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Semin Out Tonight

Alexander Semin (sprained right ankle) won't be in the lineup for tonight's preseason finale against the Senators. I did see Alex this morning and he said it felt a lot better. He also wasn't limping as badly as before.

Not sure if he's going to be ready for Friday's opener, but I'm guessing he'll be ready to go.

Update: Waiting for an update on Jame Pollock. He can't clear waivers today because it's Sunday. So we'll find out tomorrow.

Update:I was just talking to defenseman Jeff Schultz. Seems like he's made the team. During the course of our conversation, he revealed that the team recently told him to find a place to live and get a car.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 30, 2007; 3:45 PM ET
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Next: Decision Time



Posted by: Always wanted to do that | September 30, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

tarik-what are tonight's lines looking like?

Posted by: dcfury | September 30, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Did Alex say it felt a lot English? :-P

Posted by: Alisa | September 30, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse


That's all I know. there wasn't a morning skate today. Semin's injury is wreaking havoc on the top three lines.

Posted by: Tarik | September 30, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Steckel is great at the faceoff circle, so the thrid line should be at least ok. Clark on the 2nd line actually might add some forechecking and thus more scorig chances.

Regardless of how much AS injury hurts the club/lines, even with his injury we have two very good scoring lines. Last year we'd almost have to write this game off as a loss before it even started.

Posted by: czechsmix | September 30, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Really hope Semin is going to be okay for the season opener :(

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

THe game is on the radio if you didnot know. (107.7, 1500)

Posted by: Mac | September 30, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - Given the first game is against the Thrash, do think the Caps will dress a more physical line up?

Posted by: Zero | September 30, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Caps lose 2-1. Caps put a lot of pressure and had over 35 shots, but couldn't get it in the net. On the other hand, Sens had 15 shots and got 2 past Olie.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 30, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Caps really out played the Sens. We just couldn't take advantage of the PP and the refs were not stelar. I think i saw Semin as i was leaving and he didn't seam to be limping too bad.

Posted by: DC FURY | September 30, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, both teams kept out of the penalty box. Either that, or the 4 blind mice were reffing. Only 6 penalties? Wow.

Looks like we controlled the face-off circle! All our guys were at or over 50% wins. Not too shabby. 35 shots on net is good. So what happened on our side? Only 15 shots but 2 scored?

Sounds like Defense is STILL the problem.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 30, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

How is defense the problem when it only allowed 15 shots?

For the most worrisome problem, you have to look behind the defense.


Posted by: Oneal | September 30, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Saw Semin tonight, he was walking fine, no noticable limp, and no grimace when he walked. He seemed a little down in the dumps though.

Posted by: cccp11 | September 30, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

You know, I haven't really thought about it, but recall the stats for Olie last season. He did really well in games when the other team shot 40 or 50 shots against him, but when it was under 30 he was not so hot. There was one game where some team (TB?) had 20 shots in the 3rd period and we won with Olie playing stellar that whole period.

Maybe by fixing our defensive woes we've
opened up a new hole in Godzilla? It's definitely not bull that a cold goalie isn't as good as one that's been getting peppered.

Hopefully that part will shape up come regular season - we can't afford to lose games due to goaltending. Another "issue" is that GMGM won't ship Kolzig away, not after what he's done for the team and the league.

Posted by: Raber | September 30, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

How the **** did Schultz make the team?? He's terrible and he's exempt from waivers. Caps have the worst D in the league again...

Posted by: Schultz=pylon | September 30, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse

audio broadcast did not work for me from the caps site. sometimes vogel's broadcast doesn't work either.

Posted by: jim | September 30, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Most likely means Eminger is as good as gone. I wonder if GMGM had a deal in place when they told Schultz that.

Official Eminger trade watch begins!

Posted by: Graham | September 30, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Caps looked good tonight, but did anyone see that first goal on Kolzig? Man that was ugly. Also, Spezza, Heatley and Alfredsson didn't play.....Caps basically lost to an AHL squad.

Posted by: Rob | September 30, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that Schultz made the team, but good for him.

I'm really curious if this means that Green or Erskine didn't make the team. I can't imagine that Eminger is getting sent down. Perhaps a trade is in the offing?

Maybe they really are planning to keep 8 d-man. I can't say I agree with that move.

Posted by: billy | September 30, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

The next 48 hours will be interesting, to say the least. If I were making the call, I'd keep Eminger over Erskine. Could be the wrong call, but somebody's gotta go and I'm not as down on Schultz as some posters here.

As for the more pressing issue..

