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Caps 4, Oilers 2

With his team down 2-0, Coach Bruce Boudreau used some choice words to challenge his players after the second period tonight. And Alex Ovechkin wasted little time answering that challenge.

In addition to posting two goals and assist in the third period of the Caps' 4-2 victory, the two-time MVP directed 13 shots at the Oilers' net (only six got through) in the final 20 minutes, which was likely his finest period of the season.

Check out my gamer here, then come on back for some notes that didn't make the cut.

*Michal Neuvirth looked to be much more calm and in control tonight than he was seven days ago in Toronto. He steered rebounds out of trouble areas, did a good job of smothering loose pucks and made the saves he had to make.

Most important, he won back Boudreau's confidence.

*With the win, the Caps ended a 13-year drought in Edmonton and became the fastest team in franchise history to reach 50 points. (Their last win here was by the score of 2-1 on Feb. 7, 1996.)

*Tomas Fleischmann continued his hot streak, notching the winner late in the third period. He's got seven goals in his last nine games and is tied with Alexander Semin for second on the team with 14. Fleischmann, who leads the team with a 27.5 shooting percentage, has taken only 51 shots, which ranks eighth on the Caps, compared to Semin's 107.

*Jeff Schultz had a bad turnover that led to the Oilers' first goal. But the big defenseman rebounded from that early miscue, played a steady game the rest of the way and picked up a pair of assists.

*Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers was outstanding early. But he got a lot of help from his teammates, who did a great job of blocking shots. The Oilers blocked 23 shots in all (to the Capitals' eight), including a game-high five by Ladislav Smid.

*There must have been 1,000 or more red No. 8 jerseys in the crowd. His fans erupted into a loud cheer after his second goal, which was kind of strange to hear in an away rink.

*There was also at least one Quintin Laing jersey that I saw on the concourse before the game. Had to be his brother because at first I thought it was Quintin. In all, Laing said about 40 family and friends drove from his home province of Saskatchewan to see him make an earlier-than-expected return from a broken jaw.

"I wanted to be in the lineup, and when I found out this morning I was pretty energized," said Laing, who still has rubber bands holding his jaw in place. "It's the closest NHL city, about 4 ½ hours [from home]. When the tickets went on sale [in Oct.] they sold out in about 15 minutes. But I got 11 for my family and, by luck, about 30 or 40 other people got tickets."

When he found out that he as in after the morning skate, he texted his wife, who spread the word.

*As impressive as the Caps' comeback was, the power play still stunk. It went 0 for 4 for the second straight night, including coming up empty on two-man advantage that lasted 1:51 in the third period. They mustered only three shots total on the power play tonight.

"I have to believe it's going to break out," Boudreau said. "The way our power play goes, sometimes it's 1 for 15 then all of a sudden you go 5 for 10. Hopefully it will breakout soon."

The Caps are off tomorrow. I hope to check in Monday from KCI, which, of course, depends on me getting home by then.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 20, 2009; 2:38 AM ET
 
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Next: Varlamov not quite ready (updated)

Comments

Missed the game tonight and sorry I did! Watching the highlights was funny though - no oilers offensive highlights until their first goal, and I think there were only 3 the entire video. The rest were us pounding away at EDM.

Glad to see Ovechkin being Ovechkin again. That second goal was beautiful.

And WHAT DOES IT TAKE to get a hat-trick? I've been reading about hat-tricks from Carolina and Florida and Nashville and everyone, but we always have guys that score two and can't get the third.

Posted by: Raber | December 20, 2009 3:13 AM | Report abuse

It was fantastic to see the Caps actually step up and win a game in the third period. So often having let games go in the third, seeing the whole team do what needed to be done makes you realize of what this team is capable.

Good luck getting home Tarik!

Posted by: jcleggette | December 20, 2009 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Ovie is now a legend in Alberta! Nice story about Laing. Neuvirth played well. I'm sooo happy!

Posted by: carlton46 | December 20, 2009 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Well done Caps.
Important to win when behind by a few in the 3rd. I must admit - I had all but given up on them from what was happenning in the first 2 periods.

Such a long season - not even at the half way point and the games seem so important.

Posted by: ozcapfan | December 20, 2009 3:42 AM | Report abuse

Nothing that us hockey fans don't already know about Martin Brodeur, but that guy is some kind of classy. He let in three goals on six shots in the first period and got pulled. He then had this to say about it afterward:

"Oh, no, no, no, no," he said. "It's their decision. I think the bottom line is you need a little kick in the butt after the first [period]. Not that we played bad, but defensively -- three goals on six shots, we had to do something."

Picture this: you are the winning-est goaltender of all time and you have a bad period and get pulled. Some goalies would be all egotistical and get pissed off after something like that but Brodeur seemed totally fine with it (well, I guess the win probably helped).

Posted by: Raber | December 20, 2009 4:14 AM | Report abuse

It was so good to see Ovechkin playing with some fire in his belly in that third period. That was the difference tonight.

Maybe it was just me, but up until the 3rd tonight he hasn't really looked like himself since the suspension. He wasn't playing with his usual emotion, not hitting, and passing a lot when he had a chance to shoot. It was almost like he was worrying about being the player some of those clowns in the out-of-town media want him to be.

I'm so glad BB lit into them tonight, they needed it after those first two periods. OV especially needed to clear his head and get PO'd. The way he jammed in the first goal was all desire, and the slapshot that led to the rebound goal for the second was simply venomous.

Ovechkin needs to play with abandon to be who he is: hitting hard, skating hard, shooting hard. And if Big Brother Moron on the disciplinary committee doesn't like it, too bad. OV can't play and worry about that nonsense at the same time.

I loved what Pat Quinn had to say, Laughlin said he called OV "a blessing for the game" and the kind of player who can lift the entire team with the way he plays. That's coming from a class guy, a great hockey mind, and somebody who understands the traditions and code of honor that define hockey and make it such a great sport.

Funny how the only people trashing the way OV plays either don't know much about hockey or live in Pennsylvania.

Posted by: uranderson | December 20, 2009 4:51 AM | Report abuse

As a side node:

Koci didn't play against the Blue Jackets and the Av's win ...

... and each player has played more than six minutes ...

... maybe it helps, if the league decided that every player has to play a minimum amount of time ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Reading all the post from yesterday while we down 2-0 was hysterical. Someone called someone a Noob. Awesome.

Neuvy bounced back...

Back to back game, traveled 3600 miles over 4 days...

4 points out of 6... I'll take it.

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2009 6:08 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon:

I'll take it too ...

This sums up to around 108 points for the season - not bad at all ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on the 1st NHL win, Neuvy. Really happy for ya.

Posted by: arakakij | December 20, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

How bout when it was 5 on 3 and Ovi kept unleashing shot after shot. I was really worried for the health of the players in front of the net.

I saw Laing's brother there in the stands. He was behind the goal EDM defended in the 3rd. I said, "That has to be a relative. Who else would be wearing a Caps #53 in EDM?"

I'm glad they get the 3 days off.

Boudreau should consider dressing like Santa on the bench for Wed night's game. Ho, ho, ho!

And what were McPhee and Lowe discussing? A trade? Or was GMGM lobbying for Mike Green on the Olympic squad?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

GMGM and Lowe:

I think it should be an "And", not an "Or": lobbying for Green and discussing a trade ;-)

The question is, what was more dominant in the discussion ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Caps PP is now 4th behind Atlanta, Canucks and Anaheim.

The Thrashers are right in the playoff hunt. They've made the playoffs, what, once in history?

It will be hard for Waddell I think to move Kovalchuk if this continues. The Thrash are doing it mostly through special teams, tops in both.

Can anyone point out, if they know, what is Atlanta doing this year that has both their special teams doing so well?

That team is nicely balanced and they need to sign their player.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

FCKoeln1: Well, someone last night speculated that Souray could be the topic. He'd fit in very well with Caps, who could use his skill on the point, except for his salary going forward. The Caps don't have that much loose space for next year and especially not for the following year.

Question for speculation: If they were discussing trade, who were the players?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Damn! I fell asleep during the second intermission. Good comeback guys!

Posted by: ludeman95 | December 20, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Semin once again let Gr8 do all the work, while he did nothing. Does anyone else get angry(as i do) at Semin for playing like *@#@. Someone with so much talent needs to preform better consistently.

Posted by: davidx52 | December 20, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

FIRST,I want to start off saying i am so glad for neuvy.Alot of people might disagree with me but i think and always have that with a little more exp. and NHL training neuvy is going to be a #1 goalie in this league.Theres just something about him that i really like.He has great poise and plays with confidence and just seems so calm in net.Now whether its with the caps or not i dont know but if he does stay here i think one day he will take the top spot.Or ideally go 50/50 with varly and neuvy but that probably unlikely.Point is i think neuvirth is awesome and is gonna be a star in the NHL one day.Now,SECOND,I cant stand all the fairwhether fans that are on this blog.like @capsfan75,said "Well, I have written this game as a loss already. Given that they can't score today to save their life. And Deslauriers is looking like a Vezina trophy winner".And like something is wrong with ovie and edm. had enough goals that the caps cant come back.And after the game was praising the caps for being great.I just hate those kind of fans.Be true to your team no matter what.they cant win em all.caps fan 4ever!GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | December 20, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I recommend staying off the blogs during a game.

