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Notes from Caps practice

Goaltending isn't Coach Bruce Boudreau's only worry as the series heads to Montreal for Game 3 knotted at one game apiece. He's also got to figure out how to spark the dormant second line and a struggling power play.

In Games 1 and 2, Boudreau has tried Tomas Fleischmann and Brendan Morrison at second-line center (he actually alternated the two last night) with little success. Wingers Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin are still searching for their first point.

Boudreau acknowledged the line's drought, but was careful not to be overly critical.

"They've struggled a little bit," Boudreau said. "That's the great thing about having a team with some offensive skill, you can get by, sometimes, when not everyone is going right."

Laich has taken a total of four shots on goal (and attempted eight others) while Semin has 11 (and attempted 16 more).

"To win, I think we do" need contributions from second line, Boudreau added. "That's what made the difference between our team and a lot of teams this year was that if they stopped one line, another line would come through. We need more from our secondary scoring."

Is it time to try Eric Belanger at second-line center? He's played well, I think, and won 80 percent of his faceoffs.

As for the power play, the NHL's top-ranked unit is 0 for 7 in this series and 0 for 14 dating back Game No. 80. It's the second longest drought of the season (they went 0 for 15 in late October) and longest since 0 for 12 stretch in late March.

Boudreau said he doesn't attribute the struggles to over-passing, which is the usual culprit, and added that he's encouraged by the number of scoring chances the unit had Saturday (four shots on three power plays).

"I thought he we had some great looks and just missed," Boudreau said. "It's not like I'm dismally disappointed in our power play because they're working at it and trying to get stuff done."

For comparison's sake, the Caps' power play was 11 of 52 (21 percent) in 14 playoff games last spring.

Some other odds and ends from this morning's optional practice at KCI:

*Boudreau said he was pleased by his forwards' commitment to crashing the net in Game 2 (click here for the shot chart). He just wishes they'd show that commitment more consistently.

Ovechkin's goal came at the top of the crease, Backstrom's first goal eluded Jaroslav Halak as Mike Knuble bumped the Habs goalie and Backstrom's second goal was tapped in from just out of the crease.

"I don't score that many goals this style," Ovechkin said of his first goal of the playoffs. "But it counts."

Boudreau added: "We ask all of our players to go to the front and create traffic. Sometimes they do it. Sometimes they don't."

*Asked if he felt 100-percent "back" after his postseason-best four point performance Saturday, Ovechkin cracked a big smile and said, "Yeah. Probably. I feel comfortable and good. Last game was very important mentally for us. But still we have to forget it and concentrate on next game."

*Ovechkin engaged in a little unprompted gamesmanship when he offered up this nugget: "I watched the replay when [Eric Fehr] scored the goal and his arm was shaking when he drink water. So he's nervous. He knows the pressure on him and it's a good sign for us."

*Ovechkin also said he's looking forward to play in a building he has often referred to as his favorite on the road because of the atmosphere.

"In Montreal if you go somewhere people know you and follow you around," Ovechkin said. "Especially in Canada. It's crazy place. But you have fun over there, you play hockey. People just love you over there. But right now it's not about fun. It's all about business. And I think all this guys know we go there not just see some family, some friends. We go there to win games. And we have to win these."

Ovechkin has three goals, seven assists, a plus/minus rating of minus 3 and 51 shots on goal in 10 games at Bell Centre, which, for the next three days, will be referred to as Centre Bell on the blog.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 18, 2010; 3:39 PM ET
 
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Next: Poll: Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov?

Comments

Come on Tarik, please focus on the more important stuff. Why isn't anything being said about the defense, namely our top pairing of Green-Schultz that was on the ice for four of Montreal's goals last night? This is a HUGE problem, probably our biggest one, and I would like to know what Gabby intends to do about it.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Someone else mentioned the idea of putting 74 on the PP and letting Green get some rest. I think it;s a great idea. 74 has a great shot and is getting better and better each game.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 18, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff Tarik, thanks.

Posted by: Justafan | April 18, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

OK, on previous thread, there was a comparison between today's caps and 90s Pens. CStanton writes that Pens had way better D.

http://pittsburghpenguins.cz/players/roster-in-1992-93-season.html

All right, assuming,
1) Lemieux better than Ovi
2) Jagr better than Semin
3) Francis better than Basckie
4) Stevens better than Knuble
5) Coffey better than Green
6) Ulfie better than Poti
7) Murphy better than Corvo
8) Tocchet better than Laich
8) Kjell bettr than ShaMo
9) Bowman better than BB
10) and assuming they were so much better defensively in total, and
11) Barasso better than Theo

How is it the Caps this year 121 pts vs Pens only 119 that year?

OK, Caps got a few points this year from OT/SO win, plus goal differential Pitt +100 Caps this year +80.

Maybe the Caps aren't that bad, because that Penguin team surely was one for the books.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Green doesn't need rest, he needs to learn how to play defense. He's overpaid for his production. I still don't understand why Boudreau loves this guy so much. Our defense has been average, at best, all season. We need to upgrade before the beginning of the 10/11 season. Start the season by sending Green elsewhere.

Posted by: GreensGottaGo | April 18, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

IMO, one of the problems with the PP in the past several games is that the opposing goalie is always seeing the puck. Brooks or Knubs needs to consistently (rather than occasionally) camp out in the crease and set up a screen. As long as the goalie can see the puck, he's probably going to stop it.

However, I happen to disagree with Gabby about overpassing not being a problem for the PP.

Posted by: JillC | April 18, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Repost from last thread:
-----------------------------
It doesn't matter AT ALL who is in net.

If the Caps continue to waste their puck posessions by being herded onto the half-wall and corralled into the corners, allowing the defense to set up and choke the middle, we will keep losing. Centering passes from the corners are all wasted at that point.

HOWEVER if the Caps sack up and play the puck in the slot, making drop passes, crashing the net and shooting into screens, they will win.

And by play in the slot, I don't just mean try to cycle and keep a man in the crease. I mean SKATE INTO the middle.

We've got to challenge defenders. Our forwards have the stick skills to protect the puck playing in the middle.

They (like everyone) want to take the path of least resistance. The defenders give us the space to play along the halfwall, so why not go there, right? Wrong.

ALSO. Ovi has to stop quarterbacking the PP from the point. Go to NHL.com and watch all his PPGs. He is never running it, and he is never on the left point when he scores. Every time he scores, he's shooting from the high slot into a screen. EVERY TIME. He's got to stop trying to make the play and just make space for himself between the circles.

He has the most PPGs on the
team. By doing exactly that. If he stopped trying to RUN the PP, he could do it a lot more.

Posted by: large23220 | April 18, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
"Stanton writes that Pens had way better D."
http://pittsburghpenguins.cz/players/roster-in-1992-93-season.html

Click on your link, and than scroll down to the player who had #22 on his sweater... I think we have finally found who *our* Stanton is! :-)))

And btw, that 93 Pens team looks absolutely terrifying. And it was bounced from the playoffs by a very pedestrian Fish Sticks team that had Sneaky Pete, Ray Ferraro, rookie Kaspar, and very little else...

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 18, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"He's also got to figure out how to spark the dormant second line and a struggling power play."

Um what about the friggin DEFENSE??????

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 18, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Here's my $0.02

If this team makes it 4 rounds by winning games 6-5, then so be it.

Otherwise, some serious strategy changes need to be made, even at the cost of not having a particularly entertaining regular season.

