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Cassivi and Wilson Assigned to Hershey

Just in case you missed it yesterday, Michal Neuvirth was returned to juniors and Daren Machesney and Jason Morgan were sent to Hershey. And today, Frederic Cassivi and Kyle Wilson were sent to the Bears.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 23, 2007; 12:09 PM ET
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Well, I guess that was to be expected. At least for the time he's played in the preseason, Johnny has looked good. I'm really hoping he can turn out to be a reliable back-up, if not step up to be a bona fide number one. I like Cassivi and I think he could be an excellent back-up. I'm concerned about Olie. Although i'm a huge fan, I think he's lost his touch and it's become apparent over the last couple of seasons. Admittedly, he played behind a young and inexperienced defense, but some of the goals he has let in were things he would have shrugged off in earlier years. Although I have high hopes for the refurbished team, I still have concerns about goaltending. I'd be curious to hear other readers' views.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

if we keep the shots down, i'm less worried about olie (or any other goalie). olie still has plenty of gas in the tank. any goalie is going to look human facing 40 shots a night (as he has for the past coupla seasons). cut down the shots against (by improving the defense and improving puck control) and olie will look like vezina olie in no time.

Posted by: pgreene | September 23, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It's not a surprise that Kyle Wilson was sent down, but he got a good long look here. He's had quite a journey over the last year. From being an unsigned, ninth round draft pick scrambling for a job, to having a secure position on a quality AHL team, with a legitimate shot at making the NHL some day. Good for him.

Posted by: norske | September 23, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Well said Norske.

Posted by: Zero | September 23, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Chris Bourque hasnt been sent down yet maybe a possible 4th line winger along with brash and suts?! or he will be in the last group of players 2be sent down this year 2 choclate town?

Posted by: ZackAttack | September 23, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I too am concerned about our situation in goal. not so much Olie as Johnson. i was hoping Neuvirth would step up and be ready to show his stuff in Hershey, but no such luck. now with backstrom on the wing and Kozlov playing center some of my optimisim has gone away. but i'll keep my hopes up and hope that Hanlon isn't as much of an idiot as i think he is.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 23, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

As far as Borque goes, I believe we will see him in a few NHL games this year, but ultimately he will be our first call-up player from Hershey. I say this under the current climate, as no trades or injuries have occured--things which could very well accelerate his career.

Regarding Olie, he has done a lot for the organization, however he is not the same goaltender he once was. While, as a goaltender I understand that when your getting 40 shot nights goals tend to happen, he was letting in some soft ones. I don't think we should throw him off the ship though as others would like, rather replace Johnson with a better backup, whose objective would be to take some of the weight off Kolzig's shoulders.

Posted by: czechsmix | September 23, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

You said it, Norske! Look at Halpern. Hockey has a lot of "walk on's" - more than other sports.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 23, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Those who've visited these boards, basically know what I think of Olie's goaltending prowess. Very little. To put it gently, his better days are in the far, far, FAR distant past.
IMHO, Olie is more of a liability, than an asset to this team. It's certainly more than mere coincidence that George used his first TWO PICKS on goal tenders this past June. That speaks volumes to the deduction that even HE sees the writing on the wall.
A good goalie, Olie is not. In my book, he's less than mediocre. A good goalie "Steals" a few games each year for his team. A good goalie often "Comes up big" when his defense falters. He certainly doesn't count the number of goals against as an excuse for his less than stellar play. A GOOD GOALIE CONSISTENTLY STOPS THE PUCK, RATHER THAN CONTINUOUSLY DOING HIS IMPRESSION OF A HUMAN SIEVE.
Three nights ago, was a perfect example of Olie's effect on this team. HE TOOK ALL THE HEART OUT OF THEM BY NOT MAKING THE CRUCIAL SAVE!! He's done that countless times these last few years, while many of you stubbornly continue proclaiming him to be, "An elite goalie." Which he never was.
If we fail to make the playoffs again this year, you can bet your bottom dollar, the fault will lie directly on Godzilla's shoulders. And, that sports fans, is my greatest fear going into the upcoming season.
Now, after many of you satisfy yourselves by criticizing my analysis, sit back and count the number of games Olie's sub par performance prevents this young Caps team from winning. They need a leader ON THE ICE, MORESO THAN IN THE LOCKER ROOM. Thanks, for your undivided attention.(smile)

Posted by: Puckguru | September 23, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

To tell you the truth, I though Cassivi looked like a legitimate NHL backup when he played during Kolzig's injury last year. To me it seems that some people have preconceived notions of where players should be, and they disregard performance to an extent.

