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Updates on Ovechkin and Poti

As you've probably read or figured out by now, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau called off practice this morning. The players and coaches did meet (which is not uncommon on an off day) and, I'm told, Alex Ovechkin is receiving treatment on his bruised heel and is walking comfortably.

Although his status for Sunday's game won't be determined until after tomorrow's practice, I'm told that he's "probable."

I also bumped into Tom Poti as he left the building last night. He told me that he thought he was going to be able to play, but then he felt a twinge in the groin muscle that has bothered him for a lot of the season. Instead of playing on it and possibly making it worse, he said he told the trainers and together they decided it would be best if he came out of the game.

When I asked Poti if he thought he could suit up against the surging Pens (don't look now, but they've won five in a row), he said he hoped to be able to, but there is no guarantee. Boudreau sounded less optimistic in his postgame remarks. So keep your eye out for a call-up.

Not having Ovechkin in the lineup is huge (did you watch the Caps' power play without him last night?). But not having Poti on the back end is equally as damaging. When Poti has the puck on his stick in his own zone, it actually finds its way out. Imagine that.

I'm off for the rest of the day, but Tom Boswell will have a column on the Caps in tomorrow's paper and I'll have an update from practice in the morning. Got to run. I've got a five year old to get ready for hockey practice, which as some of you know can take longer than the practice itself.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 6, 2009; 10:58 AM ET
 
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Next: Boz Talks to McPhee

Comments

I'll happily take a defensive call-up from Hershey!

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Brought over from last...

I think the practice issue BB was speaking about had to do with playing games every two days and not really have any time off for a hard day's work. Since the beginning of this 9 of 10 games at homestand thing, they've played every other day and once back-to-back. I'm guessing that it's pretty tough to work the boys hard on a day between games since there's no rest. So, today's off day is the first that allows for some rest - now he can work them long and hard tomorrow to try to get things back in shape.

Shoot, the 9 of 10 homestand has been tough on me! and I'm not playing. Just getting to the Verizon Center every other evening and drinking some beers is hard work....I'm tired.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

HA Tarik,

He is right though...we can't clear our own zone to save our lives. Ice the freakin thing instead of the stupid, stupid giveaways.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 6, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Alzner time.

I also would like to see an Ovie-Backs-Semin line on Sunday.

No one is scoring right now, and we need to get the ball rolling.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 6, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought that on the PK, Poti is the best guy. If you watch him he'll get the puck, take a quick look, and clear it through and opening. This is opposed to Mike Green who always tries to clear it along the boards and it never gets out that way; other teams actually man the points. I think someone, recently, has taken to the lifting the puck 30 feet into the air and always clearing...I like that.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I don't want to see Ovi and Semin on the same line. When that happens, their passing always gets too cute...and neither of them want to take the shot, so they pass and pass again...and miss their opportunity.

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Poor Poti. He's been a mess every since I got a signed puck from him this fall (why does that always happen?!?! The Caps haven't won a home game since I got a Theo puck, either. I'm cursed!). The difference he makes is so noticable. He may be a "quiet" player, but his contribution is huge.

Once again, very impressed by Semin last night (except for a few moments). I don't knwo what's come over him the past few games, but I'm happy about it, whatever it is. he's playing with more attack and aggressiveness and I like it.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 6, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"I don't want to see Ovi and Semin on the same line. When that happens, their passing always gets too cute" -CapsKH

Agreed... To many skill players on one line has been disastrous in the past.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 6, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@saintex

Man, I am sick of Green trying to clear the puck around the boards...that is so frustrating because it only works about once every 15 attempts!

I like the lifting clears...but they constantly make me nervous now due to the amount of times the Caps get the Delay of Game penalty.

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

As trite as this sounds, I think they need to just get back to basics. Avoid the cuteness, stop trying for the highlight-reel goals, etc. This team has a lot of talent and chemistry, and when they remember the fundamentals and play a good, solid game, they win.

I hope we bring back Alzner. He is so steady and always well-positioned. I feel more confident with him on the ice than with any of our other D-men, except - sad as this sounds - Fedorov.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if gmgm attended the meeting to tell the boys that they are great and will win it all based on talent and pay no attention to those who keep saying they need to play with grit and hunger every shift not every other week

Posted by: wendel2 | March 6, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Federov's outlet passes on the back line are pretty good.

