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Morning Reading List

Preston Keres--TWP

*The Capitals rolled over lowly Atlanta last night as Alexander Semin recorded three points Mike Green tied the franchise record for power-play goals by a defenseman in a single season with 16. The mark was originally set by Scott Stevens in 1984-85.

*Here's the Times recap along with the Thrashers perspective from the Atlanta Journal Constitution story and blog.

*Over at the D.C. Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg offers some extras from his story about hockey fever in Washington including more from Owner Ted Leonsis and from current players about what changes they've seen from fans and the city as the team has improved.

*Here are the highlights from last night's game.

*Many of you may have already seen this article from The Hockey News, which suggests that the Capitals "window for winning" may be small as evidenced by Pittsburgh's demise after their Stanley Cup Final run, but if you missed it check it out here.

*If you didn't see the blog last night, Brian Pothier appears to be inching ever closer to a comeback after missing 13 months with a concussion.

*The Sporting News/MSNBC lists the Capitals as a buyer in its Eastern Conference trade breakdown.

In the system:
*After being pulled from his second-straight start, Daren Machesney is feeling the pressure to be better in Hershey.

*Kris Mayotte will start in net for the Bears tonight as they look to avoid dropping four straight games to the Senators.

*A video for the weekend as the Caps 365 crew also brings you more clips from Washington's Winter Classic with backup goaltender Brent Johnson mic'd up.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 27, 2009; 4:30 AM ET
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Next: Big game in Boston


Thanks Katie, MRL rocks.

Interesting article on the future of the Caps in term of salaries. Both Backstrom and Semin will ask for 5M+. I hope we can keep them both.

Also, I don't see Pronger coming here unless we give a top NHL forward. There are talks of trade him with Philly for Lupul. That would make Philly real scary.

Posted by: mauree | February 27, 2009 5:10 AM | Report abuse

on the hershey boards, which i probably shouldnt even be reading, they're talking about keeping neuvy, and varly up in dc. WHY??? maybe i missed something, but has this really been eluded(sp) to? why would you keep 2 rookies that have no playoff experience, and have them watch games up there, cause you know theo's playin almost all of the games for the rest of the season. wouldnt u want them in hershey to play in playoff games? to get experience...i know they're keepin one for johnson, but both? anyone know any truth to this?

Posted by: bearsfan26 | February 27, 2009 6:00 AM | Report abuse

If we can only keep one,it's got to be Nicky. I don't know how they could do it,but both would be nice. A teams chemistry is so fragile,bit that's pro sports. Thanks for your hard work,Katie.

Posted by: ridgely1 | February 27, 2009 6:38 AM | Report abuse

The money that Nylander is making is probably gonna go to Backstrom and Semin

Posted by: jpt1002 | February 27, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

If BB is talking about benching players for too many penalties...then we are going to have a pretty empty bench! I am glad we came out with a W after last night's game, but it was way too close for a game against a struggling team. I really hope we work out the problems before Boston on Saturday. As far as our "window" for winning being short, I hope GMGM can figure all of that out by 2010. We must keep Backstrom, but Theo and Semin could free up some room. We have too many good rookies to keep Theo and Semin is a great player, but he is hurt quite a bit and has already talked about the fact he might leave due to the cap issues. But all I want for Christmas, I mean trade deadline, is Nylander gone and a strong defenseman added to the blue line.

Posted by: NatyBG | February 27, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I would love to see Pronger or Jovocop in a Caps Jersey. But the price has to be right. Anaheim wants picks and prospects with their cap issues (read Bourque/Osala/picks). The Yotes need to dump salary too (read bankrupt).

I would also love to see a straight-up trade sending Nylander to the Isles for Doug Weight. NYC (and even Long Island) should be cosmo enough for Nyles. He'll be a first/second line center and the Caps get a hall of famer who wants to win the cup bad

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 27, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

LOL @ Brent Johnson contesting the rules/score in the outdoor game...

Loved the segment. I wish the guys were mic'ed up all the time.

Posted by: donknutts | February 27, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I say to the Hockey News. Our core of highly paid players is much better than Pittsburgh's, our inexpensive players are better, our farm system is better and our coach is better. Other than that, it's a great comparison.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 27, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The game wasn't anywhere near as close as the score, NatyBG. Most of the game was played down at their end of the ice or in the neutral zone, and they could not hang on to the puck to save their lives.

The first two goals were in no way, shape, or form Neuvirth's fault. I don't fault him for those. I do think he probably would like the third one back, though. I thought he should have had that.

I like Neuvirth. He's very technically sound and his positioning is solid. Varlamov is more athletic, but Neuvirth is more chill. I like them both and think that they will both end up as top-notch goalies. Which one we keep? Man, that's a good dilemma to have.

Too many breakaways and two-on-one's, though, for a team like Atlanta. Neuvirth had to come up big a couple of times. We can't do that against Boston.

