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Day of Rest for Caps

Coach Bruce Boudreau called off practice today. Only the scratches and injured players skated. Chris Clark told me he's traveling and is still hoping to play at some point, but it probably won't be this week.

Anyway, the players were available for interviews and I spoke to a half dozen of them for the story I'm working on for tomorrow's Post. I figure I'm going to point out a handful of areas where I think the Caps must improve. Here's what I've come up with:

* Make life more difficult for Flyers goalie Martin Biron, who's had a clear view of just about every shot he's faced. The Caps definitely need to create traffic in front of on the power play -- something they've struggled with that all season, especially since Clark went out.

* Give Cristobal Huet more space in front. In addition to being knocked down by Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere, Huet has had to look through a couple of players (sometimes his own defenseman) to get a clear look at the puck. That's a Flyers' trademark.

* Ovechkin isn't getting much space to operate -- and that's not going to change. But he simply must find it within in him to either a) fight through it or b) use his linemates better. He didn't do either of those two things very effectively yesterday.

* As a team, the Caps need to compete harder and more consistently than they have so far. They need to win the battles in the corners and along the boards. That's no easy task against a rugged team like the Flyers. But it has to happen some how, some way, if they are going to win the series and advance. I honestly feel like the Caps have been out-played for five or the six periods so far (the third period on Friday, of course, being the only exception.)

*Finally, the power play needs to stop being so "cute," as Coach Bruce Boudreau put it. Too many passes, too much tentativeness. Not enough shots, and virtually no one crashing the net. Sound like broken record, doesn't it?

Thoughts?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 14, 2008; 11:53 AM ET
 
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Comments

Sounds about right - any word on lineup changes, e.g. Fehr for Flash, Eminger for Schultz (if he's not 100% as appeared yesterday)

Posted by: p.w. maruk | April 14, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Bruce said he hadn't made any decisions yet.

Posted by: Tarik | April 14, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Hold on there everybody! Stop with the PANIC. It was one game! Let's take a step back and see what's up.

Caps get into the playoffs and start on home ice. New distractions everywhere (friends family calling-people looking for tickets...) along with the will to please the fans maybe too much.

They were out of character and nervousness makes one more tired.Instead of just playing, they are getting too cute with execution. Just skate, play, fire the puck at the net, and go to the net...all will be fine.

Best thing now is to get out of town away from the distractions and bond again. Time for Fedorov to take over the team and calm things down-That's why the Caps traded for him. He has a Cup ring and experience-time to pull it out and use it!

Time for the rest of the guys to play and stop watching OVIE.

Time for OVIE to be less selfish.....that's right, less selfish because he hurts the team and himself with long shifts and nothing left at the end! This is where Fedorov, and not Boudreau, comes in to play.

Now it Philly's turn to play in front of their wacko fans. All we need is one win out of 2 and we're back in the driver's seat. We just need to hang on for the first 5 minutes or score the first goal.


Posted by: Ron C. | April 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Ovechkin needs to do anything different. I think Backstrom and Kozlov need to step up and become worthy of defending. The quickest way to get Ovechkin space is for Kozlov to pot a few.

And I definitely agree we need someone to get in front of Biron and make life difficult.

Posted by: DB | April 14, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I've been hating the caps power play for the past month honestly. Too much passing on the perimeter and like you say, nobody in front of the net. i think they should add laich or brads to the 1st power play unit and just station them in front of the net. that should collapse some of the D at the least to open up some room for the skill players. and i still am not convinced that ovie on the point during the PP is a good use of his skills...

Posted by: Joe | April 14, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

It's time to move Ovechkin down low on PP's and Green needs to keep D is main priority. Our Power play isn't scoring but it's worse when OV and Green aren't covering when the puck gets behind them. AND OF ALL THINGS, START HITTING PEOPLE!

Posted by: KV | April 14, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Schultz will be ok. That was his first playoff game and he was also a bit rusty.

Tarik,
Do you think BB was outcoached a bit? Flyers looked so prepared, they watched a lot of tape.

BB needs to prepare some surprises for Flyers, right now Caps are too transparent.
Semin is mostly responsible for PP unit being too 'cute', move him to a second unit, he might do more damage there

Posted by: King Huet | April 14, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Thank you. The Caps have been dominated in 5 of the 6 periods played. Of course, most here believe it's simply a matter of "waking up," like Drago suddenly turning it on in Rocky IV when Apollo was whooping his rear. I can only hope our Russians do the same.

But then the dude from Philadelphia beat Drago. Oh man. Now I'm sad. Hold me.

Posted by: Hector Camacho | April 14, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I really don't know how I feel about them not practicing today. There are things that they really need to work on before game time tomorrow.

They definitely need to step it up in the hitting department. Friday night, when they started really hitting hard in the Third Period, the Caps started to dominate the game. They didn't do the same on Sunday, and it came back to bite them.

And I do have to wonder about Clark - why isn't he back in the line up yet? He's exactly the type of player we need in this series. How long does one need to recoup from a groin injury?

Posted by: keydet | April 14, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I believe we all saw this coming - knew it would happen eventually! Now, how we respond to this will be how we finish this series. Hopefully everyone knows how difficult it will be to move on, but I think the same, stop trying to be so cute and get back to the basics. Work hard, win the little battles and for goodness sake please send someone to the net on a shot to put away the rebound - take good shots more often and stop trying to make the perfect highlight reel pass!!!

Posted by: Greenie | April 14, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Tarik is right on here.

You need grit to win in the playoffs. I hate using buzzwords like that, but it's true. The Grittier team always has the advantage.

I trust in Bruce to make the adjustments, but good god we need our captain back in a BIG way.

Posted by: I Agree | April 14, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree with yo more, Tarik...
Shoot The Puck!!

They looked like the Walking Dead yesterday.

They need to move OV low on the PP

Posted by: CantMissKid | April 14, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Been away from the boards for a while. Tarik i definitely think the 5 statements you made are 100% correct. The power play yesterday was disgusting to watch. Whatever happened to good old shoot the puck, collect the rebound and put it in the net hockey?

I'm afraid to say it but i think Kozlov is back in 'first two months' of the season form. I know i defended him then and i still defend him now. But he seriously needs to get his act together.

Posted by: G-Rub | April 14, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Being beaten in 5 of the 6 periods, but only being outscored by one must mean that this team is capable of winning the series.

I think the boys got grounded a bit on Sunday, and we are going to be ready to bury our chances, and fight for that "Al Pacino inch." "So what are you gonna do?"

Posted by: SA-Town | April 14, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

I know you have been an implicit Eminger supporter the entire year. It seems to me that he would be better suited than Erksine to play against Philadelphia's fast and quick forwards. We have enough toughness in the lineup and don't need Erksine's "physicalness." The first goal was his fault. I can't believe I am saying this, but what are the chances that Eminger gets a shot in game 3?

