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Sens 3, Caps 2

After the Caps' 5-4 loss in Montreal on Jan. 10, the Caps were distraught over their last-second defeat. After last night's 3-2 loss in Ottawa, they were mad.

And rightfully so.

Alexander Semin attempted to right a wrong by taking the puck back from Daniel Alfredsson after a turnover. Instead, he wound up tripping the Sens' captain, setting up Ottawa's third power play goal of the game (scored by Brendan Bell) with 1:22 left to play.

That's right. All three of the Sens' goals came against a Caps' penalty kill that hasn't been able to kill much of anything lately. In fact, the unit has allowed at least one power play goal against in each of the past eight games.

"If the [penalty kill] doesn't start getting better, we're not going nowhere," Boudreau said. "And guys are going to start losing their penalty killing jobs if they don't start getting with the program. That's horrendous."

Boudreau was on a roll tonight.

"We were stupid," he added. "We deserved to lose. We didn't come to play in the first and third period, and when you don't come to play in two of the three periods, you're not going to win the hockey game."

And the Caps didn't.

Some other notes and quotes from Place Banque Scotia:

*The Caps have taken 239 minor penalties, the fifth most in the league - a stat that's not lost on Brooks Laich and his teammates.

"We should know by now about the penalties," Laich said. "They are inexcusable. The hooking and tripping penalties are tough to kill off. It's tough to win every night when you take those penalties. As a guy that plays on the power play, when the other teams gets to five or six [penalties], you're dissecting their penalty kill."

*Boudreau on Semin's penalty:

"I don't have any clue," he said when asked what Semin was attempting to accomplish with his diving swipe at Alfredsson.

"It's a question of stupid, dumb and selfish," Boudreau said. "When you're on the road you play for the tie and then you win it in overtime. That's what we did last night and that's what you had to do today. I mean, that's what winning is all about and you've got to learn how to win. Right now, there are some guys that know how to play [but] they just don't know how to win."

*Jose Theodore was solid again, stopping 31 shots. But he was thrown off by Bell's game-winner, which hit defenseman Karl Alzner on the shin, then bounced back to Bell.

"Jose was reacting to the first shot," Boudreau said. "And the puck went right back to [Bell] and it went in. We would have lost long ago if it wasn't for Jose. So I'm not blaming him. I'm blaming selfish, lazy play on our part."

*Bell, the Sens' hero tonight, was a healthy scratch the previous three games.

*Penalties weren't all that dragged the Caps down tonight. The effort level was wildly inconsistent. Weak in the first period (seven shots). Strong in the second period (19 shots). And weak again in the third period, when they mustered just five shots on prospect Brian Elliott.

One day after almost getting burned by the Islanders, the Caps once again played down to the level of their opponent.

*The Caps' power play wasn't very good, either. It finished 0- for-5, including a brief (25 seconds) five on three. Elliott left several juicy rebounds, but -- stop me if you've heard this before -- there was no one in front to capitalize.

*The Caps could have moved over .500 on the road with a win. Instead, they fell to 11-12-2. That's not good enough for a team with championship aspirations.

Anyway, that's it from me tonight. The Caps are not scheduled to practice until 4 p.m. next Monday at Boston College. But the blog isn't going on hiatus as I'll in Montreal starting Friday morning for the all-star festivities.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 20, 2009; 11:52 PM ET
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Stupid, dumb, horrendous, lazy, selfish -- not the words one wants to hear from their coach. I'll bet both coaches & players will be glad for a short break from one another.

Posted by: uncatim | January 21, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

bb has it bang out the lazy then sit them .........get ov off the pk
let lazy selfish vets realize there are people in hershey who would work a whole lot harder than they have been doing

Posted by: wendel2 | January 21, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Stupid, dumb, horrendous, lazy, selfish--all the words a team needs to hear when they are true of their play tonight.

Posted by: amorris525 | January 21, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

53 time?

Posted by: wendel2 | January 21, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

amorris525: Believe me -- I am not criticizing Coach BB. I'm just commenting on the likelihood of some upcoming & unpleasant "coachable moments".