And he's absolutely adorable :)

Agree that we need to park people in the crease more, and if we can do that, we'll finish a lot of those missed opportunities, although I wonder how many of those got missed because the puck was bouncing all over creation. It was pretty warm in the VC last night. Laich is awesome when he does that, and Fehr is a little shy about it yet but is effective when he does.

I do not think we will be able to trade Nylander. I think we are stuck with him, bluntly. If GMGM can find a way, great, but I wouldn't pin my hopes on it.

Regarding the winning by a larger margin - I wonder how much of that is that we don't tend to play with a mean streak and a killer instinct. We don't play nasty or dirty and we don't play with an edge. It seems to me like that might be all that's missing - we can identify it in lots of ways, but maybe it's that edge that we need to bring in, and that we won't win without?

Posted by: kittypawz | February 27, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

@dcsports one only has to look back to last year against philly when brash fought no one and did nothing as we got run out of the series. his value has faded faster than my walmart jeans

Posted by: wendel2 | February 26, 2009 5:24 PM

sorry to rehash this, but i have to note. "run out of the series". did we lose in overtime of game seven or get swept in memory is a little fuzzy.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 27, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Doug Weight's got his own NMC (I believe), but more importantly has a sprained MCL that keeps him out for another month.

Posted by: Section117 | February 27, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Semins value wont be too high if he keeps making boneheaded plays or remains injury prone.

Posted by: Ovechwin | February 27, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate Neuvirth's dedication to becoming fluent in English. Any updates on Semin's English skills?

Posted by: Ovechwin | February 27, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I don't think people should get all worried over a "close" game vs. a lowly opponent. People need to realize nobody in the NHL is an easy kill. Philadelphia recently barely escaped the Thrashers 3-2. Very good western conf. teams San Jose and Chicago struggled to beat the Thrashers, each one getting past them 3-1.

A win is a win. Two points, go on to the next one. I wouldn't worry about the margin of victory. The Caps have won 39 games despite all the "deficiencies" people like to point out. Roll with it and enjoy the ride!

Posted by: jollyroger2 | February 27, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS - JovoCop would be nice but he doesn't want to leave PHX, has a no trade, and stil has 4 yrs. @ 6.5M on his contract. Weight is hurt and has been marginal, granted the team around him sucks, but I would think Guerin, who is 3 yrs younger, and has had a better season would be a better pick up from the Isles.

But why not go for Eric Cole and Greg De Vries, both of them would answer some of our needs.

Still would have to think they are looking at back up goalies too (NOT LEGACE). Neuvy looked ok last night but on the break away it was clearly fooled by the quickness and speed of the shot, OV could have driven that golf cart thru his 5 hole. Unfortuneatly, there isn't time to give him the number of games he would really need to be playoff ready.

Posted by: ds_kelly | February 27, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Dman Mathieu Dandenault has asked to be traded - any takers?

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 27, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Another report out of Chicago has the 'Hawks shopping D Cam Barker for help at center. One rumor says Barker could go to Washington for veteran F Michael Nylander. But Nylander has been a healthy scratch recently, and comes with almost $5 million in salary.

Posted by: phrdlick | February 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree a win is a win, I just wanted to see less penalties and a goal from Ovie to get back for the horrible refs last night. Neuvirth did well last night, the breakaways weren't his fault. When I spoke to him at the party the other night he was really excited about his second chance, but he seemed nervous. I absolutely don't blame him and I think after a some more games under their belts Varly and Neuvirth will both be something to see!

@kittypawz: Neuvirth is quite a cutie, he has such a baby face (well he is 20). The Nylander thing was just a wish and I want to believe wishes do come true. He is the thorne in our side, with his salary and circle turning!

I want to see the Caps on point in Boston, they had a rough patch, but it seems like they are back on track. I am not sure who will start for Boston on Saturday, but Manny has been ok and Tim has been great as of late. Also, the Devils are looking good with Brodeur back and I mean he is looking good! I believe Theo has good days, but he is not solid and we need solid!

And Ted if you are reading this...the ice has been crazy lately! I know you guys are really trying, it has been cooler in the building (except last night), but the past few game the puck has been bouncing all over the place! I don't want the embarassment of being that building with the horrible ice!

Posted by: NatyBG | February 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@dskelly -- Guerin would fit in great, but I was looking coenter for winger. But the Caps have enough centers, so BG with all his playoff exp would be great. Yep Jovocop is too costly; Pronger would fit better. He is just the prototypical defender I'd love to see in DC. Cole or De Vries might work, too.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 27, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

So, I did the predictions from the previous blog's link. Here are the results based on my predictions for the rest of the Eastern Conf games (look who we would play in the first round):

Predicted Final Standings
Rank Team Points
1 Bruins 111
2 Capitals 108
3 Devils 106
4 Flyers 101
5 Canadiens 82
6 Rangers 82
7 Penguins 82
8 Panthers 81
9 Hurricanes 80
10 Sabres 69
11 Senators 67
12 Maple Leafs 66
13 Lightning 62
14 Thrashers 52
15 Islanders 43

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 27, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to jmu_capsgirl for the link!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 27, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsFan: I put before the season the Caps would win SE going away with 110 pts. I'll stick with that (they are on that exact pace). Boston I think will wind up with more like 115 (they are on pace for 121). Flyers pace is 104, and I think they will pick it up a notch. NJ and Philly will likely both wind up 106-110. My opinion, of course.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse


If you haven't already, try the link. It is every game left to played that includes an Eastern Conf team. I went through like a March Madness pool to select the winners and that is how the points were calculated. All based on games and my predictions for the results. Sure, things can be different. I don't look at "pace" as a indicator because "pace" does not take into account the future opponents, only the previous ones. If a team has a more difficult schedule, the pace will be off. These kind of things make the end of the season more fun.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 27, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

That article on the "narrow window" misses a few points.
1) Semin already has cap figure of 4.6, this year and next.
2) Backstrom already has cap figure 2.4.
3) Theo leaves after next year, saving 4.5 less the $1M to replace him (Varlamov) = 3.5 available. Plus the back-up, Neuvy, will also be less than $1M (as is Johnny).
4) The money to pay Backstrom an extra 3.6 (thereby raising him to 6.0) in 2010-2011 comes soley from the savings in the goalie salaries.
5) The money to pay Semin from 4.6 up to 6.0 comes from saving Kozlov's 2.5 and replacing him at 1.0 or thereabouts with a younger player.
6) You also will save Fedorov's $4M in 2010-2011 (even if he comes back for one more year, next year), and that will pay nice raises for Fehr, Flash and Gordon.
7) Everyone else will come up from Hershey and replace the bottom end figures Fehr, Flash, Gordo, Schutlz, etc are making now.

Then, for 2011-2012, you are done with Clark and Nylander and that gives you an extra $7.5M for the next round of raises (by then Varlamov, Neuvirth and Alzner will be up for their RFA contract).

I would not be surprised if GMGM does a really long-term deal for Backstrom, along the lines of Zetterberg.

A lower cap would hurt, but then again it would hurt all the other teams too and result in lower offers to those not signed long term.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dc_homer | February 27, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1: I've come to the conclusion that that THN article is wishful thinking and a lot of poorly-researched foolishness. THN is good for that every now and then.

@NatyBG: It'd be nice. Ovi and Backs had a quiet night last night, but if a quiet night last night means that that top line and what I like to call the Chocolate Line (Flash/Steckel/Fehr - so-called because they played together in Hershey) light Boston up, I'm a happy girl :)

@CTCapsPhan: Caps/Penguins in the first round would be SUH-WEET ... although it would be an absolute media circus. The other 14 teams playing would barely get noticed. And while I have been debating whether to get playoff tickets - money is tight - that would be one I would absolutely not want to miss.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 27, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan: I checked that link. It's too much work and too much like the real work I get paid to do (except, for me "1" is a million).

I don't know if you predicted a reasonable number of overtime games. I remember from last year, down the stretch, we were seeing more and more 3-point games when two top teams played. As for "pace," the last 21 games for the Caps should be relatively easier than the first 61 games.

That has been pointed out in about 3,000,000 posts.

That said, I have a feeling Boston isn't quite as good as they've played so far and might lose some steam. OTOH, all the teams you are predicting are "more likely than not" to get better, rather than worse, at the trade deadline, thereby increasing their ability to secure a few extra points.

Can you tell that all I do at work is predict future cost based on past actuals? It actually pays quite nicely, although not nearly "Jeff Schultz" nice, much less "Ovechkin" nice.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Let's just hope that if the top seeds advance, the Flyers and Bruins play each other and we only have to play one of them.

Posted by: stormblue | February 27, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan: One more thing. The funniest thing about your prediction was the Hurricanes again missing the playoffs by one point.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Just for reference sake, Green already has the record for power play goals by a Caps defenseman. The year Scottie scored all of those goals, he was playing forward. Bryan Murray played him as a forward in the crease on the power play. Just as one was could stand in the crease by his goalie, no one on the other teams could move him out. He stood in the slot, 2 feet in front of the goalie and screened him and collected rebounds, a lot of those goals were from 2 feet away. Do not forget the circle around the goalie in recent.

Posted by: RichC3 | February 27, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@CTCapsPhan |
on your predictions, you have buffalo going 0-20 for the rest of the season because they already have 69 points

Posted by: _stevo | February 27, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse


That is a solid breakdown that had been rolling around in my head for a few weeks - thanks for the details. I think that GMGM and BB (to some extent) are very aware that the Caps are sitting nice on the balance sheet for the next 3-4 years and it's a matter a timing out the contracts. It's hard for me to believe they'd make a big money move that would short the team in the 3-4 year window if it wasn't a very, very strong option for the remainder of this season and next. If they can move equal salaries for the last 20 games, the playoffs, and next, while keeping things in line for after next season, we'll be in very good shape.