Posted by: Zack | April 14, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

How about finishing your checks? Flash? I'm sorry, he hasn't finished his checks and looks like crap out there. Shultz? For god's sake, your almost 7 feet talk, use your size and hit some people!

If we can't finish our checks out there, might as well not show up for the rest of the series. It's the playoffs. Fight for every inch, and hit everything that moves. It doesn't matter if your Backstrom, Kozlov, Flash, or whoever. HIT BACK!

Posted by: Eric | April 14, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Weren't these all issues that were somewhat resolved a couple months ago? Like Coach said, the boys need to reach out and touch someone...and Laich needs to start scheduling his trips to the bank and the net, to get his money and goals.

Posted by: AP | April 14, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

After jumping to the lead in the first, the Flyers were most effective in mucking up the neutral zone, making it impossible to gain the offensive zone cleanly.

Boudreau has to find a remedy for Philadelphia's play in the middle (other than preventing them from grabbing an early lead to sit on).

Posted by: John in Mpls | April 14, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yup, its the same old areas that need to be paid attention to. But, they really did need to suck in order to remember what got them there and who they are. Green is young and its easy to let comparisons to Bobby Orr get in your head after a 2 goal playoff debut. Its easy for the team to feel invincible after winning 12 of 13 and the 1st playoff game. They have no playoff experience, remember? I also think that ever since Clark had his ear knocked off by Ovie's shot the team has been wary of screening the goaltender. Ovie's shots are pretty wild at times. The powerplay strategy has to change and there needs to be more dirt in general. Semin loves to pass and play cute, Ovie loves to try to stick handle through 2 defensemen, Green loves to dance around players and dangle and thats NOT going to win these guys a series win or a Cup. They need to be a big, bad hurtful gang not a cute, fancy, lacy team.
"You want money, you go to the bank; you want bread, you go to the bakery; you want goals then you go to the net."

They were tired, emotionally drained and playing soft. THey should be watching video before tomorrows game, well edited, of all their missed passes, cute plays and soft two-hand touching followed by Hartnell head banging Huet and BRIERE slashing, kicking and HITTING THEIR GOALIE.

Then send em out of the barn wet and foaming.

Posted by: oo7 | April 14, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

2 Things...

#1 Flash needs to sit and give Fehr a shot

#2 Brash/Big John/Milton Bradley or just somebody! need to drop the mits and get the boys a rockin and pumped up!

Posted by: Zack Attack | April 14, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - Fully agree about being outplayed for 5 out of 6 periods. The Caps stopped looking like a playoff team right when the playoffs started.

Adding to your list, how about:

* Dropping the gloves to spark the team when necessary (paging Brashear...)

* Clearing the friggin' crease so the Flyers can't run our goalie at every opportunity

Posted by: Jill | April 14, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Your points are all dead on. Enough with the cutsie stuff, we really need some dirty goals. Shots from the outside are not going to get the job done either.

I've also noticed a lot of bad passes the last two games. They need to be aware of where their teammates are, and get the puck to them. Blind behind the back passes look cool but are useless when you pass to open ice, or worse, to the other team. We need crisp tape to tape passes.

The Flyers seem to be able to carry puck in the Caps end with no fear of a big hit. They are also setting up camp in front of Huet. It's time to start using the body a little more.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | April 14, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

No need to panic. Biron played well yesterday. Can he do that 3 more times; I doubt it. The Caps will be fine. Ovie is pressing a little. He will break out of it and the PP will step it up.

Posted by: Dan M. | April 14, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
You need to add that forwards need to stop trying to skate around/through everyone when bringing the puck into the offensive zone. When a team is stacking the blue line, they need to dump, chase, and establish a forecheck. Wasted opportunities when you can't even establish possession in the offensive zone.
The defensemen(Green especially) need to make the simple pass more often and just pick their spots when to skate through the neutral zone with the puck.
Anyways, here's to hoping the beards have a chance to get thicker! Lets go Caps!

Posted by: playoff beard | April 14, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I think Boudreau and his staff will make it quite clear to the players that everyone needs to be a little more physical Tuesday. They tried to be fancy Sunday afternoon because that has worked very well to this point. You can't win like that in the playoffs, lesson learned. I fully expect everyone to come out throwing the body around in game three.

One thing that is clear is Flash doesn't belong in this series. He avoids contact at all costs and isn't strong enough to maintain puck possession and have an impact on the game. Replace Flash with Fehr and maybe you have your big body to camp in front of Biron's crease.

Posted by: Ben | April 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

What would you think about swapping Flash for Laing? We need more grind-it-out guys in a bad way and Flash just doesn't look like he's up to Philly's physical play.

Posted by: HolyOlie | April 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The Caps lost one game after winning 8 straight. I hope this doesn't cause a complete strategy re-think. Yes, they looked sloppy yesterday, couldn't complete any passes, and let their forecheck get away from them. They lost. But this is a strong team, with strong leadership. The Caps came back from the drubbing in Chicago to find their game again, and I gotta think they'll do it again this time.

If they lose game 3, then we can start panicking.

Posted by: katzistan | April 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I heard a rumor that Calgary Hitmens and are top D-Man prospect Karl Alzner could possibly join the Wsh Capitals durin are playoff run or join the Hershey Bears for there playoff run after the Hitmen get eliminated from there playoffs... The Hitmen just made it to there Conference finals so they have 2 more possilby series left... My question to you Tarik is do you see Alzner having any chance at all in cracking are Capitals D-Man line-up once the Hitmens Season is complete? Though he will probaly just be signed then sent to Chocolate Town!

Posted by: Zack Attack | April 14, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Ovie stats:

1st period is his highest # SOG on average
1st is his lowest shooting percentage.
1st period is his lowest period for points

3rd is his lowest # SOG
3rd is his highest shooting percentage
3rd is his highest period for points

It might be good to keep him fresh for the 3rd...

Posted by: austinsteve | April 14, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

-Crash the next. Just as Laich said, if you want goals go to the net. Every shot we had Biron saw because we had no one in front.

-Stop passing and just shoot when it comes to PPs. Backstom is very talented but he needs to stop holding/passing and just shoot. It looks like everyone is waiting on OV to do something during the PP, they always look to him and pass to him.

I hate to say that we are a one man team but, everyone is looking to OV. Until he gets over his playoff jitters, and or until Fedorov can gain control of these youngsters like he did in the final games of the season, we are just going to look nervous and nothing will happen. That being said, we need to score first.

