Saturday, January 20, 2007

Caps vs. Panthers 1-20-2007 Post-Mortem

Well the Caps decided to start their All-Star break a little early. Onto the late Battle Damage Assessment.

THE GOOD:
  • Other than the shorthanded goal he gave up in the second period, Olie Kolzig played well today and avoided the snowball effect that did him in last week. Olie kept this game much closer than it really was. This game could have easily been as bad as last week's was.
  • You gotta give the penalty killers some credit. They kept the #5 Power Play in the league off the scoreboard on 10, that's right, 10 chances. Referees Bill McCreary and Craig Speda called as tight of a hockey game as I've seen in a awhile. (Could this be why?) While Ultimate Fighting On Ice fans don't like it, at least the refs were also calling the rougher stuff too. On more than one occasion I've seen refs call every hook, hold, and trip and let elbows, cross checks, and high sticks go unpunished. It was a very tightly called game and while some calls were flat out missed, it balanced. It was just as tight for the Caps as it was the Panthers.

THE BAD:

  • A 1 for 7 performance by our own Power Play unit. While I won't complain about "botching" the 29 second 5-on-3 (the second one we got in the first period) the Power Play had trouble establishing itself all day.
  • Just like last week, the Caps got very little pressure and contact on their forechecking. Some might complain that the amount of special teams time today had an effect, but the Caps seemed to have precious little jump in their skates today.
  • When it became very obvious that the referees were calling everything today, the lack of adjustment on the part of both teams was downright stunning. You know if it close he's going to call it, so why are you still doing it then?

THE UGLY:

  • First of all, let me say that I HATE the idiots who yell "SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT!" whenever the Caps have the puck in the offensive zone, but the Caps were credited with only 18 shots on goal. They had 9 missed shots and Florida blocked 9 more. That ads up to only 36 times the Caps pulled the trigger today. To make matters worse, the Panthers third (and backbreaking) goal was a direct result of rushing your shot. I believe it was Steve Eminger who instead of passing to his partner, Mike Green, rushed his shot and had it blocked. It went the other way and ended up in the Caps net. Not only did the Caps seem averse to pulling the trigger, they also choose bad shots too.
  • The second period doldrums returned today as evidenced by the 18 shots on goal the Panthers took in the second. The Panthers also got off 16 in the third period when they were nursing a one goal lead. The Caps got half their shots on the third period alone which, while overkill on this issue, is just sad.
  • I can't think of a single blueliner tonight for the Caps who had a really good game. Is Brian Pothier really that important to our blueline?

The Caps are off from practice until Thursday and they don't play again until next Friday night when they visit a Carolina team who will be looking for revenge. While it may be best for them to forget this kind of performance, they have no choice but to sit and stew on this game for almost a week.

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