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Completely Random Potpourri January 16, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

I’ve had a couple of ideas for some longer essays that have come up in my absence which just won’t develop the more I hammer at them, so I’m going to just put several random musings together here, in no particular order.

Ovie as Captain: It’s the perfect choice, but is it too perfect for its own good?

Chimera trade: Chimera’s stats compared well to Clark’s, and moving Jurcina freed some room along the back line for the likes of an Alzner or a Carlson to get more than a cup of coffee when they get called up. Also frees up some cap room for either a deadline buy (which I don’t see), a rental, or (most likely) room to keep Backstrom and Semin around for a long time. Shrewd move, I think, but may yet prove too clever by half–we’ll see. But you have to love it when the guy’s barely settled into town, and he picks up a Gordie Howe hat trick. THAT is how you win fans in your new rink.

Goalie situation: The kids (Varlamov and Neuvirth) are definitely all right, even if Neuvirth hasn’t been himself for a couple of starts. My concern here is Jose Theodore. He’s a good man who’s been dealing with personal tragedies off the ice, and his name keeps getting bandied about as possible trade bait. I think that, personally, he deserves better than what he’s been getting from some fans: there are some who disliked him on Day One, and haven’t changed their minds since. But it’s hard to argue with a GAA that’s only recently come below 3.00, a save percentage that had been below .900, and more regulation losses than Varlamov and Neuvirth put together. I hope, for the sake of both Jose and the team generally, that he quickly finds (and keeps) his game and plays well enough to stay here for the balance of the season. He may have just saved his job against Toronto last night, if he can keep playing like that down the stretch. Now, while Semyon Varlamov was certainly a revelation last spring–someone forgot to tell the kid that coming back from being down 3-1 against the Rangers was supposed to be difficult–I’m not so sure about a Varlamov/Neuvirth tandem in net for the playoffs this year. Next year, maybe; this year, well…. Neuvirth is certainly developing very, very quickly, and Varlamov certainly has the playoff experience to make a solid run at it. But no matter how good they are, I’m not entirely sold on the idea of two rookie goalies in the second season. All that said, I hope Theodore can find his old form, and hang on to it, before it’s too late for him in Washington. Personally, I think he deserves better. The man has never won a Stanley Cup if I’m reading his bio correctly, and I’d love to see him win one with us. Yeah, I know, that sounds like a made-for-the-Hallmark-Channel movie idea, but what can I say? It’s honestly meant, all right?

Offensive outburst of late: On the one hand, I’d love to see Ovechkin make another run at the Ross and Richard; on the other, if everyone else is scoring almost at will, how easy will we be to stop once April gets here? It’s hard not to like what the offense has been doing.

The defense, on the other hand…well. Let’s just say I wonder some nights if whoever is in net ever barks at his blueliners for leaving him out to dry. The Caps do play a high-risk, high-reward game, and when it works, Atlanta gets thrashed, the Leafs get bagged, and that is one too many bad jokes in one sentence, don’t you think? But when the system doesn’t quite work, the defense can give the opposition an easy look, and you have to think it’s “Pardon my French” (or Czech, or Russian) behind the mask.

Flash had been 0-for-6 career before getting his first one in Florida the other night. Heck of a time to get off the schneid.

When you see a final score of 6-1 in the paper, your assumption tends to be that the game was a romp. Last night’s game against the Leafs sure didn’t feel like a romp. Yes, the Caps beat the Leafs by an order of Glory Days wings, but it felt like the game wasn’t really over until very late in the third. The Leafs had a goal washed out on a very stupid penalty just before the second intermission, or it would have been 4-2 going into the third. The headline “Caps Escape 6-1” would look preposterous, but that game did feel like a bit of an escape.

Dude in the space suit is making me look like yesterday’s news. Mad props to the guy for finding his own Capital Spirit. That’s what being a fan is all about–finding your own way of cheering on the team, and giving it all you’ve got.

Which reminds me–Mike Wise’s rant the other day on WaPo Live was unfortunate. I know how the chin-wagging racket works: sometimes, you need to gin up some controversy to generate more eyeballs and mouse clicks. I just think this was the wrong controversy for Wise to gin up. What, exactly, was CSN’s share in DC for Game 7 against the Rangers last spring? How many eyeballs that were glued to CSN for the playoffs has Wise now spat in with his intemperate remarks?

It’s been a while since I’ve been out to Arlington to catch practice. Part of that was the schedule, but I’ve been unable to go since Christmas because of health concerns. Still a few minor sniffles after catching something over the holidays, and I’m not so selfish that I need to be around the players and possibly pass along a virus. I’ll be out there once I’m at 100%, and 95% isn’t going to cut it.

Now, on to the charts, to get those finally caught all the way up, and then a preliminary look at next week’s action. How long since I’ve been able to do a preview?

My fellow hockey bloggers, never–and I mean NEVER–let your PC die on you in the middle of the season.

One other side distraction I need to mention: Something Is Coming. Ignore the date at the end of the video–you can still join in.

And finally, last but not least–I’m back now.




1. june - January 18, 2010

GOOD to see you again in print!!

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