Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Roundup/Wings 4, Caps 3 (SO)

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats]

I'm not huge on "moral victories." I'm also not big on "at least we didn't get blown out on (quasi-) national television." But going into The Joe and leaving with a point is somethin', so there's that. And yet I'm sure there's not a single player who dressed for the Caps last night who is happy with just that one point - and that's a the real takeaway from a game like this, and it's another difference between this team today and this team one month ago. Some other thoughts on the game:
  • Olie Kolzig's lateral quickness (or lack thereof) was exposed on the Henrik Zetterberg goal, and his performance in the shootout - getting beat three times on the same shot - was... well... not good. Still, he made a number of outstanding stops (one in particular, on Tomas Kopecky, comes to mind), and at least Pavel Datsyuk didn't embarrass him with this move.
  • Was Ed Olzczyk really blaming Michael Nylander for getting checked from behind headlong into the boards by Johan Franzen in the second?
  • And did Alex Semin actually try to get up in Franzen's mug in Nyls' defense? Looks like Gabby's message (or, as Dan Cleary might call it, a "tongue-licking") may have gotten through to Sasha, as he also added the game-tying goal and a shootout tally and had not a single giveaway.
  • Speaking of turnovers, was the scorekeeper sleeping on this stat, or did the Caps really only have four giveaways and Detroit only four takeaways?
  • Despite the goal, Alex Ovechkin wasn't particularly sharp, as this was one of those games where he looked to be trying to do too much on his own and he looked disinterested in displaying everything in his arsenal. But the fact that it's been since November 5 and 6 since AO went two straight games without a goal is pretty amazing.
  • You might have known that Quintin Laing, who assisted on the Jeff Schultz's fourth goal in the last six games was drafted by the Wings back in 1997. You might not have known that so was former part-time Cap Petr Sykora.
  • Mike Green rushing the puck has become just about my favorite things to watch during Caps games, perhaps only trailing AO crushing a defenseman against the boards on the forecheck.
  • The power play's inefficiency shouldn't be overlooked. Two-for-seven is nice in the box score, but the unit did not look good last night and failed to click (or even really threated) on any of three straight opportunities sandwiching the second intermission.
  • David Steckel won 13 of 16 faceoffs (81%), and while Nicklas Backstrom won only 48% of his draws, he had a huge win late in regulation in the defensive zone (which didn't quite make up for his poor backchecking on Tomas Holmstrom's second goal).
  • Viktor Kozlov was the only Cap skater not to register a shot on goal, and even went as far as to ring his shootout attempt off the iron. Ugh.
  • When Backstrom was born, Chris Chelios had already been in the NHL longer than Shaone Morrisonn has now.
  • Green and Schultz have combined for 13 goals, which is tied with Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar for the most in the League by a pair of blueliners on the same team. The Caps' 2004 Draft is looking better every day, isn't it?
So the Caps will take the point (something only four other teams have been able to do when visiting Detroit this season) and head home to face the Habs. With every game bigger than the last one, Thursday's matchup should be both hard-fought and entertaining, and hopefully worth two points for the home team.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Tomas Holmstrom (2G, 3 SOG, 2 hits)
  • Ross: Pavel Datsyuk (3 points)
  • Norris: Brett Clark (2A, +2, 4 SOG)
  • Vezina: Dominik Hasek (3 goals allowed on 30 shots against in shootout win)
  • Richard: Tomas Holmstrom (2G)
  • Calder: David Steckel (+1, 81% faceoffs one, 1 Esa Tikkanen)
  • Aiken: Jack Johnson (0 points, 0 SOG, -2, 2 minor penalties, 4 giveaways, 0 takeaways)


Tyler said...

AO looks like he's pressing a bit. Which he hasn't done all year. Gotta think he'll snap out of it in short order.

Matt Bradley: Seven very active minutes.

Green: Five fewer shifts than Tom Poti, four more minutes played. Never saw that under GH. Love seeing him on the PP.

NS said...

I felt like I was watching a playoff game last night. After the 1st period, i really thought the Caps could win this if they didn't take any more idiotic penalties.


Kozlov is an enormous let down. This guy needs to produce, not waste ice time.

The Caps defenseman need to start checking those wingers in their own zone. They lose too many of those battles because they are not physical enough.

I never thought I would say this, but Matt Bradley, when not taking stupid offensive zone penalties, is damn effective on the forecheck and is playing well. Glad he is in the lineup.

Semin has become excellent at passing to the other team. Glad he finally put one in net, though.

