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Matt Hendricks's hat trick leads Capitals to 6-2 win over Columbus in preseason opener

It couldn't have been a better preseason debut for Matt Hendricks as the veteran forward on a professional try-out with Washington netted a hat trick in the Capitals' 6-2 rout of the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night.

"I'm glad I could contribute on the score sheet," said Hendricks, who had just nine goals in 60 games with the Colorado Avalanche the past two seasons. "It's not my primary role on a team, so any time that happens, it's great, but I'm obviously here for other reasons as well."

Hendricks wasn't the only player with something to prove this preseason who had a strong first showing. Second-line center leading candidate Tomas Fleischmann had three points (2G, 1A) and won six of the 10 faceoffs he took, while the trio of young centers vying for the third spot -- Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault and Cody Eakin -- performed well under the pressure too.

Not to mention that goaltender Semyon Varlamov played a stellar 30 minutes, with 20 saves that included numerous attempts from point-blank range. Also, defenseman John Carlson had a nearly flawless start to the new year in what was a rather sloppy game for the Capitals defensively.

"You could tell it was a preseason game," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We had a tremendous amount of turnovers, I thought, in the first two periods, and gave them opportunities to score. We were a little ragged I thought in our zone sometimes, but the goaltending was there to back it up when we weren't very good."

Hendricks's first goal came on a nifty setup by Johansson, who set a nice drop pass at the last minute of a developing odd-man rush when it appeared Johansson would either shoot or send the puck across the ice to Andrew Gordon.

"I just heard him from behind and there was no one else there," Johansson said. "So I just dropped it for him instead of making the harder pass. He got a great shot, it was good."

Said Hendricks: "It was a great play by a young man. He played well, he made a lot of great plays out there. He plays with his head, plays with his head up. I think I just beat some back-checkers back, he was able to find me and Gordo went hard to the net."

While the win was a positive start to the preseason, it doesn't negate the fact that Columbus spent the first two periods outshooting the Capitals, 29-20.

"Coach asked about two things: he wants to win and he wants us to play good defensively," Fleischmann said. "I think he's happy with one thing, but defensively, stuff was really bad."

For those looking to the players fighting for those precious few spots on the opening-night roster to distance themselves from each other, well, it looks like we'll have to wait a few more days (and perhaps games) for those position battles to sort themselves out.

By Katie Carrera  | September 22, 2010; 10:38 PM ET
Categories:  Andrew Gordon, Columbus Blue Jackets, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Matt Hendricks, Semyon Varlamov, Tomas Fleischmann  | Tags:  Capitals preseason  
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Next: Capitals and Penguins to be featured in HBO's "24/7"

Comments

Ah! First one in!

The goals are pouring in already, way to go Flashman...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 22, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

A hat trick? Maybe a fluke, but a person has to notice. Way to go Matt, do it again, and I'll be really impressed. No I didn't forget you Tomas. Not often you'll score two and not get the headline.

OK, this is the first game. Lets have the last one be a happy one too!!

Posted by: rjma1 | September 22, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

This is interesting. I wonder if media types are going to start calling Orpik reckless like they do to Ovie. At least Ovie's questionable hits were during regular season games.

"Red Wings power forward Johan Franzen left the game with 1:43 remaining in the first period after sustaining a leg injury on a hit by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Orpik was given a major penalty for kneeing. Franzen missed 55 games last season because of a knee injury.

"We think more of his thigh, but we'll get him checked out," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We hope he'd going to be fine."

The game was not televised, so no one had seen a replay of the hit, yet players and coaches on both sides reserved comment on whether Orpik should be disciplined. Orpik was not available for comment."

Posted by: sgm3 | September 22, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Flush should get his "jollies" out now, because come playoff time when there is no room to move, he'll fade like a rose in November wind. (A rose is the perfect way to describe his game.) Just hope he puts up big numbers, so some GM will take him off our hands for something of value.

Cody Eakin for 2C. He's ready. He's the antiFlush.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 22, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Varly is already being fantastic...saddened to hear the defense was so sloppy, I only waited 89 games for it to get shored up last year, so I guess this makes it 90...

Posted by: cotelloer | September 22, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

On Orpik. How fitting that the hypocrite who called Ovi reckless got in the box for injuring Johann Franzen!

Couldn't happen to a more deserving player.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 22, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach, are you trying to impersonate Randy Quaid's character from Major League or was that a serious post? Jesus Christ, talk about unnecessarily negative. That kind of drivel is what makes the boards/comments here so unbearable to read. I hope you're a bit more cheery in real life or your friends and family probably have suicidal tendencies.

Posted by: ssweeney | September 22, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

And so it goes, back and forth, between the Kool-Aid guzzlers and the goat slaughterers.

Huntsy: If we could only get Clutterbuck for Flash. We'd have a wonderful 3rd line RW to go with Laich on the other side. Give Minnesota the other Bouchard to seal the deal.

ssweeney: Really, aren't you the pot calling the kettle black? I find it very bearable here. In fact, nothing's funnier than when Oscar Madison and Felix Unger go at it for most of the day.

I myself find the player comments hilarious. "Coach told us to play some good D tonight but I guess we just didn't."

Who watched? How was Andrew Gordon?

OK, so how does it work with Hendricks on professional tryout? Is that like the taxi squad of 8 on NFL teams where other teams can swoop in and give him a contract, or do Caps hold some sort of rights? I understand he scored three goals, but what about other aspects of his game?

Did MP play with Chimera and Fehr? How'd they look?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

ssweeney I think you mean Major League II

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 23, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, here's my current view of the Caps and tonight's game didn't change it:

Offense: Best in the league by a considerable margin ala Secretariat.

Defense: Average.

This isn't horse racing though. In a check-free league, Caps would never lose.

My experience in sports has been that teams win superior defense/avg offense, but not the other way around. Examples of such are 90s Devils, 80s St. Louis Cardinals, Ravens in 2001. Ravens won with a truly medicre offense that had almost no passing game. They had the best defense maybe NFL history, a great situational punter and great special teams in general. They beat the best AFC offense 16-3 in the AFC title game by holding the Raiders I think to 2 first half first downs.

OTOH you have 80s Dolphins joek mentioned, 70s Red Sox and the 90s St. Luois Blues team that scored in bunches but forced Curtis Joseph to face more rubber than (you make your own joke).

Some people here just see the magnificent offense and say, "Wow! They can win!" Sure, they MIGHT. More likely, though, as happens 999 times out of 1000, the great offense/avg defense team gets taken out by better defense.

Every once in awhile we get an NFL game like Pack and Cards a few years back ended 51-45 or whatever. Last team with the ball wins. How often does that happen? More often, mistakes, special teams and solid defense make the difference. Just as in baseball the team with the best starters usually wins, espcially if that team has D up the middle ala Ozzie Smith, Paul Blair or Dennis Rodman (oops, bb).

So, when someone posts, how can anyone be down on the Caps, it's that we've been down this road before, been to the altar, stood there and watched, while strong D took the bride.

(Actually, the Big Red Machine won with average pitching, but they had Caps-like offense and Gold-Glove defenders.)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

@ssweeney
@tominbrown,droughty,hillsofmudslidecali
(I can say that because I went to UC Davis)


I'm actually a "cheery" guy.I just can't stand to watch Euro-trash hockey anymore. It doesn't win in the Olympics or NHL on a small rink. My family is from Chicago. We grew up with Hockey. Half these guys don't play "real hockey". They cherry pick (Semin, Chimera, Flush, Fehr)

Please don't tell me to root for another team. I'll be a Caps fan long after GMGM is shown the door. I'll take Cutterbuck over Flush any day. Cutterbuck might actually win a Cup someday. Flush will end up in the KHL, because he can't and will not learn to play playoff hockey. He's only here for the money. He's a wimp. Bring in Cody !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 23, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

One more thing, and I always have one more thing, but which pitcher would you take on your team, Nolan Ryan or Jack Morris?

