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Maple Leafs 2, Caps 1 (SO)

Reaction to tonight's humbling 2-1 shootout loss to the lowly Leafs was all over the place in the visitors' dressing room at Air Canada Centre. Coach Bruce Boudreau said his players looked worn out, a combination of playing on back to back nights and performing under the strain of so many injuries.

It would be hard to argue with him.

Then there was captain Chris Clark, who was annoyed about his team's second straight flat start and its inconsistent effort from shift to shift, period to period, against the league's worst team.

Again, it would be hard to argue with him.

Both, in my opinion, have valid points. But the Leafs? Really?

With an early flight to Ottawa in a few hours, I'm going to keep things brief tonight. If you haven't already, check out my game story here and then come on back for a few notes that didn't the print edition:

*Although Boudreau isn't ready to name his No. 1 goalie just yet, he praised Semyon Varlamov's effort tonight and said the rookie has earned the right to get the bulk of the playing time - for now.

"They would have got nothing by him if one didn't go off Niklas Hagman," Boudreau said. "He was superb, and he's played like that way for a while now."

*Andrew Gordon, who was called up earlier in the day, didn't play at all in the third period. From the sounds of it, Boudreau benched him.

"We're tired and the guys we're bringing in are usually coming off a bus trip and then they're flying all day like Andrew Gordon was today," Boudreau said. "He looked like he didn't have much legs tonight."

*Maple Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala came into the game without a win. He was even mocked by the home fans when he made a routine save on the first shot. But he ended up earning the first star of the game by making 31 saves.

*I spoke to several players after the game. Some were disappointed, some were downright upset. You can count Eric Fehr in the latter group. Boudreau gave him another chance in penalty shots, and this time, he stick broke in half as he went to shoot.

"My stick broke," he said as he stormed out of the visitors' dressing room. "What more do you want me to say?"

Boudreau said he felt Fehr had played well in regulation -- he rang a shot off the post late -- so he played a "hunch" and put him in the shootout lineup.

*Boudreau also acknowledged that Ovechkin came back from his injury a little early, which might be behind the reason he still looks off to so many observers.

"I thought he was better than last night," Boudreau said. "When he first came back, he wasn't a 100 percent. A guy like Alex , just wanted to play. And so he played. He'll be better against Ottawa. That was an injury ...a lot of guys would have been out another week or two. I'm not worried about him."

*Boudreau also spoke highly of the Leafs, the team he cheered for growing up.

"They always play tough against us," he said. "I have no idea why they are in the position they're in. I know they are a dangerous club. They can throw guys over the boards that can play the game. They're going to turn it around very shortly. They're going to be a hard team to play against in the not so distant future."

That's it from me tonight. The Caps are off tomorrow and I'll be traveling to Ottawa.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 22, 2009; 12:18 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning roundup: Injuries taking a toll

Comments

"Both, in my opinion, have valid points. But the Leafs? Really?"

That sums it up perfectly, Tarik.

Posted by: blindskateluke | November 22, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

I totally sees clarks point.Hes should be upset with the way they played.Cause they played like crap.Tired,no legs,back to back,still no excuse.they had no heart,thats really what they didnt have and that the most inportant thing to have each night.because if you got heart the other things will work themselves out.They need to find the passion and the heart of the game again before there gonna start winning again.I love the caps but they need to get it together and fast.LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: gratefuldid | November 22, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Is Laing the person who's the heart and soul of this team? It seems like they could lose anyone else but once Laing went down......

Get well soon, Knubs, Sasha, Lainger and the rest of you all.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 1:50 AM | Report abuse

They really did look tired last night, though I thought Ovi looked better. Thankful we got at least one point. Despite the outcomes, both Neuvy and Varly especially looked good. That's the positive I want to take from our last two games. Hope everyone gets better soon.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | November 22, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

No easy wins in the NHL. Especially when you're #1 in the Eastern Conf and other teams want to measure themselves by the fact that "hey, at least we beat washington."

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | November 22, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Unleash - You are right on that one, and the Leafs record defies their potential. In time, they might put together a 10 game winning streak. All 30 teams can win on a given night. I think only the bottom 5 or 6 have records below 500.

Posted by: gonchpup | November 22, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

As the saying goes -- there's a reason they play the games. I don't think the "we're playing the lowly [fill in the blank]" line of thought is very useful. In baseball, there's a saying that the batter can get himself out. Sometimes, I think the Caps beat themselves.

Posted by: miseaujeu | November 22, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

@miseaujeu

The unfortunate fact on the Caps is that you could say they beat themselves in EVERY loss this year. They've had the lead at least one time in EVERY loss this year. And that is NO exaggeration.

Yes, I know we can't win them all but come on.....

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@gonchpup

It is amazing how much the points for losing in overtime and gimmick can inflate the actual records of NHL teams.

For example, if the overtime losses for the Caps counted as losses, we'd be 13-10, which is okay but not exactly spectacular. And the only over .500 team would be Atlanta and they'd be barely over that. Buffalo would be 12-8 and Ottawa 11-9. (Gee, that's our next two opponents.) The Devils and Pitt would still look great. Philthy would be 12-9. The Rangers would be about a .500 team while the Isles would really be bad.

This is a year where the so called 4th place team in the Conference would be good enough to win ANY other division in the conference.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan75--interesting way to analyzing the points. Have to think about it. Last night's game was hard--realized how important Poti is to the PK and Semin to the PP. Missed Knuble's physicality at the net. Ovi's timing seems a little off. I feel dispirited the way the Caps looked to me last night. The other guys Laich,Clark, Fehr et al seemed so frustrated. Somehow they've got to get their mojo back.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"But the Leafs? Really?"

Yes. Really. If you had paid attention to the game you would have seen a Leafs team that was ready to play and did against a tired, disorganized, and hurt opponent. I don't follow the Leafs so I don't know why their record is so bad, but that was a well coached team last night who deserved the win.

Varlamov was awesome, without him it would have been a total disaster; he earned the one point for the Caps.

Posted by: hock1 | November 22, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Agree that Varly was amazing. IMHO he looked really sharp and in the moment. Shame that his great play is recorded as a loss but I credit the one point to him. We spent much too much time in our zone.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the need to "name a #1 goalie" at this point in the season. The tandem seems to be working out just fine, and probably keeps both working harder than they would if there were a named #1 and #2.

Posted by: CapsChick | November 22, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@CapsChick:

Which tandem do you mean? Over the last games he played, Theo wasn't that great I think ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 22, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

That's the truth. The last 2 games were sheer agony against bad teams. Ovi isn't right but scored once. The rest of the offense -- ugghh!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@hock1

Agree. Varly was awesome. Unfortunatly, the only way that he had any chance of winning was by a shutout. The Caps offense was a total disaster (except for Ovi's goal but he can't do it all).

