Tag Archives: Defense

Caps coverage from yours truly

7 Aug

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.

Hold onto your ass Fred, the Caps are playing the Jets

23 Apr

In case you were wondering, that is a reference to a movie. Which one, I have no idea. My mom just says it when she feels particularly adventurous when driving. Moving on, the Caps are playing their most meaningful game of the season tonight. Two teams go in tonight with a shot at the Playoffs, and one leaves in the Playoffs. As of now, the Caps are first place in the Southeast Division and therefore third in the conference. If the Jets were to win, they’d clinch and have enough points to take over the Caps  place as first in the Division and effectively clinch the third spot in the division.

Working my magic with POW (that’s a lie, but I tried), there’s a small chance that the Caps could make the Playoffs if they win their next to and possibly even take the Southeast Division if the jets lose their last game. That’s not to say this game isn’t important, it’d be a lot nicer and easier if they could clinch tonight and not have to battle the last tow games of the season.

Do you think the Caps can clinch tonight?

Caps vs. Habs; every point counts

20 Apr

Puck drop is in less than an hour tonight and for two teams in contention for the Playoffs, every point counts. After the Islanders-Jets game went to OT, while the Jets lost, the margin seperating the two Southeast division rivals is one point. That’s right. One. Uno. Une. Ein. Yksi. I got a little carried away with the Google translate, but my point remains. That’s not a comfortable margin. At all. If the Caps tank this game they tank their chance of making the Playoffs with only three games left against tough rivals.

The Caps history against the Habs is rocky at best with mostly losses in the clubs early years. The Caps have’t fared too much better as the years have progressed. 2010, anyone? *shudder* Playoff series out of a horror movie aside, the Caps are 1-1 against the Canadiens this season, but here’s hoping the Caps of late (selectively forgetting Sens game Thursday  can get the two points and pull away from Winnipeg.

Caps vs. Leafs; round 2

5 Feb

Tonight the Caps take on the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second time on this shortened season. The last match up between these two was a doosey with the Caps losing 3-2. While they gained momentum with an early lead via Joel Ward, they were unable to keep the pressure for the full game which the Leafs capitalized on earning them two points in the standings. While the Leafshave great young talent, the Caps inability to play a full game is what’s plagued them throughout the start of this shortened season and has cost them many games in the third (think Ottawa and New Jersey).

Playing a full game is vital if the Caps want to amount to anything and even make the Playoffs, which is seeming less and less likely with each passing game. To even have a chance at winning this game, the Caps have to be able to keep offensive pressure on the Leafs and get pucks in front of the net, one’s gonna tickle the twine sometime.

This boils down to individual player responsibility. the so touted “big guns” need to actually show up. Ovechkin? He has half as many goals as Joel Ward and his points aren’t anything to talk about either. Backstrom? Other than the game against Philly, he’s been pretty invisible with only a handful of assists and points. I think I’ve made my point.

If the Caps want to be a true Cup contender or even a team that’s halfway decent, everyone needs to come out and play every shift, every game. Let’s hope they can pull it together tonight in the Phone Booth and secure another W in the standings.

CAN YOU HEAR US?! Oh, wait…that was last season

5 May

The Caps are actually playing…well. In the second round. Yes, this is for realz. Crazy business, I tell you! Even though I’m not Hunters biggest fan (he takes a bit to warm up to), he has really proven his style of play in the post season. And I must say, I’m most impressed.

If you’ll remember last year during the playoffs, game 4 ended in tears #IsItOctoberYet? hashtags, and much gnashing of teeth from Caps fans as the Lightning, of all teams, very well butchered the Caps in 4 games.

A memory the Caps hoped to erase today winning game 4 against the Broadway Blueshirts tying the series at 2 a piece. Considering New York got 1st in the East this season and the Caps got 7th (talk about role reversals, eh?), this has been a good series.

There have been some ups and downs, game 1 was a bit of a bummer, late nights, I’ll take a 3 OT and a Pepsi, please. These teams seem to favor multi-OT games, remember the “Chimeracle on 34th St.”? And, of course, some awesomesocks goalie matchups. Can you believe the Caps “rookie” goalie is the only goalie in the Eastern Conferance Playoffs to have not lost two games in a row? Yeah,  me either.

