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The Gift of Gab

There's a good reason for Bruce "Gabby" Boudreau's nickname, as anyone who has attended one of his pre or post-game interview sessions can attest.

For a reporter, it's like hitting the lottery. For fans, it's good news, too. (Somebody remind me to stop on the way to the rink tonight and buy some extra batteries for my recorder.)

When one of Boudreau's players has a tough night, he'll talk about it. When he scratches someone for their poor play, he'll address it.

And when he's got a funny story to share, you had better believe he's going to share it.

Unfortunately, though, lots of Bourdreau's gems won't make the paper because of space constraints. But that's what the blog is for, right?

Here's a great example from the other night. After the Caps' 5-2 win over Carolina, Lindsay Czarniak from Channel 4 asked Bourdreau, who toiled away in the minor leagues forever, how much fun he's having.

"This is pretty cool," he said with a big smile. "This is pretty cool. My kids back home are celebrities. That's the best thing. They're saying 'Yeah, people are coming up to me at school and everywhere, I feel sooo good.' They have that smile in their voice when I'm hearing them."

He wasn't done.

"I don't want to bore you," he said, looking around the interview room. Everyone's still staring at him, so he continues.
"My son ... he's in a tournament at the Giant Center. They had our game [Caps-Flyers] on the big screen at 1 o'clock. So here's this nine-year-old goaltender letting pucks in because he's watching our game."

Here's another:

"I always [say] there's a [thin] line between a rut and a groove. They're both the same things, but they both mean the opposite things. You can be in a rut and nothing's going right, then all of a sudden it turns into a groove."

Like I said, all I have to do is press the record button.

Once the schedule slows down, I'm planning to sit down with him and write a feature. Anyone who had a role ( small as it was) in the the movie "Slap Shot" deserves a feature, no?

Tonight, of course, is Game 3 of the Boudreau Era in Washington as the Caps host Buffalo. The Sabres, after a slow start, have won four straight to get back to the .500 mark.

Update:I'm told Semin took the morning skate and appears to be ready to play tonight. I also hear Eminger didn't do any extra work, which likely means he'll play. More later.

Update:Tonight's likely lineup:

Forwards:

Ovechkin-Kozlov-Clark
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
Laich-Steckel-Gordon
Brashear-Backstrom-Bradley

'D' parings:
Pothier-Poti
Green Morrisonn
Erskine-Eminger

Kolzig

Scratches: Pettinger, Schultz and Jurcina.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  November 26, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Tuesday Morning Shakeup

Comments

Say what you want, BB or Gabbie is sure a lot more fun for his interviews than GH ever was -- a nice guy who had no business coaching a hockey club, at least as the head coach. I hope the Caps have a gem in BB because he sure did a great job at Hershey with some of the same players. At Hershey, Green, Flash, Schultz, Eminger, Laich, etc... developed into very good AHL players. I hope that BB can push them to develop at the NHL level now.

Posted by: JIM | November 26, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree JIM. Having Gabby in town so far has been great. I see great things coming!!! Look what he did for the Bears. Hopefully we'll see the same for the Caps. GO CAPS!

Tarik - Looking forward to reading your feature on BB.

Posted by: Tracy | November 26, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Lindsay Czarniak is hot!!!

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Not as many posts now that the 'fire hanlon' session is over....

If Semin plays - Wonder which line he will be on and who will be out as a result? Maybe 2nd line? Though at some point I would like to see the all russian line.

Posted by: cs | November 26, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

1) Nothing like winning to make things fun again! Unfortunatly the move was probably made 2-3 weeks too late to save the season, but better now then never.
2) Now, time to sign Ovechkin to that long term deal already!
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Fauxrumors | November 26, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ok, what is this relation to slap shot? Did I miss something?

Posted by: Go Skins Go | November 26, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Gabby had a cameo appearance in slapshot. He didn't have any speaking lines, but he wore the #7 jersey. I can't remember what team he played for, but they played the clips the other night on the CSN broadcast.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of CSN, it's going to be nice to hear Joe B on versus tonight without Locker. The man knows his hockey without a doubt....but I can only take so much of the nasally voice. CSN needs to put him on a part time basis. While I'm on the CSN kick, I think it's great when Smokin Al Koken gets back in the press box. I loved his call of OV's goal in Ottawa, brings you back to the good ole days. "A shot and a GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL"!!! Oh I love it!

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The only thing worse than multiple bad losses were the Hanlonisms that followed. I hope Gabby is as quotable after losses and doesn't sound as lost and clueless as Hugs.

Posted by: Jill | November 26, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that's gotta buy BB some automatic dap considering how revered Slapshot is amongst hockey players. Hey, Locker a great broadcast personality. There's a reason why he does the color rather than play by play, and I think he does a great job of it. I got to meet him a couple of times after games last season when they did those post-game things at the Dewar's Club and both he and Joe B. were wonderful.

Enough with the dumping on Hanlon. It was the players who stopped listening to him, and that's on them. You could see it at the Atlanta game. They weren't paying attention at all. I hope he can hook no somewhere soon and do good things for them.

Posted by: EricS | November 26, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I will never get tired of watching Lindsay Czarniak on TV :)

Posted by: Finn | November 26, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I love hearing Locker's comments. "It's all even-steven here in the 3rd". Semin should hop back on the second line tonight. How about 4 ppg's tonight?

Posted by: capthis! | November 26, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

That makes two of us Finn.....Git-R-Done!!

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong...Locker is a great analyst and certainly knows the game. There are times when he starts talking that I wish Joe B would reach over and hit the mute button. I would actually love to meet Locker and Joe B in person. I'm sure both of them are great to talk too, especially over a few drinks.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Classic quotes. Thanks again for the updates Tarik!

Posted by: Tom | November 26, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Locker's just too repetitive sometimes.

"That's an easy call for the linesman to make."

Only so many times I can hear that in a game.

Posted by: keef | November 26, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

BB played for the ficticious Hyanisport Presidents (#7)

Posted by: NJ | November 26, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

These past two games should give everybody hope. We're only 23 games into an 82 game schedule. If the team continues to play to their ability, the playoffs still are not out of the question. The caps are only 7 points out of the final playoff spot. There is a lot hockey left to play

Posted by: Brandon | November 26, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, he knows his hockey, but he is one of the MOST annoying broadcasters covering the game. I've met him a few times, and I think he's taken one too many shots to the head. Nice guy, but just annoying.

At least we don't have people like the Penguins broadcasters. They are such a couple of homers. I watched the game against Montreal, and Ruutu took a shot to the chin. He definitely took a dive, but Errey and the other annoying guy kept talking about how the Refs "...handed" Montreal their goal. Buffalo is pretty bad, too. At least our guys are relatively fair.

I guess since we can't complain about Hanlon anymore, we're going to Locker. I think we can all be happy we don't have Kenny Albert anymore.

Posted by: Locker | November 26, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Looks like no Petty tonight:
Ovechkin-Kozlov-Clark
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
Laich-Steckel-Gordon
Brashear-Backstrom-Bradley

Been wondering with 8 D why they don't just rotate the 3rd D-line as a pair rather than switching individuals in and out to see if they don't have more chemistry as a result:

Poti-Pothier
Morissonn-Green
Erskine-Eminger

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Brandon,

Tarik has not yet given us permission to start using the "P" word again. please strike your comments from the record.

:)

Posted by: Livinit | November 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik.

