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Posted at 1:32 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Capitals rally for a 2-1 overtime win over Islanders in new players' debuts

By Katie Carrera

Perhaps everyone was paying a little extra attention to the Capitals' newest acquisitions Tuesday night at Verizon Center but it was hard not to notice Jason Arnott, Dennis Wideman and Marco Sturm in their Washington debuts. In Arnott's case, a pass out in front to Brooks Laich in the waning seconds of regulation resulted in the tying goal that helped propel the Capitals to a 2-1 overtime win over the New York Islanders.

Granted, we'll all have a better idea of where each of the new Capitals fit in, on the ice and within the makeup of the dressing room, but here are some observations from their first game with Washington.

--Jason Arnott's pass to set up the game-tying tally was something that the Capitals have seen in spurts this season from some of their set-up men. Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out that Arnott's not exactly known for being a passer first, but if the 36-year-old can spark a few chances every night the consistency will be a welcome trait.

Arnott didn't know any of the Capitals, save John Erskine, prior to the trade but despite that lack of familiarity he said he felt comfortable with Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin, considering it was only his first day skating next to them

"It's tough with new guys," Arnott said. "You always want to read off of them and see what they do -- the talent that Semin has is ridiculous out there with the puck and just phenomenal plays, and Brooksie just works hard and has great hands. So if we can just combine each other and read off of each other, hopefully we can be successful."

Asked to expand on if it takes anything extra to mesh with a sort of a freelance artist like Semin: "A little bit. I think for the most part just talking to him as much as possible [will help]. I don't think too many guys talk to him and get him into the play and try to see what he's going to do and little things like that. If I can do that with our line that's what I'll do."

Boudreau's take on Arnott: "He's known for scoring goals as a centerman rather than a passer but I thought he made two or three really really good plays passing the puck, especially on the tying goal. I was pretty impressed with him."

--Dennis Wideman led the Capitals in ice time with 26:44 including 3:39 on the power play, which was tied for the team high with Alex Ovechkin. Part of the reason Wideman played more than five minutes more than any of his new teammates was because of his offensive instincts that Boudreau wanted to have on the ice as Washington tried to mount a comeback.

He blocked a pair of shots and dished out four hits but what stuck out in my mind the most came in the first while the Capitals were killing a penalty against Erskine for tripping. John Tavares took up residence next to the right goal post on the Islanders' power play and Wideman simply cross-checked him out of the crease, ending any potential threat he might pose.

On top of the offensive skill set he possesses, Wideman's defensive aptitude and willingness to play with a physical edge could be a definite advantage for the Capitals.

Boudreau's take: "I thought Dennis Wideman played with a lot of poise and he got shots through, which our defense hasn't been able to get shots through lately. So it was good to see that... I didn't think we were getting great passing tonight. There was very little tape-to-tape passing unless Dennis was making the pass and he's got total command back there [in the defensive zone]. Whatever he feels is necessary to play a guy, he'll have a good read if a guy's not playing well."

--Marco Sturm still has wheels. His long-term durability may be the biggest question mark but the speed is still there, even though the 32-year-old left wing admitted he wasn't as sharp as he hoped to be in his Capitals' debut.

"You could tell today, everybody was tight on their stick a little bit and frustrated too at times," Sturm said. "I felt great, I had a good jump but it was too bad I didn't score on that one right away, then it would have been a really good game but for the first game here I felt all right."

Considering that Sturm is adjusting to a new team as well as getting his game rhythm back, it's intriguing to wonder exactly how he'll fit in with the rest of the roster and which line Boudreau might play him on most regularly.

Boudreau's take: "Marco was nervous, I think, at the beginning. Anybody who plays with Nicky and Alex has a tendency to play to their strengths rather than their own strengths. I had asked him just play your game. When he had time and space he made the right play, all the time."