It is nice to think he can shift to D in the playoffs if needed.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 6, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if gmgm attended the meeting to tell the boys that they are great and will win it all based on talent and pay no attention to those who keep saying they need to play with grit and hunger every shift not every other week

Who said anything about winning it all this year?

Posted by: _828 | March 6, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@SA-Town

Yeah I hope to see Alzner on Sunday. I'll be there!

Actually, I hope we see him in the line-up for the rest of the season :)

Posted by: mauree | March 6, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@capsfan26

Agree, agree and agree again!

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

last night was better than the previous two games, but i still (and tell me this doesn't sound familiar) can't comprehend why jeff schultz still has a job. he's one of our biggest d-men, and he's got no physical presence whatsoever. the guy goes down faster than Circuit City on the Dow Jones. he can't hit anyone and he constantly loses the puck. he looks like he's skating through molasses. he's a defensive turnstile back there, yet he hasn't been scratched or sent down once. does BB have a crush on this guy or something? i mean, jurcina and erskine are prone to errors, but at least they assert themselves physically and play with some energy. schultz just brings nothing to the table whatsoever, he's such a liability.

Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Japers' has a great rules explanation as to why Poti "played" last night.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 6, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@nwilson2

I actually thought Schultz was going to put a hit on a Leaf last night...and as he was skating towards him, he totally slowed down almost to a stop and put his arms around the guy against the board...almost like a hug. It was so sad...like he was afraid to make the hit.

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@nwilson2 - the debate over Schultz has been raging all morning on the Morning Reading List comment thread, but I'll say it again: I agree with you and the others who aren't especially fond of Schultz. He's very slow and not even remotely physical enough. As others mentioned earlier, he also has a bad habit of screening his own goalie. I'm tired of waiting for him to reach his potential.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Karl Alzner....come on down!

Posted by: NatyBG | March 6, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

tarik, nice shot at green there on the defensive turnover last night. I agree with you and was worried the caps were shopping Poti - on the defensive end and PK, he is top notch on this team.

Last night was also the first time this season that I actually questioned why I spent money to come to the game. I've been to over half of the home games and have never given a second thought to the money I spent on the ticket. I hear the season ticket holder that's questioning renewing - but I also know it's b/c caps fans are an antsy bunch, perhaps justifiably - no stanley cup in almost 35 years and underacheivements can make us pretty restless. So yeah, after seeing success all year and then walking out of a 2-1 loss full of sloppy miscues (sorry no excuses) is a bit worrisome.

You can also feel the lack of leadership on the ice, and the lines are constantly getting switched, which may rack the flow.
Stick Nylander on the fourth line and have two solid, consistent lines up front.

Posted by: fronesis1016 | March 6, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@CapsHK - Schultz does that all the time! He kind of gently massages opposing players into the boards, if he even manages to get that close to them in the first place. And then there are the times when he seems to be in the right position as someone is moving in, but then he'll get out of the way, almost as if he's sorry for blocking the guy's path to the net. Useless.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@capsKH

it's so frustrating! i can recall numerous occasions where schultz either got straight-up pick-pocketed or ended up on his butt in our defensive zone last night. he's so slow and soft, it looks like he's not even breaking a sweat out there. i thought kronwall had a great game against carolina, he's was really playing physically yet he got sent right back down. i dont understand BB's decisions about the d-men sometimes.

Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@nwilson2

I feel your pain! I've started trying NOT to watch Schultz each game because it has the tendency to just piss me off. But I always end up doing so...just to maybe see if I can notice whatever BB does and NOPE. He does end up on his butt a LOT when he gets in contact w/ an opposing player...after they barely touch each other. You can breath gently on him and it will knock him over. But yet, he's ALWAYS on the ice!! I swear he gets the most playing time out of everyone I see. I'm sure now someone will post times to disagree with me, but just during games, I swear everytime I look around, he's always there...

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

@CapsHK - put it this way - I have an old, non-HD television at home, and when I'm watching the games on TV I can't always identify the players right away, but when I see a defenseman make a bad play and I sit there thinking "Which idiot is that?" it turns out to be Schultz about 80% of the time.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or wouldn't it be better to have Ovechkin's heel x-rayed or MRI'd just to be sure and to give us all (including the Caps) peace of mind?

Totally agree with all of the up with Alzner, down with Schultz comments.

