Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Now THAT was a hockey game

It has to be said... that was one of the best NHL games I've seen in some time. Great back and forth action, great talent on display, just a fantastic example of what the game of hockey is all about. It was like someone rolled a shooting, passing, and goaltending clinic all together and edited them into a single game. As a fan of hockey, I enjoyed last night's game more than any in recent memory.

Unfortunately, as a Caps fan, I left with that whole glass half empty feeling. Even though the Alex and Alex highlight reel continued to grow courtesy of jaw dropping plays by both wings, the team lost the game. Not that the rest of the team didn't match the intensity of their best players. They did. Any time Big Donnie Brashear tallies for the Caps, you know they're getting good work out of all four lines.

The Capitals on the whole played a fantastic game last night, but left Ottawa with no points. Zero. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Not good for a team that has serious ground to make up in the playoff chase.

The Caps have some serious issues that need to be addressed, and soon. Dainus Zubrus is officially colder than the ice he skates on. Hell, he's colder than the ice Sasha Semin skated on in Siberia. He flubbed yet another easy scoring opportunity (that makes 500,000 by my unofficial count), missing a shot from less than two feet out where all he had to do was lift the puck a foot off the ice. Martin Gerber was even LOOKING THE OTHER WAY AT THE TIME. Just goes to show you... I can't write anything nice about anyone and have it work out.

[late edit - don't believe me? Words from the horses mouth, courtesy of Tarik: "I'm not taking anything away from [Gerber], but at the same time I don't think we shot the puck all the times when we should have," said Zubrus. "Myself included. I had two opportunities. On the five-on-three, I couldn't get over the pad and in the third period I missed on a breakaway. But I just couldn't finish it."]

Also, Kris Beech is a problem. Not has one, IS one. Not sure what else to say. He had a chance on a clear breakaway to get the Caps back into the game and he MISSED THE NET ENTIRELY. What a disappointment he's been. I doubt he'll be in the league next year.

The only other problem I had last night (outside of the score) was with the referees, who consistently go too far in eliminating physical play. Listen, boys, the focus is cracking down on OBSTRUCTION. Hooking, holding, and interference are obstruction related penalties. Roughing is NOT. So please, stop trying to turn the NHL into the Swedish Elite League. Thanks.

Next game is tomorrow against those #@!!$#@! Florida KittyCats. If the Caps bring the same game they played the last two nights, they'll come away with two points. If they bring the same game they played their last two games against the Kitties, there may be mass suicide attempts by Caps fans that tune in. So either way it should be interesting to watch.


benlovel said...
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Capital Fanatic said...

Harsh criticism of Beech's game last night. The problem on the breakaway was that the puck would not settle down and bounced away from him when he tried to make his scoring move. That was a problem many players were having last night. Beech also set up the Caps second goal with an outstanding individual effort out battling Wade Redden for the puck and then providing Brashear with an excellent pass. I'll admit, Beech has struggled and has been awful at times, but he has had a solid last two games.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

I agree that the ice surface was a bit rough (which is odd, since the temperature in Ottawa is like -20, but Beech's game still represents a promise unfulfilled. He was supposed to be solid talent with good offensive abilities when he was drafted, and you can see the talent shine through from time to time, but he just can't seem to put it together long enough to justify his Laissez-faire attitude on-ice. He also takes some of the laziest hooking/obstruction calls in the game because he refuses to play the body. He took one again last night.

And he had enough room and time to settle the puck. He just got jittery.

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