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Morning Skate Update

Thinking an injured player (or two) might return tonight in Columbus, were you?

Think again.

None of them (Alexander Semin, John Erskine, Sergei Fedorov, Mike Green and Tom Poti) made the trip. But Coach Bruce Boudreau said they'll all receive treatment back in Arlington and take tomorrow off. Then, he said, it's possible that "a couple" will be able to practice with the team on Monday.

"They couldn't play," Boudreau said. "So there was no sense in bringing them."

None of the Caps skated this morning at Nationwide Arena, but I did reminisce with Shaone Morrisonn about one of the crazier games of last season. The Caps beat the Jackets, 4-3 in overtime, but only after overcoming Rick Nash notching the first 3-on-5 goal in Columbus history and then Nash scoring again after Morrisonn was taken out by referee Bill McCreary.

I bet when Morrisonn has a nightmare, it involves McCreary.

"That was crazy," Morrisonn said this morning. "If we would have lost that game I would have gotten a suspension or fine or something. He said he just kind of blacked out and was out of position. I think he got in trouble with the league for that. But those things happen in games. There's human error."

Some other notes and quotes:

*As you've probably already seen, Brent Johnson will make his first start in four games tonight. He'll oppose prospect Steve Mason, who has four of the Blue Jackets' nine victories since being recalled. Mason also has .908 save percentage and a 2.39 goals against average.

*Boudreau said the lineup will not change tonight. (And after last night's 3-0 blanking of Montreal, why should it?)

*Center David Steckel, who has a home in Columbus and played hockey Ohio State, said he expects 45-50 friends and family members to attend the game tonight.

*The Blue Jackets, the only NHL franchise to never make the playoffs, got their first ever home win against the Capitals in their inaugural 2000-2001 season. They haven't defeated them since, going 0-4-3 against Washington.

I'll check back in before the game if anything changes.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 29, 2008; 12:19 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineup

Comments

Repost - sorry it is so long.

JSchon - Your lineup at 7:36 does not fit under the cap.

A few comments to catch up:

1. Jurcina is a stiff. He had 4 bad clears in that second period. Some in this forum apparently are not watching the games.

2. Alzner is top 4 right now. I don't see how they will be able to send him back down. Trade Jurcina along with a forward or two to make room. We have the offense to afford that.

3. Lepisto is not ready. He is defensively weak and played out of position a lot last night. He also overcompensates when he makes a mistake and compounds the problem. SL was responsible for 3 straight icings last night when he had an open forward and time to get the puck to him.

4. Fehr is this year's Fleishman. I defended Flash last year (as kenwood) and feel vindicated and will defend Fehr the same. Two years ago it was Laich. You have to look past the scoresheet folks!

5. Keep Sloan and Alzner. Erskine was signed to be a 6-7-8 dman. Let him rotate time with the third pairing.

Alzner-Green
Poti-Morrison
Sloan-Schultz
Erskine

When caps are healthy again, Helmer, Lepisto and Bourque to Hershey and Jurcina goes in a trade along with a forward or two. This gives us the room for Alzner and a bump at the trade deadline (if we even need it) if we trade a bigger number like Nylander or Kozlov. It also gives us a healthy scratch both up front and in back which is a much better situation to manage.

DON'T trade our young talent: Flash, Stecks, Brooks, Fehr, Gordon, etc.

Trade bait is Kozlov, Clark and Nylander along with Jurcina.

I love the job GMGM has done. We are the deepest team in the east and could be close to that for the entire league. The only issue I had with GMGM was his loyalty to Hanlon.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Tarik- thanks for that great post. As usual, you are at the top of the heap as far as beat reporters for the NHL go.

Boy, that clip brought back some bad memories though. I remeber almost needing a new T.V. after that play and being concerned that the neighbors would think someone was being killed at the house.

Hat's off Tarik, your work is appreciated. Even if we sometimes don't say it enough!

Posted by: lamplighter1 | November 29, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Cut SL a little break it was his only second nhl game this season. Being a Bears fan I can tell theres a little speed difference.

Posted by: sporttraveler | November 29, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Just a heads up, everyone... tonight's Caps game is on CSN+ (and thus will not be in HD). Look to http://midatlantic.comcastsportsnet.com/pages/plus for the CSN+ channel in your area.

AA/HoCo FiOS customers, check QAM 122-4001 since Verizon doesn't have "FIOS1" mapped on our boxes.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | November 29, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree sportstraveler. But we really have seven dmen that are better. Next year is a better time for Sami. I see Mo and Poti being pushed for a spot in the future. Just needs a little more seasoning. I am not down on him at all.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Good call Greg. Thanks for the info. I would have been on the phone to comcast I'm sure. Stupid basketball

Posted by: lamplighter1 | November 29, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

SL is just like Helmer in that he is good insurance and a stopgap, but not a long term (this season) upgrade.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I left out Shultz being pushed by Lepisto, Carlson, Godfrey as well as Mo and Poti.

