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Posted at 2:21 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

After loss to San Jose, Caps searching for a spark

By Katie Carrera

In the time between their win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday and the start of their game against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night, the Capitals talked about habits and patterns. Win three in a row and it would be a more definite sign of progress in developing the good habits that have been a concern all season.

For the most part, the energy, emotion and dedication to the plan that the Capitals had in the previous two games wasn't there against the Sharks. That's why the players said they couldn't take anything from their 2-0 loss to San Jose except an anger at themselves.

The next home game, Saturday afternoon against Los Angeles, and the contests on the upcoming road trip are all important games for the Capitals. With the exception of one contest against the Penguins on Feb. 21, though, there won't necessarily be an inherent button they can push to create that intensity -- they must find a way to do it on their own.

"We've got to find a way to come out with energy," defenseman Scott Hannan said Tuesday night. "You're going to have those games during the year where you have good games against big rivalries, and then you're going to have a game where a team comes in here from the Western Conference where we've got to find a way to find that energy get into it."

There's still plenty of hockey to be played in the regular season, but the next six games will be an important test for the Capitals, whose main challenge, as Coach Bruce Boudreau said after Tuesday's game, is consistency.

Before the Sharks game, winger Mike Knuble offered his take on where the Capitals' motivation must come from when they can't face the Penguins or Lightning on a nightly basis.

"The spark is where you've got to finish in the standings," Knuble said. "We've got to make some ground up and catch some teams. We still have a chance to catch Tampa. It doesn't matter who we're playing, we want to improve on what we can do and play better and keep the good momentum going.

"For us we've got to keep focusing on habits," he continued. "If you're going to do something that's going to be important down the line, you've got to do it every night, get used to it every night. And later on this season, you have to do it all the time; not throw it together every once in awhile -- all the time. They're valuable points, no matter who we're playing."

By Katie Carrera  | February 9, 2011; 2:21 PM ET
Categories:  Mike Knuble, Scott Hannan  
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Next: Statistical analysis: Are more shutouts ahead for Capitals?

Comments

Seems the only spark is going to come from a big trade for a second line center. Or maybe from the guys who get paid well to score goals start doing their jobs.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Brian Huddle via twitter: The Fan 590 just said that the Maple Leafs will be announcing a 2nd deal at Brian Burke’s 4:30 press conference.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon

Maybe Kaberle? Not to the Caps, but just in a deal.

There really isn't anyone(who is tradeable) on Toronto who could do much for the Caps, unless it was a 3-way deal.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Could be Kaberle but my guess is they wont deal 2 Dmen the same day and hold out on Kaberle to drive up the price.

In terms of Leafs that I'd want on the Caps, the only guy is Versteeg. I'd take him in a heartbeat.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The spark they need is in a new coach. Otherwise, sparks aren't comin.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 9, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kaberle to Boston? Or Monster to NYI? Who knows.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

disagree. A spark or an awakening would come when they see a player they didnt expect to get dealt traded. For example: Laich.

BTW you hearing the same thing, Caps arent looking to deal until they return from road trip?

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

you want a spark? fire the coach and strip ov of the "C" - neither deserve the job right now.

Posted by: dingram3 | February 9, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Versteeg and Colby Armstrong are two players I'd take from the leafs.

Posted by: Fletch22 | February 9, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Could be Kaberle but my guess is they wont deal 2 Dmen the same day and hold out on Kaberle to drive up the price.

In terms of Leafs that I'd want on the Caps, the only guy is Versteeg. I'd take him in a heartbeat.

Posted by: ThePat

Good point, doubtful they will trade a 2nd D-man on the same day, especially when they are still holding out hope of making the postseason.

Versteeg could be a possibility, he would be a nice add. I have no idea who the Maple Leafs would want for him.

It wouldn't suprise me to see a Giguere getting traded, and maybe even to the NYI. I know the Islanders have no chance of making the playoffs but they need some sort of competent goaltending for the rest of the season, and Giguerre won't cost too much real money as he is at the end of his contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Malkin done for 6 months if heis lucky

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=6105360

Posted by: bqts | February 9, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

My guess is the monster to the Islanders. Jonas was pulled from the ice this morning when he was playing for the Marlies.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

There's no mystery why Caps failed to put any offensive pressure last night. The goals scored against Tampa and Pitt included deflections, rebounds and cycling.

Most goals in hockey I think are scored thusly. Neil Greenberg put stats some months ago detaileding how Caps shots were mostly low percentage (from the point).

Was there any cycling at all last night? Did anyone put any presense in front of the net?

Laich scored in the previous two games and both were from hard work and rebounds in front of the crease. Where was that last night? And backie scored a big goal Sunday on a rebound. Did the caps get any SOG from rebounds last night?

It's like anything else in life, if you don't even try you can't succeed.

The best player last night was Neuvirth. People forget back in Oct the Caps played ordinary hockey but came out of the gate at like 16-4. It was Baby Bird (Neuvy) who was a big part of that. Yes, his rebound control has been better, but he made some top saves last night. He has a 1.00 GAA the last two games. You can't expect better than that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@ dingram3 "you want a spark? fire the coach and strip ov of the "C" - neither deserve the job right now."

Agree totally...but sadly neither will happen...BB is a good AHL level coach...OV a great leader on the ice but I'm not sure he is the man to inspire others in the locker rooom. BB certainly falls way short in this area IMHO.

Posted by: capper3 | February 9, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Guy from Toronto Sun says the other deal is expected to involve goalie Jonas Gustavsson.

Posted by: mjw4m | February 9, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

not sure if it's been mentioned but LEAFS TRADE BEAUCHEMIN TO DUCKS FOR LUPUL, GARDINER, DRAFT PICK

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=353098

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 9, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Giggy has a NTC. Doubt he waives it to go to the Isles.

@underpants

you might be right, but I think they'd prefer to let their younger guys play unless they get a proven vet back. But Garth Snow isnt very bright.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

strip ov of the "C" - neither deserve the job right now.

Posted by: dingram3

Stripping the face of your franchise and best player of the C with less than 30 games remaining in the season would likely just fracture the locker room and management into small groups and cause more losing.

It would be a BS move that would carry very little positive substance(anyone is allowed to talk and give speeches in the locker room or on the ice) and plenty of negative(I'm guessing every player would hate the organization for doing that and would not trust them in the future).

Stripping the C that is something that is done in the offseason, not during the season.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Good coaches and team leaders know how to make every player passionate about executing the details, being committed to making good decisions on and off the puck in all 3 zones and doing everything as a team, offensively and defensively.

We are not a team that executes anything particularly well. If anything our defensemen and a few forwards are the only ones that try to play the right way consistently.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I also wouldnt be surprised if that 2nd trade was just made up by Toronto media to keep people guessing all day long. And that nothing is going to happen.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Giggy has a NTC. Doubt he waives it to go to the Isles.

Posted by: ThePat

Good point, didn't know that.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Monster was pulled off the ice last night due to "elevated heart rate." Snow is desperate for a goalie since he is starting the hot dog vendor from down the street. Makes sense for both. How bad is that DiPietro contract looking - what fragile dumb a@@!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

And Darren Dregger just confirmed my guess, no other trade to announce today for the Leafs.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3 & ThePat

I did read last week, maybe the week before on ESPN that Giggy had said he was willing to wave his NTC if that was what Ron Wilson and Brian Burke asked of him. I can't find the article but I know I read it.

Posted by: bqts | February 9, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

@bqts

I know he'd waive it. But not to go to the Islanders, that was my point.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey BB: get your team to score some goals, that way you don't have to blame Neuvirth!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 9, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Pierre LeBrun via twitter: The Leafs are working on another deal, not clear if they can pull it off.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

If GMGM does anything, it looks like it'll be another wait until the last minute and we'll take what we can get situations. Be proactive for a change!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 9, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

after the Beauchemin trade, Versteeg is definitely the best player available to go after on the team. I got a feelin he'll end up with the Pens or Flyers.

All depends on who Brian Burke wants in return and what each team has to offer up in terms of youth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon

they are working on multiple deals apparently. Including a 3 team trade and that is the one they wanted to announce today as well, but due to complications or it falling through they arent.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Set up a trade package that centers around sending either Semin or Ovechkin out for a top flight center. The teams involved can throw in whatever filler is needed (smaller contracts, picks, etc...) to make the deal work for all parties.

Whichever wing is left (likely 8) along with Backstrom and the incoming center make up our core forwards. Every other forward is highly expendable to address smaller needs. Having 2 elite centers and Ovechkin or Semin gets us closer to building up the middle with talent as opposed to horizontally. We have too much money invested in two wings right now, even if Semin is only on a 1-year deal. Let's move him and get some value out of it.

On defense, Green, Carlson and Alzner are presently our core players. Everybody else is highly expendable if they can be moved, similar to the case with the forwards mentioned above. Not sure anybody would want Poti though so we may be stuck with him. Thanks, McPhee!

Over the next couple of years, we'll need to decide on which goalie is the keeper. That guy will be part of the core. In the meantime, if we need to trade one of them, that could be a risk worth taking depending on what is coming back.

To sum up the core:

Backstrom
Incoming elite center (along the lines of a Spezza)
Ovechkin or Semin (not both)
Green
Carlson
Alzner
Varlamov or Neuvirth (not both)

To move any of those core players, we would have to be getting something excellent in return. Otherwise, we build around them with the right set of complimentary players to create a balanced roster. Ideally, a new GM will be making those decisions. If not, cross your fingers.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/news/story?id=6105446

Above from ESPN states that the Isles starting goalie last night dilocated kneecap and is out.

All of you posting that they will make a deal, I think you're correct.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 9, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin for Spezza. Yeah, that is brilliant.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Not sure anybody would want Poti though so we may be stuck with him. Thanks, McPhee!
------------

nonsense! Locking up Poti like we did makes him soo much more attractive to other teams so they can now trade for him and not worry about him hitting the open market where he would no doubt incite a bidding war!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If you moved Ovechkin, you would do something like sending him to Montreal for Cammalleri, Subban, Moen and 2 #1s. Ovechkin could make a huge splash in Montreal.

Then you would package the 2 #1s and a prospect for a top center.

I'm not saying to trade him, of course not, it would just be something like that. Or maybe to Edm for Penner, the new kid and a #1 (which would be a very high #1).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1

I like that. I hereby appoint you the new GM of the Caps.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

No doubt that Carlson is playing at the top of his game recently. If you could bottle that effort he gave against the Pens, that was just brilliant. He was aggressive offensively without being stupid, he hustled back on D, he rocked bodies along the boards, he got in the face of a couple of Pens.

Marked difference from how Sarge and Alzner played in that game. They woke up for a shift or two in the 3rd but overall they played that game like it was a ho-hum affair. And Sarge's response to the hit on Ovy was for him, not bad, but in general terms it was laughable. It took Backstrom to come in and make things a little ugly. I was hoping Erskine would do something at the end of the game, nothing suspension-worthy but just something to send a msg.

Also, Chimera's effort v Pitt was evidence of how much (or how little) he's willing to get his nose dirty. He passed up numerous chances to throw some hits. He finally got a little upset when he got roughed up by Michalek of all people. But didn't really do anything about it. He's not even at Chris Clark's level of grit. You really need a mature hardnosed RW on that line. Knuble and Chimera are limited in what they are able or willing to do.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1 -Not until he's healthy!!!

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 9, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1

I like that. I hereby appoint you the new GM of the Caps.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1

I like that. I hereby appoint you the new GM of the Caps.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 4:20 PM

Do I have to wear a scarf?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Our needs:

1. 1st line RW
2. 2nd line Center

McPhee - pull your head out of your a$$ and go get them.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Our needs:

1. 1st line RW
2. 2nd line Center

McPhee - pull your head out of your a$$ and go get them.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Good coaches and team leaders know how to make every player passionate..."

Exactly! They should be able to show up with a sense of urgency and have a consistent effort especially this time of the year. And they should have to look no further than inside the room.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 9, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20110209_Flyers__Shelley_lays_out_five_rules_of_fighting.html?viewAll=y&c=y

This article from the Flyers' Shelley is a pretty good read on the rules of hockey fighting.

Posted by: nicety251 | February 9, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"Then you would package the 2 #1s and a prospect for a top center."

What team is giving up a top line center for two #1s?

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Our needs:

1. 1st line RW
2. 2nd line Center

McPhee - pull your head out of your a$$ and go get them.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 4:26 PM

I'd add in that we're still missing at least 1 top 4 d-man. Despite what McPhee says, our defense is not complete.

I'd say that getting that coveted 2C is more important than a first line wing.

Additionally, we need to tweak a couple of things on the lower forward lines. Those changes wouldn't necessarily need to be upgrades but rather lateral moves to bring in the types of players that we are missing to better balance our roster. I think we need a couple of grittier types on those lines that have higher innate compete levels. We're still far too soft, mentally and physically. Moving Fleischmann for Hannan only helped marginally in that area. I don't care what kind of points Fleisch was putting up before the health problems, he was exactly what we didn't need on this group of softies. Move Schultz and Poti, if possible. Move Steckel or Gordon or both as well as Chimera to add some of the traits missing from this team.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

At this point, I havent seen enough evidence that one or two players will make a difference on the Caps making a dent if the Caps make the playoffs.

They need to make some attitude and strategy adjustments. The coaching staff needs to put together a plan, then hold mandatory practices.

Also, I think the Caps need to bring in an A-hole to be an additional assistant. Someone the players will hate and BB can use that person to crack down on them. Someone who will be the bad cop. Bruce is too well liked and the Caps have gotten too comfortable with him.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the fence about Laich. I certainly think he's expendable but I don't know whether we need to be quite as eager to dump him as some of the other names listed above.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

FACT: Chimera is not a first line RW.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 9, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Laich is having an off year like most Caps. He is a good leader, and great character guy and I consider him a keeper.

