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Capitals get the day off

Coach Bruce Boudreau gave the players the day off today following a three-game road trip in which the Capitals went 2-1 but had to overcome shaky goaltending over the final two games.

Michal Neuvirth was pulled twice, and while Jose Theodore was solid in last night's 5-4 shootout win against Florida, he played poorly in Tuesday's 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay.

As of now, there's no update on the condition of Semyon Varlamov, whom the Capitals are hoping will be back soon from the right-knee sprain (MCL) he suffered in a rehabilitation start in Hershey a few weeks ago. As soon as Varlamov's status become available, we'll let you know, so stay tuned.

Update: Check out Dan Steinberg's very funny breakdown of Jason Chimera's Gordie Howe hat trick last night.

By Gene Wang  |  January 14, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
 
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Next: Bruce Boudreau on Semyon Varlamov: 'Every day it's getting better'

Comments

OMG. Theo deserves to start a few games to get his confidence back.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 14, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Look at that!! I was first.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 14, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

More good praise for Carlson. The Hockey News named Carlson the #1 AHL Rookie Prospect. Neuvirth was also on the list (#6), who barely qualifies as an AHL rookie.

Here's the link: http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/30733-THNcom-Top-10-AHL-rookie-prospects.html

Posted by: JD09 | January 14, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Neuvy played that bad Tuesday, it was the 5 guys in front of him. He was terrible last night though and deserves a good week or two off to get his head together.

Posted by: UnleashTheCaps | January 14, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

To those advocating an enforcer as a priority, let me remind you that we let in 11 goals against two non-playoff teams. I don't think a bruiser is anywhere near the top of the list. I'm not even sure it's on the list.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 14, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

The Caps were out hustled, out muscled, challenged, beat up and demoralized in Tampa. The Caps go down one goal, you send out your enforcer, rev up the troops and you possibly have a new outlook on the game.

An enforcer does much more than simply fight. The best example I have for the Capitals is when they got John Kordic. Prior to him joining the Caps they were in a serious funk. Kordic came in, challenged everyone, beat them down and the Caps won every game he played (it was limited due to his substance abuse).

I don't think an enforcer alone is needed. We have serious problems on the blueline. We have a ton of offensive talent upfront and not a single solid D man. I know someone will point to Schultz +/- but he is marshmellow soft. This team will go nowhere in the post season with it's current defensive corp.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Even though neuvy had a bad game last night and didnt get help against tampa,I still think he deserves to redeem himself.With a little more experiance and NHL training he's gonna be an elite goalie in this league.And honestly i think a bad game here and there is good for him,a chance to see where is confidence is and to work on it and see where he needs to improve.Goalies that come out the gate as rookies and have a stellar year with barely any blips usually falter the next.Kinda like steve mason this year.Sometimes you need those bad games to evaluate yourself and work on making yourself better.Neuvy definitly has the talent and with more exp. and working with Irbe hes gonna be something special.I think our #1 of the future but we'll see.I luv varly and neuvy so this should be good.LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | January 14, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:

I think maybe we did not deserve to win last night.

But I'm glad that we did.

--We did a much better job of being first to loose pucks in the defenive zone than was the case against TB. However, we still got bottled up in our own end far too much for my liking during the first 40 minutes.
--OV back in the saddle--maybe not a scintillating O-My-God-Did-You-See-That type of goal. But a goal is a goal nonetheless. There will be more!
--Yes, Flash, gets the winner in the shootout, but he would not have had his opportunity had Brooksie not redeemed himself by breaking his 0-for-whatever SO drought.
--Chimera=worthless? Not so fast, folks! He gets the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (and here I was thinking Brads would be the first Caps player to get one this year!)
--Neuvy disappointing on the softies that got in, but he'll redeem himself sooner rather than later--Please come back Varly!
--Theo outstanding in relief: he played a key role in stabilizing the game, turning away what could have been the 'nail in the coffin' several times. Even the haters have to admit we still need him. But they'll probably just remain silent until the next goal he lets in--whether it's a good one or not. Then they'll probably start woofing again at GMGM to "get rid of him NOW!"
--BMo's regulation scoring drought must end soon, after that deft deception of Vokoun in the SO.
--Pothier--Yes! More scoring from blueliners not named Mike Green=good trend.
--B├Ąckis=steady as a rock and constant as the Northern Star.

