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Morning Reading List

Haraz N. Ghanbari--The Associated Press

*Missed opportunities and a plethora of penalties marred the Capitals game in last night's 4-2 loss to Philadelphia. In a game when Washington, or any team for that matter, has a combined 34 missed and blocked shots, it's rarely a positive sign.

*Here's the Washington Times recap, along with Flyers perspectives on the game from the Philadephia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Cherry Hill Courier Post.

*ESPN's John Buccigross writes this week about how NHL stereotypes are changing. He analyzes the style of both Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin to show how Russian players are no longer the old image of "dour, aloof, gloomy, boring and soft", and compared Sidney Crosby's recent comments on Ovechkin's enthusiasm to "78-year-old Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino.""

*Mike Green will be featured on the NHL Network's a Day in the Life this Saturday, and check out a preview segment over at the D.C. Sports Bog of Green and Ovechkin and their death-defying cart ride around Verizon Center.

*Also from Dan Steinberg's neighboring bog, the Caps are apparently a big hit in Scotland, further extending their world wide fan base. Surprise, surprise Pittsburgh fans aren't exactly fond of the Sports Bog or Chris Cooley (and his friendship with Ovechkin) for that matter. Oh, and the Wizards have adopted Bruce Boudreau's juice boy game.

*If you missed last night's game here are the highlights.

*Steve Kolbe's Take 5 is with Jeff Schultz this week.

*The Hockey News' Adam Proteau is the latest to chime in on the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry, stating that the NHL should promote a feud between the two stars. THN's regular humor column Loose Change has a few insult tips for Ovechkin and Crosby as well.

*Not really Caps-centric, but The Hockey News is having a goalie masks tournament. Everyone loves goalie masks though, so pick your favorites here.

In the system:
*In case you missed it in last night's post-game notes, goaltender Simeon Varlamov was back on the ice in practice yesterday after being out of the lineup since Jan. 14 with a knee injury.

*After a lengthy ECHL apprenticeship, Patrick Wellar hopes to stick in the AHL with the Bears.

*The Lebanon Daily News features Keith Aucion, who recorded his 500th career point when the Bears hosted Norfolk on Feb. 14.

*Here are Bear Tracks for a jump start on tonight's Bears game at Binghamton. After today's game Hershey plays at Binghamton again on Friday, then hosts Norfolk and Providence on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 25, 2009; 4:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Flyers 4, Caps 2
Next: Kozlov set to return


GMGM and ted must be thrilled to see his 2 star players almost crashing a golf cart into a wall

Posted by: nferg18 | February 25, 2009 5:17 AM | Report abuse

OH and by the way YES I just stuck up for the caps and Im a Flyers fan. Dont hate the team....hate YOUR FANS. As much as you hate philly, you need to look in the mirror about fan behavior at your rink. I go to the bathroom (in a Flyers jersey) and a 12 year old punk jumps in front of me while an "adult" cheers him on and BERATES me for being punked by a 12 year old kid. I let it go and on the way out get beer poured on me!! I am LITERALLY sitting in the handicapped section and have not insulted or berated a single person all game. The people in my area were the epitome of class. The IDIOTS in the concourse that say Philly SUCKS yet committ the same IDIOTIC acts that they say they abhore about philly fans, are NO better than any fan in ANY city that commits theame act. WATCH OUT DC you are on a slippery slope.

Posted by: ThePhiladel | February 25, 2009 2:31 AM

Say what you want, if a Caps fan went to the Wachovia Center for a game, I bet the same thing would happen, maybe worse. Ted's son got beer poured on his head last season.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 25, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

That THN article is pretty funny. For example:

Alex Ovechkin is more exuberant and showy on the ice (like a clown on crack). Sidney is more laid-back and traditional in his mannerisms (like a clown after a crack binge).

Suggested snarks:
Alex, try this one: I’m just happy when we win. You’ve heard about wins, right?
Sidney, try this one: Just a hint Ovie, we do things a little differently around here. You don’t have to pound on the glass like that. They’ll let you out if you need to go.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 25, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

OK ... one more:

Alex isn’t pretty in a classic sense. Alex’s face could be described as “rugged,” much like that of a cowboy or a glacier. Sidney is more baby-faced. In fact most of his traits can be prefaced with the word “baby.”

