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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Capitals practice update from Philadelphia

By Katie Carrera

Update from the Caps: Michal Neuvirth is headed back to D.C. for further evaluation of the injury he suffered last night against the Flyers.

More to come soon.


The Caps are running through drills at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Aside from goaltenders Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov, who are both listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries, defenseman John Erskine is the only player not on the ice this morning.

Recently recalled Braden Holtby and web producer Brett Leonhardt are in net for the workout.

Here are the lines:
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera
Hendricks-Johansson-Knuble
Laich-Perreault-Beagle
King-Steckel-Gordon

By Katie Carrera  | January 19, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  John Erskine  
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Comments

From a previous thread:

Line changes! Nobody gains from the constant musical chairs (except BB looking like he is on top of something).

Joe B. and Locker made two telling comments. First, about how Flyers have gelled around their lines, going back to last year's playoffs (shown by the spread of points among their forwards). Second, that BB "looks down the bench to see who is playing, then puts that player into the top line."
----------------

I totally agree with this observation. How on earth can you expect consistent play, when guys have literally no idea who their linemates are, not just from one game to the next, but from one shift to the next?!

And I agree we could learn from the Flyers; Leino-Briere-Hartnell was terrific in the playoffs - so what did Laviollette do? He left 'em alone. What a concept.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Not that I'm absolving GMGM here, either: i.e., Holmgren picked up Meszaros for a 2nd-rounder. That dude can play [and he's 25].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Only if Chimera had some hands, he woulda had a bunch of points last night. It's great to see BB using Chimera's speed to create space for linemates. Now all we need are his linemates' hands to come around.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 19, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo

Meszaros was an overpaid bum in tampa, and everyone in Philly hated the move...you can always say I told you so, but this baffled many more GM's then McPhee.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 19, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it is time to rid ourselves with one of our "young star" goalies.

Neither one can stay healthy.

It is time to make a trade.

I think we can package semin with neuvirth and get some solid vet goalie and a decent defenseman.

I like the first three lines. They really played awesome in the third.

We might have to part with one of our three young forwards, which I'm fine with because next year we have Eakin, and the magical Kuzen...

(Editor's note: not "WE" but "THE CAPS"...I am not part of the team, just an overzealous fan)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 19, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Because this thread speaks to practice and references Erskine, here's a repost of something from last night:

"I hope at the next practice the forwards work on their wall game, as bad play there cost us the game. If Chimera keeps that puck in front of him at the blueline, at worst it's offsides and a faceoff. Instead, Carter a break the other way and a rather weak, deflating wrap-around goal before the first beer was spilled.

On the second goal, Laich didn't keep it in along the wall at the blueline when we could've sustained some pressure. Instead the Flyers transitioned, got it low, a poor pass by Johnny E. (pains me to say it, but even I know the law of averages was bound to catch up to him), some lost 1-1 battles, missed assignments, and presto...2-0.

True to Erskine's character, he immediately tried to atone for his gaffe by going hard at Zherdev. Went so hard I thought they were going to drop 'em; maybe Johnny got inspired by Carkner going after Paille a few games ago. This led to words with Shelley before the end of the period, and Erskine let him know he backs down from no man.

The team fed off his attitude, just like they did in Boston when Erskine went hard at Lucic at the end of the first. When he was the Caps player interviewed before the third, I knew we would at least tie it up.

It's disappointing to lose again in overtime. Isn't that when our skill players are supposed to dominate? Anyway, BB's exasperated looks are sooooo old and I think the critical comments of him here are pretty accurate. Bring on the Islanders!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 19, 2011 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't like that Erskine's not practicing because, as we all know, HOW HE GOES THE TEAM GOES.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 19, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

It's great to see BB using Chimera's speed to create space for linemates.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 19, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Chimera has been one of the worst, if not THE WORST, forwards going this year. What are you talking about?

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 19, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but SA-Town, isn't that what a good GM does, find a guy who's undervalued [for whatever reason] and grab him, to fulfill a need?

I mean, so Tampa fans were critical - who gives a rat's @zz? Are Tampa fans known for their stellar hockey acumen, or something?

