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Posted at 3:16 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Capitals pin power-play hopes on Dennis Wideman

By Greg Schimmel

Washington's struggles on the power play have been well-documented this season, and while the Caps didn't score during their only man advantage against St. Louis on Thursday, they had a few chances and started to show a glimmer of hope that things might turn around.

Newly-acquired defenseman Dennis Wideman played a big role throwing pucks at the net from the point, and Coach Bruce Boudreau said Friday that Wideman could make a major impact on the struggling unit as it gets more opportunities.

"It's just experience. He's been playing the power play his whole life and his job is to get pucks through," Boudreau said. "He knows how to do it. Our guys go to the net, and if we can get pucks through, you're going to start seeing some deflection goals, which I don't think we've seen too many all year."

It's been five games since the Caps converted on the power play against Pittsburgh on Feb. 21, and they are 3-for-36 over their last 12 games.

They have scored on only 16.1 percent of their power plays this season, are ranked 25th in the league and worst among Eastern Conference teams that would qualify for a playoff berth if the season ended today.

They moved the puck well Thursday against the Blues, took some shots and were inches away from scoring more than once.

"I just thought we were snakebit," Boudreau said. "The one hit the knob of [St. Louis goaltender Ty Conklin's] stick, [another] one I thought was sure was going to be in, and then the deflection went through his legs -- all in 30 seconds."

The Caps' power play led the league last season with a prolific 25.2 percent success rate, and the lack of success has been troubling.

"This is going to be one of those years where we're going to battle every time on a power play," Boudreau said. "We're not going to get the opportunities we would like to get, but we just got to stay positive and plow through it."

By Greg Schimmel  | March 4, 2011; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Dennis Wideman  
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Next: Quick notes from Capitals' practice

Comments

I was wondering that if Poti becomes fully healthy and plays like he did in last year's playoffs(I know it is highly unlikely, but this is just a hypothetical) then I was thinking who may be the D pairing in the playoffs. Could we possibly see:

Alzner/Green
Hannan/Wideman
Poti/Carlson

I'm not in favor of breaking up Alzner/Carlson as I think that is the Caps best pairing and their chemistr together is very important. However, I could see BB putting out a D lineup like that and hoping for the same results the Poti/Carlson duo provided last year in the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Gilles got 10 games. Interesting thing was that he went by himself, as in no Islander team rep when with him, which is odd. Today was their picture day but maybe this is a sign he played his last game on the island and likly his last in the NHL since I don't see anyone taking him. Although I would love if Pittsburgh signed him just to show exactally how much of a hypocrate Mario is.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 4, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd be surprised if Gilles is in the NHL next year or ever again after this season.

My guess is that he ends up in the minors somewhere next year on a minor league contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not in favor of breaking up Alzner/Carlson as I think that is the Caps best pairing and their chemistry together is very important.
----------------

I'm not either, and agreed with the above, and I know I'm in the minority here - but Poti-Carlson was hands-down our best D pairing in the playoffs last year, and you can't discount that. Granted it was a low bar, as quick, tough, shifty forwards give #55 fits [not only, but him in particular] - but those two really were good.

As cstanton1 points out, maybe it was matchup-based; for some reason, that duo [Poti-Carlson] was terrific against MTL, maybe against, i.e., Philthy or Boston it wouldn't be the same. Be nice to find out, in any case.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 4, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton01 - enjoyed the post but I have disagreements, esp on the "wheels" line.

"You're jumping in front of the locomotive" as a Ukrainian co-worker of mine likes to say: there's no point in conjecturing what the lines will be in the playoffs. This line will help us win games now and we need those games. Who knows what will happen to Sturm in the next month?

As for Semin: he'll compete more often than not. He certainly was one of our most willing and hardest workers against Mtl last year. He's not Backes or Clutterbuck - but those players can't do what he does, either. He's a creative player and his job is to be a nightmare to the opposition not because he hits people but because they'll fear his offense. Now he's got someone who can play with him and can offer him good direction to boot. (And will talk to him.)

Let's not brood about losing the Cup. We probably won't win it folks. We may never win it. That should not be all that matters. I'd rather lose with a team that has flair and panache than win with a dour bunch. Luck does play a part.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Here is some info on the UFA's and RFA's for next year. I have included their salary cap hit for 2010-11 and their age for the two oldest. I don't think Knuble will be invited back for 2011-12 year. I would like to see Arnott, Sturm and Hannan extended for 2011-12 season. I think the cap will rise by about $2M, give or take a million or so. (Taken from: http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=30)

Arnott - UFA 4.5M 36
Sturm - UFA 3.5M
*Knuble - UFA 2.8M 38
Laich - UFA 2.06M
Bradley - UFA 1.0M
Gordon - UFA 0.8M
Hannan - UFA 4.5M
Alzner - RFA 1.7M
Varlamov - RFA 0.8M

Now the question becomes, who do you keep and who do you either let go or trade before free agency begins? What do others think about this for 2011-12 season?

Posted by: JMinVA | March 4, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - are you intentionally baiting our friend the dark lord? I like your pairings but they all are smallish, aren't they? We probably need to have at least one of the two bigger slower guys (Erskine, Schultz) out there as well.

@cstanton - (lotds) - you've gotta like Wideman, right?

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

@JMinVA. Unless we can get rid of a D with a contract Hannan is gone. Alzner is coming back and everyone except cstanton (based on what he said last thread) will like that. That will give us 3-4-6-27-52-55-74-89 all under contract. No room in that for Hannan. Now is someone hits GMGM over the head and makes him see what Tom Poti really is and we can trade him to someone then maybe we bring Hannan back but unless we trade a D he ends up as the odd man out. Varly will come back and the one good thing about him getting hurt is it will keep his price down. Laich I only want back at as long as he will take $2.75 or less. Strum I am waiting to see exactally how his knee is before deciding. Same with Arnott, would like to see him longer before deciding if to bring them back and for how much. Knuble, gone end of story. Bradley, back we need him. Gordon, probably gone, I think Eakin will be on the team next year and would look great on the 4th line with MJ90 on the 3rd with second line center needing to be filled. So if we don't want a young guy losing playing time as the 13th forward then Gordon fill that spot since he can play center and wing but he could not make more then he is this year.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 4, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Here are tonight's Rooting Instructions:

PIT (81 points) @ NJD (60 points): www..die_pens_die.com. Go Stecks. Go Marty. Go Devils.
NYR (70) @ OTT (53): Sens helped us out last night by beating ATL. Can they repeat the feat? Go Sens.
CAR (71) @ CHI (76): 'Canes in 7th seed after defeating Buffalo last night. They must be punished. Go Blackhawks.
CBJ (69) @ CGY (75): Out West only 3 points separate the 4th seed from the 11th seed. Despite their recent winning ways, CGY needs a win to cling to 8th spot. Go Flames.
DAL (74) @ ANA (73): More confusion out West. Go Ducks.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 4, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@ icehammer - I agree. While I would love for Hannan to be back - Doubt it's possible with Jessica Shultz and Tammy Poti fortifying our blue line.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | March 4, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@ icehammer97 - Agree with all you said. However, I think ratining Hannan and Arnott for next year after the season is done may be the best for the overall team. They bring experience and leadership what with Knuble being gone.

