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Morning Look Back: And Then They Cheered

When the Penguins routed the Capitals, 6-2, in Game 7 this season, the fans at Verizon Center could have booed -- it was a devastating end to a thrilling postseason. But, as Barry Svrluga wrote, they didn't: "With two minutes remaining in the game, and the two teams doing little more than skating around as the clock wound down, the thousands who remained in their seats rose and cheered, saluting the Capitals for a season of work. Afterward, the Capitals players, as their last act, remained on the ice and raised their sticks to the crowd."

It wasn't the first time, either. Let's take a look back at some history, courtesy of the Washington Post archives...

Even as Victims of Sweep, They Won Admiration
By Thomas Boswell
Washington Post Columnist
Thursday, May 10, 1990; Page F01

When the game, and the season, ended, the Washington Capitals began skating slowly off the ice with their heads down, ashamed it seemed, as they traditionally have been at such times.

On this occasion, they were instinctively chagrined that they had been swept in four games by the Boston Bruins in the Wales Conference finals.

Then, the Capital Centre crowd began to cheer. An ovation for a loser. A swept loser at that.

One by one, the Capitals gathered in front of their goal and, perhaps, gathered their thoughts as well. They had not ascended to the Stanley Cup finals. But, for once, they hadn't ended the NHL playoffs in Hades either.

So, they started shaking hands, and rubbing each other's sweaty heads, forgetting this last, exasperating 3-2 defeat. The celebration, if you could call it that, was quiet and short.

But, for the Capitals, it was something entirely different. Perhaps a start.

"The Capitals have always seemed to be a victim of circumstance in the playoffs," said Washington goalie Mike Liut, an NHL veteran but a first-time Capital. "It was gratifying for this team to play beyond expectation, with a lot of grit. Maybe play beyond themselves."

You don't have to win the last game of the year, or even win a game in the last series, to have a good season.

A great one, sure. But good, no.

The Capitals, who haven't had many seasons upon which they can look back with pride, should hie themselves forthwith to their favorite golf course or swimming pool. And wash those Bruins right out of their hair.

After all the agony the Capitals have endured the past seven years, getting swept in four largely noncompetitive games shouldn't even register on their misery index. Compared to being upset in the fourth-overtime to lose a seventh game, what is a 5-3, 3-0, 4-1, 3-2, snookering?

The Capitals weren't especially good Wednesday night in Capital Centre.

For the third straight game.

But who cares?

Maybe they have never won a game in May, but now, at least, they've played a few.

So what if they fell behind on a soft goal past Liut in the first 53 seconds and never even tied the score all night?

The better team won.

Even if you think the Capitals were underachievers in the regular season, they went further in the Stanley Cup playoffs than they probably should have. Ask the New Jersey Devils about Dino Ciccarelli and the New York Rangers about John Druce.

"Next year, we'll not only play in May, but we'll win," said owner Abe Pollin. "There's not a quitter in the room."

The Capitals might have been excused if they'd quit last night. "We wanted to get the crowd in the game," said Liut, shaking his head, thinking of the first-minute goal he'd allowed. "You see the game slipping away before you even get to start it. This wouldn't have been the first time a team cracked when its game plan went out the window in the first two minutes. But we held it together well."

Well enough, at any rate, for the oh-so-faithful fans to get a chance to rock the joint a few times in the final period.

In the long run, all that those fans likely will remember from this spring are the words Wales Conference finals, and those two names that, for a little while, became magic -- Ciccarelli and that amazing fourth-line escapee Druce.

The Capitals wanted to win this game for pride -- and to solidify their hold on the imagination of a city that is sometimes cool to hockey. "It doesn't feel as good," said Coach Terry Murray when asked if the May sweep undercut the pleasures of April. "You have an empty feeling when you don't win a game."

On the other hand, the Bruins wanted to win for sweet revenge at what they considered the Capitals' tough-guy style. After Game 3, Boston Coach Mike Milbury said, "There were a number of blatant cheap shots. Sometimes it's hard to watch. You want to go out there and club somebody back over the head.

"But it's carried {the Capitals} a long way."

The most memorable and important minute of this game was the first minute. Murray's opening gambit was a bit of a gamble, starting Liut over Don Beaupre in goal. Unfortunately for the Capitals, just when his team needed a lift, Liut handed them an anchor. Just when the sellout crowd wanted to start clapping, Liut handed out 18,130 pairs of gloves. You could hear a puck drop.

Was the first goal soft? Liut managed to score on himself. The first time he touched the puck, on a flimsy centering pass, he made a tentative clearing flip with his stick. The puck hit Boston's John Carter, who was on the doorstep, and ricocheted past Liut. "It hit his knee and came back before I could react," siad Liut.

"That was something we were looking for the whole series and never got -- a lucky break, something to get our foot in the door," said Murray. "It didn't happen, though it did for us in the other series."

While Murray may have to answer for Liut's poor first period, he has two things going for him over the summer that his brother, Bryan, never did.

First, he's found the key to the Patrick Division: Terry unlocked the door and the Capitals finally escaped their division. The Final Four sounds good in any sport. In addition, Terry has a perfectly acceptable battery of excuses -- even for a sweep.

Washington was decisively outmanned from the start. Also, the Capitals looked exhausted after their two upsets. Or was it merely the Bruins' team cohesion, the ability of five players to move almost as one, that made the Capitals look tired by comparison?

Finally, the Capitals were decimated by the subtraction of Ciccarelli and huge defenseman Kevin Hatcher. Losing them was a blow to team self-confidence that a sub-.500 club could not even begin to surmount.

In the end, the Capitals could not quite shake their snakebitten feeling. They finally surpassed themselves, then, just as they had a chance to shock their world, key injuries left them with a lopsided defeat they will find hard to measure and digest.

"The Capitals had to fight out of a deep hole," said Milbury generously. "With Ciccarelli and Hatcher, it would have been a different series."

Terry Murray, whose voice sounds as much like his brother's as a mother could ask, sounded like the ghost of Bryan when he said, "We were finally having some luck for a change. We were getting good goaltending. And we got a couple of guys on goal-scoring streaks. When that happens, you get the feeling, 'This could be the year that we do some real good things.' "

Despite their doozy of a Bruins' hangover, the Capitals still did "some real good things" this spring. Not even a sweep should make them forget.

© Copyright 1990 The Washington Post Company

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 22, 2009; 8:34 AM ET
 
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Comments

Thanks for the memories!

Posted by: uncatim | May 22, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Thats because we cant wait to get this party started in Oct.

Unlike the Penguins that are moving on, our team gave it their all all year long. Maybe we should tank it like the Pens did for 75% of the year, and we'll end up in the Finals.

Posted by: SA-Town | May 22, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

From previous:
Redwolf1:
Agreed - and don't forget Cheese!! ;-) I think it was a classic case of 'everything happens for a reason'. And there was nothing more enjoyable than seeing Huet get pulled on the "world's" stage at the WC!! (Is that wrong?!?)

Posted by: --Boo--

Boo, you are right I forgot the Cheese! *braces for crude comments* - have not heard too much about him lately, seems to be the all Nuevy show in Hershey right now

Posted by: Redwolf1 | May 22, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The Canes are so much better than the Caps, their defensemen move the puck up ice so much better, they clear the crease...squeak squeak squeak...that is me raising the BS flag. The Caps played the Pens pretty darn good. The 2 best teams in the Eastern Conference played in the semis rather that the Conference Finals. Just a few little tweaks and we're there.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 22, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

If you watched last night. 2 of Malkins goals were in the same location that we were scored on repeatedly in the series. In fact on Malkins 2nd goal he got three wacks at it, and he pushed a defensemen out of the way.

Posted by: komapuk_vb | May 22, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting this. I was at that game. I do miss the Capital Centre, I must say. Though I love Verizon.

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | May 22, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@ komapuk_vb

I played for 10 years in Europe and always scored tons of goals form up close to net yet, I never considered myself courageous or anything. Also, as a matter of fact, I am not a huge guy.
Scoring, in my opinion, is more a mental state than a set of physical skills. You have to desire scoring goals with your whole being. This also translates into a state of anticipation where you are always positioned where the puck will be in the next second. Your timeing between the puck appearing and your release is then greatly accelerated (that is one fo the two things that I feel Fehr is missing, second thing being actual inner drive).
That was part of the success for the likes of Gretzky and Mike Bossy, two guys with average shots and skating abilities who were scoring machines. Note that these guys, as well as a guy like Crosby didn't get wacked at much around the net, mostly because they didn't just stood there... they moved to their "anticipated" spot. Guys like Tim Kerr and Cam Neely were more the type who stayed in front and muscled them in. Two different types of "close quarter" goal scorers

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Great story, except it doesn't include the epilogue:

1) The next night I think was the "limo" incident.

2) They let Stevens walk for 5 first rounders. One was Gonchar, who turned out pretty good, the rest were busts (remember Mikko Elomo?). Had the Caps kept Stevens, there might have been a few Cups in D.C. in the 90s.

3) Then they traded Dino two years later. What a dumb move that was.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 22, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Caps and Caps fans for the memories. Hope to see Feds and Brash back on the ice with the rest of the team in October. Looking forward to another great season in 09-10. And thanks for the coverage Tarik.

Posted by: capsfan01 | May 22, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Mikko Elomo. yikes. that's an unwelcome memory. In the end, we got Gonchar for Stevens. Gonchar went on to single handily end his fair share of playoff series.

Posted by: oo7 | May 22, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, Gonchar was the best player the Pens had in the playoffs long before he ever donned a Pens jersey.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 22, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I can't belive Milbury was carping about our "rough" play. Boston tore us up. I do not and did not mind letting Dino go. He was a head case off the ice (had a analogues incident in Minnesota before coming to us) but leting Stevens go was our Broglio for Brock deal. With Stevens we would have gone deep a few more times and given Detroit a run in 98.

Posted by: adhardwick | May 22, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

rachel216:
Huet started earlier in the season, and I think Bulin was even sent down for a spell. In fact, Huet even got the starting nod at the highly touted Winter Classic. I don't the GMGM walked from the deal because Huet wanted more, or even because he wanted a longer term (although that was probably more of an issue). I think GMGM walked because the Caps finally agreed to his terms but then he changed them again ... not cool.

Posted by: --Boo--
------------------------------------------

Boo, correct as I recall Huet requested 3 years ~ $15M: GMGM agreed and then Huet upped the ante, at which point GMGM said see ya and the best goalie available to fill the void was Jose. Now we have Varly and Neuvy - seems like a good place to be in terms of long term goaltending plus there's another young kid in ECHL (Holtby) that's also supposed to be a stud

Posted by: Redwolf1 | May 22, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

That's not what happened. Huet told the Caps he'd take a 15M/3yr deal to sign *before* free agency, else he'd see what he'd get on the market. That was the deal to lock him up before FA. The Caps made several counter offers but he turned them all down. They didn't offer Huet the deal he asked for until after FA began he was already receiving offer sheets, including the 22M/4yr Chicago deal. Huet told the Caps if they matched it he'd sign but that was too much for them. So Huet didn't change his terms, the Caps didn't pull the trigger until it was too late. Anyway we should have traded Nylander for Khabby, who they were going to replace with Huet, and had a Russian vet to mentor Varly.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Bulin makes a heck of a lot more than Nylander, and the Caps were going to be tight against the Cap, anyways. Nylander for Bulin was not in the crads.

Interesting, Huet did not start against the Caps in the home opener.

There was no way the Caps could keep Stevens in DC after the limo incident. Polie wanted to keep him.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Khabby is 6.75M/yr and Nylander is 5.5M/yr, a difference of 1.25M. If you did that trade you wouldn't have gotten Theo at 4.5M so you would be ahead 3.25M. The rumor before the start of the season was that Chicago was interested in Nylander but we couldn't work the deal because they had to move Khabby and his salary first. At the time, no one wanted him. Now he's backstopping their Cup run. Ironic.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Ahh the memories. I miss the old Capital Centre and the old jerseys.

We had teams that were on the verge in those days. But every franchise in every sport has a seminal moment, for better or worse, in its history that shapes the direction of the team for years to come.

Consider: Death of Snyder for the Thrashers, death of Len Bias for the Celtics, Buckner for the Red Sox, Angelos buying the Orioles, and Bledsoe's injury giving way to Brady and the Patriots.

For our Caps, it was the limo incident, as mentioned by tominfl1. Stevens goes away, Courtnall goes away, Dino gets traded for Kevin Freakin' Miller!

