September 14, 2014

What went wrong with the Washington Capitals, Part 3: the Players

It’s playoff season and though there is still hockey to be played, the Washington Capitals are playing golf.

To discover what went wrong this season, we’ve already looked at general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates, but now it’s time to look at the guys who actually lace of the skates and take to the ice, the players.

Alex Ovechkin led the league this season with 51 goals and yet has come under incredible scrutiny for the Caps’ failure to reach the playoffs. He is the undisputed leader of this team and as he goes, so go the Caps.

Since the Caps have failed to win a Cup and even failed to make the playoffs this season, Ovechkin must shoulder most of the blame, right?

While Ovechkin does deserve some of the blame, to say the team is incapable of winning with him is a gross oversimplification of the team’s struggles.

Despite his 50 goals this season, Ovechkin had a -35, the third-worst +/- in the NHL. Though an imperfect statistic, it reflects a serious problem he had this season, namely that more goals are scored against the Caps at even-strength when Ovechkin was on the ice than the Caps scored..

This does not take into consideration his linemates atrocious shooting percentage, or his coach’s choice of linemates on any particular evening.

Here’s the thing, as a team the Caps had the seventh worst +/- in the NHL with -21. They scored only 139 goals at even-strength and allowed 155 (their five shorthanded goals and 10 allowed make up the difference to -21).

The entire team was terrible at even-strength this season.

The only reason Ovechkin was able to lead the league in scoring was because the Caps excelled on the power play. Twenty-four of his 51 goals were scored with the extra man.

The fact that the entire team suffered at even-strength leads me to believe that the problem is not all due to a specific player, but to the team’s coaching and roster.

In the 2009-10 season, Ovechkin was a +45 and had 50 goals. The Caps also had two other 30-goal scorers in Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. Mike Knuble was only one goal shy with 29. This season, no other player on the team other than Ovechkin reached the 30 goals.

No team can depend solely on one player for all of its offense or they are left with what we saw this season: 51 goals, no playoffs.

This leads to a lot of unfair (and lazy) analysis of the captain. Clips of him ‘giving up’ on the backend have been replayed ad nauseam by analysts such as Mike Milbury to show how he doesn’t play the game the “right way”, or doesn’t show effort, etc, etc. That’s just plain wrong.

For every clip of a bad defensive play, there’s another clip of him putting the team on his shoulders. People like to point to the April game against Dallas and say he doesn’t show any effort, but in doing so they ignore games like December’s contest against Tampa Bay in which he scored four goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and lead the team to a shootout victory.

This notion that some people have that the Caps are somehow incapable of winning with Ovechkin is also a fallacy. If Ovechkin were to hit the trade market today, 29 teams would be scrambling to see how they could fit him under the salary cap. If Ovechkin ‘incapable’ of winning a Cup, teams would turn their backs.

That of course would not be the case because the notion that Ovechkin can’t win a Cup is hyperbolic nonsense.

Ovechkin is an elite talent who has not yet had the right coach or team around him to win a Stanley Cup. Many will scoff at that, but you cannot oversimplify a championship. It’s very easy to say he’s a great player and therefore should have won a Cup, but that seriously underestimates how difficult winning a Cup can be. Ovechkin is only a part of the equation.

If you want to argue that did not show great leadership this season, fine. As long as he’s wearing the C on his chest, he MUST do a better job defensively. The team feeds off of his energy and when he doesn’t go at full-speed at both ends of the ice it can be frustrating, especially during a season like this one in which the Caps struggled to get the puck out of their own zone.

As for who played well offensively, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and Jason Chimera all had career seasons. Brouwer scored a career-high 25 goals, but like Ovechkin far too much of his production (12 goals) came on the power play. It’s great that he scored 25 goals, but if the Caps were middle-of-the-pack in terms of the power play, Brouwer’s numbers would have been much lower and suddenly his season wouldn’t look as good.

The only players who seemed to do well this season at even-strength were those in the third line, namely Ward and Chimera as the line’s center often changed. These two played fantastic together all season long and will likely remain together next season. Even Oates couldn’t mess this line up.

Defensively, it is hard to fairly judge the play of many of the team’s players given how young and/or inexperienced many of them were. Being in a position where the team needed to ask several players to do more than they were ready for is yet another reflection on the coach and general manager.

John Carlson and Karl Alzner are the team’s top two defensemen by far. Carlson comes with much of the offensive skill of Mike Green, without the defensive deficiencies. Alzner is the team’s best stay-at-home defenseman.

