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Leftovers From Montreal

The Caps are off today, so I'm not writing a story for tomorrow's paper. But I wanted to pass along a few notes that didn't make today's edition.

Eminger Glad to Get In, Still Frustrated

I caught up with Steve Eminger after yesterday's 5-4 OT win over the Canadiens, his first game action since Nov. 26. As expected, the defenseman said he felt rusty and remains as confused and frustrated as ever about his lack of playing time.

Eminger received the least amount of ice time among all Caps, skating only 6:32 on 11 shifts.

"I felt pretty bad," he said. "My feet didn't feel great skating wise. My vision. It was really tough. But I was happy to be a part of a win because you don't want to come into a lineup and lose. But the whole thing is still frustrating."

Eminger, the Caps' No. 8 defenseman, has appeared in only three games. And depending on the health of Brian Pothier (head) and Tom Poti (upper body), it's possible Eminger will be back on the sidelines Wednesday against Colorado.

"I guess you have to take baby steps," Eminger said. "But I find that hard because I want to contribute more. I know that's not me out there. The last two games I played, I was in for just one game and then was back out, so I had nothing to build on. It would be great to get in a few games."

Erskine Drops a One Liner

I apparently offended defenseman John Erskine when I asked him about setting up the Caps' fourth goal with a well-timed pass to Alex Ovechkin as the winger stepped out of the penalty box.

Erskine, who has six assists, shot back with a smile, "What are you trying to say? I can make plays."

Injured Caps Catch a Break

The Caps could get considerably more healthy in the coming days. And with only one game this week, the timing couldn't be better.

Poti, Pothier, Alexander Semin (tailbone) are all listed as day-to-day and could resume practicing as soon as tomorrow.

Meantime, Chris Clark (strained groin muscle) has continued to make progress and backup goalie Brent Johnson is targeting Wednesday for his return.

Check back tomorrow morning for an update from KCI.

Kolzig Explains Slow Start

It's pretty obvious from looking at the box score that the Capitals were better in the second and third periods on Saturday than they were in the first.

Goaltender Olie Kolzig said the slow start had a lot to do with not practicing on Friday because of a problem with the team's plane, and the 12:30 p.m. face off.

"I don't think we had our legs under us with us not being able to practice and no morning skate," he said. "It just took us a while to get going."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 6, 2008; 11:59 AM ET
 
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Next: Injury Situation Worsens

Comments

I can understand Eminger's frustration. A lot of us are left wondering what the heck is going on with him and his situation. If management sees a problem in his game, why don't they work with him on it? Couldn't they try to fix the problem rather than having a guy continuously sit out game after game and get really rusty? It's not a good way to manage assets. However, having seen how McPhee has handled personnel in the past, I'm not surprised either. I think it's a waste.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | January 6, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

So great to see them come away with full marks in OT!! Kudos to Green!!! BTW - Boudreau's birthday is on Wednesday. Maybe us fans can contribute the energy towards a win over the Avs as a present.

Posted by: Rvan64 | January 6, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"I can make plays"

LOL

Posted by: pmoravek | January 6, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

What's the status on Fehr? I heard he was making big steps toward recovery.

Posted by: DC FURY | January 6, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
This is a little off subject, but I was wondering if I could get some journalistic help. I am on my school (Oakton HS)'s newspaper. For our upcoming issue, we were planning a centerspread on "Going Green" and the enviornment, etc. I know that Matt Bradley was really into all this stuff and so I came up with the idea that we could possibly interview him. My question for you is, is this at all possible? And if so, how would I go about getting an interview with Bradley and/or other team members?

