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Monday Morning Update

There are some lineup changes to report, including the apparent return of Alexander Semin (sprained ankle) and Boyd Gordon (back spasms). Both are participating fully -- so far.

Ovechkin-Kozlov-Laich/Motzko
Backstrom-Nylander-Semin
Pettinger-Gordon-Clark
Brashear-Steckel-Bradley

The odd men out appear to be Fleischmann and Sutherby, who are wearing the dreaded green jerseys.

Update:Both Ovechkin and Semin came off the ice after only a few minutes. They have not returned. I'll update when I figure out what's going on.

Update:Semin just walked past in shorts and a t-shirt. His ankle was against wrapped pretty tight. He didn't appear to be limping, however. Coach Hanlon said he won't play on Thursday.

Update:Ovechkin just walked past. He said he's fine. Coach Hanlon said he's nursing something. I'm waiting for something more official from the team.

Update:Gordon didn't return for the second half of practice. Coach Hanlon said he'll play on Thursday.

Update:Ovechkin's injury, I'm told by a team spokesman, is nothing serious. He's not expected to miss any playing time.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 15, 2007; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Tarik, After 50+ shots against Buffalo, do you see the Caps as letting down for Johnson, simply overmatched, or in a slump? I know that Kolzig faced a lot of shots against the Isles and Blueshirts, but the Sabres game was pathetic. What can the Caps do to get back on track where they outshot the Canes and the Trashers? Are the Trashers just that bad that the Caps look good against them? Sorry for so many questions, but those last three games were disasters.

Posted by: Jim | October 15, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Dear baby Jesus, or "hey-zeus" as our brethren to the south call you, thank you for giving the coaching staff the good sense to put Fleischmann in a green jersey today. Please give management for foresight to begin shopping him today. Amen.

Posted by: Jay | October 15, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I think it's time to move Clark back to the top line, and bump Steckel to the 3rd line and then move Laich back to the 4th line (or maybe put him on the 3rd line instead of Steckel). Right now OV and Kozlov are basically playing without a RW. We know what Clark can do on the 1st line -- and we need someone who can put in some ugly goals and put in some rebounds.

Posted by: Jeff | October 15, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous. If we are thinking about putting Motzko or Laich on the top line than this team is in dire straits. Once again, the Caps are threatening to field players on the top line that wouldn't crack the top line of a beer league. What has Hanlon got against Borque? I thought this team was supposed to have depth? I'm getting flashbacks from the last two years...and it ain't pretty.

Posted by: Dan - DC | October 15, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

What is ridiculous is the coaches letting injured players practice, and have their injuries get worse. It happened last season, and its happening again with Semin.

Posted by: Omar | October 15, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the comment about Semin. They guy should take a couple of weeks off to heal properly. Otherwise, the coaches are putting his entire career in danger for a short fix.
P.S. No more weak Flash on the first line plz

Posted by: Finn | October 15, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

If a player says he's fine it's kind of hard to arguee with him. Sounds like Semin still has some swelling that won't go down. At least he's not limping, so that's improvement.

Posted by: EricS | October 15, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Why do they insist on leaving 2 natural centers on the second line while playing a RW as the center on the top line (when there is an obvious hole on the RW)?

Posted by: strungout | October 15, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Tarik:

What type of plays are the Caps working on? Power play? ... Pen. Kill? ... etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Defensive zone coverage/positioning and passing.

Posted by: Tarik | October 15, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Tarik:

Any word on what the deal with Semin is?

Posted by: Vijay | October 15, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

My dream lines 4thurs tilt agaisnt Isles...
Ovechkin/Kozlov/Bourque
Semin/Nylander/Backstrom
Pettinger/Gordon/Clark
Brashere/Steckle/Laich

Green/Poti
Morrison/Jurcina
Pothier/Erskine

Posted by: Zack Attack | October 15, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know what was so wrong with Sutherby's performance against the Rangers that the team felt the need to call-up Motzko? For the limited ice time Suts received because of stupid penalties I thought he played well.

I think Hanlon has lost his mind if he's considering Laich or Motzko for the 1st line right wing. I agree with the majority of you that Clark should be moved there, Steckel should go to the 3rd line and Suts should come back and center the 4th line.

As for Flash, I'd like to see him sent down to Hershey or just let go. He hasn't contributed, he won't contribute and keeping him around is only eating up roster space that would could potentially use to call up Bourque.

Posted by: Mitch | October 15, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Backstrom should be given a better chance to skate with Kozlov and Ovechkin on the top line. Either that or move Clark back to the top line.

