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Morning Reading List

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Johnathan Newton--TWP

*It wasn't a matinee to remember yesterday as Florida chased the Caps and their fans out of Verizon Center "discouraged" as Washington fell to 3-5-1 in the second of back-to-back games when they win the first.

*Here is the Times recap along with Panthers perspectives from the Miami Herald and the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

*Over the weekend, colleague Corey Masisak talked to General Manager George McPhee about the upcoming trade deadline.

*In case you missed it yesterday, Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau and the team's media gurus responded to the comments made by Don Cherry in Hockey Night in Canada.

*In case you would like to relive yesterday's game, here are the highlights.

*The Ottawa Sun tosses the Capitals hat in the ring for Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom.

*Could the Capitals pull off a hat trick in this year's award ceremony? The idea is offered up in NHL.com's Southeast Division notebook.

*This isn't Caps-centric but the Edmonton Journal has an interesting look at officiating trends, and their research shows that more penalties are called on visiting teams.

In the system:
*Hershey dropped its second straight game to the Binghamton Senators in a 5-4 overtime loss on Friday to start the weekend. The Bears have lost four straight to the Senators.

*The Bears responded though with a 6-4 come-from-behind win over Norfolk on Saturday. The game took an ugly turn toward the end and Norfolk's Steve Downie has since been suspended by the AHL for slashing a linesman.

*Hershey followed up that win with a 6-4 victory over the Providence Bruins and goaltender Tuukka Rask yesterday.

By Katie Carrera  |  March 2, 2009; 6:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

first

Posted by: shepkillion | March 2, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

I love GMGM comments about how we are better than last year at this time when the Caps seemed to be slipping and he pulled the trigger on some trades.
Hello...the Caps seem to be slipping again.
I am tired of hearing the BS about not getting up for games or playing down to some teams. It's almost playoff time this team should be up for every game. period.
We need a shut down D and a decent backup goalie or it will be one and done AGAIN for the Caps.
Geez can't get up for playing teams like Fla.????? We may very well have to play them in the playoffs.
This team as it stands now will be lucky to make it past the first round.
Philly gives us fits and NJ has a well rested Marty in net, we sure as hell don't want to see them in the playoffs.
I just hope something falls into GMGM's lap this year or we will all be saving money on playoff tickets.

Posted by: jotay131 | March 2, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

It's not the goalie the source of our problems, Backstrom would take as many goals as anyone when the D plays like yesterday.

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

True dat about the playing of the D yesterday. But we need a decent backup G in case Theo gets hurt or has a melt down in the middle of the playoffs.
And please for the love of all that is holy get rid of Schultz. He skates like he is in quicksand. My 82 yo mom skates better and faster.

Posted by: jotay131 | March 2, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

We have three decent backup G. Johnny (will be back), Varly, Neuverth. Pick one, they'll all do good in a team with a solid D.

Get a Brodeur, it won't help us id we don't fix our D.

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

This is a typical high-water mark year for the Capitals. They win a lot of games, but even in wins and especially in losses they demonstrate soft goaltending, take a lot of penalties, and just overall lack the killer instinct.

Look for the Caps to get bounced from the playoffs in the first or second round.

The Caps are not a serious Stanley Cup contender this year. They don't have it. They just don't.

Posted by: Ron16 | March 2, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I stay away from the blog for a couple of days and all hell breaks out.

I'm not going to mention yesterdays debacle or the Ovie/Cherry thing, instead we need some light relief. Thanks to the Edmonton Journal for providing it.

So, their research shows that more penalties are called on visiting teams. Really? Officials favour the home team? Honestly? Didn't see that coming.

I look forward to more research from the Edmonton Journal to tell us if the Pope likes to pray a little and if bears really do s*** in the woods!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 2, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are not a serious Stanley Cup contender this year. They don't have it. They just don't.

I can live with that - it was a very nice season. The question is, will the Caps (plus prospects) be a SC contender w/o any trade? If we have to wait for Alzner, Carlson, Varly, Neuvirth to fully develop, we're talking about 4-5 years here.

My goodness, Carlson was born in 1990. I'm old.

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

This is the thing that has not been reported. Some of these younger players parade around town like they own it. Seen in sketchy bars, here, there, everywhere. Look for a scandal involving girls, vehicle related, alcohol, or all of the above. It is going to happen.

Posted by: MKadyman | March 2, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

From previous two posts:

Caraveli: I think that you and I are the only ones who share the same sentiment that Theo will be a weak link during the playoffs. I see everyone thinks that he can turn it around. Yeah, our defense isn’t exactly great, but neither is Theo. Last night’s game wasn’t all the defense’s fault either, it had a lot to do with the defense but you can’t tell me Jose couldn’t of stopped at least two of those goals. I think Niklas Backstrom can make a difference. Also, this team just doesn't seem to like playing in front of Jose.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I still want Niklas Backstrom.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

rachel,

nah huh, I think everyone here agrees that Theo can be a bit weak sometimes. But the point is, getting a supergoalie won't help with this defense. And if we get a defense upgrade, everybody will play a lot better, including Theo.

