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Morning Reading List

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John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post

*The Capitals have been assessed the sixth-most minor penalties (256) in the league so far this season and it's not a stat they're proud of. As they try to tweak and perfect different parts of their game in the latter half of the season those penalties -- especially the avoidable ones -- are receiving extra scrutiny. The following quote is from Tarik's hard-copy story, which you can read in its entirety here:

"We're taking lazy penalties, holding and hooking and stuff like that," said defenseman Milan Jurcina, who has taken the second-most minor penalties on the Capitals. "Coach has been saying that we can't take the lazy penalties. We have to keep our sticks down and keep skating."

*In case you missed it, Chris Clark will undergo surgery on his wrist and miss the rest of the regular season.

*There's a neighboring D.C. Sports Bog full of Caps-related posts: A few members of D.C. United were in attendance Saturday against the Red Wings. Then there's the Capitals/Redskins franken-jersey (You decide how egregious the jersey foul is there...). Several fans paying homage to Alex Ovechkin's All-Star game ensemble, and perhaps the most cinematically-correct Bruce Boudreau jersey this side of Charlestown.

*Ovechkin tops NHL.com's hot list, and Mike Green was named the NHL's third star of the week.

*The Canadian Press takes their first guess at what the 2010 Olympic Team roster could look like.

Devils Cliff notes:
*If you needed reminding, the Caps are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference with 68 points. New Jersey, which has won eight games straight and nine of the past 10, is in third with 67 and have a game in hand.

*Scott Clemmensen will likely be in net tonight at Prudential Center. As you may recall, many assumed the Devils would struggle mightily without the services of Martin Brodeur, who has been out of the lineup since Nov. 1 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left elbow, but Clemmensen has proved more than up to the task.

*New Jersey Coach Brent Sutter was experimenting with a "gray" line of Brendan Shanahan, John Madden and Brian Rolston in practice yesterday but it's unclear if he'll use it against the Caps.

In the system:
*Alexandre Giroux was named AHL player of the month for January after scoring 18 goals and nine assists.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 3, 2009; 7:40 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps Recall Neuvirth

Comments

Here we go. Gameday. This is a four-point game, folks, and I think they know it. Here's to our boys breaking that winning streak of theirs!

I saw that jersey yesterday. I think my eyes bled. Epic fail.

The penalties thing is a big problem. Hopefully they can fix it, because it's costing us. We don't take a lot of majors, but we sure take a lot of minors.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

If I were GMJS, this what I would do now that CC is gone for the year.

Move Morrisonn and Lisa Hillary for a future draft pick.

Replace Mo with Alzner.

Defensive pairings

Green/Erskine
Alzner/Jurcina
Poti/Schultz

@ the Trade deadline for a true S@H defensemen/enforcer, Komisarek comes to mind.

Keep the lines like they are.

Ovi/Fed/Kozlov
Flash/Back/Fehr
Laich/Nyls/Semin
Brash/Gordo/Stecks/Brad

I'd trade Nylander/Schultz/Bourque for Komo...

Please the NMC that Nylander is there I know, but dictating playing time is enough of a reason for a player to want out. Bourque is probably better off with another team unfortunately. We just have too many quality players for him to get a real chance with us. Schultz is a commodity despite what some people think in here.

After the TDL, here are your lines.

Ovi/Feds/Koz (Semin)
Flash/Backs/Fehr
Laich/Stecks/Semin
Brash/Gordo/Bradley

Green/Komo
Alzner/Jurcina
Poti/Erskine

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Kitty:
I'm not a skins fan, but ya gotta give the guys points for creativity!

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 3, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: Creativity sure, but fashion design just isn't his thing.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz:
True ... but who ever said that sports were fashionable? ;-) If memory serves, I saw one like that last season but it was Caps totally in the front and skins just in the back, so at least the sleeves were the same.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 3, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

So the guys may not have to face MB tonight, but SC has been scare-ee. Should be an interesting game.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 3, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Sure they are. Just ask Montreal. :D No, I kid.

