Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Encouraging signs

The Caps continued their mini four game winning streak with a 4-1 victory over the Calgery Flames tonight.  Under Coach Dale Hunter, the Caps have gone 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, after dropping their first 3 of 4 in the Hunter era. Dale said he was going to instill his system for this team from the blue line out and slowly, but, surely, his system is showing, ending with the offense finally coming alive.

Scoring production is rising fast for the offensive stars.  Alex Ovechkin looks like he's enjoying playing hockey again.  Watch out when Ovie has fun.  He's scored 8-5-13 in these past 11 games, with 5 of his goals coming in the last 3 games.  Alexander Semin's (out tonight, unfortunately with an injury) scored 5-5-10 in 10 games.  Nicklas Backstrom, the assist machine (3rd in NHL), has 10 assists and 2 goals in that same stretch.  When this trio does well, obviously, the Caps do well. The scoring started slowly in Toronto on December 9th, then really went into overdrive beginning against Nashville 11-days after the Toronto game.  In those last five games, Semin is 3-2-5 and Backstrom is 0-6-6 and Ovie is 6-2-8.  Nice...

Other notes:

  • Dmitry Orlov - the 20-year old blue liner, with all of 25 AHL games to his resume, continues to play impressive hockey for a young defender.  Tonight, as Tomas Vokoun fended off a volley of shots and drifted to the side of the net, Orlov laid down in the net and stopped a goal.  He impressed me by his willingness to leave Russia and play in Hershey at the end of last season so he could learn the North American game.  Orlov hustles every game and is a delight to watch.
  • John Carlson - is suffering a significant sophomore slump and I long to see the player from last year.  I've worn your jersey with pride since right before your World Junior gold medal game winner, Carlson, so, please get back to playing good defensive hockey.  It's my hope that his juniors coach, Dale Hunter, helps him to get his game back.
  • Tomas Vokoun - seems to be regaining his confidence in net and made some highlight reel saves against the Flames.    Dale seesawed between playing Michal Neuvirth and Vokoun because they both were letting in softies, but Vokoun has clawed his way back to #1, for now. I need to see more games to be convinced.
For the first time this season, I'm starting to feel some hope about this team.  Of course, that's usually when they stomp on my heart.  There's a lot of hockey left to be played.

Caps have a tough two game Western road swing coming up to San Jose and L.A.  They typically stink on these road trips, so it'll be a good test for the Hunter team. 

And, finally, welcome back Mike Green.  Here's to hoping you stay healthy.

Let's go Caps!

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home