Many of these goals are 2 on 1 rushes (that shouldn't happen), screened/scrambled goals (that shouldn't happen if someone clear the crease), even self-screened goals (that definitely shouldn't happen). Solve all that and you'll see Theo relax and play a lot better. Personally I also like the guy - he's not a primadonna and plays for the team.

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh and don't forget he's also making many very good saves. Even BB said that Theo is giving the team a chance, and this from a guy I'm sure wasn't thrilled with Theo at the beginning of the season.

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The D is questionable at best...so I would say we should pick up a decent defenseman in this trade deadline! But, I would love to see 2 Backstroms on the team...we need a solid vet between the pipes until the rookies are more comfortable in the show.

Posted by: NatyBG | March 2, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Then what explains Scott Clemmenson and Marty Brodeur? I don't think the Devil's defense changed when Marty came back. He's just an upgrade from Clemmenson.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

@rachel

good point, except Brodeur is one hell of upgrade :D - and their D is solid to begin with. Different situation, really.

Do you think Backstrom could have saved us yesterday? Only if he wacked the hell out of Schultz lol. So, put Brash on net and have him kick the hell out of our D until no shots is allowed or screened :p

Posted by: mauree | March 2, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

ClemmensEn's numbers are excellent this season.

The best goalie in the history of the sport of hockey will look bad if he has a bad defense in front of him.

On the other hand, a great defense can make an average goalie look good or even great.


Posted by: tmac2yao | March 2, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

There is so much parity in the leage ANY team can beat any other team on any given night. ALL teams go thru the same thing. Coach B like Schultz and he is 23 years old.

I think that OVIE should get a wear a suite that Don Cherry would approve of to mock him next time the Caps are playing on HNIC, that would be a hoot!

I think if we can land a Pronger or a Niedemeyer without giving up the farm we pull the trigger, if the price is too hi, we go with our current line-up and go after a free agent in the summer.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 2, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

i dont know why everyone wants the fin Backstrom on the team. he is a product of Minnys trapping system, nothing more. if he comes here with the system we play he will be exposed, period. thats why he is 31 years old and made his 1st NHL roster in 06-07. he wasnt even drafted. i'd rather have Theodore than Backstrom, i'd rather see Neuvy or Varly backing him up. get a D, NOW.

Posted by: DER27 | March 2, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss

The problem is, the price WOULD be too high.
I guarantee a Pronger or Niedemeyer move would require just about what a Kaberle move would... a prospect a draft pick and a player.

No way would I make that trade and I dont think GMGM would either.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm not worried... GMGM said the Caps would be quiet at the trading deadline last year and...well you all know what happened.

This year he's saying he'll be quiet. Why give away what you have in your hand. I think there'll be movement in net (Neuvirth has been ok since he's been up here, but sitting on a bench in DC is not helping his development, playing is what he needs...) and I suspect they're looking for a defenseman who can be more reliable and physical, as well as a 2nd-3rd line forward with some grit who can also score (oh, if Bradley could be a 15-goal guy...)

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | March 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Islanders point blank blog:

"As of 10:00 tonight, I believe the team the Islanders have an arrangement with is Washington. A simple, two-team, pick-and-prospect trade. Simple, except for closing the darn thing."

Is Bill Guerin gonna be able to help us?

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

tarik quashed the guerin deal, i trust tarik.

Posted by: DER27 | March 2, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

RE: Bill Guerin

I really dont see where we need this guy...
unless this is just a means to move Nyles and maybe Clark. But with Calrks injuries and Nyles being reported as lost a step i doubt it.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Islanders point blank blog:

"As of 10:00 tonight, I believe the team the Islanders have an arrangement with is Washington. A simple, two-team, pick-and-prospect trade. Simple, except for closing the darn thing."

Is Bill Guerin gonna be able to help us?

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 8:59 AM


Bill Guerin pre-lockout might have been able to help us. In the past, he was a gritty player that would park himself in front of the net and not take any crap from anyone. We could use someone like that against teams like Philly. I just don't think he's that guy anymore, or at least he's not as effective as he used to be.

Posted by: cainoo7x | March 2, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree that if anything needs to be addressed - it's the defense. Am I wrong - or was Schultz on the ice for 4 of the first 5 goals (maybe the last one too but I had to leave to get to the Bears game). All he did was stand around - screen Theo and one even bounced off of him and past Neuvy. He should go and Alzner should replace him. Any good D that can be picked up before Thursday would be a plus.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | March 2, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Caps have been in a funk the last week, week and a half. Take the Boston game out of the equation. They just have not been consistent and you need consistency from here on out.

