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Morning roundup: Caps go for nine in a row

Morning roundup

Tonight the Caps host the Florida Panthers and look for their ninth straight win. From the game preview:

Washington is averaging more than five goals per game during the streak and has received goals from 15 players, including seven from Alex Ovechkin and six from third-liners Eric Fehr, Brendan Morrison and Jason Chimera. | Full preview »

The matchup:


Florida Panthers (23-21-9)
Washington Capitals (35-12-6)
Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet (HD)
Radio: 1500 AM
*Post reporter Gene Wang will be chatting from Verizon Center when the puck drops. Hope to see you there.

*Panthers play-by-play man Randy Moller's goal calls entertain the masses. Like this one: "Seidenberg comes in, shot, shoots, and he scooooores! Assist from David Booth, and I think he tipped it right in front, and I just ate his liver." (Listen here.)

Some more morning linkage:

*The Caps' current run began on Jan. 15 -- against the Panthers. (Caps)

*For fans near Fairfax, here's some info on a viewing party for tonight's game (Rock the Red)

*Jose Theodore likely to back up Michal Neuvirth in net tonight.

*Despite their status as the NHL's hottest team, Caps are trying to keep it in perspective. (DC Examiner)

*Panthers hope their two-game streak holds up in D.C. (Miami Herald)

*Ted on the road blocks en route to acquiring the Wiz and Verizon Center. (Ted's Take)

*Who doesn't like Caps goals and free wings? (Rhetorical.) (D.C. Sports Bog)

*Fox 5's hard-hitting piece on the Capstronaut. (Bog)

*Caps aren't the only streaking team. Sens beat Pens for eighth straight last night. (AP)

*The last time the Caps won eight straight... Both Michael Wilbon and Mark Maske wrote Caps stories during the streak. (Bog)

*Caps have crease concerns, says Adam Proteau of The Hockey News. Actually, he says: "As with every NHL team - and every team, period - the Washington Capitals have their issues. But unlike every team, the Caps' areas of concern are areas other teams would sacrifice their collective nether areas to be burdened by." Alrighty, then.

More to come from the morning skate at 10 a.m.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  January 29, 2010; 9:14 AM ET
 | Tags: Florida Panthers, Morning roundup  
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Next: Brooks Laich: 'We can't let down'


I am back from Tampa and am ready to watch tonight's tilt. I felt like only a half a fan this week, only listening to two games on Internet radio.

Go Caps!!!!!

Posted by: crooks_c | January 29, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The article this morning was nice, but Moller is a putz. He once said "We're going to need a bigger boat!!!" after a goal. FAIL.

Luckily, no one pays attention to the Panthers.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 29, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

yeah...that was a good story on Moller...i'm sure he's great and all, but how many retirees stay up late enough to hear him on the radio???

Posted by: carsonspence | January 29, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse


You brought up a comparison of Fehr and Getzlaf yesterday I think... If you compare them side by side, all things equal, ATOI and games played... This is what you have...

Getzlaf 12G | 34A | -2
Fehr 29G | 29A | +37

I'll even add Corey Perry, who was also drafted in the first round of that draft.

Perry 17G | 28A | -3

E.Fehr is having a great, great year.

Posted by: JSchon | January 29, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'll go on record and say that statistically speaking only, E.Fehr is having as good a year as anyone drafted in the 1st round of 2003.

Posted by: JSchon | January 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

If you can't make it to the game, or live outside the beltway, the guys are hosting a viewing party at Prime Time Sports Grill in Fairfax. It should be a good time, with beer and food specials!


Posted by: RockTheRednet | January 29, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@RockTheRed cool, I'll add that to the roundup.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | January 29, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Atlanta is actually second in the division, not Florida.

Posted by: Padow1 | January 29, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@Padow good call.

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | January 29, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

from 1989, after the Caps clinched the Patrick Div. for the first time...

"It means a great deal," said defenseman Scott Stevens, who achieved a personal goal by reaching a plus-one rating last night, after languishing at minus-22 in late December. "We've been in the playoffs seven years, but we've never been in first place. Now we can look forward."

MINUS -22 after the first two months of the season, what would the bloggers have said???

Posted by: joek443 | January 29, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

-22 is worse than Scott Niedermeyer. Well, I guess it was good the Caps got rid of him.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 29, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Hey Lindsay,

Nice recap of last night's ESPN Zone Meet-n-greet with Tomas Fleischmann:

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | January 29, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@S Caps
WHAT? Ok, here are the scores between last year's HIGH SCORING teams...

3-1 Det
3-1 Det
4-2 Pen
4-2 Pen
5-0 Det (this is the exception)
2-1 Pen
2-1 Pen

I would be willing to bet at least 2 of those 2-goal games there was an empty netter...

Even so, 6 games when the winning team scored 4 or less and 4 when they scored 3 or less...

