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Tonight's lineup: Caps at Maple Leafs (Updated)

Michal Neuvirth will get his second start of the season tonight at Air Canada Centre, where the Caps are looking to win for the eighth time in nine game. Vesa Toskala, meantime, will get the nod for the improving Leafs.

The rest of the Caps' lineup should look like this:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin
Laich-Morrison-Knuble
Fleischmann-Perreault-Fehr
Clark-Steckel-Bradley

Defense
Schultz-Green
Morrisonn-Poti
Erskine-Jurcina

Goalies
Neuvirth
Theodore

Update:Leafs D-man Luke Schenn is a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.

I'll have more after the game.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 12, 2009; 6:30 PM ET
 
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Next: Maple Leafs 6, Caps 3

Comments

Maybe, just for kicks, the Caps can start strong, play strong in the 2nd, and finish strong. I strongly hope so.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Love the lines, these are the lines I'd like to see them stick with.

Posted by: BACKS | December 12, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Love the lines, these are the lines I'd like to see them stick with."

Given the current healthy players agreed!

Posted by: FLDave | December 12, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

LET'S GO CAPS!!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Yay! GO NEUVY!!

Posted by: caraveli | December 12, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

FiOS subscribers in:
Howard county,
Anne Arundel county,
Harford county,
Baltimore,
Newport News,
Richmond, and
other areas further away from DC:

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is Verizon has heard us. They plan to bring us CSN+ and they are "hustling implementation plan."!

The bad news is they weren't able to do it in time for tonight's game.

Info about all this is available at this guy's blog:

http://mikeholden.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/caps-wizards-fans-verizon-fios-has-solution-for-the-over-flow-games/

Posted by: grackle5 | December 12, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Sure would like to see FEHR get one, right after Ovie!!!

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"Love the lines, these are the lines I'd like to see them stick with."

Given the current healthy players agreed!

Posted by: FLDave | December 12, 2009 6:48 PM |

Yeah, I would definetely want Laing in there when he's healthy.

Schenn's a healthy scratch? Hm.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, it hasn't been talked about but Pothier is the healthy scratch again.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"Healthy" scratch.

Posted by: ogdennash | December 12, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

alright...that was easy...fehr is next

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

that didn't take long.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

BMo has been off...he just missed a huge opp

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"Healthy" scratch.

Posted by: ogdennash | December 12, 2009 7:19 PM |

In reference to Potsy or Schenn?

Schenn is healthy, and it's weird to me if Wilson decided to play frickin Exelby or someone else in his place. They might be showcasing someone though for trade since they are d-heavy.

Is Potsy hurt? I don't remember hearing anything, but I would hope he is because he has been one of our better d-men all year. It's not like Poti and ShaMo had a glorious return or anything.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

HOLY COW!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Also, it hasn't been talked about but Pothier is the healthy scratch again.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

-------------

I thought Pothier was injured?

Posted by: butcherbaker | December 12, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

TEB via twitter:

# Brian Pothier has a rib injury and could miss anywhere from a week to six weeks, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau. 8:05 AM Dec 11th from web

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Richmondphil, per Tarik's twitter:

Brian Pothier has a rib injury and could miss anywhere from a week to six weeks, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau.
8:05 AM Dec 11th from web

Posted by: ogdennash | December 12, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

OMG SEMIN

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

@uncatim Started strong, that's 1 / 3
Lets Go Caps!!!

Posted by: bluejeener1 | December 12, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Egggcelent!

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

That would explain it.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Toskala....the reason this isnt a blowout in the 1st

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Morrison . . . the reason this isn't a blowout in the 1st.

Posted by: ogdennash | December 12, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

SHOULD WE MISS MORE FLIGHTS!!!???

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Morrison . . . the reason this isn't a blowout in the 1st.

