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Kuznetsov stars in summer camp scrimmage

The first of three Red-White scrimmages ended in a hard-fought 4-4 tie that was highlighted by two goals and a primary assist from Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Caps' first round draft pick last month.

The scrimmage also featured a pair of goals from invitee Sean Wiles (Alaska-Anchorage), a fight between 6-8 defenseman Joe Finley and Anthony Pisano and a serious-looking knee injury to Hershey defenseman Zach Miskovic.

Miskovic will miss the remainder of camp, according to GM George McPhee, who didn't say much more about the injury. Miskovic told me it's "just a sprain" as he limped out wearing a brace.

"He should be okay," McPhee said. "Hopefully it's something that won't require surgery."

Miskovic was injured when he was hit by Finley near the side boards. Finley, skating for the Kuznetsov's Red team, was immediately challenged by Pisano, a fighter who was born in Elkton, Md. The scrap featured a lot of grappling and Finley ending up on top.

"I didn't mind one scrap," McPhee said. "If you're going to have confrontations, drop the sticks and get it over with. I didn't want them to go again. It looked like they wanted to do it again. They were a little frisky today and wanted to blow off some steam. That's fine."

The big story, though, was Kuznetsov's impressive debut. The 26th overall pick scored on a redirection and by finishing off a crossing pass and also set up Wiles's first goal with a nifty play.

"He's been really good in the camp," McPhee said. "We sure like his enthusiasm. It's early, but it looks like a pretty good pick."

Kuznetsov said through interpreter Dmitry Chesnokov: "I'm really ecstatic. But at the same time I'm sad we couldn't win the game. That upsets me."

Wiles's second goal came on a penalty shot - all minor penalties resulted in penalty shots because the players haven't had time to work on special teams yet - with 3:05 left to play and put the Red team ahead 4-3. But Eric Alexander (an invitee from Ferris State) made a beautiful move in the offensive zone and then beat his college teammate Taylor Nelson, another invitee, with 1:37 remaining.

The other big name in camp - 2009 first rounder Marcus Johansson - did not have any points.

"I just talked to him," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We're going to have to get [him] accustomed to the North American game because in the Swedish game, the centers don't forecheck. So it's hard to become an offensive player if you're going and slam on the brakes to be the third guy high. He said he found it difficult."

McPhee added about Johansson: "It's a big adjustment for some guys. I remember when Nick Backstrom was at this camp, he didn't really stand out. It's an orientation for them to get used to the North American game. He'll come along."

The teams will scrimmage again Thursday at 9 a.m. at KCI.

A few of additional notes:

*When I asked McPhee if the Caps were "done" in free agency, he said, "Yes." Not so sure I believe him.

*McPhee also confirmed that Brian Willsie is destined for Hershey. I hear his NHL salary will be $525K.

*Goalie Braden Holtby did not suit up for Wednesday's scrimmage because there are so many goalies in camp. A team spokesman told me he'll be in net Thursday.

*One player I thoroughly enjoyed watching was Caleb Herbert, a fifth rounder the Caps drafted out of high school last month. He's fast, fearless and has some series offensive instincts. He had a goal Wednesday.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 14, 2010; 6:32 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps' Marcus Johansson bounces back

Comments

Kuznetsov is fun to watch! I've watched him for three days now, and he is the most enthusiastic skater I've ever seen! Caleb Herbert is also a pleasant surprise - although I thought he had two goals (not one) in today's scrimmage. Hope that Zach's okay - I was hoping to see him at training camp in September.

Posted by: capsnnats | July 14, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Done in free agency? Did we ever start? Can any rational Caps fan say after the playoff disaster that GM has better positioned this team for a Stanley Cup?

Posted by: underpants2 | July 14, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

so happy for fellow UAA seawolf Wiles. wooo. pics from today

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2043775&id=64200489&l=7d3dfb5ce4

Posted by: capsfan387 | July 14, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Done in free agency? Did we ever start? Can any rational Caps fan say after the playoff disaster that GM has better positioned this team for a Stanley Cup?

Posted by: underpants2

No. But the kool-aid drinkers will disagree.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | July 14, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

Do you consider the additions of John Carlson and Alzner to be an improvement over Corvo and ShaMo? Do you also take into effect that guys who were between the ages of 19-24 last year will likely improve a decent amount going into next year? And that the Caps do not have many older players who will be regressing (Knuble is the only one who would be a candidate)

We will have to wait and see but it is very possible that MaJo will be an improvement over BMo. At least he really can't be much worse than BMo was during the last few months of the season.

Then you have Neuvy replacing Theo. I respect Theo and wish him well, and he did have his runs last year in the regular season, but I would feel more comfortable starting Neuvy in a playoff game than Theo.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 14, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mr. Smith came to Washington and certainly started off with a bang, to say the least.

(Kuznetsov is the Russian equivalent of Smith.)

I hope Miskovic will be okay. Sorry to hear of his injury. (The guy I call "Mouse" since his last name is similar to the Russian word for mouse; mish.) I'll assume his ancestry is Serbian or Croatian. Miskovic, like me, was also a math major.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 14, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

My impressions from the scrimmage -
Kuznetzov - potential 30 goal scorer. Not afraid to go to the front of the net. Highly skilled. Looks like a keeper for sure.
Johansson - Solid all around player. Did not stand out, but lack of talent around him was probably a factor. I still think he should spend at least a half year in Hershey.
Finley - Hit on Miskovic looked clean to me. Speed is OK, but not agile. NHL players could skate around him, but it's a long way around. I wouldn't give up on him by any means. Who's to say he couldn't become a mean version of Schultz?
Orlov - Should be Hershey's Green next year. Wants the puck and knows what to do with it. Would be a strong PP QB. Did not play responsibly defensively and got burned on one goal.
Baby Gus - Very responsible defensively, very skilled. Not a scorer, maybe a checking line center some day. There is hope for him, but he needs to play with more energy/tenacity - he floated away from the puck quite a bit.

Posted by: zmega | July 14, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW CStanton, between periods at the scrimmage I went into the store at Kettler. They are selling Caps Corvo jerseys. You may want to get over there right away because I'm sure they will be hot-selling items and the supply may run out.

Posted by: zmega | July 14, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan387

Thanks for the link to the pictures. (I figure you must be one of the regular commenters on the Alex Ovetjkin blog.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 14, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Done. Over. Ended. Through. Finished. First round and out looks likely again this year.

Posted by: festus75 | July 14, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

Do you consider the additions of John Carlson and Alzner to be an improvement over Corvo and ShaMo? Do you also take into effect that guys who were between the ages of 19-24 last year will likely improve a decent amount going into next year? And that the Caps do not have many older players who will be regressing (Knuble is the only one who would be a candidate)

We will have to wait and see but it is very possible that MaJo will be an improvement over BMo. At least he really can't be much worse than BMo was during the last few months of the season.

Then you have Neuvy replacing Theo. I respect Theo and wish him well, and he did have his runs last year in the regular season, but I would feel more comfortable starting Neuvy in a playoff game than Theo.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 14, 2010 8:28 PM

We had those guys last year. If Alzner is so good, why wasn't he inserted into the lineup as soon as Nylander was moved? We waited until game 7. Why did we wait so long? Anyone know the answer to that?

As far as Neuvy goes, yes, he is better. But still, he wouldn't of helped in the playoffs last year.

We are a move or two away still. We do need another defender. Are we okay with either Erskine/Sloan? I'm not. And what is with Flash? $3m for him? Maybe. Too much. I would rather pay that, or more for a guy who can score a big goal now and then.

