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Varlamov to Start Tonight

Semyon Varlamov, as expected, will get the nod tonight when the Caps host the slumping Predators. Varlamov is looking to shake off a couple of shaky starts, while Coach Bruce Boudreau said he'll be looking to see how the young goalie reacts to adversity.

"I would like to see when something negative happens, for him to stay focused and not worry about what just happened and worry about what is going to happen," Boudreau said.

Varlamov is 2-0-0 this season, but there are concerns about his glove hand and ability to refocus after the 21-year-old surrendered eight goals in his first two starts of the season.

Speaking of goaltending, it looks like Dan Ellis will be in net for the Predators, who have lost four in a row and been outscored 16-2 in that time. Both of Nashville's goalies have struggled -- Ellis has an unsightly .885 save percentage and Pekka Rinne has a .894 save percentage and a 3.46 goals against.

"The best thing to do against a team that is struggling is to score early," Boudreau said.

Some other notes from KCI:

*Boudreau said Jose Theodore is feeling better and still hopes to return to practice on Monday.

"He's not ready, but he's doing better," Boudreau said. "We'll wait and see. He said he has no shooting pain, it's more of a dull pain. It's definitely an improvement over yesterday."

*Boudreau also hopes Tomas Fleischmann will get medical clearance in the coming days and join the team for practice next week. Boudreau said he feels Fleischmann is an "elite" player when healthy.

*John Erskine (bruised hand) survived a full practice and could be back on Thursday. Boyd Gordon (sore back) did not skate today.

*Tyler Sloan came off the ice with everyone else, which is generally an indiction that he's expecting to play tonight. That must mean another D-man is "iffy" for tonight, though all eight skated this morning.

*Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's leading scorer, figures to see a lot of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter tonight. Two of the best young defensemen in the league, Weber is averaging about 25 minutes a game and Suter is around 24 minutes per game.

*I'll post a lineup later.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 17, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineup: Predators at Caps

Comments

I loved Bruce's convoluted football analogy this morning.

Posted by: wingmancd | October 17, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

More than one of the D-men on this team is "iffy".

Posted by: jerseygirl15 | October 17, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Schultz is "iffy" in warm-ups..... Need to make some cap room to get one of the kids up from Hershey, Its hard to watch some of our over sized, non puck moving defensemen. But it is what it is.... See you all at VC tonight. Lets Go Caps

Posted by: EsMyDee | October 17, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I hope I am not sitting near you.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | October 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I hope I am not sitting near you.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | October 17, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@MikeBrady:

You ought to hope that you are sitting near me. My old college roommate scored us a pair of tickets in the lower bowl for tonight's game. If anyone wants to say hi to a couple overweight balding 40 year old fans sporting Ovechkin jerseys we will be in Section 106 Row K.

Can't wait for my first game of the season!

Go Caps!!!

Posted by: crooks_c | October 17, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the game, crooks_c -- those are close to my seats in 105 and I think a great place to see the game.

@EsMyDee, no one in Hershey has earned a spot over any D playing with the Caps, IMO. And having watched every play this season I feel confident in saying that Schultz in particular has been very steady and reliable getting the puck out of the zone.

Posted by: Sonyask | October 17, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Man, you guys got some high dollar seats. Some rich mofos in this forum.

Posted by: ejohnsto | October 17, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@hellesbaine (from previous thread)

That's what I wonder. Why is Alex Semin so hated? Another poster had suggested the possibility that A) either Semin stole their lunch money as a kid or B) Broke their daughter's heart.

Somehow, I doubt if most of the Semin haters have kids who were of the appropriate age for those things to have happened.

Maybe some of the decisions he made back when he was younger weren't the greatest. (I've heard some crazy stories about what other people have done at the same age, including the children of my peers.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@ejohnsto

Yes, there are some rich mofo's posting on this board.

@crooks, where do you find all these high rolling friends?

@Sonyask, you also have nice seats.

As for me, it's my first year as an STH. For me, the good news is -- my mortgage is paid off. Yes, I still have one child to get through college.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

rich? dunno about that, just a matter of priorities, or a little stupidity.

