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Caps Blanked in Columbus; Alzner Hurt

Over the course of the NHL's grueling seven month regular season, all teams, even good ones, have a few games they simply must forget ever happened.

Tonight was one of those games for the Capitals, who were shutout by rookie Columbus goalie Steve Mason, 3-0, and possibly lost an injury replacement to an injury.

Highly-touted rookie defenseman Karl Alzner did not finish the night after being pasted awkwardly along the boards late in the second period. It's unclear what exactly is hurting him, or how bad it is, but he appeared to be favoring his arm as he left the ice. He did not return for the third period.

After the game, Alzner said he didn't think "it" was all that bad and he hopes to practice on Monday.

"It should be fine," Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Some other notes and quotes from the dressing room:

*Boudreau was not a happy man after this one. While he acknowledged Mason's stellar performance - it was the 20-year-old's second shutout in three starts - Boudreau was critical of his team's willingness (or lack thereof) to go into the high traffic areas.

"We didn't create any traffic in front, but he was pretty good," Boudreau said. "I don't want to take anything away from the young man. In the second period, if I was seeing all the shots from the bench, that means he's seeing everything. When goalies are playing really good, and they have that feel that they're not going to get scored against, you have to get a grunge goal. But we weren't willing to pay that price."

*Boudreau was also annoyed with his team's energy level, which he said is not the same on the road as it is at home. And it shows, he said. The Caps are 9-0-1 at Verizon Center and 4-8-2 away, including four straight losses (L.A., San Jose, Minnesota and Columbus).

"I have to figure it out myself," Boudreau said. "There's an energy level difference, for sure. That's not acceptable. If you want to be a good team, you have to be a good road team."

*The Caps were blanked for the second time this season (the Sabres shut them out 5-0 in Buffalo on Nov. 1) and for only the sixth time under Boudreau.

*Rick Nash now has four goals in his past two games against Washington.

*The win was the Blue Jackets' first over the Caps since Oct. 27, 2000, when Columbus won 3-1 in the first game at Nationwide Arena. The Jackets had gone 0-3-4 in the seven games between.

*Alex Ovechkin took a game-high six shots. But Mason made sure his league-leading 10-game points streak (11 goals, 11 assists) came to an end.

*David Steckel, playing in front of dozens and of friends and family members, won 12 of 17 face-offs (71 percent) but was not credited with a shot on goal.

*Boudreau was pleased with Brent Johnson's performance - for the most part.

"I thought [Johnson] was great early, but we let him down," he said of Johnson, who was making his first start in four games. "I didn't think the second goal was a great goal. But when you score none, it doesn't really matter."

*After scoring at least one power play goal in eight straight games, the depleted Caps have come up empty in each of the past two, including going 0-5 tonight.

The Caps just completed a three-games-in-four-nights stretch and will take tomorrow off to rest and recover. They are scheduled to return to practice on Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 11:27 PM ET
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I noticed the energy thing too, they looked like a completely different team. I was also wondering when someone would get in front of the net, it's gotta happen sometime if we want to win some on the road...

Posted by: isaacc7 | November 29, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping for a garbage goal or something. They definitely needed traffic out front of the goalie.

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | November 29, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

From the previous ...

They did look tired. Oh and, BTW, you've been called up!! You'll be centering Erskine and Helmer. ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 29, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

So while I was typing away on the previous post, Tarik was posting an update...go figure.

@jmu and others:
As for defensemen, Amadio or Godfrey might be the only two I would even remotely consider moving up if Alzner can't go. But as pointed out, we don't want to give you Amadio. He's our only enforcer right now. Bears play Norfolk Sunday night and then are off till the weekend, so a callup for a game or two wouldn't affect us too much. If you want to see more about Amadio, go to
this link, click on VOD (video on demand) and scroll down to Nov 20: Amadio Mic'd Up. The fight that you see in the video is Grant McNeil, Amadio's voice in the background.

And by the way, the Bears were awesome again tonight. Final score 9-0.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 30, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

"It should be fine" - that's what they said about Semin and Fedorov and Green and... why do I find "should be fine" hard to believe?

Posted by: CAP-lanta | November 30, 2008 1:47 AM | Report abuse

As soon as I saw that hit on Alzner I was like, are you f-ing kidding me?!! You could tell right away that he got hurt, even though he sucked it up and got back into the play on that shift.

This is absolutely ridiculous.

I actually didn't think we played that badly tonight, but Mason was in the zone. That kid can play. I saw him in the the World Junior championship last year and he was like a brick wall in the net for Canada. Just like tonight for the Jackets.

The only good news is that we don't play for a few days. Maybe we can get some guys back or pretty soon we'll have to call up ECHL players.

Posted by: ranndino | November 30, 2008 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Maybe CBJ would take a straight up trade - Mason for Theodore? I like the way Mason plays over Theodore any day. I still think we need a decent #1 goaltender and some good defensemen.

I agree on the energy level, the guys just looked tired. Hoping Bruce gets them back up to par for Tuesday's game.

Posted by: Heidi1 | November 30, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Let's see our naysayers pop in in 3...2...1....

