Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Kings 2, Caps 1

The Caps received encouraging news after the game when Coach Bruce Boudreau revealed that the reason Nicklas Backstrom missed almost all of the final two periods was a migraine headache and not something more serious.

That, however, was the end of the good news for the Caps, who have suffered three straight regulation losses for the first time since March with Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Staples Center.

The power play came up empty on a lengthy 5 on 3 for the fourth straight game. The power play also surrendered the winner shorthanded. And, once again, the Caps were badly outplayed in the first period, despite Boudreau administering back-to-back punishment practices.

Check out my gamer here, then come on back for some notes and quotes that didn't make it:

*Although Mike Green blamed the loss on the power play failure to convert the 53-second five on three late in the third period, Brooks Laich pointed to three other turning points:

1) The Caps' weak first period effort. They've been out scored 6-0 in their past three first periods and out-shot 35-11. "To come out like that is unacceptable," Laich said.

2) Surrendering the shortie to Michal Handzus in the third period. "That's the difference in the game," he said.

3) His misfire from point blank range late in the third period. Jonathan Quick had lost his stick, but the Los Angeles goalie still managed to get his left pad on Laich's shot. "I had a chance myself to tie the game with a wide open net and I missed," he said.

*Alex Ovechkin liked how the Caps bounced back from a miserable first period. What he didn't like was how the Kings still managed to take control of the game anyway.

"We didn't use our chances in the second period," he said. "They had once chance and it was a shorthanded goal."

*Ovechkin, who skated a game high 26:47 and averaged 1:20 per shift, finished without a point for the seventh time this season. The Caps are 1-5-1 in those games (he missed almost all of the 5-4 OT loss to Columbus, though).

*The other Alex wasn't any more productive. Alexander Semin took six shots, but came up without a point. Semin has one goal in his last nine games and has not recorded a point in three straight.

*Some of the Alexes' troubles could have had something to do with Nicklas Backstrom's absence for most of the game.

"For Ovie and their line, it's completely different without Backie," Mike Green said. "Ovie needs Backie and Backie needs Ovie. They feed off each other. Nicky is so good at not only controlling the puck but the game. He can slow it down and create stuff. Tonight we missed him."

*Handzus's shortie was the fourth allowed by the Caps this season. Only four teams have allowed more.

"It looked way too easy," Boudreau said. "It looked like Alex let up on the hit. It looked like everyone else thought there was a whistle or gave up on that pay. But that should never happen."

Green said: "We have to be smarter than that."

*In his second game as a Capital, Jason Chimera recorded two shots on goal in 10:40 of ice time. He also made a nice pass in the final moments that almost set up Green. After the game, though, Boudreau said he wants to see more rugged play from the rugged left winger.

"I think he's going to be fine," Boudreau said. "But we can get more out of him. I think he's playing a little too tentative right now. We need him to play with a little more recklessness. When he does that, he'll fit in well."

*The Caps are now 0-4-2 in their last six trips to the Pacific time zone, including regulation losses in Vancouver, San Jose and Los Angeles this season.

"It's a lot harder to go to the Western time zone and get acclimated than to go the other way," Boudreau said. "I don't think a lot of [Eastern Conference] teams have had a lot of success on the Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles trip. ...It's a tough trip."

That's it from me tonight. The Caps are off tomorrow.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 2, 2010; 10:20 PM ET
 | Tags: Los Angeles Kings  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau: Backstrom suffering from migraine
Next: Morning roundup: Done with the west coast

Comments

It seems like the Caps players have a good handle on what is wrong. Maybe they can fix it before too long.

Posted by: uncatim | January 2, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Caps played well and controlled much of the game. Quick was great. And Ovi REALLY let up on the hit that led to the Sh goal. Also, the Caps scored a 2nd goal but was disallowed due to quick whistle that should not have blown. Bad luck never helps.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 2, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Glad we are back East finally. Time to take some aggression out on Montreal on Tuesday.

Posted by: cbs75 | January 2, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps had sent down Varlamov 4 days ago to Hershey to regain is game shape but since then he has not played even if the Bears played both times. What's happening?

Posted by: jean_marleau | January 2, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Tim Leone of The Patriot News said that Varlamov was to play one of the home games this weekend. Holtby got the call tonight so I guess Varly will be between thepipes Sun. night vs. adirondack.

Posted by: uncatim | January 2, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Holtby played in back to backs for Hershey. I had assumed they would have used Varly tonight so as not to burn out Holtby. There still is one more game for Hershey.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Next question. Who will be the healthy scratch at forward against Montreal? I assume Fehr will be back.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

As I said earlier tonight the Caps have a long, uphill climb to be an elite team. You see how Jersey steamrolled the Wild in Minnesota tonight after one flat effort in Chicago. And, speaking of Chicago, they are the team to beat this year, despite Huet in net. They are young, physical, talented, play a team game and best of all are hungry. Huet will make it just fine; the Hawks defense allows so few shots to begin with. San Jose is all grit and toughness with a sensational first line, depth and solid d and goaltending. Jersey will be there too as will Detroit when they get their injured players back.

I hope the Caps get their game back. They need to shake out of their lethargy. Enough about rugged practices. Let's produce on the ice and do it every game - win or lose. Also, BB, stop shaking up the lines every two games. Finally, no more trades which destroy momentum and chemistry.

Posted by: analyzerman | January 2, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@analyzerman

So what are your playoff predictions this year? Just lay it out for all of us.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

One final thought: they did not get too cute with the puck. Shots may have not gone in but they did take the shot.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 2, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

So who will be the new Caps captain? Who gets to lead our "rudderless" team or am I being too hard?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The Caps will make it to the second round this year. No further. They won't beat NJ or Pittsburgh if they face either of them in the conference semis. I'm not saying they are not a top 8 team overall, they are. Elites are top four material in the league in my view; maybe we will get there by the end of the year.

This team can and must play much, much better. It's frustrating watching stupid play game in and game out at the moment.

In the West, Chicago and San Jose and probably Detroit are your top tier teams.

What do you think CapsFan75? Are my views too harsh or shortsighted?

Posted by: analyzerman | January 2, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

My own prediction for the team who will be in the SC finals are: New Jersey against Chicago.

And to think Chicago was bad not long ago. What did Chicago do right that we didn't.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@analyzerman

The Caps' track record against Pittsburgh and NJ is certainly less than stellar.

Do you think they could beat Buffalo in the playoffs this year?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

It's getting the right players to believe in a system that works. Throw in some youth, talent, desire and especially toughness, and good cap management and quality personnel decisions and you have the recipe for success.

The Caps lack enough two-way players, and when everything else fails, that special team oriented play and toughness to get to that next level at the moment.

When I watched Chicago play home against San Jose about 10 days ago I saw hockey played at a different level. Fast, precise, agressive, give up the body, with crisp passing and positional play.

That will get you there.

Posted by: analyzerman | January 2, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

@analyzerman

i think it is too early to make predictions. i think several trades will be made by the caps before the season is over. They were one OT win away from being in the cup finals last year. Add a d plus another forward

Posted by: samb99 | January 2, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

@analyzerman

Chicago really turned it around. Although we did get concerned about their cap management at one point in the pre-season when they had a mixup on sending contracts.

Do you think the Caps need a new system or a new coach?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

@samb99

Except that which D and which forward would you like to acquire? And who would you give up to acquire that D and that forward?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

As much as everyone complains that the New Jersey Devils play boring hockey, it seems they have the right idea. They're successful most of the time. They continue being successful even despite not getting good positions in the draft.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

What did Chicago do right that we didn't?

Sign Huet? JK

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 2, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

Except he wanted a longer term and more money than the Caps were willing to give. And with our goalie prospects in the system, I could see why.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75

Edmonton and Anaheim would be good candidates to look at for D. Most trades will happen in late Jan/early feb before olympics.

Posted by: samb99 | January 3, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Uh - JK = just kidding okay?

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

@samb99

Do you have a good trade to propose to either Anaheim or Edmonton?

