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Posted at 2:53 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Successful stretch against the West can go a long way for Caps

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals' upcoming five-game, nine-day road trip that stretches from Phoenix and California to Buffalo and Pittsburgh will be their longest sojourn away from Verizon Center so far this season. (The longest trip of the year will be six games in March, when the NCAA Tournament takes up residence in Chinatown.)

Players and coaches often like the chance to get on the road, where teams are a little more isolated from the rest of their normal lives and players have a chance to bond. While this trip still holds those types of possibilities, there's a different feeling as the Capitals embark on this set of road games looking to hone their play and searching for points as the playoffs draw closer. The same goes for the teams they will be facing.

At the time of this post Friday afternoon, each of the Capitals' next six opponents -- including the Kings, who visit Verizon Center tomorrow -- are still in a position where they are fighting for a playoff spot. Four are in position where they would make the playoffs if the postseason started today, while Los Angeles and Buffalo are just two points out of eighth in their respective conferences.

"This is the time of the year when you want to kind of start ramping up your games, granted everybody in here needs to play better. Everyone needs to step up," Matt Hendricks said. "When we get back from this road trip, we're going to be at 21 [games left] and those last 20 games, they go quick. If you can set yourself up for a good ending of the season it's a good 20 games, but it's tough if you're really fighting."

Washington is 3-5-1 against Western Conference foes this season while Los Angeles is 8-5-1 against those from the East. There's long been a debate over which conference is tougher and while the Capitals wouldn't take either side of that argument, they know that being part of the West comes with a tolerance to excessive amounts of travel.

For example, the Kings' current road trip began on Feb. 1 and they won't return home until Feb. 24. For the most part, the Capitals are looking forward to getting on the road, spending some more time with teammates with minimal distractions, and veteran Mike Knuble offered his take on why Eastern Conference squads don't always fare well on their long trips to the West.

"There's always that debate as the West being stronger as a group and the East being the weaker conference. I don't know why," Knuble said. "I talked about relaxing earlier; you're not relaxed to play the games, obviously, but it's the time away and it's refreshing time away but it's not a vacation. Maybe time out West you treat it more like vacation instead of work time. You come out East, it's gritty, it's cold, it feels like hockey here. It doesn't feel like hockey when you see palm trees and convertibles all the time."

By Katie Carrera  | February 11, 2011; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Los Angeles Kings  
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Next: Open thread: Capitals vs. Kings

Comments

The Bigger story...Ovechkin out on the ice for TWO straight practices..!!!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 11, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------------
You're funny! Do you watch other games as well (like games on Center Ice or whatever, just curious)? It's funny b/c I was thinking of you the other day when I was watching the Ranger game. Sam Rosen and I wanna say it was Billy Jaffe with him this particular night. They were talking about that morning's practice & Rosen said that Callahan (I think) had taken the morning optional skate "which is rare for ALL the veterans". The subject was more about Callahan than the morning skate but Sam did ask him why he was out for an optional skate. He said it was b/c he's been injured and hasn't played a lot so he wanted to be out there etc. It was just funny b/c I was thinking, gee I wonder is SoaringCaps is watching and listening to this! LOL!

Bottom line like I said is that optional practices are just that. Most players on most teams don't skate them. But hey man if you think OV should skate em then hey, that's your opinion. As OFF as that opinion is, it's just that! :) All in good fun my friend.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 11, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

POTI is UNTRADEABLE. No one will ever take him, period. He is so overpayed it is absurd. McPhee f---ed up. We are stuck with him until the end.

Three moves:

Schultz, Holtby, 3rd to Chicago
Seabrook to Washington
(Chicago is moving him)

Eakin, Perrault, Chimera to Florida
Weiss to Washington
(If the want Eakin, they have to take Chimera)

Fehr to Ottawa
Ruutu to Washington
(Ruutu is no fun to play against)

OV-Backs-Knuble
Laich-Weiss-Semin
Beagle-MaJo-Ruutu
Hendricks-Steckel-Bradley

Green-Seabrook
Alzner-Carlson
Hannan-Erskine

Varly-Neuvy

Posted by: underpants2 | February 11, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

There are over 7 billion people on Earth.

And of all those people, just our luck, the only person of the 7 billion who thought signing Tom Poti was a good idea was...

George McPhee.

Any other person on Earth as Caps GM (your grandma, the guy in Peking pulling the rickshaw, a Yemeni pirate) and Poti would be two months from coming off our books.

Oh well.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 11, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Captain Underpants, what in the world makes you think that Dave Tallon, who has a fetish for guys over 6'5", would take to midgets from us like Perrault and Eakin?

Holtby isn't going anywhere. Aside from the fact that we would have to find a goaltender for Hershey (which none of your dreams accomplish) We wouldn't trade Varlamov or Neuvirth to Anahiem for Pronger, so why would we ship out Holtby for Seabrook?

And why would we trade secondary scoring for yet another "sandpaper" guy? We already have Bradley and Hendricks. None of your dreams make any sense.

Posted by: CapsNut | February 11, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@MFrankie
@wimbeldon

Love that Poti extension by GMGM. Poti's a real butt kicker in the playoffs !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

CapsNut:

Ruutu is a little more than sandpaper. underpants makes more sense than you.

Posted by: doughless | February 11, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Just to take the other side, but wasn't Poti the Caps best or 2nd best D-man(maybe Carlson was the best) in the playoffs last year?

Posted by: sgm3 | February 11, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

I hope GMGM thinks he is here for the long term even though the "pantie brigade" will exit in the first again. This might force him to keep Eakin, since all the NHL scouts love the guy.

I pray Ted fires these two wimps driving out team into more "play off hell" At that point, a seasoned GM with the ability to build a team that hoists, will want Eakin as a guy to build around. The kid is the real deal, and he's not some guy who's gonna' sit over at Russia House smoking and drinking. Eakin will want Stanley.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Even though he wasn't on my list of players I want the Caps to acquire, I now really want the Caps to acquire Tim Connolly.

