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Posted at 9:16 AM ET, 01/27/2011

NHL All Star break roundup; Ovechkin fine after being hit by stick

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals had numerous, quality scoring chances Wednesday night in Philips Arena but couldn't get anything past the Thrashers and goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, falling 1-0 in Atlanta. Washington closes out the season series with Atlanta 2-4-0.

Some other links and whatnot to get you through a snow-covered day in Washington:
--The Capitals' Feb. 20 tilt in Buffalo against the Sabres has been moved to a 12:30 p.m. start time to accommodate NBC, which will now broadcast the game. It was originally scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

--Many of the Capitals have struggled this season, to score, to find consistency, etc. Brooks Laich is one of several forwards who have underachieved so far. (Japer's Rink)

--A D.C. Sports Bog investigation: What happened to the Capstronaut?. And yes, that was Ozzy Osbourne you saw rocking the red on the jumbotron at Verizon Center earlier this week during the Caps-Rangers game.

--More on do-everything forward Matt Hendricks, who has put on a show recently demonstrating his patented breakaway moves. (RMNB)

--Defensive prospect Josh Godfrey won the hardest-shot competition at the ECHL's All Star game with one that clocked in at 102.7 MPH.

--If you saw the following clip from last night's game, or caught it afterward, do not worry. Although Alex Ovechkin was inadvertently clipped in the face by a teammate's stick, he was fine after the game.

By Katie Carrera  | January 27, 2011; 9:16 AM ET
 
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Next: Capitals, Alexander Semin agree to one-year, $6.7-million extension

Comments

Got to sit tight and be patient. but, if we don't make the playoffs or lose in the 1st round again.

A/I's for offseason
1) fire bruce budreau
2) trade mike green for def dman (FA '12)
3) trade for a vet goalie

A coach with a stanley cup ring will earn the players respect - Just like what the young Red Wings did when they hired Scotty Bowman in the early 90's.

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 27, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

@Nats1924

You're nuts.

Mike Green will not be traded, and our three baby goalies are only going to get better.

Jury's out on Coach until the post-season.

Posted by: irockthered | January 27, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I have no inside knowledge or anything, but I think the Caps will make a deal within 1 week of the All-Star break ending. So by February 8.

All the GMs will be talking with each other over All-Star weekend and I think GMGM will know he wants to make a move sooner rather than later.

This is obviously contingent on the other team being willing to trade now instead of waiting for the deadline, but I think GMGM will make a move by February 8.

Again, no inside information or anything, just a hunch.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Something is wrong with this team- that was a stinker last night. They better come back after the break and play hockey correctly.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Since we are at the All-Star break, I want to know what the people on here think of Alzner and how he is performing.

I know there were more than a few doubters calling him soft and Schulz part 2, but I think he has performed wonderfully so far.

One thing about Alzner is that he has always been a winner. Over the past 3 years he won 2 WJCs(one that he was the captain of the team) and 2 Calder Cups. Winning just seems to follow this guy around. That is a good thing to have on the back end.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Oh great, first Brooks Laich is having a lousy season and now he is trying to poke an eye out of Alex Ovechkin at the bench. What a season!

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 27, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"We've got a lot of guys playing right now that aren't used to scoring a lot of goals, the guys that are getting the great chances are guys that maybe should be scoring the goals, but they're not," Boudreau continued. "I don't have answers. I can't go out and score, they're trying their ass off but it's not going in. And their goalie played great, I'm tired of saying it, but it's a lot of what happened."

EXCUSES, EXCUSES. I did not see them play their asses off.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 27, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Something better be done.

It's boring uninspired hockey.

No spark. No nothing.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 27, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The easiest and smartest thing to do is replace BigBaby with a coach who loves to coach struggling players and defense first systems. Clearly, BB is out of his league in turning around veterans like OV, Backis, Laich, Knubs, and Green; his talent is getting rookies to play well. He also is clearly uninterested in coaching defense-first systems; his strength is run and gun, with stretch passes and pinching defense.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 27, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3:
Some teams with assets already know that they will be willing trade partners. Do those teams have the assets GMGM is looking for? If they do a trade, as you say, could happen. If not, which I suspect might be the case, there won't be a deal until around the dealine.

I think Alzner has been playing well. If a player brings a physical edge fine. But, the main job of a defenseman is to limit the other team's chances and I think he does that well. At the beginning of the year I didn't think two rookie dmen would be an upgrade to the Caps' defense, but they have been.

I think having Semin and Fehr back will help. But, the other players have to change and improve. I'm looking right at Ovechkin when I say that. The drive down the left wing and use the dman as a screen and the drive down the left wing cut to the middle plays are being shut down (the other teams have seen it and found ways to defend it). He needs to change. I thought he might have learned something from the in tight goals he scored recently most notably against the Leafs.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | January 27, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bradley's the man.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

A few things stand out to me about the Caps lack of offense.

The teams that score consistently have stable lines. The players play like they are familiar with one another's positional tendencies, physical capabilities and skill levels. The Caps totally lack the sort of synchronization that is routinely evident with the teams that currently have more than 140 goals.

In this regard one type of play that has stood out recently is Chimera flying in on the wing and taking bad angle mid range shots without screens or wall support because he is ahead of his teammates. Semin or other more creative and skillful players wouldn't take the wasted shot and would instead circle the net looking for cutters to the net and if none are available get it back to the point or try a wrap. This is where Semin's injury looms large.

The teams that are scoring consistently these days have solid and flexible offensive gameplans that they execute with patience. The Caps publicly only speak of simplifying and crashing the net but their struggles run deeper than preaching those simplified tactics can solve. It is their simplicity and predictability that makes them easy to stop.

Perhaps the coaches feel that injuries have left them with no choice but to play a simplistic game and hope to score a couple lucky goals while allowing only 1 or 2 max. That certainly seems to be case from an outsider's perspective.

Perhaps the Caps have a poor mix of players who don't play well together for the moment. Beyond the first line and a few individuals down the lineup including Laich, Johannson, Perreault and perhaps Hendricks and Bradley there isn't a lot of NHL quality depth on the Caps anymore.

Beagle has some nice attributes as a player, skates well, hits and works hard but I have a tough time understanding why when the Caps are struggling offensively he is getting NHL icetime over someone like Andrew Gordon or Aucoin even.

Posted by: born_rpm | January 27, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

2) trade mike green for def dman (FA '12)
3) trade for a vet goalie

A coach with a stanley cup ring will earn the players respect - Just like what the young Red Wings did when they hired Scotty Bowman in the early 90's.

Posted by: Nats1924 |

Have you even watched Green play this year?

If we don't make the playoffs, BB might be going, but I think GMGM needs to go first..shall that happen.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

No Dinos or Pat Verbeek types avail unless you can somehow convince the Blues to part with TJ Oshie

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 26, 2011 11:23 PM

I would almost trade Eakin for Oshie straight up. How could we do a deal with the Blues to get Oshie and some toughness if we gave Eakin plus something more?

I know you all think the world of Eakin, next Gretzky and Strasburg rolled into one, but he's still a bird in the bush.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 27, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I know you all think the world of Eakin, next Gretzky and Strasburg rolled into one, but he's still a bird in the bush.

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

Come on, you don't have to say that. I hardly ever make such bold claims about only seeing a guy play at the junior level, but I just think Eakin has the prerequisite stuff to make it one day. He oozes heart. Sort of the same thing we saw in Carlson in his playing days from juniors only, culminating in the OT goal he scored, ala Kuznetsov taking over this year.

Eakin for Oshie is actually a trade I would do though. Eakin will turn into an Oshie pretty much, give or take on the hitting.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Something better be done about this. This team imploded last year, nothing was done about it. Coaching/Managements necks should be on the line, so should some of the players. The most frustrating part is none of them are acting like it.

Things that need to be fixed:
1. 1st line - Need a RW
2. 2nd line - Need a C
3. PP - Disgraceful

Goaltending doesn't even make the list.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 27, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Just to clarify from our discussion the other day, I would trade Eakin for a lot of players. However, none of these players are realistically available, so it doesn't matter.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Semin just signed an extension?

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@BetterOffWithFedorov

You are right that there aren't many teams whou are willing to deal at this time in a hope of making the playoffs.

Ottawa would be the 1st choice(with Fisher the target) but I'm also guessing that many teams are talking to them now.

Possibly Florida with Stepehn Weiss. I think Tallon understands that it is unlikely his team will make the playoffs this year and will be open to trades. Whether he trades Weiss is another question. It would take a little bit.

St. Louis is interesting. It wouldn't shock me to see them trading away a few pieces but it won't be a firesale. I highly doubt Oshie will be going anywhere.

The 2 guys I see possibly getting traded from St. Louis are Brad Boyes and Eric Brewer.

While I would much rather have Fisher or Weiss come over, for some reason I see Brad Boyes coming to the Caps. GMGM likes to deal with teams from the Western Conference.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thought it was ridiculous that Laich got the CSN player of the game award last night. At the time of their announcing it, he'd had seven shots, but what was so maddening about his game was that at least three of those shots came on USDA triple prime grade A scoring chances that he should have converted on. All kinds of time and space, clean looks at the net and goal tender, and he slammed Pavelec in the chest dead center multiple times. I know Pavelec is a big guy, and I know he was playing well last night, but they could have had a snow shovel in goal last night and Laich would have shot the puck straight at the handle. WE NEED TO CONVERT!

