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Tonight's Lineup and Other Stuff

The forward combos and pairings appear to be the same for tonight's game against the NHL-leading Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Looks like Kolzig will face Hasek in net.

Joe Louis brought back memories for a few guys at the morning skate, but especially for Bruce Boudreau and Brent Johnson.

For Boudreau, it's going to be the first building where he will have coached and played.

"It's hockey history," he said. "It's not like Carolina and Florida and everything else. There's a lot of hockey history here. It's Hockeytown. It's a good feeling."

He paused then added, "Before the game it's a good feeling." I asked Boudreau if he remembered his last game here, he said, "No. But I probably didn't play much."

For Johnson, Joe Louis reminds him of his grandfather, Hall of Famer Sid Abel. Johnson wears Abel's No. 12 on the back of his helmet. Abel's number is also one of six hanging from the rafters. Johnson said he's got about 15 friends and family members coming from his hometown of Farmington for the game.

Tonight will also mark Tomas Fleischmann's first time facing the team that drafted him 63rd overall in 2002. Fleischmann was acquired from the Red Wings in Feb. 2004 with a first round pick (that became Mike Green) for Robert Lang.

During his media session this morning, Boudreau acknowledged that the Caps will face their biggest test since he took over behind the bench.

"Now we're hitting the best," Boudreau said. "You can really see where you need to improve. If we play our best, then we can see where we stand. And I think we're going to."

Tonight's lines:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Pettinger
Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
Laing-Steckel-Bradley
Brashear-Kozlov-Laich

'D' pairings:

Green-Morrisonn
Poti-Jurcina
Pothier-Schultz
Erskine-Eminger

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 17, 2007; 11:52 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps' Confidence Gets a Boost

Comments

Ouch! Is that a demotion or does Kozlov really have that much chemistry with Brashear?

Posted by: Geauxcaps | December 17, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Has to be a demot!!

Posted by: Brad | December 17, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Did you mean Pothier-Schultz? Or have we cloned Eminger? Think the money would have been better spent cloning Ovie.

Have a good time tonight. The Joe is a great place to watch hockey. Love it when everything vibrates and bounces when the fans stomp their feet.

Posted by: Zaichik | December 17, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Geaux,

Its gotta be a demotion...

He has looked slow and clumsy out there. Even though he partnered well with backstrom on the give and go, he looks awkward in open ice and isnt clicking with linemates. At least brashaer will dig and create some chaos. Kozlov just looks unenthusiastic out there.

Posted by: S.L.S. | December 17, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you on Kozlov, S.L.S. I've been reading some of the Semin back and forth and would just offer that he seems completely invested but is lacking that elite timing he had going by the second half of last season. I'm being patient with him - while at the same time knowing that it's critical we get him going.

Posted by: MTB | December 17, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Tarik-

Did the POST not have ONE mention of the game tonight? Did I miss it?

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Finally Kozzie is moved down to the 4th line. He can break the two top lines again when he deserves it...for now he should get fourth line minutes with a pretty decent 4th line (I like Brash/Laich combo). Too bad he was supposed to be this huge scoring presence -- at least according to the propaganda.

Posted by: Bonzai | December 17, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@Dave,

Given that Tarik is in St. Pete/ Detroit, I don't think he got his paper copy of the WaPo this morning. But, I think you're right, no mention of the game. Why? Because its MONDAY. On Monday, they are required to devote at least 5 pages, 8 if they win, to the R-words and their slim hope of making the playoffs.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 17, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Kozlov just looks unenthusiastic out there."

S.L.S.
I've gotta give you credit. That is an extrememly accurate description of Koslov's play. He just looks like he's going thru the motions. Even on the give and go, he looked like he just wanted to get rid of the puck so he wouldn't get hit.

I'd like to see how a pressbox seat would affect his attitude.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 17, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Oldtimehockey-
Hey I'm a huge skins fan so bring it on. But above the "scoreboard" on E9 is a section on winter sports and one on college soccer. I 'm really happy that Alexandr Zubkov won in the bobsled in Lake Placid, though.

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey the coverage on this blog, Vogel's, OFB, etc is 1000 times better than anything the POst would ever do, but it's still insulting. But that's me.

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Brash is terrible. I don't mind that Kozlov is being demoted, but I'd amazingly rather see Motzko play.

And anyone that thinks Brashear is a good/decent player or provides anything to the team is ridiculous.

Posted by: Rob | December 17, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Re the line-up. I'm starting to sour on Juice. (Get it?-- sorry, that's terrible). He's big and has decent reach and will hit, but he makes lots of weird errors that can be very costly. I would prefer to see Erskine, or even -- Emmer. Maybe for tongight, since Erksine has pylon-like speed, they want to stick with Juice, but it just seems like he's a mistake leading to a goal waiting to happen.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 17, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

So be it, I'm ridiculous.

Brash is a decent player who works hard, fights occasionally and provides leadership and team chemistry to a team that needs it.

I love Brashear! May he get the GWG against the Red Wings tonight. (Hey, it's Christmas time, right?)

Posted by: Caps fan in TN | December 17, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Color me ridiculous then, Rob. But I'm with The Hockey News who reported that in a poll of actual NHL players, Brash was ranked 3rd in skill level amongst active enforcers.

Posted by: TheCapitalist | December 17, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yup...I'm ridiculous too...Brash has a presence on the ice you cant measure in points...I hope he stays another year.

Posted by: We Love the Donald | December 17, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Everytime I see a Wings game on TV there are people up and walking around during play. I know it's hockey town, but they look like a bunch of zombies that have no clue.

Whats the deal there? Am I wrong about this?

Posted by: Hockeytown? | December 17, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I would agree, watching Brashear skate, particularly in tight turns, is just sad, but it sure seems like every time the Caps get a really effective cycle going, he's in the middle of it.

Posted by: Geauxcaps | December 17, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm one of the ridiculous lemmings too.

Best thing about Brash is that he knows his role.
"Cycle, Forecheck, Hit, repeat."
"Fight as necessary."

You don't see him out there trying to play above his head. He just tries to do his job. If you expect him to score goals or skate like the wind, you are being unreasonable.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 17, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I started the season quite anti-brashaer. It seemed like his 8 minutes could have been split between fleish or laich or gordon, but in gordon's abscence, and with fleish's continued roller coaster ride of performances, i like brashaer out there a lot. He hustles, he skates the hell out of every shift, and he...i know i cant believe it either... draws penalties, he suckers other team's goons into scrums and walks away, often without a penalty --- the man is smart. That kind of hustle and grit is needed and its what is gonna upset Detroit tonight, and throw them off their game, if its done correctly and from the get go.

Hope to be more a regular on these boards. Its nice to see that there are some people as irrationally loyal to this team as myself.

Posted by: S.L.S. | December 17, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I think their cameras are too low. Everytime something happens peoples hands come flying up and you can't see half the screen. If memory serves its like that on tv in dallas as well. Also that place looks so tiny i cant believe they fit over 20,000 in it.

Love the line combos but I would rather see Emmy than Schultz

Posted by: PJ | December 17, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Capitalist- that THN poll on Brash is impressive. I have visions of him creating some penalty-free havoc tonight!

And I like that first line combination! Petty has been looking revitalized & re-energized, recently. Maybe he's the one to contain and redirect some pucks for his linemates.

