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Capitals get back to work

The Washington Capitals' morning skate just ended here at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, and the team was on the ice a few minutes ahead of the 11:30 a.m. scheduled start time.

The energy level appeared high the morning after a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which entered Friday night's game having lost seven of eight and had lost to Washington at Verizon Center seven consecutive times.

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau is still tinkering with his lines in the wake of recent moves that brought in a handful of new players. Only the established top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble is set.

Four players each worked with the second through fourth lines. Newcomer Scott Waker and Alexander Semin worked on the wings on the second line along with Brooks Laich and Eric Belanger, another recent addition, at center.

Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera were the wingers on the third line, with Tomas Fleischmann and Brendan Morrison at center, and the fourth line comprised Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, David Steckel and Quintin Laing.

As for whom will be starting in goal tomorrow against Western Conference power Chicago, Boudreau's pattern suggests it might be Jose Theodore, but stayed tuned. Tarik will have updates after he arrives in Chicago.

I'll be writing for tomorrow's paper about how the team plans to rebound against the Blackhawks in a nationally-televised game on Sunday morning, so pick up a copy of The Post or visit the Web site later today for the latest.

By Gene Wang  |  March 13, 2010; 11:46 AM ET
 
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Next: This morning's lineup: Caps at Blackhawks

Comments

Hold up... are you saying there is a reason JT60 might NOT play?

Posted by: large23220 | March 13, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I did not like having Sarge & Carlson out last eve, and had been looking forward to seeing Belanger from the seats. Fortunately we should be playing with a full deck tomorrow.

How about this?

Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Belanger-Semin
Fehr-BMo-Flash
Chimera-Steckel-Gordon

Green-Schultz
Poti-Corvo
ShaMo-Carlson

Theo

Posted by: Sonyask | March 13, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

All I want to see tomorrow is a competitive game and I will be happy! I am not making excuses, but I believe all the line tinkering which could not be vided hased to a lack of "clicking".

I have not been impressed lately with Corvo or Green. Corvo looks lost and Green is WAY to nonchalant with his passes!

I was pleased that the PK looked goo last night, but we have got to dobetterabut braking into the middle of the ICE...we are not lacking in shots, but they all seem to come from the perimeter.

Posted by: capscoach | March 13, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

All I want to see tomorrow is a competitive game and I will be happy! I am not making excuses, but I believe all the line tinkering which could not be vided hased to a lack of "clicking".

I have not been impressed lately with Corvo or Green. Corvo looks lost and Green is WAY to nonchalant with his passes!

I was pleased that the PK looked goo last night, but we have got to dobetterabut braking into the middle of the ICE...we are not lacking in shots, but they all seem to come from the perimeter.

Posted by: capscoach | March 13, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

These lines seem even worse than last nights.

Scott Walker with Semin and Belanger? That's a waste of a line. I think Bruce needs to play the lines hes planning on using come playoffs tomm, and no more of this "Bradley and Walker in the Top 9" business....

Posted by: BACKS | March 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@TarikElBashir has packed extra clothes for this upcoming trip in case long-rumored deal goes down while he is on the road.

What's that? What deal? Is Tarik going to be traded to Buffalo News?

Posted by: CodePoetry | March 13, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@sonyask
those are the lines i would want...
though i wonder if bmo wouldnt be better centering the 2nd line and Belanger wouldnt be better on the 3rd if only because Fehr-Bmo-flash as a 3trd line is going to play against a lot of other teams top (2) forward line combos and with belanger there instead of Bmo, there is a little more size and defensive-responsibility there...

