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Led by goaltender Jose Theodore, who looks more and more like a No. 1 netminder with every passing game, Caps exorcised their HSBC Arena demons for a 4-2 win over the Sabres that gave Washington its ninth victory in the past 10 games.

*Here's one the most comprehensive lists of the top stories from 2008 I've found in sloshing through all these New Year's themed items. And yes, the Caps are on it quite a few times.

*USA Today's Kevin Allen predicts that Alex Ovechkin will hit the 60-goal plateau again in 2009. Not too much of a stretch of the imagination if you ask me.

*Steve Kolbe's Take Five this week features Eric Fehr.

*Most of you have probably seen the article, read the comments about it or talked about it on message boards but in case you missed it Greg Wyshynski sums up the Caps' sentiments about the Maxim article on Ovechkin.

*The hockey version of a happy New Year's eve: Team Canada against Team USA in the World Junior Championships.

In the system:
*Hershey kicks off a four-game road trip through New England tonight against the Springfield Falcons, then continues on to Providence on Friday, Hartford on Saturday and concludes with Worcester on Sunday.

*Defenseman Sami Lepisto is playing through the frustration of not being one of the young blue liners whom the Caps kept in Washington for a significant amount of time.

*Bears assistant coach Mark French ran practice yesterday and the rotation of lines in Hershey continues as they do here in Washington...with Chris Bourque's call up Darren Reid skated with Keith Aucoin and Andrew Gordon.

*Stack the Pads has faith in Daren Machesney, who starts for Team Canada against Dynamo Moscow in the Spengler Cup today, along with pictures of Michal Neuvirth from his first AHL win this weekend.

*Goaltender Bobby Goepfert was returned to South Carolina.

By Katie Carrera  |  December 31, 2008; 8:43 AM ET
 
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Next: Morrisonn Practicing, Pothier, Too (Updated)

Comments

did you hear joe during the game yesterday mention that ovie's grandfather had passed...? is it true, if it is I am very sad to hear that. give ovie lots of credit for playing even though he lost a big person in his life. i hope he recovers ok from the loss. if he has to miss a few games it's ok.

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 31, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Yes it was mentioned several times. They said that Ov had accepted his grandfathers death and was dealing with it.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 31, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Is this the style of hockey BB has been aspiring to all season? I know a few weeks ago the Caps were winning but he was insistent they could do better. Given the winning streak (9 of 10!), Backie's and Ovie's performance, and winning despite lots of injuries, is this what BB was shooting for?

Posted by: Tex21 | December 31, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Morning, Katie! Thanks for posting this. :-)

Theodore made some spectacular saves last night, and finished with a .939 save percentage - woot! And, for the third game in a row, he let in fewer than 3 goals. Against the Leafs, he was .958, and against the Sabres, .916. I, for one, am NOT going to argue with numbers like that, and I hope he keeps posting them! :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Nice way to finish off the year end. Eleven wins in December, not a bad month at all. JT is finding his groove, lets let him string a few together now. Early in the summer we were talking about some teams goals. I wanted to see Domination at home. A top 5 power play unit, and a top 5 penatly killing unit. Lets work on the PK some....get it up to snuff!

I loved the Stecks,CB,Fehr Line.
I think you will see Fehr starting to put up numbers soon, he is comming into his own!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 31, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

to rehash the green issue from previous blog.

We love his puck movement and speed. No doubt there. We love his offensive ability. I have never, however, seen him pinch as poorly as he did on the Mair goal last night. He was at the center ice dot covering somebody without the puck (who the pass never even came to.

He left Schultz on an island, 3 on 1. Looking back at the replays then, and now on NHL, I still don't see WHY he felt the need to pinch up like he did.

And, lastly, is anyone else scared as all hell when he wipes out behind nets 2-3 times a game? It's almost always of his own doing, and can't be anything but painful. We were lucky last night in the 3rd that a scoring chance didn't result from it... someone needs to get him some studded skates or blizzaks.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Mike Green is an outstanding offensive talent from the D position. Mike Green is a big defensive liability from the D position.

Posted by: WVPhil | December 31, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

@ FFS,

I commented on Green wrecking into the endboards last night. I hold my friggin breath every time.

