Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Roundup/Gamenight: Panthers @ Caps

[AP Preview - Preview]

When Alexander Semin comes off the IR later today, Glen Hanlon will have a full, healthy roster to work with for only the second time this season. The results of the first two games? A 2-0 win over the Hurricanes and a 5-3 victory over the Lightning. This is significant for two reasons. First, because it gives us all some hope that things can turn around - with six of the Caps' next eight games at against Southeast Division rivals, it's nice to recall what this team, when healthy, can accomplish.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Semin's return to the lineup should officially mark the end of the excuse-making. Don't get me wrong, taking a 38-goal scorer out of the lineup is a big hit. Add in Chris Clark's, Tom Poti's and Boyd Gordon's absences, and injuries have undeniably played a leading role in the tragedy we've all watched through the first quarter of the season - not all excuses are illegitimate ones. But provided that Sasha is actually ready to go at something resembling 100%, we'll hopefully get our first extended chance to see the team that George McPhee has assembled, and we'll get to see how Glen Hanlon coaches 'em up.

Up until this point, it's been perfectly fair to judge each of the aforementioned members of the Caps brass on their job performance, but any such analysis has been somewhat incomplete. Sure, it's a GM's job to put together a team with enough depth to handle some injuries, and it's a coach's job to adjust when players miss time - both men can fairly be judged against those performance standards. But we all know that the "if we were healthy" talk has some measure of merit to it (obviously a significant amount of merit, in fact, to the powers that be), so now that the team is healthy, it's time to see what they - and the suits - can do to try to save this season.

On a side note, the team will have to make a roster move to free-up a spot for Semin's return - any guesses as to what that move might be? A new "injury" to one of the scratches? Someone put on waivers?

In some ways, tonight's game against Florida marks a new beginning for this Caps team - and it may just be the beginning of the end for some of them.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The NHL has released it's preliminary draft rankings for the 2008 Entry Draft. Unfortunately, this list is becoming increasingly important to Caps fans with each passing week.... If you missed Martin Brodeur's save on Daniel Briere during the third period of Saturday night's game, make sure to check it out, especially the overhead shot (and don't miss Danny picking his nose and wiping it on his jersey).... Jakub Klepis is en fuego.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Nicklas Lidstrom (G, 2A, +1, 5 SOG, 3 blocked shots)
  • Ross: Nicklas Lidstrom, Nikolai Zherdev, Rick Nash (3 points each)
  • Norris: Nicklas Lidstrom (G, 2A, +1, 5 SOG, 3 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Roberto Luongo (W, 29 saves on 30 shots against)
  • Richard: 18 players tied with 1G apiece
  • Calder: Josh Harding (W, 27 saves on 28 shots against)
  • Aiken: Miikka Kiprusoff (L, 4 goals allowed on 21 shots against)


Anonymous said...

"...But provided that Sasha is actually ready to go at something resembling 100% ..." More losses and more excuses are on the way, because he isn't 100% and won't be for a while. (SIGH)


1) Semin's/Clark's injury should NOT/cannot legitimately be used as an excuse for going 3-12-1 in the last 16 games. Not with the off season additions of Backstrom, Kozlov, Poti, and Nylander.
2) Hopefully their returns/a healthy roster proves to be a key, but right now this team will have to go on a serious hot streak to get back into playoff contention. Yes, only 7 points out, but 6 teams in front makes that a daunting task!

Tyler said...

The next logical coach-firing-enabling break in the schedule isn't until Dec. 2. So I suppose that Hanlon has seven games to show what he can do with Semin back, oui?

Tyler said...

Forgot to add: And the question is how many points do the Caps need to have in the next seven games for GH to stay. I think it's probably at least nine.

NS said...


I'd say they'd have to post a record of at least 3-4 over the next seven games for GH to survive.

That is if Teddy is ready to drop the guillotine on the coaching position.

Chimaera said...

realistically to have much of a shot in all of this, they need to post about a 9-10 point run in the 7 games.

That said, I'd be surprised if they get 5 points.

And they still won't fire him.


