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Posted at 7:55 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Open thread: Capitals at Blues

By Washington Post sports editors

The Capitals (17-6-2) visit goalie Jaroslav Halak and the Blues (12-8-3) tonight in St. Louis, a place Washington hasn't gotten a victory in 14 years (eight games). Chat about the game in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter and see your tweets here by using #caps.

Faceoff: 8 p.m.; TV: NHLN, CSN+; Radio: 820, 1500 AM.

Click here for a live game summary.


By Washington Post sports editors  | December 1, 2010; 7:55 PM ET
Categories:  St. Louis Blues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Blues
Next: Semyon Varlamov, Caps win fourth straight 4-1 over Blues

Comments

The game is on Fios Channel 1 and 501 HD in northern va.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 1, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

BROOKS!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Brooks get one.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 1, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

green certainly look like he's avoiding contact with that shoulder

Posted by: _stevo | December 1, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

How come Fios 501 is not in HD?

Posted by: nfb987 | December 1, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

The Blues forecheck is fierce and Semin looks two steops slow tonight.

Posted by: nfb987 | December 1, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Great save Varly, and umm, the call on Poti right after OV gets cork-screwed, hmmm

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 1, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

> How come Fios 501 is not in HD?

Seriously, WTF is up with that? I'm not paying for HD boxes and service for the privilege of looking at those crappy red bars on the sides.

Last time this happened, I tried contacting Verizon through their online chat and ended up with some doofus in India who had no clue what my issue was, much less how to get it escalated to someone useful.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | December 1, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin has to be smarter on the point on the PP.

That means not making crazy passes and that means reacting quicker defensively when there are turnovers.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@yosemite, maybe you have to write to someone.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

You have to respect the work ethic of teams like STL. They may lack a little in terms of talent, esp. with Oshie out, but they almost always skate and work as hard or harder than their opponents.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

A reasonable period considering it's a road game. Blues look bigger than us and to be a handfull. They should slow down a bit considering they're playing back to back.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Blues look bigger than the Caps and to be a handfull. Hopefully they will slow down a bit as the game progresses. A reasonable road game first period.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I hope Varly's groin is ok after that save. Goodness.

Posted by: nicety251 | December 1, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post. This website is problematic lately.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Very thoughtful of you Nice.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Semin made a brutally terrible non-clear with 4 mins left in the first that essentially led to Blues controlling the play the rest of the period.

BTW, based on a comment by Blues announcers, the 2003 trade between Caps and Red Wings is now Robt Lang going to Detroit in exchange for Mike Green and Hannan.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

At least they look better tonight than they did the first game after the mid-season trade last year.
And to give honor to that, Chimmer should score tonight:-)

Posted by: bluejeener1 | December 1, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how much the Blues' roster changed since the time this spreadsheet was put together but they're shorter and lighter than the Caps overall.

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2010/10/15/1751273/sizing-up-the-nhl-by-height-weight-and-age

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AlBZxpXinYkCdGJHeHg1TGRwNG5SLUNiYlgyTHBwdEE&hl=en#gid=0

The Caps are the tallest team in the league. They have the tallest forwards and the tallest defensemen. And they have the heaviest forwards.

It's probably the jerseys that are making them look bigger.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

These are responses from the last thread because it took me a period to realize there was a new thread.

@dave. I was looking at defensive stats because Erskine, this year's goal scoring not be his usual game, the defensive numbers are what he should excel at. Also based on the ES GA/min the order is Alzner, Carlson, Green, Schultz, Erskine, and Poti tied, Fahey, and Sloan. In total GA/min Green jumps to the top then Carlson but that is because they get a lot of PP time where you don't give up too many goals. BTW I don't know if talking about being better with the stick was a way of saying you are better at hockey then me and I don't want to get into a contest but I played 18 years including club hockey in college so it isn't like I am just an armchair hockey fan.

@FunkyGloveFacewash I would rather we play Erskine (or get a similar player) on forward because a forward getting out of position for a hit is most often not as costly. And no I don't consider King that type of player because he has not shown that he will go out and hit shift after shift just fight.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

congrats DJK for his first point as a cap!!

Posted by: _stevo | December 1, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Or it could be that despite are size, we're underly physical.

I've often said that if we aren't going to use our size to our advantage, let's get lighter and faster at a couple of positions.

If you're big and lumbery, you need to lay it on teams physically or it's a wasted asset that is probably present in place of speed. Bigger/taller usually means slower.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and this score is very misleading.

The Blues have had at least 4 oddman rushes as well as multiple golden scoring chances that they couldn't capitalize on and only partially because of Varlamov and our players' efforts.

