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Morning roundup: Caps stick to the D they know

Morning Roundup

Instead of overhauling their defense this summer, the Capitals chose to bolster it from within the organization. Up-and-comers John Carlson and Karl Alzner will get the chance to step up and help this group prove it's got lasting power.

"I think our defense is obviously underrated," veteran Tom Poti said. "When you have a team that scores so much and has such great offensive players, what can you say negative about them? People have to pick on something . . . and our D might not have the names that stack up to the lineup of super forwards we have, but we're all confident in what we do."

Click here to read the full story.


AROUND THE WEB
Peerless takes a look at new Caps addition D.J. King.

Alex Ovechkin plays the role of diva and refuses to take off his skates in this very fake, but somewhat amusing commercial shoot. (via Puck Daddy)

Defensemen John Erskine and Tyler Sloan could end up splitting playing duties this season, writes Corey Masisak.


PRESEASON ACTION
The Caps take on the Preds tonight at 8 p.m. in Nashville. Katie is en route and will have updates from Bridgestone Arena later.

Via the Caps' Mike Vogel, here's tonight's lineup:

Forwards
Bouchard-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Johansson-Fehr
Hendricks-Aucoin-Beagle
McNeill-Eakin-Pinizzotto

Defense
Schultz-Green
Poti-Nycholat
Erskine-Fahey

Goal
Neuvirth
Sabourin
*Bruce Boudreau said yesterday the goalies would split the game again.

By Lindsay Applebaum  | September 25, 2010; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Friday practice update
Next: Capitals defeat Predators, 2-1

Comments

Sure wish I could watch the game...thanks CSN, your awesome.

Posted by: NatyBG | September 25, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, what can we say? There's nothing you can say that hasn't been already said. Nothing you can do that can't be done. But you can learn how to play the game. It's easy! All you need is love...

All summer we harped on the need for stronger D. The goat sacrificers from the Dark Side demanded it; those in the middle said it was absolutely necessary; even the Kool-Aid drinkers admitted it was needed. Only pga6, who elevated McPhee to Tex Shramm status as a GM, and Tom Poti, who recently signed for another $6M, believes we are "good enough."

Perhaps we could beat this dead horse even more. As I look out my bedroom window at the dry, barren hill behind, a few scrabbly weeds trying to gain a foothold where no rain has fallen since late last winter, the bones of Secretariat bleached into the hillside, the sticks nearby that so many have used to beat, I ask: "Why bother?"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

OK, humor me, I've changed my mind. Let's do this objectively, if possible, like this:

The top 30 defendemen, defensively, in the league, are dubbed, "1st Pair, upper half," or ranking of 1-1. The next thirty are 1st pair, lower half, for ranking of 1-2. Then you have 60-90 as 2-1, 91-120 as 2-2, and then third pair and 4th pair not distinguishing upper and lower. Let's play, "Rank the Caps!"

Green - a 1-2 defensively, very good, but not elite.
Schultz and Poti - let's say between them they cover a second pairing adequately, though some disagree I'm sure. Not pyshical enough for me, but adequate.
Alzner and Carlson - I'm saying third pair for now because they're rookies and there's the element of unknown.

Sloan and Erskine - between 3rd pair and 4th pair.

So, I say, with those rankings, are we Cup worthy?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

So, Tom, the way you've laid it out we're missing a top pairing defenseman (no surprise there). What if the team had replaced Poti with Volchenkov, at an affordable cap hit for the next two years? Then we have -

Green and AV
Schultz and Carlson
Alzner and Sloan/Erskine

Erksine plays against the more physical teams, Sloan against the speed teams. The top two pairs have a mix off offense and defense, with the top pairing being truly elite IMO.

How does that look?

Posted by: zmega | September 25, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Is Poti drinking or serving the KoolAid? The Caps could use two gritty defenders to pair with Green and Poti, respectively, for the first and second pairings. Maybe Alzner and/or Carlson turn into such players in a few years, but this year, I doubt it. Schultz has a great +/-, but does he fit? He is not a slick skating, outside sniping, blueliner. He is a consistent stick-checking, positionally sound defenseman; hence, his high +/-. Maybe Schultz with Poti, or on the 3rd line. But the Caps so need a rugged and able to skate blueliner.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | September 25, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the attempt at objectivity but I think you can still be objective by looking at it a totally different way. If we limit ourselves to this analysis, we're going to wind up without any defensemen worthy of 1st line defensive abilities. I'll humor you, but since we're all opinionated and longwinded, you'll have to wait for the end of the post.

