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McPhee: Caps Will Stand Pat

I didn't manage to squeeze a whole lot of info out of GM George McPhee before yesterday's game in Philadelphia, but I figured you may be interested in what he had to say. So here it is:

Q: What's the status of Chris Clark (groin tendon) and Brian Pothier (concussion)?
A: "We're doing what we can to get them back. We're being exhaustive with everything we do. It took a while with Eric Fehr; he saw 10 different specialists. These guys have seen the best doctors available. We'll have to wait a little bit."

"I don't know [about Pothier]. He could be feeling great by the end of the week and begin skating and come back. We just don't know. Same thing with [Clark]. We just don't know. The MRIs have looked good. He's just not feeling right."

Q: If they do not improve, would you consider looking outside the organization for help?:
A: "If we get banged up some more, we'll continue to call up guys from Hershey. They've been doing a good job. We've got some good players down there that we would want to see again."

[Reading between the lines, I would imagine he meant Chris Bourque, who has 15 goals and 15 assists and plus-minus rating of plus-11. Bourque spent three games here in November as an injury replacement.]

Q: A little less than three weeks to the trade deadline, what are your thoughts? Stand pat?
A: "Yes [his answer to standing pat]. Needs can change week-to-week. So to commit to something now, and need something else two weeks from now wouldn't make any sense."

Update: Here's some other notes I gathered at this morning's practice.

*The Caps are leading the division this late in the season for the first time since March 13, 2003.

*Brent Johnson will start in goal against the 'Canes tomorrow and Olie Kolzig will go against the Rangers on Sunday.

*Boudreau said the lineup will likely remain the same against Carolina, meaning Matt Pettinger and Steve Eminger will be the scratches.

*Most days, Corey Masisak from the Times, myself and Mike Vogel of caps.com are the only reporters in the locker room after practice. Today there were a couple dozen media types. Guess Olie was right about this being a bandwagon town.

*Today was an optional practice. Alex Ovechkin, Donald Brashear, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Poti and John Erskine did not practice today.

*Boudreau will be online to answer your questions at 1:30. Here's the link to the discussion.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 7, 2008; 11:19 AM ET
 
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Next: What Are The Chances?

Comments

Guess that means we are not in the Forsberg mix. Good!

Posted by: Lee | February 7, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Tommy from the last post:

But, how many times have you seen a play blown dead and the goal does not count? I agree that it should have been a goal - from where the puck was when the whistle was blown. However, there was a push on Kolzig and the ref blew the whistle. So, you have two things working AGAINST Philly. The play has to be conslusive. I just think it's one of those times in which the ref mess up - they are human too. I am glad it wasn't a goal - that is why I don't care if they cry about it. It has happened to the Caps for 4+ seasons now... here we are, on the other side, and we are still complaining about it.

They will always be inconsistant - based on who the team is - who the player is. Would the refs call a diving penalty on Ovechkin or Semin - even if the plays are exactly alike? Probably not Ovechkin... who will get the most penalties in a game vs Detroit and Columbus... or Montreal vs Altanta???? It's just the way it is. The other night after the ref take down. I thought we could have got 2 or 3 penalties against us... but it seemed like they were not going to call anything because they cost us a goal. Does all that make sense?

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
I think after last night's win we can officially remove the ban of the "P" word? Agreed? Or do we keep it banned and hope the good fortune continues?

Posted by: capthis! | February 7, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I still think we should 'P'-word under wraps for another week or so.

As for Forsberg, I'm under the impression that Caps did not show any interest.

Posted by: Tarik | February 7, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Tommy... the play with the ref take down "could" have cost us the season... but, I think that happens every year. Look at the Patriots play a few seasons back against the Raiders... now, there is a new "tuck" rule in the NFL rule books.

The game constantly changes and things are modified to prevent stuff like this happening.

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

When you're at games, do you jump and down and celebrate like us fans in the seats when the Caps score??

Posted by: Don-Ald | February 7, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I guess I just hate what the league has turned in to.

Honestly, I think its a good goal if no penalty call was made. Because if the ruling was that he pushed kolzig it should have been disallowed.

Same situation as if a player hooks another player, steals the puck and scores, no call against for hooking...cant review that.

Posted by: Tommmy | February 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BearsWoooo | February 7, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Don-Ald,

I hear Tarik is a Sabre fan...

J/K - I hope he gets excited about this stuff - he has the best job in the world.

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember a Caps goal that was disallowed from either last season or the season before where on review the puck had gone in before the whistle blew. However, the goal was still disallowed, because the ref was in the process of blowing the whistle. Same thing could have happened here.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | February 7, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, can you mention what other media were there today?

Posted by: Jill | February 7, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

At 828, no doubt he has the best job in the world other than owning a team. I almost threw up when you said Tarik was a Sabres fan haha

First F*cking Place! "Unbelievable"

Posted by: Don-Ald | February 7, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

that could hold some weight but in post game conference Philly coach said the explanation given on the ice was because Hartnell pushed Kolzig. He had the same question..they why no penalty?