In defense of CapsFan75---she is one of the most consistent and supportive fans on the blog! I didn't read the posts during the game, but the Caps did look like they were not going to get anything going the first two periods.

Nice job coaching, Mr. BB! Yes, wear a Santa hat (at least) on Wednesday.

Merry Christmas Caps and Caps Fans!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 20, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

davidx52: No, I do not get angry at all at the way Semin plays. He is a great player and we're lucky to have him.

There's a whole company though in the Doofus Brigade that's composed of Semin bashers. You might find sympathy from them.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen1: I agree. CapsFan75 is a fine contributor. I did notice last night that some were losing patience. I was thinking as I was reading, "You can't win the Cup in December."

Afterward I was thinking back how the Lemieux-led Pens used to toy with the Caps. The Pens would be trailing in a game or in a series and then the switch would flip and Stevens, Jagr, Coffey and the gang would take over. Naturally you would wish your team would, instead, be at 100% at all times, but at least we can be thankful we have the talent to do that.

And, really, how many of us (except for me) can say we are at 100% at all times? Ahem.

I still say the EDM goalie looked like a giant lobster, especially the gloves looked like claws the way he would snatch the puck out of the air.

But, last night, starting just at the stroke of midnight ET, we boiled the lobster!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Our power did not come back until after we were asleep so missed the game. What a great read this morning--4 goals In the 3rd. Great win guys. So happy for Neuvy that he pulled out a great game last night. IMHO I really thought he needed more NHL experience and that he could be a great goalie. Maybe he doesn't have as much raw talent as Varly but I love his calm demeanor and solid positioning. The irony is that Varly is trying to learn a more positional game and Neuvy to be more athletic with the big saves. As for Ovi--whew--he found his inner demon again. It did appear to me as if he was being too careful since the suspension. He just needs to find that edge, hold it, and not go beyond it. But he can't play safe. He's just not that kind of player--he's so instinctual.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh and I don't read or comment during a game. We all say things we don't mean in the heat of the moment. It's the total game of a player, not the one or two mistakes, that I prefer to evaluate. Just as the Caps rarely have a perfect game so too a player will rarely if ever have a mistake free game. And all teams go on runs and lulls. The Pens are on a streak right now but they definitely weren't when we were on ours. The top teams in both leagues are sure in a neck-to-neck race. If this continues the playoffs are sure going to be interesting.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Sorry my bad--I meant both conferences--obviously not leagues.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Oh and tominfl1 I am ALWAYs 100%. Just ask my family!!! I never yell, never forget anything, can do all tasks by myself, keep the house spotless, am sweetness and light with everyone, and am a tireless gourmet chef (now where is that number for takeout pizza)???

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on the 1st NHL win, Neuvy. Really happy for ya.

Posted by: arakakij | December 20, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

didn't he win a game last year?

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 and Capsyoungguns:

... only an average man can be 100% all the time ;-)

... if there are some highs, there have to be some lows ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

its pretty hilarious to read the comments on here after the 2nd period. OV is hurt, team is tired, something wrong with OV, blah blah blah. Keep the faith people!

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 20, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I recommend staying off the blogs during a game.

-dccitizen1

I might start doing that. But seriously, that game looked lost and they looked tired. I'm happy I was mistaken. Amazing what one goal can do to a team.

arakakij- I think maybe you meant 1st win of the season? Neuvy won his debut in Tampa and won another game, I think it was Atlanta (?)

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

its pretty hilarious to read the comments on here after the 2nd period. OV is hurt, team is tired, something wrong with OV, blah blah blah. Keep the faith people!

Posted by: capsfansince74

Okay... but I'm pretty sure even if you didn't post last night that you were thinking the same things. I think everyone could tell they are tired... because they ARE tired.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1 & @tominFla

Thanks for sticking up for me. No, I'm not a fair-weather fan. Just a fan who gets angry too often. But I'm always back. (I did follow these guys back in 1975 when they were bad.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

i always think they have a chance when only down 2 goals - even with only a few minutes left. That being said - they werent playing there best hockey of the season.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | December 20, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Are you now ready to add some writers to the Doofus Brigade, Company S, to join the rest of the Semin bashers?

Corey M of the Times says "The REAL question is "Should a team with Stanley Cup aspirations feel comfortable with giving Alexander Semin a $30 million contract?"

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I love your comment on "boiling the lobster" on DesLauriers, looking like a lobster.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Glad your power came back, even if it was too late for you to watch the game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

When talking about possible 2nd intermission speeches that Bruce gave, I posted that one of the things he did was yell at the OBS line and threatening to break them up if they didn't get their act together. Looks like he did just that (as Ovi and Semin were the last guys on the ice after intermission).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

i know a lot of you don't care - but i still do

nyls in GR:
3 games in 5 days with 6 assists

for a guy that has played as little hockey as he has recently - i'm hoping he can keep this pace up. it could mean an nhl team will take a serious look at him and possibly pick him up.
he is still one of the 50 contracts, even though he no longer is taking up cap space, and it would be nice for the caps not to have to deal with it once the 'loan' is done

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 20, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@joek443 (and others)

Neuvy was 2-3 last year. He won his first two games (Feb) and then had that bad stretch in early March where he lost 3 in a row. (The first 2 were bad games for him while the 3rd was a 2-1 loss to Toronto.)

Note: I nearly typed "neuby". Well, he was a newby last year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Agree that Waddell should definitely sign Kovalchuk. I'm of the opinion that if Atlanta can't keep Kovy, they should just close up shop.

Atlanta has certainly turned it around this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Thanks for posting the news on Nyls. May he find a team that's a better fit for him.

(I just hope he doesn't come back to haunt us in the playoffs this year.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Corey M of the Times says "The REAL question is "Should a team with Stanley Cup aspirations feel comfortable with giving Alexander Semin a $30 million contract?"

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:50 AM

I think it's kind of silly to ask that question. To whom would you rather give that money? A contract of $6M a year would fit perfectly with the Sedins, Richards and Cammalleri, players with very similar stats.

Any perennial Stanley Cup contender needs two top-flight lines going forward, 2 each LW, C and RW.

We have the LW in Ovi and Flash; we have the RW in Semin and hopefully Fehr or Laich; and we have one of the two centers. (Laich could be the other center, but he's really much more suited as wing.)

The only way to move Semin is for a 1st pair D to match w/Green or a top center and then hope all the other players come through. It's extremely risky though as Semin is a unique talent.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I agree with you on that question but Corey M of the Times did ask it.

I did my research and noticed that Semin is statistically similar to Mike Richards. I'm sure many of the same criticisms leveled at Semin could easily be leveled at Richards as well. (Gee, I wonder what Flyers fans are saying on their boards these days.)

Of course, is there a top flight D pairing or top flight center who's available, besides?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

re: Atlanta Thrashers. They have tons of empty seats, but also have one of the best players in the game and a real up-and-coming team.

Sound like a team we all know?

Players like Kovy don't grow on trees. We never really recovered from losing Scott Stevens except to hit rock bottom and start over. Thanks heavens for winning the lottery in 2004. Point is, if they trade Kovy for a collection of prospects and picks, it will take several years before they get a return (if at all). And if they just plain lose him for nothing, that's terrible.

If a good young team like that can't put fans in the stands (they drew only 26K for two games vs DC this year), there's some Canadian cities that will.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

One of the writers at SI would rather give the money to keep Flash and Fehr and the "heart and soul" guys like Boyd Gordon and Dave Steckel and, of course, Backstrom.

Tom, you have already worked out the details on how to keep all these people.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I don't recall who wrote that particular article but that one figured that the Thrashers would sign Kovalchuk but weren't sure if the Thrashers themselves would last much longer in Atlanta. That writer was figuring they'd move to Canada. The writer was figuring the Kovy would last with the Thrashers longer than the Thrashers would last in Atlanta.

BTW, the Flames (now in Calgary) used to be in Atlanta.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if it was the same guy mentioned in the story, but there was a dude with a 53-Laing jersey about two rows behind the goal that Washington shot at in the first and third periods.

Love the note about all the Ovechkin jerseys.

Posted by: writered21 | December 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@writered21

Could that have been Laing's brother? Or someone else he knows?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

4 center per team
30 teams in the league

120 centers playing in the league...

Is Nylander 121st best C? Hell No.

He is much closer to around 50th...
Contract makes him unattractive at the moment...

Nylander having success in the AHL should not surprise anyone. He didn't fit here and sometimes hardball has to played, unfortunately it happened to Nylander, but it happens...

I fully expect him to be on a playoff roster this year...

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: If Caps make Semin available, there will be all kinds of trade partners to pop up. My point is that I don't think we would want 2-3 lesser players/picks in return. We already did that. We don't need more up-and-comers, we have a system full of them. Cup contenders need a certain number of stars and then role and younger players. Trading Semin for say ANOTHER 2nd pair D and a grinding forward and even a #1 pick sets us back.

