Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm Glad Ovie Still has Faith

Before I start my ranting, and that happens every time the Caps play because I can't stand watching anymore, I'll share a story that spins a positive note on the Cap's rebuilding. The British?!?! Guardian online has an article from Reuters on the Cap's "youth movement" and Ovie says in the article that his job is to play hockey and he believes in management's plan to rebuild the team. More importantly, it says Ovie wants to stay in Washington. I can only hope that's true...

Right now, I just want this absolutely horrendous season to end. Hanlon says in that same article something to the effect that the Caps are "on plan". If this team is on plan, then somebody better set the bar a little higher because they took a major step backwards this year in my eyes. At least, at the end of last season the Caps were playing well and knocking people out of the playoffs. That gave me hope for this season which lasted through the fall and then went down the toilet along with the Caps starting in December. They've played 3+ months of horrible hockey. I know, injuries, mono, the flu and everything else that could happen did happen to the Caps but it happens to other hockey teams, too, so it's not an excuse. Good hockey teams find ways to win....

As it says in my blog title, I've been a frustrated Caps fan since 1974 and what makes my frustration worse now is that the Caps are the only Washington sports team I watch with any emotion invested. Dan Snyder ruined my lifelong devotion to the Redskins (I started watching at age 4 as there was no other option in my house on Sundays) with his fantasy football management of that team and his seemingly incomprehensible aversion to hiring a real GM (Joe Gibbs, you're still awesome, but you need a Bobby Beathard). I haven't had time to become emotionally invested in the Nationals and I'm a complete novice when it comes to baseball. Professional basketball has never been as compelling to me as college (don't know why, it just isn't) so I don't follow the Wizards, except in the paper. So, that leaves me with the "going nowhere fast Capitals" and hockey, a game I completely adore for its speed, athleticism and skill.

So, will my favorite team give me any hope next year? Right now, I'm very skeptical of the "plan". Players with potential, a word I've learned to hate, haven't developed so is that a coaching issue? I don't know, but I'm questioning everything right now. GMGM landed a good deal with Milan Jurcina, but this constant revolving door of players is beginning to remind me of the Redskins even though the Caps use the budget strategy versus the buy a Super Bowl team strategy. This summer will be very telling.

Let's go Caps!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Finally, a Win to Write About

The Caps won two in a row for the first time since early January (sigh). They beat up Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday by a score of 7-1 which followed their 5-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Friday. Alexander Semin made scoring look easy in the 2nd period with his natural hat trick. For those who don't know (and I admit, I didn't) a natural hat trick is 3 goals on 3 shots in a row. Tomas Fleishman, Alexandre Giroux (more Hershey Bears replacing injured Caps), and Boyd Gordon contributed to the scoring so the offense was spread around a lot. Wow, where has this team been lately?

Prior to these wins, the Caps put together another abysmal string of losses (9 in a row) that made it tough for me to watch the games. The team looked lackluster overall and the players looked as if they've rather be anywhere else but playing hockey. But, they've played two good games in a row so things are looking up with 9 games left.

So, in continuing from my last blog post, what is next for the Caps? Here's my wish list for the 2007-2008 season:

  • A team that is motivated to win hockey games and plays tough every night (that was the case earlier this season, but hasn't been the case in a while). It's Hanlon's job to motivate this team, regardless of whether or not Olie is between the pipes stirring up the team.
  • A team that has enough depth to withstand multiple player injuries. The Caps lack of depth has been on display these past few miserable months.
  • A strong center that can support Ovie and be a playmaker (I dream of Adam Oates...).
  • A strong veteran d-man who can mentor the young blue liners that will stay on this team. So far, I think the Milan Jurcina trade was a steal and he's got great chemistry with his former teammate, Shaone Morrison so let's hope that continues.
  • An ownership/management team that makes it happen.

In the meantime, let's see how many playoff contenders the Caps can mess with like Toronto & Tampa Bay. That's the only perverse pleasure I have left for this season.

Caps play at Buffalo on Wednesday.

Let's go Caps!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What's Next in Caps Land?

Boy, a lot has happened in Caps land since I've been able to blog (computer issues slowed me down). The trade deadline sent Jamie Heward, Dainus Zubrus and Richard Zednik to other teams. I'm still not sure what I think about the "rebuilding plan" for the Caps after all these trades. GMGM makes his case for the plan in an open letter on the Caps website here. My take....I'll wait and see what the Caps do this summer. If they don't pick up some key veterans to help develop this young team, the rebuilding could last forever.

In game news, the Caps lost to the Florida Panthers 6-5 in a shootout, got smacked by NY Islanders in a 6-2 loss and lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 5-4 in another shootout. The Cap's inability to win shootouts is starting to depress me since they've lost 10 of them.

The good news...Ovie had a 4-point night against Florida and Milan Jurcina the new d-man acquired from Boston is playing well with Morrison (they were former teammates). That's about all the good news I've seen lately.

The Caps play the Maple Leafs tonight.

Let's go Caps!

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