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Caps Get Some Love

I'm sure the Caps would rather have earned two points given their precarious position in the standings. But they aren't returning home completely empty-handed: with their recent run, the team appears to have earned some respect from the notoriously harsh Toronto media.

From this morning's Toronto Sun:

When [Toronto GM Cliff] Fletcher peered down from his perch in the Maple Leafs management suite at the Air Canada Centre, he could only dream that the blue-and-white one day will be as talent-rich as the visiting Washington Capitals.
Forget, for a moment, that the Leafs posted a hard-earned win over the Caps last night, snapping Washington's four-game winning streak.
Or that the two teams are separated by just one point in the logjammed eastern conference standings.
In his attempt to rebuild the Leafs, Fletcher must take note that the Caps have four outstanding young players who are all under 24. The marquee name in the group, of course, is Alexander Ovechkin, 22, but keep in mind that fellow forwards Alexander Semin, 23, Nicklas Backstrom, 19, and defenceman Mike Green, 22, are among the most promising kids in the league as well.
Ovechkin and Semin both scored pretty goals last night.

The Caps still have tough some questions to answer and some holes to fill. It also remains to be seen if their young stars are ready to lead the franchise back from an awful start and to its first playoff berth since 2002-03. But it's interesting to see folks around the league taking notice of the team's progress. (As recently as last season, the Caps were often ridiculed by the Toronto media.)

Note:Coach Bruce Boudreau cancelled the morning skate today, and I'm still in Toronto waiting for my flight. I hope to have an update before tonight's rematch with the Leafs.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 24, 2008; 9:34 AM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup vs. Toronto


still in shock. those 2 points were ours for the taking.

Posted by: bummer | January 24, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

BB decision to have Semin and Flash on the ice in the last minute of play was curious at the very least. I know he loves offense, but Bruce has got to keep the big picture in sight. Secure the point first and then try to win it in OT. I'm looking for some serious revenge tonight.

Posted by: b.orr4 | January 24, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

haH! the awful leafs team has just 1 less point than your team
how does this make you feel

Posted by: caphcky | January 24, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The boys should be hanging their heads for not getting a W for Gabby on his big night. Shame!

Posted by: Jill | January 24, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you know it's bad in Leafs country when their media is saying that Washington has a better future.

Posted by: EricS | January 24, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Sure we should have got at least a point last night but I'm sure there were some games since BB took over that we got points when we shouldn't have..So lets chalk it up as a bad break, kick some tail tonight, and go into the break on a high note.

Posted by: dave | January 24, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: HI CAPHCKY! | January 24, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

IMHO the Caps seemed like they had no jump last night, and it's a shame too, because Olie actually looked pretty good last night, except for that 3rd goal, and that awful rebound, but in his defense, Semin didn't pick up Sundin.

The Caps need to come out firing tonight, and jump on the Leafs early and often.

I do have to give credit to Semin though for his gorgeous goal. He definitely has found his game again and its nice to see.

If OV and Semin keep scoring like they have been lately, the Caps should easily take the SE Division. Going into last nights game, the Caps were the only team in the division over .500, and the scary part is, is that .500 could win the division.

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Terrible rebound Kolzig gave up on the last goal...guess you can't win 'em all. What is Pettinger still doing in the line-up? Isn't there someone in the minors who could at least get a point once and while instead of him?

Posted by: MLK | January 24, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one bothered by the fact that Scott Neidermeyer is an All-Star after only playing in 18 games, and only posting 11 points and a -2 +/- rating?

Wasn't there any other Western Conference D-Men, who have played ALL season, that maybe had some better stats, that couldv'e got the call instead?

Don't get me wrong, I love Scott Neidermeyer, but he is not having an All-Star season by his standards, and he hasn't even played in half of the Ducks games.

The NHL blows it again, when it comes to the All-Star game.

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I am with 828: the Caps must score 6+ to have a 99% chance of winning. Kolzig will always let in 3 or 4.

I hope the Caps will win tonight! Johnny, control your rebounds!

Ovechkin and Semin will be on the board again tonight!

