Photo credit: Abelimages
Hockey Night in Canada. The Washington Capitals hoped to earn Bruce Boudreau’s 200th NHL win against his old team. Did. Not. Happen.
An embarrassingly bad turnover from Jeff Schultz led to Tim Connolly’s goal. Brooks Laich took a drop pass from Chimera to even it up. Matt Frattin recorded his first NHL goal late in the first period. Early in the second, Tyler Bozak scored a powerplay goal from in traffic. Bozak then gave Phil Kessel a blind pass that became one gorgeous tally. Vokoun out, Neuvirth in. Joffrey Baratheon-Lannister-Lupul scored a PPG to make it 5-1. Then someone did something and it was 6-1. Then, Jeez Louise, David Steckel scored shorthanded. Leafs beats Caps 7-1.
- Did anyone else wake up thinking we’d see Bruce Boudreau‘s 200th career win tonight– against his old team? Poor guy is stuck at 199. Let’s discuss why.
- Alex Semin: #FrankensteinSasha. He’s a persecuted, misunderstood monster– unjustly punished for an unearned reputation. On Saturday night it was a cheap penalty for diving, Semin’s second of the season. Semin is at 14 minors on the season, he’s on a career streak of consecutive games with penalties (7), and he’s getting the worst whistle of anyone in the league.
- Michael Neuvirth relieved Tomas Vokoun. Tomas Vokoun was relieved. The Caps who played for Neuvy were considerably better than the one Vokes saw (plus-21 vs. minus-6 team Corsi).
- Jeff Schultz has been under fire this season for playing effetely and without urgency. His turnover to Tim Connolly is not representative of an NHL-level player, but that makes him no different than his teammates, who were also awful tonight.
- It’s unfair, however, to call out a single bad player. We had to wait nearly 30 minutes for Alex Ovechkin to get a shot off, and he was the worst offensive player on the team until late in the game. Nick Backstrom joined the badly timed penalty parade with a crosscheck, then doubled down by børk-børk-ing at the refs. This was shared crumminess.
- Not to pile on, but 0 for 5 on the power play. Yeesh.
- David Steckel? Honestly? For crying out loud. At least we can be happy that the Ex-Cap is doing well.
- The only other bullet this recap needs is one right in the head. Old Yeller style. Zombie style.
If the Panthers beat the Penguins tonight [Update: yup.], the Caps will lose the SE division lead and fall to ninth in the Eastern conference. That means they wouldn’t make the playoffs if they started– inexplicably– in November. The Caps are still miles above .500, and I haven’t even had turkey yet, so let’s not lose our minds.
Teamlessness. It’s not a word, but it’s the best way to describe this team. Instead of a cohesive unit, we have a collection of individuals, each with his own unique pissy attitude. Equal to that bad mood is the bad hockey each has played. Even in hockey country– and at the biggest game of the week– the Washington Capitals are skulking grumps. Even with Coach Boudreau giving them the day off yesterday, the Capitals showed up as a bunch of poop-pants. Irritable and tense, this version of the team didn’t stand a chance— and they never will until they wizen up.
We’re not going to discuss Bruce Boudreau here, because we don’t have anything constructive to say about it. Odds are neither do you, but give it a try anyway.
Let’s give Brooks Laich the last word: