Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Why Wait 3 Years, Signs of Growth Now

The Washington Post did a great article on Steve Eminger and how his improvement after being sent down to the minors in the '03 - '04 season is now paying off for the Capitals. Eminger was always supposed to be the fast offensive minded defenseman, and with the new "no grabbing, clutching, and hooking" rules, he has more room to work his speed and offensive know how on the ice.

However, it still seems as though GM George McPhee is ignoring the problem on the blue line. The inexperienced defensman in front of Olaf Kolzig has been the story line for every game. Just watching opposing team's broadcasts of the Capitals games they all say the same. Crash the net, use your veteran forwards to aggressively attack the D-men and they will make a mistake.

With the Caps win over the Lightening, we saw the center coming back to help play defense. In the Capital's zone, they look more like a penalty kill setup with a box with the center low, close to the goal. Glen Hanlon is obviously looking to the forwards to help with the defense.

Sure if you have five defensemen out there, it would be harder to score. The Caps now have to be patient and be opportunistic goal scorers. So players like Eminger can play up and use their speed on the aggressive forecheck.

Of course you have to do that in an empty building, as attendance at the MCI Center are dismal. Let's hope the NHL is serious about keeping teams or we may be first on the chopping block.

--Other Notes --
  • The New York Rangers continue to perform well with a big win against another hot team, the Florida Panthers (who would have thought that). Jaromir Jagr scored twice on power play goals in the exact same spot on the ice. Apparently Jagr now is trying to prove he is worth the money New York is spending on him.
  • Steve Shields may be the saving grace in net for the goalie-less Atlanta Thrashers. After losing starter Kari Lehtonen and back up Mike Dunham to groin injuries, the Thrashers have been on the look out for a suitable replacement in net.
  • Who said that "Cujo" was past his prime? Coyotes goaltender Curtis Joseph gives Wayne Gretzky's team a big win on the road against the Calgary Flames. Cujo posted a shutout with 25 saves and he is 25-8-3 against the Flames. Talk about domination.

Preparing for the Carolina rematch on Thursday! Bring on the 'Canes (again)!

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