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Capitals' power play off to a slow start

Morning Roundup

After the Ottawa Senators tied the game at 2-2 on a goal by Ryan Shannon in the third period Monday night, the Capitals were presented with a timely opportunity. Ottawa's Peter Regin went off for hooking midway through the period, giving Washington its fourth power play of the contest.

But the Capitals couldn't get set up on the man advantage and Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire needed to make only one save in that span. While neither the ineffectiveness on the power play then nor the Capitals' 0-for-5 showing on the man advantage ultimately altered the outcome of the game, it brought attention to Washington's slow-starting power play.

The Capitals are 1-for-13 through three games this season, while, conversely, the penalty kill is off to a superb start and thwarted all 12 opposing power plays it has faced thus far. Despite the discrepancy and perhaps the reverse situation of what many might expect from Washington's special-teams units, the Capitals aren't worried.

"Everything will come together on the power play, but one of our focuses [heading into the season] was that our PK wasn't great last year," said Mike Green, who played more than five minutes on the penalty kill and more than eight on the power play against Ottawa. "It was something we needed to focus on and it's part of the special teams that is going to win you hockey games. [Monday] we had five, six penalties on us and it was important we had a good PK. The power play will come, we have enough guys that can put the puck in the net."

When asked about the power play, Coach Bruce Boudreau noted that throughout his tenure, the Capitals have sputtered while on the man advantage in the early portion of the season.

For example, although Washington finished with the top-rated power play in the league last year (capitalizing at 25.2 percent), it started out going 8-for-48 (16.6) in the first 10 games of 2009-10. Through October last year, it was 13-for-63 (20.6). So maybe all there is to the power play is waiting for everything to click once more.

"For whatever reason, in October it hasn't been solid, then it starts picking up in November and gets better once the familiarity [picks up]," Boudreau said. "And there should be familiarity but it just seems to be we're out of sync a little bit and when we're getting chances we're not burying them."

FROM THE POST
Dan Steinberg on Tom Green unleashing the fury.

Also on the DC Sports Bog, Steinberg rates the Capitals' new introduction video.

IN THE MINORS
An evaluation of Braden Holtby at the start of the Bears' season, with videos. (PennLive.com)

By Katie Carrera  | October 12, 2010; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mike Green and his defensive agenda
Next: Marcus Johansson week-to-week and other injury updates

Comments

I know it's a one in a million shot, but wouldn't it be pretty awesome if at the end of the season we had the best PP AND PK! hey...a girl can dream!

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I would be more worried about the dangerous play by Ovechkin. Both of his penalties last night were downright brutal, the first where he tries to snap his stick in half with the cross-check. The second was even more horrendous as he absolutely train wrecked that guy, with his back!

Anyone on the ice within a 5 meter radius of Ovie has a grave risk of injury. Who knows what dark and twisted fates await them.

Posted by: dimagus | October 12, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@dimagus

thats HILARIOUS!!! the cross check was more like a tap on the back...and the guy was already off balance. The interference...well I am not sure that WAS interference as it looked like Rutuu touched him and not the other way around, but even if it was interference, it was not dangerous and Rutuu embellished like the little twit everyone knows he is!

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Definitely some terrible penalties last night, but at least the boys are getting to work on their PK, which looks much better to me. Some people think the D is still terrible but I thought it looked better last night than all of last season. Still missing that big D man presence but if both D men are doing an above par job, that should suffice. Hopefully.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I think the intro videos have declined since the 08-09 season. While I sort of like the idea of the new one, it's just not very cool and doesn't really get me amped.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 12, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"...Even worse than leaving King on the scratch list. Hopefully it doesn't happen again."

Posted by: cstanton1

Oh come on! No one would have logically predicted that kind of outcome. The Debbies (Devils) are not noted for being a fighting team (18th in the league last year). Leaving DJ King out of the line-up against teams like Philly or the next NJ game would be a mistake, but not this.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | October 12, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

We know how good the PP can be, downright LETHAL.

We lost no key players on the PP.

The guys appear a bit rusty, I believe confidence and adjustments (when we are struggling) are the key there.

The PK is indeed what needs to be focused on. And we have seen a MARKED IMPROVEMENT. We saw it in the pre-season and it has translated to the regular season and that is AWESOME.

LETS KEEP IT UP!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Also, BB is mixing up personnel on the PP. Flash, Fehr, Carlson, Knuble are being thrown in the mix with the usual five (Ovie, Backs, Semin, Green, Laich).

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

one thing I noticed from last night was about 4 times on the PP when a cross-ice/backdoor pass for a wide-open one-timer that was missed because the puck jumped over the stick at the last second! In 3 of those situations, the Caps shooter had a severe advantage had it connected.

Maybe it's a goal, maybe not! ...but chances are excellent the goalie would have had to make a great save if the one-timer connects like it did last season.

The PP was unlucky more than off last night. however, the Sens did a good job making the Caps earn it.

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 12, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that we seemed to be pretty horrible on faceoffs last night..which I think contributed to the caps having difficulty creating a flow and offensive pressure.

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

To me the biggest issue with the PP right now is that they aren't really moving the puck around and when they are it's far too slow with guys holding the puck too long. Last year a lot of the goals were pretty simple, get someone in front of the net, move the puck around until you get an open shot from the point, have one of your wings head to the net when you take the shot so you've got one guy already there to screen and get rebounds, and a guy heading in incase the rebound goes to the side. Also yesterday the guy they had running interference in front of the net was nowhere close to deep enough. Instead of right in front of the crease they were like 10 feet out. They aren't causing the defence any problems, and you can't pass to them so it's basically a 4 on 4. But it's early.

Posted by: Stu_c | October 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Oh come on! No one would have logically predicted that kind of outcome. The Debbies (Devils) are not noted for being a fighting team
---------

hence my comment that leaving Erskine on the bench was a worse move than scratching King :)

but since the Devils did elect to play LeBlond, it would follow that dressing your own heavy may be a logical move as well.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I know it's a one in a million shot, but wouldn't it be pretty awesome if at the end of the season we had the best PP AND PK! hey...a girl can dream!

Posted by: capscoach |

there's girls on this blog? that wasn't in the brochure.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I sure didnt like seeing Erskine out there in OT.

I like to see our best skaters out there 4 on 4.

He just ain't in that number...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes...there are female hockey fans not only in Canada, but also right here in the D.C. Metropolitan area :)

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse


I know it's a one in a million shot, but wouldn't it be pretty awesome if at the end of the season we had the best PP AND PK! hey...a girl can dream!

Posted by: capscoach |

there's girls on this blog? that wasn't in the brochure.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:22 AM

Wait just a minute, the ladies are all welcome here. Their presence is authorized and encouraged.

Besides, I'm still single.

***straigtens necktie***

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Besides, I'm still single.

***straigtens necktie***

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr |

the first thing i'd do is lose the necktie.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Besides, I'm still single.

***straigtens necktie***

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr |

the first thing i'd do is lose the necktie.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:30 AM

Wait...really? I thought it made me look distinguished!

DAMMIT, foiled again!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

***straigtens necktie***

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:27 AM

as i read this - i could only picture rodney dangerfield - sorry

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I sure didnt like seeing Erskine out there in OT.

I like to see our best skaters out there 4 on 4.

He just ain't in that number...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

look at it this way. The silver lining there is, Bruce wasn't ticked off at him for punching Ruutu.

In the past I've been downright disgusted with the way Bruce holds his pitbulls on a tight leash. Hopefully he lets Erskine play with an edge this yr and encourages that type of play by rewarding him with ice time in situations you don't ordinarily see him in. Don't worry, Erskine won't see ice in OT very often. If Poti had played, that's who would've gotten those minutes.

I don't remember if Alzner saw the ice in OT.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Erskine looked terrible all game, so it was beyond me why BB actually gave him OT time. I also realize that Poti was out and the game went into OT, but I hope BB doesn't make a habit of putting Green out there for 30+ minutes...I think that is PART of the reason he has struggled in the playoffs...Hopefully we can keep his minutes down to a reasonable level this season.

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

you don't get no respect wtf!

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I don't mind the ocassional punch in the face to a player that needs to be taught some manners, but generally I prefer Hendricks agitator style to plain old "lets drop the gloves"

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

***straigtens necktie***

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:27 AM

as i read this - i could only picture rodney dangerfield - sorry

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 12, 2010 11:33 AM

I get "No Respect" at all...

I tell you, with my doctor, I don't get no respect. I told him, "I've swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills." He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I tell you, with my doctor, I don't get no respect. I told him, "I've swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills." He told me to have a few drinks and get some rest.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I told the joke TWICE...STILL NO LAUGHS!?!?

