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Morning Reading List: Game 5, Do or Die

(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)

The Capitals must win each of the next three games to keep their season alive, beginning tonight. It's that simple. They came back from a 3-1 deficit a year ago in the first round against the Flyers, but for a myriad of reasons, this comeback could be even more daunting.

In case you missed it, Mike Green is a finalist for the Norris Trophy.

With the Norris Trophy finalists out, Jim Matheson asks the million-dollar question: Where is Mike Green?

ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also discusses the absence of Green in the postseason.

Through the Rangers' Looking Glass
Now, I know how many people who read this blog feel about Don Cherry, but this Wednesday the former coach has his say about Sean Avery and John Tortorella's decision to keep playing him.

Everyone seems to be waiting to find out whether Avery will be on the Rangers' bench this evening.

More on that front from Newsday, TSN's Darren Dreger

Folks in Tampa Bay are beginning to get nostalgic for the good 'ole days when Tortorella guided the Lightning.

In the System
Hershey can sweep away the Phantoms tonight at Giant Center.

Staffan Kronwall suffered a scratched cornea and will at least miss remainder of the Bears' series against Philadelphia. (The Patriot News and Lebanon Daily News)

The Bears finished the season with the AHL's highest attendance, drawing an average of 8,987 fans per game.

By Katie Carrera  |  April 24, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau: 'It's a One-Game Series Now'
Next: Carlson Assigned to the Bears


how come the post has its football, baseball, whatever people write stories on hockey to suppliment tarik in the playoffs? katie wrote a good piece recently & it had a reasonable amout of researched hockey facts.

knowledge of hockey > generic sports metaphors

Posted by: am_jim | April 24, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

THe scariesr thing to me is Ovie checking out the internet boards. I would like to see Avery play and let the players take care of the jackass. But he's liable to really hurt someone,he should be suspended.But I would rather see Brashear just pound him to a pulp.

Posted by: ridgely1 | April 24, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Anaheim Ducks. Jonas Hiller. All I can say is WOW.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 24, 2009 6:35 AM | Report abuse

anyway, imo this game comes down to shooting from inside the circles. a player has gotta be in front of the goalie at all times. varly has done enough in each of his games to give the caps a shot at winning (even counting his glove error), however, the offense hasn't coming through. as gabby has said repeatedly, the caps style of play is built around the idea that if the opponents are limited to 2 goals, we should win.

Posted by: am_jim | April 24, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

am_jim : that's were the battle is with these teams. The Caps want to get to the middle for shots and get guys on top of the crease. The Rangers have been one of the better teams all year at preventing that. If the rangers play their game it will be hard for the caps to win, but I never under estemate a team that has to win or go home.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Ridgely: how
Many times has avery really hurt someone in his career? I can't think of any. And than you want brash, a low tallent goon to go out and beat him, yeah, that's the way, hurt him on purpose so he didn't accidently bloody another nose. Poor baby caps, they got roughed up a little. Don't forget, the refs ignor things done to avery, the caps should have has at least one or two penalties more per game for cheap shots against avery, and if they are going to call every little thing avery dose, they need to call the rest of the players the same way.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 6:50 AM | Report abuse

The thing about Avery is that he is successful when he makes you want to hurt him. Ignore the punk and that is when he implodes (as we saw in Game 3). Besides, I think it would be more fun to watch Torts "deal" with Avery.

Posted by: Kim-3 | April 24, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Clarification. Avery is successful when he makes you want to hurt him and you take a penalty or lose focus. Not enough caffiene yet this morning.

Posted by: Kim-3 | April 24, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

The location of Mike Green is one of our principle questions. If we have a Mike Green not scoring goals or being an offensive presence then we are left with nothing more than an Average Defenseman.

Posted by: trunkenmath | April 24, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: Avery's backhand with the butt end of his stick hanging out that hit Jurcina in the face was not accidental. Those that have played hockey at a competitive level which means you have mastered skating at a very respectable level, and you may have, know that he had plenty of time to not only stop before making contact, but at the very very least could absolutely control his flailing arms. His intent was to injure, period.

If you watched the Flyer/Pens game last night you would have noticed that Briere got called for finishing his check on a non-competitive icing touch-up that was not where near as dangerous, it was a basic body on body check. It was the right call though because the league instituted that rule change at the beginning of the season.