Looking back, I understand why Pollin did it. But dang, we could've been the '95-'03 Devils.

Posted by: paperboy76 | May 22, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Looking back, I understand why Pollin did it. But dang, we could've been the '95-'03 Devils.

Posted by: paperboy76 | May 22, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't fully understand why Pollin got rid of Stevens. Even though everyone was cleared of any wrong doing, it always seemed like Stevens had the least to do with it compared to Courtnall and Dino. And he keeps Dino on for another couple years...doesn't make sense.

I know there was pressure from all sorts of groups but St. Louis didn't seem to have any problem with Stevens' past. He was cleared and it turns out this girl is pretty much a professional groupie (obviously doesn't condone what happened - which, according to our justice system was nothing). Pollin caved in too easily.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 22, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Don't get too far ahead of yourselves in wondering what could have been when thinking about losing Stevens. Don't forget who else the Devils acquired...none other than Martin Brodeur. Although we had good goaltending in Carey and Kolzig, we haven't had consistent goaltending. Geoff Courtnall was in fact a huge loss too, he was part of Vancouver's run and lost in 7 games to the Rangers in the 1994 Stanely Cup finals. Stevens was definitely the Anchor on defense but the biggest thing that happened was Brodeur replaced Terreri as the number 1 guy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 22, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Khabby is 6.75M/yr and Nylander is 5.5M/yr, a difference of 1.25M. If you did that trade you wouldn't have gotten Theo at 4.5M so you would be ahead 3.25M. The rumor before the start of the season was that Chicago was interested in Nylander but we couldn't work the deal because they had to move Khabby and his salary first. At the time, no one wanted him. Now he's backstopping their Cup run. Ironic.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Ok, but this is how I rememebr the sequence of events:
1. Olie says, screw you, I'm out.
2. Huet plays the is he or isn't he going to sign game (just to give you an idea of how convinced he was that he was going to sign in DC, he told both Le Monde and his hometown paper that he would be staying in DC)
3. 12:01 pm, or whenever FA signings start, Huet signs with....Chicago?!?!
4. 12:02 pm Caps fans everywhere engages in a collective "WTF?" moment.
5. 12:03 pm, Caps agree with Theo.

I've got to defend the Caps here. You have to have your goalie situation mostly nailed down quickly. It was a weak year for FA goalies, anyways, as evidenced by Huet and Theo being the 1-2 guys on the market. We're they supposed to wait and see what Chiacgo did and hope that Khabby would become available? And, don't forget, Nylander:

1. Has a NMC, and has shown zero interest in leaving DC.
2. was looking good in practice during the playoffs in 2008 and made considreable progress during the summer. He actually looked like he would be a very valuable member of the Caps until late october, when things went all down hill.

We can look back and say "oh, its so simple, they should have done this this and this! Idiots!" But on July 1, or even oct. 1, there was no way to know that Nylander v. 2.0 would be an apparent total bust, or the Khabby would return to form and drag the Blackhawks kicking and screaming into the WCF (you think they'd be there with Huet? Because I don't)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Since GMGM is throwing words out like "bargain" and "trade", how about a trade with the Isle for Martinek? His cap hit for next year is 1.4M and I know they can use a centerman. Maybe even take a guy like Trent Hunter off their hands to muck it up in the corners.

That'll give you two positions of need and get rid of Nyls. Just a thought.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 22, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Of course this all depends on Nyls agreeing to be traded to the Isle which might be far fetched.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 22, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@Moose33
It's ancient history now anyway, but I thought I remembered hearing that Stevens and Courtnall WANTED to leave the Caps after the limo incident.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 22, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

tess, you could be right. I don't remember all the details. There is still a hint of bitterness in seeing Stevens anchor the NJ defense and punishing people with open ice hits.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 22, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Dino Ciccarelli is exactly what the Caps need right now. Of course, they don't need today's Dino, they need the one they shipped away. Abe Pollin was a hypocrit about this whole situation, just like he was many times with the Caps/Bullets. His beloved Bullets weren't all choirboys.

Posted by: perspective6 | May 22, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Stevens signed an offer sheet. The Caps could have matched. Him wanting to leave or not was irrelevant. No way do we lose the two series vs Pens where we were up 3-1. Stevens was the most dominant defenseman in hockey from 1990 through about 2003. I say at least one Cup, maybe two, if the Caps had kept him.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 22, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Pollin has since stated that he regretted trading Stevens. Stevens did not have to go anywhere, it was Pollin's misplaced moral rectitude that made it happen. As far as I know, Stevens has never said then or subsequently that he wanted to leave the CAPS.

Posted by: adhardwick | May 22, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Bad news for those of us who were hoping that Pierre Mcguire ould be leaving the NBC booth for the icy lakes of Minnesota. The Wild have reportedly hired Chuck Fletcher as their new GM. Fletcher is currently the assistant GM for the evil flightless fowl that flop about who shall not otherwise be named.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The reason Stevens was let go had little to do with the limo. It had a lot more to do with the 1 million a year the Blues offered him. Poile wanted to pay, Pollin did not. At the time it would have made Scottie of 4 or 5 highest paid players in the league. Pollin had a history of not paying and he still does not. He will not go over the tax now in the NBA. In the end, it was all about the money make so mistake about it. To this day Poile will tell you it was the biggest mistake the Caps ever made.

Posted by: RichC3 | May 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm gonna feel like an idiot for a minute here... limo incident? I know I'm missing a HUGE piece of history, but I had only been in the area for a couple of years at that point, and had yet to discover ice hockey...

Posted by: irockthered | May 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

PS....one last thought....how about hiring Scottie to be the defensive coach of this team?

Posted by: RichC3 | May 22, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@rock..after the season the 4 of boys went out in Georgetown. A girl that was 17 or 18 cried rape etc. Stevens, Dino, Courtnall and Alan Shelly were involved. Pollin got a moral hair up his a.. and had Poile either cut or trade 3 of them. They were all exonorated in the end. But for a long time it hurt the quality of the team and took almost until now to recover.

Posted by: RichC3 | May 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

As soon as FA began Huet's offer to sign was off the table and the Caps knew that. He didn't break his word. I have to side with Huet, being the best ranked goalie in FA at 32 years old, this was his last best chance of securing a longterm deal for himself and this is a business. It's not like he was here a long time, he was brought in as a rental. I have absolutely no ill will for him. We really weren't comfortable doing the 3 year deal anyway having two guys in the pipeline.

As far as Nylander was concerned, the Caps wouldn't have been talking with Chicago unless they knew he would waive his NMC for them. My understanding is he'd OK a trade if it was it was to a contending team, where he would play on the 1st or 2nd line, in a city that his wife approved of. That's not going to happen now sad to say.

I'm not saying we made a mistake, the Nylander stuff went down just before the season began as you say when we already had Theo. GMGM did the deal he had to do to secure the best goalie he could at the time. I'm just dreaming that had things worked out differently we would have had a solid Russian playoff vet sharing time with a Russian rookie. Perfect situation to season Varly. Hindsight's always 20/20.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Nyls had authorized a trade with Chicago; he still owns a house there (about 8,000 square feet). The deal was done but it was conditional to Chicago moving Khabi's salary out. This never happened. Not GMGM's fault.
Nyls would wave NTC for the Isles but the Rangers would be even better. He still has a house in Rye or Greenwich...

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"@rock..after the season the 4 of boys went out in Georgetown. A girl that was 17 or 18 cried rape etc. Stevens, Dino, Courtnall and Alan Shelly were involved."

Actually, the fourth player was Neil Sheehy. And don't forget Nick Kypreos and his bucket of chicken getting into the limo and then leaving.

Here is a little recap of the incident I found on the web. http://www.geocities.com/pepperkorn67/behinddoor.html

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | May 22, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Nylander doesn't fit out system but he'd fit right back in with NY. With Naslund retiring they have cap room for him. That would be the only potential trading partner I see out there, else he'll be back.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

OK, if Nylander owns a house in Chicago (sounds like he has more houses than John McCain, no wonder he needs that huge salary), and is willing to play there, and his wife likes it there, and Khabibulin's contract has now expired, what's to stop Caps from trading Nylander to Chicago now?

I will take Brent Sopel. Is he any good? Doesn't matter, it works that the Caps get back two years of contract in exchange for such, but save $2.5M in cap space each of those two years. GM - make it happen!

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 22, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Robert Mueller of german pro hockey and a two-time Olympic goalie with Olie passed away yesterday from terminal brain cancer. He was drafted by the Caps in 2001 but never signed.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/9600888/Mueller,-former-Germany-goaltender,-dies-at-28

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

One reason is Nylander hasn't produced this year and was scratched for most of our playoff run. That's not a good selling point. Another is that Chicago has a huge decision to make if Khabby still wants to play there. Do they resign him or move to Huet? Tough call. If they somehow beat the Wings you have to go with Khabby I think.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Also, Chicago is in cap trouble worse than ours coming up either next year or the year after. They won't want to take on any additional cap hits.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | May 22, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

As soon as FA began Huet's offer to sign was off the table and the Caps knew that. He didn't break his word. I have to side with Huet, being the best ranked goalie in FA at 32 years old, this was his last best chance of securing a longterm deal for himself and this is a business. It's not like he was here a long time, he was brought in as a rental. I have absolutely no ill will for him. We really weren't comfortable doing the 3 year deal anyway having two guys in the pipeline.

cup4caps

No, you're wrong on the timeline. GMGM was doing his bit to watch the budget and worked on negotiating the best deal he could get. He made 3 offers to Huet. The last one before the UFA season opening was for what he wanted initially. He decided to play the field in UFA - he actually didn't return calls for a week. Shortly after UFA season opened, he went to Chicago. Good riddance to him!

Posted by: Greg S. | May 22, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie

That was a story last year when he made a return to his German team. The place went nuts when he went on the ice. It's an amazing and compelling story.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 22, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan, Lindsay actually linked to an article in The Hokcey news that said "Oh, and if you’re a Hawks fan chortling at the crossroads the Capitals soon will face, guess what? Your team is next." Here's the link:
http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/26264-THNcom-Playoff-Blog-Hawks-Caps-feel-good-but-for-how-long.html

My guess is the Blackhawks cap issues will come up in 2011.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I swear I read an interview last year where he said they didn't offer his asking price until after FA began. It's all a bit he said/she said. Both paties have to look out for themselves in the end. Huet helped us into the playoffs last year so I can't hate the guy. But I'm glad he's not here especially, for 3 years, he's not the answer. I'm hoping for a Theo/Varly tandem. Hopefully both will play great; Varly can take the #1 spot and we may be able to trade Theo at the deadline and get some value for him, maybe a player we need to fill up whatever hole we have at the time.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Freak......thanks on sheehy.....It has been a while....

Posted by: RichC3 | May 22, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

redbirdie, that is what I was referring to.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | May 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

cups4caps, I agree its very he said she said. But Huet seemed pretty convinced he was coming back to Washington. He's something on a minor sports celeb in France and during and after the Caps miracle run last year, he got a lot of attention in the French press (and I figured, what better way to study for my french boards than reading about hockey in French?). Anyways, right up to July 1, it was a lot of, I plan to be back in Washington, I'm going to be back in Washington, my agent's working on the final details but its really a done deal, I really love Washington. I figure he's got no reason to lie to the French media on his feelings about Washington, no need to make the team think he liked them when he didn't, because odds are I was the only person in the whole of the US obsessively following the off-season going-ons of Washington's goalie via Le Monde. Believe me, they were just as shocked in France when he jumped ship, because French hockey fans had adopted the Caps that season because of Huet and become rather enthralled with the team, and who doesn't love the Caps, right? (unless you live in a dying rustbelt city in western PA)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Huet sucks.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 22, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl

Nylander would accept a trade but no one will want him. A few reasons:

1) The Caps struggled all season to get a decent second center and will be looking for one in the off-season. So, you are basically telling all other teams that Nylander is not a 2nd line center

2) Any team who has the required $5.5M cap space to accomodate Nyls' salary would want to use it for a player with potentially more impact than Nylander. Let's not forget that, at that price, we could get about 85 to 90% of the NHL players, including Green, Semin and Backstrom. Any team who has that kind of cap space will choose to invest it a lot more wisely than putting it on Nyls.
The only way Nyls go is if he is packaged with top prospects and he is a minor part of the deal, sort as if you give me thes two guys, I will take that problem (Nyls' contract) off your hands.

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

yawn....

