Tag Archives: hockey

Niskanen, Orpik, I’m late to the party, oh my!

7 Aug

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.

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.

Castro is dictator and the Caps are on a win streak

7 Nov

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.

The difference between going 2-2 and 3-1

8 May

After Monday’s disappointing loss, the Caps take to the ice in MSG again to either take the decisive lead or split it down the middle.

The importance of game 4? Huge. If the Caps had won Monday night, they could take the series tonight. Since they didn’t, they have the ability to take a 3 game lead which could very easily lead to a series win in 5 games. If they lose tonight, the Rangers and Caps will be tied at 2 a piece,  forcing the series to go to at least a game 6.

Clearly, this game will be one of the most if not the most important game of the series. It decides who has the edge, especially with Washington returning to home turf after tonight, as well as how long the series will be which can become the difference between a team rested up and prepared for the second round or a team that’s had barely enough time to turn around.

The Caps holding ht series lead at 2-1 clearly show the Rangers only real threat over the Caps is Lundvquist. He’s come up big for the Rangers and there’s no doubt he will tonight. But with Staal back, the Caps can expect a little more coming from the Rangers lackluster defense. Otherwise, this game should be in the books for the Caps if they can stay focused and don’t get too comfortable with any lead. It is the Playoffs, after all.

Hopefully, the Caps will take New York seriously tonight to secure the win and the series lead. If not, it’s any team’s series.

The Caps take on the Bruins for their last regular season game

27 Apr

Tonight marks the last regular season game before they take on one of four teams in the first round of the Playoffs. Traditionally, when your team’s in, big players usually sit out or don’t play hard to save themselves for the Playoffs, where it really matters. With the Caps on such a hot streak, completely sending the game down the crapper wouldn’t help with their groove.Especially with the fact the Bruins still haven’t locked their spot in. Meaning, the Caps could have significant influence in where they land. The Caps don’t need to treat this game like the game against the Jets, but wining this game would have it’s advantages.

If the Caps win, hey’ll enter the Playoffs off a win which could likely give them a confidence boost. Another positive to a W is the fact that where Boston lands also affects who the Caps play. Personally speaking; the Caps playing the Islanders or Senators isn’t nearly as appealing as them playing the Leafs or Rangers, in terms of likely hood to make it to the second round.

Who would you like to see the Caps play?

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?

Ovechkin vs. Crosby, just stop already

20 Apr

While enjoying the absolute blowout by the Caps (they’ve finally found their groove this season) I saw some “Crosby>>>Ovi” business. This has been going on sense they both came into the league and I’m sick of it. Yes, they are two of the most elite players in the league. Is Crosby more so than Ovechkin? That’s up to you to decide, I’m not getting into that. What I am going to get into is the fact these players play two different positions, play on two different teams, and have two different systems. They are therefore not comparable to one another and their individual talent should be respected.

First off, Ovechkin is a winger. He’s played both left and right wing with varying success. Crosby is a center. Yes they’re both top notch scorers but they have different positions thus different jobs. Centers tend to be players who create plays and set up goals while wingers tend to score the goals (some hockey 101 for ya). Is this always the case? Absolutely not. But Crosby is also well known for impressive point streaks, not just goal streaks.

Last I checked, but I may be wrong, Ovechkin plays for the Washington Capitals and Crosby plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Another fun tidbit; they play in different divisions and therefore, against different opponants. Do they play some of the same teams? Yes, they do. But the frequency is completely different. The different division they’re in as well as their team mates can influence goals scored as well as points. A team playing the Panthers, per say, is going to have more scoring opportunities and goals scored than a team playing the Chicago Blackhawks. You feel me?

Finally, the systems are different. This is SO SO SO important and I feel like some nitwits out there don’t get the relation. Let’s take a trip back in time, shall we? Remember Hunters infamous defense first system, the one where games were decided by one goal and those goals were few and far between? Yeah, kinda hard to score 50 goals when the emphasize is on dump’n’chase and defense. Bylsma’s system is completely different and focused on the strengths of the team, which is obviously scoring. While Oates is the Caps head coach now, and he does support a more offense system, I think you see what I’m getting at. When Ovi played under Boudreau, for the most part, his goal tallies were higher than under the more defensive Hunter system.

All I’m getting at is that Ovechkin and Crosby are two completely different players and should be respected as such. So please, for the love of all things hockey, put this stupid “rivalry” aside. It’s pointless and is as useful as comparing apples and oranges.

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.

Braden Holtby; the future of the franchise?

16 Apr

Ever since I’ve been following the Caps, there has been some kind of goalie drama. Theodore or Varlamov in the Playoffs? Varlamov or Neuvirth as starter? Who are we keeping and who are we trading? Enough already! Luckily, this season they seem to have finally gotten their panties out of a wad and settled on the dynamic duo Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth. The next Batman and Robin? Not quite, but dependable netminders who can help the Caps achieve Playoff success? The results so far are promising.

At the start of the season, Oates made it clear neither goalie was a starter and that whomever could win would play. Admittedly, the start of the season was rough for fans and the team who stayed in the bottom 10 for weeks. As the season progressed and the team started to come together and string points together, the goalies got into a rhythm themselves.

Holtby

Holtby, who had a Playoff season no one would’ve expected, got off to a rocky start which caused some to question to letting Vokoun go. Was Holtby’s success just a flash in a pan? Does he need more time in the AHL? This talk was laid to rest quickly when the Caps started winning at the hands of Holtby’s saves.

Holtby’s stats are impressive being a rookie in the NHL faring only worse than some of the most experienced goalies in the NHL like Henrik Lundvquist. What does this say about our rookie goaltender? He’s one to keep, that’s for sure. Not only is he in the top 10 f0r goals against, saves, shootouts, and wins but his other stats don’t lag to far behind either.

As I always say, stats aren’t everything. This holds true for every player in every position, but Holtby’s stats support his talent and ability to play behind a team that’s had quite a rocky season. In the end, I see Holtby staying with the Caps for a long time. Will he be a franchise player like Brodeur with hall of fame career? Who knows, but if he keeps playing like this there’s nothing stopping him.

The Caps take on their arch rival for the second time within a week

6 Feb

The Caps look to take on their rival the Pittsburh Penguins for the second time within a week with hopes this time around won’t be so disastorious. The last time the Caps met the Peguins was on Superbowl Sunday, after Pittsburgh had given New Jersey a solid thrashing.

Seeing what the Pens offense had done to last seasons Eastern Conference Champs, I was concerned for the Caps shakey and sometimes non-existence defense and equally lacking and de-energized offense. My concern wasn’t too far misplaced as the Penguins won the game 6-1.

Fastforward to tomorrow; the Caps are on a downward spiral, and honestly have been since the start of the season, facing a team that’s arguably one of the best in the league. Anyone else crapping their pants?

The Caps are everything the Cas aren’t; consistent, play smart (no dumb penalties!), have effective, and at times deadly, PK and PP units, but most importantly, they play as a team for the full game.

The Caps HAVE, I can not stress it enough, play a full game as a team getting pucks in front of the net to create scoring chance because eventually, one is going to butter the buscuit. When you start scoring, you start winning. When you start winning, you make the Playoffs and then anything could happen.

Basically; the Caps need to play sixty minutes (plus overtime if it comes to it) of hard, energized, consistent hockey and they’ll see things turn around.

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