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Morning Skate Update

Well, there's at least one person hoping for Detroit and Washington to meet in the Stanley Cup Finals: Staffan Kronwall, the newest Capital and younger brother of Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

"That would be pretty special," Staffan said with a big smile this morning.

Kronwall arrived in town at midnight and got to KCI early this morning. He wasn't able to skate, however, because his pads didn't arrive until about 11 a.m. (via FedEx, interestingly).The 26-year-old also won't play tonight because he's still awaiting his work permit.

"I was thrilled," Kronwall said of being claimed by the Caps on re-entry waivers from Toronto yesterday. "I'm just very grateful Toronto put me on waivers. They could have kept me in the minors all year."

"I really hope a get a chance to get looked at, at least," he added. "I think that I am an NHL defenseman, and I hope I get the chance to prove that."

Asked to describe his game, Kronwall said: "I'm a good skater and a good puck mover especially for my size. I like to throw some bodies around, make some open ice hits every once in a while. But I'm not an overly aggressive guy. I think I'm a pretty good two way player."

Kronwall said his transition to Washington will be a little easier because he knows Nicklas Backstrom (they played together briefly in Sweden) and he trains in the summer with Michael Nylander.

Kronwall has 52 NHL games on his resume, but he has not played in the big leagues this season. It's unclear when he'll make his debut with the Caps.

"I don't know," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "As you know, our system is different than most teams. Sometimes it takes a week or so to get into the mix of things."

Some other notes and quotes from this morning:

*The lineup vs. Florida should look like this:



"I really like when Steckel and Gordon are playing center," Boudreau said. "It gives you that defensive responsibility. And Michael and Nick get along so well. And Michael has always been a top-six forward and we want to get him into that top-six position when it's available."

*Jose Theodore will start in goal and he'll be backed up by Michal Neuvirth.

*The Caps will face a Southeast Division opponent for the first time since New Year's Day. With a 5-3-0 against their own division, they've faced fewer division opponents than any other team. In fact, they have more wins against the Atlantic and Northeast Divisions than they have games vs. the Southeast.

*Mike Green's five-game goal scoring streak matches the longest ever by a Caps' defenseman.

*As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got to KCI at the crack of dawn this morning. The other car in the parking lot? Boudreau's. He was already here watching video at 6:45 a.m.

"I left at 6:05 and there was no traffic," he said. "I can't sleep."

*Boudreau on Brooks Laich: "He wants to battle through all injuries. Those are the kind of guys you win championships with. Because they are warriors."

I'll check in again before the game with a lineup.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 7, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup


Good about juice and alzner playing together. They were very solid IMO

Posted by: Leeguru | February 7, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't dislike those lines. I like 21-39-16, myself.

Sounds like it's time to teach Ovi Swedish.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 7, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

yea juice and alzner have been great. Would've liked to see Shultz scratched and put Erskine with Green.

Posted by: JSeagull1 | February 7, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Quick brief response to the thread from last night...@Puckguru, Brash, Bradley, Erskine, Laich (yes don't cringe, he's definitely in that definition of character guy just cause he doesn't drop the gloves), Clark is out so that's one less. I'd call Gordo a character guy as well. The whole team showed heart in the 3rd against the Kings. We have some guys that seem to let the tone of the game dictate how physical they play, but in a heavy hitting game those guys step up and dish it out as much as they take it. Lack of hits and character didn't give up all those breakaways against the Kings...turnovers and poor coverage did.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 7, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I am concerned that our very own "Dave the sissy version" Schultz is on the top 2! He was horrible against LA! He screened the goalie on one goal (Kolzig would have killed him), he looked lost all game, looked like he did not have a clue what to do with the puck, and got beat like an old rug about 20 times. Jeez if he would just hit someone, I'd be happy.

Posted by: majiksea | February 7, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I do not like the lumberjack being the scratch tonight. Schultz better step up his game, he should be sitting this one out IMO.

Posted by: abuddy2004 | February 7, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know what is the right way to pronounce Michal's name?? Is it said like "Michael?" or is it different? If anyone knows, that'd be nice, I'm just wondering.

Posted by: rachel216 | February 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

has nylander played wing this year?

Posted by: _stevo | February 7, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, all you Schultz-haters...think you know more and see more than Coach B? Seems there are plenty of folks who put their sights on a player, ie. Schultz or Nylander, and spend the entire game waiting for a screw up so as to justify their wrath. Give it a rest. Each game, every player screws up a time or two. Sounds like you just don't like the guy.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 7, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

What is with SChultz being on the top line, let alone in the game???? He should be the one riding the pine for a couple of games. I agree he does look lost out there. On that 5 on 3 on Tues, he screened Theo. Theres no way Theo saw someone even shoot the puck with Schultz in the way. He doesn't know what he is doing out there. Also he has got to be ONE of our slowest defensment. Does anyone else think he isn't NHL ready yet???? I have been saying this since he's been up here, I know i'm not an NHL coach or scout, but come on. HE IS NOT READY TO BE IN THE NHL!!!!!!!!!!!! Let him get some speed in the minors and learn how to hit and where to be, then call him up.

