Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Season Series: Ovechkin vs Crosby

Even though the Calder race was long ago, there will always be a battle between Alex Ovechkin & Sidney Crosby.

Here's how this year's season series shaped out:

Alex Ovechkin vs Pittsburgh Penguins
0 G, 3 A, 3 Pts

Sidney Crosby vs Washington Capitals
2 G, 3 A, 5 Pts

Ovechkin never seems to have that tenacity when he plays Crosby & the Penguins. I hope that can change over the next few years when Alex has more quality players to work with.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Capitals & Backstrom in negotation

Well good news for Caps fans, one of the key aspects in their re-building stage, Swedish centremen Nicklas Backstrom and the Washington Capitals have been negotiating on an entry level contract since the beginning of March. The Capitals aim to land Backstrom before the start of the season in October.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Capitals @ Sabres

The Capitals didn't look as sharp as they did against Tampa or Toronto, but they did test Miller with 28 shots, two of them resulted in goals from unlikely sources, Pothier & Brashear.
The Caps held their own until mid-way through the 3rd when Stafford netted two, one of which Eminger got caught looking into Stafford's feet, where in most cases will turn out looking like a better deke than it actually is.
On a positive note, the heroes from Sunday's thrashing, Tomas Fleischmann & Alex Semin were constantly buzzing and creating chances, none of which the Caps were able to capitalize on.

The Capitals travel to Raleigh to face the playoff fighting Carolina Hurricanes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

3 game wrap-up

There is no doubt that the Washington Capitals are a much more confident team with Olaf Kolzig in net. They definitely performed that early on Thursday night when Chris Clark helped the Caps jump out to a 3-0 lead.

3 Game Wrap-up
Washington Capitals @ Boston Bruins
- Olaf Kolzig faces 42 shots and helps the Capitals pick up a point; something they haven't achieved in what seemed like years.
-Chris Clark showed what he is capable of despite losing Zubrus.
Even though we blew a 3-0 lead, there were positives from this game.
-One of the main reasons why the Bruins did come back was because of the careless penalties we took. All three of their goals were on the PP

Toronto Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals
- The Caps definitely played an incredible game & they couldn't have smoked a better team than the Leafs. I love it!
-We saw much of our young talent (Fleischmann, Gordon, Giroux) get on the scoreboard in a meaningful way.
-Kolzig, once again, stood on his head and made plenty of saves to keep the Caps in.
-If I had to point out a flaw in this game, it would be our powerplay. We never really took full advantage.

Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals
- Tomas Fleischmann!
- Alex Semin
- Olaf Kolzig
I think many of us can fairly state that these three players won us the game. I didn't watch the game, but just by looking at the scoresheet tells you how big of an impact these players had.

Fleischmann: 2 G, 2 A, 4 Pts
Semin: 3 G, 3 Pts
Kolzig: 31 Saves

Hopefully the Caps could keep playing spoiler against whichever playoff fighting team they run into.
It was a long time coming, but the last three games have been nothing but a positive!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Godzilla's Return!

The Capitals received some good news earlier this week as Olaf Kolzig looks to get the nod in tonight's game against the Boston Bruins. It seems Kolzig has fully recovered from a torn MCL, an injury he has been sidelined with for the past month or so.

Here's what he told Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir:
"I was frustrated," Kolzig said of the shot that beat him. "I have to remind myself that I've been off the ice for four weeks, and my timing isn't going to be the way it was before. You know me. I don't let things fester inside. I let it out."

Kolzig currently sits 17th in the league with a .909 SV% at 45 games played.
Also, the Capitals have assigned Frederic Cassivi to Hershey.

Why are we really losing?

With the season coming to a close, I can’t help myself to think back to when we were playing great, entertaining hockey. At the time, the Capitals were in a playoff position, something Cap fans weren’t expecting out of what was to be a “re-building year.”
What did we have then compared to what we have now? Danius Zubrus? Well yes, the Zubrus deal did see the Capitals lose one of their top point getters, but is Zubrus’ departure the reasoning behind our recent losing ways?
Not technically! Although the trade did break-up one of the best line combinations in the NHL, the Caps haven’t missed a whole lot of Zubrus’ scoring touch.
If you tally up how many goals were scored seven games prior to the deal and seven games after the deal you will notice they are both at 15.
Not to harp on Brent Johnson for a second time in two nights but our losing ways haven’t come because of Zubrus’ departure (although Ovechkin has been in a slump) it has to do with goaltending. At the time of Kolzig’s injury some may argue that the Capitals were already out of the playoff race, but I think just by looking at the standings right now and seeing where Boston and Florida stand you can’t really count anyone out two months before the playoffs. I’ve noticed the media look at Ovechkin’s recent play for our severe drop in the standings, but a team that holds a 3.44 GAA (2nd worst in NHL) and a 2.89 Goals per Game Average (11th in the NHL) clearly states that their problems stem from the back.
Before I blame all of this on Johnson, I should point out that our defence holds a huge part in this. Watching Green & Eminger pretty much hand the Thrashers two of their four goals scored Monday night wasn’t pretty, but for a goaltender to win only one game out of the 13 he’s filled in for is simply awful!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Caps plug away with Johnson