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 17, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Hockeytown? What is with these idiots up there jumping up and down waving every time they know the camera is on their backs??? Sit down and watch the game already! The Joe needs to raise the cameras up so we can actually watch the game and not the moron with the phone on their ear waving (the wrong way I might add...)

Posted by: Alex2 | December 17, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Rob, it sounds like you're the ridiculous one. And I'm not going to talk any more about Brashear that I haven't already mentioned, and many others on this blog. He does his job and does it well. Better than many others on the team. He's a lunch pail kind of guy. Every team needs them.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Brash makes opposing team players think 1/8 second more about being hit , and then they rush their passes to make up for that 1/8 second delay, Saw that in Tampa Bay. He caused at least three turnovers in their end.

Posted by: billd | December 17, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe there is nothing in the Post today because Tarik spent the first half of yesterday recovering from his late night out in Tampa and the second half trying to get his flight to Detroit... :)

Posted by: Jill | December 17, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Koslov in the 4th line? Didn't the coach also put Backstrom in the 4th line for a while? It will be interesting to see what is going to happen when Clark returns.

Posted by: Opita | December 17, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The combination of no practice and me not getting into Detroit until after 7 p.m. last night is why we didn't have a story today. A lot of Detroit is shutdown today because of the storm.

Posted by: Tarik | December 17, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Odds on a Brashear/Downey fight tonight??

Greg, i think your quick summary nailed it on Brashear, good job.

Posted by: G-Rub | December 17, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik

Should have gone to the Worldclub and worked there. You could have had a few drinks and had access to the internet all for free. They even have some nibblins there, too.

Much better than the United's Red Carpet Club - except in Canada. There's nothing like the Maple Leaf lounges! They serve hot food up there, too.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Storm? what storm? It's balmy here in DC! lol
Tarik, your coverage is much appreciated!

Let's hope the storm thru a monkey wrench in ANY Red Wing player's day!

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 17, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Brash's alright.

So with team leaders Boudreau and Ovie setting the tone of wondrous Hockeytown awe how big of a crushing are we predicted to experience tonight?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

(forgot to sign the gname on the gnote)

Posted by: austinsteve | December 17, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I would like to hear the coach and Koslov take on his demotion. I already know how must of you feel about it.

Posted by: Joe | December 17, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Umm, Dave, this blog is part of the Post ya know....

Looks like the Caps ran into bad timing for this game, having it on Monday. Football covereage always dominates Mondays.

It is kinda odd that Kozlov is on the 4th line rather than Fleischmann. Maybe it'll motivate him, finally.

Posted by: EricS | December 17, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm reedeekyoulus. I'm with the poster who wants him back next year. I hope the boys aren't too awed by Hockeytown. Maybe BB could get poor Ronnie Wilson on the phone to give 'em a talking to.

Posted by: kevbpgc | December 17, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I think Kozlov should be on the 5th line along with Poti.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Rob, You clearly have never actually played hockey. You clearly have no understanding that a big part of the game is a psychological battle. If you had played hockey you would know that the other team having a feared player deters you from playing as physical against them. You would also know how wearing it can be on the mind to always keep in mind where a certain player is because if he is near you you will get hit...hard.

Not only does he do that but he also is a fairly skilled player for not being expected to contribute any offense. His forchecking is as relentless as anyones on the team. Watch him along the boards as he outmuscles people and gets the puck to a linemate.

I guess you didn't watch the New Jersey game, did you? Clarkson tried to antagonize OV after a whistle...Line change, Brash comes up and was in his ear for the next 90 seconds, lined up next to him at two more faceoffs and was chirping the whole time. You think Clarkson wanted to mess with OV anymore? No way, because Donald let him know thgat there would be a price to pay.

Rob, sorry if that was long winded...I could have kept it to three words and just said GET A CLUE!

Posted by: Pat | December 17, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

With Dom's less than stellar .879 save %, if we can pour on the quality shots and keep someone positioned in front for rebounds...

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau on Kozlov demotion:-)

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com/2007/11/if-you-have-talent-you-dont-care-to-use.html

BTW, I saw Dave Elliot interview with BB and he asked Boudreau who are the team leaders. Here's who BB named in the following sequence:

1. Alex Ovechkin - leader by example
2. Kolzie - vocal leader
3. Clark - cause he's a Captain
4. Brashear - locker room leader

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 17, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@Hockeytown? and a few others,

The Joe, despite its history, is actually kind of a crappy arena to see a game. (Great to be there, not so great to actauly watch.) Its very flat, so seats tend to get further and futher away from the rink kind of quickly without getting very high. Similary, because the pitch is so shallow, the cameras get a lot of backs of fans.

Compare the Joe to a more verical modern arena (the Shark Tank comes to mind) or even the Phone Booth. Much steeper stairs, seats are closer to the ice if not more above the surface, and the cameras look more down on the ice rather than across horizontally at it.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 17, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Tonight i think it'll come down first and foremost to Olie needing to put in his best performance of the season. Plain and simple. You can't spot the Sabres -- or any other NHL team -- 2 cheap goals but you can't even spot the Red Wings a cheap juicy rebound...

And right behind that x-factor will be the importance of special teams. We'll need to somehow keep up our dominant PK of late and we'll need more than one tally from the PP.

Lastly, we'll need Semin's best game of the season to compliment the recent fantastic outputs of Backstrom, Green and (as always) Ovie. With a buzzing Semin, a lot of pressure comes off that first line.

If these ingredients can somehow amalgamate then we may be in store for the first real high water mark (in terms of sustained solid performance) of the 07-08 campaign. And if that happens, Boudreau should be guaranteed at least through this season.

Yeah, this game's important!

-MTB

Posted by: Olie, Special Teams, and AS | December 17, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I usually never have a problem seeing the ice at Verizon Center, because the 8-10 rows in front of me are empty.

Posted by: Hockeytown? | December 17, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Kozlov should be handing out cotton candy in the stands. I doubt that a 4th line assignment or trip to the press box will re-align his attitude. He doesn't seem to be struggling with his game...

Posted by: keef | December 17, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071217/SPORTS05/712170390

Good Article on Wing's praising Alex.

Backstrom was sent to the 4th line by Hanlon, not BB... BB gave him a chance with Alex in which I think was the best thing he could have done for the future of the Caps.

I think the Wings type of play resembles Semin's type of play - so, I think he will have a good game.

Keep it up Caps - you stopped the Devils and Sens... make the Wings look like the Lions!!!


Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Also,

Backstom gets to play against his idle - Zetterberg... or is it Holmstrom... can't remember, but it's one of those.

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Hockeytown-
LOL-I most certainly agree!!!!!

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

lol, is "Kolzie" our designation for Kolzig or Kozlov? I don't remember who Greg S was referring to...

Kozlov does look good once, every third or fourth game, when he remembers to take the puck and rush the net...

And the only good thing about "the Lou" that I can think of, is they hav good ice.

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 17, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@ Greg S. - Tarik was indeed blogging from the Tampa airport's free wireless yesterday, and I suspect -- since he was up until 3:00 a.m. yesterday visiting Tampa's finest gentlemen's clubs -- that he was hardly in need of any free drinks whilst waiting for his flight. ;)

Posted by: Jill | December 17, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to Kozlov... I can't figure him out. He looked like a beast when he made a huge move to the net against the Islanders about a month ago.

