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Flyers 6, Caps 5 (OT)

The Caps earned a point against a good team playing in its home opener tonight. But Bruce Boudreau wasn't a happy coach after a wild an unpredictable night at Wachovia Center, where the Flyers pulled out a 6-5 win in overtime on a goal by Daniel Briere.

Boudreau watched his Caps take nine minor penalties, including six in the second period. Their penalties problems date back to last year, but this might have been a new low.

The Caps were assessed three holding fouls, two interference infractions, two hooks, a cross check and high stick. The result? The Flyers struck three times.

"You take [nine minor penalties] in a game, you're not going to win that game, and we took six in one period," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That's how four goals get scored against you. It's something that's unacceptable."

On to some other notes, quotes and observations:

*Penalties weren't Boudreau's only concern. He was also worried about the team's future franchise goalie. He pulled Semyon Varlamov after he allowed four goals in the second period. The last one he yielded won't do anything to quiet critics of his glove hand. Sixteen seconds after allowing an unremarkable power play shot from Richards to sneak past him, Varlamov dropped Matt Carle's shot from the point. Richards was right there waiting to finish off his hat trick.

"I thought there were some soft goals," Boudreau said. "Varly has to be mentally tougher to play."

In his past two starts, Varlamov has yielded eight goals. What's concerning to Boudreau is the fact that the 21-year-old seems to have trouble steadying himself after allowing a goal, regardless of its quality.

"One thing that's reared it's ugly head right now is they score in bunches on him," Boudreau added. "I think he gets down on himself, and we have to get him out of that."

*Jose Theodore, meantime, looked good in relief of Varlamov. Scott Hartnell's game tying goal late came on the power play and pinballed off defenseman Tom Poti, and he had made the original save on Briere's OT winner.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the start Thursday against the Rangers.

*It wasn't all bad for the Caps, though. Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom had a three assist night. Semin, by the way, had arguably the prettiest goal of the season late in the second when he toe-dragged the puck around defenseman Braydon Coburn, then beat Ray Emery.

Ovechkin also had a nice one. On his second tally, he forced a turnover by Chris Pronger, who pass hit the two-time MVP's skates and went right to Backstrom. Backstrom then slipped the puck back to Ovechkin, who didn't hit five goals until Nov. 14 last year.

The question must be asked: Can Ovechkin score 70 or more this season?

*League leaders in points as of midnight: In order, Ovechkin (9), Backstrom (8), Semin (7) and Laich (6). Backstrom also leads the league in assists (8).

*The Caps' defense missed Brian Pothier's headiness. He'll be back in the lineup on Thursday, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Tyler Sloan make his season debut, either.

*Brendan Morrisonn said he never doubted that his goal would be allowed to stand.

"I just drove the net, it hit my skate and went in," he said. "I was just stopping. I thought it was good. I didn't have a kicking motion."

*The loss ruined Mike Knuble's special night. He didn't record a point in 16:45 of ice time. Knuble, though, wasn't the problem.

"You can't take that many penalties, not with five minutes left," he said. "You have to stay out of the box late. That last penalty cost us."

That's it from me tonight. I'll check in again from KCI. Practice is scheduled for noon.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 7, 2009; 12:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Roundup: Penalties Prove Costly

Comments

Has the standard changed for what is or is not goaltender interference?

The calls on Clark & Laich tonight seemed pretty tough.

This isn't a question I ask just from watching tonight's game -I had the same question watching the Devils/Rangers game the other night where there were two instances where it seemed pretty evident that a Devils forward was shoved or spun into Lundqvist but still got the gate for goaltender interference?

Posted by: SmokeJMT | October 7, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Miscues and penalties...honestly at least 2 of the calls I just have no idea what the refs were doing. How we go from a 3 to 1 PP advantage after 1st and game ends up 9 to 5 in chances for them...yeah. Besides the 2 bad/weird goalie interference calls we were just undisciplined. The refs weren't letting a lot go and we killed ourselves. Varly didn't look that strong although he had a little bad luck with 2 goals redirecting by him. Richards' 3rd goal though was just all on him. That can't happen.

Poti's pinball goal and just a horrid sequence in our own zone on the game winner killed it though. When you have a lead with less than 8 to go on the road you have to hold on to it. There were 3 Caps and just Briere standing in front there. Some of our guys are just too unreliable to clear pucks that bounce around like that to the corner or out of the zone. Someone steady needs to clear it out of the danger zone or clear out the crease.

The penalties and miscues ruined another ridiculous night from the OBS line. Averaging 8 points a game from that line combined. Morrison also getting what should have been the winning goal just playing simple hockey and going to the net. I can watch him, Laich, and Knuble do it all year. Nylander can sit forever he's not the problem.

