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Caps Blown Out In Buffalo

Bruce Boudreau was about as steamed as I've seen him after a loss. He named names, too, then ripped into his players for not being prepared to play.

An ardent supporter of Mike Green, Boudreau took the young defenseman to task for his performance. Green was beaten by Thomas Vanek on the first goal just 72 seconds into the game and was partly to blame for a turnover that led to the Sabres' third tally.

"I think he's a great player, as everybody knows," Boudreau said of Green. "But with being a great player comes responsibility, and it's games like this where you have to step up your game if you want be in the class of what other people think you can be. Tonight, he wasn't the only one, there were a lot of them who were almost reluctant to play."

Green accepted the blame, saying: "It was a really bad night for myself. [Vanek] kind of got a step on me there. He made a really good move. It was my fault. ...Bruce mentioned which guys aren't going to be ready for the game. If he can see it, all of us know what's wrong."

Boudreau also singled out Alexander Semin (two shots, one post) and Viktor Kozlov (no shots). The coach also said that he thought goaltender Jose Theodore could have been better, though he was reluctant to throw him under the bus when so many players didn't get the job done in front of him.

Much of the Capitals' struggles this season have started with weak first period efforts. Tonight was no exception. They yielded three goals in the first period, and just in general, did not look ready to play.

"I wish I had an answer," Boudreau said. "I believe we were one of the better first period clubs last year, so I don't know why this happening. But you could definitely tell there were some guys not ready to play tonight. And it's unacceptable. We've got some great players, but Mike Green isn't ready to play and Sasha [Semin] didn't come to play and Viktor [Kozlov]. You can go on."

As for Theodore, who has yielded five goals twice and four once, Boudreau said: "You don't want to throw the blame on the goalie when everybody else is not playing well. But I think there were a couple in there he could have had. But even if he had stopped four more shots, we would have lost by one."

A few more notes from tonight's debacle:

*Still no update on Shaone Morrisonn's injury. But he is returning with the team tonight, I'm told. It's possible there will be a recall, so check back tomorrow.

*The Caps have yielded 15 first period goals in 10 games. Three of them have come on the opponent's first shot of the game.

*Poti skated 24:39 in his first action in five games. He said his groin muscle strain did not hamper him much.

*John Erskine, who missed a game with a calf injury last week, was limping pretty good after the game. He seems to be bothered by the same injury, but said he doesn't expect to miss any time.

*The positives were few and far between tonight. But if I had to pick one, Tomas Fleischmann had another solid performance. He was robbed by Ryan Miller in the first period by a diving save and hit a crossbar later in the game in the second.

*The Caps had been scheduled for a day off tomorrow. But now they will practice at KCI.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 1, 2008; 11:01 PM ET
 
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Next: Neuvirth Returning to U.S.

Comments

I've held back my comments of Jose this year but it's now November and he's had his time to get on track. Obviously, he's not on track. He's worst than Kolzig to watch. Thing is, after Kolzig let the first shot go in, he typically came up with the saves afterwards. Jose, well he's the guy that just keeps on giving. If Johnson can't go, please bring someone else up from Hershey and give them a shot. Let JT sit until next year and give him practice time to work through his issues.

Part of the teams' problem is that depression sets in after that 1st shot goes in and it's "Here we go, again!"

Nobody hits except Erskine and Green, 4 & 3, respectfully.

Mike Green, bad game. Two goals in due to his lackluster effort.

Backstrom - he is definitely not the guy he was last year. Time to bump him down a couple of lines. I don't want to hear, "I don't want to damage his confidence." Point is, he's not playing with any right now!

Schultz - It's painful watching him glide around the defensive zone and not hit anyone. NO HITS TONIGHT with 20 MINUTES of ice time!!!! He's the tallest guy at there on D and he never finishes a check. I think he's lost that 10lbs (and maybe more) since he arrived in camp. His half-arse slap shot is pathetic. The only time it works is when the opposing goalie is fouled that this big man shots are with velocity of 50 MPH. Sloan should have stayed up and Schultz should be scratched. Put him in the same corner with JT and let them work out their major issues. At least Sloan learns from his mistakes.

Is it me or is this a different team than the one who played the Flyers in the playoffs. There is a lack of 100% effort trying to win the loose pucks. Buffalo had 26 give aways!!! Caps no goals. Caps had 8 give aways and resulted in at least 3 goals.

I'm a STH and traveled to Buffalo today and went to the game. I saw this miserable game live. I was not embarassed to be a Cap fan at the game but the Cap organization should be after that performance.