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@FFSEnough - Yeah, I will give you that Green wiping out behind the goal does scare the hell out of me.

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Mike "The Schwag King" Green is the ultimate giveaway machine. I KNOW there are some shameless marketing people that want to use special advertising-laden pucks when Green's on the ice, because he will, at no charge, distribute them widely among the other team's skaters.

Posted by: large23220 | December 31, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"Get Your Message Out With Green!"

I suppose he fits the system though. The system is more or less designed to give up 3 goals a night and just pile-on more offense.

After the flyers game, there was an aftergame interview on 1500; the guy said Green's game involved a lot of risk. I suppose as long as he's got a +/- in the black, his game is paying off.

Posted by: large23220 | December 31, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Nicklas Backstrom is growing up right in front of our eyes! He has looked so determined and tough out there the last few months. I think last year's playoffs really benefited him a lot.

Does anyone know when the real All Star decisions will be made (not the fan voted stuff)? Who actually votes anyway? Media, players, coaches???

At the start of the All Star Campaign I was big on Ovi, Semin, and Green making it. I think Ovi is a lock, but now I am really hoping that Nick gets a nod.

Posted by: Kim-3 | December 31, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Please give me a break. Mike Green is a talented defenseman that we are lucky to have. Don't you Green bashers have something better to do than criticize someone a player that makes the Caps a better team? Sometimes I really believe this bandwagon has sucked in "fans" that know absolutely NOTHING about hockey. Moving him to forward would be crazy. He almost always catches up to a play even after he has gone deep into the offensive zone. His backwards skating ability is so fluid it's amazing, and at times when he's back he makes his poke checks look like he is a man playing among boys. He even poke checks and dekes in on swoop and leaves an opposing forward or two in a heep and he has the puck going the other way.

By the way did any of you Nylander bashers see his sweet tight turn that caused a forechecking Sabre to completely miss his check on Nylander and run into his own team mate below our goal line in the 2nd period. We have so much talent on this team you should all just sit back and admire how these guys play the game. Boudreau always talks about playing within the system which is completely different from the old play Caps hockey statement from the goon Hunter days. Yea, I typed GOOD Hunter. Never liked the guy. If not for the one good play he made when he first came to the Caps (OT goal against Philly) he probably wouldn't have ever made the name for himself that he did. I cannot believe his number is retired. He was a second rate hockey player. He had 3 1/2 times more regular season PIMs than he did points, and almost 7 times more PIMs than point in the playoffs. He always took penalties an inopportune times too just like Brendan Dim Witt.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@large23220 - This is one instance in which I wish I could pull stats on individual players without having to go cross-eyed looking at the "superstats" page for each game, one game at a time. But I don't think Green has as many giveaways as you think he does...

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@large23220: Now you're attacking the system, so Boudreau is your target now. His "system" isn't designed to allow 3 goals. It assumes the goaltender will play at a 90% save percentage or better. Now that JT has there aren't 3 goals a game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say Green is a big defensive liability. He takes unnecessary risks carrying the puck in the breakout, but I think he does fine when actually on defense.

Posted by: koalatek | December 31, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The Buffalo News, todays edition...

Nothing against Alex Ovechkin, but Evgeni Malkin is the choice of the Sabres’ dressing room.

Nearly every discussion about the top player in the NHL comes down to Washington’s Ovechkin and the Pittsburgh duo of Malkin and Sidney Crosby. The Sabres have played the Penguins four times this season and faced Washington for the third time Tuesday night. So it seemed like a good time to ask the Sabres whom they prefer: Ovechkin, Malkin or Crosby.

More than half of the dozen players polled anonymously selected Malkin. The scoring leader earned seven votes, while Ovechkin got four and Crosby one.

Malkin, the league’s scoring leader with 59 points, has feasted on the Sabres. He had one goal and 10 assists in the four meetings. Ovechkin has played in two games against the Sabres and had the game-winning goal last Friday.

Two Sabres who selected Malkin said Ovechkin is the most dynamic individual player in the NHL. But they preferred Pittsburgh’s star because as a center he can make others better. Ovechkin is a left winger.

