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Varlamov Disappointed, But Understands

After Simeon Varlamov was demoted this morning, Sport-Express reporter Slava Malamud got a hold of the young goalie and translated a brief interview for me. Here's what Varlamov had to say:

"I'm a little bit disappointed," Varlamov told Malamud. "But I was kind of expecting it because they told me in advance that it might happen. Of course, it's not very pleasant when you play well and you get sent back to the farm right away. But I understand what's going on."

Asked about GM George McPhee's comments about him needing to adjust to rigors of playing in North America, Varlamov said, "I agree with that. I need to get acquainted with the schedule and I need to learn how to recover quickly because there is less time for it here. Maybe I need to go easier in practices if I know that I'm going to play. Maybe instead of spending one hour on the ice before a game, maybe I should spend a half hour."

Varlamov said he learned of his demotion this morning when he spoke (through an interpreter) with goalie coach Dave Prior.

"He told me I looked very well," Varlamov said, "And that I'm the future of the franchise."

In two starts with Washington, Varlamov went 2-0-0, yielding three goals, and had a .953 save percentage.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 19, 2008; 1:52 PM ET
 
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Next: Today's Lineup

Comments

They should keep him in DC and let Jose go down, the majority of the loses this year are really due to poor play by jose, this guy is the future of the caps let the future be now....

Posted by: tpatton2 | December 19, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"He told me I looked very well," Varlamov said, "And that I'm the future of the franchise."

Posted by: richmondphil | December 19, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Our Iron Curtain does need some polishing and waxing but later on, it's going to shine. No doubt.

Posted by: fnralch | December 19, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I think it's good he's going back right now. I'm afraid, especially with the comments about him being absolutely drained after each game, that he might burn out a little if he stayed with the team in his current capacity.

I'd rather see him come back in April if need be.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 19, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

FYI: Bears update

Tonight's game at WilkesBarre postponed due to snow.

http://johnwaltonhockey.blogspot.com/

Posted by: tess2201 | December 19, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Is it me or does Varlamov look like a very young Steve-O?

As long as he doesn't do the butterfly trick, then I'm happy.

Posted by: Section117 | December 19, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

doncosmic, don't sweat it. I quadruple-taked, then heard him talking to his dad in Russian and finally had that "ah-ha" moment. I felt like kicking myself. I also had that "omg" moment when I realized I was sitting about 10 feet from a legitimate future NHL star.
I'll get pictures from practice today and the game last night up at some point tonight or tomorrow at http://flickr.com/photos/jmu_capsgirl/

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 19, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe GMGM needs to read him a bedtime story about Jim "The Mask" Carey.

Many young players get ruined by being thrusted into the spotlight. How they can adapt off the ice is as important as what they do on it. Im sure their is some concern about getting his english better...getting him settled...ect..

Posted by: SA-Town | December 19, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I think we can all say that Varlamov has played very well the first 2 games.

While this is not necessarily an equal comparison, I want to put this out there as support of the decision to send him back down to improve on the few areas he needs to.

Karri Ramo: In his first game last season (in which he was 21 years of age, so it seems a fair comparison) Ramo saved 31 of 32 shots for a .969 save %. In his second game last season Ramo saved 33 of 35 shots for a .943 save %.

He ended up starting an additional 18 games last season and ended up with a 3.03 GAA and a .899 save %. Tampa then ended up trading for Mike Smith as it appears they were unhappy with how Ramo did in his later starts. With the signing of Kolzig Ramo is essentially stuck in the AHL.

Obviously the teams are different in front of Ramo last year and Varlamov in his first 2 games this season, and they are different players.

Varlamov is a raw talent. Perhaps an ELITE raw talent, but he has places to improve his game. Let him get his games in at the AHL, hope he gets a long playoff run with the Bears, and see if he may be needed later this season for the Caps. There's NO reason to throw him to the wolves right now assuming Theodore is 100%.

Either way, good for him for understanding the situation here in DC, and here's hoping next year he continues to prove he deserves a permanent roster spot.

Posted by: Jeff_ | December 19, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

He's going to Hershey feeling good about himself. Hershey is playing great. An ahl championship is possible. he's a phone call away. The wings look great. it's the cockpit that needs consistency. if they keep winning in front of Johnson and theo gets consistent, things look to be fine. Johnson looks too good to dismiss. he outplayed oliƩ, but olie still got the starts because he was defacto cptn. BB doesn't understand goalies, remember? Johnson time might have come. Thomas' did.

Posted by: oo7 | December 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

UGH, this sucks SO BAD. Varlamov was on a roll, and it's so fun to watch him play but when you're getting payed like Jose is getting payed i guess you have to play him... gosh darn it Jose.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov will be a great goalie after he gets used to the rigors of N. American hockey. He needs to get his stamina up if he is dragging *ss after every game. He will be great, just not yet.

Posted by: MadManXX7 | December 19, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Good job George McPhee, found the missing link to the championship team; and is now letting him go. Jose is simply not cutting it! You can't ask the team to score five goals every game in order to win (since other teams are scoring at least 4 goals when Jose is there; I know the stats say somewhere around 3, but still!!). Johnson is doing great, but Varlamov was outstanding! Our goalkeeping is not at championship level. Varlamov made some amasing saves that both Johnson and especially Jose would have seen go past them into the net. Why wait another season for a Stanley Cup?

Posted by: capsfan08 | December 19, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Section117 | December 19, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Varlamov said, "And that I'm the future of the franchise."