A more skilled team probably has 3 or 4 goals right now. At least a couple.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice 2-0 and buzzing. Yeah, OV is trying way too hard. But other teams are over-committing, so open Caps, so maybe a win???

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 1, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Blues announcer: "Huge neutral zone... the Caps aren't coming back at all, guys."

Meanwhile, Ovechkin pulling a Fleischmann skating into a crowd of players and turning the puck over.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Here is a completely unexpert assessment, but it seems like Ovi is great because of what he does on the ice, vs Sid who is a geat goal scorer because of what he sees on the ice. And it is easier for other teams to defend the do-er.
Does that make any sense to anyone else?

Posted by: bluejeener1 | December 1, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Dammit!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 1, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Carlson "screened" Varly on that one.:-(

Posted by: nicety251 | December 1, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

So CSN lets us watch the 'zards get blown out on the road again...
I have no CSN-2 (is there even such a thing) here is beautiful downtown Stafford, VA...
Meanwhile, the Terps haven't scored against Penn State in the first five minutes...Gary looks like his head is going to explode...

Posted by: TimDz | December 1, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I think the Blues have outplayed us despite the score and any other stats.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

That's why you get the puck on goal. Bummer!

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I think it's even (playing wise).

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Our top line so rarely creates sustained pressure. It's all too often one-and-done rushes and that's when they aren't hemmed into their own end which has often been the case tonight.

Just because you're a skill line doesn't mean you can't occasionally dump and chase and try to apply a forecheck, esp. when you aren't doing much off the rush.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why they block out the game on NHL network HD when it's only on csn plus which isn't in HD here in howard county Fios... sux

Posted by: joek443 | December 1, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'd like to see them dump it in and grind them down this 3rd period.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Carlson "screened" Varly on that one.:-(

Posted by: nicety251 | December 1, 2010 9:33 PM

Something like that was bound to happen as much time as they were spending in our end.

Imagine if they finished on just 1 or 2 of about their 7 or 8 golden scoring chances and oddman rushes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have pretty much no excuse to get outworked in this final period with the Blues playing a b2b after traveling.

At a minimum, you would expect the Caps to match the Blues' effort intensity in this final frame. At a minimum...

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Dump and chase baby... and then apply a sh*t ton of forechecking pressure. Wear down their D so they can't make good breakout passes. It's amazing how well that works for every team in the NHL. The method has been proven over time... Let's do this.

Posted by: sca187 | December 1, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao:
isn't it just as easy to say the caps could have one or two more on their chances.
the blues have carry the play in this game over the caps - but it's not one sided.
the game is pretty even and the caps are ahead because they've worked for it.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Is Ovechkin EVER gonna score again? He looks like he is skating with his thumb in his bung-hole...

Posted by: medic2010 | December 1, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Lets see if the good Lord answer my preyer for an Ovi goal.

Posted by: instinct227 | December 1, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

NICKY!!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Now that was good defensive work by 8 and what do you know, it led to an oddman rush the other way.

Defense first.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Well since Poti seems to be hurt looks like we won't have to decide what to do about Hannan playing tomorrow.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Good effort level early in the 3rd. I would've been disappointed otherwise.

Boyd Gordon has some zip tonight. He looks to be feeling good. Doing a lot of little things well and is skating hard.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Why does St Louis have such a great reputation as a hockey town? Watching this game and the crowd sucks! They are so quiet, ESPECIALLY after they scored at the end of the second period. They are doing absolutely nothing to help the Blues get back into this very close game.

If this was in Washington and the roles were reversed the Caps, our crowd would be doing everything possible to get the momentum in the Caps favor!!!

St Louis fans are PATHETIC!!!

Nice game overall by the Caps!

LET'S GO CAPS!

Posted by: dglelite | December 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

that hit by winchester on lumberjack looked like it hurt alot

Posted by: _stevo | December 1, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

@tmac. I wonder if having only one forward sitting instead of two (meaning Gordon will get more playing time) is making him rise to the occasion.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I miss the live chats that they used to have here...
This Twitter crap just isn't the same.

Posted by: TimDz | December 1, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

agreed TimDz

Posted by: dglelite | December 1, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Agreed TimDz

Posted by: dglelite | December 1, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with TimDz are you listening WaPo staff?

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Varly vs. Neuvy

Either way it hashes out, THE CAPS WIN!

GO VARLAVIRTH!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 1, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

EVERYBODY WANTS THE OLD CHAT BACK!

ITS NO SECRET, WE'VE BEEN WHININ' SINCE LAST SEASON!

GO WAPO!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 1, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

It almost looks like Ovie doesn't want to score.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Oviiiiiii.

