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Caps 4, Blues 2

Simeon Varlamov was solid in his second NHL start and the Capitals were able to overcome a few lackadaisical stretches to overpower the Blues 4-2, for Washington's fifth straight victory. With the win the Caps tied their season best winning streak and improved to 13-1-1 at Verizon Center, which is the best home record in the Eastern Conference.

*The victory marked the first time since 1992-93 that the Capitals have recorded their 20th win before Jan. 1.

*Of Varlamov's 29 saves, perhaps the most noticeable came when he made a kick save to stop Keith Tkachuk on a breakaway with 5:43 remaining and keep the game at 4-2. Slava Malamud of Sport Express was kind enough to translate for Varlamov.

"I knew (Tkachuk) was going to deke," Varlamov said. "He's an older player and I knew when he made the first move I shouldn't go down so fast."

*Varlamov, whose father Alexander was in attendance last night, has stopped 61 of 64 shots through his first two games for a .953 save percentage, but is still seeking improvement.

"I need to be able to help my defense and play better," Varlamov said. "The other thing I need to work on is I need to get a hold of my emotions a little bit more. Right now, it's a bit difficult dealing with my nerves, but it's probably something that will pass with age."

*Viktor Kozlov recorded his first two-goal game since Jan. 21 and helped the Capitals break out of a bit of a slump in the second period when he knocked a rebound from a Boyd Gordon shot past Ben Bishop.

"It was very similar to the Islanders game I thought until we started to get some emotion with some hitting and with Viktor's goal," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "And (Tomas) Fleschmann's goal woke us up even more."

*Fleischmann tied his career high of 11 goals when he scored 40 seconds after Kozlov in the second period to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. It was a funny goal because Fleischmann stood completely alone for a few seconds in the middle slot and was still wide open when Eric Fehr fed him a pass.

"I was there off the face off," Fleischmann said. "(Dave Steckel) took the puck after the face off along the boards and (Fehr) just started a rotation in the corner. They dropped three guys on them and I was pretty much there waiting for their passes."

*The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third period was indeed on Boudreau for yelling at the referees after David Backes cross checked Alexander Semin in the small of his back to send Semin off the ice in what appeared to be agonizing pain.

Semin just missed 12 "games with a back injury," Boudreau said. "(The official) said it was a dive. I said: 'Well that's why he's in the dressing room.' And then he said: 'You've got two' and I said: 'OK I'll shut up.' It was that polite. I didn't use one curse word in the whole thing."

*Alex Ovechkin became the ninth Capital to record four straight 20-goal seasons tonight. The other Washington players to accomplish the feet are Peter Bondra (13 seasons), Mike Gartner (10), Mike Ridley (7), Dave Christian (6), Bob Carpenter (5), Bengt Gustafsson (5), Alan HAworth (5) and Michal Pivonka (4).

*The Capitals haven't lost a game when Ovechkin scores a power play goal since Dec. 17, 2007.

*Nicklas Backstrom now leads the team with 24 assists. He had a team high 55 last season.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 18, 2008; 11:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

GO BOUDREAU! YOU RAWK! I am very proud to have a coach who will stand up for his boys to that jackdaw Devorski and his cronies.

Go NICKY! 24 assists!!!

Go OVI! Go FLASH!!!

And for you Kozzy-haters... THBPPPT!

Posted by: irockthered | December 18, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Along with most Caps fans (I'm sure) I was holding my breath on the Tkachuk breakaway. What a great save! The Caps have some depth in the goaltender position.

Posted by: uncatim | December 18, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Backes is a donkey.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 18, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh - and dive my lilly-white be-hind. That was a FILTHY hit by a FILTHY player.

From the last thread:

FILTHY ROTTEN SONOFA...! David Backes is the filthiest player on the Blues' team. Here's what he's gotten so far this season alone, and he SHOULD have gotten a cross-checking penalty for that hit on Semin.

David Backes (#42) - RW (6'3", 216#)
- Boarding
- Boarding (maj)
- Fighting (maj) *
- Game misconduct *
- Hi-sticking *
- Holding
- Holding the Stick
- Hooking ***
- Interference **
- Misconduct (10 min)
- Roughing ******

* indicates a second (or third, or fourth...) incident of the same infraction.

