Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Roundup/Gamenight: Cats @ Caps

[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Had enough exhilarating Caps-Panthers action yet? No? Good, because you'll be getting another couple of heaping portions of it tonight and Saturday night. By the end of Saturday night, the Caps will have played four of their previous ten games against Florida. Memo to Gary: that's why people hate baseball.

Gratuitous scheduling rant out of the way, let's turn our attention to the game, a home game of sorts for the Panthers. Why? Because they're 9-2-0-1 in D.C. since the start of the 2003-04 season.

But those weren't Bruce Boudreau's Caps, so let's wipe that slate clean and start anew, something we had thought the Caps had done last Thursday. Monday night's game against the Sabres, however, looked a bit too familiar. The turnovers were the readily apparent manifestation of what killed the Caps, but to me, they were more the symptom than the disease. As Rage noted to me in an email (and I'll paraphrase), when the Caps looked good, it was largely the result of great individual efforts, whereas when the Sabres looked good, it was the result of crisp passing and skating to open spots. I couldn't agree more.

Now, some of that certainly can be attributed to a new coach with a new system and some new linemates - you wouldn't expect everything to come together overnight. But a lot of it was simply players taking unnecessary risks in bad places on the ice, and that has little to do with systems and teammates and everything to do with focus.

Speaking of Michael Nylander, he's an NHL-worst minus-13 (tied, interestingly enough, with that stalwart defensive defenseman for whom everyone was clamoring in the offseason, Scott Hannan). But if you want an encouraging spin on that stat - and who doesn't? - head over to Peerless's neighborhood.

And sure, Alex Semin may have two more giveaways in the seven games he's played this season than Nyls has all year, as well as the worst giveaway-to-takeaway ratio of any forward in the NHL with at least two takeaways (sorry, no link - I did the calculation myself), but as he shakes off the rust, that will no doubt change - he had a respectable ratio last year.

So let's just throw out that Sabres game and see what the Panthers game brings. Most importantly, let's hopefully continue to start everything anew.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Ted Montgomery's take on the Caps, two months in: "Semin's been hurt and the defense has been awful."... Greg Wyshynski has a much more insightful review of the Caps' season so far.... Please. Stop. The. Stupidity.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Pavel Datsyuk (2G, including the game-winner, A, +2, 6 SOG)
  • Ross: Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla (3 points each)
  • Norris: Matthias Ohlund (2A, +2, 4 hits, 3 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Roberto Luongo (26-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Alexei Kovalev (2G each)
  • Calder: Carey Price (43 saves on 46 shots against in shootout win)
  • Aiken: Miikka Kiprusoff (3 goals allowed on 15 shots against in just 24:30 of work)

7 comments:

TG said...

So how come no one remembers that with a restricted free agent, the team that owns his rights has the right to MATCH ANY OFFER SHEET SIGNED BY THE PLAYER? Doesn't matter who does the offering, the Rangers/Red Wings/whoever can't FORCE the Capitals to take the 5 first round picks. Or is it just a slow period and the writers want to get fans riled up any way they can?

b.orr4 said...

I have to laugh how these $60,000 a year reporters think they know more about business than a guy who's made billions. Do they really think Ted made his fortune by giving away his most valuable assets at 20 cents on the dollar? Even in their dumbest moments, can they really believe Ted would let a generational player leave for draft choices? Maybe the bigger question is do they even think?

DMG said...

tg is exactly right. The Capitals will match any offer anyone else can throw at Ovechkin given the cap and the limit on individual player's salaries. The one and only way Ovechkin could leave would be if he refused to sign with the Caps and demanded a trade and, to me, that just doesn't seem like something he would do

Focality said...

Agreed, b.orr4. Ted may appear to be inept right now, but don't count him out, especially if you read his "100 things to do in life" list. One item is to see the Caps win the Stanley Cup. Does HE think letting Ovie go will benefit his aspirations?

Not only is Ted Kulfan perpetuating more crap like Brooks and Garrioch, he fails to cite any reliable sources and fails to support his argument that the Caps will not amount to anything. Any hockey fan worth a damn can tell you the names of teams that saw home game attendance/revenue increase as a result of good performance on the ice. Buffalo, Ottawa anyone?

And to further prove how much of a tool he is, he talks about the now thoroughly debunked rumors concerning a Olli Jokinen trade.

We'd respect these columnists and reporters IF they backed up their ideas with solid facts and such, rather than behaved like Eklund.

And the "professional" media wonders why the bloggers are so powerful.

Daniel said...

Sadly, by the end of the year I may be of the opinion that the only way this franchise can be saved is by losing Ovechkin and Green for the gaggle of first round picks... Admittedly I'd prefer the Oiler's picks because of Lowe's staggering ineptitude, but 5+ firsts is a ton if even 2 are in the top-10.

(Note - I know it won't happen and I'm glad, because watching Alex is about the only exciting thing the Caps have going for them right now)

-d

SV said...

Would you trade Scott Stevens career for Sergei Gonchar's and Brendan Witt's? I wouldn't. You can't give up potential Hall of Famers.

They were the best two of the five compensatory picks the Caps received for the signing of Stevens by the Blues way back when. I believe the others were Kharlamov, Elomo and Church, but would have to check on the latter three.

If OV is smart, and I believe he is, he leverages/threatens to return to Russia (someone there will pay him at least 5 million per -- not NHL dough, but he can use it to get what he wants) for a four year deal with the Caps for the maximum. That way, if he likes the progress he sees, he can resign for even bigger bucks in four years or he can walk as an UFA as he would have done the required seven seasons.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Daniel: Are you serious? If ever the Caps traded AO(or allowed him to be offer sheeted) the franchise would cease to exist. You think attendance is bad now? In other words Ovechkin's not going anywhere. Just some writers who are bored or pissed that their teams can no longer buy all the talents they want
2) b.orr4. Ted may be a good businessman, but he IS the one who signed Jagr to that amazingly stupid contract, AND is still paying part of it! The Caps got like 10 cents on the dollar on that trade!
3) sv: You are correct that AO could try to threaten a return to Russia, but we can't see him doing that. He'll get his 10+mil/year deal by season's end