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Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 01/14/2011

Bruce Boudreau says Matt Bradley likely 10-14 days away from return

By Katie Carrera

All of the Capitals, except for injured Alexander Semin and Tom Poti, skated this morning at KCI, where Semyon Varlamov was the first goaltender off the ice and appears set to start tonight opposite the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo.

Once the main group wrapped up its session, Matt Bradley worked out on the ice with D.J. King. It has been about three weeks since Bradley suffered a broken finger that has caused him to miss the past eight games, and Coach Bruce Boudreau said that the veteran right wing is still about 10-14 days away from returning.

Bradley's injury opened the door for call-up Jay Beagle, who has appeared in nine straight games for the Capitals and 11 out of the past 12. Boudreau often says that when a player is recalled from the American Hockey League, he can ill afford to have many lackluster games. For the most part Beagle, who has earned responsibility on Washington's penalty kill along with his role of bringing energy on the third or fourth line, has managed to keep himself on an even keel.

"Jay's done a great job for us," Boudreau said. "It's so important -- and we talk every day -- that he doesn't get caught getting settled in and thinking he's a 10-year vet now, because he knows that Matt Bradley is coming back and he's got to continue to play at that level all the time.

"I thought the last couple games he's been falling off a little bit, but for the most part he works his tail off. He's not a goal scorer down [in Hershey], I don't expect him to get 30 goals up here, but his work in the corners, his penalty killing has been exceptional. We want him to continue doing that." ...

Based on the morning skate, it appears Eric Fehr will at least start tonight's contest on the right side of a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. It's a combination that has been used in about eight games this season, but Fehr, with five points in the past six games, has been gaining confidence recently. Perhaps he can help jump start Washington's top line.

"I think it's just important to work hard, get it in on the forecheck and get them the puck; that's going to be my job tonight," Fehr said before discussing how to get the offense back on track as a whole. "I think if we're going to take some long shots, we've got to start shooting for rebounds instead of just shooting at goalies' chests so they can make easy saves. Shoot for the pads and go to the net hard for rebounds especially against a good goalie like Luongo."

By Katie Carrera  | January 14, 2011; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  Eric Fehr, Jay Beagle, Matt Bradley, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: Capitals looking forward to challenge of facing Canucks, Sedin twins

Comments

I guess we pay DJ King to skate with the the hurt players after practice. Makes sense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I like Brads, but really, can't we do better than him in that role? I mean, he's no BJ Crombeen.

I can't remember the last time our resident tough guy blew up someone with a big hit or played a chippy game. He's a clean effective hitter who doesn't hit like he used to and should be like #5 on a team in terms of grit. Not #1 or 2

The last huge hit Bradley had was v Philly in game 3. 3 yrs ago. Demolished Derian Hatcher along the bench.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I guess we pay DJ King to skate with the the hurt players after practice. Makes sense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon

Player development at its best.

Bruce doesn't understand what a King type could really add to the team. So he won't play him now because he doesn't think it'll help us win games. Which means theoretically, he won't play again this season since we're not leading the league by 20 pts at this stage. Or if he does play, it'll be a few shifts only.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Perhaps our lack of goal scoring can be attributed to BFV being out. Without his per game blood sacrifice, the hockey gods are angry. ;)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 14, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I dont know the players being discussed. I just know the team. Do I have an idea based on that, yeah. But I dont really want to say.

Posted by: ThePat | January 14, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

and why not leave Beagle in there when Brads comes back and bench Chimera? Why does Chimera have a lock on a roster spot? Why is it predetermined that its either Bradley or Beagle if thats what I'm inferring from Bruce's comments.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

I dont know the players being discussed. I just know the team. Do I have an idea based on that, yeah. But I dont really want to say.

Posted by: ThePat

fair enuff.

Would I be happy with the deal or the players you think are being discussed? :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

i hope the one team we are talking to is columbus. second line of laich RJ umberger and Knuble should create some noise in the playoffs. I hope they keep semin. he is injured and just needs to be out for a while to recover

Posted by: samb99 | January 14, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

ThePat

You are killing us. I predict Toronto or Ottawa.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 14, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

BB splits players in 3 types:

Hi likes

Schultz
Laich
...

Has to live with

Backstrom
Ovie
Green
...

