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Morning roundup: 'We're not a one-man team'


(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Morning Roundup

The Capitals are eager to prove that they can not only survive, but win, without their marquee player, Alex Ovechkin, who will be watching from the press box beginning tonight against the New Jersey Devils.

"As much as he gets all the press, I've gotta believe we're not a one-man team and there's still a lot of good players there," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "A lot of teams, [Atlanta's Ilya] Kovalchuk's out, [Eric] Staal's out for Carolina and other teams are just moving on and keep going. We've got to be the same way."

Read the full story here.

Tonight's matchup:

 

Capitals (8-2-4)
Devils (8-4)
Prudential Center, 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 820 AM, 1500 AM

* Patrik Elias is hurt, but thinking about playing tonight against the Caps anyway (Star-Ledger):

Unless it is simply intended to confuse the Washington Capitals, it seems odd that the Devils are not ruling out forward Patrik Elias from making his return Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
Especially after Elias said he was feeling some soreness in his leg after Tuesday's practice.
"My leg didn't feel that great today," said Elias, who had hip and groin surgery this summer and an arthroscopic procedure Sept. 15. "If I felt like I did yesterday, I probably would go. But I couldn't push off at the end like I want.
"No sense in rushing.The guys are doing well. They're playing fine. I'd like to get out there as soon as possible. That's not even an issue. I just don't want to get out there, be out there five minutes and take a week off again."

* More on Elias's to-play-or-not-to-play confusion. (The Record)

* Speaking of injuries, all the Russians are hurt (TSN):

Let's pretend for a moment that you're Vladislav Tretiak, general manager of the Russian Olympic team for the Vancouver Games. You look down at your projected roster, and admire the superstars that will unquestionably be the cornerstones of your team about 100 days from now.
Alex Ovechkin - reigning NHL MVP, 56 goals last year and 14 already this season.
Evgeni Malkin - reigning scoring champion, 113 points a season ago.
Ilya Kovalchuk - 43 goals and 91 points in 2008-2009. The trio combined for 134 goals last year.
You check the top names on your defence corps. Sergei Gonchar and Andrei Markov are both dynamic puck-moving blueliners who can quarterback any power play.
And then you shudder.
The realization dawns on you that all five of those stars has suffered early-season injuries - some significant - and all are currently missing big parts of their NHL campaigns.

* Ovechkin on traveling to Jersey: "I don't want to stay at home and watch game at home." Huh. Must not have Center Ice.

* Yesterday was "Washington Capitals Day." Sorry I didn't get you anything. (Caps)

* Hockey fans rant, ESPN's Pierre Lebrun plays Dr. Phil. Here's one complaint in particular that may be of interest:

