I know, I know - pretty much the same lame Wizards/Raptors joke I made yesterday (I think I used all my good material up by mid-January). Anyway, the Caps dropped another one last night, this time making Andrew Raycroft and the Leafs look like legitimate playoff contenders. They're not. They should have blown the Caps out of the building last night, but instead were a post and a great save on Alex Ovechkin away from sweating that one out.
Some thoughts on the game:
- The first half of the first period almost made me hate hockey. No flow, no pace, no good.
- The Alexes were flying last night, but it didn't translate to the scoresheet. I'd give it another game or two before passing judgment, but some secondary scoring has to emerge, and since that's not terribly likely and Chris Clark is due back real soon, I'd be surprised if AO and AS get many more games together.
- Freddy Cassivi has a very calm on-ice demeanor.
- Mike Green was brought back so he could skate a team-low 12 shifts?
- Jiri Novotny was invisible. He's Novechkin (told you I'm comedically spent).
- Was the Caps penalty killing that much better than Saturday night or was the Leafs powerplay that bad? Both? Thought so.
- I like Al Koken, just not as a play-by-play guy, and I love Joe Beninati... on Versus (much less flirting with the color guy).
So it's back home for a season-ticket holder meet n' greet tonight and a chance to play spoiler against the 'Canes on Friday. Hopefully the Caps get their Captain back and the ship starts righting itself soon.
Oh, and let me address a quote that I'm sure will send the Chicken Littles of CapsNation into a tizzy:
"We have to sign good players and I hope we do," [Ovechkin] said yesterday. "I want to play on a good team. Don't get me wrong. We have good guys in this dressing room and we have a lot of fun. But the team has to get better."
The quote is significant for a few reasons - it's AO, it expresses some measure of frustration and it's in a Toronto paper. But it's insignificant for more reasons - because the team has said it will bring in "good players" and all it really shows is that AO wants to win and he wants to win in D.C. After all, as he said moments later, "When you win, it's such a good feeling. When you lose, it feels like someone has died." Besides, can it hurt to have the superstar putting the same pressure on the organization to get better that we fans try to?
- Hart: Evgeni Nabokov (26-save shutout win at Minnesota)
- Ross: Craig Conroy, Jarome Iginla, Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, Scott Gomez (3 points each)
- Norris: Kevin Bieksa (GWG, A, +2)
- Vezina: Evgeni Nabokov (see above)
- Richard: Craig Conroy, Keith Tkachuk, Jeff Cowan, Patrick Sharp (2G each)
- Calder: Jordan Staal (SHG, A, +3)
- Aiken: Marc-Andre Fleury (3 goals allowed on 7 shots against in just 20 minutes of work)