Any word on the starting roster tonight? I'm curious to know who will sit with Semin back and I have heard that Emminger is looking really good in practice lately...

Posted by: pch49 | November 26, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Livinit -- thanks for remembering. The Caps need at least five more wins before the P-word will be permitted 'round these parts again.

Posted by: Tarik | November 26, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Shoot, without Pety, we're going to have to hear some gloating from Puckguru.

Posted by: keef | November 26, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

One can only imagine the kind of blogs regarding Ted and GMGM that will appear if the Caps end up 10 points out of a playoff spot. Why wasn't Hanlon fired sooner? If BB continues to show what a good coach he is, what does it say about the Caps management to have someone that good in the system, and not seen his potential as the head coach? I still think this team will be lucky to get 75-80 points, but at least their work ethic should be solid.

Posted by: kenhockey | November 26, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Your quotes from the players are the generic "we let Hanlon down, it's up to us to play" etc. Cause, that is how professionals are - you don't expect them to speak out of turn.

But, reading between the lines, have you observed the players heaving a sigh of relief that they have a new coach? Did the players think Hanlon just wasn't up to the task, and didn't have a coach's sensibility or wasn't a good tactician, etc?

Will a future article explain what goes into a decision to replace a coach? Where Hanlon wasn't up to it? (in a nice way...)

thx.

Posted by: Dezlboy | November 26, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

cs,

My money says either Pettinger or Laich will be sitting out tonight to make room for Semin. I doubt he'll juggle the lines though. BB seems to like consistency when things are going well.

Mitch,

The Hyannisport Presidents. Green jerseys. It's the first team the Chiefs play at the beginning of the movie. BB is all over the place hamming it up.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: | November 26, 2007 11:29 AM

Those line combinations were per who? Tarik? Vogel?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Jurcina Junkie | November 26, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I dont know if anyone else thinks this way, but Pettinger looked really good Saturday night. He didn't show up on the score sheet, but he was buzzing around the net and really hustling out there and creating a lot of traffic in front. Maybe it didn't really translate on TV, but I was sitting right at the goal line where the Caps shot twice and I noticed he was really gaining the attention of the Carolina D. Might be worth trying him out there with Semin, who gets the puck to the net a lot, rather than Flash and then have Flash with Backstrom and Brashear...just a thought.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I will leave it at this: whether Hanlon had lost the team or they stopped listening to him, it was apparent that it happened last spring. gmgm and "I know hockey because my last name is" Patrick should have recognized that and respectfully shown Hanlon the door during the off-season. Instead they rode that poor, limping, basically dead horse for 21 more games into this season. Now the whole season is in question, the organeyezation looks stupid, and Hanlon is badly scarred, battered and bruised.

Thankfully we now have Gabby, and it looks like he is the gift that will keep on giving! How exciting that is for us to have another reason to check in with Tarik.

Posted by: Clarendon | November 26, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Locker,

When I was younger I used to watch Caps broadcasts with my finger on the mute button for when Craig was talking, but now I honestly don't know if it would be Capitals hockey without him...

Dezlboy,

I think that they had completely tuned Hanlon out, but a lot of them didn't realize it. I sincerely believe that some of them just thought that they were just in a funk. It took Hanlon getting canned to show them the light.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

here's the important question Tarik. Did you take advantage of the sales and get yourself an HD upgrade??

Posted by: Melissa | November 26, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't mind Joe B or Locker. But if you ever get a chance to hear some out of market games, you will find out that there are some folks out there that are very entertaining. The guys on CBC are great, and the dude from Buffalo (Generette?) is awesome!

Posted by: pmoravek | November 26, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@11:48
I don't think that many of us were questioning Pety's effort. He just hasn't been getting the job done.

Posted by: keef | November 26, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Rick Jenrette makes my ears bleed. If ever there was a guy in love with his own voice, it's him. Oh, and Mike Lange as well.

Posted by: b.orr4 | November 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

They slept soundly and dreamt about the great new friend they had made; but the clock kept on ticking, ever so close to that dreadful alarm - Any moment now, they will wake up and in unison shout "Fire the coach, Fire GMGM" and life will become normal again.

Posted by: Jethro | November 26, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@Jethro

It's a little to early to be drinking...at least wait until the game starts tonight.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Lindsay Czarniak is a babe.

Posted by: Czarniak fan | November 26, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Locker, In response to your comment about the Pens boradcasters...Are you sure you don't mean the game against Ottawa? That was not a homer job of them complaining, that dive call was the worst call I have ever seen. Maybe call the dive, maybe, but definitely call the other guy for roughing since he stiff armed him in the face well behind the play! I was watching on the Ottawa channel and even they thought the call was terrible!

Posted by: Pat | November 26, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

how about...
ovechkin/kozlov/clark
semin/nylander/flash
steckel/gordon/petty
brash/backstrom/bradley

laich scratched... keep the B's together but don't send petty down. the man is beautiful

Posted by: capthis! | November 26, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@Mitch

You're right on.

Locker is good but he and Joe B talk about nothing too much. They need to call the game and focus on the line changes etc. When Joe B does a VS game he calls it and does a pretty good job.

Posted by: gawferstud | November 26, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Tarik and Livinit -

I apologize. Despite being a life long Caps fan, I am inexplicably (and shamelessly) optimistic. Hopefully the approved vocabulary for comments will expand in a few short weeks!

Posted by: Brandon | November 26, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Mitch,

I think Locker is great and I really enjoy him and Joe B. together.

Posted by: Locker Fan | November 26, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't live in the DC area any more and I miss Joe B calling that games down here. I love it when I flip over to Versus and get to listen to him call the game for a few minutes.

Posted by: Mike13 | November 26, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
What's your take on the recent Larry Brooks column where he stated Washington didn't "deserve" Ovechkin and that he should sign with some big market team. It seems like he's had it in for the Caps ever since he guaranteed Jagr was going to NY and he ended up in DC.

Posted by: b.orr4 | November 26, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The next two games are really critical - against two teams we directly fight for points with. I hope they don't underestimate them just cause we won against Philly/Carolina.

These two are the kind of games we should absolutely win if we want to legally reintroduce the "p" word :D


Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@cap this!

They can't send Petty down w/o doing waivers.

Posted by: Schultz for Calder | November 26, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I read Larry's column. It's one guy's opinion and he's not alone.

I can't say that I agree with him.

That said, the Caps could end this discussion by signing AO to 10-year deal.

Posted by: Tarik | November 26, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

With regards to Emminger, Coach B said that he does anticipate playing Emminger as well as all of his defencemen. Perhaps that means that he rotates them throughtout games. Though I still wish it meant that Shultz goes back to Hershey. I think he has potential, he's just not there yet.

Until I heard that, I really thought that GM was the cause of Emminger not playing... I thought he was going to be dealt. Maybe, it was Hanlon. Hanlon did seem to have some favorites on the team who can do no wrong. Hope Emminger plays well and impresses Coach B.

Posted by: cs | November 26, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Larry Brooks doesnt "deserve" to have his name in the same sentence, much less the same column, as OV. Just look at his fat smug face, what a goober.

anyway, hopefully all those upstate new yorkers dont show up in droves tonight like last year.

GO CAPS!

Posted by: PJ | November 26, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I hope Tarik would not agree with Larry's column b/c Larry has no integrity as one of Murdoch's sensational writers for Newscorp. Tarik actually does his homework and uses his sources ethically, unlike that NY Post hack. Keep it up Tarik!