Varly, Nuevy, Poti, Gordon, and Semin have chronic health issues and I wonder how many of the above will be with the Caps if they progress to the playoffs. I think they should find out if Federov is free from his KLH committment, and get him here as a personal coach, mentor, psychiatrist for Semin.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Also, I think the Caps need to bring in an A-hole to be an additional assistant. Someone the players will hate and BB can use that person to crack down on them. Someone who will be the bad cop. Bruce is too well liked and the Caps have gotten too comfortable with him.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 4:46 PM

Interesting idea. I think that would be useful. Even from the outside, you get the sense that this group is just a little to happy go lucky, regardless of whether they're winning or losing. It seems like they need a little more structure and fear in their bellies to create more of a constant sense of urgency. It's good to have chemistry and some fun but you don't want things too comfortable, either. I imagine the culture and atmosphere within certain other winning organizations is quite a bit different. I'd be interested in hearing the candid opinions of some former Caps that recently ended up on other teams (Clark, Morrisonn, Morrison, Johnson, etc...). I'd like to know what differences they noticed in their new organizations compared to the Boudreau-era Caps.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

why is it that the top ten hockey rumor sites mention zilch nada about the caps...are we really going to watch other teams get better while we sit idle or is gmgm just going to get it done quietly?

Posted by: ovckn8 | February 9, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

When you see various players not being held accountable for certain things on the ice, it has to make you question the entire culture of the team which in large part is created by the coaches and management.

Whether it's a skill player not being consistently committed to the defensive side of things or a player not finishing his checks or making only a half-assed effort on the forecheck or backcheck or along the boards, you just get the sense that players are too comfortable and lack a certain sense of urgency because they are able to get away with things.

Having fun should only come when everybody is putting everything into the game on a daily basis and consistently playing with a sense of urgency with attention to detail.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

are we really going to watch other teams get better while we sit idle or is gmgm just going to get it done quietly?

Posted by: ovckn8 | February 9, 2011 4:56 PM

You must've missed the memo, bro. We're going to be "good for a decade!" We're destined to be a dynasty even though it's the hard cap era and it's nearly impossible to stay on top for long. Other GMs know that you have to seize the moment in your window of opportunity. Ask the Bowmans or Shero. GMGM has his own conservative philosophy and Uncle Ted supports it. Expect us to be above average for several years but never quite good enough.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with some other posters. Are a couple additions going to change the team dynamic? Doubtful.
Can we trade BB instead? Has the Rotund One ever taken any blame for anything?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 9, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

plse tell me your joking and the the dustin pinner deal is moments away from being announced!

Posted by: ovckn8 | February 9, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The reason I'm on the fence about Laich has less to do with his game as it does his attitude. Whether or not Ovechkin was captain, you get the sense that he's a dominant personality and people follow his lead (even perhaps the coaches and GM to an extent). And since he seems to be a goofball more often than not, we need as many of the Laich types as possible to counter that. I think Ovechkin rubs off on his teammates in both a good way and a bad way. It's the bad stuff that I think may be a problem in terms of how it affects the team's mentality.

If Laich were consistently more gritty on the ice, I'd say that he'd be a no doubt keeper. As is, it's his positive attitude and approach to the game that is most important.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Between Steckel, Semin, and Sarge please provide your rankings of them with regards to fighting ability.

I'm going with Steckel #1 (sad i know), Semin #2 (the hammer fist!), and Sarge a distant 3rd.

Gordo doesn't even compute.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Are a couple additions going to change the team dynamic? Doubtful
----------

4 additions with the right subtractions would do it. 3 upfront, 1 on D. Of the 3 upfront, 2 would be on the bottom 6 forwards, 1 would be on the 2nd line. Frankly I don't mind having MaJo as the 2nd line center but not with Semin.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

and dumpin Beagle from the lineup=big mistake.

Its not often you see true chemistry on a Caps line. And the only line which had it - Hendricks-Majo-Beags - gets broken up.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Ranking the low end fighters on the Caps:

Steckle, sexy Sorensen, My X girl friend, Semin, and finally Sarge.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin to the Canadiens? No way.

I would only trade Ovechkin to the Islanders, or the Oilers.

I'd say devils only because they like long term high dollar russians...

No way to do I deal Ovechkin or Semin to a team we will see in the playoffs before the cup...

But, if this is what we are looking forward to for the next 8 years, we are no better off than the Islanders...except our long contracted player is actually playing!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 9, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I will say this.

It was nice to see 2 good efforts in a row.

Not often you say that as a Caps fan. Tampa's not hard to play against but we did do it on the road. And we did a good job v the Pens grit-wise. Orpik was pretty invisible for em in that game. And I thought for sure Engelland was going to start roughin folks up in that last scrum. He ended up with Sarge as his dance partner though. Sarge must've soiled himself when he saw who he was paired up with. He tried to avoid eye contact, teehee!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

Did you see this clip from earlier in the season?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUPfen0iIp0

Watch how your boy Steckel tries to challenge Buff half-heartedly before getting shoved away.

Chim chiminey skates in at the end but doesn't get near Buff. Only after the scrum starts do he and others come in late.

Sadly, Steckel is above average in terms of toughness on this team.

Even more sad, Sidney Crosby would be well above average in toughness on the Caps yet people continue to take shots at him challenging his manhood.

If he's soft and a girl, then what does that make about half of our roster?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Ranking the low end fighters on the Caps:

Steckle, sexy Sorensen, My X girl friend, Semin, and finally Sarge.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I watched a "Coach's Corner" episode from last year after the Savard hit. There was a video of Matt Cooke dirty hits that could have been a Sports Center Top 10 spot. He really does hit with the intent to injure and, unfortunately, is occasionally successful. Let us take this one step further- there is something really mentally wrong with Matt Cooke. You can call it criminal, evil, or psychopathic but there is something wrong with that man. It is one thing to be tough, an enforcer, an agitator, a hard checker, etc which is all part of hockey but to repeatedly and maliciously try to seriously injure somebody is really pathological. If the league doesn't do something, and both Super Mario and Disco Dan continue to make excuses for him (Dan's excuses for the hit and Ovie's knee on knee episode are nauseating)than his carnage will continue OR there will be vigilante justice on the ice, neither of which is right.

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 9, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

@tominMUDSLIDEcali

I know that the WaPo reporters love to nonreport (I know first hand from the Pres. Campaign omissions). But, seriously, nothing on GMGM stormin' out? Nothing on Ovi constantly whiffing on his shots, and falling over his feet ? Where is Backy when Ovi seems to attract both D every other rush ?

What gives ? Ovi isn't right ? GMGM better be on the phone about some changes! BB, blames our goalie, when we fired 4 shots in the 2nd on a guy that just Hoisted the Big Ugly. By the way, where was Laich ? No hard work, equals no shots.

BB, stop blowin' smoke up our bomb bay doors. That effort was piss poor. Throwin' the kid under the bus is a weak man's way of distracting us from the truth.

Neil Armstrong for coach ! At least he was a "man on a mission". BB isn't a man on a mission. He's just surviving day to day. This was supposed to be the "stay angry"
team on a mission to redeem itself year.

More and more like the Skins. Just a bunch of paycheck collectors (I'm really disappointed Backy !)

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | February 9, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

After almost 3 years on the job, you can see the first signs that the Caps may not be responding to Boudreau as they have in the past.

