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Posted at 2:08 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Matt Bradley, Alexander Semin remain uncertain

By Gene Wang

The Washington Capitals wrapped up their last practice this afternoon before the all-star break, and while Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johhansson were not on the ice at KCI so they could gain some valuable rest, ailing forwards Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin did participate.

Bradley looked especially fit during practice as he initiated contact along the boards, perhaps an indication he would be ready for tomorrow night's game at Atlanta, the team's last before the break. Expected to make the trip to Atlanta, Bradley skated with the team yesterday for the first time since breaking his finger Dec. 21 against the New Jersey Devils. He has missed 14 games because of the injury.

Semin, meantime, was among the first players to come onto the ice for the approximately hour-long practice the morning after Washington's 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Rangers at Verizon Center. The left wing remains Washington's second leading goal scorer (18) despite having not played since Jan. 8 with a lower body injury and not scoring since Nov. 28.

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau had said both players probably wouldn't be back until after the all-star game on Sunday, but he was noncommittal when asked if they would accompany the team to Atlanta.

"They might," he said.

Also absent were forward Eric Fehr, defenseman Tom Poti and goalie Michal Neuvirth, who has a lower body injury that forced him from the Capitals' 3-2 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Jan. 18. Poti also has been nursing a lower body injury, and Fehr is out three to four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The dearth of available players at practice meant Washington was unable to work on improving its struggling power play, which ranks 18th in the league at 17.4 percent. Last season the Capitals were first in power play percentage (25.2).

The power play has been particularly troublesome for Ovechkin, who has two goals with that unit this season. He hasn't scored on the power play in Washington's last 130 chances. The two-time Richard Trophy winner has never scored fewer than 13 power play goals in one season.

By Gene Wang  | January 25, 2011; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Alexander Semin, Matt Bradley  
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the Caps at midseason and college hoops

Comments

Fehr- 2.2 mill, 17 points.

15 Rookies (including 4 d rookies) have more points than Fehr....

Not to mention 200 FORWARDS have more points than Fehr.

The guy is a wasted Jersey...and wasted Cap Space.

He's 6"4' 212, and only 14 PIM...a big softee...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why BB hasn't tried to reconfigure the first PP unit more. Take Ovi off the point, put him back on the half-wall!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

F Sidney Crysby...what an attention seeking baby...

If the NHL had a set, they would prohibit NBC from mentioning Sidney's name for the entire all-star game telecast.

If you aren't there, you don't deserved to be mentioned.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@Richmond...

He hasn't moved Optional...because he is NEVER at practice for BB to try him anywhere...

They ought to buy him a bottle of vodka and let him sip off it during power plays from the bench.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 25, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

From previous thread:
You don't trade your future. The way this year is going, if the playoffs started today we would be at Pittsburg and loose in 5 to 6 games. We don't have the toughness to succeed in the playoffs as this team is currently made up. Especially with this coach.

I predict that we make the playoffs in the 5th thru 8th slot, and loose in the first round in 5 to 7 games. Then BB gets fired and a new coach is hired with a defensive sceme.

Semin may be traded, if they can't get an agreement for a future contract for 2 to 4 years. If he becomes an FA, I feel he will sign with a KHL team and return to mother Russia, even if he is traded.

Either way, this team as it is now built and coached, will never get beyond the first or second round of any SC playoffs. It doesn't have enough tough, gritty players that stick up for their teammates. Ref: Phila, Pittsburg, Detroit, and a few others.

Ovi should be demoted from captain and a wyley veteran made captain until Ovi matures more. He is still a kid and wants to party and doesn't seem to work on his game during the season or off-season to get better; like other stars do (Crosby).

As to Knuble, remember he is 38 years old and getting slower by the day. At best he is a 3rd or 4th line winger. I also don't think he will be resigned after this year; Beagle can replace his spot for a lot less in $$'s.

Now chew on this awhile people.

Posted by: JMinVA | January 25, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@JMinVA

so how long do fans need to be fed the BS of not trading away the future. Is the future ever going to be now? Or are we just supposed to sit on our hands and wait for these unproven draft picks to prove themselves.

