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Poll: Are you concerned about the Capitals' unbalanced play?

There is little question that the Capitals were happy that they managed to claim victory in Nashville Saturday night, but for a team that spent the previous two days talking about the need to establish chemistry and hone in on details, it was far from a perfect game.

"We don't want to have to win like that every single night," Karl Alzner said. "But it was definitely nice to get it done with the way things started."

Granted, Washington is only five contests into the 2010-11 season, but this seems as good of a time as any to ask fans, readers and paying customers: Are you concerned about the Capitals' unbalanced play so far in games? Or is a win a win?

Everyone knows the Caps have enough talent to swing the momentum of a game in fewer than 60 seconds. But for a team with such high expectations and aspirations for itself, is that enough?

FROM THE POST
Nicklas Backstrom has taken more draws in the defensive zone for the Capitals than any other center. So what does that all mean from a statistical standpoint? (Insider2)

IN THE MINORS
With a 3-2 win, Rochester spoiled Hershey's home opener and the celebration of yet another Calder Cup banner being unfurled in the rafters at Giant Center.

AROUND THE WEB
For the goalie mask aficionados out there, here's an up-close look at Michal Nevirth's mask this season from DAVEART's gallery on Flickr.

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski discusses the pros and cons of CrowdWave, which you've seen or possibly participated in if you've been to a game at Verizon Center.

By Katie Carrera  | October 18, 2010; 9:07 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup, Poll  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Nicklas Backstrom leads the way in the defensive zone, but is that a good thing?
Next: Tom Poti: 'I'm hoping I'll be ready' vs. Bruins

Comments

They're definitely forming some bad habits. Still not sure how they will play against the trap. They are scoring some ugly goals though which is definitely a step in the right direction for playoff hockey. A win is a win and it's too early too tell. Go Caps!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | October 18, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

When looking at the standings at the end of the season, all that matters is W's.

Doesn't matter how you got them.

Posted by: jwash4472 | October 18, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Definitely worried, but too early to fret about it yet.

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Game 5: Too early to worry, just an area where the Caps need to improve upon over the course of the season.

If it was game 75 and was happening throughout the season then it would be a reason to worry.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The big thing to keep in mind is that this is a provisional edition of the team. The strangest thing is how good the numbers of line #2 are, despite #14's struggles on face-offs. At some point, we'll need to do something there although improvement from within is not impossible...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | October 18, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with jwash4472. I know it's early but it just seems to me that something's a little "off" this season. I don't know if it's chemistry, new guys or what but there doesn't seem to be the same level of energy and excitement I've felt in the past. That said, I am quite satisfied with the results. LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: AmyS1 | October 18, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

click on the the bears link and see a pic of Nylander - wearing #19 no less! - scoring a goal for the Amerks..

Posted by: RedLitYogi | October 18, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the comments would read like if we had played like Nashville did? What if the two teams roles were reversed? In other words: what if WE had blown a two goal lead, dominated for two periods and then "choked" in the 3rd, lacked a "killer" instinct, faced a "hot" goalie, were "tired" after playing three games in four nights... sound familar? Then, the sky would really be falling and everyone would be comparing the game to the Montreal series. What about considering the heart it took to come back? Think you don't need that for the playoffs? Sometimes the glass is always half empty...

Posted by: CAP-lanta | October 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the comments would read like if we had played like Nashville did? What if the two teams roles were reversed? In other words: what if WE had blown a two goal lead, dominated for two periods and then "choked" in the 3rd, lacked a "killer" instinct, faced a "hot" goalie, were "tired" after playing three games in four nights... sound familar? Then, the sky would really be falling and everyone would be comparing the game to the Montreal series. What about considering the heart it took to come back? Think you don't need that for the playoffs? Sometimes the glass is always half empty...

