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Capitals 'need to win the right way'

Morning Roundup

The Washington Capitals know they haven't played their best hockey. But after going 3-1 through their first week of the 2010-11 season, they're also rather pleased that even though some games weren't perfect, they still found a way to win. The key between taking the glass half full or half empty is balance.

"We had that last year and the year before. Some games we aren't playing as good and we have to find other ways to win, but it's not going to happen every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "Especially at the beginning of the season, we have to focus on doing the right things to win. We need to win the right way."

Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about the team's mentality Thursday, a day that featured nearly perfect attendance at an optional practice.

"They're happy with the results but not completely satisfied with their play, and usually two things happen when that happens," said Boudreau, who added that the team would have a "really good practice" Friday. "You either think things are going great and you end up going downhill and it's hard to get out of the funk. Or you start pushing them harder and because we're not where we want to be."

FROM THE POST
One of those little things the Capitals are looking to improve upon is their work in the faceoff circle, where Washington hasn't experienced its usually success early.

IN THE MINORS
Sheldon Souray may make his debut with the Bears against Binghamton Friday, while Hershey prepares to raise its latest championship banner Saturday.

The RMNB group debuts a new Hershey-flavored blog: Sweetest Hockey on Earth

AROUND THE WEB
CSN's Corey Masisak on John Carlson still being a work in progress.

USA Today's Kevin Allen lists his top-15 rookies, with Carlson leading the pack.

By Katie Carrera  | October 15, 2010; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
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Next: Mike Green won't play in Nashville

Comments

first

Posted by: pebowers | October 15, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

While they might not be playing their best hockey, the D and PK have looked alot better than last year and the team seems a bit grittier so far. Everyone here would have taken a 3-1 record, a GGA under 2.50, and a 100% PK to start the season. The PP and the rest of the O will come around, they have too much fire power for it not to. When that happens, well lets just say they might be okay.

Posted by: beargibson | October 15, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Lets hope Carlson keep up the good play and earn rookie of the year. Noticed Neuvirt is on the list too.

Posted by: instinct227 | October 15, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I am glad we are not as good this year as last yet...we have a ton of rookies, a better PK, and why would we want to peak in the first week of the season?

BB has made it clear that he knows who is struggling and where the team needs work. The D is still making gaffs, but when they get the flow they are much better than last season, so I think with some more experience (and the return of Tom Poti) we will see marked improvement there...the O will come...not need to worry about that.

I also think/hope that GMGM now sees that we need another D man b/c we can not have both Erskine and Sloan in the lineup...I don't think we need an expensive guy, but just a solid 1-2 mil a year player....who is also physical. I think GMGM wanted to see what we have before he started making trades. The defender will come soon, and possibly a center around the trade deadline.

Posted by: capscoach | October 15, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I am glad we are not as good this year as last yet...we have a ton of rookies, a better PK, and why would we want to peak in the first week of the season?

BB has made it clear that he knows who is struggling and where the team needs work. The D is still making gaffs, but when they get the flow they are much better than last season, so I think with some more experience (and the return of Tom Poti) we will see marked improvement there...the O will come...not need to worry about that.

I also think/hope that GMGM now sees that we need another D man b/c we can not have both Erskine and Sloan in the lineup...I don't think we need an expensive guy, but just a solid 1-2 mil a year player....who is also physical. I think GMGM wanted to see what we have before he started making trades. The defender will come soon, and possibly a center around the trade deadline.

Posted by: capscoach | October 15, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I agree the PK has looked good. The pressure is controlled and Neuvy has made the saves when needed. Edmonton's 100% PK (although it was only 2 games vice the Caps 4) was blown to bits last night by Minnesota. The Wild went wild and was 4 for 6 on the PP last night. Let's hope our boys don't have a rush of PP goals against them like that. Old habits creep in when things start to go wrong with a new mindset. Not being gloomy here, not at all. Just ready for the flood of negativity when the Caps do give up their 1st goal on the PK.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 15, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

glad they are 100%, but it is early, and yes they will give up a goal, sooner then later i am sure. It is early for us, and it is early for all other teams. Again, great first week trends. Rather be talking about 15-15 rather then 8-15, etc. Thank you Caps for nice start!

Posted by: hunter321 | October 15, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I think their first real test comes tomorrow evening against a tough, defensive team that can also play well on the offensive end in bursts. They are also probably the only team played so far that will go to the playoffs IMO. Jersey is just in cap he!! and will be all year so don't expect them to make it and Ottawa is on the fringe IMO. Nashville is a solid team playing in a very tough Western Conference.......will be a very good test to see just how much grit this team has gained. I just hope Poti is back so I don't have to suffer through watching Sloan again, he has been simply horrible!

Posted by: PhilR | October 15, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting all the talk about how good and or how bad things are after 4 games.
@ beargibson - While I agree there has been a marked inmprovment on the PK. I have some real questions about the D, should Sloan even be on the ice? He got thrown off the puck and out of the way at will on Wednesday night. Mike Green, before he left the game, appeared to be trying to perfect his ability to tea bag the blue line. If Jeff Shultz hadn't been working his butt off all night it could have been very ugly.

I am also wondering what BB saw in Elmo between the pipes on Wednesday. I sit behind him for 2 periods and I didn't see what he saw. We used to refer to Jose as The Fish as he was appeared to be flopping around in the crease like a fish on the deck of a boat and Elmo was doing the same on Wednesday. We even saw him duck out of the way of a puck during the second period and that was clearly seen looking down the ice.