Posted by: JIM | November 26, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Time to channel the positive vibes because BB is for real. He has the presence of being in control of every aspect of the game from behind the bench to in front of the mic. I love the quotes especially the rut/groove one which is appropo to Petty as I suspect he will be scratched because- while he looked better against Carolina- is in a rut-still not getting pucks to the net quickly enough which is one of Bruce's big preachings. Let him sit and watch and I guarantee we will start seeing some production-or a groove so to speak. And speaking of grooves there are not two better in the NHL than Locker and JoeB. I watch hundreds of out-of-market games every season and our two are the best. The pointdexter style of JoeB coupled with Locker's Mayberry RFD aw shucks-there is nothing better. I will miss Locker tonight. But Hey maybe I'll go since the good times are back in town.

Posted by: DarrylHockey | November 26, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Jurcina Junkie | November 26, 2007 11:42 AM

Lines are now updated by Vogs on WashingtonCaps.com

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Mitch,

According to Locker, during the Carolina game, he stated that he will call the play by play tonight with Joe B. on Versus.

Posted by: Mo | November 26, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Joe B treats his listeners like little kids.
"go fetch" "down the pond" and the last game "a Poo POO". He and Locker talking about spilled soda. As long as were firing everyone lets get rid of both of them

Posted by: billd | November 26, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if anyone has seen this or not - but in European soccer (EPL league) they have one game where they do a fans take. It's Hillarious! They have a fan representative for each team, they basically just go back and forth and it ends in a huge argument, but funny none the less. It would be really funny to hear a caps vs. pens gmae broadcast like that - even funnier a Leafs / Sens game.

Posted by: cs | November 26, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think it was possible, but this entry made me appreciate the existence of this blog even more that I already did. Must be nice having too much material sometimes, right?

Posted by: Goat | November 26, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone not love Locker? I WATCH the game for the hockey, and listen because of what a clown Locker is.

By the way, Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey (Pittsburgh announcers) are the two absolute worst announcers in all of the NHL. I can't watch penguins games with sound because of those two.

Posted by: Rob | November 26, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I never tire of watching Lindsay Czarniak reporting on DC sports. Tarik - next time you see her, could you gently remind her that it's KNEE-lander, not NIGH-lander?

Posted by: 106 | November 26, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

according to the lines posted by Mike Vogel on http://capitals.nhl.com, Pettinger isn't getting a sweater tonight. Hmmmmm......

Posted by: Steve | November 26, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually glad to see Eminger in the line up. I was at the game on Saturday and Jurcina made bonehead play after bonehead play. I'd like to see what Eminger can do with a fire under his butt and a chance to play for a new coach.

Posted by: Roger | November 26, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Mitch,
I agree with you about Lindsay and Locker. However, when it comes to Joe B. I disagree, I think he talks too much about things off the ice rather than on the ice.
By the way, I don't think you understood Jethro. I believe, and he can correct me if I am wrong, that he was implying that these bloggers are in state of euphoria with the new coach, but as soon as he start losing they will not hesitate to turn on him. And I agree with him.
Tarik,
Those quotes are lame. The guy seems to be nice and friendly, I am glad, lets see if you can get some real insight of what is going on with the team.


Posted by: Joe | November 26, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

ARG..... Gabby had a chance to scratch Brashear, but instead he's taking Petty out. I completely disagree. And for those who mentioned Laich should be scatched - NO WAY. He's producing!!!!

Anyway, I still don't get it! Someone please explain how Brashear continues to play each game. He's SLOW! And the freak goal Brashear got, well, was a lucky break. It should have been Mo's.

Tarik, please provide some insight because I just don't get it.

Posted by: Tracy | November 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

LET'S GO BUFFALO!!

Posted by: Dennis | November 26, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I have no life, so I must post on another teams blog. Feel sorry for me because I still live with my mom and I have a really dorky name.

Posted by: Dennis | November 26, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Dennis,

It really doesn't have as much of the sting it had the last couple of seasons. Now be a doll and get back to work. Those fries aren't going to cook themselves.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Tracy,

Brash might be slow, but he's a major intimidation factor, which is especially good considering that BB has him out there as Niklas Backstrom's personal bodyguard. Sticking Nick between Brash and Brads seems to be working - that 4th line has been the best line on the ice for the last two games, and if it ain't broke...

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The 4th line has been very good out there the past 2 games. If they hadn't, it probably would have been Bradley sitting instead of Pettinger.

Posted by: cs | November 26, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

One of you got it, one of you love cheap wine.

Posted by: Jethro | November 26, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey - if Boudreau can get Eminger to turn things around and become a contributor - that's a huge accomplishment in itself.

It's going to be interesting.

Posted by: Gabby | November 26, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Jethro,

Two Buck Chuck is awesome. It's beer that I'm snobby about.

Also, what in god's name are you talking about.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who think that Brash should sit. I think Pettinger would be a much better line mate for Backstrom. Heck, I believe some of the Hershey guys will be better than Brasheer.

Posted by: Jethro | November 26, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

HollyOlie
Two Buck Chuck? I must be getting old, I still make my margaritas with Boone's Farm wine.
As to what I was talking about, it is not worth repeating it, but it was in reference to the reply by Mitch and Joe on an earlier comment I made. Silly stuff.

Posted by: Jethro | November 26, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Ah... got it.

Also, it's H-o-l-y Olie, not Holly. I wouldn't harp on it, but the mistake has been made before and ended with me breaking some poor guy's heart when I told him I was a dude.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

So, Pettinger is sitting tonight,huh? What a coincidence. Very shrewd man, that Bruce B.

Posted by: Puckguru | November 26, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

So what was that garbage on page 2 in today's paper on the Cap's first season? Here's the quote:

"1974-75 Washington Capitals


Memo to future owners of expansion teams: Just jump ahead and start your squads off in Year 2, because Year 1 tends to be a disaster. It certainly was for our local NHL lads, who wouldn't even have benefited from the expert coaching touch of Glen Hanlon. The newbie Caps' 8-67-5 season included records for fewest wins and points, longest losing streak and most goals against. "

Yeah, right. "...who wouldn't even have benefited from the EXPERT coaching touch of Glen Hanlon." Expert? Then, Desmond Bieler, we FIRED the "expert" last week, why?

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Ladies and Gentleman of the Washington Post Capitals Insider Blog, I would like to take a few minutes of your time to address and explain a few of my comments from today.

1st- In regards to Lindsay Czarniak...well i don't think I have much explaining to do. From what I've read everyone agrees with me.

2nd- My comments about Locker. Understand that I like Locker. He brings a lot of knowledge to the game and no one can question is passion. With that said I don't think Locker should be canned or anything. Some of you have agreed that Locker's voice gets under your skin and I second that motion. I was wrong in making the statement that Locker should be limited to a part time role.

3rd- I have no problems with Joe B. Listening to a nutty joke or two throughout the course of a game is fine by me. I also think he and Locker make a great tandom. However, no one can argue the tandom of Al Koken and Mike Fornes from the good old days!! Those two on tv and Ron Weber in the radio booth...now that was good ole Capitals hockey.

4th- Jethro...it's now three buck chuck at Trader Joe's. I also know that Jethro was speaking to the state of euphoria we as Capitals fans are in over the recent streak of wins and the new coach. My "it's to early to drink comment" was a sarcastic remark. To be honest with you, if I weren't at work I would have started drinking at 7am this morning simply because I hate Mondays.