First off, the injuries are just absolutely unreal. What on earth is going on? Our depth has had a hell of a test and so far it's passed pretty well, but that's enough, we're done with the test, leave us alone now plskthx.

Second, hope Alzner's going to be okay. Losing him is all we need. :P

Third, I'm getting really concerned about the road games. I gotta grant that we're missing a lot of key cogs, but why can we win at home but not on the road?

Theory: Our guys are trying too hard on the road - they want to win, they want to show off, and they're trying to be heroes. We see what happens when we do that. At home, we're more relaxed, a little more secure, and it shows because we just tear teams apart.


Posted by: kittypawz | November 30, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse


How in the world can you say we didn't play that badly? The guys were gassed from the get go. Now they came out swinging against anaheim and then lost it after that. They never even made it out of the gates in Columbus. I was so disappointed. Alzner played well while he was out there and ovie was trying pretty hard, but for the most part...That was not our Washington Capitals out there. I don't know who they were. And I don't fault Bruce even one bit. This is to do solely with the players. They keep letting us down on the road and they need to figure out the bug that's preventing them from playing like they do at home..and squash it.

And as for Alzner getting's not a huge surprise..seeing our current injury just really really sucks

Posted by: lloydrj727 | November 30, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

After losing Alzner, Green needs to toughen up and return on Tuesday from a BRUISED SHOULDER and play.

If he returns on Tuesday that will be almost 2 weeks since he's played and I can't remember a player missing almost 2 weeks with an injury as minor as his.

He's a tough kid so he needs to show it on Tuesday. Hopefully a bounce back game happens against the Panthers!

When will Ovie start leading the league in goals and points?

Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 30, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse


I think what we're missing on the road is determination to win. BB said it right: it's the willingness to pay the price, especially against "weaker" teams.

How to fix it: make them aware of it. I don't think our boys want to acknowledge it.

Posted by: mauree | November 30, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse


My same exact reaction about Alzner. And did anyone else see that clip of him on the bench grabbing at his wrist and wincing? That pretty much made it all clear that he was hurt. I was hoping he wasn't, but damn Caps luck with the injuries early this season.


I didn't think they did all that bad either. Like what ranndino said, Mason was on top of his game last night. Caps had chances to score on him, but they just weren't able to get the puck past him. I think the main problem last night was that they couldn't get bodies in front of Mason. Plus, Mason barely gave away any rebounds, for Caps to pounce on.

Posted by: elicea | November 30, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Green needs to toughen up and return on Tuesday from a BRUISED SHOULDER and play.

Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 30, 2008 9:16 AM
------------------------------------------- have some sort of inside information doctor?

Posted by: Section117 | November 30, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Green and Semin are wusses. They don't care, because they get paid their fat checks regardless they play or not. They have no heart, period.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 30, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse


it was clear he was hurt one second after the hit... his arm was limp while he was getting up. But the thing is, he continued the shift... and took a couple of other shifts after that. Then in the third he didn't play.

I like the kid... he's bound to make mistakes obviously and need to adjust to NHL but I like how he skates and is in position, he seems to belong

Posted by: mauree | November 30, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong on this but dont injured players have to be cleared to play. It seems to me that a lot of people are assuming that Green and Semin and others are choosing not to play when the decision may not even be in their hands.

Posted by: pebowers | November 30, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow, you really have no clue what you are talking about. Probably not worth explaining how "injury speak" works and how eager these guys are to get back support their team. You must have never played or been good at a competitive sport where doctors and trainers oversee your injuries either.

DannyBoy1975: "Green and Semin are wusses. They don't care, because they get paid their fat checks regardless they play or not. They have no heart, period."
Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 30, 2008 10:23 AM

Posted by: valkova | November 30, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz -- 'the injuries are just absolutely unreal. What on earth is going on?'

It's obviously The Curse of Scott Stevens.

Go ahead and don't acknowledge it everybody -- if that makes you feel better!


Posted by: TheRealOneal | November 30, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@lloydrj727 -

Very simple. While you and most other people react emotionally based purely on the final score I look at it objectively.

1. The Caps had at least as many good scoring chances as the Jackets. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other team's goalie. I thought Mason was absolutely brilliant. Aside from making saves on every shot he saw he even made a couple of improbable ones on deflections and rebounds right in front of him. The kid's got some of the quickest feet I've ever seen.

2. At least one of their goals was a result of a bad mistake (Nash's shorthanded breakaway).

In any case, while we didn't play that well we also didn't suck either and the 3-0 score is not a true reflection of how the game went. Imagine that we don't give up a breakaway to their best player, Johnny makes a save on the 2nd goal (should have had that one) and Mason lets in 1 or 2 shots that he had every right to let in. All of a sudden it's not 3-0 Columbus, but 2-1 Caps and your whole perception of the game changes.

Oh, and btw, the 1st goal was a very good break for the Jackets and a very bad bounce for us. It gave Johnny zero chance to save the shot from a guy who hasn't scored all season. Sometimes the breaks also decide the game. We have been beneficiaries of a few as well recently.

So to summarize, I simply look at the entire game, not just the score, which often can swing a lot based on just a couple small moments in the game. Looking at it that way this was a much more even game than the 3-0 score makes it out to be.

