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Posted at 6:13 PM ET, 11/23/2010

Capitals endure a tough practice, focus on work ethic

By Katie Carrera

Earlier this season Coach Bruce Boudreau termed a practice like one he put the Washington Capitals through Tuesday afternoon at RBC Center a practice without any pucks. There were pucks on the ice for the workout in Raleigh, but they weren't used quite as often as you might see on a regular day at KCI.

The players knew this day, with lengthy bag skates and other drills that emphasized plenty of hard skating, was coming after they were shut out for the second time in three games on Monday in a 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. So they accepted the tough practice and spent the time afterward discussing what they need to do to get out of this funk.

"We deserve it and Bruce said it out there he doesn't like doing it but sometimes he has no choice," Matt Bradley said. "When we've played the way we have in two of the last three games theres really nothing else we can do. It's not like there's some system reason or something we're doing on the ice as far as style of play, it's just a matter of we're not working."

Over the past three games, which go into the books as a three-game losing streak even though the middle decision was a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flyers, the Capitals have allowed 14 goals in regulation. It's one of the more particularly disappointing stretches of games during Boudreau's tenure because although there were three game streaks in the previous two seasons where Washington gave up a significant amount of goals the Capitals have been shut out in six consecutive periods of road hockey.

(Dec. 28-Jan 2 of 2009-10 the Capitals lost three straight in regulation and gave up 13 goals. In 2008-09 there was a stretch of three losses in November where they allowed 16, another three game skid in January and March during which they gave up 13 goals. But of those instances, Washington only had one shootout loss.)

One very common thread between the losses to both Atlanta and New Jersey is the Capitals' slow start. In this case the Thrashers and the Devils were teams desperate for a win, but the way they took advantage of Washington's "sleepy" starts as Boudreau called them looked very similar.

By spotting teams a 3-0 lead in the first period Washington makes their opponent's job a little easier as all they need to worry about is trying to protect that lead and there are less mistakes for the Capitals to take advantage of. Yes, the Caps can come back from a three-goal deficit but as these two shutouts have shown -- not always.

"We're on the road and it's almost like we say oh we don't have to impress our fans we just have to go out and play a nice simple road game," Jeff Schultz said. "And we just take it too easy and make it too simple early and think we're going to not have to work hard."

Washington has the chance to show that it hasn't lost track of its work ethic Wednesday against the Hurricanes, whom the Capitals played their most complete and arguably best game of the season back on Oct. 27 in a 3-0 win.

"I'm hoping it's an anomaly and you don't like to say: 'Every team goes through it' Because it puts you in an excuse mode but it's something that's new to us and we just have to deal with it," Boudreau said. "The proof isn't in the pudding or we haven't seen the results of it but I thought today was a good day so we'll see how it works out tomorrow."

By Katie Carrera  | November 23, 2010; 6:13 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Jeff Schultz, Matt Bradley  
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Comments

Wasn't there a game last week that the team put forth its best 60 minutes of the season? When we thought everything was coming together. The "human" element of sports is the hardest to figure - but I am not as angry about it as I was watching it last night.

I felt the same depression last December when the team went in a funk right after the Chris Clark trade but then they lost close games. When they got back to DC after that hiatus they had nominated OV captain and I think went a month or more without losing.

No team is ready every night and 82 games are a long road. Really we don't care about any of this now - as long as they make the playoffs (they will be a mile) and dont play this way then. However the good thing is that the last weekend doesn't seem to sit well with any player, coach or fan in the organization.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | November 23, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

With all the negativity here (myself included), it may be time for a joke here. And given that the Caps just played the Devils....

A man from Washington, DC died and was sent to Hell. But he wasn't really bothered by the heat there at all. The Devil asked him why. And the man replied, "It's typical Washington DC area weather in the middle of summer."

So to make the man's life more miserable, the Devil turned the heat about 100 degrees higher. The Washington man still was not bothered by the heat and still said it was typical Washington, DC weather. So, it went on for a while and the DC man still was unfazed by the extreme heat.

So now the Devil decided to do something different. He decided to turn down the temperature of Hell. Soon, the molten lakes of Hell started to freeze up.

The DC man started jumping up and down. So the question was asked, "What's going on?"

Our DC man answered, "The Caps have won the Stanley Cup! The Caps have won the Stanley Cup."


Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

seeing some of the comments made by Shultz and Alzner regarding the team's lackadaisical play only makes me question their heart and passion that much more

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 23, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we seen this movie before?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 23, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we seen this movie before?

Posted by: kcbrichmond

We're running it in a loop.

Posted by: underpants2 | November 23, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

A bag skate was not unexpected, given the team's bad play.

