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Posted at 7:12 PM ET, 02/13/2011

Time for the Capitals to 'ramp it up'

By Katie Carrera

Coach Bruce Boudreau rounded up the players one final time at the conclusion of practice at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., to address them as a group one more time on Sunday. One of his points that echoed off the empty arena's glass was that it is "time to ramp it up" and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the locker room who disagrees.

This road trip is a critical moment for the Capitals. Five games that include four opponents -- Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose and Pittsburgh -- fighting to maintain their current standing in the playoff picture and a fifth, Buffalo, just three points out of eighth in the East. Then consider that prior to the completion of Sunday's NHL schedule all of these foes except for the Penguins have won five of their last seven games and not only is it an important trip but a difficult one as well. Washington is also 0-5-1 in its last six games against Western Conference opponents.

So what would be considered a successful road trip to Boudreau?

"We've got five games right? A successful road trip for me would be to win four games and tie the other one, but right now we just have to start with a tough opponent in Phoenix," said Boudreau, who was then asked about the ability to put together a strong run on the road with at least four wins.

"If we ever did something like that -- it's tough to do but not [impossible]," Boudreau said. "That would be the stepping stone that this team needed in the last quarter of the season."

A lot of the same keys and buzzwords heard from various Capitals remained a constant following practice here, but the focus, after Saturday's players-only meeting, is now on urgency. The team doesn't hold closed-door conversations like the one they did after the 4-1 loss to the Kings often and coming away from it the Capitals stressed accountability and an urgent need to produce results.

"We have to come together right now," Mike Green said. "We have our system in place, we know what to do but everybody has to be accountable for everything that goes on here. We have no reason to panic yet but we aren't comfortable....We're running out of time. There isn't any more time left to waste, for us to figure this out."

Said Nicklas Backstrom: "We have to be ready when we go out there, do all the little things right and actually do it. That's the biggest thing we have to worry about, these are tough games and if we aren't ready, if we don't do it -- We'll only have ourselves to blame if we lose."

By Katie Carrera  | February 13, 2011; 7:12 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau  
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Next: Capitals kick off road trip against streaking Coyotes

Comments

All this talk reminds of the scene from the movie Bull Durham when Crash Davis teaches Nuke LaLoosh how to do interviews.

Seriously why would anyone read these quotes from the players? It's the same ole crap everyday, like they have it all memorized.

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

it's gotten to the point where i don't actually read the articles and just come right down to the comments so i don't have to read all the same 'ole BS coming from the players and get to the real discussion.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 13, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse

JUST DO IT!

Posted by: Terptwin | February 13, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

this team won't make the playoffs. the coach hasn't got a clue and the "captain" spends his nights boozing before games. ovechkin is a huge disappointment. he shouldn't be the captain. he's immature and lazy. this team has gone from one of unlimited promise...to one of promises that amount to nothing. thank god for the nhl home ice...at least i can see hockey played by teams that really give a darn.

Posted by: dingram3 | February 13, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

this team has gone from one of unlimited promise...to one of promises that amount to nothing. thank god for the nhl home ice...at least i can see hockey played by teams that really give a darn.

Posted by: dingram3

Hard to argue with you.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 13, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@natresgroup
I agree, I pretty much go to the comments now too.
BB says win 4 tie 1. Every coach I've ever known says we want to win 'em all, and we'll approach them one at a time. I surprised BB didn't say win 2 lose 3 in shootouts. Now it's time to "ramp it up", not yesterday, not 2 weeks ago, not in December during the losing streak...now it's time, uh, ok.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 13, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

hey dingam you're an idiot.

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 13, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Caps are now 5 points behind Tampa. It is going to be difficult for them to catch Tampa the way they've been playing.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 13, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'll predict 1-3-1 based on what I've seen so far this season.

Posted by: ccape1 | February 13, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Second that 1-3-1. What teams are you all going to be cheering for in the playoffs? I'd like to see Vancouver win one.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 13, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it ironic that Mario says he is concerned about player safety yet he employs Matt Cooke?

Posted by: griz0615 | February 13, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

You would think from his comments that Lemieux never saw a 1970's era hockey game. Pretty simple hockey, the Islanders were out to pay the Penguins back for the previous game. Thats how it used to be. He's old enough to know this stuff. His comments are laughable.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 13, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the players words are as empty as the space between the opponent's goalposts.

