Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Roundup/Wild 4, Caps 3

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

A 4-0 loss would have looked the same in the standings as the 4-3 defeat the Caps suffered in Minny last night - two points lost, a third-straight regulation loss for the first time under Bruce Boudreau, another four goals allowed in a road game (which makes the Caps five-for-five on the trip in that respect), etc.

But considering whom the Caps were playing without by the time this game ended, considering some of the mysterious calls with which they were forced to deal, and, most importantly, considering the team's refusal to roll over and play dead, this game went from "the wheels have completely fallen off the wagon" to a character builder and quite nearly a huge confidence booster in the span of 5:17.

And despite the injuries, the calls, the trade rumors and cap woes, the road trip from hell and so on and so forth, the Caps are still in first place in the Division with a game in hand - the sky ain't fallin' quite yet.

A few thoughts on the game:
  • Blame Peerless for turning Cal Clutterbuck into a latter day Cam Neely - yesterday he noted that "Clutterbuck ... almost certainly won’t score (he has no points this year)." How about prognosticating that "Chris Clark ... almost certainly won’t scor" for Wednesday night?
  • Jose Theodore's save on Pierre-Marc Bouchard was other-worldly.
  • The Caps scored a power play goal for the seventh straight game, and it was only the eighth the Wild have allowed all season, so there's that.
  • Losing Boyd Gordon hurt where you'd expect it to - the Caps were only three-for-five on the penalty kill in his (and Jeff Schultz's) absence, and won only two of ten shorthanded faceoffs.
  • Did Derek Boogaard get a piece of JT60 on a free skate near the crease or was I seeing things?
  • Because of injuries and/or coach's decisions, four players played less than seven-and-a-half minutes and fewer than ten shifts, leaving the rest of the ice time to be divied up amongst the other 14 skaters. Milan Jurcina absorbed a lot of those minutes and ended up with 21:25 of ice time, and finished with an assist, a plus-one rating, and a pair each of shots and hits.
  • The Caps were outshot 33-28, but when you add in shots that were blocked and missed, the Caps sent more rubber towards the Minny goal than vice versa by a 57-50 margin.
  • John Erskine continues to be horrible with the puck, coughing it up whenever pressured, as was the case on the first Wild goal. Erskine had a team-worst minus-9 Corsi Rating (Tyler Sloan had the team's best mark at plus-11).
  • Eric Fehr did a great job out-muscling Kim Johnsson for the puck on the play that ended with Matt Bradley's goal, but Fehr should have shot the puck himself rather than forcing the pass to a well-covered Bradley. Hey, the Caps got a bounce!
  • Shouldn't one have to close his hand on the puck in order to get penalized for closing his hand on the puck?
So the Caps - most of them, at least - return home battered and bruised to face the worst team in the Conference on Wednesday night. A little home cooking has rarely sounded so good.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

The Caps are holding steady at seventh for the second straight week in CBSSports.com's power rankings.... Joe Finley can eat 50 buffalo wings, but has played only two games this season due to injury. Hell of a combination (and h/t to sk8 on the first link)....


Scott said...

God I hadn't looked at those standings in a while...the Southeast is absolutely awful.

The Peerless said...

Chris Clark will NOT score on Wednesday...neither will Viktor Kozlov or Michael Nylander.

Oh, and Ilya Kovalchuk will have a four-goal night.

MacVechkin, fka JR said...

Thoughts from a disappointed attendee:

Where the hell was Jeff Schultz all night? Oh. Great.

Joe-zay had what you could describe at worst as a B+ game.

The first two goals were awful. On the first, we had clear possession of the puck AND numbers down low and failed to execute an elementary breakout. The second, guys were just standing around allowing Clusterphuk to pot an easy rebound.

Nice bonehead penalty by Morrisonn getting an elbowing call about 30 seconds into a PK.

Niklas Backstrom is an absoultely sick passing machine. I know we knew that but it is a joy to watch him.

I've never seen two closing the hand on the puck penalties in the same game, but needless to say, 30 seconds after the second one, on the PK at the offensive blueline, DON'T CHANCE ANOTHER ONE. Second 5 -on-3, 3rd goal, game over (despite the amazing comeback).

For the love of God, Erskine, can you at least hit the net with your point shots?

Tremendous effort by Fehr on the first Caps goal, and nice work by Bradley to finish it. This is why we will not give up on this guy.

Despite his 'assist' and surprising +1 for the game, at no point is one comfortable with Milan Jurcina on the ice.

In the span of a few minutes I went from the unappetizing prospect of being mocked all the way out of the Xcel Center with my Caps jersey to at least having the satisfaction of most of the building crap their collective pants. I hope we can right this ship on Wednesday and get healthy soon.

Ben said...

Thank god for the southeast, where mediocrity gets you home ice...

Rage said...

The legend of Brooks continues to grow. I can't believe that Bondra trade worked out like it did. And the Lang trade, while we're at it. Some of Flash's moves yesterday were sick.

And I'm surprised that Jurcina only got credited with 2 hits. Late in the game, it seemed like he was getting pretty physical.

Hazardous said...

Macvechkin: I'm all for calling Morrisonn a bonehead, but when you lower your head to elbow height, expect it to get hit, that shouldn't really be a call. And don't even try and tell me ovechkin closed his hand on that puck, because he didn't. At all. He batted it. That's not a penalty, and this league ought to be ashamed at what it's hired as officials. This is terrible, to put it lightly.

A pretty horrid road trip, but the schedule and the injuries were just too much. I can't blame too much of it on the caps themselves, just the circumstances. When Milan "Windsock nose" Jurcina is getting over 20 minutes of ice time, it's obvious we're desperate for D-men.

Other than that, see the preview thread for my comments right after the game ended.

Kim said...

I believe that the Mo elbow and Ovie closed hand on puck seemed like phantom calls. Didn't they both result in 5 on 3? Also a little surprised that when JT was toppled no penalty was called.

What was the deal with the refs and faceoffs last night? If you kick a guy out shoudln't you wait for the other guy to get in before you drop the puck? Guess they were making a point, but seemed petty to me. And while I realize with 9.6 to go it was a longshot, still would have been nice to have an opportunity to win the faceoff.

How lucky are we to have a guy like Brooks Laich on our team?

Boodgiesdad said...

We like Laich, but how about Poti? How long are we going to have him on the ice at 29 mins per?

Chris said...

A non sarcastic cap question:

Can someone please explain to me why Feds was rushed back instead of keeping him out the 10 games etc for some LTIR cap relief? I know GMGM can count and read a calendar so what am I missing?

Would there have been any relief at all?

And since Schultz will out for awhile, will we get cap relief when we bring up his replacement, which I assume will be Lepisto?

I just so not understand . . .

b.orr4 said...

I know I should be upset with this road trip, but I just can't be. For starters, the schedulers totally screwed the Caps. A back-to-back game against a team that had beeen sitting around for three days and then a third game in four nights against a team that had been idle for four days? C'mon, that's stacking the deck royally. Throw in the injuries to top line players and the fact that not one opponent on this trip is below .500and you have the makings of a disaster. But, as it's been noted, their toughest road trip in decades is officially over and now they've got four out of their next five at home and all of them are winnable. And, we're still in first. I just would have liked to see what the guys would have done if Semin, Feds and Green were there for the entire trip. And by the way, I have serious reservations about the Corsi rating. Sloan may have been the worse defenseman on the ice last night (I don't consider Erskine a defenseman). The first shot on goal by the Wild was a breakaway directly due to Sloan mishandling the puck at the blue line. In the second, he again allowed another Wild to blow right past him for a semi-breakaway. There's a reason why he's a career minor leaguer and now we're seeing it.

Anonymous said...

was hoping to go 2-2 on this road trip. 1-3 is tolerable, but the WAY we lost those 3 was pretty rough. i guess that's what happens when 3 of your top 5 scorers/playmakers are injured. there is no replacing Semin, Fedorov, or Green on this team. they are stars in their own right.

take it as a good early season wake up call for the Caps. most importantly, a wake up call for the defense.

i think there will be changes soon to make up for the lousy defense we have been seeing.


Shaggy said...

