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Johnson Out 2-4 Weeks; Ovechkin "Okay"

GM George McPhee said that goaltender Brent Johnson suffered a sprained ligament in his knee tonight when he went down awkwardly in the first period. He'll miss two to four weeks.

The Caps will obviously have to call up a replacement from Hershey tomorrow. McPhee said he would talk to the coaching staff before deciding which player to promote.

Update: Alex Ovechkin, meantime, suffered a cut on his leg early in the third period and did not return. I just caught McPhee on the way to the team bus and he said the wound is "superficial" and that Ovechkin will play in Ottawa. Ovechkin declined to talk to reporters as he walked with a slight limp out of the dressing room. When I asked him how he felt, he said only, "Okay".

Boudreau said there was a delay in getting the doctor down to the locker room to stitch up Ovechkin. But I was not able to verify this.

Update:The team is staying in Pittsburgh tonight and traveling to Ottawa tomorrow morning, as am I. Practice is at 3 p.m. at Scotiabank Place. I hope to have an update before then.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 27, 2007; 9:28 PM ET
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Next: Cassivi Recalled; Sens' Emery Sent Home



Posted by: dammit | December 27, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ALEX OVY? | December 27, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy. Gonna need some luck with Olie taking most every game for the next four weeks.

Posted by: Jay | December 27, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bobo | December 27, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Good Scoop You beat Joe B and Locker!!!! what about OV? This is turning into something of a horror show tonight

Posted by: Puddin_an_Semin | December 27, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Ovechkin is hurt | December 27, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik is in the press box with all the other reporters and team officials. Joe B is in the booth broadcasting and does not get to mill about and hear what's going on until the intermissions.

Posted by: Scoop? Not really. | December 27, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Hearing anything about a possible back injury with AO?

Posted by: Jay | December 27, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig sucks...

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

AO is prolly fine - he has missed 3-8 games since he has come here - Olie sucks... we need another goalie anyways....

Posted by: 828 | December 27, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

all caps make things happen faster.

hdnet said ovy maybe had a back injury. speculation at hf was that he took a skate blade where a skate blade should never be.

Posted by: pgreene | December 27, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Olie has a good game for the most part, then of course gives up a weak goal in OT. Thanks, Olie! FIVE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR A YEAR TO LOSE GAMES. Five and a half million. I just don't get it. Hopefully the callup will get a starting shot, get hot, and keep Kolzig out of the lineup forever more.

Posted by: Kip | December 27, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

what's the deal on ovechkin?

Posted by: DiehardFan | December 27, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I am sooooooo f%#@ing sick of losing to these guys!!!!!

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 27, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse


In 3 years here, he has only missed 1 game!

We cant afford him to be hurt!!!!!

Posted by: TARIK PLEASE | December 27, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

With the 1st pick in the 2008 draft, the Washington Capitals select Steven Stamkos.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Another very concerned Ovechkin fan. Any word yet Tarik?

/BTW: Jesus Christ Olie, ANOTHER soft goal allowed in OT?

Posted by: Joe | December 27, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

please Tarik find out what's wron with ovy

Posted by: Andrew | December 27, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the updates.
we need one more major update if you can do it!

Posted by: tarrrrrrrrrrrrrik! | December 27, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig played very well in relief tonight. Ovechkin has missed one game since he came to the Caps.

That's not a weak goal in overtime. Kolzig has to come across to play the [potential] shot from Crosby; it's not his fault Gonchar was left wide open to one-time one home. Plus without Kolzig's play in the third that game doesn't even get to overtime.

Posted by: dmg | December 27, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

it was a very weak goal

Posted by: Anonymous | December 27, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

is fine...just a cut on the leg

Posted by: OV | December 27, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

CSN reports a skate cut, and that doctor could not get to locker room in time to sew him up.

Posted by: Gumpper | December 27, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse


If the Caps are paying someone elite goalie money, they need to play like an elite goalie. We all know the defensive corps on the Caps is god-awful. Elite goalies make great saves when their D-men hang them out to dry. And yeah, I said he had a pretty good game... but of course, Olie gave up a must-stop goal in OT. And if the Caps had gone to the shootout... Let's all be honest here - the Caps won't win a shootout ever again while Olie's in net.

I've been a big fan of Kolzig's for years, but the man can't play consistently any more and needs to be shipped off somewhere. Which GMGM will not be able to do, due to Kolzig's f***ing absurd salary.