Nolan Ryan in his illustrious career had some earth-shattering statistics. Like this: 1 career postseason victory, in relief, 1969 NL playoffs, with Mets. No WS wins.

Jack Morris, OTOH, was the deciding player in two WS. Sure, you can't do it unless you get the opportunity, but how many get the chance but don't come through?

What's my point? You don't win just with skill. You need also the killer instinct. Do the Caps have that?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

at least the box score showed somebody is looking to take the 2C slot (hint: 2g, 1a, 4sog with 16:17toi)
i wonder how many hits erskine had (s@h tough dman) - pulling 21:00 minutes would give some of the other blueliners a much needed break
looks like the 'holes' are starting to get filled in

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 23, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

As far as D getting more secure...remember that there are a lot of young forwards trying to make their mark and maybe are being a little selfish and sloppy in their own zone.

For those who said BB can't learn...last season you would NEVER hear him complain about anything over a 6-2 win. I think he is trying to send a message to his players that nothing but all around effort is acceptable.

Posted by: capscoach | September 23, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like Varly is already being fantastic...saddened to hear the defense was so sloppy, I only waited 89 games for it to get shored up last year, so I guess this makes it 90...
-----------------------------------------

This team will never have a top ten defense which means NO cup in their future unless BB changes his system.

Posted by: joek443 | September 23, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 23, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Happy to see a grinder with an upside, so BB will play him. The Caps need a replacement for Matt Cooke. I am also happy to see MJ and Flash looking good. For MJ, maybe he will mature quickly into a 2nd line center so that Flash can be traded more easily.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 23, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

joek: That's an easy out. "This team will never have a top ten defense which means NO cup in their future unless BB changes his system." So if the Caps win the Cup under BB you will automatically be able to say that BB changed his system. How in the heck will you know if BB changed his system. I guarantee you don't know enough about hockey to identify a system other than the neutral zone trap. Tell you what, head back over to your world.

http://www.nascar.com/news/

http://www.formula1.com/default.html


Posted by: fanohock1 | September 23, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

@Jimallcaps!

JM won't be ready this year. After watching the Gaeton Cup, It's clear that 10 years from now Cody Eakin and Nicklas B. will be the only centers still playing in the NHL. Start Eakin now, so he has an 82 game preseason under his belt. This guy is almost ready to handle the speed and size of the NHL. Dump Flush. Keep increasing your trade value Flush. Please

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 23, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal--so you have joined the dark side now. You do realize now that by moving yourself from the moderate position to that dark place you will now view Caps fans such as myself as koolaid drinkers simply because we don't take a relentlessly negative view of the Caps. Doesn't mean that I take relentlessly positive view either. I prefer a realistic evaluation of strengths and weakness.

Will to win--well Ovi said just the other day that the Caps have to use this season to finish of their oponents because they let up too often when they are ahead, and that they have to use the season to prepare for the differences in playoff games.

Now that the team has some Bears on it these guys bring an understanding of how to close out playoff series and certainly how to bring that will to win.

@other negative fans
As for the defense last night--the top pairing of Green and Schultz as well as Poti got the night off and this was Carlson and Alzner's first outing as the top pair. The other two d-pairings weren't going to scare anyone. I am not the least bit surprised it was a rough night for the d-corps. They will learn.

As for the Eurotrash comment above--would you say that seriously to Ovi's face! Nobody pushes Ovi around. Nor Backie for that matter.

Moreover, the Caps have a fair number of good ole' Canadians and Americans on their teams. Just about every NHL team has a complement of European players on their rosters--so that meme about the Caps as Eurotrash is simply inaccurate

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 23, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I have a challenge for everyone stating the Capitals will not win the Cup while GMGM and BB are here. It is extremely easy to pick one team, in this case the Capitals, and say that they will not win the Cup. What makes it easier is since some of you making that declaration are fans you can fall back on the fact that you wanted them to win anyway.

My challenge to all of you is to select two other teams that WILL win the Cup. Not have a better shot, but WILL win the Cup. I will keep a roster on the teams selected and share that as teams get eliminated.


Now, the naysayers on here say that the Capitals will not win with GMGM at the helm so you cannot jump back on the Capitals bandwagon due to GMGM bringing in a player perceived as a good pick-up and difference maker, because remember, the Capitals will not win with GMGM at the helm is the claim.


This is not to start an argument on the board, and I will not scrutinize anyone’s selections. I will simply log them and send out a confirmation on the board. The only thing this will be for is bragging rights, and I cannot speak for anyone else who believes the Capitals will win the Cup this year, but I can guaranted that I will not make up any excuses if the Capitals are eliminated. On the flip side, no excuses from anyone else either. I don’t know about all of you, but this sounds like a good time to me. Again, I’m not going to argue with anyone on here, simply send you selections and I’ll roger up. I have also created an email address if you’d like to send it there and it’s PickCupChamp@yahoo.com. I swear that is a real email account. It might actually be easier if the selections are sent there too. Please include you Capitals Insider screen name if your email address is different. Good luck!

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 23, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, those that want to pick the Capitals can send that to me too, I will log that with your screen name. If cstanton1, joek, PhilR, and a couple of others that claim GMGM is an idiot are willing to send their picks the Capitals cannot be one of the two teams, again, remember, the Capitals will not win with GMGM is the claim. It would definitely make this more fun of the known naysayers partipate. Jabbing during the regular season is unneccessary because the first elimination begins at the end of the regular season. Just because I team is in 10th in December, it doesn't mean they won't have a good run to the Cup (philly was tanking in Dec last year).

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 23, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I would have liked to see this board if it had been 6-2 the other way! Also, is not Columbus the team that plays hockey the "right way?"

Posted by: adhardwick | September 23, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh, please submit your selections by noon on 7 October. If you pick a team right now you can still change your selections as long as you send it before noon on the 7th. If a key player suffers a major injury during the preseason it would selections change and that is understandable. I won't though because IMO the Capitals would have to suffer about 4 major injuries for me to consider them out of the running. If any 4 player combo of Ovi, Back, Greenie, Semin, Poti, Carlson, Alzner, or Varly were injured I would become concerned about their ability to qualify for the post season.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 23, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

For all the talk of great defensive teams winning the Cup, yes, the 'Hawks had a good defense, but also a goalie who showed up and some very good offense. As for teams in the east, NJD, the defense first team went out in round 1 (they have not made it past round 2 in a long time to my knowledge). Pittsburgh, who won it all the year before, lost to MTL. Boston with Chara made it past Buffalo, but no further. Philly peaked at the right time of the year. Had they lost to NYR in that last shootout game, everyone would be calling that team a bust. That got hot at the right time and ran out that hotsteak to within a game of the whole enchilada. I do not think the Caps are built and coached fundamentally wrong. I do think they need to get better in two major areas: 2 mean and effective blueliners to couple with Green and Poti and improve the PK. That's it in my book. A center will emerge, they have enough good young centers to choose among. They have enough good grinders for an effective 3rd line. The Caps are looking for a few pieces, not a rebuild.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 23, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

@tom tryout contracts

It depends on the team but tryout contracts can be for any length(1day, 7 days, etc) and can be unpaid. A player must be under contract to participate. If you remember last year, stretch who does the web for the caps, took warmups at verizon waiting for Braden to get in from hershey. He was signed to a 24 hour no compensation contract. I think this is a NHLPA thing more thing a league thing.

