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Devils 3, Caps 2

The Caps claim they are not a one-player team. But it sure looked like it tonight at Prudential Center, where inexcusable penalties and sub-par performances from players expected to step forward with Alex Ovechkin sidelined added up to a 3-2 loss in New Jersey.

Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green combined for no points. Green also inadvertently knocked in the Devils' first goal, while Semin took three offensive-zone penalties (slashing, hooking and hooking) and misfired on a breakaway.

"I think it's laziness," Tyler Sloan said of the Caps' four third-period minor infractions. "You get your stick caught up in the hands, it's an automatic penalty. It's just lazy when it comes down to it. Hooking penalties are just lazy."

Check out my game story here for the details of the Caps' third straight loss (0-1-2), and then come on back for some notes and quotes that won't appear in the print edition.

*The Caps had only one power play while the Devils had five. But it would be tough to argue with any of the five calls that went against Washington, perhaps with the exception of Semin's slash on Colin White's stick in the second period.

*Boudreau said the Sloan-Mathieu Perreault-Chris Clark line was the Caps' best forward combo all night. And it would be tough to disagree. The trio combined for the first goal, and Perreault, in his NHL debut, had two assists in just 10:30 of ice time.

"By far," Boudreau said. "They had chances. But when you're playing a game on the road in New Jersey against that team, you cannot have that as your best line."

*Martin Brodeur, I thought, was occasionally spectacular tonight. He made a big stop on Green with his glove and a stacked pad stop on Semin. He said what everyone else was thinking: The Caps are a much, much different team without Ovechkin.

"The excitement level that he brings, the energy that he brings to the table, that wasn't there," Brodeur said. "You can tell. When Ovechkin is touching the puck, it doesn't matter what building he plays in, everybody is looking for him to do something spectacular. It's tough to play when you have to look at him all the time and think, 'What is he going to do next?' He is such a good player, so not having him, we'll take it."

*Boudreau had a similar hypothesis, wondering whether his players felt sorry for themselves with Ovechkin out of the lineup. It's a foreign concept to him.

"I've never experienced it, for me, whenever a star player went down, I thought of it as an opportunity," Boudreau said. "When you're sitting on the bench not playing, this is your chance to shine. So I can't see not wanting that. It drives me nuts."

*Green's nine-game point streak came to an end. Varlamov, who perhaps deserved a better fate, also lost in regulation for the first time in his career.

That's it from me tonight. I'll check in again tomorrow afternoon from sunny Sunrise, Fla.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 4, 2009; 11:29 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning roundup: Minus Ovechkin, Caps fall short

Comments

Sloan calling out Semin.

Posted by: lightshow | November 4, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

...and coming around the stretch is the one-trick pony named 'the capitals'.If they were out to prove themselves tonight,the only thing they proved is they need help.wheres the drive,wheres the passion?? i just dont see it in the caps.a big change needs to happen and happen fast.GO CAPS!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 4, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I really do think that playing a few games without Ovechkin might do the Capitals some good in the long run. Too many games go by when Ovechkin is the only person scoring in a given game -- the Nashville game pops into mind right now -- and the team will go through stretches where Ovechkin scores half of the team's goals. Now, even if they suffer a few more losses than they would have otherwise with Ovechkin in the lineup, the Capitals are forced to find some secondary scoring and play mistake-free hockey if they want to win games. That means more gritty goals in front and no dumb penalties, and of course, a greater commitment to team defense. If the Capitals get better at these aspects while Ovechkin is out, that may very well help them down the road, maybe in the playoffs -- even if losing Ovechkin means a few lost points in the standings right now.

Posted by: blindskateluke | November 4, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

@lightshow

You beat me to it! Really? Sloan? Maybe Sloan is angling to take Semin's spot on the second line. LOL

Posted by: ablake70 | November 4, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Semin is a world class idiot. If I were a grinding fourth-liner like Sloan watching a guy like Semin - with all the talent in the word - throw away a game like that, I'd take a dump in his equipment bag.

Posted by: ShutDownStud | November 4, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

THATS GREAT!! A HERSHEY CALL UP CALLING OUT THE CAPS' BIG GUNS.THING IS THOUGH...HE'S RIGHT!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 4, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Watched the game on delay. Very briefly.

Varly played very well. Bad break on the first goal and then we took those dumb penalties at the end to kill his effort. Our first line was ineffective today. Probably the most invisible game by Backstrom that I can recall. Wouldn't knock Greenie. He really tried very hard to make something happen. Just didn't go his way tonight. The deflection wasn't his fault. He had to try and intercept that pass because Langenbrunner was open behind him. Just a bad bounce.

