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Ovechkin Ties Record, Backstrom Sets One

The Caps played their best game of the playoffs tonight. With the exception of a lull early in the third period, they competed as hard as they have all postseason. They were as physical as they've been all postseason. Alex Ovechkin played like an MVP.

But it wasn't enough against a Pittsburgh Penguins team that's been both good and lucky in this series. The Caps lost, 4-3, on a bad-break goal in OT -- Tom Poti inadvertently steered a pass by Evgeni Malkin into the net -- and now they're on the verge of another collapse against a franchise that's haunted them for almost two decades.

Read my updated gamer here, and check out the rest of our coverage here. It's been quite a long 48 hours, so I'm going to keep it really brief tonight:

History Lesson
In addition to having lost six of seven postseason series against the Penguins, the Capitals also have a history of coming up short in overtime. They've now lost seven straight playoff games in overtime. The Penguins, in case you're wondering, have won eight of their last nine playoff games that were decided in OT, including two in this series.

The Caps are also 0-8 all-time in Game 5 vs. the Pens.

On a positive note, the Caps have fallen behind 3-2 twice in two years and ended up forcing a Game 7.

Backstrom Sets Record
With a goal and a pretty assist, Nicklas Backstrom now has points in eight straight playoff games, a franchise record. He also moved into a second place tie for assists (11) in a playoff season, tying Adam Oates (1998), Mike Ridley (1992) and Scott Stevens (1988).

Ovechkin Ties Record
As I mentioned earlier, Ovechkin was outstanding. Coach Bruce Boudreau put him back with Nicklas Backstrom and Viktor Kolzov, and Ovechkin responded with two goals and an assist, including the game-tying goal with 4:08 remaining.

The three-point night gave Ovechkin 17 in his career, tying a franchise record. He now shares the mark with Joe Juneau (1998), Adam Oates (1998) and John Druce (1990).

Bad Call In OT
Well, sort of. Evgeni Malkin was most definitely tripped. But it was Milan Jurcina, not Sergei Fedorov, who was sent to the box. Both Fedorov and Jurcina waved their sticks in the direction of Malkin's skates; Fedorov, though, did the tripping, in my opinion.

Fedorov, by the way, skated some shifts on defense after the Caps fell behind 3-2.

Day Away
Boudreau will give the Caps another mental health day tomorrow. No practice. No video. No meetings.

Will Brashear Return?
Donald Brashear's six-game suspension is over, meaning he will be eligible to play Monday. But will he?

Defiant Caps
While history suggests the Caps are done, don't tell the players that.

"We certainly have experience in this situation," David Steckel said. "All hope is not lost. Nobody on this team wants it to end."

Backstrom said: "It's not over yet. We know we can do it and we believe it, so we're just going to go back there and try to play for 60 minutes."

Ovechkin added: "I think today we played good, but it's not good enough, so next game is gonna be different. They was in that situation when they [were down] 2-0, and they come back and they winning right now, but it's not over yet. If somebody thinks it's over, it's not over."

That's all for me tonight. Check back tomorrow for some updates, though only Boudreau is scheduled to meet with the media.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 10, 2009; 12:45 AM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau: 'It's Capable of Being Done'

Comments

All of you that are saying that the Caps suck, and there needs to be a purge, are pathetic. You were all enjoying the high life when the Caps were up 2-0 and now the team has got to go.

Two great teams played their 2nd OT game in 4 days. Even yesterday's game was a 1 goal game until 5 minutes were left. Just appreciate the fact that you get to watch this many talented players on the ice at the same time. This series is the biggest showcase of talent since the Oilers/Islanders battles in the early 80's.

If a Pens fan, or bandwagon jumping Caps fan, cannot admit that Gordon was interfered with just before the final rush than you are watching the game with blinders on. If the right call is made I might STILL be sitting at Verizon rather than typing this.

I also don't want to read that the Pens big guns come through. Crosby had 0 that is ZERO points and was a -2. Sorry, he didn't show up today.

The Caps have to have a short memory and play great hockey to pull this out, no doubt about it. If they don't I refuse to call them crap because they will have been eliminated by the Team that will probably advance to the Stanley Cup. Just like I feel the Caps will do if they come back on the Pens.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 10, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

From last post and re: above

1) fanohock1- I agree with you. While I might not love all of our players and certain ones don't fit the way GMGM thought they might, calling for a purge of um.. half the team or so, is stupid. Anyone who has been around the Caps, or even hockey, long enough knows this is a truly amazing team. I think one of their main issues are their inexperience with the playoffs. This isn't like with the Rangers who had basically zero offense, we don't have a big gap in our team like that. If every amazingly talented team got the cup there would have to be about 3 cups a year.

2) I don't like what I'm hearing/seeing about people throwing things on our home ice. If you love your team, I don't care how frustrated you are, you wont do that. I've been there through Caps heartbreak, if you all think this is bad you should have been with us BO (Before Ovie). Show respect for your team, for your city and for yourselves. Otherwise you are no better than the Rags fans and Philly fans. That is a category I don't want to be in.

3) Someone call a witchdoctor for the Pitt's rink... we need to get rid of the bad ju ju so we can work on breaking the Pens playoff curse.

Posted by: mrszilla | May 10, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mrszilla | May 10, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

fanhock, I 100% agree with everything you said.

Posted by: dfe1 | May 10, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little confused about no practice, or video, and not even a meeting but, I am optimistic, I just feel this series could've gone either way to begin with, and now that we're desperate I feel like the boys are gonna treat us to another Game 7.

I hate complaining about the refs, because missed calls happen 10-15 times a game it seems.

Finally, does anybody recall the last time we've scored a goal off the opposing D man? I know the last two losses were off of Mo and Poti, then there was the OT loss in Boston earlier off Mo, but it just seems like our opposition scores sooooo many goals off our D.

Come on boys lets do it again! Let's Go Caps!!

Posted by: Osfan092589 | May 10, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

4) People also need to stop calling series' before they are over. This drives me crazy- before the Rags series started we had already won, when we were down 1-3 we were a disgrace, when we came back we were heros, now we are about to be shunned. Everything changes in the playoffs daily. Stop trying to be psychic! That said- we do play better when we are about to lose, so people also need to stop underestimating our ability to recover and overcome.

LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: mrszilla | May 10, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Well said fanohock1 - nice to see some realism on here.

Make no mistake - the Pens have been the better 5-on-5 team - Caps have had some breaks and the Pens have had the breaks - just too bad it's been in OT and at the expense of our defense. I do hope Brash is back in the lineup.

One thing that is killing us - while Erskine is a physical presence - he is way too slow - hence the speed of the Pens blowing around him. This team has to learn to keep their forwards in front of them.

