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Ovechkin, Caps Off Today

Unfortunately, the Caps are off today, and I'm traveling, so I'm doubting there will be much fallout to report today. If you don't know what I'm talking about read my game story from last night's game here.


If I hear anything, I'll post something later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 1, 2007; 12:42 PM ET
 
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Next: What happened in Tampa, stayed in Tampa.

Comments

Season is over, why the closed door meetings and pissed off players?

This is a meeting that should have taken place in December, not March.

Posted by: A.B. | April 1, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Ohhhhhhhhh Tarik

Do you know what kind of a poo storm you started with the caps faithfull. They are ready to call Ovechkin and Semin the next Jagrs

But thanks for the In Depth Coverage.

Posted by: Marcin, Poznan Poland | April 1, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

..."This is a meeting that should have taken place in December, not March. "

It was, in fact, I believe Tarik made the comment that the team has had lots of meetings this year.

Posted by: pga3 | April 1, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Time to clean house from the owner, GMGM, Coach and the AHL'ers. Oldie Zilla (time to break my stick and cuss again) is the past and won't get better! He certainly not Hall of Fame material like Belfour and is just a large middle aged loudmouth. The AHL'ers: Pothier, Beech, Laich, Slotherby, Muir, Brent "I can't stop a beachball becasue I have no clue where the net behind me because my feet are happy" Johnson, Clymer and the other AHL talent should be shipped off for a bag of puckz or we can add many bags of pucks to take these slugs assuming someone will take them. Good old Ted and the worthless Coach and GMGM are running things like AOL, remember them?

Posted by: dossier | April 1, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

eminger caused the Bolt's 2nd goal. The team meeting should be about his pathetic plays all year long

Posted by: wanggo | April 1, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The meeting had to be more than just discussing stupid penalties. And hard to imagine the team would use 15 min to tell Semin to grow up. Likely a strong reminder that every player should play every minute as if it's their last minute in the NHL (it could be...).
Still why OV so upset? Kolsig said OV didn't like what he heard in the meeting, but it wasn't directed at OV himself. Frustration?

Posted by: Dezlboy | April 1, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd guess frustration, especially since Ovechkin has gone into hibernation.

Posted by: Shmoo | April 1, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

OV is friends with Semin. OV knows he and Semin do most of the scoring. He probably felt that, despite of Semin's penalty, they should be given some slack since the rest of the team can't score. Overall, OV sees the struggles of the caps this year is not because of lack of discipline from the top scorers, but from the lack talent on the team.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I remember reading that the players were p.o.ed over some of Semin's antics all season. This was probably the culmination of all that, the players meeting was probably hard on Semin and Ovechkin was upset because his buddy bore the brunt of it. But that shows immaturity on Ovechkin's part in my opinion because he KNOWS DAMN WELL that some of Semin's stuff hurts the team.

Posted by: Joe | April 1, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

We still don't know, or maybe we won't ever really know what went on, so all of these conjectures are just that. I hope Tarik can give us some more information about exactly what happened as best he can without violating confidences. Otherwise, we're just left to guess, and with the bloggers, it's a field day. It's not fair or right to the loyal fans to have a story on a clubhouse 'discussion' without stating some facts about what it was about.
It's like you having an argument in your house, and someone walks by outside, hears it and concludes something it wasn't.
Tarik, please fill us in. Thanks.

Posted by: kenhockey | April 1, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

We already know this fact, but if Ted expects his young defenseman to mature and develop into true NHL'rs then he is going to have to acquire some legitimate NHL defenseman to mentor these youngsters. Look at what Johnson in LA with Blake. Imagine how much longer the development of Stevens and Hatcher would have taken without Langway. This team has more problems than what can be solved in a 30 minute meeting. Center, right wing, mentoring defenseman and PP defenseman all need to be added. The Caps will be in the same situation next year without these additions.

Posted by: AGP | April 1, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Come on guys! The message board on the Caps website is a much better place to whine about the team. I'm surprised you haven't tried that yet. Wait...nevermind.