YEEEAAHHHH!! :-) :D

Question to MadManXX7: I'm curious, when did Simeon state that he was tired after games? I never heard him say that...

@capsfan08: I agree, I think we would be much better off with splitting time with Varlamov and Johnson instead of Johnson and Theodore. Everytime Jose plays our chances of winning go down, he lets in at least one softie per game.

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad that Varlamov has been reassigned, but I can't fathom as to why some are making it like it's the end of the world and because Varlamov has left the team we will start losing.

As for the bashing on Theodore; Some of you make it sound like the coaches plan to play Theo for most of the games. Mind you, our coaches aren't stupid, and they will not play someone who isn't on their game. So unless Theodore gets his game together, I doubt he will start much.

Posted by: elicea | December 19, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Three-or-more will be fine! He always turns it on in a contract year. So this year he can watch Johnny and next year he can play and enhance his trade value. We can trade him for the player we need and bring in Varlemov for the playoffs. Personally, I would have been fine sending him to So Carolina and rotating Johnny and Varlemov, But playing Johnny and Varlemov and sitting JT works for me too.

Posted by: majiksea | December 19, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

He'll be back. Maybe this year, but I doubt it. When BJ's contract expires or we trade him, maybe. Ideally we would dump (trade, not waive) Theodore, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon, so long as he's bad, expensive and now hurt to boot.

I could see Neuvirth making his NHL debut elsewhere, BTW.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 19, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Varlomov needs to get way more seasoning. It wouldn't be long before NHL teams would figure out how to make this rookie's life difficult.

I really want to talk about the cheapshot on Semin:

When will the NHL and the NHLPA get a clue that people aren't buying tickets or tuning in to watch jerks like Backes play? It's folks like Semin that put fannies in the seats. Protecting the players safeguards the product. And then everyone gets richer.

Posted by: Landshark | December 19, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@Landshark,

I don't disagree, but fights sell tickets too...

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 19, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"Question to MadManXX7: I'm curious, when did Simeon state that he was tired after games? I never heard him say that..."
posted by Rachel
----------------------
Rachel: go back and read the entry Tarik posted previous to this one. Both BB and GMGM said Varly needs to work on his conditioning, that he is very fatigued after games.

Posted by: tess2201 | December 19, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

hello all,

what does chris clarke do when healthy.....??
I was trying to explain to my girlfriend that I was exited that he was coming back this year and why OV was not captain BUT.....then I saw him play!


Posted by: bryaningrocery | December 19, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201 |

Alot of the young Euro's are not use to the grueling schedule, if your only playing once or twice a week in europe, your body has a longer recovery time between games. Also the length of the season (number of games) is alot more over here.

Here is the Quote from GMGM

McPhee added: "One of the things European goalies have to adjust to in their first year in North America is playing a lot of games. He expends a lot of energy in a game. He has to learn to be ready to be able to not only be ready to play the next night. Right now, he expends so much, he's drained the next day."

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 19, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

This link's for everyone who'd call Sindy "more rounded"--or "more -anything- good" than Ovechkin. You can have my seats in 109 if Ovechkin EVER pulls this junk:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Puck-Headlines-Sidney-Crosby-trains-on-Valabik-?urn=nhl,130399

Posted by: redlineblue | December 19, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

We are 7 win 2 losses for December. We have 5 games left to play for the month. Got a few big games comming up . Would be nice to finsish off the month with double digits for victories.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 19, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

oldtimehockey,

I understand that Americans like fighting in hockey but that shouldn't preclude cracking down on players that injure other players intentionally. The doofus players need to realize that hurting the stars hurts them also. The NHL doesn't market Steve Backes...

Posted by: Landshark | December 19, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Reading that other blog, Puckdaddy at yahoo, if Crosby doesn't get suspended for that then the NHL is a farce. The only difference between what Crosby did and what Bertuzzi did is that Crosby is lucky he didn't hurt someone badly. Punch to the back of the head to a down and already engaged person in a fight. Campbell, you're up.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 19, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@redlineblue

What a bum! He should be suspended for this! I mean hitting a guy in the produce section from behind. He wont even get fined for this I bet. No mention on NHL.com or TSN
(Totally Sidney Network) GARY do your job!!!

Posted by: ashburnpaul | December 19, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung - Who knows if Crosby seriously hurt Boris Valabik or not. Given the location of Crosby's punches, Boris Valabik may have trouble fathering children....

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@SombreroGuy

Hey was that you outside the shop at the Verizon Center last night or just some guy in a Sombrero?

and that's true. It would make a hell of a news story if Crosby injured him down there. At least a hell of a headline. Worse that Thorson's near ruptured testicle last year.

Posted by: lornemyoung | December 19, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Imgaine all the people chatting on line about --

Nylander
Kozo
Feds
JT
Pothier and
JT

If we unloaded their salaries -- don't think for a moment GMGM is salivating over this scenario. Almost ready for the Dance just need another 2 years.

Yeah baby let's dance without these slugs.

Just what the Dr. ordered.

Posted by: windjammersouth | December 19, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Hi,

Where is a good place to watch the caps game tomorrow? Any suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by: DannyBoy1975 | December 19, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if there might be a viewing party for tomorrows game at a good place somewhere in either NOVA or DC? I got the hall pass to watch, and not shop, so I thought I would stay off the couch. Figured that it would be better, and more fun, watching the game with people from the board than doing it alone.

Please share any thoughts.

Thanks!

