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Boudreau on Schultz: 'He's playing the best he's played in his career'

A strange road trip got a little stranger this morning in Tampa, where the Caps were not able to have a morning skate because the ice was not ready.

I'm told new ice was put down Sunday night after the circus left town, but Lightning officials were concerned about the soft sheet getting damaged ahead of tonight's game.

"That was their philosophy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When I initially thought about it, I thought that's probably good. But wouldn't you rather risk it in the morning and fix it ...and get the ice the way you want it because they would have all afternoon to work on it?"

Although there was no skate, the players did their best to keep their morning routine the same. They arrived at the rink at 10:15, had a pre-skate meeting, changed into their undergarments, got treatment and massages, stretched and warmed up.

The Lightning, meantime, put on their pads at the game rink and bused to their suburban practice facility to skate. In fact, they just returned to St. Pete Times Forum in full gear, carrying their skates and looking like oversized mini-mites.

"It is what it is, and we'll have to make do," Boudreau added, referring to the prospect of playing on poor ice. "I have no idea if [bad ice] is an advantage or a disadvantage. ...These guys have some pretty talented players, as well, so it's the same for both teams."

Some other notes and quotes from the St. Pete Times Forum, where the Caps will be looking to beat the 'Bolts for the 13th consecutive time:

*John Erskine is "questionable" with an upper body injury he suffered in Atlanta, according to Boudreau. If he doesn't play, Tyler Sloan will suit up for the first time in five games.

"He feels a lot better today," Boudreau said about Erskine. "I don't know if [athletic trainer Greg Smith] is going top let him take warmup, but if he feels fine, he'll play."

*You may have noticed that Tomas Fleischmann's faceoff percentage took a steep dive against the Thrashers. The newly converted center lost 13 of his 19 draws (32 percent) in Atlanta, one game after winning 12 of 15 (80 percent) at home against Ottawa.

The reason? It likely has to do with the change in faceoff protocol at home vs. road. On the road, the visitor must put his stick on the ice first. Fleischmann, who has been skating between Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin on the second line, clearly struggled to adapt in his first road game as an NHL center.

"He had a little trouble with it," said assistant coach Dean Evason, who works with the Caps' centers. "He'll be better tonight. It's just an adjustment. It's something he wasn't used because he hadn't taken faceoffs in a while."

*The Caps have scored 17 goals the past three games, but only one has come off the stick of two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin.

"Sometimes he's just not the guy who finishes, but he's also the best decoy out there," Boudreau said. "Every time he's on the ice, he's got two or three guys shadowing him, so that leaves [teammates] open."

*The Caps held a pre-draft meeting here in Tampa this week. Among the scouts was former goalie coach Dave Prior. I haven't received confirmation from the team on his role, but word is that he's been retained as a goalie consultant for this summer's draft. After all, he did recommend the selection of Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

*Although goaltender Semyon Varlamov had been slow to recover from groin and knee injuries - he's been sidelined since the team's last visit to Tamap on Dec. 7 - Boudreau said the team does not have plans to ask the 21-year-old not to participate in the Olympics next month.

"Tell him he's not going to Olympics because it's in the best interest of the organization when everyone else is going?" Boudreau said. "No."

*Boudreau wouldn't say who is starting in goal tonight, but all indications are that it's going to be Neuvirth, whose 38-save effort in Atlanta did wonders for his stat line. He's now got a .910 save pecentage and a 2.68 goals against average.

"He might be," is all Boudreau would say.

*While a lot has been made about Tom Poti's play in recent games, Boudreau was effusive in his praise of Jeff Schultz this morning.

"Jeff is playing the best he's played in his career in this stretch," he said. "His plus minus ...sometimes it's a stat that you can look at and say it's a real good stat or it doesn't mean much. But every time you look up, he's on [the ice] for two goals for and none against. I think he's a plus 23, in less than 50 games, which is a real good indicator that when he's on the ice, something good is going to happen."

Schultz's plus-23 rating leads all NHL defensemen. In Atlanta, he was a plus-5.

The big defenseman said he attributes his improvement to a summertime change in attitude.

"I'm not worrying about making mistakes," he said. "It used to be if something bad happened, I would be thinking about it for the rest of the game and would be dwelling on that. Now, I just take it and throw it out the window. I over-thought things. It's just a change of attitude, which is something I thought about over the summer."

*The Caps' 16 point lead on Atlanta and Tampa Bay is their biggest division lead in franchise history.

I'll check in later with a lineup.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 12, 2010; 12:17 PM ET
 | Tags: Jeff Schultz, Tampa Bay Lightning  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning roundup: Poti makes an impact on offense
Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Lightning

Comments

Tampa is just planning their excuses before the inevitable.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

neuvirth tonight please. he has been so good recently

Posted by: colonelbagpuss | January 12, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Big Papa Schultz.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Great update Tarik....always good to be informed.

Hope it is Neuvirth tongiht. Theo always plays strong against the Panthers so it would make sense.