Posted by: Almazar80 | February 13, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I read alot of the "rumor mill" blogs and pages and everyone of them mentions the Caps are looking at Philips and goalies (either Anderson or Vokou)n. Is it just me but shouldn't we be looking at some secondary scoring? I mean seriously I think it's about time for Semin to back his bags. What about guys like Arnott or Versteeg? Any suggestions on who we should be targeting? I swear if we trade for freakin' Milan Jurcina I'm gonna have a cow. Something has to change, it's like the Caps have reverted back to Glen Hanlon hockey. By the way..note to Ovechkin the NHL has you figured out. Adjust.

Posted by: jake81 | February 13, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Caps locked up Semin. So he ain't goin anywhere. No team will want to Semin, not for what the Caps will want in return. Any team that would want to sign Semin to a deal after seeing how he'd perform with them in a stretch run and in the playoffs won't have that opp since they'll have to take on his contract next year too even if he tanks horribly. The Caps should have waited to sign #28 based on how he performed the rest of the way.

Assuming he's even healthy enough to play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

btw, Hershey got spanked today 7-1 by the Baby Pens.

on another note, looks like Trevor Bruess may be out for a while. May have suffered a broken ankle in this fight v Binghamton.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lattAv_UepE&feature=youtube_gdata

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

You would think from his comments that Lemieux never saw a 1970's era hockey game. Pretty simple hockey, the Islanders were out to pay the Penguins back for the previous game. Thats how it used to be.
----------------------------------------------------------------

Right, that's also when the NBA had a lot of problems with fighting and drug abuse.

The NHL needs to decide once and for all if it really wants to grow or be stuck as the DISTANT fourth sport in North America.

The NFL is about controlled violence, from whistle to whistle NOT after the whistle. Does the NHL really want to go back to the 70's and remain a bush league sport, just be happy with 20K diehard fans in each city??

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's McGrattan with a forklift move on Hershey tough guy Joel Rechlicz.

The "recker" got wrecked. But he hung in there though. Alan May would've turtled at this point in the beating.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMvJ6qCroD8

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

After watching the Red Wings today I really believe they will win The Stanley Cup. I know it is an easy opinion. Even Caps fans like and respect The Red Wings.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

The NFL is about controlled violence, from whistle to whistle NOT after the whistle. Does the NHL really want to go back to the 70's and remain a bush league sport, just be happy with 20K diehard fans in each city??

Posted by: joek443

not after the whistle? What sport you been watchin? There's plenty of scrums AFTER the whistle. Some lead to fights.

The only thing that stood out in this game was that the Isles made a concerted effort to punish Penguin players outside of the actual action wthin the game. Still occurred while play was going on though. This was a perfect opp for the Isles because they've never been up by this many goals in a game in the last few years. To have it happen against a team they have a recent history with, that was just fate. To win the game handily and then send a strong to Pitt that they won't get crapped on was a big moment for that team. It doesn't mean they've turned the corner because they still need NHL bodies on that team. But it was a great underdog david v goliath moment.

I think the entire Isles org liked that message. And the fans as well.

Same way when we used to play Atlanta and they had the upper hand and still felt compelled to take cheapshots at our guys. That game under Hanlon wasn't an isolated incident. That hostility had built up for several games between the Caps and Thrash and Hanlon was just noble enough to unleash it. The Thrash had taken plenty of shots at our players over a 7 or 8 game head to head stretch and they were diligent about doling out physical punishment even while they were beating us on the scoreboard at the end of games. IIRC, Jeff Halpern had finally had enough of it in one game and dropped the gloves. Remember the 8-1 Atlanta win where they kept running our goalie and running our players? Eminger finally showed some pride and dropped the gloves against Petrovicky, and lost.

Finally Halpern came unglued and attacked a Thrasher player as the game ended.

That kinda stuff, had to be addressed. Andy Sutton was notorious for huge hits on our players and he did it at very insulting moments. Usually when Atlanta had a comfortable lead, Sutton would throw a monster hit on our guys. You can't keep taking that kind of abuse without snapping.