Varly deserved a better fate. (Even Ted L. posted that on his blog today.) I had posted several times on various blogs last night.) Too bad, he ran out of gas at the shootout but if our offense had done anything.......

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

And of course there are posters (on other blogs) that think Semin should be traded for a good two way forward. Yes, even after last night.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

there is no need to have a number one goalie who will play something like 60 games during the regular season when you have a good team with two capable goalies.

All you need to have is one guy ready for the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | November 22, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I hope fans are starting to see that Alexander Semin is one of the best players in the league. Yeah, he takes some bad penalties, but he draws as many bad penalties from the opposing team. When he isn't in the line up they can concentrate on trying to take Ovie out of the game and for the most part it is working. We have been beeten by two of the worst teams in the league. I understand there are excuses for our poor play, but give Semin the credit he deserves.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | November 22, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The Caps looked really sloppy last game. The injuries did play a part, but I think the constant line shuffling isn't helping. When the injured Caps return, I hope BB will keep the same lines for at least a few games.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 22, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I am happy with the point. It pushed us to a two point lead in the conference and an eight point lead in the division. It could have been worse. Varly could have had a shutout if it wasn't for that fluky goal. Sure you would like to get the two points against a team like Toronto, but they work hard and they brought it last night. Considering everything: the injuries, the amount of games in a short amount of time, etc.... I think it was a good point.

Also, people need to give Ovechkin a break. Any player that misses two weeks needs a few games to get back into the swing of things. He will be fine. Chill out!

Posted by: rockinthered1 | November 22, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

IMO I think the constant line shufflling was due to the injuries and callups. I expect they will revert back to what we saw at the beginning of the season. I also like how we can switch goalies. Varly was the fresh player out there. Agree that we don't have to make a goalie decision until closer to the playoffs. I liked seeing Neuvy too--tough loss for him too. Also thought he was pretty strong.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@Caps4Life1

Amen to that comment on Semin. I've been saying that these last two games are a glimpse of our future without Semin. Low scoring, ultra frustrating losses. And a power play that's the powerless play (or the short handed opportunity for the other team play).

Message to GM McPhee -- sign Semin.

Message to AVS -- please get healthy.

The Caps have three guys who are consistently unlucky in the health front: Quinten Laing, Eric Fehr, and Alexander Semin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@rockinthered1

While maybe Ovi's been off (due to injury), he's frankly the only guy that's done squat for us on the offensive front lately, besides Eric Fehr vs Montreal.

Ovi can't do it all by himself.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely I think Ovi will be fine. Last night was much better for him. It will a take a few games to get his full form back. That is one guy who hates to lose no matter what.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@ Capsyoungguns

BB shuffles the lines even when most of the regulars are in the lineup. I'd like to see him stick with a line combo for at least 3 games to give the linemates a chance to gel. They may lose a few games, but it would be better long term.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 22, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

So does Semin need Ovi or does Ovi need Semin? Or maybe they need each other? Hmmmm....

And how about that "lazy, selfish penalty" Semin took in the 3rd? It totally changed the game and was the sole reason...Oh wait, that was BMo. Again! I guess that's why it wasn't mentioned.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 22, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

True he shuffles lines but seems to me to have some standard pairings. Lately it has it has been pretty much all over the place because of all the new faces I thought.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Considering 1st in the conference, 2nd in the league, #1 in goal scoring, I think Bruce is doing just fine shuffling the lines. The scouting of other teams, dealing with injuries, and helping players work through droughts are issues that many fans might not see. We have seen a considerable drop in penalties taken, and until the last 2 games the pp has picked it up. NOT PERFECT, but I like who we've got and, like last year, feel we have the depth with Bears players who can help us weather the injuries.

Posted by: gonchpup | November 22, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Green is the one who's been making the offense go the past few games, not Ovi. He's not scoring goals, but he's getting great assists on most of the goals we've scored lately. Ovi looks very off his game. Since coming back his first goal was a screened slapper on the PP, and the second was a gift from Green on that great pass. For all the Green bashing that goes on, he deserves credit where credit is due. He's very quietly taken the team lead in assists from Backstrom and is currently third in the league.

Posted by: butcherbaker | November 22, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"tired from playing back to back" what a lame excuse ....players do this in the ahl every weekend then do 12 hours on a bus....we got out worked plain and simply....why cater to already large egos by making such lame excuses?

Posted by: wendel2 | November 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I understand if OV's timing is a little off and his shot isn't as precise. That's fine. He needs a few games to get back into a rhythm. What I don't like is that he seems to just be occupying space a lot of times--skating in circles and standing around. If he doesn't have the explosion back, then you have to wonder if he needs a couple of more games to get right.

Posted by: CDon | November 22, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Boy has there been some negativity regarding Green in the past threads. It's like certain posters go after who is on the ice and Semin is getting a bit of a break while injured. It's almost like some fans realize what the the lacks when that player is absent. Green gets the bashing now because he's there on the ice.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The players were not excusing themselves--they were frustrated and mad at themselves. That's good. They can use that as motivation.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

it's an excuse, it's just an explanation.

also just about every Leaf player was basically fighting to keep their job after they got an ultimatum from their GM Brian Burke yesterday.

Posted by: joek443 | November 22, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

For those wondering about Ovi, he said in the postgame interview that it was really hot down on the ice and after a couple of moves, he couldn't breathe--not that he was using it as an excuse for losing. But that could factor in to him not being as energetic.

Posted by: dfe1 | November 22, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Unpopular opinion alert!!!!!

I know everyone is satisfied that the Caps are #1 in the conference, but I don't think they will get to play the bottom feeders come playoff time.

The Caps are doing well, but they still have issues that need to be fixed. Sometimes, it looks more like a individual show instead of a team effort. You have 1)guys that hold onto the puck too long 2) instances were 3 forwards are fighting for the puck along the boards, so when the puck is dislodged the opposing team have a chance for odd man rushes 3) passes that fly all over the place. Those are chemistry issues.

It's nice to be in 1st place in the regular season. Just ask the Sharks and Bruins how well that worked out for them last year. I'd prefer the Caps to be in 7th, 8th or even 10th place now and work on their issues, than to be in 1st place and pretend it's all Varly, Theo, Semin, or Green's fault for a loss.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 22, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Not to excuse the play of the last two games, but the Caps are missing some key people, e.g. semin, knuble, and as much as I like the young guys from the lower organization they are not on the same league as those we are missing.
I have been on BB's case for the constant shuffle of the lines, but lately he has had not choice and maybe his constant changes are helping now, who knows. I still think that the line of the future is Backs, OV, and Semin and BB should try to get them back together once they are all healthy. I think Morrison and Knuble are excellent players but they are getting old and the Caps should be thinking of who is going to take their places. I like what I am seeing from Perrault and Flash as the future for a second line, I would like to see them play together more often.
One other observation, and it may be premature in my part as BB has to shuffle lines because of injuries, I see that Backs and Semin (in his last few games) were playing more individually rather than looking for their line-mates,
to me that is quite a change in their style of play. I hope I am wrong, because otherwise their talent is being curtailed by their desired or compliance to play BB's system of attack by shooting first rather than debilitating the defense by moving the puck.

