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Fleischmann helps Caps get back on track


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


Morning roundup


After Tomas Fleischmann scored the winner in overtime to lift the Capitals to 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, he had something to say to Coach Bruce Boudreau:

"It's just a little message," Fleischmann joked, "don't sit me out again." | Full story »

*Notes, quotes and video of Boudreau's postgame presser

More morning links, brought to you from an Air Tran flight into DCA (in-flight wifi is cool), await:

First, some Bog offerings

*Mike Green scores, wipes out, calls it "amazing."

*Scott Walker takes Metro to Verizon Center. Money quote: "I just followed everybody with a Capitals jersey. So it made it easy once I got on."

*Brian Pothier discusses his homecoming.

*Here we go with the "reckless" Caps.


Other stuff

*All in all, a satisfying win. (Examiner)

*A "surreal" game for ex-teammates. (Canes Now)

*Some blogger recaps from Ed Frankovic, On Frozen Blog, Peerless, RMNB, FFODC, Rock the Red and Storming the Crease.

*Walker's toothless aggression. (Homer McFanboy)

*Facelift for the NHL's tiebreak formula? (Pierre Lebrun)

*Mmm, chocolate. (Posted Sports)

Tarik will have more from Kettler after today's practice at 11 a.m.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  March 11, 2010; 9:41 AM ET
 
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Next: Ovechkin: 'We still have a good atmosphere'

Comments

From previous thread:

richmondphil: Yeah, I'm a season ticket holder and I constantly hear slurs towards Green, Poti, Schultz, Semin, and even Ovi. Not from fellow season ticket holders the cuprits are always different. Sometimes I would just like to go to a game and enjoy it without some slug trying to yell things down to the players. I'd rather be present when the goofy fan approaches any of those players after the game, oh wait, they wouldn't do that. It's much more manly to yell crap from a faceless crowd.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

How awesome is it that Walker took the metro in? I love this guy.

@fanohock1
The funny thing is, I usually always sit in the 408-412 range. I hardly splurge for better tickets nowadays, given the Caps popularity and with it, rise in prices. Do these people expect the players to hear them, or what? Are they just trying to show off to other drunken idiots in the crowd?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

richmondphil: I guess so. My tickets are up in 430, Row H. What a great vantage point to watch a hockey game. It's true that you don't feel the hits but watching the plays develop and to witness how well these guys see the ice is amazing. I say that because someone like Poti or Green will swing around the net and hit a forward full stride in the neutral zone. At the point of release you kind of go what the...and then you see the pass get received. We are really lucky to have the team we have right here in DC.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I agree completely with your suggestion of lines with Belanger as the #2 and BMo as the #3.

@fanhock1

I think some people can get carried away thinking that the #3 line has to be the defensive line. All the Caps need is one defensive line and that looks like it will be the 4th line. If people want to call the Chimera/Stecks(or Gordon)/Brads(or Walker) line the 3rd line and the Flash/BMo/Fehr line the 4th line for cosmetic reasons that is fine. But all that matters is if a team has a defensive line to use during the game. The name of the line is meaningless.

Also, a possible Laich/Belanger/Fehr line could be a pretty good defensive line with some scoring ability and the ability to cycle and win battles along the boards. Fehr is also very good at causing turnovers in the neutral zone with his long reach. I wouldn't mind putting that line out there against Crosby. This would mean the 2nd line would be Flash/BMo/Semin. Not my favorite but it could be worth it.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Good, the first and last time Flash sits, as I've written before. The guy is easily the 4th best forward on the team, and needs to play. We've got plenty of grinders, and we can't just have one line creating offense, that's way too easy to shut down come playoff time [see, Boston Bruins, the last 35 years].

Semin has confidence in Flash, also - not a point to be overlooked. Not saying Flash needs to center Semin necessarily, but he.definitely.needs.to.be.playing.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 11, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Should I buy this authentic, fully stitched, with a fight strap, Wild Belanger jersey?

It's only like 45 bucks shipped. I think I'm going to do it, what the hell. Cheaper than a Belanger Caps jersey, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

sgm3, just seeing your post. You make a good point - I like Laich on the 3rd-line, if you can generate a little O there you keep oppo scoring lines more honest.