I'm impressed with the managament of the team.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Man, Buffalo must suck. That's a horrible losing streak. I'm dropping all my Sabre fantasy players.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

If Boston and Phlly play each other, I'm cheering for the Bruins because the Caps play the Bruins better and I just loath the Flyers

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 27, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

stormblue: I fear the Flyers more than anyone else in the East. If the Caps play NJ in Round 2, and Philly plays Boston, that would be best possible. But we are getting ahead...there's still the "stretch run" and then Round 1.

In the West, I fear...Columbus, Minnesota, San Jose, the Kings, Calgary, Detroit, St. Louis (just kidding there), etc.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

First - let me say that I think Ovie's one of the greatest players to ever play the game - but he has to take the lead in not taking "stupid penalties" - After the loss to the Flyers, Laich stated how some guys need to occassionaly take one for the team, get hit in the face - not take the dumb penalty - that's exactly what Ovie did last night. True, the high-stick should have been called - it was not - but then he goes head-hunting for the first guy and he winds up with the only penalty - which resulted in an Atlanta goal. He needs to lead by example by not taking that kind of penalty.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | February 27, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse


If neuvy and varly (assuming varly ever returns from injuries) are both kept in DC - the Bears are in trouble. Cheeser has apparently "lost it" (yanked from his last 2 starts) and we have an ECHL'er as a back-up. What looks like one of the best Bears team to ever be assembled may have trouble getting out of the 1st round of playoffs if some reliable goal-tending is not found.
Anyone know what the remaining contract lengths are on Johnson and Theo ?

Posted by: hersheybearfan | February 27, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I don't like Buffalo. :)

Actually, I just checked my results and I picked the Sabres to get 15 points by the end of the year. Something must be wrong with the calculations for them. My results are not accurate. It would move Buffalo to 84 points and 5th place while knocking out the Panthers from the race.

tominfl1, I actually had many OT games on the predictions.

I challenge others to try it to see what they come up with. It is like predicting March Madness.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 27, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I can't fault Ovi for the penalty. Dude sticks you in the face, it's 2-0, and you're pissed - I want that kind of intensity in every game. I wish he'd found the right guy and jacked him up, but hey, he had splinters in his eyes. His mother looked pretty calm and cool about it all in the stands - she's got ice for blood.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I predict the Crosby will slap somebody's balls.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

saintex: In all the moves GMGM has made since like trading guys in 2001 and so forth, the only ones that haven't panned out:

1) drafting Sasha Pokuluk in the 1st round in 2005.

2) Signing Nylander.

The Nylander cap hit is currently prohibiting potential deadline deals that could be otherwise done (a mean-streak player on the blue line) and also will cause GM to "walk a tightrope" for the next two years. After 2010-2011, when Poti's contract also expires, the team's cap situation will solely be based on future signings.

What's really working in the Caps' favor is the pipeline being filled with prospects, who come cheap their first three years at least. Imagine 2010-2011 - very likely, Varlamov and Neuvirth will be the two goalies, making, combined, under $2M. That helps.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and this, so I don't sound like an apologist: I consider the stupid penalties to be hooking, interference, holding, etc. in the offensive end or the neutral zone when trying to recover. Standing up for yourself is a different animal. Based on what I heard on TV it was actually Kovalchuk that sticked him, not that right?

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse


I just moved here a few years ago and I've never heard of Sasha Pokuluk; I guess we can count that as a swing and a miss. Good hockey name, though.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey tominfl,

Was the Nylander signing intended to be as the second line center and it just didn't pan out after BB came in and Feds come over last season? Did it end up being a double billing? Sort of.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Bears fans remember Sasha....he was downright terrible.

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


#47 did it for sure. right in front of me and they ran it several times on the jumbo-tron at the game. in slo-mo x at least 3, just to get us pissed at the refs, which works, until the third period with the Umpire tossed a puck over the glass to a kid sitting next to me.


Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

and they called about 10 in a row against ATL, which further brought the refs into our hearts.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

loudest 'ref-you-suck' chant I've heard in a long time, after missing that stick-to-the-face of Ovie.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse


Was it your kid? Grab that puck!

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

they froze the jumbo-tron on his number so that everybody got a good look at it, then zoomed in and als sent out the Caps Go-Go Girls with handwritten notes infroming us of the dudes number.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We are judging the Caps with more stringent criteria than last year because they are on a completely different level. That's a good thing and yes, it is gratifying to remember how much higher our sights have risen from just hoping we were not the last team in the Division.

It is interesting that the "narrow window" article does not assume that Theo is the ONE to take us to the playoffs. He still has not established himself undisputably. I wonder if GMGM has any top goalie in sight for the trade deadline. I don't think we are out of the woods. Theo still goes back and forth between brilliant and mediocre performances; I do not think that Neuvy is anywhere ready for that level of play and Varly may be too fragile.....still untried at any rate.

And I agree that the "killer instinct"--the "edge"--seems to be missing from the team, at least on a consistent basis. When it's there, we win big.