Posted by: richmondphil | May 22, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of fact, my opinion is that, contrary to last year, his house in Potomac will not have a for sale sign in the front lawn this summer.

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but ca you expand on the lawn structures in Backstrom's house in Gavle?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 22, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom has no lawn; he lives in a condo.

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, I see. But I was asking about his house in Gavle, not here.

What grades did Kozlov's daughters get in math?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 22, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Nylander has great skills. They are just inappropriate for this team and do nothing for us. Someone said the Rags and I agree. He'd be a good fit there along with the other teams that play a methodical game. That's not our current style. I'd suspect he'll be traded to NYR, maybe MN or Dallas? I don't know.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 22, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay,

You and Mike... get a room...

Posted by: CodePoetry | May 22, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Greg,
We all say that Nyls still has skills and someone else will want him but I am doubtful... The message that we have sent the rest of the league and the evidence we have shown are that he is of no use... The only hope is that there are always GMs out there who are suckers... Ours is pretty wily so, you never know...

Philippe from Richmond.... you are silly.... everyone knows that Koz's daughter is only about 1 1/2 years old ... you know that, right?

Posted by: atybat | May 22, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Fletcher is currently the assistant GM for the evil flightless fowl that flop about who shall not otherwise be named.

Posted by: RedBirdie |


@Red: I suppose you mean the Pittsburgh Voldemorts?

Posted by: Rhino40 | May 22, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

What's bad about the Nylander deal is that I sense some bad blood between him and the team. I don't know if it can be smoothed over and even if so I don't know how we can incorporate him into the current system. Unless his rotor cuff is still an issue, I can't believe he suddenly lost all his skill. The Rags could take advantage of the situation and walk away with him and a prospect or two. We'll see how it pans out but I expect to see him back next season. The lesson is never do a NMC again.

Posted by: cup4caps | May 22, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Rhino, I like to called them the Dying Mountain City Voldemorts!

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 22, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

How about the Axis of Evil or the Back-Flip-Half-Twist-With-Three-Quarter-Pikes? After all, they have executed well on dives that would make even Greg Louganis jealous...LOL

Posted by: Rhino40 | May 22, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Nylanders contract, at his age, was stupid to begin with. His shoulder surgery has proven to be a larger problem that foreseen. So, he's damaged goods making a ton of money, and has an attitude problem. In the rumor mill, Nylanders locker room persona has dogged him his whole career. We've read this year about how he doesn't hang out with the other players. Not a good sign.

As for buying him out, why buy him out when you can trade him for something, still paying part of his salary, but at least having something in return? unfortunately, GMGM will take another cast off, like Novotny and his many many twins, and we'll be paying for Nylander and some dude that will get a try out on the 1st line when he shouldn't even be in our press box. I've seen this movie before, and its called "McPhee's Bargain Movie, Part XVII."

Posted by: oo7 | May 22, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

CodePoetry -- where'd that come from? Grow up, buddy.

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | May 22, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

RE: Huet, GMGM said in an interview right after they signed Jose that they met Huet's terms but then he decided to test the waters. It always sounded to me like the Caps were ready to move forward before the FA market opened. That's why I and many other Caps fans were not feelin' the love. He never should have put a number out there if he was not willing to accept it. I don't care that he left, it was the way in which he did it that turned me off. I'm glad he got his just desserts and has spent so much time riding the pine ever since.

Posted by: Boo- | May 22, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

yeah, where DID that come from?
Not poetic at all.

Posted by: oo7 | May 22, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: Nylander will ride a stationary bike in a Swedish sauna all summer (like Chris Chelios does), heal his shoulder, and beat out Backstrom as the number one center in the fall.

It can happen.

Posted by: washingtonpost31 | May 22, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Just above, a typically clueless Caps fan had the audacity to write this: "Yeah, Gonchar was the best player the Pens had in the playoffs long before he ever donned a Pens jersey."

The fact is, Caps fans just don't understand hockey, and regularly ride their best defensemen out of town with their ridiculous "whoot, whoot, whoot" chants. Not only do those chants make it sound like the building is filled with 16,000 high-school girls, but it shows that the Capitals fans simply don't understand puck-moving defensemen, whether they're named Murphy, Hatcher or Gonchar.

It's only a matter of time before the lastest round of hockey newbies filling the seats at Verizon Center gift wrap Mike Green and buy his ticket to Pittsburgh.

"whoot, whoot, whoot" indeed.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | May 22, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

cup4caps:
Just confirmed - they way I said it is the way it happened, or at least that is the case per McPhee on 7/1:

"The process with Cristobal has been a long one," said GM George McPhee on a conference call this evening, following the Capitals' signing of free agent goalie Jose Theodore to a two-year deal. "We basically matched their demands, their requests, and still didn't get it done before we got to free agency. The day after the season, we offered three years at $3.7 [million], and they responded about a month later with their number, which was three years at five, and we said that makes sense. If you come down 10 or 15 percent or we come up 10 or 15 percent we can get a deal done. We came up to $4.3 [million], and they didn't come down. We came up to $4.6 [million], and they didn't come down.

"So we finally said, OK, we'll do the three years at five [million], and they said, 'We'll check out free agency,'" said McPhee, who said the Capitals actually went above that final number during negotiations today.

"It got to the point where the term was getting too long and the number was getting too high. We wanted to be pragmatic about this and do the right thing for the club short term and long term, and we got Theodore, who I think is every bit as good a goaltender, for a two-year term and less money."

Posted by: Boo- | May 22, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40 - The Pittsburgh Voldemorts?! ROFL!

Of course, making someone in a library giggle is B-A-D! Don't do that!

;-)

Posted by: irockthered | May 22, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Jumpy,

Glad to educate another Pens fan. We asked Gonchar to stay during the rebuild, he said no thanks. We can "woot" any ex-d-man we want since Larry Murphy.

Answer me this though, who is more promoted in Pittsburgh: The Steelers, The Pens, Crosby or Malkins parents? From what I have seen on tv, thinking Malkins parents are right up there...

Posted by: caps28fan | May 22, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

kris king took out both hatcher and dino in the ranger series. That was imo the best caps team of all time even though they did lose in 4 straight to Boston

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 22, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Jumpy66: I wrote that about Gonchar and I completely understand hockey. Gonchar choked many time for the Caps, the most famous was the fumble at the top our zone that led to the Caps losing an OT game against Pittsburgh. I continued to forgive his big game mistakes. When he stated he did not want to be part of our rebuild...that's where my dislike for him began, and has grown. I don't whoop his choking butt when he's here, but he ditched us worse than any player in our history because he was asked several times to stay because he was going to be the anchor for our defense, he refused even though we already had a young Russian named Semin that could have used his experience and leadership.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 22, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I republished this post and it looks like comments are working now. Very strange.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | May 23, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Lindsay!

tess,caravelli,CapsFan75:
I responded on the last thread! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Unlike the Penguins that are moving on, our team gave it their all all year long. Maybe we should tank it like the Pens did for 75% of the year, and we'll end up in the Finals.
Posted by: SA-Town May 22, 2009 8:42 AM
--

Can you explain to me where the Pens heart was the first 75% of the regular season? Im starting to think they are a team that only plays when it matters...
Posted by: SA-Town May 21, 2009 12:43 PM

---
The first 75% of the regular season doesn't matter as long as you play well enough to get to the playoffs.

What good is a second seed after regular season if you can't make it out of the second round of the playoffs?

Posted by: Dalliquippa | May 21, 2009 6:17 PM

Posted by: Dalliquippa | May 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the article - sounds like quite a game! Did you watch? If so, how is Nuevy holding up? Who's #2 - Cheese or Holtby? BTW, is it wrong that I am hoping for a game 6?!? :-|
posted by -Boo-
----------------------------
@Boo:
No, I didn't watch. AHLLive cost $8 per game PPV which I think is a little pricey. Or maybe I'm just cheap.:) I remember last spring watching the entire world championship tournament for like $6 total. Anyway, I'll fork over the $$ if the Bears get to finals since I won't be making the road trip to Manitoba or Houston.

Cheeser has been backing up Neuvy, and when it got to 3-0 last night I really thought Coach might pull Neuvy and have Cheeser finish the game, but he stuck with Neuvy and he did alright. Now they have today off to rest, but then back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday. And no, you're not bad for wishing for a game 6 at home. I'm kind of wishing that too. I know the boys would like to finish it off this weekend though. The finals schedule could get really weird because several local high schools use Giant Center for graduation so the Bears will have to work around that. Oh well...As long as we're in the finals, who cares what day we play, right?

Posted by: tess2201 | May 23, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Tess:
Got that right! If I can't follow my Caps to the finals I will gladly follow the Bears. Does that make me a bandwagoner? Speaking of, a Pens fan whom I work with accused me of just that for cheering for the Canes. I told him that I was not a bandwagoner - I have always been a loyal fan of the Caps and any team that is playing the Pens. :-)

Glad Nuevy pulled it together. I will be curious to see if he gets the back-to-back nod. Has Cheese seen any post-season action (well, other than from the confines of the players' bench)? Seems like a lot of great goalies are starting to show signs of fatigue right about now.

RE: the cost to watch the Bears games, that does sound high, especially considering seat costs! I bet a lot of people outside of the area would pay that for the Caps, but it also costs a lot more than that to go to a Caps game. For the AHL online? Eh, sounds like a lot to me.

Here's to hopefully seeing you at the GC for the big Bears W!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

P.S. That was a joke about game six ... of course I want them to wrap it up on the road, but selfishly I'd love to see a little more live action before the summer! :-) GO BEARS!!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Golly, how sad are Pens fans that they still come to the Caps blog 3 games in to the next series?

Sorry Boo.

Posted by: Leeguru | May 23, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You should be, guru ... very, very, sorry. And not for that post - for, well, you know.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Lindsay, thank you for still being with us now that the season has ended. Keep the beuatiful memories coming ;)

Posted by: Leeguru | May 23, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@Dalliquippa & SA-Town,

I'm feeling more than a little p*ssed about how the season and playoffs went. So disillusioned! Yes, I know I'm old enough to know better but......

It seems that finishing first or second in the Conference is essentially a phyrric victory. It doesn't meet squat, except for giving home field advantage. The Pens (and Carolina) who played like crap the first part of the season and got hot at the right time have the right idea. Guess the strategy is .... make sure you're in the playoff hunt (say 4th or 5th) come late Feb/early March, trade for some rentals for the end-game and playoffs, and then, get hot.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I noticed that all the Eastern Conference division winners are goners from the playoffs (in Round 1 or 2) and 2 of the 3 division winners in the Western Conference are gone too.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@Boo (from last thread),

Yes we are (of female persuasion). There's a few other regular female posters besides us (and Caraveli and Tess). Redbirdie and Rachel217 as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I had to jump to the bottom to post this about Stevens. St. Louis signed Stevens to a multi year contract worth a million a year. Polin did not think that salaries were going to go up that much and let him go. Later regretted the move.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | May 23, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Where does everybody watch the Bears games? I can't find a TV channel that carries them.

Posted by: caraveli | May 23, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, I can't believe you left me out! I kid, I haven't been on nearly as often as I used to. This whole "real world" thing is quickly sucking up my board time.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 23, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl, Haha! There are probably millions of us but you can't tell by the name. I only found out recently that CapsFan75 was a lady. It's okay. This way our takeover will be unexpected and deadly.

Posted by: caraveli | May 23, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll watch the Canes-Pens game tonight. Is anybody else? The only benefit is that, unlike with Caps games, I don't have to be scared to watch it until I make sure the Caps are doing well. Who cares? (Though I wish Canes beat the Pens).

Posted by: caraveli | May 23, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

caraveli, Haha, yeah! I've met a few other CI ladies with less obvious names. We're a stealthy bunch. Except me. :-D I tried to post earlier, but it seems to have disappeared. Bears games aren't on TV. You can buy them with AHL Live online, or listen to Walton on sportsjuice.com

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 23, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to tell carolina they have to keep playing th last minute of a period!

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 23, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1, you don't know ANYTHING about hockey. I'd be shocked if the Canes won a game in the series. They just don't have the fire power to compete with teams like the Caps and the Pens in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 23, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

ditto what uncatim said...

Saw the first team all star team of the Sporting News which had OV and Green the other day, here's my first team all stars of the NHL and the Caps of the last 30 years, the time I've been watching hockey.

