Thursday, November 30, 2006

Caps Cling Onto Win

Capitals 4, Stars 3
ScoresheetWash PostDallas MN

Caps made this one interesting after taking a commanding 4-1 lead into the late third period. But the Caps hold out and make Jeff Halpern’s return to the phone booth a tough one for the tired Dallas Stars.

Brooks Laich had the assist of the night fighting through 4 Dallas defenders to shovel the puck in the slot to a breaking Richard Zednik who buried the puck. The Caps used their speed and hard work to take advantage of an exhausted Stars squad that arrived in DC late. The Caps were able to draw a few penalties and capitalized. The Caps’ power play was 2 for 5 and was perfect on the penalty kill.

There was a scary moment in the third period when Jamie Heward took a skate to the face behind the Caps net. The shock may have given the Stars some help getting back into the game. The Caps nearly let the 4-1 lead get away from them when Stu Barnes scored, then the Stars’ coach Dave Tippett pulled Marty Turco (who replaced starter Mike Smith) and they climbed back to within one with two minutes and three seconds left in the game.

But the Caps held on, barely, and started their 4 game homestand on a good foot. Scoring for the Capitals were Zednik, Chris Clark, Matt Pettinger and Alex Semin. Alex Ovechkin had a penalty shot after starting goaltender Smith threw his stick after Ovie shook the defense free for a breakaway. Ovechkin was unable to score on the shot, losing control of the puck and never getting his shot on net.

Overall Grade: B

The Capitals still need to find that finishing touch on games they take control of early. The Caps were merely able to outscore Dallas in this one. They were able to build off their Tampa win. They will need that scoring confidence when they face their next opponents; Buffalo (insert scary music here!).

Caps face off with the dreaded Sabres on Saturday. Hanlon’s bunch has to be able to match Buffalo’s scoring touch but at the same time contain the speedy Sabres. It’s asking a lot, I know, but the Caps are finding scoring outside of their top line. That is a good sign.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Green is Great

Capitals Mike Green found himself on a feature on It was actually was a good piece on Green about transitioning from the WHL and AHL to the NHL. Mike continues to impress me as the season goes along. His quick speed and physical play is a bright spot for the Capitals this year.

While Green is getting his accolades on, Alex Ovechkin is having a surprisingly quiet year. Ovie is not as flash as he was in his rookie season, but he is doing the little things to help the team this year. While Ovie still looks for that open ice to show off his speed, I have been noticing him sharing the puck a bit more.

But Ovie shot is not the terror it was from a year ago. When Alex had that angle shot 10 to 15 feet out, he could bury the puck over the goaltenders shoulder. But the last couple of shots from that angle Ovie’s shots don’t seem that high snapper from last year. I am not sure if it’s from the new stick rule allowing a bigger curve in player’s hockey sticks, or if something else is going on. Ovechkin is on pace for another 50 goal season.

Other NHL News:

That is all I got.

Kolzig Wills the Win

Capitals 5, Lightning 2
ScoresheetWash PostSt. Pete Times

The Capitals were looking down the barrel of losing seven straight games. Someone had to step it up. It was a veteran goaltender who proved why his name is on the All Star ballot. Olie Kolzig faced down 50 shots and saved 48 of them. The Caps took advantage of their chances and broke out of their scoring slump to be 3 goals better than their divisional rivals to break their game losing slump.

Kolzig had a way of intimidating Tampa Bay. The Caps were badly out shot in the first, but there stood Kolzig keeping the Caps in the game. Most of the 50 shots he faced were perimeter shots from the outside. Caps defense kept the odd-man rushes to a minimum in this game. Many of those saves by Kolzig looked as if they were routine, and he made them look easy; a good indicator of how good a goalie really is. Compare that to the 13 shots that chased Johan Holmqvist from the net with 3 minutes left in the second for the Lightning.

The Caps goaltender finally got some goal support, as secondary scoring helped them break their slump. Scoring for the Caps were Alex Semin (9th goal of the season, first since October 21st), Boyd Gordon (who had a pretty shorthanded goal), Kris Beech (who started all the scoring by simply holding on to the puck a little longer), Chris Clark (scoring on a near impossible angle) and Alex Ovechkin (empty netter, but he will take it). Matt Pettinger took home the second star of the game with two assists, one to Beech and the other to Gordon’s shorty.

