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Boudreau on Theo: 'He's making a great case' (updated)

Alex Ovechkin is back, and he didn't wait long to announce his return. The two-time MVP scored the eventual game winner midway through the first period, and Jose Theodore slammed the door on the Lightning in a 3-1 victory at St. Pete Times Forum.

Here's my game story. After checking that out, come on back for some notes, quotes and video:

*Ovechkin, in his return from a two game suspension, filled up the stat sheet tonight, logging 22:52, taking a team-high seven shots (and attempting six more). He also moved into a tie for the goal scoring lead with Sidney Crosby (Ovechkin has played nine few games.)

Here's what he had to say about his performance, Nicklas Backstrom's deft pass that set him up and the oppressive heat on the playing surface here in Tampa.

*Theodore edged Ovechkin for first star honors - and rightfully so. Theo, who is 16-0-2 since mid January, was outstanding again in making 33 stops. Solid positioning. Good rebound control. Laser like focus.

Boudreau, again, declined to name him the playoff starter. But the coach did acknowledge that he's making a "great case for himself."

Here's Boudreau on Theodore, Ovechkin and the penalty kill, which extinguished all five opportunities it faced. The key, of course, was Theodore, who stopped 12 shots while the Caps were shorthanded.

*No update yet on the status of Scott Walker. He got punched on the side of the head during a fight with Lightning tough guy Zenon Konopka in the second period. According to the scoresheet, Walker took one more (very) short shift before retiring to the dressing room.

Update:Word is Walker tweaked a knee. It's unclear if it happened during the fight, but he's listed as day to day.

*Before the game, the public address announced told the crowd of 19,844 that this is the Lightning's "biggest game of the season." After the loss, the 'Bolts fourth in a row, they were crushed. They're still six points out, and they're running out of time.

"It's devastating," Martin St. Louis said. "It's like there's no air in the room right now. The walls are closing in. It's tough."

*It was the complete opposite feeling down the hall, where the Caps improved to 3-0-1 on the road trip and prepared to head back to Washington with an almost insurmountable 16 point lead on the Penguins - Wednesday's opponent - in the Eastern Conference.

*Earlier today, Brian Campbell told his side of the story to the Chicago Tribune.

"Whatever he says isn't going to change the fact I'm not going to be playing for a little while,'' Campbell told the Tribune in his first explanation of what happened last Sunday at the United Center. "I think the intent was there. If the intent is there, I don't think you can really say you didn't mean to do anything. So for me, I don't need anything from him.''

Check out the whole thing here.

That's it from me tonight. The Caps are off tomorrow, but I'm planning to write a story on Ovechkin and whether he deserves a third straight MVP. The stats say yes. But what will the voters say?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 20, 2010; 11:58 PM ET
 
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Next: Poll: Is this Alex Ovechkin's best season?

Comments

Campbell...if intent was there...you would be part of that boards/glass...forever Even one Don Cherry has chimed in that there was no intent.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | March 21, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Campbell needs to move on. Even Colin Campbell doesn't think Ovechkin had an intent to injure. Frankly, I haven't heard one single hockey "expert" that thinks there was an intent to injure. Most just thought it was reckless. Injuries happen in hockey and that will never change. Does anybody remember the Langway skate incident? It could be argued that it wasn't an accident but I don't remember Rod whining about it a week later.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 21, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Ummm...he's making a great case for what? Who's kidding whom here? There's absolutely no way Varlamov can start the playoffs.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | March 21, 2010 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I agree withjaycane, if the playoffs started this week, Theo is the goalie for the Caps. If Varly gets a week or two in Chocotown to regain his confidence and he comes back to DC hot, then the Caps have two goalies. Right now, Varly is tenative and overreacting -- he is inconsistent. He gets his confidence back and he is an awesome goalie.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 21, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

If Varlamov starts and pitches 3 straight shutouts with 35 saves a piece, then there's competition. Before anyone asks, no - I don't see him doing that, but he's played that well in the past.

Theo wants this one - bad. He's been to the playoffs several times as a starter, but I don't think he's been benched like last year (note: I have a terrible memory for what happened with other teams). This makes me happy, because I can actually see him going the distance this year. The fire is there and Theo feels it.