NHL forwards - Messier, Gretzky, Mario Lemieux. D - Ray Bourque, Nick Lidstrom. G - Patrick Roy

Caps forwards - Ovetchkin, Hunter, Gustafsson. D - Langway, Stevens. G - Kolzig

Posted by: joek443 | May 23, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Damn! Cindy had a goal. I was hoping, beyond hope, that he wouldn't score for the remaining of the playoffs so Ovie would still be ahead.

Posted by: caraveli | May 23, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

LOL caraveli, get over it. Crosby has been the better player in the playoffs, gotta give him that. If you look closely at the type of goals they scored in the playoffs, you can see how Crosby has raised his game. The goals OV scored were the same type of goals he would normally score in the regular season games. If you look at Crosby's goals, just about all of them are poink blank, within a few feet of the net. I'm sure OV's groin injury had something to do with him not being really able to crash the net but he's really not known for that either.

Posted by: joek443 | May 23, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

@jmu_capsgirl

I apologize for leaving you out -- in my salute to the women on this board. Yes, real life has a way of getting in the way of posting. I'm sure you're busy trying to move out of the dorm, graduation related stuff; etc.

And I also forgot to mention Kittypaws.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Carolina is certainly having a terrible series against the Pens. No, I didn't watch it. Went to the Star Trek movie at the local IMAX theater instead and then decided to post at one of the ST related boards. (No, I don't post ST stuff under CapsFan1975.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Great post about the story of that Caps series loss and the epilogue (the limo incident). It brings back a lot of memories. My own memory of that period is vague (probably since I was more preoccuopied with dealing with a 5 year old child than the fortunes of the Caps.)

I recalled that Stevens and Ciccarelli were involved in the limo incident. And then soon after, Stevens left the team after the Caps didn't match the offer sheet he got.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

With all the news of The Sporting News NHL All Star Team, it seems that my Eastern Conference votes for the All Star Game held up pretty well, considering.

Here's what I had picked: For forwards, I had chosen OV, Malkin and Semin. (At the time, Semin was cleaning up before his injury.) For defense, I had picked Green and Chara. For goalie, I had gone with Lundqvist. In the end for TSN, Parisi had the last forward slot and Thomas was goaltender. Gang, I would have been right had Semin stayed healthy. (My line may be the one that represents the Russians at the Olympics.) Yes, I had left off Crosby since I was going with two wingers and a center.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
Yes, that was more of a rhetorical question than anything (and I am aware of the other female posters); my point was just that we were the only ones who were posting at the time and the only ones who were talking about not being able to let it go, so maybe there was something more to that! :-) (Kind of a joke and apparently not a very good one ... I have been warned that I should not try to be amusing!! ;-))

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

@Dalli

Forgive me for wanting to see a team come out of the east that played well all year...God I wish it was Boston instead...they were so much better.

I dont like Crosby's leadership..they quit on Thierien, and they dont deserve to be where they are...But such is life...Go Red Wings...give em a heartbreaker twice in a row...

Posted by: SA-Town | May 23, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Lol at the 'type' of goals Crosby has scored show him to be the better playoff player. Quite a stretch there.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 23, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town:
Amen! Crush 'em, Wings!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 23, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

It is fascinating to me that the Pen fans that post here have such a problem with Ovie being the better player than Crosby. I mean, they do have the better team this year. Personally I think I would be happy with that.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 23, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town & @Dalli

I'm with you, folks. I would have rather seen a team I respect more coming out the East, a team that had played well, like Boston rather than Carolina and Pitt, who played like crap for a good part of the year, fired the coach, and then got energized, started winning, and went deep in the playoffs.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Just our luck, Gonchar tanks for us in the playoffs when he's with us. And then is a hero for Pittsburgh against us.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 23, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow! The Caness got beaten pretty badly. Watching these games, I appreciate our team more. First the Pens-Canes series can't hold a candle before the Caps-Pens series in terms of excitement and mastery. You have nothing even close to the Ovechkin-Crosby back and forth--two giants of the sport egging each other on. Also, the Caps obviously seemed much more closely matched. While we were also outshot, we had them scared in many games and -- except for the unfortunate melt-down of game 7--it was a very close series. It frustrates me to no end how close we were to winning. It shows what an incredible team we could be with better defense and more discipline.

joek443: I don't get how you figure that Crosby was better than Ovechkin because he scored from close. So what? Ovechkin was terrific throughout the playoffs. And he would only have gotten better the deeper he went into the playoffs. The only difference is that, unlike Crosby, he did not have a reliable sidekick, a strong defense or a disciplined team around him.

I disagree, however, with SA-Town about Crosby's leadership. I have been very impressed by his leadership and steadiness. He has single-handedly lifted his team in bad games (like the first 2 against us) and steered them to a higher level. He leads with tremendous maturity and consistency. And to think he is just 21!

Malkin has also caught on fire. He had a slow start but he is going strong now. I don't know if Semin can emerge as Ovie's Malkin. If he does, and we strengthen our D, we will be unbeatable. Looking at the Canes I can see what incredible advantage we have with our offensive power. If we just build a strong system around it. And, by the way,what is it that makes a team like the Pens keep the penalties down, though they have the Caps' explosiveness and free style. Maybe the Caps can pick up a couple of pointers.

Posted by: caraveli | May 23, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, I'm really not offended. And its actually the new job, finding a better apartment away from the parties and spending time with the friends that are leaving.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 23, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it amusing that a guy who went into the stands, took some dude's shoe and beat him with it during a game was complaining about the caps playing rough? LOL

Posted by: capsfansteve | May 24, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

oh and while I dislike detroit for what happened in 1998...go red wings...defeat those bastard penguins again!

Posted by: capsfansteve | May 24, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

mikebrady1: "they do have the better team this year." Pens have a better team in the playoffs not this year.

Posted by: caraveli | May 24, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

@caraveli

Can Semin emerge as Ovi's Malkin? Well, it would help if he could stay healthy. He did great in the Rangers series. He was fine in the first game vs the Pens, until getting hurt. There was the slash to the face, courtesy of Orpik. Okay, that didn't affect his game. But I read on another board that one fan saw his get slashed in the hand at the end of Game 1, which is how his thumb got injured in the first place.

(Maybe we need to pick up an enforcer to pay back the Orpiks and Kunitzes for all the stuff they try.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

To Caraveli:

IMO, Semin will never be Ovi's Malkin. He is spotty in effort through out the year, and spotty in the playoffs.

We have a better shot at Backy emerging to ge a top O-guy.

But really, we don't need either to be a consistent side kick. What we need is above average consistency surrounding OV, not another 'malkin' type.

Here's how the caps can raise their game above Pittsburgs - cause lets face it, they're setting the bar in the EAST. I know our series was close, but damn, 40+ shots EVERY night.

1. Green needs to be himself in playoffs. He absolutly disapeared in the playoffs this season, and became a defensive liability. Why he wasn't exposed more on TSN or on Versus is beyond me. Maybe because the media wanted to make it more of a 'Crosby beat beat OV', but their contributions cancelled themselves out. Its really his supporting cast beating OV's supporting cast.

2. Semin needs to be a bit more consistent.

3. Varlamov our starting goalie from game 1 of the playoffs, with a full NHL season as a starter under his belt.

4. Pick-up of an additional 15 - 20 goal, gritty checking two-way player, who loves physical hockey. (Eric Cole anyone!!??)

4.a - the above person should be a center, as we have Feds at 39 yrs old.

5. Pick-up of a true shut-down defensman, so the 'Crosby Crease Camping Trip' never happens again, or at least not for that many nights.

I really think we will be able to achieve the above within the next 2 years.

I know may have to give up some things (Flash, and more)

My concern is Semin. He takes up too much ice time to take games off. He's a skilled guy, who doesn't play physical, so if those guys aren't scoring, or generating chances at least and puck possesion time, they're useless.

Posted by: floms | May 24, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Steve:
Milbury is such a joke. Some things never change. Anyway, I'm with you. After game seven I texted a friend of mine who is from Detroit and is a huge Wings fan - all I said was GO WINGS GO! But the Wings are getting old - I hope they have another one in them.

caraveli:
I dunno about Crosby's leadership. I've always wondered if they other guys on the team look up to him as a leader - he's young, he's a whiner and he lives in you-know-who's "basement". (BTW, I wonder if he complained the other night when Malkin got his hat trick ...?) That's one thing that I respect about Ovi - he could have "taken" the C a couple of years ago but he knew that he was not ready. That was a smart move on his part. His time will come and when it does it will be right. I think Crosby getting the C when he did was a bit forced and I would be willing to bet that some of his teammates did not appreciate it.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Also Caps fans, think of it this way-

OV and SID = wash

Now...

take the rest of the Pens and compare them against the Caps.

What improvements can we make for the Caps surrounding to be better than Pitts?

I think in the end, our saving grace will be Varlamov. Thinking back now at what he did, facing that many shots, with no experience, plus his backup Novierue, is outstanding potential as well.

Posted by: floms | May 24, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

How about a gritty winger who can score pretty well and is willing to take out the Orpiks and Kunitzes of the world when they try their usual stunts.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, that would be great as well. Anyone available come to mind?

Posted by: floms | May 24, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Another thing I thought about tonight, regarding the Pitt and Caps supporting casts :

On Caps offense - OV showed up every night. I'll even give him game 7. He was hitting, had the break away, etc.

Semin, I recall 1 strong game out of 7.

Backy, maybe 1 or 2 solid performance.

Green - MIA.

Now..Pittsburg-

Crosby - every game.

Malkin - 5 of 7 games (notice how much better this stat is then Semins)

Gonchar - played well for 6 of 7 games (missing 1 to injury)

Without diving into the other players, just looking at the core guys, their core guys out performed our core guys, period.

Posted by: floms | May 24, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

We're in better long term position than pittsburgh is. Yes those foul flightless fowl from southwestern PA have two amazing pivots, but those 2 centers eat up almost a third of their cap. long story short, pittsburgh has 13 pending UFAs/RFAs next season and they've already committed 46 million to players currently on the roster(the cap is expected to remain around 56 million). What you'll likely see is them struggling out of the gate again because once again the talent surrounding malkin and crosby will decline. 10 million to fill 13 roster slots...sounds like they're going to be raiding wilkes-barre pretty hard core(and their minor league system is pretty devoid of prospects right now...most of WB's best players are boudreau types..career minor leaguers who struggle at the NHL level but do very well in the AHL).

Posted by: capsfansteve | May 24, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

@floms,

We know the Pens core guys outplayed ours. But, of course, being healthy would have helped.

Among our defensemen, we have 5 out of 7 of them injured. Here's the tally: Green (shoulder), Erskine (broken foot), Poti (broken foot), Morrisonn (injured but can't recall the specifics), Schultz (broken ribs). So, Pothier and Jurcina were our only healthy D-men during the Pitt series. There's a good reason why our D was slow. Broken feet will slow you down. (Okay, for Pitt, Gonchar was injured but I think it's highly unlikely they were more decimated than us.)

And, for the forwards, we know Semin was injured. (Reports are that someone slashed his hand at the very end of Game 1.) There's only so much abuse a guy can take.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansteve

I hope you're right about the Pens' long term chances. Struggling at the beginning and then filling any gaps at the trading deadline with rentals does not sound like a strategy that can work every year.

(In our case, we tied up too much money in mentors to our kids; i.e. Nylander, Clark, Fedorov, Kozlov; etc.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Wow - those memories still haunt me from 1990. I have been back in Australia for almost 20 years and it still seems fresh. I was living in DC at the time and went to most Caps games at Cap Centre with my aunt and friends. I went up to the Meadowlands for 2 of the Patrick finals staying in the same hotel as the players.
When I heard the limo news I couldn't believe it. I was such a huge fan of Geoff Courtnall, Scott Strevens & Dino, Neal Sheehy was a fringe player. The Nick Kypreos cameo was hilarious.

What could have been.

