Washington Capitals – Columbus Blue Jackets – Live Knee Jerks

Trying a live blog from the press box… updates will be ad hoc, and I may take some time away for photos, and finally: please pardon any typos. Thanks.

First Period

  • My wife will be thrilled — Alex Ovechkin is clean-shaven tonight. Unfortunately he just went to the penalty box… hopefully the two are not related.
  • After the Rangers and Flyers came to town, this has all the signs of a let-down game despite Rick Nash’s injury. But the Jackets’ goalie Mason is the only ‘tender in the league with an under-2.00 GAA… I hope I’m wrong, but I’m predicting a close game despite the Caps outshooting Columbus by a wide margin.
  • Shots are 5-1 with 12:17 remaining, despite a Columbus power play. And why was it again that Mike Green won’t be at the All-Star Game? Perhaps it should be renamed to the Some-Stars Game.
  • Great shift by Steckel — wins the faceoff, keeps the puck deep in Columbus’ zone for most of his ice time, no surprise.
  • Rumors of a Malkin trade floating around, though most rightly laugh it off as not even Eklund-worthy at this point.
  • Argh, R.J. Umberger hits a wide-open net after a great cross-ice pass from Jakub Voracek. Nice down-ice drive by the Jackets from an own-zone faceoff.
  • Breakaway by Semin, nice shot, no love.
  • Risky clear attempt by Theodore luckily results in a well-wide shot by Columbus.
  • Steckel just scored, if scoring counts as putting your entire body into the net instead of the puck. Still, it results in a Caps PP.
  • Nice, a little “Blue Orchid” by The White Stripes… need to add that to the CapsMix playlist!
  • Solid PP, Caps leading in shots x4, but no twine-denting yet. 
  • Miss Virginia Tara Wheeler just got some big-screen time. Go Tara!
  • Caps head to the PP again — hooking, even this close to 14th Street, remains illegal. 
  • Open net on the PP! But a bouncing puck foils both Laich and Backstrom. 
  • Zoinks — another Capitals PP… let’s make this one count boys, eh? Especially with Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the box… wait, sorry, Alexander, not Jean-Luc. 
  • No luck yet, but 43 seconds remain in the PP to start the second.

Second Period (Columbus 1, Washington 0)

  • So watching the first period’s doldrums, I have to ask: Is it Steve Mason, and earlier Marty Turco, or is it Ken Hitchcock’s stifling (some would say tedious) gameplan? Mason’s clearly talented, but the Jackets’ boring-yet-effective style of play is a Hitchcock hallmark. 
  • Aaaaand we’re off! Fantastic recovery by Ovi at the point to keep the puck in, but a shanked shot from the wing ends another PP with no goal.
  • Remember how I mentioned Ovi looks better sans facial hair? The same is most definitely not true for Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock. Grow back the ‘stache, Ken!
  • Wow, nice shot, quick release by Ovi, yet again no goal. Aaaand another scramble, another great save by Mason. Hmm, maybe it is more Mason than Hitchcock…
  • An almost-full house tonight, but the energy is about 1/10 of Tuesday’s and Saturday’s games. The fact that that observation merited a bullet should tell you how things are a bit sleepy here tonight.
  • Semin with a burst, drives down, taken down — another power play, and hopefully one the Caps convert into their first goal.
  • Whoa, too many Jackets! Caps go up by 2 men, and Coach Boudreau uses his timeout — wisely, as the Caps need at least one goal on this PP. And now Producer Scott Brooks breaks out the “Inches” video during the timeout… perfect timing, Mr. Brooks!
  • And the 5-3 advantage ends without a SOG.
  • Thus ends the PP, with nary a scoring chance. 
  • Chris Cooley is in the game with his lovely wife, and was the first target of tonight’s SmileCam.
  • Ouch, another Colubus goal… Jackets up 2-0, and this is without their two leading goal scorers: Nash (17) and Huselius (12). The leading Columbus goal-getter on the ice is Umberger with 12… yet they’re winning.
  • Another tepid period draws to a close. The Caps need some of this press box coffee for the third.

