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Tonight's lineup: Rangers at Caps

Jose Theodore will start tonight for the Caps; Alex Auld will be between the pipes for the Rangers.

Nothing has changed since the morning skate, so the lineup should look like familiar:

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Belanger-Semin
Chimera-Fleischmann-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Walker

Defense
Schultz-Green
Poti-Corvo
Morrisonn-Carlson

Goalies
Theodore
Varlamov

Also, it looks like New York's leading scorer Marian Gaborik will play with center Erik Christensen and left wing Vinny Prospal.

I'll have more later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 6, 2010; 6:37 PM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau on Theo: 'He was by far our best player'

Comments

GO CAPS!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

i'm not gonna get to watch the game live, but i'll see it later on DVR - have a good time everybody.
Go Caps!!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 6, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I am expecting Ovie to come out hard, and finish strong. He knows he is due.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I like these lines a lot. I think these might be our best forward combos.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 6, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Peter Puck from Hockey Night in Canada needs to die.

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

nice save by Theo

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

That penalty was a product of Corvo's giveaway. oh well. Time to work on the PK

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 6, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

GO PK!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Semin is wicked.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 6, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

nice shift on the PK by Semin

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

nice KILL!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

NICE RUSH BY MY BOY!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

How can the Capitals have the 4th best home PK percentage with 86.3%, but the 2nd worst road PK percentage with 72.7%?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Seriously ugly sequence, puck clearing drills authorized and encouraged.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

How can the Capitals have the 4th best home PK percentage with 86.3%, but the 2nd worst road PK percentage with 72.7%?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:17 PM


home cookin'?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

A few chances here and there, but so far it's been a pretty bad start.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

PP!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

:)

Avery!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

5-on-3!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Walker and Avery have fought before. Walker won. I'd like to see another one.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

5 on 3!

SCORE BOYS!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

CAPS CAPS CAPS!!!

Posted by: dc33 | March 6, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

HOW IS THAT A NO CALL ON GREEN?!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

YESSSSSSSSSSS

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

FEHR!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

It didn't look to me like that was a penalty on Green, actually.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

he just improved our 5 on 3 numbers, which i believe suck

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Fehr has on top of his game since coming back from the Olympic break.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

It didn't look to me like that was a penalty on Green, actually.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:27 PM |

What did you see?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

PUNCH BUGGY!

used to play that...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It just looked like Rozsival lifted his stick, caused Green to lose the puck, and when Green realized he wouldn't get a scoring chance, he took a dive. It didn't seem like Rozsival's stick caused Green to fall at all.

I just rewound this and watched it about 8 times.

Good acting job though, I guess, if you like dives.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I too am a fan of automatic icing.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Captain Slewfoot Boyle sucks!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree, there should be a offensive D trophy.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Theo has the reason this game is still tied.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

or I mean we're still up by a point.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

message to flash,

fehr is a finisher, not a puck carrier

DO NOT PASS UNTIL BLUE LINE IN!

unless you have to

thanx

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

dont have the benefit of replay so I will take your word for it. However...

Refs see regular speed, and at regular speed, that looked like a penalty!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Fehr pretty excellent? I like that guy.

Caps used to have this guy who was pretty good named Alexander Ovechkin. I wonder where he is now?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Fehr makes my heart flutter

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@wtf - I'm talking about the one where the refs did NOT call the penalty, while the Caps were already on the 5 on 3. It's the one that caused the fans to boo, and Laughlin to say that it would've been called had the Caps not already been on a 5 on 3.

It looked like a penalty to me at first, but on replay, I don't think so. Assuming it was a dive, it was definitely a very good one, well worth of this Academy Awards weekend.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Caps used to have this guy who was pretty good named Alexander Ovechkin. I wonder where he is now?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse
----------
I'm giving Ovie a break. I'm sure he'll get it together soon.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Caps used to have this guy who was pretty good named Alexander Ovechkin. I wonder where he is now?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse
----------
I'm giving Ovie a break. I'm sure he'll get it together soon.
----------
The nice thing is that Ovie is distracting other teams so that other players are scoring...Knuble???