The combo of Shultz/Green, whatever their styles and overall defensive ability, shut down other teams way more often than getting shut down themselves. I would call that "one effective line" and if it ain't broke, I'm not going to fix it. FTR, I was a huge Schultz hater until last season. I think he's a pansy and I think it is an insult to all of us every time he decides not to throw a check. But I can't deny the effectiveness of that D pairing throughout the regular season. I call this our #2 pairing, and a damn good one at that. Best in the NHL.

I'm in agreement with most that we need a big, physical, mean, rabid defenseman. I'd much rather see that big-money dman paired with stick-checker Poti and call that our #1 pairing. Poti was great in the playoffs last year. He's smart and responsible when it counts. Paired with a mean guy who lays people out, this can be a legitimate #1 pairing.

Carlzner, while unproven, is probably a legitimate #3 pairing at worst. Maybe not experienced enough to count as a legitimate #2 pairing this season, but I think we're all in agreement that it's time to put them out there to gain the experience necessary to get to that point.

In sum, at the trade deadline, we SHOULD have a top-flight, cup-contending defense, and I don't think there is any cause for alarm at this point. I don't think we needed to make a deal this summer just for the sake of making a deal.

As promised, here's humoring you:

Green: 1-2
Poti: 2-1 or 2-2
Schultz: 2-2
Carlzner: 3 with potential for 2 (maybe a low ranking but I need to see more proof)
Erskine: 3-1. I dunno where you slot this guy. I'm an Erskine fan, probably because he's the only guy we have that hits. I wish we had invested more training, more ice-time, and more confidence in this guy earlier. I'd like to see him as a regular 3rd pair man this season.
Sloan: 3. Not a believer. He'll never be any better than he has been.

Verdict: Underwhelming at face value, but yes, Potentially Cup Worthy. I say that only because this group was already potentially cup worthy last year, and might have gone far if not for Halak. Should be marginally better this year.

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Re: my last paragraph:

Actually, I think the Corvo acquisition made our defense worse going into the playoffs. Maybe we would have been slightly more competitive defensively in the Montreal series if we had just stayed the course. So, chalk up another reason why our defense is already better right now than it was in the playoffs last year.

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

zmega: Ding! You win a prize for playing "Rank the Caps!"

JIMALLCAPS1: Ding! A prize for you as well!

struggler: Ding! Prize as well!

Now, struggler, what we lack, is we don't have a d-pair to put out late in a key contest and Crosby's line comes out for an offensive zone draw. I'm not even talking Landway-Stevens but Johansson-Tinordi. Pretty much every Cup winner back to mid-70s has an HoF defensive d-man. (We don't know about Wesley, Boyle or anyone from Pitt in 09.) I agree, Green&Schultz, great as #2. You are playing the game well! And Poti, with a guy like Volchenkov, might be a #1 pair until Carlson is there. Not bad at all. Enjoy your prize!

And, to Tom Poti, for being our guest, a year's supply of red Kool-Aid for himself and the Poti family! Thanks, Tom!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@Struggler

Thanks for the post. It was well thought out. I have no argument. I agree.

Posted by: will111 | September 25, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one more thing.

The article itself.

Well, how would you, as a reader, rank it?

Quotes from Poti, McPhee, Woods and Schultz.

Kool-Aid and pablum, folks.

No qoutes from independent "experts" and no quotes from other organizations.

The Baltimore Sun early in the summer did a detailed write-up on Orioles prospects (insert joke here) and used other teams' scouts I believe ("unnamed" source) as part of the analysis.

This article centered around the player who most recently signed an extension. Not quite the same as asking Albert Haynesworth how the Skins will fare on D.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Struggler, a couple of points -
1. Schultz had a very good regular season. Against he Habs, his lack of speed was really exposed. I don't say get rid of him, but I don't want him on the ice at really critical times, if I can avoid it, in the playoffs. So I agree, put him on the 2nd pair. Green is the best we have now, even defensively. I say the need is for someone to pair with him in the late game situations.
2. By identifying Poti as first pairing, I assume you mean you would play him in these critical late game situations. When the other team is crashing the net with desperation, you want "Pacifist Tom" out there? Really? Not nearly as good as Green in those situations, IMO.
3. I'm not buying the "we can always bring in someone at the trade deadline" argument. What did it get us last year (Corvo)? Why do we think it will be different this year? It would be great if it happens, but it is risky to assume that it will. There's no guarantee that an elite d-man will be available at a price GMGM is willing to pay.

