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Posted at 6:12 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Open thread: Capitals vs. Sharks

By Washington Post Sports Editors

logologo The Washington Capitals (29-15-10) and San Jose Sharks (28-19-6) have both struggled at times this year after coasting through the 2009-10 regular season, but both teams are on an upswing heading into tonight's contest.

Washington has earned points in eight of its last nine games and San Jose is 7-0-1 in its last eight. The Sharks have history on their side, having won 12 of their last 13 contests against the Capitals.

Faceoff: 7 p.m., Verizon Center; TV: CSN; Radio: 1500 AM

Update: 6:39 p.m.
Based on warm-up here's what the lineup should look like against the Sharks:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Chimera
Laich-Perreault-Semin
Hendricks-Johansson-Knuble
Gordon-Steckel-Bradley

Defense
Alzner-Carlson
Schultz-Hannan
Erskine-Sloan

Goal
Neuvirth
Varlamov

Scratches: Mike Green and D.J. King

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 8, 2011; 6:12 PM ET
Categories:  Lineups, San Jose Sharks  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitals defenseman Mike Green out against Sharks
Next: Michal Neuvirth was sterling in goal -- for 51 minutes

Comments

What do you all think lines are for tonight??

8-19-25
28-85-21
26-90-22
15-39-10

55-89
27-74
4-23

30

Sound about right??

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 8, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Two 60 minute hard checking back to back games under their belt. Let's hope it's a trifecta tonight. Go Caps!

Posted by: capper3 | February 8, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Lineps look fine MB10! Guess they dressed Sloan in place of Green?? Was hoping DJ would get a sweater since SJ can be physical..

Posted by: mickstix | February 8, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I just caught Semin speaking English with the trainer. That sneaky SOB!!!

hehe

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Lineps look fine MB10! Guess they dressed Sloan in place of Green?? Was hoping DJ would get a sweater since SJ can be physical..

Posted by: mickstix | February 8, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Green doesn't have concussion, but is being held out as a precaution. Probably a good idea.

I'm probably in the minority, but I don't mind Sloan that much as a fill-in player. He is what he is, a 13th forward or 7th defenseman. Can't expect him to step and be Ovie or Green, but he is fine if we need him every once in a while. He is also pretty versatile and seems to have accepted this role, which is good.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 8, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Lines

8-19-25, 21-85-28, 26-90-22, 39-15-10. Defense: 27-74, 55-23, 89-4. Neuvirth in net.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 8, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Id rather see Sloan paired with Hannon but I guess they know best..

Posted by: mickstix | February 8, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Sloan is the 8th d-man, not 7th. Welcome back to Semin. Let's see how the Caps play the defensive system without Green. Also, let's see if Semin follows Ovie's lead & plays hard in the defensive end.

Posted by: chriscaps | February 8, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Lets also see how the PP is w/o Green playing quarterback.. Hope they leave Ovi on the halfboard and put Semin up top with Carly.. Should be a good one.. Didnt know they'd taken the last 12 of 13 from us..

Posted by: mickstix | February 8, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

We need a payoff for this start!

Posted by: Albright4Snapper | February 8, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

vermontcaps:
tell erskine to lighten up on his shots - he can't afford to skate without a stick

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk no offensive but, that is a dumb statement if your serious.

Posted by: chriscaps | February 8, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

That 3rd D pairing makes me extremely nervous. I know we don't have many options right now but Erskine needs a good puck mover and smart decision-makers with the puck who is strong positionally next to him.

Sloan is pretty much the opposite of all those things.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

chriscaps:
not serious - vermont would understand it

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh that was BS!

Posted by: RITdude | February 8, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I dont want to jinx him, but he looks on...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I heard Semin was smoking a pack a day while out of the lineup.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Why is Matt Cooke playing hockey tonight? I see from the box score that he's played and has already got a minus 1.

The knee on knee hit against Ovechkin this weekend was so blatantly intentional, by the most obvious of suspects, that it is impossible to believe a serious suspension is not coming to Matt Cooke.