Doesn't like

Semin
DJK
...

You can fill ... as you like or change the list as you wish.

Guess who will be next to go?

I hope it will be BB.

Posted by: Randolph2 | January 14, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

If there is a good center coming our way, I bet he competes for the top line...Backie needs a little push...he has no competition to replace him even while slumping.

@lyle

isn't it against CBA to keep a player on IR if they aren't injured? I would think the league would look into it since he has been out so long. But then again he practices all the time...It is very unethical I think to keep a guy on IR if he isn't hurt.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm still kind of bummed about the trade rumor earlier in the season that involved Bieska.
If Semin gets traded, he probably won't play for the new team. Kind of like Jurcina during last year's trade.

Posted by: nicety251 | January 14, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Caps lose again 3-0 but even if they win it will be pain and suffering to watch.

Posted by: Randolph2 | January 14, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@Capscoach

I agree - a terrible decision to get him during the off season. Either you are a tough team or a pretty team. The Caps obviously don't care about being tough team even though he was brought in to stop all the shenanigans on our stars. Hard to do that from Kettler. Dumb.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

Not trying to get people upset or overly intrigued. I wasnt even gonna post the info until I saw pokerface do it. I figure he and I are talking about the same thing. Like I said, I am not sold on a deal happening. A lot of teams are in discussions, but my source said its been two days of talks and the Caps started them off by contacting the said team. Very possible nothing could come of it. If it gets to next weekend and nothing has happened, Ill tell everyone the team.

Posted by: ThePat | January 14, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I am very surprised that some of our most-skilled players haven't been healthy scratches much more often. I know it's a delicate balance - getting the guys to play for you AND respect you - but I think these guys may need a heavier hand at this point. I have always liked BB, but I'm not sure his message is being heard, or if his message is the right message at this point.

He has to use what he's given. GMGM has built this team. It's nice to have a tightly-knit group of guys, but if they are not performing, changes must be made. It's the nature of the beast.

Can't fire the whole team, but someone needs to make a decision soon about players/coaches and stick with it. Status quo isn't going to do the job, and that's a promise. It's called LEADERSHIP.

Posted by: sca187 | January 14, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Ference
Chara
Mark Stuart
Boychuk

and now you can add Steve Kampfer to the Bruins D corps of open ice hitters. That's 5 guys on that blueline who can throw a good open ice hit. How many we got? One. Mike Green. (I don't count Tyler anymore)

Besides his hit on Hartnell, he scored the game winning goal too. Not bad.

“I guess that’s just part of the edge, right?” said Kampfer. “Everyone talks about how you’ve got to have an edge to your game. I’m not going to lie, I was a little mad that we had the lead at the beginning of the third and we gave it right back.

“Personally, I thought something needed to change. When I saw Hartnell coming down with his head down, I thought it was a good opportunity to step up and try to get this crowd back into the game.”


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm6tUR1fB9U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijm4sXxdfxI


Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@nicety251

Hi will be traded for Fleischmann.

Posted by: Randolph2 | January 14, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@randolph

I think all coaches have certain players they like...it is natural, but I don't think there are players he holds an unfair grudge against.

If DJK was thought to really be deserving of a jersey management would have gotten involved with BB and the situation.

I mean Fehr is a player he really likes, but he was pretty tough on him earlier this season, and (knock on wood) it seems to be paying off...he is playing more physical and scoring more.

He also really likes Laich, yet has demoted him to third line a lot lately. Didn't he recently put Hendricks on the third line?

I think coaches treat players differently b/c each is a unique individual that responds better to different tactics.

BB has said that Fehr thrives on confidence, so after making him work hard, he put Fehr in situations where he could be successful and now he is thriving.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree - a terrible decision to get him during the off season. Either you are a tough team or a pretty team. The Caps obviously don't care about being tough team even though he was brought in to stop all the shenanigans on our stars. Hard to do that from Kettler. Dumb.