Sign him now at 6 yrs/$36M. Sign Backie 11 yrs/$71.5M. Sign Flash because the price keeps going up - maybe you can get him 3 yrs/$8-9M. And get ready to offer Fehr 3 yrs/$5M at season's end. Then you try and extend Varly - that one will be tough.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

You're right on the whole "trade Semin" thing. We don't need lesser players in return. I agree -- we've "been there, done that".

I don't want to trade Semin but every time he has an "off" day, even the professional writers seem to think he should be traded or is not worth the price he wants.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

CF75: JSchon ran some math and I did some math and Caps can keep everyone next year I think except BMo doesn't fit (and it assumes Backie and Semin at combined $12.5M). The problem is the year after that. Alzner, Varly, Neuvirth and Laich come up for new deals. Poti and Clark fall off at $6M. Say those two are replaced by two enttry-level guys, your savings are $4.5M. Varly going from $825K to $4M and Laich from $2.1M to nearly $4M use up most of that money. Varly will be a tough one due to great stats but not yet a workhorse.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

With Pens vs the Devils tonight the Caps will move into or be tied for second in the league. Sure is tight points-wise.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon

Might Nyls eventually surface with the Red Wings themselves? Given the fact that their players have been dropping like flies this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Caps won't benefit from tonight's Pens/NJ matchup at all. We're already in 2nd place. Both of those teams have more points than us. It's a no win situation for us. Either way, we lose ground to the winner.

We're seeing one of the best 4th seed teams this year. The so-called 4th place team would be leading any other division in the NHL except the Atlantic.

That being said, I'm still rooting for the Devils tonight. My Penguin hatred is truly that strong. (Will I watch the game. Probably not.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I had assumed that you were the one who had run the numbers on the guys. Since you're good at that sort of thing. In any case, thanks to JSchon for doing so.

(Could I run the numbers myself? I'm sure I'm capable enough as a former math major and current computer professional. Just need the sheet with the numbers in front of me.)

Did the calculations include Knuble or not? We have Knuble signed for next year but then his contract runs out. Plus, Pothier's contract runs out this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Semin just cannot catch a break. Friday night he was all over the place, working his tail off more than anyone, and got 3rd star of the game in a loss. Last night he has no points, but I saw him still working hard. The team as a whole was lackadaisical until the 3rd.

It's always interesting how Ovi can have several "off" games in a row, but no one seriously says he's not worth it. Instead, it's excused as "he just hasn't been right since the suspension." Poor Ovi.

I support Ovi as much as anyone, but if he had not come back last night with the fire in his belly, would the criticism from davidx52 be leveled at Ovi? Semin was part of the line that scored the most last night. He gets credit there, too, just as he gets blame for being on the ice for goals against.

The criticism targeted at Semin is disproportionate to his considerable contributions to the team as a whole. Look at the production of that line -- why would we want to dismantle that? We have taken several painful years to build up to this and Semin has been and is a part of that.

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

CF75: If the season were to end now, Caps would be in excellent shape. 2nd seed is actually better than 1st. Assuming the top 4 won in Round 1, Pitt and NJ would have to play in Round 2 and we'd get the Sabres.

If Pitt loses round 1, we'd get the 8th seed; If NJ loses to the 5th seed, we still get Buff; only if Sabres alone lose of top seeds would we then draw #4.

Proposed rule change: The 1st seed if advancing to the second round gets to pick its opponent from the other three.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@Steakum

Ironically, Semin gets more respect from the other teams' bloggers than he gets from the writers here. I'll post a link to an Edmonton Blogger in the SB network. His post is a little crazy in parts (referring to Ovi as "Washington's overhyped mentally addled Pavel Bure clone") but he said that DesLauriers robbed Semin blind three times.

Here's the link:

http://www.coppernblue.com/2009/12/19/1209344/edmonton-washington-post-game

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Not sure I'd like that rule. The Devils would probably choose us as their second round opponent.

(Then again, maybe we play better when we get no respect.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Thank you for that (I think! Some of the metaphors . . .).

If Semin doesn't put up points every game, he gets ravaged. No other player on the team is treated that way.

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot about Knuble coming off after next year. That surely helps.

For 2010-2011 season, here's the breakdown:

1) assume Sloan and Steckel come back same money.
2) assume Theo, Nylander, Jurcina, Pothier, BGordon, BMo and ShaMO come off at $17.5M.
3) assume Alzner, Carlson, Neuvy, Perreault, two entry-level forwards and one entry-level D come back at $6.5M.
3B) Balance for raises/upgrades if same cap = $11M.
4) raises are Backie +4, Semin +1.5, Flash +2, Fehr +1 and Schultz +1.
4A) Balance (cap space available) = $1.5M.

So, for instance, if you want to keep BMo, you have that $1.5M plus the trade-off of the entry-level player and you could pay him $2.4M. Same if you wanted to replace the "entry-level D" with a more experience D. Tight, but works.

Since I forgot Knuble, that makes more room for 2011-12. Knuble+Clark+Poti - three entry-level = $9M - $2.5M = $6.5M in space. Raises for Laich and Varly eat about $5M of that. The rest will go mostly to Schultz who will step up another $1M. You have $500K to play with + whatever you are under in 2010-11.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@Steakum

That's the truth. Semin gets savaged big time by the writers if he has an off day.

Even Schultz has been treated better as of late even after bloopers in consecutive games. He was last year's whipping boy.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Steakum - Your observation reflects why I don't think much of many poster's opinions. While I'm sure there are some that have legitimate points to consider, many here are not as knowing in the ways of hockey as they think. Some opinions you just need to laugh off. Semin is (not just my opinion) considered one of the most skilled players in the league. I agree with you on this one.

Posted by: gonchpup | December 20, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

I'm too not sure I'd like that rule. If the Caps would be able to choose their second round opponent, they can become bigheaded - which is never good in the POs.

@Steakum and CapsFan75:

Semin is there to help Ovi - e.g. if Semin (or another very capable player) isn't playing on the first line, a defense would concentrate only on Ovi ... you have to have always a "balanced" attack ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

What if the Caps get to the finals and win? Would that lower the price to keep players?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: I still have a certain G. O'Sullivan song stuck in my head. Naturally.

Posted by: uncatim | December 20, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

So who else has been at right wing on Ovi's line? Here's a list and criticisms directed that them:


Giroux:

1) Seems lost on the first line
2) Getting a +3 since he's on with Ovi and Backstrom
3) AHLer who can't translate his high scoring to NHL

Clark:

Can't keep up with Ovi and Backstrom


Knuble:

He is a step too slow to keep up with Ovi and Backstrom in transition


They tried Flash there once (lost the game to Montreal). Even Bradley's been there.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

FCKoeln1: Usually when a team wins a championship, the players want big money. It's really hard to do like the Red Wings and NE Patriots and keep it all together. It can be done if the GM is both shrewd and fair and if the players want to be together. It also helps in some sports like baseball to concentrate on defensive oriented players. They earn less, but catching the base is just as important as hitting it.

re: Semin. I love him at $6M, but the love fades as you get over $7M. Does he deserve Gaborik money of $7.5M for 5 yrs? I say - no, not quite.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan75

You're right. I got ahead of myself thinking about the points but we will benefit as long as we win the next game. I did fail to mention that!! Two teams are ahead by one point so we are technically in third place by one point tho' the Devils have played two games fewer than us or the Pens.

As for trading Semin, we would lose far more than we'd gain. I've always considered him crucial to our team. Sometimes I think other media types like to talk about trading Semin because they consider him the lesser Ovi and love to criticize our defense. They can't really complain obout our offense so let's pick on our defense. IMO if we get rid of Semin we have a huge hole to fill and he has some mighty big shoes to fill (sorry for my mixed metaphor).

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@uncatim

So appropriate -- after last night. For a team with a Gilbert and an O'Sullivan on the team. Was Tambellini (Oilers GM) a fan of that singer in the 70's. He is my age.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

BTW, beef ribs coming out of the over for lunch. I can rock the red with impunity now that they are coming home. Also bought a rib roast that will be sliced into steaks for tomorrow. This thing with matching the food makes me really enjoy when I can "beef binge." They aren't on the road until almost two weeks! The he!! with fish!

And now to peruse the 70 bottles of red wine in the coolers and see which matches best with the beef ribs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll root for the Devils because the Pens have one extr game in their streak. Either way a streak will be broken! Good!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Come to think of it -- does Gaborik deserve Gaborik money?

Semin certainly deserves Mike Richards type money.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:
"The he!! with fish!" ?

They've won against the Avs and the Oilers - so what's wrong with the fish? ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I am SO HAPPY and relieved about Neuvy's performace. As I was hoping, he showed us that, with more experience and confidence, he will be great and an excellent complement to Neuvy. With the two of them in goal, we'll go far. I have a feeling, he will not longer feel intimidated and shaky in an NHL game.

Posted by: caraveli | December 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - Can't the team use some salary cap tricks, like these contracts where they pay guys until they are 50yo? I would really like to find a way to keep BMo another year or even two.

How about Laing ("rubber bands holding his jaw in place")? Who is tougher than that guy? I was going to get an Alzner jersey, but I might have to go with Q.

Re Semin, I have been critical of him when he took some costly and unnecessary penalties earlier this year. But he was great in Vancouver and made his presence felt last night. He has also cut way back on the dumb retaliation penalties that he took all the time last year. I really don't think that any knowledgeable hockey person would question his skill. All in all, I hope we re-sign him.

