Playing Well and Losing Again? Ugh: Pens beat Caps 4-3

Ovi Gregory Shamus

Photo: Gregory Shamus

I pity people who can’t get up for a Penguins-Capitals game. I know intellectually that these games last just as long as a normal game and they have all the same rules and stuff, but it always feels to me like more happens when the Pens and the Caps face off. Maybe I’m just saying that because I didn’t have to watch the last one live or recap it. And maybe that’s why I was so optimistic heading into Thursday’s faceoff in Pittsburgh. The Capitals seemed to have mended their game during five-on-five, and it’s not like Oates gives his fourth line and bottom D-pair enough ice time to ruin games.

Oh wait.

Brooks Laich puts some hard work in to a hang a shorty on the Penguins in the first period. Kris Letang tied it up at the halfway point with a four-on-two rush that deflected off Carlson’s and Backstrom’s sticks. Jason Chimera took the lead back by finishing off a great tic-tac-toe from Orlov and Johansson. Taylor Pyatt snapped us back to a tie a minute and a half later.

Alex Ovechkin exploited some chaos during four-on-four to rip home his 34th, but this game was incapable of being easy so Jussi Jokinen got a tap-in from the back door. The Penguins confounded the Caps in their own zone to get the lead with under two minutes left courtesy of Olli Maata. Ovi broke all of the sticks and it was over.

Pens beat Caps 4-3. 

  • The Capitals were pretty solid (except for the usual suspects). The Capitals had the puck a lot during evens, especially in the middle frame, and they put MAF through his paces at times.
  • In lieu of a replay, let’s use our words to praise the Jason Chimera goal. Things To Like About That One: i) Good ice for once, ii) Orlov reading the play, iii) Mojo’s perfect pass , iv) Chimera crashed the net. That version of the third line has been pretty bad, but that play is better than bad. It’s good.
  • After the Pyatt goal, Pierre McGuire said, “Anything you can do [awkward pause while he realizes he shouldn’t just say the Penguins are better in the first person], I can do [Awkward pause as everyone temporarily realizes that this is a professional broadcaster on a national network and they should be ashamed].”
  • Why did Caps management think Connor Carrick and John Erskine were ready for these assignments? Erskine, whose number-one job is to physically move guys out of the crease, did nothing to stop Taylor Pyatt from tying it up in the second. Wilson and Volpatti were also on the ice, so that’s 4/5ths of the very worst talent the Caps could offer. Plus Nick Backstrom, who had some really unfortunate deployments tonight.
  • Because yeah, Backstrom was also out for Jokinen gimme goal– which was made possible by some very Hersheyian defense by young Mr. Carrick. Work the phones, George!
  • Mike Green got busted for a Charmin soft trip on Evgeni Malkin. I’m not sure Green even touched the guy. That was a bad whsitle, but Malkin made everything even stephen with a marginal interference counter-hit on Brooks Laich a couple ticks later. Laich got a bit lippy with the Penguins bench after that, but it must not have  been too bad. Whenever he speaks, the audio drops out and I just hear “handsome handsome brooks brothers handsome rockingchaircarvedoutofasinglepieceofdriftwood handsome musky odor handsome.”
  • Alex Ovechkin looked like he enjoyed this one. He shared the ice with Crosby way more than I though he would, and he did pretty darn well with it. He even stole a Crosby pass at one point (yeah, I was watching it really close). After appearing to injure his leg at the end of the first, Ovechkin missed exactly zero shifts and eventually scored number 34 of the year during some four-on-four action in the third period. Here’s how your boy John Walton called it:
  •  I’ll keep this one short. I wanna know what you think and I don’t wanna prejudice you: Is Brooks Laich back?

No Joe B suit of the night because Dick Ebersol hates Joe B or something. I wouldn’t wear Doc Emrick’s suit to the pool.

Playing well and losing anyway? The Caps are the 2013 Leafs in reverse. No, really. The Caps played another good game and got burned. Why? The Pens got some lucky goals (Letang’s) and some skill ones (Maata’s). The Caps had a superb PK (shorty city) and made the Pens pay for going four-on-four (Ovi’s). Neither team had a convincing puck-possession advantage. A well played game against a great team.

The difference? Depth. Without Erskine’s statue impersonation, Carrick’s inexperience, and Volpatti’s purposelessness floating, this would’ve been a convincing win over the beast of the East.

This loss hurts, but the Caps can still become a good team.

The Caps can still become a good team.

The Caps can still become a good team.

  • Jack Conness

    This sucks. Played well, again. Lost, again. I don’t know what to say. Heartbreaking.

  • Owen Johnson

    Worst part about this loss; Milbury looks so smug and happy.

  • riggorules

    Well, that sucked … an undeserved loss, not a lot to complain about, just disheartening.

  • Matt Lauer

    This game is the perfect case-in-point as to why speed and puck control are so much more important than size. If Schmidt were in Erskine’s place, and – dare I say – Erat were in Volpatti’s place, this game would have been different.

  • Matt Lauer

    Also, might I add, killer game for Orlov.

  • riggorules

    When was the last time the fourth line scored? Is every 20th game too much to ask?

  • Bob

    Past two games we got a glimpse of how good this team can be but the mental lapses on D have just been too much. I felt bad for Nicky because he always plays well but he just had one of those nights. A couple things i noticed the pens do really well and i wish the caps could do are block shots and get a lot of traffic in front. That last goal they had 2 guys all over Neuvy.

  • James Desautels

    Ersk isnt doing well, but Schimdt isnt the answer either. Malkin would have danced around him or powered through him all night. The answer to this D depth problem we have is not on the Caps roster right now. But GMGM was at the BUFvTOR game (apparently) so perhaps he is making something happen.

  • Myan

    We played so well but a very disappointing result. Green & Orlov both played really well and Dima got unlucky on that 3rd tying goal. I thought Nicky and Grabo both had rough nights…just a lot of turnovers and misplayed passes. We can’t get discouraged though…we’ve played against two really great teams back to back and we gave them both a hell of a game. We deserve more than 1/4pts from the back to back but we’re playing the game that we need to playing and the Ws will come. Gotta have belief.

  • Jack Conness

    McPhee was at the Sabres game tonight. Any trade news? On anyone? We need another D-man ASAP. Help wanted.

