Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Roundup/Caps 5, Habs 4 (OT)

[AP Recap - Game Summary - Super Stats - Postgame]

I really don't want to start a theological debate here, but I have to ask the question: is it possible that Alexander Ovechkin is the second coming of Jesus? Sure, I've hinted at it before, but after last night's performance, I think we can safely rule out Number Eight being a mere mortal. Maybe he's just Superman. I dunno. But further research is definitely required on this topic, and I'll get back to you with the results.

Some thoughts on an enormous win:
  • Ovechkin's line for the night - 4 goals, 1 assist, +4, 6 shots on goal, 5 hits. Monstrous, and at some point real soon, we're going to start using the H-word around here.
  • Viktor Kozlov now has 10 goals, 25 assists and a +10 rating on the season. More importantly, he now has 6 goals, 4 assists and a +6 rating in eight games since Michael Nylander was shelved for the year. The chemistry on the top line is obviously fantastic right now, but might the team be better off moving Koz to the second line pivot? Neither Boyd Gordon nor Brooks Laich can adequately fill that role, and the result is that Alexander Semin is rendered less effective because defenses can back in much more when matching up against the line. Sure, Semin has had his goals since Nyls got hurt, but only one even-strength goal in his last six games is an indication that he isn't getting great chances, and you need only look at his centers to see why. If the team isn't going to go outside the organization for another top six center, either Kozlov or Nicklas Backstrom may have to be bumped from the top line to add to the secondary scoring threat - in the last five games, the Caps have only gotten two even-strength goals from someone other than Alex or Viktor.
  • Speaking of Backstrom, he was credited with six takeaways. It's hard to believe how complete a player he is already.
  • To the a-hole who threw his free burrito on the ice - that move was so wrong in so many ways. Go back to Philly.
  • Matt Bradley showed great wheels on a pair of chances.
  • Milan Jurcina continues to play his best hockey of the season, hitting everything that moves, blocking shots, and last night adding a beauty of an assist on Ovechkin's first goal.
  • If it wasn't for his high-stick that caught Ovie under his left eye, I wouldn't have known Alexei Kovalev was even dressed for the game.
  • Say what you want about him, but Tom Poti is gutting it out every night. You can tell his shoulder ain't right.
  • The discipline, for the most part, was better last night than it was on Tuesday, but Donald Brashear's roughing penalty was a bad one, and uncharacteristic of his play of late.
  • Kudos to Matt Pettinger for making it through January without scoring a goal. His one point in the month (a helper against Pittsburgh) topped his November total of zero points, and fell just two points short of his most productive month of the season, October.
  • Finally, the goaltending. Olie Kolzig made a number of nice stops, but also had a momentary mental/physical breakdown or two. And given that he faced 21 shots in 63-plus minutes, we probably could have guessed he'd have a lousy save percentage and GAA - and a win - on the night. But here's your bottom line - he's 8-2-0 in his last 11 home starts and 8-2-1 in his last 11 starts overall. The goals against and save percentage stink, but the team keeps winning in spite of with him in goal, begging the question, "Who do you start on Saturday night in the biggest game of the year against Atlanta?"
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

I wonder if AO read this or this before last night's game (h/t CapsNut). I look forward to reading Fisher and Zurkowsky following last night's game.... Marginally Hockey-Related Funny.... Not At All Hockey-Related Funny.... Happy Anniversary, Gary!

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Alexander Ovechkin (4G, including the OT game-winner, A, +4, 6 SOG, 5 hits)
  • Ross: Alexander Ovechkin (5 points)
  • Norris: Tim Gleason (G, A, +2, 4 hits, 4 BkS)
  • Vezina: Tim Thomas (W, 30 saves on 31 shots against)
  • Richard: Alexander Ovechkin (4G)
  • Calder: Matt Moulson (G, +2, 4 SOG, 2 TkA, 3 BkS)
  • Aiken: Pascal Leclaire (L, 4 goals allowed on 23 shots against in two periods of work)



1) Johnson starts against the Thrashers.
2) Can the Caps stop the silly deception about Shaone Morrisonn's injury already. A bruise doesn't take 2+ weeks to heal. If that were so then you'd NEVER see Laing play another game!
3) Have they even said that Pothier is out due to a concussion? At this point maybe it could be surmised he's suffereing from Post-concussion syndrome. Its the only reasonable explanation for missing so much time and appearing to not even being close to a return. Perhaps career threatening.

Anonymous said...

Anybody see the NHL on the fly final tonight? It's good to see the NHL finally giving OV all the attention he deserves... I wonder if things will change when Crosby comes back, or will they finally realize that OV is more fun to watch?

Brian said...

Got to watch the game on Center Ice. The first half of the game was great and I thought "Man, maybe I should shell out the money to get the rest of the season on Center Ice." The last half I thought "Maybe I should save my money for Zantac".

On the third Montreal goal, I see a winger coming down the right side and everybody including the offside D-man (Green?) is watching him. My brain is screaming "Somebody's coming down the slot" and sure enough, the winger sends a pass back between the circles and all of a sudden it's 4-3. It wasn't like that was the first time Motreal went deep down the right side and passed back and towards the middle.

Steckel scored 30 goals at Hershey last year. Maybe it's time to move him up to the second line and see what he can do. Kozlov looks really good standing in front of the goal and I wasn't that impressed when he was centering earlier in the season.

Hazardous said...

I know I'm usually the nay-sayer when it comes to penalties or mis-calls or something... but seriously, was I the only one who noticed the puck was under Kolzig for 4 seconds before it finally, slowly, made it's way out into the crease? I've seen goalies get that exact same kind of play whistled dead after 1 second, whether they had possession or not.