Semin, when on his game, and Laich, normally, play fine defense to offset Bmo who CAN BE (see: always) gets outmuscled in our own zone

Posted by: cotelloer | March 13, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Also
The caps played non-chalantly and all that stuff last night, but, erally...Tampa execuated a flawless gameplan against us...They sacrificed all sorts of bodies and basically shut down the neutral zone/middle of the ice when they got the lead (as well as did a good job of rebound control)

It's the sort of gameplanning whereby a bad team beats a good team, and the Caps fell prey, though there were still plenty of chances that on a good night wouldve goe in for us...
(also, sloan and erskine shouldnt play, especially erskine agaisnt a fast-as-b@lls team like tampa where the forwards just skate around him like so much pylon)

Posted by: cotelloer | March 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Also
The caps played non-chalantly and all that stuff last night, but, erally...Tampa execuated a flawless gameplan against us...They sacrificed all sorts of bodies and basically shut down the neutral zone/middle of the ice when they got the lead (as well as did a good job of rebound control)

It's the sort of gameplanning whereby a bad team beats a good team, and the Caps fell prey, though there were still plenty of chances that on a good night wouldve goe in for us...
(also, sloan and erskine shouldnt play, especially erskine agaisnt a fast-as-b@lls team like tampa where the forwards just skate around him like so much pylon)

Posted by: cotelloer | March 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask - I'd play Walker or Bradley over Gordon but otherwise that's my playoff lineup.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Watching Chicago play...they are very aggressive and we will need to bring our checking gam with us to keep up.

Good news...they take penaltis...bad news...their PK looks really good.

Posted by: capscoach | March 13, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask - I'd play Walker or Bradley over Gordon but otherwise that's my playoff lineup.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I would too but Gordo sat last night, so this is what I see tomorrow.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

So Philly is playig well against Chicago...so I think as long as we put lots of pressue on chicago we can do well. They are a lot like TB in the sense that if you pressure them enough they will cough up the puck.Philly has had a ton of chances but the puck has not gone in...but then again we have the best offense in the league.

Posted by: capscoach | March 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I would go:

OV - Backstrom - Knuble
Semin - Belanger - Flash
Laich - BMo - Chimera
Brads - Steckel - Walker

Green - Shultz
Poti - Corvo
JC - ShaMo

Theo
Varly

That would be my playoff lineup. Sucks sitting Fehr, but I think the top 2 lines will be scoring enough.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 13, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred15 & Sonyask

On line combo suggestions, prefer Sonyask's suggestions, at least for the first three lines. Think Laich goes better with Semin and Flash and Fehr go well together. Overall, for the Caps, things go better when Fehr is in the lineup than when he isn't.

For the 4th line, I'm open to suggestions but figure Chimera at least is in (or should be) even though he's more of a third liner than a 4th liner but he has to go somewhere. No matter what we do, at least we have a 4th line that's good enough to play in a game more than sparingly.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well if Philly can beat Chicago then we should 2!

Posted by: capscoach | March 13, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I guess the Hawks did not get "up" enough for the game against the Flyers. Maybe they were looking ahead to the Caps.

Also, maybe the Hawks will come out "sleepy" since the time change takes effect tomorrow. (At least, flying west one time zone for the Caps cancels out the time change.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Gene Wang -

"As for whom will be starting in goal tomorrow..."? It should be "who", not "whom". Sorry, that's a huge pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, thanks for the update. I can't wait to see the lines tomorrow.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | March 13, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

(also, sloan and erskine shouldnt play, especially erskine agaisnt a fast-as-b@lls team like tampa where the forwards just skate around him like so much pylon)


Posted by: cotelloer | March 13, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

erskine was perhaps our best defensemen in last yr's playoffs, why doesn't anyone give him love here? his play didn't contribute to any goals against last night, yet you'd think he lost the game....morrison and green struggled the most on the blueline by far,but (i guess) because they're they get a free pass for their poor play and the defensive problems lay at sloan and erskine's feet...geez...erskine's experience and intensity would bring more to the table come playoff time than anything j.carlson will bring....send carlson down, let erskine play regularly and WE WONT MISS A BEAT

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree that having 3 lines that can score would be nice, and Flash - BMo- Fehr would be a third line that can put the puck in the net, but I feel that come playoff time the team is going to need two lines that can play more of a shut down role. That is my reasoning for having Fehr as a scratch to start, and having a third line of Chimera-BMo-Laich. This is just my opinion, but I feel that the top 2 lines I mentioned before would do a good job of scoring, and the other two lines should be designed with keeping the puck out of the net in mind. Personally, I would feel much more confident with Chimera-BMo-Laich on the ice in the defensive end than Flash-BMo-Fehr. Again, just my opinion...

