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Question of the Day

How in the world does an NHL team take only 10 shots during a 60 minute game?

It's not an easy feat to accomplish. But the Caps did it Thursday in their 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes.

Carolina equaled a franchise record for fewest shots allowed.

But you'll be happy to know the Caps came nowhere near setting their own franchise record. They took only seven shots in a 4-1 loss at Philadelphia on Feb. 12, 1978. So that one is safe. For now.

The one shot the Caps mustered in the first period (an Alex Ovechkin goal) tied a record for futility, however. It was the 16th time they managed only one shot in a period.

It's hard to say that was the Caps' worst performance of the season because they lost by only one goal to the defending champions. But it was certainly close to their low point.

Coach Glen Hanlon has given them today off to regroup for Saturday's game in Montreal.

I'll be traveling for most of the day. But I will update with any news.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 23, 2007; 6:06 AM ET
 
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Next: Clymer Out for Year

Comments

The reality here is the Canes needed this win and the Caps are better served by the loss. In spite of the fact that the Caps seem incapable of drafting well, an early pick will will almost vertainly be better than a later one. Who knows? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, maybe the Caps will get lucky with their pick this time, but a chance at a real early pick will be better.

Posted by: Cheapseats Bob | March 23, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, for EricS, Graham and other overly-optimistic guys your question might not be very appealing. So I won't even start...until they post something like "ted and gmgm know what they're doing" or "this is a true nhl team" or "we're rebuilding"... But your first line is the key here! If anyone watched Caps' Postgame, you saw the look on people's faces when they were talking about the loss. I bet they have to take long commercial breaks just to come up with something to talk about besides another true NHL performance by OV and Semin.

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Tell me about it. Forget the postgame folks, think about me. I have to write a story almost every day.

Posted by: Tarik | March 23, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I bet you're sitting over in the press box thinking "why do I have to be put through this torture?" Even the articles are getting shorter. I'd hate to be in your position. I wonder what it's like to be in the locker room after such "performances"? I bet Ovechkin is gutted! I bet that's the REAL reason Semin doesn't want to talk. Even Hanlon is out of excuses.
Today is a day off for the Caps, so it's a good day for you. Tomorrow? Brace yourself for another "recordbreaking performance".

There's nothing positive to write about part from Semin and OV. But we all know that those two can play. That's why Fay wrote it like it is. I am impressed by how you're still holding on and not writing it how it is.

Another point I'd like to make is how this organization is WASTING the exceptional talent of Alex Ovechkin. The guy can be a 100+ point guy every season easily! Even with this AHL team he's close. But one day (about a year from now) he can say "enough is enough." What's going to happen next? What if he's offered what he truly deserves from a team other than the Caps? Do you think Ted could match a $9m offer? Doubt that.

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The other night they got SMOKED in Buffalo and Hanlon comes out with "we'll learn from this." He's said the same thing about a loss about 10 times this year.

When is Ted going to learn? He's got a team that is an underdog just about every time they step out on the ice. WHY? Because of lack of talent and the organization not putting the best team they could out on that ice sheet.

We'll ALL learn this off-season how much the ownership wants to win.

Posted by: caphcky | March 23, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I bet I know how it is in the Caps' locker room after yet another loss. Right, Tarik?

Posted by: SovSport | March 23, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's a clever ploy by Hanlon and the guys to get Ted out of the mindset that there is any way he could ice the same team next season. Demonstrating exactly where the gaping holes in the lineup are puts the pressure on Ted and GMGM to bloody well plug them this offseason, whereas if they played like a NHL caliber team there would not be nearly as much pressure.

Or maybe it's a clever plot by the players to get Hanlon canned... Hmmm... Head Coach Dale Hunter...

I'm joking around, but you know what I mean.

/Looking forward to July.

Posted by: HolyOlie | March 23, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

How many games have the Caps been woefully outshot this year? Not just last night...we are frequently doubled up on shots, sometimes even worse. Why is it so f-ing hard to get the players to shoot? Mites know to shoot the puck, why can't the Caps? That's on the coaches as far as I'm concerned. I know a Keenan-type coach is not necessarily the answer, but there has to be some balance between his style and Mr. Softie. I can understand one crappy period, but if I'm in the locker room at the first intermission with only 1 shot on goal, you'd better believe I'd come out firing in the 2nd.