Then I would have the joy of seeing cstanton, Hunterforcoach, tmac2yao, among others throw a hissy fit about GMGM only acquiring soft players throughout the playoffs and into next year. The entertainment value alone just from that would make it worthwhile.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 11, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@frankie
@wimbeldon

Love that "one trick pony" GMGM picked up.
We going to ride Steck's face off's right into the Conferance Finals (where he'll promptly miss another open net that could have dusted an old rival.)

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey Captain Underpants, what in the world makes you think that Dave Tallon, who has a fetish for guys over 6'5", would take to midgets from us like Perrault and Eakin?

Holtby isn't going anywhere. Aside from the fact that we would have to find a goaltender for Hershey (which none of your dreams accomplish) We wouldn't trade Varlamov or Neuvirth to Anahiem for Pronger, so why would we ship out Holtby for Seabrook?

And why would we trade secondary scoring for yet another "sandpaper" guy? We already have Bradley and Hendricks. None of your dreams make any sense.

Posted by: CapsNut

Eakin is a midget? He's 5'11, 185.

Sandpaper guys do well in the playoffs, Fehr doesn't. Plus, we will need the cap room for next year. Half or our team plays like they carry purses. Plus, Ruutu is much more sandpapery than either of the guys you mention. Plus, Pittsburgh wants him. They have Cooke and Kennedy.

Anaheim wanted Carlson, 1st pick plus a goalie. Do you think it was a goaltender that held up that Pronger deal? Also, concern abouting goaltending in Hershey is cute, but absurd. What did Hershey do when Holtby was here? That's the business, they know it.

Incidentally, if you have any ideas of your own, I would love to hear them.

I am offering ideas.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 11, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I hope GMGM thinks he is here for the long term even though the "pantie brigade" will exit in the first again. This might force him to keep Eakin, since all the NHL scouts love the guy.

I pray Ted fires these two wimps driving out team into more "play off hell" At that point, a seasoned GM with the ability to build a team that hoists, will want Eakin as a guy to build around. The kid is the real deal, and he's not some guy who's gonna' sit over at Russia House smoking and drinking. Eakin will want Stanley.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach

I think you are right about Eakin, but I am tired of waiting.

Is there a huge difference between Eakin and Weiss? I don't know, but I think it's time to take a chance.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 11, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually I think Fehr did well in the Playoffs last year, 3 goals. He might have been 3rd in scoring behind Ovi and Backstrom.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

sgm3

Yea, that would be great entertainment value seeing the Flyers or B's win the Cup.

Just bustin' a gut thinking of all the Flyer fans at the phone booth the year after they hoisted.

Yea, Poti and Stecks were really breakin' those smurfy wingers on the Habs in half all seven games.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Realistically, Poti should have been waived already. Nobody would claim him, so he would go to Hershey.

The problem is that jacka$$ McPhee gave him that idiotic contract. Waiving him would hurt his massive ego.

Any chance that nancy-boy goes on ltir?

Posted by: underpants2 | February 11, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@unders

The Flyers tried to trade for Cody. They seem to get small guys like Danny B. to fit in well. In fact Danny B. is one of the reasons the Flyers are AGAIN a playoff beast.

Eakin is a Dale Hunter type 5'11". Has a 10x bigger pair than the 7 to 8 guys we have that are wearing panties out there.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

GMGM will not trade his top notch prospects (eakin, orlov, kuzzy). He loves to watch his prospects maybe turn into nhl players too much

Posted by: _stevo | February 11, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

GMGM needs to lose his blockbuster deal V-card at the deadline. That is all.

Posted by: ThePat | February 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach:
what's your problem dude? this is just a forum, not like real life serious stuff. That's the 3rd time in 2 days you've basically insulted me for having an opinion. Care to explain why?

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 11, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The scary thing about Connolly is his injury history. It could easily be another Scott Walker scenario - he plays a couple games, gets a concussion, then there goes your investment.

I will be trying to watch Handzus on Saturday afternoon. He might be a candidate.

Posted by: zmega | February 11, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@frankie

Your offense - defending a guy who has destroyed my hockey team. Yea, this is serious stuff. It is real life to me. I'm a die hard Caps fan who wants the GMGM and BB nightmare end.

If this requires a new owner, so be it !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@Hunerforcoach

Actually, it is my hockey team.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 11, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3, haven't you figured out yet that guys like huterforcoach, cstanton and vermontcaps just know more about this game than the rest of us ? They praise recent Cup-winning teams like the Flyers and Bruins and their style of play. Wait, what do you mean that Flyers/Bruins haven't won a Cup in 35+ years ?

Posted by: MadCap1 | February 11, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

its my hockey team.
gmgm/bb/semin/green/chimmy/fehr/stecks/b gordon/schultz/poti/laich/MP/johansson/djk/sloan/varly/neuvy/holtby/eakin/kuznetsov - all stay

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 11, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Ovie has never missed a practice, so seriously shut up. Learn the difference b/t morning skates

Posted by: capsfan387 | February 11, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the "panties" and "purses"...I know quite a few players with ponytails, makeup and purses that you'd rather see on the ice with the caps than Poti and a few others...so knock off the girl put downs. I'd love to see Poti on LTIR or waived. The goalies ain't goin' nowhere and you better cross your fingers that the Caps get in ANY bid on ANY 2C! Who are we going to trade that anyone would want other than picks and our high end prospects?

Posted by: goaliemama | February 11, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Moreover no trades should be allowed during the season!!!

Posted by: Randolph2 | February 11, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@frankie

Your offense - defending a guy who has destroyed my hockey team. Yea, this is serious stuff. It is real life to me. I'm a die hard Caps fan who wants the GMGM and BB nightmare end.

If this requires a new owner, so be it !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach
----
I feel your pain from that perspective too man but please don't take it out on me in a text forum! It may be bad from your perspective but the rainbow always comes after the rain and when we do win that first cup, we'll all be rejoicing whomever is the coach, the owner, the players, everything.