Posted by: Semin is dumb | April 1, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I made the statement in an earlier post, that I'd have nothing further to say regarding The Great, Olaf Kolzig. I regret that, because what happened last night goes to the very heart of my contempt, and extreme displeasure for Olaf Kolzig the man, his lack of real character, and leadership.
IMHO, Kolzig is the ultimate hipocrite. He's one who NEVER shies away from praise, ( Usually undeserved ) but is always super - quick to deflect HIS RESPONSIBILITY for failure to his team mates. How many times have we heard Olie blame the defensemen for his failure to stop the puck? The answer: COUNTLESS. Either directly, or indirectly, Olie ALWAYS finds a way of shifting the weight (Of failure) from his shoulders, to those of his team mates. Last night was merely the most recent example. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that this most recent defeat was primarily Olie's fault. What I AM SAYING is that he used Sasha's ill advised, immature, and certainly untimely brain cramp, to focus all responsibility for the defeat, AS FAR AWAY FROM HIMSELF as possible. You watched the game. How many of the Lightning's goals would Brodeur, Luongo, Hasik, or any other of the truly outstanding goalies have stopped? One? Two maybe? But what does Olie say? That Sasha's goal was the "Turning point in the game." Not, that, "I should have stopped one or two of those goals against." THAT'S what a TRUE LEADER would have said; particularly under the circumstances. But, he didn't. He threw the young, up and coming super star UNDER THE BUS! Way to go, "Leader."
He's a hipocrite! He's 2 - faced. He's the epitome of being "Self - serving." And he's certainly no "Team" player. He's all about Olie.
In my opinion, Olie is everything this team needs to rid itself of. Instead, Hanlon and others in management have, on numerous occasions, laughingly referred to him as, "THE FACE OF THE FRANCHISE." Which from MY perspective, is the ultimate joke, and in a nutshell sums up all that ails the Washington Capitals.
I hope no one out there is naive enough to believe that somehow, this is all going to magically just go away. It isn't. I believe this whole episode is just the tip of an iceberg. An iceberg that has been eating at Ovie's ( And Sasha's ) craw for quite a while. In spite of proclamations to the contrary, THE TWO ALEXANDERS are the "Face of," as well as the future of the Capitals. Certainly NOT Olaf Kolzig! As such, I believe management has a responsibility to sort this thing out in a manner acceptable to "The Great 8 " and Sasha. It's far PAST TIME to be catoring to Godzilla. His moment in the sun is L O N G G O N E.
Puckguru

Posted by: puckguru | April 1, 2007 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm. I'd almost say that Ovy and Semin got into it with each other. No one is better at pissing you off than a friend.

Posted by: EricS | April 1, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik... were you able to glean anything about Janne Lahti?

Posted by: Graham | April 1, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's remember, the Bolts scored 2 goals on the third while Semin was on the bench...who do we blame for that???

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse


Puckguru

_____________

I will agree that the two Alex's are the future, Caps cant get rid of Olie simply because they have no one to replace him. Think Johnson can be a starter and carry the load? What Kolzig needs to do is shut his mouth to the press. It may piss reporters off but that is better than pissinf players off. The team and Olie have to realize that semin is one of the best players on the team, and ripping into him in a private meeting with the team might not be the best way to deal with his immuturity. As far as AO's pissed off response it may be due to the fact that Olie hasnt performed well this season yet is criticising the leading scorers!!
Olie needs to keep his mouth shut unless he is praising the players. He has pretty much sucked the last few months. Granted he makes great saves, but he is playing well below what he is being paid. To bad the Caps really have no tender to replace him. This team is not looking to be very good for a long time.

Posted by: jr4caps | April 1, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

A little bit of outside perspective from a non-Caps fan... You guys are too easy on the Alexanders. Hanlon should have either benched or scratched Semin a long time ago. The kid is tied for 9th in the NHL for minor penalties. Those 90 minutes that the Caps have played shorthanded have really hurt the team. Last season, Lindy Ruff was not afraid to scratch Thomas Vanek several times to get the message across. This season, Vanek is a +40 player (-11 last year) and his offensive production is almost on par with Ovechkin's.

As for Ovechkin, he was probably pissed b/c his teammates told him to backcheck and cut down on the giveaways. I've watched a few Caps games this year, and noticed that other teams are capitalizing on Ovie's defensive shortcomings. I saw the Caps game here in Montreal, and I don't know how many times he 'jumped the zone' to try to get past the Montreal defense, essentially causing a brief 5-on-4 situation.

Semin and Ovechkin are great players, but they need a little bit of tough lovin' before they can truly jump to the next level.

Posted by: Eric | April 1, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I've heard several times that players/staff have expressed displeasure with Semin, but haven't actually seen the articles that reported this info. Can anyone link me?