We do need to make some trades. GM says we are done in free agency. So with that, you conclude Belanger is not coming back. I am fine with that, but we are then banking on both MJ and MP. That is a lot to ask. And please don't say Boyd Gordon or Steckel on line 3. They are both 4th liners.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 14, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Do you consider the additions of John Carlson and Alzner to be an improvement over Corvo and ShaMo? Do you also take into effect that guys who were between the ages of 19-24 last year will likely improve a decent amount going into next year? And that the Caps do not have many older players who will be regressing (Knuble is the only one who would be a candidate)
------

lol, sgm should work on McPhee's PR dept. Or at least get paid to do what he does. I wonder if he knows that what he just laid out as the reason for the Caps being comatose in FA occurs on almost every team in the league that is active in the trade and FA markets.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 14, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

based on what i'm reading it sounds like MaJo needs at least a full season in Hershey to learn NA hockey. One of the obvious drawbacks in drafting euro after euro is the adjustment period. I'd rather him learn at Hershey where the AHL work ethic comes into play a little more (esp under Mark French) then get squeezed into a role with the Caps due to McPhee's poor planning.

zmega, thx for the info and the tip. I need something to pick up my dog's poop with and a Corvo jersey sounds like the right utensil for that job.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 14, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't mind one scrap," McPhee said. "If you're going to have confrontations, drop the sticks and get it over with. I didn't want them to go again. It looked like they wanted to do it again. They were a little frisky today and wanted to blow off some steam. That's fine."
---------------------

poor georgie, it must've affected his delicate sensibilities to see his boys get a little ruff out dere

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 14, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to be optimistic when the improvements involve bringing in rookies (Carlson, Alzner, Neuvy, maybe even Perrault for 2nd line Center?). As good as Carlson is, these guys don't fill the missing gaps. Yes the trade deadline is months and months away but let's all hope GMGM has a few tricks up his sleeve. Maybe use some of this trade bait we have in PA.

And yeah, as long as the boys make the playoffs, I really don't care where they are seeded. I'm more concerned with them rising up for the playoffs at this point. They have achieved all of their regular season goals. It's time to figure out a strategy for the playoffs and not get distracted by regular season stats.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | July 14, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Must've turn on cstanton to see a bunch of guys rolling around on the ice.
Get over it stick luver.

Posted by: Rocc00 | July 14, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure why some on here seem to have such a problem with having rookies in key positions, that is if you can even call Alzner/Carlson rookies. The Sabers gave Tyler Myers over 23 minutes a game last year and they weren't hurt by it. Colorado, a team no one expected to do well, had Matt Duchene, T.J. Galiardi, and Ryan O'Reilly all playing large amounts of ice time and they had a very strong season. If the Caps take the time in camp to teach Flash how to play center instead of just throwing him to the wolves like they did last year they he would be a good fit if the young guys don't work out. Based on what I saw today at the scrimage Kuznetsov could be a good second line center this year if he continues to work like he did today. It wasn't just the points he was also physical in the corners and was always making smart plays with the puck. I don't remember him turning the puck once today. I also think if he does make it then Semin is happier because he gets to play on a line with a Russian which hasn't happend since Feds and Kozlov left.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 14, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

I was at the scrimmage too and I agree with your analysis. Orlov despite the weaknesses looked amazing. He was fearless about jumping into the play. Definitely the next Mike Green (which is good and bad for the obvious reasons). The only thing I would add was I liked Della Rovere's fiesty-ness. He was not afraid to get into the face of guys a head head taller. I like that.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | July 15, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Our prospects will be fine in the long run.

But, this year, the team needs a little GM nudge in most peoples' opinions.

And while technically GMGM could be patiently waiting until the right trade comes about before the deadline -- this looks all too much like "Oh, everything is fine" talk.

And, well, I hope he's right. But, I'm afaid that with minimal changs to the roster - we'll get the same playoff issues as last year....

Posted by: CF11555 | July 15, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I also think if he does make it then Semin is happier because he gets to play on a line with a Russian which hasn't happend since Feds and Kozlov left.

------------

why doesn't semin give us a list of demands so we can make the little princess as comfortable as possible

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

why doesn't semin give us a list of demands so we can make the little princess as comfortable as possible

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

All I was saying is he could very well play well with Semin and make him an even bigger threat then he already is.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 15, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

Centers don't forecheck in Sweden? Sounds like a future penalty kill mainstay.

Posted by: henorama | July 15, 2010 4:38 AM | Report abuse

am not sure why some on here seem to have such a problem with having rookies in key positions, that is if you can even call Alzner/Carlson rookies. The Sabers gave Tyler Myers over 23 minutes a game last year and they weren't hurt by it. Colorado, a team no one expected to do well, had Matt Duchene, T.J. Galiardi, and Ryan O'Reilly all playing large amounts of ice time and they had a very strong season. If the Caps take the time in camp to teach Flash how to play center instead of just throwing him to the wolves like they did last year they he would be a good fit if the young guys don't work out. Based on what I saw today at the scrimage Kuznetsov could be a good second line center this year if he continues to work like he did today. It wasn't just the points he was also physical in the corners and was always making smart plays with the puck. I don't remember him turning the puck once today. I also think if he does make it then Semin is happier because he gets to play on a line with a Russian which hasn't happend since Feds and Kozlov left.

Posted by: icehammer97

The Avs were rebuilding, and had nothing to lose. Tyler Myers is a monster.

Could you really be comparing the situations? We are one of the cup favorites, we need to act like it.

McPhee needs to add some vets to this lineup before the season.

I think some of you McPhee lovers are smoking crack. How can this be acceptable anymore?

McPhee's resume: Getting to draft OV, drafting Nicky 4th overall. Other than that, I would be impressed if I found out he could find his a$$ with both hands.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

McPhee's resume: Getting to draft OV, drafting Nicky 4th overall. Other than that, I would be impressed if I found out he could find his a$$ with both hands.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

yep, pretty much sums it up. the other guys just showed up at kettler one day asking for a contract. do you need a refresher on all how guys like green, varly, carlson, schultz, neuvy, laich, semin were acquired?

hate on GMGM all you want, but to suggest that the only success he's had is two top 5 draft picks is just idiotic.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 15, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

We do need to make some trades. GM says we are done in free agency. So with that, you conclude Belanger is not coming back. I am fine with that, but we are then banking on both MJ and MP. That is a lot to ask. And please don't say Boyd Gordon or Steckel on line 3. They are both 4th liners.


Posted by: underpants2 | July 14, 2010 10:17 PM

Perfectly said by U2. Then:

McPhee's resume: Getting to draft OV, drafting Nicky 4th overall. Other than that, I would be impressed if I found out he could find his a$$ with both hands.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 8:14 AM

Very far from the truth, ignoring all the dismantling trades and the good selections, along with deals like the one that got Carlson.

Dr Jekyl and Mister Underpants.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

yep, pretty much sums it up. the other guys just showed up at kettler one day asking for a contract. do you need a refresher on all how guys like green, varly, carlson, schultz, neuvy, laich, semin were acquired?

hate on GMGM all you want, but to suggest that the only success he's had is two top 5 draft picks is just idiotic.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

Where would any of those guys be without OV and Nick? They make everyone else better. Take away those two, you have the Thrashers.

Schultz - softest dman in the league, should have sold this guy while his value is high, his numbers are a sham. Plays like he has a v@gin@.