Posted by: zmega | December 20, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I would trade Semin. However I don't think Boston would be willing to let go of Chara...

Posted by: FLDave | December 20, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1,

Sorry if you answered this, but do your numbers take into account the possible max cap reduction they have been talking about?

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 20, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

What Semin needs is the ferocity and the anger that Ovechkin plays with. Not sure what BB can use to inspire Semin, but once he does, look out!

As for Ovechkin and others on the Caps not being able to complete the Hat Trick with 2 goals in hand, I truly believe that Hat Trick is way over-rated considering how points are awarded in the NHL. If they were to award 2 points for a goal and only 1 point for an assist, then Hat Tricks are definitely something worth rooting for. However, I never really understood why an assist is worth the same as a goal in terms of points in the NHL. Especially if they are also giving the same status to secondary assists as well. This is what pisses me off about all the propaganda concerning Crosby and Malkin as being the best NHL players and scorers prior to this year because they inflate their stats with primary and secondary assists. However, if you really note the numbers that Crosby is posting this year, you will notice that he is actually shooting more and has more goals than assists compared to previous years. I guess even he knows that you will never get the "True" recognition around the league until you actually put the "biscuit behind the net" instead of playing patty-cake with Malkin. To me Ovechkin did get a "Hat Trick" based on the current NHL scoring system, he got an assist and finished with 3 points for the night.

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 20, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Great comeback win! However, does this lax attitude concern others? These are professional athletes getting paid alot to play a game they love. How many times can BB jump all over them before they don't respond or just simply stop listening? I'm not saying they need to win every game, but to see them kind of just go through the motions for 2 periods before they decide to turn it on in the 3rd is concerning. It's not like they've won the Stanley Cup the last 2 seasons, and don't have the drive or desire anymore. Anyway, not complaining just concerned...Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 20, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I would trade Semin. However I don't think Boston would be willing to let go of Chara...

Posted by: FLDave | December 20, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd trade Semin for Zach Bogosian but don't think that's gonna happen either.

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@steakum

Thanks for the interesting link to the Oilers. Not sure I like the writer's hyperbolic style but to see the Caps as grim-faced executioners is a very different and interesting image from the usual joyful, passionate kids tag.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

kcbrichmond

It is hard to give 100% effort, 100% of the time. Take a look at the NHL schedule and compare it to the NFL. Close to 7 times the amount of games in a season and much less time to prepare/heal between contests. This young team faced an opponent last night they know just from watching them on TV.

Posted by: FLDave | December 20, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

FCKoeln1: Fish is like "so yesterday."

I would not trade Semin for Chara. For Phaneuf, yes, Chara - no. Bagosian would be great because you have cap relief next year. I'd trade him for Taveras but Isles wouldn't.

CTCapsFan: They say the strength of the Candian dollar (95 cents right now) is offsetting what they would have otherwise dropped. All my numbers assume "same cap." It's easier to do that way.

zmega: If I recall, BMo turns 35 on 8/15/10 (believe it not, I remember that cuz I looked it up several weeks back.) If the Caps sign him before that, they can do a long-term deal (because he can retire out of the deal if before 35) ala Pronger so cap would be reduced next year. But, with Johansson coming along, I don't think they really want to commit to him more than two years.

If they could move Poti, BMo could take the Poti $3.5M for next but then they'd have to use another low-cost blueliner. That's the best possible scenario but you need to find a taker for Poti's contract. In a perfect world, we could swap Poti for a rent-a-dman on March 1st. Poti was manhandled last night and is not the snarling crease-clearer we all want.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Your report of 70 bottles of red wine makes me think of the old song "99 Bottles of Beer". Should we make a new song "70 Bottles of Wine"?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

CF75: Gaborik got the money with 200+ career goals to his resume + he was a UFA. UFAs always get a bonus due to the law of supply and demand. He has been worth it this year. Semin can play next year either with arbitration or in Russia and then he'd be UFA too.

To follow up, I'd love to move Poti; use Collins in his place next year; and use the $2.9M cap delta for something meaningful - like keep BMo an extra year.

That would be a win, win, win scenario.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I've been hearing noise the the Flyers want to trade Jeff Carter.

I've also heard news that Pronger's been calling out the Flyers for their "inability to play a 60 minute" game. Some people are calling for stripping Richards of the captaincy and giving it to Pronger.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Poti's the guy I've been calling to move on defense as well. It clears some Cap space and clears up the log jam at D.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@ all:

By the way, my home team leads 3 : 0 and just 10 minutes to go :-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Poti is not going anywere. BB trusts him and Green more than any other d-men plus he's the only real veteran d-man they have with extensive playoff experience.

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

CF75: JSchon's been calling to move Poti since the infamous OT penalty vs the Flyers in playoffs 2 years ago. The bandwagon's been filling up so much lately that it's likely to tip over. He appears to be physically weaker than every forward he goes up against.

FCKoeln1: Your team kicked a field goal?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

does anyone really think Ted, GMGM or BB pay any attention to what anyone says on these blogs and make personnel decisions based on the opinions expressed on here?

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1:

My team won 3:0 :-)

@joek443:

Of course, they pay attention - just picking the best suggestions ... ;-)

You just have to know what comments are insightful ... and what comments you better take not too serious ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Are you still a Ranger's fan or have you come over to the dark side?

Posted by: caraveli | December 20, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Uh, no. We all just like to give voice to our collective insecurities, doubts, beefs, etc.

Group hug? GO CAPS!

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I remember reading that Ovi actually read the Caps boards for comments. (I don't know if it was the "official" Caps boards or here or Japers.)

My own personal opinion of the "official" Caps boards. The newest version is really lame. The old one had more discussion but there was lots of crap also. Many of the regular posters from there moved to an "unofficial" board of their own.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the reason why so many people on here seem to pay too much attention to "bad" penalties and criticize Semin or anyone else for them is they have no faith in the PK unit and justifiably so.

if they had a great PK unit that can kill over 85% of the penalties, most of the penalties would be ignored.

I would much rather have my team play aggressive hockey at both ends even if that results in more penalties.

one of the most ridiculous stats in all of sports is the fact that Wilt Chambelain NEVER fouled outta a game in his entire career. that tells me he didn't play much defense and wasn't aggressive enough.

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I'll admit our PK unit is less than stellar.

On penalties, Malkin of Pittsburgh has 48 penalty minutes, all for minor. I have no idea if they'd be considered "good" penalties or not. Can you imagine if we had him on our team the vitriol he would get?

But Pittsburgh has a better PK than us so Malkin's penalties are not as costly.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Didn't read all the comments so I don't know if anyone else noted this yet:

Boyd Gordon will play for Hershey tonight for a rehab assignment. I guess it's only this one game, though, because after tonight the Bears are off till the 26th.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 20, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns & Steakum

It was weird hearing the Caps referred to as grim-faced executioners.

Of course, Edmonton is far down in the Western Conference standings so they have that image of the good teams.

Were our boys more grim faced because Boudreau had yelled at them during second intermission?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@joek443:

Maybe Wilt Chamberlain was an intelligent player, knowing his limits (e.g. numbers of fouls allowed) ... ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan75

I didn't realize that Ovi sometimes read comments. I agree that the Caps message board is so, so and I hated the earlier version. Lots of hate for newcomers. Personally I like here and Japers. Great observations and posters keep it clean and humor is always a plus. I'm big on courtesy especially with opposing points of view.

Saw the highlights for last night. All I can is wow. That third period was a monster one. This team stars and lunchpail guys and everyone inbetween are certainly coachable. Loved the dirty goal of Ovi's. He definitely needs more of those (are you reading this Ovi??) Sorry we missed the game tho' who knows what kind of crazy OCD behavior I could have exhibited to my family.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

I'm not surprised the Boyd Gordon has gone to Hershey for a rehabilitation assignment. That was being discussed but I had heard no confirmation of the news -- until now.

BG needs game experience before coming back.

The Caps schedule is light also. A game on the 23rd and a game on the 26th. Games are at home, against the current division leaders in the Conference. Statement games coming.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

does anyone really think Ted, GMGM or BB pay any attention to what anyone says on these blogs and make personnel decisions based on the opinions expressed on here?

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 1:36 PM

1) Ted obviously makes a huge deal out of the opinions he receives via email.
2) The Caps once traded a future HoF because of the fans' opinion (Larry Murphy).
3) As often as BB switches lines, maybe he IS going by blog opinion of the moment.
4) GMGM called me last week and asked what I thought should be the "cap hit" for a case of 2007 7 Deadly Zins.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

Thanks for the news about Boyd Gordon--I hadn't seen it anywhere else. (And my continued thanks for the Hershey updates in general!)

I wish Gordon well, but I don't think we need him on the Caps roster right now. Of course, I don't know if there would be a market for him, either. (It's SO nice for the Caps to be spoiled for choice for a change. I'm amazed by how deep the organization is and how well the AHL players that get brought up fit in right away.)

Posted by: wocoliz | December 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Just watched the 3rd period - incredible. Imagine if they had played that way all 60? Although their keeper did fall apart a bit which helped - he was unbelievable early in the game. And their 5 on 3 PK? Wow. It was like seeing a whole lotta Lainger in blue and orange!