Posted by: mirm | April 1, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Sure, blame Semin, Ovechkin, the equipment guy... who else? I hope that Semin does leave the club... together with Ovechkin! Then, I wonder, who will Kolzig have to blame? The Caps are a very BAD team. Clark wouldn't have a 30 goal season if it wasn't for Ovechkin. Ans whatever Hanlon said to Semin, he should say to Kolzig for a number of "butterflies" that flew into his net.

Posted by: Ousider | April 2, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

To Outsider, and jr 4Caps,

Basically, you two have completely summed up what I'm talking about. It's gratifying to know that there are others out there that haven't been hoodwinked by all of the hype. What the Caps need are MORE Semins and Ovechkins. And, less of the Olie types. I see where the # 1 ranked draft eligible player is a winger from Russia. Of course, if the Caps were fortunate enough to have the opportrunity to pick him ( Which they probably won't ) GMGM would probably send him to Hershey!! Much unlike what the Pens did with Stalls.

Posted by: puckguru | April 2, 2007 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Olie Kolzig is much better than you guys give him credit for. Here's what you're not looking at. He is a leader for this team and while he may not point to himself for blame, I'd say that's because he does his job. Look at the numbers.

His save percentage = .909, the same as Hasek and Ryan Miller, better than Marc-Andre Fleury and Belfour.

Shots against, 12th in the league with 1720. Brodeur, Kiprusoff and Luongo lead the league, but Kolzig's been in 20 less games. The difference is about 400 shots against for those top three guys, an average of 40 shots a game.

Number of shots seen per game: Kolzig faces an average of 33.07 shots per game this year. Other guys? Brodeur 27.93, Kiprusoff 29.52, Luongo 28.65, Belfour 26.8 and Hasek a microscopic 23.16, almost a full ten shots less than Kolzig. At that pace, if Kolzig had played in the same number of games as Brodeur, he'd have faced 400 more shots and a bit less than 400 more shots than Luongo. For Hasek? Over 500 more shots.

Oh, and for kicks, Olie is tied for second with 3 assists on the year.

Don't believe me? Check out the stats for yourself at NHL.com, that's where I got mine. One has to figure that with a better defense, his shots per game should come down, and therefore his goals against and GAA should also reduce. For the workload he faces, Olie is, hands down, one of the top goalies in the league.

Yes his GAA is ugly at 3.07, but again, better defense will reduce that number. The only knock I can find is that Olie hasn't had a shutout this year, but hopefully those would also come with a better defense. So instead of wishing for a Hasek or Luongo, wish for a better defense to play in front of Olie.

Posted by: stuffedinvader | April 2, 2007 5:34 AM | Report abuse

I think the entire team needs some tough loving b/c apparnetly getting their butt kicked night in and night out since January isn't humiliating enought for them....another loss brings us one step closer to drafting Alexander Cherepanov

Posted by: Jleftwing97 | April 2, 2007 5:34 AM | Report abuse

Good discussion. Nice to see a bunch of people here blaming Semin for the loss... I'd say Kolzig is more to blame for the loss than Semin. Don't get me wrong, what Semin did was absolutely stupid. But to come out and say the Caps lost the game because of that penalty is simply ridiculous! Instead of pointing fingers at others Kolzig should shut up, and, if he wants to be a true leader, stand up for his guys and tell them his concerns in private.
As for Kolzig's numbers, they don't mean much when your team is dancing with the Flyers at the foot of the table.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"we're a very hard team to read coming out of the locker room. We give 110% everynight in the hallway against our ipods and headphones."

ROFLMAO.....its just frustration but its still funny.

Ted better BELLY up to the table and get some NHL talent in here before AO destroys all the equipment. I don't consider Zubie a BIG FA signing either....We have to stop being Abe's GOOD ol Boy club and get some fresh blood in this organization.

http://360.yahoo.com/cthskies

Posted by: caphcky | April 2, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Here's something on a possible Caps' FA summer target. Did anyone watch Detroit vs. Columbus on NBC yesterday? There was one good conversation and Datsyuk. Pierre McGuire said Datsyuk would go to Washington to play with "his best friend" Alex Ovechkin, Hull said Washington didn't have any money. Nice to see people publicly saying that the Caps will not afford a true 1st line FA center.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I will agree that the two Alex's are the future, Caps cant get rid of Olie simply because they have no one to replace him.
...
As for Kolzig's numbers, they don't mean much when your team is dancing with the Flyers at the foot of the table.

