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Posted at 7:58 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Capitals get another crack at Tampa Bay in short time

By Gene Wang
Morning Roundup

The Washington Capitals invested plenty both emotionally and physically in last night's game against Tampa Bay, and although they lost in overtime, 1-0, a handful of players took some solace knowing the team played well defensively and gets another crack at the Lightning soon.

After coming out a bit flat in the early going in their first game since the Winter Classic, the Capitals finally began picking up the pace in the second period and really began pouring it on in the third against Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson, acquired Saturday night from the New York Islanders.

But Roloson, 41, was just too good in his first game since joining his new team, stopping one shot off the side of his arm that appeared headed for the goal late in the game. Roloson made 34 saves in all, and Tampa Bay broke a tie with Washington for the Southeast Division lead.

Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov matched Roloson virtually save for save, finishing with 37 stops, but he left a rebound off Vinny Lecavalier's overtime shot that Martin St. Louis buried at 2 minutes 54 seconds to end a game that featured ample hitting, one fight and no shortage of bad blood.

"Definitely," forward Matt Hendricks said when asked if playing Tampa Bay again on Wednesday helps the team get over this loss a bit more quickly. "You want to play the best, and they're playing really well right now, so we look forward to that adventure."

Hendricks was part of a second-period fracas with the Lightning's Steve Downie that drew fighting majors for both players. Hendricks had Downie pinned to the boards in the Tampa Bay offensive zone and wouldn't let go, and the two eventually began taking swings at one another. As they were exchanging blows, Downie pulled Hendricks's jersey over his head, and officials soon stepped in.

The two continued an animated verbal confrontation from the penalty box, with Downie yelling, "Real tough." Hendricks, meantime, appeared to tell Downie he'd be ready when the teams play again next week.

The Capitals' final three games against the Lightning are on the road after the teams played the first three games at Verizon Center. Washington had been stout on offense and defense in the first two meetings, winning both by a combined 12-3.

"They're a great team. They're near us in the standings," defenseman John Carlson said before correcting himself. "They're ahead of us in the standings now, I think, but we're going to have go into their building and do the job there."


FROM THE POST
Game story: Lightning 1, Capitals 0 (OT)

There's no way you missed this, but just in case: Alex Ovechkin's SportsCenter ad.

Dan Steinberg does some investigating on the origins of the Capitals' victory song.

AROUND THE WEB
In the battle of the goalies, Roloson comes out on top. (St. Petersburg Times)

Yet another look at the offensive woes of Alex Ovechkin. (Puck Daddy)

The Penguins and Blackhawks dominate the NHL All-Star voting.

By Gene Wang  | January 5, 2011; 7:58 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Hendricks, Morning Roundup, Tampa Bay Lightning  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitals fall, 1-0, in overtime to Lightning
Next: Matt Hendricks on Winter Classic, HBO's '24/7'

Comments

I thougth Ovie looked a little better and Backie was at least noticeable in that game, but the power play just looks pathetic.

I watched a Detroit PP last week, and the difference I noticed was that they were CONSTANTLY moving...not just the guy with the puck, but every player. We are so stagnant on the PP...we have learned to be agressive on the PK, and not that needs to carry over to the PP.

Semin looks pretty bad lately...I mean we talk about Ovie changing his game, and I have noticed more of an effort lately, but Semin is same old same old. I didn't even notice Laich was playing until the end of the 2nd! MoJo looked a litte more inspired after getting bumped to the 2nd line, but Semin seems less than coachable lately.

When I was at practice on Monday, I could not help but notice that Semin seemed slow and uninterested. Maybe it was just that day, or I misintepreted, but everyone else was working there tails off...esp. Laich, Chimera, Hendricks, and Beagle

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Previous thread

@PhilR

I also blame Poti for that goal, and he did not have a very good game...he couldn't keep the puck in play to save his life, but it was his first game back in how long? Is it surprising he was rusty?

To infer that he is barely better than Sloan is ludicrous! If he gets back to where he was before injury, he is just as good as Erskine (less physical, more in position). It was a frustrating loss, and neither team played well (besides the goalies)

He may or may not get back to his old self, but if you didn't already hate the guy (and calling a player on your own team Mrs. is kinda rude) you would have given him a little lattitude for a first game back.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Well, Ovechkin must have left his game all on the ice during the morning skate...oh, wait...

BTW, if they don't trade semin soon, we will be looking at a first round road series...and a waste of 6 million dollars this year...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 5, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@soaringcaps

man that argument is getting old...Ovie was working his butt iff in practice on monday. and of course a game in which NO ONE scored was ovie's fault...the other players have no responsibility.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Did any one see in the second period yesterday when he had a delayed penalty, Boudreau sent MJ90 out. We took a point shot and Marcus went up and stood next to Roloson. Dominic Moore came up and pushes him. Then Victor Hedman comes over and stands between them and shoves Moore away. I think we may have a new favourite player on our hands.......