His high stick to the face of Pothier was even more unnecessary and totally avoidable. Tortarella didn't even argue that call.

He doesn't get the benefit of the doubt on calls like tripping because he has been caught diving, and badly. The trip against Semin was prime example of Avery feeling Semin's stick on the toe of his skate and he dove like he had been chop blocked in a football game. His most disgusting display was when he instigated a near fight in one of the Rangers last games of the season and kept acting like he was shaking his glove off to fight while he got thrown around like a rag doll, embarrasing.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

one question for hockey expert Don Cherry:

who exactly is Lundstrom?

ummm.... I think you mean Lundqvist? I mean, come on... what an embarassment. There are plenty of guys who do tons of homework on all the intricacies and details of these games... and Mr Hockey Night can't even get the name of one of the premiere goalies in the game right?!?!

Wow. And he said Lundstrom twice. Wow.

Posted by: jason595 | April 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Lets not knock Cherry on this one. He had some good points, and took it to Avery..He is a jerk, and Cherry went public...good for him.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

fan. You see what you want. Avery has never injured anyone on purpose and there isn't a player alive or dead who could have aimed that shot with his hand. Was he trying to hit him up high, sure, but if he had hit more than just his nose there would have been pushing and shoving and no injury. I think it's funny that suddenly avery is trying to hurt players, stop crying like babies, I've seen dozens of players swing thief backs into the end boards like that hoping to cut off the players touching of the puck for an iceing, I was taught how to do it, just not with the arms up high, let's not make it out to be more than it was, avery went hard to try to negate iceing and figured he could get a shot in to get under someone skin, it was bad luck that he got his nose only. I can play the same game, I've never seen a player follow through on a wrist shot so their stick hits another player in the face, so Ovechkin pupisly hit roszival that one game...he should have been suspended, he could have ended a career! And semin cross checked callahan in the neck/chin and only got a minor, boy he should have got a mojor and a game for intent to injure and suspended. The only reason anyone makes a big deal is because it's avery, but in a leauge that forgave bertuzzi for ending another players career I think everyone is being a bit to harsh to a guy who talks trash and bumps people after a whistle

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the deal with Avery is necessarily intent to injure - which has definitely been there at points, but it's gross unsportsmanlike conduct. He does things that would make Craig Berube cringe.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 24, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Forget about Avery! He's getting into everyone's heads like he wants.
It comes down to this Caps: Bring your game starting tonight! Play defense, move the puck, SCORE GOALS, and hope Varly is on! These Rangers were a 7th seed, Lundquist was not unbeatable in the regular season. If there is any "fury" left in the can, unleash it starting tonight, or put it back in the equipment room with the sticks and equipment, and padlock the door until September. LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 24, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Snake..LOL yeah he does, but that alone shouldn't remove him from the NHL. If bertuzzi can still play and Simon was aloud back after that chop to hollweg than avery should be praised for self control(not really but my point stands). I just think that for the most part he is harmless, and any hard nosed played can go a bit far and hurt someone, you'll see, ovechkin hits hard, and at times gets off the ice a bit, someday he will explode a bit early in a hit leave his feet a bit to much and leave a guy on the ice, and when it happens you won't want him suspended. I know avery does stuff more, but he goes all season( and last) and never hurt a player, he hits one guy up high and bloodied his nose and people act like he does it ten times per shift

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Yes forget about Avery...but I dont think mixing it up with him, and trying to goat some more power play time is a good thing.

Also no better way to get the crowd going tonight then to target him, and let the Rangers know we aren't backing down.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Kc...lundqvist did have 38 wins and except for December had really good numbers. He rairly gives up more than 3 goals, and as for the rangers being the 7th seed...well since '94 the 7th seed has won like 11 times. Also only 5 teams gave up less goals than the rangers, one only 2 less, and they had the best pk. The caps knew the rangers wouldn't go down easy and even the people who picked them thought it would take 6 or 7 games. I think you underestemate the rangers, and maybe some caps players did as well.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

am_jim -- Svrgula isn't just another beat writer -- he was the Caps beat writer a few years ago. He's probably had another 3-4 Caps articles this year, not just playoff arrivals.

