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Posted at 8:10 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Capitals glad to be home, look to build off road trip success

By Katie Carrera
Morning Roundup

The Washington Capitals don't have many home games remaining on their regular-season schedule, 11 to be exact, including Friday's game at Verizon Center against the New York Rangers. After closing out their road trip with two wins, the Capitals want to roll that success into more of it in the friendly building in Chinatown.

In the 2009-10 season, the Capitals had the best home record in the NHL at 30-5-6. This year they're 17-7-7, but in addition to the uneven results, Washington has put on some of its more disappointing performances, like the 4-1 loss to Los Angeles, at Verizon Center.

Coach Bruce Boudreau said it's important that the Capitals find a way to recreate that sense of dominance when they play at home.

"We've been floundering at home," Boudreau said. "We're [4-4-2] in our last 10 at home and 0-2 in our last two. It's important to establish a home ice identity. I thought we did last year in the regular season, where every team knew what to expect when they played us here and what they were going to face. We haven't really done that this year. We've been sort of in and out."

--The Capitals signed Matt Hendricks to a two-year contract extension worth a total of $1.6 million.

--Neil Greenberg's latest Insider2 analysis focuses on the impact of veteran defenseman Scott Hannan.

--RMNB asks: Will the Capitals win the Southeast Division?

--Peerless breaks down the anatomy of the Capitals' 10-0-2 streak against the Penguins over the last three regular season.

--Alex Ovechkin shot pucks off a roof near Judiciary Square on Wednesday and yet this is not all that surprising. [D.C. Sports Bog]

By Katie Carrera  | February 24, 2011; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Next: Statistical analysis: Alex Ovechkin at even strength, then and now

Comments

Peter Stastny makes sense even if he has 3 years left on his contract. He is only 25 years old, he offers up a long term solution to our 2nd line center issue. If he is performing well near the end of the contract and Johannson is due a contract with his entry level deal expiring you make the decision of whether to trade Johannson (if he's doing well), or let him walk if he's not. If Stastny is playing well but Johansson is the direction the Caps want to go, Stastny is good trade bait at age 28. The only bad situation is if Stastny isn't playing well. If we are talking Kunetsov or Eakin, they would still be at the tail end of their entry level deals and the same hard decisions would have to made. Let's face it though, they are totally unproven at the NHL level and Junior success doesn't always equate to NHL success.

I know people are going to say that Carlson would be due a payday but we have to see how that plays out and that shouldn't adversely affect the core of your forwards. I hate the Pens but their major investments are 3 centers, 4 defensemen, and Fleury. If Stastny came, by the end of 2014 ours would be Ovi, Backs, Stastny, Green (he will sign for good money again), and Carlson (if he's earned it). I think another major investment on defense would be Alzner if he continues to improve at the rate he has (3.5 mil guy). Letang makes 3.5mil and Orpik around 3.6mil. Letang has been steady but if he was up for a contract this year the Pens would be paying more.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

fanohock,

Huge fan of that plan. Seriously.

Posted by: saintex | February 24, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I preceeded my previous post on the last thread with:

Since the Avalanche have already danced with the Capitals this year what would you all think about a straight up trade, Semin for Stastny? Stastny would solidify the 2nd line center position. He's due $6.6 mil a year through the 2013-14 season. It's not unheard of to pay that much to make a team more strong down the middle. It would be a salary swap, and there are rumors the Avalanche might move him because of Peter Stastny's comments.

IMO it would mean the Caps need to find another right winger via trades that can finish a better than Laich, Chimmer, etc. Maybe Fehr would be THAT guy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need to be stronger down the middle. The Pens won with Crosby, Malkin and Staal down the middle. Washington doesn't have anything close to that trio.

I agree that trading a winger, Semin, for a playmaking center makes sense as center is the much harder position to fill with quality talent in the NHL.

A lot of times you will see a quality center increase the productivity of his linemates and that is exactly what needs to happen with Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble.

The return of Eric Fehr gives the team a big body that can set up and score in front of the net.

Imagine how much more effective Eric can be with a quality center.

Nothing against Johansson. I think in time the 20 year old WILL be that second line center that can deliver a 75-80 point season.

But that is perhaps 2 years away.

The Caps need to prepare to win now.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 24, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

For anyone thinking about us getting Richards.

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, word has it the Dallas Stars would be willing to deal Richards to the Rangers in exchange for Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan and defenseman Marc Staal.

Looking at who they have being the NYR guys going back it looks like we would have to send Alzner, MJ90, and probably Fehr or a similar winger of their choice. So even if he solves the 2nd line center issue (only for this season) it leaves a big hole on D, and smaller holes at 3rd line C and 2/3 line wing. Even then the Ranger deal would be the better one but it doesn't seem like they will make that one. I want the 2nd line C hole filled but not by creating 3 new holes and one that is as big as not having a #2 C.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 24, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

ROFL at your news article from last night. Gave me a good chuckle this morning. Kudos sir, kudos.

Hopefully the smile stays on my face with postings of trade rumors and an eventual story by Katie about a trade happening. Make it happen GMGM.

Im getting worried that whatever deal that might have been in the works might have fallen through. Any chance this was due to MP getting tweaked in the last game. Could he be the possible trade bait and the trade partner wants to see that he can play before they made the deal? Perhaps MP plays Friday and a deal goes down at the deadline? ThePat? Poker? Any ideas on who was being dangled as bait?