Who cares about the ice. Both teams will skate on it. Time to take the spark out of the Lightning. :) DROP THE PUCK ALREADY.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | January 12, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Even more of the reason to trade MGreen for Kovalchuk

we'd be improving our defense and offense at the same time.

Plus - you would take away Mike Green salary and use that $ to re-sign Backstrom.

make the deal!

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 12, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Wait, is that a Green for Kovy trade suggestion? I mean..is that it? Green for Kovy, straight up?

hah...

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay -- first, thank you for all of the updates you post.

Second, just wanted to let you know that there's a typo in the latest CI update, and it's the same misspelling from yesterday.

In reference to the players being "bussed," the correct spelling is "bused." A "buss" is a kiss, so if someone is "bussed," they have been kissed.

I imagine the players often are bussed, but hopefully they were not bussing each other while being bused!

Thank you!

Posted by: Steakum | January 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Bruce will put in whichever goalie he thinks he wants to match against either opponent. A different guy will play tomorrow night.

Schult'z changes might have been built on attitude, but they go far beyond that. The guy has simply been as solid as a rock. And while folks want to see him hit more, he nonetheless manages to flummox the opponent most of the time, hit or not. His passing has been crisp as hell, and he's jumping in on offense more. (had a very nice assist last game too on the Poti/Knuble goal).

Posted by: Sonyask | January 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd trade Green for Bogosian right now but not for Kovy.

Posted by: joek443 | January 12, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow- guess the crackheads are out? Green for Kovy- funny!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm . . . ok, so TB got in their morning skate, but the Caps did not? TB is not a good host! A good host would offer their rink time slot to their guest. HaHa!

TB is working hard to make the stars align for them to upset the Caps by throwing off the routine.

Will. Not. Work.

Posted by: Steakum | January 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Just trade Green. He reminds me of a second coming of Kevin Hatcher...ugh

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Nats1924=cheef=stanleycup1907 and every other troll out there....lets trade an every year Norris canidate for a rental player....yeah, that's smart!!

Nats1924 you are officially drafted into the Doofus Brigade, put on your Don Cherry suit, grab a rifle and fall in line soldier....

Hut, two, three, four...Hut, two, three, four.....

Posted by: PhilR | January 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@Nats1924, gimme a break.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd trade Green for Bogosian right now but not for Kovy.

Posted by: joek443 | January 12, 2010 1:09 PM |

I love Bogo.

I think the bottomline, besides that the initial trade proposal is beyond ridiculous, is that Green isn't going anywhere so to suggest him in a trade is fruitless.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR -- you're absolutely right.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 12, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

last time the routine got screwed up for the caps we won 8-1.

green for kovy? almost as bad as someone yesterday saying they would rather get matt cooke back instead of kovy

Posted by: _stevo | January 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Just trade Green. He reminds me of a second coming of Kevin Hatcher...ugh

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 12, 2010 1:12 PM |
Oh, so you were serious?
First off, does ATL need Green and can they afford him? They can certainly afford him this year, but they will have some cap juggling next year. Every team wants Green, but not every team needs or can afford him. I would say that ATL doesn't need Green, what with Bogo and Enstrom coming into fruition.
Second off, Green's trade value is about double what Kovy's is right now. You want to trade a Norris candidate defense man for a rental player? Now if you said a SIGNED Kovy, then it's a different discussion, however..you really want Semin, Ovi, and Kovy on one team, with the price Kovy is going to get? If Kovy should ever be suggested to be added, then Ovi or Semin is the one to go. One is beyond irrational and the other seems to get mentioned quite a lot as a trade proposal.
Bottom line, Green is not being traded. So why even suggest him, especially one so ridiculous as for Kovy, straight up? I'd be open to trading Green...if it is apparent that Green has the potential to be on the block. Until that time comes, saying things like "Just trade Green" makes you look pretty naive and trollish.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

green for kovy? almost as bad as someone yesterday saying they would rather get matt cooke back instead of kovy

Posted by: _stevo | January 12, 2010 1:20 PM |

Eh...choosing Cooke over Kovy seems worse.

I don't care if one is "built for the playoffs" and one is "just" a superstar.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

RE; Burrows/Auger

You guys remember this earlier, right?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nZpCHtQYYI


Guess who the refs were...LaRue and ___.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Considering the opinions of the editor, I'm surpised this Post actually, you know, posted.

Posted by: Section117 | January 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

A good time to get rid of rubber band legs in the playoffs...SCHULTZ...

When crunch time happens...Schultz and Green will not...(see last year's playoffs)

We need to somehow get a hold of Dion Phaneuf from Calgary...he is apparently on the trade block and is a MONSTER on defense.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Phaneuf is horrible on defense..have you even watched him play? I love how people who can deliver open ice-hits (and believe me, he's one of the best at that) somehow translates into them playing good defense. Phaneuf is pretty bad on defense to be quite frank. He's been better this year than last year at least.