Suggested snarks:
Alex, try this: Wow, a pacifier that doubles as a mouth guard? Does RBK make that?
Sidney, try this: Clarify this for me: do you comb a unibrow left to right or up and down?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 25, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

While last night stung, I am still very proud of the way this team has shown up for big games vs the Rangers, Bruins, Penguins and Devils. We need to get over the hump vs Philly, and have one more shot.

Even if we lose to Philly next time, I think it will keep us humble and hungry to want to be better. Bruce wont need to run the players hard. They are not happy with the results.

I dont think the team gave up last night. It was just a lack of finishing, some sloppy play in the 3rd on d, and too many penalties. They will watch the tape, and know what they have to do better in the big games.

We will be alright.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 25, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Last night was so dissappointing and there are some obvious things that are in the Caps control to rectify. A few things good and bad stand out in my mind this morning.

8-19-92 (not working so much). Please let Kozlov's groin be better soonest.

Eric Fehr may have taken a bad penalty late in the game, but he battles for the puck. If Kozlov is back tomorrow I sure hope it is someone else who is scratched.

The Caps need a third person to wear an A and my vote would be for Brooks.

Has every Cap gotten a delay of game penalty this season?

Green for Norris may have taken a little setback since the record. (this is not a commentary on his defensive skills - just that he has looked a little off).

Nick is starting to come of his own. Loved his goal (even the Flyers fans in front of me enjoyed that one).

Unfortunately I did see some Caps fans behaving badly last night. I know things get heated during rivalry games, but when "grown" adults pick on little kids that crosses the line.

Wish that this game had been included in a premium package deal vs. regular. Realize it was on a Tuesday, but may be why it seemed there were larger sections of Flyers fans at this game than at the Pens game on a weekend.

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 25, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like a loss to bring out the moping.

Posted by: Section117 | February 25, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Here's something to be happy about - Chicago lost to the Preds last night ... Huet let 5 in (hee hee hee).

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 25, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

34 attempts that either missed the net or were blocked, what a huge number, the good news is that is not the norm. We did not do a good job of back checking, 2 of their goals showed this. 92 on the top line did not do much last night, put 28 there until 25 returns. Give Philly credit for finishing their checks, but we can beat them. Glad to hear BB is going to hold them accountable for their minor penalties.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 25, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

That was a game that could have gone either way. Time to learn from it and move on. Thank Goodness the 21 game salute is FINALLY here! Actually last nite was the first time I really looked at the last 21 games, and it is pretty damn favorable.
I wouldn't want to be Atlanta on Thursday.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | February 25, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

It appears that Philly is the only team in the Eastern Conference that plays the Caps tough and does not give up even when down several goals. With all the talented and gritty players on their roster (5 players with over 20 goals and numerous playoff experiences!) I am still amazed that they are only 4th in the conference. That may serve to the Capital's advantage if they want to go deep into the playoffs as Philly will have to contend with the likes of the Canadiens, Rangers, Panthers or even Pittsburgh before they actually meet the Capitals! Unless GMGM get some more gritty, seasoned, physical muckers to complement this team, the Caps will just have to count their lucky stars that they will only have to play Philly one more time this season.

Posted by: JohnWWW | February 25, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, what a frustrating night. Like someone else said, it keeps us humble and hungry for more, and maybe it can make the bad penalties stop. That's what we're going to get slaughtered on in the postseason if it doesn't stop.

I think it's hilarious that the hockey media is jumping all over the Sid/Ovi feud (and still can't spell the Ovi moniker right). I think it's hugely entertaining, and if you acknowledge that the media is deliberately overblowing it for entertainment value, as long as the parties involved are okay with it, I'm okay with it.

I'd really like to see Neuvirth get the start against Atlanta Thursday. I want to see what he's capable of. I'm hoping he actually gets two starts in this run, and while I see why Florida might be a good choice for that, I really want to throw the kid into the fire and see what he's made of.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 25, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is Schultz feeling like more of a liability than an asset these days?

Only 8 trading days until the deadline...

Posted by: jetaimelescaps | February 25, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What is it with Nittymaki this year? Ovechkin has victimized him in the past, but he's stopping almost everything he sees from us, now!