Posted by: Kip | December 27, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

So Mr Anonymous at 10:21, if you're in goal: "Hmm...there's Crosby with the puck in OT, but he won't shoot it, so I'll just go over here and defend the Gonchar slap shot while my teammates are falling all over the ice." Great strategy!

Posted by: Phil | December 27, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

So who's getting called up, Machesney or Cassivi?
I'm kind of hoping for Machesney because we desperately need a young net-minder. I love Olie and Johnny but they're both past their prime.
I want Machesney to do great and become among the elite. But then again, I'm an idealist and a dreamer.

Posted by: Freakin Pens | December 27, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet that Machesney gets the call, but doesn't see much action, if any. They'll go with Kolzig every game until Johnson is back.

Posted by: John | December 27, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

You guys that diss Olie didn't see the game. I don't like Olie that much, but he's played great the past two nights. He robbed them of goals tonight.

Look. If you're going to be a fan of the sport, you have to show appreciation of the effort when it's due. Olie played just fine. And so did Brashear and the rest of the team.

They lost in the OT and last 3 mins of the game. Damned frustrating. The Caps had their fans booing them loudly. For some reason, they turned off at the last 3 minutes. All their energy dissappeared. No forechecking. No movement off the puck. They had the game and lost it.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 27, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I take back what I said about Brash. He needs to play like this every night... If the forecheck looked as strong in the beginning as it did in the last 2 periods, that would have been a win... And Kolzig looked a lot better tonight than he has in a long time. He needs to cold-start more often...

Well, for losing our star player and a goalie, an OTL ain't bad. The way we got it wasn't good, though.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how anyone can fault Olie on the OT goal. There have been several goals scored over the last few games where the CAPS have lost the faceoff in their own zone and nobody has rushed out to tie up the shooter. Result has equaled goals on several occasions.

Posted by: LFR | December 27, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Zilla needs to stick with Crosby in that situation, but I think he overplayed it just a bit. You also have to think that if this was two or three seasons ago, he was quick enough to get over there.

Any goalies out there with an opinion?

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

It was a save-able shot, but it would have taken a great save. It definitely wasn't a "weak goal", as Crosby made a nice play to draw Kolzig over (which Kolzig has to do) and then find the open man - that's a scenario that virtually never leads to a "weak" goal.

You're exactly right. A goalie can only do so much and he has to play the guy coming to the slot with the puck; anyone who thinks that was a soft goal is either trying to scapegoat Olie based on his previous games' performances or doesn't have a great understanding of what you can reasonably expect a goalie to stop.

Posted by: dmg | December 27, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm a huge Olie fan and always will be, but what we're not seeing is the big save enough. It's not so much that he's given up bad goals(although he has), it's that he's not making the huge saves like the opposing goalies do. There have been way too many games where if you'd switched the goalies the Caps would have won.

He was better tonight, but again... The Olie of years past finds a way to stop Gonchar.

Posted by: John | December 27, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Bench Nyls, though, or give him less ice time at least. This game gets success from hard-nosed, physical play, not from... well, blind passes and clumping together.

What the hell was Nyls doing, anyway? Half the time he was out there, he was close enough to touch at LEAST one other player, and he didn't so much as pass as he did hand the puck off...

Posted by: MikeZ | December 27, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse


I played goalie on travel teams when I was younger (had to stop due to injuries). My take is that Kolzig made the right move - a great offensive player going into the slot with the puck? You have to play that situation. I suppose you could say Kolzig should have done a better job of getting over but with a guy like Crosby in the slot you have to commit to that because it's such a good scoring opportunity for the opposition.

Posted by: dmg | December 27, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse


I think you're right that Olie this season hasn't made as many big saves as a #1 goalie should make, but he had several last night that helped get the game to OT in the first place.

Posted by: dmg | December 27, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess you also need to consider that Kolzig came in cold. He was supposed to be spectating tonite.
Not bad for being thrown in to the situation.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dmg

I've got no knowledge of that situation except that the guy with the pillows and the canoe paddle keeps yelling...

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Olie was much better tonight, but they still lost. I don't mean to blame him totally for the team's struggle. I was just making the point that he's not what he used to be. He's lost his lateral quickness.

If I'm the Caps I tell him privately that he's not going to be re-signed and ask him what he wants to do. They can trade him to a contender or let him play out the season. I just hope they handle the situation with grace. Olie deserves respect.

Posted by: John | December 27, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

thanks tarik. you rule.