Posted by: jacobware222 | January 5, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

previous thread

@doggydodo

as a HS coach, you should know the dangers of taking an extremely talented KID and rushing his development to play with men! He is small, young, and has no experience playing in the pro-leagues...lets give him some time in Hershey before we rush him in to the NHL.

I think we did a diservice to MoJo by not giving him time in Hershey.

As for Ovie...he looked decent last night. Crosby is playing 100X better than ovie THIS SEASON, but the ACTUAL PLAYERS have voted him MVP three years in a row over Crosby...I trust their judgement more than your opinion.

I think Ovie is going to have to do some soul searching. I doubt he recovers this season, but maybe a REALLY abysmal season will force him to check his ego.

So many blame BB for Ovie's struggles...you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink...I can GUARANTEE that no coach can fix Ovie...he has to make the decision to do it himself...and those who say just get tougher on him or what have you, no nothing about how to get the most out of your pupils. This is Ovie's issue and he has to be the one to figure it out.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

capscoach,

I'm sorry but at this point Poti deserves no slack whatsoever as he has played like crap all year, and yes I realize he has been injured for some of it but even when healthy he has been horrible. Erskine on the other hand has played strong all year and deserves to be in the lineup every night but was sat so that loser could get a sweater. That contract extension is still looking like the worst move GMGM has EVER made.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"loser could get a sweater" "Mrs. Poti"

Sometimes it shocks me that I am one of the youngest posters on here :)

People are so extreme on here, and the truth is that virtually every opinion on here holds SOME truth...just to a more moderate degree...this site needs a Jon Stewart Rally to restore sanity! There are so many hard core Goats Blood Drinkers and "Koolaid Drinkers" that the moderates can not be heard. I realize that I am considered a koolaid drinker, but in truth I am just moderate. I see plenty of problems with the Caps, but I am not going to say Schultz and Poti are losers who can't play...a whole team of professional staff disagree with you (at least on schultz) and poti is decent when playing normally...he might not be able to recover from this injury, but I am giving him more than one game to try.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's just running up against a hot goalie. There's no real offensive problem.

What? You say you've heard that before?

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I do apologize for being a realist capscoach and also have not said anything negative about Schultz as I think he has played decently when paired with someone other than Poti. If you can not see that Poti is a liability on the ice then I don't know what to tell you, he has simply been horrible ALL season. If you can't see that there is nothing anyone can say to get those rose colored glasses off your face.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

that is what is so funny about you! I never disagreed about Poti...but he hasn't played a lot of healthy hockey this season, and he was not that bad last season. I said he MAY NOT RECOVER his previous play! But you are so one sided and your inability to consider that there may be more to it than "he sucks" shows that you are a very one dimensional thinker. At least I consider what others think and though I often don't agree with the Caps mngmt. I at least concede that they are the professionals and can do a far better job than anyone on here, and maybe no something about certain situations that we don't.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

And happy birthday MP!

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse


Great give away by Mrs Poti costing the Caps at least a shot at the win last night in a shoot out. And people were giving me crap on here yesterday when I was complaining that he was getting a sweater over Erskine, hell I would almost rather see Sloan/Fahey over Mrs Poti at this point. The guy has always been a mediocore dman at best and now is just old and washed up IMHO, please keep his butt in the pressbox with the nachos and franks.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 7:08 AM |
--------------

your post is fine, but mrs poti. grow up already

Posted by: hessone | January 5, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

per previous comment...

I meant "know" not "no" can't think caps and type well on here!

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@Phil R

You can stop arguing with capscoach now because, well, you're wrong....... I agree Erskine may be better for the moment but that doesnt make him a liability! He's always been good, he's going through a bad slide, resigning him was a good move as he is a solid veteran defenseman and that is what you need to succeed in the playoffs, especially with young defensemen in the lineup such as Alzner, Carlson, (Orlov?...)

Props, capscoach, props

Posted by: jacobware222 | January 5, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

You can stop arguing with capscoach now because, well, you're wrong....... I agree Erskine may be better for the moment but that doesnt make him a liability! He's always been good, he's going through a bad slide, resigning him was a good move as he is a solid veteran defenseman and that is what you need to succeed in the playoffs, especially with young defensemen in the lineup such as Alzner, Carlson, (Orlov?...)

Props, capscoach, props

Posted by: jacobware222

Tell me you are joking. The extension was without a doubt, the worst move McPhee has ever made. Poti is the 7th defensemen on this team, period.

