Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday Roundup/Caps 6, Pens 5 (SO)

[AP Recap (coming soon) - Game Summary - Super Stats]

Clearly I was off the mark when I thought that Bruce Boudreau had gone to Plan B (i.e. playing the hot goalie). Rather than playing Brent Johnson (who didn't have a chance on any of the three pucks that Florida put past him in Saturday night's win), Boudreau came back with Olie Kolzig and just 4:30 into the first period, Kolzig spotted the Pens a goal when his positioning at his left post was, um, less than perfect.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but there isn't a goalie in the entire NHL whose save percentage (in significant minutes) has taken a bigger fall over last season's mark than has Kolzig's (and that was before last night). On the other hand, Johnny's save percentage has improved more since last year than all but eight netminders and his goals against average is up more than all but four other goalies (granted, he had plenty of room for improvement in both categories). Point being, whether or not Boudreau has gone to Plan B yet, it can only be a matter of time before he does - and the sooner he does, probably the better.

That said, helluva win, eh? Some thoughts on the game:
  • If you don't love Quintin Laing, stop reading this blog and leave now. Seriously.
  • Evgeni Malkin was absolutely brilliant in nearly every way, and I think I got my answer as to what kind of #1 center he is on his own. But to suggest that he's as physical a player as Alex Ovechkin is silly (the late first period collision between the two notwithstanding - and, fyi, this is how it's done, Ovie). To date, Alex has 129 hits. Malkin has 21.
  • The Caps displayed a ridiculous (and uncharacteristic) lack of discipline, including a pair of lazy Alex Semin stick fouls and offensive zone hooks by Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich and a killer by Matt Bradley negating a go-ahead goal.
  • The penalty killing - prior to overtime - left a lot to be desired.
  • Milan Jurcina had a strong game, as did his fellow countryman Tomas Fleischman. Could Flash actually be developing into a legit top-six winger?
  • Speaking of Internationals, Russian-born players accounted for six goals, six assists and two shootout tallies on the night.
  • Backstrom has eight points in his last two games, which is more points than Ovechkin or Malkin have ever scored in back-to-back outings. That said, I didn't think he had a particularly good game overall. Neither, for that matter, did Mike Green.
  • "In a pinch [Shaone Morrisonn] probably could have played." The Caps were in 11th place in the Conference and two points out of 14th heading into last night's game in a building they can't win in against an opponent their goalie can't beat. Just out of curiousity, what, exactly, is a "pinch"?
  • In addition to Mo's absence, this team is really feeling the loss of Brian Pothier and approximately 50% of Tom Poti. A depth move to shore up the blueline might be needed.
  • Psst... Bruce... they're called collar stays. Look into 'em.
  • Ovechkin's and Semin's shootout moves were dazzling (as was Jarkko Ruutu's).
  • The Caps won 59% of the faceoffs on the night.
Not to take too much away from a great win, but as Tyler noted to me in an email, "You can play like crap against Scranton and still win." The Caps will need to do a better job against NHL-caliber talent going forward than they did last night, but come April, they're not going to be asking how the Caps got the points they got - they'll be asking how many points they got, and these two sure do help.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

From the "Update on Guys I Don't Miss At All" file, Brian Sutherby is still looking for his first point as a Duck (he's played 19 games for Anaheim).

Daily Awards
  • Coming in the morning


Anonymous said...

I'll just use the built in excuse that the Penguins lost because Crosby didn't play. Plus Sabourin sucks.

I'm sure if Crosby did play though, he would've "dived" them to victory. Since that's all he ever does. Right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for raining on my parade. Here I was thinking we just won a great come-from-behind away game. Little did I know so many Caps made so many errors. Jesus, there isn't a game played every night that isn't filled with mistakes. We've waited how many years to beat Pittsburgh? Let's at least enjoy it for one hour before ripping it apart.

Brian said...

Finally got to see a game (thank you Versus) and enjoyed every teeth-gnashing moment.

Backstrom is the first rookie to ever have back-to-back 4 assist games. Thank the deity of your choice, because I was getting tired of "Malkin this, Malkin that" in the first half of the game.

Was it just me, or was the only time Erskine visible on the ice was when he screwed up (and not just overtime)?