Is it that all that matters to the NHL is that Ovechkin apparently wasn't seriously injured?

If so, I wonder what its stance on laws against attempted murder is (or any crime of attempt for that matter). I am pretty sure this means they would prefer that attempted murder be legalized. And of course that makes perfect sense, because why should I be punished just for shooting AT you? The fact that I didn't aim my shot well enough must mean I have done nothing wrong and am not a danger to society. Yes, I guess that is right--there really is no reason for anyone to care about me going around trying to murder people.

Are they still trying to decide? Wouldn't they have issued the suspension by now if they were going to? What the hell is going on? Someone, please help me with this.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 8, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

matt cooke just got a 5 min major for charging... it was a hit from behind too. what a tool.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Cooke just got a 5 minute major penalty for charging, along with another 5 minute major for fighting. Columbus got an extra 2 for roughing but ended up with a 3-minute power play. It must have been a pretty bad charge if it started a fight and got him a major.

Posted by: youaresquishy | February 8, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Laich just nailed it talking about the importance of playing smart off the puck and being aware of your positioning and defensive responsibilities.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Caps look a step slow in comparison. They need to either step it up or figure a way to slow the Sharks down.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

i saw the cooke hit, coming in on a forecheck completely hit a defenseman face first into the boards from behind. the fight was very minor, i guess the guy that came in wasn't a fighter, basically just wrestled each other right down, lasted 10 seconds.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The only thing worse than Tyler Sloan on defense is Tyler Sloan on defense after not having played in a month and a half or whatever it's been.

I don't question his heart or work ethic but he just lacks defensive awareness and other fundamentals of the position. I hesitate to even call him a defenseman at this level. I'd rather he be a last resort 4th line forward.

If I'm Neuvirth, I'm extra focused when that 3rd pairing is out there.

I'd consider swapping Schultz and Erksine on those bottom 2 pairings. As great as Erskine's been for us, positioning isn't his greatest attribute and with Sloan out there, odds are that the other d-man is going to have to cover for him. Maybe put Schultz with Sloan and Erskine with Hannan.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

ANYBODY HAVE A LIVE FEED? OTHER THAN ATDHE OR JUSTINTV AND P2P4U? THANKS...ahhhh caps lock

Posted by: caps4life2 | February 8, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

@caps4life2

Try myP2P.eu

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Have to listen on 1500 tonight while I work, how's the team looking?

I'm glad they kept Green out an extra night, I wouldn't want to risk an injury and lose him when it really matters. I wish they had kept Beagle up though, that kid plays hard.

Posted by: ssweeney | February 8, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

when is hendricks gonna run the goalie? caps need to get into his head!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

@walle Thanks so much!!!!!!!!

Posted by: caps4life2 | February 8, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

SJ is getting better chances this period and deflecting pucks Montreal style!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Lucky Thornton slipped a minute ago. 8 got caught puck watching and we nearly paid for it. Gotta have your head on a swivel. He had time to look over his shoulder.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 8:25 PM | Report abuse

NEUVY!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

That entire last onslaught started when Chimera was unable to get the puck deep despite having loads of time and space. Little details...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Unless they can turn things around, it's only a matter of time folks.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the Caps would like to get it deep and chase but they don't seem to have the time and when they do, they don't realize it. The Sharks are in their heads a little bit.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

The passing could be better too. I've seen several passes off the mark because they are hurrying too much.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

27 to 13 SOG???

We have to step it up!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Caps have to step it up this period and get some PPs. They surely don't want it to go to OT.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

@wtf,

The Caps do have 10 takeaways to SJ's 3; but nothing to show for it.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

they are just getting there sticks on EVERYTHING!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 8:52 PM | Report abuse

there
they're
THEIR!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to teach both Ovie and Semin to shoot the bad-angle-shots low at the far post to create a rebound for the player rushing to the net. Right now they're always whistleing them high and wide and it often bounces back out to the neutral zone.

