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Capitals make cuts; 'Team A' captures Duchesne Cup

In addition to signing defenseman Tom Poti to a two-year contract extension the Capitals inked a three-year entry-level deal with goaltender Brandon Anderson, who was returned to the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes earlier this week. The team also made their first round of training camp cuts.

Nine players were reassigned to Hershey: goaltender Todd Ford, defensemen Patrick Cullity and Joe Finley and forwards David de Kastrozza, Anton Gustafsson, Jake Hauswirth, Nakita Kashirsky, Dmitry Kugryshev and Ashton Rome.

Five other players were returned to their junior teams: Samuel Carrier, Brett Flemming, Stanislav Galiev, Phillip Grubauer and Garrett Mitchell.

-- Now on to Duchesne Cup. The stacked Team A squad -- including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Knuble, John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Semyon Varlamov - won the tournament despite falling 4-3 to Team B on the third and final day of these scrimmages by virtue of scoring the most goals in the tournament.

While this may seem like a rather anticlimactic ending to the tournament, it was the closest game of the bunch and it featured the faster tempo that Coach Bruce Boudreau was looking for. Here are some other notes from the final scrimmage:

-- The familiar top line of Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble doesn't need to be reminded how to play with each other In addition to at least a half dozen prime scoring chances in the first period, Ovechkin made a play at the blueline that sent the other two in on 2-on-1 for a pretty goal to open the contest.

Later on Ovechkin grabbed a rebound in the defensive zone and skated the up the ice where he beat Michal Neuvirth with a wicked shot that found its way under the crossbar.

-- Also Marcus Johansson had a smooth set-up for Kyle Greentree on the doorstep. It will be interesting to see what he does in a preseason game (or several).

-- Your goal scorers for Team B: Garrett Mitchell, Alexander Semin, Boyd Kane and Matt Hendricks. For Team A: Knuble, Ovechkin and Kyle Greentree. In goal, Todd Ford (B) allowed one goal while Semyon Varlamov (A) Philipp Grubauer (A) and Michal Neuvirth (B) each gave up two.

Here are Ovechkin's comments about Varlamov and Neuvirth this morning: "He's playing here like a month before training camp. He's in pretty good shape and he's ready for year because it's very important year for our team and for him personal I think he's ready, the same with Neuvy. Neuvy played great, both goalies did."

-- On another note, Dan Steinberg talks to "The Ovechkin Project" co-author Gare Joyce about the book, the battle between Damian Cox and Ted Leonsis and what impression of Ovechkin his readers would be left with. An excerpt follows:

"He's an evolving character," Joyce told me. "He's a young man. He's growing into a role that, physically, he's equipped for. Is he emotionally or psychologically equipped for it? I don't think it'd be reasonable to expect someone at 24 to be completely ready and equipped to be the franchise player, the star out in front of the league, the national hero, all of those things. There's a learning curve there, and he's handling it pretty well, with some slips, sure."
One of the main contentions between Leonsis and the book's authors has been the owner's claim that the authors didn't get access to Ovechkin for their project, and that they're taking out their frustrations on the franchise.
"He is just mad because he didn't have access to Alex Ovechkin when he wrote his book," Leonsis wrote in response to a Cox column.
Joyce would dispute that point - he said the authors had the same access all credentialed media members did to Ovechkin, just not in one-on-one interviews - but he said the matter of access didn't color their opinions. He said they used Grant Wahl's brilliant book The Beckham Experiment as a model for chronicling a star and a season without special access, and that he "thought all along that there was really so much you're going to get from [Ovechkin] anyways."

You can read the full post here.


By Katie Carrera  | September 21, 2010; 6:16 PM ET
 
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Next: Michal Neuvirth signs two-year extension

Comments

team A coulda beat the hawks in 7

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 21, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Well glad to see that the B team showed some signs of life and beat the A team today. First year I can remember where it came down to tiebreakers to determine the winner of the Duchesne Cup.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 21, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Anton Gustasfsson = bust = waste of draft pick = mcphee doing bengt a favor

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | September 21, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The kid is only 20. Not many players make it to the NHL at that young of an age. If he still is in the same spot 2-3 years from now you can start talking bust.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 21, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Agree with you that it's premature to consider Gustafsson a bust. Granted the kid's had his problems but....

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 21, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

i hate tom poti.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | September 21, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

For those interested in tomorrows line up it is here http://bluejackets.nhl.com/v2/ext/Lineup_Cover_Sheet-Sept22_vs_Washington.pdf.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 21, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW maybe I am reading too much into this but does anyone think that maybe the reason why Poti was announced today as opposed to tomorrow during the game or some other time is to get a different Caps news story out instead of the one about the steriod doctor?