Thanks!
Alena

Posted by: capsfan4life | January 6, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Puckdawg69

I can understand his frustration too.
But, this is his chance. He has to keep his head down, bust his hump in practice, and make the most of the opportunity.
If he can shake off the rust and make himself valuable to the team, he can earn a regular spot or garner some trade interest.
I really hope does well and cracks our lineup. Defense is an area we could do with some help.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 6, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

To me, Eminger does more complaining than contributing. When he didnt do very well when he first came in, he complained about being sent to the NHL too early, and he didnt get enough time to season in Portland. When they tried to send him down to the minors, he complained that he's an NHL caliber defenseman, and he shouldnt be sent to the minors. I really wish they would give him some playing time, so he could garner some trade value, because all he is doing is taking up roster space that could be used for someone worth it.

Posted by: Donald | January 6, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should pick a cue to all start singing happy birthday to Gabby? Is there some time when we could expect a moment of quiet where we would all know to start? Maybe even just at 10:00 in the second? Hey loud guy, if you are listening maybe you could get them to mic you up and you could help us get it started ... That and a couple "Happy Birthday Bruce (or Gabby)" signs would be all it would take to start up folks not in on it.

Thoughts?

Posted by: The Capitalist | January 6, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The Capitalist:
If I am there, I will sing along! Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to track loud guy down at the game and get him on board ... I bet he will do it (with or without a mic!).

From the previous post ...

mauree:
I did not realize that you were so far away! Bummer!! For some reason I thought you were in Northern Virginia. I feel your pain - I lived in a non-NHL team for years ... I missed my Cappies!! Well, guess I will have to cheer for you! :-D

Steve R:
I don't know who all is out for the Avs, but it sounds like mauree did! Regardless, I am more concerned about OUR depleated team. Hopefully some of the guys will be back Wed (sounds like they will).

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I will be there and will sing loudly!

Posted by: Donald | January 6, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's on me. Here's the plan (and were using code names too!). As as the first TV time out after 10:00 in the second period starts we start (note the red light by the Caps penalty box). Anybody who can, make a small sign (Happy Birthday Bruce is all we need) so others will know what's up. I just happen to be sitting in loud guy's section this game, so I'll see about him. Spead the word!

Posted by: TheCapitalist | January 6, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@Alena: call the Caps tomorrow morning at 202 266 2200 and ask for the media relations dept. They should be able to help you.

@DC Fury: Fehr is getting closer. I'm doing a story on him this week.

Posted by: Tarik | January 6, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

also, not sure why this blog entry posted three times. but it's fixed now.

Posted by: Tarik | January 6, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik I look forward to the article.

Posted by: DC FURY | January 6, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Eminger is caught in the CBA rules. He is young enough that he still needs developement time and the rules basically force the Caps to keep him on the NHL roster or lose him on waivers.

Where would you put him in the lineup? Thats the main question. Schultz is a primary player on the PK and Eminger would not be.

Erskine already plays sparingly and brings a style of game that Eminger doesn't offer either.

Who do you bench regularly so that Eminger can play?

Posted by: Rob | January 6, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Football is over...Lets get some good crowds out to these next 5 games...bring your friends...buy a cheap seat...Just tell em not to get up during play!

I think success would be 7 points in the next 5 games.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 6, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Eminger can break the lineup if he turned into a nasty, snarly, bone crushing d-man who fought, cleared the front of the net, and ran opposing forwards at the blue line. Until then he sits or gets moved.

Posted by: Just make a save | January 6, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm naive but I'd think that the first place to earn a spot is during practice. You give 100% consistently there, and your chance should come... shouldn't it?

I know some people here attend some practices... so, does he give all there?

Posted by: mauree | January 6, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: RIT | January 6, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Where's everybody at?
Mourning for the 'Skins?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

mauree

I was at practice last week. I paid really close attention to him in particular because I would like to try and figure it out too.
Emmy didn't look like he felt he was part of what's happening.
Other players are joking with each other. Interacting with the coaches between drills. Things like that.
He looks like he feels like the kid that didn't get picked in the sandlot kickball game.

Maybe I'm reading way too much into it considering I only got to see him for 45 minutes.
But I have been involved with enough teams to know the odd man out when I see him.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

With Alzner possibly ready for the bigs next year (?), who gets signed and who gets traded on D?