By Katie Carrera  | March 2, 2011; 1:32 AM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Dennis Wideman, Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm, New York Islanders  
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Next: Quote of the night from Jason Arnott: 'I can't hold anything back'

Comments

i'm not sure if anybody else cares - but i never really liked OT in hockey - ties were just fine with me

i wanted to know how things would look if all OT's (win or lose) counted as only 1 pt
that would be the column 'ties'

then because OT (not the shootout) comes closer, imo, to determining an actual winner - i've also given 2 pts for an OT win (in OT only) and 1 pt for OTL/SOW/SOL
that column is 'ot wins'

the point of the exercise, for me, was to see which team(s) benefitted in those situations. the current format of deciding regular season games, is not used in the playoffs - so it has always bugged me when i check the standings.

the first column is current standing points
i used data from nhl.com
(sorry for all of the underscores - but the font wapo uses doesn't allow for nice formatting as multiple 'spaces' are converted to only 1 space)

________pts____ties___ot wins
VAN_____87_____83_____85
PHI_____86_____81_____84
DET_____84_____73_____80
TBL_____81_____68_____76
BOS_____81_____79_____80
PIT_____80_____71_____75
SJS_____78_____70_____74
WSH_____78_____71_____76
PHX_____76_____71_____73
MTL_____75_____69_____73
CGY_____75_____66_____68
CHI_____74_____67_____69
DAL_____74_____65_____69
LAK_____74_____66_____67
NSH_____73_____67_____67
MIN_____72_____65_____70
ANA_____71_____63_____67
NYR_____70_____60_____63
CAR_____69_____61_____65
CBJ_____68_____60_____64
BUF_____67_____56_____62
STL_____65_____60_____62
TOR_____63_____58_____59
ATL_____63_____53_____60
COL_____59_____51_____56
FLA_____59_____50_____55
NJD_____58_____52_____56
NYI_____55_____46_____52
OTT_____51_____50_____50
EDM_____50_____46_____48

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Here, I brought over my trivia...for your amusement. Guess only the capn and I are still awake.

Here, for you all, a trivia question:

I did not look this up. I'm doing this from memory, the "steel trap" as I call it.

Now, as the years pass, and I take a spot of wine, now and then, the possibility exits that the steel trap could have a leak.

So here is the trivia question I rolled around inside this mushy brain of mine while watching last night's game:

How many members of the Washington Capitals franchise also were members, at one point, of the German Olympic Hockey Team? And what are their names?

You can't look it up. That would be cheating. I think the answer is 4 and that I know of three of them. The one I can't recall the name (could look it up, that would be cheating) is a forward from some time back.

Bonus questions:

French team?
Swiss team?
Venezuelan team?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 2, 2011 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Olie Kolzig!

And, uhhh...

I suck.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | March 2, 2011 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Just realized: Marco Sturm, duh.

But that's still all I got for you. And I'm half German too!

Ich wirklich suck.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | March 2, 2011 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Stephan Ustorf

Posted by: ccg21 | March 2, 2011 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Still not happy with the defense's inability to clear out the net. Neuvy had to shove away guys who were standing in front of him...that distracts him from doing his job. Wideman cross checked a guy, and Hannon made some half-hearted attempts, but it's not enough.

Posted by: blueblonde | March 2, 2011 3:33 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

long time ago I think there was a goalie from Germany - but I don't remember his name at the moment (cheating not alowed)

@spunkydawg1

German grammar:

Ich suck wirklich ... ;-)

or in appropriate German:

Ich bin wirklich schlecht ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | March 2, 2011 3:34 AM | Report abuse

Regarding OT, go with the Swedish model:
Every game is worth 3 pts.
A win in regular time gives the winner 3 pts.
A win in OT/Shootout gives 2 pts.
A loss in OT/Shootout gives 1 pt.

That way teams would try to play more for regular time as they lose one point by going to overtime.

Posted by: CNVKullman | March 2, 2011 3:45 AM | Report abuse

"Regarding OT, go with the Swedish model:
Every game is worth 3 pts.
A win in regular time gives the winner 3 pts.
A win in OT/Shootout gives 2 pts.
A loss in OT/Shootout gives 1 pt.

That way teams would try to play more for regular time as they lose one point by going to overtime."