He certainly came in after Thanksgiving in 2008 and rallied the team to perform better to win the division from the bottom up.

2009 and 2010 were 50 win seasons.

But it appears in 2011, that the Caps have reached a plateau and nothing he is doing is having the effect of bringing out the consistency night in and night out that will be required for this team to finish well in the standings.

Part of it could be on-ice leadership.

Ovechkin has adapted his game, become less selfish with the puck at times and taken on a greater role in getting back on defense.

But it's the emotional component of leadership that Ovechkin doesn't seem to tap into with his teammates.

These guys don't come out flying very often and you have to wonder with a Chris Pronger or Henrik Zetterberg on the team as captain whether the Caps would be held more accountable for their performances.

It's an open issue. Like the Penguins in 2009, this team has too much talent to just sit there behind Tampa in the standings and perhaps fall to the #6 spot in the playoff race.

Pittsburgh fired their coach and caught fire. It was not only a new face but a new voice.

Sometimes that is what is needed.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 9, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Matt Cooke is just one of MANY MANY hockey players who plays over the line. Unfortunately for him, he gets more attention because the kind of hockey he plays is less and less prevalent so he stands out more. But the Caps had a guy named Lou Franceschetti whose sole purpose on the ice was to hit other players as violently as he could. And when he didn't line em up right, he'd stick out his leg.

Matt Cooke is only an aberration in recent hockey. If he played even 15 yrs ago he'd be one of a dozen or more guys who played his style of hockey. From the Brian Marchments to the Dale Hunters and everyone inbetween.

Lost in all that is the fact that Cooke (despite having a weak game vs the Caps) is actually a good hockey player.

And he's not even the most tenacious hockey player on the Pens. That honor goes to Chris Kunitz. He never takes a game off. And his forechecks into our zone gave us all kinds of trouble.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Tell Ovechkin to stop acting like a clutz and stop diving trying to draw a penalty every time he is checked or take the C off his sweater. He doesn't score on the power play anyway.

Posted by: dull | February 9, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Tell me who you think would win each of the following brawls?

Crosby vs Schultz?

Crosby vs B. Gordon?

Crosby vs Steckel?

Crosby vs Chimera?

Crosby vs Backstrom?

Crosby vs Semin?

Crosby vs Johansson?

Crosby vs Perreault?

Crosby vs Green?

Crosby vs Alzner?

Crosby vs Laich?

Crosby vs Fleischmann (he was part of GMGM's roster for a while)?

There are maybe 1 or 2 of those where I think it would be close or a Cap would win.


Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, throw in Crosby vs Ovechkin.

A few years ago, I'd have said Ovechkin for sure but Crosby's filled out and gotten noticeably stronger each season.

And after watching Ovechkin go with Dubinsky, it's pretty clear why Ovechkin avoids fighting... and it wasn't just to protect his valuable hands.

With the hands of stone he's displayed lately, you'd think he'd be a better fighter... heh.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Caps have the spark in the press box. BB only thinks sparks are what light up his stovetop. Worthless.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 9, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

dchesnokov Dmitry Chesnokov
#Caps prospect Kuznetsov: "I"m not ready for the NHL. I don't want to play 5-7 mins on 3rd or 4th lines, especially go to the AHL. To play in the NHL, then 15-20 mins on the 1- 2 line...I am going to extend my K w/Traktor in the near future & we'll see"

I think this is a pretty good sign that he will not be here next year. With how often BB changes lines there is no way the team will bring him over and have him sour on the team if he plays on a third line. Sounds like we will be waiting one more year for him.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 9, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd move Holtby in a heartbeat, he's looked horrendous at times - never a good sign - but especially on breakaways, which is a tell of slow feet / poor lateral movement. That is lethal at the NHL level, for a goalie.

Holtby's stock will never be higher than it is right now - bank on it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 9, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

As talented as Kuznetsov seems to be, he isn't even close to where he needs to be physically. I wouldn't even want him on the team next season. He needs at least 1 more season of physical maturity and hopefully the right workout regimen. The skill seems to be there. We'll see...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Rather package Kuz with Johanssen and get a 2nd line center. Fisher and a pick? I'll take it.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 9, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice how big the stick and hockey pads are on goalies these days. It is absurd. I watched some classic games ten years ago and the hockey pads on goalies seemed smaller. You know that every team in the NHL is cheating on the goalie gear. they should make the pads smaller, goal bigger and higher and move the goal crease up more. Stick smaller. Also no goalie allowed to leave the crease also. Eliminate offsides and make the rink bigger by at least six feet longer and six feet wider. The players are too big for the surface. While I like defensive play I really would like to see more scoring and less clutch and grab. It is interesting you can not even see the back of the net these days. Look at what the Caps scored in the 80's compared to this year. Not even close. Goal scoring seems down to me in the whole NHL.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Crosby vs Schultz? - Sid. Only hope Schultz has is by trying to use his reach to hold him off so Crosby swings at air.

Crosby vs B. Gordon? - Sid

Crosby vs Steckel? - tough one. I'm going with Sid unless Steckel pulls a Sarge

Crosby vs Chimera? - Sid

Crosby vs Backstrom? - Sid (but i love Backstrom)

Crosby vs Semin? - Sid

Crosby vs Johansson? - Sid

Crosby vs Perreault? - Sid

Crosby vs Green? - Green

Crosby vs Alzner? - Sid

Crosby vs Laich? - draw at best for Laich

Crosby vs Fleischmann - giggle

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd move Holtby in a heartbeat, he's looked horrendous at times
-----

nooo. Holtby's our grittiest goalie! :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I mean hockey is becoming more boring. I still love the game but there is a need to increase the ice surface and make it more exciting. Also the shootout system is silly. It is really anti clomatic. Kind of like a team getting a point for losing in overtime. If you lose in overtime you should not get a tie but a loss. Of course our Caps have more overtime losses than any other team in the NHL I think.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice how big the stick and hockey pads are on goalies these days
---------------------------------

The pads are twice as big and weigh half as much.

I have no idea why the NHL allow them.

Posted by: joek443 | February 9, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

As talented as Kuznetsov seems to be, he isn't even close to where he needs to be physically. I wouldn't even want him on the team next season. He needs at least 1 more season of physical maturity and hopefully the right workout regimen. The skill seems to be there. We'll see...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Kuznetsov has basically said this in interviews when asked about NHL. He plans to stay in KHL until his contract there ends because he wants to make sure his size improves and he can compete for a first line job...he thinks coming here and going on a 3rd line or AHL would be a step back because he is not ready....he is looking forward to Washington though.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 9, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I said it last night and I'll say it again.
I think we have too many holes in our roster to even bother giving up prospects or picks for rentalplayers.
Plan for next year and trade a contract for a contract, maybe even trade away some UFA's (Knuble could get us something, maybe even Bradley) to get us some picks to use as bait at the draft.

In a way it's also good that Laich is having an off year, I do want him back, but now he'll be cheaper since he doesn't play as well as last year.

