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Caps Beat Canes, 5-2 (Updated)

The Capitals fell behind by a pair last night at Verizon Center, but they rallied on five consecutive goals, including two each from Michael Nylander and Alex Ovechkin - to beat the 'Canes for the second straight night and improve to 2-0-0 in the preseason.

Some observations:

*Goalie Michal Neuvirth settled down after a shaky first period in which he yielded a pair of power play goals to Dan LaCouture and Ryan Bayda. On Bayda's goal, Neuvirth went down into his butterfly prematurely and was beaten high. So, in other words, Neuvirth looked like a 20-year-old, first-year pro.

*If there were any lingering doubts about Nylander's surgically repaired shoulder, forget about them. The 35-year-old center, in the lineup for the second straight night, was the Caps' second best forward behind Ovechkin.

"The shoulder is no problem," Nylander said. "It's just getting back playing, seeing the ice and having quick reactions. It takes time."

Coach Bruce Boudreau said: "They gave Kozlov two assists last night and I think Nyls should have gotten one of them. So he's gotten four points in two games in my mind."

*Early in the second period, Mike Green did his best Ovechkin impression, attempting to score while sliding on his back, a la "The Goal". Green, however, was unable to duplicate Ovechkin's Phoenix feat, but it was still a sweet try. Green finished with a six shots, second only to Ovechkin's eight.

*Later in the second period, Ovechkin was tripped on a semi breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot (though I'm not sure Dennis Seidenberg's trip warranted one). Anyway, Ovechkin skated slowly in on Daniel Manzato, deked, then fired a wrister past the goalie. Ovechkin had been 0 for 3 in regular season penalty shot attempts.

*Ovechkin almost scored again minutes later after blocking a shot in the defensive zone and streaking down the ice alone. But this time Manzato stuffed his attempt.

*There were a pair of fights in the second period, too. First Josh Godfrey and Nicolas Blanchard went after it after barking at one another in a scrum in front of Neuvirth. Godfrey earned a takedown, then kept barking at Blanchard as he was escorted to the penalty box.

*On the ensuing faceoff, heavyweights Grant McNeill and Wade Brookbank got into it. The two exchanged a few jabs, with McNeill earning the decision.

*The "controversial" Caps spirit squad made its much-anticipated debut last night. I still fail to see what the big deal is. The girls and guys were wearing khakis and t-shirts for Pete's sake.

*Chris Bourque, one of the players fighting to move to the front of the line for an injury call-up, also scored and was awarded the first star.

"The little guy looks like he found his step," Boudreau said. "It looks like he was pretty quick. He was pretty solid tonight."

*Green, Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, who was at times dazzling, all received significant minutes on the penalty kill (Green got a team-high 5:49 while Ovechkin played 4:48 and Semin got 4:13). If Boudreau is going to experiment, I guess now is as good a time as ever. But I've got to say that I don't see any of the three killing penalties on the regular when the games actually count, in part because Green and Ovechkin already log mega-minutes without playing on the PK unit.

*Chris Clark said he passed his "third test" tonight. The first test was the opening practice of training camp. The second test was surviving a full-contact intra-squad scrimmage. Now he's gotten through an entire preseason game.

"Everything felt good," Clark said, referring to the groin injury that sidelined him for most of last season.

Boudreau added: "It was his first game in a long time, and he was a little tentative. But Clarkie is in the middle of two or three scrums, he was in front of the net, creating the play to get Nyls the goal. That's what he does. He'll get better the more confident he gets in that [he realizes], 'Oh, I'm not hurt, I'm not hurt.'"

*The teams were assessed a combined 30 penalties, 15 per side. The game got especially chippy in the final minutes. Carolina's Tim Conboy accounted for three roughing penalties all by himself.

*The Caps are going to make a big round of cuts in the coming hours with Hershey's camp set to being Friday.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 25, 2008; 9:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps Make 20 Cuts

Comments

Thanks for the updates Tarik!