There was a lot of good things that have come out of brawlfests. Some of them have been defining moments for teams who have stuck together on the ice. Its helped their team chemistry. Detroit certainly overcame their bully when they went after the Avs in that notorious game. That was a very defining moment for the Wings. And fitting that their chief scrapper in McCarty also scored a huge goal in that game.

some brawls are just brawls. And some mean something. The Isles game meant something. They had to pay back the Pens and they did it gloriously and I'm sure they'll accept their suspensions and fines and move on with a smile on their faces.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

That's the thing with Semin, he isn't going anywhere. He had no respect for the NHL. If GMGM trades him, he'll refuse to go and head back to Russia. At least with the 1 year contract he can move him and let another GM deal with him.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 13, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

This org won't turn the corner until they cut ties with Sarge and Semin. It'll be a symbolic gesture that shows a different shift in their way of thinking and valuating players.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Semin is the least of the Caps problems. Lack of a 2nd line center and other team's having figured out Ovechkin's game has exposed the first line. The Caps need to make a bold move to get a top flight 2nd line center like Brad Richards (he's actually a No. 1 center IMO) even if they are potenital UFA's.

Caps lack of activity probably means this 5-game road trip will decide BB's fate. If the Caps go 1-4, it will make it much easier for GMGM to fire BB and bring in a veteran coach. Even if BB isn't the coach of the future, the team needs to be shaken up as the lack of effort and chemistry is noticeable to everyone.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 13, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

not after the whistle? What sport you been watchin? There's plenty of scrums AFTER the whistle. Some lead to fights.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

what sport have YOU been watching? If you land a punch after a whistle during an NFL game, 9 outta 10 times you get ejected from the game.

see they don't actually have a penalty for fighting in legit sports because the penalty is an automatic ejection.

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I think it is times for me to change my screen name, it is already too late to make a move. BB won't get fired on this road trip unless they go 0-5.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 13, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that BB will finish the season. They will do some trades before getting rid of BB.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

epic funny how people blame it on Semin who missed a month with an injury, and probably out of shape right now.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 13, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

what sport have YOU been watching? If you land a punch after a whistle during an NFL game, 9 outta 10 times you get ejected from the game
--------------------------

i'm sorry, are we talking about the NFL or the NHL?

And if we're talking about the NFL, why are we? Who cares about the NFL? The reason the NFL has better ratings over hockey has ZERO to do with hockey violence on the ice. It has to do with many other factors, mostly cultural/geographical. Folks play football in the south, the midwest. They don't grow up exposed to hockey. And if they did, a punch after the whistle in a televised hockey isn't going to turn em off the sport.

And there's MORE to it than simply pleasing 20K fans in each city. It has to do with how the players react to game situations. And if you want to suck the marrow out of the game by policing every emotion a player has, the game itself will end up being less intense.

It'll resemble a Caps game. Is that what you want? The only useless part of the game is the scripted fights. That's the part that the game can do without. That adds little to the actual team bonding or chemistry on a team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

epic funny how people blame it on Semin who missed a month with an injury, and probably out of shape right now.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate


trust me, I was blaming Semin WAY before this season ever started. And so were many others. But I get your point. Its hard to blame a player when he's always injured.

hyuk!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

see they don't actually have a penalty for fighting in legit sports because the penalty is an automatic ejection.

Posted by: joek443

You know the GLARING hole in your argument, right?

A football play last about 8 seconds. A hockey shift can last 45 seconds and it may be 3 to 4 minutes of continuous action before the whistle gets blown.

Now pretend you're watching an NFL game where the action in the game resembles a hockey game. Imagine linemen crashing into each other for 45 seconds at a time or a cornerback and wide receiver playing bump n run for a minute? You don't think over time that'll lead to some altercations?

hockey is a legit sport, don't insult it. Its an honest sport with honest emotions. People who try to completely kill the confrontational aspect of hockey just don't get it. When you battle relentlessly without a break, emotions flare up, fights occur. Its PART of the game. And you won't be able to remove that aspect without damaging the game and the trenchwar battles that truly make it unique.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Semin. meaning it is not his fault. I blame the highest paid potential 30 goal scorer in the NHL OVI. Also Backstrom is a shadow of his former play.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I still believe the Caps can make a serious run at the SC and will be rooting for them to do so. Now I don't have as strong of a belief as I did when this season began, but I still believe they have a shot if they can get on a little hot streak to start the playoffs and I will be rooting for them to do so.