One thing you have to consider with this game is that I counted some 8 posts, last night, before the game got out of hand. The Caps were were pushing and taking advantage of the chances they got, luck just wasn't on their side. Backstrom, for example, hit the post on his SH breakaway. Flash hit a post, Green hit a post, etc. The luck just wasn't there last night. Oh well, I guess.

And is there a good highlight of Ovechkin's goal anywhere? I was at the game, and didn't see it initially, I only saw him get knocked over, then everyone cheered. The replay, though, didn't have it, either. Was it a great shot, or was it completely strange?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | February 25, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Can we all admit that our defense sucks now? Trade deadline...Pronger where are you?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 25, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

That was a tough one to watch last night. A nice little slaughter over 3 minutes in the third. The Caps took some horrible penalties but I think they played well for 57 minutes. Or course, that won't get it done. It's hard to come up with the words to show how much I hate the Flyers, but here's a fact: they are the most dangerous team for the Caps come the playoffs. When, and if, we meet, it'll go seven and be horribly difficult. They match up so well with our style of play that it's going to take some stout play. They're quick, tough, take advantage of mistakes, and punish the Caps like no other team. Look at the record vs. the East and it's pretty clear who's the problem team.

I hate the Flyers.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Can we please get some better D now? pull people up from hershey, hell I would even trade for them now contrary to previous posts of mine. But we will not be taken seriously and be a true contender until we get some better D out of our blueliners. Jose had a great game last night but with no one clearing the crease and overall defensive lapses in play it was only a matter of time till he got scored on.

I hope GMGM is looking to bring up some of our farm guys or make a move. Because we are great team but our D is suspect.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 25, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@thephiladelfan or whatever

dont ever try to relate washington fans to the fans of your garbage town. i went a game in philly this year and i had beer poured on me and empty cups throw at me countless times.

go BOOO santa you freakin loser

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is Schultz feeling like more of a liability than an asset these days?

Posted by: jetaimelescaps | February 25, 2009 9:11 AM

No worries, it's just you.

Posted by: Section117 | February 25, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

If you dont like it dont go to the phone booth.

Posted by: CalleJo | February 25, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Some observations from the game:

- are the Caps looking to set a record for most consecutive games with at least 8 minor penalties? This is getting really frustrating because it seems that since January, Bruce has been harping on the number or penalties, but it falls on deaf ears.

- that said, a few of the calls were very questionable. How about that roughing penalty on Theo? Fehr took a frustration penalty towards the end, and I don't really fault Semin for taking that penalty at the end of the game because the Caps were in desperation mode to try and get back into the game.

- the numbers tend to suggest that Jeff Schultz is a good defender, but my eyes keep telling me he is not. He got burned by Aaron Asham of all people, giving up the fourth goal. I've determined that Schultz simply cannot move his feet and keep position one on one. He's alright playing a zone defense, if you will, but he's terrible in man coverage.

- as others have said, Nylander is contributing nothing to the top line. He needs to be scratched again when Kozlov comes back. Or, he needs to play with Semin. I think that's the only time he's marginally productive.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 25, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

One last thought,

What do you think of Poti's play lately? He looks slow out there. I wonder if he's still not right from that groin injury.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 25, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse


trust me it isn't just you

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

schultz was responsible for goals number 2 (his wicked knuckleball slapshot couldnt get it out of the zone) and goal #4 ( how the hell can aaron "shortbus" asham skate around you)

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

First, I don't want to trade Semin. I want to make that clear from the outset.

but, Semin is very quickly becoming Circles II. There have been points scored over the last 20 games, or so, but I swear that he will only shoot if he's on a breakaway. I love his talent but I'd like Fedorov or someone else to get him to STOP with the circling and puck losing. He gets the puck, he nearly gets to open space, and then he turns and turns and turns. I think his passing is best from the goal line back into the crease area but it's rare he gets down that low.

Great talent that'll hopefully develop more over the next few seasons.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

when the donald and hartnell got the roughing penalties, why didn't hartnell get an extra minor for dropping his gloves?

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

It's really bad when the Philthy Phlyers fans can shout you down in your own house. But when I went to the game in Philly, I left early because of fears for my physical safety - and we were losing badly at the time! That says a lot about Philadelphia fans, doesn't it?

About the only thing I can say about last night is that "roughing" penalty on Theo was ridiculous. The man was falling over because he got his knees taken out from under him, and he went elbow-first into the Flyer who took him down's back. Now if that isn't goaltender interference...