Posted by: Tommmy | February 7, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Bears

Reading that article... is it just me or does it seem to like they "edited" his responses. The phrasing and words used just does not seem like what would come from Ovie's mouth.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 7, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

If Pettinger and Eminger and others have been benched.. How the hell is Flash not shown the pine. Now that Kozlov is on the 2nd line I think we all see Semin and Kozzie playing better... Semin has looked better the last 2 games and isnt Capt.Turnover as much. Do you think another winger would help bloster that line.. I dont see Flash doing anything.

Posted by: Darryl | February 7, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@FFS Enough

You would be surprised how often media cleans up interviews. They edit out "ums" and "uhs" and put stuff in brackets to indicate what they were talking about, because they don't use the whole comment. If they didn't do that it would be to difficult to read

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | February 7, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

this just in

Gary Bettman has decided to stop the regular season right now so the Washington Capitals can play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The remaining on the schedule will be played for practice until Sidney Crosby returns.

Posted by: Tommmy | February 7, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm searching through the rulebook as fast as I can, but I don't see anywhere that the ref has the ability to call a penalty after review. I believed they could (partially cause I think Craig Lauchlin has said they can)... I'll post what I find.

I DID however find out more of McCreary's crew screwing up Tues night. In the event that a goal happens, and play continues, review, and it's allowed... The clock is supposed to revert back to the time of the goal. Tues night they gave us the goal but did not change the clock.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 7, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Thank you for sharing that.

And like Jill Im curious who the other media guys were. ESPN maybe?

Posted by: captnclark | February 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Capitals Player Meet & Greet
What: Meet and greet Capitals players.

When: February 10th following the 1:00 pm game versus the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center

Where: Cleveland Park Bar & Grill

Who: Shaone Morrisonn, Mike Green, Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr
Why: Any excuse to drink beer and you're asking me why?

$7 for adults, $5 for kids -portion of the proceeds go to Washington Animal Rescue League

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

FFS Enough

I thought the same thing. Something deosn't seem right with his responses. They don't sound quite "Ovie-esque" enough.

Darryl

Flash did have a nice assist last night.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | February 7, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I realize most interviews are cleaned up for meaningless noises and chatter, but part of what makes Ovie so "neat" is his desire to communicate and learn to speak the language. part of his character is his "broken english" and I just feel like I would have appreciated a more "true" cadence to the written replies.

It is possible that interview was via e-mail (this is ESPN afterall) and Ovie had someone clean it up FOR him.

Who knows, but Caps are getting MUCH love on ESPN today.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 7, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Don-Ald,

There's a decorum that goes with working in the press box. He's basically at work, so he has to have the professional face on. Granted, I'm assuming that this it the case because it typically is.

The guys over at On Frozen Blog did a writeup on the atmosphere in the press box a long while back. They pretty much said that it's bizarre not being able to shout and get visibly excited, but that it's incredibly interesting nonetheless because of the hockey experts you meet up there.

Posted by: HolyOlie | February 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Methinks McPhee is trying to con us with the "stand-pat" quote. The Caps are on the cuspe of the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They lost a lot of veterans to long-term injuries (Nylander, Pothier, and Clark). They have a stable of under-producing prospects that can garner interest (Eminger, Pettiner, and Flash) for teams looking to shed payroll and get faster, younger (the Caps a few years back), and the Caps need three things: a RW, a center, and a defenseman. I think McPhee is trying to find a suitor for those three for a proven, overpaid, soon to be free agent veteran (see Toronto, LA, Chicago, and Tampa Bay). All those franchises can resign the rented veteran in the off-season while picking up three or so prospects, who just may need a new zipcode to play well. OK, now feel free to tell me how crazy my analysis is.

Posted by: JIM | February 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

To BearsWoo,

He did but in your opinion, Do you think he's a legite top 6 forward on this team? I dont think so, He also had a nice set up in the slot last night and I dont think his shot even made it to Biron..

I want Flash to have success, but im not seeing it at all and when we have others like Green, Liach, Stecks and others have done well since BB got here..

Maybe putting somebody else over there isnt the answer either, I just want him to put up points like he did in Hershey..

Your thoughts?

Posted by: Darryl | February 7, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I Don't buy GM/GM's answers. But would else would he say? With Clark, Nylander, and Pothier out, I can definitely see them being a buyer. How about Dan Boyle?

Posted by: Dave | February 7, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be a few Caps articles on ESPN.com today. One about Boudreau getting the call and an interview with Ovie.

Posted by: tallbear | February 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Gee, a bunch of you posted while someone stopped in my office to ask a question. I guess I should autofresh more often.

Posted by: tallbear | February 7, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

seems like we have seen the last of Pettinger barring an injury. Sounds like Bourque may have even passed him on the depth chart

Posted by: sean | February 7, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Tallbear
and one about how "old" Olie is. Sounds like we could collectively write for ESPN.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the disallowed goal last night, I know the ruling (at least what was announced) was that the referee lost sight of the puck. However, the following NHL rule has been brought which could also be pertinent to the situation.

