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Caps' Marcus Johansson bounces back

Stanislav Galiev converted a nifty deke in the shootout this morning to lift White to a 6-5 shootout victory over Red in the second scrimmage of Capitals development camp.

Galiev, a third-round pick last month, also scored in regulation. But the biggest surprise was the emergence of Marcus Johansson, who struggled Wednesday but rebounded with a much better effort today.

Johansson, a 2009 first-round pick who is expected to compete for a job in Washington this fall, scored his first goal of camp and nearly had another.

Johansson looked nervous 24 hours ago. This morning, after a tentative start, the 19-year-old stood out the way a first rounder of his ilk should at development camp.

"Like I said yesterday, it's going to take a while for him to get adapted to not being the third guy high all the time," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "The more he plays here ... we'll convert him. He was looking to make plays and wasn't playing as a safe."

Johansson's goal tied the game at 4 at 3:23 of the third period. The smooth-skating Swede sneaked down low and snapped a crossing pass from linemate Cameron Burt into the net. Then, less than a minute later, Johansson found himself open again but Burt took the shot and was stopped.

Johansson also misfired on back-to-back shots from the slot in the second period.

"It's difficult," he said. "It's a different type of game here. It's a smaller ice surface. But hopefully I'm getting there. Things happen a lot faster here."

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Caps' first-round pick last month, didn't score today but again showed a few flashes of brilliance. But that's not why Boudreau plans to talk to him.

Kuznetsov was slashed by goalie Braden Holtby in the second period after Kuznetsov, according to Boudreau, taunted Holtby. Moments earlier, Kuznetsov bumped into Holtby in the corner as the goalie attempted to play the puck, which allowed Jake Hauswirth to snap his second goal into an empty net.

"Kuznetsov is, skill-wise, pretty good," Boudreau said. But "I think we'll have a word with Kuznetsov. Because in North America you can't taunt or make funny moves. When he did that, he was having fun maybe, but he gave a little taunt to Holtby. After [the goal], he sort of went, 'Ooooh' and laughed him. That's not going to go well with North American people. ...And I'm going to have a little chat with Holtby."

Invitee forward Wade MacLeod also stood out for a second straight day. A rising senior at Northeastern, MacLeod had a goal and two assists in the first period (and nearly a second goal). He also made a nifty pass to set up Galiev on an unsuccessful breakaway bid early in the third period.

Another player who has the coaching staff buzzing is defenseman Dustin Stevenson, a free agent the Caps signed out of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. GM George McPhee said he was impressed by the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Stevenson on Wednesday.

"I've been pleasantly surprised by Stevenson," Boudreau said. "You see him in a practice or two and you don't notice him. But he makes the right plays in the games."

Camp resumes tomorrow morning at KCI, with Group A hitting the ice at 9:30 and Group B skating at 11:15.

The third scrimmage is Saturday at 10.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 15, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps' Gordon, Beagle accept qualifying offers

Comments

no bashing, no love fest - i'm liking this new posts comments already

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Trevor Bruess is intense

http://capitals.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=47&id=73919

4:10 mark- reminds me of Farley when he does the Chris Farley show.

I already love this kid.

Posted by: Fro_ | July 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Bruess gained quite a reputation in college as a real pest (Matt Cooke type)

It would be nice to hear Bruce or GM say "we like this Dustin Stevenson kid because he plays with a real edge and he's a nasty type to play against".

I freakin read those types of comments left and right from scouts, coaches, and GMs from every other team. So why is it the Caps never or rarely ever mention that they like a player because of his physicality? He makes the "right" plays. WT H does that mean Bruce? He's a 6ft5 banger on D. Mention that willya ya big fat dummy!
(that was for your capt kirk :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:
thanks - it was getting boring!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BTO_N-Uhww

wade macleod gettin decked. At least he skated upto that guy to protest his late shot on his goalie.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

is it just me or is there something wrong w/BB trying to stop Kuznetsov from taunting a goalie?

does Bruce ever watch nhl hockey? Has he heard of Avery? Carcillo? Laperriere? Clarkson? Nichol? Tootoo? Fraser ? Burish ?

these guys make a living out of taunting and getting under the opponent's skin. Hell even gentle Chimera does that from time to time as long as there's no tough guys around to make him answer for it.