It pains me to constantly think that whenever Kolzig goes down, Johnson has to be stuffed infront of the cage only to watch pucks go past him.
Living in Toronto I don't get to see the Caps play much, let alone Brent Johnson. But over the stretch of Kolzig's injury I have had the opportunity to realize Johnson is a complete plug!
I really don't know what Caps management liked in Johnson after last season. Well, I'll take that back. He did show up for a few contests, and I did notice confidence building in Johnson's play.
But at 26 games played, Brent Johnson's GAA sits at a terrifying 3.67; only better than Dan Cloutier.
I understand that Johnson has become somewhat of a better goaltender after arriving in Washington, but to think that the Caps are totally sold on Johnson by extending his term in DC is scary.
One netminder in particular that I would like to see in a Capitals uniform is Fred Brathwaite. (May be Atlanta Thrashers' property)
Watching Johnson today against the Thrashers truly made me believe he isn't capable of playing in the NHL.
I'm guessing the Caps are looking to keep Johnson around for quite a bit so all I can do for now is hope Dave Prior can enrich Johnson with some serious goaltending techniques.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What prospects do the Caps have to choose from this summer?

Patrick Kane
With the Caps severely slipping in the standings, chances are they will draft within the top 7 in this summer's draft. If the season were to end this moment they will draft 5th, which is a pretty decent position considering the talent this draft holds.

Let's take a look at the top prospects the Caps have a shot at this summer, that's if they don't trade away one of their first round picks in a major off-season deal.

-- Alexei Cherepanov --
Position: RW
D.O.B: 1/15/1989
Current Team: Omsk Avangard (Russia)
06/07 Stats: 47 GP, 18 G, 12 A, 30 pts
Considering the talent this kid holds, many feel he could be doing a bit better than 30 pts, although he is the youngest member of Omsk Avangard and sits 6th on the team in points. The Caps seem to like Russians, and with the qualities Cherepanov carries he may be the next young Russian to join the Semin & Ovechkin tandem.

-- Sam Gagner --
Position: C
D.O.B: 8/10/1989
Current Team: London Knights (CHL)
06/07 Stats: 52 GP, 35 G, 81 A, 116 pts
Sam Gagner is one of the main reasons the London Knights are the best team in the OHL. Gagner has great vision of the ice, and always seems to get on the scoresheet from goals in the slot or crisp passes on the PP. The Caps are in need for a centremen right now. Sam Gagner would be a great fit up the middle.

-- Karl Alzner --
Position: D
D.O.B: 9/24/1988
Current Team: Calgary Hitmen (CHL)
06/07 Stats: 59 GP, 8 G, 35 A, 43 pts
A big slapshot on the PP and a +13 will make Karl Alzner a main attraction this draft. His size (Approx 6'2, 210 lbs) seems to fit right into what the Caps are trying to build. A big, young, solid team.

-- Patrick Kane --
Position: C
D.O.B: 11/19/1988
Current Team: London Knights (CHL)
06/07 Stats: 55 GP, 56 G, 74 A, 130 pts.
Just by looking at the stats Kane has put up this season with the London Knights gives you the idea that Kane is an all around player. May not be one of the biggest players in this draft, but he is only 18 and size and strength will come with time.
Along with Sam Gagner, Patrick Kane would be a huge asset for any team looking for help up the middle.

-- Angelo Esposito --
Position: C
D.O.B: 2/20/1989
Current Team: Quebec Remparts (CHL)
06/07 Stats: 60 GP, 27 G, 52 A, 79 pts.
Being cut from the Canadian Junior team this past year, Angelo Esposito feels he has something to prove. Although his better season may have came last year with the Remparts, Esposito is only improving.

Other Notables:
-James Van Riemsdyk
-Jakub Voracek
-Logan Couture
-Kyle Turris

Friday night wrap-up

Carolina came into Friday night's game having a full two days rest, something that may have helped them hold the Washington Capitals off the scoresheet. Injury woes continue for Washington after John Erskine left the game with a dislocated thumb.
The Capitals' Brent Johnson stopped 42 shots despite losing 3-0. On the other end of rink, Hurricanes' goalie Cam Ward stopped only 25 shots for his 2nd career regular season shutout.

