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Neuvirth in net, Fleischmann moves to center

Michal Neuvirth will make his third consecutive start in goal tonight against Montreal and the Canadiens' top-ranked power-play unit. The most interesting tidbit this morning at KCI, however, was Tomas Fleischmann shifting from left wing to center.

Fleischmann hasn't played the position since his days as a junior in Moose Jaw. But with the Caps holding auditions all season for a center to complement Nicklas Backstrom and Brendan Morrison, Coach Bruce Boudreau figured it was time to see what Fleischmann can do. The 25-year-old told me he's already been informed by Czech officials that they're planning to use him as a center in the Olympics.

"For five years I've had Tomas, I've always thought he would be a great center," Boudreau said. "He's responsible in his own zone, he moves the puck, he sees the ice -- all attributes that centermen have. He [also] said he would really like to try it."

Boudreau doesn't show his lines in the morning on game days. But if I had to speculate, I would guess that Fleischmann will center the second line with Brooks Laich on the left and Alexander Semin on the right.

In preparation for his official NHL debut at center (I do recall him taking a shift or two in Buffalo last month in the middle), Fleischmann spent the final 10 minutes of this morning's session working on draws with assistant coach Dean Evason and faceoff wizards David Steckel and Boyd Gordon.

But Boudreau isn't putting Fleischmann at center to win faceoffs. The coach is doing it to see if he can jumpstart an offense that has scored, in order, five, four, three, two and one goals in the past five games, which includes a season-worst three straight losses in regulation.

"The situation right now is the perfect situation for him to come in and try get that position," Boudreau said. "The offense is not going that great. We like to have three offensive-minded centermen. We've gone [through the] Keith Aucoins and Matty Perreaults and Brooks Laichs. We've tried a lot of guys at that position. Some have worked for short periods of time, some have have had moderate success. But here's somebody we think, with the addition of [Jason] Chimera as left winger, we can have bona-fide three good scoring lines if [Fleischmann] can do the job. So we hope he can."

Some other notes and quotes from the skate:

*Brian Pothier (rib) will miss his 11th straight game tonight but the defenseman is ready to return, according to Boudreau.

"He's ready to play [but] we want to get him one more good practice," Boudreau said. "He'll probably play on Thursday."

*The outlook for Semyon Varlamov, though, isn't as promising. Boudreau conceded this morning that the goalie could miss "anywhere from a week to two weeks." Varlamov, who has been out since straining his groin muscle Dec. 7, suffered a setback over the weekend in Hershey.

*In the meantime, Boudreau appears to be getting more comfortable with his other rookie goalie. So comfortable, in fact, he's going to get his sixth start in seven games tonight against the Habs.

"If I was a young player at any position and I saw an opportunity in front of me, I would want to take advantage of it," Boudreau said. "Four out of the last five games he's played, he's allowed two goals or less. And in the other game, San Jose, he kept us in it in the first period. Some of those saves were really remarkable, but you can't hold down the fort forever. If you look at the last six games he's played, he's been very consistent and that's one of the things we've been looking for -- consistency. We'll see tonight."

*The Canadiens have been on a roll as of late, winning six of their past eight games. Much of that success is because of their power play, which sits atop the league at 24.8 percent. (The Caps' power play is second at 23.5 percent).

"[Andrei] Markov being back [from injury] doesn't hurt," Boudreau said. "They move the puck around like they did two and three years ago when they had [Mark] Streit and [Sheldon] Souray. They find great seams. They're tough to play against. We want to make sure we keep our penalties to a minimum. It's going to be a great test for our penalty killers. We think we've come a long way, but when you're going against the No. 1 [power play] you find out how far you've come."

*Speaking of discipline, the Caps have shown more of it in recent games. In fact, after a penalty-filled first month, only five teams have taken fewer minors than Washington through the first half of the season.

*Based on the morning skate, Gordon and Tyler Sloan appear to be the healthy scratches. That means Eric Fehr will be back in the lineup after being scratched against the Kings.

*Tonight's game at Verizon Center isn't the only big game for the Washington organization. Prospects Stefan Della Rovere (Canada) and John Carlson (USA) will face off tonight in the gold medal game at the world junior championships.

Della Rovere has three goals and three assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-8; Carlson is a tournament-leading plus-9.

Boudreau said he's interested, but has no plans to TiVo the game.

"It bodes [well] for the future of this organization," he said. "But right now ...I'm more worried about what's Jersey going to do tonight? What's Pittsburgh going to do versus Atlanta?"

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 5, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
 | Tags: Brian Pothier, Semyon Varlamov, Tomas Fleischmann  
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Comments

ESPN says Varly is out for two weeks but I don't see any update on here...

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Read a little closer, joek. "The outlook for Semyon Varlamov, though, isn't as promising..."

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | January 5, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I encourage everyone who can to see some of the World Junior Finals, whether by Tivo or channel flipping with the Caps game. The Juniors play a very entertaining style. There will be a lot of future NHL players on the ice, probably a few futre NHL stars. I had thought that Della Rovere would be an occasional Hershey call-up kind of player, but after seeing him in this tournament, I think he will be a regular with the Caps. The Caps have no one other than Ovi who brings as much energy.

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

How more obvious can the Caps make it that Theo is now third on the depth chart? The interesting part is whether GMGM will trade him before March 3.