Now, with all of that said I politely ask you the jury of the Washington Post Capitals Insider Blog to pardon my stupidity and not shun me into the hallow halls of Glen Hanlons house. Please forgive me for my wrongs and allow me to express my rights to the best of my ability.

:) Peace out my Capitals Junkies!!

Posted by: mlewis31 | November 26, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The post by mlewis31 was done by me...Mitch

Posted by: mlewis31 | November 26, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't see anything wrong with Brashear. He's playing his role and is pretty good causing havoc in front of the net. He's almost perfect as an "energy" guy.

Posted by: tallbear | November 26, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Petty is a -6, I think that might have something to do with his seat tonite.

Posted by: 3vafans | November 26, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Well guys, I am not ready to concede this season. I can tell you how they can do it. If the Caps can get hot and get back to .500 by winning 8 of the next 10 games, they will have 33 points.

If the play .650 hockey from there on out (that would mean winning 31 games of the remaining 49) they will end up with close to 95 points last year.

I would say they were in at that point. The Rangers, Islanders and Lighting all got in with less than 95 points.

Its not going to be easy, but it can be done. Lets just keep winning. We got the team and I think we got the coach. I also thing we got the fans. I am not so sure about the GM, but I think he knows enough to let the coach coach and the players play.

I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to see Green creep in on the power play and one time it from the back side. Movement. Motivation. Its all coming together.

Only one way to go now... Gotta believe and crawl out of this hole, but you know what? A good team has to play around .650 anyway. Thats not extra. Lets just get to .500.

Posted by: Muddapucker | November 26, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: alexovetjkin | November 26, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey all - I'm back from Thanksgiving and back to posting!

Went to the game on Saturday, and I'm not sure I've ever had that much fun at a hockey game. This team really is fun to watch when they're on their game. Absolutely LOVE the new PP setup and movement.

RE: Locker
Everyone is sick of hearing some announcers, but how about New York's main announcer (who also does football). You think Locker's repetitive, hearing "Jaromir Jagr, It's a power play goal!" 20 some times a season gets so old. Do a search on youtube for that line. He does it with the other players too. "It's a power play goal" - Just listen to highlights when the Rangers are at home and you'll see what I mean.

RE: Lindsay
I'm a fan

RE: Gabby
Down with the nickname & down with the changes he's made. As long as he's making changes if and when teams adapt to our new style (Hanlon sure didn't), I'll love the guy.

RE: Brashear
He's looked good in his past two games. He might just be trying to impress Gabby, but you can't fault his play. He's not taking dumb penalties & he's working hard on the forecheck. Pick on someone else.

RE: Petty
He's looked meh in the past two, but I still think he's a major contributer to this team. One game on the bench ought to make him stellar in his next game. Rather than being unlucky, Petty will score two - one a shorty. Just my guess.

RE: Eminger
I don't care what people say about the kid - he's earned the right at a SHOT. I mean Hanlon gave him... 1 game? The Juicer earned his spot on the bench, as I really think the Cole goal wouldn't have happened had he been on the bench. I noticed that Gabby put him on the bench at the end of period 1, and then he made that errant pass at the end of period 2.

Don't get me wrong - Nylander is as responsible as him for that goal, but he's not sitting after a 3 point night. He looked great!

Posted by: Raber | November 26, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It's true to whoever said this up top, but there just hasn't been a whole lot to say in the past few days.

no real reason to keep reiterating "Caps win!" over and over again.

Let's just see it continue.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 26, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Jack Edwards with the Boston Bruins gets my vote as worst announcer.

I had never heard of Lindsay Czarniak until today. Thanks bloggers. :D

Posted by: Caps fan in TN | November 26, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Czar knows she has such strong support among caps fans. Maybe talking about the caps for more than 23 seconds a week would get her some better ratings.

Posted by: Rob | November 26, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I like that Backstrom and Green are getting a lot of PP time now, but when is Backstrom going to earn the trust to be on one of the top lines?

http://jordanwoll.com/caphits

Posted by: Jordan | November 26, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It is all well and good that Boudreau is a good quote, but I continue to be concerned with the way that most of the team quit on Hanlon. It doesn't speak very well of the team's overall character and it doesn't take much to think they would do it again.

Posted by: Jim | November 26, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@DrinkingPartner
Skol, I'll drink to that!

Posted by: Jack Daniels | November 26, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

muddapucker,

I'll say what I said over at OFB earlier this afternoon:

There's a long way to climb, but it's not beyond them at all. The pool in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference is rather shallow - aside from the Caps, every team below 8th place at the moment has between 21 and 23 points. The Caps are at 17.

There are four games this week, and three of them are against teams in that bottom half. This is a good opportunity for some ladder-climbing.

The Caps are 7 points out of 8th place right now, and while the teams between here and there aren't going to be sitting still, 60 games is more than enough to catch up with them with some hard work and focus.

They're in a rough place, but the boys aren't out of it by a long shot. If we were over halfway through the season, I'd think differently, but we're not.

Boudreau couldn't ask for a better situation in which to prove himself. The man is a winner, and I think that he'll be making believers out of the gloom and doomers sooner rather than later.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

FIRING GM is more critical NOW than ever, before he RUINS another coach.

Holiday gift== FIRING the GM.

Congrats to Bruce, best of luck.

Posted by: Chief | November 26, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru,

Is Sasha being rushed back too soon again? Just want to get your take before the game as you think BB has the look of greatness and what not.

Posted by: Bobo | November 26, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Chief,

I'm not arguing you about GMGM's employment, as I'm still pretty much on the same page with regards to all that, but I'm curious to know how exactly he "ruined" Hanlon.

GH never had the sort of success that BB did, nor was he ever known for being a man with a good system and good "hockey sense." I think the team just outgrew him.

Also, and correct me if I'm wrong, but GMGM has been Boudreau's boss since he first came to Hershey, where he landed them a Calder Cup and a 50+ win season.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@Jim

You're right that if the caps basically got Hanlon fired by not playing for him, that's basically mutiny. Once the players start second guessing Coach B, they could very well do the same thing to him. That shows character, but not the kind we want.

The question gets back to who was calling the lines, Hanlon or GMGM? Hanlon probably can't talk (he's been gagged). That's happened to me before. He can't talk about it.

If it was Hanlon, then we got rid of the right guy. If GMGM was calling them, then their play is curious. Why win for the GM that was causing so much angst?

I'd love to hear what really happened that last 10 days.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

HolyOllie

I with you...

It can be done and you are absolutely right about BB. Expectations for the Caps are low at this point based upon performance so far. He can't screw it up. He can only improve it. If the Caps make the playoffs (I make it even money that they will)he will be nothing short of a genius and his reputation established.

I am rooting for the Caps but I am also rooting for BB. He's earned his shot and I believe he's going to make the best of it.

He's coached and played at every level since Reggie Dunlop was a player. You gotta love him for that. Not many people in the league can say that they were on the same ice with Reggie.

The guy is going to do it!

Posted by: Muddapucker | November 26, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

mlewis31- Remember when people would call in and ask, "What's the deal with Mike Fornes' hair?" God I loved that.
Lindsay=yummy.
Brash=protection for OV,AS,&NB we need him.
What happened to all the Olie bashers? His reflexes look pretty good when we score 4 or 5 no?
LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: kevbpgc | November 26, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Jim & Greg S.,

The players liked Hanlon. He was a nice guy who didn't go too hard on them. But face it, the man didn't have a very good system aside from the neutral zone trap that floated them through the rebuild years with some semblance of dignity. His special teams never worked and his line combos were questionable at best.