I'll admit, I've always been a little wary about Olie. In my view he's never been in the same league as Brodeur, Luongo, etc.

But that doesn't mean he can't win a Stanley Cup (see Cam Ward).

And Olie's a great guy. That's why I think he would be the first to tell you that his play has been sub-par in this pre-season. His save percentage after Sunday's game is BARELY over .850, and that's just not getting it done.

Is this a preseason phenemenon? I hope so, because as Raber points out Olie isn't going anywhere. But if his poor play continues into the first 8 or 10 games of the season believe me it will become a major issue.


Posted by: Oneal | September 30, 2007 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Schultz was pretty bad this pre-season and was by far the worst player on the ice on Friday. He shouldn't be on the team.

Posted by: me | September 30, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

@ billy:

I dunno. My choice between Eminger or Klepis? I'd keep Eminger simply for the fact that he has flashes of brilliance, whereas Klepis is an even more unknown quantity.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | September 30, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Ur obvisouly dont know what type of sport your watching if you are sayin Jeff Schultz is a terrible Dman. That man 1st of all is a towering defender aka Zedon Chara like. #2 he is like 19-21 years old and he is still growing. #3 he isnt flashy at all, he just gets the job done night in and night out. A guy like him goes un notice all the time but is a hige asset to the team this year.

Posted by: Zack Attack | September 30, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse


I agree on Klepis - he's as good as gone, I think. He's not under contract, so the Caps will let him play in Europe this year and retain his rights (or trade him, if anyone is interested).

Even assuming that Klepis is gone, the Caps have to cut at least a couple more players who would definitely have made the team last season. I'm very curious to see who sticks.

Posted by: billy | September 30, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse


Ex: Erskine

I have a feeling that Eminger,Clymer,Sutherby are all on the block right now...

Only reason i say Sutherby is where has he been all preseason?! i dont recall any injury notice from tarik at all?

Posted by: Zack Attack | September 30, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, you "Olie defenders" have just about run out of excusses for his pathetic, unacceptable play. Now that the "shots against" have been drastically reduced, it'll be amusing ( To say the least) to see what imaginative explanations you'll concoct next.
The fact of the matter is that Olie stinks!! Plain and simple. He's been doing so FOR YEARS. If the Caps don't make the playoffs, one will need look no farther than to good ole boy Godzilla, to pinpoint the reason why. With decent goaltending this team, as currently constructed, could go far. That's why it rips me apart to know that Olie is going to tear his team mates' hearts out many, mnany times this year. It's enough to make a grown man wanna cry.

Posted by: Puckguru | September 30, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - Would you say that Green has secured a spot on our second D pairing? I saw Vogel's lineup tonight had him there. Thanks.

Posted by: Vince | October 1, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@Puckguru: Who defended him? I don't see any comments besides Oneal's and my own, and I don't consider myself an "Olie defender" but more a realist. He's been good in the distant past and has shown flashes of his old self in recent years.

That being said, as it stands right now no one is going to say he's playing up to the standards of an NHL goaltender. If they do, they don't know anything about hockey.

Also I'm not sure how berating anyone who respects him as a leader of this hockey team accomplishes anything. Between his contract and his contributions to the organization off the ice, he's not going anywhere. We're stuck with him, for better or worse, so whining about how crappy he's playing gets us nowhere.

Let's hope that he's as hardworking as the optimists think, and that he'll work his ass off to fix his problems and bring back the goalie he was 10 years ago.

Posted by: Raber | October 1, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

@Vince: For the most part, Green's been playing very well in the offensive zone during preseason. I'm betting he's in the starting lineup in a week.

P.S. I'm not Tarik...

Posted by: Raber | October 1, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Funny that people are ripping a proven NHLgoaltender, who has been very solid for 10 years now, based on his preseason play. Preseason means nothing for a player of Olie's calibre. Two games into the real season nobody will remember, let alone care about, any preseason stats.

Posted by: Scai | October 1, 2007 4:54 AM | Report abuse

To puckguru:

Opinion: A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not supported by positive knowledge or proof.

Fact: Knowledge or informstion based on real occurence.

Guru: A teacher and guide; at trusted advisor???#$

Posted by: Webster | October 1, 2007 6:19 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals looked absolutely dominant last night, as evidenced by the shot count (35-15). Ovechkin was in top form, plowing through the Ottawa defense like a dump truck through a chain link fence. Clark was on the Nylander-Backstrom line helping them set up pretty plays all night. Backstrom was buzzing around the net, threading cross-ice passes through traffic like it wasn't even there. They looked good tonight - solid and well disciplined.