Also, since Flash is also a RFA after this season, maybe playing center will add to his value and staying power in the future. I'm a big fan of his so I'm certainly hoping that's the case.

Posted by: pizzagoal | January 5, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

My misreading of Lindsey's comment will make me laugh all day: I read it as, "Read a little closer, jerk..." Then I realized it was joek, a sign-in a recognize, but I though Lindsey had simply had enough.

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@saintex Nice. I'm getting there, but not yet.

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | January 5, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, she's getting there and she's been with this crew for how long? Lord help her XD

Posted by: kittypawz | January 5, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@saintex, I read that at first too.

Posted by: hockeynewb | January 5, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Can we please have more about the current goaltending situation? Should Neuvy's start tonight not be viewed as a watershed moment for this franchise re: netminding? I mean, isn't anyone curious what Theo is thinking right now? Has anyone bothered to ask? If Neuvy pitches a couple of shutouts, does he end up getting the lionshare in the playoffs? Come on now -- this is getting really interesting here!!

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 5, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I thought Lindsay was going gansta. Actually, I wouldn't be opposed to that, from time-to-time.

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming Varly isn't going to get much time in Vancouver anyway, but at some point, maybe the Caps suggest to him that his career would be better served NOT going to the Olympics and letting his groin repair some more?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 5, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@Saintex and Lindsay, I actually thought it said "jerk", too. I was thinking, "wow, she's fiesty today for some reason..." But, alas, merely providing reading lessons.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Rhino40: I put all the cap info back on the other thread. If you want Phaneuf, you have to deal Semin. It's that simple, to fit in the cap going forward.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I was really holding out hope Sloan could play tonight, or more in general, if only to see him paired with Morrissonn, and have an official Slo-Mo pair.

Posted by: superpaqman | January 5, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Can people please please please please please please please stop suggesting Theodore will be traded. Please please please. It is an absolutely absurd notion because:

The following goaltenders are all in situations to be moved:

Jaroslav Halak: 24 years old, $ .775 million, 11 W, 2.64, .922
Johan Hedberg: 36 years old, $ 1.08 million, 9 W, 2.62, .914
Kari Lehtonen: 25 years old, $ 3 million, no games this year
Martin Biron: 31 years old, $ 1.4 million, 2 W, 3.22, .900
Jonas Hiller: 27 years old, $1.3 million, 12 W, 2.91, .913

Of this list, it is known that Halak and Hiller have requested to be moved, as has Josh Harding, although Harding is having a rough go this year. Also, when Lehtonen returns there will be 3 goalies in Atlanta, and one will likely be moved, although the Thrashers have said they want to go with Pavelec due to Lehtonen's injuries. Speaking of injuries, Dipietro is almost ready to go, and the Islanders have reportedly been shopping Biron hard. Now, lets compare all this with Jose Theodore:

Theodore: 32 years old, $4.5 million, 9 W, 3.05, .896

Theodore is older than most of the other goalies, with worse numbers and a bigger contract. If a team is going after a goaltender, he is about 6th or 7th on the list. In conclusion, Jose Theodore is not going to be traded from the Caps this season.
Sorry for the ridiculously long post.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 5, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I hope this time the line juggling actually works. It doesn't help the team and line chemistry. The passing isn't as sharp and we don't seem to get as many scoring chances. The Caps need to figure out some line combos and stay healthy.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I am certainly no GM or coach BB but since he is looking to turn up the offense I wish BB would look at rolling the lines like this for one game, just try it..

Flash - Backstrom - Semin
Laich - Morrison - Knuble
Ovie - Perrault - Fehr
Chimera - Steckle - Bradley

Flash's play is upgraded by Backstrom's ability to feed him the puck and he scored a majority of his goals when OV was hurt. Semin plays (IMO) better when he has/had to step up w/o OV on his line.

The whole Laich - Morrison - Knuble line was effective early on put them back together.

Ovie is the best in the world and will amplify the energy Perrault brought to the game and they both make Fehr better as well.

Checking line is one of the best in the league with an ability to score as Bradley has been having a good year thus far IMO.

Don't get stuck on OV being on the "3rd" line role them equally and BB can cange it up if they need a boost in the 3rd as he is known for doing... Just give it a try.

Rocking the red from the lower bowl tonight (1st time this season)! GO CAPS!

Posted by: Hokies4Caps20 | January 5, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

and that's one of the things we've been looking for -- consistency...

Total shot at Theo... He is now truly the back-up in DC.

Posted by: kkd76 | January 5, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I have waited forever for an opposing team to beat the Canadiens and do the ole ole ole thing to them. Unfortunately, I will not be watching the Caps tonight, as Canada goes for gold, but I still think people should do it.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 5, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Read between the lines...we need a 3rd center, maybe trade for one...jose threeormore is in the doghouse bigtime.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 5, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Hiller has never requested a trade. Don't know where you got this info from. Halak has also never said he wished to be moved.

Anyways, the amount being paid on the remaining year for pending UFAs don't really matter. 4.5 mil or 2 mil..doesn't make much difference around the deadline. If you need a goalie, you need one. If Theo does not have any interest at the deadline, it has nothing to do with the amount of money he makes. It would have something to do with how bad he's been playing.

RE; Varlamov and Neuvrith.

I am so sick of reading these black and white comparisons between the two. Atheletics goalie vs. "Technical" goalie...lol, get real. They are two goalies who play differently, and that's it. What are these, the new "stand-up" vs. "butterfly" labels?

