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Morning Reading List

012209ovie.jpg
(Jim McIsaac -- Getty)

For today's hard-copy story Tarik examines the areas that Coach Bruce Boudreau hopes to improve upon when the Capitals return from the 6-day hiatus during the NHL's All Star break. From penalty killing, to limiting goals against, to playing better on the road and just being more accountable all around.

*Don't forget, Tarik will be taking your questions on the Caps and the All Star game today at 1 p.m.

*The PGA Tour caught up with Jeff Schultz and Eric Fehr who headed to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. for some golf during the break.

*Dan Steinberg over at the D.C. Sports Bog gets to the root of the Brett Leonhardt jersey phenomenon.

*The Caps 365 crew asks several Capitals to recount memories of their first NHL goals.


*The top of this column from the Columbus Dispatch shares an interesting little story about the Caps' trip to Ottawa this week.

*The Capitals are just as amazing as The Hockey News' Adam Proteau hoped they would be this year.

*Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf apparently isn't too impressed by Alex Ovechkin's spin-o-rama move from last year's All Star game.

*Here is what Sports Illustrated's All Star roster would look like.

*The NHLPA executive board voted to not reopen the league's collective bargaining agreement after this season, effectively extending it through 2011.

*While we're on league-wide stories, ESPN's Scott Burnside talks to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about most of the hot topics at the half way point.

In the system:
*Ever the optimist, Karl Alzner doesn't mind being back with the Bears.

*While some minor league hockey teams are struggling to draw a crowd in the current economic climate, those problems haven't surfaced in Hershey.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 23, 2009; 7:46 AM ET
 
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Comments

Here's hoping AO scores FIRST and most in the ASG.

Posted by: Section303 | January 23, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Flash's description of his first NHL goal. Hilarious!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 23, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

shoot made it at #3. No worries.

Don't worry about Alzner he will be back for the stretch run:

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.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 23, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

wtf?

Posted by: Sonyask | January 23, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

What I meant was, what is it with these WJS posts -- a troll? an idiot?

Posted by: Sonyask | January 23, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

There is a village somewhere minus a person... that person... windjammersouth...

Posted by: JSchon | January 23, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I hate the way the season schedule ends, division foes, weak teams, etc. I'd much rather see this team go into the playoffs after a number of games against Pitt, NYR, Boston, Phila, etc.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 23, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

It stinks that Alzner may be stuck in Chocotown with Nylander sucking up 5+ mil in cap space. Yes, I'm back from Egypt and so is my anti-Nylander rant! Trade that underachieving, overpaid, liability on defense, whining about not enough minutes loser. Stupid no trade clause.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | January 23, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I hope everyone goes on NHL.com and watches that interview with Getzlaf because it is clear from the interview that he is being very sarcastic. No need to start something thats not there.

Sorry if this has been discussed already but i have heard some of my friends complaining about Ryan and there is no reason to

Posted by: QuintenD | January 23, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

This windjammersouth crap has seriously gotten ridiculous. He/she reminds me of a person at a bar who just constantly repeats a catch phrase like "I call shenanigans!!" for the sake of getting attention. So irritating. Don't feed the trolls.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 23, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought Gary and the NHL might postpone the allstar game so Cindy could get all better and play. Maybe the could add a second all-star game so he can attend at a later date.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 23, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Or maybe a Crosby all-star game with Cindy, Malkin and Mario together against some rocks.

I predict the rocks to hold on for a 1-1 tie.

Cindy would of course the secondary assist on his team's goal.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 23, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Getzlaf is definitely being sarcastic and BTW he is also one of the top 5 offensive players in the league. He is a complete player.

Posted by: JSchon | January 23, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Capsfannmiss, the All-Star jerseys will have special "Get Well Crosby" patches. A video tribute will be shown prior to the game. ^_^

Posted by: koalatek | January 23, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be funny if the trolls here were actually Caps? They watch and wait and berate us with non-sensical dribble just to see the explosion.

windjammersouth is actually Semin's first foray into the English language -- that's why there's so much repetition :-).

