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Caps 6, Panthers 2

The Caps were due for a blowout - and thanks to Alexander Semin, that's exactly what they got tonight at Verizon Center, where they pounded the weary and overmatched Panthers, 6-2.

Check out my game story here, which pretty much covers the Caps' easiest win of the season. Then come on back for a few notes and quotes that didn't make the cut.

*The four goal margin was the Caps' largest of the season and biggest since a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Feb. 14. They've scored 17 goals in three games against the Panthers - all without Alex Ovechkin, who missed the teams' first two meetings with an injury.

*Mike Duco couldn't get Alexandre Giroux to engage him in a fight. But I bet he got the NHL's attention with his antics following Giroux's clean hit on Dmitry Kulikov. (Coach Bruce Boudreau had a pretty good comment in my gamer on the troubling trend of players senselessly retaliating for clean hits).

"He took a couple of runs out there and I acted suddenly and probably shouldn't have," said Duco, a minor league call-up skating in his second game. "But that's part of the game. If he wants to take liberties on our younger guys, people have to stick up for them."

Giroux? Take liberties?

Giroux did, however, take a game high six shots on goal.

*Panthers Coach Peter DeBoer on the loss: "No excuses. I think we played the first eight minutes of the game and then they took over. They beat us too loose pucks, they won all the puck battles, and it was a mess from there on in."

Yep.

*Eric Fehr's assist on Tomas Fleischmann's goal extended his point streak to five games, a career high.

*Brooks Laich's pair of assists (both on Semin's goals) marked his seventh multi-point game of the season. He now has 24 points in 28 games.

*Every skater on the Caps' roster received at least one shift on the power play tonight, led by Mike Green's 13:32.

*Karl Alzner took his second NHL penalty, but the first where he actually did something to an opponent. He was whistled for high sticking; last season he got two minutes for delay of game.

I'm off tomorrow, but Mark will blog from practice and write the off-day story. I'll check in again from the morning skate in Philly.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 3, 2009; 11:33 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Live game chat: Caps vs. Panthers
Next: Quick practice update

Comments

Funny, where are all the trolls after an easy win?

Posted by: mikebrady1 | December 3, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

mikebrady1:
trade semin
sit green
bb has to get ovi under control
gmgm is getting lucky with these fill ins
theo stunk tonight

that should take care of troll activity until they have another bad game

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 3, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Where are all Semin haters?

Where are all Trade Semin for a 33 year old Defensive D. Haters?

Where are all trade Semin for a bag of pucks haters?

Posted by: lightshow | December 3, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

mikebrady1:
trade semin
sit green
bb has to get ovi under control
gmgm is getting lucky with these fill ins
theo stunk tonight

that should take care of troll activity until they have another bad game

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ |

I feel like you are missing something....it begins with a "N" and goes round and round...

But, I think your list covers most of it!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | December 3, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

@lightshow

Semin's performance tonight effectively shut them up -- for now.

Sadly enough, there are even regular bloggers in Caps land who are Semin haters. For all the people who complain that Semin is inconsistent, the Caps team is chock full of streaky forwards who run hot and cold. If he goes too long without a goal or assist, something is wrong with him and that was sure true.

I enjoyed watching him tonight.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 4, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Semin is awesome. If he can stay healthy and play with a little more consistency and discipline, he's one of the top 10 players in the league.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 4, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

The trolls are squirreled away in their lairs tonight.

Good win guys, good win. I like the way you took care of business like it was a day at the office. Last season I remember how we seemed to struggle against weaker teams especially in our division but we are so far in complete control.

I like how our depth shows. And I like how well the guys used the extra ice time they all had. And boy did I like that pass Semin made to Backs for that backdoor goal. What a thing of beauty. I like how the goals came from the other guys too. Loved Brads breakaway.

The Caps are building their confidence and developing their discipline quite nicely.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan75--four points for Semin. What a great night for him. I thought of you when he made that first wrist shot for goal setting us up for the night. Players play so much better when they are healthy. No telling how hurt he was before but stayed in until Ovi could return. It will be good to see the three of them together again on that top line.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Having 6 goals coming from 5 guy's is the best thing that happened tonight. Especially with so many regulars out. I'm looking for a 5/10 game stretch with Ovi/Semin/Flash/Fehr/Knuble all in uniform at once.

Our lines would then look like

Ovi/Backs/Semin
Laich/Mo/Knuble
Flash/Per/Fehr
Laing/Stecks/Brads/Clark(this one is tough.

Those top 3 lines are very, very nice. On top of an excellent checking line.

Posted by: BACKS | December 4, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Thanks for thinking of me when Semin scored. I was at the game.

He probably was hurt pretty bad before. He had hurt his wrist when Ballard ran into him while making a shot in the Florida game. Yes, I believe it was Ballard. (On the injury: I bet is was a badly sprained wrist and he played with it for over a week.)

Will be glad to see the OBS line reunited. (Okay, many times, that combination will look great for a few games, then fall apart after, say 5 games, when they'll need to be separated for a bit.) Then, they can be put together again.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 4, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

@BACKS

Agree with you. Those lines are nice. Effectively, 3 scoring lines. We could actually have 8 guys top the 20 goal milestone at the rate they are going. We're 1/3 through the season.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 4, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Great win for the guys tonight. Special props to Brads for getting the Caps first shortie. Dare I predict that Steckel will get the first hattrick of the year? Done.

(from the previous thread)

Thanks to all who responded to my Semin vs. Backstrom question. My internet connection went down before I could respond. I'm glad the responses were based on reason instead of the "he doesn't speak English" variety. And I'm glad #28 had a fantastic night so I could feel good about this argument ;)

Sometimes, I think Semin's image is controlled more by haters than actual fact. After a game like tonight, the media types were quick to mention that he is "inconsistent". Well who isn't? One person actually said that Semin had a good night because Nick is a great player? What?!!! Can't he get some credit?!! I say this because the facts do not back up the claims that Semin is a liability. He doesn't turn over the puck more than the other Young Guns, his penalty minutes have come down from his early years(remember last year he got a major and misconduct for the "fight") and his +/- proves that he is not the defensive liability many claim.

I agree that Backstrom is a great player and is more valuable to the team. Right now, I'd say Semin is the better player. Semin has proven that he can produce with anyone. Put Flash and Knuble on a line with Backstrom and he will be less productive. Of course, Semin is older, so Backstrom could end up the better of the two. But right now, I'd give the edge to Semin

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I didn't respond before but I want both of them--for perfect moments like Semin's pass to Backs for his backdoor goal. I will believe that GMGM will somehow pull it off.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, there's no reason both won't stay. If Chicago did it with that mess, washington will.

Posted by: BACKS | December 4, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom failed me.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 4, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

@ablake

Backstrom is a Center
Semin is a winger

Both are exceptional young talents, but you can't judge who is better than who because they are specialists in two different things.

Posted by: trunkenmath | December 4, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

How? He got his 7th goal of the year so you were right.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

@trunkenmath

People say that Backstrom is better than Semin all the time. Besides, I'm just judging by the basics. I don't expect Backstrom to score as many goals as Semin, just like I don't expect Semin to win faceoffs. Just offering my view.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

@ablake

And I think that view is equally strange. The one thing I am sure of is that both Semin and Backis need to be here for a while.

