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With No. 51, Caps set franchise record for wins

It wasn't textbook by any means. But the Caps managed to eke out a 3-2 win over the the 24th place Blue Jackets tonight and, in the process, set two team records and close in on another milestone.

The win was No. 51, which is one better than the mark set during the 1985-86 season and then tied last year. It was also win No. 23 on the road, one better than the 1983-84 team. By earning two points the Caps are now in position to clinch the first Presidents' Trophy in franchise history with any type of San Jose loss tomorrow.

The victory was also a big one for several individuals.

Jose Theodore bounced back with a superb 34 save effort (including 14 stops in a second period dominated by Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets). Mike Green scored his 19th goal, which helped him set a new career high for points (74). And Alexander Semin notched goal No. 38, equaling his career high.

Check out my updated gamer here, then come on back for some odds and ends, video and a few candid remakrs from Columbus veteran R.J. Umberger, who was critical of the Caps' style of play.

*Again, the win was anything but textbook. The Blue Jackets had far too many odd man rushes and they out-shot the Caps, 36-27. If not for Theodore, it's possible the visitors might have been run out of Nationwide Arena in the second period.

"That had nothing to do with our defense," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of the odd man chances. "A lot of that was our forwards not being where they are supposed to be."

*Despite the fact that his team lost, Umberger said he was not impressed with the Caps and predicted a potential postseason meltdown.

"I don't think any team in the West would be overmatched by them," Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "They play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes."

"A good defensive team is going to beat them [in the playoffs]," he added. "If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the power play, they're going to get frustrated because they're in their zone a lot."

The Caps had already left the building by the time those quotes made their way down press row. But I'm sure Boudreau will have a response after Monday's practice.

*Boudreau said Alex Ovechkin's drought is, in part, the result of the two-time MVP not working hard enough in the defensive end.

"He looked a little off tonight," Boudreau said. "He needs to work a little harder defensively and that will make his offense go better."

Ovechkin's aim was also off. He put only two shots on net, while four others sailed wide and four were blocked.

"It's coming but I don't know when," he said. "Hopefully in the playoffs."

Ovechkin also conceded that he's thinking about the Art Ross and Rocket Richard.

"It's a little pressure," Ovechkin said when reminded that there are only four games left.

*The difference tongiht was that the Caps scored on their 5 on 3 advantage and the Blue Jackets mustered only two shots when they had a two man advantage for 1:23 in the third period. The Caps were up 3-1 at the time.

"We didn't generate much of anything," Claude Noel said of his 13th ranked power play.

*Jason Chimera received a warm welcome from the fans in his return to Columbus. He also might have turned the tide of the first period without a scoring a goal. His momentum on a breakaway carried him into starting goalie Mathieu Garon, giving the netminder "blurred vision". About two minutes later, Tomas Fleischmann scored to make it 2-0. Garon left the game and Steve Mason, who is a little banged up, was forced into action.

*Rick Nash, by the way, is good. Not much more to say about that. The big winger usually scores against the Caps (he had seven goals in seven games coming in). Tonight, he was the set up man, feeding Antoine Vermette twice, once shorthanded.

*Finally, if you watched the video of Boudreau, then you heard the coach gush about Green's play of late. The Caps are off tomorrow, but I'll have a story on the high-scoring defenseman (and his new found commitment to solid play in his own end) for Monday's paper.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 3, 2010; 11:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Caps claim first Presidents' Trophy

Comments

Wow. RJ Umberger's negative comments on the Caps' style of play makes me wonder whether he's a closet Internet Caps fan/frequent blog commenter.

Posted by: BigMogilny | April 4, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Sucks to be a loser, huh, Umberger?

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 4, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

A good defensive team would have their hands full. The Caps spend way too much time in the defensive zone. It's absolutely frightening actually.

Posted by: pdo3 | April 4, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Haha, Umberger. Have fun on the golf course in a week. Can't wait to hear the Caps' responses to him tomorrow.

Posted by: washcaps | April 4, 2010 1:25 AM | Report abuse

That was one of our worst performances of the rer and we still managed to win......wow...pretty scary isnt it R.J.??

I didnt notice R.J. doing too much to help his team win last night.....cough cough....this season.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 4, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

“I don’t think any team in the West would be overmatched by them. They play the wrong way,” R.J. Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. “They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes. A good defensive team is going to beat them. If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the PP, they’re going to get frustrated because they’re in their zone a lot.”

Oh like a good team like Detroit?...oh wait....we beat them, ummmm like San Jose....wait a second,we beat them too, Vancover, no we beat them ,How bout Colorado wrong......Chicago.....now there is a good Defensive squad......damn...we beat them, The KINGS...now they have our Number.......whatever!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | April 4, 2010 2:08 AM | Report abuse

LOL I guess playing the wrong way gets you 114 points!

Umberger may enjoy watching us from his couch!

I really hope Ovie is saving everything he's got for the playoffs.

Semin is the best player on this team right now.

I still cant stand Corvo, terrible trade. I feel real bad for Pothier.

Theo was good tonight. Good comeback game.

Posted by: digster1013 | April 4, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Umberger's just being an idiot. The Caps have whipped quite a few great defensive teams this season, and will do so again in the playoffs. Umberger's just sore because he knows he's not going to the playoffs, and couldn't stand losing to a team who is.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 4, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

@Capsfannmiss

We actually lost to Vancouver, Los Angeles, and split with San Jose.

Besides, that's just Umberger's way of saying he is cheering for us in the playoffs and hopes we win the Stanley Cup.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | April 4, 2010 2:55 AM | Report abuse

While Umberger went overboard with his comments, he did make a couple of good points.

If a good defensive team is on top of their game, they can frustrate our offense and take advantage of our defensive breakdowns, even if it is a team that typically struggles to score goals. We've made a lot of bad offenses look good over the course of the season.

Let's just hope that our offense is firing on all cylinders throughout the majority of the playoffs because, unlike some of the other top seeds, we are relatively one dimensional and aren't as well suited to win low scoring games.

Let's also hope that we bring the energy game in and game out. If we start getting outworked and hemmed into our own end like we did against Pittsburgh last season, we'll probably end up taking too many penalties. In turn, we'll have to depend way too much on our Eastern Conference worst penalty kill. We also need to keep our emotions in check if our offense gets shut down for stretches in order to avoid taking frustration penalties.