Posted by: instinct227 | December 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

i wonder if biggamesid will come on and let us all know how unselfish ovi is?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I get it now, he is going to lead the league in assists and save his goals for the playoffs!!!

GO OVIE!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 1, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

so - was Poti hurt?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 1, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

varly was outstanding - overall good team d. not perfect but good

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

OK folks...
We have two pretty good backstops in Varly and Neuvy.
We have a really good, albeit raw, backstop in Holtby.
If the Caps are looke to be one or two pieces from a real Stanley Cup run in April, does GMGM use one of these three in a package deal to for the proverbial kill?

Posted by: TimDz | December 1, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Loved the intelligent and unselfish play there by 8.

Overall, Varlamov had to be too good in this game. That's a good thing in and of itself but we largely got outworked by a team playing a b2b after traveling.

I know the Blues are a hardworking team but we either arne't a hard enough working team or we aren't in good enough shape or we lack overall speed/athleticism. It's not just something I observed tonight.

We're lucky they were unable to finish and that Varlamov was that good because they had tons of golden scoring chances. They outplayed us.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

They didn't dump and chase in the third; not to worry, a very efficient road game win. Also, this breaks an 8 game home win streak for the Blues against the Caps.

I don't think Ovi cares about scoring the most goals this year, he's probably too far behind at this point anyway. Besides, he gets just as many points for an assist.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, Varly #1 Caps star tonight.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'm leaning really hard on the side of the fence.

Maybe time for some slugs of Kool Aid.

Last time the Caps made me this happy was last Feb 1st vs Bruins watching from Las Vegas (won like $5XX that night on game and hold em) and a similar 4-1 win.

I'm going to call this a perfect game. OK, Semin made a bad clear...really, what a perfect road win. The very small mistakes the team made were covered by Varly. Nobody got too high and no one too low. Nice and steady. Get the puck outta there and take your opportunities when they come.

The greatest compliment I can ever give:

The Caps looked like the (late 90s) Red Wings.

As for tomorrow, I would leave Steckel in the press box and let King (an assist) have another game. Or, maybe, you dress seven defensemen on a back-to-back. Either way, Steckel like Sloan is becoming irrelevant. If we could somehow move Steckel and Sloan for an 8 millionth round draft choice, we could recall AGordon and save cap space to boot.

George?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I might be reading too much into it but I think the Caps were playing just hard enough to win and no more.

Looking forward to seeing Hannan play in Dallas.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Ovi cares about scoring the most goals this year, he's probably too far behind at this point anyway. Besides, he gets just as many points for an assist.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:35 PM
_________________
Maybe.....
Maturity?

Posted by: TimDz | December 1, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call that efficient. I'd call it getting lucky, getting great goaltending to bail the team out, and capitalizing on our chances despite having far less good ones.

We got outskated and outworked most of the night despite the score.

The Blues may have had more golden scoring chances in this game than any opponent we faced all season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I would wear my Varlamov shirt tomorrow to work but he changed his number and I refuse to buy another one. He's on my list, though. Knowing my luck, I'll buy a new one and he'll change it again.

Posted by: nicety251 | December 1, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1, Agreed, you put it so much more articulately than I ever could.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

It did look to me like a team that was tired from back to backs, was playing a team that was conserving energy, for their own back to backs.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 1, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz, Yeah, possibly.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I couldn't disagree more with that assessment, tom.

The Caps did not play that well in this game at all.

The Blues had an incredible number of golden scoring chances and largely outskated and outworked us.

Bizarre how differently people see things. I hope I'm wrong but I saw the Blues simply not capitalzing and Varlamov bailing us out time and again.

Great goaltending effort? Bounces in our favor? Sure.

Perfect game? Late 90s Wings? Not even close.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

tmac: Please, they didn't outplay us.

Don't go for a blood test behind the wheel or they might charge you with DUGB (driving under goat's blood).

The Caps controlled this game. It was an excellent road game.

WTF is Jonathan6?

ICE-SHAKERS, GOAL-QUAKERS, BLUES-BREAKERS:

IT'S BEEN A TWO-PT FKN NIGHT!!!!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1, How's the move out West going for ya? You seem a little tetchy lately.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz If it were me no unless it is Holtby and they already have a reasonable deal with Varly. My thinking is yes both have been great so far and are young but look at guys like Jim Carey. Vezina his second year out of the league (not because of injury) within 5 years. I am not saying it will happen to either of these two but I think it is good to keep both as long as we can salery cap wise. Also I don't see either of the two getting us anything great. Neuvy would draw some interest becasue he has a good contract for two more years but Varly is an RFA so any team that wants him for the long term won't like that. Also the trend after last year is to go cheap for goalies so I am not sure the trade market is that great for goalies. I think guys like Mathieu Perreault will draw some interest. Now I like him but I think he is more of the kind of player we should shop as opposed to a goalie. We already have Backstrom and MJ90 is looking like he could be our #2 center for the future and with Kuznetsov probably coming in two years we will have 3 good centers. I think Perreault will not get much of a chance with us because of that so he will soon be in the same position as Flash was.