Sorry, blending jerseys just makes my eyes bleed. Seeing one last season does not make this one better.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and here's to Ovi getting his 200th NHL goal tonight! (and 201st, and 202nd...) Nah, maybe that's asking for too much.

Yes, it should be an interesting game. Too bad we have to listen to the Versus commentators. 8(

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Habs sweaters were painful, but my point about the one last season was that it MAY not have made your eyes bleed so much! :-) Regardless, I'm still givin' the guy points for creativity.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 3, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hahahah. Fair enough.

JSchon: I see what you're saying, and I agree that we don't need to monkey with the forward lines at all (which is why your (Semin) on the top line confuses me). Lisa Hillary probably won't be part of a trade, though.

Yes, they'll probably shop Nylander but I'm not sure you'll be able to move him. Mo, I think you can move. Given the possible salary cap crunch for next year, I doubt they'll move Schultz - he's a commodity, sure, but his low cap hit is a huge boon for us, and he continues to improve. It's not a matter of "best" so much as "bang for buck" given how close we are to the cap, and moreso if we bring up Alzner. The other option is to carry 7 D.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

You think that the Habs might be in a aquiring mode since Lang is more than likely finished for the year. This might ramp up the trade rumors. I am sure they might try to work a trade for LeCavalier, but they might have a passing interest in Nylander. Like JSchon I would love to see Mike Komisarek in a Caps uni, just not sure I see the Habs letting him go, but I suppose everyone has a price.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | February 3, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Schultz is a UFA at the end of the year... He is due a raise. Komisarek's hit is $1.3M this year I believe.

We will be talking about Carlson next year like we are talking about Alzner this year. We still have Godfrey and Lepisto in the AHL that will be looking to make the big squad.

If we lose Mo's salary and replace it with Alzner and lose Nylander and Schultz's salaries and replace it with Komo, we'd clear almost $4M is salary cap space.

Enough money to resign Komo.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Real quick- not sure if 94 is gonna jump on here today, but are people thinking about hitting up Mr. Days tonight? I'm prolly gonna head up there either way around 6.30, so I'll try to grab a few tables just in case.

Posted by: Fro_ | February 3, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The Habs already have Hamrlik and Markov making over $5M per year. Francois Boullion is french canadien and is also a UFA at the end of the year and is much like Komisarek but cheaper to resign which is why I think the Canadiens would prefer to move Komo, they can't have 4 defensemen making over $4M per year. Especially since they have to make decisions on 14 UFA's and RFA's this summer.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

a) Schultz is an RFA on his first contract.

b) Considering that Montreal is going to have almost $5 come off the books with Lang and Brisebois' being UFAs, I'm going to guess they're pretty confident in resigning Komisarek, and that including the other hypothetical of success in throwing prospects at Tampa.

Posted by: Section117 | February 3, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

@Sect117

My mistake, Schultz is RFA, got confused. Komo's hit is $1.7M this year.

Bouillon or Komo are gone at some point, my guess trade deadline.

Markov $5.75
Hamrlik $5.5
Komo $4.5
Bouillon $3.0

Here is the list of guys they need to make decisions on...

Tanguay, Kovalev, Koivu, Lang, Higgins, Plekanec, Begin, Latendresse, Chipchura, Kostopoulos... Komisarek, Bouillon, Dandenault

and Carey Price is a RFA next season, he wont be cheap.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I'd be shocked if the Habs trade Komisarek. And we shouldn't trade Schultz. He is weak on his skates and that's a problem right now. But he's going to get stronger. You can't teach size, and it's very hard to find big guys who have his skills with the puck. He's going to be a very good and underpaid D-man (because he won't score) for a long time in the NHL.

Posted by: Kirg | February 3, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Its a matter of economics for the Canadiens. They can't keep everybody just like we can't.

Their top 3 scoring lines are all UFA's or RFA's this summer.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Never mind the Skin/Caps hybrid jersey what about the BB Slapshot jersey. Now that is the business! Very cool!

