Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Devils 5, Caps 2

What a letdown for the Caps tonight at Prudential Center. They came here riding a four game winning streak and with something to prove against a very good Devils' team.

And, after taking an early 2-0 lead, they stunk.

Jose Theodore had another rough night. Alexander Semin had a giveaway that led to New Jersey's go-ahead goal. And for the first time all season, they found themselves down by three goals after Cory Murphy struck early in the third period.

I detailed all of the miscues in my gamer, which can be found here. When you're done with that, come on back for a few additional thoughts on the game:


*Coach Bruce Boudreau said that he has not lost confidence in Theodore despite his recent struggles. But it would seem to me that Theodore and Semyon Varlamov are now on equal footing.

Theodore started off the season hot, but has cooled considerably. He told me that he hasn't changed his preparation or anything technique-wise. Be he also conceded that he needs to get back the "hunger" and focus he had in October.

*Boudreau just sounded exasperated about Semin, who, as we've all seen, can single-handedly win a game one night, then make a costly mistake in the next. We all know he's battling through injuries, but as Boudreau said, he's been warned about risky passes and individualism and turnovers time and again. And tonight, his turnover cost the Caps big time. It looked to me like Semin made the pass (that was picked off by Travis Zajac) just as his teammates headed to the bench for a change.

"It was a bad play," Boudreau said flatly.

*Mathieu Perreault continues to earn his keep on his first NHL stint. He scored his second goal since getting called up Hershey and was tied for the team lead in shots on goal. And with Boyd Gordon re-injuring his back tonight, it looks like he's going to stick around for a bit longer.

*Bengt Gustafsson attended tonight's game, presumably to watch Nicklas Backstrom, who was a minus 3 and did not record a point.

*Speaking of minus players tonight, Tomas Fleischmann netted his seventh goal in eight games but finished minus 4 for the night.

*That's it from me tonight. The Caps are taking the day off in NYC tomorrow before returning to Prudential Center for practice on Monday.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 14, 2009; 11:36 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Devils
Next: Ovechkin on top line (updated)

Comments

Tough night for the Caps. They were battled the Devils, fatigue and themselves.

I am certain a few days rest will rejuvenate this bunch. How's that shoulder Alex?!?

Posted by: Terptwin | November 14, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps never play well against Devils. Devils play not to lose as opposed to what every other team does, which is trying to win. That is why the Devils are successful, they either win or tie, and that style fits well against our risky offensive style, thus the odds are against us from the start. Forget about this one and move forward.

Posted by: SeattleRob | November 14, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of fatigue, I apparently can't type or count at this hour. At least the weary Caps will get tomorrow off!

Posted by: Terptwin | November 15, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Another bottom line is that this team doesn't have confidence in Theo so when he lets in a dumb @ss goal the team gets down. Theo lets in a goal he sees the whole way and we don't have 2 top scorers. It has been well documented that the team doesn't have confidence in Theo. BB doesn't have confidence in Varly because of the glove so basically everybody is on edge.

If you guys would read BB's book he is very aware that he is running a high risk high reward system. He KNOWS the other team is going to score but with the talent we've got he's trying to outscore them. This to me tells me that the forwards won't back check as hard and the D will make riskier plays which all can be forgivable in my eyes. The thing this system doesn't affect is goaltending. Granted our goalie will see more shots but that's what goalies want. They want to see shots. The problem with this whole thing is we don't have 1 that can stop the shots they see. How many times do you hear coaches, players, broadcasters, former players, YOU NAME IT say "if he sees it he's gonna stop it". Well that seems to apply to every keeper in the league except ours.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | November 15, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Lastly - the team played a great 1st period. It wasn't until Theo started letting in soft goals when they started to play bad as a team. Like I said they have no confidence in him and when he starts doing his best swiss cheese imitation, and OV and Knuble are out, I bet they thought there's no way we can outscore them if Theo's gonna be...... well Theo tonight.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | November 15, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I hope the Caps don't play New Jersey in the playoffs...

Posted by: blindskateluke | November 15, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

@large23220

I'm afraid you are right. As a Sasha fan (yes, call me crazy), I have resigned myself that he's a goner after this season if not sooner.

By the way, who would make a good trading partner for us? Who has great defensemen to spare (but we'd throw in one of ours)

He's a restricted free agent this year. Will be unrestricted free agent next year. So, there's the chance he'd be a rental for the rest of the season.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

@blindskateluke

Join the club. If we meet the Devils in the Eastern Conference finals, it's tantamount to a Stanley Cup birth for them.

Or maybe not. We still have to play the games. And things could happen.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

"a high risk high reward system" is just fine when you have Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Coffey, Lowe and Fuhr... but the problem is this team does NOT. they have a 2 or 3 that could match the offensive talent of the Oilers but that's not enough to play that style and expect to win in the playoffs.

yeah they will keep having success in the regular season playing that style but it will NEVER deliver them the Cup.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Caps have problems with their style and probably won't win the Cup.

But how far have the Devils gone in the playoffs lately, in spite of their great goaltender and their great defense?

I'm almost surprised that no one has yet called for breaking up the Atlantic division and partitioning the teams into 2 divisions per conference. That would balance out the talent a little better. As it is at the moment, we have 1 uber strong division and 2 weak sister divisions. (No, all the teams in the "weak sister" divisions aren't weak but both the North Least and the South Least divisions as a whole are significantly weaker than the Atlantic.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry too much about seeing the Devils in the playoffs. Even though the Caps had a stinker tonight, I want to believe they will be able to solve the Devils by April. Besides, it's November, every team has had bad games.

That said, I hope it's not true that some Caps blamed the loss tonight of one player. They ALL played like crap tonight. I understand about the bad night, it happens more than us fans would like, but to blame one or two guys is just cowardly.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

"a high risk high reward system" is just fine when you have Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, Anderson, Coffey, Lowe and Fuhr... but the problem is this team does NOT. they have a 2 or 3 that could match the offensive talent of the Oilers but that's not enough to play that style and expect to win in the playoffs."

The system did pretty well last year in the playoffs. The Caps took the Stanley Cup champions to 7 games, including winning Game 6 on the road, despite playing a goalie with about 3 NHL starts before the playoffs and who had never played more than 5 NHL games in a row.

Was it a crappy game tonight? Yeah. Those happen over an 82 game season. Could the team use some improvement on defense and in goal? Sure. But lets not go overboard. This team could have easily made the Cup finals last year, and despite a rash of injuries, still leads the eastern conference. I still like the odds in the playoffs of home ice with a 7 game series.

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | November 15, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

if BB is very aware that he is running a high risk high reward system and that the other team is going to score but with the talent we've got he's trying to outscore themas he's quoted in his book, I don't see how he can get on Semin or anyone else on the team for exactly playing his style of hockey...

they're gonna make mistakes because they're human beings, not robots and when they do, it will cost the team big... that's why it's called HIGH RISK, high reward

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

if BB is very aware that he is running a high risk high reward system and that the other team is going to score but with the talent we've got he's trying to outscore themas he's quoted in his book, I don't see how he can get on Semin or anyone else on the team for exactly playing his style of hockey...

they're gonna make mistakes because they're human beings, not robots and when they do, it will cost the team big... that's why it's called HIGH RISK, high reward

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 1:03 AM

I don't get the post-loss meltdowns by BB. They are "playing his system". Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. They are playing against other NHL teams who have their own plans to win. It's not like the Caps are going to win them all. I'm surprised he chose to call out some players, but not the guy who was -4 on the night.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from Jersey and IMO everyone showed up except for Theo. I know I am not being extra hard on him because I was surrounded by some pretty cool Devils fans who kept asking me why our coach wouldn't pull Theo. One fan even said that Theo was the Devils best player tonight.

Anyhow, Prudential Center is a nice stadium and Devils fans were pretty cool.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 15, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Tarik says we beat up on bad teams like the Islanders. We beat the Islanders twice in OT and a SO and lost to them once in OT. That hardly sounds like beating up on them.

In the salary cap era, the difference between winning teams and losing teams is marginal. There are no gimmes.

Having talented players is important but what really puts teams over the top is working harder and working smarter than opponents.

The Penguins didn't win on talent alone last season. They were playing hard and playing smart as a team.

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 15, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

If I'm reading it correctly, it sounds like the loss is being blamed on one player, the same player who's been blamed for nearly every loss this year, the player who everyone wants to trade, that is, the player who is my favorite bad boy.

If it were me, and I were in his shoes, I'd be gone after this year. I predict that he'll join the Cheropovets Severstal team that's in the KHL and located in the Vologda oblast. Why that team? Since his best friend (prior to Ovi) plays there.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 1:49 AM | Report abuse

I hope we are starting to consider trading Semin. He is becoming a cancer for this team.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 15, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

Yes, it's cowardly to blame it on one guy. The whole "first" line stunk up the joint. They earned Minus 9 and had their ice time reduced big time. Note: I placed "first" in quotes in "honor" of their play.