Overall Grade: B

This was a good game in terms of finally breaking their scoring slump, but the Caps are giving up a lot of shots and I would like to see the defense button it up a little. The blue liners are doing a better job of picking up the play and not allowing too many odd man rushes or break away chances.

Caps must look to build on this win and secondary lines must be able to keep the scoring up for them to win more games. The Caps schedule doesn’t get much easier in the month of December. Caps face the Jeff Halpern and the Dallas Stars Thursday at home. Capitals need to keep their scoring touch if they wish to stay in the playoff hunt.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Caps Lose, Again

Capitals 1, Islanders 4
ScoresheetWash PostNY Daily

Alex Ovechkin was the only Capital to score, and the rest couldn’t solve Rick DiPietro. The Caps lose their 6th straight and their woes continue. Their inability to score is making the Capitals the team anyone can beat.

Caps are digging themselves a pretty big hole. If Ovie was scoring his highlight reel goals, it might be worth watching. But lately it’s been a string of almost goals, and missed nets. The Caps hard work just doesn’t seem to help.

Overall Grade: F

Caps need to shake out of this non-scoring slump they are on. Or their bad luck will just get worse. They just need one thing to go right for them. Just one goal at the right time, an opportune bounce, something.

I can’t imagine the moral is very high on the Caps side. This is quickly becoming not just a coach’s problem, but a General Manager’s problem. The Caps do need some help in a big way. The return of Alex Semin may help them recover.

Caps travel southward to face another divisional foe the Lightning on Tuesday night. The Caps need to find some way to win games. Or their season ends before the all-star game.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Caps Bad Luck Continues

Capitals 1, Maple Leafs 7
ScoresheetWash PostStar

This game reminds me of a joke. Why doesn’t Baltimore have a professional hockey team? Then DC would want one. The Caps looked lost, bewildered and generally played like an AHL team. Too many bad passes. Too many bad clears. Just too many bad plays. The Caps defense just didn’t show up.

Not to mention, this was one of the worst officiating jobs I have seen in a while. I don’t like to pick on the refs much, but two phantom trip calls (one was an obvious dive, the other never happened) hurt the Caps at the worst possible times. They were just bad calls. If it weren’t for bad luck, the Caps would have no luck at all. It’s not like the officials have to help them lose, the Caps are doing a good job on their own.

Overall Grade: F-

I am not sure how the Caps fix this. They have dropped their 5th straight game. Unless there is a turn around soon, the Caps will be scraping the bottom of the barrel sitting in last place in the Southeast Division. That is a long way from Alex Ovechkin’s lofty goal of making the playoffs. Looks like the Caps need to have one of those player only meetings.

The Capitals have taken two steps back on their special teams. The Maple Leafs were 3 of 5 on the power play, while the Caps could only muster 1 of 6 on their chances. The Maple Leafs made the goals look easy. The Caps penalty kill needs to find its zen again.

Ovie was the only goal scorer for the Caps. Brent Johnson was only able to stop 21 shots and hardly challenged any Leaf shot (he barely left the crease after an errant bounce from the boards burned him much like it burned Olie Kolzig in the Atlanta game).

If I had to pick out a positive about this game, the Caps hitting picked up late in the game with some good solid legal hits. If they had played this physical from the onset, this game could have had a different outcome.

The Islanders host the Capitals Saturday night. That is not much time for the Caps to reflect on this one, and that may be a good thing. I, for one, would like to forget about this one too. The Caps can not afford to lose another game, so they need to show some off some of that high powered offense.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fight Fallout

So the fines and suspensions have been handed out, and the Caps take the short end of the stick. Suspended for the Caps are Donald Brashear (3 games) and Brian Sutherby (1 game). Scott Mellanby was also suspended for the Thrashers for one game.

I am surprised that no suspensions were handed to Andy Sutton or Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalcheck grabbed Chris Clark’s face protector and shook it rather hard, in attempt to do harm. It was Sutton’s head hunting that started the whole thing. Bettman apparently didn't see any of that from his posh New York apartment.

