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Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov both not at Capitals' practice; Todd Ford facing shots

By Greg Schimmel

Todd Ford is the only goaltender on the ice for this morning's practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

A team spokesman said Michal Neuvirth is "taking a day off", and also said Semyon Varlamov will not practice today.

Varlamov suffered what is believed to be a knee injury over the weekend, and after he missed practice Monday, the young goalie participated in Tuesday's morning skate but was scratched for last night's 2-1 overtime win against the Islanders.

Ford, who was recalled from Hershey yesterday, served as Neuvirth's backup last night.

--Alexander Semin is also not practicing today, and a team spokesman said the winger is taking a "maintenance day."

-- Jay Beagle, who was scratched Tuesday night and did not skate Tuesday morning with an upper-body injury, is not on the ice this morning.

-- As for the players with longer-term issues, Mike Green (head), who went home to Calgary following the death of his grandmother, is not at practice. Eric Fehr (shoulder) is practicing and is skating in Semin's usual spot on the second line, and Tom Poti (groin) skated on his own before the regular practice and is still out there at least for the beginning of the main session.

Here are what the Capitals' forward combinations look like at the beginning of practice this morning. Including Poti and Tyler Sloan, there are eight defenseman on the ice as well.

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Arnott-Fehr
Chimera-Johansson-Sturm
Hendricks-Gordon-Bradley-King

By Greg Schimmel  | March 2, 2011; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov, Todd Ford  
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Comments

Great.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This is why the Caps are a joke. You bring in a new center and give his linemate the day off on his first day of practice.

Posted by: cplcespod | March 2, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

" You bring in a new center and give his linemate the day off on his first day of practice."


Yes, I was puzzled by this as well!

Posted by: kgain73 | March 2, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I think Fehr and Chimera will be battling for last regular spot.

The checking line is set, in my opinion with 26-15-10 and I wouldn't change it, especially since Gordo is good at face offs and was terrific on PK last night.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | March 2, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

yea, THATS why the caps are a joke...

Posted by: hockeypunk | March 2, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

They have 18 games to improve to a playoff team. The way they are playing is an easy out for anyone. Arnott was on VS after the game and spoke about how quiet the locker room was, and how surprised he was at the lack of vocal leaders...they play the same way, pal...welcome to the "Choking Dogs!"

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 2, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Why are you questioning who is and isnt at practice? What if they are nursing an injury?...people need to chill out.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 2, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Semin threw 3 hits last night, he is probably really, really sore. Give him a break. :)

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Knuble should be kept as far away from the top line as possible. His constant swing and misses at wide open nets has probably cost 8 and 19 ten assists this season.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | March 2, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I LOVE the fact that Ovechkin is at practice! He had a physical game last night and worked hard all over the ice! And he is there! SWEET!

As for Semin, he worked hard offensively, was terrible in his own end and stood up right while backchecking...HE NEEDS TO BE AT PRACTICE!

And yes, you guys are right...it's a freakin joke!

Hey, why don't we give Semin an "A" for his work?

Posted by: SoaringCaps | March 2, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Here's an article of interest - Steckel's comments post-trade.

http://www.nj.com/devils/index.ssf/2011/03/newly-acquired_devil_david_ste.html

Posted by: puckman | March 2, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Arnott is used to the Russian work ethic given Kovalchuk's temperament in NJ.

No one is getting a pass with these vets around. If they do (fail), BB is fired, team is blown up, new blood comes in, GMGM acquires targets, wears scarves, we drink Kool-Aid...


Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | March 2, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

“Right now he didn’t look in good shape. That could be because he’s tired from traveling. Or maybe the drills. We’ll find that out.”

Hmmm...Very, very interesting...

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I say this from a coaching stand point and not a fan stand point.

Neuvirth is the only one who should get a free pass from practice today. Heavy work load and only goalie we have right now that can play.

Semin should be on the ice today no matter what. If he has an injury just go through the motions. At least let Arnott see where you like to move to on the ice in situations. You aren't going to have many practices down the stretch to do so.

I'm not overreacting or pissed that he's not there, he just should be there. Being sick and not wanting to get everyone else sick is the only reason I'd excuse him but not for an injury.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Arnott is used to the Russian work ethic given Kovalchuk's temperament in NJ.

__________________________________

When has Kovalchuk's work ethic ever been questioned? The Russian stereotype applied for no reason again.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are a joke? Haha! I love this place!

tominsocal1:
Don't give my secrets away! Besides, I'm trying to turn a new leaf - going from peacekeeper to trouble-causer!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@rphil

That 3 hour drive up 95 can be tiring? Yeah, okay, right! I thought the same thing.

Posted by: puckman | March 2, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

That 3 hour drive up 95 can be tiring? Yeah, okay, right! I thought the same thing.

