Please, Gnome More: Leafs beat Caps 3-2

patrick mcdermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

I wrote on our mission statement that hockey should be as fun to read about as it is to watch. So what happens when hockey– Caps hockey at least– becomes a chore? Tuesday’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals was another messy loss, and gnome amount of puns will cheer us up right now.

The Leafs scored first, JVR seizing upon a communication breakdown between Neuvirth and Poti behind the Caps net. JVR struck again after Washington’s defense temporarily lost motor function. Marcus Johansson got his first of the year late in the first after Tomas Kundratek gave him a nice feed at the back door. Korbinan Holzer got his first NHL goal with a tricky long bomb. Mike Ribeiro executed a nice zone entry and passing sequence by sinking a powerplay goal, but the Leafs emerged victorious.

Leafs beat Caps 3-2.

  • Of course Marcus Johansson scores 24 hours after we publish a treatise on how bad he’s been. Glad to see it Marcus get on the board… [evil mustache-twirl] …as it increases his trade value! Tomas Kundratek‘s pass to Mojo was a work of art as well, a well earned first NHL point for the young D-man.
  • I’m ecstatic that Mojo scored, but he still has the worst underlying numbers on the team. He should be kept away from Alex Ovechkin at all costs, not paired with him to start the third period.
  • Tom Poti had an eventful first period. First, he took a dangerous hit into the boards from Leo Komarov and stood up for himself. Ten he was the trailing D on a nice two-man rush with a decent chance at scoring, but later on that shift it all fell apart. Neuvirth retrieved the puck behind the net, flinched as if he was gonna clear, and then took his time returning the net. Poti seemed unsure if he was supposed to take the puck over, which gave Toronto’s JVR the opportunity to steal the puck and wrap it around.
  • Korbinian Holzer is not a hockey player name. Korbinian Holzer is the name of a war criminal from Belarus. Korbinian Holzer is a minor character in a Vonnegut novel. Korbinian Holzer is the spice smuggler who sabotaged your primary buffer panel when you were trying to make the Kessell run in 11.8 parsecs.
  • Did Joe B say that Beagle is a bloodhound along the boards? If so, niiiiiiice.
  • Close calls: the more desperate your team is, the more they sting. When the Verizon Center spotlight comes on or Ovi puts his arms up in a “eff you I’m an anteater” pose it is even worse.
  • Mike Ribeiro is the Caps best player right now, perhaps because he’s the least Capitals-y player (which is to say he’s new). That makes 3 goals for Ribs– all on the power play, and he leads the team in points. Ian says he deserves a 10-year, $200-million contract, and I think he’s exaggerating only a little.
  • Agent Steckel: You are discovered. Your cover is blown. Get out now. p.s. thanks for blowing that empty-netter. <3 RMNB
  • Michal Neuvirth, yikes. You’d think by now one of the Caps goalies would accidentally get a SV% above .900, right?
  • Who is this JVR person?
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

Three years ago the Caps were the best team in the league. Right now they’re the worst. 30th out of 30 in points per game. Has any team fallen from grace this fast?

I worry something is being overlooked. A season like this is toxic to enthusiasm. That sucking sound you hear is what a contracting fan base sounds like. You as a fan deserve so much more than what you’re getting out of these Capitals right now.

I don’t have anything funny to say right now.

Caps at Pens on Thursday. That’ll be fun. Like going to a dinner party at your ex-girlfriend’s new mansion and her boyfriend is a state senator and you’re wearing zubaz and crocs.

  • Chris

    looks like brown paper bag sales are going to be rising in the washington area

  • GuestZ

    I don’t have patience to wait for this new system to take effect. Tim Hunter tried to sell it while talking to Koken, but I think it’s BS. Something beyond bad puck luck is going on here. How effing long will it take to figure it out? Poor puck management is on us, not luck.

    And can we get a goalie that knows what the ef they’re doing? I want Luongo.

  • Matthew Kory

    If the team is terrible and we aren’t making the playoffs (two statements that are hard to refute right now) then what’s the harm in putting Johansson with Ovechkin? I’m not saying it’s a good strategy for winning now — as you pointed out, it clearly isn’t — but if we’re to take the long view (this season is lost, look to the future, yada yaday yada) then maybe getting semi-young Marcus some ice time with the former great is the way to go.

    I’m grasping at straws here.