Posted by: alpca3877 | March 23, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Please have the editors of the website fix the link from the main sports page. They have "Sabres" in the title for the article from last night's game!

Also, why Hanlon is still coaching this team is beyond me. I still think there is talent on this team and coaching is a bigger part of this than people want to admit. Talent doesn't always win hockey games, it also takes a good system and for players to play it. Jacques Lemaire and Ted Nolan got more out of teams with far less talent than this one.

Don't get me wrong, I like Hanlon, he is a nice guy and accessable to both the media and fans. However it's not working, time for a change. Here's an idea, why doesn't the organization just bring in Dale Hunter to coach the team NOW rather than wait another year. Everyone who is anyone knows the "master plan" is for him to come back and coach the team, but in a circumstance where he has a "chance to win". If the organization is saying next year this team will compete in the playoffs, fine, bring in Hunter NOW and let the fans know they truly are commited.

Posted by: CrazySeasonTicketHoldr | March 23, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Next year is the make or break for this team and coaching staff as far as I'm concerned. If Hanlon and GMGM can't get it done, and that is considering that Ted will get the players needed to do that, they should be gone. Then it would make perfect sense to bring in Dale Hunter as coach. I'm willing to give them one more rebuilding year. Last night was certainly bizarre to say the least, but they can show their potential as has been recently with Toronto and Tampa Bay. It's going to be a tough final 7 games. I'd love to see them with 2 or 3 of them. Time will tell.

Posted by: kenhockey | March 23, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

If the organization is going to continue to put an AHL product on the ice, then I don't want to see Dale Hunter behind the bench. If the organization isn't going to do what it needs to do, then I don't care who you have back there......they will fail.

I think Huntsie knows that too.

Posted by: caphcky | March 23, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Can't we look at the bright side folks; Our Goal to shot ratio was FANTASTIC last night. we shot 100% of the time we scored in the first period! 100%

The 2nd period was not as good we shot 40%, but hey can't always be perfect. 3rd was pitiful we shot 0%.

Seriously nothing really to say about that game, tough to watch. I hope and pray in hte off season we step up and get some guys to plug in these holes. I dont know how much more I can take.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | March 23, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So, is the rebuilding still "ahead of schedule"?

Posted by: SpendSomeMoney | March 23, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

So Tarik, can we just past the remaining crap that is this season and talk about where the Caps are going? Do have any insight as to what gmgm is going to do with that nice draft pick he is looking at? I have heard a bit about this stud d-man from the WHL, Karl Alzner. Any insight? Any idea if there is a true #1 center free agent that wants the opportunity to dish the puck off to OV? Will gmgm finally tell Emmy that he is over matched in the NHL?

Posted by: Freak | March 23, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think the Boston game last week was more maddening than last night. Carolina's gotten healthy and is a much better team, so losing a close one to them doesn't bother me as much as blowing a 3-0 lead to a bad team (though losing at all still sucks). Tarik, my sympathies for having to ride out the rest of this season, though.

As to Hanlon, I would reserve judgement until he really has an NHL team under him. We never got a chance to see him work a full season with Jagr and Co. He lost out to the disaster that was Cassidy and has been brought in to clean up the mess ever since. The fact that he's generally getting a good effort out of this team every night, even at this point of the season, is remarkable, IMHO. The talent level isn't there, but the motivation hasn't been lacking.

Posted by: Geauxcaps | March 23, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Sure, give them more time to finally break that 30 year old 7 shot a game record. I'd tell you what I think will happen if the "rebuild" continues another year. You will not see Ovechkin here after his contract expires. You will not see Semin here either. I am sure there will be teams around to offer OV and Semin top $ and give them a chance to compete every year and not be the 'boys for beating'. So after the next season we'll see another rebuild but without the guys who can still inspire and give the lowly Caps a chance to at least score some goals. After Ovechkin and Semin are out of DC, the Caps will finally be able to beat the 7 shot a game record (4 of the 10 shots last night were taken by OV and Semin).

