Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Caps @ Senators 1-30-2007 Post-Mortem

You sometimes wonder just what has this franchise done to annoy the Hockey Gods to deserve what happens in games like tonight. Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • It took awhile for the Caps to establish themselves in the offensive zone tonight, but they're credited with 37 shots on goal. People who complain that we don't shoot enough can't complain about the number of shots that found their way on goal tonight. Add in 11 missed shots and 13 blocked shots and the Caps fired 61 times tonight.
  • The fact that Jamie "Home Run" Heward led all defensemen in icetime is normally enough to scare Caps fans but he did it with just 20:07. No other Caps blueliner came close to 20 minutes of icetime tonight. So what does that mean? #1, Nobody got benched (Mike Green) #2. The time was pretty evenly distributed amongst the defensemen which is unusual, especially when our bluline faces an offense as potent at the Senators.
  • A.O. netting #32 and extending his point scoring streak to now 12 games.

THE BAD:

  • 0-for-5 on the Power Play and a blown 51 second 5-on-3 in the second period when they had their best chance to tie the game. Against a team like Ottawa, you have to cash in that kind of opportunity.
  • While taking 17 shots of your own in the second period is good, giving up 17 at the same time is not. The Caps were lucky to get out of the period down only two goals because the firewagon hockey is more Ottawa's game than it the Caps.
  • Remember how in my very first bullet point up there I said that it took the Caps awhile to get themselves established in the offensive zone? Well, that it clearly shown by the six shots on goal in the first period. No wonder the Caps didn't seriously threaten in the opening period. It would be one thing if the Caps were employing a bunker/ counter attack mentality, but nope, they gave up 2 goals on 12 shots.

THE UGLY:

  • What was the deal with the ice up there tonight? I can understand the puck bouncing like crazy in the Phone Booth but in Ottawa two days before February?
  • While Caps fans can't complain about the quantity of shots tonight, they do have a legitimate gripe about the quality. I know it is easier said than done but with Martin Gerber flopping in the crease, why didn't somebody get some lift on the rebounds he was giving up? I honestly don't know what was more frustrating, the bouncing pucks or the fact that we couldn't get rebounds up in the air and over the prone goaltender.
  • Nothing makes me appreciate the fine job Joe Beninati does as the play-by-play man for the Caps than when he isn't there and he's replaced by Al Koken. Please, can't we get somebody else better than Koken to pinch hit for Joe when he's off doing a game on Versus? Watching tonight's game was bad enough, but having to listen to Koken made it much worse.

I find myself nit-picking in a sense here because while this wasn't the Caps best effort, it was a good effort and they simply didn't get any bounces to go their way tonight. All three Ottawa goals came off of deflections or bounces that just simply broke their way. There isn't a much a team can about those things but try to keep their chin up. But with the Penguin Scum and the Ning both winning tonight, the Caps fall further back in the playoff race. I think General Manager George McPhee's decision on whether or not to be a buyer or a seller at the trading deadline is becoming clearer.

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