Posted by: puckman |

3 hours? It takes 2 at the most, more like an hour and a half. All depends if there is any of that infamous Nova traffic.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

@puckman

Oh man, scratch that. I thought you were referring to me going to DC from Richmond, since I did last night for the game. My bad.

@Boo

Hi!

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I think the 1C needs to take a few maintenance days and a few maintenance games. It's ridiculous that he's still playing an can't take draws. It's obvious he is injured and playing is probably only making it worse. The team needs him as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Richmond - during his slump EVERYONE was questioning his work ethic.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | March 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@ Richmond - during his slump EVERYONE was questioning his work ethic.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts |

His work ethic, or was it mostly just his adjustment from a one-dimensional player to adapting and changing his game? Can you link me to a professional writer with quotes stating the Devils organization questioning his worth ethic? All the quotes I have read does nothing but praise his hard work and willingness to work as hard as possible to be the best player he can possibly be.

But yeah okay, I guess it's his work ethic like every other Euro and Russian.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Also, since you are basing this on production, Arnott himself totally dropped off with the Devils. I guess his work ethic was questioned as well.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully Arnott's work ethic as well as Wideman's will rub off on their teammmates. Ovechkin was outworked and outplayed the entire night by the No. 1 line of the Islanders who are playing for pride. As for Semin, if he's too sore to practice the night after a game, then maybe he has a legit injury. Agree he should be on the ice to get down timing with Arnott.

Until BB holds all of the players accountable, the team will have issues with playing hard for 60 minutes. I'm sure Arnott was referring to the Caps only playing hard for the first ten minutes of the game until the very end.

Posted by: wizfan89 | March 2, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Caps did miss plenty of chances last night, but taking 8 points from the Isles on the year is nothing to write home about.
There was talk in here yesterday of Ovie not being a leader and missing the skates, calling him "Optional" and yesterday was a perfect example of why he has been criticized.
Regardless of the GWG, he looked like he was hungover the entire game.
It's 2 points, but with 20-some games left its time to stop partying and focus on what everyone knew coming in this season was about, the playoffs.
Perhaps the lack of motivation from Backstrom, Ovie, and some others is that there is nothing they can prove right now. This season is about how much progress they make in the playoffs. Not how many points they have

Posted by: saltine182 | March 2, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@lyle -The last I checked, the Caps were a playoff team. Please check the standings.

Posted by: jwash4472 | March 2, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Idiots on here need to calm down. You have no idea what all the facts are yet are making broad reaching conclusions based on one small tidbit of information. It is beyond ridiculous.

Maybe Semin is sore, maybe he is still not fully recovered from his injury and is at the rink being attended to by trainers.

The season will hopefully go through June, taking a few days off here and there to rest the body can be as important, and sometimes more so, than one practice. The Caps have many days to get adjusted to each other. Stop overreacting to basically nothing, and especially stop reaching broad based conclusions when you are not privy to anywhere near all of the information.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

hello --Boo-- (or should i say -Boo-?)
nice to see you're back - for however long you can take it :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - dont you know this board? Semin isnt practicing = this team is a joke, caps suck, fire BB, Ted is a moron, etc etc etc. Yawn.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 2, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Sorry to disagree with you. But if this season is going to go through June, Semin has to practice with the new 2C we just got him. If his legs arent hurt and he is not sick he should be out there. They have 5 weeks left, with basically a game every other day. There wont be many practices so he needs to be out there the few that are actually held. If he's that hurt where he can't practice, let him sit out a few games now so he's healthier come playoff time.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@ capsfansince74

Call me Mr. Koolade but I'm with ya on that!

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 2, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

On another note:

Did anyone else feel sorry for Alzner after he got his faceshield rearranged during the scrum @end of 2nd period? I've gotta say, that's the first time I've ever seen a shield get that mangled in a scrum.

Usually when someone is going after a player's face/head in that way it results in gloves dropped and punches thrown. The helpless look Alzner had when separated from the pack....well, I felt bad for him.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 2, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Semin also works part time at Joe Hadeed Carpet...thats why he is out today.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 2, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@puckman -- yes, interesting article, esp the part about Steckel being "out of shape". What does THAT imply about us??

@saltine182 -- Ovie was not on, esp 5 on 5. He's got those bursts - it was an incredible goal there, as was that first goal against Anaheim - but he was ineffective in the offensive zone. In the defensive zone he made brilliant use of his yellow shoelaces to distract the beer vendors...


Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@RedLitYogi:

I agree that #44 could turn out to be a great addition. AND, I think #28 will thrive. A couple or few games ago Semin's level of play really picked up when he was put on the top line. So, much so that even a reporter picked up on it and reported it. I suspect the reason is he gets excited to play with quality players. I think he picked up his level of play last night because he knows he's playing with a quality center. I see that trend continuing and Arnott may be able to get him (Semin) not to do too much.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 2, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1:
Don't give my secrets away! Besides, I'm trying to turn a new leaf - going from peacekeeper to trouble-causer!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 11:43 AM

It can get a lot more nasty in here than when you were a regular. Back then the general sentiment was a lot more supportive of the team. But that was due from rising from the ashes in 08 and then getting to Rd 2 in 09. The turning point was the MTL series.