However, I haven't seen anything like it since. What is it about him? He looks like he has all the tools and one whale of a wrist shot.

If he ever approached his potential he would be awesome... I guess maybe I should say his physical potential. Perhaps, the problem he lacks the mental side of things.

Tarik, is he just mediocre in his ambitions and drive? Is he content with his effort? Does he even care?

Posted by: muddapucker | December 17, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

idol or were you wishing they would be idle tonight?

Posted by: jim* | December 17, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Jill! A hair of the dog....

And don't pin Kolzie on me! I call him Olie most of the time, or that !@#$%^&*&*^%^#$%^&*()_ excuse for a goalie. Depending upon how he plays.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

did anybody see the hasek check the other day?

Posted by: jim* | December 17, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Haha... yes, meant idol... thanks - how come you did not correct Backstrom's name either?

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom was put on the 4th line by BB, not Hanlon

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to talk to Kozlov today about his new line assignment, but I missed him while talking to Brashear about getting more minutes for a story later this week.

I'll try again with Kozlov tonight, though it's not easy on game nights.

Posted by: Tarik | December 17, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom has been on the first line for about 10 games now... and BB has only been the coach for about 12 games... he was on the 4th line before BB took over.

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

here's my compilation of detroit news, free press and mlive:

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com/2007/12/ovechkin-in-hockeytown.html

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 17, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@828: BB sent Backstrom down to the 4th and brought him back up just as quickly. He was part of the "Killer B's" with Brash and Brads.

Posted by: keef | December 17, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Not that anyone should care that much about this, but BB was the one who but Backstrom on the 4th line.

There is a quote somewhere out there about how BB forgot about Backstrom as he was making up his initial set of lines and ended up putting him on the 4th line.

Posted by: Jeff | December 17, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

828-Not true, BB's first game was Backstrom's first game on the 4th line.

Posted by: Pat | December 17, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Alright,
I trust you all - I just remember having him on fantasy hockey and he didn't start doing well until he was bumped up onto the 4th line. And, I thought he was on the 4th line when BB took over. my mistake!

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

oops, bumped up to the 1st line... not 4th line

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I am not upset that there was no hockey article in the Post today. What upsets me is that there has not been ONE column about the Caps from Boswell, Wilbon, or Wise. Not One the entire season.

What we have is three writers who #1 don't personally care for hockey and #2 are not knowledgeable about it. They will give you a cop out and say the interest in the team "doesn't warrant" ani article but that is pure bull. These guys just don't want to write about it and the sports editor puts no demands on them.

It is so sad becuase the truism " the power of the press" is indeed true. People in this city go to events that are deemed meaningful and by placing the Caps on the back pages and having no columnists write about them, the team is perceived to be unimportant. THere are as many subplots available to be written about the Caps as about the Wizards, yet the Caps are ignored. It was incomprehensible to me that no columnist wrote about Hanlon's firing. If Eddie Jordan had gotten fired, Wilbon would have left his Thanksgiving table with turkey hanging from his lips and made a b line to the Verizon Center. It is a true shame.

Posted by: Danderoo | December 17, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

My oh my

"Caps GM George McPhee should, at the very least, explore the possibility of trading the 22-year-old sniper. Now, the notion of trading such a gifted young player might seem preposterous to some, but really it shouldn't. Imagine the offers McPhee might field if he let it be known Ovechkin was available as trade bait.
Let's face it, with Ovechkin in their lineup, the Capitals have shown no signs of being a playoff team. There are no guarantees re-signing Ovechkin will make the Capitals a successful franchise. In fact, if history has taught us anything, moving a young star just might be the best medicine for a struggling team."


http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/11995-THNcom-Blog-Caps-should-shop-Ovechkin.html

Posted by: Finn | December 17, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@Finn,

I think I just blew a gasket reading that one.

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Why would you put that in here Finn? I thought you were an AO fan?

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

There are a ton of articles out there that say that nonsense... it pisses me off.

He's not going any where.

"Let's face it, with Ovechkin in their lineup, the Capitals have shown no signs of being a playoff team." Is this guy serious... I guess he has to get 3 goals tonight to prove that peter wrong.

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I am his fan... There are way too many guys trying to piss everyone off with this "Ovechkin should play elsewhere" nonsense.

Posted by: Finn | December 17, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It's tough when the production of two thirty goal scorers from last year has fallen off to next to nothing (yes, I know, injuries etc) and the new high priced talent hasn't picked up the slack. I like Nyls, but what exactly have Kozlov and Poti brought to the team?

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@finn (and others who quote others)
I might not agree with your opinions most of the time, but I value it as much or more than those bubble heads you are quoting. They know as much as you do, they just get paid to write theirs.

Posted by: Joe | December 17, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

T El-B,

Can you please attempt to find out Eminger's status if you are not already? What is the team going to do with him?

Thanks! Your insiders are excellent.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Relax people. Just because management does not keep you abreast of every detail of every negotiation, it does not mean it is not happening. AO will sign here or somewhere else and there is nothing you or I can do, so enjoy the game and cheer for him while he is a Cap. I am sure you will hate him as much as Jagr "IF" he goes some place else.
Some of you remind me of a certain group, which shall remain nameless, who claims to live a certain way so that they can have enjoy all the glory when they die - and yet they remain

Posted by: Joe | December 17, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Détroit 5

Datsyuk, Cleary, Lidstrom, Cleary and Franzen


Capts 3

Semin, Backstrom, Semin

1st star Dan Cleary
2nd Star Alex Semin
3rd Star Nicklas Lidstrom

Posted by: Tonight Score | December 17, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Quick pessimistic prediction:

Fleischmann-Nylander-Semin
These guys will each be -3 tonight.

Fighting off flashbacks from 1998 playoffs...ughhhhhaahh

Posted by: Bob | December 17, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Detroit welcomes the viewing audience from our nations capital tonight.Our local TV view isn't covered with the fans backs so maybe it's versus's camera set-ups.Although this game has no bearing on our position in the over-all standings nor is it any type of measuring stick game for us. We truely look forward to seeing your great young star A.O.We do appreciate great entertaining new stars to the game.And detroit is buzzing about seeing him tonight.Although were all pretty much snowed in for the most part. If the wings bring their A game tonight you will be very entertained to see the beauty in the game and how it's suppose to be played win or lose.At it's best the other team doesn't touch the puck much and will rarely spend time in the wings zone.The crowds in the Joe are like hockey parents we enjoy the game and only really chant if we think they need a little pushing.then you will hear the "Lets go Red Wings" Chant.So Detroit wishes you luck other than tonight and maybe we can meet in the finals again.We are really looking forward to seeing A.O.

Posted by: Red Wing detroiter | December 17, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Some of you remind me of a certain group, which shall remain nameless, who claims to live a certain way so that they can have enjoy all the glory when they die - and yet they remain"

@Joe,

You mean Pens fans?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@danderoo

be glad you haven't seen anything from Wilbon. the only thing he wrote that even mentioned hockey was something about how wimpy hockey players are in comparison to football players

Posted by: wilbonstinks | December 17, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who missed a Caps article in today's Post as much as I did, here's a link to this morning's Detroit News:

http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071217/SPORTS0103/712170362/1128

Posted by: George H. | December 17, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@ Finn
Interesting article and there might be some truth to it. Of course, it would depend on the package of players and whether or not the Caps management is savy enough to identify the "right" package from interested teams.