GMGM needs to make a deal to send a message. Evidently, the messages BB is sending the team not to play down to other teams ain't resonating.

I love this team but they better get their head out of their arse and play the way they are supposed to for 60 minutes EVERY game or they will be bounced. GMGM, send a message.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Kind of interesting that our own players can play in front of our own net to help the other team score goals but we can't get any one in front of the opposition nets to score our own goals.

Make the D play forward and the forwards play D.

Yes, folks, I am that PO'd. Yesterday was inexcusable and we did not invest all this time and money into a team that is going to be one and done.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

To me one of the main reasons the Caps should get Pronger is simple....If he goes to Boston, NJ or Philly, they will be almost impossible to beat, if on the other hand, the Caps do get him, they will almost be Impossible to beat. Trade Shultz and/or MO, a 2nd and a prospect to a Ducks team that needs to get younger. As of now the caps do not have anyone to clear the crease and in the playoffs, you have to have that, look how the Wings score, from 3 feet away.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 2, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@CTCapsPhan

they are 25\7\1 at home and your complaining?

pfft

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@RichC3

The problem is the ducks wont want Shultz, Mo a 2nd and a prospect.

More likely they will want someone who is at least a prospective 30+ goal scorer ala Semin or Flash... plus a prospect ala Borque, Osala plus a draft pick.

It just isnt worth it. and I can gurantee you Boston and NJ wouldnt do that deal either. I honestly dont see Pronger moving this year. These teams just want way to much for one guy and I dont think anyone is willing to give it up because of what happened to Pitt last year.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Kind of interesting that our own players can play in front of our own net to help the other team score goals but we can't get any one in front of the opposition nets to score our own goals.

Make the D play forward and the forwards play D."

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2009 9:50 AM

Recently Mike Green tied Scott Stevens for most PP goals by a defenseman in Caps history, and the irony is that Stevens got all his powerplay goals by parking in front of the net, playing as a forward essentially, at least so I've been told.

Posted by: cainoo7x | March 2, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Dizzy1205: Lately the regulation losses at home have been going up, as is lack of effort in many home games as of late...

Posted by: rachel216 | March 2, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The Caps have GOT to get Backstrom (the goalie). Get this....32 (goalies number) minus Backstrom (our guy's number) 19 equals 13. So?

THE STANLEY CUP has 13 letters! Spooky but true! AND - 1 plus 3 equals 4. The number of games you have to win in the final to win the Cup.

Oh....GMGM......please spend $50 on Madam Marie! She never lies! :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | March 2, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If you think Pronger can bring us a parade down Pennsylvania Ave., then make the deal. Personally, I don't think that's the case. We're getting closer, but I don't think we're there. Soft D, penalties, disturbing trend of taking every fifth game off or so.

To me, NJ is the favorite, esp. with Broduer back. Moves at the deadline have to be made with a long term view, because eventually Backstrom will want to get paid, and we'll have similar issue if Fehr/Fleischman develop into 25 goal guys. Long term view. Look at what happened in PIT (big 2 + little 18).

I'm wondering if the Guerin deal isn't a 3 team production? I like this move if we can free salary and get a burst out of a proven NHLer moving from the outhouse to the penthouse, with one more shot at Stanley. Kinda like Bellows in 1998.

This is one area I trust GMGM. He knows what he's doing at the deadline. He will do something, no question about it.

Posted by: rnscaps | March 2, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Believe me I know I have been to every single one of them. Im just making a statement to keep things in perspective. If you are upset about your inevestment because you have put all this time and money just to see how many rounds they can make it into the playoffs then maybe season tickets arent the right move.


Im a little upset as to the teams overall effort the last couple of games as well but I have Played and watched this game for over 20 years now and I can say that at this time of year teams have trouble putting games away (unless your team name starts with a D and ends with a etroit). If you look at there schedule latley they have also had the hardest part of there schedule these last couple of weeks and I think this has alot to do with their losses.

I know this is Redskins nation and a lot of skins fans watch the caps now but this isn't football and these aren't the skins so people need to stop acting like your typical panicking redskins fan.

its not time to hit the PANIC button just yet.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't know much about Don Cherry since I haven't been following hockey for as long as some. I know his suits, that's it, really. Here are my two thoughts:

1. I don't think goal celebrations are an issue. Scoring in hockey is a very singular event and an amazing feat whether it's a quick wrister, a slapshot, a deke on a breakaway, or a deflection off your skate. The difference between hockey and football - he was showing almost exclusively South America celebrations - is that those football skits are completely moronic. Most hockey celebrations are quick events that wrap quickly and the game continues. It's also not like the NFL where players celebrate after making a nice block. If the NHL doesn't want celebrations then stop the sirens, turn off the light, and faceoff in 15 seconds after a generic line change, if needed. You know what, if Sidney Crosby or Scott Hartnell celebrate in our building when they score, so be it. I don't like them because they are the opponent not because they celebrate.