Posted by: ranndino | November 30, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@ onthebeach96 & Dannyboy1975

Once again I don't like insulting people, but you guys are idiots. There's really nothing else to say about your comments.

1. The doctors decide when a player can get back.

2. Playing injured at this point of the season is incredibly stupid. It's OK in the playoffs when your team really can't afford to lose a game, but early in the regular season it's retarded. You're just taking a huge chance of making it worse and missing a lot more games than necessary. Green and Semin are two of our best players. Risking them at this point of the season would be completely ridiculous.

3. Playing with a bruised shoulder, especially for a D is unbelievably painful. Every time there's any contact it kills and he has to hit and be hit. The way he went flying into the boards on that hit by Pronger I was surprised he even got up on his own. Green is a very tough kid. Don't question his toughness. You're just making yourself look retarded.

Please get a clue and think before you post such garbage.

Posted by: ranndino | November 30, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it folks, coming back too early from an injury can make things worse -- witness what happened with Feds just recently. He should have sat out until his ankle really healed up. As for last night's game - I don't know whether it was fatigue, lack of intensity or both, but the Caps were just not into it. Also, their shots were mostly low. They needed to get them up on Mason. Mason had a good game, but he was beatable. And...oh yeah...someone please tell Nyls that it's OK to shoot instead of pass! :)

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | November 30, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Food for thought:

Did they play bad against the Blue Jackets? or did the BJ play good defense?

Are some teams figuring out how to play the Caps? or are the Caps unable to figure out some defenses?

In my opinion there is a little more to "they played bad" but I realize that as fans we are blinded by the passion for the team.

In any case:
1st on the division
3rd on the conference
8th (tie) on the league
Not bad for a team decimated by injuries, imagine when the top injured players return.

Posted by: Loco2 | November 30, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Any chance Alzner was benched in the 3rd period for the bonehead play he made that led to a goal? If I remember correctly, he played after the injury. Then there was a point where he pinched in deep in the offensive zone and then didn't get back in time(Backstrom had to cover) and Columbus scored. He was on the bench the whole 3rd period. It's very rare that an injured player sits on the bench...they are usually in the locker room getting treated.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | November 30, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I refuse to believe you are serious with your crazy remarks about Semin and Green. As Mike Tyson would say: "ludicrous".
However, I do enjoy the absurd, so keep it up.

Posted by: Loco2 | November 30, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Figure out the Caps offense?

Yeah, the Blue Jackets figured out the Caps offense. If you take 5 or 6 regulars out of the Caps lineup, you limit their scoring potential.

Yep, real genius deduction there.

Posted by: leopard09 | November 30, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

any top level team wins these kinds of games. Caps are not. Back to back games with one being on the road. Sick of the excuses.

Posted by: phrdlick | November 30, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I thought about that, but could not remember if he played after that lapse of judgement or not. Besides, not sure if Bouds would punish a rookie for that. After all, they are learning. Guess that's why they're called rookie mistakes!

Posted by: Boo- | November 30, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the caps had a lot of scoring chances, but they never seemed to adjust to the goalie. When it became obvious that Mason was on his game, you gotta start distracting him. Screen him, bump into him, etc. As BB said, they weren't willing to pay the price of camping out front, they were happy with shooting from the outside and trying to stickhandle in for the most part. Sometimes we need to get ugly, stop the damn pretty passes and shoot, get rebounds, and scrum!

Posted by: isaacc7 | November 30, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

In retrospect if he Stayed @ Home the goal might have been avoided... but it was also a "usual" D-man rush, O-man drop back rotation. If I recall correctly Nick took his place for that 2 on 2.

Posted by: mauree | November 30, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Alzners pinch in play that put Backstom on defense was before he was injured no?

Posted by: billd2 | November 30, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

yeah it was before.

The reasons for the doubts is that he played a couple of shifts after the injury, and stayed on the bench on the third period.

Posted by: mauree | November 30, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have found out that when people do not have a good argument they tend to attack, yell and insult. You obviously didn't understand my post and couldn't respond properly so you tried to insult me.
Ok. No I am not a genius, at least I don't claim to be one.
I was just trying to provide some mental stimulus for thinking (Food for thought) objectively and not as a fan.
I didn't say the BJ figured out the Caps defense, I just posed the question: Did they play good defense?
Based on my observation of some games, I posed the question: Are some teams figuring out how to play the caps?

By the way, on your remark:
"...If you take 5 or 6 regulars out of the Caps lineup, you limit their scoring potential."
Apparently, Atlanta and Montreal didn't get your memo.

Posted by: Loco2 | November 30, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino how many players stay out 2+ weeks with a bruised shoulder? People have come back sooner from separated shoulders. What I'm saying is that Green must have a bigger injury than initially perceived.

And don't call me an idiot, that just makes you look like one. Everyone here is to participate and add their own opinions, and yours is no more valuable than the next persons.

Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 30, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I couldn't remember for sure if Alzner's injury was before or after the pinch in play. The fact that he was left on the bench in the 3rd period could mean his injury was not serious and he could have played in an emergency.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | November 30, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that the Caps don't have the same motivation and heart when they play on the road. Yes, they are suffering a bout of the injury bug, but their play against Montreal and Atlanta show they have what it takes.