Posted by: LesGrossman | April 18, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Barry Melrose and Matthew Barnaby don't pull any punches about Greener: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2010/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=5107382

Posted by: joeshred | April 18, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Roenick and Milbury were just debating Varly (JR) vs Theo (Milbury for next game. JR hit the nail on the head though with, "Caps need to tighten up and give goalie better chance."

Bigger question in my mind is Habs - Halak or Price. If Caps play the way they are capable, BB could put himself in goal and maybe win. But, for Montreal to win, they very likely need 60 minutes (or more) of stellar netminding. To whom will they turn?

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty telling when all the defenders of our defense - Japer/fjc33 and others with all their stats about Schultz and how the SE division teams rank significantly higher than their record shows etc.

Now, we're in the play-offs. Boudreau is playing the players he feels are going to help him win...and who's now a #4 defenseman?? John Carlson! I thought we were soo deep at defense we could rotate anyone??? I guess not. Where's all the Schultz defenders now the real game is here vs. pitting him against the oppositions 3rd line in the regular season?

Regarding second line scoring - it's going to come, I'm not concerned. I would suggest trying to play Scott Walker as he at least provides some grit around the net and would consistently crash the net as requested by Boudreau.

Finally - goaltending. Everyone knew this could be an issue, so it's no surprise we're in this situation already. Varly is no better than Theo these days, so I would go back to Theo for game 3. I would also be having Neuvirth work out with the team as a third option.

I think Neuvirth might give up 3 a game, but it's better than 5 or more.

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I find it disconcerting that BB isn't commenting on the poor play of 52 and Mr.+/-. Is this issue really not on his radar? There is no way we are going far with this run-and-gun mentality. Schultz wouldn't even be the best player on the Bears. The only body contact he has is during the group hug after a goal.

Posted by: Willy6 | April 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I find it disconcerting that BB isn't commenting on the poor play of 52 and Mr.+/-. Is this issue really not on his radar? There is no way we are going far with this run-and-gun mentality. Schultz wouldn't even be the best player on the Bears. The only body contact he has is during the group hug after a goal.

Posted by: Willy6 | April 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Backy and Ovie playin some postgame basketball...stick to hockey boys, lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfz1IGNodRM

LETS GO CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: CapsManning | April 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm honestly annoyed by how fans here overreact by talking nonsense like trading Green elsewhere, etc. He's only 24! Just wait and see. Patience.

Varly is a better goaltender than Theo. So what if Theo had a better record than Varly? Varly came off a 2 MONTH injury ... duh he's gonna suck for a while, but from what I've seen he's been better and has ALMOST recovered to his pre-injury form. I would give him the start on Game 3. Also, note, that Varly's record against the Habs is better than Theo's.

Stop complaining and have confidence. Trust and believe.

Posted by: ecaballero | April 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

At least you don't see our guys giving up gals like Jimmy Howard just did. 4-2 Coyotes late in the 3rd.

Posted by: Justafan | April 18, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I hope Varly's gotten better than Theo but I haven't seen it yet. Varly just hasn't had as much success dealing with the tougher shots and goalmouth scrums with the same confidence Theo has. Hopefully he'll pick it up.

Obviously the D is the big issue, though. We just can't leave Theo and Varly out to dry the way we've done this series.

Posted by: Justafan | April 18, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Bears Update:

Bears at Bridgeport today for game 4. Bears lead the series 3-0 but trail in this game 4-1 late in the third. Game currently delayed because of a broken pane of glass, second one today. Game 5 will be back in Hershey Wednesday night.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 18, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Belanger, Semin with Chimera....grinder, set up man and shooter, and killer speed that no team can match. Just a thought to get 28 going.

Posted by: RichC3 | April 18, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Theo was almost unbeatable for 3 months and Varly was hurt for 2 months and his performance since he came back has been average at best. but he's gotten better steadily. I would say he's back to about 90 percent of what he was before the injury.

Right now he makes all the routine stops but because Theo has been so great, he just hasn't had that many starts and I think that's the main reason he's not fully back to what he was before the injury.

However after all that, both goalies have similar GAA and save percentage. so it's almost irrelevant who's in net for this team but right now going into Game 3 in Montreal, Varly is a safer bet than Theo. They just won with him in net and he's the only goalie they've won with in the playoffs for the last two years... Theo is still winless in 3 playoff starts for this team.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I think the problem with Green is that he tightens up in pressure situations. I don't believe it is due to a lack of effort or skill. Green seems to give an all out effort but it looks as though the pressure situations messes with his head a little bit and he gets tentative. That just happens with some people.

The addition of Carlson could be doubly beneficial. First he is a talented defender, but second is that he will take the pressure off of Green as the #1 defender and Green will likely have less pressure.

Unfortunately that will more likely be next year and not this year.

I think Schultz has also been tentative as this is his first real go around in the playoffs (excluding game 1 last year which clearly didn't help his confidence). It took Schultz a little while before he got comfortable playing in the NHL and I have no doubt he will get comfortable playing in the NHL playoffs as well. But sometimes these are the growing pains you have to deal with when playing young players, especially young defensemen. So it might take Schultz a few games to get the jitters out and just start playing hockey. I have confidence he will.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tess, I appreciate the Bears updates. It sounds like they are moving along better than the parent club, notwithstanding today's game.

Matthew Barnaby was a doofus his entire playing career, and I don't see how putting him in a suit and in front of a camera makes him any smarter. "Green needs to play better defense and Ovi needs to bring it every game" - thanks for the penetrating insights.

Posted by: zmega | April 18, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone been reading all the articles accusing the refs of basically pulling for the Caps to win that second game?

haha...

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

@Willy - agreed it's disconcerting a bit, but maybe BB just protecting his players / doesn't want to tip his hand about adjustments - but to your overall point, hell yes the D is a large problem [Carlson and Poti and I think ShaMo notwithstanding], and what's most disconcerting is nobody seems to have thought to ask BB about it, whether or not he chooses to answer.

Not that I'm a huge Green defender - he just looks flat-out lackadaisacal out there sometimes, but whatever - although I think he's done OK actually, it's just that his d-partner has looked like an effing pylon against some of these MTL forwards, who granted can be a fairly quick bunch.

The issue is not really Theo v. Varly - whoever's back there needs better support from his d-men, especially Mr. Schultz.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 18, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I think Melrose had a better line than Barnaby when he said Green was dangerous in both ends of the ice... that was classic, lol

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

It's not just Green though, our defense as a whole is frustrating to watch. All they do is back-peddle and back-peddle until they are at the hash marks. It's beyond frustrating.

PLAY THE BODY!

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in Washington but now live in North Carolina. Unfortunately Games 3 and 4 aren't on American TV (I guess Versus chose Buffalo-Boston because it's two U.S. teams? Not sure why they wouldn't want the No. 1 team, No. 1 offense and No. 1 player).

Do you know if there's a web site where I can watch the game?

Posted by: Haroldgut | April 18, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Atdhe.net haroldgut.

Never fails me.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

@Haroldgut try ADTHE.net - or something similar to that, might be the exact link. Or google 'watch free sports live' - when a site like that pops up try it. That usually works, but you need a good internet connection, my old apartment effing sucked for that.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 18, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Ah, richmondphil beat me to it, as usual.

Btw, there's a reason most of our D back way in on the goalie - it's because they're afraid of getting walked if they stand up at the blue line. I've tried to be patient with Schultz - believe me, I've tried - but I simply don't believe he has the foot speed to be a top flight NHL d-man. People say ok, what about Pronger, but two things 1) Pronger's a nasty fawker, refs let him get away with murder and he uses it to his advantage - have yet to see that side of JS, and 2) Pronger's a bit quicker than he looks [other than what Parise lit him up like a candle, hah Pronger!]