Posted by: uncatim | January 21, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Congrats to the coach. At least he doesn't mince his words. Again I'm not sure how he employs the penalty kill but this passive box needs to go. Guys need to start skating in the opposition's face. Oh well. Enough said about this game.

Tarik - way to hit the nail on the head about the road record not being good enough for a team with championship aspirations. You get an Amen. Have fun in Montreal.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers

Posted by: Jonathan6 | January 21, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

sounds like tarik is also mad at the caps... i like it.

Posted by: BigMogilny | January 21, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

@ Tarik
I feel your frustrations.... great team, but sometimes wanker mistakes...
Nice goal for Feds tonight, great to see him getting back to himself.... any word on what he thinks of how he's doing lately?

Posted by: seryogaSone | January 21, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

BB has it exactly right. Tarik's piece was also very insightful. It was a senseless loss, due to sloppy and lazy playing. Three penalties in the first period alone, and another three in the 3d period! Basically we only played for one period.

We are fifth in the league in minor penalties AND our PK is in trouble? Not a goof combination.

Posted by: caraveli | January 21, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Oops. I meant "good" and not "goof" of course.

Posted by: caraveli | January 21, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

maybe the Caps should call up Q. Lang and actually kill off a penalty for a change.

Posted by: dml1077 | January 21, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

I love that Nylander is whinning about reduced playing time. He had plenty of time when Federov was out for so long and what did he do? Squat! I hope that with Feds now healthy that Nylander can be traded away freeing up space and money for a hungry player from the Bears, like Bourque or Osala.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | January 21, 2009 2:57 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from DC. Being a bit lazy, but is there any point in this game I should actually watch, or should I just hit delete?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | January 21, 2009 4:13 AM | Report abuse


it depends. If you have a pervert sadist side, then watch it. If pain pleases you, then watch it. If chaos, anarchy stimulates your senses, then watch it. If you feed upon dumbness and laziness then watch it. If your brain not only understands but approves of the illogical, then watch it.

Otherwise, no.

Posted by: mauree | January 21, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse


Well said.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

The Caps---a highly skilled team, but a long way from being a good team let alone an elite team.
It is time for the Caps to stop believing their press clippings & start to earn the millions they are being paid. I f we, the readers of this blog, did our jobs as this team does, we would be getting our pink slips. At this point, being young is no excuse. Making a mistake is one thing, but just not giving a damn is inexcusable.

We on this blog keep talking about the team needing a S@H d-man, but our needs are greater.Caps needs as follows:

1---effort & hard work every game for 60 mins.( some will say that the second period was a good one for the Caps. I disagree. It was more of the Sens. playing with less effort for that period)

2---learn how to put the puck on net---especially Ovie.

3---learn how to be somewhat consistent in passing.

4---stop acting childish at times--Semin @ a few others

5---offense players must play defensively EVERY night. They have enough skill to score often even when playing a tight d-game.

I could go on & on, but what the use. Oh, & finally don't take of completely some nights in playing phisically as they did last night.

Finally, Mike Green, if you are going to hit Toutoo in the face, take your glove off & do it hard enough so it takes him awhile to get back up. Actually Toutoo dived & the totally blind refs let that go also.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

One other thing---Helmer is way out of his league. The worst of all the D callups.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Make that Ruutu, not Touto.

Posted by: sidehillman | January 21, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

My hats off to the Caps for a great first half.

I cant wait for the Boston game, and then the Red Wings come to town.

The Ottawa game was the 3rd game in 4 nights, and you cant play well every night. Lets keep rockin the red, and this team will be ready come April.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 21, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

You have to acknowledge one thing with this team -- the "All for one...and one for all" syndrome. They either all play exceptionally well or they all fall down --but it's always together. Although we have a lot of "star" players, and whole bunch of other guys that are always as solid as can be (like Brads and Gordon), it's never just one guy not playing well. In the end, however, I think that this amounts to the Caps "Secret Sauce." Let's not give up on them, just yet. Anyone watching the games at the end of last season could see how they were just playing for each other (even though we'd like to believe they were playing for us). I am confident that they will persevere and pull through again. In the meantime, however, please fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 21, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

@ SA-Town

Ah a voice of reason. Finally.
So we need a few things to concentrate on for the second half/play-off drive. Things could be a hole lot worse then a PK unit that needs some tweaking.

