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Morrisonn Returns; Tonight's Lineup

A few notes to get you ready for tonight's Southeast Division showdown at Verizon Center:

*Shaone Morrisonn said he'll face the Thrashers after missing three straight games -- and four total -- with a bruised right foot. That's good news for a couple of reasons: Before the injury, he had been the team's steadiest defenseman and he's also been a big part of Mike Green's success.

*Alex Ovechkin sported some bandages on his nose, but he's otherwise okay.

*Olie Kolzig will start in goal, but he did not skate -- a new development for him. Kolzig used to practice briefly the morning before starts. I believe he stopped participating in the morning skates beginning in Toronto on Jan. 23. I'll ask him about it next time I see him.

*I just checked with Thrashers' beat writer and Ilya Kovalchuk is not expected to play tonight. He had been ruled out for the weekend after a knee-on-knee collision against the Pens, but when his MRI came back negative people around here began wondering. The Thrashers, by the way, beat the Sabres, 5-4, in a shootout last night.

Here's the Caps' lineup, based on the a.m. skate:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
(Backstrom and Kozlov didn't skate)
Fleischmann-Gordon-Semin
(Gordon returns as the Caps search for secondary scoring)
Laing-Steckel-Bradley
Brashear-Laich-Pettinger
(Laich back to the fourth)

The 'D' pairings:

Morrisonn-Green
Poti-Jurcina
Erskine-Schultz

Eminger is the odd man out.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 2, 2008; 10:22 AM ET
 
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Next: Fehr Recalled, On First Line

Comments

Tarik: I read that Kovi is supposed to miss 2-3 games since his knee injury but speculation is that he would try to play tonight due to the importance of this game. Any word on Kovi?

Posted by: Blonde Caps Fan | February 2, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

OK, any predictions about tonight?

I'm guessing 6-4 Caps win.

Goals by:
OV 2
Green 2
Nicky
Brash

LET'S GO CAPS!!

@Mauree, I like the name for OV.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Reposting:


Alexander the GR8.


He was one of the most successful military commanders in history, and was undefeated in battle. By the time of his death, he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.



Funny thing, if you look at the historical figure paintings, mosaics, sculptures, I actually see similarities with AO lol. Look it up on wikipedia (for exampe check out this picture)


Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Where are all my Six Goal Club members? Caps 6 Thrash 3.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention, there's even the Iron Maiden song "Alexander the Great"

Wouldn't it be cool if they played that at the booth? Tarik, any way I can suggest this to official channels?

The chorus goes like this:

Alexander the great
His name struck fear into hearts of men
Alexander the great
Became a legend mongst mortal men

and it's not a bad song either :D

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Caps win 5-3, and Sombrero Guy improves his record at VC to 8-1 this season. Anybody else doing the Caps On Tap bar crawl?

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | February 2, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero guy,

I've never heard of it, could you elaborate?

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Great news about Mo. Picking up 2 points tonight will be huge.

Let's Go Caps!!!

Posted by: Jill | February 2, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Poor Eminger

Posted by: strungout | February 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I am no big Eminger fan, but I feel like dressing Erskine over Eminger is a mistake. One of the biggest problems on this team is the PK, as it's under 80%. Erskine has 9 minor penalties in his last 8 games played...Eminger has 1 in his last 8.

Oh well...like 828 says...score 6 and the Caps win! And the there will be free wings!

Posted by: Jeff | February 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

This is a huge game tonight! This is a huge night for the SE Division, I'll be watching the scoreboards. LET GO CAPS

Posted by: Zman | February 2, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@ Steve R (and everyone else)

4 times a year, the caps get bars surrounding the Verizon Center to participate in "Caps On Tap". Its basically a 6 hour bar crawl preceding a saturday home game. Usually its the first saturday game in October, December, February and April. $2 budweiser bottles at all participating bars. The Link to the Caps website is here http://www.capstickets.com/capsontap.html

If you already have a game ticket, you can just pay $5 for a bar crawl bracelet and partake in the festivities.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | February 2, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@Steve R.

Don't lose the Mr. Potato Head tonight! And if they don't give you one, beat up some kid for it.

Posted by: Lee | February 2, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Steve R,
Don't worry I will.

Posted by: Berube | February 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Is Jim Craig starting in net for the Atlanta Flames tonight?

Posted by: Pothier's Head | February 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, tonight's a huge night. Everyone will be stoked for it. It will be a hard hitting game, me thinks. This will be good for the Caps more so than the Thrash. If Morrisonn really is in and skating well, Green could pop 2.

Should be a great game to see.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 2, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Pothier's Head
No, Tretiak is.

Posted by: Lindros's Head | February 2, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

> he had conquered most of the world known to the ancient Greeks.

Just ask Ted Leonsis.

Posted by: js | February 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If anybody else hits up the bar crawl, come up and say Hi. I should be pretty easy to spot....

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | February 2, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

That's a good one Sombrero Guy. Is it pink?

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@ the guy who cost us game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals

Nope, its authentic straw sombrero, straight from Harrisonburg VA. However, if I ever see a pink one, i might have to consider an upgrade.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | February 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Why is Erskine playing tonight?! For god's sake he takes the worst penalties and his skating sucks!!!! I'll take Emminger over him any day. I hate Erskine and have since I began watching the Caps!

Posted by: K | February 2, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@Mauree- That picture is too funny...it does resemble him a bit...why don't you email Ted with your suggestion about the song? I've never heard it but I may have to look it up now!

Posted by: K | February 2, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

There's no way Kovalchuk plays tonight. According to the Atlanta beat reporter's blog, Kovalchuk is allowed to start exercising today then they have to make sure there's no swelling tomorrow and then he could play next week.

Posted by: b.orr4 | February 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Erskine's a stiff, and he isn't needed with Mo, Jurcina, and Schultz all playing the stay-at-home role. I'd rather see Eminger with Schultz, even it meant an occasional breakdown. Eminger was just starting to look like a productive, mobile defenseman, and now he'll sit for another six straight games.

Posted by: Paul | February 2, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@Mauree

"Funny thing, if you look at the historical figure paintings, mosaics, sculptures, I actually see similarities with AO"

I looked at your link at wikipedia. If you are interested, look at my blog where I've put Ovie's picture and Alexander the Great mosaic together. Good catch!

Posted by: alexovetjkin | February 2, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@K

look up that song - it would be so cool to play the chorus every time Alex scores :D

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@alexovetjkin

I saw it, good job :)

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Have I missed something? Hasn't Alexander the Gr8 been one of Ovie's nicknames since he arrived in DC?

Posted by: Jill | February 2, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but there's no way Erskine should play in place of Eminger. Steve is nothing great but at least he provides some mobility on the backline. Erskine is just a pylon with skates.

Posted by: b.orr4 | February 2, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

I wasn't proposing it as a nick. I was just noticing how cool that he look like the historical figure, and that a song exists with that name.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy
Sorry but I already had a bunch of rings. Didn't need anymore.

@Paul
Erskine has his bad moments but seems to be playing really physical of late. The puck over the glass penalties are killers but other than that don't you think he's hanging in there?

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@b.orr4
I agree with you. I think emm has been playing kind of good as of late and should be in place of Schultz or Erskine. He should be in place of one of them

Posted by: Thomas | February 2, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Check out my spankin new Wsh Capitals Website!!!