Don't really wanna talk about anything else negative. On the positive note what a debut by Matthew Perreault! Can't remember the last time a forward call up from Hershey impressed me this much. As soon as that kid hit the ice I was like "that is a player!" Just the way he moved you could tell the kid is something (this was before they mentioned that he had 2 100+ point season in the QMJHL). Great hands, amazing speed and very good offensive instincts. Would love to see more of him and on a line with better offensive players than Sloan and Clark. His pass to Sloan was a think of beauty and he was the most visible Cap out there in just 10 minutes of ice time that he got. Bruce was obviously impressed also since he had him out there at the end when we were trying to save the game. Ovie also mentioned him in his interview in the 2nd intermission. Not really sure how we can find a spot for him, but he's my type of player. Would love for him to stay up for a while. One thing for sure. If Morrison gets hurt I'd stick this kid at #2 center with no hesitation.

Posted by: ranndino | November 4, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I say we put Sloan on the first line and sign him to a 10 year deal at 3 mill per year right now before its too late. lol

Posted by: lightshow | November 4, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

This is getting out of hand. Tyler Sloan has no right to call out anyone! He has made his share of mistakes. Sometimes I wonder if they wait for Semin to screw up so they can pile on.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 4, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I would disagree with Sloan. It sucks that Semin gets those penalties, but it's not laziness. It's the opposite. He's always trying hard to take the puck away. Sometimes too hard. If you look at his stats he's one of the league leaders in takeaways. He's amazing at being able to fish the puck away from players. Once in a while he gets called for hooking penalties though. They called this game very tight. A couple of his penalties tonight were very questionable. The last penalty on Brendan Morrison was a joke. And the 3rd penalty on Semin... It looked to me like he just had his stick on the ice and the Jersey player just tripped over it. Sasha wasn't even moving it at the time.

BTW, forgot to mention. World class finish by Sloanie there off that backhand saucer pass from my new boy Perreault. Where did that come from? He just zinged it past Brodeur short side!

Posted by: ranndino | November 4, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Bad day. So what else is new?

Recommended lines for Friday's games. I'm assuming no Ovi and no Boyd Gordon and that Fehr is back. (I'm surprised they haven't put BG on LTIR yet.)

#1: Flash/Morrison/Knuble
#2: Laich/Backstrom/Fehr
#3: Laing/Stecks/Bradley
#4: Hershey callup/Perrault/Clark

Or do we put Nyls as the 2nd line right wing if Fehr can't go?
If Gordon is on LTIR, they should call up someone from Hershey.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 4, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

One more thing. We actually played very good D today. Much tighter than usual. Those 2 late goals on the PP erased that effort, but if you look at the game objectively we played excellent D 5-on-5.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, Bruce's postgame tirades seem to have zero effect on the players that are culpable. He's seething now, he was simmering before. Maybe when the pot boils over he'll do something about it.

By the way, still no mention of the Caps faltering PK units. 2 for 4 tonight against.

You can fume about dumb penalties, and they were dumb penalties. But its not like they were 2 for 10. We don't give up more than 3 to 5 PP chances in a game. That's not atrocious by any means. We just don't have a good PK strategy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

capsfan75,

We are in big trouble if we have to rely on Laing and Bradley as our 3rd line wingers.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

Oh really? You would scratch Semin in the absence of Ovie? I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. Everyone forgets what he does for the team and what he's capable of as soon as he makes a few mistakes. Like I said above he gets hooking penalties because he tries to hard to create turnovers. 95% of the time he's successful and creates instant offense. 5% of the time he gets penalties and everyone jumps all over him. Nice.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

btw nice to see Clark show some life out there tonight but has that guy ever won a fight in the NHL? He gets outmuscled by every player. He got easily handled by Hartnell, he got easily handled by Scott Walker, and tonight he looks small against Pelley who isn't really a big player.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Wait! Nyls isn't even going on the road trip.

Nylander's role on the team. He'll take the spot in the lineup of any guy that's currently in Boudreau's Maison des Chiens.

Or will he always be a healthy scratch from now until eternity?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

ike I said above he gets hooking penalties because he tries to hard to create turnovers. 95% of the time he's successful and creates instant offense. 5% of the time he gets penalties and everyone jumps all over him. Nice.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

thats a weak defense. I've seen him take more penalties out of frustration than any other player on this team. And how often have you seen him get stripped of the puck and then shoot his stick out in reflex and get a penalty? He compounds a turnover by getting a penalty. Can you honestly think of any Semin penalties that were actually "good" penalties?

