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Johnson: Surgery 'Has To Be Done'

Brent Johnson said he realized after the first period of Sunday's 7-4 victory over Ottawa that he needed to have his problematic hip surgically repaired.

"It just wasn't cooperating," Johnson said as he exited Verizon Center last night. "Sometimes it doesn't let me go one way. I noticed it a lot in games, especially the other night in the first period. It ended up killing me."

"It's something that has to be done," he added.

Olie Kolzig, his former teammate and close friend, had a similar injury last season and had surgery in May.

"Olie's was somewhat more extensive than what I've got," Johnson said. "But we're not going to know for sure until they get in there and check it out."

Johnson and the Capitals' medical team had not picked a surgeon as of last night, but the procedure will likely be done early next week, the goalie said. The team is expecting to be without Johnson for miss six to eight weeks, but Johnson conceded that it could be longer if the damage is bad.

"If it's just a scope and clean up, then it's less time - a month or six weeks," he said. "But if it's more extensive, they say eight to 10 weeks on the low side."

Either way, the loss of Johnson leaves GM George McPhee with a decision to make: hand the backup job to one of three prospects -- Michal Neuvirth, Simeon Varlamov or Daren Machesney -- or make a trade for a veteran.

Neither Neuvirth nor Machensey have any NHL experience and Varlamov has two games under his belt. But Varlamov is out with a knee injury. He's also 20 years old.

I hope to talk to McPhee tomorrow at practice. So stay tuned on this one.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 6, 2009; 12:03 AM ET
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Wow, sounds like I missed a bad game. But I wish Johnny successful surgery and a fast recovery! The rest of the season is going to be mighty interesting. Taking a few days
off from hockey to finish pulling off my senior dinner. Wish me luck!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 6, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Good luck, and we'll hope for the 4-6 week option rather than longer.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 6, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Good luck! and have fun.

It was not a pretty game by a long shot.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 6, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Good luck to Johnny, and a big GET WELL SOON!

Posted by: irockthered | February 6, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl - Extra good luck to you on your senior dinner. :-) Hope everything works according to plan!

Posted by: irockthered | February 6, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

not good.
having to trade for goalie takes the place of other needed spots.
let's hope this scope does alright by johnnie.
if we have to get some other goalie at a high cost, what. about backstrom?
I also want ohlund. I'm greedy.

Posted by: oo7 | February 6, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse


Speaking of surgery -- any word on Clark's surgery?

Posted by: Tracy2117 | February 6, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Good luck, Johnny - we're rooting for you and praying for you.

Posted by: plinkwired | February 6, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Have Neuvirk be the backup until Varlamov is healed. Then make Varlamov the backup.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 6, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

took the works right out of my mouth redskinsux

Posted by: Thomas32 | February 6, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I counted at least 10 breakaways for the Kings, all due to lackadaisical play by the entire team.

Watching Ovi, Semin, Green, Fedorov and Backstrom (our BEST players) try to set up that power play right before the end of the period was a pathetic thing to watch.

Also at the point, at least 2 times Schultz didn't hug the boards to stop a puck from leaving the offensive zone on relatively easy pucks, instead just using his stick to try to stop it. C'mon man!!!! Put your leg against the board!!!!

Really bad penalties too... Too many to mention.

Posted by: JSchon | February 6, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but this could be a blessing in disguise if GMGM lands a solid keeper or The Iron Curtain comes up and plays as well as he did in the bigs before. Regardless, I will Johnny nothing but the best and a speedy recovery!

BTW, anyone heard anything new about the CBA?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

(I don't will Johnny, I wish him ... it's early, huh?)

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 5:50 AM | Report abuse

It is early... but my grammar is dreadful all the time.

Posted by: JSchon | February 6, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Who needs grammar in hockey?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

It's becoming a disturbing trend... I'm starting to worry more about games against non-playoff teams than games against playoff teams. I think we are something like 16-10-1 against non playoff teams, should be a lot better... 10 of our 16 regulation losts have been against non playoff teams.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 6, 2009 6:25 AM | Report abuse

JSchon, I also noticed Shultz having trouble last night keeping the puck in our offensive zone, which was really frustrating, it was just an off night for everyone, every thing they did was a just a little off, too careless, but then again you wonder why they can't play like that in the 1st and 2nd instead of waiting till the 3rd..

Posted by: rachel216 | February 6, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Seems we are dropping a lot of points against non playoff teams.

Does anyone know how our record last year compares to this year in terms of winning percentage against playoff/non playoff teams? If it could be broken down as home/away that would be interesting.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 6, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow ... did you guys see Zednik's goal last night? Unbelievable.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Anyway, on a more positive note (well at least for me) it sounds like I picked a good night to get some sleep.

But, trying to stay on a positive tip, are we not getting greedy here?

