Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caps vs. Red Wings 1-31-2009 Post-Mortem

It's a good thing we didn't do something like donating blood before going to the game today... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Alright, let's get the A.O. rundown/update out of the way. 2 more goals today including the game winner, but what is surprising is that the two goals came on just 5 shots taken, all on goal. No shots of his were blocked and none missed everything. He's now up to 196 goals in his career in just 293 games. He's tied with Bengt Gustafsson for 4th on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list (Gus, needed 629 games to get those 196 goals, five of which came in one game). A.O. now has 372 points in his career and is now 23 points behind Bobby Carpenter for 14th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list.
  • Nicklas Backstrom skating on the second line tonight with another quiet two points. But more importantly, he was 6-3 in faceoffs tonight.
  • The much maligned Penalty Killers came through today when it counted the most. Facing an eternal 5-on-3 with a two goal lead and the Detroit Goaltender pulled, the Penalty Killers simply got the job done and that is why the Caps won today.
  • Despite tickets being available early and often through various channels, no more than 1/3 of the Phone Booth today were Detroit Refugees/Bandwagoners. We had to admit we were expecting much, much worse.

THE BAD:

  • The return of Sergei (#3) Fedorov has not changed Alexander "Slappy" Semin's game very much. As a matter of fact, it looks as if the positive influence that Federov had on Slappy has completely worn off. This isn't good news.
  • We can't complain too much about John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles being caught out of position and looking slow against a faster team because it is a well established fact that he's slow and often caught out of position. What we can complain about is that Bruce Boudreau continues to put him in situations where his slow feet and dim-wittedness can be exposed. Especially paired with Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green. There's no way Green (or anybody else for that matter) can feel comfortable leading or jumping into the rush with Erskine Bowles back there on an island.

THE UGLY:

  • Too many penalties taken today. Again, the penalty killers got the job done when they needed to, but how much did Detroit miss Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom? The Caps played with fire today and got lucky.
  • Tom Poti gets the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award today for shooting the puck over the glass while trying to kill a 5-on-3 created when Brooks "and Dunn" Laich committed the same crime. Poti's clearing attempt may have been deflected, but not by much and Poti should have been more careful with the puck in that situation.
  • Why do we always give up a goal to a guy making his NHL debut?

Because the Caps are so tough to beat now on home ice, home ice could be an important factor in just how far the Caps go. Of the teams ahead of the Caps in the standings, only New Jersey has been able to pull off a win at the Phone Booth, and that came in a gimmick. Still, the main problem that was identified, taking too many penalties, still plagues the Caps and needs to be corrected. From what we've been able to see and read, it looks as if the Penalty Killers have been more a victim of bad luck and bounces than anything. However the underlying point of putting themselves in a position where the Penalty Killers have to deal with bad bounces and bad luck remains. Taking 7 minor penalties against the league's top Power Play is not a recipe for success. If this team really wants to go far in the playoffs, they'll have to find some discipline or else, this could be another season of "what if."

It has been... A TWO POINT DAY!!!

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