Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Caps blown away in first two periods against Light Breeze

The Caps came out flat against a hungry Tampa team and dug themselves a hole they were unable to get out of last night. The Light Breeze capitalized on the Capitals overall slugishness, drawing several power plays and capitalizing on three of them. Much had been written on Tampa's inability to score on the power play, but with the talent of Lecavalier, Richards and St. Louis their slumping PP numbers couldn't last forever.

Tampa also looked to have discovered a weakness in the Capitals defensive alignment, frequently pushing all three forwards in a lateral line at the blue line, feeding the center, then passing off to whichever wing was left open by the defenseman when he shifted over to cover the center. Vinny "don't call me Testaverde" Lecavalier had no trouble finding the open man, which created several easy scoring chances in the first period.

Also, it's worth noting that Olie looked to be fighting the puck in the first couple of periods. He just didn't look very sharp. He should have swallowed up the rebound on the odd angle shot on the first goal (or at minimum directed it away from the front of the net). At the same time, Tampa is not like a lot of teams in the NHL in their shot selection. You simply do not see them take many shots on the ice hunting for rebounds. Their players shoot for the corners EVERY shot. And a couple shots whizzing by the ears can take any goaltender off his game.

Negativity aside (I know, it's rare here) it's important to note the progress that this young team is making. Last year, down by three this team would have been broken, and certainly would not have rallied with the passion and intensity they did in the third period. You can see that this team is maturing, and that they not only believe they can beat anyone in the league, but also that they are never truly out of a game, no matter the score. That's an incredible leap from last year, and it shows that win, lose or draw, er... overtime loss, the team is headed in the right direction.

Also, Alexander Ovechkin created another goal by knocking an opponent off the puck, muscling past another player and passing the puck off to Muir for the shot from the point. He has generated a number of scoring chances by being so physical on the forecheck. After all, it's hard to defend well when you're sitting on your butt checking to make sure you still have all your teeth (or at least the same number you started your shift with).

On a personal note, I'd like to say Happy Birthday to my father, who, in my brother's terms, "is officially older than dirt." Here's are two items that should put his age in perspective.

1. When my father was first a hockey fan, he wasn't a Caps fan, but it wasn't his fault. There were only 6 teams in the NHL at the time. The Original 6.
2. When my father was first a fan, Goalies didn't wear masks. And I don't mean they wore Kelly Hrudey style helmets. I mean they wore no head protection at all.

Happy birthday, Dad.

1 comment:

Caps Dad said...

Thank you son Derek. And your blog entries are very well thought out and written I might add.

You may have a career as a sports writer in your future.