So Hendricks has now "earned" his way to the top line -- by default.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

They might lose in Carolina also. Can anyone ever figure out the Caps system. Couple of games this year they dumped and chased a lot and they won. Despite them winning a fair amount of games they have not looked very good.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

If you look up the post game interviews of every team that lost in the NHL, you'd get the same answers?

"We didn't work hard enough."
"We didn't do the little things."
"We didn't play a full 60"

Why? Because that's what fans like to hear. No team is going to say,

"Hey we lost because our rookie goalie couldn't stop a beach ball, the guy we picked up at McDonald's to play D hasn't worked out, and every time I looked up there were different guys on my line."

That wouldn't go over too well with the fanbase.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

@JohnWWW (from previous thread)

On Green's injury. I'm sure you were snarking about "monthly" trouble for him.

My guess (and it's more serious) is that the shoulder that was "pronged" two years ago in Anaheim is bothering him again.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

"Amount" and "number" are not interchangeable, Katie. Neither are "less" and "fewer" interchangeable.

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | November 23, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Some may disagree, but maybe the "C" should set an example by not laughing it up with Kovalchuk after a 5 - 0 loss. I know BB sees nothing wrong with it, but just because these guys make ridiculous money, I think there is still a proper way to handle yourself after a win or a loss. The kids on my son's Mites team seemed more upset after losing 6 - 3 Saturday.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 23, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

gee ov doing what ov wants to do........no suprise there......but poor leadership on his part but hey he shouldn't be the captain anyway with his selfish self serving attitude

Posted by: wendel2 | November 23, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

gee ov doing what ov wants to do........no suprise there......but poor leadership on his part but hey he shouldn't be the captain anyway with his selfish self serving attitude

Posted by: wendel2 | November 23, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Holy grammatical issues, Batman!

Did Katie Carrera study journalism (or English) in college?

That's some bad writin' for a humanities major.

Posted by: threesilhouettes | November 23, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

So those were both decent efforts ? Did you watch those games, and contrast them with the Flyers game effort ? Oh, just Neuvy was the difference. Those were piss poor efforts. Cup winners never look that bad. NEVER !!

Wow, if Mario was that out of shape we must have been pathetic. I watched that guy play 40 times. He was a beast! Stop the lies.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

seeing some of the comments made by Shultz and Alzner regarding the team's lackadaisical play only makes me question their heart and passion that much more

Posted by: vermontcap

Yeah, it wasn't like Alzner was the captain of his very successful junior team, or assistant captain of junior team Canada in their super series with junior team Russia(which Alzner's team won), or captain of team Canada for the 2008 World Junior Championships(which they won again).

Wait, he was. Well, it must be a coincidence that he was captain of all those successful team because he clearly doesn't have the heart or passion. And the leaders of those team Canada teams clearly don't know anything about hockey because they never would have elected a guy with no heart or passion to captain their team in the World Juniors.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 23, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Ovie was talking to one of his best friends after the game. It isn't a big deal.

Should he have done it away from the cameras and coach and in a more private setting? Sure. But think about it, think of one of your two or three closest friends from high school or college, then you go on trip for work and get to see for a few minutes after work. Even if it was a long and stressful day, wouldn't you go talk to your good friend for at least a few minutes?

There are things outside of work that are important. Family and good friends are one of those. Kovy is one of Ovie's good friends and he was talking to him after work ended. No big deal.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 23, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

@leftcoast

Haven't seen a post after my response on "BB comments". You seem to know all about past cUp winners. Go ahead, if you're gonna' trash me at least respond when I respond. Instead, you just take shots out of the dark. Tell me about all the Stanley cUp winners you've watched in person, and how they were assembled over the years by "cUp winning" GMs..

Tell me how they're just like this team. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

@DCfanatic

This was the "Stay Angry" year. I see Buf in Atlanta still angry, and he won the cUp.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

Great story about Stevens and the old Caps. I remember Stevens fighting Probert (the best ever) when Stevens was still a teen.

When did we go wimpy ? First day GMGM started NOT replacing Mark Tinordi D-men with NEW Mark Tinordi D-men.

Going back to Scotty. Can you imagine one of our guys(not DJK) taking on Booggaard, like Stevens went with Probert. Erskine might consider it for a second.

