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'Good Chance' Laing, Varlamov, Pothier Will Play (Updated)

Here's the latest from Tampa:

Laing to Replace Gordon
Quintin "Shot-Blocking Machine" Laing has indeed been recalled and is expected to replace Boyd Gordon, who is believed to have suffered a lower body injury in Tuesday's game. Coach Bruce Boudreau would not say whether Gordon is in fact injured, but he's not taking the morning skate.

Laing, however, must clear waivers first. We'll know whether he did in a few minutes.

"There should be no reason a team will pick him up," Boudreau said. "They can't play him in the NHL, they can't use him in the American league and he's a free agent at the end of the year. It would only be to block us."

Update: As expected, Laing cleared waivers.

Varlamov to Start
Boudreau confirmed that there's a "good chance" Simeon Varlamov will start tonight's game against the Lightning. If the touted rookie does get the nod, it will be his first NHL start since Dec. 18.

Pothier Could Return
Boudreau was also elusive about whether defenseman Brian Pothier will play in his second game since returning from a 14-month layoff with post concussion syndrome, saying only there's "a good chance" he'll suit up. If Pothier plays that means another 'D' must come out.

Brash Progressing
Donald Brashear (sprained knee) skated with the team this morning, but he's still "a ways" away from returning to the lineup, Boudreau said. With Brashear sidelined, the Caps have been able to keep minor league call-up Keith Aucoin in Washington on a "emergency" basis.

'Still Inconsistent'
Asked about his approach to the final 10 games, Boudreau said: "We're still inconsistent a lot. Ten games is a long push. To me, you want the last couple of games to be firing on all cylinders and healthy."

"We would like to be on all cylinders right now," he continued. "We still think we can catch New Jersey. We still think we can catch Boston if everything falls right. We don't want to take our foot off the gas at all. Because as I was explaining to the players today, hockey is not like a faucet. You can't turn it on and off when you want to. If you turn it off, it's hard to get it back on. Ottawa last year is probably a good example."

"I don't think we're the perfect team at all," he added. "We can work on everything. Our line combinations we move around a lot. We've settled on a couple of things that are going to be permanent in the weeks to come. Our penalty kill one game allows three, the next game it's perfect. Our power play hasn't scored a goal in a couple of games. Our defensive game, we get a shutout last game and we allowed five goals in Atlanta."

Speaking of Inconsistent Efforts
The Caps will once again face a team a team way beneath them in the Lightning, who enter the game 33 points behind Washington. Which Caps will show up at St. Pete Times Forum? The ones who got crushed by the lowly Thrashers? Or the ones that held the Panthers without a shot in the third period on Tuesday?

Dominating the 'Bolts
The Caps are 3-0-0 against the Lightning this season and have won eight straight overall, the longest streak for either team in series history. Boudreau is 8-0-0 vs. the 'Bolts, who are 2-0-2 in their last four.

The Hits Keep Coming...
...for the Lightning, that is. Already without defensemen Paul Ranger, Andrej Meszaros and Marek Malik, now the 'Bolts are without Cory Murphy. So if you end up looking at the Lightning blue line tonight and asking yourself, 'Who's that?' Don't feel bad.

Update: Erskine Out
John Erskine, one game after recording a pair of assists, will be the scratch tonight. So that means Pothier is in.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 19, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
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Next: Caps Reassign Aucoin


finally first.

Posted by: easytoslip | March 19, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

In his career, Boudreau will never lose to Tampa...I'm calling it now.

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

and not to be a knit picker, Tarik, but it's Paul Ranger, no "s"

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

reseem37, are you actively trying to jinx this game?

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 19, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Because as I was explaining to the players today: hockey is not like a faucet. You can't turn it on and off when you want to. If you turn it off, it's hard to get it back on. Ottawa last year is probably a good example."

Well with this team, you never know what you're gonna get on any night.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse not really, but c'mon Tampa is so horrible this year. Wouldn't that be hilarious if Boudreau finished his coaching career with an undefeated record against an NHL team. I just want to see it happen.

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Without Malik in the line-up I feel much better about our chances if it goes to the Shoot Out.

