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Morning Reading List

Brent Johnson's stellar performance in the Caps 3-1 win against Boston yesterday is the focus of Tarik's hard-copy edition story. Johnson has won his past three starts, stopping 79 of 83 shots for a .952 save percentage during that stretch, and has posted a 2.37 GAA and .918 save percentage throughout his 8-4-2 record this season.

*Here's the Bruins' perspective on the game, from the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

*The Charleston Post Courier has a story on Sean Collins, who has been a solid addition to the beleaguered defense corps in his first three NHL games.

*For those who couldn't watch last night's game, here's the highlight reel.

*The Dallas Stars will wait until Sunday before discussing their plans for the suspended Sean Avery. Owner Tom Hicks also discredited reports that said co-General Manager Brett Hull's job was in jeopardy.

*The Caps aren't the only ones in the league playing two goaltenders on a regular basis rather than relying on whoever is making more money.

In the system:
*With the large number of Bears lighting up the scoresheet these days it's easy to forget that Kyle Wilson is in search of his second-straight 30-goal season. Wilson, who has 20 points (9G, 11A) on the season thus far, faces San Antonio for the first time since the Rampage released him in 2006-07 after seven games.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 11, 2008; 8:06 AM ET
 
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Next: Johnson Not Skating

Comments

Charleston, home of Firefly Vodka. Best. Vodka. Ever.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Its boring after a win in here.

Lets look ahead to the Senators.
They stink. 1 line and one defensemen.

Play hard early and they will fold like most lousy soft teams on the road.

Posted by: JSchon | December 11, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - SHHH! I like boring! ;-)

All I can say about last night is WOW, JOHNNY!

Good. Game!

Alexander Semin was SO happy to be back, too! What a cheezy grin he had through warmups!

Posted by: irockthered | December 11, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

For those watching at home, what was the explanation for Marc Savard continually trying to start trouble with Tom Poti? What did I miss? Savard gave Poti a few shoves after several different whistles.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 11, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Notes and Observations from 414:
1. First time in 2 years that Caps crew gave any free-bies to our section. Time for another 2 year drought. Alas, I didn't get my burrito.

2. I'm not sure if it's cause it was a 1 goal game for most of the contest, but that game felt LONG. Compounding that feeling, it seemed as if BB was "long shifting" the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines compared to our top line. There were a few times I said to myself, "Wow, I haven't seen 8/19/28 for a while.."

3. Alzner/Juice played a great game. Poti looked a bit rusty, pinching in on a PP, but pinching on nobody leaving Sloan to make a great cover. There are times Sloan really impresses me, but I think he's our weakest link on D right now.

4. Collins continues to impress me, and while I was hard on Alzner early, I think he's playing some very smart hockey right now. Just needs to work on his outlet/clearing (as do just about all of us).

5. No chance to see if Johnny is willing to slam his stick on the ice after a PP. Refs were PUTRID tonight. Not sure if it was picked up on TV, but Ovie's phantom hook was bad, but just as bad was the call that gave us the PP before that. When the ref made the initial call on the ice before going to scorer's table, he made 2 distinct motions. 1 was interference, other was boarding (I think it was Gordo that got planted in the corner). By the time he got over to the table, there was no boarding call (TOR pager go off?). Then he gets Ovie for the phantom hook. For the rest of the game the refs were just about as bad as I've seen since PHI series last year.

6. Ovie PLANTED Chara once in the corner. Picked him up and rode him to the ground. The hit wasn't flashy, but IMO it's my favorite Great-8 hit yet. He's the only one last night willing to hit Frankenstien.

7. Finally. As soon as we have enough healthy D-Men, regardless of Clark's status, I think we'll see Alzner go back to Hershey. There is no point, IMO, in keeping him up here now, while sacrificing our ability to have him later in the season. Just because a player is on IR doesn't mean we have to claim LTIR for him. While we have a player on LTIR, we build no cap space. I'd prefer to not get into the situation late in the season where we have to make up an injury to a guy just to get Karl up here for our playoff push. Another player I think deserves to be up here, but probably won't stay, is Collins. That guy was AWESOME last night. 6 times up in 414 I heard myself say "Wow that guy's smart!"

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

ffsenough:
i got a burrito last time, and fyi, they're not actually burritos, they're t-shirts. yep, i was disappointed too :-P

johnson deserves to be in the spotlight for a while, i'm really excited for him :)

also, i think that alzner has really proven himself. he showed a lot of skill last night, as well as maturity (stepping in between poti and savard?! that takes some mad guts). i hope he's someone we see a lot more of in d.c.

Posted by: jess4caps | December 11, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough

lol @ "frankestein".
And man, Alzner - Collins... I hope too they stay. They're at the point where 1) we surely can use them (even when we're all healthy imho) and 2) it seems like they don't need more AHL experience... is there any scenario in which we could keep them?