2. Cherry - I don't know his playing career style - is calling for someone to injure Alex Ovechkin because of his celebrations. If that's the type of commentary he provides then he should be fired. If you want to call out Ovechkin for being dirty player, if that's what you believe, then call him out like a man for being dirty and opining that he should get his in the end. But that's not Cherry's point; celebrating goals? And for that someone should headhunt him and injury him intentionally. Commentators have a job and it's to get people talking. But, if you're doing that by calling for the best player in the NHL to be cheapshotted, then either the NHL or CBC needs to step in.

My two cents.

Posted by: saintex | March 2, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

You can get bargains at the TDL, in fact most trades, on paper, are lopsided.

Ted Roth was traded to Columbus for Sergei Fedorov. Who is Ted Roth? A student at Notre Dame.

I'm almost certain that some of the Caps partied Sat night and weren't quite right on Sunday. Oh to be young, wait, Im not old.

That said, we certainly have what it takes to make lot of noise in the playoffs. We have the 5th best record in the NHL, 4 50 point scorers, since late Dec one of the top 5 goaltenders, the 2nd best home record and we have the best player in the league.

Now I'm not too thrilled about the FLA game but all good teams blow it sometimes, all good teams.

Posted by: JSchon | March 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@ Dizzie -- from being dominant at home to mediocre. Since 2/1/09 5-4 at home. They were overall 8-4-1, so they have improved their road game. Some of this may come from playing down to home compeitition and playing up for tougher road games -- idk? While the trend is great away from the phonebooth, the home cooking has slipped quite a bit. For a team looking at a first round home advantage, not a great trend. I bet it picks up being how BB motivates these kids and given the likely pick up of a couple veterans.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I realise there has been a lot of negativity around here over the last week or so (don’t some people LOVE to be negative?) but looking on the bright side, although at home form has taken a recent nose dive, away from the VC we have been pretty damn good.

Since 6th Dec (17 away games) we are 11-4-2 and we have picked up at least a point in our last 6 away, going 4-0-2. Now at the risk of coming over all WJS *shudders* we have 10 of our remaining 18 games away from home.

If we do finish 3rd and lose home ice for the second round, I’m not that worried.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

JSchon: "I'm almost certain that some of the Caps partied Sat night and weren't quite right on Sunday."

The wife and I were saying the exact same thing.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Jschon,

No doubt teams have stinkers every once in awhile, but these games seem to be happening with increasing frequency, disturbing since we're getting closer to the playoffs. Maybe if FLA or CAR were closer...

2nd round seems reasonable, but if they play NJ, that's uphill all the way. Caps are on a progression towards Stanley, but just think thats 1-2 yrs out.

For the record, I am old :). Well, just on the right side of Feds.

Posted by: rnscaps | March 2, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS

yes but look at there schedule at home in that span almost every other day they are playing a game at home over the coarse of what two weeks?

My point (once again) was you get to see 25 some odd victories at home (so far) as a STH and your complaining about your investment? Thats just not right... a coupleyears ago we would all have dreamed of such a thing.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Lost to Columbus, Ottawa, LA, Edmonton, Colorado...all bad losses since the start of 2009. The Caps just went 9-2-1 in February and I'm happy enough. I stayed to the bitter end yesterday because you take the lumps with the high points. Over that same period the Caps are 9-3-2 vs. teams that would be in the playoffs as of today. I'd love to have the points from those bad losses but really, I don't care. The record against the playoff teams is stunning and even if BB doesn't want to make excuses - and there was no excuse for JV play yesterday - if you go to OT to beat the B's in Boston on Saturday and lose 24 hours later to the Panthers, I'm not too fussed.

Posted by: saintex | March 2, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh wait, didn't the Red Wings hang a gorgeous one vs. the Preds on Saturday. What was that score? I'm sure the Wings fans hated it but it's not the end of the world.

Posted by: saintex | March 2, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

dont mind the spelling im still sleepy

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 2, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Now I'm not too thrilled about the FLA game but all good teams blow it sometimes, all good teams.

Posted by: JSchon | March 2, 2009 10:29 AM

I agree to a point. Remember when the Caps were invincible at home? The Caps have lost more often at home recently, and it's not like the losses have been close games. Rather, they have been total collapses. Losing 6-2 to Florida after giving up 4 first period goals, losing 4-2 to Philly by giving up 3 straight in the third period, losing 4-1 to last place in the West Colorado, and really, the Caps made a comeback against LA, but fell short after digging a big hole, losing that game 5-4.

