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Mike Knuble keeps teammates grounded


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


As part of a team with gifted stick-handlers and skaters to spare, Mike Knuble has forged a lengthy NHL career from grit rather than grace. His allegiance is to the unsightly parts of the game, and teammates most often will find Knuble in a scrum in front of the goal rather than celebrating a puck he directed into it.

That's what made Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau's decision to send the right wing onto the ice against Pittsburgh for the most important shot of the game all the more peculiar. A gut feeling is what Boudreau called it.

"And it's a big gut," he added.

The hunch resulted in Knuble's second goal of the game that secured a 4-3 shootout victory against the reigning Stanley Cup champions before a frenzied sellout crowd at Verizon Center.

On his way to the goal, Knuble, who entered 0 for 4 in shootout attempts, used a head-fake to distract Marc-Andre Fleury for an instant and then sent the winning shot over the goalie's left shoulder. That triggered a wild celebration against the Capitals' most bitter rival and the team that knocked Washington out of the playoffs in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals.

"I don't know what it was, man," Knuble said in jest when asked about his shimmy that drew Fleury off his mark in the fourth round of the shootout. "I don't like Bruce putting me in that situation. I didn't have a shift in the overtime, and then he's tapping me on the shoulder."

Self-deprecation aside, Knuble has been perhaps the Capitals' most valuable addition in the offseason and even now following several other new players joining the team. The veteran of 13 NHL seasons has 20 goals in his past 34 games, including collecting another in the second period against the Penguins, and has the most goals among players 34 or older.

Knuble has 26 goals this season and needs nine more to set a single-season high for his career. He has scored at least 24 goals in each of his past seven seasons and twice has eclipsed 30 goals.

"Mike Knuble, he's always there for us," said winger Eric Fehr, who scored his 21st goal of the season at 7 minutes 32 seconds of the third period to put Washington ahead, 3-2. "He's a workhorse. He stands in front of the net, and he seems to be banging in a goal every game, so I mean he's one of the key players to this team, and hopefully he can continue to do that."

Knuble's goal in the second period typified his resolve in situations where other players with lesser fortitude may have yielded.

After linemate Nicklas Backstrom delivered a blistering shot at Fleury, the puck shot high into the air, and players began to converge in front of the crease. Knuble skated with purpose toward the net, brushing aside a defender impeding his path, and planted himself squarely in Fleury's sights.

As soon as the puck dropped to the ice, Knuble batted it toward the net, and it caromed off the post before dribbling in for a goal.

"He's a guy that's very level-headed that you can bounce things off of," Boudreau said of Knuble, "and he usually makes good sense of a lot of the stuff."

Knuble's reassuring sway over his teammates kept them unruffled even when the calls were not in their favor. The Capitals had one power-play opportunity compared to five for the Penguins, and some Washington players grumbled over the officiating after the game.

Then, when Boudreau was asked if he thought the officiating might have been unbalanced, he politely declined to comment in detail.

But the Capitals stood their ground in four of those man-down situations, and that deportment in the face of officiating discrepancies played a significant role in allowing their penalty kill to flourish.

"He brings a lot. Our team was getting a little bit fired up from some of the calls and non-calls, and Knubes is just on the bench trying to control us and telling us to settle down," Fehr said. "He's been through it all, and he just wants to help us out with that."

By Gene Wang  |  March 25, 2010; 9:22 AM ET
 | Tags: Mike Knuble, Pittsburgh Penguins  
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Next: Caps-Canes morning skate notes

Comments

Last night's officiating should have come with a laugh-track.

Posted by: cao091402 | March 25, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Then, when Boudreau was asked if he thought the officiating might have been unbalanced, he politely declined to comment in detail.

Of course he did. The League can fine him if he kvetches about it too much or publicly, but the officiating last night was horrid. It wasn't the *calls* I objected to; it was all the *non-calls* the Penguins got for - oh, let's see: tripping, interference, slashing... shall I continue?