This series is over when the teams are shaking hands. That 4th victory is the hardest.

It's funny because I bet some of the naysayers saying the Caps are done are the same ones that thought they were done in round one against the Rangers. Sure it's not the Rangers this round but let's see what happens in Game 6. Punch for punch - this was a fun game and the officiating was fine. Sure there could've been a few more calls but so what - they let them play and a great game took place. It's a tough loss but get over it.

Back to the Mellon for Game 6. Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | May 10, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

mrszilla, I agree.

Show some respect to your home ice, I love how every year the fans, most of them bandwagoners, talk trash about how classy DC fans are and now two years in a row, because before last year nobody was at VC, our "classy fans" have polluted our own ice with garbage, all of you who threw that trash, deserved to be dumped in the empty trash bins on the way out.

Stay "classy" DC, stay classy.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | May 10, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

@Osfan092589
I share your confusion about another mental health day. It's absolute BS by Boudreau whose been outcoached in this series. When the Caps were rocked in Game 3 - the day off should've been the team on the ice dealing with zone breakouts with fierce pressure. At least getting back out there and practicing against it - gives you a little feel to know what is coming at you in Game 4 so you can anticipate.

The Penguins clogged the outlets on the board and leave the middle of the ice wide open. The Caps need to exploit that.

I'm still baffled defensively by the coverage we produce. Something was up with Mike Green who was directing forwards to go after guys behind the net while he stood out front. I know Greenie's been MIA but something is amiss.

Plus Boudreau and his callups have also confused me. Why call up Jay Beagle if he's barely going to see the ice. At least bring back up Aucoin who adds some scrap and grit to the line up. Yes he's short but those guys have a knack for making things happen. Look at Tyler Kennedy on the Pens. I'd hope to see Brash back in there but send Beagle down and bring Aucoin up if Brashear doesn't come back in.

Here's to hoping Fehr is able to come back Monday.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | May 10, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

I know its easy to be mad at the D(namely Poti) for the OT goal, but if you watch the replay, Malkin was making a cross-ice pass to he who shall not be named, who would've been staring at a gaping net. If Poti doesn't break up the pass, the game is probably over anyway(barring another miracle save like game 1..but as much as I dislike him, Sid is a great hockey player and would've elevated the puck this time). No, the time to be mad at the D was on Cooke's goal, where once again, the Pens got 2 or 3 good whacks at the puck which Varly stopped, only to finally give up a rebound that was put in. The D has to go in there and break that nonsense up.

Posted by: capsfansteve | May 10, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Mike Green is seriously injured and only a fool can't see that. I think Semin might also be injured -- who could know, but Orpik has been dogging him the whole series, and has had HUGE crosschecks on the poor guy that haven't been called. Oh, BTW, there was a HUGE foul on Semin in OT tonight that wasn"t called but, OBTW, they put one on Juice. The officiating is a JOKE. I knew when I saw who was officiating this game that we'd lose. I really think there is something going on with the officiating. Sorry, it is so bad one had to wonder.

Posted by: plinkwired | May 10, 2009 2:03 AM | Report abuse

@plinkwired

I agree with you on the officiating and the condition of our players.

Green is probably injured. So, no wonder he's playing poorly.

And I saw that cross check on Semin that wasn't called in OT, just before the game winner. (Okay, Jurcina did an obvious infraction but they should have called that cross check on the Pen who did it to Semin first)

Orpik (i.e. Orprick) certainly was going things to Semin ALL series long. So, I'm sure Semin is not physically up to par. He was the only one to miss yesterday's morning skate. Orpik put a stick in Semin's face at the beginning of Game 1 of this series and Semin needed a lot of stitches (ref "On Frozen Blog"). I think Semin is tougher than he's given credit for. But there's only so much the guy can take.

Note: everyone is calling for the Caps to get rid of Semin and Green, among other people. Please, do NOT get rid of Semin and Green. Who the hell will replace them?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Well, Capsnut has an interesting tidbit. It appears that the fix was in for Pittsburgh to win tonight:

" ...We were informed shortly after the game began tonight by our parents, who are spending their retirement (among other things) in Las Vegas, that after crowning the Caps as favorites in Games 1 through 4, there was no line set for tonight's game.

In other words, Las Vegas knew the fix was in and wasn't taking any bets."
http://capsnut.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Irreverent_inDC | May 10, 2009 2:13 AM | Report abuse

@Osfan092589

We've lost too many games because of goals going off our D-men's skates -- like tonight. Seems that Varly can defend against shots by the other team but not the deflections off our Defensemen. (I guess that's the stragegy. Shoot at the Caps defenders' skates and hope it bounces into the net.)

Plus, why don't the Caps ever practice during the playoff season. They seem to get too many mental health days and no practice. Could that be our problem? That we don't practice as much as the Pens. Bylsma seems to know exactly how much practice the Pens need. Maybe the Caps need to study the practice schedules of the Pens (and Carolina and any other team that goes deeper into the playoffs than them) and do the same thing.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

@Irreverent_inDC

I read that post by "Caps Nut" also. The fix was in. Vegas was not taking any more bets.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

@Jonathan6

I wonder the same thing. Why don't the Caps ever practice during the playoffs? The Pens certainly do.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 2:22 AM | Report abuse

I can't understand why they called up Jay Beagle. We never have good luck in games he's in. (He was called up when Kozlov and Semin were both out and that didn't go well at all.) Okay, the last two losses were not really Beagle's fault but I'm just saying.

I would have recommended calling up Aucoin instead. He gave the team more spark. As for Beagle, they hardly give him any minutes.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 2:25 AM | Report abuse

What bothers me the most is Semins' reputation among refs. Even when Semin gets injured after a dirty play, than there is NO penalty and on the other hand Semin gets called EVERYTIME and even when he plays clean.
Last game had a difference when Semin and Malkin were both tripped and only Malkin trip was called.
Semin was tripped two times last game and none was called. AND A SHOCKER WHEN ONE BAD PLAY FROM SEMIN GOT him 2 min tripping penalty.

Posted by: Hazz | May 10, 2009 4:36 AM | Report abuse

can't blame refs for everything. gotta play through it. they don't get to play in a made up land of refs. they get to play w/ what they got for refs. if the refs are biased, the caps have got to be that much better.

gabby's days off have never seemed to work.

i'm glad flash got bumped down a few lines.

Posted by: am_jim | May 10, 2009 5:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the comments on this section, especially mrszilla, fanohock1 and Capsfan75.

I do think the Caps should have a day off from the ice---skating back to back games takes its toll on everyone---but no video? no discussion? no strategy?