  • Mark Gillis

    This one really stung. Can’t say much but to keep it up.

    At this point it seems like whatever D-man Erat could possibly bring back would be better than what the Caps currently have on that bottom pair.

  • riggorules

    I like the lines soooo much better with Laich-Brouwer apart, but Erat as an inexplicable scratch is still too bizarre to defend.

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    I read the phrase “even Stephen” in Locker’s voice.

  • Jack Conness

    I doubt we ever see Erat again. For some reason, Oates hates him. And that sucks.

  • Matt Lauer

    Oh I’m with you on that one. There’s probably been some toxicity there for a while.

  • Jay DeLancey

    even though Erat is exponentially better than volpatti, he isnt worth a penny if he is hurt

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    sad. i was sad.

  • Dave

    “Why did Caps management think Connor Carrick and John Erskine were ready for these assignments?”

    This. If there isn’t a trade before the deadline for a competent defenseman, I give up.

  • Graham Dumas

    Let the shoe-beatings commence!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Wayyyyyy better than last time!

  • Jack Conness

    Sucks to see all that talent go to waste.

  • riggorules

    So did Erat do something un-gentlemanly to Oates’s wife?

  • Matthew Kory

    I’m sure it’s mutual by now. Hard to say for sure without being in the room, but knowing what little I know, if I were Erat, I’d sure as heck hate Oates.

  • Bugs Fire

    Do you mean Sharks or last game against Pens?

  • Jay DeLancey

    this one burns more than the last one…

  • riggorules

    I’ll take a 50% Erat over a 100% Volpatti

  • Jay DeLancey

    soon you wont have to worry about a 50% Erat. i feel a trade coming soon

  • Bob

    Peter was it me or did it seem like we lost a lot of faceoffs tonight

  • salgotnv

    Erat for Miller. I think we want 4 goalies on the roster. You know, buddy system.

  • Matthew Kory

    The bus breaking down on the way to the game would’ve been better than last time. A spork to the eyes would’ve been better than last time. A piano to the nuts would’ve been better than last time. Getting kicked in the throat by a goat would’ve been better than last time.

  • Derek Eklund

    Mary Sue-overcome everything Pens strike again. Seriously, fuck that team.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Volpatti at wing. I just don’t get it. He doesn’t generate any shots, and when he’s in his own zone he just floats up high ineffectually.

    He’s like Ovi without talent.

  • Graham Dumas

    Also, and I am emphatically NOT criticizing Neuvy here, but dos this mean maybe we can get holtby back in net? Guy needs a break.

  • riggorules

    I hope so, otherwise it’s just for spite … or something

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Just checked; it was 51/49, but who knows how it broke down by zone.

  • Heidi

    Faceoffs were actually pretty even. We may have even won a few more than them.

  • Joey Waz

    There are few things in life I would like to do more than punch Milbury in the face. That and to make him explain his stint as GM of the NYI, which singlehandedly ruined an entire franchise. That’s something that requires and incredible lack of hockey knowledge. Explains how he ended up employed by NBC.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I really like Schmidt.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    If the Caps sign all the goalies, no one will be available to play for their opponents. It’s BRILLIANT

  • Sean

    Oates has you hypnotized they only add up points at the end of the season not good effort

  • Graham Dumas

    Who would you take off the Sabres D?

  • JenniferH

    And we’ll have a different goalie play EVERY game so our opponents will never know who to prepare for!

  • JenniferH

    Erm, a break he has had. ;)

  • Bob

    Ehrhoff

  • Sean

    Time to trade a goalie and some picks for a top four dman

  • James Desautels

    It makes me seriously question Oates every time I see 24 on the ice knowing we have several far better options in the press box or in Hershey or in some local D-3 program around DC. We played a pretty good game for 60 but got beat by a few bad deflections and our lack of anything resembling a 5-6 D pair or a D/Checking line. We are watching Oates turn Tom Wilson into Tie Domi when he has the skill to be John Leclair. I also cant reason why GMGM is ok with the ruining of a 1st rd pick. Which brings me to the Erat debacle. Ok he wants out…but if the players are all saying he is still working his butt off and wants to play each night then why arent we giving him top 6 minutes, or at least top 9, and letting him earn a decent trade return? It is the opposite of what we should be doing unless we want to watch him go put up 60pts and win a Cup somewhere else. And FINALLY-the goalie gate controversy…Grubi has been very good, but we have 2 very proven assets already, and we all know Holts is capable of carrying a team in April/May. There is NO WAY Holts is sitting each night enjoying his contract here and thinking about posting a shutout next time he gets the nod. I can see playing Neuvy a few here to build some trade interest, but if we dont get off this G carousel it wont matter if we make the playoffs with either a mentally deflated Holts or a raw Grubi facing a playoff hardy TB, DET, PHI rd 1. Soapbox over. Carry on friends.

  • Bugs Fire

    Nick Backstrom has exactly zero points in last three games. Being away from Ovie is not good for him.

  • Jay DeLancey

    please no!

  • Myan

    Why did you suggest that Brooks Laich is “back”? Are you trying to jinx it?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    until morale improves

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I merely asked!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Oh, just the last Pens game.

  • Bob

    Franson would be a nice get too from Toronto, wont happen but its fun to wish

  • Jay DeLancey

    trade them for what??? a chance at the Cup? this team has hardly a chance at the playoffs. we blew a top prospect last year. as much as i hate to say it, we need to clean up some of this mess before we start blowing out picks and prospects. GMGM is drying us up

  • Heidi

    I agree. I think Neuvy played pretty well tonight but it’s time for Holtby to play regularly. Lundqvist was struggling, he sat a few games, then he was put back in net consistently despite not always winning and he was just named star of the week. That’s what Holtby needs.

  • Freedoooom

    Grabovski only had 2 shot attempts…

    Surprisingly the 4th line was actually good.

  • Bob

    It was actually his best game in a long time

  • Nicole Lippy

    This may be my bias talking, or not, but can Oleksy please play again? Oh hey, and maybe that Nate Schmidt guy. That’d be nice.

  • Jack Conness

    I’m with you. It is tough seeing all this talent go to waste. Is it Oates’ fault? GMGM’s fault? I feel like the blame lies with both of them.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yeah, a little weird. He doesn’t take a lot of opportunities himself, but his linemates generate a ton. A bit like Mojo.

