Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Updates on Semyon Varlamov and Mike Green

After missing last night's game in Pittsburgh, defenseman Mike Green practiced today but said he was somewhat limited and is unsure about his status for tomorrow's game against Phoenix. Again, he declined to say what's ailing him.

"It's better," Green said. "It's one of those things if [I] was out there I wouldn't have been very useful. So I took a couple of days off to get treatment."

Pressed on whether he'll be able to suit up against the Coyotes, Green said: "I plan on playing tomorrow. But we'll see how I feel when wake up."

Coach Bruce Boudreau, on the other hand, sounded like he expects Green, the NHL's leading scorer among defensemen, to play.

"Looks right now that he is [ready]," Boudreau said. "He's got another 24 hours to get better. But he's shooting the puck better, and he's anxious to play."

Some other notes from today's (very) optional practice at KCI:

*Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich did not participate this morning. Boudreau said none of them are injured; they're just taking a "maintenance day".

*With Green, Brian Pothier (hand) and John Erskine (upper body) all close to returning to the lineup, the Caps sent John Carlson down, one night after he recorded his first NHL assist.

"It definitely is good to get your first one," he said after the game. "But the two points and the win were more important."

Just as important, however, is Boudreau's high opinion of the rookie after six NHL games.

"In his last three games he's a plus-6," Boudreau said. "Good things happen when he's on the ice. He makes a steady play most of the time and he competes hard. He's going to be an NHL player for a long time. But, right now, when you've got eight healthy defenseman, he's got the be the guy who takes the backseat, as Karl [Alzner] did for a year. It didn't hurt Karl's development and it's not going to hurt John."

*One more injury update: Semyon Varlamov did not skate again today. That means he's missed about a week of work on the ice.

"The only answer I can give you is he's feeling a lot better," Boudreau said. "He wants to take a couple of days off so when we start on Monday he's ready to go and he feels he'll be ready to practice."

Considering all the of the setbacks he's had, it will be interesting to see if Varlamov will, indeed, be able to face shots from his teammates on Monday.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 22, 2010; 12:59 PM ET
 | Tags: Mike Green, Semyon Varlamov  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning roundup: Worth the wait
Next: Neuvirth appears set to start, Green says he'll play

Comments

Get better Varly!!! And keep up the good work Theo

Posted by: PonMan | January 22, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Varly is starting to make me nervous!

Posted by: capscoach | January 22, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't worry about Varly. The injury was probably a little worse than they originally thought, and the fact that Theo is playing lights out means they should wait until Varly is 100% before bringing him back.

It's only January...no need to rush him back with everyone else stepping up. Ok, so just Theo, but I think you get my drift.

Posted by: Section104 | January 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Varly's going to be out a while. No need to strain that knee. Let's relax.

Kudos to John Carlson for his great play. Caps are doing a good job with his confidence and motivation with the call-ups/send downs. Depending on the deadline moves, I would not be shocked to see him in the playoffs.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

At what point can we all agree that Carlson needs to be with the Caps for every game? I think he's ready now.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

At what point can we all agree that Carlson needs to be with the Caps for every game? I think he's ready now.


Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I would not agree, so I guess that is less than "all." He's played how many games with us?

Carlson's been stellar these last two call-ups, but he is a pup. Let's handle him carefully.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 22, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

How about soon to be free agent Anton Volchenkov (Senators). He's described as a shot blocking machine and ferocious checker and only 24 years old????? That sounds to me what good help spruce up our "D".

Posted by: jmcale57 | January 22, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant COULD help spruce up our "D"

Posted by: jmcale57 | January 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I realize he is a "pup" but sometimes you need to forget the age and base it on what we currently have on D. Do you think Sloan is better than Carlson right now? I say its not even close.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Volchenkov would be nice, but the question you have to ask yourself about him and anyone else we would want to add is what are they asking for? Yea it'd be nice if we could give them just some random depth players and/or picks and get a big name player but that's not going to happen. If a team gives up a player that is on the ice for them for a lot of minutes, they're going to want something that will help them fill that hole. My guess is anyone like Volchenkov will cost us too much.

Posted by: superpaqman | January 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Good updates to have. I do hope that Pothier and Green can play on Saturday; the Coyotes are a hellaciously fast team and we're going to want D-men who can skate on the ice. They also play a modified trap, which is something the Caps have trouble with, so the Caps are going to want to come out storming and take an early lead so that the trap isn't an option for the Coyotes.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 22, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Ottawa is in the hunt to make the playoofs too so I doubt they will trade one of their top defensemen.

@Capsfansince74

Carlson is clearly better than Sloan but I do understand if they want to give Carlson #1 D man minutes in the AHL this year. However, Carlson also adds the benefit of being a right handed defenseman. Our only others are Green and Pothier. So having him last night was important with both Green and Pothier out.