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 23, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Dave:
I responded to you on the last thread. :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 23, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

getzlaf is being sarcastic for sure....still glad we picked eric fehr (who is playing golf with another first round bust) over getzlaf.

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Boo,
Yeah I spotted it!!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | January 23, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

eric fehr doesnt know much about golf if he put one in the water on the 17th hole and ended up par-ing it.

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@ windjammersouth

What is the outlook for the game before the stretch run? You know the 22nd game, it must be a doozie if it didnt make the list for the stretch run.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 23, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It has been noted that some of the Caps read the boards......that would be funny if some of these were actually the players.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

why does that post from windjammer get people so riled up on here? If you dont like it, just scroll down. Whats the big deal?

oh yea - please trade Nylander.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 23, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be in the least surprised to find some of the Caps reading these boards (hi guys).

I'm going to throw a thought out for the sake of discussion, and I fully expect all of you longtimers to punk me out and call me an idiot and a troll for so much as suggesting something that doesn't agree with your philosophy, but hey, it's a pretty sleepy place this morning and I might as well liven it up some.

Sitting at an angle behind our goal for the ottawa game, I had a really good view of all three power play goals they got, and the last two happened because there were Senators parked in the crease that had not been so much as touched. The last one, there were two of them. What if we had one guy on the PK whose sole job was to park himself in the crease and make sure the goalie can see the puck (i.e. keep BJ1/JT60/SV40 from getting screened)? This means throwing the other team out of the crease, which requires a big physical guy with both the size and the strength to shoulder guys out and keep them out, without incurring penalties for doing so. JE4 might work for this, and so might DB87. I know, DB87 on the PK? Yeah right, but we get kicked out of the crease all the time on the PP, time to return the favor, and somehow I think DB87 might fit that bill.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 23, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I can tell we're in the All Star break... (((>.<)))! (That's squinchy/crossed eyes, for those who don't know the symbol...)

Ovechkin *has* taken quite a large number of minor penalties... some were good calls, some were phantom calls, like all minor penalties. I'm glad Boudreau isn't afraid to call him out on it, though, and I'm glad he's taking the time over the All Star break to tighten up his plans for the rest of the season.

Re: Backstrom, visiting his dad, and resting... I can sleep on a plane in coach class, and find it quite restful. I'm betting Backstrom is NOT flying coach, so he'll have more space to spread out and unwind. They play movies on the long flights, or he can just put his headphones on, close his eyes and listen to Birgit Nilsson, if that's his thing. ;-) I think he'll get plenty of rest, and seeing his family will be good for him.

The kid's barely 21 years old. I'm sure he gets homesick for Sweden... and at 21, he'll bounce back from trips like that better than some of us old fogies... I'm *still* dragging my be-hind from the drive back from Ottawa on Wednesday...!

Posted by: irockthered | January 23, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

It's worth a shot (no pun intended). Certainly, the Flyers taking up permanent residence in the crease during the playoffs tipped the scales in their favor. Other teams have done the same. BL21 may be an option to get in there and stir things up -- maybe it's not just about pure brute strength.

As for any of the Caps reading the blogs, I would like to say "THANK YOU...THANK YOU...THANK YOU" for providing so many fans with so much excitement and so much to talk about. We love you and intend no harm or hurt feelings in our postings. We are all after the same thing...the big cup for Gabby's new cup holder!!

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 23, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Kicking the other team out of the crease on the PK is definitely a good idea... Ovechkin is also large enough to do it. Schultz is large enough, but not physical enough... My concern with putting Brashear out there is that he just isn't all that quick on his feet. Erskine is looking better since his return from injury, but I'm not sure he's fast enough either... it's definitely something to try out, though...

Posted by: irockthered | January 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

IRTR,

I thought that symbol was Eric Cartman!

Posted by: NJNJ | January 23, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz, that's pretty much what the "we need a big physical defenseman" group is asking for.

Posted by: koalatek | January 23, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, your article today on BB was good. Maybe now some of the bloggers here will understand that all is not well with the Caps. That a 12 point lead can fall by the way side between now and the end of the season. The stat comparisons to the Bruins indicates that the Caps are not at Boston's level "consistently", which explains why they have a good margin of points on us.

