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Semin and Poti Sidelined

Wing Alexander Semin suffered a tailbone injury in the first period and will not return to today's game. Defenseman Tom Poti, meantime, suffered an "upper body injury" early in the second period and also won't be back.

On top of that, Alex Ovechkin appears to be favoring his left shoulder, though he's still playing.

Semin and Poti are listed as day-to-day.

Update:I spoke briefly to GM George McPhee a few minutes ago. He said he doesn't think either injury is serious. Both players will be evaluated tomorrow.

Ovechkin is fine, I'm told.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 1, 2008; 6:01 PM ET
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Next: Semin and Poti Miss Practice


thanks for the update Tarik.

Posted by: pch49 | January 1, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Great win by our boys today. Solid all around after the first 4 minutes or so.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | January 1, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik, you're the best!

Posted by: Puddin_an_Semin | January 1, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I just wonder if it ever ends for Sasha? He just keeps getting injured at the wrong times. I hope Ovie is ok with his shoulder.

Posted by: kenhockey | January 1, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Also reported: Kolzig is still slow.

Posted by: Sapper | January 1, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Fun game to watch, best moment 4 me was seeing Ted smiling and relaxed. He's been through a lot with this team!

Ottawa really started sucking bad towards the end of the game but that is more a testament to Caps being unrelenting.

I hate reading quotes after games when teams lose to the Caps and they blame it on them having a bad game. I think we're going to start getting some credit pretty soon though. (I haven't read anything from within the Senator org on this game yet)

Posted by: austinsteve | January 1, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update!

Does anyone know how long will Semin be out for? It seems like he just started getting his game back.

Posted by: 28 | January 1, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Sasha sees where the taem is going and gets back quick. As we all know, he tends to be theatrical in that way but I'm thinkin' he wants to be part of the goal scoring/winning surge so he won't be sleeping in from now on. Great win boys!!!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Very, very gutty win with 5 D and missing Sasha.

Posted by: Fred | January 1, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

My guess is neither will be out too long. they were pretty quiet injuries no writhing in pain or anything.

Tarik-any news on Clark or Fehr?

Posted by: DC FURY | January 1, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else having problems with Comcast Center Ice? Not getting the Fla vs NJ game.

Gotta like Green. He gives credit for his first goal to OV skating through and creating a lane. And BB gets the credit for his second goal because of the power play play that he drew up. Good team mate for not thumping himself on the back.

Posted by: Steve R | January 1, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

It helps if I would have noticed Jan 2 for the Fla NJ game.....

Posted by: Steve R | January 1, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

If Poti is out next game, hopefully Ersky will step up and buy in to the surge. I say that because Eminger probably will not skate. Has anyone been going to the practices and tell if Eminger a locker room issue? What is with him? Anyone?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Steve R.

I hate to tell you, but the Fla/NJD game is TOMORROW night. (Check for the schedule.)


Kozlov IS slow. But, Schultz is VERY SLOW.

Posted by: capsfaninpa | January 1, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see the play Semin was injured on? Tarik?

I didn't see the game. Looking through the event summary, I couldn't help but notice that he was minus -2 with a penalty after the first five minutes.

Could it be that he was loafing and coach made a point of it and had him sit this one out?

Then, the injured tail-bone story lets everyone save face,... and makes for a nice inside joke (as in...riding the pine hurts).

Not trying to start any rumors...just wondering...Did anyone actually see the play?

Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Sure it is. Like I said before, Sasha tends to be "theatrical" and he has know only Hanlon as HC while here until now. I'm hoping he gets on board like the rest of the team and steps up. I'll be the first to admit Brash does not have the best hands, speed, or shot on the team but the players voted a letter on his sweater for a reason. Can you imagine Semin with a letter? I'll leave that one alone.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say it's been nice to win the last two after the heartbreaker in Pitt. Who saw back-to-back wins against the Sens coming? I figured the Sens would come out ablazing for this one and after 5 min, I thought it was pretty much over. Good think the Caps kept coming and Gerber kept sucking.

Posted by: katzistan | January 1, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

My take on the Brash fight was they both fell over with momentum from one of Mcg's punches . I don;t think a total of five punches were thrown and I don't think one of them sent Brash down.

Looked like Semin was crossed check low on the back and then he retailiated, but he kept pushing and fighting the guy who crossed checked him , stood up for himself, no theatrics that I could see.