Posted by: hock1 | November 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I thought the line of Ovi, Backs & Semin was a thing of beauty in the first few games. They play well together. I liked seeing them back together, but then changes were made even before injuries started accumulating. I, too, hope when all are back that we will see that line reconstituted.

Posted by: Steakum | November 22, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@Steakum:

Well, those changes were demanded by some people because they argued, that Ovie, Backs and Semin were shooting not enough and even Ovie were looking for the fancy pass ...

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | November 22, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"Both, in my opinion, have valid points. But the Leafs? Really?"

That sums it up perfectly, Tarik.

Posted by: blindskateluke | November 22, 2009 1:04 AM |

It is this very attitude that can only feed a team's complacency.

When Ovi said the Leafs were still a good team and that position in the standings don't matter, none of you guys must have been listening.

You should approach every game the same.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Two years ago today, the Caps were 6-14-1. We should know better than to discount "lowly" teams.

Posted by: miseaujeu | November 22, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

And how about that "lazy, selfish penalty" Semin took in the 3rd? It totally changed the game and was the sole reason...Oh wait, that was BMo. Again! I guess that's why it wasn't mentioned.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 22, 2009 11:21 AM |

As I have tried to point out in the past, Semin seems to be singled out (besides the fact that he is just an easy scapegoat) only because his stupid penalties seem to be the ones when the other team scores. When Knuble, BMo, Pothier, or Juice take a stupid penalty, they are fortunate enough for the PK to kill it.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

We are in first place at the moment but, for a first place team, we are not very good. If all the OT losses were counted as losses, we'd be 13-10. Not so great. Granted, it helps out in the point department. But when playoff time comes, an overtime loss is still a loss. Note: the top two teams in the Atlantic Division have ONE overtime loss, count it ONE, overtime loss between them. If I were assessing the Eastern Conference teams, I would say the de facto conference leader is whoever is on top in the Atlantic division at the moment, regardless of what the standings really say. That is how players should treat things, for motivational purposes. The 4th place team in the conference would probably be leading ANY other division in the EC but they're the 4th seed due to the whole division thing,

I would not like seeing the Caps in 8th, 9th, or 10th place at the moment. It would be too much angst. Luckily, for the Caps, there are enough incompetent teams in both the North Least and South Least divisions to keep them in the playoff picture. (Now why can't the Caps beat the North Least teams?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Also, last night I didn't really see either team play a particularly bad night. It was a much better effort than against MTL.

I saw two hot goalies, and far too many missed chances for both clubs. Seriously, I'm not saying we should have won, but the game should have been more like 2-2 or 3-3.

The Caps had a knack of making cold goalies look like Roy last year, and it seems we've pulled the trick on Toskala last night.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

As you said, Semin is not the only Cap who takes "lazy, selfish" penalties. Or should we say, ill timed penalties? He just gets credit for it.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I would say the de facto conference leader is whoever is on top in the Atlantic division at the moment, regardless of what the standings really say. That is how players should treat things, for motivational purposes. The 4th place team in the conference would probably be leading ANY other division in the EC but they're the 4th seed due to the whole division thing,

_________________________

Don't take too much credit away from our boys now. I don't think any of the Atlantic teams would run away from us if they were in our division. It would just make our division more interesting.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Other guys have taken costly penalties which weren't killed.

In the Columbus game, it was Knuble who was in the box when they tied the game late. (Okay, technically, they had nearly killed the penalty but hadn't gotten the puck out of the defensive zone.)

In the Detroit game, while Semin did take 2 penalties, one of them costly, Green also took two penalties. Green was in the box for the game tyer. And he had just gotten out of the box but the team hadn't cleared the puck out of the D zone when the other team scored.

As far as I'm concerned, the penalty hasn't been killed until our guy is out of the Box AND they clear the puck out of our D-zone.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker

Green has been having a very good year this year, on the assist front.

Too many people have bashed on him this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Other guys have taken costly penalties which weren't killed.

In the Columbus game, it was Knuble who was in the box when they tied the game late. (Okay, technically, they had nearly killed the penalty but hadn't gotten the puck out of the defensive zone.)

In the Detroit game, while Semin did take 2 penalties, one of them costly, Green also took two penalties. Green was in the box for the game tyer. And he had just gotten out of the box but the team hadn't cleared the puck out of the D zone when the other team scored.

As far as I'm concerned, the penalty hasn't been killed until our guy is out of the Box AND they clear the puck out of our D-zone.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:07 PM |


You're right. Maybe people's neurotic and incessant belittling of Semin comes from their own irrational conclusions. I shouldn't try to make excuses for them, I've learned my lesson. Haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

If Philthy were in the Atlantic division, they'd be battling it out with us. Realistically, if we were in the Atlantic Division, we'd probably be in third place there.

The Devils and Pens appear to be the class of the conference. (So far, the Pens have about the same record against SE division teams as we do.)


Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Yes, people remember the Semin penalties. They don't remember the penalties by other guys.

But, I've noticed they somehow seem to kill the penalties taken by Shaone Morrisonn for some reason and he seems to take the worst ones. 5 minute majors both this year and last vs Florida. (I'm glad the Caps killed both of them and won but still .....)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@ hock1

If Backstrom and Semin were shooting more individually instead of looking for their linemates, had they both been instructed to shoot more. Or were they doing that since Ovi was no longer available?

I also recall hearing that Backstrom was sick that weekend (Columbus game).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Championship teams do not make excuses.

Posted by: O-V-P | November 22, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@FCKoeln1: In the 1st 4 games, Ovi, Semin, Backs & Laich accounted for 33 individual points. For 4 goals, Ovi, Semin & Backs were involved, while on another one Backs & Semin. Overall individual point production dropped off after that. Certainly, other factors can contribute to that, but as Ovi said one time in an interview, he and Semin read each other perfectly.

Posted by: Steakum | November 22, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Championship teams do not make excuses.

Posted by: O-V-P | November 22, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

stanley cups are not won or lost in november either... nor do the fans of championship teams in hockey hyperventilate over a regular season game in the first half of the season.