@Boo, jmu
That was a joke by the way... maybe a bad joke but... just hope I didn't offend you.

Posted by: mauree | December 11, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

JSchon

If you want something to boost the thrill, go over and read the blogs from Boston. Some of them are saying we were lucky. Not able to accept a loss.

My will power kept me from responding.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 11, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

mauree

Only scenario where we can keep them both for the remainder of the season is one where we ALWAYS have a D-man out AND someone on LTIR to cover Alzner's salary. We could carry Collins without LTIR, but with nobody on LTIR, we could not carry both Collins/Sloan or Collins Alzner, or Alzner by himself.

The LTIR thing is important. The more money we are under the cap, the more we are allowed to be "over" it later in the year. Before the injury bug, March 14th (give or take a day) would have been the first we could have seen Alzner (and be able to keep him up for the remainder of the season). While we have him here because of LTIR, we are also delaying that point at which we could bring him up for good because we are not building space under the cap to use later on while on LTIR.

Situation sucks, but that's how it is. I could see us moving a UFA defenseman before the deadline for picks/prospects, and unfortunately, now that Erskine's signed for a while, we will probably see Juice dealt. (I'm a big Juice fan, so this would sadden me, and probably only me.)

I think I want to add to my post above:

8. While Johnny played a great game. Made some flat-out awesome saves, and got run over on a play akin to what PHI was doing to us last year. He also did some of the same stuff we've been complaining JT's been doing. "Juicy" rebounds, poor post coverage and "early-to-butterfly" were all things I was seeing from him last night, the B's just couldn't put the biscuit in the basket. Do not confuse this with me saying that JT deserves to be our No. 1. All I am trying to point out is that these are normal actions for a goalie during the course of a game, it's up to the D to minimize the impact. Our D played GREAT last night. Not so much v. Carolina. Multiple times I watched a B get the puck behind the net, and we immediately had defenders on the posts of the net. I'd be they worked on that in practice ;-)

9. Kozzie, while putting up some points and playing some great puck possession hockey ((33)X/92/25 was awesome last night) last night, has been horrible in our defensive end for a few games now. It bit us v. Carolina, but luckily not so much last night.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Savaard was just jawing with Poti looking to either draw a penalty or fight. I really didn't think they were going to fight.

Savaard just looked very frustrated with Poti's Stellar D

Posted by: DCSPORTS | December 11, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. Correction to my post above. We have no UFA defensemen next year. ALL are RFA's, which makes them harder to move unless we can get a good, guaranteed prospect for them. Easier thing for us is to hold them. Make them offer sheets and let some other team take them, ala Eminger this offseason.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

DCSPORTS

I'm not sure how it started, but that was the best soap-opera I have ever seen (re: 91v3). Early on, Savard was shoving Poti around a bit after some plays. He did it again later. Then for the rest of the night, guys were taking chip-shots at Savard. Giroux, Semin, Ovie, Bradley, Backstrom and Kozlov ALL took some interesting shots at Savard.

I really wanted one of them to punch him in the face, though. (Savard tried to sell a high-stick in the corner later in the night. I don't think he realized it was his own guy that hit him.)

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

i'm sorry, i don't want to hear it about johnny's rebound control- unless i missed something, i didn't see a single non-caps rebound from him all night

Posted by: jess4caps | December 11, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

We have no UFA defensemen next year.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 9:20 AM
-------------------------------------------
Sloan is a UFA, according to nhlnumbers.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

SombreroGuy - I read on NHL.com that Poti and Savard have a history from Poti played with the Oilers and Savard was with the Flames.

Posted by: amberlynne | December 11, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad we have Tarik to report on the Caps instead of the Boston Globe writer who had at least three mistakes in his column.

"The Bruins finally solved Johnson late in the second period when Phil Kessel stripped defenseman Sean Collins to start a two-on-one rush." That was Sloan, not Collins.

"Ovechkin, after taking a pass at the point from center Viktor Kozlov, saw a seam in Boston's penalty-killing box and let one of his trademark sizzling slappers rip. Winger Nicklas Backstrom poked his stick into the lane at the last minute and tipped Ovechkin's blast past Fernandez at 3:53." Kozlov's and Backstrom's positions are reversed.

"Giroux was positioned correctly at the far post to tap the rebound into the net at 4:52. It was Giroux's first career goal." Wrong again; first this season.

Posted by: rw-c | December 11, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Unleash Green!

I think Friday is looking like a great night to come back!

I also really like what I see from Jurcina. He is shooting the puck more, and has a great shot. If he can take the body, and cut down on mistakes he could be a good player for us down the stretch.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

with about one minute left in the game there was a great hit to the right of Johnny just before the empty netter. The guys in front of me jumped up and I didn't get who on Caps hit who on B's. Help????
Tx

Posted by: billd2 | December 11, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough: You can trade Morrisonn for picks and then you can just about squeeze in both Alzner and Sloan. Plus that would let you carry a spare defenseman, never a bad idea.

