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Theodore to start as Caps seek to end slide in St. Louis

Sorry for the delay folks, but I had to take care of a few things before blogging this afternoon. Anyway, here's what you need to know about tonight's game:

Jose Theodore will start tonight at Scottrade Center as the Caps attempt to bounce back from back-to-back and head out on the Olympic break on a winning note. He'll face Chris Mason, who shutout the Maple Leafs, 4-0, last night. The Blues, meantime, have not lost at home to the Caps since the 1996-97 season, winning all seven games.

This game could be the last for one (or more) of the current Caps. GM George McPhee will face some tough decisions before his team's next game March 3 in Buffalo - opening faceoff is about four hours after the NHL's trade deadline. I'm hearing McPhee is in the market for a defenseman and a forward, likely a center.

As for tonight's game, there will be some changes to the Caps' lineup. As you've probably seen by now, John Carlson has been recalled and will look to steady the team's struggling blueline. It was tough to figure out which defenseman he'll be paired with, but it appears that John Erskine and Tyler Sloan will be the scratches after the tandem had a rough night in Ottawa on Thursday. Tom Poti (groin muscle strain) is also out.

"Carlson has played good for us before, and we've been struggling, so I wanted to take another look at him," Boudreau said.

He added: "It's a six man thing. We've been standing around back there just watching the other teams, not moving our legs, not being proactive in our coverage. When you start chasing in your own zone instead of cutting people off, you get in trouble."

Karl Alzner remains with the team and will play, but Chris Bourque is headed back to Hershey after just one game with the big club.

Based on the skate, the forward lines are also going to feature a new look. Top trio will be the familiar Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble combo. The rest of the lines, however, were scrambled for two reasons: Jason Chimera has been placed on IR with a groin muscle strain, and because Coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to put Tomas Fleischmann back on the wing. Fleischmann has struggled lately on faceoffs, winning just five of 25 draws in the team's losses to the Canadiens and Senators. (I'm told the Fleischmann-to-center isn't completely dead, it could just be taking a hiatus.)

So with Fleischmann on the wing, that means the second line will be Brooks Laich-Brendan Morrison-Alexander Semin. The third line will be Fleischmann-David Steckel-Eric Fehr and the fourth line will be Quintin Laing-Boyd Gordon-Matt Bradley.

Two more notes:

*How do you know that the coach you cover is a hockey junkie? When he attends an NHL game on his off day. Boudreau watched the Blues-Leafs game from the pressbox Friday night.

"I was just like a media guy up there," Boudreau said, "eating popcorn, man."

"They're very good," he added. "I was very impressed with Chris Mason. He was in total control. And their young players that you read about all the time were really good as well. They played with a lot of energy."

*The Caps' Olympians -- Ovechkin, Semin, Semyon Varlamov, Fleischmann and Backstrom -- are flying from St. Louis to Vancouver tomorrow.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 13, 2010; 2:53 PM ET
 | Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Blues, Capitals, Jose Theodore  
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Blues


I cant wait to see how the Flash - Stecks - Fehr line does tonight. Could be great could be a disaster.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Brooks on 2 with Sasha and BMo instead of Flash. I like Flash, but this new trio has a more complementary set of skills. Flash and Sasha together without a hard-charger such as Brooksie makes me nervous.

Posted by: Steakum | February 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I say if the Caps are going to make a trade the "chip" they should give up is Fehr. Right now he is on the third line but if Flash is still going to be on the wing when Chimera comes back he will more then likely move back to the 4th line. He is a RFA at the end of the year and the Caps might not be able to afford him. He is however a good forward who is on pace to get 20 goals in only 67 games this year and could be just what a team with scoring issues is looking for. He is a guy we can more then live without, since in some games he has been a healthy scratch, and could help get us some of the pieces we need. I am sure we will have to give up more if we go after a bigger name but he could be the player we give up.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I like the line changes - Morrison has not been producing and will like to see if he responds to the upgrade. I don't think he was every a very good fit on the third line.

Also, is José going to send a message to Varlamov that it's his (Théodore) spot to lose?

Posted by: Alisterio | February 13, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: It is a real question, if you must trade one, if you move Fehr or Flash. Keeping Fehr will likely save you quite a bit of salary over the next two years, as Flash is one year from UFA. I am thinking he signs after this season (compared to a number of other 26 year olds) in the mid 3s, and Fehr more likely around $2M. Flash is also a very similar skill to Semin, whereas Fehr will give you more of the Knuble style of play. If your long-term plan includes keeping Semin, and knowing Knuble is just one more year, trading Flash, worth more now anyway, could be the sensible thing.