Is it mid April yet?

Posted by: Raber | March 21, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse

Boo hoo, Brian Campbell. What a wuss. First of all, he's no angel, having been the deliverer of questionable hits himself in the past. Second, its the NHL. Players get hurt. Part of the job. Maybe that wimp should be in the ice capades instead...........

Posted by: dcsportsdude | March 21, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I feel bad for Brian Campbell, and understand his frustration. HOWEVER, to accuse him of intent is pure sour grapes. I wonder what Brian Campbell said of Penguin goon (sorry for redundancy) Craig Adams 'hit' on Ovechkin back on Feb. 7th (go to http://dumnchase.com to see it if you haven't. If he did, he would know how Ovechkin avoided injury, something Mr. Campbell apparently never learned. And Adams never got a penalty on the play.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | March 21, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Exile_in_Philly: that link didn't work for me. I got into a debate last night with some people who don't really follow hockey but who listen to the media. I want to show them the hit on Ovi by Adams and compare it to the hit Ovi made on Campbell. Can you tell me the link for those? thanks

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 21, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what Brian Campbell thinks. Cool, he thinks it was intentional. It wasn't, oh well. He can think what he wants to think. Move on. Since he's acting like this, I honestly don't feel one bit sorry for him now. And yes, he's correct, he doesn't need anything from Ovechkin. Ovechkin doesn't even need to apologize to anyone. Whatever, we don't need to spend any time talking about Campbell, it doesn't matter. I'm not getting all worked up over it. Let's stick with the Theo topic.. and the game on Wednesday. We win that game, we basically wrap up the Eastern Conference, not mathematically, but very close.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen1: Exile_in_Philly just forgot the "p" in dumpnchase.

http://dumpnchase.com/


Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen1: It's the third post down, btw.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Tarik:

Thanks for the coverage, but how could you write the print article without even mentioning Theo's performance? I just read it again -- zero. Having an angle is fine and everything, and Ovi's a natural choice, but it reads as if Ovi was responsible for the win. If any one player was responsible it was Theo, who was utterly awesome.

Maybe you're saving it for a "Theodore Earns His Way to No. 1" article to run during the extended 4 day break, but don't you think he was at least worthy of a mention? You've got good quotes from BB, 33 saves, 1 GA, he kept us alive when we could easily have fallen a few down. We were outworked often, pinned in our zone for long stretches, and TB was getting in the shots. Credit should be given where it's due.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

OK, I just read the "game story" posted here. I must have gotten an early edition, and I'm not happy about that at all. My paper's article does not even have a mention. Apparently Tarik thought better of that article and worked in Theo substantially in his second cut at it.

"The two-time MVP scored the eventual game-winner minutes into his return from a suspension Saturday night at St. Pete Times Forum, and José Theodore shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning attack in a 3-1 victory for the Washington Capitals.

[Lots about Ovi...]

Ovechkin, though, had to share the spotlight with Theodore, who edged him for first star honors. Theodore made 33 saves, including all 21 he faced in the second and third periods.

"He's been like this since January 1," Boudreau said. "He's playing so good. I'm not naming anyone anything, but I mean, he's certainly making a great case for himself" to be named the starter in the playoffs.

Theodore, who is 16-0-2 since Jan. 13, added: "They had some chances in tight, saves you don't really notice it as much, like a little tip or a screen. But I think my positioning was good tonight, and I was able to challenge and play the way I like to play."


Zero of this is in my print ed. Not a single mention of Theo. Why am I getting an early edition?

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Campbell is upset -- understandable. However, he's also way offbase. When a player goes towards the boards and he knows someone is coming up right behind him, he needs to be ready for a hit, push, check, stick etc. The fault partly lies with him.

The problem is though that the incidents Ovie was involved in this season will stick in voters' minds in the end. He won't get another MVP this year.

