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Poll: Does targeting stars go too far?

Yesterday, Blue Jackets Coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters that he did indeed tell his players to target Alex Ovechkin -- "Run, chase, hunt down, hit, whatever word you want to use that would be correct," he said -- in their game against the Caps on Sunday.

"That's the name of the game," Hitchcock said. "Why, is that against the rules now?"

Is it? Not exactly, but Ed Frankovic argues that one specific incident did cross the line:

Well yes Ken, jumping a guy by your bench during a stoppage in play is against the rules and using the words "hunt down" to describe it is even more despicable and is a disgrace to sports and the NHL. In fact, this whole incident, from the punch by Jason Chimera to the mugging by Jared Boll to Hitchcock's comments, has no place in the league and Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell need to come down hard on the Blue Jackets for this incident IMMEDIATELY, because if they don't then their game is going to become a joke very quickly.

Commenters have gone both ways, from being outraged to agreeing with Hitchcock and expressing desire for the Caps to do the same (against, say, Sidney Crosby and the Pens). So here's an extremely unscientific poll:

That said, this isn't the first or the last time a team will (openly or not) "hunt down" Ovechkin, who is now week to week with an upper-body strain. Is this team missing a Donald Brashear-type? Let's revisit the issue:

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 4, 2009; 10:48 AM ET
 
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Next: Ovechkin feeling 'a lot' better

Comments

If the injury came from a stick butt from the bench, that needs to be investigated and punished. That would definitely be crossing the line.

Also, I'm okay with everything Hitchcock said except "hunt down". That crosses the line in my book too.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | November 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The only 2 things that bother me about this are:
1. They had 7 players on the ice during the scrum, with no extra penalty. We are set up to make you pay on the power play if you want to get too feisty, and the refs seemed to feed into what Hitchcock did by letting them get away with a few things on the ice. I was at the game, and there all sorts of things going on during the game.
2. Chimera went after OV specifically. It's one thing to be an agitator aka Matt Cooke, Sean Avery. To send a goon to fight OV is a bit ridiculous, it's not like Ov is looking to fight Chimera.

That being said, we need Erskine back which will help battle this a little bit. But then again, we need Erskine on the ice, not taking 5 min majors for fighting. I love Matt Bradley, and he is as scrappy as they come, he will fight anybody, anywhere. But he is not a heavy weight. As my buddy and I were saying when Brashear left, we need a bruiser who knows his role.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

jakopz: I'll get with the Team Manager today to see how much the tickets are and we can figure out logistics from there. You usually have insight when it comes to our swedish players any word on whether or not Nyls convinced anyone he's capable of playing at the KHL level?

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Agreed with pensfan and capscrew on most points.

I think checking, harassing a star player is part of the game, but only in the run of play. Harassing in the scrum or after the whistle (I think of Orpik facewashing Semin several times in the playoffs last year after the whistle) I think should be a penalty. If Ovie got hurt by someone on the bench, or someone who came off the bench, the league should come done on Columbus...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | November 4, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

If guys want to try to hit OV, so be it. He is a big boy who can hit back. He is also pretty dang quick, so catching him and getting a clean shot is not an easy thing to do. It's kind of like the dog chasing the car...what do you do when you catch it, he makes more people pay for trying this than people make him pay for doing it. I would try to have players hit him as much as possible also, but the extra stuff after the whistle is where the refs have to step in and call it. Between the whistles, it's a rough game, and they are men, and yes he is a target. After the whistle, it's a penalty...take your chances against our power play.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I also think that while the INTENT of the comment was "hit Ovechkin and take him off the puck," the PERCEPTION is what needs to be better-managed here. What it APPEARS is that Hitchcock is giving his players a license to kill, so to speak, and that is not acceptable.

Is hitting the star player to take him off the puck OK? Of course; that's hockey.

But hunting him down? Deliberately?

Not cool.

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1...Good point about Nyls...freeing up that cap space will open room to bring up Alzner or Carlson, which will help a bit on D.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I have absolutely no problem with Hitchcock's statements, nor did I think having a full-time, 6-minute a game enforcer will help. Now..having a brawler who can play the game every now and then is different..but no Brashear-type please.