Does anyoone scoe a goal when you really need other than the top line? Fehr and Bradley's rush aside, it would have been refreshing to see SOMEONE get an ugly goal.
And Laich's quote in Wapo makes him sound very captain-esque, agreed?

b.orr4 said...

@Shaggy: funny you should say that about Laich. I was thinking the same thing about him talking just like a captain. Now if only our actual captain could do the same.

Tyler said...

I don't think the Caps quit last night or anything of the sort. And while I'm not a ref-complainer, it's undeniable that phantom calls (26 elbowing, the two 'closing hands on the puck' calls, maybe 23 holding) had a real impact on the hockey game.

But let's face it: In a capped NHL, you can't win when players such as 91, 52 and 28 all miss the game entirely, and when 4, 55 and 15 miss much or most of the game. That's six guys, five of which are either top-line players or are key to special teams.

Worth keeping in mind: Despite the team GAA, the goaltending was really good on this trip.

slusty said...

The Poti hand-on-puck call was pretty iffy, but how can anyone complain about Ovie's penalty as borderline? Did the complainers actually see the play? He picked the puck up to bat it down the ice! How do you pick the puck up without closing your hand on it?

HotDog88GT said...

Caps in the playoffs? Probably. Making it thru the first round? Probably not.

I think I saw Nylander out there last night. Was he with the team for the entire road trip? Are we still paying him? Hope he's in a Chicago uni by next week.

That had to be one of the worst officiated games I've seen all year.

Erskine had two guys on him when he lost that puck, and screw the Corsi ratings.

Never saw so many bounces go for the Caps' opponents as there were on this road trip.

The Caps were not good in front of their own net - again.

The Wild, like the Kings, looked like they had 6 or 7 players out there the whole game. The pucks were all going to their sticks, they were forcing bad passes, etc; they were blocking shots, and Backstrom was excellent until the 3-goal onslaught.

AO on the PK needs to stop. I see no up side to his time the PK. Maybe the next slapshot he takes will put him out for 6 weeks.

jason said...

I thought the same thing. Laich is the captain of this team, no matter what the letters say on the jerseys.

NS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NS said...

agreed on AO and the PK. no more, pls.

Poti looked a litte off throughout the game. fumbled quite a few passes from the point and made some bad ones of his own.

interested to see how GMGM handles this defensive crap fest

b.orr4 said...

Thank God the Caps play in the Southeast Division which is really living up to its Southleast reputation. After last night, here are the standings points-wise:

Caps-6th in the East, 11th overall
Canes-8th-East, 18th overall
Tampa-13th-East, 27th overall
Florida-14th-east, 28th overall
Atlanta-15th-east, 29th overall

Aside from the Caps, attendance-wise it's even worse:

Carolina-24th overall
Tanpa-19th overall
Florida-26th overall
Atlanta-27th overall

How Florida and Atlanta are going to stay in their respective cities is beyond me.

hockeyscout said...

Good Comeback - Counted 6 giveaways by Ovi - 4 in the first -2 in the third. When Caps start first 10 minutes strong they tend to do well. Sloan started slow, finished strong - probably one of our best D over the whole road trip and in the third against Minn. Caps are unbeatable when they win the small battles along the boards in both ends - need to get the puck deep in offensive zone and then win the battles like they usually do. Injuries are definetly a factor but as they showed in the third they can do it WHEN THEY DECIDE TO.

DMG said...

@ slusty,

That was my reaction. At first I was wondering what the heck the call was but the replay (I thought) pretty clearly showed Ovechkin picking the puck up with his left hand, dropping it, and batting it down the ice with his right hand. I fault Ovie more that than officials on that one.

@ b.orr4,

I sometimes wonder about Florida but I think the NHL will pull out all the stops to keep a team in Atlanta. The market's really big, has lots of money, and is still growing - it's too good an option to give up on. Plus for the half season the Thrashers were actually decent, people showed up and were excited about it.

They'd probably average 1,000 more fans a game just by firing Waddell...

Ogre said...

I don't think anyone rushed Fedorov back but Fedorov.

b.orr4 said...

