Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Roundup/'Yotes 2, Caps 1

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Event Summary - Recap]

Alright, who left the offense in the Eastern time zone?

A three-game road trip that would have probably have been considered successful had the Caps brought home with them three points is now 0-fer through two games. Just a few thoughts on last night/this morning's match up:
  • Blowing a third period lead, no matter how slim, to a young and inexperienced team is hard to swalllow.
  • For the second outing in a row, Jose Theodore was solid and, at times, very good. Probably his best effort of the season.
  • The first power play looked much improved over Tuesday night's version. When Michael Nylander's taking slap shots, you know the "just shoot" message is getting through.
  • Using Sergei Fedorov as a defenseman is like eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch to freshen your breath - in a pinch, it's not the worst option imaginable, but it's a short-term solution at best and by no means ideal. Feds took a couple of penalties, at least one of which was the result of a bad first step, and his instincts as a defensemen simply aren't great. Still, he makes the best outlet passes the Caps have seen from the blueline in years.
  • Alex Semin's curl-and-drag on the second power play was unreal, and Brooks Laich's finish was a bit of a weight off.
  • The only Caps on the right side of zero in Corsi Rating were Green, Semin, Laich, Chris Clark, Fedorov and Nylander.
  • Too many missed shots from Semin and Green.
  • One of Shane Doan's slappers broke the puck in half. It doesn't get much manlier than that.
  • Shaone Morrisonn needs to be better on the second Phoenix goal.
  • The faceoffs were a bright spot, with the Caps winning 64%, with each pivot at better than 50%.
  • "Saved by zero" makes me want to kill.
  • So did Tyler Sloan's giveaway.
  • Ed Jovanovski helped Sasha fall down, go boom.
  • Sloan did lead the team with four hits, though none was as memorable as his NHL first.
  • The Caps miss Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov and yes, John Erskine.
  • Nice hustle by Fedorov to touch up that last icing a second after the horn sounded.
So the road trip concludes Saturday night, when the Caps will try to salvage something from their Western swing in a tough place to win - Big D. Not good times. At all.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Good news - the Caps probably aren't in cap hell next year (of course, that was written before John Erskine signed his mega-deal).... Another Hockey News blogger weighs in on the other day's topic du jour, calling "the impromptu scrap that follows a nice open-ice bodycheck" the "most ridiculous thing in NHL hockey these days."... Already this season, the Bolts have bid adieu to Shane O'Brien and David Koci because "there's no room in the East for fighting." I'm sure Vinny and Marty feel comfortable with Ryan Malone and Gary Roberts keeping them from being run on a nightly basis.


HotDog88GT said...

What? No one calling for Boudreau's head yet?

Drew said...

Actually, I do wonder why Boudreau feels Green is a 30'-caliber player right now. I don't see it, even considering the mentality that "the more he plays, the more offense he'll produce." My reasoning: the cracks are starting to show with Shaone (whom I personally like and don't want to see gone next year, even if Bruce has plenty of trusted Hershey hands around), and your comments on Fedorov are spot-on. Hence, giving Green so many shifts with either Feds or Mo forces him to play more two-way hockey than he's frankly capable of playing, and has already started to wear him down. Worth it when he's scoring in bunches and the PP is clicking, less so when he's got 1 G in four games. The solution: spread out the workload and keep a steady stream of call-ups (incl. Alzner and Lepisto) in November.

It's nearly Halloween and the whole team looks like zombies every time they cross the blue line. That's not merely coasting, it's more akin to sleepwalking. The cycle down low is non-existent this trip. Glad to get 32 shots, but I thought the Capitals eliminated that "broadside of a barn" problem when Todd Krygier retired?

b.orr4 said...

Since the Stock Market is promising to ruin my day, I'm only going to focus on the positives from last night. JT looked very, very good.

Chris said...

I guess Mo was trying to help GMGM by making the Erskine signing look good. That second goal wasn't a rookie mistake, it was a Freshman mistake.

Theodore made some very strong saves. it could easily have been 4-1.

sidehillman said...