Posted by: trunkenmath | December 4, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

top ten team based on points per game
1.433 San Jose
1.429 Washington
1.423 Chicago
1.400 New Jersey
1.379 Pittsburgh
1.370 Calgary
1.360 Buffalo
1.241 Los Angeles
1.240 Atlanta
1.222 Boston

san jose gives up a shorty with less than 10 seconds left and then loses in a SO

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 4, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

@ trunkenmath

I agree. I personally think both are needed for a Cup run. Hopefully, GMGM can resign them both. If I had to choose it would be Backstrom because he has a great upside. But right now, I'd say Semin makes other players look better than Backstrom.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

What are all you Semin lovers talking about? Sasha was terrible tonight. Did you see him fumble that hat-trick chance with

Snipers put that shot away. Trade him for pucks.

Posted by: Raber | December 4, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Hey,Ive said it before and i'll say it again,I think semin when playing up to his full abillity and wanting to play can be just as good as ovi.When he wants to be he is the best in the league behind ovi.But thats the problem,its only when HE wants to play that way.He did step it up tonight with ovi out so props to him tonight and hope he keeps it up.Great game allaround caps!By the way,whats up with the screen shot of TEB on the video clip.He looks like he just got done watching himself do commentary on the caps!GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | December 4, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Loved the effort last night. Great game all around. It's nice to see that they can do that without Ovechkin against teams like Florida. Now, if they can get a similar effort and make it pay off against teams like Philadelphia, that would be a very good sign, indeed.

Posted by: aybee27 | December 4, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

@gratefuldid - ". . .its only when HE wants to play that way."

I'm sorry, man, but that is ridiculous. He's got 21 points in 19 games played, many of which he played through significant injury. When Semin had a couple of bad games this year and was getting the most flack, it was clear to me and others that he was injured. Turned out he was. So while folks were bashing him for being lazy, he was actually being a tough guy and hanging in there, wanting to help the team despite the pain.

I guarantee you he did not get acquire his skills through luck, but instead through very hard work or dedication -- and desire.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 4, 2009 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Incredible. I go through all the posts since the game started last night and not one person needs to be sent to the Doofus Brigade. How can that be?

Not one person signs up for Sugar Company, the Semin bashers? Nobody criticizes Green and gets put into George Company? And where's Lt Col LarryDavid and his merry band of bashers? And what about Cheef and the battalion of trolls? They are all hiding under the bridge, under counterattack from a barrage of Semin wristers?

"Curses," says Col Cheef, "I guess we'll just lick our wounds right now."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I hope no one mistakes my brutal honestly about cap decisions that will need to be made about prominent players as "trollish".

I smite thee...

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 6:49 AM | Report abuse

SWEET game last night! I, too, thought of CapsFan75 and her "son" Sasha and was so happy! Seriously, Semin was a sniper last night, really sharp. I love these guys---what a great team.

I want Steckel to get a goal, probably as much as he does. Great work by Brads on the short handed goal. Erskine looked good last night! In fact, D was solid and offense kept the team in the Panther's end. What more could one ask for? (okay, don't say "shut out"!)

Posted by: dccitizen1 | December 4, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Also, lets keep in my mind... We played a very bad team, with their 3rd goalie, after they have played 5 games in 7 and this was back to back night. Any good team would've spanked FLA.

Having said that, I'm going to have wings today me thinks.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon:

In answer to your question, of course not.

But, does last night's game rekindle the discussion re: Backstrom, Kane, Toews, Semin, Kopitar - rate them in order?

The best play of the night was Semin holding the puck and holding it more and then making the perfect pass at the perfect time. BB always tells them, "Don't try for the pretty play. Just put it on net."

Yes, but when the pretty play works, it isn't because it was pretty, it's because it was exceptional.

He made that pass just like a sniper would do it - when his target had been flushed out to where it was most exposed.

So, of all the above players, Semin might get the least credit for assists, but could anyone else have made that play? Could Ovi? No, Ovi doesn't have the patience I think.

Semin's price went up after last night.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

BTW, you are 100% right about "not keeping them all." Not next year, but the year after will be killer when Alzner, Laich and Varly must be re-signed. Alzner at this point would stay around where he's at, but laich will likely go into the $4M range and Varly could get himself a MAF contract at like $5M. That's a $6-7M bump and eats every penny you get from Poti and Clark w/o even paying for replacement players at entry-level rates (Della Rovere could replace Clark for one).

Some might want to send me to the DB for worrying two years out, but you can bet GMGM is thinking that way too.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Semin played a great game last night and I couldn't be happier...but one game does not up a players price. I simply think a top ten center like Backie is more valuable than a top winger like Semin. Especially for a Caps team that frankly has enough scorers and can't afford a pricey Semin who as talented as he may be,is responsible for a lot of bad penalties and puck turnovers. In a perfect world of course I would want to keep him, but our priorities should be Backie and a solid defensemen plus bringing up Alzner full time.

Posted by: capscoach | December 4, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

tominfl

As fan in the stands, I was excited as hell. But again, this was a lousy team who couldn't stay out of the box. FLA mailed it home around the 13:43 mark in the first period.

We do not get away with some of those scoring chances against playoff teams. BB knows it, that's why he preaches it. Tic-tac toe-drag scores don't happen on the regular in the NHL, what does work is getting in-front of the net, setting screens and knocking in rebounds. Thats how Fehr has been successful. We definitely sniped our way to victory last night, but I'd rather learn how to pound in the ugly ones and build from that.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Next season... if we dont resign Backstrom or Semin...

These are our C's
Steckel (we have resign him)
Perreault
Laich

These are our W's
Ovechkin
Fehr
Flash
Knuble
Laich
Clark

Backstrom is far more valuable to us now, next season and beyond than Semin.

This has nothing to do with talent on the ice, it has to do with team need.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't get why some people are dragging down this win with all the "Panthers suck anywa" statements...We effectively took advantage of a tired team and executed the game plan to the tee...that is something to be proud of...it was also one of the first times this season we utilized that killer instinct BB is always talkingabout. GO CAPS!!! WELL DONE~

Posted by: capscoach | December 4, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I'm putting the win and Semin's performance (actually everybody's) in perspective. We tend not to do that in this forum. We get really excited about a win or we get really sour about a loss... I don't.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: The only player you add to that "centers for next season" is the Swedish kid we picked in the first round this past season. The supposition was that he might be ready next year.

I will not disagree for an instant that Backstrom is more valuable to the Caps than Semin. This is why I always put him 6.5 and Semin 6.0. Semin is more critical though from a timing standpoint to get signed. Backstrom can't be lost since worst case is he signs a RFA and we match. Worst case with Semin and Flash is they ask for arbitration (or Semin goes to Russia one year) ala JayBo and then they are UFA for 2011-2012. Worst case with Fehr also is the RFA route.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70
Thank you! for your first post above.

What is it with BB? After Semin's game, all he could say was: "He was well-rested," Boudreau said of Semin, who had missed seven games with a wrist injury. "He should have had a lot of energy."

If that had been anyone else, he would have been singing their praises. I read an interview where Semin said his dad always criticized him even when he played well Guess BB has dad's role.