He was out of his league with the Caps this season, and when that happens to a coach you're going to hit the skids. Players start to get down on themselves, and things just snowball. The players have an obligation to play the system that their coach tells them to, and when the system doesn't work... well, we've all seen what happens.

There was no "mutiny." The Caps couldn't win with what Hanlon was giving them, and he let them off too easy when they started stinking up the ice.

Posted by: HolyOlie | November 26, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Greg S.

I haven't a clue who was calling the shots when Hanlon was behind the bench. I got of believe he was, although he was probably influenced by GMGM.

But getting back to the players... I said since the end of last season that the Caps players may have mistaken Hanlon's patience and teaching manner for tolerance.

Heck, they just got too comfortable with him. They knew what buttons to push and what they could get away with. They may have not even done it on purpose.

There was no motivation either by fear, intimidation or verbal communication. Sure the Caps liked him, but they didn't play for him. As much as I dislike Holik, he nailed it when he said the Caps played like a team trying to get their Coach fired. They may not have meant to to do it, but that is what they did. They weren't responding to Hanlon.

And its not just Hanlon. It happens again and again to successful coaches. They lose their edge with a team. Players find a comfort zone that they lapse into. Players can't ever be so comfortable that they lose fear as a motivator. Fear of being replaced, waived, benched... you name it.

Anyway, I have talked too much on here this afternoon. My apologies.

Posted by: Muddapucker | November 26, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I think it was TSN.CA that had a quotable on Coach B. Something to the effect that his coaching career was not on the NHL fast track.

This gig is his for the taking. I've said before and it's worth repeating. If he does really well, I have no problems telling him to find a house and stay awhile. I would still like to look at all options. It's the only responsible thing to do.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@Mitch

Al Koken stole the "A shot, and a goal!" call from when he used to work with Mike Fornes; that was Fornes' signature call and it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Koken stole it when he got to call that game.

GO CAPS!!!

Oneal

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

So far, what a difference a new coach makes!

Brash has been good the past few games, as long as he can stay in the crease & out of the penalty box!

I enjoy the announcer team we have. Ten years ago, Lacher's voice seemed a bit different, but you get used to it. He knows hockey, that's for sure. Also, Joe B must be very well respected; he get's a lot of work, especially in the playoffs.

And does anyone have an opinion on which DC tv anchor covers the most hockey? (2b honest, I've only watched Ch4 Sports, for the past 30+ years) :-P

Posted by: Hattrick23 | November 26, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it Mike Fornes and Al Rimer???

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Coaches are hired to be fired. Very few have gone through a career without getting fired at some point.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 26, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

If they put some kind of "man filter" on Locker's voice, him and JoeB would be perfect for me. I like their jokes/comments. W/O filter, voice is a bit annoying to me (sorry Locker... I don't mean to be rude).

What else did I want to say... hmmm oh yeah:

go caps Go Caps gO cApS Go CaPs GO CAPS G.O. C.A.P.S g-o--c-a-p-s GO CAPS GGoo CCaaPPss G O C A P S go caps Go Caps gO cApS Go CaPs GO CAPS G.O. C.A.P.S g-o--c-a-p-s GO CAPS GGoo CCaaPPss G O C A P S


Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember how much Eminger sucked/we hated him last year?

I just love the way we're all excited for him to come back now ... psh.

I don't understand this move -- I know we have 8 D but why are you fixing a line-up that was working & that gave us 2 wins in a row for the first time since the beginning of the season?

We'll see how Eminger performs tonight -- if it's bad, I'm going to be none too pleased that he's in over Jurcina. (Let alone that Erskine is in over Milan, too.)

Posted by: Jurcina Junkie | November 26, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody remember the season that the Caps had Danny Galavan?

Posted by: Muddapucker | November 26, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@Jurcina Junkie

At least Shultz sitting as well. That makes me smile.

Posted by: Steve R | November 26, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

@ Steve R.

Yeah, that is ONE thing to smile about. If Schultz, Erskine, and Eminger were in over Milan I think that I would go crazy trying to rack my brain to try and understand Brucie B's move there.

Posted by: Jurcina Junkie | November 26, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

@ Holy

Caps management takes into account the most idiotic things when making decisions, that said, rest assure that this GM will micro destroy this coach at this level.

Comparing a well accomplished coach and/or player from AHL to NHL is not realistic.

Carlyle has been enabled to succeed thanks in large part to Brian Burke.
The same can't be said for Hanlon and now BB.

Posted by: Chief | November 26, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I like the benching Pettinger. I like Pettinger but he has underachieved in the checking role, and has not produced any offense. Hope this period of "reflection" brings back the Pettinger we need which is a solid two way forward who can pot between 15 - 20 goals per season.

Posted by: red dragon | November 26, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

i 100% agree with you, jurcina junkie. it seems as though no one remembers how horrible eminger was last season. a lot of folks here have been questioning hanlon's decision to not play him and have been saying he deserves a chance to play. well, he played in a super majority of games last season and was pathetic-especially in his attempts to clear the puck from the d-zone. by sitting for the first quarter of the season, i sure hope he knows what he needs to improve upon.

Posted by: jon | November 26, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Muddapucker - I don't remember Gallavin as a kid, but after just reading some about him, I do remember Denis Savard's "spinnarama", though, which I guess he coined? Denis could skate! :`)

Posted by: Hattrick23 | November 26, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@ Jurcina Junkie

One of the other blogs (I want to say, Japers, but it may not have been), had a great line about Juice. It was something like "Is it possible that Milan Jurcina actually stinks? I don't think so, but it bears watching."

I think Jurcina is servicable. But, unfortunately, that's a word that fits pretty much everyone other that Poti, and eventually maybe Green. (It was not supposed to include Pothier but it does.) I think we should all just get our knickers out of the twist their in just because #5 or 6 defenseman #2 is out and # 5 or 6 defenseman number 8 is in. Erskine, Emmer, Juice, Mo, are all interchangable. They play differently, but neither add nor detract signicantly from the others around them.

One interesting thing will be whether two opposite moving one way D men (Green and Mo) can be an effecive pair. Mo's going to see a few 2 on 1s. I hope they practiced those...

Posted by: old time hockey | November 26, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

And, in the world of WORST ANNOUNCERS EVAH, go with the headmaster of the homers, the lush of landover, Mr. Sonny Jorgenson. Drunk, superfulous and without insight, I would rather hear commentary from the cocktail in his hand than whatever comes from his mouth.

Yeah, I know its football, not hockey, but he's so awful he warrants mentioned. Compared to him, Locker is ESPN (ooops, versus) ready...

Posted by: old time hockey | November 26, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so Smokin Koken stole a play out of Mike Fornes playbook. But damn, for a minute there during that Ottawa game I felt like a kid again glued to the tv watching the Capitals play and listening to "A shot and a goal" when the likes of Pivonka, Hunter, Hatcher, Bondra, Murphey, etc. scored. Then I woke up and realized Hanlon was still behind the bench during that game. Now I have moved on to brighter times in my life and hopefully Mr. Gabby (something sounds strange about that name) will continue to bring more bright days to me and all of Capitals nation. For starters and can continue tonight with a severe butt whooping on Buffalo.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@ Jon

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am glad that someone sees it the way I do (or at least says it).