Caps247.com

Thanks alot

GO CAPS!

Posted by: ZackAttack | February 2, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@Jill
"Alexander Ovechkin has been dubbed "Alexander the GR" thanks to a CCM sweepstakes and thousands of fans, who submitted over 4,000 nicknames", April 1, 2006, from http://www.playoffbeard.com/2006/04/ovechkin_nowalexander_the_gr8.html

Posted by: alexovetjkin | February 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Still don't understand why Boudreau keeps starting that thug Erskine.

Posted by: Joe | February 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

Oops, I've posted it and notices the typo in original post, should be "Alexander the GR8", but it did come from CCM sweepstakes

Posted by: alexovetjkin | February 2, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Because I'm a thug and others scared of me.

Posted by: Erskine | February 2, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was being proposed as a "new" nickname and I was wondering...since those of us here in DC have been calling him that since Day 1 (long before the CCM thing)....among other things.

The one I don't get is "OV." I have never understood why anyone calls him that.

Posted by: Jill | February 2, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe they are not sitting Schultz! Stunned I tell you! But I am happy to hear that Morrison is back and that Gordon is going back to Semin's line, that seemed to be more successful IMO.

Posted by: Pudddin_an_Semin | February 2, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

re: Erskine vs Emminger
Both have their pluses and minuses - Emminger is more mobile for sure but has been caught up ice and out of position at least once a game and yielded a scoring chance to the opponents. Erskine has mobility issues but plays with as much heart as anybody.

That said it sure seems the Caps need some mobility on the Blue Line - but with Morrison back in I'd look for that mobility and scoring to be coming from Green and Poti or Schultz. Yes I did say Poti or Schultz as the second place to look for that mobility is Poti or Schultz.

I'm also hoping that in addition to another Ovechkin goal, I'm looking for some more scoring from Semin, Backstrom, and Kozlov tonight. LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: Mark - Usually Frustrated Caps Fan | February 2, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Same reason MO is called MO.

Posted by: Harry | February 2, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think Eminger got screwed again. I thought he had an awesome game against Montreal on Thursday. Hopefully something will work out for him soon. Sutherby a good bit to start the season and now look at him, he's getting a jersey every night out in Anaheim.

Anyway, Caps win tonight 4-3.

Posted by: Mitch | February 2, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see more playing time for emminger, however, when Olie is on Goal I see the need for a more stay-at-home defenseman. On the other hand, we are going to need to score a lot of goals, and Emminger would have been more suitable. I guess that put us between a rock and hard place.

Posted by: Opita | February 2, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@ Harry - but people don't call Mo "M.O." That's why I don't get "O.V." It's Ovie!!

Posted by: Jill | February 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

following my last thought. I suppose, it would have been better to play Johnson and Emminger.

Posted by: Opita | February 2, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

You guys. Please sign up for 828's Six Goal Club. The D men, the goalie, none of it matters when you're in th Six Goal Club.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"I cannot believe they are not sitting Schultz! Stunned I tell you!"

Did you see OT?

Posted by: Schultz | February 2, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

IMHO, I'd rather see Eminger than Schultz any day. Eminger damn near bagged one against Montreal 2 nights ago. Can never have too much offensive punch. Eminger doesn't pinch up much, but he's not afraid to. If you ever see Schultz beyond the top of the faceoff circle - wow. He's in pretty deep.

I'm hoping that Koz, Semin and Backstrom are on their game. Would be nice to get a lot of production out of him instead of just relying on AO.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 2, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Shultz was pretty nifty getting the rebound out of his skates and passing it across the crease to Alex-the-Gr8 for the game winner. I do think that he deserves some props for that. His game all around is improving-- getting more confidence.

Erskine on the other hand...

Posted by: Clarendon | February 2, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

@Lee,

We'll try to snag a Mr. Potato Head for you.

@Sombrero Guy,

You should be easy to spot.. Shame the pub crawl doesn't offer stout i/o "American style light lager"

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S,

Good timing with us talking about the need for increased points from the D-men prior to last game. Hopefully that trend continues.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Prediction? PAIN......

Caps 5-2. Thrashers will be dead tired from last night's game.

Posted by: CT Caps Fan | February 2, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Can any of you guys looking for D see Brisebois on our blueline? According to game announcers he's in hot water with Guy.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I would say the main reason I like Erskine playing is because he is by far the most physical dman we have. Our D are soft in front of our won net and I think he brings some attitude. Sure, his is not all that mobiel and yes, he has taken some bad penalties. But...when people are poking around in front of the net he will clear them out as opposed to whatever you would call Schultz tries to do in the same situation.

Posted by: Pat | February 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Art Monk is a Hall of Famer FINALLY!!!!!!!

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

With all of the "Eminger in place of Erskine" comments. Not with all of the "Eminger in place of Schultz" comments. Honestly, I might take a concussion ridden Pothier over Erskine at this point - he does little more than take his guaranteed 4 PIMs and contribute in the penalty box.

I still maintain that Schultz is getting better. I even saw an attempted nasty hit last night (the other guy peeled away at the last second).

Don't think I've mentioned it 828, but I've been in the 6 goal club for as long as the rest. As long as we're getting the W, why not just put Hanlon in goal and ride him to the playoffs?

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@Raber
I saw the same thing. I think Schultz will find his way. Some athletes are late bloomers. How old is Schultz, 20?

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@ESA
In Montreal the long standing nickname for Brisebois is BREEZE-BY.
I'd like to develop from within.
As for Erskine and I already know some of his nicknames, he plays with heart and passion plus he will knock a forward on his keister with no problem. You need people like him, let him work on his game some. Give me heart every time. Just look at AO, he personifies HEART.
The more you surround the young players with heart and passion the better chance that they will follow the lead.

JMO
score

Posted by: score | February 2, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@score
Yea, he had an awful give away in todays game. Lead to a goal for NYI. The crowd was really on him.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 2, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@ Patt

Well said. Erskine is a physical presence that is missing from a lot of the D.

As for Brisebois, I don't really think we need him. He's had back problems last year, and this year had a shoulder injury. 17 years in the NHL and only 400 points with 92 goals. I think we can pass on him.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 2, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is 21, 22 this month. Yes, he's still young. So is Green who is much more valuable to the club than Schultz is.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 2, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Erskine takes some silly penalties sometimes, but the delay of game garbage calls are just that. Garbage. That's to blame on the "new nhl" not erskine. Anyone could've made that same slip up. He deserves a tad bit more credit than most people give him. He's not spectacular or anything, but he's fine.

Posted by: Hazardous | February 2, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Just read the TSN article about Ovechkin posted in the last article, and decided to read some of the comments from the hockey world. Most of the comments were from Canadiens fans.

What I noticed is that the only people who thought Ovechkin and Crosby were even on the same level were Pittsburgh fans. The only comment saying Crosby was better than Ovechkin was a poorly spelled post from a Pittsburgh fanboy.

Also, I read several comments from Montreal fans similar to: "If we had to lose, at least we lost to him."

Anyone doubting Ovie's huge contract (I know there aren't any of those people here) need only to look at his production before said contract and after. He'll be great here for years to come.

