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Tonight's lineup: Sabres at Caps

Michal Neuvirth will be between the pipes tonight for the Caps, who open a three-game homestand against the Sabres at Verizon Center. Ryan Miller, meantime, will be in net for the Sabres.

Shaone Morrisonn is set to return from a lower body injury, so the 'D' pairings will be a bit different. But the forward combos will be the same as Saturday's.

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

Defense
Schultz-Green
Morrisonn-Poti
Erskine-Alzner

Goalies
Neuvirth
Theodore

I'll have a bit a more later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 23, 2009; 6:34 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps 5, Sabres 2

Comments

how does Schultz make the everyday lineup, he's awful

Posted by: BigG56 | December 23, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

how does Schultz make the everyday lineup, he's awful

Posted by: BigG56 | December 23, 2009 6:47 PM

awfully good for someone that only has such a small cap hit ($715K)
he might not be the bone crunching shutdown d everyone wants him to be - but he makes the team better by allowing green to push the puck more than some of the other dmen could

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Schultz always seems to make one extremely dumb play a game that really costs us.

He either needs to get more physical, or not play.

He's young so im willing to give him a chance.

Posted by: digster1013 | December 23, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

RM in goal for Buffalo? Better not have too many defensive lapses tonight.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 23, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

double nickel has one of the top plus minus totals in the league. Yet he seems to make a play that ends up costing the Caps. it confuses the hell out of me.

Posted by: arcassells | December 23, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I meant "any" defnsive lapses.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 23, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

@ Big

I think you will find that a lot of folks here will disagree with you. But everyone is entitled to their opnion

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

From Ft. Myers, FL: Drop the puck. LET'S GO CAPS. LET'S GO CAPS. Great call putting Neuvy back in the net. Let's see what he's got.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 23, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Schultz has one thing going for him, his size, yet he's too clumsy to even get to someone and clear the net. Is he gonna "make the team better" by allowing another puck over his stick or skating a mile behind an opponent after he had his ankles broken...Please

Posted by: BigG56 | December 23, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

ice will probably be cr@p after warming up the building for the afternoon gtown bb game

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

backstrom!!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

wow - that's what they needed - a quick start against miller- whose GA and save pct are unreal

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

schultz another +1

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

neuvy looks alert so far

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

GREEN!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

miller looks human so far - don't let up boys

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Schultz always seems to make one extremely dumb play a game that really costs us.

He either needs to get more physical, or not play.

He's young so im willing to give him a chance.

Posted by: digster1013 | December 23, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to actually watch him play or shut the hell up.

Posted by: joek443 | December 23, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Mikhail Davidovich Zyelyonikov with the bisquit in the basket!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Was that Semin with an offensive zone stick penalty?

He's too good for that kind of stuff.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

joek443

+1

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Was that Semin with an offensive zone stick penalty?
He's too good for that kind of stuff.

well - silly penalties raise their ugly head too often with him - but his pluses offset that IMO

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

miller looks human so far - don't let up boys

yep now above his GA which is something like 1.68

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

where's tominfl? I hope the drink with the juice from the purloined widows grapefruits didn't do him in!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

My only problem with Morrison so far is that he gets knocked off the puck a little too easily.

Beyond that, he's a smart and responsible player that has above average vision.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to actually watch him play or shut the hell up.

Posted by: joek443 | December 23, 2009 7:23 PM |

Lighten up, Francis! Relax and enjoy the game!

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | December 23, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

whack it again clarkie

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Clark knocked that puck into just about the only place it wouldn't end up in the net. He didn't get much of it but that should be a layup in most cases. I don't think Miller did anything special other than lay his pad and stick on the ice.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Lighten up, Francis! Relax and enjoy the game!

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | December 23, 2009 7:38 PM

i take that as - you're not a schultz fan either

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

that was a fun 20 minutes of hockey - 40 more

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

that was a fun 20 minutes of hockey - 40 more

amen!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the nhl.com live update that period was pretty much all Caps. They say a 2 goal margin is the worst lead in hockey so let's hope the Caps get the next one and make it a 3 goal margin.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 23, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Ovie has been named to the 1st team all-decade NHL team...article posted on the NHL website...others on the first team: Brodeur, Lidstrom, Niedermayer, Iginla and Sakic.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | December 23, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Awesome 1st...lets keep our foot on the gas for 40 more!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is a passing madman!