Throw your Corsi ratings---whatever that is---away as the whole team was pitiful except JT. I agree with Drew---don't they know where the net is?????????. I disagree with Chris----it could have been 6-1.When will this team ever learn how to use the drop pass. I think that O V reads too much on the message boards & has an inflated regard for himself. DEFENSE---what defense.

Tyler said...

Yes, that's the Caps' big problem right now: The reigning Hart winner's "regard for himself."

The two biggest differences between late last year and this year are: The regularity with which the Caps move into the offensive zone with speed. Teams have gotten good at slowing down Gabby's forwards. Next: The desperation level. We're seeing the Caps getting out-worked a lot this year. It shows up in some silly penalties (see CGY) and in lost battles in corners.

(OK, that's wrong. The biggest difference is the ridonkulous contracts that GMGM is giving to defensemen who look best in street clothes.)

Stella said...

Outstanding 'Fedorov as a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch' simile. Superb worsmithing. Brought an unwarranted chuckle to the fore. Unwarranted, that is, by this reeking stinkpot of a road trip. Which, on paper, looked to have been a Cake Walk. [sound of gnashing teeth]

Anonymous said...

Could we REALLY be missing Kozzie all THAT much? Yikes.

Wittcap79 said...

@Stella -

There is no such thing as a cakewalk West Coast road trip for an East Coast team. And it works the other way around to...and 2 of the 3 teams are Western Conf playoff teams...they look like crap right now, but I'm not gonna go beserk quite yet, although I did last night. Why the hell did I stay up to watch THAT?

Stokley Rose said...

Damn, JP! Thanks for bringing that Fedorov lack of hustle back to my mind...I had forgotten all about it by this morning.

And I really hope people are starting to see how valuable Kozlov is...there's nobody else on this team who can keep the puck on his stick longer than he can. Playoffs may be a different story but he is a much more important cog than most give him credit for.

Daniel said...

Saved by Zero!


Dan said...

I thought Ovie started to look a little better than he has most of the season...

Yeah, that's all I got.


Lisa said...

Less than inspiring road trip + Erskine signing = cranky. Along those lines, Morrisonn has been noticeable, and not in a good way, although the bulk of the team seems a step or two behind in both ends of the ice. I'm sure the injuries are a factor but so what, they need to be more purposeful and execute. On the semi-bright side, if the Calgary game was a train wreck, this was just your run of the mill Beltway pile-up. At some point they'll start scoring with regularity and that, coupled with improved goaltending, will mean wins but they need to work their way out of this funk. I guarantee you they'll start scoring before the fanbase recovers from Erskine's 127% raise.

b.orr4 said...

jp, I can't help but notice that Tarik's "Morning Reading List" in his blog is a complete rip-off of your " What We're Reading" section. Is the Post's sports budget getting so small that now they have to resort to stealing ideas?

Anonymous said...

Ovechkin is a complete mess out there.

I think he needs some good ol' classic benchin'

Most here are sure to disgree, but think about it. We all know AO responds tremendously when it is made clear to him he needs to step it up.

Anonymous said...

Fedorov is our best defensemen out there.

Anonymous said...

Ask my fiancee, I walk around our apartment alternating between "Saved by Zero" and "Don't wanna hurt you" from the Geico commercial -- can't get 'em out of my head

B8ovin said...

I never played pro hockey, but I'm sure that there is an over-riding team psychosis that has the following symptoms: being unable to gather tape to tape passes; whiffing on shots; skating pass the puck; being unable to clear your own zone with a single pass or neutral zone dump; being unable to hit the goalie or even the net; being unable to take extra steps or make one more move close to the net with the puck. Amazingly, all these things are almost trivial compared to overall team talent, but they are enough to sink a team as surely as a lack of talent. On the other hand, they are also fixed with trivial adjustments.

DMG said...

Ovechkin is a complete mess out there.

I think he needs some good ol' classic benchin'

Most here are sure to disgree, but think about it. We all know AO responds tremendously when it is made clear to him he needs to step it up.

Because two assists, 17 shots and 12 hits in three games is indicative of a player who's such a mess and playing so poorly he needs to spend some time riding the pine?