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Posted at 8:32 AM ET, 02/14/2011

Capitals kick off road trip against streaking Coyotes

By Katie Carrera

The Capitals face the Coyotes for the only time this regular season Monday night in Glendale, Ariz., in what is an important game for Washington so that it can start the road trip off with some sort of positive momentum. The two clubs don't see each other often so Coach Bruce Boudreau pulled out his notes from Washington's 4-2 win over Phoenix on Jan. 23, 2010.

"One of the things that we thought was they worked as hard as anybody did in the league last year and they were as fast as anybody, maybe except for Nashville," Boudreau said of the victory that came as part of the Capitals' 14-game winning streak last year. "And that was in our building. We beat them 4-2, but it could have been a different fate. I thought our goalie was really good that night.

"Now we're playing with them being on a little bit of a roll. The shoe is on the other foot," Boudreau continued. "We're not playing as consistently as we'd like to. If we play like we did against Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, then we've got a good chance. If we don't, then it's going to be a struggle."

But while the Capitals are looking to pick up their own pace, the Coyotes want to continue their recent run. Coming off four straight victories, Phoenix is wary of Washington particularly top-line center Nicklas Backstrom.

--It's been five years since Alex Ovechkin scored one of the most jaw dropping goals of his career against the Coyotes during his rookie season but that's still what he's best known for around these parts.

By Katie Carrera  | February 14, 2011; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  Phoenix Coyotes  
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Next: On Hockey: No excuses for uninspired play from Capitals' stars

Comments

Kings shut out the Flyers yesterday. As bad as we played on Saturday, got to give the Kings credit for one-hell of an east coast weekend.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 14, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm tired of all the words. Let them prove it by playing. It's all getting very tiresome. If they continue to play as they did in the last two games I hope they don't make the playoffs. We'll get e changes this city deserves!

Posted by: Thisistheyear | February 14, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

We all know how this will go...the Caps runs into a hot goalie tonight.

Posted by: instinct227 | February 14, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Hendricks needs to take 2 minutes for running into the goalie early on..let em know your there!

Posted by: SA-Town | February 14, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Tuesday morning quotes:

"We need to play for 60 minutes"
"We need to crash the net"
"The time is now to make our playoff push"
"For some reason we lacked the intensity to win on the road"

Did I miss anything???

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 14, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

all goalies are hot when you shoot (unscreened) into the middle of the net from outside the circles.

Posted by: brian58 | February 14, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@brian58
more frustrating is when they do get in decent positions to shoot they miss the net...high or wide

Posted by: DBnMD | February 14, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

and I honestly believe that the worst trade he made was Sakic for Hunter and Malarchuk
-------------------

he never traded Sakic.

He traded the PICK.

The Caps most likely would not have chosen Sakic with that pick. It wasn't like we traded a top 3 pick. Sakic went in the middle of the 1st round.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The Pens got smashed by the Rangers today. Who cares if they got hits, they got killed. The goal of the game is to outscore your opponent, if you don't do that any other "victory" is meaningless.

--sgm--

actually its not meaningless at all. If the Pens had gone into MSG, not finished any checks, not put in the work, not given the Rangers any resistance, that is way worse than going in there and losing the way they did

HOW you lose is every bit as important as how you win.

You talk about having watched enough playoff series that you're comfortable thinking the Caps can simply turn it on and get hot. Like someone sprinkles fairy dust on the team and the magic just happens!

it doesn't work like that. Its not about getting "hot". That's not the mechanism, that's the result of other principles you put into play.

And learning how to play consistently in a game win or lose is the first step. All losses aren't created equal except in your statistically-myopic mindset. You have good losses and bad ones. Even Scott Hannan just pointed out a few days ago that they need to worry about playing the same way and let the chips fall where they may. What do you think he was referring to?

To pretend that any loss is meaningless just because they lost the game, that's stupid. Even in the playoffs where a win or loss means so much more, how you play in a loss during a playoff game can have real ramifications on how you come out in the next game. Playing your butt off despite losing a game gives you a better chance in the next game. Its called CARRYOVER. You can't look it up, its not tangible. You either know it or you don't.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Kings shut out the Flyers yesterday. As bad as we played on Saturday, got to give the Kings credit for one-hell of an east coast weekend.