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 21, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, the day started with Katie's Morning Round-Up linking to Craig Button saying the Caps had to get tougher on D.

And we all said, "Yeah! He's right! Maybe McPhee will listen!"

And then we get the announcement that Poti has been extended, which severly limits our ability to get said tough defenseman.

Let's rank the Caps D on toughness, 1 to 10, 10 being most tough. What do we give Green? 4? Schultz, 2? Poti - 3? Alzner, 2? Carlson, 4? Erskine, 6? Sloan, 4?

OK, by year's end, I expect Alzner to be 3-4 and Carlson to be a 5.

BTW, I would take Umberger any day. We'd have our #2C.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 21, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and next up is Brooks Laich 4 yrs/$15M. I know some of you think he'll get less, but the comparables (I've posted before) can support that. If Lombardi is 3.5, Laich is 3.75. I hope they sign Brooks before the season, he's getting a little better every year (despite bad playoffs last year).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 21, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Didn't think of that, but it wouldn't be shocking if that happened.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 21, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

points of clarification

-Umberger was right
-Umberger probably wouldn't want to play for the Caps (I know I wouldn't want to play for a team whose style I don't believe in)
-Umberger's better than any other Caps center besides Backstom and we'd be lucky to have him

Also--


team A coulda beat the hawks in 7

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

maybe the Atlanta Hawks!

Also, pretty safe to say that AGus is looking bustier than Pam Anderson. We don't need to let this play all the way out. I'm guessing he'll keep struggling in the minors and then eventually not be offered up a contract.

Once he busts, we can all talk about the amazing draftee that McPhee apparently is. He better hope Alzner pans out otherwise the one thing he's been able to hang his hat on (drafting) is going to look very average. 2005 bust. 2007 weak. 2008 (2 of the top 3 picks were Mestery and AGus). 2009 is looking promising for reasons other than MaJo who I currently have no expectations of until I see him playing a more north american style. But Eakin looks good, I haven't seen much of Orlov, but I like Patrick Wey. And I hope Garrett Mitchell keeps developing because he's got those intangibles you look for in quality role players, along with Wey. Flemming will have an uphill battle due to his size but I like his competitive nature and he skates well.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 21, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

For some reason when I tried my link didn't work for me so here is the roster for tomorrow.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS (0-0-0)
4 John Erskine Defense
14 Tomas Fleischmann Center
16 Eric Fehr Right Wing
21 Brooks Laich Left Wing
25 Jason Chimera Left Wing
26 Matt Hendricks Left Wing
27 Karl Alzner Defense
28 Alexander Semin Right Wing
39 David Steckel Center
43 Kyle Greentree Left Wing
44 Brian Fahey Defense
50 Cody Eakin Center
54 Joel Rechlicz Right Wing
55 Jeff Schultz Defense
62 Sean Collins Defense
63 Andrew Gordon Right Wing
74 John Carlson Defense
85 Mathieu Perreault Center
89 Tyler Sloan Defense
90 Marcus Johansson Center
1 Semyon Varlamov Goaltender
70 Braden Holtby Goaltender

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 22, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

@doughless
@cstanton

You're right Japer's is for homers.

AGus is a total bust. Eakin right now is better than anything we've got at C, other than Backy. I'm serious.

Cstanton, these guys don't want to hear it but Umberger was right. Dead on !

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 22, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Laich doesn't play well enough in the playoffs to earn that kind of money. Let him go !

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 22, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

Do you remember when the Caps were terrible and about half the posters were Pens fans. It was such a pain to read all the negativity. Now that the Caps are an arguably Cup calibre team, it's great to read all the positive posts.

Honestly, folks this is a team that needs a blueliner (or two) and a center probably one will develop this year), and build a good third line from within -- and it has a good chance in the playoffs.

You'd never know it from reading these posts.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 22, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Worst Caps Moments Since Latest Playoff Meltdown:

A. Flash staying with team, getting a big raise.
B. No UFA/Trades to improve team.
C. Poti getting TWO YEAR extension.
D. Rat Turds in the food at Verizon Center.

I say a tie between C and D.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 22, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Do you remember when the Caps were terrible and about half the posters were Pens fans. It was such a pain to read all the negativity. Now that the Caps are an arguably Cup calibre team, it's great to read all the positive posts.

Honestly, folks this is a team that needs a blueliner (or two) and a center probably one will develop this year), and build a good third line from within -- and it has a good chance in the playoffs.

You'd never know it from reading these posts.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1


You are absolutely right, that is all this team needs. Question the negative posters are asking is why does the mgmt not see this and make the corrections which are necessary instead of signing unnecessary players such as Poti, BGordon, and Flush? I mean, come on....you admit they need a good thrid line built from within = but how can you build that line when the mgmt is perfectly happy with status quo??!!