Go Caps

Posted by: ozcapfan | May 24, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

caraveli, I don't know how long you have been watching hockey but as someone who has been watching hockey for almost 30 years, the way a player scores in the playoffs tell you a lot about the makeup of the player. When you see the way Crosby scores in the playoffs this year, you can see that he really wants IT. Crosby is really not that big physically but he has played much BIGGER than OV who's physically bigger than Crosby. Also here's another scary thought for us Caps fans. The Crosby and Malken Duo could be the Gretzky and Messier duo of 20 years ago.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

If the Pens and the Wings meet again in the playoffs which looks likely, it should remind long-time hockey fans of the NY Islanders vs. the Edmonton Oilers of the mid-80's. The big bad Islanders of 4 straight Stanley Cup winners beat the young Oilers of Gretky, Messier, Kurri and Coffey in 83. They met again in the finals in 84 but that time, the Oilers won and started their dynasty. The Pens might just do the same unless the Caps add a couple more players and keep up with them. The way I see it, the Caps are the only team in the east who can beat the Pens in the playoffs because no other team has the fire power to keep up with the Pens.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The Pens are pretty well screwed for next year because of the Cap. They're going to lose even more key pieces than they did last year. (plus, the real brains behind the operation is headed off to Minnesota. Shero is an idiot)

The Wings are a good mix of young and old. Zetterberg, Datsuyk, Kronwall, and Hudler are all young (I think Zetters is the oldest at 28). There's also a certain ethic in the wings organization, from the top all the way down through the minors, that team comes first and such. The Wings dynasty will continue for a looooong time. The only concern is goal. But, hey, that's one classy, smartly run organization and I'm ok with them doing their dynasty thing. There are worst teams that could being winning everything (coughFlighlessFowlcough)

Sorry I've been MIA; been trying this hockey-detox-through-attending-baseball-games thing. Its only going ok. I was in a fabulous mood after watching the Os beat the nats and then got home only to see the Evil Team pot two more BS goals. (Cooke has apparently been attending diving practice with Sid)

And finally, The Bears are now up 2-1 in the series against the Baby Bruins!!!

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 24, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

oh, CapsFan75, I think Morrison's injury was a sprained ankle and a pulled groin. I can't imagine skating on that.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 24, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie,

You're right, it would be difficult to skate with a sprained ankle (Morrisonn's injury).

For the Wings, Datsyuk is actually 30 and will turn 31 this year. (I wish we had him.) For the record, he is probably my favorite non Caps player.

I haven't detoxxed on Caps mania myself. I did go to one baseball game this weekend. Since I like both teams (Nats and Os), it was hard in a way. In the end, I rooted for the home team (Nats). This is the first series, the Os have actually shown pitching (or is it a sad commentary on how bad the Nats really are).

I hope the Wings really clean the clocks of the evil Pens in the Stanley Cup. I can live with them as a dynasty. But not the Pens.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Your comments scare me (Pens looking like the old Oilers). Yes, I've followed hockey a long time also.

God forbid that we see a Pens dynasty. That is scary but I'm afraid of it myself. I hope the salary cap stops it from happening. Teams can't keep getting rentals year after year after year and still have anything left.

The Caps will need to pick up someone to neutralize Orpik and Kunitz so they can advance further in the playoffs (and not have so many significant injuries). We can compete with the Pens with a healthy Ovechkin, Semin, and Green but not with 2 out of that group hurt.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I went Friday and Saturday to the ball games and was, in a way, sorely disappointed! Both teams have what can only be politely termed "pitching issues" and yet both teams had solid pitching. And the top half of each batting line-up has the ability to just crush the ball. So, really, I was expecting a dinger-fest of epic proportions. Instead, I got two straight pitching duels.

Anyways, I don't believe for one freaking minute that the current incarnations of the Flightless Fowl are like the Oliers of the mid and late '80s. Last time I checked, the Fowl had to purchase their way back into the playoffs this year, have major salary cap problems for the foreseeable future, etc etc. They're not built to be a dynasty. Interesting, of the 8 semi final teams, Pittsburgh was the 4th oldest (the only team younger than the Caps? Chicago. And remember, the Caps have 39 years young Fedorov). At best, they continue to try and do what they were forced to do this year. Limp through most of the regular season with all of their salary tied up in a few players and then add the right pieces near the trade deadline in a desperate rush to make the playoffs. Some years, it will work; some it won't.

In other NHL news, Bobby Holik announced he's retiring.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 24, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

For those compsaring Ov and Crosby, remember that you can't do so head-to-head. Centers and wings have different roles. More often than not, the centers will be racking up points with assists, and wings may have a higher ratio of goals. Centers frequently play deep and behind the net, and that's way Crosby gets many of his goals from the crease. Many of Ov's are scored directly from his rushes or hanging around the face off circles. Neither is better at it, just doing their job. Same goes for the hitting. As a Caps fan, I can't get enough of Ov's "in your face" game and his physical presence, but to be fair to Crosby, he has a different responsibility on the ice. As for the series, call it a draw...they both played their "A" game.

Posted by: gonchpup | May 24, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie

I'm afraid you're dead wrong. If you have two YOUNG superstars like Crosby and Malken, you are always one step ahead of just about every team in the NHL. It does NOT matter what the average age of your team is, as long as your two best players are in their early 20's, you are in very good shape. NFL has salary caps as well, does that make impossible for teams to contend every year? No, just look at the Patriots. If you have healthy Tom Brady, you're always in good shape.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Also last time I checked, you CAN'T win the cup in the regular season. The regular season in the NHL is the biggest waste of time in all of sports, espcially for talented teams like the Pens. It doesn't matter how you get in as long as you get in the playoffs (just ask the San Jose Sharks). I don't know when Green hurt his shoulder but if it was during the regular season, he should have been resting as soon as the Caps clinched a spot in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

right, you have three great young centers (Staal) in Pittsburgh--but what about the wingers? As I recall, that was a serious problem this year. And you have just over $20 million tied up in those three guys alone. Gonchar's not getting any younger, so who is going to be the PP quarterback? We all saw what happened when he was out this season. The estimated cap hit for next year is already over $46 million for 14 players. Five wingers from this current playoff roster are UFAs. Believe me, I'm curious as the next person how they're going to pull this off next year. So I stand by my point that over the next few years, the Penguins are going to have to do what they did this year. Pray they're in the hunt for the first 3/4s of the season and the purchase their way into the playoffs.

The NFL and the NHL salary cap are so not even remotely alike that comparing them is simply worthless. The Patriots have outstanding coaches and an outstanding system and get players that fit in their system and buy into the team philosophy. They played an outstanding season this year without Brady and only missed the playoffs because of the auto bids given to division winners.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 24, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Green re-injured his shoulder when Steve Stamkos yanked him down in what I believe was the second to last game of the season. Not a lot of time to "let it rest." I believe it was further injured during the playoffs.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 24, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Do you think that the Ovie-Semin pairing is or can be the equivalent of the Malkin-Crosby duo? Boo thinks it is. If not, what do we have that gives us a competitive advantage to this pair? My assumption is that it is having two players who play consistently at the highest level is what gives the Pens the edge offensively.

When we beat them, Malkin had not broken out yet. I don't know if this made a difference to our successes with them. I think we would have won anyway, as we have in the past. But since Malkin started playing his A game, the Pens have been unbeatable.

Posted by: caraveli | May 24, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

And what Boo says ...

Longterm I think the more important pair to look at is Ovi/Backs. Backs gets better by the minute and can either center Ovi or carry his own line. The kid's got eyes behind his head and passes that are incomprehensible. Semin is amazing but may not be around forever, unless he is willing to take less $$ than he can get on the open market. I hope he is, but I'm not banking on it. The point is, the Caps are more than a player or two and, as a result, will be competitive for a long time to come.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow ... Huet in, Lidstrom and Datsyuk out. Should be an interesting game.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

And Cheli is in! He must be doing cartwheels - in the playoffs and in Chicago, no less. Good for him.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Havlat's in, too. Dude's tough, he got creamed in Game 3. Huet's mask is pretty cool, I hadn't noticed it before.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Pavster's back soon. The Wings really need him back to beat the Pens. And Lidstrom's out also.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

JMU - yup, he's a machine.

Poor little Huet looked frustrated by that last one ... :-( *sniff-sniff* And a shortie, too?!? HA!

If the Wings can lock a decisive win without two of their best players on the ice, well let's just say that the Pens should be worried.

Loved the guy who basically hit the glass with his fist during that post-horn scrum. Like to see him do that if the glass was not separating him from the players. Whatever dude.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@ Boo,

I hope Semin will take a "hometown" discount to stay with the Caps and given the fact that his best bud is a Cap.

Introverts (like Semin) don't usually like to change jobs (or teams) unless they really have to.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: I agree on your assessment of Semin. I can't imagine him making a change for the reasons you said.

And about women on the blog being surprising to some! Has anyone heard that the sport is played by women as well? With a granddaughter having played AAA hockey and friends' daughters on the National under 22 team and college teams, I hadn't even watched men's hockey until a few years ago. Just to set the record straight.

Posted by: caraveli | May 24, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
I've thought about that and I certainly hope that's the case, but we're talkin' big money so who knows. Besides, the longer he plays in the NHL and the better his English gets, the more comfortable he will be moving on.

I can't get enough of seeing Huet get schooled. Detroit up 4-1 ... GO WINGS GO!!! :-D Holy moly - Huet getting pulled for a minor leaguer in the playoffs?!? HA!!! LOVE IT!!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha, Huet. I should probably root for the kid who played in Moncton, but Go Wings!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
I know - I feel sorry for the Rookie (especially with a 5 on 3) but bring it Wings! (Uh oh, this is starting to give me flashbacks ... :-/)

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Geez, the Hawks are starting to look like us with the untimely penalties.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
Ya, and it does not help that Versteeg is playing like an idiot - he looks like a frustrated round one Avery out there.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Boo, I know. And I liked Versteeg. If only because he has questionably hilarious taste in karaoke songs.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
LOL!! I have no idea what you are talking about - is that something that happened one night when you were out with Shea?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

They're playing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" ... you can say that again!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie,

you think like a defeatist. Everyone works under the same system and you make it sound like having great young players like Crosby, Malken and Staal isn't somehow a good thing.. what the hell is the matter with you? LOL you think like that you will NEVER win a damn thing.

Would you rather have a bunch of average players like the Canes do, hope you get lucky one year and win the Cup?? NO, what you do is just thank your lucky stars that you have great young super stars like those three of the Pens or OV and Green if you're the Caps and try your best to get some inexpensive role players who can help you win. That's what a WINNER would do.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Boo, Oh gosh, no, lol! Or maybe I should say yes? ;-D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCS3f7Uj4z4

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

--Boo--

you're absolutely right. The future of the Caps lies with OV and Backstrom plus Green and Varly. If I could get a tough playoff forward like Franzen or a shutdown D-man for Semin, I would definitely explore the possiblity.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
That's pretty funny! The best part is the reaction of the locker room - LOL!

joek443:
Yup - I think everyone agrees that we need grit and D (and not necessarily in that order) more than anything. I'd love for Semin to be a part of that, and think there is something to be said for him flexing somewhat to stay with his buddies, but in the end there just may not be enough room. I thought he would flex to stay when he was renewed last time, and I bet he did, but I am not sure how much more he is willing to compromise.

So Milbury calls for Huet to come back in the 3rd ... really?!?

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

RichC3,

you're right. Stevens wanted to leave and have a fresh start but Poile definitely wanted to pay him and keep him. The 5 or 6 first round picks (I forget, was a long time ago LOL) they received from the Blue as a compensation didn't amount to anything till the last of those pick which turned out to be Brendan Witt.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Why put Huet back in? He's playing like a sieve. They've already lost this one - see what the rookie can do. They may need him next time!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Conkblock in too? This game is bizarre.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

JMU:
Conklin does not surprise me as much. They are way up so they can rest Osgood and preserve him for future play (he's not a youngin' anymore!). Besides, kinda like I said for the rookie, can't hurt to give Conklin some playoff time to see if he's on his game - ya never know if they will need him yet in the playoffs (the last thing you want is a rusty goalie in the finals).

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

might as well be a bizarre game. Today is the biggest day of the year for racing, the Monaco GP this morning, the Indy 500 this afternoon and the Coke 600 this evening. It was good to see Helio win his 3rd at Indy, wish he would have said, "take this Uncle Sam!!!"... LOL

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

you have to admire Osgood for his perseverance all these years. Most goalies would have left after seeing the team win the Cup first with Mike Vernon and then with Hasek. It shows he definitely has a thick skin and don't take things personally.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Boo, true. Conklin's played well during the regular season this year and last year when he nearly stole MAF's job. Good for him to get some ice time.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Also Osgood is a lot tougher than he looks even if he still looks like a 12-year old. Anyone remember when he and Patrick Roy went at it at a playoff game many years ago? LOL thought Roy would knock him out but Osgood did more than held his own against him.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGhrie-NgdU

good old days when the NHL used to be on a real sports network.. LOL

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Well that was ugly in a most beautiful way! Love it that Huet came back in and let another goal in. He was outplayed in the 3rd by a #2 keeper who was seeing his first post-season action of the year. I dig it.

joek443:
I'm not much for fighting but:
1) There's something funny (awkward?) about seeing two goalies fight.
2) Roy deserved a beat down.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

Interesting that you never watched Men's hockey until lately. And your grandkids actually played hockey. God, you're probably older than me (even though I was a late life mom).

