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Carlson's sleepy, but ready

With less than eight hours to go before his NHL debut, defenseman John Carlson stood in the dressing room at KCI this morning and joked about how he didn't get much sleep last night. But don't worry he said with a big smile, his relative lack of shut-eye won't be an issue on home ice tonight against the Montreal Canadiens.

"I'll try to get as much as I can today," the 19 year old said when asked if he planned to squeeze in a nap. "I'm just happy right now, but I'm sure I'll be nervous. I just want to go out there and play with confidence."

Carlson will be paired with Tom Poti, the most senior of the Caps' blueliners. Carlson, who grew up in New Jersey, said his father Richard, mother Angela and older brother Andrew will be in attendance.

"I always believed that [veterans] are a steadying influence," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the decision to put him with Poti. "You get on the bench and instead of panicking together, one guy can say, 'Okay, calm it down, play the game.' ... We didn't bring him up here to play four minutes."

Boudreau said the Caps also reached out to Karl Alzner, the defenseman most would have expected to get the call before Carlson. The Caps, as you know, are right up against the salary cap ceiling, and Alzner has a significantly higher cap number than Carlson.

"We talked to him," Boudreau said. "We wanted him to understand why things are the way they are. We think Karl is a great defenseman, and he's doing a tremendous job biding his time. His time is going to come. We didn't want to dis him by calling up John, and him thinking, 'What? Am I not playing good enough?'"

Asked what would have happened if money had not been a factor, Boudreau said, "Quite frankly, we probably have looked to the more experienced guy [Alzner]."

The goaltending situation, meanwhile, remains a bit murky. Based on the morning skate, Semyon Varlamov looks like he will get the start tonight since he came off the ice first. But it's unclear whether Jose Theodore, who practiced again today, will be ready to play in the next few games. If he's not, Michal Neuvirth could get a start.

"There's a possibility that it's going to happen," Boudreau said about Neuvirth getting a start. "We're still toying with the idea."

Asked if Jose was going to travel with the team on the upcoming road trip, Boudreau said, "Yeah." Asked if all three goalies are going to travel, he said, "Not necessarily. We might send one home after today's game."

This much, though, is clear: defenseman Shaone Morrisonn (head) and Milan Jurcina (groin), as well as forwards Alexander Semin (wrist) and Boyd Gordon (back) are out tonight.

Morrisonn could be back Saturday in Toronto, Boudreau said. Jurcina, on the other hand, could return Monday. Both skated this morning and reported progress.

"It wasn't that long," Morrisonn said of getting knocked out in New York when he collided with Brian Boyle. "It was kind of funny how it happened. I remember stepping up and hitting the guy and after that I don't know what happened. I think my head was too low. He's a big guy, he's taller than me. I think I hit his helmet or his shoulder."

Despite losing consciousness momentarily, he didn't get off the ice immediately.

"I couldn't get right off because the puck was still in our end," he said. "I felt like my balance wasn't there."

Boudreau said: "I don't even think it's classified as [a concussion]. Those things are so dangerous when you get a little knocked out. We're probably being overly cautious. But we've got the numbers to be overly cautious with as far as the number of defensemen we have."

Semin and Gordon did not skate this morning, though, and Boudreau said he didn't know if either will make the road trip.

"I'll assume that they're not playing on the weekend," he said. "But they could play Monday."

Although Boudreau doesn't show his lines or pairings during the morning skate, things should look something like this tonight:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Fleischmann
Laich-Morrison-Clark
Steckel-Perreault-Fehr
Sloan-Beagle-Bradley

Defense
Schultz-Green
Poti-Carlson
Erskine-Pothier

One final note: Brendan Morrison and Shaone Morrisonn are both growing mustaches for "Movember," a charity to increase awareness of mens' health issues.

"It's for the month of Movember," Shaone Morrisonn said. "Our nicknames are Mo. I'm Mo No. 1 because of been around here longer."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 20, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
 
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Next: Neuvirth to start vs. Montreal

Comments

lets go CAPS

Posted by: doughless | November 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Guys...check out hockeybuzz....I know its pure speculation but with all the Semin talk...it appears the Oilers are interested and putting together a package.

I hope we keep Sasha.....

Posted by: OVIHtrick8 | November 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's go Caps and MOstaches!

Posted by: yosemite_sam | November 20, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Hockeybuzz? Hockeybuzz is not a reputable news source. :-p

I want pictures of the 'staches!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to the Caps for talking the situation over with Alzner. In my post yesterday I was not so much concerned about Alzner developing an "attitude" about the Carlson promotion (everything that I've read indicates that Alzner is a good guy who is committed to getting better as a player) but to impacts on his confidence. I think Alzner's skills are less likely to be observed and therefore appreciated by fans than Carlson's, but both are excellent players. Alzner had the same + 14 at Hershey as Carlson, with a game winning goal in his last game.

Posted by: zmega | November 20, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

i'm sleepy but ready too and i wont get to take a nap today!!

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Steckel on the wing?