Posted by: ogdennash | December 12, 2009 7:34 PM

Care to shed some light on that? I love the guy but has he made that type of impact on this game?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Hershey Bears vs rochester amerks at Giant Center. Holtby in goal. After 1st period 4-1 Bears. Aucoin (2), Gordon, Beagle.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Great first period but I feel like we should up by 6!! That was some great passing. Ovie is seriously ON tonight!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Great first period by the Caps, especially after the travel snafu last night/this morning. Beautiful passing all around by the Caps--the best I've seen in a long time.

Uncatim, thanks so much for the Bears update!

LET'S GO, CAPS!!!!!

Posted by: wocoliz | December 12, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

poo.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Don Cherry looks like my grandma's kitchen table tonight.

http://tweetphoto.com/6323526

Cherry said that he has no problem with Ovie and that he likes the way he plays, when asked if he should change anything about his game. Interesting because it's a 180 from what he was saying before. Maybe he got up on the right foot today.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we dominated the first. Made the Leafs look like an AHL team. And yet they now have a chance to tie it.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Poti traded. For what he is paid and what he does, the gap is too big.

Posted by: jgrasse | December 12, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Trading Poti isn't as easy as you make it seem.

That being said, trade Poti.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

that was a weak goal

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

gotta get some momentum back on our side. it's starting to shift.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

that was a weak goal

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 8:22 PM |

But it wasn't Theo, so it's excusable!

/sarcasm

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

How good is our top line?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
you can use this for sarcasm - Ø

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

After 2, Bears up 5-2, Boyd Kane added to the tally.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

@Kirk

I saw you guys talking about that before, I am unfamiliar with its usage as sarcasm. Every time I see it I think "null set" and of Frege, Russell, and other logicians..which isn't a good thing. hah

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy's rebounds have been bothering.

Posted by: elicea | December 12, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

yikes, not a good third period. 3 questionable goals let in by Neuvy. =( gonna be an interesting third period. these leafs are tough.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

neuvy better clamp down in the third - or he'll be accused of being theo

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

that was a weak goal

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 8:22 PM |

But it wasn't Theo, so it's excusable!

/sarcasm

Posted by: richmondphil

but the difference is neuvy's in his 6th career nhl game and theo's in his 14th season (?) but whatever.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

rachel216 you mean second period. I think this shows why Theo as shaky as he has been should be the #2 goalie in DC for at least the rest of the season. Nuevy does not look like an NHL goalie right now. Too many rebounds and too many first shot goals that aren't even one timers like Theo faced last night.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 12, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy hasnt been great.

Posted by: jgrasse | December 12, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

but the difference is neuvy's in his 6th career nhl game and theo's in his 14th season (?) but whatever.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 8:47 PM |

Not quite, but I am not going to argue. The bias of treatment towards players is more than obvious here on CI.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer and richmond phil - I think you are right. Theo has been inconsistent, sometimes playing great and other times a bit shaky. But Neuvy looks like he just isn't ready for the show yet. I'm very hopeful that he will be before too long, but he's just not there yet.

Posted by: zmega | December 12, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

geez.. it's not like i defended any of the goals he let in...

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really trying to say anything except that Theo gets unfair treatment from fans, while when Varlamov or Nuevy do not do as well, their bad play is oft-excused. Theo isn't really that bad of a goalie. He's stellar when he's on, however rare that is. Varlamov has shown the same streaky tendencies to be frank.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Didn't intend to pile on - sorry rachel.

Posted by: zmega | December 12, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

i've seen a lot of improvement with varly - makes me wonder is irbe making a difference. could neuvy use some of irbe's coaching too ...

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

And I like Neuvy, I really do. I know it may seem the opposite, but it was clearly obvious from his NHL minutes last season that he wasn't ready. I was confused by the posts a few months ago when people said they preferred Neuvy over Varlamov. (of course, this was when Varly was not doing good and everyone had turned against him) Neuvy is a great prospect, he didn't win the AHL equal of the Conn Smyth for nothing.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

we can't lose this, can we?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

hah, here we go PP.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Bears win 6-2, Aucoin gets the Hat Trick!