Posted by: SA-Town |

totally agree. It takes a certain mindset to be able to go out on the road and play some hard hockey like that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"We need to play for 60 minutes"
"We need to crash the net"
"The time is now to make our playoff push"
"For some reason we lacked the intensity to win on the road"

Did I miss anything???

Sounds like a broken record.whickey whickey
Sounds like a broken record.whickey whickey
Sounds like a broken record.whickey whickey
Sounds like a broken record.whickey whickey
Sounds like a broken record.whickey whickey

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 14, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

What kind of idiot say the hope the team they root for doesn't make the playoffs.. I have seen some really stupid post, but the person who said they hope the Caps don't make playoffs is an idiot..

Caps need 2nd line center Arnott would fit that role. He has tons of experience has won a cup, and has size. I don't think the Caps need another D, maybe a depth D guy.. I also don't think that the Caps scoring struggle has anything to do with BB system, its the players.. 8, and 19 are the main reason... They aren't playing with any heart at all...

Posted by: CapsBaby | February 14, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Here's Scott Burnside's take on the Lemieux statement: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=6120121

Pretty spot on if you ask me.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Here's what needs to happen: BB should drop Backstrom down to the second or third line. His play all season--offensively and defensively-- hasn't warranted being on the top line.

Move MJ up to the top line and pair him with Ovie and another speed winger, maybe Chimera or Semin. This would get the first line moving their feet more with some speed. OTOH, it would provide a much needed kick to the caboose of Backstrom whose play has been lackadaisical.

The Caps should also seriously think about moving Green for a center. The ideal time to move him would have been last year, his value will continue to drop as teams see he's a pretty mediocre d-man.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 14, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Good article, ThePat. But c.Coming from ESPN, the phrases "blind squirrel" and "acorn" come to mind.

Posted by: zmega | February 14, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the coach give us a quote like this: "It is time to F-ing Panic! We are in the middle of a key playoff race & every point counts. Our playoff starts tonight. We are going into Phoenix to play a must win game. Anybody who doesn't show up & put forth maximum effort WILL NOT play in the next game. That is the standard for all players, from the Captain on down. This will be the standard for the rest of the season."
Of course, the Caps would have to fire the coach to get a quote like this (and the courage to back it up).

Posted by: chriscaps | February 14, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Still no " take" from Ted on saturday's debacle. He must be on cloud 9 over the Wizards first road win.

These are fine times for DC sports.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

@underpants

or him and GMGM are in meetings about whether or not to fire the coach. Ted doesnt post things when he is extremely pissed about something or a major decision has to be made. He normally takes a couple of days before doing so.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

or Ted went out of town on vacation. Who knows.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@underpants

or him and GMGM are in meetings about whether or not to fire the coach. Ted doesnt post things when he is extremely pissed about something or a major decision has to be made. He normally takes a couple of days before doing so.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Either that, or they are trying to reacquire Milan Jurchina.

I really don't think they have any clue how to fix this.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I like to think Ted is diving into a big silo of gold coins - kinda like the begining of the old cartoon "Duck Tales".... but that's just me.

Posted by: bloodontheice | February 14, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

underpants2: You do know that reacquiring Jurcina didn't cost a thing because he never got healthy enough to make it back onto the ice so the Capitals got their conditional 6th round pick back. This is like the 3rd time I've heard this about Jurcina. Let it go, it didn't cost the Capitals anything. One more time, it didn't cost the Capitals anything.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

the real question is why is OV still on the top line? only reason i can come up with is that Ted wants to make sure all of the #8 jerseys are filling Phone Booth seats and sucking up overpriced refreshments.

seems like the other 2 spots on the top line get shifted arounbd with the same results. here is an idea: why doesn't the "captain" lay off Russia House for a while and make some of the "optional skates."