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 20, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Oilers have made a huge offer for a guy who is 1) hurt and 2) an FA next year. Um, sure.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 20, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about hockeybuzz, but I've had a nagging worry at the very back of addled brain that Semin had an MRI to prove no structural damage and is not playing in order not to tweak the wrist anymore because he's being looked at. I am a Semin supporter and do not like this rumor. Please be false!

Posted by: Steakum | November 20, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe BB thinks Perreault can helf Stecks get his first goal. He gave Clark a spark, Sloan scored on his line, and so has Fehr. Stecks has played awesome this season even though he hasn't scored. Ironically enough IMO he has shown improvement in his hands and overall skill this season but can't seem to pot one. He brings a lot to them team anyway.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 20, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Steckel will still take faceoffs, but clearly he is less creative with the puck than Perrault, who may become a 2nd line C at some point for us.

Posted by: JSchon | November 20, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about hockeybuzz, but I've had a nagging worry at the very back of addled brain that Semin had an MRI to prove no structural damage and is not playing in order not to tweak the wrist anymore because he's being looked at. I am a Semin supporter and do not like this rumor. Please be false!

Posted by: Steakum | November 20, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Please don't worry - if hockeybuzz had even an iota of credibility, with all they've written about it, Nylander would be in Russia right now!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | November 20, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

One thing Carlson has against him is that he is from Jersey.

Lets hope he can overcome that aspect of his life...

Posted by: SA-Town | November 20, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Why are people here still giving hockeybuzz the benefit of their traffic? Puh-leeze.

Posted by: snakegriffin | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsGirl, well by that standard Tarik would fail too, but I think we'll give everyone a pass on the Nylander situation. Hockeybuzz now reporting that Nylander and Semin to the Islanders for a bucket of pucks. jk.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsGirl, well by that standard Tarik would fail too, but I think we'll give everyone a pass on the Nylander situation. Hockeybuzz now reporting that Nylander and Semin to the Islanders for a bucket of pucks. jk.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I just click on team by team at this link because it allows you to quickly identify pending UFAs who might be available.

http://www.nhlnumbers.com/

Didn't we have Jason Doig once? You think he's better than Erskine or Jurcina? I never thought he was that tough to be the kind of guy to whom Barnaby was referring.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

i was kidding about Doig. He was awful. He made two good plays in his career and they both involved Erica Lindress

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

TRADING SEMIN: It only makes sense if GMGM knows there is no way the capitals and Semin will agree on a new contract.

concussion:
Boudreau said: "I don't even think it's classified as [a concussion]. Those things are so dangerous when you get a little knocked out. We're probably being overly cautious. But we've got the numbers to be overly cautious with as far as the number of defensemen we have."

If you are out at all-it is a concussion. SMO needs to take it very seriously. I played sports for many years and had many instances of 'bell being rung'. Last time I had my head examined(ha ha), the neurologists asked if I had every had a concussion. I said you mean out cold(1) or just fuzzy(12+). Anyway, I am in my late thirties suffer from headeches and vertigo from having to many kabongs and not stopping to recover. SMO take it seriously.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

You have to think if Perreault can maintain this kind of play he is penciled in as 2nd center next season. He's been successful at every level so there's no reason to believe he is a flash in the pan. Also, BMo came here for 1.5mil to re-establish himself as a producer. So far it has been a success for him and the Caps. Having said that he will ask for much more next season, a lot more than Perreault will be paid. Our 3rd line center will probably be our young Swede named Marcus Johannson who's progressing nicely and since he is considered a strong (compared to Zetterberg by experts) two way forward, he'd be perfect for a shutdown line that has the ability to score.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 20, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

On Semin -

I think he would rather go back to the KHL then not play with Ovie...

Thats just me though......

Posted by: SA-Town | November 20, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm putting the entire Oiler organization in the Doofus Brigade as Fox Company just for being rumored to be after Semin. He can't leave!

Who are they offering?

As for Carlson - please, someone on the Caps, get him a better nickname than "Carly." Carly? Geezoopeets, you gotta be kidding. Everytime I see him on the ice tonight I'll start picuring Carly Simon and that giant mouth of hers.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather GMGM focus on securing backstrom first, then Green...then Sasha...I don't think we need him as badly as some are making it out. It will be highly unlikely that we keep all three. Semin is my third pick.

Posted by: capscoach | November 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought Carlsons nickname was lawnboy

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

SA-town: Yes, I have speculated that if Semin doesn't sign long-term with the Caps, right at about $6-6.2M, his best path is one year in the KHL, after which time he can return to the NHL July 1st, 2011 as an UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT.

They better get the contract filled out and stick the pen in his hands.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

At the pre-game chalk talk last week, we asked Ted about signing Semin and Backstrom and he insisted he was going to sign them both to long-term deals.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | November 20, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

In hockey you should have a mix of skilled guys, mix it up guys, goonish guys, and complete guys.

Skill guys
Semin/Flash/Green/Perreault/Backstrom
Mix it up guys
Clark/Laich/Bradley/Knuble/Beagle
Goonish
Erskine
Complete
Ovi

I'm just not understanding why some people want certain players to be something they're not, never were, never will be.