Keep that primadonna pretty boy, salary cap crippling contract away from the Caps.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps = @Nats1924

Posted by: Sonyask | January 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

GREEN a Norris TROPHY CANDIDATE...LOL...that is funny...(I know he was last year...but it was very funny to see it....he doesn't even know the names of our goalies...)

Right, Phaneuf is awful...that's why he was more of a consideration for Team Canada than Green...

And god forbid we have someone who can hit AND play defense on our blue line...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I love Flash at center...and I love the fact Bruce is playing Nervous in net...

Caps are going to have the best 1-2 goalie tandem for a very long time (if Varley can stay healthy)...

And trust me...as much as we want Green to be traded...he won't...Green, Semin, Ovie, and Backstrom are the face of this franchise...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you ever watched him play...

He's a puck-moving d-man with offensive upside. He can also deliver big hits. But his defensive play is atrocious..I mean, I'm not really exaggerating. Like I said, I don't think you've ever seen him play besides highlight reels of his hits.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The only blue liner I want on the Flames would be Regehr. He's not available, so forget about it.

You want a defensive shutdown guy? Regehr. It's not Phaneuf.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@richmond...

I have seen him play...and yes, he is not having a good year. But he and Regher were the shutdown tandem that got Calgary to the cup. I just think a change in scenary would be good for him. I DON'T think I would give away major talent to get him...

I also am a bit nervous about our goaltending situation...are we really going to go into the playoffs with two 21 year olds? I like it, but it's risky...

I had heard we were looking at Turco from Dallas...that would be interesting (since he hasn't had a good year either)...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

And trust me...as much as we want Green to be traded...he won't...Green, Semin, Ovie, and Backstrom are the face of this franchise...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

we want green traded? umm, no WE dont, you and some others might.

and to your point about schultz and green in the playoff last year, so i guess because both of those guys are under 25 they wont get any better with age and experience. got it.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Why are we trading the best offensive defensemen to come around in 20 years for Bogo? How does that make sense?

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Phaneuf is overrated. He is good but he isn't as dynamic as he has been touted.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The key to that tandem is Regehr, especially back when Regehr was better than he is now.

Phanuef is a puck-mover who delivers big hits. He's not very good on defense, and it's not really a minority opinion or anything. Phaneuf probably gets more crap from Flames fans than Green does from Caps fans. Take away some of Green's points, turn them into hits, and you got Phanuef. Both need to work on playing consistent defense.

Phanuef would be a decent rental..but the problem is that he isn't. He has a decent sized contract with quite a few years on it. I don't want to absorb that.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@DC...

I think it's great Schulz is having a good year. I don't think he should be Norris Trophy consideration. Plus, Boudreau said SLOAN was our best defenseman in camp...and where did that get him?

Green...has no idea how to play in our end. In the playoffs, it's all about defense. How many 6-8 goal playoff games do you see? How many 4-6 goal differentials do you see? He needs to tighten up defensively.

We are not going to continue our scoring tear through the playoffs...

Schultz, even though I don't like, I see some potential...Green? He is all offense, and will not be a good playoff performer. Just my opinion. Hey, it may not be right...or it may be right...only time will tell.

I just want a Cup in Washington...and our window of opportunity is running out...more and more of our roster will want pay raises and we won't be able to afford them. We really have this year, and next (then Semin becomes an unrestricted free agent...to start)...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

What's with all this talk about trading for Dmen that won't be available? Unless GMGM is shopping Theo, I don't see any trades happening, nor should he make any trades.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 12, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@ Richmond...

valid points re: Phaneuf...glad someone can seriously take a look at Green's defensive play...

And no, we don't need anymore Nylander sized contracts.... :)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

You were around when Gonchar was here right? He has rounded his game with his new team now, but he gave me more headaches than Green ever will.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

The team is built with the next decade in mind, where do you get this "window of opportunity is closing?" You do know what we have in Hershey and the relative ages of the players we currently have in DC, right?

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 12, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

The window of opportunity is running out?

Maybe if you think the core group of Caps are Knuble, Theodore, Poti and Gordon.

The window is wide open for Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom, Schultz, Alzner, Carlson, Flash, Varlamov...

Jesus man... Insanity

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Unless GMGM is shopping Theo, I don't see any trades happening, nor should he make any trades.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 12, 2010 1:57 PM |

Really? You don't think Clark/Juice for Chimera was a prelude for a rental player? I think it was.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

well, i dont see anyone touting schultz for the norris trophy, but he's a hell of a lot better this year than he was last year. anyone who denies that isnt paying attention.

as for green, no arguement that he needs to improve on the defensive end, but so say he's all offense is simply untrue. he's an offensive defenseman. if he couldnt play d, he'd be a wing.

as for our window of opportunity closing? really, you cant be serious. its actually just opening. we've got all the offense we need right now and in the future. and that doesnt include guys like osala, gus, johannsson (sp?), perrault, etc. it's the defensive/goaltending side that has significant upside going forward. carlson/alzner/varly/neuvirt...i think all of them still have fake id's.

i think next year is when this team will really start peaking.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Capital of VA/stock

There will be a player added at the deadline, and I think a significant rental.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I understand SoaringCaps point...it's been pretty public that Capitals management believes this year and next are the two years that the team can make a serious run at the Cup...then it might be some rebuild-tinkering.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Really? You don't think Clark/Juice for Chimera was a prelude for a rental player? I think it was.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it has more to do new contracts for next season and unloading the glut at D this season than anything else.