I don't know why BB keeps spouting that line about the starting goaltender. The Caps didn't do Varly any favors when he returned from his injuries by barely playing him in Hershey and bringing him back up here. He has looked very shaky. Definitely not the Varly of last season. They should have played him with the Bears until he got back on track and renewed his confidence. He's not going to do that by suspecting in his mind that the one goal he lets in will be the game winner for the opponents. I can only hope we don't see a repeat of Jim Carrey. In the meantime -- Theo appears focused, hungry and bent on erasing his humiliating yanking from the playoffs. If he keeps that intensity level where it is, I feel a lot more comfortable about the goaltending situation for the playoffs.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | March 21, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

When he was told that BB wouldn't name anyone starter yet, Theo looked and sounded a little pissed. The vid is on washcaps.com.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Theo's a veteran and has to know that the Caps need a viable backup in the playoffs, which means they'll need to play Varly some during the regular season, and they'll need him to start playing better, so what's the point of BB publicly removing the carrot from in front of Varly's face right now?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 21, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

And, for that matter, what's the point of removing the stick from behind Theo's butt at this point?

I say don't name a playoff starter until the playoffs start.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 21, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I think naming a starter with 10 games to go and Varly only recent back would be silly.

Of course Theo should be named the starter Wed night no matter what.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I know I am probably a little nuts for asking this...

But, with the type of run Theo has been having since Christmas time, is it at all possible that he may get some vezina considerations this year??

Part of me (well, most of me) believes that if Theo played for any other team, he might. But no one really looks at the Caps and thinks that their success is due to great goaltending....Even though, at times it really does.

This thought just popped in my mind last night when the CSN team mentioned that Theo has accomplished something that has not been accomplished in over a decade, that accomplishment being his personal winning (or lose-less) streak.

I have not looked around the league to see who else is in the running (I know Mlller, Bryzgalov, and Clemmenson of the Colorado Avalanche should probably be in the running) but, in a way, I kind of wouldn't be all too surprised if Theo's name would atleast be mentioned in the mix...though, I doubt it will happen...

Thoughts? (and not just about how insane I am for even thinking this, please!)

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | March 21, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps, I think your gut instinct that you're crazy is the right one. Theo's got all of a single shutout all season, and while several of the games in the new year he gave up only 1 or 2 goals, the bigger story has been the awesome offense, which has allowed the Caps to win despite opponents netting 3, 4, and 5 goals.

Theo has earned the top spot, but that's as far as it goes.

Amazing that Caps need just 5 points to clinch the East.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Not sure about the Vezina since Theo had a rocky beginning to the season. My guess is that it is Miller's to lose.

However, I agree that Theo's record should get more notice by outside pundits and across the league. That though would disrupt the media's narrative, that the Caps are only strong offensively. The Caps will just have to win the Cup with Theo between the pipes, the defense at its shutdown best, and the offensive juggernaut still on top.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree with both your viewpoints (capsyoungguns and sonyask)

On the one hand, Theo has not been quite as flashy as other goaltenders (in terms of shutouts and general playmaking/saves) but, I still think his streak deserves some sort of attention.

Should the Caps still be having a good season with shakier goaltending? Yes. They did last year, even when Theo looked pretty shaky....but still, if the media paid any attention to what Theo has been able to accomplish for himself in the midst of this good season for the Caps...well, it is still no easy feat.

Ofcourse the Caps are winning on the ability to outscore their opponents...but even so, it seems on many nights, their opponents are not netting all that much against Theo...

Oh well, I would take a team trophy over any individual trophy any day of the week!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | March 21, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I can't see Theo being a Vezina candidate. He has been solid, but he hasn't been awesome. He is currently 27th in GAA, and 18 in save %. To me, the favorite for the Vezina right now is Miller.

As for Campbell - there was no intent, and that is obvious from watching the video of the injury. If he hadn't tripped, the whole thing wouldn't have happened. He needs to stop whining about it and let it go.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 21, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Playoff related, I really hope the Devils overtake the Pens. They are the one team I would really worry about in the playoffs, since they have owned the Caps this season - Caps are 1-2-1 against them.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 21, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

I know it will never work out that way but I would like to see the Devils play the Pens in the playoffs. The Devils own the Penguins even more than they own the Caps, to the tune of 6-0 against them.

(The Caps had gotten off to 2-0 leads against the Devils twice and managed to lose the game.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Campbell...Bitter party of one.
He is just sore cuz he got flatten by OV.