The best teams can typically win games with offense or defense and even steal a few with elite goaltending. For the Caps, it's largely offense or nothing. Beyond our offense, we are a pretty ordinary team and that's a nice way of putting it.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I hope that Laich was wrong last week about the Caps coasting because it looks like they are coasting. A great first period followed up by 2 forgettable periods is not going to win many games in the playoffs. I think the Caps will be fine as they got up for the Hawks, Thrashers, and Pens -- games that mattered for the playoffs in terms of match-ups. Against non-playoff teams, the Caps have not put forth full game efforts. In the playoffs, such luke-warm efforts will equate to losses. Way too many odd-man rushes last night. And oh, Umberger, you are still not bitter about the trade to Columbus, are you?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 4, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey, at least we played a strong first period and out goaltending was strong enough to keep us in. That's a change, right, from the games that preceeded the win v. the Thrashers?

We are not playing with the urgency of a playoff team. Here's some news -- no one is. Even the teams fighting for a spot are coming up empty.

I like the fact that we came out strong for a change of pace and that Theo was stellar. Not a 60 minute effort, but it didn't have to be.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, at least we played a strong first period and out goaltending was strong enough to keep us in. That's a change, right, from the games that preceeded the win v. the Thrashers?

We are not playing with the urgency of a playoff team. Here's some news -- no one is. Even the teams fighting for a spot are coming up empty.

I like the fact that we came out strong for a change of pace and that Theo was stellar. Not a 60 minute effort, but it didn't have to be.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I mean it.


I mean it.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Umberger is not the first to question whether Boudreau's system can win in the NHL playoffs. Until the Caps actually WIN something in the playoffs, it is a fair question. By the way, Ovechkin has pretty much disappeared since mid-February. Hope he thinks the Olympics were worth it. I don't.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | April 4, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | April 4, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Umberger still has his brains scrambeled from that hit Campbell put on him. Such an awesome hit.

The olympics were such a waste of OV's time.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

So a guy on the #24 team in the league says that the #1 team in the league "plays the wrong way" -- thereby losing any credibility that may have been lent to his remaining comments.

Sour grapes, much?

Posted by: JillC | April 4, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I love the Caps, but think we're overreacting to Umberger's quotes. Frankly, the teams that concern me the most in the playoffs are those that do have a good defensive system, like New Jersey.

I do think the Capitals lose patience and start to force things--or start one-on-three breaks--when they face teams like the Devils that can dictate the style of play.

Posted by: MyJobsMyCredit | April 4, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Most of the defensive teams we have struggled against before have had to block ridiculous amounts of shots and really sacrifice the body...I am optimistic that any team we face will not be able to do that over a best of 7 series. Most of the Mawquee games this year we have brought our better game minus the chicago game but we still won!) I am really hoping that come playoff time we will see our team playing the way we all know they can!

OV: don't worry about Art or Rocket! Who cares...win it or don't, us true fans know you are the best hockey has to offer. Go for playoff MVP!!!

Posted by: capscoach | April 4, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with what Tarik said about Green--he looks like a completely different d-man now. Much more physical, much harder to get around.

Did anyone see the failed check in the 3rd where a blue jacket plastered himself to the boards as the intended Cap slipped out of the way? I don't know who it was...

Posted by: ilovesteckel | April 4, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

@ilovesteckel
that was Green who side stepped that check!

Posted by: boomer44 | April 4, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow that got me all riled up! Let BB hear those quotes and post those quotes in the locker room. For a player on a 14th place team, he has ABSOLUTELY no authority to say all those things. What a LOSER.

DON'T BE GOING AROUND STATING THESE BOLD STATEMENTS, Umberger.

"A good defensive team is going to beat them [in the playoffs]," he added."

Yeah and what will you be doing?? Going to the golf course in about a week. Shut your mouth you moron!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Theo got the second star on Puck Daddy! About time for a little love. He got very little during the streak--mostly just honorable mentions.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The funny thing is, our record against the West is 10-5-3. Only tied for best in the East. Look at all the other Eastern Conference teams and their record against the West. It's all CRAP.

Yeah RJ you sureee know what you're talking about.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"They play the wrong way."

And yet we're about to clinch the President's Trophy. We must be doing something right. I know our defense is always going to be a question mark but come on, Umberger is an idiot for throwing those statements around. Especially when it's coming from HIM.

I hope Tarik brings up those comments to BB. I can't wait to hear his response.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Quite frankly, what does he even know about the playoffs? Columbus failed to win even 1 game last year.

Posted by: BACKS | April 4, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

like it or not what Umberger said represents the majority opinions of most hockey "experts"... the only way to prove them wrong is to go out and win the Cup

Till then there will always be doubters about their system and if they have another early exit this year, there will be even more doubters.

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

as far as the strength of the West, there will be 6 and possibly 7 teams with 100 points or more... every playoff team minus either Colorado or Calgary

that's far superior to the East which is basically 3 or 4 team conference

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Not a ton of penalties last night against the Caps, but the PK was good too. there are a few good things to take from this game.

I think continuing to win when we've got it pretty well sewed up is darned good.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

And we picked up our 300th goal last night -- no other team will come close.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

RJ Umberger's ugly.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | April 4, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to what Umberger thinks is the "right" way to play hockey, if his team plays that way, and if so why are they not going to the playoffs....and no the west being tougher isn't the right answer.

Posted by: breaklance | April 4, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Quite frankly, what does he even know about the playoffs? Columbus failed to win even 1 game last year.

Posted by: BACKS | April 4, 2010 10:19 AM.


He has some knowledge.
I do recall him playing in a game 7 with the Flyers which they won in OT.

17 games,10 goals,5 assists.

Posted by: akus2 | April 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Just because Umberger is playing with a bad team does not mean that he is not right. I have not been able to see the Caps this season, but I follow them closely on the Internet, and I talk to people who go to their games. From my conversations, I know that a lot of them would agree with him.

Posted by: phillyreader | April 4, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

My initial reaction was to call Umberger a sour grapes a-h*le, which he probably is. But I think that JoeK and others have it right. If you surveyed the so-called hockey experts around the league they would question whether the Caps style of play translates to the playoffs. We will find out soon enough.

Posted by: zmega | April 4, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Whether he is right or not is really besides the point. I don't see how a player in his position should be making these statements. I don't care if he played for philly, his team got swept last year, and they are 4/5th worst team in the league. Show some class and bite on yet another loss...

Posted by: BACKS | April 4, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

bite your tongue*

Posted by: BACKS | April 4, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Umberger's right. If the Caps play as they've been playing since the Olympic break, they'll be lucky to get past the first round. When Ovechkin's on the ice, it's really a 5 on 4 for the other team in our end as he plays virtually no defense. That is, unless he's blown the puck at the blue line and has to race back to save his a$$. Be honest now - aren't you a little concerned?