Posted by: joek443 | November 22, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Very true Joek. And we are not the only team playing through injuries.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Joek,

Not so much is it the result, but it is more of HOW they are getting to these results. No work ethic, no character, no killer instinct: all things that championship teams exhibit in the regular season; at least more consistently than the caps do

Posted by: O-V-P | November 22, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I was very happy to read through this whole thread and find that we have no new inductees into the Doofus Brigade.

There was reference to Green bashing on the other thread. Those people can consider themselves drafted into Company G. The HNiC announcers last night were very complimentary toward Green, pointing out several subtle defensive plays he made. I like Joe B and Locker but maybe they don't pick up on this as well as the HNiC guys.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@OVP-- I think you are being a little harsh--I do think the Caps have character and work ethic and IMO the consistency and discipline has improved this season. We fans often have short attention spans. The Caps have played some very fine games. And no NHL team is going to win all of the time. Unfortunately for us when we seemed to have gotten the rhythm and consistency going and the guys really stepped it with Ovi being out, they got hit with a lot of bad injuries including other key players in a short space of time and Ovi still finding his full game mode. They've stumbled but will find their footing again. I see the regular season as a war and the games as individual battles. Then we start the playoff war and whomever is left standing has the Cup.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Tom you're back!!! Thank goodness. The mean spiritedness of the last few days has been awful-- couldn't decide which was worse, watching the last two games or reading CI. Humor I need humor!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

BTW I don't mean today's thread. It's been a good read today.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

wendel2: You mentioned the fact that the Caps playing back to back nights isn't an excuse because the AHL teams do it every weekend. That is absolutely true. It is also true that every team in the AHL does it. Rarely, if ever, will an AHL team not have games all weekend. In the minors they believe the team is supported on weekends much better than during the week. So tired teams are playing tired teams so it's a wash. Yesterday was the 2nd Saturday in a row that the Caps had to play the 2nd of a back to back, on the road, against a team that had Friday off.

I was upset that the Caps lost the Leafs, but I understand that they were out of gas.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 22, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: Well, then, I won't go back and read. Please consider yourself (and other stalwarts here) fully deputized to impress all of the deserving into the Doofus Brigade.

Anyone though who criticized Green for the last two games should be crawling though mud right now, rifles extended and in back and forth motion, in preparation for deployment. Green got only the highest compliments from HNiC annoucers who, most assuredly, know way more than these armchair "experts."

So, apparently, the ranks of Green Company (Company G) have been filled with the unworthy.

Has any particular poster stood out to the point wwe can nominate him/her as captain of Green Company?

I was at the beach meanwhile all day yesterday and didn't get home till game time. Actually swam in the ocean. Was brisk, but when you're tough as nails like I am - hey, what can you say? Or maybe I was swimming because I'm stupid, not tough. I was the ONLY one swimming....

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It is the curse. They lost because the were on CSN+. It is the Fios Anne Arundel County Curse.

Posted by: lornemyoung | November 22, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

By the way, my opinion, the full weight of yesterday's loss rests on the sad and drooping shoulders of one person.

Yes, one person. This person during the entire game was listless, unsure of himself, hesitant in his decision-making and generally full of self-doubt.

That person, to whom I'm referring, would be none other than moi, tominfl1.

So of course you are now scratching your head and asking, "But, tominfl1, how can we blame you? You neither lace up the skates nor take a shift. Surely it can't be you."

Yes, well, I appreciate your kind thoughts. BUT, it was I who announced that I must rock the red for home games and rock the white for road games. But what about road games in red jerseys? Yes, I watched the whole game filled with self-doubt. I tried drinking while wine, but felt no desire, no pleasure, no esprit with my vicarious teammates on the ice.

Believe me, BB called this morning and gave my an earful. I immediately told mrstominfl1 to try harder for Monday's game.

"What should we have for dinner tomorrow? she asked this morning.

"Ottawa. Road," I barked.

She defrosted chicken breasts, which are now in the fridge. I urge all of you to have broiled chicken breats and eithe chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, depending on if the flavor is butter or spices.

The ship will be righted tomorrow night.

Rock the white.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was interesting that one of the announcers for last night's game said that his key for the Caps' success this year was resolving the Nylander situation. In the absence of detailed reporting on the subject, I offer the following (pure)speculation -
There is a poker game going on between the Caps and Nylander. Nylander wants to be released free and clear, so he can make his best deal with a team of his choosing. His stalling is his leverage over the Caps, since each passing day costs the Caps $25K in cap room. The Caps want to get something in return for Nylander. Their only leverage is not allowing Nylander to practice with the team. As a result, other teams will gradually begin to question Nylander's game readiness, making him a less desirable acquisition. The question is who will blink first.

Posted by: zmega | November 22, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Love your designation of Company G in the Doofus Brigade for the Green bashers.

Shouldn't we also have a Company S for the Semin bashers?

Overall, I've heard more Semin bashing than Green bashing this year. Last Sunday, more people posting here started defending Semin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung

Actually it's the curse of one fan on Japers who admits to the fact that the Caps lose on days he has other commitments that watching the Caps. This fan admitted to having tickets for a concert on Saturday night and couldn't watch them.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

In addition, the minor league teams will tend to have 1 game during a week where they have back to backs on the weekend. Agree that the game's more likely to be a wash between two tired teams than between one uber tired team and one more rested team.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Interesting theory on Nylander.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

zmega: That was Al Koken, in the studio. With injuries building up it should would certainly be nice to have the Cap space to bring Alzner up but his Cap hit is too big. I like what I've seen of Carlson so far too. The extra Cap space could help us navigate through the rash of injuries and then to acquire what we need at the trade deadline.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: Well, a brigade has 3 battalions, each of which is composed of 3 campanies. That's 9 companies, 200 soldiers each, in the full brigade. So far we have Fox Company (filled with the Oiler organization) and then Green, Semin and Varly companies.

The members of Company V, all of whom wanted to send him back to Hershey two weeks ago, have been strangely quiet of late.

Since the Caps are on the road, we kept the rock the white for tonight. Appetizers were large, boiled shrimps wrapped in cream cheese and smoked salmon. Dinner was lobster casserole. This with 2007 Chalone Estate Growth chardonnay.

The dinner was magnificent. I did notice one item on the menu that drew my caution.

"Do you really have to use the "Philadelphia" brand cream cheese with the shrimps?" I asked. (They were scrumptious.)

"Well," she said, "it is the best brand."

"Okay," I said, "but when they're playing the Flyers, I won't eat it."

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The Caps can't release Nylander "free and clear." Well, they essentially did this when they put him on waivers. I don't think - maybe wrong - but don't think there's a CBA provision at this point in the season to say, "Here's your money, go do whatever you want."

The buyout opportunity opened in July and closed shortly thereafter. The Caps eschewed the buyout option. The Caps want above all else to avoid a cap hit for 2011-2011.

