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Morning Reading List

After recording 11 points in the past four games, second-year center Nicklas Backstrom was named the NHL's first star of the week yesterday. His goal and four assist performance against New Jersey on Saturday was just the latest installment in a five-game point streak and the Capitals hope he has officially broken out of his sophomore slump as they ready for a four-game road trip.

*The NHLPA had a feature on defenseman John Erskine last week, where the blueliner talks about how his role changed when Coach Bruce Boudreau took the reins of the team last season, among other things.

*Former Capitals forward Ben Clymer has a second installment in his blog for The Hockey News about his experience playing for Dynamo Minsk in the KHL.

*So I rounded up a lot of the hits that have raised eyebrows this season, hits that some believed would force the NHL to make a stand on the situation...not quite. Greg Wyshynski over at Yahoo has a good take on the NHL's inaction, which includes links to the league memo that TSN obtained warning players about hits to the head.

In the system:
*Dmitri Kugryshev scored a goal in the first game of the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge, which the QMJHL defeated the Russian All-Stars 5-3.

*John Carlson had two goals and an assist in London's two wins this weekend to help extend the Knights' winning streak to six games. On Friday, the Knights defeated the Barrie Colts 6-5 in a shootout and on Sunday they shutout the Guelph Storm 2-0.

By Katie Carrera  |  November 18, 2008; 9:14 AM ET
 
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Next: Poll: Who Should Start in Anaheim?

Comments

Morning.

Posted by: Section117 | November 18, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Re last post:

I would not want M. Komisarek on this team. He's a slight step up from what we've already got (and that's mostly due to experience), but he's an expensive average D. Not worth it, in my opinion.

Honestly, I think we should make a serious push for Bouwmeester in the off-season. But I have no idea how we'd do it :-).

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Section 117.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Re-post

Komisarek and the rest of the Canadiens are going to be All Star starters. They wouldn't possibly move an All Star starter. :) The cap will be a challenge for us this year. That is why we have generally been carrying 1 short of a full roster. Making room for a late season or injury call up, but not necessarily for an acquisition for the playoff push.

Posted by: _Mark | November 18, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

If we were not up against the cap, we might have kept Alzner up and not let him get the minutes that he needs. I am glad that Alzner is in Hershey getting experience and minutes that will serve us well late this year or next year. Because we are limited, we found that we had a pretty darn good defensemen in Sloan and we might not have found that otherwise.

Posted by: _Mark | November 18, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@ Drinkingpartner

I don't think Bouweester will last untill next off-season. He likely would be traded before the deadline or at the deadline this spring. It's nice to dream about him being in a CAPS uni , but that would be a monumental task.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 18, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Do you often ready 'four' a four game road trip, TEB? :)

Posted by: Semvechkin | November 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of watching Pittsburgh on Versus.

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand why everyone on this blog seems to defend Josie constantly in spite of the fact that after 11 games he is still easily ranked amoung the bottom 10 goalies in the league in save percentage and goals against. I understand the jury may still be out, he may get better. I even understand the folks who like to blame his play on the defense, but please explain to me why it was Kolzig's fault playing with a demonstrably worse defense and now Josie gets a pass? Frankly Johnny has played better in front of the same defense and as soon as he is healthy, I hope he is back in the net. I don't want Kolzig back, I just want to see goaltending that makes me think we have a chance in the post season and right now we are not getting it. Everyone seems worried about players like Kozlov, Erskine, and Mo who won't have any where near the impact that our goaltender will in April/May. Frankly it is time for Josie to step up, steal a few games, and earn his money as #1.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Great find on the sexy lumberjack article.
I bet he spent some time chopping down trees while on vacation

Posted by: _stevo | November 18, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'll have some John Carlson, please.

Posted by: keeef | November 18, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Hang in there Keeef, in a couple years you'll get your John Carlson fix. Hopefully he will develop quickly when he gets to Hershey.