Sorry but at some point you have to trade the unproven for a proven player that can help you win now. Trading one player of the future isnt going to hurt if we are to believe they have drafted so well. Even if that trade doesnt help you win now, you at least show the fan base you have the balls to attempt it.

So if you are happy every year being told we have a bright future and then not really see anything any brighter than I am glad you are happy. I on the other hand want to see a team that is capable of winning it all get a shot.

So you can go chew on the future all you want.

Posted by: ThePat | January 25, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps
I agree, Ovi should NOT be put on the point on the PP. Seems whenever a pass comes to him it bounces over his stick and out of the zone. What a waste of talent on the point. Put him down low where he worked previous years and scored a lot.

Posted by: JMinVA | January 25, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Would you trade Eakin and Semin for Jason Spezza?

Ottawa gets cap relief AND a #1 prospect. Throw in another minor leaguer/or Perreault just for giggles.

Caps get a 28 year old #1/#2 center with a $7 mil cap hit and a few years left on his deal

Would anyone out there make that trade?

Posted by: jmurray019 |

This one is a bit more enticing...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't make that trade either though.

Now if you want to talk about Getzlaf...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Would you trade Eakin and Semin for Jason Spezza?

Ottawa gets cap relief AND a #1 prospect. Throw in another minor leaguer/or Perreault just for giggles.

Caps get a 28 year old #1/#2 center with a $7 mil cap hit and a few years left on his deal

Would anyone out there make that trade?

Posted by: jmurray019

I wouldn't make that trade. A few reasons;

1) It would have serious cap implications on the future ($7M salary for 4 more years after this for Spezza)

2) Trading away Semin as part of the deal for Spezza takes away from the overall impact of the 2nd line. What will make the 2nd line a real dangerous threat would be to have a true good center between Semin and either Laich or Fehr.

3) Spezza has not been known for showing up in the playoffs.

Also, I think Ottawa would take that deal in a heartbeat. They would unload Spezza's salary and acquire a top prospect in Eakin.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat
Agree, but you don't have to trade the majority of the young draftees to get a few players that take you only so far in the playoffs but not to the SC.

This team as it's now built doesn't have the personnel to win the SC, especially with the current coach and player makeup. Change the coach and player after we are out of the playoffs, IF we get to the playoffs, based on our current playing.

Posted by: JMinVA | January 25, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

fehr for getzlaf

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I'd offer this to Ottawa:

Semin/Varly or Neuvy/Poti or Schultz.

for

Spezza and Phillips.

That actually clears cap space and you can make another move involving a draft pick for a UFA W that makes up to $4M. Tell Ottawa if they want franchise goalie take Poti's contract off our hands.

Posted by: ThePat | January 25, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

anyway, i would definitely trade Eakin for Fisher but I think you could be creative and pick up Chris Neil as well and give up Eakin and maybe a prospect in Hershey or someone off our roster. Ottawa has some quality checking line prospects in Jesse Winchester and Jim O'Brien. They also have Nick Foligno.

Posted by: cstanton1

My guess is that anybody but Karlsson could be had off of Ottawa's roster for the right move. So making a creative move and adding in some stuff to get Neil could be a possibility (throw in BGordon and something else).

But I think it would be more likely to pick up Ruutu than Neil because I think Ottawa wants to keep Neil(fan favorite).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

JMinVA - I predict we loose in the semi's. No way we loose in the first round. If we are going to loose it will be in the semis. Loosing sucks.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 25, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

fehr for getzlaf

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

As I'm sure you know, Fehr was taken 18th overall by Washington in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, one pick ahead of Anaheim who selected Ryan Getzlaf.

The real tragedy is all the other players the Caps passed on in that draft as well.

Guys picked after Fehr in the first round of '03.

Pick 19 - Ryan Getzlaf
Pick 20 - Brent Burns
Pick 23 - Ryan Kesler
Pick 24 - Mike Richards
Pick 28 - Corey Perry

Guys picked in the 2nd round of '03.