As for Avery, I think we're handling him just fine. He's been a help to us so far; we just need to convert like we did in game 3

Posted by: Sonyask | April 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Next year, maybe the Caps should wear motivational undershirts that say "win this game now," rather than the Cup-related nonsense they are apparently currently wearing. These days, I'm told, you actually have to win playoff games in order to win the Stanley Cup. Who knew? Also, they should shut up next year about how their true team goal is to win the Cup. That was fine a few years ago, when we were all concerned that their goal was simply to win occasionally and not look like total scrubs. Now that they're a good team, all that "win the cup" mantra does is encourage them to overlook the non-Cup-clinching game that they are currently playing in. I think this has contributed to their decent-but-not-overwhelming effort this series. After all, it's just the first round. Need to conserve some of that energy for the Stanley Cup Finals against the Red Wings!

Posted by: bbposter09 | April 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Just get the first goal(s).

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | April 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Sa, if the caps target avery he wins. That's exactly what he wants, eventualy when you target a player you hit him late or something and have to sit in the box. Being a rangersfan I have seen how to negate him, ignore him unless he is trying to score, he gets out of rythem if be isn't getting hit or pushed around and tries to make players do it to him, that's when he takes penalties.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

there you go Florida the rangers are terrible comeing from behind. Not so bad down by one, but down by two, I bet all year they have come back 5 times out of 20.

Posted by: rangerfan44 | April 24, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44: OV contact the face on a a FOLLOW THROUGH OF A SHOT. It happens all the time which is why it isnt even a penalty you moron. Avery backhanded Jurcina in the face, it wasn't even a glancing blow, talk about seeing what you want. Callahan and Semin, again, see what you want Callahan initiated that altercation with hands to the face, Semin was just the stronger of the two and it ended with Callahan on his @$$. The only, I repeat only player on the Rangers I dislike is Avery, and it is because he is a cheap, dirty player. I can't believe you even defend him at this point because he's been a liability to you guys in this series.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44 = frontrunner = SC1907

You only hear from these types when they are working from a position of power. As of Tuesday evening, at about 9:45, we will not be hearing from those clowns anymore after the Caps complete the comeback and have the Rags in their rear view mirrors. Whatever rocks their crawl out from when the Caps are down will be right where they crawl back under.

Caps win tonight: 4 - 2. Sunday will be 2 - 1. Tuesday: 5 - 1.

Go Caps!

Posted by: crooks_c | April 24, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I'll just take a win tonight, for now. I'f I look ahead to sunday I'm going to ruin it for everyone. Gotta just do my part to focus on the game at hand.

Traffic in the middle

Posted by: Sonyask | April 24, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The key to victory is getting the puck between Lundqvist and the pipes. Force him to make highlight reel saves. The Caps need to double these type of shots and limit the rest. Its not one guy thats beating them its the hype of one guy. They are shooting the puck at his chest and leg pads. Flinging the puck from outside the scoring range. Or they are trying to make their shots too perfect. How many times have their shots chimed off the pipes?

Lundqvist gets the headlines but his highlight reel is not that long for this series. The Caps need to try to double his highlight reel and see if he can keep up. Most likely he wont and the Caps will get twice the goals.

Posted by: jason14 | April 24, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

From previous:

Ovi is how it's spelled on his Web site.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

not trying to be a jerk, but if you think avery's hit to jurcina was accidental, i've got some florida swampland to sell you. first he went after him w/ the elbow and missed, then swung around with his fist. there is no reason to go into the boards like that in that situation other than to try and hit the other guy. and dont think he didn't know pothier has had concussion issues when he wacked him upside the head either. thats why he should be suspended, but not tonight cause he's giving the caps every opportunity to win.

if the rags go up by 3 or more goals late, i sure wouldn't want to be avery out there...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 24, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The Caps should also try a technique the Flyers used yesterday. They peppered Fleury in game 4 and only managed 1 goal because they were doing the same thing the Caps are doing. They are trying to be too perfect with some of their shots and missing high, thus not creating rebounds. The boys need to take shots that create rebounds and have someone crashing the slot the bag the rebound home. I hate the Flyers, but it worked. Both their 2nd and 3rd goals were scored just that way.

