Number of People Nice Enough to Stop By....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Game ReCap--Number Two

Before I get started a but of administrative stuff here....

I had the pleasure of opening up Le Blog this AM and found that my counter read 3000 hits exactly.  I want to take this opportunity to thank those out there who made this possible--all four of you.  Took two years plus...not bad, eh?  Maybe I should change my name to this guy.  God rest his wonderful soul.  TBOP thanks you all who were kind enough to stop by...keep it going.

Now to the business at hand.  Take a look at the title above.  Notice it says "Number Two."  That, ladies and gentlemen, describes the game the Caps played last night in more ways than one.  

Don't get me wrong.  Of course I'm happy they won.  But naturally what bothers me is that they just as easily could have lost.  Which they damn near did several times in both regulation and overtime.

Here's the rundown as I saw it:

Might as well start at the top.  The top line, that is.  Mike Knuble had a solid game and that's where the good news ends.  Collectively they were a minus four with no points.  Horrible game.  I listened to Elliot in the Morning this AM and a caller noticed that Ovi looks a step slow.  Elliot agreed and so do I.  Not sure what it is, but it is only 2 games.  Now, if we're still having this conversation a few games from now it might be time to panic.  Nick Backstrom looks awful as well---when he's noticeable.  He still seems to be suffering from whatever made him vanish last spring.

The Power Play continues to be suckage.  Lots of guys standing, not a whole lot of movement.  And I seem to recall saying this during a certain playoff series two years ago, but I guess I wasn't heard then.  So here goes: YOU CANNOT SCORE IF YOUR SHOT IS BLOCKED.   That is the purpose of cycling the puck and I'm seeing very little of that.  You cycle the puck, you get the opposing PK unit to move a bit and space opens up.  I'm seeing two guys hanging on the point playing catch.  If this garbage keeps up, a complete personnel change for the PP unit might be in order.  Dominant five-on-five play is one thing, but a good power play can mean the difference in most games.  It's a weapon not being used very well, and that's a shame.

Don't even get me started on the goaltending.  Yes Tomas Vokoun redeemed himself in the circus sideshow shootout, but was simply barf-making during the game.  I give him props for at least being man enough to admit that he played, in his words, "an ugly, ugly game."  Uglier than my last hemorrhoid.  Several let in from impossible angles--yuck.  But he sure did come up big when he needed to, especially in OT.  I like that trend, and I like even more that we have not one, but two money goalies that can be relied on.  Take that as your silver lining.

The parade of undisciplined penalties continue: caught with too many men on the ice two times, two senseless penalties by Backstrom, and a mind-boggling hooking penalty (I've seen better hooks on a street corner) by Alex Semin in overtime.  What bothers me most is the too many men on the ice penalties.  When the Bruce first took over, this team couldn't stop committing that penalty, but they soon got better.  Two in one game is pure baloney sauce; there's simply no excuse for it.  I don't really care who's to blame, the coaches or the players, but get this crap fixed.  Now.

Thankfully, not everything was bad otherwise there wouldn't have been a win.  And here be the roll call of solid performances:

Joel Ward--a force in front of the net.  Call him Mr. Big Screen.
Karlson (Karl Alzner/John Carlson) --shutdown pair doing what they do best as the Big Guns for Tampa got diddly.
Marcus Johansson--an absolute beast at both ends.  He played like a mini-Peter Forsberg, hitting, scoring, drawing penalties.  Guess he didn't like the view from the Press Box in the opener.  That's okay, MJ90, keep up the awesome play and you'll never warm that seat again.  Work on those faceoffs and you'll be unstoppable.
Troy Brouwer--hits and has a good touch around the net, who could ask for more?
Matt Hendricks--did all the little things right, sweet PS goal.
Mike Green & Roman Hamrlik--not a spectacular game, but good enough from a 1A pair.  Hammer had 4 blocked shots and that's no BS.
Dennis Wideman--hard to believe this guy is a "depth" D-man.  Hell of a shot for the goal.
Matty Perreault and Brooks Laich--similar in a lot of ways except one, Matty is gosh-awful in the faceoff dot and Laich isn't.  No matter, they both get the job done in the offensive zone.

...and lest we forget....

JASON CHIMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bust-out game for the speedster. THIS is what the Caps expected when they traded for him, a fly-all-over-the-ice, trouble-causing, scoring and hitting machine.  It'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up for the whole season, but right now he's helping to carry this team.  Chimmer looks like he loving the game and why not when you're playing like him.

Lots of good, lots of bad.  Yes it's still early, but there's much work to be done.  Let's hope they nip most if not all the bad habits in the bud.

Another character win.  Another come-from-behind effort. Two wins out of two and there's only 80 to go before the playoffs.

I'm enjoying this...a lot.  Even if my cardiologist isn't.

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