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 13, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Recall how Laich always talks about "going to the bakery to get bread and going to the net to get goals".

If Belanger is on his line tomorrow, he now will have a baker on his line. The name Belanger is a corruption of the word Boulanger which means baker. So we now have a baker on the team.

We already have a butcher as well, as Fleischmann means butcher in German. So we have a butcher and a baker but no candlestick maker. (The only last name I can think of that means candlestick maker is Kendall.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75: As always, you keep me entertained with your etiology. Thanks! (So, Fleischmann is not a margarine? lol)

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 13, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Since Tarik is day-to-day with the flu, I'll bail him by posting a Caps vs Blackhawks preview:
http://washingtoncapitalsblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/caps-vs-blackhawks-preview-game-69.html

Get Well Tarik!

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | March 13, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

anyone else going to the game tomorrow?

Posted by: _stevo | March 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Who on which line? I agree with CapsFan75--I like Laich on the second line with Semin and Belanger because Laich is so good with the garbage goals.

IMO it's the 3rd and 4th lines that are the most problematic. Put Chimera on the 3rd line with BMo and Fehr and where does Flash go. Put Flash as center and leave BMo out, then winning faceoffs on that line is a problem. Put Flash on the 3rd as a winger and drop Chimera on the 4th line, then it's a waste of Chimera's speed and scoring potential. Go ahead and bite the bullet and keep Chimera on the 4th and then we have four players competing for two spots: Stecks, Gordo, Brads, and Walker, all of whom are deserving to be in the lineup.

Tough, tough choices. And that's just the forwards. For defense I really missed Carlson and especially Schultz last night. And I'm not saying that Sloan and Erskine had bad games--they are just not as good.

I don't envy BB's difficulties, but isn't great that the Caps have such a plethora of talent. I have a hunch that the lineup against Chicago will be a possible playoff lineup. Given that Chicago played lackluster as did our Caps, I think that perhaps the players on both teams have circled this matchup. I do hope we see the best out of both teams AND that the Caps win in a convincing manner.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 13, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I think that was suggested before. "Seems to me that Green is better defensive forward. Any thoughts? Same goes for Sloan he played great early in the season on the wing.

Posted by: mmilen | March 13, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Too add to my previous post, lately Green (that is before the break) plays horrible defense, regardless of his scoring.

Posted by: mmilen | March 13, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

@ Aldred

put belanger between fehr and flash and it's a much better defensive line that can also still score
(thus moving Bmo up to the 2nd line, and hoping semin playing defense, which he can, and laich can overcompensate for Bmo)

As last night at Tampa proved, you can never have enough offense, and Fehr is too good to have on the bench...so, just move chimera to the 4th with stecks and bradley...chimera is very good, but he doesnt really pass well or receive the puck well when it's passed (he's an odd player to watch!) so, he sort of is going to cntribute regardless of who he plays with (unless it's like backstrom and Ovi)

Posted by: cotelloer | March 13, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Also isn't it time for Ovi's minutes to go down to 17-19 a game. EC top spot is almost wrapped up, BB should allow less minutes, but demand quality. It hurts watching Ovi just sitting in our zone. Roll them often and have them rolling ALL THE WAY.

Posted by: mmilen | March 13, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1

I guess the descendant of a butcher started to make margarine. (Fleischmann) Another Fleischmann in sports is one of the officials with the St. Louis baseball Cardinals.

Another German last name meaning butcher is Metzger. The French equivalent is Boucher.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns & cotelloer

Hard decisions for Bruce on personnel. I would go with Fehr on the third line and move down Chimera to the 4th, by default. Fehr is even more wasted on the 4th line than Chimera as he is a good scorer. He's at least defensively responsible enough to be good in the Plus/Minus department most of the time as is B Mo.