  • James Desautels

    Ovi-Grabo–Laich needs another look, thought they had very strong moments tonight. Nicky is setting up 16/20 very well but Brouwer has about as much finish lately as my grandfathers rocking chair. He rips high into glass seemingly every shot attempt.

  • Jay DeLancey

    #21 finally played a solid game. looked really really good tonight

  • Bugs Fire

    Can they play at this effort level against Columbus? Please?

  • Jack Conness

    Ovi without talent…that is a great comparison! LOL

  • Sean

    Well we have no need for three goalies and draft picks are a huge risk so we not add a piece that this team needs badly getting a proven commodity

  • James Desautels

    To be fair, Brooksy was skating hard tonight and was in on several key chances. He isnt afraid to shoot or crash with Ovi out there with him. It creates more chances for Ovi when you have to respect another shooter next to him. But agreed, lets keep this new development quiet for another game or 2.

  • Jack Conness

    I’m with ya. Steve-O needs to be in the lineup.

  • Matt Lauer

    Word. Puck control and skating. It’s all I care about now.

  • Jack Conness

    Brouwer is bringing down Backstrom. It seems like Brouwer is bringing down whoever he plays with.

  • Brian Thomas

    I’d like to see Wilson used more as well, but all this talk about him being turned into a goon is just stupid. To wit:

    http://www.csnwashington.com/hockey-washington-capitals/talk/does-tom-wilson-have-joe-thornton-potential

    “It may be a dangerous game to play, but Capitals coach Adam Oates doesn’t shy away from comparing Sharks captain Joe Thornton to Caps rookie Tom Wilson.

    And he points to Thornton’s rookie season in Boston as an example.

    “Boston treated him great, a little bit like what we’re doing with Willie,” Oates said after today’s morning skate. “They had him around because they felt he belonged in the NHL, which I agreed with.

    “They gave him sporadic minutes at times and more when they could and let him ease into the league. I think he’s a real good example. Excellent.”

    As an 18-year-old rookie with the Bruins in 1997-98, Thornton played in 55 games and averaged 8:05 in ice time. He finished that season with three goals, four assists, 19 penalty minutes and a minus-6 rating.”

  • Jack Conness

    Awesome traffic in front of the net for the Pens. I do envy that. The Caps need to do a lot more of that.

  • Jay DeLancey

    the only way it could work is if the player we trade for is under contract for a few extra seasons

  • elguapo

    Painful. Sit on the couch in the dark drinking the rest of the night painful.

  • Jack Conness

    Nicky is having a tough time without Ovi. Or he is just having a tough time with Brouwer. I’d like to see Wilson or Erat take Brouwer’s spot. I know we will never see that happen but hey, wishful thinking.

  • salgotnv

    As long there is .gif of ovi picking up his stick and scoar… *&^#$ I was hoping he would pull the same thing in the last ten seconds…

    time to load up NHL 14 and replay this game, sick willy baby on crosby and malkin, cry self to sleep

  • Matt Lauer

    My thinking (hoping, fanciful dreaming) is that Nicky will play with Kuznetsov *when* he comes over….. right……????

  • Hockey mom

    I’m biased, too and am pretty miffed about #61 being out!

  • Diller M

    Just got back from my post loss walk….. Don’t wanna think about the game….. How about the trade? Hendy to edm. And Scrivens to Edm for a third? Makes you wonder what we would get for Neuvy. This was very telling and helps me understand why there has been little trade talk.

  • OVECHKING

    About the ONLY thing that can make me happy about this season is MCPHEE GETTING FIRED. PLEASE!!!!!!!

    FFGMGM
    (FIRE FREAKING GEORGE MCPHEE)

  • Matt Lauer

    And the beat goes on…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    George McPhee will not be fired this season or this summer. #TheBank.

  • http://about.me/brittany.cheng Brittany Cheng

    Here’s a crazy idea. Why don’t we give Brouwer’s ice time to Wilson and see what he can do? If 20’s bringing down every other player…he can’t bring down Volpatti if he’s basically rock bottom…right?

  • OVECHKING

    why so negative? :(

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    If Oates wants to change up his lines, why won’t he break up those two?

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Or ever.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    GMGM is on the final year of his contract. Even if the Caps miss the playoffs, he won’t be fired.

  • OVECHKING

    I’m well aware of that. But if they lose another 5 games in a row, I’m sure something could happen.

  • Rob W.

    Nicky, Kuzy, and Ovi…we can only hope right?

  • http://about.me/brittany.cheng Brittany Cheng

    Looks like Volpatti shoots left while Wilson shoots right.

  • Jack Conness

    Haha I think that is more wishful thinking than what I had in mind! I’m thinking a little more like…

    Fehr – Backstrom – Ovi
    Kuzy – Grabo – Wilson
    Chimera – MoJo – Wardo
    Brouwer – Beagle – Laich

    Won’t happen but a man can dream.

  • Bugs Fire

    Neuvirth was solid. Which creates quite a conundrum. What Caps have now is seriously struggling presumed #1, well tested former presumed #1 who seems to be doing well under pressure, and boy wonder Grubauer. So if Neuvy gets traded, they are left with struggling #1 and rookie who may or may not collapse?

    The irony is that the best solution may be to trade Holtby. Strange.

    I wonder why is it such a bad idea to send Holtby down to Hershey? You know, so that he can get some practice somewhere.

  • Jack Conness

    I’ve been asking the same question forever. Oates loves Laich and Brouwer though and wants to play them in the top six. No idea why.

  • Matt Lauer

    I would say:

    Fehr – Grabo – Ovi
    Kuzya – Nicky – Vanek (see what I did there?)
    Chimera – MoJo – Laich
    Wardo – Wilson – Brouwer

  • Jack Conness

    Final year? Seriously? You think he walks?

  • Red

    Now THAT was a hockey game. Everything was great except for the result. However, this was the kind of hockey that doesn’t hinge on which team is victorious. Everybody walks away better people because they’ve just experienced a special moment of pure competition.

  • OVECHKING

    Preview of the Game.

    2 First ballot Hall of Famers vs 1 First ballot hall of famer.

    Team with 2 First ballot hall of famers wins.