If Green is injured, all the more reason for a day off from the ice, but I hope like hell he's on the mend.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 10, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, its about time this team is exposed for what they really are. A one dimensional group of offensive players led by an arrogant kid who needs to learn a lesson or two about sportsmanship and how to play defense. This type of "river hockey" is pure garbage and gets pretty boring to watch after a game or two. Neither of these teams have any chance of winning the Stanley Cup playing like this. Defense & goaltending wins championships, not this back and forth nonsense. The punchless Rangers came within a whisker in game 7 of advancing to round 2 and sending the Caps packing ... that should have been a wake up call. [in retrospect, a team like that is probably closer to winning a championship then the Caps] Detroit or Anaheim will destroy this team if it ever found its way into a Final. The Red is Dead.

Posted by: NotReadyForPrimeTime1 | May 10, 2009 7:05 AM | Report abuse

i dont like that they call these things luck. it's physics not luck. if you dont want the puck to bounce off your skates and go in the goal, don't angle your skates toward the goal. that's one of the first things taught in hockey. there's a similar issue w/ poti's stick. the deflection is just physics.

Posted by: am_jim | May 10, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that last night was a very tough moment to swallow. I thought it was our night.....


I truly thought this team was 2-3 years away from making a cup run(I WAS WRONG). With that being said, we played pretty solid all year,came back against the Rangers and THEN went up 2-0 on the Pens. Now in a puff of smoke we are down 3-2. What is it about the Pens that we always choke in the playoffs?? I truly dislike that team...when are we gonna exercise those demons. IM SICK TO MY STOMACH. GO CAPS..BRING IT BACK FOR GAME 7!

Posted by: OVIHtrick8 | May 10, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

A couple hours after the game ended, we walked to Metro Center to head home. There were several Cap fans waiting for the Orange Line to Vienna with us. A girl, in her early twenties, wearing a "Rock the Red" shirt walked past two guys and one of the guys stopped her and said, "who won?" She said, "I don't really want to talk about it." The guy said, "Come on, tell me who won" and he had a snarky look on his face. She saw this look and sneered, "You know who won" and started to walk away. The guy followed her and said, "come on, I want to hear you tell me who won." At this point, one of the girl's male friends, in a Backstrom jersey, walked up to the guy and said, "back off." The guy didn't. He said, "what's wrong, you can't say who the better team is?" The Caps fans walked away. But the guy and his friend wouldn't back off. They started screaming, at the top of their lungs, "Let's Go Pens, Let's Go Pens." I looked around at the people in red who were being forced to hear this and each one of us had the same look on our faces -- losing the game like that hurt, but this behavior was just rubbing it in our faces and it hurt even more. I don't know what happened later because I refused to get in the same car as those jerks.

Thanks Penguin fans for winning with grace and class. You're true ambassadors of the game and your city.

Posted by: Matt23185 | May 10, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

They'll be plenty of time for days off. Even if you don't practice have strategy meetings. 3 losses in a row calls for some lineup changes as well. Bringing it back and winning in game 7...maybe, but doubtful. Penguins have history and momentum on their side, plus these aren't the Rangers blowing a 3-1 series lead. Does anyone else get tired of hearing that the Caps are still 2 years away? They have talent now, and hockey is a game where you make the most of what you have. Pittsburgh and Carolina were in danger of not even being playoff teams this season. They are making the most of what they have and doing pretty well at it....

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 10, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

from what they were saying on tv, the caps are having a team meeting then hopping on a plane for pittsburgh @ 2:00. maybe that's why they aren't practicing. plus to give them some rest

Posted by: PGM17 | May 10, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Penguin fans for winning with grace and class. You're true ambassadors of the game and your city.

Posted by: Matt23185 | May 10, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse


Was that before or after the trash throwing on the ice? Grace and class flows both ways, you know.

Posted by: Section117 | May 10, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

@OVIHtrick8

I truly dislike the Pens, as well. Why do we always choke against that team? Why? Why? Why? I fear the NY Islanders or Tampa Bay will win teh Stanley Cup before we do.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond

I agree with you. Here we have Pitt and Carolina who were in danger of missing the playoffs and they'll likely go further than us.

This makes me think. It's probably pointless to build a team to finish first in the Conference. Look at San Jose who's out. And Boston who's nearly out. And there's us, who were second. Maybe the way to do it is build a team who can be in 7th or 8th in March and then trade for rentals at the deadline.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

When this season began, I thought that getting into the second round was the realistic objective for the Caps. I didn't think their defense was yet Cup-worthy, felt they lacked playoff grit up front, and had suspicions about their netminding. Now that we are down 3-2 against a team that has played a better series overall, I think my preseason prediction is looking pretty good as much as it irritates me.

I was at the game last night and was mad as hell leaving the rink. When I got home and watched the Semin OT leap, I saw the referees were right not to call a trip. No Penguins player touched him. Semin jumped in order to try to maneuver to the outside. I do, however, think that interference could have been called on the rush that led to Malkin's GWG, but rarely will you see penalties in OT that aren't related to scoring chances (the referee could not reasonably predict when the interference took place whether there would be a scoring chance as a result). A crappy situation for our Caps to be certain, but somewhat unavoidable in a playoff overtime setting.

Back to my preseason concerns:
- The Varlamov era has officially arrived. I hope GMGM can move Theodore this summer and resign Johnson as we need the cap space.

- Malkin and Crosby are world-class talents, but both have pretty much been able to manhandle our defensemen with regularity other than Erskine and Jurcina. Mike Green has stood and watched too many goals from the top of the crease including one last night. We need a stronger defensive corps in order to have a legitimate shot at the Cup. Morrisonn, Jurcina, and Schultz are each RFAs this summer.

- I love Fedorov for his mentoring and generally clutch performances, but he's getting lapped by the Penguins' speed. I think there is a correlation between his declining skills and the number of minors he has drawn this postseason. He also should have been in the box for the Malkin trip last night.

- Nylander should and probably will be bought out. I don't see any way he's back next year. Given Fedy's decline, GMGM should be looking for a second line, two-way centerman in July.

- I don't think this team needs a major overhaul, just maturation on the blueline (and more physical play) and replacing Fedorov and Kozlov next year. Clark or Fehr could take Kozlov's role, but I don't see a clear replacement for Feds.

- Our UFAs: Fedorov, Kozlov, Brashear, Sloan, Johnson.

- Our RFAs: Fehr, Gordon, Morrisonn, Jurcina, Shultz. I personally would like to see all return other than Schultz and, perhaps, Morrisonn. Still, I expect Alzner up next year and Carlson isn't far behind.

