Saturday, January 03, 2009

Semin's Night: The Bitch Slaps Heard 'Round The League

Capitals 2, Rangers 1
Scoresheet - Wash Post

Alex Semin's first night back from injury didn't disappoint. It was... well, entertaining. It was a pretty eventful night for him, he had a game tying assist and came up with one of the most hilarious fights I have seen since... ever.

Mike Green now leads all defensemen in power play goals with his tally tonight. Alex Ovechkin pulled into a tie for scoring leader and got the game winner on a shorthanded tally. The Caps show that they can win in a wide open scoring affair or in a tight checking low scoring game. They knock off the New York Rangers 2-1.

While the story of this game could have been the Caps amazing record at home (17-1-1), or Alex Ovechkin atop of the league in scoring (tied with Jeff Carter with 27 goals) or defeating a team that was 7-1-2 on the road when scoring first, it was mostly about Alex Semin's unusual fight with Marc Staal.

It was fine enough when the two dropped the gloves after Staal got in a few too many jabs in front of the net, but when Semin's gear came off and Staal fell to the ice it just got weird. Semin began hitting the downed Ranger like a 4 year old boy would slap at a brother that just stole his ice cream or a mad man banging on bongos. It was borderline crazy, a little metrosexualish and all the way funny to watch.

Semin was disqualified after the fight for not having his jersey tied in the back (which by the looks of it, he couldn't because of the huge back guard that was there to prevent another injury). Of course the blogging community can't stop giggling at it: Puck Daddy, OFB, Peerless. Some of his teammates took notice as well.

"He stood up for himself, so good for him," Dave Steckel (the game's number two star) said about Semin. "The guy scores 30 goals a year and you see him go to the net hard and get in a fight after - it riles the boys quite a bit."

"He's not a fighter," Ovechkin said of Semin. "But if you have to fight, you have to fight."

I guess so.

Whatever Jose Theodore is drinking, it's working. Since the game against the Rangers where he gave up 4 goals, Theo hasn't let more than two goals in the last five starts. He is playing more compact and with more confidence. When the Rangers seem to be pressing the play, Theo seemed to vacuum up the rebound and stop the Rangers momentum cold. While his rebound control isn't 100%, it is 98% better.

Alex Ovechkin was snubbed by hockey fans world wide and was left off the starting roster for the 2009 All-Star game. Penguin fans and Canadien fans seemed to want nothing to do with the reigning MVP. Off of that kind of news, Ovechkin played his style of game, getting his shots on net, scoring and laying some pretty big hits. Maybe you have to win MVP twice to get noticed.

The Capitals get a day off tomorrow, but Tuesday the big bad Flyers are in town to challenge the Caps really, really, really good home record. Now that Philadelphia has taken the lead from the Rangers in the Atlantic Division (a Division that might see four teams in the playoffs), they will be looking to add to that.

Photo AP, Luis M. Alvarez

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