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

and while on the surface it may make no sense to bench Semin in Ovy's absence for obvious reasons, sometimes you look at the big picture. So we field a team w/less firepower for a game or two. In the long run you get the msg across to your team that even the stars will be held accountable for repeatable errors. How else do you get the point across to Semin? Nothing else has worked.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

nobody needs to be scratched.. just because they were dumb penalties, I'm not gonna let the PK unit off the hook for going only 3 outta 5 against a defense first team like the Devils.

Posted by: joek443 | November 5, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I thought the vets we added in the off-season were supposed to add grit, scoring and hockey smarts. Some addition they've been: Knuble and BMo seem to always be in the penalty box at the worst time and never figure on the scoresheet.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | November 5, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I agree with your point, but are you willing to bench Ovi, Green, Morrison, or Knuble for a game for their repeated mistakes? I wouldn't.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 5, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino

Must confess that I didn't watch the game. Cox had an outage.

The way the game went, it's a good thing I didn't watch it. It sounded like a major nightmare, especially for a Semin fan like myself. A bigger nightmare could not have been designed.

The guy has already gets castigated for any and every mistake. Tonight seems to have been the last straw, even for Boudreau. Apparently, he was benched for the rest of the game after penalty #3. I'm even wondering if Boudreau is considering benching him at this point, which is why I omitted his name from my recommended lines.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

The message across that Semin will get if he is benched. I can't wait till the season is over because I will go to My Homeland make 8 Mill Tax Free and be treated like a God and do whatever I want.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

you don't just become a gritty team in a dozen games just because you added a couple new players... it takes time, effort and a change in attitude

Posted by: joek443 | November 5, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Recommended lines for Friday's games. I'm assuming no Ovi and no Boyd Gordon and that Fehr is back. (I'm surprised they haven't put BG on LTIR yet.)

#1: Flash/Morrison/Knuble
#2: Laich/Backstrom/Fehr
#3: Laing/Stecks/Bradley
#4: Hershey callup/Perrault/Clark

Or do we put Nyls as the 2nd line right wing if Fehr can't go?
If Gordon is on LTIR, they should call up someone from Hershey.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 4, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

--------

I know Semin had a bad game and all, but he's still going to play. And they'll put Sloan on the wing again if needed instead of making another call up.

Posted by: butcherbaker | November 5, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Calgary had 36 hits on the road in Dallas tonight. Caps had 14 vs the Devils. Brashear or no Brashear, this team can at least do the simple things by finishing more checks and thereby drawing penalties and creating some more chaos in the offensive zone.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

@CAP-lanta,

For Knuble its a whole different game. He is still adjusting to the system that Caps play. He never played on the team with this up tempo move the puck north south system.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

@lightshow

We already are relying on Laing/Bradley and Stecks to be our 3rd line, even when they're technically our 4th line. There was one game where our "third line" was benched for most of the last period and the fourth line (those guys) remained.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

That Tyler Sloan quote just puts it all into perspective. You think the Pens would let Chris Borque call Evgeni Malkin lazy? How fast do you think Borque would be in Wilkes-Barre if he said something like that to the press?

Posted by: ablake70 | November 5, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I agree with your point, but are you willing to bench Ovi, Green, Morrison, or Knuble for a game for their repeated mistakes? I wouldn't.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 5, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Knuble actually has been playing a lot better. I look at the whole picture. Knuble by no means is a repeat offender the way Semin is. And his penalties are aggressive ones which for the most part I can handle more than the hooks and the holds. He also doesn't have the track record that Semin does for bad penalties.

And you know what, I wouldnt benching anyone on this team if they're not getting it. I wouldn't bench them all at the same time but yeah, I'd bench Semin for a couple. Maybe Green after that. Ovechkin would be a hard call, I know he is reckless with the puck sometimes but overall he still adds more to every game than he subtracts. No, I probably would not bench Ovy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker

You're right. They'll probably put Sloan back on the wing.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1,

If you want 35+ hits a game. Then we better get Sutter as our GM and draft nothing but Canadians. As that is what they do in Calgary.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

@lightshow

We already are relying on Laing/Bradley and Stecks to be our 3rd line, even when they're technically our 4th line. There was one game where our "third line" was benched for most of the last period and the fourth line (those guys) remained.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

In the playoffs v Pittsburgh, Steckel's line (minus laing, add Laich) was our best line in many games. I have no problem with that line being our 3rd line. They need their minutes and our other lines feed off their energy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1,

If you want 35+ hits a game. Then we better get Sutter as our GM and draft nothing but Canadians. As that is what they do in Calgary.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Actually you'd be surprised how many teams in the NHL have no problems hitting the 30+hits/game mark. Its not just about the canadians either. We got some canadians on our team who don't do much in that dept :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 5, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

if taking away minutes or benching players were all it took to motivate them to do better, Mike Keenan would be the greatest coach in hockey history.