Posted by: TrappedinGA | November 30, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Alzner's injury was after that goal? I thought it was before ... ?!?

Posted by: Boo- | November 30, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse


I thought it was after, but after reviewing our comments yesterday it seems that no, the injury was before the second goal.

Posted by: mauree | November 30, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification - I have been debating with myself and need all of the help that I can get! :-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 30, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Caps can't win on the road :(

Posted by: rachel216 | November 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse


Chris Bourque Reassigned.

Posted by: cocorules | November 30, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

If you had added that you were questioning the description of the injury instead of whether Mike Green should "toughen up", then you might not get called an idiot and considered in the same thought as dannyboy65.

As has been pointed out, if it was do or die at the end of the season or in the playoffs, then they play through an injury if possible.

Posted by: _Mark | November 30, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Not only are the Caps down 7 players from the opening roster, but they were playing their 3rd game in the fourth night and 7th game in eleven days, so they were wiped out. Then you add a road game and a team that plays the trap well, the Caps did not have a good chance last night. BJ kept them in the game, and Mason played well. When the Caps get back their starters, they'll improve their road winning percentage. They are missing Semin, Green, Poti, and Federov -- that's a huge chunk of core talent.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 30, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I laugh at some of the posts when the team loses. I mean come on people, it's still fairly early in the season. It's no do or die, time. Get over your emotions, and look at the big picture!

Posted by: elicea | November 30, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

RE on Bourque being reassigned.

Does that mean a forward is coming back, or is it because Caps are going to need to recall another D-man?

I'm leaning towards a D, but then again, there's a chance Erskine is coming back on Tuesday. hmmmm??

Posted by: elicea | November 30, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

when did chris bourque get sent back to hershey?

Posted by: wendel2 | November 30, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

We are 500 on the road, when did that become bad? If we pick up 30+ points on the road this year we should be in fat city!

Posted by: majiksea | November 30, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Bourque may be replaced by Osala. He loves to hang out in the crease and score goals any way he can. He is huge, not easy to knock off the puck, and tough. He may fit BB's call for more traffic and junk goals. He has earned a call up. That being said, I'd be very happy with a few Caps returning to the line up soon.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 30, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

We are 333 on the road 4-8-2, not 500

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 30, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

10 points out of 28 possible on the road = .357

Posted by: Steve_R | November 30, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

excuses, excuses. this team has no leadership on the road. we need a captain. don't give me the injury excuse or the 7 games in 14 days or whatever it is garbage. deal with the adversity. show a will to win in the road. you can back to before the injuries. just look at the road losses. reality cap's fans. can't win them all at home, look at game 7 last year. we need to step it up, that is if we can. or its gonna be a long season with a quick exit.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 30, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse


(I just took out Semin's interview)

Alexander, how is your health? When do you think you will return to the ice?

“Probably not soon. I still can’t play yet.”

But you are practicing.

“Practicing is one thing, and playing is another. I don’t need to return until I am 100 percent ready. Look what happened with Fedorov. He came back after his injury and had to go right back out.”

So Ovechkin’s hat trick won’t speed up your recovery?

“What am I, an idiot? Chasing points to the detriment of my health? No, first I have to be be fully recovered.You have to understand that I don’t receive any pleasure whatsoever from watching the game from the stands.”

Posted by: elicea | November 30, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I might have one spare ticket for both Tues and Thurs games. Anyone interested in joining me let me know.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 30, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

@ onthebeach96

I see. You're one of those people who say something utterly ridiculous and when called on it back away from their previous statement and pretend like they said something else. The difference here is that all we have to do is scroll up and read the original statement again.

You did not say anything about Green's injury being worse than reported. You question his courage and told him to "toughen up". Thus I called you an idiot. Based on that statement I stand by my original comment.

As far as who's an idiot and who's not I'll let others who read these comments decide. I think it's pretty obvious.

Lastly, like I said, I don't like calling people idiots, but when someone post something unbelievably stupid I'm gonna call them on it. It's easy to prevent yourself from being called an idiot. Don't post stupid crap.

Posted by: ranndino | November 30, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@ ergoroc

Another loudmouth "brainiac". Show me a team that keeps winning all the time when they have 8 regulars out of the line-up. You can call this an excuse. You can also call a guy who had his legs amputated lazy for riding around in a wheel chair.

Posted by: ranndino | November 30, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

could we not have put semin on the unable to play list to save cap $ ?how many games has he missed already? he doesnt see to eager to get back. Do we have a team doc or does gmgm do it to save money? someone should be able to make better estimates on injuries than day to day to week to ?

Posted by: wendel2 | November 30, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Funny seeing all the "experts" comming out after a loss. Things will not be perfect untill we get a few regulars back.Call it an excuse, or just plan facts. The league has so much parity now, there are no gimmies any longer. Any team can win against any team on any given night.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 30, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

wendel, I think Semin has missed 7 games now. The way this is playing out, it seems like he'll be hitting that 10 game mark, though I'm not sure at what point we get cap relief since we put him on IR after game his 5th game out (I think) when we recalled 4 from the AHL. Not sure how that all works, if it's 10 games missed or 10 games after going on IR. Anyone know?

ranndino, keep calling them like you see them.