Get well soon Alex. Prove to all the fans of every other team that we a good team, minus Alex.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I saw a great post the other day and can't find it now. But bear with me as I might not do the original post credit for how funny it was. But the gist of it was:

Flu shot update: Alexander Semin received a flu shot today...he is now listed as day-to-day.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

think should be a penalty. If Ovie got hurt by someone on the bench, or someone who came off the bench, the league should come done on Columbus...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | November 4, 2009 11:07 AM |

They did get a penalty, and I will bet that Columbus caught a tremendous amount of lip from the NHL for having injured their top-selling player.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

we can target Ken Hitchcock by waving a turkey leg behind the bench next time they are in town.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 4, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Richmondphil...I agree that it can't be just an enforcer, they need some skills, but if Brashear was on the ice, he would have been a deterrent to what happened, because there were other things which led up to the scrum.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I think it is fine as long as it is clean - body checks and such...not sure what they did was clean- hence the need for an enforcer.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 4, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

this has been part of the game for decades, it's nothing new.

however what is new, naive and rather arrogant is to think that you can play without an enforcer. it can work for a team like detroit which doesn't depend on their stars like the caps do. they play as a team so it's not easy to target one or two players. Nor do they have an offensive superstar like OV.

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

no problem with Hitchcock or targeting stars. if by targeting you don't mean intentionally attempting to injure. i dont think is what the Bluejackets were doing. OV plays a physical game. he (and Caps fans) should be willing to accept the same. i think OV does. not so much Caps fans.

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Richmondphil...I agree that it can't be just an enforcer, they need some skills, but if Brashear was on the ice, he would have been a deterrent to what happened, because there were other things which led up to the scrum.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:17 AM |

Thing is though, he would not have been on the ice anyway. And if Brash decided to come over the bench to fight, he would have received a game misconduct and most likely a suspension for being a repeat offender.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Basically, I see no point in a full-time, staged fighting enforcer, unless he wanted to make 500-600K ish. Give me a Boll, give me a Godard, Give me a Carcillo. Keep your Brash's and Orr's.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

well who cares if they went after the perp and had someone suspended for that...

you think if anyone went after Crosby or Malkin, the pens would worry about 20th guy on their team getting suspended??

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Ha- we are rehashing yesterday! Whole team needs to get tougher- especially the big boys on defense. I still completely disagree with GMGM that our PP is a deterrent to shenanigans...idiotic.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 4, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Targeting is fine, every team targets the opposition's best players for closer coverage. "Hunt down" is over the line. It may be semantics, but it shows a certain attitude where injuring players is considered part of the job. That's very dangeous for the league. There have been many hits already in this young season that have crossed the line, and it needs to be addressed. We fans don't pay to see hits, we pay to see the talent players.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | November 4, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

well who cares if they went after the perp and had someone suspended for that...

you think if anyone went after Crosby or Malkin, the pens would worry about 20th guy on their team getting suspended??

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:25 AM

Well certainly Brash will care, since you know...he'd be losing a good hunk of money.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

why would anyone think their PP is a deterrent these days? the way they give up shorthanded chances, it's an invite to take more liberties.

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Also I guess I should have emphasized the game misconduct. Your enforcer goes, and then it's free reign for the rest of the game.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

In this game for instance...Brads tried to get Chimera to drop the gloves and he wouldnt...so if he wont go with Brads, what makes you think he will go with a heavyweight? Also have 7 players on the ice during a stoppage/line change is not against the rules however all those on the ice at the time are eligible for a pentalty. Should they come down on Columbus...debatable...but lets look back at Gretzky...no one hit him, and those who did, did not play much in the NHL anylonger. He had protection from the league.

Posted by: Beauswrx | November 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

LOL an enforcer not willing to fight to protect his superstars because of losing money on suspension?? does he care about having a job in the first place??????

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

so if we had an enforcer are you suggesting that they wouldnt have gone after ovie like they did? that's the disconnect i have w/ the enforcer concept. i'm not sure it prevents stuff other than perhaps keeping the other teams enforcer honest. i dont know much about chimera or boll, are they enforcer types? there was nothing going on in this game that suggested that things were going to get rough for ovie. this was a scrum like you see pretty often around the net. it just so happend ovie got his arm hurt. if he skates away unharmed, we arent talking about it. i'll take a team of guys who are willing to hit and defend themselves and their stars vs. having one guy who can throw em. lets see if the caps have that team.

plus, a little perspective. the caps have played some tough teams so far, including the flyers twice. all without an enforcer type. this is the first time there has been any type of incident.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You know the thing that surprises me about the situation of OV injury is McPhee.

