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  • Caps Recap 10/19/09

    Another Monday; another Caps Recap! Let’s do this!

    The week before last, the Washington Capitals went 0-2-1. It looked like they trend would continue when they kicked their week off last week with an overtime loss to New Jersey. Instead they bounced back against a team they hadn’t beaten since 1999, the San Jose Sharks. The Caps rounded out their week Saturday night by edging Nashville in the shootout and finished 2-1-0 for the week. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Recap 10/12/09

    Wow, what a difference a week makes, huh?

    The Caps, who came out swinging in their first two games, went down flailing in their last three going from 2-0-0 to 2-2-1. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Varlamov To Start

    In the PreCap broadcast at 2pm today, the official pregame show of the Washington Capitals, Mike Vogel revealed that Semyon Varlamov will be getting the start tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. It is Varlamov’s second consecutive start, after Jose Theodore started in the season opener against the Boston Bruins.

    They also talked about Jeff Schultz getting his first start of the season, and how the Capitals are going to try and work with the eight defensemen they currently have on the roster.

    Check out that and more on the whole broadcast at

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    Caps Recap 10/5/09

    It’s Monday, it’s a new Hockey season, that means it’s time to break out the Caps Recap!

    The Caps had two games last week facing the Northeast Division Champion Boston Bruins in their season opener followed up by the familiar face of Ron Wilson and his Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener. The Caps came out of the gate swinging scoring 10 goals in their first two games. Alex Ovechkin having three goals in his first two games is hardly a surprise, but for him to be tied with Brooks Laich certainly may raise some eyebrows.

    The race for the cup starts here, so lets get to some recapping! Read the rest of this entry »

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    Capitals Drop Game 2 Despite Varlamov’s Fantastic Start

    In what was expected to be another aggressive, offensive affair, Game 2 turned into a tale of two goalies.

    On one side, there’s the young, four-year veteran who is regarded as one of the best young goalies in the NHL. On the other side is a raw but talented 20-year old prospect that is in line to be the future goaltender of his team who is making his first career playoff start.

    Rookie Simeon Varlamov replaced Jose Theodore, who allowed four goals in Wednesday’s one-goal loss. The bold move was announced to the team Saturday morning.

    Varlamov allowed only one goal in his impressive debut but for the time being it is overshadowed by the Game 2 loss and the two-game hole the team has dug itself into.

    The deciding goal came with 12:16 to play in the first period. Varlamov failed to stop the puck from flying over his left shoulder once Rangers right winger Ryan Callahan fired the shot. He finished the game with 23 saves.

    “He was phenomenal tonight. He did everything he could. There was nothing he could have done on the goal. It was a backdoor one-timer right under the bar,” defenseman Brian Pothier said. “He was solid. I don’t think he made any mistakes tonight.”

    The Capitals tried everything they could to get a shot past the Ranger’s Henrik Lundqvist but were incapable of taking him out of his game. Washington continuously attacked the net, outshooting New York 35-24 but was unable to get anything to go through.

    “It was just a matter of us finding a way to score a goal. We had a ton of chances. They blocked a ton of shots. We need to figure out some kind of recipe to get some goals,” Pothier said.

    The lack of points was not the result of a lack of effort on the Capitals’ part. They have outshot the Rangers 70-46 in the series so far. That statistic and the fact that they are down 0-2 should say more about the performance of Lundqvist than it does about Washington’s offense.

    “We played a great game, I thought. We made a mistake and they capitalized on it. We couldn’t penetrate their defense they had. They did a great job of blocking shots and Lundqvist is obviously an exceptional goalie so we need to figure out a way to get pucks through,” Pothier said.

    The Capitals started the game fast and attacked the net as they tend to do but towards the end, passing miscues continued to hinder scoring chances.

    Another factor in the two losses was the team’s failure to alter their regular season style of play to accommodate their postseason matchups, Mike Green said.

    “I think we’re just so used to playing a certain way and now with playoff hockey the game changes a bit and we have to adjust. If you’re going to win you have to adjust.”