CAN he be suspended for that? Fined? Something? ANYTHING?!

And - get this:

Blues coach Andy Murray lamented the opportunities his club gift-wrapped for Washington, a team with a penchant for pouncing on errors.

"We know they're a good and dangerous team. I didn't like some of the things they did to allow them to get scoring chances," he said.

Murry, you've got some nerve!

Posted by: irockthered | December 18, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

irockthered: Thanks for my favorite phrase of the day -- "that jackdaw Devorski and his cronies".

Posted by: uncatim | December 18, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@Steve_R - That, my friend, is an insult to donkeys everywhere. I call a spade a spade, and Backes is a filthy, rotten sonofabezelwort. I hope the NHL suspends him for the rest of the @#@#! season!!! Grr!

Posted by: irockthered | December 18, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I learned a new english word, lackadaisical, thanks Katie :D

So happy about Varlamov, the kid seems the real thing. I hope for more games with him as starter.

Doesn't look good for Semin and Green :( that really sucks cause we need them on Saturday.

Posted by: mauree | December 18, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

@uncatim - I couldn't call him the other word, so I went Shakespearean on his buttocks. ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 18, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

that's weird, seeing as his team injured two of our best players on complete non-calls. (three calls if you include the non-call trip and the non-call cross check on semin)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 18, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Send F-ing Three-or-more to South Carolina where he can ride a bus and let in soft goals!

Posted by: majiksea | December 18, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I was at the Penguins/Thrashers game tonight and I agree with Semin - Cindy is "nothing special" and he clearly shies away from contact (the way Deion Sanders used to avoid tackling). Malkin is a punk and skates all hunched over. While both got a lot of points tonight (hey, they were playing the Thrashers) neither have the energy or flair of AO. It's great to be a Caps fan!

Posted by: CAP-lanta | December 18, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I can see how the trip might have been a dive on Semin's part, but the crosscheck was absolutely legit, and that ref disrespected our team and our coach by not bothering to protect our players from injury, and making an offensively horrific call on our coach. How it can be acceptable to the league to have refs in the league that are risking the well being, and careers of the players is beyond me. I don't mind a bad call here or there, and to be honest I would have let the whole Semin thing go had this ref not disrespected our coach to that degree when Boudreau was being nothing but polite.

Posted by: dcfury | December 18, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered,

Backstrom also got a MASSIVE high elbow to the face behind the caps' goal in the 3rd. It was about as dirty as the hit(s) on Semin.

Posted by: jec4p | December 18, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Sid and Malkin are both amazing playmakers. they've got better vision on the ice than 99% of people playing in the nhl. they are both more "rounded" players than ovechkin, though neither have quite the shot alex has.

That being said, I wouldn't give ovechkin for both of them.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 18, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@dcfury

semin has never been known to dive, and he was already losing his balance before backes blade got caught in his skates. the whole incident was a joke, and a reflection on the horrible officiating that has been rampant all year. (though not quite as bad as last year's)

Posted by: richmondphil | December 18, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

From the last thread:
@saintex: THANK YOU!!!! I am tired of hearing fans boo this team. Give them a break already. They were riding a 4 game winning streak and tied again in the 2nd period today when the boos started. I just don't get it. They struggled on the PP, it happens. Hopefully Green and Semin won't be out too long but to expect them back by Saturday at 1pm is unrealistic. We're going to have to just beat Philly without them. It won't be easy, but we're gonna have to. Thanks for another fun night at Verizon Caps! Oh yeah, not sure if anyone else took note of OV's class move. He raced for an eventual icing call after Semin's injury. I know, I know, the league calls a penalty now if someone follows through with a check on a touch-up for icing, but OV held up completely even though everyone knows he wanted to drill the Blue through the glass. Great control great 8.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 18, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Finally home. Sheesh, I hate when it takes me two hours to get home. Especially after that.

Devorski is a $h!+head. There were three or four crappy non-calls, and that should have been crosschecking. The bench minor to Boudreau was ridiculous.

Anybody see whether Backes got put back on the ice after that? I know Brash was out there a whole lot, and Ovi was decking the crap out of everything in a blue and white sweater for the rest of the game. If not, I bet Murray held him out knowing that Backes was going to get his butt kicked for that.