Posted by: caraveli | February 27, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

nah, my kid would have thrown it right back at the ref.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS - a valid point about center for wing swap. I just feel that Weight with his injury is too expensive if it is a swap for Nyls. I saw a feature on DW recently too and he seems pretty settled in on the Island not sure his heart would be in a move.
Plus a veteran center could play wing (most of them have at some point in their career) more easily than a wing could step in at center and given the way the linesmen hold the puck until someone has to be kicked out a critical points in the game it may be advantageous to have a 2nd "center" on the ice to take faceoffs.

Gotta admit all this speculation is fun, but I don't think anyone saw the moves GMGM made last year coming.

Posted by: ds_kelly | February 27, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Nylander was signed to be Ovi's top center in Hanlon's trap system. And Nyls did fine until the injury and Gabby's takeover. He just isn't the right center in Boudreau's system for some reason, although I think he did okay with Flash and Fehr.

Posted by: koalatek | February 27, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

CTCapsPhan, I'll fix the calcs and repost it. Sorry! I thought I had gotten all the kinks out.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

no worries, jmu.


Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 27, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Corrected tracker/predictor. Had a space in a formula that didn't need to be there. Oops!

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 27, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

saintex: Pokoluk was a very unlucky pick in 2005. First, the caps had picked Ovechkin first overall in 2004 (after finishing third from bottom and then winning draft lottery). Then 2004-05 - no season (lock-out, strike, whatever you call it). They go to do the 2005 draft. Should caps start out in the third slot, same as 2004? No, they threw out the 2004 final standings entirely I think and put all the teams in a lottery. Pittsburgh won and got Crosby. Caps went 14th:

Pokuluk was a stretch and not rated that highly. To be fair, he has had concussion problems, but picking him and Finley in the first round made 2005 McPhee's worst draft in years.

Nylander, for whatever reason, just hasn't been worth his pricetag. Looking back, if he were allowed one "mulligan" for the last five years, on contract signings, does anyone not think he'd pick the Nylander deal?

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@hersheybearfan: Johnson is UFA at the end of the year. Theo is UFA at the end of next year, so we have a couple of options in that regard. If Varlamov is not ready and still has injury issues, we can sign Johnson to another 2- or 3- year contract, leave them both in Hershey next year (Neuvirth should be no lower than AHL to continue to develop), let Theo's contract expire and bring up one of the kids in 2010. Or, if Varly is ready, let Johnson go to free agency and bring him or Neuvirth up to DC for good and leave Hershey with the other one. You also have to consider Braden Holtby, who will probably jump into the system next season and is showing absolute oodles of promise.

I don't think you have a lot to worry about.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 27, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Caps use $100 mil to sign the most exciting player in the NHL to a lifetime contract.

Redskins use $100 mil to sign a guy whose sole purpose is to push 10 feet and sit on someone.

Advantage Caps.

Posted by: stormblue | February 27, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@ds_kelly -- the word off the Island is that the Isles want to trade away older players for younger ones to rebuild, but they are also BELOW the cap min, so Nyles' price tag may actually be attractive there

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a Redskins fan but Snyder really has no sports business sense.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

HAH @stormblue

Don't forget...after he sits on someone, he gets to take a couple minute break until the next 5-second play.

Posted by: CapsKH | February 27, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek: Flash and Fehr have such good chemistry together that Donald Duck could probably center those two and they'd score. They've done well with every center they've been paired with, but Steckel isa great choice for them.

Honestly? One thing I did take away from last night - I think we saw last night our lines for the stretch run and the playoffs (barring injury). I like it. I think all four lines had a special something going on, and all four lines click with one another. It's also three balanced scoring lines and a checking line. Defensive pairings might change, but I don't think you'll see too many more changes in the forward lines for this season.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 27, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think many of you are overlooking the obvious. No matter how well the Caps are playing, only playoffs matter...that is when the team can make some profit.
IN the last ten years, the Caps have failed to move anywhere deep in playoff territory.
GMGM knows that. He is working on keeping his job. He also knows that the team he has right now has no chance to move far in the Playoffs. Anyone with a shred of hockey knowledge and who has followed the game for many years can see the signs...

If the Caps do not make it pass at least one round, GMGM is out, and possibly BB too.

Thus, to my point, there will me movement... as big as GMGM can make it. The time is now. GMGM will not mortgage the future but he sure is willing to give a few young prospects, including Fehr or almost anyone else. I would probably think that Ovie, Green and Backstrom are the only players who will absolutely not be moved.

Expect the Caps tho make a big move, if GMGM can pull one.

Posted by: atybat | February 27, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse forgot that after he pushes 10 feet and sits on the guy...then he gets up, kicks the guys helmet off, and cleats him in the face.

Posted by: badkarma723 | February 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

sources say Montreal Canadiens defenceman Mathieu Dandenault may be the next to go.

The 33-year-old has politely informed Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey he
Dandenault is in play and he would be a cheap rental, but Caps couldn't give up more than prospects or picks for him since it is possible we will play them in the playoffs, don't want to give them someone who will come back and beat us.