Green - self destructs in the playoffs, cannot play defense. How about that sweet penalty in game 7 to give the Habs a 4 on 4?

Semin - was he even on the team in the playoffs?

Varly,Neuvy - verdicts still out, Varly let in some softies against the Habs.

Carlson - good player, too early to call a great player.

Laich - acquired during a fire sale. A nice player, but to suggest that he is more than that is idiotic.

Other than Federov, has this guy acquired a single veteran that can help this team?

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75:

If I recall correctly, you are in the Herndon/Reston area, as am I.

Are you going to FanFest on Saturday? If so, want to carpool in?

Please email me at rhino401@verizon.net

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 15, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

I also believe the Caps need to acquire a defenseman and a center for the reasons you pointed out. That playing MP and MJ as 2nd and 3rd centers is too risky and relying on Erskine or Sloan as the 6th defenseman is not smart.

I was just pointing out that the Caps team is improving though, just by maturation. Most of their key players are at ages where athletes see large improvements in their play. With the ages of Carlson and Alzner I expect them both to better next year due to increased strength training. more practice and more experience.

Look at Fehr and Schultz last year. As hard as people want to be on Schultz, he improved significantly from the year before. Fehr did as well. Backstrom also improved greatly. Flash was better too, and Green was better. That is a big group of players who improved from the '08-'09 season to the '09-'10 season.

Some of those guys will improve even more (Fehr is someone I have big expectations for and then when you consider that he finally has an offseason where he is healthy and can train, that should have a big effect).

And I expect Carlson and Alnzer to be guys following in that line, where we see significants improvements for the next 2 to 3 years. Then at about age 25 or 26, players usually seem to plateau.

Yes, there are aberrations so no need to give examples of players when this did not happen. But this is definitely the trend of most NHL players and most professional athletes in general.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Very far from the truth, ignoring all the dismantling trades and the good selections, along with deals like the one that got Carlson.

Dr Jekyl and Mister Underpants.

Posted by: tominsocal1

Dismantling is easy. I will say the Carlson trade was a good one.

But where are the vets? That is what this team needs now, not rookies. We have rookie goalies, ok. Two rookie dman, ok? Two rookie centers? WTF? A team that is a favorite to win the cup is going with 6 rookies? 5 if you count Varly's half year last year.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

> Plays like he has a v@gin@

I assume all the female members of this board are as offended by this moron as I am. I'd like to see underpants2 try to get up after a check from, say, Angela Ruggiero sometime.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | July 15, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

for the Hater-aid drinkers...don't discount the fact that McPhee directed the dismantling of a static team, envisioned a bunch of prospects playing together in Hershey during the lockout, becoming a winning team under his coaching hire in Hershey, making the right draft decisions (OV may have been a no brainer, but picking Backstrom was not a foregone conclusion), trading for the picks to get Schultz, Green & Carlson. No GM makes the perfect decision every time, if one did there would be dynasties. The Caps have won three straight divisions and two straight years over 100 points in the regular season. Yes, I agree the next step is playoff success to measure up the GM, Coach & players.
For those who keep saying that the regular season means nothing and we need to get players now via free agency or a trade, if it means nothing until the playoffs, why not give the rookies some seasoning during the regular season & fill in with some key veterans at the trade deadline to strengthen the team for a playoff run?

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

"Where would any of those guys be without OV and Nick? They make everyone else better. Take away those two, you have the Thrashers."

Did you really just use the argument of "take away a teams best two players and they are then a non-playoff team"? I think the Caps, without those two, would be fighting for one of the last playoff spots.

If you take away Crosby and Malkin from the Pens, where would they be?

Take away Toews and Keith from the Hawks last year, where would they have been?

Take away Gretzky and Messier from the Oilers.

Take away Yzerman and Fedorov from those Red Wing teams.

Take away Sakic and Forsberg from the Avalanche teams.

Take away LeBron and Wade from the Heat.

Take away Jordan and Pippen from the Bulls.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Did you really just use the argument of "take away a teams best two players and they are then a non-playoff team"? I think the Caps, without those two, would be fighting for one of the last playoff spots.

If you take away Crosby and Malkin from the Pens, where would they be?

Take away Toews and Keith from the Hawks last year, where would they have been?

Take away Gretzky and Messier from the Oilers.

Take away Yzerman and Fedorov from those Red Wing teams.

Take away Sakic and Forsberg from the Avalanche teams.

Take away LeBron and Wade from the Heat.

Take away Jordan and Pippen from the Bulls.

Posted by: sgm3

No chance the Caps sniff the playoffs without OV and Nick.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@underpants...dismantling is easy, but getting the right return takes skill...if you keep harping on Schultz being soft then you really don't understand hockey as a whole, and you are missing his contributions as a stay at home D man. I too wish he were more physical, but that isn't his make up, I would rather have a guy who plays within himself makes the right decision and is a +50 than a guy who makes some spectacular hits, takes stupid penalties from over aggressive hits and is a -1...and I am a lover of Old Time Hockey, but the rules have changed and the game has evolved since the 70's & 80"s

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

How about those other teams I mentioned?

And I disagree with the "no" chance because that is wrong. You may believe that the Caps would not make the playoffs, which is fine, but saying "no" chance is just a dumb argument to make and it hurts your credibility.

Especially when said they would be the Thrashers and the Thrashers finished only 5 points out of the playoffs last year. If they were able to scrap out 3 more victories they would have made the playoffs. That is close enough to show that saying "no chance" is dead wrong.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

If you take away Crosby and Malkin from the Pens, where would they be?

Take away Toews and Keith from the Hawks last year, where would they have been?

Take away Gretzky and Messier from the Oilers.

Take away Yzerman and Fedorov from those Red Wing teams.

Take away Sakic and Forsberg from the Avalanche teams.

Take away LeBron and Wade from the Heat.

Take away Jordan and Pippen from the Bulls.

Posted by: sgm3

Also, had those gms put pieces in place to help those guys:

Gretzky and Messier: Coffey, Anderson, Kurri, McTavish, Krushelnyski, Moog, Fuhr, Lowe

Crosby and Malkin: Orpik, Scuderi, Gonchar, Staal, Fluery, Kunitz, Guerin, Letang

Toews and Keith: kane, Seabrook, Sharp, Hossa, Hjallmerson

Sakic and Forsberg: Blake, Roy, Foote, Lemuiex, Drury, Ozolnish

Drafting and trading, not just drafting. All of those teams brough in outsiders that made huge impacts via trades or UFA. Some of them were taken from other leagues.

Basketball is different, 5 man game.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

U2: Take off the best two players off every team in hockey, and how many still make the playoffs?

Wings, Sharks, Hawks......OK

Canucks? Maybe

Flyers? No way, they only made it by a shootout. Pens? No. Coyotes? W/O their goalie? No. Bruins? Barely made it as was. Same with Habs and Sens.

Your point has a bit of merit, but your argument is awful.

Objection sustained.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

> Plays like he has a v@gin@

I assume all the female members of this board are as offended by this moron as I am. I'd like to see underpants2 try to get up after a check from, say, Angela Ruggiero sometime.

Posted by: yosemite_sam

She could probably take Schultz.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

All I was saying is he could very well play well with Semin and make him an even bigger threat then he already is.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 15, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

fair enuff but of course you're ignoring the fact you now have two typical Euros playing on the same line which means they're both offensively gifted and probably have some holes in other parts of their game that north american hockey places an emphasis on.