Posted by: tw46 | April 4, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I will admit that the Caps have not been stellar the last two weeks...Frankly I expected as much...I am jus hoping andoptimstic that they are saving themselves for the playoffs.

Does anybody else get thoroughly peeved that all the hockey experts and sore sports like Umburger think it is a complete fluke we stand 1st in the League! We have places to improve on, but our current status is no fluke...All Caps fans should know that we are simply not that lucky!

I just want one commentator to give credit where it is due! And I have heard the whole...u have to have a Cup speal! The Cup is the most important thing, but the Caps deserve props for what they have done so far.

on another note...anyone else noticing that OV has essentially stopped hitting? s he trying to prevent injury or just scared of another suspension(I would understand either one) but the fact is he plays better when he is physical.

Posted by: capscoach | April 4, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Umberger was always Hitch's favorite player - in both Philly and C-bus. No wonder he is not a big fun of open hockey. Funny thing though - his team has managed to allow about 30 goals more than the Caps this season, with only Oilers and Leafs letting in more.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 4, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why people are getting so defensive or fired up about RJ's comments. There is some truth to what he's saying. He goes a bit overboard but he's right about "floating around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes."

This is the main reason for the defensive breakdowns this year and years past, forwards not back checking, bad cross ice passes that lead to breakaways, etc. You can play an aggressive offensive game and still be responsible defensively. That is the beauty of this team. There are a number of highly skilled guys on the team that can make a great individual effort that leads to a goal while playing responsible hockey. There are only a couple teams that have this luxury. Can't always be looking for the home run hit. Don't need to.

Hopefully, the players will use this as extra motivation (they shouldn't really need any more motivation) to really shore up on D.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 4, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Umberger is right, if the forwards don't start reading their defensive responsibilties it's going to be a short playoff run. If Columbus had anyone else besides Vermette and Nash you could finish they would've scored 7 or 8 goals last night. The forwards backchecking has been brutal lately. Way TOO man odd man rushes against.

Posted by: topshelf | April 4, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

quite frankly I've never believed that any style or system in any sport wins you a championship. it's always about the personnel, the execution and the intensity especially in playoff hockey.

no system or style that I know of was ever designed to fail if properly executed. The Caps' system has worked very well in the regular season and I think it can also work in the playoffs as long as they can match the intensity and the work ethic of their opponents.

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is freaking out about our play, but the one thing I have noticed with this team is that when it REALLY counts...they do what they have to do and come through! I see no reason to think the playoffs will be any different.

Posted by: capscoach | April 4, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I can't remember ever seeing an unassisted goal while on a 5 on 3 advantage. Probably more likely an unassisted goal shorthanded while down 2 players, but an offensive goal unassisted? That's pretty interesting. Way to go 52!

Paul R

Posted by: paulvincentleo | April 4, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I'll admit I've posted this before. But the Caps are not the only "elite" team who hasn't been playing at their best, as of late.

That's also true of Pittsburgh, NJ, San Jose, and Chicago.

They had an article in NHL.com about their "senioritis".

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Remember the Caps of early/mid nineties? You know, the team with Kelly Miller as the top sniper? They surely played a good defensive system. And the experts were saying "You can get by on this in the regular season - but in the playoffs, everybody tightens up defensively, you need to have some real talent up front!"

Any system has a reasonable chance to succeed if it matches the personnel - and I think we have that. And I would much rather hope for a talent-heavy team to tighten up defensively, than to count on a bunch of muckers to go on a scoring binge in the layoffs

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 4, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

While Umberger has expressed many of the same opinions of the Caps as our experts, he probably does have a warped view of our team.

I believe he was with Columbus last year when Mason had the two shutouts. And he was around for the November game when Ovi got injured and we lost in OT.

Given that he's a member of the team that seems to have the Caps number, of course he's not impressed by them.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It's possible Umberger's right. Whining about his standing to make comments misses a point--his team sucking doesn't make him an idiot. As we're fond of pointing out around here in other arguments, it's a team game. Umberger can't make the BJ's not suck any more than Ovechkin can carry our team by his lonesome.

As others have said, the only way to test Umberger's comments is in the playoffs. We all know that the playoffs are a different world. Let's just hope the experts are wrong. There's been enough evidence of THAT this season that we can realistically be hopeful, right?

Posted by: Landru | April 4, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Mommy he is calling me names! Whaah! whaah!

You people crack me up. Umberger gave an honest opinion and the kids on this blog got insulted. LOL. I love the Caps and I hope they win the SC, but you must be an idiot or have not much understanding of the game of hockey if you think the Caps are playing like a team that is ready to contend in the playoffs. They have had a fantastic season but their play of late has been mediocre at best. OV is playing not better than an average player; there is no cohesiveness among the lines, they are playing individually and not as a team; the power-play sucks - yeah, yeah, they have the best record in the league over the whole season, but we are not replaying the season, we are playing now, and now it sucks. BB can't seem to settle on a 2nd line and if it wasn't for how great Semin is that line would be useless.

And yes. It is official now. Green is a great player now that BB has said it and Tarik has informed you of his remark. LOL.

In the final analysis. We have a great team with a great season that is playing like is going to be eliminated early on the play-offs - on that last one I am hoping I am wrong.

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"I love the Caps and I hope they win the SC, but you must be an idiot or have not much understanding of the game of hockey if you think the Caps are playing like a team that is ready to contend in the playoffs."

----

Name a team who has clinched that is. As was mentioned before...Pitt? NJ? SJ? Chicago?

Pretending like this kind of play at this point of the season is unique to this team is indicative of someone who is "an idiot or have not much understanding of the game of hockey."

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 4, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The Rangers last year were defensive minded. Caps are much better this year too.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Name a team who has clinched that is. As was mentioned before...Pitt? NJ? SJ? Chicago?"

----
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

My post was in regards to the Capitals play of lately, NOT a comparison to other teams performance, NOR how well they have done during the season - I did acknowledged that they have had a great season, BUT we are not replaying the season, we, I am talking about how the Caps are performing now. And yes one must be a Caps FANATIC or have a lack of hockey knowledge if you think they are playing great.

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Umberger foursome to the 1st tee, please.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree completely. No matter what the style is, it is always about execution.