Goals are not in bunches in the playoffs...NEED BETTER DEFENSE and a good (not great) goalie...
-------------------------------------------Even though Det & Pit were high scoring las year (1st & 6th respectively) they are not built as offensive teams in the mold of the Caps & Hawks. Detroit's foundation was laid a decade ago when D first was the rule. They have managed to sign and develop some very talented forwards but it is telling that their most skilled forward is the Selke award winner. They also felt last year that they had to add Hossa for more O because in '07/'08 even though they were 3rd in goals they were only 8th at 5-on-5. The Pens are a defensive team with Crosby and Malkin. They were 7th in '07/'08 but 5-on-5 they were 14th (hardly an offensive beast). Last season the improved to 6th and 4th scoring a total of 258 goals, but if you take out the 68 that Crosby/Malkin scored the G/G drops to 2.32 tied for last. This year the Pens are 5th in G/G for 55 games (3/04) but take out just Crosby and they are 29th (2.44).
The point here is not to spew stats but to point out that last years low scoring finals were played by two basically D-first teams so you can't extrapolate that the same will happen this year if the Caps face the Hawks or Sharks (or Cannucks for that matter). It is simply not possible for the Caps to simply button down the hatches and deliberately play for 2-1 wins through the playoffs. For that to happen they would have to acquire not 1 but 4 d-men at the deadline.

BTW did you stay up for the Hawks/Sharks game last night? It was much like watching the Caps, up and down the ice (76 total shots) the defenses were definitely not the biggest thought in the coaches' minds. If not for the goalies it could have been 7 - 7. If the Caps make the finals it is likely that kind of game (ok maybe a little tighter) that they will have to play.

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 29, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I guess, if Stevens made it a personal goal to improve on his -22, he was probably not satisfied with his level of play. I would imagine that the fans at the time would have agreed that he needed to step it up. It doesn't sound like Scott thought the -22 was irrelevant.

Posted by: zmega | January 29, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Niedermayers +/- has little bearing on my opinion on him. I think there a better options that fit this team better than his skill set and of course the cost that it would take to bring over here.

Posted by: JSchon | January 29, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I think the cost of acquiring him is the only issue. Having a defender with his skating ability and stick skills would fit perfectly into the Caps needs.

One of their biggest issues facing the Pens last year was their inability to clear the zone and the many turnovers committed while attempting the dump the puck out.

It looks as though this has improved this year but improving it more with a high quality veteran defenseman like Niedermeyer is the best fit that is available.

However, I do agree that there is a limit for how much the Caps should give up to acquire him. My limit would be a 1st round pick and a prospect or two not named Carlson, Alzner, Neuvy or Holtby. This may not be enough to get him but I don't think the Caps should give up any more than that.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 29, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

What a mistake to get rid of Stevens. Wasn't it Polin in full blue-nose mode dumping all 3 or 4 of those guys who got caught with an underage girl in a cab? Dino and Courtnall went too. Was there a fourth?

Caps used to have a habit of dumping defensemen before their time.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | January 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Re: lower scoring during the playoffs.

I think a major reason scores is lower in the playoffs is not necessarily because teams have shut-down defensemen but because forwards are instructed to help out more in the defensive zone thus reducing scoring opportunities for the opposition as well as making it harder to generate scoring opportunities at the other end.

I feel like the Caps playoff success will depend more on how responsible their forwards play. That and goaltending naturally.

If you talk about picking up a D-man for the playoffs, you have to talk about taking away one off the current roster and who would that be?

Obviously not Green.

Shultz? No way. The guy has been very steady, dependable and responsible. Not speedy or a heavy hitter but very solid.

ShaMo? I don't think so since he actually hits people, is strong on the boards and takes few risks.

Pothier? Maybe not since he is a good skater and puck mover though not very strong on the boards. Can play the point on the PP.

Poti? Perhaps since he has not been creating as much offense as they would like but he works hard on the PK and moves the puck pretty well. Can play on the PP.

Erskine? He seems to be the stay-at-home type people are begging for. He's strong on the boards and in front of the net but is not a great puck mover or skater.

Alzner? Not really a consideration for moving since he would just go down to Hershey. Has all the tools but occasionally seems a little lost. Will be around for the long haul but I'm not sure Boudreau has that much confidence in him for the playoffs, yet.

I think it would have to be Poti or Pothier but not both. Could be hard to move Poti with his contract. Pothier is a UFA next year, making him more attractive to teams wanting a puck moving UFA D-man.

But then what D-man would the Caps get? There's the rub.

My thoughts anyway.

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

ShaMo is the name that is most widely circulating amongst trade rumors.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 29, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@ bartolo1

Neil Sheehy

Posted by: bigBinMd | January 29, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@Munch I don't think we would need to trade anyone as the roster limit is waived after the trade deadline. Rosters are still limited by the salary cap however, so it's a question of how many guys can you afford.

Posted by: ds_kelly | January 29, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

In looking at the stats, I believe that Ovi is now the frontrunner for the Hart. He leads in +/-, second in goals, second in points. Marleau barely leads him in goals but badly trails him in points. Sedin leads him in points but he doesn't have many goals. His team is also doing very well, which traditionally helps.

Here's where it gets tricky. In points/goals per game, Ovi is WAY ahead of both. Does that matter at all. In baseball, batting avg, is more important than number of hits. So does points/goals per game count for anything among the Hart voters or do they only look at totals?

And then the wild card. Will people vote for someone else because he's already won it twice in a row?

From where I see it now, I think his biggest challenger is going to be yuck.....Crosby.

If Ovi hadn't missed those 8 games we wouldn't even be having this conversation. He'd be the consensus pick.

Posted by: rjma1 | January 29, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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