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Morning Skate Update

As I mentioned in the previous post, Jose Theodore will start tonight against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place, while the struggling Micheal Nylander will be a healthy scratch for third time this season.

The veteran center has two goals in his past 41 games - and both were scored accidentally. (On Dec. 13 in Montreal, Nylander threw a shot through the crease that hit Roman Hamrlik's leg and Jaroslav Halak's skate. Then on Jan. 10 at Bell Centre, Nylander's skate redirected an Alex Ovechkin shot past Halak.)

Nylander is frustrated and disappointed with the way things have gone, and he reluctantly addressed the situation when I approached him.

"I feel good on the ice, but it doesn't matter," he said. "We'll have to see what we can do, what happens."

When I asked him if his struggles were the result of his playing style not meshing with Boudreau's, Nylander said: "I don't know. I am not the coach. What can I say? This is the way he wants to do it. I just have to figure a way around it."

"I know how the system works," he added. "I don't have a problem with the system. The system is quite easily played."

What Nylander does have an issue with, though, is bouncing from line to line and the reduction in his playing time in recent games. In his past five games, he's skated 12:55 or less three times.

"Of course it's not helping," he said of moving around in the lineup. "It's tough to find chemistry. But that's not the [only] issue."

"It's about playing time," Nylander added. "I was playing more before and now I don't play anything. That's the big difference."

So let's review: Boudreau isn't happy with Nylander (and understandably so). And Nylander isn't happy with Boudreau (a little confusing to me, at least).

This situation hasn't gotten ugly yet. But it's only matter of time before it does.

Some other notes and quotes from this morning:

*Theodore is 9-2-0 in his past 11 starts. He's also won three straight starts, posting a .938 save percentage and 1.65 goals against average in that span.

*The Caps' penalty kill has surrendered at least a goal in seven straight games.

*The Senators have gained points three straight (2-0-1), but before that was a stretch in which they won once in nine games (1-7-1). That's why the Sens are in 13th place, a full 13 points out of the eighth spot in the playoffs.

*The television in the visitors' dressing room was tuned to the inauguration when the doors were opened to the media. There was a lot going on with more than a dozen reporters and cameras doing interviews, but the room went mostly quiet when Barack Obama took the oath of office, with just about everyone looking up at the T.V. Lots of folks, including players, lingered in the room to watch Obama's speech, too.

That's it from here. I'll check back in with a lineup before the game.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 20, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineup

Comments

first

Posted by: OvyNation8888 | January 20, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Get some rest before the game, Mr. Caps Beat Reporter Man.

Posted by: Section117 | January 20, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The first post! Haha thanks Tarik for everything you do. I'm really excited about JT. Just wanna get rid of Nyls, I know most would agree

Posted by: bleedred | January 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, someone finally willing to mention the line-bouncing as an issue in this saga.

I wonder, just a little. Would we be complaining as much about Nyls if Laich and Fehr could finish?

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 20, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The veteran center has two goals in his past 41 games - and both were scored accidentally.
Sorry Tarik, I think you're wrong here. The first goal it was intentional. Most players do that to make it bouce off the goaltender into the net.

Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

dang a minute late

Posted by: bleedred | January 20, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone more excited than me about the beginning of the stretch run?

Looking Ahead: Really really Good News (update)

The last 21 games of the season the Caps schedule includes:

13 games against division foe
4 against Atlanta
3 against Tampa
3 against Florida
3 against carolina (2 at home)

2 games against the Maple Leafs

1 against the Bruins (A)
1 against the Penguins (H)
1 against the Flyers (A)
1 against the Predators (A)
1 against the Sabers (H)
1 against the Islanders (A)

Looking good for the stretch run...no rush to rush back Poti. Most surely do not rush Nylander back. Nylander and Jagr = really bad karma.

Posted by: windjammersouth | January 20, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The Semin-Nylander pairing worked well in the 03-04 season for the two games they played together. In 06-07 Clark and Semin played well together. In 07-08 Nylander-Clark
pairing worked alright for the short time they we're healthy.
Perhaps try pairing Semin-Nylander-Clark?
Just a thought, wouldn't hurt.

Nylander will have a much better season next year. Once Feds is a free agent Nylander will probably have a lot more confidence and a lot off his shoulders. I'm sure it was frustrating for Johnny and Olie when Huet came in last year. It's a tough spot on the team.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | January 20, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

yay a 21 last game update! *dances around the office*

Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

re: the Nylander situation.

Tarik,

Please do the fans, players, and organization a favor on the Nylander situation, and don't fan the flames of controversy.

I know the media loves controversy, but this team is on the brink of being very special, and needs no controversy. Thanks.

Posted by: dml1077 | January 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

JSchon:
Not sure if you were directing those whiner comments at me, but if so, I'm with mauree - I don't expect them to be perfect OR to win every game, but I do expect them to play better than that (especially against the Islanders).

RE: whether or not Ovie was the best player in all of yesterday's games, I guess I just find that a little hard to believe. Sure, he had two goals, but the game probably would not have gone into OT if he had not taken that late sloppy penalty (good thing he redeemed himself in OT!). Besides, credit for the GWG really goes to Semin for his incredible pass ... even to Fed for getting it to Semin in the first place (while spinning around and falling down). Of the three, Ovie had the easy part of that goal. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining and I love Ovie. However, I believe in giving credit where credit is due; the stats that you rattled off are a little out of context ... they make Ovie's game look better than it was. Frankly I don't think anyone on the Caps deserved to be NHL on the Fly's star of the night last night.

UKDave:
HOLY MOLY!! Yes, now that I have had a chance to really see it, yes I would say that's "gooed" enough!! :-P

Posted by: Boo- | January 20, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The fans love controversy too.

Would you rather the media sugarcoat the Nylander-Bruce relationship instead?

Kudos to Tarik for getting Nylander's thoughts on this situation.

As a reporter, it's his job to report -- not to worry about disrupting team chemistry with Nylander's comments. If anyone is hurting the team's chemistry, perhaps it's Nylander and his laziness ...

Perhaps.

Posted by: Cerealman | January 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

from what I've seen on the ice, Nyl is not the one deserving a scratch... I'd also give him more time on the ice. Well... maybe it's a good thing I'm not the coach huh? :D

Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

dml1077: the issue with Nylander is already there, it will have to be resolved one way or another, and a reporter would be crazy to ignore it, IMO.

Anyway, its hard to see what Nylander expects to get.. Even on his best days, he's been far less effective than Fedorov on the 2nd line -- he is unable to generate nearly enough offense to account for mediocre defense and puck-winning ability. And if he is put on the 3rd line, we don't have the personnel to play a skilled game with him. So he really has no place on the roster.. for sure, anybody can understand his frustration, but if he believes he's entitled to something.. please..

Posted by: VladG | January 20, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't see Nyls breaking his no-trade agreement being on a team that is cup worthy. Just best to hope for him to break out.

In terms of the Islanders, last place or not they gave Boston a run for their money the same way they did to us. They might be in last place (like Ottawa) but they have some decent talent and are still as much a threat as any team. Can't forget that was us a few years ago and we had our moments spilling some top teams.