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Erskine over Eminger every day. But maybe I'd take Eminger over Schultz.

With no Kovalchuk, Erskine's speed shouldn't matter as much.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | February 2, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Pat,

I second that. If you look at BB's system (dont' get me wrong, I love it), you need that stay at home guy. I'm sure everyone will argue on me on this, but Erskine cleans out the crease better than anyone on our team, including Olie. And his physical presence is awesome.

Caps 6, ATL 2, Guess I joined the club.

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: Super | February 2, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

O.K. Off to the game, anyone have a kid I can rent for the Potato head?

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: Super | February 2, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg S.

That's a shortsighted comment. Green is certainly more flashy and flashy garners more attention. But time will tell when Schultz grows into a man and becomes a steady stay-at-home defensemen. The Devils had Scott Niedermeyer, Scott Stevens, Ken Danryko, and you can't tell me Niedermeyer was any more valuable than Stevens or Daneyko. You've consistently bludgeoned Schultz and he has consistently proven you and every other Schultz hater wrong.

Posted by: Harry | February 2, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

@ Raber Most of the 13 years $124 doubters are forgeting to divide the 124 by 13. I keep reminding people that and they go 9.5 a year? That aint so bad for OV is it? That's when you say "DUH!"

ooooo this is gonna be good... At home tonight, friend has the tix and it's time to order the pizza!

Posted by: TheCapitalist | February 2, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The second line center issue, as Tarik noted, needs to be taken care of in a trade or call up. Gordo, Laich, and Steckel have all had a chance to center Semin to no avail. The Caps also need a decent RW for the second line -- I wish Capn' Clark's groin would allow him to skate on that line. The Caps are really going to miss Nylander on the second line this year. Oh well, there's always next year.

Posted by: JIM | February 2, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Semin seems to lose the edge a lot lately.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Atlanta really looks like they're playing not to lose. Atlanta probably spent 1 minute in total with control of the puck behind their net.

If we don't score for a bit, game will be a low scoring 4/5 goal game. If we score early in the second, there will be 10+ goals scored...

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Chicago & San Jose in a shootout, this outta be good. (NHL CI has a free preview til 2/4)

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

WOW... I HIGHLY recommend checking out the highlights of that shootout.

Now back to business. LETS GO CAPS

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Kari's unconscious tonight. We need one soon...

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

All right I'm going to wear the Jinx Sheriff Star.

*stares at the crowd*

Nobody say anything jinxiish

Kev I'm watching you

Posted by: mauree (as the jinx police) | February 2, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Prospect update--Fehr and Bourque with goals for Hershey. 2-0 against Albany

Posted by: PC Caps | February 2, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

maybe we can trade Semin to Days of Our Lives.
Through two periods he has his second 'power play rebate' in 2 weeks, plus the diving minor, along with a couple of offensive zone 'edge losses'. He's tonight's goat, even if the Caps win.

Posted by: redlineblue | February 2, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@redlineblue
Days of Our Lives lol
Come on Semin redeem yourself!

Come on boys bring this home - no OT please.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes you just hit a hot goalie.

That's all I'm going to say on it.

Posted by: Kurt | February 2, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

well shoot... big chance lost... our boys didn't play with the same intensity of two days ago. They should have.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Well...

Not sure who to blame here. Thrashers were coached very well and played great D. Kari, as I said in the second was completely unconscious all night.

Big game #1 is behind us and the Thrashers win. Can't let this happen again in Atlanta next week.

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@mauree: Were you watching the same game? We played with a big level of intensity tonight!

Posted by: Raber | February 2, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

that goal wasn't Kolzig's fault it was a STELLAR play. i guess we just lost to the Atlanta Lehtonens....

Posted by: DC FURY | February 2, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

@Raber
Some intensity but not the p-level intensity of Thursday. That's my opinion of course. I thought most of our shots were either not on net or right on Kari's chest.
It's not the first time that we have a early chance to score with a powerplay, even with a 4 on 3. Lots of regrets - again, my opinion.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

on the positive side, I thought our D played well (except that goal, but it was a nice goal).

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I can't believe Kolzig gave up a big goal at the worst possible time!!!

Stellar play -- whatever. Lehtonen probably made 18 saves that were tougher than the goal Kolzig let in tonight.

THIS is the problem. THIS for all you youngsters out there, is what PLAYOFF hockey looks like. If you think it's back and forth, up and down, 5 to 4 every night YOU'RE DREAMING. It's 2 to 1, 1 to 0, grinding in the trenches every night. We need a goalie that can STEAL a game once in a friggin' while.

Instead, we have a goalie who only inspires confidence in the opposition. 12 shots. What a joke.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh - and I'm guessing we won't be hearing from all you rah-rah types with your bold predictions from earlier in this post.

This WAS a huge game -- and friggin' ATLANTA walks away with the two points.

Where are you? Too disappointed to come back on-line? Is there something gnawing at your brain? Aren't you a little worried that without a real goalie this team isn't going ANYWHERE!?!

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

It's official, I give Semin no more slack. If I'm BB, I sit his butt in Columbus and Philly next week. That's the second game in a row we've gone on the PP only for Semin to take a LAZY penalty. I don't care how "magical" the guy is with the puck on his stick, he's not worth a darn if he's sitting in the box for being lazy. I would comment on him losing his footing tonight, but I have to think the ice at VC was not all that great. Green wiped out a few times as did Hossa. This is where the Caps get screwed. I don't think any team should have to play on an ice surface that was covered for a basketball game earlier in the day. There is too little turn around time to get the ice prepared and it does nothing but raise the level of possible injury to these athletes. That's not why the Caps lost, but it's why so many players lost their edge tonight. What beat us tonight wasn't the Thrashers, it was their goalie. Atlanta was sloppy and tired but Kari was unreal.

Posted by: Mitch | February 2, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Oneal, the goal was a great shot. glove side off the post from inside the circles. this one's not on kolzig. the caps bury a couple of open nets and you're talking about the great game olie played. lehtonen played a great game but to be honest, i didnt see too many saves on shots as tough as the one olie let in. and spare us the lecture on playoff hockey. i'm sure many of us have seen more playoff hockey than you could dream of.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | February 2, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

OLIE IS MAKING MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS THIS SEASON! SO PLEASE DON'T TELL ME HOW TOUGH THAT SHOT WAS!!!

FOR FIVE MILLION DOLLARS CAN'T I ASK FOR A BEAUTIFUL GLOVE SAVE AT A HUGE TIME IN A HUGE GAME???

I guess not.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Oneal I'm pissed too but Olie had nothing to do with the loss. You're bordering trolly land.

Posted by: mauree | February 2, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Nothing to do with the loss.

12 Shots.

And I'm the crazy one.. you people need help.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Check out an 18years old very own Wsh Capitals website!!!

Caps247.com

Leave some comments ill reply to them!

thanks alot go caps!

Posted by: ZackAttack | February 2, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

It would have been nice to see Poti step up on the shooter on that goal, but what do you want for 4.5?

Posted by: someone else who knows | February 2, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Where is trolley land, by the way?

Is that over near Gathersburg?

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Kari played awesome tonight. He was on top of everything. AO's shots were a tad off tonight which is too bad. Semin didn't dive..that was a BS call. Olie did ok but Oneal's right about the playoff thing. We need goalies that will make a huge save and it would be nice if he were a bit more reliable but that being said I really don't think that goal was completely his fault. Oh and by the way Erskine can't skate and I don't like him but he did have some good plays today. I still like Eminger over Erskine but Shultz was ticking me off tonight. He didn't hit anyone when he needed to and I swear he flinched every time someone came near him. That is horrible for someone his size. Wasn't really impressed with Petty tonight either. Oh and I can't figure out why Semin can't seem to stay on his feet. I know Tarik said something about it being the way he skates but has anyone on the team talked to him about that? I don't think the ice was all that great tonight.....That's my opinion...

Posted by: K | February 2, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Well that was the worst game that I have been to in a looooooooooong time. We had guests with us, too ... that's not the kind of game that breeds new fans! Hrmpf. I also did my best to get a Potato Head ... couldn't even pull that off!

I have to say, while Kari played a great game (and won it for Atlanta), we didn't really make him work as hard as the numbers would make you believe - it seemed like most of our shots were right to his bread basket! So sad.

Oh well - at least we still have games in hand ... and Olie's saves % was above 90! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | February 2, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

@Mitch

I agree with you about Semin. I am so frustrated with his lack of play lately. The two penalties tonight, he continues to lose his edge (regardless of VC ice), and turns the puck over quite a bit. He needs to go to the 4th line or enjoy the view from the press box.

Also, Kari was hot despite the lack of play by rest of the Thrashers. We needed this win. BB better find a way to get this team scoring besides OV or this season will end sooner rather than later. Two shutout losses in the last three games is not the start you want after the ASG break. We need the 2nd and 4th lines to start producing points. Flash and Semin need to get their act together because I don't think other teams really feel they are dangerous because they turn the puck over half of the time. Bottom line put the puck in the net!

Posted by: the highlander | February 2, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Oneal you id10t! To my knowledge you have to actually score at least 1 goal to win a hockey game. Guess Olie should practice his slap shot? Maroon!

Posted by: Bob | February 2, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Look at Semin's line, might be a clue there!
He needs to be on a line with hockey players.

Posted by: Bob | February 2, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

@Bob,

It's moron Bob, not maroon.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

@Oneal,

Olie lets in one goal and the loss is his fault? I'm not a fan of 37, but get a grip. From my seat in the upper deck it looked like OV missed what was a mostly empty net in the 1st with the goalie frozen looking the wrong direction. Do I blame him for the loss? No way, the lack of putting the puck in the net was a team effort.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bob!

Were you trying to say moron when you said maroon? Or maybe maroon is an insult.. I think I heard Bugs Bunny call somebody that one time..

I hope it makes you feel better to focus your anger on me, because you know deep down that this team isn't going anywhere until they find a goalie who is able to make 12 saves in one game!

Whatever dude. Lehtonen played great, but when that's the case, and it will be in the playoffs, you need a goalie who can match the other guy save for save. We don't have it, and every team in the NHL knows it.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey Steve -- thanks for the much more level-headed post than old Bob there..

And the answer is, yes -- when you make 5 million dollars a year and you only had 12 shots in a game, you need to save number 13.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 2, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

@Boo,

Yea, I couldn't get a potato head either. Lee will be busting my chops about that. Plus I had an idiot a-hole Pitt fan behind me (there with his girl friend I'd guess). Nimrod had a running commentary going the whole time. That's been my luck lately at games to have jugheads near me in the stands.

Posted by: Steve R | February 2, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Steve R:

Yeah, we had a lound talker behind us, too (telling his daughter the finer points of the game, "talking" to the players like he was their high school coach). Not sure what's worse - that or the lone screamer who was next to us at the last game ... ugh!

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

@Oneal,

You're welcome.

Reality is the Caps will only go as far as the offense will take them. Olie, if he's around next year, will be making quite a bit less. He's over the hill and gaining speed.

I'm a realist. If the Caps make the playoffs this year, they won't go deep. Lack of good goaltending and a D that needs seasoning. Next year, playoffs are a given (imho) but still the goaltending problem. 2 years from now the D has matured and one of the youngsters is in net. That team will be scary good.

Posted by: Steve R | February 3, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I was sitting right next to the Zam gate and when they opened it up it was like a dam burst. Those little slave labor children were trying to push the BUCKETS of water off with their shovels, it looked awful...

I wish Flash would get his hands sharper and make some heads up plays. He's just not good enough yet to get through more than one guy at a time and once he distracts the D and gets them to pinch on them, he doesn't have enough vision to dish it off to make the play happen. I'd like it if he used his good hands to play more backstrom-like, gain the blue line and then set somebody up.

@sombrero
I hope that sombrero wasn't stolen off the wall at El Charro's

Posted by: mike | February 3, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

@Boo,

Plus the usher who didn't stop people from climbing the steps while the puck was in play and the fans who climbed the steps while the puck was in play.... All around, it was my least favorite game I've been to this year.

The family of four with three of them steping on my right big toe (damaged playing soccer the other night) was icing on the cake. Thank God for Knob Creek bourbon.

Posted by: Steve R | February 3, 2008 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I was sitting right next to the Zam gate and when they opened it up it was like a dam burst. Those little slave labor children were trying to push the BUCKETS of water off with their shovels, it looked awful...

I wish Flash would get his hands sharper and make some heads up plays. He's just not good enough yet to get through more than one guy at a time and once he distracts the D and gets them to pinch on them, he doesn't have enough vision to dish it off to make the play happen. I'd like it if he used his good hands to play more backstrom-like, gain the blue line and then set somebody up.

@sombrero
I hope that sombrero wasn't stolen off the wall at El Charro's

Posted by: mike | February 3, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Steve - exactly.

But on the other hand, who scares you in the entire Eastern Conference?

Ottawa? Not so much.
Philadelphia? Maybe - they do look tough.
Carolina? Please.

I mean seriously, who is the powerhouse team in the East? I'd have the say the best I've seen this season is Montreal, and we should have beaten them 4-2 the other night.

The point is if the Caps make the playoffs this season they can do some SERIOUS damage.

But they might not make it, because of their goaltending. And if they do, the team they play will play with confidence, knowing they are never out of a game.

There has to be a way to get a real goalie in here this season.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 3, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

mmm.. Knob Creek bourbon..

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 3, 2008 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Steve R:

Oh, and the woman who sat in front me of on Thursday with her big, long camel coat all draped over her chair, onto my lap and covering our cup holders?!? Yeah, she was a peach. (I could play this game all night long!! ;-))

BTW, I don't think Goat was there - that's probably why we lost ...

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Ouch ... this hurts:

Lehtonen was 0-3-0 with a 4.06 goals against average in his previous three starts against Washington

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Oneal,

The question is: what would the Caps be willing to give up to get a true #1 goalie? Alzner and a #1 draft pick? To get a UFA who'd most likely be gone at the end of the year? Very high price.

I think Philly will come out on top in the East. At least that's who I bet on at the start of the season.

Gotta love the Knob Creek.