On Tuesday, I have a totally radical proposal for who should be on our first line. It will NOT involve any of the guys who started there tonight. I'm assuming Ovi is back then. So, the "new" first line will be Ovi/Perrault/Clark since Perrault deserves to play with Ovi and Clark has chemistry with Perrault. The new second line will be Flash/Backstrom/Fehr. The new third line will be Semin/Morrison/Laich. (Sorry to demote you, Morrison, but your whole line moved down.) The new fourth line is Laing/Steck/Brad.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

I hope we are starting to consider trading Semin. He is becoming a cancer for this team.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | November 15, 2009 1:50 AM

It's funny how this one guy is painted as a cancer on the team, yet he doesn't say a word.

@CapsFan75 |

I think we are talking about the same person. It's funny how he is being thrown under the bus for one bad play when it was mentioned that Ovi is known to do the same thing.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Sorry you didn't see a winning game. Except putting Varly in this game today would have been a waste.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

@DannyBoy1975

Do you have a good trade proposal? One that is realistic.

Essentially, the team would be trading for a rental for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I think we're talking about the same guy too. The guy who is blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong for the Caps this year. Even more than Schultz ever was. Even more than Theodore.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I sort of identify with the guy. (I have a daughter who's similar to him, as well.)

I'm pretty much resigned myself to the fact that he's a goner after this season, if not sooner. (At least I've gotten his autograph so I can't say I never got one from him.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I don't think Semin will be "demoted". Despite his "horrible play" and "unforgivable turnover", he was second only to Brooks Laich in ice time by forwards. He got more ice time than both Flash and Backstrom. Funny, but I think that if he had taken that tripping penalty and Green had the bad turnover afterward, the tripping penalty would have been "the turning point in the game" :-).

As far as Perrault playing with Ovi, I don't like the message that would send to Backstrom. It's one thing to get kicked off Ovi's line for Feds and BMo. It's another thing to get demoted for the kid from Hershey.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I just wanted to add that I know the Semin bashing has been going on for a while, but it has seemed worse of the past few weeks. I think a lot of this is coming from the pressure to win without Ovi. You don't pay a guy $9 million a year to win without him.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

The Semin bashing has really gotten bad in the last few weeks, especially last week.

Agree with you that if Semin had taken the tripping penalty and Green had done the giveaway, it would be the turning point of the game.

The guy can't do anything right -- in the opinion of Caps fandom.

It's gotten so bad that I assume he's good as gone after this season, if not sooner.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

It was truly a bad day for Backstrom and Flash as well. But are they bashed in the press? No.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:38 AM | Report abuse

Semin bashing getting out of hand, but with nyles gone web GMs need a new whipping boy. I only saw 2 players playing 100% out there, why single anybody out?

Posted by: trunkenmath | November 15, 2009 2:40 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I'm sure Semin is playing "tight" right now, with the pressure to win without Ovi and given that he's playing through injuries as well.

Other bloggers are really down on Semin. Ed Frankovich says he's talked to scouts who are convinced that Semin does not care and that he has not improved since he was 16!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:41 AM | Report abuse

@trunkenmath

Is Nyls truly gone?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:43 AM | Report abuse

@trunkenmath

So who played at 100%. I'm sure it was Perrault but who was the other person?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Like i said,"you never know the semin ur gonna get each night".One day hes great and the next hes playing like puke.And tonight it was PUKE.I'm not sayin tonight was all semins fault but if would of came to play it might of sparked the caps.Theo is definitly on a downward spiral.Varly has the hot hand right now and untill theo gets that 'hunger' back we need to play varly.Give him a chance to see if he can take the #1 spot.As for the rest of the caps,they are definitly better than what they showed tonight.It just seems that even if only a few players dont come to play it wears on the rest of the team and sucks the energy right out of all of em.We need leaders that when that happens they put a fire under the teams arse and get em hot again.[enter OVI] Well its still early and i got faith its all gonna work out and the caps make a run for it.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 15, 2009 3:24 AM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? They let 5 goals in and the best BB and this reporter can find is that Semin made a bad pass and it cost the team big time? That pair is laughable. Is BB setting Semin for a Nyls ticket? or was he just answering another stupid question from a dumb reporter who can take one mistake and make a big deal out of it. Tarik maybe you should watch the game instead of looking for a particular player mistake. BTW Flash had a give-away and was minus 4 while Backs was a minus 3. The point is this team was outplayed by NJ and there were enough mistakes by a lot of players, so why single out Semin - once again.

Posted by: hock1 | November 15, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

I watched BB talk with the media post game, and he "called out" Semin after being prompted by a question about Semin's turnover from TEB. For whatever reason, it seems that the media has determined that the angle for reporting on the Caps should be to focus on Semin's mistakes, especially after a loss. If you listen to the entire talk with the media, you'll also hear him talk about how the Devil's player essentially waltzed in for the goal on the breakaway after Semin's turnover, so it's clear that while he wasn't happy with the turnover, he was even less happy that the goal was scored essentially unchallenged. That, however, didn't seem to get reported.

Last night on the Comcast post game show, Cokin also spent a lot of time highlighting the Semin turnover, while others talked about the breakdowns all over the ice.

Not sure why, but for some reason some members of the media have decided that Semin should be the new whipping boy and the bloggers and a number of fans are only too happy to oblige them.

Posted by: SlugGirl69 | November 15, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

I think the big deal was made about the Semin pass because it was pretty much the culmination of everything that went wrong that night. It just happened to be Semin that made that pass. Everybody got too cute again after the first. I didn't look at the totals, but I'd be willing to bet that Brodeur saw as many shots in the second and third as he saw in the first.
Maybe we're not giving the Devils enough credit (as much as I don't want to say that), it could be we looked so bad because they were really good. But then again, they scored on a lot of point shots.
I don't know, this was just ugly all around. Burn the tapes of this one and move on.
And by the way if we wanted to trade Semin, who would want him?

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I think Semin's the whipping boy because since he is a sniper, he should carry the team, especially in Ovie's absence. But the problem is, I don't think he can do that. That's not a rip on him, I just think he's a role player and his role is to score goals. Because of that, I think he gets put in a tough spot where if he does score, then "good, you're doing your job." But if he doesn't, and realistically you can't score every game, then he isn't really contributing to the team effort because he didn't do the one thing he's good at.
Sure he should play defensively and do the things you'd want a complete player to do, but I don't that he is complete, and that maybe we're expecting more than he is capable of.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

both Semin and Ovie are "high risk high reward" type of players. they often try to make fancy moves around a defender... when those moves, they're beautiful to watch - that's the high reward part. when they don't work, it often leads to odd-men breaks the other way - the high risk part.

if you play that style of hockey, you gotta live with the high risk part as well as the high reward part - what you hope is you get rewarded more often than you get burned by it.

tbe problem is in the playoffs when everything tightens up, you get burned more often than you get rewarded by that style of hockey.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

also in the playoffs, you play against better competition and when you make those high risk moves that lead to mistakes, the competition will take advantage of them more often than during the regular season.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

@SlugGirl69, @Capcrazy77, @ hock1

It seems as if the media has determined that Semin is the designated scapegoat for anything that has gone wrong for the Caps this year.

Yes, he's making mistakes but I can't think of any player (or any person) who could perform well under such circumstances. There were plenty of other mistakes last night but guess who gets the blame. And I bet that's true of every single solitary Caps loss this year starting withte Detroit game. He's not the only guy who makes bad turnovers and gets penalized.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

varly needs to be the starter and go with him he is more athletic and with the turnovers this team makes u need that as for semin he needs to sit a game and get a wake up call plus let some of those nagging injuries heal. LETS GO CAPS

Posted by: baltraven52 | November 15, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@Capcrazy77

The Devils play the "trap" system of defense which the Caps are not very good at working with. Brodeur had let a couple of "soft" ones in earlier but then settled down.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I still think Semin is hurting more than we think (remember BB appreciated the fact that Semin was playing injured). As much as we'd like him to be, Semin is just not Ovi and probably can't play through pain the way Ovi can. I think is Semin is not 90% or better, his play is affected big time, especially if he's already tired from the game before.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

BB can throw Semin under the bus if he wants, but the responsibility now falls on Bruce. If you really are exasperated with Semin for repeat offenses, sit him.

Talk is cheap.

Message boards are cheaper.

Posted by: MyJobsMyCredit | November 15, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

And for anyone who thinks we could trade Semin now, I really believe there's no one that would want him--not because he's not a great player but because he'll have a hard time fitting in. Maybe Atlanta, with Kovy and their other Russians, would be the only other team willing to take a chance. So I think he'll either stay here or go to Russia, and I think it really depends on how welcome he feels here.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Yea, they definitely got beat by the trap last night. Part of the problem was they would be very deliberate in trying to get out of their zone, and when your dman has the puck on your own blueline looking to go up ice, the trap already has you beat.
The other problem was they weren't going to the net with the puck when they did get it in the offensive zone. Of course they didn't dump the puck in where Brodeur couldn't get to it as well. They could've used a few cross corner dumps as well.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

there is NO way BB will ever sit Semin or any of his skilled players no matter what they do... you can't run his system of "high risk high reward" with a bunch of scrubs.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

and BB knows it

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

On the lines for when Ovi is back. Last night's game probably changed a lot of plans. Judging from the time on ice statistics, the "Minus Line" gang is in the dog house and none of them will be with Ovi on Tuesday. Yes, the members of our "top" line had very low times on ice on Saturday. And, yes, I mean the two top guys on ouir depth chart not named Ovechkin.