Poti has played in the league 12 years, been to the 2nd round once. Please don't say we need guys like Tom Poti to be successful in the playoffs when his own career shows otherwise.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 5, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Tight, tough game. The SE is going to be a bear this year. Three of the top 6 teams in the East are from the division. Carolina and Florida are at 9 and 10. I think we may see 4 SE teams in this year - beyond the Flyers and the Pens, nothing else in the East.

That being said, I think that was my favorite player, Nicky B, not backchecking on MStL on the goal. Nicky, that dude is good and if you are three feet from him coming back and he's going to the net, you have to stay with him. I don't know if Nick had no legs but that cost the goal.

Get some sleep. Keep up the D and the PK - which is what every complainer wanted last year - and get to it next game.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

jacobware222,

Funny how you think the resigning was a good move when the majority of the posters agree with me and scratch their heads over the move and you say I am wrong!! He is far from a SOLID dman as you put it, he had one good playoff series since he has been here and that was last season.

hessone,

I am not the only poster that calls him that on here.

capscoach,

You call it a one dimensional thinker and I call it being a realist.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Wish we would have kept Morrison over Poti. Just my opinion. I thought Morrison was playing pretty well the second half of last season and really came into his own.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | January 5, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

What are people flipping out about?

Over the last three games versus the Habs and the high powered Pens and Lightning, the Caps have allowed ONE regulation goal. That is awesome.

In addition, during that time, how many odd man breaks did the Caps give up? Not many. The low scores were not due to hot goaltending (i.e. Theo vs. the Red Wings last year) but was due to great defense and forcing the teams to shoot from far away.

I also love that BB is finally matching a checking line(along with the Carlzner pair) against the opposing teams top line. Hendricks, Steckel, and Beagle have been playing great as a checking line and Carlzner have been awesome as a shut down pair. When you shut down the Stamkos line, the Crosby line, and the Habs top line in three straight games, that is impressive. And again, they did that with good play, not necessarily relying on hot goaltending(although Varly played well also).

The PK has been awesome also. It completely shutdown the great Lightning PP and gave them little to no chances. It is in the top 5 now in the NHL. Think how much of an improvement that is over last year. That will be amazingly significant come playoff time(if they can keep it up).

If you are going to play a tight defensive game you will lose some, it happens. But the Caps have been winning a lot of the low scoring games now also, (Caps over Pens, was 2-1 late in the 3rd), (Caps over Habs, was 2-0 in the 3rd). Heck, most of their recent wins the Caps have only scored 3 goals, at most. Even the Pens loss, was a shootout loss, where the Caps played the Pens to a 2-2 tie.

However, there were negatives too. I will get to them in the next post.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Just because there's a majority opinion doesn't make it right...

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 5, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Just because there's a majority opinion doesn't make it right...

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 5, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

why does no one comment on the fact that the problem is with the coaching? We need a real NHL coach, someone who can teach this struggling offense that there is more than one way to play. We have the talent, we need the discipline and direction.

Posted by: coachgranny | January 5, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

Not freaking out, just pointing out that Poti was the cause of the overtime goal. I thought they played a great game and enjoyed watching it but that giveaway by our "vet" dman in overtime screwed them out of the possibility for an additional point. He needs to be sitting in my opinion and should have been last night as well.

GFisher1,

Please don't tell me you think that extension was a good move, you are usually a very educated and rational poster.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Why blame Poti? They had plenty of scoring chances all game. It should've never went to OT.

Posted by: SirPelleas | January 5, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

saintex: I didn't read the posts from last night, so I don't know if anyone else pointed that out. I was going to post the same thing. MSL was left wide open by 19, who only made a token move to stop him. Backie has to do better on that one.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 5, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

The PP is the obvious biggest negative.

If you are going to play more defensive, lower scoring games, the PP becomes even more important. Since the PP failed miserably last year in the playoffs and is continuing the poor play this year something needs to change. However, I'm not exactly sure it is just moving players around.

I agree with moving Ovie off the point, but who do you replace him with? I think Carlson will soon become a solid guy on the PP, but he is not there yet.

I honesetly think the only way to solve this problem is by acquiring a player who can play the point(M-A Bergron is gone now). That can move Ovie to the half wall, where he can then roam more and find open space(he would also be more difficult to just get a guy on him there because of his positioning.)

But the question then becomes who, and when you acquire somebody and play them, then who do you sit.

Now, the dream scenario(or at least my dream scenario) would be to acquire Brad Richards and have him play the point with Green. That would solve the PP and the #2C problem. However, that has almost zero chance of happening.

I suggested Kovalev as a possibility, but he clearly has a laundry list of negatives in his game.

The question is who do you get?

The other problem is that I don't think the Caps have yet found the balance of playing good defense while still going forward some.