You also said that Flash would be a good option at center. He's physically one of the weakest forwards in the nhl. He stinks at faceoffs and one offseason of working on them won't do squat compared to natural centers who have been working on faceoff skills since they were tykes. Why would he make a good center vs any other winger. To me, the only reason Flash is even being mentioned at center is because he's not effective at his natural position and the Caps are forcing him into a role to fill a need. That's really an awful reason to move a kid over to a position like center. He's also not very good defensively. So the only thing going for him is he has some offensive ability. Takes a lot more to be a good nhl center than that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

> Plays like he has a v@gin@

I assume all the female members of this board are as offended by this moron as I am. I'd like to see underpants2 try to get up after a check from, say, Angela Ruggiero sometime.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | July 15, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

nothing funnier than some righteous indignance! If you're hyper-sensitive, msg boards are probably not your thing because once in a while comments get flung around. Its all part of the 'experience'. This ain't finishing school.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino40:
I'm in Herndon, add verizon.net to my userid to email me. I plan on going, although I haven't even checked what time everything starts. I hear carpool! :-)

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 15, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@everyone:

I have a quick question and am curious as to whom will actually answer.

Who here actually plays ice hockey in a league (aka: beer league, old farts league, C, B, A, Master's C/B/A, etc)?

I gather from some people's analysis of players that some have never put skates on and seem to be overly harsh or players. Hockey is a very tough sport to master, just curious who plays in a league.

C and B for me at Reston.

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 15, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

AA at Kettler.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Also, had those gms put pieces in place to help those guys:
---------------

this pretty much sums up one of McPhee's larger failings. He doesn't put enough of the right complementary types on this team with regards to quality role players. You put a better team behind the skilled core of Ovy/Backs/Semin/Green and you can maximize this team's potential. Our 3rd/4th lines could be better at what they're supposed to do with a couple of tweaks. I hate to break this to any Chimera fans but he's not suited as a checking line winger. He doesn't have those instincts. He's primarily an offensive-minded player who is better suited for a 2nd line role but who really doesn't have the ability to play there. You could find better options than guys like him and Belanger, both of them don't compete hard enough to justify a bottom 6 role. We've been clinging onto Gordo for too long imo. Steckel and Brads are probably are only true bottom 6 type of guys on this team along with Laich who is versatile enough to play a checking role or a more offensive one on a 2nd line or on the PP. When you look at the construction of the bottom 6 forwards on most other teams, the Caps have a different look.

And as much as we talk about "defense", our D could be a lot better without necessarily bringing on a big name (Chara) type. Adding young kids like Sheldon Brookbank and James Wis to the lineup would do wonders for the backline, team chemistry etc. Two young fairly cheap kids who can pick up some quality minutes and play important roles. There's many similar types around the nhl that have been available over the past few yrs that McPhee just passes on largely because they don't fit his prototypes. The guys he picks up to fill in the role slots are shades and degrees worse than they need to be and eventually when you run into a team who gets more mileage out of their role players.

The other big failing that I harp on is the compete level of his top 6 (mostly his 2nd line) forwards. That Pittsburgh series still holds an image in my head of how much harder the Pens top 6 worked vs ours.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Other than Federov, has this guy acquired a single veteran that can help this team?

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

does the name mike knuble mean anything to you? of course not because that wouldnt fit into your view of GM.

did matt cooke help us in 08? how about huet? you like matt bradley? were you a brashear fan? all veteran pickups who have or are helping this team at some point in the last three years.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 15, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

does the name mike knuble mean anything to you? of course not because that wouldnt fit into your view of GM.

did matt cooke help us in 08? how about huet? you like matt bradley? were you a brashear fan? all veteran pickups who have or are helping this team at some point in the last three years.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

Did any of those guys have cup experience? Knuble got his young, and hardly played.

I am talking about guys that have won cups! Guys who know they don't stop playing hockey in April.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 15, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

they shoulda re-signed Cookie. Pens were smart enough to see his value.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

There are rumors that Philly, after gettng rid of Gagne, will be playing Zherdev "next to young forwards Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk on a highly offensive third line?"

cstanton1, how do you feel about the moves Holmgrem is making, especially that move?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

CStanton, I disagree with some of your points, but I will just mention Chimera. I think he fits well in the Caps 3rd line, which I see as a hybrid scoring/checking line concept. He's big, fast, and physical and I see him as being capable of solid forechecking and occasional scoring. I was disappointed, however, that he didn't run Halak in the playoffs, "accidentally" like the Flyers did. Halak clearly did not like physical contact and the Caps were not consistent in getting in on him.

Posted by: zmega | July 15, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Way too early to grade the improvements on the Caps at this point. Does Johannson make the jump directly to the NHL like Backstrom? If so, he's got be an improvement over BMo who was a stopgap. The development of Carlson and Alzner as well as our two young goalies are the keys to our overall defense. The Caps did not have the cap room to acquire a top defenseman in free agency, but possibly could through a trade during the season.

The Caps are in a fairly weak division and fans shouldn't be obsessed with winning the division and conference titles. As we saw, home ice advantage is not a big deal in the playoffs. GMGM and Boudrea will assess where the Caps near the trade deadline and then may pull the trigger to acquire a seasoned veteran defenseman.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 15, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

There are rumors that Philly, after gettng rid of Gagne, will be playing Zherdev "next to young forwards Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk on a highly offensive third line?"

cstanton1, how do you feel about the moves Holmgrem is making, especially that move?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Considering that Holmgren has constructed a team consisting of a core of forwards that play a very aggressive game, I have no problem with that. He's got the right complements to surround the skill, AND both JVR and Giroux aren't just offensive skill guys. They both compete hard and play with an edge. If we had a team that matched upto the Flyers grit upfront with Richards, Hartnell, Powe, Carcillo, Asham, Lappy, and now Jody Shelley, then having an offensive-minded 2nd line is not a negative considering that both JVR and Giroux finish their checks and play with an edge. We're not talking about 2 Fleischman types here. Next question sgM?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

ESPN rumors page is saying the NHL's salary cap could be $11 million less. If that is even close to the truth that is awfully scary for some teams.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/features/rumors?&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnhl%2ffeatures%2frumors

Posted by: robostop10 | July 15, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Tough to argue with Holmgren's moves - Leino was probably their best player [to listen to the guys that have all played and coached at the NHL level tell it, anyway] and did they even give up anything for him? Zherdev's had some knocks against him but there's no denying his talent; plus playing for Hitchcock's tough for any young guy, never mind a Russian rookie. Even Federov - who endured some pretty rough coaches his day [Viktor Tikhonov, Scotty Bowman] couldn't stand playing for Hitch, that's got to tell you something.

I kind of thought though they'd move Carter rather than Gagne; neither seemed to do very much but Gagne at least scored some key goals. It seemed like Carter disappeared for shifts at a time, to these eyes.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

. I was disappointed, however, that he didn't run Halak in the playoffs, "accidentally" like the Flyers did. Halak clearly did not like physical contact and the Caps were not consistent in getting in on him.
-----------

you know why that is? Cuz he's not GRITTY!

which also leads to the fact he skates away from more checks than he finishes, he can't fight his way out of a paper bag, he doesn't match up to his counterparts on some other teams who play a significantly more hardnosed style. If I had to rate Chimera's grit level based on the type of role he should be playing on that line, its about a 3 out of a 10. The knock on him was he was soft as butter in Edm. He improved a bit under Hitchcock but he's a far cry from a 3rd line bruising winger even though he certainly has the size to play that role and the speed to make life miserable if he ever chose to actually use his body instead of shying away from contact. He's a very non-prolific hitter compared to the opportunities presented to him. I would've loved to see him against the Flyers, Bruins, Penguins or most of the Western Conf playoff teams. He'd be on his best behavior. Montreal was probably the least physically intimidating team which made the playoffs (along with us). So if Chimera can't overtly play a hardnosed style vs them, he'd fade into the sunset against teams who would punish him for even thinking about some goalie interference.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@robostop10

There is a long way to go before that. That is stating what the owners are going to try to get. However, with Fehr leading the NHLPA I really doubt that will happen. Especially when you consider what the players gave up after the lockout.

