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Morning Skate Update

Here's a quick update before I begin my online chat:

*Coach Bruce Boudreau said he's looking forward to see what Karl Alzner can do in a regular season NHL game.

"We want him to move the puck, not get beat and make the right plays," he said. "We don't want him going end-to-end. We want Karl to be Karl."

Boudreau said his thought with the 'D' pairings was to put a puck moving defensemen with a stay-at-home type, hence Alzner-Jurcina, Lepisto-Morrisonn, Poti-Sloan.

*With Schultz out long term, there's a good chance Alzner and Lepisto will be battling to stick around.

*Jose Theodore will get the start tonight against Atlanta.

*Mike Green might attempt to practice fully tomorrow. He's still aiming to play this weekend.

*Boudreau on the rash of injuries: "You see something new every day in this game. It was more surprising when they were going down. Every time I looked down the bench [in St. Paul] there was another guy hurt."

'It's an opportunity for [the call-ups]," he added. "They're going to bring a lot of energy. They were playing great down [in Hershey]. We'll see where this leads."

*Clark had been trying to play through his forearm injury. But Boudreau knew Monday night that he couldn't keep it up. He was playing the puck with one hand and couldn't get anything mustard on his shots. It's been a tough stretch for the captain, who missed all but 18 games last season because of an ear laceration and a groin tendon strain.

"You could tell in Minnesota because he couldn't hold onto his stick," Boudreau said. "We just want him to be healthy again so he can show what the real Chris Clark is all about. It's been bothering him for a while. He just has so much courage he didn't tell anybody."

*As for Alexander Semin, he didn't skate at all again today. Boudreau said has not taken a step back his recovery from an upper back strain, and that he's just getting rest. What's surprising to me, however, is that he was supposedly close to being ready to play on Monday. But now, with all the injuries, he's not even skating. Makes one wonder what's going on?

"We thought he was going to play in a couple of the [road] games," Boudreau said. "Maybe a little rest is going to help him."

*Boudreau said he's not worried about the new guys being able to play his system on short notice because Bears Coach Bob Woods employs a similar one in Hershey.

"The guys will know how to play it," Boudreau said. "And I've had them all, except for Karl."

* Boudreau on Tyler Sloan, who has played 13 games in Washington: "He has more experience than all four guys who were called up."

Please join me for my online chat, which is starting now.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2008; 11:56 AM ET
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Next: Alzner: Wish Granted


I had to explain to my dad why you were wrong on Sportsrise and that my sources were right in that Clark was going on the LTIR and Alzner was coming up.

Posted by: theskinnypost | November 26, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to see the Bears play and now many of their best players will be in DC, not ChocoTown. Oh the humanity. Oh well, I hope the call-ups earn a few wins and let the skating wounded heal. I wanted to see Alzner so bad tonight, darn! At least I get to see Oscar

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 26, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

How are we still in first place in the SE division? I expect a lot of goals tonight. It would be nice to have our goalies step up right now. That would be real nice!

Posted by: _828 | November 26, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Good lord. I spend the morning doing a lot of work and the roster is halfway turned upside down. Should be interesting game tonight. I'm excited to see Alzner in a regular season NHL game.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 26, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I know Clarkie tried to tough it out because that's the kind of guy he is and he wants to play after missing all that time. However, if you have trouble holding on to your stick and if you can't shoot, aren't you hurting the team? It would be better sometimes if players understood that, for the good of the team, if not themselves too, they should speak up when they have an injury and sit out a few games. I like Clark and the toughness and fire he brings to the team, but the Caps need him to be 100%. He needs to heal up and be able to get back and play. As for Semin -- what the heck is going on there? Is it actually a back sprain? Is it instead something broken? This garbage of he's almost ready but...oh not yet...he left practice early...etc, is getting frustrating to hear.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | November 26, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe its the pre-holiday giddies, but I thought the chat was pretty funny today. The "Schultz Fathead" question and the story of the Redskins beat writer lighting up Tarik the goalie were especially nice.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 26, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Tarik mentioned in his blog how the Caps never replaced Brendon Witt. Is Witter over the hill or is he worth trading for. He can't be that happy on the Isles; he wanted a trade to be on a compeititive team, which the Caps are and the Isles aren't. Is there a chance to send someone to the Isles for Witt? And is he worth it?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 26, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

What is it about Thanksgiving week in Washington? Last year at this time the Caps recalled Hershey's coach, now this year they're taking half our roster (at least it seems like half). I guess I should be happy we've didn't lose Varly yet.
Well, Go Caps and Go Bears. I'll be watching the Bears in person and the Caps on DVR later. Ought to be interesting!