Posted by: cp | December 27, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Well said John.

I think GMGM has a track record of trying to take good care of our veterans. Maybe to a fault.
Remember when we traded Huntsy to the Avs?
I thought that was a class move on GMGM's part.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 27, 2007 10:53 PM | Report abuse

You totally rock Tarik...just heard your heads up on CSN about Ovey's injury!!!! and saw you posted it here as well!! Thank You for bringing us the information ASAP!!!

Posted by: Puddin_an_Semin | December 27, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I just think the team needs a change at goalie. I don't think Kolzig played that bad tonight, and he did make some nice saves, but I just don't think he has the confidence in his team anymore. You can see it every time he gets scored on. He slaps the ice, the goal posts in disgust as if he is blaming his defense. We need a young gun in there that is cocky enough to believe he can stop everything!

The team used to change goalies quite a bit but seems now to be stuck on Olie. There are plenty of goalies out there and more in the minors.

We probably win this game if Ovie wasn't out.

Posted by: capfan1 | December 27, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Olie was on top of things, he saved the lead we had until Mo lost his composure. We've done this enough times with teams like Boston. They need to know how to hold a lead. When the O is working for them the D falls apart. It's ridiculous. Olie got them into the OT. They were barely skating after that final goal late in the 3rd. They were seemed to be praying for OT when they should have pushed to finish in regulation like they had been doing for practically the whole 60, for a change. Olie got them as far as he could, the team had to do the rest and they blew it.

Posted by: capfan2 | December 27, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Let's be a little fair here. The worst defensive breakdown of the night belonged to the Pens on the OV goal. Two forwards and no D in front of the net.... if they had lost there might have been some stick throwing in the locker room.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 27, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Why don't they go with these lines:



Posted by: CantMissKid | December 27, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the Kozlov scratch.

put in Laing - we could've used him on the PK. I'm sure he would've blocked a ton of shots tonight.

Posted by: Hollywood | December 27, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Short and sweet for everyone...

Defensive breakdowns lead to bad goals that appear to be "easy" enough for Kolzig to save. Kolzig was the only reason this game got to OT. He stopped several tonight when it was one-on-one...him and the shooter right in the slot...not Olie + 1 D.

He played the goal perfectly, someone (one of the forwards) effed up the coverage by leaving Gonchar open like that.

And I'll say it again, let ol' 92 sit in the box a game or two. The team has looked worse since he's been back.

/not so short, but pretty sweet

Posted by: Yosh | December 28, 2007 12:01 AM | Report abuse


I agree with the Nylander comment. He looks old. He isn't even making as many circles as he used to. He is a terrible match for Ovie. He can't keep up. Backstrom is a better center for Ovie.
Kozlov needs to be dropped from the first line too.

I'm sure BB will make on the fly changes, but needs to sit Nylander. The slide we have had albeit still earning a few points here and there started when he came back. We need Clark back!

Posted by: Capfan1 | December 28, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

That's an important tenant of playing goal and man oh man I wish when I was younger all my defensmen would have understood it. Obviously it depends on the scenario - if there's a guy open down low you have to expect the pass coming there if the guy has the puck at the point. But the play leading to the Pens last goal, with Crosby in front....if you're the goalie you have to concern yourself with that threat and trust your team to cover a guy where Gonchar was.


I think part of the reason they don't go with those lines and scratch Kozlov is that he's second on the team in assists (to Nylander) and fourth in +/-

Posted by: dmg | December 28, 2007 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Wake the kids and phone the neighbors, we got a point and are tied for last in the East

Posted by: WhoopdieFreakinDoo | December 28, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I hope they keep Backstrom with Ovechkin. They seem to have something working. The more he skates the more I like that kid. It seems like he is able to develop chemistry with whoever he is out there with.

Any news on Clark and when he will be able to return? I sure hope it is soon, we need him!

Glad Ovie is not hurt bad. Hope Johnny is going to be okay.

Man, losing to the Pens again just makes me sick. Just please let us be on the winning end the next time they play here.

Posted by: Kim | December 28, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

I hope kozlov get bench ,laing in, Nylander trade,,,,,Play jhonny for 10 minutes then put olie (he was great last night) and we got the golie situation solve jajaja

Posted by: erick | December 28, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse


Losing in a SO goes both ways. If you think Olie can't make the saves, who on the O is gonna make the goals?

Posted by: keef | December 28, 2007 7:54 AM | Report abuse


Mike Green? Semin? Steckel, lately? OV without a gash in his leg? Any of the other overpaid underachievers?

