Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Roundup/Panthers 2 Caps 1
Gamenight: Caps @ Bolts

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - AP Preview - Preview]

Tom Poti, come on down!

While it's impossible to pin a 2-1 loss to one of the worst teams in hockey on any one player (but not, necessarily, on one coach), there was one player who was more responsible for the two goals against than any other, so T.P. is under the microscope today.

Let's begin with his effort last night, shall we? First he gets outmuscled and outworked by Jozef Stumpel who was able to feed a wide open Richard Zednik for Kitty Goal Number One, then he made a pass that would have made Bryan McCabe wince to spring Kamil Kreps on a breakaway that would turn out to be the eventual game-winner. To top it all off, he missed the net on a late scoring chance, left a 5% tip at dinner and used the last of a roll of toilet paper in his hotel room bathroom and didn't replace the roll (those last two items have yet to be confirmed).

Bad night. It happens. But what about his season so far?

Through 18 games, the Caps' big blueline acquisition has as many points as John Erskine, as many goals as Steve Eminger, a worse plus/minus than Brian Pothier, fewer hits than Nicklas Backstrom, and two more power-play points than Joe Motzko.

Bad night or bad player?

At this point, I'm willing to give Poti the benefit of the doubt and accept that the team's slump (nine goals in the last seven games), a groin injury and "the system" are all contributing factors to his slow start, but while we didn't expect him to be the second-coming of Bobby Orr, we didn't expect him to be the second-coming of Bryan Muir, either.

In lieu of further specifics on last night's game (but feel free to comment on Alex Ovechkin manning the power-play point, his Michael Strahan smile, Michael Nylander's curious passing, Glen Hanlon's decision on when to pull Olie Kolzig, Sunrise's pitiful ice or anything else that strikes your fancy), just read any of the last few recaps from games played in this country. Speaking of which, did you realize that the last time the Caps won on U.S. soil was October 24? That makes eight straight losses in the land of the free for your nation's Capitals.

Next up are the appropriately white-hot Lightning, who have won four straight and have scored 16 goals in their last three games, including their 5-2 win in D.C. on Saturday night and a pair of drubbings of the Carolina Hurricanes. Vincent Lecavalier had more points on Wednesday night against the 'Canes as all but seven Caps have on the entire season. Yikes.

But hope springs eternal, whether you're hoping for wins or personnel changes, so here's hoping Friday night gets us a little closer to that which we desire - it's hard to imagine we could be any further away from it.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Thanks to Nate for passing along this story, in which Boston University's "Independent Student Newspaper" wonders how good BU would be if Chris Bourque was still in school there. My guess is they published a similar article last year. And the year before that.... Michal Neuvirth won his Windsor debut, and apparently looked great in doing so.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Eric Belanger (4A, +1)
  • Ross: Eric Belanger (4 points)
  • Norris: Kent Huskins (0 points, +5, 4 hits, 3 takeaways, 0 giveaways)
  • Vezina: Martin Gerber (W, 35 saves on 37 shots against)
  • Richard: Peter Schaeffer, Jarret Stoll, Daniel Alfredsson, Corey Perry, Joe Pavelski (2G each)
  • Calder: Denis Tolpeko (G, A, +1)
  • Aiken: Lubomir Visnovsky (0 points, -4)


the deuce said...

I'm pretty sure the score was 2-1, not 3-2. You're giving the Caps' offense WAY more credit than they deserve. TWO whole goals in one game?! Come on, J.P.! Last night, like this whole season, was atrocious. I wanted to throw up, in part because I knew I'd be reading the same rediculous, "we're getting our chances, the puck's just not bouncing our way" quotes again today. Good teams make their own bounces. Of course, we are nowhere NEAR a good team right now. In fact, we're bad. Really bad.

malkin fan said...

Hey there Capitals fans,

It seems to me this season Evgeni Malkin has surpassed Ovechkin in terms of skill/dominance.

Malkin has been a very strong force for the offense along side of Crosby and he's dominatiing.

Comparting the stats with his countrymate, however, I'm wondering why Ovechkin doesnt have that many points compared to the rest of the league leaders?

I don't watch many Caps games because I've heard they are very boring, so I'm just interested in finding out why Ovechkin isnt dominating.

I checked the stats, and this is his worst start to a season in his career through the same number of games.

Shouldnt his numbers be increasing, rather than digressing?

-Malkin Fan (NOT a pens fan)

Tyler said...

Why is it we attract the less-intelligent Pens fans? Or is this one of the "smart" ones?

From the blame-the-coach file... Poti played, 26+ minutes last night. And he plays that every night. Too many, obviously.

Anonymous said...

One TV at my house - watched the first 2 periods of the Caps - let the wife watch Grey's Anatomy when it came on at 9 - pretty sad (on Caps part and mine) - divisional game, down by 1 going into the 3rd - watched a different kind of crap instead of finishing the game.

