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Caps lose 4-3 on defensive breakdown in OT

With an overtime game tonight and a 6 a.m. flight to Tampa looming, I'm going to be brief. Besides, no one in the visitors' dressing room here at RBC Center had much to say after a 4-3 loss that spoiled special nights for Eric Fehr and Joe Corvo.

I covered a lot in my gamer, which you can check out here. When you're done with that, come on back for a little video and a few notes:

*Fehr scored for the third straight game, for the fifth time since the Olympic break, and reached the 20 goal plateau for the first time. He is the Caps' seventh 20 goal scorer, joining Alex Ovechkin, Tomas Fleischmann, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin.

*Corvo, who struck twice in his return to Carolina, has a knack for coming up big against former his clubs. In his first game against Ottawa (as a member of the Hurricanes) in 2008, Corvo notched his first hat trick.

*The play everyone was talking about afterward, though, was the defensive mix up that allowed crafty veteran Ray Whitney to find enough open space to score the winner in extra time.

*Coach Bruce Boudreau, who is never one to coddle his goalies, said Semyon Varlamov didn't have much of a chance on Whitney's shot. And while that may be true, I can you tell this: When Varly is on, he stops that shot.

*Whitney's OT winner was actually the second defensive breakdown that led to a goal against. On Chad Larose's four-on-four breakaway goal with 1:35 left in regulation, both Mike Green and Corvo pinched down low and neither forward thought to be the safety valve. The result was Larose sprinting down the ice and taking a nice stretch pass from Jussi Jokinen.

The Caps are scheduled to be off tomorrow, but I'll have a story for Saturday's paper.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 18, 2010; 11:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau on Stamkos: 'Definitely the real deal'

Comments

It looks like Theo is now the goalie for the playoffs.

(I miss the Varly of old.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 18, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Bad goal Varly. BB needs to get Theo in net ASAP. Can't let softie like that go in for playoff run or Caps are cooked.

Posted by: jmarks09 | March 18, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@jmarks09

Most teams don't use their backup goalie in the playoffs anyhow.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 18, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75

Well for me it is solidified that Theo will be our #1 in the playoffs. Varly hasn't been the same since the injury and I don't see him being playoff-ready in a few weeks.

Actually after seeing Varly's mediocre outings of late I would say that Michal Neuvirth should be our backup, not Varly.

Posted by: jmarks09 | March 18, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov played great tonight. You guys are crazy.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Backstrom led the team in hits tonight. Won't see that everyday.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

@jmarks09

But Neuvy has not done well lately either. He hasn't been the same since his injury against Montreal and has had some poor games in Hershey. I read about those games and realize that Varly is a better backup for Theo -- at the present time.

@richmondphil

Varly is playing better than he had been but is still not back to snuff yet. Two great periods and then.... disaster. It's like we need a relief goalie.

Well folks, we don't need to be playing our #1 goalie every game just yet. Next week, we know that Theo gets the start against Pitt and Varly (by default) against Caroline.

I assume we'll see Theo get 2 starts for every 1 start that Varly gets for the rest of the season.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 18, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, BB has a real situation now.

How does he keep the Fehr, Morrison, Chimera line together? What gets done with Laich/Flash? The BMo line was the best line again tonight, and they are an insanely good third line if they continue to play as they have, so what does Boudreau do come playoff time? I imagine he will have to break them up, but that's a shame considering how well they're currently playing.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 18, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Richmondphil. I thought Varly played pretty well. He let in 1 bad goal. The others were our defense failing us again and and 5 on 3. I'd say Theo is certainly playing better, but Varly did pretty good tonight. We need to stop with the defensive breakdowns. I don't thinks it's by coincidence that Green is usually on the ice when they happen. Not impressed with his play of late.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 18, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd say that Varlamov should have bad Carson's goal.

And I agree he isn't back to his full form pre-injury, but I thought he played a good game tonight, all in all.

No knock on Theo.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

bad should be had*

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@Aldred15

What will Bruce do in the playoffs with all the good wingers we have?

Will the "odd man" who sits out be the person whose just not going well at the time? Or a person who has historically performs poorly against a certain team even if they would "normally" be in the lineup.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

One alternative if the BMo lines continues to play as they have is to sit Belanger. That would be a weird move, but Flash/Laich can't be bumped to the 4th line, and Laich, Flash, Semin would be a good 2nd line. Not sure what going to happen, but no one can argue with the chemistry of BMo-Fehr-Chimera

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 19, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say it but varly has had plenty of time and enough games to back to the 'varly of old' and i just think his days are done.Atleast for this year.And honestly as i've always said'I think neuvy is the one the caps should be pushing to be number one.Hes a better all around goalie and who knows,holtby soon may beat both of em out the spot.But for now BB needs to get theo playoff ready and just keep him in down the stretch.Nice knowin ya varly but its to little to late.Should of had had atleast two of those goals tonight for sure.I'm going to the tampa game and cant wait to see my boy ovi return!GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | March 19, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I think the Caps need to start playing team defense and stop expecting the goalie to steal every game. I might be in the minority, but I think both Varly and Theo are adequate for the playoffs.

@ Aldred15

I don't think the Fehr/Morrison/Chimera line will stay together. I don't know how the lines will look, but either Flash or Laich is going to take the a spot on that line.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 19, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

The defense failed miserably tonight. Varlamov did not.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

VARLY STATS
before injury: 12-1-2 SV% .927
since returning: 1-2-2 SV% .856

He wasn't terrible tonight but he definitely should have stopped that third one and could have stopped some of the others (e.g. his positioning on the breakaway was bad).

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Someone on Japers posted a pie chart on reasons for the Caps loss, which included: the Refs, Boudreau, the defense, Varly, most of the other usual suspects, and even the Wicked Witch of the West.

I'm almost surprised they didn't blame Alex Semin. There are some major Semin critics who post over there.

Sometimes it seems that Alex Semin is blamed for everything that goes wrong for the Caps. Defensive breakdown -- it's all Alex Semin's fault. Penalty -- it's Semin's fault. Bad goal tending -- it's Alex Semin's fault. Ovi getting suspended -- it's all Alex Semin's fault. Global warming -- it's all Alex Semin's fault. Bad economy -- it's all Alex Semin's fault. Traffic in DC -- it's all Alex Semin's fault.

Okay gang, I'll admit I'm being more than a little over the top here but you get my point.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

(e.g. his positioning on the breakaway was bad).