So I wil post again the most likely scenario if this drags out:

1) Nylander's NMC expires July 1, 2010.
2) Nylander knows this.
3) Nylander knows if he drags this out that long, the Caps will assign him next year to the most unforgiving and inhuman location to earn his last $3M. And he knows that he will then retire, rather than subject himself to such humiliation, and that by not honoring his contracts, the Caps can also likely block him from signing overseas next season.
4) McPhee will find a taker come March 1st when the remaining cash payout due to Nylander, at that time, will be $1M this year and $3M next.
5) Nylander will accept a trade at that point.

Right now, with $6.6M due him, no NHL team will accept. That will change as time passes and the financial obligation lessens. Come March 1st, some team's need for a center will outweigh the size of his remaining contract.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - I question whether a NHL team would take him in March for $4 million when he has played so little in the past two years and considering his age. This is especially true since he would have been essentially idle for a year. There is something more going on with Nylander than just trying to make up his mind. I'm not sure what it is, but your scenario doesn't make sense to me.

Posted by: zmega | November 22, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

zmega:
this actually makes the most sense to me. as the trade deadline nears, nyls chance for choosing where he ends up is nearing its end. any team that is on the playoff bubble and center issues could take a chance on him. the idleness for a year would tell them that he is injury free. his play in grand rapids showed that he still has something and it should only take him about two weeks to be in peak game shape.
i personally think he'll choose to do something else before the deadline comes

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 22, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

zmega: Nylander had an opportunity to play in Russia and apparently he declined. McPhee put him on waivers to see if another team would take him and they didn't. Nylander likely wants the last three million dollars of his contract. My scenario shows that if he stays with the Caps, the only way he'll earn his money next year is by playing for the Biloxi Bombers or whatever third rate team he gets assigned to. His only possible hope to play in the NHL next year and get his salary is find a willing dance partner. When the remaining salary becomes low enough he becomes "worth it."

Any team that takes him by March 1st only needs to get him up to speed in time for the playoffs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I sure hope you're right on Nyls and that something happens before the trading deadline. This has been dragging on too long. Nylander in limbo. (Cue to the song: "Limbo Rock")

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Tom - I guess we are all left to speculate on what will happen. It sure would be nice if the WP provided something definitive on what is going on, what the options are for each side, and what the salary cap consequences are for each option.

Posted by: zmega | November 22, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

zmega: The whole Nylander saga is worthy of a Robery Ludlum novel. Next we'll hear that his agent was hiding on the "grassy knoll" while Nylander met with officials from the KHL in the Watergate Hotel. Meanwhile we get almost no coverage except an excerpt from Ted saying, "while Micheal Nylander decides where to play."

"Good morning, Mister Nylander. This man, George McPhee, has been trying in vain to unload you from the Washington Capitals roster for over a year. Meanwhile, this man, who goes under the cover of BB, refuses to insert you into the starting line-up. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to agree to play with a team that wants you, despite your wife's insistance that the location be one of her choosing.

"Your options will self-destruct one second after the trading deadline this coming March.

"Good luck, Mister Nylander."

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"I like Joe B and Locker but maybe they don't pick up on this as well as the HNiC guys."
Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 4:14 PM
-------------------------------
Joe B and Locker spend entirely too much time talking about where they ate dinner, etc. I think the problem is actually just Locker, because Joe B is much easier to listen to when he's on Versus with a different color guy.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Some very good points about AHL teams playing back-to-back (both teams are tired) vs. NHL teams playing back-to-back against fresh teams.

Especially when there is a road trip involved between games, back-to-back is tougher at the NHL level. Playing at the NHL level is tougher, right? Right? And it isn't very often that both teams - unless it's a "home-and-home" thing - are playing the second half of a back-to-back at the same time at the NHL level.

Our season is brutally tough this year because of the Olympic break. I can see why the NHL doesn't want players to take that break next time the Olympics roll around, but I can also see why the players want to play in the Olympics, too. I just hope they can come to an agreement over it without locking the doors.

Posted by: irockthered | November 22, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 6:51 PM

Phil: Your response is the answer to some question. Which one?

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

We should also have a Company F for all the bashers of Flash and Fehr. The Flash bashers are silent at the moment, needless to say since he's been great since coming back. We still hear plenty from the Fehr bashers.

Fehr is one of the members of the Caps "bad luck" trio, who always keep getting injured. The other members are Quentin Laing and Alex Semin.

Everyone feels suitably sorry for Laing. He's a grinder who's worked so hard.

No one feels too sorry for the other two members of the bad luck trio since they actually have talent. Instead, they are criticized roundly. Fehr is derided as a wasted draft pick, although he has a reasonably high productivity rate for the limited ice time he gets.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Phil: Your response is the answer to some question. Which one?

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 6:56 PM |

No Cup. Caps suck.

Time to start tanking for a top 3 pick.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 22, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Play the olympic hockey in july.

Posted by: sporttraveler | November 22, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

Yes, the Olympic break does cause havoc with the schedule. And, yes, the guys want to play in the Olympics.

If I were in charge of making decisions for the NHL and the Olympics. I would let the guys go to Sochi for 2014. Let's keep good relations with the Russians (players and the hockey management over there and politicians). After that year, then don't let the NHLers or, for that matter, the KHLers do the Olympics. If we want the Olympics to be amateurs, it should be done consistently. Of course, the reason they started letting the pro players in, was that it was hard to compete with countries, like the Soviet Union, whose Olympic teams were a de facto pro team, like the old Soviet Union.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Tess: I think Locker does a good job of explaining the obvious plays. Like, Friday night, Perreault digs the puck out of the corner with his skates and then pulls it off the stick of a Hab and snaps it to Fehr, who roofs it. I was then explaining to my daughter, "Look how Mini Me kept the puck going with his skate..." and Locker then explains what has happened.

The stuff though last night with Green was so subtle that I didn't even see it in 58" HD on the NHL Network broadcast. But, the HNiC guys got it, maybe it was Kelly Hrudey (he of the funny-looking goalie mask).

So, I don't care if they chit-chat, just tell me at key junctures of the game the stuff that they see as experts that I don't see as "just a fan."

And one thing I notice watching "enemy" broadcasts is that the Green love is always way more apparent than it is from many of his home-town fans.

Or should I call them, the members of Company G.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

@sporttraveler

Olympics in July.

It would certainly solve the problem of the schedule conflicting with the NHL, including the Stanley Cup. Of course, it would no longer feel like the Winter Olympics if it happened in summer time. Still, if they did put Olympic hockey on in the summer, TV ratings would be good.

Would most of the pro players have anything left in the tank for the Olympics after the long season, including playoffs?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Overall, I consider Comcast's coverage of the Caps better than Versus's coverage.