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

lamplighter1: Agreed.

Hey if I'm not here right when they drop the puck, someone should post that info in a new post (should one exist by game time). Just trying to save everyone a little aggravation. :P If you find your CSN+ now, you won't have to find it later, everyone! :)

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | November 29, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it. In two years, Poti, Erskine, Jurcina and possibly Mo are gone. I see:

Green/Alzner
Carlson/Godfrey
Lepisto/Sloan/(Mo)
Shultz

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Off to take my boys to a HS football game and then to the driving range. Can't waste this beautiful day indoors with you guys (no offense).

Posted by: waitingsince75 | November 29, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

For anyone in the arlington/alexandria comcast coverage area, the game will be on channel 77 tonight.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | November 29, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

thanks greg. I might have got in an accident if I found out the wizards were on borh CSN channels.

Posted by: Jen12 | November 29, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure about Poti being gone, and I'm not so sure about keeping Schultz. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 29, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@waitingsince75

I agree with a lot of what you said but do you really think Kozlov's trade bait? The Ovechkin/Backstrom/Kozlov line has unbelievable chemistry. I don't see GMGM or Boudreau touching it.

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | November 29, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Not so sure about the Schultz hating going on. He skates well, keeps skaters to the outside, plays postionally well, tends to make better outlet passes than Erksine (see delay of game penalties and icing), uses his reach well. He is pretty good at blocking shots. He can get tougher in the crease and skate the puck out better. He is young and continues to improve.

Morrison costs more than he is worth to keep for next year and can be replaced by Alzner.

Erksine is a liability except for his toughness. Sloan can possibly replace him. He doesn't have the same size for crease clearing, but is a much better skater, puck handler, shooter, open-ice hitter, & passer.

Sami and Godfrey are projects for next year still.

Kozlov is gone next year. Fehr, Bourque, or Flash can replace him.

Nylander may just be too expensive at 5 mil, but his no trade clause keeps him in DC until his contract is up.

Varmolov is here next year unless JT really catches fire consistently.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 29, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I would like Schultz plenty if he would use his size and play the body.

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | November 29, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

most likely JT is here next year. BJ will be the odd man out unless the young goalies really struggle. if BJ continues to play strong, he will get signed by another team for more $/longer than the caps will be willing to spend. the other possibility is that they move JT at the trade deadline and resign BJ to a two year deal while varlamov learns the ropes. doubtful given JT's contracts and BJs market value if he keeps playing well.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 29, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess my concern is that we could use a little more sandpaper. Erskine gives us that and a couple of other things. Bradley's willing but would probably lose to the proverbial wet paper bag. I don't hate Schultz, but I'd like to see him play the body more, stop kissing and start crushing.

I'll admit to a liking for Grant McNeill for that. He's one scrappy kid, and with a little experience should be able to hold down the enforcer role once Brash is gone.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 29, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Move Mo Now!

Posted by: meagle | November 29, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

my only concern is that the baby bears may not want to be called up. youre almost guaranteed a trip over to johns hopkins. im sure theyre even giving discounts in the cafeteria by now

Posted by: thunder_man101 | November 29, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Also, am I the only one who is nervous about tonight? I just have a bad feeling that we're going to get tired, cocky, or both, and we're going to choke. We need need need road wins and this is a gettable one.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 29, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps move Mo now, who plays? Another call up? I can see trading away Morrison if the Caps cannot sign him to a reasonable contract before the trade deadline and the Caps have a healty defensive corps. Before that -- not smart.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | November 29, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

I'm worried too... but I'm always worried :p

I think the Jackets are going to be more motivated than ATL and the Habs. So they'll test this D. In any case, winning tonight would be awesome :D

Posted by: mauree | November 29, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Waiting-I agree with a lot of you what you say...but Kozlov as trade bait? The guy has been awesome for most of this year. His work along the boards is as good as anyone on our team.
Sure, trading Jurcina would be nice but I think i would be smarter to move a dman or two later in the year or in the offseason. And, I think it will be #26, honestly...because of money.
I also don't think we spent the money we did on Erskine to have him be at 6th defeseman or lower.

Posted by: ph0082 | November 29, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

ok, no excuses tonight. Columbus played last night on the road. Anything short of a regulation win is not acceptable. We may be banged up but it's time for people to step up and play. If we go down 4-2 then nothing has changed at all in regards to the inconsistent play on the road. Let's see what they do. Let's not be fooled by the NHL's "everyone goes home a winner" policy. 2 points may be 2 points in the standings for a OT win or shootout, but we need a victory. Outright. Period.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 29, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

we need to call up Pathes O'Houlihan

Posted by: thunder_man101 | November 29, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

finally got to see a live one last night. It was sweet. I was up in the nosebleeds near a HUGE group of french high-school age kids out in force representing Morry-All. There had to have been more than a hundred of them all together. (what was up with that? where did all those kids come from?) Those kids didn't have much to say after the 2nd period.

I totally disagree about Lepisto because there is not a SINGLE consistently defensively sound Dman on our roster; Poti comes closest but you know how he likes to pinch. shamo as of this date is not a substantially better performing defender than Lepisto. Next year, Alzner WILL be that guy, but I've seen him miss coverages (but he improved a lot between games and was outstanding last night). In this context, Lepisto is doing ok. I liked that pass of his that got redirected into the net. I think with time the confidence required to play smart strong, anticipatory defense will come. Sooner than later. I think having them all up together is good for them too.

I'm really excited about our emerging D-Corps. But I still think that Nyls needs to go for an anchor blueliner to hold us over for the next season and a half.

Any news on Carlson? Seems like he should be heading to Hershey, right?

Posted by: large23220 | November 29, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@ergoroc |

So if we do win , but not in regulation you won't be happy? Boy things are getting tough around here.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 29, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I understand where ergoroc is coming from, though I wouldn't call an OT unacceptable. I think that this is an eminently winnable game, myself; I'd prefer to see us win in regulation, but I'll take an OT win over a loss or either stripe. I will be annoyed if we lose, even if it's in overtime, simply because we need the road wins to establish confidence on the road. Our road record is horrid and we'd be in the basement if our home record wasn't as amazing as it is.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 29, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Why, where is ergoroc coming from? :p

A win would be nice, but what I'd like to see the most is determination and attitude, play it like it's vital... play it like yesterday's in other words, don't underestimate them. Remember how we underestimated the Kings? Boy that still hurts.

Posted by: mauree | November 29, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

mauree: 100% agreed that the will is the key, and not to underestimate them or blow them off. I just think that if that will is there, if we play at 100% just like last night, there's nothing stopping us from taking these two points home.

Posted by: kittypawz | November 29, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, The Jackets lost the last 3 at home, and 3 out of the last four games.

They WILL bring it on tonight.

Posted by: mauree | November 29, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

i'll tell you where I am coming from. We have stunk,been lifeless and have one of the highest goals against average in the league on the road. Anaheim is the only quality win we have on the road. Remember Buffalo? L.A.? Atlanta to open the season?
Phoenix? San Jose? Minnesota?Calgary? This is unnaceptable.Can we beat a playoff team on the road? OK, I'll give you Pittsburgh. But you won't win any Stanley cups this way. Like I said 2 points is 2 points in the standings. but they don't give out points come playoff time. We need to establish ourseleves on the road. And that means a decisive win. Anything less may yields points but it will be considered a failure.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 29, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I know that this is out of the blue but I just was watching a replay of Flash's goal last night, and I think that he deserves an assist also! He has been apart of a couple of really excellent goals for the Caps. What great fun to see.


Go Caps, keep the streak alive!

Posted by: Landshark | November 29, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

@ thunder_man101

Patches can play D with White Goodman...

"Nobody makes me bleed my own blood!"

Posted by: Roose | November 29, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Hmm ... don't see the game on the guide ... anyone know the channel on Comcast?

Posted by: Boo- | November 29, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Nevermind ... found it!! :-)

Posted by: Boo- | November 29, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Good is not good enough

Win is not good enough

Win in decisive fasion is the only way, with half of your team just called up from hershey is the only acceptable result.

Just gimmie two points....I don't care if its from a shoot-out, ot or regulation.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

what channel on directv? i don't think i get it here it's not showing up in the guide...

Posted by: MNMNT | November 29, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

found it too... always panic a little when it's not on the guide, have to surf to find it. On Cox Cable Hampton Roads is on ch. 11.

online links:
http://atdhe.net/live-tv-934.html
sopcast:
sop://broker.sopcast.com:3912/67229

Posted by: mauree | November 29, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

never mind i found it too haha

Posted by: MNMNT | November 29, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

MNMNT,

Assuming you haven't already picked it up, it's 643.

Posted by: Section117 | November 29, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

i know i was getting pissed. it's not categorized as hockey. go figure.

Posted by: MNMNT | November 29, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

thanks 117.
yeah went up to the 600's and hit the view all for the channel guide. i was cursing the wizards for sure.

Posted by: MNMNT | November 29, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

boo-
Just a heads up, everyone... tonight's Caps game is on CSN+ (and thus will not be in HD). Look to http://midatlantic.comcastsportsnet.com/pages/plus for the CSN+ channel in your area.

AA/HoCo FiOS customers, check QAM 122-4001 since Verizon doesn't have "FIOS1" mapped on our boxes.

not sure about other areas, but it's 77 in arlington/alexandria on digital.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | November 29, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I see no real difference in the way we have played with the injuries and without the injuries on the road. Excuses are getting old. It looks like we are a emotional team that can only play at home.

Posted by: ergoroc | November 29, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

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