Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Roundup/Caps 5, Oil 4 (SO)

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - Recap]

Well that'll help Olie Kolzig's career shootout numbers.

And while I'm still trying to figure out what was the least likely occurrence from Thursday night - the Caps (two wins in their previous 18 shootouts) beating Edmonton (11-2 in shootouts on the season entering last night's game), Kolzig stopping a dozen straight shooters (he was 1-7 in shootouts and had stopped only 15 of 31 attempts since the beginning of last season prior to last night), or Matt Bradley scoring a shootout goal (it was his third career attempt and first success) - I do know this: the Caps are up to 11th place in the Conference and trail Southeast Division-leading Atlanta by only four points (with two games in hand). Baby steps, to be sure, but steps nonetheless.

Some thoughts on the game:
  • 20, 22, 22, 23 - the ages of the Caps four goal scorers.
  • Whatever Bruce Boudreau said to his team after a crappy first period worked, as the Caps fired 17 shots on goal in the second, four of which beat Oiler netminder Dwayne Roloson.
  • The fourth line (Quintin Laing, Dave Steckel and Bradley) had a great shift to start the first period and another very early in the third.
  • How is it that not a single one of Edmonton's 12 shootout shooters attempted the move on which all three Red Wings scored against Kolzig just a few weeks back? Gotta be poor scouting/coaching, no?
  • Tom Poti's secondary assist on Alex Ovechkin's goal was a fantastic homerun pass to Boyd Gordon. See? Secondary assists aren't all worthless (Ales Hemsky's on Dustin Penner's second period goal was another great example of this).
  • Jeff Schultz's primary assist on Robert Nilsson's goal was less impressive.
  • Any coach whose team doesn't aggressively pressure the puck when the Caps are on the power play should be fired on the spot for either negligence in game preparation or sheer stupidity.
  • Matt Pettinger played with a greater sense of urgency and did some good things out there (he had a team-high four hits), but the fact of that matter is that he has just five points on the season in 42 games and has just two points since October. Welcome to Suckville, Matt. Population: you.
  • Mike Green was all over the scoresheet with a goal, three shots, four hits, three giveaways, two takeaways and five blocked shots in 31:13 of ice time. He now has six goals in his last seven games, which is wholly ridiculous for a blueliner.
  • If Boudreau had any hair when he came to Washington, he wouldn't have any left by now after coaching Alex Semin for two months (Glen Hanlon must have had an orange rug).
  • Tomas Fleischmann continued his solid (but now snake-bitten) play, and Boyd Gordon - the night's first star - had a couple of helpers. Still, I don't see either as long-term solutions on the second line.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has now played in 46 games this season, equalling his single-(regular) season high in games played back in Sweden. He's showing no signs of hitting a wall, but he's entering uncharted waters, so it's something to keep in the back of our minds.
  • If you blinked, you missed Steve Eminger's shifts.
  • I don't care what he did in regulation and overtime, if an NHL goalie goes 12-for-12 in a shootout, he deserves one of the game's three stars.
Two points, a bit more confidence, and no new injuries - overall, a successful night by nearly any measure. Next up: the Kitties on Saturday night.

Oh, and since all three scored last night, you get the yard sign:

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

On this date back in 1999, Peter Bondra became the second player in team history to score 300 goals for the Caps.... "With the parity in the East, they should be pushing for the playoffs and they are not." Huh?... J-God had a pair of goals in OHL action last night.... If you missed Rick Nash's goal from last night, do make sure to check it out. It was effing phenomenal (excuse my French).

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Rick Nash (2G, including the game-winner with :22 left in the third, +2, 10 SOG)
  • Ross: Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Niklas Hagman, Rick Nash (3 points each)
  • Norris: Dennis Wideman (2A, +2, 3 SOG)
  • Vezina: Martin Gerber (W, 36 saves on 37 shots against)
  • Richard: Mike Modano, Rick Nash, Shawn Horcoff, Dan Cleary, Antoine Vermette (2 G each)
  • Calder: Peter Mueller (G, A, 8 SOG)
  • Aiken: Cam Ward (L, 5 goals allowed on 32 shots against)


Hazardous said...

I dunno, I thought Semin played pretty well (unless you weren't talking about that, and I'm just slow?). I can't blame the man for getting tossed around when opposing teams know they're not exactly in any danger with the referees we get.

I was expecting us to lose that game on calls like we've seen so many times before. Great effort by the caps all around to change that.

Other than that, can't say I see anything I can disagree with at all. Great work as always. Keep it up.

Rage said...

Was the ice back to being awful again? It looked like people were falling all over the place, and pucks were rolling.

And I didn't miss Steve Eminger's disaster of a shift in the third where he fell twice and almost had a devastating turnover.

Anonymous said...

The Nash goal is a thing of beauty.

There were more jocks on the ice than when...well I dont know, but all three of those Phx players werent wearing them anymore, that's all I am trying to say.

And no worries, my French is rusty anyway.

NS said...

hmm...wasn't Ovie's best goal ever on his back against Phoenix? haha.

Left the house down 0-1, came back in the second, slighlty buzzed, and it was 3-3. entertaining game. very happy with Olie's OT performance. good for him. he deserves to see some wins after the years of shit he had in front of him. hope he can keep it up.

Flash is finally looking comfortable. I think having Nyles at center takes something away from Semin and Flash's abilities. Like the current line.

Victor said...

Scariest thing all night: The Caps inability to clear the crease. Dustin Penner just parked it in front of Olie during Edmonton PPs and wasn't cleared out once, except for right after he scored their third goal. *Then* Erskine knocked him over on his butt. Same thing helped the Oilers with another goal, if memory serves.