Posted by: Track Collector | September 25, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

oh man - you filed this with time left on the clock! i call shenanegans!!! so...are we going to see feds in the next game?

Posted by: dan in dc | September 25, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I wish someone showed this one on video, an ovechkin penalty shot goal! damn!

Posted by: Hensmith | September 25, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't really think its "controversial" now. It was just something for folks to argue about during the off-season. Just think, if we hadn't had that to argue about, we might have started arguing about the merits of bagel vs toast for breakfast.
Glad the guys pulled this one out. Video and audio wasn't superb, but beggars can't be choosers, I guess.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 25, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Who is this idiot, "Pete", and why is he dressing pretty girls in khakis?

Posted by: oo7 | September 25, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the controversy is that they're wearing khaki's and t-shirts and not something more...

I still don't like them. Let football have the sprit girls. We really don't need them. Just let them hand out burritos and pizzas or something.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 25, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

other game details, please!

Posted by: anon | September 25, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

My 7 year old son asked one of the Spirit Squad if they were cheerleaders. She said no. They are an "entertainment team". Seriously though, how are the different than the other folks that used to toss burritos at us? No big deal!

On hockey, Bourque plays big for a small guy.

Posted by: caps 423 | September 25, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't an enjoyable game to watch on a PC. The vid and sound kept cutting in and out and was very distracting.

It sounds like it was a good one. I'm not really sure why they put AO, Semin and Green on the ice though. Semin's move at the end of the game was sick though. From what I could see, he really put the moves on.

Poti looked good, too. He started to move up into the rush a bit more. He was known as a more offensive defenseman than a stay at home type. We didn't see that last year, probably due to his injury. He only had 2 goals all last year. He'll have more this year, but he's no Green - which is fine.

Godfrey looked pretty good, too. Did it seem to you like he's willing to come back on D and help out?

Overall, I liked that they didn't panic when they were down by 2. This time last year they would have. Seems like they picked up where they left off last year, and these are mostly the prospects.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 25, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

IT WAS SO GOOD
we'll definitely see semin in the penalty kill more often!
green seemed a bit shaky, missed the puck a couple of times.
there were so many fights it was amazing! :]
that conboy on the canes is MEAN SPIRITED i don't like him at all. makes for good fights though haha
there deff weren't many people there tonight!!

Posted by: m | September 25, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

while it's only preseason with a lot of rookies and minor leaguers, I'm really impressed that the Caps have scored 9 goals against a squad known for team defense. BB's system is pretty wide open offensively. Short of stating the obvious, I'm looking very forward to this season

Posted by: JIM | September 25, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Went to the game tonight - sounds like I left too early. Hard to keep a 4 year old up until the end of the game, though.

My random observations...Tarik echoed my thoughts on Neuwirth exactly.

Ovechkin, while not quite as dominating offensively in the first 2 periods as one might think against half a roster of prospects, was hitting like it was a regular season game. Great to see his intensity up in a meaningless game.

Semin appeared to be waiting for his brain to show up from Russia on a couple of plays. I'm sure he'll settle down as things progress, but he badly misplayed and/or overskated a couple of easy pucks tonight.

I really liked what I saw of Bourque. Kid plays much bigger than he is - not afraid to hit or be hit. Someday he'll crack the squad, and we'll all have fun watching him.

Nylander is back to form - puck-on-a-rope stickhandling was on display tonight.

The Bouchard/Mink/Wilson line should tear up the AHL if they keep them together. Lots of hard work tonight with little to show for it, but they still impressed me.

Wish I could have seen Osala, Alzner & Carlson tonight. Oh well.

Posted by: alpca3877 | September 25, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

It was wonderful to see some hockey in the Phone Booth again.

For the most part Bruce put the new guys out mixed with the vets for the 5 on 5, and vets only for PK and PP.

Some other random thoughts:

I don't know if the penalty shot was warranted, but it was awesome.