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

we can't lose this, can we?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr

i hope not - one of the things thats more depressing that a caps loss - is the arrival of the doofus brigade

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

wtf

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

WHAT THE HECK HAS HAPPENED!!??!?!?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 12, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Is that 2 shorties in back to back games?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Goodness, we serve up our share of shorties.

Posted by: Terptwin | December 12, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Horrible. I don't want to break my tv/remote/window, etc. Time to watch something else. Varly, get better soon!!!

Posted by: cbs75 | December 12, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

If Varly can't go, do they give Holtby a shot as Theo's backup?

Posted by: zmega | December 12, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Good god! We beat the worst team in the NHL in OT last night and the 2nd worst will likely beat us tonight. Caps score two in the first 5 min and then one in the next 50.??????????????

Posted by: jgrasse | December 12, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It's not that serious. Holtby sure isn't ready. Minus the first 20, it's not like the Caps have played a good game.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Im not impressed with neuvirt tonight or this year, but if 52 or 26 could simply clear the puck out from in front of the crease, this is a tie game.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 12, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

While Neuvirth is up, Jason Bacashihua is #1 goalie in Hershey.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

this team might just set the team record for the most shorties allowed in one season.

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Not that it couldn't be justified, but that was just a dumb decision by Greener.

Posted by: elicea | December 12, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Well the Sharks and the Wild both are above the Caps in shorties by 1 and tons of teams have 4. So, no I don't think they are going to set that record.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

this was worse than the 5-2 nj loss

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

This game simply looks like the Caps ran out of gas after the first. Also yes we have not done well aganst to bottom of the league in the last two games but after a horrible start Toronto is 8-3-1 in their last 12 games (including tonight) so they are turning their season around and Carolina just beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh last week so they are not as bad as their record either.

Nuevy looks lost in the NHL right now. Varly needs to come back soon cause Theo is shaky at best and Nuevy doesn't look close to ready for the NHL.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 12, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

alright on to the next game...

sad night. wizards lose a heartbreaker as well. ;(

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

You can point at the defensive mistakes but Neuvirth looked like a deer in headlights all night long.

Toskala made a number of huge saves while I can't think of a single big one made by Neuvirth.

Even on the breakaway SHG, Neuvirth had a chance to redeem himself after giving up a number of softies. While Toskala shutdown several breakaways, Neuvirth didn't even come close on the single one he faced.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 12, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

how do the Trashers go from the 29th in PK to number one in a year?

everyone wants to talk about the great special teams play of the Caps but that's only half the story... the last time I checked PK is as important as PP and they're near the 20th in the PK.

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Looking back at all of Toronto's goals:

1. Bad rebound by Neuvirth.

2. Kessel scores from a bad angle with Neuvirth squared up on him. Yes, it was a 5-on-3 but it wasn't like there was a quick pass then a shot. Kessel just beat him too easily.

3. Clumsy play in front of the net but Neuvirth went down too early. The guy shouldn't be able to score on a spin-o-rama from a sharp angle in close.

4. Toronto got a lucky bounce but Neuvirth owed us a big save at that point. His glove wasn't working like Toskala's. He was late to react all night long.

5. The shortie. Yes, it was a breakaway... much like the 5 or so that Toskala stopped. Neuvirth had a chance at redemption and could have kept us in the game but he came up short. I know it was a bad pass by Backstrom and a lazy backcheck by Ovechkin but still, Neuvirth owed us one.

6. Pretty irrelevant at that point but Neuvirth got juked out of his pads on a pretty casual fake. He was looking backwards before the Leaf passed the puck into the net.

It's only one game and he's young but that was an entirely unimpressive performance even when considering the breakdowns in front of him. A good goalie on his game may have prevented 4 or 5 of those goals.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 12, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

At least no one can say people only pile on Theodore...