Still embarassed by Steck's performance against Tampa. If your gonna' be wimpy, at least WIN. Burry the puck in the net. Throw a glass banging hit. Refuse to be turned out when it is time to carry the cUp.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

i think the 'stay angry' t-shirts were meant for a certain segment of the fan base. I can’t be sure – but I think the other side of the t-shirt has a picture of a goat and a goblet on it.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 23, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Now I know why BB can not coach this team. Because their Captain should not be Captain. And oh Captain thinks he is the boss of the whole organization. Anyone watch that video with BB and hearing OVI's big mouth in the background. If anyone on here did something like that in our jobs we would be canned. Demote OVI immediately from Captain. He is out of shape and lazy. Not to mention a horrible leader. Can anyone imagine Rod Langway acting like a child. How about Dale Hunter acting like that after being schooled twice in three nights. Unfortunately nothing will be done because Ted, George and BB are spinless. This what happens when you have a Lebron Jame style personality run the team. I will say that Crosby and Stamkos do not act like a buffoon. He must seriously be on drugs or something to do that within ten feet of BB especially after sounding so very upset in front of the media.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

That episode made me lose all respect for OVI. I feel bad for BB which i did not think was possible. That OVI says BB and him are friends. That would seem to be a real problem in itself. Most great coaches the players would not refer to the Ice boss as their friend.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Here is a trade. Trade OVI, Eric Fehr, Flash, and Tom Poti for Mike Richards, Pronger and Karlson. Sounds good to me. One thing those fellows have is heart and talent.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach-Mario said it himself. He was featured on an episode of a show called Insider Training on Fit TV that aired last week. It's an old show, aired before his 2nd retirement. Showed Mario and Chelios getting in shape for the season. It was a good program.

I don't think the Caps were great, but they weren't beginning of the season Atlanta bad. Expecting guys to throw themselves in front of or dive for pucks in November is unrealistic. That's why we are so enamored with callups; they have to play that way. Besides, I always thought execution, not effort, was the Caps main problem. Watch them on the breakout. If it's not a stretch pass they seem lost. The D playing hot potato with the puck because they are scared to pass it out of the zone, a guy carrying the puck down one of the wings and waiting until they are swarmed to pass (not just Ovi and Semin), passes that are always off the mark. That's a lack of chemistry. Knuble was right when he told BB he needed to keep the lines together for more than one shift.

Also, it's becoming clear that you did not watch the playoffs last year if you claim Cup winners NEVER look that bad. Did you miss the Blackhawks stinker in game 1 against the Canucks AT HOME? 5-1 was the final, but it should have more. The Canucks snatched the puck from them like a bully on the playground, walked in their zone, and scored on their goalie. It was embarrassing. But the Hawks won the Cup so all is forgotten.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

@Ablake
That's two bad games in a week. I'm sure the Hawks had one bad game in there. Look at the way Buf pushes us around, and how those Hawks have changed the climate in Atlanta, we're missing something major that Hawks team had.

I don't buy the "chemistry thing". Did you see how Hartnall got the puck to Richards on that power play goal in the Flyers game. The guy was getting mugged. The effort level was great. That play shows you how they got through 3 playoff series. Play the Flyers tough, lay down to the Devils. Weird !

That Richards goal was created by hard work by one tough hockey player in front. I don't like either guy, but I would if they were on my team. Hockey isn't that complicated.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: Good point on Alzner. I have posted that too, that he has always been a leader. So I assume he'll be fine.

As for Ovi, I somewhat agree with you. One story I remember is Ted Leonsis I think saying anytime Ovi is within a mile, you know it because he is so loud. Actually if I were at work and Ovi were there as a worker he'd be annoying - because extremely loud people are often very annoying. Like the woman in the next cubicle who talks 15 minutes between each breath and makes every molehill into the Rocky Mntns. Some people are boisterous and happy and just don't know quiet. You can tell them to tone it down and they do for a bit but then they forget and are...LOUD again. BB though being Canadian probably more reserved as those of us from British or German stock.

However, had Mrs. Ovechkina been witness to the event, she would have called out, in Russian, "Sasha! Quiet! Your coach is speaking!"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The Caps overall lack mental toughness. Until they develop the mental part of their game, their play and success will not improve.

Stevens, Hunter, Tinordi, Ciccarelli, Konowalchuk, etc... Not only were these guys physically strong (lb. for lb.), they were equally mentally strong.

Posted by: puckman | November 23, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

@pkme

I',m so tired of watching hockey that won't win the playoffs, that I would do that trade. We would probably get into the third round. (Ovi is wearing me out) This is a cUp year. Start getting serious !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

Did you see the Flyers play the Lightning? I only saw the highlights, but not a lot of hard work there. Teams go through bad stretches all the time. It is the nature of the game. No team can plays hard 82 games a year. This early in the season, the Caps should work on perfecting their system and developing chemistry, win or lose. Everyone knows the Caps have the talent to get a playoff spot. They need to use this time to evaluate talent and make upgrades as necessary. That's hard to do when the lines change every shift.

Also, that Hawks loss was in round 2 playoffs. In round 1, they suffered a 4-0 drubbing by the Preds.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@puckman

You're exactly right.

BB needed to tell Ovi to "shut up"

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | November 23, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoah.