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF ALL OF YOU UP IN DC WITH NOTHING BETTER TO DO THEN COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN!!! I was at the game last night; what I saw was a team that had played the night before IN BUFFALO, that had to fly from Buffalo to Raleigh, and play a team that is playing really good hockey right now! I think they were worn out from having to play the Eastern Conference finalists on back-to-back nights.

As for you, Tarik, I have no sympathy; you are PAID to do your job, so do it and stop whining!

I honestly don't know why I even bother to read this s***!

Posted by: Mike | March 23, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Any idea why they never changed Clark's goal to Semin? Doesn't look like Clark ever touched it.

Posted by: Cush | March 23, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Finn:
Agreed. If the Caps let Ovie and Semin go sooner rather than later (although I think Tarik has mentioned that it's unlikely Ovie could leave short of quitting the NHL until he's 27), it would be a complete disaster.

, July can't get here soon enough to resolve all these issues one way or another.

Posted by: Geauxcaps | March 23, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Generally after a disputed goal, someone from the Caps will ask Clark if he touched the puck. If he says "Yes", there is no change. If he says "No" they make an official change the following day.

I'll let you guys know if there is a change in scoring today. I honestly couldn't tell from 100 feet above the ice, and wasn't able to find Clark afterward.

Posted by: Tarik | March 23, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

OK Mike, you must chill.

As I've stated before several times, and as has been reiterated on this post, losing Ovechkin would be a TOTAL DISASTER, and keeping him here should be the main focus of Ted and GMGM.

He is a once-in-a-lifetime player, and we're lucky to have him. I believe Ted understands that, and I think he would match any offer Ovechkin is made on the free-agent market. That is, UNLESS Ovechkin makes it clear that he doesn't want to be here anymore.

That's the problem -- would OV rather play for Detroit, in front of a packed house every night, surrounded by other super-stars? Or would he rather play in DC, in front of 6,000 fans every night, surrounded by AHL talent. The Caps have to step up if they want to keep him here.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | March 23, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

And Mike-- I'm not whining. I'm joking. Covering a bad hockey team beats covering no hockey team. I know that. I was making a wisecrack in response to another post.

As for the Sabres mistake on the web, I'm trying to get that fixed. I've notified the web folks. Hopefully they'll get my email soon.

Posted by: Tarik | March 23, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Geauxcaps,

What if let's say Detroit (having their current payroll committment about equal to the Caps) offer Ovechkin maximum allowed under the CBA (around $9m season after next, I suspect)? Do you think the cheap Ted would match it? If I were Ovechkin's agent and Ted tried to pull tricks like tying OV's salary to his 'declining' performance (less points than last year), I would tell him where to go. Clark would not be a 20+ goal scorer if it wasn't for Ovechkin. The Caps would not have gotten even 50 points if it wasn't for Ovechkin. Ted would not sell as many tickets for people to watch this team if it wasn't for Ovechkin.

And to Mike:
Heard the same excuses before. If memory serves me right, the Caps actually do very well in the second of back to back games.

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ted sells the "we're a tough team to play against.....and we play hard and give 110% on the ice......"

should he change it to say, "just not on back-to-back nights?

:) Mike what you saw was an AHL team playing the defending Stanley Cup Champions at NHL prices. No wonder your pissed!

Posted by: caphcky | March 23, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

My G_d, I think the sky just fell. Wait, it's just the usual people pissing, moaning and groaning. I think I could make a template out of some of the posts here and just put them up anytime the team loses. It's not like you guys really have anything new or even interesting to say. Finn/caphcky I mean this with all sincerity, I'm through responding to your juvinile whining. Last time I even include your names or arguments in anythign I write here. please, feel free to insult me, my mother and anyone else you chose. You'll just be pissing into the wind.

On to more important matters. Very mystifying game. We shot great when we had the puck, we just couldn't get the dang thing for very long. I have to think this would have been a different game if that breakaway by Semin had gone in. I don't think this was their low point on the year, but it definately isn't a game they'll probably want to remember for very long. They did score 3 goals and kept it close on the scoreboard for the whole game. There's at least some pride to take out of that.