Collins has a bigger cap hit than Schultz, so for anyone interested - Jurcina would have to be moved to keep Collins. My guess when Schultz comes back is Collins will go back down instead and be there if needed.

The play of Sloan, Collins and Alzner sure begs the question - does GMGM regret extending Erskine at $1.25M a year? They must be planning to not bring back Mo and/or Jurcina. Certainly, by the time the Erskine contract is up, we would also expect Godfrey to be with the Caps.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 11, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

jess

what do you mean by "non-caps" rebound? I think that was the point of my post. The positioning of the rebounds were similar, only difference was the jersey color infront of him.

If you want specifics... the biggest one that comes to mind is the play where BJ got run over. Shot from the left circle to BJ's left leg. I can't count how many times I've heard people here complain that they want to see the rebound going to the right corner. Where'd the puck go? The dreaded "high slot" (which I will continue to contend is the only place the puck can go on that kind of shot) for good rebound chance and fantastic save.

Again, no confusion here about who I think should start (if healthy) most of our games until he falters. BJ deserves the start Friday if he can walk. But I will be fair in my assessment and quick to point out some "double standards" flying around here.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

johnny played great last night. I worry about that hip, but if he's able to play, let's ride him! His rebound control was pretty good. I can only recall one fat one he left for the B', and they fanned.

We need to see how much room under the cap putting Semin and Clark on LTIR has placed us (Sombrero, as the Blog capologist, I task you with this) to see if we can keep Alzner. I see him staying.

Collins was hot and cold IMO. He also looks like he was swimming in his sweater.

Giroux impressed me with his stick handling and his ability to shake off checks. Oskar got the first game under his belt. Let's see how he does Friday.

I'm very pleased with our position right now. We've beaten the best the East has to offer, and our team is nowhere near 100%. The team had a great spark last night, just wait until everyone comes back.

Does anyone listen to the Caps on the radio? Specifically the post game show. There are always two callers who call in (one from Centreville, one from Gainesville) and just sit in conversation with the announcers, don't let them talk, and really have nothing to add to the conversation. Really annoying. (That was a rant; I roll my eyes listening to them. Go back to the basement of the science building.)

Finally, with the way the Bears are beating up on the AHL, that more than anything gives me confidence in the whole organization. GO CAPS!

Posted by: Leeguru | December 11, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

We played an excellent game last night, but I would have liked to see a little more traffic in front of the net. Fernandez went through some pretty lengthy stretches without any action--I was a bit worried at times about losing the lead. Johnny definitely won this one for us without a doubt.

On another note...any one have 2 extra tix to Friday's game?

Posted by: luvfades | December 11, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough,
Actually, they gave out T-Shirts and Papa Johns to section 414 at the Islanders game. Some STHs down the aisle from me got the pizza. :)

Posted by: WVPhil | December 11, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

build2

heading over to NHL.com for highlight. at both 5 min and 1 min left our big man, Juice, leveled some B's. As for who he hit with 1 min left, it was Kessel. (Big number 8 or 9, and a 1. Later in highlight you see Savard entering the zone...process of elimination).

117/Tominfl

Yes, you are right, Sloan is a UFA, but he's also a guy we need to move off our regular roster. I could see him go via waivers before a trade (his value is not very high). As for trading Mo, he's still an RFA and it is very rare you will see RFA's get traded when they're playing good hockey (which 26 has been since he and green were split... we could do without his penalties). Am I saying it won't happen? nope. But with so many RFA defensemen next year, GM will probably want as many options as possible. Say we tender all the boys, and some teams come after Schultz, Juice, Lepisto and Mo with big offers. That gives us a choice on who we keep, rather than having our hands forced by trading one of them early on. IMO, I'd rather have MO than either of those 3 listed (even though I'm Juice's only fan)

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

WVPhil

See I've heard 2 stories now. One of my buddies got the Canes tix from us. He said 414 got the PJ's pizza. But when I asked some people sitting around us last night who got it, they said it was Sec. 413.

Tshirts are just frivilous "splash damage" from the real "prize..."

As for the Chipotle silver torpedos of death. I kinda find it funny that they have a chipotle Tshirt inside. Toss a caps shirt in there. Not like the shirts gonna make me want to go buy more.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

wvphil

sorry, islanders, not canes. I've got my weeks messed up.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

We keep talking about how Three-or-more never steals you a game... I hope he watched last night as Johnny showed him how to do it.

It was great to see Semin back and he had a jump in his step in the first period... but then looked a little out of gas. Understandable.

Poti looked very rusty and was lucky Johnny bailed him out, and more than once.

