Friday, November 2, 2007

Chat with Tarik!

Great chat with Tarik on the Washington Post website. He really does a great job covering the Caps and always provides good anseres for the fans. Onething adressed breifly that I'm wondering: since Erskine can't skate and Schultz is afriad to hit where has Eminger been? Is he really still hurt?

A few choice bits:

Alexandria, Va.: Are the Caps underachieving or is this record realistic of what to expect from the team this year?
Tarik El-Bashir: I would say "underachieving" would be too strong a word. Should they have a couple more wins at this point, yes. Should they have forced a few more games to OT, yes. If they don't go on a bit of run when the injured players return, then maybe you can break out the "underachieving" label. Are the Caps underachieving or is this record realistic of what to expect from the team this year?

Yes! Bingo! There's a lot of doom-and-gloom surrounding the Caps at this point in the season and there shouldn't be. With the injuries they've had they could be doing a bit better but it's not fair to say they're failing already.

20008: At the risk of stating the obvious, in the salary cap era no one can lose
three top players and keep on tickin'. Imagine if Carolina lost Staal, Stillman
and Kaberle all at once.
Tarik El-Bashir: Bingo. I know Hanlon and his players say injuries aren't an excuse. But that's what they have to say. They are missing 70 some goals from the lineup, and tons of experience. Sorry, but that matters.

Again, exactly right.

Washington, D.C.: Why doesn't Hanlon see that Nylander and Ovechkin MUST play on the same line for the Caps to have any decent offense? Nylander has shown
himself to be one of the best puck control artists in the NHL, if not the best. The combination of Nylander and Ovechkin would be murderous on opponents, no
matter who the right wing was. We can't get any worse than shut out! If Ovie gets set up nicely 15 times a game at least one or two will go in.
Tarik El-Bashir: For the first few weeks, I agreed with Hanlon's decision to keep
Ovechkin and Nylander on separate lines. Now, I'm not so sure it's the best strategy. I'm also starting to get the sense that it's only a matter of time before No. 8 and No. 92 are skating together.

Oh, good the Caps are listening to me.

Zero, Boston: Regarding what you said about injuries: Is Eminger not sold
his injury has healed or is it a little of column A (Eminger) and column B(management)?
Tarik El-Bashir: Judging from what I've seen and heard, Eminger is healthy. He believes he's healthy. He's just not getting a sweater. He's beyond frustrated right now.

Simply put, this is a bad move by the Caps management. Unlike many Caps fans I like George McPhee. But Eminger should be getting a chance to play rather than Schultz or Erskine. Plus it isn't fair to him to just leave him hanging, wondering what's going on.

Atlanta, Ga.: Given the lack of depth at right wing for the Capitals, given
Semin's injury and Fleischmann's failure to become an impact player, is a trade
(possibly involving Flash or Sutherby) looking likely or perhaps even imminent?
If not, do the Caps have plans to address this lack of depth?
Tarik El-Bashir: I'm not entirely sure what the Caps' options are right now. It's not like teams are knocking down their door trying to get their hands on Fleischmann and Sutherby, or Eminger for that matter. And considering all the RFAs who need to be paid this summer, and Leonsis's budget, I'm not sure they can afford another high-dollar winger. Seems to me, they really need the youngsters like Backstrom to develop -- and quick. It also wouldn't hurt for Pettinger to rediscover his scoring touch, or for Gordon and Laich to chip in with 15 goals each.

My question answered. I don't think they need a top dollar winger, just someone to chip in a little at both ends...

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