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Posted at 8:01 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Capitals hope to avoid emotional let-down against the Oilers

By Katie Carrera
Morning Roundup

Immediately after the Capitals' 2-1 overtime win against the Lightning Monday night, Coach Bruce Boudreau said he wanted to make sure his team would guard against an emotional let down the likes of which have occurred multiple times this season. After high-pressure games against rivals, for example: Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Washington has, at times, lacked focus in the next contest.

Facing an unfamiliar opponent in Edmonton, Wednesday night may serve as a good test of the Capitals' ability to show a commitment to their style and game plan regardless of the foe.

"Obviously, I don't have the perfect formula," Matt Bradley said. "Bruce talked about it. After having an intense game like that against Tampa, coming back here against a team you don't see too often in Edmonton we can't have a let down. We have to be ready to play because any team in this league can make you look pretty stupid."

--Opponents have long targeted Mike Green with physical play. When the defenseman regains his health and returns to the lineup, the Capitals hope he can continue to find ways to protect himself on the ice.

--Mulling over possible playoff matchups? NHL.com's Corey Masisak crunches the numbers and projects how teams will finish and who they will face in the first round of the playoffs.

--How Todd Burtuzzi's sucker punch against Steve Moore changed hockey. [Puck Daddy]

--Zdeno Chara's check that sent Montreal's Max Pacioretty into the turnbuckle at TD Garden in Boston, knocking him unconscious and needing to be taken off the ice on a stretcher, was the talk of the NHL last night. Pacioretty regained consciousness and was talking at the hospital Tuesday night. What do you make of the hit?

--Are the Capitals surging at the correct time? We'll know soon enough. [ESPN]

By Katie Carrera  | March 9, 2011; 8:01 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Next: Nicklas Backstrom to miss game against Oilers with thumb injury

Comments

Anybody else read the Post's article on Green? Gets me a little rowd up early in the morning.

When he comes back (and hopefully it's this year), the first person that puts a decent hit on Green needs to be PUNISHED. Either fight the guy or drill him HARD. Knock his head into the boards and take a penalty- just lay him out. And keep doing this until the whole league gets the message we won't put up with that. Our role players should be defending Green the same way they'd defend Ovi or Nicky, because he's just as important to the success of this team.

That's just my opinion. I'm sure some won't agree about the take-a-penalty type of hit, but I think that's what we have to do to keep Green healthy in the future.

Posted by: TimeForACup | March 9, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Ok, somebody needs to catch me up as I have been out of town since the Tampa game and really don't have time to go through all of these back threads to get info.....

I heard that Neuvy had a piece of metal removed from his eye, will he miss any time???

What is Backstom's status? Rebreak the thumb?

Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Anybody else read the Post's article on Green? Gets me a little rowd up early in the morning.

Definitely, but Bruce thinks that if DJ King scowls at them from the press box that should be enough.

Katie, good work in getting Knuble's perspective on it from when he was with Philly. I remember that series well is it was obvious they were trying to run Green and Eminger also. I thought Eminger played great those games despite sitting on the bench most of the year.

Posted by: StanleyCap | March 9, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach: Nope, I wasn't at the Capitals Center in those days. I was at Chicago Stadium watching the Blackhawks, or at the run down Amphitheater watching the Chicago Cougars of the WHA. I was watching those teams before the Capitals even existed. I did watch Bobby Hull (before he bolted for the Jets), Stan Makita, Tony Esposito, Keith Magnuson and everyone else in the NHL in those days.

I married a MD girl back in 1988 and we're still going strong. I adopted the Capitals at that point and we came home to her house on leave from the military in the winter so I could see Capitals games. After I was lucky enough to get stationed here I went to about 15 games a season when you used to be able to get Row Z seats in the 200 sections for 12.50. I settled in the area for my last tour in 2002 and have been lucky enough to afford season tickets. Hunter, the way you talk about this team is like you hope and pray that they are unsuccessful so you can stay on your soap box. No matter how pissed I get when watching the Capitals I can honestly say I have never hoped they lose for any reason regardless of whether I thought a coaching change was needed, trades needed to happen, again, no reason. You seem to enjoy your pile of BS you roll in and enjoy posting things on here after a loss, and belittle any success the Capitals have when the win. As a fan, that just doesn't make any sense to me, sorry. I cannot hope that my team loses for any reason. I have even called for BBs head a couple of times this season just because I was convinced his voice was no longer being heard and it is easier to remove one guy than it is to trade a bunch of players. Even wanting BB to go never made me hope the Caps lose just so it could finally be straw that broke the Camel's back.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The story on Green is good but the Flyers face the Capitals in the 1st round of the playoffs in 2008 not 2009.