Posted by: crashinghero | January 27, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

#Caps sign Alexander Semin to a one-year contract extension. Team source says it is for $6.7 million.

-Corey Masisack.

It increases his trade value a bit, if that is the reason... Either way, I think the cap hit is a bit high.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

$6.7M is more than he should've got. I was more for $6.3M, but I am glad it is only for 1 more year.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

This team imploded last year, nothing was done about it.

_________________________

No it didn't. It imploded two years ago, game 7 against the Pens. Last year was a good team, Montreal, beating us in the playoffs.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Eakin could turn into Fisher too. Given Ottawa's standing, they are sellers. He is gettable.

McPhee will throw this overpayment BS our way, don't believe it. McPhee gave Tom Poti a contract extension before the season ever started. For two years, and he overpaid. He signed the guy early, and didn't even get a freakin discount. His judgement is questionable at best.

McPhee's job should be at stake, period. I would love to see Ted come out with a "vote of confidence" to kick this guy in the a$$.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 27, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

This was my most recent cap sheet. As you can see, I nailed it again:

Ovechkin (2008-2021) 9.538
Backstrom (2010-2021) 6.700
Semin (re-signs 2011-2016) 6.700
Laich (re-signs 2011-2015) 3.500
Fehr (impending RFA) 2.200
Chimera (impending UFA) 1.875
Bradley (re-signs 2011-2013) 1.100
Steckel (2010-2013) 1.100
Hendricks (re-signs 2011-2013) 1.000
Johansson (EL signed 2010) 0.900
Eakin (EL signed 2009) 0.740
King (impending UFA) 0.638
Beagle (impending RFA) 0.513
AGordon (impending RFA) 0.500
S/T 14 Forwards 37.004
Green (impending RFA) 5.250
Hannan (resigns 2011-2013) 3.750
Poti (2011-2013) 2.875
Schultz (2010-2014) 2.750
Erskine (2011-2013) 1.500
Alzner (resigns 2011 - impending RFA) 1.000
Carlson (impending RFA) 0.846
S/T 7 Defensemen 17.971
Varlamov (re-signs 2011-2013) 2.000
Neuvirth (2011-2013) 1.150
S/T 2 Goalies 3.150
Total 23 Players 58.125
Cap Space (projected) 62.400
Available 4.275

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 27, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It increases his trade value a bit, if that is the reason... Either way, I think the cap hit is a bit high.

Posted by: richmondphil2

I agree it would increase his trade value more but I would be shocked if they signed him to move him unless Semin was on board with it.

Players all over the league would hate the Caps management if they did that and players would not trust GMGM anymore.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Eakin could turn into Fisher too. Given Ottawa's standing, they are sellers. He is gettable.

McPhee will throw this overpayment BS our way, don't believe it. McPhee gave Tom Poti a contract extension before the season ever started. For two years, and he overpaid. He signed the guy early, and didn't even get a freakin discount. His judgement is questionable at best.

McPhee's job should be at stake, period. I would love to see Ted come out with a "vote of confidence" to kick this guy in the a$$.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 27, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Eakin could turn into Fisher too. Given Ottawa's standing, they are sellers. He is gettable.
______________________________
Oshie >>>>>>>>>>>>> Fisher.

Oshie's value >>> Fisher's value.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 27, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I can't say you nailed it because you had Semin signed through 2016. If that happened the average cost would have been less, probably around $6.3M.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 27, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

OK, so I had five years, not one. I think they went with one because this year is so messed up. This could also mean extending Laich for maybe two years/$2.75M per year for now.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 27, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I would almost trade Eakin for Oshie straight up. How could we do a deal with the Blues to get Oshie and some toughness if we gave Eakin plus something more?

I know you all think the world of Eakin, next Gretzky and Strasburg rolled into one, but he's still a bird in the bush.

