Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Roundup/Caps 4, Sens 2

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats]

Despite recent losses on the ice and in the lineup, the Ottawa Senators are still probably favorites to win the Eastern Conference (provided that Ty Conklin, at some point, returns to earth). That being said, I wonder who they're rooting against sneaking into the playoffs in the eight-spot.

The big guns were a-firin' for the home team Tuesday night at Verizon Center, and the result was another come-from-behind victory for the Caps over the visiting Sens. Some thoughts on the game:
  • The Caps haven't lost back-to-back games in regulation under Bruce Boudreau (24 games).
  • Tomas Fleischmann had a very strong game, and the shift on which he set up Alex Semin's second goal of the game was a great example of hard work combining with a touch of skill. It goes without saying that efforts like that will keep him in the lineup. On the night he had two helpers, a plus-one rating, three shots on goal (which tied him for the team high), four takeaways and no giveaways.
  • Sticking with the second line, Semin's first goal was jaw-dropping Sasha circa '06-'07. The ice was littered with the jocks of both Wade Redden and Ray Emery.
  • Did Brent Johnson earn a Thursday night start? Are we past "If we're going to make the playoffs, it will be with Olie in net" and at "It's time to play the hot hand"?
  • Here's something that Caps and Sabres fans can agree upon: Chris Neil is ten pounds of monkey crap in a five pound sack.
  • A little something for the ladies: Antoine Vermette was 13-for-15 (87%) in the faceoff circle and 1-for-1 in the shirt-off circle.
  • Nicklas Backstrom was 4-for-13 (31%) in the dot and I don't have any topless shots of him.
  • If my name was Cody Bass, I think I'd tell people it was short for Cody Badass.
  • Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green scored goals, the sun rose, John Edwards' folks were millworkers, etc.
  • Matt Pettinger's penalty was so stupid it hurt. Rest assured that it didn't go unnoticed - he only had four short shifts the rest of the game (excluding his first shift out of the box).
  • Milan Jurcina had four blocked shots but no hits. Matt Bradley also threw a no-hitter, a rarity for him of late.
The Caps are now 6-2-0 against Canadian teams and, as luck would have it, get Edmonton on Thursday night. Last night's win got the Caps back on track, but this is a team that has to turn single wins into streaks. With a pair of second line wingers stepping up their game in the absence of their pivot, I wouldn't bet against such a streak starting right now.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The first official Olie Kolzig retirement talk.... Nicklas Backstrom will participate in the Young Stars silliness.... Josh Godfrey is an OHL All-Star.... Complaining about a problem but offering no solutions always makes for a great article.... See if you can read the first two sentences of this post without laughing (then again, just getting up from this hit makes the assertion a little more understandable).... Finally, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame, on this date back in 1905, "'One-eyed' Frank McGee netted an all-time Stanley Cup record 14 goals in the Ottawa Silver Seven's 23-2 victory over the Dawson City Nuggets, who had travelled more than 4,000 miles by dogsled, boat and train to challenge for Cup." Chris Chelios was reportedly a healthy scratch for Dawson City.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Marian Hossa (First period natural hat trick, including the game-winning goal, 5 SOG)
  • Ross: Ed Jovanovkski (4 points)
  • Norris: Ed Jovanovski (G, 3A, +2, 5 SOG)
  • Vezina: Jose Theodore (32-save shutout win)
  • Richard: Marian Hossa (3G)
  • Calder: Peter Mueller (3A, +1, 3 SOG)
  • Aiken: Chris Osgood (L, 4 goals allowed on 17 shots against in 27:28 of work)


NS said...

Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

(how sweet would it be to make the playoffs and knock off the Sens in the first round)

i think JP wrapped it up rather well. Random thoughts:

Bradley - although he did not have any hits, he played well and hard, creating some good scoring chances. Our checking line must be one of the best in the league.

Poti - looked much better tonight

Jurcina - average at best

Semin - straight up embarrassed Emery on the first goal. so sweet

Ovechkin - his hitting was more enjoyable than his goal. Destroyed Fisher in open ice and had a few great hits on the forecheck.

Laing - shot. blocking. machine. please resign him.

JP said...

What do y'all think of that Wise column on Olie (the first link in the "Elsewhere" section). Plenty to discuss, no?

JP said...