Posted by: Finn | January 24, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I honestly think Kris Beech should crack the line-up over Petty.

Beech has 11 points in 20 games and is a +4.

Petty has 6 points in 45 games and is a -12.

Also, Beech knows BB's system, and could do very well with the Caps, with BB in charge. Just some food for thought.

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Can't say that we deserved the win, although we surely had the opportunities. Our defense has also looked a little flat in the last two or three outings with one or two of the six really taking it to them. Perhaps Green is getting burned-out on the top line, always up against the opposing team's leading scorer - Sundin last night. The D has been caught out of position several times now and it has cost us big time. And Poti taking three penalties last night isn't helping the D either.

I sure hope they find a way to get re-energized before we reach the point of no return.

Posted by: dogdaze | January 24, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I really don't like that idea of our offense having to score 6 or more goals a game. That really irks me. Obviously they have bad days and look what happens.
Matt I agree with you about S. Neidermeyer..that was a weird/dumb decision.

Posted by: K | January 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The All-Star game is a sham anyway. I don't think it's necessary. And should be held after the season is over or something. That way no one gets inadvertantly injuried for just being silly or something like that. The only thing I really enjoy about it is the commercials. They make me laugh!

Posted by: IrresistibleForce | January 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

In Olie's defense last night, the only bad goal he allowed was the 3rd one. The first Leafs goal was due to a bad turnover, and the fact the Mo struggled to get into the play after taking a hit in the corner.

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse


Any word yet on why Beech was signed? Was it stricly to help Hershey or is someone getting traded thats in Hershey's line-up for a rental due to Nyls injury, or did BB want him to be the rental guy due to Nyls injury? Just curious, because the signing doesn't really make much sense to me. Also, is Clymer going to be dealt at the deadline, to give him a shot at the NHL or is he stuck in Hershey? I still can't figure out why a guy with his salary and 1 way contract status is being paid so much to play in Hershey.

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

They really need to find a way to break that trap that Toronto was playing last night and split the series.

Losses happen. No team's record is perfect and last night was nothing to get too broken up about. If they make it two in a row, it'll be a little worrisome, but it's been a rough schedule for the last couple weeks and Toronto is coming off a post-shakeup bounce.

Posted by: HolyOlie | January 24, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line, Olie was solid compared to his mediocre effort vs. the Pens. The D dropped the ball. We were high-flying and they were patient. They cashed in on their opportunities which were many. For some reason we didn't switch up our game plan after the first intermission. If they are playing tight D like the Av's were, we should have matched. It would have been a potentially lower scoring game but we could have worked out a point or a win. We were playing them like they were the Pens. Both teams being fast and sloppy in their own zones. Toronto took their time, played well in their zone and snuck some by us.

Posted by: John | January 24, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

have to agree with MLK...appreciate Petty's effort every night, but maybe it's time for him to sit a night or 2

Posted by: josh | January 24, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse


I disagree. Only bad goal last night was #2 that should have been washed out.

I challenge any goalie, anyone for that matter, put on some pads, face a low shot from your left to your right and "control" the rebound anywhere other than
A: Right infront of you
B: Where Olie put it.

Keep in mind, puck is not round, pads are not cheating... no breaking the laws of physics.

The shot was meant to generate a rebound. Had the player wanted to score he'd have gone where everyone else goes to score on Olie. High-glove-side.

I question the line on the ice... I question why we didn't have a hat on Sundin the entire time he was on the ice that shift... I don't question the rebound...

Would I love to see another goalie in net for us, sure. We've got a promising young Russian waiting for his chance, hopefully we let him have a crack next year.

Posted by: FFS Enough | January 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Big mentions in ESPN's Crashing the Net:

* Thursday's shootout between the Oilers and Capitals sure was entertaining. Matt Bradley made the only successful penalty shot in 24 attempts, recalling that epic 30-shot shootout contested by the Rangers and Caps in 2005.