I thought we were lazy for most of the first and part of the second, and started to pick it up in the latter half of the second. Most of the third was played on pure anger.

Oh, and on the not liking some of the things we did? Seeing as how your team started crap with our players and were so busy being buttmunches they missed the first goal? :) Plus, crosschecking? Glass houses, stones? Yeah, you get the picture. Go play in traffic.

Kozlov ... sorry, missed the end of the previous thread, but we wanted to trade him again? :) You were saying? :)

More Semin cutesiness. It made me want to smack him.

Varlamov was solid tonight, though he did have some positional issues that had the D not covered for him could have been bad. I caught him out of position with an open net two or three times and the D had him covered.

Hope our boys get better quickly - am worried about Semin.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 18, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

he was out of position because he just made a save. it IS the defense job to clear the puck of rebounds. no biggie. Varlamov was outstanding in net, again BOTH goals coming in only on deflections. this kid is looking really good for playing NA pro hockey in his first year.

i told you guys kozzie is solid.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 18, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Phil:
Actually, as much as I love Semin, he has embellished a time or two before, but I don't think he did on that hit tonight. I was there and, from my vantage point, it was real, it was cheap, it was dirty. Boo hiss. I hope he is OK.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 18, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

@saintex - I boo'd the refs. I hope that's acceptable. But seriously, I know what you mean. I've stopped booing the pp (but I will boo nylander just because its nylander and he's been playing like crap)

I loved the Ovie/Semin chants.

Posted by: goskinsgo | December 18, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone yelling at Devorski? The refs tonight were Leggo, who isn't too bad in my experience, and Kelly Sutherland, one of the worst in the business.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | December 18, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

re: Varlamov - Enh, he was out longer than I would have liked, like got a little lost. But man, the kid is disgustingly flexible and fast as a snake. Very, very impressive.

And I agree, our future in net is very secure.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 18, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

of course, all forwards are. I just meant comparatively to guys like crosby, dubinsky, and yes our other alex in the past.

He was already in the process of loosing his balance before the blade got caught. It's pretty obvious, he was flailing around way before the stick made contact. the cross check going uncalled is pretty puzzling, as that has nothing to do with the dive. oh well, I just hope semin can come back real soon. it seems like his whole career, hes going to be battling injuries....

Posted by: richmondphil | December 18, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was Devorski, my bad. Whoever they were, it was BAD. They need to watch those replays and be ashamed of themselves. Is there such a thing as league review?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 18, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

he just plays agrresive. I like it. it reminds me of Hasek, who I still say was a far better goaltender than brodeur. though i still love martin.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

If Semin's injury is anything serious, I would hope the ref would get some kind of repurcussion, public or not.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of officiating ... a couple other teams got the shaft from officials tonight:

Tampa Bay lost in a shootout to Colorado when the official incorrectly ruled that goalie Mike Smith threw his stick during a shootout attempt. Smith appeared to actually drop his stick during his scramble and made a tremendous blocker save.

Columbus had an overtime goal overruled in their game against Dallas. After review, Blue Jackets player Manny Malhotra was ruled to have kicked the puck into the net, even though Malhotra was crashing the net and appeared to jump to avoid Turco. When he landed the puck hit his skate and went in the net but there was no obvious kicking motion on the replay. Dallas won, 6-5, in a shootout.

It's one thing to miss a call. It's another thing to go to replay and completely botch it.

Posted by: Cerealman | December 19, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Just want to mention, the only Devorski on the ice tonight, as announced at the game was Greg, linesman. The ref we all hate tonight I believe is the same horrible one from the Isles game who couldn't call a fair game.

From 414, the toughest thing to take was the sheer magnitude of missed calls both ways. Starting in the 2nd, refs were letting the boys hack and slash as much as the wanted, which caused the escalation to the Semin incident. The refs failed both teams tonight and should be diciplined.

