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Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 01/23/2011

Matt Hendricks on his highlight-reel breakaway against the Maple Leafs

By Katie Carrera


Since Matt Hendricks made the Washington Capitals' roster out of training camp it's been a successful partnership for both player and team. The gritty, versatile forward is willing to drop the gloves, is solid in the defensive zone and his line typically succeeds at cycling the puck down low and causing chaos in the opposing offensive zone.

Saturday in Washington's 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs, he showed yet another side with a highlight-reel goal that is one of the prettiest tallies recorded by a Capital this season.

Early in the third period, Washington was trying to outlast a push from the Maple Leafs, who just scored their first goal of the game to make it 2-1. The Capitals looked to be caught in a rip-tide of Toronto momentum when Hendricks pressured Maple Leafs' defenseman Luke Schenn at the blue line.

"I thought I could get to the puck on Schenn there, he went to his backhand and I just thought he was in a vulnerable state," Hendricks said. "I went at him was able to turn the puck over and the rest is history. I think I blacked out a little after that. I don't even remember exactly what happened."

Before he poked the puck away from Schenn, Hendricks had glanced up ice and realized if he did claim possession there was plenty of open space to work with. Once he cleared the red line, Hendricks, who joked he only gets chances at breakaways in practice, let his instincts take over.

Hendricks faked a shot from the high slot and pulled up to draw Toronto goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere out of his crease and deked around him for a clean shot to make it 3-1 and restore the Capitals' momentum.

It was a set of moves Hendricks used once before, back on Jan. 9, 2010 when he was a member of the Colorado Avalanche and scored the winning goal in an 11-round shootout against the Buffalo Sabres.

"The 11th round -- same result," Hendricks said with a laugh. "It's one of those things, those moves that you use. It seems to work and it did [Saturday]. I'm happy with the team, though. What a great win....They were working us pretty hard there, I had a lucky break with the breakaway and it went in. It definitely helped us change the momentum there."

The tally was Hendricks' sixth of the season, three shy from the nine he scored with Colorado in 2009-10 during his first full NHL season. He has 14 points in 46 games - he recorded 16 in 56 games last year -- with the Capitals and 65 shots, already more than he took as a member of the Avalanche a season ago.

Below you can check out the video of Hendricks' razzle-dazzle shootout winner from last season.

By Katie Carrera  | January 23, 2011; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Hendricks, Toronto Maple Leafs  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Leonsis: 'Enjoy the day off'
Next: Statistical analysis: Who is the Capitals' shutdown pair?

Comments

This guy has been awesome. He's consistent night in and night out, never has a bad game (wish I could say the same about Brooks 'Idisappearforweeksatatime' Laich).

Not to mention the guy only makes 575k. Love this guy

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If Matt Hendrick's attitude and work ethic could infect this whole team, we may be able to "hoist the big ugly".

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@chrisclark

I love your post. Hendricks should be wearing the "C". Laich is a disappearing artist, who is going to demand a fat paycheck he's never earned.(Habs series was a "Laich joke" after rewatch. No wonder he couldn't sleep. He's all locker room talk and "no cattle".)

Chris Clark was an awesome "person" who played his heart out every game. He took a beating when Ovi first came in the league. He was always around the slot "trying to pick up loose change"

The Ovi shot to Clark's ear was apparently very nasty. But, The guy never complained. I wish I could put Clark's head on Semin's body.

Change your name. It's offensive to folks who know we're the softest team in the league. Chris Clark was often injured, but he wasn't soft. I miss him.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

At this point, you cannot scratch Hendricks. He's an every night player.

Posted by: underpants2 | January 23, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Great Old School reference by Hendricks. Not surprised Hendricks is a big Frank the Tank fan.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 23, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

The Bondra trade. That's exactly my point. For what ? A "lawyer tongued" guy like GMGM in the locker room, who avoided Hal Gill in an important series. Rewatch the train wreck from last year.

Laich and a 2 wasn't worth Bondra. Bondra took us to the finals. Laich took us to
"more Caps playoff hell".

By the way, it's time to retire #12 and #37.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Vermont, I don't know whether you saw the game last night, but I have never seen Erskine have a worse game. He made at least 3 misplays leading to odd man rushes and was knocked around a good bit by the Leafs. I don't know what Poti's health situation is, but if he is able to go I would not be surprised to see Erskine sit. I say this as an Erksine supporter (not to the extent that you are, but even his mom probably isn't that extreme).