Anonymous said...


Erskine didn't screw up in overtime. That was a 100% BS call. Malkin flew backwards when his HAND was touched. SORRY, PHYSICS CALLS BULL.
A friend of mine claims Malkin actually HELD Erskine's stick, that much I did not see, or at least recognize.

The officiating in that game was absolutely atrocious. Sure, the caps made plenty of errors, but I don't know how many times I screamed at my television with a certain 8 letter word beginning with B.

Crosby being out was just as bad as us missing Clark. Now, I know what you're going to say; "YOU THINK CLARK IS AS GOOD AS CROSBY? HAHAHAH!" But actually, that's exactly what I'm saying. Clark plays with a lot of guts and determination, and he's our captain. He is sorely missed, and it's actually surprising to me that we're doing as well as we are without him. Count in any of our other injured players as difference-making. If Pittsburgh fans want to claim that Sabourin sucks and if they had played Conklin from the start, it would've been a different game... then allow me to retort: If we played Johnson from the start, the same could be said for us.

Enough excuses, Pittsburgh, you finally lost. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Take off the red, white and blue glasses hazardous. Saying that Clark is as valuable to the Capitals as the leagues most valuable player is to the Penguins is laughable.

Why not ask every G.M. in the NHL who they would rather have, Chris Clark or Sidney Crosby?

Enjoy this victory while you can. It'll be few and far between.

Whiter Mage said...

Hi! I leave messages on other peoples blogs without leaving at least a fake internet handle! I point out facts that are clearly untrue!
Conklin sucks too. He lost the game in the shootout. The Pens shooters in the shootout were also terrible.
Malkin nearly dived his way to your victory. Who needs Crosby with a diver like that? You expect me to believe that him grabbing Erskine's stick is gonna pull him down after that clinic in power moves he pulled off earlier in the game?
How's the crow taste?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Suck it.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's right ogre. Penguins have no talent at all. They just "dive" their way to every victory. Instead of a "W" in the win column, they should have a "d" for dive.

Abhinav said...

+ Laing on the PK was just amazing. My roommate and his girlfriend were watching the game with me and had no idea why I was shouting at the tv. What a player.
+ Ovy and Semin in the shootout
+ Ovy in regulation
+ I thought Becks had some bad passes, but he also had 4 assists. I thought a very good game.
+ Greenie didn't do much tonight, but he can't be ridiculous every game I guess.

- Did Eminger forget how to skate?
- Lazy penalties like JP said.
- 5 on 15? Yikes.

All in all, good two points. Every day is a little bit nicer when the Caps beat the Pens.

Whiter Mage said...

Sorry - I'll take heart and soul over pretty boy diver any day.
How many teeth has Sid lost? How many stitches has he taken? How many shots to the side of the head has he taken, only to get up, and battle. How many scraps has Sid been in without rubbing his visor on his opponents head?
How many secondary assists does he rack up?
I'll tell you who I'd rather have.
Sidney Crosby may be a great scorer, and a great passer.
He will NEVER be a great captain.
You can replace a scorer. Malkin proved that tonight.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what. You take a team with "heart and soul" and I'll take a team with "talent", and my team would beat your team up and down the rink.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, rage and ogra. Great points.

Anonymous is merely just mad that he talked a lot of shit beforehand and now has to eat those words.

What anonymous doesn't seem to understand is that I'm not saying every penalty was BS or that the penguins didn't deserve a close game.

What I am saying is that there were key penalties that I believe were absolutely uncalled for.

As for the clark vs crosby comment; I stand by it. I think he's a HUGE part of this team. If you want to go with who's better for scoring and all that mess... Ovechkin's better than Crosby. The end. Thanks for coming. Get lost.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what, Anonymous.

You make an effort to not be a coward, and we might make an effort to take you seriously.

Whiter Mage said...

Tell Malkin that, and ask him about how he feels about Quentin Laing? Talent sure beat heart and soul then!
Go post on your own forums. At least Hooks has decency.

Anonymous said...

Ovechkin better than Crosby? Are their anymore myths out their Caps fans?

How is Crosby not a good captain? He's the hardest working player on the team. He says the right things, handles himself with class and poise off of the ice. His teammates love him, never takes a shift off. Leads by example. And on and on and on....etc...