That is just if I was the GM.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

WTF is Jonathan6?
Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 10:45 PM

No I'm not him, I'm me.
WTF?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 1, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I thought Erskine, Gordon, Backstrom, Laich, Knuble and Alzner had solid games.

Green was rusty, had good and bad moments. Schultz made some good plays, too.

From what I recall, Hendricks and Chimera were solid, too.

Knuble did a lot of little things really well tonight. Worked hard along the boards, winning battles, made that huge liftcheck on one of the Blues' gazillion scoring chances and seemed to be in good positioning all night.

Again, this was one of those games where Gordon looked great.

I just never seem to notice Fehr these days. I did see him backchecking well a few times and make a couple of other decent plays but he's just nonexistent for the most part.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

The Blues had an incredible number of golden scoring chances and largely outskated and outworked us.

they didn't convert those chances because they failed to execute - the same way the caps fail to execute on their chances. if varly stood on his head tonight and keep the caps in it - i say halak stole 3 games from the caps last spring.

i didn't see the caps as getting largely outskated and outworked by the blues.
i know this can't be true - but this sounds like your describing the 5-0 loses all over again.

imo - the caps did not play as poorly as your seeing it

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

tmac: Too many slugs of goat's blood, dude.

We just played a tough team coming home from an embarrasing 7-5 drubbing in Chi Town. Did you watch that game? I watched third period. Let me tell you Caps looked much better and more complete than either team. The Caps bottled up the Blues way better than the Hawks could and put up a much better defensive effort to boot.

tmac, I'm thinking if God Himself descended from Heaven and gave you three wishes, any three wishes you can choose, you'd ask Him why the he!! you can't have four.

The Caps just beat a decent team that was hungry after a really bad loss and bottled them up pretty good. Be happy, tmac :).

Can you?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

About 5 oddman rushes in the first 25 min of the game.

Golden scoring chance after scoring chance that they couldn't finish on.

Varlamov stood on us head.

38 shots against.

Drew more penalties.

Hemmed our top line in our own end repeatedly in the first 2 periods.

Drew more penalties, with probably 3 of them due to their constant pressure.

Broke out of their end with ease almost all night and entered the zone effortlessly on way too many occasions at even strength.

To each his own but I say they failed to finish on what may have been the most scoring chances we faced all season, Varlamov stood on his head and we capitalized better on far fewere opportunities.

They just clearly outskated and outworked us for the majority of the game.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I am between tom and tmac. I think we played a solid game. Perfect? No. We did give up 4-5 great scoring chances and Varly bailed us out. Howwever I don't think we were greatly outplayed (which tmac has said for it seems like every game except the TB game). We were outshot but there have been many games we outshot the other team and we were outplayed. This game wasn't one of those times.

I think today the glass was about 80% full, tom thinks is was 100% full and tmac doesn't think we had more then a few drops.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

If God granted me four wishes I'd sure as hell make good use of them:-

1) An end to bi-partisanship
2) A balanced budget
3) Elimination of our deficit
4) A SC for the Washington Caps! Yeah.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1, How's the move out West going for ya? You seem a little tetchy lately.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 10:49 PM

FloridaCapsFan: I don't know what you're trying to imply, but I try not to tetch myself.

I leave that to mrstominsocal1.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

And I would guess that they ripped off about 7 or 8 shots in or near the slot that hit Varlamov or sailed high or wide of the net.

And yea, failing to capitalize is on them for the most part. I wouldn't argue against that.

But to say that we controlled this hockey game is just inconceivable to me.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:
14 year losing streak in St. Louis: SNAPPED
St. Louis's 12-game winning streak against Eastern Conference teams: SNAPPED.

It wasn't pretty at times but it was workmanlike victory behind rock solid goaltending down the stretch by Varly using his head a couple of times. It wasn't a surprise St. Louis outworked the Caps at times and came hard but for the most part the Caps fought hard.

St. Louis missed a ton of shots wide but to be fair - they had plenty of good looks on net and Varly answered the call.

The Caps got the bounces tonight and at the same time they matched the Blues at time and this was a HUGE win against a team coming off a 7-5 loss the night before.

I would've liked to see the team come out with a little more jump in the beginning to jump on a tired Blues squad. Oh well sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Again it's 1 out of 82 games people. The team worked hard and once again found a way to win. Some nights you dominate and some nights the goalie has to bail you out. Tonight Varly stood tall. Big win.