Last I checked, he was still the general "manager". If anyone old enough on this blog knows, McPhee was a very scrappy player. He would go after anyone and threw his fists at fast as we could hoping to land a few good ones in his barrage. Heck, remember in his early years as the Caps GM he stormed into the Rangers locker room looking to fight after a game.

Wonder how he feels about nobody going after Nash?

Posted by: puckman | November 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse


The refs could stop this stuff real fast, but they don't. Heck, they have more officials than ever on the ice now, and they still miss more sruff going on than ever before.

And as far as being tough, this team is powder puff soft. See Flash, Semin, Morrison, Fehr, Aucoin, Gordon, Backstrom,Nylander, Steckel, Clark, Laich, Green, Jurcina, Pothier, Poti, Schultz, & Mo. That leaves you Erskine and Bradley to defend the team with fighting. One has a bad hand and a glass jaw, and the other is a human punching bag.

This team needs to replace the marginal role players with gritty, in your face, players to improve general toughness. But since that won't happen, yea , better to have a "Brashear" type, than not to.

The Penguines toughened up at the end of last year and kicked our butt. GM needs to go.

Cordially,
RBlatch

Posted by: rblatch45 | November 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Gretzky...no one hit him, and those who did, did not play much in the NHL anylonger. He had protection from the league.

Posted by: Beauswrx | November 4, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

yeah Gretzky had protection alright.. they were called Semenko and McSorley

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Yeah man, jumping over the bench way after an incident (and injury) already occurred to wrap arms around someone for 5 seconds to get thrown out of the game and a suspension is the greatest way to "protect your stars."

How about you roll your 4th line with your enforcer AFTER the incident to demolish Rick Nash, instead of getting him thrown out for no reason.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Wonder how he feels about nobody going after Nash?

Posted by: puckman | November 4, 2009 11:36 AM |

THANK YOU. My sentiments exactly.

You don't get retribution or "protect your stars" by fighting their enforcer. You send someone to screw up their star's day. (read; Nash)

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Semin's agent said he doesn't believe in discounts. What does this mean to the Caps? What do you guys think? Trade him for an enforcer and a D-man?

http://tinyurl.com/yfykvmq

Posted by: letsroll93 | November 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Should I even ask if Hitchcock is Canadian? The way they raise them up in the Church of Cherry there, this falls along the lines of Cherry's stupidity last season when he literally put a bounty on Ovechkin's head. Like everyone has been saying, if you're gonna' hit, hit during the game. Not after the whistle. Fine the crap out of Hitchcock for being a stupid thug with his comments. Hunt down...pssh, he's been smoking moose pellets a little too much.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | November 4, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

The Penguines toughened up at the end of last year and kicked our butt. GM needs to go.


Posted by: rblatch45 | November 4, 2009 11:37 AM

3 OTs in a 7 game series and a 7th game with a rookie having a meltdown is a real butt kicking!

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

well of course.. that's what I've been saying... where is Captain Clark?

we all know what Captain Dale would have done. he would have gone after Nash

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Semin's agent said he doesn't believe in discounts. What does this mean to the Caps? What do you guys think? Trade him for an enforcer and a D-man?

http://tinyurl.com/yfykvmq

Posted by: letsroll93 | November 4, 2009 11:40 AM |

The agent works through and listens to the player. if Semin wants a discount, then he will get it. His agent's opinion on the matter doesn't really matter. It's up to Semin.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

fine hitchcock??? please. cowboy up

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

If the hits are clean, then its totally legit. Hits take away space, and giving a star space is a sure fire way to see the light go off.

Scott Stevens entire career was trying to knock the other team's star into unconciousness. Often he pushed the line, but he's also regarded as one of the best. And Stevens was very clear on his intentions.

But turnabout is fair play. If you make it clear that you target the other team, they'll target yours. That Stevens had his career ended by a concusion was no accident.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 4, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Lets talk about something more important. Like who likes Flash being the one to get the promotion?

Semin-Backstrom-Knuble
Flash-Mo-Laich
Fehr-Perr-Clark
Laing-Stecks-Brads


That only gives us one real checking line though, unless Fehr and little Perr want to finish their checks.