    Washington, who boasts the NHL’s third best road record, will have to continue their playoff quest in New York’s Madison Square Garden on Monday. In order to be successful, they must find a way to solve the predicament Lundqvist puts them in on a game-by-game basis.

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    Caps Recap 1/5/09

    Happy New Year to all, and especially so for fans of what has rapidly become Washington’s favorite sports franchises; the Washington Capitals.


    The Caps had a great week last week going 3-0-0 against their opponents, gaining six valuable points, improving their hold on second place in the Eastern Conference by  5 points, and proving their team has what it takes to be a playoff contender with great repeat performances against Buffalo and the New York Rangers.


    The Caps are now on a six game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 12. Their current season record is now 26-11-3 and their home record is a spectacular 17-1-1. The Caps 26-11-3 record qualifies as the best in team history after 40 games (previous best: 25-11-4 in the ’85-’86 season).


    The Caps did see the return of Brent Johnson, Donald Brashear and Alex Semin this week but can still attribute a lot of their recent winning ways to the great goaltending of Jose Theodore and the continued playmaking abilities of one Alex Ovechkin. The Great 8 has now scored a goal in eight consecutive home games.


    Before we get to the recapping I would like to take a moment to say “WTF??!!” to the NHL All-Star balloting process. How in the word do Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malken get 1.2 million votes a piece and the reigning league MVP and number two scorer in the league not get even half a million?


    Really NHL? You seem to get some many other things right (centralized replay on questionable goals, uniformed web-sites for each team, great statistical access for even the casual fan); how do you screw up the NHL equivalent of the NFL Pro-Bowl by giving fans the only say in the balloting process?


    Sure Alex is in the game, but snubbing him from the starting line for four Canadiens and two Penguins only shows the farce of fan balloting.


    I’m not through with you on this, NHL. Let’s get to some recapping.


    12/30/08 @ Buffalo – The Caps travelled to Buffalo to face the Sabres for the second time in four days. Buffalo had a history of not being a gracious host to Washington, but the Caps managed to pull out a win for only the third time in the past 10 visits.


    Look who’s scoring now – After scoring a spectacular goal on Buffalo in their previous match-up, Alex Ovechkin didn’t notch so much as an assist in this one. If you were to look strictly at the score-card you might think he didn’t play at all. Washington’s four goals came from Brooks Laich (his 11th of the season), Chris Bourque (the first of his career), Nicklas Backstrom (on the power-play) and Boyd Gordon (on the empty net).


    That’s Ruff – Sabres’ Coach Lindy Ruff had this to say after the game: “If Jochen Hecht and Derek Roy and those kinds of guys aren’t our best players, you don’t have any chance of winning. We’ll take them out of the lineup. Some of them will come out, and that’s not an idle threat, either. You still have to put the work in, and I don’t think we did.” Yeah, he was a little upset.


    1/1/09 vs. Tampa Bay – The Caps welcomed back Brent Johnson from the injured list and helped him win by outscoring Tampa at every turn. The Caps jumped out to a three goal lead in the first period, but saw that lead diminish in the second when the Lightning scored two goals. On two occasions the Caps responded to a Lightning goal within 15 seconds with a goal of their own and went on to win by a final score of 7-4.


    Who hasn’t scored yet? – The Caps saw more goals from players not known for their scoring prowess. Sean Collins scored his first ever NHL goal, and Captain Chris Clark scored his first of the season, but the Caps also saw goals from David Steckel, Matt Bradley, and Boyd Gordon (the other goals came compliments of Mike Green, and some guy named Alex—I think he’s in the All Star game)


    Century milestones – Coach Boudreau was coaching his 100th game and got a win; Mike Green was playing in his 200th career game and scored a goal.


    1/3/09 vs. New York Rangers – In their previous meeting the Rangers jumped out to a four goal lead, only to see the Caps come back and beat them in overtime 5-4. This time the Caps were on their own home ice, and you had to imagine the Rangers were looking for payback. Jose Theodore showed that he still had the confidence that the Rangers had given him for Christmas as he stopped 30 of 31 shots to help the Caps to a 2-1 victory.


    Thank god he’s better with a stick than he is with his hands – Alex Semin was involved in the first fight of his NHL career and I laughed so hard I had to watch it three times. Do you remember the scene from “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie beats up on the bully?


