Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Pick 'em: How many games should Michal Neuvirth start on the road trip?

Morning Roundup

When the Capitals elected to reassign Dany Sabourin to Hershey yesterday and bring up Braden Holtby, 21, a logical conclusion was that the latter could potentially have the opportunity to make his NHL debut, should the team elect to give Michal Neuvirth a rest during their first major road trip. It's a chance Holtby is certainly excited about, but one he knows he ultimately doesn't control either.

"I'm definitely hoping for it and it's out of my hands but it was a good practice [Monday] and I'm confident that I adjusted to this level fairly quickly," Holtby said. "I don't know what's going to happen on the road trip, but I know kind of how they view the goaltending situations and that three [games] in four nights is quite a bit. Hopefully I can use these two days to show them I am ready to start and focus on showing I can perform."

Although Coach Bruce Boudreau said yesterday that the Capitals aren't afraid to lead with Neuvirth, who has proven his ability to excel with a tough schedule, this stretch of three games in four days involves significantly more travel and time zones (3) than the stretch of games Neuvirth played to kick off the season. So it's definitely possible that Holtby could earn his first start, but it wouldn't be too surprising either to see Neuvirth get the nod each time.

Considering how well Neuvirth has played -- he's 5-2 in eight games (seven starts) with a .919 save percentage and 2.53 GAA -- and how many of Washington's victories can be closely tied to his ability to keep the Capitals in games.

So, what would you do? Start Neuvirth, assuming nothing strange happens and he continues his strong play, in all three? Or should Neuvirth get a bit of a break and Holtby play in his first NHL game? Does it all depend on the unknown of how each contest pans out? (Poll after the jump)


FROM THE POST
Updates on all of the Capitals who are injured or nursing injuries heading into this three-game road trip here and here.

Did you miss Coach Bruce Boudreau's live video chat? Check out all the questions and his answers.

Dan Steinberg (and a whole host of others elsewhere) discuss the GQ magazine article on Alex Ovechkin, his offseason and much more.

AROUND THE WEB
Week three's ups and downs from Japers' Rink.

With Braden Holtby in Washington, here's a closer examination of his play this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phantoms (text and video) over at PennLive.

In case you missed it, RMNB's Neil Greenberg has a great break down of the Capitals scoring chances thus far.

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski has more on Michael Nylander, who broke a vertebra in his neck this weekend.

By Katie Carrera  | October 26, 2010; 10:04 AM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Morning Roundup, Pick em  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitals recall defenseman Brian Fahey
Next: Injury and roster update as Caps ready for three-game road trip

Comments

Fist?

Posted by: griz0615 | October 26, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

So is Ovi a dick for all the stuff in the GQ article?

Posted by: griz0615 | October 26, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

@griz

I consider Ovie a success for overcoming the obstacles he had to...it is easy to judge Ovie for his lifestyle and personality, but he did not grow up in happy Canada or with a good government, schools, and democracy. He grew up in post-soviet Russia...It was not a pretty place to live, it was not a safe place to live, and it was definitely not a happy place to live. These Russians had to live in a very cruel world and I think their culture and subsequent personality reflects that.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who read the Greenberg article can easily pinpoint Caps struggles. Avg scoring chances against while on PK are way higher than scoring chances for while on PP. Our PP basically is no better so far than playing at even strength.

Maybe we could just "decline the penalty." Bottom line is you aren't going to score if you don't even get chances. Obviously from the highlighted area from Greenberg's diagram, and the fact that we are getting shots, it's just as we've pointed out, all the shots are from further out, the low percentage (3%) shots, and that we aren't getting many rebounds.

This is, as we've pointed out, no different than Montreal, and it ISN'T due to a hot goalie, it's due to low percentage shots.

Take 50 shots on goal, if they are all 3% shots, you will only average 1.5 GPG.

Until the Caps play ugly, the PP won't improve.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 26, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Not only is Fahey up but Nycholat is at Kettler for practice. According to Corey though Nycholat would have to sign an NHL contract to be able to play. We have such tremendous depth in the organization though, right? At least thats what I've been told for the last 3 years. For heaven's sake make a trade for an NHL quality healthy Dman, you have a surplus of F's. For one time use logic GMGM.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I think the Caps PP will improve with the return of Mike Green. The difference between of the play of the PP in the Atlanta game with an injured Mike Green compared to the play of the PP without Mike Green was glaring.