I'm hoping that once Pothier comes back the D pairings will be

Green/Schultz
Alzner/Pothier
Morrisson/Poti

Extras: Sloan, Erskine

But I think it should using Carlson should be considered but I truly doubt he will be used in the playoffs unless there is an injury.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74: No, but I don't think it wise to rush Carlson right now. Our current D corps is acceptable for the regular season, and he'll be up full-time soon enough, possibly as early as the playoffs. It won't kill us to overcook him; do you want another Eminger? Besides, deadline deals may affect the D status of our roster and he may come up at the deadline.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not necessarily thinking a huge upgrade in personnel is needed, but I throw it out there for discussion. Anybody thought about shopping from Edmonton? My guess is that they and Carolina are going to fire-sale at the deadline.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@capsfansince74, I understand, but Sloan is only playing because Pothier & Erskine are out. (Sloan had an improved game last night; a couple of flubs and some very nice plays, but we don't have Sloan in development and expectations are not high for him as they are for Carlson).

I looked it up; Carlson has played 6 NHL games. 6. The last three were much better than the first three. He may well not be able to keep up that level of play on a long call-up. We have to keep his confidence up. It is very early in his career.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 22, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I am only worried about Varly in the sense that he is going to finally recover only to re-injure himself in the olympics! I know he probably won't play, but I am concerned none the less.

Posted by: capscoach | January 22, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

It was also mentioned that John Carlson needs to build up some upper body strength in order to be harder to knock off the puck as well as battle in the corners with some of the bigger NHL power forwards. This takes time and is not something that can be accomplished overnight.

Posted by: MReilly9 | January 22, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Has anything been mentioned in DC that Laraque is now available... if we DO feel like we need an enforcer/protector--there's no better than him!! Grab 'im!

Posted by: edmontoncapsfan | January 22, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Echoing what a lot of you already said...

I do understand what they are doing with Carlson, but then again I don't understand.

Can anyone truly tell me that Pothier, Sloan, and Erskine are better than having Carlson on the team?

Let the kid play. He's been a positive influence at every level he has played at this year.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Green blocked a shot with his left hand against Detroit late in the game, he took off his glove, skated to the bench and that was it. He'll be fine in a few days assuming he didn't break his hand or any fingers.

Posted by: MFepelst | January 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I like Potheir a lot, and I think Erskine was playing better before he was injured...on the other hand, I would give Sloan up for a twinkie!

Posted by: capscoach | January 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

We don't need an enforcer.

I honestly think we don't need ANY forwards. I love our forward lines. They all have a job and they are all contributing...2 checking lines and 2 scoring lines...

Actually, I would say we don't need ANY defensemen either. With Carlson and Alzner, we are complete. Yes those guys are inexperienced, but we have a lot of experience around them.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope Varly is not the Caps' version of former Nat Nick Johnson who was always day to day until he was week to week until he was month to month until he was year to year. It was always a slippery slope when Nick got hurt.

Posted by: UnionStation | January 22, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I hope Varly isn't the Caps version of former Yankee Carl Pavano...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps: Can anyone truly tell me that Pothier, Sloan, and Erskine are better than having Carlson on the team?

Yes, if you think in the long term instead of just right now. Carlson is good, yes. He is improving, yes. But remember that all AHL callups usually hit a wall sooner or later in their first stint with the big club, and we do NOT want for him to hit that wall in the middle of the stretch run, or worse yet, the playoffs. We want to keep his confidence high, give him a reason to work on that upper-body strength, and make him hungry for more. Just like it's better to end a vacation before you're ready than to overstay, so that you want to go back - it's the same idea.

We're better off with Pothier, Erskine, and Sloan for right now, because he want Carlson juiced, hungry, and brimming with confidence when it counts.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 22, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

So Carlson has only played 6 NHL games. At one point he had played 0. You have to play the kid at some point. He is a stud - comparing him to Steve Emminger made me laugh.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | January 22, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I asked...thanks for your answer Kitty...

And Steve Emminger was terrible. I would ONLY compair him to Sloan on this caps team...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Sloan had some solid plays last night - truthfully, I think he's one of these D that does better when he gets more playing time. One boneheaded clear and a couple of solid ones, and give him credit - against the Flyers, he took Hartnell to the box with him. Smart penalty - believe you me when I say that the Flyers miss Hartnell a whole lot more 4v4 than the Caps miss Sloan in the same situation.

I agree with you that we don't need to disrupt our forward lines again. I think we're set at forward, since Flash is turning out to be a very capable center. I'm not too concerned with Varly being injury-prone; it's not like we don't have other options if he can't get it sorted out. (Most clubs would kill for Washington's organizational depth in goal.)