If GMGM can dump Poti and or Schultz that would free up some space. Others can go also. Things to look forward to after the season is over and depending upon how far they go in the playoffs this year.

If they continue to win over the next ten days since the trade deadline, they have a great chance of peeking for the playoffs and getting a long run in the playoffs.

However, first things first and we need to finish the reg. season first and do it with mostly wins and very, very few losses.

So far, I really like Sturm, Wideman and Arnott acquistions as they seemed to have jelled with the team. However, time will tell this month at least.

Posted by: JMinVA | March 4, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@RedLitYogi

I'm not suggesting that those should be the pairings, but just that those might be the pairings if Poti gets completely healthy.

I agree with you on the size thing. Which then begs the question, if Poti is completely healthy who would people rather see in the lineup, Schulz or Poti?(for this hypothetical, please do not answer Erskine as I know many want Erskine instead, but I don't think BB will play Erskine if every D is healthy).

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

It's probably too early to ask the question, but could Arnott be for the Caps what Messier was for the 1994 Rangers? The guy has Cup cred and has seemingly filled a huge leadership void on a talented but rudderless team. Like Messier, Arnott has scored a Cup-winning goal...spooky coincidence or destiny's calling? Time will tell, but the team definitely has a different feel to it with Arnott's presence.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | March 4, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Arnott - UFA 4.5M 36 bring back 3.5
Sturm - UFA 3.5M don't know yet
*Knuble - UFA 2.8M 38 No - let him retire
Laich - UFA 2.06M 2 yrs, maybe 3, $3.25M
Bradley - UFA 1.0M Yes, same salary
Gordon - UFA 0.8M maybe same salary, now that Steckel is gone
Hannan - UFA 4.5M bring back 3.75 Trade Poti and or Schultz to make room
Alzner - RFA 1.7M That figure incudes bonus. GM will sign him like two years $2-2.25M on a RFA deal
Varlamov - RFA 0.8M Signs 2 yrs between 1.5 and 3.0. Depends how he does balance of the year. High end is only if we hoist and he plays a major role (see Niemi, last year)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know where the caps are staying in sunrise, fl or if they are practicing tomorrow at bankatlantic center or saveoligy iceplex??

Posted by: OVIHtrick8 | March 4, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Last yrs PP clicked at over 25%, this yr's at 16%, and up to last week, the same players were on the ice.
Does anyone, anyone...have a record of players' position during the PP, last yr vs this yr? Pin-point where goals were scored from, last yr vs this yr?
Any analysis, other than "we're not getting the breaks"?

Posted by: scmonty1 | March 4, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

lol, the dark lord. Xcellent!

i won't be baited.

I'm psyched enough about heading to costa rica in 13 days. Nothing, not even the Caps, can curb my enthusiasm.

Red-- lets pretend that Semin did play hard the entire series and was committed last year. I didn't btw. And if you could pull the game threads from last yr you would see exactly what my specific criticisms were from game to game and how they changed depending on when he finally decided to kick it into gear.

But I digress. Lets pretend he was committed last year.
How do you think he is playing currently?

Fans get caught up in point production sometimes and I know that's the eventual decider when it comes to how well a scorer like Semin plays. I don't look at point production per se, even when evaluating a "scorer". I look at effort. Not necessarily even finishing checks or crashing into the net although that can certainly be a part of it.

I look at, does a scorer like Semin put himself in the right situations to help his team out? And frankly, I don't see him doing that enough to warrant praise. And I don't see him being a guy you can depend on in the playoffs. He can always change, something can always click in. And for a brief period in the Flyer series (the end of game 3, and then game 4, 5, and 6 if memory serves), I thought he elevated his game to the appropriate level for playoff hockey.

But if I thought his effort was great in the Montreal series, I wouldn't bag on him for not getting enough points. He was very situational in his efforts and I don't care how many shots on goal he got either. He didn't start that series with any commitment to his team. He was probably hoping that a weaker perimeter effort would still get him his goals. When it didn't, he was forced to work harder. And thats what most of his supporters seem to recall. But that is not reflective of his overall effort in the series.

And the reason I focus on him when there were certainly some other players who also didn't show up ready to play, is because he's been able to hold his spot in the lineup due to his point production despite underachieving and being inconsistent in other areas for a long time.

I'm not happy that he gets a free pass because of it. That's not how you build a TEAM. Its not a Euro thing or a language thing. That's the least of my concerns.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - (lotds) - you've gotta like Wideman, right?

Posted by: RedLitYogi |

i don't dislike him. I said when the trade went down, I didn't mind the acquisition but so much of it depends on WHOSE spot he takes and who gets less ice time for it. And also, he's inconsistent himself. He can look good, he can look bad. I would have liked the Wideman acquisition more had we been able to dump Sarge and get back another capable defensive dman. Not an offensive one who can play decent in his own end which is what DW is.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton01

Good on you going to Costa Rica. And a thoughtful response on the freight-twenty-eight.

To me Semin looks like a classic case of someone - no matter where he is or in what country - who will be troubled in social situations. I don't personally know the guy but that's the vibe he gives off. There's not an ounce of "not caring" or some moral lacking - it's almost more like a condition. And I root for him because I sense this struggle and I think he does want to do well - he just doesn't quite know how to connect.

Maybe he works all that out. I think Arnott may have the maturity to reach him in the ways he can be reached and to not bother him where bothering him will do more harm than good. There are people who, as they get older, take a lot of pleasure out of helping other people realize more of themselves and Arnott may turn out to be one of those. He'll either come to love Semin and look out for him, or he'll hate him.

Semin will never be the perfect, well-adjusted hockey player, and I doubt he'll ever be comfortable around a lot of people. But maybe we'll see what #28 can do. One thing I can say is he won't be predictable or reliable - it's just not his nature. What he can do is win games with his very highly developed sense of field dynamics - that's a real gift - and skill. And the other nights we can just hope he doesn't lose games which I don't think he does.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

It's probably too early to ask the question, but could Arnott be for the Caps what Messier was for the 1994 Rangers? The guy has Cup cred and has seemingly filled a huge leadership void on a talented but rudderless team
---------------

Arnott will probably be closer to what Trevor Linden meant to us. Good and bad.

Messier played on a stacked team where he wasn't the only leader, just the most prominent one due to his Oiler days. Messier also didn't have to worry about being one of the few leaders. Not when you had Jay Wells, Beukeboom, Adam Graves, Greg Gilbert, Kevin Lowe types.

And finally, Messier had a lot more to give than did Arnott. For one, Messier was a very fierce hardnosed competitor. Arnott doesn't quite fit that. Two, the age differences. Messier was much younger when he went to the Rangers. If you looked at the way he played later though, when he was the same age Arnott is NOW, you'd see that Messier didn't really add much to his team. In fact, at the age Arnott is now, Messier didn't even make the playoffs for the rest of his career.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

From the previous thread discussing the "Wheels Line". You can pretty much rest assured that if a line is discussed here, that BB will change it before the next game. I'm no "big time" coach like BB, but I do know the more you let teammates work together, the more likely they are to "gel" and know each others tendencies. I just never understand his constant line tinkering.

As far as "D". All you have to do is watch Hannan. The guy knows positioning and where he's supposed to be. That doesn't mean he never makes a mistake, but he is much more solid and reliable than Poti or Shultz. I'd also rather sit one of those two and play Erskine. Sure he screws up, but the man has heart and grit!

One more thought I had. How long do you think Semin will enjoy Arnott being on his line? Semin probably can't coast or take a shift off with Arnott barking at him! Maybe it's what he's always needed.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | March 4, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Rhino40:

Thank you for the rooting guidelines for tonight. Excellent work! My own guidelines for the West are generally: who cares but root against any team that has beatten the Caps more than once because you don't want to play against them should make it that far. Am I overlooking something here?

I take this opportunity to also revise my rankings for BB's TV commercials from last night because I had forgotten one of them.

Rankings from best to worst in taste:

1. Mercedes & the Stanlaey Cup joke
2. Geico
3. Bird calling
4. Hadeed
5. The triplets

Best to worst in making BB look like an idiot

1. Mercedes, Stanley Cup
2. Geico
3. triplets
4. Hadeed
5. Bird calls

If we have an early playoff exit or don't make the playoffs then the Mercedes/Stanley Cup commercial goes to the bottom of the previous category.

Posted by: caraveli | March 4, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if Arnott is necessarily a harddriving teammate like that. Esp on a new team. But I also don't think Semin responds to that kinda tough love. He may pout if someone yells at him :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

correction: I meant "beaten" the Caps

Posted by: caraveli | March 4, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I also mentioned before that lets give Sturm, Wideman, and Arnott a full 10 games in to get a better gauge of their CURRENT ability and willingness to get the job done.

My initial reactions were that Sturm is of limited value, Wideman was better than Corvo, and Arnott was running on a half tank.

Wideman has tried to play much the same way Niskanen has tried to play for the Pens. 2 new teams for both those guys and they're trying to fill the voids left in the lineup due to injuries. Niskanen's doing his best imitation of Orpik and Wideman's trying to make life hard for opposing forwards. He does that every so often but its not the way he can consistently play.

Let the dust settle and we'll see what we have to work with. If you looked at Jason Chimera's first few games with the Caps or Zubrus's first few games, they were not reflective of what their respective games de-evolved into. Its common for a new player to put it into a higher gear but they usually can't sustain it. They usually revert to their more natural states.

btw, anyone here into photography, specifically underwater photogs? I'm lookin for a recommendation on a dive camera or a regular camera with dive housing (under $700 total). Thanks! email me at cstanton1 at h0tmail (SGM, pls don't sign me up for any more of those 'male enhancement' sites. You're killin my inbox dude).

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

(for this hypothetical, please do not answer Erskine as I know many want Erskine instead, but I don't think BB will play Erskine if every D is healthy).

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

And that's EXACTLY WHY SOME OF US ARE HERE!!

BB MUST GO!!! (three)

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

There are people who, as they get older, take a lot of pleasure out of helping other people realize more of themselves

--red---

That's why I'm here.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

btw, i was watchin some film on Orlov. Man, he better get some ice time with Erskine.

Because the first time he throws his patented hip check, he's going to get jumped. NHL players rarely let a low hit go unpunished anymore. They used to. I remember a lot of low hits and hip checks dished out (Sylvain Cote used to throw those frequently) with no repercussions.

Now the nhl culture has changed to where any notable hit gets responded to immediately. Esp the low ones. I would hate for Orlov to have to change his game because he was wary of being jumped due to open ice hip checks.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Erskine would be a logical pairing for Orlov. Maybe Hannan if he is still with the team by the time Orlov is ready.

Posted by: zmega | March 4, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

btw, i was watchin some film on Orlov. Man, he better get some ice time with Erskine.

Because the first time he throws his patented hip check, he's going to get jumped. NHL players rarely let a low hit go unpunished anymore. They used to. I remember a lot of low hits and hip checks dished out (Sylvain Cote used to throw those frequently) with no repercussions.

___________________________________

Maybe the NHL should crack down on people retaliating for a perfectly clean hit. (see; Doughty's hip check on Hall)

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 4, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The Hendricks/BGordon/Bradley line is the team's checking line. It was that line that takes more defensive zone draws and faces the opposing team's top line, and is thus the checking line, even though it is listed 4th on the score sheet.

Posted by: sgm3

you need TWO lines that in essence provide a combination of checking/defensive play/energy/grit etc.

We're now down to one line which does that. Excluding Gordo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

you need TWO lines that in essence provide a combination of checking/defensive play/energy/grit etc.

We're now down to one line which does that. Excluding Gordo.

Posted by: cstanton1

I don't necessarily agree with that, but you have to definitely have more than one line who is willing to play hard on the forecheck. 3 scoring lines and 1 checking line can work, but it depends on what makes up those other lines. Obviously we're not talking about the Caps here though.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 4, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the NHL should crack down on people retaliating for a perfectly clean hit. (see; Doughty's hip check on Hall)

Posted by: richmondphil2

I wasn't necessarily supporting the current trend of retaliating for clean hits. It was just more of an observation. Ironic since the prevailing thought is that the "old" NHL was more violent.

But the new NHL has more scripted fights and more retaliations for clean hits (unless your name was Gretzky or Joey Mullen or Mario).

But at the same time I guess I don't have a problem with players retaliating for a clean hit either. There are all kinds of reasons why a team may retaliate for a clean hit, and some reasons imo are very valid.

The punishment should be a PP for the opponent, so it is enforced by the NHL in most cases anyway. Although I just recently watched Luca Sbisa jack Hedjuk on a clean hit and then an Avs player chased down Sbisa and instigated a fight without getting the extra penalty. At least I don't remember him getting anything more than a major. He also got beatdown to add insult in injury.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Very few (good) teams that I can recall used mainly one line as their checking/energy/defensive line. And unfortunately for the Caps, we don't have Kris Draper centering Maltby and McCarty.

Its almost a formula. You need to have at least 4 if not 5 of the 6 bottom forwards resemble a certain type of player.