...no respect at all...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

what was so wrong with the hit on Pominville anyway? Even if he had the puck in his skates, the end result would've been the same. The way i look at it, that "thug" swede hit him with the shoulder into the back of Pominville's shoulder. It wasn't a direct charge from behind or anything. I've seen that hit before without it being called a boarding major.

too often its the end result of the play, not the action itself, that gets all the hype. If Boyd Gordon had made that hit Pominville wouldn't have even felt it. Are we now penalizing the strength of the player involved in delivering the hit? All that swede did was drive thru the player and give him a glancing blow on his way to the puck. That's it. Again, not a direct charge from behind where he drove him headfirst into the boards.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

someone should make a dating site for single Caps fans

Posted by: Bagher | October 12, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

hey tell me the one about the guy who walked into a bar. And hurt his head.


@cstanton1

I don't mind the ocassional punch in the face to a player that needs to be taught some manners, but generally I prefer Hendricks agitator style to plain old "lets drop the gloves"

Posted by: capscoach

well, part of Hendricks' agitator style does lead to a dropping of the gloves. In the heat of the action, nothing wrong with dropping the gloves.

Anyway, Erskine didn't do anything except pop Ruutu right in the puss and send him tumbling over. If a player like Ruutu wants to charge into the crease area and pretend he's going to do something, he needs to get punished for it.
That kinda stuff is pretty common around the league. So lets make it MORE common around these parts!

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

someone should make a dating site for single Caps fans

Posted by: Bagher

boy there's a punchline waiting to be written....

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Man I love going to the games, cant wait for tomorrow.

Is anyone going to the Six Flags thing on Thursday? I am not, but might have a few extra tickets for that thing. I should know in a few how many extra, but it's looking like probably 3 at the least. Just as a heads up.

There is also a chance I will have an extra ticket to tomorrows game, but not certain yet.

I also hope the Devils get torn a new one...Stop being stubborn and trade someone already, I mean they need picks any how.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

everybody is ragging on the sexy lumberjack last night, but I have yet to hear anybody comment on how freakin bad sloan was last night!

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

Hi all - long time reader, first time commenter (I'm a Toronto-based Caps fan).

Thought I'd share my early thoughts on Caps through three games, since I have a lot to say and some may be controversial:

-PP: I think BB should consider moving Ovi up front and go with say Carlson/Green on D. Yes, Caps would lose Ovi's killer shot from the point but right now the PP is too predictable (too dependent on the Dmen). The upside would be Ovi being Ovi - a power forward. Recall Ovi's goal late in the Caps/Habs series when he pushed in a loose puck near Halak's pads... a garbage goal that can spark the team when the fancy stuff isn't working.

-D: of all D, Erskine has been particularly solid.. very few errors, many big hits, lots of rough stuff after the whistle. I think it was Erskine who lined up Alfredsson(?) at the Sens blueline yesterday. Caps need more of that. Carlson seems to play well with Ersk.
Alzner has been fairly unnoticeable to me. Neither good nor bad.
Green off to a good D start.

-G: Neuvy has been solid. I think the biggest issue here is that it looks like GMGM made the right move by not picking up an FA goalie (or trading). The easy solution would have been to add a G (e.g. Niemmi) but so far it looks like the Caps did well by holding steady.

-F: Flash... one thing has been clear to me since I started reading this board: Flash is not very popular. I was and I still am surprised by how strongly disliked he is. I can think of 29 other teams that would like to have him. True, 2C might not be best for him, but he is a second liner. Is it his fault the Caps don't have a true 2C so he has to step up and be that man? In the meantime, he is making occasional defensive gaffes but continues to impress on O. Last night he drove the net hard, splitting two Ottawa D and being stopped by an impressive LeClaire save. 0 points on that play but very few players could drive the net through 2 D like he did there.
-MaJo: still too early to tell, IMO.

rest of team - I'd say neither above nor below expectations. Backstrom does seem less than 100% but that won't last.

Posted by: PSD1 | October 12, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

no one but the Caps would've given Sloan a chance at NHL D

Not saying its a bad thing. Just that Sloan never distinguished himself on D at the AHL level so for him to get a real shot at the NHL is strictly a gut instinct on Bruce's part that given his size and mobility he'll figure it out here soon.

And no one at Hershey is pushing him for a spot here either. I wouldnt mind seeing someone like Patrick Wellar or Sean Collins get a look-see this yr.

one of the reasons the Caps deemed ShaMo expendable was they felt Sloan was a cheaper replacement who could give them at least what Mo gave this team.

speakin of, Mo laid out some heavy hits against Chicago yesterday.