Posted by: billd | January 1, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I meant Sasha and his theatrics both on and off the ice. The on ice stuff like knuckle balling the puck over the boards from his "tailbone" for an noncall is hopefully over. The off ice Prima Donna stuff is what I mean. We had a law suit against him at one time remember? Hopefully that too is over and he just plays to his ability.

I might sound harsh but guess what, as a life long Caps Fan I want to win a Stanley Cup here in Washington and to achieve that the "theatrics" have to go.

We have been playing well but we have a long way to go. Hoisting The Cup in DC? God, what a dream...

Posted by: bernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Semin looked fine on the ice until the injury happened....I don't think he's being theatrical..he's been getting roughed up a bit lately....Olie made some great saves tonight...Tomorrow is wing night!!!

Posted by: K | January 1, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Great game all around! Kozlov FINALLY scores! Olie was pretty darned good in goal tonight - made some pretty good saves.

I'm hoping that AO will ease up a bit until his shoulder is better. He went awkwardly into the boards after a hard check. Looks to me like it's just strained. It was good to see him back slogging it out after a shift off.

I do believe that we may have turned a corner. It looks like we believe that game in, game out, we can win.

Can't wait to see how the Canadian Press tries to spin this one!

Posted by: Greg S. | January 1, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

@BernieWolfeFan and Sem-antics.

You guys are so on the spot. You guys are so clever. Hockey knowledge is oozing out of your pores.

Posted by: Joe | January 1, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, just doin' my part. Great win and let's take the Bruins and Habs to make it a great start!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse


I don't think that's very likely. It doesn't seem like Boudreau to secretly bench Semin after calling Kolzig out in the papers.

Posted by: dmg | January 1, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Well the morning edition should be interesting. Let's let Tarik do his job and go with what we fell for now.

Happy New Year Caps Fans!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Well for the first time in a long time i can say that kolzig had a very strong game,brash is playing very good lately and looks like nylander is picking up,
Go caps

Posted by: ercik | January 1, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse


LOL - too funny man.

Where can we catch Semin's act out of the rink? You seem to know him pretty well. By the way did you win your suit against him? I caught his act inside the rink a few times, and in my opinion, he acts like one hell of a good player.

I'll be curious to know what other fantasies you have been carving out of your mind?

Posted by: Opita | January 1, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Steve R | January 1, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | January 1, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Love it love it love it.

And let me be the first Olie-detractor to say he made some really big saves this afternoon. If he's not going to be quick, he needs to be technically sound and he was today.

A big difference between this year and last year is depth. Laing goes down and they can bring Pettinger back in. I'm no Pettinger fan (he did throw up a -1 today) but at least he's an NHL forward who eats up minutes. Plus if Poti can't go they'll bring in Erskine or even Eminger. If Semin can't go they'll move Flash up and give Pettinger another game, with Laing hopefully coming back.

If the Caps keep playing this way boring-ass Boston doesn't stand a chance.


Posted by: Oneal | January 1, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

My simple question is:

Did anyone see the play on which Semin could have possibly injured his tailbone? billd? Joe? dmg? anyone?

@billd -- Getting cross checked in the back doesn't translate to an injured tailbone. There is padding on the lower back, and noone cross-checks anyone in the tailbone anyway. Besides, he took a 39 second shift after the matching cross-checking penalties.

@Joe -- Please don't group me with BernieWolfeFan. I am not interested in Sasha's well-documented history with the franchise or his on-ice "theatrics" (to use BernieWolfeFan's word, not mine). I am interested in seeing the Caps have success, and find the talent of Alexander Semin pivotal to such success. How the coaching staff handles such an enigmatic personality is interesting. Having been a part of many teams, I know that there is often more to the story than what is reported in the media.

Like I said, my question stemmed from looking over the event summary, which raised in my mind a very simple question.

@dmg -- Even if BB called out Olie in the paper, that doesn't mean he would do the same to Sasha. Sasha is a different personality altogether, and requires different motivational tactics. If what I have speculated is true, then good-on BB and staff for knowing one from the other.

@Opita -- It's called asking questions. Try it. It's fun.

Don't attack me for asking a simple and obvious question. It usually takes a significant and noticeable play for a hockey player to get injured, especially on his tailbone of all places.


Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

First, a second to Oneal's comments.

Second, I was HUGELY dissappointed The McGratton Brashear fight never really got started. We do play them once more...