You probably wrote something brilliant but I stopped paying attention after "go with the Swedish model"

:)

Nah, seriously, Swedish system sounds like a good idea. I like it. Good luck selling a European idea to North American hockey fans, though.

Posted by: fanzee71 | March 2, 2011 5:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind OT wins, but I dislike shootouts. If you don't win in OT, it should be a tie. And there should be no OT loss category with 1 point.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | March 2, 2011 6:48 AM | Report abuse

HUNGOVER Ovie couldn't get pass

Posted by: Albright4Snapper

Capitals need extra time to beat one of the worst teams in the NHL? Why is BB still around?

Posted by: hlalor


Hahahaha! so fun to read!

@albright...he sure looked hungover on the OT goal...guess the booze had worn off by then!

@hlalor

while there are some legit reasons to think BB should go at the end of the season...that is not one! Who did the Pens loose to 9-(some low number I can't remember) Every team looses to bad teams.

Caps had a good first period, and a mediocre 2nd and 3rd...Ovie is still trying to fly solo too much when we're down, but hopefully coaches will talk to him.

Great comeback caps.

also...all the time you guys talk about games we "stole" from other teams...never once have one of you goats blood drinkers acknowledged a game that got stolen from us...proof that you thrive off of being unhappy.

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

"proof that you thrive off of being unhappy."

No... Proof that they are realists.

Posted by: rblatch45 | March 2, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Couple of interesting points. Arnott said *talk* with Semin? I think we can put to bed the questions about him refusing to learn English now at least. Have to say, he sure sounds like a leader. Just one comment after one game but I love what I am hearing.

Posted by: CapsDK | March 2, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

@rblatch

not being able to recognize the good AS WELL as the bad is not being a realist...it's being pig headed.

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

@TSocal
French team is Huet
Swiss was a goalie who never really panned out no?

Posted by: CapsDK | March 2, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

@capsdk

oh no...he has been able to speak english for a while...he just won't speak to fans or the media (he is a shy boy!)

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Hello boys and girls! Seems like I have not posted here in a lifetime but Ovi's GWG last night inspired me to say HOLY MOLY! :-D Love to see Ovi do his thing ... hopefully he's now inspired and will do more of it. On a different note, I like the trades and think they have the potential to make the intended difference - I can't wait to see what the coming weeks hold. Let's Go Caps!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

CapsDK/capscoach:
Ya, you can always see Semin out there talking to other players, the coaches and the officials, he just does not do so publicly. Last night he was even jawing with one of the Islanders which cracked me up!

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse


"proof that you thrive off of being unhappy."

No... Proof that they are realists.

Posted by: rblatch45 | March 2, 2011 7:15 AM |

----------

i'd say a realist is rational and not as pessimistic as the posters capscoach is referring to.

some folks have the need to defend these doom and gloom peeps, and you're one of them

Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

@Boo

Holy Moly is a great word!

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 7:30 AM | Report abuse

capscoach:
lol - well thank you! but a great goal deserves a great word!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

@boo

now that I think about it...it's really a phrase :)

Posted by: capscoach | March 2, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Wow, a "Boo" sighting! Good morning to you.

Posted by: _Mark | March 2, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I must admit that just prior to Ovi scoring, I was thinking how bad it would be for him to try to win it on his own. It seems too often this season he has been stripped of the puck when he has tried to do that and I imagined the rush headed the other way. Man, he looked strong on that one. I scared the crap out of the dog when Ovi scored. Poor dog wouldn't come near me for an hour.

Posted by: _Mark | March 2, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse


I scared the crap out of the dog when Ovi scored. Poor dog wouldn't come near me for an hour.

Posted by: _Mark | March 2, 2011 7:54 AM |

----------------

sounds like a milk-bone was in order

Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

capscoach:
True, but it's too early in the morning to correct someone so I just went with it and figured it pertained to the moly part! ;-)

Mark:
Good morning to you too! I don't read the comments much anymore (I tend to keep that to email these days) so I don't even know who all is still here! Will be curious to check it out throughout the day ... have a good one!

