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Capitals 5, Hurricanes 1

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Staff photo by Jason Arthurs

RALEIGH — Washington's Alexander Semin tormented the Canes again. The forward, the NHL scoring leader, had two goals and three assists as the Capitals ripped the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 at the RBC Center.

The Caps (9-4-2), the Southeast Division leaders, moved two points ahead of the Canes (8-5-2), who have lost the last two games and three of the last four.

"It's not a matter of systems or any design out there," Canes forward Scott Walker said. "You
have to want the puck more than they do, you have to want to get back before they get back, you have to want to get on the forecheck.

"We're just not getting it done. It's not one guy; it's everybody. We're all a step behind. It's unacceptable. We have to take a pretty long look in the mirror at ourselves."

The line of Semin, Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom combined for 12 points. Ovechkin had a goal and two assists, and Backstrom scored his first goal of the season and had three assists.

"You can tell the potential they have when they're on the top of their game," Caps coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think all three of them were on top of their game tonight."

Goals by Alexander Ovechkin, who had two assists, and Semin gave the Caps a 2-0 lead in the first before Walker scored for the Canes.

"It was really good to get Ovie a goal early," Boudreau said. "I think that really pumped the line up."

Semin picked off a Tim Gleason pass near the blue line and fed Ovechkin on a 2-on-1 rush for a 1-0 lead at 5:11 of the first period. Semin then scored his 12th goal of the season at 10:32 for the 2-0 lead.

The Canes answered on the power play to make it 2-1. Joni Pitkanen, back in the lineup from the knee injury, was wide left on a shot, but Walker picked up the puck on the carom off the boards and beat goalie Brent Johnson.

After a hooking penalty on the Canes' Ryan Bayda, Caps defenseman Mike Green hammered a shot past Canes goalie Michael Leighton at 14:25 for a 3-1 lead.

The Canes had 1:18 of a two-man advantage late in the first, but Eric Staal twice missed on shots with an open net. In the final seconds of the period, Johnson made a big save on Bayda to preserve the lead.

Johnson was injured on the play -- an apparent groin injury. Jose Theodore replaced him and made a big save early in the second against Staal. Theodore had 13 saves.

Semin, who has goals against the Canes in six straight games, added a second-period goal to make it 4-1.

"We gave them the first four goals," Canes coach Peter Laviolette said. "We didn't play very well after that. Once it got to that point, we didn't compete very well. It seemed like the juice just left and we just started running around, not doing much of anything."

Forward Patrick Eaves and defenseman Josef Melichar are scratches for the Canes. Among the Caps' scratches: Sergei Fedorov.

The Caps were 2-4-1 on the road this season. ... Semin at plus-13 led the NHL coming into the game.


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Heave Ho on The Violet

This is 3 years in a row now. As a STH that nearly did not renew, I am steamed now. That cycle on offense is a travesty and The Lavender needs to go. What about the punishment- often cheap shots- dished out in our building that are never responded to even when it involves our goalie??? To the rest of the NHL, we are the Candy Canes- Other teams know it and use our arena to get well. That is coaching. No effort, no coaching. Pretty soon, no fans.

The sign on the wall

as they go out the locker room door ought to read..60 minutes of Hockey!...20 minutes at a time, Or Else !
That's motivational isn't it ?

Go Canes ! Please ???

Look on the bright side....

....the miserable performances have made life much easier on the RBC parking manager.

Blame all around

I think not one area/person can be blamed for the teams uninspired play. It is a combination of pretty much everything that has been mentioned here. The players are not big enough to play a physical game, not skilled enough ( as a whole) to play a skill game. The coach has not motivated the players, and the players don't seem to have a self starter ignition switch. Lavi is not making adjustments to the game plan to best utilize who they have, but I did think last nights lines were the best he can do with what he has. They just need a different approach to the game plan.
On Eric Staal. Wasn't he touted as a Ronnie Francis typle player when drafted? They even made sure Staal made the team his draft year so he could learn from Francis on the ice.
Yet Eric doesn't seem to know what type of player he should be. He is not a gifted scorer, but he's not really following in the Francis mold either. Eric, like Ronnie can score goals for sure, but he really should be focusing on helping his team win, not his goal drought. Win some face-offs, set up some teammates, hit someone- whatever.
A lot of Canes fans want to make him the scapegoat, but the uninspired play is a product from the top down.
Rutherford for signing the players, coaches for not drawing up a game plan that works with the players available, and the players for not putting out the effort. You'd think the players would be sick of telling the media how ineffective they are. Good on them for being honest, but are they not sick of telling the world that they suck?

Can someone please tell me

Can someone please tell me why we have such a hard time getting people in front of the net? Every other team in the NHL can do that and it happened last night when a caps defensemen blocked Leighton's view and they scored!!!! Why can't we do that?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I've noticed that too. We've had plenty of rebounds for a second shot but NOBODY"S ever there. Maybe the team needs to watch videos of other teams working in front of the net.


This team had better be embarassed. Laviollette preaches a soft brand of hockey and Rutherford has stacked our team with small, non-physical players. The result is uninspired, lackluster, boring games.

Laviollette will be gone by Thanksgiving. JR is a permanent fixture. Hopefully, he recoginzes the error of his ways and calls up or picks up some guys who actually understand that hockey is a contact sport.


I think another problem is that they are not practicing enough. Ever since they stopped skating on game day and having random days off they don't know how to work anymore. They are lazy on the ice and don't communicate with each other. I agree that we all need time off, but practices are the time to work on what the team is having problems with (i.e. power plays, penalty kills, scoring in general, turning over the puck to the other team and faceoffs...Eric Staal). I just don't see any of that happening.

Good point about the

Good point about the practice schedule.  The idea of scrapping the morning skates was supposed to lead to more energy at gametime, but if anything, there's been less energy than last season.  In the era of guaranteed contracts, players should have to earn things like days off from practice, or ice time for that matter.

My family attended the

My family attended the Stanley Cup celebration at the RBC. Laviolette had just completed the final season of his contract, and his future was in limbo. My kids made a sign that read "Lavi, Please Stay!" Three seasons later, I hate to say it, but perhaps it is time for a sign that reads "Lavi, Please Go!" This team is playing the most uninspired hockey to date. Perhaps they need an immediate coaching change (a la the Capitals' firing Hanlon in favor of Boudreau) because fans have been subjected to the same abysmal, inconsistent efforts for three seasons now.

Aside from a very few players (i.e,. Walker, Ruutu, Bayda, and Sutter), this team appears disinterested in playing up to their potential. For whatever reason, Rod is not leading by example, and he should relinquish his role as captain. He had his time to lead, and it appears that ship has sailed. Staal is a mere shell of himself these days. I am tired of watching this team self-destruct--especially at home. We know the talent is there, but why aren't they tapping into it? I loved reading Sutter's comment about hitting Semin. This kid has it figured out. You can't allow a guy like Semin to have free reign on the ice. Are most of our veterans just biding their time?

Tim Gleason was on XM radio the other day, lamenting that some of our games have been lightly attended. Well, what does he expect? If the players don't show up, why should the fans?

A bit of an overreation?

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and Laviolette can't make a Cup contender out of this bunch.  Yes, they're soft, but that's the kind of players JR signs.  People called Cole a "one trick pony," but that one trick made people pay attention.  Now anyone defending Stall's line only has to worry about Staal. 

Brind'Amour is struggling coming off the injury.  When the Canes got him from Philly he was coming off an injury and struggled then as well.  Hopefully he'll right the ship, but he is 38.  Stripping the C would be ridiculous and turn the room into a 3 ring circus. 

Laviolette will go, but he'll be coaching again within a year.  He's a good coach, but any coach needs speed, skill and strength to win.  The Canes only have 1 of the three.

Game over at the 5 on 3

Staal's whiffs collectively took the air out of the building.

Game was over right there. Everything followed from that.

Our $8M man MUST convert those chances.

Also, Boudreau mentioned that it was "good to get Ovie a goal early". You bet. Number #8 gets fired up on goals and the team gets fired up. Not so with the Canes this year. They get up a goal, and they sit back (although that didn't happen last night, since they were never up). What's up with that?

Still waiting to see the Canes put away a team this year. Frankly, they are lucky to be alive in the standings so far.

Snoozefest Part 2

I think I understand the plan. The idea being executed in the last two home games is to lull to sleep all of the people who paid a lot of money to watch these games. That way they will not realize that they have been conned. Great therapy for those of us who do not get the chance to get a full 8 hours sleep each night.

The players and the coaches should donate their salaries to a charity as they sure as hell don't deserve it.

Laviolette has obviously run out of ideas. Time for a change.

The clock is ticking...

I still hope that Peter can turn this around, but I think his time's running out. With several of our injured players back now, I think he's got about two weeks to inspire some effort and intensity in these guys. Rutherford waited too long to let Mo go in '03-04, and it cost us the playoffs that year. He won't make the same mistake this year to risk missing the playoffs for a third straight season. With the state of the economy and fan support waning, time is money for the organization. I really do like Peter, so I hope we start seeing some signs of life soon.


Lidstrom is the HOFer from Detroit, Nic Backstrom plays for the Caps. Nick Nolte could have scored for the Caps tonight.

Lavi will soon be gone!

And I've been his biggest fan. But ain't no way JR is gonna put up with another Dec-Jan like last season and the Canes show no hope for improvement under this system - or lack thereof.

Last week I said he'd have three weks to turn it around. Now I'm not sure he'll make it through the weelend.

Somethings gotta give

we got whipped and outplayed 5-1...and the Rats lost tonite too 5-3...heck even the lethbridge canes are now down 1-0 in the middle of the 1st...Zack is skating his heart too, but they be playing spokane chiefs...

Go Somebody !!


Vdotu beat me to it. What the heck were you watching? When you give the hottest player in the NHL and the best scorer in the NHL 2 on 1s and open looks you are going to go down hard. Leighton didn't show much, but he was SOL all night. That was a horrible performance at home against their main division rival. That's the kind of game that can get a coach fired.