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

I believe we are talking about the same play

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Belanger is fast as balls. I am really liking that guy. Once he fully gets the system (he is coming from a very different one in Minny, so it could be a couple games) he will be even better. I think BMo and Gordon will be the scratches when the playoffs start, assuming no one is injured at that time.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 6, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I think that Ovie NOT scoring for a long period of time, seriously damages that "Best Player in the World" label. But, I'm a Caps fan, and HE HELPS US WIN.

so...let Ovie do Ovie

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is clean-shaven. That worries me.

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Belanger is fast as balls. I am really liking that guy. Once he fully gets the system (he is coming from a very different one in Minny, so it could be a couple games) he will be even better. I think BMo and Gordon will be the scratches when the playoffs start, assuming no one is injured at that time.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 6, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse
---------
Walker is looking great. Belanger looks like he's getting there. The only one I'm really worried about is Corvo.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

wierd smash dump in by Semin there

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Corvo will be fine. Just give him some Jose Cuervo, that should do the trick.

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

as locker said...

i thought that was nice chemistry btwn he and ovie and backs

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

wait a min...

is Lundy in net?

WE SHOULD BE KILLING THESE GUYS!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

what was Mo thinking??

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I have seen alot of #74 (Carlson?), and I like it.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I have seen alot of #74 (Carlson?), and I like it.

---------

Same here!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

BELANGER!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Eric who?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

That was awesome!!

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Just in general, it looks like the Capitals are flying around the ice in the second period here, eh? Fast and furious.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

That was great passing

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

And, I was about to say, goal #2 can't be too far around the corner, can it? But I didn't, and now it's too late.

Welcome to DC, Belanger!

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

these NEW guys are making noise!

WHAT ABOUT THE OLD GUYS!?!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I think Ovie has looked pretty solid this game. He's made some great passes, had a few scoring chances. It's just a matter of time. No worries.

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Just in general, it looks like the Capitals are flying around the ice in the second period here, eh? Fast and furious.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse
-------------
Caps already have most goals scored in the 1st and 3rd periods. They're trying to complete it with getting most goals in the 2nd. They've been terrific in this period since coming back from the break.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I am still waiting for Avery to do something annoying. I am hoping Walker is on the ice at the time and beats him up.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, only one more new guy we have to get into the goal scoring fold. Maybe in the 3rd?

GO CORVO!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Through 2 periods...

Theo has been flawless.

Carlson has made some great plays in the defensive zone.

Semin's no look cross-ice pass was sick.

Laich making plays.

Fehr looking determined.

Knuble's been working hard in every zone.

Backstrom still doesn't look all the way back but he's getting there.

Ovechkin is playing well. The points will come.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I am still waiting for Avery to do something annoying. I am hoping Walker is on the ice at the time and beats him up.
---------
I"m thinking if we score 1 more....Avery starts mouthing off and Walker knocks his block off!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Corvo showing his offensive instincts but a couple of sketch plays in the defensive zone. It's still too early to draw conclusions. He looks good positionally.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

That was your best post to date!

Short, sweet and to the point.

In the past, each of those bullets were a paragraph. An informed paragraph mind you but....

I AGREE WITH YOU ON EVERY POINT!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I know. I get way too wordy. It's a bad habit that many have pointed out accurately.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

***My Thoughts***

-- i'm not likin' Chimera on the 3rd line.

-- I think Beranger is earning the 2nd line center spot.

-- Put Morrison back at center on 3rd line btwn flash and fehr

-- 4th line- chimera, gordon, walker/bradley.
Stechle just doesn't give us anything offensively.

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

CHRIS SAMUELS!

With the man on the horse...

FAREWELL AND GOOD LUCK!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Bill M?

I used to think he was the best...

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

McCreary.