I spend alot of time around former NHLers. (I never made it that far) Everyone of them says that BB was completely outcoached in the HABs series. Saying that, if Tomas and his mates were scolded for playing piss poor defence in a pre-season game then maybe BB is learning that at the NHL level you cannot outskill teams like you can in lesser leagues and you must play sound team hockey at all times with everyone playing the same system(even if your from Russia).

I would not put much into last nights game besides Varly being sharp and Hendricks and MJ having strong games. Half the guys playing will be in AHL, ECHL, back in juniors or bagging groceries next week.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | September 23, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

All the teams you mentioned had great defenses. Absolutely.

But the St. Louis Rams won in 1999 with a great offense and average defense. The 2006 Colts won with a great offense and average defense, the 2009 Saints won with a great offense and an average defense. The 2007 Pats, while losing the Super Bowl in part because of the fluke helmet catch, were a team based on great offense and an average defense.

The Pittsburgh Penguins of 2009 had a top offense and an average defense. The Oilers in the '80s top offense, average defense. The Penguins in the early '90s had a top offense and average defense.

This is not to say that this is the better way to go, but it has definitely worked in sports before.

Obviously the best way to win is to have a top offense and a top defense. That is always the goal.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 23, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"They cherry pick (Semin, Chimera, Flush, Fehr)" - Hunterforcoach

I actually think of all out players, the one that "cherry picks" the most would be Ovie. I have a hard time remembering a scenario where Semin cherry picks. Granted he isnt throwing the body around NA style, but he is not picking by any definition of the word. Usually he is cutting through 1-2 people with the puck. Chimera, not unless cherry picking means out skating everyone to the puck. Fehr, cant say I remember him cherry picking much either. Flush, he does, and he likes to do Nylanderish like circles while waiting for a puck to come to him...so 1 out 4 in your examples can be classified as cherry pickers.

Again, maybe our definition of cherry picking is different than the one I was taught.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

@tom tryout contracts

It depends on the team but tryout contracts can be for any length(1day, 7 days, etc) and can be unpaid. A player must be under contract to participate. If you remember last year, stretch who does the web for the caps, took warmups at verizon waiting for Braden to get in from hershey. He was signed to a 24 hour no compensation contract. I think this is a NHLPA thing more thing a league thing.

I spend alot of time around former NHLers. (I never made it that far) Everyone of them says that BB was completely outcoached in the HABs series. Saying that, if Tomas and his mates were scolded for playing piss poor defence in a pre-season game then maybe BB is learning that at the NHL level you cannot outskill teams like you can in lesser leagues and you must play sound team hockey at all times with everyone playing the same system(even if your from Russia).

I would not put much into last nights game besides Varly being sharp and Hendricks and MJ having strong games. Half the guys playing will be in AHL, ECHL, back in juniors or bagging groceries next week.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | September 23, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock

What a great idea. I hope everyone participates. I am going to think about it and email you.

I will say up front that I hope for the Caps to win this year and I definitely believe they have the pieces and experience to do some serious damage in the playoffs. But I worry that the inexperience may hurt them too in the long run. So I have to think about it for a bit first.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 23, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Totally agreed, the negativity is way over the top. I'm known by my friends as a naysayer, contrarian and general "hater" with my opinions on sports, movies, cultural institutions, the law, etc. I tell my friends that my opinions are not negative, they are realistic. Their rosy outlooks are pie in the sky, not realistic. So, as a world-class cynic who thinks critically about any subject I care about, I feel that my own negativity represents the nadir of rational negativity, and I feel qualified to say that the doom spelled out with such passion on these boards is over the top and unrealistic. It is also commonly paired with unrealistic positivity. Case in point: "Flush is the worst thing in pants and Cody Eakin is ready." Eakin has 4 AHL games under his belt. None of us has any clue if he is ready, and anybody claiming that he is better live in Saskatchewan and have seen him play the last few years. I am not defending Flash. I wanted Flash traded like anybody else. But it's wholly unrealistic to believe that the team would be better served by getting rid of him and putting in a kid that none of us are qualified to evaluate yet. Whether you love or hate GMGM and his staff, in this case at least they are far more qualified than you to make this determination.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"Case in point: "Flush is the worst thing in pants and Cody Eakin is ready." Eakin has 4 AHL games under his belt. None of us has any clue if he is ready, and anybody claiming that he is better live in Saskatchewan and have seen him play the last few years. I am not defending Flash. I wanted Flash traded like anybody else. But it's wholly unrealistic to believe that the team would be better served by getting rid of him and putting in a kid that none of us are qualified to evaluate yet. Whether you love or hate GMGM and his staff, in this case at least they are far more qualified than you to make this determination."

@struggler

Agree completely.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with JIMALLCAPS1. But where do Caps come up with those two (or one!) mean, scary, stay-at-home defensemen? They seem to be among the rarest of players in the NHL! But they won't be a real threat to go far in playoffs without (at least) one, no to mention a goalie who gets hot at the right time of the season.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 23, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

If anyone resembles Nylander its Johansson but the difference there is MJ is young and hopefully willing to learn a new style of hockey. Flash is and has been high on BB's list because he is responsible, good on the PK and plays within the system.

The real problem with the second line is Semin. He makes anyone who plays with him look bad because he is a freelancer and not a team player. His linemates have no idea what to expect next from him so it all falls apart. In short, it doesn't matter who the center is, it will never work, so don't pin it on Flash. Just reference the Monteal series where Semin was skating around wildly throwing low percentage shots from everywhere resulting in 0 points on the series.

Keep Flash - trade Semin this year while we can still get compensation for him. We cannot afford to resign him and don't need to with the young cheap talent coming up in the organization.

Posted by: congero | September 23, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Also, it seems pretty clear Caps don't have the type of tough, mean, huge defensemen they need in their farm system. So, that means that IF they can pry one, or hopefully two, away from another team at the trade deadline, they will have to OVERPAY, maybe substantially. It would be a BIG trade, not a pre-playoff tinkering job. Until GMGM accepts that it won't happen.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 23, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The negativity on this team is entirely ridiculous...I just hope our young defensemen and someone can step up and be a reliable center so that GMGM can have some chips in his hand when it comes to making some deadline deals...

can we win the SC as currently constructed - ABSOLUTELY, but I would feel a lot more confident with maybe another angry-young-man defenseman and a large centerman with some playmaking abilities

speaking of which, can we get some other teams involved and maybe start picking off some of the cap casualties of the devils...

Posted by: cotelloer | September 23, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

As for the unrelenting negativity about the Caps style of play and the inability of their defense to win the Cup: For me there are two issues here, one is logical and one is emotional.

Logical: Without Halak standing on his head, the Caps might have won the cup last year. I stand among you haters as one of the people who was calling for BB's head after the playoffs last year. He made many glaring strategic mistakes and the team commitment to defense (his responsibility to instill) looked sketchy. But realistically, in a Halak-less world this team easily could have challenged for the Cup even WITH all those mistakes. The league is changing--very slowly to be sure--into a league where run-and-gun hockey can occasionally succeed. Chicago played a lot of run and gun throughout the playoffs. They looked like a team that didn't know its own identity... run and gun one game, responsible defensively the next. Their team GAA was four one-hundredths less than the Caps' GAA last spring. Translation: high octane offense can win, and did win in the most recent example any of us have.

Emotional: I've been watching the Caps for over 20 years. I can tell you that my heartbreak and dissatisfaction with this team has never felt any worse or any better at any previous time. I will always have criticisms of the various teams fielded year after year, but the heartbreak is always the same. Meanwhile, the current Caps have played by FAR the most entertaining brand of hockey I have personally witnessed as fan. The last few years, while still provoking ire and heartbreak, have actually ENTERTAINED me with greater consistency than ever before, and that's great.