Posted by: Steve R | February 3, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm getting sick of everybody just posting some numbers on the site, and claiming that numbers prove everything. Numbers are good, but not perfect. Sure, the Thrashers won when they only had 12 shots on goal, and we had 36. But it's not about the number, but the quality. Lehtonen made a few good saves, but for the most part it was us just passing into the net, trying to get a garbage goal. Olie was beaten by a post shot from an underrated offensive player who was all alone in the slot. I thought it might have been a bad goal when I saw it live, but I always tape the games to review things like that, and I saw a great shot.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Also, this is the type of game in which I really miss Chris Clark. Clarkie is the guy who is the most likely to get in front of the net and get those screens in place and knock in rebounds. I also think that when our guys see their captain doing that, it inspires the rest of the team to do the same.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Olie played a great game tonight. Hockey is a "Team" sport and on the loan goal nobody picked up the open T. White. The CAPS played a lot better than the Thrashers but could never finish.

Semin needs to sit out a game. The guy is remarkable some nights but the offensive zone hooking calls need to stop. He also needs new skates as he keeps losing an edge?

Here's a major issue the CAPS really need to address. Where are our goal scorers?
Ovie - 43
Semin - 12
Kozlov - 10
Backstrom - 9
Laich - 8
Flash - 6
Steckel - 4
Gordon - 4
Brash - 3
Bradley - 2
Pettinger - 2

This is terrible, absolutly terrible at this point of the season. With 29 games left how many 20+, 30+, 40+ goal scorers are the CAPS going to have? If the CAPS make the post season it doesn't take much to figure out how to shutdown this team. People need to step up and start doing it now.


Posted by: LFR | February 3, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

No goalie makes that save. It was off the pipe and in. Oneal, your golden boy Bryzgalov doesn't make it either.

Ovechkin missed an open net, he missed a second shot when Kozlov was screening Lehtonen as well. Oh well.

Losses happen. Bounce Back Bruce Boudreau and the boys have their work cut out for them now.

(It would have been nice to take advantage of an Atlanta team without Kovalchuk, but hell, maybe it was that -15 that wasn't there that meant more tonight.)

Posted by: Whiter Mage | February 3, 2008 3:19 AM | Report abuse

I think our D played well - including Olie.

However:

I'm worried about this loss - about the non showing up of the Caps offense top game.

This was THE game. A Saturday game, against the division second place. ATL was missing Kovie. This was THE chance. If this is the kind of attitude for the rest of the season then I know we're NOT going into the playoffs.

It's not the two points - I wouldn't have minded as much if we lost 5-4 and it was a war and we gave all. But it was more of a skirmish. Nobody crashed the net, and Semin was a liability last night. We were tentative.

BB is pissed, I hope he can shake them.


Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I was so damn disgusted last night I just came home and went to bed. Lehtonen made 36 saves - whoop dee doo. 30 of them were unscreened, pansy-a** shots that anyone could have stopped. I've never seen such a bunch of lackluster shots, passes, and skating for the last season or so.

The highlights of the night:

1) I found on-street parking, so didn't waste ANOTHER $20 on this game

2) Got a Potato Head

Posted by: alpca3877 | February 3, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau try this

Ovechkin with Kozlov and Semin

Backstrom with Fleish and Pettinger

Semin must play with OVY

Posted by: Tom | February 3, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@ Tom

No way, dude.

Backstrom MUST play on the top line with Ovechkin.

Posted by: Joe B | February 3, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@Tom
Why break the only good line the Caps have?
BB should continue, until he succeeds, to find the right combination for the second line. In my opinion, the problem that BB has it that the Caps does not have the players to complement Semin on that line; Nylander and Clark would have given an awesome second line, but they are not available. The other healthy players are third and fourth line types.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the VC ice is not the only reason so many Capital players can't stay on their blades. They seem to have the same problems on the road as well. Why?

Posted by: I have no edge and I can't get up | February 3, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the game last night.

But 13 shots and 2 goals?

I have not read the comments on this blog today, but am I wrong to think that when the opponents are kept to such a low amount of shots on goal, at the very least this team should have gotten one point and gone into overtime?

The USATODAY: "The Capitals have taken 105 more shots than their opponents in the first period."

My question is, are the goalies that great? or are the capitals shot selection that bad? It seems to me, we are using the opponents' goalie as a target - the caps have excelled at that. The problem is that it would be better if they missed him and put the puck in the net.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh can't score on Lehtonen? He's not very good. Too bad we have a GM who is oblivious to the problems of this team.

Posted by: realitycheck | February 3, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Why does every loss create a Chicken Little scenario around here?!?!?

@Optia: Read the report - one goal was an empty netter.

@Oneal & Opita: GOALTENDING WAS NOT THE ISSUE LAST NIGHT

Posted by: keef | February 3, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@Tom

Why do you think Semin needs to be on the same line as Ovie?

You lose a legitimate scorer on the second line if you do that, you're wrecking the chemistry of the top line, Semin doesn't pass, and he has 1,000,000 giveaways.

Posted by: keef | February 3, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Washington minor penalty, two minutes for hooking, #28".

On the PP in our offensive zone. STUPID!!!!!!

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 3, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I just want to reiterate how costly of a player semin is, both on the ice and in the locker room.

Posted by: capsfan08 | February 3, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@keef
Creating a chicken little scenario? What the heck did I say that makes you act like that. What exactly do you disagree with in my previous post? By the way I didn't blame the goalie, did I? Is a matter-of-fact I didn't single anyone or any group out. I just simply said, that holding the opponent to 13 shots we should have gotten at least a tie during regulation. Lets discuss it, in a rational manner.

@Eza
What do you have against Semin? I didn't see the game but I just looked at boxscore stats, and I notice that it seems as if a relative clean game was played, 3 penalties on each team. A hook on the first period by Semin and you get bend out of shape, nothing happened because of it, he was not even in the ice when the White scored and - I just looked at the highlights in Caps site - actually, it was OV's bad play that triggered the three on two that led to the goal. Now don't get bend out of shape and accuse me of not liking OV. It was just one bad play and I realize that, the point is that I think you are trying to find faults in Semin every time he plays. Well, you will find them, but you could zero on any other player and you can find many faults too if you look for them. I am glad we have Semin, I just wished he had better linemates.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@Opita
That's two games in a row that Semin has taken a hooking penalty in the offensive zone. And, on the power play. STUPID. There's thing in sports called critical moments and that was one of them last night. He also took a dive and got called for that. STUPID.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 3, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I feel like I am always defending Semin, but someone must, he is one of our best player.

@capsfan08
You said Semin is a costly player both on and off the ice. That is quite an accusation, how do you sustain it? Can you sustain it? Or is this one of those, "I don't like that player no matter what, I am going to assail him regularly"?

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that when Mike Green stopped scoring, all of our Gordon's, our Laich's, and everyone else but the Ocho and Kozy stopped scoring as well? I think Kozlov has been great the past few games.

I also think Poti has been pretty good the past few games (other than standing behind the net, watching Montreal dig the puck out from under Olie's neck). It's clear to anyone watching that he's in pain with his shoulder, but he's toughing it out.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

NO WAY WE CAN SIT SEMIN FOR A GAME!!! The lack of secondary scoring is what's killing the team, and Semin is our main man for that. He needs to learn to pick his spots to be aggressive to get the puck. Last night on the PP, he decided to be over-aggressive, and took the penalty. Yeah, it was stupid, but it's something he's going to have to learn.