I should be happy that we've won 5 in a row, but this game left me feeling sick for what was allowed to happen on the ice. Yea for 43 pts, but I never like to see a game degenerate to what it became tonight.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 19, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

There are two Devorskis in stripes. One is a ref and one is a linesman. THe brother that is a linesman was working tonight's game. The Devorski referee was not.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | December 19, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Devorski's brother was one of the linesmen. I think that is why there was some confusion about who the refs were.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | December 19, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Some of you are obviously not reading the comments before posting. I said my bad, okay? Sheesh people.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

good to see Brash protecting our sskilled players oh wait he didnt do a thing what a waste of an enfircer

Posted by: wendel2 | December 19, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Part of me is almost beginning to wonder if the refs are deliberately ignoring dirty hits o Semin after his comments about Crosby?

Also, question - is there such a thing as league review? Can such a thing be requested?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

If you think Semin's not known to dive, I've got some beautiful swamplan...(ahem) waterfront property to sell you in Florida.

Posted by: keeef | December 19, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

@everyone who pointed this out (FFSEnough, FlyersSuck): I stand corrected. I did not realize there were two Devorskis out there. Thank you for the correction!

That said: whoever the referee in question is should be kicked in the keester and bounced across the ice on his head for his non-calling.

Even if Semin did take a dive - which I don't believe he tends to do (I'll verify records over the next several days, but I haven't seen a diving penalty on him in the first 100 games this season yet) - the followup cross-check was criminal, and Backes already has several "hard" penalty calls on his record in this season alone!

I'd believe Semin before I believed Backes on ANYTHING, given the two of them and their rap sheets, but that's just me.

-----

@richmondphil - which "he" are you referring to?

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

wendel2

"good to see Brash protecting our sskilled players oh wait he didnt do a thing what a waste of an enfircer"

If I wore a gambling man, I'd bet that The Donald is playing with an injured hand from his last fight in San Jose...he popped Shelley's helmet pretty good several times...I have nothing to back this up...and if he can't do his job he shouldn't be playing...but I'd still bet on that.

Posted by: Yoshietree | December 19, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

Yeah the only reason I said that I could see how that could be seen as a dive is because Semin has such a reputation for diving. Semin has taken several dives in his day, and will probably make a few more. Just because we love the guy doesn't mean we shouldn't hold him accountable. The crosscheck he received however was completely legit, and it was ridiculous that it wasn't called.

Posted by: dcfury | December 19, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

*Clarification - first 100 games played across the NHL. ;-) I wanted to know what we were getting into with the other teams, (patterns, etc.), so I've been working up a spreadsheet, one team per tab, listing players and their various penalties and the dates the penalties were incurred, since that information does not appear to be listed (in that form) anywhere I could find it...

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz

"Part of me is almost beginning to wonder if the refs are deliberately ignoring dirty hits o Semin after his comments about Crosby?"

You've been watching too many NBA games :)

Posted by: Yoshietree | December 19, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

irockthered

Care to share that?

Posted by: Yoshietree | December 19, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: Brash - It's possible, given the officiating tonight, that Boudreau told Brash NOT to drop the gloves. We didn't need him out on a game misconduct or something... or injured by trying to put his fist through some Blues guy's thick skull...!

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The refs sucked tonight. And I really couldn't see what happen to Semin because it happened right in front of the boards where I was sitting in 102. However, I did catch the replay and it appeared that he caught his chin along the boards. I'm glad BB let the refs have it.

Overall good effort by the boys tonight...with exception of the PP.

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!

Posted by: luvfades | December 19, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

For what its worth, Brash did want to go with someone and was close with Tkachuck who smartly backed down. But am also unclear why msg wasnt sent...only thing would be with the closeness of the game...not to put it in jeopardy?

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 19, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

irockthered

"It's possible, given the officiating tonight, that Boudreau told Brash NOT to drop the gloves."

If it wasn't for his lack of a fight since November I'd agree with you. But there have been several times that he was needed out there. Specifically everyone running into BJ over his last few games and the hit by Jackman on OV during the first (of the last two) games against the Isles.

Posted by: Yoshietree | December 19, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

@Yoshietree - Sure thing! E-mail me privately at irockthereed {at} gmail {dot} com, and I'll toss you the first part. I got through game #100 a couple of days ago, and haven't had time to get back to it yet, but I'm going to work on it some over the weekend.