All this said, I would not be surprised to see the Caps win this series. This team has continually fought back over the last two seasons. I thought they were dead halfway through the third last night. Nonetheless, the best years for this franchise are ahead of us.

Sorry for the length of the post.

Posted by: MyJobsMyCredit | May 10, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Tom Poti!

Posted by: marsid | May 10, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the way to exorcise all the demons is to be at the brink. I recall the Red Sox who seemed to find new ways of choking in the World Series and blowing division titles and pennants to the hated NY Yankees. Finally, in 2005, they (the Red Sox) were down in a playoff series 3 games to none to the hated NY Yankees. They came back and won. (At the time my elder daughter was going to Boston U. and after Boston won Game 4, she actually said the Sox would come back.) And they did.

Maybe the Caps could do it. Win in Pitt. Even though they haven't done it this series. Even though I feel no confidence in the Caps at the moment, whatsoever. But maybe exorcising demons means being at the brink in a hopeless situation first.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

just finished browsing through some of the messages from last night. seem to be a few categories:

refs suck. sorry, but that was a trip in OT. and while you could argue semin was tripped he was not in a scoring position and those are the only calls that should be made in OT. i didnt see whay happened w/ crosby and varly there either, whether that was goalie interference or not. but goalies should also be protected throught the game. get over the ref issue.

mcphee sucks. laughable. he built this team. semin, backs, green, varly, laich, alzner, etc. these guys were not slam dunk picks like ovie, yet here they are and w/a managed cap. anyone who has been paying attention know this team needed to address the goalie situation (check) and add some toughness on d (still needed), plus a rough winger too (still needed). team will have cap space to address it. this team is 2 years from being a true stanley cup contender. by that time, the pens will have flamed out due to cap issues and age.

other teams trolls. well, there seemed to be a lot of them here a couple weeks ago when we were down 3-1 to the rags. all i have to say is, what are you doing late on a saturday night writing messages on a caps message board? i'd say that defines a loser

fans who throw things on the ice. no excuse, ever, ever ever. its loser behavior and makes the team look bad. not only that, its dangerous. what appeared to be a pretty full beer came raining down on the lower level from above in front of me. there are kids etc there. you think you are better and have more class than pitts/philly fans, then show it. and for you pitts/philly fans who want to take the high road on that, i have no doubt it would have happened in your arena under the same circumstances. i wish they could ban those people forever. no excuse, none, never, please stop.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 10, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

@MyJobsMyCredit

Agree with many of your points although not all.

1) I was hoping for making it to Round 2 but am annoyed by the prospect of losing out to a team that we were way ahead of in the regular season. A team that I absolutely despise.

2) I disagree with you on Semin. He was tripped. I was in Section 117, behind the goal where it happened and say he was tripped. (My husband was really upset about the non call of a penalty!)

3) I love Feds' clutch performances and mentoring but he's getting up there in years and he seems to be losing his skill.

4) On Nylander, I'd rather see him gone since he doesn't fit in with us but buying him out now (with 2 years left to go) will mess us up for Cap hits in future years. I'd say, buy him out after next year when there's only one year left.

5) Our our Free Agents, I'm not ready to give up on Schultz just yet. He's only 23 and defensemen do tend to mature late on the whole. While I personally like most of them, I would not be surprised to see Morrisonn go or even Kozlov.

6) We do need to do something about our defensive corps. Maybe Alzner or Carlson will help. I expect to see Alzner next year. (And, is Green hurt?) Would we be better off if we traded Pothier and Poti who are both over 30 and replace them with younger players.

7) As for Theodore, I'm afraid we're stuck with him next year as an expensive backup. He's gone after that.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1

I read many of your comments.

1) Yes, I agree it's rude of fans to throw stuff on the ice. It's one thing to be mad but...

2) I can't understand the mentality of trolls from other teams spending time posting stuff on the Caps boards. As much as I hate the Penguins, I still wouldn't go to their boards to flood them with comments the next time they're eliminated. (I hope you're right on the Pens -- flame out due to age and salary cap issues. Except that Malkin and Crosby and Staal are younger than Ovi and Semin.)

3) Yes, agree with your point on McPhee. Laughable to say he sucks. Our other players were not slam-dunk picks unlike Ovi.

4) Yes, we need a tough right winger and toughness on defense. (Juice is getting some more toughness. Of course, there's a downside to getting tough guys -- they spend more time in the penalty box and sometimes the penalties are at inopportune times.)

Good analysis, even if I don't agree with all points.

Many fans are calling for retooling the team. One fan (on the Caps main board) last night had suggested dumping Green, Semin, Clark, Fehr, Flash, and 2 D-Men.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I went to the game last night and agree with the above post that Green is seriously injured. Semin is not himself either. That to me is the difference in the series. The Caps are not getting goals or good play from their other top scorers. It was a good game. It looked to me that Gordon was interfered with and the no call on Semin was questionable. Backstrom was amazing and is only going to get better. The core is going to give us excitement for years to come.

Posted by: Richmondcapsfan | May 10, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I think GMGM made the comment last summer that he didn't need to re-sign Matt Cooke because we already had a player like him in Matt Bradley. Nothing against Bradley, but with that logic why did we bring Cooke in at the '08 trade deadline then? We should have re-signed him. This Caps team cries out for gritty, in your face, hustling Dale Hunter types.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 10, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the Vegas line on last night's game...the Caps were a -150...a friend of mine lives there and told me about 30 minutes before the game.

Posted by: nomarjax01 | May 10, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Ovechkin is having such a great series, he really is showing he can carry a team past the 2nd round, but unfortunately even he can't do everything by himelf, he isn't getting any support from Semin or Green. But if we've learned anything, it's that Ovechkin is a leader and if we have him, we always have a chance.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 10, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

FINALLY -- someone has acknowledged the obvious.. that The Curse of Scott Stevens remains in full effect.

At 8:35 this morning, Capsfan75 brought up the example of the Red Sox, and posted the following: "maybe exorcising demons means being at the brink in a hopeless situation first."

Absolutely. The Curse is real.. and the only way to break it is to be perfect. I love this team, but they're not perfect. If they can come together and play two PERFECT games, they'll be through to Round 3.

When you're dealing with The Curse of Scott Stevens there is no room for any hint of slack. Perfection is what's needed.

Oneal

Posted by: TheRealOneal | May 10, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Why in Thomas Boswell's article does he keep on saying Matt Cooke scored the goal in OT?

Matt Cooke wasn't even on the ice, seriously get your story right. I'm already pissed off enough.