Posted by: Sonyask | October 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I did watch the morning skate and noticed that Green and Pothier were doing some extra work. (Doubt that they're the healthy scratches since we don't have enought D-men to have two healthy scratches.)

Knuble actually was present at the morning skate even though I hear that he usually tends to skip them. I saw no sign of Ovi, Semin, nor Backstrom today.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Me and my big mouth! An hour after announcing that I am going to the game, my old college roommate called back and told me that girl who was going to give us the tickets had sold them instead. I have no idea how they got cross wired. Now, I will take my three kids to a Fall Festival at the elementary school and watch the game from the comfort of my couch. Perhaps to make up for my disappointment I will treat myself to a beer from the fridge.

Posted by: crooks_c | October 17, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I saw no sign of Ovi, Semin, nor Backstrom today.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:26


They are still at OV's place sleeping?

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | October 17, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@crooks_c

Sorry to hear that news. At least you don't have to go out in the rain to go the game. (Except you have to go out in the rain to your kids' Fall Festival).

My kids are now past the age for Elementary school Fall Festivals. The first is a year younger than Semin. (Yes, Semin reminds me of her, in many ways.) The younger one is the age of this year's draft class.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@Rambutan_ru

Oh, did the boys go to Ovi's house last night or something?

(Yes, I did read how Backstrom had spent the night with Ovi the night before the last Redskins home game. I also knew that Green and Backstrom were interviewing Redskins in the locker room the next day. I also heard that all 4 of our Young Guns were spotted in the bar "Car Pool" that evening, accompanied by 8 Redskin cheerleaders. Which led me to wonder -- did Ovi have two other guests at his place besides Nick Backstrom?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@hellesbaine (from previous thread)

That's what I wonder. Why is Alex Semin so hated? Another poster had suggested the possibility that A) either Semin stole their lunch money as a kid or B) Broke their daughter's heart.

Somehow, I doubt if most of the Semin haters have kids who were of the appropriate age for those things to have happened.

Maybe some of the decisions he made back when he was younger weren't the greatest. (I've heard some crazy stories about what other people have done at the same age, including the children of my peers.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | October 17, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Could it possibly be based strictly on what he does on the ice? hmm

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 17, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

crooks_c- Wow that really sucks. ;(

Posted by: rachel216 | October 17, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Semin is hated but outta the big 4, he's the most expendable. Hopefully Alzner and Carlson will be able to help the team later in the season because I don't think the group of d-men on the team currently is good enough to win the Cup with.

What I'm looking to see after every quarter mark of the season is where they're ranked in terms of the GA and PK. They will have to be in top ten in both of those categories to be a serious threat in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | October 17, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Flash, "Elite"? What's Boudreau been smoking?

Posted by: Puckguru | October 17, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@catanton1--if that were the case then everyone should be thrilled with Semin. He has great stats for the season so far. Nice first goal of his in the game against the Sharks. It set the tone for the game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Flash, "Elite"? What's Boudreau been smoking?

Posted by: Puckguru | October 17, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

probably smoking fine cigars. The benefits of being NHL coach of the year and a Calder cup winner. He sure has seen more of a healthy flash than we have at the NHL level.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 17, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@crooks_c

man, the exact same thing happened to me last year! my friend was supposed to give me 2 tickets and on the morning of the game, he said he had sold them! and weirdly enough...that game was against nashville too! that game wasn't televised, so at least u get to watch it. but, i feel ur pain

Posted by: RussianMachineNeverBreaks | October 17, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Elite? lol. Someone remind Bruce that he is coaching in the NHL now.

Posted by: StanleyCap | October 17, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@catanton1--if that were the case then everyone should be thrilled with Semin. He has great stats for the season so far. Nice first goal of his in the game against the Sharks. It set the tone for the game.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

not everything that fans like or dislike about a player is based strictly on statistics. That's why we love guys like Laing even though he doesn't score anything. It goes a bit deeper than that. If hockey was simply a game of stats then you should simply be able to look at each submitted roster before the game and not even bother playing it. Award the best roster the win.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 17, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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