Netminder71: I am sick and tired of the Washington Capitals defense (and goaltending) playing to lose. The team has shown that it can score goals, and create opportunities in the offensive zone. Even the Caps power play has shown promise (though flickering at times). The major problem is defense. First, Mike Green is lazy, unmotivated, and was heaped with a huge contract and praise way too soon. He is looking like a big bust now. Rick Nash made him look silly yesterday. Secondly, Jeff Schultz is the worst defender in the NHL. All that size, and he hits no one, he is constantly finding ways to make himself smaller, but never poke-checking attackers, never engaging when he has support, and he only looks big when he is screening his own goalie. Third, Tom Poti is well beyond his years. He is slow, out of position, and lacks the upper body strength to muscle anyone out or win battles along the boards.
Last, guys like Brian Pothier (too small) and Shaone Morissonn (too clumsy) are not helping at all. The team takes stupid penalties at key points in the game, they lose focus when they get the lead. They let all teams back in games, and the Capitals refuse to play for a win ... they'd rather just play to get one point, or just get to the locker room because they probably have better things to do than be winners. I hope Bruce Boudreau can motivate the team because they are playing poorly night after night.
Pierre Lebrun: Netminder71 (Ken Dryden reference?), you make some excellent points on your Caps. Having covered them in last season's near-playoff loss to the New York Rangers, it was interesting to see them metamorphosis (just in time) into a team that took fewer chances and played smarter, playoff-style hockey. But they had to go down 3-1 in the first-round series before they figured it out. Now, some those of bad habits are back this season, although the team is sure are fun to watch. All of which brings me back to a discussion I had last week with the game's greatest coach, Scotty Bowman. Tell me this doesn't send shivers down your spine when you hear Bowman say this about a team he once coached:
"The team was good offensively, they could score goals, but they played by the seat of their pants," Bowman told me. "And the goaltending was never up to snuff."
Hello? The team in question was the Detroit Red Wings from the early-to-mid 1990s, a team Bowman believed needed a dramatic correction after his arrival. They needed to play two-way hockey. So, he had a famous meeting with franchise player Steve Yzerman.
"I called Steve in and I said, 'You have a lot of good individual stats, but if you don't play a lot more defense, then the rest of the guys will probably keep playing the way they are.'"
I explain more of this historical conversation between the coach and the star captain in Yzerman's Hall of Fame feature story, which will be posted on ESPN.com on Wednesday. But I pass along this anecdote because I wonder if this isn't the kind of intervention Caps coach Bruce Boudreau needs to have with superstar Alex Ovechkin. Besides, now is a good time, No. 8 is injured!
If Ovechkin sacrificed some offense in order to play safe hockey, believe me, the whole team would follow along. It wouldn't be as much fun to watch, but the Caps would be a more serious contender come playoff time. Until the Red Wings played two-way hockey, they never became a championship team. Today, that culture still exists in Detroit with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. It's a mindset you have to buy into. The Caps haven't yet.

* Lebrun on Ovechkin's IMG deal: "It's about time, Alex." (ESPN)

* Interesting read from Justin Bourne, a former minor-leaguer and the son of Bob Bourne, on gay slurs in hockey (USA Today via Puck Daddy):

In my days as a hockey player, I did nothing but contribute to hockey's culture of homophobia and prejudice against gays. I used gay slurs more times than I'd like to admit. Six months after I left my last professional locker room, I felt a twinge of regret, followed by a full-out, stomach punch of regret. And by the time I finished the first draft of this column, I was disgusted with myself.
At the time, it seemed harmless. After all - when you think about the NHL, AHL, ECHL and more, can you call to memory a single open homosexual among them? There was nobody in my team's dressing room to offend, right?
The lack of a homosexual presence in hockey must mean one of two things: either homosexual men don't play the game or they don't feel comfortable admitting it -- in which case I, and my brethren, were offending some teammates with our close-mindedness, and furthering what must have been unsettled feelings of fear and general exclusion.

* In The Hockey News, Rory Boylen writes that more rules in the NHL won't prevent injuries:

You can't throw players under the bus for clean bodychecks - ones you learn how to throw from a young age - just because they lead to injuries. When a player cutting across the middle with his head down gets his block knocked off by a lowered shoulder, it's an unfortunate, but not necessarily an illegal or inexcusable hit. Penalize them all you want for charging or interference or whatever other infraction may apply in a given situation - and, please, suspend the egregious checks - but you can't chastise somebody for playing the game the way it was intended.
By suspending players for hits like the ones we've seen recently from Dion Phaneuf and Mike Richards, you're blurring the lines more than you're defining them. Employing a head shot rule to apply for all hits without any room for discretion puts the blatantly illegal and textbook checks in the same boat. And that doesn't teach anyone anything.
Isn't it just as bad if a star sits for laying a textbook bodycheck as it is if a star misses time because he was injured? What exactly is being accomplished there?

* Teams are scoring more this season -- just check out the numbers. (Hockey Or Die!)

