Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Roundup

We all know that the Caps have been much better (good, even) under Bruce Boudreau than the were under Glen Hanlon.

We all know that they're playing at a playoff-caliber (100 point) pace since the change.

But Caps fans might need more context by which to judge their team, and the favorite stick by which to measure, of course, is the Pittsburgh Penguins. With that in mind, let's take a look at what both teams have done since the Caps pulled the trigger and canned Hanlon:
  • Washington: 7-4-2 (16 points); 3.15 G/G; 2.77 GAA; 20.0% PP; 89.3% PK
  • Pittsburgh: 8-4-0 (16 points); 2.67 G/G; 2.83 GAA; 18.5% PP; 73.6% PK
The teams have the same number of points (though Pitt has a game in hand), but the Caps have been markedly better offensively and on the penalty kill.

What about individual players? Let's take a look at the Pens' "big three + one" over that span:
  • Sidney Crosby: 4G, 9A, +3
  • Evgeni Malkin: 3G, 6A, -4
  • Jordan Staal: G, 4A, +1
  • Ryan Whitney: 4G, 2A, +1
And the Caps':
  • Alexander Ovechkin: 10G, 6A, +4
  • Alexander Semin: 2G, 3A, -4 (11 games played)
  • Nicklas Backstrom: 4G, 8A, even
  • Mike Green: 5G, 2A, +4
Finally, the number one goalies:
  • Marc-Andre Fleury: 4-0-0, 1.41 GAA, .936 SV%
  • Olie Kolzig: 5-4-2, 2.86 GAA, .890 SV%
So what does this (admittedly small sample) tell us? Well, to begin with, the Pens would likely be better than 8-4-0 over this span if Fleury, who was playing some of the best hockey of his career, hadn't gotten hurt (he hasn't played since December 6 and won't for another month-plus). Then again, if Chris Clark, Boyd Gordon and Michael Nylander hadn't been hurt and Alex Semin was at 100% this whole time...

Secondly, the Caps would likely be better than 7-4-2 if Olie Kolzig was playing better. Currently, he's 33rd in the League in GAA and 34th in save percentage. Unfortunately, his numbers since Boudreau took over are very similar to his numbers under Hanlon and hence, overall - the rising tide hasn't quite lifted all ships in D.C. Olie simply needs to be better if the Caps are going to make a run in the standings. There aren't 30+ goalies in the League you'd rather have as your number one netminder than Kolzig (heck, go ahead and try to list 15 in the comments - bet you can't), and his numbers need to start reflecting that.

The thing to take away here is that the many people who picked the Caps to be "this year's Penguins" (i.e. a young team that breaks through) might have been right all along - the team numbers listed above would all be good enough to be in the top half of the League for the season - albeit they had to wait a bit longer than they anticipated. The 2007-08 Penguins are a good team. But right now, the 2007-08 Caps are a better team. They're a better team than a lot of the teams in front of them in the Eastern Conference. And if things break the right way, the Caps could even have a shot at passing the Pens in the standings when the two teams face off in Pittsburgh on the 27th of this month. By any measure, that would be a hell of an achievement.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jason Spezza (2G, including the game-winner, 4 SOG)
  • Ross: Henrik Sedin, Michal Rozsival (3 points each)
  • Norris: Andrei Markov (2G, 2 SOG, 2 blocked shots)
  • Vezina: Roberto Luongo (32-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Jason Spezza, Andrei Markov, Markus Naslund, Scott Gomez (2G each)
  • Calder: Peter Mueller (Game-winning goal, +1, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Johan Holmqvist (L, 3 goals allowed on 9 shots against in one period of work)


kb said...

Comments have been enabled. Thanks for the heads-up, Rage.

I did a little investigating and traced the hack back to Ray Shero's office.

Rage said...

So can we get some comments on Si's suspension? I think 30 is not nearly enough. I was hoping for 50 at least. Or castration.

What do you all think?

kb said...

> Or castration.

With Simon's own skate?

I completely agree that the suspension is not long enough, rage. Simon being a repeat offender is bad enough, but the injuries caused by a skate blade can be so severe. Ask Dan Boyle or Kevin Bieksa. Or Clint Malarchuk.


1)'d rather have as your number one netminder than Kolzig (heck, go ahead and try to list 15......
OK, here is an attempt: In no particular order:
1- Evgeni Nabokov
2-Miikka Kiprusoff
3-Henrik Lundqvist
4- Ryan Miller
5- Roberto Luongo
6- J-S Guigere
7- Rick DiPietro
8- Marty Turco
9- Ilya Bryzgalov
10- Marty Brodeur
11- Carey Price
12- Tomas Vokoun
13- Critsabal Huet
14- Nicklas Backstrom
15- Martin Gerber

2) Probably 5-10 or so on this list would get no argument, but probably about 5 or so that clearly would. What IS apparent though is that thus far Ollie has NOT played to his previous standards. If the caps are to get back in the race, he will have to play like he has in the past( Save % above .910, not below .900


1) As for Simple Simon's suspension length, we wrote on our blog 2 days ago that the Islanders should not have waited for the league to ban Simon.
2) They needed to out right release him after a SECOND stupid/selfish incident in less than 10 months that cost his team a win and made the whole organization look bad (The isles need no help with that as it is!) not the NHL
3) The way the Islanders are treating Simon, an adult man, with kid gloves and compassion, etc, is beyond insulting to the 99% of the players that haven't attempted to injure(severely)a fellow NHL-er SEVERAL TIMES!
4) We don't care what kind of a nice guy he is OFF th eice. On the ice he is a menace and deserves to be banned for life. Period!

Shaggy said...

One week from tomorrow, I will be drinking $7 Iron City's at the Igloo - it looks like this is turning into an important conference matchup after all. A month ago, I wanted to dump my tickets on Ebay.
Would that not be sweet, to see the Caps pass the Pens in the standings by New Year's? Bettman would have to step in, for the good of the league and humanity.

NS said...

suspend him (Simon) a whole season and nullify whatever contract he has. Then let him squabble for whatever petty contract a desperate will give him when he comes back.


1) NS: Anyone would be colossally foolish to even give Simon a try out next season. Forgetting the incidents that have cost him 55 games to suspension, when he has played, he's been a total non-factor.
2) The Isles should simply cut him. Do it quietly if they are embarrassed, but he should never play again. Another Isle's note, it appears they finally signed their top prospect a kid named Okposo. Supposedly another Jerome Iginla

Oly_for_Olie said...

McSorley's suspension for the Brashear hit amounted to a lifetime ban as a player. Hopefully, the same will happen to Simon. If not, the league should fine a GM $2M in cap space if the GM is dumb enough to sign Simon.

Tying back to a comment JP made after the Detroit game, I am expecting Eddie Olczyk will tell us why the incident is really Jarkko Ruutu’s fault ...

ephperson said...

Are the Habs are coming to DC thinking that they will lose?