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:19 AM |

Are you joking? Larose threw a head fake and then went to his backhand.

And I agree he isn't back to his full form pre-injury, but I thought he played a good game tonight, all in all.

No knock on Theo.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:00 AM |

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil -- Varly looked pathetic on the breakaway. If the game had gone to a shootout the Caps probably have lost the way he was playing. He just sat there and let LaRose (who is no offensive threat) fake him out. Of course, there shouldn't have been a breakaway in the first place, but this is the Caps so you've got to expect a couple situations like that per game.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker-

That breakway beats Theo as well. That was a nice fake and the backhand was top of the net. I guess you think he should have stopped the 5 on 3 as well?

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 19, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker & @CAPSHOCKEY2

We were certainly screwed by the 5 on 3. CAPSHOCKEY2 is right in that the breakaway would have beaten Theo as well.

But I can't help think that the Varly of old would have stopped one of the 2 third period goals and we'd have won in regulation.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

If we had gone to a shootout, who should we use?

Backstrom, of course. After that, would we probably go with Laich and Fleischmann? Later rounds, Knuble, Semin, Fehr, Chimera, Green; etc.

For any future shootouts, who should we use? Backstrom is the only clear cut choice we got.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Any breakaway is a tough stop, sure, but Varly didn't give himself a chance on that one, he let the shooter dictate the play.

Bottom line, Varly relies on athleticism and he doesn't have it all back yet. His positioning and mental game also still need improvement. Theo isn't as athletic but his positioning and mental game have been in top form since January (.922 SV% in 2010).

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

For shootout, I think we use Backstrom, Semin, and I'd probably go Fleischman. Semin has struggled of late, but he has some really sick moves.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 19, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

You're not too far off on Semin. Give them time. They will be back to blaming Semin for global warming within the week. I don't really get it because he's such a vital part of the team's success, but I guess they have their reasons.

I agree with richmondphil. Varly was good. He's just hasn't been the superhuman Varly of October that stole games for us. No goalie can keep that up forever nor should they have to. With the way the Caps have played defense lately, even Ryan Miller couldn't backstop them to a Cup.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 19, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

That was a nice breakaway move and Varly didn't miss it by much but the shot was perfect.

The only goal I think Varly is to blame is the 2nd and it isn't because of how he let it in. A few seconds before the shot he bobbled the puck in his glove and dropped it which then led to the opportunity 2 or 3 seconds later. Varly should've held on to the puck for a faceoff.

He could have had the Carson shot too but I'm not that upset if a goalie lets in of those occassionally(no more than 1 a game). It was a pretty good shot but not great.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Flash wakes up out of his slump before the playoffs. IMO I don't think he has been playing very well lately. Maybe he needs some rest. He did play in the Olympics and hasn't looked very good since the break.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

So many people were ready to "fire" Semin on Sunday. Granted he took two penalties but he was making an effort to score but unfortunately did not break in time and ran into the goalie.

Semin just seemed to be a Calamity Jane that day.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75 -- Backstrom, Semin, and Morrison have the best career stats in the shootout. Laich, Ovechkin, and Flash have not been very good (around 20%). The other guys haven't had many chances so far. Backstrom's definitely the closer.

Shootouts suck though.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Flash needs more stamina. (Last year, he was worse in the second half due to his pneumonia.)

I'm sure the deep vein thrombosis didn't help his ability to get conditioned over the summer. While I know he was working out, his ailment didn't help.

#MoreStaminaForFlash

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

I guess most fans think that Semin is preventing us from getting an elite defensive defenseman that we can ride to the Cup. I don't think this team is looking for that type of person because that's not the type of system BB runs. He seems to want offensive defensemen.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 19, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Maybe a week or 10 days off will help give him some time to rest up and be fresher for the playoffs. I know it is unlikely to happen but it actually might be better for the team.

Maybe Flash can get suspended for 3 games so he won't be scratched.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

What is up with everyone thinking Varlamov played bad/lost us that game?!

It doesn't take a hockey genius to see that the OT goal was a terrible defensive breakdown, that allowed a POINT BLANK SLAP SHOT FROM BELOW THE HASH MARKS (that is a pretty high percentage shot if you ask me).

Theodore has been winning games, yes. But he is definitely not a sure-fire number 1 goalie. He still lets in the soft goals he always has, but nobody notices/pays attention because our insane offense dwarfs the importance of any mistakes he has made.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | March 19, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

ll you nuts who wanted to trade Theo earlier in the year or prior to the year...eat some of my Tai Shan panda poo.
Geebus, goalies are basket cases just like kickers & relievers.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 19, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Look. The goaltending situation will work itself out. What a luxury to have a proven veteran like Theo and three young talented netminders like Varly, Neuvy and Holtby. Plus a legend like Arturs Irbe showing these kids the ropes. The Caps have a promising future between the pipes no doubt.

Posted by: jmarks09 | March 19, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

@sucks - no one is saying Varly lost the game

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

You can't win 'em all.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2010 5:47 AM | Report abuse

Too bad we lost. We had a few tough breaks, some odd calls -- don't know why we got the double minor and the goalie interference was wrong -- we had two goals washed out, and that sort of thing can be a momentum shifter. We had a let down in the third, but we fought and got the point. Thanks Eric! (man Fehr has been an accurate shooter of late!) Our PP looked absolutely awesome (seemed like we should've scored more with the xtra man) and the PK was very solid.

There will be breakdowns from time to time, and there were last night. Allowing the 4 on 4 breakaway, for instance, and the blown assignments that led to the OT winner. Varly was OK but not good enough. I find it amazing, though, that even our off games are not dismal, and we keep adding to our league lead.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

What is up with everyone thinking Varlamov played bad/lost us that game?!

Theodore has been winning games, yes. But he is definitely not a sure-fire number 1 goalie. He still lets in the soft goals he always has, but nobody notices/pays attention because our insane offense dwarfs the importance of any mistakes he has made.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks

Well no one said Varly LOST us the game last night. In Theo's recent stretch of going 15-0-2, you're telling me he hasn't made some HUGE saves in some tight games?

