Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday Roundup/Panthers 4, Caps 3

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - WashingtonCaps.com Postgame]

When the Caps surrendered the dreaded last-minute goal with 51 seconds left in the first to break a 1-1 tie, you had a feeling that the team would need a shot in the arm to get back in the game - be it a pep talk, a shake-up in the lines, the right coaching adjustment, a lucky bounce - even though they were only down a single goal.

Well, they didn't get it.

In fact, it was the Cats who got the lucky bounce and that was that. Another game, another loss, but this one featured something new - the debut of the "Fire Hanlon" chant. Frankly, the team might owe it to Hanlon for all he's done for the organization to let him go while he still has his dignity - he doesn't deserve to be remembered as he will be if things keep going the way they're going and they keep him around for much longer. Something's gotta give, and sooner rather than later. Some other notes on the game:
  • Sure, the Caps put some lipstick on the pig, but that wasn't a one-goal loss.
  • Is Glen Hanlon desperate? Playing Alex Semin for 18-plus minutes in his first game back after saying the Russian would be eased back into the lineup might suggest so.
  • As for Semin, he was manhandled at times, but also sure does like to embellish things, doesn't he? Still, his presence in the lineup unquestionably changes things a bit.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has to do a better job of tying up his man in front on the first Panther goal.
  • Brooks Laich's shorty was only the Caps' second of the year (Matt Bradley had the other), and it tied Laich with Tomas Fleischmann for third on the team in goals with four. Again, good on Brooks - bad on most of his teammates.
  • Speaking of Flash, he registered his first block shot of the season in the first period, leaving Joe Motzko and Chris Bourque (who have each played just three games) as the only Caps without a blocked shot.
  • The Caps still haven't scored a 5-on-3 goal yet this season - they're 0-for-6 in those situations.
  • The power play is now 3-for-33 in the last nine games.
  • Speaking of missed opportunities, I was in the press box but passed up the chance to exact some revenge on Panther color analyst Denis Potvin for the knee-on-knee hit that essentially ended Bengt Gustafsson's career. Sorry, Caps fans.
  • John Erskine looked, uh, rusty on the Cats' second goal. I thought he was supposed to clear opposing players from in front of Olie Kolzig, rather than vice-versa.
  • Remember when Matt Pettinger and Boyd Gordon got the occasional assist at least? Eight games and counting for each without a point.
  • Chris Clark's hooking penalty midway through a second period power play was unforgivable and unnecessary.
  • Mike Green had a pair of bad penalties, but drew one on a nice end-to-end rush. Typical Mike Green game.
  • At one point in the third period, the Caps had a 3-on-2 break that they quickly turned into absolutely nothing, which allowed the Panthers a 3-on-2 break the other way that resulted in a quality scoring chance. That's coaching.
Anyway, after the game I headed down to the morgue, err, locker room. Olie Kolzig was sitting in his stall, pads still on, looking very much like Rodin's Thinker (and moving just as much). It was literally five to ten minutes before any of the assembled throng of media dared to approach him. Not good times.

Next up: Atlanta who, in case you haven't noticed, has clawed all the way back to .500 after their 0-6-0 start.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Word is that Bob Hartley has been offered a job coaching in Russia.... A small handful of Rangers games this season are being broadcast in Chinese. The wins will be just as satisfying, but after an hour, you'll be hungry again.... Just when you thought Todd Bertuzzi couldn't be a bigger scumbag, there's this.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Dany Heatley (Game-winning goal, 2A, +3)
  • Ross: Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley (3 points each)
  • Norris: Michal Rozsival (G)
  • Vezina: Mike Smith (22-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Olli Jokinen (2G)
  • Calder: Mike Smith (22-save shutout win)
  • Aiken: Johan Holmqvist (OTL, 4 goals allowed on 24 shots against, including two in the final six minutes of regulation)


Mcphee said...

At the end of the 2nd period Hanlon put out Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin. They did not look good togather in the little time.

At this point of the season what is to lose? Try this line out, even if its a poor mans heatly-speeza-alfderson. We can see how 1 great line can carry a team.

Hopefully a line like that can create 2 goals a game. Spreading the offesene out is and has not been working. Put all the eggs in one basket and hope for the best.