OK, my juvenile tangent aside - I'm still waiting to see why we used a 1st-rounder on JS. And trying very hard to be patient.

Posted by: govtimbo | April 18, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

No, I hear what you're saying. That, coupled with the perception that the Habs are a fast team probably has our guys rearing back instead of trying to make a play. Backing up is fine to a point, but our guys just keep going and going until they are basically touching our goalie.

As for Pronger, I don't care what people say about him, he's an All-Star d-man in the playoffs. He may float through the regular season now, but he has been a vital force for the Flyers so far against the Devils. And yeah, I agree with you, Pronger is a much better skater than people give him credit for.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Theo is still winless in 3 playoff starts for this team.

Posted by: joek443

Wow... so who thinks he could get one in Montreal?? That's why I say go with Varly.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 18, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Come on Tarik, please focus on the more important stuff. Why isn't anything being said about the defense, namely our top pairing of Green-Schultz that was on the ice for four of Montreal's goals last night? This is a HUGE problem, probably our biggest one, and I would like to know what Gabby intends to do about it.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

get used to this powder puff reporting. The press in DC will not question Bruce. And if he doesn't want to discuss defensive woes, those questions won't be asked. Bruce just gets snippity when he gets asked about his D. It must hit a nerve or something. The only ??s he wants to be asked about his defense is how many points they can score for him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes Schultz had a poor game last night in his 3rd playoff game. He seemed tentative. Pronger is in his upper 30's and has played how many playoff games?

Most young guys are going to have growing pains. They are going to make some mistakes and may be tentative and nervous due to the increased pressure of the playoffs. Writing off Schultz after his 3rd playoff game is as ridiculous as people writing off Schultz last year for his less than steller performance in the regular season. Schultz has proven he is able to adjust after getting extended playing time and I feel the same will be true with extended playing time in the playoffs.

Players aren't at their peak right when they enter the NHL. They need time to improve.

Schultz has only played in one more playoff game than Carlson. Remember, Carlson has led the Capitals in turnovers in the playoffs. That is also likely due to lack of experience. I'm sure he will improve with every game he plays as well. Are the same people going to cry out that Carlson was a waste of a pick too?

People cannot have unreal expectations and expect every person playing D for the Caps to be the next Orr or Lidstrom or Pronger.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Theo's ability to win or lose a game in Montreal has less to do with past history and more to do with how well his team plays in front of him. At best, the Caps get 1. But they could easily lose both. I expect Montreal to put a ton of pressure on our goalie in their arena. So whoever he is will have to stand on his head because they're going to be in the crease, they're going to be forechecking the hell out of our D and it'll separate the men from the boys. Montreal can taste an upset. Thats what these 1st two games have provided them -- HOPE

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

We probably used the 1st rounder on Schultz for his size. When you're going through juniors and you're as big as he is, you can rely on your size to get the job done a lot.

I think I should clarify though, when I want guys to step up on people penetrating our d-zone it doesn't necessarily mean hit them. Use your body to separate the guy away from the puck. But your body against his, and cancel him out against the boards. You don't need to hit the guy to stop the play.

This poke checking, backing up to the hash marks stuff ain't going to cut it later in the playoffs. I don't care if it's Green, Schultz, or a forward.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

first of all sgm, I sat here and read how we were a signicantly better team this playoff season because

A) Schultz has blossomed into such a great player

B) Corvo's addition should make our offense even deadlier

c) Carlson's resurgence

d) the elimination of guys such as Erskine will automatically upgrade our team


well i guess one out of 3 is about what those fans are batting. Schultz has not been able to raise his game from reg season hockey. Corvo is no upgrade over anything we've had in the past. And there's no proof that Erskine's absence has helped in any way either.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

That should be our o-zone, not our d-zone.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

and ftr i've been a John Carlson fan from the beginning


in other notes, Hershey lost today but still leads their series 3-1 v Bridgeport

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 It is now his fifth playoff game, not third. And we don't have time for Schultz to figure things out. It's the playoffs, and the Caps are competing for the Cup and every single game is important. If Schultz cannot hack it against the Habs, then he needs to have his minutes drastically reduced, not be given 18-20 minutes of ice time every game against the Habs top line.

It I don't buy the "lack of playoff experience" excuse at all. Last night was Carlson's 2nd ever playoff game, and he has shown far more poise, confidence and composure in his own end than Schultz has shown in three seasons. And Schultz is no longer green - he has over 240 games of NHL experience; Carlson has only 22 games. No more excuses for Schultz.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of Erskine, why not let him play? People keep quipping that he's slow, but at least he'll make some sort of effort to cancel the play sooner rather than later.

I am sick of seeing our defenders keep rearing back and back and back until the guy has a good shot and takes it.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Man, Peter Regin is on fire! He seems to have a knack for the first minute/last minute goals in a period.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

exactly - Carlson is way ahead of a guy like Schultz. Schultz is a mental midget when it comes to cracking under a heavy forecheck. He plays great when the games aren't too intense. The second things get dicey, he doesn't adjust his game to match the intensity.

I don't want Schultz out of the lineup because even at his current pace he's still better than at least 2 of our regular dmen. But he needs to man up and grow a pair. I can't imagine how intimidated he's going to be in Montreal with the crowd and the expected uptick in the forechecking intensity we'll see from the Habs forwards.

same with Semin. He's just an embarrassment the way he skates around at half speed and avoiding contact. I see finesse players all around the league amping up their physicality at this time of the year. Where's #28?

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

@thinicer

Carlson is leading the Capitals in giveaways. If you are going to only focus on one guys positives while then only focusing on a different players negatives you will always come out with a skewed view of what actually happened.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Carlson also led the league in turnovers. Well, he did up until the games today were played.

Tyler Myers, another rookie, was in 2nd, prior to the games played today.

Two rookies with a ton of turnovers. The thing about both of them is that they are able and willing to pursue the guy and keep the impact of the turnover minimal.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Man, Peter Regin is on fire! He seems to have a knack for the first minute/last minute goals in a period.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:23 PM |

Nevermind, kicked in.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

#28 played a very good third period and his hustle and hard play was noted by the Versus announcers. Then shortly after that statement by the announcers Semin drew an interference penalty on Hal Gill by dumping the puck past him and skating hard around him on the boards forcing Gill to interefe with Semin.

But why look at all the evidence when we can just focus on the evidence that supports your overblown conclusory statements.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Also, I don't know if you guys are watching the Yotes/Wings games, but Lepisto has been a solid go-to defender for them so far. He even scored a goal today.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 So what if he does? If he's turning the puck over in the offensive zone, it's not as bad. If he's turning it over in the neutral zone and in his own zone, then it becomes more of a deal. And since you've decided to throw stats around, try this one on for size: Schultz is a -2 in these playoffs so far, Carlson is a +3. Oh yeah, and Carlson scored one of the biggest goals of the season. And is clutch. And has more offensive upside in his finger than Schultz has in his giant frame. This is a no-brainer: Carlson > Schultz, and he deserves far more ice time.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Thinicer, I think you are missing sgm3's point. He's not in anyway saying Schultz is better than Carlson, all he is saying is too look at everything before you just write off Schultz.

Personally, I wouldn't mind to see his minutes drastically reduced if he doesn't look good in the first half of Game 3.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

On Corvo, through two games he has 1 Goal, 1 Assist and is a +1. That is awful right?

His goal was a tying goal in game 1 and the assist was a primary assist on Backstrom's goal at the end of the second period in game 2.