So either traffic or a low uncontrollable shot. I really think these guys have a shot. I'm tired of hearing what the Rangers did in game 4 to win. I'll tell you what they did, they watched their goaltender steal a game. By the way, Backstrom's face off number were down but did anyone catch what he was doing? He was letting the Ranger win the faceoff straight back when they were in the Rangers zone and beating their defensemen to the puck. It worked several times.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Do you think its some accident that Avery keeps slashing guys and hitting them? That it is some coincidence? He is clearly playing with the intent to injure.

Posted by: Ovechwin | April 24, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@fan, that's an interesting technique. I'll give it a watch tonight - it makes some sense.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

So if we ignore him then fine...If we go down 2-0...The ignoring will stop, and it will be time to light a fire in Avery and the Verizon Center.

Lets hope it doesnt get to that.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I personally don't have much of a problem with Avery as long as the refs keep penalizing his antics. Sure they're cheap shots, but as long as no one is seriously injured I'll take those power plays. Now if only we could score will on the PP!

Posted by: terpsgirl02 | April 24, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

if Avery gets a dumb penalty..lets give him the old...AV-E-RY...AV-E-RY...AV-E-RY we do to goalies on softies...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

WHAT on God's good earth is Cherry wearing???

Posted by: Greg S. | April 24, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Mike Green and GMGM stated that Greenie's been under the weather during the series. Greenie did say he is feeling better now. Hopefully that is why he has lost a half step on the O side. We could really use one of his game changing slapshot goals from the point. LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Your old skool Craig Laughlin "Keys to the Game" for a Caps win;

-Varly in net

-Brash must dress

-Schultz and Clark must sit

-Mike Green must show up both physically and mentally

Feel free to add more.

If these things happen, not only will we outplay NYR for a fifth straight game, but we'll actually win another one.

Posted by: wesvenis | April 24, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

exactly, the third goal last night is exactly what needs to be done time and time again. If your coming in (like carter) and the goalie is way out then shoot at his legs, generate a rebound. Just make sure you shoot at the opposite leg of the side your coming in on so it goes to the middle or to the corner and we can maintain possession. It's not that hard of a concept.

Posted by: caps28fan | April 24, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Shoot for the rebound and crash the net.

The caps can play fancy again next season.

Posted by: caps28fan | April 24, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Two comments:

1. Even for Cherry, that coat is a eye sore. If I didn't know who he was, I would assume he was some crazy person.1 Is he stealing clothes from the homeless now?

2. Is it too early to head to the Turtle?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Key to the game -

Avoid the "curl-and-drag." (Semin)

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Key to the game:

Doing whatever it takes to win. In other words, doing exactly what they did in game 3. Play gutsy, score on the PP and continue to ignore Avery.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 24, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Love or hate Cherry, you can't denied that he is his own man, he does not give a crap what other people think of him and he will speak his mind. I don't agree with him in a lot of things, but I respect his opinion as much as anyone else on this blog or anywhere else.

Posted by: opita1 | April 24, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse


Other than Cherry's blatant pro-Canada, anti-European (including French Canadian) bias which borders on racism sometimes, I also respect his opinions a fair bit.

His critique of Ov's 50 goal celebration, while I sort of disagreed with, was valid: "Alex, how would you feel if you were on Tampa."

But, you still have to make fun of his clothes. I mean, really.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Avery probably designed Cherry's Suit when he was an intern. What a fruit-loop that guy is.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Shoot high stick side. All we tried last game was high glove and it didn't work out so well.

Traffic in front. I'm tired of seeing a sea of blue in front of their net. I like the color red.

Lundqvist has good positioning. You have to move him to get chances. Don't let him set-up. Quick tape-to-tape passes and a wrister from in close or a one-timer slapshot.

They blocked 22 shots last game. "Shoot where they aren't," is what Gabby said after game 2. Caps need to do that again. Clean passes, get open.

Speaking of blocked shots, we need to limit the number of shots they get, too. Bodies in shooting lanes, but allowing Varly to see the shots coming.

One pass exits from our zone.

Poti has to learn where the blue line is on PK and get the puck PAST that point.

Clear the debris from in front of Varly. We don't want any Rags messing up his ability to see and move.

Stay out of the box.