So, here they are:

#1: Ovi/Morrison/Laich (Promote BM and BL, they deserve it)
#2: Flash/Backstrom/Fehr (The 2nd line, by default)
#3: Semin/Perrault/Clark
#4: Laing/Stecks/Bradley

I don't think benching Semin and replacing him with Sloan is an option at this point, being as Sloan is now one of our defensemen with top 2 minutes, having the second most time on ice for both of the last two games, right after Green. (Or is someone ready to put Oisk in the lineup as a forward and the designated enforcer?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Not the best excuse in the world either, but I think the Caps looked gassed by the second period.

As far as where would Semin go if traded, it would have to be somewhere they were desparately needed offense. Toronto or Boston maybe (where we could get a decent dman in return), but then again he wouldn't fit in to those types of systems either (ie he would drive those coaches even more crazy than BB). I couldn't see him going to Atlanta simply because that's our division. It's never a good thing to trade within your division.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Three or more needs to go. Playing like his old self. Time to ride Varley!!!!

Posted by: bricucci | November 15, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

@dfe1

If Boudreau's as upset with Semin as the media is, he's definitely history here. If I felt that unappreciated on the job and if I were that badly criticized, I'd be gone after this season. Go somewhere that appreciates me.

My prediction on where Semin will go. Cherepovets SeverStal in the KHL. They're in North West Russia, in the Vologda oblast. Why there? His best friend from pre-Ovi days is there. They look like they could use some offense.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

it's also the first time NJ has scored 5 goals this year. ughh...

about jose: why would you say you need to get that "hunger" back? You should ALWAYS have that hunger to play and play well every night, and especially have focus. If Varly gets the next couple of games (and he should) and he plays well, then he should be named #1 goalie and get most of the playing time the rest of the way. theo will be on the bench during the playoffs anyway.

Posted by: rachel216 | November 15, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and one other thing. We could've used a fight or a timeout to stop the bleeding in the second last night. It helps to be on the physical side of things when playing a trap team and there was none of that last night either. Maybe that goes back to them looking like they were out of gas. I dunno.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Theo probably felt he had finally earned the #1 spot, and instead of feeling like he had to keep earning that spot he relaxed a bit. Do have to say though, over the course of a long season it can be tough to keep a high level of focus. But still, with Varly hanging around ready for every opportunity, you'd think Theo wouldn't let up.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@Capcrazy77, I didn't mean we'd want to trade Semin to Atlanta, I just don't see another team willing to take a chance on him because of his "moodiness". Let's face it, if Ovi can't help make him happy here, than is there another Russian NHL player who can?

As someone said earlier, BB gets asked a question about Semin, and he answers truthfully. Maybe he was asked questions about Backie, but the media didn't decide to print his answer. As long as Ovi comes back on Tuesday, if Semin is hurt in any way, I'd have him take some time off to get to 100%.

And I still think these contract negotiations are also affecting his play.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

This Semin bashing really should stop. It's bad for the team and for him. The problem is: he is unknowable and it's easier for people to lash out at things and people they do not know or cannot relate to. He does not seem to be our "friend," because he does not engage the way other players do. He is a TERRIFIC player! They ALL make mistakes and they all have made mistakes that led to turnovers/goals by the other team. I cannot count the number of times watching a game and have moaned at bad passes by Ovi, Green, Laich, and many others. But, I don't hear about those after the game. Semin and the team need support. Yes, at some point for any player, an evaluation has to be made if the rewards outweigh the risks. I firmly believe for Semin the rewards do. Finally, I think it would help if he would learn English better (how did he get a driver's license?) and engage people more, but it does not seem to be his personality. I wish Ovi or someone would talk to him about it. However, if he does not see himself staying in the US long term, maybe he figures, why bother? Personally, I hope he stays here and wins over you bashers by more consistently demonstrating his skills. He's only human, but you folks dehumanize him.

Posted by: Steakum | November 15, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

They were without Ovie and Knuble, on the second of a back to back on the road against a red hot NJ team with an all world goalie. The Caps were due for a stinker, it happens.

BTW that's the only game they've lost all year by more than one goal. They've been running on adrenaline since Ovie went out, it was bound to catch up with them at some point last night. It's a LONG year, this is not the first stinker, it won't be the last. Caps will be fine. Burn the tape and move on.

Posted by: Terpsrule | November 15, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@dfe1

I'm sure the contract negotiations are affecting Semin's play, not to mention being expected to carry the team, and to do all this when nursing a wrist injury, among other things. If all reports are to be believed, he is playing through other injuries as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@Terpsrule

This was the "logical" time for a stinker, so to speak.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75, I really think Semin believes he deserves the kind of $ that Backie is going to get (and maybe he wants even the same amount of time). He probably knows what's going on with Backie, and it's probably pretty obvious to Semin that they value Backie more. For someone with Semin's personality, that's got to hurt. He strikes me as someone who needs to feel wanted, and right now, he's not feeling that. I don't know if BB is the type of coach who can "coddle" a player, but some players are worth coddling.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@dfe1

Any person would want to feel wanted, not just Alex Semin.

At the moment, I'm sure he doesn't feel that way.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@Steakum

Agree with you. The Semin bashing has gotten out of hand.

(I wonder what the reactions will be when he does get traded finally.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Re Semin, I think the play was highlighted due to the fact that a) it was utterly boneheaded, and b) was the lead marker for NJ. Oh yeah, and since the reporter asked. I don't think you'll find a trade partner for Sasha, as I would think there's a good chance he's KHL bound after this year.

Switching gears, I am concered about the loss of Knuble given the leadership he provides, and his willingness to get dirty, whereas most of this team is allergic to the crease.

Posted by: rnscaps | November 15, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75, good point about everyone wanting to feel wanted.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I think the reactions IF Semin got traded would be the same from the fans in beantown when Kessel got traded. They thought it was good because they all thought Kessel was a cancer and didn't contribute defensively, etc etc etc (sound familiar by the way?). But they're now complaining about getting rid of him because they're offense is a shell of what it was last year. You can't get rid of a 40 goal scorer (or in our case a point a game player) and expect the team to be better for it.
Is Semin frustrating at times? Sure. But as some have said, the reward far outweighs the risk.
And if we think media scrutiny is bad on him here (which I would agree is a bit much), imagine the type of scrutiny a Montreal or Toronto player faces daily.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@ Terpsrule,

Third game of a set of 3 in 4 nights, and 2nd game on back to back nights. Yeah, I wondered going in if it wasn't going to be a stinker. The first period got my hopes up but then they ran out of gas.

A similar thing happened last season on a trip out west. 3 games in 4 nights...beat the Ducks and then lost 5-2 and 7-2 to the Kings and Sharks respectively...and looked bad doing it.


@rnscaps,

I totally agree re Knuble and gritty play around the crease. It was the first thing I thought of when I heard he was out for so long. Caps will miss him.

Posted by: grackle5 | November 15, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@grackle5

We got pretty beat up on that road trip as well. Green got hurt in that Ducks game, and I think we were already out a couple Dmen at that point. That was our lowest point of the season and coincidentally it was about this point in November.
Maybe things are looking really up from here on out?

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I really am shocked that you guys watched yesterday's game and the scape goat is Semin.

Goal 4 was a joke, scored by a 4th line guy on a routine play that changed the game for good. The 3rd goal, even though it was on a break-away, was the swing goal. To give Theo a pass, which most do, just because he is scored on a break-away is not realistic. The main makes 4.5 million a year and should be expected to make a save on a game changing break away Varly comes up with break away saves all the time.

I obviously didn't see Semin lay as big of an egg as a lot of you did. You are not going to win youth hockey games when your goaltender gives up 5 goals on 23 shots let alone NHL games. Theo actually saved the last 5 shots too, NJ scored 5 goals on their first 18 shots, unacceptable.

Like I posted last night, I went to NJ for the game, and NJ fans were cool, but one of them even said that Theo was their best player. Another asked why BB wasn't pulling Theo. You can't deny where the problem was when the opposition knows who to throw under the bus.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@Capcrazy,

I seem to recall (vaguely) there might have been a flu bug going through the team on that road trip too.

As far as things looking up from here, getting Ovi back will obviously be a big boost. Even so, I really worry about how much we'll miss Knuble in there screening and mucking about on the Crease. Perreault seems willing but he's so darned small.

Posted by: grackle5 | November 15, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Like I posted last night, I went to NJ for the game, and NJ fans were cool, but one of them even said that Theo was their best player. Another asked why BB wasn't pulling Theo. You can't deny where the problem was when the opposition knows who to throw under the bus.

Posted by: fanohock1

I am starting to think this too about Theo...I like him and try not to get on the bash Theo train...But, he should have been the freshest one out there for our team last night. The other guys played the night before, and this was their third game in 4 nights...Theo only played a few minutes of this stretch before last night. Sometimes, you just need to be the guy who keeps the team in the game (as the goalie), especially when the team is gassed, and especially after the team went up two goals in the first.

New Jersey is a great team, but they are not exactly known for their goal scoring...they had the freshest legs, and they pounced on their opportunities, but Theo did not exactly make it hard for them either.

