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Caps' draft picks eager to prove themselves at rookie camp

Rookie camp is less than a week away, and the morning workouts at Kettler Capitals Iceplex are beginning to take on a more substantial feeling as players return to Washington, most recently including the organization's Swedish contingent of Nicklas Backstrom, Anton Gustafsson and Marcus Johansson.

When rookie camp opens there will be plenty of eyes on 2009 first-round pick Johansson to see how he follows up his impressive showing in July's development camp, but it's also a crucial time for Gustafsson, who hopes to finally move beyond his injury-riddled past.

Gustafsson, the 21st overall pick in the 2008 draft, tweaked a hip-flexor injury during a scrimmage at KCI in the July sessions. It wasn't the finish for his first development camp he was looking forward to after a chronic back injury and concussion forced him to miss the camps during the previous two summers.

"I came here a week early just to get out on the ice a bit more," said Gustafsson, who flew to Washington on Sunday with Johansson. "I'm just an unlucky one; when one injury starts getting healthy another comes around. I don't have the self esteem I should have out there. If I would be healthy maybe I'd try more things, but right now I don't feel comfortable with a lot of stuff."

He appeared in 34 games for Boras HC in the second division in Sweden last season, notching six goals and 18 points before joining Hershey in the spring. He notched two assists in his lone game for Hershey, where he is expected to fight for significant playing time this year.

"My main issue right now is not the injuries; it's my confidence," Gustafsson said. "Once I get my confidence back up, I can play in any league."

Both of the young Swedes are staying on their own for rookie camp this year, but Backstrom is hoping to eventually have a bigger place where he can host his younger countrymen like he did Gustafsson last year.

"It's always good to have a couple more Swedes here," Backstrom said with a laugh. The Caps' star center returned to Washington last Thursday, and after taking a few days for the jet lag to wear off, he reiterated what's been a common theme among players in these early days at KCI: confidence in this Capitals team.

"This is a great group of guys and we're all confident in each other," Backstrom said. "We had a great regular season but just relaxed in the first round a little bit. We're a good team; we just have to learn how to play in the playoffs and I think everyone wants to make things a little different and better than before. We have to take that next step."

Over the offseason, Backstrom took the opportunity to relax in Sweden after signing his 10-year, $67 million contract extension this summer and added that he's been working to improve his skating ability.

"I want to keep getting faster and better with my skating," Backstrom said. "That's always the first thing I want to do in the summer, but that's been one of the biggest things I've been trying to work on since I came over the first time."

Matt Bradley and John Erskine also joined the group this morning, and in catching up, Bradley echoed the theme that the Capitals can still achieve all that has been expected of them.

"I'm still confident that we have the group here to do it," Bradley said. "For whatever reason it didn't happen last year, but none of us are happy with that. We're lucky we have a chance to come back and redeem ourselves -- you don't always get that."

And while the Caps didn't make many offseason moves, Bradley welcomed the addition of tough-guy D.J. King, whose presence could limit how many times the 32-year-old right wing has to drop the gloves this season.

"He's obviously in a way higher weight class than I'm in, so it's great to have a guy like him here," Bradley said. "He's a great character guy and definitely one of the toughest guys in the league, so hopefully he can put some fear in the other teams, where we didn't really have a lot of that the last couple of years."

By Katie Carrera  |  September 7, 2010; 2:01 PM ET
 
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Next: Capitals announce training camp rosters and schedule

Comments

Good that Backstrom's back, but where's Ovie? If he's a captain, he should be back early and setting the tone for everyone else, particularly the rookies.

Posted by: illiad1 | September 7, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

illiad1: Ovi will be back soon. He was captain of a charity game in Russia and his team played team Kovulchuk. Ovi is the face of hockey in Russia so he has a lot of commitments there in the off-season. He will be setting the tone soon enough.

http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2010/09/06/alex-ovechkin-ilya-kovalchuk-play-charity-game-in-russia/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is likely still in Russia after he, Kovalchuk, and others helped raise 450k for charity the end of last week. He'll be here soon enough -- remember he was here for the 1st day of rookie camp a couple seasons ago.

Posted by: Jeff_ | September 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I thnk Ovie will be back by the start of rookie camp. If I am not mistaken he skated with them last year at least once so I look for an even larger presence from him this year as the Captain......at least that is what I would hope for out of a Captain!

Posted by: PhilR | September 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is the man, doing amazing things for hockey in Russia which needs it. His comments this summer that kids are sitting around, drinking, smoking hopefully hit home, the passion is missing in Russia.

Ovie's passion is top notch he will be here in great shape with fire and passion, drive to get this season going ... now to swing a trade for a top 4 D ...

Posted by: flee001 | September 7, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"He's obviously in a way higher weight class than I'm in, so it's great to have a guy like him here," Bradley said. "He's a great character guy and definitely one of the toughest guys in the league, so hopefully he can put some fear in the other teams, where we didn't really have a lot of that the last couple of years."

sounds like Brads revealing a need for this team to strike a wee bit of fear into the opposition (outside our vaunted PP that is --snort snort)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

does AGus skate well enough to be a 2nd line center ? I sure hope he does. Because unlike most of our other top end prospects, he seems to have a bit of size and some grit in his game. At least that's how he came advertised.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Gus has his head on right by targeting 1) being healthy and 2) being in PA for a season to get his confidence. Impressive hearing a youngster talk like this especially when his time has to be running out if he can't stay healthy.

Posted by: flee001 | September 7, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its necessarily 'impressive' per se. The kid's career could end before it ever began and he knows it. No one's going to offer him any type of lucrative contract unless he can prove that he wasn't a bust. I think its more to do with the urgency related to his career possibly flaming out.

And to be honest, even if he doesn't end up as a top 6 player, he could still carve out a career as a 3rd liner. He just needs to show a bit more tenacity than did Kris Beech when he tried to go the same route.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I remember Bradley being a bit guarded in his comments last season when McPhee said he wasn't going to go with an enforcer. Bradley clearly disagreed. Now that McPhee has done an about face on his inexplicably stupid decision, Bradley is obviously breathing a sigh of relief. Bradley has a lot of heart, but he shouldn't be the only guy out there who is willing to drop the gloves. And, given how much Erskine is scratched, you really count on him being there either.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 7, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I know they're a couple of months old but let's hope his dancing skills has zero bearing on his hockey skills this year.
http://www.brobible.com/story/13158808-alexander-ovechkin-spends-his-summer-partying-turkey?/story/13158808/alexander-ovechkin-spends-his-summer-partying-turkey

Posted by: jakopz | September 7, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the Swedish contingent back in town. Many Caps are back and skating, which is a good sign for a SC hungry team.
I'd still like to see a trade for a tough, consistent shutdown blueliner, but who wouldn't, eh?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 7, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'd still like to see a trade for a tough, consistent shutdown blueliner, but who wouldn't, eh?
------------

maybe the teams who already have that element(s) :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised we havent seen more Devil's rumors in general. After all, they have to shed players/trade dont they? Arent they way over the cap currently?

Poker, sign on and give us more of your insider propaganda....

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 7, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Bradley is obviously breathing a sigh of relief.
------------

to an extent. If we play the Rangers, Flyers etc and Bradley has to go with the "2nd tier" guys, he'll still lose his share of plasma. He's not in the class of 2nd or even 3rd tier fighters in this league. But he's a gamer, and his primary function should be as an energy guy who finishes every check and shouldn't have to get jumped because he does that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Halpern signed with Montreal.

Posted by: ThePat | September 7, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Halpern signed with Montreal.

Posted by: ThePat | September 7, 2010 4:02 PM


NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 7, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Thepat where did you see that. The only news I had seen today is James Sheppard out 3-4 months because of an ATV crash.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 7, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

nevermind I found it now

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 7, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer

its all over twitter coming from every NHL source. its a 1 year deal. I know many on here dont like twitter but every NHL media type breaks news on there first before it hits the websites.

Posted by: ThePat | September 7, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Still no rookie camp roster?

Posted by: zmega | September 7, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

pretty good guess at it by a caps fan
http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=816623

guarantee that garrett mitchell throws down v flyers. They'll all be looking to take down big Joe of course because to knock out a 6ft8 player is quite a notch.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

some nice words re: Jay Beagle from his college coach

“He’s the kind of kid who got better and better as he aged, a typical late-bloomer type of player. The thing about him is, he works so darn hard, all of the time. He was an impact type player with us his second year as a sophomore. In that second year, in addition to being a great teammate and locker room leader, Jay was a dominant player down low as well as being an outstanding penalty killer and good faceoff guy.”

“In the years Jay played with us, I thought he was our best pro product, and I’m so glad it worked out well for him; he certainly deserves it and has earned every opportunity that he has been given.”

“We use him a lot as an example as to what’s possible. Not only wasn’t he a high draft pick, he wasn’t even drafted and look where he is now. He wasn’t a big numbers guy at the collegiate level either; all it was about him was his work ethic and work habits. He played with passion, played hard, and played with an edge, and that’s what got him here. We talk a lot about him and his story, and hopefully some other guys who come through our program will be able to achieve the goals that he has.”

http://bearsbites.blogspot.com/2010/08/shyiak-goes-back-to-school-to-learn.html

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 7, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Halpern to MTL is not a big surprise as he fits their emphasis on heart guys. I doubted that Caps would have tried to get him because where would he fit? The Caps have 1st, 3rd , and 4th line centers pretty well set, if Belanger signs. I doubt Halpern would be effective as a second line center any longer, if ever.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 7, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Larry Brooks has Bobby Ryan signing with the Ducks for 5 years at $5.5M per year.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 7, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Bob McKenzie has guaranteed that at this moment there is no contract between Bobby Ryan & ANA.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 7, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Putting on my GM hat, I think we could have traded Schultz(w/his top plus-minus rating) instead of signing him. He was prime for a team who is just looking at numbers and we could have got a real, shutdown blueliner or maybe two better defensemen who could have bolstered our D-corps. I don't know what GMGM was thinking other then getting the same ol' same ol' Schultz. Thoughts???

