Monday, February 4, 2008

Trouble here

Wow, that was an interesting couple of games there, wasn't it? First, Alex Ovechkin singlehandedly defeats the Habs with the best individual performance of the last 10 years, then the Caps lay an absolute stinkbomb a couple days later, shut out by an Atlanta team devoid their only real scoring threat and playing the second end of back to back days. Both games did serve to highlight an important issue: nobody on the Caps not named or playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin is creating any offense.

The Caps second line has looked lost on offense after losing Michael Nylander for the year. Alexander Semin still doesn't look like he's 100 percent after his set of injuries. Tomas Fleishmann's overall game has improved immensely this season, but he still can't buy a goal. And Boyd Gordon is, well, Boyd Gordon. Defensively responsible, hard working, but completely average in the offensive zone.

And it doesn't get any better after that second line. Poor Matt Pettinger can't even receive a pass out there anymore. This from a guy who scored 20 goals two seasons ago and 16 in 64 games last season. Either he's playing with an undisclosed injury or his confidence is totally shot. Either way, he looks completely lost on the ice right now.

Hopefully, today's recall of Eric Fehr from Hershey will inject some much needed physical play up front. A load at 6'4" and 212 pounds, Fehr will hopefully produce what the current crop of Caps lack: grit. The Caps need a guy who is both willing to work in high traffic areas (much like Brooks Laich does) and can bury the puck in tight when given the opportunity (the opposite of what Brooks Laich does).

If Fehr is truly healthy and can help the Caps salvage a playoff spot, he may well redeem GM George McPhee, who reached for Fehr at number 18 over the consensus best player available (some schlub named Ryan Getzlaf).


Anonymous said...


What do you think about the suggestion that the crappy ice at Verizon is costing our team points? If the ice is not conducive to fast skating and plays, causing falls and other issues, is there a way to hold the Verizon Center accountable? The condition of the ice has been a common complain for a long time. It is time to get it addressed.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

I think Ted already put out there that they've been working on it, but in th end, both teams play on the same ice.

Slower ice may benefit a more plodding, less skilled team slightly (since skating is harder and making slick stickhandling moves is tougher when the puck doesn't stay flat) but at the end of the day I haven't seen evidence that the ice is what's causing the Caps woes.

The fact is the Caps are a young, talented team. The talent means you'll see some exciting wins (more this season than I can remember in the last 5 combined), but he young means that they're going to lay an egg every now and again (like the game against Atlanta), whether the ice is as hard as in Edmonton or as soft as in Florida.