Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

The Walking Wounded

It's probably a good thing that the Capitals are going through their largest break of the season between games this week. The team is coping with a mixed bag of injuries.

Key among the players working through nagging ailments is goaltender Jose Theodore, who said he was a little stiff his first day back on the ice since leaving Thursday's win over San Jose with back spasms. Theodore was encouraged by how well he handled the day's tough practice though.

"I'm happy with where it's at today. There's nothing to keep me from practicing tomorrow," Theodore said. "Now it's more a muscular thing, it's not like before when it was a really sharp, sharp nerve type of pain. Right now it's not so much of a soreness thing or that you're stiff, it's getting the timing back. Three days like that [practice] plus the morning skate to get my timing and my routine back before a game."

It's still too early to tell if Theodore would be ready to start against the Thrashers, if called upon. But Coach Bruce Boudreau implied that there's a chance Semyon Varlamov could see Atlanta regardless because of his success against the Thrashers last year.

Boudreau was also pleased to see how anxious Theodore, who was off to a solid start (.910 save percentage, 2.67 GAA), is to return.

"I'm encouraged by [how] he wants to get right back in the net," Boudreau said. "He knows he's playing well; he doesn't want to lose that edge."

The only player wholly absent from practice was Alexander Semin, who is sick and was sent to the doctor, Boudreau said. As for the rest of the walking wounded, Boyd Gordon skated for only a few minutes before coming off the ice and is still bothered by a sore back that caused him to miss the past two games.

Boudreau said Shaone Morrisonn (lower body injury) looked fine. It's definitely a positive sign that Morrisonn was able to withstand a full practice, including sprints at the end. The status of John Erskine (bruised hand) is a little more uncertain though, and he may continue to miss some time despite his ability to participate.

Some other notes from KCI:

*Boudreau had often referred to the beginning stretch of the eight games, with six against teams that made the playoffs last season, as a litmus test for the highly regarded Capitals. Of those six contests against teams considered among the league's elite the four losses were one-goal games, including a shootout and overtime loss. So what have the Capitals learned about themselves?

"The games we lost (in regulation) were 3-2 and 4-3 and both losses have come in the third period, so that's where we have to get stronger," Boudreau said. "We can go great for so many periods of time and we give up some brain-dead chances and we need goaltenders to make great saves. We're up to about 51 minutes a game. If we can get those other nine minutes doing we'll be fine."

Said center Brendan Morrison: "We need to remain disciplined, staying out of the box is a big key for our team. We have to learn how to play with a lead too and I think that will go a long way down the road. No, we didn't come out with an outstanding record but I think we understand if we go out and play to our capabilities and our potential we're a good team. If we go out and don't perform we're just an average team."

*Theodore was sporting a sizable welt on his left cheek after he was hit in the face by a Mike Green slapshot. Goaltender's masks are so close and tightly designed that while they prevent any major harm from befalling a goalie, the energy of the shot still transfers to their face.

*Boudreau talked a bit about assistant coach and former Hershey Bears coach Bob Woods' acclimation to the NHL in the early part of the season.

"I think he's done great. If you ask the defense, and I asked them individually, they think he's done great," Boudreau said. "You're always concerned when you go to bat and hire a guy that's never been in the NHL. You know he can do the job, but he's an unknown. So it was important for me to get their opinion of him, I don't know if theyd tell me the truth anyway, but they all seem to be very excited that he's doing a good job behind the bench."

By Katie Carrera  |  October 19, 2009; 2:38 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Theodore, Gordon Return to Practice (Update)
Next: Aucoin Assigned to Hershey

Comments

This team has always played poorly with the lead. Just go back and look at the last three playoff series and this is apparent. For goodness sakes, the team that scored first lost in each of the first 4 games in the series with the Pens.

I think solving that problem will take us a huge step forward in terms of cup hopes and dreams.

Posted by: Raber | October 19, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

we play 2 games this week...give theo the week off to fully heal.

Posted by: carsonspence | October 19, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

first first

Posted by: FishCaps | October 19, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

so I hear Nylander skated w/ the team..... hmmmmm, will we EVER get rid of the dead weight ??

Posted by: FishCaps | October 19, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

To Raber.
Played poorly with a lead?
Did you see that they are 62-1-2 under Boudreau with a 2 goal lead.
That's not bad.