Posted by: Mike13 | October 15, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

My typical fan patience (one game) is wearing thin. Let's see what happens thursday. If the caps come out against the Isles and look no different than the last 3 games, then the problem is Hanlon. Not that he is not a good coach, he is not the coach for the team. Can't motivate, not playing the right system for the players, etc.

If they look great, than he has bought more time.

Posted by: Lee | October 15, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Really Lee??? Your plan for this team is a 6 game try out for the coach? For a coach that has atleast 2 lines of NHL caliber players of the first time? Christ almighty, can this blog panic any quicker?

Posted by: Yosh | October 15, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

im f-ing panicking because ovechkin, semin, and gordon, arguably our three best/most valuable players are injured in some form or another, christ!

also, tarik, im going to the game saturday and will be HUGELY disappointed if semin is not in the lineup, what are his chances considering hes already ruled out for thursday

Posted by: sheesh | October 15, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

i guess after the first 3 games, the team wantedto remind us all what its really like to be a caps fan

Posted by: mike p | October 15, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Yosh,

I'm not panicking. I was posting last week that I'm upset that they won't go 82-0.

82 games is good long season. I panic when I see the same problems the teams has had for the past 3 seasons. They have upgraded greatly, and there has been no change. Maybe at the end of november I panic.

Posted by: Lee | October 15, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious this team has the talent to win seeing how they went 3-0 to start the season. However now teams have actual game film, not pre-season film, they are making adjustments against the Caps and Hanlon doesn't seem to have the ability to counter. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts. I wonder if Semin and Ovie's early exit are an indication they're done with him. Watching Hanlon's post game interview was painful, I forget the exact quote but it was some kind of stammering about "we need to continue to do what we do, but we need to do what we do better." It's probably not exact but it was something like that which made me think, "What kind a voodoo do you do?"

Posted by: someone else who knows | October 15, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

While Ted has claimed "the rebuild is over", there have been other quotes that show that management realizes there is a long way to go to get where we all want to eventually be. The first 2 games of the season showed how good this team CAN be, and the last 2 games show had bad this team can (still) be.

Even with the new guys that were brought in, without the home-grown guys continuing to improve this team is going to have bad nights. It's still a young team, and mistakes will happen.

The problem that really showed up in the last two games is the bad penalties. That is something that has to be rectified, and rectified quickly. When the Caps stayed out of the box they were able to hold their own 5 on 5 play, for the most part. Part of that can be tied to Gordon's absence, but at the same time a team that has serious hopes of making the playoffs can't rely on one guy to make the difference.

No question the Rangers and the Sabres have some very good players and are going to end the season with top 5-10 PP's in the league -- but unless the Caps find a way to limit PP goals to 1 a game, or less, the playoffs may be hard to reach.

Ultimately, I think people need to relax a little...I'm hardly saying there aren't concerns on this team, but to claim the sky is falling after the 2 games this weekend is jumping the gun. We're 5 games into the season, over .500 (with 4 games having been on the road), and 2-0 against our division. Let's see where things stand after another 5-10 games.

Posted by: Jeff | October 15, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Zach Attack, I agreed with most of your lines, but Clark should be on line 1 vs. Chris B. Laich to the 3rd line and add Brads to the 4th. Flash needs some more time in Hershey.

About Ovie... Not sure if it made the TV, but he was sandwiched by those Slugs pretty darn good. (Even more reason to dislike Buf.) So much so he was clutching his chest to catch his breath as he skated to the bench.

And Suts - I hope they figure out what to do with him. He wants to play - I guess I would rather see him traded so he gets ice time vs. keeping Tarik company in the press box.

Here's hoping we got the horrible games out of our system and we can focus again on winning!!! Go Caps

Posted by: Tracy | October 15, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

At least no one is talking about Klepis! :)
The Pens game is crucial!

Posted by: Finn | October 15, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Sutherby needs to play more. There is nothing wrong with him as a player and its an insult not to be playing him and calling someone up from Hershey!

Posted by: K | October 15, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe it, we're only 5 games into the season and the buzz around Washington is that if they don't win the next game against the Isles, then there goes the playoff dream...I've followed the Caps a long time but I've never felt this much urgency and near-panic demeanor this early of the season. I guess the fans really feel like this is the year we get back into the action. But it's not really our fault, the players and coaches were promising playoffs this summer.

Posted by: wanggo | October 15, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

What's up with OV?

Posted by: Blank | October 15, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Clark should NOT be on the first line. He belongs on the 3rd line with Petty and Gordo because they work best when they are together. Don't get me wrong. Clark has the ability to be on other lines, but he does NOT gel with them the same way as he does with the 3rd. They are a machine when they are together and healthy. Leave Clarkie on the 3rd line. Find other ways to fix the other issues.