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 20, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Just in case the Caps brass do read our comments, here are a few things I want for Christmas... (from a middle aged guy with wife and kids who has lived vicariously through the Caps since the late 70's):
1. A big, tough, threatening, puck moving defenseman.
2. A 3rd jersey, blue with the weagle on the front.
3. A loan.
4. A weekend to hang out with Ovi and his female aquaintances (I'll have to ask my wife about this one).
5. A Stanley Cup.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond:

@ 1:
This guy would be too slow and not able to keep up with our fast play

@ 2, 3, 4:
Hmm, .... depends on taste (jersey), income situation (loan) and the female aquaintances (I'm a little bit "demanding") ... ;-)

@ 5:

I totally agree :-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | December 20, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@gratefuldid - right about Neuvy - for a guy who looks like Bjork's twin - let's hope they don't make him wear a swan costume - the kid can play. Perhaps will get a bit part in the next Cremaster cycle. He's solid, agile, and he's calm.

great game by Ovechkin, and great to see how much the canadians love him. He is, as Pat Quinn says, a gift to the game. I'm going to get a number 8 jersey with "Beowulf" on the back...

re Semin: it seems that this team only really plays to its potential when Semin is active and engaged. imo, he's playing the best puck of his career right now. The problem he has is that there are only a few other NHL teams (those with prominent Russians) he would fit on. If Atlanta signs Kovy, they become an attractive option for Semin. And they might then actually surpass the Caps. Scary thought. But we can't afford 6 mil - we can offer both him and Backs 5 per for 6 or 7 years and that's pretty generous. If it's just about money, we can't pay him what he's worth, but if he wants to enjoy his career (and where will he really enjoy it more) and get very well paid, he might as well stay put...

Oh yes, and trade: Semin for Kopitar works, or how about Semin for Datsyuk? (much better, #13 already signed...). Of course, no one makes those trades...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | December 20, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond:

I'll just take #5 I am not greedy

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@joek - It is my sincere hope that Caps mgmt do not take our views into account on personnel matters, including my own. Even those among us who can evalute talent and needs (not necessarily those who claim to be former pro players but are actually 12 yo's)probably don't know the off-ice issues that could be key. Our personnel ideas are offered for entertainment purposes only. However, there seems to be a growing consensus here that whoever the Caps bring in must be able to help on the PK, which statistically appears to be our main weakness.

Wilt was a great defensive player. Sadly, he was somewhat obsessed with stats (not just regarding women). It was said that he would become extremely cautious late in games to avoid a foul if he already 4 or 5, even to the point of harming his team's chances to win - just because he wanted to maintain his record of not fouling out.

Posted by: zmega | December 20, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

These comparisons of points records with earlier teams, e.g., fastest team to 50 points, aren't very informative. They're comparing teams in an era in which 3 points are distributed for some games to teams in an era in which that wasn't the case. It's easy enough to "normalize" the records for the sake of comparison, just take away all points achieved in OT or shootout. Why not do so?

Posted by: mjpool | December 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I was a proponent of Semin getting traded.

But have reconsidered my position on this since he has showed ability to be very affective on the PK.

This IMO adds to his stock greatly. His puck handling and poking skills are increadible on the PK, and he adds the legitament threat of a short handed goal, putting more preasure on the opposing PP.

A healthy, focused and motivated A. Semin can significantly help our team match up with Pitt.

Without him, we would have some big shoes to fill considering his expanded role on our team.

Posted by: floms | December 20, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The key though is consistency with Semin. He's worth 5 mil even if he's not 100% consistent. As long as he brings it in the post-season, it's worth every penny.

Posted by: floms | December 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Semin's "consistency" deserves questioning any more than other players. Every player will have stretches of both good and bad play and Semin is no different. Problem is, with players of his ability, it shows more. Instead of giving him a pass now and then for a rough patch, people want to psychoanalyze him to death. Why try to figure him out? He is what he is... great skills, accurate shot, valuable on the PK, perhaps a bit tender at times, but most any team would love to have him on their bench.

Posted by: gonchpup | December 20, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

On something other than Semin - Has anyone noticed that Erskine and Pothier are near the top of the league in +/-?

Posted by: BACKS | December 20, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:
nice link
fehr, pothier and erskine are all tied for 17th - not to be a d*ck - but thats 8 in the top 17 (sounds a lot better)
and only morrison, backstrom and green have played in 30 or more games too

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 20, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

didn't he win a game last year?

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

you are right. my bad... I meant to say 1st win "in this season".

Posted by: arakakij | December 20, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

so the caps have 5 guys that haven't played 30 games in that list and only 4 non-caps with less then 30 are on that list.
ovi took over the lead in shots on goal

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 20, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Ok... forget the Caps for a second... I just got back from seeing Avatar...

Imagine the Caps beating the Chicago for Stanley Cup in 3 games, because the Hawks gave up...

Thats how good Avatar is... It is movie making genius... Cameron has created a masterpiece...

Now, the Caps... Fehr is my boy and he a +11 and doesn't nearly the PT of the people ahead of him... He is a pretty responsible RW...

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

does anyone really think Ted, GMGM or BB pay any attention to what anyone says on these blogs and make personnel decisions based on the opinions expressed on here?

Posted by: joek443

Good grief I hope not. The only thing we all agree on is the importance of Ovi to the Caps and how strongly we are fans of the Caps. All else is fodder. But the passionate and extensive posting sure speak to an engaged and active fan base. And that fact is GREAT for this team.

I think Lindsay is the poor soul who reads all of our ramblings and vociferous opinions.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Semin will not take less than 7 mill.

Tsn reported last month Caps approached him earlier in the year, and he wasn't interested....

KHL is also a bargaining chip in his pocket....

Posted by: hardyboys0 | December 20, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know if the Caps are practicing this week?

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@hardyboys0

We do know that TSN reported that Semin turned down an offer from the Caps. Except that no dollar amounts were quoted.

Yes, the existence of the KHL makes it a bit tougher. Still, would Semin rather play in the NHL, the best league in the world? Most of the guys who've gone over to the KHL are veterans on the downside of their career.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Regarding stats, a week or so ago Japers had a statistical analysis of defensive d-men and Schultz and Jurcina were in the top 15. You can always quibble with the methodology, but the results were interesting. The usual suspects were well represented in the results.

I recently saw a TV interview of a basketball GM, who said that he is increasingly relying a variation of +/-. I've seen some of those analyses and the usual suspects also show up there. I think the basic approach is solid - not perfect, but indicative.

Posted by: zmega | December 20, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

Agree with you on Semin's consistency. Seems it gets questioned more than anyone else's. No one can be 100% all the time. I don't care who you are or what walk of life.

I wonder what other team's fans have to say about guys roughly comparable to Semin, like Mike Richards. They could apply the same criticisms to him like "he's either white hot or he does nothing" "He takes too many penalties".

Meanwhile, I hear the Flyers might want to trade Carter.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Capt Kirk: Technically, not to be a d*ck, but since 14 are tied for 17th, it's 8 in the top 30.

To be 8 in the top 17, the 17th player would have to be stand alone.

That's my take on it. Either way, it's really good. Especially guys like Erskine who don't score at all being up there and guys like Fehr who haven't gotten nearly the minutes. Green, Ovi, Backie, no surprise. BMo I'm not surprised because he's been very effective.

Right now, almost halfway into the season, BMo might well be "best free agent signing of the year." (Performance vs dollars spent.)

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

With Fehr's nice statistics in limited time, do you think he'll be our first line right winger next year?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Our guys can be proud of their Plus/Minus.

Schultz is near the top in spite of a couple of gaffes in the last two games. (I'm glad to see that Schultz isn't getting savaged the way he was last year.)

And even Semin has snuck up there for a tie for 43rd. Tied with Lidstrom and one of the Sedin twins, among others. And only one behind Langenbrunner of NJ and Cammalleri

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Regarding stats, a week or so ago Japers had a statistical analysis of defensive d-men and Schultz and Jurcina were in the top 15. You can always quibble with the methodology, but the results were interesting. The usual suspects were well represented in the results.

I recently saw a TV interview of a basketball GM, who said that he is increasingly relying a variation of +/-. I've seen some of those analyses and the usual suspects also show up there. I think the basic approach is solid - not perfect, but indicative.

Posted by: zmega


The defensive d-men analysis came from Mirtle in "From the Rink" and he had Schultz at 8th. He was rated higher than many of the usual suspects. I found the article extremely interesting, that the Caps are undervalued defensively by many commentators.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Semin will not take less than 7 mill.

posted by: hardyboys0

I've read that statement about five times and I'm not positive what this person is saying.

If you undue the double negatives you have, "Semin will take less that $7M."

May I qualify that?

1) If he stays in the NHL next year almost surely he'll make less than $7M.

2) If he goes to Russia he might well make more.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan75

If Semin is not resigned, our RW's next season are Knuble, Fehr, Clark and Bradley...

AHL, Bouchard, A.Gordon...

I see Fehr and Flash as our W's on the 2nd line.

If Semin stays, then Fehr is 2nd or 3rd line wing.