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Mark:
That's pretty funny! I was there and we just kept staring at the replay on the jumbotron - I couldn't see it enough! I was trying to figure out if Ovi playing right at that point? If so he may need to stay there! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

@ Capscoach, yeah BB is probably set as coach through the end of this season. The time to switch him out is over now. I imagine the Caps just pushed out by a hot goalie in the 1st round again, maybe the second. If it's the first BB is history; if it's the 2nd round, he may stay. If the Caps get to the eastern or sc finals, he is resigned for 10 years. I have been calling for BB to get canned since November (before then I was a fence-sitter, but at winter solstice I was initiated into the goat-blooders). I just don't think BB has the player's hearts any longer, but maybe Arnott kicks enough a$$ to get these guys to play for themselves.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | March 2, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Few things...

1) That was the best individual effort Ovie has had ALL YEAR LONG! It was like flashbacks from last year.

2) IF he is our captain, he still should spend 5 minutes on the ice for a morning skate (OR KATIE SHOULDN'T WRITE IT)

3) Bruce really has to reassess himself as a coach. Trapping down 1 in the third is just disappointing.

4) There were stretches where Arnott didn't see the ice. I thought we needed a second line center, well we got one so PLAY HIM! (and don't give me the "he's new" garbage, so was Wideman and he played the most on the team)

5) Fehr stinks

6) Schultz stinks

7) Neuvirth was awesome!

If the caps don't start on a roll, I would release Bruce of his job. His systems are not working for this team. Square hole, round peg...you do the figuring out!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 2, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Love that Semin was the first one to hit up arnott after the GWG in OT. Chemistry is building on that line for sure.

Posted by: GFisher1 | March 2, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I guess it takes about 60 minutes of game time to sweat out the VODKA. Were we all watching the first 60 minutes of the game?

I guess I'll take drunk Ovie over a lot of players in the league for a 30 second 4 on 4 spurt!

Posted by: Albright4Snapper | March 2, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

SoaringCaps:
I'd reserve judgment on the system until the post-season; that's what it's built for. The old system was a lot more fun to watch and more productive in the regular season but it didn't deliver when it counted. Who knows what this one can do when they need it most. I for one am trying not to be critical until the new system can really be assessed. I'm not crazy about it, but I can't fairly evaluate it until the playoffs. Regarding Fehr, did he even play last night?!? If so then he must REALLY suck cuz I didn't even notice him - lol! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

These two trades look like the first ones in a LONG time that might actually improve the club. Fleischmann for Hannan was horrible and marked the beginning of our decline. Clark and Jurcina for Chimera was and remains a real bummer, not least because Ovie is now captain when he ought to be paying more exclusive attention to his own play.

But all we really gave up for these guys was Steckel -- I don't count the draft picks and the AHL guy because, well, we've got a million of 'em. I'll miss David Steckel, sure, especially on faceoffs, but I think for once we got real value.

And we got Sturm for NOTHING! Now, that's MY kind of deal! Wideman looks great -- finally we have something resembling an enforcer, but this guy actually has a shot. And Jason Arnott's savvy play at the end saved our sorry butts last night. That's a pretty quick payoff, in my opinion.

Boudreau, who I generally really like, overreacted to our playoff embarrassment last year. Because we came up against a red hot goalie, we set out to change everything that we had been doing that made us the best, highest-scoring team in the league. In hindsight (and in foresight for some of us back then) that was pretty stupid, but now it likes we might have a chance to build it back again.

And I'm sorry but Neuvirth was NOT spectacular last night. He was, however, very lucky last night, especially lucky that we were playing the Islanders instead of somebody good. I really can't think of him as our #1 goalie until he learns how to control a rebound.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 2, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Observations from being at the game last night:

1 - Gordo was a BEAST on PK, diving all over the place and blocking shots

2 - Semin played really hard and was forechecking really well. He didn't score, but I was impressed with him

3 - The new guys will mesh in really well, but it will take a few games. The 2nd line of Arnott, Semin, and Laich was really good

4 - I'm really looking forward to a potential PP with Wideman and Green up top and Ovie down low. It could be really good if BB uses that mix.