Ruff wasn’t polled, but it appears he would have gone with Ovechkin, the reigning Most Valuable Player.

“He consumes a lot of minutes and can stay at a high level throughout the whole game, which makes it tough on the opposition,” Ruff said. “He’s one of the best players in the game. . . . Top one, probably.”

Posted by: JSchon | December 31, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

+1 on the Greenie scaring me to death when he wipes out like that.

I think we missed Alzner last night, although Sloan certainly held up his end of the deal to my eyes. Speaking of Dmen - Tarik, any news on Morrisson?

I say everyone should bring a flyswatter with them to the New Year's Day game, and if anyone ask, we're trying to squash the injury bug.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Meant to type GOON is caps not good. Hunter was a goon. Probably the biggest goon to ever have his number retired.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth:

On even strength, Green is on the ice for more goals by the Caps than any defensemen on the team (3.92 per 60 minutes of ES time), which is improved over last year's 2.61. When you look at the other side of it, he's been on the ice for 2.41 goals per 60 of ES time this year, which is DOWN from last year's 2.46. Loosely translated is that the Caps appear to be scoring more and allowing less with him on the ice from a 5v5 point of view.

Feel free to look at behindthenet.ca which explains these stats.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

After an offseason where people were seating whether the team was going to sign mike green or not, it's amazing that people can call him a liability. His positives so outweigh his negatives. He is an offensive threat, and is very above average when it comes to defense. ANd he is not yet 25, the age when most "experts" say a defesneman finally knows his job. So relax people!

And fanohock1, only fans from the islanders and the pens call hunter a goon! ;)

Posted by: Leeguru | December 31, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@117

Green is one of the top 5 defensemen in the game... period. No discussion. No arguments. Anything other than complete and utter agreement will be met with untold wraith culminating in body dismemberment and the scorn of a thousand restless souls.

Posted by: JSchon | December 31, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

that was sweating, not seating.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 31, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Fanohock seems to talk out of different orifices at times

Posted by: rdy4all2000 | December 31, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Green is one of the top 5 defensemen in the game... period. No discussion. No arguments. Anything other than complete and utter agreement will be met with untold wraith culminating in body dismemberment and the scorn of a thousand restless souls.

Posted by: JSchon | December 31, 2008 10:13 AM
-------------------------------------------
Um...where exactly am I suggesting otherwise? Just trying to punch some holes of information into kinda loopy statements.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1,
Here we go with the personal attacks again. So because you like the way Green plays everyone else has to and if they don't they know nothing about hockey. And because you think Hunter was a goon everyone else must too. Don't get me wrong, I love the way Green plays and was never overly impressed with Hunters play. But the personal attacks from you are getting pretty old. What are you the goon of this blog???

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@rdy4all2000: Please share why you made your comment. Still stuck on the Chicago/Washington weather issue? Even though Washington is much much warmer than Chicago the forecast calls for some form of frozen precip in the DC area 3 times in the next 10 days. Pull out the boogie boards and flip flops! Wasn't talking out of my rdy4all200 when I made my comments about Green, or BBs system, or the fact that Hunter was a goon.

@Leeguru: Caps fans that got tired of Hunter taking stupid penalties because he couldn't control his temper called him a goon too. Talk about a liability. Were you sad when he left town? Now, were you said when Bondra left town? That's the difference between losing a hockey player and liability.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom is already one of the top 5 centers in the league if not top 5 best players in the league...yes, I said that!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 31, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Phil R: I didn't attack anyone until rdy4all made reference to my many orifices I talk out of, I simply told everyone to enjoy what Green brings to the ice. Well, it wasn't a personal attack unless you fit the description of a "bandwagon "fan" that knows NOTHING about hockey." I didn't direct that statement at anyone in particular.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - Hahaha! Good idea with the flyswatter, LOL!

@koalatek - By definition, carrying the puck in the breakout is a risk. What makes Green any worse than Ovechkin in that regard? I've seen Ovi do some things that are just MAD with that puck, that could easily have resulted in turnovers. And sometimes, they did. But I don't see anyone complaining about Ovi around here... ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@117

My bad... I didnt mean that to be directed towards you. Just making my point that your point is true.

I know who the Green haters were last off season.

