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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Semyon Varlamov settles down against Lightning

By Katie Carrera

For the second straight game, one of the biggest positives for the Capitals was the play of their young goaltender. On Wednesday night, it was Semyon Varlamov's turn to impress and keep the possibility of a Washington comeback within reach by preventing the Lightning from taking a substantial early lead.

Varlamov finished with 35 saves against Tampa Bay and although it was a bit of a rocky start, -- the first two goals came on rebounds when the puck appeared to be bouncing freely -- he was able to buckle down and grow more composed as the game went on.

"I thought he played real good," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Especially when they got to 2-0 in the second period, they had those power-play opportunities, it was like he clamped down and said: 'I'm going to save the team. I'm not going to allow that next one.' He made some really good saves."

Tampa Bay Coach Guy Boucher also offered praise of the 22-year-old who held his team scoreless in regulation in the teams' meeting on Jan. 4.

"I think their goaltender played outstanding," Boucher said. "He got 40 shots in there and I think our power play got so many chances and I felt one of them was going to go in, but give credit to the goalie. He's been outstanding for them, so that's amazing. He's done it again tonight and is pretty hard to beat. So I'm quite pleased about beating that goaltender three times [Wednesday]."

Although it was Varlamov who appeared to have the upper hand over Michal Neuvirth in the ongoing battle to become the Capitals' No. 1 netminder, heading into this week's schedule it appears that if both goaltenders are healthy, this is still very much anyone's job to claim.

By Katie Carrera  | January 13, 2011; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov  
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Next: Caps wrap up optional practice

Comments

Katie,

I have an over-under question that I'm hoping you can ask Bruce Boudreau next time you interview him:

Which will be higher this season -
the number of Caps playoff victories, or
the number of new Boudreau tv commercials?

I'll also try to add this question to one of your live chat Q&As because I'd be curious to hear your take.

Thank you and keep up the great work.

Posted by: PSD1 | January 13, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Fanohock, I guess you didn't find my attempt at humor amusing. Jeez, lighten up.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Just make the top 8. That's all we want. Playoff results will be the true measuring stick.

Posted by: coolcraig | January 13, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

The problem with this team is readily apparent.

Almost every time they get the puck in the defensive zone they attempt to enter the offensive zone the exact same way. Either three forwards across, with puck on the wing, attempt centering pass, have it taken away. Other times, two forwards will enter almost side by side and once across blue line, the carrier will pass to the non-carrier and he will blast from the perimeter.

Even on controlled break outs they have no patience or creativity in entering the offensive zone. EVERY team in the league knows exactly what they are going to do when they have the puck.

This is why the only times we score are when the 3rd or 4th lines are pressuring the opponents top lines in our offensive zone and they cough it up.

Until someone can design and implement a variety of methods to enter the zone and get these guys to work with each other, fore-check, and be patient, this is as good as its going to be.

Does anyone else happen to notice that when there are loose pucks, our top players tend to reach for them rather than go to them?

Posted by: LesGrossman | January 13, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think people are forgetting that one of the reasons the Caps scored so much was their scoring depth. Since the Caps had 3 good scoring lines the pressure on other teams was relentless.

Now the Caps have, at most, two lines that are scoring threats instead of three.

The reason for this, the loss of Flash.

I like the pickup of Hannan and think he is playing well now, but I think the forwad group still could use Flash.

Ideally, the Caps could have got rid of Chimera and kept Flash(I know Colorado never would have done that).

How much more of a scoring threat would the Caps be if the lines were

Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble
Laich/MP/Semin
Flash/MJ/Fehr
Hendricks/(Stecekl or BGordon)/(Bradley or Beagle)

The Caps would have playmakers who can score on three lines instead of two. The Hendricks/Steckel/Bealge line wouldn't be a 4th line, it would be a checking line that played against the opposing teams top line. Then the other 3 lines would roll out.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

We get it, you are the President of the Flush fan club. The guy was a defensive liability so third line duty for him should never happen. A third line is a CHECKING line, just look at 90% of the NHL teams out there and you will see that. Now you can start calling me names and question my "leadership" qualities as you did in a previous thread......funny how the koolaid drinkers name call far more than the supposed nasty darksiders on this blog.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

On Chimera, I have been guilty of not following my own rules when evaluating a player.