The crowd was pretty strong for a preseason game. Of course after going to Nats games, any enthusiasm for the game being played (not just the Prez race) stands out.

Did I forget something, or when did Bruce start wearing glasses?

I thought Mink's play was strong if unremarkable. He doled out some decent hits, didn't turn the puck over, maybe got a few shots in.

Posted by: AM Capsfan | September 25, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I watched the early skates at KCI today, asked about tix for the game tonight.

They wanted $60 for seats behind the goal and I'm not going to sit in the mezz just to watch preseason hockey.

You want to know where all the fans are? There's yr answer.

--------------------
I was talking with somebody who knows earlier and apparently the deal is this: if Alzner cracks the top-4, he stays in Red. If not, off to Candyland so he gets max minutes and develops as quickly as possible.

Since I didn't see any games, I'm not sure how Schultz is performing, but that's the critical piece.

Posted by: Defense Wins Championships | September 25, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Tarik:
Wow - I am surprised to hear you weighing in on the Spirit Squad! You are right - with 3/4 length sleeve shirts and khakis (and a token male, no less), it is not a big deal. However, you have to keep in mind, it became 'no big deal' after all of the fuss. The origial ad ask for females only (and showed silhouettes of stereotypical cheerleaders with pom-poms). The ad said that the uniforms would be 1/2 shirts and shorts (maybe even short-shorts?). It said that the women had to be fit and able to do dance routines, etc.. All of that changed, including the silhouettes, after all of the hub-bub. Frankly, I would not be surprised if this conservative approach is just a PR thing to get people used to them. I would bet $$ that by the end of this season or the beginning of next we'll be seeing some skin, and the Spirit Squad will be a lot more visible than they were tonight. So before you take poor Pete's name in vain, you might want to think about how the concept of the Spirit Squad was initially positioned and where it has the potential to go. (I say that with all due respect, of course! :-))

Posted by: Boo! | September 25, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@ Boo! :

Well said. Couldn't agree with you more! I'm glad I read all comments before weighing in.

As far as the game, definitely one of the largest crowds I've seen at a preseason game. Initially I thought both teams were a little shaky, tripping over each other and everything but overall I was impressed with the Caps and the wannabe rookies. Except McNeil (the one that kept fighting and needs a haircut, there are 2 of them and I don't remember the fighting one's first name) he seemed a little too willing to drop the gloves and wasn't even a good fighter! Let's leave the fighting to those who can, shall we? Was definitely impressed with Nyls and Clark. For being off the ice for such a long time both of them played well. Definitely encouraged about how this season will play out.

Posted by: SLM | September 25, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

AM Capsfan:
BB has had glasses at least since he has been here, but I think he wears contacts a lot (or just does not wear his glasses sometimes).

RE: the game, it was a lot of fun! Not the best game that I have seen, but I was just happy to be there again (and the win didn't hurt! ;-)). The Caps started out really slow (dare I say bad?). I was actually surprised by how much they seemed to be struggling at first, especially since more of the big boys were out there tonight (they seemed to perform better without them last night!). But once they got into their groove, there were glimpses of the Caps from earlier this year. Oh and Nyls and Clark were on their games - it's hard to believe how long it has been since they played (they must have worked it this summer).

Was anyone surprised at how physical the game was? I never expect that from a preseaon match up. And what's the scoop with McNeil? Is he hoping to take Brash's place or what?

I look forward to seeing Jose in goal and (belive it or not) to seeing Flash play. I've never been a big fan of his, but it sounds like he has been playing well as of late - I'll believe it when I see it (bring it, Flash!!!).

Do we really have to wait for over a week for another home game?!? Hrmpf ...

Posted by: Boo! | September 25, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

SLM:
We must be channeling each other on all fronts ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | September 25, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Again, this Pete character! He vexes me.

Posted by: oo7 | September 25, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I agree, nothing worse than a repeat Pete

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

It sucks I missed this game and my friends forgot to grab the tickets, just sucks!