Hope Varly picks up where he left off when he comes back. They've allow 12 goals in three games without him. It's clear he's the number 1 goalie. But they need to take these games more seriously. Two nights where they play the worst and second worst record wise teams.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 12, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao:
even if he handles half of them - they've still got a shot in ot/so - although i'm not sure a shootout would have been a good thing tonight

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

rachel216:
i don't think neuvy is being bashed here - much like theo had a poor game yesterday - neuvy had one tonight. the comments i'm seeing are calling him out - and stating that he needs more work before he is ready. theo bashers just can't wait until his contract ends. neuvy will be fine - he played well in the pre-season. i think next year when he gets to play with these guys on a regular basis - he will be just fine and push varly as well

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk

I agree. I was simply analyzing this individual game.

Varlamov has had and will have nights like this as well.

All goalies do.

Neuvirth was simply bad tonight. That's all I'm saying. I look forward to his development in the future.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 12, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

On a night when the Capitals got out-scored by 3 goals, the following statistic tells all"

+/-
Ovechkin = 0
Backstrom = 0
Semin = +1

The rest of the team = -11

What happened to the rest of the team?

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 12, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I blame Pat Peake.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

as good as ovi, semin and backstrom are together - i think there are times when the rest of the team is just content on watching them - thereby making them mere spectators on the ice

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil : That is so unfair. The blame clearly lies with Kris Beech.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Was the game on TV tonight? I'm in DC wiht Comcast and saw the Wiz on 10 so switched to 79 and .. nothing.

Posted by: tslats | December 12, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't know folks. I didn't see Ben Clymer do a single thing out there. I am blaming him. (That game wasn't very fun to watch by the way).

Posted by: Aldred15 | December 12, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I blame Pat Peake.

Posted by: richmondphil

isn't he the ghost of the shattered heel, the spirit of chasing the puck to get an icing call

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Sharks lose. I think Caps hold first.

Posted by: uncatim | December 12, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I blame Alex Volchkov. (haha...remember him? When people call Semin an "enigma" I always think of this dude...a true "enigma.")

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see Ben Clymer do a single thing out there. I am blaming him. (That game wasn't very fun to watch by the way).

Posted by: Aldred15 | December 12, 2009 10:30 PM |

Ooof..Clymer hurts because he's still getting paid by the Caps!

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I blame Milan Novy.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 12, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

I missed the game. Sounded like a bad one. Only 1, repeat 1, Capital was a Plus player on the night, the very guy every one wants to trade.

I'm really worried about our team in goal until Varly's back. Neuvy didn't do too well. And Theo's been somewhat mediocre lately.

This is depressing. At this point Vesa Toskala is a better goal tender than anyone we got. I almost wonder if we should trade for Ryan Miller (of Buffalo) except his Cap hit is over 6 million.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Yes, it was worse than the 5-2 NJ loss. At least Brodeur is a good goalie who I respect.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

Neuvy had 1 or 2 good games last year, if I remember correctly.

Seems that the boys ran out of gas, as a whole. I hate back to backs for the Caps. It's usually bad news.

I must confess that I dread this road trip. Especially with Varly out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I blame Milan Novy.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | December 12, 2009 10:50 PM |

I had to google him, going a bit too far back for me. I was alive, but very young.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

At this point Vesa Toskala is a better goal tender than anyone we got. I almost wonder if we should trade for Ryan Miller (of Buffalo) except his Cap hit is over 6 million.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 10:51 PM |

Toskala is not a better goaltender than Theo. Buffalo is not trading Ryan Miller even if his cap hit was 8 million.

I know it was a bad loss, but come on now.. Take a breath, it was a bad loss on a back-to-back.