One thing is for certain, BMo isn't a #2 center, Stecks isn't a #3 center and Gordo is marginal as #4 center. Moving Flash for a younger center, rather than a rental, and then making that younger center a part of the team going forward, since we we have more wingers than centers now, could be the move McPhee makes.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tarik you have to step up your game on these state the obvious and nothing different...

Posted by: Wagnerchristopher | February 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

One thing I am interested to see they aren't trying is having Laich take the faceoffs, especially on the road, for Flash then when play is going have flash play center. Flash at home is actually winning 49.7% of his home faceoffs which is not bad it is his 40% on the road that is the problem. Laich is at 45.4% on the road so that is an improvement.

The issue I think that comes up with Stecks on the third line is that he is not really an offensive player and with Flash and Fehr I think having him between them will lower their scoring ability.

What I would like to see is when Flash comes back from the Olympics have him practice faceoffs until the season starts back up again. Since I don't think his team is going to make it into the semifinals so he should be able to be back by the 25th or 26th which gives him a lot of time to work on faceoffs and get better.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik you need to step up your state the obvious in your posts...same thing every time...

Posted by: Wagnerchristopher | February 13, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1 & icehammer97

I've been thinking for a couple of weeks now that, assuming Sasha is here longer than next year (and I, for one, hope so), that he really needs an exceptional center all his own. (Wish I could say Duck Soup here, but that's the pipe dream of all pipe dreams.)

I know the 28-14-21 line worked well for awhile, but I think over the long term Sasha needs a higher caliber center. He played well with Backie and needs a more skilled center to make the most of his considerable skills. Flash may have similar skills, but they are not on the same plane as Sasha's, and I don't see him ever replacing Sasha's production.

I think, too, we get more back for Flash and that Fehr brings something different we need, whether he's in BB's doghouse or not.

It seems clearer to me every day that a new 2C is needed almost as much as a D-man.

Posted by: Steakum | February 13, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1 the big difference between the two is Fehr is a guy who we have had not played even when healthy on occasion. Flash may be a UFA in a year but if the Caps can sign him to a 3-4 year deal after this season it won't matter. Fehr also could get more in return because he is younger.

It may just be me but I just don't see Fehr as a Knuble type player. He may have the body for it but he seems to not want to hit. He currently only has 31 hits in 50 games Flash has 23 so there is not that much of a difference. I think next season Laich moves up to the top line next season and the second line is Flash, Semin, and a center we get to replace BMo. That center can be more of the mold of Laich, a sandpaper like quality to his game, which would keep Fehr if we keep him on the third line anyway.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Flash has shown himself to be more valuable than Fehr...though I do like Fehr. Fehr could be a good payer trade...I think he could be valuable to other teams.

Posted by: capscoach | February 13, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

My god, leave Tarik and his team alone. None of us would know 90% of what happens on a daily basis until we pieced it together watching the game. Here are the things just in this blog post we didn't know.
1. The lines. Flash to 3 lw. Steckel up to c line 2. Gordon c line 4.
2. Flash at c experiement not over.
3. We haven't won in st. Louis since 1997
4. Flash 5 for 25 in recent faceoffs.

Great thing about this blog is that we share info and even though Tarik posts topics we really can talk about whatever we want. There isn't a void missed with Tarik, it's not like there is info out there on the caps not being discussed.

Posted by: JSchon | February 13, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We shoulda traded flash, alzner, 1st for kovalchuk! EZ

Posted by: mkyan978 | February 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Steakum you have an interesting point. I think Semin can still be very productive without a top center but assuming I am wrong and you are right how about this idea: move Backstrom to the second line with Semin. Ovechkin and Backstrom work well together however his rookie year he still had 52 goals and 106 points with Dainius Zubrus and Chris Clark on his line. Give him Flash and Knuble or Laich and Flash if you don't want Flash playing center and he will still be one of the top scores in the NHL.

