Friday, October 23, 2009

Thoughts on the Game: Atlanta, 10/23

I'm going to keep writing this stuff, hoping that sooner or later someone might find it and make fun of it like it. If no one does, I may as well be writing this stuff in an email to Scott.

-I think the book is out on the Caps' defensive core. Every close game/late game collapse has been accompanied by a hard forecheck by the opposing team. The defense is quick to panic and throw the puck away. What doesn't help is the Caps' wingers’ tendency to start their breakout at the center red line.

-Not to keep kicking a dead horse, but with the exception of Green, our D is SLOW. They're losing races to pucks in the corners when they should be there 5 steps before the opposition. This is the only reason Atlanta had as much sustained pressure as they did. Teams are taking advantage of it in the 3rd because, if you can believe it, they slow down even more.

-What this team needs is a Jay Bouwmeester-type: great skating ability, a physical presence and decent offensive ability. I say, at the first chance possible, bring John Carlson up. He fits the bill.

-Green isn't off the hook though. Every time it's a close race to a puck, Green tails off or slows down when he smells contact. This is a far cry from the Mike Green that hit everything in sight a few seasons ago. I'm not sure whether he's still wary of his shoulder or what, but if he keeps this up, he's going to get himself injured.

-Last night, Joe Beninati of CSN called Maxim Afinogenov "A Pavel Bure clone". I'll challenge that with "Alexander Semin is a Maxim Afinogenov clone, if Semin lacked heart and a great shot." The problem with both is that they have an on/off switch and choose what type of game they're going to play. Last night, Maxim was 'on' (even thought his PP goal was junk...more on that in a bit).

-If we're comparing effort to switches, Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk long ago flipped their switches to 'on', then promptly rip the switch out and threw it out the window. There is no 'off'.

-Tarik said today that Kovalchuk "has the hardest shot I've ever seen, or better yet, heard". You will hear no argument here. I swear, Warrior must put steel rods in his sticks to keep them from snapping. It sounds like a mortar going off when when he connects on one. Note to Ovie: your sticks break all the time...maybe you should ask Kovy why his don't.

-Secondary scoring? Here's secondary scoring right up your a**!

-On the flip, the Ovechkin/Morrison/Knuble line was dreadful last night. 4 penalties, no points, and while the official scoresheet says the only had 1 giveaway I lost out of the number of turn-overs/bad passes they committed. One of the few times all year we'll be able to say they were the worst line on the ice.

-Giroux and Aucoin were only on the ice for a little over 5 minutes last night. They were on the ice for 2 goals for and a goal against. Aucoin's 'here you go Kovy!' pass clearing attempt up the middle of the slot should have been followed by a bird flipping directed at Varly...the only reason to do it would be if he's mad at Forty.

-Varly played poorly last night. It's hard to say because I love the guy, but it's the truth. Afinogenov's PP goal was on a garbage backhand (not that Q shouldn't have slowed him down off the draw though) and Bogosian's SH goal was under the right pad (again, junk). Both of Kovalchuk's were unstoppable, but they should have been the only goals allowed.

-On the flip side, his effort in the last 5 minutes was why I think he's the goalie of the future for the Caps. He gave his all on every stop, made 3 HUGE stops while shorthanded with 20 seconds left and got his first assist in the NHL. Oh, and Forty has yet to lose a game in regulation in the regular season. If you figure in OT losses from the playoffs, Varly is now 14-4-3 in his young career.

-I've said for years that in the right situation, Eric Fehr is a 30 goal scorer. His shot on the breakaway, and overall game, last night proves that.

-I was happy to read that Bruce thought the ice was bad in ATL. I thought it was obvious on TV. With the type of game we play, do you think teams purposely tear up their ice in an effort to slow us down?

-I'm not even going to mention the horrible goal that opened the flood gates for poor Pavelec.


  1. I think Carey reads it too. ;-)

  2. Kevin,
    Any comments on the slew footing by Ovechin on Peverly? Be ineresting to see what the Comish has to say about it.

  3. Sportsnet reports (via Puckdaddy) that Ovie is getting a fine but no suspension.