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Morning practice update

The Capitals had an optional practice at KCI this morning but nearly the entire roster is in attendance. Mike Green, who left last night's game with what Bruce Boudreau called a "stinger," Michal Neuvirth and John Erskine are the only players not on the ice.

Matt Bradley and Tom Poti, both day-to-day with lower-body injuries, skated and participated in drills as did Marcus Johansson (foot), who appears no worse for the wear after blocking a shot off his foot against Ottawa Monday.

More after practice wraps up.

By Katie Carrera  | October 14, 2010; 11:31 AM ET
Categories:  Marcus Johansson, Matt Bradley, Mike Green, Tom Poti  
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Next: Bruce Boudreau expects Semyon Varlamov to dress against Nashville

Comments

Glad to see everyone make it out this morning.I know it was optional but i bet BB let them know they all had to be there from the lack of performance they put on last night.Again,if not for my boy neuvy,star of evry game so far,the outcome would of not been what it was.They played sloppy,rugged,and looked real tired at times,most times.And i dont know if its just me but i dont think alzner is gonna stay up too much longer with the way hes been playn.I know its early but come on.He looks lost out there some times.Hope he pulls it together but from what ive seen hes the next healthy scratch.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: 43154315 | October 14, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

omg - ovi skated during an optional practice. he's gotta be the greatest team captain in all of recorded sports history

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 14, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow...OVIE at an Optional skate?! Oh, it's raining...not much else to do.

On a serious note, I still don't think he's a good captain...but I am happy to see he is out there...and more importantly, I am happy to see he picked up two more points last night!

Ya Ovie!

And it's too bad Green got hurt...honestly, he was having his best year as a defenseman so far...and suprisingly so is Schultz...

They are our #1 shutdown pairing (wow, who would have thought that a year ago?)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 14, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@soaringcaps

"his best year so far" I think we should wait another week before we start seriously evaluating our players...on the other hand...I like the positive attitude!

Anyone know how bad Green's injury is? I just hope that shoulder didn't pop out or anything...shoulders can be nagging injuries often times.

People complain constantly about Ovie's lack of work ethic (especially in regards to practices) and then he shows up and people are still sarcastic and critical. Some people are impossible to please and only want to see the bad. I on the other take the bad, think about what is needed to be better, and then try to focus on some of the good. Consequently my blood pressure is very healthy, I am a happy person, and I actually ENJOY watching my team.

Posted by: capscoach | October 14, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@Capscoach..

I was just pointing out he said he would concentrate on his defense and he has (so far...and done a great job).

re; ovie...look, we are incredibly lucky to be able to watch the athleticism, heart, and intensity of Ovie every single game. He IS the best player in the NHL hands down. I am very thankful he is a Cap!

I just don't think he is a good Captain. Sorry...nobody will prove me other wise. Brooks Laich is a much better example of Leadership...nowhere near the player Ovie is, but a better leader which also exemplifies class.

I do not want Ovie to change his fierce competitive or the player he is. So, it's easier to change the Captain to someone who does it naturally...

Look, it's my opinion. Everyone else has one, why can't I?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 14, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts from last night:

1-yes the Caps were mediocre but I thought Rolosson (like Neuvy) made some good saves, especially his reaction on that high slapper by Semin that bounced around the crease.
2-Neuvy was solid. Most interesting was how he recovered from that early - and in my opinion weak - goal.
3-Carlson has been called out but I also thought Laich struggled. I'm a big fan of Brooks but he fumbled the puck more than I remember.
4-Again, I liked Erskine; he was quick(er than usual) and tough. if you have nhl GCL, watch the last minute of Per2 for an example of Ersk being quick & aggressive.

so what does this all mean? not much I guess. I get the impression the Caps will be happy to cruise through reg season at say 80% (with say 80% of the wins/points) and hope to turn it up in April/May.

the most interesting thing to me will be Varly's return. so many possibilities, mostly depending on how Varly performs. I would love to see a two horse race through to game 82.

Posted by: PSD1 | October 14, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@soaringcaps

Oh I agree!! OV is not naturally suited to be a captain, Laich, Knuble, Poti, or even Backie would probably be better...the one good thing about making him Captain though is that MAYBE it will encourage him to become a little more responsible. He has the maturity of a 16 year old teenager (in some ways). My comment on Green was more a joke than anything...of course I am happy with the way he has been playing.

Posted by: capscoach | October 14, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else hear the Green is wearing a sling? That is not good if it is true!

Posted by: capscoach | October 14, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I can't remember which shoulder Green injured when Pronger crushed him two years ago...same one as last night?

Posted by: NorthFork1 | October 14, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

BTW, did I call it or did I call it about the lines (in particular the Flash/Backs swap and swap back). Watch out Tominsocal, I'm coming after your "all seeing oracle" title.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 14, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Never seen Erskine not take a skate, did he injure himself last night?

Posted by: PhilR | October 14, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Ovechkin get picked unanimously by his teammates to be the captain? So who are we to judge whether he is best suited for the role, or not?

None of us know what he's like the locker room, but all feedback from players seems to be positive and clearly he leads by example on the ice.