Looking at the lines with Laich as the top line center you would have

Ovechkin-Laich-Flash --- All 20+ goal guys with the two skill guys and a grinding forward
Semin-Backstrom-Knuble --- Same basic dynamic as the current top line
Chimera-BMo-Fehr --- good grit line that can still score
Gordon/Laing-Stecks-Bradley --- A good grind/shutdown line especially if Laing is in with his shot blocking ability

I know the idea of taking Backstrom off the top line my be different but I think it will give the Caps more scoring balence without having to have Flash play forward or have Stecks on the third line.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

JSchon good point but it is actually Steckel on line 3 and BMo on the second line.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Please do not trade Flash!!!! Besides being one of my favorite players on the team, he is awesome!!! Remeber how great he was playing before he was moved to center? Granted he probably does have more trade value than Fehr he is also better.

Posted by: ksaul79 | February 13, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

1) I don't think the Flash experiment at center is necessarily over -- it just needs to take a hiatus for now. He'll need to work on faceoffs.

2) I'm glad we acquired Knuble and we'll have him for next year but know he is getting up there in years -- for a hockey player. In the long term (after 2010-2011), someone else will have to be the first line right wing. Assuming we promote from within, the most logical choices would be either Fehr or Semin. (Of course, they'll have to be signed for that to happen.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 13, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: You are comparing a 24 yr old or so Fehr and a 37 yr old Knuble. Knuble didn't become the Knuble of today, the one we know and love, until he was about 30. If you'll recall Fehr's WHL stats (2 seasons over 50 goals) and how he had a reputation for scoring from close in, and if you combine that with his size and recent play, you might argree that Fehr, like Laich, has long-term potential as an "in front of the net" winger.

Here's who I see on Caps who are legitimate #1 or #2 line forwards in the NHL:

Ovehckin (duh, call me capt obvious), Backie, Knuble, Semin, Flash, Laich, Fehr.

In the system: Bouchard, Perreault, Johansson.

Now, you'll quickly note that we are "winger heavy" and "center light" in that first grouping. When we were RW heavy and LW light a few months back, what did McPhee do? He moved a RW for a LW.

What makes sense, real sense, unless they think Johnasson will be the #2 center next year, or Perreault, is move a young forward for a young center.

Remember, we have cap issues going forward. Saving $1.5M per year over the next two/three years (by keeping Fehr over Flash) allows you to get back from Flash deal more than a rental. And you need more than a rental, since we are center-short next year. What makes sense to me is to scope out a center to work with Semin over a period of years, someone maybe just coming out of RFA contract, someone like a Backie Jr. If this guy makes Flash money over the next three years, we know we can fit it in.

So, maybe you get the better player back for the Caps but, being younger, he'll be cheaper for awhile, and maybe the deal is Flash + #1 pick or so to get this young player.

Rental center is nice if "best can do," and maybe it would be better for this Cup run, so maybe the Flash deal is something you do on Draft Day.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse


That is an interesting idea, though I doubt BB would ever do it. Since Backs has never missed a whole game, we have had few opportunities to see a different center on the 1st line for very long. How much does Ovi have to say about it, if anything??

When Ovi was out, the 1st line often was Sasha, Backie & Laich. That worked pretty well, but was for a relatively short period of time so hard to know long term.

I was looking at some video of the old top line of Ovi, Backs, Sasha and their pretty amazing and consistent passing and scoring abilities together. I kind of miss that. However, whatever works out best for the team to do better . . . and certainly Jan. saw some high scoring from line 2, but it has fallen off. That mostly seems due to struggles getting and keeping the puck in our offensive zone. Though it was just one game, it seemed to work better when BMo was moved up the other night. Guess we'll get another look at it tonight.

While it's good the Flash-as-center experiment started early enough for a good test run, now there's only one more game before Olympics/final trade deadline to decide where Flash fits the best, as I see it.

I like Flash -- my youngest son got his jersey for Christmas!

Posted by: Steakum | February 13, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

CF75: We have two choices for long-term #1 RW after next season:

Laich or Fehr (assuming no FA singing)

I am assuming we are learning that Ovi's line is more effective with Backie and then a Knuble type as RW. Maybe Semin yes as #1 RW but that doesn't seem to be the way it works best. Having Semin on #2 line means they can't key on Ovi line alone. Also no matter what Semin can get #1 PP line minutes, so he'll be with Ovi average of 8 mins per game even if they are on different lines.

I have popped open the Botani Muscadel Seco (dry Spanish white) in anticipation of rocking the white with marinated pork chops.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Figuwring out who will replace Knuble in 2 years is silly at this point. It could be Knuble staying; it could be Fehr; it could be Osala --2 years is WAY too far off now. The Caps need an upgrade at center who can play the pk and center the 2nd line, making BrMo very expendible.

Even more important is finding a top four, gritty, smart blueliner who does not cost too much to acquire in terms of trade and cap space taken up, esp. for next year with signing Fehr and Backis.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 13, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

By next year I think Flash is our number 2 center. He was doing ok early in this experiment, before the last two games his faceoff winning % was 47.4% not great but not that bad and with the compressed schedule he was not getting a lot of practice time to work on this skill. Over the offseason he has several months where he can be working one getting better at faceoffs and could be a much better center going into next season. I hate to talk about something Crosby did well but he worked on his faceoffs during the offseason and he has gotten better in the faceoff circle every year and this year is up to a winning % of 56.7% up big time from his rookie season of 45.5%. Flash has great hand eye skills and I think could be a good center given the time to really feel comfortable taking faceoffs.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 13, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Repsecting Defenders and trading, no trades for Poti, Green, and Carlson -- and maybe Alzner. All the others can be trade bait for a better defender or two.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | February 13, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

don't really care who's in the minors, who will be with the team next year or in two years... I'll let GMGM and Leonsis worry about that kinda stuff.

In the meantime, all I see is teams like the Hawks and the Sharks who already have a better group of d-men than the Caps still adding a veteran d-man.

I wouldn't give up the whole farm to make a run for the Cup this year but don't think for a minute you'll get an opportunity to win the Cup like this every year. So far this team has been relatively healthy and they've also dodged two big bullets this year - potentially losing Ovie and Green to a serious injury.

you wanna be good every year and build for the long haul. but that doesn't mean you don't go for it and make a move when you get a chance like this year

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse


Are you calling me silly or my ideas silly? :)

I agree with you on one hand but disagre on the other (not sure if it's the right or left hand that is the agreeable one).

In the short term, contending for this year's Cup is #1 priority, so you don't do anything to disrupt that. BUT, a successful GM in any sport always keeps one eye on the present and the other on the future (unless you have three eyes like Gretzky, and then you can keep one on the past).

If McPhee can make the right deal that helps this year and next, and maybe even further into the future (Chimera is signed thru 2011-2012, so there you go, it wasn't silly for McPhee to consider that in the Clark deal), you make that deal.

Point is: Anything you do as GM, you do short-term if best you can do, but the greatest trade/siging (like with Ovi contract) is one that helps your team for as far out as you can go.

Like, with Backie, I have posted over and over they should sign him to an 11-yr deal for $71.5M. That keeps him for the Ovi duration and also is fair to both parties.

When Backie signs 11 yrs, $71.5M total, you can say, "Wow, I guess tominfl1 wasn't kidding."


Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Im just glad the people on this site have nothing to do with the decision making of this franchise. Good thing Bruce doesn't check in with you helmets before he makes a line change... for gods sake stop playing fantasy GM and just enjoy the game. Because guess what.... Whether they make a move, win, or lose YOU wont be able to control any of it.

Posted by: EsMyDee | February 13, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse


What you sat is true, we have zero control over moves made or not made. But you also have no control over what people want to talk about, so please just enjoy what we are typing or dont, either way you have zero control.

Posted by: JSchon | February 13, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Imagine what this team could get if they traded Ovi. Sure, he's good, but we're talking picks, Top D men, several centers, the works!

Posted by: Leeguru | February 13, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Was anyone suprised by how blunt BB was in his evaluation of Varly after last game? "It's his job to be ready and he obviously wasn't ready".

Posted by: ccCapsfan | February 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse


What you sat is true, we have zero control over moves made or not made. But you also have no control over what people want to talk about, so please just enjoy what we are typing or dont, either way you have zero control.

Posted by: JSchon | February 13, 2010 5:30 PM

Perfectly put. EasyMyDee: This is a democracy. I have the right to put on this blog anything I want and you ahave the right to either offer a rejoinder or to ignore my comments.

Being armchair GM is part of Americana. If you don't understand that, I can't help you. Meanwhile, this is a very covil blog compared to most. The posters are pretty thoughtful all things considered. I for one want the Caps to win more than anything except see my children succeed in life.

Democracy was invented by the ancient Greeks (circa 400 BC) and can be best understood by reading Aristotle's work. The essential principle is we all have a voice. Sorry if you don't like mine. As Ovi's mother told Bettman, though, maybe you should go and read some books.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

BB has always been harder on Varly than the other two... I don't think it's anything personal, I think he expects more outta him than the other two.