Maybe we do package a trade together, but for who and at what cost honestly? Anyone who would drastically help the team will most likely be unavailable or have contracts that would be detrimental to signing players we should be keeping.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 12, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those above about positioning the team for a big time deal at the deadline (Lidstrom?, Niedermayer?). Given our depth at D it would be common sense to believe that some of the guys here now won't be on the team come spring, especially if the plan is for Alzner to be in DC. I would expect some combination of Morrisonn, Pothier and Sloan to be moved to make roster space (before you all go off on me, I am not suggesting they should be traded or I want them to be traded, just that they are the most likely canidates given the way BB uses his players).

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 12, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the ranks of the Doofus Brigade has swelled.

Trade Green for Kovy?

Window of opportunity is closing?

Green not a good playoff performer? He was in 2008. I know last year was ugly. Let's see one more season before even beginning to make a trend. I know Eddie Murray was considered "lousy" in the4 postseason until he tore up Filthy in 1983.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Lidstrom will never leave DET, but Neids is a possibility. He's not having a very good year, but his resume can't get any better.

We need the Sens to tank. Phillips would be nice, but Volchenkov would be better.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Love Neuvy, but Theo played well in his last outing. He should get the call tonight. Why "Nylander" him when you may need him if Varly can't kick this injury stuff this spring.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 12, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think Niedermeyey will be too expensive and Volchenkov won't be available. Think Kaberle, IMO.

I will agree that the Caps are thinking that this is as good of a chance as any to win the Cup, but as for their window of opportunity closing, that's nonsense.

And as for the Caps having to do any type of rebuilding, I will say that the team is looking better next season than it did at the beginning of this season.

We will be better next season, that I am completely convinced of.

I will debate anybody on that topic.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Fans Say Washington vs. Chicago in the Final

Just a quick note on how the fans feel at this mid-point mark of the NHL season. I took an informal poll on Twitter, asking followers which two teams would be meeting in the Stanley Cup Final.

The overwhelming response was Chicago against Washington, which was a bit surprising. I am not saying those teams won't be in the Final, but I would say 9 out of 10 responders mentioned those two teams, which kind of shocked me. I guess we will find out soon enough how things will shake out.


From a Kukla article. Guess we are no longer considered underdogs. Don't know if I like that.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Green not a good playoff performer? He was in 2008. I know last year was ugly. Let's see one more season before even beginning to make a trend. I know Eddie Murray was considered "lousy" in the4 postseason until he tore up Filthy in 1983.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Green wasn't good in the playoffs v Philly in 08. I didn't think so anyway. He was tentative, the Flyers forechecking tore him up, and predictably it was his neutral zone turnover that led to a critical goal against. Still, it was good to see him sticking up for his fallen teammate after Upshall cheapshotted Morrison.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

game tonight v Tampa will be a good indicator for the Caps. Tampa is hungry, they're a decent team this year, I hear Tocchet tore them up pretty good after the last time we played them. And generally after a big win, we come out flat in the next game. Win or lose, I'd like to see a 60 min effort v Tampa.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@jschon

i'm not too sold on getting kaberle. While kaberle is good, we don't need another mike green. Kaberle needs alot of minutes, but we couldn't pair him with green... it would be like having 5 forwards on the ice. Just my thoughts

Posted by: _stevo | January 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Chicago and the Caps would be a compelling match-up. They have better defense but we have more offense. New Jersey is obviously a top team, but I don't think the Devils would generate the interest. Having an Original Six is never bad for excitement, all other things equal. This would be exciting.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Can I ask a simple question to the trader division of the dofus brigade? Do you think the the Oilers should have traded Coffey and Kurri in 1982 or 1983?

That's what trade 'Semin and Green' would equal in Hockey History.
Get real people and enjoy the ride. You are watching one of the greatest compilations of young talent in hockey history, not counting 2-d and several forwards in AHL, juniors and Sweden still to come up.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | January 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Green was 3 + 4 = 7 in the 2008 playoffs. I don't have a +/- handy. At least you can't quibble with the offensive stats.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I understand SoaringCaps point...it's been pretty public that Capitals management believes this year and next are the two years that the team can make a serious run at the Cup...then it might be some rebuild-tinkering.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

i think they said this right after they admitted that the whole uniform redo was a bad idea and they are going back to the black unis. i think ted mentioned this as he was writing his last ever blog post as he feels the internet is "over".