Oh, and make sure to read Peerless on that very topic.

Chris said...

What concerns me about the Olie article is the idea of Kolzig as a piece of history that should be kept around for the memories. Hey, I'm a Red Sox fan, I'm all about history, but I think it's a disservice to Kolzig.

I'm sure the organization has people smarter than us reviewing Kolzig's play, figuring out what's fixable and what isn't. Players have slumps, and that might be exactly what this is. Also interesting how he describes how different coaches handle goalies. Maybe he's still adjusting? Regardless, sign Olie on the cheap, and start transitioning to younger guys.

And before we all jump on the Brent Johnson Bandwagon, let's remember how stellar he played when Kolzig went down last year. Yes, he's serviceable, but he's not all that and a bag of chips.

Oly_for_Olie said...

I thought the Post article was good, but Peerless' editorial was clearly more thought out and better written. Which kind of proves the point that bloggers don't write as good as traditional print ... they write better articles.

I think Kolzig has to make a decision at the end of this season, as well as GMGM. Clearly, the team is not going to ride on Johnson's shoulders for the next 5-10 years, so we need someone else to be the Goaltender of the Future. If Olie wants to be a mentor and share the work load, I think it would be a great idea to bring him back.

And when Olie retires, we will welcome him back to the other Washington and look forward to seeing him mentor the next wunderkind at Tri-Cities.

Jane said...

"That being said, I wonder who they're rooting against sneaking into the playoffs in the eight-spot."

You don't have to look very far for the answer to this:

Yipppee-eye-ohhhhhhh! Ride'em cowboys!

Tyler said...

If the Caps finish eighth, they might as well finish third.

BB hadn't read Wise, but he knew the vibe in the room, so when he said this.... "He was more determined tonight," Boudreau said of Semin. "Sometimes when you don't have a great game and you lose, it's not the coaches but your teammates you're embarrassed about. So you play hard the next game. That's what he did."

... I thought of Olie.

Matt Bradley was a total stud last night. Should have gotten a star probably.

Princess took a stoopid penalty, BUT if they were going to take him for tripping they had to take the OTT player for holding. Because he was practically making out with 18 down there.


1) Last night was probably Flash's best game as a cap. We're frequent bashers of him, but if he continues to play like last night, we'd give him a second chance.
2) If the caps make the playoffs it might be as the THIRD seed as it appears that the division is up for grabs with Carolina imploding the last month
3) We brought up the 'Ollie retirement possibility a couple weeks ago. The reason is that he would NOT be a good guy ass a back up in our opinion. If he's not going to be able to be the #1, to have him sit and play 10-15 games would not be a good idea.
4) The problem we've seen with Kolzig is not his positioning. He's still great at his angles, etc., but his lateral movement has declined precipitously this season. That is not a slump, but a true sign of age.
5) Agree with many here that Johnson is a decent back up BUT is NOT a true starting goalie. The team definitely has some big/tough decisions to make in regard to next years starting goaltender

Tyler said...

I hear Peerless, but he forgets one thing: What disgruntled employee goes public like that unless he's sending a message to his boss?

Rage said...

"I had a great relationship with Glennie," Kolzig said of Glen Hanlon. "He finally had a team that he deserved. As players, we just couldn't get it done for him. Bringing Bruce in, half our team really responds to him because they played for him in Hershey, so I think that's been really positive.

"Bruce is not a goaltender guy. One thing about Bruce, he's hard on goalies because he doesn't understand the position. You know: 'Just stop the puck and get it done. Doesn't matter how or what.' That's something I've got to get used to..."

"I didn't think I should have been pulled...I honestly didn't think I was playing's demoralizing when you get pulled."

These quotes are pretty intense. Olie's always been known as a guy who speaks his mind, but the above bolded quotes bother me a little. Maybe I know nothing about goaltending, but it seems like he's just not playing well and is making excuses.

Focality said...

Flash looked good last night. Nice win by the Caps.

Is it possible Wise's article is all about the guilt-trip, an attempt to create some internal controversy in the franchise? You can write what you will and attempt to get the effect you want. I wonder if Tarik or Corey would have written about this in the same tone. If anything, Wise's column brings those lingering questions about Olie into the light. It has to be addressed.