Dadenault would like to be moved and according to source, Gainey has agreed to help him out.

Dandenault is in the final year of a three year contract that pays him $1.75 million per season and depending on the return, moving him could help Montreal create cap space for any additional trades made up to the March 4th trade deadline.

Posted by: ds_kelly | February 27, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps do not make it pass at least one round, GMGM is out, and possibly BB too.

Posted by: atybat | February 27, 2009 10:43 AM

sorry, but that could be the most rediculous statement i've seen in a while. you think a first round loss would cost BB his job? sorry, not gonna happen. i would venture to say GMGM's job is pretty solid right now too.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 27, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse


The Caps and Bruins have by far the best records vs. Eastern Conference teams. I'm not a twenty-year veteran of watching hockey but I'll take this team's chances as they are right now. I think the team's greatest problem team is the Flyers. I think the East clearly has four quality teams in the Bs, Devils, Caps, and Flyers. I don't think wholesale changes are needed.

I also don't think the GM or BB are in any danger of unemployment.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I agree. If anyone would be in jeopardy it would be GMGM, not BB.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 27, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse


I'm not quite as in-depth, and I'm flying by the seat of my pants, but I agree with your 1-4 seeds. My next four end up as Florida, Habs, Sabres, Canes. I happen to think the Rangers are unfixable this year and I think the Panthers are a strong team and the Canes will slip in at the the final hurdle.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

saintex, I didn't fill anything in. That's where they stand now. Its just blank.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 27, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to tell Excel how to calculate division leaders or tie-breakers. So it just gives the tie-breaker to the team that's first alphabetically.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | February 27, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

ah....I was looking at the one up above and transferred ownership to your later post.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I keep reading comments that the Caps will trade Semin. This is just crazy. Sure, he needs to stop taking bad penalties. But, first of all, he is one of the top 4 or 5 most talented players in the world. You just don't get rid of guys like that - you thank your lucky stars when you get one. Second of all, he is Ovechkin's best pal. I suspect the Caps will trade Semin around the same time that Vancouver decides to break up the Sedin brothers.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 27, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps do not make it pass at least one round, GMGM is out, and possibly BB too.

Posted by: atybat | February 27, 2009 10:43 AM

Read that back to yourself and see if it still makes sense. I'm going to save that one to re-post at a later time. Not so much as an 'I-told-you-so', but more of a 'nobody's-perfect'.

I have a shred of hockey knowledge.

Opps, it just flew off my shirt and onto the floor, gotta go look for it.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

take Dandenault, give them nylander. 3 cups.
Semin is +30. that's ridiculous. Yes he takes some dumb penalties, but he also goes on fire after, due to embarrassment and competitiveness. +30.
Teams that go deep or to the cup andvthen lose usually tend towards downyears, having given up a lot for the run, fatigue, and emotional let downs. The window is open for only a moment. McPhee has enough to do the deals. If the caps don't make it, next year is down but the team replenishes the lost with rookies who subsequently get experience. Pay the price now and run!

if Fehr can get it together, he'll be a 1st line RW.

Forget Cole. The caps are missing D. If your going to pay for a Forward, he has to be a crease presence, top 6.

Philly, not boston. We can beat Boston and well see how they do on Saturday. We can't seem to keep up with Philly so that's the team I would build against. Philly matches up well against the sharks. take it to the bank.

Posted by: oo7 | February 27, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Virgin here, please be gentle!

Following the Caps forever, Maruk, Ryan Walter, Green (old guys). Seems to me that when Scott Stevens showed up we really didn't have anybody to stand in the crease ala Tim Kerr. Stevens did play some on the power play as a forward, so do the goals he scored when he got 16pp goals all count as Dman?

Posted by: fatboy08 | February 27, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I think that as long as he played exclusively or almost exclusively as a Dman 5 on 5, then it counts in my book. Not if the player took shifts as a forward (same for defensive stats a-la Fedorov)

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

somebody hear cherry go pop?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

tourettes, I'm tellin ya

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

ccCapsfan, I think the point is that no one knows what Semin is thinking. On the one hand, he might take less to be with Ovi and so he doesn't have to do media interviews. On the other hand, he may be in it for the money. So, yeah, if Semin asks for Ovi-money, I think the Caps might trade him.

Posted by: koalatek | February 27, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

needs an asterisk, but still counts, in my opinion

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Read that back to yourself and see if it still makes sense. I'm going to save that one to re-post at a later time. Not so much as an 'I-told-you-so', but more of a 'nobody's-perfect'.

I have a shred of hockey knowledge.

Opps, it just flew off my shirt and onto the floor, gotta go look for it.

Wll, GMGM thinks that his job is in jeopardy and I am sure he has a shred of insider knowledge...