Third, Somebody was asking what the Sens might be saying, like the usual "we had a bad game" comment. Well, that's not the case - seems the team might be starting to get a little respect. This is from TSN:

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson "... you see them playing tonight, you'd think they would be at the top of the standings."

Finally, if you take BB's brief NHL history and extrapolate it to an 82 game season - he's winning at a rate of 103+ points for a full season.


Posted by: TheCapitalist | January 1, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

yeah i saw the play, he fell hard on his rear. yes, there is padding there, but a heavy and quick fall veritcally (with little sliding to absorb the energy) hurts like hell. I play hockey, and I could definately see how your tailbone could be hurting

Posted by: czechsmix | January 1, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Sem-antics, fair question. No I didn't see anything that looked like it would cause an injury.

Posted by: TheCapitalist | January 1, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I think we've got some Oliver Stones among us! There is no big conspiracy surrounding the Semin injury. Y'all need to give it up already. Complaining about how much you dislike Semin isn't going to make him disappear. He has had some rough games, to be sure, but he has also had some very solid games, which everyone seems to forget. He has skills and sometimes even I am disappointed when he makes horrific mistakes but it happens to ALL the players--even dare I say it, the great #8.

Posted by: SLM | January 1, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Tess | January 1, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I think the tone of that article is common for a Canadian publication.
What I find interesting are the quotes by the players. Alfie saying we belong higher in the standings, and McAmmond saying we have players that can put the puck in the net.

I think maybe we won't see teams taking the Caps lightly any more.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I think after Semin returned the crosscheck he pissed off a few Senators. Semin, not being a fighter, chose to duck out for the remainder of the game.

Posted by: Seminoid | January 1, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks czechsmix --

You play hockey, so you know how often in a season a player falls on his rear. And how bad it can smart.

But you also know that such a backwards fall on the rear is one reason why hockey players wear hockey pants with a pad for the tailbone, and that such a bruise is not likely to keep a pro (or not) hockey player out of action for very long. Certainly NOT an entire NHL game.

One exception might be if it was a deep done bruise from a hard check or collision with the boards or goal-posts (or even a fall on his rear with someone falling on him at the same time). But a simple, one-man, fall on the ice with his rear? costing him the whole game?

And if it was a deep bone bruise, then he would likely have left the bench. Not knowing, I would really like to know - DID HE STAY SITTING ON THE BENCH IN THE 2ND AND 3RD PERIODS?

As a Caps fan, the frustrating thing about Semin is that he can go from being one of the best players on the ice one night and on another night be entirely in his own little la-la world out there. I have witnessed both, up-close and in-person.

What I think he needs to learn is how to give a consistent mental and physical effort night in and night out, and I think that that's what tonight's episode-- on the heals of his really strong performance last night in Ottawa-- could be all about. I tip my hat to BB and staff if this is the case.

Tailbone? the whole game? sitting on it? Puh-leaze.

@SLM -- When a pro-team takes measures that can be embarrassing to one of its personnel, and choses not to air the issue for the public and media, it is not called a "conspiracy". It is called management. And just because you and I are die-hard fans, doesn't mean we get to know everything. That also doesn't mean that we can't speculate amongst ourselves, especially provided these convenient forums to do so. Echem....Did you see the play?

Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Afraid not my friend. Semin took a very hard hit from behind...what else would you expect from Ottawa? The Caps took both ends of a home and home. Nuff said.

Posted by: @Seminoid | January 1, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

You state the following: " @Opita -- It's called asking questions. Try it. It's fun.
Don't attack me for asking a simple and obvious question ...

I know what asking a question is and what isn't. When I have the need to know I do ask questions, however, I do not attach fantastic theories to my questions in hopes that someone will agree with them. That is what you did.

"Did anyone see the play Semin was injured on? "

That was a simple question. but you did not stop there, did you?

You went on " I didn't see the game. Looking through the event summary, I couldn't help but notice that he was minus -2 with a penalty after the first five minutes."

Since you looked at the event summary, you must have noticed that Fleishman, and Nylander were also -2 at that moment? Why single out Semin?
If you had seen the highlights (on the same menu as the event summary), you will have noticed that none of the forwards were at fault in either of these two goals. But that would have not been convenient to what you real aim was on your post, as you continue with "Could it be that he was loafing and coach made a point of it and had him sit this one out?

Then, the injured tail-bone story lets everyone save face,... and makes for a nice inside joke (as in...riding the pine hurts)."