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | September 7, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

BernieWolfeFan - My thoughts are if you don 't think Schultz is worthy of keeping, what makes you think there is a GM out there willing to part with more in order to get him? Personally, I think he fills his role as expected... simple D-man. Not a bruiser, not a goal scorer, but consistent and probably does exactly what his coaches ask of him.

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

CStanton, the HFBoards guy has neither Orlov nor Kuznetsov attending. Why would that be? Schedule conflict with their Russian teams? I would hope that they would be here.

Posted by: zmega | September 7, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

A few weeks back, I went through the salaries of every d-man in the NHL. 30 teams x 6 each = 180 Top 6 d-men. Schultz's salary of $2.75M put him around 90th - just about dead on in the middle.

That means he's being paid to be a mid-2nd pair defenseman.

In conclusion, so long as your team has three defensemen better than Schultz, you should be in good shape. If Schultz is on your first pair, you're in trouble. If we had Green/Bieksa as #s 1 and 2, Carlson/Schultz as #3 and 4, and Poti/Alzner as your 5th and 6th d-men, wouldn't that work?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 7, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Schultz's style of play is irritating sometimes, but at the end of the day, he's playing on the first pairing with a guy that is suspect on the defensive end and he leads the league in +/-. Bieksa is not a first pairing guy. I have a feeling that if Schultz was on another team with those stats and at that salary we'd all be begging for GMGM to trade for him.

Posted by: MeinMann | September 7, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't disparaging Schultz at all but to win The Cup, I think we could have traded for a more tactical d-man who plays the plus, minus in the win column. My whole point about Schultz is that his plus, minus is irrelevant if we dont come out ahead after 60 mins. I didn't hear any trade talks of any significance in regards to signing Schultz so that is why I'm Monday Morning Quarter-backin'. Just workin' the brain cells that I've got left.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | September 7, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

From Todays Practice:

Wily veteren Matt Bradley out-paced everyone today in suicide drills. I watched in amazement as Brads power strode through the last legs of the full ice drill while the young exhausted Marcus Johansson struggled a full 3/4 rink length back.

Could The Professor be primed for another solid season? I think he could easily pot 15 + goals this year.

Posted by: congero | September 7, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

He's not "The Professor."

He's the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a staple of the USA.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad the Caps are finally starting up again. It's definitely gonna help me through this deployment

Posted by: jleftwing97 | September 8, 2010 3:41 AM | Report abuse

Thank god the hockey season starting up!!! That's gonna get me through this deployment!!!!

Posted by: jleftwing97 | September 8, 2010 3:55 AM | Report abuse

Putting on my GM hat, I think we could have traded Schultz(w/his top plus-minus rating) instead of signing him. He was prime for a team who is just looking at numbers and we could have got a real, shutdown blueliner or maybe two better defensemen who could have bolstered our D-corps. I don't know what GMGM was thinking other then getting the same ol' same ol' Schultz. Thoughts???

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan

Yes, should have sold high on Schultz.

Sept. 8th. McPhee still has not improved this team. Crazy.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 8, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

jleftwing97,

Keep your head down, stay safe, and thanks for your service.

congero,

Johansson is most likely still suffering from jet lag and will get his legs under him within the next week.

underpants2,

completely agree, it is insane that no moves have been made!

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

What about Ryan Jasinsky? Anyone know if he will be invited to camp again this year or what his status is?

Posted by: StanleyCap | September 8, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

My sources tell me that Belanger will not be signed by the Caps.

Posted by: atybat | September 8, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

If Belanger not signing is true, that most likely means any trade talks have probably ceased. It was always an assumption on my part that Belanger's deal was contingent on trades going down.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 8, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

My sources tell me nothing. I wish something would happen!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 8, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Belanger could have been a sign n trade type thing, sign to fill a void resulting from a player being traded or cap available related. Now with all the rumors of Zajac being available and Souray conjectures, maybe there wont be cap room for the 1.85 Belanger would have put on the books no matter who we bring in until we part with Flash (thats my bet).

So when you say "any trade talks probably ceased" I agree only in part. The particular trade deal they were working (if any) that affected Belanger's status. My bet is his signing was more cap contingent than which player we were after.

So dont give up hope that all talks have ceased. My bet is they are working on getting a pricier player and just dont have the room for Belanger.

Wonder if Minnesota might try to snag him up if he is not under contract...since they just lost a center and he used to play there.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Belanger at $1.8, or Halpern at $600k?

Posted by: underpants2 | September 8, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Also, Flash is our 2c and Erskine our 6th dman. Are you kidding McPhee?

Posted by: underpants2 | September 8, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

That would be highly risky, and not very smart business decision, for Belanger to agree to a deal for a month without ever signing a contract and then ceasing negotiations with all other teams. Especially if the deal is contingent on other things happening.

I could see waiting a few days, but waiting a month with no contract really hurts Belanger's ability to sign on with another team at a reasonable price if the Caps changed their mind. Since Belanger rumors and negotiations with other teams ceased at that time I would imagine he has actually signed a contract but that it was never announced.

If Belanger never signed a contract, then that was a highly risky move that may come back to bite him in the *ss.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

That was my thinking as well. I am thinking he is signed, but the Caps dont want to announce it for some reason. Otherwise he put alot of faith in the Caps organization for sure.

Man I hate not having insider info. Poker, call your boy...find out if Belanger is actually signed or not. Sheesh.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

What is Zajac's cap hit??

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I think like 3.8 or 3.9

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

underpants,
"Sept. 8th. McPhee still has not improved this team. Crazy."

Seriously, getting King helped with the intangibles but we have not really improved. Kinda like GMGM signing Schultz with the same ol', same ol' attitude. Unless he thinks our prospects will make a serious impact and/or fill the much needed void of shutdown-D as well as everyone else taking it to the next level in the playoffs, I'm stumpped.

Varly and Neuvy, and Alzner and Carlson. Will they play to the level that will win us The Cup??? Geez...and sigh...

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | September 8, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

So, would you rather have Belanger at 1.8 or Zajac at 3.8 or 3.9 and have the 2nd line center situation solved?? I think we would all agree that if given the choice Zajac would be the choice and if this is sitting in GMGM's lap then I'm sure he has come to the same conclusion.....so maybe Belanger really was foolish enough to take a "gentleman's handshake" and now he is out in the cold.

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If Belanger took the handshake deal I agree it is foolish on his part. But I also think that has a negative impact on our franchise. Not many players will trust GMGM if Belanger opens his mouth and says what happened, if in fact there is even an agreement. Who the heck knows...At this point the lack of any movement has just become dumb.

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I am betting he is signed, but the announcement is contingent on a Flash trade. I dont see too many trusting a handshake these days. There is a lot more bargaining room on GMGM's side if he has the extra $2 mil in cap room. For example: GMGM, "sorry, thats the deal I'm offering. We arent over the cap, or even close to it for that matter. This helps you more than us."

He is worrying about getting a D or 2C I am thinking, and on the back burner is his worrying about Belanger. If he can trade Flash in attempting to gain this 1D/2C then so be it. But if Zajac is who he is after as our 2C...Devil's are looking to dump significant cap room and most likely wouldnt be looking to take on Flash @2.6.

I'm still hoping that we are talking with Couver in a Flash/Bieksa trade...coupled with a Zajac/??? swap with Devils. Plus a little Erskine & Sloan giveaway/lotto.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Devils want to trade Zajac. Lou likes him and Lou has previously found creative ways to get under the cap. There are other guys the Devils will likely get rid of first. Either trading or sending to the minors.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

if somehow we could get zajac and bieska for say flash and some picks/prospects, then our team would be practically perfect in my eyes

Posted by: _stevo | September 8, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"If Belanger took the handshake deal I agree it is foolish on his part. But I also think that has a negative impact on our franchise. Not many players will trust GMGM if Belanger opens his mouth and says what happened, if in fact there is even an agreement."

@ThePat

I agree completely.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Regarding New Jersey. At first I didnt think there was a chance NJ would move Zajac, but they have to cut $3M in salary. And they only have 21 players signed to contract. So in my opinion they have to make 2 trades. One player(Salvador) being traded for pick or prospect. That gets them to 20 players. Then Zubrus or Zajac has to be moved for a decent player making at least $1M less. That keeps them at 20 players but allows them to shop for some of those vets at a 500K or 600K price tag that are still out there, ie Nolan and Mara. That would be my plan if I am Lou.

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Man...GMGM is like a Fight Club personified or something. First rule of GMGM is, DONT TALK ABOUT GMGM. Second rule of GMGM, DONT TALK ABOUT GMGM.

Nobody will talk bad about him. Lest we forget, he is supposedly brutal and relentless in arbitration hearings. I can only imagine what he says..."You think so and so is gritty and worth $2 mil per...he wets the beds on road trips when he forgets his snuggie to sleep in."

Look at Nyls...we NEVER got the real story of what happened. And nobody is buying the "he just didnt fit in our system so we are paying him $5 mil to become SuperFan in the sky box." GMGM buries people and still nobody talks...Dude has mafia ties or something.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

What about Ryan Jasinsky? Anyone know if he will be invited to camp again this year or what his status is?