Posted by: zmega | January 23, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Erskine has been inconsistent since being benched for 3games following the Winter Classic, being reminded that he's only a spare part to be used in the event of injury. It was disconcerting to see Boyce and MacArthur pushing Johnny around, but I think he showed great restraint in not being goaded into taking a penalty.

But it doesn't matter what his stats say, and as the 5th-6th dman he'll never look as good as the others. It's the intangibles that guys like Erskine and DJK bring that allow the Caps to be a better team despite their limitations and shortcomings.

The sum is definitely greater than the parts when Ersk/DJK are in the lineup. The team stats, and those of Ovi/Backstrom, when #4/17 are in the lineup cannot be denied.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

No more Hendricks scratches !!!!!!!!!!

No Eakin trade !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

This has been my name for years. I created it because all I wanted was Chris Clark to be out of our lineup.

Well I've been thinking about a name change for a few weeks now and I'm thinking about changing it to...

ScottHannanisBRUTAL

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Let me also add that I never disliked Chris Clark's toughness. It seemed like he took a puck or stick in the face every game. It's just he had the luckiest 30 goal season in nhl history. He had the skill set of Georges Laraque.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

ScottHannanisBRUTAL

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Is it coincidence that Erskine's game has tailed-off a little since being paired with him? I like Hannan better than ****55/Poti, but unfortunately he's this year's Joe Corvo and thus incapable of playing his way out of the lineup.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

LOL that's funny... Hannan having a negative effect on Erskine who couldn't play for half the teams in this league

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@joek

The Flyers would take John in a heart beat, and end up in the Finals AGAIN (7th visit). We would be stuck listening to GMGM,BB, and Ted tell us the Cups will come "in due time", as the Caps call for a "T" time at Congressional.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea WTF Erskine was doing on the lone Leafs goal, talk about hanging your partner out to dry... left Hannan with two guys in front of the net while just drifting in the zone.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Philly is loaded on defense, they don't need Erskine.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Erskine who couldn't play for half the teams in this league

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Too funny, because Erskine (when coupled w/DJK) makes the Caps WINNERS. Everyone should consider the following (and this repost is for you, wiley_1)

In the 10 games DJK and ERSKINE and have played together:

Ovechkin: 10gp 7goals 9assists 1.60ppg and a “Star” player 4 games
Backstrom: 10gp 5goals 9assists 1.40ppg and a “Star” player 4 games

In the 39 games when one of #4/17 wasn’t in:

Ovechkin: 39gp 12goals 23assists .89ppg and a “Star” player 4 games
Backstrom: 39gp 7goals 25assists .82ppg and a "Star" player 4 games

The data definitely suggests, I mean INDICATES, that the Caps are a better team when Erskine and DJK are BOTH IN THE LINEUP. We all know that how Ovi/Backstrom go, so goes our offense. Even though #4/17 might not put up offensive numbers, their presence certainly enables OUR STAR PLAYERS TO BE STAR PLAYERS.

Erskine for the Norris, DJK for the Heart, er Hart

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@joek

I know the Flyers are loaded with D. The point is the Flyers know "playoff guys" and we don't. The Flyers would excel with John in the lineup, so would the Pens.

Erskine would be a major factor on either of these "constantly deep in the playoff teams". Here, he's a scratch, while we have look at Poti's silly poke checks and "dream" that Poti's type of D will get us deep.

Tom in socal is right. The Poti extension just futher points out GMGM's inability to put playoff type people on our roster. What, Did he not see what Keith and Pronger were doing in the finals? They weren't poke checking baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Who is our 2nd line center 1 month from today?

Posted by: underpants2 | January 23, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

If the team shows consistently improved play to the point where they could be a factor in the playoffs, maybe Fisher (in a trade involving one of our young goalies). If the team still is playing up and down, MP85 and MaJo will continue to alternate.

Posted by: zmega | January 23, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Erskine for the Norris, DJK for the Heart, er Hart

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 3:00 PM


@vermontcaps:

OK, everyone has a right to have their favorite player/type of player, and clearly Erskine and DJK are yours. I'm OK with that.

I'll also agree that both add value to the Caps' lineup and contribute to the team's success. I've had the privilege of meeting John Erskine personally, and--although he was recovering from a concussion at the time--he nonetheless struck me as a decent guy as well as a gutsy player.

