Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Caps with a solid 2-0 win against the Sabres

So I'm back home from school for Thanksgiving break - VERY crazy but finally no work or classes to concern myself with. This means that not only do I get to eat a whole lot tomorrow and watch football, but I can finally watch Caps games live on my television! No radio; don't have to go anywhere; don't have to
watch some bootleg version... LIVE AT HOME!

This meant that I was able to sit down and focus and see for myself what this team does well and what it needs to work on. Granted, I've been visualizing through radio broadcasts, reading post game reports, and watching just to see the team win at bars and restaurants. So now I can see it from a truly analytical perspective.

The Caps played the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the Verizon Center, and they ended up winning 2-0 after a series of epic events. We'll get there though.

The Capitals began the game as they normally would, spending quality time with the opposing team's zone, but not getting too many quality chances. he first goal of the game was scored 6 minutes in by Alex Ovechkin from a nasty wrister, where Ryan Miller couldn't do anything to stop it. After that, however, the scoring chances in the first period were 5-1 in the Sabres' favor.

Aside from the number of scoring chances, the Caps seemed to keep the Sabres with minimal opportunities and shots following the first period. The Caps themselves seemed to posses the puck more at the same time.

Through 2 periods there were no penalties, until about halfway through the 3rd period:

Scenerio #1: *through my eyes* Alex Ovechkin, a typically hard hitting player, went to the much smaller Patrick Kaleta on the Sabres, and did quite a hard body check on the side into the glass, but nonetheless it was a great hard hit on a player that didn't brace himself properly.

Scenerio #2 (the one that matters):*through the officials' eyes* Ovechkin recieves a boarding major penalty, a game misconduct; thus, he was kicked out of the game.

So this puts the Caps in a particularly interesting situation: A team that has problems on the penalty kill, a 1-goal lead, and no more Ovechkin, this was quite the nerve-wrecker. However, the Capitals didn't even allow a shot by the Sabres the whole 5 minute power play, and also managed to kill off one more penalty toward the end of the 3rd period.

Eric Fehr then gave the Caps some insurance, and the team held off a last stand by the Sabres to win 2-0.

What I noted

As I mentioned before, I was able to follow the Caps more closely tonight, and actually be able to truly scrutinize the team's play. In doing so, found a few points that contributed to tonight's win,and that the team did differently from previous matches.

Me with my analytical face to watch the Caps game - in my bed lol
  • The team seemed to sacrifice massive offensive power and shots in exchange for a more solid defensive presence. Saw multiple blocked shots, a more aggrssive defense, and quick disposal of rebounds.
  • Related to defense, The 4th foward, Mike Green, reset himself in time from offensive plays to return back to his post on defense.
  • The Caps took the penalty kill seriously tonight. A team traditionally with PK problems, especially this season, it was nice to see a strong effort being perfect on the kill.
  • The team played a full-60 minute game; contrary to the normal 40-minute offensive outburst and then defensively collapsing, killing their leads. Mind you, the Caps have had a lead in EVERY game this season (25 games), only to lose it in devastating fashion.
  • When Alex Ovechkin was taken out of the game, the other lines stepped up and continued to produce.
  • When Alex Ovechkin was in the game, he was constantly out there creating chances and kept his legs moving.
  • Dumb penalties were kept to a minimum (the killer in the 3rd period of the Senators loss), and by minimum, I mean we had one dumb penalty (the one on Ovie was questionable).
  • Caps have hella injuries. Good rotation of lines, especially on defense. People will come back soon, but we're deep in Hershey, so it's not soooo bad.
  • Simeyon Varlamov is reliable. The saves he was making were borderline miraculous. Congrats on his first regular season shutout by the way.
  • All of this occurs after Bruce Boudreau accusedthe team of quitting on him, and questioning the capability of the Caps to hold a lead, saying that during the 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators, he had a feeling the Caps would lose the lead and didn't want to pull the "hate to say I told you so".
Hopefully the Caps don't need that type of encouragement ALL the time if they want to win. They have an opportunity now to redeem themselves against the Montreal Canadiens.

Allen Iverson - Retired?

Okay, I'm hearing conflicting reports. Comcast Sportsnet says that Iverson has not really retired. He is seriously considering it, but he will have further communication with his former head coach at Georgetown, John Thompson, to discuss whether he should or should not retire.

However, ESPN is all talking about "Iverson's legacy" and it's on their bottomline.

This Iverson situation, being a local-story of sorts, I think I'm going to stick with the Comcast reports; considering he hasn't even officially filed the papers.

So don't fuss yet you ladies who only watched basketball to watch Allen Iverson, it's not QUITE over; just yet. And you'll see him on TV somewhere anyway.

Turkey Day/Weekend Football Picks

Thursday:
Green Bay over Detriot
Dallas over Oakland
Giants over Broncos

Sunday:
Tennesee over Arizona
Philadelphia over Redskins
Tampa Bay over Atlanta
Miami over Buffalo
St. Louis over Seattle <-- Just for kicks Carolina over Jets Indianapolis over Houston San Diego over Kansas City San Francisco over Jacksonville Minnesota over Chicago Steelers over Baltimore

Monday:

My heart says New Orleans, mind says New England
*prove me wrong please!*
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, R.I.P. to D.C. icon Abe Pollin, former Caps' owner and now-former Wizards' owner...

Hopefully everyone has a great Thanksgiving break, and throughout the rest of the holidays. Umm.. I know I keep saying I'm going all incognito and stuff, and I am. Trust me. I am. But I will keep appearing every now and then. But until my huge story is out, don't expect to see me. LOL.

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