@tominsocal1 - LMAO classic. He said goal quakers. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

On to the lone star state where hopefully more Caps stars hit the score sheet.

It's been a two point night.

ICE BREAKERS GOAL SHAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 1, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1, Don't go there, by tetchy I meant edgy.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 1, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I think one thing we can all agree upon is that Varlamov was outstanding.

As rock solid as Neuvirth was this season, esp. early on, it just seems to me that Varlamov has the higher ceiling.

It'll be interesting to see how that battle shakes out but it looks to be a pretty good situation.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

P.S. - it was nice to see several pucks dent the net behind HOCK A LOOGIE LAK. :) Just sayin.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 1, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

tmac: Would you be happy if you died and went to Heaven and God said your team would be 81-1?

Look, I'm NOT a Kool-Aid drinker (can we get fanohock1 to give his opinion?). I saw this game for waht it was, a road win over a tough team coming home from a road drubbing vs a big rival.

To expect that the Blues would have no chances...WTF?

I'll admit Varly was #1 star. What's wrong with that? Did you watch Flyers-Bruins highlights on NHL Network? Did you see the way Tim Thomas played? Varly made about three game-changing saves...just what you'd expect from a top-notch goalie on the road.

Which, for you cap geeks, is WHY I still (me and me alone) have Varly at like $3M for next year on the cap.

Because.............he will get paid that much.

BTW, anyone see that big hit Semin laid out in D zone late in the game to separate and then clear the puck? WTG, C-man.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Now that is much closer to how I saw it, Jonathan6.

And there have been games where I've expressed very positive things about the Caps. They had a terrific showing against BOS the last time they played them and even though we spent a lot of time in our own end in the Ottawa game, I thought we were very solid in that one. Unlike tonight, we kept almost everything to the outside in that game and had a far more visible compete level.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I'd say it was quite the opposite of no chances and far closer to the most quality scoring chances we gave up all season long, if not the most we gave up.

To each his own... I totally disagree with you on this one though.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

And if your goalie was the #1 star, it's unlikely that your team controlled the hockey game or played anywhere near perfect.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

BTW, anyone see that big hit Semin laid out in D zone late in the game to separate and then clear the puck? WTG, C-man.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 11:15 PM
______________________________

I couldn't see RICHARD!!!!!!!
No CSNplus here in Stafford, VA...
Saw part of the 'zards getting worked, tho...

Posted by: TimDz | December 1, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Golden scoring chance after scoring chance that they couldn't finish on.

Varlamov stood on us head.

Varly played very well but it isn't like he played like Halak did against us and the Pens last year. Several of their "golden chances" were broken up by our skaters and not just our goalie.

38 shots against.

Yes but 9 of them were from higher then the tops of the circles and several more were from outside the at bad angles and very few were 2 on 1s or breakaways like Semin had.

Drew more penalties.

part of that is that we were leading. There are always more penalities "missed" against the team that is losing a game.

Hemmed our top line in our own end repeatedly in the first 2 periods.

Drew more penalties, with probably 3 of them due to their constant pressure.

Already repeating youself. One of our penalities was Semin outside the zone so there is one of the 4. Another was Green who was just trying to tie up a stick and it happened to break so that is two that were not because we couldn't get it out of the zone. The Poti hook was at the same time as Ovechkin was being taken down (to no call) that would have gotten the puck out of the zone. I honestly don't remember the high stick at the end and if we were in the zone for long before it but at most that is 1 maybe 2 that were because we couldn't get the puck out. They had one that was a board because we were cycling so well and one too many men because one guy who they thought was coming off had to stay on because of a turnover and his replacement already came on. So both of theirs happened because of forechecking.

Broke out of their end with ease almost all night and entered the zone effortlessly on way too many occasions at even strength.

I know the first Backstrom goal was because Carlson kept in the puck and got it to Knuble.

They just clearly outskated and outworked us for the majority of the game.

We outworked them for our second and third goals (and you could say the first one too if you include forcing them to make a mistake and have too many men). There were also two or three times we beat them to iceing calls and I don't recall a single time they did that same to us.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Bigger picture...

I'd like to see more sustained pressure in the o-zone by our top lines. The checking lines have been pretty solid in that regard lately. Skill lines can forecheck, too, or find ways to increase their puck possession. Assuming the skill is there, maybe it's a lack of working hard or doing the right things.

I'd like to see us neutralizing forechecks better and for certain players to show more urgency in our own end, forwards and defensemen. Erskine may lack skill and get caught out of position at times but he plays with urgency on every shift.