Like I have posted in the past: Everybody enjoys a good donnybrook now and then; IMHO, NHL hockey just wouldn't be NHL hockey without the occasional "man dance".

That said, I must add that there are limits. Statements like the one you made above seem to even go beyond the man-crush zone, so I have to ask: were you joking, or are you delusional?

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 23, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

I think if vermoncaps was to meet either erskine or DJK and they were in front of him i think id have to ask if is name was either "BOB or NEAL".I think 'man-crush' is putting it lightly.Now i also like johnny E and DJK but to put either of them in the same sentence with NORRIS or HART is definitly delusional and outright weird!

Posted by: gratefuldid | January 23, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Simple fact of the matter about John Erskine is this.

In 2006 he was a UFA until a day before the Washington Capitals training camp.

That means Philly didn't want him, the Penguin Scum passed on his great talents, and so did 27 other NHL teams.

If the Caps didn't inexplicably keep giving this guy contract extensions, he would be a journeyman NHL Defenseman.

But it's something of a tradition around these parts. Guys like Ken Klee and Joe Reekie, just to name two recent examples, get to play lots of years here instead of bouncing from city-to-city like they should.

Posted by: CapsNut | January 23, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

jesus, does anyone get "tongue-in-cheek" humor anymore

apparently not, if you're gonna take vcaps statements seriously.

@capsnut

it doesn't matter who passed on Erskine. The Flyers and the Pens already had players like that in the lineup. They didn't need a physical presence on the blueline or just on the team in general. We did. And its too bad it takes an injury to Poti to keep Erskine in the lineup. That's really the gist of vermont's comments. He's overvaluing Erskine in a sarcastic way because the Caps undervalue him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

If Matt Hendrick's attitude and work ethic could infect this whole team, we may be able to "hoist the big ugly".

--------

maybe if GM drafted more guys with his attitude and work ethic, we wouldn't have to wish for such an impossible scenario :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Why exactly was Joe Reekie supposed to be bouncing around city to city. He was a very steady stay at home Dman and if I remember correctly he was also a shot blocking machine. Between 94 and 2000 he was never a minus player. Not every dman can/should be a Mike Green type.

Posted by: BorntoHula | January 23, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Atlanta is starting to fall of the face of the Earth. Looked like they just gave up after giving up the first goal short handed.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 23, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

He's overvaluing Erskine in a sarcastic way because the Caps undervalue him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1 you the man! Jeezum, people sure are slow to catch on, eh? C'mon everyone, a little hyperbole is good for the soul...and if it's GROUNDED IN TRUTH, all the better.

You've gotta admit, though, there's something positive happening whenever #4 and #17 are in the game together, regardless of how they play individually. The team record and gf/gaa stats, and Ovi/Backstrom's eye-popping numbers, are too glaring to ignore. Why tempt the Hockey Gods by continually benching one of them when it's becoming clear the team rallys around their presence, intentionally or not?
------------------------------------------
Now i also like johnny E and DJK but to put either of them in the same sentence with NORRIS or HART is definitly delusional and outright weird!

Posted by: gratefuldid | January 23, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You know it's gonna get stranger, some things you just know...let's go!! If not for hunterforcoach, cstanton and a few others I'd be feeling like a stranger here. I try to bring the parking lot scene and attitude to my hockey as well.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

He's overvaluing Erskine in a sarcastic way because the Caps undervalue him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | January 23, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1 you the man! Jeezum, people sure are slow to catch on, eh? C'mon everyone, a little hyperbole is good for the soul...and if it's GROUNDED IN TRUTH, all the better.

You've gotta admit, though, there's something positive happening whenever #4 and #17 are in the game together, regardless of how they play individually. The team record and gf/gaa stats, and Ovi/Backstrom's eye-popping numbers, are too glaring to ignore. Why tempt the Hockey Gods by continually benching one of them when it's becoming clear the team rallys around their presence, intentionally or not?
------------------------------------------
Now i also like johnny E and DJK but to put either of them in the same sentence with NORRIS or HART is definitly delusional and outright weird!

Posted by: gratefuldid | January 23, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You know it's gonna get stranger, some things you just know...let's go!! If not for hunterforcoach, cstanton and a few others I'd be feeling like a stranger here. I try to bring the parking lot scene and attitude to my hockey as well.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

@gratfuldid

Sometime when I get the chance, I'm going to write something for ya that I've been thinking about for awhile. There are just sooo many parallels between what Johnny E. brings to the Caps and what Jerry brought to the Dead, it's almost uncanny! There story must be told.....

