Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Game-By-Game Reasons To Watch: November

We previously gave you reasons to watch every Caps game in October. Here's why you should watch the games on the slate for November:

Nov. 1 @ Buffalo: Even though Danny Briere is long gone, Sabres fans still boo Alex Ovechkin. Maybe it's because they hold a grudge. Or maybe it's because AO lit the Sabres up for five goals in four games last year.

Nov. 4 @ Ottawa: On Election Day night, the Caps find themselves in another nation's capital. What's up with that? The Caps outscored the Sens 22-12 in last year's four-game sweep, which included Ovechkin's first career four-goal game:

Nov. 6 vs. Carolina: Alex Semin has scored more goals against the 'Canes (13) than he has against any other team in the League, so he'll be counted on to provide some offense against a Carolina team that will be out for revenge - they lost the Southeast Division in the Caps' last game of the season, but had they beaten the boys from D.C. in either of the teams' two head-to-head meetings in the regular season's final two weeks, the crown would have been theirs.

Nov. 8 vs. N.Y. Rangers: Two of Mike Green's four game-winning goals last season came against the Rangers, and both came in overtime (here's the first one). From then on, he was Mike "Game Over" Green.

Nov. 10 vs. Tampa Bay: We'll all watch this one because we all still love this guy (even if we want to see him get lit up like a Christmas tree on this night):

Nov. 12 @ Carolina: There are a million different "what if" scenarios from last season, of course, but if everything else was the same, had a 'Cane - and not Viktor Kozlov - scored in the shootout in the Caps' last trip to Raleigh, Carolina would have won the Division. You can bet the 'Canes will value every single point in the standings this year.

Nov. 14/15 vs./@ New Jersey: The second game of this home-and-home kicks off the most brutal road-trip of the season, a five-gamer that includes a three-game swing in California and creates the potential for the Caps to face Martin Brodeur (twice), J.-S. Giguere, Evgeni Nabokov and Niklas Backstrom in a six-game stretch. Yikes.

Nov. 19 @ Anaheim: Sergei Fedorov played 85 games for the Ducks (31 goals, 35 assists) and Alex Ovechkin returns to the site of his first hat trick.

Nov. 20 @ Los Angeles: In the next five days, the Caps will visit the only three teams against whom Ovechkin hasn't scored. Don't think that he doesn't (or at least won't) know that.

Nov. 22 @ San Jose: Most of Russia's biggest heroes froim Halifax (Ovechkin, Semin, Fedorov and Evgeni Nabokov) will reunite on the same sheet of ice, and we'll see who has the book on whom.

Nov. 24 @ Minnesota: The Caps last faced the Wild mere hours after the trade deadline last February, and the team responded to GMGM's moves with a dominating 4-1 win led by Brooks Laich's four-point night:

Nov. 26 vs. Atlanta: Jose Theodore owns the Thrash to the tune of 11-4-0 with a 2.22 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. Of course, all of those numbers came against the pre-Jason Williams Thrashers, so all bets are off.

Nov. 28 vs. Montreal: Theodore has an 8.01 GAA and .778 SV% against his old team, the Habs (in just one start). Time to get the monkey off your back, Jose.

Nov. 29 @ Columbus: Fedorov returns to the scene of the crime (i.e. the team from whom he more or less stole $15 million, give or take). Will they boo him in C'bus? Brent Johnson may very well get the start here, especially given his career 9-1-2/1.96/.919 career mark against the Jax.

Game of the Month: Easy - Kolzig's return to the Verizon Center. It should be emotional beforehand (provided that Barry Melrose upholds his end of the bargain and actually plays Olie) and entertaining, firewagon hockey once the puck drops. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Game of the month: Absolutely. That's a can't-miss. I wouldn't be surprised to see that one sell out.

NS said...

Kind of dreading the Tampa game. Olie, if in the lineup, will play like a demon.

Hopefully the Caps remember that giant 5-hole from last season and take advantage...

(seriously, i hope he does not get booed when introduced)

JP said...

Anyone who would boo Kolzig pre-game is an idiot.

I won't say the same, however, for anyone who might engage in a Kooooooool-ziiiiiiiiig chant during the game.

NS said...

word. game is fine, but there are too many douche bags out there for me to be hopeful of the right thing being done pregame...

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Nov.19 @ the Ducks:
That will also be Sutherby's first game against his former team, if Im not mistaken. Will we see a Suds/Brads scrap perhaps?

JP said...

Nice call on Sutherbum. I had nearly (ok, totally) forgotten about him.

I'd love to see a Suts/Brads fight (my money's on Bradley by KO).

Unknown said...

Shouldn't it read "while AO lit the Sabres up for five goals in four games last year, while losing the series three games to one and being outscored 16-10?"

Or not. Your way is fine as well.

Anonymous said...

I for one will not shed a tear at Kolzig's return to VC - he left the team in a lurch, without regard for the fans, and is taking his vitriol out on everyone associated with the Caps.
Didn't have to be this way, Olie.

Anonymous said...

Don't you still have some boxes to unpack? Get back to work.

Anonymous said...

Its going to be close. If there was one thing Sutherby does pretty well, it's fight(for a middleweight). I have to give the edge to Suds. It would be entertaining either way.

JP said...

@ Kevin: Mabye we can compromise on "while AO lit the Sabres up for five goals in four games last year, while losing the series three games to one and being outscored 16-10 but still making the playoffs, unlike Buffalo."

Anonymous said...


Yeah, you got a point there. If we'd done better against your Sabres, it wouldve been us going to the playoffs this year instead of you guys - oh wait, thats right...

Debcapsfan said...

I was there in person for Ovechkin's first hat trick.
Of course I decided to go home and not go on to Phoenix, so you can't win em all.

Anonymous said...

Why not boo Kolzig? He talks about wanting to vie for a #1 spot (unrealistic) and play for a winner. So he signs on to be the TBay backup???? He could have stayed here and been a part of THIS winner. Although I don't know where we would have gotten the 2.5 mil for a backup goalie.

Anonymous said...

@jr: The fact is that Kolzig was the face of the franchise for over a decade. He stuck with them through thick and thin, and he's done a lot for the DC community. I think he's earned enough respect for his past deeds, that he deserves to at least not be booed even if the decisions he'd made in the last year are fairly dumb. It's like booing a great scientist who's gone senile.

Anonymous said...

Fine, I'll be booing on the inside. It was a sticky situation, no doubt, but I think he should be embarrassed by the way he acted.

And he may as well put 'p00ned' on the back of his jersey because that's what going to happen that night if he's in net.

Natty Bumpo said...

not important, but i believe the linked youtube was mike green's second game-winner against the rangers, not his first. (first came in december.)

JP said...

Right you are, Natty. My bad.

And I would've linked to both, but for some reason the YouTube of the other one cuts off before OT, I believe.

Anonymous said...

@Kolzig apologists
(among whom I used to be)

I liken the Kolzig situation sort of, kind of to Brett Favre. Can't imagine him playing for anyone other than the team he set all his records for, but it looks like it's happening. No, I wouldnt boo the man but if I'm a Packer fan I want to see if fall on his ass.

Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see how Melrose plays along.

The slant is, Kolzig has to start that game for TBL. As a FAN, I cannot imagine that Melrose would deny Kolzig the shot--that would make Melrose a douche, right?--but what if Smith is playing great? Or Kolzig has been the sieve he was for many long stretches of the past few seasons for us? Melrose is going to want the points, and I think the question is whether he feels Olie is going to get them for him that may well not be the case, but don't be surprised if Barry jerks the cord on this one. I'd laugh, too.

When Kolzig does finally return in net to the Booth, I won't boo him but I'm not going to be among those in the rapture upon his return.

/clap, clap, clap...clap.
//game on