Posted by: chevychase10 | March 6, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is our third best defenseman. This is indisputable. If you want to throw things at your TV, save it for a worthy lug, like Erskine or Jurcina.

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 6, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@CapsKH

On that play - and I remember it well since I was on that end - Schultz may not have hit him but "the hug" stopped the play and the Caps got the puck. Isn't that the goal, really? Hit, don't hit, poke check, position, etc. He's not that bad.

@nwilson
I posted about behindthenet.com on the last post and had a long Schultz entry. He's a very easy target but the numbers don't support what we all seem to think on this blog. That and the fact the BB knows what Schultz does on the ice is probably more effective judgement than we can make. I don't think anyone here believes that BB is playing Schultz at the expense of success and/or wins. Alzer's number, on the other hand, aren't very good but aren't yelling about it because Alzer isn't "big" and "tall" and should be hitting.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, one more thing: I love Fleischman, but I really don't think he should be killing penalties. He looks a little clueless on the PK.

Posted by: chevychase10 | March 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

jmu capsgirl: Thanks for sending me to Japers'.

Posted by: uncatim | March 6, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how people can hate Schultz, yet game after game Erskine proves he is too slow-footed and dumb to deserve ice time. At the very least, if you can't appreciate the things Schultz does that you don't notice, he is approximately 47 times better at clearing passes than Erskine. What separates the two?

Cue generic responses: "at least Erskine hits somebody LOL!!!" ---> my response: does not alone a good defenseman make. So save that reasoning please.

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 6, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I'll throw this out to those more experience than I:

If the opposing team has a dude camped out in the our crease - let's say it that punk, Hartnell - and a dman needs to get him out of the crease, how does one go about it? Let's say it's me and I move in to get old '80s mullet out of the crease, where do I stand? How do I attack him? We're both going to be there fighting for position. What's the protocol? How do I get him out of the crease where he's trying to screen my goalie and not run the risk of doing the exact same thing?

Thanks.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@thisguy,

Bingo. Now, I'm not comparing any player on our team directly to N. Lidstrom but he is averaging .5 hits per game. Hits alone are a stat that tells very little of an entire story. Very little.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I will restate this. Schultz isn't bad all the time. He just needs his ice time scaled back. He is getting to much PT which helps contribute to a lot of his miscues.

Scale his time back and it will really help out.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 6, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@ThisGuy

you're absolutely right that hitting doesn't make a good defenseman, but no one can deny that hockey is a game of grit. schultz is soft, he's constantly using these pansy poke checks that achieve nothing but sending the puck to the opponents' d-men on the point. he's always being hypnotized by the puck and he never plays the man. i can't tell you how many times JT60's been screened by schultz, which would be acceptable if he was in the process of clearing the traffic, but he never does, he just adds to it

Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@ThisGuy
Hey I'm with you on the fact that Erskine is slow footed as well. I don't think you got the 47 times better part down for Schultz though. Neither of them can clear the puck out of the defensive zone. I think the only reason Erskine is better than Schultz is because hes more physical. I know you put that as your cue responses, but the fact of the matter is it's 100% true. I never see Schultz hit at all. All he does are those whimpy bear hugs. He needs to step up his game and realize that you are able to make a big hit in the NHL. But I do agree with you about Erskine being slow footed though. The fact is if these two players were on about 20 to 25 of the teams in the NHL, they wouldn't be able to crack the top 6 night in and night out.

Posted by: Thomas32 | March 6, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

plus, i'm not saying that erskine is fantastic - he's definitely prone to making mistakes too. but BB has scratched him (and jurcina) before to send a message and keep him on his toes, which i completely agree with. i dont understand why the same hasn't been done for schultz, because he is as much or more (the latter in my mind) of a liability than erskine or jurcina.

Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Erskine and Jurcina are inconsistent, but they do have their good moments. I think I saw Schultz make a noticeably good play once in the past five or six games. I distinctly remember being shocked and saying aloud, "Oh my goodness, Schultz did something right!" I'll give credit where credit is due, but I don't think much credit is due to Schultz. The numbers don't tell the whole story - his bad plays don't always lead to goals or turnovers or anything that would show up on the stat sheet, but that doesn't mean they're not bad plays.