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

You guys do realize if you get to talk about whatever you want too, so does EsMyDee?

Posted by: ajded80 | February 13, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Our defense better show up against the Blues. If we give up more than a goal tonight against these knuckleheads...God help us.

I also can't believe it's going to again snow on Monday. Blasted El Nino...

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | February 13, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Scott Hartnell tonight displaying the usual thuggary, this time pre-game with the Canadians.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 13, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

You guys do realize if you get to talk about whatever you want too, so does EsMyDee?

Posted by: ajded80 | February 13, 2010 6:39 PM

Yes, but he/she said, "...for God's sake stop playing fantsy GM..."

Not to be anal, but I am anal, you can ask my wife, and EMD basically told us to quit our line of conversation. Yes, he'she can say whatever, but he/she didn't say anything, except that we should not say what we were saying.

In a democracy, it's your right to tell another person you don't want to hear what they have to say, but it essentially makes no sense, since we have the right to speak.

This is really stupid. I'm going to heat up another pork chop and have another glass of wine.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Mike Milbury is now on the CBC pre-game HNIC, what a hard head is is.

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 13, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse


Enjoy your dry Spanish white wine tonight. (Rock the white)

That's always the big question on our lines. Whether Ovi and Semin should be together or not. At the moment, separating them seems to be working. And Knuble's skill set seems to blend so well with Nicky and Ovi.

As you've said in your posts answering JimSmallCaps, among other people, our GM does have to look at both the short and the long term in evaluating the best player moves.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 13, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

On another subject, if we're allowed to speak, what in the world ever happened to Cheechoo? Wasn't he a 50-goal scorer? And now, put on waivers, unclaimed, and headed to the Sens' Binghampton farm team?

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Flyers and Canadians fight started just 4 seconds into the game. Why does the league tolerate Philly?

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 13, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Never thought I'd see Aristotle mentioned on this blog! Can he play defense?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 13, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Today marks a first. And yes it's another sign that I'm getting older.

Tonight is the first time where 4 of the Caps starting blue liners were born AFTER my first born child. Green, Schultz, Alzner, and Carlson were all born after her. Green about 7-8 months later. Schultz a year later. And we all know that Alzner and Carlson are young kids.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | February 13, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

OV and Semin on the same line works except when it doesn't. they drive other teams crazy with their skeels, then they drive themselves crazy with them. try to be too fancy and all. i like it on occaision for a change of pace or to apply extra pressure, but not as a solid all the time #1 line. in a democracy the line is "freedom, is to be free from the need to be free....."

Posted by: joerutgens72 | February 13, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Did everyone see Peter Forsberg carry the Swedish flag last night? He might be a good rental for the Caps, (though I am not sure if some deadline on the Caps signing him for the rest of the year has passed).

Posted by: MReilly9 | February 13, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

The whole team other than BMo, Knuble, Poti and Theo were born after my first child.

The reason I mentioned Aristotle is he and I were classmates in Civics 101.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought I remember tutoring you and Ari Tom

Posted by: fromthebeginning | February 13, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I will say that Ari did much better than you did

Posted by: fromthebeginning | February 13, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

yeah, I feel bad for Cheech. I lived in the Bay Area in 2006 and went to a couple of Sharks games. They loved him! Had train whistles in the crowd every game, everyone screamed "Cheech"!!!! when he scored or played well. Now he's done. A pity.

As for the deadline dealing, aren't you all just a little nervous that all these teams around us are making moves to shore up and fill gaps and we havent yet? I love our team, but don't we need a at least two fo the following: stud Dman, a wily center and a vet goalie? I would feel much better about our chances if we were to upgrade in some of those places, yes?

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 13, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Has any team in the last 10 or 20 yrs ever won the Presidents trophy and Lord Stanley in the same year? I can't remember any team doing it lately. So, if the Caps win the Presidents tropy, I don't see them winning Lord Stanley either, especially with the defense they have now.
Let's wait and see what GMGM pulls off, if anything before jumping to conclusions.

Posted by: JMinVA | February 13, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Playing Alzner and Carlson tonight may have some connection to deadline trades - either showcasing them or seeing whether they can be trusted for the playoffs (my guess is the latter).

Regarding the 2nd line center matter, I think the evaluation of Johansson is key. At the most optimistic end, if he could assume that role next year, then GMGM goes for a veteran rental, probably at relatively low cost. If Johnasson is more likely in Hershey next year (which would probably be best for his development), then GMGM trades for a younger C which would probably be costly.