As a pairing, they’re good, but not great. They certainly won’t make anyone’s short list for the best defensive pairings in the NHL. Even so, their play this season was not something that held this team back.

There are two players, however, who did stand out for having a rough season: Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov.

This is one of those cases where the statistics and the eye test do not match up at all. Green and Orlov had the highest and second highest Corsi rating on the team. For a Caps team that struggled so much in terms of possession and production, having a duo like these two can be a major boon…on paper.

Anyone who watched these two, however, cringed every time they touched the ice as a horrendous turnover or ill-advised penalty never seemed far behind.

Remember that game I mentioned earlier against Tampa Bay? The one in which Ovechkin scored four goals to erase a 3-0 deficit? Part of the reason the team was down 3-0 was because Green took four minor penalties and a 10 minute misconduct…in the first period.

Green was tied for the most minor penalties on the team this season. We used to look past how terrible he was defensively because of how well he produced offensively, but that’s not the case anymore. In 70 games, he recorded only 38 points and was supplanted on the top power play unit by Carlson.

Green made $6 million this season and will make $6.25 million next season in the final year of his contract. He is clearly not worth such a high price to the Caps anymore. With big changes possibly on the horizon, he may find himself on the trading block.

As for Orlov, the time has come for him to decide whether he’s going to be a top-four defenseman in the NHL or not. He’s certainly capable of it, but he’s rapidly reaching the ‘put up or shut up’ point.

Oates handled Orlov poorly to start the season giving him the yo-yo treatment between Washington and Hershey, but when he did finally make it on the ice, his decision making was so questionable, you sometimes forgot this was not his first stint with the Caps.

There was no more egregious example of this than the Caps’ game on March 2 against the Flyers.

Orlov scored two goals and the Caps enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period when he took an unbelievably stupid and egregious penalty on Brayden Schenn.

He was hit with a five-minute major penalty and a two-game suspension. The Flyers came back to win the game in overtime 5-4. With the Caps in desperate need of points, Orlov lost this game for his team. Add that to the multitude of turnovers and stupid plays we saw all season and you really begin to wonder the Caps have anyone behind Carlson and Alzner the team can trust on the blue line.

The Caps struggles on defense were further highlighted by the team’s carousel in net. Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and Jaroslav Halak all took the reins as the Caps’ top netminder at some point over the season with Michal Neuvirth contributing several starts as well.

It’s been well documented that Oates and goalie coach Olaf Kolzig attempted to re-tool their strategy in net by having the goalies play deeper in the crease. The merits of such a change are debatable. There are advantages to this system just as there are advantages to a more aggressive style; it really comes down to your own philosophy.

Holtby struggled more with this change than any other goalie on the team. This comes as no surprise given his aggressive style of play. Eventually, Kolzig shifted tactics to allow him to take advantage of his natural instincts, but by then the season was half over and he had failed to assert himself as the team’s top goalie.

Philipp Grubauer did for a time, but was young, overused and, when Neuvirth was healthy again, under-practiced.

Then there was Halak.

Halak had a .930 save percentage and 2.31 goals against average with the Caps and yet finished with a record of only 5-4-3, failing to vault the Caps back into playoff position. Why? Because goaltending really wasn’t the problem.

Holtby’s struggles, Neuvirth’s inconsistences and Grubauer’s breaking down were all exasperated by the Caps’ defense. Even though Halak played well, it ultimately didn’t matter because he wasn’t fixing the team’s major problem.

So before you give up on Holtby or Grubauer, remember that their struggles in net looked far worse than they actually were because of the defenders they had around them. Holtby and Grubauer should be the team’s two goalies next season and you should feel comfortable with that, provided the defense improves.

Ultimately, the conclusion you should all be reaching by now at the end of third of three articles analyzing the team’s season is that McPhee didn’t do enough this season to build a championship roster, Oates constantly failed to put his team in the best position to win and the players didn’t play well enough on the ice. Each problem contributed to make the others worse until the season became a jumbled mess.

Given all of that, is it really that surprising that the Caps didn’t make the playoffs?

Washington Capitals Game 29 Recap: Capitals smash Predators 5-2, Schmidt gets first NHL goal

Nate Schmidt with the puck commemorating his first career NHL goal. (Photo courtesy Katie Brown/District Sports Page)

Nate Schmidt with the puck commemorating his first career NHL goal. (Photo courtesy of Katie Brown/District Sports Page)

Saturday night, the 18th all-time meeting between the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators, proved to contain a few milestones for the home team, who won by a score of 5-2.