Props to that young lady, I hope she gets it signed.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 3, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@King

Would you rather have Komo or Schultz and Nylander?

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Actually its would you rather have Komo and an extra $1.8M or Nylander and Schultz?

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

IMO Komisarek will garner a little more that Brooks Orpik money in FA.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon

I'm not sure what your problem is but I can assure you Komo is not going to be traded. 24 block shots and 22 checks last week. He is one of the best and most physical defensive d-men in the league. Montreal will not trade him and will have the necessary cap space to sign him.

Posted by: atybat | February 3, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

As a matter of fact, if we gonna trade with the Habs, let's send Schultz and Nyls for Hamrlik.

Posted by: atybat | February 3, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

As far as the Habs third jersey is concerned... it wouldn't be so bad, if it wasn't the SOCKS TOO!

They look like refugees from "Jail House Rock," LOL!

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't see us trading Schultz, for his cap hit and for the reasons Kirg stated. Especially not if he's RFA. Guys his size are a rare commodity and are usually slower to develop. He's headed up right now.

The other question to ask yourself right now about whether it's Komisarek or not will be: Will the Habs sell at the deadline? Right now, with Lang out for the season, I think maybe not. It depends on whether the team can step up and function without him. Now, there is a possibility that they might be interested in Nylander as a replacement, but they won't want the cap hit.

James Mirtle has a good list of which UFA's might be available at the deadline:

http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/2/3/745379/the-top-pending-ufas-defen

Forget Filip Kuba, IMO - Ovi abused him so bad on Sunday. Rob Scuderi might hold something for us, if PIT keeps going as they are.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I have a problem?

Simple economics says the Canadiens have to make some major decisions on personnel, do you not agree?

14 UFA's and RFA's this summer.

They have 2 defensemen making $11.25M per year already signed.

My guess is that either Bouillon or Komisarek are gone at the trade deadline.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Re: Mister Days. That's a tempting thought, but I can't promise anything. That's going to depend on the weather and how bad the roads are. My car needs new tires and doesn't like ice/snow anyway.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I've seen Montreal's FA list and if I'm Bob Gainey and I'm going to lose two of Boullion, Dandenault and Komisarek, I'll lose the guys who are 6 years older to sew up the younger guy whose coming into his own to a long-term deal.

I've also seen that Pittsburgh will get $4+ back if they don't resign Boucher or Gill.

And if Philly's successful in moving Briere, they'll probably get back under the cap and will get an additional $3.5 back when Hatcher finally leaves.

There's a lot of variables to consider, I don't see Montreal taking on another 36 year old #2 center with a $4m+ cap hit (and some D depth) for their #2 defensemen (who's a decade younger) being one of them.

Posted by: Section117 | February 3, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Mister Days for me is largely going to depend on how I'm feeling at the end of the day. Right now, it's a big definite maybe.

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Bouillon 106 Hits
Komo 124 Hits

Bouillon 49 blocks
Komo 117 blocks

Bouillon 42 PIMs
Komo 59 PIMs

Bouillon 16 ATOI
Komo 20 ATOI

Bouillon will be cheaper to resign and does basically everything Komo does.

Both players have 6 points on the season.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Who would take Briere's contract? That thing is a disaster.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think I actually have a trade idea for Nylander that might actually work (except for the NMC that is).
Nylander to Edm. for Penner

Both players have fallen out of favor, both make about the $ame, and perhaps a change of environment would do both some good.

Posted by: brooklyncapsfan | February 3, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Why would we want another LW in Penner?

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Nylander to Edm. for Penner

Both players have fallen out of favor, both make about the $ame, and perhaps a change of environment would do both some good.

Posted by: brooklyncapsfan | February 3, 2009 9:37 AM


If that happened, Nylander would be the 2009 version of Benigno Aquino (But I'd totally watch TSN to see if it actually happened).

Posted by: Section117 | February 3, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - There are a couple of posts with your byline on them in the last blog entry that I question were actually written by you... could you confirm or deny, please?