Posted by: JSchon | November 20, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

thats not altogether accurate. The ideal scenario is to have your skill players play with a certain degree of grit. Not necessarily Bradley-level grit but you need your skill players to compete hard. On this team I can safely say that the skill players' work ethic leaves something to be desired. I don't include Perrault in that mix, I think he competes hard enough.

As to why would you want all your players to mix it up -- why not? When the Ducks won, look at their top 6 forwards ? Andy McDonald, Getzlaf, Penner, Perry, Kunitz. You don't get grittier than that. The only non-physical player was Selanne. Their 2 lines had more grit than our bottom 2 lines. Combine that with the best checking line in the NHL (Niedermayer, Pahlson, Moen), and the toughest 4th line in hockey (Parros, Thornton, May) and add in 5 physical defensemen and that goes to show you can win a Cup without having topshelf forward talent like Semin, Ovechkin and Malkin.

So when you do have topshelf talent like we do, if the top 2 lines rely too much on finesse and not enough grit, you run into issues where another team's work ethic negates your skill advantage.

On defense, if Mike Green played upto his potential and we replaced Poti with a real top 4 player, I think we'd be fine.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Tominfl1,

My kids watch this teenybopper show on Nick called iCarly, when I heard that nickname all I can picture is the little 13 year old girl that plays Carly in that show.....you are right, that can not stick with Carlson or I will picture him skating around in a skirt throwing daisies instead of Green!

Posted by: PhilR | November 20, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Alzner had the same + 14 at Hershey as Carlson, with a game winning goal in his last game.

Posted by: zmega | November 20, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

thats because they were paired together. Carlson from what I can see automatically makes his defensive partner look better. Alzner is a step behind in that regard. I'm glad Carlito is here and Alz is still down at the farm where he belongs. Haven't given up on Alzner but he hasn't proven to me that he really deserves a shot at this roster.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

We could always call Carlson "JC" - but somehow, I don't think he's THAT good!

;-)

./~ Hey, JC! JC, you're all right by me, zanna-ho, zanna-hey, Superstaaaar! ./~

*ahem* Sorry.

Carly though...? Really???

Gotta come up with something better than THAT!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

lawnboy is Finley.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry: I had Carly mixed up with Finley.

PhilR: would that make Poti or Woods Spencer?

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Backs is the most important person to secure. Green and Semin are whatever. It woudl be nice to have them, but they aren't great at their positions. Greens maybe an avg defender who has a knack for scoring which is helpful and Semin rarely brings his A game and takes dumb penalties.

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | November 20, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

If anyone would be nicknamed lawnboy it would be Finley. He's the one that got busted shotputting a lawn mower.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 20, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You have to think if Perreault can maintain this kind of play he is penciled in as 2nd center next season.
----------------------------------------

we'll see how his body holds up over the grind of an nhl season against bigger better competition. He's still a smaller guy but he's a sparkplug and he's pretty fearless. Not many smaller players can play in traffic and still hold up at this level (unless your name is Ryan Callahan).

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: Wayne Gretzky has 8 Harts and won 4 Cups and I don't think he had an ounce of grit.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek,

That would be Finley.

capscoach,

Green? He's under contract for a couple of more years....

Posted by: Steve_R | November 20, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@ cadlecreek1

No, Finley is lawnboy :)

Posted by: OverTheBoards | November 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I thought Carlsons nickname was lawnboy

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 12:52 PM |

I think you're thinking of Joe "The Lawnmower Man" Finley.

Also, I recall reading a while back (maybe a month ago?) that Semin's contract negotiations were going nowhere- at best. Don't have a link right now, but pretty sure it was on CI. I'll try to search around for it.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Backs is the most important person to secure. Green and Semin are whatever. It woudl be nice to have them, but they aren't great at their positions. Greens maybe an avg defender who has a knack for scoring which is helpful and Semin rarely brings his A game and takes dumb penalties.

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | November 20, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Semin and Green are examples of what happens when a team coddles its stars and doesn't demand better balanced play. I think Green would have already been a better balanced player had he played in a different org. I think his defensive play and work ethic would have been better but his offensive #s would have been less. Which is a tradeoff I'd be willing to make depending on his offensive #s. I'd take 20 less points a year if he shored up his defensive play and grit.

Semin is a harder call to make. Its arguable that the most success he'd ever have is with the Caps. His connection with Ovechkin and playing for an offensive-minded coach like Boudreau. Semin's personality/character would never fit in with a Hitchcock type.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Unleash_the_Caps: Your new name is "Sarge."

Welcome to the Brigade, soldier.

We'll put capsfan01 in your squad!

Drop down and gimme twenty!

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Carly nickname isn't horribly original, but really, how often do we hear any of these yelled out in the stands:

Brooksy
Clarkie
Greenie
Ovi
Varly

I don't think we should pick on JC too much.

