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Posted at 10:58 AM ET, 01/ 8/2011

Semyon Varlamov first goaltender off the ice for Capitals

By Katie Carrera

As expected, Semyon Varlamov was the first goaltender off the ice for the Capitals this morning at KCI meaning he should make his fifth straight start tonight at Verizon Center against the Florida Panthers.

Some other quick notes from the morning skate:
--Mathieu Perreault said on Friday that he didn't believe he would play against the Panthers but said after the skate that he believes he will play. The center skated with a full, metal cage attached to his helmet this morning but Perreault said he didn't like the way it limited his vision and occasionally made him dizzy so you probably won't see him wearing it against Florida.

Based on the lines the Capitals used in practice on Friday, Perreault will likely skate on the fourth line with Matt Hendricks and David Steckel.

--Boyd Gordon, who missed the past nine games with an infected right foot, skated with the rest of the team this morning and took part in all of the drills. He is still on the ice for extra work -- along with John Erskine, Tyler Sloan and D.J. King -- and looks to be getting closer to a return.

--It was an optional morning session and Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble and Mike Green all took their option and did not skate.

By Katie Carrera  | January 8, 2011; 10:58 AM ET
Categories:  Florida Panthers  
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OV, Semin, and Green all skipped the optional practice. OK, it is optional, but it's a slow week for the Caps and OV and Semin are not consistently playing the revamped system yet. Also OV is captain. Not cool about this decision.

Erksine is not in the game due to Poti's spectacular play against Tampa -- great decision BB, phht.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 8, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Unless he is injured, there is NO reason for Johhny E. to be sitting with Sloan in the press box. I vehemently protest if he is the 7th defender (as if my protest would go heeded by anyone of importance. The lumberjack has earned his right to play as many games as he is healthy.

Posted by: AADCDERM | January 8, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I will start a chant tonight at the game if I get any support- "we want Erskine, we want Erskine". Anyone else interested in joining in? (Sorry Vermontcaps, you won't be heard at Verizon Center if you yell from your deck).

Posted by: AADCDERM | January 8, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Agreed. Unless Erskine is injured he should be in the lineup. He isn't perfect, but the guy gives it his all! Don't Nylander him!

On previous thread it was mentioned that Arnott of NJ had waived his No Trade Clause. I can't find this anywhere.

There has to be a night where Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin start scoring again. Maybe tonight?....

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 8, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Comparison of Kuznetsov to Malkin is more then fair. That's exactly who he reminds me of in terms of his style and size. Remember, he's just a kid. He'll fill out. I've watched Malkin at this age & Kuznetsov is very similar to him. However, at his age Malkin was a PPG player in the RSL. Kuznetsov is still a bit player for his KHL team, although it has to be said that IMO the KHL is a better league than the RSL was due to influx of pretty good foreign players.


At least in the case of Ovie he's playing injured which is why he had a cortisone shot a couple of days ago, so he doesn't need to be attending optional practices. It could also explain his scoring slump. Also, this it's normal for players who put in a lot of ice time during games to rest more than guys who play 5-10 min per game.

Posted by: ranndino | January 8, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Arnott went to NJ bc they were preseason contenders. Clearly that ain't the case, so i'd say he's willing to waive that for a team like the caps. I just don't know if he has the speed to play with us. Probably available for a 2nd rounder or someone like MP. NJ has a lot of youngsters in the lineup and I think they're going to try and build around them.

Posted by: chatton | January 8, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

If Knubs has the speed to play on this team, Arnott definitely can.

What's Arnott known mostly for? His lethal shot on the PP... what's this team been lacking more than anything lately???

Posted by: joek443 | January 8, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah if the Caps can trade a 2/3 rounder for Arnott and AJ is not a major cap hit for next year, do it. He can anchor a mean, shut-down 3rd line necessary for the playoffs. Then MP/MJ can compete for the 2nd line center position.

And OV not practicing still bugs me if Varly who plays 60 mins can practice. OV needs to learn the new system and a new position and new linemates. OV should either lead by example or give Knubs o Laich the C, imho.

And Erksine in the pressbox for Poti is just stupid. The guy has earned his time for at least the 3rd pairing. Poti looks lost out there, and the Caps lose a lot of meanness/accountablity without 4 on the ice.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 8, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Supposedly Montreal wants Arnott...
I said yesterday I wouldn't get involved in trade speculation, because I really don't expect GMGM to do anything until the last hour. And then it will probably just be a minor move. If they didn't see the need for a big move last summer, I doubt it has come clear to them now...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 8, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

relax folks, Erskine will get his playing time. As physical as he is I like having the opportunity to get him some rest. Poti needs a chance to get his legs back under him as well. With 8 healthy D two guys are always going to be scratched. It wont be Green or the Kids and likely not Schultz or Hannan. Give the 2 senior members of the corp a chance to platoon so they are both healthy and rested come April. We have 7 very solid D-men right now, not a problem we have had to deal with recently.

Posted by: pebowers | January 8, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Not surprised to learn that Ovi got a cortisone shot for an injury. There had been rumors for a long time that he was hurt in the wrist during the Nashville game in October. Note: his offensive output has been low ever since. Coincidence? No.