Resigning Semin was OK in a trading purpose, i don't think many teams would take him without knowing if he'd resign or not. He could be a part of bringing us a #2C (Zajac, Fischer, Pavelski, Bergeron, Sharp, Vermette) or a gritty winger for our 1st line. (Backes, Brown, Ryan, Neal, Malone, Burrows etc.)

I'd also trade Holtby, maybe one of the other two as well. I'd rather have a veteran as a back-up, especially now when they wont be as cheap anymore.

Posted by: Walle | February 9, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

Did you see this clip from earlier in the season?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUPfen0iIp0

Watch how your boy Steckel tries to challenge Buff half-heartedly before getting shoved away.

Chim chiminey skates in at the end but doesn't get near Buff
----------------------------

yeah Chimera wanted nothing to do with Buff. He slowed down to let other Caps (i.e. Erskine) come in to do something.

Steckel at least tried even though you could tell he wanted nothing to do with it either. At least Steckel doesn't try to act tough. Chimera's your classic yapping wannabe tough guy who waits for other players or a ref to get between him and another guy. And once in a while he steps up like he did v Clarkson. If Chimera was our least grittiest player, that would be ok. But he's like top 6 or 7 on our team in that role. That's not good.

but the only players on our team who would have run in aggressively on Buff are Erskine, Hendricks and maybe Bradley. That's it. 3 guys.

Nothing against Carlson and Green but they're a notch below Erskine and Hendricks with regards to confrontations on the ice. I would like to think that if that play occurred today, that Carlson would do a better job of getting his nose in there. He has had a history of sticking up for his teammates. He did it in the rookie game. He did it with the Knights.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course our Caps have more overtime losses than any other team in the NHL I think.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:13 PM

Are you saying that we fold in the clutch? How dare you!

Just look at our track record in the playoffs!

Oh wait... weren't we the first team ever to lose Game 7s at home in 3 consecutive seasons. It was something like that.

Mentally and physically soft.

If it weren't for Fedorov fitting a puck through a key hole, we may have not even won a single playoff series up to this point.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

...up to this point since the rebuild began to be specific.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

lost in all this though is that despite a worse reg season record so far, the Caps are playing better in some of the core areas they've slacked off in in the past.

Team defense is better. Committment to finishing checks is slightly better. When you think about how 2 of our most physical dmen (Juice, ShaMo) have departed, overall our defensive grit hasn't gone down with the emergence of the 2 young kids and the rejuvenation of Green.

Its just not quite to the degree it needs to be. That's all. The GM needs to help this team get to that level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this type of deal can be done...but when Fedorov arrived (March 2008) he assumed instant leadership role on the team. Players were happy to see a legend walk in their room and that move gave the players the message that the mgmt was ready to produce a winner.

Aside from a player like that walking in again this March - I do not think any one deal will change this team markedly because it is all about chemistry right now.

Do you think Teemu Selanne will come over?

Can't think of another really....

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 9, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have a long history of facing some hot goalie, losing in overtime, losing to some miracle team that come froms behind, and lacking any sort of killer instinct. Boys and Girls I will be really surprised if this team ever even gets to the Cups finals. Nashville will get there before we do.

Joe

It is crazy about the pads. I mean you go and look at Broduear's numbers which seem like the best goals against and save percentage ever and there are at least ten goaltenders in the NHL near his Save percentage. Not his GAA. Of course we all know that The Devils had one of the greatest defensive teams ever in the NHL. Then you look at Parick Roy's gaa and save percentage and most goaltenders are close to some of his numbers. Now we know there are very few people in the NHL who are even close to ROY's or Marty's talent level. Just my opinion.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for Fedorov fitting a puck through a key hole, we may have not even won a single playoff series up to this point.

Posted by: tmac2yao

I did think we outplayed the Rags in that series. Mostly due to our defense - Juice/Mo/Erskine. Green was on the right path in that series but he hurt himself on a big hit he threw early in the series. He just crushed a Ranger in the corner, but he jacked up his shoulder or collarbone and then skated around gingerly for the rest of the playoffs. Kozlov really stepped up as well.

This year the Rangers have a similar grinding team but with better players. I'd love to play them in the 1st round. It would be a very very hard series on the Caps but it would also be a very good learning experience. The Rags D is a battering ram and their forwards choke up the ice with their cycling/grinding game. Callahan-Duby-Prust-Avery-Boyle. Poti better just call in sick for that series if it happened.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I vote for Cstanton to play goalie. With the big goalie pads you might be our saving grace.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with you.

I hear a lot of people whining about the lack of scoring and begging for us to go back to the high-risk, offense-first style of play. Stretch passes, forwards flying the zone early, half-assed backchecking and puck support, etc...

I agree that we need to up the scoring but not at the expense of the right things we've been doing over the past month and a half or so.

I keep saying it but it ain't easy to be good offensively and defensively. Only the best of the best reach that level, e.g., Chicago last season.

Creating offense within the structure of good defense (as opposed to sacrificing that structure) ain't easy. To become that kind of a team that can tilt the ice on a nightly basis takes a lot of things from the GM building a capable roster to coaches demanding and getting players to buy into the right things to players coming together on the ice and doing everything as a team.

I don't want us to open things back up. I want us to learn how to build out from a defense first philosophy. I'd rather us continue on this track and miss the playoffs altgother or lose early than try to go run 'n gun again.

The next step is McPhee bringing in the right coaches and players to help the team continue in this new and better direction. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen.

The best thing that could happen is finding a superior GM and letting him come in and evaluate everything top to bottom, left and right. Unfortunately, Ted seems to be in this delusional land of rainbows and unicorns so it's hard to see the necessary changes being made anytime soon.

Hey, at least we'll have had a 2-time MVP and a Pres. Trophy to show for the rebuild, right? That was the entire point of it, right?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

A eight or nine year rebuild. It has occured to me that The Pens were just as dreadful as the Caps. How long did their rebuild take? The Caps rebuild is like the Redskins 13 year rebuild.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

pkme: I don't think you need to do drastic things like change the size of the net. Just reduce the size of the goalie pads. You take a goalie now down in the butterfly and there's almost no space to shoot at. Ever see old clips of Sawchuk or Jacques Plante? Those pads were half the size and I think they were really heavy by end of game due to absorbing water.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

OVI makes 10 mil a year to score. What is the money per goal so far this year? He is too busy being a celebrity and enjoying life and the party.`I mean he should enjoy life but any one of us would enjoy having his God given talent. Most of us have sucky jobs and are paid very poorly compared to him and these other guys. I mean OVI makes in a one game what most do not make in a year.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

tmac: I've been saying it since the day after we lost to Montreal.

Too many snipers and not enough tanks don't make a balanced army.

We have one tank (Ovi) and some light artillery and the rest of them are snipers and support equipment.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Ovi makes like $115K per game.

First game of the year, and he is done with his FICA.

Actually it comes out to $1930 per minute of every game.

$32.18 per second.

If only 20,000 people would fill up an arena to watch me do a cost estimate...