Posted by: czechsmix | September 23, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The first 2 picks in this past draft were used on Alzner and Godfrey, defensemen, not goalies. If you're talking about the year before, then you're almost right. Backstrom was taken with the first Caps pick, and Varlamov and Neuvirth after.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 23, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with everything Puckguru said - except for the part that incorrectly cites the Caps' use of draft picks and the part about Olie. Other than those minor points, it seemed right on target. Query: while Kolzig may not be an "elite" goaltender (a term reserved for the likes of a Brodeur, Hasek, Luongo, Kiprosoff - or, in the past, Roy), if you had your way, who would you rather the Caps stick in there? Kolzig is in the upper tier of goaltenders in the league. Apparently, you watch so many Caps games and not enough of other teams that you think having an off-night equates with being "less than mediocre." I guarantee you, when Kolzig is gone from this town, only then will Caps fans realize what consistent, top-quality goaltending they've had for so long. Most teams struggle to find a consistent starter on an almost annual basis. Sounds like you have taken Olie for granted.

Posted by: Puckisnotaguru | September 23, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Easy solution in theory, the defense improves, reducing the number of quality shots and scoring chances against, meanwhile, Neuvirth and Varlamov develop until such a time when one of them steps up from the minors to backup the goalie the caps acquire as a filler solution.

Kolzig's got probably 3 or 4 years left in him, and I don;t think either prospect the Caps drafted last year will be ready by then. Maybe, but I doubt it. They'll get some one in a toskala type acquisition

Posted by: Graham | September 23, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

For starters, Mr. Puckisnotaguru, I've been watching top - grade hockey, and GREAT GOAL TENDERS for the last 52 years. I'm 62 years old, and have seen more hockey than MOST OF YOU, I dare say ever will.
However, if I only watched Caps games ( As you suggest ) how, I ask, would that preclude me from recognizing sub - standard goaltending when I see it? You make no sense. You'd do better to simply keep your mouth shut, rather than to let EVERYONE know how shallow your thinking ( And experience ) is.

Posted by: Puckguru | September 24, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

I stand ( To be ) corrected. It WAS last year's draft when Georges's 1st. two picks were goaltenders. Which further supports my thesis. Obviously, I wasn't alone, back then, in realizing the urgent need for an upgrade at that most key position.
And, as to the clown who asked who mioght I replace Olie with; simply close your eyes and pick most any goalie in the NHL. MOST would be an upgrade compared with Godzilla. Basically, he's a ( Poor ) joke at this point.

Posted by: Puckguru | September 24, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm not going to say that Olie belongs in the same breath as Brodeur, Hasek, or Roy, but writing him off as mediocre is just plain wrong. You don't make the All-Star team by playing "mediocre". You aren't one of four goaltenders in history to have a scoreless All-star period by playing "mediocre". And you don't carry a team to a cup finals by playing "mediocre".

In recent years his play has suffered, but I think it had more to do with mental confidence that the caps had a shot to win. I can only imagine some of the thoughts going through his head last year "Oh look, another shorthanded breakaway... Wish we could put a shot on net on our PP".

He can still be reliable in this league - and having a team of NHLers in front of him should do wonders. Kolzig is like any other competitor. It becomes a lot easier to perform when you're playing with a team of performers.

Posted by: Raber | September 24, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at the attempts some trolls make. Anyone know a 62 year old who uses the internet and TYPES IN ALL CAPS!!?!?!

Posted by: To Puckguru | September 24, 2007 12:44 AM | Report abuse

While not to be so brash as to say Kolzig is a joke, I do think that Caps tend to look in the past and figure the matter to not have changed. This means that although Kolzig used to be the best of the best, we still all think he is, but in reality he hasnt won the Vezina in years, and similarly hasn't made the all'star team in a while either. I think we need to accelerate our young goaltenders into the minors and later the NHL faster, because it's only going to get worse

Posted by: czechsmix | September 24, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

I totally disagree about Olie. Sure, he lets in some softies here and there but so does every other goalie. When Olie had an NHL caliber defense in front of him he was letting in 2 goals, 3 tops, on any given night. The Caps couldn't score much more than 2 goals a game and yet Olie kept them in it and got wins. In the last few years he's had a vastly depleted blue line corp in front of him, not to mention a meager forward crew. To say that he's slipped off his game under those circumstances is unfair and unjust. The guy is 37 years old and still plays competitively every night. If he didn't have to lurch back and forth across the crease all the time he'd have stopped a lot more pucks last year, and the year before, and the year before the lockout. His save percentage since '98 has been above 90% with the exception of the first year after the lockout, and we know why. Caps fans have begun to take Olie for granted. GMGM didn't pick two goalies for any reason other than Olie is 37 years old. He's above average to say the least and we're lucky to have him. Without Olie, the Caps would have been far worse the past 2 years, guaranteed. He's given them the freedom to pick defensmen and forwards for years, instead of looking for goaltenders to replace him.