Posted by: PhilR | September 22, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

PhilR - it's way beyond questioning to character attacks. Poti is a decent 2nd line defender, if paired with a shut-down, take the body defender, he is a very good 2nd pairing guy. The issue is whether or not the Caps can make a judicious trade or two for blueliners to pair with green and poti. I like Alzner and Carlson as the 3rd pair for now. I am more optimistic about a 2nd line center emerging from what the Caps have now. I am optimistic that Flash will be traded for a valuable defender. Maybe I am a Pollyanna drinking Pastor Jones' kool-aid. The season will tell.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 22, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Hmm a Semin-Eakin-Fehr line sounds like a sick 2nd line...but can Cody make it a full NHL season and playoffs?

Plus, will BB even try this line or is he set in stone with Laich-Flush-Semin. And does he think this line will actually work this year?

Laich-Majo-Semin is another possible combo, but again I question if Majo is ready/could last the season.

Sucks the game wont be on tv, would love to see some of these guys/lines play. Oh well, Tuesday will come soon enough.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

The fact that Eakin still has eligibiity left in juniors means it is highly unlikely he will be on the Caps throughout the season. This is because if he plays past game 10 he has to remain on the Caps roster the entire year. I don't think the Caps will take that chance unless Eakin absolutely amazes everybody.

It is possible he could stick around for a game or two and then get sent back to juniors just to get a taste of the NHL.

Also, did anyone see this?

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/nhl/news/story?id=5601272

I wonder how this will effect things.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 22, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

And it turns out that Umberger was exactly right. Do we feel stupid for being upset? Maybe GMGM and Boudreau should have thought about it.

Posted by: robbie1299 | September 21, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Ok so Umberger was right? There's only 1 team that can win the Cup so the odds were in his favor. Do his comments have "some" merit? Sure but to say that Umberger knows the capabilities or flaws of this team better than our own organization is a stretch.

I could've blindly said after the regular season last yr that San Jose was gonna fail and not win the Cup and the chances of me being right far outweigh the chances of me being wrong.

The bottom line is Umberger was mad because we beat his team and he knew we were an offensive juggernaut that he and his team couldn't stop. So he elected to say "some other team" could beat us. Wow really? Brilliant comment!

And of course all the negativity and sky is falling and BB & GMGM will never win a Cup people jump all over that.

Sometimes I feel like this board is a bunch of children out trick or treating. Man they want that 1 piece of candy and when they get it they just go to town with it. RJU gave some people of this board some candy and they're still smackin it around in their mouth.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 22, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

By no means do I sit around and drink the kool aid all day, but I dont understand most of the posters on here either. We had the best record in the league last year. Do you people remember this? We choked a big one in the playoffs. Hopefully we dont do it again this year, although history suggests we will do this until the day I die. That being said, I agree, we need one more top defender and another center.

Why does everyone on here bash Poti and Flash so much? Its pathetic. I dont think Poti is some top shut down guy like a Pronger, but he is a decent 2nd pairing defenseman. Why all the hate? Flash is no Nick Backstrom, he probably shouldnt even be playing center, but he can and probably will score 20 goals. Why does eveyone constantly just bash him on here? I would love to upgrade at center over him, but my god - what did he do to some people on here to make him be hated so much. In the history of this franchise, we have never been so close to having a team capable of winning a cup, but from reading the posts on here you would think we arent even a playoff team. I dont get it.

As Ted would say - smile guys, hockey season is almost here. I know you can do it.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | September 22, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, the other candy children on this board have gotten it Poti being resigned. Really people? Is it THAT big of a deal? Did we overpay a smidge? Maybe. But is 500k really THAT much to get all crazy about? Plus, who in Hershey is ready to make that move next yr to take Poti's spot? The best shot is Orlov & I don't think he's projected to be on the Caps next yr although things can change.

Don't forget too that this is Erskine's last yr of his contract so if you let both of them walk then you need to replace them. So you're forcing yourself to get a FA or make a trade. With resigning Poti you have a few more options.

And then of course there's the fact that there is NOT a NTC or a NMC so once again options are available. The biggest thing a GM wants is options. There are a lot of team out there who have very few options and GMGM isn't one of them. It's September folks.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 22, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

I agree with you. Not to be Pollyanna, but we had a bad week. That's really it. In the Montreal series, we chased BOTH goalies from the net. Then we got complacent and quit playing Caps hockey. Lesson learned. No panic. Upgrade the team if we can, but I really think this is the personnel set that can win the Cup. Better focus. Close teams out. That's all.

Now, if we can improve, we should, but not at the expense of screwing with a 120+ point team.