Posted by: _Mark | November 18, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

There's no doubt in my mind that Bouwmeester will not be a Cap this season -- it's not monetarily possible, and the Caps, I'd hope, wouldn't be willing to give up what would be necessary to get him -- but I think it's entirely possible that he could be a Cap next season. Bouwmeester wants to play for a team worth playing for: we can all understand that. He'll go to...eh, I might guess Nashville, to be quite honest, at the deadline.

Poile will try like hell to get him signed before Free Agency, but, unless Bouwmeester actually ends up in Montreal or Detroit or somewhere comparable, he won't sign.

Not only that, but I think he'll be downright lusting to play here. The Caps are a great, young team who can really use his speed and size and play-making ability.

And you know what the absolute kicker is? He'll be cheaper than Green.

Green out-performed him last year, and will do so again this year. If we locked up the most electric Offensive Defenseman for slightly over 5-mil last summer, we can absolutely sign someone like Bouwmeester for 4-mil or less. (And we all know where that 4-mil can come from -- there are a few possibilities.)

The only problem is that there are probably other teams he'd rather play for (isn't he Toronto-born? As much as they suck, I'll bet he'd love to play in Toronto -- and they'd love to have him) who will gladly offer him a Phaneuf-like contract.

But the Caps have Ovechkin, and Bouwmeester, I think, would excel in BB's system. He'd be my target this summer.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"when Coach Bruce Boudreau took the reigns of the team last season,"

You mean "reins".

Posted by: tegularius | November 18, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@majiksea

I totally agree that Jose has to step up. When he is in net it is like spotting the other team three goals....

I want Jose to do well. I don't know if the problem is his play or some of our defense men who seem to want to be extra wingers?

At the end of the day if he is unable to put some consistent play in between the pipes we need to start looking. Brent Johnson has been playing with passion but does he have a whole season of those games in him?

I guess we will see...

Rich

Posted by: fiskra | November 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner

I think next year we're loaded for bear. We won't need to get any free-agents in here at all. Alzner, Oskala, and half a dozen others can take over the UFA slots coming up.

Kozlov, Fedorov and Brashear are on the block at the end of the season. I think we'll be in a good position to bring in some kids from Hershey to replace them. Sexy lumberjack takes over Brashear's role as fighter - he has the mug already for it so we don't have to let another guy's face get rearranged.

I'd really like to see Mo and Juice moved. Maybe Schultz, too, but he's got an "in" with Mgt somehow.

That's 5 slots, 3 at a minimum.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Vote, people! Our boys are slipping.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I doubt JBou will end up here. We have to re-sign Semin and Backstrom to extensions, and with Alzner waiting in the wings, I don't see the caps ponying up the 4.5-6 million a year it would cost to get Jbou to sign.

If he is desperate to play for a winning team, and miraculously signs a one year 3 million dollar deal or something completely unexpected like that happens, I'll welcome him with open arms.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 18, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner

Are you nuts? Komisarek lead the league in HITS, BLOCKS and did it all with 101 pims and was +9 playing against EVERY teams top line.

Average D-guy?

If he is average, then who is a superb S@H defensemen?

Bouwmeester? HA!

That guy is lousy as a S@H defensemen. He's a offensive minded blueline QB.

Posted by: JSchon | November 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner

Do you actually look at any stats either before you hit the submit button?

M.Komisarek makes $1.7M, less than Alzner will make in the AHL.

Posted by: JSchon | November 18, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Lines for next year if Kozzy, Fedorov, and Brash split:

Ovie-Backstrom-Semin
Bourque-Nylander-Flash
Osala-Laich-Fehr/Clark
J Beagle-Steckel/Gordon-Brads

I would love this team even more if it shakes down like this.

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bouwmeester has as many assist as Schultz, oh wait, one less than Schultz.

He also has as many goals as Jose Theodore, none.

We can only wish to have him on the team.

Posted by: JSchon | November 18, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Jschon, who made you persecutor-extraordinaire? I expressed an opinion: I don't like Komisarek and I don't think he'd do much for our team, stats be damned.

Bouwmeester has speed and size and youth -- none of our Hershey boys have his speed, and Carlson, even with an outstanding camp is probably at least 2 years away.

Nor did I ever remark that I'd bring in Bouwmeester to be S@H. Alzner's pure S@H, and we've apparently got Erskine for another 2 years. Bouwmeester in BB's system, I think, would excel being Green #2.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

_jordan

Looks fine to me, too. Saves a big chunck of change, too.

I'd like to keep Sloan up, too. Bring up Lepisto and/or Alzner too.

Hershey fans need to give some input here, specially on goal. Love Johnson, but he's UFA and we have 3 goalies in Hershey - or should be there. One of them needs to move up.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg S.,

Yeah, it'll give us money to have this D lineup!

Green/Schultz
Sami/Alzner
Poti/Sloan
Erskine

Mo is outta here, I think. and please jesus get rid of Juice if we have to keep Easy E..

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner

No one made me prospector-extraordinaire...

But I do look at numbers and common sense to determine a players value.

You dont.

Saying Komisarek is an average D-guy and slight step above what we have and is expensive at that, is not only false in every way but only proves to me that you have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: JSchon | November 18, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero:

You're probably right, but I think there's real lure in playing with BB and Ovechkin in Washington -- it's possible that we may see an Ottawa situation where some players may willingly take pay-cuts to be able to keep a team together/play for the team. I think Backstrom gets rewarded handsomely, but I think he takes a "pay-cut" for 4.5 mil a year, as opposed to the likely 6 he's worth.

Semin's my Salary Cap WC, though. I think he wants to stay with Ovie, but I also think he wants to be paid what he's worth, which is quite a lot more than he's currently getting paid. I also don't see him backing down a whole lot in negotiations.

I really think that if someone showed Bouwmeester exactly what he stands to gain by taking a 3-4 mil deal for 2 years and by playing for 2 years in BB's system, that he'll sign here.

Then again, GMGM is a complete enigma when it comes to FAs, so, who knows who their main target is.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@majiksea: You know, I'd been wondering about that after the Saturday game. Everyone says that D was a total clunker, and I didn't watch the game, so maybe that's true, but if you look at the actual game summary...

http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20082009/GS020243.HTM

They gave up 30 SOG, we gave up 33. That gives Theodore 28 saves for a .848 SV%. Johnson did better against Ottawa with a HORRID D that gave up 44 SOG, making 42 saves for a .954 SV%. Yes, that's absolutely sick.

To make a long story short, 33 SA, while not stellar, isn't the worst we've done, and that save percentage is pretty bad. o.o The numbers suggest to me at least that we can't pin the Devils loss entirely on our D - I think D and G share the blame for that.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 18, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Komisarek coming to Washington would be expensive -- there's no way in hell he'd sign for less than 3.5, now that Erskine has a 2.5 deal. Are you telling me that Komisarek

Now think about what I said before, and reapply logic.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, that was supposed to read: "Komisarek less than Erskine?"

And, obviously, @ Jschon

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

where the hell did all this Komisarek talk come from?

Posted by: _stevo | November 18, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

kittypaws

The numbers aren't telling the whole story, though. There's another stat out there on quality of shots. The ones they got on Sat night were corkers. We gave up way too many pucks on unforced errors (ie poor passing).

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Kittypawz -- Jose has had some terrible games this season. The one on Saturday was not one of them. The quality of shots he faced were collectively the most difficult shots I can remember seeing a goalie face in quite a while. There was chance after chance from the slot, from one-timers in close, etc etc. It wasn't a great game by Jose, but he definitely helped the Caps get 1 point.

Even tho other games have resulted in more shots, I'm confident when I say that the defense played by the Caps on Saturday was the worst all season. The amount of turnovers in the zone was disgusting, and the coverage was abysmal as well.

The bottom line is that Johnson is playing better (assuming he's healthy) than Jose, but Jose played great on Friday, and decently on Saturday.

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 18, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@Greg S.
"Hershey fans need to give some input here, specially on goal. Love Johnson, but he's UFA and we have 3 goalies in Hershey - or should be there. One of them needs to move up."
---------------------------
The goalie situation in Hershey is a really tough call these days. Varlamov played a couple games, reinjured the groin, and then played a couple more. You can see that he's got the tools. His positioning is good, and he's very quick. He has admitted that the smaller ice in N.America has taken some getting used to. I think a full season with lots of games will be a tremendous help for him. Move up next year? Not if it means sitting on the bench all season behind Jose. Let him get the work in Hershey.