Posted by: lylewimbledon

i can't say I'm that disappointed actually. When you see things coming a mile away sometimes, you have time to prepare yourself for certain situation. The odds, given the Caps' cluelessness about certain basic hockey principles, was overwhelmingly against DJK ever becoming even a semi-regular player in our lineup.

that kind of understanding only occurs after the regime gets changed over.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Can anybody tell me anything about the nature of DJK's injury? I get MP's nose, Gordon's toe, Bradley's finger, Poti's head and groin (there's a bad joke in there somewhere), and Semin's lower body...but I don't have the slightest idea about what ails DJK though.

Since the staff is relatively forthcoming about the injuries of others, why so secretive about DJK?? I mean, it's not like teams structure their game plans around him so what gives?

There's no shame in admitting a poor signing, but now's a pretty good time to give the man his due or cut ties and let DJK get on with his life in the AHL (where he might attract attention from other teams and make him appealing to teams that are going into rebuild mode) His situation/handling is a HUGE BLACK STAIN that's tarnishing the organization, and if the team wants to be as CLASSY as they think they are it starts w/DJK.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 14, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

...but I don't have the slightest idea about what ails DJK though.
--vcaps--

its a commonly found condition in certain parts of the country called "coachitis"

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Coach supposes to treat playes equally because his responsibility to use best qualities of the players and develope team game. If coach unable then....

Posted by: Randolph2 | January 14, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with vermont (eww!) Time to cut the guy, assign him to the AHL, or anything...it is really unfair to just have him sit there all season...unless there really is some secret injury.

Why isn't the union or whatever addressing the issue? You can't keep a healthy player on IR...and he looked fine when I saw him at practice two weeks ago.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@vermont

He is hurt with turtle slowness and no skill.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 14, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"I think all coaches have certain players they like...it is natural, but I don't think there are players he holds an unfair grudge against."

Oh I do. I totally believe that Bruce is unfair in the way he treats some of his players. He calls out certain guys for not making plays while excusing other players who make exactly the same type of error. He did this to Jurcina. He wasn't fond of ShaMo either. Semin fans claim he does this to him as well. Which I don't see a huge problem with because I'd like to give Semin a kick in the pants before and after EVERY game.

He also doesn't "get" how to develop a 4th line tough guy. So he's scared to put him into a game because he sees him as one giant liability. Ignoring the fact that around the league similiar players have been developed into actual contributors on their respective teams. Its not rocket science that some organizations have better results with 4th line tough guys (especially the younger unproven players) and other organizations have no luck with em.

You get a different type of coach in here and we'll be swimming in quality role players on our bottom 2 lines and 3rd defensive pairing. Its really that simple. The players are out there to be had and/or developed.

You can thank Glen Hanlon for at least developing Matt Bradley into the player he turned into. He gave Bradley tons of ice time in different situations. Glen didn't understand some other parts of the game but there are coaches who can bring some of Hanlon's elements AND Bruce's elements to their teams.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@randolph

that wasn't really a coherant post, but I think I got the gist of it...but I will tell you what I tell my students...

equal does not always mean the same. You treat your players in a way that brings out the best in them...that might mean coddling one and benching another. It is an unpopular statement on here I know, but I stand by it.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

You forgot McQuaid...the second coming of Erskine!! He might not be as good in the open-ice, but he's tough as nails and doesn't shy away from the physical game.

Hunwick was pretty good at hitting, too, before they shipped him off so now you're up to 7 hard-hitters the B's have employed this year.

Us? Erskine and Green....

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 14, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

that might mean coddling one and benching another. It is an unpopular statement on here I know, but I stand by it.
--------------------------

i can see the value in treating players differently only IF its the right way to treat em. But Bruce's affinity for skill over anything else is well proven. Why does Poti still get a roster spot when Erskine has clearly outplayed him? Why does Chimera deserve to be in the lineup every night? Why does Gordon get into the lineup every time he gets healthy again?

Bruce favors a certain type of player and with the very odd exception, he treats those players with kid gloves and gives them multiple chances to screw up with no repercussions.

That to me creates a toxic divisive atmosphere.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon

C'mon, there's gotta be more than that...DJK can match up w/any other role-playing heavy when it comes to skating and skills. What you mean is that the team is too stuck-up on itself and won't lower itself to match-up with the likes of Pitt, Phi, Bos, NYR, Atl etc..

