Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 12:21 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Line change: How critical are the next four games for the Capitals?

By Washington Post Sports Editors

Post reporter Tarik El-Bashir joined the Post Sports Live crew of LaVar Arrington, Dan Steinberg and Jon Forsythe on Tuesday to discuss the Capitals' recent slide and the importance of righting the ship during their current road trip.

Every point these days is critical for Washington, Tarik noted, because if the road trip ends with just one win, the already-fragile Capitals could find themselves falling all the way to eighth (or lower) in the Eastern Conference.

Check out the crew's take in the video below, and then weigh in: How many wins do the Capitals need to take away from this trip to avoid a significant dip in both their confidence and their place in the standings?


By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 16, 2011; 12:21 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Caps seeking another complete effort tonight vs. high-scoring Ducks
Next: Video: Watch Verizon Center's ice-to-court changeover

Comments

Carolina is about to trade Ian White. To where I have no idea, but he was held out of practice at Maurice says a move is pending.

Should be done in next 24 hours.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh... here's some real insight...

Posted by: gonchpup | February 16, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

ThePat - Sorry. My previous post was directed at the Posts Live Crew, not you. Your post just jumped in the way.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 16, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

No worries.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Can you say, MORE FLUFF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Ducks are hot.

Getzlaf smoked the Caps in OT last tilt. One of the nicer goals of the year.

Not looking good, someone needs to have a breakout game tonight, star or not, create some kind of a spark. Who's going to man up and play with some urgency?

Any news on Poti's return?

Posted by: saltine182 | February 16, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Im so tired of this uninspired play. Atleast last year we had an identity. This year were nothing but an average team. I dont now if anyones noticed but we still cant score "PLAYOFF" type goals..so what do we do about it.

1.BB and GM arent going anywhere so put that aside til next year.
2.Trade semin as fast as you can.
3.Strip Alex "one-shot" ovechkin of his "C" and give it someone else who knows how to lead.
4. Trade, trade and trade to get life on that bench..

Go Caps

Posted by: cptjack70 | February 16, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Crucial game. Gotta win.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 16, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The difference with this years team is as simple as this:
07/08 Roster included:Kolzig, Johnson, Huet, Brash, Clark, Cooke, Fedorov, Kozlov & Nylander.
08/09: Johnson, Theodore, Brash, Clark, Fedorov, Kozlov & Nylander
09/10: Theodore, Knuble, Clark (honorable mentions):Belanger, Walker & possibly Chimera

This year: Knuble (honorable mentions: Hendricks, Hannan, and again a stretch to Chimera)

We are missing a lot of seasoning!!!!!!

In each of the last two years McPhee has overvalued the entire roster.

I know it's been said before, but we are going to have to wait 'til the deadline/off-season to addess this because there are not enough players stepping up to fill these holes.

As talented as everybody says we are, you have to admit (in reference to my previous post) there really aren't that many gifted players after the top four or five. They were pups during our better runs and now we've added MP, Majo, Alzner and Carlson. While Alzner and Carlson have performed, there is a huge drop off from years past, in net and battle tested experience.

Posted by: agclaston | February 16, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

These games are CRITICAL!!!!! Because if they aren't,the media WILL HAVE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT!!!!!! For God's sakes Caps, do it for the media!!! They're dying to write the feel-good story of the Spring about how a disjointed team overcame adversity to win the Cup, all while distracted by the turmoil in the Middle East, the rising price of gas and the upcoming 2012 Presidential election.

Posted by: sjshanno | February 16, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute...

Didn't I read this story about a week ago?

Why are we being force fed garbage?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 16, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

1) They should play like ALL are critical for a team that is barely a playoff team right now and has been under .500 for the past few months
2) However the rest of this trip might be a deciding factor if BB stays on or if GMGM decides he's seen enough and brings in someone who the players might actually listen to

Posted by: jmol2112 | February 16, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

For the first time this season I think that after work this will be my evening.
I will go work-out for an hour or so, then have dinner and watch a little tv and at 9:55pm turn the tv off.

I live the nightmare, hoping we will win the cup some day only to have my hopes & dreams crushed, no need to watch it on the tv as well tonight.