Go home, boys: get rested, and come roaring back for the very important homestand.

MY PREDICTIONS:

TOR: This team is better than their record; we need revenge, but it won't be easy. Caps win 4-3, provided they bring their "A" game. Otherwise a coin toss.
PHI: Philthy is finally buying into Laviolette's system and it is beginning to pay dividends.However, if we stay out of the box (and keep PHI players in there), We will have another rout. Otherwise, the team with the better performance in net will win. Caps win.
DET: Riddled with injuries but still dangerous. Caps need to score early, then out-trap the trappers as they did when we beat them last season. Discipline and balanced scoring at even strength will be crucial; we won't get that many chances on the PP, and Lidstrom et al. will be doubling- or tripling-up on OV and Sasha. Caps win 3-2.
PIT: Everything depends on the zebras and MAF: If the zebras call a straight game, solid coverage on Crysby will pay off. If not, well, you can guess the rest. Malkin has been quiet lately, but he is proably due. However, he also doesn't have the invisible stripey force-field that Crysby seems to have. If we can get to MAF early and often, we can stomp 'em. www.die_pens_die.com. Caps win in OT.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 14, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

8 out of 8 available points? The way the Caps played against cellar dwellers? I think at this point they will be lucky to get 3, unless someone waves a magic wand...

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Shaky goaltending?

Hah. The Caps were horribly inconsistent the past 2 games, nevermind the goalies.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

You don't think Bradley flying out of nowhere and jumping Downie is going to make teams think twice about running our players?

I think it will. Bradley may not be an enforcer, but he is quietly earning a reputation around the league. He loses almost every fight, but win/loss doesn't give the team energy, the fight does.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40: I find myself agreeing with so much of your analyses, but I do wonder if the Caps can get 8 points. I sure hope things fall that way. OTOH, FLDave is being overly pessimistic to predict that the Caps will be lucky to get 3 points in 4 games.

I hope that the "SoaringCaps/SinkingCaps" poster has decided to go underground for a while.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 14, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@FLDave:

Yes...a definite possibilty since they have often slacked off against cellar dwellers...then come up aces agaist elite teams.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 14, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I think we're going to smash Detroit.

Can't wait for the first Pens/Caps game.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the last two games are a good indicator of how the Caps will perform against the Flyers, Red Wings, and Pens.

As often noted here by many people, the Caps often to seem to let down against weaker competition. This is common for many good teams during the regular season. However, the Caps usually play very well against top competition, especially at home.

I have absolutely no doubt the entire team will be focused when playing the Pens and will give a great effort. The game before the Pens would often be a game in which they could overlook the opponent, but since that is Detroit I doubt they will overlook them.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 14, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I think 4-6 points out of 8 is realistic over the next 4 games. TOR=win, PHIL=push, DET=win, PIT=push (leaning towards loss).

An enforcer would be a huge liability in the playoffs and should be last on the list of needs. You can't point to one game (Tampa) and go, OMGz we need an enforcer!!1!1! Take the season as a whole and it really doesn't look like the Caps miss having a Brash on the team.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 14, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Nope. Bradley doesn't scare anyone, he's earning a reputation around the league as a punching bag.

I was watching the Tampa feed the other night and the announcers (pretty solid homers) mentioned that the Bolts might have exposed how to beat the Caps. Through physical play. Having Bradley, Steckle, etc answer the bell against a true fighter is crazy. Hopefully GMGM will take note and do someething.