In addition, he made a great play at around the 9:00 minute mark of the 1st period stopping an odd man break by Montreal that was caused by a turnover from a Caps forward. Corvo stepped up and took the puck and made a nice outlet.

If I used evidence like you I would just point to that over and over and call him the next Bobby Orr.

Corvo has played well through the two games. Not spectacular, but well. He has a goal and an assist through 2 games. Yes, that his more offense than any other D would have had that was on the Caps previously. He also has done a very good job at the point holding on to the puck and then making wrist shots around defenders attempting to block shots that get to the net.

I wish Green would take a page out of his book and do the same.

Corvo has made some nice pinches at the blue line and led some rushes and I don't even recall a bad pinch by him yet that led to an odd man rush.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Thank you. That's exactly the point I was trying to get across.

I love Carlson and I think he will be the Caps best defender for a long, long time and a many time All-Star. I have loved everything I have seen from him and I know his turnovers will decrese with more experience. I will gladly take the Carlson turnovers when you get the rest of the good stuff you get when he plays.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil No, I didn't miss the point. I got it. He's trying to defend Schultz by saying that since Carlson has the most turnovers, we can make any player look bad. I got it. That is 100% true, that is.....if you don't watch the games and see what happens on the ice with your own two eyes. And I saw a night and day difference between the two players.

All I care about is how a player performs in the playoffs. I don't care about regular season stats, I don't care about their +/- numbers, their point totals, etc. All I care about is - can they reproduce that performance in the playoffs? If they cannot do it, then they are worthless to me. That's just how I operate. It's nothing personal, it just underscores that the playoffs are all that matters to me and the regular season is nothing but a prolonged audition to get to the REAL competition.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

the biggest problem I have with the defense is their inablity or unwillingness to block shots... everyone can be beaten on any given play, even the Rod Langways and the Scott Stevens of the world but you can make up for it by blocking a shot here and there.

maybe the coaches don't want them to sacrifice themselves like that, I don't know but compared to Montreal, their effort on that department has been pathetic.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

If you got it, then why did you hinge on the fact that you thought he implied Schultz was better than Carlson? Just sayin...

Anyway, it's pretty evident Schultz-Green has been our worst pairing so far. I'm sure sgm3 would say that right away. There just isn't any reason to freak out about Schultz on why he was drafted, trade him, not re-sign him, etc, etc...

(That brings up an interesting point though..Schultz may have a high stock to other teams because of his regular season showing. If he walks as an RFA and gets a decent amount of money, that'll be some picks for compensation... I'm sure it's a scenario GMGM thinks about)

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

the biggest problem I have with the defense is their inablity or unwillingness to block shots... everyone can be beaten on any given play, even the Rod Langways and the Scott Stevens of the world but you can make up for it by blocking a shot here and there.

______________________

I think this might have to do more so with the fact that our forwards for some reason think taking shots from the perimeter is a good idea. These shots are routinely blocked. The Habs forwards, and other teams in general, skate the puck in and either get to the slot, or set-up and hit a trailer to have a much better shot.

This has routinely happened all year, I think. We see our guys take these no-chance shots which just get blocked, blocked, blocked, blocked, blocked, blocked. I think our forwards need to do a better job in getting their shots off.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil I wasn't hinging on any fact. I just thought that the defense of Schultz, by pointing out a shortcoming of Carlson's and using it as evidence that we can show any player in a bad light, was ridiculous and needed an appropriate response. It bothers me that some fans are still willing to be patient with Schultz when this is the best chance for the Caps to win the Cup, and we don't have the time to be patient. We should play the guys who will get the job done and will be calm and composure under extreme pressure. If Schultz is not getting it done, then he needs to be scratched or his minutes drastically reduced.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

and it seems that half the times they try to block shots, they either end up blocking their own goalie and/or the puck somehow ends up in their net like last night.

they just make half-a$s efforts and don't really try to sacrifice themselves. it's a far cry from the days when the helmet-less Langway would go down and try to block shots at any cost to himself.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Green and Schultz were bad last night. I don't think Schultz was bad in game 1. I really don't think any defender was bad in game 1 except for Poti.

I do agree that Carlson should and will see more ice time based on his play and Poti as his partner will see more ice time too. With Green/Schultz seeing a little less ice time as a result.

All I'm saying is that you can't make a decision based on one bad play or even one bad game.

I expect to see a better Schultz next game. If he follows up next game with another poor performance then you shrink his time on the ice even further.

If the coach feels that a scratched player will perform higher than Schultz has played in the playoffs then, by all means, put that scrathced player in and scratch Shultz.

I just don't believe there is a player scratched (Erskine or Sloan) who will perform better than Schultz on a consistent basis.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

This Flyers/Devils game is ridiculous. So many PIMs.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked why the Caps used a first round pick on Schultz. A better question would be why so many teams ahead of the Caps picked players who aren't as good as Schultz:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_NHL_Entry_Draft

The Caps won't let Schultz leave as a RFA.

$994,433 or below None
Over $994,433 to $1,506,716
Third-round choice
Over $1,506,716 to $3,013,434 Second-round choice
Over $3,013,434 to $4,520,150 First-round and third-round choice
Over $4,520,150 to $6,026,867 First-round, second-round and third-round choice
Over $6,026,867 to $7,533,584 Two first-round choices, one second- and one third-round choice
Over $7,533,584 Four first-round choices

My guess is Schultz signs one year, $2M or three years, $2.5M year. Compensation would only be a 2nd rounder. He's worth way more to the Caps, even as a third-pair D man if that's what he would be, than a second rounder.

Leading the league in +/- isn't a fluke. It isn't the be-all-end-all, but it isn't a fluke either.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

For those curious, here are the NHl yearly +/- leaders. Pretty fine group of players. Schultz is in good company.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_Plus-Minus_Award

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I haven't checked CI until today to catch up on posts (and I don't know if you will see this), but I just have to tell you that your little humorous tidbits--especially your droll Crosby quotes--were most appreciated by me.

In the midst of much handwringing, diatribes, and other rants, your posts were most welcomed by me. A little laughter is good for the soul. I miss the doofus brigade although the commentary over the past few days leads me to believe that a playoff version might have to be created.

BTW Hope your moving travails are going well. And your cats are adjusting to their new home. Good thing one of them isn't red--very difficult to explain to a non-Caps fan.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 18, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Poor Schultz and Green and anyone else who hasn't performed well enough yet--there just isn't a bus big enough to throw them under. Geez after game 1 we might as well as thrown everybody under the bus except for Theo. He was pretty good that night. Just not in game 2. That's why we have best of 7 IMO. And yes I do expect Green and Schultz to get their act together quickly. BB said as much in his post game interview.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 18, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Leading the league in +/- isn't a fluke. It isn't the be-all-end-all, but it isn't a fluke either.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 8:45 PM |

It also doesn't mean much of anything either.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Green-Schultz pairing has been downright awful. There's no reason to sugarcoat it.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 18, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

CYG: You know, I hadn't even considered what you suggested - a unit of the Doofus Brigade devoted to playoff posters. Wouldn't be a whole brigade, of course, but it could be a small unit, a platoon perhaps, composed of a "special ops" group of elite doofuses. These doofuses would excel at "shooting from the hip," "flying off the handle" and "jumping to conclusions" with a obvious lack of any credible supporting back-up. They would post notes like, "Trade Green now!" and "Send him to Hershey!" and "Brooks Laich isn't even a second liner on good teams!"