Belanger's stick didn't touch him.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

PK PK PK!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Some fine acting though this Oscars weekend. Very good. Hopefully the Capitals will not have to pay for that.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

THEO!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

methinks Theo is trying to earn him a lil sumthin?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Jose Threeormore? Maybe not so much during a contract year, eh?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Minds think alike.

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

(I hadn't seen wtf's post yet when I said mine.)

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Though he over commits sometimes, I do like how aggressive Corvo is.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Shut out or a blowout....either way I'm happy!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

(I hadn't seen wtf's post yet when I said mine.)

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 9:01 PM

lol

Is it such a crime to "appear" to have had similar thoughts to "wtf"?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Shut out or a blowout....either way I'm happy!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse
-------
You said the 'S' word. I'm blaming you if NYR gets one. (:

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

head shot?

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Del Z checking Chimmer, should have been a call

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

puck!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hello All!

My seats are occupied by some good friends so I join this motley crew to cheer the boys!

I guess Gordon, Carlson, Laing, were scratches?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 6, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess Gordon, Carlson, Laing, were scratches?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 6, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse
-----------
Carlson is in. It's Erskine and Sloan who are the scratches from the blueline.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

New York has mentally broken down.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I can't belive I'm saying this, but the officiating has been decent (not great)this game. At least better than average.

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

SHUTOUT!

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Shut-out, baby!!!

Posted by: cbs75 | March 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

THEO WITH THE SO!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

shut out or a blowout....either way I'm happy!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse
-------
You said the 'S' word. I'm blaming you if NYR gets one. (:

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

I know I haven't said the shutout word in awhile.....but tonight it worked!!!! Nice for Theo!!

Posted by: kyle_woodruff | March 6, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

96 points after 65 games. +75 goal differential so far. Not bad, eh?

Posted by: youaresquishy | March 6, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

elicea,

Thanks, just did the rewind and saw Carlson make that faux paus, eek.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | March 6, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

CINDY IS A GOAL SCORING MACHINE!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Theo was brilliant. This was one of his 2 or 3 best of the season, if not the best. He did have 1 or 2 other stellar games.

Sorry, Varly. I was pulling for you but Theo is the man right now.

Ovechkin played great tonight. No bad giveaways and plenty of good passes and scoring chances. The points will come.

I can't say enough good about Fehr recently. He's been playing some determined hockey.

Corvo had 2 really, really bad giveaways but I do like some of the things he's doing, offensively. And he seems to be smart, positionally, on the defensive end.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Carlson is really coming into his own.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I thought Carlson was terrific tonight. It seems to me that he just needs to get used to the speed at this level and those gaffes in his own end will become a rarity.

Morrisonn and Corvo both had some Grade A giveaways in this game but Theo and luck were on our side.

Personally, I'd like to see Alzner back up as the defensive defenseman on the 3rd line. He, too, just needs to get used to the speed at this level. He's great with his stick and has loads of hockey IQ. Once he gets used to NHL play, he'll be one of our most reliable players on the backend - the type that goes entire games without making mistakes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Interesting stats from the game...

-Only Steckel and Belanger were better than 50% in the faceoff circle. Flash was 2-for-10 and Laich, 0-for-5.

-We actually blocked more shots than an opponent for once, 18-13. It just seems like we are always on the losing side in that statistic. That's a good sign.

-10 different players had a takeaway tonight. I can't ever remember the last time seeing that many players with at least one.

-Carlson had a nice line: +1, 2 hits, 2 blocked shots, 1 takeaway, 0 giveaways, 1 SOG.

-Morrisonn, despite his horrible giveaway, led the team with 4 hits in less than 15 minutes of play.

-Morrisonn also tied Schultz for a team high 3 blocked shots.

So, let's take it easy on Morrisonn. He made one horrendous play but was solid for the most part.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

BB is hard on #16, as am I.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

sorry but I cant help but smile at all this FEHR ATTENTION!