Some have said our enforcer is the power play. That doesn't work when a game is tucked away and there's 7 minutes remaining on the clock. Players want to take runs, challenge the Caps to fights, etc so they can show their coach they are doing something.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Any chance Varly will play again before the Olympics or is he not going to risk missing it by having another injury?

Posted by: Ray180 | January 14, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I don't think TB beat us with physical play - we just played an awful game. And the fisticuffs all came after we were already down.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | January 14, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Downie sucks at fighting. Konopka is a better fighter...why Steckel fought him was weird.

However, I disagree. If ANY player came out the gate like that to protect their star player, he's going to get noticed.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Bradley is the perfect enforcer. He sucks at fighting, but he isn't one-dimensional.

We don't need an Orr or Brash type. We need someone who can contribute something other than fighting, and Bradley is good for all of that.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@mikebrady1

The announcers were referring to the hitting, grinding, getting under players skin, etc.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@mikebrady1

The announcers were referring to the hitting, grinding, getting under players skin, etc.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@FLDave

I agree with having an enforcer for the regular season for the instances you have pointed out.

However, I think you would have to be ready to not dress that same enforcer for the playoffs because those situations don't arise nearly as much and the extra stop on the roster the enforcer takes is too valuable.

I'd be fine with having an enforcer who dressed occassionaly for teams like Tampa and Toronto but sat out others. I do not think it is worth a full-time enforcer such as Brashear.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 14, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Maybe noticed by Caps fans. Other fans will see our Captain as someone who can dish it out, but needs protection from a MUCH smaller guy. I'm afraid Don Cherry is going to have a field day with this one.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

if you think the refs have that much control over the outcome of the games and they're often biased against the Caps why even bother watching the games? seriously...

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not talking about Ovechkin, I'm talking about Bradley.

Ovechkin didn't know Bradley was coming anyway, Ovie probably would have whooped Downie's ass.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

That is what most teams do. They dress their enforcer(s)for division games and when other teams dress their enforcer.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm not talking about fans. I don't care what the fans of other teams think. I'm talking about the other players. You seriously don't think Bradley is going to get more notice from the borderline players and enforcers around the league?

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

You want someone who can fight & contribute in other ways: Ott

Dallas is going to be selling soon & he's due for a raise.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

the reason the number of PP chances were one-sided against the Pens in the playoffs was simple - the Pens had the puck more often and they were the more aggressive team by a wide margin.

if you wanna compare that to in terms of football, the time of possession will be like 40 minutes to 20... it's hard to win football games when you have the ball on offense for only about 20 minutes/game.

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I seriously doubt OV would have won, he might have survived. OV is not a fighter and does not have any tangible experience fighting at the NHL level. An ice hockey fight is more about technique than brute strength and size.

Rick Rypien who is 5'10" 180 has been beating the cr@p out of guys that out weigh him by 50lbs.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I love Steve Ott. He isn't that much of a fighter, but he's the perfect pest.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

That's because Rypien is the man.
Downie sucks. He just sucks. Look at him.

Bottom line; we didn't lose/look bad in these games because of a lack of an enforcer.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Me too Phil. It's fun watching the other team go nuts when he's doing his thing.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Yes, I am serious. They will see him as a 3rd guy in who is willing but of no danger to them. If Bradley could really chuck em and inflict damage, yeah, I would agree. Fact is, Bradley is willing, but unable.

I admire his heart, but he just can't fight worth a lick.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@FLDave

"I know someone will point to Schultz +/- but he is marshmellow soft."

What does that mean? He plays defense. Clearly you are of the impression that unless someone puts someone through the boards then he's soft. +/- means precious little but there are numbers out there - neutralize for oppoenents and ice time - that tell just how good a defender Schultz has been this season.

I really don't know what games you watch but they aren't Caps games. Dude has been very, very good this year. Maybe Morrisonn isn't soft by your standards but he was on the ice in Tampa for seven goals.