    Team with one loses and his supporting cast, which includes a supposedly “elite” center is currently riding the worst 4 game stretch of overall play this season. Backstrom’s been terrible since being split away from Ovi, yet Ovi has finally been very productive at even strength without backstrom.

    All those people that said Ovechkin would sturggle without Backy couldn’t be more wrong. Getting away from Backstrom is the best thing that has happened to Ovi this year and hell even Majo has been playing better.

  • http://about.me/brittany.cheng Brittany Cheng

    And if Burakovsky can translate his game here, then get rid of someone’s inflated salary

  • Red

    As per usual, unbearable and excessive verbal fondling of Crosby by NBC announcers.
    Also, anyone catch that Beagle joke from Doc? We’re not the only ones having fun with that one.

  • Matt Lauer

    TRUTH.

  • JenniferH

    I have to admit I was greatly amused the Beagle joke.

  • OVECHKING

    When pierre started talking about crosby, I thought crosby found a cure cancer, then I found it that Crosby was just “breaking in his skates”

  • Bugs Fire

    To be fair they are not losing last few games in a manner that would “justify” major management decisions.

  • Nicole Lippy

    On a line together they aren’t very strong, no. But while Laich has had his issues, you saw flashes tonight of the player he still is. I don’t think it’s necessarily unreasonable to give him a little more time. Because honestly we don’t know how much the groin injury was affecting him that he didn’t admit to in the beginning of the season. However Brouwer is just confusing, it’s obvious that whatever he had last year isn’t there right now. A switch between Brouwer and Wilson would not go amiss.

  • Owen Johnson

    I don’t think Holtby’s contract allows him to go back to Hershey.

  • Bugs Fire

    To be fair, some adjustment is expected after line shuffle. Also, I don’t think we can blame Backstrom for lack of productivity with Brouwer/Laich.

  • Bugs Fire

    My personal favourite was the first period Pierre/Bylsma chat. Went something like this

    Pierre: Tell me, coach, why is your team so awesome?
    Bylsma: Well, we are awesome because we have such awesome Crosby and Malkin, so naturally everyone is awesome.

  • OVECHKING

    No, but we can all blame backstrom and Majo for holding ovi back at the beginning of the year at even strength. Ovi is finally finding his game in 5on5 and 4on4 situations and its definitely not a coincidence that its occurring without Nicky and Majo on his line. Majo has not surprised me one bit with his improved play. Finally playing the position he grew up and was drafted for. He has been good as 3C. If oates only used Erat…

  • Myan

    Yeah, I can see that but let’s not jinx it, shall we?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Didn’t say that. I’m just saying firing is really unlikely.

  • Barrett

    I pray to infant baby Jesus every night he gets replaced.

  • Myan

    Um. Let me clarify that I thought Laich looked better tonight than he has all season. Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well online but my original comment wasn’t even sarcastic.

  • Bugs Fire

    True. There is some evidence Backstrom is good for Ovie, but I never understood the rationale for MaJo to be the first line winger. Some misguided idea that Europeans play better when together?

  • Dave

    I was a little worried that Pierre might literally choke on Crosby’s balls and the EMTs wouldn’t be able to get “inside the glass” in time to give him the heimlich maneuver…

  • Red

    “After the Pyatt goal, Pierre McGuire said, “Anything you can do [awkward pause while he realizes he shouldn’t just say the Penguins are better in the first person], I can do [Awkward pause as everyone temporarily realizes that this is a professional broadcaster on a national network and they should be ashamed]”

    I shot beer out of my nose when I heard it. I shot tea out of my nose when I read it. Everything is wet now. Thanks.

  • Graham Dumas

    It may take a while. Did I mention I wear a size 13?

    Oh, and I exclusively wear ski boots.

  • Bugs Fire

    Barring some trade considerations and/or locker room issues unknown to us, Erat situation is getting beyond ridiculous. Unless he explicitly refuses to play on the fourth line (which I presume he cannot because he has a contract), he cannot be worse than Volpatti even if he plays blindfolded.

    How is this different from what Carlyle did to Grabo last year? It’s even worse because Grabovski was never a scratch.

  • Myan

    Did you enjoy that last game, Matthew?

  • Matthew Kory

    As a matter of fact, no, I did not!

  • Matthew Kory

    Don’t think you can call a player who has played less than three full games in the last month struggling.

  • Matthew Kory

    I shoot left too but I have no business playing in the NHL. That makes Volpatti and me twins!

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    How about Oleksy in and Erskine out?
    Or just Erskine out in general.

  • Matthew Kory

    Volpatti and I. (I think?) Sorry. I’m awful with the grammar.

  • Bugs Fire

    I want to be cautiously optimistic, I really do. And then the sad realization settles in that the optimism is about Caps making the playoffs. If they can sustain the effort level shown in last few games (minus Sabres loss), they can make the playoffs. But without serious lineup additions the playoff run will be short.

  • Andy Wallace

    Yeah seriously Backstrom has one down night and everyone rips him to shreds. He could be considered the best player on the team so we gotta cut him some slack

  • Andy Wallace

    Wilson can go back to Plymouth. If Laich can stay healthy I have no problem putting him on the second line. Of course Grabo seems to play well with just about anybody

  • Owen Johnson

    Who do we trade for Vanek?

  • Jonathan Kenny

    I hated seeing Matta score that GWG but one of the first things I thought after I cleared my head somewhat was, “The Caps don’t try to score goals in that fashion–by parking someone in front of the goalie and blocking his sightlines–enough.” Neuvy may have known it was coming but he couldn’t see the puck until it whizzed passed his head.

    Watching goals like that scored against the Caps, especially by the Pens, makes me cringe because the Caps, for whatever asinine reason, simply refuse to make screening the goalie part and parcel to their play (just ask Henrik Lundqvist). And it drives me fukking bananas as I’m forced to watch things like this demonstration of SKILL on their DEADLY power-play with 2 extra attackers…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFW-HES6b8g

    MIke Knuble, we hardly knew you…

  • Eric Schulz

    The amazing thing is, we used to have a great offense and a great team that was a contender, but GMGM hated that we had too much skill, so he let Semin (and others) go, and converted that to grit guys like Brouwer and Ward, and drafted Wilson (instead of a guy like Teravainen)… yet we score LESS dirty/screened goals then before. The playoffs are short, and fluky; there was nothing wrong with our system, we should’ve just kept at it and realized we were good enough to win it all, we just needed to get a bit of luck (or less bad luck). (Unless the system was playing a rookie in goal every year; that’s a bad system.)