Posted by: CAP-lanta | October 18, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the comments would read like if we had played like Nashville did? What if the two teams roles were reversed? In other words: what if WE had blown a two goal lead, dominated for two periods and then "choked" in the 3rd, lacked a "killer" instinct, faced a "hot" goalie, were "tired" after playing three games in four nights... sound familar? Then, the sky would really be falling and everyone would be comparing the game to the Montreal series. What about considering the heart it took to come back? Think you don't need that for the playoffs? Sometimes the glass is always half empty...

Posted by: CAP-lanta | October 18, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The 2 line is gelling pretty good.
This reminds me when a year ago or so everyone was moaning why Shultz was always on BB good side. Look at Shultz now, he turned out pretty good and still improving.
I wouldn’t be surprised the same thing happens to Flash, everyone would look back and say What was I thinking … trading Flash!? Nonsense!

Posted by: guer_j | October 18, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@guer

I was just saying that about Schultz yesterday...I thought he had no potential and was always angry wondering why BB gave him TOI. Now look at him! He is playing great, and super responsibly. 5 games without a GA with him on ice.

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Victories like this worried me a lot last year. For example, it was mid-March and the Blackhawks were beating us 3-0 and we scored 3 in the span of like 4 minutes in the third period and then won in overtime. Those victories are so much fun to watch, but games like this will not be victories come playoff time.

So yes, it is worrisome, but it is still only October.

Posted by: gocaps99 | October 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"therealistspeggedaspessimists"

Sorry, I haven't been following as much lately, and this has probably already been done to death, but I had to comment on this from a few threads ago.

cstanton, it's nice that you see yourself as nothing more than a realist, but we don't call you a pessimist for no reason. I am a realist, which is why, while I enjoyed watching us win on Saturday, I was a little torn because I don't want them getting used to winning when they only play 50% of the game. I think that was one of their problems last year.

Your comments on here go far beyond realism. You don't like Boudreau or GMGM, and that distorts your views. We all understand that this team has problems and deficiencies, but when that's all you focus on, you pretend like they are the end of the world and that GMGM does nothing right and our team isn't very good, that's pessimism.

Sorry, end of rant. As I said, I was glad to see us win, especially for Neuvy since he played such a great game, but I don't want to see our lack of effort rewarded in the future. I am loving the penalty kill, though.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | October 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The caps are playing like this is their post season. In other words, they have no focus or intensity. If I want to see the Caps coast around taking lazy penalties and being outworked by inferior teams, I'll wait until the playoffs where this kind of behavior is expected from them. So far, very few players have distinguished themselves. I blame it on a GM who places no importance on defence and a coach who has troubles making in-game adjustments. I also blame it on the prima-donas on this team who seem to prefer aesthetics over hard work. it's early...but i've seen enough hockey (especially caps hockey) to recognize this trend: they are bound for a jarring losing streak sooner rather than later.

Posted by: dingram3 | October 18, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

@ CAP-lanta - I agree with you 100%. However IMHO, this team attitude of playing at 70% for a couple of periods and then try to catch the opponent on the last period bites them in the butt bigtime in the Montreal series. I think they got used to doing that during the last regular season and thought they could get away with it in the playoff w/ Montreal. I know you just can’t play 82 games at playoff intensity, but at least BB needs to remind them to more often than not, play a full game.

Posted by: guer_j | October 18, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

It's way too early to tell. This team needs to know that they can win ugly, because that's how you're usually going to win in the playoffs, and they're proving to themselves that they can. Any coach will tell you that they will take an ugly win over looking pretty in a loss. This could also be a result of the team's new focus on getting dirty, doing the gritty work and not looking to win 6-5 each game. It's only five games in, there are guys in different spots, new faces, and there is still lots of season to be played. I think the Caps will be just fine.

Posted by: dcox50 | October 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

IMO, it's a sign of a good team that can win games they should lose. If they do it every game, that would be a problem, but if they can steal wins that, effort-wise, aren't theirs, that's simply the mark of a good team--one that can beat you on an off night.

Posted by: EricinReston | October 18, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

After crushing the regular season, and losing first round...and then seeing the Flyers barely make the playoffs, and come close to winning the cup...I dont know what to think..

I just want them to make the playoffs, stay healthy, and show up in round one with a major chip on their shoulder.

Posted by: SA-Town | October 18, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@dingram

What do you have to say about the Caps being 5th in goals against and #1 on the Penalty Kill so far?

No emphasis on D? Give some credit at least for how they are trying to play both ways so far...

Posted by: SA-Town | October 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Generally I agree with the tone in the comments today. The Caps with stood the barrage and fore check by Nashville. But you also need to remember that two defensemen were playing that will only play in an emergency. Depth is a little thin on the defense right now. The next two games will be a better gauge on the improvement of this team over last years team. Keep in mind that the Caps have 8 points after five games this year and had only 6 after six games last year.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | October 18, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Besides the NJD game, the Caps have not played particularly well. The PK is much, much improved. The second line is good so far. The rookies on dee look good. Neuvy is smoking hot now (which is hiding the cruddy play). But fo's are horrid. Erskine, Fahey, and Sloan have no business on an NHL sheet of ice unless they are driving a zamboni or cleaning the ice during a commercial time out. Flash is not a center, but a talented, if wimpy, rw. My advice, trade Flash for a blueliner and bring up MP.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I am happy that the Caps seem to have made some improvements in a few areas, such as scoring dirty goals and on the PK, but at the same time, they are struggling in areas that they excelled last year, such as the power play, faceoffs, and puck possession. It's still too early to be overly concerned, but we'd probably be a bit more on edge if Neuvy hadn't stolen a few games for us already.

Posted by: cainoo7x | October 18, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Im happy we got the W, but not happy on how we played. As someone above said, it's nice to be able to steal one or come from behind...but it shouldnt be the normal way of functioning. Yes I know its only 5 games in, but you have to start the tweaks early. We cant wait until game 75 and then decide to open our eyes. Slow and steady improvement is what we need.

I highly doubt I will be coming back here and saying "waaaahhhh??? Why did I ever say trade Flash?". But rather I will be coming back and saying "see, on this day I said trade Flash...then this day I said trade Flash...then there was this day that I said trade Flash....see GMGM, I warned you of this months ago." :P The reason? He's weak defensively and weak on face-offs, and way way too under aggressive. We basically need the polar opposite of him.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

No one ever said wait until game 75 to start trying to improve. Since it is only game 5 there are 77 games for the team to try to improve its play. Plenty of time.

Also, before the season two areas of most concern by people on this board were the PK and the overall defense.

Well, so far the PK has been perfect, and has looked good too, while the defense has let up 2 goals or less in four conescutive games and being 5th in GAA in the NHL.

Since the Caps seem to be improving in areas that concerned most people I don't understand how people can say that BB doesn't get it. The team is preaching defense and an aggressive PK and so far they are practicing it. Isn't that exactly what people wanted BB and the team to focus on?

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3 -- The defense has looked a lot better than it is due to the play of Neuvy. Look at zone time and shots and the Caps do not look very good, except for NJD. Now they were playing with 3 very iffy guys and 2 rookies in Nashville. I think that Erksine, Sloan, and Fahey are about as good as they will ever be, whereas Green, Schultz, Alzner, and Carlson are improving and pretty good to begin with now. The Caps need a solid, mean, body-checking blueliner or two. They also need a 2nd line center. I have hoped that Flash is traded for a blueliner because he is not a center and MP can take over 2nd line and see if he improves. If MP/MJ is not ready come trade deadline, rent a center for the playoffs.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

If you look simply at the final scores and the wins/losses, the Caps defense looks pretty good. But, IMHO, those numbers don't tell the full story of the defense. I see a team that struggles to win faceoffs and gets hemmed in to the defensive zone for long periods of time, a team that allows too many shots and a team that has taken too many penalties. Sensational play by Neuvy and a good bit of luck are bouying the overall defensive numbers so far.

Like you said, it isn't time to panic and hopefully some of these issues resolve themselves over time as I'd like to think the Caps will improve on faceoffs and in gaining control of the puck and clearing the zone with Green in Poti back in the lineup.