At this point I would say Laviolette is in a heap of trouble. Tom Rowe wasn't brought up as an assistant just to give Hondo head coaching experience.

Blame game

Went to the game and it was obvious from the start that Ward should have started. Leighton looked totally lost out there. If he would have put Ward in at the 10 minute mark of period 1, I think the game would have been different. Leighton was just flailing at the pucks and was always a 1/2 second behind.
We really matched them through the 1st period, regardless of the goalie play.. and when Leighton let the dribbler through in the second, it was over.
I'm putting the blame on the coach for this one. I assume he was trying to make a point after one bad game.. but it just made it worse.

Thank you for your honesty

I watched the game and truly had hoped at the start that the decision (which is made by the coach) to put Leighton in for this game even after Ward had a bad game on Sunday but had 4 days off was a good call on his part. It wasn't....Leighton as you said looked uncomfortable, got lucky when the puck hit him a couple times and he had time to try and figure out where the rebound went. I think he is a good goalie but he isn't the Canes #1 - Cam is. We needed to let Cam win this one with the team and get into the groove.


Hopefully, the next game is better and the Canes find the desire they had during the cup run. Most of all I hope all of them find the joy of playing the sport again because truly that is what it looks like is missing. Where or who took that - I don't know.

you have got to be kidding

you have got to be kidding me. What game were you watching? The Goaltender is not the difference on this team.

 Lavi needs to change his coaching quickly - 2 more games, or he is gone.


here is my prediction

if the team does not get it turned around by the end of november, the following happens.

1.  coach is fired.  i like him but something is wrong.

2.  new coach will come close to killing some players with grueling practices. 

3.  cam is traded or demoted and new goalie is hired.

4.  the season is over. forget the playoffs.

5.  major player movements in the off season.

6.  start rebuilding with new (cheap) players

7.  esteban will be put in charge of other stupid people.

Gee Guppyman45

I made the bottom of your list...! And here we are now approaching the first quarter of the season or it is here...and I do see the possibilites of what you listed...but me in coach of something or a group ? Naw been there...done that...They won the memorial cup last year ! hehehe...Besides how many coach from behind the bench in power chair you know of ?


grant you I may not be the most knowledgeable fan here, but win or lose I'm a fan...have a good week end Guppyman !


Go Canes !!

Something is wrong?

"1. coach is fired. i like him but something is wrong."

Sure, something is wrong. This team is full of 3rd and 4th line forwards!  Staal, Whitney and Brind'Amour are the only legit top 6 forwards on the team. 

Samsonov?  OMG is this guy bad.  I love to watch him dangle in the neutral zone and turn a 2 on 2 to a 2 on 4. 

Ruutu?  I like his effort, but he really makes you wish that Justin Williams was back.

LaRose and Bayda?  Low skill bangers.  Nice effort, but 4th line material. 

Rutherford has put together this mess, but Laviolette will pay the price.  I guess it's what he has to do.  What else can Rutherford do at this point? 


I disagree pretty much across the board.  Samsonov is not playing horrible.  He keeps generating chances.  Ruutu has impressed me as much as anyone on this team.  Bayda has been one of our better players to start the season.

I like Ruutu.  He's just

I like Ruutu.  He's just not skilled enough to be a top 6 forward.  I think a third line of Cullen-Walker-Ruutu would be great. 

Bayda is a good guy and works hard, but doesn't have the skill necessary to be a top 6 forward. 

We'll have to disagree about Samsonov.  I think his performance over the past 3 or 4 years speaks for itself.  Other than handle the puck what can he do?  Is he fast?  No.  Is he strong on the boards?  No.   Does he have a good shot?  No.  Is he good defensively?  No.  I'm glad you like him.  He'll be here for 3 years.

Lavi and who's responsible for the poor performance

I think Lavi gets this season; but unless there is a turn around this season, next season I'd prefer Rowe as the head coach. The Capitals showed the Hurricanes tonight what happens when a truly talented team is well-coached. Losing three out of four at home is totally unacceptable. Ultimately, the coach is responsible, rightly or wrongly, for the overall performance of the team. There is simply no excuse for the Hurricanes being out-worked on a consistent basis. In the end, the head coach of an NHL team is held accountable for the effort the lack of effort of the team. The Hurricanes are being out-worked, out-hit, out-shot, and out-hustled. That's a formula for a miserable season and a new head coach.

Lots of Chances

Lots of chances for both teams, but only the Caps best players can convert.


Looks like they are gonna phone in the 3rd period.  I hope I am wrong, but they looked like they had nothin after that 4th goal by the Caps

Hey Caniacs, remember

Hey Caniacs,

remember when we used to be proud of the 60 minute effort our team gave?  


yeah me neither it has been awhile.

I'd be happy with 30 minutes

I'd be happy with 30 minutes right about now...

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About the blogger

A Raleigh native, Chip has worked at the N&O since 1979 and is the Canes beat writer. He can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter at @ice_chip.