Posted by: Steve_R | November 30, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

CB got an assist tonight against Norfolk, Bears win 3 to 2. They have not lost while we've been playing some of their best players. The talent down there is amazing and yes I agree Osala may come up, QL also brings grit and leadership he could show up here again.

Posted by: majiksea | November 30, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to look it up in the CBA. It might take an hour or so. I had forgotten how completely tedious this thing is. However, I now know how to calculate a player's lodging expense reimbursement, if anyone needs to know such things.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Laing coming back up. It may happen, but he'd require re-entry waivers. I don't see the Caps or Bears chancing he gets claimed.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

RE Laing

Sucks to hear that he would need to go through waivers again, just to be recalled. I miss seeing his hardworking mentality and most of all, his shot blocking.

Posted by: elicea | November 30, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

LTIR is just a deeper version of IR, with cap leeway. We can retroactively put Semin on LTIR at any point to save cap space. However, he would have to miss 24 calendar days, not just 10 games, since the day we say he was injured. So, if they say he was hurt Nov 14th, he would be out until at least December 8th.
Oh, and a club physician must make the determination that a player is unfit to play in order for the club to place him on LTIR. If the league calls BS on it, they get to bring in a "neutral physician" that is selected by them & the NHLPA.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I was at the Bears game tonight, and Bourque was playing. I don't know the rules for being sent to club to club (maybe some of you can enlighten me) but I can't imagine that he'd be allowed, or for that matter able to, play for both the Caps and the Bears at the same time. So, reason has it that Bourque was reassigned to Hershey. Does this then imply that one of our forwards will be returning on Tuesday? If my logic is faulty, let me know.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 30, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Sure seems we draft a lot of fragile hockey players who can't take a simple hit. Green limps around every time he gets pasted. Alzner looks even more frail. We draft for talent but we don't draft physically imposing specimens. Alzner may be listed at 200 plus lbs but he looks very frail out there. Schultz is another example of a frail hockey player.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 30, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I didn't read all the comments before posting. We'll see what happens Tuesday.

Hey guys, calm down and let's all be objective for a minute here. I think that some people here have identified a fair and legitimate problem. Our issues on the road this year started before all the injuries, so I don't really think that the injuries can explain all the issues we've had. It certainly explains some, as does the fact that we've had a hell of a schedule in November. No, it is not time to push the panic button yet, we're doing pretty decently for a team decimated by injuries. But I do think there is an eyebrow to be raised here and an issue to be explored.

Now, tear me apart if you like, but I think the problem is not one of will to win on the road - quite the opposite. I think it's one of security. When we're at home, we're secure, we're chill, and we work together as a seamless team and play our system and play our game. Life is good. When we get on the road, we're out of our element. Everybody tries to work double-hard and be a hero, and the system kinda gets lost in the process. We drop the system, and we play like we did in Columbus. Add lack of energy and the problem gets worse.

In Anaheim, we came off five straight wins. We were cool. We were on top of the world, we were secure, and we had them for breakfast for most of the game because we played our system. We dropped the Kings game due to injuries and exhaustion, and there was the fear and the scramble and the trying to be the hero and the system got messed up.

So, it seems to me like when we're down, we freak a little bit and lose the system, and we get our butts kicked. Then we fix it, go back to the system, and we kick ass and take names. So, how do we fix it before it starts? Where does that lie? Does that lie with our captain, with the coaching staff (who I think have been shouldering at least part of that up to now)?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 30, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

OK this whole discussion is out of control. I think it will be good when a new post is made a new conversation is started.

Every word seems to be over analyzed here, loosen up.

Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 30, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, did Alzner stomp on your balls in a past life or something? You sure seem to have a hate on the for the guy.

Just sayin'....

Posted by: kittypawz | November 30, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

btw comments here aren't supposed to have personal attacks, and calling someone an idiot and stupid fits in that category. Why can't we all just get along?!


Posted by: onthebeach96 | November 30, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz, We've got 11 forwards right now that are healthy, without Bourque. Not exactly optimal, but doable, I guess. Unless as JIMALLCAPS suggested, there's another Bear coming up instead.

cstanton1, I generally don't go after folks' comments, but honestly, are you kidding? Go ask Chris Pronger to smear you into the boards and see how you feel. Green played in every game last season. This seems to me like the first time he's be out.
Alzner's also only 20. There's not a single high-profile rookie that outweighs him by more than 15 pounds. Give him a full year pro and a summer to work out and he's going to bulk up. How much weight did Flash put on over the offseason?
I've got no argument on Schultz looking like a gangly teenager. He may share measurements with Pronger, but he's also over a decade younger. I don't think he's done putting on muscle or learning how to play at the size he's listed.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | November 30, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, "This seems to me like the first time he's been out"*

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks tess! What a great photo of Varly's acrobatic skills!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

@onthebeach96 - I gather you've never suffered a bone bruise in your entire life. I'd like to see YOU get out there and hit like Erskine hits, be hit like he is hit, with a bone bruise, which this obviously is. All you have to do is look at the way he hit the wall after Pronger ran him down to tell that it is a serious injury, and not the kind of bruise you get from banging your shin on the stairs.