Does anybody realize that Flash has the same amount of goals as Semin, in less games and less minutes?

I'm not saying that Semin is expendable, but we have some talented players who can contribute and contribute today...

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

It's really not surprising that the Caps have so many plus/minus leaders. 5 on 5 they score 1.46 goals for every 1 their opponents score, and lead the NHL by a very wide margin:
http://www.nhl.com/ice/teamstats.htm?fetchKey=20102ALLAAAAll&sort=goals5On5ForAgainstRatio&viewName=summary
Now to do somethin about special teams!

Posted by: basingstoke | December 20, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Just to make a terrible joke, a double negative is unduly negative. (You, of course, meant to say "undo the double negative".

Of course, whether Semin stays with the NHL or goes, it depends on if he believes the NHL is a better place to play. Japers is convinced that he'll do a one year deal this year and go for unrestricted Free Agency for next year. I think he'll more likely stay with the Caps than go to another NHL team as the price of all those draft picks (2 1st rounders and 2 second rounders or even 4 first rounders) is awfully high. Most of the contenders are near the top in cap space. The bad teams (with cap space to burn) would not want to cough up the draft picks.

So who are contenders with lots of Cap space? LA and Colorado.

I think the only way Semin will go to the KHL this year is if he files for arbitration, "wins" arbitration, and the Caps then walk away from the award.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon

I noticed Flash caught up to Semin in goals. Semin does get more assists. And is probably better defensively. Flash's strong suit is definitely not defense. But he's a much better player this year.

The emergence of Flash/Fehr helped the Caps weather the storm of Ovi and Semin taking turns being out.

I like Flash and Fehr as well as Semin. They are probably my two favorites outside of Semin and Ovi. They're all a great group of kids. In any case, we should certainly have two scoring lines no matter how we arrange the forwards.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:
i'll give you 8 of the top 30 - but i'm sticking with 8 in the top 17

top 10 teams after yesterdays games

.750 New Jersey
.712 Chicago
.708 Pittsburgh
.694 Washington
.671 San Jose
.662 Buffalo
.653 Nashville
.635 Los Angeles
.629 Calgary
.622 Colorado

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 20, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

It's nice that we have a better winning percentage than all but one team in the Western Conference. And the Western Conference is supposedly "better" than the East.

Of course, we got Pitt and NJ to worry about.

(I have this hope that the Pens will get the President's Trophy and get all high and mighty and cocky and then get dumped in Round 1 because they don't take their opponent seriously. It would serve them right.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Capt Kirk: We have a consensus. And it didn't take a filibuster.

As for Japers, I posted all the Semin options over a month ago and I listed "one year in Russia" and then sign "a Gaborik-like UFA deal" as a distinct possibility. I also said signing long-term with Caps likely and doing one year arbitration then UFA likely. What WON'T happen is a long-term RFA with another team that Caps could match or take picks. He'd lose money that way.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm visiting family here in Houston and I checked ahead to see if the Aeroes (Wild affiliate) were playing. Lo and behold they played the Grand Rapid Griffens today. I immediately bought tickets behind the visitor's bench, so I was face to back with good ol #92. I was cheering him on the entire time..no heckling. You can definetely see that he's a cut above most people on the ice, but the 2nd Aeroes goal was a direct result of a turnover by him. Griffens lost 5-3 to them in the end.

He never looked at me though..oh well. I wanted him to know that not every Caps fan hates him!

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

what's scary about the pens is that they're not hitting on all cylinders just yet but they're still winning - their PP is ranked near the bottom of the league and you know they're not gonna stay there.

what they've gotten better at is defense and goaltending and they still have those 3 centers that no other team can match. They're gonna be tough to beat.

Posted by: joek443 | December 20, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

The stanley cup champs are going to be tough to beat? Whoddathunkit.

So how was this blog after the first 2 periods last night? I can't even imagine...

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double negative.. English is my second language..

I should have said... I dont think Semin will take less than 7 million.

As for the Pens, they are good. Caps are good. Hopefully they meet in the playoffs this year. May the best team win.

Posted by: hardyboys0 | December 20, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Phil: Some were frustrated, but others of us said nary a negative word but held out hope that the Caps could "cook the lobster."

And they did!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, I also ran into a fellow Caps fan at the Aeros game. He was also there to yell at Nylander, haha.

(my dad wore his Gonchar jersey...WTF)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@joe433

I don't disagree with you about the Pens but you could say the same thing about the Caps. I don't think have been hitting all cylinders either. Also the Caps have phenomenal wingers and I am not sure I would rank Backs behind Staal. The Caps have had only a handful of games where one could say the they did everything right. There's lots of room for improvement (PP anyone) and yet the Caps also still keep on winning.

From a hockey perspective if the Caps and Pens meet again in the playoffs, especially if in the finals, the games should amazing. Now from my blind homer viewpoint, I hope another team knocks the Pens out in an early round. I don't feel a need for a head-to-head payback. Just winning the Cup will do.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The Hershey juggernaut continues to roll - Carlson had 3 assists in today's win. Boyd Gordon missed his conditioning assignment because his FLIGHT was cancelled. Boyd, are you big-timing us? Flying to Hershey? Come on.

Posted by: zmega | December 20, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

hardyboys0: We shall see on Sasha. The Caps I don't think can afford $7M long-term. And, in a world where Richards, the Sedins and Cammalleri get $6M, I say six is a fair price.

I want to remind that Flash is also critical in negotiations. I ahve been saying that 1) he has taken Peter Bondra's development path and 2) he has the exact same options for next year as Semin. Difference is that I doubt he'd want to do a one-year stint in Russia. For top dollar, he needs to build NHL stats. He is actually more likely than Semin then to take the RFA route, where he is assured a decent raise. If he keeps up the pace, a big IF, there's no reason to doubt he could (maybe) pull in a Dustin Penner type contract at $4M per year. It only takes one GM in 30 to get that deal.

Semin, Flash, Backie, Fehr and Schultz, in that order.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

J. Staal >>>> E. Staal, Richards, a lot of other centers.

Backstrom is a great two-way center with huge offensive upside. I'd put him ahead of Staal as well, but J. Staal is so vastly underrated.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I am from Houston and watched the Aeros a couple of times in the late 1970s when they had Gordie Howe and 2 of his sons. It was my introduction to hockey. They played at what used to be the Summit -- not sure what it's called now. Where was the game?

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

It's in downtown Houston where the ..Rockets? play. Whatever basketball team they have. It's right beside Minute Maid field, where the Astros play.

It's my first time in Houston (and this far out west/Texas), so I am extremely unfamilar with the area.

(BTW, the Rockets or whatever "Rock the Red" like the Caps.)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Right, makes sense. Rockets also used to play at the Summit then. I've been here since 85 and do not get back as often as I once did. Still have a brother there.

I sure hope you had some good food -- many great restaurants I sorely miss!

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Agree that Jordan Staal is overshadowed on that team. The Pens definitely have some talented centers (irony).

But I'm glad that Backstrom is a Cap--he's having a great season--6th place I think in points.

How cool that you saw Nylander play.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

A good time to note that GMGM got Detroit to cough up Flash AND the pick that turned into Mike Green for Robert Lang. It is very, very rare in sports when trading the vet for prospect/picks turns out so well. People in baseball for years talked about how in 87 Detroit traded John Smoltz to ATL for Doyle Alexander. This could be that good of a deal or even better. I wonder if Ken Holland would like that one back. The Wings did not win the Cup until the year after Lang left.

Clearly though the above deal is far, far from the best ever:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_Walker_trade

Now that was a lopsided TRADE.

And the best in hockey was Quebec dealing Lindros. They got Forsberg out of it and players they used to later get Roy.

"Many consider this trade a key reason that the Colorado Avalanche (the new name of the Nordiques after they relocated before the 1995 season), went on to be an NHL powerhouse. They received in the trade eventual Hart Trophy winner Peter Forsberg, as well as Ron Hextall, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a 1st round selection (Jocelyn Thibault) in 1993, a 1st round selection (later traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs, later traded to the Washington Capitals - Nolan Baumgartner) in 1994, and $15,000,000 cash. Since the trade, the Avalanche have won eight division titles and two Stanley Cup championships, due in part to the play of Forsberg, and the later addition of Patrick Roy, whom the Avalanche received in a later package deal that included Thibault."[6]

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

This city seems great. Small, but big enough. Bigger than Richmond at least.

I am enjoying this 50 degree weather BTW...enjoy your 20 inches of snow fellow Easterners! :)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

On last night's blog, I was not exactly optimistic about the Caps' chances after the 2nd period. The way DesLauriers was looking, I wondered if we had made one mistake too many. But other people, like TominFla kept the faith much better than I.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Did you hear the latest news? Kyle Wilson has been reassigned to Hershey. Bears out my prediction. Prospect has subpar game, gets ice time reduced, and then sent to Hershey.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

It was great to see him, especially so close. I was in the first row directly behind the visitor's bench, so I could basically hear the players talk to each other. I kept yelling "Let's Go Nylander" and things like that, but he didn't turn around. (While half the team and the coaches/equipment guy did..haha) I'm not sure if he got any points, but like I said, the 2nd Aeroes goal was a direct result of his turnover. He also took a high sticking penalty really late in the 3rd. He also...(dun dun dun) STILL SKATES IN CIRCLES!