Lastly, Bruce is not coaching the way he did when he came in a little under a year ago. It's time for him to shuffle the line-up and play the guys who play smart and give maximum effort. The other guys can sit the pine and/or move down to the 3rd & 4th lines. Maybe bring a guy or 2 or 3 up from Hershey.

I hear that OV reads the blogs. I hope he reads my comments and kicks some butt in the locker room. It's time to wake-up Caps!!!!

Posted by: puckman | November 1, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Just a dreadful game to watch. I'm happy to see BB describe the performance as I saw it. Too many disinterested players from the drop of the puck. It's no surprise to lose to Buffalo in Buffalo but the manner in which they did was very troubling. You would think these sort of efforts would be a thing of the past. Simply put, too many guys were not willing to pay the price to compete. How much more would Buffalo of had to score until one of the Caps maybe felt like sending a message and standing up for the team? It sure would have been nice to see Chris Clarke do something along those lines. I'm glad to see BB schedule a practice on Sunday. Maybe he can ask each of the players to write an essay on what it means to be a Washington Capital.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 1, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

@ puckman

Nice post.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 1, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Once again, when is BB going to start coming under some scrutiny? His job is to put together a plan and then bust chops and kick a***s to make sure they follow that plan. I haven't seen much in the way of a plan, and even if the players are to blame for that, it's his job to straighten them out. We'll see if public shaming has any effect, he's going to have to reach into his bag of tricks to get these guys working like a professional team...

Isaac

Posted by: isaacc7 | November 1, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Tarik's assessment of Fleischmann. One of the few bright spots for the team.

I disagree with the first post. It's awfully hard to blame the goalie for the kind of goal Theodore gave up in the first and it's pretty much impossible to blame the goalie for a loss where the team doesn't score.

Posted by: capsbluelinedotcom | November 2, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I just erased everything I wrote because it was so depressing.

Posted by: tw46 | November 2, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

What time is the practice tomorrow? I would like to go.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 2, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Looks like some people aren't happy with the state of their team!

Vanek>Semin
Miller>Theodore

Posted by: SabresFanInDC | November 2, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

The most glaring statistic up there:

"The Caps have yielded 15 first period goals in 10 games. Three of them have come on the opponent's first shot of the game"

Bottom line: Theodore is garbage. He doesn't come to each game focused and ready to play and he lacks a tremendous amount of discipline in net. That is why he has gotten caught sleeping three times to start games.

Our defense has been nothing to write home about either, but Theodore has got to be one of the worst 5 starters in the league statistically if I had to guess.

If we win games this year, expect most to be like the 6-5 shootout we saw in Dallas.

Posted by: zloss126 | November 2, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

The most glaring statistic up there:

"The Caps have yielded 15 first period goals in 10 games. Three of them have come on the opponent's first shot of the game"

Bottom line: Theodore is garbage. He doesn't come to each game focused and ready to play and he lacks a tremendous amount of discipline in net. That is why he has gotten caught sleeping three times to start games.

Our defense has been nothing to write home about either, but Theodore has got to be one of the worst 5 starters in the league statistically if I had to guess.

If we win games this year, expect most to be like the 6-5 shootout we saw in Dallas.

Posted by: zloss126 | November 2, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Well, that game was a disgrace. I would like some coverage of the practice tomorrow -- I want to see what kind of "motivation" Boudreau has ready for them.

This "Goal on the 1st shot" crap has got to stop, though. And that I blame on Jose, regardless of the D -- neither of Vanek's goals were even worthy of going in. Pure luck on his part.

We need Ovie back.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 2, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Well, looks like both teams in the organization stank tonight. Bears got beat 5-2 by Philly. Could have been worse, Philly rang 3 shots off the crossbar. Of Philly's goals, 3 were PP, 1 even strenght, 1 empty-netter. Bears goals from Kyle Wilson and Jay Beagle. The guys looked tired; had a long bus ride home from Albany last night. Bears play Philly again tomorrow at the Spectrum. Hope they get some sleep tonight. They're gonna need it. Haven't heard anything yet about anyone being called up to replace Mo.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 2, 2008 12:56 AM | Report abuse

the guys with the new contracts are reading too much about themselves in the media. plain and simple.

Posted by: MNMNT | November 2, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

by TIM LEONE, Of The Patriot-News
Saturday November 01, 2008, 6:38 PM:

Michal Neuvirth's contract with Trinec in the Czech Extraliga has fallen through, and the rookie goalie is slated to return to North America, Bears president-GM Doug Yingst said Saturday night. Neuvirth is scheduled to report to South Carolina (ECHL).

