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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 02/18/2011

Line change: Do the Caps really need another defenseman?

By Washington Post Sports Editors

There has been plenty of talk about the Capitals' need for a second-line center, but the possibility also exists that General Manager George McPhee would try to add another defenseman for insurance.

The November trade for Scott Hannan gave Washington another solid veteran presence, but with Tom Poti nursing a groin injury most of the season and now Mike Green dealing with inner-ear trauma, would it be such a bad idea to play it safe with the blueline corps?

As a matter of fact, yes, according to some readers.

FergusonFoont wrote: "Oh dear GOD NO!!! We do NOT need another defenseman. We need to go back to playing wild, woolly CAPITALS hockey instead of this stalemate garbage we've seen since our last trade for a defenseman early this year (Fleischmann for Hannan)."

Bean1 added: "Defense?? We need offense."

Does anyone disagree? If the right defenseman became available, would a trade be smart? Or should McPhee only focus on improving the offense by the Feb. 28 deadline?

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 18, 2011; 12:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

what is the point of making a trade.

we need a center/ a right wing to play on top line. need to replace chimmy. the d needes help. the goalies are young. all of this is not something that can be done before the D. same players get hurt all the time semin/fehr/green... same story every year

Posted by: samb99 | February 18, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The Caps will never become and remain an elite team as long as Jeff Schultz is getting a regular shift. He is not an NHL defenseman -- the plus/minus mirage has been exposed this year (-1).

The Caps need a real No. 1 defenseman to skate with Mike Green. Give Green a Brooks Orpik-type to partner with and you'd see a totally different team.

Posted by: professorhockey | February 18, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Kaberle to Boston for almost free, round-picks and someone. GOod job GMGM, don't listen to those stupid fans that want their team to win, just stay on

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 18, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

While I think the Caps evaluate the talent of wings [Ovie, Semin], centers [Backs, MJ, Kuznetzov, Eakin] and goalies [Varly, Neuvy - but not Holtby, slow feet = lethal for goalies], I'm on the fence re: how well Caps Mgmt evaluates defense-men.

Of course, with talent like Carlson, Green and Alzner that sounds crazy - but Jeff Schultz was somehow a 1st-rounder, and our "prized pickup" last year was Mr. Corvo [he moved the puck alright, just to the wrong team]. Two things that don't matter in hockey are 1) height [not width / thickness - height] and 2) geography. It doesn't matter where you were born - what matters is whether you can actually play.

As Melrose so eloquently put it, for GMGM and many other NHL GMs, "If you're big, you almost have to prove you can't play," whereas little guys [MSL in CGY] only get one shot, if that.

While I think the Caps do need another d-man, I'm more than a little concerned about what GMGM will give up to get him.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Could a reporter ask why hockey players don't wear some sort of ear protection? Crosby wears some sort of shield to protect his ears. And I've seen clips of the '80s where Bengt Gustafsson wore a helmet that protected his ears. It's amazing to me that what happened to Green doesn't happen much more often.

And I remember a few years ago when Ovechkin took off a piece of Chris Clark's ear with a shot up high.

Posted by: bubbad | February 18, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Kaberle to Boston for almost free, round-picks and someone. GOod job GMGM, don't listen to those stupid fans that want their team to win, just stay on

Posted by: beforeitstoolate
------------

Many Boston fans think [according to WEEI anyway] that the B's will give up too much to get Kaberle - but I agree, he should do very well there. Right now, Recchi plays point on their #1 unit - a 43-yr old Recchin' Ball is no power play point man, that's for certain [not sure a younger one would've been either].

Their D - other than Seidenberg and maybe Chara - don't get the puck up to their forwards all that well on even strength right now either, and Kaberle would certainly help with that.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Please, Post, no more of these "fans speak out" postings. I come here for the latest Caps news and some professional analysis of their play, not CapsIdiot567's latest theory about what why we should trade Alex Semin or fire GMGM. The comments after each game are bad enough -- why elevate them to the main body of the blog?

