Soooo Close: Devils Beat Caps 3-2 (OT)

Neuvy run over

Neuvy run over during the second period. (Photo credit: Mel Evans)

[Editor’s Note: Peter Hassett wisely took the opportunity to leave DC this week. Ian Oland is in protective custody. Chris Gordon has joined the circus on the trapeze. The PuckBuddys are entirely responsible for this week’s tragic events.]

“Nothing ever really goes away – it just changes into something else.” – Sarah Ockler.

There’s a last bit to that quote that we’ll share at the end. (Spoiler!) Still, we can’t help but watch the Capitals 2013 and wonder: what are they changing into? And where is this metamorphosis leading? Answers – now.

First period: Some early testing by the Caps heartens us. We like what we’re seeing on defense from Ward; once again, the Caps look dominant in the first. Can’t hear the name “Travis Zajac” without thinking about buying a vowel. Yes, that’s what we’re down to. Sadly, Jacob Josefson to Stephen Gionta (brother of Habs’ Brian) with a snapper past Neuvy puts them 1-up.

We feel you, Meryl.

We feel you, Meryl.

Second begins with a dash to the Caps net, gobbled up by Neuvy. Mike Ribeiro and Jason Chimera denied what shoudda coudda been. Troy Brouwer passes to no one, which is somehow emblematic of the team this year. Phew! on a Neuvy save during a Devs attempt at a shortie, leading to both teams feeling a little better about themselves, while Martin Brodeur notches another lump on his coconut. Phew! again as Neuvy (again) saves the Caps on a Devils PP. Tonight is a good night for Neuvirth, so heck, let’s give him a 5-on-3 because why not? Of course,  Patrik Elias scores (nothing you can do, Neuvy) bringing Devs up 2-o. Please let this end.

Last period starts with us wondering if the mullets (*ahem Carlson*) are slowing the Caps down. Adam Oates looks sour like the Dad in “That’ 70’s Show,” which we’re coming to understand. Caps PP yields zip, and we get another shot. MoJo sends it off to nowhere, and Phew! (3x) Neuvy saves the day. Finally, Ward knocks to Ribeiro and the Caps are on the board, 2-1. And then HURRAH! Greenie sends a sizzler into the net, Caps tied 2-2 with less than three minutes remaining. An almost heart-stopper brings us to:

OT: Pushups everyone! Hero becomes the goat as Greenie gets sent to the penalty box and Caps go on PK. Neuvy is on his best game tonight: how many times can we “Phew!”? Caps kill effectively kill the penalty, while Ovechkin is sleep-skating. Twenty seconds to go and Ilya Kovalchuk takes advantage of Ovi’s slop, firing it past Neuvy and ending the game.

SCORE: Devils  3, Capitals 2.

  • Sarcasm Is Still Dead: Our jousting at Caps ‘stars’ like Alzner and Carlson last night was off-pitch. We would blame our innate faulty wiring, but personally I think it’s the Nyquil. Either way, we still are not seeing high-dollar stars like Ovi and Backstrom – and Alzner and Carlson – perform where it counts, while they rely on Joel Ward, Matt Hendricks and Tom Poti. So let’s say it; some of the Caps stars appear to be over-paid…and under-performing. At least so far.
  • Power Failure: Despite Mike Ribeiro’s 5-on-3 power play goal, the Caps power play still stinks. Is it anything more than guys randomly skating around? We’ll leave it to smarter people to dissect how, but it always comes down to guys not moving to keep the puck in their paint. And yes, we know what that means.
  • No Sale: Win or loss, even by the first period we can say we’re still not sold on Ribeiro. OK, good head’s up play tonight – the Caps only score and still with three points on assists. But wasn’t he supposed to be the magic to bring back Ovi? What can we say, we’re not sold (not like we were buying.)
  • Hold It There: So in the last four games, the Caps have been down two men three times. That’s not just bad luck or poor calls; it’s sloppy play.
  • Remember Tummy Pats?: We’re finding it hard to do so. Is Ovechkin still even a Capital?
  • Golden Gate Years: Wah wah, Marty Brodeur is old, shut up. Wanna talk durability? Professional jockey Russell Baze had his 50-thousandth career start today. At an average of 6 1/2 furlongs, that’s one and 1/2 times around the Earth, riding a thousand-pound rocket with hooves and teeth. The old dude is still better than anyone we have.
Joe B Newark suit

Nice tie, Joe.

What Did We Learn Tonight? Over the last two years GMGM seems to have slowly broken off pieces of what used to be the Capitals. For all of those we cut (Knubs, Varly, Jose, Aucoin, Sasha, et cetera) what have we got? What exactly are we building, and why was winning like we did a few years ago so bad?

Go ahead and crawl down my throat, but I’m going to start saying it: maybe it’s time for George McPhee to go.

The end to that Ockler quote? “Something beautiful.”  That’s what we want again; some beauty on ice.