Posted by: tess2201 | November 26, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse


I think that the Caps are like a frat. Once you ask to be traded, that's it. You're out.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

b witt is 33-34 and makes like $3M/year. his best years are behind him. tarik was talking metaphorically, that they never replaced brendan with a tough, hard nosed stay at home dman. b witt struggled in his last days here. he's not a good fit in the new nhl, but certainly is tough. you can find better and younger for the same price.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 26, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I thought he said Johnson was in net tonight?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 26, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

One could also argue we've never replaced Mark Tinordi.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | November 26, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I wonder with Alzner, Carlson, and Godfrey getting ready to come up, if the Caps should not trade for a blueliner -- or only for the short term. That's why I'm wondering about Witt or another older vet. I doubt the Caps can trade for a young up and coming defenseman (who would trade away such a player?) and an older vet who likes to hit and stay back makes more sense for the Caps needs.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 26, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I was not really looking forward to this game. Now I'm really looking forward to seeing the prospects under fire and see how they perform. This coming week should be very interesting indeed.

I am curious though in the D pairings.

The 'D' pairings:


Tarik said Coach B wanted to pair a S@H with an offensive minded D. Sloan-Poti is obvious. I guess that Alzner is the offensive minded of the 2nd pairing and Lepisto on the 3rd?

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Witt had his problems no doubt. He has zero offensive instincts, could take really bad penalties at bad times and got undressed by speedy forwards. But, man was he mean/dirty. And he wasn't like Kaspiritis who would skate away after a cheap shot. Witt would pound someone's head into the boards and then beat the crap out of his linemate when he came to avenge the first guy.

Erskine is probably the closest guy to Witt, but without the outright dirty streak that Witt has. (In fairness, the league now actually suspends people for that stuff, so its probably to his benefit.) I was never a big Witt fan for a host of reasons, but he was very good as the "footsteps" guy on the D.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I actually think that Juice is the offensive minded guy in the Alnzer-Jurnica pairing. Bruce said that he wants Alzner to play his S@H game and Juice has a canon shot (he took a few last game), but lousy aim. The funny thing in the normal Juice-Erksine pairing, I've seen Erksine more agressively skating the puck up ice. It looks like a bear on skates, but he tries.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Erksine is a very cheap knock off of Witt who was a cheap knock off of Scott Stevens. Oh to have a defender like Stevens.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 26, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Lepisto is an offensive-minded puck-moving defenseman ala Mike Green. Alzner is more stay-at-home although he does skate the puck up occasionally.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 26, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

sombrero, i think you are correct.
witt would be a fine trading deadline pickup as he would be a good playoff performer. problem is, he just signed a 2 or 3 year deal. given our cap situation, i dont think he fits unless they move nylander. i also think they would rather use next years cap space to resign mo or another, younger dman

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 26, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

And I know most of you haven't seen Graham Mink, but he's a big guy who has no qualms about parking in front of the net and annoying opposing goalies and looking for rebounds. Not the fastest skater but very strong.

Posted by: tess2201 | November 26, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

2 Greens? Hmm. I hope Mo can handle backing him up. Haven't been too impressed with him this year.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I would think mo is gone after this year. Can't see Ted paying the guy what he thinks he is worth and another arbitration would just be too messy.....I think our D will look entirely different next juice, mo, and maybe even Schultz...

Posted by: PhilR | November 26, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Getting ready to head to the game soon. Can someone help me out a little on numbers please?

Alzner 47?
Lepisto 42?
Bourque 56?

Posted by: Kim-3 | November 26, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't want Witt back. this is the guy that wanted to be traded so he could go to a team that would be "a contender for the Cup".

Then he turns around and signs with the Islanders.....

Ummm......No thanks.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | November 26, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Totally disagree that we should get Witt at the deadline. The game/league has passed him by. To paraphase "Major League "I wish we had him 4 years ago." "We Did." "8 years ago then..."

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

if he was in the last year of a reasonable contract, i might pick up b witt for the playoffs. things tighten up and i think a tough d man has value. but i dont want to pay him $3M next year, thats for sure.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball"

Posted by: _stevo | November 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse


"Ah, Jesus... I like him very much..."

Ok, sorry for the baseball movie reference but I couldn't help but respond. Should be exciting tonight to see some fresh blood and hungry young guys. I predict Bourque is going to really impress...
Go Washington Bears, Hershey Capitals

Posted by: Roose | November 26, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Witt ? That's funny.

Add Zednick, Freisen & Beech while you're at it.

Posted by: Cheef | November 26, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to what everyone thinks is really going on with Semin? Is/was the injury significant, or is he soft? Usually when someone is "day-to-day" you hear how eager thye are to get back on the ice... but we haven't heard any of that, not really from Semin, the coaching staff or in Tarik's reports (ie Green feeling better every day, etc).

He was on such a role, it would be nice to see him back on the ice.

Posted by: sinbin | November 26, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

sinbin: What about Tarik telling us about how he threw his helmet when asked his status? He's frustrated, no doubt about it.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 26, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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