The game, in my opinion, was lost by that pathetically weak goal that Kolzig let slip through in the first period. "My grandmother could have stopped that shot" is an old and worn out cliche, but seriously, my grandmother really could have stopped that shot. The only thing that saved Ottawa was that their goaltender looked like a brick wall in the net. I'm not trying to be one of the gloom and doomers here, but if Olie keeps playing like this into the season, I'm going to start getting more than just a little worried. It's also possible that it was just a fluke and he'll find his old form in the next couple weeks... That's the beauty of pre-season. It doesn't mean anything.

Also - Keep Green and Schultz. Trade Eminger for whatever he's worth, and send Erskine along for the ride. On forward, Steckel is the only one I think I'd really like to see more of in the NHL. He's a good face-off guy in a team that doesn't have too many good face-off guys, and I think that separates him from the pack of 3rd or 4th line centers in the system (there's like 20 of them). The rest of the up-in-the-air forwards can fall where they will and I doubt I'll lose sleep over it.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Schultz? Schultz???? He still has a long way to go - Hershey can see that. Mike Green should be the man with his slot guaranteed! I would send Shcultz down and see how Eminger panned out. If Eminger isnt playing the way you hoped - deal him and then bring Schultz up. I am shocked - if Green gets sent down I will have to seriously question the Caps direction on this....

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Its preseason. Olie allowed 2 goals. Yes, one was soft, but its pre-season.

Instead of focusing on one soft goal, the caps still are not clicking on the PP. That is still a very big and real concern. Perhaps they just need some time to get it going... I am hoping that is all it is.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Erskine is a gonner. Eminger will stay with the caps. Also, most important, why does everyone feel so confident with Morrison? He looks awful out there at times and rarely makes any sort of contribution offensively (either in the offensive zone or just to get the puck up the ice). I think he gets an unearned pass.

Posted by: Rob | October 1, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse


I have a there any way you can time your updates as they go in?

Posted by: Yosh | October 1, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

HolyOlie: yeah, it was a solid game for the Caps. Nevermind the score, they completely carried the play.

Although, for now I think something is lacking a bit on that Nylander-Backstrom line, in a tantalizing way. They already have the "mesmerize the defense" routine almost down to a science (it looked like they generated one PP per shift for about 3 straight shifts in the 2nd!); but they are not quite at the "shred the defense" stage yet - lets give them a couple of weeks, I guess :)

As far as Kolzig and preseason, the truth is probably somewhere in between. I don't think anybody could peg him as an elite goalie anymore, but he's decent in the sense that he battles, and rarely makes multiple bad errors in a game (although the one last night was ludicrous). If this team plays to its potential, I think he's good enough for this season - although this just might be season when the Caps and Kolzig pass each other on their relative NHL rankings, going in opposite directions.

I am confused about Schultz getting the spot without Eminger getting a longer look. To me, schultz has looked.. shaky in this preseason. It definitely looks like he could benefit from another year in the farm, especially since ppl say that he's had shaky games there, as well. I haven't closely watched him on the PK, but I just don't see how a couple of percentage points there could outweigh having an apparent 5-on-5 liability.

If the Caps are indeed set on their top-6 D that includes Schultz, I think they'll part ways with Eminger, and keep Erskine. The latter is a more logical choice as an extra D - inexpensive, instant toughness (just add ice), used to that role. The only way I can see the Caps keep Eminger is if they extend the tryout to the first 10 or so games of the regular season, which seems unlikely. Although, thats the solution I'd prefer - perhaps Eminger can regain his confidence with a solid partner like Pothier, once he firmly knows that he is a 3rd pair guy, and the expectations of greatness are off his back.

Anyway, whatever happens on that bottom pairing, the emergence of Green is far outweighing these concerns, IMHO. The Caps have got to keep the reigns off this guys, keep his confidence up, and just let him gradually cut down on mistakes, as experience comes. He looks like he's on his way to becoming a deadly weapon, especially once the other Caps learn how to take advantage of his rushes.

Steckel has been a nice addition. He's got better size and reach than Sutherby, better on the PK (reach!), same below-average speed, great face-offs, maybe even some scoring ability as an added bonus. Less physical, but lets get to playoffs first. Its an upgrade! I like Brashear-Steckel-Laich, the latter to add some speed to that line.

Finally, Ovechkin has looked strong as hell! He still really needs to add variety to his neutral zone launches, but physically, he's back, and thats worth 55 goals right there!

Sorry for the long post, folks. Every team has issues at this time of the year, but overall these are really exciting times for Cap-nation.

Posted by: Vlad | October 1, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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