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Ovechkin: 'We still have a good atmosphere'

The Caps held a very optional practice today at KCI that featured only 16 of the 25 players on the roster and none of the team's stars (with the exception of Mike Green, who was the last player off the ice.)

I suspect this is what most practices are going to resemble down the stretch as Coach Bruce Boudreau tries to rest his big-minute players. (Funny, none of the bottom six forwards opted out.)

Although Alex Ovechkin did not skate, he did speak to reporters. Asked about the mood in the dressing room now that some veteran players are being forced to sit out because of numbers, he said: "The most important thing is we still have a good atmosphere."

I'm writing about Eric Belanger for tomorrow's Post. The veteran center has been impressive in the four games since he was acquired at the deadline, with the highlight of his brief tenure in Washington coming last night in overtime when he sent a no-look pass to Tomas Fleischmann for the game-winner.

Belanger told me he expected to be traded when talks on an extension with the Minnesota Wild fell apart.

"I was just waiting for a phone call, to be honest with you," he said. "In the morning I woke up, went to the rink, skated for two drills and Todd Richards pulled me aside and said, 'You've been traded.' I was just waiting to see which team I was going to. As soon as he said Washington, I was pumped."

Keep an eye out for my story, which ought to hit the web later this evening.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 11, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Eric Belanger  
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Next: Caps clinch division

Comments

Previous thread:

So does anybosy know f we are close to any record for clinching a division should it happen today? It seems really early to be clinching a division or even a playoff spot already.


Posted by: capscoach | March 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Brought over from previous thread:

For comparisons sake, and keep in mind Backstrom has been putting up top line points since his first season, here are Backstrom's SEL stats compared to Johansson.

Backstrom
1st yr 46 10 16 26 30
2nd yr 45 12 28 40 46

Johansson
1st yr 45 5 5 10 10
2nd yr 40 9 10 19 10

Remember the SEL is no joke. There are lower leagues in Sweden, which is where Baby Gus is right now. Johansson is only 19 and playing in, and doing well in, one of the top leagues in which players transition straight into the NHL.

To further compare with another good young Swede, here are Loui Eriksson's SEL stats:

2003-04 1st yr 46 8 5 13 4
2004-05 2nd yr 39 5 9 14 4

Eriksson started the 04-05 by being sent down to the lower league. He spent his 1st 3 years here in North America going up and down between the NHL and AHL but became a mainstay in 2008-09 with Dallas. Now his stats with Dallas for the last 2 years are:

2008-09 82 36 27 63 14
2009-10 66 25 33 58 22

Anyhow, Johansson will be ready soon IMO. Also, I have to agree with tominfl, maybe not next year, but I believe he will be ready the following year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought 3 years ago players would be pumped, happy etc to come to the Caps. This will help a great deal with a salary cap, as the team may get some home team discounts as well as veterans willing to come here for less for the opportunity to play and win a cup. Who would have thought and how nice to see.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 11, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

honestly, I don't care about clinching anything except win number 4 in the Stanley Cup.

The RedWings have for years showed us what finishing 1st in the league means.

NOTHING!

I just want to develop some consistency and figure out line combos and start playing a more controlled offensive game and a more solid special teams and defensive game...

I want our goalie prob theo :( to be playing with consistency.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 11, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Just because we can't see the forest for the trees:
Caps clinch the division with another 2 points or ATL losing 2 points.

Next step: Clinch #1 seed.

Next step: Clinch President's trophy.

Next step: Rest Ovi....

Posted by: coolcraig | March 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Belanger just said on XM/NHL Live that he and Knuble will be "resting" tomorrow night. Good timing for your story Tarik.

Again, we have the dynamic Boyd Gordon playing...shaking head....

Posted by: opus1m | March 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

There is only 1 word for Belanger's no-look pass to Flash last night: SICK!! If BB is mulling over lineup changes, he may want to give serious consideration to moving Belanger to center the 2nd line. Just an idea.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

one other observation from last night: Theo looks really good right now. His only issue is our D-men not clearing his view from the crease and essentially helping screen their own goalie. Too much standing around the crease in front of JT. Clear and move.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Give Backstrom and Ovie the night off.....

