Thursday, November 30, 2006

Olie the Goalie Makes 48 Saves

Olie is 4-0 this year when he saves 40+ shots. Not that the Caps should be in this situation as often as they have been, but it's as if Olie gets into a zone when the shots are flying. Keep up the great work Olie! The Caps also spread the offense around against the Lighting to win 5-2 for the first time in 7 games. Goals were scored by Semin, Beech, Gordon, Clark and Ovie on an empty netter late in the third. Nice to see Semin get the puck in the net again and he also tallied an assist on Beech's goal.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch the scoring part of the game as I turned on the game in my car driving home from being out to dinner. As soon as I started listening, it seemed like the only thing the Caps were doing were getting penalties and falling apart, but they did manage to hang in there and come away with a win. I listened to the game - static and all - until I pulled up to my house with about 3 minutes left. My boyfriend Jeff had turned the game off in frustration afraid the Caps were going to lose again and I had to yell, "Turn the game back on there's only a couple of minutes left," which he didn't appreciate. But, we got through that. The passion of frustrated Caps fans can be intense!

Jeff Halpern returns to the Caps tonight as a Dallas Star. I'm sure it'll be an emotional reunion for the former Caps captain and Potomac native. However, most fans like Halpern so I doubt he'll be booed like Jagr.

Dallas is a good team so the Caps will have to play hard tonight. At least, they should be tired having played several games on the road in recent days. Since I have to teach a class tonight, I hope I'll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome when I get in my car.

Let's go Caps!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Losses Pile Up & a Great Ovie Article

Argghhhh....that's all I have to say about the Caps lack of scoring and their 6th loss in a row. Glen Hanlon, according to the Washington Post, this morning isn't "panicking" yet, but is concerned about their lack of scoring as he should be. I think this losing slump is highlighting some glaring deficiencies in the Caps team. Not that anyone expected this young team do anything this year, but the Caps have played hard and were hanging in there with most teams until the last six games. The best post I read about where the Caps are today and the glaring inconsistentcy of some of their players - Zednik, Laich, Klepis, Beech etc. is in this blog, On Frozen Pond.

On a positive note, the Washington Post magazine this weekend had Ovie on the cover and it was a wonderful story that really tells a lot about Ovie's character as well as his playing skills. If you're a Caps fan or just an Ovie fan, it's a great read. Find it here. Thanks Washington Post for giving us Caps fans something to read!

Caps take on Tampa Bay tonight. Here's hoping for a win. Let's go Caps!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Caps Smashed by Toronto

There is nothing good to say about last night's 7-1 blowout or the fact that this was the Cap's 5th loss in a row. The Caps need to find a way to win again. Let's see if they pull it off against New York tonight. I'll be taking a welcome break from the frustration of watching so I hope I miss a great game and a win.

Let's go Caps!

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Brawl with Atlanta

I must admit I turned the Caps game off against Atlanta when it became obvious that they were going to lose for the 4th time in 4 tries against this team. My intense frustration got the better of me so I missed Brashear Sutherby & even Olie & Hanlon getting into it with Atlanta's players & coach for going after the young blueliner, Mike Green. Thank you Japer's Rink for providing the video from You Tube so I could see the fights. The video doesn't show Hanlon "flapping his arms like a chicken" at Hartley as described in this Washington Post article. That is something I want to see.

So, I'll have to stop turning my TV off in frustration if the Caps are losing and hang in there with them. I'm glad Hanlon sent the enforcers out there since Atlanta continues to make cheap shots against the Caps and they deserved to get beat up a little. The Caps will be without Sutherby for 1 game and Brashear for 3, but the point was made that this team has pride & will fight for each other.

Non-fans that I talk to about hockey despise the fighting, but I think the quote from GMGM in the Washington Post article in today's paper, "Caps Get Penalized for Fight" reflects my feelings on the subject. McPhee said, "In contact sports like football or hockey, players have a code that goes beyond the written rule book. It's to prevent attempts to severly injure an opponent, attempts that would ultimately dimish the sport. The players usually know it when they see it. What was different about last night was there were two of those incidents." Well said.

During the actual hockey game, Matt Pettinger and Jakub Klepis scored the Caps two goals and Klepis assisted on Pettinger's goal. The Caps second line center position continues to be a problem and teams are throwing their top blueliners against Ovie's line, of course. But, Klepis played one of his better games on Wednesday.

Let's go Caps and end this 4-game losing streak against Toronto tonight!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Tired & Battered Team

The Caps battled against the Bruins and came away with 1 standing point after losing in overtime on a power play goal. Bryan Muir got the tripping penalty at the worst possible time. Muir tends to hurt the Caps more than he helps them and the other night was no exception. The Caps made a heroic effort in the game considering they were without Clark, Zubrus and Semin.

Ovie got another goal to put him at 13 and tied for 5th on the NHL leader board. Zednik came away with two assists after coming back from an injury and Klepis got the other goal in the Cap's effort. Brent Johnson was, once again, great in goal with 35 saves. Too bad the Caps can't seem to give him more Ws.