Posted by: StanleyCap

a ryan jasinsky fan? obscuuure! and well played!

If he's there, I think he's just filler. The Caps rookies got pushed around a lot a few yrs ago so the Caps got into the habit of bringing in a few guys who could handle themselves to take some of the heat off the rookies. Jasinsky sort of fits that bill. Not a serious contender to be signed on but he can provide a bit of muscle if necessary and keep our little darlings safe on the ice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Dude has mafia ties or something.
---

teflon don, nothing sticks to him

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

maybe Minnesota will bite on a Flash trade now that Sheppard is out indefinitely. Gotta take advantage of a team with injuries! Like when we r@ped Philly in the Oates trade after injuries to Roenick and Primeau. Too bad none of the picks or players we acquired turned into anything..

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

maybe Minnesota will bite on a Flash trade now that Sheppard is out indefinitely. Gotta take advantage of a team with injuries! Like when we r@ped Philly in the Oates trade after injuries to Roenick and Primeau. Too bad none of the picks or players we acquired turned into anything..

Posted by: cstanton1

Brent Burns!

Posted by: underpants2 | September 8, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

yeah right...you'd have a better chance of landing this instead

http://teemix.aufeminin.com/star/photo-358603-brooke-burns.html

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Why so many are eager to send Flash packing is beyond me. One of the top goal scorers, he showed diversity AND potential. He dried up in the playoffs, but so did many others throughout the league. Semin had a rough one too, but was hot the previous two series.

Posted by: gonchpup | September 8, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

If you like players that play the game without emotion, Flash is fine. In big games or at big moments you need to show desire and he just doesnt appear to have that. The kid is talented and a good guy off the ice but we have enough talent on this team, we need more of the desire kind of guys.

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

He dried up in the playoffs,

---

there's a difference between not scoring points and looking like you don't belong on the ice. And Flash (unlike some other guys who "dried up") doesn't look like he has any idea or desire on how to conduct himself during playoff hockey. He's not willing to take his game upto that next level of competition. He's like a scared mouse out there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'd be fine with trading Flash but two things to consider is that

1) he was actually able to train this offseason, and wil be able to attend training camp, unlike last year when he was suffering from a decently severe medical issue;

2) he has had an entire offseason and training camp to practice being a center. Learning where to go, practicing faceoffs, and just gaining more experience playing as a center.

Does this mean he will be extremely successful this year? Of course not. But those are two important factors that will help Flash be better prepared entering the season and better prepared to play center. Things that he did not have last season.

Only time will tell how much of an impact this will have.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh, ThePat and cstanton1 said just about the same exact thing about Flush......let the conspiracy theorists begin that they are actually one in the same poster!

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

A lot of his goals werent game changers. I think typically he got a lot of stat padding goals. He plays 0 defense. Doesnt really forecheck. Gets knocked off the puck too easy. Cant play center. Looked down right terrible in the playoffs.

I am not sure I agree with his diversity (thats an old wooden ship correct?) and I feel he reached his "potential". At least in our system and with his expected role here.

Semin may not have been lighting the lamp, but he played a good series other than that. We debate on here frequently about how well. I for one think he was one of our better performers, others (like cstanton1) think he showed up off and on.

Flash we all agree on was more invisible than Mike Green. In fact, it's plausible he was so invisible, he was working the sky cam attached to the underside of Wonder Woman's invisble jet.

And we need a legi 2C more than his iffy play @ 2.6 per.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

cstanton is in a league of his own. Look I got cstanton and sgm3 to both agree with me today and its before noon. Granted they were on different issues but thats an accomplishment.

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

If Belanger is going to be back with the team for the start of the season they need to make a move pretty soon. Preseason starts in a couple weeks. There are still some teams that are looking to clear cap space and could move a good defenceman for Fleichmann.

Posted by: Stu_c | September 8, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Semin may not have been lighting the lamp, but he played a good series other than that. We debate on here frequently about how well. I for one think he was one of our better performers, others (like cstanton1) think he showed up off and on
--------------

and with regards to Semin, when he wants to he can be dominating. Flash cannot. He lacks the strength Semin has on the puck. That one play Semin made where he takes the puck deep in his own end (after a hit by Tyler Sloan on Gionta freed up the play) and skates the length of the ice making the pass to Ovy for the goal, that's a play Flash is just incapable of making. He's not assertive on the puck like that. If I'm looking for a playoff winger and I have the choice of Bradley or Flash, I go with Bradley every time. He does the simple things right, gets the puck in deep, steals the puck away with his forecheck, gets the puck on net, crashes the net. You need that on a shift by shift basis more than you need one play every game or two where Flash does something flashy.

There was another play in game 4 where Semin makes the simple play of using his body (actually he slew-footed Hamrlik) and that leads to a great scoring chance upclose by Belanger. FTR I'm not in favor of the slewfoot and Semin didn't have to do that. He could've used his shoulder to accomplish the same result and knock him off the puck but chose to use his foot instead to take down Hamrlik. Point being, he was willing to make that simple play to generate a quality scoring chance. And its the type of play that Flash rarely if ever makes, and frankly its the type of play Semin didn't make until the series was well underway. He passed up a ton of chances to engage Montreal defensemen early in the series.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

SeminAllOverTheIce - I agree with your assessment of Semin's play and think far too many underscore his lack of goals. I thought he had a decent series. I know that when you sign a player to produce the goals, they need to, but measure it over a span of time. As for Flash, I agree he's not that strong on the puck, but his strength is seeing the ice and distributing the puck. As for his time at center, I think he has the play-making ability and can learn the responsibilty asked of him. Many point out his weak face off stats - important for posession, but again, something that can be learned. On the opposite side you have Steckel, the face off wiz, but does he possess nearly the skills Flash has? I just think Flash is loaded with skill and could develop into an excellent #2 center in time. The team needs balance with energy, grit and finesse. Ovie fills all three (kind of a gritty sort of finesse). I see Flash's game similar to Semin's and think they pair up well.

Posted by: gonchpup | September 8, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Basically he is saying Flash is as soft as tp. The irony, someone nicknamed Flush being soft like tp.

Anyone know Flush's middle name? If it's Peter or something else with a "p" I think I would end up crying at work from all the laughing. Because then he would be TP Flush.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

cstanton is in a league of his own.
---

uh oh. This could be me just patting myself on the back! Get it, pat!

but seriously, good cases made all around for why Flash is or should be expendable. This sums it up by Saoti-->

@gonchpup

A lot of his goals werent game changers. I think typically he got a lot of stat padding goals. He plays 0 defense. Doesnt really forecheck. Gets knocked off the puck too easy. Cant play center. Looked down right terrible in the playoffs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

sgm,

Last year Flash actually showed up heavier and stronger than years prior. The blood clots prevented him from anything that involved contact, but didn't prevent him from working out.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

As for Flash, I agree he's not that strong on the puck, but his strength is seeing the ice and distributing the puck.
---------------

that's great, when you have time and space to do that. In the playoffs, you have less time, less space. And you have to create that for yourself. Flash's playoff pace looks suspiciously like his reg season pace, which frankly could've used improvement as well.


"On the opposite side you have Steckel, the face off wiz, but does he possess nearly the skills Flash has?"

why are you comparing Steck to Flash? Totally different roles. Can Flash be a big body that can grind down the opposition the way Steckel has displayed he can? Does Steckel get knocked on his butt in the faceoff circle only to watch the play go back the other way and his man that he should be covering gets a goal out of it? Steckel's not a quality top 6 player and neither is Flash. The difference is that Steckel can be effective in other capacities.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I'd be fine with trading Flash but two things to consider is that

1) he was actually able to train this offseason, and wil be able to attend training camp, unlike last year when he was suffering from a decently severe medical issue;

2) he has had an entire offseason and training camp to practice being a center. Learning where to go, practicing faceoffs, and just gaining more experience playing as a center.

Does this mean he will be extremely successful this year? Of course not. But those are two important factors that will help Flash be better prepared entering the season and better prepared to play center. Things that he did not have last season.
---------------

lets hope McPhee puts it in those exact terms when he's talking to other teams. Because otherwise, no one's gonna bite on Flash.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

lets hope McPhee puts it in those exact terms when he's talking to other teams. Because otherwise, no one's gonna bite on Flash.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 12:02 PM

We could just put a Semin jersey on him when shopping him and tell him to not talk until after the deal is made, signed, and handshaked...followed by the ole "no givies backies" statement.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@SeminAllOverTheIce - completely in agreement: I thought Semin one of our better performers in that series, one of the few players who was able to create opportunities which he did do. And, in the final game, he was heavily involved in the one goal (taking a pretty cheap shot-crosscheck in the process which should've been a penalty) and almost set up a tying goal at the death (I believe Chimera whiffed on the sitter Semin set up for him)


Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

re: Flash

He did have his best year last year so there has been steady improvement. I do notice one thing he does on the half-boards that I think he needs to work on: he seems to freeze in place, making a tripod of himself, and because of that his feet aren't moving and people are able to easily plow into him. He should study Crosby - that guy does know how to use craft, footwork, and his moderate strength to maneuver other people off the puck. Still, Flash is either our #2C or he's not of much use. If he doesn't pan out there in the next few months, I'm thinking they do try to move him. Obviously, we'd love to have Zajac there for a year or two. And Belanger is #3 material at best...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 8, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

we talk a bit about Pinizzotto here but I don't know if some of you think of him purely as a grinder. He's a bit more than that and i think he should really be considered as a 3rd line prospect instead of a 4th line banger. Which he can also do since he's a fierce bodychecker. But he's got good quick hands. I pulled some vid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fhdRHj1IbQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iWNROXSbjM&feature=related

he scores the last 2 in this clip and a good grinding type assist on a dive/poke check to Joudrey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wj5BdmWt4w

and of course, his trademark submarine hits. This time on an unsuspecting baby Pen. Before the hit though notice how he carries the puck around the net despite getting hit and maintains possession before he dishes off the puck for a scoring chance. He's a better version of Matt Bradley. If Flash was carrying that puck he'd lose it the instant he took the hit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6yTJaTr5WA

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

As I said earlier, Belanger has not been/will not be signed.