ALL players have games where they don't play as well as they could, for whatever reason. However, it seems only Semin is roundly criticized for it time after time. And when he has an exceptional game, he does not get the credit, even from the coach, that he deserves. Instead, a backdoor pat on the back.

Why is it that when a star pitcher has a bad game, all they really say is, "Well, he just did not have his stuff tonight." Nothing much more -- it happens. But, not with Semin. For some reason his personality is polarizing and some people just do not like people they cannot understand.

He was surgical tonight and there is NOBODY else on the Caps who is like that.

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach--exactly--the guys stayed focused in the 3rd period to the point where the cats were so frustrated they became even more penalty mad. It was a textbook example of why we also need to stay out of the penalty box. And it is exactly what the Canadian teams tried to do to us with mixed success during our little whirlwind exhausting tour up north.

@tominfl1: "Some might want to send me to the DB for worrying two years out, but you can bet GMGM is thinking that way too."

ABSOLUTELY. I believe GMGM is thinking more like 5 to 10 years down the road. I've decided that managing a team is much like chess (aside from the obvious shared war metaphor): got to keep potential moves and adjustments in mind especially the long term ones, got to anticipate the opponents moves and adjustments, figure out how to recover and take advantage of mistakes, and how to bring the various pieces together at certain times for the kill.

I have no doubt that GMGM has well-thought out strategies in play to keep us elite for many many years. I just hope that this is one of the years in which he and the Caps can say "checkmate!"

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: I read your article and I don't disagree. The only thing is I don't want picks in return. First, he won't do a RFA to get the picks, but if he did, you'd be waiting years for payback.

If I moved Semin, I'd want a solid defenseman and hopefully also a solid checking line forward (think Kelly Miller) in return. I don't want more picks. We are on the cusp of the Cup now and need players.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

@steakum--I also thought BB's comments were a little lukewarm. Of course we don't know what he said privately to him. He is also a little cautious in his praise for Fehr--that he is finally doing what he needs to--go to the crease for those goals. Perhaps it is that he feels that the best coaching approach for these two guys--I don't know. But he certainly is getting great production out of them. So something is working.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Semin is horrible, he should have had five goals last night....trade him now!!! Fehr is brittle, only a matter of time until he has a hang nail and goes on LTIR so get rid of him too.......thought you guys may be missing the trolls so thought I would throw a couple zingers out there.....think the boys made a point to the rest of the NHL last night that they are pissed off about Ovi's suspension and the perception around the league that they can't win without him??!! I know the excuse will be that Florida was tired but that was just absolute domination and a pleasure to watch.

Posted by: PhilR | December 4, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Steakum - that's just Bruce's style, he never heaps praise upon anyone. He's always pretty temperate in his remarks. He also is probably a bit puzzled by the enigma that is Sasha -- because like the rest of us, he never knows which Sasha is going to show up. His past remarks have more or less indicated as much.

I myself am one of the Semin critics, because he more often than not seems not to play to his enormous potential. I was very happy to see him with a strong showing last night. Here's hoping he stays healthy and keeps up that level of play, especially in more challenging contests.

Posted by: CapsChick | December 4, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns
True, we don't know what was said privately. But given the passions that Semin seems to stir, it would help if BB could give him some public unqualified praise for once. He does that with others all the time -- even did with Backs right after his tepid remark about Semin. Backs deserves it, too, but I think Semin really needs it.

Or, maybe his supporters need it to show the bashers that BB does appreciate what his "enigmatic" player can do.

Still, I think there is a double standard. I love Ovi and do think he IS great. But I can recall watching some games at home with my sons and suddenly asking, "Hey, where is Ovi? I haven't noticed him tonight." That can be said of all players.

When Semin came back to the Caps after the lockout, Hanlon said something in a Post interveiw to the effect that some nights Semin will dominate, but other times he will be invisible until suddenly he takes a shot and it's in the net. He had Semin right then. That's what we signed and that's what we have. He's worth it.

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

JS - one thing I disagree with in the article is that Semin is offense-only. When he's healthy, he's one of the best stick checkers on the team. Of course his giveaways probably make him about even there. The rest of the article makes good sense. We've obviously got more than enough talent at the farm and could use the cap space. I'd move him for a non-rental that comes with a sensible contract, but we'll see. As much as I love to watch him play, I can see a lot of logic behind moving him. I also think there are other options...

Posted by: snakegriffin | December 4, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

after the game semin had, and that the entire team had, i can't believe there are comments on here about trading sasha and how the team was up against a poor rival and it was practically a 'gimme'.

you all are never satisfied. i'd hate to have to waitress a food order for you all =D

the caps would be crazy to trade sasha.
really, what is it you personally have against semin that you don't want him on your team?? guy scores and assists and has a terrific night, and it's all about how we have to trade him? color me puzzled.

is it the fact he's russian and you're not over the cold war? is it the fact he's not a fighter? that's not his effing job. is it his inability to speak good english? hell, half the people on this board don't know the difference between your and you're and use it's and its like they are the same word. i wouldn't be holding bad english against anyone.

for one night, practice with me, say it together: go caps!! great game, guys! you were all awesome!

and will someone please give david steckel a hug? did you see him on the bench at the end of the game? geesh. a hug and some holy water or something.

Posted by: spinner-33 | December 4, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I would be more willing to trade Semin if either Flash or Fehr had really stepped it up to this point or if Bouchard had had more of an impact at Hershey. Bouchard if memory serves had like 125 pts one year at the Q with slightly more assists than goals, which bested Fehr's WHL 59+50=109 or thereabouts. Trading Semin would make Ovi our only "undeniable" goal scorer. having Semin as BB always points out prevents the other team from concentrating soley on Ovi's line. Until Flash, Fehr or Bouchard can put that fear into the other team, having Semin isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

@CapsChick
I apprecaite your view, but I don't buy that's "Bruce's style" reason. I have head him give unqualified praise to deserving others. Anything positive he says publicly about Semin always has a negative undertone. It's not helpful.

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

@spinner-33

My god... Its called salary cap and its ramifications in future years...

I don't have the patience to explain to you...

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

oops -- should have been "appreciate" and "heard," not head. Need spell check . . .

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

@spinner-33
Amen, brother (or sister).

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon
Condescension is not necessary.

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

JSchon- You can put it in perspective that they are a lousy team if you want. My perspective is the Caps have lost to lousy teams this season because the Caps understimated them or played down to them or call it what you want. This time they did not so I am impressed.

Posted by: kimsumo | December 4, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

How many teams have 2 40 goal scorers? None. Not last year or the year before. I think the thought process is having 2 guys who can produce combined better numbers than Semin and cost you less combined.

I hope the salary cap increases by $6M next season... But I'm not holding my breath...

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry kimsumo, I do not get up or down for victories or defeats. I'm a reality guy.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

The reality is they beat the crap out of an NHL team last night. They didn't scrimmage an AHL team. They beat the heck of out an NHL team that won Wednesday night, with their back-up goaltender (who our boys chased) against the Avalanche. The Avalanche are in 5th place, but only 1 point out of 2nd place in the Western Conference. It's funny how the Caps can lose the 2nd game of a back to back and it makes them a crappy team that will go no where. If they beat the crap out of a team on the 2nd night of a back to back they don't get any kudos.