I'm not sure I agree with the comments on Sloan, Collins and Alzner. I think they played okay, and it was a huge win. But if you were at the game, you saw a faster Bruins team exploiting the passing lanes and getting far too many quality scoring chances. What made Johnny's night so impressive and important wasn't that he made 33 saves, but that so many were made on quality chances.

Posted by: sinbin | December 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Yes, you are right, Sloan is a UFA, but he's also a guy we need to move off our regular roster. I could see him go via waivers before a trade (his value is not very high).

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:13 AM
-------------------------------------------
Wow, it's like you were reading my mind, or my post from last night/this morning.

Stop reading my mind!

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Holy chowda!! I couldn't agree more with the people sayin that the Boston fans were boorish, at best! Suck it up and deal with it. The Caps came out freakin' awesome and were wicked good in the crease. No need to be sore losers.

Funny how all the nay-sayers dont post after a game like that. I am getting on my knees and praying that this was the spark to get the boys on a long roll. They have yet to run off 6 or 8 in a row like many of the other division leaders. They guys are getting healthy and it seems like it's just in the cards for that to happen.

wouldn't that be freakin' wicked awesome! I gotta go pahk my cah

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 11, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

My apologies if this has already been addressed, but can someone enlighten me as to why Giroux got the penalty shot? I missed that part, as did the friend I was with. I attempted to ask the Bruins fan I know who was at the game last night, but since he said it was Kessel who got the penalty shot I'm pretty sure what he told me was inaccurate. (And before anyone asks, I'm really not sure what game he was watching as it was clearly a red Caps jersey with the #33 on it streaming down the ice toward Manny Fernandez on the penalty shot, not a white Bruins jersey coming at Johnny.)

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 11, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Repost from the previous thread so it doesn't get buried. I also posted some interesting comments from the Bruins announcers there (won't repost those here).

---

It's funny for me to see how the incredible goaltending by Johnny and the positive result has made everyone forget about some terrible mistakes we made on D last night.

That's what great goaltending does. Had Theo been in net those could have easily ended up being goals, the Bruins would have won and you'd all be writing here how bad our D was. Just saying.

That's what I've been saying all the time. When you get timely saves, even on chances on which a goalie could not be blamed for a goal, it makes all the difference.

As for my other observations... I was making these during the game last night, but to summarize:

1. Collins had a whale of a game again. Aside from doing his own thing (once making an amazing diving play to save an almost sure goal off a cross ice pass) he cleaned up for at least 4 major screw-ups by Mo. It looked like Collins was the vet in that pairing last night. I'd love to see him stay up. He's done absolutely nothing wrong. Very good outlet passes and he holds on to the puck even under tremendous pressure or when getting hammered. His positioning has also been absolutely flawless.

2. Alzner was also excellent.

3. Semin looked great in his return from injury.

4. Osala was OK. Hesitant and unsure of what to do a few times when he had an open lane coming down the wing in the neutral zone. Seemed afraid to make a mistake. Needs a few more games on this level to gain confidence and do what he does in Hershey. Having said that good board work on Giroux's goal by him.

5. Giroux scored and played pretty well overall.

6. Sloan was pretty good, but made a major mistake that could have easily cost us a goal, but was bailed out by Johnny.

7. What can you say about Jonnhy. #1 star of the game. Best goaltending performance of the year up to now. The Bruins created more than enough great chances to win this game.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Leeguru

While we have guys on LTIR (and have guys called up to replace them), we make no money against the cap (read we're at 100%). Pothier is an exception. While he's listed as "LTIR" I think the more technical version of his situation is "Injured, Non-Roster." Special case where since he could not pass a physical at the begining of the season, he doesn't count against us.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough,
I can confirm 414 cause I got a piece of the pie!

Posted by: WVPhil | December 11, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

ShariLeigh131, Giroux was hooked on a breakaway, as there was a specific player to which a scoring chance was denied, Giroux had to take the shot. (Rule 25.3)

Posted by: koalatek | December 11, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Shari

Giroux got the PS ACCORDING TO THE REFS because he was "free-and-clear" (read, nothing infront of him but the goalie). In that case, there can be no legal interaction between a B and HIM. If B dives and gets puck before 33, then there's no PS.

Now, I've seen no penalty shot awarded on players who were much less open that he was. Personally, I'd have rather had the 2 minutes.

And after seeing how awesome we are on the penalty shot, I'd be a fan of a rule that lets the coach decide if he wants to take the PS or a 2 min PP. There's no situation this year where I think I'd say... "OH GOODIE, we get a PS." (Though, I honestly thought 33 would put it in last night. was a heck of a move/shot, just put it wide.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

WVPhil

Rats! 2x in a week, that means 2 more years without any freebies.

On some other "caps promo" and "gamenight production" notes:

1. They turned the bass up to 11 late in the game. Not sure I'm a fan of that, as I'd prefer to hear more of the crowd, but nice to see the production staff understand the importance of the game at that time.