Maybe his family has mafia connections or something, so they're scared to bench him or send him down. Unlikely, but it's about as plausible an explanation as any I've heard so far. :P Seriously though, Boudreau and GMGM seem to have a blind spot when it comes to this guy. Patience is one thing, but this has gone on too long, imo.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@nwilson2

actually what makes hockey great is the balance of grit and finesse. Schultz isnt bad he just isnt a top 4 guy and is logging top 4 min.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 6, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Re not getting a MRI: I'm not a doctor, but the reported lack of swelling rules out something serious like a fracture, right?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 6, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that the physical aspect of Schultz's game needs the most work, especially in front of the crease. But in other respects he is stellar. Those poke checks are effective most of the time, but usually our forwards aren't back-checking hard enough to finish the play. His positioning off the puck is great...he isn't playing the body because he is usually playing the passing lanes.

And finally, with the puck on his stick Schultz is VERY underrated. He makes smart decisions. Please name one time where a blatant Schultz turnover led to a goal (maybe you can, but they're infrequent). Meanwhile Erskine and Juice give up scoring chances every game with their bone-headed clearing failures. Hound them please.

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 6, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: puckman | March 6, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

from previous thread:
You can't forget us newbies that do have patience!
Although I've got a long history of supporting sucky teams. My high school football team was 0-10 my senior year. I'm a Blue Jays fan. And a Bills fan. So I guess I've had practice.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 6, 2009 11:27 AM

do you pick all of your teams based on their underdog status? i'm guessing you decided to be a caps fan ... around ... uh ... maybe ... starting in 03/04 - their first of three 5th place finishes?
did they finally get out of the basement last year because of you - or in spite of you? hahahahaha

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 6, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@puckman,

Thanks. I'll check those links when I get home.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

For all of you hoping to see Alzner on Sunday, you better hope they yanked him off the bus this morning or he's going to be one tired young man. The Bears left this morning for a road trip...Sat in Toronto and Sun in Cleveland. If Karl rides the bus all the way to Toronto, plays for the Bears Saturday, and flies into DC for the game Sunday, he's gonna be dragging. Good thing he's young enough to handle that kind of crazy schedule.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 6, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@puckman

Man i miss watching that guy play.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | March 6, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@Thomas32
"think the only reason Erskine is better than Schultz is because hes more physical."

Erskine is paid to be physical and tough but he gets pushed of the puck by other teams small players like Blake and Eaves.
Shultz is young and can only get better Erskine is weak and is not playing that pysical anymore he is the weak link back on D yet we signed him for another 2 years!

Posted by: CalleJo | March 6, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mauree | March 6, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@puckman - thanks for posting those. I bet if Scottie suited up today he'd still be better than anyone we've got, age notwithstanding. I wish we'd never let him get away. If it hadn't been for that limo incident... sigh.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Here are the saber numbers on Caps Dmen for this season. These take into account goals for per 60, goals against per 60, adjusted for competition, etc. etc. You can look up the formula, if you choose:

Green +24
Schultz +10
Sloan +6
Jurcina +4
Poti +4
Helmer +2
Erskine +2
Lepisto +1
Alzer 0
Kronwall -1
Collins -1
Morrisonn -2

These numbers, for those playing last year, are very consistent with last year's totals. Green's number is huge because he scores - which is great - but the numbers are balanced out for Schultz being on the ice but not being the scorer. It's a pretty good reflection of all the players.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

@mauree

THANK YOU! i dunno where that vid came from but that's exactly what i'm talkin about!

Posted by: nwilson2 | March 6, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

oh, and today's picture of Boudreau yelling at the guys on the bench is downright aesthetic (Post, E7). I could practically hear him yelling over all of the music - he was pacing and screaming, his face red as a tomato. the photo is so telling - Boudreau is the focal point, Boyd Gordeon is sitting in front of him with a quizzical look on his face - kinda like he's being yelled at by his dad - and conferring with David Steckel, "Last Supper" style. Each Capital is in a slumped over, dejected look - and behind him are a couple of fans that can apparently hear what Boudreau was saying, and their faces say "wow, that guy is pissed." The most telling figure is right behind boudreau, some kid from Toronto dressed in a skull mask and blue hair, and his face appears to be RIGHT on Boudreau's pissed-off, screaming shoulder.

Rarely do i get such catharsis from the Sports Section.