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

the end of the road trip coincides with the approaching trade deadline.

if I were the GM I would be watching these next 4 games to see if this current group has what it takes to get points on the road against decent opponents.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Caps get a break. Hiller is out due to lightheadness and fatigue. Will miss 3 games.

Or its another backup goalie that we make look Vezina worthy.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Do not trade Semin. He simply needs to play CONSISTENTLY with the same center. When he (or anyone) plays with MP, it's like the Caps are shorthanded. Semin's best year was when he played with Fedorov on a consistent basis. There is no way anyone would give the Caps anything close to an equal return. It is also admirable that he is willing to play on one year contracts. It may cost a little more against the Cap, but the Caps do not tie up money long term. As an earlier post stated, the Caps literally have about three players with the skill level to be a top six forward: 19, 8, 28, and 22 in short doses. 90 will be there someday, 21 is third line at best, and MP will never, ever be there. If Nylander was healthy, he would be a better option than MP.

Posted by: Unknown19 | February 16, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Caps get a break. Hiller is out due to lightheadness and fatigue. Will miss 3 games.

Or its another backup goalie that we make look Vezina worthy.
Posted by: ThePat

They Ducks could sign a local adult hockey league goalie and we would still hear the "Hot Goalie" excuse.

Posted by: jdove80 | February 16, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

IMHO the Caps situation is a classic case of underachieving. Ergo the classic solution seems like the best approach. Fire the coach; if the team continues to underachieve fire the players.

"How many wins do the Capitals need to take away from this trip to avoid a significant dip in both their confidence and their place in the standings?"
Is this what it's come down to? Thinking in terms of avoiding a significant dip? Yeah the Caps are in trouble. To answer the question the Caps need 3 or 4 points of the possible 8 standings points in the next 4 games. The teams around and below the Caps (with the exception of Buffalo) aren't setting the world on fire. In terms of getting their confidence back 6 or 8 standings points. Success and confidence go hand in hand.


Some things to think about:

How did the Caps players, especially the young guns, go from being really good players last year to being marginal players this year?

Why is it that every team the Caps play look like the best shot blockers in the league?

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 16, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@Unknown19
Trade Semin. Than he'll have a chance to SC.

Posted by: Randolph2 | February 16, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

You know darn well you will watch the game. Hockey is like crack even if The Capitals are boring as heck these days.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

TSN’s Bob McKenzie “tweeted” Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian White was not on the ice for practice today. McKenzie reports White hasn’t been traded yet but he’s likely to be dealt at some point.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 16, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Tim Gulitti reports Devils center Jason Arnott has not been approached yet by management about waiving his “no-movement” clause, though Arnott said they have discussed it “in theory”. Arnott said ultimately the decision will be his, adding it’s his understanding GM Lou Lamoriello’s intention could be to move him to a playoff contender. Washington, Montreal and Pittsburgh are believed most interested in Arnott.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 16, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

That is curious about White. He could be going anywhere. I am little surprised Carolina is trading him right now, my guess is that it is a real hockey trade(meaning current NHL player for current NHL player) but Carolina probably needs blue line help, much less have the ability to trade away good blue liners.

I wonder if this means that they may be selling some. They do have a limited budget and maybe the ownership thought it isn't wise to make a run at the SC this year and are looking to save a few million while getting picks and prospects in return for a few guys. I have no idea, I'm just guessing here.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 16, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Is there a possibility that the Caps recalled McNeil because of a possible pending trade involving a defenseman? If they made a trade involving a D-man(for a D-man in return also) they would need an extra guy out there to play.

I know it could mean many different things, just throwing things out there. HOw about Schulz for Ian White.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 16, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I think the Canes will be bringing back salary in that deal. Maybe Ian White and a pick to Colorado for Liles. Just a guess on my part. But like you said they cant afford to give up a D without getting one back.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Stop it, at least let me think for a couple of hours that I will have an evening with out pain

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, if the Capitals don't pull out a win during the game against the Ducks, you will still have an EVENING without pain. It will just be the late night hours that hurt. Man, we need a win.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 16, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Are we even rumored to be in the hunt for an Ian White trade?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 16, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

GMGM probably has hoping and praying to pry away Arnott from N.J., but the smart money says he ends up in Pittsburgh who have a dying need at center. What is sad is that Belanger was willing to play here for $1.75M and is now the 1st line center for a team that is leading their division. The Caps treated him poorly at best and now they are looking at a stretch run with two rookies, one who isn't NHL-calibre, to play on the 2nd and 3rd lines. Instead of dealing from a position of strength where Belanger would have been a decent 2nd line center, the Caps will have to bid against other teams to get an even older center like Arnott for a stretch run.