Posted by: atybat | September 8, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

thru some "sources" ?

i for one am ecstatic.

were they planning on signing him and then decided not to because a trade fell thru or were the Belanger rumors junk to begin with?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

CS1

On that last clip you posted, the announcer gets it all wrong...said there was no place for that kind of hit and caught him from behind. Hi-larious

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

GMGM today on Belanger:

GM George McPhee on Eric Belanger: "I have nothing new to report."

and Corey Masisak followed up:

When I asked if Belanger was still a possibility for the #Caps, he said "Don't know - we'll see."

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This whole belanger thing is weird. caps trade a second round pick. If he is not signed by caps he would have been signed by another team by now. Great faceoff/good PK/good skater/decent hands. That is what a third line center is.

Posted by: samb99 | September 8, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

interesting, from that it sure sounds like the Caps were interested in him but can't pull the trigger on it till something else comes thru. Very awkward situation. In this report (can't verify if its true yet), Belanger states the holdup on the deal has to do with "leverage" in a trade. I'm assuming this leverage would have to do with the salary cap. But at this point you'd figure that any trading partners would be well aware of the rumored signing to eliminate any leverage.

(Quebec) After keeping silent for three weeks, the former Washington Capitals forward Eric Belanger confirmed Tuesday TO "Le Soleil" that he had found a new address in the National Hockey League. The one-year agreement that binds him to his new team, also prevented him for the moment to identify the team in question.

Three weeks ago, the agent of Sherbroke native but resident of Quebec, revealed that his client was hesitating between two teams. The center of 32 years finally settled with one of them. "I know where I'm going, but I can not tell! That's the latest news. They are currently working on an exchange, which [will have an impact] on the salary cap. It's been quite some time that the agreement is made, but we cant talk about it ", said Belanger, who scored 15 goals and 41 points with the Minnesota Wild and the Capitals during the last season .

According to the former Harfangs Beauport, it is not, for his new team, making him the space under the salary cap. Rather, a negotiation strategy.

"There is no place to go. But they are doing an exchange and does not want to lose leverage in that trade, "said the one who was earning $1.750 million last season.

Constantly questioned about his future since the beginning of the summer, Belanger was eager to share his good news.

"I'm getting fed up. Everybody asks me every day where I go and I got tired of not being able to say. But it's also part of the business. They asked us to help them in there. "

Certainly, the striker is delighted to no longer have to worry about his immediate future.

"It removes a concern, for sure. Even if it's been long we have to keep the secret. But I can still start telling people that it's done. It just remains to announce the destination, "he said, adding that he is now a matter of days.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

ThePat,

Who is Corey writing for now? Didn't the Times go under?

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

By the way...very upset nobody picked up on my Anchorman reference earlier. That makes me a sad panda. :(

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

By the way...very upset nobody picked up on my Anchorman reference earlier. That makes me a sad panda. :(
--
sorry, i was knocked woozy by your sex panther cologne

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I'll get much but it is my sole purpose today to see wtf is going on with Belanger. I'll will let you guys know what is out there.

This is baffling to say the least. Now obviously there are details that nobody but GMGM knows. As you guys know I was told that we "had" Bieska but for some reason it hasn't happended yet. I just don't get what Belanger has to do with it. Was it strictly a PR thing? I don't know but it's getting down to crunch time and I need my answers! LOL! One of my buddies is on a plane right now to Toronto so I'll touch base with him later as he seems to be the one most in touch with this.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Corey is writing for CSN and some free lance stuff for nhl.com

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

As you guys know I was told that we "had" Bieska but for some reason it hasn't happended yet.
---

umm...did you ever confirm that? All you said was it was a Western conf team. Maybe I missed it.

at least its a nice starting step forward that they showed interest in a player like Bieksa. Hopefully it wasn't just for his "offense" either.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that Corey seems to get more opportunities to speak to GMGM than the Post beat writer, especially with training camp getting ready to start....she should be hiding in the closet of GMGM's office to get the scoop!

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Yeah, he (pokerface) mentioned Bieksa by name late one evening over the weekend...in response to I think tominsocal and someone else who posted some reporters rumors.

@pokerface

You realize that if nothing happens at all in the offseason, we all are going to click the "Report abuse" link after each of your posts until you change your UserID to it's correct spelling "Eklund". :P

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

CStanton - yeah I confirmed that a couple days ago. I typically get info but won't say anything until right before the release is out or whatever. Since hockeybuzz & other media outlets had come out in the past few days stating they were hearing caps/van news I thought I could say something w/o jeopardizing relationships etc.

Something happened and I'm not sure what. Like I said though I have no idea what this has to do with Belanger. I really don't. My only guess is PR. Maybe they wanted to announce the 2 together for more PR I don't know.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

roflmao!

ftr though, i believe poker. I don't know why but i think its fairly legit. Just because nothing may transpire doesn't mean that it wasn't valid.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

well acc to belanger it has to do with 'leverage in negotiations', whatever that means. If those comments I posted of his are true.

i know how hard it is to keep rumors to yourself too. But if you want to hold onto your sources, you generally have to fight that urge :)

caps almost swung a very nice deal with an eastern conf team last yr but Sather (oops!) pulled out last minute. That deal would've pushed us into the 2nd round at least if not further imo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

That's because he's like the Guy on the Couch from Half Baked...

Scarface: Hey guy, you kill my dog?
Guy on Couch: (waves hand side to side, shakes head in a no gesture)
Scarface: I don't know why, but I believe him yo.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

atybat?

any details you'd like to share?

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

CS1

What was the trade - don't be a tease.

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The lack of a Bieksa trade may have more to do with the Canucks than the Capitals.

Remember Sami Salo unexpectedly tore his achilles in late July. Vancouver may have changed their mind, or at least hesitated, regarding trading Bieksa after that happened because Salo will now miss the beginning of the season and will be on LTIR which gives the Canucks cap room until Salo comes back.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

i am a tease aren't i, lol

nah, my source for several yrs has since dried up this past yr. But i still won't throw him under the bus. Because the trade involved current members of the Caps/Bears, it would be unfair to reveal it so close to it almost happening. Hell I waited 7 yrs before finally revealing the trade with Dallas that almost went down on draft day 2003. All the trades and signings I used to get first hand info on before they went down were accurate. But of all those trade talks, only maybe 10% of them went down. So that's why I don't discount Poker's rumors. Even if nothing actually goes down I believe there's validity in it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

who were we getting back? you tell us that.

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Still not sure what "leverage" would be gained by not having Belanger signed. It would take away cap space, but I don't see that being an advantage for the other team. Unless they would then wnat more back than what was being offered to "accomodate" our lack of space.

Posted by: Chucks20707 | September 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

one center, one defenseman. My personal top picks of both if I was the GM. That's all I'll say, and I've already said too much.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

meant you CAN tell us that

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

LMAO! That was pretty funny but I'm far from an Eklund. I've been around the game for a while and I have people all over the place and they know I'm a die hard Caps fan so anytime anything happens Caps wise my phone blows up.

Seminallover - I know you were being funny and I don't take offense to your comments. i'm not about putting up a website or anything it was more from 1 caps fan to another. I'm not able to ref anymore (well I could but long story) but I still stay in touch with a bunch of players, refs coaches etc. The hockey world is a very tight niche world. Anybody who's been in hockey knows that. It's actually very very cool. I owe a lot of my experiences in life etc to the game of hockey.

Lastly you don't see me on here saying "oh i heard this" or "oh i heard that". People don't realize what the real world is like. I would say for every 100 conversations between GM's about players maybe 5 of them have any real substance to them. Rarely if ever does a deal go down on 1 or 2 conversations. So when you hear something of GM "x" was talking to GM "y", it's probably true but it's just "checkin" so to say.

My most recent example is of the Clark & Chimmer deal. Like I said I knew that was really close to happening during training camp last yr. Things died down but then a phone call was made, a few small parts changed and there ya go. My guess is Bieska is very much in the same boat. This may or may not die but it will be revisited again if it has died.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, count me unsatisfied...
Like ordering a beer with my last fiver and dropping it...on the lady I was eyeing.

Posted by: jeets | September 8, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Staal and Callahan or Staal and Dubinsky

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Belanger's actually a "decent" third line center. His salary is bottom half for centers; his scoring ranked 61st in NHL last year for centers (makes him the best of the third group of 30); his faceoff % is above average and his PK is above avergage. He's not as gritty as we'd like but you can't have everything.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

My guess on that deal would be Dubinsky and Girardi coming back......just my guess.