Posted by: JSchon | December 31, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

This team sucks. We need to blow up the roster, and get a new coach! Oh, and of course a new GM.

Too many Cheefs, not enough indians around here...

Posted by: Baildog | December 31, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1,
Not even going to get into it with you on the bandwagon thing....been following these guys since they came into the league....I'm just saying you were attacking everyone that was questioning Green. Everyone is entitled to their opinion even if it is wrong and for you to say because they believe that they know nothing about hockey is just wrong. I've said my peace and will leave it at that.

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

No worries man.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Fanohock1, actually, yes, I was dissapointed when Hunter left town, even though I know the reason he was traded. i was also sad when Bondra was traded. Was I frustrated with some of the penalties that Hunter took? Yes. Do hockey players sometimes take dumb penalties? Yes. Hunter got under the skin of opposing teams in a way few players ever could . That was an advantage. and as a CAPS fan, I will NEVER forget the goal in game 7 against the Flyers. Giroux would have hit a blocker on that one.

Were you one of the people that whooped Larry Murphy? (i didn't) He was one of the best offensive defensemen in the game, and he was treated horribly here.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 31, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@everyone - Good GRIEF, people! Enough with the flame wars already!

Grrrr!

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

How about that Tom Poti?

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@_jordan - You mean the Tom Poti with the +6, 3 goals, 7 assists, 8 PIMs and 29 shots this year?

Lookin' good! ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

*gasp*, fanohock1 = blasphemer

But seriously, Hunter was a player we loved in a Caps sweater but we'd all hate if he played for the opposition. He deserved to have his number retired.

And, EVERYONE on the ice is a liability when they make mistakes, which they all do, but I think Green's mistakes appear more obvious the few times they happen because he's more flashy. He does take more risks and more often than not, he pulls it off. The man has sick skills and he'd be the last Caps defender I'd want to lose. No team in the league wouldn't want Mike Green.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 31, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Yep! Tom Poti. I was trying to bring up a player we can all agree to love.

What's not to love about TP cleaning things up in the crease?

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I guess I started taking it personal (as most true fans do) when a core player (which green is) is getting hammered. When JT was getting hammered for his play in goal, I totally agreed. Now he's starting to play solid so...now we let him be. About a month ago Jurcina looked horrible...now, he's looking pretty solid, especially with Alzner. Basically the team played an outstanding road game and I was shocked to see Green started getting slammed. I do however question so many folks stating they were fans from the beginning. Just two years ago I could hold a conversation with someone on the opposite side of the stadium during play because there were so few people at the games. A true fan follows their team when they finish 14th in the Conference two years in a row just as closely as when they are in 2nd place in the conference. Just not sure why a fan couldn't turn off the TV after yesterday's game with a big smile on their face (like I did) and be thankful we have such a talented group of young guys in Caps sweaters, and happy to be here to boot.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Bäckström will only get more stable, it is his only second year and already this good! Not only because he is playing with Ovjetkin. Compare Bäckis to Forsberg and both of their developments are similar in time frame. I cannot wait!!!

Posted by: musicburgler | December 31, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

You're disparaging my namesake so I must defend him. Here are his stats as a Capital

Regular Season
GP - 872
G - 181
A - 375
Pts - 556
PIM - 2001

Playoffs
GP - 100
G - 25
A - 47
Pts - 72
PIM - 370

He's the 4th all-time leading scorer behind Bondra (will be retired), Gartner (retired), and Pivonka

He owns the team playoff records for games played, goals, asstist, points and PIMS.

When he retired only 7 other players in NHL history had played in more games than he had.

He WAS the man

Posted by: DaleHunter | December 31, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

That was the first time I heard about Alex dipping. What's the big deal? If he were a baseball player, everything would be just fine.

Also, anyone know when BB's book comes out? Nov 2009?

Posted by: _828 | December 31, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1,
I to take things personal but if I don't agree I just don't reply. As far as supporting the team I had season tickets back in the late 70's/early 80's before I joined the military. Then I had my parents tape every game for me and send them to me whereever I was stationed. They showed up a week after the games had been played but at least I got to watch!! Now I catch every game on TV as I live to far from VC to make the games but yes, I too went to bed with a big smile on my face last night.