Posted by: saintex | November 20, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: Wayne Gretzky has 8 Harts and won 4 Cups and I don't think he had an ounce of grit.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

nope that's totally false... Mike Keenan of all people said Gretzky played every shift like it was his last.

just because he was a physical player, doesn't mean he had no grit

Posted by: joek443 | November 20, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I meant just because he wasn't a physical player

Posted by: joek443 | November 20, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4612328&name=lebrun_pierre

Oct. 31st, 2009:
"I don't think Backstrom will be an issue. But I'm hearing things aren't going great on the Semin front."

FWIW

Posted by: Fro_ | November 20, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1 - I was thinking the same thing. I need a job that allows for pre-game naps.

Posted by: superpaqman | November 20, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: Wayne Gretzky has 8 Harts and won 4 Cups and I don't think he had an ounce of grit.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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

the Oilers were also the toughest team in hockey for many yrs. We're not. So for us its harder to have 4 or 5 forwards and a couple of defensemen who offer a high imbalance of skill to grit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

piggybacking on Joe's point, while I disagree that Gretz had grit, his point is still valid. You take a player like Perrault who isn't physical but still is gritty. I don't think the Caps on paper are a completely soft team. I think our team concept contributes to a lack of overall team grit

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

joek443: Well, if you look up grit in the dictionary, it says "sandlike particles." Gretzky never hit people. He had mental and physical toughness but not grit. cstanton though makes the valid point that the team had plenty of grit w/o him.

cstanton: btw, that post above of yours about Semin and Green being "coddled" has the draft board examining your status. If I were you, I'd relent while I still had the chance.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

i find the green comments interesting. i think the keys to remember about him are (a) he just turned 24 years old, (b) he's only in his third full season w/ the big club (c) he played 68 games last year, his second full season in the nhl, and was nominated for the norris trophy.

he's an offensive defenseman. clearly his offensive skills are going to outweigh his defensive abilities at this stage of his career. and yes, he plays in an offensive system which has probably resulted in slower defensive development then if he played in new jersey or columbus.

i'm guessing he also may have some maturity issues dealing with the sudden stardom, cash and access it provides him in the big city. chances are pretty good he'll get past that as he grows up.

he's here to stay so i think folks are going to have to deal with his growing pains along with the rest of the team. personally, i think his defensive play has improved. but like some of the other high skill guys on this team, he has moments where he is trying to make the slick play instead of the right play...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

One doesn't have some grit. You either have grit, or you don't.

Posted by: snakegriffin | November 20, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_ - Pierre LeBrun did not indicate where he "heard" things weren't going well on the Semin front. He did not list his source, even as "an unnamed source from within the Capitals' organization." Therefore, WIW = a big fat nil in by book. He's a talking head trying and stir up controversy where there may or may not be any.

*I* heard Semin had been taking bongo lessons from Ricky Riccardo, too, but you never can tell what's true...

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

btw...shhhh...hear that sound? What, you don't hear it?

Of course you don't, it's the sound of all the people who two weeks ago were saying Varly should go back to Hershey.

Now they're...quiet.

Maybe they all got inducted into the Brigade as Company V and they are off now on maneuvers.

Sound off, one two!
Sound off, three four!
With Varly in the Habs don't score!

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Perreault might be the centering the line but Stecks better be taking those faceoffs.

Posted by: butcherbaker | November 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - You better drink an extra bottle of your SPECIAL red wine tonight to make up for that gargantuan jinxazoidal comment you just made!!!

Yes, that is a new word. If Varly gets pulled and the final score is 16-3 Habs, I am blaming YOU!!!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

*I* heard Semin had been taking bongo lessons from Ricky Riccardo, too, but you never can tell what's true...

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:26 PM

Ricky was watching film of the Semin-Staal epic.

"Hey Sasha! You got some splanin' to do! Like that pink shirt!"

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1 - Seconded. Well said.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

irock: If the final score is 16-3, the question will be who on the Caps kicked our field goal.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

*I* heard Semin had been taking bongo lessons from Ricky Riccardo, too, but you never can tell what's true...

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:26 PM |

Well he certainly wasn't enrolled in the Brashear School of Bongo-ing :)

And the fact that Matt Bradley's favorite band is Pearl Jam, makes him the #1 Capital.

Posted by: Fro_ | November 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm putting the entire Oiler organization in the Doofus Brigade as Fox Company just for being rumored to be after Semin. He can't leave!

-------------------------------------
@Tominfl1, keep it up and pretty soon you will have a Division

Posted by: Redwolf1 | November 20, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - The shirt was white. His skin was pink and sweaty. That's the story, and I'm sticking to it.

Like that shirt was sticking to Sasha... mrrowr!

Jeez, someone smack me before I turn into a puck bunny!!!

Oh - and if you want pink shirts... remind me to post a link to a photo I snapped of Fleischmann on his conditioning stint debut this year. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

RE: Semin - last year or 2 years ago espn listed Semin as one of the top 20 players others least wanted on their team because of the way he didn't back up his team mates.

I think that has changed a bit, but his Christmas Storeyesque slap-fight from last year was funny.