Between McPhee telling Green to lay off the physical game and Bruce telling his players to be more courteous on the ice, maybe the only trophy this team can get is the Lady Byng

(xmas came early for you cpt kirk)

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Even though the write up above says he bounced back today, here is a reality check for those of you who are in love with MaJo:

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/7/15/1570802/the-mackan-manifesto

Posted by: ThePat | July 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we drafted Kuz to taunt the goalies, plus Bruce wanted to let him know that if he pulls that crap over here he will fell some pain in return.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we drafted Kuz to taunt the goalies
-----------

of course we didn't but if that's his style let him do that if it keeps his mind engaged in the game. And if he feels pain in return so be it, that's part of the tradeoff. We need to become a harder team to play against. And getting a little bit of nastiness out of a top 6 skill forward is always a bonus.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Even though the write up above says he bounced back today, here is a reality check for those of you who are in love with MaJo:

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/7/15/1570802/the-mackan-manifesto

Posted by: ThePat | July 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

fast-trackin a guy like that points to poor planning on the GM's part. Its also unfair to the other players in your system. The Caps should send him to Hershey (can they do that?) and give him a taste of the NHL a couple different times over the season. Then in 2011 he should be considered for a spot on the team based on his development at Hershey where he'll get to play in different situations.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

if he doesnt make the big squad the Caps could ask him to play in Hershey, but he has the European outclause so he can go back to Sweden rather than Hershey. So it would be up to him. Like the writeup pointed out, its probably in his best interest to stay and play in Hershey but who knows what hed do.

Posted by: ThePat | July 15, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@ ThePat - thanks for that link.

It may be that the Capitals are trying to set some competition with the Hershey boys to make sure they come to camp ready to compete. That list of 6 impact 1st year players really makes the point...I doubt that anyone coming to camp falls into that category.

I expect Belanger to be back...I thought he was a good fit. 2nd centers don't grow on trees.

Posted by: bill_in_damascus | July 15, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Dude, I continue to marvel at your tenacity in promoting your message of utter disdain for GMGM (and associates).

You should be commended.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wait, no taunting ... give me a break. A Euro gets nasty and draws a penalty from a North American goalie ... this is a good thing. Pissing other players off, getting them off their game rocks. Bruce, how about congrats for the league MVP instead of bashing him by saying Ovie should have received it.

As for MJ, maybe playing a more stay back type of game will help with a player like Semin. Create for him but know you are going to cover giving Sasha more freedom in the defensive zone.

I like, no LOVE, what I'm hearing about these prospects especially Finley and that other 6-5 beast (what's his name?)

Posted by: flee001 | July 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

my prediction for MJ is simple.

He won't make the team, MP will be the 2nd line center. I've said it from the start, he's no NB and we need our 2nd line center to produce 10+G,45+A, 55+Pts and NB (with ovie) had 14G, 55A, 69Pts.

Who hear thinks that MJ will be able to get 50+pts in his 1st NHL season?

Not I?

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 15, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Another way to look at the MJ situation - let's say he is rushed into the 2C slot and is not successful. He loses confidence. We all know how forgiving, compassionate, and understanding Caps fans are with highly touted prospects that don't immediately meet our expectations. So the fans get on him, making the situation worse. It makes me wonder whether the Caps are playing some negotiating game with a free agent center or with another team on a potential trade, trying to make the 2C situation seem less desperate than it really is. I really hope the kid has great success, but putting him in a situation he is not ready for seems extremely short-sighted.

Posted by: zmega | July 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Is it acceptable to play one more single game with both Semin and Flash on this team?

How in the world can it be?

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@FrankM

Not I either. MP has a better chance to do it I agree. But I think he will get beat up and only play about 65 games. So I prefer MP, but Id prefer someone here via trade obviously and MP playing 3rd line C.

Posted by: ThePat | July 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Great article as usual.

Posted by: nativedc | July 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Good grief, it's called "development camp" for a reason. Bloggers throwing teen-age players under the bus cause of how they look in 2 glorified scrimmages seems warped. About as warped as Stephen Strasburg's practice throws getting analyzed months ago. "OMG! He didn't throw it over 105 MPH! He's overhyped" Sheesh.