I wish your article would have included BB's comments of Nyls. Whether they intend to waste his talent by scratching him frequently, trading him (which has been hard due to his salary) or finding a way to make him a productive part of the team (10 games with a set of wingers who can score and camp out in front of the net. Getting him going and utilizing his skill & experience can only help the team. This will take both BB and Nyls jumping on the same page.

Go Caps!

Posted by: puckman | January 23, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@paws I agree with you. JS55 (aka. Beaky Buzzard) does not have the strength in his wings to move anyone out of the crease. At 6'6", you would think he would have some strength to do this. I tired of seeing him screen our goalies and deflecting shots in the wrong net.

Posted by: puckman | January 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article on a Canadian TV channel website ranking the players by positions for the first half of the season by the impact they have on the game.

http://www.tsn.ca/fantasy_news/feature/?ID=10463&lid=sublink05&lpos=topRelated_main

If we take off our partisan hats and try to be objective, I would say that the method used is pretty darn impressive and quite accurate.

Ovie and Green are no. 1 and 5 overall !! And they are both on top of their respective positions. A couple of other observations:
-no Caps goalie make the list. Duh..
-Semin is not there statistically. I also do not believe that he has overall a very positive impact on the team (my opinion).
-Although I love Nikki, he is ranked 15th which, even adds to the argument of him being left out of the ASG.

In case you wonder, these stats are calculated taking into accounts minutes played by games, goals against and for while on the ice, shots on goals, +/-, minutes between goals, minutes between points, efficacy on PP, efficacy on SH. all that, extrapolated into a 60 minute... very sturdy methodology..

Posted by: atybat | January 23, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Edit...
I need to eat some crow here... Semin is 1st in non-qualifier (probably doesn't have enough games played}...
He would come as 3rd overall, in front of Malkin....

I still don't like him....

Posted by: atybat | January 23, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

“Tarik, your article today on BB was good. Maybe now some of the bloggers here will understand that all is not well with the Caps. That a 12 point lead can fall by the way side between now and the end of the season. The stat comparisons to the Bruins indicates that the Caps are not at Boston's level "consistently", which explains why they have a good margin of points on us.”

Another Negative Nancy. The Caps have the SE division on lockdown. There is not a snowballs chance in hell that they give up the lead in the division. What would draw you to make this assumption? Seriously? Again, this team has the 2nd best record in the East and you want to focus on how the “all is not well with the Caps.” They have 63 points at the break, yet according to you, “all is not well”. Unbelievable. Looks like your just another one of the fans who expect them to go 82-0 and outscore opponents 400-63. Get a grip on reality. A team is as good as their record indicates, and right now the Caps record indicates they are pretty good. They have already played the “tough” part of their schedule, and this team can coast until the playoffs (.500 hockey), and still secure the # 2 seed. Look at stats all you want, the only one that matters in wins. FYI the caps are 2-0 against Boston. But I guess since they haven’t scored as much goals as them, they are not as good. Give me a break pal.

Posted by: cj658 | January 23, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

GO CJ658

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 23, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Atybat, why do you dislike Semin? Why do you think he is not a positive impact on the team?
I don't want to argue your opinion because that is all it is and I respect it, I am just curious why people don't like him.
In my opinion, I think he is the most talented player we have, but I can not tell you whether he is a positive or negative influence on the team as I am not part of it, but he seems to be respected and apparently gets well with them - I haven't read or heard any players complaint.

Posted by: opita | January 23, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@Kitty
I agree -- this is what annoys me the most about the BB PK. The Flyers running over YooAY all through the playoffs was infuriating ... and I think the caps ought to stand up for their goalie and clear the crease on the PK as well as EV.

I dont think Brashear is made for D on the PK--love the guy, but we need not just toughness there but also low-slot responsibility that is bred in real S@H guys.

I suggest we bring Mark Tinordi out of mothballs and camp his in the low slot for the PK, lol. If Claude Lemeiux can make a comeback, why not Tinordi??