By the way, you can play with athleticism and not get hurt..just ask Hasek.

Oh wait..on this board Hasek and Larry Murphy sucks, I forgot. :)

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming Varly isn't going to get much time in Vancouver anyway, but at some point, maybe the Caps suggest to him that his career would be better served NOT going to the Olympics and letting his groin repair some more?

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 5, 2010 1:20 PM |

I doubt he's going to play at all. Might as well let him soak up all that experience/

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Aldred15: I was going to post, and richmondphil beat me to it.

By March 1st, Theo is only due $900K or so remaining and is UFA at year end. A team needed a goalie for the Playoffs would pay that amount if they think he has the skill.

The fact that only 20% of the season remains on March 1st minimizes all salary difference by 80% of the yearly rate.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

1. Uh-oh, Hokies4, Ovi on the third line? I am having a premonition that some enlistment papers may be coming your way from TominFl.

2.@Aldred - You're probably right re Theo.
But his contract ends this year, I think. Do some of the others extend longer? The prorated cost for the remainder of the year minimizes the cap hit difference. In any case, he would have to start playing and show that he is in better form for there to be any hope of a trade.

3. Helluva year for Theo, wouldn't you say? The guy is overdue for some good news.

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

A few weeks ago Halak, through his agent, did request to be moved. However, things may have changed as he has been on a tear the past few weeks.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

RE; A few days ago someone said that there was no scoring depth from the Caps.

We are but one team with 7 players with 10+ goals, Vancouver being the other one. If that does not show our scoring depth pretty frankly, I'll go deeper into the numbers.

RE; slumps

Although it seems that the doom and gloomers have already left our stomping grounds, remember that the Pens are in a 5-game losing streak currently. The Sharks had a 5-game losing streak a few weeks ago. (And, yes, they did look pretty bad in most of those games)

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@Hokies4

Although I would go with different line combinations I am in full agreement of bringing Perrault back up, moving Chimera to the 4th line and sitting Laing.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

A few weeks ago Halak, through his agent, did request to be moved. However, things may have changed as he has been on a tear the past few weeks.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2010 1:54 PM |

Did he? The Habs would be completely retarded to trade Halak over Price.

I assume Halak wants full-time minutes, and the Habs keep going between him and Price.


I also assume the same thing about the Hiller/Giggy situation. I know that Giggy did request a trade a while ago, but I never heard about Hiller doing it. I know that Giggy's contract is going to be really hard to move compared to Hiller's, but again, they must be retarded to trade Hiller over Giggy.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Since the Caps are auditioning, when does Braden Holtby get a shot?

GP 11 GA 16 MIN 663 Saves 295 Gaa 1.45
sv% .949 W 9 L 1 OTL 0 SO 1

Theo might be fourth on the depth chart.

Posted by: IceNutz | January 5, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

zmega: No, the Doofus Brigade is not the place for Hokies4. The Brigade is only for nonsensical bashers ("Green should move to RW" "Semin is a wuss" "Schultz can't play").

As cstaton1 points out, this is a place for fair and reasonable debate. That said, I don't think Perreault is up to par for now as Ovi's center. Actually, I'd use Aucoin before I'd use Perreault at this point.

Certainly the Caps will bring back Aucoin, but only when they know they can keep him on the roster (to avoid waivers) beyond the trade deadline.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I just made an appointment with my optometrist because I didn't see that coming (Flash to center).

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 5, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

IceNutz: Holtby seems good enough at this point that sending him back to ECHL, when/if Varly returns and Neuvy goes back to Hershey, seems ridiculous.

Neuvy has ALMOST outgrown Hershey and Holtby has ALMOST outgrown the Stingrays.

At least we have Holtby next year to push the other two. No problem if Holtby gets a full year next year (ok, 2/3rds of a year with NHL call-ups due to Varly injuries) at Hershey. Then, the following year, you must decide which two to keep.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Halak's request for a trade came before he began playing great and had to do with a lack of playing time in Montreal.

Things have changed over the past month with Halak playing much more and the Habs GM saying he has no interest in trading him.

I think the only way Halak gets traded now is if the Habs can pull in a king's ransom for him. So it is unlikely.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Varly, Varly, Varly. Neuvy will prove his virth tonight and make you forget about the one you call Varly. Keep in mind I miss Varly to, but as Bodreau pointed out, Neuvy has given up 1 or 2 goals in most of the 7 (4 to be exact, with one 3 goal game, and 2 games he'd rather forget) games he's played and he's still going through growing pains.

On a side note Theo hasn't really been effective since October where after a two game stretch giving up 3 and 4 goals he was allowing only 1 or 2. Followed up by 4 games with 1 or 2 goals allowed. It was on 10/27 against the Flyers were the pattern went downhill. Instead of maybe 2 bad games followed up by 4 really good ones it turned into 2 bad games 1 good game. Sorry if this is difficult to follow in text.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/players/gamelog?playerId=934

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 5, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

There is ansolutely no way Hiller gets traded. Anaheim only wants to get rid of Giggy and his salary.

They're committed to Hiller as their #1 goalie for now and in the future. I think he will soon be getting a contract extension from them. Especially once Giggy gets off the books.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 5, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I would like some consistency in the lines. BB tries something for a few shifts and then changes--not suprising the offense is a bit off. My BB love affair may be ending.

