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Brooks Laich: 'We can't let down'

The Capitals had a short morning skate at KCI today, and while the mood was predictably upbeat in the locker room, there remained uncertainty surrounding who would be starting in goal tonight against Florida.

Jose Theodore, who suffered a hip flexor Tuesday night against the New York Islanders, participated and appeared to be moving fine, and the team yesterday sent Braden Holtby back down to Hershey, but Coach Bruce Boudreau was noncommittal after the skate.

"We'll have one in net," he said when asked about the goalie situation.

Then when asked if he was leaning toward either Theodore or Michal Neuvirth, Boudreau said: "Probably, but I'm not relaying the information."

With the way the Capitals have been playing lately, who's in goal hasn't really mattered. Washington is on an eight-game winning streak, which is the second longest in franchise history. The Capitals won 10 in a row in 1983-84.

The winning streak coincidentally began against Florida, which is battling for a postseason berth, with a 5-4 shootout victory on Jan. 13. During the run, the Capitals have outscored their opponents 40-18.

"We're cognizant of saying, 'Don't have a letdown tonight.' We can't let down," center Brooks Laich said. "We know that we're at eight wins in a row, and [the Panthers] know it. So Florida is going to say, 'We need to beat those guys. We want to be the team that knocks them off, make a statement to the rest of the league.' They're in the playoff hunt, so we approach every game very serious. We're still desperate to win hockey games."

By Gene Wang  |  January 29, 2010; 11:19 AM ET
 | Tags: Brooks Laich, Florida Panthers, Jose Theodore, Michal Neuvirth  
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Next: Live game chat: Caps vs. Panthers


Gabby is the man! I love those comments to the Press. Reminds me of the time they asked Kevin Hatcher who was going to win in a playoff series. He responded, "It will be 3-2."

Posted by: rovingbandit | January 29, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I was kind of hoping for a let down against the Ducks. I'm going to the games this weekend, they have to win both.

9th and 10th.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Playing the Panthers may be one of the more depressing matchups in sports....

The Southeast is just flat out boring...

Posted by: SA-Town | January 29, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hmm, I'm relieved to hear, that the Caps will have one goalie in net ;-)

However, the Cats are not a high scoring team therefore it makes sense to me, to give Neuvi the chance for a SO, at least in my view ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 29, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's go CAPS!!!

New Caps blog, by a Caps fan for Caps fans:

Posted by: gfsportsfan | January 29, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

great answer by Brooksie! keep the pedal to the metal boys! records are made to be broken, and this core has what it takes!!!!! LETS GO CAPS! c u all at VC 2nite Rockin the Red!

Posted by: bigBinMd | January 29, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

"We'll have one in net," he said when asked about the goalie situation.

Then when asked if he was leaning toward either Theodore or Michal Neuvirth, Boudreau said: "Probably, but I'm not relaying the information."

I adore Boudreau. He's totally my hero!

Posted by: irockthered | January 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

anyone know about the Nats players being at the game tonight?

Posted by: arcassells | January 29, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"We're still desperate to win hockey games."

Man I love that mentality! Kick AS** guys!

Posted by: Iceman10 | January 29, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, NYJER MORGAN is going to be at the game, I'm pretty sure. Love that guy, he's my favorite Nat. He said he's gonna be wearing a Caps jersey. But he's still a Sharks fan at heart.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 29, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer can be a Sharks fan all he wants until Summertime. He better be rockin the red if the Caps end up facing the Sharks for Lord Stanley's hardware.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 29, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Random crazy thought for the line name geeks in the house:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble: "No Canada No" (It has a Swede, a Russian, and an American on it, but no Canadians.)
Laich-Fleischmann-Semin: Lucky Seven (all three guys have numbers that are multiples of seven)
Chimera-Morrison-Fehr: Pythagoras Line (5^2 = 3^2 + 4^2)

What do you think?

Posted by: kittypawz | January 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Then when asked if he was leaning toward either Theodore or Michal Neuvirth, Boudreau said: "Probably, but I'm not relaying the information."

he should have said "I'm pretty sure I'm not going with Braden"

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 29, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Knuble is from Toronto. Which at last check, is in Canada.

Posted by: tim29 | January 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Reason not to be overconfident: Despite winning 8 games in a row, the Caps haven't been extending their Southeast division lead lately. Carolina, Tampa Bay have won three in a row; Florida, Atlanta have won two in a row.

Posted by: GoBigRed4 | January 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The Ovechkin, Backstrom, Knuble line should be known as the Greatest Show on Ice. I wouldnt mind our checking line being known as the dirtbags either.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 29, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

one thing to keep in mind when looking at the +/- of any player is when you are a d-man playing for a low scoring team, your plus/minus is never gonna be good.

Paul Coffey always had great plus/minus numbers when he was with the Oilers, probably a lot better than those of Ray Bourque... anyone who thinks Coffey was a better player than Bourque is someone who has never seen either of them play.

Posted by: joek443 | January 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz: I think you’re geek :P

Posted by: guer_j | January 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@tim29: But he's eligible to play for Team USA, not Canada.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 29, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

New article about the Caps posted on

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 29, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

OnFrozen has a fun little bit on Semin's rocket launcher vs. the Duck goalie's formerly refreshing beverage.

Posted by: DKSW | January 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@tim29 - Knuble was born in Canada, but raised in the U.S. of A. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - yes! the pythagorian line! good one.

Here's one for the top line:

the "fire and ice" (or, add Knuble's contribution and get: "fire, ice, and iron".

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Pythagoras Line, FTW.

Posted by: TheLeaver | January 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@peteywheatstraw - I like "The Greatest Show on Ice" but I'd one-up it and call the line: "The Greatest 'O' on Ice"

Posted by: md268 | January 29, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

For anyone interested in geek stats.
I have a mathematical formula that I use to rank teams going into the playoffs for my playoff fantasy pools. I won't go into it but it awards values for offense [GF]and extra value for defense [GA]. The season is broken down into three parts. with extra value for the post trade deadline games. Anyways, if the playoffs were to start today, here are my rankings of the top 5.

1. Chicago 8.68
2. San Jose 8.55
3. Washington 8.40
4. Vancouver 8.39
5. New Jersey 8.25

Based on this, the Caps should play the Blackhawks for the Cup. Last season going into the playoffs, I had the Caps ranked 7th. The formula has been quite accurate predicting the outcomes of playoff series with a 80% success rate over the past 3 seasons. Should I market it? LOL

Posted by: bigschu8 | January 29, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I like 8-19-22 as the "BKO line."

It evokes the term "TKO;" it includes the first letters of their last names; it doesn't involve math.

Posted by: large23220 | January 29, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

A better defensive stat than the plus/minus would be even strength goals allowed for each individual player but I don't know if such a stat exists...

at least that stat wouldn't be skewed for those playing for a high powered offensive team like the Caps.

Posted by: joek443 | January 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

This team should not focus on wins and losses down the stretch....only on Wings and non-Wings...

Consider the game a failure without wings...

Posted by: SA-Town | January 29, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

21-14-28 The "Flash and Bang Line"

Posted by: large23220 | January 29, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Pythagoras Line? Stroke of brilliance. Love it.

Posted by: KurtNYC | January 29, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Press release....Glory Days will be shutting its doors after 14 years in business because they are giving away so many dam! wings for free thanks to the Caps!

Just kidding of course.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 29, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 - Hahahaha! The last time I was at Glory Days, we collected five plates of wings and *still* racked up over $100 in tab. I don't remember the exact figure, but it was a healthy tab that we wouldn't have racked up without the free wings. Offhand, I think they're making a killing off us Caps fans with their "free wings" gig. ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 29, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse


Welcome back to the show. IIRC, you haven't been to a game in quite a while?
And it's too bad the Sens are cruising right now. Looking more and more like AV won't be going anywhere.

Looking forward to Sundays game too- should be a bruiser.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Heck yeah because as long as you make your wings hot enough beer will be required to douse the flames. What is used to wash down beer....MORE BEER.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 29, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Post - "one thing to keep in mind when looking at the +/- of any player is when you are a d-man playing for a low scoring team, your plus/minus is never gonna be good."

Never is a bit strong: Lidstrom (#6 in league), Rafalski (#14), Bouwmeester (#39), Spacek (#41), all with teams near the bottom in scoring.

A look at GPG vs.points% shows that low scoring teams tend to be (but not always are) bad teams, which by definition will have lots of - players. This makes sense because, the last time I checked, the goal of the game is to outscore the opponent. The correlation isn't perfect, but pretty good. The teams that are high in the standings all are at the top of the GPG stats, except for the Devils. So you can certainly say that players on bad teams tend to have bad +/-.

IMO it makes sense to compare +/- among d-men on the same team - doesn't prove anything, but it is an indication. That's why critics are backing off Schultz and he is even getting some credit. A player that sticks out compared to his teammates is worthy of attention. A relatively high +/- for a player on an average-to-pretty-bad team or a relatively bad +/- for one on an average-to-pretty good team don't prove anything necessarily, but they are indicators that suggest the need for further analysis.

Posted by: zmega | January 29, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse


I gotta say that the math line is hilarious. Amazing. We could call them Mathletes, or The Theorem, if we wanted to be even more subtle - or just stick with Pythagorean Line.

The first line (Knuble is Canadian-American but is eligible for U.S. team play not Canadian) could be doctored to add in the O as in: O, No Canada line.

Great stuff. Lucky 7s is quite good, also.

Posted by: saintex | January 29, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I also wanted to add something in about the last swing to Florida - I think I might have said something at the times.

Those games were during a six-game streak where I thought the team could really gather steam (MTL, OTT, @ATL, @TB, @FLA, TOR) and they did, winning five of six. Then we have the quality wins over Philly, Det, Pens, Phoenix, and finally two against the Isles and Anaheim. That game in TB was a turning point for the team, at least I think it was. We all hated the result but if you think about it, it changed a lot. First, they got down 4-1 and fought back to 4-4 before seeing the whole thing turn south. But, Ovi dropped the gloves, Brads pounced (like it or not) on a league thug; Stecks drops gloves with another thug later, and I really think those events put to rest the enforcer questions. We know we don't need one for the playoffs and now we don't need one during the season. The next night was the chance to redeem: once again, down 4-1, fought back (no doubt being very tired) to 4-4 and this time held on for the shootout win. In the past, against lesser opponents the team might have laid low in both games and lost and we'd have been yelling about not focusing on lesser teams. Well, they show toughness and the ability to come back from 3 down on back-to-back road games - that says a lot. How many teams have come back to tie a game all season when down by 3? Not many.

Every since, they've been knocking the crap out of every team - come one, come all - and shown a much stronger level of grit, defense, teamyness, and the offensive explosion. I really think they've realized they can score almost at will and instead of trying to turn it on later in a game they are just flooring from the get-go, getting the foot on the throat, and finishing it early. It's very impressive.

Also, on Semin. The way he as been playing this month is sublime. His hands are amazing and his ability to get the puck off the boards in traffic, to pick-pocket when backchecking, and his goals have been the stuff of legend. I'll take him long-term at $6m and not even blink.

We are living and watching something grand.

Posted by: saintex | January 29, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop all the way back to the Philly game, but it hasn't happened. Each game during the streak has come against an opponent that had been playing well as of late (even Toronto entered Jan. 15 game on the heels of a 4-0 win over Philly), but the Caps steamrolled 'em all. This Caps team is for real. Jump on board and don't nit-pick the Caps because it's all we got!!!

Posted by: djdavew2002 | January 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

1) I like the "Pythagorian Line"...maybe we could call it the Three Squares?

2) I like "Lucky 7 Line" for 25-9-16

3) For 8+19+22 how about the "49ers Line",the "7^2 Line" or the "NATO Pact"?

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 29, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

OOPS...that's "Lucky 7's" = 21+14+28

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 29, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

How about Guns n' Roses for the Ovechkin, Backstrom and Knuble line?

Ovi is a f*@king rockstar!

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 29, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

'cognizant' is not a word you hear often from a hockey player...

Posted by: HankC_57 | January 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz, you are brilliant. thanks for the math lines

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 29, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to say thanks to Boudreau, Green, Backstrom, and Laich for the autograph session at the auto show yesterday. Good stuff. Go Caps!!

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | January 29, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

you all seem like good people and great fans, but picking line names doesnt seem to be your strong point. pythagorian line? really? not exactly the legion of doom, triple crown or french connection, is it?

like nicknames, line names cant be forced, they need to happen organically.

then again, i'm just bitter because the one line i had a name for didnt last very long. pettinger, nylander, semin..of course, the PeNyS line...bada bing.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 29, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Hazzah, hazzah.

Posted by: JSchon | January 29, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Is tonight's game on CSN+ or regular CSN? There is a Wizards game on tonight and Verizon Fios (Anne Arundel County) doesn't have CSN+. Needless to say, I love the Wizards even more now...

Posted by: Digitalman08 | January 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

You wanna answer this SA-Town? ;-)

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 29, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

'Zards are listed for CSN+ tonight. Caps in HD!!

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 29, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll just call each of our lines "incredible" most of the time these days.

Can't wait to see another Caps game. Vokoun's been very tough lately; since the last game against the Caps he has a .99 GAA, starting every game, including 2 SO's. Panthers are also one of the few East teams on the bubble making a serious move into the playoffs. We have every reason not to underestimate them (and all the skills to beat them).

Posted by: Sonyask | January 29, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks OMunchkin!! Verizon MUST fix this no CSN+ thing in Anne Arundel County (the former home of the Capitals only a few short years ago).

Posted by: Digitalman08 | January 29, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Only one CSN+ game left for the Caps in the regular season. I think it's in March.

Posted by: zimbar | January 29, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I love the lines and I love the way we have been playing... The only thing I am not loving is the fact that my Laing jersey was obsolete after just a few weeks :)

Posted by: Hunter21 | January 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

So, Holtby was returned to Hershey but Alzner wasn't brought back up? Hmmm. Perhaps BB was going to scratch him anyway.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 29, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse


I see you're one of the math wizards on here. (That's right, you're also in computers.)

A girl after my own heart. I had earlier noticed the fact that the numbers of Brooksie, Flash, and Semin were all multiples of 7. While someone on Japers had noticed the fact that Fehr/Chimera/Morrison all had numbers that were squares and fit into the Pythagorean Theorem.

I guess our third line doesn't arrange themselves into a 3-4-5 triangle formation. (Ha! Ha!).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 29, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see the Caps trade for Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix has to be sellers at the deadline, the Coyotes are going to be like Nats when they were taken over by MLB.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 29, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse


Re Knuble: he was born in Canada, but as I read somewhere, his parents are Latvian-American and were working in Canada at the time. He is a US citizen, and was raised in Michigan.

Hey, he was born on the 4th of July, so he must be American (1972).

Posted by: Steakum | January 29, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have only 1 more game scheduled for CSN+. It's on Feb 5 at the Booth against Atlanta.

Posted by: grackle5 | January 29, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

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