NS said...

what was it that Sami Kapanen said last year about his Flyers? "When we play that way, we don't belong in the league. That's how bad it is right now."

Rings true for the Caps so far this season.

Even AO, who mind you is my favorite NHL player, has become pretty boring to watch. He needs to stay an offense first player. I understand its always good to have two-way players, but i don't think that should be AO.

b.orr4 said...

How long will this refusal to make the move on Hanlon continue? It's beyond me that Ted just won't step up and demand that McPhee fire him. I just want to repeat that I like Glen, he's a good guy and I know it will kill him to get fired. I also recognize that it's not even close to being all his fault, but, talent-wise, this team is so much better than its record. Something has to be done before the season is a complete wipeout. I hate to say this but I'm kind of hoping the Caps get stomped by the Lightning tonight so even Ted will be forced to admit something has to be done. Pretty sad.

Focality said...

In the 1st, after a whistle, Brashear shoved a Panthers player. I fully expected a penalty. "Lucky bounce" that one.

The Caps D, when they could, advanced to the blueline and dumped the puck into a corner. Against a better team this would have spelled disaster. Also, did anyone see any of the Caps D move their feet? They got the puck at the point, hesitated, fired towards the net. Vokoun could see everything. But I did like that hit Schultz did, even if it resulted in a penalty.

Backstrom looked comfortable. He went into the corners, behind the net and in front of it, took some shots. He needs a better performing team so he can shine! This is his rookie season!

Nyles looked way off. Some blind passing resulted in turnovers, looked hesitant.

The rest of the young guys need to be taught a win is fun, it's desired, it's great! Ovie looked uninspired. Maybe it was the quality of the ice in Florida but he didn't look his usual fast self. He had that nice open ice hit, though.

It's all good, though. My wife is enjoying watching me yelling at the screen, pacing, throwing stuff.

Nowhere else to go but up.

The Deuce said...

Okay. I've vented at
With so much to pick from, I just picked on the power play, which should be better. Much better.

Anonymous said...

1st: Malkin is to Ovie as the PT Cruiser is to a Benz. I looked it up.

I'm about 90% sure Ted the Leonsis, watched the game last night and may, like myself, suspect his team should be better. He may further surmise that a change is needed. I'd like to humbly propose a coaching change. That we are behind the Thrashers, a team that couldn't imagine having the talent we have, that changed it's coach after a dismal start, might be a clue.

Finally, is it my imagination, or every time I look at my season tickets do is there really a voice that whispers, "Sucker"?

HotDog88GT said...

This isn't a 9 game skid; it's a 15 game skid. The Caps' offense is awful. They looked better when #8 didn't have to be so defensive minded. I remember the last time I saw a pass across two lines by this team, but I can see the opposition making them.

#92 spent half the PP time skating back into our own end with the puck. I turned up the volume on the TV and could swear I heard Olie repeatedly directing him back towards the Florida net.

The offense doesn't make any neutral passes. OV carries the puck in 1 on 4 and expects something to happen. When the Caps do have three across on the attack they can't hang on to the puck.

On the PP, when they do gain the offensive zone, Washington is content to just cycle things along the boards, and the opposition is happy to let them.

I wish Ted had never said the rebuild over. Ted forgot to dump GM GM and this coaching staff. There has to be a coach out there that can make a team out of these guys. If there isn't a shakeup by Game 20 then I think we Caps fans will have to sit thru yet another year of underachievement - or are the players just not that good?

cd said...

Three tangential comments on last night's game.

1. i didn't get home until the 3rd period, so i tried to listen to the game on 107.7. i say "tried" because the game faded out into dead air every five minutes or so. Extremely annoying.

2. Whoever that kid is in the AOL profile radio commercial is has to be the worst voice actor i've ever heard. Good Lord and Butter, kid, find a new gig or get a better acting coach.

3. Am i the only person out there that can't seem to get that "Pork" commercial song out of my head?

Daniel said...

At least Ovie had that sweet open-ice hit in the 2nd. Highlight of the game.


ted said...

While I tend to be an optimist, I keep hearing that nagging voice saying, "There's always next year.".

I really don't see any creativity on offense. I am not sure if it is the line combinations or the system that Hanlon has adopted to keep the puck out of their own net, but whatever it is, I think it is time to get some new ideas or new coaching.

Hint: Keeping goals down is good only if you can score more than the other team. I'd rather see them win games 5-4 then lose 2-1. Why not try to turn them loose tonight; let them get creative and let the D men, like Greenie, jump up in the offensive zone more.

JP said...

Why is it we attract the less-intelligent Pens fans?

Actually, we're privileged with visits from the most reasonable Pens fan I've stumbled upon whenever Hooks shows up. Past him, though, it's slim pickin's.