Posted by: cainoo7x | October 18, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

@sgm
"No one ever said wait until game 75 to start trying to improve." I realize this, I was just using it as a polar opposite extreme. The number just happened to coincide with the number you used. :)

I agree our PK has looked a lot better. Neuvy is deserving of a lot of the improvement, but the unit itself has looked more solid and aggressive. I hope they keep it up.

Our D however has struggled imo. And the only reason we have not given up a lot of goals is as JIMALLCAPS mentioned, Neuvy standing on his head. There has also been a good bit of luck (people missing the wide open target, whiffy a shot/pass, etc). Getting the puck out of the zone has been disgusting to watch. The only game I am willing to be a little more lenient on, is the Nashville game as we were missing 2 of our better puck movers. However, there still is no excuse for this issue.

Nashville proved, if nothing else, our D has ZERO depth.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 18, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm with the majority on the topic of our D. They haven't played great. A lot of good scoring chances from opposing teams and Neuvirth has been awesome. That being said, its been weird combinations since game 2 with Erskine and Sloan both in the lineup. If our top 6 are there, I think the D will improve. However like SAOTI said we do have ZERO depth on D.

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I do agree that Neuvy is a main reason the Caps GAA is down, but there is some positive in that. The Caps D did not play well against Nashville. No question. They struggled mightily to get the puck out of the zone.

However, I do think the D looked pretty good against NJD, Ottawa and the Islanders. This is when they had Green and Poti for some of those games. A main reason I am decently high on the D so far is that Green has been looking like a very good all around defenseman through the early games. He doesn't seem to be taking too many risks and seems to be focusing on defense a lot more. He is also hitting pretty well too.

IMO, of the Caps top 5 defensemen, Carlson has been struggling the most. He has looked pretty bad at times and seems to be out of position a lot. However, he is only 20 and it is early in the season. I expect he will improve greatly on this with the more expereince he gets.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Carlson has looked iffy at times. His best game by far was against NJ when he was paired with Alzner. I think if hes comfortable with his partner he plays a lot better. Through 5 games he's been paried with Poti game 1, Alzner game 2, Erskine 3-5. So he's been all over the place. And he did get hurt on Sunday in the 3rd period when he blocked the shot, so who knows if he will be able to play tomorrow night.

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

by Sunday I mean Saturday obviously

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I have been yelling at my TV every time Erskine or Sloan gets smoked by a better skater and has to play catch-up. My TV is afraid of me now. The Caps need a body-checking defender who can skate and pass to pair with Poti -- Erskine ain't it. The sexy lumberjack is mean and he tries, but his foot speed is just too slow to be an NHL pro.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I agree that all those changes probably had an effect on Carlson's game. I'm not worried about him at all. You can see the talent he has and his ability to play well. Just like with all young players, Carlson will learn to correct his mistakes with the more expereince he gets. That's the problem with young D compared to young forwards, the mistakes made by D are much more noticeable. Carlson will be fine.

I think Alzner has been very solid and usualy in the right position defensively.

I think the future is very bright for both guys and am not worried about either of them. In addition, I think they will both be much better at the end of the season(barring injury) than they are today.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I have been yelling at my TV every time Erskine or Sloan gets smoked by a better skater and has to play catch-up. My TV is afraid of me now. The Caps need a body-checking defender who can skate and pass to pair with Poti -- Erskine ain't it. The sexy lumberjack is mean and he tries, but his foot speed is just too slow to be an NHL pro.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1

