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Kozlov Skates

The Caps won't practice today and instead will participate in their annual charity golf tournament. In the meantime, I'll be working on a handful of preview stories that are scheduled to run later this week.

Speaking of previews, be sure to watch the Capitals Special on Washington Post Live tomorrow starting at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportNet. The guests will include Ted Leonsis, George McPhee, Bruce Boudreau, Lisa Hillary, Al Koken, Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin, Russ Thaler and me.

On another subject, forward Viktor Kozlov (strained groin muscle) skated on his own this morning and looked good, I'm told. He's been out since last week's preseason game in New Jersey but should be back on the ice for tomorrow morning's full team practice at Verizon Center.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 6, 2008; 11:11 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Caps Lose in Shootout to Bruins, 5-4
Next: Bourque, Alzner and Laing to Hershey


First :) ... Glad to hear about Kozlov, looking forward to the show tomorrow.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I am awesome!!

Posted by: 94 | October 6, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse


We need you this week as little will be happening at KCI.

Will be interested in any roster moves!

Posted by: OleMiss | October 6, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I hope Theodore settles down a little bit for future shoot-outs, as he looked a lot like Kolzig last night -- I'm just glad he didn't get beat on the back-hand three straight times, even though it wasn't much better tonight. That said, I'm not too worried about Jose. He looked excellent most of the time, and, at 40 saves on 44 shots, he really didn't have that poor of a game (and on the goal from the point, one of Krecji's, I think, he never even saw the puck).

Semin looked a little wary of himself last night, too. I do remember seeing him get double-teamed which launched him against the boards -- hope he's alright.

Overall, it was a pretty painful first two periods to watch -- they just couldn't get anything going at all last night, but everyone eventually picked it up.

But it's going to be a long week at work waiting for Friday night

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 6, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Will Joe Reekie be on WPL as well?

Posted by: Dale | October 6, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I went to the game with Steve R yesterday. Met 94 & Super! Here are my observations:

1. Joe-Say Looks lazy. During warm ups OV scored a soft goal on him. He then stood over Joe-Say and said something to him, then said something after the next few shots. I fear that Joe-Say is not going to have a good year. He's getting paid, so he's content. I think the same thing about Huet, so there was not going to be much different there. My prediction: by the end of the year, we see Varlamof.

2. I hope that the team realizes they phoned it in yesterday, and that is not acceptable. You perform in a real game as you do in practice. The team should have come out EVERY Preseason game as if it was a game 7. I hope the practices are more intense.

3. Alzner is going to be VERY good. 94 agrees, but he won't say it because then he would have to admit he was wrong! ;)

4. Steve and i did a lot of talking. This year is going to be a "bridge" year. The boys will make the playoffs. They will probably win their first round series. But the Stanley Cups are 2-3 years away, and then they will compete every year. Think about some of the youth we have, and you'll see, I may actually be right!

Let the Season Begin already!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse


I agree with you completely about JoeSay, but not about YouEh. Given YouEh's start, I think he will be even worse than JoeSay. YouEh would have let in 20 last night!

Posted by: Bob | October 6, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and Tarik is scheduled Friday for the Caps chat! Heeee's back!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

can we keep Alzner and stay under the salary cap? will someone have to get traded or cut? Fired up for the weekend!

Posted by: fansince74 | October 6, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

It looks to me like the Caps were playing lazy across the board last night, to be honest. Theodore let in several that he should not have, but DANG that boy has a magic glove for catching! Now if he'll only use his stick the same way, and stay where he belongs, we'll be OK...

Defense shouldn't have EVER let them have anywhere near 44 shots on goal, but saving all but 4 of 44 is pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Posted by: I Rock the Red | October 6, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I've only got to watch one game during the pre-season, but does it seem like this team is taking way too many penalties? I can understand in the Philly games both teams were a little frisky and such, but really, this is getting to be too much.

Posted by: A_P | October 6, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Sorry if this has been posted before:

Four roster cuts made:The BEARS announced Saturday that four players were assigned to South Carolina in preparations for the upcoming regular season. Defensemen Viktor Dovgan and Sasha Pokulok, along with forwards Tom Maxwell and Travis Morin were sent to the Stingrays.

Posted by: C-Way | October 6, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Further to Lee's observations:

Pens and Philly suck.

#60 looks like a "Tale of Two Goalies". Great saves followed by brain farts and softies going in behind him.

Flash better be looking over his shoulder because Borque is gaining speed.

Green needs to work on his hip checks, he got squashed last night.

I'm very disappointed in the spirt squad for both outfits and that dudes are involved. Lose the dudes and dump the dockers. Plus visit the 400's more often.

Erskine is worthless. Jurcina is almost worthless. Number crunch and come up with a way to keep Alzner up here full time, that kid is good.

I'll add more when I think of it.

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I mean come on, let's give Theodore a small break here... The guy had 44 shots on goal. Let me state that again, He had 44 shots on goal. That's a pretty bad lapse of defense by the team as a whole.