The Flyers would never make that trade though. The Caps defense and special teams would actually be best in the NHL in both direction if they did that trade. Richards is a better two way player, leader and special teams guy, Karlson is a really good dmen and Pronger would make the Caps tougher.

The Caps would never do that trade because OVI is the most marketable guy in the NHL at this point. He is a cash register for Teddy. Maybe Philly would do that trade.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

BB needed to tell Ovi to "shut up"
----------------------------------

That thought might have crossed BB's mind but I'm sure he wants to keep coaching and get paid doing those fabulous commercials.

Posted by: joek443 | November 23, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry. Pronger being the best defenseman in the NHL for the last decade would make the Caps better.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Joek443

You are correct. OVI is really the coach of the team and it shows. The incident tells a lot. if that were Scotty Bowman he would have said something. How about Arbour, Sather and or even the Murray brothers. They would have lit him up.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the HBO crew has been distracting the team. There is a good excuse.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

What did I fail to comprehend? You are basically saying that Caps fans are blind idiots for going to Verizon as long as BB is coach because he posts some wins. How does that make Caps fans any less intelligent than other fans whose teams don't win championships? Dude, many of us Caps fans have been in the stadium regardless of where the Caps have finished. Yup, us idiots were there when the Caps finished 14th in the Conference two years in a row.
-----------------------------------------------
Anyone who can't see their own teams flaws is rather dumb. It's just that there's a boatload more in Crapsland. Caps fans always brush the god-awful performances under the rug like corrupt officials paying off people not to talk.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | November 23, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

If I were BB giving post-game remarks:

"Hey! Alex! Why don't you and Kovy come up here and tell us what could be so d@mned funny after an awful game like that!"

Of course, I have never been one to keep my thoughts to myself. Once in a performance review at work they said I could be "abrasive." Considering how Ciccarelli is in the HoF, I guess that was a compliment. Dino was the man. I'll never forget how he'd scrap with Ulf (Ugly Life Form) even though Ulf was 80 pounds larger. We actually named our cat Dino. Funny thing is, that cat really WAS abrasive. Had him for a few weeks at the kennel while we were moving and they wrote down on the paperwork how he'd hiss at them. I'll bet that cat would have played tough in the crease. Anytime he'd escape and you went to chase him down and get him back in the house he was mean as a rattlesnake. Finally I said the he!! with it and just left him out and he got hit by a car. Sorry, Dino, that's life in the fast lane. BTW, we called up a replacement cat from Hershey and he was great too.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

BB will bring about his own downfall. I read a lot about it being better to hate to lose than love to win in regards to Ovechucklegate. I think this is better used to describe the problem with BB. The guy hates to lose so much that he will throw all his plans away to get a regular season win. Instead of letting them learn from their mistakes, his answer is to change the lines and ride the top guns he accuses of not playing the system. It foolish and counterproductive to success in April. If he believes so much in his system, make them play it. "Demoting" Ovi to the 3rd line and only letting him play 23:06 minutes doesn't seem like a call for Ovi to change his play. It's more like a "please save us Ovi" cry.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

If I were BB giving post-game remarks:

"Hey! Alex! Why don't you and Kovy come up here and tell us what could be so d@mned funny after an awful game like that!"

________________________________

He was about to until he found out Flash was doing the same thing with Elias. Would've looked bad.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

OK, this Pronger love needs to stop. Really. Some people either started wtaching hockey yesterday or have no memory. Summer of 09. The Ducks have Chris Pronger, with one year and 6.5 cap hit, on the block. Wanted from the Caps Varly + Carlson + pick. GM says "No." Philly takes him though and gives him a 7-yr extension until he's like 97 years old. During 2009-10, Pronger, still in the last year of the old contract BEFORE the new one kicks in, looks old. Flyers only make the playoffs due to Rags clanking the would-be game winner in OT off the post. Fast-forward to Playoffs in the Finals game 5 I think and Pronger gets a -5. Way to go Chris.

Would I wish that time could turn back and we would have Pronger now given the cost in trade and the cap hit going forward?

No. Leave him in that bu++-ugly orange and black. He's old and worn out and not worth the money.

Anyone can say, "We should have done this or that," but if you don't think through the full range of consequences, your statement is worthless.

That's my opinion. I'm sure you have yours. Sorry if I'm abrasive. He-he.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

there's only one thing that coaches in hockey and basketball are in total control of... that's playing time, MINUTES.

the best way to prepare this team for the playoffs is roll out 4 lines and 3 D pairs every night... Ovi shouldn't play more than 20 minutes/game and no more 25 plus minutes/game for Green.