If they don't, I will be disappointed, but oh well.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 13, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

What teams are you all going to be cheering for in the playoffs? I'd like to see Vancouver win one.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra


I'm going to say LA and Dallas in the West. Boston in the East. I can't bring myself to cheer for Philly or the Rangers despite appreciating the way they play the game. I like Vancouver too.

If the Caps make it, I hope we play either the Pens, Rags, Flyers, or Bruins in the 1st/2nd rounds. That to me will provide a sufficient test.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

You know what is sad...the Caps have one 20 goal scorer. The Islanders have 3. Hard to fathom that would be the case before the season.

Posted by: ThePat | February 13, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I think they can only if they make a trade or two to bring in a couple of players. This current group can win maybe a series.

Posted by: ThePat | February 13, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason every player is playing under their potential..besides M.P. who has no potential and should be gone let alone our 2nd line center. Anyways the problem is B.B. nobody respects him and the players will never work as hard as they should be working under him FIRE B.B.!!!!!!

Posted by: anton8359 | February 13, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

trust me, I was blaming Semin WAY before this season ever started. And so were many others. But I get your point. Its hard to blame a player when he's always injured.

hyuk!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse


so does that mean that when he had 38 and 40 goals season he sucked too? imho Semin can score 50 easily, but not with BB. 1st line drama gotta stop. This year it was Knuble(looks slower than Dj King), Chimera(that can only skate east-west)and others. I just can't understand that.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 13, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

@beforeitstoolate

I think you got your east-west confused with North and South.

And Knuble to me has been fine on the first line. Its not like he was fast last year. The problem is the other two knuckleheads who are just collecting their paycheck. Knuble is the only guy willing to go to the net that is healthy. Fehr was starting to do it too before he got hurt.

Posted by: ThePat | February 13, 2011 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Other teams got better and The Caps stayed the same. They also are so young and immature as a team. They need some maturity. Knuble is great and all but maybe another guy like him who plays center and is irritating but slightly younger.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

so does that mean that when he had 38 and 40 goals season he sucked too
-----------

suck? no

does he fit into a team-oriented concept of hockey? Not in my book. He's a classic "sum of the parts not greater than the whole" kinda player. You can probably win with Semin but more likely you will go further if you can trade him for 1 or 2 other players who don't measure up in the statsheet the way he does. Players who can play regular shifts and raise the overall play and confidence of their teammates. That's the kind of players we've needed to add for a long time.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to be a player for the Coyotes tonight. Must be very hard to sleep, knowing that BB's boys are gonna "ramp it up" on you tomorrow night!
Going back to the Isles/Penguins thing. That was pure retribution, not one of these staged fights we see today. I see nothing wrong with it.
As far as the NFL, I like football, but I hate all the showboating and taunting, etc. However, there must not be a lot of people who care, because NFL ratings are King.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 13, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call Knuble "great" per se. He's serviceable. That's it. He doesn't have young legs and you can see him pace himself in games. I've seen a Knuble skate his tail off, and then I've seen a guy more content to just spend his energy around the crease. I'm glad he got demoted because I thought he was kinda goin thru the motions for a while. I think he'll get re-energized and remotivated to add his element to that line.

Chimera got a little boost when he got promoted, then old habits crept back in and he got predictably demoted again.

No matter how much Bruce tries to add either Semin or Chimera to the top line, the only two viable options that we have are Knuble and Fehr. That's it. Any other move will be temporary and quickly scrapped.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I agree on Knuble and Fehr. And Fehr will likely go there when healthy.

Posted by: ThePat | February 13, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Going back to the Isles/Penguins thing. That was pure retribution, not one of these staged fights we see today. I see nothing wrong with it.
--kbrich--

As a Caps fan, besides the Hanlon-led assault on Atlanta, I remember seeing us getting retribution against Verbeek for his many antics against us, including the infamous skate cut v Langway. The Caps more than got their revenge against Verbeek. They just hammered him. Hatcher was part of that. Even the classic Stevens hit on (his future partner) Daneyko was a real defining moment.

V the Flyers, I saw the Caps get in many shots on some key guys who had tormented us - the Sutters, Mellanby, Derrick Smith, everyone except Tocchet. Even Dave Brown got his a little courtesy of Langway (not in a fight).