@cstanton1

It says in that article that Zherdev/Giroux/JVR will be the 3rd line. Not the second. IMO, you are greatly overating the grittiness of Giroux and JVR. They may be more gritty than Flash, but that isn't saying much.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

To compare the Flyers to the Caps is asinine. They're worlds apart in philosophy, styles, systems, and therefore personnel. Talking about adding Zherdev onto a 2nd or 3rd line scenario and equating that to the Caps is apples n bananas. Give me the Flyers grit and way of thinking upfront and you wouldn't hear a peep out of me if we added a Zherdev type to a 2nd or 3rd line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

McPee = moron

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

sgm: I think that rumor is false. That would be a highly unorthodox third line.

zmega: I kinda agree on with cstanton Chimera. He isn't quite good enough at anything. A pest, but not a Cooke pest. A good skater, but not a finisher.

Look, he's a better value than Clark. I've posted though that you could trade Chimera and plug in a Hershey guy for $1M in savings and I doubt you'd notice much difference (AGordon, Beagle, Pinner).

And: BGordo is still decent value at $800K. And Bradley is good at $1M. But Chimera gets almost $2M.

Belanger I'd take 3rd line at his $1.8M from last year and a one-year deal. From reading above, it doesn't sound like MaJo is ready for #2C in the NHL. Too bad his contract prohibits Hershey, else maybe he'd be ready after 1/2 year or so.

And Kuzzie (can I make up his nick-name?) sounds like a great prospect but it's also highly doubtful he can be a #2C anytime soon w/o NA training. A center does more than make flashy offensive plays - he has that part down at least.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

kindergarten time for the Caps = lose in 1st round

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Not the second. IMO, you are greatly overating the grittiness of Giroux and JVR. They may be more gritty than Flash, but that isn't saying much.
---------------------------------

no it isn't. They're also grittier than Semin. Which means if we play Semin and Flash (center) on the same line I will puke until my guts have nothing left in em. But that line of JVR, Giroux, Zherdev doesn't exist in a vacuum. You can't insert them onto any team and ignore the other variables (for ex the other players on other lines). Hockey is a game of momentum and putting a line like that on the Flyers is not the same as creating a line like that on the Caps. In other words, the Flyers can AFFORD to have a line that isn't very gritty because they have that element in abundance on their forwards lines as a whole. They need some finesse like Zherdev to balance things out. The Caps, are on the opposite end. They need more grit to balance out their skill. And when you take up 3 spots on your bottom 6 with Belanger, Gordo, and Chimera, you're not providing the right balance.

and for the record, JVR is a big strong forward who can take a hit to make a play and he's growing into his frame. Much like probably an Eric Fehr type. Giroux however is plenty gritty. Not like Carcillo obviously but he buzzes around, takes hits, delivers hits and gets his nose in there. He's not afraid of contact and when you put on a Flyers jersey your grit level automatically goes up a few notches. Its whats expected of you. You can only have so many floater types on a team before you get burned.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

God forbid we have a center with natural defensive instincts. Let's clean that up right way!

The Caps have officially begun the process of cleansing him of those silly and useless instincts. Instead, they will instill in him the habits needed to contribute to their patented one-way, high-risk, no-playoff-success brand of hockey.

Bad habits are hard to break but who cares? Sell more tickets.

I could be wrong but I don't think it's just a "Swedish thing" Bruce. I imagine there are plenty of North American coaches that place an emphasis on defense and a complete, two-way brand of hockey.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 15, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I wasn't comparing the Flyers to the Caps. I was just asking you your thoughts on the potential lineup changes of the Flyers. Why are you getting defensive about that?

@tominsocal1

It may not end up happening, but I was just relaying the rumor.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree about the mix, it's key. I can't stand Hartnell, but he does create space for Leino and Gagne; that line was great once Peter V. put them together. I still think they've kind of forced Richards into a #1C role - he's a good player, don't get me wrong - but he's not the elite guy you want at that spot.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Look, he's a better value than Clark. I've posted though that you could trade Chimera and plug in a Hershey guy for $1M in savings and I doubt you'd notice much difference (AGordon, Beagle, Pinner).
----------------------------

agree 100%, you could get more mileage out of an AG or Pinner than you can a Chimera. They're both much grittier more consistent honest hardworking players. Beagle probably also although I'm not sure if he's competing for a center or wing spot with the Caps.

the reason Chimera was brought to the Caps was to provide more of an offensive look to the 3rd line.

The reason Corvo came here was to provide more of an offensive look to our blueline (and probably also to help if Greenie got hurt).

McPhee's philosophy is clear. Offense, offense, offense. The most offensive team in the league goes out and gets more offense. And when the playoffs are over, they hint that the offense they had was probably not enough since it was their PP that let them down.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

dougless=clueless

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

doughless = clueless

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You want rational analysis? But I do mean rational as opposed to emotional blabbering based on a few puck bounces? Here you go.

The truth is that people make too much of our early exit from the playoffs last year. Playoffs are mostly a crapshoot as can be seen by looking at who makes it far & who doesn't every year. A few bounces at key times go your way & you go far. They don't & you go home. The Flyers were a perfect example. They were one bounce away from not even making the playoffs & ended up going all the way to the final.

McPhee & Boudreau are doing the right thing. There's absolutely zero reason to make drastic changes. How a team performs over a long 82 game regular season really shows how good a team is. That might be an unpopular view among superficial people who love to jump to conclusions based on a few bounces, but that's the obvious truth to anyone with half a brain. We were the best team in the entire league. We're very, very good.

Also, we have great prospects in our own system. Our minor league team has been the best in the AHL over the past 3 seasons for a reason & we've drafted very well.

There are a lot of people on here who would like to just make moves for their own sake. Honestly, looking at what was available in free agency (& we could afford) wasn't very impressive. We don't need mediocre overpriced players who aren't any better than what we have in the system, yet are much more expensive.

Lastly, this constant harping on how we needed to add a defenseman. We did at the end of last year & he's much better than anyone that was available via free agency. His name is John Carlson. He'll be with us for an entire year now. Same with Karl Alzner.

Also, finally Theo is gone & we're going with the 2 kids in net. Something I wanted to happen 2 seasons ago when we first signed that overpriced bag of pucks.

The future is very bright & I'm very much looking forward to another fun season.

P.S. And no, I don't drink kool-aid. In fact, has never even tried it.

Posted by: ranndino | July 15, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I actually thought the main purpose of the Clark/Chimera trade was to free up cap space as Clark was making a good amount more than Chimera.

Chimera may be overpaid but Clark was even more overpaid and is not as good as Chimera(now, not in Clark's prime).