Posted by: joek443 | November 23, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Look at Ted's Take for a it does not matter. In between saying the Caps are America's team or the Caps are Stanley Cup bound. He is so full of it. If it were Ted talking at the lecturn he would be furious. Guess he has to protect the golden goose.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

How is Varly + Carlson + pick too much for Pronger? Sure, we wouldn't have our $895,000 future stud and would have to rely on Braden Holtby for long stretches, but we'd have Pronger until the next millennium. Bad knees and all.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

ablake70: You know, from reading several accounts of this (btw, it was I who first dubbed it "Chucklegate"), I got the impression that Flash and Elias were reasonably quiet in their discussion. Meanwhile Ovi as I'm thinking he always is was sounding like Santa Claus watching the Three Stooges on TV while drunk.

"Ho, HO! Ho, HO, FKN HO!!!!!!"

Yuk, yuk, yuk!

Wise guy, eh?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

now Ovi and Semin yucking it up with Kovy after last night's loss is a national story...

and according to Engblom and Daneyko that's is a big FAT no no in hockey

Posted by: joek443 | November 23, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1-Credit for the "Chucklegate". Must have read it earlier and forgot.

Is the issue fraternizing with the enemy or being loud. I hope it's the former so we can trade them both. If not, I guess it's just Ovi on the plane to Edmonton.

joek-I guess those guys would have a fit watching the NFL players after the Superbowl. Most players are just like politicians; pretending to hate each other then hanging out after hours. How can you truly hate all players from other teams in the professional sports? With free agency and the salary cap there's a good chance that guy will be your teammate.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1

I do not think you are being abrasive. It is an interesting opinion though. I still think Pronger is a force though. He may not have the longevity of Lidstrom. Still one of the best defensemen in a generation. The contract seems a little out of whack and I thought so when the contract was signed.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Well, as someone posted today, after EVERY SINGLE NFL game you see players from both teams smiling and hugging at the 50-yard line. I've seen Ray Lewis do it. If one of the greatest players in NFL history can do it, than Ovi can do it.

That said, Ovi needs to understand the NHL isn't the NFL. This is a little deal, not a big deal.

ablake: It wasn't the trade cost of Pronger at issue only in my mind but the cap cost going forward. Philly is going to have to pay the full hit for 7 years and he's not worth it. Pronger has six years after this one and his tank is about empty. Not worth it.

joek443: Your 11:00 post is one of the most thoughtful, true statements you've ever made. Playing Green as much as 30 mins in an early season tilt is absurd. Maybe BB is trying to tell GM that we don't have the horses. But I don't believe it. Not with the forwards. Roll four lines, we've got competent players. With the D though I have sympathy with BB.

I have to really say though as a fan I'm getting totally sick and tired with Ovi two minutes every power play on the point. There's an expression about the foxes running the hen house or something to that effect and that's what we have.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

joek-It's only a national story because its Ovi. Ovi is to the NHL what Semin is to the Caps, a polarizing figure. He generates lots of page hits and viewer responses

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1- Pronger would have been nice if we had Philly's D corps. I do wonder if the Flyers would have done that extension had they known it was a 35+ contract?

I think the Ovi-Kovy thing is more common than most will admit. Players catch up with old friends all the time, even during warm-ups. The pictures attached to the "Volchenkov to Washington" rumors were Ovi, Semin, and Volchenkov laughing on ice before a game. I've seen Ovi and Kovy stretching together when Kovy was with Atlanta. This is only a story to give fuel to those who want to pile on Ovi from last year.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 23, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I could really care less about Alzner's junior pedigree...isn't that why he was drafted so high?? At the start of the year, he said he hoped to be more involved physically ala Erskine; well, that hasn't happened yet and I'm not holding my breath. At least after the NJ game Erskine said flat-out that the team stunk, no excuses. Shultz and Alzner have to spout off about playing, "..a nice simple road game," Jeff Schultz said. "And we just take it too easy and make it too simple early and think we're going to not have to work hard." Alzner expressed a similar attitude in an earlier CI thread; is his head that big that he doesn't feel the need to play hard every night, or does he not have a good role-model/mentor on the team??

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 23, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

OK, this Pronger love needs to stop. Really. Some people either started wtaching hockey yesterday or have no memory. Summer of 09. The Ducks have Chris Pronger, with one year and 6.5 cap hit, on the block. Wanted from the Caps Varly + Carlson + pick. GM says "No." Philly takes him though and gives him a 7-yr extension until he's like 97 years old. During 2009-10, Pronger, still in the last year of the old contract BEFORE the new one kicks in, looks old. Flyers only make the playoffs due to Rags clanking the would-be game winner in OT off the post. Fast-forward to Playoffs in the Finals game 5 I think and Pronger gets a -5. Way to go Chris.

Would I wish that time could turn back and we would have Pronger now given the cost in trade and the cap hit going forward?

No. Leave him in that bu++-ugly orange and black. He's old and worn out and not worth the money.