As it was mentioned somewhere else here, the defense has not been 100% set yet for pairings, and the communications between Theodore & Defensive pairings will have to improve for puck management & coordination. It will take a little time to get these things worked out once the final roster is set.

Posted by: migz | October 6, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I think we Caps fans have been a bit spoiled in the last, say...25-30 games.

Obviously I don't mean the outcome of the playoffs, but if you look at the Caps record between the final stretch of the regular season (13-2, or whatever), the playoffs (3-4), and the preseason (5-1-1) that works out to a lot more wins than loses. Not only that, most of those wins were dominating ones. We haven't seen too many games where a good number of players have either been a step slow or inconsistent.

My point is that while the Caps played a poor game yesterday, and I was ultimately unhappy with Jose's play, they are NOT going to win every game this season. While "good is not good enough" is the motto this year, to play a crummy game and get average goaltending, and still get to a shootout, that's not the end of the world (especially in a pre-season game).

The Caps are expected to make the playoffs this season, and hopefully make noise once they get there. While a hot start to the season is important, we proved last season that a hot end to the season is more important.

Let's keep some perspective and see how the team comes out Friday night. I, for one, am expecting a much better performance than yesterday.

Posted by: Jeff | October 6, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse


Oh, I agree that 44 shots is unacceptable. But the shots he let in were VERY soft. And the 2 goals on the shoot out bounced off his legs and into the 5-hole. he doesn't seem to play with ANY fire.

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Good point Lee. Olie would have broken at least two sticks yesterday.

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

here's hoping nobody pulls an erik johnson...ouch!!!

Posted by: mbr | October 6, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@ Jeff

Whoa! Back up there buddy...

What do you mean "they are NOT going to win every game this season"?!?!?!?


Posted by: EssP | October 6, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I have them going 81-1. They lose to Tampa because Ollie has heart, and God has a sense of humor.

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh yea, Verizon needs a better beer selection.

Lee, so you're saying that Tampa isn't going to win the SE?

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Tim | October 6, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The Bolts lost 2 games to the Rangers. Rangers are, IMHO, OK. Not good, just OK.

The Bolts D looked porous and the offense disjointed. In other words, they had a bunch of individuals out there. If they can play like a team, they may have something. Until then, they'll be fighting with Florida for lottery picks.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 6, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@A_P: It's not just you. This team is taking way too many penalties, especially hooking penalties. Watch where you put that stick, boys.

I've got a roster bet for you guys, given the outcome of the preseason. Anyone want to take odds on this?

- Erskine and Jurcina get waivers or get traded to a team with no D to speak of (hey Tampa, hey LA, hey Atlanta).
- Alzner gets a D spot on the opening night roster.
- Boudreau decides to carry just six D's and use Feds on the blueline if someone gets hurt, plus callups from Hershey if it goes more than one game.
- Carrying 6 D might let Gabby carry 14 forwards, which opens up a roster spot for Bourque.

Trying to do the salary cap math, though, so not sure of htis.

Posted by: this space for rent | October 6, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

With the depth we have right now, please let's not rush anyone back into the line-up. Kozlov does not need to return until 100%.


Posted by: Sapper | October 6, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse


Healthy Scratches:Gordon and Fehr



Bourque sent down, Erskine and Laing(dont know if they both need to be placed on waivers or not). If Steckel's contract allows him to be sent down without clearing waivers he might get sent down as well and they may only carry 21 for the first 2 weeks or so to help with the cap. That is my guess.

Posted by: Pat | October 6, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The sky is falling!

Posted by: Chicken Little | October 6, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Do you need that much fire for a pre-season game? Spoiled on Ovechkin, still.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | October 6, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Steve R: Amen on the beer selection.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 6, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice the new credit card machines at the VC. Hopefully, there won't be any outages anymore. They finally got rid of that 1980 system.

Posted by: 828 | October 6, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

given all of the hand-wringing over preseason games, think of what is going to be batted around this blog by middle of the season.

Posted by: doughless | October 6, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ space-for-rent

No way BOTH Erksine and Jurnica are sent through waivers. They are both pretty cheap and they are the only two tough sob's on the blueline. Erksine is very close to being history while Jurnica remains with the Caps. Juice has been throwing his weight around, hitting people, and clearing out the crease. He has much better skating, poking, and positioning skills than la sexy lumberjack.

Posted by: JIM | October 6, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Can you believe 4Erskine was a second round pick?!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

If Steckel is sent to Hershey, I'll eat my hat.

Posted by: Jordan | October 6, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

kozlov sucks for his money.

Posted by: truth be told | October 6, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think we'll start the season the way we ended it, minus Cooke and Eminger. I don't think, at least for the first few games, there will be anything different. The consensus thought is that, due to the cap, Alzner won't be up immediately, and I agree. Not only for the cap's sake, though, i think he'd do well to get near-30 minute games for the first week or two of his professional career while both his and Pothier's salaries are slowly not counted against the cap. Or however that works.

Same for Bourque, even though, in my mind, he made the team -- he's just not going to be called up as quickly, unfortunately.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | October 6, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

tarik, (as pointed out at hf boards) roster is noticeably missing bourque and alzner as of quite recently. can you do some digging?