2. We need Bruce back on the keyboard. Terry is horrible.

3. I've never seen anybody get the "what year was it" wrong, and last night it was clear why. "The guy in front of me says 1983."

4. Just once. When that "make some noise" meter comes up. I want the crowd to get silent while we watch it go up to 140. Force them to bring the old DB meter from the Caps center back!

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@Section117

hah! Well you got to admit, a line Crosby-Malkin-Ovie has its appeal (although Ovie-Backtrom-Semin is awesome as well).

Posted by: mauree | December 11, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Koala & FFS,

Thanks! I'm familiar with the rule, just missed the hook. (I might've been texting a friend about the game at that time...)

As an aside, I didn't realize some of the regular posters here are also in 414! Great section we have!

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | December 11, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

117,

I guess pigs are flyin' huh?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 11, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@Ranndino-
Agree with almost everything that you mentioned. Except:
#4 Osala got much better as the game went on. He was using his size on the wall to keep the defense away from him or the puck. Also used the boards and angles nicely late in the game to keep the puck moving. His head was on a swivel. Maybe he was freakin' out and just trying to find help, but he looked better later.

#1- Jurcina played like a sissy for the first period. I'll give ya that one. Then, dont know what happened, but he started to play physical and used his body nice as well. on a couple of trips Boston had, he straight up crushed a Bruins player camping in the crease. He was just silly nasty as the game went on. Maybe someone insulted his mom or something, but I hope it keeps up.

Now, the view from 114 on Johnnie: I think he's hurt more than he is saying. He was moving slowly, flexing and wincing when the puck wasn't crashing in on him. We all need to light a candle and hope that his hip doesnt fall off. He is a real trooper though. On one play, he used his stick to help himself back up.

I'm crosing my fingers, toes and eyes!

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 11, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough, one game I went to, the guy selected for the "guess the year" got as a clue "The Caps win the Patrick Division". Everyone started yelling "Look at the banners!" He still guessed wrong and the crowd starting booing and the hostess said "crowd doesn't like it, you want to change your answer?" So he does, luckily picking the right year.

Posted by: koalatek | December 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

There's no long-term cap benefit to having someone on LTIR - that's my understanding. Say a player missing half the season makes $5M and you have replaced him with a player at $3M. Half of 5 is 2.5 and half of 3 is 1.5. If you were maxxed out, you might think that this bought you $1M so that you could over the cap by $2M for the second half of the season (half of 2 being the 1). From discussion here, people copying and pasting the CBA, it seems that it doesn't work like that. The bottom line is I don't think there's any cap savings from all the LTIR players that translates into Alzner being able to stay. Please correct me if wrong.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 11, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

4. Just once. When that "make some noise" meter comes up. I want the crowd to get silent while we watch it go up to 140. Force them to bring the old DB meter from the Caps center back!

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:35 AM

---------

Agreed!

And is it just me, or can you not hear the goal siren at all when you're in Verizon Center? It's loud on TV, but between the fans and music in-house, I rarely hear it live. I think the siren is a nice little unique touch for the Caps. Always loved it.

Posted by: _jordan | December 11, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough,

There are no double standards flying around. While you're trying to pick the little details apart the fact is that we're a much better team with Johnson in net. He makes the saves when we need them. Jose doesn't. Johnny gives us a better chance to win. When Jose is in goal we sometimes win DESPITE him. Last night we won BECAUSE of the goalie not DESPITE the goalie. That's the big difference. So your little nitpicking and trying to show that they both do the same thing doesn't matter. Johnson, once again, proved everything I've been saying.

Also, your contention that our D was much better in this game than vs. Carolina is completely off base! We actually gave up far more 100% scoring chances in this game, but the difference was the goaltending.

Like I said in my posts during the game and in the one summarizing it it's really funny to see how great goaltending makes everyone forget about all the terrible D mistakes.

Finally, once again, up to this point in the season, just based on performance, Johnson should be our clear #1. He's not just been decent. He's been very good. While Theodore hasn't even been adequate (below average, in fact). I've said this a few weeks ago and it's even more true now.

Also, once again it's obvious that the team has a lot more confidence when Brent is in goal. Regardless of what you thin about where the rebounds went the point is that even when ended up in front Johnny recovered quickly enough to make a save and didn't allow goals. He only let in 1 goal and it was on a chance he was absolutely helpless to stop. He made at least 4 unbelievable saves, which completely turned the course of the game.

So no, there is no double standard from most of the posters here. There's just a stubborn refusal to admit reality by you and a couple of others. Just like last season with Kolzig. For some reason you love to defend goalies that suck. I don't know why, but you do.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

117

I love one of the commments: This is like ultimate warrior teaming with Macho Man to take on the Legion of Doom... Perfect analogy.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 11, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Tarik you need to straighten out Fluto Shinzawa from the Boston Globe:

"Winger Nicklas Backstrom"
"Giroux's first career goal"

Great job by BJ, was it just me or was Semin skating around out there like he was stuck in first gear, I mean he was making some sick stick handling moves but just didn't seem to be giving it his all.