Troy Brouwer, scoreless in his last 11 games, with only 5 points in the entire month of November, broke through and scored early in the first period to give the Caps a 1-0 lead. [Read more...]

CAPS: Happy Birthday, Karl Alzner


The Washington Capitals Defenseman was born on 09/24/1988 in Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Follow Alzner on Twitter and wish #27 a happy birthday.

Karl Alzner - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Karl Alzner – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Karl Alzner -Practice April 27 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Karl Alzner -Practice April 27 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Capitals Karl Alzner and young patient showing off matching Weagle tattoos at Children's Hospital Feb. 27 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Capitals Karl Alzner and young patient showing off matching Weagle tattoos at Children’s Hospital Feb. 27 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)





Washington Capitals Media Day Audio

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

Thursday was the Washington Capitals annual media day, where all the players were made available to tell the media they were in the best shape of their lives (except, of course, for Brooks Laich, who left practice with a strained hip flexor) and that they are looking forward this season to competing for the Stanley Cup.

Below you can find the raw audio from many of the Caps players from media day today. In addition, this season once again courtesy of Sky Kerstein, District Sports Page will have the largest online library of raw audio from Caps practices, games and postgame press conferences.


09-12-13 Alex Ovechkin Practice RAW

09-12-13 Brooks Laich Practice RAW

09-12-13 Karl Alzner Practice RAW

09-12-13 Mike Green Practice RAW

09-12-13 Nicklas Backstrom Practice RAW

09-12-13 Steve Oleksy Practice RAW

09-12-13 Troy Brouwer Practice RAW

Washington Capitals re-sign Karl Alzner to four-year extension

Karl Alzner's playoff beard in May 2011 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Karl Alzner’s playoff beard in May 2011 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday they have re-signed defenseman Karl Alzner to a four-year deal at $2.8 million per year. Alzner, a stay-at-home defenseman, had one goal and four assists in 48 games last season. The Capitals now have Alzner and John Carlson locked up until 2017 for a combined $6.76 million cap hit per season.

According to the indispensable, the Caps now have a little over $5.6 million under the cap this season, with Marcus Johansson the lone remaining RFA to be re-signed.

GM George McPhee, in a team-released statement, said, “We are very pleased to sign Karl Alzner to a contract extension. Karl is just entering his prime and has been a model of consistency for our organization since he entered the League. He plays tough and valuable minutes against some of the NHL’s top players every game.”

McPhee, head coach Adam Oates, and Alzner are expected to be made available to the media today and District Sports Page will have more when available.

Press Release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Karl Alzner to a four-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Alzner will earn $2.8 million per year from 2013-14 through the 2016-17 season. 

“We are very pleased to sign Karl Alzner to a contract extension,” said McPhee. “Karl is just entering his prime and has been a model of consistency for our organization since he entered the League. He plays tough and valuable minutes against some of the NHL’s top players every game.”

Alzner, 24, recorded one goal and four assists in 48 games during the 2012-13 season. He ranked third on the Capitals in average ice time per game (20:57) and finished ranked second in blocked shots (85). Last season marked the third consecutive campaign in which Alzner appeared in every Capitals game (including the playoffs), joining John Carlson as the only two players to appear in every Capitals contest since the 2010-11 season.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, native has collected 44 points (5 goals, 39 assists) and a plus-17 plus/minus rating in 263 career NHL games. Alzner ranks tied for seventh in games played among his 2007 draft class and has ranked in Washington’s top-3 in blocked shots each of the past three seasons. The defenseman has recorded one goal and four assists in 31 career NHL playoff games with Washington and ranked in the Capitals’ top-5 in average time on ice in each of the past three postseasons.

From 2008 through 2010, Alzner appeared in 103 AHL games with the Hershey Bears, collecting 41 points (seven goals, 34 assists) and a plus-57 rating while helping lead the team to the 2010 Calder Cup championship.

A two-time gold medalist at the IIHF World Junior Championship with Canada, Alzner captained the Canadian team in 2007-08 and was named one of the team’s top three players by the coaching staff. Alzner also represented Canada in the 2007 Canada/Russia Super Series and played for the WHL team in the 2006 Canada-Russia Challenge.

The 6’3”, 215-pound blueliner collected 117 points (19 goals, 98 assists) in 260 games with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL) from 2004-2008 and was named the WHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year in 2007-08.

Alzner was drafted by Washington in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Washington Capitals End-of-Season Roundtable, Part V: How would you rate the defense?