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

did someone on here just say that godard is a decent hockey player?.....godard makes brashear look good

I'm all for a boll or carcillo, but for my money no one is better than rick rypien

Posted by: _stevo | November 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Semin look lost against the Bluejackets. why not try Flash on the top line. at this point, he seems like one of the minority actually showing extraordinary effort. what do we have to lose??

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

But turnabout is fair play. If you make it clear that you target the other team, they'll target yours. That Stevens had his career ended by a concusion was no accident.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 4, 2009 11:47 AM |

I understand and agree with you, but to be fair to Stevens, he took a slapper off his dome!

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Bobby Orr's career got cut in half because he wouldn't let others fight his battles for him... he was probably the most gifted hockey player of all time but he only had 8 good years.

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

did someone on here just say that godard is a decent hockey player?.....godard makes brashear look good

Posted by: _stevo | November 4, 2009 11:48 AM |

Godard is pretty bad, but come on... Brashear....

Posted by: richmondphil | November 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Frankovic is 100 percent correct. I am so happy that someone had the sense to say this, even though it should be obvious, even to the tone-deaf Bettman and the NHL. Hockey is the greatest game in the world, and Washington is so lucky to have the best player in the world. The idea that another team can "hunt him down" - by implication to try to injure him is despicable. It's also the crazy mentality (what one comment calls the "Church of Cherry") that prevents our sport from reaching a broader audience. Very sad.

Posted by: thereds | November 4, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Lindsay - can't the techies at washingtonpost.com figure out how to set it up so that links open in new windows/tabs? Or do they actually want people to navigate away from the page? (I suspect not).

This should be an easy fix and with all the links you guys post, it would make reading Caps Insider that much more enjoyable.

Posted by: CapsChick | November 4, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The comment about nothing leading up to the scrum is off...I was at the game, and there many incidents which you could see a scrum coming. When those things start to happen, that's when you put the enforcer out to target Nash. I'm not saying to send out a guy after the fact, that's when the refs are waiting to eject someone. What I'm saying is that Brash whould have been on the ice 4 or 5 shifts before this and THAT'S what would have been the deterrent.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Godard is actually a better skater than Brashear. But either one makes Steckel look like Scott Hamilton.


This thing about targeting players is just dumb. It would stupid NOT to try and get a star player off his game. And if you can do it legally, great. If you do it a little outside the rules, then the refs should catch it and penalize the team appropriately. This kind of stuff probably happens 100x a year where one team goes after another team's star player(s) either by relentlessly hitting them or more. Its upto the individual teams to address it by either upgrading their own team toughness or leaving it upto the refs and then whining it about it later (i.e. the Caps).

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

cstanton...when I hear dumb comments like that...it's time to leave what was once a productive conversation. Lay off the pipe!

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for a boll or carcillo, but for my money no one is better than rick rypien

Posted by: _stevo | November 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Rick Rypien's great, he's no enforcer but like Mike Brown he's the perfect antagonist/heavy hitter/good middleweight fighter. Ryp's a better fighter than Brown but both are solid performers in that role. I'll take one of them over a Boyd Gordon anyday of the week in a checking/4th line role.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

@CapsChick We don't do that anywhere on the site, as far as I know. Come on, it's not that much of a pain! Right-click and open in a new tab, or hit shift+left click (new window) or ctrl+ left click (new tab).

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | November 4, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Penguines toughened up at the end of last year and kicked our butt. GM needs to go.

Cordially,
RBlatch

Posted by: rblatch45 | November 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse


That's the funny part of it. You know how McPhee and company keep picking a different team every coupla yrs to emulate. Since obviously they can't think for themselves.

Well now that the Pens won the Cup they want to emulate them. They'll mention how strong Pittsburgh is down the middle with their centers but they'll ignore the fact that the Pens are also a very gritty tough team. Ever see the Pens play the Flyers? They pretty much run em out the rink. And if they play in Philly they go in their with their hardhats and trade hit for hit and punch for punch.

Just rhetoric. Thats all we get from the Caps front office.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

We are playing a lot with semantics in this situation. One person says target or focus and another takes that to mean hunt down. Hitchcock certainly didn't do himself and favors in his comments but I will restate that it is very different to "hunt down" a player meaning intent to injur, or "focus" on a player meaning shut down.

Posted by: breaklance | November 4, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

cstanton...when I hear dumb comments like that...it's time to leave what was once a productive conversation. Lay off the pipe!