Agree that both the Caps and Chicago have circled tomorrow's matchup on their calendars.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I should have gone to watch practice since everyone seemed to be there. (I had assumed that practice would be optional so I didn't feel motivated to make the 1/2 hour long drive in rainy weather to drive to Kettler.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

TomInFla (or should I say Tom Formerly In Florida),

I'm sure you're preparing to move. But today I was reading one of the items on my 365 Days a Year Cat Calendar and your orange cat is red after all. Many scientists refer to the gene that produces the orange coat color as a "red" gene and the "red" gene is actually dominant. So your cat is rocking the red legitimately and you don't need to dye him red for him to rock the red since he is "red" naturally.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody else see Cherry on CC? He went to town on Cooke about the Savard hit. He also brought up a good point about this opening up a can of worms for the rest of the season. Him not getting suspended is just going to give other players reason to hit guys in the head because they know they won't face any disiplinary action and can get away with it.

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 13, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I would love to see as the full playoff roster:

Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble
Semin-Laich-Flash
Chimera-Belanger-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Walker

Green-Schultz
Corvo-Poti
Carlson-ShaMo/Erskine

Theodore

Maybe switch Flash and Belanger; possibly put Laing in for Walker against shot-heavy teams. Of course, if BMo starts playing like a 2nd line center again, maybe he'll crack my lineup. But as he's playing now, I'd sit him.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 13, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfan75

Ah well, wish I had gone to practice but we were at our son's last hockey game of the season. It was a good game. They are happy.

I'm glad that the Caps had an energetic and upbeat practice. I agree that Fehr is too good to sit out and neither he nor Flash belong on the 4th line. So by default that shifts Chimera down. Hopefully that just makes the ability to score on all four lines that much more potent.

I personally like Belanger on 2nd and BMo on 3rd but it really is a guessing game.

I do hope that the first line gets its mojo back. Individually they are playing better but the line does not quite have the passing and net crashing in sync yet. I feel confident that they will find it soon.

We have a date on the couch tomorrow for this game. It's a shame that the game has to be so early--and I mean this for both teams. I do hope for a statement game, that the Caps make it known that they can compete in the West as well as the East.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 13, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

This is just lovely... Sindy mocking Ovie with the gold medal and the Cup is running away with the poll. Let's get some "no diving" votes, Caps fans! http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Vote-Now-Sidney-Crosby-Golden-Roar-Reader-Art-C;_ylt=Ao720PvI9uU.HTlaTeILuTB7vLYF?urn=nhl,227726

Posted by: F_Danny_Boy | March 13, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

erskine was perhaps our best defensemen in last yr's playoffs, why doesn't anyone give him love here? his play didn't contribute to any goals against last night, yet you'd think he lost the game....morrison and green struggled the most on the blueline by far,but (i guess) because they're they get a free pass for their poor play and the defensive problems lay at sloan and erskine's feet...geez...erskine's experience and intensity would bring more to the table come playoff time than anything j.carlson will bring....send carlson down, let erskine play regularly and WE WONT MISS A BEAT

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

you should take your frustration to BB himself and ask why Erskine gets in a game every other week... if you read the opinions of most posters on here, the consensus is Poti, Corvo and sometimes Green don't belong in the NHL.

But judging by the ice time, there's no question those guys plus Schultz are the TOP 4 d-men on this team... those posters must think BB doesn't know much about hockey, right?

Posted by: joek443 | March 13, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the folks on here that suggest Chimera on the 3rd line.

What has Chimera given us offensively over Fehr and Flash? If you just sort all the wingers we have, by goals scored, we have 6 well above and beyond Chimera.

Chimera has speed, and is a big body, but on our team, he's a 4th liner, no dought about it.

His speed can give us a better scoring chance on the 4th line.

Whoever wants to see him on the 3rd line, please justify this logic...

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

And Laich has already proven to us he's more effective as a winger.

We have 3 legitament puck distributing centers now. Lets use them.

Chimera has one goal in a caps uniform, and its not like he's creating a bunch of offense otherwise or getting close scoring chances.