Posted by: blackjack65 | July 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm not really understanding why BB told Kuzzy to chill out. I guess in one sense, it's a scrimmage among fellow teammates, so taunting them is frowned upon. In another sense, you mess with a NHL goalie, and you will feel pain. (NJD doing nothing to Avery aside.) If you run Rask, Chara will lose his mind on you. If you run Philly's goalie, Pronger goes nuts. If Kuzzy wants to go "oooo" at a NHL goalie, he just better be ready.

Personally, I like it.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

MJ is going to be solid and will do will in Hershey as he adjust to the NA game. He said it a handful of times, so yeah I don't see him being on opening day roster either but a game 30-40 callup IF he does well in PA.

MP on the other hand had a taste last year and knows the NHL style of play. He would be a better fit right now and if MJ develops in 1-2 years you are talking about our 2C and 3C here, good times.

Posted by: flee001 | July 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Even though the write up above says he bounced back today, here is a reality check for those of you who are in love with MaJo:

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/7/15/1570802/the-mackan-manifesto

Posted by: ThePat | July 15, 2010 1:38 PM

good stuff

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

i can see perrault getting 50 points if he is second line center

Posted by: _stevo | July 15, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@blackjack

We're only discussing MJ in this capacity because of comments made by GMGM.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 15, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing there aer a few people on here who will like this statement from Kunetsov:

"Kuznetsov said he hopes to add 15 kilograms (about 33 pounds) in order for his currently thin frame to eventually hold up in North America."

This is an example of why people should not freak out about the weight of an 18 or 19 year old. Kids that age put on a lot of muscle if they work hard enough. Look at Ovie and compare him from when he was 19 to now. For those who do freak out, please just picture yourself at age 18.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to register my NO vote as to the taunting issue. I think taunting is bad manners, and until it's scientifically proven to create a competitive edge in the NHL, I'll continue to be opposed to players making asses out of themselves for what I believe to be absolutely no good reason.

I vote YES on just playing hockey and forgetting about the grade school BS. Are we not men?

Posted by: youaresquishy | July 15, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

And, in anticipation of whatever possible reply my recent post might receive, I just want to add that, while of course I have no data for you as to whether taunting does or does not tend to lend the taunter's hockey team a competitive edge at the NHL level, I do believe, as an NHL referee, that I'm probably going to scrutinize the a-holes and other dimwits for rules violations a little more than I will the good sports. I'm sure that doing this will violate my duty to be totally objective and evenhanded, but I don't think I'd be able to help myself, even if I wanted to, but I wouldn't want to. And I'd definitely call every conceivable penalty I ever could on f-tards like Avery, if I were a ref.

I will never believe that being in any way mean or uncivil to other humans is a good thing for any purpose other than proving that you're an a-hole, no matter what anyone says, until this is scientifically proven false.

Posted by: youaresquishy | July 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This is another UFA defenseman who may be a possible signing. I'm sure cstanton1 will hate him, but does anyone else have any opinions on him?

http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?gameType=2&id=8470268&season=20092010&view=splits

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Most of the folks freaking out are 18 or younger :)

Posted by: flee001 | July 15, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I will chime in on the taunting thing.

IMO if its possible to get an edge in competition, and its legal, I expect an athlete to take that edge and you will hear no argument from me.

That being said, you have to be smart about it. A smart vet (perfect non-hockey example is Jordan or Kevin Garnett) can make the trash talking apart of his game, part of his rep, and an occasional advantage. Or in the case of Jordan (coupled, with his ability, a tremendous advantage).

I cant really make a good case for an unproven player doing it wisely though, unless he is among his peers.

Finally, if you arent really playing in a game that means something its either good fun (respect between both parties), or you are just being a jackass (BB's perception perhaps?).

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 15, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

For right now, I will trade 'aggressive' and 'physical' for 'in the right place' and 'sound fundamentally' when observers talk about the Caps' defensemen.

The Canadiens didn't win Cups with goons, they won Cups with a defense that went 7 deep and #5 and #6 were sound defensive defensemen.

Green is the offensive playmaker and special teams performer, but the others have to realize their way to help the team win is to PREVENT GOALS by focus and concentration.

Thank God the team didn't resign Joe Corvo.

He was a lost cause at 32, always looking to move the puck up ice but frequently losing possession in the neutral zone and then having to trail the play back into the Caps' zone.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | July 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

flee: Problem is that MJ's contract says if the Caps don't keep him, he can go back and play again in Sweden. Number one that doesn't develop him to the NA style. Number two that means the caps can't recall him for injury replacement until the season in Sweden is over.

