Thursday, March 1, 2007

Time to ride the lightning

The Caps have got to be excited February is over. The Caps posted a positively ugly 3-10 mark during the shortest month of the year. They also lost the twin Zs at the trading deadline, along with veteran defenseman Jamie Heward.

Tonight when the Caps take on the Tampa Light Breeze, we'll get our first look at part of the return on the Zubrus trade, 23 year old center Jiri Novotny. While Novo played only sparingly this season in Buffalo, it's not hard to see why when you look at their depth chart (Drury and Briere center the first two lines). It will be interesting to see how the youngster adjusts to the additional minutes and responsibilities he's going to have here in Washington. I don't expect to see fireworks from the kid right away since he'll have to adjust to new teammates and a new system, but at least we'll get an idea about his overall skillset. Expect more than a few errant passes and turnovers from him tonight (and for the next couple of games). Novotny is a playmaker first, so it'll take more adjustment for him than it would for a pure scorer, who doesn't need to feel out his teammates to the same extent.

It'll also be interesting to see if the Caps go with Cassivi tonight given his strong play last game. Although I'd like to see Fred get another shot at a win I don't think it's likely, considering the Caps just love riding their starting goalies into the ground.

Meanwhile, the Lightning are trying to hold onto first in the Southeast, having gone on a tear after the all-star break, and are 6-2-2 in their last 10. They currently lead the Southeast, 2 points ahead of Atlanta. They'll be looking to rebound after their last game, a 2-1 loss to Dallas.

Game time is 7 o'clock at the V. Because of family medical issues, none of the grumpy caps fans (at least none of the ones that write for this blog) will be in attendance. Luckily, they do get Caps games at Georgetown hospital (a tip for any Caps fans that might need surgery during the season). We'll need the other fans in 413 and the rest of the arena to pick up the slack for us. Give 'em a "Hit 'em with your purse, Lecavalier!" for all of us.

1 comment:

the deuce said...

I love the quote from Hanlon in the Post about how Novotny has to learn the Caps' "forechecking system." That's his politically correct way of saying "my recently instituted bore-everyone-to-death absolutely NON-forechecking T-R-A-P." I almost hope we fall behind again early and have to abandon it. You'll notice we dropped it after falling behind Florida by 3, then re-instituted it once we tied the game up at 5. Grumble grumble.