Posted by: Spencer | April 14, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Flash does need to sit !!!!!
I'd rather see Laing and his fearless defense than Fehr
Both have 1 goal and 5 assists so i dont see Fehr as an offensive answer.
We need grit and a wake up call..who better than Laing to remind the elite on this club how important hard work and BALLS are during the playoffs

Posted by: wendel | April 14, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I will be the first to admit that Kozie needs to step it up. Sometimes it seems hit or miss for him. I think our checking line is playing better than our second line right now and that needs to change. If Kozie, would go to the net it would cause a lot of havoc in front as big as he is! I just don't get it. The boys seemed lifeless yesterday! Very discouraging hockey lately.....I'm hoping the day off will cure the woes and clear the nuggets - maybe they will see things clearly and get back to simple business tomorrow! I know they can do it, I still believe in them!
-By the way, I want the Kozie from last month back...........
-"D" needs to tighten up and stop worrying about screw ups and play the friggin game - let Huet make the saves and for blind sake get out of his way!!!!!!!

Posted by: Greenie | April 14, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

So where is the big party for Tuesday and Thursday viewing parties?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

He Tarik

Your team sucks

Capitals + Ref: 000000000

Flyers : 2

and in the series it's should be

Flyers : 2

Capitals + REf: 0

But the ref won the first and their last game

Ovy sucks

Posted by: Go Flyers Go | April 14, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone expect the Caps to suddenly start crashing the net and banging in dirty goals when they haven't done it all season?

Too many fancy Euros looking for style points.

Posted by: Jill | April 14, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

There's not enough grit on the power play.
I hate Sean Avery but he makes the Ranger power play go. I'm not advocating waving a stick in Biron's face (like Avery did), but we need someone like a Cooke or a Steckel to get in the crease an create some traffic. Biron is getting too many good looks at shots. We need to be doing what Hartnell does for Philly. I'm looking forward to Tuesday's game because I think we're going to see a far different Caps team than we saw yesterday.

Posted by: b.orr4 | April 14, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Let me guess, Philly edukated Go Flyer eh?

I think you will see the Caps simply don't know how to carry a lead, they've tended not to have one this season.

But they do seem to win in the end.

Posted by: austinsteve | April 14, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

DUMP AND CHASE
CRASH THE NET
WIN THE BOARDS


Posted by: LIVINT | April 14, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

was that english from Go Flyers Go? Typical Philly babble.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@Go Flyers Go

Why I'm wasting my time at work responding to this garbage I can't figure out, but let's take a stab...

"Capitals + Refs"

It's not the referee's fault, nor is it Washington's, that Scott Hartnell takes one dumb penalty after another. It seems that your whole team takes after him and commits unnecessary penalties in trying to establish a "physical presence."

How should the series be 2-0 Flyers? The Flyers owned the second period Friday night, while we owned the third. It was a very even game but Ovechkin was the difference, simple as that.

I don't think we were so badly outplayed as some seem to think in games one and two. If Semin or Cooke bury one of their point-blank shots yesterday, we're looking at a whole different game.

Posted by: Ben | April 14, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Go Flyers Go!

Yes the refs are on our side at home like they will be on your side at home.
No Ovy does not suck and you would trade anybody on your team in a heartbeat for him.
Maybe you are right about the series being 2-0 otherwise. Maybe you are wrong. The fact is it is 1-1.

Tarik, good points, I would only add
1. Stevens made great game adjustments to shut down the neutral zone . . BB got outcoached!
2. PP needs to shoot more, but it also needs to have a bit more motion. They aren't creating shooting lanes at all.
3. Brash needs to get brash . . .especially when they come out flat

Posted by: WhooHoo | April 14, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Please, no one take the troll bait.

Wasn't Laich on the 1st team pp for awhile towards the end of the regular season? I thought it was after the last time we had teh cutsie pp problem, and I seem to remember him being effective in front of the net.

Posted by: Hook | April 14, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

katzistan:

We like to panic early and often round here!

Posted by: LIVINIT | April 14, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

There is time to panic because Tarik's right. The Caps have been outplayed in five of the six periods thus far, and that doesn't bode well for the run of this series, however long it lasts. I wouldn't be as concerned if they had looked at all fluid yesterday, if they had won some of the one-on-one battles, if they had played with some grit and intensity. But I didn't see that, and quite frankly, they were outplayed for most of Game 1 (aside from the third).

Posted by: Colin | April 14, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I remember feeling like it just wasnt our period yesterday after the 1st. We had plenty of chances and didnt get anything. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game.

Light the lamp on the PP in the 1st, and it's a different game.

Im not worried about Tuesdays game..We'll be ready.

Posted by: SA-town | April 14, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@ Jill (first comment),

I seem to recall a certain spectator (and positively brilliant hockey mind :-)) emploring the home team repeatedly to start a fight...not even caring who it was. It could have been Craig Leydig at some point....just get some heads rolling.

Its becoming apparent that not only is this team lacking in playoff experience, but also in the necessary physical play needed for success. Between the long-bemoaned unwillingness of all but 1-2 players (one of whom has missed most of the season) to go to the net...our own D's inability to clear our crease and punish opposing forwards....the lack of fighting...man, this could be a one-and-done for the Caps if they don't adjust.

I have a feeling that there will be at least one discernable fight during Game 3 in Philthadelphia...if for no other reason than the hostile environment serving as the catalyst.

Bruce "Sterno" Boudreau had better have a few more tricks to light a fire under these guys.

Posted by: Pothier's Thumb | April 14, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Schultz was timid yesterday because it was his first playoff game. He experienced yesterday what 11 or 12 others experienced in Game 1. That said, his size is needed against Philly, and he

Our defense needs to do a much better job clearing out guys in front of the net. Take a penalty or two (or fight)if necessary to defend Huet's real estate and send a message to Philly that taking such liberties will come at a physical price.

On the power play, I agree with many others: get shots on net from the point. To that I would add, some low shots for redirects and tip ins. Too many shots from our D are high or in Biron's chest.

Posted by: TJ2 | April 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Jill

Because dirty goals win playoff games...

Posted by: BearsWoooo | April 14, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Go Flyers Go
I don't recall our blog sending out an invitation to "Go Flyers Go"?
Be gone!!! We don't want you hear.
Anyone remotely suggesting OV sucks can not be worth the time of day and know absolutely nothing about hockey - we all know that everyone loves to hate him! Ha Ha and mostly everyone loves him - your just jealous you team can't take home any hardware!

Posted by: Greenie | April 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I totally agree with your observations. One of things I noticed yesterday was that there were never any players in position to capitalize on a rebound.

The Caps were also listless. It was like watching a team in slow motion. The Flyers were consistently beating them down the ice. It also seemed like they were afraid to hit, which makes me wonder how banged up they were from Friday's game.

P.S. Love your coverage Tarik!

Posted by: CapitalGirl | April 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

This isn't the first game of the season in which the Caps "need" to practice to get better. They ALL know what they need to do, they just have to do it.

They were just sloppy and lazy yesterday - nothing more, nothing less. Hit Briere - hit Richards... hit them all and shoot the puck on the PP... you don't score goals unless you shoot.