Wait... Greg Devorski.

That explains EVERYTHING. He never calls goaltender interference!

Posted by: irockthered | February 25, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that night in and night out, Jeff Schultz does a lot more harm that good for this team? It seems like he turns the puck over or fails to clear the zone more than any other defenseman on this team...and he's a complete sissy for such a big dude.

Why not...uh...get rid of him? Get someone who doesn't, well, suck.

Posted by: badkarma723 | February 25, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

when the donald and hartnell got the roughing penalties, why didn't hartnell get an extra minor for dropping his gloves?

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 10:04 AM

My first guess is because Devorski was working last night. That guy has it out for the Caps.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 25, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse


Brash was given a tripping penalty at that point - which I missed - and he and Hartnell weren't the original players involved in the skirmish. Hartnell did drop the gloves but it was such a scrum I'm not sure how they sorted everything out.

Hartnell. Hate that guy.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I try to give Schultz the benefit of the doubt when I hear "He's always in position"...then I watch him every game and I'm sorry, he's definitely a liability...he's way too slow, too soft for our biggest D...can't take a hit, can't deal any hits...and he blocks our own goalie! I don't know why the coaches/mgrs love him so much. Send him down or trade him off. We need better.

Posted by: CapsKH | February 25, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If the season ended today, I think we could take any of the bottom 4 teams in the first round...that being said, if we give up 8-9 power plays a game it's going to be extremely difficult to win any playoffs games.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 25, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse


I attribute that to more of how he's being played at the moment. opposing teams are hemming him in along the boards at the blue line. Like below... (pardon the horrible attempt at X's and O's)

Semin = O
opposing team = X
Blue line = -------


In this case he has no choice but to either a) Dump and chase (which i dont think he has figured out how to do yet because they dont play that way very often in Russia) or b) circle and wait for someone to streak down the wing or center
Opposing teams are doing this to not just him but to OV as well. One of the ways to keep Skill players off the scoring sheet is to hem them along the boards. It just so happens that OV isnt as susceptible to it because he is so strong and can muscle his way past a lot of people.

I think Semin is just going to have to figure out on his own how to play around this, but it will come to him eventually.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 25, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I am personally very upset anyone would compare Crosby to Eastwood, especially his performance in Gran Turino

Posted by: superpaqman | February 25, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

how many times do we have to see the opposing team walk in untouched from the blue line to the goalie -- that is where some of our penalties are coming from our offense trying to slow down the pressure that the D lets in --- our D only poke checks -- get Kronwall in there and lets hope we can get Morris -- Pronger is too injury prone for the East's style -- and is it just me or does it always seem the opposing team mugs us and then the ref calls us for something chincy --- Semin gets abused and no one takes up for him so he gets a bit frustrated -- this is where we need Brash on Semin's line to open it up for him

Posted by: capsgary | February 25, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis.

Posted by: tess2201 | February 25, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

stevo - correction, you mean philly goal #3 (he was also on the ice for #4). He wasn't on the ice for goal #2.

Schultz picked up a plus on OV's goal and contributed nothing to the play. Neuvirth could have been on the ice as the defenceman and still picked up the plus. Hence, the luck & benefit of being on the ice with the top line and Green.

Go to this link and count how many times #55 lost his man in the games highlights. Someone give us the correct number.,2,895

Posted by: puckman | February 25, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse


Ugh.. please don't make me watch it again! :-P

the answer to your question... too many to count. He has become a liability and looked like he was reading the play completely wrong.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 25, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

And who was that idiot on the ice during the 2nd intermission that predicted the Flyers winning 4-2 just because he says he always gets that stuff wrong? He totally jinxed the game...I think Brash needs to have a "talk" with him.

Posted by: CapsKH | February 25, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse


That's great drawing, technology. That'll certainly be something he has to learn to deal with - Semin isn't much of a digger off the boards, though, is he? A lot of the more veteran players are more adept at dumping but it's something he hasn't caught onto yet. I think it also contributes to some of his penalties as he loses the puck and then tries to recover defensively.

I try to stay away from comparing his style to Ovi - like you say, Ovi is physical enough to get through or not get in that position so often.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse


That was one of the Junkies, methinks. I don't listen to comm radio so I don't know jack about him. Between his inane chatter and Michelle, it's often unbearable.