* Amazingly, the Capitals have been involved in four of the seven shootouts that have gone past 20 shots in NHL history

* Speaking of good shows by Washington, how about the one-on-one duel Alexander Ovechkin had with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in Monday night's nationally televised game? The two players, selected with the first two picks of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, showed all that is good about our game in one night's performance.

* Finally, to say Washington rookie center Nicklas Backstrom is a little hot is like saying that Britney Spears is a little overexposed in the tabloids.

Posted by: keef | January 24, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

> BB decision to have Semin and Flash on the ice in the last minute of play was curious at the very least.

Yeah, right... I wonder what everyone would say of Semin, not Sundin, would score...

TSN dudes were saying the whole night that Washington Caps are the prototype that Maple Leafs want to copy rebuilding wise.

All of a sudden, Caps are the example to the league how to rebuld? Wow...

They even said "Caps missed playoffs for only three years [meaning 3 years is not bad for rebuilding]", lol, as if Caps are already in playoffs...

But North of the border, they know what they talking about...

Just put me in the line up tonight, I will destroy pencil necked Moore and feisty Tucker. I good enough, I am big enough and dog gone it, people like me...

Posted by: Papa Schultz | January 24, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Erskine has more points than Pettinger in almost half the games - 'nuff said!

Posted by: Kim | January 24, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

maybe what's best for petty is to spend 5-10 games in hershey, gets some quality minutes, and hopefully regain some scoring touch/confidence.

Posted by: TripDonkeys | January 24, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You all can hate it or love it... If the Caps score 6, they win.

What should we do about games when we don't score 6... well, look at last night - we are not going to win those games. 30 seconds away from a point and we blow a big one. I'm not going to blame anything on the goalie or anything on the defense. People in here are in a daze of what is reality and what is a dream. That game looked like the Caps in the past... not in sync and extremely sloppy.

Heck, I will blame the game on Ovechkin, Semin, Green, and Backstrom. They know better than that - they need to score more. One goal each for 2 out of 4 is not good enough.

Hopefully, we will get our 6 goals tonight.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that our only D-men who have positive +/- is Shultz, Pothier and Erskine?

Not really the guys I'd expect leading the +/- charge for our D.

Posted by: Wow | January 24, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse


I agree with 100%. Let Petty go down to the farm on a conditioning stint, it couldn't hurt him!

Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Make no mistake about it... Boudreau has my respect and I think he's a great coach, but I would like for him to explain why he had such a defensively challenged group on the ice in the last minute.

Poti, Semin, Steckel, Flash and Emminger were all on the ice. Steckel is okay defensively but the rest are not known for defense.

I was surprised he did not have a defensive group out there to end the game and get the point and then followup with his offensive game to try and get the other.

I didn't see a lack of effort for the most part, but I am still not comvinced that Semin is playing two way hockey. He was beat more than once last night.

Erskiine was a beast. I have not seen that kind of physical play since Witt left.

Looking forward to seeing Brent Johnson in the twine tonight.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 24, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse


For Leafs fans who are hoping for a total rebuilding project, Washington was the perfect team to provide the opposition for the first game of Fletcher's second coming.

It was only by starting from scratch in the NHL basement that the Caps was able to acquire first-round draft picks Ovechkin, Eminger, Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. This core of young players will make Washington a contender - the envy of fans in Toronto and elsewhere whose teams cling to the status quo year after year.

Posted by: Papa Schultz | January 24, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The entire Leafs team only had 5 guys with >0 +/-.

Posted by: Wow2 | January 24, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I was not a first round pick? Damn...

Posted by: Papa Schutlz | January 24, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with FFS Enough on the rebound. That shot is almost always going to result in that bounce. Semin had to work a little harder to keep Sundin away from it.
There is a reason Mats Sundin is one of the best players in the NHL. He works as hard as he can for everything. He reads the game very well. He makes those little chances count.
In a couple of years Semin will have matured to the point that he will make that back-check correctly and the game goes to OT. It took OV a couple of years to get there also.
Semin has the offensive side of the game pretty much down (and Boudreau sure helps there). Now he must put in the time and effort to become an NHL player.

Posted by: marksman | January 24, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

lets hear it for least for one game he was a beast out there.