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 14, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

"Semin fans claim he does this to him as well. Which I don't see a huge problem with because I'd like to give Semin a kick in the pants before and after EVERY game."

so it's ok as long as he doesn't do it to the players you love? :)

and as far as developing and encouraging role players...well our role players have been our best players almost all season...we may not have a true brute enforcer (it is something I personally don't care if we have) but we have Erskine, Hendricks, and Brads...thats enoug for me.

He has also been rewarding the role players a lot lately...Beagle getting PK time, Hendricks third line time, putting the fourth line out at the end of games to try to help their stats after they played well. Not sure where you all get the idea that he treats the third adn fourth line like crap.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@vermont

no one outside of dc thinks we do anything with class and to an extent they are right. Look what they did with clark, bondra, kolzig, belanger, and DJK

Posted by: _stevo | January 14, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"I actually agree with vermont (eww!) Time to cut the guy, assign him to the AHL, or anything...it is really unfair to just have him sit there all season...unless there really is some secret injury."

---

I don't know the specifics of DJK's contract, but I'm guessing he has a 1-Way, which means you can't assign him to Hershey without sending him through waivers (where someone who knows how to use him would snap him up quick).

This scratching him everyday thing is literally the only solution, as teh coach won't play him, and management won't let another team have him.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 14, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

You forgot McQuaid...the second coming of Erskine!! He might not be as good in the open-ice, but he's tough as nails and doesn't shy away from the physical game.

Hunwick was pretty good at hitting, too, before they shipped him off so now you're up to 7 hard-hitters the B's have employed this year.

Us? Erskine and Green....

Posted by: vermontcaps


you are correct sir.

Bruins are SIX-DEEP in physical dmen of which at least 5 can deliver timely effective open ice hits.

They sure find those types a lot easier than we do. Think Poti could ever crack that lineup?

oops, forgot about Dennis Seidenberg. Make that 7 physical dmen. 7 vs 1 or 2 that we have. And all those guys mentioned can hit harder than even Scott Hannan who on our team is actually considered sorta tough.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Is it too far out of the realm of possibility to you guys that DJK might in fact be injured. My guess would be a concussion because he's gotten his butt kicked in every fight this season. Not only has he gotten his butt kicked he is a liability out there. GMGM completed a trade between a fringe prospect and a tough guy and it didn't pan out. That's not even worth discussing. Now St. Louis has a little while longer to see if SDR is a bust but he's not a blue chipper.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 14, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Um capscoach...i'm no teacher (although I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express before), but I'm pretty sure you are defining the opposite of equal as the definition of equal. The antonym of equal if you will.

In your example above, you are treating the players differently, granted its to achieve the same outcome, but it is by no means equal.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 14, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

so it's ok as long as he doesn't do it to the players you love? :)

---cc--

i said that half tongue in cheek. Don't you know me by now? I feel like i been sleepin next to a stranger all these yrs.

but seriously, if there's any player who needs a swift kick in the butt frequently, its Semin. I know i know, he doesn't respond to that kind of tough love. Poor baby.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

I doubt there is worry about another team grabbing him...he's a decent fighter and all, but it's not like his 650,000 dollar hit makes his an invaluable commodity.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I actually agree with vermont (eww!)

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I saw the other day you acknowledging that a coaching change might be in order (though you suggested waiting until the season ended.)

I think it was tominsocal who posted something about the seven signs of Capital Doom. His warnings, coupled with your increasingly negative posts, have ensured that I'll be getting to church this weekend.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 14, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

no....treating people differently doesn not mean equally...the simplest example I have used is it would be like not letting a kid read with glasses b/c the other kids don't get to. As long as you are treating the players with the goal of getting them to reach their best, then you are treating them equally.

@cstanton

please see little smiley face :)

and you haven't been home in weeks! probably out with that goats blood drinker Rachel216!

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

GMGM completed a trade between a fringe prospect and a tough guy and it didn't pan out. That's not even worth discussing
------------

of course it isn't. To you. The classic GM apologist.

You know when it wouldnt' be worth discussing Fanock?? It wouldn't be worth discussing if McPhee showed the ability to still field a tough team and get another tough guy on here who could fill that role.