The same could be said for Ovechkin and Semin. Remember Pavel Bure? Over the span of four seasons (1997-98 through 2000-01), he lead the league in goals twice and finished second another; he missed most of the 1998-99 holding out for a trade. Two of those three seasons, his teams -- the 1997-98 Vancouver Canucks and the 2000-01 Florida Panthers -- his team missed the playoffs entirey, and the other, the 1999-00 Panthers, were swept by eventual champion New Jersey.

Kolzig had a great season last year, and the team almost made the playoffs. Kolzig has an off year this year, and the team is hiding in the basement, despite the return of Semin, addition of a few better players, and the riddance of others (Halpern, the Biron brother). At this stage of the team's rebuild, who is more important? Kolzig had a few opportunities to join other clubs -- until Peter Budaj emerged, the Colorado Avalanche probably wish Kolzig had listened to their offers. Instead, he chose to stay in DC and see if he could win a Cup with his first and only team. At this point last year, the team was out of the playoffs, too, but there was hope and optimism.

Kolzing, Zubrus, Zednik, even Witt ... these guys may not be the top leaders on the rosters in Detroit, Anaheim, or New Jersey, but compared to the rest of the Capitals bench? If you are going to slowly rebuild with AHL champion talent -- and a few grumpy, moody superstars -- you will need a few NHL winners to ease the transition, and crush egos when necessary.

No one should expect Ovechkin to lead this team -- not because he will never be a leader, but because he is too young and inexperienced at that part of his game right now, no matter how young the rest of his team is. What we should expect is for him to listen to what few veteran leaders are left on this team.

Posted by: P-Mac | April 2, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

stuffed, thanks for the olie stats. given the defense he's played behind, his performance this year is outstanding. and finn, they are that much more impressive given that the caps will finish second to last in the conference.
as a leader on this team its his JOB to be the one who calls players out publically and behind closed doors. notice you don't see anyone else making any public comments about this??? not the coaches (until recently w/morrison) not even captain clark. thats what he does. should he just ignore the fact that the team take too many stupid penalties and just doesn't have the skill to kill them all?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 2, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Should the team ignore Kolzig's poor performances this year? Everyone seems to close their eyes on Kolzig's own failings. He's not an idol. He is just another player who just happens to make a lot more money than anyone on this team. He should be held more accountable for his flops. I want to see someone call Kolzig out to talk about his LACK of leadership on the ice.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

the point is finn, he has had an outstaning year given the team in front of him (bunch of AHL'ers right?). he makes a lot more money because (a) hes the most veteran guy on the team and (b) he's an outstanding player with a vezina trophy on his mantle. how can you call a guy out who's called on to make 1/3 more stops than most goalies? he's not the best goalie in the league this year by a long shot, but he's not the problem. and he shouldn't be called out by anyone. nobody on the team has earned the right to do so. that's the way leadership works.

Posted by: Olie | April 2, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

You'll be surprised by how many people think that Kolzig is way overrated. He's let in quite a few soft goals. He knows he's playing in the NHL with an AHL team. So why complain? Shut up or bring your concerns to GMGM and Ted. That's what a true leader can do. Stand up and say "we suck, we need talent, we need veterans." The only person who was able to do this is Ovechkin. I imagine what kind of heat he could (did?) have taken for it. But he called out the management to improve the team. Yet Kolzig just points fingers at guys around him even though he knows tha guys like Eminger, Klepis etc cannot and will not get better because they have reached their potential. So Kolzig should stop shifting the blame and take some responsibility himself, show leadership and talk to the guys in charge... or shut up. Otherwise he's just an old whiner... like a bunch of us here.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I can agree with giving Semin a benching, but why call him out like that? The benching gets the message across and the coach can talk to him if he deems that necessary. Why does the team have to have a meeting to rag on him?

What I really don't get is how everyone keeps saying it happened at a critical point of the game. It happened in the second period! TB won 5-2! Sure it was a dumb penalty, but to say it cost the team the game is a stretch.

Posted by: FN | April 2, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Well, I think the reason everyone came down so hard on Semin (IF that's what actually happened, given that no one in here was inside that room during the meeting), I highly doubt it was for this one play. I think it's more the fact that he's taken lazy penalties all year, and this isn't the first, but the second time he's thrown the puck. Granted, the kid's amazing, but he seems a little self-centered at times.