Any way you look at it, the rest of the season is going to suck except for the Chicago, and Pittsburgh games....

We are going to have to turn it on like a switch come playoff time.

It's the price you pay since Pittsburgh cant keep pace...

Posted by: SA-Town | March 11, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll take home ice for every series we play. Got no problem with that. It guarantees nothing but if me choice is home ice for a series, or not, I'll take it.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Belanger definitely looks like our 2nd line center for the rest of the year. Down the stretch and into the playoffs it's going to be:

Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Belanger-Semin
Flash-Morrison-Fehr
Chimera-Steckel/Gordon-Walker/Bradley

Schultz-Green
Poti-Corvo
Morrison/Erskine-Carlson

Theodore


Or maybe switch Laich and Flash but Laich has been playing great lately, just not hitting the back of the net.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 11, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

opus1m,

Boyd Gordon, with his multiple blocked shots and clears, helped kill both penalties in the 1st period last night. It could've been 3-2 at the end of one.

Posted by: jec4p | March 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Belanger just said on XM/NHL Live that he and Knuble will be "resting" tomorrow night. Good timing for your story Tarik.

Again, we have the dynamic Boyd Gordon playing...shaking head....

Posted by: opus1m | March 11, 2010 1:49 PM

Are people still whining about players sitting out, change-ups in the line combos, and who's playing? Shutup about it already, these games, honestly, don't really matter.

It's about resting players, seeing what D pairings are working best and to see what players are going to be playing down the stretch and into the playoffs. Don't be surprised to see Ovi, Green, Backstrom and Semin sitting out a game here or there down the stretch.

Once it hits 7-10 games left, BB will settle on his lines and D pairings and we'll see what this team is going to look like in the first series.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@Butcherbaker

Looks like you read my post from this morning..I kid I kid.

That's the way I see the lines for the playoffs right now. The wings top-bottom have to be the best in the league. Kind of soft down the center with Bmo there, but you can't have everything. I'd rather have Flash on the wing than centering...at least Bmo can play some D without taking too many stick penalties.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Great stats--thanks.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@doughless -- Theo has been awesome since January. His save percentage going into 2010 was right around .900. He's up to .910 now, which means he's been going around .920 for the second half of the season, which is right where he was when he won the Hart+Vezina.

I don't think he's been getting enough credit for how well he's played lately. Like you said, a lot of what gets by him is because of bad screens and crease clearing. If Theo can see the puck he almost always makes the first save and his rebound control has been much improved the past few months, so he's not giving up the second shot nearly as often.

I definitely think Varly should get a few more starts to shake off the rust but Theo is the man this year.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 11, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@jsnyd1 -- it's pretty ridiculous that Chimera is a 4th line guy on this team when he'd be 2nd line on a lot of teams, isnt' it? :D

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 11, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Varly should definitely get more starts...I think they should keep switching off nights until the playoffs starts. Gives Theo rest, gets Varly back into form, and if Theo should get injured, hopefully, from the games he's been getting, Varly will be ready to go [/end run on sentence].

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Finally great to hear players excited about coming to DC!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 11, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Tough choices for final lines, because Chimera was really good on that third line during the streak. He's one of the faster skaters on a really fast team.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Laich is the glue in my mind. He played a heck of a game last night and he really opens it up for his linemates. I also want to recognize B-Mo's pass to Semin last night that led to his goal. I saw Semin break early and B-mo went off the boards and hit him in stride. It was an awesome play.

Posted by: moltzjo | March 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

You ain't kiddin about Chimera and the wingers on this team. I think we get spoiled with all the talent on this team...you look at what other playoff teams have, even in the top 4 in each conference, you'd be hard pressed to find a team with this much depth.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@fanhock1

I hope that mean Johanssen will be a good NHL player, but there have been many young players who have put up great stats in juniors or europe who do nothing over here.

I think next year will be spent getting Johanssen playing time in the AHL, on an NHL sized rink, and also a year of weight team monitored weight training (lower body and upper body). The kid is only 19, an extra year of weight training at that age will help significantly.

Hopefully he will continue to improve and become a ver good player, but there is a lot of room to go from the SEL to a top 2 line NHL player.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"I was just waiting for a phone call.... As soon as he said Washington, I was pumped."

