While I may be very late to this party, I still have to give my two cents on what could be the game changer for the Caps defense this season and beyond.
Matt Niskanen was signed to a 7 year $40.25 million dollar contract, this is all old news to you all but can we just sit here for a minute and think about how valuable a 27 year old is going to be in 7 years? he’ll be 34 then and while Papa Knubs was still kicking, not all players can play with that intensity in their mid 30’s. Especially as a defenseman. I, personally, view defensemen having one of the harder more body intense jobs on the ice. Behind the goalie, of course.
Niskanen is a solid defenseman, no disputing that. But I, and a lot of you Caps fans, feel he was over paid and given a longer contract than he deserved. Granted, he was on the upswing with the Penguins in his last year playing for them, but I still don’t believe that justifies the length and pay of his contract.
Brooks Orpik was also signed during the free agency frenzy with a 5 year $27.5 million dollar deal. Now I ragged on Niskanen for getting so many years in his contract at age 27, so you can imagine how I feel about the length of his contract. He’ll be nearing 40 by the time his contract is up and while he’s a solid player, he’s getting up there in his years and I wory that his productivity will start sliding down hill.
Overall, I’m glad the Caps got these two strong defensemen. They’re solid players who know what they’re doing on the ice and can help lead the team if, rather when, things start to slide. My only concern is age and ability to stay on top of their game, but only time will tell.
I write…anyone remember that?
Well, I’ve been on a hiatus for a while now due to personal reasons. But I’m back and ready to cover the Caps from a far as I head to Radford University in about two weeks as a freshman. I won’t be able to cover every game seeing as I’ll be acclimating to college life, but I’ll write the occasional post with my ever entertaining opinions on the Caps and their defense (which looks surprisingly strong this season).
I also hope to be writing for the sports section for my school’s paper, the Tartan. Hopefully you can catch my written word over there as well. This post was merely to inform my dear readers, the next will be my thoughts on the Caps defense and where I see them come playoffs (yeah, I’m thinking ahead).
Thanks to those who have been reading ever since I started, I truly appreciate it.
Surprisingly, the Phoenix “Wiley” Coyotes are off to a good start this season with an 11-4-2 record. The Caps, on the other hand, started off a bit rusty and are 9-7. Nonetheless, the Caps have been on a four game win streak and it seems like nothing can stop them. If we’re talking power play, the Caps have the highest number of power play goals as well as the NHL high of 28.5% of goals scored on the power play. The key to winning for this group of guys is to draw penalties and do what they do best, apparently, which is to score.
The one thing that could stand in their way? Mike Smith, who I mentioned in my looking ahead post, could put up a brick wall to the Caps road to victory. He’s 21st in save percentage, but he’s first in games played in the NHL. So combine the two and you can see the skewing of the stats. Especially behind a defense like his, you can see why he has a .915 sv%. Even though, he’s not someone to take lightly. Remember the 2010 Playoffs? Yeah.
In good news, the Caps get to see their former player and captain Jeff Halpern (or Halpy, as I call him) as well as Mike “gangsta” Riberio. Both are having good seasons with Ribz scoring 5 goals and Halpy 1, respectively. Not anyone to look for too closely on the ice, but you never know!
The players you do have to look out for are guys like Keith Yandle and Shane Doane, who basically carry this team on their back. If anyone’s in a fighting mood, look no further than resident tough guy Biznasty. Wouldn’t want to run into that guy in a dark alley. Yikes.
It’ll be a good game for the Caps if they keep their nose clean and keep the game fast paced. If they deviate and try some cutesy shit, they could get into some trouble.
Since I have nothing to do during study hall, I’ll be presenting what the Caps face in their next two games. Two of which are on the road. Yikes.
The Caps play the Yotes this Saturday at 8 PM. What do the Caps have in store for them? Well, for starters the Yotes are 11-4 thus far this season giving them one of the better records in the NHL.Their goalie, Mike Smith, has also been on fire of late with a save percentage of .915 in 15 games. While that’s good, Holtby has a save percentage of .925 with only two less games than Smith. Not bad, eh?
Things to look for
- Alex Ovechkin-The great eight has been on a goal scoring streak ever since coming back from his “upper body” injury. With the Caps on the road to over .500 (it’s about time), his ability to score is shining through at just the right times like during tight power play chances.
- Mojo-Considering Marcus Johannson has two goals in just as many games, I’d say he’s someone to look to as the Caps continue to (hopefully) win games.