And when Olie screws up, I think he comes down hard enough on himself that nobody needs to say anything to him. He certainly plays with passion. And does anyone actually have any quotes of him calling his teammates out? Cause I don't think it's happened more than once this year.

Posted by: Murshawursha | April 2, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

FN,

I don't know if the meeting was just to attack Semin and/or Ovechkin. But those two provided some examples of poor play that the whole team has shown in the last few weeks.

And Semin's penalty happened at 2-2. The Caps were in it, they did something stupid and got burned for it. A big mental mistake like that can (and did) take the wind out of the team's sails.


And why is nobody expressing any sympathy for Ovie's now deceased magic iPod?

Posted by: Kim | April 2, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig called Ovechkin out to play defence... That was when the Caps were 6th, Ovechkin was scoring, the team was winning.... After Kolzig's call out the Caps started losing, Ovechkin stopped scoring, the guys became frustrated, Ted lost paying fans, we became the laughing stock of the NHL, Versus reporters started making comments about our rebuild etc... Good call out, Kolzig!

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

You all know I have been a supporter of Kolzig, and am normally the one who posts stats to try to prove it. I still think he actually is playing decently, considering the team in front of him, but I will admit something after reading some of the comments above in this thread.

Let me also say I didn't see either game this weekend, so, if he let in tons of bad goals, whatever.

Anyhow, in years past I remember Kolzig saying things like "there was a breakdown, but I still should have made the save", both calling out the team, but also putting himself out there a bit. But it sure seems like more recently he is very ready to call out the breakdown, but less willing to accept any fault. Now, the fact that the chances he is facing are often point blank, and he probably SHOULDN'T save them all is part of it, but even in the past he would take blame when maybe it wasn't his fault.

So, if this is the case, is he really less of a leader? Or is he just fed up with his choice to stay on this team and play behind a bunch of guys who can't seem to play consistently infront of him? He is at the point where he is thinking about retirement, but he wants a Cup. And he probably realizes he has no chance of that with the team as it is. That isn't an excuse to call out your teammates without stepping up yourself, however.

I'm willing to concede his leadership this season is lacking, but I still think overall his contribution to the team is significant. Again, even if we don't think his leadership is up to par, there's no doubt the Caps player better (in general) when he is in goal than when Johnson is in goal. To me, that still means he has the respect of his teammates. Perhaps THAT is more important than the quotes that we are reading in the paper.

Posted by: Jeff | April 2, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

finn, by my count (unofficial) ovie has 48 of his 89 pts pts in the 47 games since mid dec when olie called him out. oh and about the same time he was called out, the team suffered many many injuries. i know you remember that, dont you? and just who (besides the posters here) things kolzig is overrated? i think (yes, my opinion not fact) if you asked people in the know, they would say olie has had a good year given the team he's playing behind. do you know for a fact that olie hasn't talked to gmgm or ted? no you don't, nor do i. do you know whether hanlon and/or gmgm might have suggested that olie make those public comments about ovie given his leadership position? no you dont. however, i think tarik alluded to as much when olie made those comments in dec. don't let facts get in the way of your doomsday comments. and i think hulls comments about datsyk (sp) were in jest given that they are barely spending above the salary floor.

as for ovie calling players out, he's 21 and in his second year in the league. nobody would blame him if he did pop off, but he's not a leader on this team yet. did you notice that not even crosby wears the C. do you know of any other 21 year old second year guys taking on that role. i think yzerman might have, but he's/was yzerman.

Posted by: Olie and Ovie | April 2, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig has been great in the past. He has been off this year. It's gotta be tough playing with guys in front of you that are so inconsistent. Is it unreasonable for us to expect that he might crack under the pressure and make a mistake? Would it even be considered a mistake if Sasha finally gets the message?
We need other players that can help Kolzig, Ovey, and Sasha next year.
Maybe next year Kolzig needs to sit a few more games. I know he likes to play alot but is that what's best for him & the team?
Lots of questions. If I had the answers I'd be running for GmGm's job.

Posted by: Pete | April 2, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I firmly believe that Ovechkin is a better player than Crosby. And he would post better numbers with a different team. And he is going to be just as good as Stevie Y is he plays for an NHL team.

If Kolzig is such a great leader then he should call out the management publicly, just the way he does with other players. I wonder why he only called out Ovechkin and not the rest on the bunch? How about Laich? How about Beech? Does that mean that these guys do a better job than Ovie? Doubt that.

And if Hanlon asked Kolzig to make those public comments, then Hanlon is not a leader in the locker room! I don't know if you watch soccer or follow the English Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson is the Manager of Manchester United. He frequently has tough talks with his team after poor performances. Sometimes he even throws "objects" at his players (not that I condone it), like David Beckham and his split eyebrow. But publicly he would never in his life criticise his players, nor would he allow his players to criticise their teammates, regardless of their leadership status. He doesn't need those mindgames. He is The Gaffer. And Hanlon is not. He's Mr. Nice Guy. Players will not listen to him, like Semin doesn't listen to him. There's no discipline with this coach. He'll never earn it in the locker room. Because he should have done so at the very start. That's why he sends Kolzig out to publicly criticise his teammates.

Sure, Ovechkin being 21 is not a leader... Clark is. And that says a lot, when a mediocre player like Clark wears a "C".

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

To Finn,
Amen, brother....

Posted by: puckguru | April 2, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

finn, hey i agree with one of your statements. i believe ovie will be a more valuable player than crosby. crosby makes players around him better ala gretzky. but ovie needs better players around him to reach his full potential.

what good would calling out laich or beech? both are barely hanging on in the nhl and won't really benefit from public ripping. i think laich is probably playing as well as being expected given his talent and beech, well, i think he'll be elsewhere next year.

again, you don't know what hanlon does or doesn't say in the locker room (nor do i). and unless you're scotty bowman or a coach like that, i think having a veteran player on point for those comments means more than someone like hanlon. my guess is that hanlon has said what he wants to say and it wasn't enough so olie took the reins.

sorry if i'm not up on english premier league soccer. but i think you are making my point. hanlon doesn't rip players in public (ala sir gaffer or joe gibbs) and you have no idea what he does behind closed doors. although i suppose if he split the head of ovie we'd hear about it. and by benching players like semin hes doing what he can to emphasize discipline. he can't fine the player, so taking away playing time is his only lever. think semin has a big bonus due if he scores 40? i bet he does and i bet sitting on the bench and not being able to hit that number hurts.

and you don't need to be a top player to be the C. and since olie can't wear it, then clark does as one of the few veteran guys left. and he's got 30 goals. yes, i know, everyones grandmother could net 30 playing w/ovie. but there are lots of guys who play with great players who don't get 30...

Posted by: Olie and Ovie | April 2, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If Kolzig has talked to management, and they have told him there are going to be significant changes made to the roster this summer, what would the point be of them calling them out? We know management told him there would be considerable roster improvements when he signed his contract, so you'd think he has an open line of communication with them on the topic.

And you don't call out Laich or Beech because they don't have a nearly non-existant ceiling to their skill-set. Ovechkin is an amazing offensive player -- we all know that. In theory, you want to round him out as a player who is responsible in his own zone as well, so he can be out there on the PK, not always trying to jump out of the zone too early, etc. I'm not saying it was appropriate to call him out on it, but he is the type of player who CAN change those skills. You can't call Beech out and say "Kris really needs to improve his offensive game." He doesn't have the ability to do that, nor is he the (present and) future of the team.

Posted by: Jeff | April 2, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Finn on this one. Kolzig has been good enough to put up some great numbers, but that's not the essence of what it means to be a great goaltender -- it's the big saves at big times.

Like when your team is preserving a 4-0 lead against the Penguins on Dec. 11.

Or when you're locked in a tight, 0-0 game against the Penguins on Feb. 2.. and not Crosy, not Malkin, not Stahl, but RONALD PETROVICKY comes "streaking" down the right wing and fires a routine shot.

I realize Kolzig has a piss-poor defense in front of him. But the missed opportunities I mentioned (along with many others) are the reasons Kolzig will never be mentioned in the same breath as Brodeur, Hasek and Ryan Miller.. except by "stuffedinvader"

Just remember, Tuukka Rask was still on the board when GMGM took Sasha Pokulok in 2005. So even if no one here is interested in Pokulok's recovery from a concussion, I'm sure GMGM is..

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | April 2, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

These comments were linked on the Caps web site from a British (??) online newspaper. Not sure if the quotes were writen by a Caps PR guy or are really from Ovie, but hopefully they represent his true feelings. They sound good anyway.

Ovechkin believes in the Capitals' plan to build through the draft and selective trades and free-agent acquisitions. The left wing said he is in it for the long haul.