What a great quote--I could feel the worry then joy in his words.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@moltzjo

I think Laich has been one of the best players on the team since the Olympics. Yeah, his numbers don't show it, but everything he's doing off the puck has been nothing short of amazing. It seems like he's playing the best hockey he's ever played right now.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Belanger has definitely impressed me. I honestly had never heard of him before he was traded to us. Can't wait for that article, Tarik!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Knuble is sitting out the next game. The team is going to need him for a long playoff run.

Next year, I think the Caps should sign a true 2C. As excited as I am about seeing Johannson, I don't think he should come up to the big club yet. Backstrom was good player when he came over, but being mentored by Feds and he who shall not be named that is currently playing in Finland was invaluable. Also, Backstrom came to the Caps when the team was losing, so the pressure was less than it would be for Johannson.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

on nhl.com under top headlines it says Caps can clinch berth tonight

oh how sweet it is!!!! well of course i knew we would but this is pretty early with 15 games left still.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

RE; Modano

Very interesting to hear he was asked to waive his NTC. I thought he wasn't available either way, but it would've been very nice to have a guy like him. Oh well.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

fanohock: Good numbers there. We can draw a comparison. Backstrom was an instant mainstay after his two SEL years. Eriksson needed three developmental years. Now put Backie on one end of the scale and Eriksson on the other. Is Johansson 0, 1, 2 or 3 years? Depends how you slot him between those two players. Look at Fehr, a top prospect in the WHL. An '03 draft pick, just coming into his own this year, six years after he was drafted.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

For a Pens matchup I like the lines as:

Ovie/Backs/Knuble
Flash/BMo/Semin
Lacih/Belanger/Fehr
Chimera/Steckel/(Brads or Walker)

I think the Belanger line would match up wonderfully against Crosby's line, which is why I have them where they are. Even though they are the "3rd" line they would see plently of minutes.

Belanger could match Crosby in the faceoff circle and has the skating ability and defensive presence to follow Crosby around. Laich is great all around and is good along the boards as well as being physical and Fehr is very good at causing neutral zone turnovers with his long reach. In addition the line has good offense too and would chip in some goals.

I would have the Steckel line against Malkin's line since Steckel has size like Malkin and played well against him in lasst year's playoffs.

That would leave Ovie's line against the Staal line (Pittsburgh would make sure of this); and

Semin's line against the Pens 4th line. How could you not love that matchup.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

opus1m,

Boyd Gordon, with his multiple blocked shots and clears, helped kill both penalties in the 1st period last night. It could've been 3-2 at the end of one.

Posted by: jec4p | March 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

In his 11:00 of ice time, Boyd was credited with 1 block, he was good on his faceoffs, 4-1. He had no hits, no give aways and no takeaways. I am not saying he is terrible, I am saying he is very replaceable.

Posted by: opus1m | March 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The talent on this team is simply ridiculous, hands down I think we have the strongest overall forward cobo in the league.

Theo has also been lights out and as was mentioned earlier his rebound control has improved steadily throughout the year....I think Irbe may have everything to do with that, another smart move hiring him as he will get Varly back in top form before seasons end I am sure.

The one question mark left is the talent on D and special teams....I think it is there but as BB preaches they MUST play the system for it to work.....they have a little over a month to figure those two question marks out, I feel really good about a deep run this year though!!

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

We watched it with Pittsburgh or Detroit, when players were excited to go there and play for a contender and got their wish. Now it's our turn: players don't want to leave and new players are happy about their new team. Even when we went to the Finals way back when, players didn't seem excited to come here, sounded more like the price was right.

Regarding Theo's stellar play. Sooner or later, a goalie who wants to be successful in our crease learns to adapt to our defense hanging them out to dry. It really surprises me when it looks like they actually weren't expecting our D-man to turn the puck over right in front of them. I'm surprised they aren't instinctively in the butterfly until the puck at least makes it to center ice.

Posted by: hockeyweasel | March 11, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Nicky will not be sitting out any games unless he has to. He has not missed a game(knock on wood) since he started playing. Now he could suit up, play a shift or two, but I dont think that is his or BB way. So he will be in the line up.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 11, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The RedWings have for years showed us what finishing 1st in the league means.