What’s Next?: Sunday back at home with the Sabres. Meanwhile, we cry.

If it’s any consolation, the PuckBuddys are yielding back the keys to the RMNB Recap Car, meaning we fully expect the Capitals to start winning again. Yes, we’re taking it that personally.

  • Quinn

    ooof. caps power play tonight looked high school level. not even travel team good. they just stand there and stand there and stand there and expect for seams to open. especially with the refs and the devils handing them chance after chance. this team is in a lot of trouble and i think adam oates may be the worst hockey strategist i’ve seen yet. his powerplay strategy is off the books wacky and the team just doesn’t know what to do. this woulda been 6-0 if it weren’t for neuvy and the refs. buckle down, its gonna be a tough year.

  • Chukwukamso

    I’m not so sure it’s too soon to write off GMGM. Remember, we still have Kuznetsov and Forsberg in the system due to George. Kuznetsov should’ve been here by now, so we can’t blame this on him.

  • Jatt

    Not sold on Ribeiro? You mean the only player who consistently looks a threat during the game? How do you feel about the rest of the team if you’re “not sold” on Ribeiro?

  • OVi needs to start producing him and backy have no excuse to not produce because they played together during the lockout. And GMGM needs to go he is a terrible at finding personnel.

  • the power play set up is also crap. they need to hit up ovi more and redo the scheme.

  • Ive always been a Keith Aucoin fan and I loved watching him with Hershey. I think he’s a really good player despite his size (but hey look at Ray Rice) and it’s unfortunate we didn’t give him more of a chance. I’m glad he’s found a home with the islanders where he’s better appreciated but I have to say I winced when I saw him score those two goals for them tonight.

  • The fact of the matter is that firing GMGM isn’t going to solve anything now. A new manger may be able to bring in some more depth for coming seasons but who knows really. We have a lot of extremely talented players and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to pull together a serious cup contending team. I don’t know what the reason(s) is/are but before we start to point fingers lets give the caps a couple more weeks to work out the kinks. After all, the playoffs don’t start for a while….

  • vahockeymom

    Time to get rid of GMGM? I think you are on to something here. He is the architect of this mess. Isn’t he the one who said Brouwer could make up for losing Sasha? And speaking of Sasha, I guess we’ve finally all figured out that it’s really not Sasha’s fault, now is it? And did you notice that Aucoin has more points than Ovi right now? I have the feeling it’s going to be a long short season.

  • zac

    wow please get these guys off of here. look at that list of players that have left. knuble didnt make a tryout with the wings. jose theodore is a mediocre goalie. aucoin is a lifetime nhler. varly we traded away and we ripped off the avs. semin is only player you could be reasonably upset about. ridiculous.

    and ribeiro has consistently been caps best player on the ice

  • hey guys we’re only three games in

  • breaklance

    This. Also hasn’t Ribeiro only played with Ovi during the PP? He’s been centered by “light rain” honey (backstrom, once upon a time he was called thunder honey, a long time ago in a rink far far away) and then beagle last night. Asides from that opening center to Green, Ovi was a no show until the end. Beags and Crabb were generating chances by themselves, the captain was busy doing circles god knows where all night. Side tracked, Ribs has been one of the best caps so far this season and his team leading 4 points completely justifies that. He may be a “B” level star, but he’s at least playing like it. Green and Carlson improved their gpa’s slightly tonight (green more so than carlson), but Nicky and Ovi are still riding the Bart Simpson train to repeating the 4th grade for eternity

  • Riebero is a star player but our top offensive line stopped being those stars for whatever reason.

  • serpent

    Look where we are in the standings,hon. We are chewing dust there. Catching up is hard to do.

  • serpent

    They left their hearts in Moscow?

  • kemiisto

    Agree. 1 more season. But after…

  • kemiisto

    >> We have a lot of extremely talented players…

    O, really? We have few talented players. Not a lot. And not extremely talented. Who is by the way extremely talented? Name one for a start. Even Ovi never was extremely talented. That’s why he is done. Big body, few moves in repertoire and high quality shot – that is it. Maybe Sasha was extremely talented but it doesn’t matter anymore. 😀 Maybe Nicky still is. But let’s face it: most of our players are mediocre and that is the reason our team is (and never was) serious cup contender.

  • kemiisto

    They played in KHL which means a bigger pitch and mediocre defence.

  • JPA

    Ovi has been just plain awful.

    Backstrom looks like a lost rookie passing to no one in particular.

    Carlson has been dreadful.

    Alzner calls himself out as being ineffective.

    Those are the reasons why the Caps are 0-3-1.

  • Dark Stranger

    I agree. It’s probably time to get rid of GMGM. While he has not been a bad GM necessarily, he is not a great one. Seems like it’s time for a new architect. The last rebuild was able to produce a team who could win in the regular season but not go far enough in post-season. Seeming like team, as a whole, is past its peak