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 12, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

@stevo

I agree with you, and when I said Kaberle, what I should've said was a Kaberle type player. Not too expensive and a player who will be moved.

I'd rather get another C before a another D, espeicially if the Flash at C doesnt work out.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek1: A brigade doesn't have a "division." A brigade is part of a division. Not to nit-pick, but you are referring to Company S (the Semin bashers) and Company G (the Green bashers).

Right now, both companies are on maneuvers out in the frozen tundra. They'll be marching on Sunday in their Don Cherry sport coats and matching berets.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

agree with those above about positioning the team for a big time deal at the deadline (Lidstrom?, Niedermayer?). Given our depth at D it would be common sense to believe that some of the guys here now won't be on the team come spring, especially if the plan is for Alzner to be in DC. I would expect some combination of Morrisonn, Pothier and Sloan to be moved to make roster space (before you all go off on me, I am not suggesting they should be traded or I want them to be traded, just that they are the most likely canidates given the way BB uses his players).
--------------------------------

I think we need more of a Brad Stuart type than a Lidstrom type. Detroit's not dealing Lidstrom anyway. But the type of defenseman we need is as important as which defenseman it is.

I don't see how trading Morrison for another defenseman solves our issues. He can cover Green's butt better than any other player on our team. Its not easy having a partner like MG who turns the puck over as much as he does. You always have assume he's going to turn the puck over and really be a true stay at home dman to be his partner.

And I doubt Sloan or Pothier have much trade value. I don't think you're wrong though, the Caps don't seem too entwined with ShaMo. I could see him getting dealt. Just don't see the point of it. We'll get a minimal if any upgrade back in return.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I remember Green having a preety good playoff round v Philly in 2008. 3G & 4 A in seven games, he was under a point per game in the regular season and upped his numbers during a tough playoff round. He was a -2, but stats don't always tell the story. Any athlete in hockey, basketball, soccer or lacrosse who handles the ball or puck a large amount of the time in a game will have a higher turniover rate than someone who rarely has the ball. It is just a fact, and I will take Mike Green on my hockey team any day. Yes, I wish he was better around the goal as far as sticking to his man and clearing the crease. But his defensive strength is his skating ability to beat people to the puck and skate or pass the puck to the neutral and offensive zones. He is one of the best in the NHL at transitioning from D to O, and that is why he is an effective defenseman.

Posted by: boomer44 | January 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The core players who become UFAs after next season (2010-11), if not extended, are Semin, Laich and Flash. Now, if all three bolt, you will have some "retinkering." I don't think though that this qualifies as "window of opportunity" closing. The three of them next year get cap figure of $11.4M (allocating $3.3M for Flash in arbitration). If they all leave, as UFAs, which I find highly doubtful to occur, but you would have that money available for other UFAs. It's not the end of the world, not like what Atlanta faces if they lose Kovalchuk for nothing. I guess you can call this a retinkering, but certainly it isn't an overhaul.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Green was 3 + 4 = 7 in the 2008 playoffs. I don't have a +/- handy. At least you can't quibble with the offensive stats.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

No you can't quibble with those. But I think his defensive play should be what is looked at predominantly as a gauge for his success. He's going to get his offensive opportunities on the PP so he'll always find a way to cash those in unless he's playing hurt like he did last season. His offense will always be there. But in the playoffs, defense matters more.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

He was a -2, but stats don't always tell the story. Any athlete in hockey, basketball, soccer or lacrosse who handles the ball or puck a large amount of the time in a game will have a higher turniover rate than someone who rarely has the ball.
------------------

he's a risky player when he doesn't have to be. There are situations where he can be less reckless. Unfortunately he gets so wound up about racing up ice sometimes he leaves himself open to getting his pocket picked. He's obviously talented, and he's obviously very strong on his skates, and he can dish out a thundering hit if he chooses to. He has all the tools. I just wish that situationally he'd realize when to be more careful with the puck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 12, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

boomer44: In some ways, Mike Green is our "point guard" when he's on the ice. And, yes, you are correct, he's asked to carry the mail, and he will have more turnovers. Schultz doesn't get turnovers, but he treats the puck like a hot potato (most d-men do). The last time I saw the stats, Green was 2nd in the league in turnoves last year but had improved that this year. Someone else found those stats, for turnovers, because I looked but couldn't find.

I only really mind the turnovers when they lead to a direct scoring chance, otherwise it is a part of the game to some extent.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Two points on Green: 1) whatever his 2008 stats and defensive performance, Green is very highly motivated to have a great playoff series; 2) Greenie has not been turning over the puck the last several games the way he had been theretofore. Maybe it's a trend.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 12, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think you have to see some playoff round wins and hopefully an Stanley Cup to determine Green's success. He is a part of a team, his strength is his skating and offensive abilities, obviously he will need to play stronger defensively for the team to succeed. I do believe that his ability to single hadidly break a defensive lock and escape a strong forecheck is a plus on the defensive end, just as is making a good first pass to break out of the zone. Remember Green can beat guys to a loose puck in the d zone which is just as important as knocking a guy off the puck with a check.

