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PH2009012004394.jpg
By Adrian Wyld, The Associated Press

A few rash penalties that led to a trio of Senators power play goals proved to be the Capitals undoing in last night's 3-2 loss to Ottawa. The defeat ended a three-game winning streak for the Capitals who head into the All Star break still looking for ways to fix their penalty kill, which is now 24th in the league at 79 percent.

*Here is the take on the game from the Senators perspective courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun and the National Post.

*The Sports Business Journal examines the NHL's attendance and television viewership numbers at the midway point of the season. The Capitals still have one of the largest increases in the league, with a 140 percent increase in TV ratings and a 29.8 percent attendance increase.

*Last night's highlights for your perusal:

In the system:
*The Bears visit Norfolk tonight at 7:15, here are the lines from yesterday's practice along with Bear Tracks to get you ready.

*The Lebanon Daily News checks in with Chris Bourque as he prepares for the AHL All Star game this weekend.

*And the Patriot News talks to Hershey Coach Bob Woods about his double-duties this week at the helm of the AHL's Canadian All Stars in addition to the Bears.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 21, 2009; 7:49 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sens 3, Caps 2
Next: Backstrom To Skip YoungStars

Comments

First?

Posted by: tomdchancar | January 21, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Nobody care if you're first, idiot.

Anyways, I'd like to nominate Ruutu for an academy award for his lovely over-acting! They should discipline guys for that, it doesn't belong in the game... this isn't soccer.

Posted by: BoomerTSFX | January 21, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I hope this shows Nyles detractors why he is so important. This is what happens when you take a puck possession player out of your line up. with the exception of the 2nd period we couldn't keep the puck in the O-zone for any kind of sustained effort and were therefore relegated to pot shots on Elliot.

He is a very important piece of our team and has had a hard time of it because he has been shuffled around all year. I think the Laich Fehr Nyles line would end up a pretty decent one if BB just gives them a couple of games and Fehr takes it upon himself to actually score a goal or two.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 21, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@Dizzy

Are you saying we lost this game because Nylander wasn't in the lineup?

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone more excited than me about the beginning of the stretch run?

Looking Ahead: Really really Good News UPDATE!!!

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch run...no rush to rush back Poti. Most surely do not rush Nylander back. Nylander and Jagr = really bad karma.

Also, if we don't get players going to the net then we are not a "complete" team. Obviously it is what is missing to "complete" us. Looking forward to the end of February.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 21, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

You can't afford to even look like you're committing a penalty at that point of the game...especially with the way the PK has been playing. Get the game to OT, get a point and possibly steal another. It was a ridiculous diving swipe at a player that would only be make partial sense if somebody has a clear breakaway.

Posted by: BDTerp | January 21, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

From previous thread
21, 2009 7:03 AM

The Caps---a highly skilled team, but a long way from being a good team let alone an elite team.
It is time for the Caps to stop believing their press clippings & start to earn the millions they are being paid. I f we, the readers of this blog, did our jobs as this team does, we would be getting our pink slips. At this point, being young is no excuse. Making a mistake is one thing, but just not giving a damn is inexcusable.

We on this blog keep talking about the team needing a S@H d-man, but our needs are greater.Caps needs as follows:

1---effort & hard work every game for 60 mins.( some will say that the second period was a good one for the Caps. I disagree. It was more of the Sens. playing with less effort for that period)

2---learn how to put the puck on net---especially Ovie.

3---learn how to be somewhat consistent in passing.

4---stop acting childish at times--Semin @ a few others

5---offense players must play defensively EVERY night. They have enough skill to score often even when playing a tight d-game.

I could go on & on, but what the use. Oh, & finally don't take of completely some nights in playing physically as they did last night.

Finally, Mike Green, if you are going to hit Ruutu in the face, take your glove off & do it hard enough so it takes him awhile to get back up. Actually Ruutu dived & the totally blind refs let that go also.

Finally, Helmer is the worst d-man the Caps have brought up from Hershey.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21,

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman

Please, go on and on... any more cliches?

Ovie needs to learn how to score goals?

Man oh man...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with the game last night was the horrendous specialty teams for the Caps. The power play was 0 for 5 while the PK gave up three goals.

Of note, it still seems like BB can't get a full 60 minutes out of these guys on a regular basis. Last night, he only got 20. Also, the number of just downright stupid penalties this team takes is incredible. If we had another game before the break, I would have made Semin a healthy scratch for his stunt last night.

It seems to me that there needs to be more leadership in the lockeroom. Clark has lost his mojo and needs to give up the C.

Finally, I have no problems scratching Nylander. Puck possession is only worth so much when you don't get any scoring out of it, and the fact is the guy doesn't win faceoffs or play good D. Also, Fehr needs to be playing every night. BB can rotate a healthy scratch between Brashear, Clark and Bradley.

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 21, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

JSchon

Oops, I forgot to ask for your approval.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Nylander is the biggest non-factor we have on this team... He isnt winning or losing games for us, just taking up ice time at $4.875 per year... And at that price tag he should be winning games for us.

We lost last night because we took stupid penalties. Semin's penalty might the dumbest penalty I have seen in recent memory given the time remaining in the game. Nylander not playing is probably one the last reasons anybody on the tema would give as a reason for the loss.

