Sens beat Caps 5-2, Ovechkin on the Shelf

There’s not much to say, really. The Washington Capitals got their asses kicked thoroughly by the Ottawa Senators.

Erik Karlsson went five-hole on Tomas Vokou to make it 1-0, and Milan Michalek beat Dennis Wideman to make it 2-0.  Number three was Michalek again, who tipped a power play shot to make it 3-0. On another power play, Chris Phillips made it 4-0.

The Caps got serious in the third. John Carlson broke the shutout, and Matty Perreault deflected in a goal off his pretty French Canadian face. But Nick Foligno secured the empty netter. Sens beat Caps 5-2.

Perfunctory game notes.

  • Team captain Alex Ovechkin missed the game due to a lower-body injury sustained on Monday.
  • Elderly defender Roman Hamrlik was scratched. Rumors of a possible trade proliferated, and I’m sure Dale Hunter’s saying he had been giving up “too many scoring chances” only stoked those flames.
  • Tomas Vokoun was dramatically off his game, giving up 4 goals on 10 shots.
  • When he relieved Vokoun for the second consecutive game, Michal Neuvirth had to stop two shorthanded breakaways in a row. He was perfect until the final buzzer.
  • Mike Green recorded 8 shots on goal. He deserved better than his team tonight. Jason Chimera had 6 and looked very sharp after the first period, especially when setting up a trick shot off Perreault’s face.
  • Troy Brouwer, who as alternate captain is allowed to talk back to refs, got whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Brooks Laich got in a fight. No seriously, Brooks Laich got in a fight. He went PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH FALL DOWN BEFORE YOU CAN FIGHT BACK OKAY FIGHT OVER. BL21 was superb tonight, allowing only one even-strength shot against his net while on the ice. He always cares.
  • The Caps went scoreless for more than 130 minutes before John Carlson struck on the power play.

Joe B suit of the night

You know stuff is dire when your team has to score by banking shots off each other’s faces.

This is what happens when a team depends on its goalies completely. All goalies falter eventually, but only bad teams are crippled by it. The Capitals are a bad team. Maybe the worst. Ugh, that sucks to type.

It didn’t have to be like this. This team won 7 games in a row to start the season. They definitively defeated the Detroit Red Wings, who are now the best team in the league.

But after a few too many slip-ups, the front office, who might have been wound a bit too tight by expectation, jettisoned the coach. Since then, any sign of progress has been a mirage– a temporary but seductive vision that served only to delay this inevitable realization:

This team is broken.

We knew that on Monday, but the team made no changes. Despite the score, this one was almost worse, perhaps because of the accumulation of misery. This team keeps piling it on, but stubbornly refuses to acknowledge and address obvious problems.

  • The Capitals defense can’t play Johnson’s man-to-man defense. The Capitals cannot (and never could) afford to wait for them to learn.
  • The Capitals forwards thrive on creativity, but are stifled by Hunter’s conservative approach, which is designed to limit odd-man rushes against but has failed utterly to do so.
  • The Capitals overleveraged Nick Backstrom and Tomas Vokoun, and they could not withstand an injury to the former and a less-than-perfect performance by the latter.

But look at these guys. These players are fantastic. You’ve seen them play like heroes before. Individually, they’re great. They’re all just suffering under the same endemic problem, some pervasive gloom in the organization.

Believe it or not: that’s a good thing. As bad as it looks, this team is never far from greatness. It’ll happen.

Someone asked me yesterday if it’s time to give up on the Caps. My answer?

NOT YET

Now here are some animal videos.

Brooks Laich fight joke stolen from Ian Oland.

  • Smells Caps

    I wouldn’t make any big trades to improve this team for a playoff run. We have way too many holes. If the Caps had some chemistry and some identity  then yes,other than that look at teams like Boston,Pittsburgh, and the Rangers..they would be foaming at the mouth if they played the Caps in the first round. I wanna see if GMGM can redeem hinself.

  • Guest

    Can we get a mention about that bullshit whistle when Chimera had that wide-open net?

  • Pattyo

    Damn Anti-Seminites! <—– Stolen from the Capstronaut.

    SASHA CARES TOO!!!!!

    Hopefully that 3rd period carries over to friday!

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja n a

    Love the grizzly bear and wolf playing together.  I’m thinking that if they can get along … miracles really are possible :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/deann.jackson2 Deann Jackson

    I was at least happy to see Neuvy make a couple of really good saves during the breakaways.  We can’t have his confidence undermined again.

  • JH

    Everything went downhill when Ovie signed that deal with Gilette and had to remain clean-shaven.  He and the rest of the Caps have not been themselves since.  I prefer my Ovie to look, talk and act like a caveman.

  • Dark Stranger

    Join the club here.  But it is probably time to jettison any guys who don’t fit into next year’s plans and trade them for prospects and picks.   It’s time to restock our prospect pool.

  • http://twitter.com/shinyliz Elizabeth Crisan

    MOAR GRIZZLY BEAR ATTACK!!!!!

  • Tom

    The truth has finally been spoken.

  • Alicia

    Thanks for the cute animal videos after yet another depressing game. At least my dog was happy watching all of the dogs in the first video, because he usually  leaves the room when he hears Joe B’s voice because he knows that means I will be screaming at my television soon. I just hope to one day be able to click on your website knowing I will read a witty review of an awe inspiring game by the Capitals, but until then I will look forward to more videos about anything other than the dismal game that was just played. 

  • Jim

    Can we maybe just swap the entire Hershey Bears organization up to the NHL for a game or two?

  • Katie

    Give up on hopes of playoffs this season?  It’s getting to be that time I fear.  It doesn’t look good.  Give up on the team completely? Of course not.  I’m still a Caps fan, always will be.  That’s why it’s all so heartbreaking.

  • Peter

    I’ve given up on playoff hopes for THIS team. But I also think this iteration of the team will not exist by Monday afternoon.

  • Dylan

    Brooksie!

  • Anonymous

    TRADE EVERYONE EVER!

    …except Holtby, Eakin and the Laichster.

  • Allie Castro

    is that picture of a piglet biting a dog?? and yeah, i would say perreault is up for goal of the year.