Posted by: 007 | September 24, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

its ugly. but olie is in both spots. the most important player in the locker room and the least on the ice. he has slipped far, but the play has less to do with winning than stopping the puck. give him a suit and tie, and let him rip the youngsters like an old man needs too.

Posted by: ewwsombra | September 24, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

dang puckguru tell us what you really think about olie....seriously how can you say that he's inconsistant when he's usually keeping us in the game most of the time. olie almost consistantly faces 30-40 shots a game and playing behind a inexperienced defense and pk unit who really didn´t get that much scoring support either so can you not expect to get scored on every now and then? put any other goalie in the situation he´s in I can garantee that

Posted by: Jleftwing97 | September 24, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

98.9% of the goalies in the NHL will have similar numbers as olie or worse. It´s evident that he´s starting to become a shadow of his former self b/c of all the mileage he logged over the years I think he´s still a dependable netminder. I also think that GMGM gotten Neuvirth & Varlamov (which are good picks)when he did as they are still raw but should be ready to fill in when Kolzig retires which could be in 2-4 years. Kolzig IS the heart and soul of this hockey club and is one of the main reasons why this team is always difficult to play against even if we didn´t win as much but most of the games that was lost were close games. But obviously you got something against him puckguru

Posted by: jleftwing97 | September 24, 2007 3:16 AM | Report abuse

norske -- you are right. we have not seen the last of kyle wilson. the coaching staff is really impressed with him.

Posted by: Tarik | September 24, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, maybe you should have a talk with your colleague, Mr. Chad. His rant against the NHL this morning was really over the top. Has he ever seen NHL hockey? Perhaps you should bring him to a game and explain it to him.

Posted by: ghenschel | September 24, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

With all the talk about Olie, you'd think he was standing on one leg. You're forgetting he had a .911 save percentage last year. Not the best in the league, but no where near the worst. That, and he'll coldcock an Atlanta player for looking at him funny ;)

Posted by: Pete | September 24, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

In an interview with Sport-Express Ovechkin's father said that AO came to the NHL to get paid, and that he will leave the Caps if they get a better offer... WTF?

Posted by: Blank | September 24, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Sorry in advance for the length of this post...

Everyone knows that I am fan of Kolzig -- I've argued it a number of times, just as PuckGuru has argued against Kolzig a number of times. I am a realist and know that his skills have dropped over the years, and he is especially weak in the shootout due to his long legs. His 5-hole is just too big, and shooters definitely take advantage by getting him to move sideways and give up the 5-hole.

All that said, I still feel like Kolzig can help this team to the playoffs this year. Here's why.

Of goalies who played in over 50% of their teams games last season, he was ranked 15th in save %. So, at worst, he is average. Not below average. While additional shots are of course taken into the calculation of ones save %, it has to be considered that he faced more shots (per game started) than any other goalie in the league.

The save % is not really the thing that matters me, it is how the team played infront of him vs infront of any other goalie. Kolzig went 22-24-6 (OT losses) last season. Johnson went 6-15-7 last season. In Kolzig's 53 starts the Caps won 22 games and lost 30. Not stellar, but compare to Johnson. In 28 starts they won SIX games and lost 22.

Yes, the point can be made that Johnson is just that much worse than Kolzig, but at the same time we've seen that Johnson can be a good goalie. He lacks consistency. Kolzig, whether a top 5 or 10 goalie in this league aside, he helps a team win games that they lose with other goalies in net. To me, he still has a year or two left in him to do that.

Will Kolzig steal 5-10 games a season for the Caps? Probably not anymore, but he'll steal a few, and win the games that he should.

Before too long he's going to be replaced, but let's be honest here. When Johnson starts a game, I immediately think "Here comes a loss." But when Kolzig is in net, even tho the Caps last season were undermanned in almost every single game, they earned a decent # of wins while he was in goal.

Oh yea, of those 14 goalies who had a better save % than Kolzig...13 of them made the playoffs last season, and a couple more did with lesser save %'s. Let's hope Kolzig can continue to save 91% of the shots he faces, because if he does, this team likely will make the playoffs.

Posted by: Jeff | September 24, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Father Alexander Ovechkin, Mikhail Ovechkin, which is based in Washington, commented on the situation with the contract his son (winning the case are his parents).