While people want to bash the Caps style stating how it will never work in the playoffs, the Caps were a lucky bounce off a Letang shot in OT that went to the top corner from possibly going up 3-0 in the series and winning it. They ended up losing, but they were extremely close to winning it if they would have got one extra bounce.

Yes, I know bounces can go both ways but I'm just using this as an example to show that the Caps and their system were extremely close to advancing last year. They were also close to getting eliminated in the 1st round too.

But if the system was able to get them that close to advancing then I'm sure the system is capable of advancing further in the playoffs with a little better execution and maybe an extra favorable bounce or too also.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 4, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The problem with RJ Umberger's comments is that his team lost again, to a team he saw a beatable. The issue for the Caps is that they are obviously 'measuring their efforts' with the post-season looming.

Do I think Umberger has a point, yes I do. But then the Caps know how to play defense, when called upon to do so.

It's obvious with the sudden surge in injuries the Caps players are concerned with not going into the playoffs with too much aggression for fear they might end up beaten up prematurely.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it ;-)

Posted by: rdatman | April 4, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Umberger is a Pens fan.

Posted by: Hatfield223 | April 4, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

And yes one must be a Caps FANATIC or have a lack of hockey knowledge if you think they are playing great.

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

they're 6-1-3 in the last 10 games, the only team with a better record among the top teams in the East is Buffalo... as Bill Parcells once said you are what your record says you are.

and one MUST be a complete sports noob to not understand that you can't win or play great every game... how bad would you have to be to accumulate 15 outta possible 20 points in the last 10 games???

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Besides being a Pens fan, Umberger also played with Dave Steckel at Ohio State. I wonder what Stecks thinks of this unsolicited and irrelevant comments?

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

*Despite the fact that his team lost, Umberger said he was not impressed with the Caps and predicted a potential postseason meltdown.

"I don't think any team in the West would be overmatched by them," Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch. "They play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes."

"A good defensive team is going to beat them [in the playoffs]," he added. "If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the power play, they're going to get frustrated because they're in their zone a lot."

The Caps had already left the building by the time those quotes made their way down press row. But I'm sure Boudreau will have a response after Monday's practice.
-------------------


im sure some caps fans with predictable blinders on will blow these comments off (like Umberger would have any personal agenda against us). But right, is validation for what a lot of us have been saying for a while now. Teams look at the Caps as a dangerous offensive team with a mediocre to pathetic defense. And like Umberger, a good defensive team should be able to limit our chances. And if that team has any type of offense, they should also be able to take advantage of the numerous breakdowns by our forwards and our defensemen.

I like how Boudreau says, it wasnt our defense, it was our FORWARDS. lol, well guess what, forwards are part of your defense buddy.

I agree though, aside from a couple of soft plays by our defense, our forwards (esp our top liners) didn't cover well last night.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Umberger's just being an idiot. The Caps have whipped quite a few great defensive teams this season, and will do so again in the playoffs. Umberger's just sore because he knows he's not going to the playoffs, and couldn't stand losing to a team who is.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 4, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

lmao! please, players don't just spout off like that. The BlueJackets have been beaten by numerous teams this year. Umberger is just echoing what a lot of people already think about the Caps - they're a one-dimensional team with great goaltending but terrible fundamentals. Its not sour grapes, its valid criticism. Every player in the nhl could say the same thing and yet there'd still be deluded Caps fans calling them "haters".

the proof will be in the playoffs of course, none of this can be proven or disproven until then. But Umberger's point is dead-on. The Caps play a style that is just fundamentally suspect. And the reg season doesn't mean squat. I've seen far too many reg season teams who play a loose style get bounced early in the playoffs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The Caps had already left the building by the time those quotes made their way down press row. But I'm sure Boudreau will have a response after Monday's practice.

-------------------


Bruce's response will be somewhat catty I'm guessing. Something about an early tee time for the Blue Jackets. Which is about par for the course around here. He doesn't see anything wrong with anything the Caps do if we escape with a victory. He just goes on a rant if we lose a few ignoring the fact that the same mistakes that plagues us in wins is also the reason we lose games sometimes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The funniest part is that Columbus is a TERRIBLE defensive team. Third-worst in the league, I believe, even though they have a pretty good goalie in Mason.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 4, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I like how Boudreau says, it wasnt our defense, it was our FORWARDS. lol, well guess what, forwards are part of your defense buddy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 2:19 PM

when bb made that statement - i interpreted 'defense' to mean defensemen/blueliners - either way the forwards must play their part for this system to have an effective d

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I don't get it...if what he says is so acurate then u r basically saying the Caps suck...we have one hell of a record for such a crappy team. As I said before...we have brough our "A" game in thebig matchups (minus chicago but we still won) and I am optimistic that the Caps will bring their best come playoff time...and when we are playing our best we are one GREAT hockey team.

None of the top teams are playing particularly well...it is amazing how may caps "fans" like to throw their team under the bus when we have the best record in the league! We should suck at hockey more often...it is treating us well!

Posted by: capscoach | April 4, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

they're 6-1-3 in the last 10 games, the only team with a better record among the top teams in the East is Buffalo... as Bill Parcells once said you are what your record says you are.

and one MUST be a complete sports noob to not understand that you can't win or play great every game... how bad would you have to be to accumulate 15 outta possible 20 points in the last 10 games???

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 2:09 PM

LOL. You crack me up. You can play with statistics all you want and make it look anything you want: i.e. the have won 2 and lost 3 in the last 5 games. Or why not go to 11 games? They have are about 50/50 on winning and losing. Dream on if you thing they are playing great, of course, you are a fanatic of the Caps and not of hockey so there is no use on discussing this properly.

And yes you are right about the noob comment, but who said otherwise? Did I said that in my previous comments or is that also coming out of your imaginary world?

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

hock1, how have the other "elite" teams in the NHL been doing lately?? The fact that they are 6-1-3 and haven't been playing at their best is a sign that they can still win when not at their best. All the elite teams went through a period where they did not play well.

If you're angry about the fact that they've "won 2 and lost 3 in the last 5 games" then be angry or follow a team that is doing well at this moment.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Geez--what's with all the negativity. After a win no less. And such overreaction to Umberger who is still wedded to a defensively minded system that he played under Hitchcock. The change of coach has certainly helped Nash unleash his creativity to be an even greater scoring threat. Perhaps had they changed coaches earlier the team wouldn't be out of a playoff spot now.

