Monday, October 23, 2006

Lithium, Anyone?

Wow - you miss one week of hockey life and so much happens!

In the week that I've been away, the Caps have produced one lopsided win, one slightly lopsided loss, and two overtime losses to the same team. And so I find myself asking the question - which team is going to show up for the long haul? Will it be the team that goes 2 for 3 on the power play and still loses? What about the one that scores 5 goals in the first period? The team taking 17 penalties a game and killing them all off or the team taking 4 penalties and killing off only half?

That darn hockey schizophrenia strikes again.

It's hard for me to make an assessment of the last four games, so I'm not going to really try. I was on the opposite side of the country and almost completely cut off from the Caps - any analysis I could offer would be based on highlight clips from the website, the occasional article, and box scores. All I can really do is recap some of the things that have popped out at me as I look over the results from the last four games:

- Alexander Semin is on fire - 8 goals and 11 points in 7 games...yeah, not bad. What I love is that he seems to score a different way each time, which will make it harder for opposing teams' defense to shut him down. He's like a smaller, sneakier Ovie with just a little less grit. I hope it continues - it looks like he's starting to really click with Zed and Beech. It even looked like Zed is starting to forecheck a little better. Who knew?

- Special Teams??? - I have no idea what's going on here. I can't even berate them for taking too many penalties or not scoring on the power play. There's no pattern to follow, no specific area at which to point my finger. All I can hope for is that the special teams issues will slowly work themselves out as the team chemistry improves...the good news is they are around the halfway point in the standings for power play and penalty killing, which is all I can really ask for.

- Win in regulation - the Caps are 0-3 when going into extra frames and we're only through 7 games total. They need to either figure out a way to maintain a lead or stage just a slightly stronger comeback when trailing. At least they manage to pick up a point with each overtime/shooutout appearance. The good news? They only play Atlanta 6 more times... :)

I'm still a little jet-lagged so I'm going to call it a night here. It looks like we've got another little break between contests again (groan) but no worries - I'll try to scrounge something up to post here between now and Wednesday. It's good to be back!

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