Posted by: atybat | February 27, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think Semin is worth about a $6m a year deal - similiar to Zetterberg's. I don't think he's worth as much to the team as Backstrom who's also a $6m guy in the future. I don't think Semin would be as happy or as successful if he weren't with Ovi and this team. The athletic world is litter with talent that didn't live up to expectations. I do think that in a few years, Semin could be a great player; right now, he's a very good player. Amazingigly skilled, but only very good as a complete player.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

How can it be in jeapardy now? Good grief, he should have cut a bunch of times in the past (according to this blog) and now that his genius is revealed, GMGM is looking over his shoulder?

Be careful, he may have leaked misinformation to you, in order to check for the source of leaks. If I were you, I'd be looking over MY shoulder.

BTW, I visited the SpyMuseum yesterday, really cool.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

By the way Whygo, other than calling me on, what more are you bringing to the discussion.... ZERO

Posted by: atybat | February 27, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I predict home-team discount for Semin.

He's stated (in Russian newspapers) if he wanted more money, he could have gone back to Russia as he had offers. He likes DC.

On another team where he is less comfortable - maybe the risk of bolting to the KHL increases. That, plus the fact that he has only been injury free for 60 game seasons means other teams might be wary of giving him a big contract.

Caps should be able to keep him if that's the direction they choose to go in.

Does it seem like every year this trade Semin for a top D conversation re-emerges?

Posted by: stormblue | February 27, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

BB out after a 1st round loss? in his 2nd year, first full one, second place after crippling injuries, having orchestrated the best comeback in nhl history and winning coach of the year?
Put the bottle down.
Better yet, turn the computer off.

Posted by: oo7 | February 27, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse


humor, good looks, nice butt.


Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

no problem with Ovechkin taking matters into his own hands but you know there's a big double standard. If that was Jurcina or Erskine doing it they'd get an earful followed by a symbolic benching

and pothier please what are you thinking, you have a whole life ahead of you post-hockey, don't come this far and then throw it all away by risking another concussion. He's going to eventually get another one we all know that. No one stays out that long and then resumes a successful concussion free career. And he's a pretty small guy so he's going to end up getting hit often and getting the worst of it almost always

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 27, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I am totally serious about being careful what you do with insider information. This information that you have, that you heard GMGM say he is afraid he will be fired if they don't make Cup final this season, if it could be traced back to you in person, then I would be careful about putting it on the Caps blog.

All I'm saying is that this statement SOUNDS preposterous, but if you heard him say it, you heard him say it.

Don't be so solemn.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Semin might be the sort of player who proves his real worth in the playoffs, if last post-season is any indication. No way I'd trade him if that was any foreshadowing.
p.s. wapo's Going Out Gurus lists Caps Practice on their free entertainment guide. man, everything around this team is buzzing

Posted by: honed | February 27, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

America is full of lot's of different ideas and points of view. Wonderful to be here, wouldn't you agree?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse


I agree - I expect we'll see both Semin and Fedorov knotch it up significantly come playoff time.

Posted by: stormblue | February 27, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me why Alzner is still in Hershey? I don't think it can be cap related since Clark is out. I was a big proponent of leaving him in Hershey all year, but I think he played well for us. The team is averaging 3.0 goals against in the 5 games since he was demoted. What gives?

Posted by: WVPhil | February 27, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

i hope everyone thinks their job is in jeopardy if they dont win in the playoffs. wouldnt want guys being complacent. that said, neither of those guys jobs are on the line. BB for obvious reason.

my take on GMGM is that ownership/management feels that the teams real run at the cup starts next year. sure they want to win now, but i dont think they feel like they have to win this year or else. they have a young, maturing defence and some talented forwards in the waiting. they know they have a hole on the defense in terms of a stay at home guy, and some needs at wing and maybe another center. certainly goaltending is up in the air. thats why i doubt they would make a big splash at the deadline (ala the pens last year). maybe they get a pending FA dman if they dont have to give up a top prospect, but thats easier said then done.

so i think next year is when GMGM needs to produce a winner. he needs to address defense and make smart decisions about the FA's coming off the books this year (koz, feds, brash, mo, etc). he also needs to solidify the goalie situation. my opinion.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 27, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@ WVPhil

Alzner is down in Hershey for two reason:
1)He isn't as ready as many of you think, that showed the last 6 or 7 games he played up here.
2)If he's up here, we dont have cap space to make a move next Wednesday at the deadline.

Posted by: ThePat | February 27, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@stormblue: thats exactly the comparison i was thinking of, i've heard red wings fans say he could have won multiple scoring titles if he played the regular season like he did in the playoffs. incentive is nothing to sneeze at :)

Posted by: honed | February 27, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't see Dandenault here. He was a healthy scratch for quite a few early season games, then was injured. I'm not sure what he brings that we don't already have. Frankly, though, I never really noticed him when we played against him, but last time he was a -2 on the night. But who knows. Maybe we get him and he shines.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 27, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse


If Semin were to ask for Ovechkin money (which I think is highly unlikely) you don't need to trade him. You let him test the market and when he finds he can't get that money, you sign him for what he is worth. But, I have to agree with you that in this day and age, and with some agents controlling the process, you never know what a guy is going to do. How does 36 year old Manny Ramirez turn down a 2 year 45 million dollar deal? The answer is one very ugly word: Boras.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 27, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

When Semin's contract runs out, June 2010, he is a RFA. If some team signs him to a mega-offer sheet, Caps have two choices: match the offer or accept the 4 first round picks. Two nice choices. Problem with 4 first rounders is they take too long to pay dividends for a contending team. Caps could however package those picks to some rebuilding team for more immediate help. Or, you can negotiate and negotiate just before he becomes RFA and trade him if you can't sign or if he wants the moon. Caps are in a good position re: Semin.