Posted by: jotay131 | March 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan, I agree. It could happen though - if the Pens and Devils (in no particular order) get 2nd and 4th, and the third seed loses in the 1st round, I'm pretty sure that the Pens and Devils would play in the 2nd round.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Intentional in what way? Intention to knock off Campbell's possession of the puck? Absolutely, unquestionably, undeniably. Intention to injure Campbell? No way. Man up, Campbell. You hit a rut and lost an edge. There's no proof the push (NOT a hit) caused the injuries; you might have been injured even without the push. Put your Big Girl Panties on and deal with it.

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | March 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Campbell is just bitter...and upset because he is injured. It would have been forgotten if he didn't get injured. What bothers me is that Campbell (with that attitude)is one of the 5 players on the league's competition committee.

Also I laugh a little at the Hawks players and Brent Seabrook for their comments after the Duck player hit Seabrook and got an 8 game suspension for it.

Seabrook knew they were going to run at him for an earlier cheap hit by him. Yet they are upset that the Duck player (Wisniewski) was so fragrant.

Hey guys you knew something was coming and you started it. The suspension is deserved and he sits out now..just let it lie.

Don't these guys pay attention to who is up against them in a game. The victim is sometimes guilty for stupidity and Campbell also is not far from that. Any push by a stronger OV is going to be felt....don't get in that position. Those pushes happen 50 times a game.

And to think their coach is Joel Quenneville?

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

some of you people need to grow up, the guy just had his season ended by that hit... cut him some slack

you people need to be on the side to understand what it's like... the Caps lost their best forward in Bengt Gustafsson when they were having their best season in franchise history in 1986

how would you feel if someone stuck out their leg and Backstrom ended up breaking his between between now and the end of the regular season? that's exactly what happened to Gussy... the hawks are having a great season and Campbell will be watching, not playing for the remainder of the season

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

On Theo: I think Irbe has been helping him. If I remember correctly Irbe was a smallish goaltender who looked big and challenged big in the net. The 2010 Theo IMO has been filling the net, challenging confidently, and moving well from side-to-side. Whatever it is I like Theo's confidence.

On B. Campbell: I'm going easy on him. He's not about to sit there with a busted rib and collarbone and say "gee I wish I hadn't decided to reverse that puck."

He still has a good chance to be back in time for the playoffs. Most athletes heal quickly and we don't really know how severe the fractures actually are. He's a big part of the Hawk's defense so understandably this could affect their run to the playoffs, though I would be shocked if they didn't make it. I see it more as they are handicapped in a bid for top spot.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Caps versus Pens will be EPIC on Wednesday. These teams really hate each other. I expect the Caps will be RED hot for that match-up. I do worry a bit that Carolina in Raleigh the next night will be a let down, unless the Caps have vengence on their minds, cuz they played weak against Carolina in the 3rd last week and Varly may well be in goal, yikes!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 21, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I remember Dennis Potvin throwing a open ice hip check on Gussy at the Cap Center....was it in a play-off game or right before the play-offs?

I feel for Brian , but don't feel Ovie intended to hurt him.....maybe bruise him a little , but not to hurt him.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsfannmiss

that was right before the playoffs and we all know how the playoffs went for the Caps that year...

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

I'm sure Chicago will have no problem making the playoffs. The question is: will they be first or second (or even third seed) in their conference. Given the recent implosion of the San Jose Sharks, first place has a good chance of happening. There is the possibility of the Vancouver Canucks getting hot and overtaking them. But, I would say, they have their division wrapped up. They will likely be either first or second seed, depending on if they can play better than the Pacific Conference leaders down the stretch.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

Agree that Theo should be named the starter for Wednesday's game against Pitt.

Also believe that it's premature to name a playoff starter just yet even though it's likely it will be Theo.

Last year I had personally believed that Varly should have had more starts to give him more experience.