My own kids were swimmers so I've spent many years immersed in that sport. (The best team in our league reminds me of the Penguins -- their superstar is like Crosby & Malkin rolled into one and she spread lots of gossip about my younger daughter.)

For a perspective on the age of my kids, my eldest is the same age as Ovi. In actuality, 5 Caps are less than a year older or younger than my first born. And one is 1 year younger plus a few days. (That's the core group of the Caps, for the most part.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Red Wings. One more and you're in the Stanley Cup.

I would really love for the Red Wings to clean the clocks of the Pens. I hope the Pens won't get their revenge this year. I feel like the Wings have built their team right and have class. The Pens, on the other hand,......

Please come back, Pasha (and Lidstrom).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

game 4 for the Bears starting in a few minutes. You can listen at
www.sportsjuice.com or watch on PPV at www.ahllive.com

GO BEARS

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

And I agree with all to the above: GO WINGS!

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: I was a very young mom-a freshman in college--but let's say I am a little older than the college kids on the blog.

How can anything be more boring than the same two teams (as last year) competing against each other in the Stanley Cup final? Unless you think Chicago and Carolina can pull an upset. Ha ha! I feel bad for Huet. This was his chance. I don't know how to look at a Pens-Wings game and not be bored. No dark horse there.

By the way has anything been written comparing the Pens-Caps series to the dismall Pens-Canes series? I need to read something about our obvious superiority.

Posted by: caraveli | May 24, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

LMAO @ CapsFan75...

just because the Caps can't beat the Pens in the playoffs, doesn't mean the Pens have no class. If the Caps and their fans think like that, we'll NEVER beat that team. Thru no fault of their own, they got lucky and happen to draft two players who are now two of the 3 best players in hockey. Yeah they got lucky but so were the Caps when OV fell in their lap.

It is very true that it's really annoying to see them get lucky like that again after they got lucky 25 years ago and drafted Mario Lemiuex. BTW I bet nobody on here doesn't remember who was drafted #2 the year Super Mario was picked #1... I do, I dare anyone to come up with that answer.. LOL

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

1st intermission:
Prov 2 - Bears 0

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

caraveli:
I feel no pity for Huet - it's hard to feel sorry for someone who got his just desserts.

joek443:
Muller.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tess! Geez, you know how torn I am about that one, but for all good reasons!! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Who was drafted #2 after Lemieux? I'm not looking it up. Wasn't a goalie, cuz Barasso was top drafted goalie a few years later. Who stunk and picked 2nd in 84? There were 21 teams. Detroit REALLY stunk back then. Yzerman was a few years earlier I think. Jimmy Carson? He was picked very early by LA...but maybe not till 87 or so. Brian Leetch? Scott Stevens was #3 overall - but I think 82. Wait. Did NJ pick next after Pitt? Swear to God I haven't peeked, but I will go with Kirk what's-his-name...Capt Kirk? Muller?

As soon as I "submit," I will go and find the answer. But I think from my beer and wine and gin and rum and whisky and vodka and tequila and grand marnier and - you get the point - sloshed brain that it was the guy for the Devils they called Capt Kirk.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 24, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I don't say the Pens have no class merely for beating the Caps in this playoff series. I'm saying it because of their behavior and their mode of operation.

Even if the Caps had won the series, I still would be hating the Pens more than before.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

I see your point about a rematch of last year's SC Finals being boring. I dislike the Pens enough to root for Detroit anyhow. (For the record, I would have rooted for the Western Conference winner vs Carolina or NJ or Philthy or either NY team, for that matter.)

Yes, you started having kids way before me. I waited until I was over 30. I was practically an original Caps fan -- followed them nearly all my adult life, since graduating from college, in 1975.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Yea, Boo, I know what you mean. ;)

Just a note, the Boston organization should feel very good about their goaltending future. Rask is very good!

Helmer just scored for Hershey!!!
Prov 2 - Bears 1

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

This is the best group of comments I've ever seen on wapo.com -- because many of the commenter demonstrate the knowledge that the loss of Scott Stevens to free agency was the single biggest mistake the Caps have ever made. And that's saying something.

Now all you have to do is take the next step. Say it with me:

Given the three Cups Stevens won with the Devils, the Caps mistake is enough to have caused The Curse of Scott Stevens.

Yep, that's how it works. Just ask the Red Sox. Or how about the NY Rangers after 1940.

Can a Curse be broken? Absolutely -- both of those teams proved it, after decades of suffering.

But the only way to break it is to be MONUMENTALLY better than all the other teams in the league; good enough to make up for all the bad calls / bad bounces / bad decisions The Curse causes.

That's a tall order, GMGM.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 24, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75

what about the behavior of the Pens and their mode of operation.. you completely lost me there.. what did they do specifically??

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1

you were almost right.. it was Kirk Muller of the NJ Devils.

I remember that very well because had the Devils lost the last game of the season, they would have been able to pick Super Mario. There was no draft lottery back then so everyone was waiting for the Devils to tank their last game but they went out and won the game and made things difficult for themselves.. LOL

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, boys and girls:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Muller

Yes, -boo- beat me to the punch, while I was ruminatin' and, by the way, drinking from the punch.

Can't believe though I remembered from whenever that it was Capt Kirk Muller. That was like when you can bypass all the ridiculous current data in your brain and then even bypass some of the nonsensical stuff 25 years back and somehow grasp that shred of whatever that led to the information. This reminds me of the time they picked a washed out hockey fan-beach bum to be on Jeopardy and Alex Trebek announced the topic as "NHL 2nd Overall Draft Picks," and the clue was, for $400, "SELECTED AFTER MARIO LEMIEUX IN 1984," and I hit the buzzer.

Alex: "Tom in Florida. Zero dollars. You haven't answered any questions yet."
Me: "Dude, it was like Kirk Muller."
Alex: "Correct. Pick again."
Me: "Let it ride for 800."
Alex: "Picked second after Ovechkin in 2004."
Me: "Malkin."
Alex: "Picked 2nd in 1993, later traded for Brendan Shanahan."
Me: "Easy, dude, that was Pronger. Clue should've been, 'Later pitch-forked Mike Green into the end boards.'"
Alex: "If you say so. Next."
Me: "For 1600."
(music sound - whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo)
Alex: "Answer is - the daily double! How much, Tom in Florida?"
Me: "What the F...let it ride."
Alex: "First, stop that cursing. Now, what year was Wayne Gretzy selected second overall?"
Me: (snickering) "Thought you'd get me there, Alex? Every one knows Gretzky signed underage with Indianapolis and never got drafted by the NHL."
Alex: "Magnifique!"
Me: "For 2000, Alex."
Alex: "Name the player the Washington Capitals selected 2nd overall in 1978. He was later traded for Rod Langway."
Me: "Dude? Can the questions get any easier? Ryan Walter."

At that point, I was ahead. Dreams raced through my head of winning and then again and the Jeopardy groupies waiting for me outside my hotel ("Can you sign my calculator?") and me more worried about accumulating my Days Inn points for a free night's stay and then Alex announces the Final Jeopardy topic and God, wouldn't you know it, but it has to be, "Quotes From Wm. Shakespeare."

So, the final answer, "To Be or Not To Be?" I'm an optimist, so I put, "To Be."

Long story short - I lost to the english lit high school teacher from Columbus, OH. I told him afterward that Nash and Mason give his team a fighting chance going forward. He looked at me like I had three heads. Go figure.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 24, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Tom:
But I still beat ya!! :-P

joek443:
What do I get for saying Muller first? ;-)

Tess:
Good - so you're not holding that against me?!? :-) Go Bruins! I mean, Go Bears!! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

TheRealOneal

I hate to tell you this but you have the facts completely WRONG about the circumstaces under which Scott Stevens left the Caps.

First of all, he signed with the Blues, not the Devils... I don't remember all the facts about Stevens basically being sent to the Devils but I think it was a compensation for the Devils signing Brendan Shanahan.

Second, Stevens WANTED to leave the Caps after the rape allegations. He was never charged with anything, neither was Dino Ciccarelli and Neil Sheehy both of whom stuck around with the Caps after the allegations. But Stevens didn't want to stick around. Poile wanted to match the offer but Abe Pollin thought otherwise.

Only LOSERS come up with all these "curses" and other theories.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

joek443, my friend, no need to call a fellow Caps fan a loser. We're all on the same "team" ... it's all good.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

--Boo--

I know but I can't stand the curse of the Bambino, the Billy Goat or whatever else.. LOL the Caps have only been around since 74 so let's not go there.

I don't even think the decision not to match the offer and keep Stevens was about the money. yes, Abe Pollin was never a big spender but it was more about the image of his team that he was more concerned with, not the money he would have to spend to keep Stevens around. Ciccarelli and Sheehy were all let go later on as well.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Do you honestly think I don't know that Stevens went to the Blues? Really?

That's why I'm not usually on these boards. You have to put up with people who know less than you, who think they know more.

It's upsetting, but in a larger sense it really doesn't matter. The Curse is real, and it can only end when the Caps acknowledge the fact that they have to be WAY WAY better than everyone else.

That means doing whatever you can to get Guerin at the trade deadline, instead of letting him go -- to the team that would eventually beat you in the playoffs.

That means finding a defenseman who wants to be Scott Stevens himself.

That means finding a forward who wants to be Tomas Holmstrom, or better yet Johan Franzen.

That means playing Theodore in Game 4 against the Penguins.

Seriously -- pucks go off defensemen and into the net NOT ONCE BUT TWICE IN OVERTIME and you don't see any hint of a curse in that? The Caps will have to be perfect to break The Curse. There is no other substitute.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 24, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

5:55 to go in the 3rd. Score tied 2-2. Aucoin just scored for the Bears.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Go Bears!

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 24, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Bears headed to OT.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say something about a "Curse?"

Anyone who believes in curses must be drinking even more tham me. I pity your credit card and God knows I feel for your liver.

I have a black cat. Actually it's my daughter's (she of the Green jersey). The cat, Greta, sits on top the computer when I type. Not signing Scott Stevens had nothing to do with curses and limos. It had to do with thinking five 1st rounders was a better value than #3 at $1M per year. Poile after the fact bemoaning the decision to not match only reinforces the notion that he was nu+le$$ when in the presence of Uncle Abe. Not matching the Blues offer sheet was the greatest decision of Poile's career and he came up...wrong. Incredibly, all of Poile's greatness (Murray as coach, trading for Langway) was accomplished in the first few months of his GM-ship in 1982.

One month of greatness; 27 years of mediocrity. Sounds like a D.C. politician to me.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 24, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Doesn't matter if you believe in it. It's there.

Gotta make the team better.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 24, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Bears Win!
Graham Mink scores the OT winner.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 24, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Oneal: You are wrong. There's no curse on the Caps. I'm not being being belligerant with you. I can't claim to be an expert on curses. Are you? Again, no expert here, but the Bible will tell you that all curses are the work of the Devil (not the NJ type). A God-fearing person who believes in the Lord would never type such ridiculous mumbo-jumbo as "curse this" or "curse that."

So I spit three times into the face of Mephistophilis. And I pray that he never referees a Caps playoff game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 24, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:

I've seen enough to know that what's happened to the Caps since they failed to re-sign Stevens can't possibly be explained by logic.

That leaves you with one choice: The Curse of Scott Stevens.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 24, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Hooray Bears! Way to go Mink!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 24, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Yay Neuvy and Bears! Wrap this up tomorrow. Go BEARS! =)

And Huet sucks. So glad we didn't sign that loser.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 24, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1:

I've seen enough to know that what's happened to the Caps since they failed to re-sign Stevens can't possibly be explained by logic.

That leaves you with one choice: The Curse of Scott Stevens.

Oneal

ONEAL: No, there's at least one more possible explanation - that the Caps were beaten by better teams. The problem with your "curse" argument, as I have outlined, is that any curse, as understood in the full context of what it means, is that it requires a "hex" of some kind for it to exist.

I will exclude for the moment the possibility that you are "pulling my leg" and grant you the autonomy to make your point. "Curses" and "hexses" are the work of the Devil. I haven't been in a church since the Baltimore Orioles were good, but I can tell you that you shouldn't believe in these things. The notion that God, in His infinite wisdom, would punish the Caps, because they didn't re-sign Scott Stevens, is absurd to the -inth degree.