It isn’t just Braden “brick wall” Holtby leading the Caps to victory, but the other players have really stepped up. The defense is more present and in the zone helping ward off goal-hungry Rangers with the puck and the offense has done a great job of pressing the attack and putting shots on net, which lead to goals.

Good win today boys (and thank the hockey gods you guys kept in regulation), just keep doing what you’re doing and you never know, you could be invited to the White House this summer.

PS- Go check out @TheDugsSports blog (http://capsbasketball.blogspot.com/)It’s a great Caps blog and I write pregames for him.

what the Caps defense was really doing Sunday afternoon…

23 Apr

We all know something happened during sudden death that fateful Sunday aftrnoon. Was it a defensive collapse? Signals crossed? Well, I’m here to tell you what REALLY happened.

After Mojo had his so-close-lose-your-breath-near goal, the defense decided that their pregame Lasagna was wearing thin and a trip to Arby’s would be a better use of their time than helping out Holtby in his end. It went a little something like this;

Hamrlik: Wides, bro, I’m stahving. Wanna go grab some Arby’s?

Wideman: OMG great idea, Hammer! Let’s ask Mojo if he wants some!

Hamrlik: Yoo, Moj, want some Arby’s? They have a coupon deal going on with their curly fries

Johannsonn: No way, brah! I’ve been wanting that curly, deep-fried perfection since the second! Count me in

Backstrom: You guys hitting Arby’s? cause, man, I could kill for one of those chocolate pastry thingys. Like my mama used to make ’em!

Holtby: Uhh guys, there’s this giant on skates coming towards me…help?

Ovechkin: You go to Arby’s? SICKK)))))get me a mocha shake, boys!

Holtby: Mocha shake?!

*Seguin gets the puck and scores*

Hamrlik: I guess we can’t go to Arby’s now…I really wanted a reuben too *sad face*

That, Caps fans, is how it went down. If the guys can plan their lunch dates after the game, we have a real chance at winning. LET’S DO THIS THING, CAPS! And, get your Arby’s later. Please.

The trade-less deadline

3 Mar

Yeah, yeah the deadline was monday of what week I don’t recall (umm, last week?). Regardless, the Caps did diddly squat. Which, frankly, surprised me. The Caps are a team with a good core of young, talented players so they don’t really need to do an overhaul (well, yet anyways). I get that, but getting rid of players who haven’t really contributed much so far this season in terms of scoring or defense (ahem, you know who I’m looking at) for guys who actually play worth half a twinkie would’ve been a smart move.

Who is worth it?

I know McPhee said he didn’t want any “rentals”, but rentals can turn into buys if you like the way the guy plays and what he contributes. Not to mention guys who are usually rentals ask for much less (Scott Hannan, anyone?) and are usually pretty solid (See; pretty much anyone we got before the deadline last year).

As far as the right deal not being out there, to put this nicely, Roman Hamrlik for anyone (or anything) would’ve been a great deal. And I’m pretty sure Ward for a few picks or grinders would’ve worked (considering that seems to be the style of play Hunter’s enacting).

Over all, I’m not bemused. Backstrom probably won’t be back in time for a lasting impact trying to get in the Playoffs or, if they’re lucky enough to get in, actually make it past the first round. Center depth isn’t their only problem either.

As I’ve been saying all year, the Caps need stronger defense. I was really hoping the deadline would bear some fruit in form of competent defensive defensemen. Sadly, Mcphee didn’t see the need to pounce on any of the eligible dfefensemen.

In the end, though, GMGM is the General Manager for a reason. He knows what he’s doing, well, I hope so at any rate, and hopefully his caution bears fruit in form of a Playoff appearance this season. Until then, we’ll just have to play the waiting game.

It’s Hendy Time!

15 Jan

There’s something about seeing hockey up in the rafters that makes it so much more intense and thrilling than on Tv. At least that’s how I feel after seeing the Caps pull an extremely close win over our division “rivals” (we have about as much rivalry going on as the Blues and Wild, yeah…) the ‘Canes.