That article said what I posted yesterday, that he should just come over and play in North America and forget Sweden.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

i can see perrault getting 50 points if he is second line center

Posted by: _stevo | July 15, 2010 2:32 PM

My opinion: 50 pts is not good enough at #2 center, for a serious Cup run, if MP is your player. First off, the #2C on the Caps should have PK proficiency and should eb very good on D to make up for the wingers on that line.

As example, 50 pts from Koivu or Lombardi (he had 54 last year I think) is more overall value than 50 would be from MP.

A guy like Perreault, as a winger, his weaknesses wouldn't be as apparent. My impression, maybe wrong, is he isn't all that skilled defensively, and doesn't do the PK, and that scares me as much as the "maybe only 50 pts."

I believe our #2C, due to relative youth on the first two lines, needs to have veteran leadership ala Knuble.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I will never believe that being in any way mean or uncivil to other humans is a good thing for any purpose other than proving that you're an a-hole, no matter what anyone says, until this is scientifically proven false.

Posted by: youaresquishy | July 15, 2010 3:00 PM

I've never really been sold on science anyway.

If taunting helps bring the cup to DC- have at it.

These are hockey players and should be able to handle it. Are they not men?

Posted by: Fro_ | July 15, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I was lucky enough to get out of work to watch the scrimmage yesterday and what I noticed was Kuzy doing little things like bumping into Galiev or messing with other players. To me it just looked like he was having fun and wasn't being mean about it. After all it was just a scrimmage and can only be taken so seriously.

Of course I could be completely wrong and he could just be that big of a D1ck but I think he was just having fun and being a smart @$$.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

If people have not seen the youtube video of Holtby slashing Kunetsov it shows, IMO, that BB was probably trying to clam them down so no one gets injured in practice.

It would be a shame if a player suffered a significant injury during practice because of after the whistle slashes. It just isn't worth the risk.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

That's why I think if you are going to use MP as a top 2 line center then you have him center Ovie and Knuble who will make up for MP's lack of size and hitting.

In addition, since almost every team puts their defensive line against Ovie MP's defensive defenciencies would not be as pronounced. Then you have Backstrom with his size and defensive acumen, to combine with Semin and Laich(or Fehr/Semin if Fehr is bumped up)

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - I like Grebeshkov a lot. He was very good for EDM in 2008-2009, and he made Team Russia [despite all the internal pressure on Bykov to go with KHL guys on D unless they were named Markov or Gonchar]. I thought Trotz dropped the ball to be honest, as he was clearly the Preds' best d-man in Game 5 against Chi [granted Weber was usually out against Hossa and Toews]. He's still only 26 years old, and I think in the right situation he could do really well.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'd be surprised if Kuznetzov was truly taunting Holtby - from what I saw the other day, the kid just loves being here, playing hockey, talks to everybody. I've played and watched a ton of hockey - too much, according to women I've dated - and I can honestly I've never seen a player have that much fun on the ice. Even Craig Janney, trying out for HNIB - and CJ went on to be a pretty prolific NHL playmaker - on the ice, he was a great guy and fun to be around, but he was still pretty serious. Especially when the coaches were watching.

Also, I'm fairly certain Holtby can handle himself. It sounds like the situation kinda resolved itself; not really sure why BB felt the need to get involved.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

i think MP will be an nhl player if he gets a shot. I would like him as a 3rd line center this year, but we need him at 2nd line. would i rather have Lombardi..yes. koivu..no

it would have been fine with MP at 2nd line center and GMGM used the money he saves there on a Dman (volchenkov/ martin/michalek). but then again mcphee has another "master" plan

Posted by: _stevo | July 15, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

word out of pittsburgh is that guerin won't return to the pens.

he's old, but he was integral to their cup win in '09. is his leadership worth a one-year deal with the caps, if the price is right?

whaddya think?

Posted by: redrocker2 | July 15, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@redrocker2

Guerin is a good player but there just isn't an oepn wing position for him to play on.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

word out of pittsburgh is that guerin won't return to the pens.

he's old, but he was integral to their cup win in '09. is his leadership worth a one-year deal with the caps, if the price is right?

whaddya think?