Pick 45 - Patrice Bergeron
Pick 47 - Matt Carle
Pick 49 - Shea Weber
Pick 62 - David Backes
Pick 64 - Jimmy Howard

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 25, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

yes i know that. I was being..faceeesshhus

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@ cainoo7x

Yes, but if you go through the Caps Draft history, we could have drafted Langway and Rick Green, Messier, Mike Bossy and countless others. Can't change the past. Got a lot of good players since that draft.

That draft alos was the one where the Caps got screwed out of the lottery after the lockout. They ended up picking much later inthe draft because the league averaged the teams' records over three seasona and put the worst in the lottery.

And that, my friends, is how the Pens got Crosby. I am sure it was a coincidence that the team was gonne be moved and had no new arena plans. Surprise!

If you think I'm being a bit conspircay theorist, just look at what happened to the Blackhawks soon after. Top 4 picks three years in a row. Three great players (Kane, Toews and Seabrook) and a shiny new cup.

New York Islanders? You are up next.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 25, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

you forgot Mark Stuart.

The guys who had a lot of hype pre-draft in 2003 (aside from the consensus top picks) included Brent Seabrook, Getzlaf, Mark Stuart, Mike Egener, Matt Smaby, Ryan Stone (Fehr's center), and Colin Fraser. These were guys looked at who you could pick up somewhere between the middle of the 1st round to the end of the 2nd round.

I personally don't remember Mike Richards being a name that was tossed around a lot. Certainly not Fehr either.

Im surprised that Ryan Stone hasn't solidified an NHL spot as a 3rd or 4th line center. He looked to be the type of player who was a sure-fire checking line center if he wasn't able to translate his offensive skills to the nhl. Mike Egener never put on the strength to his lanky frame. That's genetics for you. The rest of the players i mentioned have found their way into the nhl in various capacities.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Top 4 picks three years in a row. Three great players (Kane, Toews and Seabrook) and a shiny new cup
--------------------

Seabrook wasn't a top 4 pick. He was a mid 1st rounder in 03

Are you thinking of Jack Skille? Same guy who got run over by none other than Joe Finley.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Did people see this article comparing hitters and fighters(it is written by a former player).

vermontcaps may not want to read it because it would support benching DJK.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Bourne-Blog-When-it-comes-to-intimidation-it-s?urn=nhl-312277&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

But I think it would be more likely to pick up Ruutu than Neil because I think Ottawa wants to keep Neil(fan favorite).

Posted by: sgm3

Ruutu doesn't fit in with the Caps. He's too ornery, too much of an agitator. Same reason we don't go drafting guys like Avery or Hartnell. Matty Hendricks is about as chippy a player as we're going to get into our lineup and he's way down on the list of chippy. In the entire org we only have Pinizotto and Bruess as anyone even mildly resembling an agitator. Did have SDR.

someone oughta clue in the genius GM and coach as to what a good agitator can do for you. Even Louis Robitaille was effective in that role for about 3 yrs with Hershey. You'd think Bruce would be aware of this kind of role.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@jmurray019

I agree with your point that there are a lot of would'ves/could'ves in respect to any team's draft history, let alone the Caps'. However, I think 2003 is of acute interest because it was the draft sandwiched between the Eminger/Semin/Gordon and Ovechkin/Schultz/Green drafts. A "hit" in the first round of that draft could have really altered this team's fortunes. Pair the 2003 miss with getting nothing out of 2005 and you can see that while the Caps have done well for themselves, they haven't had the same remarkable turnarounds as Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Did people see this article comparing hitters and fighters(it is written by a former player).

vermontcaps may not want to read it because it would support benching DJK
--sgm--


its such a shallow thought process to pretend its just hitters v fighters.

Some hitters fight. Some fighters hit.

Its not just hitters v fighters.