Posted by: vafan3 | January 5, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I dont think Theo goes anywhere. With Varly's recent injuries, I'm not sure the Caps are prepared to go with Varly/Neuvirth as their playoff starters. Assuming Varly goes down with an injury- we'll bring up Holtby?

Well, I went to see the Bears this past Saturday, and while Holtby was good when he had to be- he is still VERY much an AHL goalie.

I wouldn't bank on Theo being moved.

Unrelated to the topic of trades, but to Holtby - that kid has some of the most defined quirks I have seen. Darting out to the edge of the crease just before face-offs, multiple stick tapping combos, twitching head just before the puck is dropped on a face off- just to name a few.

Pure entertainment.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 5, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"I would guess that Fleischmann will center the second line with Brooks Laich on the left and Alexander Semin on the right." You're assuming Morrison is demoted to the third line?

Posted by: jakopz | January 5, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated to the topic of trades, but to Holtby - that kid has some of the most defined quirks I have seen. Darting out to the edge of the crease just before face-offs, multiple stick tapping combos, twitching head just before the puck is dropped on a face off- just to name a few.

Pure entertainment.

Posted by: Fro_ | January 5, 2010 2:11 PM |

My fiance loves the goalie quirks for some reason...especially the "pidgeon head" thing.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

When did Brooksy cease to be a decent offensive center?

Posted by: BobLHead | January 5, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Unrelated to the topic of trades, but to Holtby - that kid has some of the most defined quirks I have seen. Darting out to the edge of the crease just before face-offs, multiple stick tapping combos, twitching head just before the puck is dropped on a face off- just to name a few."

I'm excited to see what he can do at the pro level but I'd rather have him win a Calder Cup this year before we pit him against elite NHL teams like Carolina and Columbus. In the mean time maybe he should give Alzner a call concerning those odd habits, if I remember correctly Alzner was recently "rehabilitated."

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 5, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I would like some consistency in the lines. BB tries something for a few shifts and then changes--not suprising the offense is a bit off. My BB love affair may be ending.

Posted by: vafan3 | January 5, 2010 2:10 PM

Vafan3: I will try and not be critical. BUT, a graphic on tv the other day had Caps leading the league in goals per game at 3.5 and SJ second at 3.2. That means the Caps are 10% higher than the 2nd team. And you are criticizing BB? He only switches the lines on those games where tinkering is needed.

Want to think again and reconsider?

Unwarranted BB bashing can earn one a PFC grade in the Brigade. You don't want that, do you?

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Although Neuvy can't be blamed for the 2 road losses. It is surpeising that he gets the call tonight. I would think Theo, especially against his former team. Is there room in the dog house for both he and Fehr?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 5, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Theo's contract ends after this year and it's gonna be hard to move him--but I'll bet GMGM would do it for a song (how low a draft pick can you go) if both the young goalie guns are healthy come March 3. Having Neuvirth in Hershey for another playoff season doesn't do too much for anyone. Just not sure ANYone out there is gonna sing at all. We may have him.

On lines, let's stick with what we've got tonight (no Perrault). And PLEASE let's not underestimate what Laing brings to this team, even strength and SH. Blocking shots like he does adds energy to a team by sacrificing. Gets the rest of the bench riled up.

My guess for lines, with respect to Tarik, is that Bruce tries to keep/revive the Flash-Fehr chemistry together. You also won't have the monster line (Chimera-Laich-Knuble) with Laich out of center. So, here's my guess. Anyone else in the pool?:

Ovie-Backdaddy-Knuble
Laich-Morrison-Semin
Chimera-Flash-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Laing
Gordon

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | January 5, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

In DC, "line numbers" have no real meaning, at least as far as I've seen.

I mean, yeah, whatever line Ovechkin is on is supposed to be the "top line" - but beyond that?

I don't think line numbers have any real meaning here.

It'll be interesting to see what Flash can do as a center. Juggling the lines is something Boudreau does, and when it works, we all love it; when it doesn't, everybody Monday Morning Coaches it to death, ad nauseum.

Personally, I like seeing what guys can do when put to the test. This should be a good game. Best to Neuvirth, 'cause I think he's awesome.

As for "technical" vs. "athleticism" - yes, there are differences. Is it black-and-white? No, of course not. But there are differences in style of play between Neuvirth and Varlamov, and those differences can be used to our advantage, especially with Irbe to guide them along.

Posted by: irockthered | January 5, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

My guess for lines, with respect to Tarik, is that Bruce tries to keep/revive the Flash-Fehr chemistry together. You also won't have the monster line (Chimera-Laich-Knuble) with Laich out of center. So, here's my guess. Anyone else in the pool?:

Ovie-Backdaddy-Knuble
Laich-Morrison-Semin
Chimera-Flash-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Laing
Gordon

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | January 5, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The thing that wories me about that 3rd line is how are they going to get the puck? I'm not sure how Flash is going to be on Faceoffs, but when he shared the line with Laich at least then they had a proven faceoff guy. Still I to am excited to see this new third line.

Posted by: CapsXXVI | January 5, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Feels like forever since I've been in my VC seats since I split my two with another.

How's about a 6-1 thrashing to start the week. Then anohter on Thursday.

I can hope.