Third Period

  • San Jose, Columbus, Calgary, and Minnesota are all .800 or above against the Eastern Conference, and all four have beaten the Capitals this season. Not good.
  • Shared an elevator with a be-suited Eric Fehr during the intermission. Amusing moment as an enthusiastic little girl in the elevator exclaimed, “The Capitals are winning!” Then her slightly less-little brother had to explain that they were losing 2-0.
  • And Hitchcock Hockey goes into full effect. Yawn.
  • Great chance by Ovi-Semin, hitting the outside of the net though. 
  • Boyd Gordon UPdate: In case you hadn’t heard on Tarik’s blog, Boyd Gordon was injured during pregame warm-ups and has not skated a shift tonight.
  • Just got a text message from my wife: “Tootin! My new favorite hockey name!”
  • Wake up, there’s a fight! Brashear makes quick work of Jarret Boll with two quick lefts. Unfortunately Boll never dropped the gloves, so Brash ends up with 4:00 in the box for Holding & Roughing. That, ladies and gentlemen, is game over. And to be honest the Caps are lucky Brash didn’t get 7 minutes — I’m impressed that Roughing now apparently includes two solid punches to the opponent’s face. 
  • “Ref You Suck” declares the crowd, as a blatant non-call in front of the Columbus net then leads to a Jackets goal at the other end by Boll, who seems to have recovered just find from his beat-down. 3-0 Columbus.

Okay folks, I’m signing off. A late Capitals flurry reclaimed a little energy but yielded no goals (though the pipe was dented). Thanks for reading, and let’s hope the team gets fired up for Montreal tomorrow night.

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10 Responses to Washington Capitals – Columbus Blue Jackets – Live Knee Jerks

  1. Bethany says:

    I was shocked he didn’t get 7 also. At least Boll was able to make him pay.

  2. vt caps fan says:

    Just a bad game. A very FLAT effort. Hopefully their is not a hangover from this game tomorrow night.

  3. hockeygrl_76 says:

    Boring Game…what a disappointment

  4. Gustafsson says:

    The team wasn’t in the game.
    The crowd wasn’t in the game.
    In talking with VT Caps Fan at the game last night, it seemed like one of the last games Hanlon coached.

  5. Rick says:

    Not to rub salt in the wound, but… once again, you’ve been “MASE-d”. Say what you will about Hitchs’ style of play, but we’ve got a goalie that is definately All-Star worthy (I feel your frustration Caps fans).
    Mason now leads the NHL in three major categories: shutouts (six), goals-against average (1.74) and save percentage (.939).

  6. chanuck says:

    Not to take anything away from Mason, but he wasn’t the story of the game. His Defense played great in front of him. The Caps couldn’t get anything started. There seems to be a man on each Cap and any rebound got swept away by the D or swallowed up by Mason. Most shots seemed to be from the perimeter and Mason was able to see it from a mile away. He also got Lucky with a few of those hitting the post. The Jackets overall, out worked the Caps.

  7. Victor says:

    I picked up Mason for my fantasy team after he shut us out the first time. He’s very talented and the trap helps him out–so is it the goalie, or the system?
    Does it matter? We haven’t scored on this kid yet.
    I have very mixed feelings about my primary fantasy goalie shutting out my real-life favorite team, twice.

  8. OrderedChaos (Mike Rucki) says:

    @ Victor: Mason doesn’t face the Caps again this season, so now you can sit back and enjoy the fantasy-hockey points rolling in. 🙂
    @ Rick: Agreed. Just like Hitch in Dallas with Turco, the team has the perfect combination of a shut-down goalie and a shut-down style. Boring, perhaps, but undeniably effective.

  9. Tyler says:

    Just a thought… in the NBA last year, one random team had one of the league’s giants’ number. That powerhouse was the Boston Celtics. The team who beat them (I think) 4 times in during the season? The playoff-worthy but not stellar Washington Wizards. Ultimately, the two teams didn’t face off in the playoffs. The Celtics won the championship.
    That line of logic is dumb, but this type of thing happens in most sports. After all, the Blue Jackets can (and should) make the playoffs this year… at least barring a ridiculous Cinderella won the Caps won’t have to worry about facing Steve Mason in the Spring!

  10. Dan says:

    May be you guys, should play your rookies too??? 🙂
    Dmitry has updated his blog – enjoy!

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