RFA
Emmy
Mo
Green (please sign him soon)

Be hard to trade Pothier or Poti with high salary for the production they give.


http://www.nhlscap.com/capnumbers/washington.htm

Posted by: Steve R | January 6, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@pmoravek, mauree, et al,

Los guys and gals,
The Skins mourning is over. This is a great time to get the DC sports fan interested in Da Caps. Recall seeing Cooley and Sellers in the stands?
As long as we play hard and passionate like we have been, the fan base will grow. Let's just keep doing our part like we have been, and take a few others who have never been to a game and open their minds.

Lets Go Cap-I-Tals!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 6, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

If I had to pick which team I wanted to win yesterday either Caps or Skins, it was the Caps all the way. I'm Skinned out. And the Montreal victory meant much more to me. LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: kenhockey | January 6, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

If I'm coaching the team, I use the pairings
Green Morrissonn
Alzner Poti
Pothier Erskine (or Schultz)
and find a way to trade Emy and Juice.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | January 6, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

just to compliment whiter mage --

I might think about including Godfrey somewhere in that line-up. we could use that shot of his.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 6, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Skins, anyone see the 7.5 pages (literally, not a joke this time) in todays Post? We got the back page for Green's OT winner.

The worst part is, I'm betting they will have 4 pages tomorrow as well.

RE: Eminger

I found myself telling Eminger to get off the ice every shift he took. That tying goal in the third was his fault. When he was taking shifts at the end of the third I was actually worried. Remember that pass he fanned on? I thought that was the game.

Eminger needs to prove he's worth it before he plays. Work your butt off in practice so that we can play you and then trade you. Don't throw a hissy fit about playing time - become a part of this team and you'll get that.

Posted by: Raber | January 6, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe that Eminger doesn't have a clue as to why he sits... I have to believe that the coaches have talked with him about his game.

The only explanation as to why he would not know anything about his status would be becaused he royally pissed off somebody, but I think he would know that too...

The best explanation is the CBA explanation. Too valuable to release, but not good enough to play. Hence, he sits until someone makes an offer for him that is acceptable to mgmt.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 6, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but I don't really care about the Skins. In fact, there is a part of me that is slightly amused when the lose (did I say that out loud?). :-X I was actually at the game back in 86 or 87 when they lost to the Cowboys, and I think that was the only Cowboys' win that year ... that was funny, I mean, that was tragic! ;-)

Back to the CAPS!!!!! :-D Is it just me, or is Jurcina a shadow of his former self? I was impressed with him last season ... this season, not so much.

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Whiter Mage,
I doubt there's a lot of interest in either Jurcina or Eminger in the trade market; if the Caps don't want to play them next year they could just not qualify them and let them walk as UFAs

DrinkingPartner,
Godfrey has a great shot and did well at the world juniors but I think the consensus is he needs more defensive experience before he can play professionally so I doubt he'd be in Washington next year - wouldn't be surprised to see him invited to camp though. Maybe he'll impress and earn a spot.

Posted by: dmg | January 6, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I like football (not as much as hockey). The Skins... I find it a little ridicolous that all year long they'd be cheering stopping a second down (the opponent will then convert a third down so often lol)... it's like if the Caps cheered when they shot on net or something. But mostly, I don't see determination, effort. I find the Skins just not inspiring. If they win or lose I just go "meh". If the Caps lose I'm very pissed lol and if they win it makes me happy and inspired, especially the "hard" wins we're having lately.


GO CAPS.

Posted by: mauree | January 6, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

mauree: ditto

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

mauree: ditto

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Ha! I ditto'd myself ... not sure how that happened?!? :-/

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Pete | January 6, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Eminger get a couple games in a row. It is hard for any player to only practice and not even sniff the starting line-up 20 games between starts. Speed in practice is not anywhre near a game, so it is hard to be at game speed. I don't know who you move out of the line-up and I might be in the minority, but I beleive the team should at least give him a couple games to prove himself. We were at fault for rushing him to the NHL

Posted by: Mike | January 6, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Thursday was horrible. Caps lost, Hokies lost, someone kicked my dog....