Everyone loves mucker and grinder goals and they are important, but you do need pretty goals too. To paraphrase tominsocal, you need the balance.

When was the last time the Caps scored on an odd-man rush? Maybe I'm forgetting a goal but I am having a hard time remembering.

Semin has been awful. IMO, while watching the previous games, I thought he was, by far, the worst Cap on the ice. Not only did he do nothing on offense, he turned the puck over routinely. It's only January and hopefully he can get it turned around, but it leaves me worried. He is a hot and cold player. So you do not want to depend on him as a team. If he is hot, then that is an added bonus, but you have to be able to score some when he is cold.

@PhilR

The pass in OT by Poti was horrible. It was a terrible play and cost the Caps a chance at winning the game. However, I do think it is important to play him some because you want 7 D-men availble, and not rusty, for the playoffs. He seemed rusty to me out there. It doesn't excuse the play, but he does deserve some paying time to get his game back.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Halfway through the season and time to take stock of the defensive numbers.

Rank last year Category Rank this year
3rd PK 25th
6th FO% 6th
7th GA/G 16th
9th SA/G 18th

Our two G's have .928 and .911 save %s this year. Last year, they were .911 and .909 for the season.

I'll take the progress and the standings position based on these numbers. Projecting the current 23-12-6 record to a full season would be 104 pts which would still have won the East last year.

The offense will come.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

My this year and last year are backwards. The first %s are this year, second set are last year.

Where's my editor?

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Morning Everyone!!!!

So I haven't been posting for a couple of weeks, I was watching. Like last night’s attendance this board and many others have been fun to watch. I haven’t been posting here as long as some (sgm3, SAOTI, PhilR, capscoach to name just a few not meaning to offended anyone ok Tom :) ) but I have been a caps fan and a season ticket holder for years.
While I thought there was and yes there has been a huge band wagon fan base growth in the past couple of years, the last 6 weeks have blown the past 2 years out of the water. Did anyone notice how many suits were there last night? All the new face down to watch warm ups? I love the crowd but much like the newbie’s on these boards they know nothing about hockey. Walking to their seat when the puck is in play and when some says something to them they drop F bombs because “I paid for my seat don’t you tell me what to do”
While I like the progress of the Caps and I like all the other Caps fans want the Cup in DC there is just that little part of me that is starting to wish that they were not quite that good and we could go back to fans with manors at the game and posters who actually know what this game is about.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all, Shout out to Section 115!!!!!!!!!

Drop the Puck!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | January 5, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

While I agree they need seven dmen ready to go I do not agree with putting Poti in against a team that is tied for first in the SE with the Caps. In those situations you should put your best team on the ice and that means Erskine on the ice and Poti in the pressbox. There are plenty of lower tier teams that Poti where could get his legs back under him, Tampa is not that team.

Posted by: PhilR | January 5, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Okay Boudreau. Roughly one month ago you said in an interview that players have to earn their jersey. Now it is time to stand by your words, and get Erskine back in the line up. Poti is not good anymore. I'm sorry to be a pessimist or whatever, but he simply isn't. If anyone has earned a jersey this year, it is #4 (or Hendricks as well). People have criticized BB in the past for playing favourites and not staying true to his word, and this is an important time for him. I think (and maybe I'm just blinded) that Erskine has played SIGNIFICANTLY better than Poti this season.

I know #3 has been hurt a bit, but how many times can the "shaking off the rust" excuse be used before you go back to the guy who has CONSISTENTLY delivered heart and grit for the large majority of the year?

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 5, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

CAPSHOCKEY2

i dunno...I really hated ShoaMo. He was always out of position, and though he sometimes hit, was usually just a liability.

@coachgranny

many on here have said BB is a real issue...but come on. You people are impossible to please! Last season he couldn't coach D, now he is doing it and you all complain about lack of offense...he HAS CHANGED his style and it is much more effective...it will take time for the offense to adjust.

The PP needs to move their feet! They just pass it around waiting for an opening.

Semin is having WAY more trouble adjusting his game than Ovie! Backstrom just looks terrible. Out of those three stars, Ovie is looking better than the others by a long shot.

I am suprised there has not been more talk about Backie. They guy is INVISIBLE lately. I think his lack of offense is forcing Ovie to want to do everything himself.

Could Fehr possibly be put in the top line ahead of Knuble for a try? Knuble has been ok going to the net and all, but I think his lack of speed may be affecting Ovie and Backs more than people think.