The other variable is, you can have a guy like Brian McGrattan or Eric Godard still impose their will and send a strong message to another team even if a specific player (i.e. Sean Avery) doesn't want to face off and drop the gloves. Avery when he was with the Kings thought he was going to run around and take cheap shots at Senator players while the Kings were getting beat on the scoreboard. That's when McGrattan comes onto the ice at the end of the game, lines up next to Avery, and then proceeds to beat him up. So what if he got an instigator or a fine? They got their msg across on Avery. Next time they played, Avery was on his best behavior. At the time the Kings werent using an enforcer and Avery had to answer for his own actions.

The Pens in the past have used Godard in the same manner. You may not be able to do that every game depending on the score and game situation, but you can do it often enough to send a msg to other teams about how you deal with issues on the ice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 25, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I think its BS that OVi and Backie miss practice when the intention is to practice the PP which they are key players. and how many practices are there in a month this time of year? 3? 4? i don't care how much ice time you get. lead by example boys.

Posted by: Joe69 | January 25, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

For those of you that didn't know, next Tuesday against Montreal is Dino Ciccarelli night. One of the best players to ever wear a Caps jersey, he was one of the best to watch. Caps will wear the winter classic jerseys as well. Should be a fun night.

Posted by: ThePat | January 25, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"its such a shallow thought process to pretend its just hitters v fighters.

Some hitters fight. Some fighters hit.

Its not just hitters v fighters."

@cstanton1

I disagree with you here. I thought his thought process was dead on and he is speaking from a player's perspective.

Clearly if a guy can do both then that is great, but that wasn't the topic here.

It was comparing the big heavyweights who don't do much else to guys who are just hard hitters and maybe get into a few fights.

He pointed out how he personally felt upon getting on the ice. That he would much rather be on the ice versus a guy like Orr, Boogard, Goddard or DJK than a player like Clutterbuck or Tootoo.

His mindset is important because he expresses something that many people have thought, players are not concerned about the heavyweight enforcers because all they do is fight the other heavyweight enforcers. An enforcers presence on the ice doesn't effect how they play the game at all. If anything it makes them excited to play because they know there will be more open ice due to the usual lack of speed of a heavyweight.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 25, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what my boss would say if I told her I wasn't working tomorrow because I worked hard today.

The optional practice has never bothered me in the past when Ovechkin was performing well but now he needs to practice.

Posted by: Capitals8 | January 25, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

What about Semin and a prospect for Iginla and a prospect . Igunla is a 7Mil cap hit and Semin's 6min, Nylander 3 mil will be gone next season. Both need a change of scenery and could boost the center and toughness issue with the Caps.

Posted by: rcmpt | January 25, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

What about Semin and a prospect for Iginla and a prospect. Both could benefit from a change in venue and with semen gone and Nylander's cap hit gone next season, the Caps will have 9mil to spread around. It would also do a world of good for the leadership and toughness issue with the Caps.

Posted by: rcmpt | January 25, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I'd really like to get Mike Fisher.

Package Neuvy and MP85 and maybe another prospect and we got a deal!

I love the way MP plays but he is real small and doesn't have a good enough skill set to be a top player. Varly is our top goalie and we got Holtby ready, Neuvy can be dealt. Ottawa has had real problems in net, this is a fair deal.

Posted by: digster1013 | January 25, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

3) Spezza has not been known for showing up in the playoffs.

________________________________

49 pts in 49 games...just saying. He's actually a pretty clutch player.

RE; Getzlaf and Fehr

I've been over this before, but you cannot simply look back and cherry-pick certain draft predicaments in order to make it seem like a GM missed out on a player. That 03 draft was very, very unique as well.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 25, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I love the way MP plays but he is real small and doesn't have a good enough skill set to be a top player.
==============================
I wonder if that was what they used to say about Martin St. Louis? That guy is such an energetic pest, just like MP. Every team needs a pest like that to inspire the gifted "tall" ones.

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 25, 2011 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I feel you John, but you can't compare St. Louis to MP. St. Louis has a much better skill set, his hands are ridiculously good.

But I will say this, St. Louis wasn't even drafted! So I guess you're in the sense that they probably thought the same for him.

I see him on the third line in the future, I don't believe he is ready for the nhl yet though.

Posted by: digster1013 | January 26, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

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