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

@cstanton1

43.1 Checking from Behind – A check from behind is a check delivered on a player who is not aware of the impending hit, therefore unable to protect or defend himself, and contact is made on the back part of the body. When a player intentionally turns his body to create contact with his back, no penalty shall be assessed.

43.3 Major Penalty – Any player or goalkeeper who cross-checks, pushes or charges from behind an opponent who is unable to protect or defend himself, shall be assessed a major penalty. This penalty applies anywhere on the playing surface (see 43.5).

There is no minor penalty for a check from behind, the option is a major penalty, with a match penalty (that is what 43.5 says.)

By the rules, that hit was called correctly.

Posted by: piratusus | October 12, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@PSD1

Everything you said was reasonable excpet for Erskine...he is slow, clumsy, and while he can make a really nice hit on ocassion...he is too slow to recover fast enough and leaves his D partner hanging.

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@wtf_e_fehr:
same joke, 5 minutes apart... hmmm, attention deprived much? nyuck, nyuck.. :-D

j/k dude!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

MaJo is out, week to week on the injury report. Bad bone bruise or broken foot from when the puck hit him there last night.

Bradley and Poti are day to day, most likely out tomorrow night.

Observations from 3 games:

Erskine has been very good. Yes he has his bad moments but right now the good are far outweighing those which is a pleasant surprise.

MaJo I thought did a pretty good job through 3 games. Yes he has had his rookie moments but all in all a good job. Sucks he got hurt.

Flash productive on offense, not productive on defense. We all knew that.

Backstrom has been pretty bad through 3 games, and yes I think its due to his injury in the last preseason game that hasn't healed yet.

Neuvy has been awesome.

Chimera has been very solid, hopefully the people that wanted him gone are seeing what he brings to the table.

Hendricks does no wrong. My guess is he'll take over 3C with MaJo out.

Posted by: ThePat | October 12, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

By the rules, that hit was called correctly.

Posted by: piratusus |

bah!

"Chimera has been very solid, hopefully the people that wanted him gone are seeing what he brings to the table."

Considering this type of behavior is un-Chimera-like, and the jury is still out on if he'll keep it up, I'm willing to be a fan of his now until proven otherwise.

But Chimera has not played this way in the past except for an odd game here or there.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Peerless says -- Matt Hendricks didn’t get a star, but he should have. An assist (a pretty feed from behind the net for Eric Fehr’s goal), four blocked shots, two hits, and a plus-1, but it was his energy on the fourth line that set the pace for the Caps.

The guy is getting a lot of love...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@PSD1:

regarding Flash, I'm one of those "anti-Flash for #2Center" people and if he plays this decently (1G, 2A, +2, near 50% FO) for the long haul, then I might consider the unenviable task of eating crow and being happy about it, oiy!

note: I'm impressed with how well we've done considering the below player's stats line:
3GP, 0G, 0A, 0Pts, +1, 0PIM, 6Shots, 21:21ATOI

Who is that? Backstrom!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@wtf_e_fehr:
same joke, 5 minutes apart... hmmm, attention deprived much? nyuck, nyuck.. :-D

j/k dude!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 12, 2010 12:18 PM

:/

It was a technical glitch!

...I'm here every night this week.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Where was it announced that MaJo was injured?

Posted by: capscoach | October 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

and to clarify on mr changa

if he has a game here or there where he slacks off a bit, I'm not going to jump all over him. I just want to see him play the way he's played in the past 2 games for at least 70% of the season. 7 out of every 10 games. If he can do that, I'll be a fan. And of course, he has to play that way in every playoff game. I won't throw him under the bus if he doesn't play that way in every reg season game but he needs to show up in most games.

I'm also very skeptical of how he'll play on the road, esp in intimidating hostile arenas. You need your role players to set the tone and have the rest of the team follow. Its nice to see this newfound team grit on display at home. Now I want to see it on the road in a fairly consistent manner. Thats what separates the men from the boys and will be a truer litmus test of how far this team has come. And in the past, I haven't considered Chimera the type of player who will play the same way on the road that he does at home where's he got a comfort zone. Guys like Bradley don't change their games. You get a true blue-collar effort from him in road games.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I like that the guys have heard the critics calling them soft show ponies. They may not have the classic shut-down Dman, but defense is as much about attitude as anything else.

These guys have basically had their manhood challenged, and it's nice to see them responding. I'd put DJ King in to fight someone. Why not? Send the message out. The Caps have put the Ferrari in the garage. They're driving the F-350 this year.

Posted by: McLobo | October 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I've already told this girl, if the test comes back saying the baby is mine, we are changing his name to Hendricks.

Lol, jk...I'd appeal the DNA ruling first.

:P

For reals though, I hope he keeps this intensity up for 82 games. Him and Chimm-chimm. He needs to keep the black eye all year, kind of like what that one guy did in "Beerfest".

P.S. No, no babies on the way/tests pending.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 12, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Put MJ on IR, call up MP.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | October 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Katie will give you the update on MaJo injury. He took a hard dump in right off the foot if i remember correctly. And hobbled off the ice. Guess is its a bad bone bruise and he'll be back next week.

For the anti-Flash fans like myself...great news, he is no longer #2C. Looks like he may get a shot at 1C with Ovi and Knuble tomorrow night....

Posted by: ThePat | October 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

someone should make a dating site for single Caps fans

Posted by: Bagher | October 12, 2010 11:46 AM


If you're looking for single Caps fans a good place to start would be Ted's list of Caps bloggers...

Who knows, maybe some lucky gal will snag the cloak dude. He seems like a catch

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 12, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

and to clarify on mr changa

if he has a game here or there where he slacks off a bit, I'm not going to jump all over him. I just want to see him play the way he's played in the past 2 games for at least 70% of the season. 7 out of every 10 games. If he can do that, I'll be a fan. And of course, he has to play that way in every playoff game. I won't throw him under the bus if he doesn't play that way in every reg season game but he needs to show up in most games.

I'm also very skeptical of how he'll play on the road, esp in intimidating hostile arenas. You need your role players to set the tone and have the rest of the team follow. Its nice to see this newfound team grit on display at home. Now I want to see it on the road in a fairly consistent manner. Thats what separates the men from the boys and will be a truer litmus test of how far this team has come. And in the past, I haven't considered Chimera the type of player who will play the same way on the road that he does at home where's he got a comfort zone. Guys like Bradley don't change their games. You get a true blue-collar effort from him in road games.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:36 PM

You kinda make this guy out to be a big fast puss in skates. I just haven't seen it.

Not talkin' just this season. Last season, I dont remember him being overly physical but his speed is like WOW! If he can throw that big body around like he has been, and chip in a few pts here and there, im good.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The guy is getting a lot of love...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

quintin laing got a lot of love too, and he is now a distant memory. Things can change fast around here.

Hendricks is better carrying the puck and isn't exactly the same player as Laing but its pretty close. They both bring energy and good defensive grit to a lineup. I still would like to eventually see Hendrix center King and Brads. Which means King will somehow have to hope the Caps go on a losing streak to find his way into this lineup.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

You kinda make this guy out to be a big fast puss in skates. I just haven't seen it.

Not talkin' just this season. Last season, I dont remember him being overly physical but his speed is like WOW! If he can throw that big body around like he has been, and chip in a few pts here and there, im good.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

ok, i'm just saying I have seen it. And have not been a fan of his. He doesn't need to be Cam Janssen on skates for me to like him either. But in the past aside from rare instances, he won't finish his checks. He'll use his speed and then puss out in the end. Obviously he's doing something different in the past 2 games or I wouldn't be a cautious fan of his.

and yes, if he uses his speed and throws his body around and chips in for a point here and there, I'm good also. My dislike for him in the past is he's an underachiever in that regard and doesn't use his speed and size anywhere near as effectively as he could.

If he's putting out shifts in game 50 that he's doing in games 2 and 3, then all is well. If he reverts back to peeling away from checks and not being engaged in the game, I'm gonna rip into him deservedly so.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Put me in the camp that says Erskine has been doing well. He seems a little quicker on his feet. Someone said he had dropped 25 pounds. Don't know, seems like a lot. The physicality he brings is definitely welcome. He flubbed a few times, but so did most of the team at one point or another.

Posted by: _Mark | October 12, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The guy is getting a lot of love...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

quintin laing got a lot of love too, and he is now a distant memory. Things can change fast around here.

Hendricks is better carrying the puck and isn't exactly the same player as Laing but its pretty close. They both bring energy and good defensive grit to a lineup. I still would like to eventually see Hendrix center King and Brads. Which means King will somehow have to hope the Caps go on a losing streak to find his way into this lineup.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:40 PM

Color me surprised to hear you make that comparison.

Q. Laing wasnt much more than an energetic shot blocking wing.

Your boy has:

-shown us a bit of O (which we both know the brass LOVES)
-shown the ability to play multiple positions (gives BB less of a reason to sit him)
-shown shot blocking ability (led us last game in that category)
-shown toughness (fights when necessary, mixes it up in other ways)
-hasnt really been exposed to be particularly weak in any area.