Also, everyone is complaining about Green - what about Cooke and his 2 (right in front of the net) shots that Biron saved... or Semin's wide shot on an empty net... it's a team effort and it's everyone's fault. BB and the Caps will figure it out - Game 3 will be much different than Game 2. Relax, take a deep breath, and have faith.

Like Jill said - we have not been crashing the net all season and we have got this far. Our team relies on odd man rushes, the PP, and turnovers... they just need to FINISH.

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Why do we sit out Fehr, he has grit and stands in front of the net.Caps have not lost much with him in the lineup.Don't sit out the Canadian boys in the playoffs!

Posted by: RyanFriesen | April 14, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Go Flyers Go - do you have matching panties to go with your Briere Jersey?

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

good analysis tarik.

they also need to stop being fancy in their own end. get the puck out with a quick pass....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Phehr would be good to have throwing his body around in Filly

Posted by: Icebat | April 14, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I want to see Bruce change it up a little bit on the PP. Why not throw a curve ball (this is the playoffs) at the Flyers PK, and move OV back down low, where he scores almost all his goals. If we open the game 0-4 on the PP again, I see little risk in moving OV back down towards the goal, where he scores 95% of his goals. Moving him out to the point is not needed with Poti and Green.

Posted by: Oy Vey | April 14, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I 100% agree. We definately need to put pressue on Biron by putting ourselves in front of the net. We seemed to be overmatched in so far as size and will. They need to be stonger on their skates, that is for sure. They also appeared as if they were skating in sand. No energy at all. They seemed completly disinterested yesterday. Also, we couldn't win a faceoff in either zone yesterday. Not a good performance in the circles at all.

Posted by: K | April 14, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Clark needs to just hang it up this season.

Like Tarik said, we have been beaten 5 out of 6 peirods. This is styles clash of a match-up between the two teams that favors the Flyers.

Posted by: Villainaire | April 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Where are Langway and Stevens when we need them to clear the crease.

Posted by: Rich C | April 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree we dont need to panic but there needs to be some great concern. The caps should be down 2-0 going to philly. Got out played 5 of the six periods. I'm glad were even cause it should be way worse. We know philly is going take penalties by beating us up. If we suck on the PP. They they are going to win the series. HUET needs to play better. He got bailed out in game 1. He needs to make some clutch saves.

Posted by: smartfan | April 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Typical classless philthy philly trash. It's a filthy, trashy city full of filthy trashy people. Go give that little pansy Briere some of your "brotherly love".

Posted by: Phillyh8er | April 14, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

We just need to put the buscuit in the basket, the train in the station, the cat in the hat....

Posted by: Steve R | April 14, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@828

LOL!! Whoo, I needed a good laugh today. Thanks

Posted by: RIT | April 14, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I am still confused on the outplayed 5 out of 6 periods.

The first two games - we dominated the 1st 10 minutes of each game. The puck was in Philly's zone the whole time. The first game - we scored in that stretch... the 2nd game, a long pass was made to create an odd man rush and they scored... a momentum killer - just like Briere's goal coming out of the box the in Game 1.

I just don't think the Caps have been DOMINATED by any means.

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, how about the ill-advised, undisciplined penalties (Jurcina and Green in the 3rd period of Game 2)? Took any momentum the team was trying to grab late?

The Caps take penalties most of the time because they were lazy and weren't moving their feet and get caught reaching when they should have had a body in the way, in front of a player.

I've got one more for you ... standing around in our own end giving up the perimeter when the teams are at even strength. The Caps tend to box and one with four guys in the middle and only one guy ever challenging the perimeter. Flyers can do whatever they want to retrieve the puck in that setup.

Posted by: JC | April 14, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Answer me this:

Who beat the Caps in Game 2 - the Caps or Philly?

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Fine, they've been outplayed in 4.5 of the 6 periods. It still isn't pretty whichever way you look at it.

There is serious concern here. This is a bad matchup for the Caps.

Posted by: Hector Camacho | April 14, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, you must have seen my post from earlier today. Thanks for comparing notes.

Above all, the most important things the Caps need to do at the drop of the puck 7PM tomorrow is CRASH THE NET. I don't care who does it, just get it done. Drive Biron into the net as often as possible and rattle him off of his game. This will open up the rest of the ice with their defense concentrating on protecting Biron. If they want to drop the gloves, go ahead and let them.

Bring back Dino Cicarelli if you have to. Just CRASH THE NET!

Posted by: DeadKings08 | April 14, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Well "boo whoo" Hector - write a letter to the nhl saying that we want to play someone else.

The Caps have to play who they play... the series is only tied 1-1 and on the season, the series was tied 2-2... so why are you and the rest of this blog crying about it. we need to do this, we need to do that... oh no, we are screwed...

I heard enough crying when the Caps were not going to make the playoffs... oh wait, they are in the playoffs, so they did do something right and win a heck of a lot of games... they did do the impossible and now were are here... best of 5 series.

If the Caps never win another game this season - the season was still a success. We saw a lot of character from the players and the coach - we have something to look forward to. So, stop worrying about things you can't control and figure out the things you can control.

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

1. Green's not Bobby Orr yet. If he doesn't adjust to playing while pressured and hit, and make quicker decisions, we're cooked. He looked completely disinterested after the first period. (I hope "Green" isn't spelled G-o-n-c-h-a-r.)
2. If Poti's gonna get lots of ice time, he's got to break it out more cleanly and use more body. Erskine and Jurcina are useless if they are not going to play tough around Huet. "Erskine" and "Jurcina" need to be spelled T-i-n-o-r-d-i.
3. Get some beef on OV's line -- maybe move Bradley there to clean up rebounds.
4. 3rd and 4th lines are the only ones successfully forechecking, and Flash was in the middle of a lot of offense. I like that 3rd line. 2nd line's gotta SHOOT THE PUCK.
5. Sustain the pressure. Sunday's game was a repeat of Hanlon hockey. Lots of pressure and fall apart after the other team scores. In the end, this probably was an abberation -- chalk it up to you gotta lose once in a while. Let's kick butt tomorrow.

Posted by: bjoad | April 14, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Best of 7, not 5

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

5 games left pal

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Putting Brads on the first line is spelled "s -i-l-l-y"

Posted by: Jordan | April 14, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I really can't understand this flood of panic. Everyone and their uncle said this was going to be a hard fought series that would most likely go seven games. That would tell you right there that the Caps would have to lose a couple. The team is extremely young and we had to expect nerves to be an issue in the first couple games. They will settle down and steal at least one of the next two on the road and regain home ice. Until then, take your valium/prozac and relax people!!!!

GO CAPS!!!!

Posted by: Phil | April 14, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

How about putting Laich or Cooke on the power play and moving Backstrom to the 2nd unit? Do the Caps really need both him and Feds on the same unit?

Also, maybe splitting up that top line...sometimes a line doesn't work well against a particular team. I'd say either Laich or Cooke...Cooke can stir things up a bit, and Laich can score goals.

And Eminger should be reinserted for Jurcina, Shultz, or Erksine.

Oh, and I also think Fehr should be reinserted. Seat Flash...our most dangerous lines seemed to be Laich's line and the 4th line. Maybe a Fehr-like player would have more success against the Flyers than Flash.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

it's not panic, it's negativity. i thought that was in the caps fan creed (if not, i've been going about this all wrong)
:p

Posted by: honed | April 14, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Phil --You are right, but
I'll use beer/whiskey instead of valium/prozac.

Posted by: uncatim | April 14, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@Hector Camacho
Take the Good or Bad match-up how you will, it's called growing and learning, we are too young to let this get into our heads, not sure there would have been a good match-up of the eight - oh except the Sens who the panzzzzy Pens got - I think they were the only week team! This is playoff hockey, you win some and you loose some, this is just one stepping stone. And I certainly didn't think the CAPS were going to be 16-0. One loss no panic, concern yes, but let's see how they respond before we become OVERLY concerned!
Just a thought they have responded well in the past - give them a chance to redeem themselves......

Posted by: Greenie | April 14, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, why hasn't anyone challenged Mike Green and his "BIG MAN AROUND TOWN" play. He aint that good and looked like a chump. Why the free pass? BB should have sat the kid down in the 3rd.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | April 14, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Phil - I am with you...

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

They can make all the changes they want, but if they are going to lose offensive zone faceoffs consistently, it really doesn't matter.

There was a stretch yesterday where Philadelphia iced the puck three straight times, and the Capitals (mostly Backstrom) lost every draw. Even Federov and Steckel were getting beat on draws.

It's the simple things that got Washington beat yesterday. Faceoffs, board work, tough play in front of both goals.

And that's what makes the power play frustrating, because even with all that, they still had multiple man-up chances to get on the board, and decided shooting was unnecessary.

Posted by: Eddie C | April 14, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@ Esa,

I agree with you. Greenie should have seen his ice time cut in the third. I think BB needs to hold players accountable for their play better. I also think BB needs to stop favoring his Hershey guys...the NHL playoffs is a different ball game.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Briere is better than your Russian God

and

Mike Richards is better than everyone else

Mike green really sucks and Sacha....lol

Posted by: Go Flyers Go | April 14, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@ Angela I heard an interview given by Green praising the Flyers for how well they played. I couldn't believe it. He took penalties, coughed up the puck several times and looked disinterested the entire game. What a chump comment. He has one good playoff game and he thinks he's Paul Coffey. Show him the pine BB.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | April 14, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Check out Sombrero Guy at On Frozen Blog

Posted by: uncatim | April 14, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone focusing on offense (crash the net, pass less, shoot more, etc.) when our defense was absolutely horrendous yesterday? If the Caps are going to adjust something before Game 3, how about focusing on not giving up so many odd-man rushes? How about staying at home more instead of always joining the rush? How about clearing that d-bag Hatcher out of the crease? How about actually hitting someone? Hello, backcheck? How about not turning the puck over at our own blue line a million times?

Just asking.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | April 14, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I hope Fehr gets an opportunity. let's go caps!

Posted by: herdfan | April 14, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Bench Green....?

I'm thinking that's as likely as us seeing Pothier ready to play again this season.

Posted by: Steve R | April 14, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

@Angela

So now we are going to quesstion BB's coaching???? Most likely the Jack Adams winner??!!! Unbelievable, it was one loss!!! And there were no complaints while Green was lighting up the scoreboard but he has one off game......and the favoring of Hershey players is just a ridiculous comment.

Posted by: Phil | April 14, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not boo-hooing and I won't be petitioning the NHL for a new opponent. I could give two poops who we play and there's no easy road in the playoffs whoever you play.

I'm just stating fact here. People are hemming and hawing about the Caps sleepwalking and all they need to do is wake up and play their game. Well, newsflash, they've been playing it. And the Flyers have trumped it THUS FAR. Can it change? Sure. Will it change? I hope to God it does.

Everybody's been drinking the Kool-Aid of the last six weeks, but the Flyers were just as hot as the Caps the last two weeks of the regular season. People are acting like the Game 2 loss was a fluke...well, maybe the Game 1 win was a bigger fluke. The overall play through six periods backs me up.

And enough with the "it was a great season whatever happens." That's loser talk. The playoffs were supposed to be a given at the beginning of the year. The Caps have been a top 4 team in the league since BB took over. We should be in it to win it. Great things are ahead, but why shouldn't we go after those things now?

Posted by: Hector Camacho | April 14, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil Nobody's upset about a bad game. It's the LACK OF EFFORT. That's what matters. Green looked cockey and uninterested. As a season ticket holder I don't pay to see that BS.

Posted by: Esa Tikkanen | April 14, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

if you guys start picking fights and changing your game to become more physical, it's exactly what the flyers and our fans feed off of.

flyers had the 4th most fighting majors in hockey this year (the most in the eastern conf). any # of guys will happily drop the gloves, and richards will throw down whenever necessary, so trying to get physical with him might not be the best approach. in the immortal words of will ferrell channeling harry caray; "Riley Cote will bite your ear off! He will come at you like a tornado made of arms and teeth. And - and fingernails."


they said on sunday that the caps are the biggest team in the nhl, but i haven't seen anything that has shown they're willing to consistently bang in the corners or in the crease where playoff games are won. not having seen them play most of the regular season, was there ever a consistent stretch of the year when the caps did in fact play ugly hockey and win that way?

if they unleash the traditional singing of God Bless America before the game - i'd put the odds at 75% - then caps will be under an onslaught and the crowd will be rabid.

Posted by: flyers fans | April 14, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hector,
I am all for winning it all and I think they can - no doubt... I am just trying to bring something positive to a table of monkey's throwing poo at each other.

Esa,
Benching Green - didn't he score 2 goals in the 3rd the game before... soooo, maybe if he is on the bench, he will score 3? Let's bench one of our best players in a game that is could have been won.

Nobody needs to be benched... they all need to come off cloud 9 and do what they do.

Flyers - hey, no one here ever called Alex a god, but we will take that into consideration.

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks, anyone interested in another viewing party at Summers tomorrow night? I'll walk over there tomorrow around noon and let them know we're coming again and I'm sure they'll put us in the same spot as last time. Anyone up for it?

Posted by: StikSav | April 14, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW - Alex likes playing in hostile environments - just ask Buffalo.

And thanks for coming down to support the Caps during the regular season - you have helped them prepare for these upcoming games.

So, Cote is Mike Tyson... that is a good person to be like...