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

go fk yourself.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If we "need" an enforcer (and I don't believe we do, other than Bradly or Erskine), we may as well pick up Sugden. He held his own with Brash and would be cheap as hell since he's not that great of a player as it is. I don't think Brash scored one goal last year and he cost the team a million towards the cap. Sugden would be just fine, if all you need is someone flexing on the ice for a few minutes.

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | November 4, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What I'm saying is that Brash whould have been on the ice 4 or 5 shifts before this and THAT'S what would have been the deterrent.

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse


hey smart guy, Brash didn't do a whole lotta enforcing anyway when he was here. He was slow, and he wasn't that interested in sending too many msgs. I can count on one hand how many times he really stepped upto the plate the last season he was here. Not that many.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I love Ovi, but this is silly to make a big deal out of his injury. It's not like anyone knows when he was injured, so you really can't say it was the scrum. For all we he could have been slightly hurt during another game and it only became unbearable during the game against CBJ. It's hockey, not poker. People get hurt and yes, teams target star players. This outrage from fans and commentators is starting to remind me of the circus that followed when Tom Brady got injured.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Sugden's a good fighter but you really think McPhee's going to pull an aboutface this early into his new decision not to have a tough guy? No way. He'll sit there till he's blue in the face and claim this team is plenty tough.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

typical whining here. cstanton is right....put on the hardhat.

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the brains and wit...good comeback..."the caps are whiners" coming from a fan of Cindy Crosby, the biggest cry baby in the league. I had a feeling a pro-Pens post was coming next! It's like the sun rising in the east...it's a certainty!

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

You know the thing that surprises me about the situation of OV injury is McPhee.

Last I checked, he was still the general "manager". If anyone old enough on this blog knows, McPhee was a very scrappy player. He would go after anyone and threw his fists at fast as we could hoping to land a few good ones in his barrage. Heck, remember in his early years as the Caps GM he stormed into the Rangers locker room looking to fight after a game.

Wonder how he feels about nobody going after Nash?


Posted by: puckman | November 4, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

McPhee "Uh duhh lets not give em a PP guys! Turn the other cheek! "

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

typical whining here. cstanton is right....put on the hardhat.

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

yeah, fans like "Capscrew" who think that refs should police everything and that our PP is good enough to deter teams from running our players and that everything the Caps front office and coach do is perfect. yay!!

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

what has Crosby got to do with this conversation??

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Stars have to be targeted -- to rattle them and get them off their game. But what the NHL has tried to do is eliminate the garbage...cheap shots, shoves after the whistle, etc. Aside from a very poorly officiated game on Sunday, the refs blew it with the Ovechkin injury. The shove Ovechkin got and the subsequent mugging were misconduct type penalties. It is exactly what the league doesn't want and the two buffoons who officiated the game likely got a lecture on what's not allowable. That was old school hockey and perfectly acceptable and expected ten years ago. IT's now officially bush league.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | November 4, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the brains and wit...good comeback..."the caps are whiners" coming from a fan of Cindy Crosby, the biggest cry baby in the league. I had a feeling a pro-Pens post was coming next! It's like the sun rising in the east...it's a certainty!

Posted by: capscrew | November 4, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

uh gee, you're right. Why point to the last Cup champion as an example of how to handle things on the ice. Good one. The Penguins protect their own. As do a lot of other teams in the league. They don't sit on their asses all game watching their star players get run. They actually do something about it DURING the game. What a concept huh

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, when has GM ever said he wants to emulate the pens? the only comparisons to other teams i've seen is comparing their rebuild to the way the bolts and canes did it, getting bad, drafting, blah blah blah. GM did compare the team to detroit in that they dont need a brawler and will rely on skill and pp efficiency to slow down other teams. time will tell whether that works or not. i dont see this incident as anything other than an insolated situation...but it is a wake up call that other teams may employ the same tactic and guys better be ready to respond. from that respect, this could be a positive occurance for the caps.

as for grit, well brads, clark, ovie, knubs and laich have some sandpaper to their games. i'd like to see stecks and fehr use their size a bit more. i see a deadline deal, ala a guerin pickup, for the playoff run. this teams is a far cry from how it will look come april...especially if the glorious hockey lords take nyls off our hands...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

weren't misconduct penalties called??

