A Washington Capitals fan's humble blog. My favorite team in the best labor-disrupted sport...and more sloppy seasoning than a hyper-caffeinated chef! Oh yeah...some stuff about the rest of the NHL as well...now that they're back in business....
Number of People Nice Enough to Stop By....
Monday, October 4, 2010
THE (Pre)SEASON IS OVER
Can we just drop the $#*!%&@ puckfor real already?
First off, let me thank the wonderful folks at washingtoncaps.com for making the feeds available so we can enjoy the preseason games. And now that the niceties have been dispensed with, I have to say that I saw a lot of good things in those preseason games I was lucky to see. Things like the team bonding and standing up for one another, especially in the fifth game against the Blue Jackets. How about Matthieu Perreault hustling his butt off? What more can this guy do to prove he belongs on the team? Marcus Johansson, while not exactly coming out of nowhere was a very pleasant surprise. Karl Alzner and John Carlson cemented their claim as the present and future of the Caps' defense. And Michal Neuvirth looks to be the odds-on favorite to eventually win the starting job.
Aaaaaaand...of course I saw some things I didn't like. The penalty killing for one. Just horrid. I know it seems fashionable to bash Mike Green. That's not why I take issue with his play in his own end. It's because on one of the power play goals scored by the CBJ, he was little more than a statue on skates. I love the guy, but the consensus seems to be that, until he rounds out his game, he'll never win the Norris trophy for best defenseman. Not exactly breaking new ground there, I know. Anyway, I tried to make the awful Caps PK a topic of discussion over at Japers during the Nashville feed, but either no one saw or was paying any attention. Lest we forget it was in no small part due to the penalty killing being so bad that cost them the series against Les Canadiens. I would have thought this would be something that the Bruce would be at least tweaking and at most overhauling. I'm usually tough on him, but I'm sure he's not happy with it, whatever they're trying.
Just a suggestion but what we could really use is a speedy forward (not that they'll go out and get one) that can move the puck fairly well to help out. Guys like Dave Tippett (hey honey did ya know he was a UND alum?) and Dave Poulin, who were on the team in the mid-90s are great examples. It was because of players like them that the Caps routinely were among the league leaders in penalty killing in the mid to late 90s. It was a superior penalty killing unit that helped get the team pretty far in '98 as I recall. All the way to a Cup Final appearance. Just a bit of a history lesson there...won't be the last.
I also didn't much care for the way the team just let down in the last game against Nashville. The Bruce had it right when he said that Perreault was the best player they had on the ice most of the game. Just give the guy a sweater already! It just didn't seem like anyone else was really trying. At least Neuvirth seemed to see the puck very well at least when he was in goal, but poor Dany Sabourin got hung out to dry when he came in. What really bothers me about this is the fact that the Predators pretty much had their "A" lineup in the game. It would have been nice for the Caps to ratchet up the intensity to match. I understand it's just a lousy preseason game but they were flatter than flapjacks especially after the midway point. They were soggier than a soaked rug, as limp as a....you get the idea. This from a team that vows to stay angry. As long as they learned from it.
One other thing--you get outshot by the Nashville Predators? Nashville? The team that couldn't score even when they had Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg? PFUI! If you're going to lose, at least make Pekka Rinne earn it!
On a side note--I have BOTH him and Henrik Lundquist in goal on my fantasy team. Am I going to clean up or what??
So yes, running the table in the preseason means absolute zilch. And truth be told, I agree with one of the posters over at Japers--it's kind of a relief to get that first loss out of the way. It makes them realize they still have work to do. Gives them something to shoot for as well. So yeah being the way that I am I have to point this kind of stuff out. But am I worried about it? No. And no other Caps fan should be either. As long as they focus on the big prize at the end.