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@DaleHunter: OK, OK, I apologize. I won't speak ill of Hunter here again.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 31, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock11: Yes, I did see what Nylander did, and I liked what I saw from Nylander/Clark last night in terms of feistiness. I'm still not sold on Giroux.

@_jordan: Bad potty jokes = win :D

@Baildog: Missing Cheef already? I suggest a laser sight.

@_828: That journalist is stirring sh!t. It's their job. They'll do anything, say anything, and trash anyone if it gets them readers. Meh. Ignore 'em, sez I.

@musicburgler: Amen. Bäckström is a beast and is getting better and better. I'm hoping he sticks with the Caps for a long, long time, and that we can afford to keep him.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 31, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@_jordan:
"TP cleaning things up in the crease" - was this supposed to have a double meaning?
either way - very funny stuff.

every team needs a D with some offense - that is Greens role. if all of the Dmen were Langway types - no one would be talking about the offense at all because it would practically be non-existent.
Greens mistakes will probably look much bigger than says Potis would because they will leave his Dpartner all alone. it doesn't make him a bad Dman - it just means the other 4 on the ice need to be in tune with it and react as needed. i think that is a big part of BBs system and it is paying off that they use the same system in hershey.

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

@irockthered
When Ovie does it, there's usually someone in position in case he fumbles. Sometimes Green does it with no cover. Like on Sunday, there were a couple of times Green skated around the forward at his own blueline, but the rest of the team was way up ice and Schultz(?) was way over on the side. If the pressuring forward knocks it off Green's stick, they have a breakaway. It's beautiful when it goes right, but you hold your breath.

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

I try.

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Someone directed me to behindthenet.ca for some VERY well done statistical analysis. This site has an extremely good compilation of some of the types of stats that can revolutionize the understanding of the game, beyond mere +/-.

That said, I want to come back to the point I was trying to make earlier. I think the NHL Network commercial (I swear I could hear BB saying this behind the bench) makes the best point:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=462kQQVDAC4&feature=related

In viewing player contributions to their respective roles, we can understand why people might have the opinions they do. I'll play some advocate here for both sides.

5 on 5, for defenders averaging 15min+/60, Mike Green is 2nd in the league points/60 min. His goals for, on-ice/60 is tops in the league. He's middle-of-the-pack in goals-against on-ice/60. His +/-per60 is 2nd in the league. By the token in the video above, he should not be considered a defensive liability, as by his mere presence on the ice the team generates more goals than they give up. That is a great sign for defenders.

Playing devil's advocate, some would like to see Lamborgreenie polish his defensive game a little more. When you compare Goals-Against per 60 for both on and off the ice, you see that the team as a whole gives up less goals when he is off the ice, than when he is on the ice. This lends creedence to those who think his defensive game needs to be spruced up a bit. Simply put, the team does better defensively per 60 5 on 5 when he is on the bench.

So, who on the team gives up less goals when they are on the ice than when they are off? Erskine leads the team in this category, followed by Mo and Juice. What's even more glaring is how much better Erskine is in this comparison. Teams score at a 3.2g/60 against when he's on the ice (alzner, 1.6 while he's off), and only 1.97 while he's on (that 1.97 is best on the team, 3.16 for Schultz is the worst.)

After lunch I'll post a bit about the whole team comparison on this stat. Basically, a +/- with respect to how the rest of the team does when you are on or off the ice.

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Greenie and his wiping out/giveaways:
I think the ice was a little chippy, not to blame that entirely - he's still finding his way back, IMO and he looked like he caught a lot of ruts. But several skaters had the puck bouncing around on them - with the exception of the OBS power play beauty that Laich put away.
If Semin were playing he would have spent half the game on his ass.

Posted by: basrfg | December 31, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, messed up the Erskine stat. They score 3.2/60 when he's OFF the ice, and 1.97 when he's on.

Also, the "simply put" was not simply put. Should read: "Simply put, the team gives up less goals per 60, 5 on 5 when he's on the bench (but scores more when he's on)."

Posted by: FFSEnough | December 31, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Obscure stats won't convince me that Erskine isn't our worse defenseman.