I kept on having visions of the replay of Poti deflecting it in while I was trying to sleep. This sucks so much, why can't we ever get a break? We deserve something to go our way at least once, but two OT losses by goals off our sticks is just painful.

Posted by: rachel216 | May 10, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

NO PRACTICE -- WTF!!! The Caps are trying to feel sorry for themselves. Another bone-headed decision by BB in the playoffs. The Caps are NOT playing a team game. They need to practice. The only two guys playing smart and hard are OV and Backs. I'm not going to watch the eventual slaughter in Pissburgh.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | May 10, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

At least next year I won't have to watch Kozlov lolly-gag around the ice. It's time to pull up Bourque and Osala -- some guys who'll skate and not watch. The Caps also seriously need to find a 2nd line center. I'm less down on the blueliners who have elevated their game for the playoffs than Semin and Kozlov who look lazy and disinterested. Oh, show Fehr the door, too. He never has materialized into a serious nhl player.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | May 10, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@Richmondcapsfan and @rachel216

I'm sure Green is injured and would not be surprised to hear he needs surgery of some sort.

And Semin, would not be surprised if he's injured too. With all the stuff that Mr. Orprick has done to him, starting with the high stick in the face early in Game 1 which caused him to need stitches in the face (and he had two assists afterwards). And various cross checks, on non called penalties. Semin was good last series (vs NY).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Carolina was on the doorstep of exiting this years playoffs in Round 1 of Game 7 to NJ with minutes remaining. They score 2 goals within the final minutes of the game and move on to Round 2 to face the conference champions Boston (currently leading series 3-1 over the Bruins).

Anything is possible if you put total effort and confidence in place. The Caps can win the next 2 games.

Time will tell!

Posted by: puckman | May 10, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Too disappointed to read all the post so I'll just give my 2 cents and crawl back to my hole until tomorrow night.

As Tarik said, if this is the best game they've played all series then it's becoming more and more apparent that the Pens have a better team or are executing a game plan which the caps and BB have no answer for.

All series the pens have dumped and chased the puck resulting in the caps inability to clear zone for long stretches of time. This is wearing out not only the D but the forwards as well. On the other side of the rink, the pens clear the zone with relative ease most of the time.

This leads me to believe it one of two things. Either they are just better overall or the caps just can't adjust strategically to what the pens are doing which would be on BB.

Still holding out hope but we have not broken this pattern in 5 games and we were lucky to have gotten 2 wins. There needs to be a game plan change because whatever they're doing now isn't working.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 10, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Quintessential DC "That's alright, that's okay; you actually work for us today" cheer/taunt for Pittsburgh. How about Cap fans pull together our collective legal/lobbying firepower and begin the initiative "Eat This Pittsburgh." Goal one of the initiative: Defeat the Employee Free Choice Act (S 560/H.R. 1409). Pittsburgh will be one of the bigger beneficiaries of this act if it goes through. Goal 2: remove Baseball's antitrust exemption so the Pirates can be sold and moved to Charlotte. (Yes, I'm grasping at straws here and may be sinking to their level. But, folks, this is DC, we're powerful and creative.)

Posted by: Matt23185 | May 10, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I hate to complain about officiating, I really do, but if anybody can give an intelligent explanation on how Gordon gets knocked down with the puck 20 feet away and nothing is called, I'd love to see it. I know its OT in the playoffs, but that is about as blatant as a call gets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn0tR5A7WTc&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fsports.yahoo.com%2Fnhl%2Fblog%2Fpuck_daddy%2Fpost%2FThe-best-revenge-for-the-Pittsburgh-Penguins%3B_ylt%3DApqIWCPU6U_ArIaEp3aGgPN&feature=player_embedded

five seconds into the clip.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | May 10, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

As with the last series - and the Bos/Car series, and every other series - it takes four. That's why it's called a series. Three wins means you'll be playing again tomorrow, nothing more, nothing less. Historical numbers in this round, in NHL history, suggest the home team in game 6, up 3-2 wins 63% of the time. I'd rather be up 3-2 but we're not and I'll look at two OTs lose, two wins in Pittsburgh this season, and that 37%, and see this team getting a win - and maybe a little luck - tomorrow night. One game at a time. That's all. A lot of folks seem to want to change this to a five-gamer and call it done.

I thought this would go 7 from the start and looking at how evenly matched the two teams are, it makes sense. Two OT losses on deflections and a regulation game that wasn't closed out until 55 minutes in? I hate it but I still think we come home on Wednesday.

Posted by: saintex | May 10, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@SombreroGuy - Two words: Bill. McCreary.

That said, I am not defending the garbage-throwers, but my suspicion is that it was at the officials, not at the team.

I about punched a couple of Pens fans last night, and I am NOT one to get into a fight usually, but I was MAD after that game.

Posted by: irockthered | May 10, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I know exactly why Pittsburgh is beating us: they are committing sneaky fouls on us that aren't getting called or seen by the refs, which are eventually wearing us down to the point where our game is nonexistent. It's frustrating, and it's not fair at all. Then again, who said life was fair? If this is what Pittsburgh has to do to win games, then they deserve no respect. Please notice how we come on strong during the beginning of the game, but by the end, we're skating completely hurt and having to play catch-up all the time against them while it appears that there's nothing wrong with them.

If you think I'm just whining, take a real hard look at where the puck ISN'T during these games. Cases in point: last night's stick to one of our players' faces right before Malkin scored, not to mention Crosby skating into Varlamov and knocking his helmet off. To be sure, there are other such things I've seen, such as Crosby whacking our goalie behind the legs for no reason when the puck's nowhere NEAR him.

I have seen play like this with my own eyes at the Verizon Center and on television from Pittsburgh, and I'm pretty damn sure we don't have to resort to these types of tactics to win games. If Pittsburgh actually let us play our game, we'd steamroll them into next year.

But maybe some would consider that a part of the game. I don't.

Posted by: EddieP1 | May 10, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Would you all relax about the no practice thing. The Caps just played games back to back and one of those games was an overtime game. Then you go back one more game, and that was another over time game.

Plus on top of that they need to fly out to Pitt at 2:00 today. what do you want them to get up at 2:00am to head to the rink the night after back to back games to practice, to then hop on a plane and cramp up?

And stop it with the lets dump this guy and that guy. Someone suggested dumping both Green,Semin flash, fehr, and someone else that is ridiculous.

Lastly, we are still a young team, if we get knocked out in the second round so be it. We gain experience and move on, it is an improvement from last year.

Posted by: graig82 | May 10, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I question whether Green in his current state is better than another player? He is unable to use his strengths and his weaknesses are exposed. I am sure BB has his reasons but it looked like the Pens even know he can't play up to speed at the moment and he has lost his decoy status. I know what Green means to the team but that needs to be secondary.

