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Caps say they're not just coasting


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)


Morning roundup

Some morning links to get the day started:

*Coach Bruce Boudreau and the Capitals say they haven't lost any motivation despite their commanding lead in the playoff race, even as they are mired in a three-game losing streak.

*Post columnist Tracee Hamilton offers this take: "I think the Caps clinched a bit too early and are just champing at the bit to get to the playoffs. And I pooh-pooh the idea of a burgeoning goaltending controversy. How about you?"

Chat with Tracee about the mini-slump (and other stuff) at 9:30 a.m. Submit questions and comments here.

*Tarik, Corey and co. talk about the remaining games in the Caps' season and the possible goaltending controversy facing the club:

*High praise for Mike Green, John Carlson and the rest of the Caps' defense. (TSN)

*Speaking of Carlson... (AHL)

*Brooks Laich's welcome return. (Japers' Rink)

*Laich is wrong: The Caps are coasting. (RMNB)

*They're also streaking in the wrong direction. (Homer McFanboy)

*Hey, we're not lucky, says "Lucky Leonsis." (Ted's Take)

*Strolling down memory lane with an 80's icon. (On Frozen Blog)

*Crosby vs. Backstrom (DC Landing Strip)

*Caps-Jackets viewing party. (Rock the Red)


Tonight's matchup

 

Atlanta Thrashers (34-31-12)
Washington Capitals (49-15-12)
Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet HD
Radio: 1500 AM

*Previews: AJC, Mike Vogel, Storming the Crease.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 1, 2010; 5:53 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau mum on goalie situation
Next: Caps pose for team photo

Comments

This just in......

The most recent loss of the Penguins to the Tampa Bay Lightning has caused mass hysteria in a usually quiet Pittsburgh city. Last nights letdown has many fans wondering if the team put forth enough effort in their performance at Mellon arena one night ago. Some fans are resorting to throwing themselves off bridges in and around the city.

More at 11

Posted by: ludeman95 | April 1, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

I imagine the Caps will come out fired up after the last 2-3 weak starts. They may end up playing Atl in the first round, so they should want to make a statement. I also imagine that BB and OV will be stressing playing well from the start.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 1, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Ludeman95....BINGO!

People need to chill out and save their worries for the playoffs. Caps could lose out for the season and it wouldnt spoil my mood.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | April 1, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

The press is feeding the frenzy as well.....just take that article this morning for example, sounds like the sky is falling!

Posted by: PhilR | April 1, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I agree wholeheartedly, this is no time to panic. Few teams, save Buff or Det are moving skyward, and those matchups are a ways off.

I think, though, people are concerned more with the way the games are going rather than the fact of the loss, since it raises the bugaboos of defense and goaltending hung round the Caps' necks rightly or wrongly throughout the season. The Caps want to make that right.

Given that, I think it will be a hell of a game tonight. Atlanta is playing reasonably well and are within 2 points of 3 teams. Two have a game in hand over the Thrashers, so every game is absolutely critical. Talk about a sense of urgency!

Someone said that if we play well and lose 2-1 it wouldn't be a bad thing. I agree. I think it will be a tough game to win given Atl's outlook right now. We need to focus on the system (team D, positional play, PK, focused golatending) and if executed well it's a victory no matter the score.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 1, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Last I check the Caps have a 6 point lead over the ENTIRE NHL with a game in hand. Yes they have played poorly the last few games and have looked somewhat disinterested, however we should all cut them some slack and enjoy the fact that we can loose a couple games and still have the leagues best record.

The rest of DC sports should be so lucky...

Posted by: Searchingforstanley | April 1, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Penguins lose 2-0 to Tampa at home.

San Jose slammed by Dallas 5-1.

These teams are coasting, and they still are jockeying for a spot...

All is good in DC.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 1, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm calling that the Caps will win 5-2. Their is no way that this game should even be close

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | April 1, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Oops, typo on the 'their' on the last one, my bad.

Anyway, since Lindsay seems to link my stuff for every other game (as to why, I don't know), she didn't link my game preview for today:
http://washingtoncapitalsblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/caps-vs-thrashers-preview-game-77.html

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | April 1, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I can say I'm the queen of England, but you don't see anyone referring to me as "your majesty."

It's pretty clear to anyone with eyes that they're coasting. I'm not saying it's the end of the world, or that there's anything to panic about or anything like that. But, let's call it like it is - they're coasting.

Does that mean they are "rested" and will be able to shift to another gear come playoff time? I don't know. We've never been in this position before, so there's no precedent. It's just as likely that happens as they Shark-Out in the first round.

Let's all hope they have another gear and can shift to it. I'd like to see at least a spark of that tonight, ATL is playing for their lives tonight, so you know they are going to bring it. Are we going to spot them 3 or 4 goals before we decide to start playing again?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 1, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

With Coach BB still on the fence about who the starting goalie will be, it made me wonder if there has ever been a similar situation for a team headed to the playoffs. Has there been?