He's a fast big body, and can play physical, simple hockey. This is a perfect 4th liner on our team. As much as I love our Brads and Gordon, Chimera is faster than those guys and has a slight offensive advantage.

I think if Walker and Chimera could be centered by Stecks, it would give us a 4th line that could seriously threaten to score every game, and even get one in every other game or so.

That type of contribution from the 4th line is HUGE come playoff time.

The last time we had Chimera and Walker on the 4th line, Walker got 2 goals.

Posted by: floms | March 13, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

3rd line, 4th line... it's JUST a number

4th lines usually get 2 shifts/period, 3 if they're lucky

they're interchangeable, whover plays well at any given night will get a couple more shifts

Posted by: joek443 | March 13, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that Alzner isn't in the lineup for Hershey tonight.

Is he injured or was he called up?

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 13, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

floms, you need to check your facts. Chimera has had 5 goals and 7 assists in his 25 games since coming to the Caps, and is +7 during that time - which is a better pace than Steckel (67 games, 4 goals, 7 assists), Gordon (32 games, 4 goals, 5 assists), Bradley (65 games, 8 goals, 12 assists), or Morrison (67 games, 11 goals, 25 assists). My logic in putting Chimera 3rd line is this. The 5 best centers we have are Backstrom, Belanger, Steckel, Flash, and Laich. All of them except Steckel have easily outscored Morrison, so I would not even play Morrison - to me, he is one of the weakest forwards on the team. He hasn't been scoring, so I wouldn't put him on either of the two top lines; he can't play physical, so I can't see putting him on the third or fourth lines. So the way I see it, we can have two incredible scoring lines (Ovie-Backs-Knuble, Semin-Laich-Flash), a great checking line that can also score (Chimera-Belanger-Fehr), and an energy line (Bradley-Steckel-Walker). Why would you NOT use Chimera on the third line?

And just because I'm interested - what lineup would you use?

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 13, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

The story on Alzner is that he's "under the weather"; i.e. not feeling well.

(The last time we heard that story was during the playoffs when he and Sloan ended up getting called up.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update, CapsFan75.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 13, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

Great statistics on everyone. It probably looks like the following. If B Mo plays, then Chimera moves down to the 4th line If B Mo doesn't play, then Chimera stays on the third line.

Quite a dilemma here. Flash and Laich are basically second line players for the Caps but can't both play there during the same game. So one of them has to move down to the third line. While Fehr's also essentially on the third line since there's no room for him on the 2nd line either.

No matter who's on our 4th line these days, it's a decent 4th line that can play more than 8 minutes per game and we're not afraid to use them.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who feel certain players deserve to crack the line up based on points, don't forget to consider other aspects of the game. Point production is only one consideration. BMo for instance should not be scapegoated because his numbers have dropped off. If that were the case, Steckel would not be in the line up as well. It is obvious the coaching staff realizes different potential in each player and they do their best to put together the best in scoring, defensive play, face offs, grit, speed, etc... BMo obviously bring something to the game.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 13, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

If nothing else, Morrison doesn't get in the way of his wingers being productive. And he's had a good Plus/Minus rating this year, last time I checked.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

BB is a successful coach so I am not going to question him on what he is doing, but darn it if it doesn't look like self destruction with his constant line changes.
I can only imagine how great Semin would be if he had a more constant line; this guy is an artist with the puck but some of his artistry goes to naught because of a lack of cohesion with his other line-mates. Too bad BB can not see that, just when he begins to click with someone (Laich, Flash, OV) he gets new line-mates.

Posted by: nimes1 | March 13, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

@nimes1

Somehow Semin keeps piling up goals and assists and a good Plus/Minus rating with a variety of line mates (and injuries).

Admittedly, he was "off" last night but he'll get it back. At least people are less likely to throw him under the bus than they were earlier this year when it had gotten ridiculous.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the formatting of the Japers' site got hosed up tonight, with black ink on a navy blue background?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

BB is in a great position here and he is making the most of it. With the division clinched, he has the luxury to see where the new players fit best with the system and with as little impact to the chemistry as possible. I think he knows a bit more about the game than at least a few of the fans here. The trades were made to improve the team for the playoffs. It's like training camp again in some ways. If all else fails, he can certainly go back to the lines as they were before the trades were made. Until then, let coach have some fun.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 13, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

@ timmyv38 -

Thanks for pointing the stats out. I didn't realize Chimera had 5 goals with the Caps.