Posted by: redrocker2

If he was a center then MAYBE but otherwise he doens't fit anywhere in our lineup. Knuble brings us what he would have already.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 15, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Dude, I continue to marvel at your tenacity in promoting your message of utter disdain for GMGM (and associates).

You should be commended.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

that utter disdain has developed into a slow creeping hatred. No but seriously, I think McPhee's doing a fine job and the majority of the haters are just knee-jerk reactors who hold McPhee up to a different standard then they would hold other GMs to.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I will never believe that being in any way mean or uncivil to other humans is a good thing for any purpose other than proving that you're an a-hole, no matter what anyone says, until this is scientifically proven false.

Posted by: youaresquishy | July 15, 2010 3:00 PM

you sound like a sweet 14 yr old girl. I hope the world doesn't corrupt you little one.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

This is another UFA defenseman who may be a possible signing. I'm sure cstanton1 will hate him, but does anyone else have any opinions on him?

http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?gameType=2&id=8470268&season=20092010&view=splits

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2'
010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

why because he's euro? I like plenty of euros. I just don't like players who are floaters, be it or Euro or any other nationality.
Grebeshkov is ok. He's a decent hip checker and he's not a shrinking violet and he's considered offensive but he gets involved defensively too. I just don't think he's a good enough player for the kind of money he was making. Poile really made a dumb move getting him for a 2nd rounder.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I wish leftcoast was here to tell me what all this means.

Posted by: smfoster3 | July 15, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Please check out this vid - of Guerin two-handing a teammate's neck, from behind - before anyone advocates picking him up. It is #3 on the list, roughly 2 mins, 35 secs in.

No, thank you.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Grebeshkov is deceptively tough and also blocks a ton of shots - IIRC he led EDM at least one year - and if memory serves has sacrificed one testicle already to hockey. That, my friends, is dedication.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

For right now, I will trade 'aggressive' and 'physical' for 'in the right place' and 'sound fundamentally' when observers talk about the Caps' defensemen.

The Canadiens didn't win Cups with goons, they won Cups with a defense that went 7 deep and #5 and #6 were sound defensive defensemen.
------------------------

sigh, ok another hockey lesson for the hockey-challenged

1- "aggressive" and "physical" does not equate to goonery. I figured even a 3rd yr hockey fan would know that.

2- you obviously didn't watch the Montreal Canadiens play. They were aggressive AND physical. I watched the Habs thru the 80s, they played a tough hardnosed brand of hockey and guess what!! they had GOONS too! unless you never heard of Chris Nilan, David Maley, John Kordic, Steve Rooney, Roberge and company. But what they really had were very physical forwards from Shayne Corson, Mike McPhee, Brian Skrudland, Sergio Momesso, Lemieux,
Mike Keane, Bobby Smith etc. And their defense was very hardnosed. They were good defensively but they were helluva lot more than just "in the right place". Totally misleading statement.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This is an example of why people should not freak out about the weight of an 18 or 19 year old. Kids that age put on a lot of muscle if they work hard enough. Look at Ovie and compare him from when he was 19 to now. For those who do freak out, please just picture yourself at age 18.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

sgm, are you implying that any 18yr old hockey prospect can put on the requisite muscle to play effectively in the nhl? of course ignoring things like genetics?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I think you're more than capable of understanding the above, smfoster3. Btw, the special bus is here to pick you up for your fingerpainting class. Have fun and try not to hit your head on the door frame!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

At what point did I imply that?

I only spoke that between the ages of 18-23 young men can gain a lot of muscle mass with proper training and a proper diet.

Yes, genetics absolutely has an effect of how much each person can gain, but every young man that age, who is capable of training, can gain muscle strength with the proper work.