So many times on Versus, a penalty will happen and we never get any notice of who's in the box.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe GMGM could get over it and simply let Nylander play. Since we get no real reporting on the cause of the problem, does anybody know what Nylander did to piss off GMGM and BB? It can't just be the circles or the salary...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 22, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Tom, I was planning on grilled pork chops for tomorrow's dinner, not chicken as you recommended. Pork is "the other white meat" so that should be ok, right? With the pork will be garlic mashed potatoes and red beets (gotta get the red in there somehow).

Posted by: tess2201 | November 22, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Rookie goaltender,6 ahl skaters, a bang up superstar,on the road,back to back games One point last night is not that bad.If we lose 5 or 6 in a row then start being concerned

Posted by: sporttraveler | November 22, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of unhappy posts here. Let's put things in perspective.
This is a first-place team.
It's a long, bruising season, and the Caps are fighting through injuries. I don't want this team peaking now. Let's save that for the playoffs.
Our boys really miss the gritty Knuble. Almost all the pieces were in place before he arrived, and I think he's the final piece for the Caps to take the Cup. A physical, no-nonsense player who is a strong leader. It's worth noting that when the Caps played in Philly earlier this season, Knuble received a nice hand from the crowd. Whatever you think of the Flyers (and I don't think much of them), those fans are hockey diehards. They wouldn't salute a former Flyer unless he was tough and deserved it.
Let's not panic when the Caps lose a game or two. That's going to happen. The key is to avoid bad streaks. Fatigue, injuries and lack of focus are stumbling blocks during the grueling march to June.
It's such an effort sport. With determination, good net play and a fortunate bounce or two, any team can beat another.
I was a Redskins fan the moment I popped into this world. I've been a Bullets (not the Wizards to me) fan since 1974 and a Caps fan since 1982. When I see what my beloved Redskins have become, it makes me appreciate the Caps more. Let's enjoy it. Take time to smell the roses on the way to the Cup.
Look at what we've we got:
-- Responsible, responsive ownership.
-- Fans who pack the place every game.
-- The magnificent Ovie. He's a once-in-a-generation player, and he's the best emotional leader in D.C. since the days of George Allen and the Over the Hill Gang.
-- Boudreau, who is at least 50 games over .500 since he took the helm. That's incredible for the Caps, or most any team, really.
-- A Caps team loaded with talent, whether it's Semin, Backstrom, Green or young Varly, etc.
-- Playoff experience. The Caps have played three seven-game series in the past two seasons. It's going to pay off, people.

Posted by: gaspeny | November 22, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

1) Nylander has been put on waivers. He can't play unless he clears reverse waivers. McPhee won't do that or my name isn't tominfl1.
2) CapsFan75: This was not Versus but Hockey Night in Canada. Watching HNiC for a hockey fan is like going to the Vatican for mass for those so inclined.
3) Tess: Grilled pork chops are an excellent way to "rock the white." Those garlic mashed potatoes sound especially good. A chardonnay will work very well if you season the chops with salt & pepper. If you go with oregano-based seasoning, you can do very well with a California sauvignon blanc like Simi. Good luck, you are a fan fan. I called my mother, who is in the hospital (broken hip), and she was telling me they have 5 choices for dinner each night. I asked if she could order chicken for tomorrow night and she said she could. Rock the white, mom.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@gaspeny - The (wine?) glass is way more than half full, for sure. Fair criticism at appropriate times is perfectly acceptable for fans, I think. Debate as to whether certain criticisms are fair is also legitimate on a blog like this. Sometimes the rhetoric gets overheated, but cooler heads generally intervene to calm things down.

Posted by: zmega | November 22, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

BTW, my dad said he put my mom on LTIR so he could call up a replacement spouse from the minor-league affiliate.

Just kidding on that one.

But, in case he decides to do it, I told him to get one with "lots of grit."

Can't have any pansy women in the family.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

TB gives up a 2 goal lead late to ATL and it ends up being a 3-point game. I was pulling for either team to win in regulation.

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 22, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

We had our pork chops and mashed potatoes tonight, along with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Does that count?

Posted by: Steakum | November 22, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The Caps had I think 108 pts last year. I predicted, about what many here did, 110 pts or so this year. They are 13-5-5? That's 31 pts in 23 games. That would be 93 pts in 69 games and it would be...110 pts in 82 games.

Considering all the injuries, we are doing fine.

High points: Production from Varlamov, Laich, Flash and BMo.

About as expected: Most of the team. (BTW, the PP is like 24%, same as last year).

Low points: The PK percentage is down, even though there are less enemy power plays.

I like what's happening because wea re playing well enough to get most of the points. It's better to peak later in the season. If you are really concerned, have a drink, fall asleep and then look at the standings in the morning. Maybe you won't feel so bad.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

steakum: Excellent way to rock the white while the team is on the road. I heard Ovi do an interview on HNiC last night and he said, "For sure, fans in DC always rock white when we travel, makes me want to shoot puck and score goal."

Yes, leave it to Ovi to put it in words that any true hockey fan can appreciate.

I'm hoping you had the Kim Crawford New Zealand sb. My other choice I normally have from that region is Nobilo, and their 2008 vintage came up way short in my book like the Brendan Shanahan comeback attempt.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@gaspeny-- great post. It is always good to see the larger picture. It is not easy for people to see the forest for the trees (though sorry for the cliche). Thanks for providing perspective on our collective malaise.

Tominfl1-- you are hereby banned from going to the beach on game day. This board came to verbal blows as you dallied in the sand and sun no matter how invigorating. And gossip of the most unsubstantiated kind became you can "take it for a fact" and you can "take it to the bank" kind of commentary. No verification of claimed facts led to our current housing crisis so needless to say I didn't trust that poster's failing bank.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

A gritty hip replacement--Wow. Your mom is even tougher than our "there's no quit in Quintin" Laing!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

A grittier replacement you say! No I think your mom doesn't need to stay of the lineup for 10 games. She should be back crashing the net sooner than that.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1-- nothing so fancy. Monkey Bay in honor of all of the ones with whom I live.

Posted by: Steakum | November 22, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

While it is true that the Caps still have fundamental flaws to correct in order to be serious Cup contenders, it is very possible that they will get there somewhere in the second half of the season. Yes, I agree with many in this thread who say that being number 1 in the conference does not mean that much and that they don't exactly play like a top team.

But somehow they have maintained top rankings for over a year now. They must be doing something right. The net result is still positive and, however frustrating they can be, at least according to the numbers, they continue to progress and move upwards since BB took over.

Posted by: caraveli | November 22, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: My mom already had all her teeth yanked out so I dare say she'd cut an even scarier image out there on the ice than even Quintin Laing (and his Dougie Gilmour impression).