Posted by: zmega | September 25, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I got a new name for GMGM... WALMART McPhee!!!

if it ain't a rollback bargain, he ain't buying.

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

BTW, struggler, as Ricardo Montalban might say, while running his hand over rich, Corinthian leather, I like what I see.

No goat blood on your hands; no rivulets of red Kool-Aid on your chin; not afraid to challenge with facts; and you even went back and disproved (somewhat) one of your own claims.

Now, how bout that Matt Hendricks? Is this a big game for him or what? Eakin, he's headed back to Juniors, abscence about three forwards being traded or if he sets the world afire, but he'll make the club in a year or so, but for Hendricks, this is a make or break opportunity over the next week or so.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

About Aucoin:

I hope BB gives him one pre-season game between Ovie and Knuble just to see what he can do. If Martin St Louis and Briere can be effective centers in this league, why not him? He's definitely quick - on the ice as well as in his reading of the game - and creative out there. Not saying he'd be our 1C (of course not) but just to give him a fair shot...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 25, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Agree with most everything from Strugglers post except like Zmega, I don't see Poti as a top pair player, more 2-2. I do think he's better than many fans give him credit for though.
I might rank Carlson as a 2-1 or 2-2 already (idependent of Alzner-not because I don't like the pairing,I ultimately see 'Carlzner' as our 1-1/1-2 and hope they play many years together for us but for the purpose of these rankings would separate them as such).

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 25, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@RedLiteYogi

Two things: St Louis is a RW and not a Center. The other thing is St Louis and Brierre are successful because they are way way way way way way way more talented than Aucoin.

Posted by: ThePat | September 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The article itself.
Well, how would you, as a reader, rank it?

Not only would the article not make the Big League, it would immediately be reassigned to it's Junior A team for further development.
I'm not sure if Poti and the other players are drinking the Kool-Aid or if each is just holding the cup up to their mouth while making an exaggerated gulping sound, without actually drinking, before passing the cup to the next guy.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 25, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

If somebody would pay me to live on these boards, I'd respond to all the fine points people have made. Been running around today, and about to run out the door so I don't even get to listen to the game tonight.

Yes - putting Poti at 1-2 only works in the fairy land best-case scenario in which we happen to trade for a bruising, experienced dman. Even then, the Green/Schultz pair remains the actual #1 pair in terms of ice time. But for those closing minutes situations when the other team is trying to get the tying goal, yeah, I would rather have Poti and "Mystery Player" as our #1 shut-down pair than anybody else on our team. I disagree that Green is better than Poti in those situations. If we're all lucky, Carlzner is ready to deal with some of those situations, too. I just don't include them in the discussion because we don't have nearly enough evidence to make judgments yet.

Fully agreed there's no guarantee Mystery Player will be available at any point prior to the deadline. All of these hypothetical situations are our way of bashing our foreheads against the wall until the season starts. If the best available D at deadline is in the Corvo category, I say we bite the bullet and see what happens with what we've got. (I wasn't too impressed with the very little bit that I saw from Osala, but it drives me nuts when I think that we literally made our defense worse last year and paid a HUGE price for it. That deal might have been worth the risk if it were Pothier by himself. But Osala and a second rounder? My god, GMGM got schooled in that deal. If the same thing happens again this year... mutiny... )

So to refine my earlier post and then catch up with you guys tomorrow, here's my lineup for this year's playoffs, barring any possible trade, and taking the worst-case scenario view that Carlzner let us all down with their defensive abilities...

The #1 and #2 pairs are getting the majority of the ice time whenever we're ahead or the score is close. #3 is well rested for when the other team is making its push.

Green/Schultz.
Carlzner.
Poti/Erskine.

P.S. Yes, huge game for Hendricks. I wish we could see the guy play. Since I'm a slave to NHL Center Ice I've seen him play plenty of times, but never really focused on him or paid enough attention to have formed an opinion. If I had to bet, I'd say we offer him a two-way contract at the end of this little tryout and don't sweat it too much if somebody claims him off waivers this season.

