Zack Kassian beats Tomas Vokoun. (Photo credit: Dave Sandford)
The Washington Capitals hopped on up to Buffalo, intending to shake off last night’s bad beat by whipping the Sabres. The injury-wracked Buffalo team missed a big chunk of its lineup, but they did not miss many scoring chances. And the Caps were just plain awful.
Luke Adam caught an easy bounce after Dennis Wideman’s failed clearing attempt. Jason Pominville scored his ninth of the year when Tomas Vokoun couldn’t find the puck. Jason Chimera drew a penalty shot and fired it so hard it disintegrated in the net. The very next shift– just half a minute later, toddler Zack Kassian recorded his first NHL goal– making it 3-1. Luke Adam opened the third period with a mean snapshot. Jochen Hecht beat Mathieu Perreault to record a shorthanded goal and finalize it. Sabres beat Caps 5-1.
- Ever get the feeling the Caps are doing this just to #@%& with their fans’ heads?
- These are not actually the Buffalo Sabres. Nine (9) fellas on their roster missed this game due to injury, including Ryan Miller, so this was basically the Caps getting their asses kicked by the Rochester Americans.
- Jason Chimera racked up another point, this time on the penalty shot. We couldn’t be happier for Jason, who is doing everything right this year, but a team on which he is the best player is not a great team.
- Alex Ovechkin: 2 shots, minus-4. Nick Backstrom: 2 shots, minus-4. Troy Brouwer: 1 shot, minus-3. There are no adjectives.
- On the other hand, Mike Knuble played awesome: 4 shots, plus-7 in Corsi, even-rating (no goals against). No one deserves the top line and oodles of ice time more than Kanoobs. Brooks Laich is a close second.
- Let’s not dance around it: Roman Hamrlik is a serious problem. According to some guy named Neil Greenberg, Hamr and Dennis Wideman were on ice for all seven Buffalo scoring chances in the first period– including both goals against. Adam Vingan (of KOL, SBnation DC, and he also mixes paint at Lowe’s on weekends) reports that Roman has been on ice for thirty of 69 goals against — or 43%– as of the first period. Wideman and Hamrlik were split up after the first period.
- Alex Semin was whistled for diving, which was–frankly– bullshit. 32 PIMs for #AzathothSasha. Fthagn.
Winter is Coming. It means tough times are on their way. Well, they’re here.
This is the tribulation, a gauntlet of misery to triturate your team so they might emerge even better. Better, at this point, is a certainty– as this team cannot plausibly get any worse. There is no doubt that they will turn it around. They’re just too damn talented not to. The how of the matter should be simple; instead it’s evanescent: move your legs, win fights in the corners, clear the puck cleanly. Basically, it’s everything peewee hockey coaches have been drilling since the dawn of time.
That these superstars have such a crummy work ethic paints them as a bunch of spoiled brats. It’s insane.
The Washington roster has never been stronger. In “the lean years,” fans could shake off a month of losses like this; no big deal. But now that the team has demonstrated that it can be awesome– and awesome consistently— the November glut is a spit in the face.
Endemically, something is rotten in the District of Washington.
“Caps in a Barrel over Niagra” by Ian Oland