I don't get too high when they win, or low when the lose, but last night's game was total domination. We are still missing the likes of Ovi, Knubs, Poti, and Morrison too. When healthy all 4 would be in ANY line-up in the NHL. I know, I know, Poti and Morrison aren't top pair defenseman (so I'm told on here on a regular basis) but no one can deny they wouldn't be in the top 6, I don't buy it.

Great statement game. Matty P is still looking great, Fehr skates with confidence now, Semin is a magician with the puck, and Backstrom will be our centerman for the next decade. Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 4, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Spinner & Steakum: None of us WANT to trade Semin. But JSchon has made a very valid point and I have concurred, yesterday, with clear and compelling data, relative to the salaries these guys will be making, and the cold, hard truth is you can't keep "them all."

Do you want to keep Varly? He'll be making $5M in two years the way he's playing. Do you Laich like and his nearly point-per-game performance? That's worth $4-5M also. Semin at 6; Backie at 6.5; Ovie at 9.5; Green at 5.25; Flash if he keeps it up at 3; and Fehr signing after this year a deal similar to what Laich signed in July, 2008 - three years at $2.1M each.

Now add it all up. I have and JSchon has too. You can't keep them all. You can next year, but not the year after, not unless Fehr or Flash or Laich struggles and signs for way less.

I encourage you to do the math and face the hard truth. Now, if someone MUST go, because there's no other choice, how do you address that?

Head in the sand is not an acceptable answer for GMGM.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I DVR'd the Pens vs Avalanche game last night. Anyone that doesn't think there is a double standard in the NHL is blind. With about 4 minutes left in the game, the score is 2-1 Pens and there is a race for the puck between Hannan and Guerin. Just before Hannan gets to the puck Geurin cross-checks him in the lower back causing him to go face first into the boards, which leads to a 3 on 1. No goal was scored, but no penalty was called either. The Igloo didn't even let out a cheer that you normally here when an opposing player goes down from a nice hit. You could tell they thought the play was not good.

I will also probably get responses from this because the horse it dead, but, on the way home from the game last night in big red letters on the Washington Times board is asks if Ovi is dirty or agressive? Enough already! IMO dirty is, spearing behind the play, butt-ending someone, elbowing the goaltender while trying to make it look incidental, grabbing someone and throwing punches without cause. Those are dirty plays and players. My son brought up a good point last night. When you watch a Caps game on TV, how often do you miss an Ovi hit being on the screen, maybe 10 of his hundreds in a season? Why? Because they are clean hits on players that have the puck, or have JUST released the puck. There I'm done. Our buddy Crosby is caught regularly giving two handed slashes to the ankles, and spears to the mid section after he's been lit up. I'm tired of Ovi being thrown under the bus by our city's papers, fans, national level sportswriters. I'm lucky as heck that I have season tickets to watch the best player on the planet.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 4, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I've never seen so many Debbie Downers and Negative Nancy's when it comes to sports as I have in DC. I've said it before and I'll say it again... go back to the Redskins, at least they'll live down to your expectations. I've never seen such criticism of a team/players/coaches anywhere after a W as I have in DC (regardless of the sport).

Go Caps... keep up the winning, eventually everyone will see that you're a great team that's getting even better.

Posted by: snakegriffin | December 4, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Sorry should have used "hear" instead of "here." 4am comes quick when you get home from Verizon at 11 pm.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 4, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

tominfl

Thanks, but you don't have to defend me. Just like I understand the type of player Semin is and is not. I also am a different type of fan, and I understand that not everyone is the same as me. There all different types of fandum.

What I do know is that through all this whatever it is, how we get there, who is here, who isn't here, we all share the same passion for the Caps, and can't wait to hoist the first of many SC's.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@JS - Amen.

Posted by: snakegriffin | December 4, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: What I can't understand is how I can go through an in-depth analysis of every player on the team, giving most of them raises because they are doing so well, and then, because I conclude one of them might have to be moved in two years, due to cap constraints, that it gives rise to "Debbie Downerdum" or "Negative Nancyisms" being on the blog.

I think I'm being realistic. If anyone has more accurate projected cap figures, show your cards.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon & tominfl1
Yes, and we all can continue to do our own Nyls circles imitation, but only Ted/GMGM hold the keys to the kingdom. It's really quite futile to speculate, but can be fun, even if we disagree.

My question for you is timing -- what's your take on when we might know who is wrapped up and who isn't?

Posted by: Steakum | December 4, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Thought you all might find this interesting.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jim_kelley/12/03/ovechkin.suspension/index.html

This guy hates Ovie, like a lot.
I'm guessing he needs to be recruited into tominfl1's ever growing "Doofus Brigade".

Posted by: eorr53 | December 4, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The interesting thing is that Semin is RFA. Nothing really has to be done during the season. What's tricky is that the KHL is also a player.

So, do you trade him at the deadline for a whatever? or do you wait until the offseason and hope he doesn't decide to head over to mother Russia and a team like Edmonton offers him $7M and get 4 1st rounders?

Thats the Semin quandary.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Wow what is up with everyone? Is this still fallout from Ovi's misfortune? Last night was a statement game. They stayed in the game through all three periods. Defense stayed intact. We punished the cat's infractions with goals. We maintained control of the puck. We cycled beautifully wearing them down. We outshot them handily. Our goaltender stayed focused which harder when the action is at the other end. Will it be a more exciting game against Flyers? Of course. Should this have been a close game. No. Bit on any given day any NHL team can beat another NHL team. This isn't the bush leagues and there is a fair degree of parity among the teams. We have suffered much, from injuries to suspensions. The NHL and refs are trying to slap us down (although not last night). So what did our boys do? They came out and calmly and methodically played the game with BB's system with defense working in tandem with offense. They came out last might and said we are one of the main contenders for the SC and if we can do this without Ovi then WATCH OUT. We should be celebrating. We are the Caps. We will be the last ones standing.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Youngguns, I wasn't posting that as an attempt to take away from last night. The game was great.

Just thought people might be interested in that, so I shared it. It's actually somewhat amusing how one sided that guy has portrayed the events leading up to the suspension. If anyone who didn't know a thing about hockey read that they would think that Ovie left the WWE to come play in the NHL and that he is some kind of monster.

Posted by: eorr53 | December 4, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I read the SI Jim Kelley article. I guess it's like watching a train wreck. :) That article is so ludicrous that it's laughable. I can only assume Ovechkin had sex with the guy's wife, sister, daughter or something. :) I can understand taking pot shots at Ovechkin, but criticizing Ted's excellent advice/comments is something I don't understand.

So, two "publications" have taken a hit in my book this week. SI for the above referenced article and "The Hockey News".

There was an article in "The Hockey News" that called for the NHL to suspend Ballard. Huh? The NHL should just arbitrarily suspend someone who didn't even break the rules? How could they justify that? The NHL has credibility issues now, think of what something like that would do. Now, if they suggested changing the rules to make breaking sticks by swinging them wildly at goal posts and/or crossbars a penalty, that is something I would respect and support.

And, I'll tell you something else I don't understand. How people can bash and hate Semin is beyond me. Last night he was a pure joy to watch (and this coming on his first game back). IMHO these and other games like it more that cover his "off" games.