Posted by: ravenhokiefan | April 1, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Raven,

I don't think that Bruce is actually on the fence about who the starting goalie is, I think he's just playing coy with the media.

Off the top of my head - doesn't DET go into the playoffs almost every year with the same situation and Chris Osgood? I remember it definitely being a talking point going into last year's playoffs.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 1, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

The year Carolina won also. I have no idea what was being said going into the playoffs but Cam Ward was not the starter in the beginning.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 1, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Duff- I think youre right about DET, but I really am not sure who will be in for the Caps come playoff time. I have this feeling that Varly will be lights out tonight, probably becuase our D will finally show up, but that could make it a more difficult decision. I dont even know who I'm hoping to see, guess whoever gives us the best chance

Posted by: ravenhokiefan | April 1, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

hey Bruce, challenge the boys tonight. see if they can answer the bell.(scenario) the series is tied up @ 3-3 in the ECF and the SCF's are next. the price to pay if they lose, Herb Brooks their A$$! AGAIN-AGAIN-AGAIN-AGAIN! till they PUKE should be a good wake-up call ya think? im not gonna be able to stomach another early round exit! these guys have the talent to win the Cup and have the season to prove it. i dont care about the East-West controversy which has the tougher teams, these guys are professional athletes,they won this many games cause their damn good! just my 2cts. LETS GO CAPS!!!!! c u all 2nite rockin the RED!

Posted by: bigBinMd | April 1, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

if Varly regains his form, he may not start the first game in the playoffs but after the slightest hiccup by Theo, BB will put Varly in just like he did last year.

Posted by: joek443 | April 1, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@ravenhokiefan

Yes!

Just now on NHL On the Fly the Chicago Blackhawks coach refused to commit on naming his playoff goalie--Huet or Nimmi, despite the latter's great game yesterday.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 1, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Given that, I think it will be a hell of a game tonight. Atlanta is playing reasonably well and are within 2 points of 3 teams. Two have a game in hand over the Thrashers, so every game is absolutely critical. Talk about a sense of urgency!

Someone said that if we play well and lose 2-1 it wouldn't be a bad thing. I agree. I think it will be a tough game to win given Atl's outlook right now. We need to focus on the system (team D, positional play, PK, focused golatending) and if executed well it's a victory no matter the score.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 1, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

yeah that was me, I'd rather lose a game 2-1 at this stage than 6-5. But I agree, tonight should be very entertaining game. Nothing wrong with putting pressure on the team from the media and fans to play better. It inspires a stronger effort. And Atlanta could be our 1st round opponent so you always want to send a msg to that team that it won't be an easy series.

Frankly, a loss wouldn't bother me that much. As long as we play a strong game esp on the defensive end. And while Atlanta has been surging recently, we're still a dramatically better team on paper and we match up well against the style they play We should wax them if we bring our A game. I don't think Atl is a great litmus test for this team though.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

IMHO, I don't think people are panicking, but are beginning to realize that this team apparently has some shortcomings when NHL teams begin to play "for real" and gear-up for the playoffs.
We're in game 76 of an 82 game season, and Coach BB is trying to decide on his lines. We apparently haven't decided on a No.1 goalie either.
Various players are wondering why they don't start games with energy. And why the effort is not there for 60 mins.
We either can't, or won't, or are coached not to clear the crease. A season long problem.
We apparently don't put too much emphasis to killing penalties. A player (traded from another team) makes suggestions on how to better position players and attack the puck to be more efficient in the PK. Boy...to me that sure as he11 doesn't inspire much confidence in our coaching staff.
The Caps' system is offense, offense, and more offense. Defense..? nah...we'll just outscore 'em.
All season long the fans have called for upgrading our defense corps. Defense is a shortcoming for this tream. Sportwriters have pointed this out, as well as announcers and game analysts. GMGM, however, instead got another puck-moving Defenseman.
Bottom line here is the fact that no one can argue that 'playoff style hockey' is different than regular season games. Close checking, more hustle, more grit and toughness, TIGHT DEFENSE, and anybody in the crease gets...well, mauled. We simply don't play that 'style'.
Let's be realistic here. We needed a couple of rugged defensemen and GMGM didn't get them. I know, "the price would have been too high", maybe...but without these guys, how far can we go? Or is making it through two series management's goal?

Posted by: scmonty1 | April 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Niemi not Nimmi--spelling fail!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 1, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

TSN must be on crack

Posted by: doughless | April 1, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The game @ Pitt will turnover the starter and begin the playoff run - inspiration.

Posted by: saintex | April 1, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Caps didn't want it enough on Tues.; Ottawa must show up every game to make playoffs, not so for Caps. If 1 of their 3 goalies can keep their GAA to 3 or less, they'll get to Conf finals, Finals even. They have enough toughness on 3rd & 4th lines to weather bitter 5th thru 8th teams that fought hard to get in. However, Boudreau must make them understand that they will get upset if the millionaires don't cross the red line every shift to see what's going on in their own end...

Posted by: KingstonOntario | April 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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