Monday, February 26, 2007

1 Win, 1 Loss and Ovie Gets a Goal

The Caps beat the NJ Devils on Saturday 4-2. Jurcina, Fleischman (netted his 1st NHL goal), Semin and Pettinger scored. On Sunday, they played the Devils again and lost 3-2, but at least, the Caps seem to be playing better than they have of late. Ovie scored a goal to end his 6-game scoring drought so that was the best news of the game. Brent Johnson looked great in goal yesterday making some spectacular saves even though they didn't win. Semin didn't play for the final 10-minutes of the 3rd period in Sunday's game and the speculation is that Hanlon was unhappy with him. Fan speculation (from the message boards) is that Semin is hogging the puck and playing without a lot of energy. Let's hope that changes soon.

The talk this week is of trades as the trading deadline looms. GMGM did say the Capitals will be making trade deals and Zednik, Zubrus and Heward seem to be the three players mentioned as potential trade candidates. This will be interesting...

The Florida Panthers head here for a game tomorrow night.

Let's go Caps!

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Team Going Backwards

The Caps, of course, lost again 5-2 at Montreal (it's tough to win a game when you get 3 penalties which Montreal capitalized on to make it 3-0 after the first period). And, to think they were playing against a rookie goalie making his 2nd NHL start. Wow. Then, they played San Jose at home last night and they lost another shootout game. They've lost 8 of 9 attempts in games that end in a shootout. That's a lot of points in the standings.

Oh, and Ovie's scoring drought continues. I'm not as worried about that as I am about a team that doesn't seem to be making any forward progress this year. Statistically the Caps at this point are slightly better than last year, but if I you look at the past two months their performance has been nothing short of abysmal. And, the team seems to have no chemistry anymore. Some stats...
  • PP ranking is 20th versus 26th last year.
  • PK ranking is 22nd versus 28th.
  • +/- ranking is 24th versus 25th.
  • Goals against went from 29th to 26th.

The Caps play New Jersey this weekend on Saturday & Sunday. I'm supposed to go to the game on Sunday but I don't know if I can take it.

Let's go Caps!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Ovie Struggles and the Caps Continue to Lose

The only good news out of a 3-2 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday and a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon is that the Caps are actually playing better, at least, defensively. I've never been happier to see Erskine & Pothier back in the lineup because it's clear that the Caps play better when they're on the ice. Brent Johnson has also looked solid in goal except for his penalty when he went too far behind the net in the Tampa Bay game.

So with 24 games left this season, where are the Capitals? From where I sit, not any further along than last year. Earlier in the season they played better and beat some good teams. They've played slightly better these last two games, but Ovie is in a scoring slump and that just shows how much the Caps depend on him for offense. I don't know why Ovie is in a scoring slump, but I fear that he's trying to carry this team on his shoulders and that's too much pressure for any young NHL player.

The "plan" to rebuild the Caps after the lockout fire sale year that Ted Leonsis & GMGM always talk about doesn't seem to be panning out because the team isn't getting any better. So, what's plan B? And how long can we keep Ovie here without making the playoffs? My intense fear is that the Caps will somehow lose the most talented player they've ever had.

I'll guess all of us fans will have to continue to wait and see if the "plan" that Ted Leonsis and GMGM constantly talk about actually happens in the next couple of years. Sigh. In the meantime, I hope Ovie gets his scoring mojo back.

The Caps are at the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night.

Let's go Caps!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Olie is Out Now, Too!

Arghhh...if loyal Caps fans, like me, were hanging onto that slim hope that the Caps might actually squeeze into that last playoff spot, I think it's safe to say, those dreams are over. Olie went down with a knee injury during practice yesterday according to Tarik's blog. Today's Washington Post articles says he'll definitely be out for three weeks at a minimum.

The list of injuries for the Caps this year is bordering on the ridiculous and they're not just minor injuries. Erskine & Muir have been out forever. Zednik's missed 20+ games. Pothier hasn't played in a couple of weeks. Heward was out for a while after the skate to his face as was Clarkie after the puck to the mouth. This isn't even a complete list of games that have been missed this year. It's just depressing.

Back to post game reporting now that I've ranted. The Caps got 2 points in a 4-3 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings with Zubrus scoring the game winner. Clarkie & Clymer scored goals and Boyd Gordon made his 5th short-hander of the year. I like the way he is playing. Then, the Caps turned around and got spanked by the Rangers 5-2. At least, Ovie scored after a minor scoring drought.

I'm disappointed with this season but I hope the Caps play hard over the next couple of months and are, at least, competitive. I don't expect much now, but this team has to continue to develop so they must play like it counts even when they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

Caps head to Florida for tomorrow night's game. Florida has smacked the Caps around lately. Let's hope tomorrow night is different. Duh, the Caps were heading to the Tampa Bay Lightning not the Florida Panthers last night. I was in a bit of a hurry writing...

Let's go Caps!

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

1 Point Against Boston

The Caps played a decent game against Boston but should have put it away. Laich & Fehr scored for the Caps and Semin got a shootout goal, but 2 Bruins scored on Olie so that was the end of that game. Fehr is playing good hockey and I hope that continues unlike other players that come up from Hershey to play and can' t keep it going for more than a few games.

Ovie went scoreless 3 games in a row for the 1st time in his NHL career. In the Boston game, the beast blue liner Chara shadowed Ovie all game and did a great job (as much as I hate to say that) limiting Ovie to 2 shots on goal. I'm worried that Ovie is feeling frustrated with his performance and the Caps performance and I can only hope he's not putting too much pressure on himself since it's pretty obvious the Caps aren't going to the playoffs this year. According to Tarik from the Washington Post article today, Ovie was joking around at practice yesterday so I hope that attitude stays and, of course, I'd like to see him score some goals against the LA Kings tonight.

In that same Post article, Tarik said that Pothier, Erskine and Muir have started skating with the team. That's the best Caps news I've heard in weeks although it's probably too late for this season.

Faceoff in less than 30-minutes.

Let's go Caps!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Two Hard Working Games & Two Points, Finally

The Caps played Pittsburgh on Saturday and lost 2-0 and that 2nd goal was an empty netter. The good news...the Caps played hard and, more importantly, played well on defense and kept the league point leader, Sydney Crosby to zero points. In fact, the Caps stopped Crosby's 8-game point streak. The bad news...Pittsburgh played just as well defensively and kept the Alexs' to zero points. And, apparently Ovie was pissed after the game according to Tarik El Bashir's Washington Post article.

On Sunday, the Caps played the Islanders and survived this game to win in a shootout 2-1, the Caps first shootout win this year. Alexander Semin got the goal during the shootout and Matt Pettinger scored the Caps regulation goal. It's about time Pettinger scored a goal.

They needed this win not just for the standings points, but for their mental confidence. Can they make it two a row? We will see, tomorrow night against Boston.

Let's go Caps!

p.s. In a non-hockey related comment, I'd like to say congratulations to Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning & the Indianapolis Colts for their Super Bowl victory. I won money in fantasy football with Peyton as my quarterback so I'm thrilled to see him win the big one.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

I Can't Even Watch This Team Right Now

The Caps lost again, surprise, surprise. Lucky for me I had to work late last night so I couldn't watch the game. They lost to Florida 6-3. Florida scored their 1st goal 77 seconds into the game, once again, highlighting the Caps inability to come out and play hard in the 1st period.

As expected, the fan boards this morning are full of fire Hanlon, fire GMGM etc, etc. The best writing out there today that has generated tons of comments from fans is Tarik El-Bashir's blog post from the Washington Post. He wonders why the fans are so upset with this team because he feels it's surprising that the Caps aren't battling Philadelphia for last place in the league given the talent the team has today. Wow.

The reason I'm upset with this team is that earlier in the season they seemed to play with a strong work effort that overcame their lack of depth. Over this past month, I have no idea what happened to that effort, but injuries are NO EXCUSE! They've beaten Cup contending teams this year - Buffalo, Ottawa (not lately) - when they put their minds to it. Right now, they're sliding backwards fast. I wasn't initially expecting the Caps to make the playoffs this year, but they gave me hope in October & November. Now, it's quite clear they'll be playing golf in April...again.

In other news, the Caps picked up a young blue liner from the Boston Bruins, Milan Jurcina. Whippee...he's expected to potentially become a top 4 d-man. I'm sick to death of potential.

The Caps will probably get stomped by Pittsburgh tomorrow if the lackluster play continues. I hope they prove me wrong.

Let's go Caps!

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