVP, pummeling Downie before receiving the instigator penalty along with five minutes for fighting and 10 for misconduct.

*John Erskine, who suffered an upper-body injury against Atlanta, took the ice this morning but will not play against the Florida Panthers. When asked if Erskine had shown improvement, Boudreau offered a flat "No," before adding: "He's skating this morning, so he is better, but not significantly enough to play."

*Boudreau said he hadn't decided on a goalie for tonight's game, though Michal Neuvirth was first off the ice this morning On Tuesday, Neuvirth gave up four goals on 15 shots in the first period before being pulled for Jose Theodore, who allowed three goals on 21 shots. Despite the ugly numbers, Boudreau volunteered praise for Neuvirth for his performance, saying he made "three great saves" and the score should have been 7-1 instead of 4-1 after the first period.

*After two straight games in which the Caps could not conduct a customary morning skate, Washington finally got back to the usual routine today. Boudreau, however, wasn't about to blame the absence of the morning ice time for his team's back-to-back abysmal starts.

"If it's an excuse, if you're using that as the reason why we didn't come out in the first period, that's not a good reason," Boudreau said. "I don't think that should be a factor."

Boudreau also said he doesn't believe his squad should show any fatigue despite the back-to-back games in different cities. Boudreau noted that the flight from Tampa late Tuesday was just 35 minutes.

"The average guy on our team played between 10 and 20 minutes of hockey last night ... [and] got to bed at 1 a.m. last night," he said. "That gives every one eight or nine hours of sleep ... They're not my age. There should be no reason for fatigue to set in."

*In the last three games against Florida, the Caps have been without the services of Ovechkin twice because of injuries and once because of a suspension and still won, outscoring the Panthers 17-7.

"It can't be any worse than without him,'' Panthers Coach Pete DeBoer told The Miami Herald. "It's not too many coaches around that are going to be hoping that Ovechkin is in the lineup, but based on how we played without him in the lineup, we'll take it.''

Boudreau expressed concern that after three great Ovechkin-less efforts, his players would lean on Ovechkin too much tonight.

"I'm a little worried that we have him tonight and everybody's going to say, 'Let Alex do it,'" Boudreau said.

By Amy Shipley  |  January 13, 2010; 1:24 PM ET
 | Tags: Florida Panthers, John Erskine, Matt Bradley, Tampa Bay Lightning  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Panthers

Comments

Go Caps! Time to show you are a solid SC contender and beat the crap out of FL 2nite.

Posted by: cbs75 | January 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bruce...let's put Chimera on the first line with Ovie and Backs to get him going?

Oh wait, we already did that...


Why don't these softy reporters ask Bruce about his take on why Green is STILL playing the PK when almost everytime he is on for the PK the other team scores...

Also ask Bruce...now that Sloan (aka "poor" man's Michael Nylander) has the big extension...when do we see him sit more games in a row (and how do I get on that plan...?)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So Soaring Caps, aka Cheef lite, what happened with you and Green? He steal your girl in junior high or something? Your constant carping about Green is overdone. Green is an offensive minded defensemen. He will get better at his defensive responsibilities as he matures and has made strides this year. He is an asset when he is on the ice, perhaps for different reasons than you want. He will continue to be a good defensemen with a ton of offensive upside.

Posted by: _Mark | January 13, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Glad SoaringCaps isn't a GM or a coach for the Caps..Keep blaming Green for everything when everyone but Poti and Shultz played mediocre.

And give Chimera time, he just friggin got here and you make it sound like he should have 10 points by now.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@Mark...

He did, and I got stuck with my wife and I have been miserable ever since...

I'm trying to get over it, but the Caps are all I got...and I can't have Green stealing from them too...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Just don't let your hatred continue to cloud your judgement. It is almost Schultz-hater like. Even the most elite teams and players occasionally fall on their face and have an off game. Hopefully the players have put last night behind them and put a hurting on Florida tonight.

Posted by: _Mark | January 13, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

What was the teams overall reaction to Brads sticking up for OV. Was OV really happy or did he want a piece of Downie for himself?

Posted by: dhartogs | January 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

regarding the sloan extension. seems odd, but last night aside, i think sloan has played ok given his opportunities. hard to ask a guy who's been on the pine to jump right in. besides, he obviously wasnt the only guy who sucked last night.

also, his deal is for about the league minimum or close to it. his ability to play forward and d makes him valuable. not a tought cap hit if you have to send him down and or lose him on reentry waivers.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I want to know Boudreau's (and other Caps') reactions to the charge that Ovie's hit on Downie was dirty.

How can you hit someone squarely if you're leading with your knee (which is what Halpern said Ovie did)?