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@bloodontheice

Duck Tales was the best.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I like to think Ted is diving into a big silo of gold coins - kinda like the begining of the old cartoon "Duck Tales".... but that's just me.

Posted by: bloodontheice | February 14, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

As Mel Brooks once Said.."Treasure Bath....Treasure Bath..I am having a Treasure Bath.."

Posted by: opus1m | February 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The Pens didn't do much hitting in front of their net either as many of the Rangers goals were scored in close with little to no resistance from the Pens defensemen. Those tips from in front of the net were wide open.

When the Caps play defense like that they are crucified on here(often deservingly so), but for some reason you are complimenting the Pens for playing a similar type of horrible defense that you always crucify the Caps for when they play that way. Is there a double standard?

In addition, the Pens have allowed 14 goals over the past two games, and you are lauding how they played over that time? Seriously??? You might want to rethink that one.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Agree with CapsBaby that Ovechkin and Backstrom have not played consistently the entire season. Some is effort, but part of it is a coach who has not cut back on their minutes, taken them off the 1st PP unit, or held them accountable for weak defensive effort. A trade needs to be made a 2nd line center and another physical defenseman (i.e Chris Phillips) if this team wants to do anything.

BB is on borrowed time as the Caps braintrust must be reeling after the two great games played against TB and Pittsburgh the weekend before. It's not smart to replace a coach the day before you go on a five-game road trip. More likely move is when they return home from Pittsburgh and have 3 days off before they play another game. I'm sure that GMGM is looking at coaching prospects while the team is out West and it's no coincidence that Ted hasn't said anything since no decisions have been made.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I like to think Ted is diving into a big silo of gold coins - kinda like the begining of the old cartoon "Duck Tales".... but that's just me.

Posted by: bloodontheice | February 14, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Pretty funny!

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Green I repeat is not a mediocre defenseman. He is one of the top six or seven in the whole freakin NHL. He has become extremely balanced, has becomer smarter, better positional. Trading Green sounds like a perfectly stupid idea. If you do not like him that is fine but stats do not lie and being nominated for the Norris twice is not a fluke.

Posted by: pkme | February 14, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock

sine you are here, you know if we waited until the deadline it would not cost Semin to get Brad Richards?

Any roster player making more than Steckel plus prospects would do the trick. Say make it Laich, a 1st rounder and Eakin. And thats enough under the cap and probably enough in a package to get him.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Green is better defensively. The problem is that with him it seems to be an all or nothing outcome. Either he scores 31 goals and acts as a forward or he is man on defense.

In order to be what the Caps need Green has to BALANCE his defensive assignments with the ability to make things happen on the power play.

The team doesn't need him to take unnecessary risks getting caught up ice at 5 on 5, but on the power play he HAS to be more active and assertive in the offensive zone.

Semin is a player I have singled out in the past and continue to do so because when he is not scoring he really doesn't help the team in any other way.

He is not a physical player, he isn't a top penalty killer and he isn't a consistent facilitator.

Too many times we have seen Semin come into the zone and instead of setting up for the cycle he goes 1 on 2 or 1 on 3 trying to stick handle past multiple players to get a shot on net.

You really don't see top players around the league do that on a regular basis, it's very selfish play and something the Caps have allowed for far too long.

Boudreau needed to reign Semin in 2 years ago and instead he now has a monster on his hands. At 26, how far is Semin going to go to alter or adapt his game?

That's one of the reasons I think he has plateaued in the NHL and needs to be traded.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 14, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

doughless: Have you seen Ovi at the Russia house on several occasions this year. Really? Have you? Don't lie to make yourself sound like an insider either. The fact is YOU HAVEN'T. You and every other blow hard that keeps accusing Ovi, Green, and Backstrom of boozing it up is making crap up.

There was a guy on here accusing Ovi of being a jerk because he put his hood over his head and ducked out of Kettler, only to see Ovi's car in front of his house when he went past. Well, if you watched 24/7 they showed Ovi leave the rink that day with his hood on, he did go home, do you all remember what he was doing there? He was hanging out with his parents who had come in from Russia and he was packing for a road game.