So GMGM made a trade where he made an improvement, Chimera for Clark, and cleared cap space. As not too many teams were willing to take on Clark I think GMGM made out pretty well there.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I wasn't comparing the Flyers to the Caps. I was just asking you your thoughts on the potential lineup changes of the Flyers. Why are you getting defensive about that?
------------------------

it sounds like you were implying there's a double standard with how i view things. You're sneaky like that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

McPee says - what was out there in FA market not very good, not as good as what Caps already have.

McPee - signs Brian Willsie

That is a HUGE add for the Caps and Bears. Go ahead and bring up Perrault or Johansson as 2nd line center.

MORON

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I still think they've kind of forced Richards into a #1C role - he's a good player, don't get me wrong - but he's not the elite guy you want at that spot.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

agreed, Mike Richards is in the same boat at Brandon Dubinsky. They're both being asked to fulfill a slightly higher offensive role than they're capable of.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You want rational analysis? But I do mean rational as opposed to emotional blabbering based on a few puck bounces? Here you go.

The truth is that people make too much of our early exit from the playoffs last year. Playoffs are mostly a crapshoot as can be seen by looking at who makes it far & who doesn't every year. A few bounces at key times go your way & you go far. They don't & you go home. The Flyers were a perfect example. They were one bounce away from not even making the playoffs & ended up going all the way to the final

--------------------------

THAT's 'rational'? lucky bounces are what separates us from being successful?

wow

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

To compare the Flyers to the Caps is asinine. They're worlds apart in philosophy, styles, systems, and therefore personnel. Talking about adding Zherdev onto a 2nd or 3rd line scenario and equating that to the Caps is apples n bananas. Give me the Flyers grit and way of thinking upfront and you wouldn't hear a peep out of me if we added a Zherdev type to a 2nd or 3rd line.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:14

Go root for the Flyers. Why are you delusional nut still here?

Posted by: hock1 | July 15, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

hey Randinno, does your rationale apply to the NFL, NBA, and MLB also? Or is it just hockey that separates the winners from the pretenders via lucky breaks?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The future is very bright & I'm very much looking forward to another fun season.
-----------------------------------

the future is semi-bright. Should be in the playoffs most yrs than not. And then of course hopefully we get all the lucky bounces on our way to multiple Cup wins.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Why are you delusional nut still here?

Posted by: hock1 | July 15, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

go back and reconstruct that sentence so i can make heads or tails of it.

only a truly stupid individual would make the connection that acknowledging what another org does well equates to wanting to be a fan of that team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Reminds me of the nitwits at COMCAST Sportsnet who are going nuts over John Wall's play in Las Vegas. They ignore that most of the guys he is playing against aren't even going to get a cup of coffee in the bigs. Same with the guys Kuznetsov is playing against here.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

this team kinda reminds me of Dan Marino's Dolphins of the '80's... all offense and no defense.

at least Marino made it to SB in his 2nd year but he got hit more in that game by the 49ers than he did during that entire season.

there are ways to beat one-dimensional teams in any sport... good coaches will always figure them out and they get exposed in the playoffs. it has nothing to do with luck.

Posted by: joek443 | July 15, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"It's early, but it looks like a pretty good pick." --GMGM

It's interesting that he chooses to use the word "pick" instead of just saying "he looks like a pretty good player."

Without having heard the entire conversation or context, McPhee comes across as a timid, rookie GM who just doesn't want to make a mistake. That belies the fact that he's been on the job for a long time now. Call it overanalyzing/reaching but he seems to toss around a lot of these kinds of statements, almost as if he lacks confidence in his own abilities as a GM.

McPhee is an intelligent person but that doesn't necessarily make him a good NHL GM. I hope the guy succeeds as long as he's here but I have growing doubts that he has the vision and confidence it takes to build a championship-caliber team. I think he's a good guy to have filling some kind of role within the organization but the jury is still out as to whether he has what it takes to be a great GM.

In any successful sports franchise, I think you can make a pretty good argument that the front office is the most crucial component of the championship formula. It may seem odd to say that since those guys don't even step on the ice, court, field, etc... but that is how I see it. You need elite talent and that almost invariably comes from no-brainer high draft picks. The rest is up to the GM in terms of utitlizing the draft, free agency and trades to build a total team. Most of the real work comes after getting the star player(s). Great players have to be supported with the right role players and a well-balanced roster. That is accomplished by the work of a competent GM who has a clear vision of what it takes to win at this level.

This franchise has a golden opportunity in front of it. It would be a shame if the person responsibility for building around this strong foundation is incapable of doing so.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 15, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

McPee says - what was out there in FA market not very good, not as good as what Caps already have.
---------------

let me translate McPhee-speak

When he says "what was out there was not as good as what we currently have" it usually means he failed at acquiring some players and this is how he covers himself. By pretending he didn't even try because his crack staff's evaluations showed him that the avail players don't measure up to the Caps homegrown talent.

Every time McPhee speaks, there is a heavy agenda involved in making himself look better. When the Caps don't execute trades, its by design. When they lose out on FAs, its by design. When they draft someone, its because he was the only guy they wanted and they were willing to trade up multiple spots to get him.

I honestly have never seen such a consistent pattern of incessant self-promotion, self-aggrandizing and CYA mentality as exists with George. All teams do it to a certain extent but McPhee is the poster child.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

this team kinda reminds me of Dan Marino's Dolphins of the '80's... all offense and no defense.
--------------

even Elway didn't win anything until Denver got a defense and a power running game. All that "non-sexy" stuff.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

ranndino: Half of why Hershey won was it was stocked with vets like Aucoin, Giroux, etc. To me, that somewhat diminishes what Hershey did.

I want another d-man and it has nothing to do with Alzner or Carlson. Plug in a #1 defensive d-man and you still have those two but you replace our 6th guy with a much stronger guy. Plug in a #1 defensive d-man and our first pair is stronger; our second pair is stronger (Schultz is a #2, not a #1); and our third pair is stronger.

Nobody in the world can construct an argument that Volchenkov would not have helped this team. It's not possible to do so.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Probabilities occur in everything that hapens in life, so there is always a bit of luck. Some sports, because of the nature of the sport, luck is more prevalent in deciding the outcome than others.

Because the British Open is occurring, an example of luck in golf would be if a player hits a wonderful shot but it hits a divot and takes an odd bounce into a bunker. On the other side, if a player hits a horrible shot into the woods and the ball bounces out into the fairway.

In hockey, there is a good amount of "luck". By luck I mean, say if you take a shot from the point there is a 5% chance of scoring because of deflections, goalie mistakes, whatever. Say in one games, one team takes 20 of those shots and the other team takes 10. Statistics says that while the team that takes 20 will score more often score goals than the team that takes 10, there will be a decent amount of occassions where the team that takes 10 shots will score more goals.

This goes with every chance and every type of play. The goal is to give your team the most chances of scoring at the highest percentage possible while giving the other teams a lower % chance of scoring and less chances because overall the probabilities will play themselves out.

However, over a small sample size (7 game series), there are bound to be more aberrations.

Just like flipping a coin. If you flip a coin 1000 times it is likely the final tally will be close to 50/50 for heads and tails. It may end up 520/480 but that still is only 52%/48%.

However, if you only flip that coin 7 times, it is very possible that it could come up 6 heads/1 tail (or the other way). Does that mean that the head actually had an 86% of being landed on or is it a statistical aberration that occurs because of the small sample size.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think you can make a pretty good argument that the front office is the most crucial component of the championship formula. It may seem odd to say that since those guys don't even step on the ice, court, field, etc... but that is how I see it.
----------

i think most sane people would see it that way too. That's why the same GM can win cups with multiple coaches who then flame out on other teams. Lemaire/Robinson under Lou L. Marc Crawford/Bob Hartley under Pierre Lacroix.