Posted by: fronesis1016 | March 6, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how people can hate Schultz, yet game after game Erskine proves he is too slow-footed and dumb to deserve ice time. At the very least, if you can't appreciate the things Schultz does that you don't notice, he is approximately 47 times better at clearing passes than Erskine. What separates the two?

Cue generic responses: "at least Erskine hits somebody LOL!!!" ---> my response: does not alone a good defenseman make. So save that reasoning please.

Posted by: ThisGuy | March 6, 2009 12:27 PM


He's easy to dislike. Since Erskine does actually hit and get in the face of other players he's less easy to dislike. What does Schultz bring to the game thats positive?

And Mike Green, what the hell was he thinking on the disallowed goal? Instead of playing the man he takes a dumb swipe at the puck while its lying in the crease? Is that what he's going to do in the playoffs also?

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Well that might be excessive, if the puck is not there it might draw a penalty. But you get the idea.

Posted by: mauree | March 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

We would have won at least 1 cup by now if they did not let Scotty Stevens go. What poor foresight on the part of Pollin and Poile.

Posted by: diner99 | March 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

when the Caps lose like this, all the talk revolves around going back to basics and stop being cutesy. This must be the 10th time I've read this. Its like they never learn. They win a few games by being cute, then those bad habits carry over to the losses, then they start working hard again until they win a few, then they get cute again, win some more and then go on a losing streak. And one of the issues is that Bruce ignores their lack of effort in wins, and those habits carry over to losses.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@CalleJo
So what your telling me is that the caps don't pay their defense to play physical????? Sounds about right to me, NOOOOTTTT. You pay everyone to be physical. Schultz gets pushed off the puck more than Erskine. When theres a race for a puck, Schultz is always ahead of the guy, but seems to be afraid to go into the corners even though he has size on his side. I think you are wrong about Erskine being the weak link, I think its Schultz. I don't know if it's because Coach BB and staff are giving him the min of a top 4 defensmen or what, but he simply isn't NHL ready yet. I agree with you that the caps should have NEVER resigned Erskine 2 more years. And I also think that Erskine wouldn't crack the top 6 defense on most other teams out there too.

Posted by: Thomas32 | March 6, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@diner99 - we don't know that for sure, but I'll always wonder what might have been. That was a huge turning point for this club. All we be forgiven when we do finally win the Cup though. And I have faith that it'll happen, hopefully within my lifetime. :)

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

One comment on the boobirds. People ahve the right to boo, but I personally find it ends up making me feel worse rather than better. I don't think booing has any positive effect on the players. So, for me, I don't boo because it has no benefit. I assume venting helps some people feel better. In the last 25 years, I have seen more losses than wins, and even the losses have been fun. Not as fun as wins generally speaking, but still a great time to be at an NHL rink and see the best pro sport in person. I even had a good at the "Easter Epic" back in '87, probably the most heart wrenching sporting event I have personally witnessed. Anyway, I guess I am saying that the NHL is fun, the Caps are really fun, and I enjoy hockey more when I don't get so pissed off at poor performances.

Posted by: CaliCapsFan | March 6, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"If the opposing team has a dude camped out in the our crease - let's say it that punk, Hartnell - and a dman needs to get him out of the crease, how does one go about it? Let's say it's me and I move in to get old '80s mullet out of the crease, where do I stand? How do I attack him? We're both going to be there fighting for position. What's the protocol? How do I get him out of the crease where he's trying to screen my goalie and not run the risk of doing the exact same thing?

Thanks.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:29 PM "

All I know is the way I did it playing amateur hockey -- although I was a forward, covering for an out-of-position D [no, I did not play amateur hockey with Mike Green :-)]. I would get right next to the guy in the crease, lean against him, and just skate as hard as I could to move both of us out of the crease. I managed to move guys a lot bigger than me.

The refs allow quite a bit of stick checking in the NHL; I'd alternate between hitting the guy and skating him out of the way.

Posted by: rw-c | March 6, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, Mike Green is always ahead of players heading back on d to get the puck and always jumps out of the way if there's a check coming. He only pulls the puck from the boards if no one is coming to hit him. I think he's tried to learn the move from Feds but Feds is much better and actually gets the puck and avoids the hit. It's not just Schultz.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

"And Mike Green.............."

If you could play gm, who would you prefer to have instead of Green?