P.S. If at all possible, please keep Semin, thanks guy.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 24, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Actually trading Semin is what I want to see happen. His inconsistency which tends to mirror that of the Caps as a team is exactly what needs to be removed from the equation.

We need to bring in more consistent effort guys. Of course they need to be talented individuals as well.

But I would rather add a guy that can consistently score 30 goals with 35-40 assists then have Semin who has the potential to score 50 goals but who has the lapses he does and the streakiness he displays from week to week.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 24, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI, if a team wants MP it most likly would be a team looking toward the future and so him being hurt right now would not be that big of a deal especially since it isn't a concussion or other issue that could be ongoing for long time.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 24, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

If the Stars are asking for Dubinsky, Staal, and Stepan, the Rangers would be crazy. If the Caps are being asked for something in exchange like that or more, NO WAY. I know Richards won the Conn Smythe, but that was 7 years ago. He's now 30, and apparently trying to shake concussion symptoms. Given his situation I assumed Richards could be had for a prospect and a conditional #1 pick. Basically turning his rights over to the gaining team and if doesn't recover from the concussion and used by the gaining team, the #1 goes back. Even without a concussion, Dubinsky and Staal are way too much. Dallas has overvalued him and will see him walk this summer if that is their asking price.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 that was taken from ESPN's rumor page but I agree with you. They sound like they think they have the TB Brad Richards not the Dallas one. Even then the Stars only gave up a backup goalie in Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern and a fourth-round pick in the next year's draft. It almost sounds like Dallas thinks he is worth more now then he was worth then. Dallas is going to be at his mercy at the end of the season because he and his agent can ask for too much and Dallas can't let him go for nothing.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 24, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@SeminAllOverTheIce:

A couple of days ago you asked if anyone had seen a good defensive play that Semin made in the Pittsburgh game. I did. I wanted to see if anyone else responded. They didn't or I didn't see it. Anyhow the play in question happened to Neuvy's left (our right whilst watching the play develop). Essentialy the puck, off a rebound, was just laying there flat a few feet away from the crease, and Semin got it out of harm's way just before the Pittsburgh guy (I forget who) could put it home for essentially an easy layup type of goal.

Semin did two good things on that play. First he collapsed which is in line with the Caps more defensive oriented approach. And, he had the hand eye coordination to beat the guy to the puck. In other words you put a lot of other people in that very situation and the Pittsburgh guy gets it. I don't think a lot of people realize that Semin also brings this to the table. I think you do so I suspect we're on the same page.

When the play happened I wondered if anyone else had noticed or if they were just going to gripe about some of his other play in that game.

I think they'll keep Semin. It's hard to trade away the most skilled player on your team without getting value in return.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 24, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Mark Staal left his last game due to an injury sustained after being hit by none other than his brother, Eric. The Rangers are now saying he's OK but we'll see tomorrow night when the Rangers come to town. His head did hit the ice pretty hard.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

SAOTI and BOWF: FTR I believe Semin is a very talented player which is the only reason I suggest he is the ONLY bait the Capitals have that could fix the Capitals 2nd line center issue. I don't support trading him for a rental but I would be OK with him being traded for an impact player we have for a 2-3 years with an acceptable salary. Furthermore, if Semin IS traded, PLEASE make it to a team in the West because I don't want to see him 4 times a year. If he's out West he has less opportunities to haunt us by lighting us up.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Truthfully, I think I'd rather have Stastny than Richards: age and money. As far as money is concerned, if I had to even out the numbers, I'd actually trade Mike Green before I'd trade Semin. The point of getting stronger down the middle is to have scorers in place and I think keeping Semin on the wing is a better option. I like Mike Green but with a more defensive focus, I think we can move him, keep the defense just about as strong, and get better up front.

Business is business.

Posted by: saintex | February 24, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

...and my puck moving defenseman becomes John Carlson.

Posted by: saintex | February 24, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1
People comaplain about his motivation on here all the time...You know he would have fire in his eyes to get revenge if we moved him

I would rather keep him but agree he is one of our best carrots to dangle for trade.

Posted by: DBnMD | February 24, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

We definitely differ there. IMO Green improving his defensive game has made him even more valuable to us.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

My last response was specifically directed to saintex.

DBnMD: I would rather keep him too but he is probably the only asset that could be a one for one. Teams asking for a combo of Carlson and either one of our goalies and a pick are snagging too much of our future. Carlson is going to be a great one and Neuvy is a bargain for what we got him to extend for last summer. I am also sold on Alzner due to his play and improvement as the season has progressed. I would be really upset of Alzner and/or Carlson was moved because I see them as Caps, and a D pairing here for a long time.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 24, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Marc Staal only PART of a deal to get Richards?? THAT's an expensive rental.

I like Stasny also - I doubt if Semin alone can fetch him. I also am liking Majo more and more.

I'm for keeping Semin but I'm wondering what it is about him that's inconsistent. He's been playing hurt and it's affected his output and what he can do, but he's still playing a pretty smart game. I can't remember the last time he's turned the puck over. OTOH, Carlson - who's been great - has made some horrible plays on the PP lately. The problem is he's passing the puck too tentatively and he's given up some bad 2 on 1's as a result. But we don't hear that criticism of him. Semin, who at the very least is almost never a minus player, gets slammed.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 24, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

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