413

Posted by: saintex | January 5, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I also wouldn't put it past BB to throw Fehr to the "top" line (good pt, irock) and challenge him, after sitting him for a game. Maybe:

Ovie-Backdaddy-Fehr
Laich-Morrison-Semin
Chimera-Flash-Knuble
Laing-Steckel-Bradley
Gordon

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | January 5, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

My guess for the top three is:

Ovie-Backs-Knuble
Chimera-Morrison-Semin
Laich-Flash-Fehr

Posted by: BobLHead | January 5, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I would like some consistency in the lines. BB tries something for a few shifts and then changes--not suprising the offense is a bit off. My BB love affair may be ending.

Posted by: vafan3 | January 5, 2010 2:10 PM

Vafan3: I will try and not be critical. BUT, a graphic on tv the other day had Caps leading the league in goals per game at 3.5 and SJ second at 3.2. That means the Caps are 10% higher than the 2nd team. And you are criticizing BB? He only switches the lines on those games where tinkering is needed.

Want to think again and reconsider?

Unwarranted BB bashing can earn one a PFC grade in the Brigade. You don't want that, do you?
-----
No, I don't want that :) But, coach's line scrambling is pretty well known and its about getting someone distribution in the scoring going again.

Posted by: vafan3 | January 5, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Since I'm only in here occasionally, can someone educate me if this group has talked about Sheldon Souray as our potential shutdown/trade deadline guy??

If I'm GMGM, and I'm not, I'm looking for 2 things: 1) a 3rd line center (unless Flash works out, maybe even if he does) that can kill penalties like a madman. 20th in the league at 80% on the PK ain't gonna win the Cup. Get someone to work with Steckel and Poti +1. Just no idea who that is...

2) Shutdown/Pronger lite D: Of all the big Dmen around, it seems like Souray might be most available. Edmonton's gonna deal. Souray's in the 3rd year of a 5 year, $27m deal so I'm assuming he fits under the Cap after the Nylander and Chimera deals. We could deal a young Dman or two (NOT Alzner or Carlson) among prospects and the Oil needs depth.

Risk with Souray is always injuries but BB threw him a backhanded bone complimenting Montreal's current play today...and earlier in his career, I've heard Souray complimented for having a mean streak (hits, fights) as well as that slapshot from he-double hockey sticks.

How'd you like to pair him with Poti even strength? And with Green (or improving 2nd unit) on PP? WOW

Is he good enough defensively? I know he's got a mean streak but if the change of scenery would help get him really going up to his potential. THAT could be the type of impact that money could be used for...

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | January 5, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with OBS and then Laich-BMo-Knuble? Then we get to see what Flash can do between Chimera and Fehr.

Smart move by BB. He sees that his "employee" (Flash) will be used in a different role by the alternate employer (Czechs) so he says, "Want an opportunity to do it now and get prepared?"

Good way to motivate.

Would be a great thing if Flash can become next year's #2 center. There are a dearth of wingers but a shortage of centers.

Word for the day = dearth. "Lack of sufficiency."

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

kcbrichmond

'Is there room in the dog house for both he and Fehr?'

I think Nyls upgraded the BB/GMGM dog house, so there is plenty of room.

Remember, the goaltending competition ended in training camp when Nuevy was injured. With Varly down, threeormore playing up to his name and Nuevy showing promise and NHL ability, the competition is back on.

I don't see Jose getting traded unless someone needs an experienced #2 they don't expect to play in the playoffs but be more like a second coach for a young hotshot. The return would be a conditional draft pick. Not much return but better then nothing for a player not being used and not being resigned(He is basically being Nylandered).

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | January 5, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Ha! I mixed it up! And the word for the day!

I meant to say of course a dearth of centers and an abundance of wingers.

Let me send myself to the Doofus Brigade for some temporary, remedial grammar lessons.

Curses, guess I must go and pick out a rifle and some boots. And start marching in the brutally cold 50s in Cent Fla.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Japers has an interesting piece on the goalie situation

http://www.japersrink.com/2010/1/5/1233866/gambling-on-goaltending

Posted by: DCHockey | January 5, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

kcbrichmond

'Is there room in the dog house for both he and Fehr?'

I think Nyls upgraded the BB/GMGM dog house, so there is plenty of room.

Remember, the goaltending competition ended in training camp when Nuevy was injured. With Varly down, threeormore playing up to his name and Nuevy showing promise and NHL ability, the competition is back on.

I don't see Jose getting traded unless someone needs an experienced #2 they don't expect to play in the playoffs but be more like a second coach for a young hotshot. The return would be a conditional draft pick. Not much return but better then nothing for a player not being used and not being resigned(He is basically being Nylandered).

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | January 5, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@SiberianTiger - I'd really like to pair Souray and Poti even strength - in Edmonton.

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

We seem to tinker with the lines when things aren't going well, which isn't very often with the Caps record.

My point is don't change the lines. It causes on ice confusion between linemates positioning. Work through the slumps with grinding play. The caps tend to think changing the line is the only anwer. If a line contnues to under perform for a longer stretch of time that a game or two then make changes.

I am getting tired of everytime someone shares their opinions they are threatened by the Brigade. Seems childish. State your opinion and move on. C-A-P-S Caps, Caps, Caps!

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I take it back. The word for the day is "Nylandered."

To be isolated further and further away until you are in the middle of nowhere. Or in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Same difference.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I was thinking you meant to say plethora.

