The Olympic break can't come soon enough for the Caps. The team is banged up, outmanned and seemingly burnt out and last night at the MCI Center they dropped their second straight 5-0 decision to a Florida team. Coach Glen Hanlon said it best when he noted:
"We are what we are. It's not an NHL lineup. We're playing a lot of prospects. These kids are all a long way away from being ready to wear this sweater for real. And it showed."Further to that point, Dave Fay points out that six of the Caps 18 skaters were in the minors in the past week. Hopefully the team fairs better in a home-and-home with the state of Pennsylvania this weekend before getting the well-deserved break, but that may in large part depend on the health of veterans like Jeff Halpern and Chris Clark.
Recaps abound, including those in the WaPo, the WTimes and a slew of Miami-area papers (here, here, here and here - thanks to Netsrak for doing the aggregating and for having the coolest avatar in Capland).
In other Caps news:
- Alex Ovechkin fired 10 shots on goal last night, but obviously couldn't solve Roberto Luongo. Ovechkin now is goal-less in his last five games and has just one goal in his last eight outings. Still, he is only two goals off the League lead.
- You may recall that Jon Sim, who had a hat trick and an assist last night, had two hat tricks against the Caps this past preseason as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. He is officially, now, a Cap killer.
- By now I'm sure you've heard about the Rick Tocchet gambling story. Until there are more facts out there, I don't care to fan the flames, but if you need to slake your thirst for scandal, there's already some great blogging on it, not surprisingly lead by Eric at Off Wing Opinion. Also noteworthy early is what amounts to a running index of the 'net-wide writings on this story at The Ice Block. But my favorite take so far is from Matt at The Battle of Alberta.
- We told you that yesterday was Peter Bondra's birthday. Today another great former Cap rightwing blows out the candles as Dino Ciccarelli turns 46. Can Mike Gartner's birthday be far behind? Actually, yeah - he was born in late October (interestingly less than four months before Ciccarelli).
- Finally, for any hockey fan who's ever dreamed big, this story has to be a favorite.
- Hart: Jon Sim (3 goals, including the game-winner, assist, +3)
- Ross: Jon Sim, Scott Gomez (4 points each)
- Norris: Rob Blake (Game-winning goal, +3)
- Vezina: Roberto Luongo (44-save shutout)
- Richard: Jon Sim (3 goals)
- Calder: Alexander Steen (2 assists, +2)
- Aiken: Sean Burke (L, 3 goals against on 8 shots - in relief - before getting yanked in favor of the man he replaced after just one period)