That's the difference, Theo's coming up with HUGE/game-saving stops during critical moments of the game, that's the difference. Varly isn't doing that right now.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 19, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Oops said "that's the difference" too many times. I agree with Sonyask, while the defense was horrid, "Varly was just OK, but not good enough." I think that Varly before his injury bails out his teammates considering all the defensive break downs last night. He's getting there.... but just not there yet.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 19, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Defensive lapses like those last night have to stop before the playoffs start or its a Preseident's Trophy as a consolation prize ala San Jose. And Varly is NOT playing with confidence. I think pulling up Neuvy and sending down Varly for a couple weeks is a good idea so Varly can get back his confidence. Varly is going down to the butterfly too early, he is playing back in the cage and not challenging shooters, and his bad glove hand is back -- all stuff he had corrected at the beginning of this season.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 19, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how much doom and gloom thewre is after the game last night. Keep in mind the Caps are #1 overall with a magic number of 8 to clinch and a magic number of 4 to clinch the east. Not too shabby for a team with so many problems. This is the most fun I have had as a Caps fan. Enjoy the ride people. GO CAPS.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | March 19, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

How about some Fehr love for having him score with 10 seconds left in the game in order to win a point for the Caps? That was amazing! Of course, it kind of got lost in the defensive snafu in OT, but still....

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 19, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I was at that game last night, and BB is protecting Varly. He gave up two goals on slappers that he could see all the way with no screen. I think the Caps screwed up his rehab process weeks ago. Instead of leaving him down at Hershey for 10-14 days after recovering from his injury, they rushed him back up. He's been awful since then. Backstrom had a couple of defensive breakdowns that led to goals last night, too. Just a sloppy kind of game that really fell apart after the Caps took a penalty half way through the third.

Posted by: CDon | March 19, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

We got a point off of a game that was weirdly called by the refs. No whistles in the first period then an insanely long 5 on 3 in the second plus two goals washed out. Two really dubious calls: really Knuble gets goalie interference when he's pushed into the net and the extra man on ice, which took away a lovely goal by Green.

With a second period that seemed mostly PK duties--and I think the guys are looking better with their PK--I am delighted that they battled back in the third. I'm just sorry that Corvo's two goals and Fehr's game tying goal weren't enough to win the game.

The weakness to me last night was their 4 on 4 play. Perhaps that's an area that BB will address.

And Varly--he's positioning himself better but clearly is not staying "in the moment" the way he used to be--that's where I think it's mostly confidence that's affecting him. He let in one goal he wished he had back and after that didn't seem so big in the net anymore. The only way for him to get confidence is for BB to keep playing him. He will find it again.

I feel good about Theo--he's playing the best he has in years--but it's good to get the backup goalie in shape before the playoffs too. However, I have a hunch that it's back-to-back games for Theo with TB and the Pens, even if BB won't commit himself.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 19, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

On goaltending: There is no one way to practice the art of goal tending. Your body type and physical skills determine how you CAN play. I understand the wisdom of the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the meal”, but who is coaching the goaltenders? As the most experienced goalie, Theo must be following his own council and the style appropriate for his combination of skills. I find it very difficult to criticize the team with the best record in the league;So I would just ask what drills are being used with Varly? How do you work with Varly to help him reach his potential? Is it a health and conditioning issue? What can you do about the right shoulder issues, as this appears to be the target area? What drills can help a goalie with left to right movement and the decision process for positioning in and out of the crease? The Capitals have amazing talent in goal. How to help them reach potential?

Posted by: NewThoughts | March 19, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

bad should be had*

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 12:01 AM

Bad could still work in that sentence though.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 19, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that Varly looks a little rough right now...He has been off for quite a long time and he has only played 5 games since being back. I would think they might want to play him a lot between now and playoffs (after the Pens game of course) so that he gets some of that form back even with Theo being the hot hand right now

Posted by: hart2014 | March 19, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I think at this point, games in which we are down by one with two or less minutes remaining, and games that go into overtime, are the best thing that can happen down the stretch. With the cupcake games that remain, these situations will give us an opportunity to work on important aspects of playoff hockey. Even thought most of the teams that we are playing down the strecth have little to no hope for the playoffs, they all seem to play pretty hard when these situations are presented. Plus, they're fun to watch. Does anyone know our majic number to lock the whole thing up? Even though we lost, thanks to Fehr we at least moved one closer. I am terrified that everyone - incluing myself - seems to agree that Jose is our playoff answer... I can't shake the memories from game one against the Rags.

Posted by: kkd76 | March 19, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I missed the end of the game because I was on the ice, but went back and whatched the cluster---- in OT. Where was Green going when he turned away from Whitney? Stuff happens, but wow was that bad. I didn't think it was the greatest shot in the world and Varly maybe could have had it, but its hard to blame the goalies when the D so royally blows it.

As for Varly/Goalies, I hope Varly is just in a post-injury slump and he'll eventually be back to form that he was last year. Sometimes goalies are streaky like that. But if he's permanently impaired because of his injuries, we'll have a real problem next year, since I would think it unlikely the Theo resigns, if we can even afford the guy. But I think everyone knows who's the numero uno going in to April and beyond.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 19, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Magic # is 10 points I believe to clinch home ice.

And I don't know if I'd call any of these games cupcake games. The only team that is left on the schedule- that is not really in contention for a playoff spot- is Columbus. Every other team we will play is either going to make the playoffs, or has a legit shot at getting in. There are no easy games left on the schedule.

The playoffs don't officially start for a couple of weeks, but that's not to say that they haven't started already for many teams.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 19, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh well - at least they got a point - just stay healthy for the rest of the season - that's all that matters.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 19, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@CDon-

I agree they rushed him back to the CAPS. He was out like 2 1/2 months, so I am sure it takes time to get back your timing. Problem is they have had him up here playing every other game. So, he's only playing like 2 games a week. They should have left him in Hershey for 2or 3 weeks and let him play everyday. He's not getting the game time he needs. Just my opinion.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 19, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I want the old Varly back. I don't remember him ever playing this bad over a stretch of more than a game. He didn't single-handedly lose the game for us. Our defense did more to lose the game than he did, but before his injury that's a game he would have stolen for us, and that's what we need. We don't need a good goalie; we need a really good/great goalie. It looks like, unless something drastic happen, Theo is our man going into the playoffs. If he keeps up his recent play, I have no problem with that.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | March 19, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

BB said Theo is starting against the TB, who gets the Pens?