Posted by: kittypawz | January 22, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I see we need some help with reading comprehension today. I didn't say that Carlson was like Eminger, I said "do you want another Eminger?" meaning that if you rush him and push him too hard, and mess up his development like the Caps messed up Eminger's, you could end up with the same result.

Calm down. It's all about management of assets for the long term, not just today.

Posted by: kittypawz | January 22, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I will say this...Sloan is a very strong skater, so some of his miscues are covered up by his ability to "recover" because of his skating.

He has decent strength on the puck and the puck carrier...

I'm not sold on his hockey sense...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It's all good Kitty...I can take it...

It's a GREAT time to be a Caps fan...

Sure beats those Jagr and Labre years...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 22, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

We have the luxury to let a kid like Carlson develop at Hershey. He gets a call up here and there to help him progress, but he'll get good minutes in Hershey. I think this will help in his maturation as a defenseman. Kittypawz is right about him getting that taste and hunger for being up. Very good long term.

Posted by: _Mark | January 22, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

As long as Theo is solid between the pipes, Varly can take all the time he needs to recover. I really hope he proves to be more rugged in the future, we don't need a phenom goaltender who's made of glass. Kudos to Carlson, I'm looking forward to seeing more of his excellent play in the future. Congrats on your first NHL point, keep up the great work!

Posted by: futbolclif | January 22, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | January 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

There is something going on with Varlamov that we are not aware of. I'd bet that its a small tear of the MCL which can heal itself.

Posted by: MKadyman | January 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Sloan is a depth player and a lot of the comparisons used here are not fair to his actual position on the chart. slaon is a depth defenseman and even deeper depth forward. Players like him a good to have around as needed, but he is never intended tobe an everyday player.

Posted by: lornemyoung | January 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Erskine and SMorrison should be traded. Like both of them but it is time for them to go. Bring Carlson and Alzner up for good. Let them make the mistakes and they will be great short term and long term.

Posted by: pkme | January 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@pkme

Without Erskine the Caps will be the softest team in the NHL. He is the ONLY Capital that can win a fight.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Was just looking through some comments on the Pensburgh blog under their game thread. I found a ridiculous comment: How many more goals are the refs going to give the craps tonight?

hahahaha!! Did the refs give us that Flash goal?

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung

Sloan has been horrible lately. Why would you keep him up and send down Carlson who has been outstanding?

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Winning fights has proven to be the difference this season thus far. Oh, wait, no it hasn't.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 22, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@pkme

why would you want to call young guys up for them to make mistakes and learn from them when we are #1 in the East? we have the luxury for them, more for carlson than alzner, to stay down and learn.

not the smartest thing IMO

Posted by: _stevo | January 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

the same guy wrote this as well: No the Penguins are just sucking. I see nothing special about the craps

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I have seen people complain about the officiating against the Caps here. I have defended the refs on most occasions. Last night the Caps did get away with some minor infractions that could have been called. OV's baby crosscheck which had the Pens announcers outraged comes to mind. All in all I think the games have been called well this year.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

I don't know about you, but watching Bradley and Chimera take beatdowns bother me as a fan. I'm sure it bothers the players as well, but of course they have to spin it.

Trust me. The Caps players would love to have someone like BGL on the team regardless of the 'team toughness' and 'the PP is our enforcer' talk.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

FLDave: But it's just funny how PENS fans are thinking the refs are helping another team when we all know that the refs are the biggest helpers for the Pens.

I mean, we never get any calls against the Pens. That was the case in the playoffs last year. We're just fortunate we cashed in on both opportunities last night.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

matthew barnaby was asked which team is better and he said: "long term, in the future, i'm still a pittsburgh penguins fan for one big reason: they're starting goaltender did not play tonight..."

that infuriates me! and we've been without our #1 goalie for almost TWO months. they've lost fleury for about a week and they had lost like 5 in a row with him in net.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I didn't see it that way. I saw the Caps taking too many dumb penalties in the play offs.

Pens fans will be Pens fans. If they believe the refs are tilting the game in the other teams favor there is nothing you can do to change their ignorant minds.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Trading Erskine would be a bad move. He is the closest thing to an enforcer we have, and teams are already making too many dirty hits on key players. Bradley and Chimera can fight, but not against any of the top fighters.

If we ditch a Dman, it should be Morrisonn. He has by far the worst +/- of any of the Caps defensemen (not counting Alzner and Carlson there), contributes very little offensively, and generally takes up a roster spot that could be better filled by Alzner. Personally, I would hope to see Morrisonn go either at the trade deadline or after the season, and Alzner come up then. Leave Carlson at Hershey for another year of development - it won't hurt him, and more than likely it will help in the long run.