That diving call was a pretty crappy call. I think the Referee has heard things about Semin (Montreal newspaper) and decided to make the call. We've seen Semin falling because of nothing, but he falls with a 225 pound player hanging on his back? Must be a dive.

Semin HAS to stay in the lineup.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@Eza
As I said, I didn't see the game, but, to me, you seem like one of those anti-semin fans who are always looking for any thing to verbally assault him. The way, they are calling hooks now days, an incredible amount of hooking penalties are issued at the most inoportune time. He is not the only one. What do you think the Caps should do with Semin? Trade him? Seat him? put him on the 4th line? Which one of all the great players we have should we put on his place? Try this for a change. On the next game, focus only on AO - we all agree he is probably the best player in the league - and be as critical as you are of Semin. You will be surprised how many errors he makes. Give it a chance.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@Opita, keef

my personal problem is not the loss but the attitude. I'm always the first to defend the players or the team when they give 100%. Yesterday they weren't even close to what they show in other occasions - thursday for example - or even against Detroit when they lost.

For the record Opita, Olie played good, don't let the numbers fool you. Most of our shots were small attempts.

And Semin... I love the guy, I love his monster talent but yesterday he was a liability - he was falling for no apparent reason... I mean, it was almost comical, he was skating all alone and falling. He took hooking calls, which he's getting a lot lately, and he over-embellished a fall. And he gave up the puck many times.

Something needs to change - if we're losing key games (and in favorable conditions: no Kovie, back to back for them, at our home on a saturday) like yesterday's we can say bye bye to the playoffs.

I'm sorry to post so much negativity. Maybe they raised my hope too high with the way they play sometimes.


Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@Opita
Wrong again almighty Opita. I have four season tickets and I pay to see guys like Semin play. His talent and skating ability are awesome. Unfortunatley it's a team game and he's becoming a diver and a liability because he takes stupid penalties. However, I'm rooting for the kid to get better and I hope he does.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 3, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Newsflash, Kozlov doesn't belong on the first line. He's been, by far, the most disappointing off season pick up. Big deal that he scored in a few games lately...did you happen to notice that just about all of them were either redirects or just flat out lucky shots. So to whoever said to put him on the first line with ovie...WHY???? He's a huge liability...

Posted by: IrresistibleForce | February 3, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@mauree
I didn't see the game so I can't comment on the effort the team put. But they did put a lot of shots on goal, 36 to be exact, a 3 to 1 ratio on our favor, so there must have been some effort there both from the offense and defense, at least, that is the impression that I get.
As for Olie, again, I never singled out him or anyone else. I also made another post in which I ask whether the problem is in the selection of the shots we take.
As for Semin. I don't understand the dislike for this guy. Tons of accusation with non-sustainable arguments. Take for instance your comment, and this might be just a typo on your part, but you wrote "He took hooking calls", plural, more than one, when in reality he only took one hooking call - and besides this calls are being issued a dime-a-dozen to the point of ridiculousness. He does not lead the team in penalty minutes, he is behind clark, brash, green, bradley and erskine, and yet, besides erskine and semin you don't hear about stupid penalties taken by the other ones. As for his falling, yes he falls, so does AO, but that is because the type of skaters they are, they run fast, brake and piruett on a dime to outmanuever the opponent player. Of course most of the other player don't do that, so they don't fall as much. In addition, Semin gets hit from the back a lot. Can he be stronger, maybe. But I would not complain of his play.
Giving up the puck? Again you have single him out. Why? OV has 62, Green 58, Poti 41, then Semin 40. And yet I never hear anyone complaining of the others. They all can improve on that regard.
See my point?

Posted by: opita | February 3, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Eza
I don't mind discussing things with you, but stay on topic and try no to insult.
Why do you call me almighty? Did I say I was? Do you feel like I am? explain yourself.

I am happy you recognize the talent of this guy and wish him the best.

But what is "wrong again"? Just yelling charges does not make you right. Back them up and lets discuss them. read my posts, understand them and if you want to discuss them inteligently I will be glad to do it. We don't have to agree, but we don't have to insult each other.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@Opita

Semin got one hooking call last night, one on Thursday, one holding stick with Toronto, etc. But the point is not the actual calls, it's that in all those occasion it was a stupid and very avoidable penalty.

As for the falls - I've never seen a guy falling while alone and by himself like that. The other penalty he took yesterday - he didn't dive but he embellished the fall so much that they called. And I think reputation also played a role - but who's to blame for that except him?

But you misunderstood, I don't hate Semin, and I was so enthusiastic when he was playing at his level a few games ago. I think he has some unreal talent, and when he and AO are "on", I don't see a team that can stop them. BUT: yesterday he was a liability.

Don't group me (or keef for that matter) with the blindly accusing crowd - there's actual thought in what I write. Get a tape of the game and see for yourself.

By the way, it wasn't Semin's or anybody's in particular fault that we lost yesterday - a poor game by our forwards in general. 36 shots, but just a couple really dangerous. If shots on goal won a game, the Caps would be first in the league.

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I think Ovie scored so many the other day to make up for the two recent shutouts. Gotta keep that pace!

And to whoever said that Kozlov doesn't belong on the first line, I guess you haven't noticed that he started scoring again ever since they put him-guess where-on the first line! He needs to play with great players to be effective. He was playing with Bure when he had all his success in Florida, for example.

Posted by: Jordan | February 3, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@mauree
I didn't mean to imply that you dislike him, although, after re-reading my post I understand why you took it that way. I apologize. I was referring to the general negative postings Semin receives, no one in particular.
To me penalties are penalties. They put your team at peril. My point was that he is not the leader on that category and yet he receives the brunt of the negative comments.
I agree with your insinuation, if i understood it correctly, about the shots on goal. Earlier I posted a USATODAY stat that claims the Caps out-shoot their opponents by 105 in the first period. It makes me think that maybe our shot selection needs work.

Posted by: opita | February 3, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Opita
My "almighty" reference is a comment about your hockey knowledge which seems to me is quite deep. It's a COMPLIMENT. Maybe you're a little sensitve. I am not insulting you and I will refrain from joking in the future. I concur with mauree's comments about Semin. Enjoy the Super Bowl my friend.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | February 3, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Tom:

Kozlov centering the top line? No. We tried that already.

Backstrom needs to be paired up with Ovie. So far, this is the only productive line so why break it up?

And explain why Semin "must play" with Ovie. With Semin on the second line, we at least have a legitimate scoring threat once Ovie gets off the ice.

Posted by: Tom | February 3, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@eza
It was a misunderstanding. That is ok. Please continue being yourself, don't ever change for anyone, I might need clarifications in the future, but that is not problem. I am known to be sarcastic and a wiseass at times and I rub a lot of people the wrong way, but that is who I am.
I hope you enjoy the superbowl. I can't get into it, for every minute of play you get 3 minutes of ads. The game became the sideshow.

Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

optia

no. i think semin is an amazing offensive player. i just think his cons out weigh the pros. my point is that if the caps greatest concern(which another blogger had stated) is defensive fowards then semin has to be the culperate. calling me out like that isnt cool, along with your assumtions about my OPINION. i think there are plenty of caps fans who would agree with me about semin's play. About the locker room, semin makes no effort to be a team player, no one can talk to him except kozie and ovie due to his lack of interest in assimilating into the nhl.