Posted by: cainoo7x | March 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

One more thing...hey, I just survived the drive. What I hated yesterday, and Saturday, are the massive number of backdoor goals the Caps are giving up. I'll ventured to say that every team in the East is watching how one winger is getting behind the D every play and just whacking it home. Seriously, that is a problem.

Posted by: saintex | March 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@jschon

You are incorrect in your assumption. The guys did not party last night. It was just a scrappy game where all our weaknesses show up at the same time.

Posted by: atybat | March 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Correction: I meant Saturday night.

Posted by: atybat | March 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@ Dizzy. Please not that I wrote that the Caps have improved greatly on the road, they play down to worse opponents, and that BB will right the ship. Given that the Caps are a lock for 3rd overall and are right in the race for 2nd, I'm not really worried. In fact, I'd rather they come to earth now than in late March / early April. In other words, play a couple crap games now against worse teams to see that they are not as good as their press clippings. BB will use this minor skid to get these kids in gear for the playoffs. I'm actually pretty optimistic given how the Caps have played of late. If they get a tough blueliner, they will be able to hold onto more leads and play a more consistently effective pk.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 2, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line guys, we have two maybe three NHL defenseman. Poti, Green are legit. This board doesn't seem to like Schultz and I agree he's gotta use his size more, but I don't think he's that horrible. Mo has been disappointing, and I cringe every time the Jurcina/Erskine pair is out there.

Saintex has a point...I'm seeing teams exploit the same thing the Caps do with the long passes and the trailer coming in. Kessel's goal on Saturday was exhibit A.

Posted by: rnscaps | March 2, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@ Dizzy,

Some answered for me but I will re-state as well. MOst of the 7 losses have come in the last couple of weeks when we were talking about needing to take advanatge of the next 9 out of 10 being at home. That kind of run should make a team energized to play at their best to put some ground between them and the rest. Instead, they played down and now the home stand is almost over. They play 7 out of 8 on the road soon and that could spell trouble for them to finish strong.

Yes, I am complaining because they had a chance to pull away and instead they are giving NJ a chance to gain more confidence.

All teams have stinkers, but lately our stinkers have been coming on a two week home stand.

I still love this team, but WAKE UP!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

According to the commentators at last night's debacle, we had Phoenix scouts in the house. From the way we played, no trade there.

According to the WT article, we can't have more than 50 NHL contracts, and we're there. So if anyone is coming in, someone with a contract has to change addresses.

According to TSN, Morrisonn is being dangled.

The Caps need a seasoned D-man. Pronger and Bou will be very expensive to get, but I'm afraid that Pronger is headding east - it's just a matter of how far. It may be no further than St. Louis. Pronger has strong ties there (wife is from there, the fans love him still, and the team needs him).

I'm not too afraid of Philly making a move for him, because to get him, they'll have to give up a lot to make room. They have zero cap room which is why Metro and Whatshisname were waived when Briere came back.

NJ or Boston could pick him up, or may be more tempted to go Bou's way instead as a lower cost alternative. But I'm not sure that they're looking at D so much as offense.

The only reason to trade Pronger is that he is redundant with Nieder and Whitney. The Ducks have been trying to get Nieder to announce whether he's coming back next year before the 4th, but he won't commit until after the season ends. Personally, I don't think that the Ducks would move Pronger until that is cleared up. If Nieder decides to stay, they'll move Pronger, if not, they still have him.

I also don't think that Bou is going anywhere, either. FL is still in the hunt thanks to yesterday. It would be suicide for their GM to move him now. He may be stuck without getting anything for him, but he would have him for their brief run in the playoffs.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 2, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Greg,
While I agree on the one hand that FLA keep JBo whilst they are still in the hunt, but isn't he an UFA after this season?

If he is making noises internally about leaving no matter what they offer, they may look to get something for him now as opposed to losing him for nothing in the summer.

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 2, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

There were 6 goals yesterday and Mo wasn't on for any of them! Figure it out. Lately when he has been on for any goals it usually hasn't been his fault.

He had some injuries in the beggining of the season but ever since coming back after the all star break he has been back on the right path.

If we lose a veteran D like Mo going into a Stanley cup playoff run we will be completely screwed.

Posted by: Caps01 | March 2, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Goalies are only as good as the D in front of them. You could put anyone in net - he wouldn't have stopped any of the goals Nuvi or Theo let in yesterday. The difference between great and good-enough goaltending isn't nearly as big as mediocre to resepectable defense.

