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Posted at 3:44 PM ET, 02/14/2011

With 25 games left, Capitals keeping an eye on the standings

By Katie Carrera

Different players have different philosophies when it comes to how much to pay attention to the ever-changing standings at this time of the year.

Washington is the only Eastern Conference team playing on Monday and as the number of games remaining this year seems to shrink ever so rapidly, the Capitals need a victory in Phoenix for two simple reasons: They need the points and they need to give themselves something to build off of.

"I think it's important to us that there's [been] too many win one, lose one, win two, lose two, up and down," Mike Knuble said. "We've got to build a run. We haven't been on a run in awhile. I think it's good for the overall mentality of the team to build a run, build some confidence the last 25 games."

As a veteran, Knuble is able to maintain perspective on most situations and streaks that a team can go through in a year, but he also knows that at this time of year, any team must at least be aware of the stakes on a nightly basis. Washington has 68 points heading into this game against the Coyotes. It is nine away from first-place Philadelphia, eight ahead of ninth-place Atlanta and the same number of points as Montreal.

"I check it every day," Knuble said. "Last year I bet there weren't many guys who were looking around at all. Now you're looking every day because you go to bed and you wake up at a different spot sometimes. It's not a paranoia of what's going on or a worry that someone's going to catch you; you just need to be aware of it. You can't walk around with your head in the sand as a team and as a group."

The Capitals are still in a relatively safe spot -- though not a comfortable one by any means -- despite capturing the two points available to them each game only four times in the last 10 contests.

"It kind of seems like we're falling further and further behind, but we're still in decent position, so I've been watching a little more than usual because it seems a little bit strange to me," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "You want to know what's going on around the league so you know where you stand and where you could stand. There's a little extra motivation to make sure you get those two points, and that's what we need."

By Katie Carrera  | February 14, 2011; 3:44 PM ET
Categories:  Karl Alzner, Mike Knuble, Phoenix Coyotes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Boudreau on Varlamov, Neuvirth: 'They can be the tide-turners'
Next: Open thread: Capitals at Coyotes

Comments

No more "motivation" talk...shouldn't being the laughing stock of the league by choking in last year's playoffs be motivation enough? Who is leading this team?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 14, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Why are you asking them who's leading the team? No one there has a freekin clue, but I thought that was obvious.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 14, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

An Ovechtrick. He filmed that commercial this year??

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 14, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted on the previous thread but:

Scott Hannan is the player that called the players only meeting. And he did it once before about a month ago. This is according to Mike Vogel. Was shocked that it was him, but glad the new guy sees something is wrong with the team. Funny how the newest guy does and the others dont see anything.

Posted by: ThePat | February 14, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

This guys lost faith in BB after the most humiliating defeat in history of NHL losing to 19th team in the league and Hannan was not there.


Posted by: Randolph2 | February 14, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

@Red

Ovechtrick consists of:

1.)Casually play a professional hockey game
2.) go get hammered that night and either/or have sex with anything or go buy more gold chains.
3.) Sleep in the next day and skip practice.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 14, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The 10 minute players' meeting was a joke. We should be reading about post-game fights between players, given the team's performance over the past two months. What do you think Mark Messier would have said/done if he were on a team with this collection of sleep-walkers?

The team has figured out that they get to cash their pay checks whether they play hard or not. Ovi is a shadow of his former self and Backstrom isn't much better. Green and Semin have been inconsistent, but I don't put them in the same lack-of-effort category as Ovi and Backstrom.

Time for some tough love from the coach. That is all he can do. If he can't do that, bring in a hard-a*s replacement. But I blame the players, the Big (contract) Two in particular.

Posted by: zmega | February 14, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@Doughless

“What exactly has this organization achieved — in its entire existence — to merit skating an entire regular season with on On-Off button,” I blurted out indignantly.

(The answer: Nothing. Ever.)

These Capitals are young, wealthy, happy and well-partied — oh so well-partied — expert at t-shirt design and making amusing television commercials.

And management seems to like it that way."

AMEN- A VOICE TO OUR ANGER!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 14, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: doughless | February 14, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

good read

http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2011/02/14/time-for-a-change-in-culture.html

Agree with everything OFB said.

I am gonna write it again, cover your eyes SOATI. If we have any chance of getting our captain back, Semin must be moved.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This team has done nothing for 2 months but talk about when the players are going to get motivated and things improve.

Well, here we sit in Mid Feb and the team is falling further and further behind the top seeds in the East.

Currently in fifth, the Caps could end up in seventh place if this road trip turns into another festival of 1-0 and 2-1 losses where there is no offensive jump and everything is left on the goalies.

The last time I checked goalies can only prevent goals, not score them.

Ovechkin and Backstrom have not stepped up to provide the kind of leadership that was expected of them with the 'career' contracts they signed with the organization.