Posted by: jmy999 | October 19, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It's going to be a looonnnnggggg time, and many Nylander posts, before Thursday gets here. Five days is great for the team to get healthy, but a nightmare for the board.

Posted by: hook99 | October 19, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

jmy999

That 62-1-2 is with a two-goal lead in the third period, not at any point. Regardless, it's a solid record but the one-goal lead in the 3rd is the target, as BB said.

It was a tough opening run but I'll happily take 4-2-2. The lead issue is a problem: we gave up the lead six times in three of those; three times at Philly, twice vs. the NYRs, and once against the NJDs. Add in the 2-0 lead squandered vs. the Preds and we know the issues. These guys play wide-open offensive hockey and if they cut down on giving up leads by a half then they'll be fine.

Posted by: saintex | October 19, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

- FishCaps, Shame you you for mentioning Nylander's name in this new blog! I want to hear about some one's fantasy team instead.
;D

Posted by: puckman | October 19, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Keep Nylander practicing so he stays relatively sharp, but don't play him in games to keep him from getting hurt (and killing any chance of trade)... makes sense to me. What's the problem?

Posted by: Chad8 | October 19, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mine sucks...

Posted by: Greg S. | October 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

speaking of nylander, why the hell did we ever give him a NMC? I remember hoping at the time that Edmonton would win out on that deal.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 19, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

stats aside, I have no confidence that the Caps can hold onto a lead especially a 1 goal lead in a playoff game. Even in the 3rd. We give up too many quality chances when the other team decides to turn it on. Say what you will about Bruce in terms of praise, but I have not seen this Caps team understand HOW to play defensive hockey when they really need to. They're still run and gun, risky passes and all.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 19, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Said center Brendan Morrison: "We need to remain disciplined, staying out of the box is a big key for our team"

ugh, am I sick of hearing this. Guess what folks, look at the boxscores of most NHL games on most nights. You'll see 4 or 5 PPs for each time every night. Its not the end of the world if you take a few PIMs. Its the TYPE of penalties and the usual suspects who take them that is the real problem. Along w/our PK.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 19, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1

they do that the whole game long. Anyway, that's what Coach B said is that the 3rd period is our achillies heel. No one here is arguing the point. So what's yours?

Posted by: Greg S. | October 19, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

is it better to blow a lead, or never to lead at all?

That is the question...ponder....

Posted by: SA-Town | October 19, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik: Nice to know that the defensive players like Woods as a coach. Have you talked with him about his impressions of the defensive lines and how things are going in that regard? Maybe you've done this already and I missed it.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

is it better to blow a lead, or never to lead at all?

That is the question...ponder....

Posted by: SA-Town | October 19, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Its not a mutually exclusive situation. You have teams that know how to play with a lead. I know Bruce is lauded for his revolutionary (lol) approach to winning games which is to keep your foot on the opponents' necks instead of playing a "prevent" defense for lack of a better term. Frankly, BB's approach is unnecessarily risky. Yes there may be times that his approach will lead to expanding a 1 or 2 goal lead to something greater. But more times than not, you want to be able to adopt a very stiff defensive posture and this team can't do it. We've played teams that are good defensively where even our world-class talent is unable to mount any real attack once they go into more of a defensive posture. Thats where we need to get to to go further.

If the caps take a lead, and its a critical situation like a playoff game where the other team steps up their offensive intensity, we're unable to match that with defensive intensity, its not on par.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 19, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Penalties are part of the game. The issue is what type of penalty--sloppy or to protect the goal. And not to have too many or have back to back. The last three games I think the Caps have done much better penalty-wise. Some bad timing and some in the defensive zone but nothing like the Rangers game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 19, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Uh cstanton1 you do realize that Sa-town was making a joke--right? You make a number of valid points in your post. However I know to always expect something in your posts about defense and/or enforcers. I often wonder that if you were able to build your team whether it be all about the defense. That offense would be secondary. Or maybe you would say the two would be more balanced. I don't know. But it was sure nice to read about what you DO like about the players in your post on Saturday.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 19, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Hook99, Yeah, too much Nylander is a problem, but I still think its a legit question why they don't use him at all. Consider the Gordon/Aucoin situation. The First 2 lines (and their 6 forwards) are clear. The "4th" line, i.e., a clear defensive line is also reasonably clear, with Gordon and Steckel being interchangable. (Traditionally, the third line is defensive and the fourth line is the, ahem, "energy" line, although I think that type of line is waning in usefulness around the league.)