Anyone else regret not picking up Bryzgalov? I think Olie, as it pains me to say, is losing his edge. Three straight shootout goals off the backhand. Don't think that was coincidence.

Backstrom looked a little out of his comfort zone at first, but got better as the game went on.

Laing-Steckel-Bradley is proving to be a better checking line that what we started with this season.

Pettinger did nothing last night.

Jane said...

From Deadwings coach Babcock, in the Detroit Free Press: "They got the puck going out of their zone in a hurry," coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought they played well; I was impressed. I really was. I thought it was a hard battle for us. There's not many teams that keep us off kilter all night long like they did tonight."

Also, RE: Our Boy Nicky B. --- I agree with this Henrik Zetterberg comment entirely: "He's a really skilled, all-around player, really takes pride in working both ends. Last year in Sweden, he really became a big star there. I think, maybe, he is still a little weak, but he is still young, so when he will get some muscles on him, he will be a real good player."

Put some more meat on the fellow (both mentally and physically) and he's going to be outstanding. Not that he isn't pretty great right now.

Rage said...

Definitely disappointed with the final result. But the boys played pretty well.

Btw, how many Hail Mary's is Jeff Schultz saying right now? That guy's luck is out of control right now. Soft wristers deflecting into the net. Or is that a product of skillful shooting?

JP said...

@NS: I thought Bryzgalov made all the sense in the world (at the time, not in hindsight). Worst case scenario, you had a very tradeable commodity in February that would bring back more than you had to give up for him in Novemeber.

Best case? We need not go there.

I feel that, at times, Caps management can be too loyal. Think about the contracts that guys like Clymer, Muir, Bradley and Johnson have gotten (specifically the lengths of the deals for guys who are more or less a dime a dozen) and how long they stuck with Hanlon for examples. I believe that the Caps passed on Bryzgalov out of loyalty to B.J., and it has probably cost the team.

Chris said...

Lost in the discussion is this was game four in six nights, three of which Olie got the start. Is he losing his fastball? Maybe, but let's not toss the guy under the bus, shall we? We're on year three of the "We can't lean on Olie this hard" plan, and he's still ridden hard and put away wet.

They also have nine points in the last five games.

JP said...

All the more reason Bryzgalov should have been brought in - to both push Olie to be better (we know how competitive he is) and to allow him to take some more nights off.

But yes, the nine points in five games are fantastic (as are the 16 in 13 games under Boudreau).

Tyler said...

I agree with JP on IlyaB, with one wee distinction: I think it probably hasn't cost this (07-08) team a lot, but I think it's cost the organIzation.

Tyler said...

Anyone else amused by GMGM's jaw-clenched interview with Chris Simpson on Versus last night? She's Erin Andrews-plus-one and GMGM couldn't look at her, and would only grunt in her general direction.

That said: After the 4.3 words he said about BB, I wondered... if he thinks that, why isn't the 'interim' tag gone?!

kt said...

Olie's performance in the shootout was not good. However, was shocked he stopped that breakaway earlier.

Wish Kozlov would play in the game like he plays in the shootouts. Yes he rang it off the post, but he rang it off the post (not softly shot it somewhere near the net).

I swear something is different with Semin. You did see him get a little forceful last night, he scored a critical goal late in the game, and showed how much he wanted to score during the shootout. I think Hasek needs a new water bottle after that shot!

Before the game nobody expected us to win. I wish we had won, but at least we made a statement. Does anyone think that this team would have rallied not once but twice from a goal down against Detroit before Thanksgiving?

~Mark said...

I think Olie was average in regulation, but is very vulnerable in one-on-one situations. I think I'm at this point with Olie: I no longer believe we can win a Cup with him in net. Is he an adequate goalie to get to the playoffs with? Perhaps.

Kiltedcap said...

Caps played a great game last night and I really thought Ovechkin was going to win it in OT for us.

On Bryzgalov - If we had taken him off the waiver's we would have been stuck with him for a year. We could not trade him without offering him to the ducks again -

13.20B "A Player who has been acquired by Waiver claim shall not be Traded to another Club until the termination of Playoffs of the season in which he was acquired unless he is first offered on the same terms to the Club(s) that entered a claim when Waivers were requested originally and the offer has been refused."

And I am sure the ducks would have taken him back.

kt said...

Had the same opinion of GMGM's interview. If you are going to be like that, why even agree to be interviewed?