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Stars have to be targeted -- to rattle them and get them off their game. But what the NHL has tried to do is eliminate the garbage...cheap shots, shoves after the whistle, etc

---------------------------------------

You want to eliminate shoves after the whistle? It isnt' like Ovechkin wanted no part of it. He was game. The problem is, his teammates didn't respond quickly enough and the Caps as a whole don't deter other players like Boll from jumping in on top of Olie. You'll rarely if ever see that happen to players like Malkin/Crosby or Iginla. If any team even thought about jumping on Iginla and they hurt him it would be an all-out war and teams know this. They also know that if they take some liberties with Ovechkin, Semin or Green that there won't be a heavy price to pay.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Stars have to be targeted -- to rattle them and get them off their game. But what the NHL has tried to do is eliminate the garbage...cheap shots, shoves after the whistle, etc

---------------------------------------

You want to eliminate shoves after the whistle? It isnt' like Ovechkin wanted no part of it. He was game. The problem is, his teammates didn't respond quickly enough and the Caps as a whole don't deter other players like Boll from jumping in on top of Olie. You'll rarely if ever see that happen to players like Malkin/Crosby or Iginla. If any team even thought about jumping on Iginla and they hurt him it would be an all-out war and teams know this. They also know that if they take some liberties with Ovechkin, Semin or Green that there won't be a heavy price to pay.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

bush league?? sounds like folks want powder puff league

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

capscrew:
you don't need a non skilled player like brash on the ice for 4 or 5 shifts to lay some hits. if some of the 'bigger' boys on the team are not willing to hit back - then it is time to look for someone that will. in todays nhl there is not enough money to pay a player that can just fight. you need players that could be on the ice at any given time that are will to stick up for their teammates (superstar or not). an enforcer/fighter/heavyweight is not going to deter that type of play. if the caps had a brash type player, i would think the other team would just go ahead and try to get the 'fight' out of the way in the first period - hope for a game misconduct and then conduct the 'head' hunting the rest of the game worry free. if the caps had at least one guy from every forward line and one from each pair of dmen that would give up the body with a heavy check - i think that would be more of a deterrent as the other team wouldn't what their 'star' subject to getting hurt.
for 'team toughness' - against 'enforcer'

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I love Ovi, but this is silly to make a big deal out of his injury. It's not like anyone knows when he was injured, so you really can't say it was the scrum. For all we he could have been slightly hurt during another game and it only became unbearable during the game against CBJ. It's hockey, not poker. People get hurt and yes, teams target star players. This outrage from fans and commentators is starting to remind me of the circus that followed when Tom Brady got injured.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 4, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

this can happen when a great player is targeted and he fights his own battle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1fMcTq8Esk

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I know that it is fashionable for people to knock Gretzky, but many sell him short. As odd as that is for one of the greatest athletes ever.

A large part of the reason that Gretzky didn't get roughed up was that he was a hell of a great skater with excellent hockey sense. Sure he had protection in McSorley et al, but a lot of it was his talent. In Ovies case, if his injury happened outside of the play against the bench and in the scrum then he needs to be mature enough to stay out of the scrum. He is too valuable to his team and the league to get involved in the petty stuff.

Posted by: lornemyoung | November 4, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@CStanton -

Agree completely -- somebody on the ice should have been over there with gloves off immediately. But if you look at the incident, Ovechkin responded to a pretty nasty poke in the shoulder. He wasn't looking for an altercation. That type of thing is exactly what the league has targeted in an effort to eliminate. Instigating any type of after the whistle scrums is taboo. The two players weren't already tied up and wrestling, Chimara punched Ovi in the shoulder in an attempt to start something. That's great for Dale Hunter in 1990. Not so much anymore. But I totally agree...what a bunch of Nancies on the ice at the time. If I'm Bruce I'd have laid into each one of them for not dropping those Jackets.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | November 4, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

There was *A* ten-minute misconduct called. One. For not letting go of Ovechkin fast enough.

The extra man on the ice?

70.1 Leaving the Bench - No player may leave the players’ or penalty
bench at any time during an altercation or for the purpose of starting
an altercation.

...

The player who was the first or second player to leave the players’ (or penalty bench) during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation, from either or both teams shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty.

Looks like the referees need a rulebook refresher course!

