Friday, September 19, 2008

Rookie Game: Flyers RIP

In an almost packed house (there were a few open seats) at Kettler, the Capitals' prospects routed the Philadelphia Flyers' prospects 7 to nothing. If the game sounded one sided by the score, it was. The Caps kept the Flyers to their own end for a majority of the game. Since this is a late post, thanks in part due to a cold, I am going to leave the story line to others like the Post, Times and OFB boys.

Here is what stood out for me in this game.

If I had the size Oskar Osala had, I would have used it much like he did today at Kettler against the Flyers. While there were bigger defensemen on the Philly side, he purely out worked them and out manuvered them time and time again. While the Flyers were using their size to plain out just hit everything in site, Osala reserved his hitting for the right moment. He got his defender off kilter and then used his speed and strength to open holes.

Mathieu Perreault is magic with the puck. He picked up a couple of assists (mostly on the power play) but his vision made him a great set up guy. He was lined up with Francois Bouchard and Steve Pinizzotto and the three were hard to stop all afternoon long. That line gave the Flyers the fits, and also accounted for drawing the most penalties from their opponents just by using their speed and quickness. Pinizzotto often found himself being the enforcer for most of the game as the Flyers got more and more chippy.

While the Caps didn't have the size, they sure had the heart. Stefan Della Rovere, who stands at 5'11" on a good day, may have been the smallest Capital out there besides Perreault. But he was the fiestiest. You could tell each time he took the ice he did his best to be a pest and make the Flyers look twice before fighting for a puck in the corner with him. In fact all the Caps seemed to have no problems fighting pucks off the boards and winning the little battles for possession. Jay Beagle (who missed on a penalty shot) even killed at least a minute of a Flyer power play by his board work.

On defense, Karl Alzner is a smooth defender. Nothing rattled this guy. Even when an errant pass was picked off, he was right there in position to deal with it. John Carlson is a stand up guy too. More than once did he come to the rescue of his goaltender. In fact when any Flyer crashed the net and so much touched the goaltenders, the Caps defense sent a message. They did a nice job standing up for one another as well.

Goaltenders, Simeon Varlamov didn't see much action in the first half of the first period, maybe a shot or two. But by the end of the period the Flyers mounted their best attack. It turned out to be the only sustained pressure the Flyers were able to put on all game. Varlamov made two outstanding saves late in the first to complete a third of the shut out. Micheal Nuevirth and Braden Holtby also had to be sharp to complete the shut out.

All and all, the Caps prospects look pretty good. George McPhee has got some talent in the pipeline for years to come. Although, personally I am not sure if he will be able to hold on to all of them as they make their way up the ranks. But for now be content in knowing the Caps' talent runs deep.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else is noticing Beagle's board work. I had commented on it in Hershey near the beginning of last season when he literally held a guy off solo for a good 30 seconds, but he'd fallen off a little at the end of the year. Good to hear he's sounding like he 's got it back.

Garrett said...

Beagle was a monster on that penalty kill. According to Gabby, he put on some muscle in the off season and it seemed to show. Plus the guy never quits. He is one of the more underrated players at rookie camp that is for sure.