IMO, the best way to evaluate a player is a combination of statisical data and the eye test. You need to match them up to get a better understanding of how effective a player is.

With Chimera I have defended him because he makes a few great plays with his lightning speed, such as negating an icing or getting a breakout pass.

However, statisically he is one of the worst Caps. Stats don't lie, the goal is to use stats to better understand what is going on. Well, while Chimera looks good here and there, overall he is not effective and is a drain on the team.

Especially as a 3rd liner. He has hands of stone. As a 4th liner you can deal with it, but when he starts being put on lines that need to have skill he does horribly.

Maybe a key would be to find a replacement for him(won't happen). He can't play anything but a 4th line role, and we already have plenty of those who are better.

In addition, Brooks Laich is the most overrated player on the Caps. He is nothing more than a good 3rd line player. He should not get anything more than $2.5M/yr(and I think only $2M/yr).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think our role players simply aren't good enough.

Chimera
Gordon
Laich
Steckel
Poti
Schultz

Look at any other team in contention - Their 3rd and 4th line guys are either much more scrappy or much more skilled. Whereas our players of this ilk are either not scrappy enough or not skilled enough.

Outside of our top two lines and top two d pairings, our output is basically null.

Balanced scoring and defense wins championships.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | January 13, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

We get it, you are the President of the Flush fan club. The guy was a defensive liability so third line duty for him should never happen. A third line is a CHECKING line, just look at 90% of the NHL teams out there and you will see that. Now you can start calling me names and question my "leadership" qualities as you did in a previous thread......funny how the koolaid drinkers name call far more than the supposed nasty darksiders on this blog.

Posted by: PhilR

When did I question your leadership ability? Did I direct anything toward you in the previous thread or threads? I don't even remember if you posted anything.

On the 3rd line being the checking line, I specifically said the Hendricks/Steckel?Beagle line WOULD BE THE CHECKING LINE!

They would have the duties of facing opposing teams top line. It doesn't matter what order a write them on a post, all that matters is when they are put on the ice and I specifically stated that line would be the checking line. If they are the checking line then Flash's line wouldn't be.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Now you know why I started calling for trading Chimera as early as last spring.

Not good enough offensively for #2 line.

Not good enough defensively for #3 line.

Not gritty enough (and overpaid) for #4 line.

He's yet another square peg this team tries to force into the round holes.

Flash, BTW, I always said would be effective as a #1LW on a team with two gritty #1 forwards. Problem here is a team really only MUST have one or two good snipers and we have all our players trying to snipe.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

sgm: Now you know why I started calling for trading Chimera as early as last spring.

Not good enough offensively for #2 line.

Not good enough defensively for #3 line.

Not gritty enough (and overpaid) for #4 line.

He's yet another square peg this team tries to force into the round holes.

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

I was wrong about Chimera. But unfortunately he is probably untradeable(who would take him at that salary). It was a good deal to get him for Chris Clark(who is now worse and more overpaid) but he doesn't belong on the team.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Flush/MJ/Fehr is not an energy line either which is what a 4th line is per hockey history. You just get further and further out there every day, obviously GMGM and BB feel that last years offensive juggernaut of three scoring lines was not the way to go and changed their philosophy this year.....you on the other hand are still stuck in mamby pamby land.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

At one point you say stats dont lie and then you call Brooks the most overrated player on the team. Neil's stats said that the team has the most scoring chances when Brooks is on the ice? So are you saying that stats do lie then??? Im totally confused by you Oh Great One. I wait for your Almighty reply. Please enlighten us that know so very little. Either stats do lie, or you are blind...or quite possibly a combination of the two. Down on my knees bowing to you.

Posted by: ThePat | January 13, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'll take the scoring dip in the regular season in exchange for not seeing Flash play for the Caps in the playoffs.

Being challeneged in the division is the best thing that ever happened to this Caps team, so who care if they end up second? Pittsburgh didn't win their division the year they won the cup.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 13, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Flush/MJ/Fehr is not an energy line either which is what a 4th line is per hockey history. You just get further and further out there every day, obviously GMGM and BB feel that last years offensive juggernaut of three scoring lines was not the way to go and changed their philosophy this year.....you on the other hand are still stuck in mamby pamby land.