Posted by: boomer44 | January 12, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1: Well, we can hope that Green learns from experience and is able to reduce the turnovers, especially those of a potentially costly nature, as he gets older.

It will also help when the coach (my only gripe with BB is the minutes the name guys sometimes get) stops using him on the PK in favor of more defensive minded players (Schultz, for ex, now that he's stepping up). Less grueling PK minutes for Green not only lessens the chance for one of those turnovers, but keeps him fresher for PP and 5-on-5 offensive zone draws.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that Green sometimes gets careless with the puck, but I believe as he matures as a player you will see fewer careless or non-chalant turnovers by Green.

Posted by: boomer44 | January 12, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

If I remember corectly the winner is determined by the most goals. The problem with tha caps is shutting down the run in gun with leads and in overtime. Some would say they can't play 'playoff hockey'. But what teams can keep up them on the scoreboard when the cap's are skating, passing and forechecking?

They still have about 40ish games to keep getting better. They have become better at not taking bad penalties and holding leads since November. The core talent is still under 25 years old. There young but getting better. Watching the games, it looks like they are starting to get the work 60 minutes(they are up to about 50 now) idea and playing smarter.

Once Varly is back, Theo will be Nylandered or more correct with a goalie (Kolziged) the rest of the season.(I could have gone with Johnsoned or Trented).

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | January 12, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I will throw a more reasonable trade idea out there. The sens are looking for a hybrid wing/center, Anton Volchenkov for flash or laich. I can argue for or against this trade I just want to see what ppl think about giving up O for D.

Posted by: caps512 | January 12, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Time to head home and eat dinner before driving 100 miles to Tampa. Most of you go all the time. I used to, but now only get 1-2 chances a year. Used to be almost no Caps fans in Tampa, now plenty. That's always better.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 12, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

caps 512,
i think flash and laich are pretty much off limits. particularly for a guy whos a UFA at the end of the year. i dont see them trading a key guy for a rental. prospect/picks, yes, flash or laich, no. maybe fehr.

i expect the caps to extend flash after they ink backstrom.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 12, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1

good point, but what if Volchenkov were signed for another 4 years at 2.5?

Posted by: caps512 | January 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

caps512, a sign and trade? i would jump on that in a minute. but volchenkov already makes $2.5/per year so thats unlikely. are sign and trade deals done in the nhl?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 12, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

You know, I caught a lot of s**t last week for voicing myy dislike of Schultz and I got banished to the Doofus Brigade. Congrads to you idiots on here suggesting we trade Green for Kovi, Green for Bogo, trading Green for anyone. You know official out rank me as a doofus. Green is Kevin Hatcher? Puh-leez! Hatcher wasn't half the Dman Green is, and he will only get better.

As for my comments on Schultz...in hindsight, I should not have said what I did. Schultz has played very well this year. I see that he has improved from last year amd that his game isn't physical and bashing, but position and intelligent decision making. You guys said I could be discharged from the Doofus Brigade if I retracted my statements about Sarge. Consider them contracted.

Also, there is no way I would suggest trading Green for anyone at this point in his career.

Window of opportunity? The Caps are in the best position to have sustained success compared to anyone else in the league. Farm system is great, stocked and producing. All of our irreplaceable players are 26 and under. Window of opportunity just opened, you morons.

And why did someone list Gordon on the list of older players? He's only 26!!

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 12, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I can see it now...June 2010.. The headline:

Green Scores Game winner in 3 consecutive 1-0 shutouts to seal the Cup for the Caps!

In here:

Trade the bum.

Posted by: jdhoover | January 12, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I've got to believe that the Sens top priority is a good young goal tender.

Posted by: zmega | January 12, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I left out one point regarding a possible ShaMo (or other) trade. I think that would be for a pick or prospect to clear the roster spot and make cap room for the "big trade". That is why I included Pothier and Sloan as possibilities since they could be moved for less. I didn't mean make any of them part of a trade for a top pair d-man. If there is a gap they can fill in with Carlson for spot duty (get him some experience).

I realize Lidstrom is not likely but that's the kind of surprise that happens at the deadline, especially if Detroit is on the outside.

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

sign and deal is dying but isn't dead. What would you call kessells (sp) situation. I forget the exact circumstances but it was basically that.

Posted by: caps512 | January 12, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 12, 2010 3:48 PM |

Your entire post- thank you. I was too frustrated to write something myself. And had I been motivated enough last week to write something regarding your Schultz posts- I would have been critical. But, IMO, you just redeemed yourself.

Time to blast some Avenged Sevenfold on the ride home and get ready for the game tonight.

Horn, Horn, Horrrrrrrn- Lets go Caaaaps!