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

flyers had the 4th most fighting majors in hockey this year (the most in the eastern conf) in other words, the Flyers are a bunch a talentless goons

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@Esa

As a season ticket holder you should also understand that a team will have their ups and downs. Yesterday was a prime example of a team coming out in the first ten minutes, giving everything they had, and then getting burnt by break away deflating them completely. What you would call a LACK OF EFFORT I would call a demoralizing change in momentum that the entire team was unable to recover from. Green was not the only one that had a bad game but you expect so much out of him becaause of what you have seen from him all season.

Posted by: Phil | April 14, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@ Esa,

That's EXACTLY what it is. Green's defence has always been rather suspect. I am happy for his effort in Game 1, but he still needs to be smart in his own end, or else we are simply looking at another Sergei Gonchar.

@ Phil

I respect BB for all he has done all season long, but this is the playoffs. Like most his players, this is his first playoffs in the NHL level, so he is also learning as he goes. I think he tends to be leaning more towards comfort level with players from his Calder run. The NHL playoffs are completely different than the AHL playoffs. BB needs to adjust the game a bit, from line matchups to power play to holding players accountable for their actions. Honestly, aside from the redeeming 2 goals, I didn't think Green played well on Friday, he didn't play well yesterday. If he starts Game 3 like that, BB needs to send the message that that type of play isn't going to be tolerated. Green is capable of being smarter with the puck, and he needs to show it. He is being run around, pushed off the puck easily. He looks at times like a dog chasing his tail in the defensive zone.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

hanlon hockey.

that's what that crap yesterday was.

Posted by: jamebow | April 14, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

NEWS FLASH PHIL - the nhl playoffs are different than the ahl playoffs...

We landed on the moon - no way

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

i guess the mighty ducks, who led the nhl in fighting majors by a large margin last year (and are 2nd this year to calgary) yet won the stanley cup, were also no talent goons, huh?

mix those fighting majors with a team that has 7 players with 20+ goals and you've got the recipe for playoff success; balanced scoring and a nasty edge.

if the caps are displeased with people running their goalie or someone getting hit during the game, they should do something about it.

and don't pay any mind to flyers fans that say any different, alex o is the best player in the world right now.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Flyers

The Caps are not a physical team in the way the Flyers are, and if they came out and tried to play that way the Caps are going to get burned. But the Caps are a team that isn't scared of making a hit and finishing their checks, even if they haven't really showed it this playoffs yet. Heck, even Semen was dishing some hard checks at the end of the regular season. The Caps need to do that tomorrow to win.

As for the emotion of the Flyers arena, especially if they sing "God Bless America", I don't think the Caps have too much to worry about. They know what the arena will be like, regardless of what is sung before the game. Don't forget, the Flyers got a 2 goal lead in a loud and noisy and rocking Verizon Center on Friday. I think the "6th man" thing can be overrated.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I'm actually liking this team better on the road at this stage. VC was, is, and will be electric, but this team might be served well with some time on the road. If they can take one in Philly and re-establish some focus on doing what they need to do to beat Philly, they can come back and properly harness the energy from the crowd in Game 5.

Posted by: Hector Camacho | April 14, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So, flyers fan - you are not concerned with the Caps at all? The Flyers will win out?

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

@ Flyers

"if the caps are displeased with people running their goalie or someone getting hit during the game, they should do something about it."

I agree with this statement. The Caps need to clear the crease, or at least make guys pay for going near the crease.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

yeah, except whats happening to the ducks now? i believe they just got swept at home...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat off topic, but did anyone see that a#@hole Avery's antics in front of Brodeur's face last night in the Devils/Rangers game? Here's the NHL's response today?

National Hockey League Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell issued a statement Monday to make the league's position clear going forward. The statement said:

"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty (Rule 75) will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play."

Avery was so classless that even his teammates skated over to him and told him to cut it out.

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | April 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@DevilsCapsGal

Great for the league doing something on that.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Green was trying to do way too much on his own. I think he just got caught up in the moment and spotlight a little bit, especially after his big game in Game 1. I expect him to settle down a little bit in the next game and pick and choose when to attack (like he was in the regular season).

Posted by: playoff beard | April 14, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@playoff beard

You see, what concerns me is his play in his own end. He just seems lost right now. I don't know if maybe he and Morrissonn need to have a chat about positioning so they know where to be. It just seems like he is chasing too much, and looks lost too much in his own end. It worries me a little.

But, it could just be nerves. I do think maybe limiting when to attack offensively may help him. Going to Philly, being on the road, may be a blessing for him.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

the ducks losing 2 at home had nothing to do with the # of fights they had this year or last. they simply were outplayed by a very good dallas team whom many were sleeping on. i was simply making a point to refute the statement above, the flyers #4 in fighting majors doesn't mean they're no talent goons as evident by the superior scoring depth they have over the caps (if only we had gagne as well.....).

if we had someone who was more battle tested in goal or had exhibited an ability to inspire confidence in the majority of our big games this year, then i'd say the flyers are gonna win out. you know how biron is gonna play by the rebounds. if they're wild and all over the place, he's gonna be abused. if they are under control, quickly cleared out by our d-men, then you're in for a long night. been this way all year.

ever since pelle died in that car crash and hextall almost upset the mighty oilers right after, it's the same old same old re: flyers goaltending.

you have a team killing themselves in front of the netminder and only needing one or two big saves to really set the momentum or lock a game/series up, and yet you never know if you're gonna get that save and more often than not a cheap goal crushes and deflates.

all that being said i think this goes 6, flyers wrapping it up back in philly. with richards playing like a man posessed (ala keith primeau back in 2004), carter anchoring the 2nd line as superbly as he's done all year, and our 3rd line capable of rolling out multiple 20 goal guys, i just think we have a major advantages in key areas.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

green going end to end is not a problem but a thing of beauty. he just needs to learn judgement and when to do it. he'll get there.

Posted by: crbdcap | April 14, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@Flyers Fans

I think probably the best policy for us would be to hit hard, push, shove, slash and cross-check in kind. You guys can take all the fighting majors you'd like.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 14, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@ Flyers Fan

2 things...first, what did happen to Gagne? Sorry, with the Caps insane playoff push my attention has been focused there. I haven't paid attention to many other teams all season.

Second point, while the fact the Flyers have so many 20 goal scorers is one that can't be ignored, they still can be suspect on defence (much like the Caps can be.) HOWEVER, throwing out the number of 20 goal scorers in the end doesn't mean much. In the end, Philly finished 6th in the NHL in goals scored a game at 2.99. Caps were just 2 spaces back, 2.90 a game. Yes, many were one player. But it's also a matter of breaking the system. Also, Ovechkin has a knack of being able to be bottled up all game and finding that one moment where he gets open and gets a goal.

Philly and Washington were also tied for Goals Against for the regular season with 2.77 a game allowed. These two teams are evenly matched.

