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Caps 4, 'Canes 1 (Updated)

The Caps brought a prospect-laden roster to Raleigh and left with a 4-1 victory over Carolina in the preseason opener for both teams.

Some notes and observations from RBC Center:

*Goaltender Simeon Varlamov continued his impressive camp, stopping all 20 shots he faced in a hectic first period, which included five shots from close range during a late scramble. As I've said before, the young Russian's positioning and rebound control needs work, but man is he athletic. By helping the Caps weather the 'Canes early storm, Varlamov is probably the biggest reason the visitors got the 'W.'

"When you allow 20 shots in the first period, that's not an indication of playing very well, even if you have a 2-0 lead," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We can thank our lucky stars that Varlamov was so good, or it could have been 3-2 for them. A little of it was nerves and they settled down."

Goalie coach Dave Prior was also impressed with Varlamov, saying: "All through camp he's been really good. The biggest difference is that he's more patient on his feet. His first couple of days [last year] he was predictable, going down all the time. Now he's really showing good patience and waiting it out. At this level it's important to be patient and have the ability to react, which he does."

*Tomas Fleischmann, a player with a lot to prove this season, also got off to a good start, scoring a pair of power play goals. He swatted a puck out of midair to put the Caps ahead 1-0 (vs. Cam Ward), and later tallied Washington's fourth goal on a rebound (vs. Justin Peters).

"Flash looked stronger than he has in the past," Boudreau said.

Fleischmann added: "It was just a preseason game, so you can't take too seriously. But it feels good." About his highlight quality first goal, he said: "I just saw the puck and I hit it."

*Matt Bradley and Mathieu Perreault also scored goals for Washington.

*With Chris Clark not on the trip, Bradley wore the captain's 'C'. Viktor Kozlov and Michael Nylander got the A's.

"I was pretty excited that Bruce made me captain and it's something I enjoyed," Bradley said before joking, "My record speaks for itself. I'm 1-0. I just went out there and did what I do: get the game winner."

Boudreau disagreed with Bradley's version of things, cracking, "He begged for it. ...Yeah, he's 1-0; he's told me that already."

*Carolina's long goal came on a five-on-three power play tally by Joni Pitkanen, who snapped one-timer past Daren Machesney in the second period. Machesney played the final 40 minutes, stopping 10 shots. But he almost had a costly misstep in the second period, when he fumbled a puck in the slot, panicked and then covered it up out of the crease, drawing a delay of game penalty (smothering puck). He was otherwise solid.

*Carolina, one of the teams expected to challenge the Caps in the division, suffered yet another injury when defenseman Tim Gleason suffered a leg injury and did not return. They are already without Tuomo Ruutu (leg), Anton Babchuk (leg), Noah Babin (head), Justin Williams (Achilles), Rod Brind'Amour (knee), Zach Boychuk (wrist).

*Among the Caps' defensemen fighting for one of the final spots on the roster, Karl Alzner extended his stretch of solid play. Paired with Jeff Schultz, Alzner skated 22 minutes, second only to Schultz's 23:03, and perhaps most importantly, did not stand out for any of the wrong reasons. Sami Lepisto, meantime, recovered from a shaky first period and was also solid while paired with 2008 first round draft pick John Carlson, the only junior player left on the camp roster.

*Boudreau said Michal Neuvirth will start for the Caps tomorrow when they host the 'Canes at Verizon Center.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 24, 2008; 9:21 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup


good start to the pre-season. bring 'er on.

Posted by: capetown | September 24, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, is that Carolina's top line that they iced tonight? If it is, this season is looking rosier by the minute ....


Posted by: this space for rent | September 24, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to another victory over the Canes in front of the home crowd tomorrow night!

Posted by: Jill | September 24, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Also...Varlamov was really impressive and came away with the #2 star. Kept us in the game in the 1st.