NOTHING!
____________________________

Is this supposed to be serious? The Red Wings won how many Cups recently...
There is a direct correlation between finishing first in the regular season a lot and going deep in the playoffs.

Boston last year or the Sharks would've been a better example..

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

a team-record 108 points last year. well on pace to shatter that this year. how many points y'all think? 15 games left and sitting on 99 points.

i say 120.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: redrocker2 | March 11, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

120 points would be 10-4-1 down the stretch.....not out of the question but with the tinkering BB is doing I would say 116 points would be more realistic. Just my opinion. And not complaining about the tinkering....rest these players while you can!

Posted by: PhilR | March 11, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

You don't rest your stars. Just ask the Colts what happens when you rest.

Who cares if they win the Prez Cup - this team needs to stay focused. They have struggled against those teams fighting for playoff spots and that is who they will get in the first round.

Respect each team you play no matter their record or their finish in the regular season.

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | March 11, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Shiba Inu.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@Shiba

Football isn't hockey. When there's a whole football seasons worth of games left, you can afford to rest your stars a game or two without ruining chemistry or whatever.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 11, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

i agree with Shiba-fussa. i don't care if they win the presidents trophy either. it's a nice accomplishment, nothing more, and definitely guarantees nothing in the playoffs.

but knowing how BB historically encourages his team to achieve goals big and small and take pride in them, i would be willing to bet he wants to get the no. 1 seed overall in the league, thereby home ice throughout the playoffs. he's not saying "win the presidents trophy," he's saying "let's get the no. 1 seed."

Posted by: redrocker2 | March 11, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to the Sharks last year, I think they had a bunch of injuries in March and were working a bunch of guys back into the line up. Also, Anaheim was much better than the typical 8th seed. They really could have beaten Detroit. All that said, the Sharks were manhandled by the more physical Ducks.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to the Sharks last year, I think they had a bunch of injuries in March and were working a bunch of guys back into the line up. Also, Anaheim was much better than the typical 8th seed. They really could have beaten Detroit. All that said, the Sharks were manhandled by the more physical Ducks.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 3:32 PM |

Eh..that doesn't explain the years of being snakebitten in the playoffs previously.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

In his 11:00 of ice time, Boyd was credited with 1 block, he was good on his faceoffs, 4-1. He had no hits, no give aways and no takeaways. I am not saying he is terrible, I am saying he is very replaceable.

Posted by: opus1m | March 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse


--

Funny, you didn't mention anything about how many times he was able to clear the puck from the zone. I would love to hear who you think would be better qualified to keep on our PK, particularly someone who ISN'T Backstrom or Green and already logging a ridiculous amount of icetime every game.

Posted by: jec4p | March 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Well...not that I wouldn't mind doing it with a win tomorrow, but if my calculations are correct, we clinch the Southeast with a loss by Atlanta and Tampa Bay today or a win by us tomorrow. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: CapsSkins | March 11, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

btw...i think the starting combo lines of forwards should be:

ov-backs-knubs
laich-belinger-semin
fleishman-morrison-fehr
chimera-steckel-walker

Sucks for Brads and Gordon but I don't see them in a better fit above.

Posted by: CapsSkins | March 11, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

i'm totally down with belanger...plays both ways...good good good

what's up with corvo, anyone else see him pulling up on hits the last two games...now what i like to see come playoff time...you can't just tap them on the shoulder and ask for the puck, joe!

Posted by: carsonspence | March 11, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Eh..that doesn't explain the years of being snakebitten in the playoffs previously.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 3:34 PM

I agree. The Sharks have been chokers for years. Despite winning the President's Trophy for the regular season, last year they just weren't the better team in that playoff match up. The Sharks out shot the Ducks by a wide margin. The Ducks didn't allow anyone to park in their crease, so Hiller was able to stop most of them. Anaheim was more physical and better built for the playoffs and they dominated the skill team. Just shows that playoff seeding means nothing.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

President Cup means nothing.....if we win it...send it up to Pittsburgh...they can have it...