And, as always, better puck support in all 3 zones.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!! I'm gonna circle this date on the calendar as, finally, BB dressed the team I've hoped for all year...another huge game by Johnny E. (absolutely no way he should be odd-man out w/Hannan on board....btw, did Poti get hurt again?), the 3rd and 4th lines played great....Fehr/Chimera/Hendrics were awesome, DJK looked good on the 4th. Given the personnel on the team, tonight was my dream lineup and they didn't disappoint :)

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 1, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

totally off topic but is anyone watching ESPNNews and seeing this ad for the stupid finger football game they are charging $30 for and trying to act like it is as exciting as football? It is so bad it is funny.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

tmac:
your observations are acurate for the most part - i think your reading too much into what you are seeing. every team the caps play will be gunning for them. they lead the league in points last year and are doing so again. the caps are going to see opponents A games close to 82 times. they'll be plenty of times when they're outskated and outworked and still manage to win. tonight - they didn't win on skill alone. they didn't make stupid mistakes with there lead. this is just the way they'll need to play when they get a lead. i liked the fact that they didn't attempt to win this game by four or five goals. they gave up some ground and a few good chances - but i also believe the avoided giving up even more. there were a few plays where the blues gained the zone and they were forced into bad positions with the puck or just pressured into not getting a decent look at varly. the one i remember was schultz forcing a forward outside, using his giant wingspan to press him into the boards (he never really hits does he?) and then swept the puck behind the net to green.
i thought these were the habits we want to see from the caps - doesn't this type of play translate more to playoff hockey than what we watched last year?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

They had about 5 oddman rushes within the first 25 min of the game. Not sure if you're just looking at the shot chart or something. They failed to execute a number of times. Lucky for us.

Poti took the penalty because he lost track of the puck and his man got inside positionig in the slot from what I recall.

Schultz' high stick was right near our net and it was in the midst of the Blues' hemming us in like they did a lot over the course of the game. The guy was small and it may not have been directly related to their pressure but they were pressuring us heavily at the time from what I recall.

I just recall a ton of plays where they were able to rip, slap and flip fairly uncontested shots in or near the slot.

Sure, there were instances of positive plays. That's obvious. Overall, the Blues made more of them than us and I saw them outskating and outworking us for the majority of the game. We're probably lucky they did play last night.

If the puck doesn't roll of their stick on that one PP or they convert 1 or 2 of those oddman rushes early or Varlamov doesn't stand tall, we could've been in an early hole.

I'd like to see where the scoring chances allowed in this game rank for the season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I will admit this... I wish I could make myself believe what a lot of you saw tonight. I'd be a lot less concerned.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

FloridaCapsFan: To think I am EVER edgy on here is to not know me. I get serious on some subjects but we're talking here about a game. Ask me about the $50-75K I'm paying this year in taxes.

WHY THE CAPS REALLY WON

The scene Tuesday evening tominsocal1 kitchen:

"What's that?"

mrstominsocal1 (pointing to tri-tip roast defrosting in sink): "I was going to cook that tomorrow."

Me: "No. That won't work. Tomorrow they are in St. Louis and Thursday in Dallas. We're rocking the white both days."

Her: "OK. I can just marinate it for Friday."

Me: "OK. Fine."

So, I had salad tonight and leftover sausage with a bottle of McManis 2009 Chardonnay while watching. Tomorrow I'm stopping at Albertson's for shrimp and will rock the white then as well.

I encourage those of you who truly care about the team to consider their menus thusly. It's a road game tomorrow. Rock the white. Maybe if more of you cared Varly wouldn't've been so taxed tonight. He is only 22 and shouldn't have to work so hard. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 1, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Green looks like he is hurting.

Posted by: pkme | December 1, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Green looks like he is hurting.

Posted by: pkme | December 1, 2010 11:40 PM

then it's a good thing we still have sloan :D

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 1, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps If this is how King plays every games I would like this lineup, but this is the first game I have seen him actually play physical. In my mind his best play wasn't the assist it was right after the battle he won along the boards right after that. He also had a good hit or two and played almost 8 minutes and didn't look useless out there when he was. If he keeps playing like this then he should be in the lineup but I think this was just him playing above his normal game because it was the team that traded him. If he proves me wrong I will be more then happy to eat my words.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 1, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Poti may be hurt again. I guess having a few more D is helpful now. Did anyone here Mcphee interviewed? He was pretty candid about the play of the forwards. I do think that The Caps goaltending, defense and secondary players are really playing fabulous hockey. Semin of course has looked great all years.

Posted by: pkme | December 1, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I thought that was an interesting comment by McPhee.

It was only a handful of games earlier that he talked about how he didn't like "how we were winning" and among those games were the NJ and ATL whoopings.