I just think Morrison can play center. If he can, Chimera should move down, if he can't Chimera stays in at 3rd, as Capsfan75 pointed out.

Posted by: floms | March 13, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't expect a callup for Alzner... yet. We only get four non-emergency callups between now and the playoffs, and I *think* Carlson is one of them.

Posted by: irockthered | March 13, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

I assume that Alzner is sick for real this time. And Hershey's short of personnel at the moment since Matt Perrault was injured yesterday and Dylan Yao (sp?) got hurt pretty bad today.

The South Carolina Sting Rays are hurting big time between all the callups and injuries as of late.

Things are so bad at Hershey that will we need to send someone down on loan to them?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

@nimes1

I always wonder what kind of numbers Semin could put up with a superb and constant center such as Backstrom, and otherwise good, stable linemates.

Posted by: Steakum | March 13, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Semin's biggest hurdle for putting up huge numbers is his durability, NOT his linemates

Posted by: joek443 | March 13, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I would agree, if BMo is being played as 2nd/3rd line center, then move Chimera down. But this entire year, he has not been producing. Low point total, fairly low faceoff %, weak physical play. I see no reason to not play Laich and Flash on the second line with Semin - one as center, one as winger. (Just curious CapsFan, why do you say they couldn't both be 2nd liners in the same game?) The only advantages BMo gives over either of them are experience and faceoff%.

And gonchpup, your argument has no basis. There is a major difference between Steckel and BMo. Steckel fulfills his role - he is the 2nd best faceoff man in the NHL, and plays well on an energy line. BMo isn't producing the way a 2nd line center should, especially on a team where offense is the strength. The 2nd line center should be a decent point producer. Instead, there are 7 forwards on the Caps with more points than BMo. There are also 2 more with only a few less points. Those 9 are who I would put on the first 3 lines. BMo is not playing to 1st/2nd line standards, and does not have the physical ability to play 3rd/4th line, so right now, I don't see a place in the lineup for him.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 13, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

timmyv38 - Well, I guess you know more about the game than Bruce...

Posted by: gonchpup | March 13, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

gonchpup, stop being an idiot just because I showed how you are wrong. I think Bruce is playing BMo because he thinks his numbers will pick back up - which might very well be the case. I would love it if they did - he is a hard-working, skilled, experienced center. If he would play up to the level he has shown previously,he would undoubtedly be the best option for 2nd line center. Just, as he is currently playing, I would sit him - that is all I said.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 13, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"If Belanger is on his line tomorrow, he now will have a baker on his line. The name Belanger is a corruption of the word Boulanger which means baker. So we now have a baker on the team.

We already have a butcher as well, as Fleischmann means butcher in German. So we have a butcher and a baker but no candlestick maker. (The only last name I can think of that means candlestick maker is Kendall.)

Posted by: CapsFan75"


Suddenly my name has Caps relevance!

Awesome.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 13, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

timmyv38 - Now resorting to calling me an idiot. What a class-act you are. Does only your opinion matter? Mine was simply that the coaching staff must have their reasons and I am sure their reasons have much more credibility than any of the fan's here. That makes me an idiot?

Posted by: gonchpup | March 13, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, I just gone done speed reading through the posts since yesterday's loss. For the most part the Caps, Green, Semin, BB, and even Ovi can not get a break from fans on this board. I still cannot figure out what you all want. The Caps are in first place in the entire league. You can say it's because they are in the SE but I will raise the BS flag on that being the only reason because when you compare how teams in the East do against the SE the Caps blow every other teams performance against the SE.

Someone a few posts back said the Hawks are a really really really really good team. Well, yeah they are, but they also gave up a really really really really late goal against the Flyers today to lose in overtime. They are also really really really really 6 points behind us in the playoffs and will STILL be behind even if they win tomorrow.