The Caps were due for some tough times anyway, after winning 7 in a row.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I'll be the first to admit that this was a total stinker by Neuvy. There is no freaking bias, RichmondPhil. Like I've said many times when Theo has played well I have acknowledged it. It just hasn't been very often. Varlamov is by far the best goalie we have right now. Neuvy is talented, but he seemed rattled tonight. Maybe by the atmosphere. The beleaguered Toskala (who gets a million times more crap than Theo) was awesome tonight for them despite a few Bronx cheers at the start. We could've easily been up 4-0 or 5-0 after the first. It's still hard to believe that we lost thing game, especially by 3.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

You are flat out kidding yourself if you think there is not a bias in how some people treat players on here, or any other forum/blog/whatever.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

On blaming Alex Volchkov, last week you were wanting the Caps to acquire him.

(Or were you being sarcastic?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

On blaming Alex Volchkov, last week you were wanting the Caps to acquire him.

(Or were you being sarcastic?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:15 PM |

Oh, I'm sorry. Let me clarify;

Volchkov was a former 1st round pick of the Caps. A complete bust...head case. He was everything that people try to claim of Semin now.

Anton Volchenkov, however, is the defensive I would like the Caps to acquire at the deadline if he is available/healthy.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

is the defensive? Whoa, is the defense man* I meant to type there.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: I agree that Neuvy is not yet ready for NHL. To me he looks intimidated. But it is only a matter of building confidence and experience. Theo, on the other hand, strikes me as completely unpredictable at a time in his career when he should have the confidence and reliability of a pro. Whatever successes he has are not sustainable and they are the exception rather than the rule. I think, sadly, his career peaked earlier and is now past his prime.

The thing that concerns me is that other than Varly, we do not have a reliable goalie.

Posted by: caraveli | December 12, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I know the Caps had a bad game. Their track records in back to backs is awful. Given all their problems trying to leave town last night, they probably did run out of gas. (With the bad weather in Buffalo on Wednesday/Thursday, I wonder if they experienced some flight delays there, too, to add to their tiredness.)

Yes, I know that Buffalo doesn't want to trade Ryan Miller. But with our recent struggles in goal tending, if anyone asked me what player in the NHL I could choose to acquire for our team, I would choose Miller.

For some reason, Toskala seems to look good against us. Or at least his last two games. (Or does any goalie look good against us.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Thanks for clarifying. Anton Volchenkov and Alex Volchkov have names that are awfully similar.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: I agree that Neuvy is not yet ready for NHL. To me he looks intimidated. But it is only a matter of building confidence and experience. Theo, on the other hand, strikes me as completely unpredictable at a time in his career when he should have the confidence and reliability of a pro. Whatever successes he has are not sustainable and they are the exception rather than the rule. I think, sadly, his career peaked earlier and is now past his prime.

The thing that concerns me is that other than Varly, we do not have a reliable goalie.

Posted by: caraveli | December 12, 2009 11:20 PM |

I just don't see Theo as that. He is a decent goalie who gets the job done most of the time. He certainly won't be our playoff goalie, but he'll do fine for the regular season. When he plays good, he is extremely good, but he is very, very, very streaky. Streakiest goalie I've ever seen.

Varlamov has shown signs of being a streaky goalie, but he's been solid for the past month, so maybe he's shaken that off now.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

all you need is one hot goalie in the playoffs, don't need two... I can't think of any team that has gone on to win the Cup after changing the goalie once the playoffs started.

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

I'm not kidding myself. I was only speaking for myself, not for everyone else. I don't control what other people think or say.

BTW, you said earlier that people turned on Varly earlier this season. I never did because that was ridiculous. He was allowing 3 or 4 goals, yes, but he I kept pointing out that he had zero chance on those goals (other than some issues with his glove that since have been fixed by getting a new one). I'm not sure how you can say that Varly has also exhibited being streaky. With his record his consistency is nothing short of phenomenal, especially for a rookie. He lost 1 game in regulation so far in his entire NHL career! I'd say that's pretty damn consistent.