Posted by: cappies | January 20, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

time to deal Nyls before the situation escalates. what to deal him for, though, I have no clue...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Again re: Nylander... as a third-line center, he is terrific. Pointing to his lack of goal production doesn't really say much, as Nyls has always been more of a playmaker than a scorer. Bottom line, he does create chances for his wingers. But those wingers have to finish, which is why putting him on a line with Clark is never gonna work.

Posted by: donknutts | January 20, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@windjammersouth

This team ALWAYS plays down or up to their competition. Thus, your outlook looks very grim!

Posted by: 555Mass | January 20, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Nylander is a set up guy not a goal scorer. He has been setting players up, so to post his goal totals is not really fair to him. I am a little surprised they are not playing him to showcase him to another team. Healthy scratches make him a little less desirable. Although he is a veteran and GM's do know his talents. Just trying to figure a way around the salary cap.

Posted by: tomdchancar | January 20, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

How cool to hear that the inauguration was on in the locker room. I am glad that you got to see at least the swearing in (apparently C. J. Roberts tried to do it without notes and messed up and that's what messed Obama up!). Growing up in the area as you did, it must have been a little hard to be away for this.

On the other hand, you get to cover the Caps!

Posted by: Landshark | January 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

mauree

yes, it's a good thing we are not coaches. Maybe not more ice time, but consistent line mates is what I'd toss his way. Now that he's on the 3rd line (where he belongs) he gets the random RW of the night between Fehr and Clark. His LW? Flash.

I think he and Flash have been working well together, but need more time to work out the bugs. To me, Stecks is more interchangeable with Gordo, but I think the reason we are seeing Nyls scratched tonight is his faceoff production. If he was in the 55+% range, I'd bet we'd see a 15/39 rotation, not a 39/92 rotation.

Then again, this team is very deep when healthy, and you can't keep one player out of the lineup all the time. Someone has to sit, and it will typically be your 3rd and 4th line guys. It's Nyls turn. Next game it may be Gordo's turn.

Many teams would love to have our depth. It is this kind of depth that helps a team survive a tough playoff schedule. Sacrificing that depth could be a major mistake.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 20, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@VladG

You are 100% correct. But when Tarik points out that the goal Nyl scored against Montreal was "accidental" - well that's just not truth. It was one hell of a goal and he deserves credit.

I'm all for reporting the facts, but on sensitive matters I'd leave aside speculations (Nyl never said he's not happy with BB) and personal comments (So let's review: Boudreau isn't happy with Nylander (and understandly so). And Nylander isn't happy with Boudreau (a little confusing to me, at least).) that can ignite or produce problems that aren't really there.

Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Tarik is hardly causing any controversy. Everyone can see that Nylander is not happy as the 3rd/4th line center. Everyone knows that the Caps' salary situation requires a major move to keep Alzner up. There are plenty of second-hand reports of the Caps at least talking to other teams about trading Nylander. It's nice to get some knowledge of the situation from the guy himself.

Posted by: koalatek | January 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Tarik... I didn't mean to be harsh - I hope you know that we all really appreciate the work you're doing (often in adversities/lack of sleep/etc). Hope you don't take bad the occasional negative remark - part of the job :)


Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

What are you on about mauree?

I'm with VladG and Cerealman: Nylander has played himself out of the 2nd line role. There is no chance he gets it back either at this point, barring season-ending injury to either Backstrom or Fedorov.

I take my hat off to Tarik for reporting the facts, whether or not they are controversial in nature. Both of Nylander's goals looked purely accidental to me. What did not look accidental is his lazy play in his own zone, and his lack of production (he's at 0.48 PPG right now, compared to 0.70 for Fedorov, who played 6 out of his 20 games on defence).

Trade Nylander for a bag of pucks please, this team would be better off and could make some major (read: Cup-winning) moves with that $4.75/year million off the books.

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 20, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Tariq wrote:

"So let's review: Boudreau isn't happy with Nylander (and understandly so). And Nylander isn't happy with Boudreau (a little confusing to me, at least).

This situation hasn't gotten ugly yet. But it's only matter of time before it does."

Very good. Let the situation get ugly, so McPhee's hand is forced. Get Nylander out of DC.

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 20, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

are you kidding? this guy finally reports something original and everyone is kissing his arse. LOL. Obviously hockey is not his major sport. I submit the following statement:

So let's review: Boudreau isn't happy with Nylander (and understandly so). And Nylander isn't happy with Boudreau (a little confusing to me, at least).

I would argue the reverse. I don't understand why bb, a very good coach, does not use nylander's strength, which is puck control and a play maker, by having consistent partners for him. why does he insist on making this guy, a proven class play-maker, play shoot-and-hope-for-a-rebound type of hockey.
AND what is so confusing about Nylander being unhappy with the way he is being used?
LOL. this town has a great team, but needs better media support.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Nylander had 26 goals and 57 assists two years ago in NY with the Rangers, and I don't think his talent has completely dissipated in that time. However, he is now in a situation where Sergei Fedorov has taken what would have been his spot on the #2 line with Semin. Fedorov wins faceoffs and plays defense which is the blemish on Nylander's game.

The #3 line center has to be someone the club can count on defensively and again that is not Nylander's forte.

So, he is caught in no-man's land.

Even though they are a potential rival down the road (viewing large picture - Stanley Cup), if the Blackhawks are still interested in trading for Michael, I would have to give it serious thought.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 20, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Nylander may not be producing much but he is a steady hand on the puck when our defensive pairings are miss handling and turning over the puck. Nylander often calms things down and creates the smooth outlet that some of our younger players seem unable to master. In this respect he is much like Federov. Give Nylander some ice time and wingers that can convert and his numbers will improve.

Posted by: ComeOnKozlov | January 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I like Nylander. I think he has been a good player for this team. BUT, he is not getting it done now with THIS team! All flow is lost when he is out there. It's not the guys he plays with or anything else per say, he just doesn't fit! No hard feelings. All of his "circling around" doesn't work. How often do you see 3 on 2's and 2 on 1's with him and he breaks all momentum by stopping, looping, and letting the back check catch up??!! It's very frustrating to watch! He passes up open shots all the time, and sometimes just does the whole looped d loop thing until he loses the puck!!! That is not the type of play this team needs. We need quick passes, cycling, and hard work. Nylander does none of these. Once again, no hard feelings, just reallity! I would like to see GM GM trade him for a solid d-man before the deadline to shore up the backend. Schultz, Erskine, and Jurcina do not make me feel secure going into the playoffs. Clark as well might need to go. Fehr, Steckel, Bourque, and even Giroux seem to mesh better on this team than do Nylander and Clark. I'm not trying to be negative or stir the pot, I'm just voicing my opinion.

Posted by: BPTUCKER71 | January 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse


Even when he's had a chance to log 2nd line minutes and play with Semin, Nylander hasn't done a whole lot, and they dont seem to have much chemistry.