So, combining the logical argument with the emotional argument, I get the conclusion that it makes sense to give this entire regime one more year. I get one more year of guaranteed high-flying, highly entertaining hockey. The team gets one more chance to enter the playoffs in the hopes of avoiding a goalie that, by all accounts, EXCEEDED what we typically think a "hot goalie" can do.

If they can't pull it off this season, we bring in a new coach with a more responsible system. Maybe Semin & Flash are gone and replaced with a prototypical shut-down dman and a kid like Eakin.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

And the winner, of CI 2010 dumbest comment of the year goes too....

CONGERO for his "Keep Flash - trade Semin " comment.

Runner-up goes to....CONGERO for his "The real problem with the second line is Semin. He makes anyone who plays with him look bad because he is a freelancer and not a team player. His linemates have no idea what to expect next from him so it all falls apart. In short, it doesn't matter who the center is, it will never work, so don't pin it on Flash. " comment.

And the award for best costume.....TOMAS FLEISCHMANN and his CONGERO disguise.

Seriously??? The guy makes great plays all the time and gets back on D to cover for Flushes lazy a$$. And your "low quality" shots...ask MTL if they thought the same. And not being able to play with any center??? Really??? Have you seen when BB puts Ovie, Backs, and Semin together? Take your Semin bashing BS elsewhere.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

i see my boy got a trick. If Bruce is smart, he gives Hendricks a real serious look at the 4th line C position. But if this team can't afford to pass AGordo thru waivers, McPhee's gonna have to get off his butt and create some room.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@struggler

I agree again.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 23, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if any of you guys have seen or heard about this, but it sounds pretty cool to me:

http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2010/09/hbo-to-produce-documentary-series-based-around-capitals-and-penguins-in-the-winter-classic.php

Posted by: ThePat | September 23, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

cadlecreek: Thanks for info. I agree with assessment you received btw.

Capsyoungguns: I have not "joined" the Dark Side. I just go there sometimes to check out the view. I am, as always, in the middle. I will admit to being very frustrated right now because I believe the caps have the best "opportunity" to win the Cup this year but aren't taking full advantage.

fanohock: As I've posted, Caps, Sharks, Pens, Canucks 10-12% chance ea. Flyers, Bruins, Red Wings, Hawks 8-10% chance. Kings, Devils 5% each. The field gets the balance 10% of the odds.

all: A Kool-Aid drinker is not someone who feels Caps might win but someone who overlooks the deficiencies to a large extent. Fanohock and CYG are not such drinkers. Neither is sgm. There are really only a few true Dark Siders and KA Drinkers. Most (Capt Kirk good example) are realistic. Actually I'm not even going to call cstanton a Dark Sider. I believe he is mostly realistic leaning sometimes to a little too negative. 1-10 scale, 10 being totally pessimistic, he is a 6-7.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I understand he scored three goals, but what about other aspects of his game?
---------

tom, did you not read my 15000 posts on the kid? egads man!

he's an nhl player. Proved it last yr with Colorado. He plays the game like a 4th line center should by doing all the little things that the guys we have at that position generally don't do. He adds some team toughness because he's got character and is always willing to stick his nose in there. He's also a real forechecker, meaning he doesn't just get in deep and then find a way to avoid contact. The kid just competes hard and he's proven he can score in the minors and he had a decent first season points wise for a 4th liner last yr.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Also, for all the "haters" who bash GMGM for his drafting and how the Caps match up against other Cup contenders etc...I have been perusing the Devils blogs the past week or so, in hopes to catch early wind of possible trades involving them since they have until the 6th to do something. I picked some good quotes from the Devils fan base (a solid defensive squad and cup contender) and here are my favorite ones in random order:

1) "Yes I agree that Caps have some amazing prospects in addition to almost “superb” team as of now..."
2)"IMO this is the top 10 in the league
Caps
Vancouver
San Jose
Philly
NJD (until we beat them we are not better than them)
Pens
Wings
Hawks
Boston
Buffalo (because of Miller)"
3) (in reference to depth) "Caps are like #2 or 3 and they already have one of the best teams in the league, talk about good drafting"
4) "But I think it is amazing how good the Caps system is "

Ouch huh cstanton1 and hater posse??? And thats from total unbiased bloggers/NJ beat reporter :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Capsyoungguns: I have not "joined" the Dark Side. I just go there sometimes to check out the view.
-----------

sounds like someone's tryin to guilt you into being more of a rosy outlooker! that's a shameful ploy in my book.

You know whats up.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I am very upset that while I had a good little buzz going on, and tried to stir up the hornets nest last night by claiming it was sgm3 (not you) that talked up Hendricks and told us to keep an eye on him. I actually got one guy to say "gj sgm3 on that call".

But alas, you never responded. I went to bed with a single tear rolling down my cheek.

For real though, if he keeps it up...good call on him.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm confused by SeminAllOvertheIce. The first time I saw his screen name, I thought it was a reference to Semin not playing responsibly. But after reading his latest post, I see it's an attempt to say something like "Semin is awesome all over the ice."

I think Semin is a really, really tough case to analyze. I think I'm in the minority because my opinion of Semin actually improved for the first time in the playoffs this spring. A lot of his shots were low percentage to be sure, but he was busting his ass to create opportunities. A lot of his shots were not low percentage, and in a Halak-less world, just one of those shots going in the net might have ended the series. He was busting his ass to get that series-ending goal. He's defensive liability and he takes bad penalties. If he can rein those deficiencies in just a tad this year, he'll be even more of an asset.

That's why it's such a tough situation. My instinct has always been to trade him to bring in an "impact defenseman" and avoid his inevitably large contract. On the flip side, if you believe this year is the team's best opportunity to win a cup, you kind of want this guy out there busting his ass again. I think the smart thing to do is trade him and get value. But Pittsburgh proved that you can lose a star player for zero value (Hossa) and have success the next year. So that was kind of the smart thing to do also, since that year with Hossa was their "best chance to win the cup."

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Ouch huh cstanton1 and hater posse??? And thats from total unbiased bloggers/NJ beat reporter :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

we've covered this ad nauseum a hundred times with specific examples of players. For you to run over to another msg board to get the Devils' fans view of Caps drafting means very little in my book. Its like me going out to the street and doing a random sampling of how fans feel about Caps drafts and then coming on here and putting it out there like some sort of tangible proof.

McPhee's overall draft record is on record, so to speak. You want to debate this, we can (once again) talk about specifics. I.E. Players. And then compare it to other organizations and use variables such as draft position, etc.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

For real though, if he keeps it up...good call on him.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

sometimes i feel so unappreciated and then a comment like this lifts me up. Like the wind beneath my wings.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

cstanton: Well, you know, here's the deal:

The Caps have a 10% chance to win in my book. That's a 90% chance to lose! Sometimes I concentrate on them being best talented team and the 10% chance, sometimes I concentrate on the 90% chance to lose. Key thing is, as the most talented team, they have the best chance to improve the odds. I believe even you and the rosier people would agree that maybe three tweaks would make a significant difference in the odds. Get a snarling defenseman. Get us a vet center. Find a way to fit guys like AG and possibly Hendricks onto the team to upgrade our ability to shutdown other team somewhat.

In between the Dark Side and the World of Stepford Fans there's a peaceful and quiet spot. I am trying to find it.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Gee, I would have liked to see this board if it had been 6-2 the other way! Also, is not Columbus the team that plays hockey the "right way?"