Posted by: EricS | March 23, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

For all those folks worried about Semin and Ovechkin leaving, they are here until they are 27. They are restricted free agents until that point, per the new CBA. (Ovechkin may be 26 officially when he become a free agent due to years of service in the NHL). So stop worrying about them jumping ship after next season, it can't/won't happen. And they will not return to Russia. Semin learned last season how much better life in the NHL is compared to the Russian Super League after he was shipped around when his team went bankrupt.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | March 23, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

EricS,

Aren't you 21? So aren't you the juvenile? I love a couple of your sentences: "We shot great when we had the puck" - yep, great. And "There's at least some pride to take out of that." A true statement of a chronic loser.

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I said it before and I'll say it again. Don't expect too much from the Caps this summer although much is needed. They will be competing with Philly, Detroit and other teams for the valuable centermen that are available. Ted is going to have to overpay and you know he does not like to do that. Expect a "second tier" center like Mike Comrie or someone of that ilk to enter the picture. Don't expect Datsyuk, Drury, Briere or Gomez. Sorry, you are talking about other teams with open check books like Philly that will gobble up the high priced players this summer.

Posted by: AGP | March 23, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Let me start by saying that there seems to be a growing sense of animosity between different spectators. I for one am a Caps fan, and I think you all are too. In that we're together. In the end, we want the same thing: our team (Caps org) to succeed.
We should respect one another based on that.

That was not an entirely terrible game. I was shocked that the shot total was only 1 after the first because the play was really not indicitive of that at all. But there were guys who were completely neutralized and absent. Clark and Gordon where both playing well, or 'their game' rather. The other guys just couldn't break through the neutral zone. There were a number of shots from the point, but they were off target and didn't get counted as shots. Even Semin's missed backhander didn't count. But that wasn't the real problem, only a part of it last night. The passing, guys, it really comes down to the passing. It seems that the Leigh's and Grahams and Erics' are delusional but they AREN'T, no more so than the Finn's or Cphcky's or even myself. We're all fans of the same team, but if this team where a company and our product was produced by the members we would seriously have to let many of them go. Not because they aren't nice guys, but because they can't pass the puck. That simple. It is woefully painful to say, but Hanlon said it. They can't pass from d-zone to neutral. They chip along the boards like it was pee wee hockey. You never see other teams doing that. Carolina's little tic tac toe passing play that lead to a goal was not because "they're Carolina". Its because they cycled, passed and shot. It was a game plan, and the Caps just ran around like they had never seen anything like it before.

I end up liking all the guys on the team, I really do. I don't want to see these guys, kids in some cases, look stupid. I feel for them. I wish they could do it. I see Laich stick handling nicely some times and hope that he's going to shine. But the reality of it is, after almost 80 games, they just aren't fit to yet. Bradley played for a crap Pens team, and when time came they waived him. I like Brads a lot. He plays hard and has heart and thats more than I can say for Jagr, that pansy. But there comes a time when you look at the guys in your company and if they can't type a simple letter, or address an envelope properly, centered up, with capitalization and punctuation that befits an adult employee, you have to look at it like it really is. Nice guy, great to hang out with, not good for business. Honestly, if elements of the roster were upgraded some of these guys could be kept to fill out 3rd and 4th lines. But we all knew that already, right? That we had a team full of 3rd and 4th liners? We're playing Buffalo's 4th line center on our top line. Our top line center is their 3rd line RW.

In the end, I understood what they were looking for this season: lets see who we can build around and who we can't. It was still irresponsible to not bring in veteran talent to mentor Ovie and Semin and the recruits, especially the blueline. That was Leonsis. And it was flat out wrong. You take the best and make sure they are nurtured. They do it with musicians, artists, etc. It should have been done here and the fact that it didn't illustrates exactly where the deficiencies truly are. Its too bad the players have to pay for that.

Sorry for the ramble.