Posted by: justbrewit | January 23, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

think claude julien is going to make Ovie a starter for the all-star game? on a line with malkin could be good to watch and see what happens

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

koalatek

Cute! :)

Posted by: Greg S. | January 23, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Semin is "finicky" and capricious. Many players know that. He gets away with a lot because of his relationship with Ovie.
When he came back after his injury, he was put on a line with Nyls for 1 period and a half. He did "diddly", deliberately. He was pouting and it was evident to anyone who pays attention. My clear sign was when he put the puck in Nylander's skate, in the offensive zone, not once but twice, with no pressure. It was subtle but Nylander looked like he couldn't control the puck right in the slot and lost a chance for a scoring chance.
I even saw some disparaging comments the next day by some bloggers saying that Nyls can't catch a pass but it was clearly Semin's fault and he did it on purpose.
BB put him back with Ovie the rest of the game, and suddenly, he had energy and was skating again.
These things do not go unnoticed.
As talented as he is, his heart muscle is far from being the largest in his body (well, it's the gluts of course)... and he will not play with a booboo. GMGM knows that too, I am sure.
He will be like many very talented players with questionable work ethics and will not sustain his usefulness. The day GMGM is comfortable that trading him will not hurt Ovie, he will be outta here.
There you have my entire opinion.

Posted by: atybat | January 23, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The Sporting News Today posted its top Eastern Conference All-Stars at the mid-season point:

G: Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
(my first reaction: NO VARLAMOV!?!?)

D: Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
(yeah, he's pretty good)

D: MIKE GREEN, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
(Finally some respect for the guy!)

F: Marc Savard, Boston Bruins
(SO MANY OF 'EM)

F: Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
(He deserves it, you must admit)

F: ALEX OVECHKIN, WASHINGTON CAPITALS
(need I say more??)


I'd have to say the Sporting News did surprise me with Mike Green, but they did note how he's at nearly a point-per-game despite his shoulder injury earlier this season.

I did like seeing Semin on Sport's Illustrated's list.

Posted by: dcox50 | January 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "There is not a snowballs chance in hell that they give up the lead in the division. What would draw you to make this assumption?"

Very recent history. The Caps' own 2007-2008 season proves it's entirely possible that we could in fact lose the division top spot.

Posted by: jen-s | January 23, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "There is not a snowballs chance in hell that they give up the lead in the division. What would draw you to make this assumption?"

Very recent history. The Caps' own 2007-2008 season proves it's entirely possible that we could in fact lose the division top spot.
--------------------------------

The Caps had it in them to make that battle last year. They always had the skill/power...just had to learn to utilize it to make that run..

It is never out of the question that division lead could be caught, but do the Canes and Panther really have it in them?

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | January 23, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "There is not a snowballs chance in hell that they give up the lead in the division. What would draw you to make this assumption?"

Very recent history. The Caps' own 2007-2008 season proves it's entirely possible that we could in fact lose the division top spot.

Posted by: jen-s | January 23, 2009 12:05 PM

Yes, very recent history indeed. Look at the respective rosters, the Panthers and Canes simply do not have the talent/firepower to go on a “Caps like run of last year”. It would take a MONUMENTAL collapse for either of those teams to catch the Caps. Not happening. The Canes did not collapse last year, the Caps simply would not lose. What the Caps did last year was an anomaly in pro-sports, although it was fun to watch. Bottom line is, the Canes do not have the best player in the world, nor do they have the type of supporting cast. With the Caps current roster, they are simply not going to collapse, barring any catastrophic injuries.

Posted by: cj658 | January 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

jen-s, I have to agree with you. Recent NHL history has shown that teams are perfectly capable of choking after a big first half (see Senators, Ottawa) or going on a ridiculous run to knock the division leader out (see Capitals, Washington).
It's probably just stress turning me into a Debbie Downer, but at some point, all these games we coulda-shoulda might come back and bite us. The scheduling people seem to have it out for the Caps with all these back-to-backs, but a good chunk of these guys have played in the A, where four-in-fives happen more often. Sure its a different level of hockey, but isn't that what NHL level conditioning is for? I just wish our guys would play with a bit more of a "killer instinct" and put teams away with the ease we all know they're capable of. None of this waiting til the last minute stuff. Procrastinating worse than a college student.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

DrinkingPartner: "windjammersouth is actually Semin's first foray into the English language -- that's why there's so much repetition :-)."

