Thursday, November 1, 2007

Washington Capitals at New York Rangers

I can't help but think of the heady feeling we all had when the Caps last made their way onto the Madison Square Garden ice (if you can call it "ice"... I think a gravel driveway is more like ice than the MSG sheet). Things aren't looking quite as great as they were a few weeks ago, but coming off of a solid rout of the Leafs on Monday with a crippled lineup, they ain't looking all that bad either as the Capitals (5-6-0, 10 pts, 3rd SE) prepare once again to take on the Rangers (4-6-1, 9 pts, 4th AT) in downtown Manhattan.

Both teams have two wins in their last seven attempts and are both coming off of Monday wins (the Rangers beat the Lightning 3-1). The Capitals do look a bit better offensively, with six players registering five or more points thus far, to the Rangers' four, and have only one player - Donnie B - who has yet to score a point, to the Rangers' six.

I know, I know... Stats don't mean a whole heck of a lot, but I'm forced to nitpick because these two teams appear to be very similar as far as their performance so far this season goes. The Caps' offensive stats look better than those of the Rangers, but I'm sure more than just a little bit of that can be credited to Monday's seven goal affair north of the border.

The verdict? This one's a tossup. Start chilling your beer.

Oh, and it should also be noted that Sean Avery will be making his return to the lineup tonight, after having been injured in the second game of the season. What a treat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I returned from my week in the tropics on Saturday evening to less than pleasing news: that the Caps have been sucking up the ice and were now 1-6 in their last 7. I withheld comment because I wasn't here to see it myself, and rather than go on a rant I chose to follow my mother's sage advice regarding not having anything nice to say.

So when I sat down on my couch last night, popped open a beer, and prepared to analyze all of the Capitals' woes - imagine my surprise when they strolled out onto the ice and handed the Leafs their arses on a silver platter with poutine on the side and Tim Horton's donuts for dessert.

I guess their little field trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame worked.

There was a brief "Oh God, here we go again" moment when the Leafs responded in a matter of seconds to Washington's opening goal, but the moment was short lived. It was the only non-mocking cheer from the sellout crowd that the Leafs were going to get all night. The Capitals dominated both ends of the ice from there on out.

We all know that injuries are a lame excuse for poor play at best, and last night it looked like the Caps knew that as well. I lost count of all the first goals, first multiple goals, first NHL goals somewhere around the second period. The boys stepped up, and they did it beautifully.

I won't delude myself into thinking that this is what we can expect from the Caps on any given night, but I will say that when this team finds consistency and maturity, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Bring on the Rags.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Caps vs Isles - In game

First Period:

- Looking sharp. Good forecheck, good control, good cycling, good pressure, and taking lots of shots. Seven shots on DiPietro in the first seven minutes.

- Smokin' Al needs to back his face away from the mic a few inches...

- Magnificent work by Pettinger (how often do I ever get to say that?) single-handedly grinding the puck around the boards in the Islanders' zone while killing a penalty. Killed a good 30 seconds all by himself.

- Fleischmann, who is playing on the Nylander/Backstrom line, has been more visible in the first 13 minutes of this game than he has been all season. It's early yet, but I smell chemistry.

- Gah... Bergenheim scores on a defensive breakdown in front of the net.

- Brendan Witt gets slammed in the jaw with a booming slapshot. Can you say karma?

...And that's it for the first. I think it's safe to say that the Caps don't deserve the score they have at the moment. Fine work by DiPietro in keeping them off the board.

Islanders 1, Capitals 0

Second Period

- Penalty on Berard. Let's see what the PP is looking like these days.

- 0 shots on the PP... Didn't even get close. *sigh*

- The "trip" by Kozlov looked a wee bit embellished. Another penalty coming...

- You pay for stupid penalties every time. Islanders 2, Caps 0

- They put a lot more on the net during the second Caps PP of the game... in fact, they've been doing just that all game so far, but they're still not generating traffic in front of the net. You're not going to score on rebounds if there's nobody but Islanders there to collect them. 3rd Caps PP of the game is forthcoming.

- 3rd PP over, and nothing to show for it.

- Well, they still don't deserve to be scoreless, but not quite to the same extent as in the first. Damnation.

Islanders 2, Capitals 0

Third Period

- One of the odder questioned goals I've seen...

- AO SCORES!!! Good setup by Motzko. Lovely, now do it again and we'll be good to go.

- Beautiful pressure leads to another goal. The Caps are running circles around the Isles in the third and it's a beautiful sight. Fleischmann from Backstrom. Did I mention he's been having a good game?

- Well that was short lived... The Caps have been dominant, but when they aren't in control they give the Islanders far too much room to maneuver, and the PK is just not clicking at all without Gordon.

- In case you're wondering what the difference tonight has been, here it is:
Image Hosted by

Islanders 5, Capitals 2

Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders

Well, like I said a couple posts down, life has become mighty busy for yours truly. So busy, in fact, that I haven't had time to write up a proper game-day preview. I'll be here to deposit my thoughts as soon as the puck drops.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sgt Shultz back in DC

Per Tarik, Schultz got the call. The defense is healthy as far as we know, so somebody's going to be sitting out on Thursday, and apparently that man is John Erskine.

Can't say I disapprove of this move.

Wednesday missives

Apologies for the lapse in posting over the last few days (all two of you), but life has become busy. Luckily there hasn't been too much going on in Caps land, apart from Joe Motzko getting the call-up and the good news that Boyd Gordon and Alex Ovechkin should be just fine to skate in tomorrow's match against the Islanders.

My absence will continue this weekend, as I have to catch an early morning flight to Florida on Sunday to kick off my first vacation in over two years (graduating from college, finding a job and an apartment, getting settled, and moving up in the world haven't left me too much leisure time). I'll be toasting the Caps from the shores of Key West, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As far as my thoughts on the recent play of the Caps goes - all I have to say is this: The rebuild may be over, but we have a world of growing pains yet to go through before this team is a solid contender. AO has been playing the best hockey of his career, Mike Green has been doing shockingly well at keeping pace with the Russian machine, Boyd Gordon - as his absence in the last two games proves - has been the anchor of the checking line and penalty kill, Olie Kolzig still has it, and Brent Johnson hasn't been terrible. There are plenty of positives to take away after these first five games, and if you had told me a month ago that the Caps would start 3-2, I'd have been a happy camper.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Buffalo 7, Capitals 3

Like I said...

I didn't watch the game due to social obligations, and I'm pretty glad I didn't.