And just FTR this is not Monday-morning qb'ing either, I said at the time Meszaros for a 2nd-rounder was a steal. Ok I didn't know he'd play this well, but have they even missed Pronger?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

VCaps..

I agree, Chimera has been terrible.

BUT, you have to give some credit. It wasn't until his speed showed up in the third period...that Backstrom and Optional finally started skating. Those two had to keep up with terrible Chimera to make sure they didn't look slow.

It worked. That's the best I've seen Backstrom since last year (winter 2010)...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 19, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

From previous thread:

Nats1924,

Actually that play against Vancouver was no one elses fault other than............you guessed it, hands of steel Chimera with that horrible giveaway in the neutral zone.

Posted by: PhilR

Posted by: PhilR | January 19, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Is ex-Flyer's bench boss John Stevens available to takeover for BB? I've yet to see his name offered as a replacement, and the Caps just love Flyer retreads, so it could be a good fit..... any thoughts?

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 19, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Meszaros became a millionaire thanks due to his old partner in Ottawa, Chara. His play in the past was mediocre, hidden by the fact that he had great partners.

However, I will give him tons of credit for the job he has done since coming to Philly. He's been great this year.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 19, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo I think the change of scenery was good for Meszaros.

Plus the fact that he went to the Flyers, who have a good GM, coach and system, helped him become a better player than he was in Tampon Bay.

(The above pains me to say it, but it's true.)

Posted by: jwash4472 | January 19, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but SA-Town, isn't that what a good GM does, find a guy who's undervalued [for whatever reason] and grab him, to fulfill a need?

I mean, so Tampa fans were critical - who gives a rat's @zz? Are Tampa fans known for their stellar hockey acumen, or something?

And just FTR this is not Monday-morning qb'ing either, I said at the time Meszaros for a 2nd-rounder was a steal. Ok I didn't know he'd play this well, but have they even missed Pronger?

Posted by: Timbo_1

Meszaros has a $4M cap hit through 2013-2014. That is why he wasn't wanted by many teams.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@soaringcaps

Chimera is one of those guys who can entice with his potential but ultimately frustrates with his performance. Cstanton makes valid points about Chimera's inconsistent play and true nature.

I can't believe neither he nor Brooks Laich have been forced to watch a game from the pressbox this year. I mean, Gaborik gets scratched in MSG and Kovalchuk gets scratched every-so-often.....but Chimera and Laich (among others) get infinite chances to get their game in order?

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 19, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not as down on Chimera as some [that was the best I've seen Ovie or Backs look in awhile, never mind both, and some credit has to go to a linemate, even if it's stuff we might not notice right away].

That said, having him out there in OT against the likes of Briere, Carle and Meszaros didn't seem to make a lot of sense. Just like our last O-T loss, where neither Backs nor Ovie saw the ice, and I think Carlson had like one abbreviated shift. Baffling.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo I think the change of scenery was good for Meszaros.

Plus the fact that he went to the Flyers, who have a good GM, coach and system, helped him become a better player than he was in Tampon Bay.

(The above pains me to say it, but it's true.)
-------------

I will second all of those thoughts. Ugh.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I know it's just practice, but it's so awesome to see Chimera's stellar play of late being rewarded with top line placement.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps You can't make Chimera score but BB used him effectively pushing the play up the ice quickly with his speed in order to get the D out of position. He is best used on the offensive lines when defensive responsibilities are not a priority. Of course the flip side is when he and his linemates are trapped in their own zone looking bewildered.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 19, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone heard about a trade today with Isles?

Posted by: RichC3 | January 19, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

regarding Philly's great GM:

They're saddled with a bunch of nmc's and ntc's.

Pronger's contract - how the he@@ didn't he know that the contract would be of the 35 year old variety? Locked in until 2017 at 4.9M cap hit per year. So he retires in three years and they're stuck with 4.9m of cap hit for 3 years after that. For sure he's not going to play the final two years when the actual salary drops to 525K. Well done.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 19, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone blaming the support players? The problem is the BIG GUNS aren't. Ovie isn't scoring and only hitting at times he fumbles the puck more than schultz. Backstrom hasn't scored in a month.