Only 4 regulation home loses out of 26 and only one of those to an Eastern team.
Plus, if you include OT/SO loses at home (after all OT/SO loses are still not wins!) we only have 5 (4 Reg, 1 SO). Compared to the rest of the League we are tied for the lowest number of total home loses with San Jose (2 Reg, 3 OT/SO). Detriot (4 & 2) and Boston (3 & 3) both have 6.

I think a few people need to climb back down of the ledge and look at the big picture. Yes, it’s frustrating to lose to a team ranked below us but we are still second in the Conference and 12 points clear in our Division. Would I have liked 2 home wins this week? Yes please, but if we had to lose one, much better it be against the Western team and not our closest Divisional rival.

Losing last night focuses their minds for Florida on Saturday.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 6, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

So why do you guys think we had so many goals against last night - Jose, the D or both?

Speaking of our goalie, I still wonder when had a great record despite our keeper, and when we had a great keeper but the team's record did not match (ex: post-lockout Olie?)? I can think of who/when in general, but I am not sure statistically when the most extreme examples of this were. Hmm ... not sure why I am preoccupied with that! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Ok last big post:

*Ovechkin is currently fourth among the players who scored the most goals in their first four years in the NHL. In front of him are Gretzky (269), Bossy (241) and Lemieux (215).

Well Ovie has 29 games left in his 4th season so he should pass Lemieux safely. Any bets he could catch Bossy? 42 goals in 29 games? Doubtful but you wouldn’t put it past him.

Also, can anyone tell me why playoff goals aren’t counted in to player’s goals/points totals? Is it just a tradition?

I say this as Ovie has 4 playoff goals to his name so has he actually scored 204 "career" goals in the NHL. I can understand keeping his NHL totals separate from his other professional hockey goals for Dynamo Moscow but why not bundle all the NHL regular season & playoff ones together.

Before you all pile in, I fully realise it’s not just Ovie this is done for, its all players but it just seems strange to me.

Gretzky’s record for goals is always quoted as 894 goals but that’s only regular season but that doesn’t fully tell the story as he also had 122 playoff goals. Surely 1,016 career NHL goals sounds better?

Ovie’s 204 total is just over 20% of Gretzky’s 1,016. If he could carry on at the same pace he would need another 16 seasons (until he was 39) to catch The Great One. I can’t see it happening as his production would obviously tail off as he got into his mid to late thirties (as Gretzky's did).

Plus as Gretzky played with a faction of the physicality of Ovie, that obviously helped him play for 20 seasons. I think that Ovie’s level of physicality will ultimately mean he doesn’t play as long as Gretzky did.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 6, 2009 7:08 AM | Report abuse

"Also, can anyone tell me why playoff goals aren’t counted in to player’s goals/points totals? Is it just a tradition?" Do they count in the EPL?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 6, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Time for Gerber. He got screwed around by Ottawa and it really hurt his game but he's still got a lot of potential and could be picked up for not much of a cap hit. Maybe the best option for a short term backup contract. But his contract length may still be too long. Too bad Varlamov's hurt.

Posted by: Stu_c | February 6, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

No worries -- time is drawing closer -- glasses all full for the stretch run.

Is anyone more excited than me about the beginning of the stretch run?

Looking Ahead: Really really Good News UPDATE!!!

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch run! All we need is a veteran puck moving defensman.


Posted by: windjammersouth | February 6, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

We keep track of all type of goals (Champs League, Premier League, Cups etc) but "total" goals includes everything.

For example, Ronaldo scored his 100th goal for Utd earlier this season. That total will include goals from all competitions. Which is why I asked what I asked above.

Technically, Ovie's second against Detriot was his 200th NHL goal. That came in a win against the defending Champs and was the GWG. I know which I'd prefer to remember as my 200th!

I realise the NHL system is fair because all players have their regular season/playoff goals totalled seperately but if I was Gretzky I'd want my 1,016 noting!! :)

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 6, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Only as a Fan since the 90's
I have not seen a game in which the caps were half asleep.
With a full house, our team was like moving in there sleep, unitl the last 20, were they tried to get back into the game. It was so much like the Old Caps, so were was Hunter?

Posted by: Liebenson | February 6, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Some observations from 414, and I need some help from those watching on the tube at home.

In 414, we were livid about a few things and I want to know if those at home saw what we did. Or, if you really did have a very good view at the arena, please help me out.

1) Kings should have been whistled for 3-4 goalie interference penalties in the 1st period alone. They were running JT like the flyers were last year in the playoffs.

2) Steck's "Trip" in the offensive zone. Trip or no? It didn't look like anything penalty worthy from 414.

3) I've backed it up and played it over and over and over on How the hell is a player, receiving a pass with his back to the net inside the blueline NOT offsides? Linesmen screwed the pooch on O'Sullivan's goal. We could see it in 414, and I can see it on the replay. Someone calm me down and tell me he was on-side...