Ovi said it in his postgame interview--"I didn't play well in the neutral zone." Others also expressed similar opinions of their defensive play and how they didn't control neutral zone well enough. And in addition to his comment about the defensive play, Bruce was frank in his statement that the forwards didn't play well defensively in that game. I think he meant that except for a few hiccups (i.e. Sloan and Poti) the defense played well, not that the overall team defense played well. Green did have a very solid game.

But what did they do well? They came out strong. They scored first. Theo had a strong game--even Puck Daddy noticed enough to give him a star. And the guys clamped down in the third especially at the end with the final flurry. The second period was played too wide and loose, and the third period wasn't as strong as the first. However, the PK, especially with the 3 on 5 was strong. It's improving. Their PP play was meh, but one bad game for their PP does not make it bad overall. They still have one of the best PPs in the league.

And Ovi--he'll bounce back. I'm not worried. It might be that he's still trying to find that line or edge of his play after the suspension, and it might also be that he's containing the amount of hitting/checking as a way of conserving his strength. Listening to him I interpret his comments as he's a little more focused on the playoffs than the individual awards, but he will certainly be happy if he starts getting a few more goals into the net. He has been passing a fair amount, especially when it seems that his shots are getting blocked. i will be happier when the first line regains their chemistry for their odd man rushes. Their timing is still a little off IMO.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The funniest part is that Columbus is a TERRIBLE defensive team. Third-worst in the league, I believe, even though they have a pretty good goalie in Mason.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 4, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

thats irrelevant though. They're not going to the playoffs as a top seed.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Rachel,
First, I am not angry and second who are you to tell me how I feel and who I should follow?
Second. My initial statement is NOT of a comparison of the Caps to other teams, but just an opinion of the "CURRENT" state of the Caps play. You may disagree all you want, that is ok. Obviously you are one of the most ardent fans these team have and you don't see things from a detached perspective as some of us do. By the way, I am huge Caps fan, and if you read my previous post you would have noted that I said they were a great team having a great season, but we can not live on the past, and the now is horrible.
Third. Your 6-1-3 statistic should read 6-4 and if you go one more game it should read 6-5. Remember, those nice one points for a tie in regular play does not count one bit in the play-offs, it is win and loses that will get them to the SC or to well deserved vacation.

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse


@cstanton1

I don't get it...if what he says is so acurate then u r basically saying the Caps suck...we have one hell of a record for such a crappy team

----------

no no no, we don't suck. We just have created a weird situation whereby we can use our great talent and strong goaltending to cover up some fundamental flaws. And while it remains to be seen, count me in the Umberger group as someone who's not sold that this current style of hockey can succeed in a long playoff run. I've gone on record as saying, I don't need the Caps to win the Cup this year to prove to me they've made strides. I just need to see them win at least 2 rounds of hockey, preferably against strong opponents. Then I'll be less skeptical that their coach can pull them together when necessary. Because quite frankly, they'll have to really tighten things up. And if they can play a looser style and win in the reg season, great! Lets see given their personnel, system, and philosophy, how they do in the playoffs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

nd Ovi--he'll bounce back. I'm not worried. It might be that he's still trying to find that line or edge of his play after the suspension, and it might also be that he's containing the amount of hitting/checking as a way of conserving his strength.

-------------

i agree, ovy's the least of my concerns (and at the top of TMac's worries, lol)

I think once Ovy gets into the playoffs, he'll go back to his usual self. Hopefully though, he does get a bit more conservative with his passing across ice. It doesn't leave his team a lot of time to scramble back and cover him.

I'm also real curious to see who the starting D will be. I think what this stretch has clearly shown is that Morrisonn is a bit underrated, and that Poti/Corvo are not a good defensive pair. And Schultz is hit or miss. He's definitely someone who has potential to play at a higher level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

And like the Caps I'm ready for the playoffs to start. Other than the Pens game I'm not terribly excited about the final few games. I just want them to play consistently and responsibly and to conserve their energies. And beat the Pens.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Besides being a Pens fan, Umberger also played with Dave Steckel at Ohio State. I wonder what Stecks thinks of this unsolicited and irrelevant comments?

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling those 2 have probably already had an offline candid chat. We'll see how irrelevant the comments really are after all is said and done. If they play their current style, they're in for a rude awakening. If they tighten things up, they have a chance. But how much they can improve defensively may be limited given some of their personnel. Bruce's decisions on who starts and who sits will also play a big role.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I think that Boston game tomorrow will be a real good game to watch. The Pens game may be a letdown in one capacity -- those two aren't facing each other in the 1st round so both teams may not go full bore.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I have a hunch that Bruce might switch ShaMo and Poti--put Poti with Carlson as the third pairing and ShaMo with Corvo. Or maybe bump Carlson up to the second pairing. No way that Schulz and Green would be parted IMO.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Well I'm going to be realistic and understand there's no perfect team out there and the truth is it's hard to keep focus and play well for 60 minutes when you have everything locked up. I used the comparison to other teams because there is no team that's lighting it up right now. It's impossible to have everything going great. Even the Pens haven't been playing well as of late but they're finding ways to win and that Atlanta OT win was an ugly win where they did not play well at all. Oh well.

I'm not reading much into the 6-5 record. Yes I am one of the Caps most ardent fans but I just don't see what having that perspective will do. It's not like I can change anything. We'll see what happens in the playoffs.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Flyers with a critical win today v Detroit push into 8th place. Flyers, Boston, Rangers -- all would present a very entertaining and revealing 1st round matchup for us.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Umberger also used to be on the Flyers? And didn't B. Campbell (critical of late for certain risky hits) take out Flyer's Umberger in an open ice hit to Umberger's head. Saw it on a youtube linked post but am too lazy to look it up. I find youtube kinda annoying but it was an interesting link. Not a good hit, that much I remember.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I have a hunch that Bruce might switch ShaMo and Poti--put Poti with Carlson as the third pairing and ShaMo with Corvo. Or maybe bump Carlson up to the second pairing. No way that Schulz and Green would be parted IMO.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

i dunno, have you seen the chemistry that Green and Mo have again? The argument to keep Green and Schultz together would be perhaps to balance out the defensive pairings. Frankly, I can live with Green/Schultz only if Carlson gets paired with Mo. I know that leaves the suicidal pair of Corvo/Poti but hopefully Bruce comes to his senses and dumps Corvo. Poti brings a bit more strength on defense, not by much but a bit.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Umberger also used to be on the Flyers? And didn't B. Campbell (critical of late for certain risky hits) take out Flyer's Umberger in an open ice hit to Umberger's head. Saw it on a youtube linked post but am too lazy to look it up. I find youtube kinda annoying but it was an interesting link. Not a good hit, that much I remember.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