I myself will cry, openly, and proudly! :-)

peace bro! :-)

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 11, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@Hunter...what disgrace are you talking about, the Caps are 170-72-38 under Bruce, the Caps under McPhee have been up then down, but the current team is no where as bad as you constantly whine about...three straight division titles and the President's trophy last season...before you freak out, I do agree that success is ultimately measured against your playoff record. It has been dismal so far, but if this team still ahs the potential to be a contender over the next 5-7 years due to the core of young stars we have...add alittle grit here and there and I believe playoff success will follow

Posted by: boomer44 | February 11, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Schultz, Holtby, 3rd to Chicago
Seabrook to Washington
(Chicago is moving him)

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

not for that they aint movin him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Even though he wasn't on my list of players I want the Caps to acquire, I now really want the Caps to acquire Tim Connolly.

Then I would have the joy of seeing cstanton, Hunterforcoach, tmac2yao, among others throw a hissy fit about GMGM only acquiring soft players throughout the playoffs and into next year. The entertainment value alone just from that would make it worthwhile.

Posted by: sgm3

don't worry, whoever McPhee acquires will be soft COMPARED to Connolly.

TC has had some concussions. But I wasn't a Connolly hater. I thought he gave a decent effort back in the day. But his game has gotten softer over the yrs and his durability is questionable.

Which means....About the perfect time for McPhee to swoop in and grab him!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach:

You of all people should know that the trail of Caps playoff misery started loooong before Leonsis or McPhee came along.

You obsess over how "soft" the current roster is, but would you want to skate against them yourself? I wouldn't (and I don't wear "panties").

You talk about how great and real and gritty it was in the old days with Huntzie and Banzai and Chief and Langway, et al....well, I loved those guys too, but how many Cups did they bring to DC? Sadly, none.

Fact is, the team has been snake-bit for decades, and neither BB nor TL nor GMGM made it so. That said, I hope and believe that the futility may be coming to an end at last...

And don't even start claiming to be a "realist", because there's a clear line between a realistic assessment of a bad situation, and reveling in your own misery so much that you feel compelled to make others miserable too.

You, sir, have crossed that line...big time.

I, too, have concerns about where the team is headed, but if forced to choose between a) being proven right in my predictions or b) seeing the Caps win, I'll choose b) over my own ego every time.


I'm not saying everything you post is wrong, but your analysis loses credibility when you use petty, insulting language to describe the team of which you claim to be a fan. The constant bashing of players you don't like; the endless cries for the heads of the Coach and the GM without offering a realistic or available alternative...the list goes on and on and on.

I, OTOH, fear the worst but hope for the best. And I (mostly) trust the job to the guys who do it for a living.

If that makes me a Kool-Aid® drinker, then I just have one thing to say:

"Bartender, pour me another!"

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 11, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

You talk about how great and real and gritty it was in the old days with Huntzie and Banzai and Chief and Langway, et al....well, I loved those guys too, but how many Cups did they bring to DC? Sadly, none.

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

can someone explain to me why this argument keeps getting made? That somehow because the Hunter/Tinordi/Stevens days never brought a Cup to DC that it somehow devalues their attributes?

Having a desire to bring back some of those past types of players doesn't mean we want EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THOSE ROSTERS.

That's why you don't hear us yearning for names like todd krygier

But there's definitely about 5 to 8 players on each of those rosters who fit a certain prototype that would be an improvement over what we have.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The reason those guys were never able to win the Cup was because of the owner who either didn't have the money or wasn't willing to spend what was necessary.

Leonsis supposedly is different from Abe in that regard so the money is not the issue here. So the only issue left is the INCOMPETENCE of those in charge of this team.

Posted by: joek443 | February 11, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

i will throw my trade idea into the ring:

Semin, Laich, Neuvy, and MP to NJ for Zajac, Parise, +. maybe some draft picks.

Posted by: dzee | February 11, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I mean if Ovechkin goes his entire career without winning a Cup (very possible if he stays in DC), would you not want him or Backstrom or Carlson on any of your teams?

Dale Hunter can only control his own play and hope to influence those around him. That's the extent of the control he had over winning a Cup. It by no means devalues him as a potential member of a very successful Cup team or dynasty for that matter. He was a better player than his brother Dave and yet Dave pulled down a few Cups in Edm.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

can someone explain to me why this argument keeps getting made? That somehow because the Hunter/Tinordi/Stevens days never brought a Cup to DC that it somehow devalues their attributes?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 6:39 PM

my guess would be that those who claim the caps as currently constructed (soft panty wearing p*ssies) will NEVER win the cup. that Hunter/Tinordi/Stevens are needed to win. the sentiment being that those type players are MUST HAVES to win the cup.
the point is - the caps did have those players and they didn't win the cup either.
having those types of players may increase your chances but don't guarantee anything.
not having the right mix of those type players reduces their chances - but certainly not to zero percent.
at a certain point - it just becomes ranting, name calling nonsense.
even the heartiest of kool-aid drinkers, without a hockey background (me) understands that this team has holes in it and could use some upgrades - but not a single fan of the caps that posts here has any control over how/when that happens.

there is a lot of insightful posting here on CI.
the other side of that is - there is also more than enough insulting tirades.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 11, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

We have two scouts at the Colorado vs Columbus game.

Posted by: ThePat | February 11, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

my guess would be that those who claim the caps as currently constructed (soft panty wearing p*ssies) will NEVER win the cup. that Hunter/Tinordi/Stevens are needed to win. the sentiment being that those type players are MUST HAVES to win the cu.


--kirk---

Absolutely those guys are must haves. Just go and look at the rosters of Cup teams and finalists over the past 30 yrs. You'll see plenty of Tinordi, Hunter, and Stevens types on those rosters. Unless you've never heard of guys like Matvichuk/Ludwig/Hatcher/Vlad/Stevens/Daneyko/ColinWhite/Beukeboom/Gleason/AWard/Stuart/Kronwall/Jovo/Warrener/Orpik. The list is endless.