Posted by: pgreene | October 6, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Teams can not "spend" more than 56.7 million in rostered salary cap numbers. Since the Cap is calculated daily, the teams cumulative Cap number is added up and divided each day by the number of days in the NHL season. That final number can not exceed 56.7 million.

When Tarik mentioned flexibility moving forward he almost certainly is talking about the trading deadline. Teams that are under the Cap earlier in the season can add significant salaries later in the season without penalty because they're only on the hook for that high cap number while the player is on the roster.

per To understand how each team's cap count is calculated, think of a bank account. For the 2007-08 season, teams got a "deposit" of about $268,984 each day which they can spend on player salaries. (This is $50.3 million divided by 187 days, the length of the ’07-08 season; the season is deemed to have started on October 3, 2007 even though there were two regular-season games played in London.) The difference left over is the "payroll room", the amount that can be used in the future - so each team's cap count can go up or down on a daily basis. The amount of "payroll room" can never fall below zero - so teams can't borrow from the future to pay for today.

Hypothetically speaking, a team could start the season at the Cap floor of 40.7 million with no roster changes until the trade deadline. At the trade deadline they add another 40.7 million in salary for the last 45 days of the season. This team would still be fine under the salary cap because they would only be adding $9,794,117 to their final cap number (40.7 million / 187 (number of days in season) multiplied 45 (by the number of days on the roster).

In this hypothetical scenario, if you totaled the cap numbers of the players on the roster it would end up being 81.4 million, but since half of those numbers only count for the final 45 days of the season, the Team's final cap count would be $50,494,117.

Of course the team would have clear out a lot of players by the start of the following season to be under NEXT year's salary cap, but its an example of how teams can take on expensive contracts for the playoffs.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

As to what the Caps do to start the season, I believe they will start with 6 defensemen. Alzner and Bourque will start in Hershey, even though they have played well enough to start with the big boys. I expect the team to start with a roster of only 22.

Fedorov will be an emergency D-man available if needed.

With a Roster that looks like

Forwards: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kozlov, Laich, Fedorov, Semin, Flash, Nyls, Clark, Brash, Steckle, Bradley, Fehr, Gordon
D: Green, Mo, Poti, Schultz, Jurcina, Erskine,
G: Theodore, Johnson

Plus Clymer buyout hit of $250K

Excluding Pothier's cap hit of $2.5 million for long term injury reserve exception

The team's collective Cap hit would be $55,981,101 giving us $718,889 under the cap limit. Bourque's cap number is $633,333 so he COULD start up with the team if Alzner gets sent down, but wouldn't you rather him get some playing time and let the team build some Cap space for trade deadline moves?

Every day Alzner is in Hershey gives the team about $9K extra at the end of the season to add someone at the trade deadline. $9k doesn't sound like much but after 30 days the total would be $270K which at the trade deadline would be the equivalent of a one million dollar contract or so. Still doesn't sound like much, but now you know why building some Cap room early in the season is important.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy

Doesn't Bourque's bonuses put him a 1.5 or so?

Posted by: Greg S. | October 6, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S.

Actually the $633,333 includes his bonuses. His salary is only $525,000.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Chump change, then. Sweet.

Posted by: Greg S. | October 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I think I lost that in the market today... :~(

Posted by: Greg S. | October 6, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero Guy -- assuming your underlying assumptions and understanding of the NHL's cap rules are accurate that was the most lucid, and useful, explanation I've seen to date. Thanks...

For you other guys -- try Red Hook Ale, s'not bad, and can be had behind section 111... along with Stella Artois -- I'm not a big fan of Stella but some of my buddies from 417 come down to grab some. Maybe the real problem isn't bad selection... just a limited selection in the upper decks, figuring you guys are only good for MGD and the like. But I could be wrong...

Posted by: Dave in Alexandria | October 6, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Sombrero, I agree with Dave in Alexandria... assuming your explanation is correct, that was extremely helpful! Great job! My explanation probably would have had three times as many words to say the same thing.

Dave, I can get Red Hook and Stella outside of my section 413. Not a big fan of Red Hook ever since it got taken over by A-B -- and the ESB isn't exactly E, S, or B anyway. :) Stella is okay, but I'm going to be tired of it by Christmas. Of course Yuengling is always a good fall-back, although it's hard to pay $7.50 for a 16oz cup of it... Get me some Dogfish Head up in there -- mmm mmm, now we're talking! :D

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Greg S. | October 6, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I offered to buy Steve a beer yesterday. he said no. I was so hurt. It would have justified my having a beer!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I've heard some Montreal fans complain about the great beer selection we have and the Molson-only Bell Centre.

Let's have a big round of applause for our unofficial capologist, Sombrero Guy and his first session of CBA 101, held weekly at CI Hall.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | October 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I hit hole in one AGAIN!! Look!

I swear to God!!

Posted by: Ovie | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

vogel just posted on dump n' chase that alzner, laing and bourque are hershey bound...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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