Semin- Backstrom-Ovechkin
Clark - Nylander - koz
Pettinger - Gordon- fliesh

Or just trade every one for 2nd round picks...


1) Amazing, but its not yet Thanksgiving and the season is essentially over. Sure mathematically its not, but in order to make the playoffs(from past years) it takes about 92 points.
2) For the Caps to get there, they'd have to go like 40-22 the rest of the way! Anyone believe this team can even play .500 hockey let alone play at a .645 clip for the rest of the year!

Tyler said...

I kept refreshing Tarik's blog/etc. to see if some coach-changing news would break between 11pm and midnight. Sigh.

ted said...

I am starting to understand what it is like to be a Chicago Cubs fan.

DMG said...

There's not going to be a coaching change until at least Dec 2


1) December 2nd? Ted on his yacht in the Aegean until then?

Tyler said...

1) See
2) Yesterday's
3) "Monday
4) Roundup"
5) For
6) Discussion
7) Of
8) This

Moby said...

We have Bruce Cassidy on the phone.


1) Comprehend
2) Sarcasm?
3) LOL

NS said...

Steven Stamkos, here we come.

kb said...

Just caught the tail end of practice today and did see the Coach whose name is Hanlon on the ice.

Watching the same stubborn decisions made with the puck by both Kozlov and Nylander during last night's game, I find myself asking, are these two players even coachable by anyone?

Nomad said...

I was highly disappointed in Mike Green's game last night, honestly. When the rest of the team was starting to rally, he looked lost. Between standing still and failing to do anything at all but watch on the second Jokinen goal and then failing to carry or move the puck with any authority when the team was within one with under two minutes to go, he cost the team a lot of opportunity to climb back into it.

I like Green as a player, but his play in the third period last night might have been the worst period of play by a Caps defender this year.

Tyler said...

If GH thinks The Answer is shorter shifts, I'm putting my season tix up on EBay.

Nomad said...

It appears Hanlon thinks the answer is to keep trying quantifiably different things so as to justify his job while he is "searching for the answer." It appears to be working, unfortunately.

Hanlon did a top notch job of getting players to play over their heads in the years leading up to this one, but he doesn't have the ability to coach talented players into any kind of system from the red line forward. It has come time for them to get a coach in there that can coach players in all three zones.

Scott said...

So, 2 penalties taken and 1 drawn - is that now a Mike Green Hat Trick?

This losing is about as much fun as limbo - i never really liked that "how low can you go" crap. I don't want to go low. I keep counting my blessings that I'm not in the DC area and I only had to pay 159 for center (centre) ice rather than thousands for Season Tix.

NS said...

I'm not so upset at the # of defensemen they drafted this year anymore....

Ted's blog today is interesting. I hope his frustration is sincere and not to appease the masses.

In regards to NYLANDER, I think there is a problem with how our players skate with him. He's does his usual puck retention dance, but NO ONE seems to make a move to get into a better scoring position. He can dish it out like the best of them, but the others players on the ice need to learn how to play with a skilled playmaker. Otherwise, he becomes useless. You can apply this to Backstrom as well. i don't think any of our team, even our superstars, are good at this. I'm sure Nyles is getting as frustrated as Kolzig is.

Speaking of the devil...I'd love to hear what Kolzig really thinks.

DMG said...

December 2 is when the Caps end their busy stretch (I believe it's 10 games in 16 days).

NS, I believe Ted's frustration is genuine. He cares about this team, he poured money into it early on the in the hopes of getting a winner and he's suffered through the (previous?) lean years so the team could stock its system. He wants to win, this isn't about trying to appease people.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

My 2 cents:

1) With the money all the owners have in this the frustration has to be real.

2) Nylander though fun to watch is probably uncoachable; the reason given for the Nylander pickup wasa mentor for Backstrom - on that front if you believe what you read things are good;

3) I'm not for a Semin-Backstrom-Ovechkin line yet. Who takes the faceoffs? Backstrom is still getting used to the NHL - to me the first line center is like an NFL starting quaterback and I always feel its a disservice to put a rookie in that role as well.

4) So far tonight the game seems good the intensity is notched up but 0-0 at the end of the first so we'll see...