And lastly was the expression on Arnott's face after Ovie unbelievable goal. He was skating towards the group to celebrate when he looked over at someone on the bench (maybe the backup goalie) and had the priceless expression of "what the hell was that!!?!?!? They don't score goals like that in NJ!!"

Posted by: MattBradley10 | March 2, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

LOL at "horrible" to describe the flash for Hannan trade. Get a clue, son.

Posted by: GFisher1 | March 2, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse


I for one am trying not to be critical until the new system can really be assessed. I'm not crazy about it, but I can't fairly evaluate it until the playoffs. Regarding Fehr, did he even play last night?!? If so then he must REALLY suck cuz I didn't even notice him - lol! ;-)


Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 8:11 AM |

---------------

good posts boo

some folks can't get past the doom and gloom of their day to say anything nice, regardless of the subject

these are the type of victories that can instill confidence, positive is the word of the day

Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

@ Boo,

I miss you all! Great to hear from you!

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | March 2, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Marcus Johannson would be a great center in the AHL. He still is not NHL ready even as a third liner.

Posted by: dull | March 2, 2011 8:24 AM | Report abuse

literally jumped outta my chair at the GTG. and the GWG I gave a nice shout. That's the kinda game we need. I don't care if it's the NYI - they handed it to Pittttsburgh a few weeks back.

Posted by: blur991 | March 2, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse


Marcus Johannson would be a great center in the AHL. He still is not NHL ready even as a third liner.

Posted by: dull | March 2, 2011 8:24 AM |

---------------

who do you think should center the 3rd line ?

Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"All the experts, all the pundits come out with their opinions. The truth of the matter is, if they knew anything about the game, they'd be in it." ~ GMGM

Writing on a newspaper blog does not put you "in it".

Season is not over yet, the team is aware of it's own zone... just need to get the PP kicking and things should be alright. Neuvy played a hell of a game - Lawson was the lucky one...

Posted by: _828 | March 2, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and anyone who thinks that Jeff Schultz "stinks" reveals himself as a person who knows absolutely nothing about ice hockey and has eyes only for the puck, and even then only when the Caps are on offense. Jeff Schultz is our most valuable player and has been for years.

We can win without Ovie, without Semin, without Backstrom, without Green -- we can't win without Schultz out there.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 2, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

"Alexander Ovechkin recently admitted to a Russian TV station that it helps his play to have sex before games. Well, before and after according to the NHL's reigning MVP."

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/230520-the-10-funniest-pre-game-rituals
========================================
I doubt it is the vodka that Ovie is sweating off! Now the question is whether he is getting enough "Pre- and Post-" game rituals! Rumors of him being over-weight indicates that he is not!

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 2, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey Katie, How are you?
An exciting victory! Not huge!
2 wins in a row againt the 3° worst team in the league is no more than an obligation!
What a choke?

Reconfigured team:
Experience, will and tactical options!

Alex Ovechkin, arguably the most complete player!
Unpredictable!
Defense; Attack;
Assists; Scores;
Ignates; Electrifies; etc.

Katie, why the NHL overrated the goaltenders?
It is really very annoying!
Being a goalie in small rink is a piece of cake!

Capitals Insider is distinguished!
Keep it up! Goodbye!

Tiago Cardoso - Sao Paulo/Brazil

Posted by: tiagotricolorcardoso | March 2, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Boo- Good points. And well taken re: System.


I'd like to see more of Arnott, less of backstrom.

Did anyone notice how bad the Caps were on Faceoffs last night? Wow...maybe they should have traded gordon and fehr instead of steckel...

@FERGIE...Neuvirth WAS awesome last night. No rebounds, squared up nicely to the shooters and made the saves he needed to, as well as a few game savers. Team did play well in front of him, but he did what he needed to do.

Sure beats any performance from three-o...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 2, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

When we traded Fleischmann for Hannan we had the best record in the NHL. We immediately proceeded to lose the next three and then Schultz went down. We are only now beginning to recover.