Same thing with Dale Hunter. Plenty of less talented guys who played Hunter's type of gritty game and provided leadership have graced Cup teams.

So respectfully, your point is inaccurate. At the least you greatly increase your chances of making it to the Cup with those types of guys, at best you win the Cup. Look around the league now. You don't think Brent Seabrook plays a Tinordi type of game? You don't think Pitt, Chi, Detroit have guys who share many similar attributes of a Dale Hunter? Tinordi himself took the NorthStars to the Cup beating several very good teams along the way. He was one of the top performers on any team that playoff year. Not unlike what Marty McSorely did for LA the year they went to the Cup. He got more ice time than anyone except for i think Gretzky and Doug Gilmour in the playoffs that year.\

its important to understand history before you condemn it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I won't even bring up the DJKingbutbetter types who have graced the rosters of Cup teams in recent history. I wouldn't say that type is necessarily a must-have, but you can certainly benefit from it if used correctly with the right type of player.

The Caps roster ON PAPER doesn't resemble what a Cup roster should look like. Much less in their play.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

We have two scouts at the Colorado vs Columbus game.

Posted by: ThePat

Hannan and a 1st for an injured Flash?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 11, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Colorado is looking to move a center to make room for Forsberg?

Posted by: zmega | February 11, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

The rumor is that Colorado may even move Forsberg is they fall out of the race a little more before the deadline. I guess a lot of teams are scouting him(I read that Chicago was sending a scout to watch Forsberg tonight).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 11, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:
so do you believe the caps have a zero percent chance at the cup this year - or the same chance that the 14 teams that don't make the playoffs have?
i agree that these guys would make the team better. i'd love for the caps to have a hunter or stevens type player - but right now they don't. given gmgm's propensity for not searching out those types of players - i say, go ahead an rag on him all day long.
if you don't like BB coaching - so be it - but it has nothing to do with how much hair he has, his weight or the hokey commercials he does.

your original question was:
"can someone explain to me why this argument keeps getting made?"
i really was trying to answer it.
you gotta admit - there are more than a few radical posters here.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 11, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

pens 0 isles 6

it's breaking out into melee time. looks like Boston Montreal.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 11, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I read somewhere too, that Colorado would consider trading Forsberg. It seems they were a good fit to give a comeback a try but certainly not a long-term thing. Could be a perfect bargaining chip to bring in a couple good prospects in exchange for a short-term fix.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 11, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

NHL is a little weird right now. Pens losing 6-1 to the Isles and Boston has now given up 11 goals in the last 4 periods

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 11, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup. He has a NMC so he isn't going anywhere.

As for them moving a center he is replacing Flash and is playing wing (no faceoffs thru 2).

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 11, 2011 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Isles 8 - Pens 2

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 11, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

icehammer - It was one of Colorado's beat-writers who was speculating a trade scenario. Mentioned the no-trade clause but considered it a move on Forsberg's part to approve a trade that he would be fine with.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 11, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Cody Eakin, two more goals and one assist so far tonight after the second period, including another shorthanded goal for a 3-1 lead over Regina. In his 10th game since joining the Kootenay Ice, he now has 9 goals and 10 assists including four shorties for a plus 10. And there's still the third period to go. Cody is the "spark" the Ice needed to go deep into the WHL post season. Good move by the Ice GM in pulling off the deal with the Swift Current Broncos whom the Ice play tomorrow night.

Posted by: dull | February 11, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

BINGO! joek, BINGO!

We can no longer blame the play off disasters old Uncle "Cheap Skate" Abe. (Losing Stevens cost us at least one Cup. We don't collapse to Mario after being up 3-1 with Scotty around.)


We're at the point where GMGM's inability to model successful playoff teams with the proper personnel moves is the major problem with this franchise.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Goddard will be sitting for the next 10 games after leaving the bench during a fight. Lots of class being shown by both teams on the island tonight. I didn't know they were shooting the remake of Slap Shot already.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 11, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

@Madcap

Bobby Clark won 2 Cups as a juvenile diabetic. Do you think ANYONE on this team has the stones to pull that off short of some of the grinders ?

Also Madcap, Why are the Flyers always in the Finals? Who have they lost to?Recognize the names Bossy, Wayne #99, and Yzerman. Pretty impressive !!!

They've made 6 visits to our 1 visit. I know, I watched all the games, while you watched the O's begin their season. Don't lie. You did not follow it.

The Bruins have lost to great Habs teams repeatedly. A huge hockey fan like you would know that the Habs were so good that they even interrupted the Oilers run at 4 in a row.

So, yes. I would pick to lose the way the B's and Flyers have over the last 35 years. They lost with honor. I would be a much happier Caps fan if we lost they way those two clubs lost the past 35 years. Much happier. Now, go back to "Skins Nation" on Comcast.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

@Boomer

Wake up! The window in sports is tiny. Who would have guessed that we would be talking about Ovi's "whiffgate" and Backy's fat wallet ?

We have been waiting for next year FOREVER.
You start to lose people to horrific injuries. (Case in point, Pens are done with no Shrek.) Cap space forces you to move guys. Guys get old quickly. Look at Gibb's boys in 92-93. Done !

We are a contender IF the key guys stay health, AND we get a new GM who knows how to build a play off team around the core talent. That is not McPhee!!

WE HAVE THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD AND WE HAVE NOT BEEN WITH IN SMELLING DISTACE OF THE FINALS.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@capt kirk

Kirk, you're always coming after me for being a "radical poster" I don't like to think about how much college and Pro hockey playoffs I've watched. It's too much.

I do know that ALL OF THE TEAMS THAT WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS AT JUST ABOUT EVERY LEVEL (EVN MITE) ARE VERY "GUTSY". THE SPORT DEMANDS IT!!

Does "Gutsy" describe the Caps. No ! The Wings and Flyers last year were basically beating each other to death in that final. But, you wouldn't know as you were following Strasberg's Tommy John Surgery.