"If you think that Sasha deserves even more than Crosby (8.7 million dollars a year)," said a senior Ovechkin- in an interview published "Sport Express". - For whom would Crosby, Hit it in such a command, as "Washington"? Yes anyone! .. It is a pity that the team is silent. Care would not like us in Washington love: a city good, quiet, calm, not complain at that. Scary thought that could instead be in a hole somewhere. But if Sasha normal proposal does not receive, then, of course, the options will be moving to another team. He also did not come here to develop hockey, and earn money. "

Remember that the summer Alexander Ovechkin will be restricted free agent and will be able to begin negotiations to move to another club.

Posted by: google translation | September 24, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Jeff, while I am not the biggest Kolzig fan, I must say your argument is sound and many of the reasons you pointed out were the reasons that make me think we need a better backup. While Kolzig's results are at least dependable, meaning he'll at least give us a chance to win most nights, he does suffer from age. I think Johnson is not the kind of goalie we need to backup Kolzig as often as he has had to. An Aebischer level goalie is the type of goaltending we need in net as a backup, as Kolzig is now more prone to injuries and slumps.

Posted by: czechsmix | September 24, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, did you hear anything about that Russian report?

Posted by: Blank | September 24, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Olie. Yes, he might be in his late 30's; however, look at what he's had to endure the past few seasons. The man has literally been thrown in front of the firing squad for 3 years because the entire team in front of him lacked experience. Olie, on numerous occassions, single handedly saved the Capitals from being blown out of a lot of games in that time. As a goaltender, regardless of the sport, you can only do so much when your face 45-50 shots a night. Last year was a stellar year for Olie, in my opinion. This year, now that we have some legitimate back line players and some creative forwards in the bunch, I think the team will do outstanding and guess who is going to be the leader of the pack?? Olie. That's right, Olie will be as sharp as he's ever been this year and the Caps are going to be a force within the Southeast Division and hopefully within the Eastern Conference.

Posted by: Mitch | September 24, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

puckguru, perhaps you could explain to us how drafting two teenage goalies who won't be in the NHL for at least five years, and that's if they develop quickly, was meant to solve an immediate problem? I think the only writing on the wall is that the Caps know Kolzig won't still be playing when he's 45, and that they had better start developing some younger guys.

If the Caps thought they had an immediate problem in goal, they wouldn't have tried to solve it through the draft; they would have traded for Bryzgalov or someone.

Shouldn't someone as old and experience as you are know how this works by now?

Posted by: norske | September 24, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Man! Puckguru certainly has struck a nerve with his criticism of Olie. Hasn't he? I'll bet he's sitting back, laughing his butt of that so many have been so deeply disturbed by what he's said. I must admit I'm giggling alittle myself.

Posted by: Puckguru'salterego | September 24, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

this dbag pops up every week to criticize olie, how about we ignore him next time

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I'm laughing more than a little at how much my post struck a nerve with PuckGuru himself - so much so, that his next two posts: 1) attacked me as a "clown," and 2) defended his inane comments by declaring his age (62) and the fact that he's "been watching top-grade hockey, and GREAT GOAL TENDERS for the last 52 years." (Notice that he didn't say he'd ever actually "played" hockey.) Good debate - for example, as to Olie's credentials - is good. Taking things way too personally is not. (IMHO, I think Olie must have denied PuckGuru an autograph or something...there's just so much hate there.)

Posted by: Puckisnotaguru (aka AF) | September 25, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I very much regret that the Caps organization does not recognize the talent of Freddie Cassivi. This two-time Calder Cup winner, and playoff MVP, in my view, is getting an unfair rap. When I saw him play at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit against the red-hot Red Wings a few years ago when he was with the Atlanta Thrashers, I was most impressed. His 6'4" frame, combined with his extrordinary poise, reminded me of former Hab's great Ken Dryden. Since then, he has only gotten better. The least the Caps could have done was install him as back up to Olie for '07-'08. What a shame!

Posted by: David Stephen | October 6, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I very much regret that the Caps organization does not recognize the talent of Freddie Cassivi. This two-time Calder Cup winner, and playoff MVP, in my view, is getting an unfair rap. When I saw him play at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit against the red-hot Red Wings a few years ago when he was with the Atlanta Thrashers, I was most impressed. His 6'4" frame, combined with his extrordinary poise, reminded me of former Hab's great Ken Dryden. Since then, he has only gotten better. The least the Caps could have done was install him as back up to Olie for '07-'08. What a shame!

Posted by: David Stephen | October 6, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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