  • Eric Schulz

    Without even making a trade, I’d just plug Alzner and Carlson at 1st pair, bring up Schmidt to pair him with Green for the 2nd (although Green has also played well with Orlov), and then you can have Orlov on the 3rd pair… I guess he’d be tethered to Erskine. Send Carrick back down (for Schmidt), and I feel much better. We need to upgrade on Erskine, but I don’t see how we do it; Neuvy is good, but I don’t see how he and Erat gets us back anything good. No rebuilding team would give up a top-4 defenseman for Neuvy, and NOBODY wants Erat, with his albatross of a contract. If only we had an uber-talented prospect we could throw in with Neuvy to make the deal work…

  • Eric Schulz

    Good effort results in wins much more often than bad play results in wins… I’d rather we play well 82 games than badly 82 games… so, I (and other smart fans) won’t lose our shit over one game that we lost due to unlucky breaks. Small sample size.

  • Eric Schulz

    Ovechkin’s still on the Caps, right?

  • Matt Lauer

    We give GMGM an opportunity to redeem himself and pull a rabbit out of his hat.

  • Eric Schulz

    I forgot, I’d have Oleksy with Orlov. I don’t like the lack of physicality from the bottom-4, but I’d rather have good defenders than bad defenders. We’d still need an upgrade, but we have better options than the 3 pairs we threw out tonight.

  • Roy Schue

    Fehr – Nicky – Ovie
    Chimera – Grabo – Ward
    Mojo – Laich – Wilson
    Beagle – Latta – Brouwer

    Cut Volpatti already and call up Latta. Would like Mojo on line 2 but him and Grabo together = not enough shots. I like Mojo’s speed on the wing rather than center but he is good in both positions. Bump Wilson up and give him a little more responsibility already, he deserves it and is ready. And perminately plant Brouwer on the 4th line where he belongs until his contract runs out.

  • Roy Schue

    Would have liked to put Erat in there but I fear that ship has sailed. Also would like a more complete player than Beagle but it is what is.

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s GMGM’s fault MUCH more than Oates’. We SHOULD have Forsberg developing in Sweden, with a lot of cap space with Erat not on our team. That move killed us. And we’d then have Neuvirth as a trade piece; with skilled prospects Kuznetsov, Forsberg, and Burakovsky, we could throw one of them into a deal with Neuvirth to get a top-4 defenseman. They aren’t generally available, but I think we could’ve had the pieces to make it happen; for instance, Buffalo is rebuilding, Myers is overpaid and regressing, you think they’d take a cheap, young starting NHL goalie in Neuvirth (with Miller gone next year, they could have a nice 1A/1B thing with Neuvy and Enroth), along with Forsberg (the 2nd or 3rd best player in the draft that year)? (We maybe would have to throw something else in, but that looks like the foundation of a trade that benefits both teams). I’d love it if we made a gamble like that. Instead, without Forsberg we don’t have the firepower for a blockbuster trade, and even if we did, we don’t have cap space (partially because Erat costs so much more than he should; also, we signed Ovie, Backstrom, Green, and Laich to dumb contracts. The first two are earning it, but the length is too long. I’d rather sign them to two separate long contracts, and have flexibility to adjust their pay at the end of the first, instead of one super-long contract. Maybe the cap goes up a lot and you end up saving little-to-no money, but if you are paying them the going rate anyway, why not have flexibility? We certainly don’t have them for a bargain.) Also, we have a lot of 2nd/3rd wingers; we could certainly move one out to open up room on the 2nd or 3rd line for Wilson, if we needed to; returning to my hypothetical trade, perhaps Neuvy, Forsberg, and Brouwer for Myers? Seems like we would be overpaying, but Myers is a young, big defenseman who won ROTY, even though he has regressed since. Really, I’d expect Buffalo wouldn’t want Brouwer and would rather have a guy like Sanford or Galiev, but it’s not like they couldn’t use him. Who knows, GMGM has made so many bad trades, it’s impossible to envision him making a smart one to address the needs of the team.

  • Roy Schue

    Steve-O in Erskin out

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    The Pens in one GIF http://i.imgur.com/qRo4TuJ.gif

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Drafting Tom Wilson was a good choice. He is gonna be like Simmonds on the PP. Wait till he gets up to top 6 and on the PP unit with the boys.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Brouwer was great last season. He is so lost without Ribiero. Bring Wilson up. Kid works hard every game.

  • Will Dobud

    Landed in Australia today at 11, the NBC games are on Aussie TV so I was excited to get home of the 1130am start for us. Thought we looked really good for the most part and that we controlled possession relatively ok. Pens got some weird goals fair enough but I am ready to actually win a game. I am tired of people telling us that GMGM stinks and for us to get tougher, it’s not how this team is designed and the lack of identity is our biggest problem. We aren’t HUNTER anymore and that’s ok. I don’t want more Brouwers (love Brouwer) or Laichs if that’s not our style of hockey. Ovi is flying, Grabo and Backi are flying… I loved seeing Erskine and Wilson fight the other night and I like that toughness but I don’t think adding more of that would help us here. I think goals…goals…

    It’s so so odd to me that we have a stellar powerplay but score no goals 5v5 (despite tonighy). Should we try more D (as most fans plead for) or go for actually scoring 4 goals a night and have a full attack? Not sure why a trade is taking this long but please play Erat or rid him…

  • Diller M

    There’s your problem… Gotta pray to adult Jesus. Hockey is too confusing for baby Jesus

  • Shaun Phillips

    Yeah I don’t understand Oleksy getting sent to the pressbox for an inexperienced kid against one of the top teams in the league (also, Erat…). We saw Carrick get manhandled in the preseason and we’re seeing it again. He’s too small for an NHL d-man; switch him to wing.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Not gonna happen. Vanek’s going to be in Minnesota with his buddies Suter and Parise.

  • Shaun Phillips

    And there goes 2 of the last possible destinations for trading a goalie (not that we should trade a goalie). GMGM missed his window for this back in November when goalie’s were dropping like flies.