Posted by: EricinReston | September 22, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3
Yes I know Eakin's junior status. I was saying hypotheically if he is seen as a Caps roster guy this year and they opt to use him. I'd be surprised if they did, but if they did I was theorizing where/who he would play with and some fantasy in my head lines.

And they might very well, as you stated, keep him for a couple games to see how he does against real NHL talent/teams...but would have to make a major decision before 10 games.

Neuvy signed for 2 years $1.15 per btw. Whats with all the early signings? GMGM banking on breakout years and trying to get steals?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

Maybe the early signings are to make these players attractive as trade bait??

Alternatively, it builds in some cost certainty as he fine-tunes the window for this year and next.

Posted by: EricinReston | September 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to ask this again but... what happened to Tarik? I she still going to write for the Caps Insider - he was the best!

Posted by: jsaccone | September 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm also still wondering when NJ is going to make their moves and who they move. I guess it's possible they might bury some guys in the minors, but I would venture to guess they are going to move someone instead. And will be looking for cheap talent/picks in return.

Come on Zajac...don the red. You would look good wearing #14. :P

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

He works with the Post still, but writing for the Hoyas. He was reassigned for family reasons (wanted more time, etc). He is done with the Cappies for now at least.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The reminds me of the trench warfare battles in WWI. The French and Germans would take turns attacking and then retreating.

On here, it's the Kool-Aid drinkers and goat slaughterers.

Seriously, Poti is fine at 2nd pair D at that salary. It's just that all our defensemen arte pretty much the same style. That was pointed out yesterday. We keep waiting for GM to get us a legit, veteran center and rough and tumble d-man but every move he makes ("We'll be watching him") goes in the opposite direction.

Having Poti signed for 2011-2013 makes it harder to give us at minimum an Andy Sutton type, someone who gives you at least some presence in the crease.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 22, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we can just feed lots and lots of cheese to Flush and have him crop dust our own crease. That will keep opposing teams out of there for sure. Cheesy Czech Ginger Gas....gross, the thought gags me.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Good lord, does anyone on this board know anything about hockey?
Now I remember why I stopped reading this column in the first place. You complain about the hateful comments that the Pens fans used to post -- have you ever gone back to re-read your own? Is there anyone on this team -- except for Eric Fehr -- that you DO like?

Do you people not realize that throughout the league, Tom Poti is considered to be a top shut-down defenseman?

Posted by: cymbeline2 | September 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74 & pokerfaceI208: well said, both of you.

Like you, I just don't get why so many are willing to dismiss ALL the positive things that happened last season because of the disappointment in the playoffs.

--Can the first non-Original Six team to earn over 120 points in a single season be said to suck? No.

--Can a team that sucks earn the President's Trophy? No.

--Is the regular season completely meaningless? No.

--Will the Caps (as currently constituted) win the Stanley Cup? We hope so, and many of us think the chances are good. But the plain fact is that WE DON'T KNOW YET. Nobody does. And anyone claming to know for certain either way is almost surely delusional.

Seriously, if one were to follow some of these guys' reasoning to its logical conclusion, then their "perfect" world would be a place where:


--GMGM, BB, and TL would be banned from having anything to do with hockey at any level, forever.
--Players they don't like would not only be removed from the Caps' organization, but would likewise be banished from the hockey universe for all time.
--The regular season would not exist.
--Regular season awards (not just the President's Trophy but also individual awards e.g., Hart, Ross) would also be abolished.
--The only remaining top-level professional hockey played in North America would be the Stanley Cup Playoffs themselves (BTW, would they still be called "playoffs" if the regular season didn't exist?).
--Qualification and seeding for said playoffs would be based solely on whether a given team had enough "grit", as determined by an elite panel of experts (cough, cstanton1, cough).


Of course, such a scenario would not be complete without its share of unintended consequences, such as:

--The maximum total number of games played each "season" would be between 60 and 105 games--and that's league-wide, folks! That's 60 games if every series ends in a sweep; 105 if every series goes "the full 7".

--Hockey "season" (as such) would only last from early March to mid-June (at the most)--Hence the off-season would be about 9 months long.

--With an absolute maximum of 16 home games possible for any team per "season", ticket prices--even for the "bad" seats--would be so high as to be beyond imagining. Oh, wait, the Redskins' ticket prices are already like that.

--All the remaining decent players in the league would probably go to the KHL--at least that way they'd be sure of getting to play more than 30 games/"season" when healthy.

FTR, any of the above would probably make me want to slit my wrists.

These Haters/Armchair GM's/Couch Coaches actually seem to enjoy saying that the Caps "Will NEVER win the Cup..."

Which begs the question: Since they seem to have knowledge of future events, why bother?

Could it be that they would rather be proven right than see the Caps win? Since when are the two mutually exclusive?

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 22, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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