The point being that there is lot of growth between those ages, especially muscle growth.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I cant really make a good case for an unproven player doing it wisely though, unless he is among his peers.
----------------------------

taunting's not going to get you a penalty unless you taunt the ref. Unproven or proven, the bottom line is if it gets you in the game mentally and keeps you engaged then go for it if thats your personality type. Some players do better when they play that way. Boudreau's not everyone's dad and he needs to remember that the road to the Cup isn't paved with a bunch of nice guys that everyone likes.

as to an unproven player running his mouth and it being a positive thing, i remember darcy tucker running his mouth when he was a kid with Tampa at the Flyers and they must've taken 5 or 6 penalties trying to kill him. So yeah, it can work out!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

To weigh in on the topic, I'm all for getting into the mindset of the goalie, barring any physical contact that would otherwise injure the guy. For all we know, BB didn't even have the conversation with Kuznetsov. I wouldn't hate Avery so much if he kept his stupidity verbal and not physical.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

True about those Canadien teams, none of those guys you mentioned was much fun to play against. I'd also add though:

3) A young Patrick Roy, still confident but not yet to the near-hubristic levels evidenced in later years;

4) Every guy on that team could skate and pass - I can't remember a Canadiens team that didn't put the puck on the tape, seemingly every time. Their D made their forwards' lives so much easier, because they were hitting the guys in-stride, not trying to dig off the wall while some monster in pinching in.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

reminded me of this one, man did the flyer fans want to kill darcy after this little incident. First he runs his mouth and Dan Lacroix tries to get at him, then he picks an opportunity to jump in and slug away at Lacroix after Lacroix was already tired out from fighting big Nazarov. Tucker was one little spitfire back in the day. All pee and vinegar and a great fighter for his size. But he ran his mouth constantly

http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=RaEZ-jVr9vk&feature=related

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't hate Avery so much if he kept his stupidity verbal and not physical.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

did you hate Dale too? because he sure did a lot more than just run his mouth at the goalie. He'd sit on em. He'd slash em. Probably toss in a little spear here n there. Definitely a lot of crowding the crease and facewashing.

Caps fans, you should bow down and kiss mother earth if this team ever got an Avery type. You'd love him about one game in after he runs over Sid the kid, beat the snot out of Cooke, elbowed Orpik, scored a PP goal and then taunted the Pens goalie. And then all the Avery haters on here would pretend they were his biggest fans all along.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

The point being that there is lot of growth between those ages, especially muscle growth.
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the point is that a prospect who may have a long way to go physically is at a disadvantage than a kid like Ryan McDonagh for example who the Rangers just signed who was physically a 'man' at 17. Strength was never an issue for him. I'm not saying that a prospect can't gain the requisite strength but there are many factors out of his control even if he applied himself. At some point it would be nice if some of the guys we drafted were already strong enough or just had a little way to go before they could handle themselves at this level.
Which is why genetics are factored in by many teams when they draft players. Two identical kids at a certain age will progress very differently even if they follow exactly the same diet/exercise regimen. There's also body types to consider. Some kids lack the frame to put on muscle. Some kids who are more ectomorphy either need some natural strength (like a Colby Armstrong type) or they will really struggle to put on and keep on muscle.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

one more thing about those Canadiens' teams is that half their players were Americans... I'm pretty sure they had more Yanks than any other team in the NHL during those years.

Posted by: joek443 | July 15, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

True about those Canadien teams, none of those guys you mentioned was much fun to play against. I'd also add though:

3) A young Patrick Roy, still confident but not yet to the near-hubristic levels evidenced in later years;

4) Every guy on that team could skate and pass - I can't remember a Canadiens team that didn't put the puck on the tape, seemingly every time. Their D made their forwards' lives so much easier, because they were hitting the guys in-stride, not trying to dig off the wall while some monster in pinching in.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

5) LEADERSHIP/CHARACTER. That team was full of leaders. Guys who went on to become captains of other teams. Guys who went on to become general managers or coaches/asst coaches. Carbonneau, Bobby Smith, Corson, Larry Robinson, Chelios, Ludwig. Off the top of my head, most of their 80s teams had no less than 10 clear leader types on it if not more.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

True. Teams definitely do tests, such as looking at family, shoulder width, and whatever other tests that are indicators that a person may be more or less likely to put on a good amount of muscle. They definitely do their best to make educated guesses, but that science is very rough and has many detractors.

A possible negative to picking a person who has already matured is that there is much less room for growth and physical improvement. Much less upside. So if you are going to select a guy kid who matured early he better have been absolutely dominant because he will become less so as his peers catch up to him physically.

The early maturation is often a big reason for their dominance of sports when they were young. As it was due to maturing at an earlier age than their competition. This

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah that is true, and did you even mention Bob Gainey - not saying he was the greatest GM in history but what a player he was on the ice, talk about being tough to play against and a great teammate, sacrificing your body to make a play, etc. Man I hated those teams!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

one more thing about those Canadiens' teams is that half their players were Americans... I'm pretty sure they had more Yanks than any other team in the NHL during those years.