However, when he turns it on like he did in the game against the isles the other night, he can be impressive. I am not sure how BB can get him to bring 100% every night though. When he does not bring 100% his contribution is noticeably down. Hate to lose him, but sometimes adjustments must be made. Anyone know who is agent is?

Posted by: mobileclem | November 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It's worth noting, again, that last year, for every 60 mins on ice in ES situation, Mike Green was on the ice for the exact same number of other team goals (2.15 per 60 mins) as Lidstrom and Chara. Meanwhile, the Caps scored more 5-on-5 with Green on ice than Wings or B's with the others.

The other night he made two beautiful primary assists. The Brigade members ignore this to concentrate on the giveaway. His problem is he skates effortlessly and doesn't look like he's trying. Like if Steve McQueen had been a hockey player. Just plain cool.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Ovechkin! He does everything else, right? ;-)

Maybe the Redskins should put him out there for a play or three...

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: btw, that post above of yours about Semin and Green being "coddled" has the draft board examining your status. If I were you, I'd relent while I still had the chance.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

never relent! lol

when I say coddled, you know what I mean. As long as they put up points, everything else they do gets overlooked. That's not a prime way to run a team. Thats what the Caps did with Gonchar when he started scoring points and said goodbye to grit and defense.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't it make sense for the following:
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Clark
Laich-Morrison-Fleischmann
Beagle Steckel-Fehr
Sloan-Perreault-Bradley
It doesn't make sense to bring up Beagle instead of wing like Gordon

Posted by: psugolf | November 20, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 - Again, well said about Green.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

he's an offensive defenseman. clearly his offensive skills are going to outweigh his defensive abilities at this stage of his career. and yes, he plays in an offensive system which has probably resulted in slower defensive development then if he played in new jersey or columbus.

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

can i be so bold as to attempt to correct this misconception that we drafted an offensive defenseman who had mediocre defensive skills? That is absolutely not the case. Green at the time he was drafted was considered a player with many INTANGIBLE qualities -- spunk, leadership, character. And he could move the puck but nothing like what he has blossomed into offensively. He was the captain of a horrendous Saskatoon team who despite their record, played hard. And Green was considered the leader of that effort. Which is why he got noticed by the scouts.

When he went to Hershey, he was a gritty defensive player. When he got recalled briefly by the Caps, he showed grit. At the start of last season after an offseason of working out, he showed strength and grit.

However, once he started scoring in bunches, his defensive play and grit went down the effing toilet and the Caps did nothing to address this.

Its about the big picture, and the Caps seem to always favor the here and now when it comes to points from a player vs his longterm development.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 20, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@psugolf - It would, if Gordon didn't have a back injury. He's out.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@JohninMpls

Steckel played wing last game too. Perreault looked good at the faceoff too, so they must being going with this again.

However, I find it strange that we are stripping Steckel of his biggest talent, which is probably 50% of the reason he's on this team.

Posted by: JD09 | November 20, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, Clark has not historically done well on Ovechkin's right wing. In fact, the only place he HAS done well this season is with Mathieu Perreault.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Though I would like to see Semin in a Caps sweater for some time to come, the KHL is a very real possibility. Had that league existed 6 yrs ago he might never have come back to the Caps after his rookie year.

Posted by: ds_kelly | November 20, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@JD09 - Keep in mind that Boudreau hides his lines. There is a very distinct possibility that the lines will look NOTHING like what Tarik reported tonight.

Steckel will play center when it is critical for us to win the faceoff. He'll play wing when it's less critical. It's probably an attempt to get him some more pointage. The fact that he can do both is very cool.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Clark plays better O with players that play his style. Assigining lines is more then these are the best 3 guys in drills. Styles need to mesh. Ovi and Backs are not dump-n-chase guys, so they want a right wing that plays the passing, puck possession(sp?) game. 8.5 seems to be comfortable playing the dump-n-chase dig out the puck and pass to the crease or skate to the dot style that Clark seems to like. Clark also did not play for 2 years. I don't care how much you train nothing substitutes game conditioning and game speed.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

To add to your point - We were also playing NY last game, who right now because of injuries, can't win a faceoff if there season depended on it. So, it wasn't critical to have Steckel at center.

Posted by: JD09 | November 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@cadlecreek1 - Exactly so. And if I came across as disparaging to Captain, my Captain, that was not the intent. I *want* him to do well, so I'd put him with #8.5 for that purpose. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I think you are too negative on Alzner (not to suggest that you are a negative guy). But time will tell. I thought he looked good when he came up last year (haven't seen him at Hershey).

Posted by: zmega | November 20, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@JD09 - Keep in mind that Boudreau hides his lines. There is a very distinct possibility that the lines will look NOTHING like what Tarik reported tonight.

Steckel will play center when it is critical for us to win the faceoff. He'll play wing when it's less critical. It's probably an attempt to get him some more pointage. The fact that he can do both is very cool.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:49 PM

This is probably what you meant, but Stecks might play wing all the time and just take the faceoffs for the line. You have plenty of time to be in position after winning a faceoff.