Posted by: tess2201 | November 2, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

by TIM LEONE, Of The Patriot-News
Saturday November 01, 2008, 6:38 PM:

Michal Neuvirth's contract with Trinec in the Czech Extraliga has fallen through, and the rookie goalie is slated to return to North America, Bears president-GM Doug Yingst said Saturday night. Neuvirth is scheduled to report to South Carolina (ECHL).

Posted by: tess2201 | November 2, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

by TIM LEONE, Of The Patriot-News
Saturday November 01, 2008, 6:38 PM:

Michal Neuvirth's contract with Trinec in the Czech Extraliga has fallen through, and the rookie goalie is slated to return to North America, Bears president-GM Doug Yingst said Saturday night. Neuvirth is scheduled to report to South Carolina (ECHL).

Posted by: tess2201 | November 2, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

come on who didnt see this coming. I saw it.We stink against buffalo.they have speed.our D sucks.I keep telling everyone we need to package some of our players up front to get help on the blue line cause we stink.So many prime scoring chances with our D

Posted by: smartfan | November 2, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

@Puckman

Are you blind? Your boy Erskine's errant play was the core to the 3rd goal. Just because the guy his physical does not mean we give him a pass on defensive play.

Posted by: robblahs | November 2, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Solid article in the dead tree version. Really ugly game.

Everyone: Did anyone see the Mo play? Hard to on TV, but since at least one of us was there, maybe they caught it.

As for the game, Green played like crap, but the consensus is that he's still hurt. So, I'm going to give him a pass on calling him out. If he's that hurt, though, maybe he should tell coach he needs a game off. Who's with me assuming Johnny starts Tuesday?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 2, 2008 6:17 AM | Report abuse

Alright I've heard excuse after excuse as to why we're so bad and who is to blame. The bottom line is it starts from the top and trickles on down.
-
I agree with coach BB calling the players out but he’s to blame as well:
-
1) We the fans know that Theo is atrocious against the Sabers and has been since his days in Montreal and Millers record against him was a perfect 7-0 so why use him? I hear now that Johnson might be hurt and that’s the reason he was on the bench well if he’s hurt he should be scratched and Varakov should have been brought up and given a chance to play when we were down 3.
-
2) Next Poti is back but not 100% so why use him? Why shuffle the lines that played decent together against Nashville, keep the status quo and bring him back along with Ovie next week it’s not like he did anything to help tonight.
-
3) I agree with Puckman Backstrom should be dropped down to the third line for a while, let Federov and Clark share the top two lines. Make Nic earn his way back up to the top lines but until he’s ready to stop sulking and play like a professional see ya..
-
4) Bring Alzner up and sit a few of the prima-donnas D’s for a few games limit their ice time and depreciate their marketing value $ talks BS walks!
-
I also made the trip to Buffalo for this game and held my head high even though my team was putting us to shame making error after error. I wish the team could appreciate how we the fans feel watching our team being blown out while sitting in the enemy stands!
-
Last I feel the players should impose a fine on themselves for their mistakes it doesn’t have to be monetary could be as simple as wearing a BAND OF SHAME on their uniform during practice.

Posted by: rjmbeau | November 2, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

@ rjmbeau

Varlamov has been injured and will not be ready untill this coming week and really you want Alzner? he is great at times but when he is not watch out cause he is really bad.IMO he needs a lot more time in Hershey before he will come up and make an impact. If you are looking for Offensive people then the Bears can help other then that they have the same issues.

Posted by: cocorules | November 2, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

There is no way we take the next step from last year with our current goalies. GMGM should have overpayed for Huet.
Backstrom looks "high" on the ice.
We may make the playoffs but we aren't going anywhere.

Posted by: markfromparkville | November 2, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Last nights performance was too gross for me to stomach...

Pepto...

On the brighter side of things, I found out what the name of this song that I have been searching for for months...

Goodbye Stranger... Supertramp... My new themesong

Posted by: JSchon | November 2, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

rjmbeau:
There is speculation that Johnny must be slightly injured - he was supposed to get the last two starts but at the last minute did not. He may be nursing something minor (minor because he is still on the bench, so he must be OK to play in a pinch).

Posted by: Boo- | November 2, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

JSchon:
Where have you been hiding?!? :-) UK Dave was looking for you the other day. So why is that your theme song? BTW, thanks for putting it in my head for the rest of the day ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 2, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I guess we now know why the colorado fans were so happy to see jose go away.

I don't care how bad the d is playing you can't give up a goal on the first shot and expect the rest of the team play their a@@ off.

It's going to be a long year with Joey and Johny.

Posted by: dude_clutch | November 2, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

NHL on the Fly ripped Semin for his Crosby comments. They didn't just read them, they then compared his game last night with Crosby's. They just wouldn't let it go. I think they ended the points comp from last night with a, "Take that!" Ouch.

