Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Roundup/Isles 5, Caps 2

[AP Recap - Boxscore - Super Stats - Postgame]

I had a horrible nightmare last night. There I was watching a Caps game and during a five-on-three power play, the Caps sent out an extra-man unit that had Joe Motzko manning one of the points.

Much to my dismay, this wasn't a nightmare from which I could wake up, and the Caps' punchless power play let them down yet again, going 0-for-6 in the 5-2 loss to the Isles (the penalty kill was a woeful 2-for-5, which certainly didn't help either). On the night, the Caps had 11:08 of time with the extra man and got all of six shots on Rick DiPietro - barely one shot per two minutes of power-play time.

And while Tom Poti may be a great passer, he had 9:09 of ice time with the extra man against his former team and didn't register a single shot on goal (through six games, he has 12 shots on goal total). I might be wrong, but in order to be an effective power play quarterback, doesn't at least a threat of a shot from the point have to exist?

I can't specifically recall each of the four Caps power-play goals for the season, but do remember that Alex Ovechkin's against the Rangers was on a broken play rush. What that means, then, is that in six games, the power play has "worked" no more than three times total.

First we were told that the problem with the power play was personnel. Then it was chemistry. Then it was a key injury. You know what the next reason in line is, don't you, Glen Hanlon?

Other observations from Thursday night's game:
  • The Caps definitely came out with a "shoot first, ask questions later" style, firing more shots (13) in the first period than they had in the entire game (12) last time the two teams met.
  • While the Isles first goal was a bit fluky (the "pass" out front was a fanned-on stuff attempt), there's got to be a forward backchecking Sean Bergenheim there (I'm looking at you, Michael Nylander and Tomas Fleischmann).
  • The Caps were 7-for-17 (41%) in the faceoff circle in the offensive zone. That's a lot of instant offensive opportunities that never got going (Viktor Kozlov, for example, took eight offensive-zone draws on the night and won only three of them).
  • Mike Green has arrived. His end-to-end rushes at the tail-end of each of two second period power plays were gorgeous and among the best scoring chances the Caps had all night (of course, he was also on the ice for both Isles even strength goals... such is life with Greenie).
  • Do Ovechkin and Kozlov really have such great chemistry? Ovechkin was stick-handling brilliantly all night, but seemed to be trying to do a lot by himself a la last year.
  • There's been a Tomas Fleischmann sighting! He should buy Nicklas Backstrom dinner for taking the hit and making the beautiful pass that set up the goal.
  • The aforementioned Mr. Motzko makes Ryan Howard look like a contact hitter. Nice pass on the Ovechkin goal, though.
  • I want last year's Chris Clark back. For that matter, why is the vaunted third line scoreless through a half-dozen games?
  • Should we start a "Guess The Date" pool for Backstrom's first NHL goal? I'm going with Wednesday against the Bolts.
  • Nylander is now a team-worst minus-5.
  • It's amazing how one of your blueliners can go from first to last in ice time per game, but such is the story of Brian Pothier.
Next up... well, you know who. Perhaps we should start cheering for Boyd Gordon (who, by the way, turns 24 today) now: H-E-A-L, Heal! Heal! Heal!

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The 2008 NHL Draft Class looks like a winner. Hopefully there'll be good players still around when the Caps pick in the late-teens of the first round.... Caps may have pulled a mild upset in Round 1 of CBS's jersey tourney, but fell in a David vs. Goliath match-up in Round 2.... I wouldn't say that Dainius Zubrus is the most overpaid player in the NHL, but with no goals, two assists, seven shots on goal and a minus-8 rating through seven games, he's certainly a prominent name in the conversation. Put it this way, the Devils are paying him $3.4 million per year, meaning that they've shelled out $290,243.90 so far for those stats.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Daymond Langkow (2G, including the game-winner, assist, fight - paging Mr. Howe - +1, 3 SOG)
  • Ross: Chris Campoli (4 points)
  • Norris: Bryan Berard (Game-winning goal, 2A, +2, 7 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Martin Biron (38-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Bill Guerin (3G)
  • Calder: Brian Little (G, +1, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Martin Brodeur (L, 4 goals allowed on 18 shots against)



1) Motzko on the PP?? Are they kidding. Watching we couldn't believe that Hanlon kept the guy(he's no kid at 27!) out there instead of Green?
2) We haven't looked it up, but it seemed he led the team in ice time. Now if he wasn't good enough to make the team out of camp, how in hell can he be one of the top 5 players seemingly o the ice for every PP/playing on the 1st line?
3) The personnel have changed, but the PP style/tactics have not. Its now clear the problem are NOT the players, but the coach!

keef said...

I'm starting to jump on the Pothier needs to get off the ice bandwagon. He appeared to be moving in slow motion throughout the night.