With the conclusion of Washington Capitals season, too early yet again, it’s time for appreciation, evaluation and critique. In this seven part series, the Caps staff at District Sports Page, and a few friends, will be taking an in-depth look at what went right, what could be better, suggest some changes and grade out the team position-by-position.

Our panel: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief of DSP; Abram Fox, Caps Team Editor of DSP; Katie Brown, Caps Beat Writer for DSP; Sky Kerstein, 106.7 The Fan and DSP contributor; Ted Starkey, and DSP contributor, Adam Vingan,; and Harry Hawkings,

PART I: What was the Capitals’ biggest accomplishment this season?

PART II: What was your biggest disappointment about the Caps this season?

PART III: What single adjustment would you advocate for next season?

PART IV: How would you rate the offense this season?

PART V: How would you rate the defense this season?

DAVE: D. I thought, pretty clearly, the blueline was the Caps’ biggest problem this season. In the very beginning everyone was a liability, including the normally stalwart Karl Alzner. I don’t know if it was adjusting to Adam Oates’ system, or the layoff from the lockout (remember, not a single member of the defensive corps played competitively during the lockout), but until about 25 games in, everyone was just getting in each others’ way, pucks were bouncing off skates into their own goal almost every night, and breakouts died in the neutral zone because no one knew what to do with the puck.

When Mike Green came back from his yearly injury absence, things got much, much better, but that because there was nowhere else to go. Green ended up leading the NHL defensemen in goals scored, but teams still keyed their forecheck on clobbering Green any chance they could. John Carlson ended up in the top five in the league in blocked shots, but according to most of the fan base he should have been a candidate to be sent back to the minors early in the season. Pundits wondered for a while, without irony, if Carlson did indeed peak in juniors. Alzner rebounded from his slow start to put together another solid defensive season and even insinuated himself in the play more often this season, and was tied for third on the in shots on goal in the playoffs. Not that Karl being third on the team in shots on goal is a good thing.

The others? A hodgepodge of has-beens, journeymen and never-weres. Tom Poti proved to the team — and probably the league — that his career has come to an unceremonious conclusion. John Erskine enjoyed something of a renaissance, but was completely exposed during the playoffs. Roman Hamrlik, employed by the Caps for a good chunk of the season, was sent packing to sit in the press box at Madison Square Garden instead of Verizon Center. The #fancystat folks loved Jack Hillen’s contribution, but it was really hard to see that translate to success on the ice, and his lack of physical stature left him open to punishment. Steve Oleksy provided some depth, but he’s a career minor league journeyman for a reason, and those reasons were evident if willing to look for them.

Dmitri Orlov and Tomas Kundratek were banished to Hershey, and for the life of me I don’t understand why, especially in Orlov’s case. But both should see plenty of time with the Caps next season.

About the only thing that was legitimately encouraging on defense this season is that Jeff Schultz, finally, took his proper place in the press box after about mid-way through the season. I fully expect the Caps to try to trade the 6’6″ liability, if not simply buy him out under the amnesty clause in the CBA.

ABRAM: 6/10. The defense gets the same rating as the offense, even though they weren’t as good, because Washington’s D corps was working with much less talent. Steven Olesky, a career minor-leaguer, became a stalwart on the back line, and Jack Hillen and John Erskine both earned a great deal more ice time than a putative playoff team would prefer. The Caps were in the bottom half of the league allowing 2.71 goals/game, and allowed a deflating 32.3 shots/game. In the playoffs the defense made a marked improvement, cutting the scoring down to 2.29 goals/game, and limited shots as well, cutting that number down to 29.3/game, fifth best in the league (though it should be noted that five of the top eight teams in that stat were also eliminated in the first round). Notably, the team’s penalty kill stepped it up in the playoffs, finishing the playoffs with a 92.9% kill rate after ending the regular season in the bottom of the league at 77.9%.

KATIE: Aside from Mike Green, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, the blue line was not stellar this season. John Erskine, who signed a contract extension this year, seemed a step or two behind or looked lost for as many times as he blocked a shot or jumped in the crease to save a flying puck. Jack Hillen rebounded from injury and proved to be reliable, and Steven Oleksy, called up from Hershey earlier in the season, provided an inspirational story and a little bit of grit. Overall, the defense wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either, so mediocre with flashes of brilliance should sum it up.


TED:B. Defensively, the Capitals are thinnest, with the top two of Mike Green and Karl Alzner being reliable, but John Carlson was wildly inconsistent this season. John Erskine and Jack Hillen weren’t really the answer, either. While Dmitry Orlov was in Hershey, the bottom end of the Capitals’ defense was part of the breakdown in the series against the Rangers.