Posted by: PhilR |

So you are saying that Flash/MJ/Fehr couldn't play 4th line minutes because they are too skilled? If they were worse players who just went out and didn't accomplish much that would be better?

The 4th line is usually an "energy line" because teams are out of skilled enough players to put on a 4th line. That's why it was like that.

Flash/MJ/Fehr would be able to go against the other teams 3rd D pairing and probably 4th line. I would love that matchup. They would score more goals then they would let up(the purpose of the game).

You need to have a defensive line(the checking line), but to say that Flash/MJ/Fehr couldn't play 4th line minutes is, well, ridiculous.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Like somebody said previously a slump is something that occurs over a few games not SIX WEEKS! When you look at this team there is unbelievable talent. On paper one of the most talented and deep teams in the league. So how is it that a 50-60+ goal scorer is on pace for

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

I give up, you are simply unbelievable...so you are telling me that GMGM has drafted sooooooooooo much better than all the other GM's in the NHL that he has all this access skill??!! NO, that simply is not the case, other GM's SEE the need for an energy/grit line and they have been employed since the inception of the NHL. Maybe you need to go back and read a little NHL history, oh I forgot you know more than every GM throughout the history of the NHL!

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Flash is causing Ovi to whiff on shots from 10 feet in front of the goal. His unbelievable powers cause that puck to have backspin on it last night as Ovi left the box. If Flash were on this team the bounces would have gone our way. Dont you believe that at all...doesnt it all make sense.

Posted by: ThePat | January 13, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@Sgm

I understand what our record is over the last 10 games and that's great. My problem is, we don't pass "the eye ball test". Last yr we dominated teams. We always had the puck, we scored at will. Refs were hesitant to call penalties on opposing teams late in games because they knew we'd score on the PP. It was the most dominating PP I've seen in a long time.

I can't remember how far back the stat went but our PP over the past few wks is operating at 9.1% efficiency. NINE %! The team today isn't even a shadow of itself from last yr. I don't believe there is a new "system" in place either. Our D still jumps in very aggressively (which I like) but lets say for sake of argument that you believe we do have a new defensive system. How does that affect the PP? The answer is it doesn't. You don't play a more "defensive" PP. If 1 player or a couple are struggling then you can address it by changing things for the player(s), when you have a whole team struggling for 2+ months you've got to change the coach. There's a reason the NHL has the shortest tenure of coaches in all the major sports.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Should be "excess" not "access"....getting me all wound up here so I'm typing too quickly.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

That was a horrible scrimmage vs. Tampa last night. Hopefully, they will not play that poorly when the regular season starts and the points matter.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 13, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

pokerface,

Welcome to reality man, really nice of you to join the rest of us. What size black hooded cloak should I order you?

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

sgm3,

As far as you questioning my "leadership" skills the proof is below since you "did not recall addressing me specifically."

The Caps are exactly 7 pts out of 9th place, that is not "pretty far ahead" IMO!

Posted by: PhilR

Absolutely true.

On the other hand, the Caps are only 4 points out of 1st place in the East. That is even less far ahead.

I have to point out again that the Caps are tied for the SECOND BEST RECORD in the NHL over the past 10 games at 6-1-3(15 points). Only Vancouver has been better over that stretch. Boston has been equal.

That's it. So to say their results of late have been horrible is completely wrong. Is it time for the other 27 teams to fire their coaches and get rid of all of their players?

There are problems that the Caps need to improve upon. They need to do that. I also agree that BB is definitely on the hot seat. If the team performs poorly through the end of January I could see him fired. His coaching tenure may have run its course. It just seems how hockey is, coaches are good for a few years and then need to leave as their message stops getting through.

However, the overreaction to one game in January on here is ridiculous. I really hope none of you are in a proefession that demands leadership because that would be scary.

Posted by: sgm3

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I give up, you are simply unbelievable...so you are telling me that GMGM has drafted sooooooooooo much better than all the other GM's in the NHL that he has all this access skill??!! NO, that simply is not the case, other GM's SEE the need for an energy/grit line and they have been employed since the inception of the NHL. Maybe you need to go back and read a little NHL history, oh I forgot you know more than every GM throughout the history of the NHL!