Posted by: Kerplunk | March 23, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Finn,
I think when the time comes, Ted will be quite comfortable paying Ovie $7-8-9 mil. Unlike the Jagr fiasco, Ted will know exactly what he has in Ovie and will know he's getting his money's worth. Plus, he won't be so foolish as to sign him for 7 years. The man's relatively new to hockey, but I think he would at least learn from that mistake.

As to your Red Wings example, am I reading your right in that you're hypothesizing a situation the Wings have the same payroll as the Caps? Wouldn't that mean that they're essentially an AHL team as well? I doubt they'd have Datsyuk, Lidstrom, etc. on they're team if they were that low in salary. Or am I reading your example wrong?

Posted by: Geauxcaps | March 23, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Even more than a center, I think the Caps desperately need defensemen with some puck handling skills. Watching the Caps trying to keep the puck in the O-zone on a power play has just been sad.

Posted by: JohnK | March 23, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to belittle Ovie's talent of achievements; he's certainly a great player and a very important part of this team. BUT, saying we wouldn't score at all if it wasn't for Ovechkin, is just wrong. OV got zero points in our rout against TB, zero points in our win over TO, and one point in the game we should have won against Boston. He's slumped several times this year and the rest of the team has picked up the slack. There is alot of talent on the Caps roster, it just needs to be developed. Granted, the AHL is the place for that, but given how injury-depleted we are, we don't really have a choice there.

OV is a great player, but one man does not make a team. If you put him and Semin out there by themselves, they wouldn't win any games either.

Posted by: Murshawursha | March 23, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Every game I've ever watch the Caps are outshot; typically 2 to 1 also. I don't know what it is, but they don't shoot as often as perhaps they should.

Posted by: D~ | March 23, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I'm 25.

There does seem to be something about this team that prevents them from shooting as often as they should, especially on power plays. Oddly enough, they were perfect on the PP last night. They only had one though. It does get really frustrating to watch them throw the puck at each other rather than at the net sometimes.

Posted by: EricS | March 23, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

EricS wrote:
"Finn/caphcky I mean this with all sincerity, I'm through responding to your juvinile whining. Last time I even include your names or arguments in anythign I write here. please, feel free to insult me, my mother and anyone else you chose. You'll just be pissing into the wind."

Here's a mirror!

I see, some 25 year old can whine, but nobody else can be critical when it is certainly warrented? ROFLMAO.....

Sure is windy in here....LOL

http://360.yahoo.com/cthskies

Posted by: caphcky | March 23, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

To freakinandpeakin...

I am concerned that Ovechkin could leave after next season. When his rookie contract expires he will become a restricted free agent.

According to the new CBA, "A restricted free agent can accept an offer from other teams. But his old team can match the offer or receive compensation, as in the previous free agent system."

So the question becomes, will Leonsis match the 9-million dollar offer Ovechkin will surely receive from Detroit or some other quality franchise. It would be better if the Caps could just sign him to a long-term deal sooner rather than later.

If Leonsis doesn't match, and then he tries to tell me that he would rather have three first-round draft picks, a player and some cash instead of Ovechkin I may have to jump ship.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | March 23, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Oneal, Detroit would have to have the space under the salary Cap to offer Ovechkin that kind of money. Second of all, they would only be allowed to offer Ovechkin 20% of their total payroll, so the MAXIMUM they could offer Ovy is about $8m, and I'm certain the caps would match that if the Red Wings offered it.

Posted by: FS | March 23, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik, Bettman is supposed to be on Washington Post Live today. I'm curious, what would you ask him? I'm expecting a fluffy bit of journalism without any real substance form WPL, since that seems to be the way of Comcast in the reporting dept. If given the chance, what do you want to hear Bettman have to respond to?

Posted by: Kerplunk | March 23, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

$8 plus bonuses... With top center and the team around him Ovechkin will score 70+ goals and have 120+ points. He'll get a bonus for that. He won't post those kind of numbers with Novotny.

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"$8 plus bonuses...."

The new CBA restricts bonuses to entry level contracts and certain players over the age of 35. So there is no possible way for Ovy, or anyone else, to make over the actual 20% capped limit.