Go ahead call me "radical". I just want a hockey club that plays up to the physical expectations of the game. I'll cease with the pantie talk and call them PANSIES instead.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@kirk

If you don't like the tirades from true "hockey fans" on this site who recognize GMGM for who he is, go over to Japers. I don't hink anyone on that site has ever "laced up". You would love those guys.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Make that a hat trick for Cody. 10 goals, 10 assists for 20 points in 10 games since joining the Ice.

Posted by: dull | February 11, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@kirk

If you don't like the tirades from true "hockey fans" on this site who recognize GMGM for who he is, go over to Japers. I don't hink anyone on that site has ever "laced up". You would love those guys.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino

When I was 25 I would have gladly "laced up" against the pansies on this team. Look at the "lost" look on Poti or Steck's faces when the "rough stuff" begins. #55 hit Cooke in the skates after he kneed our franchise player, and only shot at the Big ugly Cup. He is truly a Pansie !! He will not make it through 16 post season wins in the spring. A GM serious about building a Cup winner says "good bye" to this guy.

Think sarge, then think Dustin B. Hilarious contrast !!!!!!

One wins Cup, the other loses to the Smurfs.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Soo...has Byslma lost his team? The Islanders and Pens game looked ugly from the highlights.

Posted by: nicety251 | February 11, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach:
i'm going to guess you view yourself as radical as i've never referred to you as such.

i'll never tell you what you can or can not say. i've followed the caps since season one and until langway arrived they were just bottom feeders.
i'm sorry - but i get a tad annoyed when they get trashed.

"But, you wouldn't know as you were following Strasberg's Tommy John Surgery."

these are the kinds of asinine, holier than thou comments that make me question if someone is a true fan of the caps or not.

some people are just not happy unless they are miserable.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 11, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

"If you don't like the tirades from true "hockey fans" on this site who recognize GMGM for who he is, go over to Japers."

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 10:22 PM

holier than thou or HTT if you will

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 11, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Penguins are a mess. They are in bad shape right now. Shero is gonna react for sure soon.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 11, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Haha a total of 346 Penalty minutes in the Isles/Pens game. Outside of the Caps fan base, people can hate the Isles all they want, but they got nothing to lose. Great young talent, and they're probably getting another high pick this year. There were only 2 players on the Pens bench by the end of the game. Haha what a great week in hockey. First the Habs/Bruins, now the Isles/Pens.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | February 11, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

So I look at it like this - tell me if I am wrong - the gm of this team decided to build a team of skilled players and add a few gritty guys to the team to round it out, but not enough, as opposed to building a team of gritty guys and adding a few skilled players. We keep saying that the gm does not ever add grit, but he has added Hendricks and King and has kept Erskine on the team. Last year at the deadline he added Walker. A couple years ago he added Cooke.

It has just not been enough at one time to get this team over the hump to win more than one round. However, this year, they seem to be starting from a higher level of grit than last year and it may be that adding that one last player does the trick.

The team has proven that they are much better defensively and on the PK, so even if the offense never picks up in the playoffs, they are going to be good enough defensively to have a chance to win every game and that is where guys like Bradley and Hendricks can come through, and maybe having just one more guy like that can do it for the team.

Posted by: piratusus | February 11, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

@capt

You may be a Caps fan. But, you don't know hockey. Have you ever played it ? If you did, you would know that it is not a game for sissies. (You should have learned that from your boy Rod Langway.)

This team played like a bunch of scared school girls against the Habs, and then our "lawyer" GM made NO changes. Fehr, Laich and Semin per pathetic when Gill was in the slot. You start watching replays of the games, and you realize we got a "serious Pansie streak" in our locker room.

If Laich and Fehr really wanted to hoist, they would still have welts from Gill's elbows on their faces. I would have traded both of these guys as soon as I watched the tapes. But GMGM is too egotistical to admit he badly misjudged both of these guys.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@unders

Shero is smart enough not to damage that team by letting great playoff guys go. They can't win with out Malkin. He knows that.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

@piratusus

It is not just a matter of adding "grit". Many of our skill guys don't play with any grit.

You can't win if you break down weekly like Semin. Schultz plays like he's on Valium. That's why the Habs wingers looked so "speedy". Poti is the "poke check queen"
You can't win a Cup playing like that.

The game demands that you be tough AND skilled. We're either/or. (Which is why we're goats blooders when it comes to GMGM.)

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 12:07 AM | Report abuse

@unders

You're talkin' Shero here. Not GMGM. Shero is Cup/play off savvy. He is the real deal. GMGM is savvy only because LL in Jersey told everyone George was savvy. Where is the "GM of the year" nomination this year after Jacque easily game planned the entire Caps roster into a corner ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 12:15 AM | Report abuse

@Madcap

Desperate for a response to your Bruins and Flyers stumble ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino

Don't you think Scotty Bowman could have built a Cup winner here ? Or, are we that 'snake bit' that no one can win here. Give me a break. I'm callen' out incompetent management and the 6 or 7 fruitcake players on this team.

This is done in Montreal, Tor, Det, NY, Pit, Philly, Jersey all the time. Get real. Those towns win Cups because the fan base demands it. 13 years of on the job training ?????????????????????????

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

But, you don't know hockey. Have you ever played it ?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 11, 2011 11:56 PM

no, i haven't. but the ridiculousness of the insults being hurled has nothing to do with hockey knowledge. playing the game is not a prerequisite to having an opinion or even enjoying the sport. there is no need to talk down to other fans that may not have the same insights as those who have played the game.
it just comes across as mean spirited and gives the impression of 'i'm better than you'.
the odd part of it is - i see the shortcomings in the caps that are being pointed out - it's just sad that it comes off as anger. as frustrated and disappointed as the caps can be at times - i never feel angry towards them - mostly i'm impressed with their varying skills and the dedication it takes to get to the highest level of play.
i'd be interested in your opinion on which caps would be hard to 'upgrade'. ovi would be difficult to replace but i'd think there is a player out there that has a bit more rounded overall game.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 12, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Don't you think Scotty Bowman could have built a Cup winner here ? Or, are we that 'snake bit' that no one can win here. Give me a break. I'm callen' out incompetent management and the 6 or 7 fruitcake players on this team.