Posted by: Steakum | January 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Its about damn time Fleischmann moved to C. The Laich experiment didn't work before and it didn't work this time around.

Flash, skill wise, is right behind Backstrom, Semin and just a tad below Ovi.

If he can, and I think he can, prove to be a 2nd line C, move B.Mo to 3rd line, we then can concentrate on getting "D" help at the deadline.

B.Mo has 2 points in his last 12 games, no beuno...

Posted by: JSchon | January 5, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

No, Caps4Life1, the brigade is a joke and it is not for stating opinion for for saying something either inane ("Green should move to wing" "Semin is lazy") or completely ridiculous.

vafan3 said, "Love for BB may be ending..." due to line switching. OK, you are right, this person voiced an opinion. A perfect right. And, well, voice an opinion on a blog and I have a right to voice my opinion on that opinion.

Do you seriously think McPhee is also losing "love affair" for BB? BB is probably considered top 1/3rd of NHL coaches, no? And we are criticizing cuz he switches lines? When the team is struggling? And some of us call the person on that?

BTW, I am childish. My wife says so. Like it or lump it.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

i think he meant getting "munsoned" in the middle of nowhere

Posted by: _stevo | January 5, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

point taken. I undertand it is a joke.

I get the same response from my wife about being childish.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Why would the Czechs play Flash as a center for the Olympic games when he hasn't played the position since juniors? I am not familiar with their roster, but the Czechs don't have enough true centers for the tournament? He might do a good job, but that seems like a huge gamble for an important tournament.

Posted by: ablake70 | January 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Final, completely random/unprovoked word from me, for the day.

Can we show Schultzy a little love in this group? I know he's sometimes ripped in here but we're talking about a 6'6" 23-yr. old who is among the NHL leaders at +15 (after +13 last year and +12 the year before!)...and, maybe most importantly, allows Greener to do his thing. rush.

He's only getting better.

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | January 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I think it is due to depth to put Flash at center.

I also think the Caps are trying it is to try a center with speed. I hope it works. A negative I see is his size, being small and not physical may hurt him in the d-zone trying to cover the center of the ice in the zone

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Caps4Life1: the reason the Brigade was "created," maybe two months back, was there was this endless stream of posts from some people (LarryDavid is one) who just went on and on and one with the Green is a bum, Semin is lazy and Schultz is a weakling stuff. On and on. And with no facts to support these absurd assumptions. So, I was like, "Go to the Brigade!" And people, mostly, found it amusing, especially when irockthered added the Don Cherry uniforms and berets and when we added different companies and platoons.

Yes, I overdo it sometimes. I would stop if popular opinion said to. However, since we did this ("we" because others do it to) the bashing is less and the coherent discussion is more. We have far less "trollery." (New word there.)

Still, I am always nice with the brigade stuff, or try to be, unless it is an obvious and complete troll. Otherwise, like above, I usually put facts and ask if they still believe what they posted. I don't think BB criticism is held in high regard by knowledgeable NHL people, that's my point.

Not that you asked, but there it is.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

If Flash has the essential tools to play C on this team on a scoring line, vision, skating, stick handling and minus the faceoff prowess, I'll take it. Put him with Laich and let him take the defensive zone faceoffs.

Posted by: JSchon | January 5, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

like it or lump it....good one

Posted by: jeets | January 5, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

SiberianTiger1: Some of us have posted all year that Schultz, bang for the buck, is as valuable a player as they have on the team.

Better numbers than Poti at one-fifth the cost.

Jeff Schultz is like a new car at 35 mpg that runs well, no problems, and only costs $10K wheels on the road off the lot.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

What Laing brings to the table is great but with the addition of Chimera he is the odd LWer out (I would have prefered GMGM get some picks from CBUS). Rotate them every other game if you want or throw in Bradley every other three. But I like those line combos the best for the most potent offense IMO.

We certainly need at stay at home D man before a 3rd line center. Can't keep leaving the goalies out to dry. We can win a cup with the forwards in the system doubt we can not (IMO) with the combination of Dmen we have now.

Keep Theo in case one of the rookies gets hurt in the playoffs. Let Holtby stay down one more year we have enough trade bait and do not need to use one of our 4 goalies.

Posted by: Hokies4Caps20 | January 5, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Ok, let's give Schultzy a little love. Let's all chip in and get him power skating lessons so he won't be so slow. And if we can help him improve his shot from the point that would help too. Oh, and he's a bit clumsy.

He's a good stay at home defenseman and I'm glad he's got the great plus/minus. I just want to see him increase his foot speed and develop a better skating stride and get his shot harder so it's not constantly being stopped by opposing players.

Posted by: natresgroup | January 5, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Got it. I do remember seeing the beginings of the bridgade. I also, wasn't pointing anyone out. I had just noticed posters using it and not the same context. Not a big deal.

On another note. Thanks for the communication back and forth. The hockey talk is a great break in the day.

Let's see a big win against the Habs tonight

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Keep the doofus brigade please. With all of the intensity and to be frank negativity on this board, sometimes a deft bit of wry humor is needed to lighten this board up. I enjoy a good discussion as much as the next poster but when people get personal and have no analysis to back them up a little time in the doofus brigade to cool off is excellent.

To whichever poster first created it, thanks--love the verb "Nylandered."

We will be rockin' the red tonight at the game. GO CAPS!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Capsyounguns: I can see all kinds of headlines employing the word "Nylandered."