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 19, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna be so weird watching hockey at 1 on a Saturday!!! Here's hoping for a BIG win!! GO CAPS!! :D

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung - That was indeed me waiting for my late arriving friends, and keeping an eye on the bobblehead stacks to make sure I didn't miss out haha

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know who is the young lad wearing a red cape and Caps jersey? I brought my wife to last night's game, and she was wondering.

Posted by: cbs75 | December 19, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope even more people will pay attention to the Caps once the Redskins season is over and also because the Wizards stink. Caps deserve more love!!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 19, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I would guess that manu of our posters here don't read much from Tom "Nothing but Baseball" Boswell, but check out his chat from earlier today:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/12/15/DI2008121502213.html

"Tom Boswell: I'm even taping Caps games and watching replays the next day with that wonderful invention the fast-forward buttom. And hockey is fast with few stoppages, compared to other spors, to start with. (I can't believe I'm writing those words.)"

"Tom Boswell: Well, today, I've been writing another hockey column for tomorrow's paper.

FWIW, I've been volunteering.

Good Lord, I've enjoyed covering everything during my career from hydroplane racing on the Potomac to duckpin bowling. I can certainly enjoy writing about a very exciting hockey team.

Writers crave SUBJECTS."

"Tom Boswell: You get a MUCH better seat for $40 to see the Nats than the Wiz or Caps. Seriously, with the new reduced prices) $40 now gets you a BOX SEAT. Okay, down the LF and RF line. For $40, the Redskins may let you park.

No question the Caps are the most fun of those teams right now."

There's a couple of other Caps-related comments, too.

Joe B

Posted by: rw-c | December 19, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Oops. that should be "many of our posters"

Posted by: rw-c | December 19, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

@Landshark: Backes refused to answer the bell when Ovie stepped in, and later in the period when Brashear was on the ice. Guys like that get a very bad rep very fast, and lose respect even with their own team. He might as well have "weenie" written on the back of his jersey. It might not have been in this game, but in some game to come, he'll find out that what goes around, comes around. I would have enjoyed watching Big Don kick his butt, think that these sorts of cheap shots are better policed by the players, and (to raise an ancient argument) that this situation is a perfect illustration of why the instigator rule is misguided.

Posted by: FredG1 | December 19, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* Forget that veteran blueliner, looks like. What we really, seriously need is a tough guy who is willing to take cheap shots and stand up for his teammates. Backstrom is getting pushed around - love him and he's a hell of a hockey player, but he's a mouse. Semin is getting hurt. Even Ovi has been the target of some liberties. This has gotten out of hand and is getting old.

Hopefully Semin is back in the lineup in time for us to make a playoff push.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

http://www.japersrink.com/2008/12/19/697982/i-have-already-been-to-th?login=1229734743

"I have already been to the doctor. I think that maybe my nerve was hit. And now it is squeezed. I can hardly walk. I have no clue how many games I am going to miss. I felt bad this morning. I feel worse than I did yesterday. I am trying to [use] pain relievers... I am so tired of these injuries. Just [recently] one injury healed, my shot got better. And here is another one. God, when is this all going to end?"

- Alex Semin on his latest injury (many thanks to Dmitry Chesnokov for the quote)

Not good ladies and gentlemen.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 19, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Some pics from last night. They're a bit grainy--still trying to get the manual focus just right. More to come when I get the film back, including practice today. http://flickr.com/photos/jmu_capsgirl/sets/72157611357195719/

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | December 19, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

SombreroGuy: No, it's not. Sounds like a nerve injury, and those just plain take time to heal. Sucks for us and for him - hopefully he's healthy enough for us to make a playoff run in Feb and March. We'll just have to see - and hopefully we get Fedorov back by then!

Also, might be time to see what Giroux can do. He didn't get sent down, so I assume he's still here and will play on Saturday?

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

CBS75-

The young lad in the Santa Hat and the cape is part of the new cheer leading squad that the caps, (which I can only assume was a series of alcohol fueled poor decisions by some marketing schlub), put out this year. I think he might be a new addition too. I can confirm this, because we yelled at him to sit down or move so we could see.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 19, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

If Semin needs to sit a month, let him sit a month. Really, does anyone think the Caps won't be #3 seed minimum? The injuries have been a blessing to the extent that Alzner, Varlamov, etc have gotten a "viewing." The goal is to win the Cup. The season is a tune up. No matter what the cap situation, all these guys can play in the playoffs.

The most amazing statistic from last night: Weekday game mid-Dec vs St. Louis and...a sellout. Last year this time and they were "reporting" like 12-14K for these games, but in reality the attendance was similar to what we saw Tuesay night on the Island.

I went once to Nassau, Nov 3, 1995, Caps beat the Isles 3-2 as Ken Klee scored the GMG as a right-winger. That was a long drive, 3 1/2 hrs each way from Bel Air, MD. It was always worth it after a win, also the trips to the Meadowlands. Do I miss Maryland? I miss the Caps, but it was 80 degrees today and I'm wearing just shorts and all the doors are open at 8:30 at night so the house isn't too hot.

BTW, the level of knowledge here is very impressive. I have been following hockey for 40 years and no question I learn more here from the fellow posters than ever. People here love the Caps, no question, but it's all very objective. Props also to Tarik and Katie as they make this a wonderful place to hang out.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 19, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Tom- The Caps should get at least a 3 seed with the way that they have been playing and the fact that the "storied" South East division is a little....how shall we say....weak. I just hope that the Caps continue to play as they have, plugging in players to let the front line starters heal, is the way to keep going. It's a stupid cliche', but you dont win the cup in December.