Posted by: jphilipj | January 19, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

LOL at the grass is always greener mentality. The Caps have a good GM and a good system. I'd say the coach is good too, but I'm open to him being replaced.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 19, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

LOL at the grass is always greener mentality. The Caps have a good GM and a good system. I'd say the coach is good too, but I'm open to him being replaced.

Posted by: GFisher1


And what "system" is that you're hinting about?

I haven't seen a consistent game from the Caps since they shutout Carolina on the road. (seems like ages ago)

Posted by: jwash4472 | January 19, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Erskine on the ice this morning? That's bush league.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You know exactly what you're doing - and it's taking every "opposition" viewpoint to yours, conflating them all into a single viewpoint, and then exaggerating that viewpoint in an effort to mock everyone who disagrees with you.

It's childish, and sad, like I said. Also, like I said - "We get it."

--vtduff--

well said dude. His act is beyond old. He argues like a prepubescent teen. Which he may be.

we'll have to agree to disagree about Chimera though. Every player has a "personality" on the ice. And Chimmy is a poser. He does just enough (usually in home games) to warrant his spot in Bruce's lineup. A coach who knew better would call him to task for his timidity in road games. You know going into a road game that a guy like Hendricks will be finishing checks from his first shift on. Chimera will play a less than aggressive game than he's capable of. Its just his personality. Any player who downgrades his own game depending on who he's playing against and where he's playing is a poser in my book.

He acts chippy on home ice (but not against every team). And he tries not to tick people off when he's on the road. Esp against certain teams. He's also a little less aggressive in crashing the net. And don't think other players in this league don't know that. I'm sure his own teammates pick up on that.

One of the problems is, Chimera was never ever supposed to be a checking line player. He was looked at as a 2nd line forward who could rely on his scoring to make an impact in this league. He was never a defensive/checking forward until he was with Columbus under Hitchcock.

He's had to adopt the checking role in order to prolong his career. And he's only good at it when he commits to it. And that only happens once in a while.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"The Caps have a good GM and a good system."

---

I'm not trying to be a smart[rear end] here, but what criteria are you using to make the determination that GMGM is a "Good GM?"

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Did Gaborik really get scratched for a home game recently? Wow. He's so much better with Prospahl out there.

Speaking of good pickups who are very underrated, Zuccarello has been great for them lately.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"we'll have to agree to disagree about Chimera though. Every player has a "personality" on the ice. And Chimmy is a poser. He does just enough (usually in home games) to warrant his spot in Bruce's lineup"

---

I was being sarcastic about Chimichanga. I think he's the poster child for the fact that BB obviously plays favorites.

If a player on the "naughty list" (Erskine, King, whoever) turns the puck over mid-ice directly leading to a goal like Chim did against the 'Nucks, and that guy doesn't see the ice again for 2 months.

Chimmy does it (and He was responsible for another goal against VAN, but I forget which right now) and next thing you know he's on the 1st line.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@vermontCaps -

I'm still thinking BB's got some time left in him here. But when it's time for him to go (and that day will come as it always does for every coach in the NHL) I think John Stevens would be a great choice. I guess he lost the team in Philly but he had them playing an intense and cerebral style of hockey that made them one of the better teams in the league to see play...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 19, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@vermontCaps -

I'm still thinking BB's got some time left in him here. But when it's time for him to go (and that day will come as it always does for every coach in the NHL) I think John Stevens would be a great choice. I guess he lost the team in Philly but he had them playing an intense and cerebral style of hockey that made them one of the better teams in the league to see play...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 19, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm not trying to be a smart[rear end] here, but what criteria are you using to make the determination that GMGM is a "Good GM?"

Posted by: VTDuffman
-------------

An excellent question. Also, what is this "system" of which you speak.

And being more of the wise-azz type, how many playoff series wins in the last X number of years, exactly?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

We're well past the point where you can point to a player or two or three that are the problem. nor can you say that if we fill one or another piece of the puzzle then the team will be set.

Much as I like him and despite the incredible success since Thanksgiving a couple years ago, I would be joyful to hear a coaching change announcement. Soon.

Posted by: Justafan | January 19, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"well said dude. His act is beyond old."