Seriously though, I love Nylander. Class-act kind of hockey player. I don't love him enough to have him play with the Caps though. (paging Perreualt/Wilson anyone?)

@tom

At the time, I hated the Lang trade, but it's easy to see how that was a great trade. I think it was the first time in NHL history that the leading points scorer was dealt. (not sure on that though)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

It just dawned on me. Kyle Wilson and Andrew Gordon are barely younger than Flash and Semin. Both of them just turned 25 this month.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@the regulars

How much crap did Schultz get for the turnover on the first goal? And/or how much crap did Green get for his turnover on the second goal.

TRADE THOSE BUMS! haha

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan75

I think I'm glad we had no power because that second period play sounded awful. Keeping the faith is always hard when the Caps are not playing well. It was much nicer waking up in the morning and reading about that third period comeback success. Then when I watched the third period later today all I could say was WOW. Monster period. Two goals is indeed a dangerous--really not much of a cushion.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Hmmm, if you're still talking Houston, it is the 4th largest city in the US. It's GIANT! Very spread out, and has gotten more so. The last couple of times I've visited, it seemed like an overgrown child. Areas that had been rural now are inside a second loop or beltway.

There is a lot going on there and I am surprised it's as cool as 50. I remember far too many Christmases of 80.

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Also, @Capsfan75, wocoliz, and others

Volchenkov had a glorious return coming off LTIR.
Sens need to flop and trade him to us for a 3rd rounder and Poti. Then resign Anton to Poti money! (only in my fantasy world...where Kovalchuk also signs for 2 mil/yr to play with his best bud!)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I read your post on the Lang deal turning out so well for us. Lang traded for Flash and the pick that became Green. We may have waited a long time for that deal to pay off but it certainly is paying off well.

Odd thing about Lang. He has a name that sounds like your typical American guy -- Robert Lang. But he's from Czechoslovakia. But, then again, Lang is a German last name and some Czechs have German last names, like Flash, who he was traded for, ironically.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum

Yeah, I meant moreso the "downtown" area I guess. I guess cities out west are way more spread out than what I am used to out East. I don't go by city limits, I go by when there isn't anymore tall buildings, haha.

Houston has a lot of interesting architecture though and you're right about the food. I think we are going to some famous steakhouse for Christmas Dinner downtown.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Would the Sens take Poti and a third rounder? Somehow I doubt it. The last thing they'd want is an expensive veteran at defense in return for Volchenkov (or should I call him "Vulture")

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Nope, they definetely would not take that. That's why I said in my own fantasy world.

Honestly, a 2nd rounder would do it for Anton easy, but there's no use in picking up another d-man unless someone else goes.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

While the errors of Schultz and Green were noticed, they weren't really that badly savaged considering the criticisms in the past.

No one was calling for either of them to get traded.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Good for you yelling "Let's Go Nylander"--hopefully the coaches/equipment guys passed it on to him. I hope Nyls finds a good place in the NHL--his style can flourish in the right system but yes I agree not on the Caps.

Being so close to the players really does sound great--being right in the thick of the play so to speak.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I see. Downtown has had a resurgence since I lived there. It used to be totally dead at night. Satellite downtowns, as we called them, popped up around the loop and farther out.

Note the trapezoidal Pennzoil buildings (I worked for them up here); they were quite the architectural innovation in 1975.

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil
In your dreams about Volchenkov...and mine.

Glad you're enjoying Houston. I'd trade in a second, 'cause I HATE snow more than once a year and then just to look at from the window of my nice warm house. :-)

Posted by: wocoliz | December 20, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Given that the OBS line were on the ice for both of Edmonton's goals during Period 2, I was expecting Boudreau to break them up for Period 3.

Boudreau did yell at them during the intermission behind closed doors.

(Someone on Japers had wondered what BB said behind closed doors to get the boys going. I had posted that he threatened the OBS line with "if you don't shape up this period, you'll be broken up". This was all before we knew for sure that BB had yelled at them.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan75
Thanks for the info about Wilson. Somebody had to go, and it's not surprising it was him. Promising start, though, and I think he'll play better his next stint up. As I said earlier, I'm amazed and pleased by the depth of the organization and how well the AHL folks fit in as soon as they come up.

Posted by: wocoliz | December 20, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I love the snow--when it first falls. And my son's winter vacation started early and I don't have to go in and do the PTA holiday stuff. It's an early vacation for me too. What I hate is ice--when the temperature gets warm, the snow turns into slush, then it gets cold again and the slush freezes. Right now it's still lovely fluffy stuff--fun to tromp through and look at. Getting actual snow at Christmas in Virginia is so rare it's actually fun.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

My son of course wanted to make an ice rink in the front yard. Had to disappoint him of course. Lived in Alaska when I was young and every year my dad made a rink in our front yard. Learned to skate on that rink.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I am now trying to figure out what the lines will look like on Wed. We're going to the game.

On Fri. night when things weren't going well -- except Semin was working like heck -- I told my boys to look for OBS back together in the 3rd. Sure enough . . . So, I was not surprised he put them back together for Sat. However, despite a couple of early attempts by Semin, the timing was off and not quite clicking. Some said he was invisible Sat. night, but I disagree. He was still working, just didn't get a point -- not always a sign of "invisibility."

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if you can go to the practice tomorrow at Kettler? Is the practice optional for the players? Thanks.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Practices at Kettler are free and open to the public.

Should be at 10:30 tomorrow; I doubt it would be optional, assuming they got home early this morning.

Posted by: Steakum | December 20, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Learned to skate on a pond?

I am extremely jealous.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfan75

Yeah I heard both Ovi and BB talk about the yelling in post game interviews. I liked too how BB patted Ovi approvingly when he came off the ice after the game. It's clear that they have a strong and mutually responsive relationship and that Ovi is clearly coachable. I think that the dirty goal so early in the 3rd period was one of his best--I like it when Ovi mixes it up a little and spends time near the crease.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much Steakum!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

It didn't snow here in Orlando but I was FORCED to wear a sweatshirt and long pants all day.

Talk about your "inhumane" conditions.

The heater hasn't yet been turned on this fall and the house is 70 right now. Crappy forecast though - 60s all week coming up.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Semin was far from "invisible". He had a couple of great chances, not to mention that early breakaway. It's funny how fickle people can be about their team's players.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Not quite a pond--a small front yard rink on a miltary base. But it does make for great memories and stories which is why my son is so fixated on having the rink here. Telling him we are technically part of the tropics doesn't register with him at all.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Either way, I'm jealous. I learned to skate at Fairfax Ice Rink.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I feel your pain, having to wear a jacket next week. (imagine a little circle with a line through it to register sarcasm). Although I love the sun, I do not like sand. I mean I really hate it. And I don't do "beach" too well. I burn too easily. So although we love to visit Florida, especially the Keys, I'm always glad to go home. Temperate weather is lovely though. The humidity in the summer is a killer here.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The other great memory I have of our time in Alaska is trying to stay up that one night during the summer when the sun never sets. Well and also that time we camped at the edge of a glacier. But the homemade rink was the best--we had it for three winters.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 20, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Venezuela for a year back in the nineties, and the weather was absolutely perfect, as far as I was concerned. You never needed heat or A/C (and only very occasionally wished for it), and the humidity level was usually very tolerable. I still miss it, especially in winter (going to winter league baseball was a lot of fun, too).

Posted by: wocoliz | December 20, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Have you've seen 30 days of night? :)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Have you have seen???

I may have had 1 too many beers at the game.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, @icehammer

I told you I was going to get back to you before my flight, and I never did. I apologize. me and my fiance will not be able to do a road trip that weekend unfortunately. Again, sorry about the delay on getting back to you. I hope I didn't mess up any other potential customers for you.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 20, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum

As usual, Semin is criticized for being "invisible" when he's kept off the score sheet. I thought he was working. Just not getting shots in the net.

So what will be the lines? I figure Bruce will keep them together for Wednesday. Or at least keep OBS together. We'll have a better idea tomorrow.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 20, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Anybody interested in Kovalchuk as a rental player?

Speculation is that they aren't able to sign him, so they may deal him before the Olympic break...

Draft pick, prospect and current roster player...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Do you mean the dark days of winter? We were near Anchorage so what I recall (I was four to seven), we had some sun in the morning but it would start to set soon after lunchtime. I was in school too so it didn't affect me as much as the long days during the summer. Plus my parents made that one longest day a big deal by allowing us to remain up as long as we were able. I always fell asleep before morning though.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 21, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I was referring to a movie that came out a few years ago. It wasn't very good, but it was about vampires who went to Alaska to "feast" in 30 days of night.

Anyways, will Flash make the Czech roster? I think he is a shoo-in.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 21, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Ovi on Backstrom;

"If I play without him, maybe I don't get too many points, maybe I don't get too many goals," Ovechkin said.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 21, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Oskar Osala, Hershey (AHL) -- Osala could one day be a household name in the NHL, but right now the 6-4, 217-pound Capitals prospect is content to refine his game in the AHL. The youngest member of my hypothetical Team Finland likely wouldn't see much ice, but simply being on the team would do wonders for his career development as a Finnish national team member, something that could eke him into a roster spot in Vancouver.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 21, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Good Ovi quote on Backstrom. Speaking of centers who are undervalued league-wide.

