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Boudreau: 'Trying to keep everyone happy is going to be something'

Newly-acquired center Eric Belanger discusses being traded from Minnesota to a Stanley Cup contender:

One day after the Caps made four separate trades, changes were apparent throughout the lineup this morning. Joe Corvo, Scott Walker, Eric Belanger all took part in the skate and are expected to suit up against the Lightning tonight; Milan Jurcina was here, but as we've reported, is out a minimum of four weeks with a sports hernia.

So here's what things should look like at Verizon Center:

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Morrison-Semin
Fleischmann-Belanger-Fehr
Chimera-Gordon-Walker

The 'D' pairs, meantime, will feature three lefties and three righties:

Schultz-Green
Poti-Corvo
Morrisonn-Carlson

Semyon Varlamov, meantime, will start in goal.

The flipside of putting three new players in the lineup, though, is that three players will have to come out. Based on the skate, David Steckel, Matt Bradley and John Erskine have drawn the short straw. Steckel and Bradley, if you recall, were praised for their effort in Wednesday's 3-1 win in Buffalo.

"All I can say is I wish the team well tonight and I hope they win," Bradley said. "That's all I have to say. Walker and Belanger are good players and I wish them luck in their first game and, like I said, I want a win for our team."

As of 11:45, Coach Bruce Boudreau hadn't talked to the scratches. But he knows that with 15 healthy forwards, he's going to have a challenge on his hands during the final 19 games.

"Trying to keep everyone happy is going to be something," Boudreau said. "I think the thought process [is] if you go far, you need bodies. These are all ...good players. Hopefully, it will work out. It's a bit of a gamble. If everybody's goal is the same, we should be okay."

Boudreau said he put a lot of thought into whether it was a wise move to put all new three players into the lineup at once.

"I was thinking about putting one or two or three, and in the end, I just said, "Oh, the hell with it, let's just get them all acclimated tonight," he said. "And then we'll start from scratch at practice tomorrow."

Although, Belanger and Corvo have played in Boudreau's system, the coach said it's going to take them a few games and practices to get comfortable with it once again.

"They're going to make a mistake or two," Boudreau said. "They remember it in principle. But it's the getting out of [old] habits. For a few years, Eric wasn't allowed to forecheck as the centerman, he had to be the third man high. Well, I want him to forecheck."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 4, 2010; 12:26 PM ET
 
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Comments

the heck with trying to keep everyone happy, just play and win...

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't like that it's Steckel and Brads that are the odd men out.

Posted by: elicea | March 4, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

bradley should NEVER be a scratch for this team! erskine should be in the line-up tonight to since tampa plays a physical game

Posted by: eak286 | March 4, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow...three newbies in one game! Quite the gamble...but on the other hand i mean it really doesn't matter that much right now if we lose. Might as well let them get acclimated while we have a nice cushion in the points lead.

Posted by: capscoach | March 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see what Belanger can do on the 2nd line with Semin and Laich at some point. For tonight, I'm excited to see how Chimera's speed can impact the 4th line and how Corvo works with Poti. Also should be interesting to see how BB manages PP lineups.

Posted by: Ad-Rock | March 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

scary good 4th line. Should be able to wear down teams with the depth of talent in the line-up and press box.

I have been liking flash on the 2nd line though. He had a good game last night and seemed to be seeing the game at a different speed then the Sabres.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | March 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@eak286

Walker can handle Brads role as the physical guy. And ERskine is so God awful slow!

Posted by: capscoach | March 4, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I already don't like Bradley's attitude.

Posted by: bagasome1 | March 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Nothing wrong with the scratches....hate it for Brads and Stecks but it's a business and you just improved your team.

Like joek443 said...it's about winning. Period. Coach has some breathing room to juggle guys in and out of the lineup and get everyone comfortable prior to the playoffs. Walker brings toughness that you miss in Erskine...Brads gets his clocked clean...well Walker can do that instead....

If Tampa takes dump penalties then we can make them pay on the scoreboard...

Posted by: rdiehljr | March 4, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

For Caps it's a nice luxury to have.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Chimera and Semin were standouts last night.

Don't want to see Brads sit - I feel better when he's on the bench ready to stir the pot as it were.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | March 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I would have much preferred seeing Gordon scratched and Steckel playing. I realize there will be a rotation of sorts from here on out, but I'm hoping that Gordon is more often the healthy scratch.

Posted by: Steph22 | March 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Trying to keep everyone happy is going to be something," Boudreau said. "If everybody's goal is the same, we should be okay."

I'm not criticizing BB, but he's saying the goal is the Cup and all personal needs are put aside. A noble line. In the real world, though, the one we live, for every guy who'll jump on the grenade there's a dozen guys who'll duck for cover.

A guy like Brads has put so much for the team. I think he played all 82 last year. It has to hurt. For a player to have an attitude, "Whatever coach says," well, that's a rare person. We can't help but put ourselves first, to some extent. It's human nature due to self-perservation. We aren't bees simply existing for the hive.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Gordon's play last night was great. He deserved it.
Luv Stecks & Brads for sure.

Now change is here & some fans don't like it.

But the business side of it is that the team as it was comprise with most of these guys last year, didn't get it done.


The only way to tell with 20 some odd games is for each of these guys to play like it's your last day here.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 4, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

bradley should NEVER be a scratch for this team! erskine should be in the line-up tonight to since tampa plays a physical game

Posted by: eak286

Trial by fire, hopefully. I really wouldn't mind seeing some goon activity tonight from TB. Nothing builds chemistry faster than a good ole fashion line brawl...

That being said nobody better get hurt on our side...

Posted by: rademaar | March 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

This lineup makes it pretty clear that Boudreau and GMGM wanted a more physical 4th line. I like Steckel and Bradley but the truth is they don't scare anyone offensively or defensively when they're out there.

Bradley is undersized and really more of a 3rd line wing (on a team not nearly as deep as the Caps), and Steckel has been offensively inept this year.

If it were me though, I'd run:

Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Flash-Semin
Chimera-Belanger-Fehr (fast!!)
?-Gordon-Walker

I'd scratch B.Morrison. Faceoff percentage is over-rated (except in a few situations) and Laich and Semin were getting some great opportunities last night that they just couldn't convert.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"Trying to keep everyone happy is going to be something," Boudreau said. "If everybody's goal is the same, we should be okay."

I'm not criticizing BB, but he's saying the goal is the Cup and all personal needs are put aside. A noble line. In the real world, though, the one we live, for every guy who'll jump on the grenade there's a dozen guys who'll duck for cover.

A guy like Brads has put so much for the team. I think he played all 82 last year. It has to hurt. For a player to have an attitude, "Whatever coach says," well, that's a rare person. We can't help but put ourselves first, to some extent. It's human nature due to self-perservation. We aren't bees simply existing for the hive.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse
------------------

well put

Posted by: elicea | March 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

It will be nice having 2 guys in the top ten in faceoff %. That was a problem last night. Figure out a way to get both playing in the same game. Hate to see Brads scratched, sounds like he doesn't like it either.

Posted by: tomdchancar | March 4, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Man that didn't take long . . . some grumbling, but as BB said when he benched Theo, he would expect these guys to get upset/tight at not playing. If they didn't, then there really would be a problem. I believe this is an anomaly for brads and stecks. In the end, BB decided to throw the newbies on the ice and see where the chips fall. Who got the hard hat last night?

Posted by: LettsDropThePuck | March 4, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

It is a good thing these guys are upset! They now have to play REALLY hard all the time to earn their spots.

I love Bradley! Everyone does...it is only 1 game guys. Lets not overreact!

Posted by: capscoach | March 4, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

those players were brought in for a reason and would be kinda stupid to sit them... and when they go in the lineup, some have to come out.

it's not that complicated and if the new players turn out to be no better or worse than those guys, they will go back in the lineup

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Fire McPhee!


Only $2 beers can save his job.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 4, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Stecks is sick.

Posted by: Bobby894 | March 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I would play Stecks over Gordon and have a feeling Bradley will be back- I hope so.
Theres nothing wrong with change- Olie didnt like it when Huet was picked up,oh well- but change for the sake of change, or just as insurance, is different. We shall see.

Posted by: peabody2 | March 4, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I wish my boss would scratch me one day from work...I wouldnt have an issue with it at all.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 4, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Finally, a much more experienced 4th line and a real center on the 3rd line. And Brooks a solid 2nd liner. I like it.

Posted by: r4e11 | March 4, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Poti-Corvo pairing kind of worries me.