Hasta manana.

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Well BB and GMGM have "made their bed" as far as deciding NOT to sign a veteran Center or Defenseman this summer. Other than some trade deadline additions, they both will have to deal with the outcome of their decision next spring...
Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 25, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Re: my last paragraph:

Actually, I think the Corvo acquisition made our defense worse going into the playoffs. Maybe we would have been slightly more competitive defensively in the Montreal series if we had just stayed the course. So, chalk up another reason why our defense is already better right now than it was in the playoffs last year.

Posted by: struggler | September 25, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

-----------
I have to chalk it up as another reason why the Caps shouldn't wait until the trade deadline; it screws up the chemistry. Add that to these reasons:
1) Adding the type of players that can help you costs other assets besides money/cap space;
2) You lose those players (usually UFAs) at the end of the season for nothing;
3) There's no guarantee that those players will even be available; and
4) There's no guarantee that those players' teams will agree to a trade!!

Just like our reliance on rookies to help the team at 2nd/3rd line center, defense AND in goal, it's yet another uncertainty for the Caps that most legitimate SC contenders don't have to deal with.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | September 25, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I feel as though this should be mentioned because it made me laugh and then, when I thought about it, made me angry, so now I am drinking rum instead of Sangria.

I was hanging out with my girlfriend while she made supper and the Caps came up. She knows I am diehard and she has been with me for a full season so she has heard me talk a bit and has heard my friends and I talk hockey and has watched probably 5 games with me. She is British and knows about soccer and cricket and had never seen one second of hockey before me. Anyways, when the Caps came up SHE asked me if they got a better defenceman. SHE knew that the team needs one to be better, and she also said 'Isn't that all they need to win the Cup?'. I would like to point out the key parts again.

Girlfriend, full on Brit, never watched hockey, knew the Caps needed a defenceman.

Maybe she should be GM for the year. It's painful to have a team that is so close, and it's obvious, but doing nothing to address the problems. Back to the rum...

Posted by: Aldred15 | September 25, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Today's least surprising news broken by DarrenDreger. Nylander on waivers.
about 6 hours ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 25, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she should be GM for the year. It's painful to have a team that is so close, and it's obvious, but doing nothing to address the problems. Back to the rum...

Posted by: Aldred15 | September 25, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------

The problem was addressed with Alzner & Carlson being here full time for the whole season. If we need more help as the season goes on we have the most flexibility in the league to do something to address this. Not to mention there are still more than a handfull of teams that are over the cap and HAVE to get rid of some salary. We have been involved in many trades etc through the off season but for whatever reason the deals didn't make sense at the time. I'm not panicking yet. Lets see how the 1st couple months of the season go, assess your needs and address them before the playoffs.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 25, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Just to throw some numbers out there:

In 73 games, the Caps gave up 54 goals while Jeff Schultz was on the ice. Of those 54 goals, 35 were at even strength and 19 were on the pk.

Now some other stats to show more of the picture: Schultz had an average of 19:51 TOI per game, 17:01 ES and 2:38 SH. He had virtually no PP time -(11 sec per game average over the season.)

So what does this mean? It means that for every 35:31 of ES time, a goal was scored while he was on the ice and for every 10:09 of Pk time, a goal was scored. As a comparison, Chris Pronger's numbers are 32:19 ES and 8:43 Pk time between goals. Granted, Chris Pronger has more of both ES and PK TOI per game, at 18:31 and 3:43 respectively and probably played against a better overall level of competition.

We may all be looking at the whole thing in a bit of the wrong light, anyway. There are several teams in recent years that have done well without a big nasty physical #1 defenseman on the team. I am not saying that the Caps should not get that person, cause it would sure be nice to have that, but it is a luxury that very few teams have.

My opinion is that the Caps will end up with having a very solid defense this year, that improved play from Green and Schultz, in combination with steady and improving play from Alzner and Carlson and continued steady play from Poti, the team will have better defensive numbers than last year. I am not saying they will be the best in the league, but I think the PK will be better and the defense will be in the top 15.

Getting older and more experienced will help the two main guys, Green and Schultz, Alzner and Carlson are probably overall an upgrade over Morrisonn and Jurcina, though that remains to be seen.

But what do I know, I like cherry Koolaid.

Posted by: piratusus | September 25, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Caps score - Mike Green.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 25, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, Phil Esposito, hopefully everyone has heard of him, was on NHL Home Ice about 1 1/2 hours ago. He was being asked about the Red Wings and after he talked about them outta no where he started talking about the Capitals. I know he has no idea what he's talking about but he said that if the Capitals don't win the Cup this year that there would be major changes because they are built to win the Cup. The host of the show said "McPhee and Boudreau" and he said not McPhee because he has built a team that can win the Cup. Esposito went on to say that the Caps had Halak happen to them last year, and so did Pittsburgh. Don't scalp me, just telling you what Hall of Famer Phil Esposito said on the air today.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 25, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I am not saying they will be the best in the league, but I think the PK will be better and the defense will be in the top 15.
------------------------------------------

Didn't they finish 16th in D last year? That would be some improvement... LOL

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

joek: You know what dude, enough already. You never say crap on here unless you are criticizing the Caps. Shut the heck up already.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 25, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

True, 15th is better than 16th. Maybe there is some psychological advantage to being in the top half of the league compared to the bottom half.

Maybe they will be top 10, but I think more likely they are going to be around 10th to 12th defensively in the league this year, they are still very young. The difference is that I think they will actually have better goaltending, I think Neuvirth is an upgrade over Theodore and Varlamov will be better than he was last year. Also, I think the defense will start out well, then have problems after the first few games, then steadily improve as Alzner and Carlson gain confidence and experience.

By the time the playoffs roll around, I think we will be watching a solid all around team D.

But there is a reason they actually play the games.

Posted by: piratusus | September 25, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Anyone able to relate what's happening/happened in the game?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 25, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

hey fanohock1,

why don't you take your head outta Ted's, GMGM's and BB's a$$??

since when is pointing out the FACTS criticizing the team???

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Piratusus: Those are good numbers Schultz vs Pronger and exactly the kind of analysis that I believe in. Goals per minutes played - I can get behind that (both offensively scored and defensively allowed) almost more than any other stat. Can you compare Schultz with any otehr supposed top D men? As last year unfolded, a bunch of us thought Pronger was having a crappy year. I called him washed up and said, "Hey, not only is he bad, but Philly is stuck with him for 7 more at 5.2 per!"

Now, he came up big in the playoffs, for awhile, until it really counted, then logged a minus 5 in Game 5 of the SCF.

Can you pull numbers for Schultz v Lidstrom and Schultz v Chara?

I have always been a Schultz backer, never basher. I'm not a DC politician flip-flopper, and support current Schultz contract as fair value second pair D-man. $2.7M is mid-point in top 180 NHL defensemen so we have Poti and Schultz being paid at just what they are.

Unfortunately, as aldred's gal points out (wasn't aldred character in King Arthur?), we lack the elite d-man.

I disagree with Espo - Caps aren't QUITE built to win Cup (see earlier comment by aldred girlfriend who although never watched hockey knows more than Espo, I'm not surprised, watched Espo for years in Tampa, he's not the brightest light on the Xmas tree).

Finally, Piratusus, good analysis, and fanohock, no scalping from me, but I say Caps defense can no way be called "solid" now or at end of year UNLESS either a trade is made or else if young Mr. Carlson's learning curve is way steeper than even the most ardent Kool-Aid drinker expects.

Plain and simple, nobody in the Washington Capital organization has given any hint, whatsoever, to be a Top 15 defenseman (defensively) in the NHL (Green is maybe Top 30-60) and every league champion back to when Moses led the Sinai Snipers to the Promised Cup has had such a player.

The only possible exceptions MIGHT be Wesley on the Canes (but, face it, he was very good, and tough) and the Pens, but that might be because Hal Gill in general doesn't get enough credit, although the auditer from the "Credit Where Due" Dept wants to remind y'all who led the D that beat Caps and Pens last year. I don't watch with the fervor of a cstanton1 so I can't tell you what it is that Gill does in particular but I rely on stats and actual occurrences and I can tell you that all other things equal, team with Gill does better than team without.