If Avery plays, get under his skin early and often.

Screw the cutsie stuff on PP. Dirty goals will win every time. Just get down and dirty with them. Rebounds, deflections, poking and jabbing.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 24, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"the name on the front of the jersey is a whole hell off alot more important than the one on the back!" Herb Brookes..... LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!and why does every body seem so concerned about Avery? it wasnt to long ago we had a guy like him Dino Ciccarelli, a pain in the ass player! he made me laugh my ass off,messin with other goalies and players and go run behind the ref. so he didnt get his ass whipped!...c u 2nite @ VC in the Acela club!

Posted by: TracyMD1 | April 24, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town, nice.

I don't think the problem with "Lundstrom" is shot positioning, its quality shots. Way too many shots from the outside or softies that are partially muffed by the D. More traffic in front. They aren't going to score on a direct shot on "Lundstrom" unless there's a screen or rotation. The usual Green pass to OV one-timer PP move that scored 7000 goals in the regular season isn't working because Green's passes haven't been that crisp, plus the whole universe is looking for that play.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Man, I hope this Lundstrom is in goal. Lundqvist is a much harder to score on...

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@Greg S.

I agree we need to move Lundqvist side-to-side, and you're absolutely correct on how to do it. The quick tape-to-tape passes are the way to go. The only problem with that is, the Rangers defense plays very tight in the area where that sort of pass would work. If we can find a way to spread them out- even just a bit- we have success.

Posted by: Fro_ | April 24, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse


I noted earlier that the Jurcina play was hard to tell if it was intentional. Maybe he was rotating around to absorb the impact with the boards. But its still a penalty for careless stick work and let's be fair, Avery has enough of a reputation of stupid/reckless behavior that he isn't going to get the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I hope Avery does NOT get suspended. His ability to implode is only helpful at this point. No one with an ounce of sense can really think either one of those calls were not a penalty late in Game 4. Whether he was aiming or whoever or not, you're supposed to be in control of yourself at all times. Spinning backhands and sticks to the face doesn't exactly qualify for "in control".

Long road back, only thing left to do is win them all.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | April 24, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

During the game Avery's whack on Jurcina didn't standout in real time. I haven't played hockey, but others who have have commented: in replay it was obvious what he was doing. His back was alreay to the boards and he knew he could jack Milan.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see some low slappers designed to be wide that get tipped towards the net. This way you avoid the tee party the Rangers like having infront of Lundstrom

Posted by: Moose33 | April 24, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The usual Green pass to OV one-timer PP move that scored 7000 goals in the regular season isn't working because Green's passes haven't been that crisp, plus the whole universe is looking for that play.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like to see a one-time pass back to Green from OV for a slapper because you know Lundstrom is going to commit to a one-timer from Ovi

Posted by: Moose33 | April 24, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

That look of failure on Flash's face says it all. Flash = fail.

Posted by: FancyDan | April 24, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Anyone hear the interview with Bradley during the 2nd intermission Wednesday? He was asked what it takes to get a good Forecheck. He said "It all starts with a good dump".

All CAPS players need to start off with a good dump before the game and get out there and kick some ranger ass!

Seriously though....we need to get more people besides Brooks Laich in front of the net. Rebounds are what we need to get the easy victory.....GO CAPS!

Posted by: OviFan08 | April 24, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Can we just call him Harold Lundstrom?

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Avery knew exactly what he was going on the hit on Juice. Avery also knew exactly what he was going on the high sticking on Pothier. If that stick had been sharp, he would have sliced open his neck. There's a definate cutting motion from Avery.

How he doesn't get suspended is beyond me. Damned thing is, he can be an effective offensive player and would be if he didn't do that "agitator" roll junk.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 24, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Man...That goalie Harvey Lundberg for the Rangers is really stealing the series.

Posted by: SA-Town | April 24, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Its time to take his "big, blue shirt wearing, goal line hugging a**hole" and shove him and the puck in the net that he never wants to come out of.

Take some runs at Henrik in Game 5....who cares, the Rags PP sucks. I want him uncomfortable, screened, bumped, shoved, punched....whatever. Just letting him sit there ain't working. An overly physical 1st Period, in front of Henrik's net, wins Game 5 for the CAPS. The scoring can come later in the game. Lets wreck this dudes confidence and getting him thinking if he'll leave DC intact.