@ CapsFan75

The Caps did not have a bad game tonight. It only looks like that to you because you haven't watched it. We made the Leafs look like an AHL team in the first and should have been up 5-0. The big difference tonight was goaltending. While Toskala was outstanding Neuvirth was not even average. Hence the result. This is why they say that goaltending is 50% of the team, if not more. Overall it was a pretty even game, part of which we completely dominated. Our guys did seem to tire at the end, probably due to it being back to back and traveling issues on top of it, but it was still all about the difference in the level of goaltending tonight. While Toskala robbed us of at least 5-7 goals it seemed that almost every chance Toronto got they converted. Oh well... moving on.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino

I hope Neuvy has a better game next week. (Did the kid just freak out or what?)

Personally, I would have rather seen Neuvirth start yesterday in the home game yesterday (so the rookie gets more support from the home crowd and Theo gets a little more rest from Wednesday). And started Theo today.

Would we have ended up better off? Who knows. There's a reason Boudreau's an NHL coach and I'm not.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

all you need is one hot goalie in the playoffs, don't need two... I can't think of any team that has gone on to win the Cup after changing the goalie once the playoffs started.

Posted by: joek443 | December 12, 2009 11:27 PM |

Canes.

Laviolette switched the rook in for Gerber. (much like BB's decision to switch Varly for Theo..well, except we didn't win a cup)


That's the only one I can think of though, and it's probably because I read an article about it a few weeks ago. I wouldn't have remembered Gerber was switched for Ward otherwise.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:
Ok I had to stew for a while after watching that debacle. Yes there are ups and downs during a regular season. This was certainly a down.

The worst team in the league takes you to OT and then you get your butt handed to you by the second worst team.

I'm not sure what gets in this team's head after they go up 2-0. It's almost as if they think it's going to be a cakewalk. Message delivered. Hats off to Toronto and Voskala who stepped up and made some big saves. Caps didn't finish.

For any Theo haters I hope you're fair to criticize Neuvy as well. He was not sharp tonight. He had saves here and there but the second and third goals were INEXCUSABLE. You have to square up to the guy. Both of those are shots you MUST stop. Chalk this one up in the mulligan column for Neuvy. I'm still behind him. You can't expect every game to be pretty.

I sure hope GMGM sat in the box tonight and took a good long hard look at his defense and realize it does need an upgrade. There is no team speed on the blueline at all. Some food for thought for the future in addressing that area.

Oh well - time to for the guys to rest up. Go West young Caps. Go West. Colorado awaits.

It's been a "pissed away two points" night.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 12, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

BTW, you said earlier that people turned on Varly earlier this season. I never did because that was ridiculous. He was allowing 3 or 4 goals, yes, but he I kept pointing out that he had zero chance on those goals (other than some issues with his glove that since have been fixed by getting a new one). I'm not sure how you can say that Varly has also exhibited being streaky. With his record his consistency is nothing short of phenomenal, especially for a rookie. He lost 1 game in regulation so far in his entire NHL career! I'd say that's pretty damn consistent.

_________________________

Many people turned on Varlamov. He was winning games at the start of the season, but again, you're kidding yourself if you think he was playing well. There was a big discussion here about how people wanted to send Varly down to see Neuvy, etc, etc.

He did show signs of streakiness given this and exemplified by the game 7 collapse.

I don't know why you are taking my general statements about what people did here and taking it so personally. If you don't a) have a bias when assessing players and b) didn't turn on Varlamov, then why are you getting defensive?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

@ranndino

That seems to be the story of the Caps' lives. Lots of good shots being stopped.

Ward made some excellent saves against them yesterday as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

Grrr. Like I said above... if Varly is streaky than so is every other goalie in the NHL. Goalies are streaky by nature anyway. If you've ever played fantasy hockey you'd know that even the best goalies tend to go thru periods of being hot and cold. Even Brodeur sometimes hits rough patches. Same with Nabokov (who's been my fantasy goalie for the last 2 years)... Kiprusoff has had rough patches where people would even start questioning hos ability. Last year Turco was downright aweful for the first half of the season. This year Luongo has been pretty bad to the point where Vancouver fans started rumbling that Raycroft should be given the #1 job, which sounds like heresy. Lundqvist has also been less than stellar for a while. It's just the nature of the position. It's the toughest position in sports IMO and with so much pressure. So if you look at Varly from that perspective he's been a model of consistency.