Machesney is one I haven't been able to figure out. Streaky is maybe a good word. Sure he had the 9-0 shutout Sunday, but I'm not sure how much of that had to do with Binghamton being dead tired and not threatening too much. Cheeser is good some nights and mediocre on other nights. I can't put my finger on it, but something about him says career minor-leaguer to me.

Neuvirth is the one I'm anxious to see. I've heard so many good things about him and I was hoping it would be him and Varlamov fighting for the job in Hershey this year. Instead he has been relegated to the Rays. I hope he comes up to Hershey at some point during the year.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 18, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Machesney has that wildly scrambling goalie style that drives me crazy.

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Must have been one heck of a dinner last night...

Tarik's AWOL...

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

To quote George Allen (some of you might say: who?):
"The future is now!"
Come on people, lets enjoy this season, and worry about tomorrow when it comes.

Posted by: x1232 | November 18, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Hasek ruined a lot of kids with that beached fish routine he used to do.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I also found myself watching Alzner alot this past weekend. And my opinion of him is changing. At the start of the season he often had the 'deer in the headlights' look about him. He was slow and out of position and I was wondering why everyone was so gung-ho on him. In just a few weeks he had made huge strides. I honestly thought he played exceptional over the weekend. I can't fault him on anything. Even my teenage niece pointed to him Sunday night and said 'did you notice that Alzner has finally started knocking people off the puck like he's supposed to?'

Posted by: tess2201 | November 18, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Good news on 2 fronts there, tess! Good to see Alzner progressing AND that there's another young fan of hockey.

Thanks for the updates and insights.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to say howdy. Looks like Jschon is back. Don't get him started about Komisarek and I probably wouldn't test him stat wise.

Team looks great to me. I am really looking forward to seeing Jose again. The D has been absolutely suspect in front of him and great in front of Johnny but it happens. Still a long season.

Posted by: numero94 | November 18, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

You also have to remember, it's still 8:30 out there. I guess I'm usually up around then, but I wouldn't be if I didn't have to be :-). Though, it does make updating terribly slow for us back East.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh, that was the stat I was missing. God forbid I should argue the numbers around here XD I'll give you that he played great on Friday.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 18, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Greg only 8:30 out on the coast , let a guy sleep in LOL

Posted by: billd2 | November 18, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

jordan - sent you a trade offer.

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My problem is, last year Olie played behind the same D, only they were a year younger and not as good as they are now (scary right!) and all said Olie has lost it he needs to go. I agree that Olie was past his prime, not playing as well as he had in the past. Now this year Josie plays behind the same D a year older and better and everyone gives him a pass. Yep Friday was a GOOD game, not so sure I agree about Saturday though. Yes he faced quality shots, but hey it is the NHL, you need to stop quality shots and he let in a least one that was not a "quality shot". So last weekend he was 50/50 and I think we need to get better at this position more than we need help at any other position. So Josie, step up or step down!

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to see Komo here, I'm guessing that the Habs lock him in.

majiksea, Olie? For the love of God, haven't we beaten that dead horse enough? Johnny is a little dinged up, who else would you start in net aside from Theo?

Posted by: Steve_R | November 18, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Majiksea,

Quality shots are one thing but Jose faced numerous shots from forwards camped out in the slot or at the side of the net with D-men stood still watching. If memory serves at least 3 of the 5 goals were blown assignments on behalf of the D. Jose was hung out to dry big time.

Also, can we move on past the "Josie" thing. I thought the idea was to support the team you follow not poke fun at them?

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 18, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Steve, I'm not beating the Olie horse. I'm saying use the same standards for all of our Goalies. When you do that Josie does not fare so well, in fact Josie looks more like a dog's breakfast to me. If the team has REAL problems they are in goal.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Quick answer to majiksea:

Jose has been doing it for 2 months. Olie had been doing it for 2+ years.