Posted by: Bob | September 25, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I was fortunate to read that the game was tonight, as im only in town until tomorrow.

I was really impressed with some players, not so much with others. I liked what i saw out of Bourque and while not very skilled, I liked McNeill's feistiness. However, I was very dissapointed in Green. Every pass of his was behind, he couldn't handle his first touches, and his defense was really suspect. Semin just frustrated me. Good play, but shoot the puck!

All in all, living in illinois i dont see many hockey games and i was glad to get to see a great game. And thanks to whoever left their tickets with the ticket booth, I appreciated not having to pay to get in!

Posted by: renstar | September 25, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Dave:
"You don't cheer bad shots in golf old bean, it's just not cricket! What what!" While I agree with that, it still made me laugh ... HA!!! :-D

Posted by: Boo! | September 26, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I was actually really impressed with Godfrey - he grows on me more the more I see and hear of him. Cannon of a slapshot, willing to shoot/defend/pass/whatever and does it all reasonably well. He'll join the rush or not as the situation calls for it, and I thought he had a pretty good sense for it. Better than mine, certainly.

Plus, dropping the gloves and winning it didn't hurt. ^^

Posted by: this space for rent | September 26, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Can we please put to rest any talk of Schultz not being among the top 4 defensemen on this team?

Overtime, 5-on-3, Pittsburgh, PITTSBURGH, two forwards and one defenseman.. and which defenseman does Bruce pick -- Jeff Schultz.

Enough! The guy is huge and he's only getting stronger and more skilled. If any of the top 4 should be worried about being displaced by Alzner, it's Tom Poti, who might look pretty good in an LA Kings uniform.

And for that matter, the "bottom 2" (Jurcina and Erskine) should be extremely worried about Lepisto.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | September 26, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I googled Grant McNeill and found this interesting tidbit from earlier this year:

"Phila's Jesse Boulerice two-handed Machesney in the back of the knees, setting off the line brawl. Two Bears jump Boulerice, followed by Machesney, who gets some shots in before Houle skates down the ice and they wrestle. All 5 other guys grabbed someone. Grant McNeill jumped off the bench and skated down the ice and pounded Boulerice good.

Wondered what was up at the start of the game when Philly, playing for a divison title, sat most of their scorers and dressed the goon squad. Now, we know why.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. Apparently, it's the same on both side of the parking lot."

Posted by: Boo! | September 26, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

The original incarnation of the SS (now called something like the "Red Rockin' Squad?") also advised in minute detail on how one should do her hair and makeup for the audition...this version was up for less than 24 hours and was changed once Ted got wind of it. Still I have to wonder if what they had on tonight will be the uni throughout the season...I suspect not. As for handing out pizzas, they didn't do much more than that. I have to think there will be bigger stuff going on at and after Opening Night.

Enough about all that...the game eventually became interesting. Even though I know to expect low attendance, it was lower than I expected what with all the new STH and all. I would have liked Cheese or someone else to get a stint in goal for at least one period. Semin appeared to enjoy putting on a figure skating show. Not sure about him on the PK, though he handled it in Russia. Clark seemed to have very little ice time, at least in the 2nd. It was fun to see the prospects, but no one stood out to me at all (except Bourque of course). Next time, Alzner please!

Posted by: Jill | September 26, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Jill:
Amen, Sista! ;-) BTW, Cheese was in goal 3rd period.

Posted by: Boo! | September 26, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

What's the weather like in DC in, say, June?

Posted by: Lord Stanley | September 26, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

@JIM

have you watched any of the Cane's games the last couple of years. The last thing they would be known for is team defense. They have alwasy been know for the all out attack and one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL... not for keeping the puck out of their net

Posted by: Mike | September 26, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Conboy's a cheap-shot artist...every time I've seen him in the AHL, he pulls a few subtle and a few not so subtle cowardly moves per game.

Guy's a joke.

Posted by: Matt | September 26, 2008 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm not gonna lie. As mid to late 20 something male, I am kind of disappointed the spirit squad is more G rated than Ice Girl.