I also would like to see the boys build on their success because I'm SICK, SICK, SICK of my friends who give me guff about the Caps getting the 3 for playing in a bad division. I would love to shut them up! I am having fun this year with one from Western P.A. and one from Detroit pointing out the Caps stats -vs- the rest of the NHL.

Someone on a different post mentioned that they wished we could move back to the North East division to rekindle the rivalries against NY, NJ, Boston etc. You're right. The memories of those games always makes me smile. And how great would the action be playing those teams a bunch and not Carolina's and Atlanta's we are forced to.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 19, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Re: Fighting - I did some research at dinner time tonight, and found something interesting that may explain why nobody dropped the gloves after Semin was hurt.

If a player is cited as an Instigator in the last five minutes of play (or during overtime), he is automatically find, suspended, and ejected - and the head coach is fined as well!

Given the refereeing we saw last night, I expect this may have something to do with why nobody fought. An automatic suspension would put them out of the Pens game, and we can't afford to lose anyone for that.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

You mean the Flyers game, but yes.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 19, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz - Yes. Flyers. (((<.>))). Thanks for the correction.

@tominfl1 - re: Semin vs. Backes (from last post)

Backes is a cheapshot artist. If you look at his rap sheet, he has taken FAR more "hard" penalties - boarding majors, boarding minors, slashing, etc. - than Semin has taken (this year) for diving. In fact, NOBODY on the Caps team has taken a diving penalty this year (that I'm aware of, and I will be able to confirm that for sure soon).

If it were up to me, I would take the side of the person LESS likely to injure someone by their actions in a case like this. Backes' hit was a dirty hit, and I'm still very angry about it. Semin may have a "reputation" for diving, but he hasn't done it yet this year, at least not and been caught at it - and Backes has (in no particular order) a boarding major, TWO game misconducts, a regular misconduct, 7 or so roughing penalties, and a regular boarding penalty, and two for hi-sticking... and that is documented.

Eff Semin's "reputation" - Backes is a dirty rotten skunk, and he should have been kicked off the ice for that hit.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Rock- I might be wrong....normally am I'm told... but didn't the fracas happen at about the 8 minute mark or so?

Also- I've been telling people all day today. The reason that we didn't see a little ballet last night was the simple fact that the Blues players are gutless sissies that backed away after being called out. I have never seen such a display of a cowardice before.

Brash was ready to go at the center dot and even got ready to drop the gloves, and the Blues player skated away. When Brash got back to the bench, he wouldn't sit down, stood in the corner and was yelling at someone on their bench. Next shift out, same thing happened.

I never knew the rule was written like that though, so thats cool to know. Thanks for pointing that out. I just wanted to stick up for Donald (Like he needs it from me, right?) about some things people were saying.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 19, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

lamplighter: The SE stinks right now, but has won two of the last four or five Cups. The Caps have an eay ride this year. BB and GM know it, Ovie knows it too, but they don't want to say it and make the team take the foot off the pedal. Sometimes you just take advantage of your division stinking because you know in the future it will come around.

irockthered: Semin was hit with approx 10 minutes remaining, outside that 5 min window. My take from the replay is the Caps were willing to fight, but none of the Blues were ready to back Backes.

irockthered again: Since my post I read Semin's translated comments. Obviously Semin took a mild crosscheck to a spot that was extremely sensitive, from prior injury, and it hurts like hell. I can't really speculate because in 51 years I've never been hurt. Well, I broke my leg once in volleyball but it was only the fibula and, to be honest, it didn't hurt. I have broken teeth, broken tendon in finger, jammed fingers many times, kicked things in the middle of the night in the dark, etc, just like everyone here, but never been crosschecked in a damaged nerve. Despite what anyone might think, Semin is a tough character. I've seen him sticked in the face in the playoffs last year and he kept going.

That said, the way I watched the replay, it didn't look "that bad." It honestly didn't look nearly as bad as Pronger pitchforking Green into the endboards. Semin writhing in pain after a medium-strength C/C just says Backes hit him in a tender area.

Also: I watched the replay of the Crosby hit. If this guy were on my team, I'd be embarrased. I've watched sports for years and years as I've said but never before did I witness a man punch a another man in the produce section, from behind, while the punchee was held down by a third man. I wonder how Don Cherry will explain this one.

Posted by: tominfl1 | December 19, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@lamplighter1 - Yes, that is true, and the guy The Donald first challenged (Tkachuk) is a dirty rotten scoundrel too, but he won't drop the gloves - he's only done so once this season.

BUT the three minutes between when the hit on Semin happened and the 5-minutes-to-end-of-the-game mark went by very quickly. Brashear only had time to make one or two challenges to the gutless wonders before he was out of time and risking suspension.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1 - At least Pronger's hit was clean and legal; even Green said so. Green admitted he lost his balance. The Backes hit is being described in the media as a cross-check, and the fact that his own team wouldn't stand up for him tells me something, too.