Man, I just busted on the Red Rockers M.C. I can tell I'm still haunted by last night.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

CapsKH...that was Cakes from the Junkies on was schtick. The running joke on the show is that Cakes is the ultimate jinx so he predicts things the opposite way all the time hoping for wins. Unfortunately, maybe only 1500 of the 18000 people at the Phone Booth got the joke.

Posted by: badkarma723 | February 25, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse


Right, I think its just something he is going have to learn to adapt to. he has the hands to get out of those situations but from what I have seen lately i think a lot of teams are trying to play him really tight in open ice as well which can take his stick handeling skills away somewhat.

In the end I think this is just growing pangs for him, the opposing teams know the kid can score and that he is or can be as dangerous a threat on the ice as OV is so they are doing the best they can to shut him down, He just needs to change his game a little bit. I think he has another scoring streak left in him this year. Hopefully he is saving it up for the playoffs because that's where we will need it most.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 25, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse


That's what I thought, but wasn't sure. I was in the concourse when they were announced and didn't hear. I never pay attention to the Junkies. And now, I definitely never will. :P

Posted by: CapsKH | February 25, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I have two names for you if you want to make a run at the SC

Pronger & Giguere. Please note the Avs/Wings series of of 08. I believe Theodore gave up 5 goals in less than 5 minutes. This is a goalie who has performed admirably while having a good offensive team behind him. But in the playoffs goals are not as abundant and great goaltending wins games. He is not the clutch goalie we need to get over the hump. It was a nice try to see if he has it but he just does not.

Posted by: diner99 | February 25, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else know what the deal was with the dude giving away the T-shirts all through the VC last night? Was that a VC gimmick or was it just some random dude making fun of the Red Rockers?

As many times as he went around the arena and as many T-shirts as he had to pull off his body I figured he had to be an employee, but it was kinda weird.

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 25, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Great column by Kevin Blackistone .... He makes the argument (convincingly) that OV is the greatest athlete in all of sports. Or he at least means more to his team.

Posted by: CapsFan081 | February 25, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I hate to harp on this, but I don't think anyone will argue that Jose got outplayed by the opposing team's goalie once again last night. Yes, he made some great saves, but he also fell apart at a crucial time and let in some not so good ones. He also got very lucky in the 2nd when a slow wrist shot of a floater from the blue line beat him cleanly on the blocker side, but bounced off the post. That would have been a terrible tying goal. On the other hand, Nitty was amazing for the Flyers and not for 2 periods, but for the entire game.

Theo is the #1 Achilles heal of this team and will be our downfall come playoff time. I'm sick of him not being able to put a full 60-minute game together. The only times he lets in 2 or less is when he has nothing to do for the most part. He's yet to steal a win for us. His lapses of concentration and slow recovery for rebounds are annoying as hell. He gets paid way too much money to fall asleep out there. Both of our kids have displayed a much higher level of concentration (among other things) so far.

Posted by: ranndino | February 25, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else know what the deal was with the dude giving away the T-shirts all through the VC last night? Was that a VC gimmick or was it just some random dude making fun of the Red Rockers?

As many times as he went around the arena and as many T-shirts as he had to pull off his body I figured he had to be an employee, but it was kinda weird.

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 25, 2009 10:58 AM

Definitely was a hired hand, and it was embarrassing. The JumboTron polls were embarrassing as well. It's a hockey game! The correct answer when asked who was best or worst dressed at the Oscars is who gives a crap.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 25, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Last night's game was the worst game I saw Schultz play all year. On the last 2 Flyer goals he was out of position and standing flat-footed... I have no idea what went wrong, but I suspect it can be corrected...

I hope...

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | February 25, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse


I'm going to respectfully disagree with your assessment. I thought Theo played really well, but the defense was indifferent about getting after the puck, and that is a shame because I thought they had done a terrific job with that on Sunday versus the Pens.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 25, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse


You've hit the Theo issue on the head. He's slumping a bit right now - 4 vs. the Avalance, 4 vs. the Flyers - but his play since Christmas has been pretty good. What he hasn't done this season is steal a win, and that's what he'll need to do down the run and in the playoffs. I remember watching Huet steal wins during the final push last season and it made the team so much better. Even though I'd like to see JT60 steal some wins, I think the team defense and minor penalties are far greater weaknesses.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Gotta get a banger in a trade. And Semin has to stop shooting pucks up into the stands.