I realize I will get eaten alive for this, but Chimera might do will with Ovie and Backs...I think his speed could help jump start the other to. I am not saying skill wise he is a top liner, but if BB convinces him to go to the net, he might help them out there.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

While I agree they need seven dmen ready to go I do not agree with putting Poti in against a team that is tied for first in the SE with the Caps. In those situations you should put your best team on the ice and that means Erskine on the ice and Poti in the pressbox. There are plenty of lower tier teams that Poti where could get his legs back under him, Tampa is not that team.

Posted by: PhilR

That's fine. But I don't think we should be overly critical of any of the defensemen last night. They did allow 0 goals in regulation. If the Caps could've scored just one goal, that horrible play by Poti never occurs. Again, it doesn't excuse the bad play, but it wasn't like Poti was horrible throughout the game causing the Caps to lose.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

agree that TB was probably not the best team to put Poti back in....see we can agree sometimes.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

JC should have buried the feed from OV. Sick pass. No excuses.

I was surprised to see Rolo with his NYI mask. Surprised that the Lightning would allow that.

Posted by: kkd76 | January 5, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is in OT, BB made a mistake. Poti/Schultz should never be out there together in a 4 vs 4 situation. They aren't quick enough on their feet to make plays...and to have them out there against St. Louis is a double whammy. Should have just played the top 4 guys for 5 minutes in my opinion.

Other than that it was a good game. About as exciting as a 0-0 regulation game gets. Tampa and Atlanta are both very good hockey teams, and Carolina is even playing better right now. So we are in for a dogfight.

Posted by: ThePat | January 5, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@Aldred

BB did say players have to earn their jersey, and I think he will stick to that (maybe you disagree with his choices though:))

We have realize, that you don't automatically just put your best players on the ice...you create a "best team" and sometimes that means that a player who may not be as good is needed more than another play b/c they have different skill sets.

BB has said he has to put together the best team. While I don't agree with BB's decision to put in Poti over ERskine, I kind of get where he may have been coming from...the last two games TB playes a real run and gun style...very fast, lots of turnovers...so Erskine's skill set wasn't best showcased in those games.

Poti does have a lot more offensive upside than Erskine and is faster...unfortunately TB learned from their previous mistakes and played a style that I really wish Erskine had been there for.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

kkd76,

I learned a few years ago - goalies and all - that it takes quite a while to get a mask painted and then even longer to break one in. So, Roloson isn't going to wear a 'new' mask in the first number of games because it will be out-of-sorts. He'd have to give up his broken in mask to get it paint for a week or so. I'd guess he has a second mask that he may break in during practices either before or after he gets it painted.

Any other 'goalies' out there with input?

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Where is our Captain?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 5, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I met Ovie, Backie and JCarlson for the 1st time in person last night at Lima..Ovie had a disappointed look on his face i can tell he wasn't in the mood to party last night after the lost, bumming in sweats. Carlson on the other hand looks like he had one too many : ) great guys though actually shook their hands and was cool didn't really try to brush you off. oh and about the game bad lost. Trade for Roloson made Stevie Y look like a genius. Both Goalie played well..i think Varly is pretty much our #1 going on ward baring injuries. *knock on wood*

Posted by: ttn703 | January 5, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3
@Cstanton
@tominthe SNOWcal

People are MILDLY flippin' out over the fact that there are 3 guys out there who seem to have no interest in playing "play off type hockey". Backy has looked like he is walking in mud. I would rather have Cody Eakin centering Ovi at this point so the kid can get some NHL minutes. I'm not kidding ! Backy's big, new wallet is slowing him down I guess. (He didn't see St. Louis scrambling to tag up ???)

The Poti contract extension was a big mistake . Tom in socal is right on that one !

Semin has disappeared AGAIN. Cstanton is right. The next time this guy "goes on a tear", we need to trade him. This guy will never HOUST the cUp. Too hot and cold !!

Trade Semin for some "play off type guys".
Kuznetsuwjkdhasvbcn "Kuzer" plays like Semin anyway. How many razzle dazzzle guys can we have on a "play off" roster. It's all great fun to watch before the DRASTIC rule changes in the Spring. Don't tell me about Semin's great D, the guy is "goofy in the head".

I bring up the playoffs, because both goalies were playing like this was a play off game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Not freaking out, just pointing out that Poti was the cause of the overtime goal"

Phil,

Varly's less than perfect rebound control on the V4 shot wasn't involved?

Posted by: Steve_R | January 5, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

Kuznetsov stepped up and performed pretty well in the single elimination games in the WJC. So basically a game 7 type game.

Who knows what he may do in the future, but based on the very limited amount we have seen Kuznetsov I don't know how you can conclude he doesn't step up(except using your obvious stereotypes).