And for god's sake.... why do we have to keep seeing the stupid "Last 21 games" post all of the time??? We get the idea!!! Enough!!!

Posted by: chombie13 | January 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

ComeOnKozlov: Totally agreed. I hearken back to the play that led to the OT goal in the 4-0 comeback game. It was Nylander who created that play with his one-man breakout in OT. No other third- or fourth-line center option we have is capable of doing that.

Posted by: donknutts | January 20, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong but Nylander makes 4.875 mil per year? The fact that he is complaining about chemistry/playing time....Whateva!!!!

When you make that much money you better produce no matter who the hell they put on the ice with you....

I have a great idea.... Quit turning the puck over at the blue line. Quit going east/west with two north/south wingers. Quit twurling in the neutral zone..Quit coughing up the puck behind our own net. Quit b*tching about playing time when you are absolutely stealing my season ticket money. Quit making moves on the blue line!!! Quit being soft on the puck.. Just quit in general.

Posted by: numero94 | January 20, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

And you people are dumb...The reason why he is a great third center is that he makes almost 5 million a year. He should be 1st or 2nd and should be at 50 points.

Trade him to a twirling team and get us more picks...

I would bet that you is one of the highest paid players with the least amount of points (without injury) in the NHL..

Posted by: numero94 | January 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@x1232 Kudos, one of the only sound analysis of this situation on this blog.

The main reason why all you guys wishes to have Nyls traded will not come to fruition is because of BB himself. BB dislikes Nyls because he didn't hang around the team last year when he was injured, period. It has nothing to do with Nyls play or potential to be an impact player. BB knows darn well that Nyls will look bad and will never be able to justify his salary by playing him with pions that can't score in an empty net such as Clark and Fehr. When he started getting some chemistry with Flash, BB split them up. It is very personal; anyone can see it. No team has made offers on Nyls since the beginning of the season (when the Chicago trade fell through) and no one will.
GMGM doesn't agree with the way Nyls is being treated, I am sure, but he has to support his coach.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I am in total agreement with:

BOO on whether or not Ovie was the best player in all of yesterday's games ...

X1232- on your post, but man be prepared to be burnt at the stake.

Posted by: opita | January 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@ numero94:

well said man, well said.

@ atybat:

any proof of this? Did Nylander really leave the team when he was injured?

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 20, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Nyl didn't "leave" the team. He was playing injured, and last few games he played well despite the facts he almost couldn't lift his stick - then he had surgery. Hardly a "leave".


Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

He didn't technically leave the team but he chose to spend time with his family, during his rehab period.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@x1232

Better media support? You want to see Tarik and Vogel playing the wings for Nylander?

As for the speculation that BB has it out for Nylander, I don't agree. Nylander's production on the ice (goals, assists, scoring chances, turnovers, hustle, etc.) speak volumes.

Posted by: Cerealman | January 20, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

When you look at the Center situation....we know Backstrom is #1; Feds is #2(when healthy); Nyls is #3; with Steckel and Gordan at #4. The biggest problem I have had with Nyls all year is his face off percentage! Of all the centers he and Backstrom have the worst percentage (both under 50%) plus his defense has not been that strong. I like Nyls, but if push came to shove, I rather trade him, free up cap room and keep Alzner on the D.

Posted by: sazzwho | January 20, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I have been saying from the beginning of the year that I didn't see Nyls as a fit on this team and that he should be traded. I think he already would have been (Chitown sources) if the Blackhawks had not begun to play out of their minds.

@ various posters: Nyls cannot produce the way Backs and Feds do. If he is to remain on this team he is the third line center at best. One of the problems last night was a lack of energy. Nyls plays a slow down game. Steck and Fehr may have faults, but a lack of energy is not one of them. For me, down the middle should be 19, 91, 39 and 15. I also think Clark is an extra as well, but we could rotate one extra forward in and out much easier than two. Clark has a level of grit we could use in the playoffs.

@Tarik - Please ban Windjammer from this forum, or at least his incessant reposting of the same old crap. WE GET IT, ALREADY!

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow atybat,
Spent a lot of time in the locker room to have all of that insider knowledge, huh?

I don't buy the scenario you put out there. I don't believe the personal angle. It has been a tough season for Nylander. I see flashes of his puck handling and set up abilities, but not consistently. He has not adapted to changing linemates very well. Perhaps he has let being third line and diminishing minutes affect his play negatively, but he can still be a very good asset to the team in the remainder of the season.

Posted by: _Mark | January 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Flash is on the second line in my book. That pushes Laich down to the third line. So:

8-19-25
14-91-28
21-39-16
10-15-87
17 is HS

I would be happy with that going in to the playoffs.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

DRAdamson you wouldn't happen to be Numero94 headshrinker?

Cerealman, do you really think this paper has good hockey reporters? I am with x123 on this issue.

Posted by: opita | January 20, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

opita - I think Tarik is great. Unfortunately he is the only one working on hockey.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@_Mark

Yes.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

lets recap - nyles isn't a spring chicken and he plays a very brittle finesse style where he doesn't go crashing the crease and creating his own chances that way. He has himself to blame and the Caps have McPhee to blame for bringing him here in the 1st place. At least when Mike Fisher is in a scoring slump he brings many other things to the table for the Sens. Nyles brings nothing other than playmaking and scoring so when he hits a slump he's useless

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Nylander's gotten his share of PP time with the Cap's blue chippers even recently and that hasn't worked either. And Fedorov was out how many games?

Playing him right now only demonstrates to everyone how much he's *not* scoring. There are other players the organization who need to skate too.

@atybat BB must Really be pissed at that lazy Pothier character eh?

Posted by: austinsteve | January 20, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1

What is your deal? Nyls was brought here to bridge the gap and be the 2nd line center. He got hurt and GMGM brought in Feds last year to fill the slot. That has worked out better than anyone ever dreamed. Now we have a glut at center (Backs, Feds, Nyls, Stecks, Gordo, Laich). Laich palys well at other positions, Nyls does not.

So are you blaming GMGM for getting a second line center when we needed one or for replacing him when he was hurt. Frankly, I think the job GMGM has done is exemplary and beyond reproach.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

nyls has always been #1 trade bait, simply because of his price tag. im pretty sure if we were given the chance to move him, we would take it.
also, if he was asked to break his no trade clause he would. that is how it works.

nyls+someone for a vet d man.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

also, anyone blaming GMGM for petty decisions they disagree with are not seeing the big picture. The Caps have successfully survived a fairly quick rebuild under the helm of his management. Lets hope he can continue to do what he needs to do to make us a cup threat for years to come...

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with 75's forward line up. I think that is the best players we have at the position.

On Fehr... You have to remember that this is his first full season in the NHL. He came back last year from an almost career threatening injury. Look at the amount of chance this kid gets on a nightly basis. Remember Flash couldn't hit the net but the thing I liked about his is he put himself in position to get scoring opportunities..

Question? Is there a salary cap situation during the playoffs? If not, can we have Poti and Alzner in the same lineup? If so, I would love to see:

4-52
55-3
27-23

I think that is our best defensive line up.