Anyone can say, "We should have done this or that," but if you don't think through the full range of consequences, your statement is worthless.

That's my opinion. I'm sure you have yours. Sorry if I'm abrasive. He-he.

Posted by: tominsocal1

I agree completely

Posted by: sgm3 | November 23, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

pkme: I'm taking nothing away from what Pronger HAS DONE. He's led three different teams to the Finals I think and has a Cup.

There's just not 7 years and $38M worth of gas left in that tank.

Not even close.

ablake: It isn't Ovi's "intent." Not by any means. The coach (BB) was explaining a brutal defeat to the media (put yourself in BB's skates as a supervisor) and here's your star player who PLAYED LIKE $H!+ having a yuk-fest with the highest paid "enemy" player.

OK, so let's say I am at the beach hanging out with some babe who I knew back when and we are making all kinds of noise while my wife is talking to some upstanding individuals. I don't care what this babe did for me in the past, it makes me look like an a$$wipe in front of these other people.

In life, it isn't reality that counts but perception and Ovi in this situation, audible while BB is on the mike, looks like a child.

Sorry to say, but Ovi needs Mom to come by and pull him by the ear and give him the facts of life. Great player, but immature. I'm a dad, three kids adding to 80+ years old, and if he were mine I would have yelled at him to show the coach some respect. That's what it comes down to. BB is coach and he was speaking and when that is happening every player (especially after such an ugly game) should shut the F up. What's different about this and NFL after the game is BB was speaking. So, it was not the end of the world but also you can't just ignore. Ovi needs to understand. To me it isn't an "Ovi is anti-hockey" thing but Ovi needs to respect his coach.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 23, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Caps this year are Green, Semin Chimera, Bradley, Hendricks and Erskine. They all work their butt off every night.

Posted by: pkme | November 23, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

You said you questioned Alzner's heart and passion. Those were your exact words.

My point was that why would team Canada make him captain if there was any question of his hear and passion.

And you said that was a while ago. Actually he was captain of the Canadian junior team in 2008. After he was drafted and only two years ago. I'm pretty sure he didn't lose so much heart and desire over those two years that he would go from enough leadership, heart and desire to be captain of team Canada to having his his heart and desire questioned.

My guess would be that the questioner doesn't have his facts straight or is questioning from a biased viewpoint.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 23, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

"Well, as someone posted today, after EVERY SINGLE NFL game you see players from both teams smiling and hugging at the 50-yard line. I've seen Ray Lewis do it. If one of the greatest players in NFL history can do it, than Ovi can do it.

That said, Ovi needs to understand the NHL isn't the NFL. This is a little deal, not a big deal."

I agree. The talking and laughing with Kovy afterwards was not a big deal. Ovie's mistake was the boisterous way in which he conducted and the close proximity to the coach that he did it. That is a minor error. I'm sure he has already been told not to do that anymore. This could not be a more minor story.

People who think that Ovie should hate opposing players are delusional. Like someone already mentioned, with free agency and trades your teammates change often. So if you play with a guy for 8 years and are best friends, families hang out together, kids play together etc., then he changes teams, does that mean your friendship has to end? How about brothers who play on different teams?

Anyone who says yes needs to get their life priorities straight.

You are not friends during the game, but after the game is over your friends are your friends.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 24, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

tominsocal1-I agree it looks bad because he was so near BB's presser. I don't know how Kovy-Ovi-Semin could have moved their chat since it apparently took place near the Caps bus depot. Also, we don't know what was said. Kovy could have been bragging about the game, and Ovi replied "Look at the standings". Who knows? In any case, I don't think it's a national issue, let BB and Ovi handle. I believe BB backed off because this is not an isolated incident. I'm sure Flash wasn't crying on Elias's shoulder because the team lost and he has played like crap.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 24, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

On Ovie at the point for 2 minutes, I agree. Persoanlly I think he should be at the point for the first minutes or 1:20(depending how the PP is going) and then have him move down low with another defender coming on(Carlson, or possibly Bergeron if he was picked up) to play the point with Green for the last 40 seconds or so of the PP. It would also make the back end less likely to give up SH chances and Ovie moving down low(either on the half wall or even in front of the goal sometimes) would add another dimension to the PP.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 24, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Tom

I agree with the tank left in Pronger. The way he plays and has played he will not make it to 42. He might have helped the Caps get to the Finals last year. Remember George Allen I think said the future is now. I just looked up Prongers stats and they sure are impressive. I did not know that St Louis traded Brendan Shanahan to Hartford for Pronger back I think in 95. His stats are really impressive. Soembody said he is injured a lot on here and that does not seem to be true except one year. You have to think part of the problem is the Caps are a really immature team and they sure could use some leadership from a player or players who have been to the Cup finals and made a real contribution. Maybe they need another Knuble but grittier and meaner.