Posted by: capsfan08 | February 3, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I hope the boys were not given the day off. They don't deserve to have a day off after being shutout 2 times in 3 games. They should be out working on creating screens and getting the puck to the net from the point. Semin should be working on learning how to skate again and then should be getting the riot act from BB about stupid penalties. I'm so serious, if I'm BB, Semin's lazy butt sits Tuesday and Wednesday. For the past week he's played like crap.

On the flip side, if they did get today off which it seems they did, hopefully BB drills the daylights out of them tomorrow! Games like last night will end your season quickly. We're talking about making a playoff push, but we won't get anywhere with games like last night.

Posted by: Mitch | February 3, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Time for Boo to weigh in on the debates! :-)

36 vs. 13: Yes, the Caps outshot Atlanta, but the Caps' shots were really soft. It seemed like everything was going to Kari's chestplate. He had a lot of saves, but he did not have to "work" for many, if any. Believe it or not, I think Olie worked as hard or harder last night. Usually numbers don't lie, but in this case, they are a bit deceiving.

Semin: Ask anyone I know and they will tell you that I was singing Semin's praises before he started getting press. I saw something special in him - a unique talent that can be really fun to watch. He has some amazing moves and can be tricky, in deed. However, he has lost a lot of his spark this season. When he is on, he's hot! But when he is off, it can be really disappointing to watch him (ala Olie). And he has seemed to take needless penalties - that is REALLY aggrivating, especailly when we are just going into a PP!! This has happened at least 2, if not 3 or 4, times in the past few weeks. I mean seconds after going into a PP. Ugh. Last night I said that if I was BB, I would bop Semin on the head after he did that the first time!! No, all penalties are not created equally, and Semin has taken some of the most senseless ones this season. Again, in this case, pure numbers don't tell the whole story.

So anyway, this is why people get irritated with Semin - not because he is terrible, but because he is not living up to his amazing potential. Call it lazy, stupid, immature, whatever. No matter how you slice it, it's frustrating, at best.

If Sasha starts consistently playing to his potential, he will be elevated to Ovie status. You can quote me on that.

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

If you think Semin "embellished" his fall when he was clotheslined, I'd like to clothesline you in a similar position and see you not fall in a similar manner.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | February 3, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan08
"About the locker room, semin makes no effort to be a team player, no one can talk to him except kozie and ovie due to his lack of interest in assimilating into the nhl."

Don't know if you saw it, but several games ago Comcast interviewed Ovie and asked him about Semin. He replied something like 'Semin is not as closed in the locker room with the guys as he is with fans and the media'. So don't go assuming that Semin is a cancer in the locker room. He obviously is not. And as for the hooking penalty last night, watch BB's postgame interview. He said Semin's untimely penalty will be addressed in practice.

Posted by: Tess | February 3, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Semin likes Brazilian girls. Are you Brazilian, Opita? :)

Posted by: Brazilian girls are the best | February 3, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

man their D is playing so good, Ovie got fumbled and they're all over him. We need to get our offense going, come on Nick, Alex, make some catches, make something happen!
Olie need to stop all those rushes through the middle. Did you see Green with that interception? Sign him soon!

Wait... *looks around, confused*

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan08
I am just trying to understand you, when you say
"About the locker room, semin makes no effort to be a team player". If I ask you how do you know that? Is that what you mean by calling you out? Then get over it. That is an accusation and you should be prepared to back it up. Tell me what you know, what you saw, what you experienced, to make you say that? Maybe you are right and I just don't know it.


Posted by: opita | February 3, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

mauree:
What?!? You're watching FOOTBALL?!? You should be ashamed of yourself!!!

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

It's called Y chromosome Boo!, I can't help it :D

btw nice post above, I agree with you 100%... and sorry you went to such sucky game with guests... had it been the Montreal game, they'd be conquered.

You're not watching the superbowl?

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

@boo

"So anyway, this is why people get irritated with Semin - not because he is terrible, but because he is not living up to his amazing potential. Call it lazy, stupid, immature, whatever. No matter how you slice it, it's frustrating, at best."

Wow. That is a lot of adjectives that do not fit, but, obviously, it would not stop people from using them.

Food for thought. Could it be that he has not been partnered with a good line? Seems like he is always playing with a different center, none of which you can call second liners centers. His longest partner in the wings has been Fleischmann, again no a real second liner caliber player. Aren't you expecting miracles out of that line? and in particular out of Semin?

I think he has committed "untimely" penalties, but so has many others. He is not the worse offender, you can look it up. I think people are blowing his reputation and, slowly, unsubstantiated charges are becoming factual truths, and that is a sad thing happening to a good player on our team, specially when the culprits are the team's fans.


Posted by: opita | February 3, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

mauree:

Well, I guess I can forgive you, given
your Y chromosome, and all. ;-) No, I am not watching (although I flip over from time to time to see if I can catch a commercial). I have not been a football fan since I was a kid. Back then I followed the Vikings (that was when the North Stars were around!), but I left football behind when I left the great white north. However, I just couldn't shake hockey ... I'd need an intervention for that!!

Thanks for your comments about my post ... I was beginning to think I was talking to myself! ;-) Yes, it is too bad that I did not have guests Thur - that was the kind of game that keeps newbies coming back! Anyway, I am ready to go back Friday. (Hopefully we can lock in 4 more points before then!!) How about you - plan to make the trek to a game anytime soon?

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

@Brazilian girls are the best.
No. I am not Brazilian. I am a retired middleweight boxer with a record of 37-7-2, and a face that only my mother will love. I will be glad to meet you and show you.

How do you know what Semin like or dislike? Do you know him?

@all
This is my last word in the subject. I just hope some of you are more careful when you attack some one. I understand, part of the joy of being a fan is being critical and demeaning to some players. But to members of your own team? oh. well. To each its own. I was just trying to have an honest and intelligent discussion going.


Posted by: Opita | February 3, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Opita,

dude I'm respecting your opinions but you really need to watch yesterday's game. Trust me, many people here (including me) would love to see him playing well. We don't gain anything in reporting that he sucked - we have no point to prove.

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

some of these commercial are awesome. I liked the Budweiser Horse Rocky, The Shaq's horse race, the Doritos's made me laugh uncontrollably, and the gecos Thriller dance was the best :D

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

@Boo!

I'd love to go to a game or two - don't have any plans right now. I still love the idea of a Tarik's bloggers reunion/game.

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Optia:

RE: Semin being on the wrong line, you could be right! That would certainly explain part of the problem, but not all of it. For example, being on the wrong line would not drive him to make senseless penalties. Again, it is not the # of penalties that he has, it is the needless ones at critical junctures (the stat sheets can't tell you how "senseless" penalties are, so comparing him with others via data points will not give you the complete picture).

Again, I have defended Semin many times, and was singing his praises before most, so if you want to pick a fight with someone about Semin, then I am probably not the best target! :-) I still see something special in him, but he has frustrated me quite a bit this season.