Posted by: ridgely1 | February 25, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The #1 achilles heel in my opinion is the teams penchant for minor penalties, desrved or not. We have had some awful calls against us and, like the Pens game, we have had the games where the refs are not callling the game the same on both teams. You cannot control those, but you can control the lazy and undisciplined penalties that plague us. They are more of a concern to me than Theo or Schultz.

All of these will improve in our stretch run. Join me in having faith.


Posted by: _Mark | February 25, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I think Semin needs to start shooting more pucks in general! He skates into the zone...then slows up...and waits for someone to pass to, then the other team intercepts the pass. He does this even when he's NOT being blocked in. I love the guy, but he seems unsure of his abilities...and come on, the guy can shoot!

Posted by: CapsKH | February 25, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@pollyanna (!)

I agree. There are two - four easily preventable minors almost every game. We can't control good/bad refereeing but we can just eliminate those penalties. Cases in point from last night alone: Steckel holding in offensive zone (even if was a mediocre call), Nylander and Fehr's slashing penalties in the offensive zone (both slashes shattered sticks), and Semin's delay of game that led to the 5-on-3 an first goal. That's five and only one of them questionable.

You can't give up the numbers every game.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh wait, that's only four. Okay, call it four.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse


We sorta have one. He isnt a Pronger but he hits plenty hard. He was a healthy scratch last night while Schultz was once again played (and played a lot of minutes last night too).

I just dont get what mngment sees in this guy. I know BB says he is never out of position but last night he was caught out plenty. He is slow, soft, and my 4 year old nephew can hit harder than he can. When they taught Hockey at school didnt they tell him about the crease and how his job is not to let the other teams players pitch a tent in it? I mean there were a couple times I thought Hartnell was going to throw a tea party in there with the good china and all.

Its a shame... this team can really go places but the D just isnt there. It was a complaint I had last year and I was hoping they would address it in the off season which they didnt. Im not saying they cant still have a good playoffs because anything can happen. But they are really going to need better D once they get there if they want to go deep or attempt a run at Lord Stanley.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 25, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

yeah but dont forget about schultz's laser shot

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

A few observations....

- I've had it with Nylander.... it's not even just the circling... it's that he never gets the freakin' puck to the net! Just fling the damn thing towards the goal sometimes... that's how u get deflections or one of your linemates gets a rebound for a goal. His first instinct always seems to be to turn AWAY from the net.

- Agreed about Semin... someone needs to tell him to shoot the damned puck!!! Doesn't he watch how Ovie scores so many goals?? Semin is CONSTANTLY bypassing shots for an extra deke or pass, which is ridiculous for a guy who can bring it like he can.

- Interesting to see the note on Patrick Wellar. So a guy drafted 3rd round in 2002 (77th overall) is just now trying to establish himself in the AHL at age 25. Nice pick there GMGM.

Posted by: chombie13 | February 25, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Give big Jeff a break he was not the only D who was bad last night. Poti was bad Erskine is terrible every game Green was not himself Mo and Juice are just slow everygame. If we look back GMGM never addressed the defence since we had the great CalleJo. We had some greats Cote, Kiwi and Doig lets get at least 1 solid D in who can teach the young ones how its done.

Posted by: CalleJo | February 25, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I think I am finally understanding the game thanks to this blog's analysts. If the team loses, the blame lies on Semin and Nylander circling and not shooting. The defense sucks because of Schultz. Brasheer should fight every night to give the team a pep, that will be the only time that a 2 or 5 minute penalty is totally acceptable. OV is the only one who knows how to play, his mistakes are other players fault.

OK. Thank you.

Posted by: opita1 | February 25, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse


I don't think that's all the remedies are here, but there are some valid issues. In order:

Neither Nylander or Semin puts the puck on goal often enough. Nylander because he's really a set-up guy, and Semin because he doesn't seem to pull the trigger anymore unless he's on a breakaway. I don't think most would disagree.

The defense does stuggle though I don't agree that Schultz is the primary reason.

Brashear doesn't need to fight every night but there are certainly times when some physical play is needed. I would have liked to see him tough it up after the Flyers first goal, and definitely after the second, to stem the momentum - and would be have happily taken those penalty minutes.