Posted by: Fro_ | January 12, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought Theo had a pretty good tryout for the Sens when we spanked them.... They need a goalie BAD, maybe they can use Theo at least in the short term. I'm reaching here.

Posted by: Chad8 | January 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Like Herb Brooks said back in 1980..."I don't want the best players, I want the right players." To me, Kovy, Phaneuf, some of the other names I've seen are more "best players" than "right players" for the Caps. I would like to see moves like when we acquired Fedorov and Huet; not the best players or biggest names (Feds had been in the day but not the elder version we acquired) but exactly what we needed at the time and didn't have to mortage the future to get them. I will admit I don't know enough to suggest the right names of lesser-known but quality stay at home defensemen or defensive forwards, but we have to trust that GMGM will get that done.

Posted by: Gould23 | January 12, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Usually I don't read the comments on here because they tick me off and today is no different. People who hate on Green are ridiculous...right or wrong he has been compared to Ray Bourque and if you are good enough to be compared to Ray Bourque(again right or wrong)then you are good. Boudreau himself has taken some responsiblity for Mike Green not being known as a defensive defenseman because he asks him to play as an uptempo offensive minded defensemen...at least this is what we've come to, discussing the trade of a defensemen who scored 31 goals last year and is a point per game player this season with a +20...I'm pretty sure Green was battling the flu last year during the playoffs and I'm sure all of you have your best days at work when you are battling sickness. Thankfully GMGM and Boudreau don't pay attention to what is said on these boards...oh and window of opportunity closing, IT JUST FREAKIN' OPENED!!!

Posted by: DCCapsfan19 | January 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I like Green but he's no Ray Bourque... Bourque was much bertter than Green in both ends, especially in his own.

Posted by: joek443 | January 12, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The reason I threw in the "right or wrong" is because I personnally believe it to be wrong but it is something to be said when you are mentioned in the same sentence as someone that great

Posted by: DCCapsfan19 | January 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Guess we are no longer considered underdogs. Don't know if I like that.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 12, 2010 2:39 PM

Considering how well we play when first in the league, I know I don't like it. I recall a nice 3-game losing streak (including Carolina) little more than a week after hitting the top spot.

Posted by: Raber | January 12, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I've got to believe that the Sens top priority is a good young goal tender.

Posted by: zmega | January 12, 2010 3:50 PM

Well in order to give up one of our two stars, I'm guessing McPhee would go shopping across the Sens roster. I don't think a trade like that would get done because a) We don't know which goalie we want yet and b) The asking price from McPhee to offset a) would be too high for the Sens to afford to pay.

Posted by: Raber | January 12, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why people think having an offensive-minded defenseman is a bad thing. It's not like the Caps have six Mike Greens.

And there's really no way to measure his value in starting the rush or bringing the puck out of the defensive zone. There's no stat for that.

Another stay-at-home defenseman would help round out the blueline, but there's no reason to get rid of Mike Green because he's not Scott Stevens. That's ridiculous.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Not that I necessarily like the trade, but I'm thinking Kaberle coming to us for a pick and (maybe) an offensive prospect is increasingly likely. Burke knows he's got work to do and may look at liquidating his assets to rebuild pretty soon.

Posted by: Raber | January 12, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I decide to check in as part of my personal Caps game day prep and find posters arguing that our "window of opportunity" is closing and that we should trade Green. WHAT GIVES?

These guys are young and are only getting better. They have finally pulled together consistent, 50 to 60 minute efforts, are playing BB's system more responsibly, and have improved both their offensive and defensive play, not just from last season but over the course of this season.

As for Green, all I have to say is: "Are some of you listening to Team Canada?" Look at Green's defensive play THIS year--not 2008 and 2009. He's been much more reliable in the defensive end. Yes, he has had some turnovers, but he does have the puck a lot. And he hasn't had as many because IMO he has been much quicker to pass the puck. This is why in my view his numbers for assists has risen so dramatically.

These guys are young, are just at the start of their prime, are working BB's system effectively, and individual efforts are improving across the board. Let them play the next nearly 40 games to better develop their consistency and workmanlike reliability and ability to grind out a game--the talent is already present.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

sorry for my repetitions--I didn't read it over.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

And as to the topic of this thread--I agree about Schultz. Over that past half season he had done his job quietly and effectively and consistently. That's what I take from his "at the top of the league" plus/minus numbers. Reliability not liability.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Green is more like Brian Leetch than Ray Bourque... Leetch was just inducted to the HOF so if Green had a similar career, I think most of us would take it

Posted by: joek443 | January 12, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I just read the first half of the comments, so if I repeat anything then sorry.

a) I don't know why people respond to SinkingCaps. The guy is a troll and is looking for attention.

b) As someone else stated, I like the idea of Phaneuf as a rental, but I don't like taking on his contract. Unfortunately, taking him for the playoffs would mean taking his contract (and its remaining years), which isn't very realistic.

c) I think the Caps should concentrate on a player like Volchenkov (amazing, amazing player) or Niedermayer. Those two guys would look amazing in a Caps uniform come playoff time.

d) Schultz has been great this year. Hardly noticeable, which is exactly what you want from a shutdown defenceman.

e) Trading Green is a foolish idea I think. He has improved defensively (aside from a couple poor games) this year, and will continue to improve as his career progresses. He will be in Norris consideration most years coming.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 12, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@jmurray

C'mon dude, my inclusion of Gordon had nothing to do with age, it had everything to do with life expectancy as a Cap. Knuble age, Theodore contract, Gordon contract.

