Monday, November 12, 2007

Offense-less

Washington D.C. The nation's capital. Home of the most powerful in all the world. Unless your talking of the area's pro teams. The Redskins, Wizards and the Capitals have collectively made the District groan with dissatisfaction. But every team seems to have the same problems besides not winning (although the Wiz did win last night), they are relying on their defenses a little too much. One could draw parallels.

For the Redskins, you think they would learn from their mistakes. Yet again they put too much emphasis on the defense side of the ball only to realize they weren't as tough on "D" as they were last year. They allowed teams to creep back in the lead when their offense suddenly gets the equivalent of a brain cramp. The same could be said about the Capitals.

The Caps have put all their eggs in to a defensive package with little importance put on offense. Glen Hanlon's philosophy will always be defense (he is a former goaltender), but there seems to be no room left for creativity on offense. It's like an afterthought. And teams who are patient enough to wait for Caps' mistakes take advantage.

When I see the Capitals practice, they aren't working on offensive plays. You can't help but notice there is more work on getting back than pushing the attack. It's all apart of this possession game that Hanlon is pressing. Even in games it seems the only offensive play that seems evident is get the puck to Micheal Nylander or Alex Ovechkin and let's see what happens. Or my favorite play (sarcasm warning) Mike Green driving it up the wing only to lose the puck in the corner.

The Capitals cannot win games with out scoring goals. But that doesn't seem to be a priority for the Hanlon or the Caps right now. They are preaching defense, defense and more defense. Yes defense is important, but wins are too. Defenses are always going to make mistakes during a game, it's the offense that has to respond and respond when it is needed most. If I knew that the Caps give up 2 or 3 goals but could make it up with their offense, I wouldn't bite my nails everytime the Caps go down a goal or two. It is teams like Ottawa strike that perfect balance.

I was reading the comments on the TSN.ca website following the Caps win Ottawa and I couldn't help but see comments talking about Ovie being a bit of puck hog. I made a point of watching Ovie in the Lightning game and a couple of things were made apparent. Ovie is damn fast, he outskates his teammates often leaving him alone in the offensive zone. There other thing I notice is he doesn't quite know what to do with it once he gets there, and it just becomes another low percentage outside shot on net.

The Caps are not setting anyone other than Ovie up either, which goaltenders have gotten wise to. But in the Lightning game, Tom Poti and Tomas Fleischmann set up a beautiful give and go. I remember thinking, why don't we see more of this from the Capitals? I am not sure if Hanlon or anyone on the coaching staff knows much about producing offense at the NHL level. At the moment teams are not really cowering at the Capitals offensive punch.

The Caps need to start producing, but if the only suggestion is to put a guy in front of the net a la Tomas Holstrom style, the Caps need to do a little bit better than that (or trade the farm for Holstrom). The Caps instead should be working on getting their scorers in a position to, well, score.

1 comment:

bryan said...

Were Semin and Clark practicing at all today? What is seriously hampering the Offense, are these two players. Semin is a complimentary winger to OV and Clark is the center made for OV. I think other than Semin, Clark is the only one who even tries to keep pace with OV while on the ice.

What's ever more scarier is what to do with all that cap space. Of course, OV is going to get Crosby like figures in order to keep him in DC for the next 7 years, but how much can be allocated to him and not cripple the structure of the team next year? Do you think that it'll be a fore-long youth movement and that the Caps might trade their FAs if they don't pan out at the trading deadline? Our ship is sinking fast. I feel bad for OV as he is the clubs only marketable player BUT without a supporting cast, he is doomed to this nightmare for quite some time.