Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Caps @ Maple Leafs 1-23-2008 Post-Mortem

We're going to regret this one... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • The Caps offense was able to generate good consistent pressure in the offensive zone tonight getting 32 shots on goal. As typical with the Caps this season, they also had 16 shots blocked and missed everything 16 times. But 64 shots taken is a good number.
  • The Penalty Killers shut down a bad Power Play, allowing only 3 shots on 3 chances. With what happened on Monday, we'll take small steps forward.
  • The overall defensive effort wasn't too bad either. Only 24 shots allowed and 12 of them came in the second period.

THE BAD:

  • The Power Play (now ranked 11th) couldn't take advantage of a weak Penalty Killing unit (ranked 26th). The Power Play was 0 for 4 and was credited with only 2 shots on goal. It didn't look as if we simplified much on the Power Play tonight.
  • John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles connected on some nice hits tonight which means for the next few games he'll be running around trying to throw more of those hits and will get himself even further out of position.

THE UGLY:

  • Olie Kolzig is right in the sense that the new systems leaves him more exposed and with his declining skills; he will consequently give up more goals. But the game winning goal he allowed tonight was a direct result of his lack of rebound control and ability to reset. That's got nothing to do with coaching and everything to do with his own play which continues to struggle.
  • A big problem tonight was laziness in our own zone, especially on the breakout and some of the clearing attempts. We need some serious tightening up in that area.

Bruce Boudreau's NHL career as a player never took off because he didn't commit himself to playing defense. His NHL career as a Head Coach may end up being short-lived as well if he doesn't figure out how to tighten up defensively; especially if he continues to insist on playing an aging #1 goaltender. Expect to see more of these kinds of games over the 11 weeks (that's all that's left folks). Teams are more likely to sit back and let us come at them and try to counter punch instead of opening things up and trying to outgun us. We would be better able to handle that type of opposition if we had better goaltending and some of our skill players with speed were willing to backcheck better. But oftentimes a winning streak allows various bad habits to creep into your game. Let's hope that tonight's loss is the catalyst to getting them out of our game before we end up in losing streak.

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