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big "systems" guy but I believe Dick LeBeau could make a tough guy outta even Semin... no wonder all his players worship him, the youngest 73-year old man on the planet.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 8:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW just as a wise man predicted on here last night, GB vs. the Stillers in two weeks.

And I'm afraid they will win their 7th, hope I'm wrong but the Stillers are too big and physical for any team from the NFC.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

There are just sooo many parallels between what Johnny E. brings to the Caps and what Jerry brought to the Dead, it's almost uncanny! There story must be told.....
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Should we alert the authority?

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

"BTW just as a wise man predicted on here last night, GB vs. the Stillers in two weeks."

You picked the two favorites to win, and they did. Not that great of an accomplishment.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 23, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

this conversation has been ongoing now for weeks. vermontcaps and cstanton continue to incite unrest and anger. They are playing us. They can't be this dumb, right?

Haha! I get it! That was well played and very funny! Hahahahaha!

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 23, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

hey sgm, you don't watch much of espn or NFL network do you?

they were pretty much split on the GB/Bears game, more "experts" picked the Bears than you would have thought.

Which I thought was ridiculous considering who their QB is. And there was plenty of people picking the Jets including Bill Cowher, the former Stillers coach.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

someone else realizes how different the caps play with some toughness in their lineup....2-0-1 since he's been in (and looked like a better team)

once brads comes back, drop gordon or steckel out of the lineup and we should be good...although bruce wont ever do that

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Also I'm not a fan of the Stillers but gotta hand it to them. They have been winning with basically the same formula/philosophy since the '70s. They just beat you up for 60 minutes.

They had some championship drought periods in the '80s and the '90s but they were always a competitive team even during those years.

Teams always revolve and try to reinvent themselves but not them, they're always the same old Stillers.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo

And to think the last three games we didn't even begin to scratch our potential. It gets better with the toughness theory, though.

In the 10 games Erskine and DJk both played the Caps are 5-games over .500 (compiling a 7-2-1 record, averaging 3.3 goals for and 2.3 against.) In the 39 games one of them wasn’t in the lineup, the team is 8-games over .500 (going 20-12-7, averaging 2.7 goals for/game and 2.6 against.) The two losses were both to Boston early in the season, and the team is riding an 8-game point streak w/DJK in the lineup (6-0-2).

I was happy that you also saw DJK's crunching hit on the Island, leading to sustained pressure and the subsequent Backstrom goal. If we don't point those kinds of plays out, they would go unnoticed here.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 23, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps

you must really still be on that long strange trip! thinking theres parallels between what Johnny E. brings to the Caps and what Jerry brought to the Dead,yea ur right,I gotta hear this one!MY love for THE DEAD and for the caps are just about the same,besides my family i dont think theres two other things in this world i care about more.But come on,jerry was soooo much more to the dead then erskine is to the caps.If erskine was to leave the caps i dont think there would be to much of an uproar or care,but u take jerry outta the grateful dead and you got thousands and thousands of people in morning and in straight caios and greif,as i was,now i do also like erskine but i wont lose any sleep if was gone nor would anyone else i think(besides you!).So what ur parallels are i dont know bro,but i'll hear what you have to say.GO CAPS!!! LONG LIVE JERRY!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | January 23, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

@gratefuldid

thanks hippy for the worst analogy ever

Posted by: _stevo | January 23, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

TBL 7, ATL 1, the Bolts are now the team to beat in the SE. Pretty sad for the Caps.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | January 23, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
@vermont

Please keep inciting unrest and anger.

I want Caps with pitch forks at Ted's door demanding that we get a GM who can draft skill guys with Hendrick's attitude and work ethic.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
@vermont

Please keep inciting unrest and anger.

I want Caps fans with pitch forks at Ted's door demanding that we get a GM who can draft skill guys with Hendrick's attitude and work ethic.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@richmond

No comment on the Laich disappearing act. I'm getting ready for round two. No contract extension for "Mr. Locker room" until AFTER the playoffs.