And I am still too angry about the incident. Whether it looked "that bad" or not, it was to a bad place, and it was an illegal hit. Backes had to know that Semin was hurt - he'd been out for weeks, and it was all over the media - and he had to know it was a back injury. There is a slim chance - and I admit it is slim - that the hit was a deliberate attempt to re-injure Semin. I wouldn't put it past Backes, though, not with his rap sheet. And cross-checking with intent to injure carries a major penalty and an automatic game misconduct. At the very LEAST, Backes should have gotten a minor penalty, and Boudreau was right in calling the referee on it. Who got the penalty? Boudreau. That is bullshtick, and I won't call it anything else.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Also in Donald's defense He made one of the Blues (#53 I think) part of the boards not too long after the Semin hit. Brash absolutely leveled 53 and put that corner of the 100s on their feet. The guy immediately went to the bench for repairs. From what I could see from my seat in the mezz end it looked like 53 got a cut above the eye from the hit.

Posted by: AMHV2772 | December 19, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

That was a hellofa hit. Both Brash and Ovi were making mincemeat of anything in a blue-and-white sweater that got in their way after that hit on Semin...

The chickenshtick Blues may not have been willing to drop gloves for Backes, but they sure paid the price for his cross-check.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Elsewhere in the NHL, it looks like several teams have had their buttocks handed to them by their opponents this night:

NJD 5, OTT 1 Final
LAK 0, BUF 5 Final
NYI 1, MIN 4 @ 4:27 left in the 3rd

CHI 2, CAL 1 @ 11:37 left in the 2nd
ANA 1, EDM 0 @ 11:58 left in the 2nd

I WAS watching (half-watching) the Islanders-Wild game, but dang. The Wild are running roughshod over the Islanders, and I'm thinking of switching channels... YAWN!!!

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Wild 4, Islanders 1, final, and Andy Sutton (NYI) has broken his foot. Puck. Ouch. He is out for an unknown period of time.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

This is funny.

I just went to Sovietsky Sport.

http://www.sovsport.ru/gazeta/article-item/315699

There is an interview with Varlamov after the game thats pretty funny.

I speak Russian so here is the interpretation.

Varlamov was asked. You had a conversation with Captain of Blues Keith Tkachuk in fron of the net what did he say?

Varlamovs response: We just exchanged couple of words. I didn't understand much but I did understand few things and I am not going to really interpret what he said. But before the game I was told that Tkachuk likes to stay infront of the net and block goalies vision. So you have to get on his nerves. So what I did is hit him in his legs with my stick. Tkachuk turned around and started yelling.

Varlamov was asked and your response to his yelling:

Varlamov's response-----
Ohh Common! I am not going to pay any attention to him.


I love this KID!


Posted by: lightshow | December 19, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"@Landshark,
I don't disagree, but fights sell tickets too..." - Posted by: oldtimehockey

Alas, an unfortunate truth.

Posted by: opita | December 19, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between Crosby, Backes, and a bucket of turds?

The bucket of course.

Posted by: cbs75 | December 19, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

@lornemyoung Re: the Crosby hit...

If I read the rules correctly, and if I saw the fight correctly, Crosby should have been given a Game Misconduct under rule #47.16 - Third Man In... I gather he wasn't, but if anyone else swung other than the first two fighters before Crosby did, then they get it instead... it's a weird rule, and I'm not sure if it applies here or not...

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

General question: At what point in the game did the Crosby hit take place? All I'm seeing in the penalty summary is:

FEDOTENKO - boarding @ 15:24 1st
ORPIK - roughing @ 19:21 1st
CROSBY - roughing @ 19:21 1st

EATON - hooking @ 7:19 2nd
COOKE - hi-sticking @ 10:30 2nd
GODARD - misconduct (10 min) @ 2:52 3rd
MALKIN - roughing @ 8:17 3rd

and on the Atlanta side:

VALABIK - roughing @ 19:21 1st
CRABB - holding @ 2:59 2nd
ARMSTRONG - hi-sticking @ 4:27 2nd
SLATER - tripping @ 13:28 2nd
ARMSTRONG - misconduct (10 min) @ 2:52 3rd

The referees were Chris Rooney and Don VanMassenhoven; I don't know anything about either one, but if that's "roughing", I'm Queen Elizabeth. :-p

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

I said it once, and I'm saying it again. It was a disgrace the way the Caps reacted to seeing one of their best players getting mugged. At that moment I was ashamed by their lack of retribution. no one punched anyone's lights out. Basically, they all behaved as though nothing ever happened. And, they call themselves, "Men?" I don't think so.
It truly blows my mind, all of the excuses you guys come up with to justify them not behaving like men. Frankly, if you intentionally injure one of my boys, I'M MOST DEFINITELY GOING TO BLOW UP AT LEAST TWO OF YOURS. Simply put, that's the law of the jungle. It's called, "Survival." No REAL MAN needs to be reminded of that. It's instinctive!!
The Caps will never be anything more than a bunch of ( To use Joe B's expression "Pretty playing" wannabe's until they go retrieve their balls from wherever they lost them, assumming they once had them. Hockey is A MAN'S GAME! It's certainly not for wimps. Which seem to abound on our roster as it's currently comprised.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 19, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru - There is something to be said for not reducing yourself to the bad guys' level. I, personally, think we have a very honorable team, and your remarks are highly disparaging of them.

Brashear challenged, and was turned down.

Ovechkin slammed everything in blue that got in his way, but he is not a fighter, and should not be - that is not his role. He went right after the guy who slammed Semin right when it happened, though. But maybe you missed that.

Call it what you will, but there is a code of honor in hockey fighting, and if the opponent says no, the answer is no. Call the Blues chickenshticks for being unwilling to man up and take it for their teammate, but don't call the Caps "unmanly" because they won't step outside that code to break someone who wasn't involved in the incident.

You don't know what was said between Brash and those he spoke with on the ice. Neither do I. But if anyone involved in this is "unmanly," it's the Blues.