(BTW, Guerin is one of those types, and we could have had him in 09, 3rd round pick, but McPhee passed, Pens got him, and he MADE the difference. So don't tell me Mr. Esposito even though "Jesus Saves, But Espo Scores on the Rebound" put you in the HoF because you aren't really watching and McPhee HAS NOT built a Cup winner.)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1:
don't waste electrons - you'll never get through to joke

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 25, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

@piratasus & fanhock1 - you know ignoring "joke" goes a lot further. He never has anything good to say. He hates his job, he has no friends, no life & he's on sharps restriction. He's the guy that is going to complain about the Cup parade route & say we won by luck & we'll never win another one. Not only is he annoying and a loner, he rarely speaks facts or in reality.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 25, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@stevie_in_gp.

It is 1-1 end two. The Caps came out fast and had something like 6 of the first 7 shots in the game and Green scored at the end of the PP. Nashville went on a big run of shots to end the first and start the second but it is almost even at the end of the second (Caps are outshooting since the goalie switch at 10:30 9-4). The good news is the Caps PK is getting lots of work and is 5 for 5 so far. Erskine seems to think he is here for shooting because he is leading the team right now. Pinizzotto had what was called a big clean open ice hit and was forced to fight because of it and sounded like he did well until the end.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 25, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Joek: When you end a statement with LOL it is a critcism. Of course I'm sure you are the type of person that laughs in everyone's face when you are sitting in the same room.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 25, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Beagle makes it 2-1

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 25, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, ice.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 25, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. fanohock1 and joek443 are fighting. Ma's gonna get the hickory branch out.

"Boys! You better behave, or I'll tell your father!"

OK, here:

Bouchard-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Johansson-Fehr
Hendricks-Aucoin-Beagle
McNeill-Eakin-Pinizzotto

Here's what I'd like to know from whoever can watch:

1) Bouchard - I've been saying for two years he'd done nothing (re: Hershey stats) to demonstrate any kind of dominance in the AHL for a player who is either second line or bust. They are at least giving him a chance. Next year, his RFA contract expires as do his waivers. He has one more year they can send him to Hershey but 2011-12 he must make big club. Is there any hope?

2) MaJo - I'm curious. He's playing with two good players. How'd he do?

3) Aucoin has always put good numbers on his limited call-ups. He's getting paid $500K this year up or down. You'd like to see the club use him or trade him.

4) Hendricks. Well??? An encore?

5) Beagle, can be send down this year, but has a one-way deal next year. Well?

6) McNeill I expect in Hershey, Eakin I expect to Juniors (is it Swift Current Broncos?) and Pinner I've never seen but am very much intrigued by. Any surprises?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

No fighting Tom, flat out tired of comments that are ALWAYS negative. If someone isn't a fan and has the guts to admit it, that's fine, but when someone is supposedly a fan it gets old. Anyway, some what's with "aldred girlfriend who although never watched hockey knows more than Espo." Why? Because she agrees with your view of the Capitals. My grandma said the Caps are going to win the Cup this year so she knows more than Aldred's girlfriend.

I am really wondering what the reaction will be if the Caps win the Cup this year without BB changing his coaching ways and GMGM at the helm. I know you are fan which really add confusion to why you are such a non-believer. At NO TIME, not even in 1998, have the Capitals ever had a team this good. To really put it out there, for those that won't accept a hot goalie excuse, the ONLY reason we went to the Finals in 1998 is because Kolzig got hot when it mattered. If Kolzig played average the Caps would have been out, quick. That team with Kolzig playing average would have been destroyed by this team.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 25, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

hey fanohock1,

did you go to the same school as MReilly9 and take the same math class?

you two seem to have the same difficulty with simple numbers.

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

@Tom -

I started doing the stats with Schultz, Green, Pronger and then Chara about 6 weeks ago in the evenings while I was on the road for work. I realized that on my slow computer using slow network connections at the hotel, it was taking me a couple hours per player and was not sure it was worth the trouble, as going through each game log and looking to see who was on ice was a pain, but for you, I might just go ahead and finish up with Chara.

I am travelling again this week, so if I get really bored, I will try doing the stats for some of the West d-men, maybe even do Keith, Volchenkov and Mitchell. And maybe even Gill.

Posted by: piratusus | September 25, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

If Kolzig played average the Caps would have been out, quick. That team with Kolzig playing average would have been destroyed by this team.
---------------------------------------

NOT if the games were played under the pre-lock out rules!!!