V the Pens- Rouse, Kordic and the gang got theirs on v the likes of Loney, Caufield, KStevens, Bourque. Guys who pushed us around and taken liberties when they had their chance. And of course between Hatcher, Stevens, and Iafrate (with honorable mentions to Gould and Krygier) we got our shots in on Mario.

V the Isles - we got Duane Sutter.

Its important to get your shots in on teams and players who have taken advantage of you over the years. Its more than just sideshow goonery. It has a tangible positive effect when you stand up to a bully.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I still believe the Caps can make a serious run at the SC and will be rooting for them to do so
--sgm--

until the Capitals can play about 8 strong games in a row, your hope is rooted in fantasy. We're lucky to see them play extremely hard across the board for 3 games in a row.

The only way they're going to be able to change that trend is at the very least, an infusion of 2 or 3 players that meet certain criteria. Players who can really bring about an overall positive effect onto a team. They have to be real leaders and have a Hendricks' type of mentality and work ethic with hopefully more ability.

I say at the very least because, it may also take a coaching and possible GM change for that (trendchanging) to happen.

The personnel changeover is possible but unlikely. The coaching change is even more unlikely. And the GM change is about 2 yrs away.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Writing from the Days Inn in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Another three hrs to Phoenix tomorrow. Hope the boys can turn it around. OTOH, this might be the last time I ever see Boudreau live.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 13, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I have come to believe that the Caps don't want to make the playoffs -- that pressure once in will be INSANE given what happened last year, and I don't think they have the stomach or the talent for that. Also, the players probably believe that not making the playoffs will get a fresh start with a coaching house-cleaning, and come next year, the context will be lost a bit since BB will not be around, and they could play with much less pressure and the wind behind their back. Infact, a savvy GM would read this and would have already made a change to save the 10-11 season. The Penguins did not want to climb that mountain again with Therien after losing in the Cup Finals, and a message was sent that the GM received and acted on. McPhee can keep harping "Bruce will be here for a long time to come", but the players are telling him something very different. Coaches are fired after winning Cups and going to Cup Finals, Bruce acts incensed at the topic like it is a preposterous subject, like he is entitled to those nauseasting TV ads esp. the one about that Mercedes with a trunk for a large Cup. Not sure what he is referring to in that one.

Beyond the above "player's intentions theory" 3 things have happened to ruin this season: #1. More "green" talent on the active roster/game - JC74, KA27, MP85, MJ90, technically MH26 in this but he is the exception; #2. Some of the older talent suddenly past its expiration date or in serious decline - MK22, BL21, SH23, JS55 - need I even mention Tom "IR" Poti..; #3 Superstars way underperforming - GR8, NB19, AS28...the exception is MG52 but with him you never know from night to night.

Ironically, the only overperforming bunch was the biggest question mark prior to the season - the 3 kid goalies. Holtby maybe the best of the three, when you take the balance of athleticism, technique, work ethic (an insider birdie told me - Caps not happy with either Varly or Neuvy's work ethic) and injury avoidance into account.

1-3-1 is the right call on this road trip, and the best chance of that lone W is the first game against Phoenix. Both the Ducks and Sharks are losses -- take those to the bank (I will!)...and no way we beat Buffalo that is right now doing its best impersonation of the 2009-10 Caps. Assuming we get a point against an equally pathetic and depleted Penguins team. Tampa will do a 3-1-1 of their next 5 at home. The margin for the division will be 9 come Feb 25th when we are home for the Rangers AND we maybe 3 points out of the 8th place at that time. That Rangers game will be a must-win just to keep the playoff hopes alive.

I think while 10-11 is a disappointment and anyone expecting anything more this season should do an instant reality check, but I still think this team's foundation with another layer of young talent and maybe a couple of round of coaching changes will win 2-4 Cups in the next 10 years. Take that to the bank as well!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | February 13, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

cstanton

I did not mean as a hockey great but great as a role player and a voice of wisedom. I doubt very much penetrates OVI's ears though.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Writing from the Days Inn in Lake Havasu City
------------

tryin to track down some of those "girls gone wild" I'm sure...

haha

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Carolina is charging forward and the Devils are catching on fire too. The Penquins will fall out of playoff contention. Caps may end up around 6-8 seed. Carolina will most likely pass The Caps. Forget about the Bolts. they will take division.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I think they can only if they make a trade or two to bring in a couple of players. This current group can win maybe a series.