Posted by: LukasWP | March 19, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell you what you've gotten so far...the team with the 5th best record in the league, 3rd best record in the conference and only 22 losses in regulation out of 72 games. Quit complaining. I watched a few minutes of the Calgary/Dallas game yesterday and the speed of the game didn't even compare to Caps games. I also watched the replay of the Flyers/Red Wings game and that was the speed I am used to watching. The Caps should do fine in the playoffs this season. BB will continue to tweak the tactical/technical parts of the game and will have them ready to go.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1: If you're responding to my post:

I am not complaining. I am one of the very few people that support this team "win or lose". I am merely stating what the reporters and BB himself has mentioned before.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

My Clemson Tigers go tonight against UMich...GO TIGERS!!! oh yea and GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Erskine scratched? Just when his new contract is starting not to look totally insane?

Really gotta wonder what compromising photos Schultz has of BB et al.

Posted by: JillC | March 19, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Re Laing ... one-way or two-way?

Re Boudreau's quote on Laing...

Why can't he play in the NHL for a different team if he gets claimed? Is there something in the CBA that prohibits this after the trade deadline?

Can't play in the AHL because of the clear day rosters?

Thanks to anyone who can answer.

Posted by: grego2 | March 19, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

and not to be a knit picker, Tarik, but it's Paul Ranger, no "s"

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 12:27 PM

It's also "nit" picker, no "k." ;-)

Posted by: JillC | March 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps need a player like laing.
Gives his all every game all game.

Posted by: LIVINIT1 | March 19, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Good for Laing.

Good for the PK.

Posted by: Steve_R | March 19, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It's not my job to provide correct information, either ;-)

Posted by: reesem37 | March 19, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Erskine > Schultz.

Posted by: thomas20 | March 19, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this is going to be an interesting game to watch. Very interesting, if nothing else. They get the goalie smorgasbord, so do we. Pothier comes back again, and hopefully he'll shoot from the point more than our other D do. Laing the monster. Would like to see Aucoin play again too.

This team is kind of like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. (I just want to know who threw the one chocolate-covered cowpie in there.)

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

So with Pothier up, barring any major injuries, can we go ahead and assume we probably won't see Alzner again this year?

Posted by: Hatfield223 | March 19, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse


Lol. Well said.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

bajgirl: Yeah I've heard that one a lot this season. I'm guessing you're not one of the "supporters" that were in Verizon Center last year when we were chanting for Hanlon's job, and when we cheered Let's go Cap's it was like "the Goat" was right next to me rather than a faint sound across a humming stadium. I used to think there were people on the other side of the stadium cheering Let's Go Caps, only to find out it was my echo. The Caps are an explosive team that will lay an egg every once in a while. I'm not saying that everyone has to say great things when they come here but it is starting to sound like a broken record (they were used before CDs, Cassette tapes, and even 8-track tapes) when you constantly here "you never know what you're going to get."

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

For all the spell checkers I know I used the wrong word, should have been "hear" vice "here." Probably should been tired a reading anyway because it's not there is sound coming off this message board either. Technicality.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Finally, I have kept quiet, very very quiet all year - I'm hunting rabbit.... Ha Ha - Anyways - I've been watching and I feel like Laing is a great ADDITION to the PK and the bench!!! Finally a great decision - wish it was earlier - we need to push our "D-men" every night and I don't see a "Caps - D - consistent enough right this minute to make a long run". We hang our goalie out to dry with way too many 2 and 3 on ones including the break aways....All year the same thing.....Our "D" needs competition to play each and every night! I didn't think Pothier looked that bad the other night, maybe rusty, but a least he can clear a puck out of the zone!!! Shultz has been my question mark and even Erskine has picked his game up lately.
For the record I think Laing is the way to go right now, a guy who gives 110% every night - someone needs to show these young guys how to step it up a bit!!!!
*Note:Flash needs a break - wish he would start scoring again...Brooks Laich is a beast!!!!He has my vote for Captain!!!

Posted by: greenie19 | March 19, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

covesdog, The song is "Danger! High Voltage" by the Electric Six.
greg02, Right on both counts. After trade deadline, the only way a player can be brought up from the A is for emergency recall (i.e. Gordo's hurt) And the clear day rosters freeze AHL rosters to the same effect, I believe.
Hatfield, not only does the salary cap prevent it, but at some point (I think 41 games, maybe?), it starts affecting our ability to send him down and recall him.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 19, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Good one, Jill!

Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 19, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1: Thing is, with a box of chocolates it's usually good. :) Sometimes it's explosive offense, sometimes it's crazy good defense, sometimes goaltending, sometimes dirty, sometimes pretty. It works more often than not.

And then there's the days you get the chocolate-covered cowpie.

It is what it is. Just because you accept that as being part of rooting for the team, doesn't mean you can't comment on it.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@Hatfield223: I'd say that's a safe bet, yes. And, once Potsy shakes the rust out of his boots, I'd say he's someone we need.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 19, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I put a bet on the Caps today to win by 2. You think that is pretty safe?

Posted by: graig82 | March 19, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse


I get where you're coming from, and no I was not a head hunting supporter. Actually I used to watch the Rangers on occasion when I lived in NYC. I started supporting the Caps during the 2001-02 season when I moved to MD.

Like kittypawz said sometimes it's dirty, sometimes it's pretty.
But it's always Caps for me.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz and bajgirl: Ok, i'm off my soapbox. I do enjoy seeing the stadium full even though I know it will taper off when the team has a downturn (hopefully not for a few years). Just not sure why even the fairweather fans won't wear RED to every game. The stadium looks sharp when there is a sea of Red. The Big Caps flags were being waved at the Carolina game, don't know if Red Rockers or fans were waiving them but that makes the place look even more sharp.

Someone was mentioning magic numbers a week or so ago, I think it was mauree. The Caps are down to 4 wins and a tie to clinch the division from Florida and 4 wins to clinch the division from Carolina, and that's if one or the other wins the rest of their games. As long as the Caps keep looking up and trying to catch NJ and Boston getting those wins shouldn't be too hard.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 19, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, is there any chance of getting a DNA sample of Schultz to find out if he's BB's long lost illegitimate child or something? :)

Posted by: mikesgirl1 | March 19, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I was in Boaston and saw the Bruins beat the Isles Saturday at the TDBN Garden. Granted it was the beast vs the least, but even in a one goal game that place was like a chuch compared to VC. Plus the play wasn't half as inspired.


Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse


Honestly I don't think wins are hard for this team to get. I think it's how this team view other teams, that's been puzzling a lot of people. IMO.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Quintin in during the sprint run last year? I don't recall seeing him in the playoffs, but he did bring his gutsy self into the game last year (a few times) with some good results.

He's here because of the work ethic/selfless play. Good on you, Bruce.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Laing is back... the puck blocking machine !

Posted by: RedRocker | March 19, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl -- thanks a bunch!


Posted by: covesdog | March 19, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I am so sick of this "you never know which Caps will show up stuff." For most of this season the Caps were virtually unbeatable at home, and have been among the top five teams in the NHL in points all year. You so-called Caps fans are spoiled. They are incredibly talented and exciting. So they've had a little let down after the division was virtually clinched and before the final playoff push. Have faith. BB will have them ready for the playoffs. They have as good a chance as anyone. LET'S GO CAPS!!

Posted by: chevychase10 | March 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse


Q was here for much of the second half of the year, but after the deadline pick-up of Cooke and into the playoffs, he was something of an extra part. He's a better defensive wing, but doesn't have as much offensive upside as Cooke did.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 19, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse


Slow ya roll. No one is contesting that the caps is a great team. I have stated many times before when everyone else was bashing the team or a specific player, that this team will regroup and continue to win. I know they will not win every game, but many will like them to.

In fact I personally expect this team to make it to the final round in the palyoffs. To some it's false expectations, to others it's not.

Like I said in my previous post, I was merely stating what was mentioned before by reporters as well a BB.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 19, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm feeling a SO win again and #50 from Ovie :)

Posted by: Hazz | March 19, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Done reading this blog for all time because of people like fanohock. People make a simple point and you jump all up their a$$e$. Alright dude, you're the biggest fan for the longest time - we will worship your awesomeness. And before you jump up mine - this has been my team since I was old enough to know what sports were, 1985. Don't bother responding, I'm on to another blog.

Posted by: aaarmstr | March 19, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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