Rule 69.6 (second paragraph)
In the event that a goalkeeper has been pushed into the net together with the puck by an attacking player after making a stop, the goal will be disallowed. If applicable, appropriate penalties will be assessed.

For what it's worth, I think the second line is strating to come along. Those 3 seem to work well together. Once Eric Fehr gets his NHL Hockey Legs back, WOW! that line could be Most Triumphant! LOL

Posted by: CantMissKid | February 7, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I am a little thrown by McPhees "stand pat" comments - i dont know what to think. In the past he has always said "if there is move and it would be a good fit long-term for the organization then we will do that". Granted, that never really happened, but that was what he used to say. Now he's saying we will not be making any moves? I dont get it.

Posted by: cs | February 7, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I notice that Ovechkin is allowed to not practice quite often. Does that cause any team mates to comment on that? I know he plays at 150% all the time and is banged up. I was just curious.

Posted by: John from Annapolis | February 7, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Darryl

A top six? No. He definately seems to be a step behind at this level. He was showing some signs of coming around with some nice play making, but that seems to be diminishing. Certainly not a top 6. I wish he would find the same scoring touch and puck skills he showed in Hershey. I just haven't seen it from him at the NHL level. But I wouldn't say he has not done ANYTHING productive.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | February 7, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

From OnFrozenBlog. This is exactly what I was feeling... think most of you were too - and its true.


There was a brief moment Tuesday night in Columbus -- now known as McCreary's Mischief -- when the battle-scarred Caps' chronicler in me reverted to a pessimistic fatalism of previous seasons. It was that sort of bizarre event that seemed so . . . Capitals-esque. But my composure returned, I kept watching, and rather rationally I think I adopted a muted expectation that all was not lost, that this Capitals' team was different.

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Flash a top 6? Not in DC, at least. He's had his chances to little avail, but maybe a different city and team will help him. Maybe he is the best AHL'er who couldn't make it in the NHL?

Posted by: JIM | February 7, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Pettinger is the bigger mystery. What happened to him after two pretty good seasons? His numbers are terrible this year, when it seemed he was on the verge of a breakout year. Bizarre really. He may garner some interest with his numbers from the AHL and the last two years, but at 27, times running out.

Posted by: JIM | February 7, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Re Ovechkin's practice, I'm going to assume that he's the one guy on the team who could never show up for practice and as long as he keeps scoring GMGs, his teammates will be a-ok with that. Funny thing about winning; teams tend to like it.

@Sean, I'm not sure where you get that Petter is below Bourque on the depth chart. I think if a skill player went down, then Bourque might get the call, but other than that, Petter just has the misfortune of being the 13th forward.

Posted by: old time hockey | February 7, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone notice during the Hextall ceremony before last night's game that Biron was waiting to shake Kolzig's hand after the ceremonial face-off and Olie just turned and skated back to the bench. Intentional? I hope so, I hate the Flyers!

Posted by: 8 is enuf | February 7, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

From Ovie's ESPN interview: "Look at the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl. No one thought that was going to happen. So you can't just have a plan, you have to play out the season. That game was pretty cool. We watched the game together as a team. About half the guys were cheering for New England and the other half were cheering for New York. I was cheering for the Giants because no one believed in them. Maybe that will be like us, where we can surprise everyone with a championship."

Ovie was pulling for the Giants? Is there ANYTHING I don't like about this guy?

Posted by: JB | February 7, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

BearsWoo,

So with Clark out and not knowing when he comes back, Who in your opinion would try at that spot?

Posted by: Darryl | February 7, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
I have a hockey-related question that is gnawing at me. Hoping you know the answer--or perhaps can do some hard-hitting investigative journalism on the issue.

My understanding is that the NHL has gotten rid of the goal judge booths and moved the goal judges upstairs. And the former booth areas have been replaced with additional premium seats. So why haven't arena attendance figures been adjusted accordingly? Madison Square Garden still lists a sellout as 18,000, same as it ever was--even though more seats have been added. I don't get it.

Posted by: Questioneer | February 7, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Meant to say that MSG capacity for hockey is 18,200.

Posted by: Questioneer | February 7, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Local Philly newscasts are reporting that Peter the Great will rejoin the Flyers. I am glad we didn't pursue him myself. He's on the way down the hill and god knows how long it will take him to find a skate he likes.
I don't know how to feel about Johnny/ Olie starts this weekend. Olie was good last night. Tomorrow is a must win in my book. I think I would go with the "hot hand" even if its only lukewarm. Thing is, Johnny's been hot when he's played of late.
While I'm glad we're in first in the SE division, I sure do miss the old Patrick Division rivals. So good to beat the Flyers.

Posted by: kevbpgc | February 7, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik

Thats interesting about the media attention. Worst to First is a story Im sure people have been waiting to write. What other Outlets?

Can you use your media connections to get Katie Couric to come back to Arlington for a 60-minutes segment? CapsNation needs to go Primetime.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 7, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I had a vision Eminger, Flash, Petty and maybe a 2nd rounder for Hossa!!!!!!