However, Laich has to learn to play in front of the net and not stand to the side. For all the talk of other players, Laich is a guy who is supposed to be gritty but rarely goes in front of the net. Yet he is rarely criticized here. Why? Maybe it's because he isn't european.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 26, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

while there is definitely an anti-european bias, I don't think that is why Laich is not critisized much. He is just such a likeable guy and seems to always work hard and say the right things. I think net presence is something a lot of the Caps need to improve...Laich included.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

You sure are picking on Laich lately. All the guys need to learn how to stand in front, but i think its more the PP system. They have a player high in the slot and then a player along the goal line off to the side. They rarely ever put a player directly in front of the net, and thats a major problem. It doesnt force a bottom guy on the opposing teams PK to do anything but stand there and take away angles. We make it very easy on the opposing team to stop our PP.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Question:

What do you think is going on with Gordo? BB keeps saying he isn't injured but something is clearly up...could he be sick? Or maybe something personal.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

On the PP...I think we have done a terrible job of getting in the middle. We have looked kinda boxed out lately.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

On Boyd Gordon, it was one of 2 things: first its something personal and he just doesnt the media or fans knowing about his family life so everything has been very quiet and seems weird or second the team told him they had a potential trade in place for him so dont come practice bc we dont want you getting hurt and screwing the trade up and now the trade has fallen through. My guess is its my first theory.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@ Capscoach

How about they are trying to keep him healthy as they are working something behind the scenes, package deal for lets hope a D guy ???

Posted by: bqts | October 26, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"They rarely ever put a player directly in front of the net, and thats a major problem. It doesnt force a bottom guy on the opposing teams PK to do anything but stand there and take away angles."

I agree with this. The Caps don't need to put a man in front of the net for every second of PP time but they need to do it much more often. Then when they come out without putting a guy in front of the net it will more likely throw off the opposing team.

They need to mix things up more.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 26, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

To answer the poll question, if they want to give Neuvirth a rest, it would seem like Thursday might be the logical day to do it since they play in Minnesota after a game in Raleigh the night before.

Posted by: 1995hoo | October 26, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the following sentence contains an error:

"With Braden Holtby in Washington, here's a closer examination of his play this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phantoms (text and video) over at PennLive."

The Phantoms moved to Glens Falls and are now the Adirondack Phantoms. I believe the move was related to the planned demolition of the Spectrum.

Posted by: 1995hoo | October 26, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

They have been sitting Gordon out too long for it to have been a possible trade I think. My guess is personal issues.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

how did guys like Phil Esposito and Tim Kerr score most of their goals on PP?

those two guys were probably the greatest garbage goal scorers in the history of hockey.

it's really not that complicated, you shoot the puck from the point and let those guys who are willing and have good hands crash the net. it all comes down to the execution.

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Package Varly and Flash for a solid, gritty D-man.

Who's out there? I'm afraid we missed the boat on a lot those types over the summer. Question - Who do you want to scoop out who's out there?

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | October 26, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

it's like what happened in the 1982 NFC championship. the skins told the cowboys what was coming to them late in the game, the 50 gut... Russ Grimm vs. Randy White.

sometimes it ain't about the strategy, it just comes down to you beating your man.

Posted by: joek443 | October 26, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Philly lost to Columbus 2-1 last night. After the game Umberger said, yeah, Philly is a good team, but they don't play the right way.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@Jordan_Kitts

This is not a seller's market for goalies. There are almost too many out there that many teams are looking to get rid of some. There really are no buyers out there for goalies.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I finally got to watch BB's video interview and he totally dismissed how other teams have adapted to his offense first system. He said, to paraphrase, that the trap does not work because his team is getting SHOTS. And people saying the trap is working, "do not know what they are talking about" (that one is a quotation). Fine, but the QUALITY of shots is weak. Other teams do not get as many SHOTS but get more QUALITY scoring oppurtunities. Given BB's dismissal of VALID criticism and his inability to adapt, even the PP, it's time for him to GO. His system is too monolithic; as Brenden Morrison noted, BB did not adapt against the Habs. Umberger also noted the Caps system is fun to watch, but will not WIN in the PLAYOFFS. Well it's not winning in the regular season. So back to the minors with BB and hire a real NHL coach.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 26, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I agree with your premise on the goalie thing. But its different to have Theo and others out there that were left looking for a job for the longest time. Varly to many is considered a top young goalie that can develop. If he was actually offered I think youd see quite a few teams bite on him.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Jordan_Kitts

there was very little available over the summer, and because of that many defensemen were overpaid...GMGM should be able to get someone at a more reasonable price through a trade.