Posted by: cstanton1

If my act is beyond old then what does that make yours? Ancient?

I was just stating my feelings that every aspect of the organization needs to be completely overhauled. What is wrong with that?

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

i would prefer Chimera to actually be on a higher line and let someone who can totally commit to being a tough defensive checking role player take his spot on the 3rd line. Our bottom 2 lines can't afford to have ANY player NOT be tenacious on every shift. I certainly don't want to see MP ever play on our bottom 2 lines. He's totally useless. MJ though is showing signs of tenacity and that's good. He's got that ability to see the ice, pick off passes, and he's not afraid of the tight spaces although he needs to do it more consistently. But like Backstrom, I guess we have to be patient and wait till that part of his game rounds out in 2 yrs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Chimera is kind of like a "fake tough guy", sometimes he gives the appearance that he is tough on the ice but when he needs to be tough he isn't. I'd agree with Cstanton on that. His only quality is that he is very fast.... unfortunately even if he beats someone in a puck race he usually gets knocked off soon after or his dreaded "Hands of Cement" takeover.

Posted by: jdove80 | January 19, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

And how about Marcus Johansson?? The kid's getting better every game; he's a real find. He's smallish and he won't instill any fear out there but he does finish his checks and he's got some serious jump in his skates.

Maybe in the future we'll have

Ovechkin - Backstrom - Fehr
Semin - Kuznetsov - Johannson (it can work)
Laich - Eakin - somebody

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 19, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I was just stating my feelings that every aspect of the organization needs to be completely overhauled. What is wrong with that?

Posted by: sgm3

i feel diminished when i have to respond to stupidity like this but like a moth to a flame you pull me in.

You're being sarcastic. We get it. Thanks. Try adding something else to the discussion.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I agree with you about MP. I really like the guy, and think that he actually has a lot of tenacity for such a lil' fella...

But it was downright sad watching him go into the corners or try and work the boards against PHI last night. The physical differences were just SO OBVIOUS last night, I felt bad for him. He literally looked like a child out there playing with grown men.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I was being sarcastic about Chimichanga. I think he's the poster child for the fact that BB obviously plays favorites.

---vt--

whew!

"Chimmy does it (and He was responsible for another goal against VAN, but I forget which right now) and next thing you know he's on the 1st line"

if a player with his physical attributes (namely speed and therefore some "implied" skill) makes defensive errors, Bruce could really care less it seems.

the msg BB sends to his team is consistently the wrong one. Which is one of the primary reasons Mike Green's defensive game fell off the cliff when he was scoring tons of points. He was simply allowed to play horrible defensive hockey as long as he tried to act like Paul Coffey.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

You're being sarcastic. We get it. Thanks. Try adding something else to the discussion.

Posted by: cstanton1

No, I'm honestly not being sarcastic.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

And how about Marcus Johansson?? The kid's getting better every game; he's a real find. He's smallish and he won't instill any fear out there but he does finish his checks and he's got some serious jump in his skates.

-----------red-

so far so good. I'd like to see him in the playoffs before feeling better about him. That's what separates the men from the boyz :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I was so glad to see King play last night. I predicted 5 to 7 minutes ice time with 5 to 7 penalty minutes. Instead - 4 minutes 24 seconds ice time and 5 minutes in penalties! WOW - what a player.

What a fine addition to a teams lineup that cant score goals right now. Since BB likes to change the lines so much and he was so dominant last night, maybe we can put him on the top line vs the Isles and give him some PP time as well. You were spot on Vermont - DJ King is a beast!


Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 19, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

If what he does ain't sarcasm, would it be sophistry?

Posted by: Steve_R | January 19, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As for the goalies, my guess is the Caps are just being careful with the young goalies. I bet Varly is just sore.
As for Erskine, why don't you lace them up and go out to the rink (buy some equipment & actually play would be really good). Slam into the boards 20 times & have one of your friends knock you down 15 times. See how you feel the next day. BTW, have somebody who knows how to shoot fired about 10 pucks at you & you block them just for added fun.
I'm hoping BB notices (doubt him notices much with the team) Chimera's poor play & considers sitting him when we get some players back. It pains me to admit it but, I agree with vermontcaps views on Chimera.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 19, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

No, I'm honestly not being sarcastic.

