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Theodore to start vs. Islanders

Coach Bruce Boudreau didn't commit to his starting goaltender, but Jose Theodore came off the ice first this morning, which likely means he'll make his return from back spasms tonight against John Tavares and the one-win Islanders.

As I mentioned earlier, Caps sniper Alexander Semin will miss his second straight game with an undisclosed injury/illness. That probably means the lineup will be very similar - if not identical - to Thursday's.

Some other notes from this morning:

*Alex Ovechkin, who was fined $2,500 yesterday for slew-footing Atlanta's Rich Peverley on Thursday night, said he told league disciplinarian Colin Campbell that he simply "out-muscled" the Thrashers forward and was not trying to hurt him.

"I don't mean to [use] my leg," Ovechkin said. "I was surprised [about the fine]. But it's the rules, and if I make some mistake, I have to pay for it. It's good I didn't miss some games. I think it's a bad situation for me right now. I look bad right now."

Ovechkin said the call from Campbell/fine won't change his aggressive approach.

"No," he said. "It's a hockey game. I just play my way and I will continue to play how I can."

Coach Bruce Boudreau defended Ovechkin's intentions but called it a "dangerous play".

"He was trying to get position on him," Boudreau said. "He was trying to lean in to get the puck and his foot came out. It's a dangerous play. I'm glad the league is looking at those."

"I don't think whatever Alex does he has a thought of injury," he added. "He plays really hard. I don't think anything he does is malicious. Hopefully it won't happen again."

*Semin "is getting better," according to Boudreau. Asked if Tuesday's game is a possibility, he said, "I would think."

*As for Tomas Fleischmann being assigned to Hershey for conditioning, Boudreau said: "I thought it was important to get him a couple of games. Let's face it, since July, he only skated by himself."

His availability for Tuesday's game against Philly, though, is questionable, at best.

"Three games in four nights might be a little tough for him," Boudreau said. "He might come [back from Hershey] and need another weekend down there. We want to make sure he feels right when he plays."

*Boudreau held a longer than usual power play meeting this morning after Thursday's dismal 0 for 7 performance in Atlanta.

"I was a little more vociferous this morning," Boudreau said.

*Boudreau on Tavares, who has three goals and four assists for the 1-4-3 Isles: "He knows what to do with the puck. The instinct that you can't teach people he has in spades. That's why he's going to be a great player in this league."

*Theodore's got great career numbers against the Isles - 1.89 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.

*Tyler Sloan and John Erskine are still skating, so they are likely to be the scratches tonight.

*If there's any doubt that Milan Jurcina has the hardest shot on the team (even if he doesn't use it in the game) there was further proof this morning. The big defenseman broke another pane plexiglass.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 24, 2009; 12:21 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Islanders


"I was a little more vociferous this morning," Boudreau said.

I'll bet he was.

Posted by: uncatim | October 24, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The number of short-handed opportunities the power play has yielded also frustrates Boudreau. The Thrashers' Zach Bogosian scored short-handed Thursday.

"We have to make sure there is a safety valve," Boudreau said. "It's guys doing brain-dead things."

Laich added, "That's the flip side of the coin of having five offensive-minded guys on the power play."

there you go, you finally get a player to state it. Bruce can lament his PP and shorthanded chances they give up till the cows come home, bottom line is there are some issues this team has that is directly related to his coaching decisions. He decides WHO to play, and WHEN. The reason we're kind of a loose defensive team is because Bruce tips the scales to a more offensive payload at the expense of defense. Thats why he'll play Flash on the PK and Semin on the PK or in a lategame defensive situation etc. When you have 5 guys on the PP trying to score goals, the other team's gonna get their shorthanded chances.

Hope they figure out the PP soon, as I recall McPhee stated his primary plan to discourage other teams from taking liberties with our players in the absence of an enforcer was having a strong PP.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 24, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe try Jurcina on the PP?? That is only if he can hit the net with his hard slap shot and not the plexy glass.

Posted by: caps4life2 | October 24, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"He knows what to do with the puck. The instinct that you can't teach people he has in spades. That's why he's going to be a great play in this league."

Was this quote translated from a language other than English?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | October 24, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

If only Jurcina could shoot straight.

Posted by: jmy999 | October 24, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse


I can see a few bad things happening if you put Jurcina on the PP.

First, he'll turn the puck over more often than other more capable puckhandlers/decision-makers.

Two, when he shoots, he'll miss badly quite a bit because of his inaccuracy, leading to more shorthanded opportunites for our opponents.

I'm also not sure if he has the speed and agility to backtrack the length of the ice effectively when there are turnovers.

