Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Roundup/Gamenight: Devils @ Caps

[AP Preview - Preview]

The Caps' Conference-leading offense will be put to the test tonight as Martin Brodeur (he of the 1.23 GAA and .944 save percentage) and the Devils visit the VC.

Brodeur's mastery of the Caps, while by no means exclusive to the boys from D.C., of course, is substantial - the Quebecer is 32-12-0/2.11/.913 against them in his career, including 2-1-0/2.28/.923 in 2007-08 (and he's had Number Eight's number, too - Alex Ovechkin has just three goals in 12 games against Jersey).

And guess what? In the early goings this season, the Devils are winning games but not scoring goals (shocking, I know). Somehow Jersey is 3-1, despite having scored only six goals and sporting a woeful 14.3% power play efficiency, which makes them the perfect team for Jose Theodore to face to try to gain a bit more confidence before heading out for a Western Conference road trip.

What's that you say? Brent Johnson's getting the start? Well, I'm not the reigning Jack Adams winner, so I'll defer to Gabby, but this sure seemed to me like a good spot in which to play your number one netminder... which brings us to a new feature - the Japers' Rink JOdometer, an index of our collective confidence in JT60 with a range set between the terrible - his two-team 2005-06 season - on the left and the exceptional - his Hart and Vezina season of 2001-02 - on the right:
Am I being too kind? Too harsh? Frankly, I think he's been more or less "good enough" overall (and trending upwards), with the obvious exception of the Atlanta game, hence the left-of-center rating.

Anyway, back to tonight's game, it's yet another good early season test, chock full of questions: Will the Caps show up for the first period? Which will win out - the Devils' meager power play or the Caps' poor PK? Will Sergei Fedorov seek vengeance on Jersey for cutting his baby bro? Will Dainius Zubrus do anything that makes us miss him? Most importantly, of course - will the Caps leave for a three-game road trip (and a five-of-six away from home stretch) at 4-1 with four wins in a row, or at 3-2 with a long flight to Calgary to think about it? Answers coming soon.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Hey, look - the WaPo knows we want more coverage (so that means it's not neglect, but rather a concerted effort to screw us)....'s Power Rankings came out the other day and the Caps are numero ocho.... In case you missed it, Michal Neuvirth has been assigned to South Carolina of the ECHL.... There was a time when I thought that a headline like this would make me smile. But it doesn't.


this space for rent said...

Am I the only one who thinks that those power rankings are based solely on wins and losses and which games the writer liked? ... Hardly a scientific analysis.

Gary said...

Bourque wears #56, right?

Tyler said...

I think tonight was a JT60 night. In the last 25 minutes against PIT he looked like he was playing his way into his game. He had stopped popping up out of his butterfly like a Jose-in-a-box, and he was staying low-to-the-ice and on the puck. He was seeing the play better and he stopped getting caught in his transitions. I think you want to allow a G to build on that in the next game rather than to switch to the No. 2.

this space for rent said...

Gary: Yes, Bourque wears #56.

Tyler: Agreed. I think Theodore is steadily improving, myself, and I think a lot of us don't give him enough credit. A lot of people were tilted negatively from the start, and have never adapted to that. I'm still seeing some who want Huet back (you're kidding me, right?). NO THANK YOU.

I think patience is in order. He's learning, he's improving, and he's making it happen. It takes time. The world is not coming to an end.

this space for rent said...

Also, on that Washington Post article ... so basically what I take from that article is "we're going to cover what we want to cover, what excites and interests us. Screw what you want to hear about."

Just remember, Ms. Howell, that we buy the papers you write. If we don't buy the papers you write, you don't have a job.

Just sayin'.

b.orr4 said...

Throwing out the Atlanta game in which everone stunk, JT has a 2.5 gaa and a slightly under .900 save %. Not Brodeur numbers to be sure, but he's definitely trending upwards. And let's not forget that three of those goals were on the PP and all were deflections. Theodore made some big stops against Pittsburgh including the first one on Crosby. He'll get better. The penalty kill is another story.

wittcap79 said...

@Tyler/TSFR -
Agree completely on JT60. I'm actually quite dissapointed that he's not getting the start. Let's allow him to get into a groove and build off of these victories. Like JP, I will table my objections and defer to the Jack Adams winner.
Also, dead tree media is exactly that...dead.

Gary said...

Completely off-topic: J.P. you watching the Syracuse at South Florida game?

JP said...

@ Gary: How much of a masochist do you think I am?

Gary said...

JP: I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss your alma mater. The Bulls (mine) could very well penalize themselves all the way to a loss. It's happened before. :)

Scott said...

That kolzig error should make you smile because it didn't happen to us.

The Peerless said...

"Washington Capitals fans want some of the column inches that go to covering the Redskins"

I'm convinced that the ombudsperson for the Post has the brains of a bowl of dirt. The tradeoff isn't the Caps and the Redskins -- the Redskins will always command as much space as possible -- it's the trade off of the Caps and a former basketball player-turned-volleyball player who transferred from U-Conn to Delaware.

That's the top edge story on the Post sports web page today. I'm sure Elena Delle Donne has a compelling story -- moreso in Connecticut or Delaware. But that's the lead off story in the WASHINGTON Post on their web site?

Other than playing a sport of next to no following in this area and playing against a local college, what's the angle? Why is this such an important story?

dcrock said...

I'm with ya on that one, Peerless.
Couple that kind of stuff with their complete non-coverage of the preseason, not even a box score most of the time. Geeze.

JP said...

@ Gary: You were saying?

Gary said...

JP: It should've been a lot closer!

Jimmy Jazz said...

That's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

Usually Frustrated Caps Fan said...

I have and continue to be bulllish on Theodore. I think his first save on Crosby was great. He played well except for on the PK (and nobody did all that well on that) the rest of the first period. In the second he kept the Caps in the game until they woke up in the third period. Don't forget how much the Pens had outshot the Caps in period 1 & 2. I'd put the meter dead center right now.

I think he is sitting because if he plays well he could play complete games for all 4 games of the Western Div road trips since he know the opponents better than Johnnie. That said I like Johnnie but right now I'd have no issue if JT started against the devils either.

KlayKey said...

No, not too harsh. You're merely comparing Jose to his own achievements only 6 years ago. I agree with others that JT needs to get in a groove with the boys.