I agree completely. I think this will be addressed at some point before the trade deadline. Remember, the longer the Caps wait to acquire a player, the higher priced player they can afford.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I would say one thing Alzner needs to work on is his inclination to try the off the glass dumpout late in games. He comes very close to delay of game penalties. He has to slow down the game, see the ice, and find the outlet pass. Not a homerun pass for a goal, so much as a safe outlet pass. Otherwise, I think Alzner has been solid in blocking shoots, hitting people, playing the body or puck depending on the situation and being positionally sound. Carlson is younger and more talented with a higher risk/reward factor.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I would say one thing Alzner needs to work on is his inclination to try the off the glass dumpout late in games. He comes very close to delay of game penalties. He has to slow down the game, see the ice, and find the outlet pass. Not a homerun pass for a goal, so much as a safe outlet pass. Otherwise, I think Alzner has been solid in blocking shoots, hitting people, playing the body or puck depending on the situation and being positionally sound. Carlson is younger and more talented with a higher risk/reward factor.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I would say one thing Alzner needs to work on is his inclination to try the off the glass dumpout late in games. He comes very close to delay of game penalties. He has to slow down the game, see the ice, and find the outlet pass. Not a homerun pass for a goal, so much as a safe outlet pass. Otherwise, I think Alzner has been solid in blocking shoots, hitting people, playing the body or puck depending on the situation and being positionally sound. Carlson is younger and more talented with a higher risk/reward factor.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1

I agree completely again.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS1
"Erskine, Fahey, and Sloan have no business on an NHL sheet of ice unless they are driving a zamboni or cleaning the ice during a commercial time out."

Why include Erskine w/Sloan and Fahey?? Have you not seen any games this year? He's played exactly the way you'd want a 5-6th dman to play...Though his +/- doesn't reflect it,Erskine wasn't responsible or the cause of any of the 4 goals scored while he's been on the ice. I don't understand the infatuation w/Shultz and Alzner and the unrelenting criticism of Erskine.

Posted by: vermontcaps | October 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not concerned. It's only 5 freakin games in...over the course of 82 games we are going to win in a VARIETY of different ways. This is just 1 of them.

With injuries early, it is going to take time to gell.

We are FINE...still need another D, but hopefully Erskine will keep believing he is 25 the entire season...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 18, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I think we have an offensive team that is trying to get used to the idea of being more defensive. They will always have the offensive talent to score, but learning to be more defensive is more difficult. Throw in a couple of new guys on Saturday and you get a mess. Imagine this team once they have the defensive side down and they are more comfortable to bring out the offense.

If they get the defensive part down, I see this team winning a lot of 3-1, 4-2 games. Keeping the GAs down means they don't have to score a lot.

In other words, it is too early. They need time to gel into the new focus.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | October 18, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I agree that all those changes probably had an effect on Carlson's game. I'm not worried about him at all. You can see the talent he has and his ability to play well. Just like with all young players, Carlson will learn to correct his mistakes with the more expereince he gets. That's the problem with young D compared to young forwards, the mistakes made by D are much more noticeable. Carlson will be fine.
---------

Totally agree, in fact you could make an argument he's been our best all-around d-man so far. Imagine if Schultz were paired with Erskine; wouldn't be pretty. I just worry anytime Big John E gets caught against any but a team's 4th line, even 3rd-liners on good teams present matchup problems, the game's just too fast nowadays, too much talent out there. IMO.

Btw - looks like you were prescient telling me to be patient with Alzner, I've liked what I've seen thus far.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 18, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Also I think we can now officially categorize Anton Gustaffson as a bust. He left SC and is heading home as he isnt enjoying the game anymore: http://dumpnchase.com/?p=327

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

I am 100% with you on Erskine. He's not Nick Lidstrom - yeah, we know that. He's a #5 or #6 defenseman. He does exactly what we should expect from him. He's played fine thus far: not coughing up goals, solid on the PK. I, too, do not understand why this board piles on him.

Posted by: EricinReston | October 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Anyone think that with the struggling D we will make a move for Sheldon Souray?

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I don't think so. The only way we'd do that is if the Oilers put him on re-entry waivers. The waivers right now are based on last seasons standings so i doubt hed make it to us, but he might.