Boy did Saturday make up for it. Alex scored twice, I love Nicky, and I love Green more. Too bad for the Skins, but they showed a lot of courage and went farther than anyone expected.

Trying to work out something to be at the game Wednesday. Will definitely be there on Sunday!

Capitals Rock!!!

Posted by: Kim | January 6, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Eminger is making 1 million dollars a year to practice with the team. Not a bad gig if you can get it!

He's got that relatively sizable contract because he's a former first-round draft pick. But he is veering toward officially becoming a "bust" at this point in his career. All of us have to consider the possibility that he's not playing because he's simply not that good.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | January 6, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a shame what they're doing to Eminger. I don't think he's a great defenseman, but he certainly is better than Erskine, given some playing time.

Good win though, lets keep it going!

Posted by: jwh37 | January 6, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Oneal
This is exactly the case.
But a guy with that much potential just doesn't suddenly lose it.
He will be getting a few games now. The first few he will probably be gripping the stick too hard. He just needs to work hard and get back to it.
Yeah we rushed him into service the last few seasons, but that was then this is now....and now is his chance.

It's all on him.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 6, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

If anybody thinks that Schultz is anything but softer than Charmin, they're a moron. Erskine is a tough guy, but not an all-situations d-man. If he actually got to play a few games in a row, he'd be OK. He's definitely a top 6 on the Caps.

Send Jeffy back to Hershey where he can learn how to play hockey like a big boy, and don't bring his pathetic butt back 'til he does.

Posted by: Mr. Whipple | January 6, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Whipple:
Yes, I agree that Erskine is not fast, graceful or whatever, but I like he old timey hockey play. I think it adds something that the Caps need. He is not afraid to get in front of the net and keep others out. He is not a finesse player, but he is fearless, and he plays with heart. I would rather see him than Jeff "fall down go boom" Schultz out there - Schultz needs to go back to Hershey (and bulk up on chocolate). Let Green be the fancy pants offensive D man out there - Erskine is a nice complement to his play ... he completes him. ;-) Granted, they may not be paired together, I just think that there is room for both types of play. Nuff said.

Posted by: Boo! | January 6, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik

Since you live near the Ashburn Ice House...we usually need another player to fill out the lines on our C league team Sunday/Monday nights. We'd love to have you as a ringer...I mean sub...when you're around ;-).

Posted by: Bubba | January 6, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Eminger get some time instead of Schultz. I understand that he needs time to develope, but when i watch him I just get the feeling that brian boitano taught him hockey and steven hawking taut him skating. Needless to say it gets annoying. Plus with Eminger's desire to prove himself i can see him playing with some real intensity once he gets a chance to.

Posted by: DC FURY | January 6, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Schultz does not need to go down to Hershey. No, he doesnt play up to his size, but he is sound positionally, doesnt make bad passes, and gets his shot through to the goalie. All Eminger does is whine, I think he was exposed to Jagr too much when he was here. Prove yourself in practice. Its obvious Erskine works hard in practice, because when theres an injury or they need to send a message to Pothier or Jurcina for example, hes the first one thrown out there. Maybe if Eminger endeared himself to the coaching staff by acting like a professional, he'd be out there.

Posted by: Donald | January 6, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I tend to go with Eminger needs to let his skating & defensive skills do the talking in practice or in his limited game appearances.

Until that happens he has only himself to blame.

Johnny doesn't make excuses for being rusty when he plays. Why should a sometimes 4th line d-man?

Posted by: slappy | January 6, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Just noticed Colorado is playing at Detroit on tuesday in a national televised game.

So the Caps will catch them on the 2nd of a back to back on Wed night, minus Sakic and Smyth.

Could be ripe for an upset.

Posted by: Stormblue | January 6, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Eminger should watch from the cheap seats and shut up! He stinks, thats why he is not playing.