We can give Theo a majority of the starts but we should certainly give a fair number to Varly to get our "backup" better prepared. Last year at this time, if I recall correctly, Varly had been injured for a long time, which is why Neuvy was up. They may have just sent him down.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how many of you are watching the Bruins vs Rangers game but these officials are becoming an embarrassment. Prospal's hit from behind was waaaaaaaay more dangerous than Ovi's last week. Did Prospal get a major, nope, 2 minute minor. Hopefully Ovi doesn't spend his off time watching any hockey because if I were him I would be extremely ticked off with what other players get a away with and he has to deal with being called dirty.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 21, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Brian Campbell needs to grow up and admit the hit, push, or whatever he wants to call it was a play that went bad because HE lost an edge. I'm sure Ovi's intent was to get kicked out of the game. I notice he didn't mention anything about Brouwer's intention when he hit Semin from behind in the 3rd. Teams can't rightly justify delivering an extremely dirty hit by delivering an even dirtier hit. Now Thorton making Cooke answer the bell in a one on one situation to pay for his dirty hit on Savard, I'm all for that. Taking a cheap shot and hitting Semin from behind because Ovi supposedly delivered a cheap shot on Campbell, that's BS.

For those not paying attention as Ovi was escorted off the ice in Chicago Brouwer was the Blackhawk that skated over and chirped at Ovi. The shame in all of it was the fact that the officials let the Brouwer hit go even though they kicked Ovi out.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 21, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying I'm rooting for it... although I kind of am... but by the end of the playoffs I think Varlamov will definitely be the starting goalie. It may not start out that way, but it just seems like BB has always had more confidence in him once he gets rolling.

Posted by: jay-17 | March 21, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

the game against the pens on wed is a meaningless game, they're are 16 points apart in standing... the game means a lot more to the pens than to the caps since they're still fighting for the division lead

it sure ain't no EPIC

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Yes, Wednesday's game will be more meaningful for the Pens since they have more to lose.

Still, the Caps will be motivated since it's the Pens that they're playing.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@ jay-17

I'm with you on that... right now Theo is the man and deserves to start in the playoffs, no question about it

I hope he stays hot but I really can't see him playing like this for two more months... they may become the first cup winner to play two goalies significant amount of games

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

And even Neuvirth's gotten a fair number of starts for them as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, rachel and exile for the link info.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 21, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

We really shouldn't be defending hits from behind, even if our guy did it. It's pretty black-and-white. And yes - Adams should absolutely have been suspended, in addition to paying a physical price, if we had a tough guy. And just because Colin Campbell's a baised homer doesn't make our hit ok. Sorry, but if you hit like that you've got to expect they're taking down your number, and deservedly so. There are certain lines in hockey that you just shouldn't cross. Ovie's better than this.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 21, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

No, I don't think Theo's name will be in the talk for Vezina simply because of this team's offense. The Vezina should go to the goalie that doesn't get a lot of goal support, that goalie is the best player on their team, and the most valuable. Without that goalie, the team is no where. I still believe it should go to Ryan Miller.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

Well yes, I thought that's what I said--the Hawks are fighting for that top spot. I don't follow the Hawks close enough to know just how significant of an impact losing Campbell is to the defensive groupings but I'm quite sure they are not a happy team.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson, and..Bryzgalov?

My 3 votes for Vezina.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Those are good picks richmondphil. Maybe I throw in there Jonathan Quick of the Kings as well. Does anyone think so??

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Naw, I wouldn't put Quick in there, as much as I love him. Maybe Vokoun and/or Rask would get a look if their teams make the playoffs. But I think we all agree that it's Millers trophy to lose. That team doesn't have much of any offense..Miller puts that team on his back.

Speaking of goalies who have to put their teams on their back, Lundy just let in a bad goal. As much as it pains me to say this, Olyzck made a good point. Lundy has to be perfect every single game because the guys in front of him just suck.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

And then he just made a great save on a 3 on 1.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Nope, the Hawks are not a happy team -- for a variety of reasons. Starting with last Saturday, here's what's happened:

1) Heartbreaking last minute loss in regulation to the Flyers last Saturday

2) Heartbreaking OT loss to the Caps on Sunday after going to the third period with a 3-0 lead in a game where Ovechkin injured Campbell, resulting in Campbell being out for 7-8 weeks

3) Regulation loss to Anaheim on Wednesday where James Wisniewski (or should we call him James Vicious) makes bad hit on Seabrook and injures him.