I'd agree that what you have on the higher lines makes a difference too. The Wings had Martin LaPointe and Shanahan doing a lot of dirty work and bruising on the 1st and 2nd lines. That took some of the pressure off the Draper line in that regard.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

btw, the Gillies hit on Clutterbuck was a nothing play if it stood on its own. I hate seeing a player get vilified by villagers holding pitchforks and torches. His role is to defend his team. There was pressure on him to do something v the Penguins for their repeated transgressions. That led to incident#1 even though arguably he went over the top.

And he was right near Cal when his teammate got drilled. Most other enforcers would probably have dropped their gloves and jumped Clutterbuck. But Gillies just hit him hard. He towers over him so that's why the hit was high.

Should it have been punished? I guess with the current focus on head hits, sure. But on its own, it was not worthy of more than maybe a roughing or elbowing MINOR.

I've seen much worse hits than that with more malice behind them that get glossed over because either the player didn't get that hurt, or it wasn't a 4th line tough guy delivering that hit. Esp one who just came off a suspension.

Bad luck for Gillies. Its a tough job to protect your teammates and avoid the wrath of the NHL front office.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Hannan at 4.5M??? and with Wideman potentially a keeper, do not have to say but highly doubtful we keep Hannan. I am sure there will be established defenseman available during the summer for around 3M. I will start gathering some names but surprised hannan was so much.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 4, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

It's guys like Trevor Gillies who give real tough guys a bad name.

So far we've seen him sucker-punch a Pens player from behind and this hit was from behind as well.

If he's such a TOUGH guy, why not just drop his gloves like a MAN???

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

It's guys like Trevor Gillies who give real tough guys a bad name.

So far we've seen him sucker-punch a Pens player from behind and this hit was from behind as well.

If he's such a TOUGH guy, why not just drop his gloves like a MAN???

Posted by: joek443 |

I can't believe you made this argument.

Do you really think that the sum total of Gillies' hockey accomplishments as a tough guy is just cheapshotting other players?

Did Marty McSorley's assault on Brashear negate everything McSorley did prior to that? I think every "tough" guy at some point has done what Gillies has been infamous for over the last month. Joey Kocur fought a lot of fair fights, he also fought a lot of unfair fights where he jumped a guy who didn't want to fight him. John Kordic was one of the toughest players when he played and he came up behind little Keith Acton once and broke his nose by crushing his stick against his face. It doesn't negate his other tough guy work does it or automatically give tough guys " a bad name " ?

come on Joe. You should know better than to simply dismiss Gillies based on one or two incidents. He wouldnt' be in the NHL as the Isles enforcer if he couldn't do more than jump a guy on the ice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpHjnrRWwzQ

Joe, how is this a "hit from behind" ?

He hit him from the side, and got him up high.

You don't think Gillies is "man enough" to drop the gloves with Cal Clutterbuck? Gillies fight card over his career involves much tougher guys like Clutterbuck. More like Cal wouldn't have dropped the gloves with him anyway so it wouldn't have mattered.

As for the Pens incident, you don't simply go after another team's tough guy to send a msg. You go after another team's better players sometimes. It depends on the situation. Going after another team's tough guy doesn't really accomplish much.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Did Marty McSorley's assault on Brashear negate everything McSorley did prior to that?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Trevor Gillies has played in 48 lousy NHL games in his sorry career.

I seriously doubt that he'll hit the century mark as far as the number of NHL games played.

Enforcers are a dying bread anyway, it's guys like him who will eliminate the whole breed from the game.

As Dirty Harry once said in the movie Magnum Force, a man has got to know the limits.

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

If he's such a TOUGH guy, why not just drop his gloves like a MAN???

Posted by: joek443 |

Is this tough enough for you? I don't know many players who

1) square off with Boogaard
and
2) choose not to go down or bail out of the fight despite risking a broken face or blood in the urine courtesy of the kidney punches

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS6NWIHnjfc&feature=relmfu

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Enforcers are a dying bread anyway, it's guys like him who will eliminate the whole breed from the game.

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

agreed with the first part. They're a dying breed. But nothing Trevor Gillies has done will accelerate that or cause someone like George Parros to lose his job.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Trevor Gillies has played in 48 lousy NHL games in his sorry career.

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

hey, he cracked the NHL despite the odds being stacked against him. How many other minor league tough guys can say that? Trevor Gillies has already played more games than Reggie Savage.

And his career hasn't been lousy. He's gotten more out of his limited talent than most players could dream to get. I'm not like a Gillies groupie but I know that he was always considered an essential part of any minor league team he played with. He was almost a point per game player in the AHL during the playoffs for 3 straight seasons.

I guess my point is, lets put things in pespective and not just jump all over a guy because its the popular thing to do or we're living thru a period of hypersensitivity when it comes to head shots.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

i was kiddin about the ppg part :)

But I did get a chance to watch him play in Richmond a few times when I lived down there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Gilles > DJK

I say we sign him.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 4, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE IT!!! cstanton1 and joek443 in a scrum! Kinda like Huntsy and Tocchet!

Anyway, joek443, you need to get the quote right: "A man has got to know his limitations."

That's absolutely 100% different from "a man has got to know the limits."

One is what YOU can do or not do, the other is what they will LET you do.

I know you are sometimes getting these literary things off center (like with Hemingway) and that's OK. All in all I'm now a joek443 supporter. Kinda like, "Support Your Local Gunfighter."

cstanton1: If we categorize posters here, joek443 is really a 4th line, grinder kinda guy. He doesn't post purple prose like some of us (oops, sorry). He just jumps in and puts it short and simple and sometimes not 100% accurate but who gives a F anyway. He doesn't often go toe to toe, but that's not his game. No dirty shots, hard honest checks, kind of a Konowalchuk type.

Maybe the "k" in "joek" stands for "Kono." Anyhow, he's Joe Kono from now on to me.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Anyhow, speaking of Clint eastwood, as Joe Kono did, there's a character in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" who isn't even alive. Of course I'm talking about the "name." Yes, the grave where the gold was buried and of course it was buried in the Unkown grave next to that one.

Yes, it was Arch (not "c") Stanton.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Last yrs PP clicked at over 25%, this yr's at 16%, and up to last week, the same players were on the ice.
Does anyone, anyone...have a record of players' position during the PP, last yr vs this yr? Pin-point where goals were scored from, last yr vs this yr?
Any analysis, other than "we're not getting the breaks"?

Posted by: scmonty1 | March 4, 2011 5:30 PM


sc (not "full") monty: Neil Greenberg has posted several times difference between Caps PP last two years and this. Bottom line is before we were getting shots from the slot and rebounds which are much higher percentage. Now we get a plethora of perimtere shots that have like 3% chance. Problem from my sometimes redshot eyes is that the Caps play too stationary on the PP and try for the cross ice pass. Jacques Martin figured this out and wrote the book, "How to Beat the Caps in Seven Easy Steps." Step 1: Clog the slot. Craig Ramsey edited the book down to "3 Easy Steps..." Go back and watch any game this year Caps vs Thrash. Caps just pass and pass and pass and pass...from the perimeter...back and forth...(it IS pretty but no style points in NHL!) and next thing you know, curses, the two minutes is up! And it was a hot goalie's fault, right?