Posted by: adhardwick

its more than just playing it the right way. You have to also combine that with the right amount of talent. Lets not lower the bar to such an extent that we're using a preseason game against Columbus as the litmus test for how well we'll do this season. Even I have higher expectations of this fanbase than that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I don't think this is the Caps' best chance to win the cup. I think their best chance happens in the next 2-3 years when their core star players--from Ovie & Green to Carlzner to Neurlamov--are all a little smarter, a little more mature, a little more responsible. I am one of those DYING for an impact shut-down defenseman. But I don't want to trade any of our assets immediately until we are literally inside the era of "best chance to win." That era is not this summer, although it certainly would have been nice to trade Flash for Bieksa (if that was the deal). The soonest the "best chance" era begins is the trade deadline.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I believe even you and the rosier people would agree that maybe three tweaks would make a significant difference in the odds. Get a snarling defenseman. Get us a vet center. Find a way to fit guys like AG and possibly Hendricks onto the team to upgrade our ability to shutdown other team somewhat.

In between the Dark Side and the World of Stepford Fans there's a peaceful and quiet spot. I am trying to find it.
------

i feel i have to reclarify my official position once in a while and that's ok. yep, i agree. The caps have the talent. That's usually the HARDER part to fill out.

And we may be 3 players away from having a roster ON PAPER that I can feel comfortable with as a legit Cup contender.

However, I don't see those holes being filled because I don't think the holes that a few of us see, coincide with what McPhee and Bruce see.

that's the "personnel" argument.

The other, equally or more important argument is the way Bruce coaches his team. His philosophy if you will. The ice time he gives certain players. The choice of personnel on the PK. The lack of aggressiveness in general in our schemes (and I don't mean offensive aggressiveness).

So, for me its a little more than just "hey if we give it time, those 3 or 4 roster spots will be tweaked and we're on our way". I don't see the personnel nor the system and overall philosophy getting a tweak. We'll still be a fairly non-physical team that doesn't pay more than lip svc to team defense. Hence, the realism! or pessimism or whatever :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

When you lead the league in points, and you have a minor team that has won back to back Minor leage titles, someone somewhere is doing something good. The expectations are SO hi if you don't win it all its a failed season. This is true with all the elite teams. Last Season was a failure for the CAPS, PENS,SHARKS,WINGS,DEVILS,just to name a few.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | September 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

for all ye stat hounds

looks like AGordon led the way with 4 hits in last night's game. And chipped in 2 shots on goal and ended up a +2.

Chimera had no hits, and no shots on goal. And a -1. He's in midseason form alrite.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

LOL "For you to run over to another msg board to get the Devils' fans view of Caps drafting means very little in my book." Did you even read my post? Why was I there again? K thanks, I'll accept your silence as my apology.

I was just attempting to show what some other hockey enthusiasts think about the Caps. To get a unbiased perspective(non KA Drinker/Goat Slaughter's). I also knew it would get your thong a little twisted, and a slighty upset cstanton1 can make a day of reading blogs and not doing work more enjoyable :P

@struggler
my handle comes from humor as opposed to his actual playing. I believe it was Bena...bena...bena, not gonna work here anymore (Bennanati)...was during some game where Semin was having an amazing game and got the ole announcer all excited and riled up and he said "SEMIN ALL OVER THE ICE"...and me and my buddy dang near choked on our beers when we heard this, especially being the crudeness you can do to Semin's name by changing one letter. haha Needless to say, we also have some less than appropriate cheers when he scores.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

fanohock,

Please find a post where I ever stated the Caps would not win the Cup with GMGM in charge. I do absolutely dislike the way he runs this team and think he makes some incredibly stupid moves at times but he could make the correct moves at some point, it happens in all sports. I hope and pray they do win the Cup this year but with the lack of movement thus far I just find it very hard to see that happening. I also have a huge problem with BB always thinking his system is the best and never needs to be changed. I actually feel that was a more major factor in last season's early exit than GMGM's job. I repeat, please find a post of mine that stated the Caps will never win with GMGM, do I dislike the guy, he!! yes but please do not put words in my mouth.

Posted by: PhilR | September 23, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The expectations are SO hi if you don't win it all its a failed season
-------

absolutely not true. The Caps don't need to win it all this upcoming year. They need to make significant strides. If the Caps made it to round 3 and it all died there, most around here including me would consider it a successful season. (regardless of where they finished up in the reg season).

Just like this past yr. If we had made it to round 3, we'd all feel pretty good about where we stood. Because it would mean we got thru a really tough opponent in round 2. Round 2 is really the key for this team to measure its progress by.

I get that our 1st round opponent made it to round 3 so in hindsight it would look like we lost to the best team in round 1.

But I don't think the Habs were as tough an opponent for us the way its been portrayed. Yes their goaltending was good. But I think the Habs played an even better overall series in round 2.

so in hindsight, if we'd beaten the Habs and then gotten past our 2nd round opponent, I would have felt like we had a pretty successful season. I even stated my exact criteria for what I would consider to be an acceptable postseason run this year. That was BEFORE the playoffs started when a bunch of fans were givin the "haters" a lotta guff about how its all or nothing for certain fans, I don't feel that way. Yes I'd like for this team to win the Cup soon but I don't judge them on an all or nothing season.

I thought we didn't play hockey the right way again this season despite an impressive win-loss record. And I wasn't surprised we got bounced in the 1st round because we carried some bad habits into the playoffs. So I have every right to be disappointed. And I (and most others that I'm aware of) are certainly not holding the team to an unfair standard like its been implied.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I see my boy got a trick. If Bruce is smart, he gives Hendricks a real serious look at the 4th line C position. But if this team can't afford to pass AGordo thru waivers, McPhee's gonna have to get off his butt and create some room.

Posted by: cstanton1 |
----

Gotta agree with you 100% dude. Granted it was 1 game but all reports that I've read say it was well earned.

heard Flash got 2 and 1, but how did he play?
The comment about MP85 holding his own in practice with Flash all over him and getting away isn't very promising for TF14. If a 5'9, 175 dude can hold his own against you then you have a strength problem.

Really REALLY hope A Gordon makes the team.

Moves need to be made! younger, better players are here, now!

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 23, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@SeminAllOver: Gotcha, very funny. I think I would actually pick up on your tradition, but since I live in LA but don't watch games with Tom, I think my neighbors would wonder why I was screaming "Semen All Over the Ice!" while I was alone in my apartment, without any context to my exclamations. My chances with the hot chick next door would certainly diminish.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

LOL "For you to run over to another msg board to get the Devils' fans view of Caps drafting means very little in my book." Did you even read my post? Why was I there again? K thanks, I'll accept your silence as my apology.
--------------------

no apology required. I did read your post. This is what I read:

"I picked some good quotes from the Devils fan base (a solid defensive squad and cup contender) and here are my favorite ones in random order:"

You're using random opinions of fans from another team to somehow prove that McPhee is a great drafter. Why should this be the tools you need to prove your point when you can just as easily debate it using actual players drafted?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@fanoHock1:

email sent with prediction.

I'll man up and post it here to give fodder for the masses!

----
"I am not in the camp that the Caps will never win the Cup while BB, GMGM, and TL are in charge.

***I pick that the Caps to win the Cup this year and repeat again next year. Yes, I'm serious!

I ain't drinking the koolaid, just firmly believe that the talent that we have, plus the failures will make this team hungry and embarrass about last year and nothing will stop them from crushing the league all the way to the cup. The way they are building this team is a great model for the salary cap world. Their draft selections since Ovechkin's draft have been near the top of the league as far as player contributing, games played, talent, etc.

If I were to play Devil's Advocate, I'd pick San Jose and Vancouver to win!"
----

Flame away dudes/dudettes!

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 23, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I repeat, please find a post of mine that stated the Caps will never win with GMGM, do I dislike the guy, he!! yes but please do not put words in my mouth.