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Worst. Worst defenseman.

Apparently I have started celebrations early today..

Posted by: _jordan | December 31, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

You want to bash Greenie but look what he is able to do with an anchor like Schultz! Schultz is a swear word in my home (along with Steckel). Green ends up being a one man line, doing all the work while Schultz hangs out on the other side of the ice. I say trade Schultz and keep Alzner up.

Posted by: mikesfan | December 31, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

New post

Posted by: PhilR | December 31, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1

What's missing is that the corporate "we" don't see the whole system. We're looking at individual players. The only positions that you can look at truly as individuals are goalies, and even that is with a grain of salt.

Green has a strong offensive strengths and fair defensive strength. He has to be paired up with someone who has strong defensive strengths. Last year, it was Mo. This year now it's Schultz apparently.

I don't really care that he's weak defensively IF there's someone assigned to cover for his forays. The problem then becomes a coaching and discipline issue. He can't just renege on his function as a defenseman. He does that from time to time, one of which was last night and it cost us. That's undisciplined play.

I was one of the ones that said that Green was overpaid for what he was doing. When I compare his pay to Kozlov's, which is less than half of Green's, and just wonder if he's 2+x as good as Kozy. I'm just using Kozy as an example here as they have about the same point production.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 31, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I read this blog religiously because I can’t get enough of the Caps these days. Thank you Tarik and Katie for providing outstanding coverage. I never post and usually just enjoy reading everyone’s comments. However, I felt compelled to add my two cents after reading this. The Caps WON last night guys! By the posts it would seem that Green gave the puck away on a last minute goal for a loss. Are you guys just grumpy? I know 'good is not good enough', but they played great last night. Can anyone celebrate that win for what it was instead of bashing someone? I have been a fan for 20 years and this is the best Caps team I have ever seen. We are lucky to finally have a team like this. When was the last time as a Cap fan that you went into every game thinking that we should win? We should be relishing their wins instead of picking out which single plays were bad.

I for one thought they ALL played awesome last night especially with being on the road. Great win boys!

Posted by: 104_CapsFan | December 31, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

where are all the JT bashers now? everyone is kissing his a** now. you guys crack me up.

Posted by: mnmnt_snow | December 31, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Coming a bit late to this discussion, but need to put my two cents in on the Maxim article.

Accepting that the writer was catty and intent on depicting Ovi in a negative light and accepting that that's what readers of that magzine are looking for, what's the point?

Ovi chews tobacco. Filthy habit. Not trendy. May give him mouth cancer in his seventies if he doesn't stop.

Ovi prefers Russian girls (but loves the US because people don't lie to him).

Ovi likes to drive fast and doesn't like to stop.

Ovi speaks with a Russian accent. But uses English swear words (first words most foreign-born players master, btw).

Ovi is loud and clear about his preferences.

Is there any part of this we would want to be different (except for the tobacco part and that only because of the link to cancer)?

We need him to be exactly how he is, impatient with slow moving traffic and with a strong sense of who he is and what he likes and wants because that is what drives him to be the best at what he does.

Posted by: RedRocker1 | December 31, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@_828
I didn't read the whole article about OV. but the above link excerpts sure paints some bad traits of him. True or false it does not matter, the perception rules in peoples mind. These people are put in a fragil pedestal, God like icons, by their fans and eventually they all fall into the deception; the result is almost always a fall from grace and a broken pedestal. That is why don't care to know anything about their personal life, they are not my friends, or my heroes, they are just great athletes that are a joy to watch while playing their game. OV needs a better PR man to protect him from this pitfall.

Posted by: opita | December 31, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I hope they keep bourque up for another game - that line played well as a 3rd line. Send Giroux back down when Brash comes back to pair with gordon and bradley for the 4th.

Its amazing they've gone on this win streak with the entire second line sidelined.

Posted by: stormblue | December 31, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

FFSEnough,
Thanks for the stats. Very cool website. I'm glad to see someone has gone to the trouble to provide stats more meaningful than just the flawed plus/minus rating.