OV needs to learn how to bury his shots?

I have no idea why I'm responding to this... The leading goal scorer the past 3 years needs to learn how to score... The leading goal scorer who is marked by the opponents best defensive pairing night in and night out needs to learn how to score... The premier power forward and record holder for most goals by a left wing needs to learn how to score...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman

No, you didn't ask and you don't receive it when you make yourself sound ridiculous with "OV needs to learn how to score" comments...

That is absolutely hysterical...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I am not knocking Ovie, but even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes. A little better restraint would make Ovie even better. Also no need to take things out of context to make a personal attack.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I called you ridiculous for your ridiculous comment about OV needing to learn how to score goals...

My bad...

Pigs use the sense of smell to find food...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

JSchon
The problem is that there are a few people on this blog who consider themselves experts & will not give anyone else room to make a comment. I think that that is the reason that only a few ----the people on the approved list----consistently post here. If you think that you are so smart & all knowing, I am glad for you.

Just try to be less obnoxious in your replies. I don't just mean right now, but quite a few times in the past.

Some people post here for fun & some just to be jerks.

You have successfully driven away another reader because of your smug crap.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Semin - stoopid!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon

Caps have lost the last 2 games Nyls has been scratched. Puck control is a big part of the game. The opponent can not score when you are moving and controlling the puck in their zone or in the neutral zone. Looking at the scoreboard to analyze one's play is misleading.
BB is not a good tactician; he is a great motivator and, frankly, the Caps have had maybe one or two games in the last 10 where the boys gave up a 60 minute effort. BB has to be worried at this point. The ASG comes at a good moment for the Caps.

Posted by: atybat | January 21, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman

I call out people for dumb comments, thats what I do. I try to increase the intelligence in this blog.

There way too many whiners and knee jerk reactionary people in here... I try to be the voice to reason and calm...

If that is smug and condescending to you, then I guess it is.

See ya sidehillman... I wont miss you...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Ovie needs to learn to put the puck on net? Excuse me - but isn't the guy leading the league in shots on goal? What else do you want him to do? As far as Helmer being the worse D-man brought up from Hershey - you're right! And I hope BB keeps him so he stays out of Hershey's lineup! LOL

Posted by: hersheybearfan | January 21, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon

No Im saying it was a pretty big contributing factor though. When you cant keep puck possession (which is even more important when your on the road) then you cant have any kind of sustained effort in your offense. Your relegated to one timers and breakaways. So how does it make sense to scratch the guy who is the best puck possession player on your team, but what do I know... I don't get payed Millions to coach and I don't know what goes on behind closed doors.

The other big issue is of course special teams, but frankly that was blatantly obvious last night.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 21, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Wow.....Somebody need to teach OV how to hit the net? Last time I checked he was fast approaching the all time season leader for shots on goal, and nobody was within 100 shots of him.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 21, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

There are clearly two options to remedy the number of PPG the team is giving up: get better at the PK (what are we, 23rd in the league?), or take fewer penalties (I think we are now 5th in minors this season). It would seem that eliminating the offensive and neutral zone penalties would cut the number by half. That would seem an easier short-term solution than getting the PK somewhere near the top ten. We are so good 5-on-5, the offense supporting the middling defense, that no one has score even strength against the Caps in almost 10 periods.

As far as Ovi shooting - I'm cool with over 300 shots. The top five scorers in the league are all between 10-13% and he's in that zone. Being that SOG are only tallied when the puck gets to the goalie or is within the confines of the net why would anyone have issue with 300 shots getting through. Based on the prancing of Semin and the complaints about Nyls not shooting, it seems we'd want SOG. How many times have I heard the fans screaming "Shot the puck".

I'll be happy for the days without games. The last few weeks have been stressful.

Posted by: saintex | January 21, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

@windjammersouth
Don't you understand this team play down to their competition! All 13 division games will be tight games. Plus 2 vs. TOR!
This team will beat Detroit @ home, but turn around and lose to a team @ the bottom of the standing.

Posted by: 555Mass | January 21, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Now we are questioning BB's coaching skills... BB who is now 67-32-10, 3rd among current coaches in the same amount of games...

Nylander had nothing to do with the loss last night, NOTHING. Bad penalties and poor special teams cost us the game, lazy and uninspired play also contributed.

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon
Just to clarify the statement was not about OV learning how to score, but was learning on how to put the puck "on" net, but I guess it could have been about scoring if your actually talking about "hitting" the net. I took it as being able to get shots on goal.

2---learn how to put the puck on net---especially Ovie.


Either way that part of his statement was pretty not thought out very well.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 21, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

didnt proof read...meant was pretty bad or not thought out very well.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 21, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

If he meant putting pucks on net... Then that makes it even more comical...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Semin acts like a 5 yr. old girl. The kid has handles but his penalties are inexcusable. Another poor performance on VS.

Posted by: gocaps71 | January 21, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

It's time to consider trading Semin, the Russian ballet dancer.