Posted by: irockthered | March 25, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

'And it's a big gut'. Awesome.

Posted by: catymac | March 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"Mike Knuble, he's always there for us," said winger Eric Fehr...

Simply put, he's a Dad to everyone, on and off the ice. Mike Knuble is a great guy, and a great addition to our team. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | March 25, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I love what Knubs brings to the team and I wish there was a good chance that we would re-sign him for next season. He will be invaluable in the playoffs. Go Caps!

Posted by: JillC | March 25, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

He's already signed for next season Jill.

Cordially,
RBlatch

Posted by: rblatch45 | March 25, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

You have your wish JillC, If I remember correctly, Knubes signed a 2 year deal with us in the summer. Now, lets see if he can score a game winner with 4:00 minutes left to go!!

Posted by: todderdj | March 25, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Correct JillC & we haven't had this kind of presence on our team in a long time.

We are not now not only known as a team of Euro figure skaters but a top to bottom team that can play any style.

Knuble's style is infectious. Just look @ Fehr & Chimera along with Bradley & Laich from before.

Driving to the net & causing screens & havoc.
With really no consequences of standing in front of the net these days - there is no reason not to crash the nets.
Wait till the playoffs, you will see more of this.
Can't wait!

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 25, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Best. Game. Ever.

Posted by: ljo211 | March 25, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The Caps signed Knuble to a two-year contract so they have him through next season.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 25, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"It wasn't the *calls* I objected to; it was all the *non-calls* "

I agree. I won't argue for the calls against the Caps last nite. There probably could have even been a few more.

And while I understand that it's not an easy game to officiate, and I rarely will complain about the refs, it was a bit much last nite.

One might argue that the league wanted the Pens to win, just so that they get the #2 seed and potentially face the Caps in the ECF. I however- will not argue about that.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 25, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

>>>I love what Knubs brings to the team and I wish there was a good chance that we would re-sign him for next season.

Relax, they signed him to a 2-year deal this past off-season, remember? :-)
*Caps Add Knuble To Skilled Top Line*
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/01/AR2009070103524.html

Posted by: blackjack65 | March 25, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Wait- we have Knuble for next season too?

Posted by: Fro_ | March 25, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Oops - thanks everyone for correcting me! Now I recall that it was B-Mo who is signed for one season.

Posted by: JillC | March 25, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I also loved that Joe B. was getting the words --- "Mike Knuble has never scored in a shoot-out...." out and MK scored.

Posted by: ljo211 | March 25, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

How is it the Pens fans can have 9 losses in 9 games vs the Caps and Devils, yet will swear up and down they are all screwed and soft come playoff time.

Baffling..insane...Orpik finally stepped up and said...loss is a loss...we arent getting it done...good for him....Pens fans should take notes.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 25, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

My remark to:
"It wasn't the *calls* I objected to; it was all the *non-calls* "

I 100% agree, that Penguins always has advantage in power plays when they played against Caps.
If someone will look 2009 series between Pens and Caps, you will easy to find out, that in every game (game 7 not count)Pens got almost twice more power plays than Caps. Isn't it the reason why Pens got more shots on goal, and why Caps tied much quicker. I don't believe that NHL treated Caps and Pens equally. Caps should be much better to win. 50-50 games defiantly will be in Pens favor.
I feel very sorry for the refs who support this policy.

Posted by: michaelnonna | March 25, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh has the most irrational fans. I defy anyone to have an intelligent argument with a pitts fan. Sometimes you even come across a pitts fan who admits that they are all irrational but they will still commit the same errors when making an argument and see no fault in it. It would be humorous if it weren't true.

Posted by: NFeKPo | March 25, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I was stunned when I saw Knuble step on the ice for the shootout - he is not someone I would think of for that. But he proved his worth yet again with that nasty shot. Even though he is known for his play around the net, he has a great wrist shot when he chooses to use it. And the first Caps goal - classic Knuble, totally ignoring the defender practically draped across his back.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 25, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Knuble's goal was in the SECOND period, not the first. Great game either way, except for the officiating.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 25, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Very pleased and impressed with how all the Caps kept their composure last night; if I were Semin, Carlson and/or Flash I'd have gone ballistic.