I will say the negative people in total are more given to nastiness than the positive people. Maybe there is a lesson about life in there. Or maybe it's just whether or not your mom got you the Kool Aid pitcher/mug set when you were a kid.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 2, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat - yes, practices are precious now. If anything, we all know (and I say this in seriousness) that the quality of the individual games would be higher if there were only 60 games on the schedule. Teams just don't get to practice and that hinders the development of skills and plays. Semin is not someone who misses often; I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@RedLitYogi

I am not saying he's not hurt or dinged up. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. I just think if he can skate at least be out there. Or if he's hurt just rest completely for a week including games. And then come back and be fresh. I want the team to be as close to 100% healthy as possible come playoff time.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

fire BB

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 2, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll second that...BB MUST GO! (one)

Note: I forgot my third yesterday BB post yesterday, so I've compensated by cherry-picking the above post.

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 2, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Also I dont know if it has been mentioned on here or not, I didnt see a post about it, but Orlov signed his entry level contract today.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Semin could also be in the weight room or with the trainer. I don't know why reporters seem restricted to the ice, but fans have free reign of the facility.

Posted by: ablake70 | March 2, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

i'm surprised the caps record is anything other than 0-64-0 right now

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe he (Arnott) will be heard cause we as the fans haven't been."

Certainly not by the owner. I emailed Ted that very same thing before the trade and he called me an "a**".

Lame.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 2, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

sgm: I kinda agree with ThePat on this one.

Does that make me an "idiot?"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 2, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

OK guys fire BB, then what. Get Pat Quinn in here to get the ball rolling? Guys will be lining up to get out of here. Coaching isn't like it used to be. Hector "Toe" Blake wouldn't recognize what's going on today.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 2, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

i'm surprised the caps record is anything other than 0-64-0 right now

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ |

haha

Posted by: richmondphil2 | March 2, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

@jwash

Yes, I know they are a playoff team...my point was not a very good one. I may be jumping on board on the "Fire BB bandwagon." This team cannot do the simple things like clear the zone, cover their man, make simple passes, create plays, work together, have some pride and passion. This is not anything new, a trend that has been going on for several years now...players may not be executing, but ultimately it falls on the coaches shoulders. These guys do not need a "players coach." They need the fear of God burned under their butts every night. Hate the guy, but you gotta wonder if someone like Mike Keenen would have these guys in line.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 2, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

LOVED the GWG, but I get worried when Ovie plays all by himself like that...

Posted by: capscoach

I do too, but why single him out? Sometimes it has looked like the team was going in different directions and trying to do too much as individuals instead of playing a team game. And yes it seems like Ovie tries to carry the team. But, I think 3 things will fix that, team success, productivity from the lower lines, and attitude adjustments. I think the recent additions can help out with all 3.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 2, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Now, tho' I'm a local I am totally in favor of the Euros in the NHL. I was complaining that there are no European officials, executives, or coaches in the NHL. Well, turns out I was wrong and am glad of it.

One of last night's two referees was from Sweden. And I did a google search and found out that, in the Canadian press at least, there has been concern that Europeans are underrepresented in team offices and as coaches. So, the problem is not something people who care about the game here are not aware of.

Of course, when following a team as Euro-centric as the Caps, I become more sensitive to my own perceived bias against Euros in the league. Sometimes this is just over-sensitivity, other times maybe not so much. I do think the last Olympics were set up for Canada to win - and they did play great in winning so not taking that away from them - and I think Ovie in particular came away from the experience with a bad taste in his mouth. He has not been the same player since then. He needs to get over it, and the Russians as a whole need to understand that there was no bias big enough in that tournament that could've taken away their fair opportunity. They simply did not play well when it mattered.

There have been two European coaches, Ivan Hlinka and a Finnish guy in Chicago. If the league continues to thrive, there will be more. I'm not at all surprised Yzerman has done so well in Tampa Bay. Someone with similar qualities of focus and intelligence might be Peter Forsberg and he'd stand a much greater chance of success as an executive or coach in North America. I'm hoping he gets the opportunity and takes it if offered...


Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It's too late in the season to fire coaches or management. If BB is giving instruction and the players are not following then bb needs to find a way to motivate(ice time, scratch, whatever), players need to go or bb needs to go. if it is 1 or 2 bad apples, no matter who they are, then they need to go over the summer.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | March 2, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The only information people have is that Semin is not on the ice today because he is taking a "maintnence day".