This is done in Montreal, Tor, Det, NY, Pit, Philly, Jersey all the time. Get real. Those towns win Cups because the fan base demands it. 13 years of on the job training ?????????????????????????

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse


Those teams (not sure how Toronto made your list)never had complete rebuilds officially. They had the luxury of keeping veterans like Yzerman in Detroit and building youth and role players around them... and now there are 30 teams in the league so none of them win every year...

The best example of a build that Washington needs to copy is the Islanders of 1978-80. They were a team bursting with young talent like our Caps and Al Arbour wasnt able to press the right buttons in 1979 but a year later everything worked - they got confident - became dominant and created a dynasty for that time.

They had no free agency, salary cap, and only 21 teams - also the last team to win 3 championships (4 in a row) consecutively.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 12, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Pens coach is a POS. He defends Cooke no matter what Cooke does. He goons it up when he's losing. Caps probably wont win the cup but neither will the Pens.

Posted by: alling | February 12, 2011 7:44 AM | Report abuse

So, the HORRIBLE Islanders had THREE (3) guys score their 20th goal last night...

I am almost sure Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Green, and Poti make up 75% of the Isles payroll....so how many 20 goal scorers to the Caps have?

Better question, how many WILL they have?

FRUSTRATING.....

(and yes, I will happily take the caps points in standings over the Isles)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 12, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Well Ottawa is the worst team now....the Isles second half of the season has been decent.

Go Milan Jurcina!

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 12, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Does Byslma get suspended for Goddard leaving the bench?

Posted by: underpants2 | February 12, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

So I have a crazy idea...and I might be off and have missed news on the situation.

Isn't Tavares a free agent at the end of the season? I thought I had heard that the Isles were having issues extending him.

They are on their 5th goalie. I hate to part with any of them, but why not trade Holtby or Nuevy for Tavares and a #5 defenseman...we could even get Juice back.

We don't want a center with a long contract so why not get a rental for the rest of the season? Just a crazy thought.

We could throw in a 2nd or 3rd round pick with the goalie.

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@underpants

he gets a 10,000 dollar fine.

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Isles/pens, what a game. So tired of the Pens bias. They get protection from the league while leading the way in terms of dirty hits and questionable play. Now another team takes it to them like no team ever has. The league and all the talking heads will take the Pens side. The NHL on the fly guys are whining that it was just too much. Loved seeing Talbot suckered after the he went headhunting in the previous game. Games like bring teams together, and listening to the Isles remarks after the game, that's exactly what they're saying.

Bruce would stain himself if he was on the bench for a game like that. So would the majority of his players.

Posted by: Fletch22 | February 12, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

If Tavares is made available for any reason (I say it's unlikely despite any rumors), somebody would trump that offer you laid out. He is still an elite talent and is due for a real breakout in the next 2 years or so and people know it. In the unlikely case that they do move him, you'd probably have to start with something like a goalie of their choice, Eakin and a 1st rd pick at a minimum. Given that we usually pick very late in the 1st rd, it would probably take even more than that just to begin discussions cuz other teams would be in on it as well, driving up the price.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

To get Tavares...

I would give them Kuze and Eakin and a goalie of their choice for Juice and Tavares...

Seriously, Eakin will never be a Tavares in his career...and who knows when Kuze is even going to come over...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 12, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Bruce would stain himself if he was on the bench for a game like that. So would the majority of his players.

Posted by: Fletch22 | February 12, 2011 9:19 AM

lol... sad but completely true.

Hard to believe we are the tallest and 2nd heaviest team in the entire league yet also one of the softest if not THE softest.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

I don't think he would cost THAT much...his contract is up so we would be paying to have him for only a short time. He will be pricey, but not that pricey.

I would consider nuevy or holtby plus a first and 3rd round pick for him and a player like juice.

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps get Tavares....I would dump Fehr for picks and look to move Semin in a salary dump. Give him to Toronto for young players...at least Toronto will win some games and not give the Bruins another top 3 pick...

Or Semin for Bogosian in ATL...risky, but at least we will have nice young depth...

The Caps could then rework his contract to escalate over the life of it...weeding out Poti's salary....

Caps could be great for a long time...

Carlson, Alzner, Green, Bogosian, Ovechkin, Backs, Johansson, Tavares...awesome...

Throw in a Beagle, Laich, Knuble, Bradley, A.Gordon...Caps have some good role players...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 12, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Yea, I suppose the price wouldn't get driven up too much given that it would potentially be a rental situation but I still think several teams would give up more than you laid out with the hope that they could sign him.

As far as the rumor, what have you heard? Do you have any links on it?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Juice, I noticed him on the PP last night and he looked not half bad. Made some good passes and rifled some blistering shots. Defensively, he was his usual physical self and he wasn't hesitating to get involved in every scrum even if he didn't throw down. I'd much rather have him than Poti and we could have kept him for much less. I really have no faith in McPhee.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

ICEHAMMER...

Come on, lighten up. I wish the Caps would do something like the Islanders...we the fans will then see who is with the team and who isn't.

Every single Islander jumped in to help protect their teammate. Even Okposo and MacDonald...and those two are not fighters...

The Islanders no know that they are truly backing each other up...

Caps need that kind of intensity. Only Hendricks has it right now...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 12, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Wait... I was wrong he still has a year on his cntract at 3.75

With that in mind...Give up a goalie, first rounder, MP, Fehr, and one of our russians in waiting.

You never know...it could happen

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

It will be hard for ANY team to be "great for a long time" with the parity of the hard cap era. Teams will have small windows to contend relative to the pre-cap era. I'd still like that deal but nothing will guarantee long term greatness. Presently elite teams will quickly be replaced by other teams on the rise with young, cheap stars-in-the-making. If Ovechkin continues his downward slide, his nearly $10 mil cap hit will be a huge anchor on this team's potential. Backstrom needs to up his game as well.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Tavares is their franchise player, he is not going anywhere. He was the first overall pick two years ago.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 12, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree underpants..