I really do believe two things:
1) Kolzig, while he used to be a #1, elite goalie, is no longer in those ranks.
2) The Capitals will never succeed in any real way with him staying in net.

Christ, I just want the team to win. I remember how damn excited I was during the finals, what, ten years ago now? I want that excitement back. I want the team to win. I don't care about how good of a guy Kolzig is for the community or how feelings might be hurt if he were shipped out. I want the team to WIN, damn the rest.

Posted by: Kip | December 28, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

You are the best beat writer out there! How do you get your information about Johnson so quick?

Oh, that's right. The Caps media relations guys told you.

Posted by: The Best Ever | December 28, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Kolzie was awesome, I saw a guy yesterday who led the team to SCF,

Semion showed the character. Backstrom drop to Ovie was awesome. Nyl looked very good, Kozzie looked good, the team looked very good.

Damn Doc who didn't stitch Ovie in time for OT, it's a conspiracy!!!!!!

Hope this is the last time Pens beat Caps. Tables turning, baby!

I want to stomp Ruutu too. :-)

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 28, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I will make infidel penguins to walk another 70 miles in the skates to have sex.

The Stanley Cup will be ours!

Posted by: Baghdad Bob | December 28, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

bring up Cassivi and let him play. he always shows well when called up from Chocolate town.

Posted by: Mitch | December 28, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Fascinating to me that no one picked up on the reason Pittsburgh was in a position to score the tying goal with 4 seconds left on the penalty - failure to win the faceoff by Brooks Laich. Gabby should have called time out then and let Boyd Gordon take the faceoff. Likely we would have won the game instead of the awful ending. Three other factors also in play here (besides the bad karma the Caps have in the Mellon Arena): (1) Ovechkin was missing due to leg cut which messed up the entire team chemistry; (2) players were worried about his status and thus distracted; (3) 2nd game in 2 nights and they were worn out. In spite of it all the team should take some comfort that they outplayed Pittsburgh most of the night, even getting the "loyal" fans booing much of the night. We'll get them on January 21st!!!

Posted by: S. Kitay | December 28, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I watched Pens broadcast and the commentators were surprised that Gordo was not on faceoffs in the last 7 sec. They even tried to think for BB why he did that: "ok, 7 sec left, nothing gonna happen, Gordon needed a rest..."

Just before that they mentioned that Gordo was an animal on faceoffs winning 8-0 !!!

Posted by: center ice | December 28, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Semin is overrated. We should trade him

Posted by: Capts for life | December 28, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

SO glad to hear some folks standing up for Kolzig for a change, calling out other breakdowns in the team. Once again, while Olie did not have a perfect game, he had some monster saves. And based on my vantage point (and apparently Locker's), he did not have a chance one those two goals ("he" as in ANY keeper, not just Olie the goalie). The first goal on Kolzig bounced off of Jurcina (the second of the night - why is no one mentioning that?) and the second, well, you've all picked that one apart above. For the record before Johnny got hurt he let in 2 of 9; Kolzig let in 2 of 18 coming in COLD. Give the guy some slack, already.

Ironically right before the winning goal I got into a debate about face-offs - they had just given the stats on TV to which I heard, "Who cares? That is such a meaningless stat." I responded, "Are you kidding? We have won and lost games based on face-offs." Then ... the Pens won. This is one time that I wish I was wrong!

Posted by: Boo! | December 28, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I think Olie played well last night and it was obvious watching the game that the team seemed to lose either drive or concentration in the last few minutes which is why the Pens ended up winning. You can't give a team like that oppurtunities. We played pretty bad after Ovie left the game....

Posted by: K | December 28, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@the best ever

you're so clever. how did you know? actually, I found McPhee in the press box and asked him about Johnson. that's how I found out. thanks for stopping by.

Posted by: Tarik | December 28, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Can't help thinking about how many shots Laing would have blocked last night. . .

Posted by: George H. | December 28, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse


I respectfully disagree with you about Cassivi (sp?). At this point he is too old to fit the Caps needs. I'd be more interested to see what Machensy can do at this level. He seems to be playing pretty strong when he gets in the game up in Hershey.

Posted by: Yosh | December 28, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I would suggest that Kolzig has the confidence of the team. With Kolzig in the net they turned the play around and pinned the Penguins in their own end.

5 shots on goal against in the 2nd.

In the 3rd Kolzig made several big stops including on Crosby twice and Malkin twice.