Hey Phil: No update on Backstrom. Last report was that Backstrom left Tampa with his thumb wrapped. BB did say that Backstrom wanted to come back and implied it was decided by somebody, not sure if it was BB or the medical staff, that Backstrom was done for the night.

Neuvy apparently had a piece of metal removed from his eye and he's fine. No other updates.

The word on the street is Fehr is ready to go but nothing has been said, unless I missed it, if he's been release from the LTIR.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1 ...
there is no excuse for wanting your team to lose unless your a idiot . I once had a girl that always wanted the team to lose so I would be piss off the next day and in this case a b*t*h is a b*t*h no difference .That seems to be the case here .

Posted by: Dogbreeder | March 9, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could those images of Mike Green riding his Vespa out of my head. But they persist.

I'm crossing my fingers for a Montreal rematch. That's where my projection leads us in a 3/6 matchup. The Caps have played their hardest this year against opponents that stir our emotions, i.e. Pittsburgh, Montreal, eventually Tampa.

Chara plays hard and with some rough edges. But he's not a goon who can't keep ahead of the play or be easily out-skated. He's an elite Dman who has few problems with awareness or position even at full NHL game speed.

Very doubtful that him putting Pacioretty into the stantion was accidental, that everything "happened too fast."

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 9, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

A letdown, huh?

Is this like if I do a $500M estimate and then a $5M estimate, I just can't get my heart into the little one?

Any of you electricians? Is it the same way if you rewire a house and then the next customer just wants a new wall socket?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Katie: Just a suggestion for a future story.

No, no, I'm not on WHIFFGATE again.

Caps have an upcmong 6-game trip that starts with 3 games in 4 nights. Then three days off, game in Philly, and two more days off before two games in eastern Canada. I am curious as to travel arrangements - are they coming home in between. Also, for games in Philly like that, do they fly or ride bus?

I am resigned to WHIFFGATE going unexplained until I die and ask St Peter. Nobody wants to talk about it.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Surprised to see three teams that need points despertly to make the playoffs all lay eggs to teams not going to the big dance: Buffalo, NJD, and the TML. OK, the Sabres were knocked off by the Pens, but you gotta wonder how these bubble teams expect to go anywhere losing to the Sens and Isles.

As for Fehr, Green, and Backis, do not rush their recoveries as all 3 can help for the playoffs. Yes, they will be missed, but the Caps are playing well enough now. MP can be brought up to 3rd line, Arnott to 1st, and MaJo to 2nd. Yes, I'd rather have Backis in, but not at the cost of missing the playoffs. Wideman is playing well for Green, and I'd rather have both for the playoffs. And yes, I want Fehr to replace stone-hands Chim-Chim, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, better Fehr for the playoffs than reinjuring his shoulder now. As for Poti, idc...

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 9, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Bruce talked about it. After having an intense game like that against Tampa, coming back here against a team you don't see too often in Edmonton we can't have a let down..."

Is this an opportunity to see if BB is getting through to his team?

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 9, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@StanleyCap

I don't care if DJK is in or not- somebody needs to step up big time on that next guy that pops Green! Erskine, Bradley, whoever. Just knock the guy on his a$$ one way or another.

@fanohock1

Co-sign on your first post.

Posted by: TimeForACup | March 9, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

That's just my opinion. I'm sure some won't agree about the take-a-penalty type of hit, but I think that's what we have to do to keep Green healthy in the future.

Posted by: TimeForACup | March 9, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse
-------------

I second that emotion....what'd we sign DJK for again? Ryan White sure didn't have a problem making sure Boychuk knew it was unacceptable to run Subban. Again, makes me think of John Fogerty:

Put him in coach
He's ready to play, today

Put him in coach
He's ready to play, today

Look at him, he's DJ King
right wing.....

Hoping to see Stevie Mac in the lineup for the Oilers tonight, and stay as far away as you can from him, Rock Star!!