Also, did anyone else notice when the camera was on him later he was reading something (not watching the game)? My thoughts were either: Are we about to have someone else with an "interim" in front of their name and that is why he was such a jerk, or does he have some kind of trade in the works and Chris was interupting whatever was going on.

JP said...

@Kilted: That rule let's the other teams that put in a claim for him (which would not include the Ducks) match any offer the Caps would receive for Bryzgalov, it doesn't mean the Caps wouldn't be able to trade him.

@KT: GMGM's not going anywhere.

Please just sign him! said...

Change of subject. Get a load of this: http://www.thehockeynews.com/

Mike Brophy "Caps should shop Ovechkin"


JP said...

@PJSH: That article was in the "What We're Reading" list on the right side of the main page yesterday. Frankly, I'm growing numb to these articles. If it isn't impacting the player or the team (and there's every indication that it's not), why should it impact us?


1) Kolzig in the last few weeks has shown that perhaps his lateral movement is not what it should/has been.
2) We can all look back at the error of not picking up Bryzgalov, but what can be done about that now? Really, what options do the caps have IF Ollie is showing signs of age and can't be relied upon to play 60+ games anymore?
3) The game is all about goaltending so it doesn't matter how well the other areas in the 'rebuild' are going, without a reliable # 1 in net a team isn't going to succeed!

NotAShootoutFan said...

Olaf has looked bad in the last two shootouts. He just looks tired.

As for the game, he got more quality shots against him than any other Caps game I've seen this year.

Tyler said...

And to think I was hoping that a reliable #2 netminder -- or maybe a system deep in prospects -- would be enough. Once again, Faux is the voice of unconsidered wisdom.

Shaggy said...

I admit I am an Olie apologist - you takes your good and you gets your bad from him, for sure. His save on Kopecky was freaking awesome. The shootout was brutal to watch - I hate watching Zetterberg and Datsyuk make it look like a video game.
But Olie played well - did he not?
And where is the criticism of Hasek? He let Ovie sneak one through the pads too, and his SO record blows - 4-11.

DMG said...

Thank you so much for working a "tongue-licking" reference into your recap

Dan said...

Sad as it is to say, they should have traded Olie when there was a market for him a couple seasons ago. Even back then it was clear that he was going to be over the hill by the time the Caps were ready to compete for anything.

I actually thought he played pretty well in the non-shootout portion of the game, as he really didn't have any realistic chance on the 3 goals and made some great stops otherwise. AO really needs to stop taking the puck in 1 on 3. He got one highlight goal doing that about a month ago, but hasn't really done much but give the other team a quick turnover since then...


DMG said...


like you I thought that passing on Bryzgalov was a bad move, and I don't understand it. Perhaps it was that the Capitals were afraid he would again be unhappy and a disruption being a #1A/#2?

I can forgive the contracts to Clymer, Muir and Bradley since a lot of teams made moves that look odd in retrospect as they adjusted to the salary cap. So long as GMGM doesn't do it any more....

Scott said...

I think we've solidified one thing - we've got to be the worst team when it comes to the shootout. Seriously, we won 1 last year i think? Obviously none this year. At least it looks like the Caps realize that and they usually play balls-to-the-wall during the OT period.

TG said...


My problem with all the Ovechkin-on-the-move stories is that none of them provide trades that they think might happen!

First, we'll start with the premise that he's not going to be traded. But if you're going to speculate, actually put a package together, right? Really get the rumor mills going.

Not that I'd like to see him go, but if Colorado came with an offer of Statsny, Hejduk, a defenseman or two and 2-3 first round picks, it'd at least be worth considering, right? If Detroit offered Datsyuk (or Zetterberg), Hudler, Rafalski, another player and 2-3 first round picks? If Pittsburgh offered Malkin, Fleury, Staal, one or two other players and 2-3 first round picks? I'm sure we could all come up with something that, although it would never happen, would at least be intriguing to both sides.

Rage said...

I think only the Colorado trade is even remotely close to a possibility. The Detroit trade is especially ridiculous.

TG said...


I wasn't saying that the trade would occur, or that the Caps should take it, I was just saying what do you think someone would have to offer for GMGM and/or Ted to say, "We have to at least think about this offer"?

Rage said...

Well I guess my point is that if Detroit offered that trade, the Caps would be morons to not take it. Zetterburg + Datsyuk alone would be nearly equal to Ovy's influence.

And I think that the Stastny trade is closer to equal value. But what do I know? I'm pretty much a moron when it comes to this stuff.

Also, for the record, I love Ovy and don't want him to ever leave.