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Varlamov set to start tonight at RBC Center

Here's your afternoon update from RBC Center:

*Semyon Varlamov will start in goal tonight against the Hurricanes, and as expected, will face fellow rookie Justin Peters. Jose Theodore, meanwhile, will play in Tampa. "After that, I'll see again," Coach Bruce Boudreau said.

*Looks like Quintin Laing, Tyler Sloan, John Erskine and, of course, Alex Ovechkin will sit this one out. Boyd Gordon returned home on Wednesday because of a back strain.

*Tomas Fleischmann did not skate this morning, but will be in the lineup tonight, Boudreau said.

*The Ovechkin-less forward combos should resemble this:

Fleischmann-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Belanger-Semin
Chimera-Morrison-Fehr
Bradley-Steckel-Walker

Boudreau said the third line is often the key to the getting his team's league-leading offense going.

"When you have Chimera skating, he opens up so much for that line," Boudreau said. "And When Brendan is on top of his game, he can dish. And Eric Fehr, who is underrated as a skater, he plays 10-12 minutes per game and he's got 19 goals. You give Eric two chances, he's going to put one of them in."

"When that line is scoring," Boudreau added. "It opens up the rest of the game for the other lines. Just look at our past, when that line has scored, look at how our team has done. It's eye-opening [because] we end up with four or five when that line has one or two."

*The D-pairings figure to look like this:
Schultz-Green
Poti-Corvo
Morrisonn-Carlson

*Boudreau's philosophy on the final four weeks: "I just want us to stay consistent. We don't want to get into, 'Hey, it doesn't mean anything, so let's not stop on the puck, take longer shifts. An old coach of mine once told me, 'The only thing that's free in the world is habits. And you either have good ones or you have bad ones.' You obviously want to keep the good ones. We want to play at the same tempo that's we've played at the last two games."

*Although any shot the 'Canes had of sneaking into the playoffs likely ended with their back-to-back losses to Phoenix and Boston, their season still managed to take a turn for the worse. Word is top-pairing defenseman Tim Gleason will miss at least three weeks with a broken bone in his foot.

*Former Caps defenseman Brian Pothier is getting a ton of minutes down here and said he's loving it. In the seven games since the trade, he's got a goal and two assists and has played 23 or more minutes five times. Says he has no idea if the 'Canes are considering bringing him back next season (he's a UFA in July).

*Fehr, who has four goals in six games and is one from reaching 20 for the season, talks about his remarkably efficient play of late:

*While watching the 'Canes' morning skate, I caught a funny moment. Ray Whitney spotted former teammate (and close friend) Scott Walker's young son in the stands. Whitney skated over to the glass, put his face up to the camera hole and yelled something like, "Hey buddy, what you got on there? Walker's young son was, of course, wearing a No. 24 Capitals jersey and just shrugged and smiled.

*On an even lighter note, Boudreau says his bracket has West Virginia winning the NCAA pool. When hearing of this, Brooks Laich, whom I believe is the defending Caps' pool winner, proclaimed with mock disgust, "that's why Bruce isn't going to win." David Steckel, who runs the pool, nodded in agreement.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 18, 2010; 12:42 PM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's lineup: Caps at 'Canes

Comments

I love those lines!

It looks to me that Bruce is easing away from rotating in favor of working toward his winning combinations. Sloan, Laing & Erskine scratched are the ones who should be scratched, not because it's their turn.

Gets more complicated next game, but I'm glad to see he's putting in the winning lineup.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I like those lines too. Scary part about it is that it's Ovechkin-less.


Repost from last thread;


whether Varlamov is improving.

Posted by: zmega | March 18, 2010 1:21 PM |

I am still extremely optimistic about this.

This back to the start of this season..he won his first few games sure, but he looked horrible in them. I called him out on it, and that's when me and fanohock1 got into our little scuffle. Next thing we know, Varlamov is playing lights out hockey. He was top 5 in the league in both save % and GAA before his injury in the Tampa Bay shutout.

I think Varlamov is just one of those goalies that needs a few games to find his groove, ala Luongo.