Posted by: pkme | November 24, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

pkme: Well, I remember the day Pronger was drafted. Think it was 1992. Think I was watching from my house two houses ago Bel Air, MD on maybe ESPN. Think that was the year it was like Daigle to Ottawa, Pronger to Hartford (Burke was GM), Niedermeyer (Scott) to NJ and Kariya to the Ducks. I think I have it messed up, I think Nieds to NJ was a year or two earlier. I don't know. Maybe it was 93. The years they just seem like yesterdays after so much time. Already your time EST I am 53 although still 52 back here PST. Happy FKN birthday to me. Point is whatever year (I really think 93) Pronger was 2nd as we got Witt (as part of Stevens comp) 11th and Jason Allison 17th. I saw Allison 1st NHL point Caps vs Winnipeg I think April, 1994.

Anyway, Pronger gets in trouble with the law (didn't we all?) drinking before he was 21 or whatever (laws were 18 in MD then thank God) and Burke sends him to St. Louis for Shanahan. This is after Shanny signed with StL and had Scott Stevens sent back as comp. Hartford moves to Raleigh and Shanny gets mired in obscurity where he gets traded later to Detroit for Primeau who I think gets traded to Philly for Brind Amour.

Brian Burke meanwhile goes from Hartford to the league HQ to Vancouver to the Ducks where he reacquires Pronger (from Edm, due to Mrs Pronger) while I myself have moved from Baltimore to Orlando.

In the end, Burke is in Toronto, Pronger is in Philly and I am in LA. If this proves anything, it would take Albert Einstein to figure it out.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 24, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 24, 2010 12:41 AM

Happy Birthday to me, before it even is.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | November 24, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday tominsocal1. I'm lucky to be able to read your posts on an almost-daily basis. Your posts are thoughtful most of the time. Where TF is cstanton?

If everyone followed the example of Hendricks, who works hard ALL the time, we would be in better shape from the last few days for certain. It would be nice to have all the skill we have, and ALSO play with some passion and emotion. Every guy on this team needs to take a step back and remember that hard work got them where they are, and hard work is the only thing that will keep them in the NHL.

When we play with passion and emotion, nobody can seem to hang... We need a highly-visible leader-by-example who will play enough to be able to set that example. That and a 2C and a D-man who will make it miserable for the opposing, camping forwards. Not sure what GMGM is waiting for, but I hope he surprises us one of these days soon...

Posted by: sca187 | November 24, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

@sgm

past captain-ships aside, I haven't seen any passion, heart, or emotion from Alzner a quarter of the way into the season...have i missed something, can you share with me anytime this season he wore his "heart" on his sleeve? (I won't argue that he'll develop into a serviceable nhl defenseman, I just don't understand why people are effusive in their praise of both he and Shultz)

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 24, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

and happy b-day to tominsocal1.....i do realize i can irk some with my appreciation for old-school hockey and critical takes on the team, but i also realize we're all fans and we all want the same thing....so peace to all, happy Thanksgiving, and let's thump the 'Canes

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 24, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

You know, it's almost as if they've turned "robotic" the last three games or so. WTF is up with that?

We need an NHL-caliber third-pairing Dman as well as a more physical presence on one of the first two pairings. Erskine is good for 50 games or so with a good, mobile partner, but he should be our 7th defenseman. I am also of the camp that doesn't quite understand why GMGM thinks that Sloan is cutting it. He doesn't "suck" per se. I have respect for the man. But he is just a solid AHL defenseman and a solid call-up, but he is not a regular NHL defenseman.

Posted by: sca187 | November 24, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

When will this management realize that they have a very imature team on their hands and that something must be done to shake it up. I am speaking specifically of the elite stars who are seen partying out and about. Now you cannot stop a 25 year old from going out but there is clearly less focus on the season right now.

Until this team acquires some experience on defense and at 2nd line center, this team will continue to show flashes of brilliance in 85% of the games and then in the most important 15% fold under the weight of pressure.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: diner99 | November 24, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Continuing w/Alzner, I would think his low penalty minutes as a professional is somewhat testament to his lack of intensity. Does he ever come to the aid of a teammate in a confrontation? (I won't bring up the Bufglyin incident) Has his "heart and soul" play ever landed him in a confrontation or otherwise infuriated the opposition? I think he's a soft player, and thus not willing to do whatever necessary to win. I'm sure there are different definitions of "heart," I just don't see much in him.

Posted by: vermontcaps | November 24, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Happy B-day, tomin,

I think you are spot-on about differing definitions of "heart," vermon.

Schultz, Alzner - these are kinda nice, sweet guys, it seems. Doesn't mean they aren't competitive or don't hate to lose, but yer just barking up the wrong tree if you expect them to get angry in the way you describe/want. Not in their personality, you'll never see what you want to see there, they'll only ever frustrate you if you keep demanding it.