It's just amazing to me that people on here have out of state handles and 3 years ago we couldn't even get home ice advantage at Verizon let alone compare to the roars I hear on TV when the Caps score on the road. I guess most of you just haven't been around the Caps or hockey to realize just how good this team is and just how lucky we are to have these guys. I also get a feeling that some of you thoroughly enjoy when the Caps lose because then your doom and gloom predictions come true for a day. This isn't in response to anyone in particular so don't take it personal.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 13, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

No, what makes you an idiot is resorting to childish comments like that just because you were shown to be wrong.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 13, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

timmyv38 - Childish would be continuing this banter with you. I have better things to do - sleep. Go Caps!

Posted by: gonchpup | March 13, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired, the Hawks gave up a really really really really late goal in regulation not overtime.
Also, the Caps have a significantly better winning percentage against the Southeast than any other team. That was my point in that paragraph. I'm tired and headed to bed.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 13, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I have an "out-of-state handle" because I moved to Texas in 2002. I've been a Caps fan for nearly 30 years though. My father was going to games from the time the team was founded.

As far as comparing the Caps' point total to the point total of a team in the West, that really isn't a good comparison since the West is clearly the better and deeper conference this season. They have heavily dominated inter-conference play.

Chicago leads the league in shots for/against and are a top offensive and defensive team. They are really, really, really good. Nobody ever said they were perfect.

Goaltending is their obvious Achilles' heel much like we have question marks in goal, defensively and on the PK, in particular.

I'd say Chicago is an all-around better team than the Caps. That doesn't mean I don't think we could beat them in a game or a series.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 14, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Hey I realize just how fortunate we are to have this team. I have no doom and gloom. The Caps may not win the Cup this year but they are absolutely in a great position to make that run with confidence and are roster-wise intact to make that run again next year. I was listening to the Capitals Report recently when they were discussing the trade additions and they joked that it would give fans much angst as they suggested lineups. Well we fans have done that alright. But when it is so hard to shift guys around it makes me realize just how formidable this team is. Every line is a scoring threat. How amazing--really.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 14, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Blackhawks, the first hockey stick I ever got at a game was a Dennis Savard stick when the Hawks visited the Caps Centre back in '83 or '84. I wanted a Caps stick but that's what they had available after that particular game.

Also, does anybody remember that one bar at the Caps Centre that had the sit down Pac-Man game. My father used to always go there after games and have beers with his friends while I'd sit their playing Pac-Man. Good memories.

I still have a little paraphenalia from back in the day. I gave away a lot of stuff though. I remember giveaways like the full-sized Scott Stevens growth chart (or was it Rod Langway or did they do both?), the mini Caps hockey stick and a plaque that showed award winners like Doug Jarvis when he won the Selke. All I have left from those days are some small Caps glasses.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 14, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Chicago has much better defense than the Caps. The Caps have much better offense (yes, much). The goaltending is a wash.

We score 0.66 more goals per game (roughly what Crosby scores per game). They give up .36 more goals per game. We're #17 in GAA. They're #4. We're #1 in GFA, they're #4.

You could look at that one way and say the Caps have a good offense but mediocre defense while the Blackhawks are good at both. BUT the right way to look at it is the Caps have a GREAT offense. The difference between our #1 offense and their #4 defense is almost twice as big as the difference between their #4 defense and our #17 defense.

Go Caps!

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 14, 2010 4:41 AM | Report abuse

@ capscoach
"I have not been impressed lately with Corvo or Green. Corvo looks lost and Green is WAY to nonchalant with his passes!"
My observations exactly. Remembering what BB said a few weeks ago that there is no downside with Sloan. At least we get an honest, steady effort and he stays at home. I'm just not seeing the benefit of some of these acquisitions having to go through line juggling again and again and again when everything was running so smoothly the last month +. Main concern is locker room attitude with all the healthy scratches.

Posted by: rockdaredlangely | March 14, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

first it's way too early to judge the performance of the new players.

second they got'em for the playoffs, NOT to win a few more meanlingless regular season games.