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

OMG I just love this defensefest! Could be a 1 - 0 game in OT at this rate.

Posted by: cirrus_nine | February 8, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

What is 8's success rate with his cut back cross ice passes right after crossing the blue line? I'm guessing about 2%. It often leads to rushes the other way.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

So does this means that our mini surge is finished? We only have 16 shots on goal. How frustrating! What bothers me the most is that, once again, our offense is not effective. What's up with that?

Posted by: caraveli | February 8, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Wait till late in the third when both teams go further into a shell it will be the

Washington Terrapins versus the San Jose Armadillos

Posted by: cirrus_nine | February 8, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Just got home. glad to see I haven't missed anything LOL. Please - no OT!

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | February 8, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Never mind....

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | February 8, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

that s*cked

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

...and Nuevy was doing so well...

smh

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Couture!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | February 8, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Where is Ovechkin?

Is he playing?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

thank you and good night...

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | February 8, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Another lifeless shutout at home in the making...

Why do they go into this shell?

Where is the Caps offense?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

slurpeesarecool:
you're still secretly in love with the caps - aren't you?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

So much for the momentum from the weekend victories. Sluggish tonight, and very disappointing. Glad that Semin is back...he is back, isn't he?

Posted by: billracer | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry folks, wrong game plan or just overmatched. Don't know which, probably the latter.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

ovi not covering his point, nuevy picked the wrong time to be weak and with tampa up on buffalo very good possibility we will be down 5 points to tampa at the end of the night.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Where is Ovechkin?

Is he playing?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:13 PM

He just got the best view of Boyle's goal.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

THAT

JUST

HAPPENED!

...and I'm signing off from suddenly chilly'er DC!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | February 8, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

The Sharks have outworked the Caps all game and are being rewarded for it now. Can't win a game without scoring.

Posted by: billracer | February 8, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

slurpeesarecool:
you're still secretly in love with the caps - aren't you?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

The grotesque ritual performed in my initiation is irreversible.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | February 8, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

this is frustrating that we can't seem to find that consistency we desperately need. though it wasn't a completely bad game, we were just outworked at the right times. oh well, let's see what happens on saturday.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Where's Ovie? He was doing just find till BB started mucking with his team.

19 shots?

So, we got a little more defense, a whole lot less offense and still no power play.

We look silly on the pp.

Posted by: tslats | February 8, 2011 9:24 PM | Report abuse

i really hate being shutout... really hate it.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

This was a statement game for the Caps. The statement is "our best is none too ggod". I have lowered my expectations considerably after witnessing that.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I am very much in favor of a more defensive style of play.

The thing is that creating offense without ever sacrificing defense may not be Boudreau's area of expertise.

And if he can't coach an effective PP, either -- which was as much of the reason for our demise against MTL as anything else -- what is the point of having him as coach?

Bring in a coach that is used to coaching more toward the defense-first end of the spectrum. Maybe that coach will be able to tweak how we approach creating offense within a defensive structure?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see a lot of energy from the Caps tonight. They looked like the team on a cross-counry road trip.

Posted by: zmega | February 8, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

we don't seem to play well against teams we don't have a "history" with.

They need to have a killer instinct, hard work ethic against any and every team.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It ain't gonna get any easier trying to score on the Kings...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm so happy I don't spend money and lose precious time away from my couch to go down and see a lifeless effort from the caps.

How can you have two intense and great games...and follow it up with a stinker?

Ovechkin- terrible
Semin- out of shape, I will give him a pass since it was his first game in 2 months
Backstrom- hasn't been here all season

That's 20 million dollars folks...0 points.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Ah forget it, they don't have a prayer. Based on that performance, if they were playing the Sharks in the playoffs, they'd be swept.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

tmac -

it's the new look caps, we'd have a hard time scoring against a mite team.

Posted by: natresgroup | February 8, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Another dismal performance by the offense

Posted by: SirPelleas | February 8, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

hot goalie - one bad day

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 8, 2011 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I think the absence of Green was prevalent tonight.

There was only one defensive pair(Carlzner) that was able to move the puck out of the zone with speed and flow. That is only about 1/3 of the game the team could move up the ice with speed and flow.

When Green is in the lineup it is two defensive pairs who can move the puck out of the zone with speed and flow and do it for about 45 minutes overall.

On a bright note, I thought MJ played another very strong game. He was good offensively but was great on his backchecking.

Neuvy was pretty strong too. The first goal wasn't that good, but he was strong throughout the game.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 8, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

classic comments... it is bb' fault because ov is fat lazy and minus 2...wtf?

Posted by: wendel2 | February 8, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

@sgm,

Both goals were bad, the cumulative effect of a continuous barrage of shots. What was it that Bylsma said "keep shooting on that guy and eventually they'll go in"?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps,

They weren't allowed to play their game by a superior Sharks game plan and execution. It's plain and simple, they don't have the ability to overcome that, at least not during the game. They didn't play a "stinker" as you put it, they just were denied the opportunity to play a great game. It's sad, but there it is.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Ya, normally I would agree, Green would have helped...

But, we (the fans) have seen this result 8 times now. With Green, with Semin, without those guys...

I don't know what it is...but I do know it's unacceptable. Too many shutouts...for a team with the talent the Caps have.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan

The second goal wasn't bad, it was a slap shot from the slot from Boyle. You can't expect a goalie to save everything. I'm not saying it was a highlight goal, but it wasn't a bad goal.

Even Couture's goal wasn't all that terrible, it was an open shot from Couture on a rush. If Ovie scores a goal from there we are rarely blaming the opposing goalie for a bad goal.

The thought of "keep shooting on that guy, eventually they'll go in" is used on every goalie.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 8, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Ok Florida...

Good enough for me!

I'm out!

Off to bed!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 8, 2011 9:47 PM | Report abuse

classic comments... it is bb' fault because ov is fat lazy and minus 2...wtf?

Posted by: wendel2 | February 8, 2011 9:38 PM

You think Boudreau is the ideal candidate to bring along a team finally learning to play team defense and defense first?

It isn't as easy to create offense when forwards are playing more responsibly in all 3 zones.

Sure, 8 hasn't looked good. You don't need to convince me of that. I'm on him all the time for his weaknesses.

Still, BB is all about offense and the PP. His inability to make adjustments on the PP killed us in the MTL series and it seems like he just can't figure out how to get it going now either. I thought that was one of his specialties?

I'm sure we could open things up and start playing more high-risk, one-way hockey but that ain't gonna get you anywhere when it matters, either.

I just don't see how Boudreau makes sense if we are going to learn how to play a more complete game with an emphasis on team defense.

You honestly think that he is the best coach for that?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

It was a crappy game by most of the Caps players. Too many turnovers all over the ice and failures to get the puck in deep.

But not having Green hurts a lot. If you think about the most valuable players to the Caps it is in some order Backstrom, Ovie and Green.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 8, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3,

My point is, he was saving those earlier in the game.

By the way, why were those forwards allowed to shoot like that on Neuvy? Why weren't our forwards able to take shots like that?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@sgm,

If you look at the box score you'll find that the giveaways were even and the Caps had a 14 to 6 edge in takeaways.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Handing out shutouts like they're Halloween candy. The Caps problems are clearly a coaching problem but they're going to stick with BB so lets see if we can get somehow make it to the conference finals.

Posted by: Dirtbag359 | February 8, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe how terrible Ovechkin is with the puck. He's a turnover waiting to happen. Can't make a play to save his life. That or he's just not trying very hard.

Posted by: alanb1 | February 8, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Tampa looks lost now down 5-3. Between this game and the Caps game I think other teams have figured out what to do. Bump Roloson. That is what started us and Buffalo bumped him on their 3rd goal and he has looked horrible since then.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 8, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@alanb1,

Have to agree with you. It's a mystery known by some as "whiffgate". Where is Bob Woodward when you need him?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

atleast the Pens and the Bolts are losing their games also!