not a good hit? come on, that was one of the best hits ever. I had no idea Campbell could even hit like that. That was a clean open ice hit. Nothing illegal about it. You take hits like that out of the game and you may as well just break out the tampons.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm also real curious to see who the starting D will be. I think what this stretch has clearly shown is that Morrisonn is a bit underrated, and that Poti/Corvo are not a good defensive pair. And Schultz is hit or miss. He's definitely someone who has potential to play at a higher level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:41 PM

green, schultz and poti will be playing
i think if carlson is 100% - he plays
morrisonn should be playing (imo)

that leaves
erskine - very slow and gets beat by quick forwards but at leaast he'll hit
corvo - very fast but doesn't seem to know get himself into the proper position (or just abandons it) - could get beat by both slow and fast forwards. he is a lesser green (and even more less since green has decided to play some d)
jurcina - i'd rather see juice than either erskine or corvo but we know he won't be available until round 2 at the earliest - even then i don't think you can send him out on the ice without expecting some 'lapses'
sloan - a warm body in case of injury. i think he's played ok in stretches but could be too big a risk in a 7 game series

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

and honestly, would those comments carry more weight if they came from a different player? fact is, no matter who said that, the same fans would question if they had an agenda. Umberger doesn't have a history of opening his mouth ala Avery. He's pretty credible.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Flyers with a critical win today v Detroit push into 8th place. Flyers, Boston, Rangers -- all would present a very entertaining and revealing 1st round matchup for us.

Posted by: cstanton

And Osgood played for the first time in a longgggg time. Guess he didn't do too well.

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

I agree with rachel216. The teams in both conferences that have playoff positions locked up are not playing with desperation--they are playing it safe and sometimes losing.

Obviously interdivisional play is a little different for seeding purposes.

But what I took away from last season is the importance of depth and health, and to not just blow off the end of the season.

So far the Caps seem to be aware of both conserving their health and to not take the games lightly. Even if they haven't played solidly for a full 60 minute, I'm glad they have returned to a strong first period and strong endings in the third. They are clamping down and have stopped the "climbing out of a hole" games.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

Quit with the tampons jokes--I'm a female. Won't get into it with you about hits--just looked like one to the head, but I'm too lazy to go find the link again to watch it. I prefer shoulder checks to the body--not cold cocking someone. Maybe it wasn't to the head, maybe it was. I don't care that much. But don't make tampon jokes.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

that leaves
erskine - very slow and gets beat by quick forwards but at leaast he'll hit
corvo - very fast but doesn't seem to know get himself into the proper position (or just abandons it) - could get beat by both slow and fast forwards. he is a lesser green (and even more less since green has decided to play some d)
jurcina - i'd rather see juice than either erskine or corvo but we know he won't be available until round 2 at the earliest - even then i don't think you can send him out on the ice without expecting some 'lapses'
sloan - a warm body in case of injury. i think he's played ok in stretches but could be too big a risk in a 7 game series

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not afraid of Erskine's lack of speed. Against certain teams he'd be fine. Sloan is real unpredictable. I can't believe he's one of our depth players. It would've been nice for McPhee to actually go pick up a credible defenseman via a trade or FA at some point to help out this defense.

Juice may not be a bad option aside from his rustiness. I'd take him over Erskine if I had to pick even though they play different sides.

re:Corvo you said it best. He gets beat by fast or slow forwards. The slower forwards are too strong for him to handle. At least Juice and Erskine do a good job against 3rd and 4th liners who play critical roles in the playoffs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

But don't make tampon jokes.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

i really wasn't joking. But ok.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

And Osgood played for the first time in a longgggg time. Guess he didn't do too well.

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

he looked a little ragged on the first goal, carcillo stole the puck and skated in and fired a shot off his left glove only 17 seconds in. The 2nd goal was a 4 on 2 break from the Flyers, no chance for Os. The 3rd goal was a total defensive breakdown by the Wings. Can't even describe it. Left their goalie completely out to dry. And the 4th goal was the Philly 4th line cycling the puck easily and then Asham is left all alone in front for an easy tap-in.

Flyers looked good, Detroit did not look good.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

My point was that Umberger use to be a Flyers and the Caps and Flyers don't have a history of liking one another.

Other than that I don't know much about Umberger and could care less for his opinion of the Caps. He has a small sample of play with the Caps from which to form an educated opinion.

The Caps have to get to the SC Finals before they worry about beating a Western Conference team and who knows which one will make it that far.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Rachel, I agree with you. There is no perfect team and others are struggling as well, but my comment was strictly about the Caps. I don't think they are bad, quite the contrary I think we have a great team and we should do well, that is unless we continue to play like we have done lately.
And you are also right in that you should not read much into the 6-5 record, my post on that was to answer the misleading 6-1-3. That was then, now is now and the future is coming, you can not win or lose by your past history.
I will be rooting for Caps to go all the way, but if they don't, I can say I saw a great team play this season and I truly enjoyed every game.

Posted by: hock1 | April 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope you are just being snarky about the tampons. I'm going to give you the benefit of doubt, because making the connection of soft play to the female gender is archaic thinking.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Other than that I don't know much about Umberger and could care less for his opinion of the Caps. He has a small sample of play with the Caps from which to form an educated opinion.

The Caps have to get to the SC Finals before they worry about beating a Western Conference team and who knows which one will make it that far.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

i'd take a player who has played this team a few times over anyone else's opinion. Again, would you be any more receptive if it was a divisional opponent? No, you'd say that they hated the Caps and were jealous for obvious. Face it, its not the messenger thats the problem, its the message.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

i just watched a roller derby event live last night as a goof. But after watching those ladies run around, I think a few of them would put our #77 thru the wall.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Umberger is sort of...right. Though he comes off as a bitter jock, he pretty much hit the nail on the head. High risk, high reward is the Caps system.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 4, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

That's my feeling as well, hock1. So they haven't been playing that well as of late but I honestly don't know if that means anything. Throwing in a football reference, the Saints had won 13 in a row, then lost their last three games heading into the playoffs and they won the Super Bowl. Okay, I know that's a completely different sport but I just don't know if you can really tell what will happen in the playoffs by that 6-5 record or how they've been playing as of late.