You have been watching him more than anyone else who has mentioned him, and your testimony is that this is who he has always been, he just need his shot.

...shots here.

Its still early, but he looks a lot more valuable than a Q Laing.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | October 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Worrying about the Caps power play is like worrying about Peyton Manning throwing the football.

Don't worry about it!

Of far greater significance is the play on the PK and the fact Neuvirth does not seem over-matched playing at the NHL level.

Offense?

This team is going to lead the league in goals scoring.

It's what ELSE the team develops as part of its identity that will be important heading into the postseason.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Q. Laing wasnt much more than an energetic shot blocking wing
------------------

he was also a heavy forechecker. His big weakness was his inability to skate with/carry the puck. That's Hendricks' advantage over Laing. Laing was also a stronger player on his skates than is Hendricks who is a little undersized out there. But he battles hard and gets the job done. And he's always been more of an offensive player at the AHL level than was Laing.


but getting back to Chimera, he's avg'd less than a hit per game in his career. With as many opportunities as he gets to finish his checks given his speed, averaging less than a hit per game over his career speaks volumes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Its still early, but he looks a lot more valuable than a Q Laing.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

my overarching point was, there are a lot of Matt Hendricks types out there to be had. He's not a diamond in the rough. He's just a good solid role player at the nhl level, nothing more nothing less. Why we haven't been able to find and keep guys like this in our lineup on the bottom 2 lines instead of some of the scrubs we've had is beyond me.

and if he hadn't already proven it at the nhl level, mcphee wouldn't have picked him up as a FA. He had to go prove it somewhere else first.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Worrying about the Caps power play is like worrying about Peyton Manning throwing the football.

Don't worry about it!
------------

Yes - unless of course we hit '5 bad days' or face the proverbial 'goalie who stands on his head' come spring-time.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes - unless of course we hit '5 bad days' or face the proverbial 'goalie who stands on his head' come spring-time.

Posted by: govtimbo

i think if this team plays a collectively more intense engaged style, the PP or 'hot goalie' won't be the difference this time around. Teams who play a style more suited to playoff hockey make their own breaks happen. Whether that translates to more garbage PP goals or whatever, it just works out in the end.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

As much as I think Flash is doing well and is a fine second-liner (2C), I would be very concerned if Flash centered Ovi. That half of the ice would be very poorly defended. If backstrom ever needed a sub, MaJo or MP85 would make more sense IMO.

As for Caps' PP... they've got enough skill that I think BB should have two distinct strategies. He should have one strategy with Formation A, another with Formation B. I'm not just talking two lines. A could be 'D/Point' heavy (e.g. Ovi, Green), B could be 'Crease heavy (e.g. Ovi, Knuble). Depending on opposition, etc... they could apply the appropriate strategy. yes this dilutes familiarity, etc, but it would complicate things for opposing PK and would be a nice alternative if 'those 5 bad days' ever start recurring.

Posted by: PSD1 | October 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Obviously I was being [a tad] facetious in the above post, and MTL's top PKers [Halak, Plekanec, and Markov] are all terrific and very underrated hockey players - BUT - if I, watching on TV from my couch, can predict what our PP quarterback is going to do 9 times out of 10, I'm fairly certain playoff coaches who study opposition PP's for their livelihood can guesstimate what Mike Green's going to do next.

Look, I realize Greenie has obvious, demonstrable strengths as a hockey player - I just don't think decision-making is one of them. Especially decision-making under pressure, in clutch situations.

All of which is well and good, you can coach around that - you just might not want to have that particular individual running your PP for the entire two minutes, every PP. Or pretend he's Leetch, Zubov or Gonchar back there. Cause he isn't.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Flash centering OV might not be ideal, defensively - of course, tough for the opponent to generate offense if they don't have the puck, as #4 [Robert Gordon Orr] used to say.

Speaking of Flash, he looks even quicker this year than he has in the past, he blew by defenders a couple times. I wonder what his offseason workouts were like; whatever he was doing it seemed to have worked.

Also, whoever said Erskine's looked better, I agree - and in the past I've been skeptical of big John, not his attitude or work ethic of course, but I get nervous when he's out against quick forwards. But he seems quicker as well - and I think pairing him with Carlson makes sense, he knows Carlson's so damn quick he can usually cover for him if he overcommits, maybe.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 12, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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