It seems to be that people want to go "the grass is greener" route -- always wanting better, searching for someone to fill the spot the instant that a Cap D man makes a slip up or a mistake. If you bench the boy that made the mistake, he's not going to learn! You'll just break his confidence and reinforce insecurity in their head. And what are you really doing by putting someone else in there? They'll make mistakes, too. It's a part of hockey. Heck, it's a part of life!

- Jurcina Junkie
(The name button was not working.)

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it's amazing how every news source seems to think the Caps will finally be a good team, now. They all seem to be very fond of BB, especially The Hockey News, with their 3 separate stories on the Caps last week.

I just hope BB has the chance to prove himself the next great coach.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 26, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

@old time hockey

Milan was arguably the best D man the Caps had last season after they picked him up and he started the season out that way so I don't really agree with your assessment that he is interchangeable with the likes of Eminger and Erskine. But on that, I guess we can agree to disagree.

I think that with (a little) more ice time than he's been getting he can get back to last season's form. Pothier has done better with less minutes but the same can't be said for Jurcina.

I like the guy but I guess Brucie B. doesn't - I'll just have to get over it.
-Jurcina Junkie
(The name button was not working.)

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this is a matter of BB liking or disliking any of the players. I think what BB is doing right now and it is what any new coach would do is mix up the lineup and see who fits where. Just because Carrott Top liked Schultz & Jurcina over Eminger and Erskine doesn't mean that BB is going to follow suit. I applaud BB for changing things up to see what the best "fit" is for this Capitals team. If it turns out that Schultz gets sent back to Hershey, I don't think anyone will complain. If Jurcina gets the short end of the stick then we'll have to see what happens. As for Petty being scratched, I hope this doesn't turn into a permanent deal simply because he is one hell of a PK guy.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

People who think Joe B. and Locker are bad need to pony up for Center Ice and listen to some other broadcasts. We should be pretty happy for what we've got here.

Posted by: zamboni | November 26, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Haha Bobo!
Looking to snag a Guru?
Guess he didn't have his crystal-balls with him this afternoon...

How long has Semin been injured anyway?
My foot finally cracked last night, Just short of 6 weeks to the day. Doing notably better today. I haven't been a bad boy skating when I should have been recovering like some people though.

Posted by: Icebat | November 26, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I've got to disagree with the Petty benching. He's great on the PK and his numbers are only so low because he's on the checking line. When Clark was there he wasn't scoring either. Every second i've seen Petty out there this season he's been trying his butt off and i really don't think he deserves this. I know that the BBB line has been working, but since we've got Bradley and Erskin in we don't really need Brash and i gotta think that PBB would work just as well if not better.

Also from what I've seen Juice has been playing much better then Morrisonn and Mo hasn't been benched once. we have really been treating Juice badly this season, benching him every time he doesn't have a perfect game. He's a great player with a cannon of a shot that saved us last year we should be utilizing his strengths more. Oh well Bruce seams to know his stuff so i'll trust him, and i'm glad to see Eminger back in the line-up.

Posted by: DC FURY | November 26, 2007 6:49 PM | Report abuse

@Jurcina Junkie:

I think there's a lot to be said about Milan, but honestly, do you need to be tooting his horn this much? He's got a wicked slapshot, though he hasn't been getting it on net as much as I'd like (blocks/missing entirely). I like his hitting and his presence in the defensive zone.

What I don't like is his play coming out of the defensive end. I think he makes bad passing decisions and often hands goals away. Granted, everyone on the team makes mistakes (Poti's for instance). Milan's just seem to always lead to goals - in fact 2 in the last 4 games. The one Saturday night came at the end of a strong period, which doesn't sit well with the team.

Before arguing he's "the best D man the Caps had last season" I think you need to look at his play and evaluate whether you like the Jurcina you've seen recently. I'd argue that weak as a 5th grader Schultz has at least avoided costly mistakes (as well as hits).

Don't get me wrong. Erskine, Eminger, Schultz, Pothier, and Jurcina are all in the same boat w/ me at the moment. If I had to make the choice, I'd put Erskine in (I like his defensive play, even if he is slow) and then it'd be a toss up for the last 2 spots.

Pothier at least seems to make mistakes to cost US scoring opportunities, rather than give them scoring opportunities. I haven't seen enough of Eminger to make a call on him. Schultz is a girl, but has shown he can be effective. Jurcina has been good, but he's probably the D-man I yell at the most after Schultz.

I think we'll see Milan on the ice again soon. I hope he can bring more than he has been in the last week.

Posted by: Raber | November 26, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@DC Fury:

If you didn't see it, my post above has a bit on Petty. I agree that he's been playing great all season (more than can be said for Brash) but Brash looks really great right now as well. Petty has had incredibly bad luck IMO this entire season.

That said, I really think Pettinger, more than some of the other players, will respond EXTREMELY well to a benching. He's going to come out later this week and kick some serious a**. I'm looking forward to that game.

Forgot to mention in my last post:
GO CAPS!

Posted by: Raber | November 26, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

well the Sabres looking better for now, although it was a lucky goal.

Come on boys!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Eminger looked bad a few times this period, excluding the goal. You can see the talent but the guy just makes bad decisions that lack confidence.

Posted by: Pat | November 26, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

oh my goodness what a goal.
That's the OV we loved from last year.

Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Note to Capitals:

You've won two games in a row, now is not the time to lay down and quit. Remove your heads from your butts and start to force the issue with these Sabres.

Posted by: Mitch | November 26, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The second and third goals from the Sabres should have been prevented.

Hopefully they keep the pressure up in the third.

Semin is sucking, is he in pain or something?

Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

@mauree: Whether or not he's in pain, he hasn't been practicing a bunch with the team. It'll take a few weeks of practice before he can play with everyone.

Posted by: Raber | November 26, 2007 8:54 PM | Report abuse

So i have Center Ice why?

Where is my Caps game?

Posted by: austinsteve | November 26, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, nevermind, It's on Curses

Posted by: austinsteve | November 26, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

OH!! That rolled in! Why didn't they count that?!?!?!? It was clear on the overheard cam!

Posted by: Boo! | November 26, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Egads! Talk about miscues between Flash and Nyls..

Posted by: Steve R | November 26, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Man, I hope BB's got the guts to bench Nylander after his atrocious showing tonight.

I doubt it, though. Since when have the Caps been held to standards?

Posted by: Todd | November 26, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I hope BB can twist this loss. I had the impression that right when the caps were outplaying them, they made those stupid plays and turned the puck over and lost huge momentum.

Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Caps run into a hot goalie - it happens.

Emmy needs to skate w/ a D that can skate 2 on 1s, because Erskine doesn't cut it in that Dept. Poti maybe? Emmy was over-aggressive IMO, but he was trying to prove himself. His assist on the OV goal was meaningless - OV did all the work.

I like Green & Mo.

Nyles with mistakes a plenty. Don't like the stick-handling in our defensive end - and it finally leads to a goal. The drop pass to flash wasn't all on him, but it wasn't great either. He'll be better next game.

We saw the return of the Nyles, Backstrom, Semin line. Didn't that one shift look HORRIBLE? Wish he hadn't taken that advice from Hanlon.

Kolzig looked stellar. He was making those "game breaking" saves at the end to keep the team in it. Where the **** was the defense on that save he made on Hecht? It was a 2 on 0.

Loved the play off the timeout - am I right?