4) Win against LA on Thursday

5) Shootout loss against Phoenix where they had lead going into the third period.

A rather ugly 8 day period indeed. 1 win and 3 losses and 2 injuries to their defensemen, even though 2 of the losses were OT, so they gained Bettman points.

Any team would be sore under those circumstances.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Rags just may be going down in flames. I'd be fine if they miss the playoffs.

It would be interesting if we meet Boston. The B's are unlikely to get 200 regular season goals while the Caps should probably reach 300.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Campbell is one of the Hawks' better defensemen, as is Seabrook.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson, and..Bryzgalov?

My 3 votes for Vezina.

Posted by: richmondphil.

___

Those are definitely the goalies I would choose for Vezina (I mentioned them in my original post, but wrote clemmenson instead of anderson by accident), I just wanted to know if anyone thought they would take Theo's streak into consideration at all.

I know usually they look at a whole lot more than that streak, but sometimes you never know!

I think Miller should get either the Vezina or even the MVP. He is the one player that if you took him away from the team, the team would most likely totally drop off.

And I agree with most who think somehow this is not the last we heard of Varly and his heroics for this season. Though, I kind of think that Theo is playing well not only due to personal pride, and contract year....but isn't he donating money every time he makes a save or gets the win??? I think that is a great motivator for him this year! Very proud of that!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | March 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this game was important for both these teams. Big win for Boston, Rags likely going out...

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Rangers drop to the Bruins, fall 5 points out of the no. 8 spot.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps

I'm sure all the Ovi haters (or those who feel that Ovi's suspension should cost him the MVP) will vote for Miller. But for Ovi to not win MVP, all the one's voting against him would have to team up and vote for the same guy and not split their vote amongst people (e.g. Sedin, Crosby; etc.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I would feel confident playing the Bruins. I, whatsoever, do not want to see the Thrashers.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I hope Rags don't get in b/c I don't want to play them and I hate Tortarella.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't mind the Thrashers. They are a great team, but mostly inexperienced and young. It would be nice to get to play the Thrashers in the playoffs.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, we need 17 goals in 10 games to hit the 300-goal mark. Don't think we'd be able to hit the 330-goal team record, but 300-goal is a remarkable feat in today's NHL.

Hasn't been done since..what..95-96?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216 & richmondphil

This year, the Caps have done well against the Thrashers. Certainly better than they did last year.

The Thrashers impress me as a pretty good offensive team who's somewhat weak in the defense and/or goaltending department. In some ways, they're like Tampa Bay but without the physical element. TB is much improved over last year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Flames, Sens, Canes, Jackets x1
Pens, Thrashers, Bruins x2

Interesting... ATL and BOS still has to play us twice. NYR doesn't.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 21, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

If we have to "fear" the Thrash.....we are in trouble. Only one team I really don't want to play the first round is the Habs. I don't see the Habs finishing 8th,so that should not be a issue.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 21, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss

I'm sure if the Caps meet the Thrash in the playoffs, they will win. If I remember correctly, the Thrashers did not win a single playoff game when Ilya K was on their roster. Got swept once.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Nothing like finishing the regular season against teams fighting for their playoff life; i.e. Boston and Atlanta.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

What else does Theo have to do?... I mean I'm all for competition, but sometimes coaches can really undermine a guys confidence. Goaltenders are like placekickers, you can't screw with their heads but so much.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | March 21, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond -- I don't think Theo's likely to have a problem with his confidence. I think he said in an interview at the beginning of the season that it was nice to be named as the number one goalie coming in to camp and to have the coaching staff's confidence. But he also said he'd been in the business long enough to know that you have to live up to it with your play.

Posted by: miseaujeu | March 21, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

That's a Saturday night deadline thing. The story you read was filed at the buzzer and written in about 7 minutes. I got to spend about 20 minutes writing a more complete article with quotes from the locker room for the second edition.

It's not ideal, but that's what happens when early Saturday deadlines collide with a 7:30 start.