Posted by: SA-Town | March 11, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Anyone catch Walker trying to hook one of his own guys last night. It was early in the 1st period. I think it was Steckel, but not positive. I think he forgot who he was playing for.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | March 11, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course the goal is to win the cup. To win that you have to get in the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, home ice helps.

Obviously nothing is a guarantee but going into the playoffs with home ice thru out is a good thing.

A top seed slumping late will have trouble wiht an eighth seed that is on an upswing but in general its better to be the top seed and you get that thru the regular season.

Posted by: tim-n-VA | March 11, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Laich isnt as defensively responsible as he once was...

Posted by: cotelloer | March 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

how the presidents trophy winners fared
there have been 23 presidents trophies awarded
7 - won cup
2 - lost cup final
5 - lost conf final
5 - lost 2nd round
4 - lost 1st round

cup winners by overall pts standings (since pres trophy awarded)
1st - 7
2nd - 1
3rd - 5
4th - 2
5th - 2
6th - 2
7th - 2
8th - 1 (pens last year)
9th - 1 (48 games season)

like tim-n-VA said - nothing is a guarantee

i think i'd say winning the pres trophy puts you in a better position to win the cup than NOT winning the pres trophy

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I know we need to resign Backs...but how active do you see us being in Free Agency next year?? Think we will try to keep Corvo or Belanger?? I know they are all free agents..just curious what you guys think...

Posted by: OVIHtrick8 | March 11, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that Boudreau was not thrilled with these trades and all of these extra bodies.

Posted by: MKadyman | March 11, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that Boudreau was not thrilled with these trades and all of these extra bodies.

Posted by: MKadyman

I totally agree. Eric Belanger was a nice addition, but Walker and Corvo? I don't think so.

Posted by: TheSmurfs | March 11, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I know it's easier demanded in a blog comment than done, but I'd love to see some reporting on what the deal was that - from all indications - fell through.

The only other option is that there is a pretty serious disconnect between the coach and GMGM as to what this team required, and I somewhat doubt that's the case.

Anyone have any idea(s)?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 11, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Modano fell through because he didn't waive his NTC. Sutton fell through.

That's all I know.

And Walker was a great addition. Corvo..eh.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil, I saw you (someone?) mention Modano earlier (I should go read through blogs/CI's comments sections, I know) but missed anything about Sutton.

I guess I'm wondering, is the consensus that a three-way fell through or that the guys the Caps did get were largely second options?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 11, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The Stanley Cup is the main objective...I think we can all agree on that.

That said, the other things DO matter as milestones on the way to that objective:

1) Clinching the SE Division guarantees at least 3rd seed in the playoffs and home ice in the Conference Quarterfinal.

2) Clinching the Conference guarantees home ice through at least the Conference Final

3) Winning the President's Trophy guarantees home ice all the way through the Stanley Cup Final.

Here's my best guess at how I see the playoffs shaking out if the trends continue status quo through the end of the regular season. Not a prediction...just a guess.

EAST:

Round 1
WAS vs. BOS
PIT vs. MTL
BUF vs. PHI
NJD vs. OTT

Round 2
WAS vs. OTT (Brodeur is done, and Kovy ain't doin it. Boston....are you kidding me?)
PIT v. BUF (PHI too hard against the cap; MTL fast but not balanced enough to defeat PIT.)

Conference Final
WAS vs. PIT (personally, I'd rather face BUF so that we can just play and not have this albatross around our necks. Oh, well...

Given that WAS would remain top seed in the East, I can to see them advance to the SC final by winning this series 4 games to 2.

Stanley Cup Final:

I see the Caps basically running the table in the playoffs, to represent the East for the Cup.

As for the West, the picture is more murky. That said, I see SJS and CHI seem the most likely teams to emerge from the West, with DET and VAN as the dark-horse candidates.

Bottom line, should the Caps triumph in the East (as we all hope and pray), and we find ourselves in a best-of-7 series with any of these 4 teams for Lord , I want 4 of those 7 games played in OUR building!

not the Shark Tank...
not The Madhouse on Madison...
and sure as #311 not at the "Joe"!!!!

Only the acquisition of the President's Trophy can guarantee that.

'nuff said!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Pothier just got an assist on Whitney's goal. Is it his first?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

Great analysis of the playoff situation.