(I'm not sure all the trades would happen in January.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

As much as everyone complains that the New Jersey Devils play boring hockey, it seems they have the right idea. They're successful most of the time. They continue being successful even despite not getting good positions in the draft.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:53 PM

Firstly, Lou Lamoriello has an uncanny ability to identify talent - especially under-hyped talent. He has, over 20+ years developed a system that many have called boring, but continues to win every year, despite the departure of "big" stars like Gomez, Gionta, Niedermayer, Rafalski, etc. He plugs the holes with talent he identifies to fit the system. Look at the rookie Bergfors this year - he is 2nd in rookie scoring after Tavares. He was not a high draft choice and they kept him in the minors for enough years to make sure he was ready when he hit the NHL.

Finally - they have a goalie who is world class and can, on occasion, steal a game for them. None of our goalies can or has stolen a game this year...and Theo has certainly given a few away.

With respect to Chicago, I was at their home games against Detroit and Boston a few weeks ago - they also play their system incredibly well and are very stingy in shots allowed - hence their goalies have very good records and a large number of shutouts.

I think the Caps have gotten away from the play which made them successful earlier this year - I don't think it's the trade itself but for those of us who are superstitious it seems like the hockey gods are not happy.....Also - I think there's something missing from Ovie's game since he came back from the suspension. Almost like he's afraid to hit too hard - not because he might get injured for the Olympics as was speculated, but because he doesn't want to get suspended again.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Although hockey, off topic. Just gone done watching both WJC games. Why, oh why, do Canadians (Russia vs Switzerland was a TSN broadcast)want to keep using nice hockey wins to the Miracle in 1980? Team Switzerland's win over Team Russia is cool, but come on. Pierre McGuire tried to use the "Do you believe in Miracles?" scenario when Switzerland almost won the game with 1 minute left in OT. I guess people just do not understand how much of an upset the US team in 1980 beating Russia was.

To put things in perspective, it would be like an All-Star team made up of Americans at Division I schools now going to Vancouver next month and beating Team Russia with Ovi, Kovi, and the rest of the gang.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 3, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

Must confess I wasn't sure what you meant by JK but not surprised. I thought the suggestion seemed somewhat sarcastic.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I like BB. I just wish his charges would listen to what he preaches a little better. The players need to have a heart to heart among themselves very soon and realize that their level of effort must be consistent, and more hard-nosed. Enough perfect passes all the time. Put it on net, create some havoc/traffic and learn how to pressure the other team into mistakes. Forechecking really frustrates most teams.

I think their system can utilize the talent pool we have better. Pick four lines and let them play together for four/five games.

Posted by: analyzerman | January 3, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

DevilsCapsGal: Lou's success has been enjoyed while having Martin Brodeur in net. I have personally watched Brodeur steal games that the Devils had no business winning. Many have left, but the common denominator is Marty. Let's see how much of a wiz Lou looks like after they play a season or two after Marty retires.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 3, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I was at the game and there were PLENTY of Caps fans. Too bad we didn't get the desired result.

Posted by: CapsChick | January 3, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

Lamoriello is amazing. (Too bad the Caps didn't ever hire him.)

I remember reading that when Parise was drafted by the Devils (later than expected), his dad said at least he was drafted by a winning team.

While Brodeur is great, I don't know how many more years he'll be around.

Not surprised that Ovi is afraid to hit. It seems that they (the officials) were out to get Ovi for anything just prior to the suspension.

Semin's game has been off also. Wonder if he's hurt or afraid of getting traded (like Clark). And none of our other forwards are doing anything either. They all seem to be good at once or bad at once.

Yes, the hockey gods are angry with the Caps. (Was my supply of good luck for teams already used up for baseball and swim team?) Or did the Clark trade

Well, at least you can enjoy your #2 team this year. And I hope they can take care of Pittsburgh in the playoffs this year (provided someone else doesn't take care of the Pens first.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

RichmondPhil - you must not believe a word GMGM said. He plainly stated the reason this deal was done was to fill a hole at the LW position. The question was directly asked to him was it to clear more space and he said emphatically no that there's already enough space to do whatever we want. Regardless of whether it is/was a good trade it was NOT because of cap space.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 2, 2010 7:40 PM |


Lol...right. Everyone, including GMGM knows this move was for cap space. He said it very dryly, did you even listen to the transcript?

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Must confess I wasn't sure what you meant by JK but not surprised. I thought the suggestion seemed somewhat sarcastic.

no problem - it was just the first thing that I thought of that the hawks did that the caps didn't and it struck me as funny.

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Yes, you have the right perspective on the "Miracle on Ice". Essentially, our Division I college All Star team (and a few junior hockey players thrown in) against Ovi, Kovy, Semin, Malkin, and company.

I ended up using that analogy when my daughter's summer swim team upset the best team in our league this summer. That team hadn't lost since 2004 (no joke) and seemed to get better every year. In 2008, they had clobbered every team in the league by over 100 points. Looking like the Soviets against any other Iron Curtain country. To add to the analogy, they have had more Russians on their team than anyone else, with one of their star swimmers being appointed as Head Coach for 2009. So it was the "Miracle on Melted Ice" for our team.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 and CapsFan75:

I think the Devils realize that Marty is on the back end of his career so that adds a sense of urgency to their desire to get back to the Cup finals again. But even at 37 he is able to steal a game for them, as he did tonight against the Wild. By their own accounts the Devils played badly, gave up the puck (including a shortie) but still were able to win. The Caps haven't had a goalie who could steal a game for them since Olie's great days.

I guess we can all try to analyze what has gone wrong with this team over the past week - or we can assume it is a slump that all teams go through during the season and hope that they'll get it right on Tuesday at Verizon against the Habs. I'll be there hoping to see a victory!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

The alarmist hysteria is out of hand here. We will win again before the franchise folds. I swear we will.

Look at the standings again and take a warm bath. The Caps are a great team and the season is 82 games long.

Posted by: large23220 | January 3, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Lou is in the HHOF. To try to ride off his contributions to making the Devils what they are makes me chuckle. The fact that his mantle somehow rests on a goalie HE drafted also makes me chuckle.

They formed after the Caps and have how many more Cups?

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 & DevilsCapsGirl

The Devils did well last year when Brodeur was out for most of the year and Clemmenson was in goal. (But Clemmenson hasn't done so hot with Florida this year.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

To all who were wondering earlier about Varly in Hershey:

Coach French stated after tonight's game that Varly is feeling fine and the plan is for him to take morning skate tomorrow and if all goes well he will start tomorrow night. Saw Varly and a girl (girlfriend?) sitting in the stands tonight. Holtby had another excellent game tonight.

Posted by: tess2201 | January 3, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Actually, the team started off as the same time as the Caps. They were the Kansas City Scouts. And then moved to Colorado and became the Rockies. And finally to NJ.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

This is an odd game where I feel that the refs both sucked the life out of the game, and made it a game. The times of 5 on 5 were painful to watch because of how little uninterrupted time there was, but being on the penalty for most of the game was also interesting.

But the Refs sure were protective of Quick. The final moments where Laich(or Knuble I believe) corralled a loose puck and put it in BUT the play was whistled immediately after Quick made a stop, and coughed up a rebound. Replay of the incident shows he did NOT have control of the puck, and instant whistling in this case was bad bad reffing.

In general however the refs were much quicker to call the play dead on Quick than they were Neuvy. This may be because the Caps were actually pressuring a goale for once, but still its not good.

Posted by: breaklance | January 3, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

@large23220

I know the Caps will certainly win another game before the franchise folds. They'll certainly win the South Least division, given the total incompetence of the rest of the teams there. So, at worst, they are the third seed in the playoffs. They will probably be 2nd or 3rd in winning percentage for the Conference before the year's out and will get 100-110 points.

It's too hard to predict how they'll do in the playoffs. I've seen too many bad breaks for the Caps over the years and tend to fear the worst. I hope they can get a Cup while they have Ovi, Backstrom, Semin, and company.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

@tess2201

So Varly has a new girlfriend.

I heard that he and his girlfriend of last year, Dasha, who they had written the news story about, had broken up a week after the story was published.

