Tag Archives: Washington Capitals

Caps Win, Ovi’s Breakout?

Two embarrassing shutout loses over the course of 3 games for the Washington Capitals at the hands of struggling opponents dumped gasoline on the fire and …..…..the fire was doused with a 3-2 win in Raleigh.

All things considered, the speculative doom shared by many appears to be premature, but after the 5-nothing shutout in North Jersey I too considered an all points bulletin to find Dr. Melfi.  There’s been little news on her status since the Soprano’s final season but I considered it just the same.

Time will tell if Wednesday night’s contest in Carolina was the breakout game that lifted Caps Captain Alex Ovechkin’s performance back on top of it’s familiar pedestal.  One solid performance doesn’t define a trend but sure can spark one.  Ovi’s numbers Wednesday night against the Hurricanes suggest he’s lifted his game:  assists on all 3 Caps goals, 10 shots on net, and 5 hits that included a tempo setting open ice leveling of Canes RW Chad LaRose.

Turn’s out they didn’t need couch time with the Dr. Melfi to win; practice time with coach Boudreau worked wonders.

Related content from the Capitals Insider‘s Katie Carrera:

Boudreau calls Ovechkin and Backstrom (combined five points) “exceptional” in#Caps 3-2 win over #Canes http://wapo.st/gaBOOI

Ovi’s Breakout Game is Coming

Context is critical when assessing Alex Ovechkin’s performance.  As of this writing, he’s the Captain of the team that sits on top of the NHL standings with 30 points, he ranks 4th overall among 712 players listed on this season’s stats sheet, 5th in assists, and 10th in goals.

What many view as Ovi being off his game would be an incredible start for more than 9 out of 10 NHL players, but he’s viewed through a different lens than mere mortals.  He’s a 2-time league MVP who’s part of every legitimate debate trying to identify the best player on the planet. His game is assessed through a highlight real, no Youtube worthy theatrics translates into concern in the Caps blogosphere:

Russian Machine Never Breaks after last night 5-4 OT loss to the Flyers:

Alex Ovechkin had another stinker, and it’s time to start talking about it. He spoiled two excellent breakaway chances that would have been signature Ovi goals in another season. On point for the powerplay, he struggled to set up the sequence, squandering oodles of time.  It’s official: something is rotten in the state of Alex.

The Peerless Prognosticator after the same loss to the Flyers:

A breakaway, hitting the post, and breaking his stick on a one-timer in the first period. Right now, Alex Ovechkin can’t catch a break.  But he looked a lot better in this game than he has for most of this month

Japers Rink in last week’s Capitals Ups and Downs – Week 6 post:

With two goals and five assists on the week, AO keeps piling up the points. But with just four shots on goal over the last three games, you can tell that he’s not playing his best hockey

Using this tone when talking about the caliber of Ovi’s play is unchartered territory for many, and while these folks might be on to something I think there’s a breakout game coming.  I thought it might come in Atlanta on Friday night but no, Saturday night against the Flyers showed improvement, but not yet.  My money’s on Ovi, it’s coming sooner than you think.

NHL All-Star Game, Who Cares?

This years player selection process for the NHL All-Star game is some sort of hybrid, you pick’em, we pick’em, and we all end up with’em scheme to populate the opposing benches. I just read the WP Capitals Insider posting on the we pick’em, fan voting options to find just 3 of our hometown heroes made the ballot:

Online fan voting to determine six players who will attend this year’s NHL All Star game in Raleigh, N.C., will open on Monday and three Capitals players are on the ballot — Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green.

One might say that it’s a little peculiar that Alexander Semin, with his 21 points that currently ranks fourth in the NHL, isn’t on the list. The teams that have more players on the team than the Capitals are: Anaheim (4), Boston (4), Chicago (6), Detroit (5), Los Angeles (4), Philadelphia (5), Pittsburgh (4), San Jose (5), Toronto (4) and Vancouver (4)

My first thought was to get all indigent, write-up a rant, and encourage Caps Nation to rise up in the face of this injustice but that thought passed quickly.  Sure, I’m going to vote for Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Green and hopefully be able to write in Semin (Channeling Lisa Murkowski) but I’m having a hard time getting excited about an exhibition that I rarely, if ever, watch.  I watched the clip posted above from All-Star weekend game a couple of years ago that showed Ovi hamming it up with Malkin in the skills competition, the man knows how to make people smile, but I passed on the game.

Do I care that the NHL recognize the talent on display every time the Caps hit the ice, absolutely. Do I care about the NHL’s annual exhibition masquerading as legitimate hockey game, not so much.