GO CAPS!! Muck it up tonight....and make em bleed!!

Posted by: jarresm | April 24, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse


Cherry knows his real name. He just has a disdain for Swedes (and Euros in general).

Posted by: paperboy76 | April 24, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The usual Green pass to OV one-timer PP move that scored 7000 goals in the regular season isn't working because Green's passes haven't been that crisp, plus the whole universe is looking for that play.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

That has been one of my gripes. I would also add that their shots takes such a long time - in terms of hockey speed - the D and goalie could take a nap and still have a time to setup. Neither OV nor Green seem to have or want to use the one timer from the point which at least will make it more effective.

Posted by: opita1 | April 24, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse


I noticed that too, and it def worked a couple times. Risky move but Backstrom is such a smart player it's nice to see what he makes of those opportunities.


Posted by: mrszilla | April 24, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse


Good idea except that Green has been fumbling the passes with alarming frequency causing to the puck to leave the zone, or worse a breakaway the other way.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 24, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need to play SHUT DOWN DEFENSE (like game three). NY is not an offensive machine. If we concentrate on keeping them off the board we will eventually score. Of course, it would help if we were playing Lundstrom instead of Lundqvist.

Posted by: RTR80 | April 24, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, Backstrom's face off number were down but did anyone catch what he was doing? He was letting the Ranger win the faceoff straight back when they were in the Rangers zone and beating their defensemen to the puck. It worked several times."

I have not noticed Backstrom doing this, so I will look out for it tonight (if he continues). I have in past noticed that this is Ovi's technique whenever he is put in the faceoff circle (which isn't all that much I know). Ovi even goes as far as to kind of poke it forward and work his way around his faceoff partner. If this is what Backstrom is doing in the offensive zone, and it is working sometimes, fine. But, as far as faceoffs go, what I am more concerned with is that Dubinsky won 88 percent of his faceoffs last game, and according to NHL XM radio (forget which program), many of those were against Steckel, including the win that resulted in Mara's goal right off the faceoff.

Here's to better faceoffs, puck control/possession, lots of traffic in front of Lundy and a fighting chance to prolong their season!

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | April 24, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse


That actually reminds me. Can we not have the first PP unit on the ice for the entire 2 mins? How many times have we seen that fumbled pass you're talking about and a rush the other way with a tired Green or Ovi chasing?

They either end up taking a penalty or are so tired from backchecking that they are ineffective for the rest of the PP or the next shift.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 24, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Its time to take his "big, blue shirt wearing, goal line hugging a**hole" and shove him and the puck in the net that he never wants to come out of.

Posted by: jarresm | April 24, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Hi, you're my new favorite poster! You've summed up my Lunqvist hate so eloquently.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 24, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

defense leads to offense...thats the rangers game...

the caps are a natural offensive team...if they focused more on defense and turning the rags over and controlling the puck that will naturally turn into offense...that is offense with the rags on their heals and that leads to goals...

ovi seriously needs to work on it (otherwise not knocking any other part of his game)...koslov...sometimes i dont know what he is doing int he neutral zone on d but just watching and taking tickets as people go by...but the team in general...defense leads to offense...

if it doesnt work out...there is certainly some phat to trim for next year (feds, nylander, maybe kozzy...and a hole core of d that needs to be retooled) and an opty to seriously use that money to fill the holes we need. a few solid d guys and a few guys on o that like to finish their checks and stand in front of the net to round out a complete team...

hopefully varly is the real deal...certainly looks like it could happen...

my biggest concern is potentially dropping 2 first round series in a row...this young team is gaining experience by being in the playoffs (the big whoop tee do about last year) but all i can think about is all the playoff experience they are missing out on by not winning these firt rounds...obviously that cost us this year because we are having to learn how to play playoff hockey all over again and it may be too if we lose...are we gonna be in the same boat round 1 next year...still trying to "get it"???

arg...60 minute boys...LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: deadskin | April 24, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I would even go so far as to suggest having the 2nd unit out for the first 30-45 seconds. If they don't score, that will give the 1st unit a sense of urgency because they will have just over 1 minute. I would also love to see Laich, or someone else willing to create a screen. Backs did it in game 3. Flash isn't doing it right, he is moving out of the way and trying to deflect the shot rather than just trying to be in Lumberger's (I think I'd come up with my own "L" name to use) grill. Calling him Lumberger because I'd love to see him become a cheese (like swiss) for the rest of the series.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

One question for the group. Do we know for sure that they are not screening Lungsterberger during a PP or in general? When I'm watching the game, I'm usually following the puck not concentrating on the battle in the crease. By the time the shot comes it's entirely possible that the screener has moved out of the way so the shot can get through.