Go Varly.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and This is supposed to = Think

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

As I think more about these lines I think BB is saying that strong play will earn you starts. 2 starts in a row for Theo, for example. It's a much more effective strategy than random scratches.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

To answer a question from the last thread. YES, our defense, barring injuries, is bettern heading into the playoffs this year. Taking into consideration how well Schultz has played all year as well. Our 6 defenseman last year by the end of the playoffs were:

Green, Poti, Pothier, ShaMo, Erskine, and Jurcina.

(My fingers are crossed for no injuries) This season IMO BB's starting 6 will be:
Green, Schultz, Poti, Corvo, Shamo, and Carlson.

Again, to answer the question, yes, we are better defensively, without question.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 18, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap this team is deep. When Ovie is back next game and you need a spot for Flash, where do you put him?

He's good enough to rate the 2nd line but those guys are playing w/ great chemistry and both wingers are at least as good as Flash.

Third line? Again, great chemistry. Flash is probably a better scorer than Chim but hate to break up that line and Chim is crazy fast and very tough, love that.

So, what? Put a stud like Flash on the 4th line?? Insane, he'd be a 1st liner on many teams and 2nd liner on almost any team. Glad Bruce has to decide and not me.

Posted by: Avar | March 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Again, to answer the question, yes, we are better defensively, without question.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 18, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

complete fantasy hockey nonsense. Poti and Corvo are weak defensively. Schultz has never played in a playoff game in his life and frankly it remains to be seen how successful he will be with a heavy forecheck on him and if he's willing to amp up his game instead of his usual catatonic demeanor. You can get away with a little less intensity in reg season games. I think the upgrades from last season is Mike Green's play, he'll be better than he was last year. And even though Carlson hasn't played a playoff game either, his style is more conducive to playoff hockey. ShaMo I like.

But there is no guarantee that Erskine is worse than Corvo, foot speed or not. There's a lot more that goes into evaluating a defenseman than just foot speed. Against certain opponents I'd rather have Erskine or Juice on the blueline over Corvo. (i.e. if we play the Rags or Bruins). Against the Habs, Corvo's style may be more suited.

So, no I don't see how last year's corps is automatically worse than what we have this year. Not personnel wise, even with the addition of Carlson. I think the unquestioned improvement is the play of our forwards. I think our forwards will do a better job down low in the offensive zone than they did in yrs past.


and while today's forward lines are awesome to look at, its is a result of Gordo's injury and Ovechkin's suspension. Which tells me that this won't be our playoff lineup. Who sits when Ovy and Gordo come back in? whoever BB selects to sit will make an impact to our lineup.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I have NO IDEA what happens to Flash come Friday. Fehr and him have good chemistry so that may work int he 3rd line, but how can you break the 25/9/16 line with the way theyre capable of playing. Hopefully flash can step in nicely and chimera can ass some crackle and pop to the 4th...I just think Chimera needs to log a lot of minutes. His speed creates many opportunities...

Posted by: BACKS | March 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@Phil - glad you called Varly out, he obviously listened. LOL.

Anyway, heard a clip about Irbe helping Theo and that has a lot to do with his improved play. Keeping him up longer and making himself look bigger. I wonder if some of the tweaks he's working on with Varly are part of his "weaker" play and that he will come back even more solid and in control when he can fully incorporate them into his game.

Posted by: ds_kelly | March 18, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Put a stud like Flash on the 4th line?? Insane, he'd be a 1st liner on many teams and 2nd liner on almost any team. Glad Bruce has to decide and not me.

Posted by: Avar | March 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Flash on the 4th line? no thanks

Flash as a 1st liner or many team? don't think so. He wouldn't crack the top 6 forwards on at least 10 teams in hockey, the rest are debatable.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Nice shout-out to Pothier in this post. I really liked him as a Cap. It will be interesting to see where he ends up next year. Too bad he had a horrendous game last time out: -4 with a terrible giveaway that led directly to a Bruin's goal.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | March 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1: I guarantee Corvo is a better defenseman, hockey player, and skater than Erskine. Talk about fantasy hockey. Erskine can't even hold onto his stick lately. Every game he plays he drops his twig. I also guarantee when the Caps win the Stanley Cup you will be one of the people still pointing out their flaws and trying to explain to all the happy fans that the Caps were lucky and give examples of other teams that are better than the Caps.