* The U.S. Olympic team will be revealed on Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic. (NHL)

* The Calgary Flames reportedly jumped the line for swine flu shots. Not cool, man. (Sun Media via Kuklas Korner)

* Ted Leonsis has this curious new post (not helped by the fact that it's titled "Confusing Messages") that deals with owner meddling -- or lack thereof. Excerpt:

Yet even with all of this on the job training and exposure to the team and league, I AGREE that I am not a hockey person and would never assume that I would know what to do to build a team as to specifics; salary cap management; execution; systems; lines to play; players to draft and the like. So I agree with you all. Thank you. And thank goodness.

[CoughDanSnyderCough]

Morning skate updates to come.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 4, 2009; 5:39 AM ET
 
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Next: Poll: Does targeting stars go too far?

Comments

Ovi's injury presents a great opportunity for the team to coalesce around responsible and consistent winning hockey. I'm looking forward to some great games. Go Caps!

Posted by: Sonyask | November 4, 2009 6:03 AM | Report abuse

Wow. And I thought it was just me who sees Green and Schultz in that light on D.

Listen to any hockey talking head from sportscasters to players to ex coaches and they ALL have the same concerns about the Caps and their D. They all think it will continue to keep the Caps from going deep in the playoffs until they get one or two more min. munching, stay at home, hard working D men.

Wonder when Mgmt is gonna figure it out.

Posted by: jotay131 | November 4, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

@ iRocktheRed (from previous thread)

Good luck with your ailing friend. He/she is in my prayers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 4, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

On Ovi wanting to go to the game:

Maybe Ovi ought to wear glasses and a wig (when sitting in the pressbox) so he'll be less likely to be recognized.

Guess Nyls will now have (more) company in the pressbox.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 4, 2009 6:34 AM | Report abuse

I currently feel like the mom who's kid was just attacked by the neighborhood bully.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 4, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Its easy for anyone, expert or fan, to point out the Caps deficiencies on the blueline. In fact, I am sure give any hockey expert almost any team and they can find a list of deficiencies that could/would hold that team back from the Stanley Cup. Too bad mot of these experts never offer their solution or ideas to solve the problem. The point is, I doubt that the Caps management remains elusive of this notion that the defense is the Cap's weaker link.

Caps went the homegrown path for the most part when it came to building up their O, perhaps with Carlson and Alzner soon in the picture (full time) they plan on doing the same on the D.

Perhaps next season (or even later this season), when and if both are up here full time, and when Schultz and Green and whoever else remains on our blue line begin to mature and hit their primes, perhaps experts will be speaking a different tune about the Caps D corpse? Perhaps this is all part of the plan?

That being said, I would not be surprised if come trade deadline our D corpse is slightly altered and improved via call-ups or trades. I have a feeling that this year, and the next couple of seasons as our young guns really mature and hit their primes, are the years that Caps really try and make that push for the cup.

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 4, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Just to add on a little:

Although I stated that most hockey experts do not offer good/sound solutions (they only point out problem), I do agree with Lebrun's solution....its something I and many other hear have been saying for a while...

The whole team needs to focus more on their D game. The Caps can outscore any opponent almost any day of the week, but once they commit to good back checking, both offensemen and defensemen, then I think that will go a long way for improving the overall D of this team.

Go Caps!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 4, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

jotay131: You missed the boat completely on that one. Netminder71 was a poster like you and me, not an expert of any kind. Lebrun's response didn't tear into any players abilities, he noted that the Capitals morphed into a team that could and had to play better team defense after falling behind 3-1 to the Rangers last season. He didn't even imply we need a different cast of characters. He is suggesting that BB try to get OV to buy in to tighter defense rather than run and gun like Bowman was able to do with Yzerman.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

The defensive problems are certainly concerns of the defensemen, but I think the bigger issue is that the forward seem to refuse to play D. They don't back check. They get hung up near their blueline and rarely (if ever) venture deep into their defensive zone to help out. OV is a main culprit. It's a shame to see, as well, from guys like Backstrom and Semin, who have the defensive chops but don't really show them. (Semin lifts sticks better than most.) Until there's a renewed emphasis on defense from the forwards first, then I think the Caps will continue to have problems giving up goals, particularly late in games when opposing teams are pressing.