Posted by: Steve_R | March 6, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

That and the fact the BB knows what Schultz does on the ice is probably more effective judgement than we can make. I don't think anyone here believes that BB is playing Schultz at the expense of success and/or wins. Alzer's number, on the other hand, aren't very good but aren't yelling about it because Alzer isn't "big" and "tall" and should be hitting.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 12:24 PM

Do you really believe that coaches (even good ones) are incapable of occasional bad decisions ? No coach is infallible. Even the great Scotty Bowman would make questionable decisions like burying Aaron Ward on the bench when he was clearly good enough to crack Detroit's top 6. Bruce himself contradicts his own moves quite often like when he was clamoring to bring Erskine back into the lineup after his injury because he thought the Caps team needed Erskine's toughness inspite of his shortcomings. If I recall, he scratched a healthy Erskine within 3 games of his return.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have not read this whole thread yet (although it looks like a good one ...), but:

117 - I have read your posts on the previous thread and on the "bog" ... dude, I gotta say, I am SO with you about the booing and the panic. Patience is a virtue, eh? :-)

Posted by: Boo- | March 6, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Could you imagine OV and Stevens on the same team and ice together this Sunday. SC87 would need a couple boxes of tissues to whip all his tears! :)

Posted by: puckman | March 6, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Capt_Kirk_in_AZ, Well, I've been a Jays fan since I was a kid. The Bills are fairly new since they drafted a good friend of mine a few years back. And the Caps, actually, the first game I sat down and watched was November of last season. I wasn't hooked until I saw a loss to the Habs in person, though. lol. I was a Canes fan from when they moved from Hartford to my conversion last season.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 6, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Erskine is not tough when was the last time he cleared the crease or dropped the gloves because someone ran into a goalie?

Posted by: CalleJo | March 6, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@ Tarik,
I saw this posted @ nhl.com and thought it was the one bit that either I am glad you left out and am glad that I didn't read until this after noon.
Quote from Gerber:
"I was a little nervous and emotional to come back and play a game here tonight," Gerber said. "I tried to keep it simple. The guys did a great job to bounce bodies away from the net and let me see the puck."

huh, guess to answer saintex's question we need to go back and review the game to see how the leafs are able to bounce bodies away without getting penalties....

Posted by: caps28fan | March 6, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton,

A very good point. They do make mistakes but it's probably less often than we might imagine. I know that Scotty Bowman made mistakes, and his greatest mistake was not hiring this man to coach in the NHL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiGCHsLPdE4

I think the Caps should get him onboard - I'd be a KCI for practices.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

We were laughing at Gerber last night because we imagined the converations every time one of the Leafs skated by on a break and said something to him while giving him a stick pat, "So, what's your name?". "Good job...Mark, is it?". Then at the end they all skated out to congratulate him and he was saying "I don't know any of your names, but thanks."

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

lol @ saintex - awesome video!! Thanks for posting.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

haha thanks for that! Coincidentally I watched Pulp Fiction yesterday.

Posted by: mauree | March 6, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

"And Mike Green.............."

If you could play gm, who would you prefer to have instead of Green?

Posted by: Steve_R | March 6, 2009 1:02 PM


I wouldn't want anyone else. Mike Green has a lot of potential to be a better player defensively. To me, it looks like he could benefit from some better coaching. Whether that duty falls on Bruce or one of his assistance..

My gut feeling is this coaching staff just pays lip service to defense and puts the main emphasis on offense. So as long as Greenie's putting up points they don't work him hard on the defensive end. IMO its a disservice to the young man.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@saintex
That was good! Jules needs to show our defensive core the "Inglewood Jack". Maybe Jules can demonstrate on Evason since he hit OV with the puck.

Posted by: puckman | March 6, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton,

There's probably a lot of truth to that. I think Feds could teach a good bit about the defensive side of things.

Speaking of Feds, when he took his hooking penalty did anyone else also think it was a make-up call from them not calling the hooking on the breakaway a few minutes earlier? And who is that Leaf that rocks the poor man's Hartnell mullet?