Posted by: timmyv38 | January 22, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Though Brooks Laich didn't participate in the (very) optional practice he was on the ice before the other players started coming out for practice and he was out there at least 20 minutes skating around.

Posted by: theresa21 | January 22, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Look, fans and experts that don't want to give the Caps props for how they played last night are just not willing to admit the Caps have turned a corner. There were times last night, and the Pens had all of their NHL defensemen in the line-up, there were times they looked horrible just trying to get it out of the zone. Remarkably they looked to be having as much trouble as the Caps did at times in the playoffs last season.

That fact has nothing to do with who was in net, or how many penalties were called. As I said earlier, I believe that was the most dominating the Caps have looked playing the Pens in the Ovi/Crosby era. None of the 6 wins last year looked as easy as last night. That's of course my opinion and I slept good last night with the confidence that the Caps are definitely pointed in the right direction and getting better every game.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This fight debate becomes moot at the time of year a lot of people say the Caps have to prove themselves in, the second season. There are some stat junkies out there...how many fights were there in the playoffs last year? How many of those fights involved non-fighters? After the first round, when the 7 and 8 seeds (less skilled) teams were eliminated, did the fights per game decline.

My point is, an enforcer isn't needed in the playoffs as much as team toughness. The Caps have added team toughness with the addition of Knuble and Chimera. The playoff games can get brutal, but that is due to hard hitting and determination, as well as skill. The enforcers typically don't get a jersey in the last 2 rounds because a stupid penalty can cost a series.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 22, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

TSN reporting Kovalchuk is up for grabs on the trade market. Don't seen any way the caps could trade for him and they really need defence if anything. But they could make some pretty insane lines with him in the lineup.

Posted by: Stu_c | January 22, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

there always will be doubts till they actually beat the Pens in the playoffs and at least get to the finals

Ovie and the Caps aren't the first to face those doubts. I remember in the early 90's when Steve Young took over as the QB of the 49ers from Joe Montana... even after he won the back to back MVPs, many people had doubts because he couldn't beat the Cowboys in the NFC championship games.

He finally did it on the third try and went on to win the SB... I remember him saying on the sideline after the 49ers blew the Chargers out in the first quarter, "someone please get this monkey off my back!!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by: joek443 | January 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Beating the Pens was nice...

But there is no franchise I hate more then the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tomorrow night is war....

See you at 7 p.m.......

Wear Red....

Posted by: SA-Town | January 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

But there is no franchise I hate more then the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tomorrow night is war....

See you at 7 p.m.......

Wear Red....

Posted by: SA-Town | January 22, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Really? Why?

Posted by: Sonyask | January 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

maybe he's from winnipeg

Posted by: joek443 | January 22, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

It's a joke...

Posted by: SA-Town | January 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Varley has a history of injuries...this is getting worrisome...Theo's game vs Detroit was an apparition...he looked his goofy self last night.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 22, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Apparition? As in "Theo the Ghostly Goalie?"

Posted by: AleksanderOMunchkin | January 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Varley has a history of injuries...this is getting worrisome...Theo's game vs Detroit was an apparition...he looked his goofy self last night.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 22, 2010 4:51 PM

One goal was his fault which was the first one. The second goal was 50/50, he should have covered up the second shot which wasn't hard and hit him right in the leg pads. At the same time the defense can't be letting people take 3-4 shots on net from 2 feet out. The third goal was legit and wasn't his fault. I thought he played pretty well - I'd still rather have Varly in net though.

Posted by: Moose33 | January 22, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, after I review his overall game again, the first goal was obviously a gaffe, it happens sometimes. I was kind of freaking out after the Nick Johnson goal but he made 3 stops in a row and the defense didn't clear. But of course he could've controlled the rebound better. Some were arguing the Letang goal wasn't his fault, but I thought it was stoppable. But he certainly made enough stops in the third to redeem himself. I don't think you can say he looked like his goofy self last night.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

It's a joke...


Posted by: SA-Town | January 22, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I figured that out as soon as I posted.

Posted by: Sonyask | January 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

rachel,

The third goal was a tough stop, especially for a butterfly goalie. The puck was knuckling and went top corner. Theo being short had no shot at that one. He was expecting a rocket and played the percentages. I would give his a pass on that everytime.

Posted by: Moose33 | January 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

If we ditch a Dman, it should be Morrisonn. He has by far the worst +/- of any of the Caps defensemen (not counting Alzner and Carlson there), contributes very little offensively, and generally takes up a roster spot that could be better filled by Alzner.