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I don't think we will make a move for souray. If he is brought up on re-entry waivers I think someone else will grab him. I doubt a trade because we don't want his full contract

Posted by: _stevo | October 18, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking one we would make a deal with one of the early teams that could take him on re-entry waivers and trade a 1st or 2nd round pick for him...but I am not sure he is the kind of defenseman we need.

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

if a player is claimed on reentry waivers he can not be traded for the remainder of the season. Also Souray isnt worth a pick in the top 2 rounds.

Posted by: ThePat | October 18, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Also I think we can now officially categorize Anton Gustaffson as a bust. He left SC and is heading home as he isn't enjoying the game anymore: http://dumpnchase.com/?p=327

Posted by: ThePat
----

VERY disappointing, surprising and sad.. all rolled into one. Sounds like a lack of character in not willing to fight through the things that other players fight through to get to the NHL... UGH!

More ammo for the "GMGM drafts poorly" crowd.

...which makes me happy that Carlson is doing so well (same draft, later in the round)!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 18, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I see the same weaknesses as last year: lack of a true two-way 2nd line center who is good faceoffs. Flash is simply not a center but a decent scoring winger. Resigning Belanger to be a 2nd or 3rd line center would have made more sense, even if it was a one-year deal. Lack of improvement in defenseman who can move the puck out the zone besides Carlsson is very noticeable. Without Morrisson, the Caps simply have no one besides Erskine, who is slow and a poor skater, who will clear guys out of the crease.

The falloff to our third pair of Tyler Sloan and Erskine is very noticeable. The Caps still need one more, tough stay at home defenseman who can block shots (like Volchenkov!) to go somewhere in the playoffs.

Posted by: wizfan89 | October 18, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

LOL I heard the same thing about Lil' Bust. Somewhere, Big Gus just disowned a son. :P

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 18, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Souray: IIRC, Souray is not in the Caps' system per se; he is only being loaned to Da Bearss until the Oilers figure out what to do with him permanently. Even assuming that the Caps actually wanted to shoulder that mammoth contract and cap hit, the move isn't ours to make...yet.

I think that EDM must first place him on re-entry waivers, and then all the other teams would have to pass on him before he could rock the red at a reasonable price(emphasis mine).

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@thepat

well there goes that idea...but we still need a defensman! anyone think of any teams we can trade for one. NJD HAVE to give up somebody right!

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I meant has...my english needs work today

Posted by: capscoach | October 18, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@wizfan89

erskine is top 20 in the league in blocked shots

Posted by: _stevo | October 18, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Souray is not the droid you are looking for.

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 18, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Anton hanging them up, as far as the Caps are concerned, is in fact a bust. Oh well, every pick below the top 10 or so is a crap shoot. Another former NHLer whose son will be a bust is Mark Tinordi's. He played locally until he was 15, and except for the fact he was already 6'3", he didn't hit anyone. Sorry but players that are eventually NHLers are dominating their competition at 15 in a place like a Maryland Scholastic Hockey League. Some spoke very highly of him in here prior to the draft, but you heard it here first, Jared Tinordi will be a big ol' Montreal Canadiens bust.

If he makes it I'll be sure to say I was wrong.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 18, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

The Caps 2nd line is playing very well right now with 14 points scored by them in 5 games and they also lead the Caps lines in the +/- ratio. Flash is still weak in the faceoff circle though and needs to improve in this area.

Posted by: MReilly9 | October 18, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

NJD is hurting bad for D-man, especially with all their injuries. We wouldnt want what they would offer.

Couver still remains a top candidate for us to swap for a d-man and according to pokerface, according to his source, Flash for Bieska is a simple phone call away from being done (just has to happen apparently but neither team is rushing for the phone). Might happen before Dec is my bet.

No way we get Souray upon re-entry...he's worth his price of $2.7 for 2 more years and someone will snag him.