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Now you're just being a bonehead joek. Isn't there some NASCAR or Formula 1 crap on?

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Caps win 2-1

Posted by: JMinVA | September 25, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

2-1 final
6 for 6 on the PK
1 for 1 on the PP
erskine is a stud - almost 20 min and 4 shots - thats gotta impress BB

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 25, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Not till tomorrow fanhock1,

gonna be a big raceday tomorrow, the Singapore Grand Prix in the morning then the Monster Mile (Dover) in the afternoon plus NFL... the hockey season starts way too early, they should wait till November!!

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

fanhock1 - I just thought of something. When you're dealing with him understand what his primary sport is. I won't even mention the fact that he thinks they're athletes. That should sum it up right there. Pray for the unfortunate!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 25, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

hey pokerfaceI208,

I think you're suffering from oxygen deprivation to your ____, no amount of blue pills will help you there...

F1 produced the first BILLION dollar athlete on the planet in Michael Schumacher, if you're fit enough to deal with 4-5Gs for 90 minutes, you should try out!!!

Posted by: joek443 | September 25, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

fanohock: I have put many, many, many, many times here. But, I'll put again, one more time:

Caps, Sharks, Pens, Canucks 10-12% chance; Flyers, Bruins, Hawks, Wings 8-10% chance; Devils & Kings 5% chance; the field balance of 10% chance.

OK, if you see me put that, over and over, you know what I mean: Caps have as good a chance as anyone else to win Cup. Do I ever say no chance like the goat sacrificers ala your bud joek443? No. And what have I said repeatedly? OK, I'll say again, Caps have the best offensive talent, by far, in the league, and it would be a CRYIN' SHAME to go into the SCP with an average D. A CRYIN' F-IN SHAME, fanohock1.

What would I expect from Ken Holland as caps GM if it were? Well, he'd go out and as a minimum get a tough D ala Kronwell and a vet center to anchor checking line.

I am NOT a non-believer and have never expressed such. I am a statistician by trade and give them a 10% chance with margin to move up to 15-20% chance with some good moves! I am frustrated because McPhee refuses to see what's flat out in front of his face and that's we can plug 2-3 holes and then be clear favorite!

How can any general manager in any sport waste such an opportunity? I have posted before, ad infimun, ad nauseum, military comparisons, US military does not go into conflict until they have clear and sustainable superiority! The only team in the NHL who can have such superiority, due to offensive talent, is the Caps! But there are two parts to hockey, offense and defense, and McPhee refuses to admit this!

Yes, best team in history of club! Will we win? Maybe! 10% chance. But it can be made better! Make some moves, McPhee, or risk wasting a glorious opportunity!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

OK, fanohock, I'll tell you this, what would it take to make me quit my beyotching, since some here seem annoyed with my bark?

I want to make two trades - just two. These trades are CAP NEUTRAL (actually, we give more space than acquire back) for this year, and both are 1-for-1s. These two trades will give us, IMHO, an increased chance to win the Cup, maybe significant like doubling our chances!

NOW, the kicker is because these trades are cap neutral, I can do them and no one on Earth or in Heaven can stop me!

1) I send Poti to Detroit for Kronwall and 2) I send Flash to the Ducks for Koivu.

That's all I want, fanohock1, that's all I want in the world to make me a happy camper! Now, tell me, fanohock1, tell me you wouldn't make those deals! And tell me, fanohock1, wouldn't those deals make us way more balanced? And, finally, do you subscribe to McPhee "Can't" do anything to help the team or he "Won't?"

So far, the answer been that he "Won't."

Exhibit 1 for the defense: Andy Sutton. Coulda had him, for 2.5, and he would have upgraded our toughness. Exhibit 2: Lombardi, Koivu, Madden, Modano et al. There were centers to be had, and there still are.

So, now I ask you, do you make Caps odds-on favorites for Cup this year or could they be made better first? Tell me your odds, fanohock. Inquiring minds want to know. :)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Piratusus: I certainly didn't mean to create work for you. Honestly, I thought that the stat "goals scored per 60 mins while player was on the ice" was readily available. No? It should be, it's a fine stat.

fanohock: I'm still here. Let me say that the 2008 Grenache is GONE and I've opened now a 2008 Clos du Bois sauvignon blanc as a "reinforcement."

I want to thank you then for driving me to drink. Hey, someone has to do it.