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I respect your opinion but we will just have to disagree.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

We lost because we couldn't handle their forecheck. We lost because our defense men lost every puck battle, at the boards and otherwise. We lost because our defense men are so freaking slow. We lost because our PK is atrocious.
We certainly did not lose because Big Bad Brash wasn't on the ice.

I love borderline players and semi-fighters, like Steve Ott and Clutterbuck. I am failing to see why we need a one-dimensional enforcer, as you suggest.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

Morrisonn has been playing soft as well. Heck virtually the entire team has with the expection of OV. OV leads the team in hits and PIM. That's sad.

I'm not saying run someone through the boards, but when you can neutralize someone with a hit take it.

Hitting is not terribly important at this stage. But what you do in the regular season translates to the post season. In a 7 game series you can beat a better team by wearing them down with physical play.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Am I crazy or did anybody else go back and watch the replay and see that Knuble's redirect late in the 3rd period actually went in??? How was that play not even reviewed? Ref just waived it off and that was it. Glad we won but geez...i feel like i'm taking crazy pills. Sure looked in to me.

Posted by: capz_hockey | January 14, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

It didn't go in. It hit the post.

It has to cross the line all the way...

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

To a player the Caps stated that they hated to see Brashear leave. It was clearly not because of his offensive or defensive skill.

If you can't see it, there is no way I can sway you. If you can't trust me, can you trust the players?

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

FLDave,

I agree with you on that - if a hit will take someone out, so be it - but if you're not a hitter, and Schultz isn't, then you play defense with your stick, positioning, angles, etc. and he's been very good at all of those things this year. I have no issue with people saying he doesn't hit or he doesn't skate fast enought - those are binary assessments that we can't debate - but they are irrelevant to the discussion of how good a defenseman, or any other player, is. They have one primary job and that's to not allow goals while they are on the job, period. It doesn't matter whether or not the forwards are backchchecking (they should be), or if you're the only guy back, you limit goals scored. Within the BB system they are going to give up more goals then most and even under that premise JS55's numbers are very good. I couldn't care less if he were skating on his hands and wearing a dress. His defense this year has been very good.

I just grow weary of the Schultz bashing.

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

if you have bad on the PK like the Caps, it also hurts their PP - the number of chances because you can't be as aggressive as you wanna be if you can't trust your PK unit.

if you're great on both, you can be aggressive and basically turn the game into the contest between special teams.

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Schultz bashing is an old-hat. He's consistently been the best defender on the team. Only time he really runs into trouble is when he's caught up ice or makes a bad pass out of the zone, and he doesn't do that all too often.

If he improves this year to next like he did last year to this, you'll be looking at one of the better defenders in the league.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | January 14, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is solid. The only problem I have with him is he's pretty slow.

That's why I like him not hitting. If he throws a hit, gets out of position, he's too slow to get back. He has to rely all on his reach.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@richmond,

I agree with that assessment. I think he'll always be like that and his reach, when in position, and play on the puck has been very good this year. I like what I see. What is he? 23?

Posted by: saintex | January 14, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Agreed. Schultz has been our best defensive dman. I can't count the times Schultz could have taken someone into the boards, dislodged the puck and started a break out. Instead he chased the guy around. If you are position to take the hit you take it.

I guarantee Schultz knows how to hit and just chooses not to. Taking a man off the puck with a hit is hockey 101.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, turns 24 in February.
Interesting note, Jeff Schultz's brother is a Blues prospect.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Scott Niedermeyer hits much, but over the years people don't call him soft, they call him good.

As long as a defenseman plays well positionally, stops the other team from getting quality scoring chances, and efficiently exits the zone then I will be more than happy with their play.

Hits are nice, but not mandatory.

@richmondphil
I agree that when Schultz hits he tends to get out of position due to his lack of speed. I like him even more because he is playing smart instead of going after big hits.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 14, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see the comments of those who believe that Tampa Bay has discovered how to be the Caps after the Caps do a 5-1 or 5-2 number on them on Jan.31. Let us not get spoiled people. I remember the time when people were delerious over a 2-1 road trip.