The first call on Flash was marginal at best, two guys just battling for the puck. But it was in juxtaposition to all the non-calls against the Pens that blew my mind, Cindy going after Carlon - Crosby is a cheap, cross-checking hitting from behind d-b, there's no other way to put it. As is Rupp. Inexcusable what the refs let Crosby continually get away with. John Carlson is a strong, tough kid, I'd love to see him pop Crosby, when the time is right. Glad he kept his cool though.

But the crap the refs let the Pens get away with against our skilled guys is ridiculous. Colin Campbell needs a new job, and pronto. This sh!t needs to stop.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 25, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Knuble tapped into his inner Greivis with the shimmy shake and then the rooftop special to finish the shootout

Posted by: BBDwrestling | March 25, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I think Laich has benefited from Knubs being here more than anyone. His play in front of the net has gotten so much better this year, i can only think it has to do with having a veteran presence to emulate. Knubs is the player I wish Kozlov would have been.

I think Chimera was already like this based on his career. In Columbus, he ranged between 1st line with Nash, and 3rd line checking. He's seen and done it all as well, and was an awesome pickup. He's a KEEPER if you ask me.

As for Walker and Belanger... I think the jury is still out. Belanger seems to be fitting in. But he's a carbon copy of B-Mo if you ask me. Maybe a little more legs due to his younger age.. but wi

Still, love watching this team. Don't think we need any major changes next year. These players we have are all getting better each year. Next year we should be AMAZING... barring some "hangover"

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | March 25, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

irockthered is right on with the "non calls" aspect of the referring last night. It really is amazing how pretty much the slightest infraction gets immediately called against Washington and then you have 2-3 blatant penalties that go uncalled against the Pens.

Would be nice to get a power play comparison against these two teams the last 10 or 15 games. I am certainly to lazy to compile. Where are the super nerd caps fans...lets go!

Posted by: SkinsFanInNYC | March 25, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Chimera just needs to use his power and strength more to his advantage, he seems to forget there's more to hockey than just being a speed skater.

Rupp did get away with some stuff yesterday but thats what he does. He's there to provide toughness and bully some players around. He took a few punches at Ovy's head in a goalmouth scrum and it took Carlson to come in and rip him off. Then later he got into it in the neutral zone after BMo of all people finished a check.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

As for Walker and Belanger... I think the jury is still out. Belanger seems to be fitting in. But he's a carbon copy of B-Mo if you ask me. Maybe a little more legs due to his younger age..

______________________

No.

Walker and Belanger both should be starting every night.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wait- we have Knuble for next season too?

Posted by: Fro_ | March 25, 2010 10:10 AM |

Don't know if this is sarcastic or not, but yeah, we inked him for 2 years.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

SkinsFan, I can tell you that in the playoffs last year, the Pens had an advantage of about 3:2 in power plays, and that went up to 2:1 in the 4 games they won.

This season: first game, Pens had 4 PP's, Caps had 2. Second game, looks like Pens had 6, Caps had 4. It's hard to tell, there was a lot of matching penalties. And by the way, that was the game where Adams pushed Ovie into the boards headfirst, and no penalty. Last night, Pens had 5, Caps had 1. So far this season: Pens 15, Caps 7.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 25, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

and to echo Govtimbo - Carlson has an NHL- ready body. He's big, strong, skates well. He can take hits without losing the puck and he can dish em out. Thats why I've always thought he was ahead of Alzner even though he was drafted a yr later.

Alzner doesn't have the same strength. He can't hold his own against NHL forwards. He can barely hold his own strength-wise against AHL competition.

Its also good for Carlson to be paired up with Mo. They both feed off each other. I'd hate to see Carlson get stuck with a Poti or Corvo or even Schultz just yet. He needs a defensive defenseman who throws his weight around to play with, it helps elevate his game.