My personal opinion is that from a marketing standpoint it would be a disaster. Ted might as well market the team along with Ovie.

I think this town has had enough rebuilding and is ready to win. I don't think their would be enough season ticket holders left to carry team through another rebuild.

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 17, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

@828

There are a few sources that I like to go to; TSN.CA is the ESPN of Canada - in fact they're both owned by the same parent company so they are virtually the same; CBC.CA is the NYTimes/Post of Canada; and fianlly The Hockey News as they specialize on Hockey. All three use true journalistic principles in reporting their news including cross-checking and facts checking.

The Hockey News quote is from an opinion piece and is presented as a "what if". It is not presented in a similar manner to the Sun or the NY Post as a factoid or as a "heard in the street". If they do report these, which is rare, it's clearly stated as such.

If the Hockey News states that AO is being shopped around, take it to the bank - at least for the time being.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

A quote from Brophy's article recommending GMGM trade Ovie... "But what if Ovechkin doesn't want to play in Washington any longer? What if the young superstar tells the Caps he'd prefer to play someplace a little more cosmopolitan than Washington?" More cosmopolitan than the nation's capital? Like say Nashville, Anaheim, or Pittsburgh? What planet is this guy living on? Anything after this statement has zero credibility.

BTW, if the Caps traded Ovie for the entire Red Wings roster I would cancel my season tix one-half second later. The Caps, with the current coach, do have a play-off caliber team... perhaps not this year after the gigantic hole they dug for themselves, but soon enough.

Posted by: Dave in DC | December 17, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I'll only hate Ovie as much as Jagr when he signs somewhere else IF we're still paying half of his salary when he leaves.

Oh, who am I kidding. Ovechkin's my hero, it would be GMGM's fault for such a bad deal.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

What on earth has gone wrong with Chris Simon? I really hope he gets some help.

Posted by: zamboni | December 17, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Guys! Brody's Canadian! He's talking about Toronto, Calgary, Ottowa, Vancouver, possibly NY or Detroit, not Nashville...

Cripes!

And he's leading EACH of those sentences with the words WHAT IF.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@ Danderoo:

I have ben saying much the same thing since before last season started. Oh well. I guess the ignomy is for ours to share alone...

@ Finn and others: I would be furious if Ovie was traded. That said, I was extremely concerned when they traded the first draft pick the Caps had of any consequence: Ryan Walter. But, having said that, I wouldn't trust george '2 in the bush is worth more than 1 in hand' mcphee to achieve a trade the likes of that one.

The talk of the sort that you cite, is brought about because of the bad cycle the Caps are in now: they have sucked for years, they sucked to start the season, nobody goes to the games, it's a Washington football club only town, etc... I am sure that you can fill in a ton more reasons why hockey folks feel that Ovie is wasted here and maybe if they nudge, Ovie will be released from hockey hell, and the Caps will left to persist in their own damnation.

The Caps still don't have all the pieces yet to considered a playoff contending team. How long will Ovie's patience last? So why wait? FIRE gmgm NOW! (which they would have done if they had a clue. Look how long it took them to figure out that it wasn't working out for Hanlon! Hanlon was practically resigning! And that is why Preident Dick P. needs to vacate the throne)

Let's Go Capitals! Give the Wings a run for their money!

Posted by: Clarendon | December 17, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@Greg S.

He still sounds like a Canadian version of Larry Brooks.

"Hey, the Caps should f*** themselves over so that we can get a great player! It's beneficial for everyone!"

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

So lets just say that the Caps are out of the playoff race come the deadline? Why not trade AO, then present him with an offer sheet come free agency?

Get some good talent in return, maybe a few young guys here and there, some good role playing guys and then bring him back?

Posted by: Tomtom | December 17, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Commencing a sentence with "What if" doesn't give someone license to be a knucklehead. Calgary? Get real....

Posted by: Dave in DC | December 17, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Umm, 4:38, as far as I know Wilbon has never said that except possibly as some kind of joke. Where the heck did you hear that? He grew up a Blackhawks fan on the South Side. He makes no bones about not knowing much about hockey these days due to his other professional obligations. After football season is over, maybe. I'd be very interested to see what he thinks about the game right now and the local boys.

Posted by: EricS | December 17, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Larry Brooks job is to stir up scandal, same as the Sun. Brody reports and provides opinions. He is very clear when he does opinions and where he does it. If he's reporting on a news article you won't find opinion in it. If he's on his area of The Hockey News, like Tarik does, he will state his opinion. And it's CLEAR that it's opinion.

As for Calgary not being Cosmopolitan? It is very definately a Cosmopolitan and vibrant city. In many ways more so than DC. Amazing what a little (really a lot) of oil money will do for an area.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Finn - Good grief ... I did NOT need to read that!! :-P I am convinced that the Caps would lose so many fans if they traded AO, that they might as well ALL start packing their bags ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Trade OV...? I think I just vurped.

Posted by: Bobo | December 17, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The caps need to win tonight for many reasons but most important is Esa Tikkanen's empty net miss during the cup finals.

I'm still pissed at him for that.

Posted by: pch49 | December 17, 2007 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@Dave in DC,

You know, more cosmopolitan. That equals exactly four places in the entire league. NY (thanks, Mr. Brooks), TO, Miami and LA.

We can assume that LA and Miami aren't happening. I could totally see OV in TO... eventually. Eventually meaning years from now.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 17, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Re Tikkanen pch49

Take satisfaction knowing the Red Wings picked up Ranford two steps down from the Caps in 99 and he screwed with their playoff run that year (1.96 GAA regular season 3.27 playoffs now that I check NHL.com)

Did they win that year? I do remember they dropped him prior to any celebration.

Posted by: Icebat | December 17, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Re Tikkanen pch49

Take satisfaction knowing the Red Wings picked up veteran Ranford two steps down in trades from the Caps in '99 and he screwed with their playoff run that year (1.96 GAA regular season 3.27 playoffs now that I check NHL.com)

Did they win that year? I do remember they dropped him prior to any celebration.

Posted by: Icebat | December 17, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig and Nylander make how much this year?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | December 17, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

what a game :D

*enjoys*

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Shultzie can win the Rocket Richard after all *wink, wink*

Posted by: Tom | December 17, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

can't believe we're ahead lol these Red Wings are friggin good.

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Sasha Semin's still my favorite Cap, but this guy, Quinton Laing is certainly giving me pause to, maybe reconsider. I mean, how can you not luv the guy. He plays with an urgency, and tenacity that's both a joy to watch, as well as being infectious. He's a gem. LAING FOR CAPTAIN!! LAING FOR CAPTAIN!!

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Montreal is more cosmopolitan then Washington...I'd also argue that Boston is on the same level as D.C., maybe a little bit more so. Even still, its a ridiculous argument considering that Washington is still cosmo enough for even the coolest cats

Posted by: leon phelps | December 17, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Those who frequent these boards know I've been more than a little tolerant of Olie Kolzig, thusfar. However, the PP goal he just allowed irked me to no end. Simply put, the guy's reflexes are not NHL calibre. Not, by a LONG shot. People like Mike Vogel love to speak of what great shape Kolzig's always in. That may be true. But, being in great shape, and being quick enough going side - side, are two completely different things. In my view, that's Olie's greatest weakness; his inability to go side to side effectively. I'd be interested in what others think.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Puckguru: Laing for Captain!