Oilers are springing a leak tonight

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 9, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

The Caps' scoring this year, with the new defensive regime in place, is down 32%. Also, the pace of the Caps' games (total goals scored by both teams) is 28th in the league - down from #1 last year.

How does this apply? Well, Ovi's 'slump' has been blamed on the lack of his mother's visits, weight, partying, the angle of the sun, blah blah blah. Last season, he averaged 1.51 ppg, this year it's 1.03 - a decline of 25%. His totals for this season are on pace for about 29/54/83. Considering the drop in the team's scoring pace, his production hasn't fallen off as much. In fact, in relation, it's up. Similar to Nicky (he's gone from 1.23 ppg to .82 ppg, a drop of 33%), in relation to the team's drop in scoring on better defense.

Have there been times that both have looked out of sorts? Yes. But, imagine if you'd always written with your right hand (offensive minded, oftentimes blindly) and now you're asked to write half the time with you left hand (playing better team defense), you'd look out of sorts.

I'm not into whether or not this is a good or bad thing, just the numbers.

Ovi is fifth overall in the league for scoring. What a slump!

Chasing the top seed in the East. What a slump.

I didn't believe they had it in them to win the division - I was pretty wrong on that premise. They've busted their butts playing defense and, so far, it's paid off.

Posted by: saintex | March 9, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Green's value- minimal. What he does do is strengthen the Caps third D pairing. Wideman and Arnott are better on the point with Carlson than Green.

I agree, sit Backstrom.

I do NOT agree playing Fehr. I think King has more value than Fehr...and I KNOW Beagle has more value than Fehr.

Don't move Laich over, keep his line together. Put Johansson on line 1, and Beagle on Line 3.

Play Holtby.

And do NOT overlook the Oilers.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 9, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

BTW fellow Caps fans my family and I will be in NJ on the 18th. We try to get to road games and have only been to Philly this year so we decided to hit NJ. We got seats in the Section 4, Row 9, for $64 a piece. At times you could get them for less but we needed 4. We are staying at the Hampton in Harrison (East Newark) that night rather than driving back home. Hopefully there is a good group of Capitals fans there. It should be a great game. Craig Anderson stood on his head again dampening NJ's hopes of getting to the playoffs though.

We'll also be at Verizon tonight. I was really hoping to get my first look at Taylor Hall but I think he might be done for the season. Eberle's a talented guy too. Here's to a Capitals and Blackhawks win tonight.

BTW should the Hawks now be blown up for losing to bottom feeders like the Panthers. Remember, even though Vokoun looked awesome last night, if the Capitals don't get the hot goalie excuse no one does. Blow up the Hawks, they suck.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal1

Haha! I'm in the home improvement business. So its like one day somone wanting a new Master Suite and a total kitchen redo and the next, a guy wants me to build him 7 wood steps off his 30 year old deck. (These two events actually took place yesterday! No lie.)

@fanhock1

Thank god! There need to be more of people like us on here to stand up and put these whiners in their place. Always negative. Always belittling the good and emphasizing the bad. The usual suspects get on here and just b&t$h about EVERYTHING! They take shots at Katie for inane crap. They call for BB's head because the team isn't on pace to win the Presidents trophy. Gimme a break.

Not surprising, but the anti-GMGM comments seem to have abated. I'm sure if the Caps don't win the Cup, those will come back full force.

I do not understand anyone that calls themselves a fan and then proceeds to bash everything about the team (Owner, GM, Coach, Superstar, veteran leaders). The Caps changed their style and system in MIDSEASON! You whiners were the ones screaming that the team had to change its philosophy in order to go deep into the playoffs. Then, you screamed that they weren't scoring goals. Now, you are complaing becuase we are winning by one goal after late regulation goals, OT goals or shoot-out wins. Can I point out that they were not winning those games two months ago, and now they are? How about the fact that they have not had a full roster ALL SEASON! Semin out for awhile, then Green, then Fehr, Varly in and out, Green again, now Backstrom's nursing the hand.

Those who complain constantly, regardless of the results, must be from Philly. That entire city loves to hate their teams, unless they win a championship. I know. My mom's family is from there. I have listened to how they treat their teams. You would fit right in up there. As a matter of fact, I'll buy you train tickets. If you haven't already, grow your curly, greasy mullets for a smooth transition.

Posted by: capsfan0837 | March 9, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

he averaged 1.51 ppg, this year it's 1.03 - a decline of 25%.

Posted by: saintex | March 9, 2011 9:34 AM

Not to be anal, but that's a 32% drop.

signed, the anal one

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@stanleycap - DJ King was signed so he can have staged fights vs other teams top goons. If you want a guy to take a run at someone who took liberties on one of our players (Green, OV, etc) than you have to look to a real player like Bradley or Hendricks. King is worthless.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 9, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Varly, Poti, and Beagle all skating before practice.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

fanohock...

Taylor Hall is nasty and will be a real good one for years, but you are right he is out injured. Did it in a fight.

Eberle is also a sick player...I watch the Oil whenever I get the chance. Exciting young team! Cogliano, Paarvei (sp?), and Gagner...

They are a few players away from really making a run at this thing.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 9, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Good article Katie - it's been a big mystery for me all these years: why is it Green seems to get clocked. The article gave some insight into it.

Green takes a calculated risk: by inviting the player to hit him, he also invites them to miss and take themselves out of the place. Green then has the opportunity to do something. I think he needs - as BB said (glad to hear SOMEONE's talked to him about it) - better at avoiding the big hits. Maybe by being a little more judicious and quick to move the puck.

@vermontCaps, et al: dead wrong on retaliation: if it's a clean hit, it's a clean hit. Explain to me how retaliation is justified. Kick your horse and move on.

The last thing this league/game needs is people fighting and retaliating for fair and legal plays.


If it's a dirty hit - ala Koci - that's another story. But a clean check on a guy who's carrying the puck? No way retaliation against him is in order. If anything, the best retaliation is to take the opportunity to rack one of their skill guys.


Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 9, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

capsfan0837: So did you have an emotional letdown with the seven wooden steps?

BTW, there are two extremes on here with regards to McPhee/Boudreau/etc.

You are at one of the extremes.

As is usually the case, I believe the truth lies in between the extremes. McPhee has done a good job with #1 and 2 picks of late. There are still "holes in his game." Same with Boudreau. Evidence team unable to fix the PP, despite all the talent, and the way he switches lines three times every period.

Some of us have been watching hockey 30, 40 years (my case: 47). We've seen the way the champs have been constructed over the years and how those teams play the game. We've also seen everyone in the Caps org say "The Cup is our goal." Sometimes when I criticize, it's because I am measuring what I see as the on-ice product for the Caps compared to all the Cup-winning teams I've watched.

The Caps have played a 60-minute game about 5 times this year. The rest of the time they coast. Just like the coach did when he was a player. Just like I did in college (so I understand).

Forget all the stuff about change style, whatever, the main problem is intensity. You needs lots of intensity to win 16 in spring. You can't lay turd after turd each year on Game 7 home games. Until the Caps actually win a tough series (not like when Torts handed us that one), the owner, GM, coach and the stars will be judged accordingly.

Like it or lump it, as Crosby says.

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

How do you know if Arnott and Wideman are better on the point with Carlson than Green Soaring Caps? Green has never played with either of those guys. I cannot understand why Green is so undervalued by Caps fans. When he returned from his shoulder and knee injuries his ability to break the puck out of the zone with ease compared to his fellow defensemen was immediately apparent. Wideman's ability to play the PP point not only makes things easier for Carlson because he was having to play too many minutes with Green out, it will make Green's job easier to because he can split PP time which will cut down his minutes too. It's funny how fans pick their players to hate and just nit pic every negative aspect of their game so they can continue to dislike them and try to convince others to jump on board with them. Green is an unbelievably talented player that has improved his defensive game as he's matured. I hope I never see Mike Green wearing another sweater. IMO, whether that makes me an idiot to some of you or not, Green is a superstar. Adding players like Hannan and now Wideman finally lets Green play managable minutes when he returns.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Valry lasted 20 minutes and then came off the ice. Doesn't sound like he is coming back any time soon.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

If anything, the best retaliation is to take the opportunity to rack one of their skill guys.
-------------------------------
This should be standard operating procedure.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 9, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

capsfan0837: Here's an example. Almost every hockey team it seems that is successful has a checking line. They also usually call it the 3rd Line. There was an link here about Brian Burke I read the other day how he acquires (oh, it was the thread saying maybe Leafs would go after Laich) each player with a specific purpose. The Caps had checking lines in the past - Bob Gould, Kelly Miller, Esa Tikkanen, Kono/Dahlen/Halpern, etc - but don't now. The GM hasn't acquired the right players and the coach doesn't seem to mind. They cobble together Chimera and two others and call it a checking line. Is Chimera/MaJo/Hendricks going to stop the Crosby line in the playoffs? Chimera - no. MaJo - maybe, but usually the 3rd line center has more experience. Hendricks - grit and toughness and he's a fair defender.