Same reason Eminger and Erskine ended up forming some unlikely chemistry 2 yrs ago.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh wait..it probably was sarcasm, reading the other posts. I should stop reading the comments from bottom to top.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I thought Crosby should've gotten the first star last night for his assist on Semin's goal. That was sweet.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 25, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think Chimera was already like this based on his career. In Columbus, he ranged between 1st line with Nash, and 3rd line checking. He's seen and done it all as well, and was an awesome pickup. He's a KEEPER if you ask me.
--------------------------

one of the recurring criticisms of Chimera in both Edmonton and Columbus is that instead of acting like a power forward, he regresses back to trying to be just a skill player. He's got the size and strength to be more. We've seen glimpses of that here. In his first few games he was skating well AND grinding it out effectively. In the last several games, he's playing a fast skating style but he's avoiding the corner battles for the puck and he isn't forechecking hard.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I thought Crosby should've gotten the first star last night for his assist on Semin's goal. That was sweet.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 25, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'd have given an assist to ShaMo on that goal. The work he did on Crosby and Guerin along the boards helped set up that ill-fated Crosby pass.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Penalty disparity can be misleading. I do agree about some of the non-calls last night. However, the 2:1 penalty advantage the Penguins enjoyed in the playoff series last year was due to the players, not the refs.

Washington failed to establish a zone presence, preferring to attempt to carry the puck into the offensive zone rather than getting the puck in deep. As a result, the Penguins had more puck control time and more time in Washington's end.

A skilled team with the puck will draw penalties.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 25, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Knuble tapped into his inner Greivis with the shimmy shake and then the rooftop special to finish the shootout

Posted by: BBDwrestling


great line

Posted by: CelticFCbhoys | March 25, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

JohninMpls: Really? That didn't hold true last night.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 25, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Some more power play/short handed stats for the teams. Source is espn.com:

Pittsburgh is #6 in power play opportunities (PPO) with 288, or about 3.89 per game.

Washington is #12 with 283, or about 3.87 per game.

Pittsburgh is tied for #19 (higher is bad for this stat) with 288 times short handed, or about 3.89 per game (yes, it is the same number oddly).

Washington is #17 with 287 times short handed, or about 3.93 times per game.

Based on Timmyv38's numbers, the Pens have had 15 PPO's, the Caps have had 7 PPO's in the three meetings this year. Therefore the teams are averaging 5 per game (for the Pens) and 2.33 (for the Caps) for PPO. Obviously, both are statistically anomalous from their average performance the rest of the year. And you can't blame it on a lack of discipline or performance for the Caps, given that the Caps have won all three games, including a very firm victory at Pittsburgh.

Posted by: TheGJ | March 25, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't see what your talking about cstanton1. Crosby wasn't being pressured. If anything the Caps were scrambling a bit and one Caps player had just picked up his own stick. Crosby had time but he limited his own options but skating towards a Cap and then tries to force the pass across. Then he heads off the ice for a line change.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 25, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1: I did agree that the non-calls were suspect last night. In a rather obvious missed call, Ovi was brought down by a hook that was not called.

I didn't have the same issues with the way the playoff series was called last year, though.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 25, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

JohninMpls: Really? That didn't hold true last night.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 25, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

not in the 2nd half of the game anyway. The Caps really shut em down in the 2nd half. With Malkin around it may have been a different story but our team defense (especially support from our forwards) was outstanding in the 2nd half of the game. Flash looked like a freaking Selke trophy winner with the way he was backchecking and grinding it out. It was also Flash who got us jump-started with his forecheck in the very beginning of the 2nd pd that almost led to a goal.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Pens are 0-9 against the Caps and Devils this year. Not sure how many of those are in OT.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I like the work you've done there, TheGJ, but is it really an apples-to-apples comparison?

The Caps and Pens don't play every game against one another. Matchups matter. Maybe the Caps rack up PPOs against weaker division opponents?

