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Boudreau on Gus: 'He Was a Lot Better Today'

Bruce Boudreau just updated the media on Joe Finley's status and named the prospects who have surprised him through the first two days of rookie camp. Here's most of what the coach had to say:

*Finley suffered a hip flexor injury on Monday and the team is being cautious.

"It is what it is -- a hip flexor," Boudreau said. "We want to make sure -- just like with Stefan Della Rovere -- it's rookie camp. We want to make sure they are better before they go. They both want to play like crazy. But what happens, if they're not 100 percent, they re-injure it, and that aggravation last for two months. We would much prefer them to take a week off and be able to play."

*Boudreau on Anton Gustafsson, a 2008 first-round pick who has battled some injuries and did not stand out on Day 1: "He was a lot better today. I know when I went to Europe [to play] I was so trepid of my surroundings and everything else. There's no comfortability. I think you'll see everyday that he'll get a little more comfortable and come out of his shell a little bit more and play a little better."

Boudreau went on to say he doesn't envision Gustafsson making the Caps out of camp.

"Not right now, I don't think, realistically, when you look at who we have at center," he said. "But again, if young guys are so good you can't send them somewhere, it makes for [tough] decisions."

*Boudreau's early surprises of rookie camp: center Cody Eakin and defensemen Kevin Schmidt and Zach Miskovic.

*Boudreau on John Carlson's chances of making the Caps out of training camp: "He's going to play in the majority of the preseason games, I assume. And John Carlson is going to be the one making the decision. He's going to make it really easy on us or he's going to make it really tough on us. We like what we're seeing right now, but there's a different caliber next week. We'll see how it much he's grown. He's here to make our team, which is going to push other guys to be better. And if he's [one of the best guys] it's going to be a tough decision for us."

* Here's some more on the Caps from Dan Steinberg, who must be sick of the Redskins because he showed up at camp today.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 8, 2009; 2:40 PM ET
 
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Next: Alzner: 'I Want to Be More Aggressive'

Comments

4 updates in one day......sure beats going 2 or 3 weeks without one....

Posted by: RichC3 | September 8, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow Coach -- good word -- "trepid"!

Posted by: uncatim | September 8, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

4 updates in one day......sure beats going 2 or 3 weeks without one....

Posted by: RichC3 | September 8, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

True dat.

Posted by: crooks_c | September 8, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Fall is here and the season starts in less than a month - THANK GOD!!!!!!

Summer sucked.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | September 8, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

and why wouldn't any sportwriter be sick of covering the team that sues its fans into bankruptcy.

Posted by: doughless | September 8, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I still think Carlson goes to Hershey, even if he is the best defenseman in the rookie camp and the full training camp. The Caps can afford not to rush him.

Posted by: zmega | September 8, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Richmond- the only problem I have with your assessment of game 7 is, you state that Varly gave up 4 bad glovehand side goals in the 1st period. There weren't 4 goals in the first period so where are the other coming from? I understand the frustration and you never want to see a game 7 like that but it is what it is. We wouldn't have won with Theo in net either unless he had his 1 in 20 game miracles.

Regardless it's a learning lesson for all. I'm with Kitty in that a lot of things went their way AND against us in order for them to take it in game 7. It just hurts so bad because once we get up 2-0 on them it's like they're thinking they've got us right where they want us! It's a new year and yet another stepping stone in the whole equation. As I've stated many times, I believe we will win the Presidents trophy, or be darn close to it and I believe that we will represent the East in the Finals.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about this team and the D, I really think our best D this year and going forward for the long haul would look like this:

Green
Erskine
Juice
Pothier
Alzner
Carlson

Alternates:
Poti
Sloan
Schultz

To be traded:
S Morrison

Now I understand I'll catch flak for Poti but if he's in there and we alternate some other in and out of the lineup I'm not too opposed to that. The key is I think based on everything I've read and seen (which is limited) is that Alzner and Carlson are ready for the jump. It's time to let some of the tweener Dmen go and see if our younger crop isn't ready to make the next leap. Gotta get those guys some ice time so they're ready to go come playoffs.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Anybody at all going to the camps I would love updates as we don't get much info out here in the high country.

Even if it means all of you state that lil Gus looks bad while Tarik and BB says he looks good! LOL!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

you shouldnt catch flak for leaving Poti as an alternate. He was one of our worst defenseman last year esp after he came back into the lineup late in the year. He and Schultz were liabilities. And if you go watch playoff tape, its Tom Poti with turnover after turnover in his own end that leads to extended offensive chances. Esp against Pittsburgh.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

LMAO Erskine among the top 6 instead of Poit.. you gotta be kidding

Posted by: joek443 | September 8, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

oops Poti.. also as for Alzner and Carlson, let's not crown either of them as the next Scott Stevens just yet

Posted by: joek443 | September 8, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

let me see if I got this right.. I thought I heard yesterday that the Caps had 11 good defensemen and all their defensive problem was over with.

Then today I see Erskine penciled in as one of the top 6 d-men.. nothing against Erskine, he plays hard but he was released by the isles just 3 years ago.

Posted by: joek443 | September 8, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Joek - sometimes I find it hard to take you seriously with some of the comments you make. Yes I'm saying put Erskine in instead of Poti. We have enough "Poti's" in the mix and need a little more of what Erskine and Juice bring to the table. Plus Pothier is a better Poti.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@poker

I corrected myself and said that he gave up 4 easy goals in the first 25-30 minutes of a game 7. Does that make it any worse? Not really, but it also doesn't make it any better.

Posted by: richmondphil | September 9, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

JoeK - yeah and the Islanders are such a notorious team for finding and keeping talent aren't they? Well gee, by your thought we shouldn't have picked up BMO then because he was cut as well.

Like I said, we have enough Poti's on the team and Pothier is a better Poti. I didn't list them in order of talent just the grouping of 6 as BB doesn't typically stick to pairings a whole lot. The main point was Alzner and Carlson need to be here and play.

Funny for you to insult somebody. Who was Boston's rival again? Something tells me you've been driving in too many circles around the track. Have you and Nyls been racing in circles?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 9, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

I see things a little different. Green is on line 1 and we need someone to play with him. I would like to Erks play as the 4th line leftwinger and then the Caps would trade Poti and Pothier for one solid D. Thus, we would have Green and D, Alzner and Juice, Morrison and Schultz. Unless Carlson is the line 2 D, he will play in the AHL. He has to play a lot to play with the Caps. Pothier has 2 years left and Erks has one on contracts. Poti has 2. So...

Posted by: jgrasse | September 9, 2009 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I won't be sold on Carlson being ready until he shows me something in the preseason. Especially the last couple of games when the real NHLers start logging some ice time. He definitely has potential but he made a few mental mistakes and bad outlet passes when I saw him in the Calder Cup Finals, games 3 and 4. He was talented enough to correct those misques in the AHL but things will be different in the NHL. He has looked good all summer but he has been playing with his peers.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

I believe the battle for the goal will be interesting. Neuvy looked very very solid when I saw him the Calder Cup Finals and that was June. He had played a lot of hockey and was still moving very fast and controlling rebounds. With both Varly and Neuvy looking solid I see the organization leaning one way or the other within the next two years and getting something worthwhile for the goaltender we deal. Holtby is a solid minor league goaltender right now too.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

What a pleasure it is to read several posts in one day.

Richmodphil--in general i agree with you about Varly in game 7 although the rest of the team didn't pick up their game to give him time to regroup and get back into the game.

I said this in an earlier post but learning how to win the big games is also part of a player's and team's development. Likewise how to capitalize on a big loss. Game 7 was the first time that Varly lost the ability to stay in the moment--something he did very well up to that point. I think he started thinking about the ramifications of the future and then after the soft goals about how he shouldn't have let them in.

It's definitely part of the learning experience and he showed his immaturity in that game. But he showed great potential in the other games when he was facing 40 plus shots by the Pens.

Also I think it's hard for a goalie to figure out what has gone wrong during the game when an opposing player has figured out a weakness--in this case his glove hand. It's only later when analyzing the game can one identify what happened in order to fix it. Ovie did that to Lundquist in the Rangers series--figured out how to bypass his glove hand with his sharply angled shots. Happens to the most experienced goalies as well.

In general I feel good about our goalie situation but I definitely think that BB intends for Theo and Irbe to give Varly and Neuvy guidance from their years of NHL experience. I am fine with Theo being the no. 1 goalie--gives Varly time to gain this experience without the pressure of being no. 1.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 9, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

pokerface: I don't have any problem if they trade Poti if Carlson is absolutely, positively ready. Poti at $3.5M is too costly to ride the bench, so he must be used or traded. One thing you might consider though is he was best on the team IMO for d-men at clearing the puck while on the PK.

As for me, I'm in the camp that Erskine is a fine value as a third pair. Jurcina is too if he avoids the occasional boneheaded lapse (like handing the puck to the other team right in front of our goalie). Pothier is better offensively than Poti. Alzner is a wild card. When he came up last year, it was the Second Coming. Now people seem to put him behind Carlson. Meanwhile, last year, Alzner was widely rated as the best almost-NHL-ready-D-man prospect in the league. Let's not forget, d men take a few years to round into shape. That said, the Alzner-Jurcina pairing last year was effective.

Posted by: tominfl1 | September 9, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

There is a great piece in the Times by Corey on Varly and the goalie situation.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if the preseason games are going to be televised?

Posted by: Kevin9149 | September 9, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Kevin9149: The games aren't going to be on COMCAST. If you have the expanded sports package on Directv and get MSG, they are televising both preseason games against the Caps. Since it is preseason I don't think we have to purchase NHL Center Ice to get the games on MSG. If you are itching for hockey NHL Network-US is going to begin televising some preseason games beginning next week Tuesday, the 15th. However, none of the Caps games are scheduled to air on NHL Network.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Our goalie situation is the best it has been since the 90s. Again, Varlamov's game 7 performance can be attributed to a lot of things that you mentioned newbiecapsfan07. I'm not debating that. I am simply stating that it happened, no matter the reason, and it's something he needs to work on. Whether that means just raw glove practice, better conditioning to not get tired, better mental state, or maybe he can just fix it with age and experience. I am not going to gloss over it just because though.