BTW, Martin offers autographed copies of his book:

www.slotcloggers.com

You can order either the Martin or Ramsay version, free shipping if you buy both. Do us all a favor and buy the set and deliver to:

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Arlington, VA
22203
c/o Mr. B. Boudreau

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Concerning Erskine's uneven performances of late, heaven forbid BB were to ever publicly grant #4 a "manintenance day" (practice or game) as a means of recognizing his unselfish, physical play. I guess that privilege is reserved only for his chosen and golden ones. Everyone knows BB doesn't care for the only hardnosed, tough dman on the roster.

But back to Rock Star's uneven play, I think a couple of factors are at work. First, the team's scoring troubles have placed increased pressure on him to get involved more offensively. With the playoffs looming and his inevitable demotion to spare-part status, I think desperation has compelled him to try to do too much, trying in vain to make a case for himself to stay in the lineup. I mean, twice in the last couple weeks he's been down behind the other team's goal line. He should never be that low...EXCEPT ON THE PP (put him on it!!) Methinks either Johnny's role has never been clearly defined to him or BB expects him to take those risks. It's probably the latter because BB would've (or should've) benched him a few shifts if that weren't the case. I'm blaming the coach.

Secondly, I've seen a lot made here on how line combinations need some continuity to maximize potential. It goes to follow on the backline as well, and first it was ****55/Green and now Carlzner who can't be broken up due to "chemistry." Erskine hasn't had that luxury. Shoot, he hasn't had a consistent partner all year. Consider his partners: Wideman last night, then ****55, then Sloan, then Hannan, then ****55 again, then Fahey, then Poti, and on and on. 3 partners in 3 games, and a merry-go-round before that. Factor in the toll extracted by his physical play and who wouldn't be surprised to see some unsteady play on occasion?

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I've been looking through all the teams contract-situations for next year. And going in to this off season there are a few teams who are in some sort of Cap-he11.
Theese teams should all be a target for GMGM to try and "steal" a good player because the other teams GM can't afford to keep/resign them.

I have noted capspace, (semi)important UFA/RFA's that they could/should be resign and players we should target IMO.

Boston has 19 players signed, $53 mil
UFA: Ryder (4mil), Recchi (1,950), Kaberle (4,250)
RFA: Brad Marchand (0,821)
Players of interest: Krejci (3,75 pending RFA), Peverly (1,325)

Calgary has 17 players signed $54,3 mil (only 4 D & 1 G)
UFA: Tanguay (1,7), Glencross (1,2) Morrison (0,725), Staios (2,7), Babchuk (1,4)
Non-roster players: Kotalik (3,0)
Players of interest: Bourque (3,333 through 2015-2016), Glencross (UFA - 1,250)

Chicago has 12 players signed $49,3 mil (Only 6 Forwards, 0 goalies)
UFA: Turco (1,3) Kopecky (1,2)
RFA: Frolik (1,275), Brouwer (1,025) Stalberg (0,850) Campoli (1,4) Crawford (0,8)
Players of interest: Sharp (3,9 pending UFA), Brouwer (RFA - 1,025)

Los Angeles has 16 players signed $47,9 mil
UFA: Handzus (4,0), Ponikarovsky (3,2)
RFA: Doughty (3,475), Simmonds (0,821) + Brayden Schenn el (3,140)
Players of interest: Brown (3,175), Simmonds (RFA – 0,821)

New Jersey has 17 players signed $52,2 mil
UFA: Greene (0,737) Hedberg (1,5)
RFA: Parise (3,125) Zharkov (0,850), Corrente (0,821) Fayne (0,542) Taormina (0,510)
Players of interest: Zajac (3,887 through 2012-2013), David Clarkson (2,666 through 2012-2013)

Philadelphia has 17 players signed $57,4 mil
UFA: Boucher (0,925), O'Donnell (1,3), Leino (0,8) Zherdev (2,0)
RFA: Carcillo (1,075), Nodl (0,85), Powe (0,725)
non-roster: Walker (1,7), Leighton (1,550)
Players of interest: Van Riemsdyk (el 1,654), Coburn (3,2 pending UFA), Betts (0,7 pending UFA)

Pittsburgh has 17 players signed $55,7 mil
UFA: Kovalev (5,0), Dupuis (1,4) Talbot (1,05), Rupp (0,825), Godard (0,725)
Asham (0,7) Adams (0,55) Conner (0,55) Comrie (0,5)
RFA: Kennedy (0,725), Jeffrey (0,508)
Players of interest: Neal (2,875 pending RFA), Staal (4,0 through 2012-2013)

San Jose has 15 players signed $52,5 mil (only 4 D)
UFA: Wallin (2,65), White (2,999), Huskins (1,7) Eager (0,965), Nichol (0,76),
Wellwood (0,65), Mayers (0,6)
RFA: Setoguchi (1,8) McCarthy (0,55)
Players of interest: Pavelski (4,0 through 2013-2014) Murray (2,5 through 2012-2013)

Any possible deals come to mind? or other players on the teams mentioned that should be of interest to us?

In my mind Pavelski should maybe be possible with the rise of their young center, Couture.
Van Riemsdyk will be hard for the Flyers to resign, so they might want to deal him for a goalie/draftpick.

Posted by: Walle | March 4, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I've seen much worse hits than that with more malice behind them that get glossed over because either the player didn't get that hurt

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

A good point regarding the Gillies hit, and it made me think of two more. Backstrom threw a hit on someone last night (Crombeen(?) in the corner, I think in the 3rd) that was strikingly similar to Stepan's. The difference of course....well, I'll be respectful and leave it alone. Considering the venom directed at Stepan (and subsequently Erskine), I'm surprised nobody else mentioned it.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

So far we've seen him sucker-punch a Pens player from behind and this hit was from behind as well.

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

That looked more like an invitation to go than it did a sucker punch. See Matt Johnson on Jeff Beukeboom when it comes to sucker punches, two "men" in their own right.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Caps/Blues game now since I missed it last night. They seem to be playing with a lot of confidence. Also, the biggest thing is the four quality lines we are putting out there. Ovie/Backs and Knuble seem to have more room to work. 2nd line with Arnott seems to not be all disorganized. 3rd line is FAST! Thats gonna cause problems for other teams. 4th line just works so hard and now is more physical without Steckel.

I am encouraged.

Posted by: capsfan0837 | March 4, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

That looked more like an invitation to go than it did a sucker punch. See Matt Johnson on Jeff Beukeboom when it comes to sucker punches, two "men" in their own right.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

You enjoy it while it lasts because the way I see it, it won't be too long before the NHL bans fighting.