She is kind of on the lanky side too and German background so she'd fit right in the Jeff Schultz mold. (Sarge looks just like some of my grandfather's relatives...when they were alive.)

I cannot commit to staying home from the beach, even though Caps performance on last several beach days has left something to be desired. Checking out the ladies is just way more fun than sweeping the leaves out of the gutters or whatever.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Bright spots from last night:

How many of you Varly doubters think that his "technique" makes him a liability and a less reliable goalie than Theo or Varly?

It looked like 85% of game last night took place in front of his net. He was outstanding both in technique and poise. And, most importantly, last night was not a fluke. Personally, I am impressed by his ability to learn and grow. He has been improving steadily on every front: mentally, technically, athletically, emotionally.... I think BB is right, however, not to rush and proclaim him the top goalie or anything else yet, allowing him to grow in this position gradually and keep proving himself. But I am feeling very optimistic about him.

And I don't get all this chatter about Ovi not beeing totally healthy yet blah blah blah. He was the only one who scored last night for crying out loud. And he scored on his first game back. If that's how he recovers--still being the top scorer on his team-- let him take his time and keep recovering.

Posted by: caraveli | November 22, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

LOL--I think your mom should definitely be part of the Caps lineup. We clearly need her kind of grit. As for beach--well okay. If I had a beach I guess I'd go to it too. I guess we posters can work on getting thicker skins. If we go worked up over the Maple Leafs how will we ever make it through the playoffs.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli--yeah Varly did look great. Positional and athletic. I liked both of them Neuvy and Varly. And agree it is good to rest them. And though I thought Ovi was't his best I agree he still better than most other players. I am not worried about him. He knows better than anyone what his body can or can't handle.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 22, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
Nylander was only put on waivers. After he cleared he was not assigned to Hershey so he would not have to be put on re-entry waivers in order to play for the Caps. I'm 99% sure that is how it works.

Posted by: sleepy3 | November 22, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: The problem with many people, not just hockey fans, is they only see the negative and not the opportunity. For instance, I was once trapped on a desert island off the Keys for over a month with eight women when my yacht sank. All the possessions we had in the world were their skimpy bathing suits and one knife and several cases of vodka that floated in. Fortunately on the island I found grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes and I was able to fashion cocktail glasses from hollowed-out coconuts. Some would have complained after a few weeks since the gals were lacking razors. I put them four-on-four and used one of the empty coconuts to play touch football.

Getting rescued was the worst day of my life.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
Nylander was only put on waivers. After he cleared he was not assigned to Hershey so he would not have to be put on re-entry waivers in order to play for the Caps. I'm 99% sure that is how it works.

Posted by: sleepy3 | November 22, 2009 9:17 PM

Yes, we agree, I think that's what I said when I told the person who said, "They should just play Nylander" that they can't just "play Nylander."

Even if the other 47 players in the Caps organization can't play tomorrow, for whatever reason, they still can't suit up Nylander (as the only player in that scenario, maybe he could skate 60 mins in circles vs Sens while conversing in Swedish with Alfredsson) unless he comes back via re-entry waivers.

And McPhee will never, ever, ever, ever, under any circumstance, do that, since Nylander getting claimed would mean a cap hit in 2010-2011 of $2,437,500.

Meanwhile, next year, even if he's still around, you can banish him to the Peoria Peters and he comes off the books.

Nylander: "I'm a Peter now, and I'll play like one."

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

What I was saying is that he can play tommorow or at anytime until he is assigned somewhere. That is why he still counts against the cap and is still a part of the Caps roster. He does not have to clear re-entry waivers.

Posted by: sleepy3 | November 22, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I'll admit last night was Hockey Night in Canada, as opposed to Versus. But my comment concerned my impression of Versus.

BTW, hope your mom does better soon. So your mom's side of the family is German?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

I agree with your post on Varly. I'm impressed with how the kid is learning and growing. (Annointing him as #1 goaltender at the beginning of this year would have been too much.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Yes, we're in a good position, all things considered.

Our power play will improve, once Knuble and Semin come back.

In spite of it being a "Muraviov's Law" sort of month, on the injury front, we are in first place, somehow. Let's hope we right our ship in time for the playoffs.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 22, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
Nylander was only put on waivers. After he cleared he was not assigned to Hershey so he would not have to be put on re-entry waivers in order to play for the Caps. I'm 99% sure that is how it works.

Posted by: sleepy3 | November 22, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure you are correct on this. Buffalo had put Adam Mair on waviers, and when he wasn't claimed, he ended up playing a game for them against Calgary later in the week.

Posted by: cainoo7x | November 22, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: My mother is 1/4 German. Her father's mother came over on the boat. The other three g-parents of hers are English.

Her father's father (George Nash) was born up I-83 (obviously before the road existed) halfway between Baltimore and PA and you can still see the broken down pieces of the house, along a creek, today.

All of them were farmers out in the Carroll County area, in towns like Boring and Mt Airey. My dad's family came from England in the 1640's and they've been in Baltimore since.

sleepy3: Actually, Nylander CAN'T play for the Caps. He could have, earlier in the season. But, once put on waivers, and unclaimed, he could only be assigned to Hershey. But, since he has NMC, and since he agreed to waivers but not reassignment, he is in "NHL Limbo." First, he can play in Hershey but has refused; second, he could have been claimed by another NHL team but wasn't; third, he can't play again with the Caps unless he clears re-entry waivers FIRST; fourth, the Caps won't expose him to re-entry waivers out of fear he might get claimed and they'd be in the hook for half his salary and cap hit the rest of this season and (more importantly) next.

I don't make the laws - I only live with them. Except when I ignore them.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

there is really no point in getting overly excited or disappointed with the team this early in the season. But I do see a big problem with this team and it's their PK.

Around 78 percent and ranked somewhere in the 20th just isn't good enough. the number has to be around 85 percent.

can you trust this unit to come up with a crucial kill late in the third period of a playoff game?? right now the answer is a big fat NO.

Posted by: joek443 | November 22, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

cainoo7X: If that is true, that is something I didn't know.

I have seen the Caps put guys on waivers to send them down - Aucoin and Giroux earlier this year. I have seen guys go down and then they try to bring them back up (Kronwall last year w/Toronto) when re-entrty waivers were required. I have also seen Caps send Aucoin down this year and then bring him up with no re-entry waivers required. Another example is last year Avery sent down by Dallas - unclaimed - and then assigned to Hartford and then they try and use him and NYR claims him. And now Dallas on the hook for half Avery salary this year and the next two.