Posted by: ThePat

I definitely agree that the Caps need to make a move (most likely for a 2nd line center) to have a good chance at making a run. But I've seen enough NHL playoffs to see that the Caps, even as they are built now, could make a run if they get hot at the right time. If you get Ovie, Backstrom, Semin, Green and Varly all playing at the top or near the top of their games, the Caps have a chance to win any game. It doesn't mean that it will happen, but I will watch and root for it to happen and will be entertained as I get to see what unfolds.

@cstanton1

You can feel as you want to. I will go in watching the playoffs rooting for the Caps and hoping for the best. If I get to the point where I feel 100% certain the Caps have no chance and I have no fun watching them play, I will spend my time doing other things. That's just the way I look at things. Others are free to do as they please.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 13, 2011 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Coaches are fired after winning Cups and going to Cup Finals,
----------

absolutely. The one constant is the GM. Coaches wear out their welcome at some point. They can have successes at certain points of their careers and abject failures in other situations (i.e. Mike Keenan). Marc Crawford is having renewed success now with Dallas. He didn't suddenly turn into a bad coach in LA. He's been a good coach his entire career. In some cases he's been blessed with a Pierre Lacroix at GM, in other cases he's had lesser GMs and personnel to work with.

Bruce may be successful in the NHL. But not paired with McPhee. That's a horrible combo because there's no balance. They both believe in all the wrong concepts.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

It is astounding that even after the end of last eason The Caps management team even ackowledged they needed a second line center and yet here we are still needing a second line center. Makes you wonder.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

doesn't make me wonder. They're idiots.

Btw, only way McPhee possibly gets canned is if the Caps don't make the playoffs. Then I say its probably 40-60 in our favor.

Ted's going to need more time to plan a McPhee firing only because he's such an integral (and yet non-valuable) part of the organization.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading about the Pens doing some big trades coming soon. Chero knows how to make deals. It should be interesting. I do not think The Pens will make the playoffs as constructed and because of injuries. The rumor mill has them going after Eric Staal.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt The Canes would trade their franchise player but you never know.

Posted by: pkme | February 13, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

We've got five games right? A successful road trip for me would be to win four games and tie the other one, but right now we just have to start with a tough opponent in Phoenix," said Boudreau, who was then asked about the ability to put together a strong run on the road with at least four wins.

"If we ever did something like that -- it's tough to do but not [impossible]," Boudreau said. "That would be the stepping stone that this team needed in the last quarter of the season."


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

you know whats funny? I think the Caps could win 4 of the 5 games and still come back home and tank the next 3 or 4 games. That's the kind of team they are. They don't get any sustained boost from anything. They don't get excited about playing a certain way and keeping that up. If they did, their effort v SJ would've been much better. That game to me defined exactly what this team is about. They have no endurance for the kind of effort it takes to win in this league. They gave it two hard games, and came back and crapped their pants.

Look at the Pens. They're reeling. They come off a brutal physical game on the road v the Isles. Then they have to go to the Rangers, arguably one of the most physical teams in hockey. And yet, they take a depleted battered squad and they play the Rags tough. They put in the work (34 hits) and they keep the game within reach.

They lost the game. But you can't fault that kind of effort and tenacity. And if I was a Pens fan, I wouldn't bag on them for how they played today despite losing.

As a Caps fan, I don't see this team being able to do that. To get involved first and foremost in a 300 PIM game, then go right into MSG and play a very physical competitive game like the Pens did today. That kind of mental and physical tenacity is what has carried the Pens team for the last 3 yrs. They know HOW to lose. And they don't do it gracefully.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 13, 2011 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I heard from a good source that the Caps most inquired about asset is Cody Eakin in these deadline trade talks. Key sellers like Burkie and Lou love him. I don't like the idea of giving up on Cody Eakin. Many years ago, we gave up on a unsure center prospect named Sakic for a guy called Hunter and a mediocre goalie by the name of Malarchuck. That Hunter thing worked out, sort of, but Sakic may have meant a Cup Final / Cup in that 1990 season of the Conf Semi-Final loss. But I digress...