Posted by: IrresistibleForce | October 15, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wanggo and everyone else who preaches patience:

I agree that we need to be patient. The Caps have played only 5 games and have 6 points after those games. It's a long season and we know nothing really of this team yet.

However, I can see why everyone is frustrated. The past 3 games have felt like the past 3 years in short form. Fans expactations are playoffs, and playoff teams do not give up 50 shots and 7 goals. It does NOT matter that there are 2 injuries. As has been noted by someone else, we were supposed to have depth this year.

The team has also raised expectations. The team claims the rebuilding is over, yet they play no different than the rebuilding years. The team expects to make the playoffs this season and has said so. A playoff team does NOT have only 12 shots in a game.

A fire needs to be lit under the collective tushies of the caps players. All of them, not just OV. Too much standing around, stoopid penalties, and cute passing.

GO CAPS

Posted by: Lee | October 15, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Tarik-what's the deal with Semin? Is he going to go on IR? It this serious? Will he play Saturday?

Posted by: Mike S | October 15, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Any word on Ovechkin's injury? If memory serves, a team spokesman also claimed Semin was fine after his ankle sprain, and now he's out for going on 6 games.

Posted by: SLM | October 15, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Given that we are seeing the exact same play, even with the "upgraded" team...then I'd say it's not too early to get worked up. Panic? Not yet. Anger and frustration? Dang skippy.

The fans have a right to demand results. We contribute to paying everyone's salary. If my staff put in such a half-arsed effort night in, night out, they'd be looking for a new job. I want to know: who is holding this team accountable, if not us?

Posted by: Finsbury Park | October 15, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Lee, oh I agree with you. The last game was utterly shameful and excruciatingly bad. But my point was, I guess, is that the fans are starting to get rabid and nasty this early in the season. And that's a good thing, in my opinion. For the first time in a long time, we are demanding great efforts and wins. We fans are not complacant anymore. Hopefully our overzealousness will rubb off to the team.

Posted by: Wanggo | October 15, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

why we have lots of players - and no depth.
the top 3 picks by the Caps in each year of draft since McPhee took over:

97 - Boynton, Fortin, Cruckshank - zip
98 - Cruz, Horung, Barch - who?
99 - Beech, Sivek, Stephens, Lupaschuck ??
00 - Sutherby, Pettinger - two 3rd liners
01 - Paestch, Fussey, Lucky - who?
02 - Emminger, Semin, Gordon - 2 players
03 - Fehr, Valdix - injured and who??
04 - Ovechkin, Schultz, Green - 3 players
05 - Pokuluk, Finley - who??
06 - Backstrom, Varlamov - one player
07 - Alzner - who knows?

So - in ten years of overseeing draft and player personell, the results are:

2 third liners in the first five years
6 players in past five years...keeping in mind - 2002 Caps had 3 first round picks.

Bottom line - this team does not draft or develop talent and it's trades are just as bad.

Posted by: WAHHHHHHHH | October 15, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Umm, WHAAA, at least 3 of those guys are at Hershey and one is back with his junior team. Players do take time to mature to the NHL level of play.

I'm with Jeff on this one. Chill out folks, we've got 77 more games to play and hopefully no more 4 road games for every one home game streches. Even with the break last week that much travel and that little home time must be tiring, especially going from NYC to Buffalo in one day after playing at the Garden.

Posted by: EricS | October 15, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

The issue is league wide with a really messed up schedule. No one can expect a person to play a hockey game at the speed these guys do then pack up and travel though the night to play again 24 hours later. Bodies need time to recoup athlete or not. I don't blame GMGMG or Carrot this is a issue that is down to poor league management.

Posted by: Callejo | October 15, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Callejo, I don't think the scheduling had nothing to do with anything. If the messed up schedule is league wide, then how come there are lot of teams that are tearing it up?

Posted by: wanggo | October 15, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I am not panicking yet, but Motzko on the top line, are you frigging kidding me? Yes, Sutherby needs more playing time, he is a good 3rd or 4th line center. I like Gordon a lot, but he has had injuries in the past.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | October 15, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd be okay if they had lost , but played well. Its just the fact that their high number of shots from the first two games evaporated. They looked truly pathetic versus the Sabres, like they had given up at the end of the second period.

It also just stings given that they had this big "plan", and that if they have puck possession guys, that will help the defense. I don't care what the reason is, to me, 50 shots is just unacceptable.