He is just very streaky. When he is on, he is great, but when he is off, he really stinks....and I agree with the other people who suggest that perhaps player's loose confidence in a goaltender after a pattern like that...

Oh well, just one game against a very good Devils squad. As much as it is great to watch the team succeed without Ovi, I feel that NJ is an opponent which caps would want Ovi for! They have a tough D to crack, and Ovi has faired well against them!


Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 15, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Looks like this board has gone to hell in a hand basket again. You people are over the top, trade Semin? Really? Nobody would want Semin? Really? How old is Semin again?

There are some pretty valid points as to why we were only able to play 20 minutes last night and it has nothing to do with 1 bad play from Semin. Like Ted said, chill! We're atop the Eastern conference and it's a long time until the playoffs and the trade deadline for that matter.

Reagardless, I still stand by my point that Theo has morfed back into his old self and while Varly may have holes (glove) he's younger, has more upside and will win us more games than Theo will. Maybe playing Varly a lot will help his confidence and get that glove going.

I heard a rumor the other day that we were gonna send Theo to Chicago for Huet. Think it's crazy? Well Chicago isn't happy with Huet, Theo is in the last yr of his contract and we obviously aren't exactly real happy with him either. If GMGM thinks Varly isn't quite ready then maybe he's willing to bring Huet back hoping he can recapture what he had here 2 yrs ago. We'll see but our keeper situation is more of a priority then anything else at this point.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | November 15, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1
First of all, I'm really jealous that you got to go to the game last night.
As for Semin, I actually think the consesus is that he's getting more of the blame than he should have. Just about everyone laid an egg last night.
As for Theo, I definitely had in my head that "Threeormore has returned," but I do remember the first goal NJ scored was going wide but went off of our Dman. I don't think putting Varly in would have done much either considering he'd played the night before and last week's back to back performance was probably fresh on BB's mind when Theo was struggling last night.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Tarik brings up the point about the caps asking themselves questions regarding their ability to beat the "bad teams like florida and Islanders while struggling with the the elite teams"

Well, it's really simple. The caps think they are the most talented team. They are cocky about their skill level and ability to play hockey. That works against the inferior opponents, but of course when you face the other talented teams, you better bust your butt just as hard as they do or you will fail and the caps are finding that out the hard way.

There have been so many teams in the history of the NHL just like the caps and yet they never won anything because they also assumed that their talent level alone was enough to win a Cup. Herb Brooks must be rolling in his grave.

Posted by: O-V-P | November 15, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Theo for Huet? No way.

Huet is in year 2 of a 4 year contract. That's why Caps signed Theo instead of Huet, Theo was willing to take a 2 year deal. Huet insisted on 4.

Our netminders for next season are already in our system, IMO.

Posted by: grackle5 | November 15, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I for one love having Semin on the team. I certainly don't want him gone, and certainly dont want to have to face him if he's playing on another team. I don't think this was mentioned in any of the posts, but i wonder if the media doesnt like Semin because he never talks to the media. I know there is the language thing, but he rarely does interviews, and they are through an interpreter. He's been here 3? 4? years, and i the sitdown he had with CSN a few weeks back was the most he's ever said. In all the vid clips, he and Ovi are laughing it up and having a great time. So i think that due to his play style and the fact that he doesnt really talk to the media, they like to get on him when he makes a mistake.

Posted by: aglatfelter | November 15, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@aglatfelter
That's a really good point, I seem to remember the media getting on Erik Bedard's case when he was with the Orioles (sorry about the baseball reference, in that nearby city, but I see the parallels here). Sometimes introverted guys get cast as being arrogant simply because they'd rather go about their business than talk about it.

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if BB is the type of coach who can "coddle" a player, but some players are worth coddling.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 15, 2009 9:59 AM

See Mike Green

As for the goalies: I don't think it's just a Theo/Varly problem. A lot of time it's the play of the skaters in front, not the goalie. The Caps D are known to play out of position, misplay the puck, not challenge shooters, and don't clear the rebounds. Every goalie gives up soft goals, including Brodeur. Blaming the goalie only masks the problems.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This board is out to lunch. Semin was hurt and hist play showed it 4 and 5 games ago. He was a monster 3 games ago and played quite well 2 games ago. He got called out because he tries to do too much himself and needs corrections, but that doesn't erase a few facts:

Semin is one of the most talented players in the world;

He is probably playing hurt;

The team has sustained a lot of injuries;

We lost a game and it wasn't Semin's fault.

Tell you what, folks, we're going to lose more than 20 times this season. Sometimes we will not be on our game. Get used to it and try and resist projecting one game to an entire season.

The Pens have lost a ton while, like us, injured, but they also got totalled by Phoenix when they were entirely healthy. A secret -- it did not take them out of cup contention.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Some interesting quotes from the Minnesota Wild writer from Friday:

"I will unequivocally say that Washington is the best team I have seen this season, and I didn’t even get to see them with Alexander Ovechkin in the lineup. They have the firepower and the defense, and if Semyon Varlamov is the real deal (difficult to tell because his defensemen blocked so many Wild shots), I would be shocked if the Caps are not playing in the Cup Finals in June."

"Tonight, the Wild held another road trip for their fans, but they couldn’t drown out the sea of red that was the Verizon Center crowd. I had no idea that there was such a great atmosphere at Caps games. I was taken aback. They had cheers, they were loud and they knew their hockey (although there were a few ridiculous pleads for penalties that I could have done without)."

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | November 15, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@ Sonyask

I agree with you about Semin. With the record the Caps have, we should enjoy this team. Sure, there are areas for improvement, but the foundation of the team is sound. Unfortunately, when BB and others say that one player lost the game or always makes a point to bring attention to that player's mistakes, it starts a feeding frenzy.

For the record, the only real difference between Ovi and Semin is that Ovi throws hits and Semin is a better passer. Those that claim that Ovi is always on the backcheck when he turns over the puck and plays hard every shift must only watch the playoffs. I don't see anything wrong with that. Why spend all of your energy to beat non-playoff or non-conference teams and have none left for the playoffs? The point of the regular season is to get enough points to make it to the post season. No one cares if you're #1 or #8.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 15, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Amazing the trashing that Semin is getting for a pass that got intercepted by NJ. Lets be as ridiculous as Tarik and say that play cost us the game. I have looked at the play in replay many times and this is what I see:
Semin carries the puck into the offensive zone and two Devils are beginning to zero on him, he sees that and attempts to pass to one of his linemates which were rushing up ice with him, alas, unbeknown to him they have pulled up for a shift change, the Devils intercept. One second you have support, the next you are all alone. This seems to be a mistake more in the coaching than on the player. Also a result of constant line reshuffles where players don't have a good feel for each other.
But hey, lets continue with Tarik's BRILLIANT analysis. The puck gets intercepted because of a bonehead play by Semin (TARIK'S BRILLIANT HOCKEY MIND AT WORK). The Devils rush up ice and score, they carried the puck almost the entire length of the ice with only one capital (Semin) on the Devil's zone, that means that there were four other capitals + Theo somewhere left to defend the play, but somehow they all disappeared - I guess Semin paralized the whole team and it cost us the game.

There was a bonehead, but I don't think he was in the ice.

Posted by: hock1 | November 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

wahoo_Mike
Interestinfg comments-thanks. I always find the out of town beat writer fascinating reads when it comes to evaluating our team.

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 15, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I didn't watch last night's game. But if this is the response from a Minnesota Wild wirter "They have the firepower and the defense, and if Semyon Varlamov is the real deal (difficult to tell because his defensemen blocked so many Wild shots)" -- did the team that beat the Wild on Friday make the trip to NJ?

Theo is not playing well -- that's not in question. But would anyone accuse the defense of making it difficult to see if that was the case? And while we're hearing about the Semin turnover (over and over) -- it wasn't at the final buzzer. If that's all it took for this team to give up and beat itself, I think the whole team has some thinking and some work to do.

Posted by: miseaujeu | November 15, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

the biggest sequence of the game last night was Clark missing the wide open net and shooting the puck right at Brodeur with 1:40 left in the second period and 45 seconds later the devils scored on a 3 on 2 break to make it 4 - 2.

that was the game right there, NOT Semin's turnover... that's just a by-product of BB's "high risk high reward" style of hockey. Ovie often makes the same type of mistakes especially on the PP which lead to shorthanded breaks by the other team. Just learn to live with it or change the system.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@joek443
Didn't Morrison also miss an open net after getting Brodeur out of position, or are we thinking of the same chance and I'm mistaken in who was shooting?

Posted by: Capcrazy77 | November 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70 -- BB did not say anything about Semin losing the game for us. He just called him out for a bad play, which he should.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 15, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

1) Semin & tides - both roll in, both roll out.

2) No Knuble = no chaos in front of Brodeur

3) Back to back = no excuse. seriously peeps, the team is overwhelmingly young.

4) Perreault = keeper. Make it happen GMGM.

Posted by: doughless | November 15, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Flash is going to make the contract negotiations w/ Semin a bit more interesting in my opinion. If he can keep up this pace he almost makes Semin expendable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating anything or bashing anyone, but Flash is starting to prove he can be second scoring threat and may be had at a cheaper price than Semin would be, allowing for more personnel flexibility.