I just think worrying about it won't do anything because what can we do about it? At this point, we are what we are. We gotta hope it's enough to get us through. I'm going to enjoy the playoffs and hope for the best for the Caps. I know our defense is iffy at times but we never know what will happen until we play and hopefully our defense can be just good enough to win, and hopefully we get some good goaltending and some luck as well.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the 6-1-3 is misleading because those OT/SO losses were either in 4 on 4 situations or a shootout, both of which do not exist in the playoffs.

So while it is true that all that matters is wins and losses in the playoffs using OT/SO wins and losses is not a real good indicator because the OT is played different and there is no SO in the playoffs.

Pretty much any game that enters OT in the regular season ends there in comparison and sort of goes in as a tie in my book.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 4, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with Umberger's statement. it's pretty much what the media likes to opine about the Caps. It's an opinion that will either be validated or invalidated in the post season. We will just have to wait and see.

I just thought the Flyers Umberger bit was amusing, that's all. I honestly don't know that much about him. I pay a lot more attention to Nash. He's amazing.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@racehl216

I agree. The overall performance of the Caps over the last ten games of the season is pretty much meaningless.

I liked how they performed in the Atlanta game, playing a low scoring game in which they took fewer chances and allowed almost no chances to a desperate Atlanta team playing with playoff intensity.

The main goal of these games is to get through with the players healthy and fresh.

To me, it looks like Ovie may have listened to what Knuble told him a few months ago. That he doesn't need to go full blast all the time (i.e. in a 6-1 game) and he should let up some based on the occassion. This occassion seems like the time to let up some to keep his body as fresh as possible for the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 4, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Heh, heh. Only #77. I'm sure the list is longer.

But to be fair, I do think the Caps have picked up on their hitting--that is Caps not named Ovi, who needs to regain his hitting form by playoff time.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Umberger might be right about how a good defensive team would play..avoid penalties and try to have Caps cause errors. However most teams are not that disciplined and only a couple can bring it defensively. Yeah on their best day maybe the Devils, Canucks or Black Hawks can do it but can they do it four times in a week in an intense series? Every one of those teams has its own issues from sporadic goaltending, lack of scoring, lack of discipline, and youthfulness. I find it hard to believe even the Caps would not play smarter with the puck and the lead in the playoffs when they have to. The Caps can always win a 3-2 game, but can whoever they face afford to get in a wide open shootout and know they will win it. It is what it is...at their best this season the Caps have had their way with teams and while the playoffs will not be like that I think other teams have to give them more respect than Umberger. Good teams do not need to be told what they have to work on.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 4, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Peerless Prog. has a really interesting analysis of how the Caps look heading into this postseason as compared to their last series.

Whether or not the Western Conference should beat anyone out of the East, the battles amongst the teams trying to stay in the playoffs are really interesting. Hmm the Flyers beat the Red Wings.Their playoff hopes are still alive. I'm trying to decide how I feel about that!

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

the Oilers of the 80's and the Pens of the 90's didn't win all their playoff games 6-5 or 5-4... they won their share of 2-1 and 3-2 games.

EVERYONE plays defense in the playoffs and goals are harder to come by. That means if you're already a low-scoring team in the regular season, it will be even tougher for you to score in the playoffs. God knows we've seen enough of that example throughout the history of this team.

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

joek443 makes a good point
also - why is there an expectation that the other 15 teams in the playoffs will somehow change their game but the caps will not?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 4, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Because we're the Caps! We get no respect.

Good points all. I like the Caps' chances.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm not complaining about the Caps. Defense is our weakness, that's no secret. Umberger was right about one thing...BB's system is high risk, high reward. I'll take it..we've got a good team right now. There's always room for improvements for any team.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 4, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, one thing about Umberger's comments: he says the West will beat us. Maybe. I've said all along that the biggest problems this post-season will be SJS, CHI or VAN. If we lose in the finals, I'll be disappointed, but getting to the finals is still a great season.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 4, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

But I will be reading into tomorrow’s game a bit more than these other “meaningless” games since Boston could be our first round opponent. I’m very curious to see how we’ll do... offense triumphs or defense triumphs?? Plus we haven't faced Rask yet who's the leader in Save % and GAA.

GO AVS tonight against the Sharks! The Avs win and we’ll have the Presidents Cup. There's one spot left in the West and the Avs will be very desperate to hang on to that 8th spot although Calgary did lose this afternoon.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

ahhhh trophy, trophy, trophy!!!! Presidents' Trophy!! Sorry!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I think it was Rocky III, when Rocky was hearing some negativity. Pauly said "Don't listen to 'em Rock". Apollo Creed countered "No, DO listen to them Rocky"!

I'm not saying Umberger is correct, but instead of getting all offended, show the skeptics up by winning the Cup! Unfortunately because of the years of playoff failure, the Caps will only gain the respect of the critics by hoisting Lord Stanley. Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | April 4, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, you can have all the defense in the world, but if you can't score goals, you won't win the game, or series for that matter. If I had to choose between a team with a strong offense OR defense, I'd choose the strongest offense with a moderate defense (which Caps have when they want to, although goaltending is still inconsistent).

Also, the game is still the same. It's not like all of a sudden, there are a bunch of new rules for the playoffs. If the Caps play like they can and listen to BB, they should be able to stroll through to the finals.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Umberger's point of view is a very legitimate one - doesn't mean he is right, but he certainly is not alone in such thinking. It is his willingness to deride another team openly - that is a bit out of the ordinary in the NHL world, a violation of protocol, so to speak ;-)

Kind of like Semin's "What's so special about Crosby" remark... Actually, what he said about Crosby wasn't nearly as bad in Russian as it came out in translation.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 4, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"The funniest part is that Columbus is a TERRIBLE defensive team. Third-worst in the league, I believe, even though they have a pretty good goalie in Mason.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 4, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

thats irrelevant though. They're not going to the playoffs as a top seed.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 4, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse"

------------------------

Huh? Irrelevant to what? I was talking about how Umberger shouldn't be saying anything about anyone else's bad defense when his own team's is atrocious. Whether he has a point or not, it's the pot calling the kettle black.

You know what else? The Caps have given up almost EXACTLY the same number of goals as the Penguins.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 4, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

But you know that saying "defense wins championships"... but I know what you're saying LloydChristmas. But "stroll" through to the finals? Please don't scare me but there isn't any "strolling" in the playoffs. It's all hard fought and very tough. Remember our two series last year? That was anything but "strolling." Although we are a better team this year, without a doubt.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Baby Gus is playing in his first game with the Bears tonight and has an assist already as the Bears are leading 2-0 over the Norfolk Admirals after 2 periods. And, rookie center Cody Eakin, playing in just his third game with the Bears has scored, his 2nd in three total games with the Bears. Both of these Centers demonstrate the depth that GMGM has added in recent drafts. Not sure if Baby Gus will be an NHL regular but Cody Eakin will definitely be an NHL regular as he has a lot of upside to his game.