Glen Hanlon will be fined $30,000 for doing the right thing, Bob Hartley got fined $10,000 for being an idiot. I would have liked to see Hanlon and Hartley go at it, but Hartley probably got a manicure and didn’t want to screw that up.

Japer covers the fight better than myself, plus has video of the whole episode that includes the head hunting hit by Sutton.

The stupidest quote of the night came from Glen Metropolit:

“Getting the game-winning goal in this building, it means a lot to me,” said Metropolit, who played for the Capitals last season and was acquired as an unrestricted free agent. “It proves that Washington lost a good player.” – AP

Are you kidding me? The luckiest goal in all of hockey and you think you scored that goal because you are a “good player"? I am glad the Caps got “rid” of you. That is just a dumb thing to say. Enjoy being on the goon squad.

Caps play the Thrashers in Atlanta on December 15th. It should be an interesting game as both teams will have long enough memories. Hope everyone had a good Turkey day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Caps Fight Their Way to Loss

Capitals 2, Thrasher 4
ScoresheetWash PostAJC

You could blame it on errant passes. You could blame it on the new glass installed at the Verizon Center. You could blame the Caps fourth straight loss to Atlanta on inconsistent offense. There is more than enough blame in this game to go around. As soon the Caps got the 2 goal lead, they just couldn’t get any offense going. And the bad luck just overtook the Capitals at home.

The goons took over at the end of the third period. You could feel the tension all game, and with fewer than 2 minutes left, both sides were taking cheap shots and bad hits. The highlight of the numerous fights late was Donald Brashear’s knocking the snot out of Vitaly Vishnevski. It will be interesting to see what the Atlanta Bloggers may say about this game. I think both sides just needed this fight outbreak to happen so they can get back to hockey. Although, game 5 between these teams should be interesting.

Overall Grade: D-

The Caps have a string of great first periods. That is great, but there are 3 periods in a game. Caps must find a way to pull together a full game, whether they have the lucky bounces or not. This game is one of the best games and worst games I have seen the Caps play yet.

The first power play looked so good, that I was giddy when Matt Pettinger slammed home the game’s opening goal. They moved the puck and gave the Thrashers different looks and attacked from different angles. But then they never repeated it, and their schizophrenic offense couldn’t muster much. Jakub Kelpis assisted Pettinger and scored the second goal.

Chris Clark returned for this game sporting a mouth protector. Clark took a puck to the face requiring surgery. Although his time was cut, Clark's presence was felt. Alex Semin is still listed day to day with an injured shoulder.

Caps host the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday. Looking anywhere other than winning this game would be foolish on behalf of the Capitals who now have dropped their 4th straight. Eat some turkey, take a nap, and come back ready to play.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Practice Facility Now Has Pick-Up

Caps new practice facility, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, finally has pick-up hockey for the Thanksgiving holiday week. I guess they are expecting some big crowds because they broke them up in different age groups. The schedule they have on their website is here.

I would expect a lot of players at these sessions considering it's the holiday and it is the Caps new facility. So don’t be surprised if there are 20 players on the bench. I am still debating whether or not to go. I hear the ice is pretty good.

Wash Post picked up on the heroic doings of Captain Clark. After taking a puck in the face, Chris Clark kept playing. There are some pretty good quotes from others on the team about the situation. The attitude on the Caps is in the right place. Japer also spreads the praise about Superhero Captain Clark.

I am getting nervous about the up coming game with Buffalo Saturday December 2nd. After Tampa Bay Lightning got spanked, I am not sure how the Caps will match up with them. I realize it’s a couple of games away, but it’s that blaring Sabres logo on the calendar that stares back at the Caps.

Caps first need to face down the Thrashers on a Thanksgiving Eve matchup. They have lost the previous two games with the Thrash both by the score of 4-3.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Women CAN Play in the NHL, etc.

When he is not getting a perm or pretending to be a hockey player, Jaromir Jagr occasionally scores goals. It must be those new skates with the toe pick. Jagr scored 600 career goals (or 517 goals if you don’t count his entire time with the Capitals, which most Caps fans don’t). It will be interesting to see what he “injures” this year in the playoffs.

Okay, I am done picking on Jagr. For now.

Flyers decide to give John Stevens two years to turn the team around. Good luck. I think I speak for all of Philadelphia when I say, “Who can think of hockey at time like this? Donovan is out for the season! The flag should be flying at half mast or something!”

Kukla calls out bloggers that only complain on their teams. Figuring the glass is half empty, many bloggers are failing to see the positives in our teams and only focusing on the negatives. So let’s find some positives for the Senators, the Flyers, and the Coyotes. Ummmmmm… I’ll get back to you on that one.

Many of you may realize that I am spending less time on posting these last couple of weeks. Well, I can’t be here all the time! Plus I have started a new part time job, so I need some time to get acclimated to my new schedule. Although I am still looking for a full time gig, so if anyone is hiring, I can write a blog. And watch hockey games. And I am a glass is half empty kinda guy. Glendale Arena is really nice, there is a positive. Take that Kukla, ha!

Editor's Note: I realize it is an insulting statement to compare Jagr to women, I apologize to women everywhere.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beat Up Caps Fall in OT

Capitals 2, Bruins 3 OT
ScoresheetWash PostHerald

No Chris Clark, Dainius Zubrus, Alexander Semin and Steve Eminger. The Caps should have been slaughtered. It was their second game in two nights too. But the Capitals did something that I wouldn’t have expected. They hung in there.

Truthfully when I heard of the scratches, I actually rubbed my temples and contemplated missing tonight’s game. The Caps had their moments and got some a key goal from an unexpected source. Jakub “don’t call me Yakub” Klepis scored a pretty breakaway goal on Tim Thomas, making the goaltender freeze up and slid the puck five-hole.

Alex Ovechkin also scored on the powerplay, keeping the game well with in reach and the boys walk out of TD Banknorth Garden with a point. Although I don’t want to play many more games with so many key players in the stands, the Caps exceeded my expectations.

Overall Grade: C

Brent Johnson surprises me in every game, and I don’t really know why. He is a good goaltender. He stopped 35 shots and kept the Caps in reach the whole game. Only a tripping call in OT that the Bruins able to score the game winner.

Caps play the Thrashers at home before Turkey Day (Wednesday for those of you above the border). Caps need to find ways to win within their division. At least there will be some down time before the next game. The Caps need to heal.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Black & Blue Caps Lose Second Straight

Capitals 1, ‘Canes 4
ScoresheetWash PostNews Ob

Capitals played with out captain Chris Clark who took a puck to the mouth in Boston’s game. Dainius Zubrus suited up for this one, but he suffered a knee on knee blow in the previous game. The Caps played a good first, but then just looked beat up. The Hurricanes’ picked a good day to play the Caps.

Richard Zednik scored the only tally on the power play, and the once stingy penalty kill that I praise broke down when the Stanley Cup Champions came to town. The Caps looked a little out of sync in this game. There were too many small mental mistakes that were making them play catch up all night.

Overall Grade: C-

I don’t know what it is about the Carolina Hurricanes that I give them a lot of credit in this game for winning it, rather than the Caps losing it. Some of the ‘Canes dads were in attendance for take your pop to work weekend.

Caps need to hit a reset button or something. It just seems that they are a little off. Maybe it’s the loss of Clark or they’re a little beat up. Whatever the problem is, the Caps don’t have much time to turn it around when they meet Boston, in Boston.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Caps Run Out of Gas

Capitals 2, Bruins 3 F/OT/SO (0-1)
ScoresheetWash PostHerald

There used to be a time the Capitals loved getting the game into overtime. There used to be a sense of excitement and thrill when the Caps could get their opponent to a shoot out. But those days are hard to come by anymore.

The Capitals continue their shoot-out slump against the Boston Bruins. The Caps have yet to score in the shoot out goal this year. A shocking statistic considering the talent the Caps have. Alex Semin couldn’t move Tim Thomas and just shot it into him, Alex Ovechkin deked himself out and hitting pad on the backhand, and Matt Pettinger couldn’t recreate his shorthanded score in the first that saved the Capitals when they were down 2 -0.

Olaf Kolzig didn’t have to stand on his head for this one, but he was tested a lot more than his counterpart late in the third. The shots came out even for both teams at 35 shots a piece. A bright spot for the Caps is their special teams. The Capitals’ penalty kill is starting to get some attention and is ranked 18th in the league and rising, and the Caps were able to sneak a power play goal to tie it all up at 2 in the 2nd.

Overall Grade: C

There were some pretty exciting moments in overtime where the Caps could have put this game away. But it was an extremely long shift at the end of the third where the Capitals just couldn’t get off the ice to save their lives after some bad dumps that turned to iceings. That may have emptied the tanks for the Caps in OT.

Caps have to shake out of this and look to rebuild against the visiting ‘Canes on Friday. They may want to try to win this in regulation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Twiddling Thumbs

Don’t look now, but the Caps management are working hard on doing… well, nothing. It might be the best move they do. In the Wash Post, Tarik El-Bashir talks to the man in charge George McPhee about possibly amping up the rebuilding process.

As much as I want to see the Caps make some key moves, I would have to agree with GMGM on this one. Right now the Caps are getting the job done, and while it may not be pretty, it’s effective. Although some young players, especially on defense, are showing signs of improvement, they are still about 2 years away from being consistent.

Olie Kolzig will still have to stand on his head for another year or two if GMGM stays with his blue liners. But right now, the season is still early. While there are still bugs in the system, the only way to fix them is to learn from the mistakes you make. The Caps learning curve is doing alright.

Big congratulations to some Hershey Bears players who received their championship rings. Brooks Laich, Kris Beech, Boyd Gordon, Mike Green and Jakub Klepis all got some jewelry. The veterans of the Caps broke out in applause for the youngsters getting their dues.

Other NHL News:
  • Blue Jackets could have a new coach. Management in Columbus was given permission to have a sit down with Ken Hitchcock. I am wondering why it took this long. The BJs shook up their coaches with the assistant coach taking charge.
  • What the heck is happening up in Ottawa? Players went through drills with little talking and moral seems real low for the Senators. Both management and players have taken shots at one another, which needs to stop.

  • I am already tired of the Capitals’ promos where you just look at the player from different angles while Joe Beninati highlights plays to a heavy metal background. This neither excites me about the season, nor convinces me to purchase tickets. They are just boring and waste of space.
That is all I got.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Caps Finding Ways to Win

Capitals 4, Panthers 1
ScoresheetWash PostMiami Herald

For a second game in a row, Olie Kolzig was denied a shutout he should have had. He faced 45 shots and turned away all but one, a power play tally in the second by Nathan Horton. The Caps survive a disgruntled Panther squad that gave Kolzig a run for his money.

Scoring for the Caps were Matt Pettinger (whose shot Alex Auld saved, but the rebound hit Petty in the leg and hopped over the goaltender), Alex Ovechkin (second game winning goal in a row), and Dainius Zubrus (who scored on the 5-on-3 and an empty netter). Caps are starting to gain confidence and only good things can follow.

Overall Grade: B+

Caps actually get a power play goal late in the third with a two man advantage, but they are still a far ways from having a workable power play. Although I don’t have any suggestion on how it can get better (except to change up the make-up of players on the power play), the Capitals’ outstanding penalty killing more than makes up for my lack of experience coaching in the National Hockey League. You’re doing alright Glen Hanlon.

Capitals have surpassed their last season record against Florida; they have won 2 games against their rivals instead of only one from last season. The Caps have to use this win to propel a good effort against the Boston Bruins back home at the phone booth.

With about seven minutes left in the game, Comcast Sports Net Mid Atlantic feed was cut, prompting a parade of Comcast promos. There is nothing like watching TV promos for 5 straight minutes. When the anchors came on to settle down the ravenous Cap watching crowd, the girl cracked a joke that Joe Reekie tripped over a cord. That is funny.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Show Me the Money came out with their “Ultimate Hockey Franchise” rating NHL teams on different scales. You would be surprise to know that the Washington Capitals did get a top rating in one of the categories. Best website (

Just to let you know how it all shook out:

Arena Deal: Nashville Predators
Fan Experience: Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Wild
TV Deals: Toronto Maple Leafs
Naming Rights: Boston Bruins
Location: New York City
Best Fans: Colorado Avalanche
Best Players: Buffalo Sabres
General Manager: John Muckler (Ottawa Senators)
Owner: Michael Ilitch (Detroit Red Wings)
Website: Washington Capitals

In terms of value, the Washington Capitals are the cheapest team to buy at this point. They were ranked dead last in value at $127 million. Compare that to the Toronto Maple Leafs valued at $332 million and ranked first. However, under the new CBA, smaller market teams (that includes the Capitals) are seeing revenue coming to the rescue. The complete list is here. sees the NHL in some good waters. In their article, NHL on the Rebound, Forbes touches on the value of NHL franchises and their shaky TV deals with Versus and NBC. Even though the business side of hockey usually puts me to sleep, this may be helpful for some of you out there like me whose eyelids droop at the sight of numbers.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Caps Wrangle Rangers

Capitals 3, Rangers 1
ScoresheetWash PostNYDaily

Olaf Kolzig should have posted a shut-out. But stupid Michael Nylander had to score on a late power play with Dainius Zubrus in the penalty box for tripping. It was clear the Rangers were not going to leave the Verizon Center with out a goal, pulling their goaltender with more than two minutes left in the game. The Caps only allowed one, and Alex Ovechkin walks away with the game winner.

The Caps seem to be pretty dangerous after being shut out. They came out with a grudge in the first period out-shooting the Rangers 17 to 5. Not only did the Caps find their offense again, they always had a player in Jaromir Jagr’s face all night. Jagr took his damaged pride and his illegal sticks home only getting off three shots.

Boyd Gordon started the scoring with a great job on the forecheck. It was the epitome of a garbage goal as Gordon never gave up whacking at the puck in front of Henrik Lundqvist. Gordon also posted an assist playing his best game as a Cap.

Overall Grade: B+

As much as I want to give the Caps an A, they are still lacking in one department: the powerless play. The Caps were 0 for 7 with an extra man. It’s one of those things that can be overlooked in a game such as this, but is important for the Caps to start cashing in on the power play.

Matt Pettinger also scored midway through the third. Petty got a jump off the boards to beat a pinching Ranger defenseman, and a 2 on 1 quickly developed with Alex Semin. Petty curled and dragged around the defender and put it 5 hole on Lundqvist. Semin looked at Petty as if to say, “You’re supposed to pass those to me.”

Is it wrong for me to be John Erskin’s biggest fan? I thought he did really well, even getting his mitt in Jagr’s face and messed up his make-up during a scrum. Donald Brashear actually got into a fight (‘bout time), and Shaone Morrisonn did a pretty good job on Jagr keeping him to three shots.

Caps face the Panthers on Monday, and hopefully they can carry this win to Sunrise. Like I have said before, divisional points are so important in the new NHL. If the Caps are serious about making the post season, they have to start beating their rivals.

Powerless Play

Part of the Capitals offensive troubles has to do with a poor power play. The Caps have 13 power play goals out of 77 chances (15th in the NHL). By comparison both the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers are rated higher (both teams have a losing record).

The Caps sometimes are sometimes too selfish with the puck. Both Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin have both taken bad shots from the outside. The power play unit is just not moving the puck. In their game against the 'Canes, the Caps just couldn't get anything inside and the penalty killers were able to keep the puck outside. Cam Ward had some easy saves.

Maybe the Capitals can practice that power play when they take the ice this morning at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex for their morning skate. Adorned atop the Ballston Commons Mall's parking garage, the Caps will practice their preskate before the Rangers game at the Verizon Center (although with the size of crowds at the phone booth, they could play at the Iceplex).

In other NHL News:
  • The Anaheim Ducks finally suffered their first regulation loss versus the Flames. The Ducks were able to score a point in their first 16 games, a record. But Miikka Kiprusoff shut them out to kill that streak. You can take the "Mighty" out of the Duck, but you can't take the "Mighty" out of their play.
  • Patrick Roy, Dickie Duff, Herb Brooks and Harley Hotchkiss are all being inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. has a nice piece about Roy and his accomplishments.
  • 37 players make their ballot debuts for the 2007 NHL All Star game. Alex Ovechkin is among them on the ballot. Voting begins November 15th, the All Star game will be in Dallas on January 24.

Caps play the Rangers tonight at the Verizon. Go Caps!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hurricanes Blow Caps Away

Capitals 0, Hurricanes 5
ScoresheetWash PostNewsOb

The Capitals just got out-worked, out-played and out-skated. The Caps just didn’t make the plays to keep them in the game, and Brent Johnson, a surprise starter in net, did all he could to keep the Caps in shooting distance. They picked an awful time to lose their offense.

Besides the lopsided score, I actually thought the Caps played okay. A key goal at the end of the first or early in the second could have turned this game around for the Caps, but Cam Ward was dynamite in net earning his first regular season shut-out.

Caps just didn’t generate much offense, their passes seemed errant, their play seemed erratic and when they were forced to take chances late that open the score for the Hurricanes. As much as I want to hate Eric Cole, I love this guy. He is fast and plays extremely hard. Cole sported the hat-trick with some nice goals. The Hurricanes are finding their winning ways again.

Overall Grade: D+

The Caps must learn from this loss to learn about consistency. It’s something they are severely lacking. It almost seemed as if the Caps were waiting for someone to get that first goal. Although Alex Ovechkin is a team leader, he cannot do it in a vacuum.

John “I dropped Andrew Ladd like a ton of bricks” Erskin played a great game. His hits were timely, and he had great intuition on defense. Erskin fit right in after playing a few in Hershey. He filled in for a injured defense core.

Caps also need to stay out of the penalty box. Even though their penalty kill is getting the job done, they must play more focused games. Caps look to revenge a season opening loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. They have to put together a better team effort if they wish to do so at the phone booth.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

No Puckhead

Not thinking clearly, I finished my Caps/Thrashers thread with hopes of getting to the Philly game tonight. Little did I realize that I was on a plane today and not only can I not post, but I won't see any of the game. That is what happens when life gets in the way of running a blog.

So since there is no hope of getting a post out for the next few days, here are a few that I am sure can pick up the slack:

Japer's Rink
Caps Nut
On Frozen Blog
Off Wing Opinion
And of course SESO

Last time I left the confines of the couch the Caps spanked the Aves at the Pepsi Center and Hitchcock and Clarke said bye bye in Philly. So I figure it's a good thing I am out of town for the next couple of games.

Remember to Vote November 7th. Be safe and I will see you Thursday (I hope).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Caps Fall Apart

Capitals 3, Thrashers 4
ScoresheetWash Post - AJC

This has been one of the better starts for the Capitals I have seen this year. But, it was sloppy second and third periods that gave the Atlanta Thrashers life and the win. The Caps just couldn’t recover. The Thrashers answered every goal, and then one more.

The sooner the Caps realize that there are 3 periods in a game, the sooner they will start closing out games. They always seem to stop skating with a lead, and tonight was no exception. What they did in Calgary is now wiped out by this poor loss at home. If the Caps play every game like they were on the road, the better off they will be (with the crowds that are at the Verizon Center it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine).

Olaf Kolzig didn’t look too happy in net. He watched the Caps self destruct in front of him, and there wasn’t much he could do. If looks could kill, a lot of the Caps D-men would be hitting the deck. Ben Clymer was a -2 in this game.

Overall Grade: 1st Period: A, Rest of game: D+

The Caps were out muscled in this game. The Thrash looked like they were just wearing down the Capital forwards. They just looked manhandled in the second and third. There was just no fire in the Caps belly when they get down.

Dainius Zubrus was clearly the best player on the Caps side, scoring two goals and nearly getting the hattrick. Alex Ovechkin had two assists and Chris Clark had a pretty shorthanded goal. Too bad it was all for not.

The game went ugly late as Jon Sim “accidentally” tripped up Ovie with a knee on knee check while Ovie was heading to the bench. I thought the whole reason to get Donald Brashear was so this kind of hanky panky would not go on concerning Ovie. Again there doesn’t seem any urgency for the Caps to do anything but just let the other team hit them.

Caps don’t have much time to sulk after this horrendous game. They jump a bus to Philadelphia where the Flyers look to turn their season around with the visiting Caps. Brett Johnson will probably get the nod in net, I am sure the steaming Kolzig needs a night off.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Bring on the 'Naked Ladies!"

When the ticket sales are low, you have to draw a crowd with Barenaked Ladies. The Caps announced the Barenaked Ladies have lowered their standards to sing the National Anthem at the Verizon Center before the Capitals and Thrashers game. I am kidding, of course.

One of my favorite bands is going to be there in the flesh singing the Star Spangled Banner (does anyone see the irony in this considering they are Canadian). I think it would be better just to see them sing between periods much like they did at the NHL All Star game a few years ago. But that is just me.

As far as the title of this post, my wife actually said it while waiting for them in concert in Phoenix. As we were waiting for what seemed an eternity, my wife blurted at the top of her lungs, “Bring on the 'Naked Ladies.” It was precious.

Home Sweet Home, Amongst Other Things

The Capitals finally come home. After their 4 game western swing, the Caps won’t get the warm welcome they may be expecting from a grumpy Atlanta Thrashers squad. The Thrash has dropped their last two games and now look to up their confidence by playing the patsies of the NHL. If the Caps aren’t careful, they will get a thrashing.

It was a good thing for the Caps that they had a few days off to adjust to the time change, do some laundry, feed the cats, gather up the piled newspapers and name their new practice facility in Ballston. There is so much to do when you come back from vacation.

One good thing that the Caps have going for them is they won’t leave the eastern time zone for the rest of their 71 game schedule. Good, I hate staying up until one in the morning to write hockey posts. This, of course, has brought up some grumblings about the whole scheduling debate. 6 games against Divisional foes sounds right to me, rather than 8. But, I am not Bettman (thank god!).

Other NHL News:

  • The Penguins are staying with the kid, not that one, the other one. Jordan Staal, welcome to the National Hockey League. Too bad it’s with the Penguins. Staal’s strong work ethic and hard play earned him a right to play in the league. But his talent will be overshadowed by an obnoxious captain and Russian wonderboy Evgeni Malkin.

  • Did I hear Assistant Head Coach Jay Leach refer to Alex Semin as “Shasha?” If this is his nickname, than… okay. Maybe I heard wrong, but I am sure there is a reader out there who knows, so enlighten me.

  • The Philadelphia Flyers couldn’t let Ken Hitchcock off the hook just yet. Hey, Hitch, you know we don’t think you are right for behind the bench, how about a scouting job?!?

  • If you want to read more about the new Kettler Capitals Iceplex (finally got the name right) you can at the Wash Post or On Frozen Blog or
That is all I got.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Guess the Caps can Practice Now

I Parked at Level 6 in the Ballston Commons Mall and followed signs up some back stairs to reach the new Kettler Iceplex a.k.a Capitals Ice Center. It's the new home of the Washington Capitals practice facility. The Caps invited me to attend their press conference today at 2 p.m. and since I had nothing to do, I decided to take my camera and go.

It was a love fest of glad handing and black slapping on the part of Capitals execs and county officials. "Too bad we haven't put in the snack bar yet," a woman said as she passed me, "we could be selling beer." Not a bad thought.

Olie Kolzig, Brian Sutherby, Chris Clark, and a late Dainius Zubrus helped with the unveiling of the giant Capitals logo in the middle of the ice. Ted Leonsis thanked just about everyone there in a broken voice, and a new era of Capital hockey opened in Arlington County, 8 floors above street level.

The facility is not finished yet, even though both ice surfaces look ready to skate on. Workers were still pounding as the conference finished. Overall the execs looked plenty happy, and in the end, isn't that what its all about?

Here is the video of the unveiling, 30 seconds of my life that I can't get back.

A quick shout-out to my boys at On Frozen Blog who were also at the press conference. Last I saw of them, they were headed to get a beer. I envy them. Caps play Thrashers Friday at the Phone Booth.