The Caps had a chance to get an insurance goal and failed. Insurance is in case something unfortunate happens. A questionable penalty and a lucky bounce off a Caps defenseman created the tying goal. They needed the insurance.

lastly. Sidney Crosby is skating from the goalies left to right five feet from the crease. Every goalie in the NHL is trying to cover for that shot.

If you insist on calling that goal a soft goal, then you have to allow that almost every NHL goal is soft.

Posted by: Rob | December 28, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm tired of people making excuses for Olie. He is a great person - he has done the Caps organization well, but it's time for him to step down... or someone else to step up... but who? You've got TB bringing up one of their goalies which seems to be a good thing. Why can't we sign someone else?
I've said this before - the Caps have moved pieces around, but the only thing that is CONSTANT - is Olie... why not give someone else a try? Can't knock it, until you tried it, right? Olie is not earning his salary... he's not even getting that many shots against him like he did a year or 2 ago. So, what's the problem?
Yes, we should win more faceoffs, block more shots, stop getting stupid penalties, but damn, can we get a effing shutout more than 1 time a year?
All I am saying is we need to get new life in there to spark a 5+ game winning streak.

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

So to insure a win, is it possible the Pens told their doc to take his time getting to the locker room? Or didn't notify him right away? Common - what could delay him unless his was sitting on the porcelin bowl. You bet if it had been Cindy injured, they would have cleared the halls and raced him to the locker room.

Posted by: Zaichik | December 28, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse


I could not believe it too:
"It took the doctor so long to get down here (the bench), we couldn't get him back on the ice," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He got a couple of stitches. It is something that you have to get done."
I would not doubt the Pitt organization had something to do with it. Fricken Dirty - the town, the fans, the players, the coaches.

I HATE losing to the Pens and Sabres...

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Well I'm not a Olie fan but I got to admit yesterday he kept us in the game. He made big saves, and that one at the end wasn't a "weak" goal. If you (like me) don't particularly like Olie, you shouldn't anyway hold him accountable for yesterday's game.

It was a replay of "one of those nights" we had so many times this year: the Pens were outplayed but they won. I liked the fact that the fans there booeing them: it was all and only Caps at one point, all they could do is ice the puck.

What was missing was the 4-2 goal, an instinct to kill. I did NOT like Nylander having that huge chance and missing like that... wake up Nyl! Altough I think overall he played ok. Backstrom rules.

I liked the Caps yesterday except for two things: 1) instinct to kill and 2) somebody should have make them pay for those hits on Semin. We really need to scare the other team and make them pay. Until the opponents think they can do whatever they want in our half (and they CAN do plenty, darn it), we're going to struggle all season.

Anyway... Ottawa is very very scary. And they want revenge.

Posted by: mauree | December 28, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The lack of knowledge about the game from some of the posters here...kills me...

"He's not making as many circles as he used to?"

Scratch Koz because Laing can block a shot?
-Right and I am sure his 1 goal this season can win you some games.

Get real people..the caps will never make the playoffs with the team they have. AO will probably be with another team by the end of the season if they are out of the playoff race. Kolzig will be the goalie for another few years.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 28, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse


Can you ask Bruce why he went with Laich on the faceoff? He could have used Backstrom or Gordon.


Posted by: TJ | December 28, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of lack of knowledge...please explain how OV will be on a another team next year? My impression was that as a RFA Ted has the final say where he plays (he or elsewhere)...

Posted by: Yosh | December 28, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@ The lil girl with no name Posted on December 28, 2007 10:28 AM

I think what they are trying to say is:

"He's not making as many circles as he used to?" = Nylander looks lazy out there... he is not showing much effort. He is known for making his circles on the ice and to be honest, I think that is the only thing he is good at now days.

Scratch Koz because Laing can block a shot? = People like to see effort and results. Because Laing does not have 20+ goals does not mean he has not helped the team. Him blocking shots in a quality that no one else wants to take. Kozlov - again, it seems as if he is playing with no effort. We have been blessed with all these hard working "no names" for the past couple of seasons - so, when we see someone not working as hard as they could, people get heated. I am one of those people.

We all wouldn't be here if we didn't care about the Caps and we all want them to be better - sooner than later.

Alex isn't going to another team... who ever says or thinks that seems to have a lack of knowledge.

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game -anyone who was there, INCLUDING Pens fans, admitted Kolzig was playing huge. There was no way Sydor should have wide open a shot, and certainly, Gonch could have eaten a bowl of soup and scored that goal, he had so much time and space.