Statistically, the three head-to-head matchups reflect a much smaller sample size.

Look, I'm not arguing that the officiating was great last night. But I do think some Caps fans tend to have a bit of a persecution complex when it comes to the media and the referees, and they perceive bias where there is none.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 25, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

No.
Walker and Belanger both should be starting every night.
Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 10:57 AM |

RP- so far I have not been impressed with Walker's speed. He's gritty but in the playoffs I wouldn't sit Brads or even Quintin Laing out for him.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 25, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

But I do think some Caps fans tend to have a bit of a persecution complex when it comes to the media and the referees, and they perceive bias where there is none.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 25, 2010 11:45 AM

Yep. I have avoided commenting on the officiating until now. But I will break my vow to agree with you.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't see what your talking about cstanton1. Crosby wasn't being pressured. If anything the Caps were scrambling a bit and one Caps player had just picked up his own stick. Crosby had time but he limited his own options but skating towards a Cap and then tries to force the pass across.
---------------------

watch that whole play unfold. Crosby first gets hammered by Mo along the end boards, then Guerin ends up with the puck and Mo drills him backwards into the boards. By the time Crosby gets the puck back, Guerin is no longer a viable option to pass the puck to behind the net because he's still picking himself up off the ice. It was a bad risky pass for sure and a great indiv play by Semin. But I think the grunt work done by Mo helped out also.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

RP- so far I have not been impressed with Walker's speed. He's gritty but in the playoffs I wouldn't sit Brads or even Quintin Laing out for him.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 25, 2010 11:46 AM |

If Laing is the one taking Walker's place, then sure, I don't care then.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

RP- so far I have not been impressed with Walker's speed. He's gritty but in the playoffs I wouldn't sit Brads or even Quintin Laing out for him.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 25, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I would not be unhappy if Laing replaced Walker. Laing has better speed and is a better forechecker. But I'd be very unhappy if Walker and Laing had to sit and get replaced by a Gordon. As it currently stands, I don't see either of them playing anyway because once Laich comes back in, the lines will get rejuggled and Laing will end up back on the bench.


And the way Fehr is playing as well as how Flash played yesterday, they both deserve to also be in the lineup. Really no place for Laing or Walker.

btw, did anyone see Laing on the backcheck on the 1st goal? He came flying back like a bat outta hell and almost decapitated Tyler Kennedy. He beat Corvo back into the play even though he was deeper than Corvo was when the play went back the other way.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Caps of 09/10: Speed, skill and GRIT. If their D tightens in April, Jose keeps playing lights out, and they stay healthy, there WILL be a parade down Pennsylvania Ave. in June.

Posted by: wxdancer | March 25, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Over a long playoff series though, I don't expect Flash to be able to hold up durability-wise, not at a high level of play anyway. And maybe thats where a Walker or Laing ends up back in the lineup.

I also gotta say, I have not been as impressed with Belanger or Chimera as everyone else has. I've been impressed with them at times. And Belanger made two great rushes yesterday, one on the Fehr goal and one on the wraparound attempt. Aside from those 2 plays, I thought he was very average. Including his defensive play and his PK play.

Chimera just needs to muck it up more. We don't need him thinking he's Jari Kurri on the wing. He needs to complement his speed with some grinding. In a game where it seemed even our most skill players were committed to battling for every inch of ice, Chimera was skating up and down the wing avoiding almost every battle.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

But I'd be very unhappy if Walker and Laing had to sit and get replaced by a Gordon.
_____________________

Haha, exactly.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

JohinMples-- sure, it's not apples to apples, but no stat is-- an empty net goal isn't the same "quality" of a goal against Ryan Miller on his best day, or a goal against a minor league goalie in his first NHL start-- but its still a goal.

My goal was to list some numbers to put some data behind the gripes that Caps fans have-- the bottom line is that by the stats, the Pens see more power plays than they usually do against the Caps, and receive less. Whether its bias, luck, good playing, or a full moon, I don't know, but the numbers don't lie (and the same thing happened last year-- Pens were receiving about 25% more PP's per game in the playoffs than they were the rest of the year).