Do I wish he took more optional practices? Yes, especially because the PP is in dire need of work. But then again, I'd prefer that Boudreau had fewer optional practices to begin with!

Posted by: Hatfield223 | October 14, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@hatfield

I am pretty sure the coaches and GM picked Alex...they aked for opinions, but they made the call. I LOVE ov, but I also think that the team is probably discouraged from speaking badly against their marquee player. From what I have heard, he is a great person, but Belanger even said that Ov could have been more inclusive...like maybe he still focuses on his fellow Russian players. Like I said though...I think OV is great, and the captaincy is probably good for him.

Posted by: capscoach | October 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Soaringcaps

I agree with you that everyone has a right to their own opinion, but a strong case in Ovie's favor could be stacked against yours very easily. Just because Brooksy (who I love as a person/player) speaks English well and exemplifies a ton of class, doesnt mean he's best suited as the Captain for this team. The face of the franchise/league is Ovechkin. He doesnt speak very good English, but the purpose of a Captain is to lead. Ovie leads more by example. He goes all out, non-stop every game and plays with more heart and passion than anyone else in the league. I guarantee more players in that locker room look for Ovie to lead them more than guys like Brooks, Poti and Knuble. I might get chirped by cstanton on this, but Ovie's team record, stats, and media personality since he was named Captain exemplify the most important trait that a Captain should have, and that's leadership. One could argue that Ovie hasn't got his team past the second round of the playoffs, but his playoff stats are there and unfortunately he's only human and shouldn't have to accept the blame for guys like Green and Sems who crap the bed come playoff time... but yet he still does...

Posted by: GOAT21 | October 14, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

capscoach and hatfield...I think the coaches asked OVI about the captaincy and he said sure, but only if the team agreed.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | October 14, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"I get the impression the Caps will be happy to cruise through reg season at say 80% (with say 80% of the wins/points) and hope to turn it up in April/May."
Posted by: PSD1 | October 14, 2010 1:00 PM

Huh? 80% of available points would translate to a 131 point season. Should be good for another President's trophy. I think any team would be thrilled with that.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | October 14, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@Wiley

I meant to say that if you take last year as a baseline, the Caps might be willing to put in 80% of last year's effort in exchange for 80% of last year's reg season points... if you apply that literally you have 80%x121 = 97points. sure there isn't a linear relation, and their division may be tougher this year, but the idea is to say they seem to have a lower Reg Season target. I say this based on the cautious approach applied to players' health during Training Camp and through 4 games (waiting til Varly is 100%, BB saying no sense in playing guys if anything is tweaked, etc).

Posted by: PSD1 | October 14, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Nimrodrsp is right. Management asked Ovi to be the Captain and he said he was ready for the responsibility but only if his teammates wanted him to be Captain. He told them to talk to his teammates first. Stretch and Nate on Capitals Report (on a show shortly after Jan. 6) told a great story about how they could hear the roar of approval when the team was told that they had unanimously chosen Ovi to be their next Captain.

Second, just at the start of this season, after Boudreau gave his first talk to the group, Ovi then asked everyone to stay for his team talk. No one knows what he said since it was only the team in that room, but yes, I do believe he is assuming the mantle of Captaincy in all of its guises, and not just on the ice.

Whether or not we fans agree about who should be the Captain, we don't really know what goes on behind the scenes, in the locker room. All we have to go on is how the team's chemistry appears to us when they are in public. And to me the chemistry looks good, positive, and strong.

Ovi as Captain of the Caps works for me.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 14, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Ovie's a great captain, and will continue to only get better. What matters is performance - not fluent interviews, a stylish haircut or changing a tire. What counts is the ice, and Ovie delivers, time and again.

Also, for all the naysayers, please name me one superstar who consistently participated in the game-day morning skates [other than Stevie Y] - here's a hint to get you started:
Lemieux: non
Forsberg: nej
#4 [Bobby Orr]: are you kidding, I can barely walk my knees hurt so bad. But I'll be there when the puck drops
Mess: try and make me
Gretzky: after this next interview
Fetisov: nyet
Fedorov: what Slava said
Coffey: nope
Jagr: ne


Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@saoti, @nostrathomas_in_socalled

Ha! I made the line swap call in preee-season. I thought they might try Flash up their. As BB says, if you've got Backs, Semin, and Laich, that pretty much is the number one line.

BTW, I did notice that Flash and Semin did get into a little scrum when Laich was down around the net. They'll never get credit for it but they did skate over and start texting the Islanders with threatening messages...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | October 14, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@RedLit - alright that was pretty funny, I'll admit.

I'll get killed for saying this but I think the line of Flash-Semin-Laich has been pretty impressive; they've created a ton of chances, and they'll start burying 'em soon enough. I don't know what Flash's offseason training regimen was - but I need to get on it!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

@_Timbo:

ROTFLMAO!

That was funny!

FTR, I might have "laiched" Brooksie better in the Captain's role, but I accept that Ovie wears the "C" now, and is therefore desrving of our support until/unless he proves otherwise.

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 14, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Rhino, much appreciated!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 14, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

go neuvy

Posted by: 43154315 | October 14, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

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