What I think determines the series is not the number of 20 goal regular season scorers, not if Ovechkin stays bottled up. It's, aside from goaltending, who stays out of the box, and who capitalizes most on power play opportunities. The Flyers special teams is the one area where they are dramatically better than the Caps.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Ovie having to "fight his way through," I think the whole team needs to learn to do that, especially against the Flyers. Notice how the Flyers are pushing all of our players around? They do it with their hands, not their sticks, therefore, they don't get called on it as much. We need to go out there and give 'em what for.

Posted by: Jendeis | April 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@Flyers Fan

Too bad your man "possessed" Richards was too busy gettin clocked in game 2 by timid lil' Nikky Backstrom...man was that hit priceless.

Posted by: i hate philly | April 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ovy is overrated.

Ovy is a chicken

Little Capts

WELCOME TO DUNGEEN OF DOOM........

Posted by: THE MAN | April 14, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Let's be frank. The odds are long that we go to the finals. That this team made it into the playoffs after the abyssmal start of the season is a miracle. We're still short a D-man - and I don't mean Pothier. Poti is fair, but playing worse now than pre-playoffs. Schultz is, well, Schultz. Green is a reluctant D-man. This is a young team. Let's let them learn this year for next year.

Posted by: Greg S. | April 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

haha - another flyer fan that can't write...

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

gagne suffered a concussion in around the 8th or 9th game of the year, came back a bit too early, suffered a 2nd one, was benched for a couple months, came back and had a slight recurrence and was shelved for the season. that's right around the time we hit our 2nd half swoon. briere and gagne had great chemistry, spent a good portion of the 2nd half trying to find it again, seem to have lucked into it w/ prospal.

i've found that in the playoffs you need to be able to have at least 2+ lines of guys that can consistently put the puck in the net to continue to advance. so much of playoff strategy - especially at home - is to ensure you have the proper matchups to shut down the oppositions top line or top player, forcing others to beat you. that's why friday was so frustrating, not because of the 3 goals - which was terrible - but because 40% of your total came from brashear and steckel. that's just terrible on the flyers' part.

with coburn and timmonen, we have 2 outstanding d-men who now will be able to continue to hound alex, especially w/ last shift at home. watch for richards and lupul to have big games in the scoring dept on tuesday, lupul is especially looking strong again after some bad injuries.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Greg S - as much as I want these guys to go the distance - in which I think they can... Im not too worried about it. They have done well - now, they need to figure out things.

BTW - the Flyers won't beat the Pens if they make it to the next round.

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

and if you watched the in-game highlights from nbc on sunday, they showed richards blowing up 2 or 3 of your guys as the game went on, including a vicious open-ice hit on i can't remember who...but i bet he doesn't remember it either.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

40% of the goals from yesterday should have came from Cooke...

I just don't think you have any respect for the Caps... and that's fine... keep under estimating them... that's the way they like it.

Seriously though - you are Caps Suck, right?

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"WELCOME TO DUNGEEN OF DOOM........"


What's a dungeen?

Posted by: Steve R | April 14, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Steve R - you know, a dungeen... right? a dungeen? no dungeen?

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@ Flyers

That sucks about Gagne. I hate the Flyers but he is a fun player to watch.

As we know, scoring in the regular season doesn't always equal post season success, just like sometimes the guys leading a team in post season scoring are not who you expect. It's really in the success of a line winning a matchup, and the defence. The Caps 4th line plays against the Flyers much better than their 4th line plays against us, and it burned them with 2 goals Friday. Your line is doing a good job at bottling up Ovechkin, which means the Caps need to change things up. Maybe split up his line, who knows. But to expect the Caps to play the same way and not make adjustments is premature. Lets see what th e Caps bring to the table on Tuesday. Do they step up? Does Semin actually hit the back of the net? His line was one of the best Sunday night, with him and Cooke getting some great chances.

While I'm impressed with how the Flyers showed up on Sunday, just like 1 loss doesn't doom the Caps, 1 shutout win doesn't mean the Flyers have control of the series. Semin is getting healthy; that line, just like you said lupul is about to have a big game, the same could be said for Semin and/or cooke.

I wouldn't be surprised to see 20+ goal scorer Brooks Laich on the top line tomorrow to take some pressure off of OV.

Posted by: Angela | April 14, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Whenever we go on the PP, I'm screaming for Brooks Laich. He's the ONLY Cap who will stand in front of the net and screen their goalie. Heck, our guys screen Huet better on the PK than they do the opposing goalie on a PP and goalies who make it to the post season will stop what they can see.

Posted by: Caps4ever | April 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@Zack Attack

There is basically no chance at all of Alzner playing with the Caps THIS playoff run. He should and probably will join the Bears once the Hitmen win or are eliminated.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | April 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse


"WELCOME TO DUNGEEN OF DOOM........"

Since it's Philly we're talking about, does "Welcome to the Perilous Pit of Pestilence" work?

Posted by: Steve R | April 14, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Welcome to Pairadice City"

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

My God. What has become of this blog? Half the people ready to jump off the ledge with the series ties 1-1 and Philly fans continuously proving they don't have command of the english language. People need to relax. The Caps arent going to go 0-9 on the power play the entire series. Philly will continue to take penalties because of the Caps team speed and at one point Semin, Cooke and co. will put the nut in the bucket. Still not that worried.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Why do people think Fehr has grit? What has he done all year to make people think that. He has 1 assist in his last 12 games. He didnt crash the net in Hershey, that isn't his game.

Hate Flash... I understand... But if you're looking for Fehr to crash the net, you might as well wish for Semin not to toe drag too.

Posted by: JSchon | April 14, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I am not that worried either. Some days a team lays an egg. Cooke had at least 2 chances that I can recall to bury one, and Semin had a couple as well. If they put away HALF of those chances, we probably end up winning. They WILL put away those chances tomorrow.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | April 14, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Moose, I have been ready to jump of the ledge from this blog... I tried to make some sense of it all, but couldn't... too many people freaking out!

If we are down 3-1.. then, maybe freak out... do what you do, but for now - relax.

a table of monkeys throwing poo at each other!

Posted by: 828 | April 14, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm gone - don't like the Flyers fans wasting space or dumping crap on this blog. Have a good day CAPS fans. See you tomorrow.....(maybe the Flyers blog isn't as insightful or intriguing as ours..... that's gotta be it!)

Posted by: Greenie | April 14, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. I'm scared there are going to mass suicides in DC if the Caps happen to go down 2-1 in the series after Tuesday (hopefully that won't happen). We just need to take a deep breath and let Philly do what they do best, which is not win championships and boo their own players. I think this team has lots of heart and determination and BB and the players will adjust.

F Philly

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy

a table of monkeys throwing poo at eachother...

