Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Roundup/Caps 4, Stars 3

[ Recap - Postgame Coverage]

Was there ever any doubt? Check Washington Hockey Daily for all your recaps of the Caps' 4-3 win over the Stars, but I had a couple of impressions that I'll share here:

  • Given the ice time, Jakub Klepis can look like an NHL-caliber center for long stretches of time. Maintaining a high level of concentration and effort may be a constant struggle for him, however.
  • John Erskine was very solid on the blueline yet again, with perhaps his best play of the night coming on a diving sweep-check to poke the puck away from Eric Lindros who was otherwise unabated towards Olie Kolzig. Unfortunately, Erskine took the rarely-called (and inexplicably-stupid) "playing with a broken stick" penalty seconds later.
  • Alex Semin's confidence is back in a big way. Alex Ovechkin's isn't.
  • Secondary scoring, baby - that's two straight games (two straight wins) with four non-AO goals. Consistent secondary scoring = wins.
  • The Caps still gave up waaay too many third period shots and chances, but on the plus side played another very disciplined game.
  • The Caps were gracious hosts to former captain Jeff Halpern, doing all the could to make him feel comfortable - after all, he's used to losing at the Verizon Center, right?
  • Jamie Heward suffered a pretty nasty injury (a skate to the face), so I guess I won't mention how god-awfully he misplayed the puck that led to the first Dallas goal.
  • Stars defenseman Darryl Sydor almost made the worst mistake of his career when he seemed headed for reluctantly challenging The Donald to a fight. Luckily, the two parted ways before the gloves were dropped.
  • Without getting into specifics, Brian Sutherby had a pretty terrible game.
Daily Awards
  • Hart: Marian Hossa (3G, including game-winner, A, +1, 7 SOG)
  • Ross: Marian Hossa, Slava Kozlov, Ladislav Nagy (4 points each)
  • Norris: Zbynek Michalek (G, 2A, +4)
  • Vezina: Kari Lehtonen (36-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Marian Hossa (3G)
  • Calder: Alexandre Picard (PHI) (2A, 5 blocked shots)
  • Aiken: Dan Cloutier* (3 goals allowed on 5 shots against in just 9:26 of work)
* There were many worthy Aiken nominees last night as seven goalies had GAAs over 4.50 for the evening and Eric Brewer and Anze Kopitar were each a woeful -4, but once again Cloutier walks away with the much-coveted award. Congrats, Danny Boy.


Tyler said...

Boyd Gordon had a nice game, going 14 for 28 (!) on faceoffs against the Stars' top lines.

Defenseman from both times were having a hard time playing the puck on the mush that was summertime ice at MCI last night.

Caps struggled with puck possession in the third period: A familiar story. You know who only gets a couple shifts in the third? Our best puck-handling, puck-skating defenseman, Mike Green.

Tyler said...

Er, defensemen from both *teams*.

JP said...

That's a great point and one I'd meant to make regarding the ice. It was awful last night. I think it would've been a very different game if the puck hadn't bounced over Stars sticks so often on one-timers and rebounds.

And the Laich-Gordo-Z line had a strong game (but was on the ice for one of the two late goals).

Anonymous said...

Um, guys? I'm sure the fact that it was 70 degrees out in November didn't help, but seriously - when is the ice at the Verizon Center not bad? Those Ice Kids that help clean up the shavings are on the ice more than the actual players.

JP said...

The sheet was particularly crappy last night - must be all the damn pigeons! :)

capsdude said...

With regard to Sutherby's bad game (and overall lack of offense throughout the season)..... is it possible we're going to see a transition where Gordon becomes the 3rd line 'shutdown' center and Sutherby is relegated to 4th line duty?

Tyler said...

Sutherby must agitate more. He must become a Michael Peca. And he's gotta stop being afraid of SOGs.

JP said...

I think Suts has better size for that role and has more (though admittedly little) offensive upside than Gordo. Suts should be kicking in around 15 goals every year, while Gordo is destined to be a PK specialist, imo.

And yeah, Suts needs to shoot more, especially if the alternative is passing like the one he made to Eminger (I think) on that 3-on-1 last night.

Anonymous said...

1) Agree that Erskine had a nice game, and Semin played good as well. Even applying a very nice shoulder check, knocking down a Star forward
2) The player that apeared to have the most 'zip' was Zednik. Had to be his most complete game this season.
3) AO seemed frustrated after missing his penalty shot.
4) Stars in general played very listlessly, and looked very much like a team playing their 3rd game in 4 nights.

CD said...

As a long time ticket holder, i have to say that was one of the most poorly attended games i've ever seen. One of the leading teams in the league comes into town and the VC was a ghost town. This pisses me off all the more based on the fact i've now left my business card w/ THREE different sales people there to get more tickets. If that's the caliber of sales agent talent currently on the market, no wonder NHL attendance is down.

JP said...

It was a mid-week game against a boring team that hasn't been to D.C. in four years.

And don't hate on the Caps' sales staff - I wouldn't call you back either.

JP said...

Oh, and my last observation from last night:

Have you ever in your entire life heard a slower rendition of our National Anthem?

Chris said...

Yo Jp - that would an almost 4 minute national anthem. I got bored and timed it.

The sheet has been craptastic all season.

JP, how old is Suts? Maybe he's hit a plataeu. Agreed he could be doing more.

JP said...

Sudsy is only 24 - about the right age for a forward to define what kind of NHLer he is and is going to be. He needs to step it up, especially with that letter on the front of his sweater.

Anonymous said...

1) Yes she(national anthem singer) was cute but the anthem took as long as the pre game warm up!
2) Nice touch to FINALLY put up a mural of AO outside the Verizon Center. Until yesterday one could drive by and not know they even had a hockey team play there.
3) The crowd was disappointing, but as one mentioned Dallas doesn't cause much excitement to the average fan. Despite the return of Halpern who didn't really get much reaction from the 6,000 or so who were in attendance

Anonymous said...

1) Just another quickie post script: If the Caps had won all 6 of their OT/SO's they would have an identical record to Dallas.
2) Kinda puts the inportance of that little post game activity into perspective

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Don't taunt the pigeon - the Penguins come back to town in less than two weeks, we may need the help!

As for the attendance, I actually didn't think it was too bad, especially for a midweek non-conference rival game. We may have been small, but we were feisty!