I would like to see the Caps keep as many players as possible (duh of course). I suspect the core is Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, Varlamov, and Semin. Unfortunately it would seem that with salary limitations Semin would be the odd man out. :(

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | December 4, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

How many wins would the Caps get if they weren't in the Southeast division? Not Trolling!!! Just a question. I was wondering that this morning. No doubt they play as a team a little harder without Ovie...at least, it certainly seems that way. Less Ovie watching and more playing!

Posted by: joshu1 | December 4, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

We've only played 5 games against the SE.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

That would be Captain Jim Kelley, commanding officer of Oscar Company, the Ovechkin bashers. He reports to Lt Col LarryDavid at the battalion level.

What an idiot.

Steakum: I have posted that the decision on Semin is most important from a critical path perspective. He is a great player and Ovi's bud and you'd hope he could be secured for just south of 6. Any of this can happen at any time, but the Chicago signings provide a perfect blueprint for Backie and, to a lesser extent, Semin. Also, the sooner GMGM moves on Flash and Fehr, the more likely he can get them at a lower figure. If they all give up 10% to stay together, Varly and Laich included, and then Green, maybe it will work. If comraderie triumphs over greed, maybe all the pieces can be kept. I hope so.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Sports Illustrated is a joke anyway. Pull out this month's issue and you can see the standing from October. That's of course if they chose to put anything in their rag about the NHL. Jim Kelley is a Buffalo sports writer too so between Kaleta and Briere, his bias is obviuos.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 4, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

And whatever GMGM has up his sleeve I expect Semin to absolutely be here this year for the playoffs. Next year is next year. Of course there will be moves. I still hold out hope that we can keep Semin and Backs because we hold a lot of other valuable assets, including down at Hershey. Our cap situation does not hinge on moving Semin. It does hinge on moving someone (or someones). He is just the most talented asset that could be moved and we would have to get the sun and the moon in return to make it worthwhile. Let's enjoy the win. And let's be strong and dominant against the Flyers.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I read that si article, or started to, and pretty much stopped after a few paragraphs.

Any writer who uses the Kaleta hit as a reason why Ovie is "reckless" is either an idiot or a writer who clearly did not do his homework and look at the hit. Whenever I see a writer cite to this hit as he did I stop reading because the writer clearly has no clue.

The Kaleta hit was a hard hit from the side, which should have been, at most, a 2 minute minor.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 4, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

We also have faced much harder opponents in the early part of this season--our own division not so much play yet, 6 games now. We have done very well against other high caliber teams AND we have not played down to weaker teams, which was a problem last year. We've played tired such as against the Leafs but not down. The Canadian teams for the most part played some very strong games. We were the team to beat for them and they, like we last night, tried to take advantage of the hard travel schedule. The season ebs and flows but we are improving and rallying and staying disciplined. That is what I liked about last night's game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else feel really bad for Steckel. Looks like the stress of not scoring might be getting to him.

Posted by: ERHDC1 | December 4, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1--the caveat with Chicago's signings is that they have handled their cap miserably. GMGM is playing is own finesse game with the cap quite brilliantly so far I think given the many wounds our warriors have received thus far (I seemed be quite taken with war metaphor lately, hmm).

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh and I haven't that piece of SI trash. Too much ignorance.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Levels of Fandum

- paints face team colors
- wears a costume
- names children after players
- names pets after players
- never says a negative word about any player
- STH
- decorates entire room with paraphernalia
- posts on multiple blog sites
- studies salary cap implications
- spits out stats without thinking
- goes to road games
- wears team jersey
- goes to team practices
- drafts team players ahead of where they should because they are Capitals in fantasy leagues
- hi-fives as many people as possible on goals scored
- will fist fight to defend team

if you register more than 8 of these... You are a true fan...

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Great time at the game last night. This team is getting really, really good.

And Schultz is very solid this season. Always in the play and right where he's suppose to be, especially when paired with Green. All in growing up, isn't it? Funny that...

Posted by: saintex | December 4, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Ovie....now you must sit in the time out chair one more game. See how all your friends are playing nice, see how much fun they are having? You can have fun with them as long as you play nice when you come back. Hope this is teaching you a lesson.

Sign,
Colin Campbell

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 4, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow.. sometimes I feel sad when I should be happy.

I own 1 caps jersey, and it is #28. I think he is arguably the most talented player on the team (him or Backstrom). I heart OV. He's clearly the best player!

However, I can't help but feel irritated when after an awesome game... I see a bunch of posts "That should shut up the trolls".

Let's face it.. Semin looked great last night, and buried his chances. He did what he can do. But I happen to really think that most his "detractors" are not just trolls, but have some very legitimate points.

There are legit trolls on here... but most the time it's rather knowledgeable hockey fans talking about strengths and weaknesses. Those of your that always wear the rose tinted glasses are just as bad as the trolls.

That said, I think our season has been pretty good. We continue to get points, and doing so most the time only playing 1 or 2 periods. So yeah, it was great to see effort through 56 minutes last night. The hustle payed HUGE dividends all night by giving us a TON of PP time. No stupid penalties (I'll even take the Clark and Alzner Penalties as effort related).

That and I love seeing everyone get shots and chances on the PP. Classy job BB for not running up the score when we could have.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | December 4, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@capsyoungguns

I think GMGM actually has done a mediocre job with the cap. Alzner is only up because of players on LTIR. Relief comes closer to end of the year.

But your goal should be to suit up your best 23 every night, Alzner definitely is, and he hasn't been a regular only because of cap issues.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I dont know if this has been discussed but if anyone knows the answer let me know.

Last night in the game when Duco came off the bench and got the fight. He was penalized 7 minutes, 2 minute minor plus 5 minute major. While that PP is going on, Allen takes the elbowing penalty. So we have a 5 on 3.

Morrison scores 15 seconds into the 5 on 3, which was 1 minute 5 seconds into Duco's first minor penalty. Did the refs botch it there by letting Allen out of the box? Shouldnt we still have had a 5 on 3 and the remaning 55 seconds of Duco's first penalty just been gone and 5 minutes remain on his penalty and therefore we should have had another 1 minute 45 seconds of 5 on 3? I know its a meaningless question now and BB didnt seem to complain. But I think this exact situation played out against us within the last two seasons.

Thanks for any explanation you can provide on this. Thanks.

Posted by: ThePat | December 4, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

- paints face team colors - NO
- wears a costume - NO
- names children after players - NO
- names pets after players - YES
- never says a negative word about any player - NO
- STH - YES, IN PAST
- decorates entire room with paraphernalia - THE LIVING ROOM IS A HOCKEY "SHRINE"
- posts on multiple blog sites - NO
- studies salary cap implications - OH YES
- spits out stats without thinking - IF I GET A CUT, STATS COME OUT, NOT BLOOD
- goes to road games - YES
- wears team jersey - YES
- goes to team practices - WHEN I LIVED THERE
- drafts team players ahead of where they should because they are Capitals in fantasy leagues - NO
- hi-fives as many people as possible on goals scored - YES
- will fist fight to defend team - NO


I SCORED A "9."

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

ThePat: I said the exact same thing to my daughter last night while watching. My conclusion was that Duco's 5 got served before the 2. With no other penalties, his penalty would have lasted either 7 mins or until the Caps scored in the last two mins. So, when Allen went in, that was the only minor being served then, so he comes out when the goal was scored. That was my conclusion. Joe B and Locker failed to explain it though.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

The Pat, the second guy in the box for the minor is coming out after the first goal. Duco would have been first 'out' if he'd only taken a minor but since it was a major he isn't ever coming out after a goal. Made sense to me. You'll never get a 5-on-3 continuing after a goal unless both guys are on majors, I think.