Posted by: PhilR

You can't get energy and grit from other lines? The third line? Ovie's line(when on) doesn't give energy? Energy and grit are important to have, but that doesn't have to solely come from your 4th line.

I never said that GMGM has draft soooooooooooooooooo much better than other GMs. The problem right now is that the Caps do not have enough skill on their lower line(i.e. Chimera, Laich). I like the Caps checking line and the grit and energy and defensive prowess it shows. I could care less that it has little skill. It gets it job done, going against the opposing teams top line. After that, the other guys have to think about scoring some.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a good, forechecking 4th line that is great defensively and taps in an occasional goal. That is fine. But having a skilled 4th line that can keep on applying pressure on the opposing team is also good. I love how some people find it appalling that a 4th line player might have enough skill to score goals. One reason the Blackhawks were so dominant last year was that the team was skilled from lines 1-4. All of them were a threat to score goals.

The reason the Caps made the trade was the need to improve the defense. It did that, Hannan has improved the defense. I'm just saying that the move to improve the defense ended up hurting the Caps offense much more than expected.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

understand what our record is over the last 10 games and that's great. My problem is, we don't pass "the eye ball test". Last yr we dominated teams. We always had the puck, we scored at will. Refs were hesitant to call penalties on opposing teams late in games because they knew we'd score on the PP. It was the most dominating PP I've seen in a long time.

I can't remember how far back the stat went but our PP over the past few wks is operating at 9.1% efficiency. NINE %! The team today isn't even a shadow of itself from last yr. I don't believe there is a new "system" in place either. Our D still jumps in very aggressively (which I like) but lets say for sake of argument that you believe we do have a new defensive system. How does that affect the PP? The answer is it doesn't. You don't play a more "defensive" PP. If 1 player or a couple are struggling then you can address it by changing things for the player(s), when you have a whole team struggling for 2+ months you've got to change the coach. There's a reason the NHL has the shortest tenure of coaches in all the major sports.

Posted by: pokerface1208

I agree with you on the PP. There are many things the Caps need to improve on, the PP being the most important.

If they continue to play like they did last night, then a coaching change will likely happen. I'm not completely against a possible coaching change, but I don't believe you do it because of one bad game.

I don't know what goes on in the locker room, but if the players have stopped listening to BB then that's when you need to make a coaching change.

If they do make a coaching change, I agree that they should go to a disciplinarian coach. When you make coaching changes you generally go from a disciplinarian to a more relaxed guy or the other way around.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

You are absolutely crazy if you cannot see a dramatic shift in how the Caps, as a team, play their system.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

" I really hope none of you are in a proefession that demands leadership because that would be scary."

@PhilR

Well the beginning of the post was directed toward you, but that line was directed to a group of people, not one person. That group does encompass you, so if you react in work how you react to the Caps then I do question your leadership abilities.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

You are absolutely crazy if you cannot see a dramatic shift in how the Caps, as a team, play their system.
------------------------------

You should try telling that to Keith Jones, Eddie Olcyk and Billy Jaffe on Versus because they said last night that they watched the game very carefully and they saw absolutely no sign of the "new system" that everyone's been talking about.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we are one of the deeper teams in the league. Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Chicago...all have far greater scoring depth than we do. Last regular season was a mirage, it doesn't matter. Quit trying to compare this year's team to last year's measuring stick.

As for a role players, I actually think we have one of the tighter bottom 6 groups in the league. The bottom 6 routinely gets in a good shift on the forecheck on the other team. They just haven't been able to find the puck in the net.

BB should not be fired. However, he has to find a way to get some offense, even strength and from the PP, or else we aren't going to win any games. You can play all the defense you want, if you aren't scoring it doesn't matter.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

If they continue to play like they did last night, then a coaching change will likely happen. I'm not completely against a possible coaching change, but I don't believe you do it because of one bad game. *sgm3*
-----------------------------------------
Huh? 1 bad game? You've been saying our goals per game avg has gone down since Flash was traded. How many games ago was that? This isn't 1 bad game. Before too long this is gonna turn into 1 bad SEASON.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

sgm3,

Absolutely love the name calling out of posters like you, way to stay classy!