It's really interesting to look at who dunnit... I may spend some time in the last couple of seasons' records as well, once I'm done catching up with this one... it's my curiosity getting the better of me again. ;-)

Re: Semin - As far as him diving or not, all I have to go on is official records in past games, and my own experience watching him. I haven't seen it, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been there. And, again, dive or no dive, that cross-check was positively brutal, and unnecessary.

Oh - right. Backes was just falling over and he "accidentally" took his stick in both hands to Semin's back. Riiiiiight.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

@wendel2

"good to see Brash protecting our sskilled players oh wait he didnt do a thing what a waste of an enfircer"

I see you missed the three shifts when Brash was out there checking the crap out of anyone he could get close to. I also suppose you missed Tkachuk trying to take Brash's head off, and then refusing Donald's offer to grow a pair and fight him at center ice. He did everything he could to get even, but no one would go with him, and to be honest I can't say that I blame them.

Posted by: dcfury | December 19, 2008 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with dcfury here. Brash was looking for a dance partner, and BB sent him over the boards a LOT between 12:00 and 15:00, and it seemed quite plain to me that BB was looking for blood as much as anyone else, simply in giving Brash that much time. It was obvious. It's just that none of the Blues had the balls to bite. Also, both Brash and Ovi were a pair of human wrecking balls after that check on Semin. They were destroying anyone they could get close to.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@Yoshietree - That is true, but with all the injuries, that could be a standing order. I wouldn't want to risk Brash being injured; if he was, it might take him longer to heal than some of the kids, given he's 36 years old... and we've already got one older Cap having recurring injury issues... we don't need two!

I've noticed that the Caps play a fairly clean game of hockey, comparitively - only 400 PIMs on record so far, and 6th fewest in the league, with only Toronto, Florida, Carolina and Detroit playing a cleaner game.

The Blues have 528 PIMs on record, and are 26th in the league (5th worst), with only Calgary, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Vancouver having more PIMs on record so far this season.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan: I think so, regarding the message not being sent - they didn't want to jeopardize the game with it being close enough and missing both Green and Semin.

However, I think the message did get sent, just not in the same way. When Brash or Ovi was out on the ice in the final minutes, they were crushing anything that would come within reach. Those two dished out some pretty good hits.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

@dcfury - Tkachuk is not a glove-dropper. He's only got one fighting major all season so far...

I did notice, however, that Cam Janssen was scratched tonight. He leads the Blues with TEN fighting majors this season!

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Semin didn't dive, but I invite the people that went at the game to watch that cross check again (they'll replay the game tomorrow at 11:30).

And yeah Brash was looking for blood but they didn't bite.

Anyhow, except the injuries it was a good game. Varly and Alzner continue to impress. Jurcina had a solid game and he had a couple of very nice hits. Ovi... well, he's OVI...

Two very precious points, and VC looking more and more like a fortress :)

Posted by: mauree | December 19, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Re: Tkachuk ... but although he isn't a glove-dropper, he's still a dirty rotten scoundrel. * indicates more than one penalty called for that infraction:

- Boarding
- Cross-checking
- Elbowing
- Fighting (maj)
- Hi-sticking *
- Holding the stick
- Hooking *
- Interference **
- Roughing *
- Slashing

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@mauree - is that 11:30 AM or PM, and what channel?

Dangit, I need a DVR!!!

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

@11:36PM

The line about Syd and Mal being more-rounded players than Ovechkin is getting old. It may be true in the traditional sense of what well-rounded means in hockey, but Ovechkin is obviously not a traditional player.

In addition to scoring, here are some of the characteristics that Syd and Mal aren't even close on:

1. he's one of the best body-checkers in the league, which to me translates into both an offensive and defensive threat. If you knock a guy off the puck and into another plane of existence, you're being defensive and offensive at the same time changing possession. Ovie does this EVERY night.

2. Although Ovie takes offensive risks with his moves and passes, he's willing to pay the price by out-skating someone else who steals the puck as the result of the risk he took with it. No one except Martin St. Louis has the ability to get back like that and break up a break-away that he helped give to the other team. It's cake-and-eat it, you get the higher scoring change by taking a risk, but you have a player willing to mitigate that risk with an unorthodox defensive play.