Reminds me of the parable of the frog and the scorpion: "I can't help it: it's my nature."

(Now, do I think the Caps NEED more snarl? Darn right, and that's on the GM.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | November 24, 2010 3:34 AM | Report abuse

I can understand why DJ King has been a constant healthy scratch. We brought him here to add toughness, heart and an honest work ethic which he has. I'm a hockey fight fan, but I don't care if he fights once a month. Having him on the bench completely changes the mentality of the players. They all feel a bit taller and a bit more bullet proof.

I have to think something is going on behind the scenes, BB knows the importance of having King in the line up. I'm not sure if it's a personality clash, King nursing an injury (unlikely, they could call up a youngster for a look) or what. To me sitting King is a huge waste of BB's resources.

Posted by: FLDave | November 24, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Happy birthday to you! (All the good posts from you and everyone were while I was asleep.)

If we had given up Varly and Carlson for --- Pronger, we'd be a weaker version of ------ last year's Flyers on defense. We'd have Pronger, Green, Schultz, and Alzner as our Top 4 and the same questions after that. (But if we were a Flyers-esque team, would we have gotten past Montreal last year?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 24, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

(But if we were a Flyers-esque team, would we have gotten past Montreal last year?)

Posted by: CapsFan75

I don't think so. Philthy won that series on offense and crashing the net and knocking into Halak (without getting a single goal called back of course, unlike the Caps). As far as Offense goes, Pronger only contributes by taking slappers at the point. If Green ever showed up in the playoffs, we might have a little bit better outcome. Just my two cents.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | November 24, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Who cares that the players shake hands on the field after games in the NFL? Each sport has it's own traditions and protocols. Some baseball pitchers don't want their 1st baseman talking to the runner on 1st, etc. In hockey after a tough loss it's generally assumed that the captain of the losing team won't be laughing with an opposing player like they're at a bar ordering another round. Yes, there is nothing wrong with seeking out your friends and countrymen from the other team after a game, but show some maturity and professionalism in the way you conduct yourself. This holds true especially for the Captain who has a lot of younger guys looking up to him after a 5 - 0 loss. I mean these guys make millions, they can get together whenever the teams are off and party it up.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 24, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

"Over the past three games, which go into the books as a three-game losing streak even though the middle decision was a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flyers ...."

Not according to the way the NHL records the standings. An overtime loss doesn't count as part of a losing streak according to the league because of the phantom point the losing team gets.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 24, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who believes this team, as is today, can compete for a Stanley Cup, is as crazy as Ted.

We refuse to learn from the past, you know the rest.

Posted by: underpants2 | November 24, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

My t shirt shrank in the wash, know where I can get another

Posted by: bqts | November 24, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else think that there may be a correlation between Holtby starting and the lack of team effort. Seem to me like maybe the boys don't want to play in front of Holtby. Thoughts?

Posted by: LetsGoCaps2 | November 24, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I do not blame Holtby at all. the Caps despite their decent record have looked really flat. Even in victories they look weak. Teams are going to start beating the Caps like a drum. Clog the middle put your stick down and OVI is powerless. How about a little dump and chase. Plus a real forecheck would be nice. The Caps D really is not that bad. Many of the Caps forwards not all of them frankly stink at helping out the D. OVI reminds me of Dennis Maruk with his positioning. Skate around the center ice and wait for a pass.

Posted by: pkme | November 24, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1:
Regarding Pronger... you know you are respected and well liked on here but Pronger could have help us... it's just that the price was way to steep for GMGMG and TL.

He was a +22 on Philly during reg season and +5 in PO's last year

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=681

Do I think that GMGM made the right move in not giving up Carlson, Varly and whomever else? YES!

However, if the caps had acquired Pronger, that doesn't mean they would have thrown that big of a contract at him. Maybe it would have been a little less in term. Maybe Pronger wouldn't have wanted to sign! We just don't know!

Also, do remember that Pronger's value is in his size, overall ability, presence, and experience; not specifically in his physical play (13 hits in 20 PO games).

Clearly Philly went for broke with the trade AND the contract... not something that's smart in the long term.

Posted by: FrankM73 | November 24, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

No question Pronger's had a great career and is still quite good - but I'm sure glad we didn't give up Carlson, Varly + whomever else to get him, in addition to getting saddled with that phat contract. And although he played well most of the playoffs, against the truly elite guys - i.e., against the likes of Hossa, Kane, and Toews, he struggled. And Babcock certainly saw something similar, as against Team USA he was rarely out there in critical situations [granted Canada is deep on the back-end, but still].

And I agree that, one or two years down the road, there will be an even bigger drop-off.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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