"He adds! He subtracts! He scores!"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Tom

The NHL was talking about making the Pads smaller and goal a little bigger. Also there was talk about restricting movement of the goalie. I do not know what happened to these talks. On any given night every goalie in the league looks like Marty or Roy. It is just crazy. Also defenseman should not be allowed in the blue area either. They lay down never get called for delay of game. Also the refs blow the whistle so quickly these days. In a way I found the hockey much more entertaing in the 80's and part of 90's.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could make a couple million a year and still be "looking for a spark" to make me want to do my job better.

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

Tom,

I like the calculation. Howvever remember he only really plays on the ice surface about 18-22 minutes per game. He works a minute or minute and half and then gets a rest. I know there is practice and all of that jazz but remember OVI misses practices and shows up late. Also very rarely does he go to the optional skate. What a great leader.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The Caps rebuild is like the Redskins 13 year rebuild.

Posted by: pkme

Snyder says the Skins aren't doing a "rebuild" though. :)

Posted by: LloydChristmas | February 9, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Maybe The Caps need to stop thinking nad talking so much and just go and do it. I know they are required to talk to the media by contract but the excuses get to be really boring and tiresome.

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

LLoyd

You have a good point and you are correct. Fact is the Redskins were not that great before The Danny took over. The Redskins do not have many draft picks. You would need to have more draft picks to do a real rebuild. Sorry for The Redskin talk.

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

Nothing against Carlson and Green but they're a notch below Erskine and Hendricks with regards to confrontations on the ice. I would like to think that if that play occurred today, that Carlson would do a better job of getting his nose in there. He has had a history of sticking up for his teammates. He did it in the rookie game. He did it with the Knights.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 9, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

A notch below, as is singular? No way...try multiple notches below Erskine and Hendricks. Carlson has yet flex any kind of muscle in a confrontation, and I don't care what he did in juniors or rookie camp. Stevens and Lucic were beasts at 18, Carlson simply doesn't have it in him.

And speaking of Erskine, he just played his 50th game of the season last night and you know what?? That's how many games he played last year before being inexplicably benched in favor of Carlson, Corvo, and Sloan come crunch time and playoffs. Nearly everyone here agreed that Erskine was too slow, lacked skills, and basically spewed the same garbage about him that BB was putting out there.

I tried in vain to change peoples' opinion of #4 last year, but the transformation didn't come-about until this year, during Johnny's "breakout" season. So how do the two seasons compare? I'll let you decide how "awful" Erskine was last year:

Last year: 50gp 1g 5a 6pts +16 50shots 66pim 4fights

This year: 50gp 3g 7a 10pts +1 42shots 64pim 4fights

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

Didn't the Caps have some sort of t-shirts made at the start of the season? Something like "stay angry" or similar jargon. Haven't seen or heard of these in a while. I heard BB does where a Hadeed Carpet night shirt to bed however. You know GMGM must have pressed pajamas with an ascot. Tominsocal: I won't bring up the Dino jersey again, I got carried away with that the other day!

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

Vermont

I agree that Carlson is no Stevens. It is interesting because that was his childhood hero. That being said I think Carlson could be like a Lidstrom style defenseman which would not be a bad thing. Even at 70% of Lidstrom would still be a hall of fame defenseman.

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

Watch POTI will come back and they will bench Erskine. Makes sense. Works hard every night and the only defenseman who actually puts a little fear into opponents. Fact is Vermont Poti makes what 3 million a year. Erskine makes less.

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

pkme,

Just making a joke. :)

It does seem like the Skins should undergo a rebuild, but it would take a competent owner to commit to such an idea.

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

Llyod,

I caught the context.

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

Anyone who thinks we are going to trade Ovechkin is delusional. Semin is another matter. Firing BB is logical but I don't think is enough to fix this team.

Posted by: remy117 | February 9, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

This MTL-BOS got pretty whacky over the last 10 min. Goal after goal after goal... then a big brawl with most guys just half-assing it, esp. Price and Thomas. They were laughing seconds into it.

And yet another goal. That's about 6 or so in the last few minutes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This Boston vs Montreal game is absolutely crazy. 6 goals in the last 5 minutes. 11 guys in the penalty box.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Blackhawks just got Frolik from the Panthers for Skille. Not sure if other players or picks are involved.

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

Anyone who thinks we are going to trade Ovechkin is delusional.

Posted by: remy117 | February 9, 2011 8:40 PM

I'm pretty much the only one that suggests it but even I know it won't happen... not as long as he's a cash cow. It's irrelevant how he's playing as long as he's popular and drawing in fans.

And BOS scores again... this is silly.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Official deal: Hawks trade Jack Skille, Hugh Jessiman and David Pacan to Panthers for Michal Frolik and Alexander Fralak

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

I said a year or two ago that Lucic could be a 30-goal scorer and got scoffed at by somebody.

Well, he has 23 now and hasn't even played in every game this season.

He looks like a smarter, tougher and more effective player than Ovechkin right now. Not saying he's better but...

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Sharks and Devs in serious discussions but the deal appears to be small according to Dregger

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

After last night's game I am putting down the koolaid, and considering switching to arsenic.

I am not able to make gm suggestions, or to fully analyze players and plays, but hearing our team say that they didn't 'follow the plan' 'work hard enough' 'move their legs' etc. game after game is disgusting. As a Gabby defender I will add, he should never, never speak of, or maybe to, a goalie again. 2 years ago (after crushing Olie then Jose) he joked that he didn't ever talk to Varly. Let's go back to that, shall we, and not point out deficiencies in the play of the 22 year old who gave the team a chance that they didn't work hard enough to deserve for 51 stinking minutes.

ps- I am ready and willing to eat crow if the Caps can "turn it on" when it counts in April AND May and beyond

Posted by: bluejeener1 | February 9, 2011 9:06 PM | Report abuse

A eight or nine year rebuild. It has occured to me that The Pens were just as dreadful as the Caps. How long did their rebuild take? The Caps rebuild is like the Redskins 13 year rebuild.

--

pkme, you realize the Pens drafted top 5 for 5 years in a row, right? Whitney #5 in 02, Fleury #1 in 03, Malkin #2 in 04, Crosby #1 in 05, Staal #2 in 06.

Duh no wonder they won.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 9, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

kcbr: But you DID just mention again!

No tie-down straps, and we can just flip it over her head!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Fleury #1 in 03, Malkin #2 in 04, Crosby #1 in 05, Staal #2 in 06.

Duh no wonder they won.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 9, 2011 9:09 PM

That much I'll certainly agree with. I've brought this up a few times in the past in Caps vs Pens arguments.

More shocking than Top 5 for five straight years is Top 2 for 4 straight years.

Has that ever happened in any major sport?

Even if it has, it's obviously extremely rare.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I am turning in my koolaid for arsenic.
I am tired of hearing the players say the same things about 'not working hard enough' 'not playing as a team' etc.
I am tired of BB criticizing the goalie who gave the team more of a chance than they deserved.
I am willing to be humble if they turn it around in April and May and June....

Posted by: bluejeener1 | February 9, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I am turning in my koolaid for arsenic.
I am tired of hearing the players say the same things about 'not working hard enough' 'not playing as a team' etc.
I am tired of BB criticizing the goalie who gave the team more of a chance than they deserved.
I am willing to be humble if they turn it around in April and May and June....