Let me please remind you, as always, that you are a gentleman, and I tell everyone, as you took care of me last year when I needed a ticket. Therefore you will please understand than any discourse I offer in rejoinder to one of your statements is done so, always, with the utmost respect.

Yours truly,
tominsocal1 formerly tominfl1

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 25, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

tomin, I'll bite, and I apologize in advance because I haven't been following the trail all that doggedly:

You'd make those moves in a vacuum, and you're saying they're all it would take to "make you happy?"

Is this in response to fano implying that he wouldn't change anything at all? ('Cus I didn't infer that, but maybe I'm not doing my close reading so good . . .)

I understand that they happen to be cap neutral moves . . . but they are not moves that would ever be made by the other parties.

Not taking the pi$$, genuinely trying to understand your point (which is generally much easier, even for simple ol' me).

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 26, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

stevie_in_gp:

(wherever the he!! gp is)

It's a long story.

You see, I guess, I used to be more in-tune with those, while not Kool-Aid guzzlers, were those who at least sipped the beverage.

That was BM (Before Montreal, not, you know).

I had accepted the 2008 loss to the Flyers ("We ran out of steam.") and even the 2009 loss to the Pens (37-19 on PP, those dastardly refs). I believed destiny was on our side.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum.

We got whipped by a "weaker" team.

So I re-examined posts by people like cstanton1 and then realized that the Caps were one of those teams unfit for the Playoffs.

It was hard for me to accept this and was perhaps the primary reason I turned to drink.

Naturally those other teams wouldn't make those trades. And that's part of my point: If the Caps are paying fair wage, why can't we trade, or is McPhee paying too much for the wrong skill?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 26, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I'm very glad the Caps didn't overpay for Andy Sutton. Did you see him play against the Pens in the playoffs last year? Horrible. Sutton was the slowest man on the ice. Crosby beat him like a rented mule. I'd rather just keep Erskine.

I think the Caps do have a solid D next year.

Green is a 1-2 defensively but a clear 1-1 overall defenseman(remember there are two parts to the game).

Schultz is a 2-1

Poti is a 2-1

Carlson and Alzner are wait and sees but based on their play in the NHL previously and their play in the NHL playoffs last year I expect them to be a 2-2 at worst. Who says Carlson can't be a 1st pairing defenseman this year. How old was Doughty last year? I'm not saying he will be Doughty but he could definitely be a 1st pairing quality defenseman. And as could Alzner.

Also, you mentioned Ken Holland. Well, as I wrote yesterday, in the NHL Preview issue for ESPN the magazine there was an article about Detroit and how they choose talent. The Red Wings scouting staff and GMs(led by Ken Holland) drafts players on the mantra "Skill and sense trumps size and speed".

In addition, you mentioned the Penguins. Do you remember who was the best defenseman on the team when they won the Cup? Gonchar. When the Pens fired their coach during the season and hired Bylsma, they improved greatly. But that also coincided with the return of Gonchar. Read all the statements by Crosby and the group. Gonchar was, by far, the most important defenseman on the team. Not even close. Did you see the quotes by Crosby talking about Gonchar this offseason? He sounded crushed and worried about their D this season.

@pirtatus

you put up some great stats to show the effectiveness of Schultz. If possible I was wondering if you can put up similar stats but for Poti last year. I think his Even Strength stats were very good.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 26, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Ah, tomin, much clearer to me now, appreciated.

And while I buy your criticism of McPhee, the idea that fair or equal value as measured by individual salaries is fun for making a point, but we know that it's not apples-to-apples - again, as in a vacuum - but apples-to-bigger, more physical, more-stay-at-home apples. Different values may reasonably be assigned to any given player based on how said player fits into any given system.

Which is NOT to say that I agree with said system or said values, just that your comparison misses the mark ever-so-slightly.

McPhee lacks judgment, not courage, in other words. Which is clearly (part of) your point; I was just distracted by the numbers comparison.

If it was _in_gloverpark, would it ring any bells, or were you never a DC resident?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 26, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

And c'mon, man, who are you fooling? You turned to drink long before then. I've been coming here a while.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | September 26, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

I think I must have hit my head or something. Was it the defense that was the problem in the playoffs last year because I could have sworn it was the offense and the power play.

Posted by: overhead | September 26, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

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