Just nice to think about...

I'd rather have him than backstrom...

I think Backstrom peaked last year....

He won't peak again till there are 2 years left on his contract...

Euros....

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 12, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I think the caps are one of the few teams in the league that could conted for a long time.

I really think Ovie will be fine overall. This was just a bad year for Russians. We have so many prospects that show potential...esp. at center.

This is the year we can easily afford to give up picks. the farm is stocked! Use the pick for the present and use the farm for the future.

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Few will agree with me and it won't happen anyway but if the Caps don't win a cup in the next 2 years, I'd make Ovechkin available to the rest of the league and take the most picks and young, cheap talent I could get.

Windows of opportunity are small in the hard cap era. That's why you saw the GMs of teams like Chicago and Pittsburgh so aggressive with "all in" mentalities while they had the likes of Malkin, Staal, Kane, Toews, etc... on contracts well below their actual worths. McPhee sat on his hands as he and Ted have this unrealistic, overly conservative "good for a decade" plan. That won't happen. There will be teams continuing to surpass us in the coming years as they have cheap young talent on entry level contracts while we have declining core players taking up half of our cap space. It's the nature of the beast and good GMs know that.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@soaring

PLEASE leave the prejudice talk to yourslf! all the euro talk gets old...I know that u people believe only north americans have redeeming qualities, but it's not true.

Before this season NO ONE questioned backie's character or work ethic....heck...he hasn't even missed a game.

Maybe it really just is an off season.

Also...u can't blame BB AND the players...u have to choose 1!

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

the farm is stocked!

-----

Do you know the state of the farm of all other 29 organizations?

How do you know we are stocked relative to other teams without knowing who they have in the pipeline?

I don't know where we actually fall but don't believe the hype. There are a lot of great players in other farm systems. There may be a bunch of teams that are far more "stocked" as us.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Imagine how much better TB could be if they didn't have Vinny's deadweight contract holding them back. They could shore up their defense and other holes and be hands down favorites to win it all.

Deny it all you want, but Ovechkin will have a bunch of years in the future where he doesn't play anywhere close to his contract value. This may be far from the low point. He will decline further athletically as time goes on. To stay at an elite level, you need to be smart, complete player and #8 is neither of those things by any stretch. His game is almost entirely based on his physical tools. The disparity between him and a lot of other young talents who are smarter and more well-rounded players, e.g., Crosby, will grow even further as his athleticism continues to decline.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@Hunterfc...I am awake and living in the present, not the 70's or 80's...by the way where did you lace up your skates?

Posted by: boomer44 | February 12, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom, on the other hand, is the type of player who will continue to be an impact player as he ages and declines physically. Even as a young player now, he doesn't rely much on his athletic abilities. He's probably well below average in speed for his position and isn't an overpowering physical presence. He thinks the game well and makes his teammates better. He has elite hockey IQ as opposed to simply elite physical tools like Ovechkin. 5-7 years from now, Backstrom will likely be a far better player than Ovechkin due to his complete game, intelligence and skill.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

did u see what eakins new team had to trade to get him? Did u see how many players we had in the junior WC? ALL the commentators talked about which teams had the best representation...only 2-3 teams were mentioned on a similar caliber as us.

All our top prospect played great in the JWC.

Posted by: capscoach | February 12, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

A lot of fans have the same arrogance as our owner, GM and coach, leading to overrating everything from our players to our farm system. Some of the things I hear fans say on the regular are simply wild speculation not based in fact.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Believe what you want but you know probably next to nothing about the 29 other farm systems. A lot of teams have been drafting much higher than us for several years and have stocked up on talent that you don't even know about for one reason or another. You believe a few sound bits on TV or from the talking heads in our organization and you take it as fact without really knowing the facts.

I'm not saying that our farm isn't great but it's really impossible to know without having an extensive knowledge of the entire league.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

You and Cstanton have a grip on what is going on with the Caps and the league.

The "good for a decade" plan will be about as successful as GMGM's "team toughness" strategy.

Unhappily, I have to admit that Ovi's contract will become an anchor. He has decided not to work as hard off the ice as guys who are "cup focused". Caps fans dislike Crosby, but the guy is apparently a "work out" maniac. I guess that's why he has a ring.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

You and Cstanton have a grip on what is going on with the Caps and the league.

The "good for a decade" plan will be about as successful as GMGM's "team toughness" strategy.

Unhappily, I have to admit that Ovi's contract will become an anchor. He has decided not to work as hard off the ice as guys who are "cup focused". Caps fans dislike Crosby, but the guy is apparently a "work out" maniac. I guess that's why he has a ring.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

There is also the fact that prospectss in all sports are just that until they establish themselves over time. There are no-names that become impact players and highly touted players who become flops or busts.

I don't think it's as difficult to project the ability of draft picks in hockey as it is in baseball but it's still far from a science and there is a bunch of guessing and hoping.

The truth is that even the so-called experts who rate prospects have little clue how the majority of the players will pan out. Outside of the highest draft picks, it's almost a complete gamble. Even top picks turn out to be busts occasionally.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The point being that nobody really knows how good one farm system is compared to another. And it's all relative. Saying we have player X and Y and they look awesome means nothing unless said players are better than the Xs and Ys of other farm systems. Don't fool yourselves and think that Eakin and Kuznetsov are hands down the best 2 prospects in the world. Maybe one of them is. Maybe they won't end up being anywhere close to that.