I've never been a coach so I'm not gonna pretend to know something about coaching. but if you look at all the succesful coaches in all sports, most of them are NOT what you would call a disciplinarian who coaches with an iron fist.

Posted by: joek443 | November 5, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I don't have a problem with that group (Laing/Stecks/Bradley) being our third line. As you pointed out, it was those two guys, with Laich who were our third line in the playoffs.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

ablake70,

That should tell you everything you need to know about what Caps think of Semin. He is just going through the paces of the season and playing out his contract and on the way to KHL. Sucks for us because I would love to see him play here and eventually win the cup with Caps and have him potentially reach 50 goals to give us 2 players with 50 goals. But that seems like a fantasy at this point.

A good test would be if Backstrom had a similarly bad game and Sloan called him out. What would Caps do then?

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

And yet so many people think that a Mike Keenan type coach would be the answer for the Caps' problems.

While self-discipline (and discipline) is a marvelous thing for a team, there is a time when being a disciplinarian can be counterproductive.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

cstanton1,

True. But Caps are not built to hit.

Teams like New Jersey, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Nashville, hitting is a big part of their game.

Of our top 6 forwards who regularly play 18-20 min a night. Laich, and Knuble sometimes are really the only guys that do it regularly. With Ovi in the lineup you add 3-5 hits a game.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need a Finn. Just one, just to get between the Russians and the Swedes.

Posted by: Bobomite | November 5, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

On Another note...

If Semin walks next year. The guy who could replace him that is Russian and actually loves North American Lifestyle is Frolov. Not as skilled as Semin but very skilled player who is in the dog house in LA right now. And the asking price doesn't seem to be anything crazy. Bottom line if Semin walks, caps will have to fine Skill from outside the organization. Not to mention BMO is not playing another year at 1.5 mill if he puts up 50-60 points.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Keenan? You mean the guy who as the Flyers coach always added Flyers to the All Star Game roster (one of the Sutters? you gotta be kidding me!) instead of (Capital at the time) Scott Stevens? Don't remind me of that A-hole. (Yes, some of us longtime Cap fans have long memories...)

Posted by: CAP-lanta | November 5, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Quickly browsed through the comments in the previous thread. As expected half the Caps fans are ready to trade Semin or even ship him to Siberia with no compensation. I don't care if I offend you, but you people are idiots and don't have the slightest understanding of hockey. There's really not much else to say about it.

For those who yap about Semin's inconsistency look at his freaking stats! He's one of the top PPG guys in the NHL. If that's what he can do while being "inconsistent" I would like to know what he can do if he were consistent. Maybe get 200 points in a season? Some people on here are a complete joke.

Yes, I'd be the first one to admit that he didn't have a great game to say the least, but he's still one of the elite forwards in the NHL. And by elite I mean top 5. You wanna see inconsistency check out Vincent Lecavalier's stats so far this year.

I don't know if it's the remnants of all the Cold War brainwashing, but the way Russian players are singled out every time they make a mistake or have a bad game is ridiculous. Varlamov has a couple of average games after playing incredibly well for a rookie, including in the playoffs and everyone wants to ship him to the AHL and starts questioning whether he can play at this level. Semin has one bad game and everyone wants to trade him for a bag of pucks. Unbelievable.

And on that note I'm off to bed as I can only take sheer stupidity in small doses. For everyone who still rates Semin props to you for not being an emotional, compulsive moron.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

@bobomite,

There is one that is going to be available in this coming Draft Michael Granlund. That kid is super sick and special. Can't wait till World Juniors to see him play this year.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

@lightshow

Do you propose trading Semin now for a bag of pucks while you still can? Or a draft pick or two?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I think its a bit of a shame that first Ovi-less game comes against a team like the Devils (in NJ). Even with Ovi in the line-up, NJ is very effective with playing the sort of game they played tonight....and Brodeur has a very low GAA and high Save % against the caps in his career. Devils team always remind me of that snake from Jungle Book....hypnotizes enemies, then attacks. They manage to suck out all the energy (more often than not I find watching the Devils style of hockey similar to watching paint dry)


I know the other players need to step it up and make a statement when a star player goes down, and obviously everyone is looking for them to do so immediately. Trouble with the Devils is, this sort low energy/ low scoring game seems to happen quite often when we play them even with Ovi in the line-up.

I thought defensively (D and forwards backchecking), the team had a pretty good game--minus last ten minutes. In fact, both teams played defense first, clogging up nuetral zone, not allowing for much space to really move around and get a good flow going. Problem is, this is Devils game plan. This is their bread and butter. I think the Caps got too caught up in trying to beat the Devils at their own game, instead of sticking or forcing their style of play on the Devils.