Posted by: Boo- | November 2, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@cocorules:
You are right. Hershey's D looked like crap last night too. Alzner, Lepisto, Sloan, none of them had a good game. I thought the ice looked bad though...guys falling, the puck bouncing. Are we using the VC ice crew now? Because our surface has been bad alot lately.

@boo
Of course NHL on the Fly ripped Sasha. He said things about their boy Sid and then didn't play well enough to back it up. But I'll give Sasha a pass. I think at the end of the year he'll still be up there near the league leaders.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 2, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@ isaac7

Are you kidding me? You want to start giving BB a hard time? Give me a break.

Look all, this was a bad game. We are going to have them. Every team does, but one game does not mean the season. It was ugly, but it was only one loss. I truly feel sorry for the Sens on Tuesday. I have a feeling the Caps will come out hard, fast and strong.

Whoever said we should have overpaid for Huet, he ain't doing much better. Our answers in goal are a couple of years away. In the meantime, stay the course.

One thing that needs to change a bit, and it has been said by coaches many times, Backstrom has to shoot the frickin' puck. He gets the puck and circles around looking for a pass until there are 3 players on him and he turns it over. Either quick passes or shoot the puck.

Looking forward to Tuesday.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | November 2, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

You want a Hershey goalie, which one Machesney, who is struggling and lets in 3-5 goals per game? Varlamov who is injuried? Neuvirth who has not had much ice time? Goepfert who is a call up from the ECHL? After the last 3 games Hershey is struggling with goaltending and defense. Alzner is not your answer to a better defense, he needs more time. Both the Caps and Bears are struggeling. Time for readjustments. Hopefully both teams can pull it together.

Posted by: HBFan | November 2, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

tess2201:
I'm not saying I agree with NHLoTF, I'm just sayin' it was kinda brutal.

Posted by: Boo- | November 2, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Caps site says practice is at 11:00 this morning.

Posted by: _jordan | November 2, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

BB plays a very aggressive game. He has the D men constantly looking to get into the play and encourages an up and down game. That's both good and bad- the players love to play in the system but the system is guaranteed to create odd man breaks in both directions.

More than a solid, defense oriented blue line we need a better GK. Our goalies will always be exposed under this system because BB wants the D men pinching and pushing the puck.

So instead of trading for more defensive oriented D men who are out of place in this system we need a superstar goalie to back us up. That means trading for the best available goalie with some O because we have plenty of it in Chocolate town. That might mean the Bulluin wall or someone like that. Not Huet- he is not that guy.

Sad to say, Ryan Miller would be perfect for our team.


Posted by: ChrisAm | November 2, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Quentin Lang please. He'll remind the Caps how lucky they are to be in the league. Caps did well last year with him in the lineup.

Posted by: sjshanno | November 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The Month of October has been our best start in 11 years. In case you all dont remember that 11 years ago was the year we went to the Stanley Cup Finals....So lets just relax and enjoy the rest of the season.

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | November 2, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Here we go... everyone is crying again.

We are still in good shape in the standings. Until we are last in the SE Division or at the bottom of the barrel, then I will not be worried. Most goalies are having a hard time this year. Look at Turco, Biron, and even Kippy. Those are supposed to be the best goalies in the league and they are playing like backups.
As for Semin's comments - good for him... I want him to start talking and good for him to call out Crosby. Maybe that will get people to start thinking. I was reading some of the comments that were made about Semin's comments and the majority of the people agreed.

The Caps will be just fine. Not sure about the Ottowa game though - The Sens are going to be pissed that we swept them last year and the Caps should be pissed that they got worked. So, it should be an interesting game.

I dont know what it is about the Sabres and why we cant beat them. That is how it was with the Pens and we beat them already this year, so who knows... maybe we have to think baby steps with this team and the Sabres. You Sabre fans that are coming here - didn't you all just lose 3 straight?

We are 10 games into the season, plenty of hockey left. We still really haven't been playing teams in our division, so that should get us some wins there.

No point in crying over spilled milk. Find the problem, fix it, and play good hockey with intesity. Last night, they did not play with intensity... not going to win games like that. I can't blame JT, if we can't score a goal, we aint going to win.

Posted by: _828 | November 2, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Josie just sucks pure ad simple and anyone who says we would be better of with WhoEh have obviously not been watching the Hawks games. WhoEh has been the backup this year for good reason, he has sucked. The only good part of this is that ChiTown has an extra year to regret their choice. Play Josie until Jan, then bring up Varlemov and see how he does. I don't believe the players have much faith in the bow legged goalie right now, but the team will win in spite of him as they have done so far until Jan.

Posted by: majiksea | November 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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