Odd thing. Last year, I was reading a story on a fan fiction site about Varley having a romance with a girl named Dasha. (This was before I heard about his real Dasha but of all the names to choose.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Actually the Kansas City Scouts-Colorado Rockies-New Jersey Devils were part of the 1974 expansion just like the Caps. Every Cup has been won since Brodeur has been their starter. To say that Marty IS NOT the reason they have been successful, thus making Lou successful, is laughable. He is in the HHOF because Brodeur is a beast.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 3, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the team started off as the same time as the Caps. They were the Kansas City Scouts. And then moved to Colorado and became the Rockies. And finally to NJ.

...and they were simply awful from 1982, when the moved to NJ, to 1987 when Lou came on. Regarding the draft of Brodeur, remember Lou traded 'down' to get him - the first goalie taken in that draft was Trevor Kidd, at no. 11, by Calgary. Brodeur was the 20th pick but had been scouted by the Devils and was the goalie Lou wanted. Where's Trevor Kidd now?

The year after Lou came, they went to the playoffs for the first time. Since then they have made the playoffs 18 of the past 20 years and have 3 cups and a fourth appearance in the Cup finals where they lost to Colorado. It's not just the goalie, it's the team.

I like GMGM and I think he's built a good team here but I don't think there's another GM like Lou anywhere in the NHL. I am just sooo ready for the Caps to make it all the way this year and although I know it's a long season I get so upset with every loss, especially like the last 3 where it never seems like we're really organized or putting it all into the game for 60 minutes!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

That's what I remember. The two teams started at the same time.

Brodeur's been a beast.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

I get so upset about it too. Early in the year, we lost so many games where we had the lead. And now we're totally shooting blanks.

I've followed them for so many frustrating years. They've had years of great defense but so-so offense. And when we had offense and defense, we had so-so goaltending. And when we had goal tending, we still couldn't go far in the playoffs.

And even Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, and other teams who started after us have won Stanley Cups.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

ummm - I was in Denver at the time that a joisey "trucking magnate" bought the colorado rockies and vowed to NEVER move them which he did and they became the devils

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

And with all their success in NJ, the Devils still have trouble drawing fans.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

I get so upset about it too. Early in the year, we lost so many games where we had the lead. And now we're totally shooting blanks.

I've followed them for so many frustrating years. They've had years of great defense but so-so offense. And when we had offense and defense, we had so-so goaltending. And when we had goal tending, we still couldn't go far in the playoffs.

And even Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, and other teams who started after us have won Stanley Cups.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:52 AM

That's EXACTLY what upsets me. I've been a fan since the late 80's and it never seems that we can put it all together. So the pessimist in me gets so dejected when we lose as we have recently and it just destroys any hope I have that we can take it to the next level, win in the playoffs and get to the Cup finals. Still can't figure out how we did it in '98....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

And then we lost 4 straight in the SC finals.

A "former" co-worker wonders if we had blown our golden opportunity to make the Cup finals when we lost the OT game for Game 3 against Pittsburgh.

That's why the pessimist in me gets so dejected also. I hate to see Ovechkin be the Ernie Banks of hockey, the one superstar who never gets to be on a Stanley Cup team.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

We had apparently made the finals in 1998 since the favorites somehow got upset in the playoffs, clearing the field for us.

But what have the Caps done to p*** off the Hockey gods?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

And with all their success in NJ, the Devils still have trouble drawing fans.

that's too bad - because I would go to games if I lived there. the colorado folks couldn't save the franchise there even when they brought in don cherry as the coach - he was a fan favorite - but didn't fill the seats.

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

I'd go to games also if I lived in New Jersey.

I actually once asked my husband what team he'd root for, if we were ever transferred to the New York area. His answer: the New Jersey Devils. (In our household, we dislike the Rangers and Islanders)

He claims he wouldn't abandon the Caps. Except he probably would. (He had been an Atlanta Braves fan for years and years, through many bad years and their glory years. As soon as the Nats came into being, that was the end of him as a Braves fan.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

And I hear the Avalanche are not doing that well in the box office, either, even though they're doing well in the standings.

I guess they're more preoccupied with the Broncos in football and the Nuggets in basketball.

Since Colorado is a cold weather area, I thought hockey would catch on but I guess it hasn't.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

As for 'what did Chicago do right?'....

Chicago's top 3 on defense: Keith, Seabrook and Campbell.

The Caps? Green, Poti and well.... I don't know who you'd even pick... Schultz? ShaMo? In any event, Poti as your #2 D-man doesn't measure up at all. Plus, the Hawks also have Barker, Sopel and Hjarmalsson, who are better than any of the Caps 2nd and 3rd pairing guys.

Posted by: chombie13 | January 3, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

And with all their success in NJ, the Devils still have trouble drawing fans.

That's so true - I've been to so many games at the Prudential Center that looked like Verizon in the bad old days. A large part of the problem is that the Devils are the "new guys" - northern Jersey roots for the Rangers and has for generations, and southern Jerseyites are Flyers fans. It will probably take another generation growing up with a winning Devils team to start putting more fans in the seats. Also when they moved to Newark there was some concern - just like when the Caps moved to Verizon - about being in the city, crime, etc. That seems to be resolving itself and fans like the new arena and the ease of access via public transportation. It's a beautiful arena, built specifically for hockey with great sightlines, lots of hockey memorabilia including jerseys of the NJ youth hockey teams, in the concourse and great food!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I agree with you about the lack of avalanch box office success recently. hockey seems like a natural for that cold sport oriented environment. oh well - maybe they have done something to pi$$ off the hockey gods as well LOL

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Can we turn back the hands of time? Go back to 1990 when it's the NHL draft.

Talk the Caps into choosing Martin Brodeur instead of John Slaney, a defenseman. (Jagr had gone to Pittsburgh earlier in that draft and Petr Nedved had gone to Vancouver earlier, as well.)

How would things have been different?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

But at least the Avalanche have won Stanley Cups. Which is something we've never done.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

How long have you lived in NJ? Did you grow up in Washington? Or is the other way around?

If you live in NJ, I know it will be harder to continue to follow a less successful team further away (like the Caps) when there's a better team in your own back yard (NJ).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

@chombie13

You're probably a Chicago fan. But would you recommend the Caps draft more defensemen.

We hope Carlson will be ready soon. And Alzner develops.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

started with stan mikita and the hawks in the 60s. moved to conn and followed the bruins and rangers (espo and brad park) - even went to some whaler games in the 70s. then colorado (80s) and after the caps (90s). so now I am a fan of the club with the most exciting player the nhl has ever known - OVIE!

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

How long have you lived in NJ? Did you grow up in Washington? Or is the other way around?

If you live in NJ, I know it will be harder to continue to follow a less successful team further away (like the Caps) when there's a better team in your own back yard (NJ).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:24 AM

Actually I don't live in NJ nor have I ever. I'm a Virginian and a long time Caps STH but I have family members who work for the Devils so I am familiar with the team and go to games whenever I'm in NJ to visit.

Over the years when the Caps were really bad and didn't make the playoffs it was great to have the Devils to cheer for and follow. Now that the Caps are good, the Devils are my "second favorite" team. It would have been interesting last season if the Devils had beaten Carolina in the first round of the playoffs and then had to face the Caps...who knows how that would have turned out?????

@CapsFan75: If the Caps had drafted Brodeur in 1990 do you think they would have built a consistently winning team like Lou did? If they didn't do you think Brodeur would have taken a "hometown" discount to stay with the team as he did in NJ? I have my doubts about both those questions, especially since we're taking about the Pollin ownership years, when the Caps were not his main concern....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

And I hope the Caps can win a Stanley Cup with Ovi in their fold.

You've followed the game longer than I.

My original favorite team was the St. Louis Blues (when they started up in the late 60's since I used to live near St. Louis but I had already left the St. Louis area at that time. There was no Washington team then, so St Louis it was.) When the Caps started (actually the year after they started), I started following them.

Of course, the Blues are another team who never could win the big one. They'd make the playoffs but never win the SC. Am I just a jinx to any hockey team I follow?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

Very good question on whether they would have signed Brodeur to a home team discount.

Scott Stevens used to be a Cap but left the team after the limousine incident, signed with the Blues and ended up with NJ where he was on several Cup winners.