- The third line-For the Caps, I mean. They’ve been on fire lately with lots of quality opportunities and just plain ole good hockey sense. Hopefully they can continue to get alot of ice time away from home and keep the Caps on the winning track.
- Mike Smith-He’s been on fire lately and could be a real road block for the Caps in their quest to continue their winning streak.
The Caps take on Avs the following day again at 8 PM. The Avs have been killing it this season with only two losses so far this season. Their starting goalies save percentage isn’t nearly as impressive as Holtby’s at .933, but that’s just some tiddly wink stuff. The Avs have been very impressive so far this season and the Caps are gonna be between a rock and a hard place if the Avs get up early. Jagr, help us.
Things to look for
- Gabriel Landeskog-This super Swede had been someone to look out for since day one of his playing career. Talk about hands! If the Caps aren’t careful, he could put a few biscuits in the basket.
- Avs offense-The Avs offense has been very strong this season and the Caps defense isn’t, let’s say, the best in the league so the Caps have to be really careful with how they position their D if they want to make it out if this game with a W.
- Alex Ovechkin-Ovechkin is always someone to look out for, especially since he’s been so hot of late. He’s someone you can count on to get you out of a tight spot in a game.
The moral of the story? The Caps ar eplaying some very tough opposition while on the road this weekend and should work on keeping their defense solid and offense ready to score goals because these are two very offensive teams who aren’t afraid to get to the front of the net and make things a little messy if need be.
Two good tid bits of news, tonight folks; I finished my history homework and the Caps won. Talk about a productive night.
In between learning all about how not to run a country, Alex Ovechkin was busy doing what he does best; scoring. He put the Caps ahead mid way through the first, and if there’s one thing that the Caps have been good at lately it’s winning. They’ve won their last four in a row, resulting in a rather impressive win streak.
The Caps waged battle against the Wild, who ended up being 2-1 in the Second, while I waged battle against Brower trying to get through the Cuban revolution. The Caps apparently thought they had this one in the bag and boy were they wrong! The Wild took advantage of their lapse in concentration and exploited it to the fullest it with two nobodies (at least I ain’t heard of ‘em). The Caps were down 2-1 and I was looking at Batist’s reign going down in flames.
Luckily, the Caps were ready to win it in the third just as I was getting to the formation of communism in Cuba. The Caps had a lot of good shots on net with a few close calls, most notably Brouwer (almost like the author of my textbook, so close), Mojo finally sinks one in the back of the net. I think we all wiped our brow off with that one.
THe Caps continued to keep us on our toes as did Brower, who brought up the valid point that communism and dictatorship are like potatoes and potAtoes. The same shabang. The Caps got a penalty on Erat late in the third (cause anyone else a coronary?), but luckily they were able to keep the Wild at bay for the rest of the third and OT before going to the shoot out.
Boy, were the goalies phenomenal tonight. Harding looked like some crazy goalie out of hell and so did Holtby. Save after incredible save, kudos to the both of them. The shoot out looked like it would go on indefinitely, but luckily a Nick Backstrom goal made it rather short and sweet making it a Caps win and making this history buff very happy indeed.
Within the span of 20 minutes I have learned two important things; Castro guerrilla’s army kicked some serious ass and Harding is a legit goalie.
In between reading about the US removing support from Batista’s regime and Castro’s forces battling their way twords Havana the Wild suddenly scoring two goals. While this is definitely not a good thing seeing as it places the Wild up by one going into the third, the Caps ability to try and come back with heavy pressure on the net was.
While 14 shots wasn’t enough, it was a start for the Caps. As they continue the game into the third, they need to keep the pressure on the Wild’s defense as they did in the first and come out strong and willing to score. If continue to keep the pressure and look sharp, there’s no way this game isn’t the Caps.
In between sentences of The World in the Twentieth Century (I’m reading about the July 26th Movement, for you fellow History buffs out there), I would glance up and see the Caps dominating the game.
Thus far, the Caps seem to be listening to me and pressuring the Wild’s defense especially when they’re the weakest being the penalty kill. The result? An Alex Ovechkin goal midway through the game. He’s now tied with Alex Steen for most goals in the NHL thus far. Not bad for a guy two games removed from an injury, eh?
As the game continues, continue to watch out for the lethal Caps power play as well as Ovechkin. Don’t forget about the unsuspecting hero’s on the third line, either.