Ov-Back-Fehr
Semin-Hossa-Kozlov
Clark-Steckel-Laing
Brash-Gordo-Laich

Bradley extra

That is a team that no one in their right mind would want to face!!

Posted by: Roger | February 7, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

May Forsberg be the plague to any team who picks him up.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Regarding flash, he's the best of a limited set of options for secondary scoring. In fact, only Ovie (19), Backstrom (13), and Kozlov (12) have more points than flash (8) in the past 11 games (tied with green and Semin).

Since 1-15 vs. ottawa (11 games)
ovie 13-6-19
Backs 1-12-13
koz 7-5-12
flash 1-7-8
Semin 6-2-8
green 2-6-8

Posted by: GusDaMan | February 7, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Flash is a bit frustrating. When I saw him out with Semin in Columbus I screamed at the TV as he continued to turn the puck over again and again. He just doesn't have that finisher mentality, or even the willingness to go to the tough areas to get the puck like Backstrom to make a play. Watch how often 19 uses his body down low to block the defender and then make a pass - don't see 43 doing that. You have to want it. Sit him or send him down to get his confidence and bring up Bourque. How long can we hold onto this guy and give him a chance to do the job? That said, I do like 25 & 28 playing together. See everyone tomorrow night - GO CAPS!

Posted by: Roose | February 7, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

How about this:
Ovie-Backstrom-Fehr(grinds)
Semin-Kozlov-Bourque (grinds)
Faing-Steck-Bradley (king grind line)
Brash-Gordo-Laich (king grind line 2)

Green-Morrisonn
Poti-Jurcina
Erskine-Schultz
(Pothier in any of last 3 spots when back)

Posted by: Roose | February 7, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the logic in playing Johnson against Carolina. It may be one of the most important 4 points this season. The next week could allow us to really pull ahead in the standings. It seems to me that the lineup should be Kolgiz then Johnson against New York so Kolzig can rest for the southern swing.

Just a thought not a sermon.

Posted by: Capsfan | February 7, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@Roose,

Looks interesting. I'd go with Pothier for Erskine personally. #4 is the weakest D when compared to 23 and 55 imho.

Posted by: Steve R | February 7, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Questioneer


Its my understanding that most arenas have included those seats as a perk to suiteholders for an extra cost, so it really doesnt effect attendence actually.

Every arena might be different though.

Posted by: Tommmy | February 7, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Yo know, they say there is no goal judge... but there really is. I was eating at the Ocella club the night of the MTL game and there was a goal judge behind the net at the top of the section. He sits in a metal chair and has a button in his hand. I am guessing he is the guy that turns on the light. Maybe the system was down, who knows... but there was an old man up there with a button that needed to be pushed.

Posted by: 828 | February 7, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Roose, I think Flash needs to go through waivers to get to Hershey, so we're probably stuck with him.

Posted by: tallbear | February 7, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

There are still goal judges, but they've just recently been moved away from behind the goal this season, I believe.

Posted by: Jordan | February 7, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsfan

It is probably going to be hard to predict down the stretch the rhyme or reason with goaltending. I think the main goal is to keep each of them fresh. We all saw how Olie struggled a bit when Johnson was hurt and he was out there every night. It really will be a "gut feeling," I suspect.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 7, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau has said before that goaltending assignments can change the day of the game, too.

Posted by: Jordan | February 7, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

828,

Did the old guy have glasses? A TV monitor with a view of the net? How far from the net? Comfy chair or folding metal?

Posted by: Steve R | February 7, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@ tallbear
Interesting, didn't even think about that; doubt anyone would pick him up, but you never know.

@ Steve R
I could see that; he plays with an edge that I like, but he does have a tendency to take a dumb penalty almost every game. Don't see Jurcina, Schultz, or Pothier in the box that much.

Posted by: Roose | February 7, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

They didn't use my question with Coach B's Q & A. I guess he and Tarik must have each given it a thumb down.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | February 7, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

@8 is enuf
I did. However, I don't agree with you, I thought it showed a lack of class. Oh, well, maybe he didn't see him because he was star-struck with Hextall?

Posted by: Opita | February 7, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

828,

Does the button look like the same one from the TV show "LOST"...if so, don't let him push it!

Posted by: NJ | February 7, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@FFS Enough

Regarding the Poti goal against Columbus - they did change the time back. They reviewed the play at 6:39, and when play started back up, the clock read 6:53. I was watching for it~

Posted by: alpca3877 | February 7, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Pothier's Thumb(s down) - don't feel bad...BB didn't show me any love either... :-)

Posted by: Jill | February 7, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"My job is to score goals, and if I don't shoot the puck, I can't score goals."

AO always makes for a good quote.

It's liek GMG Mwas going to come out and say "hey, we want this guy and only this guy", so I'm not suprised at the non-answer answer.

Posted by: EricS | February 7, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, what I ment to say was "It's not like". Need to work more on my typing.

Posted by: EricS | February 7, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@ opita

I thought Biron was the one who looked star-struck. Olie looked like he had his game-face on and considering that Hextall was one of the dirtiest class-less guys of his era, I had no problem with it.