3. Just like Gretzky used to do after crossing the blue-line, Ovie often cuts hard parallel to the line, opening up ice as the defense tries to back-pedal before he unleashes an open shot from the point.

4. Who else in the game uses defensemen of the other team as a WEAPON, rather than an obstacle to get around. I swear, sometimes he prefers to have a defenseman from the other team in front of him instead of being wide-open so he can shoot between his legs and never let the other goaltender see it coming.

5. When his own net is empty, he goes into goaltender position, and blocks shots with his hands as if he had Varlomov's gear on.

6. Ovechkin commands far greater respect than Syd and Malkin from his teammates in that he RARELY complains to the refs, follows through on ALL hits, stand up for his teammates,

7. When a team actually decides to rough him up (Montreal 4-goal game with broken nose and slash, etc.), it only makes him STRONGER. Other teams aren't even allowed to piss him off this way, as it could end up making him give them a hatter or more in return.

8. He's the only player in the league that makes empty-netters look special ;)

So please let's stop talking about him not being as well-rounded. If you're putting particular parameters around that definition, fine, but in terms of overall impact to his team and in the game, we need to start thinking about what "well-rounded" means differently, because he's a different player than the rest in the league (including syd and Malkin)and has broken the mold with the first hit he laid out against Columbus back in October of 2005.

Pete.

Posted by: muskratinator | December 19, 2008 1:08 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

Thanks...I agree to a point. Would have still liked Brash to pummel someone to send a message. By not doing so, does it send a message that it is ok to run our players? Realize game was in balance but maybe with less than one minute...but I digress...I sound like a philthy fan looking for blood. My apologies. Torn though with protecting our players with our enforcer.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 19, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

@mauree
Can you please tell the knuckleheads beside my seats your comments about Karl...they seem to think if one does not pummel someone they are not worth their salt. Note their absolute HATE for Schultz...hence why I hate sitting next to them.

Plus the fact they never stand or cheer on a goal...Caps fans? NOT! Losers? Yes

Posted by: ralCapsFan | December 19, 2008 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Schultz hit someone sometimes to take them off the puck, but as long as they keep the puck out of Theodore/Varlamov/Johnson's crease and don't give it away to the other team, I'm pretty happy. My philosophy is "keep everything in your toolbox and do what works and is legal".

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

No, I agree. I'd've liked to see him lay Backes out, bu I don't think I saw Backes in the final minutes (any confirmation?). I wonder if Murray deliberately pulled him knowing that if Brash caught him out there he was gonna dance and it was gonna be ugly for Backes.

Also, I don't know about you guys ... but there was a comment somewhere (I think it was on Japers' Rink) about how the Blues are a pretty boring team, and they don't have detestable or flashy players? Dunno about you, but I think that's changed. The Caps are going to be looking for blood the next time they play this team.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

@musk

i don't know why you posted that whole thing, when a) you agree with the comment and b) i said i'd take ovechkin over both of them any day.

and like it or not, ovechkin does a lot of charging. i am afraid he's going to break his neck one day.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

the he i was referring to was Varlamov, in reference to my comments on hasek.

and about my comments about semin diving, i said in comparison to guys like crosby, dubisnky, ovechkin, etc.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 1:36 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Sorry for the confusion, I was actually responding to your 11:34 post, not the 11:36 (typo).

So, no, I was not agreeing with you. You were saying that Syd and Malkin are more rounded players than Ovechkin. That's why I posted the response to the contrary.

Pete.

Posted by: muskratinator | December 19, 2008 1:43 AM | Report abuse

and you said you agree in the traditional sense. that is why i put quotations around rounded.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

There seems to be a lack of appreciation for the beautiful plays. To call Semin or Nylander's handling of the puck "cute" is to show a lack of understanding of their skill. They are not trying to be fancy or cute, they just have extreme confidence on their ability, and prefer to make a good play as oppossed to a lucky shot on the dark.

As for the hit on Semin. I don't think it was done with malicious intent, nevertheless hard enough to hurt him. Anyone who has had back problems can empathize with Semin.

To those people who thought for even a moment that Semin was diving, I can only say, you must not have seen the way he landed on his knee. There is no way anyone would dive in a manner that could cause any type of injury to himself.

