(Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
The Washington Capitals had the opportunity to prove national dominance against the best-in-the-west Dallas Stars. That didn’t happen.
Michael Ryder took a second chance, banked it off one or two Caps top-liners and past an unsuspecting Michal Neuvirth. On the power play, Nick Backstrom gave a blind feed to Alex Semin, who fired hard from 15 feet out. Neuvirth’s teammates abandoned him to another Michael Ryder goal. Then came John Carlson, who fired an ICBM over Lehtonen’s pads after the faceoff. Adam Burish deked Backstrom and Neuvy to give Dallas the edge early in the third. Hotshot Jamie Benn made it a two-goal lead on the power play. And Eric Nystrom netted off a nice rebound to make it a three-spot. Stars beat Caps 5-2.
This version of the Washington Capitals is an unfamiliar one. Reckless with penalties and careless on defense, these guys are bad enough to lose to any team in the league. As Bruce Boudreau pointed out during the first period intermission, the zone coverage was abysmal. John Carlson, usually a defensive whiz, was on ice for a whopping four goals against. Roman Hamrlik, who is ostensibly a level-headed puck mover, neither moved pucks or even his legs. The offense was awful too, squandering every man advantage save the first one.
Yeah, this hockey team was unspeakably bad. They better not show up on Friday for that date with the Devils.
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Please indulge me for a moment. On Tuesday morning we lost Sergeant Stephen Hassett, 27-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. For five years, my uncle Steve fought neuroendocrine carcinoma with steely resolve. Even after I grew up he seemed like a giant to me. I always thought he had a Henry Rollins vibe about him: serious, thoughtful, and caring.
A husband and father, a son and brother, Steve will be missed by all who knew him.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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