Posted by: elicea | March 4, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

i'm not getting any love on this, but wasn't laich playing pretty well last night? there were some moves that were a la #28. which i'm not used to seeing from brooksie.

Posted by: LettsDropThePuck | March 4, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to our PP.
Ovie-Backstrom-Semin/Knuble, Green-Corvo. Could be scary...

Posted by: scmonty1 | March 4, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

In Ken Dryden's book The Game, which chronicles his last season ('78-'79) with the Habs, he discusses Scotty Bowman at length. One of his observations is that Bowman was a master at keeping his players off balance, keeping them from becoming complacent, and keeping them hungry. One way that Bowman did that is moving guys in and out of the lineup. For instance, Dryden and Bunny Laroque (sp?) generally didn't know who was going to start in goal until warm-ups. So if that's what BBs about, and if it worked for the best coach in the history of the NHL, then why not at least give it a try.

Posted by: NorthFork1 | March 4, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Don't understand Gordon playing over Steckel...I think Chimera-Steckel/Belanger-Walker could be a good shut-down line

Posted by: HenryRollins | March 4, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

We're playing a goon team with a goon coach tonight. I would play Erskine. Maybe he wasn't great last night. But he wasn't the only player on the ice who showed some rust, and we probably will need his physical presence tonight.

I also like playing Walker and sitting Bradley. Brads is coming off a concussion, so I don't want him out there yet with the Pons' goons. Brads is clearly not happy about it and I don't blame him. The guy would risk his life/health for this team without hesitation. He's an amazing guy.

Posted by: zmega | March 4, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I have really liked Belanger for awhile. He's a tough dude, and he's great on the PK and in the corners. He could EASILY be playing on the second line by the time April rolls around.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

sucks that Brads is out. why didn't we lose a forward or two yesterday?

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I should add that while I was originally confused by adding so many forwards, I have thought about it and I like the move now. At the present time it seems a bit ridiculous, but that is because everyone is healthy. As soon as someone is injured there will be much more talented players that can sub in, as opposed to Laing (I love his heart, but he's a bit behind skill-wise) or Sloan.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

1 sore wrist has already kept Semin out of games.
1 punch/hit/knee has kept Ovi, Greenie, Brads out of games.
1 bad bug (flu) has kept several out of games.
1 bad back has kept Gordo out.

If they never need the depth, great. Be haters then. If they DO need it, everyone here will be grateful.

Such is lfe.

Posted by: jdhoover | March 4, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

GMGM was on NHL Live today. He threw team Russia under the bus - the KHL guys (especially the d-men) "can't play" and the team had "bad coaches." I think one of our Russian posters mentioned that the selection of so many KHL players was a political decision. The Russian team management may not have been able to simply select the best players for the team, like Canada and the US could.

Posted by: zmega | March 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Depth is NEVER a bad thing.
& Competition always makes ppl better.

Some ppl here have forgotten that under all the entitlement programs they live under in their real lives.

Posted by: Rocc00 | March 4, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

why won't the caps give Erskine the chance to play regularly?? He's no more error-prone than Shultz and he's far more physical and intense...i'm disappointed every time he's not in the lineup :(

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm with many of the posters here: missing Brads most of all, and favoring Steckel over Gordon. But BB has to figure it out now; you can't experiment in the playoffs. I'm not opposed to the idea of sitting Bmo a bit. Ever since his between-the-legger, he really hasn't done anything. Flash can go back to wing, and we have four decent (well, 1 good and 3 decent) real Cs. I'm surprised with Brads attitude, cuz it's not like him. Heat of the moment, I'm thinking. Here's an idea: BB admitted the 5 Olympians all looked slow. So, sit of them each game for a while, now, and let them round back into form the last 10. Even Ovie.

Posted by: wotansdad | March 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@lettsdropthepuck - you're right about #21 - and that's why it's great to have guys like #8, #19, #28 - your other players can learn from them.

I agree with earlier post about Flash at center - I think Laich, Flash, Semin best line I've seen this year through the neutral zone and in open-ice, but losing faceoffs costs you the puck. He can improve that during the offseason, that's a good line to keep going.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Chimera def a 3rd, not a 4th line player. But, if they roll the lines on short shifts, there's no significant difference. As for who's in - it's all fluid. 19 games in 39 days - everyone needs to be scratched for some of those. But this does allow us to roll 4 lines. If they can keep the shifts short for ALL lines this would give us a great advantage...