Anything else?

Anonymous said...

How does Ovenchkin feel after that attempt at checking Malkin?

That's going to make for an awkward Russian Olympic team dressing room.

Whiter Mage said...

Write back to me when Crosby blocks a shot. Or for that matter, takes his helmet off for a fight.
He leads by "example."
He says the right things, but he conveniently leaves fans at skates without even acknowledging them. Why are you here?
Clark is a better captain than Crosby. If you think Crosby is another Yzerman, you're dead wrong.

Whiter Mage said...

If Mike Green wasn't in the way, Malkin would be in an emergency room right now. By the way, if I remember correctly, he and Ovechkin are good friends.

Anonymous said...

Crosby does play defense when called upon and has blocked shots. He's the hardest working player on the team as I've said, and he's the best player in the World. Why promote Goonism in hockey ogre? Is this a Thilthadelphia Flyers blog? Crosby's been in one fight his career against Andrew Ference and he beat him. Crosby has protectors so the Penguins can protect their investment.

Crosby was in another fight, but he automatically dived and the camera didn't pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I'd rather have Quintin Laing on my team. I friggin love that man. I don't know how many of the past games I've found myself cheering out loud for Quintin.

Also, Anonymous, I'm pretty sure our "heart and soul" just beat your "talent". Kiss it

Whiter Mage said...

When did "Scrap" become "Goonism?"

Anonymous said...

The Pens troll needs to remove the rose-colored glasses, stop stroking the Crosby, and pay attention to his own team's deficiencies.

If you think Conklin will take you deep, you better have some discussions with Edmonton fans. Despite the Pens' record with Conklin in goal, he'll crack under pressure.

Anonymous said...

Ogre: "Write back to me when Crosby blocks a shot. Or for that matter, takes his helmet off for a fight."


Anonymous said...

I think Conklin's a journeyman on a hot streak. I never said he would take the Penguins deep Green Gang. But I would play him while he was hot until Fleury returns. I'm not saying the Penguins will win the Stanley Cup, but they will be playing in late April and possibly beyond while the Capitals can watch the Penguins in all of their glory at home.

Anonymous said...

Relax hockey fans! Bettman and 66 are hookin' me up with some bionic limbs and stuff.

When I return, it will be like the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

No helmet, no pads, no skates.


So it shall be written, so it shall be done.

Anonymous said...

And what a moment it will be. The Triumphant return of Sidney Crosby!

Pensblog Staff said...

solid hockey tonight.

Congrats on the win

Anonymous said...

Roger on the collar stays.

Anonymous said...

Best player in the world?

All of your almost likely arguments fall apart. Good game, sir. Good game.

Anonymous said...

"Psst... Bruce... they're called collar stays. Look into 'em."

Heheh!! What does this mean exactly?

Victor said...

Psst...hazardous and ogre, dudes...it doesn't matter how smart you are, you spend too much time arguing with a moron, after awhile it's hard to tell the difference.

That being said, I'd like to point out Crosby, while being in the building, missed an awful lot of shifts last night. 100% of 'em, in fact.

(Harsh? Not really--just abusing anonymous's poor excuse for an argument.)

The Peerless said...

For the record, the WBS Penguins play their games in Wilkes-Barre Township, not Scranton.

Anonymous said...

Victor: I realize a lot of people think that way too, but I don't. Unless I've said some really retarded things (which I haven't), I have no reason to believe that each post is nothing more than further egging an idiot on into saying even more retarded crap. But for the sake of JPs blog I won't post 80 more calling a spade a spade.

Regardless, I thought it was a great game, on the whole, despite obvious times when I wanted to break something.

Here's to getting the #1 spot in the division before the All-star game!

Unknown said...

S vs. WB: One has an Applebee's, one has a Ruby Tuesday's. Big wahoo.

NS said...

we're lucky we survived and won this game. our offense was on point, but our D left much to be desired.

Green had one of his worst games of the season. Eminger forgot how to skate. Schultz is still just Schultz...he looks like he's skating in mud by the 3rd period. Poti...eh.

Flash continues to impress. hope he can keep it up and built on it.

5 on 15 shots. now THAT is a scary stat. fuckin A...

Anonymous said...

Despite "anonymous's" obvious(/nauseating) buy-in to "Gary Bettman brings you the Sidney Crosby Circus", it is true the Pens will be dealing with a pointed loss in the coming weeks. To clarify, they'll suffer in the same way that, say, the Senators could due to Dany Heatley's injury- not because either would be the overall difference in winning or losing, but because they're talented players whose absence limits the depth of their respective teams.

I'll state the obvious and point out that, since Sidney is actually in the low end of the top thirty on physically getting them in the net, Pittsburgh won't really lie in direct goal scoring. They are, however, taking a hit in the play making department. Though I have yet to see any documented proof on reports of the wounds through his hands and feet, I begrudgingly admit Crosby is a fine young hockey player if you are able to put aside all the hype. It will be interesting to watch how they handle the next month.

Having said that: Bring it On.

Oh, what's that you say? It's already been BROUGHT'N?!

I prefer not to be overzealous in the celebration department, but... The Caps won, j***a**. Go moan about it on your own team's blogs. And by the way, which is it: did you lose because the poster child for Cherry Blistex didn't play, or did your oh-so talented team suffer a hard-fought loss to a worthy opponent?

On a related note, though I'm usually more uncomfortable with mudslinging and negativity (kudos to b.orr4), I invite the next "person" who feels justified in criticizing Chris Clark's importance to this hockey club to get off the computer, leave their Dungeons and Dragons game in their mother's basement, and ask Alex Ovechkin, in Russian if you like, what areas the Caps are weakest in at the moment. I am sure one of his answers will hit upon the difficulty of playing without the strong leadership their captain has provided since last season. Crap on the overall numbers from 2006-07 all you want, Clark still had a thirty goal year, just six shy of the golden boy himself, and in fewer games. He is also the closest thing the Capitals have to a Tomas Holmstrom, and some of the missed chances that are occuring directly in front of the net are painfully noticeable without him in the lineup. Not only that, but as captain, he has held himself and his teammates accountable in front of the media more than once, and displayed what I have perceived as both urgency and earnest commitment to his role. If none of that qualifies Clarkie's significance in Washington to that of Sid the Kid's in Iron City, please, make a list of what does. Maybe he can manage to ante up some season, when he's not getting various parts of his face ripped off by pucks- a recovery process I don't believe I ever got immediate updates on every time I checked a score on the NHL website.

Anonymous, clearly you wanted to get everybody riled up since you immediately posted such bitter, petty remarks. It may have worked, but I agree with everyone else: I'd rather have our heart, than this kind of talent anyday:


Anonymous said...

(I originally intended to agree with JP and comment on the fact that all I could think at certain points during last night's game (and many previous to it) was that Quintin Laing is as epiphanous an arrival to the Caps as Bruce Boudreau. That may be a bold statement, but I stand by it. Olie should kiss that kid's feet every night after a game AND chip in for some antianxiety medication for his wife. Poor woman.

I'm not counting any chickens, I'm just happy to see them playing this kind of hockey.)

Unknown said...

Methinks: When you're missing two of your top four D and when the third of your top four D has an obvious shoulder injury, I think you've gotta be pretty happy when you give up only 15 shots (or whatever).

NS said...

Quintin Laing is a giant walking bruise. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.

he seems to block shots in pairs.

Unknown said...

I keep trying to lead a chant of "Q. Q. Q. Q." at VC, but so far no luck...

Paul Nichols said...

Hey Ogre, I'm glad you pointed out that Malkin got a bit lucky on that Ovie hit, because Ovie had to manuever around (Green?). Ovie had a bead on Malkin, but Green(?) kind of backed into the way, leaving Ovie to try and get an angle on him.

Either way it was a good show by Malkin and Ovie. Great knuckle-busting fun.

And just looky - Caps are in 2nd place in the Division, a mere 3 points behind Carolina, who eked one out yesterday against those &*#% Islanders.


1) Agree that the Caps defense/Laing should be commended for the low amount of shot on goal last night
2) Its usually not a good thing if a forward blocks more shots than your goalie on the night, but it worked last night at least.
3) Kolzig for the second time in a row redeems a poor regular game with a SO win, but its got to be worrisome to the team to see him beat for 4+ goals every time out, even when the shot totals are low
4) Next up, a Maple Leaf team that is in turmoil from top to bottom. You guys may be in first BEFORE the break!

yossarian said...

one more correction:

Fleischmann is Czech, Jurcina is Slovak. I think they'd both take offense if you called them countrymen.

Whiter Mage said...

How many games do you have to play before you can earn a trophy?
I ask, because if Laing keeps this up, how can he not be a finalist for the Selke?
If anything else, he's earned a few daily Selkes.

Debcapsfan said...

Props to Ovie for giving the penalty killers first praise in his post-game interview. Laing is my hero.
Green obviously missed Mo. Ouchie.
I've been really impressed with Flash the past few games. He's really been busting his ass.

Not on topic, but the fan590 is reporting that John Ferguson Jr has been fired.

bradley said...

Ogre, about the Selke, the problem with giving it to Laing is twofold. First, it's always given to a two-way guy, and Laing has very little offensive production to speak of. Second, it's about name recognition. Laing is a nobody in this league, he would have to be around for many years I think before anyone would vote for him. The Caps' best shot at getting a Selke in the coming years is Boyd Gordon, if he can start to chip in a bit more offense.

meep_42 said...

Maybe they should start calling him 'Secondary Backstrom?' 6 of his 8 over this streak have been secondaries (though, to be fair, there has been a lot of playmaking involved in many of those, see Kozlov's first last night for an example).


Jesse Marshall said...

Ken, thanks for having us on the blog again. Good game and best of luck.

See you in D.C. on the 9th.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about John Ferguson, but the guy has some jaw. He's got a press conference scheduled for 4:00 today. Streaming audio available here.

Mark Bonatucci said...

A couple of points - I am a die hard Caps fan so I confess to a fair amount of jingoism:
1) All of Backstrom's points that I've seen are good ones - nothing wrong with Secondary Assists when you actually are the guy making the plays. His "hockey vision" extends to the whole rink and he "Capitalizes" on it.
2) It's true that Morrisson makes Green and others play better because he's a steady, enselfish player.
3) It's true that Mike Green is having a great year and is on his way to being a great player. Nobody not even a young, rising star can have 82 great games in a season.
4) Two points is two points and the fact is the Caps outshot and in many ways outplayed the Penguins last night - Deal with it, they are still 8-1-1 over the last 10 and have the best record in Eastern Conference since Thanksgiving.
4) Clark is good but he's not Crosby. Malkin is rising to the occassion but Ovechkin has carried the bulk of the load of the Caps offensive for the last 2 1/2 seasons so Malkin isn't Ovechkin yet either.
5) A win is a win, ugly or not and Kolzig now has 16 of them; also last night when it mattered he came up with some big saves.
6) Now relative to road games as well as home games the Caps have "achieved mediocrity" 49 ponts down 43 or more to go till the playoffs.


Whiter Mage said...

I'm not saying Clark is as good as Crosby, just that his leadership in many ways is more valuable. I was also quite caught up in the moment.
I know the Selke is always name recognition and a two way guy, but Laing's turning some heads. If I was a media guy, I'd vote for him.

DMG said...

JP, great point about Sutherby. Given that the Caps have guys to fill the role of Sutherby, only better with Bradley (better skater; hits everything that moves), Laing (best shot blocker I've ever seen) and Steckel (good on faceoffs) I doubt they're missing him much.

Plus with McPhee's recent track record with late first round and second rounders (Green, Schultz, Neuvirth, Bouchard, Godfrey) you have to like having another round 2 pick

Anonymous said...

love, love, love quintin laing's recent contributions to the caps.

the question is when he's finally going to get a photo on the jumbotron during home games. he's got tons of assists, but whenever his name is announced...just a blank screen.

and with last night's goal, i might actually find myself turning from a flash hater into - well, someone who's lukewarm on flash.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I'm the one that said Clark is as good as Crosby, and I stand by my word.

Sure, I have no delusions that Clark's ever going to put up the same kind of numbers, or be as good a playmaker, but I believe he's as valuable to our team as crosby is to the penguins, and as far as I'm concerned, that puts you on the same level.