Jose is tyically a 2nd half goalie, so, hopefully, that will stay true. not too worried.

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Dave

Is there a double standard here? Can we talk about Kozlov, Erskine, and others but not about the goalie? Again I like the team, love watching them, understand that our D is not always where they should be when they should be there and all of our forwards don't work as hard as they should every period, but if we have a real problem, the problem wears goalie pads.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

828

I would love to see stats on that! "2nd half goalie"? The stats I have looked at show a goalie in a contract year, good, or not in a contract year, very bad.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think our team really has a problem, other than the minor issue that we have players in Hershey that should be here. We should just be happy that we're not Tampa or Blues fans.

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

How do we have a problem? We are in first place of the SE div and have got a point in the last 5 games... so, where it the problem?

So far, that is 3 people that turned your comments down - 3 out of 3... so, what's the problem? Are you going to continue to cry about Olie? Are you going to continue to cry about Theo? How is that working out for you?

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey majiksea, if players aren't performing then you are right, they should be called out regardless of reputation. However, seems you have it in for Jose (again with the Josie) and I was merely pointing out he didn't perform as badly as you said.

Didn't you come on here and support him after his 2/3rds shutout on Friday?

Make your mind up eh mate.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 18, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

828
Thanks, I thought thats what your stats might look like.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

His stats were only good last year because he had one hell of a second half of the season... he started off just like he is doing with the Caps. SO, that is why I am not worried.

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

828,

It's actually 7 games where we have picked up at least a point and we have taken 16 out of the last 20 available. If that constitutes a team with a problem I'll take those problems year after year.

Can't reply any further as I am finishing work now. Then the gym, then eating then maybe later I'll rejoin!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | November 18, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I think what we all need is updates. When we don't get our fix, we start fighting amongst ourselves over tiny stupid $h!+.

I think the salary cap problems we've got have done one really good thing for us - it gave us Tyler Sloan, who we might have passed over otherwise. Grant that he's made some mistakes, but sheesh, what rookie doesn't? I for one think he's done very well up here and I'm hoping we find a way to keep him.

That said, we've got some serious salary cap issues, which make these minor day-to-day injuries that we've been seeing hard to deal with because we can't really call anyone else up right now. JP detailed those this morning, someone else linked to it.

So. Logic suggests that we really need to dump a salary. Who do we trade?

Posted by: kittypawz | November 18, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to support Jose (for Dave) when he plays well like he did Friday. I just don't understand why everyone seems to give him a pass when he plays like crap or feels that it is OK for him to suck for even half a year. We are in 1st place because the "backup" goalie played his butt of and got us there. I guess I would be fine if Bruce came out tomorrow and said that Jose was the backup and Johnny had earned the #1 spot. I can deal with an inconsistant backup. Don't have it in for him, Friday was a gem and Saturday was what you expect from any backup in the league.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

no one is fighting... just don't understand why people have to pout about 'everything'. The goalie, the ice, the d, the coach, the gm.... Just enjoy the game. There is always something!

Sloan, I like him, however, he is one of those story guys that everyone likes and will most likely be gone after the season. Remember Laing, who was that other defender... started with an N... people loved him too. I wish he would stay as well, but we have other guys coming up.

According to the people on here, they should trade everyone ;)

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

majiksea,
Then call him a backup. Right now, I don't think we have a starting goalie. Im not giving anyone a pass, I am just saying, that he should not be rolled under the bus either. Remember, this guy is not our savoir, he is a bridge to our other young goalies. Look around the league - not many 'popular' goalies are doing much better. I would say there are only a handful of the norm goalies doing well. So, obviously, something is going on. When the Caps become last place in the NHL, then maybe just maybe I will start rolling players under the bus, but until then, I am happy with who we have. If Theo didn't suck, then we wouldn't have Johnny in there tearing it up. So, everything happens for a reason - you just gotta deal... make sense?

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Nycholat -- he just got recalled from the AHL by the Canucks. Still a fringe NHLer...

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 18, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Nycholat - yes, that is him!