Clark, the Caps captain, got hit in the mouth with a puck that required extensive surgery. Mike Vogel's blog has a great story about Clark staying in the game after the puck hit him because the puck was still in the Caps defensive zone. This is one of the reasons I like Chris Clark so much and why he's been such a great captain. He truly is a leader that raises the bar for the other players on the team. I hope he's here on the day the Caps bring home Lord Stanley's cup. Yes, I am a dreamer....

The Caps have a break until Wednesday when they face the Thrashers again. Let's go Caps!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another Awful Game Against Carolina

The Caps played a terrible game last night. I can't think of any good news to post about that game. Chris Clark was sorely missed. The captain does so much for this team on the top line and also on the penalty kill.

Tonight the Caps get to go to Boston and play against Chara again. Yuck. I can only hope the Caps show up to play tonight.

Let's go Caps!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Dreaded Shootout

The Caps came away with 1 standing point after being held scoreless in the shootout by the Boston Bruins which makes them 0-10 on the shootout. Hanlon doesn't have the Caps practice the shootout and it shows. Ovie - as some fans say & I agree - needs to start ripping it hard. His shot is so hard it's bound to go in every once in a while. Since they've now lost 4 standings points due to the shootout, I think it's time to practice even if you can't simulate game day stress in practice. I''ll hate the shootout more than I already do if it's the reason for the Caps missing the playoffs this year.

The good news from last night's game...Olie only had 35 shots thrown at him last night which is a small improvement from the many 40+ nights he's had to deal with lately. Pettinger is playing great hockey and made a beautiful short-handed goal last night. Hanlon did a great job of trying to keep Chara away from Ovie. I didn't realize Chara was in Boston until last night and I wasn't happy. The 6' 9 defensemen is a beast.

The bad news...power play production has fallen off again and the Caps were 1 for 8 last night. This young team has to score on the power play so let's hope that picks up again.

Olie & Ovie are both on the All Star fan ballot so please show your support and vote for them here.

Carolina comes to town Friday and after the last game against them, hopefully, the Caps are fighting mad. Let's go Caps!

P.S. Thank you Comcast for yet another inferior broadcast where the audio didn't match the picture!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

2 More Standings Points

The Caps beat the Panthers 4-1 on Monday night which means they've won 4 of their last 5 games. Once again, the Caps won on the back of their goalie workhorse, Olie Kolzig, who had another 44 saves. The Caps have the highest shots against average in the NHL which means they really shouldn't be winning as many games as they are, but this young team is starting to believe they can win games and it shows. Tarik El-Bashir in his Washington Post article today said, "The Washington Capitals are one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having won four of five games entering tonight's meeting with the Boston Bruins." Wow, that's not something I read about the Caps every day.

Ovie added to his stats with his 12th goal of the season. Pettinger added a tally and Zubrus got 2 goals. Zubrus' 2nd goal was on an empty net in the final minutes, but he did have to work for that one, too, by getting past the Panther defenders.

I did learn some disturbing news today from the fan boards. Ovie has fired his agent and, apparently, his mother will be taking on that role for him. I have no idea what to think about this at this point, but anything that could cause Ovie to leave Washington will throw me into a serious funk. And, I have no doubt that there are many NHL teams out there salivating over the prospect of getting a player like Ovie. Stay tuned on this subject...

The puck will drop at Verizon Center in about an hour as the Caps host the Boston Bruins. Let's hope that Comcast actually manages to show the whole game without video problems since all of us fans watching missed Zubrus' 1st goal during the Panthers game. Very annoying!!!!

Let's go Caps!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Crowd Worthy of a Win

The Caps won 3-1 against the NY Rangers at Verizon Center on Saturday night and the crowd was loud! Considering the poor attendance at the last home game I attended, I was thrilled to see a mostly full Verizon Center, a cheering crowd and one that enjoyed booing Jaromir Jagr when he had the puck. Most Caps fans hate Jagr and I count myself among them. I know, it's stupid to fire up a good hockey player like Jagr by booing him, but it's so hard not to do. However, Jagr didn't score because Olie was, once again, spectacular in net with 41 saves.

Boyd Gordon started the scoring with his first score of the season and his first since October 2003. Ovie netted his 11th tally of the season and Pettinger scored his 2nd goal of the season. The team played well overall and put a lot of pressure on the Rangers. It showed and it got the Caps two more precious standings points.

I always read the Caps fans boards before I blog because there is fascinating material out there sometimes. Today, there was a link to Tarik El-Bashir's blog in the Washington Post about what has to be the most dedicated Caps fan ever. His name is Johnny Drummond and he travels once a year from England to see the Caps play. Wow! I'm in awe...

The puck drops in Florida shortly. Let's go Caps!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Caps Smashed in Carolina

The Caps played an ugly hockey game from every perspective imaginable last night except goal tending. Brent Johnson made some stunning saves out of his 34 total saves and the Caps would have lost by a far worse score than 5-0 had he not been so solid in net.

The only other bright spot was John Erskine's performance on defense, particularly, in the first period. He had a great hit to get Carolina off the puck in the Cap's zone and he threw his body in front of the net to block a shot. Erskine is a 7th year pro and signed as free agent with the Caps in September of this year, but he's been playing in Hershey. So, does he have the skills to play full-time defense in the NHL? I don't know the answer to that question and I don't know how long he'll be playing for the Caps since Jamie Heward will get back into the lineup. Watching Mike Green's awful performance last night, Heward's veteran leadership is desperately needed.

The offense was just as terrible as the defense although they didn't play as much since the Caps spent 14 minutes on the PK. The Caps had to score on the extended 5-3 man advantage in the 2nd period and they didn't. Cam Ward, the Carolina net minder, played an unbelievable game as much as it pains me to say that, and the Caps must figure out how to score on him.

Caps fans don't seem to be too despondent this morning on the message boards which is unusual after a loss like that. Everyone wants to see the Caps kill the Rangers & Jagr tomorrow. Let's hope last night's loss will bring motivation to the Caps. I'll be there rooting.

Let's go Caps!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Caps Battle Back for 2 Points

Ovie kept the Caps in the game last night by scoring with 25 seconds left in regulation to force the game into overtime where Clark put it into the net 1:33 seconds into the overtime period to win the game. This was an amazing comeback for the Capitals after Ottawa scored 3 goals in 11 minutes in the 1st period and Hanlon pulled Olie and put Johnson in net. Johnson responded by being perfect with 21 saves.

Hanlon pulled Olie to shift momentum in the game not because he didn't stop those 3 goals by Ottawa. There were clearly defensive breakdowns in the game, again, which is nothing unusual with this young defense.

In years past when the Caps have gone down by 3 goals, I typically turn off the TV in disgust. Last night I felt like they still had a chance to come back so I turned the volume down on the TV and didn't really watch until the power play at the end of the 1st period when the Caps scored. Craig Laughlin, announcing with Al Coken, even said that in this era of the new NHL it is possible to come back from a 3-0 scoring drought and last night, the Caps proved that point. They hung in there, played hard and won the game.

In my Caps Dreamer mode, I must comment on the fact that if the Caps were playing in their old division against hated teams like Pittsburgh, Philly and others in the Atlantic Division, they would be in first place today with 16 points over Pittsburgh's 15. I know it's way too early to get excited about this young team, but I'm having a ball watching them play and develop.

Onto Carolina.

Let's go Caps!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ending a Win Drought in Philly

Most Caps fans hate the Philadelphia Flyers as much as the Pittsburgh Penguins considering that was the division the Caps played in long before the origin of the current Southeast Division. So, it was a welcome relief when the Caps ended an 8-year winning drought in the Flyer's arena and came away with 2-points after a 5-3 victory. Gaining 2-points on the road is always wonderful, but the Caps should have beaten Philly and they did. Philly is 2nd to last overall in the NHL standings and is a team that's been in disarray this season.

The lineup changes that Glen Hanlon made for Saturday nights game definitely produced offense, particularly by moving Ben Clymer back to right wing after he'd been playing defense all season. Clymer responded by scoring 2 goals. Ovie also had 2 - one of which was a beauty. Morrison scored in the 1st with the newly called up Fleischmann assisting on that goal, along with Klepis. I'm still somewhat puzzled that Hanlon has Semin playing on the 4th line with Brashear & Bradley. Semin has been somewhat quiet the last few games so I suspect Hanlon is looking for chemistry on the line with him, but we'll see how that goes.

Ottawa is here tonight and I'll be watching.

Let's go Caps!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

3:17 Awful Minutes & a Guy Named Sim

The Caps lost last night 4-3, mostly during 3 minutes, 17 seconds late in the 2nd period when Atlanta scored 3 goals to erase the 2-0 lead the Caps built. That was ugly. And, apparently, Jon Sim, the Atlanta right winger who stymied the Caps & Olie last night has quite a record of producing against the Caps. His teams over the past two years are 7-0-2 against the Caps.

The Caps didn't look inspired to win last night. And, where oh where is the hitting to get the other guys off the puck? The Caps need to pick it up in that area (among others).

On a side note, Caps fans crack me up. The message boards are full of doom and gloom today, but, really it is only one game. Not that I wasn't incredibly disappointed last night because I was, but I'm over it now.

Finally, According to Mike Vogel's blog Dump & Chase today, there are some major line up changes coming tonight. Zednik is hurt and Fleischman's been called up from Hershey where he's excelled and is expected to play with Klepis and Pettinger with Semin being paired with Gordan and Brashear. Hanlon is also apparently moving Clymer back to the wing tonight so this should be an interesting game against the Flyers.

Less than 30 minutes to the game. Let's go Caps!