Posted by: CapManJ | December 11, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Friday night needs to be an official "Rock the Red."

I'm talking "Sea of Red," like the last 5 games last year.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@ lamplighter1,

I agree on your Osala comments. I was only commenting on what he did when he had an open lane in the neutral zone. He looked unsure of whether he should just dump it on or drive to the net. I bet he doesn't hesitate down in Hershey and goes the net. That's all I was saying.

I don't think I mentioned Jurcina at all in my summary. Agree with your observations on him. Bruins are his former team, so that's all the additional motivation he needed.

As for Johnny's hip, if you look at the game thread you'll see comments from me worrying about it. In fact, I couldn't believe he stayed in the game after they had to stop the play when he was lying on the ice wincing in pain after the amazing one amazing save he made in the 1st period. I then predicted that he'll probably come off after the 1st, but he managed to stay in for the rest of the game and played great. This type of courageous display is really making him a favorite of mine quickly, but it can't continue. It's clear that his hip is really bothering him. Like I mentioned in the game thread and you just said he had real trouble getting up off the ice, especially after saves that required him to go post to post. Sadly, it looks to me that Theo will be back in net soon due to this injury.

Like I said before, I hate to wish an injury on someone, but I'd rather see Theo getting hurt that Brent at this point. Aside from Theo being on the sidelines being a good thing for the Caps now we might even see Varlamov brought up and get in a few games if that were to happen.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

@CapManJ

Semin might have skated with a little less speed due to the fact that he wanted to play it safe and avoid any big contact.

My guess is thats how you should play in your first game back from injury.

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town:

Have you not heard?? This Friday, its "Singles Mingle". Brought to you from your friends at Chipotle and Bar Louis!! $35.00 bucks gets you a ticket, a burrito and a drink at Bar Louie before the game.

It's a round of speed dating at the bar to find your special someone who is also a Caps fan. Then off to the game.

Booze, babes and burritos. What could go wrong!

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 11, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

FFS:

i like Juice. just wish he would consistently use his size & take shots. he and Alzner were a great pair last night. one of Juice's best games this year, i felt.

Posted by: doughless | December 11, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Fluto got a tip from one of his blog reader on some place near Verizon that has good eats and beer for cheap. Perhaps he had a few too many prior to the game. Pretty embarrassing.

This type of stuff is frustrating for me to see. This guy gets paid to cover hockey and makes mistakes that I would never, ever make were I lucky enough to be in his position.

It leads me to believe that he's not much of a hockey fan and just does it as a job because that's what he was assigned to do. This really sucks because there are so many die hard, very smart hockey fans who are also good writers and could do a far better job. Fluto is probably pining for the day he gets assigned to cover the Red Sox.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@ Ranndino- yup. you and I saw the same thing. Sorry if I didn't get the gist of what you meant with Osala.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 11, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I'm going over to his blog to set him straight. Wonder if it's gonna get posted. They moderate all comments.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@lamplighter1

Women look hot in red. If they want a date...wear red...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@lamplighter1

Single people should avoid Chipotle Burrito's at all cost also...

Posted by: SA-Town | December 11, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

huh, wow, I just assumed the offer of a free burrito would have gals pouring in from all four corners. But no. No. I think you're right.

nothing says attractive and dateable like a little Mexican "wind".

That or, "Wow, so you're really single? Hard to believe"

I will assume someone in the promo department has already sent out the old resume' after this jim-dandy of an idea!!

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 11, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

There's just a stubborn refusal to admit reality by you and a couple of others. Just like last season with Kolzig. For some reason you love to defend goalies that suck. I don't know why, but you do.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 10:44 AM
-------------------------------------------
Any argument equation of Theodore to Kolzig is moronic, seeing as how Kolzig is 6 years older and is pretty much running on empty.

Call me crazy, but I'll take the coach at his word, ride the hot hand and wait on making the call on a #1. I'd rather do that than following the position of hoping that Johnson can play 35-45 more games on what could be a injury that could bother him all year long and blindly throw the other goalie under the bus. For all of Theodore's faults, he's still outperforming Osgood when you compare the two's individual stats of GAA and SV% (or are we not doing that this week?)

Statistically there are still two productive goalies on this club (albeit in varying degrees) whether you want to admit it or not. Remotely considering that Varlamov is going to come in on his first year in North America and pull a Carey Price (or even a Ken Dryden) just isn't going to happen.

That's the reality (as least, that's what it is on December 11 with 35% of the season down).