    That’s what this looked like as Semin took Marc Staal down to the ice and began flailing on him with both hands. Kinda like you’d imagine someone beating on bongo drums. Semin was ultimately given a Game Misconduct (which is the equivalent of an ejection), not for the ferocity of the fight (which I think even Staal laughed at a little bit) but because he didn’t have his jersey properly tied down.


    The Wrap-Up – You can’t be unhappy with how the Caps are playing. They have given up 14 goals in their last six games, but have outscored their opponents by a margin of 25-14 during that period. They are seeing more scoring from their supporting players as well as their star talent. They still have looked a little confused at times on the back-check, and occasionally in transition through neutral ice, but when they get into the attacking zone, they are taking shots.


    Boudreau’s offense is high pressure as it calls for players to look for the shot first, and cycle if the shot isn’t there. This wears down defenders and eventually the net-minder. They have shown two styles of offensive creation where the attacker will hold up at the point, and look for the open man, or they will dump the puck in and play the forecheck to try and get the cycle going in the corner. These styles have both proven hard to defend against, especially with the Caps style of intuitive passing that put’s the puck where the attacker is going to be, not where he currently is.


    Coming up – The Caps have three games this week, but it isn’t going to be easy. Thankfully two of the games will be at Verizon where the Caps play extremely well, but they also play back to back games Friday and Saturday night with one opponent at home and another on the road.


    Their first opponent comes tomorrow night at Verizon against Philadelphia, who is currently tied for third in the Eastern Conference; The Caps started their six game winning streak after a 7-1 loss in Philly.


    Next the Caps welcome the Blue Jackets on Friday who are one of the only two teams to have shut the Caps out this year when they beat ‘em 3-0 back in November. The important stat here is that Columbus is 11-6-1 at home (where they were when they beat the Caps), but 7-11-3 on the road. Meanwhile the Caps are currently 17-1-1 at Verizon, so this should be a good game.


    Less than 24 hours after the Columbus game the Caps travel to Montreal where they face the other team tied for third in the Eastern Conference; the Canadiens. The Caps won their last meeting with the Canadiens back on December 13 (2-1). The similarities are curious as the Caps played them in Montreal, also less than 24 hours after playing another team.


    This week will be a good test of where the Caps are at as they seem to be playing strong but still have room for some slight improvement.

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    Caps Recap 12/29/08

    Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays are two ways to send along good wishes and cover just about everybody’s religious beliefs. For the Christians it’s “Merry Christmas,” for the Jews it’s “Happy Hanukkah,” and for Hockey Fans it’s “Ovechkin Scores!”


    The Caps won all three of their games this Christmas week, some in more dramatic fashion than others. The Caps climbed back to a 10-point lead in the Southeast and climbed to second place in the Eastern Conference.


    Alex Semin is still out due to injury, and now so is Brent Johnson, but the Caps did get see the return of Chris Clark, Mike Green, and Jeff Schultz.


    This week started off in Madison Square Garden where the Caps squared off against the New York Rangers in a game that Smokin’ Al Koken dubbed the “Miracle on 34th Street.”


    12/23/08 @ New York Rangers vs. The Four Goal Deficit - Shaone Morrison may have been celebrating his 26th birthday, but it quickly looked like that was going to be all the celebrating the Caps were going to get to do on this Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.


    Jose Theodore gave up three goals before the game was even 12 minutes old, Brent Johnson came in for the last half of the first period but was not healthy enough to finish the game. Theodore returned in the second and gave up a fourth goal and the Rangers looked to be on their way to a rout of the Washington Capitals.


    I’ll admit; I was tempted to change the channel. I’m sure many Caps fans did. Then it happened; it was just a small spark touched off by Alex Ovechkin who had had just about enough of all this scoring by the Rangers. Alex tallied just over the halfway mark of the game (12:38 in the second) and like fire through a dry Christmas tree the Caps burned through the Rangers for three goals in the third, tying the game at four-apiece.


    I am the Alex and the Omega – Alex Ovechkin rallied his troops by getting the Caps first goal of the night. He also scored the game tying goal which propelled the teams into overtime.