Non fantasy hockey stats: 70 47 14 9 103

Four of the six defenseman have been with the team for just about all of those 70 games. The new ones, Corvo and Carlson, are upgrades to who THEY replace which are Sloan, Erskine, and Jurcina.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 18, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I think the real question mark on the forward lines when Ovi comes back is BMo. He has been good lately, but if he fades again I think Flash slots in at 3rd line center and BMo sits. If BMo maintains his recent level of play, then you have a real head-scratcher. I guess you drop Chimera down to 4th line. But I agree with others who have said that Chimera has been really good, and I would hate to limit his minutes as a 4th liner. A big guy with speed and a willingness to mix it up is really valuable.

Posted by: zmega | March 18, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Schultz played 1 playoff game last year against the Rags and got turned inside out 2x, toe-picked on Callahan's goal, and looked like a total traffic cone.

But he has improved this year. I have been on him since he came up from minors, but I think he has improved...that's encouraging.

Doesn't pay changing things drastically as they go into the playoffs...just try to maintain consistency.

Posted by: netminder71 | March 18, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I believe Chimera goes to the fourth line. He might get added time on special teams and as a fill in if anyone has to miss a shift.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

corvo may be a better hockey player, but the lumberjack could chop a tree down much better than corvo

Posted by: _stevo | March 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Biggest thing to look for tonight - whether Varlamov is improving.

Posted by: zmega

Agreed zmega. I'm looking to see if Varly improves and I am crossing my fingers he doesn't get the bad luck like the last game where TB got some lucky deflections. Other than that, I'm not reading much into tonight's game. We basically have nothing to play for except that President's Trophy and of course get geared up for the playoffs. I really hope Varly plays well tonight.

I have no clue who Justin Peters is... I bet Carolina will come out with a lot of urgency. I thought they had a chance to get into the eigth spot a while ago when they were on their hot streak but they've kinda hit a skid now.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 18, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that Varly is starting to get his feel back as a goalie. I used to think, "Oh, thank goodness, Varly is in net and not Theo" -- now it's the flip. I want to get to, "It doesn't matter who is in goal, cuz the Caps are golden in net". Not there now. That being said, Theo was great in backing the Caps back from 3-0 to 4-3.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 18, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I love those forward combinations. It is going to get tough when Ovie comes back though, because no one has been playing poorly. I think who sits might depend on how everyone does tonight. I've been saying to sit BMo, but now he's starting to step up again. I would love to see a 3rd line of Belanger-Chimera-Fehr, for the size and grit, with a good deal of scoring ability. But if that were to happen, I think either BMo or Flash would have to sit. It's awesome that our toughest choice is which hot forward to sit.

As for defense, we are MUCH better than last season. Schultz is playing better defensively than any of our dmen last season, Poti and Corvo are turning into a solid pairing, and Carlson is impressive at both ends of the ice. Plus, we now have two big dmen to throw in if that is needed. I'd say this is one of our best chances ever at getting the Cup.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1: I guarantee Corvo is a better defenseman, hockey player, and skater than Erskine
---------------

because you think in such black and white terms, let me ask you a question. Corvo's obvious advantage over Erskine is being a better skater and a better puck handler (when he has time). So if thats the case, would you say he's also a better defenseman than someone like Morrisonn? In fact, would you say he's a better defenseman than every other defenseman in hockey that he can outskate and outpuckhandle? Just bear with me and answer that question.

because i know for a fact, many teams employ defensemen in their top 6 who are worse skaters and puckhandlers than other defensemen either on the bench or not even on the roster but who they could easily call up.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

CStanton, I wouldn't say you are necessarily wrong in your assessment of the d, but I think you have looked at it from a glass-half-empty perspective. I think it is foreseeable that Carlson continues to improve as he gets more comfortable with the NHL game, and that Corvo gets better as he gets used to the Caps system and the players around him. I think the biggest question is whether Corvo can limit the brain f**ts that lead to scoring chances for the opposing team.

Posted by: zmega | March 18, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

the workhorses upfront will once again be guys like Brads, Steckel, Laich and now this year being joined by Knuble. Hopefully Fehr and Chimera chip in as well. Also think Backstrom has really proven over the last month that he's willing to go into the corners and throw his body around to do whatever it takes. His maturation is another advantage for us upfront. Now lets hope Walker or Laing solidifies their spot in the lineup so we never give Bouds the opportunity to dress the wrong lineup (when Gordo returns), lol

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

CStanton, I wouldn't say you are necessarily wrong in your assessment of the d, but I think you have looked at it from a glass-half-empty perspective.
---------------
you have to look at it that way. Rarely does it work out from a half-full perspective.

I remember 2 yrs ago fans were giddy about how the Caps skill was going to dance circles around the Flyers D and their slow lumbering oafy players. That didn't work out that well did it ? Our fans are always overestimating our players and underestimating our opponents. This insanity has to end.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Before reading the comments, I e-mailed my wife that I love those lines, and that it's almost hard to make room for Ovie...almost. I agree that it's hard to figure out where Flash goes because the second and third lines work so well together. It's certainly much better than not having enough guys to make 3 good lines, though. God, I can't wait for the playoffs.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I will be really upset if it takes us 7 games to win our first series. As long as we win, it's not the end of the world, but after 3 consecutive 7-game series the past two years and the level this club is playing at, I'd like to see them get it done in 5 or 6. It would give me a lot more confidence.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | March 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I think the biggest question is whether Corvo can limit the brain f**ts that lead to scoring chances for the opposing team.

Posted by: zmega | March 18, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Its more than just brain f*rts. It comes down to his ability and style. He's the kind of d-man who just gives forwards too much room. If I had to pick one thing as his main weakness, that's it. He doesn't do a good enough job of engaging and separating a forward from a puck. Its no secret why against the Hawks, the very first extended offensive zone chance they had in the 3rd pd was against Poti and Corvo despite the fact our best checking line was on the ice. Corvo and to some extent Poti, have a hard time making a simple play like just pushing a forward off the puck so they can clear it. If you can't do that, you end up running around in your own end like its a PK situation.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the rest of you, but I will be really upset if it takes us 7 games to win our first series
---------

as Rphil stated, its all about matchups. Against certain teams yes I'd be upset if we took 7 games to win. But against other teams I'd be happy coming out on the winning end of a 7gamer. In some ways it does make you a stronger more battle hardened team even though the tradeoff is it can wear you down a bit. But thats where playoff adrenaline kicks in. I think Boston winning in 4 last yr actually hurt them. They just weren't ready for the next series.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

TheDoubleAlex: I'm right there with you. I hope our first series doesn't go 7 games. I think they CAN get it done in less than 7. I hope it ends up being the Bruins, which it would be if the season ended today. Out of the teams around the 7, 8, 9, 10 spot, I think we'd do the best vs the Bruins. I definitely don't want the Canadiens.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 18, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the thought of messing with that 3rd line. They have looked very good, and Flash has not.

But, I see it as inevitable, the 3rd line (for Flash) is the only place that makes sense when Ovie comes back.

DAMN THE DEPTH ON THIS TEAM!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | March 18, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

It's way too early to be predicting or even a good thing to do, but since you mentioned it, @TheDoubleAlex, of gawd yes, let's have a few series shorter than 7 games. The last two years were enough.

Of course I'll settle for 4 series wins in a row, regardless of how long each goes.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

corvo may be a better hockey player, but the lumberjack could chop a tree down much better than corvo

Posted by: _stevo | March 18, 2010 2:38 PM

I agree.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Also, Ray Whitney is the man.

If the Caps needed a finesse, scoring winger, my vote would have been for Whitney.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 18, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to see Fehr getting deserved attention. His skating and scoring touch keeps improving each game.

The team has been moving the puck well in the games Ovi hasn't been a part of. It gives those role players a chance to score and build confidence. All good things going into the playoffs.

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | March 18, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Flash centers Fehr and Chimera

i think that is about a given

Bmo is the scratch (unless Bmo centers fehr and flash, which is terribly weak defensively)

Bmo had a nice game against Florida, but he also completely blew his coverage on their second goal, we need defense from our 3rd line moreso than more offense, but it's a nice problem to have...