Posted by: numero94 | January 20, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Cerealman,
You asked: "Better media support? You want to see Tarik and Vogel playing the wings for Nylander?"

Let me answer by asking you:
what does Nylander have to do with media support? what does Tarik and Vogel have to do with playing wings for Nylander?

I guess the connection is that Nylanders gets written about and tarik and vogel write about wings. HECK! I am confused. But, yes. I think hockey is not being covered as well as it should on this paper, that is my opinion and I am sticking with it.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Nyls, Juice and a prospect for a real strong dman would fit nicely. That would give us the room to keep Alzner, and have a healthy scratch up front and on D every night. (Juice, Sarge and Lumberjack could rotate). Something will happen when Poti comes back after the AS break

cstanton - I'll get back on here tonight when the CAPS are up in the third. I know you won't be around then.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

atybat,
Still don't buy the scenario. However, I have no insider knowledge to back up my opinion. At some point Nylander could get frustrated enough to want to go and to waive his NTC. This season has been rough for him. Looking forward to next year when Feds is likely to have moved on or retired, we will need a someone to step up as that second line center and I am not sure who would do that just yet. He seems like an insurance policy this year.

Posted by: _Mark | January 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I think they are pushing Nyls out in order to set up a trade or free up salary cap room. Bet he is no longer a Cap in come playoff time.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

salary cap remains in the PO, but we can be far more flexible on who we move around given the circumstances.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@numero 94

Right on target. But we will have to move some $$ to fit under the cap with both Poti and Alzner. That would give us three HS every night. We just don't have the space.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

GMGM has had no offers for Nyls. Nyls has not been asked to wave his NTC. So, for him, it must be even moreso frustrating. Everything else is good wishes and pure speculations.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

94, you left out Mo.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

nyls will have to be moved with a prospect if he is going anywhere. maybe he would be good for the impending rebuilds for phoenix and other teams....

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, GMGM has had at least one offer that I know of for sure (my Chitown buddy who works for the hawks), but it was quite some time ago. It was going to happen and so many players got hurt that GMGM wanted to wait until we were healthy. Now Chitown is playing so well that they don't want to mess with it right now.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Phoenix is not rebuilding. They are already halfway there and don't need an aging, puck possession center. A team like NJ (pre Shanahan) or Minnesota would be a good fit. They are looking for that one player to put them in good shape.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Nylander's lack of production as a center was being defended with the notion that his output was partially due to the wings (left wing, right wing) he was playing with.

When the absurd comment was made that the Capitals needed better media support, I made a joke ... suggesting that Tarik and Vogel would suit up and play the wings for Nylander.

---

I think Tarik does an outstanding job as a hockey reporter. I especially appreciate all the non-print news he shares with us online.

I don't think the WaPo or any other media outlet should "show more support" for the Capitals. They have a job to do. Sugarcoating the Nylander situation isn't there job.

And if the players are distracted by so-called "lack of media support," they aren't paying attention to what they should be.

Posted by: Cerealman | January 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

phoenix has no money.

they are going to dump their players. watch...

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It is really not about the wingers. Nyls had Flash/Semin for a while and all he got were assists. There is something else going on with him. Maybe he needs Jagr in order to play well.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Optia:
Thanks! :-) My work here is done ...

Posted by: Boo- | January 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

True about Phoenix and money. But they will not dump the young stars (Mueller, etc) and they definitely would not want an almost $5m per older centerman.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

yeah phoenix is supposed to have a fire-sale with a lot of their players, even olli jokinen, jovanoski, etc. are supposed to be available

Posted by: _stevo | January 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

morris or jovanovski would be great for us.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Tarik

why, if you look at the statistics on wapo for the caps, does it have slava kozlov listed for us?

Posted by: _stevo | January 20, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Poti would not of signed with the Caps if we did not sign Nylander. He was clear in that he would not of signed on if the Caps did not show an effort to sign quality players and Nylanders signing was singled out.

Posted by: tomdchancar | January 20, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

wouldnt mind seeing poti and nyls go together....haha

no team is going to take both of them though.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps trade Nylander I can see everyone on here a year later regretting the trade. Fedorov will be gone after this year.
Nylander will have 2 years left on his contract. Even if the Caps trade him, who are we going to get? Certainly not a top defender, not even a 1st round pick, and maybe a 2nd if we're lucky.

I say if the Caps keep Nylander he will have a much more productive season next year. Especially since Feds will be gone.
Nylander was the veteran center before Feds came in. Olie was the veteran goalie before Huet came. Huet and Olie both ended up leaving, and we certainly do not want Nylander being traded with Fedorov already out onto the FA list.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | January 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

x1232: I disagree about BB misusing of Nylander. Nylander is on the 3rd line not because BB believes he is a great fit with the likes of Laich and Clark, but because Fedorov is the better fit on the 2nd line, so Nylander has to drop down to the 3rd line, or sit out (like today).

Nylander had enough chances to play with Semin. And even if technically you could argue that it takes more time to find chemistry, there is nothing in the way they interacted to even hint at chemistry. Nylander is good at entering the zone and keeping possession by constantly peeling away to the corners. So maybe he could work well with another good possession guy, controlling and cycling the puck.. (e.g. Jagr lite) well, the one guy we have in that mold is Kozlov, not Semin -- and Kozlov's skills so far prove irreplaceable on the 1st line.

And the best 3rd line we've had so far was Bourque-Steckel-Fehr, IMO

Posted by: VladG | January 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Gonna go through all 30 teams here. I'm going to list the production numbers for each of the teams 3rd leading scoring center (arbitrary, I know). I will investigate instances where I feel a C is misrepresented based on line combos (Det, 5 "Cs" who have skated in 40+ games). Will use game notes to determine even-strength line combos.

Player (Games) - Goals, Pts, +/-

ANA: Neidermeyer (45) - 10G, 15 pts, -6
ATL: (everyone's a C on ATL) Peverly (30) - 3G, 15 pts, +2
BOS: (Kessel is 3rd on team, but plays on line with Savard.) Bergeron (31) - 4G, 18pts, +1
BUF: Mair (46) - 5G, 12P, +2
CAL: Lombardi (32) - 4G, 19P, +5
CAR: Cullen (42) - 10G, 17P, +1
CHI: Frasier (44) - 3G, 11P, +2
COL: Hensick (33) - 3G, 13P, +5
CBJ: Williams (43) - 8G, 19P, -9
DAL: Modano (44) - 13G, 28P, -3
DET: Franzen (40) - 21G, 32P, +11 (Confusing as hell finding their 3rd C)
EDM: Gagner (42) - 4G, 17P, E
FLA: Campbell (40) - 9G, 21P, +7
LA: Handzus (44) - 7G, 17P, -5
MIN: Belanger (42) - 9G, 21P, -9
MON: Plekanec (44) - 9G, 20P, 1 (Deceptive, 3rd leading C behind Koivu who's been out 1/2 year)
NSH: Bonk (44) - 5G, 14P, -7
NJD: Madden (40) - 5G, 16P, -5
NYI: Comrie (29) - 6G, 15P, -5
NYR: Dubinsky (47) - 7G, 24P, -3
OTT: Vermette (43) - 5G, 14P, -10
PHI: Metropolit (41) - 1G, 10P, -1
PHO: Hanzal (47) - 9G, 23P, -1
PIT: Staal (47) - 14G, 26P, -3 (something's fishy with the lines here, 4 "C's" with more than 40 games, 1 with more than 35)
SAN: Pavelski (42) - 13G, 31P, +3
STL: Steen (45) - 6G, 17P, -5
TB: Stamkos (44) - 6G, 18P, -8
TOR: Moore (46) - 9G, 23P, -2
VAN: Wellwood (41) - 14G, 19P, 4
WAS: Nylander (45) - 4G, 22P, 2