When I call that a bad trade, all I'm sayin' is that you ought to look at the "proof o' the puddin'." We had been scorching everyone until we made that trade, and since then have been at best an average NHL club, plodding along happy to get a point per game.

I know Fleischmann is out for the year, but even so, the subtraction of Fleischmann would not have cost us as much as the addition of Hannan. We'd have been better off bringing up somebody from Hershey.

Yeah, I know Fleischmann is out for the year, but Hannan has made so many mistakes on defense, almost like he doesn't have a clue what his assignment really is. I'll admit that he's appeared a little bit better in the past week or so (and actually almost looked good the past two games), but he really didn't fit in very well until just now.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 2, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

saw the Sorensen clip, here's the URL

http://tinyurl.com/4vpudcy

Tonight Semin worked hard but often did not use his linemates. He made a great dangle early on but then got off a weak backhander when a pass to Arnott in the crease would've been more appropriate.

I think Arnott doesn't mean to kick his ass, but to simply reach in there and see if he can sync in with them. Excellent.

Was that a goat tattoo on his neck? (The tattoo parlors around the Verizon center should add the smiling Kool Aid mug and the goat and knife emblems...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

@JohnWWW - it's an old interview. I think Ovie's made it part of his workout program and it's a new thing. Check out this informational clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKekcHMiVVg

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse


Hannan has made so many mistakes on defense, almost like he doesn't have a clue what his assignment really is. I'll admit that he's appeared a little bit better in the past week or so (and actually almost looked good the past two games), but he really didn't fit in very well until just now.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | March 2, 2011 8:38 AM |

--------------

that's not the same hannan i've been watching. sure he makes mistakes, all players do.

where's your mention of carlson ? he's been up and down this year as a rookie. he's given the puck up several times, and some of those mistakes led to goals scored by our opponent.

the caps WILL make the playoffs, and then we'll find out what this team is made of.

i think the hannan trade was a good move


Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse


new thread folks

Posted by: hessone | March 2, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

hessone:
Thanks - all that negativity is what drove me away in the first place - lol! Last night's victory was not huge but seeing as it had three new guys who have not had a chance to gel with the team yet, well hopefully that means that only good things are yet to come.

CT Caps Phan:
Hey Stranger! How ya been? We miss you too. So much has happened since we spoke last - oy!!

828:
Fancy meeting you here ... ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Ferguson - I must admit that Schultz is not my favorite Dman, but he is serviceable (and imo would benefit by playing less minutes) but I think you are going overboard to suggest he is the key to the Caps success. Last night he was unnoticeable, which is good for him because it means he's playing his game. Ususally when you notice him it's because he is making mistakes. He did try to take a couple of shots last night, and I was on the edge of my seat for the 10 seconds or so it takes his "blistering" slap shot to get from the point to the crease, to see if he would score or create a rebound. Alas, the shots didn't get through.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 2, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Boo, CtCaps and 828,

It's like deja vu all over again.

Mike, when you coming to Verizon (as it looks like I'll be owing you a beer)?

Posted by: Steve_R | March 2, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

After watching the last few games I think this teams problem is that they don't know how to pass the puck. As in basic fundamental mite hockey passing. The final powerplay of the night really sealed if for me. We tried to make stretch passes and they just bounced right off our sticks all night. This has been an issue all year too. I don't know if we try to be too cute, if the players are gripping their sticks too tight, or what it is. BB needs to have the players sit out there one day and just have all the players work on giving and catching basic passes.

Posted by: chatton | March 2, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I've always believed that Jason Arnott was overrated. I'm happy to revise my opinion. It looks like maybe he will be a leader - and that's what we have needed. Gretzky wasn't the leader of the Oilers - Messier was. Ovechkin isn't going to be our leader. Maybe, just maybe, Arnott is going to light a fire under Semin and Laich. I'm feeling a little better this morning.

Posted by: jlewis5 | March 2, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

My observations from last night's game [taken from an email I sent to my buddy and former teammate]:

Overall:
As we can see it isn't the new Caps you have to worry about, it's the old Caps that are having issues. Carlson had a particularly brutal game.