Posted by: TheGJ | March 25, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I did watch the whole play but I don't see it the way you do. SMo does make a great hit on Guerin but SC still had time and options. He chose poorly. I guess I should know better than to disagree with the omniscient cstanton1.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 25, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

btw, if anyone's keeping up with our OHL and WHL prospects, all of them have made the playoffs. Flemming and SDR in the OHL. Broda, Mestery and Eakin in the WHL.

The Barrie Colts (SDR's team) is having their way with Sudbury. In the last game, SDR got under the skin of the Sudbury so much so that he got jumped at the end of the game that led to a suspension for the other player.

But this hit by Flyers' prospect Zac Rinaldo got all the fireworks started. Rinaldo is one of the top hitters in all the juniors, and he's built like SDR is. Small but burly, and fast. This is Rinaldo's hit on Sabres prospect Marcus Foligno. At the end of the tape you'll see SDR getting jumped.

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/postedsports/archive/2010/03/23/flyers-prospect-suspended-12-games-by-ohl.aspx

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I guess I should know better than to disagree with the omniscient cstanton1.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | March 25, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

seriously, what were you thinking?!?
lol

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

lets see JCorvo do this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYrPyhLNK_g

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I haven't checked any of the other posts, but is anyone else as underwhelmed by Corvo's play as me? Maybe I don't see it, but it seems like he really hasn't adjusted yet, doesn't fit well with the pieces we already have, or isn't as good as he is billed as.

Posted by: billyrich | March 25, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone has ever said that Joe Corvo was the second coming of Bobby Orr... he's here as a rental to fill the role of a 3rd or 4th d-man till the end of the season

it's NOT like the Caps have been giving up 4 or 5 goals/game since he's been here... some of you people need to take a chill pill

Posted by: joek443 | March 25, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if this is sarcastic or not, but yeah, we inked him for 2 years.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 25, 2010 10:59 AM

Ya- sarcasm. Sorry. Was a little irritable this morn.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 25, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I thought Laing was quite good last night and Iwas thinking most of the game that they would give ShaMO the hard hat, he was a beast!

I was getting a good laugh reading the Pens boards. To them there was lots of Caps diving and to us it was lots of non calls.

To me the real non call,and of course no one was hit so it's a non call,was Orpik's head hunting attempt on BMO. He was off his feet arms high in the air. If he had actually hit him BMO would be out cold.

Posted by: Iceman10 | March 25, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The calls were so bad I asked a Caps rep who was standing by my seat if Bettman writes the scripts himself. The repeated non calls kept an inferior team in the game. One penalty in 65 minutes of hockey? Please.

Of course OT was needed, then the true gimmick: the SHOOOOOOW-DOWN shootout on NHL Network Free View.

The funny business smelled so bad last night, I half expected the Phoenix Coyotes to "break from nowhere," skate out, and shock everyone with yet another "unexpected Coyote win".

Please. That game last night was a joke.

Posted by: caps1974 | March 25, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

How in the world could anyone but a Pens fan be irritable this morning Fro_???!!! Unless you were hungover from having a few too many celebratory cocktails last evening!!

Posted by: PhilR | March 25, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

JC is a weak link. I don't feel comfortable heading into the playoffs with him penciled in for 20+ shifts per game if thats the plan they have for him. We're not a better defense with him in the lineup. He hasn't improved our defense since he's been here. When you look at the extended offensive opportunities or quality scoring chances for the opposition, Corvo is front and center more times than not. He flops down in front of the net, he's getting caught up ice, he can't separate forwards from the puck. All he is is a good skater who can carry the puck out of the zone when given time. There's a heckuva lot more you need out of a defenseman than that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

So who is gonna head to Pittsburgh for the last game with a broom?

Road trip...bring the brooms!