Posted by: opita | December 19, 2008 2:07 AM | Report abuse

cross-checking someone while they are trying to get up IS malicious.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse

and the dive was in reference to the trip, not the cross check. i still say that he was already in the process of falling. watch the replay, he was flailing about anyway, hardly a dive.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Backes should be suspended for the hit on Semin. It was malicious and it appeared to be a deliberate attempt to injure. I hope the Caps front office pursues the matter.

Posted by: croftonpost | December 19, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else take note of Joe B's comment ( At 13:35 of the 1st period ) regarding why the team's home attendance has increased 35% this year? He said, "It's amazing what winning, and winning in a "Pretty manner" will do for you." Well, unwittingly he certainly said something quite profound.
As I watched Sasha Semin writhe in pain after being mugged along the boards, I grew increasingly ANGRY when NO ONE stood up for Semin. NO ONE GOT PISSED! NO ONE PUNCHED ANYONE IN THE FACE! Yeah, eventually Ov made an appearance. And, that's about all he did too. Well, THAT'S the Caps' Achilles Hell. That's their fatal flaw. There're way too many pacifists ( Wimps ) on this team. WAY too many. And, until George corrects the problem, there;ll be no Stanley Cup banners on display at The Phone Booth. Period!

Posted by: Puckguru | December 19, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I guess having the least PIMs per game avg didn't work so well for Detroit last season either. Oh, wait...

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | December 19, 2008 4:08 AM | Report abuse

@Puckguru: You didn't see the Caps start hitting more after that happened? I think they definitely were angry and looking for payback but they were disciplined to know if they punched someone the Blues would get a PP and the game could change (it was still 4-2.) I definitely saw them get really angry but I'm happy they maintained their composure. Hey, Brash almost got into a fight, but thank God he thought again. :) o well, that's just my opinion.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 6:20 AM | Report abuse

@opita - I think the hit on Semin was malicious, and I've mentioned several times above why. The player involved (Backes) is a known dirty hitter. Anybody with not one but TWO boarding majors this early in the season? I'd label him dirty.

There's no way that particular incident was a dive. You do NOT dive in such a way that you hurt yourself, and did you see the way Semin's head snapped back? From the angle at which I saw the initial hit, it looked like he got slammed chin-first into the boards, HARD. He could'a broken his neck! That did NOT look like a clean hit, and the replay proved it.

Bad officiating on that one. Backes should have had a penalty. Cross-checking at a bare minimum.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216: No, he didn't think again. He was looking. Tkachuk chickened out and Brash wasn't interested in drawing an instigator - the game was still up for grabs.

No, the team did everything they could without drawing a penalty, and the refereeing was so horrible anyway that I can understand why they wouldn't want to do that.

MetalCapsFan is right. You don't have to play dirty to win. Detroit is a living example of that.

I also hope the Caps front office pursues this, and considering how many times Semin has been brutally and dirty-hit without being called since he made those remarks about Crosby, I wonder if the integrity of the refs can be called into question when it comes to him.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

There is too much here to read so if it has been said already I’m sorry. That wasn’t that bad of a no-call on Semin, he dove on the first hit and that crosscheck wasn’t that bad. Semin also has the reputation of diving or at least not being able to take a hit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Semin fan, but I think the ref did not call the crosscheck because how much he flopped on the first hit. I remember during his draft the announcer was telling a story when all the scouts were watching a Canada/Russia game. While in the stands a woman tripped going up the stairs and one of the scouts said that must be Semin’s mom.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 19, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Nobody had a problem with Nylander's play last night? Or for that matter, the majority of his time since returning from injury last season. The guy's a skating turnover (especially last night) and pretty soon it's going to cost us a game or two. Sure, the guy can carve circles in the ice and hold the puck for a while, but he often times is too late spotting a cutter or just misses them and his shot hasn't had any bite since he came back.

I used to think Kozlov and Jurcina were 1-2 in turnovers, especially in our zone, but Nylander has to be pushing them for the belt.