Another team I'd rather see us get the home field advantage against would be LA, not to mention Vancouver.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 11, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of playing these west coast teams...

this DEPTH that we have now, as annoying for Bruce right now, could really pay some dividends come long-distance series where we could basically rotate 2 "energy lines" through the series

think, gordon-walker-chimera
bradley-steckel-chimera

Chimera is too good to come out, i still blame the lost win-streak on his groin...

Posted by: cotelloer | March 11, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a little early to declare who was a worthwhile pick-up. I agree that Corvo has not been encouraging (we need more responsible D, not another risk-taker), but I'm willing to give all three the chance to get comfortable before passing judgment.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 11, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

unlike football and basketball, number 1 and 2 seeds lose all the time in the first rounds of playoffs in hockey.

under the current playoff format which's been around for 15 years, 21 outta those 60 matchups ended up with the lower seeds winning the series... that's better than 1 outta 3.

it's hard to predict anything in sports and even more so when it comes to playoff hockey

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

3 regulation losses at home.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I think BB is not considering 3rd or 4th lines as such but rather more as specialty lines when the time comes.
In the playoffs, all lines must contribute or your dead, but rather assigning Ovie or even Sasha on the point during PPs, you need the assigned lines to do their part. Hopefully BB does not overload icetime on Ovie, Sasha, the new guys, or anyone else for that matter because that just dilutes the 5 on 5 effectiveness.
I'm sure we know this but that will make or break us come May and hopefully way into June.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 11, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

so it's a statistical guarantee that one of these teams - washington, pitt, chicago or SJ assuming they stay where they are in standing - WILL lose in the first round this year.

better hope it's one of those other 3...

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

totally off topic, but Steven Stamkos scored his 43rd goal tonight. 43RD. WOW. The guy's a STUD.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Why are some of you thinking that BB is unhappy with the trades. In my view it is no accident that all of the players had worked with either BB or GMGM--they were known in a personal and not just statistical way. From what I've read and heard both Corvo and Belanger were on a short list of desired acquisitions.

BB has said only great things about the new players, especially, Corvo. It sounds as if Belanger has been on been on GMGM's wish list for awhile now. And I get the impression that Walker was more of an add on for that little extra bit of grit and ability to be a pest.

I'm sure GMGM made any number of inquiries/offers for any number of players, including several that ended up staying put. Doesn't mean that the trade would necessarily have happened. We will never know the names on his untouchable list but from the little that he has said it certainly included the Fab Five. So some of those trades were going to cost more than he was willing to give.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I am also willing to give Corvo a chance to adapt his game to BB's system. He is going to make mistakes and now is the best for those mistakes to happen.

I get the impression that BB's style is exciting but nerve wracking to newcomers, especially our defensive guys. They get ragged on more than anyone. Think how much grief Greenie has gotten over the years and he REALLY knows the system.

Corvo may not be the defensive guy a lot of people were wishing for but boy is he fast and skilled.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 11, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

@ Capsyoungguns

You're probably right about BB and the trades. Before the Wild game this year I thought he mentioned wanting to sign Belanger, but my memory is fuzzy. Still, I don't think he likes being the bad guy and having to scratch 7 guys each game. I wonder who from else was supposed to be traded besides Pothier? My guesses are Fehr, Brads, and BMo from the forward lines and Carlson was supposed to stay in Hershey.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I'll be the first. SE Division Champs...Again!

Posted by: glb8p | March 11, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

The Caps just technically clinched the division.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's anti climatic and OFFICIAL Southeast Division Champs!!, Step 1 of 4 in regular season, then 4 more steps in playoffs with one silver holy grail riding down Constitution Ave in mid June

Posted by: BBDwrestling | March 11, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Was it only 2 years ago that we had to "win out" and clinched the Southast on the last day with a win against the Panthers? I don't think I've ever been more excited at a game than that one!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 11, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Southeast Champs! Wow.

Posted by: KurtNYC | March 11, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Pothier with the game-winner against the Penguins!

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!


Give us the Cap now!

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

In slightly more exciting news, Pothier just scored the GWG against the flightless fowl in OT.

LOL.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

All of you have already said it!!! SE DIVISION CHAMPS! YAY CAPS ;) Congrats everybody!!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Yay! Southeast Division Champs and Potsy get the GWG against the Pens.