JEEZ! I really really hope that we don't trade next year's Jeff Skinner for some retread "2C" like Brad Richards or Jason Arnott or Phil Kessel. Eakin is McPhee's drafting genius success just waiting to prove itself - I don't think he will do it, but he is the most in demand prospect asset.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | February 13, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Based on the what I have seen of Eakin that would be a possible disater to trade him. He nearly made The Caps roster this year at 18. He will make it next year. Maybe trade one of the Russians. It is gambling. Sometimes you never know how a player is going to turn out but it maybe safe to say Eakin just like MJ are very talented players with a lot of upside. Maybe we should not leverage our future too much. This most likely will not be The Capitals year. No sense in trying to be more stupid.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

keep reading about the Pens doing some big trades coming soon. Chero knows how to make deals
----------------

I know they need centers but I bet they'd like to land Penner or Versteeg upfront and pray that Crosby at least can make it back this season.

Depends on what they'd have to give up from their prospect pool. They have a young dman named Bortuzzo who has size and can handle the puck at the point in Wilkes-Barre, and they have a good hardnosed skilled center prospect in Nathan Moon in juniors.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 12:03 AM | Report abuse

cstanton

You are more up to date on the AHL than I am. I will take your word on that.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

lets not dwell on Sakic.

The Lindros trade outfitted the Avs with an incredible array of hardnosed talent. Simon, Forsberg, Ricci, Deadmarsh

Those 4 right there contain a sick amount of skill, toughness, and leadership. Simon being the toughest and the least leader-like of the 4.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

sorry, they drafted Thibault with the Flyers pick and Deadmarsh with their own pick.

Thibaulf of course turned into Patrick Roy and Mike Keane.

To have a team that had Adam Foote, Sakic, Owen Nolan, Deadmarsh, Keane, Ricci, Simon, Roy, Forsberg.

That's just an embarrasment of riches.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Folks I actually do think Mcphee and his team is really solid on drafting. We need to give credit where credit is deserved. David Poile was much better at putting together trades though.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Shero is a tool!

Ponkarovsky was his big deal last year, right? POS. Truth of the matter - most of these deadline deals are crap in the long run.

The only sure thing in this year's trade market was Mike Fisher, snagged by David Poile, who has cornered the market on drafting D-men, but can't draft 1 legit sniper, ever! Anyone still debating the Legwand - LeCavlier draft outcome?? Jeez...

The one that the hurts the most as a Caps fan is Eric Fehr for me...who was taken right after him? Drum roll....by the Anahiem Duck - Ryan Getzlaf. There's your 2C!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | February 14, 2011 12:18 AM | Report abuse

The one that the hurts the most as a Caps fan is Eric Fehr for me...who was taken right after him? Drum roll....by the Anahiem Duck - Ryan Getzlaf. There's your 2C!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | February 14, 2011 12:18 AM | Report abuse

You forgot Perry, Richards, and Kesler

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

From what I've seen of Cody Eakin, he's like a less gritty version of TJ Oshie imo.

Built about the same. Oshie's tougher, Eakin's quicker. But very similar games otherwise. They're both quick, they both have skill, and they both anticipate the play very well which makes them good defensive centers. When I first saw Eakin I was thinking Todd Marchant. But his offensive game may end up better than Marchant's was at similar times in their careers.

Do I think Eakin should be labeled untradeable? I don't think so. But he's definitely an attractive prospect because he looks to have more balance in his game than some of our other young skilled prospects. And of course he plays the all elusive position of center.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I am not in the fire GMGM camp. I think he is a decent GM but unfortunately he has made some mistakes. Especially going into this season. He knows how to pick the right players from a drafting perspective and is pretty darn good at managing the Cap. Everyone need to stop the fring crusade. I have bee calling for BB to be terminated but at this point let the guy finish the year and who knows what will happen. If the Caps make the playoffs and are first round exit than he would have to go.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

David Poile was much better at putting together trades though.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I agree - he picked a lot of pockets esp. with D-men: Gary Galley from the Kings and Calle Johansen from the Sabres were steals. Also, he got lucky with a fool on the other end once: Espo traded Ridley and Miller (and Crawford) for Bobby Carpenter who would only last weeks with the Rangers before being dealt to the Kings for Marcel Dionne.

