Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday Roundup/Flames 2, Caps 1

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Event Summary - WashingtonCaps.com Recap]

You could say that a team that fails to score when handed a nine-minute power play doesn't deserve to win that game. You could also say that a team that takes eight consecutive penalties doesn't deserve to win that game. And while both of the above assertions are true, they both also circle back to the one question in my mind last night - "Why was the oldest guy on the team just about the only one playing like he cared?"

Some thoughts on the game:
  • The only reason the Caps were in that game was Jose Theodore (there's your silver lining), who now has given up only five even strength goals on the season after surrendering a power-play marker to the Flames.
  • I've asked the question before, but when did it become acceptable (almost expected) to start a fight with a player who lays a clean hit on a teammate of the instigator-to-be? If more referees had the cajones to penalize these outbursts as Bill McCreary and Chris Lee did with Rene Bourque, maybe the stupidity would end (though if the offending player knows a parade of questionable equalizing calls will follow, I doubt it will have much impact).
  • Nice hit by Tyler Sloan, by the way.
  • Caps who had more shots attempted, blocked or missing the Calgary goal than shots on Miikka Kiprusoff included Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Mike Green and Chris Clark.
  • I fear that John Erskine (of The Flying Erskines) has gone from suck to blow.
  • Michael Nylander's penalty to break up the Caps' monster power play was one part stupid, two parts lazy.
  • Half of the 18 Caps skaters had at least one minor penalty. Not OK.
  • Every time Todd Bertuzzi gets hit against the boards, an angel gets its wings.
  • The Caps won only 43% of the game's faceoffs (Nicklas Backstrom and David Steckel were particularly bad, combining to go 2-for-10; Sergei Fedorov was the only Cap above 44%, winning 57% of the time), and won only 31% of their shorthanded draws.
  • Shaone Morrisonn must... clear... that... puck on the 3-on-5.
  • And Green must... get... that... puck... deep on the 4-on-5.
  • The second period may have been the worst period of the year so far.
  • I know you don't usually see nicknames for defensive pairings, but if you did, and if you put Erskine and Sloan out together, I'd vote for calling them "Sloan and Slower."
  • Tomas Fleischmann had 2:55 of ice time killing penalties. Please, hockey gods, don't ever make me type that again (Fleischmann actually had a pretty good game, though, and tied with Nylander for the team's best Corsi Rating on the night).
  • The Caps had only five shots in 11:05 of power play time. If that doesn't cry out "too cute," I don't know what does. Nevermind - yes I do.
As bad an effort as that was - and it was horrid - it was just one game, and it's now history. Off to Phoenix for a date with the Great One's grunts on Thursday. I'll put the pot of coffee on now.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The Alex Ovetjkin blog has two videos from a team-building outing at Aberdeen Proving Ground that are well worth your time.... Power Rankings galore, with the Caps at 15th (down 8 spots) at TSN, 10th (down 1) at CBC, 10th at USAToday (who also has some Semin and Green love), 8th at The Sporting News, holding steady at 5th at The Hockey News and 7th at The Detroit News (h/t to GJM on all of those links).... Alex Semin is clutch (and Mike Green ain't too shabby either).... Dan Sernoffsky's "Bear Tracks" is always so chock full of awesome (as is Moose Tracks, for what it's worth).... They're not too upset about losing Matt Pettinger in Vancouver.... Finally, this is a hell of a way to spend a day at the rink.

25 comments:

Murshawursha said...

We absolutely did not deserve to win that game... I'm not sure we even deserved it to be as close as it was. I felt for JT though. He finally comes out and puts up a strong performance and the rest of the team turns in that... debacle?

Either way, gratz to Feds for tying Mogilny. Though we all know Ovie will blow them both out of the water at some point in the next 13 years or so.

Doug said...

Yikes. Not an impressive game. Theodore was not the problem last night. It's pretty easy to see the problems last night:
1. Worthless PowerPlay
2. Taking way too many penalties
3. Green's worst game over the last 2 years

Rage said...

I agree that skating Ovy/Semin on the PK seems to be hurting their ability to contribute on the PP. And it doesn't seem to be helping our PK that much either...

It looks like defenders are standing Ovy up much more often than last year. As if they're trying to force him side to side. I haven't seen him have a typical open shot since the game where he got 2 goals.

b.orr4 said...

JT's play and the PK. That's about it on the plus side. Truth be told that was a trap game. Calgary was getting reamed in the press- Iron Mike held a 40 minute closed door meeting yesterday morning and Kipper had been awful up to last night so you knew the Flames were going to play with a purpose. Kozlov and Poti being out really hurts. It's time for Bruce to really start earning that Jack Adams trophy because their PP is beyond bad.

JP said...

To me, that terrible PP is a symptom and the sickness is a lack of focus. But yeah, that's on Bruce right now.

b.orr4 said...

In reality, we all had to know that games like last night were coming. After last season's magical run, the Caps have become the media darlings. Players read the papers and the internet just like we do. They hear the accolades, see the predictions and they inevitably think they're really as good as everyone is saying they are. And you're right jp, their focus is all off. When they dominated down the stretch last season, they did it as a team. Now they're just playing like 20 guys. Until they realize they're not as good as their press clippings and that nothing replaces hard work, you're going to have more games like last night. It'll come, but this should serve as a very nice wakeup call.