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | January 13, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am getting sick of the "Angry Ovie" picture in the banner. And it is a really outdated story. Random thought.

Posted by: mikebrady1

Agree. How about the "Happy Ovi" one when he was returning to the lineup after the suspension or the "Putting on the C" one. Hate to see the "Angry Ovi" everytime I click on that CI page.

Nothing dirty about that hit--I think Halpern was trying to shift blame. Ovi's hits can be like freight trains sometimes and Downie took exception to it, that's all IMO. There is no controversy in my view--other than the misapplied instigator given to Brads last night as he left the bench legally on a line change--tho' he did leave in rather a hurry. His jumping in to protect our Captain is the only good thing I take from that game last night.

Time to focus on tonight's game I think. I hope they are all fired up and playing with heart tonight.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@Gould23,
When you enter the practice rink area at Kettler, continue on past the Pro Shop around the end of the rink and there is an area that is near where the players head to the dressing room. It is opposite the bleachers. This Saturday may be tough as there is a Caps Kids Club event going on and they have special access set up for player autographs. You may be able to get your son signed up ($15) in time for it. Good luck!

Posted by: _Mark | January 13, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Can't GMGM find a tough guy that can play the Caps system? Any suggestions?? Steckel (!) has to step in??? this is getting ridiculous.

Posted by: B-LeaguerD | January 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Capcrazy - he was doing the flying knee kick the Karate Kid showed him didn't you see it? LOL! What was the name of that "undefensable" kick again with his arms up in the air and 1 knee in the air! Just envisioning OV doing that is phenominal in and of itself! LMFAO!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@ Gould23 from the last thread

Personally I like standing against the glass behind the net. It really gives you a great respect for how hard even the guys soft shots are and also for just how big they really are. Last time I went I stood in one of the corners and Ovechkin jumped into the glass right in front of me so that was cool too. Just don't stand there if you are afraid of pucks coming at you. You won't get hit but seeing them come right at you could be very scary.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 13, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

and the plot thickens:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/hockey/nhl/01/12/producer.suspended.ap/index.html?eref=sihp

TV producer suspended for not replaying Flyers' goal

Story Highlights
The producer is the son of former Penguins forward Lowell MacDonald
TV rights holders are required to make available all angles of a disputed play


Posted by: Redwolf1 | January 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

OK so I'm listening to the NHL home ice on XM Radio and one particular point is evident. With regards to the whole Alex Burrows and referee Stephane Auger thing, NHL referee's are intended to not be biased toward anyone or any team. I believe this undercuts the entire NHL Officials Association. I have to wonder how the officials feel about Ovechkin or anyone else on the caps? And the other interesting point is that there is nothing on NHL.com website saying anything about the incident. It's like they simply want to sweep this under the rug and just go on like nothing is wrong. It's pretty sad if the NHL doesn't do something about this, or at least investigate.

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | January 13, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface - the kick is called "The Crane", I wonder if they will have that in the remake. Maybe Ovie can come up with a new shot for the skills competition called the Crane that is undefensable...of course most of his shots are undefensable


LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: malujoker | January 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

On the topic of an enforcer, which seems to come up often around here, I still don't think we need one. I recall a game a few years back where Brashear got thrown out for one reason or another and Orr ran around like a lunatic, giving a high hit to Ovechkin and checking another in the back. Having the enforcer in the lineup isn't going to deter teams from that kind of behavior. The onus is on Ovechkin and co. to look at the situations as they are:

Ovie has to recognize that down 3 goals with 10 to go, Downie's job on the ice is to get Ovie off the ice. If he can goad Ovie into taking a penalty and sitting in the box, then he's done his job. Ovie's job is to score goals for us, which means he shouldn't be dropping the gloves like he did when we're down 3 goals.

I remember a time in the series with the Rangers where Avery was being a punk and trying to get things started (game was close) and Erskine just ignored him. Avery ended up taking a dumb roughing penalty and we scored on the ensuing PP. I have never had more respect for Erskine than at that point.

Posted by: Raber | January 13, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer:

Thanks. Think I will take your suggestion. I think its good to get as close as possible to, like you said, appreciate just how fast the game is and how hard the shots are.