"A bone bruise results from compressive forces incurred during an injury. The damaged area occurs in the medullary portion of the bone and can be accompanied by bleeding and swelling."

"Bruises are often caused by falls, sports injuries, car accidents, or blows received by other people or objects. Bruises can last from days to months, with the bone bruise being the most severe and painful."


Posted by: irockthered | November 30, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

We've got some winners posting in here...

Posted by: JSchon | November 30, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

nothing personal against Alzner, this is strictly a HOCKEY observation. Something at least TWO of you need to practice yourselves.

Alzner looks like he's getting easily dominated along the boards and in one on one situations. There are enough other rookies that I can see do a better job of handling one on one plays who don't get pushed down to the ice quite so easily. He's not ready for the NHL. And he doesn't play upto his listed size. Schultz is gangly going on how many years now?

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 30, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

So we're not observing hockey if we disagree with you, cstanton? I'm sorry, that's a very arrogant and nasty attitude, and while it's got good company on this blog right now *cue eyeroll* I still find it annoying.

I haven't seen that. He's very good positionally, is where he's supposed to be, and is very good with taking the puck away. I think he's still a little tentative, I would be too, but I don't think he's small or frail or being dominated, myself.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 30, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1, I apologize for coming across as questioning your authority on the sport. However, I have never stated Alzner would be the savior of the DC blueline this season. I would have been perfectly fine with him staying in Hershey for the rest of the season, if not part of next season, too. I'd rather the kids get too many AHL games than not enough, but trial by fire--he needed to come up at some point, if nothing else than to see for himself what he needs to work on. I guess we get lucky seeing the great rookie seasons and forget that the majority of guys need a transition year to get used to the physicality level of the NHL.
And I'm definitely not arguing with you on Schultz. He gives A. Gordon a run for his money in the "I look like I'm 12" category. He seemed to be doing better this season before his injury though. Might just be me, though.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | November 30, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

excuses. What are the excuses for the losses before teh injuries? or have all 8 been out all year. NO LEADERSHIP ON THE ROAD. WE CAN'T EXPECT OVECHKIN TO SCORE 3 EVERY GAME DO WE? I guess when the "injured" return and we still lose on the road you will be saying that they have not had time to play together. What kind of teammate hides a injury? But before he tells the team he lets the post write a "chris clark wants to contribute" article then "oops, I have a stress fracfture that I have been hiding fromt he team" Why not just go to Mike Wise like Olie did and cry the blues about winning? Where is big mouth Olie? oh, backing up in Tampa. clarke needs to be sent there also. NO LEADERSHIP ON THE ROAD.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 30, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1, kittypawz,

Re: Alzner

I tend to agree with Alzner's grade for himself thus far...B-. Yes, his positioning is generally sound and yes he's done a pretty good job in the defensive zone. But he's also been outplayed in the corners, behind the net and occassionally in the crease area.

He probably does need a bit more seasoning in the AHL. But right now he's definitely ready to be a 5-6 defender. Unfortunately, due to injuries, he's being forced to play #1 minutes and that's not fair for his personal growth or for the team.

I've said since the preseason that he needs this year in the AHL to grow into his body, but doesn't look possible right now.

Posted by: Yoshietree | November 30, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse


"No leadership on the road"

Just a FYI. Clark wasn't on the trip. And since you obviously have all the answers, please explain to me how a leader is different on the road?

#17 suffered a serious injury last year, and before he was back to 100% he suffered another. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you're another of the fresh faced, brand spanking new Caps fans so here's a little story about Chris Clark.

***Washington Capitals captain Chris Clark had not lost a tooth in 373 NHL games, an accomplishment for any hockey player, more impressive for one who spends the majority of his time battling in the corners.

But Clark's good fortune ran out in the waning seconds of Wednesday's game against Boston, when an errant puck knocked out two of his front teeth and crushed his palate bone. Capitals captain Chris Clark, in his seventh NHL season, had never had a tooth knocked out. He lost two against Boston last week but kept playing. Capitals captain Chris Clark, in his seventh NHL season, had never had a tooth knocked out. He lost two against Boston last week but kept playing. Clark immediately raised his glove to his mouth. But play didn't stop, so neither did he. With a minute remaining in regulation, the score tied at 2 and the Bruins on the attack, the veteran right wing finished his shift. "That's why he's captain," General Manager George McPhee said yesterday. "That's one of the most courageous things you'll see on the rink. So the next time someone has a runny nose, or feels under the weather and doesn't think they should play, that should make them think twice."***--Per Tarik's article.

/please enlighten us about leadership.

Posted by: Yoshietree | November 30, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

//apologies for the rape of HTML's innocence.

Posted by: Yoshietree | November 30, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I guess Clarke was hurt in Atlanta.Calgary,Phoenix,Buffalo. And Please, save me the old quotes.look at his production-zero goals. oh, i get it, he's hurt. Again. except this time he tells no one until after the article. it was clear he was ailing before. and save the Mcphee quotes also. He alot of good thing to say about Jagr also. Clarke is a dime a dozen in the NHL. You want leadership? Look at Alex Ovechkin. But we already ask enough of him. Can't anybody on this team feed off him? It's the captain who rallies his team. leads by example in the locker room. Beaudeau has said there is a lack of leadership in the locker room. guys think because they are not playing well they can't speak out. who do you think he was talking about?