If I remember correctly, some other ex-Caps ended up with NJ, as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

So what position do your relatives have in the Devils' organization? Or would that be saying too much?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

nah - you're not a jinx - the caps are just having a tough stretch of games. I think they will get it back on track when they get back home and then carry it on to the next road trip - at least I hope so. ;^)

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

In an attempt to change the team's luck, I have changed my avatar on Japers to a different player. My former avatar is everyone favorite scapegoat of this year (by fans and bloggers alike) to the fairly good but slumping player that Bruce has benched.

Yes, I'm a sucker for hard luck cases.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:54 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

So what position do your relatives have in the Devils' organization? Or would that be saying too much?

Posted by: CapsFan75

Nothing major - but it's a great organization that is very good to its employees.

Yes, a bigger question would be what would have happened if the Caps hadn't traded Stevens to the Blues as a result of that "limousine" incident.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

I can't help but feel like a jinx when their lack of playoff success has been going on for 30+ years. And the only other hockey team I've ever followed (The Blues) has not done any better.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Fehr fan myself

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

okay - hang in there - 30+ years isn't so long in the overall scheme of things ;^)

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

Join the club. I'm a Fehr fan also. Fehr is now my avatar on Japers.

He and Flash are probably my favorites after Semin and Ovi.

My recommendation -- Put Fehr back on the second line, as RW, with Flash and BMo

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:20 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

30 years may not be a long time in the grand scheme of things but it's a long time in the life of a fan who's getting older and may not be around for another 30 years.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

So who should be the healthy scratch at forward for Tuesday's game?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I vote gordon as the scratch

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

Another suggestion. Since our PP units have such a terrible track record for giving up shorties, we'll need to revamp them for more defense.

First off: stop letting Ovi and Green have these uber long shifts at point.

Second off: no more putting "extra" forwards on the PP line. Our first unit should be our top line and two defensemen, say Green and his partner. Our second unit should be our second line and two defensemen. And sometimes we'll use our third line as the PP unit. The four forward and one defenseman unit is clearly not working and is too risky for our guys.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:31 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1

Me, too. But I fear that BB might bench one of our formerly high scoring forwards who's mired in a slump at the moment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

i like your scheme for the PP too. I really haven't seen Ovie on the point as being successful. I think BMo running the PP works well.

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

Actually Stevens signed with the Blues as a Restricted Free Agent and the Caps would not match the offer. (It was after the limousine incident.)

And then he ended with the NJ (I think in a trade but I don't remember).

How would things have been different if Stevens hadn't left us?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

I think that if stevens stays, the caps have a great chance to beat detroit for the cup

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:45 AM | Report abuse

How's attendance at the Staples Center in LA. Maybe next year the Kings should have the next game vs the Caps be a "Guaranteed Win Night" or free tickets to a future home game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

The pattern I'm seeing the last 3 games is that other teams are hemming us into our own zone with aggressive forechecking and cycling, draining our energy and grabbing the momentum. Even if it doesn't end up in a goal, those extended puck possessions just suck the life out of the entire team, and we spend like 5-10 minutes trying to regain our footing.

It's happening because players are losing battle in the corners and/or making poor clearances. I think they're trying, but I don't believe the ability is there to be honest. When the other team starts forechecking hard and isn't playing scared because of our firepower, the backline gets exposed far too often.

We have some decent checking forwards, Laing, Steckel, Gordon, Bradley, Backstrom, but the back 6 is just not Stanley Cup caliber. I'm not even sure it's ECF caliber.

I love Mike Green but he's really not very good in the defensive zone. He does some things well, like using his skill to make difficult clears or outlet passes, and sometimes he'll lay the wood on somebody, but overall he's average at best and sometimes far worse. My biggest gripe with him is that he lacks urgency, you almost never see him skate real hard going into 50-50 challenges along the boards. I don't think he's lazy, I have a suspicion that he's pacing himself due to heavy minutes, and considers his role to be more offensive than defensive. I've also noticed that a lot of his worst mistakes seem to come late in games where he's played 25-30 minutes and is gassed.

Hopefully the acquisition of a top defender at the deadline will take some of the burden off Green. He'll be more effective if he can cut back to 20-25 minutes a night.

Schultz is solid and underrated but not consistently excellent, not yet. Poti and Morrison can be good but are up and down. Alzner's not there yet. Erskine can be ok, or a disaster, all too often the latter.

Overall, our defense does not have an impact player when it comes to simply defending. We need a top defender who makes zero positional mistakes, gets the puck out when he should every single time, and displays a real sense of urgency, tenacity, and ABILITY along the wall and in front of the crease inside his own blue line.

If we can acquire that player, even if it's just a half season rental, it'll be a big step in the right direction. All the other pieces are there for an extended playoff run.

But, we need Varlamov back, and at his pre-injury form. He's by far our best goalie at this point. I thought he stole at least one or two games for us this year before he got hurt. His save% was on par with other top minders and our system is not kind to goalies. To my mind he can be up there with Fleury and Miller etc, if he can just stay healthy.

Posted by: uranderson | January 3, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

@uranderson
I don't disagree with your assessment of a need for a solid defenseman. Do you have a candidate on a team that might be willing to deal. I ask only because I can't come up with one.

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 3, 2010 2:59 AM | Report abuse

@breaklance: I agree with your assessment of last night's game with regard to the refs. They were awful. The two quick whistles for the goalie were ridiculous and Ovie's goal should have counted. They also missed a high sticking penalty from a Kings player that smacked Ovie in the mouth. Too bad Ovie couldn't spit out some blood---looked like he was trying to do that, though!

Even though the Caps lost, they played much better than the previous two games. I would like to see Fehr back in the lineup and a captain named as soon as the Caps get back into town.

Please, fans, enough doom and gloom and playoff/SC predictions. It's still wide open. Sure, we love the Caps and have been disappointed and gotten our hearts broken, but enough already with the boo-hooing.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday's game:
Hate to say it but Neuvy was not good. I think his inexperience showed. He got completely undressed on that shorthanded goal by Handzus. Way out of position. But Handzus shouldn't have gotten the puck in the first place. Green got lazy and allowed that pass to get through.

The refs were horrible with the whistle. There were at least four times where they blew the whistle while the puck was still loose. Quick was definitely helped by that. It's irritating watching our guys battle for the loose puck and the refs blow the whistle too early.

The offense has been painful to watch the last two games. It seems they're having a hard time controlling the puck in the offensive zone and just look sluggish overall. The passing is very off. The secondary scoring is non existant right now. Not gonna get too worried about how the team is playing currently. Can't win all of them and every team goes through a slump. Pittsburgh is going through one too.

I love Neuvirth but really can't wait for Varly to come back.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 3, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm as critical as anyone when it comes to defense but they didn't lose yesterday because of their defense - they lost because their offense went south.

Terry Murray has always been a good defensive coach and his team was able to shut the Caps down yesterday but it was just one game - very few teams will be able to do that against this team in a seven game series.

we've seen it work against the Caps many times before in the playoffs when facing high-powered offense teams, first the Isles and later the Pens - you might be able to shut'em down for a game or two but it's almost impossible to do that throughout the series.

I'm not worried about the offense, every team will have a slump during the season. how far this team goes in the playoffs will depend on defense and goaltending.

Posted by: joek443 | January 3, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I must say I think this loss falls to Bruce.It frustrates me to see Ovie in front of the net on a 5-3 he belongs on his wing where he can unleash one-timers all day parking him in front of the net is a huuuuge waste.That is reason number 1 we didn't convert on a long 5-3.It blows my mind to see him used the way he was on that chance.

Posted by: avischecter | January 3, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I must say I think this loss falls to Bruce.It frustrates me to see Ovie in front of the net on a 5-3 he belongs on his wing where he can unleash one-timers all day parking him in front of the net is a huuuuge waste.That is reason number 1 we didn't convert on a long 5-3.It blows my mind to see him used the way he was on that chance.

Posted by: avischecter | January 3, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1

Ovi is certainly not getting breaks from the officials at all. Not just this game but others as well. I saw an obvious trip that the officials didn't call.