And what an innocent statement and question you finish the post with? "Not trying to start any rumors...just wondering...Did anyone actually see the play?"

What a bunch of crap you are. You might not have wanted to start a rumor, but you sure as hell wanted to injure the reputation of a very good player. Look at the name you use on this post. That is enough.

Oh, let me try your suggestion. "Did I make myself clear?"
Hey, it is fun asking a simple question.

Posted by: Opita | January 1, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The McGrattan-Brashear non-fight was just that: a big nothing. After a couple of missed punches by each, McGrattan fell on Brashear. Brashear definitely wanted to have a real fight...he was talking to McGrattan for the next few minutes in the penalty box. Brash got an assist later in the game and played a regular shift while McGrattan was a bench warmer. McGrattan should be thankful he wasn't on the receiving end of Brashear's jackhammer left; just ask Neil how that felt.

Posted by: McGrattan=tool | January 1, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Sem antics
Yes i realize there is padding in that area.
I play in two adult leagues and understand,
however , a cross check to the lower back which slides down can damage a tailbone, not saying it did but it could, we will know more tomorrow.

good comments

Posted by: billd | January 1, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Sem-antics - I was at the game and I did not see the hit/fall that hurt Semin. Not sure what happened. The good news is that he was gone for awhile before anyone noticed - translation = the "team" is performing as a unit better and not falling apart when key players are off the ice.

pmoravek - I was not surprised when the Sens did not take us seriously the first time, but after that beating I thought FOR SURE they would take us seriously last time. OK, after THAT beating I thought surely they would take us seriously today. I don't get it, especially considering all of the Sens chatter after the losses, about how ticked they were and how they would not let it happen again. I thought they were thirsty for blood ... EACH time! I can't figure out if we are that good against them of if they are that bad against us. Maybe a little of both?!? Regardless, the next match up against them should be interesting and, until then, thank you Sens for the points!!

Posted by: Boo! | January 1, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Sem-antics - I was looking for Semin on the bench (my seats face the bench), but I did not see him. Does not mean he was not there, I just could not see him.


Posted by: Boo! | January 1, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse


Do you think Laing will be back in the lineup for Boston? And who will he replace (assuming that Semin will be in the lineup too)? In my opinion I think Laing deserves a spot on this roster more than Pettinger.

Posted by: Trevor | January 1, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

was he sitting on the bench in the 2nd and 3rd?

Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey Guys,

If you fall on your tailbone, that ain't necessarily the only thing that you can hurt.
Some of you other guys that play too can back me up on this. Sometimes if you go down on your wallet you can wrench your back pretty bad, or your neck, or you can even hurt a shoulder trying to catch yourself.
He also did not finish practice the yesterday after falling on his backside. If you fall on a bruise you already got, that can suck too.
I'm just saying none of us are trainers, or in the locker room. In spite of how much some of us try to act like "someone who knows" we really are only

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Both Semin and Poti were in the locker room during the second and third periods. The Caps only had 16 guys on the bench and it was obvious that BB was trying to juggle lines. Nobody in his right mind is going to put himself in that position against Ottawa for 2 plus periods voluntarily, just to make a point about not retaliating. The cross-check took place directly across the ice from where I was sitting, and Semin did go down pretty hard during that sequence; Semin also got roughed up while he was on his knees trying to get up and drew the retaliatory penalty when he fought back afterward. He may have returned just to see if he could skate. There is tailbone padding, but these kinds of injuries are certainly not uncommon, and if you've had one, you know that as they tighten up, skating is very difficult. Hopefully he won't be out for long. I did not see how Poti was hurt.

Posted by: Fred | January 1, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey Boo
I'm not worried about the Sens. It would appear that we have their number. (Heh heh)

I'm worried about the rest of the league. If the Canadian press sounds the alarm, we won't see as many back-up goalies as we would have other wise. We won't seescoring forwards scratched because "they needed a break"

What I am saying here is that the onger the rest of the NHL stays asleep...the better off we are.


Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Sem-antics - I don't think I looked for him until the 3rd period, and then I didn't see him. I usually would have looked for him sooner, but I was absolutely riveted by the game! The only major thing that I noticed with Semin was early when he was hit from behind and then he hit back, but both of those hits were pretty high (and he fell forward, not back). Sorry I cannot be of more assistance!