Go Caps!

Posted by: 8 is enuf | February 7, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

My question didn't get in either!!!!
It must be a conspiracy!!!
:)

Posted by: K | February 7, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

We still have goal judges at VC. They sit up in the Loge right by the camera guys. Terrible location for a goal judge IMO.

Posted by: Jill | February 7, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

What is a Loge?

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I just know it to be the German name for the Norse god Loki. I haven't ever heard it used as a part of a stadium.

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The Loge is the seating area in the Lower Level on the ends, but up higher (Rows V, X, Y, etc). Between that seating area and the suites the next level up is where there are cameras and camera guys on either end of the ice, between 105 and 106, and the goal judges sit by them now.

These seats used to be a different price from the lower rows (C-T) in those sections. It may be that it's no longer called the Loge now that they are all the same price...

Posted by: Jill | February 7, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

I learned something new today. Thanks

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Mine neither.....maybe because I was critizing our power play,pointing out that our opponents ALWAYS have 1,and sometimes 2 guys screening our goalie,while we have NONE.All we do is pass it around till Ovie is open,as if our opponents don't know that.I asked why not replace Semin witn Ovie,put Poti on the point,and Bradley in front for rebounds,screens,garbage goals,etc.The silence was deafening....

Posted by: roccky | February 7, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I got up this morning at 6. Normally I use the bathroom, brush my teeth, get dressed, have a bowl of cereal, go to the gym for an hour, come home and take my son to school. Finally, after arriving back home around 8:30, I sit down and read the paper. But this morning I could not follow this very well established routine. Oh no. When the alarm went off at 6 am, I went out and got the paper in my skivvies. I opened up the sports page, turned to the NHL standings and sat on the front porch and stared at them for about 5 minutes (ok, maybe 2). What an awesome sight! Hopefully I will get used to it. Thanks Caps, for forcing me to change up my routine.

Posted by: kenwood | February 7, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Hate to be the party spoiler here but if we don't forget that the SE Division is so weak this year the team could still miss the playoffs. Yeah we are in first but if the season ended tomorrow and we were one point out of first we wouldn't even make the playoffs.
The team should be very proud of how far they have come but they have a long way to go. They are easily one of the most improved and exciting teams going right now, but they have to keep it up. I doubt BB will let them relax too much.

As far as picking up a player in the next few weeks, on the wish list has to be a proven defender, or an additional scorer. Semin has not looked great lately. He still takes way too many stupid penalties and just plays lazy hockey. He'll score a goal and then think everything is OK, but you need to play a complete game!

Posted by: Capfan1 | February 7, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

You guys slay me. First, take pride that they are in firt place and rejoice in that success, however fleeting it may be. Second, if we can get a front six forward for Petty and Eminger, then I am all for it. But i won't be happy if they trade true propects or picks for a 3 month rental. And neither should you. And by the way, unless we can pick up a Rafalski, Schneider type, there won't any D available who can really make a difference.

Posted by: kenwood | February 7, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
Nice work on WPLive! I have a feeling we'll be seeing you more frequently on the show;) Keep up the excellent work...thanks for all the great quotes from gmgm, BB, and the PLAYERS.

Posted by: fullright | February 7, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Jill:
Amen! I can't believe where they moved to goal judges. Have you noticed how often the lights now go on accidentally? I don't get the logic behind the move ... ?!?

Posted by: Boo! | February 7, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess gmgm is just happy for the team to contend for the run up to the p-words. "standing pat" is chicken poop. If a team really wants to compete in the p-words, they need defense and goaltending. How nice that gmgm is happy to settle with not having either of those.

He really does like the two in the bush versus getting one in hand. Sorry, but I AM hungry.

I am thrilled with the way Gabby has these guys going. Like 828's post at around 12:30, it is so weird not succumbing to that empty feeling when the team gets down a goal or two. But even a great coach can't hide a team's shortcomings forever, especially in the playoffs.

Unfortunately though, this coach is able to hide the team's major shortcoming: gmgm. As Gabby keeps these guys winning, gmgm keeps his job and the rebuild will remain incomplete.

Posted by: Clarendon | February 7, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm new to this blogging stuff. who is GMGM. McPhee?

Posted by: 8 is enuf | February 7, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

8 is enuf:
GMGM = General Manager George McPhee

Posted by: Boo! | February 7, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Vancouver just went up 2-1 over Atlanta with 8:46 to go. Go Whales!

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

wow - atlanta lost - sweet!!

tampa is tied and fla is tied - come on preds and sens!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Boo! | February 7, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Seats have not been added at Verizon because the goal judge has left. The judge stand used to be at the bottom of the aisles between the two sections. Now you can walk down the aisle to the glass. The view behind the net has improved, however.

Posted by: @ Questioneer | February 7, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Florida just lost 5-4 to Ottawa.