All of those adjectives were not my own and they do not sum up my opinion about him (in fact, to put it in perspective, I would get a Semin sweater before I got an Ovechkin sweater). If you read my entire post, you will see that I think he is quite gifted. But gifted and frustrating are not mutually exclusive ...

BTW, I write about what I observe, not what I hear/read, so please trust that my comments are not driven by his "reputation" or "unsubstantiated charges" - to the contrary. I am a STH. If I am not at a game, I watch it on TV - I almost never miss a game. So I speak from what I see, not the popular opinion of the day.

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Optia:

What a minute - I'm confused by your 8:49 post. With all due respect, a few questions ...

1) Didn't you say that you missed the game? If so, you might feel differently if you saw it. Seriously. I often think people here are too critical, so if I say that they were lackluster, then they were REALLY lackluster. Ya know what I mean?

2) If memory serves, haven't you been critical of Olie and others before? If so, then how is that any different?

3) Again, if I am remembering correctly, haven't you been critical of coaching/management before? If so ... ?!?

Please correct me if I am wrong - I am confused and could stand to be set straight! :-)

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

mauree:

I missed that one! Just flipping over from time to time, I am sure that I am missing a lot. Oh well, they'll probably all be on the Today Show tomorrow!! ;-)

I hope you make it to a game soon. While yesterday's game was none the fun, it was probably the loudest game that I have been to ever at the VC (well, except for when non-Caps fans were making all of the noise!). I think the Caps are starting to draw more people in ... the rest of the season should be fun!!!

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to meet some of the people who post their opinions on here at a game sometime. Just to put a face to the words.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

mauree:

OK, I must admit, I am watching the end of the SuperBowl ...

Posted by: Boo! | February 3, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm surely biased, but I think the Stanley Cup is much better than this. First of all the trophy itself is so much cooler than that little piss thingie. But most of all, I feel like it's earned... it's like climbing a monster mountain in all kind of adversities and weather.

Hockey's so cool :D

Posted by: mauree | February 3, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

@Mauree

Also, I can't really respect a sport whose regular season is as many wins it takes to get the Stanley Cup. Hockey is so much better, and hockey players don's get 5-6 days off between games.

Posted by: Stephen | February 3, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

@Boo
I had said that I was through with the subject, but you deserve an answer so I will.

To your next to last post commentary:
It seems as if we both agree that he is playing in a bad line, that there is no cohesiveness and there is a lack of continuity as the linemates keep rotating in and out of that line.

It seems like we are at an stalemate on the type of penalties he takes. You do no accept the statistics that he is not the most penalize player and you insist that he is the player that takes the most needless (whatever that means) penalties at a most critical time. Yet, you can not provide that statistics so I am to take your word for it, the support you give is that you have seen him play and that other fans feel the same way as you. I argue that I too have seen him play and that he is not the one taking the most "senseless" penalties, but, I also do not have the statistics to backup that argument. So arguing that point is muted, unless you are ready to accept some common measurement. I suggest professional stats, but I am ready to listen to your suggestion. Until then it is mute. Agree?

Ok. I am not singling out you or anyone else in particular. I think if you read my posts, you will notice that I have said that many times.

I was not trying to pick a fight with you or anyone. In your case you posted "Time for Boo to weigh in on the debates! :-)" and went on and joined the fracas. Please don't say that I was searching for a fight, much less one with you. My whole point has always been that he is being accused of things without substantiation. An example is you saying that he has committed the most senseless penalties and yet you have nothing to backup that argument, other than that is how you see it. Others have said that he is a cancer in and off the ice, and yet they produce no evidence to that effect. Get my point? It is not you. It is the baseless accusations. I have given people the opportunity to backup them but so far no one has. I am glad you speak your mind, but you should state it, there will be less misunderstanding when you let people know that. I respect everyones opinion. No one can tell another that their opinion is wrong. Check the difference: "In my opinion, he takes senseless penalties" vs "He takes senseless penalties" . One is an opinion, the other is an accusation.

Now to your last commentary to me:
You said you were confused by 8:49 post, but then you go on onto other things that are not part of that post. So I can not help you there until you let me know what it is that confuses you.
Ok to your first question: Yes. I did not see the game.
I take your word [in your opinion] it was a lackluster game. The only commentary I have done of the game has been that we had 36 shots on goal vs 13 and that it should have given us at least a tie in regulation for one point. With someone else we talked about the quality of shots, and I pointed out a USATODAY stat that said we have 105 more shots than the opposition in the first period. So I asked, is it that we are facing extremely good goalies? or is it that we do not have good selection of shots? What is your problem with that? Noticed I never said it was a good or bad game last night. I only asked a question based on statistics.
2) Yes I have been critical of Olie. I believe that he is the only player I have critizide many times. Again, my criticism always comes with data to backup my argument. You might not agree with it, that is ok. I still respect your opinion. WHAT I DO NOT RESPECT ARE ACCUSATIONS WITHOUT SUBSTANTIATIONS. I am still critical of Olie, however, I did not criticize his play in the last game, because I did not see it. Fair enough?
3) You are wrong. I have never criticize management. I have no way of knowing any of the details, much less all of the details, necessary to analyze and to make an intelligent decision. It would be contrary to what I am arguing, right? Do you understand it?

You asked me to correct you, and I think I have.

Now. That is it for me and this subject.

Posted by: opita | February 3, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

The hockey gods have informed me of the outcomes of the next 3 games. I will make any adjustments if needed but for now this is how it comes out.

Caps vs BlueDevils: Caps win by 1
Caps vs Flyers: Caps win by 1
Caps vs Hurricanes: Caps win by 2

Posted by: Oracle of Dayoh | February 4, 2008 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Optia/Boo

Too lazy to read above... but some observations on Semin.

He lacks passion 70% of the time. It is extremely frustrating to see him lollygag into the zone, have his pocket picked from behind and accept the result rather than fight for the puck. The guy seems to shy away from physical play that could allow him and Ovie to anchor what should be the best 1st and 2nd lines in the eastern conference.

I see potential in Semin, but he is nowhere near a rookie and should be playing a LOT smarter. I have seen him take WAY too many penalties chasing down a guy who took the puck from him and hooking them to the ground. He's #1 in the league in "Stick" penalties and THAT is unacceptable. He needs to control himself.

ALL that said... He got ROYALLY SCREWED with that diving call in the 2nd and I marked that in my mind as the turning point in the game. It was a low-penalty game and that would have been a crucial powerplay.

All that said, Olie played a good game. Caps score 1, we come away from that game with a point. But you can't win if you don't score and ATL's goalie played a marvelous game. BB needs to get these guys practicing hitting open nets. Been a problem all year.

Posted by: FFS Enough | February 4, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

@opita
I see your point. I think you make a good one, unfortunately, others are not understanding it or, as FFS Enough readily and honestly admits it, they are too lazy to read it.
I don't come often to this blog because the lack of good discussions, on this date you made it worthwhile. Thank you.

Posted by: Joe | February 4, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@Opita,

Semin, imho, has taken several bad penalties the last couple of games. The last two games the Caps have gone from 5 on 4 to even strength 4 on 4 because of Semin stick penalties in the offensive zone. Both times @10 seconds into a Caps power play.

Erskine, however, leads the team imho in taking bad penalties.

Posted by: Steve R | February 4, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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