ADAM: I’m not sure if I can simply give an entire defensive corps a grade, but I was impressed by the team’s depth. Twelve defensemen played over the course of the regular season, which at one point was a league-high. Karl Alzner and John Carlson continued to grow, while Mike Green looked like his old self again near the end of the season. Jack Hillen was solid when he wasn’t injured, and Tomas Kundratek, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling and Steven Oleksy proved that the Capitals’ blue line pipeline is strong.

HARRY: I give the defense a B-minus this year.  Mike Green, Karl Alzner, Steve Oleksy (seriously) and John Carlson all had good seasons individually but the bottom half of the defense, like Jack Hillen, John Erskine, Tom Poti, and Jeff Schultz were all inconsistent or downright bad.  The Capitals’ d-zone play never looked right all season; it seemed as though they were running around constantly and their penalty kill was 27th in the NHL at 77.9% and showed little improvement through the season.  In short, there was always an issue with the defense despite the solid play of some individuals, and unlike the offense, it didn’t get noticeably better as the year progressed.

Washington Capitals Friday Practice Update: Oates, Alzner, Erskine

ARLINGTON, VA–The Washington Capitals held one last practice today before they head out on a three-game road trip that could decide the season.

Eric Fehr (upper body) skated for about 10 minutes before practice, but came off the ice.

John Erskine (upper body), Tomas Kundratek (lower body) & Tom Poti (upper body) all skated today.

Erskine said, “I don’t think I’m ready to play a game yet, but I think I’m getting closer.”

He still hopes to play this weekend or Tuesday.

Capitals Head Coach Adam Oates said Erskine is going on the trip.  They aren’t sure about Tomas Kundratek and Tom Poti isn’t going on the trip.  Eric Fehr isn’t going on the trip to start, will skate at KCI and if he feels good could meet them in Carolina.

Jack Hillen (illness) was back on the ice today after not skating yesterday.

Caps forward lines today: Johansson-Backstrom-Ovi, Laich-Ribeiro-Brouwer, Chimera-Perreault-Ward, Volpatti-Hendricks-Beagle-Wolski

Ovechkin (stitches in chin) left practice early, but Oates says it’s nothing and that he asked to come off early and already got a good sweat in.

Oates said he hasn’t decided who will be in net tomorrow, but did say Braden Holtby & Michal Neuvirth will split the weekend between Buffalo and Philadelphia.

Listen here to what Adam Oates, Karl Alzner & John Erskine had to say following practice today.

Adam Oates Practice Audio

03-29-13 Adam Oates Practice RAW

Karl Alzner Practice Audio

03-29-13 Karl Alzner Practice RAW

John Erskine Practice Audio

03-29-13 John Erskine Practice RAW

PHOTOS: Washington Capitals Practice, March 28

Dave and I are back in DC for a visit so we went over to Kettler Iceplex on Thursday, March 28 to watch the Washington Capitals practice. The last time we saw the Caps on the ice in person was in September before the lockout. We’re looking forward to seeing a few games at Verizon Center in the next couple of weeks!

There was a scary moment when Alex Ovechkin left the ice after catching a puck with his chin. He didn’t return to practice and tweeted photos from the doctor’s office before and after the 22 stitches. Ouch.

Here are a handful of photos from practice. It was great to take hockey photos again! As always, please feel free to comment on the post. I really appreciate feedback. Thanks.

This is what hockey fans do on their spring break! - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

This is what hockey fans do on their spring break! – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)


[Read more...]

Washington Capitals Game 19 Postgame Audio: Oates, Ovechkin, Grubauer & more

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

The Washington Capitals were dominated by the Philadelphia Flyers on the road one night after playing perhaps their best game of the season in Tuesday’s shutout of Carolina. Head coach Adam Oates said it was apparent his team didn’t have the jump to compete, for whatever reason.

“We had a terrible start. The first shift and then down quick, playing against a team that needs it as bad as us and we had no answer for them.”

“It’s our first bad game in while and I think it was all of us and we looked a little tired,” Oates continued. “We didn’t have enough fight to fight back through them. I think it’s a little bit of the produce with the league right now because of the lockout with scheduling. Teams are tired. We will chalk it up to that and find ways to work on stuff.”

For Oates’ full comments, along with those of Alex Ovechkin, Phillipp Grubauer (who made his NHL debut with 14-of-14 saves) and the rest, please click the links below.