*Well if you'd have to take some positive news out of this game I guess you can look at Brent Johnson. Although he let in 3 goals, he still was able to stop 42 saves, an accomplishment he wouldn't be able to achieve without the playing time he has been getting. Hopefully it's a blessing in disguise for Johnny. I really hope he earns that extension he received earlier this season.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Carolina Hurricanes @ Washington Capitals


The Carolina Hurricanes will look to move up to 8th place in the Eastern Conference with a win Friday night against the struggling Washington Capitals. The Capitals have lost 10 of their last 11 which has much to do with the loss of Olaf Kolzig who is still out of action with a knee injury. Look for Frederic Cassivi to hold another rare start. Cassivi was decent in his first NHL start Tuesday night as he stopped 28 saves in a 3-0 Maple Leafs' win. The Carolina Hurricanes lead the season series 3-2 in games and 22-20 in goals. These two teams will meet for the 8th and final time March 22nd in Carolina.

Team Leaders:
Carolina Hurricanes:
Ray Whitney - 73pts

Washington Capitals:
Alex Ovechkin - 80 pts

Ovy's picture after the off-season

I've posted a blog similar to this not too long ago, but with our losing ways I can't stop thinking about who will be coming our way in the off-season. Most of us already know Ovechkin loves it here in DC, but he also has stated that he would like to be apart of a team that wins. With the season shortly coming to a close, Caps management has a lot of work to do if they want to make this Capitals club semi competitive. The Caps definitely need a franchise centremen to fill up that gap in the middle.

Let's take a look at what the free agent market has to offer:

Chris Drury - Is an elite faceoff guy. Holds one of the best faceoff records in the NHL. You can't go wrong with him on the powerplay. Many of you who have seen the Buffalo Sabres play this year knows that Chris Drury is the biggest asset to a very skilled Sabres lineup.
06/07 Stats: 33 G, 24 A, 57 Pts

Pavel Datsyuk - Datsyuk is currently 7th in the league with 50 assists, an asset which would favour him playing up the middle alongside Ovechkin. If any of you were watching the Russian Elite League over the course of the lockout year would have noticed that him and Ovechkin absolutely tore it up together.
06/07 Stats: 20 G, 50 A, 70 Pts

Scott Gomez: Gomez has proven what he's capable of by playing in New Jersey for the past several years. When he's teamed up with a player that holds similar qualities as Ovechkin or Semin, he is definitely a scare to the opposing team. Also is a tremendous passer. He has 43 assists to prove it.
06/07 Stats: 10 G, 43 A, 53 Pts

Other centres that are worth mentioning but might not fit the Capitals agenda:

Daniel Briere: I really don't think he's leaving Buffalo. Also, the fued him and Ovechkin were in all season might not go too well.

Peter Forsberg: His size and strength could be useful, but if the Caps are going to spend money on a centre that will carry them into the playoff picture, I think it's best if they aren't injury prone.

Joe Sakic: I'd love to have him on the team, but similar to Daniel Briere's case in Buffalo, I highly doubt that Sakic will leave Colorado.

So with the centremen picture looking similar to what's above, I think Caps management can keep Ovechkin happy by signing one of those big name players.... preferably Pavel Datsyuk

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Some members of the Washington Capitals who came up scoreless in Toronto Tuesday night. Some are saying it was probably the worst performance Toronto saw at home all year.

"We've got to at least generate something on the power play, and that didn't happen either."
-Glen Hanlon after Tuesday night's loss

Caps come up scoreless north of the border

The Caps had a tough night in Toronto on Tuesday as the Maple Leafs were desperate for two points while in the midst of a four team playoff batttle. Cassivi got the nod in goal and was able to stop 28. I had the privilege of watching this game live, and believe me, there was really nothing to cheer for if you were a Capital supporter, besides them killing off a 5 on 3. So we head home Friday and face one of the other teams in that Eastern Conference playoff race.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My take on Novotny

I really hope this deal will result in a win for the Caps down the road. Zubrus is a 29 yr old vet who had his highest point season come last year at 57 points. Althought many would have wanted the Caps to sign him to a long-term extension, who's to say he'll be anything like he is now? Novotny on the other hand was brought up in one of the best farm systems in the NHL. He is still several years younger than Zubrus, but I think when he reaches 29 (Zubrus' age) he'll be more of an impactful player. Think of it this way. Just imagine Ovechkin in 3 or 4 years to come. There is no doubt that he will be one of, if not the elite players in the NHL. Now add players like Backstrom, Semin, Fehr, Fleischmann, etc alongside Novotny. How can you not like the looks of that? His quality and size seems to fit right into the Capitals agenda. I see him as a very similar player to Zubrus down the road, if not better. I will have my chance to see Novotny play live tonight at the Air Canada Centre as the Leafs host the Caps.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Deal or No Deal

The question this summer regarding the Washington Capitals future is simply deal or no deal? GMGM (General Manager George Mcphee) has the option and definitely the cap space to sign an impact player. With the Zubrus period over in DC, there is no doubt the Capitals can use an franchise centremen like a Datsyuk, Drury, Gomez, or Forsberg. It's a waiting game from here on in, but it will be very interesting what Washington Management really want out of this franchise!