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Not looking to trade anyone. We have a solid team with a couple guys struggling, but solid nonetheless. We have an outstanding group of young guys headed this way. God bless Quintin. He is the guy you can't help but pull for. He is more of a role player though and is likely to stay in Hershey. Sloan however is taking advantage of an opportunity and turning some heads. He may not spend a lot of time up here the rest of the season, but you can bet he gets a good look next fall.

Posted by: _Mark | November 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

828,
The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Trade everyone!

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we need to trade anyone in particular. The D is suspect in my mind. Scoring comes and goes in a cycle, and hopefully others pick up where our top guns go quiet - as happened Semin did with AO and Backstrom. Now Semin's out and AO and Backis come on strong. Sounds damned near perfect to me!

Nylander and Kozlov not up to snuff right now, but Fehr, Laich, Stecks and others have picked up the slack. Nyls and Koz will be back in form soon.

Green went quiet for a spell and Poti stepped up on offense.

My worry spots are Schultz, Erskine, Juice and Mo in particular. Their production isn't measured in goals. Their positioning has been suspect and they don't seem to be able to take care of their zone. That's worrisome to me, but even there we're doing basically OK.

Now if Tarik would just drink a bottle of water, take a few Advil, maybe a hair of the dog and wrote something...!

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

mnmnt_snow,
I know right!

Fans suck, players suck, refs suck, coaches suck, managers suck, ice suck...

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

majiksea----Theodore was the basically the only reason we got a point saturday night. Did you even watch the game? If it wasn't for some spectacular diving stops and amazing point blank glove saves by Theo, Ovechkin would've never got the chance to tie the game. Overall, I have not been happy with Theo's performance so far this season, but he kept us in a game saturday night that we had no business going into overtime.

Posted by: reesem37 | November 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

You know...for those of you who want to make a trade I saw an interesting one mentioned on a blog this morning. Here, let me re-post it:

To Washington (WHEN HEALTHY)
Randy Jones
Derian Hatcher
Mike Richards
Claude giroux
09 4th rd pick

To Philadelpia
Karl Alzner
Alex Semin
Mike Green
Niklas Backstrom
1st rd 09 pick
1st rd 2010 pick

Sounds good, no? (just to be clear, this was VERY sarcastic)

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Jim Mora should totally go coach Tampa Bay. That would be awesome. How bad would they be?

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

828,
you forgot to say the spirit squad sucks... haha

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

That trade doesn't even make sense...they could've atleast thrown in gagne, or that little queer briere. Was the guy who proposed the trade being serious?

Posted by: reesem37 | November 18, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Jeff: A trade only a Flyer could love. XD

So you guys think that we stand pat at the trade deadline? With GMGM, you never know. If we don't trade someone away, we can't acquire anybody, nor can we really cover injuries. I don't see too many really good candidates for trade, honestly, so maybe you're right, but I have a feeling something's going to happen.

Greg S: I sort of like that rotational thing - that way, teams never really know who to look at. The way you put it, placing your D against the Caps is a little like playing whack-a-mole. Hit one and three more pop out of the woodwork. Not a bad scenario for us, eh?

I don't know, 828 and mnmnt. If there really was that much sucking going on, you'd think some people would be a lot happier. ;)

Posted by: kittypawz | November 18, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

reesem37: No, the poster said outright he was being sarcastic. XD

Posted by: kittypawz | November 18, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

As a Hershey Bears Season ticket holder:

Alzner has really started to show improvement. he is starting to hit people and he is always on the puck when he is on the ice.

Varlamov, I have only seen play once he is very quick. He stands way out on the crease but he can get back so fast. I still dont think he is 100% since his groin injury but in a few more months I am sure he will be a stand out.

Machesney is either hot or cold, but when he is hot he can really make some great saves. I hope after Sundays blow out he got his confidence back and can start playing hot again.

Nuevirth I have yet to see play but from what I hear he is doing really well in the ECHL.

Osala, you cant say enough about this guy. He is everywhere on the ice and he is able to put the puck in the net. He deserves to be the AHL star of the week. If he keeps this up he will be wearing a Caps uniform by the end of the year.