    Go Shaone, it’s your birthday… – You couldn’t script a better ending to this game than to have the birthday boy score the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Caps their first win at MSG since 2004. Shaone Morrison, who wears 26 for the Caps was celebrating his 26th birthday and had not scored a goal since February 26th.


    12/26/08 vs. BuffaloVerizon Center was packed on this Friday after Christmas to watch the Washington Capitals welcome the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps faithful did not leave disappointed.


    The Caps would go on to win by a score of 3-2, and it’s no surprise that Alex Ovechkin was again the difference-maker.


    Another one for the highlight reel – Have you ever seen those “stupid videos” where someone catches a shark? They have the shark laying on the deck and it looks dead…until they reach their hand into it’s mouth. That’s what this goal reminded me of.


    Ovechkin takes the puck from his own zone, skates past Toni Lydman in neutral ice, passes the puck between the legs of Henrik Tallinder, and fires off the wrist shot as he loses his balance and slides into the net-minder.


    If you haven’t seen the goal, you can check it out here.(,2,509&event=WSH443 ) It’s the kind of goal legends are made of.


    Go cry on someone else’s shoulder, wouldya? – Anyone that watches the Caps knows that they rarely get away with much as far as penalties are concerned. Their opponents however seem to have the luxury of not getting called for anything. I will cite the Alex Semin injury as a prime example. Semin is cross-checked, the ref is standing right there, but doesn’t make a call. When questioned about the “no-call” he claims Semin was simply “taking a dive.” When he’s challenged on that, he doles out a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct versus the Caps.


    So, when Derek Roy (center for the Buffalo Sabres) says things like “There were a lot of calls that could have gone our way, but they didn’t, and I don’t know why. Ovechkin gets a little hook on him and it’s a penalty. I don’t know if it’s just our team, but sometimes the elite players seem to get more leeway than the other players.” I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him.


    I guess Mr. Roy forgot that he was guilty of a hand pass right before Thomas Vanek’s power play goal (13:47 in the 3rd), an infraction that would have nullified the tally if detected and properly called.


    12/28/08 vs. TorontoOn the night when the Caps honored Mike Gartner by retiring his number, the Caps players all came out for warm-ups in white #11 jerseys. During the actual game, the Caps wore their white “away” jerseys even though they were skating on home ice.


    Even though the Caps were out shooting the Leafs, and were clearly playing better hockey, the score at the end of the first period was 1-0 in favor of the Leafs.  The Caps knew that if they just kept the pressure up it would pay off, and it did. Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin both scored two goals apiece to give the Caps a 4-1 victory over their former coach Ron Wilson and his Maple Leafs.


    I Laich it a lot – Brooks Laich was a 20 goal scorer last season. He has already reached 10 goals this year (24 games ahead of his pace from last season). He earned his third “Hard Hat” honor from his teammates last night for his workman-like performance versus the Leafs.


    More Good News – The Caps got healthier still as they saw the return of Mike Green and Jeff Schultz for this game. With the Caps doing so well, it’s hard to remember how banged up they are. They still have seven players on their injury list including Semin, Federov, Poti, Erskine, Pothier, Fleischmann and Johnson!


    Beware the Phonebooth – The Caps are an amazing 15-1-1 at home. They have the best home-ice record in the Eastern Conference, and the second best home-ice record in the league (only behind the San Jose Sharks who are 18-0-2).


    The Wrap-upIt was a heckuva week for Alex Ovechkin as he scored five goals in three games. It was also a good week for Jose Theodore. After giving up a combined seven goals between the third period versus the Flyers, and the first period versus the Rangers, Theo only allowed 4 goals in the subsequent eight periods. To give you an idea, in those aforementioned two periods (Philly and N.Y.), Theo had a save percentage of 0.700. In the eight periods since, he has a save percentage of 0.941.


    Coming UpThe Caps wrap up 2008 with a rematch versus the Sabres, and start the New Year at home versus the Lightning and the Rangers. For those of you with the careful eye, the Caps are in fact facing two of the three opponents they faced last week. Obviously, Buffalo is going to feel like they have something to prove, since they feel like they got the short end of the penalty stick last week, but New York is coming to Verizon knowing that they cannot take the Caps for granted…even with a four-goal lead.


