Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Caps Need To Tighten It Up

The Capitals have to work more on their consistency. It’s the thorn in the side of the Caps this year as the only players to show up to play has been Olaf Kolzig and Alex Ovechkin. And there are trade rumors circling the head of Kolzig even if management promises no exchange for the two time all-star.

The Caps work ethics is unmatched, and at times look as if they are playing inspired hockey. While other times they look disorganized and out played. Part of the problem may be the lack of a solid 3rd and 4th line.

While the first line consists mainly of Ovechkin, Dainius Zubrus and Chris Clark, and the second solid line for the Caps, Ben Clymer, Brian Sutherby, and Matt Bradley. The following lines are constantly changing, and it is becoming more of a hindrance rather than a help for the Capitals.

The lines contain Jeff Halpern that is having a tough year but for the most part has shown up to play every night he is on the roster. But his hard work has barely paid off, with only 3 goals to his name, and posting a -5. It’s not all Halpern fault though.

A carousel of rookies and minor league recalls has plagued the last two lines. Players like Jakub Klepis (13GP, 1G, 2A, -8), Tomas Fleischmann (13GP, 0G, 2A, -6), and Boyd Gordon (9GP, 0 points, -3) have come up through the farm system and have barely held their own.

And of course we can’t go too far with out taking a hard long look at the inexperienced and poorly played defensive core. Even with Brendan Witt playing hard nosed hockey, and Jamie Heward becoming the go to guy, the Caps seem to have a problem with defensemen that maybe too offensively minded.

What the Capitals’ coaching staff is looking for is hard hat, lunch pale players to bring more of a consistent game to the ice every night. Even if their squad is a young one, it should be able to put an effort forth every night.

With the playoffs in the now not so distant future, the Caps may want to start shopping for more hard working players and spend a little more of there salary cap. I would hope for Ted Leonsis to look for a more solid team to put in front of Kolzig and behind Ovechkin. Just remains to be seen if he will take that chance early.

-- Other Notes --

  • The Caps have recalled Boyd Gordon and Boyd Kane (no relation). While Boyd Gordon sounds familiar to Caps fans, Boyd Kane is an eight-year pro who has played well of late in Hershey.

  • Alexander Ovechkin was named NHL’s rookie of the month for December. Finally recognized for his league leading points among rookies and highlight reel goals, Ovechkin joins Sid “the Kid” Crosby and Dion Phaneuf who were rookie of the month winners for October and November respectfully.

  • Atlanta fans took out their frustration on Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators as they played in Atlanta vs. the Thrashers. Heatley who requested the trade after the car wreck that killed a teammate returned to boos and heckles. The Thrashers responded by spanking the Senators for their fans.

  • TV ratings move over. Attendance is up around the league. What TV? “The December average of 16,913 per game was 91.7% of capacity and two percent above the previous December high of 16,578, set in 2001.” I guess it’s better to see the game than watch it on TV. Too bad none of those numbers improve the Caps situation.

Glad to see every one made it to 2006, and I hope to see more of you as the season heats up going into the Olympics in February and playoffs sometime in April.

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