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 19, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Caps are coasting but you can see a real drop off in hits and playing intensity. I kind of don't blame actually but it makes for some unexciting hockey. I actually found myself watching more of The B's - Penguins game and fast forwarding through my DVR recorded Caps game. FWIW The Canes always play us very hard. They are one of the few teams that scare me a little if they slipped into the playoffs.

Posted by: Iceman10 | March 19, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Lyle.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | March 19, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No shootouts in the playoffs so it's a moot point.

Since the 7-4 loss to TB - after a great fight back - this team is 20-2-4. Only twice in 26 games has the horn sounded and the Caps trailed, and both were only one-goal losses. This team is nearly impossible to put away.

Of course, the 4-on-4 numbers, which we'll see in the playoffs for OT, scored 5, surrendered 13. Hmm.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

To everyone bashing Varly, just stop it. The defense let him down and if no one else says it then shame on them. Granted, he should've made the stop on the OT, but the shot should never have been taken.

And, while we're at it, tonight was the second time in less than a week, Sunday's game vs Chicago, that Backstrom had a very bad turnover. Sunday, he was saved by the defense, and scored the overtime winner, but last night it ended up in the net, if I'm not mistaken.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I think playing Varly in the NHL has been the right way to go. He still needs to improve but IMO he has played better with each game.

My thinking is Varly wasn't going to gain too much playing and practicing against AHL shooters and then come up and only get 2-4 starts in goal over the last 10 games. It seems it takes goalies who do well in Hershey a few games to get used to NHL shooters.

Hopefully he will play some good games in the last 10 and will be healthy when the playoffs come. But I hope we don't see Varly in the playoffs because that will mean Theo is playing well. (I've already handed Theo the playoff starting goalie job, barring injury of course).

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

jwash, that save made by the defense on Sunday was Nicky back tracking and getting the puck. With that, they have been some bad turnovers. Of course, he has a goal and three assists and is really carrying the first line right now. He's forgiven.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I hate the shoot out but i was hoping it would go to it last night because i think Varly needs that in order to start getting mentally focused again.

Posted by: NFeKPo | March 19, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

It looks like the race for the last playoff spot to face the Caps is down to the Bruins, Rangers and Thrashers. I'm suprised the Thrashers are still in it.

If I had to choose I would rather face the Thrashers then the Bruins and then the Rangers.

However, another possible team could be Ottawa. It is amazing how quickly they have fallen and if they continue losing the 8th spot is possible for them too.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

...anybody else think the staal boys are a little on the homely side?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 18, 2010 7:10 PM

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ: Yeah, a little, I guess. Fact is, I don't think there's any active player uglier than Rod Brind'Amour.
WTF is a "Brind", anyway?

Someone on Japers posted a pie chart on reasons for the Caps loss, which included: the Refs, Boudreau, the defense, Varly, most of the other usual suspects, and even the Wicked Witch of the West.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 19, 2010 12:27 AM


@CapsFan75: Please tell me exactly where on Japers might I find this pie chart? I didn't see it. I'm hungry. Link please.


Posted by: Rhino40 | March 19, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree that it was a defensive breakdown that lead to the OT goal, but one thing I have not seen is WHO was supposed to switch and did not? Schultz and Green were the D men and it looked in the replays like Schultz played it correctly and Green just got lost out there. Can anybody confirm this?

Posted by: schnervel | March 19, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There were a few defensive breakdowns yesterday, but Varly also played poorly. He was horrible on the breakaway, missed one that went in on his glove side, and probably should have had the Whitney goal. However, on both the breakaway and the Whitney goal, the defense allowed the opportunity.

Also, was it just me, or did the Caps miss a number of point-blank open nets? I know Flash missed a couple, which is the one thing I think he really needs to work on.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 19, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Hard to blame Varlamov for last night. The offensive zone breakdown that led to the Larose breakaway was ugly.

Maybe I'd like to have the Carson goal back, but there's really nothing to pin on Varly (although he's definitely not the goaltender he was before the injury hiatus). There were breakdowns in all three zones.

I don't know what it is about Carolina. Do they match up well against Washington, or do the Caps just play down to their competition? Playoff teams should watch a lot of tape on Hurricanes/Caps games, 'cause something's going on.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 19, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I think pulling up Neuvy and sending down Varly for a couple weeks is a good idea so Varly can get back his confidence.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 19, 2010 7:13 AM

Actually, the Caps do not have that option as Varly is not on the Bears' Clear Day roster.

From the link below: each Clear Day roster consists of a maximum of 22 players. According to AHL by-laws, only those players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the 2009-10 AHL regular season and in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension.

Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts, only after their respective junior or college seasons are complete.

Hershey Bears - Braden Holtby (G), Michal Neuvirth (G), Karl Alzner, Greg Amadio, Keith Aucoin, Jay Beagle, Francois Bouchard, Chris Bourque, John Carlson, Sean Collins, Alexandre Giroux, Andrew Gordon, Bryan Helmer, Andrew Joudrey, Boyd Kane, Grant Lewis, Patrick McNeill, Zach Miskovic, Mathieu Perreault, Steve Pinizzotto, Patrick Wellar, Kyle Wilson

All AHL teams' Clear Day rosters can be found here:

http://www.hockeyfights.com/news/138320

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

jwash4472 and others,
Backstrom's OT turnover that led to Carolina's goal should have been called a trip. It looked like an obvious trip at first glance and I replayed it several times to make sure. The Carolina defender's stick very clearly catches Backstrom's skate, causing Backstrom to lose possession. I'm surprised this was not mentioned in TEB's article or here. There was also no mention that two of the Caps' goals being controversially disallowed. Waiving off Green's goal changed the game dramatically IMHO.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Just noticed that Brashear is on the Hartford Wolfpack's Clear Day list, didn't realize he had been assigned to them after he was put on waivers by the Rags. Might be LNAH time for him again soon it seems.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

1) Bouds coddles his favorites.

2) Varly is not playoff ready

3) Boston played like wimps last night. They should have taken every opportunity to crush Pens. Maybe it is still gonna happen.

Posted by: doughless | March 19, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

oh yeah; sit Flash!

Posted by: doughless | March 19, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@doughless:
1) Bouds coddles his favorites. - agree

2) Varly is not playoff ready - agree

While I would not want to play the Caps in the play-off's because of their depth and offensive talent, the one thing that would give me hope is their goaltending weakness.

All the bloggers and lemmings can post all about stats and b.s., but the fact remains that Washingtons goaltending scares nobody in the league.