The Caps did not play with any urgency or energy. Thats what did them in, they just could not get it going tonight (well, besides that sparkplug #85). I give a lot of credit to the Devils, and maybe even to their fans....the building (even when watching on TV) just seemed stale! Joe B and C. Laughlin even mentioned that loudest cheer came when World Series announcement was made.

What I am getting at is that I think the Caps need more than one Ovi-less game to show what they are made of. For the most part, I was pleased with their defensive game/ backchecking/ clogging up nuetral zone play tonight....however, just like playing an all out offensive game can hurt them, trying to go the whole opposite direction (aka- trying to beat devils at their own game) may not work for them either. They need to find a good balance...I like the general offensive style the Caps generally employ, they just need to tweak it a little, backcheck a little better..

I bet we see a more motivated, hopefully more in synch, and more offensively minded Caps team come Friday. And I bet we see a lot of our invisible players for tonight's roster on the scoresheet!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 5, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino,

Like I said. I love watching Semin play. His skill is not questioned. Over the course of the season he will win you more games then lose you. Like I said earlier you have 4 to 5 guys like that and you have a really good team. I think what some of us were discussing is the long term situation. He is making 5 mil+ now. Caps have control of him for another year before he becomes UFA. If he goes through arbitration we are looking at 6.5-7 million Range. I think the Caps will let him walk at that price. Also the money that will be available to him in KHL is easily in 7-8 Mill Range Tax Free. So its coming down to simple economics. We are looking long term. My personal Long term preference is to have him for the next 10 years with Ovi and backstrom and Green but its starting to become more of a fantasy then reality.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Capsfan75,

I think i just answered your question in my earlier post. Rather have him here for next 10 years or let him walk to KHL if CAPS are not able to meet his contract demands. But my worst nightmare is he is playing for somebody else in the NHL.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino

Great post! I agree with you. I'm obviously not the only person who complains that Russians are criticized worse than others. (I only hear Russians get criticized for "taking shifts off".)

As a long time Semin fan, tonight's game was an absolute nightmare. Yes, I'm upset. I didn't see the game, due to Cox cable being out and I think it happened for a reason -- to spare me a nightmare.

I feel like I do when my kids had bad days, especially my first born, who is a lot like Alexander Valerievich. (And she was loved by my immediate family during her teenage years about as much as AVS is loved by the fans here.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Gabby's message to the team, is getting through their heads. Maybe the team is shutting him off?

Posted by: 555Mass | November 5, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

@ lightshow

You've posted like 27 messages about Semin leaving for the KHL after this season. Did you get him drunk at a nightclub and he confessed to you or are you just blowing smoke out of your backside? I would venture to guess that it's the latter. It's amazing how some people convince themselves that their own fantasy is a fact and then base the rest of their thinking around it.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

I would argue that Semin's penalties are aggressive also. It's just that his aggression is isn't hitting. He's aggressive with his stick. Like I said he's always among the NHL leaders in takeaways. So yeah, traditionally stick fouls in the offensive zone are considered bad penalties, but to me it's only because people don't understand the difference in style. Semin fishing for the puck is aggressive play for him. It's the same as hitting for a more physical player. Sometimes an aggressive physical player will get penalties. Same with Semin and his active stick. That's how I see it anyway.

One more thing that you don't seem to understand. Highly skilled players always play a high risk game. It's their nature to take chances. Not everything they try will work and they will screw up now and again. But they're also the ones who win you games precisely because they take risks and have the skill level to pull off things other players aren't capable of. And this goes for any team sport, not just hockey. Just because I'm also very familiar with soccer, the players with the most skill are always among the leaders in turnovers because they always try something high risk. But, those few times that it works they score that 1 or 2 goals that win you the game.

Like I said before about Green people don't notice 50 great plays that he makes in every game, but notice 3 bad mistakes when something he tries doesn't work. I counted about 20 times in this game when he single handedly skated the puck out of danger in this game. He just fished it out, made a couple of high risk dekes and turned on the afterburners pulling away from 2 guys. There are almost no other D in the league who can do things like that and he helps our team tremendously. But you and some others only notice when he screws up and seem to disregard everything else he does.

Taking skilled players and forcing them to play safe will just stifle them and make them much less effective. We don't have to go far for example. That's what Hanlon did and we all remember how well that worked. Boudreau understands that skilled players need the freedom to take chances and create because he was a player like that himself. His philosophy is what made us into one of the top teams in the league from a bottom feeder and yet you always criticize it. You wanna go back to the Hanlon era?