Many of the screens are timed so the screener is crossing the field of vision of the goalie right as the puck is shot. I just find it hard to believe we are not doing this to the level everyone complains about. I'm sure we could use a bit more but I don't think "noone on the team likes to scrap in the crease" arguement is entirely accurate.

I'd like to know what other think, especially is someone has been paying attention to the crease as a PP is going on.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 24, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

put lundberg in net.
yeah...i'm going to have to ask you to work on sunday, mmmkay? yeah.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 24, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

rangerfan44 is only on here because he is unable to find intelligent life on the ranger's blogs. =P

strangely, i just got the chills thinking that rangerfan44 = sean avery?

*points and laughs at rangerfan44*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 24, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Moose, I'm sure as heck NOT seeing any attempts at screening Sir. Hides In Net. What I see is this:

1. Sir Hides In Net crouched in the net

2. A semi circle of 4 Rangers immediately in front of him around the crease

3. Five Capitals spread out playing pretty passing time.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 24, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The Caps will score some ugly goals tonight, with some pretty ones mixed in. Focus on tonight, take care of business, and then they'll need to get ready for game 6 at the Garden.

Posted by: reesem37 | April 24, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

For Katie or Lindsay:

Can you add a "previous post" and "next post" to the bottom of the comment section to make it easier to navigate from the end of the comments?

Thanks. Great work, by the way. And to Tarik, though I don't think he's the Web guy.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Need an update Tarik, something...anything....PLEASE!!!!!

Posted by: CapManJ | April 24, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

We'll be blasting it from 413 tonight, or as I like to call it, Springfield, Mass.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Lady Byng noms: St. Louis, Parise, and Datysuk. I see Backstrom in this gang pretty soon.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

or Datsyuk, if I spell it correctly.

Posted by: saintex | April 24, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Moose33: There have been people screening the goaltender on the PP. I was shocked that it was Backstrom in game 3. He was facing the puck and had his back to Lumberger on every PP. I was shocked because I would have thought we would have a lesser skilled guy stand there like Fehr. I don't see us trying timing plays with a screen moving across as someone winds up for a blast. Laich usually does a good job as the screener but for some reason Flash (until the 3rd period of last game) had been moved up to the #1 PP. Flash does not want to get hit with the puck and moves away to deflect. That's cool, unless the plan is to just blind Lumberger. If that is the case these boys have to be willing to stand there, facing the shooter so they know they are blocking Lumbergers view. Cup check!!!!

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, where are the updates. They was a Rangers blog that stated the Caps were on the ice in Arlington at 10 and he would have more for them after the post practice interviews. Would be nice to see if anyone came out to skate today.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I never quite understood the point of the Lady Byng!

I think Nicky, as quietly dominant as he generally appears to be on ice (to say nothing of his still very wide-eyed, oh, gee, you want to talk to me?! Really?! oh ice demenor), actually plays with a good bit of snarl. Its a shame their isn't a "Best Soph" award, because Backstrom was by far the best second year guy. he plays hockey like a 10 year vet, its stunning. We're so lucky to have him here.

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 24, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Lady Byng candidates are all good choices, class guys. I agree Backstrom will be a candidate a few times.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie: You're not kidding. The NHL seemed to finally notice him after game 3 of this series. This guy has been a dominant force since November. Once his nagging preseason ankle injury healed he was a very consistent player. He is a player I hope the Caps keep for his entire career, or a least a majority of his career. His is to Ovi what Pivonka was to Bondra.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 24, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I just have to say, all this Lundstromberger-ness is really putting me in a great mood. It's about time we bring his image back down the earth rather than revering him like a gd. He does sometimes remind me of the toy hockey goalies that are on tracks that just move back and forth but never leave the blue.