Has he conceded the SOG championship this season?

...and Backs might be our best all around player, and he's like 12 or 13 or somethin

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Flash is playing with incredible confidence.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

i so felt that coming

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Flash is playing with incredible confidence.

yep - almost a one man show

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy has to stay tough, because Miller is still Miller.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

well no longer the dreaded 2 goal lead - wouldn't mind having it again though

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Just as I was complimenting Morrison for his smart and responsible play, he takes a bad penalty in the offensive zone.

He still seems a bit slow out there at times.

Neuvirth has been really good but that was a soft goal. Even though it was a 2-on-1, he was squared up to the shooter and it wasn't that powerful of a shot.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

i take that as - you're not a schultz fan either

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 7:43 PM |

Actually, I am a Schultz fan, I just don't see the point of someone being so nasty towards someone else for expressing their personal opinion.

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | December 23, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

BigG56
digster1013

To the Doofus Brigade for Schultz bashing!

That'll be 55 push-ups each, recruits!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

thanks tom - as an infrequent poster, i didn't think it was my place to be pressing anyone into service in the brigade

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

where's laich goin? and why?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

BMo!!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

BMo...too cute

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

yes - BM! oh just realized same initials as mine

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Just as I was expressing disappointment in Morrison after complimenting Morrison, he scores an absolutely sick goal.

Maybe a top 3 goal of the season for the Caps.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

there goes another chicklet for gr8

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

...and boy did the BMo need that. He has had sooooooo many chances over the last several games. I mean premium POINT BLANK chances.

..but thats all behind him now

....go caps

:)

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

where's laich goin? and why?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:19 PM

he's back on the ice - must have been equiptment - or a potty break

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

meh

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

looked like a sabre had their stick right on neuvy's mask - right before that goal

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

that's the way 55 - smack em while they're down

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

WHAT IS UP WITH THIS BUFFALO O?

THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MILLER AND LIKE 18 OTHER GUYS!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo is stifling us in the neutral zone this period.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

looked like a sabre had their stick right on neuvy's mask - right before that goal

yeah - i thought it might be reviewed for being in the crease and affecting the play - but...

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

hey - how about a pic of the bradley newbie?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

don't mind me - I'm on my second or is it third Barbados rum and roses lime

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The only penalty called against Buffalo in this game was questionable and didn't even turn into a PP because we committed another penalty.

So, is that 1 PP over 8 periods against them?

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

oops - better put a little red foloring in it to rock the red

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

er ah coloring

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

so tominfl - as I recall tonights menu was a roast from something. and pray tell what wine went with that?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

holey cr@p - the pits' are up 5 to 1 with 2:30 to go

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

oops in the 2nd

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

meh - now 6-1 filthy birds with 1:30 left in the 2nd

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

jump right in - anybody - anyone? i feel like I'm talking to myself

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

same score end of 2nd

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

and Ottawa out-shooting them 39 to 24

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm here; not so good of a second period for us. Hope we come out hard in the third, 1 goal lead is too thin.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 23, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

The Sabres use their sticks very well. They don't commit many penalties and they're good at stripping the puck. Add in good positioning, responsible forwards and a tremendous goalie and it's easy to see why they are a dangerous team.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

just saw the replay of the Bmo goal - what an incredible adjustment he made!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

meh - now 6-1 filthy birds with 1:30 left in the 2nd

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

guess they wanted to come back with guns blazing after getting shutout... no real surprise there!

Posted by: mrszilla | December 23, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

ebolean1:
you were on a roll :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo gave our Caps a dose of their own medicine during the 2nd period. They won key face-offs and, consequently, had several excellent scoring opportunities. They also played an excellent transition game. Let's see how the Caps respond during the 3rd!