And that's mostly why I pick at the club, they aren't constructed the way other championship teams are. It's like a MLB team that doesn't have a 2B so they just use a spare 3B instead. Well, you can play second base, but that doesn't mean you can PLAY second base.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Neither Neuvirth nor Backstrom are taking part in the #caps morning skate.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

fanohock

I don't think you are an idiot. It's your opinion, most don't feel one can have their own opinion this msg board.

Maybe with 3rd line minutes, Green can prosper and maybe show up for the playoffs.

I don't think he is a superstar, especially under this "new" system the Caps are playing. He might be in Detroit or Chicago, but not here. I think he isn't as motivated to play because he doesn't want to be so constricted.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 9, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Varly = waste of money and time.

I really think the Caps should send him to Hershey when he does decide to heal.

I agree with someone who said that Neuvirth and Holtby have a great working relationship from their Hershey days.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 9, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Adding players like Hannan and now Wideman finally lets Green play managable minutes when he returns.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 9:52 AM

And that's another thing. For about two + years I've ragged on McPhee and BB for not acquiring the right defensive pieces and for forcing Green to lead team D in both offensive AND defensive minutes.

(How many times have I written, "BB keeps riding his stallions to death while a stable full of ponies stand idle?")

Better late than never.

BTW, fanohock, I agree w/you 100% on Green, which is why I reinstituted Doofus Brigade, Company G, yesterday.

You can keep both the Kool Aid and Goat's Blood away, thank you. SAOTI! Hey, I'm back on the fence!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Everyone here is a blowhard."
Posted by: vermontcaps | March 8, 2011 6:59 PM

Some blow harder than others. MUCH harder.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 9, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

listen to the player on the caps to see how "worthless" DJK is. When Orr ran green earlier in the year, I didn't see brads or hendrix jump in to defend him. It was King and Bruce said he did his job, he got the hardhat from Ovie also that game. That being said, DJK can't do much if bruce doesn't know how to utilize a player like that. Caps are something like 9-4-3 with him in the lineup

Personally if bruce let DJK play and develope, I think he could be better than thorton in boston

Posted by: _stevo | March 9, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Nick was in the lineup Monday mainly because he wanted to keep his ironman streak alive. Which is why I expect to see him dressed tonight, even if he plays only a few minutes, cast or no cast.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 9, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

tom: Although I have been a self proclaimed Kool Aid drinker, if you were to watch the Caps with me regularly, you'd see that I am a fence sitter. Let's say I am now cautiously optimistic with this team. Now, you won't see me reach back and try to say this team lacks what a Caps team from the past had, or what a player from that team would do compared to someone on today's roster. I don't do that because none of the past Capitals teams have won a Cup so I have moved on. Saying Tinordi would help us doesn't really matter because I experience heartache with Tinordi. Many called him a slow lumbering defenseman when he was here, I liked him, others considered him a liability at times. So people complain about roster players all the time, nothing has changed.

For people to compare these Capitals, or any team for that matter to the 70s Canadiens, and 80s Islanders or Oilers are being ridiculous. Those teams were dynasties. In the salary Cap era, the closest you will get now are the Red Wings, and all they are considered is a contender. Those other teams were basically locks that midway through the season, already convinced every other team that they were playing for 2nd.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@Wiley_One1, he was playing because the injury wasn't making him unable to. He had scored 2 goals since it happend. It wasn't like he was playing poorly and clearly just playing for the streak.

@SoaringCaps, I am sorry how many playoff games have Neuvy and Holtby played? Varly when on his game is the best goalie of the bunch. If either gets a game in the playoffs then we can talk about getting rid of Varly.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Wiley_One1,

No way BB should allow that to happen, playing with three centers for the majority of the game just so a player can keep a streak intact is just not smart hockey.

Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

To Washington Post.

The game between the Boston and Montreal was in Montreal, Not Boston.

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 9, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

To Washington Post.