New guys:
Dennis Wideman: When I saw that turnover on his first(?) shift I said to myself, "I'm going to be eating crow about the playing on bad teams makes your numbers worse comment I made, he's going to be a -27 if he keeps that up". :) Well, he didn't keep that up and availed himself after that for the most part. With other players making such glaring mistakes I'm not going to knit pick the little stuff. I think he may have gone to the Dale Hunter school of how to get away with stuff. Nice way to clear out in front of the net. *evil grin* He moved the puck really well and I hope the other defensemen on the team noticed how all but one of his point shots got through to the net. And there were big rebounds off his shots too.

Marco Sturm: Does that guy take happy pills? :) Seems like an upbeat guy with the right kind of attitude. I thought he made real good puck decisions. It seemed like he always made the right play. This is his 3rd game back after a long layoff, I think he'll improve, but even if he doesn't I don't think I'll have many problems with the guy. Of course if he had scored on that early break away...

Jason Arnott: He's the real deal. Big time players make big time plays at crucial moments in hockey games. I'm not saying that MaJo and MP85 haven't made similar plays, but they didn't do it consistently and they didn't do it at crucial times. [Regarding the faceoff/Steckel thing] There was a faceoff that he (Arnott) lost. Their guy played it back his defenseman in the corner. Mr. Arnott went over and introduced himself. As far as introductions go Mr. Arnott may be lacking in social skills, but the Caps came away with the puck. *evil grin* When did Steckel ever do anything like that? Oh that would be never. Steckel loses the faceoff it's gone with no retribution. Mr. Arnott loses a faceoff and makes 'em pay for it.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 2, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@soaring & albright...lack of a morning skate really hurt OV didn't it...morons

Posted by: boomer44 | March 2, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@chatton, unfortunately the othe rteam, even though called "kids" by our Coach, are not Mites...

Posted by: boomer44 | March 2, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Sturm is Fleischmann and the team acquired him on waivers.

When you have the opportunity to acquire a veteran top 4 defenseman like Hannan for a winger who scores 20-25 goals you do it.

If the Caps had not acquired Hannan this team would have been in a crisis mode after Schultz, Poti and Green have missed chunks of time with injuries.

And don't underestimate what Hannan is showing Carlson, Alzner and the others about playing defense in the NHL. This is a player who has been successful and been a consistent performer for years.

With the addition of Wideman, I would be in favor of trying to bring Hannan back in 2011-2012 and making a trade for Jeff Schultz and if possible Tom Poti.

At the beginning of last year I sat down and tried to figure out who would be gone on defense when the Caps were ready to contend and my list included Pothier, Jurcina, Morrisonn, and Schultz.

Hopefully we can win this year with Schultz. But my guess is he has hit a career plateau at age 24/25 and will be what he has been to date, a decent defenseman who doesn't use his size to full advantage in front of the net and in the corners.

It's revealing that the 6'1 and 225 Hannan is the one to blast guys in the corners while the 6'6 and 235 pound Schultz is more likely to try and use his stick rather than apply a physical edge.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | March 2, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"proof that you thrive off of being unhappy."

No... Proof that they are realists.

Realists? I think they're called morose. I don't think they're actually living at that point. A realist would then be the kind of person who thinks that everything bad that happens to them is some cosmic eff you to their very existence and they look or perceive anything to substantiate their negative view of the world. So, no I don't think realists is the appropriate description of the people who are constantly disappointed by the Capitals and their management no matter what they do. Even when they acknowledge something good about the organization, it's a back-handed compliment. It's a joke to hear their "constructive criticisms". It's like listening to your bitter aunt who didn't get married, during your wedding, finding everything wrong with your wife, the decorations, the "extravagance" of inviting 200 people to the wedding. Lame.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 2, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@Tominsocal:

4 German players:
Olaf Kolzig (actually a South African)
Marco Sturm
Stefan Ustorf

...and I'm pretty sure that 4th player is Jan Benda.

Posted by: DaleHunter32 | March 2, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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