Posted by: Jill | September 24, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Rock On
Anyone know Simeons middle name??
No more Flash bashing. Juice was hitting tonight!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | September 24, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Did Morin end up making the trip as he was orginally scheduled to? If so, did he receive any playing time?

Posted by: Justin | September 24, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I saw that Juice had surgery over the summer, not sure what for.

Tarik, was it anything serious enough that would have kept him from being as physical as he was at the end of 06-07?

Posted by: keef | September 24, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I caught the third period on the Canes internet broadcast. Juice absolutely destroyed somebody along the boards in the Caps' zone right at the end of the game. If he steps that crap up again, people will stop whining about us needing a bruising defender.

Posted by: Jordan | September 24, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I've been harsh on Flash, good to see he seems to worked hard this summer to improve his game. That said, I'm not sold until I see a solid stretch of the regular season. Hope Alzner keeps it up too

Posted by: reekie | September 24, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse


He was doing that the whole game. It seemed like the announcer called his name out every time he was on the ice. Hopefully he's back in is a contract year after all.

Posted by: keef | September 24, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Russians use the patriarchal middle name. I think its Alexandrovich.

Glad the boys did well down there.

All this not being able to watch hockey games nonsense needs to stop. Family has just decided to come stay with me tomorrow on their way south, so I get to miss tomorrow's game too. Argh.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 24, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Daily Herald:
Reports surfaced Tuesday of the Hawks being one of the teams showing interest in Washington Capitals center Michael Nylander. The problem is Nylander, who has 199 points in 200 games the last three seasons, would bring with him a salary-cap hit of $4.875 million.

That's a hit the Hawks couldn't think of taking on, being just $1.5 million under the NHL's cap - unless they could move one of their own big contracts, such as Nikolai Khabibulin's ($6.75 million) or possibly Cam Barker's (a $2.83 million cap hit).

Posted by: Dave King | September 24, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the boys keeping the ship pointed in the right direction.

Also nice to hear about Brads getting the C for the game. Like Brash, his contributions might not be as overtly tangible but none the less, extremely valuable.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | September 24, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse


Way to go Flash. I'm happy for all those guys.

Interesting Daily Herald article. And I just warmed to the idea of keeping Nylander. As I thought about the flyers series (and even before) we had a tough time scoring in any BUT a transition situation. We had a lot of success in making transition opportunities, but when we didn't, we didn't score. Nyls is a guy with no such limitation. He can make plays out of thin air.

At this point I'd rather deal Poti than Nyls. I believe in Carlson's imminent rise to the Show (Scott Stevens I tell you). The org seems to think that Alzner is ready to go right now. And if the Juice is truly loose (not holding my breath, but I'm ready to be wrong) Poti would prob be worth more to us a salary dodge than as another O-first D-man.

We sure could do a lot with all those clams Nyls is tying up though.

I can't wait for game two.

Posted by: Defense Wins Championships. | September 24, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

man it was great to watch a live caps game again! varlamov looked spectacular, another year or so to get used to the game in north america and i think we've got a winner...great to see flash had an excellent game, he showed some grit out there.

Posted by: mike d | September 24, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Well it seems like a solid performance, especially from Simeon “The Iron Curtain” Varlamov. I’m really looking forward to watching him rob NHL forwards for years to come.

However, let's not get too giddy, there is along way to go before plans for a victory parade in an open top bus can be made. Baby steps……baby steps……

Also, how funny is Matt Bradley. The guy should do stand up and I love that BB is so quotable. Too often in sports (on both sides of the Atlantic) coaches, managers etc trawl out the same old cliché filled rubbish. Not BB. Everytime he reveals some like nugget of information that show how together this team is. I love that.

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 5:41 AM | Report abuse


From an earlier post. Glad to here your hatred of Crosby is an irrational one :) That's fine with me.

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 5:42 AM | Report abuse

Big win for the Caps last night. Good for Flash on theose 2 goals. I hope he can keep it up during the season. Maybe he can net 20-25. Maybe wishful thinking. Who is going to the game tonight? I will be sitting in suite 212. Hooray for free tickets from my wifes company.