I can swear to you although not deputized by the Lord that any punishment seemingly bestowed upon the Washington NHL franchise is merely one of the stupidity of poor draft picks, and not God's wrath due to the failure to provide Scott Stevens with one million dollars per year.

Oneal, really, drop this curse crap. I mean, drop it. There are no curses in sports. Really, dude, I'm deadly serious here, and everyone knows I rarely get this way, but God only curses people like Hitler and Fidel Castro. Oh, yeah, Qaddafi got a little curse - cost him a couple of his children, didn't it?

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 24, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

ditto tominfl1,

the "curse" of the Caps as he puts it all happened when Stevens was still with the Caps, losing to the Rangers in 1986 when the Caps were more than 40 points better than them so I really have no idea what that guy is talking about.

The Caps had some good teams since the 80's but none of them were favorites to win the Cup. If there really is a "curse", just about every team in the NHL who hasn't won the cup must have the same curse. LOL talk about loser mentality.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

TheRealOneal

I've been watching the Caps hockey since the early 1980's and the biggest playoff disappointments that I can remember are all during the time when Stevens was still wearing #3 for the Caps... how do you explain that curse???

LMAO

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Bravo to the Bears for their overtime win of today (and their great comeback win from earlier this weekend).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, whoa, whoa fellas ... are we really resorting to name calling, accusations and other silliness? Geez, who needs trolls when we've got each other?!? Let's all lighten up and play nice, already.

Oh and way to go Bears! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 24, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The Bears comeback on Friday, by winning 6-4 after being down 3-0, is almost as good as a comeback I made up for a story I wrote once. I was having Star Trek's favorite Russian, Chekov, describe a comeback that the Russian Olympic team once did. (Actually, it's in our future -- not too far away.) They were down 5-0 after 2 periods and then made a comeback, scoring 2 goals in the last minute or so and winning in Overtime. Losing team in my tale -- Canada. (I didn't have the heart to have the Americans lose to Russia.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

I agree with you. The name calling and accusations are getting a bit ridiculous.

Yes, I know curses are ridiculous. But in my most paranoid moments, I sometimes wonder. I also keep telling myself, someday the law of averages has to work in our favor. It finally did for the Boston Red Sox.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 24, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL sorry --Boo-- ,

just got carried way by that guys's nonsense. I mean I love Scott Stevens, all my years of watching hockey nobody could impact the game the way he did without scoring a point.. not even Langway because he was never the open ice hitter that Stevens was. I remember Stevens knocking out Eric Lindros with a classic open ice hit during a playoff game one year. He was vital part of the Devils Cup winning teams but everyone knows that the biggest reason that the Devils won all those cups is Marty Brodeur.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVeqzYgTELk

this is how you hit people...

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Help: Are they gonna have the AHL finals on TV?

Thanks.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 25, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

NHL Network had all of the Calder Cup finals games on TV last year.

Posted by: cocorules | May 25, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVeqzYgTELk

this is how you hit people...

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 11:08 PM

Saw that game; Stevens got lucky. Lindros, as is par for the course, was skating across the blueline with his head down again, knowing Stevens was on the ice. Had Lindros been looking up, that concussion would never have happened. Story of his career. The most important factor is that Stevens did not deliver with his forearm, he did it with his shoulder, and nothing more. Kronwall used his forearm. Ovechkin does as well sometimes, and both propel themselves upwards which adds lift. Stevens didn't do that. Thanks for posting. great to see again.

Posted by: oo7 | May 25, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@ joek443

No doubt the '80s sucked in terms of Caps playoff disappointments. I remember sitting up until 2:30 on Easter morning watching the Islanders game, etc. etc. etc.

Personally, I've always blamed Brian Murray for those.. great regular season coach, diddly in the playoffs. As you say, the fact that those disappointments exist is a good argument that there is no Curse. If you feel the '80s disappointments are worse than the '90s and the 2000s, that's your opinion and you are entitled to it.

But in my opinion the worst has come after Stevens debacle. What happened in the 80's should have been a building block for dominance in the 90's, with Scott Stevens at the center of it. Instead that progress was cut off at the knees. The three Cups Stevens lifted for New Jersey should have been ours.

We deserved what we got after that. The 91 and 92 losses to the Penguins, who went on to win Cups.

The collapse against the Islanders in '93. (Anyone remember how Dale Hunter reacted to that one?)

Hell, I was at the 'USAir Arena' back in 1996, sitting at center ice looking to the goal on my left when Petr Nedved took an innocent looking shot around 2:20 in the morning.

I remember Esa Tikkanen missing an open net that would have at least given the Caps one win in the '98 Finals.

I remember the JOY AND OPTIMISM we all felt when Jaromir Jagr, the BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD was brought to Washington AT THE PRIME OF HIS CAREER. And I remember how that turned out.

And now that we have the best player in the world again, I remember getting shafted by a bad call in Game 7 against the Flyers last year. And by two overtime goals bouncing in off defensemen this year.

The Curse is real, and it is deserved. There are no compromises. The Caps have to rise to a completely new, dominant level to win the Stanley Cup. 'We've got a pretty good team and we'll see what happens in the playoffs' will never, never work.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 25, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

TheRealOneal

Seriously, I think you need to go see a shrink. According to your "curse" theory, the team that should be really upset or cursed is the Blues, NOT the Caps.

Posted by: joek443 | May 25, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

PS. The Caps got SWEPT by the Redwings in 1998.. you think had Tikkanen scored, they would have gone ahead and beat the Redwings?? ARE YOU RETARDED???

Posted by: joek443 | May 25, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm a big Stevens fan but the Caps had him for 8 or 9 years and they didn't win anything with him. Why you think the Caps fortunes would have changed had they kept is beyond anyone's comprehension...

you think maybe Marty Brodeur had more to do with the Devils winning the Cups than Stevens?? I sure do!!!

Posted by: joek443 | May 25, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I remember the JOY AND OPTIMISM we all felt when Jaromir Jagr, the BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD was brought to Washington AT THE PRIME OF HIS CAREER. And I remember how that turned out.

Really? Because I felt, perhaps irrationally, a bit betrayed by management for bringing him, not only the #1 enemy for so long, but a known crybaby, prima donna, and locker room problem child, to town. Of course, my worst fears were realized pretty darn quick.

I think Jagr's very best years were already behind him by the time he was brought to DC.

Anyways, add me to the list of people who don't believe in any "Scott Stevens Curse"

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You all have it wrong: It is the curse of Sluggo. If he was here, we would have had 3 Cups by now.

Also, as a Retarded American, I am offended by the haphazard use of that phrase. Please be more polite.

Posted by: Leeguru | May 25, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

You can be critical of me if you'd like.. just don't come cryin' back when the Caps try to go into the playoffs with a team that is only as good or marginally better than the competition. They'll be home in time for golf, again.

I call it The Curse, you can call it what you want. But horrible decisions have consequences, and we've all been living with that one since 1990.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 25, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Bears and Bruins play at 4:00 today. Aucoin is an injury scratch...strained hip flexor.

Article about Alzner:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/25/concussion-effects-put-alzner-on-ice/

Article about last night's OT win:
http://www.pennlive.com/hersheybears/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/sports/1243221913252470.xml&coll=1

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Lee. I'm sure my landlord didn't appreciate me LOLing while on the phone with him. :-D
Tess, thanks for the update! I'd listen, but they don't seem to do well when I do. Go Bears!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I hate it that Malkin is the playoff scoring leader when Ovie, Semin etc. have obviously played fewer games and there is no way you can level the playing field. A small thing but it really irritates me.

Next year should be exciting. Having become a very good team, we can now aim for the elite level or a real Cup contender. Hope we learned a lot from this year's playoff experience. Can't wait for fall.

Posted by: caraveli | May 25, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Well Everyone,

I doubt if any curse on the Caps is because of Scott Stevens. They had bad luck in the playoffs, both with him and without him. They would have probably done better if they hadn't let him go (or had made better draft picks).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@caraveli

It annoys me too (on Malkin being the scoring leader in the playoffs).

I hope our boys have learned from this year's playoff loss. (Now just have to figure out how to preserve them from injury and how to counteract the Orpiks and Kunitzes of the world.)

It's amazing that Detroit is doing so well even with so many of their guys injured. I hope they're back for the Pens.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

End of the 1st period: score 0-0
Shots on goal: Hershey 13, Providence 3

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The thing is McPhee should have learned from last season's playoff experience but he did nothing to fix the defense or add any toughness or experience so we went into the playoffs this season with the same team only with a worse goalie and no Matt Cooke and pretty much the same thing happened. Terrible defense and lack of toughness.

He's a slow learner. Hopefully he fixes the problems in this offseason but who knows. He might be looking for another Brian Pothier for all we know.

Posted by: alanb1 | May 25, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Bears lead 1-0.
Andrew Gordon with a 5-on-3 PP goal.
Assists to Giroux and Bourque.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Game tied 1-1. Bruins score on a PP.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Bears,

Memo for next two periods. You need to stay out of the box.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Roooooooouuux! C'mon Bears!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

LOL jmu! Thought you were afraid to listen! :)

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Tess, I am! I'm following on the text score sheet on the AHL website.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

However, I am positively bummed I didn't hear Walton call the penalties on Wacey Rabbit. Poor kid, his parents had a horrible sense of humor.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The Giroux goal was a bad play by Rask. He went behind the net to play the puck but it took a weird bounce and G had pretty much an empty net to shoot at.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope Rask continues making bad plays. He's made too many stops for my liking.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Rask is very good.
Well the Bruins scored...tied 2-2.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Booooooo! Come on Bears!!!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Will these Koharskis plague us for all eternity, at all levels?

Posted by: KurtNYC | May 25, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

3-2 Bears--Bourque with a shorty

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

KurtNYC, Absolutely. (insert Curse of the Koharskis joke here)

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Reid! Come on Bears!!! Keep up that beautiful pressure!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Go Bears! Show the big boys how to win playoff series!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Quintin!!!!!!!

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Laingerrrrrrrrr! C'mon boys!!!!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Lainger! Way to put it away, Bears!

Posted by: KurtNYC | May 25, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Woooooooooo! Way to go Bears!!!!!!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Baby! Bears win 5-2.
We're going to the finals.
GO BEARS!!

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Yay Bears!

Posted by: shayem22 | May 25, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Bears have shown the big boys on the parent club how to win.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

too funny, a Koharski officiating at the Dunkin' Donuts Center!!!

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... this is interesting
According to Sport-Express Sergei Fedorov will play next season in Russia's steel city Magnitogorsk, former Malkin's team. He will be flying to Russia in the next few days to sign the contract.

Posted by: minicoop828 | May 25, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

the Russian papers have been wrong before on these things. Just recently they reported that Brashear was going to Russia that very day to sign a contract. It obviously didn't happen. A paper (don't rememebr which one) also reported that Kozlov wass signing with another Russian team and that has yet to materialize.

I have a hard time seeing Fedorov going to Russia. I believe he has permanent US residency, and I can't remember the last time I heard of him spending an extended period of time there. I can't see him jumping ship to go play in Russia. Fedorov doesn't strike me as ever wishing to go back to Russia, even if offered a nice position with Russian hockey. He seems pretty well planted in the US along with his parents and brother. Someone in the NHL, and I certainly hope its the Caps, will offer him a contract for next season. (this is all a very long way of saying if Fedorov goes back to Russia, I'll wear a Malkin shirt for a day)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Theoretically, isn't he blocked from signing any contracts until July 1st? I realize that the KHL does whatever the heck it darn well pleases, but it seems highly unlikely Feds himself would do that. Unless he already asked for a ton of dough and the Caps flat out said take a pay cut or hit the road, I think both parties said they were interested in him returning. I believe Sports-Express was also the same outlet that said Koz & Brash were both signing KHL contracts within days, several weeks ago. And we're still waiting.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I think I win the CI "Least Likely to Remember to Refresh" Award. :-D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

:-D I think we've all done that at some point!

Magnitogorsk seems a bit too far from Miami Beach for Feds' liking, anyways :) That's one of the bonuses of playing in DC: easy trips to Miami and the chance to visit the beach house 3 times a year while on team business.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

RedBirdie, haha, yeah, but "at some point" comes a lot more often for me! :-D

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Go Bears! :-) That's so cool - good for them. How did Lainger look? Glad to hear he's back!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 25, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Sergei's brother came to NJ tryouts, didn't make the cut and then refused to report to Lowell.