I don't think I've ever been as excited for a goal as I was when Flash actually scored. I almost spit my beer out in shock.

Um...yeah. There was nothing good to say about that game. Passing for 1:30 during your PP will get your puck dumped. And I believe that during one of the PPs, the puck was actually in our zone more than the Isles'.

I've not been a Semin fan for his "There's no I in team but there's a ME" playing style but last night I was wishing he was back. He puts some pressure on goal and has that wicked wrist shot.

Oh well...Shultz had his fair share of good (and bad) and I saw Motzko make one (at least he made one) nice move with the puck against the boards. But there' really no depth to this team, nor is there intensity. Those first two games, the team was playing like demons.

Tyler said...

I was going to suggest trying Backstrom on the top line. Nylander likes to play with the puck on his stick and so does Semin. So why not try Backstrom with AO?

Tarik saw a different game than I did. Motzko was a mess. Watching Motzko out there I couldn't help but think (out loud) that Hanlon was playing him on the PP to spur GMGM to RW-related action. He was that clueless.

And Flash was inert, except when he was handed a gift.

And while we're all moaning, if it hadn't been for an atrocious roughing call on Olie (after the atrocious missed goalie interference call three seconds prior) the Caps probably win the game.

NS said...

watching the majority of the game last night was excruciating.

some thoughts:

- Motzko might not be as skilled as the rest of the team, but he PLAYED better than the majority of the team during even strength.

- Pothier needs to be scratched IMMEDIATELY

- the Caps have serious issues getting the puck out of the their own zone. a little bit of offensive pressure and they waddle around hesitantly. i was pulling out my hair.

- while the first goal was a fluke, it was straight bad defense/back checking (as JP mentioned) by Flash that allowed it. He just stood there, DID NOT EVEN MOVE HIS FEET, as Bergenheim flew past him. Oh, and he tried to hook him. Good job...

- nice to see Backstrom take shot #2 for the yr. great pass, was also elated to see Flash score. it seems that as soon as he gets that first marker he gets really pumped and skates/plays much harder. hope they keep him on the 2nd line with Nyles and Back

- you're right about Ovie, it looks like he gave up and tried to do it on his own

- so many missed opportunities to score, where the puck was whiffed on or just passed right by a Cap: remember the Green end to end where he passed the puck RIGHT THROUGH the crease...Bradley was RIGHT THERE, his stick was even in position, and he just stared at the puck.

- exciting to watch Green join/lead the rush

- Kozlov looked sluggish and unmotivated

- does it seem like Clark has been taking a lot of stupid and ill-timed penalties??

- Olie needs to watch the 5-hole...

Jan said...

-- I believe that Ovie went on his own last night because he realized quite early that Kozlov was taking the night off. Note to Hugs: Keep smelling salts handy. (Mandatory intravenous espresso between periods?)
-- Hanlon kept putting Joe Mothball Motzko out there on that point over and over again. What was with that? We were beside ourselves. Is someone daft?
-- Mike Green and Nicky B. made it worth the Metro ride last night. As usual with us the future looks brighter than the present.
-- Get well Semin! Talk about no depth. Yikes! Note to GMGM: Put Eminger and Sutherby in a briefcase and get out there and find me another top-6 quality player.
-- I miss Witter. He plays smart.

Anonymous said...

Saturday will be GRIM.

b.orr4 said...

First off, while Mike Green can be exciting he's still got a lot to learn about playing defense. That first goal by the Isles was entirely his fault as he tried a high risk play of trying to get through two defenders in his own zone instead of sending it back around the net to his partner. The result was NY kept the puck in the zone and eventually scored. And if you noticed, Hanlon said he wasn't unhappy with the PK but wouldn't elaborate further. The reason is simple. All the goals were Olie's fault, easy shots from the points that he completely mishandled. Honestly, I can't remember him playing a worse game than he did last night. And apparanently he agreed since he wouldn't talk to the press after the game. The PP is just awful.

Anonymous said...

I liked this Motzko fellow. He's got a little dash to him, eh?

keef said...

anonymous, your name wouldn't happen to be Motzko, would it?

Tyler said...

I agree that the traffic in front -- and the contact -- got Olie off his game early. (The roughing call was still totally bogus.) Trent Hunter had a heck of a night -- especially for a guy who didn't show up on the scoresheet at all. (Three steals, four hits, no points.)

Focality said...

Witt's a good shot-blocker, but what was he doing blocking shots with his head, especially without a goalie mask?

The PP/PK are non-existent. Do the Caps practice those things?

Why wasn't there any traffic in front of DiPietro? And why were the Isles allowed to hover around Olie all night?

Kozlov and Poti: did they show up last night? What about Nylander?

The fact Green and Ovie were trying to do so much on their own is a warning signal.