We all remember Theo in the play-offs vs. the Rangers last year before Varly bailed him out, and now we have a shaky Varly.

I guess you could argue that Neuvirth will fill the gap, but do we really want to go down that path in the play-offs??

My MVP vote is going to Backstrom and to whomever posted about Fehr - yep, you gotta like that guy - he's got some touch around the net and is maybe like a poor mans' Knuble in his prime.

Well, gotta get back to reading "The Business of Happiness"

Posted by: Jaymagz | March 19, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Jaymagz,
I'd agree that the Caps' goaltending probably doesn't scare other teams but I'm pretty sure that other teams' goaltenders and defense are scared by the Caps.

I also think Theo is the horse they should ride into the playoffs. I think he's played very well, especially considering the high risk/reward style that the Caps play. I'm personally very confident in the way he has been playing.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

************************
Ok people, I have the new lines for. But not for this year, these are for next year. It will take some time for Green to adjust.
************************

1) Knubs, Backs, Ovie
2) Semin, MIKE GREEN, Laich
3) Flash, Morrison, Fehr
4) Chimera, Stecks, Gordon/Brad

How 'bout it folks???? Why can't we do that now that we have Jirchina or Alzer? Sloan swiches back and forth, there's no reason not to see what Mike Green can do at the Center position.

Posted by: floms | March 19, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

******Why can't Mike Green try to play Center?*****

Posted by: floms | March 19, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

floms,
Because centers need to be responsible defensively. ;-)

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Of course, the 4-on-4 numbers, which we'll see in the playoffs for OT, scored 5, surrendered 13. Hmm.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2010 9:41 AM

Wait. Did they change the rules? Its always been 5 on 5 in the playoffs.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 19, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

No rules changes. 5 on 5 for 20 minutes.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

For those of you still bashing Varly, name one goalie who hasn't given up soft goals or gone through a slump this season?

I think some of you are unrealistic. You cannot have that many defensive breakdowns and expect the goalie to steal every game. No matter how horrible the opposing team may be, they are still an NHL team with NHL players. As another poster mentioned, Theo hasn't really done much better. The team was just able to score more goals in his outings so everyone ignored the "soft" goals.

For those who proclaim that Neuvy would be better, he's struggling in the AHL. How is he going to be better here? He stole 1 game in his callup. When the team in front played bad, Neuvy couldn't stop a beach ball.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It's 5v5 in OT in the playoffs. Actually, it's not really OT as much as it's period 4, but of course with sudden death.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 19, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Varly will be fine and I agree with BB playing him. With playoffs looming, I am sure the primary interest is to get him back in form. Regardless of whether Theo has the #1 role locked up for now, they need Varly confident and ready. At the same time, Theo needs to remain fresh but rested. This is not the time for fans to be short-sighted and question what BB is doing by playing him.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 19, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line, Varly relies on athleticism and he doesn't have it all back yet.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:52 AM |
I am sick of hearing this worn out cliche.

Varlamov is the white goalie and Neuvrith is the black goalie, and there's no similarities between them, right? One is completely athletic, the other is completely positional, right?

I am so sick of hearing this black and white characterization of our goalies. One is not the "athletic" goalie, one is Varlamov. One is not the "positional" goalie, one is Neuvrith.

The dichotomy that people try to put goalies into blows my mind.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

oops, right, 5-on-5. So I don't care about SO players or 4-on-4. We're fine.

Our goalies don't have to scare anyone. The offense scares everyone.

Posted by: saintex | March 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

All the bloggers and lemmings can post all about stats and b.s., but the fact remains that Washingtons goaltending scares nobody in the league.
Posted by: Jaymagz | March 19, 2010 10:39 AM |

God, you're a tool. Lemmings? Really? What are you 12?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

floms,
Because centers need to be responsible defensively. ;-)

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

haha

putting MG and JC on the ice together is suicide.

on another note, I love the way Chimera skates but he could be an even more dominant player if he used that explosion to rattle some defensemen once in a while. He's big strong and skates like a power skater. I think he'll do some of that in the playoffs, hopefully anyway.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 19, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Here's another playoff team without any goaltending that scares other teams;

Chicago.


Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@Jaymagz

Hmm. Because posters use stats to back up an opinion, that makes it "bs" and the posters lemmings! That is just about one of the stupidest points I've read in a long time, and I am not one given to insults. My 9-year old makes better arguments than you.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 19, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

It's in the Clips post from yesterday I believe. Japers' has daily Clips with links. The pie chart is in the comment section--very colorful and fun. Easy to spot.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 19, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You know what I was thinking about the other day? Orpik's hilarious contradictions.

The guy loves to talk to the media and chirp on and on about players not having respect, dirty, hits, etc, etc. Did he say anything about Cooke's hit, at all? I doubt it.

At least two Caps publicly denounced Ovi's hit, is Mr. Respect going to own up and admit his teammate did a scumbag move?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@Jaymagz

Sorry for making it personal--uncalled for. Still don't like the argument but I agree that I wouldn't say goaltending was our strength. I like Theo and how hot he's been and our goaltending hasn't developed at all the way I expected it to at the beginning of the season. HOWEVER it would be nice if we also had a Miller shut-down goalie in the net. But we don't. We will simply have to rely on our strengths and shore up our weaknesses as best we can--other teams are scared of our offensive juggernaut. Moreover, all teams have weakness. That's what makes the playoffs such a marathon. We have a great shot at the Cup, as do a couple of other teams. But no team is a shoe-in and all teams have an improvement wish list.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 19, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Guess we will try to outscore opponents in the playoffs...I'm not comfy with either goaltender or defense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Good point about Orpik. I expect never from him. It ain't dirty if it's a Pens player--LOL.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 19, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It's not like I have anything against Theo. I supported Theo when hardly anyone on this board did, and I got a lot of crap for it.

You play your hotter goaltender, and if it's Theo, then he's the one who starts. I just find all these comments about Varlamov absolutely mind-blowing.

A rookie goaltender hasn't found his game yet after returning from a very long injury. Oh man, lets send him down to the Stingrays!

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Then again, I guess it shouldn't blow my mind. I'll say what I always say;

"Goaltenders get far too much credit and far too much blame for what happens on the ice."