In addition, I think Kuznetsov is the youngest guy on Russia's team. So to step up like he has in that situation is something that should be commneded.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

When I heard about Roloson getting snagged by Yzerman I wasn't surprised at all. As a matter of fact I suggest the Capitals should get him a year ago here on Capitals Insider. Here's my post from last year:

If we are in the market to rent a veteran goaltender, on the cheap, we should shoot to rent Roloson from the Islanders. He's had a save percentage over 90%, even on bad teams. He was moved out of Edmonton in favor of Khabibulin. He is the ONLY reason the Islanders are in the hunt even though our boys lit him up last night. He's probably attainable for league minimum. I know we seem to have a stock pile of goaltenders but neither Varly nor Theodore can stay healthy once they get hot. Rolo is durable too.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 27, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Just sayin'.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 5, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@SteveR

To me it was a combination of things and it started with Poti trying to make the stretch pass. And like I said above, I dont think Poti/Schultz should be on the ice in a 4 v 4 situation. Definitely not together anyway.

Posted by: ThePat | January 5, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

people... it's not like the old style lightning beat up last night... it was the one that Steve Yzerman put together! hello, they are (as is Atlanta) a much better team...

just look at the standings!
http://tsn.ca/nhl/standings/

Tampa Bay has 2 games in hand on us!
Carolina has 3 and Florida 4...

It is VERY possible that 3 or 4 SE teams make the playoffs!
Right now, 3 SE teams are solidly in the Playoffs...

times are changing...

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 5, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@hunter

agree about Backie's play as of late...but I really hate how people assume they are just greedy and selfish! Backstrom has never come off that way, and to assume someone is going to just take off after a big contract is really rude...you don't know the guy! He has played great hockey for us for many years without even missing a game!

He is having a bad rough patch...but I will not disrepect my own team like that.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is bashing Poti, but I'm thoroughly confused. I've looked at the video numerous times, and it looks like Poti slid the puck over to Schultz, who made a very weak clearing pass. Am I wrong about that, or are people saying that Poti should have cleared the puck from the zone himself, instead of passing to Poti?

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | January 5, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Tampa has a one-point lead on us and one game in hand, as do the Pens. They play each other tonight.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm missing the Poti issue. Is is on the goal? The stretch/clear is from Schultz up the left. Poti does fail put a stick on MStL as he comes in for the rebound and Nicky doesn't get back on MStL.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Don't look now but Varly is
2nd in the league in GAA with 2.09
3rd in the league in Save %age with .936
12th in the league with 2 ShutOuts (in less than half the games played as most goalies with most SO's)

here's hoping he keeps it up. he sure looks great out there!

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 5, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Are you guys really going to get all over Backstrom because he didn't "cover" St. Louis who banged home a rebound on a play that took literally a fraction of a second. Get a grip, this isn't football or basketball where one on one coverage means you are all over the guy. Sometimes you just have to give it up for a guy who makes a great play and there won't always be a scapegoat. Poti pass was crap which forced him to stay on the ice so if you're looking for a goat which most on here want to do then look at Poti. I have chosen to just cuss at St. Louis and admit he scored on a great shot on a rebound.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 5, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@saintex

The bolts could have shot some acrylic temporary stuff over the Isle's logo. The bottom line is guys Like Yzerman don't care if you're out there "buck naked". As long as you get them in the play offs and THEN PLAY PLAY OFF HOCKEY, it's OK.

My heart sank when I saw that the Bolts had hired Stevey Y. I know that he is going to be a much better "play off roster" engineer than GMGM.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

It's must see TV tonight 7:30 on the NHL Channel. It's Cody Eakin vs Orlov and Kuznetsov for the Jr. Gold.

Posted by: dull | January 5, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is bashing Poti, but I'm thoroughly confused. I've looked at the video numerous times, and it looks like Poti slid the puck over to Schultz, who made a very weak clearing pass. Am I wrong about that, or are people saying that Poti should have cleared the puck from the zone himself, instead of passing to Poti?

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | January 5, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think what people are getting at with Poti's pass is that he was off to the right side of Varly with virtually no pressure. St. Louis and Vinny had been out there for a while and if Poti would have just brought the puck behind the net both teams would have probably changed. Instead he passed the puck to the worst possible place and Schultz had Vinny right in front of him. Schultz did all he could to just make sure it got over the blue line. I'm not sure if this could be seen on TV but at that point Poti headed toward the bench but when he saw where the puck ended up he headed back toward the net. St. Louis, being the world class player he is, saw that Poti was in no man's land and crashed the net. Bummer.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 5, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Backy has taken the first half of the year off. Ovi is still hustling. If get any where near Stanley, Backy has got to be "huge" or we're done.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Poti's pass across the goal mouth was not crisp enough to get any up-ice momentum going. That's my general take on Poti in the d-zone last night.......passing was too soft in most instances. That still doesn't let Backstrom off the hook for a less than stellar effort at backchecking in a crucial situation. He may have had tired legs that late in his shift, but so did Martin StL.