Regardless, I think Kolzig played pretty damn well, and proved he still has some game in him. But I have to agree with starting Johnson against ATL.

Whiter Mage said...

JP - you ought to post a picture similar to the one from the headline of the game on the Caps website. Ovechkin's nose is broken to high hell.
Amazing that he did all of that with a broken nose.

NS said...

oly for olie - steckel is just too damn slow to pay with semin

NS said...

p.s. O.Jokinen would be a nice fit though :)

Anonymous said...

See, I know some are going to blame Kolzig for giving up four goals, but let's take a look at them. The first one was a deflection of the defenseman to a guy wide open on the other side of the net. No chance for Kolzig and not his fault. Second one, well, yeah, shoulda had that. Third was a nice play by Montral/bad defense. Can Kolzig be faulted? Maybe. Fourth should have been blown dead way before the goal.

Paul Nichols said...

Man, I'm so glad we pulled that one out. A loss would have SUCKED and ruined my Friday disposition.

But we've got to do something about the friggin' 5-hole. Get some Spidey-webbing between the legs to stop those 2nd-chance pokes.

Anonymous said...

I was waiting to see if anyone made note of Backstrom's absolutely incredible slow pass to Green (I think) to start the GWG sequence. He just completely took control of the rush situation and calmed it down to be on his terms. Can that kid be ANY MORE PATIENT with the puck? Amazing.

Hooks Orpik said...

Ovechkin's performance last night reminded me of Crosby's 6 point night in Philly in December 2006 when he took the scoring lead and never looked back.

Unknown said...

Who was it who famously said, "Ovy is good?"

If the Caps get five goals a game from their top line, the second line doesn't matter. However, that seems unlikely to happen. It's something Boudreau needs to consider -- especially because 17 isn't coming back anytime soon. (Probably because, in part, BB stupidly played him on soft ice instead of waiting a game.)

Unknown said...

OK, "possibly because..."

~Mark said...

Ovy's performance last night is a preview to what he'll do in a playoff game...some day...hopefully soon. It is the stuff of lore, and he is the real deal.

One day, we'll tell our grandkids about him, and they'll say "you're making that up grandpaw(or maw)."

And you'll say, no, he really was superman!

Anonymous said...

You have to start Johnson, no question.

Steckel played very well last night, I have to say. Oh, and I don't think Semin's problems are solely a result of the line he is on. There is also that little problem of him, while being very skilled, being an overrated all-around player with a talent for turnovers.

Anonymous said...

I fall down, go boom.

Anonymous said...

On the tying goal, the referee saw the puck free. Three Caps were on the side/back of the net and Olie didn't know where the puck was - Olie looked bad on that one.

Did anyone see the faceoff prior to the Habs third goal? The faceoff was won by Washington and just over the blue line the Cap was hooked in the hands, actually pulled his hands right down, and lost the puck. I backed it up and watched it 3 times to be sure. Neither referee saw it.

If Semin were traded to the Western Conference I don't think I'd care. I'm starting to enjoy it when he loses an edge or gets knocked down or has the puck stripped from him. He falls down so many times I'm beginning to wonder if he's EVER going to get better. #28 is the man most likely to return to Russia and never come back.

Remember when the Caps had no depth at all? With all the injuries we have now do you see Bears being called up? Quit yer bitchin' about Pettinger, Erskine, and Eminger. I like them all: Eminger plays better the more time he gets, and no one else on defense plays with an edge like Erskine (except AO!)

If Sid were healthy he'd be 10-15 ahead in the points lead.

Anonymous said...

All the H-talk is on as of: LAST NIGHT. 43 goals and carrying this team on his back.

Anonymous said...

Tyler - I think it was Ovie that said that :)

Mark - I'm with you. I've developed some serious man-love for AO. It's okay, I'll admit it.

Anonymous said...

three quick hits:

1. MAYBE start using the H-word? C'mon...

2. If there was ever such a thing as a tertiary assist, Backstrom deserved one on the GWG.

3. What was Shultz thinking being way up in the crease? And, more importantly, what was he thinking calmly flipping the puck perfectly to AO?

Hazardous said...

HotDog88GT: I have to disagree. It should have been blown dead. Just because olie doesn't know where it is doesn't mean it shouldn't be blown dead when any other goalie would've been given that courtesy. It was UNDER HIM. There's no way the referee still saw it. He just saw olie's head moving, signaling he didn't know where it was, so he took it upon himself to just let it keep going, where any other goalie would've been given a whistle.

Face it guys, the capitals aren't a "winning team" yet, so we don't get the same bullshit breaks other teams get. Call a spade a spade, christ.

As for the sid comment... who gives a shit? I'm sick of hearing the punk's name. Period. I'm glad someone else is getting the spotlight.

And cut out the semin hating. The man gets raped every game. He falls a lot because he gets pushed around a lot. He's a small guy who people know they can push around, because he just isn't that tough. They know going after ovechkin would result in ovechkin kicking their asses, so they don't do it. Go after the small guy, then.

Also, he has a reputation for "diving" (which, sometimes he does, most of the time he doesn't. let's be fair) and with that in mind, he gets fucked with more often, so that referees might call him when it was a legit infraction AGAINST him.

Anonymous said...

The Pope comes to DC in April. Maybe he can clarify Ovechkin's status.

Anonymous said...

hell yeah Hazardous! That's all exactly what I was thinking as I read all the previous comments!

The team is winning, and it's been a while since we've had that pleasure. Why can't people just try to enjoy it for a little while?