GregO said...

Lack of focus due to ... travel ...? Tom Benjamin has been banging this drum for years now. The Caps looked extremely flat and I don't think it is a coincidence that they logged a lot of miles in advance of this one.

Debcapsfan said...

Agree with everyone, it is a nice wakeup call when you get your game shoved back down your throat like that. Phoenix is a good team this year, so Thursday will be a good test.

Tyler said...

Worst effort of the year.

No more Feds on the PP point, perhaps? He was the primary non-shooter.

JT60 has played his way into reliability, at minimum.

Remarkable: The Caps gave up only two goals.

Chris said...

Excellent summary. I was embarrassed for the Caps watching that game, and I really hope that they were embarrassed to have played in it.

The PP has to be on BB at this point. I mean, the executiobn was poor, but that kind of talent and not even a strong scoring opportunity in 7 minutes of PP time and 2 minutes of 4-4? That's a system problem.

Tyler said...

Re: the power play, I present the oldest solution in hockey: Two points. Traffic. Talented wingers. Bombs away.

HotDog88GT said...

The high point of the game was that single hit by Sloan. Who thought it would be all downhill from there? When's the next time we'll ever see a 9 minute PP?

Someone besides AO needs to start carrying the puck into the offensive zone.

Stupid penalties, so many stupid penalties.

b.orr4 said...

Two things happened last night that I don't think I've ever seen in one game; 8 straight penalties against the Caps and four 5 on 3s. That the Flames only had one PP goal is amazing and a testament to how well JT played.

Ogre said...

I was more depressed with our terrible turnovers than anything. McCreary has a habit of ruining us (Insert youtube imbed of tackling Morrisonn), and all of those "Make up Calls", it was a joke.

Turnovers seemed to be what killed it for me. A 3 on 2 turning into a 3 on 1 is unacceptable, when you're on the PK. Sorry, Green, that was on you.

DMG said...

JP,

I have to disagree with your assessment of the Caps eight consecutive minors are questionable calls. The hooking call on Green and tripping call on Gordon maybe, but the others were all quite obvious in my book.

JP said...

@ DMG: I certainly should have clarified - a "parade of penalties which included a couple of questionable calls" would have been more accurate. Without a doubt, many were well-deserved.

bigonetimer said...

Boy am I glad I didn't make the trip to CAL to see THAT pile of crap.

Kudos to the Flames, but when you have a chance to put a game away in the first period-- which happens maybe once or twice a year--you have to get it done, especially on the road. How do you get outshot 11-9 in a period where you have 9 (ok, 7, thanks to Nylander being outhustled in the offensive zone) consecutive minutes of PP? Disgraceful.

**Backstrom spent the summer fat and came into camp fat. He better get in shape soon, because he's a liability out there right now.

**Semin does not play a physical enough game against teams like Calgary. Ditto Flash. Time to start having a nails milkshake with Bradley in the AM.

**Nylander, despite his Corsi, looked pretty tentative out there last night, and Clark was invisible.

Mike said...

Hanlon? Nah... they'd hire Cassidy...

rananda said...

i generally like what boudreau does, but his splitting up of a nylander/semin combo was a bad move i think. this has me very worried as well:

http://imbroglioh.blogspot.com/2008/10/professional-scouting-within-nhl.html

tg said...

Well, I never thought I'd be the optimistic one here, but I just wanna point out a couple things:

1. The Caps never seem to do well on the road against Western teams (or at least, that's what my memory tells me).

2. We all knew that they'd have a bad game every once in a while.

3. As badly as they played, they only lost by one goal.

4. THEY'RE STILL ON A 96 POINT PACE!

And can I say that those people booing the Caps at the NJ game during one of the power plays really pissed me off. What, they expected the Caps to score every single time down the ice? They thought NJ wouldn't try to win the game as well? Man, if you're going to be like that, get off the bandwagon and go find something else to do!

this space for rent said...

Actually, I thought Sloan looked relatively decent out there. He did his job, and that was one HELL of a hit. How he stayed on his feet after that, I'll never know.

That 9 minute penalty should by all rights have cost Calgary the game.

The PK was solid (9 for 10 isn't bad at all) and JT was solid. Everything else was utter CRAP. Oh that made me so mad. I got cable to watch /that/?

Hazardous said...

The fact that 10 penalties were called should reflect on the referee. I'd be pretty shocked if you looked at all the games McCreary officiated last year and didn't see a similar trend.

As flat as the caps looked, Calgary still didn't manage to score that much. That in mind, how can you act like they simply dominated? Let's face it, both teams looked like ass. Hence the goaltender duel we had.

I also agree that splitting Semin and Nylander was a stupid move. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Hazardous said...

Oh and how many minutes of 5 on 3 did Calgary have following our "omg 9 whole minutes"? I'll take however many minutes they had of 5 on 3 over our lengthy 5 on 4 that cut short.

Sam said...

any one else thing AO is having a lot more trouble holding on to the puck this year?

Hazardous said...

He's obviously hurt, Sam. He needs to just take a few games off and heal so he can stop being a liability and be the player he is.