Posted by: PhilR | September 8, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

Totally was just being funny. :)

But we are now even since you called me Seminal Lover without even realizing it. haha

@Chuck
Yes, any leverage I would assume be "we have plenty of room, you do not, so give us that larger contract and here...take Sloan, he's cheap"

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 8, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

He's not as gritty as we'd like but you can't have everything.
------------------

disagree. You should expect your 3rd and 4th line centers to be gritty guys. They don't have to be Zenon Konopkas but they should at least be as gritty as a Blair Betts.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

either way, i think this situation with Belanger (if there is such a situation) is a real reach when it comes to negotiating leverage. It may have sounded clever at first to keep that deal secret but in reality whether or not we sign Belanger, it shouldn't give us an advantage or disadvantage in dealing Flash. They're both competing for different positions on this team. And if we didn't "land" the big fish that is EB, we could still go out and get a Ryan Johnson type. I get that by making it public, it would seem that McPhee would be MORE forced to deal Flash and thus expect less in return. But it still seems like a weak reason. And now the entire league knows anyway whats up.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

and Tom, you can't look at EB in a vacuum. How "gritty" he is matters differently depending on his linemates. If he had Andrew Ladd and Pinizotto working the boards, then he can afford to be more shifty and less gritty. When he has Chimera on one side and god knows who on the other, that's where my expectations change a little. I mean Dave Bolland is kinda gritty also (moreso than Belanger). But having the kind of wingers he had (versteeg, ladd, kopecky, etc) allowed him to do this thing without being overly physical. Although unlike Belanger, Bolland has no problem being a pest to other team's top forwards. He got under quite a few skins in this yr's playoffs. Its those little differences that end up making all the difference. Belanger is like too many other Caps. He's another nice guy who would rather not be involved.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@Seminallovertheice

GMGM I think really does have mafia ties. We're a worse team than last year so far. We lost two capable defensemen: juice and Shamo.

I like what Knuble is saying. Hopefully he has a talk with Chimera. Post replay of Habs games, he stunk. Chris Clark,if healthy, would have given us more. Speed is only a weapon, when you're thought of as a weapon. Chimera is not a Cup holder. Trade him!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 8, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

and 3rd liners need to be every shift type of players. Which Chimera is not. But we have him for like another 2 yrs, right?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Nigel Dawes signing with the Thrashers in the next day or two.

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

disagree. You should expect your 3rd and 4th line centers to be gritty guys. They don't have to be Zenon Konopkas but they should at least be as gritty as a Blair Betts.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 3:18 PM


@cstanton: I agree with your basic statement, but I feel compelled to question one of the examples you cited...

IIRC, wasn't Blair Betts the guy who, while admiring his pass during the NYR series, got demolished by Brashear--said hit resulting in the latter's suspension?

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 8, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Rhino, wasn't the hit a wee bit from behind...? Kinda hard to see Brash coming from behind, no?

Posted by: Steve_R | September 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anybody's lookin forward to playing Atlanta.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 8, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, wasn't Blair Betts the guy who, while admiring his pass during the NYR series, got demolished by Brashear--said hit resulting in the latter's suspension?
---------
sure was. But if the point of this was to imply that because Betts got clobbered on a late hit from the side, that it somehow negates his gritty play on the ice, that would be an inaccurate conclusion :)

I'm not propping Blair Betts up as the poster child for grit. Just an example of a guy who isn't totally rough and tumble but still competes (imo) at an acceptable level of grit. Belanger does not compete at that level. And if Brash had hit Belanger with the same force he unloaded upon Betts, he'd be in a coma somewhere.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough...

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 8, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Man, how many days this summer have I checked this blog for some major deal going down. Day after day, month after month...nothing. I'd be happy to hear Nylander is back, just to have something happen! Think of this: who needs a new defenseman, you put Nylander back there and have him skate the puck in big circles (kinda like 4 corners in basketball). Call it the "keep away defense" and eat chunks of time off the clock. If he would only apologize to GMGM for the incident at the Christmas Party, this could work out!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 8, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought Belanger had a very strong compete level. This was especially shown when he played through losing many of his teeth. He may not play the style certain people like but you can't question is desire to compete. Not after ripping his own tooth out so he could back out on the ice.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

i knew someone would bring that up...and i knew who it might be.

for the sake of discussion, i don't question his internal toughness. Just like I didn't question Chris Clark's toughness when he came back from a crushed palate

But being able to withstand pain and having the desire to come back to the ice doesn't necessarily equate to actual on-ice play. Belanger doesn't compete for pucks in the corners, he doesn't stand in there in the crease, he doesn't put the body on his man. And whether he came back from 8 broken teeth or a ripped nutsack, it doesn't change anything. All I care about is, is this player able and willing to perform all the duties and roles that the good 3rd line centers in this league do.

now in Belanger's favor, at least you can say he has the guts to play thru pain which means he'll probably not sit out a game for a minor injury.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Belanger does compete for pucks in corners. He may not win a bunch of them but he was always winning to go in corners and compete for them.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

that's your opinion. Mine is that he does not compete with an acceptable level of grit to be a 3rd liner on the Caps, esp considering his probable linemates. Even Boyd Gordon goes into corners and tries sometimes but i don't consider his strength and grit level to be at the level it needs to be for this team to get the most out of its bottom 6.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

to me, its absolutely critical that as long as you're gonna pencil in certain non-physical elements on the top lines, then you have to absolutely maximize your grit on the bottom 2 lines. You can't have 2 or 3 floaters on those lines. Minimum of 5, preferably all 6 bottom liners should play with a certain degree of grit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I would say Ovie, Knuble and now Backstrom all provide a good physical element to the game. Especially Ovie and Backstrom is improving more and more in that element. The 2nd line has been missing some, but that has been because Laich stopped playing physical. He needs to get back and play a Knuble-esque role on the 2nd line.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Better strap on your aerobic leggings CS since you keep harking back to the 80's & that almost slow motion era & always humming Olivia Newton John's 'lets get physical'.

@@

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 8, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree with all that. I'd still like to see more physicality on that 2nd line. And if we add a MaJo or Flash to play 2nd line C, then that makes 2 guys (including Semin) who don't play gritty hockey. Now we're down to either Fehr or Laich on the offwing. And god forbid its MP or Majo centering Semin and Flash.

So yes, Laich needs to step up his physicality but remember, he's never going to be a Ryane Clowe type. Neither is Knuble. Knuble doesn't engage much along the boards, his grit is in front of the net. Laich is better along the boards at cycling the puck etc. But we still don't really have a nasty presence on the top 2 lines unless you're talking about Ovy.

So the bottom 2 lines absolutely need as much grit as possible. Signing an Asham type would've put us much closer. As would be dumping Chimera and BGordo and bringing in Pinner etc. But in lieu of those moves, I don't think having a 3rd line comprising of Chimera and Belanger pushes this team forward in any way.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Better strap on your aerobic leggings CS since you keep harking back to the 80's & that almost slow motion era & always humming Olivia Newton John's 'lets get physical'.

------

that was pretty funny.

But you obviously don't watch many teams play if you think what I'm hankering for is absent in current nhl hockey. Did you watch the bottom 2 lines on the Flyers and Hawks this year or did your own leggings choke off the blood supply to your brain?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that Belanger is part of a sign-and-trade deal? Maybe there is a contingency - if the trade doesn't happen, neither does the signing. Now that it has been announced prematurely, the other GM could be trying to bend GMGM over.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | September 8, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

the other GM could be trying to bend GMGM over
-----------

he should be pretty limber now after the deadline deals last yr.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 8, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

While I hope this is all posturing, I am starting to get the feeling this team isnt going to do anything....Flash according to Bruce is staying put and no Belanger deal: http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2010-09-08/boudreau-capitals-wont-trade-tomas-fleischmann

Posted by: ThePat | September 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

that almost slow motion era & always humming Olivia Newton John's 'lets get physical'
------------------------

hey don't be dissing ONJ, she's still gettin' it done even after numerous plastic surgeries :)

Posted by: joek443 | September 8, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't knock Olivia, she was hot in the 70's and 80's, and still looks good today!

Someone just reported this, but BB is saying Fleischman will not be traded and Belanger is not signed...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 8, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I'm going to disagree with you on Belanger. Let me ask it like this:

Can you fit within the cap and win the Cup with Belanger as your #3 (checking) line center at $1.875? My answer: "Yes."

And: Who gives better value on the checking line and best chance to win Cup at $1.875M, Belanger or Chimera?

Belanger.

EB is perfectly adequate at #3C. He just needs to be paired with say Laich and Bradley or, better maybe, Laich and AGordon. The Caps have all the pieces to make a decent checking line but won't do it.

Now, if it's Chimera-EB-Fehr, there's a perfect example of a line that will never do anything well enough.

If this club is stuck with Flash and Chimera, and they try and shoehorn Flash onto the 2nd line with Semin and MP (gag), and similarly try and force Fehr on the third line with Chimera and either MJ or Steckel as center, we then have two lines that just don't work.

But, between Belanger, Steckel, BGordon, Flash, Laich, Beagle, MaJo, etc, any other center currently in the organization (if in fact EB is), name anyone who can play checking line center/PK better than EB.

I agree Beagle might be in 2-3 years, MaJo too, but none of the others. Some aren't centers and the others are 4th/5th liners. At least we have in Belanger one player on the Caps playing on the 3rd line who actually fits on the 3rd line.

I agree though that if above rumor is true and they go into the season with the roster as now and none of the grittier Hershey forwards then you can make room on the "dark side" because I'm going to join you. I will spin my head around three times w/o moving my neck and barf red kool-aid just like Linda Blair spit up that green pea soup. At that point we can only watch as Boudreau and McPhee drink each other's bath water.

Please make it not so.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of ONJ.

