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Neuvirth Hurt and Other Notes

Got to be quick since I'm headed over to the Caps Convention. But I wanted to give you a quick update on today's practice:

*The Caps are down to two goalies. For the moment, anyway. Michal Neuvirth left practice this morning after a "tweaking" an injury that had bothered him for a few days. The first indication that something was bothering him came on Thursday. He was supposed to be Theodore's backup at MSG on Thursday, but wound up staying behind.

Boudreau didn't divulge the nature of the injury, but said he doesn't think it's serious.

*Semyon Varlamov will start tomorrow against the Rangers at VC.

*Chris Bourque will be back in the lineup tomorrow after missing the past two preseason games with a mild head injury. He was nailed behind the play on Monday by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta.

"I need to get into a game and show them that I'm ready for the regular season," Bourque said.

Bourque is not too pleased with what he considered to be a cheap shot from Kaleta, a player he knows from when they played together in a junior tournament.

"You have no idea how upsetting that was," Bourque said. "This was probably the one camp where I had a chance to crack the lineup opening lineup. That's not gone, but it definitely put a dent in my training camp hopes. Especially that way. I could see if it was clean hit, or if I had the puck or was anywhere near the puck."

Bourque is in a tight battle with Alexandre Giroux, Quintin Laing and Keith Aucoin for what could be two available forward spots on the opening night roster.

*Brendan Morrison said he's ready to return after missing the past four seasons games with whiplash like symptoms. Morrison was driven into the boards in the final seconds of the preseason opener in Buffalo last week. This morning, he centered a line with Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin.

"I didn't skate for two days, then came back and kind of tweaked it again and had to take it easy for a few days," Morrison said. "But yesterday and today was the best it's felt. It's just a strain."

*Eric Fehr (surgery on both shoulders) took another physical this week, but was not medially cleared for full contact action. He hopes to be cleared next week, though he conceded that being ready to play opening night is not looking good at the moment.

"I got really close this time," Fehr said. "I'm definitely getting close."

*Sean Collins has cleared waivers, but has not been assigned to Hershey. Yet, anyway. Coach Bruce Boudreau said "we just thought there were too many guys here to the practice."

So, for now, the battle on the blueline appeared to be down to Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan. The Caps already have seven defensemen, but they have not ruled out keeping eight, Boudreau said.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 26, 2009; 12:27 PM ET
 
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Next: Today's Lineup: Rangers at Caps

Comments

I hope that Chris Bourque plays well tomorrow and makes the team for the regular season.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 26, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg to Caps? He scored in the Elitserien opener and scored again today against Djurgarden...so foot so good.
http://www.examiner.com/x-7375-Washington-Capitals-Examiner~y2009m9d25-Peter-Forsberg-wants-to-play-with-Ovechkin

Posted by: jakopz | September 26, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Caps are already up against the cap or over it. How are they going to afford Forsberg? Only way it is even possible is if Nylander somehow is gone but that seems like a real longshot.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 26, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Trade Schultz already. Send Sloan down and keep up Alzner. On offense, you can just tell that Boudreau has a heart-on for Laing. I don't take anything away from the guy, he works his azz off, blocks shots and all that, but is he the right guy?? I guess it's what Boudreau wants, but this is where the line is so thin, it's not really based on skill/camp - it's based on who the coach wants.

Posted by: Jaymagz | September 26, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

... it's not really based on skill/camp - it's based on who the coach wants.

Posted by: Jaymagz | September 26, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. You might have a valid point there, I can see it on how he handles some players.

Posted by: hock1 | September 26, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen anything from Alzner yet to suggest he's ready to be a regular D-man for the Caps.

Schultz isn't going anywhere. He's had an excellent camp/pre-season and he looks to be coming into the season an improved player. Plus, Alzner for Schultz makes no sense from a salary cap perspective.

Posted by: Sonyask | September 26, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Alzner saying he needs to be "more aggressive" is a bad sign.

Schultz is also a sissy, Caps have no clue on how to judge character when scouting.

Posted by: Smitten | September 26, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Icehammer.
Forsberg is of course a pipedream but he would
demand less than a mill according to Swedish press. It would be nice
to have Foppa waiting in the wings once Morrison breaks down halfway into the season.

Posted by: jakopz | September 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree that although part of playing up here is how a player does in camp and the skills he brings, another part of it is whom BB likes. There are many here that are down on Nyls and want to see him gone. At times, I've been there too. However, I would have liked to see him play at least once or twice just to see if he lived up to his words. He said he wanted to be here, play in the NHL and looked forward to the season. It seems to me that it would make more sense at least giving a guy like that a shot and using him instead of scratching him and paying him big bucks to wear a suit on game night. If nothing else, Nyls is a player with skills and with his time in the league, he deserves a little more respect than what BB appears to have given him. Those two should clear the air, Nyls should get a shot and if he screws it up, then he can sit out. On the other hand, if he turns out he can contribute, you can nevermind those Forsberg stories.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 26, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is also a sissy, Caps have no clue on how to judge character when scouting.


Posted by: Smitten | September 26, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Caps sure have put together a rotten cast of characters. There's no future in these guys.

What planet are you living on?

Posted by: Sonyask | September 26, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

actually alzner has shown a lot to prove he belongs up here. he protects our goalie and our d men. he gets riled up after cheap shots or late hits, he blocked a lot of cross crease passes in NY, he gets the puck out of the zone quickly and accuraetly. hes improved a lot since last yr

Posted by: capsfan387 | September 26, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

*Alzner was considered NHL ready at the draft - nothing's changed that one year later.

*Foppa? Why? so we can have another over-the-hill Swede to whine about?

*We keep hearing the Caps HAVE to make a trade to keep under the cap by the season opener - that's less than one week away, so when is this supposed "trade" gonna happen?

Posted by: CAP-lanta | September 26, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

id much rather have forsberg than morrison. B.Mo has already shown he's injury prone and probably wont last the whole year.so get rid of him before that happens and get forsberg.i know thats a pipedream but hey... i hope neuvy is alright,personally i think he should be in the caps' starting lineup.and as much as we would like to see bourque make the team,i dont think its in his cards.i hope its laing and aucoin.or should be.GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | September 26, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg was a great player for a lot of years but he has always been injury prone. At 36 I seriously doubt he'll be able to stay healthy for long but if you can sign him just for the playoffs then that might be something the Caps should consider.

Posted by: joek443 | September 26, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

What's that? Ah -- Playoffs? Don't talk about -- playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?

Posted by: uncatim | September 26, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

@smitten

So nobody who is not a physical player lacks character...that is some evaluation. Dude, wake up.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

We keep hearing the Caps HAVE to make a trade to keep under the cap by the season opener - that's less than one week away, so when is this supposed "trade" gonna happen?

Posted by: CAP-lanta | September 26, 2009 6:33

If there's no trade available, the Caps will have to send some of their players through waivers with the purpose of re-assigning them to Hershey (or elsewhere). So, when looking at which player(s) might stay or be sent down, it's helpful to consider their waiver eligible status as well as their respective cap hits.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | September 26, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Schultz has impressed me so far and he is dirt cheap so he shouldn't go anywhere.

I hope Bourque plays great tomorrow and stays.

Laing is the perfect 4th line grinder. He forechecks like crazy and kills penalties as good as anybody.

I don't know why I don't like Aucoin for the Caps but I just don't see it.

Giroux is a goal scorer and he doesn't do anything else well. But if Giroux is a great scored then why hasn't he scored when he has been called up. How many break aways did he have when he came up last year but he never scored.

The rest of the D we will have to see what GMGM has up his sleeves.

Oh and I don't know what happened with Neuvy but he didn't appear to have anything wrong with him at the Convention today.

Posted by: pkendrick | September 26, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone at the Convention catch BB's initial verbal response Nyls when speaking of all the players on the team?

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

No, what was that response, ralCapsFan?

Or are you asking because you weren't there either?

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 26, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

No, I was there but wanted to get others thoughts before interjecting. Will also be curious if one day we all will be privy to what went wrong (off the ice) with Nyls in DC part II.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

And I apologize in advance...in know way am trying to be a tease. If no one posts I will atleast provide my two cents (and that is an inflated value!)

