Saturday, December 23, 2006

Devils put Caps to sleep

Is it just me, or should the Devils be sponsored by ambien?

Led by a rock solid defense and the standard brilliant game by Marty Brodeur, the Devils sat on a 2-1 lead and cruised to a 4-1 victory. The league's attempts to limit goaltender's stick use certainly hasn't slowed Brodeur, who effectively used the poke check from his crease last night more often than the rest of the goaltenders in the league combined this year. That gave his defense the ability to play tighter coverage on their men in front, knowing that Brodeur would slap away any quick passes or wraparound attempts.

The Capitals offense looked frustrated from the get go, with their only tally coming from Captain Clark in a scrum around the net. Their early inability to put pressure on seemed to frustrate the team, resulting in some ticky tack penalties, which they could ill afford. The team simply didn't put enough pressure on in either end to come away with the victory. Also, the line shakeup that put Ovechkin on the second line while teaming Semin with Zubrus and Clark didn't exactly spark great play out of any of those players. Don't expect to see too much of it in the future.

Notes on tonight's game:

1) NEVER taunt Marty Brodeur. He plays big in big games, and I can't imagine the whole mirrored glasses taunts didn't get him just a little geared up to play. So lets add him to the short list of players not to piss off before gametime.

2) There is a substantial difference in the way referees are calling penalties on the Super Sophomore class. If Crosby caught a high stick like Ovie did in the first, the offending player would have been taken out back and shot by league officials. As it was, no penalty was called against the offending Devils player. The referees in this league have always had this problem. The more physical the player (and I don't think anyone would dispute that The Russian Machine plays with more of a physical edge than Diver Down Crosby) the more liberties the refs allow opposing players to take with them. I've never understood this. A high stick is an easy call to make, and should be made uniformly by every referee, regardless of the players involved.

3) If you ever have trouble sleeping, I recommend getting the NHL Center Ice package and watching every Devils game. Insomnia cured.

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