I'm going to buck the trend though - after thinking it through I'm not sure I want Pronger or Nierdermyer. I do still want D - in fact, I want 2 of them. I want Tomas Kaberle (or Filip Kuba) and Roman Hamrlik.

Lines should go something like this...

Green, Kaberle ($4.25M) (Kuba - $3M)
Poti, Hamrlik ($5.5M)
Erskine, Jurcina

You can trade Schultz, Morrison (gone after this year anyway), and Nylander - this will keep the cap in order. I'm thinking Nylander and one of our NHL ready prospects for Harmlik and a package of prospects and picks for Kaberle or Kuba - we'll probably have to give up Alzner, Giroux, or Lepisto plus a draft pick to make that work.

I looked at this mostly from a cap and availability perspective. It's also pretty realistic - I mean, we're not 1 solid Dman away from a good defensive unit here. This will at least keep up afloat until Sloan and Lepisto or Alzner mature.

Posted by: patrone | March 2, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

in response to a cup, i (along with most logical caps fans) were not expecting a cup this year, nor we we really expecting to have such a tremendous regular season. given the circumstances of our regular season, I now find myself wanting to say that we have a legitimate shot at at least going to the cup, if we can weather the NJ and flyer waves.

our offense forcecheck is great, their backchecking is mediocre. A result of BB's hyper offensive system.
our defense is obviously struggling. this has been apparent even before the first puck dropped.
goaltender situation. don't need to say more really. either theo turns it around from his usual playoff stints or one of the rookies turn into Roy.

mo is a vet d man? since when?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

DaveUK

Yes, you're right. But...

If they trade him now, the GM loses the fan base and probably his job. GM could still trade him after the season but before 7/1. Basically, it would be rights to talk to Bou or work out a deal for him to move. Analogous to what Tampa did last season with a few of their players. Maybe he could get something that way, though admittedly not much.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting. That last couple of weeks have been up and down for the Caps. Consistency has been a problem, and that's coming at the wrong time of year. We've seen Poti play terrible hockey since his return from an injury. Green has been sloppy since he broke the record. Schultz is always awful. Theo has been average, at best. It's been difficult to watch this team continually struggle every other game. I'm not sure why they constantly need a wake-up call to get their butts in gear. This is the stretch run, and it's time for the Caps to take every game seriously.

Quite frankly, Backstrom in net WOULD help. Theo lets in one or two cheapies a game (see Chara, Zdeno for the most recent). Backstrom would cut down on that number, for sure. Plus, he moves better laterally and would probably cut down the GAA by at least half a goal. All that said, improving the D should be the first priority. Dump Schultz and get started.

Posted by: CDon | March 2, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

kaberle and green playing on the same d pair?

makes no sense.

if you also dont see a difference between a hasek and a kolzig, then I have no idea what to tell you.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 2, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@patrone,

At least Kuba (two AO wristers between his skates by AO in the last meeting) and Hamrlik (well, we all know about that) would be happy enough to not have to deal with Ovi.

Posted by: saintex | March 2, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

and hamrlik's contract is worse than nyls.

ill take hamrlik circa tampa bay lightning only please.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 2, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Caps have been in a funk the last week, week and a half. Take the Boston game out of the equation. They just have not been consistent and you need consistency from here on out.

GMGM needs to make a deal to send a message. Evidently, the messages BB is sending the team not to play down to other teams ain't resonating.

I love this team but they better get their head out of their arse and play the way they are supposed to for 60 minutes EVERY game or they will be bounced. GMGM, send a message.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Greg,
And if JBo just waits FLA out until after 1st July.....? He walks right?

Also depends what FLA's GM gets in return for JBo as to whether or not he would keep his job. All assumptions though eh?

If I don't respond for a while its because I'm driving home from work then cooking dinner (what a modern man I am!)

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | March 2, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This year I'll be happy if we get past the first round of the playoffs. A deep run would be lovely, but a first-round win is the step we have to pull off right now.

Posted by: jen-s | March 2, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Did I read that Ottawa Sun article right? The Thrashers only want a third round pick for Niclas Havelid?

He's be a pretty cheap pick up for a S@H D with a solid plus minus. He's a 6 foot 200lbs d-man too - a very good replacement for Schultz no? Plus he adds age and experience to our increadibly young blue line.

GMGM should jump all over that - it's a bargin.

Posted by: patrone | March 2, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

i wouldnt mind havelid.

its real hard to get a positive +/- on the thrashers, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 2, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

richmondphil

I agree. I'm not thinking Cup this year, but a deep playoff run for certain. D is definitely the issue. Alzner will help, but the other D-men are suspect.

Love Green, but his D remains suspect (IMHO), and yes, I know about his +/-. I just see him get skated around. He's better this year than last. I expect him to be better next year.

Poti may not be the best, but he's consistent and predictable. We know what we'll get day in and out.