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

But Dan Bylsma and Guy Boucher have each said in the past week that the Caps have changed their system.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

You are absolutely crazy if you cannot see a dramatic shift in how the Caps, as a team, play their system.
------------------------------

You should try telling that to Keith Jones, Eddie Olcyk and Billy Jaffe on Versus because they said last night that they watched the game very carefully and they saw absolutely no sign of the "new system" that everyone's been talking about.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------------
That's exactly what I've been saying. There is no new "system". There might be more "awareness" to playing defense but no new system. This is just the team trying to explain the lack of offense which is completely bogus. Like I've said even is there is a new system is has zero to do the PP and our PP sucks @ss right now and has for a while.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Chicago...all have far greater scoring depth than we do"

I agree completely.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

First, do you really think any of those three guys watched the game "very carefully?"

My first piece of evidence as to why and how the Caps changed their system; they employ a 1-2-2 rather than the usual 1-3-1 now.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have adjusted from playing a 1-3-1 to employing a 1-2-2 now. It's pretty obvious. But I guess Keith Jones, Eddie Olyzck, and Billy Jaffe's brilliant "careful" analysis of the game makes you believe otherwise.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"Vancouver, Detroit, Philly, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Chicago...all have far greater scoring depth than we do."

I agree completely.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"You should try telling that to Keith Jones, Eddie Olcyk and Billy Jaffe on Versus because they said last night that they watched the game very carefully and they saw absolutely no sign of the "new system" that everyone's been talking about."

---

If they can't see a difference in the defensive system this team is playing, they're either lying or stupid. Perhaps there's a reason they are employed by a channel that so few people actually get.

The Defensive changes are obvious, the problem is that BB is trying to shoehorn his offensive system into the new defensive focus, and it's not working.

It's not working because his offensive system *only* works at the expense of the defense. It's designed to generate odd-man rushes and that necessitates bailing out of the defensive zone as early as possible, often times pre-emptively so.

He doesn't know how to coach a "half-court" offense, nor does how know how to coach players on how to properly crash and play in front of the net. These are the two things your *need* to do when you focus on defensive hockey.

But he won't, or can't. I don't know. It's obvious that he's still insisting on at least one FWD bailing out of the defensive zone early to try and create a rush, the problem is that everyone else is playing defense still, and these odd-man rushes are odd the wrong way. This new style is creating 1-2 and 1-3 man rushes, and that's not going to get you anywhere.

Concise version: He used to hurt defense by committing to offense, now he's hurting both by committing to neither.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Seems like people are finally "getting it" about BB, his incompetence managing the roster, and the passive/meek/heartless nature of the team. I saw your comment on another thread about how maybe a coaching change is needed (but after the season.) I almost fell out of my seat!!

I know I wasn't one of the sporadic posters who only show-up after a loss that you took umbrage with....you know I've been here win or loss singing the same song. I just can't believe THAT YOU'RE NOW JUST STARTING TO UNDERSTAND THE LYRICS. It's made my day......peace

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 13, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"My first piece of evidence as to why and how the Caps changed their system; they employ a 1-2-2 rather than the usual 1-3-1 now"

That's exactly what Dan Bylsma and Guy Boucher said.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@VtDuffman

Great analysis, but we have to give BB a little bit of rope here. It's going to take some time for everything to start clicking under a new system, and I have no doubt that guys are getting confused sometimes and doing something they maybe were not supposed to do. I think it needs a bit more time before we sink our teeth in.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

don't really care what "system" they were playing last night, except for Varly all I saw was a bunch of over-paid hockey players who had no interest in battling for anything.

Their 3rd period performance was especially pathetic, only 3 shots on goal till about two minutes left in the game.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely love the name calling out of posters like you, way to stay classy!

Posted by: PhilR

I don't think I called you a name, I just questioned your ability.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

pokerface,

Welcome to reality man, really nice of you to join the rest of us. What size black hooded cloak should I order you?