I love Varlamov. I want him to be our next franchise goalie, I really do. I would just not like to see him have collapses like that, whether the collapse happened for a legitimate reason or not, it still happened.

And yes, our team did lose the game. The fact remains though; our goalie let in 4 goals he should have been able to stop in a game 7. As you guys like to say, the blame falls on everyone; and that means Varlamov as well. His mistakes are not going to be forgotten just because of his brilliant play prior.

Posted by: richmondphil | September 9, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Not that I want the Caps to emulate the Penguins organization in every aspect, there is one thing they do that I wish the Caps would do for the fans. The Pens have 9 players, including Crosby and Malkin, hand delivering season tickets to long time season ticket holders. Now, I wouldn't qualify as a long time season ticket holder because I just couldn't afford it until the last 5 years or so, but it would be cool to see our longstanding supporters get a personal visit. Of course, I wouldn't turn down my tickets being hand delivered by one of the boys.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Ovie did that to Lundquist in the Rangers series--figured out how to bypass his glove hand with his sharply angled shots. Happens to the most experienced goalies as well.

_____________

Also I just got to comment on this for a second.

Ovie beats everyone with his sharp angled top shelf shots. ;)

Posted by: richmondphil | September 9, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

We still have two spots in the fantasy league, guys! Need to get them filled! Email thiazzi@gmail.com if you're interested.

---

Also, went to camp yesterday. I think Broda looked pretty good. He's quick and a good shot. Neuvirth was great as well, definitely no issues with HIS glove hand.

Posted by: thiazzi | September 9, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I've got two people we can use to fill the league, but they aren't from Tarik's blog. So if it gets down to it and two more on here don't sign up, we can use them.

Hits to scoring maybe?

Posted by: richmondphil | September 9, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Tom- as far as the D is concerned, I have a feeling that from the public eye Alzner will take a while to gain support. The reason is he's not flashy, he doesn't make big hits and he's not overly offensively talented. Everything I've seen and heard about him is that he is just a positionally sound Dman than is as consistent as it gets. Kinda like what you and I have been asking for, another Calle Jo. I really think Alzner is gonna be our Calle Jo, someone who doesn't get a lot of attention but is always in position and always makes the safe and consistent play.

That being said, now there's Carlson who a lot believe is ready and ready now. So you have to make room for them. I believe SMo and Poti are expendable as well as some of our other D prospects like Sloan, Schultz, Collins and Godfrey. Obviously you're not going to trade all of them but I don't think we'd be in worse shape if 2 of them were traded. The wild card in all of this is Finley. Personally I'd like to see the guy stick and I think he will but if he can develope into that big physical D force then D will no longer be an issue.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Got to agree with thiazzi, Neuvy was looking pretty good, although he still looks like he's about 13. My concern, and I posted this yesterday. was Gus, I know BB said he looked better, but to me he just looked out of it, I was pretty disappointed. Also Carlson looks good against the competition he's facing right now, excited to see how he fairs against teh regulars.

Posted by: superpaqman | September 9, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Goaltending- wow I'm sure there are a lot of teams that envy our situation here. Oh and I'm not including Theo in that statement! LOL! We have 2 legit goalies that both appear to be able to carry the #1 load. Granted there's more developemnt to be made but you get my point. Chances are at least 1 of them will turn out to be a solid goalie for a while. How nice would it be for one of these guys to lock up this position and to not have to worry about goaltending for say the next 10+ years? How nice it must be for NJ and Vancouver fans to know that you're set in net for the forseeable future. I know Brodeur won't last forever but he's still got a few+ years left in him.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 9, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

pokerface: It would be great for the cap situation if Alzner and Carlson were good enough that both ShaMo and Poti could be moved. And, yes, a Calle Johansson clone would be great. While Kevin Hatcher got all the credit, he was always in the wrong place on D. Johansson, meanwhile, always seemed to have his guy tied up. That's what we need - a Mark Tinordi and a Calle Johansson. Maybe Carlson is one and Alzner the other. That would be fantastic.

BTW, I like Sloan - good value at $640K for a #7 defenseman.

Posted by: tominfl1 | September 9, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I understand that Comcast will not be showing Caps preseason, and I do not plan on ordering Center Ice. So, will I be able to catch any game highlights? Say on NHL.com?

Posted by: Kevin9149 | September 9, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin9149

Last preseason, the preseason games were broadcast live on the internet. It was the scoreboard feed from the arena. Maybe look out for something like that?

Posted by: thiazzi | September 9, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Richmondphil--I agree with with your observations, and I am by no means letting Varly off the hook. He has to learn from that game 7 experience. And yes Ovie has one of the best if not the best sharply angled shot in the league.

The point I was trying to make was that in that series with the Rangers it took Ovie a number of games before he found a weakness In Lundqvist's game. And of course exploited it. As great players do.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 9, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen any film coverage of Ovie driving the Zambonie down 6th Avenue to the NHL Store and Studios in NYC today...??

Posted by: Caps16Fan | September 9, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

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