My contention is still that a Mark Messier type leader who could scare some of these guys straight in the locker room would be worth three #1 picks.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 14, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nicety251 | February 14, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

My contention is still that a Mark Messier type leader who could scare some of these guys straight in the locker room would be worth three #1 picks.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4

I know its blasphemous to say this about the great Mark Messier, but he had a lot of help in NY and Edm.

Granted, his piercing glare and that game-face was fairly intimidating. But I always considered him to be a selfish hockey player in many ways. Not a true leader. And he was terrible about giving credit to anyone else. He believed his own hype. In Edm he was one of MANY great leaders from Randy Gregg and Kevin Lowe, and even McSorley. Later Steve Smith.

He had a lot of help in NY too. You didn't have to really motivate the Edm or NY lineups the way you do these current Caps. Even a Messier would have his work cut out for him here. And he'd been known to pout when things werent' going well.

all that being said, there isn't anyone out there right now who is available to do this singlehandedly. You'd have to bring in 3 or 4 guys to do it by committee.

A Kevin Bieksa would've been a nice start. Someone mentioned that Seabrook was avail? For real? I can't imagine that. But he'd be another nice addition as a motivating lead-by-example type.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Its obvious Boudreau has lost some of these guys on his team. They don't believe in their current system and the negativity is spreading

I hope im wrong and we go deep into the playoffs

Posted by: Nats1924 | February 14, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

No one talks about Jared Boll. He could be a really good role player on the 3rd/4th lines. Now that's a little closer to what the really good teams field on their bottom 2 lines.

Boll's a guy despite being a fan favorite who I think could be had. Columbus has really made some strides but in order to crack the top 8 in a very competitive conference, they need some bodies for the future. I don't know if they'd take Schultz as part of a package or not. But Semin and Schultz for Boll and Umberger?

Ovy-Backs-Fehr
Laich-Umberger-Knuble
Hendricks-Majo-Beags
Brads-Steckel-Boll

The obvious ?mark is still our 2nd line but I could live with that lineup for the time being. Could you?

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

No

Posted by: Randolph2 | February 14, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

We need a first line RW, not a 4th liner. I know what you are saying with Boll, but our other needs are much, much greater.

What about Hejduk on line 1? $3m rental. Still need a line 2 center.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 14, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

CStanton, I don't think anyone would disagree that having multiple leaders on this team would help. If a newcomer like Hannon is the one to call a players' meeting, that tells us something about the current vacuum of leadership.

Didn't Messier have some famous physical confrontations with teammates who were not producing? I could live with some diva-ness if the guy is producing on ice and leads/intimidates others to produce. Maybe Ovi is too nice a guy to get in the faces of teammates.

Posted by: zmega | February 14, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

You want toughness? You want someone who has heart and that will work?? GMGM, it won't be easy...but go get David Backes from the Blues. Backes + Hendricks + Hannan = heart, passion, desire and pride. That is what wins Cups!

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 14, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

No

Posted by: Randolph2

sorry, i meant "only people who agree with me need to respond"
:)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

What makes you think Backes is available in a realistic trade involving the Caps?

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 14, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I'd go with a more realistic trade than trying to get Backes.

I'm not sold on Fehr or MK as the RW solution yet but we can't fix everything at once. You gotta pick and choose. And I can live with Fehr and Knuble occupying the top 2 RW slots if we really firm up the rest of the roster.

If we go with my proposal, the only glaring hole is another dman. And you can pick up a decent veteran dman at the deadline by dealing away a 2nd or 3rd rounder (no not corvo!)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

i guess gfisher and i are the only REALISTIC ones here, lol

no, i'd love Backes but you don't usually find a forward who has youth on his side and and leads his team in points and hits. That's like Owen Nolan/Keith Tkachuk/Rick Tocchet territory. They'd be dumb to trade him unless they got something like Backstrom and Carlson for him. Even then it would be a tough one for them to swallow.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 14, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

If they miss the playoffs, the will refund half their STH's money back. I'm sure they would like to have a sniper like Semin there.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 14, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau did everything he could with this team last year. He's run his course. It is time to bring in someone with more experience and fresh ideas. I have not been excited about this team all year and they are playing WORSE not better. THE D-men needed to tighten their DEFENSE - yes the forwards could've been better but if the D-men had played better last year it might've been different. EVERYTHING didn't need to change for EVERYONE. 25 games left and no one knows what the offensive lines are going to be - if that is not pathetic and sickening than what is? They're passing the puck to NO ONE! Give me the list of forwards and their position and *I* can switch the fricking lines every night. A coach should be able to see who works well with whom..obviously this coach cannot so BB has to go and GMGM with him since he can't see something is wrong. It's almost too late. I'd love to be wrong here but I've been saying for months now - not WHEN they go to the playoffs but IF they go - do YOU want THIS team in Caps sweaters at Verizon Center for the playoffs as they are today!?! I'll sell my tickets. Practice every day until you play like you don't have to practice everyday. MANDATORY. This is crap.

Posted by: grjacquie | February 15, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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