Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday Roundup/Caps 3, 'Canes 2 (OT)

[AP Recap - Scoresheet - Super Stats]

I've been to the Louvre. I've been to the Grand Canyon at sunset. I've even sat through an entire Jessica Alba movie. So you can believe me when I tell you that the new HD Scoreboard at the Verizon Center is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life (Capital Fanatic has a nice picture of it, but pictures can't do it justice - it's something you need to see in person).

Of course, beneath that glorious manvention they played a little hockey last night, so here's a quick take on some of what went down:
  • Another game, another third period lead blown. First teams learn how to get leads, then they learn how to keep 'em. It's not always an easy process, but it is a necessary one - and I've got no complaints on how this tilt wound up.
  • Olie Kolzig was good and occassionally lucky - and any goaltender will tell you need both to win.
  • Mike Green looked like he belongs, Jeff Schultz looked like he belongs (in Hershey) and Steve Eminger looked like it was his first preseason game (for more on Emmy, read Tarik's article in today's WaPo).
  • More on Green, per Vogs: "With two goals in the four preseason games to date, Green has equaled his total from 70 NHL games last season. His six preseason points represent half of the dozen he totaled during the 2006-07 regular season." Green was a mixed bag again last night - a couple of penalties to go with his gorgeous goal and inspired OT rush down the right side - but that's to be expected from a 21-year-old blueliner. In my opinion, he deserves to make this team.
  • As a team, the Caps won 53% of the night's faceoffs, which is always good against a team that has Rod Brind'Amour taking most of its draws (and sits Eric Staal). Dave Steckel won 12 of his 17 faceoffs (71%).
  • Last night was not Michael Nylander's best game - he looked disinterested at times, had three giveaways, took a bad penalty and was an abysmal 1-for-8 in the faceoff circle. Chalk it up to a veteran who's tired of preseason games, perhaps?
  • Despite playing only 10 minutes, Brooks Laich tied for the team lead in hits (3) and won five of his six faceoffs, but also choked on a golden opportunity in the offensive zone. He is still very much on the bubble to make this team.
  • Tomas Fleischmann's pass on the Green goal was a beauty.
  • You can see in his game just how much more comfortable Brian Pothier is in his role this year.
  • Stop me if you've heard this one - Alex Semin was at times dazzling and at other times uninspired (sometimes on the same shift).
  • Despite his OT game-winner, Nicklas Backstrom had a pretty weak game - perhaps that explains the look on his face below, mere seconds after sending everyone home happy. Vogs quotes the kid as saying "It was very fun to score in overtime but it was the only right thing I do today." I tend to agree.


ToddM326 said...

I was at the game last night, and I agree that the screen is beautiful. I wish I had an HD TV in my home to watch hockey on if it looks that nice. My only complaint about the screen is that the scoreboard/clock/penalty tracker is at the very top now. I'm sure it is petty, but sitting in section 115, I really have to look away from the game now to look at the clock (although by the 3rd period, I saw that it is on the wrap-around screen at the bottom of the 400 level also.

JP said...


Todd - I was sitting with KB at the game last night (we're in 111) and I remarked on the same thing and he made fun of me for "complaining" (I wasn't) that I'd have to "turn my head up another millimeter or two." But clearly I'm not the only one who had that feeling.

Maybe it'll just take getting used to.

ted said...

Wow! The new board looks awesome (thanks for the link to the pic). I just hope that being in the corner (section 403) doesn't obscure my view because of the angle.

As for the game, I tried to watch it on the website, but for some reason, after logging on, it just went back to the login page. Oh well..Another 10 days and I will be there in person!

How was the sound? Could you actually hear what they were saying w/o needing captions?

Tyler said...

I don't want to make too much of this, but when a kid scores a GWG and his reaction is, "So what, I played like doo doo," that's the sign of a mature player. It's especially striking coming from a 19-year old.

Shaggy said...

JP - good point about securing leads first, then maintaining them. We all know how winning percentage skyrockets when leading after 2.
Random thoughts:
-How does mike Grenn not make this team?
-Steve Eminger has an uphill battle, but I think he will stick.
-Dave Steckel needs to stay - Suts is decently skilled but even Hanlon said, when things get crazy, he likes to send Steckel and Gordo out to calm things down. That is powerful stuff.
-Third period defensive lapses or just plain boredom after 2 periods and securing leads, i.e., "we've made our point" ?
-You've got to like this squad, but I'm afraid that top 2 lines have some real Nancy boys. Ovechkin is by far the meanest dude in the top 6, unless you count on no one f'ing with Koz because he's a freaking barn on skates.