And Semin and Flash have some magic together - tough to explain, they just do.

I just don't know if BMo is a #2 center anymore, with how fast the league has gotten. Maybe I'm wrong, I like the guy, just not sure about a Malkin vs. BMO matchup. I haven't seen enough of Belanger yet, but so far, so good.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 11, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

i thought ShaMo had his best game in a long time out there last night. Didn't see him turn it over at all plus he was hitting pretty much everything. Guess he didn't like being scratched either

....still not sold on corvo

Posted by: _stevo | March 11, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@govtimbo

I agree about BMo being more of a 3rd line center, but I would have hime with Flash and Semin more for matchups.

I would have Belanger on the line with Laich and Fehr to go against the Crosby line because Belanger is a better defender than BMo and can skate very well which is important in guarding Crosby. Belanger can also compete well against Crosby in the faceoff circle.

Then I would try to put out the Steckel line against Malkin's line since Steckel is big like Malkin and performed well against him in last year's playoffs.

That would leave the BMo line to likely face the Pens 4th line because the Pens Staal line would be going against Ovie's line.

This is all dependant on being able to pick your lines which would be easier for home games.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I think Schultz is getting the raw end of the deal. He is playing fine...he gets paired with Greenie because he is very responsible and Green takes risks. He looks bad sometimes because Green leaves him hanging out back all alone.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2010 9:40 AM

I'm sure when Schultz's agent negotiates his new deal, and brings up Sarge's plus/minus, they will be thanking Green very much.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't so long ago that I used to feel pretty comfy with a 2-0 lead. No more...although I'd still prefer to be up 2 than down 2.

If FL and Atl. lose their next game and Wash. wins tomorrow night then they lock up the SE...with a month to go....even if they lose the next 15 games in regulation...not too likely.

Posted by: rjma1 | March 11, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Richmondphil, what site did you find a deal like that on?!?! I would buy that jersey in a heartbeat!

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Haha, it's an ebay auction. Don't outbid me, i'm watching it! :)

I saw them max out at 30-40 bucks though, so I figured this won't go above it. I think the seller actually has a few different Belanger jerseys up there. I tried to find a Kings Belanger jersey, but couldn't.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I need to sell my Gretzky jersey which I paid over $200 for in the late 80's... it's their road blue/orange jersey

now I just gotta find it... lol

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I need to sell my Gretzky jersey which I paid over $200 for in the late 80's... it's their road blue/orange jersey

now I just gotta find it... lol

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2010 11:10 AM |

I'd assume an authentic Gretzky Oilers jersey would net you a decent amount.

I know the Kings Gretzky's go for at least 400 bucks.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

ebay huh, hmmmmmm....sounds like good lunch bidding, errrrr.....ummmmmm, browsing material! Don't waoory Rich, won't outbid you on that one, I'm sure there will be others now that he has been traded.....I really like the guy....he has a bit of sandpaper to him....

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Haha, I know the guy has an ebay store, I'd bet he has a back-stock of Belanger jerseys. These are all new, and he has previous auctions of the same jersey. His previous jerseys went for like 30-40 bucks, so I am assuming this one will finish around there. Can't imagine Wild Belanger jerseys are flying off the shelves right now, haha.

There is also a signed Belanger jersey, authentic, with the fight strap, stitched, etc a bit further down. It's at 26 bucks right now..probably will go over 40 bucks, but I still can't imagine that one going for too much either. I am watching that one as well. (I never bid until the minute it ends..haha)

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Although I would've liked a Kings Belanger more, I got to say, these Wild jerseys are real nice. Probably one of the best in the league, in my opinion. I love the neck lace. old school.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

What is your callsign on there Richmond so I'm sure I don't outbid you!!

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

abcdevinnn

Don't ask, it's my fiance's.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

LOL, no comment then!!!