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | January 21, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to join with sidehillman on this one. Yes, Ovie leads the league in shots on goal, and I agree that this is a good thing. However, as has been said, that stat only counts the shots that make it to the goalie and that are on net. He'd be over 500 now if they counted every attempt. And missing the net seems to be a team-wide thing, and it's a problem because when you take a shot that misses everything, especially before your teammates are in position in the offensive zone, you most likely have turned the puck over to the other team. I think more to the point, however, is that recently the Caps have been squandering a lot of fantastic scoring opportunities, empty nets even, because they are not accurate with their shots. Didn't Backstrom have a great opportunity from the slot last night that he riffled too high?

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 21, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

just caught up on all the posts... and I'd like to throw my thoughts in. People are gettin personal on this thread??!?!? GET A LIFE... this is strictly a place to talk Caps and throw ideas around... the moment anyone takes a post personally or attacks someone directly is the moment when you need to realize that you need a hobby or a GF or SOMETHING ... everyone is bitter about the bad performance last night but people, seriously, attacking a stranger (fellow Caps fan) is pretty ridiculous. Feel free to attack this post... I'm going to actually get work done...

Posted by: gocaps71 | January 21, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Even strength is what killed us last night. We basically spent 40 minutes (excluding period 2) flipping the puck out of the D zone. A loss is a loss but I'm unhonestly not that worried about it. BB we'll have this team back up to par after the break.

Posted by: cappies | January 21, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Snipers do not try to hit goalies with the puck... Snipers try to fit pucks in open spaces away from the body of the goalies, thats why shots are wide.

Sniping is a skill that many players do not have.

A lot of his errant shots are due to the defense he plays...

Would you rather OV only shoot when he absolutely sure he can get the puck on net?

All goal scorers (snipers) miss their target...

I'm not even sure why we are talking about this, all goals scored against us last night were well into the PK and none of the penalties taken were direct effect of an errant shot taken by OV leading us to be out of position.

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Chill out...great team who was tired and looking ahead to vacation. Inexcusable, but that seems to be the case. They will be just fine...maybe work on the penalty kill and scold Semin for his really dumb and lazy penalties. The nasty part of the season starts next week - let's see how hungry they really are...until then "Thank you Caps for the best 1st half of the season EVER!"

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

It amazes me what some people write in this blog. ov needs to learn how to put the puck on the net and Nyls should be in the lineup. First we take to many dumb penalties and our pk needs to be fixed. Semin needs to keep his head in the game at all times and not take dumb lazy penalties when his head is in the game he passes and scores as well as anybody in the league. To comment about OV negatively the way he plays is ludicrous he is the best player on the planet bar none. We need to trade Nyls even if its only for draft picks to free up cap space. And before anybody jumps off a bridge we are 2nd in the confrence and the division is locked.

Posted by: rjrtsi | January 21, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

great point lyle

Posted by: rjrtsi | January 21, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Can't disagree that Semin is again taking stupid penalties and is childish. He had minimized that behavior when Feds first came. Guess the "Fedorov Influence" is no longer effective - so is he really worth $4 mil then if he can't make Semin behave.

Posted by: Varly | January 21, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon

Thanks for clearing the sniper thing up for the ignorant.

Ovie is shooting for a tiny spot away from where the goalie is positioned. Everyone whining about Ovie missing the net - try putting the puck in the top corner of the goal with Tim Thomas in net and 6' 9" Zedano Chara trying to take your head off - BTW - you have .05 second to shoot. How many times are you going to miss wide or high?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

Im not questioning his coaching skills I love the guy! I am just questioning the scratch.

"Bad penalties and poor special teams cost us the game, lazy and uninspired play also contributed."

Your right! This did contribute in a very big way, they were sloppy, and didn't come out of the gates right but Puck possession is a huge factor in road games. I don't get how you don't understand this one major issue. Give the guy a break he has had what 3 different lines now? As a former pivot I can say that this isn't easy to deal with.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 21, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@Dizzy

My point is that Nylander in the lineup doesnt change the stupid penalties, it doesnt not change the poor penalty kill, it doesnt change the overall lazy and uninspired play.

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

So in the 12 hours since the game ended, the following suggestions/statements/etc. have been made:

Clark should give up the C
Clark should give the C to Alzner
Scratch Semin
Trade Semin
The 2nd period was less us and more them
OV should put more SOG
JT gave up 2 soft goals
Even strength is killing us

That about right?

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

There are way too many know it all's in here. Trade Semin? Were you guys saying that the other day when he put the OT goal on a silver platter for OV? How about when he smoked Thomas top cheese with the game winner against Boston? Yea, it was a stupid penalty last night but that is no reason to trade away a 24 yr old up and coming star.

And SIDEHILLMAN??? the Caps are "far from a good team"? or an "elite team"? Give credit when credit is due... Defending division champs doing what they are suppose to do... "DEFENDING" it... and elite? every sports site or blogger has them in the top 5 of the whole entire NHL. that is considered ELITE. Do some Homework and then bring your comments back.

Posted by: GOAT21 | January 21, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Lqtm @ Section117

Amen

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@Section 117

You forgot BB is horrible tactician

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I think the break came at the best possible time, personally. It'll allow the "Young Guns" a time away to think about their play (really, Backstrom excluded -- he's been the most consistent player this year, bar none).