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Savard was being turd all night. He backchecked Semin late in the second or early in the third near the bench. Semin was none too happy. Maybe Savard was tasked to instigate with the recently returned. No matter, if you didn't see it, Brashear absolutly meandered into a board battle later in the game and gave Savard a nice shoulder uppercut that almost dropped him. Savard was aghast. It was awesome. What a punk.

Posted by: saintex | December 11, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I am glad to see Semin and Poti back. They were definently rusty, but overall game the Caps a boost that was needed. Good to see Poti being physical in front of Johnson and Semin giving AO some quality chances. Semin definently not himself yet, but he missed 12 games. I saw a poster claim he was stuck in 1st gear, but what can expect with such a layoff.

The forechecking in the first period was exactly what this teams needs to pride itself on. It seems like Boston could not get out of their own zone, with Backstrom, Semin and Ovie out there.

Alzner looks more and more like he deserves to stay with the big club as more that a 7th defenseman.Maybe McPhee will finally pull the trigger on that Nylander trade and clear up some cap space to keep him with the big club.
Osala looked lost out there, but it could have been nerves. Girouix is the kind of presence that is needed with Clark out long term. Fehr does not do those kind of things, so he might be in danger of being sent down.

Is it time to name a new captain? Clark, even though I love his work ethic, has not suited up in over 80% of the last season plus. He will never reproduce his 2006-7 numbers, because we actually have centerman that are more suited to pair up with Ovie. AO is the heart and soul of this team and deserves to be officially named captain.

GC and St.Bs alum here Tarik. Good job on covering the caps.

Posted by: SkinsFan4Life89 | December 11, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

If Jurcina continues to play like he did last night, I think it would be silly to even consider bringing Erskine back in and sending Alzner back down to Hershey... all salary cap issues aside.

Jurcina simply looks like a different player out there. He is going after forwards and making great hits. He is taking more shots on net. He just seems, overall, more confident. And that is because he feels confident that Alzner can lock it down. Erskine falls down, Alzner locks it down.

Seems simple enough to me.

Posted by: zloss126 | December 11, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Giroux should not have been awarded a penalty shot, he actually got off a shot on goal while he was being hooked. It should have been 2 minutes in the sin bin. You get a penalty shot if you are prevented from getting a scoring opportunity, he was not. The officiating last night was rough!

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

All right. Fluto just got his clock cleaned by me. When I first read people's comments about the mistakes he made I thought they were on his blog, which could be at least somewhat excused since these are posted on the fly, but they were in his game report that was in the print edition of the Globe!

FFSEnough,

One more thing I forgot to mention and got reminded by one of the Bruins' fans comments on Fluto's blog when I was just looking at it. Last night was a great example of what I was saying about Theo and him getting constantly outplayed by the opposing team's goalie. While Fernandez was good for the Bruins Johnson was spectacular for us. Hence Johnson outplayed Fernandez in this game. That's what we need for Theo at least once in a blue moon or rather consistently if he is to justify his #1 status and his salary.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

FFS,
Where do you sit in 414?

- Did anyone thing OV was a little off last night? Seemed like he was a bit slower than usual. Maybe his nagging injuries are worse than we thought.

- I thought Juice played a good game except for one play at the blue line where he got walked. He leveled some guys and took some shots. Wish he'd do that more.

- Osala seemed s l o w to me. Not sure if our Hershey guys can confirm or deny that, but if he's not all that quick, he may struggle at this level.

Posted by: WVPhil | December 11, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@ Section117

You using the word moronic to describe what someone else posts is incredibly ironic because most of your posts are unbelievably stupid and display a total lack of understanding of either the game of hockey or understanding... period.

There is absolutely nothing moronic in what I said. Kolzig sucked last year. Theodore has sucked this year (so far). So you see, they both have something in common which is what I was pointing out. The fact that Kolzig is 6 years older is completely irrelevant.

I'm also 100% sure that you know absolutely nothing about Varlamov while I have seen him play at least 10 times last year. So your statement that he can't contribute this season is pulled completely out of your ass. Just like most of anything else you post on here.

Posted by: ranndino | December 11, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, call me crazy, I slam people who post things like "I wish Schultz was hurt more" or "Green should be benched", sue me.

Back to your argument; there's no way, shape or form that Theodore's play is equal to Kolzig's. Kolzig is slow with no lateral movement, and has been for at least a year now. Aside from the Carolina game, has Theodore been that slow, consistently this year?

Good on you watching Varlamov 10 times last year (in Russia, I'm guessing?). And hey, feel free to whip out that hockey resume when you're scouting for the Bears anytime (wait a second...). So tell me again how many 20 year old European goaltenders have come over and have been instantly productive NHL keepers?

I'm just trying to bring some rational perspective to the group.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I am a Jurcina fan as well (you aren't alone FSSEnough) and I have been hoping for a good year for him this year. Hopefully the play we have seen recently, especially last night will continue.

Seems to me it has a lot to do with the Alzner/Jurcina combo. Think they need to find a way to keep them together even after Erskine returns

Posted by: juicefan | December 11, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ranndino

Too true!