Posted by: PhilR |

Phil, sometimes the other side (whom I like to actually think of as the TRUE dark side), get confused. FTR, I'm the one who feels this team will never win the Cup with GM at the helm. Unless he undergoes a major transformation in his beliefs. How often does that happen to a GM? Leopards keep their spots, and GM's don't change their tunes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I would agree that consistently making it to the ECF and losing in 6 or 7 wouldn't kill me as a Caps fan, since we're usually out in the 1st round...

I'd consider it successful enough!

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 23, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

***I pick that the Caps to win the Cup this year and repeat again next year. Yes, I'm serious!
-----------------

haha, and Sarah Palin's an environmental advocate.

I'll bet my mortgage against that happening.

even better, I'll never post here again if the Caps win the Cup for the next 2 yrs. In fact, I'll first utter an apology to each regular on this board in my usual brief manner. And then i'll exit stage left. That's on record. So you better link up this post for the future!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I also knew it would get your thong a little twisted, and a slighty upset cstanton1 can make a day of reading blogs and not doing work more enjoyable :P
---------

lol, ok then. Happy to oblige! But its a loong season. I have to pace myself.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

In between the Dark Side and the World of Stepford Fans there's a peaceful and quiet spot. I am trying to find it.

Posted by: tominsocal1

Tom, you obviously missed my post about the "Living Force".

I am currently chillin' in that spot waiting for a meaningful puck to drop.

I'll leave the light on for ya!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | September 23, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Let me clarify...try reading ALL of my post, not bits and parts so that you can attempt to spin it.

I will show you what I mean, using the exact quotes and facts...

What I said as to why I was on the Devils blog: "I have been perusing the Devils blogs the past week or so, in hopes to catch early wind of possible trades involving them since they have until the 6th to do something."
How you interpreted it: "For you to run over to another msg board to get the Devils' fans view of Caps drafting means very little in my book. "

What I said the quotes were going to be for: "Also, for all the "haters" who bash GMGM for his drafting and how the Caps match up against other Cup contenders etc, I picked some good quotes from the Devils fan base (a solid defensive squad and cup contender) and here are my favorite ones in random order:"

How you interpreted it: "You're using random opinions of fans from another team to somehow prove that McPhee is a great drafter. "

Nope, I just picked out some fun quotes that contradicted your view of GMGM. Nowhere did I say that I was attempting to prove McPhee is a great drafter. You just assumed that. Come on man, as wordy and lengthy as some of your posts are, I would think you would fully read others and not take parts to create your own version. If you do that, you are like Guy Pierce in Momento.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

***I pick that the Caps to win the Cup this year and repeat again next year. Yes, I'm serious!
-----------------

haha, and Sarah Palin's an environmental advocate.

I'll bet my mortgage against that happening.

even better, I'll never post here again if the Caps win the Cup for the next 2 yrs. In fact, I'll first utter an apology to each regular on this board in my usual brief manner. And then i'll exit stage left. That's on record. So you better link up this post for the future!


Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:09 AM

noted, encrypted and placed in a hermetically sealed chamber in outer Bangkok.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | September 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

oops, left out 2 parts...contradicted your views on GMGM and how the team ranks against other big clubs. And I just happened upon the quotes while looking for other things and found them a pleasant read and decided to post em.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Nope, I just picked out some fun quotes that contradicted your view of GMGM. Nowhere did I say that I was attempting to prove McPhee is a great drafter. You just assumed that
--------

i guess my point is, what does it accomplish showing me that some Devils fans think McPhee is a great drafter? How closely do you think they follow the Caps or our specific drafts and flameouts?

why not just use the plethora of fan opinions on this blog instead to prove that McPhee is a great drafter?

again, i have no idea what the point of your exercise was. Were you trying to prove a point that my opinion of McPhee is incorrect? Or were you simply trying to prove that other fans think highly of McPhee ? If the latter is the case, then save your breath.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

***I pick that the Caps to win the Cup this year and repeat again next year. Yes, I'm serious!
-----------------

haha, and Sarah Palin's an environmental advocate.

I'll bet my mortgage against that happening.

even better, I'll never post here again if the Caps win the Cup for the next 2 yrs. In fact, I'll first utter an apology to each regular on this board in my usual brief manner. And then i'll exit stage left. That's on record. So you better link up this post for the future!


Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:09 AM

noted, encrypted and placed in a hermetically sealed chamber in outer Bangkok.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr
-----
hehe... well, you know what Confucius say about man who go backwards through turnstile right?

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 23, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

SeminAllOverTheice-

I stand by my comments. Your just a flamer and you haven't addressed any of the points raised such as is it cost effective to resign Semin given the young talent in the organization? Why did he notch a fat 0 in the Montreal series? Why do all his centers end up looking bad? He is the best Shinny player in the world but as far as NHL goes not so great.

Posted by: congero | September 23, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

noted, encrypted and placed in a hermetically sealed chamber in outer Bangkok.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | September 23, 2010 11:22 AM

i had a swedish IT instructor once who volunteered that when he went to Bangkok as a teenager, he took full advantage of its "name".

suffice to say, the few ladies in the class were a tad horrified.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'll also bet Cstanton's mortgage against the Caps winning the next two seasons.

But if the Grim Reaper held his scythe against my throat and said "bet your life which two years the Caps have the best chance to repeat back-to-back or I'm going to kill you right now," I'd say "next year and the year after that."

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

oops, left out 2 parts...contradicted your views on GMGM and how the team ranks against other big clubs

----------

sorry to say, you didn't contradict anything. Because one or two or a half dozen Devils fans may think the Caps rank highly vs other teams, that's completely irrelevant to me.
Hell for years there were Caps fans who assumed that Lou Lamoriello was an exceptional drafter as well. Ignoring actual facts of course and how many kids he drafted high that flamed out.

The truth isn't found in opinions per se. Unless those opinions use very specific details to illustrate their point.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm brand new to posting here and I've already wasted a lot of breath about how people here should tone down their rudeness, meanness, and aggressiveness in favor of a more constructive discussion. I promise, this is the last time I'll make such an attempt, because it doesn't seem to be a very popular concept. Think of it this way:

Each and every one of us has good buddies whose opinions about the Caps differ from ours completely. We argue over beers. We call each other stupid. But we don't sever the friendship. Here, there is real, visceral hate between a couple guys. It's irrational. While it is improbable, the anonymity of our screen names makes it LITERALLY possible that two guys on here who f***ing HATE each other are LITERALLY best buddies in real life.

I smell a sitcom!

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What I said as to why I was on the Devils blog: "I have been perusing the Devils blogs the past week or so, in hopes to catch early wind of possible trades involving them since they have until the 6th to do something."
How you interpreted it: "For you to run over to another msg board to get the Devils' fans view of Caps drafting means very little in my book. "

-----------

this is the only part of your argument that makes sense.

And frankly, you took my words too literally. It really doesn't matter to me your actual motivation for going over there. My main point was just that the Devils fans aren't what I would consider a relevant source to break down McPhee's drafts unless they got real specific with their argument.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I think we posted at approx the same time (above about a min apart), I posted my point of posting them. It was just a positive thing, which is nice to see once and a while with all the more frequent negativity.

@Flash....err Congero
We have a resident captracker nut in tominsocal, even with our young talent and raises, it is possible to keep Semin @ $6 mil per (I even think tom factored in a raise to 6.2). Semin is more than worth that to the club IMO and many others. Yes there are others that want him gone. We debate all the time his value.

I'd rather we purge ourselves of Flush's $2.7 that brings nothing.

Your claim that he makes every center look bad is just ridiculous, especially with no facts. When has he made Backstrom look bad? Flush...you kidding, the guy cant play center, he makes himself look bad. Anyone that knows hockey can see that. Laich, isnt a 2C. Belanger...isnt a 2C.