Posted by: CDon | November 4, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Where's Chicken Little?

Posted by: IceNutz | November 4, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

@CDon -- You hit the nail on the head. Our forwards backchecked successfully against Boston and San Jose and the resulting 4-1 wins reflected that. We gave up only one goal because we played a team D game. We have that ability and we have 7/8ths of a season to get it right before the post-season.

The rant to LeBrun was nothing different than what we see here from a few posters. Most here, though, no longer see Schultz as a liability, and most I think recognize Green as an incredibly skilled player who needs to do a better job keeping his eye on the puck and working harder on applying his defensive skills. Green is all of 24 and nothing in the missing parts of his game is irredeemable.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 4, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@The_Stanley_Caps hit the same nail as well.

Posted by: Sonyask | November 4, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

OH NO I'm here I've just been hiding under my bed since Ovie got hurt!!! OH NO is it safe to come out yet?? OH NO the team will lose every game with no Ovie!!! OH NO Ovie may miss a few games including two against always tough Florida!! OH NO the Penguins lost Crosby for many games last year and look what happened to them!! OH NO Ovie will get too much rest...OH NO our defense still sucks. OH NO the leaves are falling and we are still mired in second place, four points behind Pens with a game in hand...OH NO we need Brashear back so nobody will hit Ovie!!

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | November 4, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

yes, the D is the problem, wake up McPhee. You can teach forwards to backbheck, but at this level you either have it in you to be a defenseman or you don't. The Caps' D is frequently caught out of position, can't clear the crease, and has an extremely hard time getting posession of the puck in their own zone and breaking out. These are fundamentals people, NHL caliber D should not be making mistakes in these areas night after night. Let's not forget about the undisciplined lazy penalites (which occur as a result of being out of position) Until we get some natural stay at home D we are going to be a 1-2 round exit in the playoffs. As in any sport, defense is what wins you championships, not pretty goals (just ask the Ravens or Devils). As ugly as it was to watch, I'd take the NJ Devils' cups of the 90s in a heartbeat, even if meant watching that horrific trap they played.

Posted by: kennybanya | November 4, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@Chicken Little

Brilliant!

Posted by: IceNutz | November 4, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Here's another link to add to the list: Hey NHL! Where is the justice for Ovechkin? from Ed Frankovic. Good article, and it says what I've been thinking for the last couple of days.

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

irock, thats a good article, but if the league doesnt suspend or fine richards for a head shot, they certainly arent going to do anything to hitchcock unless he puts a bounty on ovie.

"I'm personally putting a bounty on the head of chief punk tim mccracken."

personally, i have no issue with what hitchcock said or the strategy...i'm sure everyteam has the same idea. its the fact that this all happened long after the whistle thats the issue. i think it was chimera who bumped ovie initially, yet he didnt' get any misconduct penalty. i think it was boll who got the misconduct for not letting go of ovie after the whistle. refs need to be able to assign misconducts for stuff that goes on between the whistles. you could have 20 guys on the ice at once during line changes so they need to be extra vigilant during those periods.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"...
- Trade this player
- Fire that executive
- Move to this kind of system
- Play these lines
- Draft this kid
- Change this and do that
So if I am not an expert - which I agree which is why I don’t tell our coach and GM what to do - what makes you such an expert? ..." - TED

Well, I read Tarik, i blog, I read my fellow bloggers, I watch the games on TV and occasionally I attend games at the VC, but most importantly I am delusional.

Posted by: hock1 | November 4, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

It's this specific quote:

"Run, chase, hunt down, hit, whatever word you want to use that would be correct," Hitchcock said.

that I have a problem with. "Hunt down?" Really? "Run?" Yeah, I'll agree that hitting a guy every time he's on the puck to move him off of it is "just hockey," but hunting a guy down goes beyond the pale, and, as Frankovic says, borders on assault.

Especially if the rumors of a butt-ending from the bench are true.

There's a point where what happened IS against the rules. A line was crossed on this one. Period.