Honestly, picture that on a sit-com on Comedy Central or late night on the Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. I'd stay up to watch it at least 3 or 4 episodes.

Posted by: JSchon | April 14, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

IT'S DUNGEON OF DOOM LITTLE CRY BABY SUCKERS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSERs

Posted by: THE MAN | April 14, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

By the way

who is Chris Clark ?**?&?&?&????%/


your 3rd base.......

hahahahahahahahaha

Posted by: THE MAN | April 14, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Is there a retard convention in Philly?

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

THE MAN needs to attend to his legos

Posted by: JSchon | April 14, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@ 828. i respect the caps. i'm originally from northern va and moved up to nyc in 2002, so for the first 22 years of my life i was exposed to the caps on an annual basis. even went to a playoff game back in the late 90's vs. mario and the pens, and rooted for the caps.

when they made the cup finals i was rooting for them, and if esa had scored on that wide open net who knows what happens....

now, i think people were assuming the flyers would be push overs this year because how bad they were last season. what people don't realize is the season before they were a good team until fading down the stretch when forsberg got hurt, and that carried over bigtime. throw in the turmoil w/ clarke and hitchcock & forsberg moving on and it was a perfect storm last year.

holmgren did an amazing job retooling the roster, and now it's loaded with guys who are under 30 with loads of experience. while we still hit and hit hard, we can also skate with the best of them.

if you throw in our physical nature, very good power play (2nd in the league) and penalty kill, the fact that we now have home ice and that we were tested against the best the east had to offer all year - especially down the stretch when we won like 9 out of 10 against the atlantic - i just feel that we're in better position to advance than you, that's it.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

He left for a while to go look up how to spell Dungeon. It took about an hour but you have to give it to him, he figured it out in the end. Good job monkey.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 14, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@flyer fan

You made good points throughout your posts. However they're a bit diminished by the fact that you came here after your victory. That smells a bit like trolling. Also, you don't seem to appreciate the potential of our young guns. We played a terrible game yesterday, and paid dearly for some bad mistake. But the Caps can be much better.

I hope you'll come back after our victory :D In the end I kind of enjoy the views/discussion of other team's fans - when they're polite and knowledgeable, that is.

Posted by: mauree | April 14, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@ mauree, i was at the game on friday, and was working my way back up to nyc on saturday. read the washington post everyday online but didn't notice you could make comments on this blog that tarik is doing until yesterday.

my comments yesterday had a bit of a harder edge to them as the tone on the board was nowhere near as cordial, obviously due to our win on sunday and the fact that i was bitter that so many were claiming flyers fans are these terrible people when in fact i had a great time w/ the folks seated around me, and only had issues when confronted and insulted by the hoardes leaving the game. it happens everywhere, road fans just deal w/ it.

if you guys win, i'll still be here to talk hockey.

Posted by: flyers fan | April 14, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

One bad game, and everyone is down on us. Clement was just on XM telling how horrible the caps and Huet were. OV does too much, they are a team of individuals, etc....

Posted by: Leeguru | April 14, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@flyers fan
Deal! Yeah you were a bit harsh, but you did make a few good points.


@Leeguru
Well honestly everybody was cheering too much when we got first place in the divisions. Now it's a slam back to reality: we're not the best team in the league (we do have that potential), and we're basically just getting precious playoff experience for now.

I'm happy about the stage we are, however:

1) I know the Caps true potential. When they play for each other, they can destroy any other team. That's why it's so frustrating when they don't show up.

2) If they don't show up now, that means lack of character, should we be worried about next year?


Time we'll tell :) T-minus 26 hours.

No matter what, it was one hell of a season.

Posted by: mauree | April 14, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The Caps didn't get to the playoffs by luck. They fought hard and played good team hockey to get there. Hockey is a game of ebbs and flows, and game 1 or 2 could have gone either way. That will continue to be the case in this series. I see a 2 game split returning to DC for game 5. Keep the faith and remember T.O.D.

Posted by: Edge | April 14, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@Leeguru

Clement's comments are an example of a talking head watching one game, and assuming that one game was all you need to watch to know how a team has played in their previous 83.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | April 14, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Clement is a donkey.

Posted by: Steve R | April 14, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

You really have to love that people are writing the Capitals off already. Hasn't Philly struggled with consistency all season? To my knowledge Biron has waffled all year long - some nights he looks brilliant and others he looks very ordinary. Yesterday he was brilliant. That doesn't mean he'll stay that way.

People who have watched Philly closely say the same thing about the team as a whole. They'll look like worldbeaters one game, then lay an egg the next. So now that it's playoff time, I guess we're all assuming they're going to rise to the occassion, while for some reason the Capitals will fold. Does that sound about right?

A playoff series is a chess match, chock-full of adjustments between both sides. The Flyers made adjustments after game one and came in with the better plan yesterday. Now, it's Boudreau's turn to make adjustments, and he will.

Posted by: Ben | April 14, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@Ben
And you really have to love people thinking that people are writing the Capitals off already (if you're referring to this blog).

I don't know anybody in this blog that gave up on the Caps. Not one person.

Posted by: mauree | April 14, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@mauree

You're right - I was referring more to the national media pundits.

Posted by: Ben | April 14, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Hi Tarik,

I watched Sunday's game and thoroughly agree with your commentary.

First, the Caps played very tentatively on offense. They were simply too fine with the puck - especially on the Power Play. Case in point - Tomas Fleischmann tried to skate in alone on the Flyers D. He was easily neutralized. The Caps won't score against this rugged Flyers squad unless they crash and shoot.

Question: Do you think Boudreau would consider placing big Eric Fehr back into the lineup? At least, he could create some havoc in front of the net.

Next, the Caps are simply not closing in properly on defense. They play an umbrella defense that leaks.

Question: Schulz didn't look himself out there. Do you think coach will replace him with Eminger? Or, do you think he'll keep the bigger Schulz in the lineup even while he is recovering?

Finally, I'm as concerned as you are about Huet. He's getting bullied out there.

Question: If Huet's performance should slip, do you think BB would consider replacing him with big, tough Olie Kolzig?
Olie might provide a good presence back there - during the playoffs and on the road!

Keep up the stellar work Tarik. You deserve a raise!

Posted by: Terptwin | April 14, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"who better than Laing to remind the elite on this club how important hard work and BALLS are during the playoffs"

mmm...Patrick Thoresen?

Posted by: Shamus McJagger | April 14, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

About Flash...
He doesn't do the cute stuff but is always smart in trying to make the plays, take a shot, dump a pass. He's not big, but he's smart. At least he doesn't go out & skate a ballet of passing & fancy moves.
The guy has game smarts.
The weight & strength will come with age.

Posted by: Joan | April 14, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Want an instant fix for the Power Play? Just put Cooke on the PP. Let him get in front and cause a ruckus!

Posted by: Trebor | April 15, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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