(So the other team can now attack Ovi with impunity.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree. It was the offense that went South yesterday, not the defense.

Boudreau decided he needed a more gritty group of grinders and decided to healthy scratch Fehr. It backfired.

So which forward will be the healthy scratch on Tuesday?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I don't think Neuvy was that bad. At his present level of development, he can backstop a team with adequate offense. But he can't steal games for us. And he's a disaster on penalty shots. I don't know if it's the mental aspect of what. (I'm sure penalty shot defense can be taught.)

Unfortunately, the Caps need a goalie who can steal games.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75: Yes, I have noticed that about Ovie not getting breaks, or even fair calls, from the refs. He's the new "bad boy"---but that is just because of envy. I think he has toned down his play and his hitting as well.

I'd like to see Fehr back on the line. I couldn't really assess Gordon, but maybe he could be the healthy scratch? I liked your suggestions (CapsFan75) about the power play---made a lot of sense.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | January 3, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1

Thanks for you support. Overall, I get a lot more support here than I do at Japers'. Arguing with the folks there is like arguing with my younger sister -- I could never win.

The refs even miss the obvious calls on people who do stuff to Ovi. Teams can essentially do what they want to Ovi with impunity. It won't cost them. And even if a penalty is called, it's merely a short handed scoring opportunity.

I'd like to see Fehr back. I wonder if other teams are watching and would want to acquire Eric Fehr (and try to get him for cheap).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm as critical as anyone when it comes to defense but they didn't lose yesterday because of their defense - they lost because their offense went south.

___

I agree, I thought except for a few instances last night, the (team) defense was pretty good. I think that is how the often work their ways out of mini-slumps...its usually the defense that slumps first or more glaringly. They try to right the defense first, and then the offense drops off...then things start to click again for the Caps, and for a little run the Caps have stronger all around games...Whatever is going on, its just a little slump, nothing to get worried about...hopefully they get back to basics, gain more focus and go on a little run to gain more ground on our division. I am just happy that GMGM put this team in great tradeline position this year! I feel that the Caps may just be able to get that impact D or even C that many are calling for.

As for the quick whistles last night, yeah, they suck...and sometimes they work against you, but over a long season those types of things even themelves out...Hopefully, what the Caps get from that is that, without the quick whistle, that sort of good hustle in front of the net would most definitely have tied the game up. I hope that is just the sort of positive/silver lining they can take with them into the next game. I find that working a way out of the slump, teams alwasy need to build little by little...

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Also, I was thinking that perhaps BB needs to loosen things up in practice. Obviously they had two grueling practices in LA before yesterday's game...and sure the results were not all rosy. They played a better game yesterday than the previous two games, the defense looked better for the most part....but it felt like everyone was tense/tentative. The Caps play better when they are more relaxed and having fun...

I went to watch a practice the day before the Caps played buffalo (so on the 22nd), and one thing I noticed was how relaxed the players looked out there...most were joking around, just having a good time..and then of course they went on that week to play some of their better games this season (against Sabres and against Devils)...the letdown occurs, they go out west where the slump continues, they have grueling practices...well, perhaps the next step is to lighten things up in practice...I remember last year around this time I think (or maybe later in January), BB decided to do something fun where he let the goalies choose teams and played a game...Perhaps, now is a good time to pull that sort of thing from his coaching repertoire....just a (loooong) thought.

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps

So will our goalie team Captains be Varly and Neuvy? Except Varly's not back yet.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the team started off as the same time as the Caps. They were the Kansas City Scouts. And then moved to Colorado and became the Rockies. And finally to NJ.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:34 AM |

Yeah, I know. I was talking about their NJ carnation in 81-82.

Lou is the backbone behind the Devils being good. I don't want to see his contributions shorted.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan...

Well, obviously that was just one example of something BB has employed in the past...he could figure something else out of course...in a perfect world it may as well be team Varly vs. team Nuevy....but, I guess he would have to go with the goaltenders available.

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Compare Poti and Schultz. Yes, Schultz has been playing with Green but when u compare salaries...
I still say for he is being paid, Poti has to go and Erks might as well go with him. We need 2 D - someone who can help Green - like Nieds or Kaberle - and a big strong D who can fight.

Posted by: jgrasse | January 3, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I hate Poti so much.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I hate Poti so much.

Posted by: richmondphil

Like the guy, seems very nice...but he is definitely not providing the impact that his price would suggest...

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps:

Do you know who played together? And which team won?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 3, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@FCKoeln--

I think it was Johnson vs. Theo as captains...one went for skill and the other went for grit...was a pretty funny matchup if I recall....I do not remember who won, but I do remember Tarik posting about it, perhaps I can search for it in the archives...? I'll try...

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Theo's team won that game. Johnson had first pick and he picked like..Bradley or Brashear or something. Too funny.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know how many games its been since Semin scored a goal?

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | January 3, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps

I think Ovi and Semin were on the losing team in that pickup hockey game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Not trying to short Lou L's contribution to the Devils.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@hockeypuck1

The last goal Semin scored was on December 18, 2009.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I was looking through the archive, and I can only find info about the scrimmage that the team played at a country club last year....for some reason, I thought there were two instances of the Caps doing this sort of thing, one being less formal....I do not recall if this was done during a slump or not, but I do remember BB saying he thought this was the perfect thing for the Caps to do midway (or a little more) through the season...to have a little fun, relax a little bit...

All I know is that as an elementary school teacher, I have learned to never underestimate the value of loosening things up a little and having a little fun can have on a class...Sometimes grueling practices/lessons can be affective, but sometimes that causes more stress/tension...Obviously its hard to keep high spirits when the team is losing, but every team goes through slumps...I would think the coach should try and find ways to remind players that playing hockey should be a fun experience...who knows what goes on at practices or in the locker room but hopefully BB can find a way to relax/loosed up his players...

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Quote from the renowned Broad Street Bully, Bobby Clarke:

"
How do you like the style of Alexander Ovechkin?
He is magnificent! He has in his blood Philadelphia's philosophy of those times when I myself played. I really like his style, this is my style. Ovechkin is a fighter. Even if his team is behind 0:5, he will fight until the siren will sound. And this is very important. Sometimes I think that he is Canadian. It is a pity that in Vancouver he won't be in our uniform."

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The last goal Semin scored was on December 18, 2009.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 12:17 PM


Seems like the trade has given Semin bashers something else to complain about.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | January 3, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@hockeypuck1

Luckily, people here haven't been scape goating Semin too badly as of late. There's been the occasional troll but...

Early this year, the Semin bashing had really gotten out of hand. While he had made some costly mistakes early in the year, he was not the only culprit at the time.

It wasn't just the random trolls but reputable writers and bloggers as well. It seemed that he had replaced Schultz as the team's whipping boy.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@Richmondphil

Awesome quote about Ovi by Bobby Clarke. He's our Russian/Canadian combo platter.

@Stanley_Cup

I recall BB stating he doesn't do those gruelling types of practices often because it would lose its effectiveness. And I wouldn't be surprised if that were also true for the lighter more fun practices. IMO BB is a good motivator but I will be interested in what they do. It's been a long emotional week on many different fronts.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

If the Flyers keep losing, there will be some good D-men available ;-) (1 : 4 after first period against the Sens)

... however, I dodn't know what that will do to the Caps team chemistry ...

... before the season starts the Flyers were in the mix for the SC-candidates, adding Pronger ...

... what has happen ?

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | January 3, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@FCKoeln1

The Flyers tied thing up against Ottawa and overcame their big deficit. Guess the Flyers have righted their ship and will be right back into the playoff picture.

Uh-oh, Spaghetti-oh!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Ottawa-Flyers is now on NHL network. Some of us would like to see a trade with the Sens for a certain d-man. Ottawa seems to have a desperate need for a goalie. I doubt they would be interested in Theo the way he has played, and the Caps aren't going to trade Varlamov IMO. But maybe Neuwirth? Maybe the Caps have been showcasing him lately? What the heck, throw in Poti to better match the salaries.