Ovie looks like he needs to calm down and get back to his game. He's missing the net more often than not, now -- so is Semin.

So is the entire team, really. Green's got a good shooting percentage, but the rest of his game is clearly hurting. He's not rushing all the way down and getting shots the way he was last season. I wonder if he's become a little more conservative since Pronger destroyed him in the Anaheim game...?

Schultz needs to take a shooting class. I like his stay-at-home-ness, but I cannot believe that an NHL defender cannot shoot the damn puck harder than a travel player. It's pathetic watching him try to shoot from the point. He makes Erskine look like Al Iafrate, for god's sakes.

Otherwise, I am proud of this team for the first half of the season, though. Go Caps!

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 21, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

PANIC!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

You forgot BB is horrible tactician

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 10:19 AM

D'oh!

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow a bad loss and the ZOO is loose. Come on guys we know this team still lacks the leadership but it is coming not to worry. They know how good they can be they just need to learn to bring it every night. Their coasting right now in the middle of the season.

WAIT till the end of February (and a couple of trades) and see what i mean -- turn up the sun.

me me spot on as usual

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 21, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

of course he is he has a bad shoulder. Where have you been?

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 21, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

117-
you forgot: they just don't give a damn. To me, that is the most ridiculous part of sidehillman's post. Really? They don't give a damn? I'd say any athlete who has persevered for years to reach the NHL, one of the top five teams in the NHL, probably, not giving a damn, is not one of their problems.

Posted by: kevbnyc | January 21, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Everyone who is bashing sidehillman needs to read what he said. He didn't say score, he said put the puck on net.

I don't necessarily think it is a problem, but there is something to the idea that a shot high and wide doesn't help generate offense if the puck sails along the boards and out of the zone. Which seems to happen a lot with this team.

That being said, Ovechkin can do what he wants.

Posted by: benz9 | January 21, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@jschon and lylewimbledon

I agree with you that Ovie's trying to place his shots in tough spots for the goalie which results in a lot of misses. I'm not advocating that he should change his game.

As a team, however, the Caps take a lot of bad shots. The bad shots include shots that are on net from bad angles or without any traffic which result in easy saves as well as shots that are blocked by the defender standing right in front of you when you shoot and ones that you put wide that result in turning over the puck to the other team.

Also, does anyone else think this team needs a clinic on how to shoot a one timer? The guys need to go to the golf course this summer and work on not taking big divots, and maybe then they won't break so many sticks.

Posted by: cainoo7x | January 21, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

game thoughts, pretty much everything has been said, but re-enforcing the stupid semin penalty needed to be done. jeff schultz in my mind was the worst player on the ice last night ( i know that may be bias but he was). The steckel goal was awesome. Jarko Ruutu continues to be the biggest clown diver in the league (he would be a great soccer player or he could play for duke basketball). That game blew but if you told me before the season we would be second in the east going into the all-star break, i would have taken it.


On a side note, the sexy lumberjack looks good in the picture above

Posted by: _stevo | January 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

(from previous post)
Tarik -

Do you know if the Caps practice at Boston University is open to the public as I will be in Boston at that time and would love to take it in if open.

Thanks

Posted by: robblahs | January 21, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I for one am pausing at the all-star break to give thanks. It will never escape my memory that I used to go to Landover in the late 1970s when the Habs came to town so I could see how a good hockey team played. Compare that with the hockey artistry out there now from the home team. Thank you, Ted; thank you GMGM; thank you BB; thank you Caps.

Posted by: JoeTink | January 21, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

JSchon

Oops, I forgot to ask for your approval.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 8:55 AM


JSchon's ego is matched only by his own ignorance.

Maybe Bruce should look at himself before blaming his team for the PK problems. If Bruce wants to play such a reckless run and gun style and put non-PKers like Semin (and Green) out there in the hopes that once in a while we'll get a shortie...well thats on his head. First he needs to tweak his scheme and scrap some of the offensive players he likes to play on the PK units. Then maybe he can start assigning blame. I've noticed when the Caps lose Boudreau usually starts throwing his players under the bus. I'm all for accountability but where's HIS accountability?

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 21, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman

Please, go on and on... any more cliches?

Ovie needs to learn how to score goals?

Man oh man...

Posted by: JSchon | January 21, 2009 8:48 AM


Actually Sidelhillman's post was 100% DEAD-ON. What do you contribute besides your lame retorts? Nothing.

Great Post Sid. Everything you said is right on.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 21, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I guess windjammer is cherry-picking games from the schedule, but here is the full complement of games left...

34 games left, 18 at Home, 16 Away.
15 division games left, 7 at Home, 8 Away.

4 against Florida (2H 2A)
4 against Atlanta (2H 2A)
4 against Tampa Bay (1H 3A)
3 against Carolina (2H 1A)
2 against Boston (H and A)
2 against Pittsburgh (both at H)
2 against Philadelphia (H and A)
2 against Toronto (1H 1A)
1 against Detroit (H)
1 against Ottawa (H)
1 against New Jersey (A)
1 against Los Angeles (H)
1 against NY Rangers (A)
1 against Florida (A)
1 against Montreal (H)
1 against Colorado (H)
1 against Nashville (A)
1 against NY Islanders (H)
1 against Buffalo (H)

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 21, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@Sidehillman - I believe the expression is blind squirrels, not pigs.