Posted by: ergoroc | November 30, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow ... I missed all sorts of love in here today!! :-)

I just have one question:

Does anyone know how we were doing this time last season, without all of these injuries?

Yeah, that's what I thought - we're fine.

Posted by: Boo- | November 30, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Haha, Boo, always the voice of reason. :D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 1, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Please calm down, children, and let's act civilized.

Green apparently has more than just a shoulder bruise, though those can be nasty enough especially if you use the shoulder to hit others in a hockey game. He went into the boards hard thanks to Pronger.

Alzner appeared to be walking wounded and able to be on-ice in a pinch in the 3rd.

On reassigning Bourque. There could be a couple of reasons why he was reassigned. Every day counts for these kids. Bourque may be approaching the number of days to have to go through waivers. You may see him yo-yo between the two clubs even though he doesn't physically move. In this case he apparently did. Maybe they're saving him for later in the year as a potential call up. Maybe they're switching him out for another to be called up later.

I'll guess that Semin goes on IR soon. He's now listed day-to-day, no? He may even go on LTIR if the Caps run into cap issues (read Osala). Fedorov is also listed as day-to-day. That, too, could change if salary cap issues arise.

Just trying to say that the Caps have options. Putting players on LTIR can be problematic getting them off later on with doctors and players trying to decide timing, etc.

So when will they be productive once they come back? Depends on how rusty they get being off. After a few weeks maybe a couple of games, but I can't wait for the moaners and groaners on here who will try to trade Green, Semin and Fedorov for a bag of pucks if they're awful for 3 games. And you KNOW we'll hear it! We're hearing it now that they're wusses for not being back already!

Someone said that Green should be back after 2 weeks because people come back from dislocations in that time. That is a total crock! I've never heard of any professional athelete that uses their shoulders to hit coming back from a separation after 2 weeks.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 1, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse


"and save the Mcphee quotes also. He alot of good thing to say about Jagr also"

Great come back. You want to give me an example of a quote comparable to that one? Or do you just like throwing random arguments out there.

"look at his production-zero goals"

BUF - Craig River - 0 goals
COL - Joe Sakic - 2 goals
EDM - Ethan Moreau - 5 goals
NJD - Jamie Langenbrunner - 3 goals

That's four examples. And if you take the time to do the research I think you'll find that the average is right around 5 goals per Captain. So I'm not impressed with that argument.

And before I say this last one, let me be clear that I am not comparing the two, just trying to show that number of goals does not define leadership. Go look up Dale Hunter's stats friend. I think you'll be surprised what you see.

Chris Clark has never been a goal scorer and he never will be. His first couple of years were a direct result of him playing first line minutes when the Caps didn't have the skill they do now. He is, and forever will be, a 3rd line winger who forechecks, annoys and gets paid to score in and around the crease while being beat on by opposing defenders. Hard to do with a fractured bone....think Michael Nylander with a gimpy shoulder. Look at him now, healthy...back to game speed and producing.

Posted by: Yoshietree | December 1, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about that but goodness gracious sakes alive! Based on some posts here you would think that we were doing even WORSE than we were this time last season.

We're 1st in the SE, 3rd in the east and 11th in the league, WITH games in hand on many teams AND despite being riddled with injuries. Oh and, BTW, we have almost 3/4 of the season to go! Yeah - we're fine.

Posted by: Boo- | December 1, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

you can defend clarke all you want. Fact is, he is not a leader. period. and for all of you who think that this is better than last year, boy will you shocked when we don't win ten in a row and get help to win our division. And don't you dar compare Dale Hunter to Chris Clarke. Dale Hunter was a far better leader than this loser. Dale Hunter won a Stanley Cup and was a leader when he was here. Your hockey ignorance shows. Joe Sakic has a Stanley Cup, What has Clarke won? Nothing. If Calgary dumps you(A HOCKEY TOWN) then what does that tell you? If Clarke is such a good captain why can't he lead? you want quotes, here from the great Chris Clarke from just last week, after the stress fracture. While he was hurt this isd what he has to say. "This is way worse than being hurt," Clark said after practice at HP Pavilion, where the Capitals were thumped, 7-2, by the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks on Saturday. "I'm out there, I'm feeling pretty good, but pucks aren't going in." Cuz you are hurt and hiding the injury from your teammates. And another Clarkism,"I've felt great, I've been able to open up, I can do what I want," Clark said. "But I'm struggling to get the puck on my stick, get off a shot, everything. Things are not natural at this point." That's because you are hurt and you are not tellng anyone therefore hurting the team. It's hard to get other people going if you're not doing those things yourself," he said. "I'm saying in my head, 'It's me, too, so how can I say this?' In other words I CANNOT LEAD. When you're in a slump and not getting shots, that's a problem," Clark said. "When you're getting shots, something's going to go in eventually." Eventually. After my arm has healed I want my spot back inm the lineup. He is clearly listening to his agent in not reporting the injury to the team. So, where your Clarke jersey's proudly, he is our captain. and lets compare him to Joe Sakic(MVP) Dale Hunter(MVP). When Clarke wins a Stanley and cup and MVP you can compare him to those hall-of-famers. Until then Clarke is a dime a dozen. Don't show goals and then say you are not comparing becauwe you just did. Get you hockey right.