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

thanks to all who have answered the question i was wondering about all year. what happened to the guys behind the net? i didn't even notice they were gone until my wife mentioned it to me. i always thought they were pretty useless, particularly w/ two refs and replay. now, can someone tell me how to get a job as one of the penalty box guys. as far as i can tell, the qualifications are (a) being old (b) having a navy blazer (c) the ability to open a door and (d) being able to walk across ice in hard soled shoes. i would like that gig. i'm not old but i do meet the other qualifications.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | February 7, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Guess who has earned the front page on ESPN.com??
That's right, Bruce Boudreau and the Caps...check it out quickly before some NBA junk gets the home page

www.espn.go.com/

Posted by: marksman | February 7, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@Cap Fan1

Don't forget about holding a clipboard and putting a pen to paper. I'm not sure whether you have to be able to write though.

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I laughed when Melrose said he loved the Caps. He and Burnside have always been the biggest Caps haters at espn.

Posted by: I Love Jill The Most!! | February 7, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Cap Fan 1:
That is SO funny!!! I often wondered the same thing about the box guys ... well, and the goal judges! ;-) I have seriously made the same observations ... too funny!

So we hold on to the lead for one more night! With both ATL and and FLA losing, we are sitting pretty! Let's add 2 more points tomorrow!!

Love ALL of the stuff about the Caps on the front page of espn.com. It explains all of the press that Tarik mentioned! If you have not checked it out yet, make sure that you do!! It's good to be king ...

Posted by: Boo! | February 7, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I remember Melrose always picking the Caps as the dark horse

Posted by: melrose | February 7, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

The Burnside article on Kolzig...

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=3232804

... shows that I am NOT the only one in the world concerned about his play.

The money quote comes from McPhee when he's asked whether he plans to improve the goaltending. "No"

Oh well! I guess last in the league in save percentage is good enough.

However, as I mentioned before I thought Olie did a good job against Philly and I hope he's turning the corner.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 8, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

For tonights game vs the Hurricanes the hockey gods have informed me.

Caps vs Canes: Caps win by 2

The Oracle has spoken.

Posted by: Oracle Of Dayoh | February 8, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

@CapFan1:

One way to get there is become an official/ref in the local leagues. I know one of the off-ice guys, and that's how he got there.

Posted by: m4ilm4n | February 8, 2008 5:25 AM | Report abuse

1 point up with games in hand. I hate to call tonight must win, but 3 points up with one in hand on Carolina is muucchhhhh better than 1 point down with one in hand...

What do y'all think of Fehr 2 games into his call up?

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Spot on Steve R.

I think Fehr has been decent. he seems to be playing with a lot of energy and he looks due for an "ugly" goal any game now.

Posted by: cs | February 8, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

m4im4n, do those guys get paid? do they have any other responsibilities beyond sitting in the penalty box? seriously, i would love that gig. can you imagine the stuff they hear and see (and smell). looks like they get free diet coke too. tarik, there is a blockbuster story here somewhere..an expose on these nameless guys who do so much! (something tells me that if the caps were still in last place, we would be seeing such stories on page D1000).

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | February 8, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Good articles on ESPN - we are starting to get noticed:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=3232804 Another one about BB on the nhl home page of espn.

Steve R,

It was one of those folding metal chairs - is there any other kind. The button looked like something out of a game show - he was holding it tight.

Tonights game - just look right above the sections behind the net - you will see an old man sitting there. As for glasses - not sure. But yes, that would explain the lights going on for no reason.

One of the plays during the Montreal game when we thought the Caps scored - a fan looked at him... he just shrugged.

I just think they should have a camera that watches the line and someone upstairs looking at it. You would have to have pretty good eyes to see the puck go in from that far up.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:12 AM | Report abuse

NJ,

I think he does have to enter in the numbers before he presses the button... if not, the whole VC could emplode.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

We win tonight and Sunday - we would be ahead of the Rangers... again, with games in hand. That would secure at least the 8 spot as well. We need to get into that type of situation - if we don't get first, we still make the playoffs. These next 7 games are so important... they are against teams that we should get points from. The 9 after that are against our toughest teams - NJ, BOS, BUF, PIT... cryptonyte.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

How bout we just win 9 straight... 2 games already and the 7 to come. Should be easy enough, right?

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

TB won last night - they are not too far behind either...

Is anyone else up this morning?

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I think we've got the one tonight against Carolina. OV and Kozlov will score like a hundred goals or something. We'll blow past the Rangers, too.

Posted by: Jordan | February 8, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

@828,

"NJ, BOS, BUF, PIT... cryptonyte"

Wish I could disagree with you on the above, but..... Hopefully we get to watch another OV hit on Malkin while the Caps get 8 points out of those 4 games. I can hope.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Steve R,

I am hoping we are the Caps of now instead of the Caps of late during those games. Those games are not back to back - we play NJ and BOS twice... it will be tough, but I am hoping we can get past them... that 9 game stretch is pretty ugly. At least we end the season playing a bunch of SE teams... that will show the teams character - can you beat the teams you are fight with?

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@Jordan,

I'd be happy with 6 and wings for everybody.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Boston... Tim Thomas seems to do no wrong against the Caps, I'll be at that game 3/16.