Posted by: saintex | December 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

Great list. =)

Don't like #5 as much, but LOVE #14.

This year: OV, Backstrom, Knuble, B. Morrison, Varley. (missed Semin by 1 pick).

I remember years where 1 or 2 at most caps would be on rosters. In my league now, Caps on rosters (besides my team) include:
Semin, Fehr, Flash, Laich, Green, Pothier, Theo. That is AWESOME.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | December 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@ saintex, Duco received a minor penalty and a major. The minor was an instigator which has to occur before actually fighting. I think it was our game against Boston two seasons ago where Brashear was hit with the 7 minutes and someone else took a penalty, they scored and Brash's first 2 came off and they still had a 5 on 3 and came back to win the game against us.

Posted by: ThePat | December 4, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

- paints face team colors - no
- wears a costume - what constitutes a costume?
- names children after players - no
- names pets after players - yes
- never says a negative word about any player - no
- STH - as soon as some are available
- decorates entire room with paraphernalia - does my office count?
- posts on multiple blog sites - yes
- studies salary cap implications - yes
- spits out stats without thinking - yes
- goes to road games - yes
- wears team jersey - yes
- goes to team practices - yes
- drafts team players ahead of where they should because they are Capitals in fantasy leagues - yes
- hi-fives as many people as possible on goals scored - yes
- will fist fight to defend team - is the offender a Pens/Flyers/Rags fan? If so, then yes.

Posted by: snakegriffin | December 4, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I was thinking the same thing when it happened. However, I still have no idea what the answer is.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 4, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat - You may be right.

Let's look at the timing, and bring out the Holy Book of Rules.
-----
Player A = Duco
Player B = Allen
Player C = Morrison
-----
At 2:14 in the 3rd frame, Player A is given:

* 2 for instigator (power play, Caps may score once)
* 5 for fighting (power play, Caps may score at-will)
* 10-minute misconduct
* 10-minute aggressor

At 3:04, Player B is given:

* 2 for elbowing (5-on-3)

At 3:19, Player C scores a goal.

* Player A's 2-minute minor expires
* Player A's 5-minute major remains
* Player B's 2-minute minor *should* remain, you'd think...

I will consult with the NHLOA and post my findings ASAP.

Posted by: irockthered | December 4, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon--I admit I leave the cap discussion to others. I am not a stats and numbers but rather a words and people person. And I agree about Alzner. I really love having him up and I really want him to stay. Our defense has been looking really coordinated lately. he has definitely been a factor. So I will defer to you, Tom, and others on the cap. But I stand by my belief that we are in a better cap position than the Hawks, tho they are without question another elite team.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I think it's that they time out the 5-min major first even though it occurred 2nd.

BTW, in that game vs Boston March 1st, 2008 or so it was 3 minors for 6 mins that Brash got at once, not a 2 + 5 like Duco got last night.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Ok thanks guys for helping out. I have been told the 5 minute major is served first by multiple people. So that makes sense. It doesnt make sense why it is served first but I guess that doesn't matter.

@tominfl ok thanks for the update on the Boston game, i was going off of pure memory. Thought it was 5 and 2. Thanks for the correction.

Posted by: ThePat | December 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I feel like the Hockey News author got it all wrong. You don't trade away an elite player for a bunch of lesser players and picks.

Yes Fehr, Flash and others will need raises down the line, as well as Semin and Backstrom. However, instead of trading Semin to free up money to sign Fehr and Flash, and then hoping either Fehr or Flash, or a guy you traded for or drafted with a pick from the Semin trade develops into a Semin-caliber player at a lower cost, you trade away Fehr and Flash and hope with the picks and players you have in Hershey, you identify cheap Fehr and Flash-caliber replacements.

The trick to running the organization well is identifying your superstars, locking them up and then using the draft to develop cheap replacements for your current role players as they inevitably become more expensive. This is how Detroit stays on top year after year.

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

you dont often see it noted here, but i thought the refs did a good job of keeping the games under control last night. perhaps erring on the side of calling too much, but in a blowout like that, it makes sense.

also, i think we saw a great example of why the instigator rule makes sense. duco deserved everyone of his 27 minutes and probably should get a call from the NHL (not colin campbell since his kid plays for fl). the league needs to crack down on players going after guys who cleanly check other players...a la sloan in calgary last year. if duco was so upset with that menace giroux he should have manned up and hit him cleanly. btw, duco was the one who poked green in the ribs shortly before that. clearly he was itching for a fight.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Doesn't matter, timing-wise. If the major expired first, then why did he have over 4 minutes remaining on the clock after the goal?

Also, the goal was scored during the duration of EITHER the major (score at-will) OR the minor (score once, it's over). So either expiring would still leave the second penalty to be served.

Posted by: irockthered | December 4, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@cainoo7x

If it were just Flash/Fehr we were talking about then I think we would be ok...

We have Laich/Green/Varlamov as well...

GMGM has a good thing, drafted some really good talent. Now the hard part is to make it work money wise.

Also, how about this strategy...

Semin can only play 1 position at a time.
Semin is a 35/35 40/40 type player
Semin is going to fetch $6M to $6.5M per year

Fehr and Flash can play LW and RW at the same time
Fehr and Flash combined statistically should be better than 40/40
Fehr and Flash will cost less than $4.5M

Which leave you with $1.5M to $2M to spend on another player, maybe a 2nd line C.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if this was discussed lately, Carlson is Playing in the World Junior Tourney for USA and Delarova and Eakin are playing for Canada. I may have missed others. It was posted in NY times hockey insider.

Posted by: RichC3 | December 4, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@IRTR

I got a note from someone at Onfrozenblog who was in the press box next two 2 caps officials that were first confused as well but they then determined the 5 minute major is served first in that situation for whatever reason. So that is the reason why the other guy was let out when the goal was scored.

Posted by: ThePat | December 4, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Found it:

3:00 - A15: 5+2
4:00 - A23: 2
4:30 - Goal

A23 returns. A15 must first serve his
major penalty. A23 returns, as he is serving a minor penalty.

So yes, it does make sense that way. My bad.

Posted by: irockthered | December 4, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

oops....della rovere...sorry for mispell...

Posted by: RichC3 | December 4, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat - Yep; I stand corrected. Ignore me. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 4, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

from the rule book...

When one player or goalkeeper receives a major penalty and a minor penalty at the same time, the major penalty shall be served first by the penalized player (or substitute for the goalkeeper), except under Rule 19.2 where coincidental major penalties are in effect, in which case the minor penalty will be recorded and served first.

per the rulebook, in th instance last night the second player who took the minor would return since he had the least amount of time to serve (when compared to the entire 7 minutes of time duco had to serve). if the second player had taken the penalty when the first guy had less than 2 minutes to serve, then the first guy would come out of the box on a goal...

crystal clear.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Interesting question from the *GREAT* game last night, as well as the last few when Ovi was injured. Do the play Caps better as a *TEAM* without Ovi? Or was it a good game plan against a tired team?