    Washington must be driving the Vegas bookies crazy as you can never predict what they are going to do. If I had to pick, I’d say the Caps win against Buffalo on the road, and the Rangers at home, but drop the game against Tampa for no other reason than that’s the game they were supposed to win.


    It’s the one thing you can say about the Caps…they are never boring.

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    Caps Recap 12/22/08

    It must be Monday, time for another Caps Recap.


    The Washington Capitals played only three games last week and went 2-1-0, giving them a record of 20-11-3 for the season. They are currently leading the Southeast division by six points, and are tied for third in the Eastern Conference.


    The Caps saw the return of Jose Theodore, but lost Alex Semin to the injury list this week. Let’s get to the games.


    @ The Islanders, 12/16/08 – The Caps jumped out to an early lead in this one, and were leading 4-2 at the end of the second period only to watch their lead dissolve in the third as New York tied the game with 2:13 left in regulation. Alex Ovechkin saved the game with 10.7 seconds left until the shootout when he ripped a shot from the top of the face-off circles past Joey MacDonald for the game winner.


    It was a good run – Tuesday’s game vs. the Islanders was the first time in four games that the Caps allowed more than a single goal by their opponent.


    Setting the bar high early – In only his fourth year, Alex Ovechkin has toppled a franchise record for most career overtime goals. His sixth career overtime goal came on Tuesday night and put him ahead of Peter Bondra and Kelly Miller for the franchise record.


    Vs. St. Louis, 12/18/08 – The Blues came into Verizon Center as the only team never to have faced the Bruce Boudreau-led Capitals. The Caps earned their 20th win of the season making them the fifth team in the league to reach 20 wins this season.


    If you look closely, you can tell he’s a rookie – If it weren’t for the plain white hockey mask, you’d be hard pressed to believe that Simeon Varlamov was a rookie goaltender as he stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced. He made several highlight reel saves and always seemed to be in good position. His only real flaw of the night was when he forgot about the trapezoid rule and received a delay-of-game penalty.


    Insult to injury – It was bad enough that the refs didn’t call a tripping penalty when Alex Semin first got knocked down, but then they didn’t call the cross-check he took right to his lower back.  The official was standing right there watching the event happen. Alex Semin lay contorting on the ice and did not return to the game. When the official explained to Coach Boudreau that he thought Semin was “milking it” Coach Boudreau most likely said what any of us would have.


    I’m not privy to what was actually said, but I can imagine it was profane. Apparently the official’s feelings were hurt, so he called a bench minor for “abuse of an official.”


    Note: Alex must really be selling his injury as he has yet to return from it. Hope the official is feeling better after his verbal thrashing.


    Yeah, well our web-producer is just as tall as you are – Ben Bishop entered the game as the league’s tallest goaltender. If that seems familiar, it’s because he was mentioned last week when web-producer Brett Leonhardt was called in to play bench-warming goalie for one period last week. Bishop is currently listed as the tallest goalie in NHL history at 6’7″.


    It just don’t seem right – Simeon Varlamov played two games in his fill in role with Washington and won them both. Thursday night he beat the St. Louis Blues, Friday morning he was sent back down the Hershey.


    @ Philadelphia, 12/20/08 – In a rare 1 o’clock game the Capitals were whipped 7-1 by the Flyers. Brent Johnson started the game and kept the Caps in it, down 3-0 at the end of the second. The real story of this game was the spectacular play of Flyers net minder Antero Nittymaki. The Caps added pressure early, matching a franchise record for most shots on goal in a single period with 25. By the end of the second period the Caps had peppered Nittymaki with 39 shots and had nothing to show for it. Jose Theodore stepped in to start the third period, and things went from bad to worse as he allowed the Flyers to score four more goals.


    Coulda, woulda, shoulda – The Caps made a few spectacular plays and were just beat by Nittymaki. On the rare occasion they did get one past Nittymaki, it would ring off the post. The Caps had at least two quality chances ripped from them by spectacular goalie-play as the score should have been 3-1 at the end of the first.