I would like to see:
Ovi-Backs-Knuble
Semin-Morrison-Laich
Fehr-Belanger-Flash
Chimera-Steckel-Bradley

Morrison isnt good defensively, but Laich and Semin are sound, fehr isnt a great defensive forward while flash is responsible enough, but having Bmo between them is not going to cut it defensively in the playoffs, thus move belanger down...Chimera on the 4th line is decadent, but that's a nice fit for him


Posted by: cotelloer | March 18, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Thank Laing, please, for being so gracious about his lack of ice time.

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | March 18, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Schultz has never played in a playoff game in his life and frankly it remains to be seen how successful he will be with a heavy forecheck on him...

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 1:58 PM

No offense, düüüde, but that statement isn't entirely accurate.

Sarge did play in the 1st-round series against New York last season, and unfortunately got undressed by the Rags' Dubinsky in Game 1 of that series. It was on that play that he was injured and wound up missing the balance of the '09 playoffs.

The Schultz-haters will of course start barking about this when this year's playoffs get underway.

IMHO Schultz's game is much improved to say he least, so I wouldn't worry about a repeat of that debacle.

So it's really more accurate to say that he hasn't yet finished an NHL Playoff game.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 18, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned that above, and Schultz was NOT injured (just his pride) during that Rangers game. He was benched. Flat out benched.

He has matured and improved, hopefully it doesn't haunt him.

Posted by: netminder71 | March 18, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

How nice it is to see Carlson playing regularly!

Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

West Virginia?? OK, Bruce.

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | March 18, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

These lines are great. Flash is playing terrific hockey; he's the 4th best forward on the team when he's on his game (ie., not looking over his shoulder for BB to pull him).

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

ah who cares about any of this, TONITE myself and half the fans who have NHL network or center ice will watching to see Cooke get his clock cleaned tonite vs. B's. Of course, I'll check in w/Caps at commercial breaks. With any luck the guy'll be sucking tomw breakfast out of a straw. :)

Posted by: peabody2 | March 18, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

No, Sarge was injured.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

is the pens/bruins game on NHL Network tonight?

Posted by: _stevo | March 18, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

When I look at this years defense compared to last years playoff defense here is my judgment:

Corvo > Pothier; (cstanton1, we all know you don't like him and you can keep on barking if you would like, but Corvo does play with more physicality than Pothier(not saying much), is faster and has more skill.)

Schultz >>> Erskine (lat year); It isn't even close

Carlson > Jurcina (last year); Carlson will soon be signifcantly better than Jurcina but even now Carlson is pretty confident with the puck and is fast, physical, etc. The more he plays the better he gets

Green (this year) > Green (last year); Green has definitely been more aware defenisivly and has improved his defensive game. Yes, it still needs improvement but it is better than last year. Also, Green looks fresher now with the Olympic break.

ShaMo (this year) = ShaMo (last year); He may be slightly better this year but it's about a wash.

Poti (this year) >= Poti (last year); Poti seems to be healthier this year according to reports, and I think he has played pretty decent. He will be a solid 2nd or 3rd pairing D man in the playoffs now that he won't be relied upon to as much.

DEPTH;

Erskine; Jurcina; Alzner; Sloan > Sloan (last year) having former starters Erskine and Jurcina now depth defenseman clearly makes the depth better.

OVERALL

Defensemen (this year) > Defenseman (last year)

Posted by: sgm3 | March 18, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Poor Schultz just can't get a break from that one game last year. It's old news now and was used by the bashers inaccurately... he was playing with a rib injury before the incident occurred as opposed to being hurt on the play itself. Sure, he was undressed on the play but too much is made of it. It's a tough injury to play with. It's great to see so many fans notice his improvements in his game this year and imagine where he might be in a few more. With some luck, this team could keep us happy for a few good runs at the Cup.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 18, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is fine, he wasnt even bad for most of last year, he just had "one bad day"

our defense is MUCH improved over last year, anyone who thinks differently clearly hasnt watched a game...REMEMBER WHEN FEDOROV WAS STARTING ON D for us last year, like, seriously, it's not quite night and day, but it's VASTLY improved...also, erskine is terrible, i get it, he's big and people who grew up playng "Ice Hockey" for nintendo think that being big makes him a good are mistaken, like, how many times have we all watched forwards just skate AROUND him in transition...

forwards are FAST and just skate around him, honestly, since the lockout, having fast d is more important than size (remember when darren hatcher was one of the best dmen in the league and then was instantly irrelevant...) you still need to clear out in front of the net, but shamo and poti do a good enough job and shultz is like an octopus out there who you just cant get around easily...