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

117

Three-or-more's gaping 5 hole matches any problem Kolzig had in goal. Ranndino is right, when you let in 4 or 5 goals a night it does not matter how you do it! Anyone else on this list believe we can advance in the playoffs with Josie in goal?

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else on this list believe we can advance in the playoffs with Josie in goal?

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 12:05 PM
-------------------------------------------Compared to a guy to hasn't seen playoff action since '02?

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@majiksea
From the rulebook: If the foul was from behind and he was denied a “more” reasonable scoring opportunity due to the foul, then the penalty shot should be awarded);

Posted by: koalatek | December 11, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, call me crazy, I slam people who post things like "I wish Schultz was hurt more" or "Green should be benched", sue me.

Back to your argument; there's no way, shape or form that Theodore's play is equal to Kolzig's. Kolzig is slow with no lateral movement, and has been for at least a year now. Aside from the Carolina game, has Theodore been that slow, consistently this year?

Good on you watching Varlamov 10 times last year (in Russia, I'm guessing?). And hey, feel free to whip out that hockey resume when you're scouting for the Bears anytime (wait a second...). So tell me again how many 20 year old European goaltenders have come over and have been instantly productive NHL keepers?

I'm just trying to bring some rational perspective to the group.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 11:48 AM


who are you to slam anyone for voicing an opinion like Green should be benched? you don't bring rational perspective. You echo very boring basic ideologies - i.e Green is a great puck rusher so he should be in the lineup no matter what. Kaberle got benched in Toronto and it helped his game. Greenie before he got hurt couldve used a little benching to wake him up as well. He was leaving his partner out to dry way too often

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

and for the record Schultz's injury has actually helped our team get better defensively. So there. He wasn't playing well at all before he got hurt

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Koalatek

I realize it is a judgement call and I am not saying they got it all wrong, just saying it could have gone either way since he did get a shot on goal and thus had a scoring chance. I do believe we would have been better off with 2 minutes.

Posted by: majiksea | December 11, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if it was mentioned yet, NHL Network's play of the night was BJ's save on the breakaway. That was exciting! Gotta give Jurcina some love because I always trash him. Although he had some minor mistakes last night I believe that was one of his best games as a Cap. He got a couple of his blasts off from the point which was nice. Not sure if those at home could see his biggest play develop, but is was when the puck bounced out from behind our net in the 3rd and either Kessel or Savard (couldn't make out the first digit it was *1) tried to slam it into the open net. First Jurcina stopped the forward progress of his stick blade, almost looked like a rejection on someone going up for a dunk in Basketball, and then he cleaned him out. That is what a big D-man is supposed to do. That was just an unbelievable game. Poti was a little rusty but a game changer. Of course his assist was sweet but the coolest thing I saw was in the first 10 minutes of the game when he started behind our net and there was not a break out lane open so he said screw it and simply took off and carried the puck out of the zone. The little things that he and Green bring to the team. Semin looked a little rusty too but his "sick" hands were there and ready.

OV, what can you say about him. When he drove Chara to the ice because he was tired of being held, it was priceless. He also made that beautiful move where he puts to puck in his skates while he goes around the D in the 2nd. Chara so darn big OV was almost in the crease when he finally got around the giant, but it was a nice move. He also shoulder Chara out of the slot in the 3rd. Last night was definitely a another fun one at Verizon.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 11, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

You echo very boring basic ideologies - i.e Green is a great puck rusher so he should be in the lineup no matter what.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 11, 2008 12:51 PM
-------------------------------------------
Yeah, call me crazy, but arguably the best puck rushing defensemen since Paul Coffey should be handled a little differently then Thomas friggin' Kaberle.

And my contention with the Schultz argument was the statement that someone wished for a more severe injury. Kinda a classless thing, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha.... Firefly Vodka. I actually have to admit it is the best Vodka...well Flavored Vodka any way!

Posted by: joshu1 | December 11, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Word.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

It may be slightly early to compare Mike Green to Paul Coffey...

Posted by: WVPhil | December 11, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

From LeBrun. His words (in part), not mine:

"In today's NHL, where defensive systems have limited some of the players' creativity, you just don't see a lot of Coffey-esque rushes from blueliners. But thanks to Boudreau, we've got Green enthralling us with his best Coffey imitation. And there's still a lot of upside left in the young Caps defender."

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Ok, but Coffey scored over 20 goals and had over 80 points 8 times in his career (100+ 5 times). Green might be able to do that, but it's abit early to bestow that on him. Is he exciting and smooth skating? Absolutely. But maybe we should take baby steps before we get to Coffey.

Posted by: WVPhil | December 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. That said, resorting to Wilson-like tactics with him to allegedly improve his defending is, well, wack yo.

Posted by: Section117 | December 11, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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