So, what of the third line? if they want it to be a defensive line as well, they have the wrong guys. If they want it to be offensive, it isn't working. Fehr is supposed to be this great trenchs guy and Flash (when he gets back) is supposed to be a sniper-light, so how about a playmaking center like Nylander? It isn't a permanent fix, but rather than call-up Aucoin to be invsible and spend the $1000 on the salary cap, why not use Nylander? I agree he isn't a great checking line guy but certainly he can center a third scoring line if that's what they want.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 19, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

stats aside, I have no confidence that the Caps can hold onto a lead especially a 1 goal lead in a playoff game. Even in the 3rd. We give up too many quality chances when the other team decides to turn it on. Say what you will about Bruce in terms of praise, but I have not seen this Caps team understand HOW to play defensive hockey when they really need to. They're still run and gun, risky passes and all.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 19, 2009 3:39 PM

We played a good defensive game in the third against Boston up 4-1. I think our problem is holding on to a one goal lead. We try to extend one goal leads rather than sitting on our heels because that's the kind of team we have. If we can just learn to play slightly more conservative hockey (not making the risky cross ice passes made right when we enter the offensive zone and neutral zone would be a start) then we're much more likely to hold those one goal leads.

Posted by: Raber | October 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau said: "The games we lost (in regulation) were 3-2 and 4-3 and both losses have come in the third period, so that's where we have to get stronger."

Um, I'd actually look at the second period, chief. That's where your team usually craps the bed.

Posted by: StikSav | October 19, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

It's a good thing the Caps have a relatively long break. Give our ailing guys a chance to rest and heal up.

The countdown. S. Morrisonn sounds okay. Oisk still seems to need time.

I'd say, give Theodore the next game off and start Varly. (JT should be ready on Saturday.)

Does Semin have what I had? (I had a virus just after Caps Con and then had a bad cold.) Or could it be, dare we say it, swine flu? If they sent him to the doctor, he sounds pretty sick. Get well soon, Sasha.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 19, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

On the third line, I noticed that the third line was "benched" this Saturday when Boudreau went to three lines for the last part of the game. The fourth line remained in the rotation.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 19, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Can they give Nylander some other type of duty?? Maybe drive the Zamboni?? Wash the guys cars? Something? Anything??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 19, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

StikSav:
phi and nash are the only games the caps allowed more than one goal in the 2nd (4 and 2)
in the phi game they re-took the lead in the 3rd and gave up a goal to tie and lost in OT
nash they gave up 2 in the second to tie and then won in the SO

tor the gave up 3 in the 3rd with a 5 goal lead
nyr - had a 1 goal lead in 3rd and gave up 2 to lose
det - tied in 3rd and then gave up a goal
nj - 1 goal lead in 3rd then lost in SO

bos and sj they gave up the goal in the 3rd and 1st

i think BB is talking about losing leads in the 3rd - not just the nash game

the 4-3 and two 3-2 losses - the caps were either tied or ahead by 1 in the 3rd - these are the games that he believes should get them 2 pts in the standings

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 19, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Capsfannmiss:
they should let him sit in the broadcast booth - that way he might slip up and say something that could give up some clue as to what is really going on

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 19, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Nylander
Nylander
Nylander
Nylander
Nylander

Posted by: whiteltng | October 19, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

- Capt_Kirk
eye, eye captain. I like that idea!

Posted by: puckman | October 19, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

puckman:
eye, eye

for some reason that make me think of the pirate in dodgeball

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 19, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@ puckman- one of my favorite actors ever, Wash the pilot, and Alpha as well, and supposedly going to be on V as well

Posted by: doncosmic | October 19, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I love Capitals Insider, and Tarik and crew do a very good job. My only criticism would be the lack of any detailed investigative reporting. This is a hockey team not a communist regime. Can anyone get a sit down interview with Nylander about his thoughts and situation? If Nylander and GMGM and BB all decline to talk about it, at least report that.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | October 19, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

@ kcbrichmond: Last I checked, Nylander had shared his thoughts on his situation with reporters this past summer. Granted, it wasn't really anything we hadn't already known - he wants to play hockey. Late breaking news there. I'm sure the information you want to hear is probably difficult to get anyways. You could ease your mind knowing it's more that neither of the parties want to talk about it as in-depthly as you want them to, rather than Tarik and Company not doing a good job of investigating.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 19, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company