Roughing, Roughing, Roughing

First, let me admit that I watched this game on a tiny TV screen tucked away in the corner of a particularly lame "sports bar" in Silver Spring where the clientele found the NFL Pro Bowl, Keno and computer generated horses all more important than some hockey game. So it was tough to get a good read on exactly how things were going for the Caps. For example, after watching the first period, I thought the Caps played especially well. They did a great job of establishing possession in the offensive zone, controlling the boards and playing a very physical brand of hockey. Yet when the first period stats flashed across the screen during the intermission, to my surprise the Rangers were badly outshooting the Caps. In fact, all of the first period stats seemed to heavily favor the Rangers.

The difference, of course, is simply a question of overall team mentality. The Rangers don't seem to be particularly afraid to put the puck on net, whereas the Capitals tendency to keep passing the puck no matter what during power plays seems to have spread to even strength play as well. You would think after the game against Los Angeles ended on a garbage goal resulting from a seemingly harmless shot from Milan Jurcina, they might have figured out the value of taking shots, but they still seem rather obsessed with trying to make the perfect tic-tac-toe play.

It seems to me that some of the guys out there think that they are better than they really are. They see the sort of plays that the Alexes make and they endeavor to try to replicate that and as a result, all they get are turnovers and the occasional close-but-no-cigar scoring chance. The Rangers, meanwhile, scored almost all of their goals from above the hash marks. Granted, a few of them were on one-timers, but the point is: SHOOT THE FREAKING PUCK!

Speaking of the power play, the new scheme didn't seem to make a lick of difference. If you just looked at the box score and saw the Caps' two power play goals, you would think that they had actually made some sort of improvement, but the reality is that both of those goals were lucky bounces. The Caps failed to generate any real scoring opportunities without the generous assistance of the end boards.

As a quick aside, the officiating seemed particualrly dreadful tonight. The roughing call against Clark was pretty much absurd based on the replay I saw. The one on Kolzig was less rediculous but it seemed to me that there was a lot worse happening (from both teams) (but especially the Rags) that wasn't getting called. I don't ask that every single infraction result in a penalty, all I ask is for some consistency within a single game.

So the Caps end their homestand with a 2-1-1 record, a record that is misleading since one of those wins was a shootout win against a team that they are ostensibly competing with for a playoff spot. Really, if they wanted to have any chance of jumping back into the hunt for real, they needed to win at least three.

Recaps From People That Matter:
-Bettman Hates Hockey!
-Bleatings From a Caps Nut
-Capital Fanatic
-Capitals Corner
-Capitals Insider
-Off Wing Opinion
-On Frozen Blog
-Puckhead's Thoughts
-The Peerless Prognosticator

No comments: