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Boudreau: John Carlson will be great, but 'he's not there' yet

John Carlson, Washington CapitalsJohn McDonnell/The Washington Post

After acknowledging that defenseman John Carlson didn't have his strongest game against the Islanders last night, Coach Bruce Boudreau spoke more about the developing 20-year-old after Thursday's skate. For all that's expected of him, it's often easy to forget that he's still a rookie assimilating to the NHL.

Boudreau described Carlson's main transgressions as "sleepy." Plays where he didn't do what he was supposed to do, or wasn't quick enough to react to an advancing member of the opposition.

"The first goal [by New York's Nino Niederreiter], he wasn't ready, he wasn't fast enough in front of the net there, and the guy beat him wide last game because he made his pivot too late," Boudreau said. "Don't get me wrong, he does a lot of great things and a logs a lot of minutes. But he's a young guy and we don't want him to think he's Ray Bourque yet."

Against the Islanders Carlson was too late to challenge Niederreiter, and on Monday against the Senators he overplayed the puck a bit, leaving too much room for Ryan Shannon to make a play. But despite the early miscues, there's little doubt in Boudreau's mind that Carlson will eventually achieve the success that he's already experienced as a junior player and in the American Hockey League. It'll just take some time.

Even with the mistakes, Carlson is still the top-scoring defenseman in the league with five points (1G, 4A).

"He has moments of greatness, but he's not there," Boudreau said. "We just want to make sure that he gets better and he doesn't think he's right there. We showed him clips of all his mistakes this morning and he's going to get better, but it's a process."

-- I'm working on something for tomorrow's paper on the Capitals' success (or lack thereof) in the faceoff circle through four games and how it has contributed to those stretches of opponents dominating puck possession. So keep an eye out for that.

By Katie Carrera  | October 14, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, John Carlson  
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Comments

What is BB talking about, Carlson playing poorly?! Carlson set up that PP goal, we were much crisper with him out there. I love BB but I am tired of the double standard, Green can screw up all game and there's nary a peep from the coach.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1 from previous thread. I kinda agree that it was a strange comment from BB about Carlson. He played great other than a few mistakes. Green seemed to be slow and out of position all night.

I bet that the media is focusing on Carlson, so those are the comments that are making news...

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | October 14, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

With all this being said....Green didn't cost us any goals. And everytime Green does something human (which unfortunately is often it seems) then everyone is all over him.. Like Boudreau said...Carlson is going to be good...i'd say great. But everyone is in love with the golden boy right now and he's making quite a few mistakes. The ones that stand out are on the goal and the time he got blown by. But there are so many small things that he needs to work on as well that don't lead to goals. While I say all that I'm not a huge Green fan either as he waits for the puck to come to him quite a bit and doesn't attack the puck as much as I would like to see. Oh well - we are 3-1 without playing our best hockey. Hopefully we really get it going soon and then it will be scary how good we can hopefully be.

Posted by: rdiehljr | October 14, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Carlson has been good and bad. He's done some things where he looks beyond his years as well as other things where he looks like a 20-year-old learning to adjust to the NHL. Alzner has had the same ups and downs but his ups probably haven't been as good as Carlson's.

I think BB is more willing to criticize Carlson becasue a) he knows he can handle it and b) he knows it will drive him to work even harder.

Like somebody mentioned in earlier thread, coaches have to handle each player differently.

Speak publicly like this about somebody as mentally fragile as Flash, and he'll probably shrink and perform even worse in the next game.

It takes a long time to become a consistent defensemen at this level no matter how talented you are coming in. That's the risk you run going into a season where you have high aspirations with two kids on the back end, esp. when they don't have a lot of vet leadership to lead on. Shoot, Green is still pretty much a kid despite his experience.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@Caps4Life1 - totally agree, and good point about Green. Another thing about Green, is he careless / nonchalant he is with so many of his passes. BB is so overly protective of him - even last spring, he was terrrrrible vs. MTL - but not a word was said by Bruce. I don't get it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Carlson had a bad game last night. Katie did a pretty good job outlining that. Not horrible, just not up to his potential. He's 20 years old and BB is clearly trying to keep him in check given the lofty expectations.

Green has been playing very well, on ice for only 1 goal against so far.

These are different players at different stages of their careers. Coaches will treat them as such. Those who say BB doesn't get on Green, can i ask how you got access to the Caps locker room?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Everyone just needs to step away from the ledge.

This might not be a fair comparison, but I remember a couple of years ago that people were slamming Sarge quite a bit and now look at him.

Carlson is only 20, people. Give it time.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 14, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

[Carlson] played great other than a few mistakes.

Green seemed to be slow and out of position all night.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | October 14, 2010 2:44 PM

Carlson's mistakes were really huge ones and it wasn't just last game. He's done great things but his bad has been really bad. He's not alone at all. The same can be said for Alzner and several others.

A reporter asked about Carlson specifically last night and I think that has led to today's follow-up. Nothing more than that. BB can't talk about every player in every interview.

BB probably also knows that Carlson will respond better to public criticism than some other players, kind of like you see with Ovechkin. One might even say that his willingness to say these things comes off as more of a compliment to how highly he thinks of Carlson. He believes Carlson can handle it and will respond to the challenge.

As far as Green, he has been largely great from day one. He was a beast last night. He and Ovechkin and a few others kept that from being more embarrassing that it was.

He was not out of position all night by any means. He made at least the one overly aggressive play that led to a breakaway but he was one of our 2 best players after Neuvirth last night despite that and any other minor gaffes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow - the game I watched last night (concerning Carlson) can be summed up this way: He made a few good plays but did not have a good game. Slow to react is a good description of what I saw. Not all the time but just the overall grade I would give him for last nights game. He's definately had better games this year.

And I'm not down on him. I'm glad he's a Cap and I look forward to his growth and improvemnet - so talented for a 20 yr old.

Posted by: jeets | October 14, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Everyone just needs to step away from the ledge.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 14, 2010 3:09 PM

or in some cases - just go ahead on step off :D

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

just go ahead on step off = just go ahead and step off

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

You know, the other big positive I take from the game is that in all the time the Caps spent in their own d-zone, even though they were getting beaten to pucks along the boards and having problems with clearing passes, they were in pretty good defensive position, especially the forwards. They were able to keep the islanders to the outside and did not let them camp out in the crease uncontested for the most part.

This alone is a huge difference compared to games they were outworked last season. Maybe it was because it was just a depleted Islanders team, but it is a start to better team defense.

Posted by: piratusus | October 14, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Love the game and not the players, you will have a better understanding of what BB is talking about.

Posted by: hock1 | October 14, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Those who say BB doesn't get on Green, can i ask how you got access to the Caps locker room?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

The discussion is about what he says to the media. He's quick to call out Carlson for mistakes or demote Backstrom when he's not playing well, but looks for every opportunity to support his favorites. Like early last year when Flash scored a lot of goals, yet was the worst defensive forward on the team. BB just gushed about Flash being elite, never mentioning that Flash was a train wreck on defense. The guy would literally watch the puck sail by to avoid a hit whenever he felt an opposing forward on his heels. Flash just backed into the boards, not even trying to get his stick on the puck to make a play. Yet all coach had to say is that Flash is his Hershey Ovi.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 14, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1: yeah you're right, that PP's been terrific with Green running it. I take it back.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

You know, the other big positive I take from the game is that in all the time the Caps spent in their own d-zone, even though they were getting beaten to pucks along the boards and having problems with clearing passes, they were in pretty good defensive position, especially the forwards. Posted by: piratusus

This is a good point. Last year, guys didn't clear out rebounds. They'd stand around watching Varly or Theo make save after save until the goalie froze the puck or it ended up in the net. They've done a much better job with that this season.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 14, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

IMHO, Carlson didn't have one of his best games last night. Of particular note, at times it seemed he had trouble reading the play and with his positioning on D. I also thought he made a few poor clearing attempts (who didn't last night?) and some ill-advised passes in the defensive zone. That said, these were areas that the Caps seemed to struggle with as a whole last night. I'm curious if someone is keeping better track of this than me, but I'd bet he's had his best games when paired with Poti or Alzner and it doesn't surprise me that he struggled last night paired with Erskine. IMHO, BB should keep Carlson and Alzner together for more than a handful of games and see what happens.

Posted by: cainoo7x | October 14, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70 - agreed the boys have done much better clearing out loose pucks in front; part of the credit for that has to go to Neuvirth though, his rebound control amazes me for a young keeper. Varly's very good at it too; Theo did good things and was a loyal soldier but man oh man did he leave some juicy rebounds in the slot. To these eyes anyway.

I guess I'm in the minority re: Carlson's play last night, I thought he was fine, easily in our top two D for the night. In any case, he does seem to play very well with Poti and, at the AHL level at least, with Alzner.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"As far as Green, he has been largely great from day one. He was a beast last night. He and Ovechkin and a few others kept that from being more embarrassing that it was.

He was not out of position all night by any means. He made at least the one overly aggressive play that led to a breakaway but he was one of our 2 best players after Neuvirth last night despite that and any other minor gaffes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 3:15 PM"

I totally agree with this post.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 14, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Green's figured out ON HIS OWN how to better balance his offense with defense.

Carlson I'm sure is a victim of his own hype and the trend by this coaching staff to squeeze as many points out of their blueliners as possible. The play he made last night where he started skating with the puck at top speed along the boards and then lost it for a break going back the other way was very reminiscent of what Green turned into the last 2 yrs. I have never seen Carlson act like a winger before.

I blame the coaches here more than the player. Carlson was touted as an offensive dman, and he's turning into one at the expense of his defense. Hopefully he figures out that balance quicker than it took MG. On this team particularly, when a young player's defensive abilities start to wane after an initial strong start, its fair to look at the coach as being partly responsible.


just once i want them to say that they want a young offensive dman to focus on his defense first. Its like the PP v PK debate. I'd rather them struggle on the PP to start the season than on the PK. You know they'll figure out their PP woes at some point. Likewise, an offensive dman will always figure out the offensive side of the game..

ftr, i considered Carlson to be a two way player right from the start. And I hope he stays that way.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I just listened to BB's interview from today.

I guessed earlier but it should be noted that a reporter asked Boudreau about Carlson last night and then again today.

You only get a few minutes with the coach and he fields random questions. I'm not saying that Carlson didn't make those mistakes - I acknowledged as much in multiple posts - just pointing out that this wouldn't even be a topic right now if the reporter yesterday doesn't get his question in.

The "pressing" topics that we go on about are often exaggerated simply due to whatever questions reporters are able to get in and that CI decides to run with the next day.

If somebody had asked about Alzner in the postgame, for example, we might be discussing him right now and he has also has been up and down all season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Or at least as much of a topic... and it wouldn't result in as many people saying "why he is only pointing at Carlson?"

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

Not sure why you're concerned about his defensive development.

He has a defensive-minded coached and a bunch of battle-tested, proven vets to learn the finer points from in Poti, Schultz, Green, Erskine and Sloan.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

right....i stand corrected !

quality veteran defensemen is definitely a significant shortcoming that continues to go unaddressed. Can you win without it? Perhaps, but why make it harder on yourself. It just makes sense that young defensemen need strong mentors. The same way Fehr looks at Knuble. He watches and learns.

And no, I don't want our young D all playing like Tom Poti.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

He has a defensive-minded coached and a bunch of battle-tested, proven vets to learn the finer points from in Poti, Schultz, Green, Erskine and Sloan.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 4:58 PM

nice one

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Timbo_1- I agree, Neuvy has been good. He is moving better than I remember in his stint last year.

I thought Carlson had a rough game last night, but I expected it. Carlson, Alzner, and MaJo are all going to go through growing pains, which is why I tend to cut them some slack.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 14, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

They were able to keep the islanders to the outside and did not let them camp out in the crease uncontested for the most part.

This alone is a huge difference compared to games they were outworked last season. Maybe it was because it was just a depleted Islanders team, but it is a start to better team defense.

Posted by: piratusus

they didn't do it all game but definitely the forwards are taking on more responsibility. I myself gushed like a giddy schoolgirl on a play that Flash made in pinning a forward against the boards to help out our D. I just wish that a simple play that needs to be made every time didn't seem like such a rare event.

i didn't expect the Caps to play their A game last night. So count me among the few who weren't that disappointed. I expect a subpar effort in certain games.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Before somebody brings up the age of the Blackhawks' blueline, note that their key defensemen are better in their own to begin with and most importantly, their coach teaches an entirely different brand of hockey. Their forwards were also a lot more defensively responsible as a whole.

And while Erskine may rub off a little on Carlson in a good way, he isn't exactly the type of defensemen that you want to emulate when it comes to some of the finer points of defense. He's gritty but he's not the best positional defender and doesn't possess great natural instincts.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind living thru a young player's development. I just don't want to see a player go backwards. And I don't want to feel that the coach is contributing to it.

I've already previously voiced my concerns about Carlson's defensive game faltering under this regime so a game like last night does cause me some consternation.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Green has been playing than he ever has. He doesn't have many points, but his positioning has been great, he is winning puck battles more often, he will use a hit when necessary, he has been quick with the puck, and has mostly made fast, accurate passes. Listen, every player will make mistakes throuhgout the season. Gretzky made mistakes, Lemuix made mistakes, Scott Stevens made mistakes. The key is that Green is making less and less of them while his good plays are increasing. That is very good.

Schultz has been very good also and is showing a consistent improvement as well.

Green and Schultz are stiil pretty young. Some people herejust assume there will be no improvement and that every player is static year to year. It just isn't right.

Alzner has been very solid so far. He has been in the correct position most of the time and won many puck battles. The unfortunate part for him is that he plays with Sloan so he often has to get out of position in attempt to make up for Sloan's mistakes. But Alzner will continue to get better. He is still very young and has not played many NHL games. I will agree with the person on here who said Carlson has higher highs than Alzner. But Carlson, so far, has had the lower lows as well.

Carlson will be very good to great. But right now he is making some bad mistakes. But he is 20, it is to be expected. That is why you start giving him lots of playing time and putting him in tough positions. Carlson will learn from the mistakes he made and will continue to improve. He will learn what to do in certain sitations and it will become 2nd nature. Remember, the regular season is all a preperation for the playoffs. Carlson and Alzner will make mistakes, but that is how they will learn what to do. And hopefully by the time the playoffs start, both of them will be much improved.

Erskine has looked ok. But is lack of speed and stick skill is scary. Especially when he has the puck in the neutral zone or when he is facing a rush by the other team. But he gives a good effort and does his best to overcome his defeciencies by using his size and being physical.

Sloan has been awful. There is no way the Caps go into the postseason with him as the 7th D-man. I think the Caps, at the very least, will pick up a 6th D-man to at least compete with Erskine for time and bump Sloan to 8th D-man for the playoffs.

The Caps cannot have Erskine and Sloan both dressing on the same night in the playoffs. You can tell how important Poti is to the D right now. Their outlet passes struggle mightly with Poti out, as the 2nd and 3rd pairing each have a guy who is not good at making outlet passes (Erskine and Sloan). That will hurt the team. It leads to turnovers and greater possession time for the opposing team.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 14, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I just wish that a simple play that needs to be made every time didn't seem like such a rare event.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:08 PM

Key point.

It's as if the players feel like it's enough of an accomplishment to prove that they can do the small things every once in a while.

True contending teams do those little things most of the time and their coaches demand it of them.

It's just the play you were citing or just things related to physicality.

It includes smart play as well.

Ovechkin is an easy example. He was awesome last night so I'm not talking about that game.

In general, in the past though, he would so often get caught drifting around in the defensive zone, clearly unaware of anything other than the puck, including his man.

Wings have defensive responsibilities, too, and this is one area where Ovechkin, and others on this team, clearly have been able to get away with not giving a lot of effort in.

This is just one of several little things that the players need to start learning to do early in the season. You can't turn a switch on when it matters. They have to be ingrained habits that have been formed over time - often even multiple seasons.

We are behind the curve in a lot of areas and that's why I worry so much early in the season. I don't even know if one season is enough to learn to do certain things as a rule of thumb. Regardless, I am desperately hoping that we saw more stuff that we saw in Ottawa on a regular basis. It's imperative that that stuff becomes the norm now.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Their forwards were also a lot more defensively responsible as a whole.
----tmac---

I am beside myself in how much agree with this comment. I found the Hawks forwards to be very defensively responsible compared to the Caps forwards. They take less risks and they just do a better overall job of supporting their d corps

and can't forget the Seabrook factor.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

*It's not just the plays...

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 14, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

and can't forget the Seabrook factor.
-----------

He's a beast - but I'm also very impressed with Kopecky, that guy slams anybody who even looks at his linemates the wrong way, it seemed like he ran Pronger every shift last spring. He plays much, much bigger than his size. A great fit for Toews and Hossa.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Carlson will be very good to great. But right now he is making some bad mistakes. But he is 20, it is to be expected.
-----------------------------------

Not when he shows a trend towards more offense, less defense. I don't consider that simply a youth issue.

agree with some of your post although I'll disagree on Alzner. I don't think he's been "very solid" overall. i think he's been good in some areas (i.e. hustling back and picking up the puck and getting it out). Yesterday he did a good job of picking up loose pucks along the boards and getting them out. I think he's been awful around his own net this season. He has no idea how to keep forwards at bay. And he has no ability to push players off the puck when he goes chasing them in the corners. So, in some areas he's been good, in some he's been bad. I just can't stand watching him when he has to win a 1 on 1 battle with a forward in the crease. He looks incredibly weak.


"Sloan has been awful. There is no way the Caps go into the postseason with him as the 7th D-man. "

tell that to your beloved coach and GM. The org basically selected Sloan over Engelland. For my money, I'll take the latter as my 6th/7th dman. Does his style overlap too much with Erskine's? Possibly.


"Erskine has looked ok"

hater!
He's looked very capable at times. He is what he is. He'll get into trouble here and there but if he keeps bringing the hammer like he has been, his flaws are more than acceptable in this lineup.


And Sarge needs to use his size more. I'd like to see him do a better job on forwards who skate down the wing along the boards. He seems to always retreat. Is it because he's afraid they'll blow by him? I don't know but I don't like it one bit. And he never finishes a check once the puck is released. In fact he waits for the puck to be released by an onrushing forward and then he backs off. He doesn't get the concept of taking a guy out of the play so he can't jump back in as easy. But overall he's been pretty good.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I didn't read all the comments, so I apologize if someone has already pointed this out. IMO there was one game where Carlson and Alzner had a solid game from start to finish and that was the 2nd game, against NJ. Coincidentally they were partners. Since then, with Poti out, Alzner and Carlson have had to play with Erskine and Sloan. Keeping that in mind, I think the two youngsters have done pretty good.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 14, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I think many of Carlson's mistakes are a youth and inexperience issue. Offensive mistakes generally go unnoticed because they rarely lead directly to scoring chances for opposing teams. But defensive mistakes, especially bad ones, can look so much more awful that viewers remember those mistakes more.

That's a reason why many people assume players only make many defensive mistakes.

Either way, they've only played 4 games. There is plenty of time for Carlson and Alzner to work on their craft. I'm not too worried about either of them.

-Sloan

The Sloan contract was a bad deal and made absolutely no sense to give Sloan that much money and length of contract. That was a bad move by GMGM.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 14, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, Erskine has been a big help to Carlson as well. Its a two way street pal. This isn't just a case of the youngsters carrying Erskine.

I'd like Poti to be out longer. So I can Carlson-Erskine play together more.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Due to popular acclaim - well ok, it was really just Rhino - I've reprised my response to the previous claim that "other superstars always participated in morning of/ gameday skates [in their own words, no less!]. Without further ado, here we go:

For all the naysayers, please name me one superstar who consistently participated in the game-day morning skates [other than Stevie Y] - here's a hint to get you started:
Lemieux: non
Forsberg: nej
#4 [Bobby Orr]: are you kidding, I can barely walk my knees hurt so bad. But I'll be there when the puck drops
Mess: try and make me
Gretzky: after this next interview
Fetisov: nyet
Fedorov: what Slava said
Coffey: nope
Jagr: ne [grumbles something in Czech about more hair product]

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

There are so growing pains that go along with giving rookies, no matter how talented, this big of a role. But I am thrilled that we will get to watch them learn on the job now so they will be ready in the spring.

Posted by: real8 | October 14, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"That was a bad move by GMGM"

i just swallowed whatever i was chewing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

i'll tell you another bad contract...Anton.

No reason to have signed him. If he was a 3rd or 4th rounder, it would've been CYA!

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd like Poti to be out longer. So I can see Carlson-Erskine play together more.
----------

Oh man, not me. The fact is Carlson has played his best all-around hockey when paired with Poti - and last spring, those two were indisputably the Caps' best defensive duo. Look, I love what Erskine brings to the table too - but its not like a bunch of guys have had career years playing alongside him. Not that I can think of, anyway.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

There is plenty of time for Carlson and Alzner to work on their craft. I'm not too worried about either of them.
----------


there's plenty of time. But how long did it take Green to figure it out (again) ?

do you want to needlessly suffer thru 1 or 2 more playoff series with a young dman who thinks that he's the next Paul Coffey? i don't.

If our coach had a more defensive bent, this wouldn't even be an issue. We'd accept Carlson's current up and down play and ASSUME that he was being pushed in the right direction.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The fact is Carlson has played his best all-around hockey when paired with Poti -

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

i think its situational. Against certain lineups they may be very effective. Against others, not so much.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

As far as Engelland. He was a Hershey Bear but he was never a Capital, right?

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 14, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

As far as Engelland. He was a Hershey Bear but he was never a Capital, right?


---fanock--

not sure what your point is, but yes.

and so was Hendricks.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Wings have defensive responsibilities, too, and this is one area where Ovechkin, and others on this team, clearly have been able to get away with not giving a lot of effort in.
--tmac--

If you really had to boil it down, it appears to come down to "fundamentals".

Seems like that is an area that needs to be improved upon.

Anyone see that comment by Bruce that Fehr had never really learned how to bodycheck? how is that possible? If we're drafting players who have never been taught how to bodycheck, why aren't we teaching that to them immediately?

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm working on something for tomorrow's paper on the Capitals' success (or lack thereof) in the faceoff circle through four games and how it has contributed to those stretches of opponents dominating puck possession. So keep an eye out for that.

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

I will Katie I will!

dont forget to mention the greatest faceoff man of all time - Zenon Konoka! Winning them at a staggering 68%! I bet that kid has one of the strongest grips in the league. Probably explains why at just 6feet tall he frequently is able to fight bigger players and hold them off with one hand while punching with the other.

typical euro

btw, one of the crappiest trades Brian Burke ever made was dealing away Curtis Glencross and Konopka for Joe Motzko!

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

If we're drafting players who have never been taught how to bodycheck, why aren't we teaching that to them immediately?

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 6:38 PM

there is no time to teach bodychecking when all forwards and dmen are practicing slap shots and wristers at a hole the size of a puck + 1/4 inch
silly you...

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I do believe the youngster is carrying Erskine. Erskine works his butt off but he is 6 of 6 on this squad. That's not the ideal partner for a 20 year old.

My point with Engelland was he was not the Capitals property. You mentioned it was another one that got away a few days ago. He didn't get away, he was never ours.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 14, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Well this blows. Although this Lightning/Flyers game will be a good one I don't want to cheer for either one. Just about every game I can pick a team but with Tampa in the Southeast I'd rather not see them win. I can't cheer for the Flyers because I found out by watching the last Pens/Flyers game that I actually dislike the Flyers more than the Pens.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 14, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

What I meant to say earlier was Erskine is 6 of 7 on this squad. I like the way works though.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 14, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Well this blows. Although this Lightning/Flyers game will be a good one I don't want to cheer for either one. Just about every game I can pick a team but with Tampa in the Southeast I'd rather not see them win. I can't cheer for the Flyers because I found out by watching the last Pens/Flyers game that I actually dislike the Flyers more than the Pens.

Posted by: fanohock1

Good points. I agree with them too. However, I think you have to make the decision based on who you don't want to see in the playoffs. I would much rather not see the Flyers in the playoffs than Tampa Bay, so I'd have to go with Tampa to take the 2 pts. Definitely don't want this going to OT giving the loser the extra point.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 14, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Anybody notice the hologram advertisements on the glass behind the goals? It's sorta creepy. Like a subliminal message.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 14, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

what has playing in the lousiest division in hockey gotten this team in the playoffs??

if you want this team to do well once the real season starts in April, you need Atl and Tampa to improve and to play tough against the Caps.

Posted by: joek443 | October 14, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see that comment by Bruce that Fehr had never really learned how to bodycheck? how is that possible? If we're drafting players who have never been taught how to bodycheck, why aren't we teaching that to them immediately
-------

Um yeah, this kinda jumped out at me too. But isn't drafting a big winger who's not fleet of feet [to say the least] - but doesn't know how to hit - kind of like drafting a tight end who can't block? How does that even happen?

Posted by: govtimbo | October 14, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I do believe the youngster is carrying Erskine.
---------

Totally agree, fanohock. I love Erskine's attitude, work ethic and combative nature but I agree he's not the ideal d-partner for Johnny C. Playing D at the NHL level [hell, at any level, if you ask me] is tough enough, never mind for a rookie [not that I consider Carlson a true rookie after last spring's performance].

Posted by: govtimbo | October 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

One thing really nice here is after all the disagreements that festered over the summer, almost everyone is in agreement. No name calling, nothing. That means we are all seeing the same things, Green and Schultz playing well, Alzner doing OK, Carlson up and down, Erskine improved, etc.

I'd like to reemphasize the PK is being aggressive and is being successful and many of us pointed out the last two years how the passive box was doomed to failure.

Let's give it up again for Neuvy. So far, he has exceeded expectations. Without top-notch goaltending, this team could easily be 1-3 vs 3-1 and then everyone would be pointing fingers. Neuvy IMO has outplayed Theo from last year even when Theo had good numbers.

CAPS THREE STARS AFTER FOUR GAMES:

Neuvy
Ovechkin
Green

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 14, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow - time for Osgood to hang 'em up, he's really letting in some softies. Those are coach-killers. For all my talk about how good a GM Holland is - which I believe - they don't seem to draft goalies very well [I'm not as high on Jimmy Howard as others seem to be].

Posted by: govtimbo | October 14, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

My point with Engelland was he was not the Capitals property. You mentioned it was another one that got away a few days ago. He didn't get away, he was never ours.

Posted by: fanohock1

fanock i didn't connect the dots for you because i wanted to leave a smaller carbon footprint on this blog

but, you do get that since he was in our system that even though he wasn't our property per se, we basically have first crack at offering him a contract. Or do you think having a player in Hershey who is without an nhl contract doesn't give us an inroad to him?

thats my point on hendricks too. Everyone's giving McPhee all this credit for him but we had him under our noses and we knew all about him. There was no guessing game needed. Yet he had to go prove it with another org before we showed interest.

hendricks isn't a worldbeater and neither is Engelland. They're just solid role players who could be an asset to this team. And no nhl team besides the Caps should know more about these guys.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

sorry, didn't mean to come off snotty in that last post. I should put more smiley faces all over my comments.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 14, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

No name calling, nothing.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 14, 2010 9:24 PM

don't be a trolling dolt!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: Maybe it's not my place, but I want to single you out as the person here who has over the last few months done the most to combine in-depth hockey knowledge with an improved willingness to "let's all get along."

So, in honor of that, I hereby bestow upon cstanton1 the first annual "Rodney King Award."

C'mon up, cstanton1, and accept your placard.

BTW, for those who are wondering, the Rodney King Award is not be confused with the DJ King Award, given to the blog poster who sits out three games and then punches the other team's goon in the face.

On another topic, having relocated to socal, I begin tomorrow the first of my tri-annual western vacations but this one for the first time via car from home rather than airline/rental car. The sad part of this one is I had six nights Grand Canyon w/plans hiking CO River & back but nasty forecast put the cabash so I quickly replanned 2 nights Joshua Tree and 1 night each Palm Desert and Big Bear Lake. I will watch Caps-Nash via DVR on Tue PM upon return just prior to watching Caps-Bruins.

However, those of you dependent on the wit and wisdom of one tominsocal1 will be disappointed for sure but do not despair as I WILL BE BACK!

What I expect: Caps will lose in NSH as the sloppy play of late will come home to roost. Not to fear though! They will rebound vs Bruins.

On another note, some of you actually plan to retire from the workforce someday and it has been very nice of late with 3000 EMC and 15,000 SIRI and 2000 JNPR + $100K in the R2K. I am watching the R2K at over 700 and have watched previous top 735 and am really wondering are we in a bear trap or has market turned the corner. Upcoming election can really play with that. I am finally ATH with 401k after years of recovering and it is serious consideration dump and hide in money market at R2K 735 or keep riding the wave.

Anyone with thought tom_orem@yahoo.com. I rode to bottom and have ridden back up and would love to keep riding but have no desire to ride back down.

And, cstanton, anytime you want to come over, I have two cold beers in the fridge and an extra bedroom so you can crash.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 14, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

thats mighty white of you tom, and i do accept the award. I just hope it doesn't come with a complimentary beating.

your outdoorsy trip sounds cool. I did the Canyon but didn't go rafting. Most of the drop-ins require like a week or 10 days on the river which I didn't really want to do. I've done a ton of rafting in my life and 4 to 6 hrs is my usual max. I want class 4/5 rapids for 4 straights hours and then I'm happy.


re the stocks, i haven't done anything in the market for a while now. I did get into buying and selling options though. That was quite a rush. Scary, but quite a rush. It pulled me out of dept real fast. Cap 1 Financial was my cash cow, although i went back to that well too many times, haha
But I was pullin in 400% a month for a few months trading options on that stock.

I traded EMC a lot too back in the day. That was the first stock I officialy "played". And for a while there I'd buy it at 29 and dump it around 40 or 42. Then of course, the big drop. But i made more than i lost so..

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 15, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

don't be a trolling dolt!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ |

i'd like to nominate the Capn as being quietly, the biggest instigator on this blog!

is this a blog? i don't even know what a blog is. Sometimes they misspell it and i call it a bog. Weird stuff man.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 15, 2010 1:59 AM | Report abuse

I have been saying this all summer...don't look now, but Tampa Bay is in first place in OUR division (yeah, we own the SE, right!) - winning on back to back nights on the ROAD. This is not the Tampa from last couple of years. Guy Boucher, Stevie Y. -- they got this thing cooking early!

I have seen all 4 games in person and I am telling you we are not as good as last year, period. Same struggles with D, can't win faceoffs, PP sucks, goalie has played well but I sort of miss Theo for the regular season. Losing the division but making the playoffs may not be so bad for us -- generates the underdog fervor that suits this team better than the role as favorites.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | October 15, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

For all my talk about how good a GM Holland is - which I believe - they don't seem to draft goalies very well [I'm not as high on Jimmy Howard as others seem to be].

Posted by: govtimbo |

What? A goaltender who has won 4 Cups, 2 as the starter, isn't a good goaltender because of an assessment based on his play at the age of 37?

And Jimmy Howard is real good. Such a calm, collected, goaltender.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 15, 2010 4:35 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1: Please don't act like you had to connect any dots. Smiley faces or not your arrogant side reared its ugly head again. Sure, the Capitals have the inside track on players in Hershey that are Bears property but, he was an enforcer at the AHL level. That's great to have your 4th line winger as an enforcer, but when you dress 6 defensemen, you can't have one of them regularly going to the box. Orr did his job, he took a player out of the game in one of 4 shifts. Engelland is tough, but the Pens don't have him logging a lot of minutes in relative terms. When a forward logs 10 minutes, that's pretty good considering there are 12 players rotating in during a close game. For a defenseman to log 10 minutes when others log 25+, it doesn't look like the staff has much faith in them. He will be spending as much time as Sloan eating dogs and nachos during games when Orpik gets back.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 15, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

I am glad we are not as good this year as last yet...we have a ton of rookies, a better PK, and why would we want to peak in the first week of the season?

BB has made it clear that he knows who is struggling and where the team needs work. The D is still making gaffs, but when they get the flow they are much better than last season, so I think with some more experience (and the return of Tom Poti) we will see marked improvement there...the O will come...not need to worry about that.

I also think/hope that GMGM now sees that we need another D man b/c we can not have both Erskine and Sloan in the lineup...I don't think we need an expensive guy, but just a solid 1-2 mil a year player....who is also physical. I think GMGM wanted to see what we have before he started making trades. The defender will come soon, and possibly a center around the trade deadline.

Posted by: capscoach | October 15, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil - hate to break it to ya but those Wings squads were freaking loaded, and should have won at least one [or two] more Cups than they did. First team I know of to win a cup in spite of their goalie.

And JH may indeed be all of those things - but he let in some softies. Give me an explosive athlete, who stops the puck. If he takes a team to the SC finals I will stand corrected, but right now I don't see it happening - or him ever starting for Canada in the Olympics.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 15, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Yeah but that Wings squad was loaded and should have won at least one [or two] more - and he definitely cost them one series [v STL]. As for Howard, we shall see - but I predict he never starts for Canada in a big tourney. Not.explosive.enough. And let in some softies last spring, those are killers in the playoffs man.

My larger point though, was, much as I've compared GMGM unfavorably for past drafting to Holland - again, not the last few years, but before that - he definitely seems to have edge over Holland in drafting goalies. So I need to give credit where credit is due, was my point.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 15, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post - the censors flagged me on the first due to 'inappropriate language.' Who's running this anyway, Colin Campbell?

Posted by: govtimbo | October 15, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

ablake70

You clearly don't have the first clue of what you're talking about. Boudreau spoke about Carlson because he was asked about his play against the Islanders. He didn't demote Backstrom, either. If you read Carrera's game story you would have read the quote where Boudreau said he did that because Backstrom hadn't scored a goal yet and felt because of that that Ovechkin was trying to hard to get Backstrom that goal. Do you really think he's going to take Ovechkin off the first line? If you also noticed, Backstrom was back with Ovie and Knuble the first shift of the second period. As far as Flash goes, I do believe he was a healthy scratch for Game 7 last year. Seriously, bro, get a clue.

Posted by: jcreech1 | October 15, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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