Posted by: Boo! | January 1, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

PS, the McGrattan Brashear fight should have been two each way for delay of game. It looked to me like Brash slipped at the start, and then they both went down without anyone landing anything. Brash called Neal out in the second after a couple of checks Neal "finished" with his elbow high, and when Neal didn't go, Brash flapped his arm like a chicken as he skated past the Sens bench on the line change....

Posted by: Fred | January 1, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse


As a Koslov detractor, I must say that I am ELATED that he found the net tonite. I only hope this gets him rolling.
Kind of like Nylander. He appears to be out of his slump too. I have mentioned on previous threads,
I like my crow fried to a crisp golden brown. Served with fries and ketchup.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Its great to see the Caps play with confidence. Being two goals down early in the 1st period I thought this team might fall apart. They did the opposite. FOUR goals in the 1st period. BB has this team playing hard and confident. Even when stupid penalties and poor defense lead to easy goals for our opponents. A solid comeback win for the Caps and two more points in the standings. A great start to 2008!!

Posted by: the highlander | January 1, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

pmoravek - I hear ya - and I was actually just thinking about the Montreal game. Our last effort against them was NOT pretty ... I hope that they don't have OUR number!! :-X To make matters worse, on the post-game show tonight I heard that BB is thinking about letting Cassivi play that game, because he is from Montreal and has never played there?!?!? Say it ain't so!!! After our last loss to them, we can't afford to not start with Olie. I hope Cassivi only goes in if we are up 5-1 in the third period. (Hey, a Caps fan can dream ...)

Posted by: Boo! | January 1, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank You, Fred. Questions answered. I feel better now.

And I hope Sasha can get (back) to being a dominating force out there soon.

His talent is so unbelievable, at times almost more than OV with his shot and the way he can dangle the puck on a string. Just wish he would bring it to bear all the time.

I realize that he had been doing that the past 5 games or so, and maybe was afraid he had fallen off the wagon after last night.

As BB has said -- As Alex Semin goes, so goes the Washington Capitals.


Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Boo.
Maybe Cassivi would be really "up" for playing in front of his home town.
With the way Kolzig has been spotty, can you really see Cassivi being that bad?
If the boys can put up another 6 or 8 goals, then pretty much any goaltender is gonna need to have a pretty rough outing in order to lose.
Your thoughts?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse the way.

Samsonov is now on re-entry waivers. That means we could get him at half his salary (I think that's how it works) at about 1.8 mill pro-rated for the season.

I'm still not sure it's a good idea, but what do you guys think?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse


I believe that since Samsonov's contract is $3.525 M, about 1.8 would be left and the Caps would have to pay half of that - 900k.

I don't think the Caps should look at Samsonov - he has 9 goals and 21 in his last 86 games, so I doubt he'd be better than Flash or even Laich, Bourque, Fehr (when he gets healthy) or Pettinger if they were getting the minutes and given that I wouldn't want to disrupt the team's chemistry because it seems really good right now.

Now if Clark is out for a while more then maybe. It would be nice to have skilled forward depth...

Posted by: dmg | January 1, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

yes, I do think Laing will be back for Boston.

Also, I asked Boudreau about starting Cassivi in Montreal. He said he's thinking about it.

Posted by: Tarik | January 1, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

That's what I was thinking dmg.
Especially since we seem to be prone to injuries this year.

Someimes a change of scenary can jumpstart a player. But then if he still sucks... then what do you do with him?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse


What are you doing burning the late nite oil with us lurkers?
Don't you have a flight to Boston tomorrow?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

pmoravek - Kolzig has been hot and cold - he played well tonight and if he could have several good games in a row, then I would feel better about it. But we don't have several before MC! So what to do ... I would rather see Cassivi get his first NHL start of the season against a lesser team than Montreal - keep in mind, Cassivi is no spring chicken either.

Tarik - I don't suppose that you would be willing to comment about your thoughts RE: Cassivi starting against Montreal?!? :-)

Posted by: Boo! | January 1, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I see the logic in that Boo.
But you know Kolzig is older and needs his rest if he is going to be effective at all.
Gabby mentioned getting Zilla more rest, I'm just not sure he had Cass in mind when he said it. (LOL)

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I was looking at the comments to the TSN story about CAPs/Ot. got to the last one
and they were dumping on there GM for not picking up Bryz when he was available for nothing to replace Gerber or Emery, Guess some of you guys use the same boards LOL

Posted by: billd | January 1, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah billd
I read that one too.
But I don't post up there...
I'm not Canadian so I don't have the right.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 1, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

To All Far and Near Over the Internet --

This 12/31/07 - 1/1/08, back-to-back, home-and-home wins against Ottawa, currently the highest point-getter in the East, hereby stands as a momentous transition in the franchise of the Washington Capitals--

In the short term, it merely marks the climbing of this still under-.500 team out of the Conference cellar. In the longer term, the limits of this rise may only be determined by the Capitals players, coaches, and management.