  • Mark Gillis

    I think Holtby eventually takes back the crease somehow. It’s not that long ago he had a spectacualr month of November.

  • serpent

    You were correct the first time,hon.

  • Eric Schulz

    I just don’t see how Erat fits on the team. If we want him on the 3rd line, we have to bump down Ward or Chimera. I guess we could have Chimera on the 4th line to bump Volpatti out of the lineup… but Chimera isn’t playing badly enough to warrant a demotion (not that Erat has played badly either, in fairness). We just don’t really have a spot for him on the team, reason #3 that was a horrible, horrible trade.
    I’m not sure we need to switch Carrick, but yeah, I don’t see why we feel the need to play him in the NHL. We don’t need more small, finesse defenders… they can play in the NHL, and be very good, but he’s not at that level yet. I’m of the mind that, generally, there’s no need to rush guys into the NHL. We have enough NHL guys on the roster that we should be slow-playing our prospects (that includes Wilson; I don’t think it’s a disaster to have him playing few minutes in the NHL – it worked with Joe Thornton and Vinny Lecavalier – but I also don’t see that it helps that much).

  • Eric Schulz

    I was baffled by our picking up Volpatti; he’s simply not an NHL caliber player, and we shouldn’t be playing him. That being said, in fairness to him, he made at least one good play in that game (stealing the puck just outside the Pens’ offensive zone).

  • Eric Schulz

    Myers. We don’t have a lot of cap room…. maybe we will swing them Neuvy and some prospects (a 1st + Galiev + Sanford…?), and throw in Erat to free up cap room to make it work (and he could play on their 2nd line; he’s not a bad player – it just seems that way b/c of what we gave up for him and what he costs – we just don’t have a spot for him).

  • Eric Schulz

    I thought we should’ve grabbed Teravainen (and kept Forsberg). I also would’ve grabbed Erne this past offseason instead of Burakovsky. Stylistically, Erne would replace Wilson, and Teravainen would replace Burakovsky… that’s an upgrade at BOTH spots…. and I thought that at the time (thought we should’ve taken Teravainen, without knowing that we would be able to get Erne the next year). So, I’m watching with that in mind.
    That being said, they certainly weren’t *bad* picks… I thought letting Semin go was monumentally stupid; acquiring Brouwer wasn’t (he was great last year, I don’t expect him to produce like that, but he should be better than he has been this year), and Ward’s pickup wasn’t bad (his contract isn’t great, but it’s not awful), and drafting Wilson wasn’t stupid, my point was just that we are adding grit and ignoring skill (obviously you want to add both; not easy, but you shouldn’t ignore either), and we aren’t even scoring dirty goals.
    More importantly… WHY HAVEN’T WE ADDED GRIT ON THE BLUELINE? That’s where we need it.

  • Eric Schulz

    I like Johansson on the wing there because he’s a good complementary player for that line since he does a lot well. It also gets him a lot of playing time. Most importantly, who else would you put up there? The way Brouwer and Laich are playing, we can’t justify them there… I’d say Fehr, but no who the hell plays on Grabovski’s wing? I like the depth we create with a top-9 of
    Johansson – Backstrom – Ovie
    Fehr – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Chimera – Laich – Ward
    Beagle and Wilson make 2/3rds of a nice 4th. I guess I would bump Chimera down to the 4th and have Erat replace him. I hate, hate, HATE that trade, but it’s done now, and using him allows us to have a legit 4th (sucks to give Chimera less playing time, but getting Volpatti out of the lineup is the opposite of sucks, and we could roll all four lines if our 4th is Chimera – Beagle – Wilson). Would also at least consider the possibility of throwing Brouwer into a trade to be able to move Wilson up (whether he jumps into 2nd line, or just moves up and pushes either 3rd line wing to 2nd, any scenario works). I like Brouwer (despite his play this season), but if we put together a package for a top-4 defender, being able to throw Brouwer into it b/c of that could help it happen (I’d think the package has Neuvy as the centerpiece… between 1-3 prospects that aren’t Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, or Schimdt… probably Galiev, maybe Sanford also… and Erat and/or Brouwer are expendable. Those two plus Neuvy may *have* to be in the trade anyway to make room on our cap for a player, since anybody who would fit under the cap for us wouldn’t be available; no team would trade a top-4 defender that is on an ELC).

  • Eric Schulz

    Seriously? (about Beagle) I mean, he’s a 4th liner. It’s hard to get 4th liners who can do that much (really, maybe impossible; if they are cheap enough to put on 4th line, they aren’t great, or are rookies/on ELCs, in which case leave them in minors if they are gonna get 4th line minutes). If we had 3 Beagles on the 4th, I think that’d be just fine, the problem is not having good enough wingers (one in particular… the other should probably be in the minors, but he’s a legit 4th liner).

  • Eric Schulz

    Fehr – Backstrom – Ovie makes our lines way too top-heavy, IMO. I’d go:
    Johansson – Backstrom – Ovie
    Fehr – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Erat – Laich – Ward
    Chimera – Beagle – Wilson…
    Seems to me that Chimera should be on the 4th line, but I don’t see how to make it work, so I’d rather have him making a really good 4th liner (we can now roll 4… we could with yours too, but not Oates’). You could also put Erat on top line, have Johansson centering the 3rd, and move Laich to the wing (some people have said Johansson looks much better at center; I like him on the top line, I think he does a lot of things well, but I could be wrong, maybe he should be at center). We could also think about putting Laich on the top line (when healthy, he does a great job of driving the net, screening the goalie, and scoring dirty goals, so he’d fit well there… he hasn’t shown a lot recently before last night, but if you think he’s starting to get things going, maybe), so just flipping he and Johansson. Also, Brouwer could flip spots with Erat… I feel like having him on the 2nd makes us deeper, but it’s harder to do that with the way he’s played this year. If he could regain last year’s form, we’d be set. Really, I just wish we’d stick to a lineup; I think Oates maybe takes too much shit, but I haven’t been a big fan of most of his lineups, so I don’t hate when he changes it… he just hasn’t changed it to anything that I really like, yet. There’s like 4 or 5 combinations (of all 4 lines) that I wouldn’t mind… he hasn’t rolled any of them out yet. I’d like to see any of them, and then continuity with them.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Brouwer is more likely to get promoted for no reason than be demoted a line, let alone two. The man crush Oates has on him is very perplexing.