Posted by: SpendSomeMoney | March 23, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"entry level contracts and certain players over the age of 35"
1. He won't have an entry level contract
2. He will not be over 35

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

My point exactly.

in your original post you said he would get bonuses for 70+ goals or 120+ points. My point is that he cant.

Posted by: SpendSomeMoney | March 23, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

....(after next season, of course.)

Posted by: SpendSomeMoney | March 23, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I take your argument. I am sure you know it better than me.

But what to do with playing in the play offs? Winning cups? Playing in a sold out building filled with HOME fans? Having greater personal satisfaction? etc...

Posted by: Finn | March 23, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I spoke to some of the reporters/editors about Bettman.

I would expect to hear a lot of about the future of fighting in the game. And whether the league is frustrated by the Caps' penny pinching.

Posted by: Tarik | March 23, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

While being out shot 45-10 is kind of weak, letting up 40 shots a game is not necessarily bad. The 1992-93 LA Kings made it to the Cup Finals with an average of something like 35-40 shots against per game, and were on occasion above 50 or even 60. But, they won. How did they win? They shot 25-35 shots a game themselves and had a goalie who liked rubber. The problem isn't letting up a lot of shots, but being widely out shot. I know the team is currently working on defense, which is why shots are down, but they do not have the blue line talent to do it, so they really should focus on an open flowing game with lots of shots. It will be better for OV, better for the fans and more likely to create wins.

Posted by: old time hockey | March 23, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Are we really worrying about the 2008 offseason? Can't we worry about about this offseason first? Enough about centers, anyone know who might be available on defense?

As for Bettman on WPL, I'm sure he'll just say what he says every time, that Ted is doing it the right way, salaries were out of control but the salary cap will fix that, blah, blah, blah...

Posted by: tallbear | March 23, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Caps are always outshot. They have been for the last 20 years. I have yelled "SHOOT THE PUCK" at the TV too many times in those years. After the game, what is the common excuse for losing?

"Well, we played well, we just didn't shoot the puck as much as we should have."


Posted by: nadir | March 23, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Oneal, are you serious? (I mean that pleasantly). Do you really think Ted would not match any offer for Ovechkin? You don't think he is going to offer him a max deal out of the box.

If he doesn't than Ted is no better than Abe letting Scott Stevens walk for some draft picks, which I never forgave him for.

Besides, this isn't like the NFL where teams can put some poison pills in an offer to a FA. There are no bonuses in NHL contracts, the only uknown for AO will be length of deal. It isn't like a team would offer a player a 15 year contract. (Looking sheepishly over towards the Islanders). :) In any event AO is what this team is all about AND Ted will either re-sign AO or match any offer he gets. If Ted would sign Jagr to that kind of deal he most certainly will for AO. You just don't let a generational player like that go...and like I hinted before, Abe Pollin thankfully no longer owns this franchise.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | March 23, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, is there a way to get a re-cap of the Bettman interview for those of us who don't live in the DC area. I'd love to hear what he had to say about the Caps penny pinching ways.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | March 23, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Is there a team in the history of hockey that gives away the puck more than the Caps? They give it away in the defensive zone. Couldn't clear the zone if the fate of the Earth depended on it.

They can't get through neutral ice without coughing it up, and they can't keep it in the offensive zone without passing to the other team.

Passing is 50 - 50. 50% is goes to a guy in a Caps sweater, 50% it goes to a guy in the enemy's. I would say that compares to maybe 10% for most NHL teams.

The Caps have degenerated into the most painful team in the league to watch. The only hope is that Semin or OV, but more Semin recently, does something that just makes your jaw drop.

How is it possible not to be able to clear the zone and get through neutral ice at this level of the game?!

Here's a little clue to Glen Hanlon: the whole league knows that Caps players are going to try to clear up off the boards! The gig is uo! It's time to actually learn how to pass and skate the puck out of the zone in an organized fashion that promotes puck possession.

To quote Chris Farley: "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD."

Posted by: The Benefactor | March 23, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin..

I'm agree 100 percent -- If Leonsis doesn't match any offer to keep Ovechkin, it would be equivalent to letting Scott Stevens go, which is the biggest mistake the franchise ever made. And as we all know it led to the curse of Scott Stevens.