And no team in their right mind will take Varly now with all the injuries. Maybe if he makes a comeback at the trade deadline a team could be interested but we would need him then anyway.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Losing Poti, Green, and Carlson(?) is a stroke of bad luck that would cripple most teams. What is most troubling is that there doesn't seem to be many D prospects in the system. At the very least, GMGM should try to ship out an extra forward to get a young Dman for Hershey.

Posted by: ablake70 | October 26, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"how did guys like Phil Esposito and Tim Kerr score most of their goals on PP?

those two guys were probably the greatest garbage goal scorers in the history of hockey."

And let us not forget Dino Cicerelli, the greatest Caps garbage-goaler of all time.


Posted by: Wiley_One1 | October 26, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@ Jordan_Kitts

Do you really think any team is going to give up an even half way decent player for an over rated winger(Not a center no matter what kool aid BB & GmGm are handing out) and an injury prone goalie ???????

Posted by: bqts | October 26, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

In answer to the poll question, I think it depends on how we do against Carolina on Wednesday. If we win I would be inclined to start Holtby against Minnesota and gamble that we can beat the Wild with Holtby in net. However, if we lose to Carolina I would start Neuvirth because we don't want to lose both games.

Posted by: 4capitals | October 26, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"Philly lost to Columbus 2-1 last night. After the game Umberger said, yeah, Philly is a good team, but they don't play the right way."

Eddie: [after a pause] You serious, Clark?

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | October 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Clark didn't say that, Umberger did because he has been annointed as the all-knowing by those that love to hate the Caps. The Caps are just as hot or cold as the rest of the NHL less than 10 games into the season. The TRAP has nothing to do with the quality of the shots you guys. The TRAP keeps the team from even getting into the zone. Unless you are implying a crazy number of Caps shots are being taken from the neutral zone? That is not the case. Once the Caps are in the zone and popping so-called low quality shots by passing the point and letting them go, or shooting from the outside on a 3-2, they have already gotten through the trap.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Flash is not a bad winger. To say that is ridiculous. He is a good scorer and a decent passer. If he plays wing his defense would not be considered much of a liability. The Caps are spoiled with such talented wingers that we have the luxury of being super picky of non-elite players.

Posted by: capscoach | October 26, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@ Capscoach

Never said he was a bad winger just said he was over rated, he is not a 2nd line winger the same as he is not a center thats all I was saying. I agree he is a good winger just not what GmGm & BB want us to believe.

Posted by: bqts | October 26, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Flash should be the least of worries for us. I understand he is the new whipping boy, but come on.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 26, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

for those were wondering yesterday Quintin Laing has signed to play .......see who finds out where first blog searchers!!!!!

Posted by: wendel2 | October 26, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil2

The team's main concerns right now should be:

1. Lack of Defensive Depth
2. Horrible PP so far
3. The first line's slow start

Issue number 1 can only be solved with a trade, we have a surplus of F's. Thats why I want to trade Flash. And the Dmen we get back doesnt even have to be all that great. Just a consistent NHL level player.

Issue number 2 can be fixed with slight tactical adjustments and a desire to get their nose dirty in front of the goal.

Issue number 3 you just have to wait until it happens. Basically it all hinges on Nicky playing better.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

from the GQ article:

http://www.gq.com/sports/profiles/201011/alexander-ovechkin-nhl-washington-capitals

"Tales of Ovechkin's childhood brim with prophetic apocrypha: When he was 2, he grabbed a toy hockey stick at a store and wouldn't let go; at 5, he glimpsed a Dynamo game on TV and cried until Dad switched the channel back; at 10, he hit a goalpost so hard the puck broke in half. (His coach kept the halves as a kind of religious arti-fact.)"

Uh, WHAT?