The fact that he's a defensive defenseman doesn't necessarily mean his addition to the PP would reduce scoring chances for the other team. He's not a bad defenseman when the play is in front of him in his own end but forcing him to be a point man on the PP is a totally different ballgame.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

it doesn't matter how hard you shoot the puck if you can't hit the net!

Posted by: sargeantmofo | October 24, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Juice's other nickname is Fulton Reed for a reason...

I don't mind Semin on the PK...his stick work seems much more controlled when he's working on the PK unit and he's very good at knocking down passes and using his stick lifts to rob guys blind of the puck.

Not to knock on Green but he should know he needs to be the safety valve on the top PP unit...although many of the chances aren't a result of him not being back, but just really silly passes trying to go D to D when it's clear the high guy on the opposing PK is reading that and trying to block it to set himself up for a breakaway. Sometimes it's just about not playing with fire I don't care how good you think you can sauce it. Making the simple pass down low or just getting it back in deep when you're getting pressure up high like that is the far better decision.

We'll see if that kind of logic takes over the next few weeks though...

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 24, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

FYI. Semin is one of the league leaders in takeaways. He's far better defensively than he's given credit for. It's easy to overlook that because he's so good offensively, but it's true.

Posted by: ranndino | October 24, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

FYI. Semin is one of the league leaders in takeaways. He's far better defensively than he's given credit for. It's easy to overlook that because he's so good offensively, but it's true.

Posted by: ranndino | October 24, 2009 2:40 PM

He's also among the league leaders in stick infractions for the same reason. He's got a very active stick which leads to lots of takeaways, but also lots of hooking and high sticking penalties.

Honestly though, he's been much better about it this season. He's also been a great calming factor on both the PK and PP and I think he's been one of the most consistent players we've had on the ice this season. Anyone wanting to trade him right now is nuts.

Posted by: Raber | October 24, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse


Unfortunately, no Semin tonight. Still sick. (From the previous thread, a fan noticed him skating with a coach at Kettler today and reported that he seemed to have no energy.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Put Juice on the PP - Let him rip it - If hits a D's shin pad it just might break it and his leg!!! Would love to see him shoot more - That thing is a howitzer!

Posted by: psugolf | October 24, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@kittypaws (from previous threads)

Well, you echoed my opinion. Airline flights are not the place for people with respiratory problems (like colds or flu).

Hopefully, Semin will be fine against Philthy.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Juice may have the hardest shot but he never uncorks it in a game. I do like his outlet passes though.

Posted by: alee06 | October 24, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Has anybody wondered if there is a connection between Semin's absence and Nylander's stint with Grand Rapids?

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 24, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

No, no one has wondered that, because it's just a coincidence. Semin is sick, and the rumors about Russian teams wanting to see Circles play seem to fill out the obvious logic people need to get from Point A to Point B in this situation.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 24, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse


I can't believe I have one up on you as far as whether Jose will be starting tonight. I've known he was starting tonight since Wednesday afternoon.

As Jose was leaving KCI and about to get into his car Wednesday afternoon after practice I asked him if he would be playing Thursday night and he said he would be playing Saturday night.

BB might not be telling the media what goaltender he is starting but he is obviously telling Jose and Varly - go figure.

Curious to know what Semin's mysterious illness is.

Milan Jurcina needs to shoot more assuming he can hit the net and not just the plexiglass.

Posted by: theresa21 | October 24, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

ranndino: You and I agree 100% on Semin. I think anyone who rags on him is misguided. He's a unique talent. The kind of player you need to win the Cup.

Jurcina has been in DC almost three years. I have wondered the whole time why he doesn't shoot more. I used to believe he hit someone in the face and hurt them when he was younger. I wonder if that's true.

One thing about Juice - when he played with Alzer, for a few games last year, he was shooting (accurately) and his whole game looked better. Since Jurcina is a UFA after this season, we'll probably never knew if that pairing would be a good combo over an extended period.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 24, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse


A fan posted on the previous thread to this that Semin was seen skating on the ice at Kettler and looked like he had no energy, confirming the sick part.

I wonder if anyone saw Semin skating at Tuesday's practice. The "Caps in Pictures" blog did take some pictures of him on Tuesday. (I figure showing up at Tueaday's practice must have taken a lot out of him since he was missing the next day.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino and @tominfl1

Agree with you both that those who rag on Semin are misguided. (I don't think his problem is wimpiness or laziness.)

It sounds like he tried to come back too soon, if anything

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse


You're not the only person who's gotten early scoops.