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Check out my very amateur Caps blog here.

http://nhl2.thereedreview.com/

Posted by: avischecter | March 11, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Mike Modano was quoted last night as saying that he was asked to wave his no-trade clause to come to the Caps but refused because he didn't want to let his teammates down.
I guess Belanger was the contingency plan that GMGM had. Hope it works out for us. I sure would have loved to have Modano as a loaner for the play-offs. You can't ask for more leadership and experience....

Posted by: atybat | March 11, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Madano might have been helping his Stars more by accepting a trade. He won't be coming back as a player next season and they would have gotten at least a pick for him. I wonder if the fact the Caps were playing the Stars five days after the trade deadline had something to with his decision. Maybe he really has just had enough and like he said, it wouldn't have been as special even if he would have won the Cup again by moving because he wasn't with the team from the start of the season. Oh well, no biggie.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow...Modano and Turco would have been great pieces for the Caps...

And with both being rentals, we wouldn't have disrupted our development. Even if we gave up Fehr, a pick and 2 hershey guys (including Alzner).

Oh well. We are "stuck" with what we have.

And yes, not baby gus, he looks like a bust, but Johanssen looks legit...I think he will be a perfect fit and with Backs here already he can learn from the best!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@Soaring - agreed completely about Modano, what a player. I think Burke took heat behind the scenes for leaving him off Team USA - not saying BB was wrong, obviously, Team USA was fantastic - just that Modano can still play. Disagree about Turco though; he's kind of a hothead - and no longer an elite goalie, IMO.

Where did you see that about Johanssen btw, I'd love to read more, one thing about Sweden, that country sure can produce great centers!!!!

Posted by: govtimbo | March 11, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Can you imagine...

Ovie- Backs- Knuble
Laich- Johanssen (baby backs)- Semin

Wow...Semin would be a 50-60 goal scorer with Ovie...

You think we are lethal now...imagine having 2 Backstroms centering natural goal scorers like Ovie and Semin...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

With the whole olympic fiasco, goaltending questions and recent trades its easy to forget the caps are looking down on 29 other teams right now and have been for a while.

Lets take a moment to gloat and realize that if the Thrashers fail to get 2 points tonight we clinch a playoff spot. If the Canadiens fail to get at least a point we also clinch.

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | March 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

SoaringCaps: I think you are annointing Johansson before his time. Backie was an exceptional prospect (obviously) and stayed one year in Sweden, after being drafted, then joined Caps. Johansson, if he doesn't have Backie's talent (who does?), will likely need a year or so in Hershey to get acclimated to pro NA hockey.

I'm not expecting Johansson to be another Backie. A poor man's version, that would still be a great thing.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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

Not glowing, but he looked good in the World Juniors...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@OVIwankanOV

I agree that people seem to be forgetting that we are sitting at the top of the league. I have no problem admitting that we have work to do before the playoffs hit, but so many people act like we are this mediocre team...even the analysts seem to have trouble giving us credit.

On another note...if we clinch the SE today does anybody know if that comes close to a record for clinching a division?

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Tom...

Yes, I am probably hyping him too much.

But, I do know he has decent size, skates well, and Swedes always have great vision on the ice.

I also think that playing with studs like Laich and Semin...and learning from Backs will help.

Remember, Backs did it just with Ovie and learned from Federov...

Johansson will have Backs to help...

It may be 2 years away...but the potential is kind of nice to smile about...

Even if he gets 50 assists a year...it's a nice complement to Backs...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Johanssen will not be on the Caps next year, nor should he. He will be in Hershey improving his game.

He is considered a good prospect who may end up being very good but he is not considered in the same league as Backstrom or Toews or Duschene or Stamkos who could enter the league so quickly.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

we will see SGM...they will be in need of some playmaking centers...

Steckel and Gordon (with Backs) can handle the faceoffs...

I think he might start in Hershey but will get more time than Aucoin...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@atybat - I've wanted Modano for yrs. You're right he's an excellent player, leader and oh yeah PKer as well. A buddy of mine and I talk about him all the time and I was hoping GMGM would pick him up. Sounds like he tried. That would've truly made my day plus he played with Bmo last yr. Interesting for sure. Belanger will work out though as well. He's a solid Center. More of a 2 way forward who can kill penalties as well.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree on Aucoin.