Posted by: sgm3 |

why the sudden turn-around then? in 24 hrs you go from the biggest apologist to someone who wants to do a complete tear-down and rebuild? You been sippin some of JoeK's fruitpunch?

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW, it is a little ironic that everyone wants stability in the lines but not in the front office. My two cents is that GMGM has done a great job here and he is building a very good hockey culture for the organization. He continues to accumulate useful and valuable assets (Eakin, Kuznetsov, Orlov). The minor league team seems capable of developing decent players now (I don't recall any Caps minor leaguers from before the GMGM-BB era being of any use). Stability is a good thing: the more experience he has, the more stable things look, the better quality of people he can recruit to be scouts, to be coaches, etc. It's not all one guy: the best GM who ever lived would have a crap organization if he had bad scouts and bad coaches up and down. It takes time to get that stuff lined up and I think he's doing a good job of getting this going.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 19, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

If what he does ain't sarcasm, would it be sophistry?

Posted by: Steve_R |

i applaud you. Keeping with that Greek theme, his sophistry stems from his misplaced hubris.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Before, I thought this organization had what it takes to imporve and start playing better.

I no longer believe that.

I belive it is an organizational epidemic that can only be cured by an organizational overhaul of ever aspect of the Caps.

Until that is done, it will be like Groundhog Day here.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

if you're being serious sgm, then my work is done here and its time for me to move on.

if you're pulling my chain, i smite you.


"Behold 'tis I the commander
Whose grip controls you all"

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

You'd think I had said McPhee was THE BEST GM given the reaction.

You don't necessarily judeg a GM by the team's performance, but rather the opportunity he has given the team (ie the logo) for success.

That starts at the draft. When he first came in, yeah the drafts were terrible. Owen Fussey's name ring a bell? (...for people who have been here longer than since the lockout ended). The drafting is much better now: 3 NHL players from 2002, 1 from 2003, 4/5 from 2004, 1 maybe 2 eventually from 2005, 4 possibly 5 or more from 2006, 1+ from 2007, 1+ from 2008, 1+ from 2009. Team Canada at the WJC's is usually 1st rounders and future 1st rounders. McPhee had a third rounder on there who was one of the best in the tourney.

The trading has been decent. There have been moves I disagreed with and a few that i've hated. Corvo, DJ King, Sami Lepisto trade, the trade for Sergei Berezin, and getting Linden, are moves I didn't like for various reasons. Getting Chimera (shedding Clark's cap hit), getting the value he did for the players everyone knew were on their way out in 2004, Flash for Hannan, were good moves. Is he "too patient?" Perhaps. he was apparently trying to get Regher and Hannan was the backup, so it at least shows that he knows what he needs and is targeting them. fedorov, huet, and cooke were great acquisitions and they only cost him Matt pettinger, ted ruth, and a pick.

Free Agency is a toss up at best. After last year I would have brought in some leadership guys. I would provide examples, but I can't remember who was available in free agency. Knuble was good. Nylander, Kozlov, and Poti were good at the time. They needed a top center, McPhee got one. Nylander butted heads with Boudreau and became of victim of the teams success those years. Kozlov was good and i was perfectly fine with the decision not to retain him. Poti has been good, though I can see people's beef with the extension. I'm ambivalent on it, as i think he'll be scratched for it anyway and that makes him a serviceable fill in.

Coaching was a circus between Ron Wilson's end and Boudreau's beginning. Boudreau is a good coach, who may have come to the end of what he can do for washington.

Conclusion... I'd put McPhee in the top 10, but not top 5 of GMs in the league, I guess. Not the best, not among the worst, but he's built a contender.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 19, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

if you're being serious sgm, then my work is done here and its time for me to move on.

Posted by: cstanton1

Yes, I am being serious.

Adios.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 19, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@GFisher

A fair assessment. I disagree with your conclusion, but admire you for actually backing up your position with your reasoning behind it.

I think GMGM is a "fine" GM, but I draw the line at considering him a "good" GM. I don't think that you can go from season to season with such glaring holes in your team and *not* fill them and still be considered a "good" GM.