But its certainly worth discussing because the Caps/McPhee make it seem like picking up a 4th line NHL tough guy is like rocket science. So we'll keep discussing it until he can prove that one of the easiest positions to fill is something he can grasp his little mind around. He has absolutely ZERO idea about acquiring, drafting, developing, trading for aforementioned type of player. Even when he apparently relents on his own philosophical choices, he's unable to complete a simple deal for a serviceable enforcer type.

Pathetic! Boo!

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Look what they did with clark, bondra, kolzig, belanger,"

----

What did they do with Clark, Bonda, Kolzig, and Belanger?

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 14, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

and you haven't been home in weeks! probably out with that goats blood drinker Rachel216!

Posted by: capscoach

no way...rachel likes McNabb. That's a deal-breaker for me.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

When the League Minimum is $500k, $637k really isn't that much money. There are plenty of teams out there who could get $637k worth out of DJK.

Shoot, we have 7 minor leaguers making as much or more than DJK.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 14, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

His warnings, coupled with your increasingly negative posts, have ensured that I'll be getting to church this weekend.

Posted by: vermontcaps

the church of Erskine!

re: King.

Of COURSE he's a liability in some respects. Most tough guys are. But you don't improve a liability by benching him.

Apparently, McPhee's scouts on the King trade are the same ones who thought Joe Corvo was a good deal.

Basically, McPhee and his pro scouts, SUCK.

But that being said, King is not a lost cause by any stretch. How many other tough guys in the NHL who have improved their skills would ever have gotten that opportunity under Bruce and GM?

The point is, McPhee OVERSTATED King's abilities. And now they've compounded the problem by choosing not to develop him in the way he needs it. Rick Tocchet would never have gotten a chance in this regime. The Caps front office is guilty as hell of stereotyping certain types of players.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 14, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

and I wouldn't mind BB giving Sahs a little kick in the butt...but it's a risk...he's such a headcase that it either works, or he is done for the season...possibly a gamble worth taking.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

WOW, that is one horrible example and does not even remotely compare to what you were saying. For your equal statement above I would have used this as an example...

There is one fat kid and one skinny kid, you give the fat kid a larger slice of cake because he is fat and the skinny kid a smaller slice because he is skinny. But hey, they are both eating cake and ergo equal.

And yes, being a teacher I know you cannot call them fat...so change fat with husky if if makes you feel better, but the fact is they are NOT equal. Equal would be giving them the same size slice of cake and then tell fatty to take a couple laps at recess after words :P Ok maybe not the last part.

Now if Semin/Fehr and other that BB is harsh on, came out and said "hey I like it when BB throws me under the bus and then lets guys like Green and Laich off the hook after he rubs their behinds and tells them everything will be ok"...then I'd agree with you that he is treating them equal. But just because Green and co dont like it when BB calls them out and therefore BB doesnt yet still trashes others (but they dont come out whining about it)...sorry to say, thats NOT equal.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 14, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"When the League Minimum is $500k, $637k really isn't that much money. There are plenty of teams out there who could get $637k worth out of DJK."

I can't think of a single team that would not take DJK for that amount. He has not been given a chance to prove himself under BB.

He lost fights to Orr (who jumped him twice) and Gillies (at the end of his shift), but he was not manhandled or beat up. He simply lost, it happens to EVERY enforcer in the league. Heck Orr was knocked out cold earlier this year...

Posted by: FLDave | January 14, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

nu uh! The cake example is COMPLETELY different than my glasses example...not every player fulfills the same purpose or has the same potential...but as long as BB is trying to get the best out of each player then he is treating them fairly...The DJK thing might be the only exception, but I won't pretend to know the details of that situation.

If one player is going to respond to criticism by playing harder and another would respnd by shutting down, that is not treating them equally...it's treating them the same. By trying to get the most out of your players you are treating them eually...b/c then they have as much oportunity to earn their spots as possible.

Posted by: capscoach | January 14, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"The cake example is COMPLETELY different than my glasses example..." - capscoach

No sh#t. Hence I said mine is what you should have used. It better fit what you were saying. Your glasses example was just terrible, I was trying to help you out. But enough going in circles, I even just deleted my response I was about to post. Agree to disagree.

The bottom line is BB DOES NOT treat players equally because the end results are different. His harshness works on some but not all, and his coddling does jack sh#t. He is not getting the best from his players by his actions. I HOPE we at least agree on that.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | January 14, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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