Pretty funny.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 25, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Sergei's brother plays for Metallurg btw...

Posted by: richmondphil | May 25, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Question. Is Varlamov currently on the Bears roster, or is there some rule which prevents him from being on the roster?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 25, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, Varly is not on the Bears roster since he was never sent back down. I think that was the decision made by the team and him. He could go play for the Bears if that's what they wanted.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 25, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess they wanted him to keep that "I am a NHL goalie" mindset. Understandable.

Neuvirth has been great anyway.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 25, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Phil/JMU:
I think Gabby said Varly was emotionally spent after two tough series and he thought he needed a break. Besides, Neuvy and Cheese are doing fine without him and the Caps have all but said that Varly is gonna be a Cap next year, so there was just no reason to send him down.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 25, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I'd say, Varly has proved that he's now an NHL goalie, based on his playoff performance. Even with the lapses he had, he's more consistent than Theodore.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Listening to the broadcast of the Manitoba/Houston game. Currently 1-1 in the 2nd period. If Manitoba wins tonight, that's who the Bears will face in the finals, and Manitoba will have home ice advantage. If Houston wins tonight they'll play game 7 Wed. night. If Houston wins the series the Bears will have home ice in the finals.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I was reading about the possibility of Feds playing in Russia next year. But then again, reports in the Soviet Sport Express should be taken with a grain of salt. (You all here pointed out the rumors of Kozzie and Brash going to Russia as well).

We won't say Da Svidagna (sp?) to our boys until it's official official.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

Are you rooting for Houston, in that case? (It doesn't seem that as many people are naming their daughters, Tess, these days. Although my younger daughter had a middle school friend named Tess.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@--Boo--

Laing's return to help the Bears in the playoffs is certainly an inspirational story.

Hope Alzner will be okay. What a shame he had a concussion and missed most of the last two rounds of playoffs. He seems like such a nice kid. I met him after a few Caps practices. (He treats me better than my own kids do. LOL!)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
I agree - Varly is ready for the NHL, the question is will he be #1 or #2? I think a lot of it depends on how Theo plays in camp. RE: Laing, he's such a great guy - there are not many guys with bigger hearts for the game on the ice. I was looking forward to seeing him finally get a little time with the Caps this season, but as quickly as he was in, he was out. Too bad. I hope he goes all the way to another cup with Bears now because chances are he will be out of the system next season. At least we will see more of Alzner next season!

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 25, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75
I don't really care which team we play next. We didn't play Manitoba at all this year, but I know they're very good. Top team in the west most of the season. We did play Houston home and away. Without looking it up, I'm not sure how we did against them. All I remember is that I liked their uniforms! :) And I remember the guys b*tching about how bad the ice was in Houston. If the ice was crappy in December, imagine what it'll be like in June.

And as for people not naming kids Tess these days, I'm close to your age so I guess it was a more popular name back in the day.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 25, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201

I have no personal preference on who wins between Manitoba and Houston myself. Have to confess, I have not really followed the AHL West this year. (I recall that the Bears were playing out in Texas when Simeon V. got the word that he was being called up to the Caps.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Hershey vs Manitoba! It's on!

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | May 25, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

bring it.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

We could say the Sid Crosby is a member of the genus Eudyptula ("good little diver") of the family Spheniscidae in the order Sphenisciformes. Spheniscidae is the official scientific name for Penguins.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

TSN is reporting that RDS.ca is reporting, based on Russian sources, that Fedorov will sign in Russia. What I want to know is, how hard is it to call Miami and ask then man himself? It's like the silliest game of telephone ever here. TSN didn't even bother to independently verify RDS.ca's story?

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie

Does TSN even have Feds' number?

(Gee, I remember the good old days when "The Sporting News" was based in St. Louis and focused more on baseball than any other sport.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

On trade rumors, I remember when my daughter was at summer camp and they played telephone. At the time, the Orioles were trying to trade Bobby Bonilla. So the original statement passed was "Bobby Bonilla will get traded today". By the time my daughter heard it, it was "Bobby Banana will get traded today."

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

sorry, its TSN the canadian website. I should have been more clear (and apparently, Feds is in Detroit, my bad, not Miami. But still, you can't call and at least get a "no comment"?). Puck Daddy is reporting this like its a done deal. The Sports Express article says he's signing in Russia because the $2 million dollar Washington offered him as an insult.

All that said, I won't believe it until I see it. I have a hard time believing a guy who says to every reporter "I'm playing in the NHL another year and I want it to be Washington" would walk off to Russia that quickly.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 25, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I thought Fed could not talk to any other teams until July 1?

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 25, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

Does that only apply to American (and Canadian) team in the NHL? I figured the KHL would not necessarily follow NHL rules in that regard.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 25, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
I suppose, but he is obligated to the Caps until then. I guess it is a moot point since he is a UFA - if he has decided to go, then he may know he is definitely outta here July 1. Although I find that hard to believe after he said how much he wants to come back. Unless the Caps have told him in no uncertain terms that they will not be bringing him back (or not meeting his salary demands) ... who knows.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 25, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75 @ Boo:

There is no way Varly will be #2 unless BB is suicidal. He is seen as #1, he played like #1-way out-performing Theo, he was treated as #1 by replacing Theo. Maybe in the beginning he will give them both equal time or something but surely he (Varly) will be in goal more and more as stats become more critical. It is interesting that Theo claims he is still #1, while Boudreau says that his decision is up in the air and depends of performance during the camp.

Posted by: caraveli | May 25, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

caraveli:

Oh I think they will duke it out in camp. My money is on Varly but stranger things have happened. Jose plays better when:

1) He is challenged for #1 (think about how well he played when Johnny was on his game).
2) His contract is almost up (GMGM even said that).
3) Plain and simple, he's on his game (after all, he is a Vezina winner!).

So anything can happen, especially next season. If he comes back gangbusters, it would not be unthinkable for him to resume his #1 spot, but I think it is more likely that they will go 50/50 - easing him out and Varly in (in an attempt to keep them both fresh and to get Varly used to the grind).

Having said ALL of that, if I had to pick one it would be Varly. It's no secret that I've never been a huge Jose fan (as much as I wanted to be). Varly is clearly the future keeper of this team and I for one can't wait to see what he can do in the playoffs next year after the benefit of an entire season in the NHL. No, I have not ruled Jose out just yet (it's just a little bit too early to do that), but I think Varly's our boy.

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 26, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Suicidal? Wrong term there...

Posted by: richmondphil | May 26, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Ok people I hope you realize that what a player says on his goodbye day interviews should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.

Has anyone here EVER heard a player say they would like to play for another team next year?
99.99% the time they say"Well we'll see what happens, I'd like to come back I love it here (meaning=I'll come back at the right price)

It doesn't suprise me he's leaving. Get 4 million(double what washington would pay), play with his brother in a less pressure packed environment with less competition where he can play at a high level... It would be a tough choice for me as well...

think about it.

Posted by: hardyboys0 | May 26, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

hardyboys0:
These conversations were a wee bit different ...

Posted by: --Boo-- | May 26, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

SO MAD that the AHL finals won't be shown on the NHL network. This sucks. UGH. =(

Posted by: rachel216 | May 26, 2009 6:13 AM | Report abuse

It will be sad to see Feds go, but best of Luck.

The AHL finals will be on the ahl.com, but you have to pay.

Posted by: NatyBG | May 26, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

joek443: I'm responding to your post from a couple of days ago. My comment about the Canes being so much better than the Caps was sarcasm. From the start I said the Pens would win in no more than 5 games. After Game 1 I also said the Pens would start to dissect the Canes.

I made the sarcastic remark back on Friday "The Canes are so much better than the Caps, their defensemen move the puck up ice so much better, they clear the crease..." because so many Caps fans were trashing our team for losing in 7 games to the Pens, and claimed the Canes were a better defensive team.

I can't believe you even made you comment that I don't know what I am talking about because the Caps are a better team than the Canes, NO KIDDING you bonehead, because in the same post I finished by saying "...squeak squeak squeak...that is me raising the BS flag. The Caps played the Pens pretty darn good. The 2 best teams in the Eastern Conference played in the semis rather that the Conference Finals. Just a few little tweaks and we're there."

So the sum things up your comment of "fanohock1, you don't know ANYTHING about hockey. I'd be shocked if the Canes won a game in the series. They just don't have the fire power to compete with teams like the Caps and the Pens in the playoffs." Makes absolutely no sense because I also said the best two teams in the Conference played in the Conference semi-finals. So you don't have to look up when the Conference Semis were, they were the last round when the Caps and Pens played, and so you don't have to hurt your brain and figure out who I think the best two teams in the Conference are I mean the Caps and Pens.


Posted by: fanohock1 | May 26, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

say it isn't so! puck daddy is reporting that fedorov is KHL bound!

Posted by: abuddy2004 | May 26, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

joek443: Based on a review of all of your comments you are right about everything. We just need to ask you, you'll tell us what to think. The fact that you never brought Backstrom into the conversation when bringing up young stars that the Pens and Caps have shows that you are not as knowledgable as you think you are. Backstrom is still number 8 in this year's playoff scoring, and scored at more than a point a game clip in last year's playoffs too. As for the what you called "waste of time" regular season he finished 10th in the league, compared to his Calder finalists peers from last season Kane (70) and Toews (69) paled in comparison. So again, not mentioning Backstrom shows you do not have a keen hockey mind, and that you probably are not a Caps fan.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 26, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The thought of having Fedorov on our team has been great, but he's a shell of a player that will be inducted into the HHOF the first time he's eligible. That will free up $4 mil for the Caps to seek help that will let them be the team that advances when the Caps and Pens meet next year in the playoffs.

I also had the thought of Fedorov finishing his career in the NHL the way Chelios has. Chelios is 47 and wearing a jersey every once in a while but didn't get put into the game in a complete blowout until there were about 3 1/2 minutes left. He got to play like a 5th line player on a high school team, what a shame.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 26, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | May 26, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It will be sad to see Feds go, but at some point we need to fill out our roster with our prospects. Not not mention we need some Cap space room. I think Feds did exactly what GMGM and everyone else wanted, but his best days are behind him and for the past year and a few month we ackomplished what was intended. Bring in some a young energetic prospect and move on.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 26, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Im assuming with Feds out, our #1 option from within will be to put Aucoin as a full time center with the big club next year?

Posted by: SA-Town | May 26, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Feds to KHL article: http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=279927

Posted by: armonroe | May 26, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Also...just throwing this out, but Mike Cammalleri is not even worth looking at here with Backstrom and Semin on the horizon...correct?

Posted by: SA-Town | May 26, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I have no insider info about Feds but it is quite likely that GMGM, after finding out that the Salary Caps is shrinking by $2.5 Million in 2009-2010, told Feds that he will not offer him a contract. Following that, perhaps Feds deciding that he would enjoy playing with his Bro for a year or two...

Posted by: atybat | May 26, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse


There is no way Varly will be #2 unless BB is suicidal. He is seen as #1, he played like #1-way out-performing Theo, he was treated as #1 by replacing Theo. Maybe in the beginning he will give them both equal time or something but surely he (Varly) will be in goal more and more as stats become more critical. It is interesting that Theo claims he is still #1, while Boudreau says that his decision is up in the air and depends of performance during the camp.
Posted by: caraveli | May 25, 2009 11:52 PM

we all want Varly to be a franchise goalie but like kickers in NFL or closers in MLB - the road is littered with too many Jim Carey's.

I would be cautious about rushing in the youngster for the entire season. Seemed the Penz thought they had solved him in the last 2-3 games.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 26, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

It will be sad to see Feds go, but at some point we need to fill out our roster with our prospects. Not not mention we need some Cap space room. I think Feds did exactly what GMGM and everyone else wanted, but his best days are behind him and for the past year and a few month we ackomplished what was intended. Bring in some a young energetic prospect and move on.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 26, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with this completely. I like Feds too but we need to get some guys in here that are going to be around for a while, one for experience sake and two to see if they can play or not.

Also on the "whose the #1 goalie" front. Why even pick one? Tell them both they will share duties and the best performer will be the goalie in the playoffs. That will motivate both of them. Plus I bet Theo will play well next year since it's a contract year. You don't want to overwork Varly is you have a 30 game winner already on the roster.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 26, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

NHL network said Kozlov has gone the KHL.

Posted by: Bobby894 | May 26, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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