Heres a poll from the Hockey News

Who would you take first overall in a hockey pool?

Alex Ovechkin 53 %
Sidney Crosby 33 %
Vincent Lecavalier 5 %
Joe Thornton 2 %
Other 6 %

Posted by: Tim | September 25, 2008 7:29 AM | Report abuse

For those of you who have not had the benefit of watching any of the training camp, Osala has not had a great camp. He has been outplayed by Beagel, Leffler, Perrault, Pinizotto, Bouchard, Morin and Lacroix. The kid is huge and menacing but has long way to go controlling it all. I like the the kid and in a year or two he could very well be the power forward that this team hasn't seen in a long time.

As for the schmoos who write about us not having any depth. They are right if you base it on last season.

Remember we were a 1 line team for the majority of last season. It wasn't until we picked up Fedorov and Cooke that we produced on the 2nd line like we should have.

If all the pieces come together like we all know they can and should, we could go from being called a shallow team to one of deepest teams in the league.

Personally, it doesn't matter what idiots say about the Caps, its almost always completely incorrect of biased in some way, shape or form. If all the cylinders hit this season our points total will exceed 100 points easily and we will run away with the Southeast, and thats all that really matters.

I say we can end up with 5 or 6, 20+ goal scorers.

Posted by: JSchon | September 25, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Why am I up early today you ask? Because its Christmas!!!!!!!

Rock the Red.....

Who's all going to the game and where ya sitting?

Posted by: #94 | September 25, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse


You call this early? I've been up for 6 1/2 hours already!!

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love Matt Bradley. Only the first pre-season game and he is already giving us killer quotes. There is something special there.

Posted by: Kim | September 25, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

So when are we going to get to see Johnny or Jose? Will one of them play tonight as a backup to Neuvirth?

Let's Go Caps!!!

Posted by: Cary | September 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Caps 20+ scorers 08/09

Ovie (60)
Backs (25)
Koz (23)
Green (21)
Nyls (20)

Feds/Liach/Flash/Clark between 15 and 19 each

Total goals scored 261

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I think Neuvy will get the first period tonight like Varls got last night.

Jose to play periods 2-3

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

#94: I'll be there, section 429. Still haven't decided whether I'm going to carry the whole book of tickets with me to every game instead of tearing 'em off.

Posted by: this space for rent | September 25, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Clark will be closer to the 25-30 range; same for Laich. Flash will be over 20 -- just too many weapons for other teams to stop and BB's system is much more offensive minded than that previous coach. Plus you missed Semin for 40-50 goals. I really do not think this is gross optimism, but a team with three very solid centers and more scoring wings than most any other team in the east with the exception of the two PA teams.

Posted by: JIM | September 25, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

@Dave UK

You forgot Semin's 41 goals.

OV 62
Semin 41
Laich 27
Clark 24
Flash 21

Green 19
Backstrom 19
Kozlov 18
Fedorov 16
Nylander 15

Posted by: JSchon | September 25, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse


I'll be there in 426

Posted by: Steve R | September 25, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 24, 2008 10:41 PM

Russians use the patriarchal middle name. I think its Alexandrovich.

That would make his initials SAV

I see him being top of the class in the very near future.With his initials there is no looking back!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | September 25, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse


How could I miss Sasha. Too many posts in too short a time frame. I think we will break the 300 goals barrier this year then.

*Go to box, feel shame*

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse


Our predictions are eerily similar.

Posted by: JSchon | September 25, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@ 94,

I'll be there with Mrs. 117.

Posted by: Section 117 | September 25, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Is it October yet?

Posted by: CapsCorndog | September 25, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse


Well reasoned irrationality is my forte!

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Got excited and bought tix on a whim last night listening to the game, I'll be there somewhere in 215.