Posted by: superpaqman | November 15, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Semin is not to blame for the loss last night. He did make a pass that looked to me like a "no look" pass that resulted in a breakaway turnover and goal. Horrors! No one else in the world or on the Caps has ever done that.

Seriously, though, I blame Tominfl1. He must have been drinking white wine in the first period and switched to red in the second and third. But even so, I wouldn't want to trade Tom to another fan base. I just don't like to blame a loss on only one player or fan.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 15, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't just that one pass from Semin. If you remember, a couple of minutes before that, he made the same kind of pass that was picked off. It didn't result in a breakaway or a goal, but it was a turnover. And what did Semin learn? Nothing. He made the pass again and turned it over, which led to a goal (that Theo should've stopped). Semin is too up and down, and it's hard to trust a guy if you never know which Semin will show up.

Posted by: CDon | November 15, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who're calling for Semin's head - get a grip, and check the stats.

This year, he is in tenth place in overall points. He's in 6th place in goals. He has a +/- of 1, which says that he's more of an asset to the team than not. And it's early in the year.

Last year, hw as 13th in the league in overall points. He had a +/- of +28

Who do you think we're going to get to replace him? He's an elite forward - not too many of those skating around. Only about 13 - and do you think you're going to get any of those for a cent under $5 million?

Plus, he's an incredible stick handler, has a big menu of moves, and can steal the puck like no one's business. If he has the occasion give away, that's part of the high risk game we play. The only thing I think he needs to work on are those dumb penalties - but then he's on the right team for that, isn't he?

Posted by: RedRocker1 | November 15, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@CDon
That's true of most players. Let's talk Mike Green for a moment. I am not bashing him. I like him, but his passes make me much more nervous than do Semin's. How about the one when they played the Devils before which resulted in an immediate goal -- it was right in front of our net. I didn't see him being hung out to dry by his toes for that as Semin has been. I always think Green holds on to the puck a second too long, then passes dangerously close to an opponent's stick. I almost can't look anymore. But, I certainly don't think we should trade him or call him a bad player, not worth the risk.

It's like so much in life these days, especially: what have you done for me lately? The more someone does perform well, the more he is expected to perform well, so it's an ever-escalating expectation that really can't be met to the satisfaction of critics. Of course we expect a lot from Semin and should, but not to the point of tearing him down every time he makes a mistake. And this talk of benching Semin beacuse of it? So, now BB should bench a player each time a mistake is made? There would be no one left!

Posted by: Steakum | November 15, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

About benching players who make mistakes - what Steakum said.

Posted by: RedRocker1 | November 15, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

You don't bench players like that.

Reduce their minutes..sure. Sit them out for a game? Uhh...no.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

the biggest sequence of the game last night was Clark missing the wide open net and shooting the puck right at Brodeur with 1:40 left in the second period and 45 seconds later the devils scored on a 3 on 2 break to make it 4 - 2.

that was the game right there, NOT Semin's turnover... that's just a by-product of BB's "high risk high reward" style of hockey. Ovie often makes the same type of mistakes especially on the PP which lead to shorthanded breaks by the other team. Just learn to live with it or change the system.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 12:37 PM |

Yep. Clark missed an open net, and probably could've changed the momentum of the game. Oh well.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 15, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

He is just very streaky. When he is on, he is great, but when he is off, he really stinks....and I agree with the other people who suggest that perhaps player's loose confidence in a goaltender after a pattern like that...

_________________________

I have no idea where/why you guys think professional athletes carry this mentality with them. I think you all need to go read that recent interview with Perry regarding Jiggy/Hiller. If who is in net is affecting the play of the skaters, then something is seriously wrong there.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 15, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Lastly - the team played a great 1st period. It wasn't until Theo started letting in soft goals when they started to play bad as a team. Like I said they have no confidence in him and when he starts doing his best swiss cheese imitation, and OV and Knuble are out, I bet they thought there's no way we can outscore them if Theo's gonna be...... well Theo tonight.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | November 15, 2009 12:06 AM |

lol.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 15, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

CDon -- I think you're way off on Semin. Who's got the most giveaways on the team? It's Backstrom. Ovi and Semin are next. The difference between Ovi and Semin is that Semin has more takeaways.

The nights Semin did not "show up," as you put it he was clearly playing through injury.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 15, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
i wasn't around after yesterdays game - thanks for sticking up for theo (among a few others). not that it was theo's best game, but in no way can that loss be pinned on him. varly may very well end up being the #1 at some point this season but he can't do it alone and still has a bit of work to do to become a steady goalie.
for the others that want to dump semin - you'll just have to take the good with the bad. he is not the only one on the team making bad plays/passes.
ever since BB brought these guys from basement to playoffs, it seems that almost everyone in here is spoiled with that success and every mistake is unforgivable. i swear - until this team goes 82-0-0, someone will be calling for a players head on a platter.
it seems that a lot of folks forget that this is a team sport - EVERY opponent is trying to keep you from making plays. this isn't golf where you opposition can't take some action to keep you off of you game.
if you want to criticize a player for his play - no problem - just stop calling for them to be traded, sat or euthanized, it getting downright ridiculous

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 15, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The only person we need to blame is Ovechkin for not coming back a game earlier. How selfish. SIKE...Just wanted to jump on the blame bandwagon.

Posted by: washingtoncapitals | November 15, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Semin supporters.. T and others are getting the habit of targeting Semin, blame blame one person- who will be next week?. how many times do Ovi and Green and others do the same things.. stop twisting BB words to get effect..
One thing is for sure.. Semin doesn't leave the fans unemotional..

Posted by: kmr2r | November 15, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@kmr2r

I know I'm certainly emotional about Semin's play and the current criticism of it.

(I guess I never emotionally matured.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

The Semin bashing must stop. Sonyask above put it correctly - one of the most talented players in the world. No doubt his hockey smarts can be improved. But, you just can't grow his kind of talent.

Now the danger is having him get "Larry Murphyed" out of town. Look at Semin's options after this season:

1) sign long-term with Caps
2) sign a long-term RFA and let Caps match or take picks. As I've pointed out, it takes years to get a return on the picks.
3) Go to arbitration and sign for one year, after which UFA
4) sign long-term in Russia
5) MAYBE VERY LIKELY. Sign a one-year deal with a Russian club. Yes, a one-year deal. Why? Because at the end of one year, he is a NHL UFA due to being 27 years old.

My opinion is he's a world-class player who makes mistakes, just like every other world-class player on the Caps. Get used to it. Last night was one game. The worst of the year. A stinker. Our first stinker of the year? Jeez-u-peets, last year our first stinker was game 1, 7-4 defeat to the Thrash. Some of you need to start drinking. Maybe you will lighten up.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

semin had a good game but had week spots. despite a bad game we need ovi 2 play again. he can get us a high scoring game and take us 2 victory

Posted by: hockey142 | November 15, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

@RedRocker1

Thank you for pointing out Semin's stats.

Many people feel like Semin has already been replaced in his role for the team -- by Flash. (Flash is cheaper.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Good post on Semin's options after this year. I'm sort of afraid that Semin has already been Larry Murphy'd out of town at this point. Do you think Option 5 of signing a 1 year deal with Russia and then being a UFA with the NHL is the most likely outcome for him?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum

Agree with you on benching every player who makes a mistake. If we did that, we wouldn't have enough people left to suit up.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the posters here are nowhere as hard on Semin as they are on Japers' and some of the other blogs.

At least one blogger claims he's talked to a Russian scout who says that Semin's play and attitude have not changed since he was 16. Frankly, I have a hard time believing that. If that were true, he would NOT have been a significant plus player last year after being a significant minus in previous years.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

The Semin blaming can stop. The Green blaming can stop. Even the Thoe blaming can stop. Last night's loss rests on the shoulders of one person - tominfl1.

Yes, me. How you ask?

Well, repeatedly, I've pointed out that I drink red wine while watching home games - ROCK THE RED - and drink white wine while watching road games - ROCK THE WHITE - and that has worked out very well this year - up until yesterday.

I posted Friday night that I'd be going to the beach Saturday (and again today) and that I'd have beer at the beach so I couldn't then drink wine during the game last night. So, I had another beer. I figured, well, beer was the same color as white wine, so this should be fine. ROCK THE WHITE. Hmmmmm. Let's check the results:

The Caps have their worst game of the year and Colin WHITE scores for the Devils. Seems as if we ROCKED THE WRONG WHITE.

Do not fear, my friends. You can trust that I will fix this Tuesday night. The wife is buying NY strip steaks from Fresh Market and I told her we can have them Monday, or we can have them Wednesday, but we aren't eating anything named "NY" Tuesday night and we're having fish or chicken to go w/white wine. If she makes me a NY steak, I will give it to the cats.

I will ROCK THE WHITE and I will do it in the orthodox fashion.

Stay hungry my friends. And stay thirsty, too.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

He is just very streaky. When he is on, he is great, but when he is off, he really stinks....and I agree with the other people who suggest that perhaps player's loose confidence in a goaltender after a pattern like that...

_________________________

I have no idea where/why you guys think professional athletes carry this mentality with them. I think you all need to go read that recent interview with Perry regarding Jiggy/Hiller. If who is in net is affecting the play of the skaters, then something is seriously wrong there.