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Varly gave up a 5-3. And I think all the rest were with either 4-4 or powerplay. When there were 5 defenders he stopped all shots. C'mon Greenie we need 3 more goals to give the Caps 8 with 20 goals. Quite a feat. Although if you want to save them for the playoffs, I guess that would be OK.

There is a horrible cartoon about Ovie in the Culpeper Star Exponent. starexponent.com click on editorials.

Posted by: rjma1 | March 19, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Carson's was scored even strength, but it might have been right after we killed a penalty.

Either way, that's the only goal he should've had. People trying to claim he should've had Whitney's goal is hilarious. Yeah..most goalies are supposed to stop a point blank wrister from a sniper in the middle of the slot....yeah...


What is the whole point behind defenders defending the slot? Because it's pretty much a given goal if the shot is anything decent.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 19, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Correction- we need 9 pts to clinch. 113 pts wins home ice. NJ could potentially get 112 pts.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/standings/

Posted by: Fro_ | March 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

One common theme to all of Carolina's goals yesterday was there was no Caps player within 5 five feet of all four scorers.

What's Russian for "Little help?"

Excluding Stall's backdoor tap in, all shots were unscreened and two from point blank range.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I guess it's this:

Пожалуйста, помогите

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let's move Green to center. What a STUPID statement! Green is an offensive minded defenseman. The BEST in the league.

For those of you that always say the +/- is a bogus stat, I was watching the Red Wings broadcast the other day and Larry Murphy (who some of you ran out of town on his way to SC championships and the HHOF) commented on one of the defenseman, can't remember which. He said in the last 5 games the player has put up 1 goal and 3 assists but MOST IMPORTANTLY he's a +6 in those games. The +/- stat is one of the measuring sticks for defensive effectiveness used across the NHL. Whether some of you want to believe it or not IT IS. Complain about Green if you want, and jump to another team because you think the Caps are idiots, please cheer for another team, but Green first in the league for defenseman in goals, first in the league for the defenseman in assists, first in the league for defensenman in points, and second in the league only to Schultz in +/-. No matter how much some of you want to put your spin on things to dislike Green he's a friggin' keeper and a major reason the Caps are where they are right now.

Also, go ahead and throw the stupid overused question of "Well, if he's so good why didn't Team Canada take him?" because that doesn't mean squat. Why didn't Team Canada take Stamkos? They obviuosly missed his talent. He's now third in the league in goals and fifth in the league in scoring.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't for Green, Shultz, Backstrom, Semin, and Poti this team would be in first place in the NHL.

Oh wait! They are in first place because of players like Green, Schultz, Backstrom, Semin, and Poti.

Now people are punking out Backstrom?!? This board is becoming absolutely crazy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thought Larose's goal was a beaut, no fault of Varlamov's. I think Whitner's goal also on the coverage, not Varly. But the 2nd goal was definitely questionable.

agreed about the "Flash" crisis - what to do with him when Ovie's back?
Possibilities

Ovie Backstrom Knuble (who should sit out a game or two before playoffs)
Laich/Flash Belanger/Flash Semin
Chimera/Laich Morrison/Flash Fehr
Chimera/Walker Steckel Bradley

No one's job is secure, yet. Morrison playing well because of the pressure. Belanger - has he been good?

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 19, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I love the direct correlation between web traffic on this board and basketball game times. 9.30 can't come soon enough.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 19, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute does this article...

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=314416

...in some way say that Ovi isn't a cherry picker and he and Backstrom are good backcheckers?

Notice that Ovi/Backs/Knuble are #2 in the league and Ovi/Backs/Semin are # 3.

Why do the Caps suck so bad?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Well, gotta get back to reading "The Business of Happiness"
^^^
lemming


Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 19, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to point out that Ovechkin is still only one goal behind Crosby and is still two points ahead of Sedin, which I think is where he was before his suspension.

Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and Washington have all now played 71 games.

As I said before, I strongly suspect Ovechkin will find a way to finish first in goals and points again. And in terms of points per game and points per minute, Ovechkin is off the charts. Ovechkin is about 18.9% ahead of second-place H. Sedin in points-per-game (minimum 30 games played) and scores a point about every 13:42 of ice time which is about 40 seconds ahead of D. Sedin (minimum 30 games played). Ovechkin's 1.57 points per game so far this year is way ahead of his own previous best of 1.39 which he got last year, and his PROD is now almost 3 minutes better than it was last year.

On a per-game and per-minute basis, Ovechkin has upped his game in a large way above what it was in his two MVP seasons. However, I have a large fear that the suspensions will nevertheless cause him to fail to win MVP this year.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 19, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

For all the Mike Green bashers, a little history lesson so you can check yourselves...

Here's the stat line for an NHL player in the '84-'85 season:

GP: 79
G: 48
A: 90
Pts: 138
+/-: 61
PIM: 120

Pretty sweet numbers, eh? Now, lemme give you a stat line for a player in the 1969-70 season:

GP: 76
G: 33
A: 87
Pts: 120
PIM: 125

Any guesses on who these guys might be, and what position they played? I'll give ya a coupla hints: 1) both guys are in the Hall of Fame, 2) the first stat line belongs to a player who was the leading scorer for his position on his team (but, unbelieveably, didn't lead his team in scoring overall), 3) the second stat line belongs to the NHL's LEADING SCORER that year.

Any guesses? The links below provide the answers. Before you look at the amazing stats those 2 players put up throughout their H.O.F. careers, it's useful to remember that there are many different ways to play a particular position on a team, which the two guys linked below helpfully demonstrate.

Player 1: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/c/coffepa01.html

Player 2: http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/o/orrbo01.html

So, please, recognize how truly lucky we are here in DC to have a generational defenseman in our midst and shut your collective pieholes with all the "put Green at forward" and "trade Green" nonsense. I mean, I can't possibly believe that the fans of the Oilers or Bruins made asinine comments like that while their future Hall of Famers were filling the nets. Sit back, inject some hockey history into your heads, and enjoy our collective good fortune to have a player such as Green on the team we root for. Cheers!

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

PROD is a stat kept at ESPN, and it's really just points-per-minute-of-ice-time turned on its head (so it's minutes-per-point, which means lower is better).