Posted by: BigMogilny | February 18, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't really think this team has what it takes to go very far no matter who is added. I just want GMGM to make a move only to shake this thing up! If you're not going to let BB go, then make a trade or do something. He'll wait until the deadline and get Jack Buttface or another stiff, and say that's who he was targeting all along.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 18, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@bubbad - it's a macho thing.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes. With Poti not at 100%, Green banged up, and a young learning D crew behind Hannon it is maybe the second biggest need behind a #2 center. Add to that an upgrade on the 2/3 line wing. I also have concerns in goal. Nuevy has been pretty solid all year but is still learning and Varly is starting to make me think he is not the real deal. May need a proven vet (any available?) for any kind of long run. GMGM has much to do in a little over a week!

Posted by: capfan89 | February 18, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I personally prefer CapsIdiot567's theories.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 18, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The most glaring weakness for the Caps is that they don't have a top notch #1 defensemen. Carlson may some day develop into that player, but he is not there yet. The Caps have a bunch of solid defensemen, so there is no need for another one; but, they could use a true #1.

As for wild wooly offensive play, that is fun to watch and will win games in the regular season. But, it is a recipe for a quick exit from the playoffs. The playoffs are different than the regular season. And, although, wide open offensive play works in the regular season, it does not work in the playoff (my speculation is b/c in the playoffs, defensemen up their play, grab more, and the refs call the game a bit differently)

Posted by: Cznzy | February 18, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

the Maple Leafs have traded the veteran defenceman to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick.

that was a give away.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 18, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Depth at every position is crucial for playoff success, so yes. Of course it all depends on the player and the cost to get him.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 18, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@before - I agree it was a good trade for the B's - I just wrote that many B's fans [to hear WEEI tell it anyway] feel that's too much - ie, the 1st rounder - for a UFA at the end of the year.

Of course, if Kaberle were from Ontario, they'd be beside themselves.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

gmgm sleeping,,.... should have grabbed Kaberle he is a lot better than joe corvo

Posted by: wendel2 | February 18, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

There's the argument out there that the Caps D appears to be so bad because the Offense has really slacked off. Allowing 2-3 goals a game wasn't an issue when the Caps were outscoring everybody. Now that they can't put the puck in the net, the D looks comparatively worse.

The real question is what will the Caps' play look like come playoff time? Do they have a good enough defense to grind out the tough playoff wins?

Seems to me the Caps need depth at defensemen to go with the ones they already have (Green, Carlson, Alzner) - those three probably won't all make it through the playoffs intact.

Does anyone else think this team is merely sleepwalking through the regular season? When they've had enough motivation, they've been able to elevate their game just fine. But they get lazy and don't care half the time.

Posted by: SavedByZero | February 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

the Maple Leafs have traded the veteran defenceman to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick.

that was a give away.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate

That is a good amount for Kaberle. Colborne is a good prospect.

Incidentally, I have called for McPhee acquiring Hejduk to play 1 RW. $3m, but UFA at seasons end. Anyone else have any ideas?

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Boston sending Stuart and Wheeler to Atlanta for Peverley and Valabik.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | February 18, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

This team needs lots of pieces to make a legit run...defense, offense, goaltending.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 18, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

gmgm sleeping,,.... should have grabbed Kaberle he is a lot better than joe corvo

Posted by: wendel2
-------------

Understatement of the year!

Kaberle gets knocked for his D, but he's fine against almost everyone other than a few teams' elite #1 lines - but there are very few d-men in the league who don't struggle against lines like that.

And he does a good job against most #2 lines, and just fine against bottom-6's. I.e., his defense is better than average. And the B's needed the help back there, esp. on the PP.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 18, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

the Maple Leafs have traded the veteran defenceman to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick.

that was a give away.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate

That is a good amount. Colborne is considered a good center prospect. Now Toronto has two firsts.

You have to remember that Toronto was not dealing from a position of strength as they could only talk to teams that Kaberle wanted to go to, and that list was supposedly very small(it didn't include the Caps either).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Tomas Kaberle traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for prospect centre Joe Colborne, the Bruins' first round pick in 2011 and a conditional draft pick.

