Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Raise Your Hand If You're Also Underwhelmed

I made it to the Caps preseason game last night and I have to say, I was rather underwhelmed by the much ballyhooed new scoreboard and video screen. I do have to say that the picture is much nicer than the old one, but the only time I ever watched the screen was for replays.

The ribbon boards around the 400 level were annoying more than anything else. When the ads changed, the amount of light in the arena changed with it and it drew your attention away from the game.

The new setup is a lot like what they now have in Philadelphia only we're under utilizing the system compared to Philly. The corner pieces with the caricatures of the Capitol Dome, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial topped with stars is nice but seems to me to be a waste of space, especially since the rings on top and bottom just displayed ads all night.

I'll grant you it was the first time they've used the system so hopefully things will improve. It wasn't until the third period last night that they figured out how to place the score, clock, and shots on goal on the 400 level ribbon board. The club level ribbon board was extended all the way to the end but the new panels weren't online yet and the corner displays weren't up and running yet either.

Though let me give a compliment to the new color scheme throughout the phone booth. That ugly purple and yellow is now thankfully gone. But was all of this worth a tax hike on tickets? I still say no.

And as I feared, the numbers on the Caps new jerseys are much easier to read but the the names are just as difficult as they always were. I had no problems reading the names of the Hurricanes but unless I knew which Cap was which by number, I still needed binoculars to read the name.

As for the game itself, the Caps pulled it out in OT 3-2. Nicklas Backstrom, Viktor Kozlov, and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green scored the goals. The Power Play and referee Don "Have Another Donut You Fat Pig" Koharski both looked to be in midseason form (Yes, it is the same cheap joke I break out every year) and Jakub "and sons" Klepis did himself no favors by missing a wide open net in the first period.

Shaone Morrrissonnn had a great scoring opportunity in the second period and held onto the puck in the slot too long before shooting. Cam Ward made a routine save. If there was anything that struck me last night is was the Caps continuing to hold onto the puck for just a little too long before either passing or shooting. That was a problem that plagued them last year and MUST be corrected before they can even think about contending for a playoff spot.

However it is tough to get a good read on how well somebody is or isn't playing in the preseason when the game is about 3/4's speed. Seven (yep, that long) years ago now Jakub "and sons"Cutta had an excellent camp and preseason. He made the team coming out of camp that year; but when the games counted for real, he couldn't handle the speed and was sent down after appearing in just three games. He played 5 more in the NHL since then and hasn't been heard from since. So while guys like Tomas Fleischmann and Green are having strong camps and preseasons, it does not mean it will carry over into the regular season.

The best news of the night however came from the Nats who, despite trying hard, held onto a seven run ninth inning lead and won 10-9. It was the 71st win for the Nats this year and it matches their total for last season. That means they need just one win in their final three games to beat last year's record. Their "magic number" to lock up fourth place is two.

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