The game between Boston and Montreal was in Montreal, Not Boston.

Posted by: darrylrbaker | March 9, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

So if we are 9-4-3 with DJ in the lineup, that means we are 28-16-7 without him in the lineup. Whats your point?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 9, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Based on Ovechkin's comments, Nicklas Backstrom won't play tonight against the Oilers. This will be the first gm Backstrom has ever missed.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

fanohock: I agree, but there's a difference between being a dynasty and being "constructed to win." The Caps lack I feel, even with the trades, what the Hawks had last year (and subsequently traded), as an example.

I think the now-Caps are halfway there. They can answer the critics if for example, in the Playoffs, they beat Philly. That would pretty much shut-up the detractors.

Can the Caps beat Philly in the Playoffs? I'm on the fence. Of course we CAN win. Anything can happen. But if they played the series 100 times, I'm afraid right now Philly would win 51.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Why has it been implied that Backstrom was only in the line-up because of an iron man streak and people are buying it? The 1st line generated all 6 shots in the first period against Tampa. Backstrom was playing fine. If the other lines would have contributed just a few we would have managed 10. I saw when Backstrom went down and I wasn't sure if he got clipped going through the high slot or what. Ovi was carrying the puck around the Tampa net from left to right and I saw Backstrom go down. Then they changed the camera angle so it was behind Ovi and I saw Backstrom heading straight to the bench. He never returned but it took the Versus crew half of the 3rd period to notice Backstrom wasn't on the bench and Pierre called it "a developing story." I knew we were SOL when Arnott centered Ovi and Semin on Ovi's next shift in the 2nd.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Marcus Johansson should center 8 and 22 tonight. Also, Eric Fehr will be back in the #caps lineup tonight.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

fanohock,

I am certainly not buying the iron man thing, I was just reacting to what I felt was an incorrect comment by wiley.

Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

So who is the 4th center tonight besides 15, 90, and 44? Brooks Laich maybe? Can Hendricks play C??

Posted by: MattBradley10 | March 9, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Tom: Totally agree, that's why I am cautiously optimistic. Outside of Philly, the rest of teams seem to be lacking things as well. Philly again, might be done in by their goaltending. Kane's winning goal last year was a soft soft goal. Bobravsky (sp) looks very similar to Varly a few years ago. Unbeatable some nights and other nights, just there. Vancouver is winning but they have serious injury issues, Detroit looks OK, but not as deep as they have in the past, Boston doesn't look deep enough either. Savard was a huge loss that they just haven't been able to replace. I could go on, but why? I really do watch a lot of games and see issues with a lot of playoff teams. All the teams sitting in a playoff spot right now, whether 1st or 8th seed seem one injury away from being in trouble. Us losing Nicky is huge. I'm not in the camp that Arnott moves up with Ovi. I would leave Semin, Ovi, and Laich together to simmer and get used to each other and move Majo up to play with Ovi. Maybe even call MP up if they have the salary space since it could be classified as an injury call-up.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Here are the Updates for the Caps:

Backs was seen leaving his house in a full body cast. He has to hire a drivers casue he could not drive himself to practice.

Ovie recorded a ovechtrick in practice. What is most amazing to most CAPS followers is the practice was marked as "optional".

MG was seen doing 350 lb bench presses and is close to returning, as long as he can pass his "whistle while you walk test" from team doctors.

More Updates due at noon!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 9, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Man, I just submitted an entry and it wasn't denied or anything. Looked like the window loaded properly but the entry is stuck out in the ether.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Whew...sorry for the non spelling/non proff reading....but you get the idea....

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 9, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Dang it I meant to say Semin, Arnott and Laich, not Ovi. Looks like someone saw a tweet, twitter, tweeter, or whatever the heck it is called identifying Majo as Backs fill-in, at least at the start.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"No way BB should allow that to happen, playing with three centers for the majority of the game just so a player can keep a streak intact is just not smart hockey."
Posted by: PhilR | March 9, 2011 10:28 AM

I agree. But, in BB's world, he has a bunch of players on the roster who can sort of play center including MH26, BL21, and JB63. With Gordon and MaJo, that give him five at that position, even without Backs. To predict what BB will do, you have to think like a player's coach.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 9, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

fanohock: Actually, if this were the Kentucky Derby, this year's NHL Playoffs could be called a "wide open field." Right now, no team stands out. The Caps are warming up and Chicago is hot. This article, though, the "emotional letdown" aspect, is kind of what the Caps have yet to prove. Many teams win a lot of games (121 pts last year) with superior talent, but an essential ingredient to hoisting isn't just ability to win but also the refusal to lose. That's the thing the Caps haven't mastered, the playing of 60 minutes and refusing to let up. It's what a lesser talented team in MTL did in 1993 when they won 10 of 16 in OT, because Patrick Roy refused to lose. The Caps have enough talent, assuming we have all our players.