Posted by: joek443 | March 14, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Seems like Huet never plays against us when we play the Blackhawks... it kinda sucks. I'd love nothing more than to beat him.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 14, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

My son lives in Chicago and is a 'Hawks sth, whose first love is, of course, his Caps. So he'll be at the game today wearing his Ovechkin jersey. He tells me that the Chicago fans despise Huet, hate the fact that they are saddled with that monster contract for 2 more years, and after yesterday's melt down in Philly,he could see considerably less playing time.

So I guess GMGM looks smart in retrospect not to have given him the 3 year, $5+MM contract he wanted 2 years ago.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 14, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker

Can we now call you Fleischmann-Belanger now? You're officially part of our second line now. And you can dish and receive passes from Alex Semin now.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 14, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

It hadn't dawned on my that your "handle" reflected that you're from out of town.

Is it a shortened form of "T Mac" to You'all? Or Texas Mac to you all?

I do recall you as being from Potomac, MD and went to school with Jeff Halpern.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 14, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

GM GM's move to not sign Huet to a 3 deal deal looked smart last year, as well. Huet wasn't even playing regularly last year anyhow and for all the criticism of Theodore last year, I doubt that Huet was really any better than him. (I don't have the stats from last year in front of me.)

So, it looks like Montreal was smart for getting rid of him when they did.

We were smart for getting him for our stretch run two years ago. We essentially got him for his last good period of performance.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 14, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@CF75: I guess Ovi (little lamb) better beware, since we have Flash (butcher) on the team.

We are at Best Western in valencia, ca. Got here yesterday and fly back Thursday am. This morning game is on 9:30 local time on NBC, so I can watch. I'll watch Tuesday from sports bar near where I'll work in Palmdale, so I can scout that out.

This is house hunting trip.

Very much excited to see how Caps do vs Hawks. Really weird because it's still dark here yet almost game time.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 14, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I hope Theodore is playing today. He has been better goalie than Vralamov. I can't understand why Niemi isn't playing more in Hawks's net. 25 games and only 5 losts. Maybe I'm just watching trough finnish colour classes

Posted by: raimolaiti | March 14, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

11:30 local start on top of switching to daylight savings so it's more like a 10:30 start in the morning

don't think the guys will be awake...

Posted by: joek443 | March 14, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

They'd usually be practicing by then, what would the issue be? SHould be more of an issue for the Balckhawks - will be like a 9:30 game for them.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 14, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

They'd usually be practicing by then, what would the issue be? SHould be more of an issue for the Balckhawks - will be like a 9:30 game for them.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 14, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

joek: I'm going to have to rush back from breakfast to watch the game. I know I won't be ready. Obviously way, way to early to drink beer during the game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 14, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

hope they didn't forget to change the clock like I did, almost missed the first F1 race of the year this morning...

Posted by: joek443 | March 14, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

We used to have a line with both a sheep (Ovi) and a goat (Kozlov). They always have talked about separating the sheep from the goats in various Biblical passages. (Of course, there, the sheep are on the right and the goat was on the left. We had it reversed.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 14, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Good luck on your house hunting. We were doing that just four years ago when we moved to the DC area--just in time to jump on the Capitals bandwagon and check out this Ovechkin kid--ha, ha. And to get our son involved in playing hockey.

The number of kids learning hockey in this area has increased dramatically just since we'v been here. Many youth teams have waiting lists and plans to expand next season. What a sea-change. This is how to build a hockey town--developing passion for the sport from a young age.

Early start isn't fun for either team, both coming off of annoying losses. But I expect both teams to be highly motivated--at least I hope so. Despite the success of both teams, pundits love to criticize them.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 14, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

the only thing most people question about chicago is their goaltending but even with that they're still near the top when it comes to goals allowed... if one of their goalies stays hot, they're gonna be tough to beat in the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | March 14, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Dirty hit by Ovechkin on Campbell. He should get at least 2 games for that!!!

Posted by: JPDC39 | March 14, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

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