I LOL'd. I heartily approve of SI's utopian All-Star team.

Posted by: Caps1Fan | January 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that people argue about who the best player is on a team sport.
In my opinion there can not be a best player on a team sport, it will be like asking what the best fruit on a fruit basket is; they all bring something into the equation and you buy them as a package.

Having said that I got curious, I tried to evaluate two players that come close to playing the same position. Let me say first that I am neither a mathematician nor a statistician, so my methodology is crude and elementary, but I will submit it as an observation.

I arbitrary picked the following three stats to compare, in a per game basis, the value that each player brings onto the team if goals were the more meaningful measure:

Games played, Goals, total on ice time per game
Stat. OV/Semin
GP 46/30
G 31/18
TOI 23.3/19

Formula used:
(Goals / Games played) / Time on Ice per game = goals efficiency per time on ice

OV:
(31 / 46) / 23.3 = 0.0289 or 2.9%

Semin:
(18 / 30) / 19.0 = 0.0316 or 3.2%

But, of course, it is a silly stat as a player value in a team sport is not based on only thing.


Posted by: opita | January 23, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@koalatek: I guess my point here is, does it have to be a D-man? Do we have to look outside what we have now? With the salary cap as tight as it is, trades are a messy business, and if we can get double duty and use all our existing resources to the fullest, we might be better off. I don't think anyone here would argue that DB87 has the size, strength, and intimidation factor to kick guys out of the crease and keep them there. Why trade for someone who can if we've already got someone who can?

@puckman: Agreed that all isn't well, but I think there's a difference between moaning about it and seeking ways to fix it. Things aren't as horrible as some people think, and they're not as good as others think. I sit somewhere in the middle of that continuum. Yup, there's things that need fixing. Can we fix 'em before playoff time? You bet. Can we fix 'em with the players we've got now? Maybe, maybe not. It's partly a mindset thing. Now is the time to fix the problems, and that's what's being done according to BB.

My main suggestion on both the PP and the PK is to crash the net more, much more. We need to get closer to the net than we are, and park guys there that can't be easily thrown out (Brash, Ovi, even Kozlov). It's easier to get closer to the crease for a shot if you don't have the puck at the time, and we need to take advantage of that.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 23, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I realize I'm slightly off-base in pointing this out, being Canadian and born in 1986, but the "Miracle on Ice" team wasn't precisely full of superstars either. Granted, one game against the Soviets is different than half an NHL season, but sometimes having the right guys works better than having the best guys. Carolina wasn't exactly stocked with superstars when they won the Cup.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 23, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@cj658 Obviously, you did not read TEB's article. Here's BB's quote from the article.

"We need to improve in all areas, really," Boudreau said. "If you're ever satisfied with where you are, then you're not good enough. Other teams are going to improve. So we have to improve, too. There are too many teams right on our [butt]."

I guess our own coach is a "Nervous Nancy"' too. He should be and I'm glad for it because he wants his team to be the best it can be!

Posted by: puckman | January 23, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Attybat, thanks for your opinion, I was just curious, I think there are some issues in there but I leave it at that.

Posted by: opita | January 23, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

ATYBAT:

In regards to the recent post about Semin, that is nonsense. Semin possesses what is called raw/natural talent. He posses most of the skills that are uncoachable: speed, stick/puck control, hard shot, etc. Those are skills that for the most part are natural, and cannot be taught.

What he lacks is: attitude(sometimes), decision making, and toughness. For the most part, those are coachable skills. (ie: they can be taught). All of these flaws can be corrected with time and guidance.