When Bouchard, Perriault and Osala are on the ice together they can score some beautiful goals.

Andrew Gordon is doing well just like his amazing run last year.

Beagle has been out with an injury but hopefully he gets back to the ice soon.

On Sunday Josh Godfrey got to play his first home game and had a +5 rating. He is not affraid to hit guys and fight. He needs to stay up with the Bears.

Sami is doing well again this year with the assists. He can take some dumb penalities but he is doing good.

Posted by: HBFan | November 18, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I kind of mis-spoke. It's unknown if the INITIAL poster was sarcastic or not (one hopes he was being sarcastic, but some of the responses are tough to judge). I was trying to say that I was sarcastic when saying it sounded good. Here's the link.


http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=573434

Posted by: Jeff_ | November 18, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

kittypaws

I wasn't actually thinking that this is a planned rotation. It just happens. We're lucky that we have these assets and that their schedules are "off" from each other.

I like the wackamole picture. When they do something stupid on D, I'd love to wack 'em one! Give 'em a dope slap.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: honed | November 18, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Fedorov will hang around for one more year. Nylander will probably be gone by the end of this calendar year.

Posted by: DrAdamson | November 18, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I wish MY crystal ball worked.

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Haha KittyPawz

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Tarik:

I live in LA and I'm going to both games. Do you know when and where the practices will be held? Toyota, Anaheim Ice?

This is a request from my very pregnant wife :)

Posted by: HSHS | November 18, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@ honed:
Thank you for that link! LMAO

Posted by: tess2201 | November 18, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I hope Fedorov (or as "Feddy" as some guy called him after he scored last year; yeah I just looked at him funny too) does stay another year.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Must have been a real barn burner of a party last night! Tarik STILL in bed sleeping it off?

:D

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Still no new post? Man, I'm hurtin' for some practice news, Tarik!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 18, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

We need to start up a Hockey Fans Annonymous organization...

My name is Greg, and I'm a hockey fan.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I hope Semin is practicing and super ready to go against the stupid Mighty Ducks!

Posted by: _jordan | November 18, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

my names Bill and I'm a old hockey fan. I watch all the caps games, I play twice a week, Fridays nights in an over 60 league , I frequent a whole bunch of blogs and I'm not going to stop

Posted by: billd2 | November 18, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to support Jose (for Dave) when he plays well like he did Friday. I just don't understand why everyone seems to give him a pass when he plays like crap or feels that it is OK for him to suck for even half a year. We are in 1st place because the "backup" goalie played his butt of and got us there. I guess I would be fine if Bruce came out tomorrow and said that Jose was the backup and Johnny had earned the #1 spot. I can deal with an inconsistant backup. Don't have it in for him, Friday was a gem and Saturday was what you expect from any backup in the league.

Posted by: majiksea | November 18, 2008 12:23 PM
-------------------------------------------
Why don't you use that "Johnson's been a #1 before?" line out again? I kind of liked that.

Posted by: Section117 | November 18, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@Katie, nice shout out to the Yahoo article. That article gets the old time hockey seal of approval...

@Jordan, there is a typo in your post. I don't think you meant "stupid Mighty Ducks", I think you meant "mighty stupid Ducks"

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 18, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@Greg, guess no one else wanted to join
Hockey Anon

Posted by: billd2 | November 18, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

painful reading today.
everyone can't be right all the time.
except me )
the way I see it, the team plays better when johnnies in. I don't want to hear any crap about stats. I know what I see. even if they win with theo, it doesn't mean they played better. ovie and semin skew things. does the team have some special feeling for brent. they did it last year too. maybe it has to do with the trade deadline last year, or because they like him, but they seem to collectively pull it together when he's in net. they've let theo hang out to dry at times, but that's usually cause they're pressing since he gave up a goal on the first shot. brent has too, I know.
the point is, injuries happen, and if Ov and semin go down at the same time, all the stats won't mean a thing.

Posted by: oo7 | November 18, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I guess not, so I might as well binge.

Does your 60+ group take in young whipper snappers of a tender 53 years?