He WAS our Captain in Hershey.

Posted by: Tess | December 17, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I dunno ... looks to me like Kolzig is having a pretty good game ... he has made some monster saves!

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Boo,
It's not the ones he makes. It's the ones he doesn't make that hurt so much.
Having said that, it's 2- 2 @ the end of 2. WE CAN WIN THIS!!!!!

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Puckguru - I hear ya ... hopefully they will pull it off!

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

McPhee just said that he expects Ovie to be a Cap for a long time to come, so enough of the trade talk, people!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

redwings would have creamed us even is esa made the goal. he added enough to the team before the empty netter. it was cool to be in the finals. great team, great year, great edge of the seat games. would like the season to be released at a reasonable price on dvd.

Posted by: jim* | December 17, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

unbelievable

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Well this is getting interesting ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow! This is stressful. I feel like I'm watching a playoff game. GO CAPS!!

Posted by: Tess | December 17, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

What a game :D

No matter what we should be proud of our boys. What a game.

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

And the Caps lose on the gimmick!!!

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

oh well

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

mauree - you're right ... who would have guessed that the game would have been so tight?!? good for them, but it is still disappointing. so close and yet so far ... at least we are not in last place! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

does anyone know our PP% and PK% under BB?

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Proud of our boys?? For what? They lost...that's NOTHING to be proud of. "Well done, i'm so proud of you for failing!! GREAT JOB!" Grow some self respect.

Olie Kolzig in net during a penalty shoot out is a guaranteed loss. He's absolutely dreadful. He's a great guy, veteran, been here a long time...blah blah blah, I hope he's not our starting goaltender next year.

Posted by: Are You Kidding? | December 17, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"at least we are not in last place!"

hmm, some high standards we have for ourselves

Posted by: Tom | December 17, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm proud of our guys for hanging with the best team in the league and getting a point out of the contest. However, I have to say I'm disappointed with Kolzig's performance in the shootout. He's normally pretty good, but he blew tonight. And don't tell me that it was because he faced great players...I'm not buying that crap. He's beaten the likes of Jagr, Lecavalier, St. Louis, etc. in the shootout. Oh well, very exciting game overall. Did everyone catch GMGM's worthless interview with Chris Simpson. I felt bad for her. I can't tell whose worse, GMGM of Bill Belichek

Posted by: Mitch | December 17, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Wish I had Vs in Frederick-sounds like it was a great game!!

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Good game by the Capitals. Way to rally and grab a point.

But seriously, let's put Brent Johnson in the net for the next shootout...

Posted by: Caps fan in TN | December 17, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Come on we played head-to-head with the best team in the NHL. We were close to win, we dominated at times. I AM proud of them.

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

they played an excellent game and all everyone can do is criticize.. i dont understand it was an outstanding game they played great it was a game worth watching unlike our snoozefests against florida etc....i think those who are mad at the team tonight aren't true fans...it was so refreshing watching a hard working hockey team that, for times, was dominating the best team in the nhl -- i dont know what you "fans" want but if you aren't happy with tonights effort then how about you go root for another team

Posted by: a call to the true fans | December 17, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should try Johnny in the shootout.

Posted by: mac | December 17, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Kolzie is too old. His body language going into shootouts was:

Mercy! Help the AARP member!

Boy, jorgeMcFee how could you miss Bryzgalovf

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 17, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the guys have no reason to hang their heads about this loss (except maybe Kolzig for his shootout performance). The guys kept up with them and actually dominated the play for long stretches. A much better outcome than I was expecting when the game began.

Posted by: Tess | December 17, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

mauree - AMEN!

tom - seriously ... at least we are not in last place!! ;-) our standards may not be high, but when you've been in last place, ANYTHING is better than last place. the team improves each week under BB - if they continue to do so, they can claw their way up and take our standards with them!

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't feel good about this game at all, really. It's basically the same thing we did against the Sens; we rallied and played hard, because this is the closest we get to the Stanley Cup Finals... I predict a slide over the next week or two. My only question is "how many games in a row will we lose this time?"

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

puckguru, no goalie would have made the stop on the second goal. a one touch no look pass across the ice and a one time shot into the net...and he was screened.

go find something else to complain about for a change.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 17, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Ok, olie bombs out in OT. No surprise there. Although, even I assumed he'd at least stop ONE OF EM. Sigh.
Nonetheless, the sad truth is that the game never should have gone past regulation. We blew TWO GOLDEN chances to score in the 3rd period. Steckle missed an absolutely open net. Then, at the 13 min. mark Pettinger ( The Big ZERO ) flubbed the puck, just to the right of Hosik, with Ovey no more than five feet away, waiting for an easy pass and a sure goal.
I could write a small book concerning this game, but I won't. Let's just say that there are four or five current Caps that consistently don't exhibit the will to win. Some of us are honest enough to admit who they are.
And, OH! My boy ( Sasha ) is slowly coming into form. He'll still get 30 goals by season's end. Book it!

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@Cap Fan 1

Hasek could have made a save like that. In fact, I've seen him make saves like that, with his weird-yet-awesome "desperation roll".

Criticism of Kolzig is justified. He was great once, and he's still competent. But he's not on the level of most goalies today... he's not Lundqvist/Osgood/Nabokov/etc, and a team with a weak defense like ours needs a goalie like that.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

So being a "True Fan" entails being content and "proud" with years of losing seasons, mediocrity, last place finishes, and having other team's fans leave Verizon talking smack because the Caps got owned again?

I'm happy Hanlon got canned, I'm happy we've won a few games...but this team is far from something to be proud of right now.

Posted by: Sam | December 17, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I must say, it is SO nice to see so many fans SUPPORTING the team ... what you'all said! :-) Not that I believe in blowing sunshine, but they guys and the coaches do deserve a little credit - they have come a long way and played hard tonight. Hopefully this game will BUILD their confidence, despite the loss, because they hung in there with the BEST team in the league! If they can do that, then they can beat just about any team ... and THAT'S what they should take away from this game. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@ Cap Fan 1,
For YOUR information, tonight is the 1st time ALL SEASON that I've called Olie to task for his sorry play. So, to you sir, I say, "Go Get A Life!"

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

To pull off a point against the Red Wings, in their barn, is a significant accomplishment.
If you will recall, a few weeks ago we couldn't get out of our own way. Now we're hanging in there against the best team in the league.
We are headed in the right direction.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 17, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

HockeyTown = HomerTown. A kick in goal by the bucktooth jackass and 7 Cap pp's which should have been 10 or 11. And a roughing call on Brashear for a clean check. These guys are the best in the West? Maybe the best protected by the Stripes.

It's time to stop the noise and plug the pieholes of those POS who think they're getting their hands on AO. NEVER. AO is not going anywhere and BabCOCK will never coach him.

Bring on the HABS another arrogant orginal six and watch BB take them apart.