I have had more opportunities to get Ovi's autograph than any other player in the DC/Baltimore area than maybe perhaps Cal Ripken Jr. He is human. When athletes are struggling with their game, and their team is struggling to win, they are in a bad mood. Deal with it.

I am probably the biggest Kool-aid drinker on here and I am extremely concerned with the Capitals play since the drop of the puck in October. I'm not about to make things up to act like I have inside information about Ovi and the gang because I saw one of them in a grocery store or a bar a time or two in the last 5 years. I'm all for constructive criticism too. One of the biggest critics has been cstanton1 but if you read his posts he rarely submits goofy zingers. I have really come to appreciate his posts. He's obviously a fan that has extensive hockey knowledge. My point in saying that is I scoff at pro Capitals posts as much as con Capitals posts. It's been a long time since I have totally disagreed with cstanton1's posts. He's usually spot on.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock

seriously, be quiet. I mean Really??? Do you have proof that he doesnt go out??? Plenty of people see him out and about drinking the night before games. Like you said he is human. Humans go out and drink the night before work all the time. It happens. So what, get over it everyone.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

getjiggly,

Drop Nicky to the third line? Dude, MJ isn't a 2nd line center yet, you want to put him on the first line? Also, MP isn't a 2nd line center.

MP and MJ suck on draws and you want to put them in positions where they have to take more...?

doughless,

The team is short 2 top 6 players at the moment, who the he@@ would you replace Ov with? 2C all season long and another winger. 16 (when healthy) and 21 are borderline top 6 / 3rd line at best and 22 is showing his age. 25 is not a top 6 guy. It is what it is.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 14, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Forsberg retiring already. Press conference this afternoon. Pretty funny.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

ThePat: I saw that one time. Someone did the math and came up with us being like 21K under the Cap. Let say the Capitals are waiting for that day. If the Stars fall out of the race and appears they will deal him, do you really think he will still be around on deadline day? Acquiring him before that day would put us over the cap and it can't be done. The Pens on the other hand have all of that space right now. The thing is, everyone calling for these dream trades wants to know why GMGM hasn't pulled the trigger already.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

ThePat: Yeah, why don't you give us another one of your insider trade rumors that NEVER come to fruition. A friend of a friend that I'm having lunch with said the Caps are looking at a defenseman from a team in the West. You are as vague as a palm reader.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

fanohock,

I'd rather see a trade for a 2C with time left on a contract so the team isn't in the same mess next year

Posted by: Steve_R | February 14, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

fan:

i am not an insider and have NEVER claimed to be, but have you ever heard of a smartphone?? dude, get over it; do you think that the Brandon Banks things was false info, too?? seriously, DC is a relatively small place. if you pay any attention to any sports outlets other than the WAPO, you hear stuff on a regular basis. and you don't think people in this town are smart enough to recognize OV or Green when they are boozing?? they are just making it all up, right?

by the way, i figured that would get someone like you going. OV isn't getting it done on the ice and off. BB rattles on about accountability and some seem to be above it all. that is all i am saying.

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

My proof that Ovi doesn't go out is that the media hasn't put out any stories on it. The Capitals are the team to cover by the Post right now. Don't you guys free lance reporters are hovering around bars the players are accused of frequenting and the story would come out the next day? If the media puts eyes on and puts a story out like they'd love to do I'll apologize. Some joker that puts accusations out when the Caps have flat games isn't credible.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

My proof that Ovi doesn't go out is that the media hasn't put out any stories on it. The Capitals are the team to cover by the Post right now. Don't you guys free lance reporters are hovering around bars the players are accused of frequenting and the story would come out the next day? If the media puts eyes on and puts a story out like they'd love to do I'll apologize. Some joker that puts accusations out when the Caps have flat games isn't credible.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

doughless: Absolutely not. Brandon Banks incident hit the newspaper.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 14, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

read some blogs, Fan (other than CI). there have been photos of OV & Semin knocking them back at Russia House and hangin out with trampy blondes. Enough on that topic.

more important is getting the ego that is OV in check. take the guy off the powerplay, cut his minutes, make him play on the 2nd line for half a period: just do something because right now the guy is looking seriously overpaid for the services being renderd.