Semin is a beast on the PK (again, another debated point). He does a great job back checking, a lot of times to cover for a slack center...so yes, I guess saving your centers a$$ does make that center look bad.

As for the MTL series, Semin was arguably one of our best players. He was creating chances, shooting, setting up players on the doorstep who then fanned (Chimera is a prime example here), was hands down our best defensive forward in that series as well. Yes, he had 0 goals, but he had a couple assists and played great. Sometimes the goals dont go in. Maybe if he didnt have to play wing and center position for his line, he could have focused on just scoring.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

tominsocal--I'm glad you have only visited the dark side. Your sense of humor has not been terribly spot on lately--it's been showing the strain of suffering through that miserable series with the Habs--likewise a strain on my normally sunny outlook on life.

The problem with the dark side is that although I agree with many of the assessments, that side cannot see the positives. And I get impatient with the relentless negativity.

This is a risky year for the Caps. A huge reliance on youth. But I like the resilience of our Bears players--players who did figure out how to adapt their offensive style to defeat a heavily defensive team. A little bit of that Bears' experience should help the Caps.

Now from the threads of the past few days, it appears that for many posters here I cannot have formed a valid opinion of the Bears because I haven't watched a sufficient number of games. Or I can't prove I've watched a certain number of games.

All the games I've seen have been the few televised ones. But I listen to the Barn podcast, I have a sense of the players on the roster, especially of the prospects who are most likely to get a sniff at the Caps lineup, I've read these players stats, I've heard or read interviews with the players, I've heard or read the opinions of those players by their coaches (I give a great deal of weight to what the coaches think of a player), and I've read the media's take on the various players. Finally I attended the development camp so that I could see some of these players firsthand.

So despite my paltry viewing of Hershey games because I lack access, I absolutely believe that I have every right to have formed opinions on the Hershey players. Such as Pinner, who for the record I hope gets a sniff.

So when posters here go after another poster about how many times he has actually watched said player in a Hershey game and whether he lied or not, I get disgusted. This board should be about Caps fans discussing their varying opinions--not vendettas to drive a dissenting opinion off the thread.

Lively debate is good. Nasty, personal vendettas against certain posters is bad.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Struggler--well said.

Stop by Japers' when certain tiresome posters go into their OCD moments with post after post after post. The hockey analysis there is spot on and quite nuanced.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 23, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

LOL bro, I am not trying to PROVE anything. I merely posted some statements/viewpoints that are different than yours. Which by the way is what contradict means: "to assert or express the opposite of".

Whether or not you find it relevant does not change the fact that the views are opposite of yours. As mentioned, I only posted them because its nice to see not everyone shares your view point and I found it particularly nice that it came from non kool-aid drinkers. Make sense yet? Sheesh man, you love arguing for the sake of arguing. :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

My opinion about McPhee's drafting: it's been good. Even the players that get the most unpopularity points in these comments have good trade value. The AHL team is stacked. Arguably the best two goalies of the 2006 draft, unless Bernier tears into the NHL in the next few years. The one pick that stood out in my mind as objectively wrong when it happened was Gustafsson. There are a zillion fine points that can be argued about the draft, but in the large picture, McPhee's drafting has built a deep organization with trade value at every level.

The real issue against McPhee has been his decisions when making trades... or non-decisions. I disagreed with all of his deadline deals last year, and I wanted some deals that never happened this summer. Just generally not a fan of his non-drafting moves, except for dumping Chris Clark. But even though I'm not a fan, I'm not ready to pass judgment even in this phase of his GM abilities, because as I have stated I think the team's best chance to win is 2-3 years from now when our players have matured. Only then will McPhee know for certain which players don't have the will or commitment to win the Cup.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So despite my paltry viewing of Hershey games because I lack access, I absolutely believe that I have every right to have formed opinions on the Hershey players. Such as Pinner, who for the record I hope gets a sniff.

So when posters here go after another poster about how many times he has actually watched said player in a Hershey game and whether he lied or not, I get disgusted. This board should be about Caps fans discussing their varying opinions--not vendettas to drive a dissenting opinion off the thread.

Lively debate is good. Nasty, personal vendettas against certain posters is bad.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns |


when they invite it upon themselves, they get nailed for it. Someone has to moderate this board's integrity. Why not me? I'm fair and balanced and have no agenda.

and ftr, it doesn't matter how many games you've watched. What does matter is how many games you SAY you've watched. If you've only watched 3 or 4 and claim to have watched 20x that amount in order to give yourself more credibility, it absolutely behooves to call someone out on it. That's all that occurred. You're making it sound a lot worse.

and also ftr, SuperGreatMale3 did fess up after he was called out and say that he hadn't watched those games. He said he was kidding or something to get a rise out of me. Oddly enough, it wasn't me who even called him out. It was two other posters. I just gleefully joined in late. Once he let go the football, we stopped.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"and also ftr, SuperGreatMale3 did fess up after he was called out and say that he hadn't watched those games." - cstanton1

wait....so does this mean he finally returned the dvd's so that pokerface can finally rent them?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that 3 out of the 6 that played on D last night have no chance of being given a regular jersey for the Caps this season. 1 of the 6 (Erskine) is a 5/6/scratch defenseman.

This is preseason game 1. Enough gloom. Lets be happy that hockey is back.

Posted by: lornemyoung | September 23, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As mentioned, I only posted them because its nice to see not everyone shares your view point and I found it particularly nice that it came from non kool-aid drinkers. Make sense yet? Sheesh man, you love arguing for the sake of arguing. :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

did it really come as a surprise that not everyone in the hockey world shared my view of GM?
You think that i think its only the koolaid drinkers who disagree with me?

i'm sure there are fans of every team who have an opinion of the Caps. Some who probably see it my way, and some who see it another way. It doesn't change how I feel. And it shouldn't change how you feel either.

like i said, it was a futile exercise because it didn't shed any light on this topic that I wasn't already aware of. It would be like me going to a different Devils board and finding quotes that support MY position. What good would that do?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsyoungguns

Japers? Are you serious? That place is as bad as here. Tell me what happens to a poster who doesn't think Semin is the Anti-Christ or Schultz is the second coming of Lidstrom over there?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 23, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

wait....so does this mean he finally returned the dvd's so that pokerface can finally rent them?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

lol, im thinkin the dvds never existed.

i did have a friend/reporter in Portland when the Caps farm team played there who used to get me video of the Pirate games. I didn't quite hit the 73 mark but I did get to watch a little here and there. Pettinger and Yonkman were guys from that team I remember pretty well. Nolan actually got into an nhl game two nights ago for Phx. Glad to see he's alive and kicking. He got into a scrap with Aaron Voros.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 23, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody notice that most of the arguments taking place here are not actual hockey arguments? I'm a pretty modest guy, but I felt that I posted a thought-provoking comment about Semin's value that was deserving of the input of all of you passionate fans. But nobody took the bait, instead preferring to argue about... wait for it... the right way to argue.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1 walks up to the plate. He taps the base with the bat, takes his stance, eyes focused on the pitcher...

SAOTI checks the runner at first, now he stares at the batter. He winds up, and here's the point.....

cstanton1 swing...

OH MAN....SWUNG ON AND MISSED.

cstanton1 sees the point coming right at him, but swings on it and misses.

SAOTI tips his hat at cstanton1, then jogs off the mound and into the dugout.

The game ends. But dont worry fans, there will be other games to watch soon enough.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@struggler

I posted my response (albeit directed at Congero) my standpoint on Semin. The problem is, I think you and I made similar points and would make it tough to debate if we borderline agree. Unless I missed another post of yours somewhere.

What would you like our lines to look like this year? And who would you like to see shipped out for other parts?

