Ladies and gentlemen, the Deuce:
Well, that was fun, wasn't it. Last night a desperate Glen Hanlon finally did what Caps fans have been begging for for weeks now and the result was -- a total domination at the hands of the Hurricanes. Make no mistake about it, the Caps got absolutely destroyed last night. Anyone who watched saw a thorough domination by what, at this point at least, appears to be one of the best teams in the league this year. Right now, the Canes are playing like the team that won the Cup two years ago. And the hapless Caps simply could not compete. So enough of that. Let's try and analyze what we can from last night's debacle.
1) Glen Hanlon finally gave in and played OV with Nylander and Backstrom. And while no result from last night can be characterized as "good," there are two positive takeaways here: the first is that for most of the time they were together, they controlled the play and got good scoring chances -- it's just that nothing was going to get by Ward last night. The second is that we now know that Hanlon is desperate enough to try this, so we should be able to see more if it. I honestly think if this line plays together against most teams in the league, they're good for at least 2 goals a game.
2) Where is the fire? Why aren't Sutherby, Bradley, and Laich playing like their jobs depend on every shift (because they do). We're down four and five zip, and these guys aren't hitting out there. (Although in their defense, it may be that they simply couldn't catch the blazing fast Canes).
3) What happened to the tightened standards and the "New NHL" last night. Every time the Caps would try to skate the puck up ice last night, they got whacked, not just hooked, but whacked repeatedly on the stick and forearm by the Canes. The Russian Machine especially is going to have to spend all day with his arms in a tub full of ice water. Not saying it would have made a difference last night, because nothing would have, but come on ref, throw us a freakin bone here, will ya? In one eggregious example Staal just about took Oveckin's arm of with two two-handers in a row, causing OV to lose control of the puck and resulting in an offside call. And no penalty. Oh well.
4) Is it just me, or was that a reputation call on Brashear last night? Yes, he hit the guy into the boards. This is hockey, isn't it? And that defenseman already had his face next to the glass, since he was turning away from another Cap (Laich?) who tried to hit him. Five and a game? Only if your name is Brashear (or Pronger)? It seems like Brash gets more than his share of these types of calls. Let's just say I think the refs tend to focus on him when he's out there. And we can't afford any "extra" scrutiny from the officials.
5) The best part of last night's game? That the Caps play again today, so we can forget about it fast. I expect a much better game against Atlanta, since the Russian Machine always gets up to play against another Russian superstar, and Atlanta is not nearly the team Carolina has been in its last 8 games. Too bad Thrasher Killer Semin won't be in the lineup, since he's always good for two or three against ATL.
BOLD PREDICTION: Caps Right the Ship. Caps 5, Thrash 3. Nylander and Ovechkin combine for 3 goals and 6 points. Kovalchuk only nets 2.*
* - all of this goes out the window if Hanlon abandons the Nylchkinstrom Line. Or at least the Nyl-chkin part of it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, the Deuce: