A Few Random Observations: vs CBJ, 9/26/11 September 27, 2011Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
Just back from the Caps’ preseason home opener, a generally well-played 3-1 win over Columbus. Some observations from the nosebleeds:
- Borque, Perreault, and Eakin looked like they wanted to make Coach Boudreau reach for the Excedrin, and I mean that as a compliment. Borque had a trio of assists, Perreault stashed one from the doorstep, and Eakin looked like he wanted to wear a red sweater for longer than just September. Coach Boudreau may end up getting quite a headache having to decide on whether or not to send any of those three up I-83. On the other hand…
- Jay Beagle had a quiet game, and the preseason is the wrong time for that.
- Fans booed a bit when Brooks Laich was announced as a scratch. I hope that was just a precautionary move.
- Tomas Vokoun was supposed to the the #1 goalie, but Michal Neuvirth played like he had other ideas. Other than one third period goal that you could clearly see he wanted back, he was stopping everything the Jackets threw at him–including a couple of “how did he do that” sequences that got the crowd buzzing.
- Speaking of the crowd, well…it wasn’t. I know it’s Skins versus Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and the Caps game was just preseason, but come on. I hope I’m not the only hockey fan in DC who’s been dying to see a live hockey game ever since we left it at “so long” against Tampa Bay after Game 2. It wasn’t quite dress like a seat night or anything, but that’s as empty as I’ve seen Verizon Center in a couple of years.
- One sign that there weren’t enough fans in the building: Game Entertainment actually put me up there for a live shot, for the first time in a long time. Guess they just ran out of better fans to put up there, and opted to settle for me.
- Speaking of Game Entertainment: Watch your abbreviations, guys. COL is the Colorado Avalanche. The NHL’s 3-letter code for Columbus is CBJ.
- You have to give mad props, even in defeat, to Jackets tender Curtis Sanford, who saw more rubber in two and a half hours than a Formula One pit crew. 32 saves on 35 shots faced isn’t a horrendous night at the office by any means, but when the other goalie is on a mission to keep the #1 job, what can you do? Even though it was 3-0 at the second intermission, Sanford came out in the third and looked like he was going to single-handedly will the Jackets to the win.
- While we’re on the subject of trying to do it all himself, let me mention Alexander Semin. Some of his good moves were jaw-dropping; some of his not-so-good moves were forehead-slapping. All he had to show for it on the score sheet was two minor penalties, one of which erased a Capitals power play. Semin has been giving interviews in English; he had a couple of shots on goal, with no misses and none blocked; and he was +1 on takeaways. Both of the penalties he took were successfully killed, so his mistakes didn’t up hurting the Caps on the scoreboard. He did look, to me at least, like he was trying to turn over a new leaf, but he didn’t quite pull it off. This wasn’t a horrendous night at the office for Semin: he’s definitely had worse (go pull the Event Summary on Game 3 against the Bolts last spring if you don’t believe me.) But I thought he was trying to do more than he could, and his over-corrections ended up giving the PK unit a bit more practice than it might have otherwise gotten. He’s got room for improvement, to be sure. But he needs to be given that room to improve, and not summarily thrown under the bus. Wait and see.
- Alex Ovechkin, meanwhile, didn’t really stand out. 4 shots on goal in 15:28 of ice time, 2 misses, 4 hits, two giveaways, and -1 defensively…hang on a minute. Who was that impostor in the #8 jersey, and what did he do with the real Alex Ovechkin?
- Meanwhile, what was going on with Marcus Johansson? 33% on faceoffs, and a team-worst 3 giveaways? I hope he’s not dealing with a personal crisis away from the rink, because he was less “MoJo” and more “No, NO!” tonight.
- This is the first time I’ve seen Dennis Wideman on the ice since his injury last spring, and I liked what I saw. A power play goal and two blocks isn’t bad, and being on the ice for the Caps’ other PPG is no small feather in #6’s cap.
- The championship banners for both the Caps and the Bullets/Wizards were missing from the rafters tonight. The Mystics’ 2010 regular season championship banner was still there, as were the retired Caps numbers. I didn’t see anything from Georgetown, either, but that’s on the other side of the building from me and I wasn’t exactly looking for it. I’m guessing they’re figuring out where to put all the division banners the Caps seem to have been racking up these recent seasons. Hope they leave room for three more…
- Next home game is Friday night against Buffalo. Seriously? Do we really need another visit this year from some of the most obnoxious visiting fans in the NHL?
- And finally…the pretzel stand behind Section 111 is gone, replaced by, of all things, a Hard Times Cafe. Order some Cincinnati and thank me later.
Not a bad night for the boys in red. See you back here tomorrow at 8 AM for the next part of my predictions.
HAPPY TO BE BACK