Posted by: tominsocal1

The Blues would never trade Oshie for Eakin straight up. It would take like Eakin and maybe Alzner the way he's been playing lately to get that deal done. If at all. Oshie is the future of the Blues. Even moreso than Backes. He ain't goin anywhere. Would you trade Carlson for a prospect like Eakin on someone else's team? Prolly not right. The Blues love everything that Oshie brings to the table. Leadership, grit, skill, ability to play center and occasionally wing, PP, PK, you name it. The kid does it all. He's their most versatile player. He's one of the most versatile players in hockey imo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 27, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Not to be picky, but you are -- this is a UFA contract. The average no longer matters.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 27, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

BB has never been a stong "adjustment" coach. When things aren't going well, he just yells alot or tries to motivate. IMO he isn't strong on "X's & O's".
Teams tend to have similar mentality & personality of the coach. When your coach is always saying: "I don't know how to fix the problem", the team thinks the same.
This coach is weak where the team needs strong. He was a good choice when he was selected. He isn't the coach that will win the Stanley Cup. But, of course, GMGM will not replace until after the season.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 27, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I really don't understand the fatuation with Fisher. His contract sucks and I don't think he's worth that money. I'd rather see us try and land Weiss. More reasonable contract. 2nd line C and then MJ90 on 3rd and MP85 can go back where he belongs; in the AHL

Posted by: KAS2 | January 27, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, I keep hearing we are transforming this team to play tighter defense, but lets be honest, those arent the type of players we assembled. We were BUILT to be a run-and-gun team. So while they may be able to learn how to play more defensive hockey, its not their strong suit. I guess its easier than teaching defensive guys to play offense though!! Is there a problem with building the team with defensive type players, and offensize type players, rather than expecting all offensive guys to just PLAY defensively. (I'll stop saying defense now...)

Posted by: padre123 | January 27, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

There are differences in their games. Fisher is a power forward, Weiss is a more skilled player who has improved the overall balance in his game (he's a far cry from the player Brian Sutherby bullied around in a game when Weiss was a youngster). But you get different elements from both. If you want to play MaJo at 2nd line center, then Fisher is a great option for the 3rd line and PK and occasionally at 2nd line as well to change things up. If you want strictly a 2nd line center in here then Weiss is a good option.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 27, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Capgeek is showing Semin's salary for next year as 6.7 m.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 27, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

The only trade to be made will be one for a second line center. I don't follow other teams players. Who would be the best fit if available? Yes the boys are coasting. Will they be able to just turn it on at playoff time? They better, or the axe will fall somewhere.

Posted by: coastallp74 | January 27, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

when alex was clipped in the face and seeing him like that on the bench, head down and like grimacing in pain, the main thing that came into my mind was, he is a softy. it just confirmed what i saw in hbo 24/7, how immature he is, a baby telling people who's going to cook, who's going to clean his things. it's disappointing letting him be the captain of this team. i guess instead of people saying to change the coach, they should instead strip him of the captaincy. the team would probably wake up. put laich or hendricks who i believed are mature,tough guys who personify the "C". right now, ovechkin is letting his team down. they look up to him for his offensive capabilities but he can't deliver. probably if they take out the "C" on him he might wake up and find his offensive power since he has to prove himself. Last night against atlanta was so boring, all defense, no offense and even lost the game. just frustrasting.

Posted by: capsfan2007 | January 27, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

KAS2: Finally somebody here actually looks at Fisher's contract. Why would we want that salary cap (4.2 for 2 yrs.) hit for him? Look at his CORSI & numbers in general, he isn't worth his cap hit.
Umberger would be a better choice (Columbus is only 5 points out of a playoff spot so, I'm not sure they would sell). His numbers are better & his cap hit less (3.75 for 1 year).

Posted by: chriscaps | January 27, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfan2007: Any chance you've been clipped in the face with a hockey stick and experienced how much pain that would cause? Just wondering. I've never myself been hit in the face by a hockey stick but I'd probably be grimacing in pain too. With that in mind, I wouldn't be quick to call Ovi a baby because of that. But I guess with message boards, you could question anyone's competitiveness or their dedication or call them names and not have to worry about backing it up. Nice way to live your life.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | January 27, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1: I didn't type my thought correctly. Get Weiss for the 2nd line.

Backs #1
Weiss #2
MJ90 #3
Stecks/Gordon #4

Others have mentioned Arnott but I don't think he has the speed for this team and he doesn't have a good contract.

Posted by: KAS2 | January 27, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey, i know exactly what happened to Ovi. It's a "soccer syndrom".

It happens, when you can stand the pain, but don't do it to show the refs, that you are hurt, so they pay attention next time and make a call.
It's quite a dangerous thing to use though, because it's very addictive.

Posted by: Michael01a | January 28, 2011 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey, i know exactly what happened to Ovi. It's a "soccer syndrom".

It happens, when you can stand the pain, but don't do it to show the refs, that you are hurt, so they pay attention next time and make a call.
It's quite a dangerous thing to use though, because it's very addictive

Posted by: Michael01a | January 28, 2011 2:54 AM | Report abuse

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