1) Dead on in the SO/Kolzig assessment. Kept waiting for one Edmonton player to use a nifty move to beat Olie, but they kept doing the same thing. Of course 2 posts helped.
2) That said, also agree that Kolzig should have recieved a star for stopping a dozen consectutive breakaways to get their extra point!
3) On the flip side its sad that Bradley was apparently the only one who could solve Roloson. They(the 11 who missed) should all be wearing that pink helmet today!

Chris said...

I was at the game last night and I *still* don't believe that I saw what I saw.

Tyler said...

My section was discussing the age factor at length last night. Repeatedly, as it turned out.

Eminger was a mess with the puck last night.

Weird officiating last night. Both teams were going nuts on both the refs and the linesmen.

Best ice of the year last night. No basketball since Saturday.

Dustin Penner is a tank.

Mike Green had another one of those occasional young-un games in which he stinks it up in the first period, then recovers.

Tyler said...

Nash's goal: You could never do that on the VC ice.

Hooks Orpik said...

Good game to be at, as I was.

The Oilers PP, in a nutshell: Hemsky wheels around, finds Souray who unleashes that heavy shot then they hope someone like Penner can pounce on the rebound.

Simple but darn effective.

Also some members of the Canadian Army engaged in some of the lamest trash talking I've ever heard after the first intermission in the bathroom. I sure hope they fight better than they insult.

Tyler said...

Dustin Penner is a big, big lad. On one hand the Caps didn't clear his 6-4, 245 ass outta the crease all night. On the other hand what, short of a minotaur, could?

NS said...

lets not forget Semin getting a little punchy. that was entertaining.

Victor said...

Good point, Tyler, about the man-mountain that is Dustin Penner--but great googley-moogley! You gots to try!

(Is he the biggest dude in the NHL right now? The last guy that looked that big to me was Kjell Samuelson.)

Joe said...

I know everybody is giving Eminger crap, but how about Erskine? Why anyone would put both of them on the ice at the same time is beyond me.

Also, is there a reason we stopped putting a grinder in front of the net on the powerplay?

And what the hell are we doing letting the canadian armed forces invade Verizon Center?

Hooks Orpik said...

victor-- The B's have Chara listed at 6'9 and 255 so he's still #1 in both of those departments...But Penner is not far behind.

The Oil was very scrappy early post-whistle (leading to the exchange with Semin). I wonder if someone recently took a run at their goalie or something and that had them fired up??? They seemed especially testy for no real reason.

Tyler said...

I can imagine the Oil getting a little pre-game lecture about how the Caps cost them a player in the offseason by swooping in and 'stealing' Michael Nylander. Lame... but just the kind of thing coaches use to fire up their charges.

And Semin's GOTTA have a rep as a player who will snap and take a stupid slash/roughing call. Because he does.

Daniel said...

I liked Semin's first penalty -- not so much the rest of them.

I'm getting very disappointed in the inability the fill the net that both Flash and Steckel have shown. They've both had several great chances over the last couple weeks and haven't been able to convert at a rate I'd like to see.

Also, I tivo'd the game and watched it when I got home from work -- i've never had an issue with a game getting to within 15 minutes of the end of the recording until last night... it decided that after the 11th round of the shootout that i'd seen enough. Damn it.


Scott said...

As for semin's slasher penalty, wasn't that on horcoff - who had at least 3 other sticks break (by my count), including in the shootout. I know sticks break a lot, but i think he either has a) a weak stick or b) a button on top that he can press so the stick snaps in half and he draws a slash. I don't care how far fetched it is, I'm going with the latter.

NS said...

Scott - they actually talked about how Horcoff has paid a visit to the Easton factory this past summer to shop a new stick. maybe he had that magical button custom made.

why does no one else in the league want to admit the Caps are legit and a good team?

Rage said...

Daniel, I'm cool with Steckel not cashing in on his opportunities as much. The guy is supposed to be a defensive player, who will forecheck and win faceoffs. But with Flash, I'm right with you.

I haven't been watching hockey long enough to know whether this is just part of the growing process. Eventually, can we expect him to start hitting the back of the net rather than the iron and the blocker pad?

Also, I hate when people just rush the goalie on a shootout attempt (like Mike Green). What are they hoping to accomplish?

Daniel said...

Rage -

Don't get me wrong, I love Steckel and Lang's defensive play -- but I think they need to chip in when they get a golden opportunity (not Lang so much, he hasn't had that much in the way of open looks). Steckel was a scorer in the minors, I'm just shocked he hasn't shown any touch at all in the NHL. I might just be rushing my dreams of a 20 goal scoring defensive forward, though.



1) Rage: If you mean by' Rush the goalie" the player approaches with speed, it in most cases works. Goalies have less time to adjust a players' moves and are therefore more beatable.
2) Its the guys who come down moving slowly that benefits the goalies. (Kozlov being one of the few exceptions to that rule.)

Rage said...

I get what you mean Faux(es) so let me explain myself. When people take direct, linear paths to the goalie and do a simple wrister like Greenie, vs. a speedy, slick move like Gagner/Staal/Sid/etc., I dislike it.

I think that's a bit more clear.

Scott said...

When it comes to shootouts, I think you should never go against the wisdom of Emilio Estevez. 1-2-3 Triple Deke.

TJ said...

hooks, tyler:

Derek Boogard is listed at 6'7" 258 on, but i've seen everywhere up to 270 for him. Also Raitis Ivanans (Kings) is listed at 6'3" and 265. Chara might be the tallest, but not the heaviest. I wouldn't mind seeing "Boogie" wearing the red, white and blue when Brash decides to hang 'em up....