Posted by: bluejeener1 | February 9, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

You want to know why goalie pads are bigger now? The goalies are bigger now. There were no such things as a 6'6" goalie back 10 years ago and now Nashville has two. I know they are the two tallest but most goalies are at or around 6'. That was not true 10-20 years ago. Also back then players were not shooting as hard as they are now with the high-tech sticks. Pads change as the game does. When players started curving sticks goalies started wearing masks. The biggest reason for the scoring being so much higher back then is that there was no goalie style. Half the time they would just lay on the ice and hope they got hit. Goalie are giving up less because they are better not because of the pads.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 9, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Still, what ultimately made the Pens successful was their GM's ability to surround those young stars with the right blend of role players.

That, once again, is where McPhee has continued to fail. He doesn't have the right vision or sense of how to build a balanced team. He, more than anything else, is the reason for our shortcomings.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:23 PM | Report abuse

A lot of moves were made today.

I'm surprised Bowman and the Hawks would trade for a soft Euro. That's not how you win championships, Bowman clearly has no idea what he is doing.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 9:25 PM | Report abuse

That much I'll certainly agree with. I've brought this up a few times in the past in Caps vs Pens arguments.

More shocking than Top 5 for five straight years is Top 2 for 4 straight years.

Has that ever happened in any major sport?

Even if it has, it's obviously extremely rare.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:20 PM

The Nordiques drafted #1 overall 3 straight years after drafting 2 top 5ers in 88: Leschyshyn #3, Dore #5, followed by Sundin in 89, Nolan in 90, Lindros in 91.

The Pens were crafted, there is no other way.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 9, 2011 9:28 PM | Report abuse

You want to know why goalie pads are bigger now? The goalies are bigger now. There were no such things as a 6'6" goalie back 10 years ago and now Nashville has two. I know they are the two tallest but most goalies are at or around 6'. That was not true 10-20 years ago
-------------------------------------

Ever heard of Ken Dryden, Mike Liut, Tom Barrasso or Ron Hextall?

They were goalies who were all 6'3 or taller.

Posted by: joek443 | February 9, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

sorry about double post

Posted by: bluejeener1 | February 9, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Dryden was 6'5 and I see that Mike Liut is listed at 6'2 but you get the idea.

Ever see their pads?

I've heard John Davidson who was another tall goalie in that time period say that the goalie pads now are twice the size but only weigh half as much.

Posted by: joek443 | February 9, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

lol... Canadiens getting beaten down left and right.

Campbell and Thornton just owned a couple of Habs.

Moen got the better of Ference though.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Lucic with 2 goals, an assist and 16 PIM.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

and he did all that in just over 13 min of ice time.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Heh... the refs just saved Pacioretty from getting beat down by McQuaid.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@tmac

that game was pretty awesome.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

tim,

I got what you are saying but the pads were absolutely smaller for say about sixty five years of hockey. Of course I know these guys are bigger now. All NHLers are bigger for the most part. I would like to compare the gear per square inch to two similiar size goalies from 1980 to 2010. The only thing I know is even larger goalies from the 80's and 90's I could see the netting when they stood in net. Now it is like a brick wall. The NHL should make the ice bigger, goals bigger, less cheating by goalie padding and make the game more free flowing. Goalies should not be allowed to leave their crease either. One of the best moves by the NHL was eliminating two line passing and it made the game more interesting. I like scoring and would like to see more of it. Since the guys are bigger, faster and stronger it would make sense to give them more room. Also eliminate the shootout and this one point nonesense for losing in OT.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

@tmac

that game was pretty awesome.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 10:00 PM

Yea, sucked to be either goalie though, esp. Price.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 9, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I guess Patrick Roy and Billie Smith did not have a style. They just sat back and watched things. Or Grant Fuhr was just a passive observer. Those guys were simply awesome and I would take any one of these guys over any goalie in the NHL currently save maybe Broduear and sometimes Ryan Miller.

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

Caps deficiencies start with the lack of a true 2nd line center, a puck moving defenseman beside Green, and a tough stay at home defenseman who can clear guys out in front. The move for Hannan was basically a replacement for ShaMO, not an improvement. The young players like Carlson, Alzner, Neuvirth, Varly, and Johannson have improved but no veteran leadership has been added since last season's playoff loss. We can blame Gabby, but the personnel issues are lie at the feet of McPhee.

GMGM needs to add some tough character guys who still have something left in the tank to help for the playoff run. The moves last season were for depth, not to improve. The Caps are a definite notch below both Boston and Philly talent-wise and not as playoff battle tested. If the Caps want to get out of the first round, a couple of significant trades need to be made.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 9, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Caps will end up with about 220 goals this year. The 1980's team could score better than this Capital team.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Caps offense is number 18th in the NHL currently.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to have adopted Boston as my second team, and what a game tonight! I only saw the highlights, and I wonder why I continue making the Caps my #1 tv priority and end up missing games like tonight because, unfortunately, I've got too many other things to tend to.....LIKE PREPARING FOR COSTA RICA FRIDAY! And cstanton, I'll do what I can to see that you catch wind of my exploits via the locals when you're there.

Anyway, who can't love how OTHER TEAMS compete in rivalry games? The bad-blood going into tonight boiled over in Boston, and man did Boston rough them Habs up! The Bruins made sure the Canadiens paid for their transgressions (previous game and Krejci fight) and that the fans got what they wanted...VENGEANCE AND SATISFACTION. Now that's entertainment!

And recently the Caps played a rivalry game with some ill-will going into it, too. Who didn't love how Steckel made Wallace regret challenging him, or how the Caps put Cooke in his place and sent a couple other stern messages, just for good measure, after his knee on the team's $100+million investment I mean captain?

I can't wait for the next Pens game. Who knows, if it's in late March maybe DJK will get to play.

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 9, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I really think the Bruins or Flyers will win the conference. I am being Captain Obvious with that opinion. Mcphee says we like the team the way we are. This will end up being the lowest scoring Capital team since the 1970's.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I went to the game last night....brutal. Another thing I noticed...the Sharks lines were pretty consistent the whole game. No constant line juggling like BB throughout the year...until he's in game 7 in the first round and we get the Semin/Backstrom/OV line double shifted the entire game.

I feel bad for Knuble - he's trying to scrape it together with Marcus Johannson and/or Perrault at center.

Regarding the defense- while someone pointed out Erskine's #'s are similar to last year, he just appears a bit more confident this year - maybe he was injured more last season?? John Carlson has been a slight let-down this year for me. He played extremely well in the play-offs last year, but this year he's solid - just not spectacular...which is what I was expecting.

I do not see this team going for the Cup this year. No second line center, defense is average and goaltending is decent but how is Varly going to manage 20+ consecutive games in the play-offs?? Answer - he isn't. Neuvirth is good, but can give up the odd softie and that doesn't win cups.

I'll eat crow as well, but as this team is constructed today - it's not happening.

Thanks Ted & GMGM - twelve year rebuild is looking great!!