I have noticed he is a real asset on the PK. He plays aggressively to block passing lanes, and once he gets the puck he rags it and wastes the other team's PP time. Based on Ovie being a $9M player, $6M isn't a bad figure for Semin. Plus. by the end of next year, GMGM gets to see him twice in the playoffs, gets to see some maturity and hopefully gets to see this injury-prone thing go away.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse


i don't think WhyGo is the only one that finds your statements that Boudreau and GMGM are at risk of losing their jobs if the Caps lose in the first round. i also disagree with you. i think Semin is also a keeper for however long he can score goals. it doesn't look like he'll be stopping any time soon. it's also evident that money wouldn't motivate him to leave the organization either. Semin stays.

@WhyGo: I owe you a drink when I blow into town in April. Your posts crack me up! I giggle like a 10 year old whenever you accuse someone of ball-slapping.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 27, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I have never read so much foolishness talk than when it comes to Semin. Hogwash!!

Thank God GMGM is not as dumb and stupid as some of our illustrious bloggers think he is.

Posted by: opita1 | February 27, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

There is only ONE ball-slapper and he is CINDY!

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

honestly, if the devils continue to play like they did last night, they are going to be unbeatable.

they completely shut down Colorado and any chance they had was easily pushed aside by Brodeur.

god they scare me..

Posted by: richmondphil | February 27, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: SombreroGuy | February 27, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I have some qualms about how the team has not been able to smoke weaker teams lately. Look at what NJ & BOS have done to some weaker teams lately. Been a while since we did a 5-0.

Playoffs are different. We will see what we will see.

Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse


I think the Eastern playoffs are going to be better - top to bottom - than the Western. Barring any first round upsets, the conference semi-finals are going to something to behold.

Posted by: saintex | February 27, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I doubt Semin gets traded or heads back to KHL (he's happy right were he is)
I know NB will be resigned

No way in hell BB or GM GM gets shown the door after the season, unless we don't make the playoffs altogether.

To me the only question is do you give up a couple possible 30 goal scorers (Flash, Fehr, Laich, Borque, Acoin etc) now for a quality veteran Dman. I don't see it happening. They may make a move but it probably wont be for some blockbuster guy, unless they go after a net minder.

I don't want Pronger on this team, he is what we need (a Big Dman with a mean streak) but to the extreme. We don't need someone like that to get suspended or hurt in the playoffs and we be on the hook for his 6.5 the next year. I say stick with the farm, bring up the guys that helped net you a quarter of your games this year when we got hit with that amazing injury bug.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | February 27, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: WhyGo | February 27, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

And another thing...let's say Semin plays out his contract June, 2010. He becomes a RFA. let's say some team offers him more than the Caps, say $6.5-7.0 or whatever, up where you have the maximum compensation (I think it's 4 firsts, but can't remember). Let's say the Caps let him walk and accept the compensation, THEN TAKE the money earmarked for Semin and sign someone who would be RFA in 2010. Say, a big bruising D-man.

Now they would have a replacement player with a salary reasonable to the club AND the draft choices to boot. Then you take some of the extra picks and your own first rounder and try to get in the top 5 of the draft. Is that so bad?

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 27, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, but I would have terminated the statement at bloggers. The last three words are unnecessary.

Posted by: hock1 | February 27, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse


What's really great about that scenario is that we have a GM who we know would not screw up the draft picks and the wheeling and dealing that would ensue.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 27, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@wvphila and thepat Re: Alzner

I watch Shultz play up in DC (those last 2 Flyers goal earlier this week - he looked like a spectator out there) and wonder the same thing as I see Alzner play all the time in Hershey. My only concern with Alzner going back up is - PLEASE don't send us Shultz back in exchange - LOL

Posted by: hersheybearfan | February 27, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


Some of the comments atybat made qualified him to be a possible ball-slapper in my opinion. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 27, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Smartest move by GMGM re: Semin was to bring in Feds. They get the benefit of having a multi-year Stanley Cup veteran who can share some real life wisdom with the youngsters, Ovi included. I think that was the original idea with Kozi, so Federov is a bonus. It was exactly what Semin needed to get serious about his game and become more comfortable with American hockey/NHL.

Semin won't get traded. He's too valuable. With a litte more time, the consistency will come and the adolescent flashbacks diminish.

Posted by: dogdaze | February 27, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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