Posted by: Gould23 | January 13, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

hey SoaringCaps pick up a copy of "Hockey for Dummies" read it 3 times so maybe you learn something (have someone tell you what all the big words mean)then maybe you'll have a comment that has some value ...right now not so much

Posted by: heathdog1119 | January 13, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

So, with the regular harping that goes on in these parts lamenting CSN's supposed favoritism towards the Wizards regarding which games get aired on which channels, and the complaints about not enough HD broadcasts, I poked around and found the following info:

Wizards 2009-10 TV sched

http://www.satellitetv-news.com/comcast-sportsnet-announces-2009-10-washington-wizards-broadcast-schedule/

CSN HD - 52 games
CSN+ - 14 games
TCN - 1 game

Capitals 2009-10 TV sched

http://www.satellitetv-news.com/the-washington-capitals-2009-10-season-broadcast-schedule-on-comcast-sportsnet/

CSN HD - 49 games
VS HD - 6 games
NBC HD (only included games w/ no CSN feed available) - 1 game
CSN+ - 12 games
TCN - 1 game

Seems fairly even across the board, and well over half of the games are in HD. Can't wait til the 3D teevees hit the market and the 5 people here who have them whine about "there's not enough 3D broadcasts" haha.

And, a coupla things that jumped out when looking at the sched for the Caps available at the link above: tonight, they are playing the "Carolina" Panthers while on March 10th, the Caps will be visited by the "Canadian Hurricane". Guess proof reading isn't what it used to be haha.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 13, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

4) Why was Tamps gooning it up when they already had the game basically won?


Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 13, 2010 11:38 AM |

@CapsFan75:

Rick Tocchet = Convicted Felon.

Need I say more?


Posted by: Rhino40 | January 13, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

On the topic of an enforcer, which seems to come up often around here, I still don't think we need one.

Posted by: Raber | January 13, 2010 4:24 PM

Since it's hard to quantify things that DON'T occur during the course of any given game, there's no way to adequately assign value to the deterrent effect of having a Big Bomber in the line-up. It is telling, though, that McPhee apparently tried to swing a trade for the scariest bruiser in the League over the summer, one Mr. Derek Boogaard. The real danger this season will occur in March/April when the Caps have long since secured the division and the also rans who have no shot at the playoffs start bringing up their young guys, particularly after veterans are purged at the trade deadline. Liberties will be taken by guys looking to make an impression at the NHL level, and what better way to do it then go after the Caps stars. There is great danger in having no legit tough guy when playing against players who will likely never see regular NHL action, but who are out to make a name for themselves in quick fashion.

With that in mind, perhaps it's time to listen to some wisdom from the Boy Scouts of America...

"Be Prepared. That's the motto of the Boy Scouts...

'Be prepared for what?' someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting...

'Why, for any old thing,' said Baden-Powell..."

Sage advice, indeed!

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 13, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

As last night's game against the Pons shows, we cannot have our players fighting other teams goons. If Steckel wanted to fight, he should have gone after Stamkos, as Alan May said. As Captain, Ovi may have to fight on rare occasions, but it should not be against a goon since that only hurts the team. If he felt it necessary to take on Crosby, I'd be OK with that. You Pens fans would like to see that too, right? I mean a real fight, not sneaking up behind Ovi and swinging a stick between his legs.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I think the time has come for the NHL to get rid of fighting altogether.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the time has come for the NHL to get rid of fighting altogether.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2010 5:48 PM


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

@joek443:

Aww c'mon, man! Couldn't you have waited for the next Damien Cox column?

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 13, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It's heresy to say this but Ovi's game has changed and currently he is on a slump. From the start of the season i noticed, he is less of a perimeter player and is making a big effort to increase deflections and tip-ins. I also noticed he is hitting much less, even before his suspension. He seems to be making a strong effort to pass the puck.

The last few games, his line seems out of sync. I just dont see him touching the puck enough and when he does, he quickly unloads it.

I think they need to reunite the SOB line. All these goals being put in and Ovi isnt getting any of them. It's crazy how good he is and something is wrong.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | January 13, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@ joe - I'm with you on that!

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree Ovi is in a slump and seems to be playing with less than his usual energy level. When an elite player is playing below his usual level, my experience tells me that he did not suddenly forget how to play hockey. More likely, he is sick or injured.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Can we at least wait until we get the inevitable fight between Ovi and Crosby before we start talking about getting rid of fighting? Man, I'd love some tickets to that fight...I mean, that game. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 13, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

As far as the enforcer thing goes. I have been one to say that we didn't need one and the reason was based off of Brashear getting 1.4M (I think) from the Rangers. Completely agree with GMGM on that front considering our cap situation at the time. And for the most part our PP has been the deterrant for our guys getting run until last night anyway. I still feel the same way but now since we have some space if there is a guy out there that doesn't eat up more than say 600-700k or so then I think we'd be in good shape. Fights rarely happen in the playoffs and that's when the real season is anyway.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 13, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

i luv the SOB line. what a great acronym. however, semin has been beasting it up on the 2nd. tough call.