I believe this re-entry business more complicated than USG Bailout Package.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

OK, maybe since Nylander never got assigned to Hershey, he can still play for the Caps. Kind of a moot point since they won't play him.

joek443: You are correct but they still have months to fix it. Have you had your drink for tonight? I'm judging from the tone of your note that the answer is a big fat "NO."

CapsFan75: One of my memories to carry forever was my grandparents driving me around every Christmas season to all the cemeteries Northern Baltimore County to put wreaths for all the deceased relatives. I especially remember my grandmother's because they visited her mother, grandmother and g-grandmother, going back to birth in 1834. Names like Dora Masemore, Frances Pierce and Mary Bull.

These are the people who built our country. They suffered and endured when times were tough. May they be resting in peace.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 22, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Tom,
I think the disconnect is that there is a difference between being placed on waivers and being assigned to another club. A team can place a player on waivers, but they don't have to do anything else with that player. Once they assign him to an AHL club or loan him somewhere else, then he has to clear re-entry waivers before he can play for the parent club. The key factor is the assignment not the waivers.

Posted by: sleepy3 | November 22, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I think the company assignment is going too far. It was a funny joke but now it is turning into flat out arrogance. Are there a lot of posters who make idiotic comments about players? Sure. But when you take it too far, and make it "Us against them" you end up creating an exclusive little clique which really ruins any web community.

Besides, who is to judge the opinion of anybody here. To my knowledge nobody here is involved professionally with the NHL. We are all outsiders looking in.

Posted by: trunkenmath | November 22, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

In honor of Nylander, who's in limbo:

Here's the old song, sung by Chubby Checker. (Yes, I'm old enough to remember it)

....

LIMBO ROCK
Every limbo boy and girl
All around the limbo world
Gonna do the limbo rock
All around the limbo clock
Jack be limbo, Jack be quick
Jack go unda limbo stick
All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock

(Etc.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Thankgiving wishes.

1) Let all people here who are traveling to have a safe trip to their destination. This includes all the college kids coming home, including my younger daughter.

2) And may many of the "wounded warriors" on the Capitals return to action on Wednesday healthy and healed, including and especially Alexander Valerievich Semin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I didn't read any of this board at all yesterday---was kind of apprehensive after the loss to the Canadiens. Couldn't read anything after last nights' game against Montreal for the same reason. Plus, pneumonia decided to "piggy back" on my swine flu (ha ha ha) and it's been rough.

Last night I was so confused to see the Caps wearing red on the road. I thought my TV was goofy, maybe because it was CSN+. I searched the internet and saw that in the NHL, home teams used to wear the dark colors till someone decided the fans needed more variety than the same old, same old against white visiting jerseys. Hence, the "white at home" and "colors for the visitors" for a time---as if Robin Givhan was coming to the games. As if! So, now it's back to colors at home and white on the road except for sometimes. Okay, whatever.

Now, tominfl1's confession makes total sense. Thanks for that and all the funny posts. You crack me up. The brigade thing is fine by me too.

The other reason I stayed away from the board was I remember talking carelessly about the possibility of a Canadian game "hat trick" by the Caps -- 3 wins in a row. Caraveli and I speculated, but she had the good sense to realize it might put a hex on the Caps to do so. So, Tominfl1, I share some of the blame too. It's a heavy burden, not one you have to bear alone though.

Two works of beauty from last night: Varley's stellar work and the pass from Laich to Green to Ovi that ended with Ovi scoring. ESPECIALLY the no-look pass from Green. Those are the times I think the Caps can read each other's minds and just know intuitively where the other Caps are on the ice.

But the lack of time in the Leafs' end, long and misplaced passes, 7 guys out with injuries, well, the Caps were undone. Too bad the shoot out didn't go the other way, but I'm glad they got the point.

And I'm really glad to read this board today.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 23, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

trunkenmath: You make a good point. I have worried about the exact thing you say, like one person being judge and who's to say who is qualified.

But, the other side is that often on these kind of blogs there gets to be name calling. And, to be honest, some of the criticism of Semin and Green is plain stupid. And not in my opinion, I'm comparing what the HNiC announcers say versus what some people post.

So, instead of name calling, we have a silly thing called a Doofus Brigade. You are right though, I have no warrant to judge. But we've tried using logic and stats and these people keep coming back with "trade Semin" and "Green stinks."

They ignore logic and have no concept for the game. Can you offer an alternative?

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

sleepy3: Thanks, I think what you say is correct.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 23, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

http://onfrozenblog.com/2009/11/23/a-marvel-of-movement-the-game-in-another-city-the-next-night-hockey-club.html This gives a rundown of what's involved in moving the team from one city to another on a back to back. It makes me tired just reading about it.

Posted by: miseaujeu | November 23, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

I just read that. Made me exhausted too! It's an aspect of the game I never thought about.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Agree. Some of the criticism of certain players was getting out of hand, to say the least. Your Doofus Brigade put a light hearted spin at it, which I enjoyed.

And, BTW, the commander of Company S of the Doofus Brigade should be the main writer of the "Storming the Crease" blog. The writer's so negative on Semin that you wonder what Semin did to him.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 23, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I just read that. Made me exhausted too! It's an aspect of the game I never thought about.
Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 7:55 AM
-----------------------------------
Now take the same scenario only instead of a charter airplane and a good meal, it's a 6-hour bus ride (sometimes in the snow) from Hershey to Rochester while dining on pizza and burgers, and you have the minor leagues.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 23, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I see both sides with regards to Green the last couple of games. He has played well and done some very good things. Conversely he also didn't clear the puck on the PK when he had the opportunity in the Montreal game. When you don't clear the puck on the PK when you have a chance it often comes back to haunt you. And, any detractors of that person will be quick to point out mistakes like that. The Caps need to work on their PK and must clear the puck when they have the opportunity to do so.

The same goes for my boy Semin. Every time he takes a dumb penalty or has a turnover I cringe because I know the detractors will be all over it. But, when he doesn't do the aforementioned bad things and scores a hat trick and does some of those jaw dropping toe drag moves you don't hear a thing from them (the detractors).

Oh and as far as where the Caps are in the standings. I want them right where they are because that's where they should be. If they were in 7th, 8th, or 10th they wouldn't be playing up to their potential. I wouldn't like that. They have coaches that will be pointing out things they need to work on.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | November 23, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75
I don't know the reason for it, but I suspect it has to do with BB system of play. I think the most affected one has been Semin, since he seems to be under a magnifying glass on every single play he is involved. He seems to have changed his style of play, he seems less inclined to take chances, both offensively and defensively. Of course, it could be very well the circumstances with so many players out of the line-up and having to play with new line-mates.

Posted by: hock1 | November 23, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@tess2201--too true. The minors are even more of grind. Gotta love the game though--makes it worth the slog. We are hoping to get up to Hershey--this family have keeping up with news of the Bears.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 23, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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