Gary said...

The bride and I sat in work's 110 seats last night (normally we roll in 104), and I agree the new screens are magnificent. As Todd said, looking above the screen to find the time will take some getting used to, and--from a design standpoint--the Caps would do well to get rid of the background images of the team logos behind the numbers to make them more legible.

You're probably sick of reading this, but Mike Green still can't play the point. Of all the opportunities witnessed last night, he kept it in the offensive zone once. Yeah, he deserves a spot on the team, but he's got to work to improve here.

There were also too many offsides caused by "fancy" stickwork at the blueline. And the powerplay? Miserable. We're just lucky that Carolina's stunk with parity.

I was impressed with Steckel's grinding along the board (I think it was in the 2nd?) to keep it in the zone, even if it didn't lead to anything. Midget-boy Bourque is fast as hell, and he even tried to lay down a big hit last night; he's got heart.

Preseason game notwithstanding... I hate to say that I'm slightly less optimistic about the team than I was before last night's game.

NS said...

can anyone find video highlights of these preseason games?

Shaggy said...

I do not know how people feel less optimistic when comparing this year's and last year's clubs - my God, it's night and day.
That said, I think the Caps may be following a, a, I can't even say it, a Penguin-esque trajectory here: lack of fearsome defense, deep down the middle, very highly skilled top 6, and some really young kids, top ten goalie (IMO). The team has 3 more games yet to sort hings out but I think Hanlon should be feeling pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good about his team.

Anonymous said...

Is it my eyes (I sit in Section 417) or was the contrast on the new scoreboard a bit on the light side? If they darkened the background a tad, I think this would improve an already killer picture.

Steckel, Fleischmann, and Green HAVE to make this team. If they are not on the opening roster, it sends a very bad message throughout the Caps organization: even though you clearly earned a spot, we are going to favor certain players because of contract status (Bradley, Clymer) or "intangibles" (Sutherby's supposed leadership) despite having a better camp. Good teams need to own up to busniess mistakes (i.e., bad contracts) and can't afford to be sentimental about certain players.


MIke L said...

The new scoreboard is amazing. I love the technology and how it looks. Ditto for the tel-screen.

As for Semin, I can't recall when he made that many bone-head mistakes in one game. Yes, he had flashes of brilliance, but committing a hooking penalty with at center ice with less than a second to go in regulation...that's unforgivable. In addition, he is reverting to many of his habits of trying to do too much. He needs to learn that if there are more than one defender on you, give up the puck, ideally to an open teammate, but if that's not possible, get it into the corner or get it on net...he makes great moves and sometimes he can beat 2 or 3 defenders, but more often than not, he can't (no one can...)

b.orr4 said...

Sorry, but Semin's last second penalty wasn't his fault. He's got a Carolina player on a clean breakaway. How's he supposed to know in a split instance if there one second or five seconds left? If he let him go, everyone would be screaming how lazy he is. The entire blame for that play goes to Nylander who lost the puck on a dipsy doodle at center ice. I still can't figure out the player hating Semin gets around here. Nylander holds on to the puck for an hour and noone says a word. Semin tries to make some plays and he's selfish. What am I missing?

Tyler said...

Easy: Semin seems to have an allergy to defensive zone play. And he's not much better in the neutral zone.

b.orr4 said...

Tell you what. Why don't we just trade Semin for a fourth round draft choice and then watch him go score 50 for some other team. Would that make everybody happy?

Tyler said...

If someone suggested that, I missed it.

Embrace nuance, shades of gray. It's the way things are.

b.orr4 said...

Do a search on the message boards. The notion of trading Semin while his value is high has been mentioned more than a few times.

Tyler said...

The day the team message boards are worth taking seriously is the day we should start paying attention to people who don't "believe in" evolution.

Sidney Crosby said...

i dont believe in evolution

Tyler said...


Mike S said...

I couldnt resist....Anyways, I am actually heading up to the Flyers game tonight with the wife. Lineup looks pretty checking line-ish, with not a lot of firepower (minus backstrom and flash) anyone know who the flyers are dressing? Nitty played last night, so I guess Biron will start. but what about fwds?

TG said...


I sat in 403 last night and you can see it with no problem. I actually commented that it's almost clearer to look at the screen than at the ice!

ted said...

Thanks TG. I am glad to hear it looks that good from our section. I also saw on "Ted's Take" that the new sound system wasn't hooked up, but should be for the home opener.