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Now - two point for Anton Gustafsson in his first Bears game as he just assisted on the third period goal scored by Giroux.

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

More on Anton Gustafsson - he is wearing #19 with the Bears. Not sure why he is wearing this number as he will have to change it if he is to ever play with the Caps.

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Whatever their detractors may say, the Caps have do have an extraordinarily passionate fanbase.

Umberger sure raised a firestorm with his remarks.

I enjoyed Dan's debunking analysis of the "overrated" Caps on his bog. And I particularly took pleasure in Umberger's backing off of his comments as reported in the Dispatch's blog.

What I find most amusing is that I have no problem with his second statement. Of course the Caps aren't a shoe-in just because they won the Presidents' Trophy.

I think some of the posters today captured the correct sentiment with Umberger's first statement. He showed a complete lack of respect for what the Caps have achieved. Guess Stecks has emailed him a bunch (didn't realize that they were friends):

"I was just giving my opinion, that I wasn’t picking them to win the (Stanley) Cup just because they have the best record. The West has been great all year, and there are teams in the West I think can frustrate them and can compete with them.

But I could be wrong, and if they did (win the Cup), I would be extremely pumped for one of my good friends."

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@Capsyoungguns

Stecks and Umberger played college hockey together at Ohio State. I sure hope that Stecks set him straight!

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Like I care if Umberger is picking the Caps to win the Cup... my advice is to just stop talking, Umberger. We'll only have to play one west team, that'd be in the finals. I just don't get it, most of the Eastern Conference teams have bad records against the West teams, while we are tied for the best record with the Sabres.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/04/are_the_caps_overrated.html#comments

Dan has an interesting post up on the bog with many calculations.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The Bears held on to win tonight 3-2 over Norfolk. Perreault, Eakin and Giroux had the goals. Both Perreault and Gustafsson had two points.

Posted by: MReilly9 | April 4, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, it will be tough, only because they won't play Stellar and listen to their coach the whole series. But if they do listen, and leave it all out on the ice, they shouldn't have anyone in their way to the finals. I guess my point is, that it's up to them how far they want to go, they have the skill, they just need to keep that determination.

Also, to all the people saying the Presidents Trophy is a worthless feat, do you think Cindy (or any other Cap foe) wouldn't want to be in the Caps position right now 2 points away from clinching #1 in the regular season? Not a chance. It's a huge accomplishment and they've earned it.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

...not sure why I capitalized stellar...it's been a long weekend.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 4, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

@MReilly9

Have the Bears been taking lessons from the "big club"? That game sounds a lot like last night's Caps game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The Caps will have to clinch the Presidents' Trophy on their own. The Sharks are leading at the moment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

1984-85 oilers, 15-3 in the playoffs

1996-97 red wings, 16-4 in the playoffs

both teams swept two series outta the four, I think you can say those teams strolled thru the playoffs

I for one wouldn't be upset if they had 4 snoozers of series in the playoffs :)

Posted by: joek443 | April 4, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Simply, I am not worried about how the Caps are playing now as it relates to the playoffs. They know how they need to play to win. When they play their game, and they KNOW how to play that way, they are a force that is hard to stop.

They forecheck and pressure other teams into turnovers and goals/penalties.

Easy to say that if you take away turnovers, PPs, etc they will have trouble, but go ahead and do it to a team that is motivated.

Don't be fooled, this team is motivated to win and they will be tough to stop in the playoffs.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | April 4, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

@MReilly9

College buddies eh. I learn new things all the time--the NHL sure is a small world really. It's the fans who don't get along. LOL

@Joe443

Wow. I feel pretty good about the Caps chances but I don't expect a stroll in the park like those two teams.

@CTCapsPhan

Indeed I agree with you on the Caps being highly motivated. I do believe that their earlier playoff experience will serve them well. They know what they have to do.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | April 4, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

1984-85 oilers, 15-3 in the playoffs
1996-97 red wings, 16-4 in the playoffs

Not to mention both of those teams were offensive powerhouses and not known for very tight defensive systems. And how about this - a two-headed monster in goal for both of those teams in the regular season - Fuhr/Moog and Vernon/Osgood... I guess not having an obvious #1 in goal is not always a bad thing.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 4, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The Caps could be 20 hockey minutes away from their first president's trophy. Sharks are losing 3-2 after 2! Caps history is so close!

Posted by: washcaps | April 4, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The Caps could be 20 hockey minutes away from their first president's trophy. Sharks are losing 3-2 after 2! Caps history is so close!

Posted by: washcaps | April 4, 2010 9:44 PM

!!!!! ;) GO AVS!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 4, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Make it 4-2; Stasny scored for the Avs 20 secs into the 3rd.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

4-3. come on AVS!

Posted by: zyvo23 | April 4, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

All tied up - 5 min left

Posted by: washcaps | April 4, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Rob Blake viciously boarded Mueller and they didn't even call a penalty. Unbelievable...

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

The Avs should have had at least 5 min of PP time to finish the game and into OT, if necessary.

They did end up drawing a penalty right at the end of regulation so they'll be on the PP to start OT.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The Avs didn't even get a decent shot off on a 4-on-3.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

They made up for it.

The Avs win...

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

5-4 AVS! CAPS GET THE PRESIDENT'S TROPHY!!! YES!!

Posted by: washcaps | April 4, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

YES!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | April 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Presidents Trophy! Yes! Were Number 1 !!!

Thanks Avs

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 4, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Congrats guys.

Posted by: ludeman95 | April 4, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

When they didn't score on the 4-on-3, I thought the Sharks would seize momentum.

That was a pretty sweet deflection.

Posted by: tmac2yao | April 4, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | April 4, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd just as soon it came tomorrow night, but that's a great accomplishment. I don't mind making progress and everything, but honestly we need to win the Cup.

Posted by: Sonyask | April 4, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations on winning the President's Trophy, Caps!

(This is the year I've spent more time paying attention to the Western Conference. Usually, I root for Western Conference teams to knock off Caps rivals, such as Pittsburgh, NJ, Flyers, any hot team in the Southeast; etc.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 4, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like a moron who doesn't know that the point of the game is to outscore the other team...oh& get into the playoffs.

Congrats Caps! 1 banner to go!

Posted by: Rocc00 | April 5, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

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