Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Ducks

[AP Preview - Preview]

The last time the Caps were in Anaheim, Alex Ovechkin potted his first career hat trick in a 3-2 Caps overtime win over J.S. Giguere and the Ducks, and that OTL still stands as one of only two blemishes on Jiggy's unbelievable 3-1-1/1.39/.951 resume against Washington. In fact, take away that night's "shelling" and Jiggy is an even more ridiculous 3-1-0/1.00/.966 against the Caps... of course, take away AO and a lot of goalies' numbers look much better.

Besides being the site of one of the Great Eight's many coming out parties, Anaheim was also home to Sergei Fedorov for just over a season - 85 games, to be exact - in which he scored 31 goals, had 35 assists and was forced to wear this (though SoCal was certainly not without its perks for Feds).

But enough about history, especially since eight Caps - Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann, Mike Green, Milan Jurcina, Jeff Schultz, Tyler Sloan and David Steckel - have never played an NHL game in the Golden State. Let's talk about the here and now.

The Ducks come into the game with a 6-2-2 record in their last ten... not quite as good as the Caps' 7-1-2 mark. They're scoring at a 2.95 goals per game clip... not bad, but not as impressive as the Caps' 3.24 goals per game. Their defense is allowing three goals per outing... slightly more than Washington's 2.76. The Ducks have been very good five-on-five... but not as good as the Caps, and they're in the top half of the League in shots per game... just a few spots behind D.C.

You get the point - the Ducks have been good. The Caps have been better.

But that's all on paper (and mostly with Alex Semin on the ice and not in the press box, where he's likely to be tonight). Also on paper? Giguere's current 0-2-1/4.51/.851 cold streak, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry's combined 37 points over the last 11 games, the year-to-date decimation of my 401(k), AO and Backstrom's combined 18 points over the last three games, Brent Johnson's 3-0-0/1.72/.939 streak, and so on and so on.

On the ice, however, the Caps will find a rough and tumble (though presumably no longer mighty) bunch - the Ducks led the League in fighting majors heading into last night's action - with a couple of Hall of Fame defensemen and enough fire power up front to set the region ablaze (too soon?). It's a potentially dicey match up for a relatively soft and banged up Caps team... but then again, that's just on paper - we'll see what happens when it plays out on the teevee.

Oh, and make sure to stop by BoC today and tell Sleek he's a douche (be careful, though - that might be actionable).

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

"Campbellnomics" is being met with plenty of resistance, but since it tells us that Alex Semin is the most valuable skater in hockey so far, we're buying it (the fanboy in us wins out over the economist today).... Speaking of Semin, James Duthie has him as an All-Star.... The Baltimore Examiner had a quick chat with AO.... More power rankings, with the Caps up six to sixth at, up five to sixth at, up four to seventh at Yahoo! and up two to eighth at Fox Sports.... Bucci likes the Caps a lot (but not as much as the Pens, of course).... Double O gets some love from The Hockey News.... If you missed the Lebanon Daily News profile of Karl Alzner yesterday, check it out (and catch him on the radio/internet later this morning).... Good stuff on Grant McNeill here.... Bear Tracks - awesome, as always.... "Goalie weenies" of the world, unite!... Finally, like most of the Caps, one would assume, I've got Anna K. in this one (twins freak me out a little, truth be told).


b.orr4 said...

Great roundup, as usual. It may be a little early, but this could be a season defining road trip for the Caps. Last year, the Pens went out west and came back undefeated and that launched their run to the top. If the Caps can do something similar, it will tell the rest of the East that they're one of the teams to beat. Of course, the opposite could happen if they go 1-3 or lose all four. As far as Giguere goes, he's pretty much owned the Caps in the past but he's been really struggling this year. It'll be curious to see who Carlyle starts tonight, J.S. or the backup Hiller.

luke said...

how could you forget man, that game also had arguably the best hit AO ever doled out

JP said...

@ b.: Thanks, and my guess is Hiller, but that's just a W.A.G. based on each of their last outings.

@ Luke: Forget his (airborn) hit on Vishnevski? Never.

luke said...

its at the 2:50 mark of this video

watch it while listen to the "you're the best" from karate kid...and then get back to work

(im mostly talking to myself on that last part)

Earl Sleek said...