Posted by: timmyv38 | January 22, 2010 4:01 PM

@timmyv38:

Not so fast there, tiger...

DISCLAIMER: When the team was being blown up pre-lockout, I was one of the first to cry out: "who in the H311 is Shaone Morissonn?!?!?!". So upset was I to hear of yet another beloved Caps player (Gonchar?) get traded for a player I perceived nobody--seemingly every other day--that to this day I think it may have contributed to me totaling my car that year. Howe's (sic.) that for a hockey nut? So I guess you could say I might have a semi-good reason to hate him.

That said, I have seen ShaMo grow into a consistent, reliable, and reasonably sturdy blueliner who makes few if any mistakes during the course of a season.

Lets get serious...I'm really tired of people saying "GMGM MUST TRADE [Insert name of player here] NOW!"

One has to keep things in perspective: just because a player doesn't score >50 goals per season/have a 0.00 GAA/have a 1.000 SV/kabong every opposing player into the next ZIP code/have a career rating of +100, then that player is a bum and of no use to the Caps.

Some of the neatest, coolest things about OV, for example, are that:

1) He is OURS, and
2) There is only ONE of him.

I guess what I am trying to say is that GMGM has built a damn good team here in DC, and every piece of that puzzle has a role to play.

That includes ShaMo, regardless of whether either of us feels that way or not.

Posted by: Rhino40 | January 22, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Typically enforcer types ae scratched for most playoff games. Unfortunately we have half a season left before the playoffs start. A lot can happen in that time. Carcillo beating the sh!t out of Gaborik last night is one example.

Everyone knows that the opposition is gunning to knock out our skill players, particularly OV and Green. With the Caps scoring in bunches and leaving little doubt to the outcome of the game you will see more players taking runs at our talent. It sure would be nice to have someone to throw on the ice to send a message, spark the team or punish a goon like Carcillo.

I am not thinking of playoffs, I am thinking of keeping other teams honest so we can go into the post season with a full roster of healthy players.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

"Some of the neatest, coolest things about OV, for example, are that:

1) He is OURS, and
2) There is only ONE of him."

Nicely put--I was feeling lots of Ovi love last night--he just played so smart in all the zones and is so good with media both before and after.

Agree too that a winning team has to include lunch pail guys and the non-flashy but consistent guys. A great team has to have more than skill guys--but it sure is great to have so many elite talents too.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 22, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the Pens trolls came around after a Caps win last night. Usually the trolls don't come around except when the Caps lose (or when something bad happens to the Caps -- like Ovi getting a 5 minute major penalty and an injury).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I recall that Varly was injured a fair amount last year, also. I recall he was hurt during the February/March time frame. So Neuvirth was brought up to replace Brent Johnson instead of Varly.

I assume that Varly will be back before the playoffs and probably after the Olympics. I'm still eager to see him back and healthy.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Carlson's been sent back down.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Rachel (if you are still there) - Barnaby also said that he rates the Caps as the fourth best team in the Eastern Conference, behind the Devils, Pens, and Buffalo. So I think we've got a hater there.

Posted by: zmega | January 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I see you just posted Rachel.

Posted by: zmega | January 22, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

My favorite moment of last night's game was the look on Bylsma's face after The Pass and Fleischmann's goal.

It looked like he threw up a little in his mouth and was about to pass out.

Here it is again if you missed his expression: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlg=20092010,2,750&event=PIT493

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 22, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

zmega: Oh well. I guess it's a good thing that people are still not giving this team much love. We'll just have to show them in the playoffs.

tmac2yao: Bylsma has that look on his face ALL the time. It was the same look he had when Ovie scored his hat trick in game 2 of the playoffs last year.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Yea, I've noticed that but I think there was a little extra puke in the mouth on that one. :)

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 22, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Bylsma is a good coach though. He turned the Pens around much like BB.

Posted by: zmega | January 22, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Jones played several seasons with the Caps. He was a bum, he got into a few fights, lost them all (whipping boy) and never really stood out.

How on earth he is now considered a 'hockey authority' is beyond me.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I've watched a handful of Blackhawks games this season and what's struck me about their defense is the level of speed and skill.

They're not particualry big or gritty but they are super fast and super quick with the puck both in terms of decision-making and skating the puck out of their zone. It's almost like they have multiple Mike Greens.

We keep talking about the need for more grit on the backend and I think that could help but I'd probably side with speed and skill upgrades over pure grit.

I think the reason opposing teams get so few shots on goal against Chicago is they can't get to pucks first and are stuck watching Chicago's defense skating circles around them and making good, quick decisions with the puck.

Our faster d-men, Pothier and Green, would probably look average at best in terms of speed compared to the majority of Chicago's d-men.

