Nadir: Sabres beat Caps 5-1

 Dave Sandford

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.

Joe B suit of the night via @PRobbio

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.

by Ian Oland

“Caps in a Barrel over Niagra” by Ian Oland

  • Quit pickin’ on Hamr … I’ll tell you who’s a problem.  #8.  Ovechkin is a problem.  I forget which goal it was … maybe 3 or 4 … Ovechkin was literally standing still and watching the whole thing go down.  Standing.  Watching. Holding his stick in one hand.  My 14 year old plays better defense. 

  • Peter

    I picked on both. Thanks for writing, Mrs. Hamrlik.

  • Max Duchaine


  • Peter

    Max, I think we’ve got a request for you. Ugh.

  • Anonymous

    The whole fucking team is a problem.  they have lost their fire, lost their spark, lost their heart.  If I had a dollar for every time I felt like screaming or actually did scream “WAKE UP”, I would be able to pay my rent next month.

  • Missy

    *facepalm* This team is so hard to love sometimes. :-/

  • Best photoshop ever!!!

     And yes that Semin diving penalty was bullshit.

  • Nick

    I just farted and it smells like the capitals play

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Michelle. But trust me, I wish I were using my powers for good not EVIL.

  • Peter

    Ian: Nicky and Katie wanna know if the falls are the Canadian or US side. I don’t actually care personally, but I had to pass it on.

  • Anonymous

    hahaha, suuuure. Totally the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls.

  • This game was a failure on all levels.  Was there a bright spot, save for Chimera’s goal?  At least Chimera is having a banner year.  The rest, not so much.

  • Pattyo

    Add chimmer to the list of candidates for the new Captaincy….. 21, 22, and 25 are all FAR more deserving than number 8.

    I love these guys dearly, but some change needs to made. Changing the captain might be just what the doctor ordered, as everybody still has a job at the end of the day! If that doesn’t help at all, then maybe BBBB needs to start looking for a new team to coach….

  • Peter

    The C is just a figurehead. Chimera and Laich and Knuble are already team leaders. Dethroning Ovi would just poison the well.

  • It’s like that saying….26 players, 26 cabs….The Caps have stopped playing for each other — the mythical locker room split is very real. 21, 22, 25, 26 seem to where the heart of the team lies right now — they are fighting their asses off each and every game.

  • AjaxDesperados

    Totally agreed. Maybe losing of captaincy cut the chains that Ovi has on him. Only thing i hoping for – team play cant be worst than this week/month

  • Pattyo

    This is the only solution I can come up with that doesn’t involve trading players or firing coaches…..
    Some feel it would take a huge weight off his shoulders, hopefully bringing back the ovi we all know and love!

    The only person who really knows the answer to that is ovi himself though…

  • Dougie Fresh

    It’s time to oust Gabby, look I don’t care about winning percentages and all that jazz. We need a shake up and replacing him is the best option… Oh and #tradeSasha. Soviets are slackers, you guys never learn.

  • Pingback: Video: Alan May Calls Caps Play “Inexcusable” and “Pathetic”()

  • Bobby Gee

    It says a lot when Jason Chimera is the best player on this team.  It says a lot and it’s not good.  This team is not only rudderless, it’s clueless.  Not that it seems many of them even care. 


    First, I couldn’t wait to get home for T-giving to gloat and generally annoy my family of Rangers fans – anticipating a glorious Friday afternoon delighting in their collective misery as we rained goals down on “the King”.

    Then, I couldn’t wait to get as far away as possible from home to avoid the heaps of ridicule and abuse I was taking from my family of Ranger fans – finding some scant comfort in the idea of a certain win against a depleted Buffalo squad.

    Now, I just want to polish off the bottle of Kettle One in the freezer, throw up and pretend this weekend never happened.

  • Don’t insult them like that. If they were leaders the rest of the Caps wouldn’t be playing like a bunch of p*ssies. End of story.

  • Vabookworm

    Are you sure the blog title is still right?  The Russian Machine look broken to me.

  • Jim

    I’m becoming more convinced we’re witnessing a systems change here.  Having come to this conclusion after the last game, watching the game last night with an eye out for this it seems more obvious.  Lots of passes to non-existent players, defensive breakdowns; nobody is on the same page.

    When everybody gets on the same page, things should improve and return to normal, I’d think.

  • Bucknelldad

    You may need to change the name of your blog.  The Russian machine is clearly, and very badly, broken.  Questions are: where’s the mechanic, and is it irreparable?  Can’t answer either one.

  • guest

    semin hasnt been playing bad hockey outside of his penalties 

  • Peter

    I think he has– relative to his expectations. 3 pts and minus-2 in his last 10 games. He’s supposed to be a 30+ goal scorer with 65+ points, but he’s WAY off course.