Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just Plain Bad

Capitals 3, Hurricanes 4
Scoresheet - Wash Post

Now it's just getting ugly. The Caps get two goals washed while a bouncing puck and a high stick deflection that counted gives the Hurricanes the win. For the Capitals they have dropped three straight proving it's not who you put behind the bench, it's the guys on the ice that have to score.

Alex Ovechkin had one of his best and worst games. It seemed to come and go like the tide. A spectacular goal on the power play off the face off started a good night. Then Ovie was caught out of position and had to back check on a break away giving up a penalty shot in the process (that LaRose did not score on). Early in the third he made amends with a pretty goal only to later score on his own net. After that, Ovechkin's high tide never returned despite two great chances late. Ovie scored his 18th and 19th of the season.

After coming off an ankle injury, Alex Semin got no love from the Carolina Hurricanes who slashed the forward on the legs the entire game. Semin left limping in the waning seconds in the third after another slash to the leg. Which proves to me that the 'Canes are a bunch of stick happy goons. They were clearly, clearly looking to injure the forward again, and the refs did nothing.

Speaking of which, this officiating crew really dropped the ball on this one. Two glaring problems I saw were missed calls and phantom penalties. They called a delay of game penalty on Tom Poti after his shot was deflected off the rink off Nick Backstrom's stick, which the puck has to touch nothing on the way out for a minor penalty to be assessed. Chad LaRose clearly hooked Mike Green late in the third and Green high sticked LaRose back. Green sat in the box and LaRose got off. Just the little things are killing this team, so it doesn't help that the officiating was off tonight.

The same problems are plaguing this team. The big problem is the second and third tier lines are not scoring. Ovie, Micheal Nylander, Viktor Kozlov, and Nicklas Backstrom are all in the double digits in terms of points (goals and assists). But Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, Matt Bradley, Matt Pettinger, Tomas Feischmann, Dave Steckel and Donald Brashear are all in single digit points with 7 points or less. Of those seven, four just have one goal. Chris Clark and Alex Semin have both been injured, but for everyone else it's been a scoring drought. The Capitals have to, have to, find second tier scoring from someone, anyone.

Chalk all of this down though as a loss. They get 2 points, the Caps get zero. In the end that is the bottom line. The Caps are not just losing, they are failing. They are again the rock bottom worst team in the league. The absolute worst.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I a degree.

100% accurate that this team needs second tier scoring, however I've noticed some glaring issues as of late with the 1st tier. You already noted Ovechkin's Defensive deficiencies, but it looks to me like both Nylander and Kozlov are skating the motions yet have no Emotion! Nylander had possibly the worst game of his career Wed. vs. the panthers and whenever he got the puck, he lost it to Florida or he held it too long resulting in a bad pass (ask Mike Green about the bad pass at the blue-line!). Nylander is missing that flash and heart he had in NY and even glimpses of in his first stint in Washington. Kozlov (who is MUCH better than we're seeing!) used his big size early in the year and created opportunities - but I can't tell you the last time I saw a hit from him that resulted in a turnover. He's created half the opportunities he COULD be, and like Nylander, it looks like no heart.

It's sad when your leading scorer/best player is not at his best and among the leading goal scorers yet on the worst team. I WILL give kudos to the 4th line, however. Bruce has finally given them time, and I think they've created a tremendous amount of opportunities and really show grit and determination out there. Brooks & Brashear have out performed their own talent - and remember, these guys are typically placed out vs the other team's top line! The 4th line isn't supposed to 'bring home the bacon,' but at least they're creating scoring chances (LOVE Backstrom w/them, coincidently!) that is not typical of a 4th line.

A bigger issue to me is the poor defensive play of defensemen that are logging a tremendous amount of ice time. Morrison, Shultz, Jurcina & even Erskine simply create too many Power plays & scoring chances for the other team through stupid penalties and lack of discipline...oh, and lack of vision {do you see how many time the opposing team's offense is unguarded in front of Kolzig?}. Even Motzko played very disciplined in his only 3 games and was more solid/smart than these three. It also seems like their time in the penalty box is unexcusable since it's the result of open ice penalties when there's no rush! ...All this while Eminger sits? Did you know Chris Bourque has more games played than Eminger this year? mmmph. Pettinger - you're also VERY Guilty of this!!!!!!!

One last vent... Can Caps go back to the basics in practice and learn to shoot "On Net?" For whatever reason we CONSTANTLY see shots from all over the ice going anywhere but on net. I was always told "you gotta shoot to score," BUT that was based on the assumption the shot is on net! Ovechkin has become the proverbial undertaker out there with his shots going Head high (sorry Clarky)...these don't score, btw. It's really dissappointing watching strong, hard shots going wide of the net, especially in the last 4 minutes of a game.

Summary - 1) believe it or not, this top line could/should be scoring even more 2) 2nd/3rd liners are bringin this team down, so I hope Bruce DOES make them accountable and earn their salary!
3) I really hope 4th line Heart gets contagious out there. Great Job Brash, Brooks, and Backs - especially. 4) Crap, no matter how bad it gets, I'm always going to spend my money on this team. I must be nuts, but I'm addicted!!!!!!!