Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Roundup/Gamenight: Sabres @ Caps

[AP Preview - Preview]

Since the lockout, the Caps have had a rough go of it against the Buffalo Sabres, tonight's opponent, posting a 2-8 record with only one win in the last nine meetings between the teams (that win, of course, being the infamous "checking from behind" game). In six of those nine games Buffalo lit the lamp at least five times. And I can't even use my go-to "But those were Glen Hanlon's Caps," since game three of the Bruce Boudreau era was a 3-1 home loss to the Sabres.

But those were Bruce Boudreau's Caps before he implemented his system (that dog'll hunt, right?).

At this point, I'm pretty confident that we know what we'll get from the Caps - a strong, confident effort that may or may not translate on the scoreboard. The Sabres, on the other hand, are a total crapshoot - their last six games include 8-1 and 7-1 wins, an 8-2 loss and a pair of 4-1 losses. Buffalo is still scoring in bunches, but they're giving up too many goals and have been every bit as mediocre overall as their .500 record would indicate. But their record is a little deceiving (at least as it applies to tonight's game), as they've managed a 7-4-0 record against Eastern Conference opponents not in the Northeast Division, including a 6-2-0 mark against the Southeast.

Still, it's impossible to predict which Sabre team will show up tonight - flip a coin... and bet the over.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Tarik profiles Mike Green's breakout season in today's WaPo, and includes an interesting quote from GMGM (similar to one he had in Wednesday night's pregame show on Comcast): "You just never know when a player is going to break through. We thought it might be last year. But it seems to be happening this year." Question - how much of that was Hanlon and how much was Green, and if the former was a significant factor, has the development of other prospects been similarly stunted by having Hanlon at the helm for so long? Discuss.... Here's your Eric Fehr update (Jan), and it seems to be pretty good news.... Could the Caps have an embarrassment of riches on the blueline in a few years? Both Karl Alzner and Josh Godfrey made the Canadian World Junior team. Mathieu Perreault, however, was cut.... Speaking of the Caps Junior prospects, Hockey's Future provides an update on 'em.... The first player in Caps history to score on a penalty shot is being inducted into the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame (slow news day, JP?).

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jarome Iginla (3G in the third period, including the game-winner, A, +5, 9 SOG)
  • Ross: Dion Phaneuf, Kristian Huselius (5 points each)
  • Norris: Dion Phaneuf (5A, +3, 3 SOG, 4 hits, 3 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Tomas Vokoun (33-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius (3G each)
  • Calder: Carey Price (31, 30 saves on 31 shots against)
  • Aiken: Johan Holmqvist (4 goals allowed on 6 shots against in just 13:05 of work)



1) Didn't see the TB-Cal game. Did both teams play without goalies last night? Knowing both coaches, wouldn't want to be either teams net minder after a game like that!
2) If Mike Richards deserves a 12 year deal, when/can GMGM/Ted get AO to sign a similar deal?

TJ said...

I really wonder how Hanlon might have stunted the growth of some our young players. Take for instance Green, doesnt anyone think its just coincidence that he has flourished under Gabby? And Im not saying he hasnt made mistakes, but Green has a huge upside.

Jan said...

RE: Fehr --- Thanks, JR! Good news for the most part.

This, however, I do not like: "A specific origin of the problem hasn't been diagnosed. "I still haven't heard anything from the doctors what they could even think it was," Fehr said."

Here modern miracle medicine, bankrolled by Uncle Ted no less, lets us down. Worrisome.

RE: Our Boy Mikey! We are very much enjoying watching our dear sonny boy rip all around the rink!! Zoom, zoom! Woohoo! Fearless and fast and brimming with confidence.

I like this Gabby quote about Mikey from Tarik's article: " ... He was skating faster at the end of the [Rangers] game than he was at the beginning." Here's hoping that it continues to contribute to actual wins.

RE: Sabres --- Regardless of the reality of their record, their nasty local fans will show up and make spectacles of themselves, as usual. They are beginning to eclipse Flyers fans and Flyers fans have yet to be actually officially classified Homo sapiens.

Hooks Orpik said...

--Mike Green's breakout season, just in time for his first shot at restricted free agency! Probably a coincidence given how defensemen tend to catch up to the speed of the NHL game, but still Green's timing is good (for him).

--Faux, top players like Ovechkin have little incentive to sign that longterm of a deal, which is why you're seeing more peripheral young players (like Richards, Stephen Weiss, Derek Roy, Milan Michalek, Ryan Whitney) sign 6 year+ deals.

Franchise players wouldn't benefit from being locked into today's 20% cap number, if the game keeps growing that would cost them millions down the road, which would be in a guy like Ovechkin's prime anyways.

Though there would be a lot of security in a 10 year $120 million deal; it wouldn't be prudent for a franchise player to sign if he's looking to maximize his career earnings.

It's not if Richards deserves it AO does to (though he does), it's AO wouldn't be willing to commit that long....I'd be impressed if he signs for more than 4 years, which would mean foregoing a chance at being unrestricted.

Ogre said...

9-6 games are terrible. They do nothing, because usually even though the score is that high, it's still a 3 goal win, which means the game isn't close.

DMG said...

Not to mention no one could sign a 10 year 120 million dollar contract because the $12M annual salary would surpass what it allowed for an individual player

Tyler said...

Excellent points, Hooks.

As for Mike Green, I think it's coincidence. He's just 22 -- he's maturing right on a realistic schedule. For the Caps to expect this caliber of play, and this level of maturity (for 50 minutes a night anyway, ahem) at 21, with under 80 or 100 games of NHL play, was unrealistic. No matter what GMGM said five times yesterday.

Debcapsfan said...

Alzner's been named the Captain of the Canadian Junior team.

I'm soooo excited about Green (I've got his jersey in the old style) and I can't wait to see what he does next!