If last night's soliloquy didn't get you fired up for tonight's Caps/'Canes game, I guess nothing will (but be sure to check back around lunchtime - but not after you've eaten - for a little something special).
Anyway, the injuries to Chris Clark and Boyd Gordon have necessitated a call-up from Hershey, and it's Quintin Laing. I was curious to see if Bruce Boudreau would look to replace the injured regulars with a similar type player (is it a too bad Brian Sutherby's no longer around?) or someone with a little more offensive punch, and I guess we got our answer (and will have to wait to see if Chris Bourque can get more NHL ice time under Gabby than the 8:19 of ice per game that Glen Hanlon gave him).
Laing is a 6'2", 175-pound winger who is, per his TSN.ca scouting report, "an extremely industrious forward" who "[h]as the size scouts love from the wing position" and is "a sound player without the puck." However, he "[c]ould use his size more to punish opponents" and "[d]oesn't own soft hands or a goal-scorer's mentality." Sounds like he'll fit right in. In 19 games for Hershey this season, he has two goals, five assists and is plus-eight, and if you're wondering why a 28-year-old has played in only three NHL games in his career, I'm sure Q will make it pretty evident pretty quick. On the plus side, however, he knows Boudreau's system.
The last time the Caps visited Carolina, they turned in one of the worst performances in a season full of stinkers, losing 5-0 in a game that might not even have been as close as the score. But Bruce Boudreau's Caps are 1-0 against Carolina courtesy of a big 5-2 win last Saturday night, so let's hope the Caps can get back to scoring - and winning - in Raleigh.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
The Board of Governors has approved a new schedule matrix that will ensure that everyone plays everyone at least once a year. "The NHL: Where The Only Constant Is Change."
- Hart: J.P. Dumont (G, 3A, +2, 4 SOG, killer name)
- Ross: J.P. Dumont (4 points)
- Norris: Zdeno Chara (2G, 5 SOG, 4 hits)
- Vezina: Roberto Luongo (26-save shutout win)
- Richard: Zdeno Chara (2G)
- Calder: Tobias Enstrom (G, 2 SOG, 3 blocked shots)
- Aiken: Martin Gerber (L, 6 goals allowed on 35 shots against)
I know this sounds totally crazy, but I am more than mildly encouraged after what I saw during the last two periods and overtime against Florida. BB's system is far more aggressive than anything Hanlon used and for a team that struggles on offense, turnovers could be key for the Caps to generate some goals. It's a shame that Boyd is injured because his line plays that system perfectly.
1) There is no doubt the caps got screwed when the current alignment was made. Probably at the time the caps didn't object vociferously because they had to think(at the time) that the move assured them of many divisional championships.
2) There is no doubt that the games against teams from the old Patrick division STILL are the most attended/exciting. Both are missing for almost all the SE divisional games. Its too bad.
3) Can't see a change in alignment unless a team folds/moves or there is expansion. At least next season the SE will only be coming in 3 times instead of 4.
1) As we wrote previously here and other Cap blogs, Semin needs to either sit until he is totally 100%, have additional tests to see why he isn't improving, or have surgery to correct the problem!
2) This coming back for a game or two, then sitting out a few is not only disruptive to the team, its not good for him either!
3) Of course getting information about anything from this team is impossible(if only the US government kept its secrets so well!) no one knows what exactly the problem is with him. Regardless, whatever is/has been done evidently isn't cutting it!
Changing the subject totally: Spector reports that the Caps are going to make a "a contract offer to Alexander Ovechkin in the next few days reportedly worth $10.3 million per season." (http://www.spectorshockey.net/rumors.html)
If true, the recent Jagr news must have been the impetus. No longer having Jagr hanging around our necks like a rusty anchor frees up a goodly number of dollars.
If Spunky McPhee can get this done, and get a long term on it, I do believe that will help the rest of the team relax and take Olie's sage advice about not thinking. Just playing.
Everyone keep your fingers crossed!
Regarding Laing: He doesn't appear to be hurting the NHL's 23rd rated penalty kill. Coach seemed to know exactly how to use him. I hope he sticks around for a little while.
Anyways, I enjoy your blog. It's the first place I go for any Caps news.
Good stuff and thanks, Iffy.
Don't know if you are getting these comments by email, but I heard the coach called up some heart for the next game.
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