Director Michael McGowan's "Score: A Hockey Musical" opens the 11-day festival, the film featuring Olivia Newton-John as the mother of a teenage hockey sensation whose adventures play out amid bursts of song from the cast.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100908/ap_en_mo/cn_film_toronto_festival

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 8, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Let me sum up the way it looks from the "dark side":

1) The Caps have a wonderful #2LW (Semin) who they are using at #2RW so that...
2) A guy who really shouldn't be with the team (Flash) can play #2LW.
3) Meanwhile a perfectly adequate #2Rw (Fehr) is having his minutes cut so he can play completely out of position on the checking line.
4) In addition, the player than most likely at #2C, Perreault, should be playting #1C at Hershey proving he can dominate and...
5) A player who should be #2C at Hershey (MaJo) will either be in Sweden not helping himself or playing #3C on the Caps with no experience...
6) And a player who really can't dominate any position (Chimera) will be the #3LW on a checking line that won't check anyone and
7) Our 4th line center (Steckel) went downhill last year and
8) we will be using BGordon to play out of position with very little grit as #4LW so that
9) A perfectly good #4LW (King) gets his minutes reduced.
10) And guys like AGordon, Beagle and Pinner, who could all save a bundle on the cap at $500K each, get stuck at Hershey.
11) Meanwhile on the blueline Green is playing too many minutes in the defensive zone and
12) A decent second pair defenseman (Schultz) is forced to be first pair
13) And a third pair defenseman (Poti) is forced up the 2nd pair with...
14) Carlson, who should be weaned on 3rd pair...
15) While our other third pair guy, Erskine, is really 4th pair.

Don't worry, though, because Ovechkin, Backstrom, Knuble, Bradley and maybe Alzner are actually being used as they should.

Other than those 15 little issues, this club is perfectly poised to take the Cup.

And that, my friends, is the view from the Dark Side.

At what point does Dick Patrick step in and say, "Er, Ted, this isn't the way my grandfather taught me the game should be played?"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Again, a "dark side" view:

Your team just lost in the Playoffs to a team that just barely sqeaked in. Meanwhile, your organization lost ShaMo, Jurcina, BMo, Corvo, Walker and, reportedly, Belanger (admittedly this group isn't the First Team All-Stars) and you have added...DJ King.

So, tell me how it is you are better now than Montreal?

cstanton: Does that kind of sum it up from the Dark Side?

When I come on here and start saying how joek443 does that Ted doesn't care, please just drive a stake through my heart because at that point there's no reason to live. I'm not there yet, though.

"Hi, my name's Tom, and I'm a loseaholic."

cstanton: "Hi, Tom."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you ever written a novel or movie? I have, none sold, big whoop, but it goes like this:

Act I - we introduce the characters one by one, their relationships to the hero, and get the action going;

Act II - the hero is presented with increasingly difficult challenges until, by the end of Act II, all hope seems lost and it appears the villian will triumph;

Act III - beginning with a glimmer of hope, here the hero summons all his courage to rise up and defeat the villian who, at the end of the story, dies a vile and grisly death unique from all other vile and grisly deaths suffered by all other villians. (Sometimes the hero even utters a cliche as the villian dies.)

What I'm saying here is that hopefully BB saying they were keeping Flash and not signing Belanger and there would be no trades is the END OF ACT II.

At least, for now, I'm enjoying the Dark Side.

BTW, I just told my wife I wanted to go out for the night and look for a virgin but she quickly squashed that notion.

Hmmm...guess I'll just stay home and read the Caps blog.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 8, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1:
you need to get on some meds (liquid meds) real quick
red or white - any year will do - no sharing with family members - and take all of the medicine

use the force tom - use the force

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 8, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

To call Poti a 3rd pairing defenseman is just wrong. I know some people on here do not like him, but he is clearly a 2nd pairing defensmen in the NHL (top 120).

His play in the playoffs last year supports that. His play over the last few years at even strength supports this also.

His main flaw is that he is not a very talented penalty killer. That would be fine if he only played 20 seconds or so on a PK. Unfortunately, he plays way too much on the PK.

Also, it seems as though AGordon, Pinner, and Beagle have reached Chris Bourque status here. The Chris Bourque syndrome is when some fans fall in love with mid-level prospects and after talking about them for so long they convince themselves how great they are and greatly overrate the player's ability. It happens with fans in the NFL all the time when watching preseason games.

Could some of those players end up being solid NHL players? Absolutely. Will all three of them each play over 100 NHL games in their careers? Unlikely.

But the way people talk about them here is that these guys are can't miss NHLers. Just like they said about Chris Bourque a few years ago. They aren't. This is not to say do not give them a chance. But, to put all three of them on the NHL roster, that is a Stanley Cup contender, from the outset and be dependent on them for the season is not smart. It just isn't.

I keep on hearing people guaranteeing how good all three are and how much better they are than Chimera. Based on what knowledge does this come from? I would be very curious to know how much any of those people have seen AGordon, Pinner or Beagle play more than a few games in the AHL? Then, how they know, through watching from such great vantage points, that these players are can't miss players and are perfect replacements.

They are decent prospects. I think it would be good to give one, whoever plays the best, a shot to play on the 4th line starting out the season. then when injuries occur maybe he gets bumped up to the 3rd line if he has been playing well.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 8, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: Hello from the Dark Side.

OK, say Poti really is a 2nd pair guy. I'll grant you that. That means the "15 little problems" just became the "14 little problems."

I will tell you this, no different from what cstanton would tell you - Beagle, AGordon and Pinner are all more successful at their roles in the AHL than was Bourque. Bourque, like MP, seems to be either a #2 line player or bust, as his defensive skills weren't good enough for 3rd line and his grit wasn't enough for 4th.

Chimera never put up AHL numbers like AGordon, so you can extrapolate maybe and figure AG will give similar production at (here's the key) much less salary.

My thought, the Dark Side thought, is if you can replace three players somehow with AG, Pinner and Beagle you will:

1) significantly upgrade team grit;

2) provide mucho cap space for the much-needed #2C.

Be honest, sgm3. As of now, the Caps organization has a super #1C; a bunch of #4C's; and a bunch of future hopefuls and maybes.

Meanwhile we are paying Chimera $1.875M when AG could do the job, maybe only 90% of Chimera's job, but for $500K, and it gives you $1.375M in addition to the MP money $717K to be $2.1M. Now move Flash $2.6M and add Beagle or Pinner and you have $4M for a #2C.

Same cap hit; more grit; maybe not quite as much skill; but three players in position to succeed.

I have essentially taken three snipers off a team loaded anyway with snipers and have added back a bazooka man, a grenade launcher and that quality #2C (pretend it's Umberger, the salary fits) who maybe we can call a tank.

Are we trying to look pretty sgm3 or are we trying to defeat the enemy and win the war?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 9, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

sgm: BTW, I NEVER fell in love or even wanted to date Chris Bourque. Never thought he had the "right stuff," just like I don't think MP has it.

Capt Kirk: Had some Argentina red earlier split with wife. Now I'm sipping this el Jimador tequila. That's not it. It's the weather. Been here since late March and, for the first time, the sun wasn't out. That's right - six months, not one drop of rain, not one cloud really. Even now it isn't clouds like back east but what they call the "marine layer." (OK, it's fog.) And, well, it's great! And it's mid 50s! But for some reason, the onslaught of "hockey weather" has me being objective. Despite cstanton objection, I was seeing Belanger as at least a big step up from what we have. Sure, I'd much rather be like Pitt with JStaal as #3C. Who wouldn't? But do I want their wingers? I'd rather have Hooters wingers than theirs.

Except Asham would be a step up, wouldn't he?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 9, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

MJ and MP are in similar boats as AGordon, Pinner, and Beagle in that neither has shown enough, or anything, in the NHL to be confident they will produce well this year. Althought MJ and MP are higher rated prospects and considered to have more upside.

I personally believe that MP will be a good 2nd line center. But if he doesn't make the roster out of camp I'm not going to flip out and say BB and GMGM don't get it. I will believe that from what they saw in practice, from tapes of AHL games, and preseason games that MP was not a 2nd line center quality at the time. They see him(and the other guys like Pinner, AGordon, and Beagle) much more than any of us.

Just like CBourque, AGiroux, and KAucoin, maybe they aren't in the NHL because the coaches and scouts see that they aren't able to make it. If either of those players(Pinner, AGordon, Beagle) impresses during training camp he will be on the roster. All the kids have to do is outplay their competition. If they don't they won't make the squad. Maybe the Caps are waiting for training camp to see if those AHL players are capapble of making the team this year, and if they are they will get rid of some of the players you mentioned. If not, then the Caps need to hold on to those players.

Also, points in the AHL often does not necessarily translate into success in the NHL, see AGiroux and KAucoin as examples and many others on all teams throughout the years.

"Now move Flash $2.6M and add Beagle or Pinner and you have $4M for a #2C."

Listen, I'm all for acquiring a top 2nd line center, but what 2nd line centers were moved this offseason who would have been true improvements? Who could the Caps have gotten? People keep on mentioning names but they forget that the other team has to be willing to trade that player the Caps are supposed to acquire.

Most teams are not willing to trade quality 2nd line centers unless they are highly overpriced, have many more years on their contract( than desiredSavard), or are on the downside of their career and not that good anymore as a 2nd line center.

If the Caps could actually acquire a Patrice Bergeron or Jordan Staal then absolutely. But those teams are not going to trade those players. They are trying to win the Stanley Cup this year too.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 9, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Listen, I'm all for acquiring a top 2nd line center, but what 2nd line centers were moved this offseason who would have been true improvements? Who could the Caps have gotten? People keep on mentioning names but they forget that the other team has to be willing to trade that player the Caps are supposed to acquire.

Most teams are not willing to trade quality 2nd line centers unless they are highly overpriced, have many more years on their contract( than desiredSavard), or are on the downside of their career and not that good anymore as a 2nd line center.

If the Caps could actually acquire a Patrice Bergeron or Jordan Staal then absolutely. But those teams are not going to trade those players. They are trying to win the Stanley Cup this year too.