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

know = no...am just learning to spell

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Would you mind sharing with the rest of us in the meantime or are you worried about offering your opinion?

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 26, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Someone posted this over on the Caps message board:

Bruce was going through all of his players, of course saying something nice about all of them.

I really just wanted to hear what he'd say about Theo, Schultz, and Nylander.

Theo, good
Schultz, good
Nylander? Bruce: "Eughh....um...He's a good player with a lot of offensive game in him...there's some things going on right now with him but they'll be worked out"

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 26, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Don't think this is real news, just found it an interesting/different response:

Attended the segment of 'Who are the 2009/10 Caps' by BB. Basically BB as part of the introduction of the players via ppt (players not part of this ceremony) spoke about each player as there pic was presented on a large screen to his left. The player would be shown with basic stats and BB would speak to how they contribute to the team. Nyls was last and I do not know if his slide came as a surprise (as BB obviously can speak about all these guys for days) or what but there seemed to be an audible "eeww" from him as he turned and saw the slide before he went into how Nyls' situation has been tough and that he has been through a lot. I spoke with some friends there to see if they heard what I did and they confirmed. I just found that somewhat of a different response given the situation.

The other interesting note was GMGMs response as a part of a segment on 'Trading Players' to a question about providing NTCs as part of contracts. Am paraphrasing here but he essentially said 'they are rare because, what if you get a player who is not a team player and disrepects the coach, you are stuck with him". Again, read into that what you will.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, ralCapsFan.

I would definitely consider GMGM's response to that NTC question to be at least a partial reference toward Nylander. I don't think he was trying to take a jab at Nylander but rather just telling it like it is. You have to think he learned a permanent lesson from this situation.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 26, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

No problem...unfortunate things haven't worked out.

Onto Caps news...TSN has the Caps as #5 in power rankings:
http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=292622

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Nylander? Bruce: "Eughh....um...He's a good player with a lot of offensive game in him...there's some things going on right now with him but they'll be worked out"

Things going on = Trade talks or play in Sweden.
They'll be worked out = Nylander agrees to waive NMC or retires from NHL.

Posted by: TrackCollector | September 26, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

ralCapsfan: Thanks for the link. I check TSN daily for hockey news. The comments are always something I should pass on though. I am sure that 90% of their audience is Canadien so I shouldn't be surprised that they are pro Crosby and anti Ovi. The last comment on there is annoying as well. They imply things can't be all that good in Washington if Russian Vets like Feds and Koz are willing to jump to the KHL leaving behind one last chance for a Cup and a Russian superstar to boot. As a Caps fan i would have loved to see Feds stay but not for another 4 million. Feds obviously wanted big money too. I don't blame him, why pass up millions at his age? His name is already on the Cup. Anyhow, WE know Feds and Koz left because of $.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 26, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

By the way we are paying Knuble what we paid Koz, pretty good trade off IMO.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 26, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Yes...would agree with your assessment on TSN. Also agree with your take on Feds and Koz...the TSN comment was asinine. Feds went to A. Be able to play hockey with his brother to live a dream for their father and B. some nice $$$$

Knuble is a SUPER replacement for Koz (although I miss both him and Feds).

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 26, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing about Foppa. When I heard a couple weeks ago he was playing again I wondered if he'd consider Washington. I guess so. I'm sure GMGM has at least made the call to see what he's looking for. I bet it will be less than we paid Feds. I know we need to move people but to think that Foppa doesn't improve this team is nuts (when healthy). Not to mention what a great mentor he'd be for Backs. Good Lord we'd be sick with that lineup. And I'm a big Bmo fan so if we could have a healthy Foppa for the playoffs and 1/2 the regular season I'm all for it. I got to see him plenty here in Colorado and if he could only get that foot fixed he'd be in good shape. Not to mention yet another good PKer and good faceoff guy for PK's.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 26, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Rachel: I take it you are at Neuvy's bedside to comfort and inspire him. Tell him to hurry up and get well.

Posted by: caraveli | September 26, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

it's kinda ironic that both Forsberg and Eric Lindros were hampered by injuries throughout their careers.

Posted by: joek443 | September 26, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I know Thizzi started a fantasy league but I have one that I've been running for 15 yrs on cbs.sportsline.com. If you are interested send me an email to pokerface1208 at yahoo. the numbers are 12 (bondra) 08 (ovechkin) and the name pokerface. we're actually gonna do the draft online friday. it's 1 day after the season starts but that's the only time I could get everybody together. If interested let me know. Kitty I expect you to be in it! No excuses!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 27, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Oh for Pete's sake. Have those of you who are still ignorantly picking on Jeff Schultz actually watched this pre-season or are you so blinded by your prejudices that you haven't bothered? He's been a beast all pre-season, preventing shots, blocking shots, forcing guys into the boards. He's added some muscle this year, too, and it shows. I've seen him staple guys to the boards a couple of times (once against Buffalo, once against Chicago). He's been very effective as a second-pairing defenseman, he's one of the team's top penalty killers, and don't forget that he was third ON THE TEAM in +/- last year.

Don't trust your eyes with him - his game has no flash or sizzle and you'll never notice him when he does something right, only when he does something wrong. If you're one of these people who says "I know what my eyes see, screw the stats", you will never understand Jeff Schultz's game and you'll never get an accurate picture of what he's all about.

Alzner is not ready for the NHL full-time, and bringing him up does not make contract or cap sense. He makes some good decisions - and some really bad ones. I've seen him do some really stupid stuff out there this pre-season. Tyler Sloan perhaps has a lower ceiling, but he's at a higher level than either Alzner or Carlson right this minute, and he comes much cheaper than either one. If the Caps are going to carry an eighth defenseman, it's going to be Sloan for cap reasons and because unlike Alzner, Sloan makes smart breakout passes, kills penalties, can be a minute-muncher, and is willing and able to shoot the puck if the opportunity presents itself.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 27, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

We went to convention too but misses BB piece. Saw the young guns ones though and enjoyed Ovie's Don Cherry impersonation per request from the audience. I preferred the panels--could hear better.
My favorite was the Jitters one about coming to a new team with Knuble, BMo, Pothier, and Clark. Great stories. I liked hearing from the regular guys. One question was about juniors/college vs AHL/drafting. They were big on getting the degree because the very elite such as Ovie, Backstrom, Semin, and Green were simply not human--they and Ovie in particular could do things that most hockey players can't. Regular joes needed a backup plan.

The other great talk was on refereeing and we were a tough audience. Bit biased I guess. But the issue of fights came up and he said very
strongly that staged fights weren't okay, that helmuts needed to stay on the players' heads. Apparently the refs are under orders to enforce this strictly this season. Other spontaneous fighting was okay within
reason, that what will be allowed is evolving with safety being the primary goal. We will have to see how this unfolds over the upcoming season.

The irony was when I went the following First Day Jitters talk the stories included big scums and then becoming a teammate of the instigator through trade the next. Clearly all these guys have good fight stories--it's a hallowed part of the game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 27, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Have to add that we were lucky enough to get Ovie's autograph line time slot. My son was thrilled-he signed next to his number on my son's jersey no. 8 of course. What I was not expecting was how handsome in a rugged sort of way Ovie is. He has got charisma and great eyes. My son was tongue-tied and Ovie smiled (he has got a great smile) and said something that made my son grin back. I can only imagine how magnetic he could be when turning on the charm. No wonder the media loves talking to Ovie. I thought Ovie and all of the players were good sports about this kind of event, really appreciative of the fans and really liked being in DC. I know that this is
the kind of forum where they needed to be on their best behavior but I saw sincerity and good natured attitude about everything including the more boring parts like autographs for example. Lots for kids to do too.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 27, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the bad formatting--doing it on a small gadget

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 27, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Caraveli: HAH! I wish I was... unfortunately, this was his chance to show himself one more time, instead Varly will play in his place. They might as well send Neuvy down to Hershey now.. unless Varly really falters this afternoon, but it probably still will be Theo & Varly.