Now I'm gonna make like a tree, and get outta here.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 21, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Yes a sour taste heading into the break and it stinks that they won't get a chance to change that for another week but all in all... WOW... what a great first half to a season. I kinda like that this team will have to stew over this loss for a time. It'll make them hungrier for the B's in a week.

They do have to address some things sure. Their special teams needs work, they need to learn how to take the cellar-dwellers as seriously as the elite teams, and they could be a little better at holding the blue line in the offensive zone.

That being said... there are far more things that went right in the first half of this season then went wrong. I'm sure the coaching staff knows exactly what needs to be worked on over the break and I fully expect to see them get better in the 2nd half. Given the record in the first half, any improvement would set this team amongst the best this city has ever seen in any sport. Enjoy the ride folks. It's been a long time coming for DC sports fans.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | January 21, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Great Post Sid. Everything you said is right on.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 21, 2009 10:43 AM

Hey, welcome back!

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Here's my take on Nyls.

He 4.5 mil salary is better spent on the ice then up in the press box. Put him on a line and give the line time to gel (10 games). Give him a scorer (Kozlov, Semin or Flash)and a camper (& BB make this person stay there) in front of the net (Laich, Bradley or Fehr).

Bottom line, if I had a employee making big money and couldn't push him to another employer, I'd put him in a position to make me money and succeed. I don't tell him to show up and read the paper in the lunchroom.

GMGM didn't give him a big long contract because he thinks he's a nice guy (which he is). The guy has talent and has a history of using it. Quit the mind games and work together to get the production out of him!

BTW, the penalty kill is terrible (24th in the league). If this doesn't dramatically improve, the playoff run will be short.

Lastly, when will we consistently have traffic in front of the net? Seems "everyone" thinks they're snipers and have nifty puck handling skills. Maybe if BB would hand out tents to certain players they would get it that they need to camp in front of the opponent's net.

Posted by: puckman | January 21, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Section117

It does seem pretty silly to be discussing these as "issues", doesn't it?

It's basically facing facts. The team's collective head wasn't in the game for 40 minutes.

Clark "giving up" the "C" implies that he took it to begin with. It's a coaching decision or a team decision (depending upon how the team is structured), not his.

I'm not sure what the issue is with Nylander. Statistically, he should be doing much better than he is. I don't know what's changed, but we seem to do as well without him as with him. Considering that we have more cap friendly alternatives... But if he ever gets his game on, dayum he's a point machine.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@ Jschon

Your right it doesnt, what it does do is help give them puck possession which in turn helps turn the situation from one timers to 2nd and third chance scoring. The shots on goal last night only proves my point.

Yes sloppy play and the lackluster effort of speical teams was a huge factor, but even bigger (And i suspect that this is going to be used against us a lot from here on out) is the fact that the caps for whatever reason cannot deal with the neutral ice trap for some reason. They cant pass out of it and are then forced into dump and chase situations which is not their game at all unless your talking about the 4th line.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 21, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

It's basically facing facts. The team's collective head wasn't in the game for 40 minutes.

Agreed, but some of the leaps that are being made should be done over a tank full
of sharks.

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I was not expecting much from the Capitals last night, and they still let me down. "Brashear and Theo looked best" is not a sentence you want to hear often.
Big picture: Caps are second in the east, with yesterday's bitter pill flavoring the ASbreak. Rested + ticked off + in the hunt = great games in the second half.
Anybody know the schedule?

Posted by: redlineblue | January 21, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

So any positive posts before the break? Howabout how well Theo is playing?

Posted by: cappies | January 21, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Based on the venom that's flying in the blog this morning, it's going to be a very long week.....

The team is taking a week off to chill. Maybe some of you people should too.

Posted by: tess2201 | January 21, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Puckman on Nyls especially on the 10-game consistent-line theme.

Posted by: JoeTink | January 21, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Theo's attempt to get back in position after getting barely touched was pathetic, and every team we face in the playoffs will know this. It seems like every other game he will give up a goal where he isn't even in the vicinity of the shot.

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

tess2201

It's pretty funny how suddenly there's a world of "experts" out here. Calling out the coach, now. Yikes! You'd think we were in last place.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@ gtydings

theo had a guy fall into him while he was in the butterfly. If that guy wasnt pushed into theo by a caps defender it would have been interference and no goal. saying that it was his fault is a dumb comment

Posted by: _stevo | January 21, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh please. Theo made no effort, goalies get bumped all the time. Most fight through contact, but not Theo. He was crying to the refs as soon as the puck went in.

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Was it Schultzie or the Sexy Lumberjack that knocked the Ottawa player into JT60 leading to the first goal?

And why the hell couldn't somebody be there to slap in one of those juicy rebounds the Sens rookie netminder was constantly providing?

Posted by: CapManJ | January 21, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

gtydings

I would like to see you move if a guy is laying on your leg. It ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

He moved pretty quickly towards the ref to cry "FOUL"

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"but even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes
Posted by: sidehillman"

"Pigs use the sense of smell to find food...
Posted by: JSchon"

Bravo JSchon, that was well done.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 21, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If you bothered to look, the guy was off of him, and the play stopped. He thought he was interfered with which was a reasonable assumption for him. He didn't know that Erskine checked the guy into him.