Isn't he the one who doesn't like making decisions/changing his mind based on only a handful of games?

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 1, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

i have confidence in DJK (he always reminded me of shawn thornton when he played on the Blues)...he just needs a chance to shine, and BB needs to know how to utilize his attributes....i don't expect him to be in the lineup everynight either, but he deserves more of a chance then he's gotten thus far...St. Louis will be a playoff team in the West, and they were 8-1-1 at home going into tonight; Varly was awesome, a good team effort and a nice road win

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 2, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Varly. I'm a great optimist, but the Caps were getting outworked much of the game by a physical and lightning quick Blues squad. But, as mentioned above, the Caps outworked them when it counted, earning some fine goals through grit and muscle.

Erskine was terrific tonight, playing like he wants a regular slot. Chances are he plays again tomorrow and Poti sits.

Posted by: Justafan | December 2, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

icehammer: Last game I saw from King, he was awful. Tonight, he was decent fourth liner.

Some here feel, I'm sensing, that I've been overly optimistic in my assessment of tonight's Caps' effort.

And that's OK. Nobody ever said I own a monopoly on "right." Could be tmac is on the mark and Caps got lucky. I'm just one set of eyes.

One thing I never, ever, ever do is say, "I am right and that's all there is to say about that one." I was very happy and pleased watching this game. I saw the cup as way more than half full. But, was I deluded and did the Caps win despite inferior effort?

Let's watch tomorrow and see how it unfolds. Maybe then we can judge as a two-game effort.

Until then, I'll be rocking the white.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 2, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Call it luck or whatever, but a good teams makes its own luck & capitalize on their opponent's lack thereof.

I'll take a few more of these half ass efforts leading to another 50 win season.

Of course some of the so-called hockey expert eyes here didn't even know who Hannan was before yesterday...

Posted by: Rocc00 | December 2, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Tell you one thing, the Caps were terrific on the PK. And another thing, despite the chances, our D played pretty well, with some terrific stick checks, a good many hard hits, and by and large disjointing a number of serious threats.

Course Varly helped.

Posted by: Justafan | December 2, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau: "We didn't generate a lot of scoring chances tonight... we didn't generate a lot of offense... we were just opportunistic..."

Basically, they were the ones controlling the game and generating offense and we just capitalized on our far fewer chances. That's what I saw.

Backstrom: "We played alright defensively... I have to say we were a little bit lucky tonight..."

Listen to his voice when he's saying it to really get what he's trying to express. He certainly didn't see us controlling this game by any stretch. And he's not just being his normal humble self. I've heard him praise the team when they play well and he definitely didn't do that tonight. He used the word "lucky." That's how I felt.

DJ King: "Tonight was a big possession game... they worked down low in our zone a lot of the night and they had the puck cycling and worked hard..."

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse


I think King played his best overall game tonight. I think that was because of two reasons.

First, the obvious one, that he was playing back in St. Louis, the team that recently traded him.

Second, Cam Janssen wasn't playing. Therefore, King wasn't focused on going out on the ice to fight. He actually had to put all of his focus on playing hockey since a fight wasn't available. I hope he learns from this and plays like this in future games.

@tominsocal1

I think you are going a little overboard on saying Steckel is worth as much as Sloan. One thing I noticed tonight was that the Caps seemed less effective on defensive zone draws. I think that this has a lot to do with Steckel missing.

Steckel is not a great player by any means, but I do think he has been a valuable role player as a 4th line center and faceoff man. Yes, he lost that one big faceoff to Staal, but if you look at the totality of the large faceoffs he takes, Steckel wins a higher percentage than just about anybody.

His overall play has been decent this year too.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 2, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Erskine was terrific tonight, playing like he wants a regular slot. Chances are he plays again tomorrow and Poti sits.

Posted by: Justafan | December 2, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

why shouldn't he get a regular spot?? consider his stats amongst d-men on team, he's: 1st in hits, blocked shots(?), fights, penalty minutes....2nd in goal scoring and gwg...3rd in points...he's a +player (better than Alzner) despite playing w/Sloan, Fahey, Poti all year, and he's done all this getting a about 7-9 minutes less ice time than the others

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 2, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I want to highlight one play again: the Knuble liftcheck right in front of Varly that potentailly saved a goal.

Speaking of the Red Wings, that is something that their forwards are generally terrific at and were particularly great at when they were more elite defensively.

All their forwards (yes, wings as well) were very active with their sticks and in good positioning in their own zone.

You still see it today and in recent years even though they weren't as good defensively as they once were.

That's the kind of stuff you want to see from all of our forwards on a regular basis. What Knuble did shouldn't be such a rarity. It was a terrific individual effort but you should see stuff like that throughout every single game and there just isn't enough of it on this team.