It almost seems that GMGM has mailed it in and told BB that this is the best personnel he can provide and that it's up to him to get the most out of them. The Caps have 3, maybe 4, forwards who would be top 6 on any good team which makes them easy to defend. While the Flyers have 4 top flight centers (one who is playing RW), their GM gets a young, talented winger to play on the second line.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 16, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I honestly do not understand why Boudreau is still employed. The only reason I can think of at this point, is that they can't find a good candidate. Fact: The Caps have underachieved all year. Fact: We have so much offensive talent and no goals. We only seem to get up for big name games like the Lightning, which we actually lost two twice, and the Pens (who suck this year). Just like when Boudreau came in and started a spark with this team, we need a change. Bruce has lost this team emotionally, they are not playing well fundamentally and go through huge periods of the game showing no emotion. There is no excuse for this team to be where they are at the standings. I am all about the Caps trying to be more defensive minded for the playoffs, but if there strength is on offense, then we are only handicapping this team by trying to introduce new schemes. The only thing that matters is results. The results right now, after 50 or so games, is we are 6th place. There is no way that Bruce keeps his job if they come back home on a losing streak. What would making a coaching change hurt at this point? We are not producing consistently and getting beat at home by teams we should own.

Posted by: mcurtin00 | February 16, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI @sgm3

No, or at least Id hope not. Ian White doesnt really help us unless they take Potis contract back and we know that isnt happening.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@ fanohock1

You to trying to be a buzz kill????

:)

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hiller is playing.

He returned Sunday and made 12 saves in a shutout versus the Oilers.

Posted by: digster1013 | February 16, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it so inconceivable that we could end up with Jerome Iginla? I was quite certain that we were going to get Billy Guerin a few years back and that didn't happen either. Shittsburg ended up getting him at the deadline and won the cup.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 16, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@digster

No he isnt. He was placed on IR with recurring lightheadness and fatigue. Sorry buddy, you are wrong.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@mcurtin00

I keep saying that BB is not the root of the problem. Firing him would do little or no good. Maybe it would make some heads turn, but not for long. Scotty Bowman is not returning to the NHL. I don't think that there is a coach out there (unemployed) who could make a real substantial, long term difference.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 16, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember Belanger being all that effective. Does anyone have the stats on that? Last I checked, Belanger's agent had possibly made some errors in judgment when he spoke to the media about any possible deals that were being discussed between Belanger and the Capitals, so I don't agree that we screwed Belanger over or mistreated him. To answer the obvious, all the games are critical, as far as the Capitals and their fans are concerned. Here's hoping our team pulls out a major win and look like their old selves! Goo, Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 16, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

McNeil is not in the lineup tonight. Unless someone comes down with the flu between now and tonight.

Green is also out. So you are looking at the Erskine/Sloan pairing.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@cayugalaker

I don't think that BB is the whole problem. I think that the Capital's "stars" (outside of Ovi who makes the occasional spectacular hit) are a collection of soft "finesse" hockey players. Which is why I am actually against going to this trapping defensive focus. Firing BB would do exactly what you said, turn heads, make some waves. Something that BB has been unable to do with this team. What would it hurt? I realize that the Caps still have 30 or so games left, but as of right now we are going into the playoffs (if we make it) as a team in flux that is unable to score goals. There needs to be a "head turning" moment. Something to wake this team up. If in the end, it doesnt work, then obviously all the honus is on the players and you are left with the conclusion that your team is just not what you thought they were.

Posted by: mcurtin00 | February 16, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Damn, I feel bad for Jonas! He was really playing well. Didn't realize he felt fatigue again after practice Tuesday.

The Pat, relax dude! This Capitals slide is really making people grumpy!