Posted by: DarrylHockey | December 17, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I dunno I think being a "true fan" is acknowleding when the team has had a good night...never being content but giving credit where credit is due...of course the team is far from perfect but they fought hard and shouldn't be dissed for fighting hard thats my opinion anyway

Posted by: unitedfan | December 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Great play by the boys tonight! They were definitely in it to win it (well, maybe not Olie.) I'm proud of us--we've proven we can hang with the big boys, now we just have to do it consistently as we have been recently. Winning 4 of the last 6 games is NOTHING to be ashamed of at all. And contending with the best team in the NHL?! Are you kidding me, this is awesome! I would've liked a win, but we went into Detroit's house and ROCKED it. So to all the naysayers: bite me. You guys will always find something to complain about, so complain somewhere else. We don't need your kind around here.

Posted by: SLM | December 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Re: Kolzig
Guys, can we keep in mind that he had three of the best forwards in the entire LEAGUE skating in on him for the shootout?
I thought he had the first one. It just squeaked over his pad.

Posted by: pmoravek | December 17, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@DarrylHockey
First of all, Green was diving hard the entire game. He should have been taken off for unsportsmanlike conduct. Also, Backstrom blatantly tripped Zetterburg, right before Zet got called for the reverse. The zebras were more than merciful to the Caps tonight, and we did nothing with the PPs. In fact, the only time it really looked like 5-on-5 hockey was when they were a man down.

A "kick-in goal by a bucktooth jackass"? What the hell are you talking about, the deflection at the beginning? You're allowed to guide the puck into the goal, if it's not a definitive kicking motion. Which it definitely wasn't.

Yes, Brash deserved the call, and deserves the goal scored on his penalty. Slamming someone's head into the boards with your hand when the puck is nowhere nearby is not a clean it.

And "BabCOCK". Clever. Really, I get it, it works on a lot of levels. We'll lose Ovie the minute he becomes hungry for a Stanley and realizes GMGM and Leonsis are just going to shaft him as long as he stays with the Caps.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Caps can not go far with, Olie the "OLDIE" Kolzig. Johnny needs to play more....

Posted by: 555CapsFan | December 17, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

warning: optimistic post.

the Caps battled the best team in the league - on the road - and pushed them to the limit. y'all can whine but I'm happy we got a point in Detroit. this team is definitely much improved since BB took over. a month ago, we would've been blown out 6-1. I appreciate the team's effort tonight.

Posted by: CapsFanInHollywood | December 17, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

That's right, we don't need your kind around here!!! We don't desire improvement, teams held to a higher standard, success, or wins!! We want losses, more basement finishes, and lots more disappointed fans!!! So be gone, you douches who think this city and these fans deserve better!! We don't tolerate your kind around here.

Posted by: Sam | December 17, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Tess,
I know Laing was The Bear's Captain. I'm talking about HERE! He's the epitome of everything the title entails. He's fanatical. Tenacious. Relentless. Unselfish. and, has NO REGARD for his personal safety.
I'm not suggesting i'm dissatisfied with Chris Clark as Captain. What I'm saying is that I feel that Laing possesses the attributes of a captain to an even greater degree than Clark.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Here, here.

Now that's a game to which I'm proud to raise my glass.

But they should've won -- no doubt about that.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 17, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

before tonights game Kolzig was 37% in the shootout. NHL average is near 60%. Now hes even worse, he's a disgrace to the hard work of others on the team

Posted by: Czechsmix | December 17, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

-Czechsmix

I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Sam | December 17, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

all in all, very good game for the Capitals. it's another point and allows us to maintain confidence going into the rest of the week's games. the whole team worked hard and everyone performed. Our 3rd and 4th lines are really starting to dominate puck possession with their grit and physicality.

I thought we dictated the pace of the game and, though we did miss a few big time opportunities, Olie stood on his head in regulation when it mattered (key to game #1 for me) and Semin potted a critical goal (my key to game #3)...had we won the special teams battle (my key to game #2), we wouldn't have had to watch Olie get so brutally exposed to his glove side 3 times in a row in the shootout.

still, to compare tonight's performance to Ottawa is to forget one extremely critical point: Boudreau is behind the bench and we're 7-4-2 w/him of which our wins/ties are: Philly, Carolina, Florida, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York, Tampa, and Detroit. we would have been steamrolled through that stretch w/out Boudreau. I expect our play to continue to only get better.

Posted by: MTB | December 17, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru
I think Laing's definitely earned an A. Perhaps Brash's. I don't think he's been with the team long enough for a C though. Maybe they should hook Brads up with the C until Clark gets back... he's got all those traits, IMO.

Is there a way to show that a player is the opposite of a Captain? Perhaps Nyls should wear a flipped over C, for his lack of fanaticism, tenacity, relentlessness, his selfishness, and his high regard for his personal safety.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Drinking Partner & MTB:
you forgot your "optimistic post" warnings ...

CapsFanInHollywood:
thanks for the heads up ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@ Czechsmix. AMEN!
@ Mike Z. your comment about inverting the "C" for Nyls was hysterical. As a matter of fact, that's the best quip I've heard all year. Hahahaha. See, I'm STILL laughing....

Posted by: Puckguru | December 17, 2007 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Tonight I saw a Caps team that I could put my money behind. Great game, great effort by everyone, really hard fought against the best in the NHL. If they continue to play like they have, the only thing that will keep this team down is laziness and soft individual play. And goaltending.

I'll say this, Olie is looking his age. He can still make some great moves and his size is still bailing him out of trouble (as it should) but he is slowing down to the effect of 1 or 2 goals a night. In his prime, he only let in two total per night, one soft, one five-hole. Screened or not, he didn't react quick enough to the zetterberg goal. It was a pretty goal, but I've seen quick shots beat Olie too many times this year. Not to mention the gaping 5 hole that every team is shooting for. Luck kept them in it tonight because the one that went 5 hole through the crease and out should have been the tie that binds. I think he's tradable to a team at the deadline, because he won't keep up next year at all.


Posted by: 007 | December 17, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Leaving Olie's blunders out tonight, and I'm a huge olie fan...What the HECK was Kozlov doing out there as our lead off in the Shootout???????? He is, by far, our worst/unproductive pick up in the off season. he's had too many shots already this season. SCRATCH HIM!

As for the SO, Olie couldn't have stopped the 2nd shot...he was totally faked out...Zetterburg is that good. And the last one...olie got fooled at the last minute. it wasn't being slow..he just got beat.

I am getting awfully upset at him leaving the crease so often...and we've had it backfire on us before and this game was ALMOST no exception..Stay home in the net olie..let the other guys figure it out!

Posted by: IrresistibleForce | December 17, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else laugh when the miced-up Chelios let fly an S-bomb in the first period? I wasn't sure that he actually said it, but another blogger (Capsnut) noticed it too...

Posted by: MikeZ | December 17, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

wow...never thought we'd steal a point playing the by far the best team in hockey in their house. I did see the first period only, and I couldn't believe we werecomparable to te best team. I mean, we weren't being pushed around, uor passes were crisp, we actually looked like a playoff contender. We didn't look like a chicken running around with it's head cut off like we were under Hanlon. This mini road trip definetely gives us confidence. The last 2 losses, (Sabres & Wings) were almost winnable. Good job tonight guys!!

If we can take the wings to a shootout in their own building, I feel like we can beat anybody any night.

Posted by: wanggo | December 17, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Isn't it incorrect to say we're now 7-5-1 with Boudreau? Why be so quick to put another notch in the loss column for a shootout loss? If someone we're trying to tally the record based on the article tonight they'd come up with 15 points under Boudreau when we've had 16. We're 7-4-2. Come on man, we need all the positives we can get as we continue our march forward!!