Not wild about the rest of the D. They're faucets.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 2, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I honestly don't see a large difference between Hasek at his best vs. Kolzig at his best. Now, his best wasn't right before he was traded. It was during our cup run during his Vezna year. I haven't looked it up - but I'd bet we had to beat Hasek to get to the cup. Kolzig was fantastic that year - just ridiculous.

HOWEVER - you can't predict what a specific goalie will do in any given playoff situation. Case and point - Ozzie was a beast in the playoffs last year but is still fighting for the starting job in Detroit this year. They are even talking about trading for a number 1 for the playoffs. You can't guarentee greatness from you're goaltender - regardless of how well that goaltender has played up to this point. Goalies are one person - a defensive unit is a team. One person can screw up your goaltending - it takes several to screw up the defense. Adding reliable Dmen has better odds of a return than adding a golie.

Posted by: patrone | March 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

err...not traded - released. Sorry - I just *wish* we treated him better than we did. He deserved better from us.

Posted by: patrone | March 2, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

DaveUKCapsFan

FLA's GM is in a decidedly tough position. He's damned no matter how he goes. A real "sticky wicket."

Moving Boumeester guarantees no post season. Not moving him may give them a date, but diminishes the amount a team will be willing to pay to talk. Make it a conditional trade - if the other team can make a deal, FL gets something. No deal, they have nothing and he walks to the highest bidder on 7/1.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 2, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm confused at how people think moving Bowmeester completly removes the Panthers from playoff contention. He is one defenseman. He plays a ton of minutes - but I'm assuming their GM would at least add a roster player to make up for those minutes. I watched the entire game (very painful) on Sunday - they wern't awful. If they stay geared up - they've got a great shot even without Boumeester.

Posted by: patrone | March 2, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I see the same logic Re: the Caps that I saw from a lot of Bears fans after they won the Cup in '06 and went back to the finals again in '07 (and would have won it again had it not been for a goalie named Price). Suddenly a lot of people think it's a failure if you don't make it back again each year. I think that's called the "NY Yankee" syndrome where they expect to be in the WS every year - LOL. Anyway, the Caps have come a long way since BB took over - they have an extremely good/deep farm system - I expect them to be a 'contender' for quite a few years (certainly a change from the previous few years). The Cup will come sooner or later - just be patient. I'd hate to see them make a deal for right now-this year and in the process deal away some of that good young talent (e.g., Flash, Fehr, Alzner etc.) - but Schultz is OK to trade - just don't send him back to Hershey.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | March 2, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I honestly don't see a large difference between Hasek at his best vs. Kolzig at his best. Now, his best wasn't right before he was traded. It was during our cup run during his Vezna year. I haven't looked it up - but I'd bet we had to beat Hasek to get to the cup. Kolzig was fantastic that year - just ridiculous.

...
I have nothing to say.

Hasek was most athletic goaltender to ever play this sport. If he had even a lick of the teams Roy or Brodeur (trap trap trap) had in front of him and played as long, his playoff numbers would be as big.

i guess the top 3 can be debated. brodeur, roy, hasek.

sawchuk.


kolzig.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 2, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Bouwmeester (finally spelled it right) has been the backbone of the organization since he went there. He has great timing, can be a shutdown player and has over 30 points on a team that doesn't generate a lot of goals. Without it, they're toast.

Posted by: Greg S. | March 2, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

PHO scouts at the game can only mean one thing, and that's a trade involving Derek Morris. He may have lost a step, but his contract is expiring at the end of the year and would be a HUGE boost on the blueline. Not to mention the fact that the Caps wouldn't have to give up much to get him (especially given the Coyotes' on and off ice trouble) -- the biggest obstacle would be finding room for the remainder his ~4mil contract this season.

Posted by: FOHS_Marc | March 2, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

patrone:
cup run 98
bos 4-2
ott 4-1
buf 4-2 (vs. hasek)
L 0-2
W 3-2 OT
W 4-3 OT
W 2-0
L 1-2
W 3-2 OT
we all know what happened with det

i've found this to be a good site:
http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/WSH
kolzig 12-9 1.95gaa .941 sv%

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow the mindset of some people stuns me. How can you say that you'd be satisfied with "just a deep run in the playoffs"? You could "settle" for not winning the Cup this year? Shouldn't the goal every year be to win the Cup? Do you think this is the mentality of succesful organizations? I sure hope Ted and GMGM don't have this same mindset. I hope they're going up to the trade deadline with what the notion of what moves can I make to better our club to win a Cup THIS YEAR and for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Rachel: I don't see how anyone could disagree with us. Everything I read suggests that a consistent, star quality goalie is needed to get to the Stanley Cups. This is an example:

"The role of the goalie at Stanley Cup time can hardly be overstated. Without star-quality goaltending, even a millionaire's row of superstars is naked and vulnerable. At least a couple of times during a championship run the goalie will win a game in which his team mates are vastly outplayed. Conversely, a bad period or soft goal at the wrong time can send a contender into a downward spiral." Which is part of what happened yesterday, by the way.
http://proicehockey.about.com/library/weekly/aa041402a.htm

Maybe being a goalie mom and grandma I focus on goalies more.