Posted by: rachel216 | September 27, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

BTW I think we as fans should watch BMo play during the season before start yelling to trade him. He was known for his speed and for being an iron man before his recent spate of injuries. And unlike some other teams we looked him over carefully for health, his knee in particular I think it was, and only signed him for one year.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 27, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious: I'd like to hear some opinions on how the Convention went.. if you went.. in case they have one next year I might go...from what I heard from people who went they said the place was too small for the event and that the music was playing too loud.

Posted by: rachel216 | September 27, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Back's to a Swedish newspaper this morning: "Foppa would fit perfectly with the Caps". He played a tremendous game last night. Set up the 1st goal and scored the winner in OT. Not that most of you read Swedish but check out the list of clubs they list as potential options for Foppa: http://www.aftonbladet.se/sportbladet/hockeybladet/sverige/elitserien/article5863322.ab

Posted by: jakopz | September 27, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Let's give BMo a chance. It's a shame he was cheat shotted in the very first perseason game and missed most of the week. While normally he'll be on a line with Semin, he wanted to try out him and his old buddy Knuble together as well. But the injury prevented that. (This preseason has been bad for us in the cheap shot department. Chris Bourque, as well.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I enjoyed the convention. But there are some things I would have changed. The music was definitely way too loud. And they needed more seating around the main stage.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 27, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

You and I were obviously doing many of the same things. I enjoyed the First Day Jitters presentation. (I cut out a few minutes early for my autogragh session.) Sounds like you were in the same autograph line as me. I think I stood next to a father and son (just in back) and behind a dark haired woman.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 27, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Yes I went and thought it was good overall. Thought the panel discussions were well done, the HOF trophies very cool, lots of cool items for silent auction, etc. One area for improvement would be, the main stage events (with Ted, BB, Ovie & Nicky & Green), the seating was waaaay too few and the acoustics were awful. If one was not in the seating area, it was impossible to hear what they were saying (music also had something to do with it).

Posted by: ralCapsFan | September 27, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216-

Overall I had a blast at the convention. There were a few things I had issue with though. Like everyone said, the music was way too loud and the fact that they tried to cram just about everything in the main hall made the place feel way too crowded. I also thought the autograph sessions could have and should have been organized a bit better. The main stage was also in a bad spot with not enough sitting space for most of the big events.

On the upside, all the players were very nice and the equipment sale had some real steals in there. I also thought the photo booth was set up very well. Definitely looking forward to next year's convention! Hopefully they'll have ironed out some of this year's kinks.

Posted by: Desu | September 27, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I also thought the music was too loud--it started once the main room sessions began. But we got there early, no music at that time. The crowds weren't too bad. I've experienced much worse. Overall the event was lots of fun. The panels were great. In fact I thought they were the best part. We started with the media one, which my son thought were boring though we enjoyed it immensely. He liked the kids' questions panel. But what he loved the most was all the hockey games in the main room.

The only time the crowds were intense was during the main stage events with BB's talk and the Young Guns. People were pressing forward. It was very well organized in that everything ran on time, including autograph lines, panel sessions, lines for buying used equipment etc. Lines moved very quickly and there were lots of activities for kids. Got to meet Knuble before his panel--very cool guy. We did take a break during the day and we didn't stay to the very end. All in all we had a great time.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 27, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75--I also cut out right before the end. Must have been dashing down the stairs at the same time. My family kept sending emails to go to the autographs. We each had a different table so we did a kind of round robin with our son's jersey. My husband stood in the other two lines. Managed to get six signatures including Ovie's and Greenies. He slept with it along with a used stick--Erskins or Alcoins not sure--last night. Did you think Ovie had that Wow factor too? Also liked Sugden. I forget just how young they all are--lots of baby faces.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | September 27, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks everyone for your opinions about the Convention. =)

Posted by: rachel216 | September 27, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"...Schultz is also a sissy..." - Smitten

Anyone that plays in the NHL is not a sissy.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | September 28, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

@BetterOffWithFederov: Does that include everyone's "favorite" player over at Pittsburgh? Just wonderin'...=P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | September 28, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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