Posted by: Raber | November 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

irock: Actually, I think Clark had his best-ever season in 05-06 as Ovechkin's RW in Ovi's rookie season. And Zubie was the center if I recall.

cstanton (on Green): Good points from the loyal opposition. Constructive criticism will never land you in the Brigade. But, the one thing I come back to, is Green must be playing the way the coach tells him. So maybe your beef maybe is with BB's style moreso than the player.

A lot of reasonable people post here that the Caps "can't win" with the run 'n gun style.

And they are right - until the Caps win the Cup with a run 'n gun style.

Carry on, pilgrim.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@psugolf - It would, if Gordon didn't have a back injury. He's out.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 1:44 PM
------------------------
I think psugolf was referring to Andrew Gordon.

@tominfl1: Thanks for making us laugh on a very long Friday.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 20, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

irockthered - Hasn't Clark only been on Ovies line for 1 game this year? A few years back they were paired up and had much success. For the most recent game, I think coach B equated Clark's style of play to be quite a bit like Knuble, and therefore slid Ovie into the slot. With Ovie coming back from injury, it also paid off having Clark out there as a bit of a protector (but not like Ovie really needs it). I like the line combo, but several of them can make perfect sense. Kind of nice to have the team we have.

Posted by: gonchpup | November 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

If hockeybuzz says it is going to happen bank on it not happening. Someone caculated how often he was right and it was well below 20%. He had Kessel going to Nasville even after TSN was reporting the trade to Toronto was done, Forsburg 100% coming back to the NHL and said he was totally healthy as well, he said after the Heatly trade there would be a dozen more trades before the season, I am just stating ones from the past few months but general rule of thumb is he is wrong. The Oilers have been talking about getting a top forward for years now. They tried to get Jagr to come back from Russia, they tried to get Heatley, so them putting a package together for a player is not really news. If the Caps were going to consider it then it would be news but I don't see that happening. The Caps already have plenty of guys who could be a second line forward (Backstrom, Ovechkin, Semin being the first line) with Knuble, Morrison, Laich, Flash, and even Perreault or Fehr if we have injury problems. The Oilers aren't going to give up a top three guy for Semin all they will do is add even more second line guys to the mix. The Oilers don't have a top defensive defenseman on the team so they don't have what the Caps would be looking for anyway.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

icehamme the oilers do have the bulinwall. Russian coach, Russian Mentor and Russian protege.

As for clark on Zubi's line. It may be the hasn't really played in 2 years problem and he is getting into shape and up to game speed. I don't remember Zubi being the passer that backs is but more of a grinder with high skill.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 and gonchpup - I stand corrected; I was referring to the last couple of seasons, not Ovechkin's rookie year, during which I was not watching hockey because A) I had no money, and B) I had nobody to go to the games with.

I realize that Clark has been coming off an injury that could have ended his career if not managed correctly.

I'm just sayin' he plays better with Perreault than he does with Ovechkin this season. :-) Last year, when he played with Ovechkin, he didn't do as well, but that is likely largely because of the injury.

I say give him a clean slate and let's see what he does.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice to have Tarik back. Giannotto's coverage was horrid. Ego much, anyone? The guy wastes like three paragraphs of the blog finding a way to tell us that he went to U of Michigan. No one cares! Good riddance!

Posted by: threesilhouettes | November 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

From tonight's game notes: Head coach Bruce Boudreau is the fourth-fastest NHL coach to reach 100 wins in his career and the fastest among coaches who made their debuts during the season. Boudreau won No. 100 in his 164th game (100-45-19), and did it after inheriting a team that had 70 points the year before he arrived. The coaches who reached 100 wins faster inherited teams that posted 99 points (Tom Johnson, 138 games), 98 points (Mike Keenan, 152 games) and 95 points (Terry Crisp, 158 games).

Someone want to complain about Bou? Join the Doofus Squad!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The Oilers di have Sheldon Souray, I don't get a chance to watch western conference teams very often but I know he used to be a top pair defenseman....anyone know if age has been kind to him or has he lost a step?

Not syaing Semin is going anywhere considering this rumor came from hockeybuzz but curious what you all think of Souray...

Posted by: PhilR | November 20, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek1 Not going to happen with Knobby. If the Oilers are making this trade it is to win now so they need a goalie. Also Knobby's contact isn't up until after the 2012/2013 season. The Caps have two goaltenders that could be the "goalie of the future" there is no way they keep them from starting for that long for Khabibulin.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 20, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I am adding fuel to the JT60 fire. I don't think there is going to be a trade until the deadline by the caps unless it involves NYLS.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

PhilR Souray has always been more of an offensive D-man which the Caps already have in Green. Also he has a cap hit of 5.4 Million and is already 32. Last year he had 23 goals and 30 assists but was only a plus 1. The big year he had with the Habs in 2006 where he had 26 and 38 he was a minus 28. He is a poor man's Mike Green and not someone the Caps should be looking at. If there is a D-man on the Oilers the Caps could use it is Lubomir Visnovsky but he is not worth a Semin and is also 32 and has a cap hit of 5.6 million. If the point of trading Semin is to get the cap space to sign Backstrom then either of those two make no sense at all.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

continued-how many #1 goalie prospects do you keep in the pipeline? Showcasing and resting??

