Knee-jerks: at Colorado, 10/25/06

Caps at Avs - 25 Oct 06The play of Olie Kolzig (despite giving up a softie) and the Caps killing a full two-minute five-on-three Avs power-play pretty much won the day. A good road win for the Caps, against a good team. I’m fairly impressed.
-Richard Zednik needs to be bumped down to the second power-play unit. At one point, he took the puck behind the net on the power-play, but instead of taking the open space, he turned back around – right into an Avalanche defender. Zednik’s puck-possession and protection skills simply don’t mesh with guys like Ovechkin and Semin, whom you’d rather have the puck. Zednik is a good pk forward right now, and not much more. Hopefully, he’ll get on a roll.
-Mike Green’s goal, well, there was a little bit of luck and a whole lot of skill. Confidence hasn’t been a problem for the youngster (and that hasn’t always been a positive), but a less gutsy blueliner, of any age, doesn’t score that goal.
-Outside of the penalty shot that he didn’t get on cage, Ovechkin looked as close to his usual self. He got a good screen on his goal from Zednik (credit where due), but it’s nice to see Ovy rifle a puck in from the left dot. I also fully approve of his using Skrastins to break the Pepsi Center glass – it’s akin to selecting the right golf-club on an approach shot.
-Donald Brashear had a good game – hitting, defensively aware, and getting his nose dirty. At one point, he drove the Colorado net and bumped Budaj a bit. The three Avalanche players converged on him quickly skated away once the play was blown dead – none of the usual hacking and whacking a less-intimidating player would suffer. At this point, I’d really like to see Brashear as a full-time third liner with Sutherby and Bradley.
-There seemed to be a lot of juggling of lines last night by Hanlon.

Sakic - 1,500 Points
-Congrats to Joe Sakic. He’s a class player. And he still has the second-best wrist shot in the league.
-Zubrus had a pretty good defensive game (though being beaten to your own goal by Audette is sketchy) and his power move to the crease on his goal was a thing of beauty.
-I’m not real sure why Ovechkin was on the ice with the game pretty much over (8 seconds left), but word is he’s okay.
-Paul Stastny of the Avalanche impressed me. Good to see that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
This was the kind of game that last year’s Caps squad loses in fairly definitive style. Getting two points at the start of the road trip is a fine way to get things going. Nice work, boys. Off to Vancouver, time to drop in on old friend Roberto Luongo.

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4 Responses to Knee-jerks: at Colorado, 10/25/06

  1. chanuck says:

    Loved the game last night. Much to be happy about and cautiously optimistic. Only sour note was Ovie out at the end. Scary stuff.

  2. Caps Wrap-Up…

    Now that we have 12 — that’s right 12 — Caps blogs to choose from, I thought it might be……

  3. pepper says:

    Definitely we lose this game last year. The third period was a little too much like last year – scrambling around chasing the puck carrier, missing assignments, playing hemmed-in, allowing a truckload of pucks on net, all of which would have spelled doom a half-season ago. But Olie first was stellar, and secondly there were a couple of key shifts of ours which stemmed the tide and tilted the ice back to even.
    winning 1 of the next three makes a decent road trip. Getting three or more additional points would be tremendous – with a few days off and then to host the little birdies from Altanta again.

  4. pepper says:

    Here’s perhaps an overly general question – we have, by all accounts, a pretty fast skating team. Not the fastest, but certainly not in the bottom third. Certainly not like the ironically-named Flyers these days.
    When the team finds itself running around in its own end, is that mostly a result of (i) lack of mental focus, (ii) lack of physical stamina (i.e., not being able to keep up) or (iii) just individual lack of ability and getting beat clean by your man, i.e. not positioning your body as well, not keeping your stick down, not quick enough with the stick. Or the obvious bail out answer – a combination of the above.
    When I play, and I’ve played in the lowest skill level leagues (like 8th skilled out of 8 divisions), and the ability amongst players is comparable (Comparably awful this is.) But my point is that, when our team was hemmed in, scrambling in our zone (sloooowly scrambling, but scrambling), it was many times, at least for me, because we lost focus and paying attention to players without the puck, which lead to panic, and then our goalie scooping the puck out of the net.
    So with a relatively young team like the Caps, I imagine that when trouble strikes, it can many times be this lack of focus. At least this has to be the cause of so many penalties we seem to get bunched together. On the other hand, they’ve all played hockey since they were three, and many situations I’m sure are familiar. Thoughts?
    The above statements about the team almost never seem to apply to Morrisonn, who is a defensive monster, a wet blanket, and a real old-school 80’s/early 90’s Cap defender in the making.

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