It wouldn't shock me to see the Caps re-sign Belanger and maybe have Perrault be the 3rd center next year. With Gordon and Steckel as depth. They could also sign a free agent center for 1 year such as BMo to be the 3rd center. Or maybe Flash will be moved to center full time next year after having an entire offseason to work on faceoffs and positioning.

If Johanssen performs well in Hershey I could see him getting called up to play a few games when injuries occur.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If Johansson is an equal prospect to Carlson (i think he's not quite), we could expect maybe a cup of coffee next year and then maybe more duty in 2011-12.

This is Alzner's third year after his draft and he's still on the edge of contributing. I agree though there's reason to be optomistic. I think we need a guy like Belanger for another year or two to bridge the gap.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Just because we can't see the forest for the trees:
Caps clinch the division with another 2 points or ATL losing 2 points.

Next step: Clinch #1 seed.

Next step: Clinch President's trophy.

Next step: Rest Ovi....

Posted by: coolcraig | March 11, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

We will see.

But anyhow...we do have a GREAT future...and the guys that coach in Hershey develop our youngsters very well!]

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

So does anybosy know f we are close to any record for clinching a division should it happen today? It seems really early to be clinching a division or even a playoff spot already.

Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: _stevo | March 11, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

For comparisons sake, and keep in mind Backstrom has been putting up top line points since his first season, here are Backstrom's SEL stats compared to Johansson.

Backstrom
1st yr 46 10 16 26 30
2nd yr 45 12 28 40 46

Johansson
1st yr 45 5 5 10 10
2nd yr 40 9 10 19 10

Remember the SEL is no joke. There are lower leagues in Sweden, which is where Baby Gus is right now. Johansson is only 19 and playing in, and doing well in, one of the top leagues in which players transition straight into the NHL.

To further compare with another good young Swede, here are Loui Eriksson's SEL stats:

2003-04 1st yr 46 8 5 13 4
2004-05 2nd yr 39 5 9 14 4

Eriksson started the 04-05 by being sent down to the lower league. He spent his 1st 3 years here in North America going up and down between the NHL and AHL but became a mainstay in 2008-09 with Dallas. Now his stats with Dallas for the last 2 years are:

2008-09 82 36 27 63 14
2009-10 66 25 33 58 22

Anyhow, Johansson will be ready soon IMO. Also, I have to agree with tominfl, maybe not next year, but I believe he will be ready the following year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Well I like the description of Marcus J. as "Zetterberg-lite". Not a bad tag.

It will be interesting to see if he's ready to come over next season or not for his Hershey development. Isn't it great tho' that no prospect has to be rushed.

No MJ isn't Backstrom but to be fair at the 2006 draft Backstrom back then wasn't Backstrom of today: at the no. 4 spot he still managed to be undervalued. He as usual flew under the radar. This season Backs has just gotten too good (as well as the whole team) for anyone to fly under the league's radar anymore.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The Hurricanes fans' comments on the "The 'surreal' game for ex-teammates" article posted above are actually quite refreshing for a change. It's not all Ovie-bashing and name calling - these people actually seem to have a good perspective on the game and of hockey in general. I appreciate this... thanks for posting the link.

Posted by: EddieP1 | March 11, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Great stats. Shows just how awesome (and I'm too old to use that word) Backstrom was and is. I'm feelin' the Nicky love.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

fanohock: Good numbers there. We can draw a comparison. Backstrom was an instant mainstay after his two SEL years. Eriksson needed three developmental years. Now put Backie on one end of the scale and Eriksson on the other. Is Johansson 0, 1, 2 or 3 years? Depends how you slot him between those two players. Look at Fehr, a top prospect in the WHL. An '03 draft pick, just coming into his own this year, six years after he was drafted.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps, did you say you would have traded Fehr, Alzner, another Hershey player & a pick for Turco & Modano? I really wanted Modano, but not for that price and Turco isn't much of an upgrade on what we have now. please let us know what you were thinking.

Posted by: boomer44 | March 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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