And tonight marks my first time posting here on these or any other boards, an event I envisioned as a one-time deal under the pseudonym "Sem-antics".

But instead, I think I may stick around and will be stopping by again to ask more questions, offer more sports cliches, and to sip in the sweetness of Capitals victory with those who understand the feeling. I know these Caps are destined to win a Stanley Cup (in one of these years of my lifetime. And even though I'm only 30, I am ever-optimistic that the sweetness of a Cup victory for the Caps is near.)

For this team, the cliche goes--
It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

And I'll keep the tribute to the talent that inspires it,

and because that's exactly what these boards are really all about....


Posted by: Sem-antics | January 1, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Well played Sir!

...and welcome to the blog.
You will see some interesting thoughts posted here, as well as some jibberish.
Hopefully you have the wisdom to distinguish between the two.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 2, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

For my $$ (and judging from the highlights), in tonights game, I Laiched

the hustle of Brooks,

the vision of Slick Nick,

and the end-to-end dream machine that was Mike Green.


Posted by: Sem-antics | January 2, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

a poet has joined our midst!

Posted by: pmoravek | January 2, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

yes, we all think that we will post "just once" ... but we all come back for more! Unfortunately there is not a 12-step program for us ... YET!! ;-) Anyway, welcome and please disregard any hostility - most folks' barks are worse than then bites! For now you are (fairly) safe with me and pmoravek!! :-D

I think you are right - Cassivi is not necessarily who he had in mind when he said that! I would feel better if he got his start against the Bruins, Avalance or Flyers (all coming up!), but would prefer that he waited for the Oilers, Panthers or Maple Leafs. Then again, what do I know ... :-/

Posted by: Boo! | January 2, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

ouch- a tailbone injury is never fun. i broke mine when i was younger and it was the most painful thing i've ever experienced. and all it took was a solid fall onto my butt. :)

Posted by: sonia | January 2, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Most hockey players know that the pants do have a tail bone protector in them. This protects the bone from hits from behind, but not a compression hit from under or below. If there was a skate under his coccyx when he sat, it would definitely be injured. He did leave the game and was not on the bench afterwards. With Poti joining him in the locker room for half the game, that makes the win all the more satisfying!

Having bashed Olie, Nylander, Kozlov a lot lately, I'll now give out kudos to the three. Koz for finally getting on the boards with a goal (his 3rd of the year), and I'll take partial credit for threatening him with mauree's friend Guido who is an expert on thumbs I hear. Nylander for his goal tonight and the other night, and Olie for 2 good games. 4 of the 6 the other night were deflections or close in shots that would be difficult under the best of circumstances. Tonight he played well and robbed them of several goals. I really hope that Coach B doesn't put Cassivi in anytime soon if ever.

Posted by: Greg S. | January 2, 2008 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Greg S.!!! As much as I understand the 'sentiment' around wanting to put Cassivi in (in Montreal), I just don't see it ... especially now. EVERY game is a critical one. I would rather see Kolzig start and wait for Johnny to come back before he is relieved (or until they bring a top notch keeper on). Unless, of course, Cassivi would like to hang around for the next Tampa game ... ;-) Having said that, I actually think that Kolzig plays better the more that he plays - he seems to get rusty when he rests.

Posted by: Boo! | January 2, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

If Ovechkin/Green do not make the All-Star team the NHL is a joke...

Nick Backstrom for Rookie Game!!!

Posted by: ZackAttack | January 2, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Just want to wish Tarik and all the bloggers on this board a very happy, healthy new year.


Ain't life sweet?

Posted by: Wanda | January 2, 2008 6:04 AM | Report abuse

I'll bet we see Cassivi between the pipes in Montreal cause thats the kind of coach BB is. Cassivi won the Calder Cup with BB. Its a way to reward his players and thats what inspires them to play for BB.

