Knee-Jerks @ N.Y. Islanders, 12/22/07

Knee-jerk ReactionsAh, the holiday break sets in, and so does the confusion in the Caps’ defensive zone. In what was as entertaining as watching strangers play Risk, the Isles and the Caps duked it out on in New York. Sadly, the Grinch struck on this one.

  • Kolzig looked relatively sharp until the final 10 minutes of the game. This is, unfortunately, becoming a familiar refrain. A team like the Caps can’t win without solid goaltending, and they aren’t getting that, full-time. The Park game-winner was a glaring example.
  • Alexander Semin, on the other hand, is beginning to look like he remembers what he used to do on a sheet of ice. This is a positive, to put it mildly.
  • This may not have been the most aesthetically perfect hockey game you are going to see.Few chances, conservative play. Looked a lot like a boxing match – lots of jabs, no haymakers.
  • Viktor Kozlov is showing signs, though I think we can agree his assists were of the incidental variety.
  • If you weren’t aware, we’re building something together. Something special, something to…ah, you know.
  • Ovechkin’s defensive development continues – he’s the weak side red line help, and touches up an icing call. That doesn’t happen before this season.
  • Concerning the Fleischmann-Backstrom-Semin line, Fleischmann looks in over his head. Semin and Backstrom have puck-magnets in their sticks, and Fleischmann is relying on hard work – not his game. It’s not up to me, but I think a healthy Chris Clark would find a decent home on that line, and maybe turn around his less than memorable season. Credit to Fleischmann, though, because he goes in the corners. It’s usually futile, but he keeps going in. Props for that.
  • I think Jeff Schultz will become a solid NHL defenseman. That said, someone tell me why he isn’t in Hershey. Erskine had a pretty good view of Satan’s goal, too. From behind. I’m not sure that Eminger would have have stopped that, but he would have caught up with it. The backup quarterback always gets a lot of press, so you can’t jump too much on it, but the coaching staff is seeing something I am not. (BTW, go with their eyes not mine. I’ve had a couple of beers. They just get water on the bench.)
  • Shaone Morrisonn’s iffy defensive play continues. Mike Comrie robbed him after Morrisonn lost the puck in his skates at the blueline. That’s not so great. Morrisonn is solid, but for a guy who is defense-oriented, he can’t make those mistakes.
  • We all knew what we were getting in Michael Nylander, but a little more effort would be nice. Nylander is still as calm as ever with the puck – maybe too calm. Wrong-siding trailing blueliners is below the skills Nylander brings. I’ve no worries about his fitness level, but for a guy you’ve signed for 4 years, you want him to be able to hold onto the puck and make plays, not hold onto it until he turns it over.
  • Nick Backstrom is already a good hockey player. He’s going to be great. Quietly, perhaps, but great.
  • Think Brendan Witt will fake a cross-check to Brashear again? Then complain about being punched? Guess not.
  • The Caps are suffering from overpassitis. Sometimes, you just gotta shoot, fellas.
  • Props where due – Green and Morrisonn collapsed very well on an Isles’ 3rd period rush, forcing a pass to a lower-angle shot.
  • Mike Comrie (5’9″, with afro) trips 6’6″ Jeff Schultz. Someone look that up.
  • Ovechkin is the only reason this game goes to overtime, but not just because of his goal. For a few minutes, he’s the only Caps trying to attack the Isles’ defense, going into the heart of it instead of looking for dumps. Admittedly, it didn’t work out too well, but he’s not shying away.
  • Paging Dr. Prior. The Caps can’t do squat without Kolzig on his game. I know what I want for Xmas.

The Caps go into the holiday break on a sour note — the Grinch went 5-hole. Let’s all have some nogg, shake this off, and hope our gifts are filled with 2 points when we get back to it. Happy holidays, Caps fans.

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4 Responses to Knee-Jerks @ N.Y. Islanders, 12/22/07

  1. OrderedChaos says:

    I 100% agree on Fleischmann. He works hard, plays his heart out, but definitely looks out of his depth with Semin/Backstrom. Would love to see Clarkie back on that line.

  2. mellyville9 says:

    WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL NYLANDER TO SHOOT JUST ONCE!!!!!!!!!

  3. Capsaholic says:

    The good news: Machesney’s getting more & more ice time at the farm and making good use of it. Writing on the wall?
    Last night in a 4-1 win.
    Machesney 59:44 36 Shots 35 Saves

  4. MulletMan says:

    Anyone know Greens status. Looked like he took a stick blade inside the visor last night…Sarge’s stick :(.

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