And, damn it all, I want him to protest a goal. If it was deemed by Toronto that the player could have avoided him, it would have been interference and the goal wouldn't have counted. If he didn't protest the goal may not be reviewed and the goal would stand.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"but even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes
Posted by: sidehillman"

"Pigs use the sense of smell to find food...
Posted by: JSchon"

Bravo JSchon, that was well done.


Posted by: Steve_R | January 21, 2009 11:19 AM

Isn't it supposed to be "blind squirrel" anyway?

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I would rather see Theo protest the shot, not the call

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it supposed to be "blind squirrel" anyway?

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:24 AM

No way, everyone knows that blind pigs just love those tasty acorns, and sometimes, thanks to their ability to use their sense of smell to find food, they hit the jackpot.

Posted by: CapManJ | January 21, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

hee hee hee -- did you do that while at work? Does your boss know?

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 21, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

What was to protest on the shot?

Theo played a good game. He was the only one that played the full 60 minutes. He made some great saves, let maybe one in that he should have had.

Just because he was shakey before doesn't mean you rail him when he isn't. He can't make up for 5 guys in front of him NOT playing like they should.

He kept the team in the game. The team didn't respond. Gripe about the team, not Theo.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I would rather see Theo protest the shot, not the call

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:25 AM

Look JT60 is not a huge guy, he's not gonna be able to help the fact that if Sexy Lumberjack shoves a player on top of him, he can't get across the crease to stop a shot.

Posted by: CapManJ | January 21, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Um, Guys....
Can we take the all the arguements and so forth to personal emails or text messaging or something? Nobody wants to hear it.
You don't look cooler or more knowledgeable about hockey by trying to cut up somebody else.
If you really feel that charged up about a specific point then I admire your passion,
but I'm pretty sure "handbags at 20 paces" is not what this blog is supposed to be about.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 21, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"Protest the shot", i.e. make an attempt to stop it.

Theodore is the weakest link on the team, his save percentage is weak, he gives up soft goals all the time, and he leaves the net open frequently.

Wonder why Colorado let him go?

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

CapManJ

Must be a regional thing. Didn't have any pigs in Jersey, but a ton of squirrels.

I guess they would eat acorns. They eat everything else.

Pigs it is! Decision stands.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Well said Greg S.
As many times as he has been called out for being inconsistent, he deserves a pat on the back when he plays well.
Last night he was pretty good.

We just need to take fewer pims, and when we are in the box we need do a better job in front of him on the PK.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 21, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

pmoravek +1

Posted by: mauree | January 21, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I was referring to his previous post:

Um, Guys....
Can we take the all the arguements and so forth to personal emails or text messaging or something? Nobody wants to hear it.
You don't look cooler or more knowledgeable about hockey by trying to cut up somebody else.
If you really feel that charged up about a specific point then I admire your passion,
but I'm pretty sure "handbags at 20 paces" is not what this blog is supposed to be about.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 21, 2009 11:33 AM


well said.

Posted by: mauree | January 21, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of offending those who worship any monkey that wears a Caps emblem or say something nice about a Cap, here is my take:
Sidehillman has a very good point on Ov, he needs to learn to put the puck in the net.
What Semin's penalty was not a lazy penalty nor a "stooopid", it was more of an instinctive energetic effort to recover the puck, all great playes do that, it failed to the delight of the anti-semin crowd. Food for thought: Take semin out of that game and you don't have that penalty, but you won't have Federov's score - by the way did anyone notice that Feds had a similar penalty that cost the Caps a score? Better yet, has anyone notice how many times OV loses the puck on the blue line during power plays? That last question is not to say that OV is not a great player, is just to point out how some of you have selective criticism.
I think BB is disingenuous when he says he didn't know what Semin was trying to do. Give me a break. I understand his frustration, but to try to place the blame on one or two plays is insincere and calculating on his part. I think BB should look on the mirror and place some of the blame on himself.
And for GOD'S SAKE someone on tv-land do something about JOE B., make him a color comentator he is definetely not a play-by-play guy.

Posted by: opita | January 21, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

January 2008 = W24 -L 23 = 53 points
January 2009 = W30 - L15 = 63 points

The sky is falling-apocalypse is soon - we might win the SE by 15 points instead of 20.

Caps are 6th in the league avg goals per game with = 3.15. Obviously, they cannot hit the net.

Again, relax - THE BEST FIRST HALF OF THE SEASON EVER!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

@opita

How dare you criticize any Cap player. :)

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

And for GOD'S SAKE someone on tv-land do something about JOE B., make him a color comentator he is definetely not a play-by-play guy.


"What about being a sports commentator? You know how I always make those witty comments during a game?"
"You do make good comments."
"So?"
"Well, they generally give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and people, you know, in broadcasting."
"Well that's really not fair."

