Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday Roundup/Caps 3, Preds 2
Gamenight: Caps @ 'Hawks

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - WashingtonCaps.com Recap - AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Play twenty minutes and head to Chicago.

Not the gameplan that Bruce Boudreau drew up, to be sure, but the Caps will take those two points and skip town in a hurry. Some quick thoughts on the game:
  • You know that in-game "entertainment" at Verizon Center where two fans compete for cheers to determine who butchers a 15-second clip of play-by-play work less? I'm not sure Al Koken would win that promotion more than maybe half the time.
  • Alex Ovechkin showing wrap around and passing back short-side to Nicklas Backstrom = money.
  • Alex Ovechkin's geometry (and selflessness) = money.
  • Alex Ovechkin's shot blocking = nervous.
  • I have never in my entire life seen a completely unimpeded player shoot further wide than Donald Brashear did on one first period attempt.
  • Alex Semin got the "just shoot the damn puck" memo.
  • Jordin Tootoo's dive into the boards after a Tom Poti love tap was Avery-esque, and the late tripping call on Matt Cooke was junk.
  • Sami Lepisto is over-matched right now.
  • Cristobal Huet is not.
  • The turquoise tank top on the blonde behind the Caps' bench nearly was.
  • Can Sergei Fedorov play 20 minutes in the first of back-to-backs in March and have anything left for the second game? We'll find out.
  • Speaking of older Russians, Viktor Kozlov was a dog out there last night. Hopefully he was saving himself for the 'Hawks.
  • The Caps missed David Steckel, as they were dominated in the faceoff circle (though Boyd Gordon did win 64% of his draws).
  • The ice at the Sommet Center appeared to be a bit choppy. Unrelated - Sommet is pronounced So-may? Really?
So it's off to Chicago, where the Blackhawks have to win out to make the playoffs (good luck with that), the Caps will look for another two points, Nicklas Backstrom will look to prove himself against two of his top Calder competitors, and Alex Ovechkin will look to score his 59th goal of the season - which would (completing the loop on Chicago) be more goals than Bobby Hull ever scored in a campaign.

Marek Zidlicky tries to hide from his fan club, not realizing that they can see through the netting.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

In light of Vesa Toskala's one goal allowed last night, there's a great "Best of the Worst" compilation over at PPP... Finally, one year ago today we recapped a huge Caps win that featured a four-point game by Tomas Fleischmann (which is as many points as he has in 11 games since February 15).

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Alexander Ovechkin (G, 2A, +2, 4 SOG, 2 Hits, 3 BkS
  • Ross: Alexander Ovechkin, Shane Doan, Rick Nash, Sam Gagner, Derek Morris, Ales Hemsky, Tom Gilbert (3 points each)
  • Norris: Derek Morris (G, 2A)
  • Vezina: Brian Boucher (W, 29 saves on 30 shots against)
  • Richard: Sean Avery, Curtis Glencross, Manny Malhotra (2G each)
  • Calder: Sam Gagner (G, 2A, 4 SOG)
  • Aiken: Ilya Bryzgalov (3 goals allowed on 11 shots against in just one period of work)

31 comments:

E said...

Agreed:

1) Smokin' Al Koken is a painfully bad play-by-play guy.
2) Ms. Turqouise top blonde was sinful. For a moment I thought it was Ms. Tootoo (are they still together...nevermind, who cares...)

Rage said...

Wasn't there a Rink policy about posting pictures when making references to hot women? Just saying...

I guess since Center Ice had the Preds' pbp, I missed both Smokin' Al and Ms. Blonde Turquoise.

And that game was painful to watch after the first 10 minutes. Way to call off the dogs, fellas.

Tyler said...

Re: 42, unleash the Emmy.

I agree on 91's ice time, but when you look at the superstats it's clear that the coaches were trying to keep minutes reasonable across the board. 52, for example, played only 22 minutes.

Caps allowed 26 shots and blocked 15.

JP said...

He did a good job of spreading Fehr's and Flash's minutes to just over eight apiece.

As for the lady in the light blue, I didn't say she was hot. I merely implied that she had a pair of sweater puppies fighting to get loose. But very good recollection on the rule, and it is my fault for not getting a screen grab.

JP said...

Related (to that first point): if you're gonna give an alleged scorer eight minutes, might not you be better off dressing Quintin Laing as a PK specialist? Maybe Q gets back in the lineup tonight against his former team.

Tyler said...

JP: You and I have been complaining about 14's minutes all year. I still don't get it. He was in on the play a lot for an eight-minute guy last night.

NS said...

so is Fleischmann expendable yet or do people still have hope for him?

JP said...

@ NS: People still have hope for him. Beyond GMGM and Gabby, however, I'm not sure who those people are.

Paul Nichols said...

I have to agree, Al Koken was just awful last night. I don't remember him being that bad back in the 80's when he was doing the games with Mike Fornes (where is that guy today?).

And Tootoo's dive totally pissed me off. You could see plainly that he jumped into the boards. That was bad acting and should have been called, compared to that hose job that Ovie got ganked on in the Bruins game.

Semin obviously was invigorated because I added him to the caricature site on Friday, hoping for some magic. (Took him a couple games, though.)

I missed the sweater puppies. Mostly because me and my sons were playing hockey in the basement (with the game on, of course) - it's in the process of being finished, so we can play until we get carpet...yea baby!

~Mark said...