The reason? As always, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Taylor Hall will miss the rest of the season becasse he hurt his ankle in a fight. At some point the owners will say enough is enough, they will simply get tired of paying these players who get hurt in a fight.

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Walle: Flyers look to be in a really tight bind, but Holmgren always slithers his way out of trouble.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=snake+pictures&view=detail&id=3776BF4FE205BC3355F34F8AAD4984F04B275263&first=1&FORM=IDFRIR

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, he is pretty sneaky!
What's your opinion about JVR? Worth chasing?
Would SJ trade Pavelski?

Posted by: Walle | March 4, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't know on van Reems. Last I paid attention to, there was some disappointment. I don't think he has lit the world a fire.

OTOH, Philly is smack dab up against the cap. And you can give a player up to about $3M contract with RFA comp only a #2 pick. So, someone might chase him.

Pavelski I haven't followed. I generally only watch Caps + odds and ends 3-4 games a week, one or two periods each. Choice like now to just turn on the TV I usually put the Western Channel. Many of these movies/shows (I watch Gunsmoke when Caps aren't on) were filmed locally. Still, I don't know what it is, I just get teary-eyed with westerns. John Wayne film comes on and goes to the end and sometimes just opens the spigot. Guys like Pavelski don't do that.

Go ahead, make fun. Anybody does and I'm dropping the mitts, you F-ers.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Jacques Martin figured this out and wrote the book, "How to Beat the Caps in Seven Easy Steps." Step 1: Clog the slot. Craig Ramsey edited the book down to "3 Easy Steps..." Go back and watch any game this year Caps vs Thrash. Caps just pass and pass and pass and pass...from the perimeter...back and forth...(it IS pretty but no style points in NHL!) and next thing you know, curses, the two minutes is up! And it was a hot goalie's fault, right?

BTW, Martin offers autographed copies of his book:

www.slotcloggers.com

You can order either the Martin or Ramsay version, free shipping if you buy both. Do us all a favor and buy the set and deliver to:

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
Arlington, VA
22203
c/o Mr. B. Boudreau

Posted by: tominsocal1

The biggest problem I have with the statement of how teams have finally figured out how to stop the Caps PP or stop Ovie is that how the heck did it take them 3 to 5 years to figure this out.

Hockey isn't rocket science. They are not doing some complex experiments that take years to conduct. It's a PP, coaches and players are paid millions of $ to figure out how to beat opposing teams. I find it difficult to believe that the reason no one stopped the Caps PP earlier was simply because no coach could come up with the idea of clogging the slot, and once a brilliant coach was able to come up with such a complex and amazing scheme, the once vaunted Caps PP was finished.

In addition, I find it hard to believe that it took coaches over 5 years to "figure out" how to stop Ovie with the extremely complex idea of backchecking him.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2011 11:50 PM | Report abuse

@tomincal

"See in this world, there's two kinds of people my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXldafIl5DQ

CLASSIC ..........

Posted by: puckman | March 4, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Two things I want to say:

1. Teams with apparent Cap issues always seem to find a way to handle the issues by the time the season starts, usually without having to make any significant deals. The exception seems to have been Chicago last season.

2. The Gillies hit wasn't from behind. It was from the side. And if you watch it only from the camera angle from behind the two players, it looks like nothing wrong except that the puck was nowhere near the play. When you watch it from the angle in front of the two players, it is clear that it was an intentional blind side hit to the head with intent to injure. Gillies hits CC with his left forearm directly to CC's head. It would have been absolutely ridiculous to have let that go without a 10 game suspension, if not longer. Maybe if the puck was still in the vicinity when Gillies started to skate in that direction you might have a case for it being a hockey play, but that was not the case.

And I don't care who has done what to whom in any other situation, to me this was a clear case of a player intentionally giving another player a head shot and with all the current attention that is being given to brain injuries over the last year, I have to wonder what a guy is thinking to intentionally target the head like that. Heck, even the February National Geographic issue has an article about brain injuries.

Posted by: piratusus | March 5, 2011 12:08 AM | Report abuse


Companies do give out samples. They are looking to put their products in potential consumers' hands. They wouldn't do it if it didn't work one of the place that always worked is "123 Get Samples" search online

Posted by: lyndagraze | March 5, 2011 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@piratusus

I completely agree - I rather watch Green or other superstars play than such "players" like Gillies etc. trying to injure other players and to take the best players out of the game ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 5, 2011 4:11 AM | Report abuse

You enjoy it while it lasts because the way I see it, it won't be too long before the NHL bans fighting.

The reason? As always, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

You're right about the $$$$$ aspect of fighting in the game, joe, and that's why it'll always stay a part of it. If it's eliminated, the owners will lose $$$$ as the game will go the way of soccer in our culture. Everyone knows fighting is what makes hockey unique, and in our sterile world of professional sports today that's a huge selling point to a nation that frankly doesn't care much about the sport. Gotta love ESPN's coverage of the league; wait, at least they show the good fights!!

I'm a diehard fan, but without fighting I would move away from the game...just as my father did baseball once players became spoiled prima donnas. Shoot, I don't watch the Olympics or the playoffs once the Caps and Bruins are eliminated.

I once read a great article once by a Canadian parent who questioned why Americans always try to spark the anti-fighting crusade, as fighting is condoned in the junior leagues across Canada. The writer made compelling arguments, and frankly cast the pacifist American hockey fan in an embarassing light. If I can come across it again, I'll be sure to post it here.

As I see it, as does Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA, to stop the questionable, cheap, and dirty plays the league needs to abolish the instigator rule. I'd suggest the league take that step before ever considering taking the drastic measure of eliminating fighting and risking the alienation of the hardcore fanbase that supports the league.

Eliminating fighting won't save the owners $$$, joe, it'll cause the league to scramble to come up w/new gimmicks to increase revenues, as the only ones who'd attend games would be helicopter parents with their spoiled children (who after the game would go about their business of trying to save the world from itself.)

Oh, and good morning everyone...BB MUST GO! (one)

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 5, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

@joek

Yea, enforcers are a dieing breed. Just tell that to Johny (Pens goalie) when he probably thanked God for Godard's bad ass jump over the boards. Get a hockey clue ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 5, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse


BB MUST GO! (one)

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 5, 2011 6:50 AM |

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

are you sure ?

i think he'll be behind the bench tomorrow in florida.

Posted by: hessone | March 5, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@red lit Fruitie

Man the misinformation on this site is starting to resemble Japer's. "Semin was a willing combatant in the Hab's series."
WOW !!

Semin was a school girl in the Hab's series. Alan May called him out in the post game of #7. Semin is a begonia !

Where you drinking during the Hab's series ?

Chimey says the "wheels" line could have scored 5 goals. Hey concrete hands, that's just like Carlos Rodgers claiming that he would be a perennial all pro if he could hold on to interceptions. IF !!!!!!!!!!