Corvo is getting better all the time, by the playoffs he'll look like a borderline brilliant pickup

i mean, our entire team is MUCH improve

Posted by: cotelloer | March 18, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

fwiw - from espn box scores
Sat 4/18 2009 Game 2
Washington Capitals Scratches
PLAYER.....REASON
J Schultz..Undisclosed

Games 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 Upper Body

Pens seriers
Game 1 Undisclosed
Game 2, 6 Scratched
Game 3, 4, 5 Upper Body
Game 7 - not listed

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 18, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Corvo has done nothing to impress me thus far

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 18, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I was just talking to someone today about how Shultz seems to have completely turned the corner.

But if you're objective about it, that play against Dubinsky last year was ridiculous (and kind of funny).

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 18, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

the flyers goalie Leighton is out 8-10 weeks

Posted by: _stevo | March 18, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Corvo hasnt done much to impress, but you can see his game improving, if he and poti could just ever get on the same page, they would be a very good pair...

also, i will say that in the tampa bay game two weeks ago which was i think his first, poti and corvo looked to be our best d-combo, there have been some growing pains, but he is getting it...it takes some time to realize where your forwards are going to be for outlet passes and also, well...i mean, being a dman on our team is not easy cause our forwards leave em out to dry a lot, which can be unnerving...

but also, he is getting better...he is still coming back form injury, but you can see him getting faster and more confident every game

Posted by: cotelloer | March 18, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Corvo > Pothier; (cstanton1, we all know you don't like him and you can keep on barking if you would like, but Corvo does play with more physicality than Pothier(not saying much), is faster and has more skill.)
--------

sorry but you saying so doesn't make it so. I can say Gordon is more physical than Steckel and we can debate it till the cows come home but you know I'm wrong. Pothier is more physical than Corvo, period. And thats sad, because Pothier is by no means a physical defenseman. But if I had the luxury of tape, I'd post a link showing how many times this year Pothier would step up and deliver a hit in the neutral zone or finish a guy off in the corner (icky). Its a play Corvo rarely attempts to make. So far he's had one step up play and he got pushed back like he was a child.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

What a start to the tournament it has been. Best start I can ever remember in my 10 years or so of following it closely.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 18, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

...Corvo's obvious advantage over Erskine is being a better skater and a better puck handler (when he has time)...

Posted by: cstanton1

I'll take this one. No Corvo's obvious advantage is getting the puck out of the defensive zone. Go back and look at the games in which Erskine has played. Count the number of times the Caps got hemmed in their defensive zone. Of those times how many were with Erskine out there? I rest my case.

Having said all of that there have been times when Corvo has scared me with his defensive assignment decisions. Like when he went to help cover a guy his partner had covered and left a guy (his guy) wide open in the slot.

@all:
BTW, who was at fault on the 4-on-4 goal against in the Hawks game Sunday? Steckel or Corvo? Was it a communication issue or a different system issue? I ask because I'm not sure.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | March 18, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Also
remember, our biggest competition in the East are the Devils and Pens who both sport a number of very fast, nimble forwards (not necessarily big net crashers) so, again, having a faster, more nimble defense is key against parise, kunitz, langenbrunner, crosby, elias, etc. on those teams

anyone of those guys sees erskine on the ice and they have any room to skate and it's basically a breakaway cause he doesnt have the game to stay with them...that's where the corvo move makes SO much sense...Also, if green bothered to concentrate on defense he could really help in that area...

Posted by: cotelloer | March 18, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

all you bagging on Erskine and Mo have a very short memory. They were our two best defensemen against the Rangers, period. Its unbelievable to me that less than a year later fans have no recollection of how those 2 played v the Rags. And Jurcina was a presence also. I guess my opinion is subjective but I even remember loads of praise coming from a lot of you last yr on this board. And now its like everyone just forgets. Do you have lives or something, don't you live and breathe hockey?!?