BTW: Isn't M Johansson's defensive play getting stronger by the game, or are my eyes lying again?

Posted by: prestoj | January 5, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I'm not knockin' "Kuzer". The guy may turn into a beast. (Heck, He may already be one). We need guys with the heart of St. Louis on our roster to win 16 injured.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Backy has taken the first half of the year off. Ovi is still hustling. If get any where near Stanley, Backy has got to be "huge" or we're done.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach

I didn't know that you can see into a players soul and know what they are thinking and feeling without even meeting them! WOW!!!!

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Not freaking out, just pointing out that Poti was the cause of the overtime goal"

Phil,

Varly's less than perfect rebound control on the V4 shot wasn't involved?

Posted by: Steve_R | January 5, 2011 10:37 AM |

Again, I don't get the "blame the defense" rationale. The final score was 1-0, which shows that the defense played extremely well, especially on the PK. If the score was 4-3, then you could blame the D for surrendering goals. The fact is, is that the offense failed to score. Period. End of story. Blame the PP and the offense. Poti was not at fault and Varly can't take the blame either.

Posted by: SirPelleas | January 5, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@SirPelleas

b/c these people were ticked off that Poti went in instead of Erskine so the fact that he made a bad play (along with 3 others on the ice) proves that he is worthless.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

I agree, we've seen enough of Marty to know that he's a guy we wish we had on our roster. That being said, Backy has not back checked well all year. If He had been playing the type of hockey we've watched him play prior to the contract, nobody would be questioning his play.

To me the biggest question mark is how much scrutiny Ovi has gotten when his centerman has played like "monkey dung" all year. I watch Ovi closely at the rink, he's still bringin' it.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The thing about the Poti pass is that no one thought he would do it; it made no sense. You could actually hear the crowd groan or sigh or whatever when he threw it in front of the net to his unsuspecting partner. It was a bad pass to a player who was not ready into the worst possible place on the entire ice (in front of his own net)

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 5, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I tell ya, I've looked at the video about 15 times now, and I don't see how anyone can blame Poti for that goal. First of all, he had a man in his face much moreso than Schultz. Second, Shultz had plenty of space to clear that puck, and hard. Sorry, but (other than Poti), Schultz has the weakest shot on the team. He passed it right to a Tampa player (?) who had a full head of steam, who then passed to (?) for a hard slapshot. Katie writes that Varly "left" a rebound. Very misleading. That shot was a bullet that absolutely richocheted off of Varly's leg pad. He had no chance to prevent a rebound. Finally, St. Louis snapped that rebound into the net in a nanosecond. Bang bang. And there way no way Poti ever had a chance to put a stick or body on St. Louis. I am not at all a Poti fan, but you can't blame this loss on him. Give Tampa some credit- that was a very nice goal.

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | January 5, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

To me the biggest question mark is how much scrutiny Ovi has gotten when his centerman has played like "monkey dung" all year. I watch Ovi closely at the rink, he's still bringin' it.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach

actually agree with this! I think Backstrom's play has a lot to do with Ovie's lack of production...but I watched Backstrom at practice, andhe was hustling...can't say the same for Semin though.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Backs would be doing a lot better offensively if he didn't have to constantly cover for Ovi's shortcomings on the ice.

Ovi is absolutely worthless without the puck, like a fish outta water.

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

For years I have heard commentators say, and have read in articles that Semin is "enigmatic". I think there is no better word to describe him. He has an amazing skillset as a hockey player yet seems prone to disappearing during games, coming up short mentally, and almost seeming like hes only connected to the other players on the team by the fact that he is wearing the same jersey on the ice. The guy has been here for 6 years or so and STILL hasnt made an attempt to learn the language. His offensive skills aside, he does not have the mental makeup to be part of what the Caps are trying to do moving forward in this new system, and at 6 or 8 million or whatever we are paying him this year, we cant afford him as a luxury. I have to believe behind the scenes McPhee is planning to deal him by the deadline, perhaps for a 2nd line center. I dont see any way we can resign him next year anyway, too big a cap #, so unless we are going to let him walk away and get nothing for him at the end of the year, we need to move him. My only concern is that he is tight with OV and the fallout on that level is something management needs to consider. In any event I dont see him fitting in to this system at any price.

Posted by: opticlguy | January 5, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I know what you're saying, and you're trying to be fair and nice. The wars that lay ahead at season's end are exactly that: WARS.