They all know how to play. OV's mistakes are looked at on a different level because he has 44 goals and an MVP. You may not like it, but that's how it works. If other player's want faults to be overlooked, they need to provide ammo for us to overlook them.

We could have a blog where we all clap hands and ignore losses. A blog where when we win there's nothing that could possibly have gone wrong. A blog where it's flowers everyday. We're all fans and everyone has likes and dislikes. The Caps lost a tough game last night and there were lots of breakdowns during that three-minute flurry by the Flyers in the third. We all watch the games, we all see the issues, and we all pick on the stuff that most irritates us. Seems rather normal.

Posted by: saintex | February 25, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The insult tips piece is just too funny!

Suggested snarks:
Alex, try this: So a penguin can survive on whine!
Alex, try this one: I’m just happy when we win. You’ve heard about wins, right?
Alex, try this: Wow, a pacifier that doubles as a mouth guard? Does RBK make that?

i was crying!!! :)

Posted by: jlivsics | February 25, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

i've got 2 suggestions for GMGM as the trade deadline nears:

- Trade Jeff Schultz and Michael Nylander for a large Papa John's pepperoni pizza. heck, make it a medium.

- Bring Mark Tinordi out of retirement.

Posted by: nwilson2 | February 25, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

i would gladly trade Schultz for a 7th round pick in 2017... he is just so bad...

Posted by: jlivsics | February 25, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Semin is one of the best player in the nhl and some even consider him the best on the Caps, so I guess not everyone feel the same way as his detractors. Semin is constantly being double and sometimes tripled teamed, almost as much as OV, but his puck handle skills (which some people see as circles) allows him to be more patient and less prone to turn over the puck.

Nylander, and I am repeating myself here, is one great player that unfortunately, for whatever reasons, is not fitting well with this team. He is a setup man, on that I agree, but all good setup men in order to be effective have to learn to play with their linemates. Nylander is constantly changing partners. BB is a good coach, nylander is a good player but they don't seem to be on the same plane.

OV is unquestionable a great player, but his puck handling skills are not at the same level of Semin, and he commits many turnovers. On the last game as a result of two of his turnovers there were two breakways. I am not pointing this out because I dislike OV, quite the contrary I love OV, I am only doing to point out the disparity of remarks aimed at certain players.

I think part of the difference in opinion are as the result NHL vs European style of hockey. Europeans believe in possession and control of the puck, while the old NHL is the dump-and-chase and shoot and rebound. As Semin once said regarding the dump and chase: "Why give up the puck when you have control of it?". One other thing, many fans seem to see only the goal scorer and do not give credit to the players who made it all possible. Sometimes the man who made it all possible was not one of the last three players touching the puck and he is ignored.

As for the fighting. Well, in my opinion, the last thing this team needs is to play short-handed. If Brash wants to be tough against their best guys and harass them without penalizing the Caps, then that is great, but to go out and entice the other's team goon into a fight? Well, that only puts the Caps in a bad situation by being one man down.

I agree with you on your remark about a blog with constructive criticism. But one where you label players unfairly is not very constructive. I think if we want to have an honest opinion of a game then we should look at every single player - including OV - and analyze and discuss the good and the bad. And for goodness sake I wish some people quit aping clichés such as "lazy penalty" or "selfish penalty", there is nothing lazy or selfish about a penalty, most penalties are bad, but there are cases where one is better than the result would have been otherwise. There is selfish players in other sports like soccer (futbol), but hardly ever you see them in hockey.

Posted by: opita1 | February 25, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It definitely bugs me when people continually pick on the same players. Yeah, sure, they get paid boatloads of money and we expect that much more from them. Would it be too hard for posters to actually imagine these players having some vested interest in whether they win or lose on the ice? Is that so hard to believe that that stupid penalty they took or that stupid pass they missed or that stupid puck they shot over the glass wasn't their intent? Gee, fancy that! Doesn't make them all that stupid anymore, huh?

I thought we're better than that? I mean, if the Pitts can stomach having Crosby as their Captain, I think we could stomach a few mistakes (yeah, yeah, yeah, 9 minor penalties, blah, blah, blah). Put the minor penalties they take under the "they didn't intend to do that". Move on, people. Rest your voices and calm yourselves for the havok our men are going to bring on the poor Thrashers.

Fear the Weagle!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 25, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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