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

... I would not be surprised if come trade deadline our D corpse is slightly altered ..
Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | November 4, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse
----

With embalming fluid, perhaps?

Posted by: Dalliquippa | November 4, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@Dalliquippa - Thank you.

Corps = what we have of defensemen.
Corpse = a dead body.

Please make the distinction, folks.

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Everything's going to be fine ... take a few deep breaths, etc. etc. ;o)

This team is still pretty talented, even without Ovie, and there's no reason they can't win their share of games during his absence. They aren't a Cup contender without him, but they certainly are a team capable of accumulating points in the standings and staying in the playoff hunt.

Heck, as of this morning, the Caps are 2nd overall in points in the east ... chill pills all around. He'll be back soon enough.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Ovie has DirecTV ??

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Hi All...it was nice to see ESPN giving us Caps fans some press and addressing our questions...

I love the Caps, nothing will ever change that. But know that my 'rant' to Pierre LeBrun came after the horrendous end to that Columbus game.

I am all over Schultz at every game, and he deserves it. Green, I think can turn things around (he has natural talents that Schultz does not).

I just want what BB wants...killer instinct. Good teams finish the kill.

Posted by: netminder71 | November 4, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I also want to see Alzner full-time on the blueline by XMas...maybe Collins too.

If we can only ship Nyls to the North Pole Rec. League....maybe the elves need a 2nd line center.

Posted by: netminder71 | November 4, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I am amused.

I just went over to Joe B's blog to try and get him to comment on the quote I posted above, and I got an error message.

"This post contains offensive content."

That alone speaks volumes to me.

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@ Jeff....

Everything's going to be fine ... take a few deep breaths, etc. etc. ;o)

This team is still pretty talented, even without Ovie, and there's no reason they can't win their share of games during his absence. They aren't a Cup contender without him, but they certainly are a team capable of accumulating points in the standings and staying in the playoff hunt.

Heck, as of this morning, the Caps are 2nd overall in points in the east ... chill pills all around. He'll be back soon enough.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98


Does that screen name say "PensFan98"...? I never thought I would see honest, level-headed, and hate-free advice from a Pens fan...

Thanks, I guess...

Posted by: netminder71 | November 4, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

has it come to this, a pens fan being the voice of reason here??!!

jeff, can you tell me why some of your pen fan brethern have taken the opportunity to come here and revel in ovie's injury and point out basically that he had it coming? i just dont understand it. you guys won the cup and beat us in the playoffs, why the need to come here and express joy at ovie's boo boo? did caps fans go on pens boards when crosby got hurt last year or malkin this year? i cant help but think pens fans have ovie-envy or are insecure because, while you have 2 of the 3 best players in the world, you might not have the best player...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Irockthered, I think you are making more out of that quote than what is in it. Imagine yourself as a coach having to answer the same question over and over and over again, your frustration will get the better of you, I would think, and thus the answer he gave. Hitchcock has complimented OV in more ways than one and he has stated that it was unfortunate that OV got hurt. BTW OV did not blame Chimera for the shoving to the bench, he thought it was a moment of the game.

I am still not sure how he got hurt, the TV duo kept on replaying a collision on mid ice while the talk now is that it was during the bench fracas.

Lets hope OV gets back soon.
------------

SMART COACHING AND SMART PLAY:
"One guy challenged me, the Morrisonn guy," Chimera said." I don’t know his first name. he’s a defenseman. It was going into overtime. I wasn’t going to fight then . . . I’m not the guy to turn down a fight, but we’re headed into overtime at that point. I play in overtime. I wanted to make something happen in overtime."


Posted by: hock1 | November 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Going to Philly for the Caps game Dec 5. Is it easy to scalp tix outside or should I get tix beforehand? Not sure if they typically sell out...?

