A Few Random Observations: vs OTT, 10/15/11 October 16, 2011Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
Far be it from me to argue with success. A 4-0 start is good, a regulation win is good, and a goalie out to prove something is, well, something. But this game had a lot of glasses that were half-something-or-other. In no particular order…
- I’m calling shenanigans on the Sens’ training staff. They must have snuck into the Caps’ dressing room at some point in the first period and swapped the Gatorade for Drank, or something. Because that’s the only reason I can come up with for the Caps’ play going from “Bravo Zulu” to “Whiskey Charlie” in the space of seventeen minutes.
- Alex Ovechkin one-on-one used to be money, but it wasn’t tonight. I hope the Great Eight isn’t turning into the Very Good Eight before our very eyes.
- Before I forget, about the anthems. “O Canada” was pitch-perfect, but “The Star-Spangled Banner” was not. Patrick Mason sang the first line in D, went flat on “by”–he sang an E when he should have been on an F-sharp–and then did the rest of it in C. This is not the first time he’s started in D and gone flat, and he needs to either work on staying in D or just set out to do the whole box of crayons in C from the upbeat. If he’s going to end in C, he may as well start there. Don’t start in a showoff key, go flat, and then go for a splashy high at the end. And especially don’t do that more than once.
- But back to the game…I knew the Sens were throwing everything they had at Tomas Vokoun when I saw the Red Rockers come on the ice at the end and have to walk around the kitchen sink that was lying in Vokoun’s crease. I jest…but only just.
- Alex Semin forechecking? Did I really see that? Long may it last! Molodyets, Sasha, if I may say so.
- It might have been just me, but it looked like a lot more misdraws than usual tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve been so conscious of players getting excused from the faceoff circle.
- Alzner for boarding? Huhwhat? The man just flat-out doesn’t take penalties. He had all of two dozen PIMs last year, and he played the full 82. So far this season, it’s 4 GP and 4 PIMs, which is a career-worst pace. Something’s odd here.
- The power play did a passable job tonight, but there’s still a little bit of room to improve. Ottawa came at the Caps with a hyper-aggressive PK, and actually looked like a shorty threat on a couple of occasions. That seemed to knock the Caps back a bit, and the power play had to settle for 1-for-3. And while a 33% PP unit is not a bad night at the office by any stretch, I thought the Caps could have been able to do even better if they’d gotten back in the Senators’ faces and tried to catch one of their PK men out of position.
- Not that either side got much of a chance on special teams: after Kuba had a seat for tripping at 2:46 of the 2nd, the refs let ‘em play for the balance. Quibble with some of the noncalls if you want, but the penalties were 3 for the Sens and 1 for the Caps, so I wouldn’t complain too loudly about the officiating–especially since both teams looked to be behaving themselves. Having Chris Neil dressed for the Sens, and DJ King on the ice for the Caps, meant both teams had their own cops on the beat, so the game ended up being (for the most part) politely played. (Although I don’t think Chris Neil missed a single chance to get up in Vokoun’s grill.)
- Glass half-empty: the Caps spent almost the entire 2nd period getting outworked, outhustled, outskated, and outplayed. Glass half-full: the Sens still ended up with nothing to show for it. So for all the Caps’ coulda-woulda’s, the Sens still ended up with shoulda-didn’t. That’s good work on balance, but let’s not forget that that was the Senators we were playing, and not anybody good. So while that worked in Game #54, it probably wouldn’t work as well in Series O.
- A regulation win! Yay! I was starting to worry that the Caps were playing so much OT so far that they might effectively end up with an 83-game schedule if they kept it up.
- Oh, and to the twerp who screamed “THOU SHALT NOT PASS!” at me behind my back: why, pray tell, did you have to act more ridiculous than I look? Hm?
All in all, I’ve seen better efforts from the Caps over the years, but a win is a win is a win, 4-0-0 is 4-0-0 is 4-0-0, and having a shot at a franchise record for best start to a season is…well, you get the idea. I hope tonight was just a case of getting the bugs out of the system so they won’t be playing like this come April. And even despite not playing their best tonight, the Caps now have the 2nd-best record in the entire NHL as of tonight (behind Detroit), and are tops in the East. So while tonight’s win wasn’t exactly John Milton, it also wasn’t exactly William McGonagall, either.
See you all Tuesday night.
WE’RE PERFECT SO FAR