I thought I was completely indifferent, but when I saw what Tarik wrote there was a minor twinge of disappointment. There I confessed.

And then I realized that our team is very solid, our farm team is very solid and opening night is only 16 days away and the disappointment disappeared.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | September 26, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Another good performance and the best thing is the competition for places. Everyone (well, except for the elite players) knows they have to turn up every night in order to keep their jersey.

Hopefully this will mean we will get the bets out of players like Schultz, Flash and Erskine.

Boo!,
a) What are you doing up so late?
b) Photos? :)

Posted by: Dave UK Caps Fan | September 26, 2008 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Boo! I was at that game at the GC in hershey. Good times between the phantoms and Bears.. I'm not gonna miss the phantoms next year.

Posted by: Dan L | September 26, 2008 5:29 AM | Report abuse

If Brash ever goes down, G. McNeil needs to get the call. He was a monster out there last night, and almost had a goal or two just driving to the net.

Chris Bourque was also a dynamo and Godfrey was pretty surprising too. Real fun, chippy game after the first period.

Posted by: Jordan | September 26, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

When is Theodore going to get in net?

Posted by: 828 | September 26, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Tarik

Are you going to post the cuts when they happen?

Thanks!

Posted by: CantMissKid | September 26, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I was there last night in my Row H, Sec 400 seats and was very impressed by the view -- the first period, on the other hand, not so much.

After that, though, I was pretty impressed. Nylander and Clark both looked good upon returning from injury. Ovechkin, I thought, dominated the game after the first period, more so than anyone else. Semin is Semin, so I laugh and I cry at his whims (and, frankly, I didn't care at all that he didn't shoot on that PK when he stole the puck and wiggled his way through about 3 pairs of legs -- he was out there wasting time, is all).

As for prospects (finally watching them and not only having to read about them):

Godfrey -- A little disappointed. Even after he settled down a bit (which, thankfully, he did), it was still pretty obvious that he needs a solid year or two in Hershey before he'll be usable.

Bourque -- Great game. He earned that first call-up position last night to me. And I haven't seen Renaissance-Flash, yet, but I would've taken this year's Bourque over last year's Flash in a second.

Neuvirth -- Nervous beginning, but a solid game. I haven't seen Varlamov, yet, so I can't say which I'd rather see as the Hershey #1 (and Machesney wasn't bad last night, either).

Bouchard -- Looked good, but would have wanted to see him with Perrault. Maybe, hopefully, they'll still be around until next friday night, but I doubt it.

All in all, it was a fantastic night, and spending $31 on beer and hot dogs hasn't felt as natural since April. Great to be back.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | September 26, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why so many people like Erskine. When i think Erskine, I think penalties.

Last season, when the Caps could absolutely not afford a penalty, he'd find a way to get one. Even did it a few times when they were already a man down. He's a clutch time nightmare...and he's slow as hell.

Posted by: Snackcake | September 26, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I missed any spirit in that squad and whoever the MC was was really horrible

and I hope during the season Nylander will learn to shoot when he has a open net -- he already had me irritated last night when he is looking for a pass when he has the open net--he did it twice last night

impressed the way our guys picked up the momentum in the 2nd and 3rd periods -- anyone know anything about McNeill -- I liked his spunk

and being a bears fan also I am glad caps fans are being given the chance to see what Chris Borque can do

how about Poti's spin o rama in the first period -- he looked impressive last night too

Posted by: capsgary | September 26, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Snackcake.

Posted by: Jordan | September 26, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

and sorry I forgot but how about #90's hit in the corner...brutal

so I guess McNeill has taken Robitaille's spot as the Bear's enforcer?

Posted by: capsgary | September 26, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Stop using my name...for Pete's sake.


Pete.

Posted by: Pete | September 26, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

capsgary;

My sentiments exactly re: Robitaille - I kept thinking of Louis all night that his spirit lives on!