Regarding Erskine's rating, he does have the lowest (worst) rating for Quality of Competition so that might explain why his GAON/60 is the lowest on the team. Collins is the other D man who has a lower COMPGFON than COMPGFOFF but he his QUALCOMP is higher than Erskine's.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | December 31, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Re: Green and Giveaways

Let's play some statistics games. I like to call this one "give and take". It's fun! What I'm doing is looking at the number of times our d-men gave the puck up, vs. how many times they stole it. This is yet another example of lies, damn lies, and statistics, wherein I can prove that yes, Mike Green has had the puck taken from him more than any other d-man, BUT he's taken it back from the other team more as well. Here are our many d-men, ranked in order of giveaways vs. takeaways. Does it mean anything? Sure! It means, "IRockTheRed is bored at work, LOL!"

Enjoy!

Brian Helmer

Gave the puck away 3 times so far.
Took it away 6.

Giveaways HALF as many as takeaways (go Brian!)

Shaone Morrisonn

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 8.

Giveaways 1.25* more than takeaways.

Sami Lepisto

Gave the puck away 5 times so far.
Took it away 4.

Giveaways 1.25* more than takeaways.

Tom Poti

Gave the puck away 13 times so far.
Took it away 9.

Giveaways 1.44* more than takeaways.

Mike Green

Gave the puck away 39 times so far.
Took it away 15.

Giveaways 2.6* more than takeaways.

Sean Collins

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 3.33* more than takeaways.

Jeff Schultz

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 3.33* more than takeaways.

Milan Jurcina

Gave the puck away 27 times so far.
Took it away 7.

Giveaways 3.85* more than takeaways.

Tyler Sloan

Gave the puck away 21 times so far.
Took it away 4.

Giveaways 5.25* more than takeaways.


Karl Alzner

Gave the puck away 20 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 6.66* more than takeawys.

John Erskine

Gave the puck away 8 times so far.
Took it away 1.

Giveaways 8* more than takeaways.

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Re: Green and Giveaways

Let's play some statistics games. I like to call this one "give and take". It's fun! What I'm doing is looking at the number of times our d-men gave the puck up, vs. how many times they stole it. This is yet another example of lies, damn lies, and statistics, wherein I can prove that yes, Mike Green has had the puck taken from him more than any other d-man, BUT he's taken it back from the other team more as well. Here are our many d-men, ranked in order of giveaways vs. takeaways. Does it mean anything? Sure! It means, "IRockTheRed is bored at work, LOL!"

Enjoy!

Brian Helmer

Gave the puck away 3 times so far.
Took it away 6.

Giveaways HALF as many as takeaways (go Brian!)

Shaone Morrisonn

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 8.

Giveaways 1.25* more than takeaways.

Sami Lepisto

Gave the puck away 5 times so far.
Took it away 4.

Giveaways 1.25* more than takeaways.

Tom Poti

Gave the puck away 13 times so far.
Took it away 9.

Giveaways 1.44* more than takeaways.

Mike Green

Gave the puck away 39 times so far.
Took it away 15.

Giveaways 2.6* more than takeaways.

Sean Collins

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 3.33* more than takeaways.

Jeff Schultz

Gave the puck away 10 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 3.33* more than takeaways.

Milan Jurcina

Gave the puck away 27 times so far.
Took it away 7.

Giveaways 3.85* more than takeaways.

Tyler Sloan

Gave the puck away 21 times so far.
Took it away 4.

Giveaways 5.25* more than takeaways.


Karl Alzner

Gave the puck away 20 times so far.
Took it away 3.

Giveaways 6.66* more than takeawys.

John Erskine

Gave the puck away 8 times so far.
Took it away 1.

Giveaways 8* more than takeaways.

Posted by: irockthered | December 31, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

A lot of you guys sound like reactionary rightwingers who get hysterical when objective US policy deficiencies are noted and react by bellowing: "You hate America! You Blame-America-First Communist!"

Don't tell me what kind of Caps fan I am. You dont know me.

I've been pulling for the Caps since Clint Malarchuk gave me the game puck at an exhibition game at the Roanoke Civic Center in 1988. I was 9. I've never pulled for another team. I never will.