Again - Olie was AWESOME. The team went off the rails a bit when Ovie went down.

Semin needs to grow up an defend himself a little better - he looks like Peewee Herman lately. Is this the same dude who struck fear into the hearts of NHL goalies last year?

Heartbreaking loss again at the Arena - it is like freaking Groundhog Day.

Posted by: Shaggy | December 28, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree with all our hockey analysts
Sit Nylander, Koslov, Semin, Fleischman, Pettinger.
Fire BB, GMGM, TED and for good measure Pollin.

Our lines should be:
AO, Laing, Moztko
AO, laing, Brashear
Thats all the firepower we need. We could keep backstrom as a reserve and give him another year to learn the system.
We need no stinky defense. We have Kolzig.

Posted by: opita | December 28, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Opita - that is the funniest thing I have read all year... I guess that is what people are saying, arent't they?

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

you guys are pathetic i hate the caps im a big pens fan i watch almost every caps game because im big fan of the bears kolzig in know way lost that game if you ask me the faceoff lost it bruce put out brooks to take an offencive draw why didnt he put out gordon or backstrom they both where 8 of 12 at that point in the game kolzig is the reason u got one point

Posted by: brian pens1 | December 28, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone even watch Kolzig on the OT GWG?
He lost the edge on his skates and couldn't push over. Not defending Kolzig because he has been letting in some softies but that wasn't one of them.
Shouldn't have even gone to OT if Brooks could win a faceoff.
Coach B is right in his comments in the Post this am. This team gets a lead and plays to hold it rahter than have the killer instinct and go for the throat.

Posted by: JKH | December 28, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

You can analyze and analyze, but until you win games like the one we lost last night you will never go anywhere... except home at the end of the season.

That was a truely painful loss. Gabby needs to find a positive in it somehow and try and motivate this team for the games ahead.

Just don't anybody tell me, "Well, we got a point!" We didn't win a point, we lost a point. We should have had two.

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 28, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

George H. - I thought the same thing - Laing would have sacrificed (more) teeth to block some of those shots.

mauree - glad to see that you have finally come over to the (Olie supporting) dark side ... well, at least for this one!

Yosh - my thoughts exactly - Ovie is NOT going anywhere - Ted will pay whatever it takes to keep him. I am sure he hopes to do so before Ovie is an RFA, but if it gets that far, he will surely match any other teams' offers.

Posted by: Boo! | December 28, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@brian pens1

Haha, typical Pitt fan - can't spell, cant type.

PS. Crosby is Overrated

Posted by: Know=no Offencive=Offensive | December 28, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ponder this for a minute...

The team has claimed they will match any offer AO gets at the end of the season if Ovie is RFA. Now what if a big market team puts up a 6-8 year offer for him worth is the 50-70 mil range and its very front loaded.

If the caps match, not only is it going to take HUGE portion of their cap space for the upcoming season and a few years after, but its going to take a major portion of their own operating budget.

This team has already demonstrated they can not make the playoffs by pinning their hopes on AO and a bunch of role players..even having a few bigger names in the mix, they can not make the playoffs.

Lets just say they buy out Ollie's contract and send him into retirement..that'll free up a few more mil but with the obvious recent failure of Nylander and Kozlov, you are going to add another big name to supplement that..but that still doesnt add up to playoffs...not to mention you still need a starting goalie.

So, would it be in the best interest of the team, from a business standpoint, to let AO go to another team..maybe work a trade and get something for him at the deadline? up that cap space and sign some free agents that are going to put the put you into the playoffs.

I know most people here are going to jump all over me saying this will never happen and they will stop watching if AO goes..but what would you rather want? A great player taking up millions of dollars and your team not making the playoffs year after year, or a bunch of good players that are going to score goals, play exciting hockey, win games, make the playoffs, and compete for the cup?

It would be terrible marketing and PR to let Ovie go, but if you think about may not be a bad decision. These days, the way free agency is, there are going to be plenty of players from all positions available that can help your team compete.

Come the trade deadline, there are going to be so many offers flowing into GMGM's office for AO and truthfully, I dont think I could blame him for taking someone up on that.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 28, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I personally would rather see Alex play - he is the most exciting player to watch and if I can watch him 40+ games at the Verizon center and the team is losing, then so be it.
The team is improving... just gotta be patient.
But, in all honesty, I would rather see Alex do his magic ever night than see the Caps trade him just to free up money space. For the past 2 years, Alex has brought people to the Verizon center, not the Caps.