Funny thing on Versus, the color guy was prasing our agressive type of P killing and dissing the PK of the Sens for letting the Caps set it up, at the time we had given up 2 PP goals and they had killed off all of ours.

I see the boys getting a couple days off, then getting re-focused for the stretch run.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | January 21, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse


Well said and agreed.

My seatbelt is fastened, tray tables and seat backs in the upright position...

And here... we ... go...

Posted by: Roose | January 21, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I would still like to know why:
1) Jeff Schultz is still on the Power Play
2) Jeff Schultz logged more time than Erskine, Alzner, Jurcina, etc.
3) Jeff Schultz is still able to play at the professional level?

Posted by: capsfan55 | January 21, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The effort in the past 2 games, apart from the 2nd period last night was horse-bleep. The Caps need to work on the PK, and they need to get some people motivated. A major shake-up isn't needed, but something needs to be done.

How about taking the "C" from Clark and giving it to the one guy who is putting out every night and not taking penalties: Alzner.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | January 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Re: Schultz,

1) 30 seconds worth?
2) Ask the coach
3) In no order:

a) Because he plays the game positionally well

b) Because he's the youngest on the team and still learning

c) Because BB/GMGM like his size and cap number

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you about giving the boys a hearty congrats on the first half. But we have all heard it a million times. The regular season means nothing once the playoffs begin. That will be the true test of this team. (Hopefully this is THE year...but maybe not)
Everybody wants to say things about what GMGM should do, or what BB should do, or who we should trade.
Let's look back a few seasons...shall we?
I think it's safe to say we are headed in the right direction.

Posted by: pmoravek | January 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Can't blame it all on Sasha, but he blew it. Big time. I hope he learned his lesson. He takes tons of stick penalties out of frustration.

I agree with MikeL-Caps91 that we should take the C from Clark. In fact, I think we should trade or waive him. Ovie deserves the C, he is our leader. Shows up at camp to skate with the prospects, drives to Philly to watch a pre-season game, takes the team on his back night after night, best player in the world. Clarkie was the right guy during the rebuild, but has been hurt and ineffective this season and last. Anyone who thinks this isn't Ovie's team is kidding themselves.

Posted by: griz0615 | January 21, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse


Your log on would indicate that you are a FAN of #55, but your comments would contradict that.

Have you forgotten "In Bruce We Trust"?

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 21, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

One more thing...

Enough with the "OH!!!" during the Star Spangled Banner. Seriously. I know we've done it forever, ever since I started going to games in 1985 we were doing it, but its a Baltimore Orioles thing. The O's. Get it?

We are the Caps. We Rock the Red. How about "...And the rockets' !!!RED!!! Glare.." instead?

Posted by: griz0615 | January 21, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Tarik -

Do you know if the Caps practice at Boston University is open to the public as I will be in Boston at that time and would love to take it in if open.


Posted by: robblahs | January 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I think that Gabby should have a nice little talk with Mr. Semin (through a translator) and stress to him that taking stupid, careless penalties is unacceptable. Semin has a history of taking lazy penalties, often times at the wrong time and the Caps end up paying for it in the end. When you go around the league and you look at the top stars in the game right now, Semin easily fits into the group of names; however, his laziness often times overshadows his ability to be a dominating force and a game changer like he proved to be on Saturday vs. the Bruins. I love Semin to death and am glad he's a Capital. But either Ovie, Kozlov or Federov need to sit him down and express the importance of not taking lazy penalties that put the team at risk...especially during close games such as last nights game.