Posted by: Richmondcapsfan | May 10, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I know its easy to be mad at the D(namely Poti) for the OT goal, but if you watch the replay, Malkin was making a cross-ice pass to he who shall not be named, who would've been staring at a gaping net.

Posted by: capsfansteve | May 10, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

No, the only reason that goal went in was because Varly had already started moving to the other post to cover Crosby. I am extremely confident that if Poti had let it go, Crosby would not have scored.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | May 10, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@NotReadyforPrimeTime "Seriously, its about time this team is exposed for what they really are. A one dimensional group of offensive players led by an arrogant kid who needs to learn a lesson or two about sportsmanship and how to play defense."

Are you a Pens fan? Ovi needs to learn a lesson or two about sportsmanship or defense? Who has a better plus/minus, Ovi, Crosby, or Malkin? I'll be the first to admit that Ovi could get better on defense, but don't act like he's horrible. In fact, I think he's definitely stepped it up in the playoffs. And for anyone who talks about Ovi cherrypicking, I was at the game, and Malkin was hanging out at center ice every chance he got, looking for a breakway. And guess what, there's nothing wrong with that because sometimes it works. So get off of Ovi's back when he does the same thing.

Posted by: dfe1 | May 10, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The fans who are running down the team (and would a real fan ever do that?) are the bandwagoners who have only seen the team win, and have no sense of reality. Before a year ago, this team couldn't buy a win, now all the new fans are spoiled and don't know the history or the painful rebuilding it's taken to get this far.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | May 10, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

@graig82

Sometimes a no practice day is appropriate but they've had too many no practice days lately. It sounds like the Pens have practiced more lately.

Yes, the Caps are a young team but the Pens core is also young (Staal, Crosby, Malkin). What are they doing right (in building a team) that the Caps aren't?

I don't want to dump any of our good kids who are currently in a slump. I had named them off in a previous post because some one else (on another board) named them as people to dump. History of that -- a fan had said the Caps should dump about 5 people and get 5 new ones. I challenged them and asked who they wanted dumped and that person rattled off the list. I said "Congratulations, you named all my favorite players outside of Ovi.". Yes, nothing like recommending dumping most of the core of the team, outside of Ovi.

Yes, there are things the team can do. But dumping everyone isn't the answer. How do you build a team to go deep in the playoff? The first step is to build a team to get to the playoffs. So, the Caps can check that off. I think they have a good enough core to get to the playoffs for more than just this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Serious question: Is Ovie going to demand a trade if they lose this series? Any chance of this?

Posted by: sywan | May 10, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@farmgirl19C

It's probably not only bandwagoners who are running down the team.

We have a lot of frustrated old fans (like myself) who lived through so many playoff disappointments as well. We seem to alternate between being horrible and being good but getting dumped from the playoffs prematurely.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

CapsFan75, what the Pens are doing better than us is that they had how many top five picks in a row? Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Stall were all top five. We have Ovi and Backstrom. They've had twice as many as us--I think that has a lot to do with it. I think if Mike Green were healthy, this could be a different series. But I'm not giving up hope yet.

Posted by: dfe1 | May 10, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@sywan - I very seriously doubt that. He's only one season into a 13-year contract.

Posted by: irockthered | May 10, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

And those of you blasting Steinberg for posting this need to wake up. Remember the dark ages (say, oh, 2 years ago) when the Capitals would only have game recaps in the post and that was it?

We're very fortunate to have a wide spectrum of coverage now. Tarik with the hard facts and updates, Steinberg for the lighter side of things, and other columnists chipping in as well.

Whether you agree or disagree with what Dan wrote, we should all be thankful that we get a couple of Capitals related posts each day to breakup the monotony of the work day.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | May 10, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

haha whoops wrong blog entry!

Posted by: SombreroGuy | May 10, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I agree with you. But although they are just as young as us, they have more experience than us. Because they had more top pick than us that came up quicker they were able to get to the payoffs quicker. So they have more playoff experience.

Backstrom took an extra year in Sweeden, Alzner is in Hershey because of his contract, etc... it just slowed our progression a bit more than it did theirs.
In the long run I think we will pass them, wait till Carlson, Alzner, Godfrey, Varly (I know he is here but just an example), Gustafson, etc come up.

Also, I am not giving up, I think we will win on Monday, and bring it back here for a game seven.

@sywan

that is ridiculous to even bring up Ovie wanting a trade. The Caps went to the playoffs last year, lost in the first round. Got to the playoffs this year (got to AT LEAST) the second round. So the team is making progress. Why would he demand a trade from a team that is a perennial contender, and has a young core to still build off of?

Posted by: graig82 | May 10, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

If we loose this series which history and percentages show we will we still need to address some problem areas for next year.

1. If the Caps are to keep Semin which they probably will, he is going to need to learn not to make risky cross ice passes after just entering the offensive zone. I know this is the new NHL but those passes in the playoffs lead to odd man rushes.

2. The Franchise needs to commit to adding a veteran defensman with experience (please don't tell me Poti or Pothier) that can mentor Green. Great defenseman are developed because they have in game mentoring. I only need to give you these examples. Larry Robinson/Rod Langway, Rod Langway/Scott Stevens, Scott Stevens/Colin White, Chris Chelios/Nick Lidstrom. So that is key for long term defensive success. He does not have to be Chris Pronger but a guy like Sean O'Donnell would have been nice.

3. Better decisions at the Deadline. Sure, we were up against the cap but there is a clear need for veteran grit in the playoffs. In 2010 GMGM needs to acquire the veteran gritty winger that will always be available and 75% of the time help get the team over the hump. This year guys like Guerin and Recchi were moved to the Pens and B's. This is not the answer to winning a cup, but most cup teams have one or two of these players on their squad.

These are tinkering changes not an overhaul, otherwise we are in pretty good shape for next year.

Posted by: diner99 | May 10, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

After discussing Green at the game last night, I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that he has some sort of torso injury. He isn't shooting the puck (that requires him to wind up to twist his torso) and he isn't getting into any battles along the boards, doesn't want to get hit or hit anyone. However, if he isn't able to perform to his level, play someone like Sloan or Alzner who will go out and perform.

Posted by: khath2 | May 10, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

If we loose this series which history and percentages show we will we still need to address some problem areas for next year.

1. If the Caps are to keep Semin which they probably will, he is going to need to learn not to make risky cross ice passes after just entering the offensive zone. I know this is the new NHL but those passes in the playoffs lead to odd man rushes.