Posted by: hockeydad | December 4, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Definitely the latter...

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me why the eff the game was not broadcast on CSNHD last night as listed in the guide. My DVR recorded 2.5 hours of nothing. Fortunately they are rebroadcasting it today and I'm recording that airing. CSN and their last minute programming changes really piss me off.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 4, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat and tominfl1The referees got it right. Major penalties are always served first. A major penalty cannot terminate as the result of a goal scored. Ergo when the goal was scored the minor penalty that was assesed to Allen was terminated resulting in 5-on-4 play.

Again, I'm not as familiar with the NHL rules as I am USA hockey rules, but based on the way this and situations like it played out the rules are the same.

thepat - good question. tominfl1 - good deductive reasoning.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | December 4, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

for those who haven't seen it, great article from jim kelly on ovie in cnn.si. uses terms like "reign of terror" and "mad man". call out ted for supporting his "trend of damaging hits". also compares him to bertuzzi, mcsorely and simon.

remind me again how many games (i mean, shifts) briere, kalita and the dude he slew-footed missed due to these damaging hits. remind me again who was wearing 55 for the pens when they played detroit in the cup finals...couldnt have been gonch cause he should have still been in the hospital...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jim_kelley/12/03/ovechkin.suspension/index.html?eref=sircrc

his email address is on the site incase anyone wants to let him know that we support his efforts to earn a pulitzer for great fiction writing. oddly enough, this "mad man" is also the guy pictured on the banner page for cnn.si's nhl page...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

To me, the salary cap issue can be shown like this:

Ovi, Semin, Laich, Fehr, Flash.

That's 5 forwards who MIGHT all turn out (depends on Flash and Fehr, but sure looks like it) to be 1st and 2nd line forwards, with Bouchard in the wings (maybe).

None of them are really suited, at their skill level, tp play on the "third" line while having 1st/2nd line skill and if getting that kind of pay.

It's like if a football team has three CB but only 2 LB or something.

Someone above said you can move Flash or Fehr. Maybe, if you can get value based on their (not yet reached) potential.

Laich is becoming what I always though, a 1st line winger who can compliment 8/19. Fehr looks like he might just be one or two years behind Laich. Flash is becoming a solid 2nd line at least sniper.

The team, going forward, is short third line kinda guys. Someone like Dahlen, Kelly Miller or Kono to work a shutdown line.

GMGM must decide does he force a non-3rd line player on that line, or does he exchange assets. Semin could fetch a strong 3L forward and likely a top 2nd pair D, and maybe a pick as well like a #2. It's a consideration. Everything is a consideration.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1: Please copy my post from about an hour ago, above, as this was discussed. Then copy my post over if you email Kelley so he can see that he has been installed as Captain and c.o. of Oscar Company in the Doofus Brigade.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

seems to me that everyone should be worried about saturday game with the Flyers, not the team makeup in 2 years.

Posted by: doughless | December 4, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon

I understand the point you are trying to make, but I still disagree. By your own argument, the Caps would be better of trading Ovechkin ($9.5 mil for 55/50) and keeping Semin ($6.5 mil for 40/40) and either Fehr or Flash ($2 mil for 20/20) since Semin and Flash would put up more points for less money than Ovechkin while filling two forward positions instead of one.

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@doughless

I wish my mind would keep things that simple. Its a damn curse.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

tom, sorry i didnt see your post. but hey, an article like that deserves double mention. too bad they dont post comments on their web site...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

How many PP goals did we score while Semin was out the last 7 games? How many PP goals did we score last night?

Posted by: ksaul79 | December 4, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

No absolutely not cainoo7x. One of my earlier post was how many teams have 2 40+ goal scorers? none.

The problem with your system is that then you will always have to wait 2 years for those younger player to develop to 20 goal scorers and then you trade them away... Flash and Fehr have been 2 year projects.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Detroit and Buffalo coaches have stated that they make their lines with their best hockey players - checking and energy lines are just labels to them - why play someone who has less talent than the one sitting on the bench, I can't disagree with that for it makes a lot of sense.

Posted by: hock1 | December 4, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I too can't wait for everyone to be available, whether they are healthy, back from suspension, or both. Really looking forward to the 8,19,28 line to be back together, but instead of the "OBS" line, they should be referred to as the "SOB" line... Its has a much nicer ring to it. And playing against that much talent on one line has got to be a real SOB!!!

Posted by: griz0615 | December 4, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

this caps team is built to win over the next 4-5 years. i believe their days of stockpiling prospects is over. i think we will see them moving more assets (ie. picks and prospects) for established players who can contribute in that time period.

for that reason, i believe they will sign semin vs. trading him for picks or prospects. if someone wants to offer an established young dman and a solid two way forward for similiar cost in exchange for alex, maybe they make that deal. however, nobody is going to do that while alex is a pending RFA.

the caps also dont want to wait until semin becomes an RFA and gets signed to an offer sheet. some tool from edmonton/toronto trying save his job will make him some rediculous offer that the caps cant/shouldnt match. in exchange, the caps get picks, which is not really what they would need right now.

just my two cents...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

TRADE SEMIN, if gmgm is 100% positive there is no way he can resign Semin next year. Other then that, you do not trade away one of the most talented young players in the league for a downside of their career d-man. Semin has problems with his game, all players do. Nobody plays a perfect all around game, get over it.

BTW-> if the doofus brigade needs a public relations officer, me thinks SI has a worthy recruit.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | December 4, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon,

If the Caps truly believe that Fehr and Flash will develop into above average players, then it makes sense to keep them around. However, Flash and Fehr were each 10 goal, 20 assist players in their first full NHL seasons (I'm nudging Fehr's assist total up a bit, but he only played in 60 games or so that year) while earning close to the minimum. If it's going to cost 3 to 4 times as much to have them around as 20/20 players, then the Caps are better off replacing them with someone from Hershey making the minimum.

Anyhow, why trade Semin now anyway? Sign him to an extension now and trade him at that time in the future if you need to. The only thing they need to remember is to not give out any more NMCs!

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 4, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I never said trade him now. Only talked about salary cap issues now and the next 2 years.

Posted by: JSchon | December 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

jim kelley on mike wise show coming up...hope he takes calls...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

if Semin is a FA and decides to go to the KHL, what then? You either need to re-sign him earlier than end of contract or trade him well before end of contract as other GMS know of his earlier "prickly-ness" in coming over to US - I could easily see him going to KHL at some point. Just a thought...

I'll be in Philly for the game - I'll be wearing non-descript attire and sit on my hands as the Caps win 4-2 - I value dry clothing so I can't be uppity

Posted by: jeets | December 4, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

cainoo7X: I think if the caps extended Semin and then traded him later, it would create lots of bad will in the locker room. The only way to get Semin signed long-term, at hopefully a "home team" discount, is to make promises (even if no NMC). What happens then in two years when trying to sign varly for home-team discount?

If GMGM can get Semin at a decent figure, 6 or less, you sign him to keep him. End of story on that. If Semin wants $7M, it isn't reasonable so you might have to move soon to maximize value (before he signs in Russia and you get nothing). If you then sign Semin, to start to work on getting Flash at a reasonable price. If that doesn't work, he becomes the player traded. In the end, Laich might be the one to go if he wants a boatload for his next deal. You look at the Wings, they have kept all the players they wanted at salaries that made sense to them. Like, how did they get Holmstrom at $2.25M?