Having said that, the 3rd and 4th line are on ice for a lot of goals against, it seems.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I think an occassional rest game would be useful for Ovie down the stretch, but there is no way he will sit out a game when is in the scoring race, especially when it's with Crosby.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to seeing what Belanger can do. IIRC Lemaire put him on Forsberg when Peter the Great was still dominating the hockey world, and Belanger was incredible. I bet he gels with Flash. On that note, I wouldn't be shocked if come playoff time we see a 2nd line of Flash-Belanger-Semin, they could do damage together.

I'm still not sold on Corvo though. I've always thought he was more flash than substance, a la Derek Morris or Zarley Zalapski. We shall see soon enough.

Posted by: govtimbo | March 4, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I think the trend usually is, Boudreau makes some lineup mistakes and then learns from them. I think the deeper we go into the playoffs the more you'll see of Brads and Steck and the less you may see of Gordon. May even see Fehr or Flash as a healthy scratch here and there. The playoff grind starts to favor a more rugged team and Boudreau will tweak his roster to accomodate that.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I think having too many healthy forwards is a good problem to have. ITs a long way from the promise land and there are bound to be some bumps and bruises along the way. With this much depth, the Caps can win with anyone out of lineup. Well maybe anyone except Ovie and Backs.

Posted by: bigschu8 | March 4, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@sgm
Isn't it about team? Isn't Ovie the captain, and supposed to show that he puts team first? Hasn't he already beaten Cindy for the scoring title, anyway? And wouldn't this be a great way for BB to show everybody (hello, Brads) that its about team first? I'm not talking about sitting him for weeks. Just 1 now, since BB admitted he looked tired, then another later on. Same with Semin, Nick, Flash. Ovie will still win the title, even missing 1 or 2 games. I don't think this is a ridiculous idea.

Posted by: wotansdad | March 4, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that all day yesterday, leading up to the deadline, and for the now 23 hours since, I don't recall one post saying "We must get an enforcer" or, lamenting afterward, "Damn, we didn't get an enforcer.

And now I'm reading things like "roll four lines," "all good players," "third line and fourth makes no difference," "now we can sit them and keep them fresh."

Last year, our fourth line included a faceoff specialist and an enforcer. Now we got guys like Chimera on that line.

Is there anyone out there who, given the lineup the Caps now ice, still think the team lacks an enforcer for the playoffs? Can I see the hands? There aren't any, are there?

Didn't think so.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The top three lines are scary good. I think everybody to include Ovi and Backs will sit a game or two before the season ends. They are so far out in front that sitting even the best players will not harm them and they could use the rest before the playoffs start.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | March 4, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If it were me though, I'd run:

Ovi-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Flash-Semin
Chimera-Belanger-Fehr (fast!!)
?-Gordon-Walker


Posted by: butcherbaker | March 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

That 2nd line would be plus 2 one period, and minus 6 the next.

Trying to create these magical all offensive scoring lines is not going to work. The Caps great offensive wingers need professional centermen. It frees them to be great. Trying to create these Mouse Davis run shoot lines is like a circus act. Semin is never going to back check, he needs either a B Mo or Belanger to get him the puck and then cover is butt when he turns it over at the blue line.

Posted by: nfb987 | March 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

game against buffalo last night: (hits/blocks/takeaways) to (giveaways)
Erskine ..... 5-0
Morrison .... 2-0 Poti......... 2-0
Carlson...... 0-0
Green........ 0-1
Shultz....... 1-1

again, why is erskine the defenseman who always gets scratched?? let the man play!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@wotansdad

I agree with you that it would probably be a good idea to do so. I'm just saying that I don't think it will happen, not that it shouldn't happen.

The other way of thinking is that would sittiing Ovie down for a game or two really make him that much fresher? I'm not sure, it might but it might not. Unless he is hurt, Ovie doesn't seem to slow down at all. If getting the scoring title while also getting 1st place (so still winning) would make Ovie happy with little to no consequence then why not play him.

Also, for home games, people have purchased expensive tickets to see the Caps and in particular Ovie play. It's a tough line to draw to just sit him out.

I'm not saying I disgaree with you but I just wanted to point out a few counter arguments.

