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Capitals' Mike Knuble on upcoming road trip

The Capitals begin a week long road trip on Sunday, starting against the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that could be a preview to the Stanley Cup finals. The Blackhawks have the second-best record in the Western Conference and are two points out of first, trailing only the San Jose Sharks.

The Blackhawks have the third most points in the league, and Capitals right wing Mike Knuble said he expects the game to have a playoff atmosphere. He's what Knuble had to say about the matchup after Washington's 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay:

By Gene Wang  |  March 13, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
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Next: Capitals get back to work


I know we didn't beat Tamp Bay, but do you guys think we'll beat Florid and Carolin?
- Tarik's copy editor

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 13, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Hope they play with more urgency against the Blackhawks. I just don't want to see them get complacent. Very hard to just "turn it on" come playoff time.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 13, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't think complacency will be a problem after they sleepwalked through the final month last year and then fell down 3-1 to Rangers. They learned their lesson. Yeah, they lost to Tampa last night, and apparently they got outworked. No excuse for that.

But they'll be playing teams down the stretch this year that are desperate; Caps will need to amp up their game to match opponents' intensity.

They remember last year; leaders like Laich, Knubs, Ovey, Walker will make sure they enter the playoffs at a high, motivated level. Last night was a blip.


Posted by: bella102003 | March 13, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I know we didn't beat Tamp Bay, but do you guys think we'll beat Florid and Carolin?
- Tarik's copy editor

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 13, 2010 9:13 AM

(1) Blogs are not likely to be edited and (2) Tarik did not write this post.

Posted by: JillC | March 13, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

In watching Green I wonder if he might lack speed of thought with his play. I'm not talking intelligence, I'm talikng about an ability to make quick, accurate hockey decisions. Coaches at all ages and levels often look for this trait when evaluating talent.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 13, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Does it bother anyone else that its not Ovie that's being quoted. I understand the ESL thing, but he's been both willing and competent before. Is he not making himself available or is he just not saying much. Hopefully he's saying more in the locker room.

Oh, and do not play Erskine again this season.

Posted by: nfb987 | March 13, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I know what Erskine can do, and I'm not worried about him. But his partner, Corvo, looks lost out there and NOT as good as Pothier.

So I don't know if it was really Erskine's play, or the play of his partner.


Posted by: rblatch45 | March 13, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Put Belanger, Semin and Flash together tomorrow!!

I'd say this rotation has another 2-3 games to go, then it's time to get some definite combinations going. It can take players 5-6 games to begin clicking, and I don't want those 5-6 games to be part of a first round series.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 13, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Come chat with fellow Caps fans during tomorrow's game against the Blackhawks:

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | March 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

we all need to take a deep breath. The caps are playing 'not-to-get-hurt' hockey right now. I think I saw Ovi throw 1 check last night, late in the 3rd. Everyone else follows his lead. The whole team is playing with less intensity.

They've circled chicago and pittsburg on their calendars, and I'm sure they'll bring it those games.

***OVi's back checking****

'tmcayo' posted on an earlier thread about ovi's lack of back checking.

While I agree there's room for improvement, i think he is a lot better this season then at any other point in his career. This is reflected in his +/- stat.

He's back checked more this season, and has tried less to beat 2 or more defensemen on his own (which is low percentage and most of the time leads to turnovers He always used to try that several times a game. Fedorov even called him out on it). I've seen him dump the puck or wait for support more of often this season.

I've always wondered whether coaches have ever discussed it with him, or urged him to improve that part of his game.

Crosby seems more driven and is willing to take the initiative on his own, every off-season, to improve different parts of his game that are lacking. Maybe he's more focused then Ovi right now. Living with Lemuex, and having a conservative personality probably helps.

Its like Crosby's motto is 'work hard, work hard'. There' no 'play hard'. He's like a workaholic.

So OVi can defenitly elevate his game, although I think its gonna take a push from the coaching staff. But what do they say to him? Your +44 isn't good enough??

Posted by: floms | March 13, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

@Rainier1 (from previous thread)

They gain an hour due to traveling west one time zone. But lose an hour due to Daylight Savings time. That being said, it still is an early game for them so they'll still be tired.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

It's funny that the management of end of season games for a team that clinches early has become one of the toughest challenges in sports. Look how the Colts apparently screwed it up this year. I don't envy BB this part of his job. Unless you at least get to the finals when you're in this situation you get roasted. He has to be delighted that he's got to play the Hawks tomorrow. There will be no problem motivating his team and no reason to rest anybody he expects to start in the playoffs. You periodically hear about "measuring stick" games. This is truly one of those.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | March 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I assume Bruce will go with the lines expected for the playoffs tomorrow, or some semblance, thereof.

Rotation of players in and out of the lineup will probably continue to happen this week. By April, things will be more decided.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse


I believe the Caps will be pumped up for tomorrow. And, for the rest of the year, they have two more games against the Pens and then two more against Boston, who was last year's EC regular season conference winner who's fallen on hard times this year and is fighting for the playoff life.

Overall, a more challenging group of opponents than last year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 13, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I was at VC last night and have not heard, but anyone know what happened to Semin in the first? He left clutching his hand, then Flash was in not Semin for the PP. Turned out Flash put it in. Seemed to me Semin was out for some time then returned not long after the PP.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 13, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Semin was cut on upper lip. lots of blood
then right back in

Posted by: billd2 | March 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Thansk Bild2.

New thread

Posted by: Sonyask | March 13, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Ovi's lack of backchecking is a glaring weakness in his game. He'll often just be standing there at the top of the zone watching everyone else play defense. This does set him up for breakouts and his plus/minus is excellent, but it'd be nice if he got at least a little involved. Put your stick out to intercept passes, go to the boards to fight for pucks, etc.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 13, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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