BTW, just got NHL network and it is great this time of year, for those of us without a life. At 5pm, Canada (with Caps prospect S. Della Rovere) gets a walkover against Switzerland. At 9 pm, its Sweden (M. Johansson) vs. U.S. (J. Carlson). The US vs. Canada preliminary game was a classic, with great wide open style like Olympic hockey should be. I should mention, the international hockey is the semi's of the World Junior Championships.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Well I guess I'll just have to put my life on hold (holiday cleanup is so boring) and turn on the TV at 5:00 to watch hockey and some of our young prospects. Thanks for the notice.

@CapsFan75

Just because the Flyers have pulled themselves out of a deficit against Ottawa doesn't mean that they have automatically righted their ship and will be back in the playoffs anymore than our recent slump means that we cannot get to the SC finals.

I do agree that one can never underestimate the Flyers--goodness knows they have the talent and clearly the coaching change was the right start. But personally I need to see a bonafide winning streak from the Flyers before I believe they have actually righted the ship. Sounds to me as if they have locker room issues so that also will take time to fix.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Just saw that the Senators beat the Flyers 7-4; Philly gave up 3 3rd period goals....guess the ship isn't exactly righted, yet. Boucher was credited with 10 saves...ugh....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Gosh I'd hate to lose Neuwirth. He may have to work on penalty shots but he is really good at not giving up too many rebounds. I liked the velcro comparison GMGM made.

The past couple of games made me realize how crucial goaltending can be and just how young and inexperienced our two prospects are. But both show "game-stealing" potential.

And tho' I've always been a defender of Theo I think part of his problem here is his style of defending is not the best fit with the Caps offensive sometimes risky style--he usually does very well with the first stop--it's the rebounds that do him in, particularly when the Caps are not as sharp at clearing the puck after the first save. With a more defensive first system I think Theo would be a great fit. When we play poorly defensively Theo doesn't seem to have a great game. Then again Theo seems to play one game then have to sit several out so lack of rhythm and getting in the groove may be a factor. Of course I am relying on my impression--I haven't checked any stats or re-watched any games.

IMHO I'd feel more comfortable for the future with a Varly/Neuvy 1a, 1b scenario--especially if Varly has injury issues. But then again who knows what moves may happen in the next few months.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

Boy two games in a row where they lost in the third. That's tough--if I were a flyers fan I'd be pulling my hair about now.

Read your earlier posts about the Devils. We use to live in northern NJ, and still have family there. Over Thanksgiving we went to the Devils/Islanders game. I was very impressed by both teams actually though the Devils were much more disciplined and won handily by the end. The Prudential center was fabulous and the sausage and peppers so much better and the fans were vocal but friendly (no Caps gear on us of course). But I was shocked that it was not full on a holiday weekend, but about 3/4 full for a day with pretty good attendance figures. The disparity made me proud to be a Caps fan at Verizon bringing down the roof.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns & DevilsCapsGal

Well, it's obvious I didn't watch the last part of the Flyers/Senators game. I went shopping with my younger daughter who's traveling back to college tomorrow. Their comeback from 3 goals down did impress me. Until yesterday (and today), I thought they had started to get their act together again. But not quite. The Flyers have major goal tending issues at the moment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Agree with you on our goal tending situation. Theo's style may just not be a match for our team's wide open style.

I assume for next year, we'll go with Varly and Neuvirth as 1a and 1b since Varly has his injury issues and will probably not ever be "between the pipes" as often as Brodeur.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns & DevilsCapsGal

I'd be tearing my hair if I were a Flyers fan too. Their issues sound even worse than ours. They have so many expensive guys on their roster and traded Upshaw away last year and acquired Carcillo.

With all the Semin bashing that I've heard, I wonder if Flyers fans were bashing Mike Richards who has had roughly similar stats this year and last year (and even more penalty minutes this year). The main thing I've heard about is the possibility of stripping Richards of the captaincy and giving it to Pronger.

I also saw in the Bleacher Report that the Flyers would like to acquire Kovalchuk but would have to clear cap space to do so and proposed trading Richards to do so. I've also heard proposals of trading Jeff Carter since he's having a crappy year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfan75

I know you weren't shorting Uncle Lou, fanohock1 was. He fills his status quo of never admitting he said something dumb.

Yeah..Marty is the only reason the Devils have won any of their Cups..great hockey insight.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah. The last sentence is supposed to have nullsets around it. Sorry Cap'n Kirk..:)

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ø Yeah..Marty is the only reason the Devils have won any of their Cups..great hockey insight. Ø

Posted by: richmondphil | January 3, 2010 4:40 PM

there - fixed it for ya

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Any news on Hershey for today? I know they started at 5:00 pm

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Capsfan75:

http://theahl.com/stats/official-game-report.php?game_id=1006585

bears 1-0
helmer (4) from perreault & bouchard
varly with 5 saves
13:58 left in the first

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sleepy3 | January 3, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Hershey now up 2-0. Aucoin with the second goal.

Posted by: sleepy3 | January 3, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@sleepy3 & Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Thanks for the Hershey update. Hope Varly holds on and is ready for "Prime Time"; i.e. the Caps, this week.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

end of first, bears still 2-0, varly with 11 saves

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Hope Varly holds on and is ready for "Prime Time"; i.e. the Caps, this week.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 5:34 PM

if there a no setbacks or tweaks to his groin - i think he will be in goal tuesday

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

One of the major things I cannot understand is how the Hershey guys like Aucoin, Giroux and Bourque can do sooo well in Hershey and then disappear when they come to the NHL. Any ideas?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

It is the same in any sport. As a player graduates to the next level, the level of play improves. Some players have the skill set to play at the next level and some do not.

For example I was a very good player in HS but was nowhere near good enough to play at an elite college level. How many college stars, or in hockey jr stars, don't translate their talent to the next level. That is why NHL Hockey players, even bad ones, are the elite of the hockey world.

Aucoin and Giroux are AHL stars that will most likely not shine at the NHL level.

Posted by: fromthebeginning | January 3, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

One of the major things I cannot understand is how the Hershey guys like Aucoin, Giroux and Bourque can do sooo well in Hershey and then disappear when they come to the NHL. Any ideas?

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

it's the same reason Tim Tebow considered by many as the greatest college football player ever is no sure thing when it comes to his NFL career. Some say he's not even good enough to play his position of QB and may have to change to TE.

each time you go up a level, there are some things you just can't hide as you could at a lower level.

Posted by: joek443 | January 3, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

DevilsCapsGal:
also - playing top line minutes in the ahl, against competition that will never make the nhl, doesn't always translate to playing 3rd or 4th line minutes against nhl competition. ahl call-ups usually don't stick around long enough to get some chemistry going with their new teammates

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Hershey is up 3-0 after 2 periods. Helmer is currently in the box.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

On Tim Tebow. He has a brain type of ESTJ which has generally been successful in college football but not so much in the pros. That's according to the Brain Type Institute founder, Jon Neidnagel.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The Swiss Juniors are actually pretty good. They beat Russia and are giving Canada a pretty good game (3-1 Canada, 2nd interm.). It will be interesting to see if some of their players get drafted. One of their forwards is supposedly a first round talent.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The Swiss Juniors are actually pretty good. ... One of their forwards is supposedly a first round talent.
Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 6:39 PM

-----
Nino Niederreiter

Posted by: Dalliquippa | January 3, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Nino Niederreiter

Posted by: Dalliquippa | January 3, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse
--------------
This kid had a monster of a game against Russia

Posted by: elicea | January 3, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov with a nice glove save.

Posted by: elicea | January 3, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

@Dalliquippa - Yeah, big 17 yo kid, skates well, physical, bit of an edge. The Caps could probably do worse picking late in the first round.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Dagnabbit,

The Bears suffered from Capsitis. They gave up a shortie to Adirondack. Up 3-1 now.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Still 3-1 Bears. 3:53 to go now.

Hold on Varly!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Final Score: Bears 4. Adirondack 1. Varly with 27 saves.

He may be ready for prime time soon.

Yeah! Our SAVior may be back.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Look to me like Varly is ready to return

Posted by: elicea | January 3, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Its never fun losing, but it doesn't feel as bad when the Pens are freefalling.