Posted by: adhardwick | January 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with sgm3 I think who said enforcer of little value in playoffs. As I've posted before, a guy like Esa Tikkanen, but a center, someone who can lead the PK and shadow Crosby, plus be as pesty as can be, is #1 on my wish list, followed by the best resemblance to Mark Tinordi we can get.

As for enforcer in Playoffs, just look what Brash did last year. Nobody fights then. You need sandpaper, not fists.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@tom

Steve Ott is supposedly available.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Phil: I'm not sure how good he is as a PK, but he has very nice stats and the perfect reputation as 3rd line center.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Ott is the best one out there who is available that I know of. Unfortunately, I do not know who many of the great pests are on teams in the West and even in the East.

I don't think he would cost too much either. If he, or someone similar to him, was acquired then which player would be seated? I'm assuming Steckel would stay on 4th line with Bradley. I like the idea of a player like Ott playing with Chimera.

But then what do you do with Flash (assuming Morrisson plays 2nd line center). Maybe Flash as 2nd line LW and move Laich (he would have to play RW though) to 3rd line with Ott and Chimera.

Or maybe Fehr on the 3rd with Ott and Chimera with Laich on the 4th with Steckel and Bradley. Both the 3rd and 4th would have much improved grit and nastiness. I would feel bad about moving Laich to line 4 though (you could call that line 3 if you wanted to).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 14, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I meant line 3 (Chimera/Ott/Fehr) would have more grit than before and line 4(Laich/Stecks/Brads) would have more skill and size than before but with similar grit though.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 14, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

BTW, don't the Caps have an enforcer type in Hershey? Someone to bring up for the next Tampa game?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Tom, wasn't Brashear's dust-up with the Rangers the turning point in that series? I've always assumed that they were so impressed by his impact in that series that they signed him.

Posted by: zmega | January 14, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

It will be very interesting to see if Filthy tries to goad Ovechkin on Sunday. I imagine Hartnell will reprise the Downie role from the other night.

I'd like to see Ovi fight at least once, maybe crush someone like Richards, and answer once and for all the question of willing and able.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

tampa isnt the first team to try and get physical with the caps and wont be the last. as someone pointed out, the game was pretty much out of hand by the time the rough stuff started. also recall that fighting is pretty limited in the playoffs, so having a good PP is as good a deterrent as you are going to find.

but the caps are going to have to be ready to take punishment. green is going to get hit early and often by other teams forwards. teams are going to try and goad semin into stupid penalties and try and intimitate backstrom. they will need to be ready for that and be prepared to do the same. thats why i like the addition of chimera, a big bodied guy who can skate and hopefully soften up the other teams d. unfortunately, the tough physical forecheck doesnt seem to be the caps forte. perhaps thats BB's system but you rarely see caps forwards punishing the other teams d behind the net, ovie excluded of course...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 14, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

OV's only NHL fight was against Richards, so they have already fought.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

What game was it Brashear got the five minute major? It wasn't for fighting or enforcement, it was a nasty elbow that had no bearing on the game (except for knocking out a good player). And then he was gone from the series, and it wasn't like NY ran wild after that. NY did worse after Brashear was suspended.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

FLDave: Yes, I know, an exhibition fight, so they have "history" with each other.

If Ovi would fight, you would expect him to go with players like Richards or Iginla, the other team's captain and also a player of similar style.

He surely wouldn't fight the goon Steckel went against (Konopka?), and even Downie is a step down in statue. He also can't fight Cindy (he'd be accused of picking on him). Ovi should be of enough status he only fights other captains or assistants.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if there's any football fans out there wondering and talking about a fight between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady or Brett Favre and Drew Brees...

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I am wondering - does anyone think Ovi might abandon the visor? I know BB doesn't want him to fight, but he seems more than willing to muck it up, so might he consider it?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Not a chance he'll give up the shield. He did the right thing with Downie and took his helmet off right after dropping his gloves.