Posted by: richmondphil

Generally, I try not to bash players. I really like the team the Caps have now. I honestly like most of the players that many people here seem to dislike....I normally would not think what I wrote before, but I for some reason remember last year after game 1 of the playoffs, it was suggested that "anonymous players" let BB know that they were not as confident with a certain goaltender in net. Maybe I am misremembering that, maybe that was only something another fan conspired...I do not know, but it made me wonder if perhaps that is true. I just threw it out there really.

Anyway, I do not pin that stinker last night on Theo, a few of those goals were deflections, and a breakaway on an unfortunate misplay...this was a team loss. It happens. But I still think Theo has not been playing well his last couple of games, and it would have been nice if he could have stepped it up a little more last night. As I said, he had fresher legs. But its only a game. Theo (like many goaltenders) tends to be streaky, he is in a rut, I just hope he finds his groove soon.

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 15, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: I don't go to the games. Of course, I live in Florida, it would be a long drive.

Do they boo him and whoop-whoop like with Murphy? I don't hear that on TV. What I see is a small band of misinformed hockey fans who post here on this blog, who, not knowing any better, possibly because they never watched hockey until they were in their 20s, who think Semin is a "cancer."

Well, I don't know his birth sign. Is he a cancer?

As I posted the other day, in a democracy, it's the whiners and complainers who often speak with the loudest voice. The happy and content remain quiet (why complain when you are happy?) until they aren't happy. I don't believe Semin is being chased out of town, not unless the fans are vocal at the games. If a player has 18,000 supporters at the games, and a dozen misguided critics on the blog, do you think he's being supported or castigated?

I tell you what I, tominfl1, will do: I will stand by Alexander Semin 100% until Alexander Ovechkin refuses to do so. If he's good enough for Ovie, he's good enough for me.

There. I made my case. Anyone wish to cross-examine?

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"The Semin blaming can stop. The Green blaming can stop. Even the Theo blaming can stop. Last night's loss rests on the shoulders of one person - tominfl1."

AHA! I KNEW it! I had forgotten about your trip to the beach (blocked it out of my mind due to jealousy) and the beer. Thank you for manning up to the gaff.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 15, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

BTW, on Wednesday night, when Semin scored two goals in regulation and one in the shoot out (Hey, Semin haters, how about that?), I heard ZERO boos. I never heard a boo when he was on the ice at all. I guess the goal he scored within the first 8 seconds of the game quelled any tendency for that on Wednesday. I wish I had season tickets so I could report about other nights.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 15, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

We know Semin has been playing through a wrist injury -- at the very least.

He was cross checked in the Islanders Game that we lost in overtime. He walked off in pain but says he was okay. But I wonder....

He was sick earlier this year. He missed the Monday practice and went to the doctor, came back Tuesday, but then was out for the Wednesday practice & the next two games. Sounds like a guy who came back too soon.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, no booing! The next game we go to is Nov. 25, Buffalo. Let's show Semin the LOVE!

Posted by: Steakum | November 15, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1

I was there at Wednesday's game and heard no boos of Semin. (The bloggers and reporters were STILL critical of the one mistake that Semin made in that game.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

No, the fans at the game do not "whoop whoop" Alex Semin.

Semin's astrological sign is Pisces. (He was born on March 3, 1984) and has Moon in Pisces. (Same as my first born who's about a year younger and was also often criticized.)

The press and bloggers are the ones who seem to criticize him big time. You should read the criticism of him at Japers'.

If nothing else, Semin inspires his friends to be loyal to him; i.e. Ovechkin. Back when Semin was drafted, his closest friend (pre-Ovi days) posed with him and his family. (Wonder if Semin stays in tough with that friend. My guess is yes.)

You made a great case, Tom.

In an ironic parallel, Larry Murphy was actually born under the sign of Pisces. (Or should I call him Lavrenti Muraviov?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Maybe you guys should wait to have NY strip steak until the Caps are safely out of NY.

Guess your cats may have a great meal this week.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

What we need, well, is a true hero to stand up for our Caps. Someone like, well, you can guess.

Four score and seven victories ago our owners brought forth on this franchise a new coach, conceived in scoring, and dedicated to the proposition that all goals are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great debate, testing whether that team, or any team so conceived and so dedicated, can drink from Lord Stanley's Cup. We are met on a great ice rink of that debate. We have come to decide whether or not to chase one player out of town, as we have done in the past, of if we look at the big picture and give this player a pass on several mistakes based on the embodiment of his work. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ice rink. The brave Caps, spending the night in a cheap hotel in Newark, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add, detract or to criticize. The hockey world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget if we do someting really stupid like chase Alexander Semin or Mike Green out of town (like we did with Larry Murphy, who has four Cups, while we only drool). It is for us the fans, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of rooting our team onward -- that this team, under Ted Leonsis and GMGM, shall have a new birth of victories -- and that hockey of the fans of DC, by the fans of DC, for the fans of DC, shall not perish from Don Cherry's telecast.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

One will little note nor long remember that Don Cherry's intitials are:

DC

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Heaven forbid should Semin be chased from town; a travesty.

He then would have every right to stand at center ice and proclaim: "My name is Alexander Valerievich Semin. The son of Siberian parents, the best friend of Alex Ovechkin, a point leader of the South, and I shall have my revenge on this team with the next!"

Posted by: Steakum | November 15, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Great Lincolnesque speech for the Caps.

So, who is our hero. By any chance, is his first name Alexander and his middle name (i.e. patronymic) Mikhailovich?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum

That sounds like something I'd say. (And why does it seem like the Devils manage to acquire most of the guys we run out of town?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: Maybe we can get Tatiana Ovechkina to give the speech.

After all, she's the greatest champion we have by relation to the franchise.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Murphy's Law was originally known as Muraviov's Law and was invented by the Russians originally. (Russians are known for their fatalism and waiting for the other shoe to drop.)

Muraviov's Law -- in honor of Lavrenti Muraviov

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Sounds like a great idea. Tatiana Nikolaievna Ovechkina (nee Kabayeva) should definitely give the speech. She knows how to win -- 2 Olympic gold medals. And she could win Olympic gold AND raise kids at the same time. (Kid #1 was born by that point.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I think Boudreau is up to 99 victories now. He'll be the fastest Caps coach to get 100 victories with his next win.

Should we have said that speech when we were sitting on Win #87 (at the beginning of this year)?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Lordy be I don't even know where to begin. It was a stinker last night but a TEAM Stinker. We we are good we are very good (cue in reprint of Wilds reaction) but when we are bad we are aweful. But I agree with Doughless and Sonyask--let it go. One game when we tired in November against a very good team does not mean we will never win the Cup. The Wilds played a similar system and we got through them. Likewise the Devils are beatable. The sky is not falling everytime we lose. (cue in chicken little). Lastly I agree with the poster who blamed tominfl' for drinking white wine. And I bet his orange cat has not yet been dyed red. Better get to it Tom before the Rangers game or this board will have traded Semin by then. I for one love the high risk high reward style of the Caps. My final point is that last season posters were yelling how we could pick up our game against good trams but played down to the level of weak teams. We are not doing that this year. We are far more consistent than last year but it is a work in progress. Keep the faith, keep Semin, ease up on Theo and Varly, and GO CAPS!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

This board's been less hard on Semin than over at Japers. The bloggers, as a whole, have really been down on Semin this year. Every mistake he gets is magnified. Ed Frankovich (one blogger) says he talked to an NHL scout who's convinced that Semin hasn't improved his game or attitude since age 16 and still doesn't care. And the blogger at 'Storming the Crease' practically has a daily rant on Semin (or a pointer to a previous day's rant on him).

No, the fans at Verizon are not "whoop", "Whoop"'ing Semin. It's the bloggers who are doing it, instead.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

dccitizen1: Yes, I have a tough life. We work a 9/80 so every other week is a three-day weekend. Life is tough. I spent my off day, Friday, doing chores, so I could spend Saturday and Sunday at the beach. So you don't think this is peaches and cream, it's an hour drive each way and the tide was high and even with 80 degrees it was kinda windy. Plus the surf was rough due to that pesky storm. I mean, criminy, I couldn't even swim, and with the wind, not as many ladies were out, what with me at the beach while my wife stays home.

I had a really tough weekend if you count watching the game Saturday night. I'm trying to hang in there. The beach. The ladies. The surf. Those d@mned Devils.

Enough with the beer; enough with the wine; in honor of the Sashas, we've moved on to vodka. Except that only Backie would approve of Svedka.

Is he old enough? I'd hate like he!! to contribute to the delinquency of a minor.

OTOH, if you are of age, and enjoy your delinquencies, by all means - join the club. Welcome to the Hotel California.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Today was a good day. The weather was great. I went to the Redskins game and they won, a come from behind affair against a pretty good team, Denver. Metro ran an Orange Line train from the stop nearest the game so I didn't have to change trains. And the train was arriving just I was walking down to the platform and I was able to get on the train and, best of all, find a seat! And, as an added bonus, Dallas lost!

Going to the Skins game took my mind off Alexander Valerievich for a few hours.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Nicky turns 22 towards the end of this month. He was "legal" last year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@steakum--great speech for Semin--a Southener by way of Siberia. Seriously we posters need to chill in regards to Semin. The last thing any us would want is to face him on an opposing team. He is not Ovi nor should we expect him to be. He should be himself--great hands and great scorer.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I miss Knuble too!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Some people could argue that we're not getting our act together against the good teams.