Posted by: Jaymagz | February 9, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Was it just me or did anyone else conjure up images and memories of Luke Richardson/Marty McSorley when ****55 applied some vicious stickwork to Cooke's skateblade while responding to support a teammate who lay writhing on the ice after absorbing a questionable hit in our own building??

It's good to hear that there won't be any legal action or ramifications for ****55's on-ice antics. Who needs a spark when we've got that kind of attitude and swagger??

KINGS ARE GOING DOWN, GO CAPS!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 9, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Caps fans, do take pleasure in one thing. The Habs are more undermanned than the Caps in terms of "giving retribution". I hate saying it, but it's true.

However, I suggest that you don't cry wolf after someone gets smashed on an icing touchup, cuz that's what Marchand did to set off the first brawl.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | February 9, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

pkme: I have suggested this many times, the easiest way I've thought to "fix" hockey is simply to quit allowing the goalies to freeze the puck.

What other sport can you just stop the action for a faceoff type event?

What the puck freezing allows is for the weaker team to "even it out." What about boxing? Can the guy getting beat just call an end to the round anytime? No, three minutes is three minutes. But in hockey, your team is being outplayed, and the goalie just covers up. Your tired line gets to go to the bench and the flow of the game is stopped.

Maybe you just say the goalie can only freeze the puck if the attacking team shoots the puck into the crease. Instead we have goalies jumping out to cover up and covering up when opposing players really aren't close. Make the goalie slide the puck into the corner, something, to keep the action going.

In the end, the stronger team will score more goals.

Yes, goalies are bigger but the equipment is larger and much better quality. Goalies now have no fear due to high quality of masks.

Rules have been changed before in sports when one position becomes too strong. It happens all the time in football with pass interference rules. Basketball invented the 3-seconds in the paint and goaltending rules (not to mention Alcinder got dunking to be illegal for a short time). Baseball tinkered with the height of the mound.

The bottom line is scoring is at an all-time low or at least a 60-year low. Some tinkering might be needed.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 10, 2011 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I'm actually going to be the one who doesn't trash the team today. They really laid an egg last night but, I'm pretty pleased with the way they have played. The team is setting up well for the playoffs. However, I think the poor coaching will be the death of the Caps in the playoffs.
BTW, 30 did let up to soft goals.

Posted by: chriscaps | February 10, 2011 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Those who say - trade Ovi, just curious- are you serious? :-)

Posted by: Michael01a | February 10, 2011 5:36 AM | Report abuse

I think Ted should just move the team to Twisted nipple alabama for a fresh start or just blow the team up since everyone on it blows chunks and isnt worth the price of admission.Seriously I love this team and think they just need some motivational inspiration or something a new Gm but do something not just stand pat like they have basicly for the past 2 years. HELLO MCFLY!!!!!!!!

Posted by: koppleschloss | February 10, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Trading Ovie? These must be desparate times. Not B.L.. He's a heart and sould guy, and you do need chemsitry. I don't think you need subtractions. This isn't a bad team, and probably capable of more when they feel like it. Like so many others have mentioned, we need to get that 2C and soon. Also another big forward with net presence. No, I don't know who to give up, but whatever we do it better be soon. Looks like everyone else is pulling the trigger.

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 10, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I love hockey, but don't pretend to be hockey smart. The Caps have learned how to play defense, and it has and will help, but why can't they use their offensive style from last year to try and get a lead, maybe even pad it, and then go to a shut down defense afterwards. It seems like they have changed identiy entirely instead of using what they already knew how to do. Why can't they use the great O from last year, and the good D from this year together?

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 10, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

This paper routinely has some of the dumbest hockey fans youll find anywhere posting ridiculous thoughts. Let me ask the in house idiots a couple of Qs...first off on the issue of firing BB...who happens to be the winningest coach in the league over the last 3+ yers...exactly how many Cups have the Sharks and Canucks won in the last 4 years?....those being two teams out West that are consistent Pre cup contenders?...Ill tell you, the same # as the Caps ZEEEEERO...should they be fired as well?....On the even more moronic issue of trading OV...name one team that traded a once in a decade player in his prime, i.e Gretzky, Mario and turned around and won the Cup within the next 5, 6, 7 8 years after the trade?.....yes let's trade arguable the best player in the league in his prime rather than build around him....this town had idiots as hockey fans when it was a perennial doormat for teams like the Pens and Flyers and Isles, and now that we're good we still have those same idiots now thinking they're all armchair GMs....

Posted by: opticlguy | February 10, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree trading Ovi sounds silly and off the mark. However if the Flyers would be willing to give us Jeff Carter and Mike Richards I would probably do that trade. Or if you give us Jonathan Towes and Patrick Sharp I might do that trade. Nobody is untradeable as it all depends on cost. However all of that being said there are about a dozen players in the NHL their respective teams would never trade unless it was an ubelievable offer. OVI generates too many ratings, cash and Ted would never do it in a million years. Just like Mario would never trade Crosby. It will never happen. Somebody said our defense is average. I disagree. The defense is one of the few bright spots. The Caps offense is below average not the defense. Carlson is still very young and has a lot of upside and I think he has looked pretty good all season.

Posted by: pkme | February 10, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Optic

I mean if the regular season is the barometer than a coach like Marty Schottenheimer would be the greatest coach of all time. What are you BB's buddy posting here? Give me a break. Until he gets this team past the 2nd round he is a mediocre coach. Folks are not measured by being a fabulous regular season team which may I remind you that they are not anymore. They are measured by the things they accomplish after the regular season. The playoffs matter more than the regular season in every sport. I want BB to be successful but it remains to be seen if he is the leader who can get them over the hump. Time will tell.

Posted by: pkme | February 10, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin's contract contains a NO-TRADE clause

Posted by: ophelia2 | February 10, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The spark is caught betweeen the top of the circles where all the turnovers take place

Posted by: capsgary | February 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

OVI's production as a rookie is a heck of lot better than his production this year. OVI is not getting better as a player. He is going the other direction because of work and personal habits. He has played better recently but I will say he is way off the mark as far as his talent level and capability. Which means to me it has to be his work ethic.

Posted by: pkme | February 10, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The NHL should make the ice bigger, goals bigger, less cheating by goalie padding and make the game more free flowing. Goalies should not be allowed to leave their crease either. One of the best moves by the NHL was eliminating two line passing and it made the game more interesting. I like scoring and would like to see more of it. Since the guys are bigger, faster and stronger it would make sense to give them more room. Also eliminate the shootout and this one point nonesense for losing in OT.

Posted by: pkme | February 9, 2011 10:03 PM

--

No to bigger ice. That means less board play and fewer hits. Yawn.

Goals bigger? Not sure about that. Maybe a few inches taller to compensate for goalies being taller. But definitely not wider.

I loved getting rid of the two line pass, because it burns teams who can't line change. But for it to work you need to let the goalies leave the crease. Brodeur can't take the puck from the corner and throw it down the ice anymore, but he can sure as hell meet it before it crosses the line and fire to the opposing blue line. Not letting goalies leave the crease to play the puck eliminates that. I think that would lower goal scoring more than increase it.

3 for a regulation win, 2 for OT win, 1 for OTL/draw.

Posted by: timKosecki | February 10, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

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