I can only imagine how much better our already potent offense would be if we had more speed and skill on the blueline, allowing us to get the puck out of our zone more quickly and efficiently.

The common theme for a while has been that we need another gritty, experienced, stay-at-home defenseman or two. I am starting to think we actually need speed and skill on the backend more than anything else, particularly with our style of play. A little more grit wouldn't hurt but I think that's secondary to the need for speed and skill. I think our need for added grit is bigger up front than on the backend.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 22, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@Dave - Jones?

Posted by: zmega | January 22, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Typically enforcer types ae scratched for most playoff games. Unfortunately we have half a season left before the playoffs start. A lot can happen in that time. Carcillo beating the sh!t out of Gaborik last night is one example.

Everyone knows that the opposition is gunning to knock out our skill players, particularly OV and Green. With the Caps scoring in bunches and leaving little doubt to the outcome of the game you will see more players taking runs at our talent. It sure would be nice to have someone to throw on the ice to send a message, spark the team or punish a goon like Carcillo.

I am not thinking of playoffs, I am thinking of keeping other teams honest so we can go into the post season with a full roster of healthy players.

Posted by: FLDave | January 22, 2010 5:31 PM

Exactly correct. Carcillo vs Gaborik is a glaring example of what can and will happen to the Caps several times before the playoffs start, especially if they keep burying teams on the scoreboard. If the Caps are already up 5-2, the supposed deterrent value of the vaunted power play is totally negated and will stop no player (or coach) from going after Ovie, etc., especially if said player (or coach) is on a team the Caps may face in the playoffs. As evidenced by the continued inability of the on-ice officals and the Colin Campbell cabal to get in-game and supplementary discipline correct, self-policing via intimidation and deterrence by virtue of a Big Bomber who can play a regular shift is still a much better way to go in order to protect the stars who will lead the Caps to Cup victory in June. I guess the only way some folks will come around on this is if the unthinkable occurs and one of our top guns is severely injured due to the opposition running around in one of the many blow outs the Caps will author before the regular season ends. A little preventative medicine is in order to keep our boys healthy and productive. Carcillo beating up Gaborik? Really?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hZqzI7-wE0

So, do Caps fans really want to see more stuff like this and the nonsense at the end of the recent Caps/Tampa game? Unfortunately, sometimes you get what you ask for.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

PREDICTION:

Varly is going to try to come back too soon due to the Olympics & playing for Russia...

Theodore is going to take us to the cup, just like he did for Montreal.... nothing motivates a player more than $$$$$$ in a contract year, he will be GREAT from here on out as long as he doesn't misplay pucks like last night :)

Posted by: tony325 | January 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

It appears that George LaRocque (sp?), the enforcer for Montreal, has been Nylanderized. Sent home and being paid not to play hockey since he doesn't "fit" with Montreal.

Leave it to Gainey to send people home. (I recall he left Kovalev home for a couple of games to "clear his head" last year.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Gee whiz! The boys on our top 2 lines are real slackers. The only one who practiced this morning was Flash.

Just kidding, of course.

Someone already noted that Laich was skating around before practice, so he was working today. And we have no problem with his work ethic.

We also know that Semin is dealing with his bad wrist.

Ovi, as usual, played many minutes.

I've always wondered. What do the guys do on the "maintenance days"? Watch videos? Get treatment from the trainer or team physician?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I see that Hershey is beating Manitoba 4-2 after 2 periods. Is Carlson playing? I don't have a feed but the score and time get updated on John Walton's site.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Theodore is going to take us to the cup, just like he did for Montreal.... nothing motivates a player more than $$$$$$ in a contract year, he will be GREAT from here on out as long as he doesn't misplay pucks like last night :)

Posted by: tony325 | January 22, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

wrong french canadien... Patrick Roy

Posted by: joek443 | January 22, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

@Capsfan75

They are going to buy him out as soon as they can they said.

As for Carcillo/Gaborik, Gaborik threw his gloves off. All bets were off.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

It's amazing Gaborik got in a fight when he's so injury prone.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

As for Carcillo/Gaborik, Gaborik threw his gloves off. All bets were off.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 8:48 PM

Perhaps Gaborik saw what happened to Bradley and figured it was a good idea to initiate instead of getting cold cocked with his gloves still on?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

You want to know what's the funniest part about it all?

These guys are using Carcillo engaging Gaborik in a fight as a feeble attempt to show that we need an enforcer. Really? Gaborik plays on what team? That employs who? If Brashear isn't a deterrent for "stuff like that" to happen to our stars, NO enforcer is going to deter it.

Even with Brashear, it still happened. And Avery was the one who had to take the two fights anyway. And I understand Brash was scratched that game, but they are division rivals and Avery and Voros were in the line up. Voros isn't good for anything but fighting as well.