Posted by: zmega | February 13, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

since 1985-86, 7 teams that won the Presidents Trophy have gone on to win the Stanley Cup:

86-87 Oilers
99-89 Flames
93-94 Rangers
98-99 Stars
00-01 Avalance
01-02 Red Wings
07-08 Red Wings

2 Presidents Winners lost the Cup final

89-90 Bruins (serves them right for beating the Caps in the Conference Finals that year)

94-95 Red Wings

But hey, thats why we play the games. 1st in February is nice, but don't mean d**k.

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 13, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

oops. thats the 88-89 Flames

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 13, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I will say that Ari did much better than you did

Posted by: fromthebeginning | February 13, 2010 7:28 PM

Yes, but I am better looking. And, while Ari is "done" (drove himself crazy and drowned trying to figure out lake currents off Chalkis) I am still "doing." I might pass him yet, tortoise and hare you know.

BTW, love your handle, great song off Tarkus.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

jmurray: Actually, your data says the following: The President's Cup winner (1 team out of 16 in the Playoffs) has a 1 chance in 3 of winning the Cup, while the other 15 teams in the Playoffs combined have a 2 chances in 3 of winning the Cup.

While it's true that mid-Feb in the standings might not mean d**k (are you saying "dunk," as in "first place doesn't give you a dunk?"), first place at season's end is significant.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 13, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I always liked those Flame teams from mid to late 80's... they were a very tough team to play against

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

although they had Doug Gilmour and Theo Fleury, they were by far the biggest team in the NHL... I remember once seeing them at the Cap Centre and saying to myself, "wow those guys are big"

Posted by: joek443 | February 13, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

@ tominfl1

I understand what you mean.

But what i'm saying is that if i had a choice of being number 1 in the season or number on e after the playoffs, I choose the latter

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 13, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

JMU game better be off my TV like soon

Posted by: ralCapsFan | February 13, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Schultz. Strong Start.

Posted by: wgoodm01 | February 13, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Yes (to whoever asked the question). I was surprised to hear BB sound so angry at Varly. I don't recall him dress Theo down this way when he screwed up over and over again. Maybe he thinks that this is the way to motivate Varly.

Could someone tell me what is going with the Caps and the approaching trade deadline? I find it hard to believe that McPhee will not try to get a top defender for the team. Everyone is in agreement that they need one--from the press to the fans etc.

Posted by: caraveli | February 13, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand giving up Milan Jurcina in the Chimera trade. He was the number two points man as a defense man last season and even strength ice time leader other than Green. Morrison was close and had a few more total minutes with his play on the penalty kill. I liked him as a hitter also. About the only thing I can figure looking at the stats was that since he didn't play as much on the penalty kill maybe he wasn't considered a tenacious defender (or that Chimera is more valuable than I've seen so far). Also some the comment guys suggested a back log of D-men. At least when Alzner and Carlson are considered it made sense, but now the Caps are said to be looking for a D-man and a Center. Still I agree upgrades at both could be priorities. They seemed to have played with the lineup in giving rookies ice time but the playoff push is at hand. It was noticeable as the streak ended that the Caps stood around while the opposition attacked on defense. But for the season the Caps have a strong lead in the 5-5 F/A category. The Bruins were similarly dominant in that stat last season. This was surprising to me with the Caps so much success with the man advantage. But their penalty kill has been very bad. Awful really. They are the sixth worst team in that stat. Their are technically 8 teams below 80% but the 7th and 8th worst teams are just a fraction below. While the Caps are nearly the full percent below at 79.1. The bottom five are horrid with 2-5 worst between 76 and 77.3% and Toronto at 71.6%. While the rest of the NHL resides between 80 and 86.5%. It does seem to say the Caps could use an upgrade on D. A high end, aggressive D-man or men to be brought in or step up for when it counts. They've relied on their offense to keep teams on their heels.

I believe Flash's goal against the Senators put him at 20% but the two fruitless shots tonight dipped him back below, still he is 4th in shooting percentage with Knuble solidly on top. It was suggested above that Fehr is a Knuble type. Letting Flash shoot away on the third line might be symbiotic for both him and Fehr. But does that make Steckel the Center?

Semin has as many assist as Crosby and Backstrom has as many points.

Posted by: chavez66 | February 14, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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