I don't want to blame the defense too much for it, because Varly didn't have a strong 2nd period and when you take that many penalties it's going to bite you eventually.

Give Theo the start Thursday night and bounce back against the Rags. We DID still get a point on the road in Philly.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 7, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Defense needs to shore up, I hope we never see Poti and Erskine as the 2nd pairing,, I think those two were on for 4 or 5 goals.

Varly is a concern, 2 games 8 goals allowed not all his fault but bottom line is he's allowed 8 goals and I would say out of those 8 5-6 are his fault..

Posted by: darrylrbaker | October 7, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Green and Mo were the +2 pairing tonight, although some of that is going to be because they try to get Greenie on with the OBS line. Erskine and Poti were the -2 D pairing, and if I'm not mistaken it was the tying and winning goals for Philly they were on ice for.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 7, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

The holding call on Boyd Gordon was W-E-A-K. He was falling on his arsenic and old lace, and grabbed onto the guy.

By that token, the guy who dragged Mike Green to the ice with him last season and separated Green's shoulder should also have gone to the box for holding, but I don't remember THAT happening.

Richards' first goal was during the Green cross-checking penalty. I didn't see the cross-check happen, so I don't know if the call was good or not.

Richards' second goal was during the Laich interference penalty. Ditto.

Hartnell's game-tying goal, however, came during the aforementioned very weak penalty to Boyd Gordon, who distinctly said a very bad word on national television in conjunction with "me" on being called for said very weak penalty.

The only "interference on the goalkeeper" penalty called was one called on Chris Clark during the first frame, while I was still not in a position to watch the game. All I know is that the officials have been specifically instructed to call that penalty this year when they see it. They may be calling it more harshly than they used to, because of the instruction to do so. (This is from the mouth of the VP of Hockey Operations at the Caps Convention.) I won't argue, so long as it's called fairly on both sides.

I was not watching on a huge high-definition television tonight, and I have a pretty stiff neck, but there's no arguing that the penalties - justified or not - hurt the Caps.

The referees on-ice were Stephane Auger and Dave Jackson, neither of whom I normally have an argument with. It looked pretty fair, overall, from what I saw.

So 1) we need to stay the BEEP out of the box, and 2) Varlamov needs to learn to let go when he gets scored on, and move past it.

I'm glad Boudreau put Varly out on a limb tonight instead of in January, though. I think it was a good move, and we still came out of it with a point. I'm sorry that Theodore gets "credited" with the loss (since the game-winning goal came on his watch), but it's three games in.

They have time to fix this.

Posted by: irockthered | October 7, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Thepat: In the last thread you were talking about Hasek and I think you hit it right on the head only he looks like Hasek all fo the time. Sometimes he looks like the Hasek from the Saber days when he was the best goalie in the league. Then sometimes he looks like Hasek in Detroit the last two years (especially in the playoffs) where he often was out of position and on his back when the puck went in. Varly has the reflexes to be a great goalie but his technique seems to be lacking. I hope Irbe gets him to be more technically sound. On a side note at least we aren't LA who just gave up their 4th straight power play goal after going up 4-0.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 7, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

They weren't calling it both ways when Hartnell was checked into Varly and our net...that was the only issue I had with the Clark call vs. that one.

The Laich call I guess I mistakenly thought they called goalie interference on. From what I saw he got checked towards there goal and grazed Emery before knocking the net off. Again I wasn't sure how getting checked/pushed into something were penalties on us.

The rest of the calls some might have been weak but we gave the refs a reason to even think about blowing the whistle in some situations when it just wasn't needed. Have to be smarter.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 7, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

@SmokeJMT - The standard for goaltender interference is the same. It's the referees calling it that have been told to call it more - I don't want to say frequently, just call it?

In a nutshell, if the player being called for the interference made a reasonable effort to stop himself from ramming the goalie, then it shouldn't be interference if he gets pushed.

Here is the rule:

If an attacking player has been pushed, shoved, or fouled by a defending player so as to cause him to come into contact with the goalkeeper, such contact will not be deemed contact initiated by the attacking player for purposes of this rule, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact.

The part that the referees don't seem to get is what constitutes "a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

In the case of the Ovechkin penalty, Ovi was already skating in the direction of the crease when he was pushed, and it didn't look like he could stop. That is probably how/why the referee called the penalty, because no "reasonable effort" (in the referee's judgment) was made to avoid the contact.

I don't know what happened tonight; can someone describe it for me, please?

Posted by: irockthered | October 7, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

It's possible -- I'M NOT SAYING DEFINITE -- that Neuvirth is better than Varlamov at this stage in their development.