"Zorn Nylandered by Skins"

"Unemployment Dips as Fewer Nylandered"

"Tiger Woods Nylandered by Wife's Raging Nine Iron"

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

A negative I see is his size, being small and not physical may hurt him in the d-zone trying to cover the center of the ice in the zone

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | January 5, 2010 3:23 PM

And a positive is having more ice to be creative with at center vs wing in the offensive zone. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does.

Posted by: Steve_R | January 5, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

tominfl

Thanks for showing how versatile the word 'Nylanderd' can be in conversation. I needed the laugh.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | January 5, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1: I didn't take any offense--no worries!
BTW, my husband thinks I'm childish too!

Posted by: vafan3 | January 5, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

On the rent-a-center issue: You know, let's try it. I personally think the Cs should be 19-9-39-15, but if they want to try some different things, let's see how it goes.

Laich is a decent defensive forward so he was ok in that role, but I don't think he's nearly as effective offensively from the middle, and since secondary scoring is always a concern, I say let's put him back on the wing. I accept that reasonable minds can differ on this point, however.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | January 5, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Oh, the endless possibilities provided by "nylandering"--we will have a very good time with this verb!

I enjoy your cap analysis too! I kinda shy away from the idea of losing Sasha, but your analysis showed that GMGM does have some real tools/room with which to negotiate--such a change from last season.

Hmm the next couple of months should be interesting from GMGM's perspective, not that we will get much of a hint given his ability to parse his words so carefully and maintain a pokerface demeanor. Not an easy person to read.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Caps should go after Halak from the Habs

Posted by: doughless | January 5, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Halak and a top 4 d-man

Posted by: doughless | January 5, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

also, USA wins gold tonight at World Juniors. then, "Hockey will be USA's Game"

Posted by: doughless | January 5, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy is fine, except he needs to lose the habit of letting an easy one in the net every game. Not so good news on Varly. They need him to make a run for 1st in the East.

Posted by: la_terp | January 5, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I am still baffled by Flash being moved to center. Not that I disagree with it being tried, but Flash centering the 2nd line? When I watch Flash, I don't see a playmaker or a strong defensive forward. If this is a move to break the Caps out of their slump, why not start Flash as the 3rd line center?

Posted by: ablake70 | January 5, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Were Aucoin and Perrault that bad at center? I thought they were fine for what they were asked to do. Why move Flash over there if he's never really played there? Why not call one of those guys back up? Seems odd to me.

Posted by: WVPhil | January 5, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

For some reason I am little worried with Flash and Sasha on the same line. I don't think they particularly complement each other.

Posted by: Steakum | January 5, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

There is a site that I have followed for over the past year and understand many teams and players reference regularly. Behindthenet.ca provides some detailed stats that are worth noting especially when trade rumors start or a player is moved to another position. Over all value of the player to his team is evident which could go both ways; i.e. elevate his trade value or elevate his importance of remaining with the team.

Posted by: rockdaredlangely | January 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

If "Nylandered" catches on, maybe it could make it into the dictionary in a few years. I can see it now on divorce documents, instead of "irreconcilable differences" it could be "Nylandered". I know I was Nylandered by a few women in my younger days (who obviously didn't realize what a great guy I was)! Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 5, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond

That and the "Tiger Woods defense."

Posted by: Steakum | January 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

twitter rumor that ovi to get the C tonight....

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 5, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Caps should go after Halak??!?!

What the hell are you smoking, and where do I go to get some?

Posted by: richmondphil | January 5, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

amen Richmondphil

I'll buy a dime bag

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 5, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Since I'm only in here occasionally, can someone educate me if this group has talked about Sheldon Souray as our potential shutdown/trade deadline guy??
-------------------------------------

i haven't seen any discussion about him but he wouldn't get much love here. The first time big Sheldon clobbered a forward and ended up in the penalty box you'd get a wave of disdain from this group.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 5, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Flash is just the fill in center until after the 2010 games then they will sign Forsberg for the rest of the season and a cup run and hopefull they can trade Threeorfour for a servicable D-man

Posted by: heathdog1119 | January 5, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Flash is just the fill in center until after the 2010 games then they will sign Forsberg for the rest of the season and a cup run and hopefull they can trade Threeorfour for a servicable D-man

Posted by: heathdog1119 | January 5, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Tom & others - I think the views of Semin on this board are much lower than most of the GM's in the league. Semin is an elite talent. Does he take stick penalties, yes but the amount of upside you get with him right now in his career is special. He's still young and will continue to get better. I dare say he's yet to reach his prime. So I very respectfully disagree that it would take a Semin to get Phanuef. Sure Calgary would take it all day long but IMO it's too much. There are more Phanuef's in this league then Semin's. I think it'd only take something like a Poti or ShaMo and a Flash, Fehr, Brads type of deal to get it done. Throw in some picks whatever. You're spot on that it could create a cap mess for us again but remember, the economy will recover and the cap will go up so you could move some of Backs money to the end of his contract and redo it a yr or 2 in. We have a lot of money coming off the books after this yr so this could really work. Another possibility is to give up ONE of the goalies which is probably more likely in this scenario. Varly or Neuvy could be the part to make it work. Gives them a little more time to develope. Granted I don't think this will happen I just think Semin for Phanuef is over paying on our part.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 5, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Tom Poti and Matt Bradley for Phaneuf eh? That's almost laughable. GMGM would be the best gm in the history of the world if he could pull that off.

