There is "no quit" in this year's Caps. There may be stretches where the team seems to be asleep or brief periods in which a peewee team could skate through the defense and beat a temporarily-unfocused goaltender, but there is "no quit" in this team, we're told. By local announcers, by coaches, by writers we're reminded of this whenever the team scores a late, meaningless goal. Such was the case last night in the Caps' 6-4 loss at Toronto. Sure, the officiating didn't help the Caps out, but last night the team was its own worst enemy, victimized by bad penalties, shaky goaltending and lazy-at-times defense. Maybe as a team the Caps don't quit, but in my book each of these instances represents individuals quitting for a moment or more, and often at the costliest of times (I'm talking to you, Brent "Blocker Save" Johnson). Maybe I should be happy with a split in a home-and-home with the Leafs. I am (and management should take note of how nearly-successful the team was with Andrew Cassels, Jeff Friesen and Mathieu Biron out of the lineup, hint hint). But I can't help thinking that with a little more focus and a bounce or two, the Caps could have swept the series.
The WaPo's coverage is here, and contains a brief recap of the team's decision to assign Petr Sykora to Pardubice of the Czech elite League. At least we'll never wonder "what if" with this guy now. Oh, and yesterday's WaPo had a story on Bryan Muir and his hoopty ride (happy, CD?). The WTimes coverage is here, and notes in some more detail Alex Ovechkin's great game. The CP gives El Ocho some love here.
Next up for the Caps, a home-and-home of matinees with the Devils beginning on Friday. The way the Devs are playing, a sweep is certainly not out of the question. Stay tuned.
- Hart: Joni Pitkanen (Game-tying goal with :24 left in regulation, game-winning goal in OT, assist with under three minutes left in regulation, +2... not bad, eh?)
- Ross: Joni Pitkanen, Peter Forsberg, Jeff O'Neill (3 points each)
- Norris: Joni Pitkanen (2G, A, +2 - see above)
- Vezina: Tomas Vokoun (W, 31 saves on 33 shots against)
- Richard: Joni Pitkanen, Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Comrie, Alex Tanguay (2G each)
- Calder: Alexander Ovechkin (2G)
- Aiken: Brendan Witt (-3, minor penalty that led to Toronto's fourth goal)