2. The Franchise needs to commit to adding a veteran defensman with experience (please don't tell me Poti or Pothier) that can mentor Green. Great defenseman are developed because they have in game mentoring. I only need to give you these examples. Larry Robinson/Rod Langway, Rod Langway/Scott Stevens, Scott Stevens/Colin White, Chris Chelios/Nick Lidstrom. So that is key for long term defensive success. He does not have to be Chris Pronger but a guy like Sean O'Donnell would have been nice.

3. Better decisions at the Deadline. Sure, we were up against the cap but there is a clear need for veteran grit in the playoffs. In 2010 GMGM needs to acquire the veteran gritty winger that will always be available and 75% of the time help get the team over the hump. This year guys like Guerin and Recchi were moved to the Pens and B's. This is not the answer to winning a cup, but most cup teams have one or two of these players on their squad.

These are tinkering changes not an overhaul, otherwise we are in pretty good shape for next year.

Posted by: diner99 | May 10, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Really? Another day off today? No practice? No video? C'mon now. These guys haven't earned a day off. They should be out there at half speed working on systems and working on clearing the puck from the zone.

Posted by: CDon | May 10, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I love the comment from Leonsis and not having a penalty in overtime. How true. The game is fixed and this is ridiculous. We don't even get the benefit of home ice.

Posted by: samb99 | May 10, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Y'all have a one-line team. That's it.
Outside of Ovechkin, who has stepped it up for the team?
Last I checked, Semin's picture has been on Shenadoah Farms milk cartons.
Backstrom has been invisible.
Fedorov's last goal was against the Rangers.
When Mike Green shows up, he should be fresh because he has done nothing in the playoffs.

What is Pittsburgh doing right?
Matt Cooke scored a goal.
Fedetenko has scored a goal in the past three games.
Kennedy scored a goal.
Talbot scored a goal.
Eaton scored a goal.
Letang earned his first playoff goal.
Gonchar scored a goal before Ovie took him out.
Satan has two assists in his two games.
Malkin has goals in the past four games.
Geurin has goals in the past four games.

Connect the dots - outside of Ovechkin, there has been little secondary scoring. Meanwhile, Crosby doesn't have to score a goal while each forward on the third line (Kennedy, Staal, Cooke) has a goal. Three goals right there, while the Capitals are keeping Crosby in check.

Having said that, everyone knew that the Capitals needed another center to help out Semin and another offensive defenseman (Bouemeister {sp} from Florida comes to mind)to help out Green. Instead, McPhee chose to stand pat.


Posted by: malkinshockeyskates | May 10, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Malkinshockeyskates, yeah, I'm sure that was Ovi's intent--let's take Gonchar out. Give me a break.

However, I will say that you have a lot of correct points--we don't have the depth that the Pens do, and I thought that from the first. Although I disagree about Backstrom--him and Ovi have definitely shown up as well as a few others (Steckel, Jurina). I don't know what McPhee would have had to have given up to get those guys, and I don't think it would have been worth it.

Posted by: dfe1 | May 10, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

^ sadly enough, I have to agree. Ovie really stepped it up in this series and I love him for that but everyone else around him kind of fizzled. Although, I do think think that the bradley line has also been playing some good hockey and getting some good chances just not burying them.

Posted by: jogabonito | May 10, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

oh that was in response to "malkinshockeyskates" post.

Posted by: jogabonito | May 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

As a Buffalo Sabres fan I have no dog in this fight. That said, I've been watching this series with great interest as both teams have played phenomenal hockey.

As I see it:

1) The Capitals biggest problem is team defense. Semin and Green, in particular standout for making ill-advised plays at critical moments that result in goals against or PP opportunities against. Regardless of how the series turns out, management should consider trading Semin for a mean, stay-at-home defenseman, preferably one with playoff experience.

2) The Penguins are very lucky. Being the recipient of several lucky bounces should not hide the fact that Crosby is still the primary scoring component of the Pens offense.

3) Both teams had better hope the Bruins pull-out a huge comeback and beat the Canes. Neither the Caps nor the Pens look like they have what it takes to beat the Canes in the playoffs, as much as it hurts me to type that.

Posted by: AppleScience | May 10, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Apologies if this repeats, but I have not read all the posts (though I think I covered a decent sampling).

The criticism of Green and Semin is merited. We cannot know for certain the extent, if any, of their injuries, so we assess based on what we know -- their performance. My main complaints about each have nothing to do with physical play, so injuries shouldn't much matter. With Green, I've seen him repeatedly fail to clear the puck when it's been sent in deep. He often has tried to quickly nudge it off the boards while sidestepping a check so that he can then move it up more crisply. What he should be doing instead is nudging it ahead to his forward who is nearly always just up at the half boards or near the point. The result of his play is that the Caps are frequently getting pinned in their own end.

With Semin...man, where do I start? His play is great for regular season hockey. Great stick handling...a decent shot...some speed. But when space is at a premium, he just has not shown an ability to adapt. Again, my foremost criticism of him has nothing to do with injury status. His problem is that he's trying to load up on his wrist shots by toe dragging it back and then leaning into it to get maximum torque. What happens is that it takes so long for him to do that that the Pens have been able to block the vast majority of his shots. His reluctance to go in the corners or drive the net (he doesn't do this when healthy and during the regular season) means that if you take away the perimeter...he's got nothing. Can you think of Semin making a good defensive play in the last couple of games? Has he laid a body on anyone? Has he had a solid goal-scoring chance? Nothing. He's been non-existent. (I'll add that if he's not hurt, then he's lazy or not in good enough shape...watch him and then watch Bradley, Gordon, Stekel, OV, Backstrom...he's the only one in that group who you'll find standing absolutely still on the ice).

What would the Caps do without these guys I think I saw someone ask. Can't do anything about Green right now. But, you could bump Semin down to third line. Injured or not, he's not effective (and has been detrimental at times with the lazy hooking and tripping penalties). A demotion could also kick Semin in the pants a bit. Here's a suggested lineup (a somewhat radical deviation, but focuses on some cycling, mucking/going to the net goals from the 2nd and third lines...those types of goals are what we need):

OV-Backstrom-Kozlov
Laich-Federov-Clark
Semin-Steckel-Bradley
Beagle/Brash-Gordon-Fleishman (also playing horribly)

Posted by: basementcat | May 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm not 100% sure I buy Green being injured anymore... he rattled off a slapper I think in the 3rd that was as hard as anything I've seen him shoot. Granted that was like his only shot but MAF had to work pretty hard to snag it with his glove. Maybe he tweaked his current injury with that shot, but it sure looked from my angle in 203 that he got a lot into it. He looks generally uninspired and I counted 3 times where he passed the puck in front of Varly at very inappropriate times, so maybe it's both mental and physical. Wish someone knew the whole story there.