Posted by: Terptwin | December 23, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

On the 2nd Sabres goal, one of the their forwards was standing by his lonesome to the left of Neuvirth. Schultz was on another guy right in front of Neuvirth and Green was behind Shultz not covering anybody. I'm not blaming Green because I didn't catch what led up to that moment. Either way, somebody was out of position. One of our guys had a broken stick but I'm not sure that had anything to do with what was going on in front of the goal.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

@Terptwin

Buffalo owned us in faceoffs in the first period as well. We were just dominating in just about every other facet.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

ebolean1: I'd hate to send someone to the Brigade for poor choice of drinks, so I will simply withhold comment on that Rose's lime.

Barbados rum? May I suggest?

Pineapples were on sale at Albertson's $1.99. Get a pineapple. Slice it and dice it (like Ogie Oglethorpe would do w/his stick) and squeeze out the juice from the side parts. Now make a hurricane (lower case so as not to be of the Carolina variety).

1/3rd rum, 2/3rds juice, mixed between the pineapple from above, OJ and a few fresh limes. A drop of maraschino cherry juice never bad plus a few of the cherries (but not, "Don" cherries). Rose's grenadine OK, but not that lime stuff (yuk...rock the green?).

Shake it up good, pour over a tall glass filled with ice. Top off if you have any with a splash of Peachtree Snapps.

An option is 1-to-1 rum and citrus juice and then put another equal mixture, filling glass with 7-Up.

Either thr grenadine or the cherry juice will have you rocking the red with rum. And that would make it...

Redrum.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

okay definitely only my third barbados and lime - but! - with a hint of cranberry to make it at least pink - rock the red!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

sorry - that was before your post tom - will lay in some pineapple etc. prior to next home game.

but wait - I will be rockin the red at the phone booth on the 26th with my daughter - usin my sth friend's seats in 121 row h next to the tunnel where the caps come out - one of my gifts to her - wearin her ovi jersey!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

come on boys - need one more to lock it up

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

All Buffalo again in the 3rd.

They just look faster and sharper out there.

They're putting the pressure on us and not vice versa.

It's going to take a few more exceptional saves by Neuvirth and some lucky breakes if we can't change the direction of this period.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

so tominfl - how hard did you have to squeeze the widow's grapefruits to get enough juice?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

mwoooaaahhaahhahhaa - let's go boys - it's pp time!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Good news: Flash draws 2 straight penalties.

Bad news: Our PP looks awful again.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

meh - come on set it up

woo hoo another buffalo penalty

some on boys - sew it up

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

the space man is freakin me out!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

now - that's what I'm talkin about

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

get another one boys!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

YES!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Good news: Our PP looks better.

Bad news: None.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

A big ESAD Buffalo. Go Caps!!!!

Posted by: cbs75 | December 23, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope it is like this against the Devils

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

just skate away stecks - just skate away - atta boy!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

The best thing about that first PP goal was Backstrom collecting that hard pass from Semin then, on top of that, getting the shot off so quicly.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

i think this psa is so cool.

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Sonyask:

Was there ever any doubt why I was "overlooking" this one in advance of Saturday's tilt vs NJ? :)

NJ has "dominated" (he, he) Caps and Pens this year to the tune of 5 wins, 0 losses.

Time for one "statement" game to lead to another.

I'll be having a big juicy steak and red cab. A...BIG...juicy...STEAK!

Rock the Red!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

come on boys - still 5 mins to go

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

this is such good stuff

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

now 5

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

now 4

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

malkin's got a hat trick, crysby hasn't scored yet, 11:52 remaining.

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

now 3:10 atta way neuvy

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

That's right Karl, take no @#$% from Kennedy.

Posted by: cbs75 | December 23, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

gaborik just scored

Posted by: uncatim | December 23, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

i hate how good malkin is

hmmm - semin for malkin straight up? nah!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

so that's where mike grier ended up. i always like him

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

I see Alzner has mixed it up a few times, once racing in to support Ovi in the 1st period and now joining Ersk to nail Kennedy behind the goal.

You can tell when they are well coached.

You squeeze the widow's grapefruits, btw, just as hard as required.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

You squeeze the widow's grapefruits, btw, just as hard as required.

ooh - this information is making me hot! oops - too much information - lol

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

FESTIVE

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | December 23, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

woo hoo - great win and won't hurt neuvy's confidence either

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen Fehr skate that fast.