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

CSN (who had the feed on hockeystreams.com last night) showed a replay of the first goal a few times. JT60 was out of the paint, Shultz checked the Ottawa played into Theo, and Theo couldn't get back. I don't think it was a poor play on anyone's part...it happens. I hate to see it but there it is. Heatley scored the second off Schultz's skate - he was where he should have been, trying to force Sens out of the crease. Considering that both were PPGs, I can almost live with the results, afterall, our PPK isn't so great.

Last night I was pretty irate with the premise that "the game shouldn't have been so close in the first place, so don't blame Semin" commentary. It was a tough loss, and I'm still bothered by Semin's penalty, but I'm even more bothered by the "close in the first place" comments. Right. If the premise is that if we never get the lead after the first puck drops - the opponent takes a 1-0 lead early - then unless we overcome and get in front, all is lost. It's like the old GW RBI they used to have in baseball, pointless. We can debate trailing 2-0 and the travails of the PK, the early penalties, the bad hops, etc. etc., but once a team fights back to 2-2 and we are looking at 3 minutes remainging on the clock, you don't take a penalty unless you need to bring someone down on a 1-on-0 breakaway. Yes...the early stuff mattered but once we got even then it's a new game. BB called out Semin, as he should have, and Semin couldn't answer as to why he did it any more than my 10-year old could answer the question "why did you kick the dog." That's unacceptable.

That said, I don't feel the need to worry too much about coaching and personnel moves - I think that's beyond my expertise. I'm glad BB hammered Semin just like he'd hammer any other player for a stupid play.

Posted by: saintex | January 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

After reading some of the posts last night, I only knew this morning's slew of comments would be pretty heated up. In any case, I may be in the minority believing that this will only make the Caps and Boudreau play/coach that much harder for these games leading up to the playoffs. We're still in the running, people. And yeah, the Caps are a long way from being perfect but they want the Stanley Cup more than we want them to have it. But as you can see, their part in gunning for the Cup is a lot harder than our part. They'll be thinking about the mistakes from last night and collectively, they'll figure a way to fix them. Regardless, they're still my team. They're still your team. Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 21, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

yeah I also didn't like BB's name calling regarding Semin's penalty... yeah it was bad look what BB said right after:

When you're on the road you play for the tie and then you win it in overtime.

I totally disagree with you there BB. THAT'S why we lost - we didn't press on the accelerator on the third. If you really bring that attitude on the road, well that explain our sub .500 record.

Posted by: mauree | January 21, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are enjoying their finest season (to this point)...exciting hockey, skilled players, well-respected coach, etc... Look at the standings, listen to what is said by opposing players and coaches and you should agree, we are fortunate fans. Now...quit whining and pointing fingers as if you know how to coach better than Bruce, shoot better than Ovie, or handle the puck better than Nylander. To those of you who have just jumped on the band-wagon, sit back, enjoy the ride, but do yourselves a favor and don't offer your opinions - you sound stupid!!!

Posted by: gonchpup | January 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Of course he's the weakest link on the team. He's only 11th in the NHL in goalie stats on wins. That's the one that counts.

He lost the Ottawa game with a .912% Save average.

He's currently, and has historically been a .89x save % goalie except when he was in Montreal when he was in the .9's.

I don't think anyone thought that he was going to be a MVP with us. If they were, they were fooling themselves. He was always a stop-gap for our goalies in training.

It was assumed that this team would let in goals, but with the offensive power would be able to overcome defensive/goalie breakdowns.

What hurt last night was not converting PP, not scoring even strength enough, and not playing a full 60 minutes (that's been my biggest complaint about the team).

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Opita,

"What Semin's penalty was not a lazy penalty nor a "stooopid", it was more of an instinctive energetic effort to recover the puck"

Have to disagree with you. When you're playing away, in a tied game, with less than two minutes to go in the third, and your PK has well and truly sucked, I'm hard pressed to think of a more stooopid penalty. Though Brash's 6 minutes in Boston last year ranks up there in the "what the he@@ were they thinking?" catagory.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 21, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Stupid Rabbit

Posted by: rarcr | January 21, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

sacré bleu!! I knew I was stupid, many of you told me so, but I didn't know I sound stupid in the internet.

LOL. Seriously. I don't believe anyone here thinks we have a bad team or coaching staff, we just disagree on some things and vent our opinions and frustration on this blog ... some take it too personal, others get offended if their idol is criticized, I enjoy the melee.

Posted by: opita | January 21, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

To all that are bashing how the Caps played last night or any other loss this season:

Beggers can't be choosers... True Caps fans are the one's who have been waiting for years for a team to come around and we finally have one. True Caps fans arent the one's complaining a lick about anything this season. The Bandwagoners are the one's who dont know what it's like to watch a team blow each season away year in and year out. We have been spoiled by our Caps the past year and a half so take the bad with the good because there are going to be losses and players will have bad games. GET OVER IT... Bandwagoners who are bashing our team have no clue what "bad" really is. True Caps fans will sit back and not say a word because we appreciate what we have here in D.C.

Posted by: GOAT21 | January 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Well as ugly as that game was, the blog has gotten uglier.

Posted by: Boo- | January 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Accept the faults of this team because we suffered through the miserable 70's, average 80's, cruddy 90s save 3 years, and we blow the teamup 5 years ago to build this?

That's setting the bar too low.