Caps: 7-4 after 11, Good start but…

The Washington Capitals are off to a good start this season but is it enough to satisfy the omnipresent urgency to win that surrounds this team. This urgency is  the elephant that’s refusing to leave the room.

After closing out the first month of the season with 7 wins against 4 losses the Caps find themselves just 2 points behind the best record in the NHL, 23 of the leagues 30 teams are in their rear view mirror and still many in the hockey world raise doubts.  Most pundits rank the Caps as contenders for the Cup with an asterisk and the uneven path they took  during their first 11 games combined with long-term challenges add fuel to the blogosphere fire:

After losing 2 in a row to the Bruins Former player, current pundit Mike Milbury let this verbal barrage fly on WEEI’s Big Bad Blog:

There’s a team that came into this year after having them spanked last year unexpectedly in the playoffs, and the mantra was, I thought, not to become a shutdown defensive team, but at least to pay some attention to it, and have some more balance to their game. They looked like they were lacking in discipline and structure, and if I were George McPhee I’d be worried.

From local Caps blog The Peerless Prognosticator‘s looks right past the Caps 7-2 trouncing of Calgary saying this about the offense:

Don’t get the idea that the Caps’ offense is “back.” Not when seven of the 11 goals come in one game, and the power play still had trouble getting off the ground early in the week.

And this long-term view that this must be the coronation season for the Caps to be King from the Hockey News THN.com Blog:

And winning the Cup – or at least coming much closer – is paramount in Washington this season. With nine looming unrestricted free agents next summer – including mainstays Semin, Mike Knuble, Tomas Fleischmann and Brooks Laich – a changing of the guard is coming. But Boudreau and GM George McPhee are also going to be under the gun. If they can’t coach and manage this cast of characters to a deep playoff run, their jobs will be in question.

Whether these judgments after just 11 games are spot on, premature, or just wrong doesn’t seem to matter, they feed the elephant and will more than likely dog this team for the entire season. They only thing they can do to remove the asterisk thus expelling the elephant is win. This kind of scrutiny brings new meaning to keeping one’s head down and focusing on the task at hand. These Caps have the depth and talent to win it all and this season will prove if they have the grit to do it.

Caps Update/20 Minutes at Starbucks

Rather sedate crowd on the patio this afternoon, it’s a sunny 71 degrees and these people just don’t look like hockey fans, they have no idea what their missing.

The Capitals won last night 4-3 in overtime against Atlanta.  Other than recording a win, the big news was Alexander Semin leading the offensive attack with a hat trick, (that’s 3 goals for those new to the game) and the outstanding effort of center Mathieu Perreault playing alongside him. Perreault was called up from the Caps farm team, the Hershey Bears, yesterday and assisted on 2 of Semins’ goals.  The Caps need an offensive spark and if Perreault’s play is consistent over the next couple of games he may be playing in the big league for the foreseeable future.  He had the same opportunity last season but wasn’t quite ready for the NHL grind and was sent back down to the Bears, the next couple of games will be very telling.

The Yankees are playing golf, the Redskins play at 1, and the Patriots at 4:15. Normally I wouldn’t mention the Redskins but their fortunes affect so many of the locals around here that it’s best if they win.  All is well with the sporting world…for now.

Caps Offense Crumbles

Bruins beat the Capitals 4-1, Caps go 0-4 on the power play.  The Caps played 30 minutes of a 60 minute game while the Bs showed up for the whole shooting match – enough said.

Six Games Down, 76 to Go

First, lets deal with formalities; starting the 2010-11 82 game regular season 4-2 is great stuff. The Washington Capitals are an elite NHL franchise and as long as they stay relatively healthy they will stay on nearly every credible list of Stanley Cup contenders.

Now, about last night…

Last night the Boston Bruins beat the Caps 3-1 on home ice.  The view from my seat showed that the Caps had more talent, more scoring chances, and more game than the Bruins yet they lost 3-1, hmmm….

They played tough for nearly 60 minutes yet from time to time during last night’s contest those Bears just seemed to have broader shoulders. Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara’s 6’ 9” 255 pound frame had valiant Caps bouncing off and falling to the ice on a regular basis.  They’re clearly not going to beat this potential playoff opponent like this.

In order to win they need to take advantage of power play opportunities. Last year they had one of the most feared power plays in the league with many of the goals scored with a man advantage having significant impact on the outcome of games.  The Caps went 0-5 last night including a brief 2 man advantage in the second period.  A power play goal could have provided the momentum the Caps needed to win this game and they need to change this.

Let’s hope redemption comes on Thursday night when the Caps take on the Bruins up in Boston.