Seems to be a lot for an average defenseman. Glad we stayed away from this one - we already have the offensive defenseman who cannot play in his own zone.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 18, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Boston sending Stuart and Wheeler to Atlanta for Peverley and Valabik.

Posted by: Hatfield223

That was a little surprising.

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

Most people on here need to shut up about criticizing GMGM for not acquiring Kaberle. First, Kaberle had a NTC and never made any indication he was willing to waive it to come to DC. Second, when there were rumors that the Caps could go after Kaberle, many people on here bashed GMGM for going after another non-physical D-man.

Once Kaberle(or anyone else) gets traded to another team it was GMGM's mistake for not acquiring him, but if GMGM did acquire him it would've been his idiotic mistake for acquiring another non-physical D-man.

I swear there are some people on here who will criticize just to criticize, no matter what happens it is wrong in their eyes.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Boston sending Stuart and Wheeler to Atlanta for Peverley and Valabik.

Posted by: Hatfield223

What? Peverly is really good. Boston is going for it big time. Philly too. Our GM needs to make a statement.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

don't want Hejduk in any shape or size. Caps don't need it, damn Boston! Now bears are shipping Wheeler to hotlanta for Peverly. Is it Feb 28th today?

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 18, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Amen on Kaberle - exact opposite of what we need. Peverly kinda hurts though. There are tons of players out there, people - let it play out before you judge GMGM.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 18, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Fisher would have been really good. Versteeg would have been good too. Other than that, none of the guys moved would have been right.

But Boston looks really tough. They, and Philly both have 3 really good lines.

This is where only McPhee can make a mark. If he doesn't, this should be his last trade deadline. We need a 1RW, 2C. No one else is waiting until the deadline, neither should we. Two days off until next game.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sgm3 | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagree. Caps need a player like Kaberle, with Mike Green slacking a lot lately, we need a guy who can move a puck from the zone without dump and chase hockey. I lost count how many icing calls we had because players like Green just dump it all the way. Kaberle is puck moving defender, not a figure skate

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 18, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please tell me when and or if Poti is coming back

Posted by: anton8359 | February 18, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: underpants2 | February 18, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse


When did you come up that Caps need 1st line RW? We got Semin and slow a-s Knuble

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 18, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

They shouldn't go for another defenceman. They are in desparate need of a good 2nd line centre and if they give up anything to get another defenceman (who would need to be good to make it worthwhile so he wouldn't come cheap) it will just take away from what they can offer teams for a center. If they can get their 2nd line sorted out first and still have enough to work with to get another defenceman without losing much, it couldn't hurt. But that should be so much lower a priority for them right now that it's barely worth mentioning.

Posted by: Stu_c | February 18, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@professorhockey
The Caps will never become and remain an elite team as long as Jeff Schultz is getting a regular shift. He is not an NHL defenseman -- the plus/minus mirage has been exposed this year (-1).

The Caps need a real No. 1 defenseman to skate with Mike Green. Give Green a Brooks Orpik-type to partner with and you'd see a totally different team.

--This is so true. We are wasting $2.5-$3million cap space on this guy. Green will be better if he has a better partner. Wake up GMGM

Posted by: Nelly11 | February 18, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

We're all set. The Caps upgraded their beer taps to unheard of pouring speed. All should be fine.

Posted by: sjshanno | February 18, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

those slagging kaberle are as dumb as gmgm he would have improved our d ...he is no tyler sloan but he would have helped

Posted by: wendel2 | February 18, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

YES.

The defense looks lost without Green's leadership back there. We need another LEADER on defense.

Posted by: PhilCollins1 | February 18, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The defense looks lost without Green's leadership back there. We need another LEADER on defense.
----------------------------------------------------------

1. Green is NO leader in D, a good d-man but it's a stretch to call him a leader especially when the coach has more confidence in a rookie (74) in crucial defensive situations.

2. As long as 4 and 89 have to be in the lineup, they DO need more d-men.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Correction: As long as 4, 89 AND 55 have to be in the lineup, they DO need more d-men.

Posted by: joek443 | February 18, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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