There are a lot of other little things that I'm constantly harping on that I think this team needs to be doing if they really want to take the next step and I just don't see it enough: from the way they forecheck, to their puck support, their positional awareness, backchecking, breakouts, etc...

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

tmac: It could be, perhaps more likely than not, that you are way smarter than I. OK, I will relent on this matter and just concede that you watched the same game as I did and have a more accurate viewpoint than me.

The Caps were completely outplayed and got lucky and won because Varly stood on his head.

I'll take that any day over, "We got beat by a hot goalie."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 2, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

And of course, work ethic... specifically, working hard as a unit with a more consistent sense of urgency in their own zone... every player on the team. That's imperative if you want to be a complete hockey team. Every last player... all the time.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I wish I didn't see it that way. I wanted to believe what y'all saw tonight but I couldn't.

I see real fundamental flaws in the way this team plays despite all the success they've had. When I watch certain other elite teams, there are just a lot of little things that I feel that they do so much better than us and I want to see that changed.

The Caps can take the next step but something has to change to correct some of these issues.

There are also of course some personnel issues that a lot of us see but that's been discussed at length recently.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

To be honest, there are a lot of little things that I see most non-elite teams doing as well that I feel are missing from the way we play. I touched on a lot of them tonight and I say it a lot around here, not because I like to upset fellow Caps' fans, but because I really see them from my perspective.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Ge, tmac, you make me want to barf.

The minute I was typing a concession speech, here you are explaining why it was I was so fkn excited.

Yes, I saw the Knuble lift-check! Panger as a matter of fact made a BFD of it!

sgm: Don't try for a minute and suggest Steckel has been better than Sloan.

If he has, the difference has been minute.

KATIE: CAN WE GET A POLL? WHO HAS BEEN MORE ROTTEN, STECKEL OR SLOAN?

I myself would happily package Steckel and Sloan if I knew I could get an 8,000,000th round draft choice in return.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 2, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

And I don't care much about winning internet arguments which is why I try to avoid the jabs and cheap shots as much as possible.

I care about seeing the Caps winning AND playing the right way, developing the right habits, and becoming a more complete, more intelligent hockey team.

And I honestly do worry whether the current coach or GM will be able to get us there. Maybe they will but I have doubts based on the roster contruction and certain things I see (or don't see) consistently in their play.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

@tmac

what was wrong with tonight's "roster construction," as it was my dream lineup since rosters were solidified??

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 2, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I heard Pang highlight it and I saw the replay. That was obviously going to happen. It was a big play.

The point I was getting at is that plays like that should be far more common for this team, most often on a more subtle, non-highlight-reel worthy level.

It can be further out with more traffic in front of the net and not noticed by the announcers. We just don't do a lot of little things like that on a more regular basis and I think we need to. It's not just liftchecks in our own end either. It's a lot of little things and a lot of the stuff involves play away from the puck, too.

The Caps obviously execute these nuances of the game well at times. Every team does at times in every single game. It's how often you do it (or don't do it) though. It's a matter of degree and I just like the Caps are lacking in the degree to which they do certain things that they need to be expected to do on a far more regular basis.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps, I'm with you completely on Erskine. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he's had a terrific year and earned a slot on this team.

I don't know how it all shakes out, but I'm certain he's in for an injured Poti, and he should be in for Green resting up for a week or so getting healed.

Beyond that, it gets complicated. But I think we see him plenty this year.

Posted by: Justafan | December 2, 2010 12:54 AM | Report abuse

My opinion is that we are too young and inexperienced at several key positions.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the inexperience, I'm not high on the ability and compete level of certain role players.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 1:14 AM | Report abuse

new thread peoples

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 2, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Aside from the inexperience, I'm not high on the ability and compete level of certain role players.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 2, 2010 1:14 AM

but don't all teams have this issue to some degree?
in your opinion - do the caps lag in this area compared to other 'cup' contenders?
btw - i'm really interested in your answers - i'm not trying to be an *ss.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 2, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

I would rather we play Erskine (or get a similar player) on forward because a forward getting out of position for a hit is most often not as costly.

icehammer- sorry to have such a late response but since I know you've been on these boards awhile, I'm sure you know by now that I'm a sporadic poster. Good point about a forward getting out of position versus a d-man. Someone on here (I'm not sure whom)a few weeks ago made a good point about Erskine needing to be paired with a stay-at-homer. I think that poster was right. While the lumberjack is obviously not an offensive d-man, he's probably at his best when playing with a solid SAH'er. This allows Ersk. to do his thing, which is be physical an go after the big hit whenever possible and know that someone is there to cover for him getting out of position.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | December 3, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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