He had at least 3 big hits and played for most part a mistake free game.

I hope BB keeps him in the line up when Pothier returns.

Posted by: Genotype55 | January 24, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Papa Schultz:

I threw up in my mouth when you talked about Eminger as the core of young players. Please do not mention his name with the others... again, they are the same people that said Malkin hit Ovechkin and the Caps rank is 23 in the league... good source.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Both Erskine and Eminger played like they wanted to be regulars. Erskine showed more of it than Eminger, but I think that is due to Erskine playing more. Both are coming on as D-men. Erskine looked like a downright mean bad a$$ out there last night. Schultz had better step up on his hitting if he wants to keep his job. Same with Jurcina.

I'm rather peturbed about Green's lack of D last night. He blew a tire behind the net and slowly got up as if he had all day to do it. I've seen him a few times over the past two or three games standing around watching play happen around him instead of introducing the opposition player's butts to the ice. Maybe HE needs to sit a night and check it out.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 24, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

it's nice to see the caps getting some respect. poti was horrible last night and the team played lazy throughout the game imho...

Posted by: we played like poop last night, but... | January 24, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about hitting when you are losing?

Those hits were awesome, but THAT was no the Caps team of late... I think it was crap and it seemed like they were so worried about hitting that they forgot other things.

Poti got two stupid penalties - Emminger did the old reach around... I honestly hope he gets supsended for 20 games for the hit in the back. All of that is uncalled for.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse


Agreed. As always. Can't rely on the overpaid pensioner.

Posted by: Finn | January 24, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

>I threw up in my mouth when you talked about Eminger

They, they, not me...

And besides they were talking about first round picks. Were thery wrong?

Exactly, I was the first round pick, not Eminger. In fact, I've contacted TSN, and they said it was a typo, they meant

"Caps was able to acquire first-round draft picks Ovechkin, JEFF SCHULTZ, Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. "

Posted by: Anonymous | January 24, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Last night to Laich for his 200th NHL Game. Eminger will get his 200th if he plays tonight.

Brashear is 3 points from 200, Koz is 2 games from 800. Erskine is 2 games from 200.

Posted by: Congrats | January 24, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Haha, I know it wasn't you... and I know he was a first round pick - so was Beech (7th overall???) That's why I said they know nothing because they talked about Malkin... etc...

I just don't know why they mentioned his name with those others... they can have him for a bag of pucks and some snow cones for the kids.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

> Who cares about hitting when you are losing?

I do. I care. I will destroy midget leafs tonight, I'll plaster them. Instead of ads on the boards you will see maple leafs only.

Posted by: Papa Schultze | January 24, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I think the last goal is that rare case where the blame is just about evenly shared between all the players on the ice.

Not gonna blame Boudreau for leaving these guys out there. Its a costly decision, but that line deserved to be there after their tying goal, and it will be the best learning experience for them.

Damn unfortunate loss, but if we win tonight, it'll be all good.

Posted by: Vlad | January 24, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Emminger's play will be reviewed I believe. Stupid play. Erskine was awesome last night. Hope he can keep it up. It was a statement game for him. Semin's still a project. We should all be excited about the future.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Add Jurcina to the list of people tossing shoulders last night. He had 4 REALLY good ones. 2 on one shift to make the blue cough the puck up.

Sure, he might have a lapse here and there, who on our D doesn't, but when it comes to 1 on 1 D, he rarely lets someone get by him face to face. He's quick to tie them up and interrupt the rush.

As for green taking a long time to get up... yea, he may not have known what country he was in after he hit the boards like that. I'm just glad he got up at all.

Posted by: Jurcina Fan | January 24, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

hey, Esa, easy on my buddy Eminger... I remember your play, I was 5 years old watching TV and you missed the net. That was stupid. I pee'd in my diapers when I saw that.

Posted by: Papa Schultz | January 24, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else think that Kovalchuk should have gotten more than a game?

The way the league is today there is no standard for suspensions. I saw the hit he put on and it should have been 3 games.