BB knows what it means to reach the big time and knows this may be Cassivi's only chance to play in front of the legendary Montreal crowd. For Cassivi to play in front of his hometown crowd would likely be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

BB knows this more than anyone having toiled in the minors for so long. He also knows that the rest of the Caps will try and get the win for Cassivi. It becomes a motivating factor for the team. This is the kind of move the makes a team into a team. Boudreau is well aware of this.

And lastly, Kolzig could use a night off. The last time he faced Montreal he gave up five goals, stopping 16 of 21 shots. Its not like he has their number or anything.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 2, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but Montreal?!? :-/ I don't think Montreal beat Kolzig last time as much as they beat the team ... i.e. it's not like they have his number, either. I get the sentiment of putting Cassivi in, but that's why I'd be more inclined to put Cassivi is when/if we get a comfortable lead. Keep in mind, he has never had an NHL win and he has not played in the bigs yet this season ... does it really make sense for him to cut his teeth on a team as good as Montreal?

Posted by: Boo! | January 2, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Please cease and desist this live blogging of an NHL game.

Posted by: Gary Bettman | January 2, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I like Cassivi getting the start in MTL-It's not like Olie has been winning games for the Caps lately, his teammates have been scoring and giving him nice leads to work with...I know every point is precious for the Caps now but it is still only one game and it would be the right time to do it.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

A team like Ottawa will never give the Caps credit for outplaying them simply because Ottawa went to the finals last year. Well, we've been to the finals in the past as well. Yes, we're rebuilding and yes we have a fraction of the payroll and talent depth that Ottawa does, but our guys simply out hussled, out played and out smarted the Senators. They can whine all they want too, but the fact of the matter is that they have been outclassed by a so-called "lesser" team 3 times this season. I say, screw Ottawa and watch out Boston. You might have Chara.....but your not going to slow us down!!!

Posted by: Mitch | January 2, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hhhmmmm....interesting thoughts on both sides of the fence.

Boo makes a good point that Olie plays better when he plays more. At least that's how he used to be. I just wonder if that is still the case now that he's getting older.

Muddapacker mentions that the team may step up to try and get Cassivi a win in his home town. Maybe Gabby tries to "rally the troops" around him a bit.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 2, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

This is really random, but a certain number jumped out at me when I was looking at the Caps players stats. It made me take a deeper look at a particular player.

Can anyone guess what player is a +10 since BB took over? I didn't look at every player, but I'm pretty sure he is the only one who had such a significant improvement in the last 19 games.

Posted by: Jeff | January 2, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse there a way to post a poll?

Cassivi or Kolzig
Who should start vs. Les Habs

Posted by: pmoravek | January 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Jeff-I'm guessing its Kozlov?

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I would have guess Nyls. He is up to a negative 16. But I don't think that is ten better that what he was.

Maybe Nicky B?

Posted by: pmoravek | January 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Dave, really really good guess, but wrong. I hadn't actually checked him, but he is a +9 since BB took over.

Nylander is a -8 since BB took over...that seems off, but that's what the game log shows.

The answer I was looking for, and I again state there could be others with the same, or better, is Shaone Morrisonn. He was a -9 and now is a +1. To me, that's a really impressive improvement, considering a lot of the other D-men haven't really seen much of a change to their +/-.

Posted by: Jeff | January 2, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree with starting Cassivi in Montreal. Not for the sentimental factor, but because honestly, Olie has been atrocious lately, and it can't hurt to put someone else in there. Cassivi played a couple games last year and was fine - nothing Vezina-like, but solid.

Posted by: katzistan | January 2, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people are forgetting that Bruce knows Cassivi and his skills/personality than probably anyone else. Let's trust Bruce, he's been doing a pretty good job.

Posted by: Stephen | January 2, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Let me say that I don't think BB starts anybody purely out of sentiment, but I do think he is very wise when it comes to reward as motivation.

Look at the guys who are blossoming under him... Leach, Morrisonnn, Green, Quentin Lang, Bradley, Brashear.

They are all playing better, I think in large its because BB is putting trust in them. He is telling them that he believes in them with the amount of ice time they are getting.

Look for him to do the same with Cassivi. Its the one chance he has to show his appreciation for what Cassivi has done for him.

Players appreciate that because they know if he does it for Cassivi, he will do it for them. Its called MOTIVATION. Boudreau rewards his players.

Posted by: Muddapucker | January 2, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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