And McPhee is either hiring bad coaches or he is misreading his own team's biggest needs. And little sense of timing. When his team desperately needs an outside boost he'll sit and watch other teams get stronger while his soldiers get no help at all. Or the help they get is minimal. The only folks who think the Caps need a strong punishing defensive type are fans and the media. McPhee has never once expressed or hinted any interest in those types of players.

the GM is the single most important component (outside the owner who needs to hire the right GM and then give him the tools to do his job.)

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

sgm3:

you used a lot of words to say absolutely nothing. seriously, the Habs and Flyers making it as far as they did was all lucky bounces or statistical chance?? please, you and rantdino should go back to the kool aid cooler.

tominsocal: good point

tmac & cstanton: regarding McPee, word

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

sgm3:

you used a lot of words to say absolutely nothing
------------

i second this. My eyes glazed over. I think he said something about if a train left the station at 2 pm heading east at 40mph and a tree fell in the woods could you still hear a sound if no one was on that train

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

@doughless

If you are unable to understand probabilities and how they effect EVERYTHING that occurs in life then you are not very smart. Read some books about math and physics.

If you think hockey is the only place in life that probabilities and randomness do not occur then that says enough about you and your opinions.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe some of you want to bring in Kuz just because it would make Semin "happy" another Russian was on the team. Six million dollars should make him Semin happy.

I see it like this: The Capitals could do better by taking the six million they'll save by NOT having Semin in the lineup in 2011-12, and getting someone who might actually get a point in a 7-game playoff series...you know...like Boyd Gordon. Sheesh.

Kuz should look good in development camp. He's (talent-wise) a top-10 pick who is playing against mostly players who will never crack an AHL lineup. CapsFan's mentality of getting too high or too low is clearly on display here. One session at development camp does not make a career.

Posted by: pga6 | July 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

don't you worry sgm3, i read plenty of statistical method when in grad school. thanks for looking out for my intellectual endeavors. appreciate that!!

since you are so good with that coin, why don't we get together next season and make a fortune betting on games out in Vegas. i definitely wouldn't mind retiring early.

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

why would you even bring probabilities and stats into this debate unless you're just looking for a way to provide McP with an excuse?

You should really send an invoice to the Caps, sgm (does that stand for super george mcphee?). You're not being compensated for some excellent PR work.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I don't think McPhee is trying to hide anything or slant the results to his favor,. He and the owner stated before the free agency period started that their objective was to resign their RFA's and that they would not make a major move for a UFA. They did exactly what they stated publicly.

@tominsocal1
I really like Volchenkov, and I believe he would have helped the Caps, but i also believe if we could resign ShaMo for a one or two year deal @ $2.25-2.5 per, we would be better off than the long term $4.5 mikl per year that the Devils gave Volchenkov.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1...not sure if you remember the Emacalate Reception? Bradshwa throws a ball that bounces off of someones foot right to Franco Harris who runs it in for a touchdown to beat the Raiders. Steelers go on to win four Super Bowls in six years. I consider that a lucky bounce. I think you would be more rational if you got your head out of your butt.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | July 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I brought up probabilities to show how "luck" always has an impact in the outcome of every game when you said it had no impact. Over the course of a season or many seasons it tends to even itself out and the teams that produce the greater amount of chances and greater chances end up on top. However, to say it has no impact is wrong.

@doughless

Then please apply all you learned to your thought process on here.

Knowing the probabilities of Vegas should be enough to keep you away.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

One of the recurring points that GMGM uses to justify the lack of significant change is our regular season success.

I have one possible theory as to why that success hasn't carried over to the playoffs: Bruce Boudreau.

Specifically, his motivational skills.

While there is growing doubt about his tactical philosophies, I wouldn't be surprised if he's the best motivator in the league.

He's a player's coach. Guys seem to love playing for him. He knows how to push their buttons.

I think it's possible that he does this better than any other coach in the league during the 82-game grind. Once the playoffs roll around though, every team is motivated and that becomes less of a deciding factor, at least in terms of how the coach contributes to it. If a player can't get motivated and go all out for playoff hockey, he has no business in the league. If you have too many players that can't bring it in the playoffs, that's on the GM for not recognizing that sooner.

Bottom line: once Bruce's motivational skills become less of a factor, it comes down to tactics and the best of what your players can bring versus the best of what opposing players can bring. I wonder if our one-way style of play and poorly constructed roster gets exposed once the playoffs roll around and no matter how good Boudreau's motivational techniques are, they no longer result in the separation from the competition that they do during the regular season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

boomer44: I'm on record here saying I feel the Volchenkov contract has a slightly better than 50% chance of turning out "good" for NJ, but that still leaves room for almost 50% that you might be right.

For this season coming up, though, there's no question. So maybe a one-year deal for a guy like Mitchell is the answer. Even Andy Sutton for one year would help a little. He's better than Erskine, isn't he?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I agree about Volchenkov. 6 years with a NMC is a little worrisome though. However, that was a good price. But we also do not know if he would have signed in Washington over New Jersey if offered the same deal.

If healthy, I think Mitchell for 1 year would be the best way to go. Sutton would be okay. Maybe you pair Sutton with Carlson. Then Alzner with Poti. Or you could just keep it Alzner/Carlson and Sutton/Poti. Sutton/Poti would be a solid defensive pair. Especially if Poti played like he did in the postseason.

Also, there is little risk in a 1 year deal.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

everyone loves playing for coaches like Mike D'Antoni, Paul Westhead and BB because they're offensive coaches who don't demand much on the other end of the court and the ice.

I'm sure it's much more fun playing for them than for coaches like Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Scotty Bowman and Jacques Lemaire unless you're one of those rare players who wouldn't mind sacrificing for the big prize.

Posted by: joek443 | July 15, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1
Sutton is slightly better than Erskine, but more expensive. I believe ShaMo is better than both, I thought he had one of his better seasons last year.
The Volch contract works better for Jersey, they had more Cap room. But you know the numbers better than me, I have to say I enjoy your posts with the Caps numbers laid out, plus the occasional bit of prose.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Paul Westhead did win a title though and may have won a college championship too if not for the passing of Hank Gathers.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

yes, he did in Magic's rookie year... it always helps when you have all-time greats like Magic and Kareem on your team.

but Magic couldn't stand him and helped in getting rid of him a year later.

Posted by: joek443 | July 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

sgm3:

thanks for being the intellect cop here. i hope Tarik and the WAPO compersate you appropriately.

Posted by: doughless | July 15, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I don't think McPhee is trying to hide anything or slant the results to his favor,. He and the owner stated before the free agency period started that their objective was to resign their RFA's and that they would not make a major move for a UFA. They did exactly what they stated publicly.
-------------

i am referring to his overall track record of the same types of comments he makes following every transaction or lack thereof. When he acquires Corvo he states that Corvo was their top target. If that was true, he's truly stupid. If that wasn't true he's a liar. Now I don't expect him to deride a player he just acquired but he has shown a consistent pattern of overstating his acquistions, be it via the draft, via FA, or via trades.

and when nothing occurs, he can cover himself by saying he wasn't really looking anyway since the guys he had were better than any option out there (like he did 2 yrs ago standing pat at the deadline and referring to Pothier). Ditto his comments on his draft picks and how he likes to point out that they were much higher on the Caps draft board and he was prepared to trade up multiple spots to get them etc etc. He even says this about players that most ranking boards don't even register or show as clear reaches.