    The Wrap-up – Saturday’s game was hard to watch, especially in the third when the Caps really seemed to fall apart. Brooks Laich saved them the indignity of a shut-out with his third period tally, but this game really exposed a weakness in Jose Theodore. You never like to say that one player can be a difference maker, but I truly believe this team suffered a lot without the creativity that Alex Semin brings to the ice.

       The Caps were firing shots from everywhere (48 total), and that kind of pressure is usually rewarded, but what they really needed was the nimble moves that Semin brings in to help get the goaltender out of position.

       Semin may not score as much as Alex Ovechkin, but his real strength is in driving defenders, and subsequently, net minders crazy with his curl and drag capabilities, his quick back-hand, and his accurate passing.

       Pulling Brent Johnson may have been an attempt to ignite the team, but it appears to have backfired as the Caps looked like they had had all of the energy sucked out of them in the third period. The Caps had 25 shots in the first period, yet only nine in the third. Meanwhile, Johnson only faced 13 shots in the first two periods, while Theodore was peppered with 15 in the third. The Caps felt hopeless, and the Flyers took the momentum and ran with it.


    Coming up – It doesn’t get any easier for the Caps this week. They face off tomorrow night against the Rangers (currently second place in the Eastern conference) and round out their week with the Sabres and Leafs. Two of their three games are at home (where the Caps are still 13-1-1).


    This Sunday’s game at Verizon, the Caps will honor Mike Gartner as they retire his jersey in a pregame ceremony. Gartner, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), will become the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired. Yvon Labre’s No. 7 was retired on Nov. 7, 1981, Rod Langway’s No. 5 was retired on Nov. 26, 1997, and Dale Hunter’s No. 32 was retired on March 11, 2000.


    Every fan in attendance will receive a commemorative Mike Gartner jersey pin, sponsored by Comcast SportsNet, upon entrance into the game, along with a special No. 11 signs to pay tribute to Gartner. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats early for the ceremony, which will start promptly at 7 p.m. The ceremony and the game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and will be available in high definition.


    Former Washington Capitals Greg Adams, Bob Carpenter, Bob Gould, Alan Hangsleben, Wes Jarvis, Labre, Langway, Craig Laughlin, Dennis Maruk, Paul Mulvey, Larry Murphy, Errol Rausse, Gary Rissling and Scott Stevens as well as former broadcaster Ron Weber will be in attendance to help share in this special night. Some of Gartner’s former teammates will be around the concourse before the game meeting fans and signing autographs and they will be introduced during the first intermission.


    Prior to the ceremony, the current Capitals will wear special white retro jerseys during pregame warmups. Each jersey will have No. 11 on them along with the current player’s name. The jerseys will be autographed by Gartner and each player and will be available at a silent auction during the game with a portion of the proceeds going to World Vision. World Vision, Gartner’s charity of choice, is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.


    The Caps will wear white jerseys during the game – as Gartner’s Capitals teams did at the Cap Centre – while Toronto will wear dark jerseys.

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    Panthers Devour Caps 5-3

    My mother always told me “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Unfortunately, Mom probably didn’t realize I’d take up sports-writing as a hobby, and that part of sports-writing is that you have to say some not nice things. Especially when your team goes out and plays a game like the one the Caps played tonight.


    I know she’ll be reading this, so, sorry Mom…in advance.


    A quick shout out – Before I get to the game stuff, which you really probably already know about anyway, and probably aren’t in any big rush to hear about yet, I’d like to thank John and Winnie, two die-hard season ticket holders that kept me entertained prior to tonight’s game.


    If you happen to have the chance to meet them at the Green Turtle at Verizon Center, buy them a beer, they are good company.


    Does this make my butt look big? – At the beginning of the game, the camera-person found the fan with the “rally horn” and he was displayed on the scoreboard doing what he does best; blowing his horn to the familiar “LET’S-GO-CAPS” cheer.


    Unfortunately, the camera person must not have noticed the rather large woman who was bent over her seat right next to him until after her butt was taking up most of the scoreboard. To their credit they tried to stay with the “rally horn” fan, and tried to pan over as much as they could to spare the crowd as much of the unintentional mooning as possible, but there was no escaping it.