Posted by: Greg S. | November 18, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

What needs to happen is the 6 Goal club needs to get back together again. 6 goals, we win - plain and simple.

Posted by: _828 | November 18, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Of course the team is gonna rally around Brent more, he's been here for a while. You can see it in how they play. The team looks a bit lazy sometimes when Theodore's in net.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

How about a free pizza for six goals period. The stupid chicken wing thing at Austin Grill was stupid, I don't work near one.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | November 18, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It's the goalie.

It's the defense.

It's the goalie!

It's the defense!

SHEESH, folks sound like a broken record on here! Theodore's save percentage is not what it should have been, but the defense let chances past them that they should not have let past. Let's take this one step further.

Who was on the ice when the Devils scored (other than Theodore)?

1st Goal (CLARKSON): 8, 19, 25, 52, 55, 60
2nd Goal (LANGENBRUNNER): 3, 14, 17, 60, 89, 92
3rd Goal (ELIAS): 3, 15, 21, 60, 89
4th Goal (ELIAS): 4, 16, 21, 52, 60, 92
5th Goal (GIONTA): 3, 14, 17, 39, 60, 89

Poti - 3
Erskine - 1
Ovechkin - 1
Fleischmann - 2
Gordon - 1
Fehr - 1
Clark - 2
Backstrom - 1
Laich - 2
Kozlov - 1
Steckel - 1
Green - 2
Schultz - 1
Sloan - 3
Nylander - 2

If you look at it rationally, darn near the entire team took at least one minus to their column. There are only two defensemen who stand out a bit more than others: Sloan (rookie), and Poti (not).

Now let's take it the other way:

Goal #1 (FLEISCHMANN): 3, 8, 14, 19, 52, 60
Goal #2 (OVECHKIN): 3, 8, 19, 25, 60, 89
Goal #3 (KOZLOV): 4, 8, 19, 23, 25, 60
Goal #4 (BACKSTROM): 8, 19, 25, 52, 55, 60
Goal #5 (OVECHKIN): 8, 15, 16, 19, 25, 52

Poti - 2
Erskine - 1
Ovechkin - 5
Fleischmann - 1
Gordon - 1
Fehr - 1
Backstrom - 5
Jurcina - 1
Kozlov - 4
Green - 3
Schultz - 1
Sloan - 1

Kinda lopsided there, innit? 16 different players were on the ice when the Devils scored, but only 12 were on the ice when the Caps scored. And Sloan was only on the ice with Poti for one of the two goals Poti was on the ice for.

I don't want to blame Poti and Sloan, and that isn't my point here. My point is supposed to be that the team shares responsibility for stopping the puck from getting to the goalie - and 16 different players on the team, including our two stars of the week - were on the ice when the Devils scored. So 16 different players dropped the puck, so to speak.

It isn't JUST that, and it isn't JUST Theodore, and it definitely isn't any one defenseman standing out as horrid. Look at the ones all y'all complain about:

Erskine - only on ice for one of the Devils' goals, and on ice for one of ours.

Jurcina - NOT on the ice when the Devils scored, but on the ice for one of ours.

And I will bet that if we go back through the season and look at every game this way, we won't see any one defenseman standing out in the crowd.

Posted by: irockthered | November 18, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I'd have to agree with Jschon on whoever said that Komisarek isn't that good not having much of a clue. One of the best shut down D in the NHL.

Those who whined about Cheese playing that scrambly, fish flopping style should be reminded that the goalie that has been described by opposing players as Hasek on steroids was an All-Star last year and currently leads the league in save %. And IMO is a hella fun to watch.

Varlamov is very good. Just adjusting to the different rink size and different style of hockey. He was lights out in the Russian Super League last year while leading his team to the cup finals (and was the youngest starting goalie in the RSL).

Posted by: ranndino | November 18, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

BTW, in case someone is confused which goalie I was talking about in my previous post it's Boston's Tim Thomas. The most exciting goalie in hockey these days. Personally I don't see how it's any fun to watch a big log just stand there and get hit with pucks. Goalies like Thomas are worth the price of admission as much as a great forward.

Posted by: ranndino | November 18, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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