Here's your top 35 in PROD so far this season (minimum 30 games played):

1 OVECHKIN, LW WAS 13:42
2 Daniel Sedin, LW VAN 14:22
3 Henrik Sedin, C VAN 14:38
4 BACKSTROM, C WAS 16:34
5 SEMIN, LW WAS 16:51
6 Steven Stamkos, C TAM 17:13
7 Patrick Kane, RW CHI 17:16
8 Joe Thornton, C SAN 17:22
9 Sidney Crosby, C PIT 17:31
10 Brad Richards, C DAL 18:13
11 Marian Gaborik, RW NYR 18:17
12 Chris Stewart, RW COL 18:21
13 Martin St. Louis, RW TAM 18:27
14 Evgeni Malkin, C PIT 18:48
15 Zach Parise, LW NJD 19:33
16 Dany Heatley, LW SAN 19:40
17 Nik Antropov, C ATL 19:49
18 Ilya Kovalchuk, LW NJD/ATL 20:18
19 Patrick Marleau, C SAN 20:20
20 Ryan Getzlaf, C ANA 20:23
21 FLEISCHMANN, C WAS 20:28
22 FEHR, RW WAS 20:30
23 Daniel Alfredsson, RW OTT 20:32
24 Marian Hossa, RW CHI 20:34
25 Tim Connolly, C BUF 20:42
26 Jussi Jokinen, LW CAR 21:00
27 Anze Kopitar, C LOS 21:15
28 Kristian Huselius, LW CLS 21:16
29 Henrik Zetterberg, LW DET 21:19
30 Ryan Kesler, C VAN 21:19
31 Alex Burrows, LW VAN 21:21
32 Paul Stastny, C COL 21:22
33 Eric Staal, C CAR 21:25
34 KNUBLE, RW WAS 21:27
35 Maxim Afinogenov, RW ATL 21:38


Posted by: youaresquishy | March 19, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'd guess Coffey and Orr.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

*facepalm* Guess I need a proof reader. The stats for player 1 above were from the '85-'86 season, not '84-'85, but the point is still valid.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd guess Coffey and Orr.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 1:25 PM

*ding ding ding* You are the big winner! Of course, if they were on the Caps, the usual suspects would wanna ship 'em outta town 'cause they should focus on being defenseman, silly people.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't for Green, Shultz, Backstrom, Semin, and Poti this team would be in first place in the NHL.

Oh wait! They are in first place because of players like Green, Schultz, Backstrom, Semin, and Poti.

Now people are punking out Backstrom?!? This board is becoming absolutely crazy.

Posted by: fanohock1


A friend from Buffalo said "wow, I looked at the standings and just realized why you're so excited by the Caps" - I replied, 'yes, but we're still able to see all the flaws'

Posted by: bluejeener1 | March 19, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Mike Green's PROD of 23:54 is about 3 minutes better than second-place Marc-Andre Bergeron's PROD of 26:53 amongst NHL defensemen this season who have played in at least 10 games.

Bergeron is out at the moment, has been for about a month and a half, and has played in only 51 games. If you up the minimum to 52 games, then Green's lead in PROD would be 4:59.

Green is ahead of his own league-leading 24:00 PROD last year (amongst defensemen who played in a minimum of 20 games).

Since (and including) the 2000-2001 season, the only defenseman who played in at least 40 games in the relevant season who had a better PROD was Mark Streit who had a 22:53 mark in 2007-2008.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 19, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Not to argue your point but if Coffey and Orr hadn't won Stanley Cups, would they have been elevated to the god-like status they have been? Probably not.

I wouldn't give up Green for any other d-man in the league and while 83% of the time he leaves me saying "Wow!", the other 16% I'm asking "What was he thinking?". The remaining 1% I'm getting a beer from the fridge.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 19, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Kesler just received a 6 year $29.5M contract extension. I'm guessing that will be used to help determine Backstrom's contract worth.

Backstrom is clearly better but I don't see him getting any more than $6.5/year. With Toews and Kane signed for $6.3/year and Kesler just signing for around $4.9/year and all three were heading into restricted free agency. I think Backstrom at around $6.3-$6.5 would make sense, IMO.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 19, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

For everyone worried about the usual tightening up of defensive play come playoff time and how it will affect the Caps' ability to score in the second season, I came across an interesting stat:

The team closest to the Caps in scoring, as of today, is Vancouver with 233 goals scored. The Capitals, WITHOUT Ovechkin's 44 markers, have scored 236!!! Let that sink in for a minute.

Whoever we face in the playoffs will not be able to just shadow Ovie/Backstrom this year. With seven 20 goal scorers already and Green likely to join that group, there's no way that the opposition will be able to ice enough shut down defenders/forwards to blanket the whole team. Good to great goaltending with timely big saves will get the Caps to the Promised Land ala the Oilers of old with Grant Fuhr in the nets. Have faith people!

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 19, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I wish Semin was like OV who never takes stupid penalties, doesn't make mistakes, doesn't give the puck away ...

Posted by: nimes1 | March 19, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This is my first comment here. My name is Remy and i'm from Montreal. I have followed Jose Theodore all his career and to me he is the goalie to trust for the moment.

I read most comments posted after each games. Unfortunately here we don't catch many Washington games but I can see the footage of most goals scored by Washington and the other team too.

One thing I noticed, people seems to be able to forgive more easily when its Varlamov than when it's Theodore. But why? cuz Theodore is 33 yo and Varlamov is still young? Hell you even have a nickname for him, Threeormore (haven't seen it a whole lot lately, I wonder where are all the anti-Theo these days)

Many years ago Montreal Canadian has been relyin' on a very young goalie in the playoffs. That was in 1986 and the goalie had very very bad stats in the juniors. If any of you know history, Montreal won the Stanley Cup that year and the goalie i'm talkin' about is none other than Patrick Roy.

What i'm sayin' is this: you might say that Washington has a poor defense and I will give you that. But im not buyin' the injury excuse.

Lemme refresh your memories alil: last year for the first time in his illustruous career Marty Brodeur was injured badly and missed a big part of the season. It didnt stop him from comin' back earlier and performin' like the goalie he has always been.

Two years ago another goalie was sidelined with an injury and it didnt stop him from comin' back stronger and takin' his team to the Stanley Cup final (Marc-André Fleury)

My point is Varlamov (whether he is young or not) is a professional hockey player, he is paid by a professional team of the NHL and if he is not ready to perform every night and is not mentally prepare to try to stop every puck shots in his direction then he is not helpin' his team.