Posted by: BACKS | January 3, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow - just saw Pens lost to Florida! I agree with BACKS - I feel better about our losses when Pitt loses! There's a German word for that - schadenfreude???

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal & BACKS

I enjoyed Pittsburgh's performance today. They led 2-1 at the end of the second period and Florida scored 5 unanswered goals.

Oddly enough, Pitt had more shots on goal in the last period (and for the game, as a whole). Vokoun had nearly 50 saves.

Yes, isn't schadenfreude great? I wonder if Pens fans are tearing out their hair. Wait, they couldn't possibly be doing that. I'm sure they'll assume the Pens will get hot sooner or later and turn it on for the playoffs and advance to the SC Finals and go further than NJ and the Caps.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

On the not so good new front, Buffalo beat Montreal 1-0. So they now move ahead of us in the standings.

Does this mean that Tuesday's game will be extremely low scoring?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

@CapaFan75

No hair pulling or tearing by Caps fans! We must keep the faith. We believe in our guys. Let the Pens free fall. Let the Sabres streak. Let the Devils dominate. For the moment. The season ebs and flows. And the Caps will flow again!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Seriously--good new about the Bears win and Varly's conditioning.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Or is it bad news about Varly-Was he injured again?

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Its never fun losing, but it doesn't feel as bad when the Pens are freefalling.

Posted by: BACKS | January 3, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Agreed! Their 5 game skid makes me feel better about our 3 game skid...

Posted by: mrszilla | January 3, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear from richmondphil. Please go to my warning shots across the bow last night and give me your insights. I think the Caps have an uphill climb to be an elite team. Chicago, in my humble opinion, are the dream team right now. Deep, team-oriented, speedy, hardworking, consistent and just tough of nails.

Posted by: analyzerman | January 3, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Or is it bad news about Varly-Was he injured again?

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 3, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse
--------------
Not from what I saw. He looked comfortable moving from side to side, so it doesn't seem his groin is much of a problem anymore. His glove was working really well. Though, his rebound control was a little off; but considering he had not played for a while, some parts of his game being a bit off was to be expected.

Posted by: elicea | January 3, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

oh and philly getting spanked doesnt hurt my mood either :)

Posted by: mrszilla | January 3, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I like Chicago but they have Huet in the goal. That doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in their Cup chances.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 3, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

From Pennlive.com Looks like Varly tweaked something.
By TIM LEONE, The Patriot-News
January 03, 2010, 8:09PM
Keith Aucoin scored twice to take over the AHL goal-scoring lead as the Hershey Bears beat the Adirondack Phantoms 4-1 Sunday night at Giant Center.
Aucooin has 19 goals. Hershey ran its winning streak to 10 straight, one away from tying the club record of 11 set last season.
Bryan Helmer and Andrew Gordon both scored power-play goals for Hershey. Stefan Legein (short-handed) scored for Adirondack.
Goalie Semyon Varlamov, down from Washington, made his first Hershey start since last season. He made 28 saves and went the distance in his first action since being sidelined by a groin injury, but he suffered another unspecified injury that has been termed day-to-day.

Posted by: sleepy3 | January 3, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@sleepy3

I heard that from elsewhere. Just what we need. Varly with a new injury.

Prediction: Neuvy in goal for Tuesday.

(Varly wouldn't be able to get a start in Hershey until the weekend, anyhow.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Have they sent Alzner down to Hershey? Someone on Japers noticed that he's not listed on the Caps' current roster. I checked it out and noticed it was so.

Cost cutting move? Yes, the Caps have cap space but probably still want to save money.

I guess we'll see Sloan playing on Tuesday.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Any score in the USA vs Sweden World Juniors????

Posted by: billd2 | January 3, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Any score in the USA vs Sweden World Juniors????

Posted by: billd2 | January 3, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

any score in the USA world junior game????

Posted by: billd2 | January 3, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

usa 1-0 - about a minute to go in the first

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry billd2, I have no updates on the USA World Junior game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

tx guys , sorry for triple post

Posted by: billd2 | January 3, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone here want to predict on when the next Caps game will be that does NOT have Neuvy in goal.

Given that Varly is injured, Neuvy gets the start on Tuesday. And I assume gets the start on Thursday as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Anyone here want to predict on when the next Caps game will be that does NOT have Neuvy in goal.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 9:42 PM

my guess is tuesday - either theo or varly. whatever varly's 'injury' is - he did not come out of the game. if it wasn't his groin - then i don't think it is anything serious

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

analyzerman:

I agree that "the Caps lack enough two-way players, and when everything else fails, that special team oriented play and toughness to get to that next level at the moment." From time to time you see that team function on all four cylinders and then everything is clicking: team play, two-way play, perfectly timed passing...When they are "on," nothing stands in their way. I just don't understand how they can go on and off on all the elements that are essential to win.


I have been watching Huet with envy. As many of us thought, if we had kept Huet--no matter what it took--we would be in a different place now. I really think we would. And the three-year contract he had asked for, was what we needed. I am not sure that the Varly-Neuvy duo are ready to stand on their own yet. They are a better combination than Theo and Varly, but a third year with Varly & Huet would give Neuvy more of a chance to get stronger.

Rachel, I don't think Neuvy was bad at all. He has conquered nerves in all but some situations like penalty shots and, most likely shoot-outs. He will get there. I agree with Joe. It wasn't Neuvy or the defense that lost that game.

Posted by: caraveli | January 3, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Except Varly also finished his "last" game for us when he injured his groin originally. So just being able to finish the game is not a good enough indicator as to whether he'll be around for the next game.

And Hershey doesn't play again until the weekend. The Caps are home for their next two games but are in Atlanta on Saturday which complicate matters on when to play Varly next.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

This year Huet's doing great. While last year, he wasn't doing so great and was the backup to Khabibuilin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

US-Sweden tied 1-1, 12 minutes left in second period.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

My prediction on Goalie, with all contingencies.

If Varly can come back this week, we'll see:

Neuvy on Tuesday
Varly on Thursday
Neuvy on Saturday
Varly against TB
Neuvy against Fla

If not, we'll see

Neuvy on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
Theodore against TB
Neuvy against Fla.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Sweden 2-1.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

usa/sweden 2-2

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

US scores on a 4-on-4 situation, 2-2.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

and Carlson with the easy Apple

Posted by: ralCapsFan | January 3, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

RE: VARLY

I was at the game. He looked good. The defense did a good job of keeping the shooters to the perimeters. But late in the game there was a pile-up in Varly's crease. After the action moved back up ice I kept watching Varly and he was continually flexing his right leg, and stretching and doing squats. There were only a few minutes left in the game, and he made several saves after that, so I didn't think it was too serious. He was named #2 star and he was skating fine when he came out for his curtain call.

Posted by: tess2201 | January 3, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Our 1st round draft pick just laid out a U.S. player with a nasty elbow. Incredibly dumb.

Posted by: jakopz | January 3, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Look for D'amigo to get some revenge on Johansson years from now when the Caps play the Maple Leafs.

Johansson got him good with a cheap shot. I'm not sure if he meant to hit him in the head but he got him good.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I've watched all but one period of Carlson's play.

He's been mostly good, paticularly in the offensive zone, but he's made a handful of sketchy passes and sloppy plays in his own end.

That tying goal in the game against Canada came off a Carlson giveaway.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Carlson is a true Capital. Falls prey to the same weaknesses as the rest of our team.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

On the Varly injury situation.

Walton interviewed Irbe who said nothing about the injury.

Leone tweeted that Varlamov was hurt and that it's day to day.

Is it something real minor or the Caps being closed mouthed about things, as usual?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

So how long will take for the effect of the trade to go away. Those are the 3 worst game the Caps had played all season. I I leave Pit Game 7, the 3 worst in a year. I say Canadiens are going to beat us?

Posted by: mmilen | January 3, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Carlson!!!

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Carlson could have just put in the game-winner.

Let's see if it holds up.

Sweden has fresher legs and were dominating much of the 2nd period.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Carlson scores - slap shot from the point, 3-2 US.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Bourque may have just let Sweden back in the game.