Chimy, finish your checks, and for God's sake work on your hand skills. You're worse than Todd Krygier, because Todd didn't make such outlandish remarks about what could have happened, Chimey, you were a "major no show" against the Habs. Let's flush that memory down the toilet and start playing NHL level hockey.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 5, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

@joek

Any goof who argues against fighting in the NHL has never "laced up" beyond Squirt hockey.

Guys start to bring those sticks in high and your upper body is full of welts if you're lucky. At worst you get a cross check to the neck or a severe board that has you seeing stars.

The big boys retaliate with questionable hits in Pee Wee and Bantom if they see their wings taking the high sticks.

In the NHL you need guys like Erskine around to keep the sticks down and the high elbow hits to a minimum. Can't believe we are still having this conversation. Don't think it goes on in Wisconsin, because those guys have actually "played" and have taken a beating when their team mates can only place a retaliatory hit on a jerk.

Guys like Matt Cooke need to know that if he gets too crazy some one like the Boogey man will give him the beating of his life.

Probert was a master at protecting the entire Wings team. Mc Sorley was the guy who kept every one warm and safe on the Oilers bench. Get a hockey life joek. Always assumed you were a guy ! You in the Semin/Chimey begonia club ????????????

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 5, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Vermont

The fighting isn't about money. It is about protecting impact players like Green and Ovi. Matt Bradley's "jump in" on Downie will forever live in my heart. What a bad ass ! Brads, if we exit early, I hope you can go to a contender. You deserve better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for always playing "NHL hockey". I enjoyed every minute of your play as a Cap.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | March 5, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@hunterforcoach:

"To show the depth that the Pens are sporting in terms of dropping the gloves, 20 different players have fought at least once this season for the club. In addition, only two players, Deryk Engelland and Mike Rupp, are in the top 20 in terms of individual fighting majors. Engelland, the team leader, has only fought twice since the end of December as well, and the damage could have been a lot worse if Eric Godard didn't miss time with a broken orbital bone.".....hockeyfights.com

Their backup goalie would be T-4 for fighting majors on the Caps, trailing only Hendricks, Bradley, and Erskine....HA!!

(I intentionally "waived" DJK from the list as he was never assimilated into, or made to feel a part of, the team. Being "Nylandered," we sadly won't see DJK again unless BB shamelessly throws him into the lineup in response to something the previous game that left us humiliated and smarting.)

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 5, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Green gets back soon. Erskine and Schultz have both had pretty rough past few games. Carlson was actually making a lot of mistakes last game as well. Don't know if the guys are getting nervous or something with another good player brought in but they've been making a ton of mistakes lately.

Posted by: Stu_c | March 5, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

So far we've seen him sucker-punch a Pens player from behind and this hit was from behind as well.

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

That looked more like an invitation to go than it did a sucker punch. See Matt Johnson on Jeff Beukeboom when it comes to sucker punches, two "men" in their own right.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I think joek is mistaking Haley's situation in the Pens game. He grabbed Talbot from behind and almost threw a wrap around punch from behind but showed just enough restraint to wait until he skated in front of him. Gilles had the charging hit to the head and then began to swing at Tangradi when he was obviously ailing from the initial blow. To make things worse he taunted him from the door after being escorted off. Those last two things pushed it over the top. When lack of respect creeps in, even the tough guys have crossed the line.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 5, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

What a difference a trade deadline makes! We now have back what we were losing: hope and excitement.

Gone (well, maybe not completely) is our fretting about the lack of depth and coaching ability - and whether we would even make the playoffs.

Now, we're pondering all those possible line combinations and analyzing who would be best in what situations. And, most important, we're excited to see what comes next.

I agree with the person who hopes we take on a tough team in the first playoff round - and who better than the Flyers. The perfect acid test, and, if the Caps win....

I like many of the various line proposals made here and, for that reason, now change my belief: BB should tinker all he wants to. Only then will we know where the power lies.

In addition, we will then have a better understanding of the Caps' players' strengths. Demote or write off Semin, Green, Erskine, Chimera, etc.? Let's wait to see how the new players and new pairings work. It could be that new setups, like Semin with Arnott or Green without Schultz, could produce improved +/- numbers.

Isn't it fun to contemplate?

Go Caps!


Posted by: OccasionalCritic | March 5, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

For once I agree with Hunterforcoach. (pigs are flying past my jet window right now).
Maybe not a true Michael Vick pure bred fighting dog but a bunch of guys willing to man up for their team mates like Bradley, Erskine, Hendricks is good enough.

& yes a bunch of net tough guys like joek have never laced it up & advocate figure skating.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 5, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@HunterForCoach - your argument seems to be that fighting is a way to prevent cheap shots. That's a big fail - it's like saying guns prevent gun crimes. Huh? Your argument is easily proven wrong - all you have to do is find the rate of serious head injuries in the NHL vs the Swedish Elite League. Your logic would insist that, year after year, there will be many more such injuries in the SEL.

You need fighters to have fights in the NHL and the biggest cheap shot artists in the league are often very willing fighters if not outright enforcers themselves. More "enforcers" and fighters = more dangerous injurious hits.

OTOH, nothing ticks me off more than seeing a player make a good, hard, and fair check and then being jumped by a goon.

When too much fighting is tolerated in the game, it becomes a tactical weapon in and of itself. Coaches and GMs start to assemble teams of fighters not because they want to prevent cheap, intimidating play, but because they want their own team to be able to do more of it than the other.

I thought the 24/7 series thing with BB and Hendricks was pretty revealing. Most normal players and people would not want to fight. (People who are double-Y, who might be destined for hard time, do like to fight and hurt.) Hendricks clearly did not relish it.

Lastly, if there is a lot of fighting in the game - if things return to the dark days of the 70s when the game was a joke to the general public - then the message the professional sport sends young athletes - who have many sports to choose from - is that this league won't protect you. Athletes with choices and good sense will tend to choose other sports.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 5, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

& yes a bunch of net tough guys like joek have never laced it up & advocate figure skating.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 5, 2011 10:54 AM

That's Joe Kono you're talking about. I'd say you better cut it out.

sgm: I said it was "7 East Steps to Beating the Caps." Clogging the slot was just one. Not getting into run-n-gun was another. Allowing the Caps on PP to eschew the cycle was another. Storming Caps crease and running goalie, let Caps get frustrated and get off game...and I forget the other two...oh, wait for Caps to finally make a mistake and cough up puck and take the two on one.

Playing against the Caps is like in ping pong. The Caps are the guy who would slam, slam, slam. I was defensive like the Habs cut, cut, cut the ball back, aim for corners, wait for slammer to dork up.