And Ovi should have received a two minute penalty for " Skating too fast"

All in all, not a bad preseason game, considering all the personnel on ice who don't normally play together. Semin's dance was particularly entertaining and just seemed to torment the Canes.

Conboy should be sent down asap. A waste on skates.

Bourque had the best game I have ever seen him play, period. Looks like he understands the responsibility that comes with the job and isn't intimidated easily.

Posted by: dogdaze | September 26, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

how do you not like Erskine? If you think Erskine is not clutch, then wait and watch Schultz and see how terrible he is in the clutch. Erskine will be physical and hit somebody and drop the gloves if need be (clearly Poti won't as shown by last night). Everyt eam needs a physical defender like Big John

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately I could not make the game last night. Glad to hear Bourque did well. I've said before he stands out in Hershey, so I just know one of these days he can crack the NHL, I am really rooting for him. Also, looking forward to seeing a healthy Nyls in the lineup - should make all the difference with balanced scoring. GO CAPS!

Posted by: Grape8 | September 26, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Grant McNeill was originally drafted by the Panthers. He spent last year in South Carolina and Hershey. Played defenseman for the last 18 years (except a few weeks as a 7-year old) but in camp this year he was switched to left wing. Coaches seemed to think it was a better use of his skill set and style of play. He also was one of the tough guys in Hershey at the end of the year. Replace Louis? Well, I'm not sure we'll see him blowing kisses and smack talking the opposing bench and fans or be the sometimes loose cannon that was LR. Big guy (6'2', 220) and pretty good skater. Only time will tell. Need to give him a little time to start playing more offensively - did see him drop into defenseman mode a couple times last night.

Posted by: Zaichik | September 26, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Poti was awesome, too. I forgot to mention that. He was jumping into the rush like crazy out there. Damn near scored a couple times.

Posted by: Jordan | September 26, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Did y'all see me out there? I told you we would be wearing khaki pants and a red shirts. That is for now, just until people get used to us. Like, I totally rocked the red!!!

Posted by: Cassi | September 26, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Gordon was pretty invisible last night. Expected him to be fighting hard for a spot.

Semin had a nice stick handling clinic around 3 guys, but lost it right before he could shoot.

combined score of 9-3 over two nights against the canes. not bad.

Posted by: Stormblue | September 26, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

good point. Where was Boyd last night? Poti did look pretty good

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Cassi,
Can you spell Cat?

Posted by: MNMNT | September 26, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The shirts were not red. They were white with red sleeves.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I got a kick out of Semin on the PK playing keep away with 4 Canes. Wasted 30 seconds of their PP and amused me to no end.

Posted by: Steve R | September 26, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

MNMNT,
Can you spell Sasquatch?

Posted by: Cassi | September 26, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

You know, I swear I heard Kolbe say "Erskine leading the rush," or something to that effect at some point last night. Mainly because I remember thinking, "What? Are you joking?" Didn't get to watch a lot of the game, but he didn't seem to be completely awful last night.

I'll be the girl in the bridesmaid dress checking her phone for scores Saturday night. Go Caps!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 26, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Hershey is going to be great.

Now the game. What stuck out in my mind was how bad the beer early on and that Semin was on the PK, a lot. Brilliant move at least in the preseason to have Semin thinking defense.

Right now its Schultz vs Alzner for the pleasure to be Poti's line mate. Erskine and Juice are vying for 3rd line duty along with Lepisto.

Green/Mo
Poti/Alzner
Schultz/Juice
Erskine/Lepisto

Bourque will be a 3rd line winger for this club, a regular starting next year.

It is early, but we put up 9 goals vs another opponent within our division. I don't care who is or isnt on the ice because it works both ways, but getting sh lacked isnt a good feeling.

Posted by: JSchon | September 26, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl: What awful friends you have to have a wedding on a gamenight? At least it is only preseason and not a real game

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

They can already start booking those tractor pulls at RBC Center for early April!