Why not recognize a team loaded with talent, but prone to make some mistakes, and point out that often it's the same mistake over and over again? If the players shared that attitude, it will be another one and done.

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

opita

It was a thoughtless penalty, but...

You're right that this team is quite good. It could be stupendous if the effort was there for 60 minutes a game.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 21, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

What do I do with a week off of hockey? That's really my biggest concern. The All Star game does not count - it sucks!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 21, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@GOAT21

I think its great... growing up in an area that plays a lot of hockey I can attest to the fact that this is what hockey towns do (unfortunatly the personal attacks come with it).

Dont get me wrong I am ecstatic at how the season is turning out, but I think there are some serious area's the Caps will need to improve on if we are going to make it very far into the playoffs.

"The Bandwagoners are the one's who dont know what it's like to watch a team blow each season away year in and year out"

I guess you dont know anyone from Hartford? :-P

The personal attacks on other posters is unfortunate but I wouldn't get on peoples cases just because they post there idea's on the team and how we think we are doing and what we need to improve on. It really is a testament to how this team has captured the attention of a city. If they were crap no one would be here commenting.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 21, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Last!!!

Posted by: gtydings | January 21, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Any road trippers know if the Caps practices are usually open to the public?

Posted by: robblahs | January 21, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

My dear friends -- let's agree to disagree (on everything EXCEPT the penalty at the end of the game, which we all agree was senseless and stupid). Otherwise, we agree that we don't all like the same players and that we don't like the same lines (or the same healthy scratches). Let us be grateful for the depth on both our bench and on Hershey's bench. There has been a lot of whining about the injuries to the Penguins. I didn't hear anybody whining about our injuries when the Hershey boys were filling in what seemed like half the spots and we were still winning games. I cannot imagine strapping on a pair of skates and skating with a different line against a different team (sometimes in a different building) nearly every game, so I am certainly not going to sit here in my office and criticize it. I am glad that our team is not perfect. If we were perfect, we would probably have reached our potential, be sitting back, and be on the downhill slide. It is inevitable in sports. I am looking forward to the ride to the top -- bumpy as it may be. Who is with me?

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 21, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@Steve-R and Greg S.
You guys see it as thoughless, I see it as instinctive competitive reaction - no time to think. So we have to agree to disagree.

Overall, not for any particular play, but I think there are times when we don't give credit to good plays by the opposition, we are blinded by our fanaticism for the Caps.
There are times when a Cap get totally outplayed and made to look like a lazy, silly, stupid, (add your adjective),player but in fact he is none of those, he was just outplayed, period.

To follow Greg S. comment "It could be stupendous if the effort was there for 60 minutes a game." I agree. but the same goes for the coaches. I think we tend to forgive BB at times and place the blame squarely on a few players. Remembe BB has been screwing with the lines quite a bit on the last few games; also, he had OV for almost 4 minutes on two consecutive power plays the Caps had - a bad decision in my opinion.

Posted by: opita | January 21, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@gtydings
Nice try!!! It ain't over until someone says so. :} :(

Posted by: opita | January 21, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes Boo, I wondered if the voice of reason would wade into the muck and tell us to play nice.

I am thankful after the last few years to have such an amazing team to cheer on. I am not quick to jump on a player and am probably annoyingly forgiving in most instances. We tend to remember a players worst moment and let it overshadow anything else good that player may have done. We all want the team to succeed (well, most of the people here), but we don't necessarily agree on what/who gets us there. I am just not going to go through the hand wringing.

Posted by: _Mark | January 21, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Dear Caps Fans,

I just don't get it! You seem to be posting like Habs fans - one day you're hero, the next - zero! Why???? Last time I checked, the only team in NHL that doesn't need improvement is Sharks, and even with such a record, Detroit schooled them at home this year. Everybody's talking about problems, which I don't think are that concerning. Last night, Fedorov's goal should have counted and that would have changed many things. Of course, Ovie should be the captain, as he carries the team year after year, but that's up to management. Regardless, the team is great! Just an example of incredible hockey, whether win or loose. And they're young, and will only get better. Thank God it's not like one of those boring teams that won cups:-) Think about it! Except for Detroit, lately, all teams were pretty boring. Sure, great D and smart hockey, but boooring!!! When Tampa won, I thought Bruins were much more interesting. Same goes for Carolina, and don't get me started about the Devils, I would never go watch them play, when they were winning all those cups. But this team is just a pleasure to watch, enjoy it while you can, cause it doesn't happen that often. It's all about exciting hockey, and wins will come, but don't put the horse before the carriage! These Caps are one of the most exciting teams in recent history, not only elite, and that's what counts, if you're a real hockey fan.

Nylander should play!!! He was great with Jagr and the coaching stuff must find a way to use him. He's probably frustrated with the ice time, and now, scratch. I guess, they're trying to trade him, because Caps are too deep up the middle. Getting a goalie or a D-man would be great! They probably won't commit to a goalie, since they signed Theodore, but that's what could help them further in the playoffs. Khabibulin would be great for this team. They need to learn to play team D and everything will be fine. I'm sure they're gonna go deep this year, but they have to wait their turn, as many teams have been waiting for a while.

Posted by: hockeyfan20 | January 21, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

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