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh, you mean the Windjammer post?

Ah, I did that just to remind about windjammer, not really the stretch run...

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

If the Habs weren't likely to make the playoffs, I'd agree with you, JSchon. If they're going to the playoffs, they won't trade Komisarek until they're out. If not, then maybe. Depends on how well they cope with Lang being out.

There are other possibilities, too, ones that are just as good but with teams more likely to be willing to talk.

I don't agree with getting rid of Schultz, though. He's got too much promise for his cap hit to let him go. With Clark on LTIR, we can afford both Alzner and Komisarek's rental.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

@ brooklyncapsfan

Why on earth would Nyles waive his NMC to go to a place he refused to go 2 years ago when they offered him more money than he got from the Caps. Can't guess that Mrs. N has changed her mind about the place either. And why would you want Penner? He has only proved over the last 2 years what was believed at the time he signed the offer from EDM- that his "success" in Anaheim was due to who he played with in ANA - not any stellar ability on his part. From what I have read (including comments from EDM brass), his work ethic is almost non-existant.

Posted by: Varly | February 3, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@jschon

Bouillon as good as Kommisarek?

Duh... is all I can say. Good job with stats, not....

Posted by: atybat | February 3, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

there is no way the habs are going to be sellers at the deadline. it is their 100th year and their fans would be outraged. I do however think they will make moves and Komo could be traded

Posted by: _stevo | February 3, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The Canadiens are in unique situation, they have a boat load of players set for for raises this summer, they are not equip to make a serious run for the SC, that is why they are looking for offensive player like VC. They just lost Lang. Kovalev, Plekanec, Higgins and both Kostitsyn's have all underachieved. That is why I think they will look for offense @ the trade deadline.

They have probably already determined that they are going to lose some of these players, why not get players that can help now.

My hypothetical trade serves the Canadiens well. They get #2 C, and young defensemen that can play right now in Schultz and if they do make the trade for VC, they are probably giving TB Higgins, Plakanec and 2 other players for him which makes room for Bourque, who can play at this level.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I never said Bouillon was as good as Komisarek...

Find the post that says that...

All I said is that Bouillon and Komo are similar players. S@H defensemen. Bouillon does the same thing things Komisarek does...

Does not not mean Bouillon is as good as Komisarek...

Duh, is all I can say... Learn how comprehend what you read...

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Sure it does, JSchon, but I don't think it serves us well. I don't agree that we will or should trade Schultz now - he's got a lot of upside. There are other defensemen in our system who can and should play at the NHL level that don't have his size or PK ability. (Sloan and Collins come to mind.) We might even be able to send them Lepisto.

Plus, I don't know that Nylander will want to go to Montreal.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 3, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I found a link for you atybat... Should help with your problems...

http://edhelper.com/language/Reading_Skills.htm

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@kitty

Schultz will never be Komo, NEVER. He doesn't have the backbone to be Komo. But there is nothing wrong with that. The are Schultzlike players in the league that are good. Komisarek's are rare. Komisarek is only 27 and is 6'4" 240lbs. Schultz 6'6" 220lbs. Not losing much in size Kitty.

Actually, I think Montreal would be one of few places Nylander would agree to go to, if he had to choose.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon - *Snap* - was hoping windbag had spoofed you, so we could get him booted. ;-)

I'm also on the "keep Schultz" bandwagon. He's still young, and still developing, and he's a very minor cap hit. I'd be more worried about our three guys who will go UFA at the end of the season:

Kozlov
Fedorov
Johnson

What're folks' going theories about these three? I'd love to be able to keep them all, but... salary cap and all that jazz.