Outside of Alzner and Carlson who are our best d-men prospects in the pipeline? All I can think of is Orlov and he's not even at Hershey yet.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 21, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

The Hockey New online for today has a nice piece on the Hershey Bears and how well they are doing despite our raids on their roster. Says something about the system when French can step in the way Woods did and still put together a winning team.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 21, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I don't think you're going to get Kovalchuk as a rental player - unless Atlanta collapses, they're likely to make the playoffs, and he's their franchise player. They're not going to turn him into a rental unless it all goes to hell between now and March.

Wow, what a weekend and what a game. So Ovi carried the team. Good. I agree with those who said that he hasn't looked like himself, like he's worrying too much about what people think. We needed him to do that. Don't let the haters make you change your game, Ovi. Grapes is just mad because his boy Crosby is being upstaged in the media and Pennsylvania fans are Pennsylvania fans.

Remember, though, that when Ovi busts out of a slump, he usually does so in style, and this sure looks like one of his typical slump-busting moments.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 21, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

I don't think I said anything about me wanting Kovalchuk?

I merely pointed out that ATL, playoffs or not, may not be able to resign Kovalchuk and will not let him walk for free. So logically they will want to move him when his return price will be highest, prior to the Olympic break before the TD.

Personally, I don't think I'd be willing to part with the pieces it would take to get him. Which from I can tell would be a Flash/Osala/1st rounder package.

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

BTW, ATL has been trying to sign him desperately but have not been able too because they will lose him if he isn't signed by the end of the season, and will lose him for nothing. Not going to happen. Losing Kovalchuk for nothing would be more devastating than trading Kovalchuk during the season and missing the playoffs this season.

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I know they have been trying to, but they're not going to give up on trying to do so if they have a real shot at the playoffs. I don't expect him to be on the market; they're a better position right now than Florida was last year.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 21, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

the caps can't afford another WINGER making Ovie money. if kovalchuk was a center iceman then it would be different but he isn't.

Posted by: joek443 | December 21, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Kovalchuk will be gone by the deadline unless they sign him... And he may be traded after season if he is resigned... ATL can't stomach a $9+ million multi year deal...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@joek

Rental player. There would be no intention to sign him long term... He would be here only for this playoffs...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

it would still cost a lot to get him even as a rental player and he's not the kinda player they would need for the playoffs. the only rental player I'd be interested in would be a stud d-man or a great PK forward.

Posted by: joek443 | December 21, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

@joek

I'm not advocating getting Kovalchuk btw. Just there are rumors since him and OV are best buds that WAS could be a likely destination spot because of that.

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

We have 3 more days before the next game, just trying to keep the blog interesting...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

it would still cost a lot to get him even as a rental player and he's not the kinda player they would need for the playoffs. the only rental player I'd be interested in would be a stud d-man or a great PK forward.

Posted by: joek443 | December 21, 2009 8:50 AM

+1

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: How bout more discussion on cap for next year. That is always my favorite topic.

Backie 6.5
Semin 6.0
Flash 2.75 (if they are lucky)
Fehr 1.75
Schultz 1.75

Another point is 3 or 4 guys in Hershey have entry-level deals expire and would need waivers next year (unless they sign minor league deal). They are Bouchard, Osala and Beagle that I know. Perreault has one more year on his EL contract. The guys w/expiring deals are more likely then be used for trade bait if Caps don't think they'll make team next year. Also, Boyd Gordon trade bait if they plan to keep Steckel.

Point: It doesn't hurt to trade them if you can't keep them anyway.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Ooops. I just checked cap geek and they have Osala and Bouchard as RFA 2011, not 2010. That contradicts other sites, but I think cap geek has it right.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

tominfl

Do the salary matrix if we traded Flash/Osala for Kovalchuk, lose Kovalchuk in the offseason.

How much money is there for Semin?

We could have this as our lineup the last 3rd of the season and playoffs.

Ovi/Backs/Semin
Kovalchuk/Morrison/Knuble
Laich/Steckel/Fehr
Laing/????/Bradley/Clark

next season...

No Flash but Semin...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Here's my team for next year, $1.75M in space if you count all bonuses as "paid."

http://www.capgeek.com/cap_calculator.php

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Tominfl...

You know how this team is built. Its built for speed. Its Ferrari, its not 7 series or Hummer. It pressure, pressure, pressure...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, that link didn't work (it just takes you to cap geek home, not the roster I created). I had $1.75M in space with counting bonuses paid, and it had Osala, Collins, Perreault and Carlson up, Alzner too, Steckel and Laing back and Sloan with modest raises and Flash at $2.75M.

So, drop Flash, and put Bouchard, and you have an extra $2M to pay Semin.

OR, it says I guess you could trade Flash and Semin for Kovy and then fit Kovy at almost $9M, and Bouchard, and you'd have like $1M in space, but it would really mess things up going forward.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

No, lose Kovy... Keep Semin...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

BTW, in no way do I advocate trading Flash. I'm really hoping they can get him in the upper 2's and then he blossoms like Bondra.

You can't be a perennial Cup contender unless your roster is composed of superstars, almost-superstars at bargain basement prices (Flash?), role players at fair wages (Brads, Steckel, Laing) and 3 or 4 entry-level guys breaking into the roster (goalies, Carlson, Perreault, Osala).

The ones to move are those wanting more than they are worth. Let's hope Semin isn't one of those.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

OK, I put it above, there is $1.75M in space "no trades." And it has Semin at $6M. Trade Flash, replace with Bouchard, and you can pay Semin $7.9M and still have the original $1.75M in space.

I don't like it though. I only trade Flash if he wants $4M.

Going forward, if you can only keep one:

Flash or Laich?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Flash and Laich both have shown deficiencies. Laich doesn't have an accurate shot. All his goals are dirty. You need that, though. Flash, OTOH, has the sniper's touch to find the spot and hit the target. But he doesn't have strong presence in front of the net and he hasn't yet proven to be a great passer. Fehr does some of what both these guys do, but doesn't do the dirty stuff quite as well as Laich nor the pretty stuff quite as well as Flash.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I think I'd keep Laich over Flash. Laich is so more versatile and a locker room guy that would be hard to replace.

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Instead of paying Semin $7.9M, pay him $7M. So then you have $2.65M for B.Mo...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Instead of paying Semin $7.9M, pay him $7M. So then you have $2.65M for B.Mo...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:45 AM

That probably gives you a better team in 2010-11 than some other options, certainly better than the "Semin is gone" option.

I just think Flash will be a guy to get about 35+35=70 on a yearly basis.

Now, if you KNEW that Bouchard would become the next Flash, only about 2-3 years behind, maybe that works.

But...Flash is too valuable I think to move for a rental.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

But what if it gained you Semin and a C?

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Just food for thought... I'm hungry...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Tominfl

Flash is on pace for 62 points... .88 ppg
37 goals 25 assists...

What players do that and get $2.75M? My guess is not many...

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The reason why Ken Holland has been a top GM for years (Lamiarello too sp?) is they know which guy to keep and which guy to lose. In the end, you need 8 wingers are you'd like them to have 8 slightly different skill sets. Having Ovi and Semin slightly diminishes the need for Flash. You must have a Knuble (future = Laich). Fehr will be one of those too. You need two grinders for 4th line (della Rovere will be one). Backie, Perreault, Johansson, Steckel should be fine at C. If Bouchard and Osala develop, you have replacements for Flash and Clark and you move forward.

What I'd like to get back for Flash then, if you do that, isn't a rental, but another D about to come out of entry-level in a year or two. We are losing some UFAs soon and the stock of $800K d-men needs replenishment. Alzner and Carlson will graduate and then you are down to maybe Orlov.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: Yes, he will be worth more, that's why I keep saying, over and over, sign him SOON.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

BTW, JSchon, I'm not sure Semin is worth $7M anyway. As you know, I've perused the contracts of like every high-paid forward in the league. Semin hasn't earned gaborik money. Staal was a mistake, as was Vanek. The best comparables to Semin are all around $6M. Backie, to me, more valuable. If Backie $6.5M, I can't see Semin as more than that (although him being one year from UFA and Backie 4 yrs from UFA makes them diff category). And there's that nagging injury prone issue.

On a team where Semin is the best player, maybe $7M. But on a team that has Ovi and Backie, he isn't quite worth as much. D Sedin is a perfect example. He gets $6.1M and he's a "one of the superstars" on that team.

6 yrs/$36M is fair on both sides.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Even better then tom...

That allows for B.Mo and spare money.

So the question is Semin/Kovalchuk for playoffs/B.Mo or Flash/No Kovalchuk for the playoffs/No B.Mo/No Semin... Right?

Posted by: JSchon | December 21, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I still feel if you must move Flash, you don't do it for a rental Kovalchuk.

Flash, Osala and #1, if that's the cost for the rental, I'd rather use those assets for a checking line center/PK forward and a crease clearer.

Getting Kovy for playoffs is not the priority.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 21, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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