Puckman: Many times at beach in FL when setting up volleyball net someone would be digging holes by hand and I would come up behind them and toss my mini shovel and say, "Here, two can dig faster than one." Or we'd slam down a clam shell on top of a cooler and say, "Pick up the badge, Mr Cooper, or leave justice to me."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 5, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Oh, here's more "Easy Steps."

Stand up in the neutral zone, make the Caps dump & chase and backcheck hard.

And...in your offensive zone, forechack hard and force them to make bad outlet pass.

You might say these are just common sense normal things, but against the Caps they work especially well. They are, relatively speaking, "easy steps."

Geez, I just copied down the whole book there. I hope Martin doesn't sue me for copyright infringement. Any lawyers out there? I might just need one.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 5, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@RedLitYogi

Well said - I totally agree ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 5, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to Wideman & Green on the #1 PP unit. That forces BB to put Ovie on the left side. Moving Ovie off the point & replacing him with somebody who knows how to play the point (Wideman) will really improve the power play. I just hope he is working on playing left-handed because that would really help (BTW, this last sentence is a joke).

Posted by: chriscaps | March 5, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Arnott - UFA 4.5M 36 bring back 3.5
Sturm - UFA 3.5M don't know yet
*Knuble - UFA 2.8M 38 No - let him retire
Laich - UFA 2.06M 2 yrs, maybe 3, $3.25M
Bradley - UFA 1.0M Yes, same salary
Gordon - UFA 0.8M maybe same salary, now that Steckel is gone
Hannan - UFA 4.5M bring back 3.75 Trade Poti and or Schultz to make room
Alzner - RFA 1.7M That figure incudes bonus. GM will sign him like two years $2-2.25M on a RFA deal
Varlamov - RFA 0.8M Signs 2 yrs between 1.5 and 3.0. Depends how he does balance of the year. High end is only if we hoist and he plays a major role (see Niemi, last year)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 4, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Agree with almost all your analysis, but if someone tenders Varly with a #1 or more, you let him go. Too injury prone and you have Holtby, or can get a vet for 1-2 years on the cheap to backup Neuvy. Varly is ultimately are most talented goalie, but talent don't mean much when it's on the bench every other week

Posted by: bricucci | March 5, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Agree with almost all your analysis, but if someone tenders Varly with a #1 or more, you let him go.

Posted by: bricucci | March 5, 2011 12:03 PM

2010 Compensation

•$1,020,348 or below: No compensation.
•$1,020,348 to $1,545,981: A third-round draft choice.
•$1,545,981 to $3,091,963: A second round draft choice.
•$3,091,963 to $4,637,944: A first-round choice and a third-rounder.
•$4,637,944 to $6,183,925: A first- a second- and a third-rounder.
•$6,183,925 to $7,729,907: Two First-round choices, a second-rounder and a third-rounder.
•Over $7,729,907: Four first-rounders.

I'm surprised more players don't get offers. For a decent player coming off the EL contract, $3M is a high salary but only a #2 pick as comp. Varly is a wild card. What did Niemi get in arbitration last year? 2.75? Varly could get that figure, but it's almost too late now because he hasn't played enough games. Stats you use at arb hearing are last two years I think. One guy who could attract a RFA offer is Alzner. He was a #5 overall so we'd hate like he11 to lose him for only a #2 pick, so GM would match. Maybe someone can give you a good comparison Hjalmarsson vs Alzner, as Hjal was Alzner's age last year when he got that 4 yr/$3.5M each offer from SJ (would have been a #1 and 3 pick comp, but Chi matched). Of course, for Karl to get that kind of offer, Caps have to go at least to ECF and he has to come up pretty big. Still, Hjal was like #4 D on Chi and he got that money. I am figuring Karl more like 2 yrs $1.25M a year based on other defensemen who either do arbitration or sign with original club. Hjal was abberration as most do not get offer and his was in part due to Cup run, which wouldn't go into arb hearing calculations.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 5, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one thing, neither Varly nor Alzner are yet arbitration eligible.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 5, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Thanks for posting the figures, wasn't sure on the exact amounts. I think Varly definitely garners a 2 from some team. Would that be in 2012 or 11? Can you trade negotiating rights on an RFA like you can on a UFA.
Definitely think the leafs or rangers will do so with Richards. Back to Varly, depth is great but eventually you have to go with 1, were seeing Neuvy's play rise with no fear of benches after a 40 save 2-1 loss, I'm not on the fire BB bandwagon yet, but ny biggest issue is his mismanagement of the goalies, win a game 7-6 and your back in net lose 2-1 and your on the bench next game. Neuvy's 2 calders also adds alot of stock to my confidence he will be the man this year.

Posted by: bricucci | March 5, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The draft pick is supposed to be this year, except when it's like 4 1sts for over $7.5M or whatever it's the next 4 1sts. You can actually go and read the CBA and it spells out. For instance, if Isles sign your guy and owe you a first, it's their first, they can't trade for 30th overall and make that be the 1st.

Yes, they can trade Varly any time before July 1st. If a player is arbitration eligible and gets offered, and then accepts, I think he's untradeable until the hearing, but a RFA coming off EL can be I think traded any time. Now, after July 1, if Varly gets an offer, and Caps match, he might then be untradeable for a period of time, unsure.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 5, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@all

New thread ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 5, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Still, Hjal was like #4 D on Chi and he got that money. I am figuring Karl more like 2 yrs $1.25M a year based on other defensemen who either do arbitration or sign with original club. Hjal was abberration as most do not get offer and his was in part due to Cup run, which wouldn't go into arb hearing calculations.
-----------

Interesting comparison on Hjalms v Alzner - but I'd merely note that Q - a former def dman himself - actually was using him much more like the #3 or even #2 at crucial times last spring, on a Cup-winning team without [arguably] an elite goalie, based on TOI in crucial defensive situations. He was ahead of Campbell defensively and at times even Seabrook, when Q would occasionally break up him and Keith and wanted more mobility out there. He had a little bit of a rough start to this season - maybe trying to justify the big K - but Hjalms is naturally a strong, powerful kid, who consistently seems to make the right play. I think Alzner has the 2nd part, and has gotten stronger - and I like him a lot - but I wouldn't put him in Hjalms class right now. Contract-wise and draft-placement wise, this may be moot, but Quenneville has a lot of confidence in the kid, and that guy can coach 'em up when it comes to D.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 5, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

if someone tenders Varly with a #1 or more, you let him go. Too injury prone and you have Holtby, or can get a vet for 1-2 years on the cheap to backup Neuvy. Varly is ultimately are most talented goalie, but talent don't mean much when it's on the bench every other week
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A solid argument - except for the part about Holtby. For an NHL goalie he has slow feet and [relatively] poor lateral movement; eventually, that will get exposed at that level, unless in exceptional circumstances the team for which he tends goal consistently plays lights-out D [see, ie., Jim Carrey, once he left town]. I don't see our D resembling DET in their heyday; not just yet, anyway.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 5, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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