I'm not ready to throw Varlamov under the bus, but I also think it's pretty premature for Tarik to dub him, 'the team's future franchise goalie.' That's an unattributed opinion, unless Tarik is reporting tonight that McPhee and Boudreau have made that designation. I don't think so.

At some point I'd like so see what Neuvirth can do at the NHL level for an extended period.

It's a moot point right now because he's hurt. At least they say he's hurt..

Either way, there will be a lot of pressure on Varlamov whenever he gets back into the lineup, which might not be any time soon if Theodore plays well.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | October 7, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

@Davethecapsfan - The Laich penalty was straight-up interference, not interference on the goalkeeper. I'm not sure how they got that, either...

Clark was called for interference on the goalkeeper in the first frame, but I didn't see what happened, since I was driving at the time.

I suspect that, like the Ovechkin penalty, if Clark had been in control of his body at the time he made contact with the goalkeeper, he could have stopped short of said contact... but he wasn't. And he didn't have time to try and stop.

I've asked the NHLOA to clarify; I'll post what I get when I get it.

Posted by: irockthered | October 7, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

A curse on DirecTV and Versus.
Nothing but highlights from NHL Network.
Semin's goal was niiiiiice. But his sloppy clearance led directly to a goal. 10 year olds know better.
And I too saw the 4 and 3 jerseys out there a lot during Flyer highlights.
I'm glad they threw Varly to the wolves. He has a lot to learn still and hopefully games like this help in that process.
It is a long season and while the Caps are solid, they have areas for improvement. I like the way Boudreau looks at his options and moves forward based on results. He is the right guy at the right time for this group of players.

Posted by: marksman37 | October 7, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

It was a good game that went down to the wire. The Caps blew their chance to win in OT when on the power play a flyers broken stick gave the Caps a 4 on 2 with the puck on the Flyers zone and no one took a shot.
You can not blame the lose on the penalties. The Flyers had many penalties as well, so there were plenty of opportunities for both team to score with a man up.
The winning goal was a lucky one by a hard working player, sometimes you get the luck sometimes you don't.
Give credit to the Flyers, they are as good team as the Caps, they just got the last lucky bounce. Although you can nitpick a play here or there, I think the Caps played hard and no player has a reason to hang his head low.
I can't wait for the return game.

Posted by: hock1 | October 7, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

@Davethecapsfan - The Laich penalty was straight-up interference, not interference on the goalkeeper. I'm not sure how they got that, either...

Clark was called for interference on the goalkeeper in the first frame, but I didn't see what happened, since I was driving at the time.

I suspect that, like the Ovechkin penalty, if Clark had been in control of his body at the time he made contact with the goalkeeper, he could have stopped short of said contact... but he wasn't. And he didn't have time to try and stop.

I've asked the NHLOA to clarify; I'll post what I get when I get it.

Posted by: irockthered | October 7, 2009 1:19 AM

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

The Clark penalty was him getting spun around and pushed back first into the crease. There wasn't contact with Emery until Emery decided to punch Clark in the back of the head. It was at this point that the referee's hand went up.

You make the call.

Posted by: Raber | October 7, 2009 2:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey all...a Philly (nightmare) comes true:

Made it back from Phily this AM and the up and down game. Went with some Philly buds and I was braved it and dressed in Caps red in Feds jersey. The Philly fans were your typical arses...even when playing it low key when the boys scored, the wonderful fans behind were yelling in my ear and tempting me for a fight, the dude;s gf was even just as classy....wonderful fun time. Did this last year with a friend with no such issues...doubt I will repeat this. Too bad, it was a fun game to watch but the a##hole fans will be what I remember as well unfortunately. Not to do a tweet, just to let you know there are some truths to the truths.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | October 7, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse

@ralCapsFan

What do you expect? That's hometeam pride. I'm surprised nobody threw a beer on you. I wouldn't go in there rocking red w/out a crew. Just like I don't let philthy fans get away with wearing orange here without harassment. (Greatest hits: "That hunting vest wont save you" and "Jesus, you look like an idiot in that thing" and "Bite my cheesesteak" and "I-95 is that way")

I can't wait for the day when philthy fans learn that the Phonebooth is not a safe place to wear orange. But most Caps ticket buyers are dainty white-collar types so that day will probably never come.

Posted by: large23220 | October 7, 2009 4:05 AM | Report abuse

@large23220

It should always be "safe" for them to come here. We are representatives for a city that is widely considered the center of the free world. We don't have time to grace philly fans with a visit to their level.

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 7, 2009 5:22 AM | Report abuse

@trunkenmath

You are very presumptuous to 1) speak for "we" and 2) scold me.

Now go unpop your collar and act like a man.