Other then that there is no doubt that this is the best Washington Capitals team that has ever played. We're going into the AS break with our best points standings in a while. We have a tremendous home record while our road record is slowly climbing. Our PP is highly ranked even though the PK needs some help. Our goaltending could be better, but Theo is starting to step up his game and Johnny has proven himself all season long. On top of that we have depth not just on the Caps roster but all the way down through the Hershey roster. When most times would have laid down and played dead with the amount of injuries the Caps have sustained this year our guys stepped their game up and the young guys called up from Hershey made a great impact which put the Caps in the position they are currently in. We've seen Flash mature overnight before our eyes, we're getting secondary scoring from Laich, Green and Federov when he's healthy. On top of that, the Caps have been every big time team in the Eastern Conference including the Bruins twice which is something no one has been able to do all season.

In closing I'm so excited about this Capitals team and I'm very proud to walk around with my Capitals apparel and wear it with pride when I couldn't really do so in years past. So, lets get healthy during the AS break and when the boys return to the ice lets continue to Rock the Red and push these young men into the playoffs and hope that this year we stick around a little longer in the playoffs then just the first round!


Posted by: mlewis31 | January 21, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse


Couldn't agree more. "O" is for the Orioles. If we MUST yell out something during that part of our National Anthem, then let's agree it should be "O-V" not "O". Can I get an "Amen" on that?

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 21, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

THAT my the best idea I have heard in a while.
Post that up on the new blog

Posted by: pmoravek | January 21, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse


I am but a newbie in the blog world...what "new blog" do you mean?

Posted by: Caps16Fan | January 21, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

HEY BOUDREAU! Want to talk "stupid"?

How bout benching Nylander? How bout not yelling at the refs after the Sens run our goalie twice in one shift, leading to a goal?

Time for BB to take some heat.

Posted by: notfadeaway | January 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse


It is definitely Ovie's team - I think it's a relic of the past to have Clark with the C. Maybe it would be embarrassing to him to take it away? Does anyone have any inkling WHY Clark has the C in the first place?

Posted by: ralph4100 | January 21, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Caps are still too loose on the penalty kill. They really pack in and play a passive style. I'd love to see some aggressive PKers who crowd the board and get out on the point. This is the same PK we saw most of last year and through the playoffs. And it will kill then when they reach the postseason this year. And Tarik's right again: No one in front of the net. Too many fancy pants out there sometimes. They need a couple of hard-nosed guys crashing the net. I think the Caps have the potential to be a top NHL team, but they do have some glaring deficiencies they need to address first. We've seen how great they can be (against the Bruins) and how bad they can be (against Isles and Sens). I hope the second half brings out the best in the Caps as they pursue a playoff spot. I have faith that they'll start to improve. (But, truthfully, I'm a tad unsure about whether that PK gets any better.)

Posted by: CDon | January 21, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Not a good third period. After coming out and dominating the 2nd it looked like they just sat back and were playing for the tie from the start of the 3rd. If there are under 5 minutes left it doesn't hurt to go for at least a point but don't start doing that with 1/3 of the game remaining.

Really bad play be Semin. He had an angle to just take Alfie to the boards and not give him anywhere to go but tried to go right through him instead. Bit of bad luck there at the end. Clearing attempt went off the ref, Alzner did make a pretty good block but the puck went right back to the Sens player. Little bit dangerous to block like that though. If the puck goes through the goalie is pretty screened.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 21, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse


Nylander had nothing to do with this game. this game was decided by:

1. Our PK stinking.
2. Our D not moving the puck.
3. Taking too many dumb penalties, as usua

Posted by: DrAdamson | January 21, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Last nights defense unit,Alzner 20,Schultz,22,(141 nhl games),Green 23,Jurcina 25,Helmer (146 nhl games),and the vet of the group Eskine.Enought said. Still alot of young players learning.

Posted by: sporttraveler | January 21, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to be a professional player, coach, or even genius hockey analyst to recognize the crystal logic proven by last nights results.

Given that:

1) You have not allowed an Even-strength goal agains in over 200 minutes of play,

2) You have allowed at least one power-play goal against in the last 7 straight games, and

3) Your penalty kill has not--to put it kindly--been as effective as your power play, it therefore follows that:

4) If you stay out of the #$%^&**?! box= then you WIN more often than not.

Had we focused on disciplned play last night, final score would have been Caps 2, Sens 0.

'nuff said!

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 21, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

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