Posted by: virtueandvice | September 26, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

stevo,
Worse, its family! I might even forgive them for a regular game, as long as its not post-season. I'll just switch the phone to silent and hide it in my flowers. No one will know...until I break out a fist-pump in the middle of the vows. :-D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 26, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Boo - here's the video of the Phantoms vs. Bears brawl you spoke of earlier. I remember sitting at that game angry with the ref for how he manhandled Machesney... you'll see what I mean.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOSV0CbGTrM

Posted by: Katie | September 26, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

JSchon,

You going to Kettler tomorrow?

Posted by: Steve R | September 26, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl: trust I feel your pain, I have a wedding saturday night too. Luckly, it is a bunch of jmu guys so it should get kinda rowdy and I don't even think the game is on tv so i won't miss much

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Steve...

Is Saturday the thing you were mentioning to me last night?

Posted by: JSchon | September 26, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you two will be at the same wedding and there will be a jmucapsgirl/stevo love connection! Although methinks stevo has a major crush on Erskine, what with all the "sexy lumberjack" comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else catch Ovie steam roll one of the refs last night? priceless.

Posted by: AP | September 26, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually I do have a crush on Erskine, but carl lewis singing the national anthem is REALLy what gets me going

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Erskine did in fact lead a rush into the offensive zone and Semin played PK.

At one point, OV was positioned as a D in the PK unit

Bizarro world.

Posted by: Stormblue | September 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

true, I forgot the game was away so it would be another crappy video feed.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | September 26, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

JSchon,

That's next Thursday.

Posted by: Steve R | September 26, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I have a feeling what we saw last night was not the "spirit squad", and that we won't see them until opening night.

Posted by: R | September 26, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

This morning Bob Mackenzie from TSN was on our local radio station and he said that the Black Hawks are interested in Nylander. If its true (which i hope it isn't) what can we get in return? A D-Man maybe?

Posted by: red dragon | September 26, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: mingbai | September 26, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I went to last night's game. Erskine will be lucky if he gets a spot on this team. He is a step too slow. This forces him to take penalties. Also, he was on the ice for both of the other teams goals. On the second goal, he missed his assignment. You could see the frustration in his face.

Posted by: kevin | September 26, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'd trade Nylander for Brent Seabrook or Duncan Keith right now!!!!

But it aint going to happen.

We could have an all Seabrook line.

For laughs if we traded Nyls for Seabrook.

OV/Backstrom/Kozlov
Semin/Fedorov/Clark
Flash/Laich/Fehr
Brash/Steckel/Bradley

Green/Mo
Seabrook/Alzner
Poti/Schultz

Posted by: JSchon | September 26, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Did jurcina play in the first game? if so, how'd he look

Posted by: stevo | September 26, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

The name Brent Sopel keeps coming up.

I wish it were Seabrook but it looks like the Hawks want to keep there Top 4 D (Seabrook, Campbell, Keith, Barher) in tact.

I Think there will be alot of player movements right before the season kicks off.

Posted by: red dragon | September 26, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I can see junior Bourque playing this year. If Pothier comes back (and he very well might based on what we've heard) we're going to have cap problems, and that's going to mean getting rid of people with big contracts (Nylander, Clark, whoever). If they dump a third liner and can dump Chris B. in there, then it makes sense economically.

Posted by: old time hockey | September 26, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@stevo

Yes he did, and except for one dumb pass he played pretty well. Was very aggressive physically without putting himself out of position. Had a couple of pretty big hits.

Posted by: captnclark | September 26, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I thought Erskine played well last night. Yeah he was out there during the first two goals, but one of the goals was a fluky puck that trickled in 5 hole.

Erskine ALSO had an Assist!

I think we will see a much different Erskine than last year. I think his smart play style that he had during the playoffs last year will carry over. He played very well in the playoffs while having 18-19 mins a game.