JP, I disagree about Kozlov last night. Although he wasn't on the scoresheet, I thought he created a lot of chances with his Hulk impersonation. When he wants the puck, good luck taking it from him.

Tyler said...

'Sweater puppies?' Ugh, I'm back in Mr. Murbles' sixth-grade homeroom.

b.orr4 said...

First off, Japes, I agree with your points, but all that counts is the Capos went into a sold-out rink and beat a very desperate, good hockey team. I'd much rather be the team that says "We were lucky to get out of there with two points" than the team that says "Damn, we should have won that game." As for Smokin' Al, yeah, he not great but in his defense, he's a sideline analyst/color guy who was forced to handle play-by-play. It's not an easy transition.

b.orr4 said...

That's "Caps" not "Capos" and it should be "he's not great", not "he not great". I need more coffee.

Tyler said...

Really? I thought Al was mostly a barfly.

ted said...

I noticed that the Caps finally have more goals for than against. I think that's the first time they've been on the positive side of that ledger since early October.

I'd argue that the team is still looking for the "killer instinct". Maybe they will find it somewhere in the luggage on this road trip.

NS said...

killer instinct, not so much. but at least they are taking advantage of breakdowns by other teams (AKA 1st period scoring last night).

we looked like we were skating in mud. ant yes, the ice looked like utter shit..even worse than VC.

JP said...

A good indicator that the ice was likely to be crap - one shouldn't be able to sit in the first row wearing a tank top and not be cold.

Tyler said...

Other indicator: D on both teams were whiffing on passes and were falling down for no apparent reason.

We all complain about NHL ice all the time. Fixing the problem -- via new technology, bigger, mandated dehumidifiers, air conditioners and the like -- should be the league's off-season point of emphasis.

PPP said...

We all complain about NHL ice all the time. Fixing the problem -- via new technology, bigger, mandated dehumidifiers, air conditioners and the like -- should be the league's off-season point of emphasis.

If only they would dedicate themselves to it but part of the problem is that the arena's are multi-use facilities. The ACC is the top 3 in North America in terms of use so that wreaks havoc with the ice.

Plus, it's expensive so unless the league mandates it owners don't have that big of an incentive (yes, injuries and quality of play). It cost the Leafs over a milliong dollars to get a new de-humidifier.

grapejoos said...

If you guys thought Smokin' Koken was bad, you ought to have heard the Preds guys. Terry Crisp is one of them, not sure who the other guy was. Their Canadian accents have incorporated the slightest Tennessee twang to create a truly unholy accent. They also were pretty flagrant homers, but I'll let that slide seeing as how it's Nashville.

Tyler said...

I understand that virtually every NHL facility is multi-use and has been for decades now. Why hasn't some smart league-backed engineer found a way for that to matter less?

I don't have a problem with every team dropping $1M on a dehumidifier and amortizing it over 5-20 years.

hotdog88gt said...

The FSN guys for Nashville were very good. Terry Crisp on color was great.

Notice AO's demeanor after the empty netter? He was on the bench shutting all systems down...nice.

And that's the first time I can recall a person shooting the perfect bank shot from inside his own zone.

tg said...

Hey, anyone else read ESPN's John Bucigross saying that the Pens have to at least consider trading Malkin before he becomes a RFA?

JP, any thoughts on running an update of those breathless reports about how Toronto, NYR, whoever will snap him up? (Kinda like the Ovechkin watch, except this time we can hope the rumors are correct!)

Tyler said...

Bucci's jumping the gun, of course. But I think this is both important and interesting: Pittsburgh has only one forward signed beyond next year. It's not like they're already in cap trouble for 09-10.

(By comparison, the Caps have six forwards who are signed beyond next year, and you gotta figure that Laich and maybe Fehr and Gordon will be before long.)

Tyler said...

(The reason it's interesting is that the TB-OTT egg$-in-2-or-3-basket$ model hasn't resulted in any Cups.)

tg said...

Tyler,

He's totally jumping the gun. But considering that, right now, he's the most attractive RFA-to-be next year, you know that the rumors are going to start. And they'll only intensify until he's signed or traded.

Deja vu anyone?

b.orr4 said...

@TG,
The Pens GM has said their top priority is to sign Malkin, but he's admitted that might cost them Jordan Staal. Also, they have to take care of Fleury and Ryan Malone, who's on pace for 30 goals this season.

tg said...

b.orr4,

Oh, I fully believe that they intend to resign Malkin. But Ted and GMGM said the same thing about Ovechkin for about a year, and that didn't stop any of the rumors about him!

And what you're saying about Pittsburgh losing Staal/Malone/etc. was part of Bucigross' point. Can you commit $17 million a year to two people in a salary cap era and still surround them with enough talent to win?

Tyler said...

Ask Jay Feaster or John Muckler. Oh, wait...

Daniel said...

Is anyone wondering if it's worth trying to coax Federov back next year? I don't know where we'd put him, but I think he's been a great asset to the team and could really help on the specialty teams next season if he's willing to give it a go for another year for a modest price...

-d

grapejoos said...

If we can bring Fedorov back, we should. He'd be worth it for special teams and faceoffs alone. I'm not sure if he plans on retiring, but you'd think that if he'd stay to play for any team, it'd probably be us (given our Russian core, upside, and energy).

I'm not sure where he fits in the lineup with Nylander back, but it's a good problem to have.