Then, Backstrom hits a post.

I'd actually pick Fleischmann and Neuvirth as the top 2 players of the game, then Backstrom.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

hope it carries over to the nj game

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo continued to take it to us to start the 3rd period like they did in the 2nd.

Fleischmann drawing those 2 penalties completely changed the course of this game.

For that reason, he's my number 1 star.

Neuvirth was really solid throughout that Buffalo onslaught that lasted nearly 30 minutes. He gets my number 2 star despite the soft first goal.

Backstrom's best play of that game was how calmly he collected that bullet pass from Semin that led to the first PP goal.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

omg pitt 8-1 with malkin with the hat trick

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Good news: Flash draws 2 straight penalties.

Bad news: Our PP looks awful again.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:12 PM

tmac: Please say we look awful going into the NJ game and have no chance against Brodeur.

Early present to everyone:

Caps 4, New Jersey 1.

signed,
Nostra Thomas

The DOMINATION comes to an end Saturday night!

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

We had 2 giveaways in the 1st period.

10 in the 2nd.

Then 2 in the 3rd.

If it wasn't for those PPs, we may have continued to cough the puck up to their pressure given the direction of the game.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao
no argument here
lets go caps!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

lol - tominfl - thank you for a wonderful present!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Flash drawing those two penalties helped turn this game around. Of course we had to take advantage of the PPs, and we did. Flash seems to be a much more dangerous player this year. Good for him and good for the Caps.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | December 23, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

make it so!

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Erskine: 7 hits, 3 blocked shots, no giveaways

Schultz: 4 blocked shots (he's been among our team leaders frequently in recent), no giveaways

Lacih: 3 takeaways, no giveaways

Morrison: takes a bad penalty then scores a highlight reel goal between the legs to make up for it

Good effort, particularly in the 1st and latter portion of the 3rd but we need to do a better job responding to the type of pressure Buffalo put on us for a period and a half. When they up their tempo, we have to adjust and make quicker and better decisions with the puck, particularly in our own end and the neutral zone. If it weren't for Fleischmann drawing those penalties, this could have been a very different outcome.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

omg - reality sets in - how am I going to be in charge at work tomorrow - albeit a half a day. Unfortunately, the half day is the first half. saints preserve me. sister mary joseph, etc.

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

* neuvy has showed that given some time with the big boys - he can play at this level. during camp, until he got hurt, he was challenging varly for a roster spot.
* backstrom is on fire and now everyone has to pay attention to his shot - this should give ovi a little more room
* schultz had another silent, but good game. 4 blocked shots
* b morrison with the fanciest goal of the season
* semin has a lasor pass through traffic for backs pp goal
* erskine with over 20 min, 7 hits and 3 blocks
* ovi was ovi

i think the entire team made a great effort to clear the puck from in front of the crease to the corners. when everyone makes that little extra effort - the team d actually looks good

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

For the ever sarcastic and superstitious tominfl1:

We look awful going into the NJ game and have no chance against Brodeur.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

agreed - it's a rap! (or is it wrap?)

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

LOL

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

THE FEARSOME FIVESOME:

NJ, CAPS, PITT, SHARKS, HAWKS

That's it...one group of 5 and the other 25 are lagging behind.

I really like NYI and ATL to step up in the East. FLA will fade. BUFF can't do any better. NYR will improve slightly, as will BOS. MON should be better, but scrambling. West I don't know much, except that SJ and CHI are clearly head and shoulders better than the rest.

NJ Devils...they have played six more at home than on the road...I don't think they are quite this good...hopefully Sat night we see an undressing of the King (MB).

OK...the Caps "just need" a defensive forward to shadow Crosby and then Thornton in the Playoffs. I'm not making this up. GMGM his first season traded for Esa Tikkanen at the deadline, so he knows too.

This might be...the year.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

oooooooh - i think i have an upper body injury. where is that ice pack for my head?

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I thought Erskine looked really good today...and I am not usually an Erskine fan! Go CAPS!!

