Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The long road home continues

The Caps yet again couldn't get it done, and lost on the road to the Sens. Quite a few areas of concern in the game, so lets start from the top.

First, the Caps blew a chance to grab an early lead when Ben Clymer shanked an easy tip in just three minutes into the game. Dainus Zubrus also blew an easy tip in chance later in the game that would have tightened the game to 4-3. The inability of any forwards other than the Alexes and Captain Clark to capitalize on even the best scoring chances is absolutely killing the team right now.

Maybe our guys are gripping the sticks too tightly, knowing that this is probably more than just a chance to make the playoffs. It's also a chance for them to secure their spots on the roster. With a glut of talent up front in Hershey and Backstrom coming over from Sweden, not withstanding any offseason free agent signings, spots will be much harder to come by next year. Are our boys feeling the squeeze? It appears so.

Our already depleted defensive corps took another shot (to the ankle, no less!) when Mike Green took a rocket slapper flush to the ankle. Here's to hoping it's no more than a bad bruise.

The Caps are clearly missing the backline presence of John Erskine right now. Teams simply do not show any respect for the Capitals physical play on in the defensive end. Opposing forwards make moves directly at the defense, which would not happen if they got their jaw rattled every once in a while.

The Caps road losing streak is now at 6, and won't improve unless they can find a way to jump-start what has been an absolutely atrocious power play unit. 0 for 5 with the man advantage simply won't get it done in the NHL these days.

Brad Johnson also had a less than stellar game in net. At least two of the goals scored were less than spectacular, with Johnson moving too far out of position laterally on one and getting beaten by a slow wrister on another. This is not to say that Johnson is not a good backup, or that I object to his recent contract extension. Neither is the case. It's the simple fact that, as a backup, he is going to have the occasional game where he flubs a couple shots. It's the reason he's not a starter right now. I happen to think he does an admirable job in his role, but that role is to spell Kolzig when necessary and try to steal a game now and again, not to consistently perform at Kolzig's level. And last night he had an off night. I still think his contract extension was a good idea, and that he's ideal an ideal fit as a long term second goaltender as the team brings along Semen Varlamov or whoever ends up as Kolzig's replacement.

Next game is tomorrow at Carolina in a game the team absolutely needs to win in order to stay competitive in the Southeast division.

Late Update: X-rays negative on Green, but he's out indefinitely. Not good. Not at all.

4 comments:

Capital Fanatic said...

X-rays for Green were negative, but the Caps still list him as out indefinitely. So it appears he will at least be out until after the All-Star break.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

Bummer. Still, better that he miss the Young Stars game and heal up rather than missing a long stretch of games that, well, mean something.

Capital Fanatic said...

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3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

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