Well, hopefully we get a full update on Backie, but I'm afraid it will be cryptic as usual and he will be proclaimed "game to game."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, something else I was thinking about watching hockey over the last few weeks. Do any of you remember how much crap we saw on here about Ovi's Ovechtrick commercial and him getting blasted by people saying he can't even score let alone score 9 in a game. Others were calling him arrogant. Well, the Flyers have their 82-0 commercial. Do the complainers think they really thought they'd ever go 82-0? Or maybe, just maybe, Hartnall and the other Flyers were asked to do a commercial and they said why the heck not, and had a blast doing it?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, something else I was thinking about watching hockey over the last few weeks. Do any of you remember how much crap we saw on here about Ovi's Ovechtrick commercial and him getting blasted by people saying he can't even score let alone score 9 in a game. Others were calling him arrogant. Well, the Flyers have their 82-0 commercial. Do the complainers think they really thought they'd ever go 82-0? Or maybe, just maybe, Hartnall and the other Flyers were asked to do a commercial and they said why the heck not, and had a blast doing it?

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

well if you really want to break it down then we have a better point % with him (66%) in the lineup than without him (62%), which equals about an extra 7.25 points a year if you break it down. Not much but thats my point.

Truth is I wouldn't take a player out of the current lineup to put him in, but I wouldn't say he is worthless as you so eloquently put it

Posted by: _stevo | March 9, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"Why has it been implied that Backstrom was only in the line-up because of an iron man streak and people are buying it? "
Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 10:35 AM

The question becomes whether Backstrom would have been in the line if he was not trying to maintain his streak. It is certainly a possibility that he might have sit otherwise. If he plays tonight, we will know for sure.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | March 9, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The Caps checking line is Hendricks/BGordon/Bradley.

The fact that is listed 4th on the score sheet is irrelevant. This is not baseball where lineups determine what order the players come out to hit. A 4th line can play first and get more minutes than the 3rd or whatever variation you want.

GMGM said he wanted 3 scoring lines and a checking line, the checking line being the Hendricks/BGordon/Bradley line. I have no problem with that. People will then state "where is the energy line?". Well, there is no rule that scoring lines can't create energy. Ovie's line creates energy on many occassions, sometimes with goals or sometimes with great hitting.

I do think it is very important that the 3rd scoring line is not a defensive liability, which is why I think Chimera needs to be taken off of it. But a 3rd scoring line of Sturm/MJ/Knuble would not be a defensive liability in any fashion.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Backstrom is wearing a hard cast, BB said. They expect it to be a short term (1-2 gms) absence and Backstrom is supposed to skate tmrw.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Katie Carrera
Boudreau said the cast is to keep Backstrom from aggravating/to protect his left thumb which was fractured on 2/21 vs Pittsburgh. #Caps

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 9, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

That's just my opinion. I'm sure some won't agree about the take-a-penalty type of hit, but I think that's what we have to do to keep Green healthy in the future.

Posted by: TimeForACup | March 9, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse
-------------

I second that emotion....

Posted by: vermontcaps

Isn't that basically what led to the Bertuzzi incident? Moore goes after Naslund, Bertuzzi goes after Moore.


...When he returned from his shoulder and knee injuries his ability to break the puck out of the zone with ease compared to his fellow defensemen was immediately apparent...

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 9:52 AM

Bingo! Exactly. Yesterday someone suggested watching Green in any game and add up the number of good plays vs. bad plays. I thought at the time if getting the puck out of your own zone is considered a good play (which I think it is) then I know the answer.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 9, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Man, I just submitted an entry and it wasn't denied or anything. Looked like the window loaded properly but the entry is stuck out in the ether.
---------------------------
I've been getting that too. Just keep clicking the window refresh button and it will eventually show up. You've answered a question I had though, it's hidden from everybody, not just the poster.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 9, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Is Beagle playing tonight?