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Too many shutouts...for a team with the talent the Caps have.

------

I hear this all the time. Explain to me how we have so much talent, esp. among our forwards?

I've been pointing out forever that our high offensive output had as much to do with our run 'n gun style of play as anything else. Any team coached to play that way will increase their scoring output... until the rest of the league gets used to it and sees more and more blueprints for countering it. I remember a Sabres announcer talking about how the players sacrifice offense to play better team defense and I trust Ruff's philosophy over that of Boudreau, regardless of his playoff success.

After Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin up front, we don't have any particularly great offensive players among the forwards when compared across the league to players in similar roles.

Green is a special offensive d-man and Carlson could be one but the truth is that we aren't as talented as many lead to believe, esp. when you see the lack of signficant growth in our highest paid player's overall game.

This whole "we are so talented" garbage is as silly as people calling us a puck possession team are a speedy team. When you look at the facts and compare our players and our style of play to those of other teams, it's pretty obvious that none of those things are true.

Boudreau's system and his coaching abilities at this level have been exhausted and adjusted to by the league. It's time to bring in a new voice to teach more complete hockey.

A new and more competent GM would be even better. Let a new GM evaluate everything from coaching on down.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

can't believe how terrible Ovechkin is with the puck. He's a turnover waiting to happen. Can't make a play to save his life. That or he's just not trying very hard.

Posted by: alanb1 | February 8, 2011 9:56

Hah... seems like everybody's starting to take off the homer glasses and see Ovechkin for what he is.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer

I'm watching the Tampa game also. You are correct. Goalie interference is the way to go against Tampa (with Roloson at least). You don't even need the 4 corners.

Posted by: nicety251 | February 8, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Caps have lost 12 out of last 13 to San Jose for a reason. The Caps don't match up well against the Sharks wingers and not having Green made this more glaring. Minus Green, the Caps have no defenseman who can get the puck out of the D-Zone on their own. Pairing of Schultz and Hannan was a terrible matchup against both of the Sharks first two lines. Tyler Sloan is also not NHL calibre so let's hope Poti is back in the next few weeks.

Lack of true 2nd line center who can generate offense continues to be a major problem. MP looks very overmatched when he's up against most teams and MoJo is better on the 3rd line at this point. GMGM needs to make a move soon to fill this hole. As much as people want to dump on BB, the Caps have little margin for error against the top teams like San Jose.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 8, 2011 10:06 PM | Report abuse

The Caps problems are clearly a coaching problem...

Posted by: Dirtbag359 | February 8, 2011 9:54 PM

You need to go up another level.

The Caps biggest problem is and has been McPhee. He's the one most responsible for the shortcomings of the coaches and the roster.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

@alanb1,

I think Ovechkin is trying but failing. There are probably several reasons why he is failing: 1) he has backed off of the physical aspect of his game a little bit (a good thing IMHO), 2) he is taking his eye off the puck too soon before he makes his move, 3) players have learned how to defend against him.

Some people say there are other contributing factors like partying and skipping voluntary practices but I am not so sure about that kind of stuff.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we should be getting any rentals at the deadline. There's no way we're getting past the first round, unless maybe if we play the Pens. Against them is the only time we really looked interested in playing committed hockey. And i would trade away any assets for a 2nd round outing.

Contract for contract would work if they can find something that fills our need for next season.

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@Walle,

I'm kind of veering to that point of view. What's the point? They don't seem to be going anywhere this year. More goat's blood wench!

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Nostrum optimus est nullus quoque bonus.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

There's too many holes to fill anyway for us to be a true contender this year.
#1 RW, #2C, #1B D-man, maybe even a #2W and make Laich a shutdown-winger he truly is.

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd add that he never had elite hockey IQ and that what made him special was his physicality and athleticism.

