Thursday, December 20, 2007

Caps vs. Canadiens 12-20-2007 Post-Mortem

I told you, it only lasts about a week... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Before last Saturday's game in Tampa, Bruce Boudreau called out Alexander Semin by saying that Semin had to start scoring regularly if the Caps were going to start winning regularly. While goals in back-to-back games is hardly a sign of consistency, it should be noted that Semin has scored in the last two games and we've now lost two in a row.
  • It's rather surprising that in light of a relatively crummy effort that the Caps were able to outshoot the Canadiens 37-21. Of course tonight was yet another prime example of the quality of shots being more important than the quantity. Cristobal Huet was #2 star instead of #1 because of the volume of saves he made and not the quality of saves he made tonight.


  • Once again I wish Brian Sutherby was still around... He would have been a perfect player to give Viktor Kozlov a night or two in the Press Box. Kozlov rang iron in the third which is the closest he's come to scoring in quite awhile but he completely flubbed two prime opportunities in the first period and just doesn't seem to be giving the effort out there that's needed.
  • I hope Brian Pothier's fractured thumb is the reason why A.O. was skating as a defenseman in the third period 5-on-5. I'm seriously beginning to wonder if there are any plans for A.O. to play in goal one night because that's the direction we're headed right now. Hopefully Boudreau will replace Pothier's puck moving ability with Steve Eminger's and not with John Erskine Bowles' imitation of an I-95 signpost.


  • And speaking of putting A.O. in goal, I don't think he can do any worse than Olie Kolzig did tonight. If Boudreau's accountability standard is to have any teeth, Kolzig needs to be benched not only Saturday night in New York but next Wednesday night against Tampa. Even if you don't want to blame Kolzig for any of the goals let in tonight, he still needs to sit because the first three Montreal goals came on just 8 shots by my count. Simply put, Kolzig is not getting the job done and he needs to be treated like the other players on the team who haven't/weren't getting the job done.
  • I don't care that the Power Play unit got a goal tonight, they still looked pretty bad and their "Special" Teams partner, the Penalty Killing got ripped again, 2 for 4 in that department. My biggest problem with the Power Play tonight is that twice the first Power Play unit (who also gets the lion's share of time on the man advantage) took penalties to nullify the remaining Power Play time.

If you're wondering why Bruce Boudreau is still only the interim coach, tonight's game is a prime example why. The more I watch this team, the more I become convinced that Boudreau is Glen Hanlon with a mean streak. Hanlon at one point employed an aggressive forechecking system but backed off of it because it wasn't working out, but now there's more talent and an aggressive system should be easier to utilize. There's no doubt that the Caps had Montreal bottled up for good portions of the game, but they couldn't do anything with it. Whether or not Boudreau lays into the players again is beside the point, the problems with this team have only partially to do with coaching. The lack of true leadership looks to be the real problem and will need to be addressed before anybody can expect this team to contend for a playoff spot.



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