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Keith? a RFA? What?


An-ton Vol-chen-kov.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

cadlecreek1 it never hurts to have two. You don't want to trade away one and end up with Jim Carrey on your team. Worst thing that happens if you keep both is you can always play the hot goalie and have both be rested for the playoffs incase one fails a la Osgood and Hasek for Detroit two years ago.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 20, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

continued-how many #1 goalie prospects do you keep in the pipeline? Showcasing and resting??

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 2:44 PM |

Sharks had Kipper, Nabokov, and Toskala all in their system at one point. They are all starters. (Well...sorry Vesa, not anymore for you.)

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Its about the big picture, and the Caps seem to always favor the here and now when it comes to points from a player vs his longterm development.

Posted by: cstanton1

If that were true then Alzner and Carlson would be up here already.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 20, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Someone caculated how often he was right and it was well below 20%.

_________________

Uhm..it's more like less than 4%, once you adjust for the "news" he steals from Dregger, TSN, or any other legit source.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Its about the big picture, and the Caps seem to always favor the here and now when it comes to points from a player vs his longterm development.

Posted by: cstanton1
Yeah man, we might as well have Milbury at the helm.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-68ToW1UFlw

Mike Green fighting a little girl for a Neidermayer stick.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Ecklund is garbage.. everyone knows it.

Anyone know the official status of Nylander right now? I think he's "on loan" to the KHL, but they don't have a contract becuase he wants a clause where he can back out for a better team (Moscow) if they want him.

Thus, is he still on our books, or is he off yet? What a silly situation..

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | November 20, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

To all of those speaking of trades - I just don't get it (unless you just like playing armchair manager or something). As for me, I enjoy what is happening on the ice and right now, our boys are 2nd a league of 30, fewest regulation losses, high-powered offense, and a few minor things to work on and kids to develop. I say keep things the way they are. Now, I am sure that in time salaries will need to be delt with and GMGM will be earning HIS trying to sign the talent we now possess, but let's worry about this season and this year's playoffs before we start thinking about dismantling an awesome team.

Posted by: gonchpup | November 20, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup - Amen to that brother.

Posted by: pkendrick | November 20, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

the trade talk was a joke following up the hockey buzz junk. Relax, I don't think anyone is serious. Just like talking #$%^ when we hear a rumor and playing fantasy GM.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

78% and 23rd in PK, that's not gonna cut it in the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | November 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

How did this thread get from "Semin is being traded" to "the Caps have no Grit". Semin's not terribly gritty, but I'm not sure that I would say that about anyone else on the team. Sure, no true fighters, but a bunch of fearless, if not skilled, pugilists are on the team. But fighting isn't grit. Its going to the net, battling the corners, standing up to hits, etc. Anyone else on the team you would say won't do those things?

As for Perrault's long term prospects as a little guy, remember that St. Louis is about the size of a third grader and does quite well (as the Caps have found out the hard way over the years). He's also strong as an ox on a pound for pound basis. Can Perrault survive? Who knows. Sure size can be a problem, but if you've got the speed, stick skills and smarts (to avoid getting completely crushed by a bruiser), you can last a long time at a high level.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 20, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I've just about traded everybody on the roster and we now have the Islanders team, enjoy.

Posted by: JSchon | November 20, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I love it when cooler heads prevail. GO CAPS! (I have 2 sons' games to watch tonight, but will be quietly rooting for Caps).

Posted by: Steakum | November 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

From tonight's game notes: Head coach Bruce Boudreau is the fourth-fastest NHL coach to reach 100 wins in his career and the fastest among coaches who made their debuts during the season. Boudreau won No. 100 in his 164th game (100-45-19), and did it after inheriting a team that had 70 points the year before he arrived. The coaches who reached 100 wins faster inherited teams that posted 99 points (Tom Johnson, 138 games), 98 points (Mike Keenan, 152 games) and 95 points (Terry Crisp, 158 games).

Someone want to complain about Bou? Join the Doofus Squad!

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

one thing nobody mentioned is that for the most part, those other coaches played in a era where ties were counted. so BB has benefitted by having shootouts and OT wins. not to take anything away from BB's accomplishments, which are awesome, but i wonder how many wins he would have if ties were counted.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who is too serious on here runs the risk of being assigned to the Doofus Brigade as Chaplain.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

The sad part is, i'd still root for them if they were wearing Caps jerseys. "Taveras is so much better than OV ever was, and doesn't play as recklessly so he won't have injuries in the future." lol... right.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | November 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

per ted's blog when talking about all the players out tonight, "and, of course, micheal nylander is deciding where to play."

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

We tried that 5 years ago and had 70 points

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The argument could probably me nade that Tavares is better than Ovi..in a few years.