I actually wouldn't be surprised if our farm system is in reality average or below average given McPhee and his staff's draft history. Another myth around here is that McPhee is awesome at drafting. I keep bringing up that study I ran across about a year ago. They took a decade of draft picks from every team and ranked those players on several metrics such as NHL games played. What I recall reading about the Caps is that we were one of the worst in the league, if not the absolute worst, when it came to picks in the 2nd rd and beyond. Additionally, at the time of that study, I believe we had more 1st rd picks than any team in the league over that 10 year span and when that was taken into account, we actually greatly underachieved in the 1st rd as well. There were a bunch of teams that did better than us in the 1st rd with far fewer picks.

I have looked for the link to that study a number of times but haven't been able to find it. I am not making it up and hope that I can come across it again to post it. I've tried a combinatio of search terms in google but haven't been successful as of yet. Maybe there will be a newer similar study done so we can better separate fact from fiction.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@yesisaiditfirst

Ah, the comparisons of the present Caps to former Cup hoisters has gotten sickly.

The Caps have no one on their roster that plays with the intensity of Nystrom, Trottier, Bossy, and most all Potvin.

GMGM doesn't look for those types of personalities when he drafts. That's how you lose to an 8th seed, and get down 1-3 to poor Rags club.

Lastly, Al Arbour was a "play off beast", BB just eats like one.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think there is a sophomore jinx for most players that burst on the scene with great starts...Backstrom's was just 2 years late - and he is making Ovechkin look worse or vice versa...anyway - points for both are going to be down.

The Caps are now tied for 2nd best defensive team in the league and they still have scored 20% more goals than they have given up - problem is those goals are not spread out adequately.

They still are getting points in a higher percentage of their games than all but 2 teams (Philly and Vancouver) and that is remarkable. (Look at the actual Loss column)

Games dont end in shootouts and 4 on 4 in playoffs - so the teams that hang in there win some close games.

This team is very close and it all falls really on shoulders of Backstrom and Ovi. If they score goals this team has taken a huge leap - if they dont were just stuck in the top 25% of teams..not bad...but not at the top.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 12, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@boomer

I played mostly at the Wheaton Ice house.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

GMGM doesn't look for those types of personalities when he drafts. That's how you lose to an 8th seed, and get down 1-3 to poor Rags club.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:26 AM |

I very much see that as truth. His constant pursuit of "skill players" and his inability to build a balanced roster is the main reason for our shortcomings. It's an even bigger than any of the gaps in Boudreau's coaching skill set.

I don't want to believe it but this fan here believes that we get nowhere near a cup with McPhee as the main decision-maker in the organization.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

Besides that athletes have changed and so has the game and the physical element has been deemphasized in general except for the last 2 weeks in games with goalies fighting - the Caps have guys symbolic of those players:

Ovi is our Bossy (sniper)
Backstrom is our Trottier (two way forward)
Chimera is our Nystrom (speed)
Carlson is our Potvin (heavy minute D)

Do our guys in general have to be dirtier? Yes...but no team can have guys that play exactly like Nystrom or Potvin these days. The Isles did not have a Green either and they did have Billy Smith - rules were so different.

Go back and watch film of those Islanders when those guys arrived - many mistakes of youth but they overcame them probably because of the coach....(your point valid) in the league with 9 fewer teams and way less roster restriction.

Now as for my analogy of the Caps resembling the Isles before they won - I must confess that was not my own - I heard that one from Denis Potvin during a game this year of Caps/Ottawa...so I assume he has a good take on what the Isles were really like in their day.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 12, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I hope that you are right about Backy. I'm seeing a guy who isn't moving his feet. Ovi draws two defenders and Backy is really no where to be seen in the slot area.

Backy isn't from here. He doesn't care about the Cup. He looked really disapointed when the Swedes lost to Halak.
Not so much, when the Habs dusted us. IMO

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 12, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

lol @ people blaming Backstrom for Ovechkin's horrid play.

Backstrom has absolutely underperformed this season but the vast majority of Ovechkin's struggles lie squarely on Ovechkin and Boudreau to an extent for not being the type of coach to demand certain things from him and guide him to becoming a more complete player - and not just this year but during his entire tenure as coach. Ovechkin is a ball of energy and a good athlete but he doesn't think the game well at all and is still extremely one-dimensional. His confidence is down and he seems slower and is slipping in his fundamentals, perhaps due to a lack of practice or the confidence issue.

Furthermore, if Ovechkin is THAT dependent on Backstrom, it's further evidence of my theory that you don't want to build your team around a one-dimensional wing. Trade one of Ovechkin or Semin ASAP and bring in another center. Let's start building better up the middle. That's not all we need to fix things but it would be a start.

Spending nearly $17 mil on 2 wings in the cap era where resources are limited is rarely a good idea unless said wing is more of a complete player like a Nash, Hossa or Zetterberg. Those guys can be used in a variety of situations and play both ends of the ice. I'm not saying you want to build around them either necessarily but it's more feasible, age factor aside, than with a guy like Ovechkin who is as one-dimensional as they come.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

lol @ those comparisons.

I'm sure the Caps will one day be handing out a Jason Chimera Award.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's wait til this team has even a modicum of success when it matters before we start drawing comparisons to legendary players or teams.

Too many of you fans sound as arrogant and big-headed as our owner, GM and coach.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

make that our owner, GM, coach and captain...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 12, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin has more than earned his $124 million dollar contract. Without him, the Caps aren't in the Winter Classic and wouldn't get one in the future. They wouldn't play on HNIC, NBC, or Versus as often. Verizon Center wouldn't have a sellout streak. Ted wouldn't make as much money and may have considered moving the team. Ovechkin's personality as well as his play has made even non-hockey fans notice the Caps. He is the perfect ambassador for hockey in this town and has brought in far more than $124 million to this team.

tmac-Backstrom's off year is troubling because it coincides with Ovi's. I've seen Ovi dominate with average players, but never Backstrom. This year would have been the perfect time for him to prove that he is not a product of Ovi and he hasn't done that.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 12, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70 - there used to be a Backstrom fan on one of these chats named SWEDISH that used to deplore that Ovi got all the attention and that Backstrom was the real reason the Caps always won...he has been silent since about November this year - karma? I guess he was right all along...lol

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 12, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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