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

When have I ever given you a rumor with exact players. I haven't. So yeah it is hard for stuff to come to fruition. The only thing I have ever said is back in January we were talking to a team for 3 days. The deal fell apart and I came on here and said it. Sorry buddy.

I would never give exact information because Im not going to cost a friend his job. I told people on here over the weekend, things are pretty tightlipped right now. So if you dont like my posts, just skip over them. Doesnt bother me in the least. But I dont come on here and make stuff up.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Fan: i was trying to be funny on the brandon banks thing.

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

Next time you go in searching over players autograhps....lets see ask Carlson, MP, Backstrom, Boyd Gordon, DJ King how often they go out to the bar George. Just ask them that question, youll find them there quite often between Thursday and Saturday nights when in town until 3am. Doesnt matter if a game is the next day. Or if you want proof just go there yourself(you have to be on a list thought). The media doesnt cover stuff like that unless bad stuff is happening. Look they are young guys, i dont care if they are out drinking. That is there choice, they have a life outside of hockey. I dont know why people care one way or the other.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Steve R: The fact is Backstrom isn't playing like a first--or second line center right now. Right now, MJ's the best they've got.

Remember--the purpose is to get Backstrom out of his rut; he's certainly capable of being a top center in the NHL but his play this year has stunk on ice. It's as if he's playing at 60%.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 14, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Steve R: The fact is Backstrom isn't playing like a first--or second line center right now. Right now, MJ's the best they've got.

Remember--the purpose is to get Backstrom out of his rut; he's certainly capable of being a top center in the NHL but his play this year has stunk on ice. It's as if he's playing at 60%.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 14, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Could we please stop talking about Arnott as a 2C. Maybe 5-10 years ago. This guy isn't a 2C anymore. GMGM thinks the d is set when Poti gets back. It sure wouldn't hurt to get a left shot offensive d-man to work the other point but, they won't make that move.

Posted by: chriscaps | February 14, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Look they are young guys, i dont care if they are out drinking. That is there choice, they have a life outside of hockey. I dont know why people care one way or the other.

Posted by: ThePat

I agree. There seems to be a disconnect between the fan's perception of an elite athlete and reality. They drink, they smoke, they eat junk. They are human beings like the rest of us. I read stories of the Pens boozing it up during the Carolina series and we all know how that ended. Caps players may go out every night, but until they start filling up water bottles with Grey Goose and puking on the ice, I'm not worried.

Also, staying out to 3am for players who live 5-10 minutes from the "office", work two hours and then get nap time is different than a 9-5 worker. I'd have to think the guys with family obligations who miss their afternoon naps are a little more worn out by game time than the 3am crew.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 14, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Nylander is hurt. He would be the answer to the 2C spot, and Semin would finally get the center he needs. MJ is not ready, and MP will never be ready. He is only good 1 out of 5 games. Since the Caps no longer play a run and gun style of hockey, Nylander would be a good fit..Better than anything they have, and anything they can get.

Posted by: Unknown19 | February 14, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

fanohock1

I couldn't agree more with you on your take on Ovi. The "boozing" rumor is as offensive as it is utterly stupid. Ovi is a young man who lives with his parents, for crying out loud, in a modest apartment. He is clearly NOT a diva and cares about his team more than his own success. He is having a bad season but not for want of effort. He always throws himself into games giving 150%. The fact that all forwards are having problems scoring tells me that it is not due to any one individual's unwillingness or lack of skill. Something is happening here that has to do with the system and the general mindset of the players, whether it is loss of confidence in the system or what. You can see that the whole team looks like they don't know what role is expected of them. They are not on the same page; they can't even find what that page is. Unfortunately, much as I like BB, I would say that it is the coach' responsibility to bring individuals together into a team. But slandering dedicated players and attacking their character is not analysis or speculation. It is disrespectful, mean-spirited and pointless.

Posted by: caraveli | February 14, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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