Posted by: sgm3

Lombardi absolutely would have been an upgrade. No trade needed. 3 years at $3.25 is reasonable.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 9, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Matthew Lombardi is a perfect example of the grass is always greener effect that is always on this board. First of all 3.25 is too much for Lombardi, his numbers do not support that salary. I'm not saying that a 2nd line center isn't worth paying 3.25, not at all, just not him. His production doesn't support 3.25 per season, he doesn't bring the grit that most say our team lacks, and last but not least his playoff numbers are piss poor. Please don't throw the stats aren't everything argument into the equation. The ones that normally say points and plus/minus don't tell the whole story are quick to use the number of hits stat to prove their point on aggressive players. Lombardi would've been a whipping boy and an anchor around GMGMs neck by January. The fact still remains that when this team is examined from top to bottom it still needs a quality stay at home #1 pair defenseman, and a proven #2 center. For me, the only one I would have wanted this past summer is Volchenkov, but not with a long term NTC contract like he landed in NJ.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Lombardi, at 1-year for $3.25M, I guess. But at three years, given the Caps salary cap situation and the number of centers in the pipeline he isn't that much of an upgrade.

If the Caps are going to give a long term contract to a 2nd line center it better be along the talent of a Patrice Bergeron or someone similar. IMO, Lombardi is a decent center but worth nowhere near his 3-year $3.25M/yr price tag.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 9, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

My point in not wanting Lombardi for 3.25m is because he has never performed well in the playoffs. Even though a lot of us disagree on a lot of things on this board, the general feeling here is that the Capitals have a good enough team to qualify for the playoffs. The addition of #1 pair defenseman and a #2 center is to get this team over the hump come playoff time. Lombardi's playoff performance, and he's played 40 playoff games, doesn't suggest he is capable of solving our playoff #2 center problem.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

http://www.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2010-09-08/boudreau-capitals-wont-trade-tomas-fleischmann

FYI. BB says no Flash trade, and no Belanger deal.

This is our team. Well done GM, you dipsh!t.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 9, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Observations on comments here:

Unfortunately Mike Green is not a big game player. That's the issue. It isn't that he isn't trying. Fortunately for us we have a big game player in the system, John Carlson.

I've seen a lot of analysis and debate on why the Caps lost to the Habs in the playoffs. I have my theories too, but I keep asking myself why did Philly beat the Habs?

The Belanger situation is wierd. It is like they're waiting for something else to develop, but what? However, it is taking a long time for this development thing. Maybe they're just playing with him. :)

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | September 9, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

While we take all this seriously, BB said they're over there at Kettler laughing at most of the trade rumors. I wonder if he'll be laughing next May?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 9, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Underpants,

Get back in your crib...

Posted by: jeets | September 9, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Pretty sure BB laughed at Umberger too, look how that turned out. It seems like none of the arrogance that doomed them last year has dissipated. Comments like this are funny when you win something, not so funny when your team is humiliated in the first round. Didn't BB get the memo that they were 'humbled'?

I like Bruce, but his comments don't really seem appropriate coming from an NHL coach.

Posted by: Fletch22 | September 9, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, BB is getting flamed in here for laughing. I doubt very seriously he was laughing because he doesn't think his team needed more pieces. He was probably laughing because people that have absolutely no idea what is going on with the Capitals fabricate trade rumors that snowball into a failed deal. The reason it is funny to people like BB is because the "failed deal" was BS from the start.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Except Asham would be a step up, wouldn't he?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 9, 2010 12:12 AM

1000 times, yes.

Posted by: Fro_ | September 9, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

If anyone ever believes what a coach/GM says to the media in regards to trades and what not, then you are a fool. Because nobody lies to the media right? Please.

How many times have you seen a player/coach/gm/vp say "so and so is going nowhere". You open the paper the next day and BAM...So and So traded to NJ.

If the Caps are playing up this whole, keep everything on the hush hush, it is very fitting that BB comes out and tries to squash any "rumors" about trades.

@fanohock1
How do you know there were no deals brewing? You state pretty emphatically that the rumor was BS from the start. Others on here, that come off as pretty reliable and sound like they have legit inside sources, have stated otherwise. Not to mention other media outlets have heard rumblings. People have sources, and things get tossed around all the time. So to say a deal was BS from the start, well thats just silly.

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

Can someone give me a link to the rookie camp schedule. I have been to the Caps website but for some reason finding it hard to navigate.

Posted by: hockeymom03 | September 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

@hockeymom

check back on the Caps website this afternoon. To my knowledge it hasn't been released, but I suspect the schedule and roster will come out this afternoon. Unless of course they have to announce a trade....

Posted by: ThePat | September 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

To call Poti a 3rd pairing defenseman is just wrong. I know some people on here do not like him, but he is clearly a 2nd pairing defensmen in the NHL (top 120).
--------

by my count he's had one mediocre series (v Flyers), one questionable series (Rags), one awful series (Pens), one good series (Habs).

To call him clearly a top 4 dman is pushing it. He's serviceable at times. And maybe he's top 4 on our current roster but that ain't sayin much either. At times he's clearly been our worst defensman. And then briefly he's been one of our better ones.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

and tom i look fwd to your next episode of 'tales from the crypt' ahahahhahrahaha!

in this episode, please introduce a world where the only player available by trade is umberger and our 2nd, 3rd and 4th line centers are injured. Does BB/GM pull the trigger or do we see DJK, Brads, and Chimera taking faceoffs?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Man ticket prices for the Pens games are crazy.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

WOW, ESPN announcing...

"SeminAllOverTheIce is bored at work and CI is lame today, someone change that asap."

Ok, so maybe ESPN isn't aware of my boredom, but now you all are. Fun topic that can kill 5 hours please. AND GO...

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 9, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Pens game? You mean the Winter Capssic?

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

SSeminAllOverTheIce: I did finish that off the wrong way, I'm not implying that every suspected trade was BS. What BB was laughing about was the fact that there are trade rumors that surface when there is absolutely nothing going on at all. Those are the situations that make him laugh because they are totally fabricated.

"Oh yeah. Those trade rumors, I think you can faithfully put all of them to bed," Boudreau told Sporting News. "We laugh at so many of them that have no substance. I don't know who makes them up. Some people have very vivid imaginations."

How many times have you heard a rumor about something you are intimately familiar with and you laugh at it because it is completely false? Take a look at all the "potential" trades we have read about over the last couple of years and how many have actually gone down. Now, how many of them were complete BS and how many were deals that just couldn't be completed? The last two people outside of the Capitals front office will never be able to answer. That is what I was getting at. I do think GMGM has been on the horn this summer and I won't be shocked if trades happen between right now and the trade deadline in March. I question if there have been as many attempts as there have been rumors.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

What Icehammer97 is probably getting at is the gate price for Caps tickets. There are 4 different prices for the same seats this year vice 3 last year and only 1 the year before. There are now red, white, blue, and gold gate prices. Red are the tuesday games against the likes of Columbus in which the gate price is $40 for each of my seats which are upper deck in the corner. That same seat for the Pens vs Caps game at the gate is $80.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I would bet with the exception of a few video game like trade rumors, a lot probably were at least tossed out there. Doesnt mean they were thought about for more than a second before being rejected.

I remember reading a quote from GMGM a couple years back about the craziness that happens daily in relation to trades. People calling and offering packages for Ovechkin and such. And as pokerface mentioned yesterday, out of like every 100 trade offers/rumors, we lucky if like 5 actually happen or at least get more in depth.

I'd would have to be GMGM's email Inbox filter for sure.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 9, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Ugh typos...

"I'd would have to be GMGM's email Inbox filter for sure."

Have = hate

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 9, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

As for the ticket prices, yep, the gold games are Pens, Blackhawks, Rangers, and probably a couple more I am forgetting. About $40 a seat more than others. The Winter Classic is a whole different story... upper-deck behind the goals are $129 plus $20 handling charge. I think club level are $250.

Posted by: gonchpup | September 9, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Calgary could still be trying to move Regehr to dump some salary. Would be a great pickup.

Posted by: Stu_c | September 9, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

This is not a jab at you Stu-c, but I just want to show what some Calgary people think of Regehr. There are a total of nine comments at the bottom of the article

http://communities.canada.com/calgaryherald/blogs/insideflames/archive/2010/09/08/flames-defenceman-robyn-regehr-talks-about-a-summer-chalk-full-of-trade-rumours.aspx

Six of the nine don't speak very highly of Regehr. The comments look a lot like the ones here:

"Regehr is overpaid, overrated, slow and complains about every D partner he plays with. Trade him now while he's worth something.....like a bag of pucks. He's not even good enough to be a puck pusher in practice. Give the young guys like Pelech and Negrin a chance. Pardy can easily step in and be one of the 6 guys.....and I hope Sutterites let Bouw play his game. A lot of people criticized his play last year....it's mostly because he wasn't allowed to play his game...give this guy free rein to do whatever he wants on the ice. Don't make a great skating D-man a PYLON LIKE REGEHR!!"

As I said ealier today, for fans, the grass is alway greener.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

This is not a jab at you Stu-c, but I just want to show what some Calgary people think of Regehr. There are a total of nine comments at the bottom of the article

http://communities.canada.com/calgaryherald/blogs/insideflames/archive/2010/09/08/flames-defenceman-robyn-regehr-talks-about-a-summer-chalk-full-of-trade-rumours.aspx

Six of the nine don't speak very highly of Regehr. The comments look a lot like the ones here:

"Regehr is overpaid, overrated, slow and complains about every D partner he plays with. Trade him now while he's worth something.....like a bag of pucks. He's not even good enough to be a puck pusher in practice. Give the young guys like Pelech and Negrin a chance. Pardy can easily step in and be one of the 6 guys.....and I hope Sutterites let Bouw play his game. A lot of people criticized his play last year....it's mostly because he wasn't allowed to play his game...give this guy free rein to do whatever he wants on the ice. Don't make a great skating D-man a PYLON LIKE REGEHR!!"