"I don't want to leave Washington," said Ovechkin, who has 43 goals this year. "I love the team, the organization and the fans. I think next year our organization will sign some players.
"They know what they want to do. My job is to play hockey. I want to play for a winner. Everyone here wants to win. We will. I'm not going anywhere."

Posted by: Ovechkin Comments | April 2, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Tuuka Rask? Does he play in the NHL? The Caps have their goalie of the future. His name is Varlamov and I believe he will be in the nets for Russia during the World Championships. He's 18 and a stud. He's the future in nets when Olie hangs them up.

Posted by: Who | April 2, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Varlamov, being only 18 is playing for the Russian U18 team, not the big squad...yet.

Posted by: Correction | April 2, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Someone posted last week that Varlamov has been called up for Team Russia for the WC in Moscow. So I guess he's in with the big boys.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I just hope Tarik puts up some useful information about the team meeting in the near future, so all of the conjecture can be done with, not only here but on the Caps blog site as well.

Posted by: kenhockey | April 2, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree that someone has to come out and say what happened. Otherwise there will be lots of rumors for days/weeks to come.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov has been asked to try out for the Russian WC team, along with several other goalies. Final selections for that team have not been made. Additional players will be invited from both the NHL and the Superleague as those seasons and their playoffs wind down.

The points made above about not calling out a number of players because it's essentially purposeless are an interesting but sad commentary, given it's currently unclear whether those players nevertheless remain in the Caps future plans. Unfortunately, none of this discussion can be resolved until July, which frankly can't come soon enough.

Posted by: Fred | April 2, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

These are the types of stories that give the press a bad name. They write about some altercation without any details, thus fueling the rumor and speculation mills, when after all is said and done, it may or may not have been a big deal. While I know its been a couple of days since the Tampa 'incident', I feel Tarik could at least put something down here to let us know what might or might not have occurred.
It only takes a couple of minutes to write something out with some detail, and he doesn't have to name names for his sources.
I'd like to know what kind of performance I can expect from my team tomorrow night, and the remaining 2 games.

Posted by: kenhockey | April 2, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov looks good - but he's at least 2 years away.
Rask will start for Boston this fall.
Kolzig was already 35 years old at the time of the 2005 draft. 35!
You do the math...

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | April 2, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov looks good - but he's at least 2 years away.
Rask will start for Boston this fall.

That's not saying much. Boston is the new Philadelphia; they have a new starting goaltender every 50 games or so.

Kolzig could perform well for another two years.

Posted by: P-Mac | April 2, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

To fuel the flames of a season that has all but ended is unproductive and just leads to more useless speculation. It's been plenty tough on all the players, coaches and fans - and everyone is frustrated up to their eyeballs.

These guys want to win, and fans will be rewarded for patience over time. The season is over for all intents and purposes. To come off with a win at this point against Buffalo or Atlanta would be a nice shot in the arm for the off season.

Looking forward - our defense needs to get tough and the offense needs to learn a couple of quick pass and shoot plays. The whole team needs to practice shooting into tiny slots in a boarded up net - target practice works.

Time has run out for this team to resurrect anything meaningful to leave behind for the summer break.

The question for GMGM regarding who to keep for the 08 season: Whose time has run out?

Posted by: DogDaze | April 2, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Kim,
The resulting PP goal made it 3-1, not 2-2. Just like I refuse to blame a basketball player for missing a freethrow at the end, I refuse to blame the loss on a single penalty. The team had 58 other minutes to make up the difference and it's not like they only lost by 1. These guys are professionals. They get paid to play a full 60 minutes, not just when they feel the momentum. Maybe the team should work on mental toughness instead of calling out individuals. I don't know about these guys, but if I make a stupid play that ends up as a goal against, it would motivate me more to get it back.

I agree Semin and Ovechkin shouldn't be immune to discipline, but the team lost that game, not Semin.

Posted by: FN | April 2, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Two more years of Kolzig letting in soft goals at the worst possible times?

Sounds great!

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | April 2, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Kolzig have a go at Johnson when he let in very soft goals? Why didn't Clark talk about Eminger's work ethics? I think Ovechkin or Semin should call out Kolzig to shut up and play the damn game instead of whining that Semin's penalty cost the Caps the game. Or retire, because he is certainly showing signs of aging with his constant moaning.

Posted by: Finn | April 2, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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