All right. On that note I'm off to bed.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:
it's nice to want miller and we all know were not going to get him. last year it was mason and/or backstrom. we have what we have and richmondphil is correct. theo is serviceable for sharing duty until the playoffs. he'll be off the books at the end of the year and we'll have to hope neuvy is ready by then. good thing neuvy isn't a kicker for the redskins.

joek443:
83-84 oilers (fuhr 16 and moog 7 games)
its not 50-50 but thats as close sharing duties in goal that i can think of. i don't think there were any other SC champs in the last 40 yrs that had a backup play more than 4 games or so

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 12, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Theodore hasn't been great lately (and yesterday's save percentage was bad) but he's generally been good enough to keep us in the game -- unless our offense totally takes the night off.

He won yesterday (giving up 3 goals) and lost against Buffalo.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

I'm not being defensive. I'm simply disagreeing with your opinion of Varly being streaky. I think I backed it up quite well. Also, I know that others were ready to send Varly down, but I disagreed with that also and I thought that yes, he actually played well. People were just looking at how many goals he was letting in and not bothering to look at specifically how they ended up in the net. Most people do not analyze in depth and just jump to conclusions based of something very superficial. I try to be objective and look deeper.

@CapsFan75

I don't think we've been making opposing goalies look good. We're the highest scoring team in the NHL, so on most nights we certainly don't make opposing goalies look too good. It's just so happens that in last 2 games opposing goalies have had really good games against us while our goalies sucked. That's all. No more, no less.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

This year is my first year playing fantasy hockey. I seem to be pretty good at the "roto" stuff, but I suck at the head to head type leagues. I can't give much advice on my fantasy hockey experience.

However, I did play real hockey. With real sticks. And I will continue to offer my advice based on that.

As far as naming all these world-class goalies as being "streaky"..really? Is that your case against the claim that Varlamov has exhibited streaky tendencies in the past?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't feel like checking now, but didn't Carolina have Irbe start the playoffs and halfway through be replaced with Ward when they won the Cup? Or maybe it was in the season when they got to the finals, but lost. Something like that.

Posted by: ranndino | December 12, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Yes, I know I've been desiring Ryan Miller as of late.

From what I see of Theo, he's usually good enough to keep us in most games for the regular season.

I'm still worried about the team for this road trip in goal.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 12, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

People were just looking at how many goals he was letting in and not bothering to look at specifically how they ended up in the net. Most people do not analyze in depth and just jump to conclusions based of something very superficial. I try to be objective and look deeper.

____________________

Oh, do you.

Varlamov was not playing well at the start of the season. There's no way to defend it except to point to "W"s.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

Yes, it is. You seem to have missed my point entirely. The only reason I brought up fantasy hockey is because when you play it you notice a lot of things you don't notice when you just follow other teams casually. One of those things is how streaky goalies are, including the elite ones. The elite ones are less streaky than others, but they still run hot and cold.

That was my point. It has nothing to do with having played real hockey whatsoever because we're talking about performance of pro goalies at the highest level, not some beer league. I've played hockey also, btw, but like I said that's irrelevant to the point I was making.

My other argument, which you conveniently skipped, is that Varlamov has a phenomenal win / loss record, having lost only 1 game in regulation so far. I'm not really sure how anyone can call him streaky, especially for a rookie, unless you just have completely unrealistic expectations... which you do. He can't be great all the time. No one can (with maybe the exception of Brodeur). That was my point.

Ryan Miller who you want now has also had long bad patches in his career. He's been awesome this season, but we'll see if he can keep it up all year. Personally, I doubt it.

Posted by: ranndino | December 13, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino

Not just the last two games. The last three. Ryan Miller looked great against us (and everyone else). Cam Ward made lots of great saves. And, of course, tonight, Vesa Toskala.