That's why I keep saying that we may end up in a real bad position as 8 ages and his physicality and athleticism decline rapidly.

Elite players that remain elite past their athletic prime tend to think the game really well. I just don't see Ovechkin as a player who thinks the game on even an average level. On top of that, he isn't being held accountable for the details of the game. I think a better coach may be able to help bring him along in terms of his total play and decision-making. He still needs his Yzerman moment so to speak.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I saw Katie at the game tonight. She's a cutie.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

What's the point of the caps switching to a more defensive system. They give up thirty-something shots while showing almost no offense.

Posted by: instinct227 | February 8, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao,

There's some of that to be sure but I think my point 2 is a major contributor to his failing so far this year. He is trying though, maybe trying too hard.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The reality is that 8 isn't really close to being the best in any area of the game.

He isn't all that fast. He doesn't have great hands. He isn't the most accurate shooter. He doesn't have elite vision/playmking skills regardless of his assist numbers. He isn't an elite two-way player. He's still pretty strong but for a guy with his supposed strength, he rarely wins puck battles along the wall or in traffic. He's pretty fearless about taking runs at guys which is good when it's well-timed and in the right situation.

And worst of all, he doesn't seem to be improving in any area. I really think that he needs a coach to teach him details and how to play a smarter brand of hockey. Some players need more guidance than others, and that is true among star players as well.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Steckel could have done better on that breakaway. That was a golden opportunity missed. Their goalie made a good save on Backstom's PP shot. That PP looked good. We only had what 2 PPs all game? The last one was when we two goals down and we went 6 on 4 on them.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME OBSERVATIONS:

First @tmac2yao - SPOT ON observation in regards to Ovechkin. He needs coaching up. He can't stick handle consistently. At times he makes me people look silly and other times more often than not recently - he's getting pokechecked or losing the puck. He does need plenty of tinkering to his game. If you can get the right teacher around him - he can only continue to get better and become even more special as a player.

As for the game tonight - you could see it coming with SJ's pressure. Why do the Caps sit back and let it come. They waited until they got behind to sustain an even harder forecheck again.

NEUVIRTH: For all the splendid goaltending he's provided tonight - that first goal was a leaky goal. Those kind of goals you can't give up. Sorry. In the playoffs goaltending CAN'T let you down like that. Again not faulting him on the loss - just saying in a tight game you've got to keep that out. Second goal - he had no chance.

PREVIOUS POSTERS: Alot of you have made a great point. This team can contend in the playoffs but with the current roster makeup - they are younger than last year I believe. They won't get past the first round. There are still holes McPhee must address. If by a miracle this team made it to the Cup Finals - any western team would take it to them as of right now. Can things change between now and then - of course. Only time will tell.

SAN JOSE: Let's not forget San Jose's been on a terror lately too. The Caps faced a hot team tonight. Hats off to Niemi. That early save on Backstrom in the 1st - if that goes in - maybe we see a different outcome tonight. Niemi shut Boston out the other night. San Jose being on a roll was a factor tonight. Give them credit.

We'll see how the Caps fare against another western team on Saturday.

Bring on the Kings.

ICE BREAKERS GOAL SHAKERS.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 8, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Ovie truly needs a mentor, a player he respected as young, to compare himself with and to coach him details, just as you said.

And I think he needs to change his sticks, he has such a huge curve on his blade that makes him misshandle the puck all the time. I've seen his sticks in the store, it's awfull!

Posted by: Walle | February 8, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget San Jose's been on a terror lately too.
--------------------------
I know, and that's why I'm so disappointed about the showing by the Caps tonight. They were denied and couldn't do squat about it.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME OBSERVATIONS:

So sorry,

No Western anything will be anywhere near the Cup.

Thanks for playing (and your miles and miles of meaningless drivel).

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 8, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@fakedude2,

Don't be so rude. Hey it rhymes, don't be so rude fakedude.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

You need to go up another level.