Discuss.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

SeminAllOverTheice-

OK thanks for the reasoned response. I agree Semin is a beast, skates like the wind and puts effort into backchecking and PK. In fact the guy seems practically superhuman with the moves he pulls off. But I haven't seen him develop chemistry with anyone really. Even when we ran Semin/OV/Backstrom last year it was mostly a big flop. So what's the reason? From watching him over and over I conclude that he is basically the greatest shinny player in the world but he can't make himself play within an offensive system. You can site all the stats you want but this is my conclusion from watching him play. Now if he could play with his clone at center anything would be possible. So I'm saying we're better off parting ways given our forward depth in the system and our lack of depth at D.

As for Flash, he needs more time at center before he can be fully judged. He brings decent offense, PK and PP skills at an affordable price in my opinion.

Posted by: congero | September 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Even when we ran Semin/OV/Backstrom last year it was mostly a big flop

posted by congero

This is not true. The reason BB split up that line was because the others weren't scoring. Remember when Backstrom was going 100pts, Ovi's 50th goal, and Semin's 40th, BB put that line back together. I don't understand why he didn't play them together during the Habs series.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 23, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@congero

Actually, there was an article last year on either TSN or ESPN that showed the most effective lines producing points, +-, etc and 1 of those lines (I think it was 3rd place) were Ovie, Backs, Knuble and just above them was Ovie, Backs, Semin. The problem with the Ovie, Backs, Semin line is, is that it is too strong and then kills us from having 2 potent scoring lines. If you put all your eggs in one basket, and then drop that basket, you lose all your eggs. So we opt to keep them apart to spread out the love (scoring). But you do notice that when we are down or need a pick me up, thats the first line BB puts together. It's because they do work so well together.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough...agree to disagree on this one.

Posted by: congero | September 23, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

1: Unchanged
2: Similar formula: Semin=Ovi in the sense that they are scorers and playmakers, and Semin is a natural LW. Fehr=Knuble. Center... whoever can dish the puck to these guys, and I honestly don't think it matters a great deal if it's Flash, MJ, or MP. To me what is most important is that BB doesn't juggle the line too quickly. If they don't gel right away, treat them like kindergartners that don't get along and force them to play together until they can play together nicely.
3: Chimera/Laich. RW: I can't judge because I can't watch training camp. Would like to see a fresh face though. Andrew Gordon? Pinner?
4. Up for grabs. Not very high on Stecks or Gordo but need a faceoff presence. Intrigued by Hendricks. Bradley is a great locker room presence and shocked us all with his offensive upside last year. Like 3rd line RW, I can't really judge the entire 4th line b/c I can't be at training camp.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

struggler: I agree with you on Semin. With Cammalleri at 6.0 and DSedin at 6.1, Semin is worth not one penny more than 6.2. At more than that, he's overpaid.

I'd rather have him at 6.2 than Flash at 3.0.

Semin would make a great L or RW with a mean, tough center on his line and a Knuble type forward on the other side. My desire earlier in summer was put Semin-Umberger-Fehr together if PJ could be had. magnificent 2nd line. Then make third line say Laich-center TBD-Bradley or AGordon. Nice third line.

Maybe Stecks can be that, it would be great. 4th line then King/Beagle/Pinner types.

Semin can absolutely be on this club and be part of a Cup winner at 6.2 if we have the right complimentary pieces with him i.e. less snipers, more muckers.

I can see the light; and I can see the darkness; and I can see Ovechkin hoisting...maybe.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

What I want to see as my 2nd line...

9 games at least, Semin-Eakin-Fehr. If they have no chemistry by 9 games, or if Eakin proves he needs a bit longer in the juniors/minors, then we can send Eakin back to the jrs and BB can try something new.

If not, we need to shop/trade for a 2C and dish Flush for a D-man.

As for the 3rd/4th lines...I want to see AGordon get a shot and if Hendricks proves to be legit, him as well. If that means Stecks and Gordo need to sit/go...so be it. I like Stecks, but at his price, he is replaceable. I dont care for Gordo.

Not sure where MP/MJ might fit in, but one of them has to be in there as well right?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@Tom: Overlapping agreement but I want Laich at center. The only reason he ever went to wing was because BB couldn't make up his damn mind about the 2nd line, and Laich isn't a legit #2 center but filled in decently as a winger. In my opinion, Laich IS a legit #3 center and we would maximize his potential by putting him there, while still using him in his existing limited role on the PP.

@SAOTI: I wouldn't try Eakin at #2 if I were GM, but I also wouldn't rip my hair out as a fan if such a thing happened. Fairly low risk proposition. Personally, I'm more interested in seeing the same experiment attempted with MJ. MP doesn't get a lot of talk here, I think because it is our natural tendency to be more intrigued by unknown possibilities, whereas we have all seen MP play. But MP has been pretty solid in his showings so far, and probably deserves as much of a look at this position as anybody else.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see

Ovi-Backstrom-Semin
Flash-Real Center-Fehr
Laich-MP/MJ-Knuble
Chimera/King-Stecks/Bradley
A. Gordon

Also, Tom-I disagree about Semin. I think he is worth more than $6.2 million to some other club. If he takes that here, it will be a hometown discount.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 23, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@struggler

The only problem with MJ at #2C is that unless Fehr steps up and becomes the crash the net/go into corners guy, the line will be missing that completely. Seeing Eakin play, he goes into corners, makes passes, gets back on D etc. That can leave Semin to create space, makes passes, score, draw D away. Fehr would only then need to crash the net, bang in rebounds, take passes and wrist them in. Again, assuming Eakin can keep it up for a full NHL season, that makes that line damn near complete and balanced.

MJ is a playmaker. Not a go into corners guy or net crasher. Would put too many duties onto Fehr I feel.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see

Ovi-Backstrom-Semin
Flash-Real Center-Fehr
Laich-MP/MJ-Knuble
Chimera/King-Stecks/Bradley
A. Gordon

Also, Tom-I disagree about Semin. I think he is worth more than $6.2 million to some other club. If he takes that here, it will be a hometown discount.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 23, 2010 1:11 PM

Boyd Gordon on waivers then (not that I disagree necessarily).

I don't think anyone's going to deny wanting a real center at 2C. Breaking up the OBK line is insane though. That line was far too effective to move MK to 3rd line.

Posted by: Raber | September 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen Eakin play, so I'm taking your alls word for it. If he's as advertised, he maybe could be that. I've seen MP though and I'm not confident.

I still feel we need a veteran presence somewhere on the club, someone who's been there. Knuble has but it was years ago and he was a minor cog then.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 23, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Boyd Gordon on waivers then (not that I disagree necessarily).

I don't think anyone's going to deny wanting a real center at 2C. Breaking up the OBK line is insane though. That line was far too effective to move MK to 3rd line.

Posted by: Raber

Boyd Gordon = LTIR. The OBK line was good, but I think the OBS line is better. With 7 guys scoring 20+ goals, Semin shouldn't have to play on the 2nd line to have balanced scoring. Also, BB can switch Knuble to the top line if OBS isn't working.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 23, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI: You're right, I'm totally counting on Fehr to be that guy. He could be that guy and he should be that guy, and I think he started to become that guy last season. If he decides just to set up shop at net without using his size to punish people in the corners, then my whole 2nd line theory devolves into a mess again.

@Tom: Veteran presence is never a bad thing. The only thing I wouldn't want to do is deal any of our players that have value (including the unpopular ones) for a similarly priced vet that will have less or no value when we're done with him. I think the ideal situation we're all looking for is that impact defenseman at the deadline--somebody who has either "been there" as you say, or at least is so solid we don't care if he's been there.

Posted by: struggler | September 23, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

When's the next preseason game?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 23, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ovi didn't play

Posted by: rclow | September 23, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

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