Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Isles

[AP Preview - Preview]

Basically, there are two ways the Caps can head into the Christmas break - on a high note and no more than seven points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference or... well... "other." Tonight's game on Long Island, of course, will go a long way towards determining how merry the Caps' collective Christmas is, and while it's never easy to win on the road in the NHL, the Caps have a lot going for them tonight. Consider:
  • The Caps have been better away from home thus far this season.
  • The Isles are 3-6-1 in their last ten games. The Caps are 5-4-1.
  • Islander coach Ted Nolan won't be behind the bench - he'll be in Tampa watching his son's NHL debut. Odd, but nice decision (and h/t to RBH on the link).
  • The Isles played last night and won - on the season, they're 6-8-1 following a win (but they're 5-2 in the second game of back-to-backs).
  • Islander GM Garth Snow is a jackass (despite and not just because of this). I'm not sure how this helps the Caps tonight, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.
  • Jon Sim's still injured.
  • The Isles have scored the fewest goals in hockey. Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Jarome Iginla have combined for more tallies this season than the entire Islander team.
It's safe to say that no team wants to go into a break having lost three straight and four of their last five, but that's what's staring the last-place Caps in the face tonight. If ever there was a time for some of the team's veteran leaders (Olie Kolzig, Viktor Kozlov, Tom Poti, etc.) to get back on track (or on track at all), tonight would be a great time to do so - the young guys can't do it alone.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

On this date back in 2001, Brent Johnson recorded his seventh career shutout. Just sayin'... Another day, another great quote from Karl Alzner, Canada's World Junior team captain: "We're going to go there pretending we're the New England Patriots and everybody hates us." I wonder if he gets to be Tom Brady.... If it's Saturday, I'm on Ice Sheet duty at FanHouse. Be sure to stop by and check it out.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Mike Ribiero (2G, including the OT game-winner, +1)
  • Ross: 13 players tied with two points each
  • Norris: Jaroslav Spacek (2A, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Fredrik Norrena (W, 33 saves on 34 shots against)
  • Richard: Milan Hejduk, Mike Ribiero (2G each)
  • Calder: Blake Comeau (Game-winning G, A, +2)
  • Aiken: Rob Scuderi (-3, 0 points, 0 SOG)


murph said...

One more stat for you guys, the Isles are 1-0 this season already when Ted Nolan DOESN'T coach. Go Isles! =)

Jon said...

From the Post: "Numbers don't always tell the true story," Kolzig said. "We're playing a system now where you don't get a lot of comfort shots, a lot of perimeter shots. You've got to be ready. We're not allowing teams to come right through, but when they do, it's on a breakdown or a power-play shot.

"We're more aggressive in the defensive zone; we're pressuring. But if one guy isn't doing his job, that leaves another guy wide open. That's what I'm facing. I've come to grips with that. My philosophy is to make the key save at the right time."

I mean this may be technically true, but it doesn't sound right. It sounds very similar to whining. Even in the darkest days of the last three or so years, I don't recall hearing him like this. Interesting. Wonder what happens now.

RE: Eminger: Poor guy must have some serious kind of kooties or something. I thought that Gabby would at least give him a chance.


1) Very funny Murph! Unfortunately Arbour won't be in the building tonight! LOL
2) Jon: If those quotes from Kolzig are true it does sound a bit like an excuse/whining. A bit uncharacteristic of Ollie.
3) He may be feeling a bit of pressure as the team has generally played significantly better since the coaching change, but he hasn't.

Hooks Orpik said...

Also, keep an eye on Rick DiPietro playing his 2nd game in as many nights.

The Isles looked pretty good against my Penguins last night, perhaps their effort/energy level will suffer the inherent drop that seems to happen for teams playing in back-to-back nights.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

1) Maybe we can get Snow and his posse to come in and take over for McPhee - he clearly has an eye for young "talent".

2) If this is a statement by Olie it doesn't sound too much like whining he isn't saying he shouldn't make the stops - I didn't hear him saying there was no way for him to have made some of the necessary stops that would have nabled the Caps to win vs. the Habs. I love Olie but have to admit that game is on him.

3) I think an Eminger-Schultz pairing would be better against the Isles and he should start getting some playing time soon.


We need these two points.