Overall, I thought we looked good. We can't expect to win every game, and given Miller tonight I think this is one we were going to lose anyway. Semin got stonewalled in the 2nd (though I wish he'd gotten it just a little higher).

Posted by: Raber | November 26, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I know Eminger wasn't Neidermeyer out there, but he's got talent and just got unlucky on that goal. They need to keep playing him.

As for Nylander, he is a huge disapointment to me. -13!!! Come on, that is really bad. He turns the puck over constantly. And -13 is now worst in the league.

Posted by: Rob | November 26, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Greg. But it really sucks to lose the game with those mistakes/turnovers, it looks like it has a lot to do with mentality. This is where BB must make a difference.

Oh and if it's a problem with condition for Semin, let Pet back in until Semin is back.

Posted by: mauree | November 26, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

They should've benched Flash instead of Petty. Watching them play at the end of the 2nd period was like looking at the past. they looked like Hanlon's team in his last week as coach. They just stopped skating!! Power play is still crappy, you can't fix everything in 3 games. Let's wait 3 more years.

Posted by: wanggo | November 26, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

They lost???

The sky is falling!
Fire Boudreau!
Trade Ovechkin!
Assasinate Leonsis!
ABANDON SHIP!!!

Okay, I guess that was a bit .alarmist

Posted by: pmoravek | November 26, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

But seriously folks...

Semin was a shadow of his former self.
Nylander had a friggin AWFUL game.
Flash had a rough one too.e
Hecht played very well.
Millar had a great game.

We weren't going to win out the rest of the schedule anyway, let's see how BB gets them to face a bit of adversity.

Posted by: pmoravek | November 26, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

BB needs to bench Erskine and brash. Brash was slowing down Backstrom every second he was out there. Backstrom would start to set something up with Bradley then the puck would go to Brash and the play looked like something out of the junior leagues. Brash and Erskine need to sit and Juice and Petty need to come back. if any enforcing needs to be done Bradley, Mo, or even Clark I know they're by no means "feared" or particularly good fighters but they can get the job done if it needs to be done.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

"Nylander had a friggin AWFUL game."

Are you surprised?

Posted by: MikeZ | November 26, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Bobo,
Yes, I do believe he's being rushed back too soon ---------AGAIN. When he first got injured, I suggested he be allowed to sit until the beginning of December. Well, they didn't do that. They rushed him back prematurely, TWICE!! Whether this makes the third time, or not, I don't know. What I do know is that "High ankle" sprains generally are the worst type of ankle injury you can get, and take the longest to heal. Therefore, it certainly would have been prudent for Hanlon ( And company ) to err on the side of caution as I suggested. But, they didn't.
My fear, at this point, is that by not allowing the thing the necessary amount of time to heal properly, they're now running the risk of creating a chronic problem. And, that would be the absolute height of irresponsibility.
Hopefully, Sasha's rather lethargic play this evening can be explained away by his simply being rusty. Let's hope so. Because, without him in the line - up, and contributing as we all know he's capable of, I'm afraid this is going to turn out to be a very, very, LONG SEASON.

Posted by: Puckguru | November 26, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

GMGM clearly rushed Semin back!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 26, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I think the loss was good for them. I'd rather see them rebound now than get cocky on another 3-0 streak.

Not to mention, Miller had an incredible game. Those last 2-3 minutes, he saved the game for Buffalo. We got so many quality chances, it's a Sabre miracle we didn't get any.

And Nylander has been playing well, regardless of what anyone says -- you'll all remember Ovie's +/- last year -- just look at his points. Tonight was just seriously unlucky for him.

The BBB line still looked good tonight, but I think Bradley got hosed on those calls. They were pretty weak.

Kozlov dazzled some tonight, but I'd like to know when BB is going to see that he's just not a 1st line center.

Also, aren't they going on all of ONE practice with BB? Let's see how they rebound on Wednesday night after a little more time with the coach.

They might have lost tonight, but they went down blazing. That was probably the best loss all season.

Just something to appreciate.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | November 26, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks Nylander does not belong is nuts. The man can play, he is a top class player. He had a bad game, so what? He is not playing with some of the most talented players in the game. The defense of this team sucks and the goalie will have one or two excellent saves, lets in four or five stoppable goals, and, God knows, every shot has a rebound.
Semin didn't have a good game neither, but he had being out for a while. I hope the new coach does not put him in the 4th line or bench him while playing people like Bradshear - I didn't care about his quote regarding Semin.
This team has problems, but Nylander, Semin, Koslov, and Backstrom are not it.

Posted by: joe | November 27, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Postgame interviews here

(click Video Interviews on top, then games/Postgame Interviews/capitals)

I agree with GregS and pmoravek and DrinkingPartner.

I do NOT think Semin was rushed back. He was fine and wanted to play. He sucked though, most likely cause of condition.

Let's see Wednesday. Coach said tomorrow they'll practice and work a few things out.

Posted by: mauree | November 27, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like a loss to bring the Guru back and buzzing. Maybe he's back early, but it's HIS CALL. I agreed with you earlier, but now it's quite clear that the organization is letting Semin decide when he plays. Semin played tonight, so he thinks he feels fine. He's not conditioned or practiced with the players - it'll take a bit.

Seriously though, some people are ragging on the wrong players. Brash played beside himself tonight - making some great plays in the offensive zone and even a nice pass to the slot. I really can't see the problem people have with him, unless they're looking at the Brash from earlier this season. Brash is not on my bench 'em list. Bradley took a couple of dumb penalties (though at least one was a bad call). Him before the Donald. Semin isn't back to full skating strength - him before Brash too.

All that said, this game was evidence that Petty belongs in this lineup. His spunk might have helped us in the 2nd period after that goal.

Flash looked bad in some places and great in others. He arguably contributed to that second goal for Buffalo (come on, everyone in the arena knew Nyles was dropping that puck except him) but in the 3rd period he played great. He generated that 2 on 1 chance w/ Nyles, even if he fanned on the finish.

He wouldn't have fanned if he didn't take such a wind up for the shot, something that he might not have done if Miller hadn't just stonewalled Semin. That second part is stretching it, but at least he generated the chance in the first place.

In the 3rd, he pushed a few pucks ahead for breakaways. The kid's been working and generating chances - let him play.

Erskine I'm on the fence about. After seeing tonight's game, I would argue that Juice probably goes in there in place of him IF he stops making bad decisions coming out of the defensive zone. I'm not sure whether I like a D-man who is slow or a D-man who literally generates chances for the opponent. At least the first one requires them to take effort to generate the chance.

Milan's better than Erskine, he just hasn't been in the last few he's played.

Posted by: Raber | November 27, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm hearing rumors the Caps are shopping Semin.

Posted by: K-Fed | November 27, 2007 1:45 AM | Report abuse

@K-fed: I'd love to hear your source on that buddy. We just signed him to a 2 year 9 mill contract - what's the logic behind that?

Posted by: Raber | November 27, 2007 2:07 AM | Report abuse

@Raber

lol he didn't deserve an answer.

Anyway, about tonight game.

The Goods:

* The team looked good. For good moments at a time they held Buffalo and were dominating.
* The 4th line looked really good.
* More team effort than before. They're playing more for each other.
* Alex Ovechkin. Enough said.