Personally I believe Erskine fell bit into the persona of the big bruiser and with that came bad play. Again like I mentioned before, he showed smarts in the playoffs that we all though he didn’t have. We all know BB is a good coach and he probably noticed that play and most likely cultivated that style of play in Erskine.

The things I like about Erskine are that he is a big physical player that no one comes close to on our D, and he puts the puck to the net. I mean we all want to talk about Laich and Fehr getting to the net and creating traffic, what about the other side of that? We need our defenders to put the puck towards the net, and the only D that do that consistently are Green, and Erskine.

I know some person is going to say hey wait wait look at all the shots from last season, I am talking about shots from the blue line at the net. I think we can all assume Erskine is not taking the put in like Green, or in some cases Poti.

Posted by: Zulu | September 26, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

The few times I have seen Semin on the PK, I thought he was VERY good in that role. I know it's counter-intuitive but he has a real knack for reading and intercepting the passes of the other team. He could be a real SHG threat on the PK, IMO.

Posted by: Sapper | September 26, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Gordon played his game killing penalties and he had that awesome crash to the net and getting the feed from Ovie(Leighton got lucky) -- remember Gordo is out there to shut down there guys not all of our guys can be sent out to score-- we know he can score we have seen him school the goalies on shootouts --- with a broken hand!!

Posted by: capsgary | September 26, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Dan:
So what's the scoop with McNeill - is that his SMO?

Dave:
Workin' on it! :-) BTW, I am always up late after games ... I just get too fired up to go straight to bed!

Katie:
Thanks for the video! So what started it? The announcer blames Machesney - is he really to blame?

JMU/Stevo:
I will be at a wedding, too (and know someone else who is getting married then). What's up with 9/27 and weddings?!?

Posted by: Boo! | September 26, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that if you vote for Ovie on ESPN.com, the next time you log in it says that he has 49% and Crosby has 51%, but then if you click through to the map it is the opposite. What gives?!? Is our boy being short-changed?!?

Posted by: Boo! | September 26, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I think Godfrey played very well. He had the ESPN turning point in the game. After his tilt the Caps got a spark and the rest is history. I still don't see what a lot of you see in Alzner. Carlson and Godfrey both out played and out hit him in the games. This year is going to rock.

Posted by: Billy | September 26, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Ovechkin had been 0 for 3 in regular season penalty shot attempts."

And he still is.

Posted by: Krazijoe | September 26, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Boo -

Machesney was slashed on the pad about two plays before that. Next time the Phantoms came down he was tripped - on purpose. He took matters into his own hands from that point. It was initiated by Philly, but unfortunately, on that B2 feed, it was Philly announcers that can't even read the label on a blue packet of equal in a non-biased manner.

All in all it was a great brawl to watch and it was neat to see all the "new guys (since Hershey's roster was so injury plagued)" jump in and stick up for a goalie they'd known for just a few short weeks.

Posted by: Katie | September 26, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@zulu

What?

Posted by: JSchon | September 26, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Grant McNeill? I thought it was Patrick... I'm confused now. There's no Grant McNeill listed on the Capitals' website, and his number (75) isn't listed on there at all...

Posted by: Ravensun | September 26, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Some Erskine Love

Posted by: Zulu | September 26, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention, the stats show "P. McNeill" as the culprit...... :)

Posted by: Ravensun | September 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ the "Spirit Squad" pick.

I think the reason most of us were so bent out of shape about it (I'll admit I was) was b/c of what the Storm Squad in Carolina (which are mild but also not what one would call "modest" and family friendly) and Henrik Lundquist's favourite ice girls down in Hotlanta look like. IMHO, the "Spirit Squad" is really a new name and outfit for the old Caps in-game cheer squad/delivers of nasty pizza and burritos squad. If that is the way they dress and what they are going to be doing, then it is a non-issue and makes me feel a little sheepish for getting so annoyed about it. Unless they pull out booty shorts and have their mid-drifts showing on opening night, then it'll be an issue with me.

Posted by: ihatethepens | September 26, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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