I might sound hard on him but i'm just as hard on him as you have ALL been hard on Theodore since last year. And why exactly? I wonder. Cuz of ONE game against the Rangers in the playoff. Where would the Caps have been if Theo wouldn't have been there tho? 32-17-7 last year (while Brent Johnson was injured more often than anythin') that's 71 points. While he didn't steal many games, he was reliable enough and gave his team performances that were good enough to make it to the playoff.

Back to last night. Some of you might forgive Larose's goal sayin' its bad defense and Whitney's goal sayin' he shouldn't have had the opportunity to even have a shot. HELLO he is a goalie.......what now? he should only face shots from the red line? If Theodore doesn't have the right to use ANY excuse to explain a bad performance (and they are very rare lately) this year even after all the event from last summer, then Varlamov has no right to use any excuse EITHER.

Posted by: playwiththedevil666 | March 19, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"If Theodore doesn't have the right to use ANY excuse to explain a bad performance (and they are very rare lately) this year even after all the event from last summer, then Varlamov has no right to use any excuse EITHER." Posted by: playwiththedevil666 | March 19, 2010 2:16 PM

^^^^^^
man crush

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 19, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Bottom line, Varly relies on athleticism and he doesn't have it all back yet.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 12:52 AM |

I am sick of hearing this worn out cliche.

Varlamov is the white goalie and Neuvrith is the black goalie, and there's no similarities between them, right? One is completely athletic, the other is completely positional, right?

I am so sick of hearing this black and white characterization of our goalies. One is not the "athletic" goalie, one is Varlamov. One is not the "positional" goalie, one is Neuvrith.

The dichotomy that people try to put goalies into blows my mind.

Posted by: richmondphil"


Did I even mention Neuvirth? No. I also said "more" athletic, that's what we call a qualifier. Is it stupid to say Chimera is a "fast" skater and that that's a big part of his game? Of course not.

Between Varly and Theo, there's an obvious difference in skills and style. They can both play well. Right now Varly is not playing as well as he's capable of and it's because he's recovering from an injury and a lot of time off.

I guess when joek's not around, you'll try to start an argument with whoever you can. BB out.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

playwiththedevil - I am with you. Theo has been strong this season, yet he keeps getting bashed - including the stretch at the beginning of the season where ALL his stats were better except for record. Varly is a good goaltender, might even turn out to be great in the future, but he should not be the starting goalie for the playoffs this year.

Next year, I think it will be Varly and Neuvirth, just because we won't be able to afford Theo. But this season, Theo should stay as the starter.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 19, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

People must be insane or prone to big mood swings or something to say that Varly is a problem and we should bring Neuvy and other such solutions. Someone even said that Varly's days are "over"--at the age of 21 mind you.

He is the guy who made it possible for us to advance to the second round of playoffs. He is the one who, this year, had a phenomenal streak and Boudreau pronounced as "someone that NHL will be increasingly paying attention to." You think that because he is still transitioning back, he has automatically lost all his skills and brilliance? He has lost his momentum and confidence more than anything else. The only way to get them back is for him to keep being played. He is far from bad and he improves with each game. His save percentage, by the way, between 86 nd 88% has been the same as Theo's in the last 3 games or so. In case you didn't notice, Theo is not having the 90+ percent ratios he had during his hottest streak a little while back.

Personally I trust Varly much more than Theo. I never know when Theo will revert to his three-or-more self and I am not at all convinced that his inconsistencies are behind him. I do believe that with 3-4 more games Varly could build his confidence and be playoff ready.

a

Posted by: caraveli | March 19, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

People must be insane or prone to big mood swings or something to say that Varly is a problem and we should bring Neuvy and other such solutions. Someone even said that Varly's days are "over"--at the age of 21 mind you.

He is the guy who made it possible for us to advance to the second round of playoffs. He is the one who, this year, had a phenomenal streak and Boudreau pronounced as "someone that NHL will be increasingly paying attention to." You think that because he is still transitioning back, he has automatically lost all his skills and brilliance? He has lost his momentum and confidence more than anything else. The only way to get them back is for him to keep being played. He is far from bad and he improves with each game. His save percentage, by the way, between 86 nd 88% has been the same as Theo's in the last 3 games or so. In case you didn't notice, Theo is not having the 90+ percent ratios he had during his hottest streak a little while back.

Personally I trust Varly much more than Theo. I never know when Theo will revert to his three-or-more self and I am not at all convinced that his inconsistencies are behind him. I do believe that with 3-4 more games Varly could build his confidence and be playoff ready.

a

Posted by: caraveli | March 19, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I have been watching a different NHL team in a different league, so would someone bring me up-to-date on the Caps? Are they going to make the playoffs? Who should we trade now to make this team good?

Posted by: hock1 | March 19, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Personally I trust Varly much more than Theo. I never know when Theo will revert to his three-or-more self and I am not at all convinced that his inconsistencies are behind him. I do believe that with 3-4 more games Varly could build his confidence and be playoff ready.
Posted by: caraveli | March 19, 2010 3:07 PM
______________________________

It won't happen... NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING motivates a professional athlete more than MONEY!

Theodore is on a contract year & a strong playoff run on a good team for the whole world to see would be exactly what he needs to secure his future. I'm just guessing that Theodore will play better in the playoffs than we in Washington have ever seen him play... CUP OR BUST!!!

Posted by: tony325 | March 19, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom...22 years old...top 3 center in the league...the most well rounded Caps player on the ice...on his way to being the greatest Swede to play the game so far...pay the man whatever he wants!!!!!!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 19, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Varly wasn't the problem last night...Green needs to get his act together in his own zone, and it wasn't just last night either. He's to lackadasical on D, he needs to bare down more. No problems with his offensive game, he just needs to be more mentally sharp in his own zone. Not blaming Green for the loss, but he really needs work on D.

Posted by: topshelf | March 19, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"[Varlamov's] save percentage, by the way, between 86 nd 88% has been the same as Theo's in the last 3 games or so. In case you didn't notice, Theo is not having the 90+ percent ratios he had during his hottest streak a little while back.

Posted by: caraveli"

------------------------

Ummm, no. If you actually look at the numbers instead of pulling them out of your a**, Theo has kept up his excellent play since the winning streak ended.

Theo's SV% in games since the Olympic break: .919, .870, .903, 1.000, .958.

Varly's: .862, .889, .885, .862.


The people who are saying we should send Varly down for Neuvy are wrong, but so are the people who think Theo is not our playoff goalie.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 19, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

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