Look at the suspension Hartnell received his was a lot less harsh than Kovalchuk. If anything Eminger will get a game or 2..but sitting will be nothing new to him.

Posted by: Tommmy | January 24, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't agree with you when you say that the line "deserved" to be out there.

The game is an ever changing series of events and a coach manages the game on the basis of his players skills and abilities.

The game had changed. I would have secured the point. I have no problem with that line playing in OT, after they got the point, but in my mind, the first order of business would have been to come away with something.

I am not criticizing Boudreau. He has forgotten more hockey than I will ever know. I would like to know what the logic was. I doubt it was because they "deserved" to be out there, though.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 24, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Given that the Leafs are old and slow, it's little surprise that they look at the rebuilding job that Washington has done (and the talents like Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom, etc.) and think "that's where we'd like to be...rebuilt with a bunch of young talent"; especially when you look at the big-money signings the Leafs made (McCabe (re-signed), Kubina, Gill, Blake, Raycroft, etc.); none of whom you'd say are exactly lighting it up.

Posted by: Patrick | January 24, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the answer to why Semin, Flash, Poti and Emminger were on the ice is because Boudreau couldn't get them off, I can't remember when the last face off was. Toronto had the last change. I just can't reconstruct it from memory.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 24, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

This is going to benefit Ovechkin, it's more about acceleration and less about power skating...

A New 'Fastest Skater'

The Fastest Skater contestants will face a different test this year. Starting from a standing position at the goal line, one skater from each Conference will race to the far blue line, a change from past competitions in which skaters completed one lap around the perimeter of the ice surface.

Posted by: Papa Schultz | January 24, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think the new fastest skater competition is a better barometer of how fast a player really is.

Breakaway speed is what should determine it not how quickly you can come out of a turn.

Posted by: JamesD | January 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the upcoming milestone notes, good stuff. We should see all those met sooner than later I think.

Last night just snaps us back to reality, which is that every game requires playoff contentiousness.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 24, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Now seems like a good time to reiterate that not winning one of these two games before the break could be a good thing.

The exposure over the All-Star break from the media going from worst to first would have been ridiculous: "Great story," "Such talent," etc, etc. Great for Ted's merchandising in the short term, but it puts a target on your back while simultaneously encouraging player to get complacent. That could end up costing us more standings points and the larger goal. This way we spend the break poised in attack mode.

Now a TIE last night certainly wouldn't have hurt anybody...

Posted by: austinsteve (Cap'n Brightside) | January 24, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Look what I found in Australia while surfing the internets yesterday! But tonight I won't have time, I'm gonna kick butt to some Maple Leafs...

"A rare new species of plant that eats small rats has been discovered at the tip of Cape York.

Pitcher plants, otherwise known as flesh-eating plants, grow throughout Cape York but now a new, larger species that grows like a vine has been discovered.

The new species has been called "Tenax"."

Posted by: Papa Schultz | January 24, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Papa Schultz

Sorry. I keep telling you guys it was the blond in the first row. Couldn't take my eyes off her.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Olie has no faults for the loss. If he made that save (and he almost did) it would have been an exceptional save. The first and last goal are to blame on D - Kilger and Sundin were absolutely free to do anything.

The Leafs played their heart out, but everybody could see the Caps were the better team, even when the accelerator wasn't 100% down. We lost for one reason and one reason only: the Caps saw that too, and didn't have the assassin instinct to finish them. I expect that will change tonight.

Posted by: mauree | January 24, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I thought Backstrom was 20. Darn you Toronto Sun.

Posted by: Snktimoniuz | January 24, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice that our expectations are higher lately?

Posted by: Steve R | January 24, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse


That's what I was trying to say this morning. I like that, "assassin instinct". The Caps don't have it yet and Sundin and Co. exposed it. Maybe last night will be a good learning experience.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Steve R - why shouldn't our expectation not be higher? The moment you settle is the moment you get less than you deserve. Are we happy with "Just" barely getting into the playoffs, are we happy with making it to the playoffs, or are we happy about making the playoffs and going deep in them? Ya know?
I think the Caps are looking and playing the way we all THOUGHT they could play. Instead of losing all those one goal games last year, we are winning them.
I don't know, I have higher expectations because I want them to be successful and not the laughing puppet in the NHL.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I think SteveR was referring to a couple of months ago where winning two games in a row would've been a major accomplishment. Now we're expecting them to win every game and score 4 or more goals.