And they wouldn't even be a part of the brigade - they'd report straight to division HQ. As elite doofuses, their uniforms would be emblazoned with a unique patch - ED.

Yes, I can see that.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I have a ticket question. I usually buy my tickets on the caps ticketexchange but there aren't any available right now. Does anyone here use stubhub? Do prices on that usually go up closer to the game or down?

Posted by: KRI819 | April 18, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

At this point, shouldn't the Caps consider giving Alzner a shot? The d-men have been awful in their own end and Alzner is more of a stay-at-home type.

Posted by: ellinwoods | April 18, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Welcome back, Tom.

How's the move to California been going?

Yes, it's time to bring back the Doofus Brigade -- Playoff Edition.

It's amazing the number of posters who want to trade either Green, Schultz, or Semin at the moment. Some people here would rather bench Semin and replace him with Scott Walker. Seriously.

(On Japer's, they've been calling for benching Flash.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

KRI,

I'm waiting for my tickets to show up on the caps site. My guess is tomorrow morning.

StubHub prices tend to go down as it gets closer to game day.

Posted by: RickyBobby | April 18, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

CF75: I will be out there for good end of next week.

I'll have to update my handle.

Plenty of criticism of McPhee too for getting Corvo. I myself would have preferred Sutton except he is a LH shot and BB obviously wanted Green, Corvo and Carlson as it gives him three similar RH defensemen. Very balanced the Caps are with all RH D of one style and all LH D of the other style.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 18, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I think the beginning of the game will be huge. That Montreal crowd can be intimidating but it is also very quick to turn on its own team.

I like how Ovie brought up about Halak being nervous with his shaking hand. The Montreal media is talking all about this and it is big news up there. So I'm sure there is added pressure on Halak now. If the Caps can get an early goal or two it wouldn't suprise me to see the Montreal crowd get restless and then see the Habs lose some of their system discipline.

Just a thought.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the beginning of the game will be huge. That Montreal crowd can be intimidating but it is also very quick to turn on its own team.

I like how Ovie brought up about Halak being nervous with his shaking hand. The Montreal media is talking all about this and it is big news up there. So I'm sure there is added pressure on Halak now. If the Caps can get an early goal or two it wouldn't suprise me to see the Montreal crowd get restless and then see the Habs lose some of their system discipline.

Just a thought.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Green and Schultz ended up even and -1 respectively last night even though they were on the ice for a total of 4 goals against. Give it a rest already. One thing a lot of you need to remember is the Caps were playing catch-up the entire game even though they outshot the Canadiens by a wide margin again. That means your defensemen are going to pinch and take chances.

The fact is the series is 1-1 now. Flash, Laich, and Semin have not had their best games yet, and once they and the PP get going we will really start scoring. Green can never win here. Even if he is a +3 with 2 goals and an assist next game many will still be all over him. You see and hear it at the games, Green and or Shultz will make a solid play and it's not acknowledge, a pass can intercepted on a stretch pass at the opposing blue line and fans are up in arms. It's sickening for those of us that just like to enjoy the game and cheer for the Caps. There was booing last night again so I will take this opportunity to boo all of you that tick me off. Booooooooooooooooooooo.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 18, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's news to anyone that Green and Schultz are struggling. The Caps had a chance to bring in a stong, defensive defenseman at the trade deadline and instead brought in a guy in Corvo who is a slight upgrade over Pothier but isn't tough in front of the net. The fact that Carlson has been our steadiest defenseman the first two games speaks volumes. Simply put, defense wins in the playoffs and the Caps aren't strong enough in goal to overcome major mistakes by their defense in their own end.

Either our top 4 defenseman turn up their play (except Carlson) or the Caps won't get much past the first round. Even if we can beat Montreal in 6 or 7 games, I don't see the Caps beating either Ottawa or Pittsburgh without a major improvement from the defense. I've seen this all year where we rely on our skilled forwards to outscore an opponent and that win consistently in the playoffs. We were lucky to comeback in Game 2 and need to vastly improve if we're goign to win in Montreal in Game 3 or 4.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

tominfl -- what your player list doesn't show you side by side is PHILOSOPHY.

you cannot compare one team to another without discussing coaching philosophies. And you can't measure team commitment simply by looking at a roster of names.

So unless you actually remember watching that Pens team, you really can't make any type of informed comparison (no offence intended) between that Pens team and this Caps team. That Pens team had a committment to team defense.

btw, i would never say Paul Coffey was better than Mike Green. Not in a million years. He was a liability defensively but he was usually surrounded by very competent teammates.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I still think GMGM had a trade lined up for Hamuis that hit a snag for some reason. GMGM stated that the Corvo trade came together at the last minute. Well, the Predators GM announce at around 2:55 that Hamuis was not going to get traded. Then at around 3 the news came out of the quickly put together trade that involved Corvo.

While I don't know if the Caps definitely were close to getting Hamuis, everything sort of indicates that it was the Caps. That Corvo was GMGM's second choice.

To all those asking "then why would GMGM say he got the guy he wanted the entire time?" What good would it do to say "well, we actually wanted someone else but we settled for Corvo." I'm guessing that wouldn't make the acquired player feel very welcomed.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Ottawa sucks. They're lucky if they can score more than 2 goals in any game. Their offense is putrid now with Kovalev and Michalek out for the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

It bothers me that some fans are still willing to be patient with Schultz when this is the best chance for the Caps to win the Cup, and we don't have the time to be patient. We should play the guys who will get the job done and will be calm and composure under extreme pressure. If Schultz is not getting it done, then he needs to be scratched or his minutes drastically reduced.

Posted by: thinicer | April 18, 2010 7:54 PM

so based on game 1 - if you replace schultz with ovi in the above statement - ovi gets maybe 7-9 minutes ice time in game 2?
you can't pick one poor performance an label a player as unable to perform.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 18, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing the number of posters who want to trade either Green, Schultz, or Semin at the moment. Some people here would rather bench Semin and replace him with Scott Walker. Seriously.

(On Japer's, they've been calling for benching Flash.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

at least with a Scott Walker you'll know what you get in terms of contribution. With Semin you never know. His head is either in the game or it is not. And so far two games in, he's sucking it up all over the ice. So yeah, give me Walker. Or rather, give me Laing. I'll take a team concept player over a selfish individual lazy mofo anyday. I really hope Semin just leaves this team. Most of the other skill players we have are figuring it out. They're bringing a more consistent effort. Semin just acts like he doesn't feel like expending too much effort. You don't think his teammates see that from the bench? its a total double-standard the way Bruce treats a player like Semin who is allowed to skate thru the motions in critical games with no repercussion

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I went on some Canadiens blogs just to see the comments. Basically they fall into one of two categories: 1. They hate Ovechkin.
2. Bettman does not want the Canadiens to win.
For a fanbase/team who have 24 Stanley Cup titles, they have a real chip on their collective shoulders. Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 18, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

btw, who scored the Flyers OT goal today?

wasn't a skill player. It was Carcillo. Very much a Steve Downie type of player. Very much the kind of player who becomes important in the playoffs because they're difficult to play against. And you know that every shift they're on the ice you're gonna get max effort. So save me the soapbox about a guy like him being a dirty cheapshot artist. Bottom line is, he contributes. It may not be pretty, but its effective. And we could use a few more Carcillo types on this team, players who make lives a little more unpleasant for their opponents.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

To all those asking "then why would GMGM say he got the guy he wanted the entire time?" What good would it do to say "well, we actually wanted someone else but we settled for Corvo." I'm guessing that wouldn't make the acquired player feel very welcomed.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

funny how thats a recurring theme around these parts. McPhee always seems to come out smelling like roses. When he doesn't make a trade, he says its because he wasn't really interested in making one. When he lands an oaf like Corvo who absolutely did not fit what we needed, he gushes over his acquisition skills. I can understand being a tad self-serving, but McPhee takes that to new heights. Its nauseating.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Well the trade deadline has passed so why in the heck are some of you still dwelling on it? We have NO idea what GMGM tried to accomplish. Please tell me which shut-down defenseman was traded this year that the Caps missed out on. I wanted Sutton but after how badly I saw him get abused today I'm OK with us not having him. Yeah, he knocked out Leopold, but since that hit Ottawa has lost 2 games in a row.

I also thought we would work something out for Volchenkov which obviously didn't happen but maybe he will be an off-season acquisition. He's will be a UFA and if he wanted to sign with Ottawa he would have already done so.

I like my Caps the way they are. They aren't even firing on all cylinder and have played 2 OT games. They have outshot the darn Canadiens 84-61 so far. We finally saw the effect of Halak having to work so hard and he fell apart in the 3rd and OT.

Let's go Caps.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 18, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

lets be honest here, the Habs are the easiest opponent we coulda drawn. whoever said Ottawa sucks, well I bet we'd have our hands full with that team the way they forecheck, their speed and aggression. Our D would spend all game in our own end having to deal with the Senator forwards. And if we lose to the Habs, they'll probably get dispatched in 5 games in round 2. They're not that good. We're also not that good. We're not built for the playoffs. So part of it is effort, but part of it is personnel on defense. And the other part of is coaching and which personnel get scratched and which players get a roster spot. All of that factors in.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1: Horrible example, you could have scored that goal. He was literally just standing, uncontested on the weak side of the goal and puck came to him. You can have your friggin' Carcillos. He takes stupid penalties and negatively impacts the team much more often than a positive impact. His ignorance in getting suckered into a fight with Talbot last year in the playoffs was the turning point of a game that the Flyers lead 3-0 and ended up losing.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 18, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Please tell me which shut-down defenseman was traded this year that the Caps missed out
------------

lol, classic apologist thinking. How about acquiring some real defensemen via trades over the past 10 years? has that happened? McPhee has acquired guys like Poti, Pothier and Corvo. Thats who he pursues. So don't feed me this garbage about trying to pinpoint one player he could've had. There's probably 30 quality defensemen traded around or signed over the past decade that he could've had, or drafted but chose not to. Its not about THIS year. Its about EVERY FREAKING YEAR that he's been here its the same nonsense. He loves offensive dmen. They give him a chubby. This is why we're still talking about defensive dmen a decade after Tinordi retired.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

His ignorance in getting suckered into a fight with Talbot last year in the playoffs was the turning point of a game that the Flyers lead 3-0 and ended up losing.
------------

that part is true.

But this year he has been a quality part of their lineup. When he's in, the Flyers are a better team for it. They did a recent article on the impact he's had with the Flyers. Laviolette had nothing but glowing remarks about him and the strides he's made from being a hothead. At least he's moving towards maturity and self-restraint which is more than I can say for a Semin who has certainly shown zero progression in the playoffs. His best playoff series effort was probably v the Flyers 2 yrs ago.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so we should have signed an old fart like Pronger like Philly did? I am glad we are a skilled team. Take your worn out apologist saying and stop cheering for the Caps if you dislike the way they do business so badly. You are always such a friggin expert. You constantly rip on the Capitals and you will, without a doubt, be on here taking about how lucky the Capitals were to win a Cup. Always need something to complain about. You must be a real pleasure to hang out with.

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 18, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

we have a GM and a coach who are very aligned in their thinking.

They think that they have a good if not very good defense.

Therein lies the problem. They have no reason to change their way of thinking.

Bruce will thumb his nose at Umberger for his comments and ridicule him by talking about how many championships he's won playing his style of hockey. Its that lack of humility that will be his (and our) undoing.

It'll take one or two embarrassing series losses for those 2 to accept that they haven't reinvented the wheel and that certain elements in hockey still stand today despite it being a new era

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Ottawa can't generate any offense. The only reason they won game 1 was because Fleury was so terrible. They do suck now with Kovalev and Micahalek gone. I would have no worries about the Caps playing Ottawa.

You do know that a team does need to score some goals to win, don't you?

I think cstanton1 would like to trade Backstrom for Carcillo. I mean both have an OT goal but Backstrom isn't a playoff type player like Carcillo.

On that note, wasn't Malkin the Conn Smythe winner last year? He is about as physical as Semin is. What is your answer to that?

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Carcillo has matured. He only had 207 PIMs this year and was 4th rated goon instead of biggest goon. There was a great article about Brashear in DC last year, and BB had nice things to say too. Where's Brashear now?

Posted by: fanohock1 | April 18, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

i love how Fanock makes up stuff. Where did I or anyone else ever bring up Pronger? I never wanted Pronger here. Have you ever heard me say the words Chris Pronger? No. So if you're going to make a silly argument at least get your facts straight. Hell i'd be happy if we acquired a no-name guy like a James Wisniewski or spent some draft picks on defensive dmen. Not just one every 10 yrs either. But actually make a conscious choice to stock this team with players who excel at defense. We don't draft players like Seabrooke, or Mark Stuart. We go after guys like Eric Mestery. Tall beanpolers who will take half their life to fill out their frames. Or we go after non-physical positional defenders like Alzner. That's our commitment to drafting defensemen.

Joe Finley/Yonkman were rarities in that they fit a certain mold we don't usually go after. But you have to draft more of that type to find a few gems, you can't just draft 1 or 2 of those types in a decade. It means you're just paying lip svc to rugged defensive dmen types. And it CLEARLY shows what your drafting philosophy is.

McPhee reminds me of Steve Spurrier. Forego the offensive and defensive lines and just draft a bunch of wide receivers. Seriously

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

SGM--I think cstanton1 would like to trade Backstrom for Carcillo. I mean both have an OT goal but Backstrom isn't a playoff type player like Carcillo.


----------


oh my, another stupid comment. I only praised Backstrom about half a dozen times over the past day.

got any more ridiculous comments you want to attribute to me?

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, the Caps D played well in game 1 and they lost because their offense couldn't generate anything. Then their D played poor in game two but the Caps won because their offense was great in the 3rd period.

After game 1 many people were saying that the Caps should have Hal Gill on their team and they would be signifcantly better. If a Cap played how Hal Gill played last night he would've been criticized more than Corvo or Schultz on this board. And that's saying a lot.

The D had ONE bad game. Ovie had ONE bad game. It's 1-1 in the series. EVERY series was at 1-1. Calm down, it's not like the Caps are doing any worse than any other team in the playoffs and people are talking about them like their today's Oilers.

Let's see what happens in the upcoming games before making these conclusory statements. If the Caps lose the series to Montreal, then GMGM would have to examine why the Caps lost and make the approriate changes. But if the Caps win (which hopefully they do) and continue on winning then what are you going to complain about.

The way I look at it. The Caps were extremely close to beating the Pens last year. This year's Caps is signifcantly better than last years. That should at least give them a good shot at getting to and winning the Cup. It doesn't mean it will happen but they still have a pretty good shot.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

You do know that a team does need to score some goals to win, don't you?
---

really? thanks for enlightening me. Did you know that teams need to play defense to win? or maybe you don't know that which is why you live in ignorant bliss.

gee Boston who had a devil of a time scoring goals put quite a few up on Buffalo. How did that happen? Probably just a fluke. It can't possibly be that playoff hockey is geared more towards grinding hockey than the reg season is. No can't be that at all. How many grinders scored goals in gm 1 between the Pens and Senators? Care to count?

