Well it happened again. Another loss. So now we go from a winning streak to a (potential) losing streak. Not a reason to panic...yet. But I did say there was a lot that needs tweaking in my last post did I not? And tweaking there shall be. But that's for the Bruce and staff to take care of as I are here to provide my own brand of (sometimes) witty commentary on what I saw. Or in this case what I saw off and on as the game was on so freaking late.
I woke up early this morning and realized I'd missed the end. Not that the first period had looked promising, but I was hoping they'd turn it around. I caught the score and cursed at the TV screen. Surely they had played better than that? Not so.
We begin in the net. Tomas Vokoun had a terrible night and was justly pulled after surrendering 3 goals on 17 shots. Wait...17 SHOTS? Yes, seventeen. A seven with a one in front of it. Okay so maybe it wasn't all his fault, but he is supposed to stop at least 90-some per cent of whatever vulcanized rubber comes his way. It does seem to be a hallmark of the Caps' play that they tend to rely on their goalie an awful lot. Simple math, you cut down on the shots, you reduce the number of goals and at that, the Caps failed miserably. You could say that was part of it, but that first goal where Vokoun looked like he was trying to sell a vacuum cleaner didn't help things. Not that Mikey Neuvy fared much better.
I'll just come out and say it--Sean Collins had a piss-poor night. I mean, my God, I've seen a demolitions crew do far less damage than he did in his 9:07 on the ice. You're telling me THIS is the best that the Chocolate Hoarders can send up? Well, perhaps not and that's understandable because you don't want to shoot your farm club in the foot. Let's just say that Collins hasn't done himself any favors in his time here.
I'd most definitely like to see a lot more Green in the backline.
It so happens that I have seven members from both teams on the Bumblers--that's my fantasy club for anyone new to the blog. My two Alexes--Semin and Burrows both had a fairly quiet night in the midst of all this lunacy. Figures.
Semin did have yet another violation of Rule 55 in the game. Maybe he's auditioning for a role as a certain persistent Disney pirate. Perhaps he's looking to get into the towing business and this is what he believes is the entry level. It could be that he's daydreaming he's on a lake in Krasnoyarsk landing whatever fish swims there. Or dare I say it, he's thinking this is some sort of spin on the world's oldest profession. I have no idea, but I do know it has to stop because bad penalties by Bad Sasha can and often do lead to good scoring chances for the opposition.
Of course there were some good things to take away from the game. You wouldn't know it from the stats sheet, but Karl Alzner and John Carlson keep on getting better. The Hockey Gods permitting, among other elements, they will be the eminent pair for the Caps for many years to come. Alex Ovechkin potted two goals in the game to tie for the team lead. After a slow start, he's starting to look more like the Alex of old as opposed to the Alex of Auld. The other goal leader, Marcus Johansson, also scored in the game and continues to impress. But you have to wonder how the game would have turned out had he buried both of his golden opportunities.
So in all, this game should be looked upon as a learning experience as should all regular season failures. The same themes cropping up, the same bad habits becoming the theme: too many shots allowed, too many bad penalties taken, lackadaisical play at critical moments are all a cause for concern. But after getting through an eighth of the season, 7 wins and 2 losses is still pretty good. It also leaves a lot of time to look inward and change some of those bad habits. Do that, and this team will come away with at least something from this brief road trip to our northern neighbor.