While we have a nice high goal scoring average, we rarely score more than 5. (We seem to always have lots of "missed" opportunities.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 13, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

My other argument, which you conveniently skipped, is that Varlamov has a phenomenal win / loss record, having lost only 1 game in regulation so far. I'm not really sure how anyone can call him streaky, especially for a rookie, unless you just have completely unrealistic expectations... which you do. He can't be great all the time. No one can (with maybe the exception of Brodeur). That was my point.

_______________

Would not pointing to wins be a superficial judgement of a player? "People were just looking at how many goals he was letting in and not bothering to look at specifically how they ended up in the net. Most people do not analyze in depth and just jump to conclusions based of something very superficial. I try to be objective and look deeper."

Maybe you should go watch video of Varlamov's first couple of games this season, haha.


As far as your rant and taking a personal jab at me (the beer league thing was funny) I understand the nature of the position of goalie. Given what you said, you agree that Varlamov has exhibited streakiness insofar that every goalie does from time to time. So we agree. Care to carry this further?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 13, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

And I would appreciate it if you would stop putting words in my mouth. Never did I "want" Ryan Miller nor do I have "unrealistic standards" for a goaltender. You seriously need to relax, maybe take some more personal jabs at me to boost your ego?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 13, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov was not playing well at the start of the season. There's no way to defend it except to point to "W"s.

---

Haha. You just did. Thanks for the laugh. That was a very ironic statement, man. Anyway, we're now starting to go in circles because you wanna stick to your guns no matter what. Good night.

Posted by: ranndino | December 13, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Again, pointing to Wins is a clear sign of a superficial judgment. Something that you said you were against.

Who cares that the goalie let in 6 soft goals, because the offense is so good they scored 10, right?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 13, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

ranndino:
so when the defense breaks down in front of theo - tough - theo is a laughing stock

when varly has a poor game its "not bothering to look at specifically how they ended up in the net" and "having lost only 1 game in regulation so far".

your dislike for theo comes through to thick - i still contend that you exaggerate about theo performance in net

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 13, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I need to start pulling videos of Varlamov's play in the first couple of games do I?

Would citing his .800's sv pct's be enough?

Posted by: richmondphil | December 13, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil

You're starting to get annoying. You're the one who needs to relax. Where have I taken personal jabs at you? Read what I write and read you write. You're the one who's getting personal, not me. I'm just giving you facts and you're getting bent out of shape. On the other hand, until this post I was completely calm and just supporting my opinion with examples.

If you wanna think that Varly sucked at the start of the season so be it. I disagree.

On that note I seriously need to hit the sack. Like I said, chill out and have a good night. We agree most of the time. We can't always agree. It's not a big deal.

Posted by: ranndino | December 13, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Are we in some kind of backwards dimension? Ranndinno is again putting words in my mouth (Did I ever say Varlamov "sucked"?) to go along with the above statements she has put in my mouth and took a personal jab at me (beer league) for no reason and is saying I was getting personal??

If you took my comments about fantasy league hockey as condescending, then that is your own fault. How would I give insight based on fantasy hockey if I never played it until this year? Did I ever dismiss it?

What a Caps lose does to people, man.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 13, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: bgfgf402 | December 13, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov was not playing well at the start of the season. There's no way to defend it except to point to "W"s.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 12, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

what's the sole objective of playing the games? it's to WIN... it's not to look good or play well and still end up losing.

I don't care about the save percentage or the GAA, I'll just take Varly's winning percentage any day. Every goalie has a meltdown once in a while - Patrick Roy's last game with the Canadiens was as ugly as it gets.

whoever playing goalie for this team will NOT likely be among the league leaders in GAA or save percentage because of their style. Grant Fuhr was NEVER among the leaders in either of those categories when he played for the Oilers. All he did was win and that's all that matters.

Posted by: joek443 | December 13, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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