Posted by: Anthony | October 15, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

TSN has the Caps #9 in their power rankings that just came out today, and all of you are panicking like the season is over. RELAX PEOPLE

Posted by: steve | October 15, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

DON'T YOU ALL SEE? IT'S OVER! ZUBIE IS GONE! MOTZKO IS ON THE TOP LINE! THE PLAYOFFS ARE OUT OF REACH!

I SEE OV AND SEMIN LEAVING NEXT YEAR IF THE CAPS DO NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS...

Posted by: Doomsayer | October 15, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: puckgrl | October 15, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin's injury is nothing serious? Isn't that what they said at first about Semin? I mean, he was supposed to play in the first game of the season....

Posted by: aybee | October 15, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

A poster on HFboards said that he heard the Sutherby was in Edmonton last night. Of course its a heard from a friend who heard from a friend. Poster even made a reference to a possible trade with Anaheim. Don't shoot the messenger just passing along don't know if any truth to it. Was Sutherby at practice?

Posted by: Bill | October 15, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Hanlon is toast if he cant even complete our top line with a RW despite all that we got for him. We have 7 centers yet need to have Kozlov at center, when before game one we had to sign a minor leaguers to be in that spot? Hanlon is toast if continues to keep his 3 best passers on the same line. Semin Backstrom and Nylander must be broke up and will be broke up. Hanlon may not be here to do it, though.

Posted by: Randy | October 15, 2007 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Laich has shown he is flexible and disciplined enough to move up to the top 2 lines when needed.

I agree about problems in draftign.

Posted by: Jim | October 16, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

To Omar & Finn,
What you guys are saying now ( About Semin's injury, and bringing him back too soon ) I said a week ago. However, as usual, when Puckguru speaks the truth, the majority become offended and begin their petty criticisms.
Darn near every word I've spoken has proven to be right on the money. Twenty games into LAST SEASON, I warned all that the Pothier acquisition was a colossal mistake. It was very obvious to me ( Early on ) that he wasn't very good. Yet, George invested 2.5 mil per year in the guy. Geezzzz!
Now, it's time for the next revelation from Puckguru. This whole, "We're now a puck - possesion team" crap is simply another humongous joke. You can't be a puck possesion team when your d'men can't make accurate outlet passes. Is anyone REALLY WATCHING Jurcina, Pothier, and Erskin ---- especially when they're being pressured? Sad to say, they remind me of Brendan Witt in that regard. And, he was the absolute worst!
Another thing. I was impressed with the guy ( Matsos ) they brought up from Hershey. He was one of the few guys who played with any passion or determination. He certainly ( IMHO ) is an upgrade over the Flash's, Laichs, Bradleys, and yes PETTINGERS of the world.
But, don't worry. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to get worse. MUCH WORSE. Wait til Olie starts really stinkin up the joint ( Not that his play has been anything near "Stellar" thusfar.
I guess what it is, is that I hold these guys to a much higher standard that your average "Fan." I expect multi - million dollar athletes to play like the term suggests. I've NEVER had patience with mediocrity. And, THAT is what the Caps are up to their noses in. MEDIOCRITY!! And, it starts at the top. GMGM has been masquerading as an astute judge of talent long enough. He, and his entire staff, need to be fired. And, Ted, I wouldn't wait until January to do it. With the proper coaching AND MOTIVATION of the current roster, I believe they can eek into that 8th. spot. It'll still be a struggle, but I believe they're capable of it. However, as I said, they'll need to get rid of Hanlon ( At the very least ) in order to achieve that goal. He's a sorry excuse for a motivator. And, THAT'S the trait all the outstanding coaches have had; the ability to motivate their players to perform up to their capabilities. Hanlon is obviously lacking in that regard.
Thank you for your time. I'm out!

Posted by: Puckguru | October 16, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Wow, everybody DOES need to chill a bit. It's ok....especially for those of you who hate GMGM and Hanlon (not a big supporter of either myself). If we lose, they'll be gone! yay for you.

There are issues on this team, and some of them seem to stem from Hanlon (inept PP's, no fire, and seeming inability to coach D-men NOT to stand around), and a lot more stem from McPhee (Poti and Green are paired together....POTHIER anyone, etc.).

Point is, this is the first time Hanlon has been expected to coach a team like this, and this team has never played together that much. It will take time, or it will fail and things will probably change.

....but our lives will still go on.....so chill

Posted by: Iceman | October 16, 2007 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey - if we need another first line winger - I can check to see if Ciernek is around. I used to play him with Jagr and on the PP as well. He's really, really good.

Posted by: Butch Cassidy | October 16, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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