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Yes, I was using hyperbole to prove a point.

I actually like Carcillo because he has decent speed and has some skill too when he's not in the box. But he does take a lot of stupid penalties that has cost his team games many times.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

LMAO @ the notion that the Pens of the early 90's having a commitment to team defense... those teams allowed almost 4 goals/game even with an all world goalie like Barrasso in net... they were a worse defensive team than the 80's Oilers.

some people would make up anything to prove themselves right... a team like that couldn't possibly win the Cup back to back??

well they did so there's no use trying to rewrite the history.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, the Caps D played well in game 1 and they lost because their offense couldn't generate anything. Then their D played poor in game two but the Caps won because their offense was great in the 3rd period.

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

the Caps D played decently in game 1. Against a weak playoff team. You don't need to be world-beaters to play a decent defensive game v the Habs. They looked putrid down the stretch. If the season was a few days longer they would've lost their playoff grasp to a few teams. Lets not pretend that the Caps effort on D was against a very challenging opponent. So if you want to lower the bar, go ahead. But that type of defensive effort only looks good against certain teams. Their D in game 2 was pretty disturbing considering they still played a weak opponent and we were fighting to regain a hold on the series being down 1-0. You should have expected a stronger effort, not a weaker one.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Who won last night's game? The Caps gave up 3 more regulation goals last night than the night before but won. It doesn't matter how you win as long as you win.

Who was the Conn Smythe winner last year? A guy who plays little to no defense was considered the most valuable player in the playoffs last year. According to you, they are worthless. There's a little disconnect there.

I agree that you absolutely need defense on the team, but guess what, you need scoring too. Here's a novel idea, why not have both?

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

joek you probably hit the pipe a little too hard back in the day. It was widely known and accepted that that Pens team with Francis and Ulf was a team more focused on defense which was the key reason they went from being underachievers to Cup champs. The trade from the Whalers was credited as the missing piece because it gave the Pens a balance they had not had before. So keep cacklin like a jack__, but you're wrong. As usual.

any longtime fan here worth his weight can back me up on that. Its not even debatable. You can probably google it its that obvious. Go google Francis/Ulf trade and effect on Penguins and you'll prove my point.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 18, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Good posts.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 18, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

you can spell the Pens defense with two words in those days - TOM BARRASSO

end of story

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the Caps have to play better D than last night. But there is no reason to expect that they can't I believe tomorrow night's game we will see much better defense from the Caps.

Yes, allowing 5 goals a game is not going to give any team much of a shot at winning. But I think the players on the team are capable of playing good enough defense to win.

Yes, the Habs are a weaker opponent. But you only have to beat the team you're playing against. The Caps will worry about the next team in the next round, if they get to it.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@fanhock1

I agree. Good posts.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 18, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

if you were any kinda man, you would admit that the Pens won those Cups despite their defense... the notion that their defense played a large part in winning those Cups is LAUGHABLE.

90 percent of their defense was Barrasso.

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

and I don't need to google stuff like that because I LIVED thru those years... maybe you do

Posted by: joek443 | April 18, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

EVERY series was tied a 1-1. We have played bad and we are tied. Let move on. We won't be as bad on defence as we were the last game, and if we do......lets just go score one more than they do.

Do we get better style points for winning 2-1? Do we get a bonus if we only alow the opposing team 2 goals? We gave up 5 goals and played terrible on the D......but guess what......we got the Win. Thats all that matters right now. Lets live,learn,support and move on to the next game. ALL of our core(on D ) are under 24 years old, give them a break, they will improve with maturity.

Lets go CAPS! Bring back the home ice advantage tomorrow night!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 18, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

if the Sharks somehow lose this game, their fans should be put on suicide watch... 47 to 13 in SOG in favor of SJ but still scoreless with 3 minutes left in the game

Posted by: joek443 | April 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

That sounded an awful lot like San Jose's game yesterday. The Sharks made over 50 shots on goal yesterday against Anderson.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 19, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

wow.....Mr. Anderson must be having one hell of a game!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

@ CapsFan75

they had 50 shots again but didn't score 6 like they did the other night... big ZERO so far

and it just ended, Dan Boyle put it in his own net and the Sharks lose 1-0 in the first minute of OT

if the Caps ever lose like that in the playoffs, I might just hang myself... what a tough way to lose

Posted by: joek443 | April 19, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe the ending to the Sharks game. How awful.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 19, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The Sharks FINALLY get one of the shots on to go in the net.........unfortunatly it was in their own net......yikes......nice back-hander...bad angle by Boyle.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

No style points awarded for a "own goal"......What do the Sharks have to do?....wow....

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

No style points awarded for a "own goal"......What do the Sharks have to do?....wow....

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 19, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss

I don't know what the Sharks have to do. First off, don't do anything douchy in the Olympics, like slew footing other players, like Boyle did. Maybe that pissed off the hockey gods somehow.

Still, I feel for Sharks fans. I identify with them to a great degree. I can only imagine the frustration. So many more shots on goal than the Avs.

(I had predicted to a co-worker of mine who's an Avs fan that they would advance to Round 2.)

It will probably be hard for the Avs to advance past Round 2.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 19, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

Join the club. (I greatly fear that possibility.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 19, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

It probably didn't help the Sharks that Heatley was out.

Will the Sharks be in the market for a new goal tender next year?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 19, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Two words about the third period Sat. night:

turning point.

Posted by: Justafan | April 19, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

The Great "Montreal Meltdown" begins tonight.

Tonight is the night to make a statement and let them know why we are the #1 seed.

Who's in net doesnt matter to me. We need 65% of the play tonight to be in our end...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 19, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town

I'm assuming you meant 65% in their end (near Halak).

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

yes....AWAY from our goal...far...far...away

Posted by: SA-Town | April 19, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I would go back to Theo in goal. Varly makes me very nervous. Even the saves he makes, seem to result in some VERY juicy rebounds. There were several instances where Montreal came very close to an easy rebound goal. Theo still scares me, but less so than Varly at this point.

Posted by: zyvo23 | April 19, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis of the game and all of the goals from a Canadiens website. I have to say this website is very good at breaking down games and is very well written.

http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/2010/4/19/1430212/capitals-and-canadiens-game-two#storyjump

Posted by: Moose33 | April 19, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The Doofus brigade Playoff version is in full bloom, makes you hope that tominfl or someone will write a book -"Arguing with Hockey Idiots", I just don't have the time, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the playoffs and remember how great and entertaining this season has been. Thanks to GMGM, BB and the Caps!

Posted by: boomer44 | April 19, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

BB says we might go with 2 goalies throughout the playoffs. Has any team ever won the cup alternating goalies like this? My guess is he is just saying it but wants to pick one guy and let him run with it. Someone needs to step up and be that guy!

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 19, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Our D stinks and our powerplay seems to have NO purpose. the real culprit here is coaching. Bruce Boudreau doesn't have a clue!! Mike Babcock has more to say during a NBC break chatting behind the Wings bench than Boudreau ever does.


Someone else at least partially agrees:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/What-We-Learned-For-Capitals-no-defense-wins-n?urn=nhl,235079

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Carlson has been our best defenseman, followed by ShaMo. Our defensive system is far too passivs. we forecheck and clog the neutral zone way too infrequently. The Habs on the other hand clog the neutral zone and have been effective in slowing the caps offense. Isn't this elementary hockey?? All we see is the same old not working strategy from Boudreau. Seriously peeps, on offense for example, how long does he watch our offense get mucked up along the boards before he tells Cpas players to play the center of the ice??