Lastly, your comparison of our team to Calgary once again shows... well, I'll refrain from saying it... but c'mon, they're a totally different team. The Flames play a completely different style from us.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

@Ranndino,

When I've seen Semin at games, he doesn't look lazy to me. He usually seems to fighting for the puck. (Or do I just not know hockey). I've seen him knocked down by defenders and the other team (and he gets back up).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75,

I would pay to see you pronounce his full name. lol

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino

Great analysis in your last post on Green and Semin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

@Ranndino

I would not be surprised if Semin probably maybe trying too hard -- to the point of making mistakes, due to nerves.

Tonight, I feel like the mother of the bad kid.

When Semin is good, he's very, very good. When he's bad, he's horrid. Well, he does have a little curl in the middle of his forehead, like the proverbial girl in the old nursery rhyme. (Gee, could that girl possibly be an ancestor of Alexander Valerievich?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@ lightshow

We'll have to wait and see. I would not let Semin walk because to me that's completely insane. You'd be losing one of the top 5 forwards in the league for nothing!

You need skilled players to win games. Look what has happened to Boston after they shipped out Kessel. They score less goals than an average soccer team. I predicted it when all the pro pundits were apparently smoking crack and saying that his departure won't affect the Bruins. Even Detroit is struggling without guys like Samuelsson and Hudler. It's hard to score in the NHL. You need guys with tremendous skill level to do it regularly. Some people on here think that a team of 16 Quintin Laings at forward would actually be good when in fact it would be dead last in the league.

Semin going to the KHL is pure speculation on your part. Malkin could've bolted for the KHL also. He had an offer for $12 million a year, tax free! He chose to stay in the NHL because he wants to play at the highest level. Neither you or I know what is in Sasha's head so let's wait and see.

One last thing. I'm also annoyed that he still doesn't speak English. I'm Russian also and I learn to speak fluently after 1 year here. But hey, I guess, I can't play hockey like Semin so maybe everyone has their own talents.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

The Caps have a lousy track record against NJ with Brodeur in goal, with or without Ovi.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Ranndino,

Pure and simple economics. There have been numerous articles on Espn, Tsn, thehockeynews written about this situation. Atlanta is going through it now. They are willing to pay 11 Mil. But Waddell has already said its one thing competing against NHL clubs but its out of their hands when you are competing to KHL teams that have unlimited Gazprom Money.

I am also going to drop you a HINT>

I am RUSSIAN! and I have a family member that is currently playing in NHL. I am not blowing smoke! Just telling you the reality.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino

I suspect you're a lot more extroverted than Semin so you've done a better job of learning to speak English.

Extroverts need to talk to people so they'll go ahead and make fools of themselves while learning the language.

Semin is an introvert who probably has trouble finding the right words to say. He himself has said that he can understand the language but has trouble stringing the right words into sentences.

I'd rather not see Semin walk but, after tonight's game, even the Semin fans are ready to dump him.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Semin speaks and understands ENGLISH. He just doesn't speak in public to the media. He can communicate better then what most people think he can.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

@lightshow

Who is your family member in the NHL? Kovy? Malkin? Or someone else?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

capsfan75,

Not anyone who recently entered the league. That's all I will say.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

@lightshow

How recent is recent? Before or after the lockout? Before or after 2000? Or do you not wish to admit even that?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

Thanks.

Semin isn't lazy at all. I think he works his ass off out there and the stick penalties are just a side effect of his aggressively trying to take the puck away from opponents, like I said above. I think it's just that people with a North American mindset when it comes to hockey consider players hard working only when they're hitting someone. Semin is a very intelligent player who has tremendous reading of the game. He doesn't just run around in straight lines. He anticipates the play, which is why he has so many takeaways. And once he takes it away he obviously knows what to do with it. It's not like I never get frustrated with him, but I understand his style maybe because I grew up watching Russian hockey.

I once explained in detail on here the difference in philosophy between the Russian way and the Canadian way. It's really fascinating for me just how different it is. Almost polar opposites. Because of this what happens is that most people used to the Canadian way do not understand and criticize the Russian way and vice versa, many Russians always say that Canadians play dumb, thoughtless hockey. I don't think so. Both styles are effective in their own way and I love watching a tough, physical team like Calgary as much as a finesse team like ours. Just because I grew up watching Russian hockey I still prefer that way of playing as it's skillful and creative. If I would make another analogy with soccer Russians play hockey the way Brazilians play soccer. They're encouraged to take risks, to create. Dumping the puck in or taking a low percentage shot is considered a stupid play by Russian coaches and will get you benched. Here it's the opposite. That's why Russian players often have such a tough time adapting when they come over. Imagine a Canadian player who grew up playing dump and chase, shoot from everywhere style come to Russia and be told that he does everything wrong.