The Caps biggest problem is and has been McPhee. He's the one most responsible for the shortcomings of the coaches and the roster.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 8, 2011 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy that. This team is stocked with talent, with even more working its way through the farm system. A team coming off a year with multiple 20+ goal scorers entering their prime including Ovechkin, Green, Semin, and Backstrom should not have 8 shut outs on the year. It is a coaching problem, and as much as I like BB the fact of the matter is he's not the guy to right this ship.

If you read up on the Caps pretty much all the analyst agree, few teams can match them in terms of pure talent. That is not a front office problem. I mean what are we mad at? That we didn't trade away young prospects for Pronger, or an aging second line center? Or that we didn't trade Neuvy for Volkun, which would have been nothing more then a one year rental, not to mention the minimal returns we would have gotten on a guy like Volkun? What is it? What random moves are we not making to put us over the top?

Do you guys hate having the leagues top offensive defensman? 3 all star caliber forwards that can be considered top 10 if not top 5 in the league at their respective positions? Three quality young netminders under 23? The promising defensive pairing of Alzner and Carlson (both under the age of 23) that is already paying dividends? Theres many other guys I could name but the ones above should be more then enough. Either way if McPhee is a problem he's a good one to have.

Then again maybe we can be like the Redskins and trade draft picks and young players for aging vets and bloated contracts.

Posted by: Dirtbag359 | February 8, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

@fakedude2 - LOL nice post - real classy. Meaningless drivel - nice to see you added plenty of substance and meaningful drivel in your post as well. Don't like what I said - get over yourself and go elsewhere. You got a problem with something - let's talk. Otherwise. Shut up. :)

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 8, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

@Jonathan6,

I know you can look after yourself. Hope you don't mind me calling out rudeness when I see it.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 10:57 PM | Report abuse

The most funny part about the comments is people in part blaming Neuvirth for the loss, when they'd never blame Varly. If Varly was in net everyone would squarely be blaming the lack of offense and not mention the goals.

Were the goals bad yes. But there was no real effort in front of Neuvy tonight. So blame the 18 skaters in front of him. This game was all on them. They had a chance to show they can come out and be a hockey team that can produce a great effort consistently and they failed miserably at the chance that was in front of them.

That is the main problem with this team, they think they can flip on a switch. They do it when they want to and when they don't want to it shows in a negative way. The problem is in the playoffs you cant have the mentality of turning it on and off. And sadly this is yet another bad habit forming that will result in an early exit from the playoffs.


The rest of the season the Caps should break the season up into 7 game increments. Their goal should be to win the first 4 of those 7 every time. At least that way they are mentally preparing for the playoffs. Bust your butt and win the 4 games, then take some days off.

Posted by: ThePat | February 8, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan

A western team that will win the Cup?

Posted by: fakedude2 | February 8, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Do you guys hate having the leagues top offensive defensman? 3 all star caliber forwards that can be considered top 10 if not top 5 in the league at their respective positions? Three quality young netminders under 23?
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dude, this ain't no beauty contest. At some point they gotta start producing and get BEYOND the first couple rounds in the playoffs.

Just exactly how long are you willing to wait???

Posted by: joek443 | February 8, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan

A western team that will win the Cup?

---------------------
I'm not talking about that (I'm efering to your meaningless drivel comment). Now, get off it.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@FloridaCapsFan - appreciate it. It's just a lack of class that's alll. I mean if you disagree with something I said - say so. Don't attack me calling what I said drivel. It's all just facts and opinion.

@fakedude2 - An Eastern team that will win the Cup? Vancouver and San Jose are two I think that have a great shot at winning if you look at things right now. But between now and the start of the playoffs - whose to say things can't change? Same with the East.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | February 8, 2011 11:02 PM | Report abuse

The rest of the season the Caps should break the season up into 7 game increments. Their goal should be to win the first 4 of those 7 every time. At least that way they are mentally preparing for the playoffs. Bust your butt and win the 4 games, then take some days off.
-----------------------
I like this idea, it's creative. Sadly however, I'm beginning to think they don't have what it takes this year.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | February 8, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

@FlaCapsFan

I dont think they have what it takes this year either. But they got to play out the season still.