Capiche?

Boyd's window is this season.

Posted by: JSchon | January 12, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Trade Green, eh? bwahahahahahaha If you truly believe this, then you have no clue of how ice hockey teams are built or that each player has a role on the team which the coaches expect them to fulfill. We saw Green being restrained under Hanlon. Didn't look so good did it? Green has prospered under Boudreau's guidance. That said, those who expect him to be a shutdown defensive defenseman will likely always be disappointed. But then, there are also some who would suggest Ovie rein it in a bit and play more defense. Seriously, if you truly think that McPhee should consider moving Green, then you must also think that Mike Milbury was a top notch GM while with the Islanders. If you don't get that reference, Google 'Milbury Islander trades' to see all the ridiculous, idiotic trades Milbury made during his time on the Island which destroyed that team and sent a lotta amazing players outta NY. Wake up people and put down the crack pipe! Green performs the job he has been tasked with very well and, thankfully, won't be going anywhere for a long time.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 12, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Just read this great piece about Chris Clark at The Hockey News--I cut and pasted the link so hope it works. Clark is a character guy--he definitely helped to define the strong character and integrity of the Caps.

www.thehockeynews.com/articles/30700-Chris-Clarks-class-shines-through-for-one-fan.html

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 12, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Mike Wise just went on a rant on Comcast. He's a bit testy about the heat he took today from Caps fans who weren't pleased with his dismissive attitude toward hockey. He even disparaged Lindsay (I have no idea where that came from). Mike, you did a nice article on Brashear - no one denies that. All we are saying is that the local media is not giving the Caps and Caps fans their due, particularly given the total ineptitude of the other local franchises.

Posted by: zmega | January 12, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

We need to somehow get a hold of Dion Phaneuf from Calgary...he is apparently on the trade block and is a MONSTER on defense.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 12, 2010 1:31 PM

Yeah, this is really too funny. So the objective is to get rid of Mike Green at $5M, for Dion Phaneuf at $6.5M to save money and get a monster on d? Let's review, shall we?

1. DP's stats are - lousy. 8 goals, 10 assists and a +3.

2. MG's stats are - remarkable. 10 goals, 33 assists and a +20.

3. Central Scouting says:
Dion:

ASSETS: Hits everything that moves. Owns a big shot from the point and isn't shy about unleashing it. Displays all-around ability. Is the total physical package. Owns impressive lateral movement and power-play quarterbacking skills.
FLAWS: His defensive-zone coverage needs to improve in order to maximize his impact on the NHL. Can be a little too exhuberant at times in search of the big hit and gets out of position.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Offensive defenseman with a physical edge.

Not bad. Let's check out Green

ASSETS: Is a tremendous skater and a natural point producer from the back end. Often plays like a fourth forward on the ice, as he places constant pressure on opposing defenses. Likes to initiate body contact.
FLAWS: Is mistake-prone in the defensive zone, which negates some of his overall effectiveness. Needs to add a little more discipline to his game.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Elite roving offensive defenseman.

Hmm. Mike's 1.5M cheaper and is considered "elite". His assists alone is worth his salary, but to trade a +20 player for a +3 and call it a great trade?

Better vent your room 'cause what you're smokin' ain't legal.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 12, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I despise the Wizards getting the main channel while the Caps get booted to CSN+

Posted by: elicea | January 12, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else NOT getting any sound for the Pre-Game show?

CSN+ = FAIL.

Posted by: DaleDUI | January 12, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with Alan May. I dont think our PP is as consistent as it should be.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 12, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

DaleDUI, no audio on the CSN+ pregame show in Arlington.

Posted by: greggwiggins | January 12, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I really wish something would anger Schultz. I just saw at the end of the period there, Stamkos just drilled Schultz and knocked him on his @ss. Of course it took him 8 yrs to get up but them Stamkos the guy which just kicked your @ss is behind the net all alone and the best you can do is bump him? It's so frustrating.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 12, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

To all Green Fans in layman terms...

It shows how bad he (Green) hurts the caps defensively when the guy breaks a Def scoring record and doesnt make the Olympic team.

All Stanley Cup teams have SOLID defensive defenseman.

I.e. - Wings choked for years until they coughed up some offensive firepower for Def style players.

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 12, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

until the caps get 1 or 2 def style d-man, we'll be lucky to get past the second round

...for the record, i do hope i am wrong. C! A! P! S! - CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 12, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

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