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

This damn blog gets more and more out of control every day!! Entertaining as heck though, been sitting here laughing my way through lunch! I have an idea, how about we slot Nylander as our enforcer! He would take on all comers, him and the big bopper Jeff Schultz.....

Posted by: PhilR | November 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

ok, at the time of this incident, ovie was over by himself at the jackets bench. as soon as things got going the rest of the guys were over there, along w/ 7 blue jackets. it was a typical scrum that happens all the time around the net or right after a whistle. i'm sure no caps on the ice had any idea ovie was hurt. i'm pretty sure if they saw someone poking his eye out or twisting his arm they would have gone after the guy. but at the time, it seemed like innocent pushing and shoving and ovie can certainly handle himself.

of course, once it became clear that ovie was injured, retribution was in order. sounds like a couple of guys wanted to dance w/ chimera but he declined. i think a better tactic would have been to target nash, but easier said than done...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1

Come on, Clark and Knuble have sandpaper in their game? Clark plays 8 minutes a game and is completely ineffective. He has no game left.
True that Knuble is big and can be effective when he parks his big fat butt in front of the net but to say he's got sandpaper is an exageration. He is a disappointment to me so far. Two hand slashes is about as much as he has laid in on the opponent so far this year. Inconsistent battles along the board; he is tough but has little roughness in him; not the solution about the current dilemma regarding toughness. Now, a guy like Lucic... (well, he's hurt too).

Posted by: atybat | November 4, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I can't vote in the survey or debate this until the terms are more clearly defined. What does target mean? Does it mean to focus/key on someone or does it mean to headhunt/injure someone?

Either way I will say this, any team that doesn't have a plan as to how they're going to defend against Ovechkin is either very good or very stupid.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | November 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@joek

Great vid on Bobby Orr. He predates me by quite a bit, but I can see why he is one of the all time greats. As sad as it was that his career was cut short, do you think Orr was the type of player to let others fight his battles? Ovi certainly doesn't seem like that kind of guy, so sometimes we as fans just have to accept that. I agree that it's time for others on the team to act as deterrents, but Ovi is still going fight his own battles. And that's why we all love him.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 4, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The Caps don't need an enforcer. When was the last time you saw a fight between a guy like Brash and a guy like Crosby?? Never! All having an enforcer does is fight the other teams enforcer. Which really doesn't accomplish anything. And for those who say have an enforcer do out and target Nash what do you think would happen if Nash a guy who made Green, a fast skater, look like he was standing still do to a skillless goon? Nash would love to play against the other teams enforcers because he would score more goals playing against players who couldn't keep up with him. What the Caps need is a big, strong, fast, D-man the problem is there aren't many out there. A lot of you guys talk about trading Poti or Potier for a shut down guy but who do you think would actually take one of those two for a top shutdown D-man. To get Pronger the Flyers had to give up Lupul, a 25+ goal a year guy, Sbisa, one of their top prospects, two firsts, and a third. Now what do you think we would have to give up in order to make up for the fact that Poti and Pothier aren't Lupul in talent or in age. And for those who talk about trading Semin instead that would hurt you twice. First it would make the Caps more of a one line team then they already are and also it would upset Ovechkin as they are very good friends. I know that there is a cap now but let's now be like the Caps of the past who let guys like Stevens go because we didn't want to pay them.

Posted by: icehammer97 | November 4, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

atybat, clark ate a puck one game and kept on playing. he will drop the gloves and mix it up when needed. he's tough. he plays 8 minutes a game cause he's a third/fourth line guy and those guys don't play 15 minutes a game. his game might not be where it was, but it doesnt mean he's cant provide the grit the team needs.

knubles penalties are pretty lame for sure, but he'll stand in front of the net and do the dirty work that teams need in the playoffs. i think they need to find some permanent linemates for him.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

i think they need to find some permanent linemates for him.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 4, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on this. IMHO, BB messes with the lines way too often, especially since most of the time he's breaking up lines that are having success.

For example, I thought that B-Mo, Knuble and Ovechkin line was pretty effective, but BB broke up that line when Semin sat out a few games.

One week, he puts Semin, Backstrom and Ovechkin together, breaks them apart the next week, and the week after that he puts them back together. A little continuity with the lines would be nice (injuries non-withstanding).

Posted by: cainoo7x | November 4, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

cainoo7x:
i think 'injuries withstanding' is the whole point of practicing and playing those different line combos. if you wait until march to figure out who can and can not play together effectively - then as a coach - you've done your whole team a disservice

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | November 4, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

what has Crosby got to do with this conversation??