4) I hate to keep griping about this stuff, but it's just what we saw in 414. End-of-game flurry, just before their 5th goal, there was a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone from Feds that he put the puck where Ovie should have been. And, it would have been a good scoring chance, but Dougherty had "fallen" all around 8 and he was nowhere near the puck. The puck comes down our side cause some players are too busy arguing with orange-band's instead of backchecking and winning the puck. From 414 it looked like interference. Not sure if it looked that way on TV or from other areas of the ice.

5) My right arm for Viktor.

6) Fehr on top line: Nevermore. Bruce put 14/92/16 together and they looked just as good as they did earlier in the year.

Anyway, I'm off-and-on all day. Hoping for a speedy recovery for BJ, and I hope we stay the course and go with Varly or Cheezer for the rest of the way. We'll be riding JT60 through the playoffs anyway.

This loss just made Saturday's game Gigantic!

Posted by: FFSEnough | February 6, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse


I know, I know, the big picture. It's still an awesome year to be a Caps fan... still, I'm not frustrated for the loss per se, but for how they didn't forecheck and hassle the first 45 minutes.

Glad to see JSChon vent some frustration as well instead of bashing the doominators haha :D *hands him a beer*

I think tomorrow we'll be all right.

Wish Johnny a fast recovery. Bring the youngsters up for a while.

Posted by: mauree | February 6, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Some asked if the goals were defensive mistakes or JT. IMO JT played a great game. He should have kept control of the initial shot on goal 3 that trickled through and then slammed in, but besides that I though he played great. A couple of goals were so well placed they hits posts before going in, sniper shots. The last one was pure f'in luck, one King passed to another and JT went where he should have and the darn thing bounced back to the passer who slammed it home. JT stopped about 3 breakaways. I was hard on JT from Oct-Dec, IMO he's been very solid since the New Year.

Our D got burned. JB and CL talked about how it looked like the Kings studied game film. I don't know, maybe they did. I just think the Caps played lazily in the 1st 2 periods. Too little too late, but the 3rd period looked like men against boys. If not for Quick the Caps would have probably scored 7 or 8. I know Varlamov is hurt right now, but I am not sure why our team is so apprehensive to have him play a vital role this season since it seems he's up to the task. Many other teams are using their young goaltenders now. (Quick, Mason, Price, Hallack(sp, other mont goalie). If the kid can play at the NHL they should let them go for it.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 6, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse


I can be honest about the play of the time or any individual. I've been critical about many of players, the difference is I'm not ready to put these players in front of a firing squad, or blow up the team, or lambaste, browbeat, chastise, flog, bullywhip, drub, pummel, hammer, belabor, clobber, dress down, assail or castigate the players afterwards.

Posted by: JSchon | February 6, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Wow, hope Johnson gets better soon! I am curious to see what GMGM will do with the goalie situation?!? I hope Theodore can pull this off, and if not we really need good back-up goaltending to get us through the playoffs! I would like to see Varly come back, well when his knee heals!

Posted by: NatyBG | February 6, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I've been really impressed by Varlamov's play in goal. Any feelings or stats on his actions? I know he doesn't have much NHL experience... but he sure held up well in the games he played earlier in this season...

Posted by: random19 | February 6, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Lets go with the young option baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: CapsFanSince1979 | February 6, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

In the last few games two players have been particularly woeful -- Dave Steckel and Sean Morrison. Stecks will get his head out of this funk soon, I wager. But Morrison has really plummeted from his play last year. I count two goals he scored on his own goalie, including that nightmare against Boston in OT. His delay of game last night was inexcusable. It seems to me that the Caps can ship 2 out of 3 defenders for a veteran blueliner: Morrison, Schultz, and Erksine. Call up Alzner already!

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 6, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov should probably stay in the minors and get the regular playing time in order to move to the NHL full-time in 2009-2010, but as with Jesus Flores with the Nationals, he may just prove to be too solid to keep off the parent roster when compared to the in-house or trade alternatives.

I would love to see the Caps bring in Niklas Backstrom in goal. With Backstrom in goal I think the Caps make the Cup Finals this season.

But the cost and hit on the cap would be large.

I imagine it would cost Alexander Semin to get the soon to be free agent Backstrom, who is just entering the prime of his career.

Then if you resign him what do you do with Theodore? Do you keep a backup at $5M per season this year and next? Given his inconsistent play overall, who would take the salary?

I only mention Semin because he is a pending restricted free agent and the Caps may not be able to resign him, given that Nicklas Backstrom will also need a new deal in the next 12 months.

If it comes down to it, I think you have to put Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom, Alzner and Varlamov on the 'don't touch' list, but Semin, Jeff Schultz and some others may not be able to be kept under the cap.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 6, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse


Frankly I don't think GMGM would trade Semin. Not only he is the second best scorer on the team, he's a game changer. I'd easily put him above Backstrom. Moreover, Semin and Ovi are the best buddies and Ovi's word is not the last in this team.

Posted by: fnralch | February 6, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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