Not the Caps.

Posted by: irockthered | December 19, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

irockthered: you are correct. I was there, and the Blues coward away. You can't force a team to fight you and you do not retaliate by intenionally trying to injure. IMHO, the Caps did it right.

Posted by: cbs75 | December 20, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

puckguru,

What game were you watching? I was at the game, and the tension was insane in the last 10 minutes. If you were watching the game on TV there is no way you would be able to see what was happening behind the scenes. Brashear was literally standing on top of the bench and yelling at the St.Louis Bench While OVIE was in the middle of the pile. Next Shift Brashear plastered anything that moved. Tkachuk backed away from the fight. When the bench minor was called on BB. Ovie and Tkachuk were at the center ice exchanging words for a good few minutes. Sounds to me Tkachuk was explaining and trying to be the cooler head to calm Caps Tempers.

Posted by: lightshow | December 20, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Leonhardt still getting the love.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=399130

On the Cindy Crysby video. Is that how he became she? Someone did that to him, er, her?

After seeing that video, no self-respecting Canadian should want to associate with him/her. That's not how a hockey player fights. That's not how a man fights.

Posted by: gschmidt9 | December 20, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

@puckguru: I was at the game too and concur with what the others have said. It was UGLY. I couldn't see the stuff on the bench, but Brash was out there for three shifts in three minutes of playing time - he was looking for a dance partner and BB knew it and gave him his head until five minutes left because of the instigator rule. However, as someone else said, Brash is an old-school enforcer. He knows the code and he lives by it. You can't make them fight, and if they say no, teh answer is no. Chicken of them, but there it is.

If I understand the code correctly (and if I'm wrong, don't punk me out, just correct me), if Backes was not out there, it was Tkachuk's responsibility to answer the bell and defend his teammate. When a team just lost a key player to injury caused by an illegal hit by one of your teammates, and the refs didn't call it, that team has to take matters into its own hands, and there's no talking them down, nor should there be. They are going to be looking for trouble and someone has got to step up. If they have to take it out of someone's hide later in the dressing room, so be it.

For those of you more knowledgeable than I - does the A or the C play a role in this sort of thing? It seems to me like it would, but maybe not.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 20, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Also, of perhaps more immediate importance - let's talk the Flyers. I've got several things I want to see at this game, and I think we have a serious problem if we don't see it.

- Improved power play - the Flyers are real good with shorthanded chances. (I think they lead the league in that.) We CANNOT be fancy on the power play and we cannot screw around. Get puck, shoot puck, repeat.
- I'm looking for Brash to drop 'em the first chance he gets. An early message and warning to the Flyers that liberties will be answered and the Caps are in no mood to fsck around will go a long way towards a semi-clean game later.
- We've got to give this one everything we've got, translate all that anger from the playoffs and from Thursday night into a ball of energy for Saturday. I'm looking for a dirty, mean, all-out game that's like a playoff series. If there is one game in December that is personal, where we should be looking for blood and hold nothing back, this game is it. If I see less than 60 minutes of 110%, I will be really irritated, and probably looking at us losing.
- No fancy crap. No pretty passes. Just dirty, mean, hard-nosed, all-out hockey like you mean it. We the fans and you the players deserve no less after Thursday night.

Go get 'em, boys.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 20, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

irockthered:
That's true, but it really only applies to instigators. If two players mutually drop the gloves, neither is hit with that (I think Bradley is a case in point, late last season). BTW, for repeat offenses, the fine gets bigger for both the player and the coach. Anyway, this is why we rarely see fights in the last few minutes of the game. And that is exactly why it was enacted (after the lock out, I believe); they didn't want teams that were getting spanked to take their frustrations out on the other team just before the game ended.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 20, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

More trade talk, including Nylander, Khabibulin and Olie (among others):

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=3781993

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 20, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

BTW, did I miss the chatter about Sundin, or does no one really give a hoot? :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 20, 2008 2:29 AM | Report abuse

@ irockthered,
I see absolutely NOTHING, "Honorable" about standing around with your thumb you know where, after one of your team mates has been brutally mugged -------- and in his own rink, no less. You can try your best to justify it any way you choose, but from my perspective, it's an open and shut case of this team having a collective YELLOW STREAK DOWN IT'S BACK. Plain & simple.
You're right. I wasn't there at The Phone Booth. I didn't need to be. I saw all that mattered. NO ONE CAME TO SASHA'S AID. A good 10 seconds after the incident, OV RELUCTANTLY skated by and PUSHED somebody. Big deal. That certainly doesn't impress me. And, as far as the on ice "Intensity" rising after the crime, that doesn't impress me either. There's another old adage which I think is appropriate in this case. "You fight fire with fire." I'm a firm believer in that. It's quite similar to disciplining a child who's committed some egregious faux pas. You don't say to the child, "Now, Billy you know better than to do that. I think you need a "Time Out." No! No! YOU WHIP HIS NATURAL BEHIND!!
Guys screaming and hollering at each other from their respective benches certainly doesn't impress me either. That sounds like something most girls would do. And, don't even mention Brashear. He can't protect an entire team full of wimps. Heck, he wasn't even on the ice when it happened. NO! One of those chunps that was ON THE ICE WHEN IT HAPPENED, was supposed to drop his gloves and DROP THE NEAREST ST. LOUIS BLUE. If you couldn't get to the culprit, ANY BLUE WOULD DO! But, you certainly don't stand around like cowards.
Some moron even suggested ( Not on this board ) that since they won't play the Blues again this year, that it was wise and prudent to just let it slide. Now, that's about as incredible a pile of dung as I've heard thusfar. There are 29 OTHER TEAMS in the league aware of what happened. Please don't think that they all didn't take note.
As I've said in the past, it's that exact same mentality which caused them to lose to Philly in last season's 1st round. The Flyers played like men, while almost to a man, the Caps did not. How ironic is it that Sasha Semin was THE ONE CAP with sufficient guts to stand up to The Broad Street Bullies last April? Or, have you folks conveniently forgotten that? Hmmm. Strange indeed.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 20, 2008 5:51 AM | Report abuse