Baldy has a system attuned to the AHL.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@doughless

The Caps D was poor in game 2 but was solid in game 1. Averaging the two leads to deceivinig statistics as the Caps only played one horrible defensive game, not two.

I think you would have to include Corvo as a defenseman who is playing well too. He was on the ice for no goals last night and had the primary assist on Backstrom's first goal. He and ShaMo have played well together so far.

I know many people on this site hate him for some reason, but give credit when credit is due.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I think the problem with this team is that they have too much depth. They played the best hockey I've seen from them during the streak. The lines were set and everyone had time to gel. After the trade deadline, the Caps had too many extra bodies and BB started tinkering again. Remember when he said he'd decide his playoff roster before the last 10 games? Never happened. Same with the goalies. Now it's game 3 of the playoffs. It's past time for BB to make some decisions.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 19, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Anyone surprised that its 11AM on game day and no updates from CI?

Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"All we see is the same old not working strategy from Boudreau."

How can you say that? Caps got 121 pts this year.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Belanger starts 2nd line center. BMo to 3rd line. Walker plays. I might even give Slaon a start. he can do no worse that half the D that has played so far this series.

Theo starts. our D was duplicit in the first to goals on Saturday night.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

this is the PLAYOFFS, not regular season. how many points did the sharks have?

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

According to Damien Cox, the Toronto Star's hockey columnist(DamoSpin):

Varlamov to get call in net tonite for Caps

Posted by: DaveinSilverSpring | April 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

all i am saying Tom is that BB just doesn't seem to be able to make adjustments. my concern and what i was referring to in my quote that you pull is that he so wedded to one system of play that he has few alternatives to regular season run and gun. the ice FINALLY opened up late saturday night (partially because they stayed off the walls), but I just have serious doubts on such a comeback against a 3 or 4 seed.

Give me boring 3 - 1 wins over saturday night.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I know many people on this site hate him for some reason,


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

lol, "some" reason eh? Maybe its because he's an easy target for opposing forwards to take advantage of. That would be MY reason.

I was watching highlights of the Pens game and the job that McKee, Gonchar and Orpik did on the Ottawa forwards was quite impressive. At least 3 of Pittburgh's goals started with a big hit by their defense on a forward back in the Pens end. That jumpstarted the play the other way. I just can't see guys like Schultz even wanting to make a play on a forward the way Orpik does along the boards where he just cleans out a forward and then calmly picks up the puck and passes it out. Simple and effective. The only player that really does that for us is Morrisonn and he's no Orpik. Even Gonchar was laying the hammer on a few forwards. He never did that as a Cap.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 19, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

While I would stick with Theo, if I were a betting man, I would put money on Varley. He's the guy who won the last game, plain and simple. You don't sit the guy who was in net during the last playoff win.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 19, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I hope I am never in a pressure situation with the Doofus Brigade, the first sign of something wrong and they panic...amazing, let's just get rid of McPhee, Boudreau, Smein, Green, Schultz, Corvo, Laich, B. Morrison, S. Morrisson, Teo, the equpment assistant and at least one of th eOlympia drivers and start over!

Posted by: boomer44 | April 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@ the Corvo haters-How did your boy Sutton look against the Pens yesterday?

Posted by: boomer44 | April 19, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Montreal papers are saying that Varly will be starting game 3....

Posted by: atybat | April 19, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

According to Damien Cox, the Toronto Star's hockey columnist(DamoSpin):

Varlamov to get call in net tonite for Caps

Posted by: DaveinSilverSpring | April 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I believe that was just his opinion and not a fact.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 19, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'd be pretty happy with Sutton in the Caps lineup. I'd choose him over Orpik.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 19, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It's 11:30 on game day and we're getting our info from Montreal newspapers...maybe the alarm didn't work.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 19, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Want to improve the Capitals defensive unit? Move Mike Green to forward. Instant improvement! I'm sick and tired of the Mike Green apologists. His play must improve in the defensive end or the Capitals are toast. IMO, he is the primary problem.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 19, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

you are Doofus number 1, boomer. nobody said to get rid of anyone. make some adjustments? sure. by the way, Corvo aint all that.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

>>>I hope I am never in a pressure situation with the Doofus Brigade, the first sign of something wrong and they panic...

That's an annual playoff tradition at pretty much all Caps' blogs, forums, comments threads, along with Leonsis getting love mail when they win and raging hate mail when they lose. :D Doubters and Second Guessers won't shut up until our Caps win a Cup. So here's hoping...

I'd joked pre-series that they should start Theo at Home and Varly on the road. Maybe it's not such a bad idea...

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 19, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The analysis of the last game in the Canadiens blog (as provided by Moose 33) is very interesting. It strongly suggests that Schultz was responsible for most of the Habs' goals.

And Boomer 44, I'm glad you pointed out the performance of Hal "Lady Liberty" Sutton (too big for a pylon, more like a statue). I hope that ends the claims that he would have solved all our problems. Although, if you believe the Canadiens blog, he probably wouldn't have played any worse than Schultz.

Posted by: zmega | April 19, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

i have been a Green basher in the past, but he hasn't been our main problem on D. i think the problem has been that we are trying to skate the puck through a clogged up neutral zone. the Habs are a fast team and have done a nice job of getting neutral zone picks, quite often leading to breakaways. at that point our D is playing ctach up.

the coaching staff needs to make adjustments, but for SOME REASON appear to be slow to adjust.

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

ESPN980 also reported that Varlamov was starting tonight.

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 19, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Look at the results of game 1 and game 2. How can you say Corvo played poorly? He has a goal and an assist and is a +1.

Carlson was on the ice for more goals on Saturday night than Corvo. The Habs first goal was blamed on Carlson for making a mistake. (This is NOT a slight at Carlson, I think Carlson is great and I love the way he played).

You keep on bringing up Sutton but do you really think he would've been on the ice for less goals than Corvo on Saturday night? Corvo was on for ZERO, so if Sutton could some how do that he would be the highest paid defender in the league. Corvo also had the primary assit on Backstrom's huge goal at the end of the secon period and has also added a goal.

How are those results bad???????

Judge the man on the actual results not on your pre-conceived notions on what the results should and will be.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 19, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The problem with our D is very simple. They don't play the body. The Habs offense skates right in with the puck in our zone 2 or 3 guys deep and make good passes and seldom dump and chase. Just my $0.2.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 19, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@Clueless, please don't place me in the Doofus brigade and I didn't single you out did I, but if you have read this thread since last night, we should get rid of the coach, the GM all our D except Carlson and a couple of forwards, all i am saying is it has been 2 games folks, maybe our expectations were too high, but we have an exciting offensive team, they are not going to morph into the NJ Devils overnight in order to play a defensive style of hockey. And Montreal is playing good 5 man d right now, as soon as the Caps' forwards pick up their defensive play we will see a different game.

Posted by: boomer44 | April 19, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

sorry, i didnt read last nights thread

Posted by: doughless | April 19, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@Lloyd - I agree [except Carlson and ShaMo - they play the body. And Green, when he wants to]. Right now, guys are walking around Schultz, and he isn't making them pay a physical price when he catches them. That's not a good combo. And maybe he's a better passer than I've seen - maybe - but how many good passes is he making if he's losing nearly every loose puck battle?

As for the Corvo defenders - I'm really at a loss. What, exactly, does this guy bring to the table?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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