  • Rhino40

    Ow.

  • Eddie

    I thought the same – the Caps put forth a good effort last night but didn’t have the winning goal to show for it. If they can hang with the Pens like they did last night against any other team, they can win games. This year’s not down the toilet yet.

  • TWilly43

    I’m a lurker and I really enjoy the blog. I live in the NE and really have noone to vent to so here it goes:
    This isn’t about just last night which was disappointing but my general feelings about the organization. This team has 0 chance at winning the cup as presently constructed and has had 0 chance at winning the cup (maybe there it had a shot the year we lost to the pens and they went onto win it) since McMoron took over. I will never, EVER, forgive him for wasting a generational talent like Ovi. What an incredible waste (not counting 98% renewels of course). For the life of me I can’t understand how this guy has a job, any job. He is utterly pathetic. Almost as pathetic as the owner who has no balls to find someone who can actually get the job done. Actually forget about getting the job done (i.e. Cup), how about someone that can actually improve the team from year to year and not just tread water.
    So a big FU to McPhee, you sack of sht. I wish I could just flip a switch and not care but I can’t. As long as this guy is running the show, there is literaly no hope. He’ll get canned the moment Ovi is not the dominant force and unable to carry the team and it will be too late.
    Alright, I feel better now.

  • Diller M

    I wonder if we can unload neuvy on buffalo once miller is shipped out, or perhaps NYI. All I know is a third rounder for scrivens who has been great this year means that Neuvy is likely to get a third or fourth. Which would be awful. But this is the mess that AO and GMGM have created with this retarted carousel

  • Diller M

    I think it is perfectly OK to lose your shit after a loss (espicially to the Penguins). As long as you can find it later

  • Diller M

    UGH…mental image of oleksy stapling his sack to the inside of his thigh…..

  • Rhino40

    I think you’ve just touched one reason why we are having problems:
    Not enough Finns.

    Out of the 12 teams that occupy the top three spots in each of the four NHL Divisions, only four (MTL, STL, LAK, and the Caps) have no Finns on their rosters :
    Team: # Of Finns on Roster (as of 1/16/2014)
    BOS: 1
    TB: 2
    MTL: 0
    PIT: 2
    PHI: 1
    WAS: 0
    CHI: 1
    STL: 0
    COL: 1
    ANA: 3
    SJS: 1
    LAK: 0

    What could all this mean?

    Of course, I’m not going to go all post hoc ergo propter hoc here, but out of the 4 Finn-less teams, the Habs kind of don’t count because…reasons (“est que il est un Francophoe?” “Oui.” “Ensuite, nous avons de lui faire signer tout de suite!!”). Also, the Kings get a pass, I guess, since they have in Anze Kopitar the only Slovenian player to crack an NHL roster to-date.

    And of those with the most? TB has been far from an ‘easy out’ lately, the Ducks are one of the top teams in all the West, and…do I have to say it? Pittsburgh…

    That leaves just us and the Blues to be in the upper echelons of our respective divisions without either Finns or a good excuse for not having them.

    Moreover, not only do the Caps have no Finns on the roster; they have none in their entire system: None in Hershey, none in Reading, and none in the “currently playing sokmewhere else” category (e.g. Kuznetsov), either.

    In point of fact, no player from Finland has cracked a Caps roster since Miika Elomo and the (undistinguished) Sami Lepisto in the ’08-’09 season.

    Why? Did some random exchange student give GMGM a stinky glove in high school? Did another steal his girlfirend in college? Or did he make assumptions based on Esa Tikkanen missing the open net in the Caps’ only SCF appearance–assumptions that have persisted to this very day??

    Inquiring Minds Want To Know….

  • Owen Johnson

    Well according to Milbury and Jones’ (wrong) analysis, his fight with Ray Emery got in his head. And because of that he started to suck… a month after that fight.

  • Rhino40

    As long as we’re on the subject of fantasy gets from TOR: I have long wanted to get Phaneuf in a Caps sweater…but now he’s a Leaf 4ever…

  • Shaun Phillips

    I’d put Erat in the top 6 on the wing. Bump Mojo down to 3C, Laich on 4, scratch Volpatti.

    While I agree small defenders can work, they have to generally be elite in their other skill sets. I just think Carrick is TOO small (5’10 180, not that he hasn’t heard that all his life) to be NHL-caliber. However, I think with his passing and speed, he’d be a fantastic winger.

  • Ryan Odell

    Excellent dig on Doc’s suit. Hahaha.

  • Rhino40

    In in return for making this happen, I want one milllllllion dollars….

  • Rhino40

    One problem, though: There are 29 other teams–assuming a #1 plus one backup, that’s 58 goatlenders (sic.) added to the Caps roster…but doesn’t either the NHL rulebook or the CBA limit roster to 50 players under contract?
    Oh well. I guess that just proves that hinking things through…RUINS EVERYTHING!

  • Roy Schue

    I’m not saying Beagle is bad, just one dimensional. He plays a solid defensive game but doesn’t have a lick of offensive ability or toughness. It would be nice to see a flash of offense here and there or even add a little bit of a physical presence to his game. But maybe I just got spoiled by Hendricks.

  • JenniferH

    And their idiocy shines through once again. D’oh.

  • Bugs Fire

    Question is whether they will bring the same effort level to Columbus. In my mind, this is really a decisive moment of the season (not that they will win the Cup or have deep run in the playoffs, we are talking about making playoffs at all). Either they take momentum from two losing but valiant efforts against top-notch teams and bring it to the ice every night, or they go back to indifference of the Buffalo games.

    I am not turning off the TV either way. But I hope that this Pittsdurgh game will play the same role as another one goal loss to Pens did last year. They went 0.833 for the remaining 18 games of that season.

  • Bugs Fire

    There must be a “fire McPhee” blog there somewhere by now… Or maybe RMNB could have a sticky thread for this. You are right in your criticism, of course, but the GM is here to stay. It may ease the pain to just focus on occassional brilliance of this team and nearly permanent brilliance of its most powerful asset(s). This is not much different from life in general – it sucks most of the time but one gets to enjoy rare happy moments. Like the Ovie’s goal this time or the shorty of yes I am saying this Brooks Laich. (Almost seemed like he is hesitant whether he has the heaven’s permission to score).