He's been one of Team USA's best players tonight but that could prove to be a costly penalty.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

nice to see the point shots actually hit the net and go in...

would be great if Carlson could be the second point man on the PP instead of Ovie

Posted by: joek443 | January 3, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

So how long will take for the effect of the trade to go away. Those are the 3 worst game the Caps had played all season. I I leave Pit Game 7, the 3 worst in a year. I say Canadiens are going to beat us?

Posted by: mmilen | January 3, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

That's the awful feeling that I have. Especially if we don't have Varly in net....

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | January 3, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The guy Johansson leveled just scored a shortie.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

@mmilen

We had a horrible stretch last year (November) where we were on a long road trip. Here's what happened:

OT Loss to NJ

Win against Anaheim Ducks where Chris Pronger injured Mike Green's shoulder

Loss to LA Kings

Got killed by San Jose Sharks

Loss to Minnesota Wild where we lost several defensemen to injury, including Schultz, Erskine

During that stretch, Fedorov reinjured his sprained ankle. Poti was injured, I believe.

So Caps returned home, called up a bunch of people from Hershey and won. Things turned around. This is considering that things looked even bleaker for the Caps at that particular time than they do at the moment. At least, it was a worse road trip.

I confess that this road trip was bad but that one was even worse.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Johansson really hurt his team with that major and game misconduct.

Even though USA didn't score on the PP, it wore down the Swedish PKers and gave the momentum back to Team USA.

It also left Sweden with out it's captain and top centerman.

Sweden had largely taken over the game since early in the 2nd period.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | January 3, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Johannson is a bad boy today. Does he usually play this dirty?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

Thanks for the update, Tess. Now the question is .... what kind of injury did Varly get? And how long will he be out for?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't know too much about him. I hear the same stuff about him as most other people.

I heard he wasn't afraid to throw his body around but I don't think he's dirty. I'm not sure he meant to hit that guy in the head even though his elbow came out. D'amigo put his head down at the last second.

My understanding is that he is relatively physical for a Swede and a good two-way center with some offensive ability.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

US-Canada for the gold. The first game was great, with the US team showing they could definitely play with the Canadians.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@tmac - On the other hand, Della Rovere plays like Avery. I guess the Caps will be getting some grit.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

i didn't think johansson's hit was dirty - but it was late. d'amigo passed (or dumped) the puck and was skating with his head down - he got clocked in the side of the head/face with johansson's shoulder.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 3, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Johannson -- physical for a Swede

Ovechkin -- physical for a Russian

Will Bobby Clarke be saying that Johannson is like a Canadian or like an old Broad Street Bully?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't expect the flashy Backstrom-like stickhandling and passing.

It seems like his upside is a 2nd line center. If not, a good, responsible 3rd liner with scoring ability.

It sounds like he's a better prospect than Gustafsson who most people seem to think could turn out to be a bust. I certainly hope not. I'm really hoping we can have another Gustafsson that is worthy of wearing a Caps sweater.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

maybe Johansson is not your typical good Swede and is more like Tomas Sandstrom or Forsberg.. that's not really a bad thing

Posted by: joek443 | January 3, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

And may the US win this time. Time for a little bit of revenge. Go Team USA.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

If you read my comment around 10:30--
if that's when the injury happened, it certainly didn't look that serious to me. It may be a case where they'll let it rest for a day and then see how he feels.

Cool, the USA guys are singing along with the national anthem. Way to go Carly on the game-winner.

Posted by: tess2201 | January 3, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Della Rovere very much reminds me of the good stuff that Avery brings.

I assume he's not quite as much of an idiot off the ice.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Maybe Gus will be a late bloomer -- like Fehr. Fehr was also behind in development compared to the Caps' #1 pick of the subsequent year due to injuries. We all know who the Caps' #1 pick was in that year -- Ovi.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Carlson just did an on-ice postgame interview.

He seems like a real solid kis. I hope things continue going great for him.

He still has some things to work on but he should be a nice piece for us in the near future.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

*He seems like a real solid kid.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

I checked out your post at 10:30 re Varly's injury.

Hope he's okay with a little rest. And we can see him between the pipes on Thursday vs Ottawa.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 3, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Fehr hasn't officially bloomed yet, in my opinion, despite his good point production this season.

He still has plenty to prove, both in terms of his play and his ability to stay healthy.

Just my 2 cents but I wouldn't say he's a lock to be here for the long run.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I just took a peak at the Bears' GF/GA.

It seems like they're the best offense and defense this season.

The offense isn't a surprise but we weren't this good defensively last season, were we?

I don't follow them very closely.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the Blackhawks are just terrorizing the NHL this season. They certainly look like the team to beat. Their only question mark will be goaltending in the long run.

I know both Huet and Niemi (or however it's spelled) have great numbers but I think that's the defense as much as anything else.

It's hard to even got shots on that team, let alone good scoring chances.

Their offense started out a little bit slow but that wasn't going to last with all that fire power, esp. once Hossa started getting his legs under him.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I also see the Penguins lost again, 6-2 to the Panthers.

I also see that I'm the only one posting right now so I better chill with the keyboard.

Sorry for all the consecutive posts.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 3, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I have no reason to believe that Della Rovere has the sociopathic tendencies of Avery. But he certainly stirs things up on the ice. And he is not just a pest - he has some skill. He has been one of the more effective players for Canada. I don't know that he, Carlson, or Della Rovere will be stars in the NHL but they all look like future contributors.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Della Rovere logs excessive PIMs in the OHL. Johansson on the other hand has only accumulated 10 PIMs through 28 games in the Swedish Elite League. His penalty was a dumb one today but he doesn't have a track record indicative of a good. Della Rovere, if we ever do see him in the NHL, will be as a mucker. He's a role player for Canada at the World Juniors. FYI Della Rovere did have 27 goals and 51 points last season in Barrie, but he also had 146 PIMs. That's a lot friggin' minutes for a total of 57 regular season games last year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 4, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

I have to post one more thing.

Carlson was an amazing +5 against Sweden.

Only 2 other players were even +3.

I don't like to overanalyze +/-, particularly for one game, but that is still pretty impressive.

Here's the game sheet: http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM205226_74_3_0.pdf

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 4, 2010 2:18 AM | Report abuse

Basically, he was on for every goal for and none against.

There were no PP goals, just a SHG for Team USA which Carlson got an assist on.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 4, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Carlson is also now tied with 2 Canadians for the overall +/- lead in the tournament: http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM205000_85G_8_0.pdf

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 4, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

He's also leading all Team USA defensemen in points despite not being in the top pairing: http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM2050USA_83_6_0.pdf

I can't find ice time anywhere but I believe he's on the second unit.

He's tied for 3rd overall in scoring among defensemen in the tournament but he's played 1 more game than the players he's tied with and the ones ahead of him: http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/205/IHM205000_85E_8_0.pdf

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 4, 2010 2:33 AM | Report abuse

The same blog that mentioned Varly's injury says that Alzner was sent down to Hershey.

http://chrisrahn.blogspot.com/

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 4, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

per Tim Leone:
The Alzner move was just a paper transaction at this point.

At the very end of the story:
http://www.pennlive.com/hersheybears/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/sports/1262577313222630.xml&coll=1

Posted by: tess2201 | January 4, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

was alzner technically an injury recall for pothier? pots has been out a while. might be that they had to add him to the roster and since they are carrying three goalies, needed to send alzner back to get roster space. their roster shows 23 guys. they will probably have to reassign neuvirth before they can call up alzner again. with varly injured, they probably dont want to do that yet.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 4, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Varly is on IR, therefore not counting against the roster limit of 23.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 4, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice to get an update. Fox 5 news was already at Kettler interviewing BB today so people that can answer some of the burning questions... How's Backs? Has Alzer been sent down? Did Varly get injured in the pile-up yesterday?...are already at Kettler. I know we get spoiled by the coverage but it is WaPo's fault for setting the coverage bar so high.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 4, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
Varly was actually reassigned to Hershey, so that's why he isn't on the roster.

Posted by: koalatek | January 4, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

live tv and live score for free

http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: d1g00f | January 5, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company