@ kittypawz,
your posts have brought a smile to my face. you speak of the unwritten, "Code." Yes, you've just about gotten it right. That part about taking it into the locker room REALLY laid me out. I don't know if you even realize how ironic what you said actually is. Well, the architect of this team of wimps, is the very same person who had the guts to go into the opposing team's locker room AFTER A GAME ( I think it was The blackhawks ) and PUNCH OUT THE TEAM'S HEAD COACH!! Are you aware of that? Yes, none other than George McPhee behaved like that. He showed true passion and courage that night. And, I've never forgotten it. That's what makes the composition of this team so mystifying. As a player, McPhee was one rumbling, fire snortin' sob. And, that's a fact. That's why I find it so difficult to comprehend the obvious lack of gritty "Character guys" on this team. Hmmm. Go figure...

Posted by: Puckguru | December 20, 2008 6:07 AM | Report abuse

(Oh goody, I'm being censored.)

@puckguru: *sigh* God gave men two heads and only enough blood to use one at a time. Try using the one on your shoulders for a minute and be realistic.

The time to establish that that kind of thing is not acceptable is in the first ten minutes of the game, not the last ten minutes. Brashear needed to step in when that clown picking on Backstrom distracted us all from Kozlov's first goal. But he didn't, and the damage was done by the third period. It was already obvious that the refs weren't going to do anything about the shenanigans going on. Remember Rene Bourque, and the price he paid for going after Tyler Sloan unwarranted? If not, let me refresh your memory:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzi5ckee9kA

He got 19 PIM's for that - a fighting major, a game misconduct, instigator, and instigator - face shield (for wearing a visor while starting trouble) - and that was a completely correct and appropriate call. Given how that game was being called, Brash would have paid a similar price and at that stage in the game, probably been ejected and possibly suspended. Having already lost two people out of the lineup to injury, can we afford to have a third ejected? NO. With a two-goal game and ten minutes left to play, can we afford to put ourselves on a seven- and potentially nine-minute penalty kill? NO. The price for instigating at that point would have been far too high and wouldn't have put Semin back on the ice.

Now, I'm looking for Brash to drop 'em today, but I'm looking for him to drop early, before any liberties get taken or anyone gets hurt. That's smart enforcing.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 20, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Just as a clarification to my last post:

Brash needs to step up and start doing his job, no question. I don't question his ability to do so, nor do I question that he handled the Semin cross-check the right way for the reasons I expressed above. I think that calling the team wusses is out of line and not appropriate for a real Caps fan. His mistake was in not stepping on the Blues before things got out of hand. Smart enforcement starts the first time stuff starts, not the tenth. And he can't do it alone; he simply doesn't get the minutes for it. He needs a couple of other guys on the team who can and will answer the bell, preferably one on defense (maybe that explains part of the Erskine signing). That was why I was so pleased to see Laich drop 'em, win or lose - at least he did. Bradley can't fight, sorry.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 20, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Sid the Kid is a pillow biter.

Posted by: markfromparkville | December 20, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The team apparently calls Backes' hit on Semin "chippy", which is one whole rung below "cheap". The kind of wild-eyed, child-abusing response some are calling for would be a sign of team immaturity, not team toughness. Team toughness would be the other team's forwards getting knocked on their aspect in the slot (or crease, as they seem to prefer now).
I think a LOT of people weren't quite sure wh'happened to 28, Caps players included. Who's EVER seen a tentative Ovechkin before?
Puckguru, respectfully: You used to mix some interesting thoughts in with your Manly Ranting. Those were times.

Posted by: redlineblue | December 20, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@pawz

lol awesome how you straighten up puckguru patronizing attitude :D

re: Brash dropping them earlier. He should have fought instead of Bradley, who should not fight unless he gets some lessons, bless his heart.
I'm a bit worried about Hartnell... I've seen him fight, he's no lightweight and can really throw some punches.

It seems something is wrong with me, since I disagree with most knowledgeable bloggers here... while very, very pissed off that Semin is hurt, I don't think the "hit" was malicious at all, or that it was punishable. Matter of fact, I think it was normal hockey contact, and we do those sort of "pushes" all the times. Ovie especially. Feel free to respectfully disagree... or insult me about that (in which case I don't care).


Posted by: mauree | December 20, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

oops it was Laich who dropped them, not Bradley. My comment apply to both of them anyway.

Posted by: mauree | December 20, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

@Puckguy...

I don't think that every team in the league looked at the replay and a light bulb went off say" we can cheap shot the Caps best players".

The hit was unfortunate and in the worst possible place, but I am not certain that type of cross check does not happen 10 times a game from players. Semin was in an awkward postion, and he cross checked him as he was getting up. In real game time speed.

I totally disagree that the team "toughness" is in question.