Granted, our sample size is small.

We started off beating Boston who was a good team last year but this year....well.

We've split with Philthy. Lost one game to the Rangers. Lost to Red Wings. Beat San Jose. While the Devils have our number.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see this Ed Frankovich character try and cover Semin one on one. Better yet I'd like to see Ed Frankovich do anything worthwhile. Can he even do his taxes? Does he have a family budget and pay all his bills on time or early? Does he call his mother once a week?

The world will little note nor long remember Ed Frankovich.

Who?

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

I don't wish to face Semin with an opposing team. Not the Devils or the LA Kings or the Red Wings but, most of all, not the Penguins.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Thank you dude...post of the week for sure!

Glad you saw the errors of your ways...stay thirsty my friend...still laughing

Posted by: ralCapsFan | November 15, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Ed Frankovic has a blog, titled "Ed Frankovic's Blog which is reachable from the "Washington Hockey Daily" blog which lists links to most of the main bloggers. Ed is a sportwriter who has also covered the O's.

He is not even the worst critic of Semin. The worse critic is the fellow who writes "Storming the Crease", a blog reachable from the "Wash Capital Blog Roll" page.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I see Atlanta keeps rolling along. They won today.

While Kovy didn't score today, he seems like he hasn't lost a beat since coming back from his injury.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Tominfl--great speech. My blood is stirred up in defense of our great Semin and the greatness embodied in our team the Caps. Makes me want to sing the Antham but I can't hit all the notes. I think it is time for the red dye. My cat gave me the hairy eyeball and said that her white fur represented away games.
Capsfan75--I'm a STH (seats not as good as yours though)and I also only hear cheers for Semin. Yes some of the posters at Kapers are hard on him but the article by JP I think analyzing Semin'a strengths and weakness was very good-- he definitely is one of our assets. As for the gossip relayed by one of the posters I don't put any credence in it. People love to have the inside scoop but it's very rarely accurate.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

And who the he!! is this Japers character? People come on here and they talk about "Japers" like it's supposed to mean something. Does Japers play for Caps? Forward, defense or in goal? OK, so is he behind the bench or in the front office?

"The folks on Japers..." don't know jack. Just like us. We don't play the game. We just SPECULATE.

"...on Japers..." sounds like some kind of addiction.

Chasing Semin out of town would be the dumbest thing in DC since whatever Congress did five minutes ago. And this is what they want to do "on Japers?"

Maybe they should get OFF Japers.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Do you sit up in the 400's? (Last year, I had tickets in all sorts of places, sometimes in the 400's and other times in the 100's and even in the 200s a couple of times.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Japers refers to the Japers Rink blog. J.P. is the main writer but he has several other writers that also contribute.

That is probably the blog with the most posts, outside of this one. I would say the fans post both here and on Japers more than they do on the Official Caps boards.

(The new Official Caps boards are really lame. The Caps boards before that had more posters but it seemed that discussions were on a downward spiral in quality.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I hate to bash Theo because I really would love for things to work out for him. But I do think he is a liability and I am convinced that, no matter what others did, the momentum changed in the game from the moment he let in the second and third goal.

I agree with pokerfaceI208 "this team doesn't have confidence in Theo so when he lets in a dumb @ss goal the team gets down."

Maybe he does not fit BB's high risk style. I don't understand why BB always defends him and has more confidence in him than in Varly. Is this a blind spot for him or is he seeing someting I don't?

Varly has played 9 games. His lowest scores were two--both around 84%. The remaining 7 stats were all in the 90's, with one shut-down. Theo's stats range from 40% to 95% save percentage. And, what bothers me, is that in half of the 14 games he started, his save percentage was below 88%. 89-90% is my cut-off point for what is acceptable for an NHL level goalie. Am I wrong? BB says that Theo basically plays well with a couple of bad games here and there and the he cycles back. I don't see this. I see the opposite--that at least half his games are below acceptable standards. Someone explain to me why he is considered more consistent or competent or whatever than Varly?

I know Varly has flaws and I am particularly worried about his lack of mental toughness/meltdowns. But I am beginning to believe that he is very receptive to coaching and quick to learn. It looks like he has vastly improved on his glove save and I am starting to trust his mental toughness.

If he is not our guy, then let's start looking for a number #1. I don't care how much Theo improves, he should not be in the playoffs.


Posted by: caraveli | November 15, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I really don't understand where this hole on the glove side that Varly supposedly has... just because he has given up a few goals on that side, doesn't mean he has a big hole. the problem I have noticed is that he seems to have some difficulty handling what I would call change-up shots.. not really hard shots but kinda flutters.

@ caraveli

I have no idea what mental toughness issue you're referring to... he did very well in the playoffs last year as a rookie and he stopped 10 straight penalty shots just a couple days ago.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

this team has defensive meltdowns, it's not the goaltending problem.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Final point-- we have had a very tough schedule against some very tough teams and you know what? We have the fewest losses in the East and we are close in the West. I think we've done well so far. We've had some bumps along the way, have to keep working on consistency and discipline, play for all 60 minutes, and muddle through with the loss of Ovi and other injuries. I see adjustments being made in their game to address issues we had last year (no need to ennumerate we all saw the playoffs). The Caps are a work I. Progress and we are progressing. The glass is three-quarters full eveyone.
BTW Tominfl your posts really make my day.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

At least Varly seems to have improved his game from the beginning of the year. He made several glove saves on Friday night. I noticed that he was working a lot on glove saves when I watched him at a practice a few weeks ago.

The kid needs to improve his endurance but that will come in time.

Recommendation for next week for goalies. Start Varly against the Rangers on Tuesday and against Montreal on Friday. Theo should start against Toronto.

BTW, I just read today that Toronto had also whoop whooped Larry Murphy off their team. They're also ready to run Vesa Toskala out of town.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

A work I progress and we are progressing I was trying to say. The keys are too small and my eyes need my glasses-- sorry for the bad typing.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

the Caps went after King Henrik's glove side in the playoffs and had success later in the series.

does that mean he has a big hole? no that was because he was tired and couldn't keep his glove up as they pointed it out during the TV coverage.

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

joek443

I am talking about playoff game 7-type of melt-down; what Boudreau calls "letting opponents score in bunches." You are right, he can display amazing toughness and focus, but there have been certain situations that he seemed to have fallen apart and unable to pull himself back up. I definitely see him more resilient and mature. I have seen him learned from every flaw that has been pointed out to him.

The Caps have improved greatly in penalty control and, I believe, defense. This is why it is so frustrating when they are so close (as they were during the first period in the Devils' game) and lose the advantage.

Posted by: caraveli | November 15, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: Well, if your cat is white, I'd leave it be. Just bring it out for road games and leave it in the closet or laundry room for home games. We have six cats, and none of them are red or white. I tried to dye the orange one red but he got really pi$$ed. I told him I was sick of him being "flyer orange" in our house and he comes back at me with all this "we are the world" and "diversity" stuff.

So, me and him, man to man, or rather man to cat, whatever, we sit down and try to hash it out over a couple of drinks. And I'm like,

"Malachi, dude, you're orange. Why can't you try and fit in with the family?"

"Meow."

"Yes, well, I understand that. And I've always thought Pronger could probably kill a mouse as well as any cat. But, how can you explain Danny Briere?"

He chose that moment to life his leg and begin cleaning his hind end.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I hope our writers and bloggers don't succeed in chasing Semin out of town.

I wonder if Semin will leave if he's feels he's worth as much as Backstrom but the Caps don't agree with that assessment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

There's some talk above about Varly. I swear I saw in a recent game when Varly flinched on a slapshot high, just between the glove and his face. Which game? Can't recall, but recent. Not Isles, maybe before. And I thought, he has to get past that, and then I saw Brodeur last night take one off the face, or at least chin, no flinch, and I thought, "that's the difference."

I'm not criticizing because I don't play, but sometimes when you see a champion in action it lets you know what it is.

Brodeur is the best, and that's just how it is.

Guten abend.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 15, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@ caraveli

he has ONE friggin' bad game in the playoffs and yes it was a very bad timing. EVERY goalie has meltdowns, even the very best HOF goalies. your expectations are unreasoable.

NO, the Caps have NOT improved on defense.. just look at all the traffic in front of the Caps' net... they have NOBODY who can consistently clear in front of the net. Theo and Varly always have to deal with a lot of traffic in front of them, a lot more than they should

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

joek443, yes you are right that "they have NOBODY who can consistently clear in front of the net." I have seen improvement in segments of games but not consistency.

Is it just me who thinks that BB is too soft on Theo and harder on Varly?(relatively speaking).

Posted by: caraveli | November 15, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I was in NJ last night for the game.

Semin's turnover was bad, yes, but it was not the only factor.

1) The night before, the Caps played a hard-fought game in which a top line player went down in the first frame. They had to make up for those minutes.

2) After making up for Knuble's minutes, they played just over half a game with a full compliment of players - missing both Knuble and Ovechkin, who both get a lot of minutes. Then they lost Gordon again.