The problem in your comparative analysis, JP, is that you're including the Ducks' first six games. Those never happened :)

Team's been better of late, but the Ducks are still feeling their way around Francois Beauchemin's season-ending injury. Look for Uncle Festerling to play under Scott's wing tonight.

And I have no clue who will play goal. Carlyle loves him some secrecy.

I was at the Ovechkin-jumps-at-Vishnevski game, btw. That probably happened some twenty rows from me. I didn't wear a hat, though.

Nate said...

That Examiner chat with Ovi looks a lot like the transcript of his NHL conference call from last week. A little shady, eh?

JP said...

@ Nate: I report, you decide. I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that, though.

wittcap79 said...

More Nyls rumors flying about, or aboot in this case, (Har har); it's still not evident who the Caps are supposedly getting in return.

jason said...

What are the Nyls rumors du jour? I don't see anything about it in the roundup, though I may be overlooking it.

I must say, as much as I was initially opposed to dealing Nylander, if we can get a solid asset in return and if management thinks that calling up Alzner/Lepisto would help our D in a material way, I'm fine with it. I would love to have more center depth but frankly, Nylander is not playing well enough right now to justify his contract (or playing time).

DMG said...

@ Jason,

Bob McKenzie (TSN) is reporting that "several sources" say a trade with Chicago is ready to go and that Chicago just has to free up cap space by moving Khabiboulin first.

Other rumors I've seen are that the Capitals are getting Dustin Byfuglien (which would be amazing because he's a 245 pound winger who scored 19 goals last year, despite starting the year as a defenseman) or Brent Sopel (which would be good because he's a solid NHL d-man).

I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to get both by packaging a pick or a younger players like Morrisonn or Fehr - it'd work for the Capitals, but I don't know the Hawks organization's needs.

I am still skeptical Nylander would waive his no movement clause because I just don't see the incentive for him to do so, but perhaps he's the kind of guy who would rather be somewhere he's more wanted.

jason said...

@ dmg,
Many thanks for the update. Should be interesting, though I can't imagine moving Khabibulin's salary would be that easy. Frankly, I wonder why the Hawks think this move is worth doing so much shuffling.

DMG said...

I can see why the Hawks would want to move Khabiboulin and his 6.75 million dollar salary but I really can't quite figure out exactly what their thought process is....sign Huet, try to dump off Khabiboulin, trade Robert Lang but then try to go after Nylander, who has a no movement clause? I don't get it.

And the rumor that they're willing to give up Byfuglien? He's a 23 year old true power forward - 245 pounds, can fight, has 20, maybe even 30 goal potential...that's not a guy I'd give up for Nylander.

At the moment I'd bet Nylander's in Washington come next summer. To me there are just too many things that have to go right: Chicago has to find a taker for a guy who wasn't claimed off re-entry waivers, Nylander has to waive his no-movement clause, etc, for this to happen.

Hazardous said...

Well, this game started out really well. And then the officials happened and suddenly I'm watching a game and not a trounce. Lovely!
(I realize they didn't score on the PP or anything, but you tell me the flow of the game didn't change when Gordon got bloodied, they got 2 minutes, and nylander merely touched a guy's glove and got the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS BLOODYING A GUY FOR NO GODDAMN REASON)
On top of that we leave the first on the PK cause erskine went for the puck and Getzlaf's stupid ass steps on his blade? Get out. This is horrid officiating.

JP said...

Green hasn't played since the Pronger hit. How long do you think it'll be before Joe and Craig mention that? Currently there's 17:14 left in the second.

DMG said...

(I realize they didn't score on the PP or anything, but you tell me the flow of the game didn't change when Gordon got bloodied, they got 2 minutes, and nylander merely touched a guy's glove and got the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS BLOODYING A GUY FOR NO GODDAMN REASON)

Yeah, because they're all minor penalties. It's how the game works.

I think the conspiracy theory aspect is awfully hard to justify when the Capitals had 9 powerplays and the Ducks had 5.

There were a lot of penalties but I thought few were chintzy calls. Erskine's first was well deserved: you go for the puck, you miss and trip a guy, it's two minutes.