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Yes I'm pissed but it's mostly frustration so yes I'm a bit out of character right now. Look I've been a fan since the mid 70's, been in the game all my life in many different roles, seen many things at many different levels but I can't remember ever seeing anything like this for this long. This is the best team (on paper) that has ever taken the ice IMO. I felt we had a legitimate shot at the Cup last year and feel we have an even better shot this year. So to see this much talent, this much promise just wilting away is extemely frustrating. You don't get many shots at winning the Cup. That's why there's an incredible amount of teams that make it to the Finals and then don't make the playoffs the next year.

This team is failing and it's not because of GMGM. I don't even think BB is a bad coach but like I said I've seen it a million times and this team is no longer responding to BB. They need a new voice, a new direction or this is gonna be a wasted season. That would be really unfortunate.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Fair enough, but all I am saying is that, simply by watching how the Caps play now, their have been adjustments to the system. Most of them are going to be unnoticeable until we get a good sample, but it's at least very obvious that the Caps do not run-and-gun at a 1-3-1, like Guy Boucher actually, and are trying to employ a 1-2-2.

I can agree with you, but I just want to remind people that their has been a change in the system and it's going to take some time.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

they gave up about 40 shots on goal back to back, a lot of them point-blank chances... some system they got.

can't score, can't defend... is that really the new system is designed to do??? LMAO

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

there*

Also, in regards to Katie's actual post, Varlamov is the #1 goaltender. I've been saying this since the end of last Spring, no knock on Neuvy, but he isn't quite the goaltender Varly is right now. I thought it was apparent last year, but whatever. I just pray that he remains healthy.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"don't really care what "system" they were playing last night,"

---

If you don't care what system they're playing, why did you bring up that the VS guys didn't notice a new system?

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@richmond then why is the PP so bad? If the system has reduced us from 1st in the league at 25% efficiency to last in the league (over the past month) at 9%?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: FrankM73 | January 13, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I can agree with you, but I just want to remind people that their has been a change in the system and it's going to take some time.
---------------------------------------

My question has always been why didn't they start trying out this new system from the training camp? They waited till they hit rock bottom and basically had no choice but to try something new during the season.

Didn't they think they had hit rock-bottom when they lost to Montreal in the playoffs???

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

is that really the new system is designed to do??? LMAO

Posted by: joek443

They did go 8 straight games giving up 2 goals or less and went 6-0-2 during that time. And during that stretch the Caps scored more than 3 goals only once.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Phrase it however you want sgm3, the insults (if that is a better word) and name calling out of koolaid posters like you are beyond hilarious. And then when someone like cstanton or vermontcaps comes on and gives you a dose of your own medicine you get indignant over it, classic!

pokerface,

I have been calling for BB's head since last years postseason debacle and my opinion certainly hasn't changed by the performance this year, he has lost the team....plain and simple and needs to go. Oh, please have him take Poti with him!

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If you don't care what system they're playing, why did you bring up that the VS guys didn't notice a new system?
-------------------------------------

you mean the system in which one guy (Green) tries to beat 5 defenders???

I saw one team playing their system to perfection last night and it wasn't the Caps.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

then why is the PP so bad? If the system has reduced us from 1st in the league at 25% efficiency to last in the league (over the past month) at 9%?

Posted by: pokerface1208 |

Didn't you yourself say that the two have nothing to do with each other? What are you even trying to ask me? The changes in the system, namely a 1-2-2 from a 1-3-1, have absolutely nothing to do with the PP. Yeah know...that same PP that disappeared last year in the playoffs with the run-and-gun system....

You want to know one problem with the PP? Take Ovie off the point, and please, please, please, please put Carlson on the first unit. That would alleviate so many problems of the PP so quickly and easily...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I never insulted you, just questioning you and your abilities. That's all.

-----
then why is the PP so bad? If the system has reduced us from 1st in the league at 25% efficiency to last in the league (over the past month) at 9%?

Posted by: pokerface1208 |

If you have the answer to this then please give it to the Caps. I have no idea why the PP is so inept this year. The only thought I have on how to fix it is bringing in another player who can play the point well, preferably a left-handed shot(i.e. M-A Bergeron, although that's too late now).

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

MA Bergeron sucks though. His only positive trait is his booming shot (one of the best in the league, probably), and I think the roster spot can be better suited for someone who brings a little bit more.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | January 13, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what system they employ, 1-2-2, 1-3-1, 2-2-1, 2-1-2, 0-3-2, 0-0-5, 5-0-0 or whatever else is out there.

If the guys don't compete and execute, every one of those systems will FAIL.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"I saw one team playing their system to perfection last night and it wasn't the Caps."

---

To be fair, the system that the Bolts are running right now is eerily similar to the way the caps were playing last year. against most teams not named us, it's about as defensively effective as we were last year, too. Their GAA is really bad, and I think someone posted on here yesterday that they actually have a negative goal differential.

If I had money to wager, I'll bet the Bolts will be about as successful in the Playoffs this year as we were last.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

MA Bergeron sucks though. His only positive trait is his booming shot (one of the best in the league, probably), and I think the roster spot can be better suited for someone who brings a little bit more.

Posted by: richmondphil2

True, M-A Bergeron sucks at everything else but he would provide that one strength.

Playing Bergeron would basically be equivalent to suiting up an enforcer. They play about 3 or 4 minutes in the game for a very specific role, except Bergeron would help produce goals.

It's a moot point since he is with Tampa now, but it would've been interesting.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The thing you have to be impressed about Tampa is who's in charge of that hockey team. They were blown out in the first two matches against the Caps this year, gave up 6 goals in each game.

Then they turned things around against us completely. That's something you never the Caps do last year.

Posted by: joek443 | January 13, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The PP has nothing to do with left and right handed shots. It sucks because all our players just stand there. The 1-3-1 PP does not work. We need 2 guys down in front of the net and movement from the other 3 guys. Move the puck, slide into the middle, let the oppposite guy fill up top and then pop back out. Its pretty simple. If you move the puck and move yourself, shot lanes are created. Then you just have to shoot the puck.

@sgm3

please just go away, you ruin the dialogue on this board. You are rude and condescending in your approach to replying to people. You try to be subtle but you arent. Even PhilR will agree with me and Im sure others will as well.

Can we vote sgm3 off the island??? Anyone??

Posted by: ThePat | January 13, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

ThePat,

If only we could do just that I would be a very happy man!

Completely agree with you on the PP. These guys have just become stagnant and don't want to do the work required to get the job done. Once again, that is on the coach and player leadership of the team. There is simply no escaping the root cause of the problem.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The team has been in a bad funk since the beginning of December. Blame it on the top players slumping (Ovie, Backstrom, Semin) or a poor PP, but a more experienced coach would have changed things up by now. Even with the better D and solid goaltending, the Caps no longer have the swagger that scared teams from taking penalties. It's pretty obvious teams have figured out the Caps power play system and don't worry much about going shorthanded against us. The same goes for our system in 5 on 5 situations.

BB was given a chance to work the team out of the 8-game losing slide, but the play of the team overall hasn't been much better even when they've won games. The team's confidence is shaky at best and Ovie is trying to cary the team on his shoulders. Before the Caps dip further down in the standings, GMGM needs to bring a veteran coach to see if a new voice and changes in strategy will work for this team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | January 13, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

New thread.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

Please just go away, you ruin the dialogue on this board. You are rude and condescending in your approach to replying to people. You try to sound smart but you arent.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

what do you think about going after Seabrook espn has a rumor on him... maybe trade eakin? 2nd trade for him this week? Food for thought

Posted by: patljr7 | January 13, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

what do you think about going after Seabrook espn has a rumor on him... maybe trade eakin? 2nd trade for him this week? Food for thought

Posted by: patljr7 | January 13, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

If they can't see a difference in the defensive system this team is playing, they're either lying or stupid. Perhaps there's a reason they are employed by a channel that so few people actually get.

The Defensive changes are obvious, the problem is that BB is trying to shoehorn his offensive system into the new defensive focus, and it's not working.
*VTDuffman*
------------------------------------------
Well then count me in as stupid too. There is no change that I can see. Sometimes I see Backstrom staying up high instead of coming down low (a la Ron Wilson's system) but for the most part very little to no change. Oh wait, maybe our new defensive system involves us not scoring so maybe we're playing D on ourselves.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | January 13, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

No positives, their goalies are shutting us out, we are not doing the same, this is a team of losers.

Posted by: DCFanatic | January 13, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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