The reason I absolutely loved what I saw from Perreault today is because he plays the style I prefer. If it were up to me I'd fill the NHL with little, highly skilled guys like him over these oversized gorillas who can barely handle the puck. The new rules have opened the way for guys like him, but many NHL GM's still have a size fetish, unfortunately.

OK, I should really hit the sack. Didn't mean to get stuck on here for this long, but I always say that.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I would not be surprised if Semin probably maybe trying too hard -- to the point of making mistakes, due to nerves.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 1:18 AM

Thats what I sort of felt. Maybe not necessarily "too hard" but too tentatively. Thats how I felt our first two lines played tonight (tentative, and a bit out of sync). Perhaps too much is being made of proving teams' worth without biggest star.

I am also concerned that these "stupid penalties" are starting to turn into self fulfilling prophecies. Not sure how to get around it, but I just feel they talk about those penalties so much, focus on them, worry about them, that they are just always bound to happen. Maybe stop focusing on what constitutes a lazy/ bad penalty, and just focus on killing those penalties off, no matter how they were accrued. (so basically agreeing here with posters who think that PK needs to work on these things).

Luckily it's only beginning of November and they have the better part of a season to work on these issues!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 5, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

capsfan75,

not on public boards. I shouldn't even be saying as much as I have already said.

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

good to see sarge back to doing what he does best which is screening his own goalie.

not very classy to call out a teammate to the media. anyone who was watching the game knew semin took bad penalties.

Posted by: StanleyCap | November 5, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

I don't think that after tonight's game even Semin fans are ready to dump him. Only people who aren't very smart and don't really know much about hockey are. Yeah, he had a crappy game, so what? People who are ready to dump him need to buy a "jump to conclusions" mat. If every team dumped players after a bad game they're run out of players very quickly. Semin does things that only one other player on the team can do. He's not going anywhere because, fortunately, our coach and GM are a whole lot smarter than some posters on here.

@ lightshow

That's cool that you're Russian and that a relative of yours plays in the NHL. I'm just not sure what that has to do with anything. I understand economics. Like I said if it was the only factor Malkin would have been playing in the KHL this season.

BTW, I watch the KHL too. Due to lack of time only my home town team, which unfortunately sucks this year. I'm also 6 games behind now with less and less of a hope to catch up (I download games from torrents.ru). In any case, I wish the 2 leagues stopped acting like babies and we'd see some series between KHL and NHL clubs. Growing up some of my most vivid hockey memories are connected to watching Soviet clubs plays against NHL teams.

Are you planning on watching the Karjala Cup that starts tomorrow? Forsberg is playing for Sweden and all the teams are bringing their best players outside of the NHL. Should be a fun tournament. In fact, it's almost like a showcase of the KHL since most of the top stars on all the national teams play in the KHL.

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

i think semin stays, but i would trade him in a heartbeat for a deal that could bring back phaneuf or richards.

Posted by: StanleyCap | November 5, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Last thing I'll post is a link to Perreault's profile on one of my favorite hockey sites:

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospects/mathieu_perreault

Posted by: ranndino | November 5, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

#ranndino

Actually, I read one blog today of a person who was a Semin fan for years but is now ready to dump him.

One thing I noticed. Most of the Semin fans (like LeftCoastCapsFan) were conspicuous by their absence.

I hate to imagine what "Storming the Crease" will have to say about Semin tomorrow. That blogger really is down to Semin and links to his previous rants.

I feel like the parent of the bad kid in class.

I'll have to look at the Perrault thing tomorrow. I'm going to bed.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

ranndino,

Malkin is a whole different scenario. I think any team in the NHL will pay MAX Cap allowance to him. Just like Atlanta is willing to do that with Kovalchuk. Sashka is a great player but he is not of Malkin/Kovalchuk status. Also with Caps Salary cap situation i am afraid it may become a Zherdev situation again. Rangers walked away from 3.4 mill.

Another thing that makes it easier for guys like Malkin and Ovi stay here and make just as much as in Russia is sponsorship money. Second tier guys like Semin don't have the same opportunity. Trust me Semin wants to stay here and be here but in the end if he can only get 5.5-6 here versus 7.5-8 Tax free in Russia, becomes pretty tough to pass that up.

I won't have time to watch the Karjala Cup but will certainly follow as much as I can and watch the highlights.

I am sure Sasha will have a great weekend against Florida and we can move on with the season.

I am out!

Posted by: lightshow | November 5, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

This team is paper thin.

Semin ? Biggest POS on the team, absolute disgrace.