Posted by: large23220 | October 7, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

And Neuvy can occasionally be flashy too! Especially with his glove!! Remember that glove save on Kane (?) in the preseason?? It was either Kane or some other guy...

Posted by: rachel216 | October 7, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

For play-by-play analysis I enjoy reading this board but I have to say that overall I feel that this was a good game despite the OT loss. The speed and energy level on both sides remained strong--the Caps played for 60 minutes. Even though they made mistakes the Caps were attempting to clear the crease. And attempting to go to the net, which is why I think we already have had a couple of goalie interference calls just three games in. We knew this was a good team that would push us, but we pushed back just as hard. Both teams made mistakes. And the game was fast. The penalties--whether good or bad calls--just gave them too many opportunities no matter how good our PK is. As for the goalie situation, I think BB played it just right. Varly needs regulation experience in tough situations--this is where Theo's years of NHL experience helps. With Irbe's help and Theo's example, he will get the seasoning he needs. I expect Theo to have a great year. And then Neuvy will be right after him. I expect we will see a lot of both of our young goalies, but for now I am glad Theo is a Cap. In general I agree with a lot of you about our d-men--but I am content to wait until closer to the playoffs. Pronger is great--no doubt about that--but I did not think that our d-men played badly--they just made some mistakes. But hey so did Pronger and other Flyers. If you go to one their message boards, many of them are just as critical as we are. Bottom line, I couldn't take my eyes off the game. Much different from the 3rd period against the Leafs.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 7, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

@trunkenmath

You are very presumptuous to 1) speak for "we" and 2) scold me.

Now go unpop your collar and act like a man.

Posted by: large23220 | October 7, 2009 6:39 AM

I, and I hope most civilized people, agree with trunkenmath.

I always go to Caps games in Florida and I have the right to be safe.

We could have a poll here and my guess it'll be 10 to 1, with ten agreeing with trukenmath for every 1 agreeing with large23220.

They call it Filthydelphia for a reason. Don't stoop to their level.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 7, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with trunkenmath! Large23220, are you just blowing smoke? Do you REALLY want violence and general rude behavior in the phone booth from Caps fans? Is that what "real men" do? Seriously?

I want the players to do our fighting (legally!) and WINNING for us. I want the Philly fans and the Pittsburgh fans to slink out of the phone booth wearing their stupid jerseys and crying their eyes out because THEIR team let them down---not because our fans are idiots! I will proudly wear the Red and cheer the Caps -- but I'm not going to become as ugly as some (and only some) PA fans can be.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 7, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree with tominfl1 and trunkenmath--fans should be safe in another house. To trash talk in a mean manner, spill beer, fighting, or do worse to a fan in our house is unacceptable. Nor is it acceptable for fans to do it to us if we are in their house. Remember the incidents with the bussed Flyers fans at the Flyers/Devils game last week, one of which ended in a stabbing back in Philly. When I am in another house for a game I behave the way a guest should. And I expect the same from the host. Banter is okay. Anything else is not.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 7, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

And I agree with dccitizen1!

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | October 7, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

... fans should always be save in their own or in another house. The fans of other teams, the players, and the referees are guests (maybe sometimes not behaving as such, but that seems to be a part of the game ...).

There should be no place for "hooligans" as we call them nowadays in Germany.

I would very much like to visit games
- without seeing hundreds of high protected policemen,
- without body search
- ...
- sometimes feeling like a criminal ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | October 7, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Erskine was miserable last night.

I was at a v. Rangers game at VC last year when I saw 2 beautiful girls in Rangers sweaters leaving OUR building in tears drenched in beer and mustard. I was mortified on behalf of all Caps fans. A lot of people write on this blog about what quality guys the players are when you meet them, and we all know Ted's reputation. What do those Neanderthal fans think Ted and the players would think of that kind of behavior and if they don't care, why don't they care? A real fan would care.

Posted by: jerseygirl15 | October 7, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

My favorite is when the crowd is yelling "refs you suck" after being awarded 10 power plays. Imagine of they only got 8!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | October 7, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I go to many Caps games in the NY area and Boston so I am used to verbal insults. I would not want to have any food or beverage thrown on me so that part of visitor treatment is not acceptable in my book and we should not do it at the VC, but I am all for verbal taunting. Not just from one, but from a multitude. Make it uncomfortable, but do make it clean. No language I wouldn't want my children to hear.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | October 7, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

A boy knows no other alternative other than fighting, a man has lived enough to understand discretion.

Yes, we should all fight each other and risk felonies to prove our 35 mil dollar group of players is better than their 35 mil dollar group of players. Makes PERFECT sense.

In the end, hockey (while a passion) is just a really really entertaining game. Why get in trouble over it?

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 7, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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