@DMG:yeah, it would be kind of embarrassing to have two NHL teams fail in the same city. But still, there have been games down in Atlanta were the announcers have said there were only about 7-8,000 people in attendance. Last night, the announced attendance at the Florida-Carolina game in Miami was 11,000 but you could have shot a cannon into some sections and not hit anyone. In these economic times, the owners of both teams have to be pulling their hair out in clumps.

Ben said...

I see this road trip as a failure by Ovechkin to make things happen when the team relies upon him. He hasn't improved at all since 2006-2007, when the Caps had him but were still out of the playoffs.

I don't know if there's anyone in the southeast who can mount a serious challenge to the Caps, but I pray there is, because they are looking primed for another disappointing first round exit.

MacVechkin, fka JR said...

Congratulations Ben, on the dumbest comment of the year. I'm not even going to explain why that is wrong, because if you think that, you are too far behind already.

b.orr4 said...

Don't worry, MacVechkin, Ben's a Flyer's fan. Saying dumb stuff is just part of the culture. :-)

bigonetimer said...

I almost never bitch about the refs, but last night was the case of a young referee trying to impress someone in the league office. Were those closed hands on the puck? I would say 99 times out of 100 the ref says play on, so yes there was room to make the call. Likewise, the young fella was determined to not be impressed by #8, staring at one or more blatent takedowns, including a borderline PS (period 2 I believe).

whatever...time to put it behind us and make hay in the division. And hopefully these injuries, for better or worse, should shut all the Nyls trade talk down to the silence it deserves.

Anyone care to speculate on possible call ups? Mine is Osala on O and maybe the next Scott Stev...

DMG said...

@ b.orr4,

Atlanta has drawn poorly but if you look at their track record they've been God-awful in almost every personnel aspect. I really think if you got an ownership group and management team who knew what they were doing, they'd have a decent fan base.

Unrelated: coming back to this site always gives me a warm and fuzzy feel, especially after reading the, ahem, "discussion" on Capitals Insider at the Post. Apparently a lot of people think that being the GM of an NHL team means you should be an all-knowing, all-powerful seer and to fail to live up to that standard represents utter failure.

Hazardous said...

@DMG: You're allowed to grab the puck and immediately drop it. How do you explain the millions of plays (by mostly D-men at the point) where they go to grab the puck that's flying over their heads and immediately drop it to the ice? If that's legal, why wasn't Ovie grabbing and immediately dropping? The difference with the 2 calls made before hand is that they were THROWN, not dropped. I will not argue poti's call, since he threw it. The guy from the wild did as well. Ovie dropped it immediately and batted it. Not a penalty unless you start calling every grabbed puck out of the air that's immediately dropped, too.

DMG said...

@ hazardous,

You make a good point. But the letter of the law is "A player shall be permitted to catch the puck out of the air but must immediately place it or knock it down to the ice".

My guess is that Ovechkin was called for a penalty because he didn't put the puck on the ice but rather caught it, dropped it, and hit it out of the air. That he caught it isn't the issue, it's that he advanced the puck after catching it without putting it on the ice first.

hockeyscout said...


Last Update: 3:20, 11/26/2008
About Advanced NHL Statistics
TO/60 - Time On Ice in minutes. TOF/60 - Time Off Ice. GFON - Goals For while On Ice. GAON - Goals Against while On Ice.
GFON/60 - Goals For, On Ice, per 60 minutes. GAON/60 - Goals Against, On Ice, per 60 minutes. +-ON/60 - Plus-Minus, On Ice, per 60 minutes
GFOFF/60 - Goals For, Off Ice, per 60 minutes. GAOFF/60 - Goals Against, Off Ice, per 60 minutes. +-OFF/60 - Plus-Minus, Off Ice, per 60 minutes
SFON/60 - Shots For, On Ice, per 60 minutes. SAON/60 - Shots Against, On Ice, per 60 minutes. MFON/60 - Missed Net For, On Ice, per 60 minutes. MAON/60 - Missed Net Against, On Ice, per 60 minutes.
SFOFF/60 - Shots For, Off Ice, per 60 minutes. SAOFF/60 - Shots Against, Off Ice, per 60 minutes. MFOFF/60 - Missed Net For, Off Ice, per 60 minutes. MAOFF/60 - Missed Net Against, Off Ice, per 60 minutes.
PFON/60 - Penalties For own team, On Ice, per 60 minutes. PAON/60 - Penalties Against by other team, On Ice, per 60 minutes.
BFON/60 - Blocked Shots For own team, On Ice, per 60 minutes. BAON/60 - Blocked Shots by other team, On Ice, per 60 minutes.
RATING - Behindthenet Rating (+/- relative to team). QUALCOMP - Quality of Competition. QUALTEAM - Quality of Teammates. CORSI - Player rating invented by former Buffalo coach Jim Corsi.
TOICOMP - Mean Opponent TO. TOITEAM - Mean Teammate TO.
5-on-5 Statistics by team:

Minimum Games Played: 807060504030201051


Minimum TO/60: 201510521.510.5

Click on a Column Heading to Sort

SHAONEMORRISONN D WSH 26 15 13.30 29.97 -1.50 -0.03 2.44 2.44 2.44 2.40 0.39 13.17 12.53 0.00 0.00 0.30 0.30 7 12 2.10 3.61 -1.50 2.80 2.80 0.00 4.2 25.6 24.4 12.9 12.3 28.0 25.5 10.9 10.1 6.0 3.3 5.9 5.7 1.8 0.3 10.8 14.7 11.5 16.3
MIKEGREEN D WSH 52 18 15.83 28.23 1.99 -0.03 2.50 2.43 2.52 2.42 0.11 13.46 12.34 0.21 0.42 0.84 1.47 22 12 4.63 2.53 2.11 2.48 2.36 0.12 11.2 31.2 27.8 11.2 11.8 26.6 25.0 11.7 11.0 5.9 2.9 5.7 5.7 1.1 0.0 11.8 18.1 12.4 14.1
JOHNERSKINE D WSH 4 19 14.43 29.59 -0.21 -0.07 2.43 2.42 2.49 2.42 -0.10 13.08 12.18 0.00 0.22 0.22 0.44 10 9 2.19 1.97 0.22 3.63 3.20 0.43 2.6 25.6 27.8 12.3 10.1 27.6 25.9 11.5 11.3 7.4 6.3 4.9 3.8 1.8 0.7 12.9 15.3 11.0 15.5
MILANJURCINA D WSH 23 21 14.06 30.14 -1.16 -0.09 2.37 2.39 2.45 2.37 0.06 13.01 12.06 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.61 8 10 1.63 2.03 -0.41 3.70 2.94 0.76 -2.2 24.6 26.6 12.0 12.0 28.4 25.7 11.8 11.2 6.9 5.3 5.0 4.5 1.8 0.4 13.0 13.2 11.2 16.9
TOMPOTI D WSH 3 16 15.06 30.27 -0.74 0.01 2.47 2.31 2.42 2.27 -0.02 13.45 12.09 0.75 0.25 0.25 1.24 13 12 3.24 2.99 0.25 3.22 2.23 0.99 13.7 27.4 22.9 12.4 10.0 26.4 27.5 10.8 12.1 4.2 3.7 5.9 4.5 1.0 0.5 8.5 14.9 13.1 17.0
JEFFSCHULTZ D WSH 55 21 14.86 29.34 -0.58 0.01 2.48 2.36 2.48 2.37 0.18 13.30 12.30 0.00 0.58 0.77 1.35 17 17 3.27 3.27 0.00 2.92 2.34 0.58 -6.0 24.8 28.1 8.8 12.3 28.4 24.9 13.3 11.0 4.2 4.4 6.3 4.9 0.4 0.2 14.6 15.4 10.3 15.9
TYLERSLOAN D WSH 89 13 13.48 30.87 0.04 0.04 2.50 2.34 2.44 2.32 -0.16 13.28 12.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 1.03 10 9 3.42 3.08 0.34 2.84 2.54 0.30 10.3 29.4 24.3 13.4 12.3 25.7 27.5 12.7 12.6 4.5 6.8 6.0 4.0 0.7 1.7 11.0 14.7 12.3 15.7