No 2C for this team to start this season was just completely inexcusable. Among other things, but that was the most glaring hole to me.

Also, his complete aversion to taking any risk at all to win now. You can't be a "young team" forever and think you're going to win it all. Sometimes you have to recognize the opportunity and seize it to win now, even if that means trading a prospect who might be good later. I think being able to recognize these opportunities and take the risks when appropriate is another hallmark of a good GM.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 19, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

BB was thoroughly outcoached last night by Laviolette. He came across as desperate by constantly changing lining during the game. Given the line juggling necessitated by injuries to Semin, Bradley, and Fehr, why would he make additional changes in game? Chimera should not be on our 1st or 2nd lines as he has terrible hands and isn't a finisher. He's a third line grinder who provides the team energy. I like the idea of bringing in Ken Hitchcock for the rest of the season to light a fire under the team and add some much needed experience behind the bench.

As much as people talk about trading Semin, the Caps only have 5 healthy forwards who are any threat to score (Ovie, Backstrom, Knuble, Johannsen and Laich) and two of those have been in season long slumps. The reason the Caps weren't ahead in the first period last night is they had 6-7 quality chances and couldn't even net a single goal. The Caps need a healthy Semin and another veteran center to make any noise in the playoffs.

Posted by: wizfan89 | January 19, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I have been a Caps fan for a long time and am hockey player too. To all of you who said we needed better d or install a different system - I say "Are you nuts!" Looking back, we had the most points and goals of any team in the league. We got ousted from the playoffs not because our system was flawed but because one goalie was stopping everything that came his way. The Caps shouldn't have changed anything. We should have kept Belanger, Mo and Flash. Instead The Caps listened to all those who think they know better and look where it has gotten them. Other teams are not that stupid. They knew last year how to stop this team and they just couldn't because the Caps were just too good. Nobody is scared to play us any more. So to all of you calling for this player or that coach's head, I think that you wouldn't know hockey if it bit you. Shut up and be FANS not critics.

Posted by: psugolf | January 19, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think if GM spent less time defending himself under assumed names and more time scouring the draft wire, we'd been in better shape.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 19, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1
Now THAT was funny!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 19, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

So to all of you calling for this player or that coach's head, I think that you wouldn't know hockey if it bit you. Shut up and be FANS not critics.

Posted by: psugolf |


I tell you what, you be a "fan" in your way and I'll be one in mine. To just blindly agree with every move this team does is simply stupid and I will continue to critique this team for its horrible play this year. If you want to put blind faith in a BROKEN system you go right ahead but for us that want a better product we will continue to call for changes to include firing BB who has lost this team.

Guess this means I wouldn't know hockey if it bit me huh??!!

Posted by: PhilR | January 19, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@timbo, @cstanton01, @sgm

>>if you're being serious sgm, then my work is done here and its time for me to move on.

lmao.

I am in the GMGM camp. As Patton said, "I'd rather have a plan that's good enough today then one that's perfect tomorrow..."

Organizations need time to mature and it's not all one person. Can GMGM continue to bring in talented and charismatic people as coaches and scouts? Can he continue to build networks within the hockey world? Then the team develops a culture that permeates the organization. This team can identify and develop skilled forwards. It's got to get better with defensemen. Whether BB's always going to be the right choice at coach is debatable, but maybe he stays in another capacity, seeing as how's he's been an important part of the culture. It seems that teams like the Devils and Wings rotate their coaches in and out of different positions in the organization, keeping things fresh for the players...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | January 19, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Chimera has hands of stone. However, it was not a coincidence that Backstrom and Ovechkin had their best period in quite awhile last night alongside Chimera as his speed opened up the ice. How many times this season has Ovechkin skated down the ice while Backstrom and Knuble trailed behind. When this occurs the defense can come after Ovechkin as he skates into the zone. However, you put somebody else on the other side with speed and the defense can no longer cheat to one side as both are skating into the zone not just Ovechkin. Knuble may have advantages in front of the net but his skating not so much.

Posted by: blackandred777 | January 19, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

b&r777,

+1 I completely agree.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | January 19, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

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