Posted by: joek443 | July 15, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

i think the Habs had 2 guys on those teams you could consider finesse type of players. Mats Naslund and Rick Green. Neither was physical. Everyone else was. Even Richer at that point in his career would get involved. If you want to look at the character of the Canadiens you can look at the infamous brawl they had in Boston Gardens. Chris Nilan, their resident goon, is being led away to his locker room after a fight on the ice. As he's being led away he has to go thru the Bruins bench to get to the locker room (awesome setup if you want to incite fireworks). As he's going thru the Bruins players, they start jawing at him and I think he gets into it with Ken Linseman. At this point as Nilan and Linseman start swinging at each other, who do you think leads the way into the Bruins bench to protect the Habs goon? A young Chris Chelios. A future HOF dman who rarely dropped the gloves is the guy who leads his team into the home team's bench to save Nilan. That's how closeknit and character-filled that team was. There was no separation between 1st line and 4th line, between star player and goon. They were all equal. You'd see guys like Larry Robinson (who never had to get involved to keep his job) frequently stepping in and protecting his teammates. He would even fight a goon here and there to keep other teams honest.

That atmosphere creates leaders. Chelios wouldn't have turned into half the player he was if he hadn't come up thru the Montreal system and been surrounded by the leadership and character that org had in abundance.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

A possible negative to picking a person who has already matured is that there is much less room for growth and physical improvement. Much less upside. So if you are going to select a guy kid who matured early he better have been absolutely dominant because he will become less so as his peers catch up to him physically
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if i was rolling the dice with all things being fairly equal, i'll take a prospect who has already shown more nhl-level strength potential than a kid who has a long road ahead of him physically. Boyd Gordon was drafted in 2002. He's probably weaker right now than most NHL players drafted after him. And I know Gordon has a strong work ethic and probably hits the gym a lot. But a kid like him was very physically weak when he came into the league and hasn't gained a whole lot since. How far do you think Flash is from being nhl-strong? He gets pushed over like a feather. He may never get to the level he needs to be at.
Then I look at guys like Bouchard, Kugyrshev, Patrick McNeill, Alzner and the rest and I wonder how long it will take them to where strength is not the predomninant factor that will hold them back from reaching their potential. Carlson was strong from the get-go. Its no secret why he's been able to fast-track it to the nhl and vault over Alzner. The major difference between JC and KA is how strong Carlson is along the boards and on the puck. He's got natural strength.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

bow down and kiss mother earth if this team ever got an Avery type

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:18 PM

We had him briefly at the end of the 07-08 season. And for one reason or another- McPhee couldn't get him to re-sign. Matt Cooke would be nice to have again.

Posted by: Fro_ | July 15, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

And for one reason or another- McPhee couldn't get him to re-sign.
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caps were never interested in re-signing Cookie. He was a rental. There was never any hint that the Caps tried to keep him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh and Sean Avery is one of the most all around entertaining players to watch during a hockey game. Focus on him for 3 or 4 shifts. Pure entertainment. Love to hate him- but can't say I'd object to having him. I'll line up in front of the firing squad now. Have at it.

Posted by: Fro_ | July 15, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

@timbo

forgot about Gainey. I always thought one of the most underrated guys who played during that time was Craig Ludwig. The work he did in Montreal and later in Dallas was just amazing. He was a mauler on D and won 3 Cups. That Dallas D that won a Cup in the late 90s was super tough on the backline. Derian Hatcher, Matvichuk and Ludwig doing all the dirty work while Sydor and Zubov quietly were solid defensively while providing offense.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

caps were never interested in re-signing Cookie. He was a rental. There was never any hint that the Caps tried to keep him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 5:59 PM

See I heard it was actually the other way around. But I'm pretty sure you would know better than me, as I have no recollection of when or when I heard/read it.

Posted by: Fro_ | July 15, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't know where it became gauche to admit you like ornery types like Sean Avery. Its ok to hate him. I hate him. But i still see the value in him as a player. And if you had to put together a short list of teams who need some more sandpaper, we're at the top.