Devils like low scoring grind it out games, hopefully we can get free wheeling offense going.

Ending against the SE will be great. Every game a must win, for sure a playoff feel to it. Can't wait.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

OK, seriously ... why bother having goal judges if they sit so far away?

Plus, RE: the "goal" against Montreal, wouldn't he be better off in his protective little plexiglass box?!? ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | February 8, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Yeah Boo!, doesn't make sense to me... here I thought the NHL was saving money by not having the goal judges... I was wrong.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Boo,

Weren't the goal judges moved so more high $ seats could be sold?

Everything is reviewed by Toronto anyway, is it time to say goodbye to the goal judge?

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Boston and NJ will be tough games, but BB has gotten these players to believe and get some monkeys off their backs, like winning in PA (both Pens and Flyers). Maybe he can rouse these guys into playing well enough to unlock Thomas and Broduer (not an easy task, no).
I still think the Caps have got to be looking for a center, stay-at-home blueliner, and a rw to become a serious contender this year.

Posted by: JIM | February 8, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Optia
I don't mind the lack of hand-shake one bit. I don't remember any game I ever played competitively, hockey, baseball, volleyball, where I have shook somebody's hand before the game. It doesn't and wouldn't feel right.

The ceremony was somewhat stupid to begin with. Have Hex face off with Biron if you are going to do something like that. Have Biron and Olie shoot at eachother from behind their nets. Goalies taking a faceoff? I know Hex was a wiz with his stick, but come on.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 8, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I think his main function these days is to just turn on the lamp.

Posted by: Jordan | February 8, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

FFS Enough,

You generally shake opposing player's hands pre-game in any sport that requires a coin toss or a meeting of captains (i.e. football and soccer).

But I agree, that was hokey, not hockey. Wow, that was an awful pun. I apologize to all who had to read it.

Posted by: Jordana | February 8, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Jordan, I agree.

JIM,
As for aquiring other people - GMGM isn't going to do anything. I agree with you, but it's not going to happen. I think the Giants really put a monkey wrench into all of that as well. "Oh well, they can beat a 18-0 team - anything is possible... we can win with a superstar and a bunch of AHL'ers."

I just think the Caps are dangerous - who wants to play them? Detroit barely won in OT - we have shown that we can beat anyone - well, except BUF and BOS... but, that is to come.

I wished they got someone like Hossa - but he is not going to leave ATL unless they lose 8 straight and get themselves eliminated fast.

It's a tough situation... McPhee is content right now... the fans - not so much. I would like them to go out and try and get a goalie... we could use someone like Leclair in the playoffs.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Steve: I hate to say it, but I agree ...

Jordan: If that's the case, then is he really a goal judge, or is he just waiting for the ref to signal that it is a goal? The light could easily be controlled from elsewhere if the judge is just waiting for the ref to call it a goal ...

Posted by: Boo! | February 8, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Boo! - he watches the goal like a Hawk watches a mouse... he def looks to see if the puck crosses the net. I think it's even before the ref motions goal. I just don't know why he is so far back or why they can't do it with a camera.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

828,

Leclair.. We could only be so lucky.

I guess the question to ask is if Olie and Johnny can continue to win at the rate they have been at since BB took over. If yes, the SE should be a lock (imho).

It would make things easier if nhl.com would give us goalie stats pre and with BB.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

ACJ:

And in case you blinked last night or were in coma, the Southeast Division leader is now Washington. That's a team that was in last place not that long ago before making a coaching change and watching Alex Ovechkin go nuts.

But then this morning after the skate, Don Waddell shot down my premise. Not directly aimed at me or in an antagonistic way, but enough to where I thought I should revisit the topic.

So here I am.

He says he thinks two teams will make the playoffs out of the division. They always do, he says. His idea is that in the stretch run at the end of the season, when everybody is playing division opponents, teams are going to pile up some points.

(And conversely, I'd add, some teams in these other divisions should lose some ground, since they'll be playing each other and unable to gain points from outside the division.)

He made a point to say that the Thrashers are still gunning for the division -- that they're not hoping or planning to sneak in under the wire. But his prediction was interesting to me. I'm curious what you guys think. Is he right? Do you see two teams making the playoffs from the Southeast Division?

Posted by: I was in coma | February 8, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Score 6, and they can win! :)

If they keep winning at the rate they have been - I agree, there should be no problem.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

@ 828

I don't know about GMGM's statement to stay pat. I can see hesitation to let any prospects or draft picks go as the Caps have built solidly from the draft up. Yet they have some young guys who have possible potential elsewhere -- Flash, Pettinger, and Eminger top the list.

It depends on who a team is willing to deal for what the Caps are willing to give up. GMGM has pulled off some impressive trades, like Gonchar for Morrison, Jurinica, and a 1st and 2nd rounder to Boston. Boston no longer has Gonch, who is still a liability in his own end, and we have at least 3 solid players (I think Fehr or Green was the 1st rounder, and I'm not sure who the 2nd rounder was).