It's not a put down, but we are so far removed from the "play off blood spilling" as Caps fans, that we forget how difficult it is to win a 7 game series four times in a row. It is a nightmare mentally and physically. Backy must start playing like a CHAMPION or we don't get out of the second round !!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Ovi has no subtlety about his game... how many times have we seen Crosby and Gretzky suddenly "disappear" from everyone and then sudddenly reappear all alone standing 3 feet away from goalie WIDE OPEN???

He still has a lot to learn how to play this game WITHOUT the puck.

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@hunter

I agree that Backie has to start getting his game back completely! I just don't agree that he is conciously or unconciously "not caring" now that he has a big contract.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

Playoff is one word, not two.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

If you were new to bashing ovie (as in this only this season) you might have more followers.

I agree there is much to be desired in his defensive game...however, you have been his biggest critic for years, and the prior three years he has been voted MVP by the PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO PLAY AGAINST HIM! Don't you think they might know better than u?

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

LOL when Ovi scores 50-60 goals/year, a lot of his shortcomings get overlooked.

HOWEVER when he is on pace to score less than 30, all aspects of his game get put under a miscroscope.

You can live with his shorcomings when he scores over 50 every year. But no team can ignore them if he's just a 30 goal scorer.

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

miscroscope = microscope

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach
@joek

The entire league knows Backy is going to pass to Ovi. Nick start putting the puck in
the net! Give your wing some elbow room to move.

I disagree about Ovi. His opposite wing is old and slow. His center will not drive to the net to open things up. All Backy wants to do is make "cutesy" passes. When was the last time Backy dumped in a rebound ?
How much time does he spend in the slot ?
Has he made a play even remotely similar to what St. Louis made last night. That play by Marty was "play off type" hustle all around. That's why he has a ring. There are 40 games to go, but St. Louis plays like a Champion every time I watch him.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

You do not like Ovie as a player and feel he is overrated. Okay, we understand those are your feelings.

Many of us here, me included, respectfully disagree.

We think Ovie is a tremendous player who add so much to the Caps. His physical game being one and his ability to draw penalties(he drew he penalty in the WC that led to Knubles tying goal. That was when he was going 1-on3 and worked his butt off to drive forward and he drew a penalty from it) being another. Yes, like every player he has aspects of his game he could improve(no player is perfect).

You disagree, which is fine. That is your opinion. We understand, no need to post about it anymore.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@hunter

agree...Backie needs to shoot more...notonly does the league know he wants to pass to Ovie, but his passing lately has left something to be desired.

@Joek

you say you can overlook ovie's shortcomings when he is scoring 50+ goals, but you never did...u always bashed him.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@hunter

agree...Backie needs to shoot more...not only does the league know he wants to pass to Ovie, but his passing lately has left something to be desired.

@Joek

you say you can overlook ovie's shortcomings when he is scoring 50+ goals, but you never did...u always bashed him.

Posted by: capscoach | January 5, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse


@joek

I get what you're saying. But, the man hustles every shift, and really seems to want to win every time he steps on the ice. I can't say that about much of the rest of GMGM's roster, which is why I'm a darksider or blood drinker.

There is so much talent out there, that if everyone had Ovi's drive we would "win a cup in due time" (Dumbest Caps related quote in 35 years.) With this franchise, I'll be dead "in due time".

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 5, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

as long as Deion Sanders kept picking off the passes, returned them for TDs and shut down the best WRs in the game, nobody cared that he couldn't tackle anyone.

as long as Randy Moss kept catching 60-yard bombs, nobody cared he took plays off and couldn't block anyone.

I'm not doubting Ovi's effort, he plays harder than just about everyone. But I do question his ability to become a complete hockey player.

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

I hope playoff is two rounds and not one....

Good discussions today.

I don't argue that MStL's goal was bang/bang, I just think Nick from behind and Poti from in front should have done a bit better on seeing him coming.

I'm torn on Backs' play so far this year and I think what we are seeing is that if either he or Ovi is struggling then they both might as well be. I suspect that if one of the Sedin's began to struggle, both would.

Another half to go and I think they'll get the O fired up. Keep the D strong and pick up about .5 goals per game and I'll be happy.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

not sure why people are so ready to criticize the poti extension, he was signed for this year already, and yes his oplay has been uneven, but he has had some really good games between injuries...the jury is still out on the extemsion, it sshould be judged against how he plays and contributes to the team over the next two seasons...

Posted by: boomer44 | January 5, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it is time to have a new Captain ??? I don't think the Great 8 motivates the team ... he glides .. if you want to be the best you must work 365 days a year no summers off. If you are just average as a player and were all your playing career ,then go for it do nothing to improve. But Ovie being call the Great 8 and gonna be the best in the league has not come to be .. right now he is average .. Dustin the D man in Atlanta has more goals than Ovie, crazy!!!!

Posted by: ditto_mama | January 5, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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