Win you more than lose in the regular season ? Whoopee, how about NEVER will win you a Stanley Cup !

Semin is selfish, great skill but not worth the drama.

Posted by: Cheef | November 5, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

This team is paper thin.

Semin ? Biggest POS on the team, absolute disgrace.

Win you more than lose in the regular season ? Whoopee, how about NEVER will win you a Stanley Cup !

Semin is selfish, great skill but not worth the drama.

Posted by: Cheef | November 5, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino and The-Stanley-Caps: great posts and analyses all around. thanks for writing.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 5, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Semin is great
this game was ludicrously called
i watched the entire thing, the first penalty on semin was a joke (he hit colin white's stick while white was holding his stick with ONE hand and turning the other way...no way that shouldve been called) the 2nd penalty also shouldve been a non-call, and the third penalty, the guy basically skated into semin and fell over...Semin is no disgrace, the refs were tonight...5 penalties to 1 is absurd, youre telling me the Devils didnt hook, interfere and hold? BS...and to call that many "close" calls in the 3rd period was f'd up...the caps can play better, and need to work do better crashing the net, offensively, but the devils arent a terrible team, either, who are just going to "let" us score also...

Also, i am just going to say it, i hate erskine, the 2nd goal, if he stands that guy up on the blue line, or doesnt skate and shield our other d-man, they dont score that goal...he isnt good, i wish he werent on our team, but as long as he is boudreau seems to love playing him, which is beyond me, good forwards just SKATE AROUND HIM

Posted by: cotelloer | November 5, 2009 5:47 AM | Report abuse

@cotelloer

Good post. You saw the same, which I didn't.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

I means to say "game", not same.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

I see a certain troll is now back. (Yes, we can always count to Chief to come back whenever Semin is injured or has a horrible game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 5, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

well isn't that interesting? my attempt to post in defense of semin is "held for approval"?

Posted by: spinner-33 | November 5, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

i find that very very interesting. i didn't even use dirty words!

Posted by: spinner-33 | November 5, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: I am still solidly in Semin's corner. Last night changed nothing. Like Green, he is very visible and young. The skill you can't teach, but the mistakes hopefully disappear with time.

Very interesting the numbers above. My expectation on Semin was Caps offer $6M. Semin and Backie fit into cap next year at $6 to $6.5M each. After that it gets tough.

I didn't read into it that Sloan was "calling out Semin." I thought he just meant that the team as a whole had to quit the dumb penalties, not just last night but every night. Semin has actually been very good on the penalties until last night.

The Caps played a conservative game. Wasn't bad vs the Devils. No reason to overreract. (Need ChickenLittleCapsFan to post.)

I was worried as soon as the graphic showed Boudreau's career winning percentage at 666. Against any team but the Devils, we'd have a chance.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 5, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

spinner-33: Was it a long post? I think if you go over a certain length it gets held.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 5, 2009 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau was, however, obviously angry with Semin due to the benching in the last two minutes. Hopefully by Friday that's all in the past.

Perreault did look good. Amazing how the players they bring up from Hershey always seem to add an infusion of energy. Maybe the "God, I'm sure happy to be here" attitude makes them forget it's a job.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 5, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to hire a good psychiatrist, and bring him to this board. ;o)

Actually, being overly-excited in good times and overly-gloomy in bad is pretty common in the world of sports fans, and is certainly true of our (Pens) fan base as well (see: http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Brian-Metzer/Hysteria-Overreaction-and-Fan-Types-Pittsburgh-Sports-Nation-Defined/54/24096)

The thing is ... the Caps are pretty young, pretty talented, with lots of potential for years of success. As with any team in a salary-capped league, there are some weaknesses and areas for improvement, but jeeeeeez, the season has barely started. It's a little too early for high blood pressure, IMO.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 5, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that I have never seen an in depth article on the problem with Nylander and the Caps? All you ever read are allusions to the problem, but nothing specific about why it is so bad that they refuse to even dress him for games. What is the real, complete story here, Tarik?

Posted by: truke | November 5, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

This board used to be pretty even keeled until the team started to win and the typical Washington sports fan began to show up in here. Skins fans have done this type of "sky is falling" nonsense for years now. I love that the fan base has gotten larger but geez, leave all the sky falling BS for the skins who only play 16 games per year. I think many don't understand that hockey is an 82 game season, the boys are in second in the east and will hang there most of the year. As long as they get hot come late March and continue into April we will be fine. Relax and enjoy the long ride, they will look horrible some nights....take a valium and think before you post!!

Posted by: PhilR | November 5, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

does anyone really read the books posted by rantdino?

Posted by: doughless | November 5, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

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