If the Caps don't re-sign Olie or he chooses to retire, I hope it can be done with dignity and grace. A ceremony with his number raised to rafters, perhaps a position in the franchise (hanging out with Hanlon, for example). Despite his performance this season I don't think too many Caps fans will tolerate any disrespect towards 37.

That said, this team doesn't need its version of Ottawa-esque goaltender controversy. I hope the Caps can handle this situation better than Ottawa.

Tyler said...

The conspiracy theorist has arrived.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Caps intensity last night, particularly on defense. They were pesky and didn't let the Senators cycle the puck very much. Despite Pettinger's stupid penalty the PK was great.

I did notice however that Ottawa made their offense crashing the net against our big defensemen Shultz and Jurcina. Can somebody explain to me their appeal?

sonia said...

JP, you tease. you can't throw something out there for the ladies and not provide at least an image link. :)


1) Didn't see the Kolzig remarks until just now, and unless misquoted, they are troubling to say the least.
2) "Half the team..." Does that imply that he believes Gabby is playing favourites? It would be a shame if Ollie's tenure with Washington were to end bitterly, but if he continues to play sub par, and believes that someone other than himself is to blame, it could get ugly.


1) Additionally, the Mike Wise article makes it sound like Ollie has been there playing for minimum wage, etc. and somehow deserves respect even despite poor play.
2) Perhaps the fact that we're NOT caps fans give us some perspective/less emotion on this issue. Keep in mind Kolzig has earned over 42 million so far from playing for the Caps. He deserves his uniform retired when he's done, etc. However this IS a business. If its determined that he no longer fits into the plans to improve, he/the media/fans should not bemoan this fact.
3) Retaining a player for sentimental reasons is a HUGE mistake. Especially to play a teams most important position!

Focality said...

tyler: "The conspiracy theorist has arrived."

Not at all. Nothing's more annoying than Eklund- or Brooks-style articles. Fact is we don't know what Olie and the Caps will do until an official announcement. Until then, have fun with all the speculation.

DMG said...

Faux is exactly right.

While it might be hard for a lot of fans to accept Kolzig isn't anything more than a backup at this stage in his career. It's frustrating because he deserves better but that's the reality of the situation, and while it's fine for fans to go with their hearts (this is what makes us fans after all, isn't it?) it's management's job to look at the cold, hard facts and address what needs to be done to make this team as good as possible, and right now that means seeking out another (better) option for goalie next season.

Tyler said...

There is nothing, NOTHING, Eklund-like or Brooks-like about what Wise wrote. He quoted the team's second-biggest star repeatedly. The entire column was on-the-record.

JP said...

My bad, Sonia - I thought for sure I'd linked to this.

NS said...

sorry, off topic: anyone have a list/link of what 2008 draft picks the Caps have?

Oly_for_Olie said...

ns, it might be hard to have an accurate list until the end of the season. If the Caps have conditional draft picks, those conditions may not be known until standings and/or player statistics are final.

I checked the TSN web site and they everything except a list of 2008 draft picks. No luck on Google, either.

JP said...

@ NS:

According to this fantastic resource, the Caps have the following picks, by round (obviously the actual pick number is yet to be determined):

1st: WSH
2nd: WSH, PHI, SJS
3rd: WSH
4th: LAK (the Caps' pick goes to BOS for Jurcina - it's conditional based on his minutes played this year... not that it's what's keeping his minutes down, but still interesting)
5th: WSH
6th: WSH
7th: WSH

Those 2nd round picks are great assets to have, either to use as picks or in trade.

NS said...

awesome. thanks, JP.

jmf said...

we should trade for Roloson.

Rael said...

Hwow! Thanks for the mention of the hat trick! Very sharp reporting. Got any predictions about the red wings?
hockey card thru the years

Hazardous said...

I believe Kolzig's comments are right on the money. And I don't think anything he said was meant to be taken pissy. Just a simple "this is how it is" scenerio. I don't think 2 of the 4 goals against him against philly were his fault. The other 2 are up for grabs.

Regardless, we have plenty of awesome prospects for goalies, starting or back-up, in our minor systems. And I think having Johnson as a starter for at least 1 season, should any of them need more time to get ready for the big leagues, is perfectly fine. We don't need to sign anyone, just to bring up someone.

Our team is winning for once, let's enjoy it, guys, and stop nay-saying.