Depends on if indeed he is the "next one." Or if he is going to follow in the footsteps of Kessel, Lindros, DAIGLE!, etc...

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1: I thought the exact same thing about BB's 100 wins - that he has benefit of OT and shootout wins.

To answer your question, find out among those 164 - how many were OT and shootout wins. Let's say the same number as OT losses - 19. His real record would be 81-45-38.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 20, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

OMG, Daigle...that brings back memories... At the end of my playing days, one night, I was hanging out with Alexandre Daigle and Eric Daze (he was the best man at my brother's wedding) in a bar in Ottawa right after a game Chicago-Ottawa.
Daze, the consummate village-idiot was making a fool of himself with some ladies while Alexandre was drinking himself under the table, puking on his $10K suit. He picked up the $5K tab (well, we took his credit card from his wallet)that included paying for an on-going parade of entertainers that lasted through half the night.
Daze took a cab for Montreal (Chicago was playing the Habs the next day) and Alexandre missed his plane to Carolina. Two completely wasted talent for whom playing hockey became too secondary. Daze never trained seriously, and Daigle was more interested by extra curricular activites than playing hockey... Thanks for the memories Phil! :)

Posted by: atybat | November 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

The Capitals Insider is such buffoonery.

These dopes who can't play have won 100 games faster for a new coach than everyone except 3 other teams.

Posted by: JSchon | November 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

in the overtime loss era, teams don't play the same in the last 2-3 minutes of the third or overtime. You did not want to go to overtime and risk not getting any points. It seems teams accept ot and the automatic point. the overtime loss makes it hard to compare different eras.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I think the NHL should go the (World) football route and go 3 points for win and 1 and 1 for a ties. Skate the OT but no shootouts. That extra point would add incentive.

Ideas?

Posted by: saintex | November 20, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

tarik give us something new to b!7@h about

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | November 20, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@atybat

Eric Daze...reminds me someone on our team who may go down the same path if he doesn't pick up his hitting game. His name happens to be Eric (FourLetterLastName) too.

Daigle, daigle, daigle...at least he led the Wild in scoring one year. That's something besides being arguably the biggest #1 overall bust.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hello boys and girls!
How are things in CI land? Sorry I have been MIA - I engage in most of my hockey talk via email with some of the old gang these days. But I heard that there was some chatter about the fact that I was *gasp* a chick. Yes, it is true and I can also assure you (richmondphil) that Mr. Boo has never posted under my alias. But I am most curious as to why you would think that? Please, do tell! FWIW, he is not really a fan and just tolerates my little habit (that's what happens when you fall for a girl from up north). He even refuses to wear a sweater and when he goes to games is most likely to be heard saying, "What just happened?" In fact, if his friends ask him a hockey question he promptly calls me. So unless he was on here talking about European football I can assure you that it was not him. So there you have it - mystery solved! :-)

I'm headed to the VC shortly - can't wait!!! LET'S GO CAPS!!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | November 20, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

I think I confused you with CapsFan75. I think her husband sometimes will post, and I know that I am in a fantasy league with him and others here on CI.

Jealous that you are about to head to the Booth. I am about to head home from work and then watch the game on a stream because I have DirecTV. : |

Posted by: richmondphil | November 20, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"RE: Semin - last year or 2 years ago espn listed Semin as one of the top 20 players others least wanted on their team because of the way he didn't back up his team mates."

Instead of saying "ESPN", why don't you name the idiot who wrote or said that, I am sure ESPN did not gather all of its hockey experts for that moronic evaluation. I would farther bet that this guy did not talk to any of the GMs in the league. Could the writer be one of the brilliant analysts on this blog? I can think of a few know-it-all that would argue senseless their one-cell brain that Semin is not good. LOL.

Posted by: hock1 | November 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

HELLO???!

FINE. FINE. JUST FINE. Let's take TODAY'S COACHES, then, if you lot want to be so damned picky!

Carlisle (Ducks): 180:328 = .548
Anderson (Thrashers): 35:82 = .426
Julien (Bruins): 94:164 = .573
Ruff (Sabres): 438:902 = .485
Sutter (Flames): ?
Quenneville (Blackhawks): 45:78 = .576

...shall I go on?

Boudreau: 100:164 = .609

I'll post the rest later. I have a game to go to.

Posted by: irockthered | November 20, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

atybat:
Daigle...that brings back memories... At the end of my playing days, one night, I was hanging out with Alexandre Daigle and Eric Daze (he was the best man at my brother's wedding) in a bar in Ottawa right after a game Chicago-Ottawa.

Daze took a cab for Montreal (Chicago was playing the Habs the next day) and Alexandre missed his plane to Carolina

lots of clues in here:
* daigle (ott) and daze (chi) had crossover years on those teams from 93-94 -> 97-98
* carolina's first year was 97-98
* so i'm guessing the end your playing days (nhl?) was near this time.
* for the 97-98 season chi only played at ottawa once, 11/29/97 - the chi->mon and ott->car games don't fit this date.

please give me a little more to go on and i'll do some more research

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 20, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

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