Posted by: digster1013 | February 16, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually what I really heard is we are trading Sloan, Erskine for Eric Staal and Skinner. You herad it here first. That is as good as me winning the mega millions this week.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

i've been thinking about the people who have said, "just go back to the run and gun style of hockey". I thought about that myself but then I realized that other teams have pretty much already figured out how to stop that. It was quite evident in the Habs series. Teams have learned to just clog up the passing and shooting lanes thus shutting down our team, hence the adjustment.

we need to find that balance between offense and defense and most importantly we need to learn to play as a team and for the team. So far I just don't see the pride in these players to want to play the style of hockey it takes to be a consistent winning team.

Hopefully any trade deadline moves will actually benefit the team this time.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 16, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I really dislike these "Line Changes" they are about ass effective as our power play - waste of pixels.

Posted by: gkhinc | February 16, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that this team will be "in the hunt" for many years to come. I'm not at all happy with the way things have gone this year either. However, this is a VERY young team. Nicky, OV, Fehr, Johannson, Perreault, Alzner, Carlson, Green, & Schulz are 25 or younger and Varly, Neuvy, and Holtby are all 22 or younger. And these are our "go to" guys!!! If the Caps had an older top flight center and a veteran goaltender they would be in better shape. But that's not the way it is right now. It's a shame that these guys couldn't live up to last year's numbers. I have every confidence in this club and I'll stick by them no matter what happens this year. They may lose some season ticket holders but they'll be back.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 16, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@ pkme

But if we trade Esskay what will the hot dog vendor do, he has bought his stock for the rest of the season based on GmGm leaving things as they are except maybe in the Polo shop in Georgetown, gotta get me a scarf now that I thinkof it. Be right back

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Mcphee seems like he is so pleased with himself when he is interviewed.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The next four games ... are as important ... as the previous four games.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 16, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Please do not include Perreault in any discussion of good young core players for this team. He is a strong AHL Player, and that is all he will ever be. He falls down too much, can't win a battle in the corner, and when he does carry the puck into the zone; pulls the whole team offsides making that last move because he tries to avoid physical contact

Posted by: Unknown19 | February 16, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Everyone go to CapGeek.com and look at our D-men. Anyone notice how the Schultz contract resembles a big, fat, raised middle finger? Sticking all the way out there into the 2014-15 season. GMGM is saying F U.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 16, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

GMGM must not have had enough faith in Carlson and Alzner when he extended the Poti and Schultz deals.........ouch.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 16, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Is there some kind of minimum posts quota they're trying to fill here? They probably sold adds with an agreement stating they post x number of posts on average per day. This is crap, there's not a spec of new information here and the whole things is 3 SENTENCES TOTAL!!! I can't stand this crap that has inundated all of WaPo's sports blogs in the last month.

Posted by: Bog_Reader | February 16, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Line Change: Akin to plopping a baby in front of a tv for hours, leaving it up to the tv to entertain/babysit the baby, while the adults do something more productive than take care of their own child.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 16, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@saltine182

"Man up" and "Poti" should not be used in the same post, much less in back-to-back sentences.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 16, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Next Line Change question: How Critical is Line Change to Caps Fans?

Fans such as gkhinc say: I really dislike these "Line Changes" they are about ass effective as our power play - waste of pixels.

And Bog_Reader says: Is there some kind of minimum posts quota they're trying to fill here? They probably sold adds with an agreement stating they post x number of posts on average per day. This is crap, there's not a spec of new information here and the whole things is 3 SENTENCES TOTAL!!! I can't stand this crap that has inundated all of WaPo's sports blogs in the last month.

Readers, share your thoughts below:

*yawn* Feel free to cut and paste the above Washington Post Sports Editors.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 16, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

First off I so miss Tarik's insight and his ability to get good inside information. I am so happy he's back to at least somewhat contributing to the Caps beat....

ok so really what I'd love to know is Tarik's take on the whole coaching situation. Does he see them making changes to coaches/GMGM etc. or is there another solution if the Caps end up tanking this road trip?

Personally I'm kind of torn in multiple directions. But one thing is for sure one of the biggest mistakes this organization made was making Ovi captain, it was just one more thing he didn't need on his shoulders, I wish he'd give it up for the better of the team just like Luongo did last season.

Posted by: Puddin_an_Semin | February 16, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company