Posted by: MTB | December 17, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

IrresistibleForce - despite Kozlov's consistently lack-luster performance, he has a freakishly good SO/penalty shot record. He has already put one away this year (most of our players have not), and came close tonight. So, I hate to say it, but when it comes to SOs, I would put my money on Kozlov before AO ... but that's the ONLY time that I would do that!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Hollywood ... this game would have been a 6-1 loss a month ago.

Heck of an effort by the Capitals. I know I should overlook Olie's poor performance in the shootout ... he had several nice saves tonight.

But I still have losing to the Red Wings.

Posted by: Caps fan in TN | December 17, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Cotton candy, anyone? Sure looks like they sell a lot of it at the Detroit arena.

Posted by: cotton candy for everyone | December 17, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

cotton candy for everyone - LOL!! I noticed that too!! :-) I was thinking that it would make me crazy because the vendors would always be in the way. At least it could have been in team colors. DEATH TO PINK COTTON CANDY!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

MTB--You're right. I fixed it for the final edition. those first stories are filed at the horn, so I'm writing and watching at the same time. It's easy to screw up on the first one.

BTW, the Caps are off tomorrow.

Posted by: Tarik | December 17, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clarifying Tarik. Feeling a bit sheepish now for the fast-twitch annoying correction. I'm just loving every point we can muster as we continue on our (clearly superior) new trajectory under Boudreau

I hope you do realize that your work on the Caps beat has been outstanding for years and is very appreciated by Caps loyalists...

Posted by: MTB | December 18, 2007 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I too am very enthused by the way the Caps have been playing under BB. They now look like a team that can battle anybody, where before BB they looked like they couldn't beat an AHL team. But you still have to be concerned with Kolzig. The other night I made fun of M. Biron of the Flyers for allowing 3 goals on 3 shots in the shootout, but at least he got a glove or pad on 1 of them. Kolzig was beat so bad tonight, he didn't even touch the puck. And as great as Zetterberg is, the stat with him in shootouts was something like 4 in 13 (?) So don't tell me that he can't be stopped. On shootouts, the goalie only has 1 man to worry about, Kolzig HAS TO BE BETTER THAN THAT. But again, the team finally looks like they come to play every night, and that has been great to watch.

Posted by: Pa Caps Fan | December 18, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

not to draw on a Mystery Alaska reference, but if Kozlov's penalty shot is an inch otherwise, it's a different game.

Semin is back and Juice made a really nice defensive play in OT. Ollie needs to work on the forehand - backhand deke.

Huge improvement under BB.

Posted by: pch49 | December 18, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I am proud of the way the boys handled themselves last night. Coming into Detroit to face a great team and to hang with them for as long as we did is great.

I love the way they played and am glad Semin scored. Perhaps he has found his touch again.

Kolzig made some amazing saves. He had that one where he moved right to left and stopped the point blank shot with the left pad. Forgot who that was on but he was stellar tonight. That is, until we got to the shootout. Then, he completely blew it and I am dissapointed by his showing in the SO.

At least we got a point and showed the best team in the NHL that we can hang with them. That was no fluke - the team is so much better with BB at the helm.

Posted by: Tom | December 18, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@mikeZ
You do realize that Nylander is the one that wears number 92, right?
Your description of him makes me wonder if you are confusing him with someone else. Are you aware that this guy has a production rate of one point per game? That in this team he is second to AO in total points and is first in assists?
By the way, I noticed you didn't mention those two passes from Nylander to AO at the end of the 2nd period which AO mishandled and ruined the power play chances.
And, No, I am not getting down on AO, I am just pointing out your myopic view on some players.

Great game by the Caps tonight. If they continue this type of play there will be no reason to suspect that they will not make the playoffs. However, in my opinion, I do think they need to start playing Kolzig less, all three goals in the S/O were put in the same place.

Posted by: Joe | December 18, 2007 12:15 AM | Report abuse

@pch49
"...but if Kozlov's penalty shot is an inch otherwise, it's a different game."

Bad luck for Kozlov, but I really don't think it would have made a difference. Kolzig couldn't stop a turtle. Did you notice that all shots were made to the same side? almost identical moves? It was as if they were taunting him - sad to see.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

No need for the Caps to hang their heads.

Well done for taking the Wings to the shootout.

Is it just me, or do we play better against the best?

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

no problem, MTB. thanks for pointing it out. the good thing is those first stories only make a very small number of papers. it's easy to lose focus while watching crazy games like that one.

Posted by: Tarik | December 18, 2007 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Pa Caps Fan -

I totally agree - I had a bad feeling about the shootout - but to Kolzig's credit, he made some great saves to keep us fighting. The shootout gives me the willies though...

I think the Wings were outplayed most of the game...

Posted by: 7734yeah | December 18, 2007 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Dear Ovie,

It's been two years since that little breakaway curl-and-drag of yours fooled anyone. Either get a different move or learn to wait for help on the 1-on-3s that you always seem to end up on.

Sincerely,

A Fan

Posted by: A Fan | December 18, 2007 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Great game - fun to watch. The Caps represented on national TV, big time.

Everyone who reads this board knows I think Bryzgalov should be in goal, so it's pointless to re-iterate what's been said about Kolzig. Because McPhee hesitated, the situation is what it is; from here on out if we score three goals or more we have a chance. If we score two goals or less, it's a loss.

But there are a ton of positives to take from this game. If the Caps play like that against any other team in the league they'd win. Bruce has made them believe, and I think he needs to have the interim tag removed right now.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 18, 2007 1:40 AM | Report abuse

RE: Kolzig

Ok, so he sucked at the shootout tonight. Three shots, all backhanders, all glove side. Kolzig got caught cheating right 3 times.

But people who are saying that he's a guaranteed loss in a shootout are talking out of their butts. We've had 1 other shootout this year, and I believe we were scored on 4/11 tries? something like that. It was the game Gordon broke his hand. Olie made a ton of clutch saves there.

Our typical problem in the shootout is scoring. The only reason I can see putting Kozlov out there was if BB asked the players and Kozlov really wanted the shot. I mean he's been playing 4th line - he's probably itching to prove himself. Too bad he hit iron.

Posted by: Raber | December 18, 2007 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Playoff Math

By my math if the Caps continue to play at this pace they're on track for about an 88 point season. If we're generous and assume that the last playoff spot will take 92 points, that leaves 48 games to pick up 63 points. That means Boudreau needs to get his guys to go about 29-14-5 the rest of the way. Not impossible, but definitely an uphill climb.

(Mathematically of course they can get to 92 points with as few as 15 wins [requiring them to lose in a shootout in the other 33 games], but the most realistic scenarios start at about 25 wins given how few games make it to a shootout.)

Fun fact: If the Caps had played like this from the beginning of the season they'd be on pace for 100 points and probably the 5th or 6th seed in the playoffs.

Posted by: zamboni | December 18, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

I felt ok with the loss last night, but now I dont. How we can't win a shootout on occasion with OV, Semin, Kozlov, Nylander, Backstrom, and a vezina trophy winner in goal I'll never know.