So respectfully, if you don't see this pattern of comments he makes following his acquisitions, i don't think you've been paying much attention.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"@cstanton1...not sure if you remember the Emacalate Reception"

oh yeah nimrod (apt name btw) i do remember the Immaculate Reception if that's what you tried to spell. Unfortunately for you, a fluky play like that doesn't occur often enough to let our GM off the hook for not creating a playoff-ready roster. And I'm sure if you go back to that game, that one play didn't determine the entire outcome. There were probably dozens of other plays that also helped determine the final outcome. When people talk about lucky bounces I have to wonder if they really understand sports at all. Just because a puck glances off a dman's skates in the 3rd pd of a game and ends up being the winning goal it doesn't mean that the winning team didn't also do a million other things correctly (thru no benefit of luck) that helped them win a game, a series, or the trophy. Sometimes what fans refer to as "luck" comes about with hard work. Sometimes it may be fluky but it doesn't negate every play that came before it that helped also determine that outcome.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@ v ...
oh I pay attention, I just don't se it the same way you do, A GM is never going to degrade a player he just acquired or state I was trying to get Kubina, but we settled for Corvo, you are not going to hear that ever.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@FrankM73:

I have been playing inline on and off (mostly on) for about 10 years, but have also participated in Ice clinics.

I've found it very hard--not to mention expensive--to get on an Ice team around here...

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 15, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"@cstanton1...not sure if you remember the Emacalate Reception"

Just change the "m" to a "j" and the second "a" to a "u" and you have an entirely different kind of sport.

And would give a whole new meaning to a "wide receiver."

boomer: thx

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 15, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Yeah, I guess the entire Lakers team hated him. Which is curious because he seemed to be very well liked in all the other places he coached.

And it is always easier to coach when you have great players. But it does point out that his style did work as long as he had good enough players to play in it.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

, A GM is never going to degrade a player he just acquired or state I was trying to get Kubina, but we settled for Corvo, you are not going to hear that ever.
-------------------------

thats pretty much exactly what I wrote. So why even feel the need to mention that? Thats just common sense. But not degrading or deriding a player is not the same as completely overstating the importance and impact of that acquisition either. Calling Corvo their top target? please..thats nauseating on every level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I honestly have never seen such a consistent pattern of incessant self-promotion, self-aggrandizing and CYA mentality
------------

Clearly you missed the B's Harry Sinden in his heyday - while there were many classic 'Harry the Hat' moments, one that stands still is when he defensively said about Sami Pahlsson 'scouts have called him the next Peter Forsberg' to try and quell the growing uproar after he'd traded #77 [Bourque] after two decades of insisting he'd never do it.

While it's still a tremendous high school, youth and college hockey town, Boston - which used to draw better for B's games than the C's, when they had Russell and dominated - is still recovering from way too many years of Sinden's shenanigans.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

And it is always easier to coach when you have great players. But it does point out that his style did work as long as he had good enough players to play in it.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 15, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

more appropriately, a coach who is tough on his players will only get his players to buy into his system out of 1) fear (which doesn't last) or 2) they believe in him which offers them a chance to win a trophy.


Any offensive-minded player would love to play for the Caps because they don't have to do much else to justify their spot in the lineup and earn a good living. NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

Flash could've continued to play his usual soft non-intense style of hockey and held onto his roster spot if not for the fact that he couldn't provide goals when the checking got tighter in the playoffs. As long as you throw in a point here and there BB will keep you in there regardless of what other holes you have in your game. Which puts more of a burden on the role players to cover the skill guys' mistakes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I was agreeing with you on that portion, don't be so sensitive.

Bruce's philosophy does have d-zone accountability, we as fans don't always hear what happens behind closed doors.

As a former proponent of rough and tumble hockey, I still love watching this current Caps team. They are so skilled and Bruce's attacking philosophy makes for exciting hockey. They are never out of a game they trail in, but I would like to see them become even stronger on closing out games that they have a lead.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 15, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

They are never out of a game they trail in,
------------

thats probably the only real enjoyment i get out of watching them is knowing they will turn it on when they need to. Easier of course to do that in the reg season when teams aren't as focused on every shift.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

i have no problem with the Bruins trading Bourque. It was similar to the Caps trading Hunter. Gave those guys a chance at least at the Cup.

Sami Pahlson I have a lot of respect for. He went from a guy who was supposed to be a top 6 forward to a guy who became one of the best checking forwards in the league. He reinvented his game to stay in the league. He had the speed and some skill and he added grit and defensive play to his arsenal to fully maximize his potential. Think Flash could ever do that?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 15, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

My but what a lot of personal attacks from fellow Caps fans. Quite unnecessary I believe.

As Caps fans I think we all agree that no one cares if the team wins another Presidents' Trophy, and that perhaps the team could use more challenges from other teams over the course of the season.

Therefore, why not use the beginning of the upcoming season as a tryout period for the rookies and save that money everyone wants to spend on a FA right now.

The rookies can gain valuable NHL experience and the team can work on areas of the system that needs work, such as the PK. Or figuring out how to adjust their game when against defensively oriented teams. The Hershey rookies can bring to the table their recent playoff experience where they had to do just that, adjust their game plan.

Then McPhee can assess which players should stay and what type of player(s) are still needed to win in the playoffs. Then get them via trade by the deadline.

The cap room is there. The rookies are given an opportunity. And McPhee will have identified by then which prospects can be used in a trade, who needs more development time, and who will be a mainstay on the Caps roster.

Moreover, the upcoming FA class is much larger--more choices on the menu and enough money in the pocket. I'm fine with McPhee sitting tight. I'm always wary of "buying high."

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | July 15, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

NEW THREAD oh argumentative ones ;-)

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

WHERE IS TODAY'S UPDATE ?????? There was scrimmage at 9 am. There is NOTHING on that.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | July 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1...look up nimrod in the dictionary then comment...The reception was in the last minute of the game and was truly a lucky bounce...If it didn't happen the Steelers would have gone home losers. Geez...you are so full of yourself.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | July 15, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Sami Pahlson I have a lot of respect for. He went from a guy who was supposed to be a top 6 forward to a guy who became one of the best checking forwards in the league. He reinvented his game to stay in the league
-------------

No, I completely agree. There's a reason he always made Team Sweden and it wasn't because there weren't more skilled forwards to choose from in Sweden. And his line [with Rob Niedermayer played a big role helping the Ducks win the Cup.

But my point was directed at Sinden, not to criticize Sami - because Sinden talked about the guy being the 'next Forsberg,' as he's replacing a Bruins icon. Thanks, Harry, no pressure there, just go out and play, kid.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 15, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@hock1

The point he's making is that the Flyers have a mentality that works well in the playoffs. Everyone knows the styles are much different, but the Flyers have been to the finals 6 times since we entered the league.The Flyers are mentally tough. We are not. Three game 7 home losses in a row. They would lynch you in Philly for that, and good for them. The same goes with McNab. He went to 5 NFC championships and has no ring. He's basically a loser. I hate fans from Philly, but I admire the way they don't tolerate wimps and losers.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 15, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@capsyoung guns You've got a point about buying. What the Rangers are paying the Boogeyman is ridiculous.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 16, 2010 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach: you are exactly right. Part of the Caps problem is the cult of Ted. The sychophant fans who kiss Leonsis' behind notwithstanding all the underachieving. The fan base MUST become more demanding.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 16, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

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