Posted by: jakopz | November 4, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@jakopz: Here's a reliable place to get tickets https://www.ticketmrktplace.com/ex/loginFrame.action?team=Philadelphia%20Flyers

If you have never been to a Flyers game as an opposing fan, get ready. I have NEVER had a good experience at Wachovia and I am a quiet fan. Win or lose, you are a target. It's best to see if you can find other Caps fans going because there is safety in numbers.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure about the rest of you but I am eager to see how the Caps play without Ovi. Don't get me wrong Ovi is worth the price of admission, and I am thankful he is a Cap, but I believe we have a team that can win without him. Once they are convinced they can this team will be even more dangerous when he returns. Especially if they focus on defense as a way to makeup for the loss of goal productino Ovi brings. Let's go Caps.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed Justin Bourne's column. I hope others in hockey, as well as in other sports, at all levels, will follow his example in examining the impropriety and downright cruelty of creating unsafe environments for gays.

Posted by: nicko | November 4, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1:

Thanks mate. That's good to know; I didn't realize it was that bad. I guess I should scrap the idea of wearing my jersey then.
Any caps fan going to the Flyer's game on Dec 5?

Posted by: jakopz | November 4, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan ...

I don't think that kind of conduct is unique to Pens fans. In all sports, on all kinds of message boards, you have about 90% of people who are reasonable, thoughtful, etc., and you have about 10% who are idiots, jackasses, etc. It's not unique to hockey or to fans from Pittsburgh, IMO.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@jakopz: My son coaches Mites in MD and they are doing Mites on ice for the Caps game on 25 November at Verizon, and the in Philly on 5 December. I can see if I can get a few more tickets for purchase through the Mites. That will get in seats by other Caps fans. Unfortunately some of the Mite's parents are Flyers fans, but the majority will be Caps fans. I can't go because my other son has a travel hockey game that conflicts. Let me know if you're interested.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@jakopz

there are scalpers outside philly games, but don't wear your jersey when you try to buy them. I'll be at that game as well and have been up there to the games each of the past 2 seasons. The fans there are hilarious, but then again I am one to egg them on. Be ready to get beer poured on you and empty cups thrown at you in the bathrooms

Posted by: _stevo | November 4, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

p.s. to dcsportsfan ... I don't think there's much "Ovie envy", at least not with real fans. At least for me, I don't care who the best individual player is. It really doesn't matter to me in the least. I DO care about how my team is playing, and whether they win championships. Bottom line .... individual accolades and awards are relatively meaningless to me as a fan .... team titles and trophies are everything.

And I feel this way for football too. I don't care if anyone on the Steelers makes the pro bowl or gets MVP, etc. That's all fluff to me too. The Lombardi trophy is the goal, and the Lombardi trophy is a team, not individual, award.

Anyway, I love watching Ovie on TV. No envy here. It's pure entertainment watching that guy shoot.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Thakns Steveo.

fanohock1. Thanks. I'm interested in two tix.

Posted by: jakopz | November 4, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

GMGM's comments about the success of Detroit winning recently without an enforcer went out the window when,after they were pushed around by the Blues in those back-to-back games in Sweden,signed tough-guy Brad May before their next game! Wake up GMGM...go get Chris Neil,he's available after an in-house fight with Speeza.BTW,I've watched the replay on the scrum.and it looked to me that someone on the bench butt-ended OV in the shoulder under the pad,causing the problem. If so,the league needs to investigate...

Posted by: roccky | November 4, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

there is a lot of whining here about Hitchcock's comments on Caps - Bluejackets game. this is still the NHL so fair game. what are the Caps going to do about it?? hopefully not make excuses. Man up!! can we use the red sox slogan....cowboy up

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

if we are not a one-man team, prove it on the ice. i am done with excuses.

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Semin's agent said he doesn't believe in discounts. What does this mean to the Caps?

http://tinyurl.com/yfykvmq

Posted by: letsroll93 | November 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

thanks jeff, i agree about the 90% thing. but i dont see flyers fans or rangers fans in here saying the same thing...just odd. so as a pens fan, you a little worried about the fast start for your boys? odd question, but in the nhl seems like the teams that start fast dont finish fast...which is why i'm not concerned about the caps...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

jakopz: I'll get with the Team Manager today to see how much the tickets are and we can figure out logistics from there. You usually have insight when it comes to our swedish players any word on whether or not Nyls convinced anyone he's capable of playing at the KHL level?