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

To: ?!?!? (10:59am)

AO is not going anywhere. They will probably give him a multi-year deal to ease the pain (that is how most teams are dealing with the cap and high caliber players).

There is not contract to buy-out with Kolzig - his contract is up at the end of this season. They will probably keep him around, but at a lower salary. My guess is that they will spend money on a new #1 keeper and make Olie will the back-up keeper until he (along with his number) retires in 2 years.

The Caps will have to spend money on some new, proven, talent before next season. Period.

That's what my crystal ball says, but what do I know - I bought it used w/o a warranty.

Posted by: Boo! | December 28, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Trading Alex would be the worst thing the Caps organization has ever done... right there behind trading Scott Stevens.

Posted by: 828 | December 28, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

P.S. When I say multi year deal for AO, I mean many, many, many years ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 28, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't think letting AO go would be a good business move by any stretch of the imagination. They would lose money on that b/c he is the reason that most fans show up. Let's face it DC is not a hockey town and the only way to make money is to have someone like AO here and of course to win. The problem is the people we picked up in free agency. If we had gotten better performers and if we had fired Hanlon sooner and if we quit making trades for draft picks we may be able to get a good team together. I personally think we have a good team right now and we'd be doing a lot better if BB had taken over sooner and the players hadn't gotten us into this stupid hole we're in.
I do think it's horrible that the team is letting guys get pushed around. Does Semin need to stand up for himself? Yeah sure I won't argue that but seriously isn't that why we have Brasher out there? Why should players like Semin, AO and Backstrom have to worry about fighting and scoring?

Posted by: K | December 28, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

hehe nah I'm not necessarly supporting Olie, I just don't like people jumping on him after yesterday's game which he played well.

@10:59 AM
You make good points. However: with some intelligent trades and a smart GM, this team can achieve a lot. Basically, we need a goalie for next season, a veteran good D and a good F to be a (very) serious contender. Can this be achieved by keeping Green, Backstrom and AO?

Let's not talk like the season is lost. We had a very bad start but with BB things improved a lot. The team is still maturing. And half the season is still to be played.

Posted by: mauree | December 28, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I was speaking theoretically about the AO thing..and sorry..I though Kolzig had 1 more year left on his contract.

But lets face it..what REALLY puts butts in seats? Winning. The team wont be able to afford anything by putting 13k in the seats every night.

It might be a bad business move, but if the team continues to move in the direction they are going..then its something to think about.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 28, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

A player's compensation is limited to an annual hit of 20% of the cap. This works out to around 10 mil this year. Now, that doesn't seem so bad, does it? The Caps aren't even close to the ceiling.

Don't forget that Jagr may come off the books as well.

Posted by: tallbear | December 28, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@ (no name) 11:15am

Do you actually think that gmgm wouldn't bungle that trade? The Caps would end up getting guys past their prime, 2010 and 2011 first round picks and a bag of pucks. The rebuild would continue into the next decade.

Posted by: Steve R | December 28, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: CASSIVI GETS THE CALL | December 28, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@ Mauree,

"You make good points. However: with some intelligent trades and a smart GM, this team can achieve a lot"

Wait.... We are talking about gmgm aren't we...?

Posted by: Steve R | December 28, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@ Steve

yeah lol

"with a smart GM" should read: either gmgm makes some very smart moves ... OR ... with somebody else as GM :D

Posted by: mauree | December 28, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Olie bashers ignore that the point we got was due to him holding off a Malkin flurry at the end of regulation among other fine stops. Perhaps Olie has lost some lateral quickness but that's not why the team is where it is. We haven't spent enough or made the right off season moves to be seriously competitive (how much salary cap space are we sitting on?), and against teams with anything resembling real talent it unfortunately shows.

Posted by: Long time Fan | December 28, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse


Not surprised by this move, but definitely disappointed. This would have been a great opportunity to showcase/test a younger, promising keeper. Not to mention Cassivi hasn't impressed me too much the other times he's made the trek to DC.

Posted by: Yosh | December 28, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

steve, people can criticize makfi for lots of things. but trades aren't an area in which he's no good. in fact, please point out a bad trade he's made.

Posted by: pgreene | December 28, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse


How did trading Suds for a 2009 2nd rounder make the team better this year?

Proof is in the puddin. Let's if:
a) he can make a trade to get a #1 goalie into dc for the balance of the season
b) how badly the Caps get hosed doing so.