David Poile, however for me was misery personified - I will never forgive him and old Abe for not matching the Blues' offer sheet to Scott Stevens and I honestly believe that the worst trade he made was Sakic for Hunter and Malarchuk. A top-line center like Joe Sakic would have done a world of good for this franchise in his eventual 2 decade career..and Poile would not have to make the ridiculous Al Iafrate for Joey Juneau (looks like a sports car, but one made by Kia) in his forever quest to find a legit centerman.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | February 14, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

There were other reason on why Stevens was not resigned (I do not wish to discuss but you know what I speak of). I love Stevens and he is one of my favorite players but at the time the money offered was considered insane. What was Rod Langway making at that time 400k. If I remember correctly the Blues offered 1.5 million per year. It was a lot of money. Boy the money in professional sports has gotten insane in the last twenty years. Even avergae NHL's make millions. Crazy. On another note we could have had Mike Bossy and a million other great players. Think of all of the teams that passed on Brett Hull. he was 116 pick.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The Pens got smashed by the Rangers today. Who cares if they got hits, they got killed. The goal of the game is to outscore your opponent, if you don't do that any other "victory" is meaningless.

The Pens scored two early goals to go up 2-0, and then let up 5 consecutive goals by the end of the 2nd period. Maybe they should've focus on playing defense instead of hitting.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 14, 2011 12:51 AM | Report abuse

You really have to love Mario complaining about cheap shots. How many Dirty players do the pens have? They are the most penalized team in the NHL. Then they try to act Steckal is some cheap shot artist. Steckel is one of the cleanest players in the whole NHL.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 12:55 AM | Report abuse

In addition, the Pens didn't do much hitting in front of their net either as many of the Rangers goals were scored in close with little to no resistance from the Pens defensemen. Those tips from in front of the net were wide open.

When the Caps play defense like that they are crucified on here(often deservingly so), but for some reason you are complimenting the Pens for playing a similar type of horrible defense that you always crucify the Caps for when they play that way. Is there a double standard?

Posted by: sgm3 | February 14, 2011 12:59 AM | Report abuse

joek: C'mon. The friggin' Ravens are famous for brawling after the whistle. Players are RARELY if ever thrown out in an NFL any more. They simply throw a flag, give offsetting 15 yard penalties and get the game started after a 10 minute commercial break.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

All of you people that want to keep talking about the Pens making big deals need to understand what is going on. With Malkin on LTIR they have the ability to go after a very high priced "rental" who will be a UFA at the end of the season WITHOUT having to move other salary. They will have to give up prospects or picks, but they don't have to have a dance partner assume salary to take on salary. The Caps cannot take on a Richards contract without moving a Semin out of town because of salary cap issues. I still stick to my prediction though. If you see the Pens make a deal and bring in a player like Richards it will tell us that Crosby WILL be back for the playoffs, guaranteed. If they don't, it is possible that Crosby won't be back for the playoffs. Shero is a great GM but I am positive he'd rather not have to worry about bringing a short term stand in to Pittsburgh because Malkin is a loss. He'd much rather be assessing little additions.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1: Did you watch the Pens/Rangers game? The game wasn't competitive at all. They Pens got 2 very early fluky goals and the Rangers reeled off the next 5. The Rangers coasted in for a win. Now the Pens have a minor league line-up right now, but they didn't have a chance in yesterdays games. They will begin to sag a little now due to injuries. Their defense and goaltending is still in tact but they are wearing down now.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

2007-2008 LHJMQ stats

1-C-Perreault, Mathieu Bat

gp G A PTS PiM +/- PPG SHG WG

65 34 80 114 61 33 9 4 6


TG SH SH% FO WF% GH

0 245 13.9 1365 58.80 37

2-RW-Giroux, Claude Gat

55 38 68 106 37 40 8 6 8

0 172 22.1 934 54.20 53

3-C-Paré, Francis Chi

69 54 48 102 54 41 12 7 5

0 315 17.1 1418 57.80 13

4-RW Voracek, Jakub Hal

53 33 68 101 42 21 6 0 4

0 222 14.9 5 0.00 29

Please be patient...


Perrault need a north american goal scorer on his side...Not Chimera or Laich common...MP need someone who can read the game.

2 much hater here.

nuff said'


Posted by: Presbyter | February 14, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

My 2 cents on "ramping it up" - 110% of 70% = ( ... drumroll ... ) 77%. 1-3-1 on this road trip.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 14, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

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