LET'S KEEP OV HERE!

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | March 23, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

What makes anyone think that Ted is not going to do whatever it takes to keep AO here? AO is the face and future of the Caps, and will be here for many years, as long as progress is being made. Ted is no fool, and knows what he'll have to do to get it done. He should also do whatever it takes to keep Alexander Semin here as well. These are two of the players that will take the Caps to the next levels for years to come, and I have no doubt that Ted knows this. It's been a rough season after the New Year, but let's look forward to next year, before some of the writers on here go so overboard.

Posted by: kenhockey | March 23, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Pretty pathetic display last night, theres no doubt about it. If I'm a player on the caps its almost a guarantee that they put their starter in for the 3rd period. You all saw how Carolina managed to draw inspiration. Its a shame that despite how horrible the caps played last night, they were 90 seconds away from a win for all intents and purposes.

Pothier looked horrible on Staal's goal, and I think it was Muir who just let Ladd walk right in and shoot. I'm not liking Johnson on either of those goals, shades of "Boxing Day in Buffalo"

But seriously, how bad must John Grahame be to give up 3 goals on 6 shots?

Finn: I don't mind talking about the truth, its the irrational complaining I can't stand.

Posted by: Graham | March 23, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Anybody throwing the name "Dale Hunter" out as a coaching cnadidate better do some homework.

I believe he has ownership in the OHL London Knights (who he also coaches). He wouldn't be allowed to coach in the NHL unless he relinquished that ownership, something that I'm pretty sure he's said he isn't going to do anytime soon.

When Ted Nolan is done with the Islanders maybe...

I have to think that at some point Bruce Boudreau will get an assistant coach somewhere in the NHL, maybe with the caps.

The time to fire hanlon will be when theres a better replacement out there. All the good guys are hired right now. Langway is a possibility though. He coached in the UHL. Kaminski coaches in the UHL, Tinordi coaches now I believe.

Posted by: Graham | March 23, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who insists on repeatedly playing the "Ovechkin will leave after next season!" card is an out and out troll who is not worth listening to. There are many things I worry about, and that one is not even on the list.

Also, anyone who thinks that Gary Bettman will openly criticize the Caps doesn't know Bettman. There's no way in the world he would do that, and in fact he didn't do that. Here's the Bettman way -- when asked what was necessary for the NHL to get back to being in a pre-eminent position in the sports world, he said that he thinks the NHL is already in a pre-eminent position. Bettman's way is not to take sides in a controversy; it is to deny that any controversy even exists.

Posted by: norske | March 23, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Norske -- Before Scott Stevens left was that on your list of concerns? (assuming you are old enough to remember)

How about Cicarelli?

They weren't on mine either! To say it's impossible is naive.

From what I've seen, I agree that Leonsis is not crazy enough to let him go. The problem is that Ovechkin has to WANT to be here! He needs to be surrounded by players with whom he can succeed. I'm sure everyone in this discussion is hoping that that is what happens.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | March 23, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Reading about how pathetic our team is is getting boring. I love hockey, love going to games and love watching the Caps, even if it is only for flashes of brilliance each game. We've left the Verizon center heartbroken many times, but happy other times. The players have all been great when we've met them at practice and they seem to put forth a strong effort every night.

Like everyone else here, I'd like to see more wins and am concerned about management. I know the negativity bandwagon is what sells airtime when a team is not great, but does that mean that all the posts or leadins have to be about that? Tarik, we were at the last Tampa game when the Caps lost in the 10 person shootout and there was nothing in the article congratulating Johnson for stopping some of the best shooters in the NHL. How many backups could have kept the shootout going for so long? All the article said was how the losing streak was continuing.

How about some nice descriptive writing about what's going well with the Caps? I don't mean sugarcoating. Even though the outlook is bleak if you look just at the record, good plays are being made each night. It would be nice to hear an informed eye's perspective on them. When your team is losing games, you have to find something to stay positive about and the Caps players have provided that all year.