:)

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 6, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

One other stat along with a question for the hockey gurus out there (I've been following the Caps for nearly 30 years but only recently started to try to understand some of the finer points of the game)...

-Corvo had 0 giveaways according the event summary: http://www.nhl.com/scores/htmlreports/20092010/ES020958.HTM

This just contributes to my ongoing confusion as to what exactly constitutes a giveaway. I understand that it's basically a turnover but there must be some guidelines that I'm unaware of that scorekeepers use to determine both giveaways and takeaways. It's apparently not as simple as turnovers/steals in basketball.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

The Caps critics are freaking out tonight. They'll have to complain about our offense for once.

Actually, there was plenty to find fault in defensively if you want to break down the game.

They can't say anything bad about our goaltending. That's for sure.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else think that maybe OV's problem is that he seems to not be having fun out there. He seemed strangely serious compared to his usual self. It also doesn't help that Backie isn't passing as well either.

I am not worried about OV though. He'll break through eventually.

Posted by: capscoach | March 6, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Here are the lines for next game. Anyone agree/disagree?

-- Ovi, Back, Knuble

-- Laich, Ber, Semin

-- flash, morri, fehr

-- chimera, gordon, walker/bradley.

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I really don't see anything wrong with Ovechkin's play since the break. I think he's actually playing smarter and more responsibly while still hitting people and getting plenty of scoring chances.

I'm always more concerned with what he's doing outside of scoring goals. I've seen stretches where he was putting up points and not playing nearly as good of an overall game as he is right now.

Backstrom has looked more off than him, in my opinion.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Here are the lines for next game. Anyone agree/disagree?

-- Ovi, Back, Knuble

-- Laich, Ber, Semin

-- flash, morri, fehr

-- chimera, gordon, walker/bradley.

I'll have to disagree. I have a feeling Morrison sits again. Boudreau won't sit Belanger, Fleischmann or Laich so where does Morrison play?

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I hate the media pressure on OVi. "Oh no, its a scoring slump!".

Tarik on his insider report yesterday, said OVi is not like his 100mph with no breaks self. Well JESUS, HOW LONG CAN A HUMAN BEING GO AT THAT PACE!!??

He's played what, 6 or 7 less games, and still leads in points, and a rediculous +/-.

THERE IS NO PROBLEM!!

This team is as deep as its EVER been. I could care less if he scores once every 5 games.

When the big games come, he will be Ovi. Whether its scoring, passing, hitting, or bringing energy one way or another.

He had a rough Olympics, an unfortunate incident that got a media attention, he's just not 100% himself yet.

The important thing is, unlike years past, when OVi doesn't score, we still have a very good chance to win.

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

it's a long season, even longer this year... everyone has slumps and better have them now than in the playoffs

I doubt that Ovie has suddenly forgotten how to score

Posted by: joek443 | March 6, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

@floms

I very much agree with you.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao - For next game I think Morrison gets another shot at 3rd line center, moving flash back to wing, and Chimera down to the 4th line.

This will give us 3 legitament centers, and speed/grit/scoring threat at the 4th line.

With Chimera on the 4th line, they got 2 goals Thursday night. (at least i think chimera played on the 4th against TB)

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I think he's actually playing smarter and more responsibly while still hitting people and getting plenty of scoring chances.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse
---------
I think that's exactly why people are freaking out. They're used to seeing Ovie just score goals, and a lot of them mind you; but now, as you said, he's a more responsible and intelligent player. Instead of just shooting, he's looking for better lanes or for a more open player he can pass to.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing to me how the hockey media is overlooking the good things Ovechkin has been doing over the last few games.

He's still getting high quality scoring chances and still delivering crushing hits.

On top of that, he's making very good passes and tonight, in particular, was great with the puck on his stick. He's not committing bad turnovers and making risky passes and he looks more committed defensively. I really thought he had an outstanding game tonight.

In fact, he's playing better than he has during certain stretches where he's put up more points.