02-27-13 Adam Oates Postgame RAW

02-27-13 Alex Ovechkin Postgame RAW

02-27-13 Philipp Grubauer Postgame RAW

02-27-13 Braden Holtby Postgame RAW

02-27-13 Joel Ward Postgame RAW

02-27-13 Karl Alzner Postgame RAW


Washington Capitals Re-Sign Holtby & Erskine; Brouwer goes off as Caps prepare for Canes

ARLINGTON, VA–Crazy day today in Arlington as the Washington Capitals re-signed goalie Braden Holtby and defenseman John Erskine to two-year deals as they prepare for the return of Alexander Semin and the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow.

Braden Holtby, 23, signed a two-year contract extension worth $3.7 million.  Holtby has has played in eleven games this season, has a  5-6-0 record with a 3.37 GAA and a .896 Save pct. plus one shut out.  Holtby had a 1.95 GAA, .935 save pct. in the playoffs last season.  Holtby will start his seventh game in a row tomorrow night.

“Just trying to do it ahead of time,”  Capitals General Manager George McPhee said.  “We all believe there is a lot of upside there, good young goalie.”

John Erskine, 32, signed a two-year contract extension worth $3.925 million.  Erskine has played in eleven games this season and has one goal and one assist.  This is John Erskine’s eleventh NHL season and has been playing with John Carlson for the majority of the year.

“I thought he should’ve played more last year,”  McPhee said on Erskine.  “Unfortunately he didn’t.”

The veteran defenseman is very happy with his current role.

“Things have worked out this season and I’m glad to be here a couple more years,”  Erskine said.

If that wasn’t enough, forward Troy Brouwer went off on Alexander Semin and the system they played under Bruce Boudreau.

“Some nights you didn’t even know if he was gonna come to the rink,”  Brouwer said on Semin.

On playing under Bruce Boudreau, Brouwer said, “It was very laxidasical…kind of guys were able to do whatever they pleased. There wasn’t a whole lot of accountability and then when we had a little bit of trouble and there needed to be accountability it wasn’t received exactly with open arms, I’ll say.”

Brouwer does though enjoy playing under Adam Oates, “Everyone’s still accountable. Everyone has to do their job, but he’s letting guys play the way that makes them successful.”

Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin says he still talks to Semin once a week and wishes he was still playing here.

“Yeah. Of course. He’s great player, good guy, but you know it’s a business.”

On the injury front…Mike Green (groin) says he’s “100 percent” and ready to go for tomorrow.

Marcus Johansson (upper body) is still not ready to go.  “Marcus is progressing,”  McPhee said.  “We’ll see how he is the next few days.”

Nicklas Backstrom (sick) missed practice today and went to go see the doctor.   “A little under the weather, we’ll see how he is tomorrow morning,”  McPhee said.

Jason Chimera (lower body) left practice early today.  “Nothing major, should be fine. Just being careful,”  McPhee said.

Brooks Laich (groin) hasn’t skated in nine days.  McPhee says he is “concerned about it” and has his “fingers crossed”.  McPhee added that Laich’s current treatment that he is on takes two weeks.

McPhee said “we’ll see” if they’ll need to make a recall tomorrow and added that “it’s already been discussed and what we might do if we need to recall”.

The Caps forward lines today looked like Chimera-Ribeiro-Ovechkin, Fehr-Johansson-Brouwer, Wolski-Perreault-Ward, Hendricks-Beagle-Crabb.

Oates said we could see Michal Neuvirth in net on Wednesday in Philadelphia on the second game of a back-to-back.

Listen here to what George McPhee, Adam Oates, Troy Brouwer, Braden Holtby, John Erskine, Mike Green, Karl Alzner, Alex Ovechkin & Michal Neuvirth.

George McPhee Practice Audio

02-25-13 George McPhee Presser RAW

Adam Oates Practice Audio

02-25-13 Adam Oates Practice RAW

Troy Brouwer Practice Audio

02-25-13 Troy Brouwer Practice RAW

Braden Holtby Practice Audio

02-25-13 Braden Holtby Practice RAW

John Erskine Practice Audio

02-25-13 John Erskine Practice RAW

Mike Green Practice Audio

02-25-13 Mike Green Practice RAW

Karl Alzner Practice Audio

02-25-13 Karl Alzner Practice RAW

Alex Ovechkin Practice Audio

02-25-13 Alex Ovechkin Practice RAW

Michal Neuvirth Practice Audio

02-25-13 Michal Neuvirth Practice RAW


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