We have Bradley, Erskine, etc.. that is enough.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Gaborik saw what happened to Bradley and figured it was a good idea to initiate instead of getting cold cocked with his gloves still on?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 8:58 PM |

Either way, you really think an enforcer (see; Voros, Avery, and scratched Brash) was going to prevent Carcillo from doing that?

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Devils about to lose! =)

Posted by: rachel216 | January 22, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

In the Caps case, enforcing should be used as a proactive element of the game plan instead of a reactionary result of an on-ice event, i.e. engaging the oppositions' goons early on in the game and not waiting for them to do the same to us at a time of their choosing. Not staged fights mind you, but good hard checking, fomenting general dismay and not allowing the other team's coach to dictate the pace of the physical play. In doing so, it may be possible to get their dangerous players off the ice for significant periods of time thereby not exposing our stars to potential injury. As richmondphil has advocated, maybe a pest ala Steve Ott is a better way to go than a Brash, BGL, etc.

Seriously, the Caps have enough goal scoring depth at this point that they can afford to have a guy in the line-up on a (most) nightly basis whose sole job is to go after the other teams' rabble rousers, and their stars if need be. Erskine and Brads have primary jobs which dictate that they should not get involved in nonsense other than in a defensive role as losing them for several minutes in the sin bin can do more harm than good.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

1. maybe they don't like Gaborik, Girardi just stood there and did nothing for the teammate

2. Avery and Voros should have gone after Richards, Carter or Briere instead of that punk Carcillo - like in baseball if a phillies pitcher threw at Zimmerman of the Nats, you can bet that Howard or Utley would get some chin music later in that game

Posted by: joek443 | January 22, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't think losing Brads or Erskine for 5 minutes would hurt the Caps very much.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

The Devils have officially been beat tonight.

After letting Manitoba come within one goal during 3rd period, Hershey has scored several goals. Last I heard, 8-3.

Good day in Caps Land, even though they were idle today.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

It would hurt to some degree but less than losing Ovi for 5 minutes.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I'll take on somebody who can fight, but he has to be able to do something else, like Carcillo.
I don't feel we need a full-time enforcer.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Hershey won 8-3. Holtby was in goal. If nothing else, he's durable enough to do back to back games.

The news from the South Carolina Stingrays is that he's not likely to return to them this year. (South Carolina has been losing all kinds of people to recall, as of late.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Certainly not a guy like Godard who played less than two minutes for Pitt yesterday.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 22, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't think losing Brads or Erskine for 5 minutes would hurt the Caps very much.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:20 PM

Apparently the coaches do think it's a loss for the team if they're in the box for 5, 10, 17 minutes. Otherwise, they'd have Brads and the Lumberjack running around and head hunting. Their pugilism is almost always as a result of an opponent's aggressive actions, so it would appear they've been instructed to engage in violence only when coming to a teammate's aid, or when attacked themselves. Undoubtedly, other teams' scouts have also noted this which results in the need for another individual on the roster who can proactively enforce and whose absence from the ice for several minutes due to being penalized will not adversely affect the pursuit of putting the puck in the net (or keeping it out).

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the coaches do think it's a loss for the team if they're in the box for 5, 10, 17 minutes. Otherwise, they'd have Brads and the Lumberjack running around and head hunting.

________________________

I don't think this a very good inference.

Posted by: richmondphil | January 22, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

MetalCapsFan:
it sounds as though you would prefer the caps take the ice with the intent of stirring it up early with an opponents 'tough' guy. if this resulted in a game misconduct for the caps tough guy - then there would be no one left to 'protect' the skilled guys.
i believe there are only two effective ways to deal with on ice goonery to skilled players and they are both reactionary
1) whoever is on the ice that has the nads, takes up for his teammate
(morrisonn, chimera, bradley, erskine, stecks etc)
2) if #1 isn't working - don't hesitate to lay a heavy hit on the opponents skilled guys - if it's a borderline hit - so be it

trying to be 'proactive' in the tough guy department will most likey lead to playing down a man and the trying to catch up for the remainder of the game. we've seen the caps take early penalties, expend energy and not have enough left in the tank later in the game - that is not a team i enjoy watching all that much

my vote is no enforcer - it's just not needed and take a roster spot that would much better be used for alzner and/or carlson

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 22, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Please, no enforcer. Which of the 12 forwards are you going to scratch? Certainly not any of the top 9, the skill guys. OK, then, a 4th liner. Steckel? No, too valuable. Bradley? No way. Brings too much, and he's the Bradley Fighting Vehicle anyway. Gordon? He's picked it up of late. And Laing is alrready being scratched, but I'd take him over a goon.