Posted by: capscoach | December 23, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

greenie - nice black eye - can't see the stitches in the eyebrow though

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

i was thinking of turning on 'nhl on the fly' - but i think they'll spend their whole show with their lips firmly planted on the arse cheeks of the pens - so i'll have to pass on that tonight

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Do you think Laich could possibly become that shutdown defensive forward?

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

right now I think chicago is the best team in the NHL... they're scary good defensively.

Posted by: joek443 | December 23, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

so - any thoughts here on greenie making the canada olympic team? I think h'ell be there

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Caps looked super 1st and 3rd periods. A great win against Ryan Miller and the Sabres. Incredible goal by B.Mo! Merry Christmas to all Caps fans near and far!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 23, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

That Chicago defense is impressive and you know they'll start scoring more goals eventually.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I would love for Green to get the confidence boost of playing for Team Canada but I don't think he'll make the cut.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

watching the replays on comcast - erskine did look strong

Posted by: ebolean1 | December 23, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

For the ever sarcastic and superstitious tominfl1:

We look awful going into the NJ game and have no chance against Brodeur.

Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:44 PM

Thank you.

BTW, I love that description..."ever sarcastic."

Sarcasm, I feel, is underutilized. I try and work on my sarcastic side whenever I get a free moment. And just like every championship hockey team needs a garbage goal scorer, every championship team blog needs a sarcastic wit.

I even do it at work.

"While I applaud their effort to initiate cost reduction initiatives, I must remind everyone of their failures to do so in the past."

I actually fed that line to the President of the company...and lived to still be collecting a paycheck.

You know, they HATE it when you are sarcastic...and I LOVE that.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Do you think Laich could possibly become that shutdown defensive forward?


Posted by: tmac2yao | December 23, 2009 9:52 PM

You never say never...but, I don't expect so.

Brooks Laich I feel will get next year a 4-year, $14-16M extension. He will get this money based on (to paraphrase Tom Clancy) the "sum of all skills." HOWEVER, shutdown forward is not his specialty.

Kelly Miller
Ulf Dahlen
Bobby Gould
Steve Konowalchuk

There are clearly aspects of the game Laich performs better than these guys. Of that group, Dahlen was maybe best - could score, set-up and shutdown.

Given time, maybe Laich hones his skills on defense. Maybe. And, believe me, I'm not knocking the guy. I always look at a roster, whatever sport, and I ask:

"Can the team win the Championship with that player on the roster at that salary?"

With Brooks Laich at $2M, or at $3.75M in future years, the answer is "YES."

The only "NO" answer on Caps this year was #92 and, to some extent, #60. Both of these are non-issues going forward.

The margaritas are done and the 2006 Five Rivers cab has been drained.

Next man up?

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:
The powerplay is off the snide. Before the two in the third - we had ONE pp opportunity in the previous 2-3 games combined against Buffalo. For a while it felt like Buffalo may tie it. Kudos to the guys for stepping up and making Miller look like a block of swiss cheese tonight.

Erskine, Schultz, Poti - I know these guys make mistakes but yet at times they look really good except for one thing: NONE OF THEM HAVE A SHOT FROM THE POINT. That has to change. We need defensemen to crush the puck from the point when given the chance. There have been times this year where they need a shot to get through and it doesn't happen. Thank goodness tonight wasn't one of those nights. Yes I know I'm nitpicking but just making an observation.

This was a HUGE win tonight and a great job by Neuvy. No doubt he's got to have that first goal. Second goal - nice deflection - what can you do? Not bad for the kid. It only helps his confidence.

Brendan Morrison - WAS THAT NOT A HIGHLIGHT REEL GOAL. A beauty.

Yes the first game home from a long road trip started to take effect a little in the third but the guys responded. Job well done.

It's been a two point night.

Back at the booth Saturday night to send the Devils back to hell for those previous victories against a banged up Caps squad.

Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

TO ALL CAPS FANS: Merry Christmas. Be safe.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 23, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

can i ride on the @tominfl coattails too?? hey tom,i'm also a HUGE caps fan that lives in fl,we should get together eat steak and have a beer all while watching a caps game.You should start ur own blog.if you write it they will come.considering your allready a CI celebrity.MERRY CHRISTMAS CAPS and caps fans,GO CAPS!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | December 23, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

@GRATEFULDID - I'm with you. Located here in Ft. Myers, FL. I call for a FL Caps fan group meeting sometime. That would be awesome.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | December 23, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I am in NW Orlando in Longwood. If you come by, mrstominfl1 has like these Rachel Ray skills and will cook more food than even I have sarcastic wit.

So, just come by for Saturday night (although Ft Myers a long way) or whenever they play next. tom_orem@yahoo.com. BYOB we will have food. Often I can have sleeping accomodation, but my 3rd daughter comes home from Canada for holidays and wants her room back.

I am hoping to meet up with CapsFan75 and oldtimecapsfan Caps at Tampa on the 12th of Jan. I am in process of transferring I think to CA but hope I will be here for that Florida swing. I doubt though I can make Sunrise.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

right now I think chicago is the best team in the NHL... they're scary good defensively.

Posted by: joek443 | December 23, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

That is true but Huet is not the goalie he was in his short time with the Caps. He didn't look good at all last night against SJ. Darren McCarty was talking before the game how the Wings got him to go down then shot high glove on him and sure enough the first two goals against him go in that way. I think the rest of the league is going to start doing the same thing. The West is really a crap shoot with no one really being a true top team. Even after their win tonight against the Red Wings the Hawks (1st) are only 10 points in front of the Wings (10th). One cold streak and they could lose home ice advantage or even be out of the playoffs if it lasts two weeks. They also have played a lot more games at home then on the road and they are not as good on the road and will probably fall down in the standings when they start to be more balanced. Also look at teams like the Wings will get healthy at some point so in the playoffs they will still be dangerous especially if Osgood gets into his normal playoff form. I don’t think that the Hawks are really as good of a team as many believe. I also know that Sharks are still the Sharks so they will fall apart in the playoffs somewhere. If I had to pick a team right now to come out of the West I would pick Calgary if Kipper gets hot in the playoffs but like I said earlier I think it is going to be a crap shoot to see who makes it through.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 23, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is so good.

Skated on ice for the first time in over 6 years yesterday. I still got it, even with all my debilatating health conditions. :)

Huet sucks.

I'm back in VA....man is it cold here. I want to go back to Houston.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 23, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

icehammer97: I forgot about Calgary, they have a super defense. But, you forget on SJ that they picked up Heatley and he has made a big difference. Also, just because they have come up short before doesn't mean it will repeat every year to the end of time. Every spell gets broken. And Chicago, they are like the Caps but one year behind.

If someone put a gun to my head and said I had to pick one SC finalist, just one, name that team, to save my miserable life, I would pick, this year coming up, the Sharks.

"OK, punk, in all this confusion, you're probably asking yourself, 'Did he shoot off six rounds, or just five?' Well, to be honest, I can't remember myself. So, you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky today? Well, do ya?"

He, he. Ryan Miller doesn't. He, he.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 23, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1 they also had Jonathan Cheechoo score 56 goals in 05-06 and SJ lost in the second round to the 8 seed Oilers. They have had different players through the years and it seems to never be any different. Don't forget people said that with Thorton they would go over the top, same thing with when they got Cambell at the deadline two years ago. That team will always look like they can do in on paper but will crumble in the playoffs.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 23, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: I feel your pain. Truly and most assuredly, I feel your pain.

Tomorrow in Cent FL it promises to be chilly enough (mid 70s) that I might...MIGHT...have to stay home from the beach.

Now, at this point, you are saying, "F you, tominfl1, you don't feel my pain at all!"

To which, I offer my rejoinder, "But, richmondphil, pain, as we all know, is a relative thing."

The average high during the Christmas break here is low 70s, sunny and dry. Now, though, we have this el nino business and it's cooler and cloudy for the past month.

Miserable, I tell you! Not fit for man nor beast!

Sometimes in life the "Big Commissioner" throws you a slapshot and your two choices are go glove hand and make the save or let in the goal and disappoint your teammates. It's these times when you must step up.