And either Laich or Semin will be traded before the deadline. Count on it.

Posted by: ThePat | February 8, 2011 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Tonight's game was the 8th time this year the Caps were shut-out. That is horrible - draft lottery bad.

Posted by: zmega | February 8, 2011 11:09 PM | Report abuse

It is pointless to blame your goalie when you get SHUT OUT.

However it's fair to point out that the first goal was a softy even if Neuvy had a good game overall. Bob Mason made a ton of great saves against the Islanders in that Game 7, mostly in the OTs. However it's also fair to point out that the game should never have gone to OT in the first place because the tying goal by the Islanders was a softy.

Posted by: joek443 | February 8, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Bring in a coach that is used to coaching more toward the defense-first end of the spectrum. Maybe that coach will be able to tweak how we approach creating offense within a defensive structure?

Posted by: tmac2yao

I have just the guy for you - Glenn Hanlon.

Posted by: zmega | February 8, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

offense on this team is tied to 3 very soft euros (now that ov has crossed over)
that spell trouble...we got rid of fererov the babysitter too soon

Posted by: wendel2 | February 8, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

@dirtbag

Have you been watching the playoffs ?

Don't care that guys like Fehr are first rounders- he doesn't produce with the blood starts flying.

Semin - zippo against the sickly lookin' Slovak net minder

Ovi has had chances to end play off series, and has failed big time. Looks strangely out of sync.

Green is talented, but a "playoff no show"

Poti and Schultz - tough enough to hoist the big ugly - doubt it !

Laich and Charmin - hands of concrete - both of them

BB - badly out coached by a journeyman NHL coach, but "an NHL level" coach indeed

Knuble - OLD. Flyers are too savvy to shed guys that may Hoist.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 8, 2011 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope in his "gamer" Boudreau didn't blame the "hot goalie" again.

After all, Sharks had twice as many shots.

Poor Baby Bird (Neuvy) was great. Even Sloan wasn't bad.

Did the Caps cycle the puck at all? I'd say we got a 30-minute effort tonight.

No offensive zone pressure. None. Out of say 60 shifts, maybe we put a medium amount of offensive pressure on 10-15 shifts.

On one play, Ovi was wide open in front of the net...and WHIFFED!

Katie: Where's the investigation into WHIFFGATE? How come he can't stickhandle anymore? Why can't he take the simplest of shots without whiffing?

WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS WRONG WITH OVECHKIN? CAN WE GET A REPORTER HERE WHO CAN DO A STORY AND NOT JUST GET QUOTES LIKE "WE GOTTA GO TO THE NET?"

And where's the story on McPhee storming out of the locker room last week?

WE'VE GOT WHIFFGATE AND STORMGATE AND ALL WE GET IS PANSIES AND FLUFF.

It's no wonder this team will never win. It isn't a hockey town. Even the reporters don't take the sport seriously. Instead of in-depth reporting, we'll probably get a story tomorrow on Alzner's playoff beard or Neuvirth's favorite Czech food.

Or, hey, maybe a story on how Belanger's kids are doing in Phoenix schools.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 11:45 PM | Report abuse

WaPo Reporter: So, what can you say about the game last night?

Caps Player: We, ahh, didn't play Caps hockey. We didn't play a full 60 minutes and din't go to the net.

WaPo Reporter: So, what will you do differently for the Kings?

Caps Player: Well, ahh, for sure, we need to go to the net and play a full 60 minutes. For sure.

WaPo Reporter: Thanks.

(Hint, hint: Question about Ovi whiffing...question about not cycling...question about McPhee storming out of the dressing room...)

Two steps forward, one giant step back.

Maybe we should hire Neil Armstrong for coach.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 8, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

caps have 6 days to figure out the offense. i want 6 goals and some chicken wings.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | February 9, 2011 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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