And Mauree, yes I do think that if Backstrom was in goal yesterday, and maintained his average 92-93% save percentage, the game could well be saved.

You yourself said: "If we have to wait for Alzner, Carlson, Varly, Neuvirth to fully develop, we're talking about 4-5 years here." I agree. Varly and Neuvy are not ready. Theo, may get into the zone during play offs but he may not. He is very good but not great yet in my book, especially for a team struggling defensively.

I am sold on Rachel's Backstrom now. I've checked into his stats and history and I agree with her that he is the MAN. It is a great opportunity that he is available and I will be very disappointed if GMGM does not jump on it.

Get Backstrom and Pronger and it's a different ball game. I do think the Caps are slipping.

Posted by: caraveli | March 2, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

not so great goalie that won the cup.
2004 - Khabibulin, playoff record that year was 16-7. without that year his playoff record is 15-18
he stood on his head during the playoffs - 16-7 1.71gaa .933 sv%
it's not very likely but theo has the capability to make a run in the playoffs - with this D the odds of that happening are not very high. i think brodeur would have a tough time carrying this D
we have what we have and i like our chances in a 7 games series with anyone in the east, including philly. i believe in BB's abilities to provide the right motivation at the right time. anything GMGM can do to imporve the D would be an added bonus - provided he doesn't give away the future

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It is nice to see so many realistic comments today. I also get tired of seeing phrases like, "It was only one game." "This team will be fine." This team continues to struggle defensively, lacks the passion to put teams away, and takes too many penalties. Theo has played decently but could sue for none support on most nights. A select few are willing to get physical and do what it takes to win on a nightly basis. This team is talented offensively but to reiterate, too few are willing to play tough physical hockey. This team as it stands now is not a true cup contender. Changes still need to be made. If GMGM and Ted stay the course, next year could be the year. Making waves at the trade deadline is essential for this team to sustain success in the playoffs this year.

Posted by: jnjensor | March 2, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, at home, the Caps ratio is 135 PP:149 PK. Which would make the penalty advantage about 10% for the visitor to the Verizon Center. The study TeB cites would suggest it would be 135 PP:120 PK at home. On the road, it's 132 PP:166 PK, which translates to a 21% advantage for the home team. Interesting that a team with a winning record has such a disparity on power plays, both home and away.

New Jersey, who we're tied with in the East, has a home ratio of 132 PP:125 PK and an away ratio of 98 PP:122 PK. In fact, looking at the other top teams in the league, no one even comes close to the disparity we have:
Boston 119 PP:103 PK Home, 126 PP:128 PK Away
Detroit 144 PP:120 PK Home, 133 PP:141 PK Away
San Jose 155 PP:108 PK Home, 119 PP:130 PK Away

So the real questions are: Why is there the disparity in Washington to the league-wide trend, and how can we be this good when we give up 15% more powerplays than we get?

Posted by: MikeF703 | March 2, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one not comfy with Theo in net? I have no confidence in him. He had a phantom turn-around, and now he sits down, leaves the net, and sits in front like a block of swiss cheese. If we don't trade for a goalie, put Neuvy in and let him rise to the occasion--everybody seems to think we won't make the finals anyway--this would give our incoming trade Dmen time to get symmetrical early next season AND Neuvy would already be seasoned enough to be a force.

If they leave Theo in, I hope like HAYALL that my gut is wrong. It's not about stats--it's about the path of performance, and his is dropping (short-term) or up/down (med-term) and no team is gonna play very well without a true confidence in their netminder. Am I crazy?

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 3, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one not comfy with Theo in net? I have no confidence in him. He had a phantom turn-around, and now he sits down, leaves the net, and sits in front like a block of Swiss cheese. If we don't trade for a goalie, put Neuvy in and let him rise to the occasion--everybody seems to think we won't make the finals anyway--this would give our incoming trade Dmen time to get symmetrical early next season AND Neuvy would already be seasoned enough to be a force.

If they leave Theo in, I hope like HAYALL that my gut is wrong. It's not about stats--it's about the path of performance, and his is dropping (short-term) or up/down (med-term) and no team is gonna play very well without a true confidence in their netminder. Am I crazy?

Posted by: wutzthedeal | March 3, 2009 1:23 AM | Report abuse

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