Posted by: ergoroc | December 1, 2008 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm in Boo's camp, we are fine. I believe Coach BB will get the guys straightened out on the road.

Columbus came out hitting and aggressive and our Caps struggled. It happens. It is early in the season and we are in better shape by far than at this point last year, in spite of the setbacks.

Right now, the worst thing about a loss is it brings in the Flyers-like fans that spout hate and garbage. If you have that much negativity about the Caps, I would hate to see how much it rules your lives.


Posted by: _Mark | December 1, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Also, Chris Clark (no e on the end) has displayed a great deal of courage as a Cap. I admire the guy and what he has gone through. Whether he is the teams leader is not decided by us. You can say he is not a leader and doubt his abilities, but what really matters is what they think of him in that locker room. God help us if the captaincy was determined in the same ridiculous way as the starters on the All Star teams.

Posted by: _Mark | December 1, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

@ jmu_capsgirl --

Getting back to Schultz, I agree that he is getting better every year, using his size to play a good positional game, using his stick to break up plays, and using his size and guts to block shots. I predicted that the Caps would miss him when he broke his hand, and I think they do indeed miss his steady play. Would I like to see him bulk up and play meaner in the crease, yes. For folks wondering when he'll emerge, he is young (only 22, and a career +17 in the NHL). Defensemen take years to develop nomrally, so he is ahead of schedule so far.

@ Boo! -- I agree, panic is just silly. Remember also that the Caps are also missing Green, Poti, and Erksine on the blueline. For as decimated the blueline is, this team is in good shape and will get better when the injured players start to come back. Semin will be back (cha-ching super talented goal scorer and becoming a great two-way player; led the league in goals and points before getting hurt); Clark will be back (yes, he will contribute, a true grit player); Federov will be back (awesome center and Ponce de Leon winner award this year). That level of talent cannot be replaced by rookies and expect the same results. Chill people.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 1, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Lets hope we see Green, Erskine and Semin back on the ice today.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 1, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Amen to that, Brother SA-Town!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 1, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the long awaited update on the WAPO Circus Fantasy Hockey League is upon us... I've waited until just the right time too, as yours truly is in 1st place. I love to gloat.

For those who have no life follow the link.

Posted by: JSchon | December 1, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I thought the reason we were posting here is because we have no life. If we follow that link does it multiply the no life effect?

Posted by: _Mark | December 1, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse


Two negatives make a positive? Right?

Posted by: JSchon | December 1, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse


Nice! That argument works.

Posted by: _Mark | December 1, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Actually I have to admit that Mason was SOLID that night. He is definitely going to be someone to watch down the line if he keeps playing that way

Posted by: lloydrj727 | December 1, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

These are our next 14 games, 7 home and 7 road games. I hope that we can get healthy by the BOS game, however, @MON would be an ok date as well. If we can manage 4 win out of the next 6, get healthy by MON we really take advantage of this soft upcoming schedule. FLA, NYI, TOR, OTT and STL are all lousy teams, 7 games vs them. We seem to have CAR's number. OV is out of his mind in MON. BUF is tough but they have come back to earth since their start. We have already beat the NYR. BOS and PHI are going to be great games.


My prediction...
9-4-1 = 19 points

Posted by: JSchon | December 1, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Next four games with regulars returning look very winnable, yeah baby

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | December 1, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I've been poking my head in on this topic, basically waiting for Tarik to provide some kind of update as to who might be back at Verizon tomorrow. At this point, given the injuries, and two west coast road trips, I will take a 13-8-3 record. Like many of you I believe the Caps need to get more wins on the road. They should have been able to pull out wins in Calgary and Phoenix in my opinion. At the same time, besides the Carolina come back at home there were 3 other games this season that are among the most exciting of the season. They were all road games. The comeback win in Pittsburg, the OT win in Dallas, and they OT loss where OV scored with 1 second left in NJ. They have shown the ability to put it together on the road. With the line-up we've had for the last 3 road games it is impossible to see how we match up, or begin to waive the white flag just because we have lost so many in a row on the road. As I said a post last week, if the young guys from Hershey can just play .500 hockey we will be fine. When the team becomes more healthy we can put together some wins. I have been a Caps fan for 20 years now, and now that Jose is playing solid in goal, I believe this is the best Caps team, bar none. As far as our Captain is concerned, I was disappointed to read that Clark is having a hard time talking one on one with team mates that are having issues because he is having issues. Leaders have to get beyond that. I may get blasted for this one but Dale Hunter was a horrible leader. He led from the penalty box. His cheap shot at the end of the playoff series against the New York Islanders series years back was embarrasing. It also earned him a 12 game suspension the following season. I cannot believe that his number is retired. It should be an embarrasment in itself that Hunter was given the gift of one of the penalty boxes from the old Capital Centre (moment of silence please).

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 1, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Actually Hunter's suspension was 21 games for his cheap shot against the New York Islanders Pierre Turgeon.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 1, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

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