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

joek443: I think you know better than to ask that. It's a different mentality.

Another question, my daughter last night asked, "Which capital has been with the team the longest?" I thought and then said, "Semin." Is that right? He was up before the strike season, and I think everyone else came after the strike. Several of them started Ovi's rookie year. She has thought that Bradley was longest tenured, but he also started in 05-06.

Semin was up part of 03-04 but then missed 05-06 due to playing in Russia. So he doesn't have most time with club, but he goes back the farthest. I think that is correct answer to that one, and it's kind of surprising.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

If he throws a hit, gets out of position, he's too slow to get back.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 14, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse


Sounds kind of like Erskine. I also agree 100% that Schultz is our best defender.

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 14, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@ Tom - that was my point re Brashear. He got suspended for the big hit and taunting the Rangers. As I recall, the Caps were down in the series at that point. After the Brashear incidents, the series turned and the Caps went on to win. Now, you could say that the events were merely a coincidence, but it looked to me like Brashear had a positive effect for the Caps.

Posted by: zmega | January 14, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

NO to enforcer
YES to skilled veteran d-guy who has a mean edge to him that is also a character guy in the locker room.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 14, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Enforcers are not needed in the playoffs. Too much to lose getting 5 min majors and 2 min instigators and 10 minute stupidity penalties.

Posted by: JSchon | January 14, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Went to hockeyfights where they have two fights recorded for Chimera--votes on that site have Chimera losing his November 2008-09 season fight with Ott but he didn't get pulled down to the ice and exchanged punches and this one against Campbell in which votes had him winning. So for a guy whose more of a pest than a fighter he "sure did good" last night. He stepped up and is defining his role on this team.

Fighting to me is more about changing the momentum of a game and firing up your team and the fans. And that means using someone who is on the ice long enough to find the right moments and the right opponents for a fight.

That in a nutshell is my problem with having an actual enforcer with limited ice time as opposed to a skilled guy who has some pugilist skills, shows a willingness to mix it up, and has a lot of heart. The fight doesn't have to be won (although that is preferable) but it has to be passionate and timely and energize the team.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to tell the influence Brashear had. Seems like the Caps were the recipients of dirty hits more last year than this year. And, other than Tuesday's game, I don't recall a game this year where the Caps were out-hit to the point of such abject frustration.

All I know is Caps battled back from 4-1 and had about three more "almosts" before Tampa went up 5-4 and then salted the game away. The Tampa replacement goalie was reeling, he looked terrible and the goals were there to be had. It could have been 7-4 Caps just as easy, a few lucky bounces. Sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles (probably another of Cindy's expressions, besides "like it or lump it").

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

1. On schultz: people assume that because he's 80 feet tall that he'll hit. That's just not his game. And frankly, I don't want it to be his game if he's going to have Green's back. Sometimes when you go for the big hit, you get out of position. If Green is going to have the green light (no pun intended), then we have to be sure that his partner is playing D and not just running people.

2. There are pros and cons to having a pure enforcer. With this team, I just don't see the need. OV takes care of himself, and there are guys willing to take few cheap shots if necessary to avenge the rest. Brash and other enforcers are a nice tool if you have them, but hardly essential.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 14, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@tom
I thought it might have been Laich, but it looks like we acquired him from Ottawa during Semin's first season.

Posted by: hockeyweasel | January 14, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I know I get more fired up watching the Bradley Fighting Vehicle go at it and get the short end than when Brashear fought. With Brashear, especially going against the other enforcer, it was more of a choreographed thing, like they were doing the expected. With Bradley, it's spur of the moment.

But, just in case, Ogie Oglethorpe is still a UFA waiting for a job.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
IIRC the longest tenured Cap is Boyd Gordon by a few games or so. He and Semin made their Caps debut in the same year.