  • Bugs Fire

    Don’t get me wrong, Johansson is a good player. The main issue with him in my mind is that he seems to play within “pass-to-8″ system while on the first line. The eight is great, but this Ovie-first system is trivial for the opposition to defend against. Notice the difference when Ovie played with Grabo and Fehr. We suddenly discovered that Ovie can pass and I think it would be only a matter of time before he would himself see even better numbers. Primarily because opponents could no longer send two-three guys targeting Ovechkin at all times.

    Alas, Fehr was almost immediately replaced by Laich (seriously?) out of misplaced concern that he will overshadow Ovechkin. a) This was not going to happen because Fehr is awesome but Ovie is even more so and b) this is complete disrespect to us fans because it assumes we are too dumb to appreciate Ovie’s playmaking abilities and all we want is more goals from him.

    MaJo can still be effective on the first line, I was just commenting that he seemed to be an absolutely fixed component of it. Which has no clear rationale. He may be better as 3C actually and develop into something resembling Grabo.

  • JoeA

    Wow, if GMs could only use hindsight when negotiating contracts, you’d be the best GM in all the land.

  • JoeA

    What has Wilson done to prove that he can handle top 6 minutes – other than having the potential?

  • JoeA

    Wardo does not belong on the 4th line. Brouwer does not belong on the fourth line. Vanek is a pipe dream.

    In order to get someone of value, you have to give away someone of value. If Vanek would could cost the Caps someone like Alzner or Orlov would you still make the trade?

  • Matt Lauer

    The point of the lines is not so much to create a 1st-2nd-3rd-4th line setup per se, just to unite individual skill strengths. The first line is aggressive and quick; the second line works well in tight spaces; the third line has great straight-line skating speed; the 4th line has lots of size and puck-possession potential.

    As for Vanek, I do agree that he is a stretch, but I’m not so sure that he’s a pipe dream. He is on the last year of his contract, the Islanders almost surely won’t make the playoffs, and I think that he could be had for some draft picks and a throwaway player. I wouldn’t trade Orlov or Alzner.

  • Eric Schulz

    I swear I replied to that already. Not sure what happened to my post.
    Essentially, I said that I’d take Teravainen over Burakovsky, definitively, and Erne over Wilson, not quite as definitively but it’s still not a question. So, I think we will lament the wasted opportunities to have those 2 guys. However, we shouldn’t regret the guys we DID get; I think they’ll be good, I just think they won’t be AS GOOD as the two I mentioned. I’m much, much, much more pissed about giving up on Forsberg. Having him was a great luxury to have; I’m not sure what he’ll turn into, but he could fall well short of his ceiling and still be a better player than Erat. Even more importantly (especially on this team), he would be way, way cheaper.
    Really, I think GMGM is good at drafting (even though I disagreed about those 2, overall he’s solid at worst), and I, of course, hope it will turn out I’m wrong. But his decisions outside of the draft are atrocious, and I understand taking Wilson over Teravainen because you want some grit to go along with Forsberg’s skill. But with Forsberg gone, I’d certainly love to have some more skill, something that is highlighted when you realize Ward is our 2nd leading goal scorer. I think Teravainen could be a 20-25-45 guy this year, even, so it’s not even like he wouldn’t help us THIS year, but even if I’m wrong and he’s not yet NHL-ready, we need to add more skill, and I don’t see how we can do that outside of the draft, with so many horrible contracts (Erat kind of broke the camel’s back: not only was his contract WAY too much, but the guy we gave away for him was 3 year’s worth of top-6 or at least 3rd line talent on a rookie contract). I’m really hating this team right now, and I really wish I could cheer for somebody else.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yes, that was kind of my point about Carrick. I was just saying, there’s no reason to give up on him developing that “elite in other skill sets” requirement… he should be working at it in the… AHL? I think he’s still a CHL guy, but I seem to recall hearing AHL, so… w/e, point made.

  • Eric Schulz

    See, I like Laich on the 3rd line.. to me, he fills that 3rd line shutdown guy role very well (you know, if he can play like he used to; I’m hoping it’s just a health issue), and he played rather well with Chimera and Ward before. I also think Johansson is kind of a nice fill-in-the-blanks guy on that 1st line with Ovie and Backstrom.
    I don’t know, maybe now I bump Brouwer down… he SHOULD be a top-6 guy, or at least a very, very good 3rd liner, but he hasn’t played well enough this season to earn that, so…
    Erat – Backstrom – Ovie
    Fehr – Grabovski – Ward
    Chimera – Johansson – Wilson
    Laich – Beagle – Brouwer

    I’d like to see Laich in a top-9 role, Brouwer ditto… Chimera would probably have to be one of two players bumped down when those two guys earn it, but until they do… that looks worth a shot, to me.

  • Eric Schulz

    I just don’t see how Johansson could do anything on the 3rd, since we have nobody to put on his wing who’d help him out offensively. I mean, Brouwer and Laich are guys who SHOULD be legit 2nd liners, so as 3rd liners, they’d be a very nice luxuries (with Ovie/Backstrom as 2/3rds of the 1st line, Grabo/Fehr as 2/3rds of the 2nd), but they really aren’t playing like it right now (Brouwer was on pace for something like 33-22–55 last year, and Laich is a 25-30-55 guy when healthy, but he’s been nicked up; not sure about Brouwer, but he was good less than a year ago, so it’s not unreasonable to expect him to rebound). After almost a week, I’ve reconsidered and now think we should stick with that J-O-B top line, but just have Ward on the other spot with Grabovski and Fehr. Then, Wilson on the 3rd… with perhaps Erat, Laich, Chimera, Brouwer… with the odd men out pushed down to

    4th with Beagle. Perhaps you can swap Erat with Johansson if you want Johansson to play center on the 3rd, but I’d rather have Laich there with Erat and Wilson, then just ask them to provide defense, toughness, and forechecking, to hopefully take some pressure off of them, and if/when they start to get it going, you still have a 4th line capable of that with Chimera – Beagle – Brouwer, and now we have all 4 lines rolling.

  • Eric Schulz

    Or if they had access to my thought process WHEN IT HAPPENED. This isn’t hindsight on my part, it’s merely my thought process from that time. It simply hasn’t changed because I’ve been proven correct.