Posted by: Bob | January 6, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Donald,

I'll second that. Schultz is playing pretty well for a guy his size and age and I won't call him soft - yet. To me he looks like he's hesitant to hit because he doesn't want to pull himself out of positions trying to make the big hit.

Also of note: for all the talk about how big he is Schultz is listed at 215-220 (depending on the source) so he doesn't weight all that much more than an average NHL defenseman. Once he fills out that frame he will, but at this point he's tall and thin.

Posted by: dmg | January 6, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Upset HELL!

Look out, the boys are back in town!

Happy Birthday, Gabby!

Posted by: OleMiss | January 6, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@Bubba

I haven't played in almost 5 years. But I plan to get back to playing some pick up this summer hopefully.

Posted by: Tarik | January 7, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Nice interview on the blog Tarik, that was very gracious of you.

Posted by: Melissa | January 7, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like from pmoravek yesterday as though GMGM has totally broken Eminger. Such a class way to handle a first round draft pick.

If you don't want him on the team then trade him and try to get something for him. If you want him, send him down to Hershey. If he doesn't go, bring him back up through waivers at half price. Someone may pick him up. Keep him on the waiver wires.

But to sit him game after game and then inject him for only one a month will do nothing for him or the team. No one on the team knows how to play with him, and he has no chemistry with the team. Of course he looks out of place, because gmgm made it that way.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I don't think this is all Emmie's fault. I mean let's face Hanlon was not the best coach around. It seems that everyone has blossomed under BB and BB seems like he's willing to give the boys a chance to learn. The fact that he hasn't done that with Emmie tells me someone is probably telling him to sit Emmie. I think we did a huge disservice to both Sutherby and Emminger b/c both of them seem to have a lot of potential. Seriously how can you blame Emmie for going out there and not playing the best professional game of his life. He was given barely any minutes to even get used to it and it's been forever since he even played in a professional game. I think Hanlon and gmgm are to blame for this one. I don't blame his bad attitude one bit. I would feel the same way if I were him, as would any of you I'm sure. Hanlon and gmgm needed to go a long time ago....

Posted by: K | January 7, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh and lets not forget that Emmie hasn't really had the oppurtunity to play with a great defensive vetran who would have taught him the ropes....

Posted by: K | January 7, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Eminger needs a coach. Not for hockey, but a professional "life" coach to get him into the mindset of being a winner. If I were him, I wouldn't wait around for gmgm to recommend it because it won't happen.

If he can develop a positive attitude in the face of adversity and show what he can do, he'll be personally OK. He'll get noticed in a positive way. It will take awhile, but it's not like he's going anywhere now, is it?

This handling of prospects goes beyond Eminger and Sutherby to Clymer, Bourque, Boumedienne, Cassivi, Machesney, and on and on. My beef is that gmgm has either never given them a good chance to develop to their potential, and/or has kept them in place blocking others from development.

To wit. What happens with Laing when the injured returns? Hasn't he earned a slot in the line up? The NHL rules dictate the number of persons on the roster. Eminger and Erskine take up a roster slot. I'd be willing to bet that Laing gets sent back down even though he doesn't have to go.

I'm not saying "play Eminger". Frankly, I can't remember what he was like last year, and haven't seen him this year. What I am saying is either work with him and put him in a rotation with Erskine, or move him and make room for others that have earned the slot.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

1) Some have said that Eminger is a 'complainer'. Geez, considering how he has been shafted by the team he has been VERY composed.
2) Most guys would have had a few public outbursts by now. He hasn't. Sure he's honest when interviewed about being frustraded, etc, but who in his position wouldn't be? Don't recall him seeking the media out to complain.
3) His situation has been mishandled from the beginning, and its just snowballed to where he is now, hockey limbo.
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Fauxrumors | January 7, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Re: Eminger

I have a possible explanation: He's not very good. What does he bring to the table that none of the other defensemen can do better?