Posted by: tallbear | January 24, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

That's 6 goals...

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse


My point is that in the Hanlon days a loss (a lot of losses), while painful, wasn't a surprise. Now, we're in every game. Down 2, no big deal, the Caps come back.

BB has created an atmosphere where winning is expected. I'm liking it.

Posted by: Steve R | January 24, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tallbear, you nailed it.

Posted by: Steve R | January 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

well, better team, better expectation.
But what bothers me is to lose two points to an inferior team. But yeah, you can't win them all.

We'll see tonight - that one we HAVE to win or the Leafs will pass us in standings.

Posted by: mauree | January 24, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

No doubt - I agree with it and I like it as well. I hope we can do what Detroit does one day or have the home ice advantage soon where it is almost impossible for other teams to come in and get a win.

I love his attitude - kinda like Ricky Bobby - "if you ain't first, you're last"

And yes, I agree - down 2 goals... no problem... we will get it. I knew we were going to comeback last night - I just didn't see the goal with 30 sec left coming. For a 2nd, I thought we would come back from that... then, Steckle won the faceoff and sent it to "no mans" land.

Posted by: 828 | January 24, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Damn straight. We should hold them to the same standards that BB holds them to, and I'm a-ok with that.

Posted by: HolyOlie | January 24, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"Well, Dick, here's the deal: I'm the best there is, plain and simple. I mean, I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence. You know, nobody can hang with my stuff. I'm just a--just a big, hairy, American winning machine. If you ain't first, you're last! You know? You know what I mean?"

Posted by: Bruce Boudreau | January 24, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those saying we must win this game.

I don't usually say this, but a loss would be completely unacceptable. It would mean:
- going from potentially tied for first to 4 points back in the Division
- getting passed in the Conference
- a two-game losing streak
- falling to .500 in home games
- dogs and cats living together
- and worst of all, probably no free food! (unless we somehow lose with 6 goals)

Posted by: austinsteve | January 24, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse


To be fair on your last point, tonight is dollar dog night, which is practically free by VC standards, though I hesitate to call it food.

Also, you forgot "mass hysteria."

Posted by: HolyOlie | January 24, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

A pound of wings sounds good!

Posted by: Finn | January 24, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone is interested...the Bears lost to Norfolk last night 3-2 in a shootout. Eric Fehr is looking very solid, hard to believe he missed 10 months. He's in midseason form already. He had one goal on 6 shots, led the Bears in shots with 6 of the 27 total shots. If the Caps find themselves in need of a forward anytime soon it's a good bet that Eric will get the call-up.

Posted by: Tess | January 24, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm screwed either way as I can't make this game

I also left out the scariest stat:
If we lose we fall under .500 again in wins and losses

Posted by: austinsteve | January 24, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

.500... like a surface of the ocean... lose... sink... win... a breather... lose... sink...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 24, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse


I think you forgot "rivers and seas burning" and of course, "mass hysteria"!!!

Posted by: dave | January 24, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The TSN crew was gushing about the Caps all night, from the pregame right on through to the postgame.

They love Ovechkin. The color analyst - I think it was Pierre McGuire - was absolutely awed by Ovechkin's seeming ubiquity during one stretch.

"That guy is everywhere," he almost gasped. "He's Superman."

Leaving the first period intermission, the studio folks were talking about how the Leafs need passion. Rolling out to commercial, host James Duthie segued with, "You want to talk about passion?" Then he listed Ovechkin's numbers since signing the contract extension.

Posted by: John in Mpls | January 24, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I once again asked Barry Melrose about the South East division:

Jeff (VA): Same quick and dirty question from last week: Who wins the South East -- do you still think Atlanta?