No GM in the NHL would simply “give-up” on such natural talent at a young age. That would be suicide. To suggest that Caps should/will trade him in ludicrous. You do not simply “trade” talent away based on assumptions. To say he put the puck to Nyls skate on purpose is an assumption, no way to prove it. To say he “pouts” when he isn’t on the line with OV is an assumption, no way to prove it. Above all, you do not “trade” away a guy who has developed a deep friendship with the bread-winner for your franchise. Plain and simple. It would be one thing if he wasn’t producing, but he is (at a very high level). If he didn’t miss the time, he would be right there with OV in the league leaders in points. His plus/minus was tops when he was injured. He is a valuable asset to this team and a legit #2 to OV.

He would be a #1 option on 75% of the teams in the NHL. You simply do not trade your #2 guy so he can go somewhere else and be the #1. You don’t do it. Period. Sure there are thing he needs to work on, but it is nothing major. Young players make stupid plays every so often, it’s part of the game. He wants to win. The penalty against Ottawa was simply an example of trying to hard/trying to do too much. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can easily be corrected with time and maturity. In conclusion, all this anti-Semin talk is nonsense. If you actually want to see this team make a deep playoff run, he will be an essential part of that.

Posted by: cj658 | January 23, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else read this yet?

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=264365&lid=headline&lpos=topStory_main

Thats just lame...

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 23, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse


@cj658 Obviously, you did not read TEB's article. Here's BB's quote from the article.

"We need to improve in all areas, really," Boudreau said. "If you're ever satisfied with where you are, then you're not good enough. Other teams are going to improve. So we have to improve, too. There are too many teams right on our [butt]."
I guess our own coach is a "Nervous Nancy"' too. He should be and I'm glad for it because he wants his team to be the best it can be!
Posted by: puckman | January 23, 2009 12:28 PM

PUCKMAN: I did read the above referenced article. That is simply coach speak. He said what any coach is supposed to say in that situation. The reality of the situation is, every team has things to work on, that’s a foregone conclusion. But to suggest that the Canes or Panthers have a reasonable shot at catching the Caps is nonsense. All BB is trying to do is keep the players motivated. That’s his jobs. As fans/outsiders we have the right to be realists and look at the big picture. The big picture (and reality) suggest that the Caps are just fine and we all know that they have the SE in lockdown barring a monumental collapse or horrific injury. Period.

Posted by: cj658 | January 23, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz, in the standard "box" PK, the forwards are too far in front to effectively clear the crease. I don't think our PK is radically that different. It's just magnified because our team stinks at clearing the puck from the zone and our PP doesn't park guys in front of the net.

Posted by: koalatek | January 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Dizzy, does the young stars game count in that..?

Posted by: Steve_R | January 23, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Cj658

Your one of those guys that shouts shutout when we are up 1-0 in the 3rd period with 5 left aren't you? :-P


The thing to remember is, this is hockey... anything can happen. Sure, on paper no one should catch them but everyone knows this game isn't played on paper... who knows what the outcome will be. We could go in as the number one seed or we could miss the playoffs entirely hence the reason you need to give a full 60 every game.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 23, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Steve_R I didn't find anything about the young stars game counting.. maybe ask TEB.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 23, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

You don't need to be big to clear the goal mouth if you use leverage to lift with your push. If you push across or the guy is shorter than you potentially that works against you moving them.

I'd think they'd have the whole lift and push thing down by now though...

Posted by: austinsteve | January 23, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@koalatek

part of that is because they keep going for the freaking wrap around off the face off.. It hasn't worked once and I don't know why they keep doing it

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

semin does have some mental lapses every now and then, but his upside far outweighs his downside

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dizzy1205, That is absolute horsepoop. First of all, with the exception of the beginning of the season, Nick is one of the few guys on our team who has been playing through the injury bug. He deserves a few days of rest.
Secondly, its not like Nick put his name in, then decided he didn't want to do it. He never asked for the "honour" of being named to the game.
Thirdly, shall we discuss conspiracy theories? Detroit, Wings, Devils, Habs, Flyers are all playing a non-playoff team as their first game back. Of the teams playing playoff bound teams, Rags are playing the 8th EC, Sabres play the 3rd WC, Yotes & Hawks both play the 8th WC as their first game. Pens play the Rags. The Caps-Bs are the only teams besides Sabres that play a top 3 team as their first game back.
Fourth, Bettman's an idiot.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 23, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo

Absolutely! The kids got amazing hands and knows where open ice is not unlike his best friend number 8.

