Friday, January 5, 2007

Caps awaken from long winter's nap

The Capitals returned to form last night, beating the Habs 5-1. The Caps got on the board early with two first period goals from Dainus Zubrus in traffic (1, 2). The Caps put the game away on a 4 on 4 midway through the second, with recent call-up Lawrence Nycholat scoring a pretty goal in tight, and Sasha Semin banging home the rebound on a Boyd Gordon shot seconds later to put the game out of reach. Matt Pettinger took a solid hit in order to make a nice outlet pass that sprung Semin for a breakaway goal midway through the third. Olie was his usual spectacular self in preserving the lead, and the Caps skated away with 2 very valuable points.

Seeing as the Caps have had tremendous difficulty scoring with the man advantage and have had better numbers 4 on 4 lately, maybe we should send Dainus Zubrus out to take a holding penalty at the start of every Caps power play to even things up.

Then again, maybe not.

Two random notes, not necessarily from tonight's game.

1) If I were an NHL coach, I would make every player on the penalty kill use a wooden stick. I've seen WAY too many times this year where penalty killers have broken their composite sticks trying to clear the puck or play someone else's stick, leaving them basically impotent in their ability to protect on the penalty kill.

2) Why don't teams just shift to 5-on-3 protection when this happens and just have the penalty killer skate to the bench and grab his stick? Penalty killers prep for 5 on 3 situations, and should be suitably prepared to defend their goal. But staying in 5 on 4 protection with a player with no stick provides a better scoring opportunity for the offense, since the penalty killer with no stick cannot effectively play his role in the protection scheme.

3) If you didn't catch Dallas-Edmonton or San Jose-Detroit last night, go to to check the highlights. RIGHT. NOW. We'll be here when you get back, I promise. And if you're a Boston fan, definitely DO NOT check out these highlights. Ouch.

Next game is Fight Night: Round 3 at the V this Saturday against Atlanta. Hand wraps and tape are optional.


DCSportsChick said...

Interesting observation about the composite stick. I can't believe how quickly those things break! I don't think I've seen so many broken sticks on the ice before this year.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

Yeah, my brother uses one in mens league and it holds up pretty well. But that's mainly because it's not "pro stock." The pro-stock (read: used by people that don't have to buy them) sticks allow for much more flex which allows the shooter to get more power out of the shot, but the tradeoff is that those things crack all the time.