Posted by: dave | December 18, 2007 4:27 AM | Report abuse

i was upset w. hanlon not practicing shoot outs but bb only has had so much time and he needed to do a lot. once it is stabalized, internalized, etc. he can work on shoot outs (shooter/ goalie) to be better later in year and next.

maybe years of playing in front of terrible d-fense reason for olie acting out of form. he got bad habits compensating when team playing poorly and challeng to get back to form when a bit better.

anyway, wouldn't have held on to bryz next year. cost going up. gmgm needed to develop goalies before 4+ years from now.

Posted by: jim* | December 18, 2007 4:33 AM | Report abuse

It seemed like the Wings had Olie's number. Same moves, 3 goals. Maybe they saw some tape. The thing is, Hasek was beatable too, it seemed all you needed to do was go high.

I am *NOT* saying this is the reason we lost, and AO is my hero, but it would be nice if he worked on:

1) keeping the puck. AO nifty moves are awesome, but he should make them when he's likely to succeed and try not to give away the puck.
2) breakaway - shootout. I forgot last time I saw him make a successful move on a goalie (look like Backstrom can)

I like Babcock's quote about yesterday's game:
"They didn't allow is to get a forecheck going," Babcock said. "They did a good job of getting the puck out of their zone. I was impressed. There aren't many teams that keep us off kilter all night long like they did tonight. I didn't think we showed them enough respect at the start, but I thought we got better. They made it hard for us."

Posted by: mauree | December 18, 2007 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Much of the criticism of Kozlov is valid but not his SO %... I can't find the stat but he is typically money in this department. And to be fair he only missed by about 7 mm.

Swap Johnson for Olie during SO? An interesting concept but what would the long-term impact be on a goalie's confidence? You might win the SO but lose your goalie for the foreseeable future (probably a "good news" story in some's opinion).

Posted by: Dave in DC | December 18, 2007 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig was terrible in the shootout! Three identical goals! He was on his belly well before any of the shooters made their moves. But people will still idolize him. That's sick! It's too bad that we don't have a good goalie. Good goalies would steal a few games for any team. Kolzig is terrible!

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Dave in DC-
I agree 100%-Your goalie gets you in the position to win. You can't take away his opportunity to ice it!

Posted by: dave | December 18, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@Finn,

A great goalie would actually win games for the Caps, rather than hoping our ok goalies don't lose the game.

Having said that, we're saddled with our ok goalies for the duration. To be simplistic, since #'s 1 and 37 can't seem to prevent the soft goals, without scoring more the Caps not going succeed.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Olie has lost any confidence he previously had in the shoot out. While I have felt for two years now that Olie was past it, he used to get up for the for shoot outs and was pretty good. But with the Caps lack of success in scoring on the shoot out in the last 2 years, I wonder if that has messed with his head.

In any case, I haven't had any confidence in the Caps in the shoot out. I knew that if they didn't score in overtime then the game was lost. However the Caps played a great game; it was nice to see Semin get the tieing goal. Coming out of the Joe with a point is nothing to hang 'em for.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 18, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Whatever they try to sell about the "new NHL" and high scoring... Defense wins Cups! Goalies win Cups! Sure, Kolzig had one great save last night. But it's not enough!! His shootout "performance" last night was abysmal. I think he should have done better on Holmstrom's second goal.

The young D excuse is unacceptable. Why? Because the young D will never be confident enough after seeing Kolzig's bloopers. The team, regardless of what they say in the press, do not feel confident, because they know that their goalies are prone to soft goals. Johnson is no better. Remember both of his goals against Tampa? Horrible!

Just stop idolizing Kolzig. He won the Vezina in 2000! That was almost 8 years ago! He was younger, better. Now, he is just a shadow of that Kolzig. Just turn the page. People say that Bryzgalov is a UFA after this season and that's the reason he wasn't picked up. That's BS. Kolzig is making $5.450m this season. I doubt Bryzgalov would cost us as much.

We have a good enough team to compete in the play offs. Our offense is great, our D is better than last year... Our only weakness (and that's been on the decline for some years now) is our goaltending. While our O and D are improving, Kolzig is getting worse.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Brodeur is making less money than Kolzig ($5.2m). He is a MUCH better goalie though.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

As much as I hate to admit it b/c I like Kolzig, Finn is right. Our goalies just aren't up to the task. I think at this point we should play Johnson more (not that he's the answer to our problems but may be better if he plays more) and work on getting a solid, consistent goalie. Going into this game I didn't have high hopes b/c our defense really makes me nervous. They are so unpredictable (true they are better then last year but still). Defense is so important and while our offense is looking really good all of our defense still needs work. Shootouts definately need to be worked on in practice. We're horribl in them!
I think we have all the makings of a great team, especially offensively but again we need a more consistent defense!!! Can we please sign some d-men and goalies who will help us. We can't afford to wait for our farm kids to get ready...

Posted by: K | December 18, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'll take the point. If the boys get 7 more points between now and the new year, we might be onto something.

I see Tarik's issue, though. We have a lot of teams to go over. We're close to passing ATL, but they play tonight against TB, who we also need to pass.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

K,

I think you and others are not giving the defense enough credit. Whether it be a better system or the extra experience, I think the defense is a thousand times better than last year. I don't think the defense as been the problem this season. Up until the last couple of weeks, this team wasnt scoring goals. Now that they are scoring more frequently, they are winning games and playing much better. Not only is the team playing better defensively but the defensemen are contributing offensively as well! I believe this team has a bright future on the blue line, with a solid core of Morrinson, Jurcina, Green, Shultz, Alzner (maybe next year?). Things are looking up in my opinion.

Posted by: Leigh | December 18, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I challenge any of you to pad up, and take my spot..I have 5 million+ reasons why I am the Caps goalie. I will throw knuckles with any of you in the Ballston food court on Christmas Day.

Where is your loyalty? Shootouts are worthless..in the old NHL you would love me for getting a tie in Detroit.

Posted by: Olie Kolzig | December 18, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Overall, good game last night...2 breakdowns in front of the net let to Holmstrom's 2 goals in my opinion. Neither of those are on Kolzig. The Wings 2nd goal...very very pretty play. Maybe Kolzig could have reacted faster, but how many times have we seen OV blast those one timers past goalies? It was a good play -- leave it at that.

The shootout...bleh. Kolzig has been pretty good over his career on penalty shots, but he has struggled badly in the SO. But like many people have said above -- he and Johnson are who we have, and there's unlikely to be a move this season. On the plus side, should the Caps make it to the playoffs, no shootouts!

OK, so, everyone has been throwing the 92 point total around as the target. I think 92 will definitely get a team in this season. Last season, there were 3 teams who were 16+ points out of the final spot. This season, there's 16 points between first and last place in the CONFERENCE. Obviously it's not even 1/2 way thru, but it looks to me like the East is has one "elite" team in Ottawa, and everyone else is very similar. Pittsburth, currently in 8th place, is on pace for 87 points.

The Caps, if they take the 7-4-2 record under BB, and can play that way the rest of the way are going to be right in the mix for the last spot. But, keep in mind that that record has been over a very tought stretch of games in a short amount of time, with little practice time until almost 1/2 way thru the 13 games.

All I'm saying is, even with guys missing from the lineup, key guys playing badly, and a tough schedule, this team can win games. If they keep it up, they'll be able to jump over a number of the teams infront of them by the all-star break.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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