As Don Cherry says "lay in the weeds" you will get you time for payback.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 20, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I think when coach sent out Brash for the next shift, that was more than enough message to say we won't put up with that, even if no one would accept his offer. JMHO

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 20, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Big game today... The Broad ST. Frauds...

They might be hot right now, but they are 6-8 vs current playoff teams... NJDx2, PIT, MON, BUF and PHO... BUF and PHO are fringe teams...

We've already beaten CHI, VAN, PIT, ANA, NYR, NJD, MONx2 and BOS. We are 9-3-2 vs current playoff teams.

Let the games begin.

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

IMO OV came straight to the aid of his fallen comrade. I was watching on TV, and it appeared that as soon as the whistle was blown, he came over. I don't know where he was on the ice, so i didn't time him.

I agree with Kittypawz that Brash needs to do his job. He is not a goal scorer. He is our enforcer. Time to start enforcing. Let us see what happens today.

Posted by: Leeguru | December 20, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

i'm sure puck"guru" is a tough as they come and is not just someone who likes to do his big talking behind a keyboard. reality is if OV drops his gloves and starts beating on backes, he's due 19 minutes in penalties and a game misconduct. some restraint was in order at that point in the game.

as has been pointed out, brash was out on the next shift looking to dance. backes took a half shift and was back on the bench. i dont think he played again after that. brash and tkachuk were talking, but nothing came of it. anyone who thinks brash isn't worth having on the team, i think that's a great example of why he's needed, whether he drops them or not.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 20, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

game's in less than 2 hours!! C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!! GO CAPS!! Beat the hated flyers!!! 2 points!! :D

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Today could be an awesome day to extend that lead over the Canes to 10 points!! Canes play the "big bad Bruins" so they'll probably lose, but we can beat the Flyers!!

Posted by: rachel216 | December 20, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning World.......is it 1PM yet? Darn it...nope.....I can't wait for this game today...I already have my Uniform on.

This is my first post ever. I have enjoy over time, reading many of your comments and have used information in the past to help with my Fantasy Hockey teams...Thanks

I Love the Nick for Varlamov " I'm the future of the franchise." IRON CURTAIN perfect!

I dont understand "GMGM" I know how your talking about but why GMGM?

Thanks and have a great day! GO CAPS GO

Posted by: myusernamealso | December 20, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

GMGM=General Manager George McPhee

Posted by: _Tim | December 20, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@myusernamealso

Welcome...

GMGM = G eneral M anager G eorge M cPhee

Posted by: JSchon | December 20, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

@myusernamealso

it stand for General Manager George McPhee

As for this afternoon's game. I'm getting more and more anxious. I'm expecting an entertaining game; and a nerve-wracking one, at that.

Posted by: elicea | December 20, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

perfect......lol......thanks...How stupid of me

Posted by: myusernamealso | December 20, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

@ Puckguru-
You're right. I wasn't there at The Phone Booth. I didn't need to be. I saw all that mattered. NO ONE CAME TO SASHA'S AID. A good 10 seconds after the incident, OV RELUCTANTLY skated by and PUSHED somebody. Big deal. That certainly doesn't impress me.


OK...I want to start by saying that normally, I agree with, and enjoy 99.9% of your posts. You bring a true depth of knowledge to the board with what you have to say. BUT....with this instance, you are as WRONG as wrong can be. And the comments about not being there are flat out ignorant.

I was there. YOU didn't and and simply COULDN'T have seen what was happening on the ice or on the benches. When Brash tried to take on Tkachuck, Tkachuck skated away on to the bench. Brash was skating towards him at center ice and flinging the arms to drop the gloves. While this was happening, the action and the puck were at the other end of the ice, so there was no TV view of this. (Assuming you even watched). Brash then went to the bench, did not take a seat and was screaming at the Blues bench. I know you say that's what girls do, but he was trying to call out the BLUES manhood and find a partner. No one took him up on that. Why? Because they are sissies.

Next shift...oh about 30 seconds after Brash went off, he came back onto the ice and flat crushed a guy into the back wall. Result? Brash stood over him, yelled at him and again, he skated back to the Blues bench.

You can't even begin to get a feel for what was happening on the ice and the benches if you weren't in the building. TV did not capture everything that was going on, and Joe B wasn't mentioning 3/4 of it. (I watched the replay)

As for the 10 seconds it took OV to skate over? That is flat out wrong, wrong, wrong. He went after Backes the second the hit was delivered and crushed him into the boards. 10 seconds?? Come on!

I think it says more about the Blues and how they view their own player that they wouldn't stand up for him or defend him. It appeared, to a man, that they were saying, "hey..we dont agree with what that idiot just did, so don't kick my tail to get even. Sorry." Why else did every player back down from Brashier???? Because the Blues are gutless and don't agree with the way Backes played.

The old saying, "it takes two to tango" is correct in this regard. What were the Caps players going to do. Follow them onto the bench and start throwing punches?

Your perception of what happened is 100% incorrect and to insult the "manhood" of the Capitals players is wrong.

I'm stunned that someone with your knowledge of the sport, the unwritten codes it contains, would stoop to such a swarmy level to defame and insult the very players that you purport to be a fan of.

Posted by: lamplighter1 | December 20, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Varlamov does need to spend some time in the minors to play more. He showed a lot of promise in those two games but you want him to be able to play back to back games if needed. I hope the extra pressure gets Jose playing better. He's been pretty brutal so far this year. But he tends to do that when it isn't a contract year.

Posted by: Stu_c | December 20, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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