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 26, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Two roster spots available for 85/90/15 as they head off on the road trip. My guess is 90 goes on IR retroactive to last week so they keep 85 up.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Nah, I still think Gordo will not play. Mr Glass will be scratched.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 26, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

He hasn't gone on IR and hasn't been classified as injured. This isn't about who is scratched, its about number of bodies allowed on active roster. With Fahey called up another player has to go on IR or waivers.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

What has changed since last week? Who is back Brads? How many do we currently have active?

I still say he gets scratched. :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 26, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@thepat
"Issue number 3 you just have to wait until it happens. Basically it all hinges on Nicky playing better."

I wonder how bad Nick was really hurt or delayed in camp with the exploding shin gaurd and stitches??

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@cadlecreek

I agree that part of the reason Nicky hasnt played as well is bc he is hurt or playing through it. So its only a matter of time.

@SAOTI

Ovi-Backs-Knubs
Laich-MP-Semin
Chimmer-Flash-Fehr
Hendricks-Steckel-Bradley

King-MaJo-Boyd are 3 extras

Green-Schultz
Carlson(who is hurt)-Erskine
Alzner-Sloan
Fahey called up
Poti on IR

Neuvy/Holtby

15 F's, 7 D, 2 goalies = 24, you can only have 23 active. Who knows maybe Boyd is on IR but they keep saying he's healthy and going on the trip. MaJo could already be on IR with his hip flexor. BB said he doesnt even know who has been on IR or who currently is.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: Fahey couldn't have been recalled unless there was an opening, so something's been done that you don't have account for.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 26, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@thepat
"Issue number 3 you just have to wait until it happens. Basically it all hinges on Nicky playing better."

I wonder how bad Nick was really hurt or delayed in camp with the exploding shin gaurd and stitches??

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 26, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

sorry for double post

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | October 26, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

he was called up because technically Bradley won't come off IR until tomorrow since its game day. But you are right, something is missing and still another move has to be made. Like I said BB doesnt even know whos on IR.

Posted by: ThePat | October 26, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

on ovi's GQ article, i just hope he will do good this year, otherwise he'll get booed because of articles like dad. we always say, we don't care what these players do off season, but they should play well and produce, or they'll hear something from the fans who are paying to watch them play a good game.

Posted by: capsfan2007 | October 26, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

why wouldn't he start all 3? Why is this always a topic for the caps? You know that old man in NJ, ho many starts does he make in a row?

Posted by: cappies | October 26, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1 beat me to it:
"The TRAP has nothing to do with the quality of the shots you guys. The TRAP keeps the team from even getting into the zone."

There are several ways to beat a trap, the one most historically effective is to dump the puck deep. But for this to be effective, the other 2 forwards must forecheck fast and hard and be willing to engage in heavy body contact. This also requires those 2 forwards to momentarily leave what would normally be their checks. This would present a brief window of vulnerability. Trust in your d-men is essential at this point.

The Caps have the speed. It does seem they lack the toughness or willingness to finish the aggressive forecheck with fierce and sustained body contact. It also seems that they may not have quite the confidence in their defensive corp to chance that window of vulnerability (in man-to-man coverage transitioning to aggressive 2 man forecheck).

The top 2 knocks against the Caps: grittiness in the trenches and top-notch Defensive defensemen.

But again, the trap will only impact their ability to gain the o-zone, not affect the shot-quality.

Regarding PP, there was one PP on Saturday in which the Caps appeared to be finally running on all cylinders. Although they did not score, hopefully this is the beginning of power play production.

Posted by: gewhiteva | October 26, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

You know that old man in NJ, ho many starts does he make in a row?
--------------

Brodeur makes a ton of starts, off the top of my head I'd bet he plays in 65-70 games a year - that's just way too many, you're begging for injury. NJ's paying for it now, he's been awful.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 26, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Is the Ovie article in GQ a worthwhile read, or is it just a hit piece? Backstrom [for one] has raved about what a good person #8 is behind the scenes [giving $ to charity, the poor, etc.] but that he does without drawing attention to himself.

I am getting so sick of the Canadian hockey propaganda machine's hyping of Crosby - I mean, can you imagine the outcry if one of our Caps had done this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wqR17KrLKw

What a cheap shot, just a dirty dirty play - it is hard to watch without getting sick. And such a whiner, to boot.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | October 26, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company