1) The next question SHOULD be, Does Ted have the balls to pull a Hicks in Dallas and kick BOTH Hanlon and GMGM to the curb? It is GMGM who assembled this team
2) Of course the conventional wisdom is that GMGM would get additional time, but his track record for hiring coaches isn't too good either
3) BTW, playing at .500 for the next couple of weeks should NOT cut it. The caps play teams currently out of the top 8 in 9 of their next 10 games. If this is supposed to be a playoff spot contender, going .500(after playing .350 for a month) should be unacceptable!

Debcapsfan said...

I was one of the loudest fire Wilson supporters (when we were a Carolina game I yelled it and he heard me, poor guy) but I think that GMGM has to go too. The team isn't getting better. This week is key. They are out of excuses.

DMG said...

I don't think McPhee should go. Leonisis caused the team to crash and burn with the Jagr extension and the signing of Bruce Cassidy (along with bringing in Cassidy's AHL players to placate him) and McPhee's had to start from scratch and I think he has done a fine job.

AO's Sunshine State Fan said...

"...the team will have to make a roster move to free-up a spot for Semin's return"...I vote for Poti or Schultz to go away...don't really much care HOW! I'm still one of the few optomistic fans who hopes Sasha's return will bring the Caps a nice lengthy win streak, at least thru those division rivals. AO & Sasha back together again will make my Thanksgiving VERY happy! As will the departure of streak or not.

Scott said...

Caps trade Suts

AO's Sunshine State Fan said...

Sutherby? So many others could (should)have gone...

Chris said...

So, we should fire the coach, the GM, and half the players. I know we're fans, and we don't have to think about this, but there seems to be a key piece missing.

Who in the world do we replace them with?

Seriously, who takes over behind the bench? Our guy in Hersey? Maybe. What about GMs?

And with the pre-season moves, the big three we got were all pretty well received. Seems some revisionist history here.

And these are veteran players. Why aren't they adjusting to each other? Partly coaching, but at some point the players need to step up. Are you going to drop Nyls? Poti and his 3.5 mil? It's just unrealistic.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

Okay so just back from tonight's loss against the Panthers and watching another ex-Cap - Zednick tear us up. The chants of Fire Hanlon started in the latter part of the second period and went on through the third. My 2 cents is this loss is on Hanlon - the line combinations he tried in Periods 1 & 2 didn't work in the third he had to dig into his psche and do a really hard thing - put some of the line combos from the first three games of the season on the ice - that was a hard one to figure out - huh.. A coiple other issues: Backstrom will be good but a Rookie at center on line 1 won't cut it. Nylander is exciting and fun to watch but probably uncoachable and whoever selected him as Star 3 of the game tonight for his 2 assists versus Semins 1 goal and 1 assist was not thinking about what made the team look like a team when it worked. AO looked frustrated much of the game and in the latter part of the second period his back checking started to slack off to last season's levels - I'd expect more of this and issues holding him at the end of the season when he becomes free agent eligible if we don't find a center for his line that works - there are several wings that it's clear work as partners for AO and there is plenty of other horsepower. Hanlon should go now - the team is often dragging and needs someone to push harder conditioning when they paly a lot of games they can't keep up - it's hard to imagine them doing well in a playoff series at this level of fitness. Olie is playing well but on two of tonight's goals he needed help around the net and it wasn't there, that said the first two goals scored on him tonight a deity couldn't have stopped. If anybody doesn't think Poti is worth it they aren't thinking - he is a rock and was tonight. The power play looked good even though it didn't score - mainly IMHO because Nylander over stickhandles and they don't move to clearer shooting lanes nimbley enough so there are large numbers of blocked shots attempted that never reach the opposing Goalie. Guys who are good but may not be earning their portion of a salary cap IMHO: Nylander - nobody seems able to play with him and he doesn't fit into any sort of scheme - I'd be curious what the stats say the number of scoring chances (vice shots or puck possession time) the caps have had at even strength when he's been on the ice; Pothier - he's good but hasn't ever reached the level he had in his last season with the Senators. The D in general needs to tighten up and push people out of the low slot - with the exception of when Poti is on the ice it seems there's always someone camped on the Caps doorstep, the guy most disappointing in this area is Jurcina - he has the size to stop this but a lot of the time when he trys he ends up in the penalty box.. oh well at least the weather is usually good enough for golf in this area by April - but if we're voting replacing Hanlon sooner than later would be a good start even though he seems like a really good, decent human, if I were part of the Lincoln Holding Group I'd be looking to try something different sooner rather than later..