He doesn't hit particularly well. Positionally, he often gets burned. He's not tough. He's not a good skater. He brings no offense. And I think, worst of all, he gets panicked with the puck in our own end and can't make a pass to start a transition.

We might have to just face reality that he IS in fact our 8th best defenseman and that's why he sits.

Posted by: Sapper | January 7, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I really do not understand where the thoughts of "Shultz is playing well" are coming from. Are we all talking about the same #55? What am I missing? I think he is more of a liability, his faults outwiegh his benefits. He's slow (positionally he's ok), sometimes other players end up taking penatlies just to try and recover from his slowness. He is soft, there is no benefit to having him in front of the crease, he's not going to move anyone. I would rather almost anyone else than him...escpecially on a 5 on 3! I wish the kid well, but he just isn't ready yet.

Posted by: Why Schultz? | January 7, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Hi Tarik!

If the Capts make the playoff, we play golf together on the course that you want and I pay.

Posted by: Paul | January 7, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Enough of the Eminger crying.. the guy isnt what he was supposed to be.. He has shown nothing when he was in there, and his last 2 seasons here were horrible... Trade him (if anybody wants him) or let him ride the bench.... If he rides the bench who cares, hell he'll probably get burned doing that as well..

Posted by: Darryl | January 7, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Why is everyone so upset about Eminger?

Why do people think that Fehr is the answer to all problems?

Neither player is good enough for the NHL.

Posted by: Finn | January 7, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Eminger is not playing because of Mike Green - plain and simple. Eminger needs to play better than Green, Mo, or Schultz to get ice time.
I dont think he has the heart, honestly.
Coach B doesnt care that Steve is riding the pine and he's "rusty" or his "feet don't feel right". What crap!
The kid needs to rise up and do his best - if that is his best, then maybe he doesn't belong. Sure, injuries have played a part. He has to play like Laing, and lay it all on the line. He has had ample opportunity to prove himself - better players are advancing now and HE blew it, not GMGM, Hanlon, or Bouds.
You know, Suts and Emi felt some sort of RIGHT to play by virtue of their high draft selection, and to be honest, that's the way they were treated.
There's a new sheriff in town now.

Posted by: Shaggy | January 7, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Ahh, all this Eminger talk... why?

We need 7-8 of the 10 possible points on this home stand. It's very possibly.

I think we can take Colorado, Philly, Florida, and Edmonton... the Sens, scare me a bit. They have to be so pissed at us. Philly and the Sens are prolly going to be the toughest games. Can we get a fricken win against Florida? I sure hope so.

If we can get 7-8 points out of this home stand, we will be .500 for the first time since November or something.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I play in the Ballston league. You should join our team.

Posted by: Sabah | January 7, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

To Greg S. ...

"Clymer, Bourque, Boumedienne, Cassivi, Machesney"

Out of those players only Bourque and Machesney are actually young prospects. Bourque completely needed to fill out and gain strength to compete at the NHL level, given his size. To date, he has done that. Who would you bench to give him an Caps sweater right now?

Machesney is young and gaining experience at the A.

Cassivi, Boumedienne and Clymer propsects? I don't think so.

Posted by: What?? | January 7, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Why Schulz?

Sure he ain't a Norris candidate, but he's currently got better stats than,

Bret Hedican
Sheldon Souray
Adam Foote
Mike Commodore
Patrice Brisboise
Jack Johnson
Chris Chelios

Posted by: slappy | January 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

You guys missed my point. gmgm has to deal with him because he's taking up space that could be used by someone else, like Laing.

If he's no good, send him down, trade him or just plain move him. Keeping him on the pine simply constrains the options available to Coach B. As I mentioned before, what happens to Laing when Clark, Semin, et al come back? He'll have to go back to Hershey. Why? Because Eminger is sitting in the press box night after night.

This is NOT good business.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

828, come on, we own the Sens. ^_^
We need to fear going to the shootout with the Oilers. 11 SO wins, what the heck?