I went to a collector's show last year and managed to find out quite a few scoops, including the fact that Brash would be out for at least the next game and that Semin had the flu. Sure enough, those scoops were confirmed the next day.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Caps have a d-man who can shoot straight from the point... I'm about the biggest supporter of Green on here but aside from his wristers, his slap shots from the point have been awfully errant.

Posted by: joek443 | October 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I had a Zdeno Chara moment today.

I went ice skating today and collided with a kid dressed in full hockey gear. (I assume he was about 10 or 11 but am not sure.) Well, the poor kid got the worst of this collision and fell onto the ice and seemed hurt. (I don't think it's serious and he could get up, with a little help but definitely shaken up.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Will Fehr score again tonight?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

joek: Come to think of it, who on the Caps has a good slap shot? I have seen Green unleash a few goals that way, plus Ovie has best in league and Semin is pretty potent. Pothier occasionally will score on a slapper. With most of the rest of the guys it's wristers. And Schult got hot a few years back - 4 goals in 5 games or something - and maybe several were slap shots. I also recall ShaMo winning a game last year in OT vs Rangers that way. I think the problem is those who can don't do it enough.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 24, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1, I've noticed the same thing... wrist shots went away for a long time and now everyone is back to using it again. maybe it has something to do with all the fancy sticks...

I don't really see anyone out there now who can shoot from the point like Al MacInnis anymore... always thought he had the most lethal slap shot in hockey.

Posted by: joek443 | October 24, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

For anyone who wants to see highlights of Nylander and Grand Rapids.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 24, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

MacInnis and Scott Stevens.. that must have been a lethal defensive pair when they played together in the juniors...

Posted by: joek443 | October 24, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse


Although Semin has a good wrist shot (and a good slap shot), he did a slap shot in the shootout against NJ, missed it, and everyone was totally upset that he had done a slap shot that time instead of a wrist shot. (He was not used in the next shootout)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Semin has a good slapper I think people were a little "wtf" about it in the shootout because he usually has a good success rate using those sick hands of his to fake the goalie out of his pads.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 24, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Semin and Ovie were out last Saturday night at the club - late night, lots of drinks and a table of women! Maybe he should get more rest between games? 28's still a lucky man because his girlfriend was hot!

Seriously he should (they all should) enjoy being young and the lifestyle but I hope the partying isn't what has him run down this week. He'd be Greenie #2 minus the preference for strippers!

Posted by: CapsSighting | October 24, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Nylander highlights. I saw a circle then an assist.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 24, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse


Are you serious? Did you really see Semin and Ovy partying after the game at a club?

Puck Daddy has a post about the Flyers. Specifically, about how Mike Richards (young Captain) is freezing out the Philly media. The article also talked about how he and Carter, and their pals enjoyed the night life. And, yes, the article talked about the discipline (or lack of it) for the Flyers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Any suggestions on who Boudreau should use for the Power Play tonight. We know Semin is out.

I'm tired of us being the Powerless Play. Or should we call it the Energy Sapping Play?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: There's a time and a place for everything. A slapshot on the shootout seems inappropriate. Best shootout goal of late was Ovie's double dipsy-doo the other night. Why slap it if you can fake the goalie outta his pads?

joek: Best slapshot ever on Caps had to be Iafrate. Once on New Year's day (93 I think) Caps played Devils, who started Billington. Iafrate got a penalty 40 secs into the game. He come out of the box 2 mins later all alone, and the puck went right to him. He skated right over the blueline and from like the outside, top of teh faceoff circle he wound up and unleashed the most wicked slapper I've ever seen. Perfectly placed, upper corner of net. He did one against Richter once where he skated alone down the center of the ice and shot just after entered the offensive zone. Puck went over Richter's shoulder; zinged the back of the twine; and shot back out all the way past the blueline I think. His shot was more wicked than Anna Nicole Smith.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 24, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

OH NO Ovie and semin were out late after a game and only 5 days before their next game!!! OH No they will never recover in time!! OH NO they should be home in bed on a Saturday night ( like chicken little)..OH NO women weaken knees...!!! OH NO chicken little is insanely jealous!!!

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | October 24, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1, Iafrate sure had a wicked slapper but I think MacInnis' was more effective... his shot was just as hard as Iafrate's and he never needed a big wind-up for his. MacInnis had such a compact wind-up and quick release on his slapper.

Posted by: joek443 | October 24, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse


Enjoy the sarcasm on your post. Like you, I sincerely doubt that Ovi and Semin going out on Saturday night is the cause of Semin being ill on Monday and beyond.

I'm a little surprised that they haven't just come right out and said "flu" unless it's mono.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 24, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

i laugh out load every time!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 24, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

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