TEB

Posted by: el_bashir | March 21, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I agree withjaycane, if the playoffs started this week, Theo is the goalie for the Caps. If Varly gets a week or two in Chocotown to regain his confidence and he comes back to DC hot, then the Caps have two goalies. Right now, Varly is tenative and overreacting -- he is inconsistent. He gets his confidence back and he is an awesome goalie.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 21, 2010 6:03 AM

Varly cannot go down because he's not on Hershey's Clear Day list:

All AHL teams' Clear Day Lists here: http://www.hockeyfights.com/news/138320

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

That's a Saturday night deadline thing. The story you read was filed at the buzzer and written in about 7 minutes. I got to spend about 20 minutes writing a more complete article with quotes from the locker room for the second edition.

It's not ideal, but that's what happens when early Saturday deadlines collide with a 7:30 start.

TEB

Posted by: el_bashir | March 21, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Tarik:

Thanks for the response. As soon as I read the story online I realized my initial frustration with you had been misplaced. I am very frustrated with the Post for sending me an early edition, as has happened again and again. I live in DC, but get a paper put out at 10 pm.

Thanks again for responding.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Campbell is one of the Hawks' better defensemen, as is Seabrook.

Posted by: CapsFan75

Yes I'm aware of that--he's one of their top four. And that Keith and Seabrook (or team Canada) are often paired together. Moreover, yes I'm aware of the dreadful Wisniewski elbow to the head of Seabrook.

I think I can safely say that we are in agreement that it hasn't been a good week for the Hawks. What I don't know is their roster depth and what other defensive pairings they can use to fill Campbell's spot and how much that will hurt them. That's all.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

So which team would we rather meet in the first round: Thrashers or Bruins or another one that could seize the 8th spot? I'm leaning towards the Bruins at the moment.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

the thrashers for sure... the B's are still one of the better defensive teams in the league

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

whoever they end up playing in the first round, they had better dispose of them in 5 games or fewer... NO MORE 7 game series in the first round if they wanna go deep in the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

But the Thrashers actually have the 3rd most goals in the East. They can score pretty well even without Ilya. Boston can't really score... but neither could the Rangers last year when we played them and struggled a bit.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Streaming the Hershey audio again...so far Andrew Gordon and Matty P have scored as the Bears have a 2-0 lead over Adirondack early in the 2nd period. GO BEARS!!!

Posted by: wocoliz | March 21, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

But the Thrashers actually have the 3rd most goals in the East. They can score pretty well even without Ilya. Boston can't really score... but neither could the Rangers last year when we played them and struggled a bit.

Posted by: rachel216
__

I think I am more concerned about how the Caps are playing heading into the playoffs rathern than who the Caps are playing in the first round...

Two years ago, the Caps were playing unbelievable hockey heading in to the first round, but due to their circumstances (and inexperience) may have just ran out of steam (the officiating circumstances did not help).

Last year the Caps were playing pretty uninspired hockey for much of the second half and heading into the playoffs....perhaps they were trying to lern from the year before and save their energy for the playoffs...?

What I love about the Caps this year, is that they seem to be playing pretty consistent....even when they have an off night, they seem to whip up some sort of magic (like when they played Chicago recently and came back in the third). Their minds still seem to be in it this late in the season, and that can only be a good thing I hope!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | March 21, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Would much rather play a team sinking in the standings, than a team coming in hot who grabs the 8th spot late. I agree, no 7 game series in the opening round please, put 'em away in 5 Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | March 21, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we should be rooting for anyone in particular. Last year the number of people rooting for the Rags was huge, and we nearly got beat. Whoever it is, bring 'em on. We're on a mission.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 21, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Good point--any team that makes it to the playoffs will surely up their game. So it doesn't really matter. The Caps should be able to close out the first series in fewer games or perhaps they are not meant to go the whole distance.

This year for the Caps does feel different for me. Two seasons ago they exhausted themselves just getting there and last season I agree that they were inconsistent going into the playoffs. This time the team has shown the ability to maintain focus, drive, and intensity. They seem confident that they can win whether they are ahead or have to come from behind. They can ratchet it up in the 3rd period and seemingly can score at will. This should be a fun tho' intense post season.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 21, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Bad day for the Bears. They held the lead going into the third period. Holtby did his best impression of Varlamov.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Agreed. The Caps are looking better and more focused than last year even though they still have their bad moments.