I think he's had one off game since coming back. Backstrom has looked the most unlike his usual self, in my opinion. Semin has played the best of the three.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 6, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I think our Comcast media in general isn't too hockey savvy, so they just look at the ticker, are looking to find a storyline, and OVi is the face of the franchise so they have to point it out that he's not scoring.

I feel if this team were in Toronto, NJ, or another more hockey sense savvy market, the storyline would be "Caps team show's its depth again

Maybe i'm being too harsh on CSN, but really, the story should be how deep this team is.

The top lines last year, in the Pens series, canceled out. Its about depth.

In the past, when OVi wasn't the most dominant player on the ice, the caps looked really average/vulnerable/exposed.

Well, we're not last year's caps, or the caps of 08.

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Per twitter:

Ovie on him and Backstrom struggling: “I think we're still feeling about [the] losing in the Olympics."
17 minutes ago via web
-------
Well it wasn't hard to figure out that the Olympics has something to do with the slump.

Posted by: elicea | March 6, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

TARIK...WE NEED PHOTOS OF THIS CAMERA!!!

Posted by: CapsSkins | March 6, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao, I agree totally with your post about OVi's play recently.

Guys, what I don't understand, and please chime in here....

Why does BB help fuel the 'slump' talk with his press conferences? He described it as a mini funk. And that gets a headline story from Tarik

This kind of worries me. Why doesn't BB praise the rest of this team, or praise the intangibles OVi is providing?

Lord knows there no shortage of intangibles credited to Crosby when he doesn't show up on the score sheet. Too bad OVi can't win face offs, maybe that's it.

But seriously, what is BB thinking?

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

most of you have accused Crosby of getting too much credit for his team success... if the Caps won the Cup with Ovie not being his best every game or every series, it would be just fine with me even if he got more credit than he deserved.

Posted by: joek443 | March 6, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree OV is playing smarter, but I think it is pretty clear that the 1st line is not clicking as well since the break...but again...nothing to worry about.

Posted by: capscoach | March 6, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Crosby who?

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 6, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Lets examine the clues:

FACT: OVi = PURE HEARTH AND PASSION. This is the core of his game and not-so-secret to his success.

FACT: OVi's gfather passes...breaks his heart ...so called slump ensues....

FACT: OVi's home land embarrassed in Olympics to arch rival with no shot at redemption for another 4 years or more, breaks his heart...so called slump ensues....

CONCLUSION: OVi was, is, and will always be what we think he was, is and will always be. He is a passionate, determined monster on the ice who plays with his heart on his sleeve, as Jeremy Roenick pointed eloquently pointed out during the Olympic games.


Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

joek443, agreed. I don't care if OVi does or doesn't win the scoring race. Last year he won it, but no real hardware to show for it.

Backs also is not his 100% self.

I think most dedicated fans realize its nothing to worry about.

I just wish the 'slump' talk isn't perpetuated by CSN and other media.

I wish the coverage was more on praising the team's efforts. How about the team winning 3 in a row after a 2 week+ lay off??

How about beating buffalo, on the ROAD, against RYAN MILLER, in the first game back??

Tarik, are you listening??

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

are we done with this thread? Any one still out there?

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

McPhee is looking like a genius so far. Analysts were calling for him to get a goalie (I don't know why) and a stay at home defenseman (we cleared the crease well tonight and allowed no goals). He did neither of those, but at this point the three new caps have all contributed on the scoreboard.

Posted by: Raber | March 6, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I am still here reading. Good game overall. Tho' there were some defensive lapses, in general I thought they played very well positionally and defensively. And that includes Ovi and Backs and Semin.

The Rangers covered Ovi pretty heavily but he still managed to make some nice passes and get some shots off. All BB said was that their timing was a hair off--which it is.

When you think about it for Ovi to have an off night it means that he shoots the puck to the goalie rather than in the small space between the goalie and the net. Pretty remarkable I think.

And after Backs sans stick laid his leg and rear on the line in the 5 on 3 PK in Thursday's game I personally am cutting him some slack too.

