Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Zubie the Buffaslug

Not really much to say about this one - the Caps were outplayed by the Sabres and the better team won. The fact that the Caps didn't play all that badly (short of a few miscues as usual and some surprisingly shaky goaltending from Olie) shows how vast the difference is between a first place team and a 14th place team. The Sabres, even with all their injuries, played like a first place team. And can we talk about that pass from Zubrus that set up one of the goals? On the boards, through the legs, perfect. Buffaslug bastard.

What I found fascinating about this game was the fact that it was in essence a graphic illustration of exactly what the Caps have been missing since Zubrus was traded. Ovechkin played a decent game, gained the zone well, held on to the puck...the problem was he had no room. Part of that was simply great positioning by the Sabres but part of that was the fact that his linemates did nothing to help him.

And say what you will about Zubie or even the entire Ovie-Zubie-Clark line, but one of the big reasons it worked was that the other two worked the boards and the bodies and made room for Ovechkin to do his thing. I think we can all agree that both Novotny and Giroux lack the grit needed to play on a line with Ovie and I'm ready for that experiment to end.

I'm not saying that the Caps should go out and throw money at Zubie in the offseason. Maybe he'll be back, maybe he won't. But when they go shopping this summer as they've promised us all they would, that playmaking center at the top of their list should come with the willingness to throw the body around and make space for #8.



hockeygirl said...

I'm just glad I was able to support you through the emotional rollercoaster of seeing Zubie again.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

Clarkie can make room for Ovechkin next year. He's not afraid to shove folks around in high traffic areas. The fact that OV is playing with an entirely new set of linemates isn't helping him right now, but I think the Caps have enough grit in their lineup. We just need to find someone to pass the puck and keep up with The Russian Machine (and not miss tap ins from two feet out).

CapsChick said...

HG: Ohhh *sniff* Zubie...thanks for the hand-holding.

3GCF: I would like to see Clarkie back up with Ovie next year, they have a great chemistry. I also agree that we shouldn't sacrifice the ability to move the puck for just grit, but there are centers who are great playmakers and then there are centers who are great playmakers and who can throw the body. I'd just prefer to see the latter if possible.

And yes, not missing tap-ins from two feet out would be a big plus. Esa's, er, Zubie's propensity for that kind of move makes me not miss him as much.