So its way to early to look at stats and it maybe way to early for me to rag on the D & Elmo but given the way we are playing and the way the rest of the south east is playing we could be in trouble.

I take heart in the fact that the Pens haven't won at home yet :)

Shout out to SECTION 115 !!!!!!!!!!!!!

DROP THE PUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: bqts | October 15, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with PhilR. Nashville is a very tough team. They always play the Caps hard. I think they play them harder than Philly. It will be interesting to see how Varlamov holds up because Nashville will be crashing the net hard. That will be the true test of our D, winning puck battles and keeping them out of Varly's crease.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 15, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was at the last game and Sloan was god awful. He looked lost. I can't believe that we don't have anyone in Hershey better suited for the NHL than that guy. The puck went by him at one time and he did like a 360 and almost fell over. It was disturbing. He is by far our worst D.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 15, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Now this is music to my Caps fan ears.

Backstrom knows what's up and BB is acknowledging it, too.

These guys have to start developling the right habits early in the season: finishing checks, more physical along the boards, better two-way play by all the forwards, etc...

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 15, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach...The Caps are actually ahead of last years points total after 4 games...

Posted by: nimrodrsp | October 15, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Also need to very simply improve their collective work ethic. It's as if they believe their own hype at times.

Sure, the core is young so that is understandable to an extent but it's time to take that next step in mental maturity.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 15, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Not defending Sloan, as I am not a fan, but the puck was getting past everyone it seemed in that last game.

And so far I have not been upset with Erskine, but I havent made up my mind if it's that he is playing better this year, or everyone around him has been playing so piss poor that he stands out more.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 15, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

@ SeminAllOverTheIce

I would say he has improved, we went to several of the training sessions at kettler and my wife even commented then the Erskine looked like he was in better shape than last season. I think he is playing with alot more grit this year so far. We also have to keep in mind it is a contract year for him, so he has to work his butt off. He will be 31 at the end of next season(June) and he is not a top line guy so he has to get himself noticed, if not here somewhere else.

Posted by: bqts | October 15, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

IMO Ersk is finally comfortable about hitting again after his concussion run ins. I think he was tentative last year as he didn't want his career to end on one hit and now he realizes he has indeed fully recovered and can play his game. It's nice to see cause I really like Erskine although he is slow as he!!.

Posted by: PhilR | October 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

i couldn't agree more. The lumberjack is playing with more grit this year and I would attribute most of it to the fact that he feels that his concussions are behind him or at least the lingering effects

the contract year thing doesn't hurt either

Posted by: _stevo | October 15, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@nimrodrsp

that doesn't mean they are playing better.

Posted by: capscoach | October 15, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR - Great point, I forgot about the concussion issue. Ersk is playing with the reckless abandon from two seasons ago which is much needed since the loss of ShaMO made us even less physical on the blueline.

Posted by: jakopz | October 15, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

What the hell when did the Oilers loan us Souray?!

Posted by: digster1013 | October 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

diggy: The Oilers didn't loan Souray to us, they loaned him to the Bears. Yes, it is different. I don't even need cstanton1 to connect the dots for me. That's not directed at you diggy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 15, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Sure, the Capitals have the inside track on players in Hershey that are Bears property but, he was an enforcer at the AHL level
---fanock----

i guess i did need to connect the dots for you after all.

Deryk Engelland was NOT an enforcer at the AHL level. He was a defenseman who logged a lot of ice time, both with Hershey and later with the Baby Pens. Just because a guy fights here and there and is good at it doesn't mean he's an "enforcer". Unless you consider players like Sheldon Brookbank to be enforcers. Hell, even Matt Carkner now pulls down a reg shift so you can take that label off him as well.

You need to go back to hockey school and learn what an enforcer is.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 15, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh I know it was to the bears. I guess I just completely missed when this happened.

So what does that exactly mean for Souray?

Posted by: digster1013 | October 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I think their first real test comes tomorrow evening against a tough, defensive team that can also play well on the offensive end in bursts.
------------

they got a little rougher with Shane oBrien back there as well. Their toughness is really on their blueline. They're not overly physical upfront. Tootoo, Colin Wilson, Smithson, and Belak. 4 physical forwards. Its their blueline with Weber, Boullion, OBrien, Suter that makes it hard for forwards to have a lot of room out there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

So what does that exactly mean for Souray?

Posted by: digster1013

he's tenatively scheduled to make his hershey debut tonight v Binghamton. He's certainly coming in with the right attitude.


“I remember when I was in the minors and some of the guys were coming down from the big team, I was a little shy to talk to them. I was kind of on my tippy toes. So I just want to make every guy feel comfortable here and try to lend some experience where I can. Still, I want my leadership to show on the ice. I want the guys to see my character -- and anyone who’s watching to see my character. Hopefully, it will rub off on these guys a little bit, and vice versa.”


“With hockey guys, the dressing room is a different place,” French said. “As soon as you get into that dressing room, it doesn’t really matter where you’re coming from. He seemed to fit in with the guys right away. He certainly seems to have a likable personality. Our young guys might have been a little bit awed of him at times. At the same time, I think he certainly adds a presence.”

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 15, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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