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Dead Skins should not be mentioned in the same breath with a well organized, built through the draft, great and convienant stadium, and a fantastic owner like the Caps...let alone share the same the jersey. Horrible jersey, especially since football is dead in DC - RIP until we get a new owner and real GM.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 3, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Thats the problem. A lot of people here think we can keep everybody. We just aren't going to be able to do it. Some of your favorite players will be wearing other sweaters at some point whether you like it or not.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

irockthered, I think it depends if Pothier gets cleared to play. If that happens, we really might have a salary crunch. Kozlov will probably be re-signed if he doesn't want a raise and Fedorov if he takes less money. They'll probably want Varly to get playing time rather than sit on the bench, so I expect Johnny to get a new deal.

Posted by: koalatek | February 3, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

LOL. here are my trades.
Lazy reporters (insert tarik's photo here), and Joe b, to pittsburgh for a promise not to let them ever comeback to dc.
people still discussing the "C" and "nylander" to philly for steak sandwich.

Posted by: superX | February 3, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

My hypothetical trade serves the Canadiens well.

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 9:59 AM

Bob Gainey would strongly disagree.

Posted by: Section117 | February 3, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek - That is a good point re: Pothier. My reasoning for wanting to keep Kozlov and Fedorov is that they are a good influence on the younger Russians... Fedorov may take a pay cut to stay here, given his injury issues this season.

And Eek! - We recalled NEUVIRTH?! What's happened to our goaltenders now?!

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Pothier getting cleared to play....

What if he is cleared, but due to the time off, we dont feel he is at the level of play that we want from him to crack the top 6.

Can we send him down to Hershey to keep him off the cap? Im just wondering what we do in that situation, which could happen.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 3, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Johnson is listed as "day to day" with an undisclosed injury. Neuvirth will be wearing #30.

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - There's something about being able to do that for reconditioning, but I don't know the specifics of how it works.

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

You're right Section 117...

You probably need to sweeten the pot for Komo...

Posted by: JSchon | February 3, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Is that Habs third jersey for real? It can't be. They look like French clowns.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | February 3, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey - YEP! It's real. It's a "retro" jersey from 1912.

Posted by: irockthered | February 3, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

irock: The Caps have a lot of players at Hershey who are out of options after this season: Bourque, Collins, Lepisto, Machesney. These players can't be sent down w/o waivers. Also the top club has Fehr, Gordon, Morrisonn and Jurcina who must be re-signed and kept at NHL level or let go. Also need to make decisions on UFAs Sloan and Giroux. Keeping the old guys feels all warm and fuzzy, but not if it inhibits the new guys from coming up. Example: If Theo stays and you re-sign Johnson, you lose Machesney and you inhibit Varlamov. Keeping Kozlov likely means you lose Bourque and reduce fehr's growth. Feds might be worth keeping (no centers coming up) but only around $2M.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 3, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Officially, you can send Pothier briefly to Hershey for a conditioning stint (like six games with extension). I guess there's some leeway about "game shape" but if the Caps keep him out of games once he's cleared for too long, Bettman or the NHLPA might step in.

Posted by: koalatek | February 3, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Well, i was thinking EDM for Nyls, because I have to believe there is interest there for him, and perhaps the lack of love BB is showing is helping push him out the door.
Penner- well, salaries are close (penner is 500k less) and while not entirely productive this year, he is a big rig with plenty of upside

Posted by: brooklyncapsfan | February 3, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Bruins thinking about acquiring Tkachuk

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 3, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

forgive my ignorance, but why is Alex III still in Hershey? are Fehr, Gordon, and Steckel that much better?

Posted by: P-Mac | February 3, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

jschon-@ the Trade deadline for a true S@H defensemen/enforcer, Komisarek comes to mind.


why would a playoff-bound team trade Komisarek ?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 3, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Alex the III?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 3, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Is there a site that lists all player's types of penalties for a season? I would love to compare the type of penalties that OV and Semin take. I'm a big fan of Semin (have his jersey) but anecdotally it seems that the penalties he takes are much more frustrating than the ones OV takes. Semin seems to take more open ice penalties. OV takes more penalties a game but I would expect that because he plays a much more physical and aggressive game. Ironically Semin has more minutes a game because of his slap fight with Marc Staal.

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 3, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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