My ideal scenario would be Ovie getting a large lead in the scoring race and then resting him on a few road games in the last few weeks.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what game the official scorer was watching, I saw several giveaways by Ersk plus a bigtime whiff right next to own goal where he got bailed out by someone recovering the puck.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Lumberjack has his moments as do other Caps (Green for instance). by the way, how many times do we have to watch Semin curl and drag and lose puck and/or whiff???

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

doughless:

I didn't scratch him.

The coach did.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Semin is a forward, Erskine is a defender.

Green has speed and skill qualities that help offset his errors. Erskinse doesn't have the luxury of having those abilities so if he commits the same amount and type of errors as Green then Erskine sits.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 4, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey this is a great argument to have and in the long run we'll have more options and fresh bodies for playoffs. We have some of our Caps favs who are going o have to work for it... Again it's a great position to be in when considering the level of play in the playoffs.

Posted by: cappies | March 4, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps - Erskine has been obviously the worst defenseman on the team (not counting Sloan who never plays) all season. The guy can't skate at all (so f-ing slow!) nor can he handle the puck. He's useful in some situations (I might play him against a punk team like Tampa Bay), so makes a passable 7th D, but that's it.

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 4, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"All I can say is I wish the team well tonight and I hope they win," Bradley said. "That's all I have to say. Walker and Belanger are good players and I wish them luck in their first game and, like I said, I want a win for our team."

I don't see where a few posters who don't know MAat Bradley as I do get off on thinking his comments were negative. He's the TOTAL team player I can assurre you and when you get a mike shoved in your face asking for a comment ...I think he has, as always, did well.....this will be his first helathy scratch all year...of course he's dissapointed..who wouldn't be?...but all he want is for the Caps to go all the way...and if he can help so be it. Period.

Posted by: capper3 | March 4, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

They got em so why not play them. They didn't bring them in to sit. This will light a fire under some people to play better otherwise they will be a Celios come the Cup run

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | March 4, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why people are getting so upset with BB sitting Brads. It is only one night people. He has 3 new forwards he has to get on ice playing with the team. I am sure they are going to be sitting other guys down over the home stretch. This is what happens when you have depth. You can't just sit the same people every night unless it is TFS. The rest being given out to the 3rd and 4th line players will allow them to be very fresh come playoff time. Hopefully have 4 strong lines allows them to rest the top two lines a bit more as well.

Posted by: srobert1117 | March 4, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I wish my boss would scratch me one day from work...I wouldnt have an issue with it at all.

If the implication was that the place was going to run better without you, you might not like it as much.

WRT sitting OV - if he seems to need the rest, why not? But it's not the same situation. OV is the centerpiece of the organization whether he gets a day off or not. A 3rd or 4th line guy getting a lot of HS action is wondering if he's still in the team's plans. Having OV in the press box with him (or more likely in the owner's box) isn't going to make that feel any better.

Posted by: zimbar | March 4, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

drag, curl.....squat!!

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

lets see Green or Semin pummel Wade Belak.

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

also, Erskine was one of our 3 best defenders in the playoffs last year. Caps fans have short memories and can be irritating.

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

if my memory serves me correctly, Green put on 15 pounds, flopped around on the ice and handed the puck over to the opposing team. if we are gonna talk smack, make sure you don't single out or use selective memory. by the way, i never said Lumberjack was our best d-man.

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

and i won't say he is our worst.

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Alright everybody repeat after me:

"It's only one game, I should not read too much into the lineup tonight.

It's only one game, I should not read too much into the lineup tonight.

It's only one game, I should not read too much into the lineup tonight."

Posted by: ouvan59 | March 4, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@ouvan59

Amen!

Posted by: capper3 | March 4, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"the KHL guys (especially the d-men) "can't play"...

I've seen several people and now GMGM make the generalization comment that the KHL players couldn't play. That's what's wrong with generalizing. I saw KHL players that I thought were capable of playing in the NHL. Jagr, my man (Fedorov), and Kozlov to name a few. Yeah the Russians would have been better if they had made better player decisions (i.e more NHLers), but I disagree with saying that the KHLers can't play.