I'm not saying this because I think I need to explain my cred to any flame-troll spazmos; I'm saying this because I'm proud to be a Caps fan and I'll tell any flyers fan in VC the same thing in their face. Dispite many of your blood-curdling screams on this blog, I doubt many of you would tell you what a flyers fan can do with their stupid looking orange hunting gear when they are whooping it up in your section. I make a point of it.

Here's some actual facts for you spastic, window-peeping, commie-hunters:

3 weeks ago, Mike Green was 2nd in the league in giveaways, only behind andre markov. He has slipped, but that's really only because he's missed so many games to injury. Truth: Mike Green turns the puck over A LOT relative to the average NHL player. That's an objective fact.

Another objective fact: the Caps/Bears system works on a far more offensive than defensive dynamic. Have you ever ONCE seen Gabby run a left wing lock? Me neither. The emphasis is on transition speed and deep O-zone grinding/evasion. With a D-corps full of unsteady rookies and a "#1" as unpredictable as Jose, Gabby would be a fool to run his system like the ducks or devils. And Gabby is not a fool.

Here's another fact: Dale Hunter was a total badass. Anybody who says otherwise is a punk.

So do you think I'm mini-cheefe? He just hates the Caps management and goes on and on about that. I've never heard him say anything positive about the team. I love the team. Nobody loves Caps wins more than me. I celebrate our success.

BUT if you can't call a spade a spade, I'm not playing cards with you. Mike Green is absolutely NOT "very above average" when he's defending. That is just ridiculous. Watch him play. He's hands down, the biggest defensive liability on the team.

If I didn't speak loudly enough about his outstanding offensive contributions, I also didn't mention that Masaratis are nice cars. These are things that even blind infants know, and they are not immediately germane to the point I was making. That point was, to rehash: "Mike Green sucks on defense; he turns the puck over way too much." You can't effectively argue against that point; the best you can do is call me a communist.

Posted by: large23220 | December 31, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I amend my comment in light of the statistal reporting supra. Mike Green is NOT more of a defensive liability than Colins/Sloan. Those guys really need some more seasoning in Candyland. But, as of today, I'd much rather have MJ23 defending a breakaway than Schwag King.

Posted by: large23220 | December 31, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

i have to agrre with large23220. green is not a very good defensive defenseman. it's a good thing that this is not his roll on the team. his presence does make the team better and he needs to be partnered with someone that is more S@H and can recognize where and what green is doing on the ice at any given time and position himself accordingly. this is one of the things BB relys on with his system.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little annoyed by that Maxim article on Alex...that really made him seem like kind of a loser. it's kinda tainted my vision of him a bit

Posted by: hockeygrl76 | December 31, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Truth: Mike Green turns the puck over A LOT relative to the average NHL player. That's an objective fact."

Despite the rules, giveaways/takeaways still aren't scored uniformly, so I wouldn't say that using a subjective scoring method and saying it's an objective fact is a little ironic.

And you're not some sort of left-wing pariah for your opinion, so calm down on that noise too.

Posted by: Section117 | December 31, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Green is one of the more overrated Caps in my opinion, second only to Semin. As for the Maxim article, the Caps should chill. Part of Ovechkin's charm is that he isn't portrayed as some sort of perfect person whose excrement doesn't stink. Leave that for Cindy Crosby. Ovie can chew all the tobacco he wants as far as I'm concerned. Who cares?

Posted by: poguesmahone | December 31, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

re: the maxim article. um, what did the team expect from this article? i mean, maxim is not going to print an article about ovie helping old ladies across the street and being kind to puppies. they want an edge and he's got one. good for him. the great thing about him is, what you see is what you get. he doesn't seem to hide behind any persona or say what he things others want to hear (as far as i can tell, that is. i dont know him personally...)

can someone tell me what the rule is on practicing while on LTIR. i assumed that if you were on LTIR you could not participate in team practices. this would seem to make sense as it would open the door to abusing the LTIR system. that's why i was surprised to see semin and pothier on the ice this am. glad to see pots on the ice.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 31, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

ps. put me on the side of being a mike green fan. he's not the second coming of larry robinson. but his ability to break out of the zone and create offense is worth his defensive lapses. when he was out, this team struggled to break out (and still does sometimes). it's frustrating to watch cause more times than not it leads to a goal against or a penalty.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 31, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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