The Bads:
* Semin sucked. I think this influenced the whole game more than anything actually. If it was the real Semin, this game would have been a lot different.
* Turnovers... my gosh...
* Some moment they looked like the old caps - dumping but not chasing.
* There were some shifts, especially in the end, where people remained on the ice more than they should have. This is not acceptable. BB: you need to fix it.
* Even though there's more team effort, it's still not enough. There were moments when people were chasing the puck "as individuals".... resulting in just skating and getting tired for nothing. BB: if you press and chase and hunt for the puck, it must always be a team effort, otherwise it's not only pointless, it's counterproductive.

Anyway, maybe I listed too many "bads". In reality I'm still optimistic. I like the team, I like the coach. Who was right on the point when he said: "the difference was, they played smart, we didn't play smart".

Posted by: mauree | November 27, 2007 4:23 AM | Report abuse

@Puckguru: I've been out of town and only able to read the blog occasionally for the last week, but do you have a source for the "high ankle sprain" description for Semin's injury?

@Mauree: I thought your summary was very fair and there's reason to still be optimistic, even if the hole we've dug is pretty deep.

A couple of observations I would also make: our breakout starts from behind the net and is only as fast as the skater with the puck, giving the defense time to set up in the neutral zone whereas a team like Buffalo emphasizes transition through SHORT passes up ice to open areas and is much, much faster. As a result, by the time we get to the opposition blue line, we have to dump or try to stickhandle through four guys. While we have a couple of players who can literally stickhandle in a phone booth, their odds of achieving much stink when they get smothered like that. The Caps play a very simple "system", if you can even really call it that, that has been inherited from Hanlon's previous season as the coach of essentially an AHL team. Our passing was terrible last night, but no worse than it's been on other nights this season. Defensively, the Caps let Buffalo set up behind the net over and over without doing much about it; it didn't cost them goals (the turnovers took care of that), but it allowed Buffalo to control more of the play in our offensive zone than I would have liked. Again, this is a function of the simplicity of the "system" we inherited.

Boudreau obviously hasn't had the time even to begin to do anything with any of these issues, other than tweaking lines and adjusting where Ovie plays on the power play (finally and thank god). Hopefully over time we'll start to see some transition to a more sophisticated game that utilizes the talents of our players more effectively.

Posted by: Fred | November 27, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

The team looked like they could have used a practice on Sunday; ragged at the beginning; 2nd line running into each other; power play with only 2 options (back door & Ovy in the slot); at least it appears that we've taken 2 steps forward and 1 step back as opposed to the inverse

Posted by: Anonymous | November 27, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

We need to fill the arena with CAPS fans! That was like a home game for Buffalo last night. Almost half of the crowd seemd to be wearing Sabres gear. How many Tim Russerts can there be in Washington?

Posted by: Jack | November 27, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

It's not that I think Nylander is a bad player, I just can't stand all the turnovers and never getting a shot off. For the amount of time he has the puck on his stick, you'd think he would have a ton of shots, but he only has 1 more than pothier, or about 2 a game.

Posted by: Rob | November 27, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Games are always like that when the Sabres and the Pens play...until we start winning that's just the way its going to be. I was at the game last night and was impressed with the energy the guys had...not so impressed with the awful turnovers. It also seemed to me that Olie seemed a little slow. I know he had a good game and all but I've never seen/noticed that before. It almost seemed to take him longer to get back in position after a save when Sabres had the rebound. That made me super nervous! Did anyone else notice that?

Posted by: K | November 27, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

K

Olie's been like that for the past 2-3 years; don't worry he's just pacing himself.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 27, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm willing to wait until January to pass judgement on BB. Give him a chance to work with the team during the 5 or 6 days after 12/2 and see what happens.

It sounded like their passing was typical, behind the target or transcontinental. Break-outs have to be short, quick passes along the boards. A lot of give and goes. This needs accurate passing, tape-to-tape. There isn't a Cap out there that doesn't need this practice. Even in the two wins, the passes were late and behind.

The 4th line wreaked havoc out there. I'm liking it. Hard hitting and persistence will shake up a team and energize your own. Using Backstrom as a floater between 4th and PP, or on another line when we need additional offense makes sense to me. Will be interesting to see what kind of synergies are created with that.

Posted by: Greg S. | November 27, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Buff goal #2 a nice clusterflop from Emmer pinching and Flash unable to hold the point. Talk about an over-aggresive D trying to earn a permanent sweater in one night.

Green and Mo may be worth keeping. Put Milan with Erskine or Emmer and see what happens.

Posted by: old time hockey | November 27, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Jack- you're seeing a lot of bandwagon Buffalo fans who've come back to the fold over the last three years; they didn't draw flies the last two pre-lockout years. Keep in mind that Buffalo gets the same "treatment" when Toronto and Pittsburgh visit; at least 1/3 of their barn are Leafs fans and they'll get more than a few Pens fans in their building.

Posted by: Patrick | November 27, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

It's still a feeling out process for Boudreau. He's trying to see what each player can bring to the table. I was hoping Eminger would have given a better performance but he's obviously rust, as was Semin.

Posted by: red dragon | November 27, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It was a joy to watch the last two games. The team looked well above regular dump and chase stuff. Sabres just got luckier though they still a better team right now. There's a hope. Nylander had made some mistakes, but he was awesome in the previous game. Semin will improve. Bruce Boudreau is da man. Viva Ovechkin! Go Caps!

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com

Posted by: alexovetjkin | November 27, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't think Nyls is a bad player at all.
But nobody can say he didn't have a crappy game.
I think he & Kozlov would both be a bit more effective if they got the puck to the net with a bit more verve.
Semin is just a bit rusty. Everyone else is 20 games into the season, he's had less than 5.

Opinions:
If you are BB do you bench Nyls in order to "make a statement" to the team?
OR
Do you focus on positive play of the team. (Overall there were playing well) With the idea that you are going to minimize mistakes and turnovers going forward?

Flame away Guys...

Posted by: pmoravek | November 27, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

By the way...
I reserve the right to think your opinion sucks. (Heh heh)

Posted by: pmoravek | November 27, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Stay Positive. Positively get rid of gmgm and Bring in DALE HUNTER!

Posted by: someone else who knows | November 27, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"Briere, Bryzgalov and Smith named the NHL's three stars of the week"

Sometimes you don't need to fire the coach to win two games in a row, you just need to get a goalie of Bryzgalov caliber. He singlehandedly won 4 (or 5?) in a row.

I think GMGM did a good job this summer and bringing Jurcina before that, but letting Bryzgalov to go to another team? Huge, huge mistake... I don't care if he and Burke were playing chess games, it is still a huge mistake.

GMGM skipped the first step:

1. Pick up Bryzgalov
2. Let go Hanlon
3. Hire Boudreau

Not that Olie was bad, but I could swear Caps would beat Sabres with Ilya.

Posted by: alexovetjkin | November 27, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig has been a problem in a couple games earlier this season, but he wasn't the problem last night.

Which goal would any other goalie realistically have stoped? The one that went in off of Erskine? The turnover in front of the net that turned into a tic-tac-toe goal to the roof? Or the 2-1 goal off that pass that somehow got thru the D-man?

The main reason the Caps were successful in BB's first 2 games is that they out-worked their opponent and minimized the bad mistakes. Last night they didn't minimize the mistakes and they lost. Tomorrow night they need to keep the mistakes to a mimimum and they can beat the Panthers.

Posted by: Jeff | November 27, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I think the overarching question to ask is, in light of what's regularly in the Post's sports section, print or on line, WHY ISN'T this kind of content in there instead?

Posted by: Bob Fachet | November 27, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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