Posted by: WVPhil | January 5, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: You probably watch more Phaneuf than I, a person who is normally asleep by 9:30/10:00.

When I say I'd take Phaneuf for Semin, I'm including the fact that Semin is only signed one more year and Phaneuf is locked up thru 13-14. That counts for something. Also, Caps have a "dearth" of quality d-men for the future. Considering all prospects as "count em," I think we are really, Green, Alzner, Schultz, Carlson and Orlov. Now look at wing and, if you count Perreault and Bouchard, Laich and Ovi, Fehr and Flash, Bradley, Laing and Della Rovere as grinders, aren't we stronger?

Also, to keep and trade Semin, and then add Phaneuf, I cannot make that work unless you jettison Laich and/or someone else.

I love Semin as a player on my team and would love to keep him. However, since Rhino40 brought it up, I will reiterate that I've posted a number of times, "I'd only trade Semin to get a Phaneuf." He plugs many holes - he eats quality minutes on defense, he give you grit and nastiness and he anchors the PK. He can also fight. And, to mitigate risk of loss, he's signed long-term.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Tom Poti and Matt Bradley for Phaneuf eh? That's almost laughable. GMGM would be the best gm in the history of the world if he could pull that off.

Posted by: WVPhil | January 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the duplicate. Not sure what's up with the Post posting system right now.

Posted by: WVPhil | January 5, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: You probably watch more Phaneuf than I, a person who is normally asleep by 9:30/10:00.

When I say I'd take Phaneuf for Semin, I'm including the fact that Semin is only signed one more year and Phaneuf is locked up thru 13-14. That counts for something. Also, Caps have a "dearth" of quality d-men for the future. Considering all prospects as "count em," I think we are really, Green, Alzner, Schultz, Carlson and Orlov. Now look at wing and, if you count Perreault and Bouchard, Laich and Ovi, Fehr and Flash, Bradley, Laing and Della Rovere as grinders, aren't we stronger?

Also, to keep and trade Semin, and then add Phaneuf, I cannot make that work unless you jettison Laich and/or someone else.

I love Semin as a player on my team and would love to keep him. However, since Rhino40 brought it up, I will reiterate that I've posted a number of times, "I'd only trade Semin to get a Phaneuf." He plugs many holes - he eats quality minutes on defense, he give you grit and nastiness and he anchors the PK. He can also fight. And, to mitigate risk of loss, he's signed long-term.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 5, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

On Theo- I think it's more of a possibility than most think it is that he'll be gone at the deadline. Remember there is always a team heading into the playoffs that want a backup veteran goaltender with an expiring contract. Very little of his 4.5M contract would be left so he's very "movable" (another word for the day). While there are other veteran goalies out there in similar situations you have to remember that those teams will want more in return. GMGM would give Theo up for a bag of pucks. I think this worked out perfectly for GMGM. He wanted to give time for Varly and Neuvy to develope and I think we can now go into the playoffs with a solid goaltending tandem. Granted Varly needs to get healthy and stay that way but I think he's more than capable of carrying us through the playoffs.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 5, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Japers is reporting that AO has been named Captain

Posted by: Fro_ | January 5, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, another home game on Comcast not in HD. The Bullets, as they should be aptly renamed, are not in HD either. What, did the equipment burn out?

Last night watched the Boston-Rags game and noted how quiet the color guy was with Joe B. I wonder if our gas-bag color guy was listening, as Joe B. pretty much fills the air anyway.

Just blowing off steam...

Posted by: Bartolo1 | January 5, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Comcast reporting that Ovi gets the "C" tonight.

Posted by: zmega | January 5, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, another home game on Comcast not in HD. The Bullets, as they should be aptly renamed, are not in HD either. What, did the equipment burn out?

Last night watched the Boston-Rags game and noted how quiet the color guy was with Joe B. I wonder if our gas-bag color guy was listening, as Joe B. pretty much fills the air anyway.

Just blowing off steam...

Posted by: Bartolo1 | January 5, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

MarylanDChris:

I too am fascinated by the goalie drama. What I am most intrigued (and happy) about is that BB has finally given up on Theo after giving him chance after chance after chance. No way is Theo playing in the playoffs. He was terrible last year. BB would go with Holtby, even Leonard (I forget his name), before he goes to Theo.

I really hope he can trade him before the playoffs. It will be unpleasant for Theo and demoralizing for the team to have one sulky goalie on the sidelines.

I hope Neuvy does well tonight and learns fast how to play on the NHL level in all situations. I am concerned with Varly's apparent illnesses.

Posted by: caraveli | January 5, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

FINALLY THEY FIXED IT!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 5, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

We'll kinda, new thread, but i cant post to it.
Ovie has the "C"!!!

We look good so far. Lots of chances and shots!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 5, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

this isn't working very well, is it

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

NO, it still sucks.

And we are playing well, with nothing to show for it.

PRICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 5, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

please stop shooting high glove side

please

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 5, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

F'ING FLASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | January 5, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

it's like Price already knows they're gonna aim for his glove side

Posted by: joek443 | January 5, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

varly just needs to lay off the girlfriend for a while lol.
jk
i doubt he'll get much PT as a third-string goalie in the olympics. perhaps just during the games that russia knows it's going to win.

Posted by: j762 | January 5, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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