Its classic DC the kid makes one mistake and everyone wants him on the chopping block.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | January 23, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

my novice PK opinion:
clear the crease and let the goalie see the puck. how does it get done with the players we have? i have no clue and hope BB 'finds a way'
on the PP:
find someone willing to park themselves near the crease - the more the merrier. i forces the D to crowd in there too - making it more difficult for the goalie.

right now it seems like they do the opposite of the above. i'm surprised the PP is as good as it is now. to many 'skilled' puck handlers on the PP (with no one in the crease) allows the opposing D to pressure the puck.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 23, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@jmu....horsepoop? nice touch

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@puckman - I think JS55 needs to grow into himself... he's like the kid who put on a growth spurt in the summer, but he hasn't caught up with it yet, and so he's still a little awkward with all that height... give him a year or two, and he'll be beast out there. Probably. He's also got that "shy boy" thing going on, but he has started hitting people more in recent games, and that's good.

@atybat - The example you gave about Semin is only one game. He's played well since then, and he *isn't* on the line with Ovechkin.

The reason to separate the two is because then you have a second solid scoring line, and the other team cannot defend against both lines effectively. Semin isn't immature enough to risk his career by being "pouty" because he doesn't get to play with his bestest fwiend. That's ridiculous.

Posted by: irockthered | January 23, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

re: Semin

The athletic World is littered with those full of talent. Littered. Do you know why? Because you can't teach the talent that's possessed by those players. You know what you can teach? Maturity, playing hard, working hard, practicing hard, and learning from your mistakes. That's it. Period. We really need to get off the "Semin has the most awe-inspiring skills to walk the Earth" input. I know he has great talent but that has yet to translate into the level we'd all like to see. His skills mean nothing if he doesn't get better year-on-year, game-on-game. I love to watch Semin play and I want him to be a Cap for a very long time but stop with the talent-laden verbiage. You know what? I'd say there are dozens of players in the NHL with his "talent" level - I want his work and game to grow with that talent.

And let's also put an end to the comparing AO to Semin. For one, they are different players, stylewise. Secondly, AO is years ahead of Semin...years.

Finally, don't get too caught up in the stats when running mathematical formulas to determine import and effect. Semin hasn't played as many games as AO this season and that's an automatic knockdown. I'm not saying the injuries are his fault but the fact is, he was off the ice for nearly 40% of the season so far. I don't care if his crazy average is anything you want to make it seem (at the pace he was on after 16 games when he got hurt, he'd have 138 pts and a +84 at season's end; do you really believe that?)...if he isn't on the ice, he isn't helping. And everyone knows that if he'd played those 18 additional games then his "numbers" and +/-wouldn't still be sitting up at +22 or some such craziness. Since his return he is dead-on a point/game which is fantastic and certainly more inline with where I'd expect him to be. He's never by a point/game player.

I think Semin fits in nicely with the rest of BB's squad and I don't see him as any higher on the pecking order for team success than Feds, Flash, Poti, Green, or good goaltending.

Greatly talented and a joy to watch...but that's all.

Posted by: saintex | January 23, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Looking for hockey live-feeds, I recently found www.Justin.tv, which has 3 to 5 games on nightly. So, I've been watching alot of other teams and have noticed that the 'good' teams always, and I mean always, have a guy (and sometimes two) parked in the crease during power plays. We (our beloved Caps) hardly ever do that. I can't believe that we don't have a guy with enough guts (read that 'cojones') to do that. Is it Coach B's philosophy not to put a guy in the crease? I just can't believe that he would be asking the guys to do it and they would ignore him !!
Same for the PK; it seems that the other teams park a guy in OUR crease and our D hardly ever move them make them pay for it. Again, I cannot believe that we don't have enough strength in out top 6 D to clear the crease! If we don't in fact have the players to get the job done, then GMGM has to, whatever the cost, go out and get the type of players we need in order for us to get to the finals.

Posted by: al852 | January 23, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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