Posted by: mrszilla | April 24, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe Avery was looked over once again for the Lady Byng.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 24, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Rangerfan44, your're embarrassing us more level headed ranger fans. Take this to the bank Caps fans, if they showed a replay at MSG of those last 2 penalties, the fans would have been irate at Avery. I was there....we couldn't see what happened and both plays looked fairly innocent from far away....when I got home and watched the game on replay (we hockey fans are an obsessive bunch, eh?), I wanted to punch Avery myself. Not so much for what he did but for what he did to his team at that point in the game.

We love Avery in NY....not for his antics but for his effect on the rest of the team. the Rangers were sleepwalking through the regular season and he game back to the team and lit a fire because of his intensity. The Game 1 and 2 Avery is the "good" Avery, the games 3 and 4 Avery is the "dumb" Avery.

Do I think the refs let too much go with respect to what other players are doing to Avery? Absolutely. Do I think Ovie gets away with too much? Absolutely...and so did Lemieux, Messier and a lot of other great players. And you know what difference it makes? None! Just play the F ing game.

Its funny because I read the boards for both cities and fans for both teams think the Refs have it out for their team for some pretty funny conspiracy theories. "The NHL likes NY because its the bigger market" ,"The NHL wants to feature Ovie"...I think my personal favorite was "Bettman is from NY so he wants the Rangers to win."

Bottom line is that the Refs may at times be blind and miss some awful calls, and I think the officiating in this series has at times been awful, on both sides, but its not because of an agenda

Posted by: JK111 | April 24, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@ JK111

Totally agree with your assessment of the refs AND Avery. The "missed" and "iffy" calls have been pretty much even on both sides. And when Avery is trying to play hockey, he's actually a decent player. I think Cherry was dead on when he said it's more of a Torts ego thing than it is Avery's value on the ice right now. He wants to control him (nice job he's doing, BTW) and force him to play right. It's like he's trying to reform him or something. Not sure why he thinks he'll be successful though, because it's clearly not working.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 24, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse


It was widely reported up here when Torts was hired that he was hired with the stipulation that he accept Avery on the team.

A couple of things about Avery...
The Rangers are paying him 50% of his contract, with Dallas picking up the other 50%, so he's a steal if he plays his game, which is to play without crossing "the line." In the salary cap era NHL, thats a big deal.

Second thing is that his forechecking ability, speed and strength make him a great candidate to succeed in the Tort's pressure system.

Third, in his first stint with the Rangers, their winning percentage was .674 (50-20-16) when he was in their lineup and when he was out of the lineup with injuries they were 9-13-3. Thats a HUGE disparity

I can only describe our relationship with Avery as similar to the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez. The whole "Manny being MAnny" thing translates well to Avery....we know we have to take his stupid crap but we also know we're going to win. Its embrassing at times but his effect on the rest of the team to show some emotion and grit is palpable. If this series has shown the NHL anything, its that the Rangers have grit.

Posted by: JK111 | April 24, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

oh and re: the Refs...its not just missing calls, its not calling consistent games. For instance, in Game 2, the Caps seemed to always be down a man and in Game 4 it seemed the same for the Rangers. A good ref knows to call an even game especially in the playoffs

Posted by: JK111 | April 24, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Exactly - grit is precisely what the Caps are missing and what they need to go deep in the playoffs. Laich is gritty, Erskine is gritty, but beyond that I don't see much in the way of grittiness.

Posted by: snakegriffin | April 24, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

and one more thing.....4 on 4s favor you guys so much. If you notice, the Rangers play the 4-4s as if they were a penalty kill. They hold the puck behind the net and try to break out of thei zone quickly...4 on 4 means less traffic and more room for your skill players to create.

Nobody talks about it in this series but the Rangers have done an excellent job of countering that advantage. Thats an area that the Caps should be focusing on.

Posted by: JK111 | April 24, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

snakegriffin, your teams in the 80s had some grit, i can tell you that. I remember getting real nervous when we played you in the playoffs

And i'm still mad about the Ridley and Kelly Miller and Bob Crawford for Bobby Carpenter trade...we got fleeced!!!

Posted by: JK111 | April 24, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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