It can be done if they all take a home-team discount, but you can't sign them and then trade them if that's how you approach it.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan: Is he on right now? I might take lunch so I can listen to this clown.

Posted by: eorr53 | December 4, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

kelley a real piece of work. claiming he was "there in buffalo" when ovie hit briere from behind. funny, i was there too and i've never been to buffalo. he also claimed ovie left his feet to hit gonch despite video evidence to the contrary...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

yes, he's on right now. roland is giving it to him pretty good...wise is sort of going easy on him, but did challenge him on the comparison to mcsorely and bertuzzi.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

kelley, "he hurt gonchar badly"...hmm, that was game 3 or 4 in pittsburgh and gonch was back for game 7...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I know its not worth the trouble but I want to leave my feet and elbow this guy in the head!

Posted by: eorr53 | December 4, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon:

Really good posts, man.

Semin is one of my favorite players, but I agree with you that the Caps might have to let him go.

When I run the numbers, it's possible to keep all the main pieces next year, but it's a very delicate tap dance:

1. Get rid of Nylander (obvious)
2. Hand over goalie reigns to Varlamov/Neuvirth
3. Resign Backstrom/Semin for around 12.5M total
4. Resign Flash/Fehr for around 5.5M total
5. Trade 2 out of 3 of Mo/Juice/Pothier, and get a pretty good deal for the remaining guy; also get Schultz back cheaply
6. Resign B.Morrison for 3M or under, or find another 3M center for 2nd line
7. Trade Clark (his contract is horrible for the performance)

Even if all this happens, the end result is still a top-heavy team, with more cap problems in 2011-12 when Varlamov needs to be resigned, figure an additional 3M. The only single player that can be sacrificed is Semin, I think -- otherwise Caps would have to replace too many pieces with marginal cheap players.

Semin's 6M or so will be enough to get:
1. 3M additional salary for Varlamov
2. 3M for a replacement young winger/prospect and to spread around on defense

So yeah.. I have to say that long-term, beyond next year, if the salary cap does not rise significantly, I don't see a viable option to trading away a big salary -- and that is gonna have to be Semin, most likely.. But at least that would give the Caps two years to see which of the young guns gets the short straw. Who knows, maybe Semin goes Supernova, and we find out that him and Ovi do just fine with Morrison-type centers..

p.s. (I'm also assuming that by 2011-12, somebody (maybe even Perreault) will be getting Morrison's money on the 2nd line, and that Poti will be let go and his money will go to Alzner/Carlson.)

Posted by: VladG | December 4, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Any news on whether that clown Duco was disciplined or suspended by the NHL for his attack on Giroux last night?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | December 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

On Semin's RFA status:

If an extension in not agreed upon prior to the deadline, Semin will become an RFA, meaning the Caps will have the option of matching any other offer Semin accepts from another team. If the Caps decline to match the offer, they will receive compensation in the form of draft picks (the number and qualify of which will depend on the offer).

If they match the offer, they retain the rights to Semin for another season.

However, how does this work with, say, the KHL. There's no transfer agreement in place with Russia, right? So while he's an RFA, the Capitals would own the rights to him in terms of his NHL career, but he technically won't have a contract, right? So can he go to the KHL without even the suggestion of compensation?

For that matter, without a transfer agreement, can a player leave for the KHL mid-contract without compensation?

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

if the season were to end today, which thankfully it does not. I am vert distressed about the 1 V 8 matchup. That will really strain my loyalty. If that happens come the end of this season I promise to not even read this blog until after the first round.

Of course it is early, but it caught my eye last night.

Posted by: goalpost | December 4, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

chris bourque put on waivers by pitts...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 4, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum and CapsChick

I have noticed that BB only gives backhanded compliments to guys like Semin and Fehr. This wouldn't bother me so much if that is how he is across the board, but the guy nearly trips over his tongue praising Green, Schultz and Flash. This reminds of how a few haters are trying to convince the world that Ovi's a dirty player or that the Swede that shall not be named can't play in NHL.

@tominfl

I don't think Laich is going to get anywhere near $4-5 million a year.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Any news on whether that clown Duco was disciplined or suspended by the NHL for his attack on Giroux last night?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | December 4, 2009 12:44 PM

Didn't you hear? Giroux is a dirty player that always takes runs at guys in the A. LOL Duco was completely justified!

Posted by: ablake70 | December 4, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

ablake70: Laich might well end up this season w/o 70 pts.

Kane and Toews just got $6.3M for 70 pts each.

I know, I know, he's not THAT good.

I'll spend some time Saturday looking up EVERY player contract in the league and I'll find out what a 28-yr-old winger (his age July, 2011) w/70 pts is worth. Guess what, I'll bet $4-5M is very close. Note also I said if Laich, Flash or Fehr tails off before new deal, they will be cheaper.

So, if Laich gets only 50 pts this year and next (he had 53 last year I think) he'll be worth less.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: I said the exact same thing to my daughter last night while watching. My conclusion was that Duco's 5 got served before the 2. With no other penalties, his penalty would have lasted either 7 mins or until the Caps scored in the last two mins. So, when Allen went in, that was the only minor being served then, so he comes out when the goal was scored. That was my conclusion. Joe B and Locker failed to explain it though.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 4, 2009 10:02 AM

Were you watching the game on TV? If so, what channel? I have NFL Center Ice and they only provided the Florida feeds.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 4, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there is any way Laich gets $5M. My guess would be around $3.5M.

Yes, he is putting up good points this season but again, you can't just look at point totals and then have a blanket statement that he deserves similar money.

Jordant Staal earns $4M/year, I don't see Laich getting paid more than Staal.

I love Laich and really hopes he remains with the team for a long time. The Caps need to keep players like him on their team, but not for $5M.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 4, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Really? I thought he was their starting 3rd line center! At least that's what the blog comments were making it sound like.

I don't suppose we have the cap room to nab him? :-P

Posted by: Raber | December 4, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan--Okay I took the bait, finally read the dreadful piece, and emailed him the following:

To Kelley:

I avoided reading this at first. i knew it was going to be factually baseless from the comparisons you of the incidents of this season to the some of the most notorious incidents in hockey--to death even. Such hyperbole. And it was evident that you really hadn't actually watched Ovechkin's video clips as well as comparable clips of similar hits, including Kaleta's own boarding call just days later. Rather you chose to compare Ovechkin's body checks to a player wielding his stick as a weapon at the head of a player or using fists to punch a player down on the ice. But when I read Ted Leonsis' open invitation to you i decided to contact you to suggest that you accept his invitation. Go to our barn at Verizon Center, meet Ted, watch one of our games and see Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals, and then reconsider how you feel about Ovechkin. The degree to which Ovechkin and his fellow teammates have caught the imagination of this town, never before know for its hockeyness if you will, is beyond belief. Ovechkin and the Capitals have transformed how hockey is viewed in our Nation's Capital. So come and experience firsthand how we "rock the red." Come see the Washington Capitals play. You won't feel the same.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | December 4, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Last season I remember how we seemed to struggle against weaker teams especially in our division but we are so far in complete control

http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: bgfgf402 | December 5, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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