Of those three Olympians I thought Semin looked pretty good tonight, perhaps because he was centered by Belanger, who I thought was great.

I like the energy the new guys bring. Including Corvo. Given that he played 20 or so minutes tonight I thought he did very well picking up BB's system--it ain't easy being a defender in BB's system.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 6, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I came home from another Caps win. Eric Fehr now has a 2 game goal scoring streak AND a 3 game point scoring streak. Only 3 more goals until he hits 20!

Note: he got his PP goal with Flash on his PP unit. Should we reverse Flash & Semin on the PP units?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 6, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Game tonight was disappointing when it came to offense, but a great game when it came to defense. Great game by Theo and the dmen, they stopped some very good chances by the Rangers. I don't know if I've ever seen Theo's golve hand going that quick before.

Congrats to Belanger and Corvo as well, for their first points as Caps. So far, those deadline picks are looking good.

The only thing I am disappointed in is scoring. The Caps were facing a second-rate goalie, and only got two goals - and none from their big guns. I think a lot of that might be due to the Rangers' D though - they played tight and didn't give up a lot of chances. I have no fear that Ovie and Semin will end their slumps soon, but I thought that tonight was a great chance.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 6, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I'm happy with the goalies we have too. I've always liked Theo so I am very happy he is playing so sharp. Really glad he got his first shutout of the season.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 6, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

-- 4th line- chimera, gordon, walker/bradley.
Stechle just doesn't give us anything offensively.

Posted by: floms | March 6, 2010 10:13 PM

floms, just curious - why do you want to sit the best faceoff man we have (and the 2nd best in the NHL) for a lesser faceoff man who brings even less offensively?

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 6, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Best lineup with how people are playig now:

Ovie-Backs-Knuble
Semin-Belanger-Laich
Chimera-Flash-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Walker

Maybe substitute BMo for Flash, but only if Flash starts playing horribly. Bmo is not contributing either offensively or on the faceoff, which are a center's two main responsibilities. And why would you choose to play Gordon at all? He is our worst forward - including Laing. The only two things he provides are faceoff wins and defense - both of which either Steckel or Belanger can provide better. As much as I would love to see Laing play, I just don't think he has a spot on the team right now.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 6, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I assume we'll rotate Theo and Varly and when April rolls around, BB can ride the hot goalie. At this point, we still have the luxury of evaluating the best combinations.

I assume we'll be doing more rotation of personnel over the next few games before deciding the best combinations.

Normally, it will be 3rd or 4th line type players who sit but if a top 6 type guy is dinged up, he'd be more likely to sit out for a game that he'd normally play. When you get down to it, Flash and Fehr are 2nd line caliber players (and function well there) who are down on the 3rd line since we have so many good wingers.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 7, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

most teams hardly play their 4th lines in the playoffs... the 4th line barely gets 10 minutes/game now.

Flash won't play center anymore, that's why they got Belanger... their top 3 centers in the playoffs will be Backs, Belanger and BMo

Posted by: joek443 | March 7, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

the goalie situation will work itselt out, the playoffs are still a month away.

Varly had a slow start this season but before he got hurt, he clearly established himself as the number one goalie... I suspect the same thing will happen before the playoffs start, Theo will probably cool down and Varly will get hot again.

Posted by: joek443 | March 7, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

10 minutes is actually a pretty good amount of TOI for a 4th line.

But our 4th line in many ways is more like a 3rd line. This year's 4th line on the Caps plays more minutes as a whole than last year's edition.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 7, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

i think lately Gordon has played well, and showed good chemistry with Chimera and Walker (vs. TB, 2 goals). When was the last time our 4th line got that?

This is why I suggested putting them back together. BM may have not been doing that well, but I don't think him centering flash and fehr is any worse then flash centering chimera and fehr. So at least with my suggestion, you have 3 true centers, and a 4th line that showed it can score with Chimera in there with Gordon and Walker.

Posted by: floms | March 7, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

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