Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another Wasted Chance

The Caps were the better, more talented team on the ice last night...and for exactly ten minutes they looked that way.

The rest of the night was spent wasting chances, missing passes, turning over pucks and making far too many defensive mistakes for this point in the season. They stormed back in the third to make it a game but again had difficulty getting out of their zone and wasted precious seconds that they needed in the last minute scramble. And because of that they fall to a less than stellar Panthers club whose own doldrums seem to be cured by playing the Caps.

This team needs some sort of wake up call. If dropping all but three of their last seventeen games isn't enough, they also have a firm grip on last place in the entire league - something even last year's mediocre squad avoided doing.

I'm simply running out of words to say the same thing after every game. Frankly, we all know this team can and should be playing much better than this and seeing this half-hearted effort night in and night out is getting frustrating.

Some thoughts on last night's game:
- Florida has mastered the snoozetastic art of the trap and is really talented at just slowing everything down to a crawl. As if the hometown crowd needed an excuse to be dull and uninspired...

Photo courtesy of AP
- Alexander Semin made his return to the lineup in style and was on the ice for a good portion of the game - so much for easing him back in. I thought he played great, though. Still our little drama king but he drew a few penalties and got his first goal of the season. And that's Semin being a little rusty.

- Our defense did a great job of standing around and watching while the Panthers crowded Olie's crease. Beaming with pride over here.

- Is it concerning anyone else that Backstrom (6'0", 203 lbs) puts more energy into his checks than Schultz (6'6", 221) does? Sure, Nicky may end up on his rear half the time but at least he's trying.

- Penalty killing looked great. No, really, it did. I was very impressed - and you have to love a shorthanded goal, for all the good it did.

- Ovechkin led the team in ice time with over 25 minutes but it showed, as he was clearly trying to do it all himself and ended up turning the puck over a few times simply because no one else was around. The team has got to step up and help him out now and then.

- I'm really enjoying seeing how much more confident Backstrom seems in his natural position. He had a great game (relative to the rest of the team, at least) and should have had his second career goal for sure. Damn goal post.

- Brooks Laich was on the ice for only ten minutes last night, and yet he showed more energy on his shifts than most of the team combined. Maybe that's why it felt like he had more ice time...and why he was rewarded with a nice shorthanded goal.

- Speaking of Laich, that goal puts him at four on the year. If you want to try and find the small positives in the Caps' season thus far, the fact that Laich is already halfway to his career high is very promising.

- Here are your superstars of the game: Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Laich. Everyone else? You're on my list.

Special thanks to loyal reader Victor for the extra ticket to the game!


Victor said...

I found out I have another one if you'd like that ticket as well. Only my GF and her mother will be there, too, so be on your best behavior.

Victor said...

Ummm, that's for tomorrow night.

CapsChick said...

I'll actually be there with two Thrashers' fans, which should be...interesting. It's probably for the best, too - I can't promise I'll be on my best behavior. Better to be with the enemy at times like that ;)

DMG said...

Man I wish I had readers who gave me free tickets....

Dead right about Schultz! I think that for a 21 year old he looks good at most everything in his own end - positioning, angles, awareness, etc but if you're 6 1/2 feet tall and playing defense you've got to play the body.

Here's hoping he's still getting used to that huge frame and working on agility/balance, thus afraid throwing too hard a hit will take him out of position (and maybe put him on his butt), and that once he gets a handle on that he'll start hitting.

CapsChick said...

Schultzie needs to add a good 20 pounds to that frame...and spend a little more time in Hershey.

Victor said...

Schultz is at that awkward age, you know?

Maal said...

How do you do the hide thingie?? The lj cut thing??

CapsChick said...

Maal: It's the greatest thing ever, seriously. You can do a search for "expandable post summaries" and find a bunch of different sites that tell you how to do it - the one I use is here.

Chris & Sarah said...

Can someone tell me why we had such a difficult time getting the puck out of our own end in the last 90 seconds? We pulled Olie for a reason, to get the extra man on the ice, and what $#@^#^$# good did it do us? We spent a whole minute skating in our own end with a gaping open net just waiting for a screwed up pass to get tipped in.

I know Ovie has been playing nets when Olie or Johnny get pulled, but do we have to have that every game?

(Chris shakes his head, sighs, and digs another beer from the fridge)