Posted by: cbs75 | January 13, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

A good point was made by Al Koken that the strategy of relying on the PP as the enforcer works only to the extent that games are reasonably well officiated. Last night's game was an example of poor officiating in which the Pons goon was not held accountable for his actions. Basically, this is going to be a problem until the league gets serious about dealing with it.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

As far as comments for OV fighting. Some of you have made the comparisons that Lecavalier, Iginla, Crosby etc have dropped the gloves and they are the stars of their team. I get that. There were also the Gretzky's, Bure's and Sakic's (with 1 Doug Gilmour exception) that never fought. So I guess it depends on your perspective. For me I don't need to see it. Would I have liked to see OV beat the snot outta Downie last night sure but the chances of bad or embarassing things happening far out weight the positive things that could come out of that. Lets just hope he's not taking lessons from Semin! Patty LaFontaine never fought and with good reason as it's well documented the concussions he got towards then end of his career so all I'm saying is not every star and every leader needs to fight.

And NO it is not time to take fighting out of the league. If ever played the game you would know that the game is a better and CLEANER game when it can be policed by the PLAYERS, not by refs, management, the NHL, coaches or anything else. It's a lot easier to sit in the press box for a couple days suspension then it is to know that you WiLL get your @ss kicked if you do "x". The game was a better and cleaner game before the instigator rule IMO. There is talk of removing that penalty or at least adjusting it so it's not as much of a factor and if/when that does happen then the need for an "enforcer" will become more demanding.

I would expect nothing less than a lights out TEAM perforance tonight with our Captain leading the way. Please put Neuvy in net.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 13, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

@metalcapsfan,

Is "Canadian Hurricane" a tropical weahter event named "Wayne" or "Mario" or "Gordie"? Or is that George Laraque is coming to town?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 13, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Comcast sportsnet - they discussed the Bullets and Terps in front of the Caps

No respect...who cares about the nba team in washingtong. Move them to seattle

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 13, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

@ pokerface - I've heard the argument you present many times before. The problem with it IMO is that if Player A cheap shots Player B, the usual NHL "code" response if for goon C to fight goon D. How does that police anything? If the offender had to defend himself, it would be another matter. I think if the Caps had a few more physical players (skilled, not goons), those players could police cheap shots directly against the offender and simply refuse to engage other teams' goons.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

no other sport has these goons who would NOT even be on the teams if not for their fighting skills, NONE... don't tell me football players don't feel like beating the crap outta offensive linemen who go after their knees just about every other play.

you know why they don't do it? because they would be kicked outta the game if they lost their temper... somehow hockey players are so undisciplined that they can't control themselves? I thnk I would give them more credit than that.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Steve Downie, like him or lump him, would be a perfect player for the Caps. His cap figure of like $700K w/bonus this year will go up due to him being a RFA. But, he's got 9 goals and a fair amount of assists and he's a PEST. Will Della Rovere be this good? I'm not at all in favor of getting a player who is just a goon and gives no offense. Downie, though, is multi-dimensional. Tampa won't trade him, but he'd easily be worth, at his young age, giving up our #1 pick this coming draft. I would like to think Chimera will do most of the stuff Downie does, but I don't think that's quite Chimera's game.

We need pestiness and help on the PK.

1) A third line center who can anchor the PK with Kelly Miller like abilities.

2) A pest.

3) Either a Mark Tinodi or a poor man's version (Bob Rouse).

It is possible that either 1 or 3 could also be the pest. We really don't have roster space for three players unless at least two move off. Of course, ShaMo and Gordon could be those two. Gordo can fetch you a good rental, and Gordo and a #1 or 2 should get you a decent keeper.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 13, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Well the problem I have with Ovi fighting Downie is that he wouldn't be fighting someone of his own class so to speak. To be frank if Ovi drops the gloves (and I prefer he didn't) it should be with someone like Crosby or Richards. Downie's role is more of a fighter, kind of like our very own "Bradley Fighting Vehicle" but with far less skill and ice time.

I was intrigued by what the guys said on Capitals Report. They did not think much of Downie and said that he has a checkered past with some serious suspensions dating as far back as his AHL days. Nope I definitely don't want our Captain fighting such a character. Good for Brads. He really stepped it up. The next game with the Bolts will not be pretty.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 13, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Is he a pest or is he a goon. I consider the two roles different. Maybe Downie is a bit of both. Chimera can be a pest--from everything I've read. But I don't think he is a huge fighter tho' as Stecks proved every good ole' hockey play will drop the gloves when necessary.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 13, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Who cares to venture a goalie guess? My guess is that it will be Neuvy.

Posted by: caraveli | January 13, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

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