This was my dad’s “Caps package” because the real ones are $400 and up. Yeah, NO. I’ll take my two nosebleed games with an over-priced coke, please. The nosebleeds are always more fun, you sit next to the drunk, the stupid, and the just plain weird. Lot’s of entertainment.

In my case, it was the drunk and stupid. I sat next to one of “those” girls. SIGH. And the dude above me had one to many $10 beers, considering he started booing the Flyers half way through the game…

Other than our rowdy companions, the game was pretty yawn worthy. The Caps didn’t play with any urgency during the first and half of the second. They could’ve certainly borrowed some from the mile long line to the mens bathroom, does it ever end!?

Luckily Brooksie scored (he did! Eat my snow, refs!) and that seemed to be the turning point for the Caps. Not only did they press the attack more, but their over all game was sharper. Quicker and smarter passes, harder battles at the net, and that resulted in a couple of goals.

Not only did Alex Semin do what he was paid to do, but he managed to escape the game unscathed. Penalty wise. THe dude in the penalty box got company, though. From the unlikely suspects Jay Beagle and Mike Knuble to name a few.

It seemed to be the night of the Russians, not only did Semin score, but Dimitri Orlov got his first NHL goal which also happened to be the game winner. That’ll be one to remember!

The real star of the game was Voukon, though. Not only did he stand on his head, but he had the most saved goals of this season at a whooping 43.  Defense say what? Stick taps to you, Vokes.

The game was a bit of a sleeper, but the Caps did what they had to do to become successful. Rush the net, create scoring chances, and you know, score. Feel free to rinse and repeat, guys.

The Schultz bonanza

19 Dec

Nope, I’m not talking about the tv show from the late 50’s, but the Caps silent defenseman, Jeff Schultz. Schultz is a defensive D-man by trade, preferring to stay in his own end and help the goalie more than go to the net and get goals.

That’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a very good thing. The Caps have had a constant struggle the past few years trying to find good defensemen who are more defensive minded, than offensive like Carlson and Green.

Schultz has been having a pretty good season. Again, he isn’t supposed to be a flashy in your face kind of player, but he gets the job done by, for the most part, getting pucks out of the zone. So what’s with all the commotion?

Some say Hunter picked the line combinations out of a hat, I like to think he stole Project Runways tasselled black bag to put together the lines. Either way, Jeff Shultz appeared on the first line today in practice.

While this may be a shock and cause you to spin in circles, don’t you remember back in the good ‘ole days when the Caps won the Presidents Trophy and were supposed to win the Cup? yeah, Schultz was on first line with Mike Green. The entire time. Did anyone blow a gasket? I think not.

If anything, Hunter was trying out new line combos to find that magic “spark” that’s been elusive for some time now. If it works, does it really matter whose on which line? You win the same either way. Or lose…

My two cents; Schultz is a good defensive minded D who plays hard. He might not be a first liner in Washington (although I like to think he could on a different team), but he’s definitely a solid second liner.

Hey Caps, there’s a game going on…

18 Dec

The Caps are about as consistent as my cooking skills, so not very. They looked like everything was going great and they were turning around their disappointing play of late,last game against the Jets.

Then the Caps decided playing well and winning was no fun, so they reverted to their old form. Old form meaning barely their defense, heart lacking more than the tin mans, and sloppy offense.

I don’t get what these guys are trying to do, or not do it seems. They have a star-studded offense (and defense) capable of putting up huge numbers, but they’re playing like they’re lost and don’t know what they’re doing. They certainly can’t be “saving themselves” for the Playoffs, because the way they’re playing, they might not make it.

I get that they just got a new Coach and are adjusting to a new style of play, but no Coach wants a little over 20 shots on goal in a game. Not to mention the frequent defensive lapses. If a player hardly ever makes a good play and is near invisible 90% of the time, shouldn’t you bench him instead of a guy who isn’t as much of a defensive liability? Take notes, Hammrlick.

I just don’t get it, they have the ability to be winning the majority of the games they lose, that’s no secret. What is would be how they’re playing, they just act like they don ‘t give a crap a majority of the time. Hopefully Hunter can figure it out and turn it around, they’re screwed if he doesn’t.

To quote the veteran winger Mike Knuble, “Playoffs? What Playoffs?”

%d bloggers like this: