Friday, March 12, 2010

Caps vs. Ning 3-12-2010 Post-Mortem

Send in the clowns...  Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

THE GOOD:
  • Captain A.O. with two more assists tonight to run his season total to 52 and points total to 96.  And he didn't miss his 45th goal and 97th point on the season by very much late in the third period either.
  • The Power Play was 2 for 4 tonight and the Penalty Killers were 1 for 1 and didn't allow a shot on goal.  That's right, the Caps took only one penalty tonight.  It surprised us too just a few minutes ago when we realized that.
  • The circus is in the Phone Booth next weekend which means this crummy ice sheet that has had pucks bouncing and players toe picking all over the place these past week will be taken out and a new sheet will be installed before the Penguin Scum infect the Phone Booth on the 24th.
THE BAD:
  • Semyon "The Saviour" Varlamov  is slowly getting back into form.  He couldn't be blamed for the last two goals he allowed but still should have stopped the first goal.  He was fighting the puck for most of the night but did show some flashes of his form from last Spring.  The big question we have though is it coming back to him quick enough?  There's only 14 games left.
  • Reunited and it didn't look too good.  Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green and Shaone Morrrissonnn were both a -2 tonight.
  • And while we're glad to see the Power Play click and the team stay out of the Penalty Box, it also means that the Caps were outscored tonight at even strength 3-0.
THE UGLY:
  • Down two goals heading into the third period, Bruce Boudreau  shuffled the lines and reunited the SOB trio.  Boudreau however continued to try to roll all four lines during the third period (Scott Walker Texas Ranger with Brooks "and Dunn" Laich and Mike Knuble???) and didn't deploy the SOB line as often as he usually would in that situation.  So was Boudreau trying to win the game, conduct more line experiments, continue to parcel out the ice time, or some combination of the three?  Whatever it was, it didn't really work.
  • And speaking of parceling out ice time, we really, really, hope we've seen the last ice time that Tyler Sloan and John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles will get this season.  There is no point in having John Carlson on the roster if he isn't going to play and we seriously question the healthy scratching of a player with the second best +/- in the NHL.
Well folks, while we would like to see the Caps make an effort to win everything, their Division, Conference #1 Seed, President's Trophy, the Eastern Conference, and the Stanley Cup; we know that the Caps aren't too interested in winning the President's Trophy.  It is hard for us to get too worked up about a game like this because while the Caps lost, they actually played some of their best hockey this week tonight and that was before they fell behind 3-1.  It sometimes happens like this and while we're sure that some people are starting to remember last year's swoon before the playoffs, we'd like to say that we think the Caps are actually playing harder and better hockey now than they were at this point last season with the playoff spot and division title wrapped up.  The Caps didn't really match the urgency of the Ning partly because of the lineup but also because the Caps really don't need to.  And even then, the Ning started packing things in having at least four players around their goalie in the third period and whenever the Caps had the puck in the corner, the Ning had all five players below the faceoff circles to keep the Caps at bay.  The Caps could have punched through and gotten the game tied up and maybe even won it in regulation but Boudreau is clearly working on something right now.  Exactly what it is, we don't know but the time for experimentation is almost over.

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