Sadly though, he'd never fit in here. This team, this org has become too politically-correct and gentlemanly. Avery would stick out like a sore thumb and be an easy mark. The culture would have to change to where an Avery or Carcillo type could actually work in this scenario. The Caps have a very clean-cut upstanding image. Regardless of the Ovechkin incidents.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I would be curious to know the physical stats of the players from the time they were drafted, on a year to year basis.

By that, I mean clearly height and weight, but also lifting stats such as max squat, max reps of squatting 315lbs., bench max, max reps at 225lbs. Then you could see who was the strongest of all the players and see how they are progressing strength wise throughout the years.

In no way do I ever this information to become public because it is private, but I am curious.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Koivu is a good player but this is making the Backstrom deal look like a steal.

http://twitter.com/Russostrib

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I would be curious to know the physical stats of the players from the time they were drafted, on a year to year basis.
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i'd settle for simple height/weight stats from yr to yr. Too often player height and weight measurements don't get updated from when they get drafted. Some of the players who are listed at a certain height are actually 2-3 inches taller.

And frankly, while gym strength is a valid way to test a player's strength, functional strength is way more important over how much a player can bench. And any team who still promotes the bench press over compound olympic style explosion lifting is living in the dark ages. The bench press is unnecessarily hard on your shoulders/elbows even with proper technique. Functional strength training with compound movements, plyometrics etc is more effective for athletic training. And its hard to gauge strength levels doing that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Cooke put in a solid effort with the Caps and I believe he wanted to stay. Club could not afford him at all due to Nylander debacle. $1.2M was a steal.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Clearly when you train, the bench press is just one exercise that is performed while exercising the chest. Flat bar, incline and decline dumbells and flys are more than enough for a good chest exercise. But clearly every boyd part must be worked out, but for strength purposes it is not wise to put strain on every body part during a workout. You focues on 2 or 3 muscle groups and then do rotations so you lift those muscle groups every 3 or 4 days to enable the muscle to recover.

I have to disagree with you strongly about the bench press not being a good measure of upper body strength. If a person chooses to train in another fashion that is fine, but for testing purposes, if a person has the strength they can put it up a bench press.

However, the reason I put squats in there is because leg strength is much more important than upper body strength in hockey. So the squat tests would be a much better indicator.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

OK fine. I'm a 14-year old girl.

I think you should ask Eric Fehr how he feels about taunting. I bet he will set you straight. You don't need to taunt to get yourself in the top 10 in the NHL in goals per minute of ice time! Will it happen again? WTF! Why not?

Yeah Michael Jordan was a noted trash talker. Now all we need to do is somehow get some evidence together that it actually helped his game, or hurt that of his opponents. Maybe it did. I doubt it. I am more inclined to believe he's just an a-hole who happens to have been a great basketball player.

My anti-taunting opinion is limited to, well, taunting, verbally, and whether or not it makes you an a-hole or not. I don't think I can say that I'm necessarily averse to having a-holes on the team, and I think other players would probably agree with that and manage to not let it bother them, so I don't think it's like a big issue or anything. I think I was just trying to stick up for Coach. I think it's OK for a coach to try to stop someone from acting like an a-hole in a practice, but I could be wrong.

Posted by: youaresquishy | July 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

you do write well for a 14 yr old tho

If I had to point out what I thought was one inaccurate assumption you are making -- you assume that because a player taunts that it can lead to his own teammates disliking him. Brian Trottier had quite a mouth on him. I don't recall him being unpopular. Taunting has been part of hockey and other sports for a very long time. It doesn't automatically make you a disliked player in the locker room. When players fight each other sometimes they get taunted from the bench or they taunt each other from the pen box. What's wrong with that?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

but for testing purposes, if a person has the strength they can put it up a bench press
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maybe other weight throwin neanderthals can attest to this but i've always found that doing the same exercise over and over can make you more proficient at it without necessarily making you much stronger. Its probably a combination of technique and muscle memory but someone who practices on the bench press is going to have a big leg up on someone who trains their chest differently if that person has to then test his strength in a way he's not used to training.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Then that athlete can do bench press 3 times a month to get proficient at it, working it in with their other workouts. Then they will have the practice and muscle memory to succeed.

The NFL uses the bench press at the combine to determine strength(I think they should do squats too). Their players seem to do quite well at it and they are all pretty strong guys too.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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