The lack of criticism of Nicky B's disappearance, on this site is kinda' shocking

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 23, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

I agree about Nick B. Everyone loves the guy, as do I. But honestly, the guy 66 million this offseason and is not playing the game changer he was before he got that money. Last year he could single handidly win games. This year, he seems a little hesitant or something, can't quite put my finger on it.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@Hunterforcoach

I agree about Nick B. Everyone loves the guy, as do I. But honestly, the guy 66 million this offseason and is not playing the game changer he was before he got that money. Last year he could single handidly win games. This year, he seems a little hesitant or something, can't quite put my finger on it.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | January 23, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

TBL 7, ATL 1, the Bolts are now the team to beat in the SE. Pretty sad for the Caps.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2


I'm confused, why is it sad that the Lightning have a slightly better record than the Caps. Right now Tampa has the 3rd best record in the league. S0 27 teams have a worse recrod than Tampa right now, Washington being one of them. Not a big deal in my book.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 23, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Backs has 46 points in 49 games. Patrick Kane has 36 points in 39. Jonathan Toews has 39 points in 46.

Don't let the facts get in the way of your arguments.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Correction - Toews has 38 points in 46.

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Orlov may be coming over to play for Hershey during the playoffs. It will be great to see how he does!

Posted by: nicety251 | January 24, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

RE: the "day off" post.

If Leonsis has a brain, he'd be shopping one of those goaltenders for a "hot" prospect, preferably a center. Of course, said prospect would turn into a one-way player typical of the Caps: all O and no D.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | January 24, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

@joek

No goals in almost 7 weeks. You have the most offensively disruptive guy I've ever seen in Ovi, and Backy can't find the elbow room to bend the twine in 7 weeks ?

If Backy isn't a scoring threat, Ovi is gonna' get mugged every time he crosses that blue line. Which is exactly what is happening !!

I hope Backy is coasting now that he knows how long the season is. If he doesn't start scoring in the second half, we're toast early.

Comparing Toews to Backy is silly after what Toews just pulled off. Backy lost to the Smurfs. Toews can take a breather while they rebuild.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | January 24, 2011 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Tough to say that the Caps "undervalue" Erskine when they've signed him to three contracts and are paying him $1.5 million now despite the fact that he's never played more 52 games in a season during his career.

If anything, the Caps overvalue the guy.

Posted by: CapsNut | January 24, 2011 5:23 AM | Report abuse

A number of comments:

"Of course, said prospect would turn into a one-way player typical of the Caps: all O and no D."

Those would be the old Caps. These Caps are playing D, over the last 20 games or so, as well as anyone in the NHL is playing D.

Backstrom also has more goals on the season than Henrik Sedin. Just saying... he's a playmaker, not a goal scorer. And what Toews just did is impressive. Of course, I remember a game last year where Backstrom pretty much beat Chicago by himself after Ovi's bogus ejection.

Backstrom isn't scoring goals like last year, but then who is? Ovi, Semin, Laich, Fehr, Green, Backstrom, Knuble... none are scoring goals like last year. The fact is that yes, the slump is affecting Backstrom... you can see tentativeness with the puck that wasn't there last year. There are still very few centers in the league I'd take over him.

Posted by: jalabar1 | January 24, 2011 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis - PLEASE buy the Nationals.

Posted by: kparc1212 | January 24, 2011 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Have the Caps played well the last two games? Yes, but some of you are acting like they beat the Canucks and the Red Wings when in fact it was the lowly Islanders and Leafs. If they continue to play this way against playoff contenders then I may jump on the train but until then I will remain on the platform.

Posted by: PhilR | January 24, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse

whatever his shortcomings, the fact remains that Erskine was one of the few Capitals that raised his game in the playoffs last year and played as if the series against Montreal meant something to him.

There are a lot of guys that jump on for the ride of an 82 game season when they are on a winner, and then there are those guys that may lack top talent but give 110% effort consistently.

If guys like Semin played with the same intensity this team would not have been bounced from the playoffs last spring.

Can we count on Poti to be there and be healthy? No.

Can we count on Jeff Schultz? Just flash back to Game 1 of the Rangers series in 2009 when Brandon Dubinsky faked him out of his shoes and scored the critical goal.

Can we count on Green? Maybe.

So, in that world of question marks it pays to have a veteran like Erskine to play alongside the future on defense in Carlson and Alzner.

The best result for Washington would be for Green and Hannan to mesh and play together as the other top 4 pairing with Carlson and Alzner.

Dropping Schultz and Poti down to #5 and #6 makes sense and then subbing in Erskine when either player is out or not playing well.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | January 24, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The real message is that a journeyman thug is outplaying the overpaid, indifferent, "stars" who aren't carrying their weight on this team.

Posted by: VirginiaLonghorn | January 25, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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