Posted by: underpants2 | March 9, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The Caps checking line is Hendricks/BGordon/Bradley.


Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:03 AM

I don't think that scares most teams. That's why I've been harping on Clutterbuck, or someone like him, since last summer.

Do we have any forward who would even be remotely considered for the Selke?

"GMGM said he wanted 3 scoring lines and a checking line."

Is that a Cup-winning formula in your estimation?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 9, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Tom: He did go on to say that his ideal third scoring line would also be able to serve as the shutdown line for the opposing team's top line. With that mentality, that is shooting for 2 scoring lines, a scoring line with the ability to shutdown teams, and then a 4th line, or energy line.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 9, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes CI bloggers post so much it becomes a denial of service attack for the poor 'ole WaPo servers.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | March 9, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

@steveo - When DJ king plays he usually averages about 4 minutes of ice time. Does that really even have an effect on the game? 4 minutes ice time and 5 minutes in penalties. yawn.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 9, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"GMGM said he wanted 3 scoring lines and a checking line."

Is that a Cup-winning formula in your estimation?


Posted by: tominsocal1

Yes, that is what many teams do.

Now the question of whether the Caps checking line is good enough is a fair question. Just like it is fair to question if any team's scoring lines, checking line, defensive pairs, and/or goalie are good enough. We will see.

I think that checking line is good enough to make a run. Whenever they are on the ice they play great D and forecheck hard. That is what you want.

The fact that there is 3 "scoring lines" is absolutely fine. The reason a 4th line is generally termed an "energy line" is that the team has run out players with enough skill to score consistently. So they put out the best of the rest. The most important thing for most 4th lines is to not allow any goals while on the ice. If they generate some forechecking time, that is great, but the main goal is to eat up time without being a liability.

However, if your 4th line (the "3rd scoring line") can score some, but do so without being a defensive liability(so they let up no more goals/minute played than other 4th lines) then that is plus.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 9, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Don't know DJ King personally, probably a great guy, but the NHL is going away from his hockey playing style. Teams need players that are fast, strong and highly skilled. His type of player is signed for one thing--Fighting. We have quite a few players that know how to standup for themselves and teammates. Sitting someone more talented just to get him in a game or two is ridiculous. The game has changed and this playing style is going the way of the dinosaur.

One post suggested playing him more so he'll improve his skills. If you want that send him to Hershey for a year.

Posted by: ttenner | March 9, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Boston doesn't look deep enough either. Savard was a huge loss that they just haven't been able to replace.
---------------

This has to be addressed: Krecji is now, was last year, and will be for the rest of their careers a better all-around player than Savard. It is no coincidence they went 7-2 last playoffs with him in the lineup - and promptly lost four straight and got eliminated once he got hurt. Despite missing a slew of games he's 9th in the league in assists. Savard was flashier but also quite careless with the puck, and known for terrible giveaways at bad times. This year, just look at Lucic's #'s with, and without Krecji - for the first time in a long time, he's fulfulling the promise Neely himself long ago foretold [which happened only in spurts alongside Savvy]. And Horton's playing arguably the best hockey of his career; last year FL was calling him a bust.

These things - your linemates playing the best hockey of their respective careers - don't happen in a vacuum.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 9, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

he averaged 1.51 ppg, this year it's 1.03 - a decline of 25%.

Posted by: saintex | March 9, 2011 9:34 AM

Not to be anal, but that's a 32% drop.

signed, the anal one

Yikes. I did the .38 in my head and it's .48.... still at 32-33%. Good catch.

Posted by: saintex | March 9, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't like the alligator tears about not respecting the Oilers. Last night they played the Flyers, for God's sake.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 9, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

Worthless is having Bradley or Hendricks retaliate and get their butts kicked. Other than the "Ali like phantom right" by Bradley they have both taken beatings all season long.

At this point I say keep King inthe stands. He had been in a no win position since opening night. You can't expect your enforcer to enforce without playing/fighting time. Hopefully Washington has not tainted King's reputation and he's picked up by another team next season. That way all the nay sayers can see what we HAD in Washington and was never implemented.

Posted by: FLDave | March 9, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

bradley has won his last few fights. Winning a fight or losing the fight also doesnt really matter. Its sticking up for your teammates and not taking any bs.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 9, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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