"why won't the caps give Erskine the chance to play regularly?? He's no more error-prone than Shultz and he's far more physical and intense...i'm disappointed every time he's not in the lineup :( "

Because they have other defensemen that they feel gives them a better chance to win hockey games. Erskine has an upside (physical edge, clears the crease etc.), but he also has a downside (slow and at times has trouble moving the puck out of the defensive zone). Take a look at when the Caps get trapped in their defensive zone. How many times is Erskine on the ice? How many times is it Schultz? That's why. In other words this system is predicated on quick ups by the defensemen which is not Erskine's forte.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 4, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

KHL is a bunch of has beens

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

everyone knows enforcers play limited roles, if at all, during the playoffs...that doesn't change the fact that we could use one the rest of this season when we'll be facing teams desperate to make the playoffs, and that desperation will lead to some intense play and as a fan, it's frustrating when we can't compete with teams in ALL FACETS of the game.....we will need an enforcer next year, and with all the extra players the caps are now carrying you can't tell me with a straight face that there wasn't room for a legitimate heavyweight.....as for Erskine being the "worst defensemen besides Sloan," i respectfully disagree....he is what he is, and that's a big, tough, rugged, hard-nosed stay at home defenseman, the same type of player everyone says we need...that said, i like the trades and i'm as excited as can be......go caps!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Caps fans have short memories and can be irritating.

Posted by: doughless | March 4, 2010 3:47 PM

So what else is new? Every person I've ever met, incl my parents, kids (especially), wife, all co-workers at all jobs, neighbors (w/their damn dogs), brother and sister (for sure) and even every friend I ever had CAN BE IRRITATING.

Tell me something I didn't know, doughless.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 4, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Erskine is your typical 7th d-man, he can fill in for a period when someone gets hurt but he's not someone who can play every night and be effective...

Posted by: joek443 | March 4, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps - Erskine stays at home because 1) he's too slow to go anywhere else and 2) when you can't clear or pass the puck you end up spending a lot of time in your own zone. :)

Posted by: butcherbaker | March 4, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Brads the guy who finally solved Lundqvist last year? His energy is a must in the playoffs - but honestly, I can't find a player for him to replace!

THIS IS A GREAT PROBLEM TO HAVE!!

Posted by: Raber | March 4, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Corvo was arrested in November 2002 in Boston after he grabbed a 34-year-old woman's buttocks in a restaurant. Restaurant staff told him to leave, but Corvo returned, punched the woman and then kicked her when she fell to the ground, police said. Corvo was given a three-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to assault."

I personally dont want this guy on the team. Get rid of him yesterday.

Posted by: kmr2r | March 4, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

i have seen every game on tv, one in person (boston, the night caps set team record!!), and i can say Erskine makes no more/no less the mistakes than any other defensemen...when Erskine's pairing has been trapped, oftentimes it's because someone else failed to get the puck out of the zone when the opportunity was there...obviously he has his faults but he brings an element to the backline that no one else brings; the team's good enough to hide his shortcomings, so why not play him tonight in a game that most-likely will play to his strengths?

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 4, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

About the KHL (and the other leagues)

I'm hoping that ultimately, the other leagues - including the KHL - become strong and vital leagues. The model, over time, should move from the current "Hockey is Canada's game and we get dibs on all good players" to open competition and cooperative agreements. I'd even like to see the KHL sign some first or 2nd rate Canadians and Americans, also. It would grow interest in the sport and add depth and variety to the hockey culture. It would be good also to be able to do loans more freely. If a GM, I'd consider having a young American or Canadian prospect spend a year in the KHL if reasonable amounts of playing time were available...


Posted by: RedLitYogi | March 4, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"The heck with trying to keep everyone happy, just play and win..."


Totally agree with that assessment! These new guys should be happy just to be on a contender, let alone the best team in the league right now. This team will win with or without them, so if the new guys even complain of playing time, have them watch the game with Ted in the stands! The loss of Pothier can easily be replaced by Alzner or Carlson!

Posted by: JohnWWW | March 4, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

people wanted change, now when it comes people don't like it. there's only so many jerseys to pass out for a game. i don't think it is bad for the newbies to play. see how they blend in. you have a big lead in points, and challenging for best in the league, so throw them out there and see what they got. people like bradley and erskine will only be a bit more fresh come playoff time, and they will get jerseys then for sure. if not it means you made excellent pick ups in the trades.

Posted by: joerutgens72 | March 4, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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