Barry Melrose: That is a good question. Carolina is still the best team out of all those in the Southeast, so I think at the end of the day, they'll win it. I think only one team will get in from the Southeast.

Interesting that last week he picked Atlanta because Carolina had/has a bad defense and Atlanta was the hottest team. Gotta love the consistency!

Posted by: Jeff | January 24, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Jeff, Someone else decided not to beat around the bush:
Kelly (Dallas): Do you see the Caps making the play-offs?

SportsNation Barry Melrose: (3:13 PM ET ) No, they're playing great right now, but I think Carolina is a deeper, more veteran team than Washington. At the end of the day, the Hurricanes are in the playoffs in the southeast, no one else.

Posted by: tallbear | January 24, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

tallbear -- yea, I saw that a few minutes after I posted.

Here's another question from a different chat that is interesting:

ralph virginia: do you see the capitals trading olie before the deadline ? And if they do what would they want in return?

Scott Burnside: I think the situation surrounding Olie Kolzig is a very interesting one. He is one of those rare players who has committed his entire career to one franchise. He could have left a number of times, he chose to stay and be a part of the rebuilding project and yet Kolzig's play is not what he expected and what the team expected. His value on the trade market is muted. I would be guessing a lower round draft pick, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or combo thereof. It's probably what they could obtain.

Posted by: Jeff | January 24, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The idea of throwing up in your mouth seems stupid, as all you have to do is open it & let it out.

Posted by: open mouth | January 24, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Vurping is not fun. Happens every time I hear Schultz and Pronger mentioned in the same sentence.

Posted by: Steve R | January 24, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Anybody reading Ted L's blog on Ted's Take? I'm starting to worry about him.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Ted's OK. He's just too busy running the CAPS since gmgm (the minor league gm, major league paper shuffler) is taking care of things in Hershey. Kris Beech, good one george, Third times a charm? Was that your call gmgm or the call of the NEW scout Glen Hanlon?

Ted L for NHL gm of the year!

Posted by: someone else who knows | January 24, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@someone else who knows- are you trying to imply that gmgm's job is on the line?

Posted by: K | January 24, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for the news!

Posted by: Fred | January 24, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Caps win: WE won!
Caps lose: THEY lost!

Posted by: Michal Handsauce | January 24, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

That loss is on Boudreau. Having poor defensive players like Semin, Fleischmann, Eminger, on the ice during the last minute of a tied road game is ridiculous. You need your GOOD defensive players on ice to get to OT and chalk up the point. Then you worry about the second point. Bad move Boudreau.

Posted by: pete | January 24, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think gmgm is safe. You have to give credit where credit is due. He has a vision and perhaps that vision will be realized soon. I actually ran into him a National airport last year and he was nice enough to share some of his thoughts about the team. I think you'd like his ideas if you had the chance to talk with him.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

O.K. Y'all, heading over to the Booth now to enjoy some $1 Dogs and a Caps win!


Posted by: Super | January 24, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

If they could only do something about the price of Beer, man...

Posted by: Super | January 24, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"Deadman Walking!"

Posted by: someone else who knows | January 24, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Yea Super. Dollar beers. See you at the booth.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | January 24, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Once again, I am happy to see people critiquing the entire game and not just Olie. How refreshing! The Olie bashing right after the game was so predictable ... glad to see so many people subsequently breaking away from tradition!! FFS Enough, mauree, Matt, John, etc. ... you guys are my heros!! :-)

Time for the ENTIRE team to redeem themselves and win one for BB ... LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Boo! | January 24, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse


You are right! Damn Ovechkin last night! Only 1 goal? He must score 8 every night with his contract!

Posted by: Finn | January 24, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

That loss is on Boudreau. Having poor defensive players like Semin, Fleischmann, Eminger, on the ice during the last minute of a tied road game is ridiculous. You need your GOOD defensive players on ice to get to OT and chalk up the point. Then you worry about the second point. Bad move Boudreau.

Posted by: pete

So, was Toronto wrong to have their good offensive players on the ice???? Sundin, a mistake??
Yeah, think about it.

Posted by: marksman | January 25, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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