Posted by: 8b4Ovie | September 25, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Sec 117

i'm up in row w seats 7-8 with my one of my boys this season.

Posted by: capfan98 | September 25, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

It seems that each year, as if they work together, the 1st preseason game and back to school night are the same date. So tonight my seats will remain vacant while I meet parents.

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Steve R. Who you taking?


Good game. It seems our young guys are ahead of some other teams young guys. That bodes well for the future! We may want to win the cup now, but it really looks like the prospects in the system are set up for many years of success. It's a great feeling.

Posted by: Leeguru | September 25, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse


See you tonight?

Posted by: Section 117 | September 25, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse


I almost posted yesterday how great it was that no one had seen fit to rub my nose in it over the Ryder Cup. And then you spoil it! :)

Pity the US fans weren't as classy as the golf played by your team.

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Great win caps, can't wait for tonight and to finally bring out my John "sexy lumberjack" Erskine jeresey for another season

Posted by: stevo | September 25, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I think after one preseason game we can declare the Stanley Cup ours. Why play the season?

Dave, remember, the match was in Kentucky. The state motto: "If a Virgin isn't good enough for her family, she ain't good enough for ours!" And don't complain about fans BTW. As long as you guys have soccer....

Posted by: Leeguru | September 25, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@Bob - Oooh, I know how that is. No one else in my family is able to come with me because they're all going to Back to School night. Why a Thursday night anyway?

Posted by: Akira | September 25, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Any news on lineups for tonight?

Posted by: Tim | September 25, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Soccer and golf are two different beasts, although I expect a more soccer-type mentality to our crowd come 2010 in Wales. You don't cheer bad shots in golf old bean, it's just not cricket! What what!

Back to hockey, the reason we have to play the full season is so we can finish above both Pennsylvanian teams and humiliate both during our run to the Finals.

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm there tonight and at pretty much every home game unless travel prevents it. Sect. 408.

Let's Go Caps!!!

Posted by: Jill | September 25, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@ UK

Different time zones don't count!!!!! 8 am is the earliest I have been "awake" and moving around in forever. Didn't even use the alarm. Usually I get up at 830 and realized that I am actually up at around 9:30. Not a morning person as you can see..

400 IN THA HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 94 | September 25, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Sec 117,

i'll be there with the Semin Jersey my buddy with a Greener one

Posted by: capsfan98 | September 25, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

The Ryder cup really isn't anything like a normal golf event. I have no problem with cheering bad shots. It creates a more team enviorment. Golfers need to suck it up and block out the fans some times. You really think anything said on the course is anything worse then anything said to A Rod on any given day at the ballpark?

Posted by: Mike | September 25, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse


Oh, i was in no way defending the fans. I often find myself embarrassed by the way US fans act home and abroad. Sort of how Pens fans act when the come to the phone booth.

When are you coming over for a game?

Posted by: Leeguru | September 25, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

there is a poll on espn's hockey page of "who do you like watching more crysby or ovechkin?"....ovie's winning now

personally I think Erskine should have been the third one in the question, but Ovie's good for now

Posted by: stevo | September 25, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Vote people, VOTE. Not that many voters and it is close

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse


I'm with ya on 400. Although, I just sold my tickets because my boss decided that a pre-season hockey game isn't as important as work. I may quit immediately...

Posted by: Fro | September 25, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Sec 100 for me, in the Juice shirt. I'm hoping that you guys won't make fun of me this season for wearing it. :)

Posted by: keef | September 25, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ok but even without the time different I was still up at 6:30am!

Misread your last post mate. In talks about coming over for a game possibly end of this season or start of next.

The difference is baseball players, footballers etc get it every day, its part of their job. Golf is above that, except when rednecks + beer = idiots. To compare the two would be like saying, "Hey hockey players drop the gloves and that's a team sport, so golfers should fight when it comes to the Ryder Cup."

I wouldn't fancy taking on JB Holmes or Boo Weekley but reckon I could take Ben Curtis easy enough.