3) Missing a forward left the Caps with three choices:

* Run three forward lines.
* Scramble the forward lines and up someone's ice time.
* Move Sloan to forward and short the defense.

Which would you take?

Exhaustion set in - three games in four days, following four games in six days will do that to you - and they ran out of steam.

Dookie happens.

Yes, Theo could have been sharper in net. A LOT sharper.

Yes, Boudreau could have pulled Theo out of the net and put Varlamov in; he didn't, probably because Varlamov had played the night before, and he'd pulled Theo in the previous game.

This is the FIRST game all season we've lost by more than one point. It's ONE GAME. And Martin Brodeur was spotless, after he let in those first two goals. I saw him make some HUGE saves on our guys. HUGE saves.

The Devils are a good team. So are we. We had a breakdown last night. It's not the end of the world, nor is it the end of the season.

If Semin is indeed playing injured, that would account for a lot of things, and I hope he gets a chance to rest and heal up. We need him at 100%.

Major kudos to both Fleischmann and Perreault ("Mini Me") for their goals. They looked great out there!

But the team just plain ran out of gas.

Posted by: irockthered | November 15, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

On Semin playing injured. He left Monday's practice early. He was spotted at Tuesday's practice with a brace on his wrist. And still had it wrapped tight for Wednesday's game.

Someone had posted last week that Semin was not making his characteristic wrist shot. (Yes, since his wrist is injured.)

Reports are that the wrist injury is not the only thing wrong with him, healthwise.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 15, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely no way, no how, no century is Semin worth to this team what Backie is.

Absolutely negative, sir.

Posted by: large23220 | November 15, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Agree with you irockthered with much of your analysis of the game. We played really well defensively the night before against the Wilds and the Devils were fresh and are a stronger team.
I like have Theo in games. Varly needs this season to develop--goalies are funny--they are wired differently. We don't want to burn him out or mess with confidence. And we posters are hard on whichever goalie is playing. I say give them both a larger margin of error and defense accountable too.
Capsfan75--yes we are in the nosebleed section but I do have an ecxellent perpsective on the overall game or that's what I keep telling myself. Just glad we have ST tickets in this hockey mad town.
And Tom I am so sorry you have a Flyers cat--maybe you can squint when looking at him or give him a nice RED fluffy blanket. Hey we can ask the posters over at Japers Rink what to do.
Seriously though I think the statistical analysis they do at that site is good and they have good links. You should check it out since that kind of analysis is right up your alley. I don't bother posting there--and they can flame with the best of the flaming posters. But it can be a nice change of pace. It is part of SBNation and I like checking out the SB sites for the teams we play on any given day.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 15, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

one bad game can really change the focus in here. there were only three (i counted them), i repeat three mentions of nyls in this thread. finalizing the assignment of nyls as soon as possible will mean more to this team than this one loss. it would appear that there are many who wish semin and theo could be included in the nyls transaction.
there - i feel better now - i've single handedly double his mentions in just one post - i'm proud of me :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 16, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Nylander, Nylander, Nylander, Nylander...


But seriously, I really would hate to Trade or chase Semin out of town. Sure, he is a high risk player, and just like any human being, he makes mistakes...but many of his mistakes happen while he is trying to make a play/be creative...I would rather he try and not succeed (/make mistake) than not. Many times his plays work out, and they are often a thing of beauty. I think he has the most raw talent on the team. What makes him different than Ovi would be personality and physicality...Semin is definitely a player I hope can stick with this team for a long while!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 16, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

NHL Home Ice announced that Savard and the Bruins have almost come to terms. It looks like a 5 year deal worth between 6 -6.5 mil a year. That's realistically what we'll pay for Backstrom. His first 2+ years blows Savard's out of the water. I know Savard's been doing it longer but at age 21, Backstrom sure makes it look easy. Even in a game that he looks "rough" he still has flashes of brillance.

On another topic, I hope Bengt Gustafsson doesn't make his decision on whether or not to take Backstrom for the Olympics based on Saturday's game. Wouldn't be fair to Backstrom and Sweden would be leaving a great player behind. Of course that would work out nicely for the Caps because he would get a 2 week break.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 16, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I mentioned the latter because it was announced that Bengt was in NJ scouting Backstrom.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 16, 2009 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Good job capt_Kirk getting all of the bloggers/posters player obsessions into a single post. Only an interstellar traveler such as your self could be so bold. I couldn't agree more with you--Semin is such a valuable player to this team. And now that Flash is so hot I think that gives even more power. It shouldn't have to be an either/or to save money. Though I really wish the Nyls situation would get resolved he is definitely off the cap hit at the end of season when we need him to be for Backs and Semin. I do understand the need for a different kind of d-man especially when our d falls down. It is clear to me that BB's system is a very demanding kind of defense with even more reliance on all team members to play their part and it is frustrating when they fall short. I am ordering BB's today so I cam understand better.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 16, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Rambled a bit--sorry--meant for cap relief when Nyls is gone at theend of seaso though I wish he'd make the decision to leave earlier.
We need a new thread--this one is too long. We fans never seem to say as much when we win. What does that say about us fans?

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 16, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The Peerless Prognosticator has a breakdown this morning of the first two ten game splits for this season. http://peerlessprognosticator.blogspot.com/ Looking at ten games at a time shows patterns, and the pattern seems to be that the Caps haven't been a consistently good defensive team.

Posted by: miseaujeu | November 16, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: somehow your description of being an hour away from the beach, that it was windy, yah yah yah, didn't help me feel better. I'm still jealous. However, I am running a temperature today and can pretend I'm on the beach.

Very funny conversation with your cat. And the channeling of Abe Lincoln was clever. Thanks for the laughs.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 16, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

@caraveli and joe443--I don't think he is softer on Theo than Varly--just different coaching styles based on different levels of experiences and styles. Varly can pull out the amazing saves to save us when we are not doing well but he also makes some mistakes due mostly to lack of experience and he's definitely a little weaker on his glove hand--not bad, fixable in my mind. Theo has been around the block so to speak. He doesn't need the coach to tell him how he goofed-- he knows. I think BB was right not to pull him. It was always going to be a hard game for us and Theo is better at shaking losses off. It's a boon for us to be able to switch between goalies and BB is taking advantage. Let Varly take his time.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 16, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

You win as a team, you lose as a team.

Semin is one of the most talented players on the face of the planet.

People focus on the Semin mistake and have a lot of discussions about it (and him). Why aren't there big discussions on issues like why the point wasn't covered when d-men jumped up on plays and other mistakes?

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | November 16, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with @BetterOffWithFedorov - This team is not a one-man squad. Everyone on that ice made mistakes. The problem with Semin's mistakes is that because he is a high-risk/high-reward player, the mistakes are often costly, and extremely visible.

I didn't see the team trying to be overly "cute" - I saw them run out of steam. It happens, during a grueling schedule like the one we've had for the last couple of weeks - especially when players have to make up the lost ice time of a teammate.

Keep in mind that Ovechkin typically plays close to 25-30 minutes a game most nights. SOMEONE has to take those minutes when he's out. Knuble's minutes had to be divided up, too.

And then we lost Gordon. He didn't even last one game back. I'm concerned about that, because if he's going to come back, play half a game, and go back out, he probably should be on LTIR. This back issue he's having is getting to be a very big problem.

Before you say that Gordon's limited ice time doesn't make that big of a difference, think about what losing a forward causes. As I stated above, the Caps had three choices:

1) Run three lines and wear the lines out faster.

2) Shuffle the lines to continue running four lines, and up someone's ice time, on an already exhausted team.

Remember: losing Knuble mid-first-frame the night before was not an easy obstacle to overcome.

3) Move Sloan to forward, and short the defense, or flip him back and forth between forward and defense as-needed, wearing him out all by himself.

None of these are particularly good options.

Posted by: irockthered | November 16, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

1) Its bad when we play the goalie who is the last one not to have a meltdown, instead of the one who is hot.

2) Maybe the goalie problem is the system. For all his talk about defense, BB plays an offensive game. Lots of odd man breaks and wide open shots happen as a result.

3) BB has got to lighten up. One loss after a four game winning streak, and listening to BB you would have thought we just lost game 7 in the playoffs. What happened to the jolly fat man who took over 2 years ago??

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | November 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if this has been pointed out, but Mathieu Perreault , had a pass into the middle in the offensive zone, picked off for a Jersey 2 on 1 . Lighten up on Semin.

Posted by: billd2 | November 16, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Leave Semin Alone!

from:irockthered - " BB has got to lighten up.... What happened to the jolly fat man who took over 2 years ago??"

Ha Ha, Agree!

Posted by: guer_j | November 16, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

3) BB has got to lighten up. One loss after a four game winning streak, and listening to BB you would have thought we just lost game 7 in the playoffs. What happened to the jolly fat man who took over 2 years ago??

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | November 16, 2009 10:06 AM |

Granted, it was probably the two most pitiful periods for the Caps all season.

Oh well, lets move on. Devils have our number this year, so hopefully we don't have to have the first crack at em in the first round.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Varlamov frequently flinches at shots up high. In fact, he does it almost every time. It's not a bad thing, or maybe it is (I never played goalie), but he certainly does flinch a lot. Even the ones he saves, he flinches.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company