I just don't see anyone coming up from Hershey and contributing either. Boruque is really small (if fiesty) and has decent numbers in the AHL (15g,15a) but plays LW -- as if the Caps need another LW. Sasha is still too raw. McChesney is a possibility, but then who gets yanked -- Ollie or Johnnie?

Posted by: JIM | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: I was in coma | February 8, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Leclair would be ok if he has actually played more than in the last year and a half.

Posted by: Tommmy | February 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Coma,

I don't see why not - if we win these next two games,we would be ahead of the Rangers and Boston - both a 7 and an 8 seed right now. We are not that far back from NJ either... and, there are 3 teams from the SE right on our heals... so, I would not disagree with it. Had you asked me two weeks ago, I would and did say no... but now, things are starting to get interesting. It's all about who is going to be the hot team going into the playoffs. Carolina and Atlanta have shown that they can win games in bunches... that's all you need heading into the playoffs. That is why I am trying to stress these next 7 games... we need all the points we can get to add some padding to our lead.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@Jim,

I think Fehr was 2003 draft and Gonch was traded in 2004 which would make the pick either Schultz or Green in the 1st. No idea who the 2nd way. Caps got Jurcina last season.

The Caps have some really good D-men prospects, I'd hate to see any of them go as trade bait to get a rent-a-player.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I guess I was not trying to get Leclair - I was more saying that we need a goalie like Leclair - a freak that stops just about anything that comes his way. Thomas seems to be a good example of that as well.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

JIM,

I agree with you - things should happen... but, I afraid that nothing is going to happen.

Ovechkin, Schultz and Green were picked in the 2004 draft... Bourque was picked 2nd round... this is prolly the guy: Mikhail Yunkov - a Russian Center... where is he at?

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/nhl2004e.html

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Jim, 828,

I was beginning to think that everyone else is okay with stick-in-the-mud mcphee and his plans for the Caps.

I think that the most pressing need is for the defenseman. The right guy could not only intimidate, but should be able to help clear some of Olie's rickdickulous rebounds. He could be worth a goal-against a game.

But I am resigned to accepting that the Caps are just going to be entertaining: they are going to make it very interesting going into April, but that's it. And next year it will probably be more of the same: mediocre goaltending and defense. I don't believe any of the prospects are going to be able to deliver what this team needs next year. As long as mr. excitement stays, the rebuild will continue.

In the mean time, Let's Go Caps! Kick the 'Canes down the road!

Posted by: Clarendon | February 8, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@ 828 & Steve R. thanks for the clarification. I agree that the Caps should NOT trade away prospects because building from within is smart for them. I think that a few players could be trade bait -- Eminger, Flash, and Pettinger (and maybe even Schultz, depending on the trade) for a veteran who no longer fits in a team's plans. It's a long shot, but GMGM has pulled off some good trades in the past.

Posted by: JIM | February 8, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@Coma,

You notice that the AJC blog had their version of Puckguru? He used bold typeface in addition to cap letters. Thought I saw Chief's twin as well.

Posted by: Steve R | February 8, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

JIM, it's hard right now, because if someone goes down - Eminger is in the mix. We have somewhat of a depth chart - no matter who good they are. When Pothier gets back, it should be better.

As for people coming up - I think Alzner will have no problem coming in. He seems to know his stuff.

If the Caps keep it up - I don't care who plays.

Just think about it - we have not lost back to back regulation games... so, if we make the playoffs - all we have to do, is win the 1st one. Caps win, 4 games to 3 --- next series... pretty simple if you asked me.

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Steve R - you see my twin??? any 5 goal clubs in there?

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

new blog

Posted by: 828 | February 8, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@ 828

2004 was a great draft for the Caps
1/1 OV
1/27 Schultz
1/29 Green
2/33 Bourque
2/62 Yunkov (who?)
3/66 Lepisto

I think that McPhee grabbed as many early drafts as possible, trading from 2003 and 2005 because the draft was so deep, so Fehr (2003) and Shasha Poculuk and Darren McChesney (2005) are the few notables.

2006 was another good year:
1/4 Backstrom
1/23 Varlamov (OV raves about this kid)
2/34 Neuvirth (looked real good in camp)
2/25 Bouchard (racking up sick points in the minor, two seasons over 100 pts. and probably a third this season)

2007 Looks good too:
1/5 Alzner (very solid D, almost made team)
2/34 Godfrey (another bluechip blueliner)
2/46 Ruth (another tough deeman)
3/84 DeSimone (lighting it up in the minors)

I think GMGM has done a good job getting picks and using them pretty darn well

Posted by: Anonymous | February 8, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Just to put this out there but for anyone who was saying anthing about Hossa coming to Washington I just dont see that happening, teams rarely trade within their own division. Not to mention GMGM is only use to getting rid of big names through trades not acquiring them.

Posted by: Luis | February 8, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I hate this crap about DC being a bandwagon town. The fact of the matter is that ALL towns are bandwagon towns to some extent.

Posted by: Jim | February 8, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

One more story, this one a local one from Thursday on Schultz and Greeny, the "other" guys from the 2004 first round ...

http://www.fcnp.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2485&Itemid=37

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