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Well, keef, it depends on whether he makes the team. ;-)

Posted by: Jill | September 25, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Sec. 400 with the girl and a brand-new Semin/Green/Backstrom jersey -- still haven't decided which.

Laich might be a possibility, too.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | September 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

More to love about OV. Good press for the Caps? The world is coming to an end!

Dave: A standard greeting in Kentucky: "How many teeth does your family have?"

Posted by: Leeguru | September 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm missing tonight unfortunately. Gave my ticket to my buddy I am splitting seats with this year.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | September 25, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

27,000 seconds til the drop of the puck!!

Posted by: stevo | September 25, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@ Leeguru

I was just reading these!

They have the Caps as Dark Horses to not only be Eastern Conference Champs but also SC winners.

Are we being noticed now?!

Posted by: CT Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse


I'll swing by, maybe with a "Matt Bradley Captain for Life" sign to be a smart-arse.

Posted by: Section 117 | September 25, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Dont know if you guys have seen this yet, but Neuvirth and Machesney are splitting the time in net. Nylander will play, along with Semin, Ovie and Laich. Nylander is the only guy playing from last night.>ype=1&gnum=29

Posted by: Pat | September 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

It's 50 - 50 right now at the ESPN poll Vote for OV!!!

Posted by: VOTE FOR OV! | September 25, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

yeah, vote for Ovie, delete your history and vote for him again!

Posted by: NoCrosby! | September 25, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I've done my part and voted for Ovie but sadly I have my doubts. ESPN fans are the ones afterall who voted Crosby the Espy despite him not playing 1/3 of the year. They are a mornic breed.

Posted by: 8b4Ovie | September 25, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Holtby was sent down this morning. I was hoping he'd get a preseason game under his belt to see how well he handled it.

Posted by: keef | September 25, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

From the preview Pat linked to above (where Neuvirth and Machesney will share the netminding duties and Nylander will be the only one of the 18 skaters from last night to play again) I think we could see:

Ovie - Backs - Clark
Semin - Nyls - Bouchard
Bourque - Feds - Liach
Brash - Gordo - Pinizzotto

Green - Mo
Poti - Dovgan
Erskine - Godfrey

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 25, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Last year in the first 21 games OV scored 14 goals. (82 game pace of 54.7 goals)

After Boudreau changed the style of play
OV scored 51 Goals in 61 games. (82 game pace of 68.6 goals)

Now add in the fact Boudreau has the team playing more agressive from game one, and not working them up to it after he got on board last year.

And you can make a good case for OVs first 70 goal year.

Thats right put him down for 70 goals (as long as he dosn't get a major injury)

(We know he won't wilt like Cindy after a little tap on a side board)

Posted by: Rong Capsfan | September 25, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

If this season busts like (or worse than) the 2000 Redskins, I may kill myself.

But Ovie will not fail us.

Posted by: Real Talk | September 25, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse


Taking Britta tonight. Let me know if you want my tickets to the STH function, not sure if I can make it and Kay for sure can't.

Drinking partner,

I just got a Backstrom jersey myself. Looks most cool.

Posted by: Steve R | September 25, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse


I can't go out to Bowie on a Thursday. Thanks again though.

Posted by: Leeguru | September 25, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

For the record -- I think Nylander should not be traded. There is no substitute for depth at center.


Does anyone think it's odd that he would be the ONLY guy playing two nights in a row?

Any chance he's being showcased to prove he's healthy for other teams?

Hopefully Tarik will post the official lineup for tonight sometime soon.


Posted by: Oneal | September 25, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

would hate to lose Nylander. And I thought he had a NTC?

Posted by: Nyls fan | September 25, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Nylander is playing both games to prove to everyone that he is ready. They should've had Clark play both games too.

Nyls is not going anywhere. He has already said that. And, he is in the driver seat on that matter.

Posted by: Tim | September 25, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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