I don't have a lot of faith in his ability.

Posted by: Steve R | December 28, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Let's see if..

Typing too fast

Posted by: Steve R | December 28, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to see Machesney get the call up. From what I've seen he's quick and stable, and his youth and reflexes are what this team needs in net right now.

Posted by: Mel | December 28, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse


"showcase/test a younger, promising keeper"

And who the hell would that be? Machesney isnt in the picture, our goaltending future is currently playing in Russia and the WJC.

Posted by: TJ | December 28, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

are you saying trading suts, a scratched fourth line player who is currently out injured, for a 2d round pick is a BAD trade?

look at it this way: zednik, whom many (inexplicably) think is the savior of all things hockey, netted a 2d rounder. getting that same value for sutherby is no less than a coup by most standards.

seriously, by nearly any barometer makfi is a very skilled and shrewd trader. maybe his drafts have been questionable, but he's damn good at getting value for throw aways.

Posted by: pgreene | December 28, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Cassivi is flying to Ottawa according to Bears website

Posted by: Anonymous | December 28, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse


The headline of this morning's article is slightly off -- it's hardly a "shock" whenever the Caps lose to the Penguins. In fact, it's almost always a near-certainty that the Penguins will score a big, poetic, feel-good win over the Caps.

Do the Penguins and their fans even know that we have a rivalry going with them?

Should we even call it a rivalry? It's like watching the Globetrotters and the Generals out there.

Posted by: jak | December 28, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh I don't know TJ, let's compare the two.

21 11 589 23 1 2.34 6 2 1 0.919
32 21 1221 63 0 3.10 10 10 1 0.900

I'd rather see the younger of the two for a few weeks given the limited number of games either will get into.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 28, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

My take on the goalie call up is that I'd rather see Cassivi get the call. If this were March and we were already out of the playoff race, I'd opt for the young guy. but we are still in the hunt (barely), and if we need to use a backup, I'd rather have the guy who has played a few games in the NHL already. At the same time it gives Machesney a few weeks to be the #1 guy in Hershey. Obviously, Cassivi at 32 years old is not our answer down the road, but he's probably the better insurance policy now. Machesney may or may not have a future with the club, but I don't think now is the time to give him that shot.

Posted by: JPC | December 28, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

@mauree: Good points. Are the missing "killer instinct" and the unwillingness/inability to stand up for Semin two sides of the same coin?

Posted by: Fred | December 28, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Let me make a couple points:

1) Goals are scored on teams. Everyone must do their job (defence, goaltender, forwards). Kolzig is a pretty good goalie but the defencemen are lacking. Sorry, but someone has to be accountable for Gonchar. The goalie must be accountable for the guy with the puck first and foremost and also be thinking pass but must not "cheat". You could put (insert name of elite goaltender) in net and with these defencemen it wouldn't be that different.

2) As far as Ovechkin goes; yes- the Caps can match any offer made to re-sign him. Here's the problem; teams will offer him something beyond ridiculous (10-12 years, $10 million per). If DiPietro gets 15 years from NYI, and Richards in Philly gets 10-12 years, why won't McPhee give Ovechkin a similar deal? Every week this goes on unresolved, the more expensive it becomes. You can't trade him unless it's something like what Quebec got for Lindros in return, which nobody would do in this era. But just for laughs and giggles, you'd need, at a minimum, a front-line goaltender who has several years left, a top-two defenceman and a top-line forward plus draft picks (and one of them better be for Tavares). Oh, and all these guys need to be young (under 30 at a minimum).

At this point, McPhee better just "budget" paying Ovechkin $10 million per season. And yes- there's a boatload of teams chomping at the bit to offer Ovechkin everything under the sun. Plus, in your better markets (Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota, Vancouver, Detroit, Buffalo, NYR), endorsement money for Ovechkin will be significant.

Posted by: Patrick | December 28, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Not even a week goal...Ollie had to cover ...Crosby made a great pass to wide open Gonchar who should be covered by a forward. Although I agree, Ollie and Johnson are solid but do not make the necessary big saves. Who is there behind them, though? Don't you think it's time we got a number one goalie instead of two back-ups?

Posted by: Roanoke | December 28, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Kozlov and Nylander have got to step up and put up points...if not I would bench them. I really liked Laing!

Posted by: helm | December 28, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

are ollie and emminger on the same team?

Posted by: pgreene | December 28, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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