If the Caps can get a guy who can fight and give you something else, that might be different. Doesn't Hershey have a fighter? Just bring him up a game here and a game there.

Posted by: tominfl1 | January 22, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ...

Fair points, but, as I have mentioned before, the Caps (very good) scouting department is paid to find players to fill various roles on the team. I would expect that, if indeed a tough guy/pest were chosen, it would be someone who would play the role smartly and not put the Caps in a negative position, i.e. no powder kegs like Sean Avery, Carcillo, and the like. Basic intimidation without making bonehead decisions, and the ability to agitate the agitators, would add another layer to the Caps already formidable attack.

Since it's almost a given that the Caps will make the playoffs, where the bench will be shortened, what's the harm of adding this element to the team for the regular season stretch run? The fact that many teams (including top contenders) still carry enforcer/pest types means that this role has not (yet) gone the way of the dinosaurs. Time to fight fire with fire til the playoffs roll around.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

what's the harm of adding this element to the team for the regular season stretch run?
Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 22, 2010 10:06 PM

the harm IMO is the fear of the unknown. there is no way to know who will be healthy come playoff time. the 23 guys today might not be the same 23 guys come april.
any ice time that can be used to prepare players for the playoffs is much more important than giving ice time now to someone that most likely would be a healthy scratch in the second season.

i just do not see any upside to having a player whose main job is to be able to fight - even if he has some other marginal skills.
i truly believe that any team (or coach) that decides they want to 'send a message' will do so regardless of what tough guys are sitting on the caps bench. in my mind the way to effective deter runs on skilled players is outlined in #1 & 2 above

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 22, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | January 23, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

any ice time that can be used to prepare players for the playoffs is much more important than giving ice time now to someone that most likely would be a healthy scratch in the second season.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | January 22, 2010 10:28 PM

Considering that many teams who clinch playoff spots early seem to let up and play rather mediocre hockey for the final few weeks, is there any support here for giving less ice time to the regulars once the Caps mathematically win the SE Division? In other words, would the Caps be better off (from a rest and avoiding potential injury standpoint) if they pulled an Indianapolis Colts (who threw away their chance at a perfect season) and have the first line guys play not as much (or very little, if at all) in the final 3 weeks of the season? Perhaps a bit unorthodox, and I'm sure guys with performance bonuses in their contracts might not be happy, but since the Cup is the ultimate goal, what difference does it make where the Caps finish (other than possibly the President's Trophy)? Would it not be more beneficial to rest Ovie and Co. occasionally and call up a rotating cast of hungry Bears over those final weeks?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | January 23, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Brashear was not dressed. He was out with an injury.

I think we can sacrifice guys like Gordon and Laing on nights where we need toughness. When the playoffs arrive, get back to our regular roster unless the opponent starts to take liberties.

I don't know of any player in Hershey we could call up, otherwise that would be fine with me. I would prefer an enforcorcer who can play 10 minutes a game and fight like the devil. At this point any port in the storm though.

Souray would be perfect in my book. He is a solid player and when push comes to shove, he can shove with the best of them. Unfortunately the price tag on him is very high

Posted by: FLDave | January 23, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"Would it not be more beneficial to rest Ovie and Co. occasionally and call up a rotating cast of hungry Bears over those final weeks?"

No. The playoffs have as much to do with confidence as anything. I think reducing ice time on players that traditionally log a ton is reasonable. When a game is 7-1 after the 2nd period I would bench/limit OV, Semin, Backs and Greens ice time. They have been the targets of the other teams. To have them on the ice is just asking for someone to try and take them out.

Posted by: FLDave | January 23, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@tess2201

As much as I hate PA I would be willing to move to the Hershey area just so I could get season tickets for the Bears.

After 20 years in the DC area I could not imagine ever moving back. Kind of figures, I was a Caps fan in DC when many people didn't realize we even had a hockey team. Now that they are on top, selling out games, etc I am stuck in FL.

Posted by: FLDave | January 23, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Barnaby giving Ovie some love: "He does so many things that are better than him. When you talk about these two players, he hits, he scores, he leads by example, he just does so many different things that I don't think Crosby can do."

haha cindy!

Posted by: rachel216 | January 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm just kind of puzzled at the extent of varly's injuries. He didn't even come out of the games he was in, but he's been out of commission for over a month. Either he's got a hell of a set of balls in that groin he injured, or something is kinda odd.

Posted by: j762 | January 23, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

he's out with knee problems

Posted by: joek443 | January 23, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Wow Neuvy's playing tonight! Can't wait to see him.

But kinda nervous. I guess Theo needs a little break. Time for Neuvy to rebound from his last two games.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 23, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company