As for me, I'm going to bed.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 24, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Here is an interesting note about shoot outs. If the NHL was back to the pre shoot out of 1 point for an OT loss and if the OT ended in a tie it was just a regular tie then the standings would be like this

WAS 50 pts (42 real) 37 GP
NJD 48 pts (53 real) 35 GP
BUF 45 pts (47 real) 36 GP
PIT 47 pts (53 real) 38 GP
BOS 38 pts (43 real) 36 GP
OTT 38 pts (40 real) 37 GP
ATL 37 pts (40 real) 36 GP
NYR 37 pts (39 real) 37 GP
MON 35 pts (39 real) 39 GP
TB 34 pts (35 real) 37 GP
NYI 34 pts (35 real) 38 GP
FLA 34 pts (39 real) 39 GP
TOR 33 pts (34 real) 38 GP
PHI 32 pts (34 real) 36 GP
CAR 21 pts (24 real) 37 GP

What this shows is that the Pens and NJ are really being helped by the shoot outs which is fine for the regular season but in the playoffs they will not have that advantage so looking at the standings how they are without teams getting SO wins the Caps are in even better shape then they are already.

Another amazing thing is people always talk about us getting an advantage from playing in the South East but we have actually played more games against the Atlantic then the Devils or the Pens. In fact the only team to play more games against the Atlantic then the Caps is Florida. There are also only three teams that have played more games against the North East then us and those are Buffalo, the Isles, and Toronto. So we have played more non-South East games than pretty much every team in the East. Given our winning percentage against the division and the number of games we have remaining against them I think the Caps will have the number one seed in the playoffs.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 24, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Cheechoo =/= Heatley. Ever.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 24, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Also, I'd ppick CHI or NJ for Cup favorites at this point in time of the year. WASH is certainly up there, and this is the first year in a long time I am comfortable saying that.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 24, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Hello Everybody,

Got back from the game. It was closer than the final score. My thoughts.

1) The "New Kid on the Block" once again proved his "virth" today. Great job by Neuvy who made some good saves.

2) Good day for the OBS line, especially Backstrom with his two goals (but, of course, we can't forget the contributions by Ovi and Semin.)

3) The power play broke out of its slump in that 5 on 3 opportunity, getting two goals as a result. Scoring twice definitely drove a stake through the Sabres' heart.

4) If Miller hadn't made so many saves, the Caps could have been ahead 5-0 in the first period (not to mention some other goals at other times). Another goal tender besides RM would have probably given up more goals and gotten pulled.

5) I notice the OBS line was broken up for Period 3. (Even though both lines had scored tonight).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 24, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Granted, I pick NJ every year....

@Capsfan75

Great game to go to, huh? Our boy, Anton Volchenkov got another goal tonight in the Pens romp and stomp of the Sens.

Posted by: richmondphil | December 24, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Before the game I was telling myself that it was time for Ryan Miller to have an off day for a change. Guess what -- it happened.

So now it's for Brodeur to have an off day. Okay, he's earned his milestone shutour game and the resulting record. So, now it's time for the letdown to occur. How about Saturday vs. the Caps?

Caps, you're overdue against the Devils.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 24, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Will Ottawa put the Vulture up for sale this year? Ottawa's still in the playoff picture at the moment.

But Alfredsson is now injured.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 24, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I'll mail you my schedule. I come in that Sunday and leave on Saturday.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 24, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Schultz always seems to make one extremely dumb play a game that really costs us...

Posted by: digster1013

I picked your post, but this applies to several posters with similar comments. I'm going to use the Vancouver game as an example. In that game the Canucks got a goal off Schultz's skate. But later in that same game he made an excellent play. He tied up the stick of a Vancouver that was right in front of the net when a pass was coming and thereby prevented what would have been a tap in goal.

So, my question is why do you and others pick on the goal allowed and don't seem to point out the goal prevented? I have a theory on that. You don't see it. You don't see the subtle good plays he makes and until you do you will be confused as to why he is playing. That's my theory. If I'm wrong I'm wrong.

If I see those plays the coaches see those plays after all they are professionals. So that is why he is playing.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | December 24, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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