Posted by: SA-Town | March 25, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Eric Belanger and Quintin Laing will be important performers for Washington in the playoffs.

Both players are defensive specialists and on a team with this kind of firepower, the blocked shots that Laing gets and the short-handed breaks and faceoff wins that Belanger gets will be worth their weight in gold.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 25, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

or isn't as good as he is billed as.

Posted by: billyrich | March 25, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

ding ding dingity ding.

If you had to diagram what the Caps needed at the deadline, wouldn't most everyone agree that it was for a player who first and foremost could be relied upon to play well in HIS OWN DEFENSIVE ZONE? nuff said. McPhee dropped the ball on improving his defensive corps.

Again, you look at the defensemen for cheap available that he could've either signed or traded for. There's players like a Kyle Quincey who looked great in a Detroit jersey, then blossomed as a King, and is now a key part of the Avs defense. Young, cheap, physical, passes the puck well, plays well at both ends of the ice. I'll take that type of player over an overhyped soft defenseman who is a closet winger like JC. And not have to overpay with a 2nd and an Osala. Canes fleeced us on that one.

A team needs its GM to step and give it every chance it can of advancing deep into the playoffs. We got zero help last yr at the deadline. And this yr remains to be seen but so far, some good, some bad.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

they got zero at the deadline last year because they had NO money under the cap

Posted by: joek443 | March 25, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Have you watched osala play recently. his play is trending down. have you seen pothier play recently. coughed up the puck several times, got out muscled in the corners. took several penalties. fleeced is what happened to toronto. two lottery picks for a 30 goal scorer in kessel that is not a leader or a game changer.

Posted by: samb99 | March 25, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

How in the world could anyone but a Pens fan be irritable this morning Fro_???!!! Unless you were hungover from having a few too many celebratory cocktails last evening!!

Posted by: PhilR | March 25, 2010 12:41 PM

And we have a winner.

Dinner was of the liquid variety last night in good ol section 400.

Posted by: Fro_ | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

again this team is NOT built to be a lock down defensive team... they just need to be good enough

if they give up less than 3/game, they have a good chance to win every game

Posted by: joek443 | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

all that being said, and I won't even go into the circular reasoning that McPhee's hands were tied (he tied his own hands) with regards to the cap etc

all that being said, why even pull the trigger on a Corvo trade? seriously. How does adding an offensive defenseman to a team already loaded for bear make us a better team overall? We needed defensive help, not offensive help. If he was simply a depth move and only there in case Greenie got hurt or whatever, I can sort of stomach that. But he's here as a core member of our defense now.

Now if we'd gotten a Niedermayer type, then thats different. Nieds is a 2 way defenseman, he's not a liability in his own end. But don't bring another offensive dman to a team that is arguably at the top of the league in skill players anyway when our obvious need was to add some balance and get better defensively.

and p.s. Osala is trending downwards? How many NHL games does this kid have under his belt? please. As a prospect, he's a good one. What he'll turn into at the NHL level is still under debate but at the worst he can at least be a strong role player on a 3rd/4th line. Nothing wrong with a 6ft4 big bodied player who can skate and is willing to muck it up and has shown the ability to handle the puck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Corvo is an expensive insurance policy - in case Green is out injured for a few games in April/May. While he is not nearly as good as 52, he may be just enough to get by; without him, there would be a glaring hole in the PP specialist/ puck moving D spot. And just like with any insurance policy, you hope you never have to use it.

Posted by: igor_k17 | March 25, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

if they give up less than 3/game, they have a good chance to win every game

Posted by: joek443 | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

that I won't disagree with. If you get the kind of effort we saw from our forwards last night, that truly is the strength of our team. I don't think our PP will be phenomenal in the playoffs against a good defensive team, but the way we skate and crowd the crease areas I like our chances upfront.