That being said, I'm not trying to rain on any parades. It's great to have a winner and after so many years of having a great scorer (Bondra) and a solid keeper (Kolzig) and not much else, it's nice to have an entire team of hard-working, superbly skilled players selling out every night. I'm just thinking of ways they could be better and one way would be for BB to have a talk with Nyles and figure out what's wrong with him and maybe even sit him down for a bit.

Posted by: stulaloyd | December 19, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

@ Blahblahblah73:

Did you even watch the indoor sporting eventing game?! The hit wasn't that bad?! Seriously, dude. Seriously?!

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 19, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

'guru, if the Caps start losing their heads at every cheap shot--in December!--how would you, as an opposing coach, play them in March? Or May? Last night's slime is an Easthampton clambake compared to what the Caps will see tomorrow in Philthy, and there's no W for 'looked toughest in the sin bin'.
Sissy Red Wings never win anything. Got no heart I guess.

Posted by: redlineblue | December 19, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

saitex and others going on about booing the Caps and how we should "grow up,"-
Guess what- I paid about $125 each for 2 tix, I dont expect a win, I dont expect a goal on every PP, I dont expect ANYTHING other than the players have to give it 100%.
Thats it. Thats all. And if there are occasions, at least twice last night, where the team is loafing, moving at half speed, not even TAKING A SHOT during apower play, (and no, it wasnt because of good D on St. Louis), you better believe that I and thousands more will boo- and coach Boudreau agreed.
You think just because "it's the Caps!!" that they can mail it in with a 2-goal lead? Maybe you and others should see the game live and youd have a whole new perspective.

Posted by: peabody2 | December 19, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I saw the hit several times and he flopped on the initial hit, the reason the second wasn't called. He just got caught in the right spot.

Posted by: Blahblahblah73 | December 19, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

peabody2: Take your $125 and bandwagon attitude to the Wizards games. The real fans are there every chance we get. If not STH, we make it to more than 4 games a year to pick up a bobblehead. Before last night the PP had been on a tear. They did end up going 1 for 5, and if you can maintain a 20% success rate on the PP it is condsidered effective. That would put them at 10th in the league if it was 20% effective. However the Caps are 6th in the league at 23.2%.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 19, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Oops, $250 Peabody2. Still doesn't mean you're not a bandwagon fan. If they weren't winning you wouldn't even be there so keep your "100%" comments to yourself. You have no idea what it takes to maintain the ability to play in the NHL. These guys are at the rink now, sore as hell, and getting ready for another game that starts in 27 hours.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 19, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"fanohock" I've been a STH since 2000, how many games have you seen? let me guess, "bandwagon" is one of your favorite words- why dont YOU take your "my team does no wrong anytime anywhere" attitude to see the Wizards. Dont forget to bring your slide rule and calculator and let the folks know that making 1 of 2 free throws is statistically better than the odds of scoring on a PP blah blah blah.
What Im talking about is probably something you'll learn about when you get older and can discuss the game intelligently, and not need to call those who disagree with you "bandwagoners."
Back to the subject- even a newbie fan, like my 12-year-old daughter, can tell the difference between a player who is tired and a player who isnt giving it 100% and just standing around. And Boudreau said something like "I thought we were still playing Islanders for awhile there", (meaning, Caps loafing almost cost them the game there.)Finally "fanohock" when you say' You have no idea what it takes to play in the NHL," spare me, thats an old excuse for guys like you who cant come up with something better. If Theodore lets in 8 goals on 15 shots youll say, "you dont have any idea how hard it is to stop a shot." Give me a break.

Posted by: peabody2 | December 19, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

TEB: Please stop following the Post's style book and quote the players verbatim when using other players' nicknames. It'd be fun to learn them. Besides, soon enough video is going to take over so you might as well start now. Thanks for the great coverage.

"I was there off the face off," Fleischmann said. "(Dave Steckel) took the puck after the face off along the boards and (Fehr) just started a rotation in the corner.

Posted by: sjshanno | December 19, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

It just blows my mind, all of the EXCUSES for these cats NOT BEING MEN!! If you injure one of my boys, know for a fact that I'M MOST DEFINITELY GOING TO HURT TWO OF YOURS. That's called, "Survival." It's the law of the jungle. There're way too many wimps on this board. Man up! Go find your balls.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 19, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

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