How about some details on the trap- when did it work well, when did it fail? Some details on passing back to the defense to get more offense- it seemed to go well for a few games there- who's doing it better or worse? How about Semin's newfound desire to pass the puck- how's he balancing that with his natural instinct to figure skate before shooting- is he overcompensating or are all of the recent assists the sign of a quickly developing player? Folks keep saying Clark and Zubrus's goal scoring was due to Ovechkin, but didn't Clark score his hat trick while playing on the checking or other non Alex- line? Is it possible Zubrus was helping Ovechkin's stats as much as the other way around? Pothier got the A on his his chest for Tampa last week- fans here point out his mistakes, but is he doing something well on or off the ice that we should know? These are just a few ideas, but a mix of them with what you have to write would be nice.

I know covering a losing team can be difficult and cheering for one can be more difficult. Let's just not miss all of the good, interesting, and educational stuff that we can all learn and enjoy this year. (and no, Ted, this is not an excuse to promote mediocrity through nifty marketing unless you are going to lower the ticket prices. And yes, Ted, the moon bounce was great, though we were hoping a player or two have been jumping, too.)

Posted by: 121 K | March 23, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I really wish Tarik would write how it is... the team sucks, as does the owner. Fay called him out, lets see Tarik do it. Ted has been in this 5 year rebuild since he got here. If Ted doesnt spend this off season and improve the team he may as well sell it to someone who will. But he wont because he really wants the Bullits. Thats what he is waiting for.


Posted by: Anonymous | March 23, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

forgot to answer Tariks question:Question of the Day
How in the world does an NHL team take only 10 shots during a 60 minute game?

This is not an NHL quality team... Duhhh!!

Posted by: jr4caps | March 23, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

What was written in The Times was a column. I don't have a column.

Posted by: Tarik | March 23, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

To defend Tarik for a bit, his coverage is in large part dictated by the space he has available in the paper. 18 inches is not much room. It would be really nice to see the hockey page rearranged a bit, maybe cutting back on some of the dead space in the score boxes as there is a fair bit of it, to get more writing space. A notebook space would be outstanding, but more regular space is probably easier to acheive.

Posted by: EricS | March 23, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, is this not the closest thing to a column though?

It seems to me that here in the blog we get a fair amount of your own opinion, which I enjoy. Out of curiosity, do you think you burned bridges with the "You get what you pay for" entry or did the front office get over it quickly? You mentioned in a chat I think that they weren;t happy with it, lol.

Posted by: Graham | March 24, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Oneal, the reasons that Stevens and Cicarelli were traded had a lot more to do with the 'incident' that happened in Georgetown than any hockey related factor.
Their behavior outside the rink is what got them off the Caps. Abe Pollin was the owner at that time.

Posted by: kenhockey | March 24, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, kenhockey, it was the sex incident. It was also Kornheiser's right wing campaign to undermine hockey every chance he got. He rode Stevens all the way out of town. Both guys were cleared of any charges and the whole thing was dropped. NJ went on to win 3 cups with Stevens manning the blueline. I dislike Kornheiser for many, many reasons (where's a flight of stairs when you need them?) but it all started there.

Posted by: Kerplunk | March 24, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

We blame the officials EVERYTIME we lose
and now we're blaming Tony Kornheiser for Scott Stevens leaving?

ROFLMAO.....

TK doesn't have a "right wing campaign" against hockey. He's been to many games.

He criticizes when the league and the organization needs to be criticized (i.e., giving away 3-1 leads in the playoffs)calling them "choking dogs!". Its hard to argue and I found it funny because it was true. The G-town incident happened and the team could never live it down.

Lets line up Tarik as the guy to blame when Ted doesn't sign any talent this summer.

Geesh....thats just too much

http://360.yahoo.com/cthskies

Posted by: caphcky | March 24, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

oneal,I didn't say it's impossible, just that I'm not personally worried about it. Also, when I mentioned the trolls, I'm not talking about people who express concern about the matter. I'm specifically talking about people who affirmatively declare that Ovechkin will be leaving soon. Those people are not trying to make serious points that are worth debating. They are being malicious, and they are fearmongering.

Posted by: norske | March 24, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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