So it comes down to how many times our goalie will be able to bail out our defense.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The only thing missing was Piere and Milbury talking about what a god Crosby is. and badmouthing OVIE. Way to go Knuble, thanks again, for your grit. You made your teammates very happy

Posted by: cjnichols | March 25, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't you gone to root for another team yet, cstanton1? Clearly this team will never play the style you want. You might do better with Nashville or Phoenix.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 25, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Why haven't you gone to root for another team yet, cstanton1? Clearly this team will never play the style you want. You might do better with Nashville or Phoenix.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 25, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

why don't you just mind your own business ms kitty. If it was easy to go root for another team, don't you think I already would have? jesus

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 25, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

irockthered is right on with the "non calls" aspect of the referring last night. It really is amazing how pretty much the slightest infraction gets immediately called against Washington and then you have 2-3 blatant penalties that go uncalled against the Pens.

Would be nice to get a power play comparison against these two teams the last 10 or 15 games. I am certainly to lazy to compile. Where are the super nerd caps fans...lets go!

Posted by: SkinsFanInNYC | March 25, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

In the last 14 games, Pittsburgh has a 73 to 43 advantage in Power Plays. Washington has never once, in the last 14 consecutive games, had a power play advantage. Never once. That should tell you everything you need to know. And, btw, I agree with everyone above, it's not the penalties that are called on the Caps, it's all the blatant penalties NOT called on Pittsburgh that are a huge problem.

BTW, The Caps record in those games is 9-2-3.

Posted by: Terpsrule | March 25, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Good work Terpsrule... wow, what a disparity. Why such scrutiny on everything Caps do??? I am concerned about having to execute too many penalty kills in playoffs.

Posted by: Cupin2010 | March 25, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

geez, somebody has the temerity to posit that, oh noes, just maybe, GMGM may have made a mistake on a d-man who's clearly not-as-advertised [John Carlson is hands-down a better NHL d-man, right now] and they're told to go root for another team?!

So, GMGM screwed up, and coughed up way too much for a guy who's clearly a liability in his own end - nobody's perfect. But pretending that GMGM is omniscient gets us nowhere.

Harry Sinden would be proud, I'll say that.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 25, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

P.S. In case I'm not clear, yes I was absolutely talking about Jose Corvo.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 25, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe I was unable to watch this game. "Old Spice" Mike Knuble whipped out the old man strength this game.

Bruce's decision to have Old Spice for the last shot just shows how good of a coach he is. He's a hockey genius.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | March 25, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I've never heard so many fans so disgruntled about a GREAT TEAM. You'd think the Caps were in last place?

Are any of you people ever satisfied???
Let BB do the Coaching and you have to leave poor Shultzy (your former whipping Boy Alone) now that he's +36 and a fixture with Green. Green couldn't be as offensive as he is without ole stay at home Schultz.

On the after game radio show some of the men who call in every every nite and are so boring and sound like Old worried women, Why does Johnathan take their calls??? Some slurr their words from to many Beers or Have a speech defect.Others call every Damn nite just because they like to hear the sound of their own voice--enough already don't take their calls and let other people talk who have got to be more interesting than some of these boobs.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | March 25, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@govtimbo - If you'd been reading here for several months, you'd know that cstanton1 likes to kvetch about the team, the management, and everything else to do with the Caps. He will, once in a while, say something positive, but it's vastly overshadowed by his negativity.

It isn't just once.

@Terpsrule - Good research. Since the lockout, the Caps have played the Penguins 26 times. In those 26 times:

* Five PP advantages (we had more than them)
* Four PP equity (same number)
* The other 17 times, the Pens have out-PP'd us.

Total: 170 PP's for the Pens, 141 for the Caps (.829:1)

Without the PP advantages we've had, it's 135 for the Pens, 89 for us. (.659:1)

The PP advantages (three in 2005-06, the rest, one per season, and never since 2008-09) amount to: 52 for us, 35 for the Pens (.673:1)

Without PP advantages or equity, it's 67 to 113 in favor of the Pens (.529:1).

This season, it's 19 to 11 in favor of the Pens (.578:1).

Posted by: irockthered | March 26, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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