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

the flyers goalie Leighton is out 8-10 weeks

Posted by: _stevo | March 18, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Man, the Flyers were catching enough crap about not trading for a goalie before the deadline, with many pronouncing them dead. Now they're down to half a goalie tandem with Boucher.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 18, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll take this one. No Corvo's obvious advantage is getting the puck out of the defensive zone.

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If you're making a blanket statement I'll disagree with that. There are times that Erskine is better because he can shake off a hit better and clear up the boards or he can knock a forward off the puck and clear it. Corvo would be better if he had time to skate back there and pick up that puck and make a better tape to tape pass instead of just clearing it around the boards. But that kind of time and space isn't common in the playoffs.

and yes, it is perfectly OK to clear the puck around the boards, players are taught to do that instead of always trying to zip it thru a seam. The key is, your forwards have to help get that puck out. If your forwards don't help on the halfwall, then you don't leave your d-men many options. There are times where its simply not possible to gather up the puck and pass it up the middle.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Going to be tricky to figure out the lines going forward. Chimera might get bumped to the 4th line but I think he needs to play with BMo to get the most out of both of them. But then what do you do with Flash and Fehr? Might even consider putting Flash with the 2nd line, Laich with BMo and Chimera, and Fehr on the 4th with Walker and Steckel. All three top lines would be deadly and the 4th would be better than most teams third lines. I hope they don't move Chimera back or production on the 3rd line could drop a lot. I don't think BMo played very well this season until paired with Chimera. Then when they were split up his play dropped off, and last game he was great again. But it's a touch decision.

Posted by: Stu_c | March 18, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

My school could have messed up a lot of the Caps brackets if they could have finished off NOVA.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 18, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Yes, it is okay to clear it up the boards sometimes. But if you are clearing it up the boards 95% of the time you get the puck it significantly slows down the Caps transition game which is one of their greatest strengths since a forward has to be fighting for the puck along the wall the entire game.

If Corvo only clears it up the boards 40% of the time that is many more outlet passes that lead to offensive opportunities and offesnive zone time.

Players like Erskine are fine if you are playing a slow and dump and chase game and only looking to score when everyone is in the zone and when there is no transition game. And no, the playoffs aren't necessarily like that. Teams finish all checks in the playoffs and play with more intensity, but if you have the skill and speed to make passes before being hit or panicking then it leads to transition goals.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 18, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I miss Pothier, his role on the Caps was like that of KenKlee a few yrs back, veteran D-Man,more skilled than gritty but one that did his job quietly and skillfully. Jury is STILL out on Corvo as far as what he can/will do for the Caps.

And YES, tonites Pens/B's game is on NHL Network, ch 248 on Cox Fairfax.

Posted by: peabody2 | March 18, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

GO WVU! Bruce is omniscent.

Posted by: capsfan77 | March 18, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Teams finish all checks in the playoffs and play with more intensity, but if you have the skill and speed to make passes before being hit or panicking then it leads to transition goals.

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like i said, i don't disagree that if he has time Corvo makes a better pass. Of course he does, he's a forward!! lol

but where I think we disagree is the # of times a d-man will have that option of being able to skate back, get that puck out and start a nice transition. I don't think it happens very often, and frankly I can't think of another playoff team who has 3 players who are suspect defensively and who are considered core components on defense for their respective teams. Green I can live with IF he has stellar defensive support. Poti doesn't fulfill the role he should be (steady veteran who plays a mostly mistake-free game). And Corvo is just a more hapless version of Green defensively.

anyway, we've beaten that to death.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 18, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Nice to read BB some Fehr love by BB: "Eric Fehr, who is underrated as a skater, he plays 10-12 minutes per game and he's got 19 goals. You give Eric two chances, he's going to put one of them in."

I really like that third line of Chimera, BMo. Fehr.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | March 18, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

The NHL is suspending Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski eight games for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, multiple sources told ESPN.


Wisniewski, his agent, the Ducks, the NHL and the players union all took part in a conference call Thursday.


guess Ovi should feel lucky...

Posted by: joek443 | March 18, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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