Regehr's name has been tossed around as well.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

regarding the mention of the crowd wave technology posted by Katie - answering a trivia question by waving your arms in a certain direction is easily the dumbest thing ever at a hockey game.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | October 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74

You saying you dont like looking like one of those inflatable used car wavy figures?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 18, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@Vermont Caps, First of all I am uber jealous of you living in VT and not me. That being said, my problem with Erskine is his lack of foot speed. He is a good positional, mean blueliner, but he play catch up too much, which limits the effectiveness of his partner who has to watch out for him.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Some spoke very highly of him in here prior to the draft, but you heard it here first
---------

@fanohock - you're right but you gotta check the records, I beat you to the punch - others were advocating drafting him in the 1st last spring and this kid was [vehemently] opposed ;-)

Footspeed is an absolutely necessary - albeit not sufficient - prerequesite for NHL success in today's game. There is no substitute for it.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 18, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

govtimbo: I was in those discussions as well, but you may have made the call first. His brother, Matt, is playing at RPI I believe is very talented. He's not blessed with Mark's size though.

Posted by: fanohock1 | October 18, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS1

Obviously, Erskine isn't the swiftest of skaters but that really shouldn't matter much....what team doesn't have a d-man or two that lacks the "foot speed" you deem so important? I haven't seen anyone "blow-by" him and cause Erskine to play catch-up (at least no more/less than the other dmen). Fact is, Erskine is what he is...and what he is is what the Caps need. Saying that Erskine shouldn't be playing because he's slow and negatively affecting his partner would be like saying Knuble shouldn't be on the top line because he's too slow and can't shoot as hard as his linemates. It's strange that so many think the overall strength of our defense depends on our 5-6th spots.

Posted by: vermontcaps | October 18, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Be kind of boring if they beat every team 5-0. Hard to believe after so many early spring exits, but I believe you folks are spoiled. This is one of the best. Enjoy it.

Posted by: coastallp74 | October 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Be kind of boring if they beat every team 5-0. Hard to believe after so many early spring exits, but I believe you folks are spoiled. This team is one of the best in hockey with a ton of young talent. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Posted by: coastallp74 | October 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, Erskine isn't the swiftest of skaters but that really shouldn't matter much....what team doesn't have a d-man or two that lacks the "foot speed" you deem so important? I haven't seen anyone "blow-by" him and cause Erskine to play catch-up (at least no more/less than the other dmen). Fact is, Erskine is what he is...and what he is is what the Caps need. Saying that Erskine shouldn't be playing because he's slow and negatively affecting his partner would be like saying Knuble shouldn't be on the top line because he's too slow and can't shoot as hard as his linemates. It's strange that so many think the overall strength of our defense depends on our 5-6th spots.

Posted by: vermontcaps

Not sure what your point is. Knuble provides a net presence on that line and is good getting shots off in tight spaces. His lack of speed is not that big of a deal as he has Ovie and Backstrom.

Erskine is a defenseman, not a winger. He has very good size and uses it well when he can. However, just because you are big does not mean that you don't have to move. You have to be fast enough and quick enough to be decent speed wise. Erskine's lack of mobility leads to many scoring chances. Usually defenseman can make up for a lack of mobility by being positionally sound and effective with the puck when they have it. However, Erskine is average positionally and is below average in terms of clearing the zone when he gets the puck.

Erskine gives a great effort and is clearly trying all the time. That can be good to have on the team as it helps set a tone. However, I would feel much more comfortable with Erskine being the 7th D-man than the 6th D-man come playoff time. For the time being I'm fine with him as the 6th D-man.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Looks like noone - players and fans alike from the some of the comments have learned nothing from last year...NOTHING

These habits are hard to shake...being inspired by being down and playing desperation hockey is not the hallmark of a championship caliber team

Do I like our team? Ofcourse. But it is still very much:

Too Cute
Too Lazy
Too Flat (at times)

But for Neuvirth, we could be 1-4.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | October 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Not as concerned as I am by the fact you haven't reported on the injury of Marcel Goc, which Backstrom caused. So the only thing that matters is a Caps win? Not if it was achieved by dirty play? Or that Backstrom could be disciplined by the league? Very disappointed in your reporting.

Posted by: rsnider1 | October 18, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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