Boo! Carolina gets 2 points

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Seriously! WOW, thanks Potsy! Great job! Glad it wasn't against us last night!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Boo! Carolina gets 2 points

Posted by: ablake70

Well would you rather have the Pens get two points? Anytime the Pens lose, I'm happy.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

The change of environment seems to have worked out better for Pothier than Corvo so far.

Pothier + Osala + 2nd rd pick too much for Corvo?

I know 2nd rd picks aren't that big of a deal but they do have some value and I know Osala was going to have a tough time cracking the lineup in D.C. as a LWer.

Still, Corvo hasn't shown a lot up to this point.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Well would you rather have the Pens get two points? Anytime the Pens lose, I'm happy.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:36 PM

At this point I'd be happier if the Pens did win. They are going to make the playoffs anyway. I don't want the Caps to have to play Carolina in the first round. They are a dangerous team.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 11, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Seriously! WOW, thanks Potsy! Great job! Glad it wasn't against us last night!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:35 PM |

Dead serious. Like 25 seconds into OT. I laughed and my fiance looked at me weird.

@tmac
Corvo makes my head hurt.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Technically, nothing. The Caps clinched the SE with Atlanta's loss and TB also lost in OT. Neither team can catch us mathematically in the division. They both max out at 98 points.

Posted by: gebster | March 11, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I'm really pulling for Corvo but I agree, the early returns aren't so good.

He looks like a Mike Green light - much less offense and even worse decision-making.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Was it only 2 years ago that we had to "win out" and clinched the Southast on the last day with a win against the Panthers? I don't think I've ever been more excited at a game than that one!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 11, 2010 9:26 PM

I will never forget the 5-minute hug my wife and I shared when that game ended. It's giving me chills just thinking about it. It's hard to say which was better between that and being at game 7 against the Rags last year.

And, yeah, unbelievably, it was just two years ago.

Congrats, guys, for winning a third straight division title! And good work, Pothier!

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | March 11, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: rachel216 | March 11, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"so it's a statistical guarantee that one of these teams - washington, pitt, chicago or SJ assuming they stay where they are in standing - WILL lose in the first round this year.

better hope it's one of those other 3...

Posted by: joek443"


Somebody didn't do so well in statistics class ;). You don't just add up the probabilities -- these are not mutually-exclusive events events. P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B) - P(A and B).

Consider two series for simplicity. P(Caps lose) = 1/3. P(Sharks lose) = 1/3. P(Caps OR Sharks Lose) = 1/3 * 1/3. P(Sharks or Caps lose) = 1/3 + 1/3 - 1/9 = 56%

Add a third event. P(Pens lose) = 1/3. P(Caps OR Sharks OR Pens lose) = 1/3 + .56 - 1/3*(1-.56) = 75%

Add a fourth event. P(Hawks lose) = 1/3. P(at least one of the four teams loses) = .75 + 1/3 - 1/3*(1-.75) = 99.6%

Okay, it's pretty close to 100% but not quite!

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 11, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@ butcherbaker

what is the probablity of the same thing happening to the sharks for two years in a row?

if that probablity goes down, shouldn't that be bad news for washington, pitt or chicago??

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

Me, too. I'm happy that Carolina dumped Pittsburgh. I root for ANY team against Pittsburgh and that includes NJ, Buffalo, NY Rangers, NY Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers. (Maybe if one of those teams got really obnoxious, I would change my mind but ....)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 11, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

The probability of the Sharks choking in the first round two years in a row? 1/3*1/3 = 1/6 = 11% but it doesn't mathematically affect the probability of anything else that happens this year since they are all independent events. It doesn't even affect the probability of the Sharks choking this year, which would still be 1/3.

Think baseball. If a player bats .300, that means he has a 30% chance of getting a hit every time he steps to the plate, irregardless of what he did in his last at bat.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 11, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@cotelloer

That's a good point. The possibility of rotating 2 energy lines. In many ways, our 4th line is more like a third line. While our 3rd line is essentially the overflow from the 2nd line. Guys who are Top 6 forward/2nd line caliber are on the third line.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 11, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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