You have nothing else. What exactly does maintence day mean? Maybe Semin is so incredibly sore that he can barely move without severe pain and really needs a day to let his body rest so he can move better tomorrow during the game. Maybe it's not a severe injury in the sense of something being torn, but just severe soreness that can only be alleviated with rest.

Maybe it is an injury and the Caps are just using "maintanence day" to hide the injury. There are many possibilities. The fact is that no one on here knows anything except that Semin is not on the ice for a practice because he is taking a "mainenance day". That is all of the information people have, yet they start making conclusions based on guesses and then try turn those guesses into facts when all they are are guesses.

Could a guess be true? Sure. But it is mere speculation and to rudely criticize people based on mere speculation is idiotic in my opinion.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

They have until mid April to get their act together. IMO if they do not make the Conference Finals - BB is gone. It looks like his message is stale with his players because they are certainly not reacting to what he is preaching in the press.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 2, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

RedLitYogi:
you're not trying to say yzerman is a euro - are you?

http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/y/yzermst01.html

Born: May 9, 1965 in Cranbrook, British Columbia

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Caps are slow, out of shape, and should be 0-64-0 right now like many others have said. I completely agree...

Hendricks is lazy, and Ovie is a drunk...

Posted by: SA-Town | March 2, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

SA-Town:
you forgot BB is a clown and gmgm is a scarf wearing poser

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

How long before somebody comes up with the gay stuff as well?

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 2, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Also I dont know if it has been mentioned on here or not, I didnt see a post about it, but Orlov signed his entry level contract today.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 12:32 PM

Ha! HA!!! I predicted that last week! I said the only reason he was on tryout is the club wanted the space for deadline moves re: 50 total contracts. Ha!

signed, nostrathomas

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 2, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Let's GO CAPS!

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | March 2, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Are you off your Charlie Sheen pills today???? Who is making any conclusions based on anything. You are just throwing out random blanket statements.

And then you say:
"Could a guess be true? Sure. But it is mere speculation and to rudely criticize people based on mere speculation is idiotic in my opinion."

Isn't rudely criticizing and calling people idiots for speculating the same thing??? Just wondering.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town
No, I know he's not a Euro. I'm just saying that his success is not a surprise - the man exudes class and focus. And that kind of charisma and aura of excellence will attract top people to his outfit - not only players but coaches, scouts, etc. Forsberg has some of those qualities and might also be a success..And Forsberg, of course, is a Euro. Would help the game...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Isn't rudely criticizing and calling people idiots for speculating the same thing??? Just wondering.

Posted by: ThePat |

No it isn't because I am not speculating on their speculating. I am reading their speculation so I am basing my criticism off of fact. Big difference.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@thePat

damn! Does that mean this is year 1?? It means he's an RFA after 2013...Oh well...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

In addition, my criticisms were not directed at a person in particular but just at particular actions when committed by a person.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

and now from the Department of Redundancy Department...........

Posted by: Cayugalaker | March 2, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Oh ok, so to you can be a jerk bc you are using someone else's speculations to be your supporting facts. I got it.

You definitely arent "Winning"

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Phil/Kirk:
Hello to you too! I see you're still causing trouble? ;-)

Tom:
You should know by now that I'm not afraid of anyone ... bring it on! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 2, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@RedLit

It starts next season.

Posted by: ThePat | March 2, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I am criticizing the ACT OF CRITICIZING A PERSON BASED OFF OF MERE SPECULATION.

I am criticizing an act that I have evidence of(written words). Criticizing based on mere speculation is doing so with NO EVIDENCE or FACTS.

There is an obvious difference there. If you are unable to grasp it, that is fine and have a good day.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 2, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

boo: There is also this person sgm. He's pretty knowledgeable, most of the time, and I think a decent enough person, but sometimes he gets in "discussions" like above.

Make your own judgment :)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 2, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

good - new thread

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 2, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this has been put out there, but I found this on the ESPN site. BB job is in jeopardy. Hadn't realized unless you came to this site.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/features/rumors?&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnhl%2ffeatures%2frumors

Posted by: robostop10 | March 2, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It can be said that while a player may not be on the ice, that they may actually be at Kettler Iceplex utilizing the training equipment in the second level of the facility. Contrary to popular belief, hockey players can also work out OFF the ice with equipment that may also mimic the motions on the ice and work out the same muscle groups that skating on the ice and participating in drills would.

Do you people know what a gym is? Or is it safe to assume that if you're not on the ice, you can't possibly be working out?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 2, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I think if we get one more pointless insult on here the caps will finally get it and change their play. Opinions fine name calling and innuendos lame. And let's face it none of us have THE facts. Were not even close to that world so i will not pretend like most on here.

Posted by: BKBK | March 2, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Some of you "Fans" need to chill out. The Caps are not a joke. If you think this you must know nothing about hockey. Some of you just look for anything negative.

Posted by: jmy999 | March 2, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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