Posted by: doughless | November 4, 2009 12:12 PM


Like it or lump it, Crosby gets in every conversation.

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 4, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Orr's career got cut in half because he wouldn't let others fight his battles for him... he was probably the most gifted hockey player of all time but he only had 8 good years.

Posted by: joek443 | November 4, 2009 11:50 AM

I think it was more about his bum knees than not letting other fight his battles. His carrer wasnt cut in half because of fights/cheap shots.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | November 4, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

Hypocrites: persons who indulge in hypocrisy.

Wittingly or unwittingly the credo of some of the Caps' bloggers

Posted by: hock1 | November 4, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The Penguines toughened up at the end of last year and kicked our butt. GM needs to go.

Cordially,
RBlatch

Posted by: rblatch45 | November 4, 2009 11:37

That's the funny part of it. You know how McPhee and company keep picking a different team every coupla yrs to emulate. Since obviously they can't think for themselves.

Well now that the Pens won the Cup they want to emulate them. They'll mention how strong Pittsburgh is down the middle with their centers but they'll ignore the fact that the Pens are also a very gritty tough team. Ever see the Pens play the Flyers? They pretty much run em out the rink. And if they play in Philly they go in their with their hardhats and trade hit for hit and punch for punch.

Just rhetoric. Thats all we get from the Caps front office.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 4, 2009 12:05 PM

@cstanton1--Are you saying that rblatch45 is part of the Caps management? When did management say that the Caps strategy is now to build a team like the Pens. This post link doesn't make any sense.

Let's all stop talking about the Pens--the only relevancy as a topic that I considered was how the Caps would step it up now that their star player is hurt, as did the Pens had to last year.

Beyond that, who give two hoots about the Pens. I care about the Caps.

I think everyone is just frustrated-myself included--that Ovie got hurt. But hey he's not complaining. He's been facing head-hunters every season and he is a hard one to catch. Remember how easily he avoided Richard's attempt to hit in open ice without the puck during the last Flyers game. It was--as Ovie said--just a moment in the game.

Moreover all this talk of enforcer doesn't change the fact that Ovie likes to be his own enforcer. I am up for the entire team to push back and we do have players aside from Ovie who are tough. I'm looking at Knuble for a little leadership on this team toughness issue. But can they play a game without Ovie before all of this doom and gloom talk.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | November 4, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Also, I was drinking my coffee and reading posters on CI this morning and got really depressed. Not just because of Ovie's injury but also how seemingly badly we were doing and how badly the other players a la Green and Semin and Backstrom were doing. How we were going to FAIL. That's what happens when I start believing the hand-wringing and ranting and raving by posters here. Then I checked todays sports page and lo-and-behold, not only are the Caps points 20 put us 2 points behind Pittsburgh and Colorado, 1 point behind the San Jose, and even with Los Angeles, but then Backstrom is 9th in overall points and fourth in assists,and Semin is 20th overall in goals. We fans have got to stop being so all-consuming in our negativity.

4th grader son: Dad I got a A- in school today.

Dad: What!! You are a failure. You will never get into college with grades like that. You will never succeed if you don't show more determination and grit. Bah--I'm going to find another son now.

This dramatization is written in honor of tominfl1--who writes with far more flair.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | November 4, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Promise this is my only mention of Crosby but he's now 4th in shots on goal-guess he finally absorbed what Ovie's been saying: Can't score if you don't shoot the puck.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | November 4, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"Running" players to injure them is what is wrong and stupid about hockey. If the star is injured, then it is alot less incentive for the casual fan to by a ticket. Hockey can't grow if today's casual fan doesn't become tomorrow's hard core fan if they don't see games live and get hooked. It is bad for business to hurt players.

Posted by: Landshark | November 4, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

we all have seen O.V. take runs at opposing teams stars, all of a sudden a team targets him and it's a huge issue, someone needs to remind him this is the NHL. what goes around comes around. being from this area, there's to much I on that team, he was so busy tring to out score that kid from pittsburgh in last playoffs that he lost that battle and went home for the year. when he has the puck he shoots and when he does'nt he's banging his stick on the ice. to much me me me me there never win anything with the I on that team.

Posted by: shawnmalie | November 5, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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