    I wonder if anyone told her.


    The phantom goal – Alex Ovechkin is so gifted he can will the puck into the net without ever touching it. The Caps goal in the first period was officially credited to Nicklas Backstrom, but it sure looked like Ovie had given the Caps a 1-0 lead on the power play.


    Apparently what happened was that Nick’s shot hit a defender’s skate and went in. Alex had wound up to get the one-timer to the left of the net, and did in fact swing, so it made it look like he had scored. Gotta give those scoring officials credit, they have the sharp eye!


    Wait; there’s two more periods? – At the end of the first period the Caps looked to be pretty fairly in control of the game. They had a 1-0 lead, and were leading in shots 8-4. Two of Florida’s four shots came near the end of the period on the power-play.


    See if I ever say anything nice about you again! – Jose Theodore was coming off a shutout performance, and seemed to be handling his rebounds well. Just as I finished making a note about how he’s starting to look good he gave up his first goal of the night.


    See if I ever say anything nice about you again; Part Deux! – After his first couple of games, it’s hard to remember that Karl Alzner is a rookie. He certainly looked like it tonight. He was caught out of position early in the first period, but was saved by the quick stick of Sami Lepisto. Early in the second period he over-skated Ville Peltonen who stopped short, used Alzner as a screen and beat Jose Theodore for the Panthers first goal of the night.


    Later in the second period he had the misfortune of being in the way of David Steckel’s break-out pass and had the puck ricochet off his skate to beat Theodore 5-hole.


    What’s the fastest way to kill a penalty? – Score on yourself! They’ll never expect that and you get your guy out of the penalty box quicker! Alzner’s (ahem) goal was a PPG that was credited to Jay Bouwmeester, and a little less than five minutes later, Shaone Morrison was in the crease with Theodore when Bryan McCabe snapped off his wrister.


    The puck actually bounced off Morrison and into the net.


    I haven’t heard the Boo-Birds of winter in a while – As the second period wound to a close the boo-birds let their dissatisfaction be known. There weren’t very many of them, but in the absence of anything worth cheering about, their voices were heard.


    I guess when you’re 9-0-1 at home; you aren’t going to hear much in the way of dissatisfaction.


    Where’d everybody go? – By the start of the third period, less than half the 16,792 fans who had attended tonight’s game had left. Those that stayed made sure they pointed out whatever it was that the Caps were doing wrong.


    Several times throughout the third period, the scoreboard operators tried to get the fans back into the game with their “MAKE SOME NOISE” graphics and “The Good Ol’ Hockey Game” song, but fans of a team that is losing 4-1 were having a hard time figuring out what they wanted to make noise about, and certainly were in no mood to sing.


    No Excuses – This was the first time I’ve had the chance to sit in on a press conference with Couch Boudreau after a Caps loss. He neither made, nor would accept any excuses for the way the Caps played tonight. When asked about the goals that bounced in off of his own players he replied with “Yeah, but didn’t our first goal go in off one of their guys? At least the goal we got was shot by one of our guys.”


    When asked about his team looking lethargic he agreed “Yeah, they did. Quite frankly it was the least energy that I think we’ve had all year. I talked about how we needed to have a lot of energy tonight because their team was coming off a big win in New York, and they’d be ready to play us. I don’t know what it was. I have no idea. I mean, maybe we had too many days off.”


    When asked about Theodore’s performance giving up four goals on 16 shots he said “He was like the rest of the team. The biggest problem is when the goalie is like the rest of the team, he stands out like a sore thumb, but he probably wasn’t any worse than the rest of our players.”


    When asked about the apparent inexperience on the blue-line he said “I dunno, we talk about inexperience at this level, but I mean it’s the common sense plays they’ve been doing since they were thirteen years old that were the ones, and it wasn’t just the inexperienced guys that were makin’ ‘em.”


    I wouldn’t describe Coach Boudreau as seething, but I tell you this much…


    …I wouldn’t want to be a Washington Capital that had to report to practice in the morning!

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