Posted by: Thomas32 | February 7, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Can we say any more about BB that guy amazes me... from understanding that coaching young kids is like parenting to not being able to sleep and gettin in at 6 to watch films...

Tarik great job! These past two days have been busy!!

Posted by: ovisgod | February 7, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

has nylander played wing this year?

Posted by: _stevo | February 7, 2009 1:15 PM

In the game against NJ , I saw him playing with Ovi and Feds.

Posted by: elicea | February 7, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Michal Neuvirth: When he was in Hershey they pronounced it 'Michael Noyvert'

Posted by: tess2201 | February 7, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

any idea on how nylander looked on the wing?

Posted by: _stevo | February 7, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It took him less time to get in to position to start going in circles.....

Posted by: Leeguru | February 7, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: _stevo | February 7, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

ugh Nylander on the wing? he's useless playing wing. It means Backis will probably have to spend more time in the corners digging at the puck or that line won't be possessing the puck very long on a dump in play.

Funny how Bruce was clamoring to get Erskine back in the lineup and now that he's back in there he's a healthy scratch. Its like they don't know who they like at any given moment

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 7, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

He was on it for only a few shifts and it was in the dying minutes, so I don't really have much to base it on. But for those shifts, he looked pretty good.

Posted by: elicea | February 7, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@ leeguru


@ gonchpup

I know there are many Schultz haters here, but I'm not one. Last game though, I saw a fairly lethargic performance from Sarge, and he made himself very noticeable when he screened Theo for a Kings goal.

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | February 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I will admit to being a Schultz hater, but I don't look for him to screw up everygame, but the fact of the matter is that he should NOT be out there. He has lost speed since coming back from his injury. I know the way to get that back his speen is in games, but he should not be playing over erskine right now. He has not been in good position as of late and he is getting burnt game in and game out.

Posted by: Thomas32 | February 7, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Its amazing how many people here gripe on the players such as Nylander and Schultz. Lets let the coach coach and GMGM GM. It is our role to support our team. They almost never lose lately it seems and people just can't be happy with that.

This is the first season in a LONG time that there is no doubt that we are playoff bound. Roll players in and out, stay fresh and win when it counts. They play to win the games and we watch the games. Folks like that guy in our section that get angry at every play should chill and enjoy this run.

Posted by: lornemyoung | February 7, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Newsflash: On 5 on 3 powerplay, goalie is often going to be screened with puck is on the point and player is often going to be open side of net when puck is down below on the other side. Bottom line, being down 2 men is not good and I'd probably suggest spending focusing criticism on the penalties that create the 2-man disadvantage than on some young D-man's wrong position that supposedly gives up s goal

Posted by: pachanga74 | February 7, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse


stevo and super are not the same person.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 7, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

did you call him GMGM GM ?

Posted by: richmondphil | February 7, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

that's right! senior moment. thanks. I'll go back to my painting.

Posted by: Leeguru | February 7, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

the Canes picked up Jussi Jokinen.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

as in "let Coach coach"?

Posted by: WhyGo | February 7, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Have a feeling there's going to be a lot of crazy bounces tonight. Georgetown game went overtime and just ended, must play simple hockey tonight and be prepared for a funny bounce or two.


Posted by: BBDwrestling | February 7, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Lotta Brookbanks on the move lately!

Posted by: _jordan | February 7, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Why cant we sit jurcina instead of Erskine?

Posted by: arcassells | February 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't have the pucks to think I know more about hockey than Bruce.
I'm interested in the fact that the mngt thought changes needed to be made on defense and that erskine needed a scratching.

Posted by: oo7 | February 7, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

didn't 4Erskine take a pretty big hit last game?...maybe he's feeling a little "wonky"

Posted by: fullright | February 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tess! :)

Posted by: rachel216 | February 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Also remember hearing that Erskine plays better with a little rest.

Wonder if #55 will get a seat next if his game is not better tonight. Just not sure pairing him with Green is the right match. Jeff seems short on confidence and pairing him with a D whose backside he will have to cover may be too much pressure for a guy who has had the deer in the headlights look the last few games.

Anyone else see the game notes that we have McCreary and a Devorski officiating tonight. Look out Mo!

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 7, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Also, so glad Brooks is playing tonight!

Warrior. Enough said. Actually, expect to see him at least wearing an A at some point. Now enough said.

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 7, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

very noticeable when he screened Theo for a Kings goal.

Posted by: TheVampireCorndog | February 7, 2009 1:54 PM

The only goal he was on the ice for, for what it's worth.

I'm not going to excuse Schultz' performance in the last game, but he's not the problem back there. Put his play in the last week against Erskine's (especially the Ottawa game) and that might be the reason Erskine is watching the game from upstairs tonight.

Posted by: Section117 | February 7, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Schultz-haters or not, all I'm trying to say is I am sure the Caps coaching staff is far-better equipped to make these calls than we are. If fans see mistakes made from their seats or on the tube, I'd bet the coaches did too. Perhaps they know more than we do??? I put my faith in Coach B's decisions over the opinion of a be-grudged fan.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 7, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse


what's the point of this blog if we blindly trust BB? I want my professional NHL coach opinion to be heard! :p

Jokes aside, we're just discussing. I don't hate Schultz but I think he's a liability out there. I'm curious to know why he still plays, and it seems I'm not the only one. So far the best answers are "trust BB" and "he wasn't particularly guilty on that 5 on 3". Honestly? I think nobody here really knows.

Most probable: they believe he's still young, yes he's making mistakes but he's big and he'll evolve as a D-man. Ok. Then I'd like Tarik or any reporter to ask BB or management: how much patience? How many sucky games before the conscience will be fine with removing him from the line-up?

Anyway, it's a minor point - the important thing is tonight's game. Which is a must win if we are serious about keeping second place/hunting for the first place. BOS is 15 points away. Fifteen. They lost today but still got one point.

Posted by: mauree | February 7, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is so lousy that he has a +14 and has 9 points compared to Erksine's +2 and 2 points. Schultz does follow Erksine in one category -- pims 10 versus 34. The surprise considering his play last year is Morrison at -4, 6 points, and 38 pims. I just can't see Morrison back next year with his salary demands and two years in a row of arbitration, on top of his poor play this year. He actually has more goals against the Caps than for.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 7, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I do like the Morrison-Poti pairing better than Morrison-Green. It's odd that Morrison-Green worked so well last year, but not as well this year, even with the Norris like numbers Green is putting up. I think that Poti will help Morrison as Poti is better than Green in the defensive zone. I really like the Alzner-Jurcina pairing that has worked so well this year.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 7, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse


Stats don't tell the whole story. Schultz is constantly getting beat and out of position. It seems as though he's clumsy with his feet always getting tangled up. You can't play well defensively like that. Erskine (not Erksine) is the best physical defenseman the Caps have at this point. He is really the only defenseman the Caps have who makes the other team afraid to go down low.

Posted by: capsrule828 | February 7, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

One more hour... drop the puck already! What do we do till then?

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have a live feed for the game?

Posted by: Wiked | February 7, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: fullright | February 7, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Greg in Anap,

What's tonights beer choice?

I'm thinking Old Rasputin for myself.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 7, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Wiked | February 7, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsrule828 -- Sure Erskine is intimidating, but so was Happy Gilmore. Yes, a fictional character, but the analogy holds -- the Sexy Lumberjack is a terrible skater. He is slow, often out of position and his stick skills are woeful. His clearing attempts often turn into breakaways for the other team. If Schultz is such a goof, such a terrible defender, then how does he have such good numbers? He is a far superior skater, stick-handler, makes better decisions than Erskine. He also does not take nearly as many dumb penalties that result from his lousy temper and hooking, tripping, grasping from being beat. Watch the opposition, they often set up their plays going down Erskine side knowing that he is the weak link.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 7, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Steve_R: Niiiiice choice. I'll probably polish off one or two Yuengling before the game, since that's my lucky Caps beer. Then I've got a choice of Hennepin, Red Seal Ale, Palo Santo Marron, and the trusty 90 Minute IPA. Hmmm.... What a dilemma!

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Steve, just found a pair of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in the back of the fridge, to add to my choices...

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse


Like I said stats do not tell the whole picture. Points have nothing to do with being a good defender (neither of these players are an offensive threat or are counted on for their offense). Plus/minus is an inflatable or deflatable stat depending on who you play with, so while it does give you some indication of the players overall offensive/defensive impact, it does not tell whether the player is a good defensive player. As for the penalties, I cannot claim that I have ever seen Schultz take a fighting major (case in piont Erskine) or take a good penalty (case in point Erskine). Yes there is such a thing as a good penalty. In no way am I saying that Erskine is a good defensive player, I'm just saying he is a force. I watch him play and he works on players physically. Without a good physical force on the line teams usually go nowhere.

Posted by: capsrule828 | February 7, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Plus/minus is an inflatable or deflatable stat depending on who you play with, so while it does give you some indication of the players overall offensive/defensive impact, it does not tell whether the player is a good defensive player.

Let me get this right, you're saying that...

Schultz' play last weekend (for instance) was not indicative of his play, rather than Jurcina artificially inflated it?

Schultz should commit DoG penalties and get in fights which lead to him incurring concussions?

Posted by: Section117 | February 7, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Craig predicts that Johnny will not play in a Caps uniform again. Hmm!

Anyway, like Joe says, all that sad stuff out of the way, let's get ready to rock the red! GO CAPS!

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

HOLY FEHR!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 7, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Thank you capsrule828!!!! Finally someone sees what I have been seeing since Schultz was first called up. Like capsrule828 said, stats don't mean a lot when your consistently getting burnt game in and game out.

Posted by: Thomas32 | February 7, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

To all ye who remain here: You are alone. There is a new post. Join us. :)

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | February 7, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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