It sucks to lose a game like this, but Ovie is right. We play like we did the first two periods, we win in 7.

And to the fans who threw garbage on the ice, go back to watching the Redskins and Nats, you're not welcome here.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 10, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

hey eddiep1 you and gmgm have the same idea about the game....thats why the caps arent winning in the playoff...playoffs are a different game and the caps arent ready for that transition

Posted by: wendel2 | May 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow....one overtime loss and being down 3-2 has alot of people on edge.

This team faces adversity pretty well.I would not count this group out just yet. We were down 3-1 to the Flyers last season and made it to a game seven, and as well this season against the Rangers.

This has been a close series with 2 OT's.

This is a team being built for a being a long term
contender. This season is a building block of that process. Sure we need some tweaking but the major cogs are in place to have a contending team for a long time.

Lets keep the faith and SUPPORT our team....if your are indeed true CAPS fans.
Win lose or draw...I Love our CAPS team!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | May 10, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

malkinskate,
i wouldnt say backstroms been invisible. he's had goals in the last two games and lots of assist. and they've got goals from steckle, clark and the d. but semin?? yeah.

re bowmeester. sure would be nice to see in a cap uniform. but why would you trade for a guy at the deadline whos going to be a free agent anyway? not like the caps were struggling to make the playoffs. if whats reported is true, teams were looking at alzner/varly. why would you do that? i'd gladly take a second round loss and keep alzner/varly w/ the same chance to get bowmeester as a free agent. thats why gm's get paid to do what they do. the pens have done deadline deals the past few years and it's worked somewhat. at some point they will pay the piper. nine free agents at the end of this year...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 10, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Ovie and Nicky! Those were gorgeous goals last night.

As for Semin, he isn't one of my favorites because of his uneven play, but he did take a slash to the wrist a few games ago. I think that accounts for much of the difference in his play this series. Also, he isn't committing as many penalties as he used to. That is promising.

Go CAPS!

Posted by: pstenigma | May 10, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree on many of the weaknesses of the team (defense, Green's performance, etc.), but I think there is something about the difficulty of the team as a whole to jell together and maintain an overll momentum.

We seem to have too many breakdowns, unexpected periods of sluggishness, lack of coordination & ebbs & flows. It usually takes us too long to figure out a new team or situation and adapt to it. Looking at the Penns, it seems to me that there has been a consistency of style and effort. I didn't see any mysterious & sudden gaps in momentum as in the Caps. They also have more reliable combinations (like the Malkin-Crosby duo) that balance the various skills on the team.

Maybe something like a great defensive player or gritty center could be the glue that holds the team together. Maybe there are two different teams in one -- D & forwards; fast and slow players...I don't know what--that are not coming together as a team. There is something that from February on is making it hard for this team to click together on a high performance level.

Having said this, I still think we will win the next two games but my confidence has taken a blow.

Posted by: caraveli | May 10, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the way to exorcise all the demons is to be at the brink. I recall the Red Sox who seemed to find new ways of choking in the World Series and blowing division titles and pennants to the hated NY Yankees. Finally, in 2005, they (the Red Sox) were down in a playoff series 3 games to none to the hated NY Yankees. They came back and won. (At the time my elder daughter was going to Boston U. and after Boston won Game 4, she actually said the Sox would come back.) And they did.

That would actually be 2004. Not 2005. :-) But anyway, as much as I hope to be at VC on Wednesday night, The penguins are not the Rangers nor last years Flyers.

Posted by: Chase4 | May 10, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@chase4,

Oops, made an error in the year of Boston's great comeback. Still, it was a comeback for the ages.

I hope the Caps can win Monday (and we'll all be at Verizon). They have made some great comebacks. I am scared about how they'll play and hope they don't get blown out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

@pstenigma

Glad Backstrom has gotten hot.

I'll admit I'm a wierdo who likes Semin. (Maybe because I have a child like him, in many ways.)

Didn't know he was slashed in the wrist this series but if that was the case, I'm sure that's why he's not the same player as he was last series. I did read in "In Frozen Blog" that Orpik had slashed him in the face and he needed a lot of stitches. (He was actually good in the first game -- had 2 assists even if no goals.)

But, this series to the contrary, Semin has improved his game overall from previous years.

I know Boudreau is upset about various cross checks done by Orpik against Semin this series.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 10, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I can't understand why people would be calling for the trading of Semin and Green. No offense, but if each of those people who called for the trade were put out to pasture like a prized horse who got injured, I think they'd think twice about calling for Semin and Green leaving. You people are disgusting. The Capitals are down but they're not out yet. They have my support for tomorrow's game and for Game 7. The Capitals must want it as much as we do, so let's chill out a bit and give it up for our men. Let's GOOO Caps!!!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 11, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Semin has always been kind of flaky and inconsistent. And, honestly, his style of play does not fit into the NHL playoffs. He is virtually all finesse all the time. Can get hot at times and look like an all-star, but other times he is completely nonexistent like now bc he does precious little else on the ice (no hitting, D, creating presence in front of net, etc...) So, I would not be opposed to using him to get a decent center or rugged defenseman in a trade.

Other than Ovie, the rest of the team needs to drive the net. That should be the mantra for game 6!!! Semin was very effective doing this for about 2 games in the Ranger's series. Ovie can score from anywhere unlike the rest of the guys.

Also, just once I would like to see Crosby or Malkin stood up at the blueline. We back up to the front of our net virtually every rush. They're good, but they're not that good. Stop being mesmerized by the puck and take the body! Our defense or lack thereof is making them look better than they are. Think the Rangers would be giving up 40+ shots a game against the Pens? Answer: NO. And if they did, a lot of those shots would be more perimeter oriented. So, I don't like BB's response that them getting 40+ shots a game is inevitable. Bad coaching!

Finally, is everyone just assuming Green is hurt bc he has been a liability the whole playoffs??? Did I miss something? I guess it's better to think that than the alternative bc IMO he has been our worst player by far. And, you can't have someone who is supposed to be one of your best players be one of your worst. That = losing in the second round of the playoffs.

Posted by: rphilli721 | May 11, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

about purging team, expectations, etc

this team is good and has had a great season. If they lose tomo, it was still a great season with a lot of good puck. Playoffs are a crapshoot and sometimes the matchups don't work out, either. We'll be getting better on D.

My question is - watching how disorganized we occasionally get - is whether these players don't need to become more coachable. I think they do - the coaches have their role and job; the players need to respect them and follow their schemes and directions...

Posted by: WritingLight | May 11, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

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