Posted by: koalatek | January 14, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

to go along with FLDave http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHEjLTz9L5M&NR=1. Ovechkin can defend himself in a fight. Don't know if he would have kicked his @$$ but it probably wouldn't have hurt him either. Bradley did have to do what he did I think not because of injury but because he needed to be on the ice if there was going to be any chance of a comeback and spending another 5 minutes in the box wasn't going to do that.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 14, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

boyd gordon is the longest tenured capital.

ovie has one NHL fighting major, after he hit briere from behind. not really a fight, but does go on his fight card.

ovie has dropped them in the russian superleague. easily found on youtube.


Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 14, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@capz_hockey

You're not crazy at all.

Knuble's deflection absolutely positively went in.

I'm 100% sure of it and I actually disagreed with the people last night who said it was a goal because I thought I saw it hit the post after watching the replay in slow motion. I must not have been paying close enough attention.

I recorded NHL On The Fly and they showed that play.

You can clearly see space between the puck and the red color of the right post when the puck changes directions and comes out because the puck never hit the post.

It hit the white bar in the bottom back of the net then took a funny bounce and came almost straight out despite going in at an angle.

It should've been 5-4 at that point. The red light came on because the goal judge got it right. The refs on the ice blew it twice: first, by not calling it a goal then, on top of that, by not reviewing it.

For those of you that are tired of this discussion, don't comment on this post. Just move along.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

hockeyweasel: Good point. Laich played 4 games in 03-04, so he has five seasons plus a fraction. Semin was up earlier than Laich (Semin played 52 games 03-04), but he missed 05-06 due to contract dispute. OK, Morrisonn also played 3 games in 03-04.

So, Semin is oldest tenured Cap but Laich and ShaMo are Caps with most time. I am thinking those three are the only Caps to pre-date the strike. There are a few others who were in the organization before the strike - Fehr, Gordon, Flash...maybe that's it. No, that's not true, there are a handful of Europeans, picked before 2004, who never came over but are still under Caps control.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

this is why hockey will always be a marginal sport in this country as long as they allow fighting...

suppose Ovie gets into a fight and breaks his hand... what would you people say then?

it's a distaction, as long as it is considered part of the game, the game is never gonna attract casual fans.

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

zmega Brash got his suspension in game 6 against NY. By that time the series was 3-2 and the Rangers were playing game 6 without thier coach who was suspended for throwing a water bottle at a fan. The series at that point had already shifted momentum and Brash didn't have anything to do with that. Also don't forget he could have played in games 6 and 7 against Pittsburgh but didn't he was a healthy scratch so the Caps must not have thought he could swing momentum too much.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 14, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, Gordon played part of 03-04 and part of 05-06. Both seasons he split with Hershey.

Gordon (41 games), Semin (52), Laich (4) and ShaMo (3) played in 03-04 and are therefore the oldtimers.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

distraction

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I understand that many don't think that the Caps need an enforcer taking up space on the bench or salary cap. However, Brooks Orpik would not have been able to get away with his stuff on Semin, injuring his wrist with repeated slashes, in last year's playoffs if Brash had been available to play and in the lineup. Orpik also speared Semin a few times as well in the playoffs without any fear of retribution or reprisal from the Caps.

Posted by: MReilly9 | January 14, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

racing fans who like seeing wrecks = hockey fans who like seeing fights

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

racing fans who like seeing wrecks = hockey fans who like seeing fights

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 3:32 PM

Joe, I'm afraid you just don't understand human nature. Next time you go to the restaurant, sit there and listen. There will be a murmuring from each table. Then jump up and yell at the person with whom you are sitting, "You ignorant, two-timing b!+ch! I can't believe it! With my brother!"

Instantly, everyone at all the other tables, will cease their conversation and lean toward your table to hear what you say next. Nothing like a good fight to get people's interest.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 14, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

LOL if that's what you would have to do to sell hockey, you might as well have them play naked or something to get even more attention

Posted by: joek443 | January 14, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

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