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, Mike Green is always ahead of players heading back on d to get the puck and always jumps out of the way if there's a check coming. He only pulls the puck from the boards if no one is coming to hit him. I think he's tried to learn the move from Feds but Feds is much better and actually gets the puck and avoids the hit. It's not just Schultz.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:02 PM


I've thought for a very long time. Green always tries to jump out of the way of a check along the boards, tries to pull the puck, and invariably loses it. Thats something the coaching staff could easily address by having him protect the puck better unless they have no problem with him losing the puck on a high risk play just so he could avoid being hit. You don't see Niedermayer do things like that. You also don't see Niedermayer taking a wild swing at the puck while its lying in the crease when the more obvious play is simply to level the opposing forward who is bearing down on the same puck.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The gourmet shot. That's clear the crease, ala Billy Smith.

Posted by: saintex | March 6, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Feds should go to D and Green should move to F. :o

Posted by: CapsKH | March 6, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Some pretty asinine theories flying around here..

Posted by: _jordan | March 6, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

All of the D suck.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 6, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

117 - I have read your posts on the previous thread and on the "bog" ... dude, I gotta say, I am SO with you about the booing and the panic. Patience is a virtue, eh? :-)

Posted by: Boo- | March 6, 2009 1:04 PM

A soccer allegiance and the Gary Green era will do that to you.

Posted by: Section117 | March 6, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The Jeff Schultz sucks fan club on facebook.... lol http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=54828459294

Posted by: rarcr | March 6, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry rarcr but that's way too much.
Not liking the guy is one thing, but that's way outside the limits of decency and respect.


Posted by: mauree | March 6, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with mauree, the Facebook group is a bit much. Now I kind of feel sorry for Schultz. I wish they'd recognize his problems and either send him down or bench him or work with him to help him improve, but I don't hate the guy.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 6, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

117:
That and being a "real" Caps fan ... ;-)

mauree:
You tell 'em! Oh and, check your email. :-)

Posted by: Boo- | March 6, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I didn't start the group, ran across it, and was just pointing it out, I never said it was right.

Posted by: rarcr | March 6, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsKH:

I totally agree, my husband uttered those same words last night after the game. Feds played pretty well on D and it is obvious Greenie wants to be a F when he grows up...so they should just trade!

Posted by: NatyBG | March 6, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Erskine performed a perfect screen on Jose on torontos 2nd goal. It was so good I had a flashback to the playoffs last year against philly. maybe coach bruce should put shultz and erskine on the pp and tell them to pretend they're on the pk.
no that would prolly backfire. They would prolly start blocking shots

Posted by: Puckthepens | March 6, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Erskine is not tough when was the last time he cleared the crease or dropped the gloves because someone ran into a goalie?

Posted by: CalleJo | March 6, 2009 1:11 PM

ever since he suffered a concussion in the fight against godard he hasn't been willing to fight really.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 6, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Listen, this is in response to many comments I've been reading over the past few days. Wow! How so much has changed in the minds of Caps fans in a week. I think most everyone has become spoiled with this team. Do you remember the last time this team had a slump? This is the same team that no one could stop saying good things about less than a week ago when they beat the Bruins for the THIRD time this season. They've lost 3 straight... so what? Yes, they've been terrible games, but the season is 82 games long and to this point have not struggled... Struggling is a good thing sometimes. It brings the team back down to Earth. They'll get through this because they're a great team and they'll be better for it. The same way losing in 7 games last year against the Flyers was a good thing for this team. This skid is just magnified because it happens to be happening the same week of the trade deadline where everyone treats it as an immediate fix it. But there's no need for that. Do they have weaknesses? Of course. As does every team. Could they have made some moves? Yup. But they didn't because they didn't HAVE to. They'll be fine. I've been watching this franchise for almost 29 years and this is the best they've ever been - and there were some good teams in the mid 80's. Everyone just take a deep breath and stop freaking out. 3 losses in a row is not the end of the world, especially with the team they have. They'll be fine and they'll be as good as they were last week when no one had a huge problem with them. Thank you.

Posted by: dwade15 | March 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Does Plus/Minus mean anything to anyone?Isn't that where the rubber hits the road? Mo's number = 0; Jurcina = 3; this fellow Alzner who none of us ever criticize = -1. Schultz is a +14, and that's because he reads and reacts consistently. Caps fans have been quick (and usually wrong) in their judgements of defensemen ever since they drove Larry Murphy out of town so he could enjoy the rest of his Hall of Fame career. Sure Schultz could be more physical, but that's just part of the game. And, no, I don't think he's HoF material, but I think you're wrong to be so tough on this guy. Maybe you ought to question the way you watch defensemen play.

Posted by: JoeTink | March 6, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

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