As I said ealier today, for fans, the grass is alway greener.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

at this point pretty much everything would be greener. Erskine/Sloan at 6/7 is like a yard full or burnt out grass.

Posted by: ThePat | September 9, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: You forgot to include Boudreau's son.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 9, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat
You give them too much credit, they are more like a yard of salted earth.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 9, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ok. This guy has been characterized by Calgary fans very similar to how Schultz is characterized by his detractors. Yes, he is an upgrade to Erskine or Sloan, I agree, but he is getting ready to start the 2nd year of a 5 year extension. If all he is qualified to do is serve as 3rd D pairing, is he worth 4mil a year? He is due more than Erskine and Sloan combined.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Not saying I want him, was just giving ThePat a better metaphor example for Erskine/Sloan.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 9, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

I think if they were to get him, he goes right in the top 4. Pair him with Carlson, make Poti/Alzner the 3rd pair. That's my opinion with his play and style. Get him playing with Carlson now since Poti is gone after this year. I mean pointless to talk about since this team doesnt want to make any moves.

Posted by: ThePat | September 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Is Poti gone after next year? We all assume that because his contract expires, but if he is playing well as the playoffs approach, and he performs well, he probably won't ask for a raise, so he might be back. I know that makes some of you cringe but BB and GMGM seem to like him.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah not the Winter Classic. I was able to buy presale today and the Pens game (with fees ect.) was over $100 a ticket for upper corner. It almost would have been cheaper to travel to Pittsburg and watch an away game there.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 9, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

Valid point on Poti, but I counter with this. If this team again falls short in the playoffs, why would any of the pending UFA's on this team be brought back other than Brooks Laich? Also why would any of the pending UFA's want to come back if this team that is supposed to have the most talent in the league can't win in the playoffs?

I am not trying to be a downer here, just pointing out that people resigning here is far from a given.

Posted by: ThePat | September 9, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

geez...I’m banging my head on the desk after finding 2 tickets on Ticketmaster for the Caps-Pens game on Dec23. but couldn’t buy on time and lost the tickets. Anyone knows if it’s possible more tickets would be available tomorrow after 10am?

Posted by: guer_j | September 9, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

the truth on regehr is somewhere in the middle. I'm not a fan of giving up a lot to get him but he'd still be useful to us if he can stay healthy. He's not as bad as those comments make him out to be and he's not as good as he once was. But he'd definitely be a nice addition to our blueline. He doesn't have the menacing meanness of a Bieksa but he's still a rugged defensive presence. Regehr's worst day is prolly akin to Erskine's best day. And that's no slam on Erskine.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat. It depends on the free agent. Semin might want to stay because he is such good friends with Ovechkin.

I do not know Poti personally at all so this is a guess but maybe he believes in this team or thinks that this team is the best chance he will have to win a Cup. The guys we lost this year on D ended up for the most part ended up on weaker teams except possibly ShoMo but it isn't like Buffalo has won a Cup. He may look at who he might sign with if he walks and decide the best chance is the Caps no matter what past playoffs have shown.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 9, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

btw Tom I was re-reading your "dark side" list and I always though the reason why Semin played on the right side was because Ovechkin tends to be the last guy to change and the Caps didn't want Semin's ice time to be cut because Ovechkin was taking longer shifts. I may be wrong but that was the reason I had alway heard and I started hearing this long before Flash was a second line thought.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 9, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I do not know Poti personally at all so this is a guess but maybe he believes in this team or thinks that this team is the best chance he will have to win a Cup
--

guarantee you that poti will never leave the caps as long as they offer him a deal. He's not high on other teams' radar, he's not a sought-after asset, he isn't asked to be a physical player with the Caps the way they expected him to be in Edm and NY. He was a good fit on the island, and the Caps are happy with the style he plays. His comfort zone here is enormous. He's made some awful glaring errors in past playoff series without getting any heat for them. I think he's a Bruce kinda guy and as long as the Caps want him he'll stick around.

frankly, regardless of his chemistry with Carlson in the playoffs, i don't consider him a top 4 dman. Not on a team with high aspirations. Poti gets eaten up by certain teams that employ a furious forecheck. If our only aspiration is to make it past the 1st round then he may be good enough for that. Any deeper and he's gotta go.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I mean pointless to talk about since this team doesnt want to make any moves.
----------------------------

we will stay the course, we will keep the powder dry. Any moves we make are never out of desperation. Any moves we don't make are by design. Everything is under control. Panic is counter productive. Resistance, futile. We know who you are, we know what you do. The less you struggle, the less this will hurt.

--George Dystopian McPhee

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Do you all know what the Maple Leafs and the Titantic have in common?

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

They both look great until they hit the ice. I am so ready for the season to start. My son and I took a look at the NHL preseason schedule and if you need a fix Chicago and the NYRs each have some preseason games on TV beginning in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, at least the Saints vs Vikings game will add a little excitement while waiting for the NHL to start.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 9, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"frankly, regardless of his chemistry with Carlson in the playoffs, i don't consider him a top 4 dman. Not on a team with high aspirations. Poti gets eaten up by certain teams that employ a furious forecheck. If our only aspiration is to make it past the 1st round then he may be good enough for that. Any deeper and he's gotta go."

You do realize that Poti has put up some great production at even strength over the past few years. This was also true with his performance in the playoffs. All that matters is production. What players help produce the best results(more goals for than against). Poti has been a consistent producer throughout the past few years at even strength.

His problem is that he is not a very good penalty killer.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 9, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

it would be swell if we could get an update from these informal skates, just saying. i hear chimera and fehr are back in town

Posted by: _stevo | September 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Latest of many first round collapses, no new blood. How can this possibly be happening?

Everyday I check this board, every day I have been disappointed. In fact, every day since game 7, I have been disappointed. Anyone else feel this way?

I know I am painted as negative, and I cannot disagree. But every year, it is the same thing.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 9, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@betterOffWithFederov

Re: why did Philly beat the Habs?

There was some attrition: that Habs were missing their best D man by far, Markov, could not have helped them. But Caps didn't match up well against teams with small, quick-footed forwards, our D very slow foot speed. Look at how Detroit buzzed around us for 50 shots. Montreal did NOT beat us with physical play, they beat us with their opportunism, their willingness to block an absurd number of shots, and their negative tactics. They, having assumed they could not "play" with us, instead focused almost entirely on preventing us from scoring, while assuming that they might steal a goal or two.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

What was the difference between the 2007-2008 Penguins(SC runner-ups) and the 2008-2009 Penguins(SC Champions)?

The 2009 Penguins lost Ryan Malone, Marian Hossa, Ryan Whitney, Peter Sykora, Jarkko Ruutu, and Georges Laraque. The 2009 Penguins gained Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke, Bill Guerin.

They Penguins downgraded since they lost two of their best players from the 2008 playoffs in losing Hossa and Malone. Yet somehow they managned to improve their results. How did this happen? On paper they did not improve yet they still somehow improved upon their previous season. That is impossible.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 9, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins also do not collapse in April annually.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 9, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins won in 2009 because we let them out of a 2 game hole, just like we do every year.

This organization cannot find the gas pedal when they need to. In the playoffs, we ride the brake.

The Penguins may have lost same talent, yet they gained experience (Guerin and Kunitz both have rings). Really make you think, do we need all this talent, can we swap some for experience/grit.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 9, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

The Penguins also werent improving with that current group until they made the coaching switch and caught fire down the stretch. So something major did change, the way they played. Thats kind of important buddy.

Posted by: ThePat | September 9, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

True. They switched to a coach who made the Penguins play a more open and offensive style than they were before.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 9, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins play good team defense and its all predicated on their forecheck. Kunitz and Cooke are relentless forecheckers. They have a big punishing dman in Orpik. Gonchar was playing better defensive hockey than was a guy like Mike Green. When the Pens have a lead in the 3rd pd, they know how to adjust their game so the opponent doesn't get quality scoring chance after scoring chance. The Caps look totally different with a 3rd pd lead. They're still giving up quality chances and its a matter of is the clock going to run out before the other team ties it up. You can say the Pens "opened things up" but the truth is that team knows how to shut it down. They're not a one dimensional team. And the fact that they consistently rack up 200+ hits more than the Caps do over a season is more than just a stat. It shows a commitment to a certain style of hockey.

And we certainly don't need a coaching change in order to play more wide open hockey. We need to go the other way.

the part i'd agree with is that a coach can definitely get a lot more out of a roster without making any significant personnel changes. Bruce got more than Hanlon did by opening up the offense. But his style won't work in the playoffs. So when this team does more than pay lip svc to team-oriented defensive hockey and doesn't take things like penalty-killing for granted, we'll improve as a playoff team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

His problem is that he is not a very good penalty killer.
--
hah, he has bigger problems than that. Go watch his play in the Penguins series. He was putrid. Worst dman on the ice. Gave away so many critical turnovers it wasn't funny. And easy ones too. Terrible passes, he looked flustered. Looked like a total rookie. I don't give him too credit against the Habs because the Habs didn't put a ton of pressure on our D. I don't think that was a fair representation of Poti's flaws on defense. I think he would've looked much worse had he played a team with a heavier forecheck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 9, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 14, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 14, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 14, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 14, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

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