And it's not just Ovi who's playing through injury. Semin as well. Before the Blues game (I think), he didn't practice since the trainers suggested he not practice due to a "lingering" injury. And then he got sick. And, soon after that, missed three games due to a "lower body injury" and probably should have missed more. He essentially played in the NJ game the very day after being labeled as "doubtful" for that game since no one else was available. Fehr was gone for his grandfather's funeral. And that day Hendrick was too sick/injured to play (and missed 2 games).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 8, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse


You seemed to have ignored the bit about Ovie being injured enough to need a cortisone shot. There's absolutely no need for him to attend optional practices. Receiving a cortisone shot means that he's in terrible pain & shouldn't even be playing instead letting the injury heel. I'd say that by playing badly hurt he is indeed leading by example. Fans often make up opinions based on lack of info which is why players get a lot of crap for not performing to their level while they are actually playing through injury and are simply incapable of doing things they can do when healthy. Anyone who has played a sport themselves on any level appreciates this fact. Couch aficionados do not.

Also, what does this have to do with Varly? He's a goalie, which is a totally different position. Being a goalie in hockey is pretty much like playing an entirely different sport so to compare a goalie to a skater is just silly. No skater could ever play an entire 60-min game, for example.

People need to relax about Erskine. Once again as fans you like him because he's physical & tough. I like that also, but as someone who's watched hockey since before I could walk I can also see what BB sees. He's a limited player. Poti is a much better D-man (much better skater with a much better skillset) so he should play over Erskine when healthy. Or at least rotate depending on the opponent.

Posted by: ranndino | January 8, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

Yes, it's obvious that Semin is also playing hurt. I don't get what it is with people getting on his case all the time. He's one of the best players in the world when healthy (yes, I said it & it's true) & we're lucky to have him. When he was healthy he was tearing the NHL a new one. Now he's playing injured & is slumping. As soon as that happens everyone's yelling "trade him!" Ridiculous. I'm glad our GM is not an impulsive retard. One has to look at what Burke has done with Toronto to see how well that works. All these big trades he's pulled have not worked out & now they're stuck because no one wants either Kessel or Phaneuf because of how bad they've been & their giant, long term contracts.

Posted by: ranndino | January 8, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Erskine sitting out now has to do with the bigger picture. Sure, right now Erskine will help this lineup win games. There's not doubting that Erskine has been great for this team that past few weeks, and Poti's return has been questionable. But getting Poti back, fully healthy and contributing will help this team a lot more come playoff time, in my opinion.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 8, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

For the millionth time, just because Ovie isn't skating does not mean he isn't at the rink preparing to get ready. He's probably in the trainer's room or the video room.

There are more than one way to prepare for a game, and many players find the morning skate to be hurtful and not helpful. That's why the skate is optional, it leaves it up to each individual player to decide if skating in the morning helps prepare them for the game.

Also, did you notice on the HBO special how few Penguins actually skated the morning skate, and none of them were Crosby, Malkin Letang, Orpik, etc. They were at the rink, just not skating.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 8, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse


I don't exactly get it why the fans are so down on Semin either. A great player when healthy but, of course, that's the caveat, when healthy. (Would not surprise me if some of his earlier career slumps were due to an undisclosed injury.)

And, for fun, one day I did a statistical comparison of Semin vs Parise (of NJ) to see who scored points/goals more consistently. My metric was counting up the number of games in which they scored or got a point divided by the number of games played in which they appeared. I did the stats over the last 2 seasons. For 2008-2009, Parise had a better % in the Games with goals scored and Semin had a better % in Games with points gotten. For 2009-2010, Semin had better percentages. (I can provide specifics on request.) So, Semin is not really inconsistent in productivity compared to Parise. Granted, Parise is more disciplined and generally misses fewer games a season but this year's a lost year for him.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 8, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse


And on Toronto, seems that they're always trying to make splashes with trades but where has it gotten them.

I have nothing against Phil Kessel as a player or as a person but trading 2 first round picks to get him was a lousy idea. Essentially coughing up the equivalent of two lottery (or near lottery) picks. There's hardly any player that's worth that by himself. (Can we imagine how history would have been different if the Pens had traded their first rounders of 2004 and 2005?)

Trading 2 or more first rounders would make sense for a contender who's trying to get a player who'd be the final piece for a Stanley Cup run but not for a bad team like Toronto who needs the draft to build.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 8, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Well said. I'm sure Ovi is preparing for the game even when he doesn't do the morning skate. And now it's been admitted that he's been playing with an injury.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 8, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

See "The Great 8" is on pace to score 28 goals this year. Keep running him out there on the power play point all shot up with cortisone. Wonder if the old bird caller's guys will ever score on the power play. Andrew Gordon "potted" two PP goals, one on his own rebound and another on a deflection, to win the game with 25 second left in the third period last night in Winnipeg for the hockey Bears and he now leads the AHL in PPGs with 11.

Posted by: dull | January 8, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The types of free samples you can get from "123 Get Samples" are shampoo, coffee, diapers, medicine, greeting cards and more.

Posted by: nancyfenner | January 9, 2011 1:20 AM | Report abuse

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