So folks, what do we have:
League Average Points/Game (PPG): 0.46
Nylander's PPG: 0.48
Nylander's league rank in PPG: 14th
Fedorov's PPG:

Could he be doing better for his 4.8M/year? Absolutely. If you want to complain about player salaries, you have to look at the other end of the spectrum. Is Backstrom playing at his 2.4M/year level? Absolutely not, he's playing at a 5M/year pace.

The question then becomes, is (Backstrom's salary) 2.4M/year a good deal for a 0.5PPG guy? After all, like AO says, as long as we win, who cares who scores? I'd be comfortable with a veteran who wins faceoffs and has playoff experience as our 3rd line center for 2.5M. The big questions arise when Backs needs a new deal.

I for one am willing to enjoy our 2nd-in-the-east team (as opposed to like 13th in the east this time last year) and will turn my focus more to Laich/Fehr as guys who aren't putting the puck in the net compared to the chances they are given (most from Nyls, I might add. Again, if Laich and Fehr put in what they should, we wouldn't be having this conversation).

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 20, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't ditch on poti - we need good defensemen and to get rid of a couple bad ones.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil - If you think Poti stinks then you don;t know hockey.

@hockeynight - faulty logic. If Nyls struggles with this system on third line, he will struggle on second, as he did earlier this year. He had his chances. Besides, why do you think Feds is gone next year? He could very easily play again. Plus we have several young centers who i think given the chance can produce with Semin and Flash

@FFS - Wow! how did you do that so fast? For once i agree with you. Well thought out and logical.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

BB dislikes Nyls because he didn't hang around the team last year when he was injured, period.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 2:18 PM

Posted without comment, other than to pay particular attention to Boudreau's comments.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/15/AR2008011504015.html

Posted by: Section117 | January 20, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I would trade Nylander for a second-round pick in a second.

Don't forget the cap room it would provide. We could keep Alzner and possibly add another piece at the trade deadline.

I'm all for keeping Nylander if he plays better. But so far ...

And the fact that he's in the "scratch rotation" speaks volumes.

Posted by: Cerealman | January 20, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This team is much better with Poti back on the blue line...he is a very smart and creative player.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, Tarik and his cohorts, do not like the opinion of X123, he got censored and all his new messages although not impolite, nor x-rated in language, are being withheld for what we can only think it is his opinion of the reporters.

@VladG
As x123 second in command, I am instructed to reply to you.
The issue was not on what line Nyls plays, but rather on what appears to be BB lack of understanding of what Nyls bring to the team in term of ability on the ice. He is a playmaker and needs consistent linemates.

@waltingsince1975
"Nyls had Flash/Semin for a while and all he got were assists." YES? ... That is what he brings to the team, a playmaker than can set up other people to score. He is not a shoot-and-let-luck-take-over type of guy.

@cerealman.
absurd? Man you are trying to make beer by mixing apples, oranges, lemons and I don't know what else.

@tarik
YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!!!!

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

@x1232

They want him to score, not just set up people. He got assists on that line but not always due to his effort.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

BPTUCKER71, RichmondPhil, and WaitingSince75,
I am invoking the "Caps D-man Trade Talk Edict of 2008." No randomly throwing out "trade for a D-man" comment without providing a name. These guys don't grow on trees. Just saying trade for someone is counter-productive. Now if you want to throw together some salary numbers and some reasons why a Blake, Pronger, or Chelios would ocme here, be my guest.

Posted by: WVPhil | January 20, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

wow. I am back in good graces. I had clarkKent signed in my computer when I wrote the last message, since my previous messages had been rejected. the washington post IT team great work is confused, I suppose.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of fact, they are doing better with Feds there. That is the bottom line. Perhaps Nyls wasn't productive enough, x1232?

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Chelios??

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse


So are you blaming GMGM for getting a second line center when we needed one or for replacing him when he was hurt. Frankly, I think the job GMGM has done is exemplary and beyond reproach.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 2:52 PM

Is he a 2nd line center NOW? He was signed to a multi-year deal which was a mistake at his age. McPhee needs to have much better foresight then to throw money and years at a FA like Nylander. There was no way that Nyles was going to be a highly productive player throughout his contract here.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

waltsince75, I know that is what bb wants, he wants to score. but realize that only one score can be accomplished on any one attack. He is not a scorer he is a playmaker. You are right, many times people get credit for an assist that he does not deserve, nyls included, but many times he does not get credit for a goal for which he was the catalyst. the point is, he is not hired to shoot the puck as much as he is to make plays. that is my opinion, and we can disagree.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Poti would not of signed with the Caps if we did not sign Nylander. He was clear in that he would not of signed on if the Caps did not show an effort to sign quality players and Nylanders signing was singled out.

Posted by: tomdchancar | January 20, 2009 3:25 PM


I'd love to see a link on this with some quotes. I have a very hard time believing that Poti stated that unless the Caps signed a "nylander" that he would not sign here.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 20, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It comes to light that Nylander was the issue in the locker room that Kolzig hinted to last year -- and maybe Mcphee didn't want to admit to Olie knowing more than he did and that is why they blew off Olie --- only guessing -- sort of makes sense now though

Posted by: capsgary | January 20, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Pronger=goon, Blake would work well, but Chelios?? (sound like Jim Mora saying 'Playoffs?' when you say Chelios).

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Case in point, This past week-end game against Boston. We needed a first goal, who made the play? Green? No, Nyls. Only 2-3 players on that team could have completed that pass.
That first goal had a large impact on the win. But, a few days later, it is all but forgotten and looks only like an assist in Nyls' column; same but reversed rational as out of Ovie's 31 goals, a few are empty netters...

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

haha @capsgary

Nyls a trouble-maker? that is hilarious. That really explains why all the players were cheering loudly when he scored in Montreal... Good try...

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

waltsince57,
You are correct, Nyls is not being productive. but, my argument is that the reason for it is that he is not being used as he should. He needs consistent line mates. For whatever reasons - impatience, pernality, whatever - BB and Nyls, unfortunately in my opinion, can not co-exist. Obviously, I can not argue with BB as a coach, but I still think Nyls is by far one of the best playmakers on the league.


Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

seems to me that mcphee and boudreau are in cahoots to piss nylander off enough to the point where he will finally accept a trade and wont let his wife talk him out of it.

its all very sad really

Posted by: ahbest3 | January 20, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Poti's not creative but he's definitely one of our better defensive players and much better this season than last. I guess he was injured last year (shoulder). Caps definetely need to upgrade on the blueline. Would be nice to get someone who brings some open ice presence but who can also play top 4 minutes. Going into the playoffs with Green and Schultz getting top minutes is very scary - booga booga!

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

waltsince57 = waltsince75

pernality = personality

typos, grammar, spelling, etc = x1232

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@x1232 - I can find a guy who can gives .5 assists per game for a lot less than $5m.

@stanton - I actually agree with you on the Poti thing. I would like to see the quotes too. But on the Nylander signing, hindsight is great, we should not have signed Nyls for so long. But maybe that was the only way to get a decent player (by rep only maybe) to come to us at the time. The length of the contract could be the same deal. Does every deal work out? Of course not. But GMGMs record is pretty good lately. Would GMGM like to see that deal expiring? Absolutely! The problem I have is that you wait for something bad to happen and then you jump. Make the noise when it goes down and then you will be right and we will all bow down before you. Make the noise this late after the signing and you just sound like a troll.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

its waitingsince75, not waltsince75.

Hate to hit and run (stanton), but I'm out.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | January 20, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh gosh..

Yo FOBSEnough..Tell you what it means later....

First off you can't compare Backs and Nylanders contract...One is in an entry level deal and hes gonna make 5 to 7 mil and I believe will be worth every penny. Nylander is on pace for 44 points and less if he wears a suit. That is over 100,000 per point!!!!!

You know what, not even worth arguing...He's horrid...

Posted by: numero94 | January 20, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@x1232

The notion that the Capitals need better "media support" is absurd.

However, if your complaint is the Capitals need better "media coverage," then I understand your point.

Maybe just confusion over language.

Personally, I'm fine with both the media support (not necessary) and coverage (I get all the Capitals news I need from the WaPo online).

Posted by: Cerealman | January 20, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line is Nylander is not worth 4+ million. If we were paying him 2 mil, then that would be fine, but he isn't worth the money. He can be replaced - heck, I would rather have Steckle than Nylander. Steckle wins faceoffs and plays on the PK. What does Nylander do? Everyone says he sets up other players - to me, I see a lot of turn overs... that is expected from our younger guys - not a veteran.
I'm glad the situation is getting heated - He did nothing last year and isn't doing anything this year. We are just fine without him and that is what's important. He can be replaced - especially by a player that we already have.

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

When Nylander was signed, the Caps needed a #1 center to play in Hanlon trap system and mentor Backstrom. Well, we don't play a trap system anymore and Backstrom took off once he played his natural position. I don't think anyone knew that Ovie+Backstrom would be this good so fast.

Anyway, I prefer this problem to our old problems of not enough playmakers.

Posted by: koalatek | January 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

VladG

Couple things. I agree that Nyls is our 3rd line center because Feds is a better fit. I also agree our best 3rd line sofar has been 56/39/16. What I don't agree on is the "Enough chances to develop chemistry with Semin" part.

I've tossed it around before. Maybe one day I'll go through tarik and pick out specifics, but Nylander, having played in quite a few games, has also played entire games with just about EVERY winger on the team. No other player on the team can claim that except maybe Clark. The bulk of Nylander's time on the 2nd line also coincided with Semin's injuries this year. When Semin was healthy, he's also played quite a few minutes on the 1st line, and there was that small experiment for a couple games with Nyls on the top line. To say there's little chemistry between 92 and anyone on the team is not a shock. I almost feel bad for the guy. Nyls is like the Eeyore of the team right now.

Posted by: FFSEnough | January 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

O-BA-MA!!

Posted by: MTB7 | January 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@waitingsince75
I can find a guy who can gives .5 assists per game for a lot less than $5m.

Possibly but you would have to set the following conditions:

-play him with Fehr and Clark
-play him 12 minutes a game
-If you play him with Semin, make sure that Semin is pouting for not playing with Ovie and he either does not make any efforts or he puts the puck in the center's skates
-If he has any chemistry at all with Flash, change his wingers.

Now that we have established equal conditions for your less than $5M a year center, please give me names. I really enjoy apples to aplles comparisons.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

atybat,
We don't need a 2nd line center - we have one. So, having him play with Semin is irrelevant. I just named a 3rd line center - Steckle... heck, you could go with Sutherby. We don't need more scoring, we need more defensive minded people like Gordon... not to mention someone who wins faceoffs. I feel like there are a lot of players out there that we could get for 2 mil...

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

waltingsince75
I think I finally got your name right.
I am sure you can find a guy cheaper for the production that Nyls is giving us now. Again, I am not arguing that point. My argument is 1. That NYls can be more productive and 2. that the way BB is using him is the problem. Let me give you an anology. It is like buying a Bugatti Veyron for $1 million and use it just to go to work, then complaining that it is not good on gas and it is too expensive to drive. Yes, you can replace it with a Hyundai and get more for your money. My argument is, that if you buy an expensive fast car then you should learn how to use it get the best out of it.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

No opita, I am not numero94. I do agree with ever word he said on the Nylander topic though.

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 20, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

cerealman,
you make it clear now. english is my second language. i meant media coverage. thanks.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

that the way BB is using him is the problem???
BB is the coach, if you can't play under his style then you should not be there. You don't bring in Peyton Manning to play on the Pittsburgh Steelers to run the ball.
Someone made a good point with Hanlon - at the time, Nyls is probably what we needed. Now, not so much. So, he is pretty much useless.

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

hmmmm Bugatti-veyron... me me like...

Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@ MTB7,

Really? Please leave that at the mall, I doubt many people here are interested in hearing anymore.

@ 94,

Hit me back.

Yes, Nylander is getting paid too much, but how much of that could have just been worth the transition for Nicky? Just a thought.

Posted by: SZALACH7 | January 20, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry,

*SUPER*

Posted by: SZALACH7 | January 20, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

DrAdamson, I didn't mean to imply that you were one and the same, I just thought that by agreeing with those crazy statements you belonged in the same hospital. I mean it more tongue-in-cheek style, but they are nutty and irrational.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

SZALACH7,
And that is another good point with Nicky. If that is why, then I accept that, however, I think Nicky is good to go now.
I don't care if Nylander is out there and I hate when people say we need to trade players because well, it's not in 'our' control. So, I can live with him. I just think we could use that money on other players... Alzner, Nicky, Semin, etc... Especially next year!

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@wiatingsince75
dont put words in my mouth. reading comprehension is usually a good trait to have when reading on a messageboard. poti is a good defenseman at best anyway, and was a stump on the rags. yeah, he is one of our best defenseman, but not that good across the league because our blue line stinks. good job getting condescending there though.

@WVPhil

we have already went through this. I am quite aware of the pool of D men who will be available. I have listed specifics, including cap consideration already. finding a good, decently priced defensman wont be hard come march 4th.
i never said pronger, blake or chara, jesus christ guys. the bottom line, is we are uneven. too much up front, not enough in the back. that is the reality. i can be as ambiguous as i want, because that is the reality.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@ 828,

I hear you, especially with the money that we HAVE to spend soon.

BTW, when are you going to make it out to watch the away games again? Same goes for Whitermage.

Posted by: SZALACH7 | January 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@_828
"BB is the coach, if you can't play under his style then you should not be there. "
You make sound as if the player applied for the job. I don't think that is the case. Of course, they can stipulate in their contract as to what courses to take if they are not needed anymore, can you blame them for that? It is a business. And yes, I think it is BB's responsibility to get the best out of the players he has.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

$#$%^%#%$&^%

I keep forgetting to add:

*SUPER*

Posted by: SZALACH7 | January 20, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@mauree
me too. me like very much. I had one ... until I woke-up and realized that I have been dreaming.

Posted by: x1232 | January 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

SZALACH7,
When are you all going out again - I will try and get again. Just need to check the boards and hope I can make it.

x1232,
Why does BB have to get the best out of his players when he has players who can do the same thing better and cost much less?

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

i have to agree with the general consensus on a few things here:

Nylander hasn't been used very well (he seems to be this year's Eminger, though to a far lesser extent), but he isn't playing well when he is playing, either.

I completely agree that the constant line combo changes are affecting his game.

I completely disagree that the constant line combo changes should be affecting his game this much.

Obviously, Fedorov was hurt, and is now back, which is the cause of the line changing, but he's getting pretty similar pieces to play with. Laich and Flash are comparable pieces, as are Fehr and Clark.

It's also obvious, though, that he does appear to have some chemistry with Semin and Ovechkin, but, given the choice, Backstrom and Fedorov are BY FAR my first two choices to play with those two. So, in that regard, I really don't blame Boudreau -- he's just working with what he has.

And so should Nylander.

I also wouldn't get rid of Nylander unless he really, really wants to go. Feds is likely gone after this year, and, without Nylander, our currently ridiculous depth is all of the sudden down to a true #1 and three #3s, and I don't think that Perrault is quite ready to come up to DC as the #2.

Fehr is just the unluckiest duck in this pond this year, isn't he? I can only hope he pulls a Flash towards the end of this year and merits another shot next.

Whatever happens, though, we've got a bunch of holes that will need filling come July 1st, I'm presuming. I'm personally hoping that #2 center isn't one of them.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | January 20, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Nylander is a Saab...you have several sports cars in front of him...he will never play 1st or 2nd line center with Feds and Backstrom leading the way. Simple - don't b@tch about ice time - play better. He is a 3rd line center on this team and will get 3rd line time. He may be a 2nd or 1st line center on less talented teams, but we are loaded up front.

Let's see: you suck for 40 games and then complain about your ice time being reduced and being moved around the lines.
Solution: stop sucking

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

WaitingSince75,
Nice Mora reference. I can hear you right now actually. Makes me laugh. I wasn't saying that those were good guys to bring here. I merely picked them out because they are veteran defencemen (and in Chelios' case, extremely veteran) like you wanted. However, it's better than just saying, bring a veteran D man here. What I want to do is try to show that it's not that easy. I picked out three names and at least it shows what's out there. You didn't like the Chelios pick. At least it got you thinking about names and not the ever elusive "stay at home defenceman."

Posted by: WVPhil | January 20, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

nyls knows the coach has no confidence in him and his play reflects it. i agree with the guy that says they're hoping he'll be pissed enough to waive the no trade. problem is he has almost no value at this price. i predict he waives the no trade and gets traded to Edmonton for the second biggest headache contract in the league, Dustin Penner. Sounds crazy but this situation is that bad. Eventually, he'll be on the permanent bench program the way Olie was at the end of last year.

smkinjersey

Posted by: smkinjersey | January 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Is Nylander so unhappy that he's willing to waive his no trade clause?

He has been given opportunities. Has he really taken advantage of those opportunities?

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | January 20, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Dustin Penner makes too much money for the Caps to consider him.

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

You guys don't get it... the trade offers come first, gets put to Nyls agent who relays it to Nyls than he choses whether to wave the NTC which he will under a certain set of criteria.

He doesn't wave his NTC than GMGM goes around shopping him. GMGM already knows that Nyls is willing to accept to be moved. I could even give you some team names where Nyls may be willing to go but it doesn't mean those teams want/need him or are able to make the deal.

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Nylander is in 'no man's land'. The second line is more productive with Feds, and Nylander does not fit the checking line center mode. Both Steckel and Gordon have more goals than Nylander, both getting less ice time and neither spending any time on the power play or 2nd line as Nylander has done. He either belongs on a top two line or he doesn't fit, and he can't make the top two lines with the Caps.

Posted by: NBBear | January 20, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Until those 'trade offers' come and Nyls accepts, then he will have to deal with less playing time, healthy scratches... or perform. Sounds simple to me.

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

About the game at Scotiabank tonight? I read that it will be nationalized in Denmark... Peter Regin is pretty excited.

If we play like yesterday I'm pretty sure we'll lose, and lose bad.

Jason Spezza and blueliner Jason Smith practiced this morning and are good to go tonight ... Defenceman Brendan Bell returns to the lineup.
Jarkko Ruutu will play.

It's a sell-out.


Posted by: mauree | January 20, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@x1232:

That's the thing -- I don't see how BB is misusing Nyls just by virtue by the fact that he plays him with 3rd line wingers (although I agree with you that BB could probably keep his wingers more consistent, I have a hard time seeing how Nyls' game fits with most other players on this team). Overall, if Feds is playing with Semin & Flash, and Nyls is playing with Clark and Laich, IMO its not because BB thinks its a great way to use Nyls' talents, but because he believes that having Feds on the 2nd line is needed to maximize Semin's and Flash's talents, which is a priority. So I think its not misuse of Nylander's skills, its just having to stick him somewhere, anywhere because on this team he's a bad fit on the top 2 lines.

Btw, the best I've seen Nyls play, I think it was with Kozlov and Flash. If only Fehr would live up to his potential (hopeful), or Clark could ever come back to his pre-injury self (doubtful), I could see, maybe, something like this:

Ovy-Back-Clark/Fehr
Semin-Feds-Laich
Flash-Nyls-Kozlov

(next year, maybe add Bourque,Osala to the mix) ..yes, the 3-line-offense dream lives on!

@tomdchancar, @cstanton1

Yeah, I think I remember Poti saying something regarding Caps' showing serious intent by signing some players..

@FFSEnough:

Like @x1232, you have a point about Nyls' inconsistent linemates.. but the thing is, Semin, Fedorov, Laich, Flash, Kozlov, all these guys have been moved around this season, and all have produced up to their billing with different linemates. Nylander.. not really.. So it seems that the issue is more with him, as in his particular style of puck-possession hockey..

Posted by: VladG | January 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Horrible line combos

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@atybat

that is actually not how it works. trade offers come between the management of the clubs. if something is established, they inform the player/agent.

hypothetically, if an agreement between the GMs are reached for nylander, and he refuses to waive the no trade clause then he will not play. like i said earlier, if an offer came up he would waive it. its how it works.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 20, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else have a sense that Semin is getting a bit less pub than he deserves -- likely due to language barriers. The fact is that he won us the last two games, with amazing plays. It just seems that this and other boards disproportionately focus on the play of guys like Laich, Flash, Nyls, Theo -- basically everything other than Semin's play. If the Caps are going to actually win the Cup this year I suspect that Semin will win at least a few games for us in the playoffs. In any event, particularly right now, the guy seems to deserve more discussion. Just a thought.

And a related point -- I would love to see Tarik do a feature on him, and somehow get quotes from him after games. He's the second best player on a top 5 NHL team and we know very little about his personality. For example, how does he get along with the non-Russians (or the Russians, for that matter)? He obviously can't take a verbal leadership role team-wide, but does he revert to the opposite, and essentially become insular. Does he get on his fellow Russians from time to time? It's easy to speculate that he has a low pain threshold and lacks the focus and drive that you want in a star, but that's pretty much mere speculation. I'm sick of hearing from the same guys after every game -- and hearing nada from our second best player, even after he pulls two games in a row out of the air for us, or gets his clothes ripped off during a hilarious fight. I know their is a language barrier, but I'd be very grateful, Tarik, if you could penetrate it more regularly.

Posted by: kjm1971 | January 20, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

You want tarik to penetrate Semin?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 20, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@ x1237:

What is irrational?

Opinions on Nylander's awful play, or our desire to trade the man?

Both make perfect sense to me.

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 20, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

What makes some of you think that Fedorov will be retired or leave the Caps next year? Fedorov will not retire during the 2009-2010 season for no other reason than 2010 is a Winter Olympic year. Remember Sergei and the Caps two Alex's formed the number one line that led Russia to last year's World Ice Hockey championship while scoring 5 goals and recording 7 assists in 9 undefeated games. I suspect that he may well wish to resign with the Caps next year especially if Washington goes far in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Recall that the Caps wanted to sign him for two years last summer and he opted for one. Also what Ovie wants will certainly play a major role with management and you can bet that the great 8 wants Sergie to remain his teammate. Besides look at the Caps performance since they signed Fedorov.

Posted by: dwollkind | January 20, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@kjm1971:

I think the reason for lack of love of #28 is basically people will sooner forgive a complete lack of talent, than a sometime lack of effort.

Its interesting, because a cultural thing, or at least used to be. In Russia, nobody expects the sniper wingers to just chew up the ice for 60 minutes. What's demanded of them is to score, and if they coast to conserve energy for a few decisive explosive shifts, its ok. Kind of like Brazilian strikers in the soccer are.

Here, if you coast for a few shifts, you're labeled a lazy player, and it does not go away no matter how goals you score. If not for his hits, Ovechkin would also be labeled a lazy player -- I think Semin might actually be the more defensively responsible of the two.

I do think that in modern hockey, the old Russian approach is outdated -- the snipers have to put in their share of hard labor. And with experience, I think the ones that really want to win, they convert to that mindset. Datsyuk is an incredible example -- maybe the most technically skilled player in the world, combined with Selke-level work ethic. We might have to wait or never get it with Semin, but I think his takeaways, for one thing, are remarkably Datsyuk-ian. So there's hope :)

Posted by: VladG | January 20, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

dwollkind:
I agree - no one should write Fed off. If the Caps can afford him and he is feeling up to it, he'll be back. I would not be at all surprised to see him next season. I do not, however, see him going to another team. Who knows ... I'll be curious to see what happens!

Posted by: --Boo-- | January 20, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Until those 'trade offers' come and Nyls accepts, then he will have to deal with less playing time, healthy scratches... or perform. Sounds simple to me.

Posted by: _828 | January 20, 2009 5:09 PM

Whoa, easy with the rational, logical, thoughts there. This is the booby-hatch. You're gonna have to ramp up the koo-koo a little. Didn't Nyls say the system is easy to play? He's not producing. Don't produce, don't play. I did love the PP feed to Greener the other day. I don't hate the guy. I don't blame BB for scratching him. I don't blame him for voicing his displeasure over it. I don't want him traded. I want him to play better. Maybe, next game he's in, he will.

Posted by: kevbnyc | January 20, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I love this thread, with Bugattis and Nyls and the fine new word "datysukian".
I think Semin's english is just fine and that the ice isn't the only place he plays -his- brilliant, original, occasionally maddening game, his way.
8 on 28s NYI pass: "I thought he'd give it to me sooner. But it's Semin."

Posted by: redlineblue | January 20, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

@Vlad:

I agree. Ovi coasts all the time, waiting for things to materialize. But I don't think that's the explanation; I think it's simply Semin's disinclination to speak in English to reporters. I just think, especially in the last two games, that his impact on this team's success is being understated.

@redlineblue:

I interpreted that Ovi quote this way (and perhaps you did as well; couldn't tell exactly what you meant): "I thought he would pass it to me at the usual time and place, like most NHL players, but he is capable of pulling off absurd moves and doesn't appreciate the mundane, and thus waited until the absolute last instant and somehow put it on my tape for the easy tap-in. That's Semin."

Posted by: kjm1971 | January 20, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't hate the guy. I don't blame BB for scratching him. I don't blame him for voicing his displeasure over it. I don't want him traded. I want him to play better. Maybe, next game he's in, he will.

Posted by: kevbnyc | January 20, 2009 6:15 PM

@kevbnyc: Well said. I'm just afraid that if we let Nyls go at the trade dealine, it might come back to haunt us.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 20, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

We said exactly the same thing...why waste the post?

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

datysukian (dăt-SŪK-ēē-ŭn) (adj.): like or pertaining to a European-born forward possessing totally sick all-round hockey skills playing for a team that has won way too many Stanley Cups. (see: Datysuk, Pavel).

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 20, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

One more thing... since Fedorov has come back and last 4 games he has played....

Fedorov
O goals, 2 assists, -1 (+/-)

Nylander
1 Goal, 3 assists, -1 (+/-)

Not poopooing the argument that Fedorov is more useful than Nyls, of course (it's plain for everyone to see) but many folks here are posting that since Fedorov came back, he has made Flash and Semin produce....

Posted by: atybat | January 20, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@kjm: 'zackly. 28's lightning in a bottle, and has said so himself in the Cosby quote--'why would you dump and chase when you might make a [what's russian for highlight reel] play?'
He's a world class athlete slash performance artist, Fidrych van Gogh the first. Don't sign another, nor let this one get away!

Posted by: redlineblue | January 20, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

someone mentioned that the 3rd line wingers don't do right by Nyls. On the contrary he doesn't do right by them either. Steckel is much better as the 3rd line center because his forechecking style fits in with his 3rd line wingers. Nyls plays too far from the net. Which is interesting since he's also the last one backchecking into his own end.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 20, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

atybat, I think the last 2 games have seen some brilliant Fedorov-to-Semin and Semin-to-Fedorov plays that wound up in very big goals for the team (game winner and game tying goals).

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 22, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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