Many of the other "good" teams seem to be struggling at the moment. San Jose and Chicago certainly are. Buffalo had been but seems to have righted their ship. Ottawa seems to have imploded. Pittsburgh's been doing similarly to the Caps.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

SJ could end up being the 4 seed and phoenix the top seed in the west...

the caps will probably have to play boston or atlanta... the top seed in the west will probably have to face the healthy red wings

they probably wish they had the opion of giving up the top seed

Posted by: joek443 | March 21, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

I wasn't really rooting for the Caps to draw any particular opponent last year but did not want to see them draw either the Flyers or Carolina in Round 1. Other than that, I didn't really care, except last year's edition could probably have handled Montreal better than the Rags.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Who would have thought that Phoenix would be top seed in the West before the season started? The team is living up to its city's name -- the firebird that rises from the ashes of its corpse.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Sharks are starting their choking extra early this year.

losing to the Oilers? wow...

Posted by: rachel216 | March 21, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

The post Olympic hangover is probably not helping the Sharks any. Between the fact that Nabby was a major part of Team Russia's debacle, not to mention that many of the Sharks were on winning Team Canada and have possibly not regained their focus on the NHL season.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

The goalie situation seems locked in stone. Theo is playing much better than Varlamov, and Varly is playing much better than either of the Hershey guys. Holtby gave up 4 goals on 20 AHL-level shots to end the Bears' home winning streak. Last I heard, Neuvirth has been injured but is generally not playing very well.

Posted by: zmega | March 21, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Your probably right on the goalie situation.

Varly's been better than the kids down in Hershey as of late.

Neuvy hasn't been the same since his injury and now he's injured again. (Gee, that sounds like a story we've been hearing about another goalie.)

Holtby had a bad game today after doing a great job of relief on Friday. (He's probably doing better than expected, considering he was in Jr. hockey last year and was expected to spend the year in South Carolina.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 21, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

While I am reasonably confident about our playoff prospects, there is only one team I would say that I want to see in the playoffs - the Blackhawks.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | March 21, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Gahhh can't sleep. Thoughts:

Theodore's pretty much the starter, but it behooves Bruce not to say so while they try to gt Varly's head screwed on straight. If anything happens to Theo they're going to need him to be able to stop a puck. Besides, why give away your secrets? Enh, Bruce being coy doesn't bother me.

Playoffs: Would prefer to worry about locking up first overall and then settling back with a cup of tea and watching the scrabbling at the bottom. That way we can worry about tuning and lines and so forth while everyone else is worried about making the dance.

That said, agree that a team in freefall is better than one hot. Am okay with whatever we get, though BOS or ATL would be ideal. Today, the playoff picture looks like this:

WSH - BOS
PIT - MTL
BUF - PHI
NJD - OTT

Is it bad that none of those excite me as an awesome series to watch? Don't think this picture will change too much. ATL's just one point behind BOS and their playoff hopes are very much alive. NYR's now five points back, TBL is eight. I don't see either of them making up that distance with ten games left to go.

Nobody's super-hot in the east, although ATL is the closest.

In the West it's:

CHI - DET
PHX - COL
VAN - LAK
SJS - NSH

This looks much more interesting from a pure hockey fan's perspective. I like the Coyotes and I kinda like the Canucks. I wouldn't mind seeing PHX in the final if only because good for PHX to make it that far. Am OK w/ CHI too - what a series that would be.

CGY might challenge DET for 8th seed if they can figure out how to put the puck in the net. Sharks could conceivably slide out, although if it's by design I can't fault them for letting CHI have DET. Besides, PHX is just tearing up the house right now, and NSH ain't too shabby either. I wouldn't bet against NSH at the rate SJS is going.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 22, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be too hard on Campbell. Its very hard being optimistic, much less objective, when injured and experiencing the downtime he is.

If you want to start pointing fingers, choose the usual suspect in cases of Ovi bashing: The Media. The reporter writing this peice of crap is only going to cull the quotes and factoids that build the case for his narrative. Its pretty obvious that the reporter in this case is a homer idiot.

Posted by: CapsKnewbie | March 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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