Posted by: tallbear | January 7, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I called into NHL on XM radio this morning during "Ted's Take" and asked Leonsis about Emminger.
He said it was a "depth chart" issue and that we have other players in those types of positions that fill the need better than Emmy.
Thats' the way the coaches see it anyway.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Tarik

Friday @ lunchtime Ashburn has some decent drop-in hockey. Seems like they usually have at least two goalies and from 18-25 skaters.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@What??

Cassivi is currently playing most of the games in Hershey. He's 32 and to my knowledge has never played an NHL game. He is no longer a prospect for development. The prospect, Machesney, sits on the bench during games. So how is he being developed? Where is his game experience? We need a goalie next year or the year after. Will that be Cassivi? Johnson? Or Machesney? If Machesney has no competition time, how will he develop into our "go to" goalie?

That's why I said that there are some prospects that are being blocked from development because of non-prospect players. What's the objective? To win the Calder or develop players for the Caps?

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Greg S -- I have raised the question before too (what happens when the team gets healthy and we need another roster spot).

BUT -- what would have happened if we had sent Eminger to Hershey 2 weeks ago (before the roster spot WAS needed) and he was claimed? Yea, we save the money, but when Poti and Pothier got hurt then we wouldn't even have enough players to field a team without recalling someone. We really don't know WHAT will happen when the team GETS healthy, but I don't see how it is fair to complain about what MAY happen IF the team gets healthy and that spot is needed. This team hasn't been healthy for weeks and weeks.

In my opinion, you don't potentially give away assets weeks before you may need to make a roster spot.

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

pmoravek!

You should have asked: when (or if) are you signing AO and Greeen? That's the big question mark :D

Re: Eminger - as I said, he should play his heart out during practice, and during the small chances he gets to play. pmoravek reported on the practices, and honestly he went anonymous last game. So I think the first thing that needs change is himself.

But - Greg S is also right: the situation has been like this since too long. Trade him, send him down, energize him, do something for crying out loud.


Posted by: mauree | January 7, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg S.

I think Varlemov is the goalie they are hoping to use in the future. At least he WAS.
I'm not sure if Varlemov not being invited to the World Juniors may have impacted those plans.
I think Ted & GMGM are content to ride it out with Olie for the moment. It will be interesting to see who they plan on putting in the cage next season.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

GregS, according to NHL.com, Cassivi's played 13 games in the NHL, 5 for the Caps.

Posted by: tallbear | January 7, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

tallbear

We may own the Sens, but they are still the best in the East. I find it hard to believe that we are the only team to beat them twice this season, let alone, three times.

Oilers - we may have trouble with them, they are a bad team, we seem to have a hard time with bad teams. 11 SO wins??? Yikes, I think they only have 8 wins in regulation then.

Posted by: 828 | January 7, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Greg S.:
Cassivi played in the bigs last year (when Kolzig was out with a knee injury).

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@Jeff

OK, but what if he never got hurt and didn't need him?

The crystal ball doesn't work. You have to take your chances. How do you know the roster spot is needed? If the asset isn't being used in any way, as in Eminger's case, then put an asset in that will be used in SOME way.

You have 2 D-men sitting the pine night in and out. All O-men are in the active rotation. There is no backup for the O, which is why Laing is here. Move Eminger or Erskine (Eminger seems to be the choice here), and keep Laing. There are 12 O-men and 6 D-men. Chances are better that an O-man will get hurt. There should be one in ready reserve who has practiced with the team day in and out and has some chemistry with the others.

The AHL is there for development of players to the NHL. There are protections built into the CBA for players so some don't have to go through waivers each time they get sent up and down.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey Boo!
G-mornin,

I actually didn't need to ask about Ovie and the contract talks. They led off with that at the beginning of the show.
XM204's shows seem to all be produced in Canada so naturally the discussion turned to the Canadian press rumor that AO had turned down an offer at blah, blah million for yadda, yadda years.
When confronted Ted kind of laughed a bit and said that a few years ago we (I'm not sure who "we" is 'cause he didn't ask for my input) tore down the team in order to rebuild. Guys like AO, Green, & Backstrom are the "Cornerstones" of that rebuilding process.
He mentioned that we have managed our cap money well and that we have room under the cap to sign these players.
As is customary we have agreed with the player's families to keep these negotiations confidential. But I have every confidence that we will retain these young players.
His final quote was "One day we are gonna wake up and have a MONSTER hockey team."