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

You know the thing that surprises me about the situation of OV injury is McPhee.

Last I checked, he was still the general "manager". If anyone old enough on this blog knows, McPhee was a very scrappy player. He would go after anyone and threw his fists at fast as we could hoping to land a few good ones in his barrage. Heck, does anyone remember in his early years as the Caps GM he stormed into the Rangers locker room looking to fight after a game.

Wonder how he feels about nobody going after Nash?

Posted by: puckman | November 4, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Fanhock1. Email me at jakopz@gmail.com pls.
No news on Nyls. Most hockey news in Sweden has taken a backseat to Forsberg's return to the national team and NHL.

Posted by: jakopz | November 4, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan ...

No, I'm not "worried" about the fast start, but I'm very realistic about putting it in perspective. The truth is, fast starts are almost meaningless. How a team plays in October and November is meaningless too. What DOES matter is how well are they playing together in April ... what is the injury situation ... has playing together for the whole season brought the team together as a group, etc. etc.

October/November fast starts are nice, but are hardly predictive of who'll raise the cup. Give me a healthy team hitting on all 8 cylinders in April (even if they come in seeded 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th) every time.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I heart PensFan98 and CapsFan75. They, along with a few others, when they post, it's clear they're fans and aren't too bogged down with stats that they forget that you watch hockey for entertainment, not for the purpose of rewatching it and then critiquing the sh*t out of it and then slapping other fans silly because they were too busy enjoying the game that they failed to have a flatscreen big enough to capture the extra 4 inches of ice where the d-man was just standing around when the goal was made. I read their posts and I'm reminded that the hockey arenas aren't entirely filled with crazies. =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | November 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Did everyone read the piece by Pierre Lebrune a few posts back? I thought he made some fascinating points.

1. the parallel between the current Caps and Detroit. I didn't know that Detroit was good offensively but struggled defensively in the 90's. Apparently a new coach, Bowman, was determined to change this. He considered it a radical change.

2. It was also interesting that the coach assessed the problem as players--all of them-- not playing "two-way hockey," not just weak goaltending or defense. This may be a more suitable way to describe the Caps' problem but I am not sure.

3. What I found especially interesting is that the coach, Bowman, and Lebrune are not talking about adding this or that player on defense but adopting a different mindset--that of a two-way player. He is talking about culture and mindset change. And Lebrune does not think the Caps have "bought" into that mindset yet, probably because it is not as exciting.

"Until the Red Wings played two-way hockey, they never became a championship team. ...It's a mindset you have to buy into. The Caps haven't yet.

4. Apparently Bowman made that culture change by asking his star player,Yzerman, to make a change--not the defense. Lebrune wonders "if this isn't the kind of intervention Caps coach Bruce Boudreau needs to have with superstar Alex Ovechkin." Very interesting.

Posted by: caraveli | November 4, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

did caps fans go on pens boards when crosby got hurt last year or malkin this year?
Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 10:19 AM |

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Sadly, yes. No team can claim perfect fans.

Posted by: Dalliquippa | November 4, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the overwhelming focus on OV - of course he's a great player but every coach / player / fan knows that he's not the only player on the team capable of playing great hockey. Can you please not write every column as if we're dead in the water if OV isn't playing. We're sick of seeing OV's name in EVERY sentence. As any teacher knows - expectations are everything - if you convey (as well as aid and abet) the notion that the team can't possibly succeed without one particular player, then everyone starts parroting the same opinion and sure enough we'll be a losing team. It affects the fan response - which is not helpful. Why not concentrate an entire article on another outstanding player - we have so many - and refrain from always referring back to THE GREAT ONE.

Posted by: nbrown1 | November 5, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

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