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the correction on Cassivi.

I still don't think of him as a prospect, or our next backup goalie.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Gotta disagree with you on that one Greg S.
That's why you carry eight d-men on the roster but you usually only dress six.
You need that depth in case of injuries.
That being said...I would say that Erskine is a "depth" player and he is comfortabel in that role. Getting called up when needed and putting in a solid performance.
Emmy is very obviously NOT comfortable in that role. Being a kid who has been one of the go-to players on his teams growing up and being picked high in the draft. I'm sure he is just having trouble wrapping his head around the situation.
Be that as it may...that's what we need him to do right now.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@pmoravek

Sweet! One day we'll wake up...

I think we do have a monster team in the making. I'm just concerned that we don't have the management team in place to effectively utilize the talent in the pool. I think the coach is here. I'm hoping that he likes his assistants.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

BB had a chance early in his playing career to change from an offensive minded forward to a shut-down checking forward and he didn't do it thereby cutting short his playing career. Eminger is facing the same choice: either change or sit. It's an "economy of skills" so to speak. Develop skills other Caps d-men don't have like just plain getting snarly and rugged. If he hit everything that moves-AO style- we wouldn't be having this conversation. Right now he brings nothing more (and probably a little less) than what the Caps already have.

Posted by: Just make a save | January 7, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' pmoravek!! :-D
Did you ask him why he did not consult you? He Really should have ... if he read this blog he would know that ... ;-)

Greg S.:
I agree - I think Cassivi is at least at his prime, if not past it. I don't think he is NHL material. He's good, he's just not great (at least not in the NHL).

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Greg S.
A week ago I think I felt the same way. Maybe things were being mis-managed. But now I think I understand better what Ted has been trying to do.

These kids we have...Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, Green, et al.
They are not even in their prime yet. When they get to the ages of 26 to 29 they are gonna be friggin beasts.
Even somebody like Schultz is gonna have 6 or 7 years in the league and another 25-30 pounds on him.
If we can keep this group together and healthy, we are gonna have a legitimate shot at going very deep n the playoffs and maybe even contending for the Cup.

Maybe Ted just has me drinking the Kool-aid but I think we've got a bright future.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Greg S -- actually, the roster is 23 players and the Caps have 8 D and 13 forwards (2 goalies). Of course right now with Clark on IR they have 14 forwards. But here's the thing. I'd rather have 2 backup D because you can dress 7 D if you are a forward short and double shift OV. You can't really dress 5 D.

I do get your point -- we have a player in Eminger who won't see the ice unless 2 guys are hurt (and even then will get minimal time). However, the only options for him are to get put on waivers, or trade him for much less than management likely wants (my opinion). Similarly to Sutherby, they appear happy to hold onto him until a deal presents itself that makes sense for the team today and for the team long term.

Perhaps Eminger is Boston's Jurcina from last season? Would people be happy getting a 4th rounder for him?

Posted by: Jeff | January 7, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Enough of this whacky banter ... move on to the good news of the next thread! :-D

Posted by: Boo! | January 7, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Jeff

That Emmy=Juice analogy is a good one I think.
Jurcina was the odd-man out up in Beantown and he is a very servicable d-man for us.

We may see some more of our defenseman become obsolete in the coming years. Guys like Alzner & Godfrey are coming up soon.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 7, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

No arguments from me on that, pmoravek! AO, AS, Backstrom, Green will all be huge in a few years of experiential growth. I'm just thinking that the pipeline between the team and prospect development is the problem area, and I don't think that gmgm is the one to run it.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 7, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: seroitu | February 26, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

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