  • zac

    Everyone on this blog seemed to complain and hate hunter hockey but i loved it and i think thats the direction the team needs to go. The caps have some talent up top but after 8,9, and 19 this is a team of grinders that needs to play a defense first style. It may be boring to watch but i would much rather watch that then this team that has no identity.

  • Matthew Kory

    Nope. Hunter hockey is awful awful awful awful. What the Caps need is to play good hockey, not dumb the sport down and then flip a coin.

  • http://twitter.com/Isaac_Jacob1 Mordy

    lol hunter hockey wins championships. London proved it.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    Plenty of ire to go around – but tops on my list is John Carlson. He shoots like he wants to be a hero and ends up causing more harm than good. Blasts shots wide, high and into clogged lanes. Nearly costs us an empty netter. He’s been atrocious. Fortunately for him Poti, Hamrlik and Kondratick inspire even less confidence.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I haaaaaated Hunter Hockey (search “Caps During Wartime” on RMNB), but even I agree its coin-toss proposition is better than what we see now. Still, the worst part of Hunter Hockey is that there was no reason to think they’d ever change and get better. We know these Caps will improve– the question is how much damage will be done before they do.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Fair enough. I prefer that the long view be that the Caps trade Marcus, but I see your point.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Screw it. I’m an actually gonna wear crocs and zubaz on Thursday.

  • http://twitter.com/boxscoreblog1 boxscoreblog

    Having the privilege of watching Hunter hockey every Friday night in London, I have a greater appreciation for the headaches he must have endured while coaching this group of select talent, malcontents, and prima donnas. Ovechkin is hands down the most predictable player in the league and has been one of the worst Capitals forwards this year. Surely to god, he can adapt his game but that might be asking too much.

    This new system nonsense line is done. These guys are paid millions of dollars to use their ‘hockey skills’ so picking up on a new puck possession cycle can’t possibly be that hard. The lack of perceived effort is what baffles me the most. This is a team that came within one game of the Eastern Conference Final last year and now they’re imploding. Holtby has been solved but that’s not a singular link to failure. The D looks lost on some plays, breakouts look choppy, and special teams are average. Oates wasn’t the right pick to coach THIS group but maybe if the deck was significantly reshuffled he might have a fighting chance.

    GMGM should count his days left because the clock is getting mighty close to midnight or pray Brooksy becomes Bossy when he returns.

  • TV

    Bring back Varly and Knuble!!!

  • Yv

    Compare what Caps now, every hockey will look superb. But I watched every game in Verizon of this so called Hunter hockey (I called it 50/50 hockey) and absolutely didn’t like at all. That team played not to win the games but not to lose and statistics clearly showed it.

  • http://twitter.com/Isaac_Jacob1 Mordy

    u guys should do one of those for oates hockey lol

  • http://twitter.com/annielockyer Annie Lockyer

    Putting him with Ovi could inflate his +/- and assists and make him a slightly more attractive trade, that is, assuming our best player starts playing like our best player at some point.

    Or we keep him in the pressbox/pavlov institute and see if we cant maybe make majo into another Dave steckel style Manchurian candidate. Wait, no, brainwashing is bad.

  • zac

    if any season is to be wasted its a 48 game one..tank and get the draft pick. but the fruits of hunter hockey werent in the regular season but the playoffs. they outplayed to rangers and shouldve won the series

  • Yv

    New system, old system, future system you cant instill any system with players whose hockey IQ is below average. I don’t know what can save this team from getting a chance to win #1 draft pick. You have team full of cheap refuzniks and hope to create virtuoso ensemble, never happened. This team may need and can understand only BB’ s one word monologues.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692356341 Matt Mendelsohn

    You nailed it mid-post: “Mike Ribeiro is the Caps best player right now, perhaps because he’s the least Capitals-y player (which is to say he’s new).” Who else is playing well this year? Ward and Brouwer. I mean, they’re not posting Keith Aucoin numbers (I kid, I kid) but they’re at least thinking clearly. The best Caps right now are the ones who came from outside of this system, the ones who played hockey in some kind of reality-based program where the players weren’t told they were (and encouraged to be) rock stars in their own minds. (You could argue that Arnott (remember him) came along, shocked the system a bit and then was run out of town for telling the boys what they didn’t like to hear.) Knuble played like a vet but was made to feel like he was doing something wrong. Each time he was called back from Siberia (Healthy Scatchville) he played better than most but then was sent away again. Christ, you could even say that Matty Perreault, even at his worst, plays 100 times harder than, say, Marcus right now and where is he? Healthy Scratchville.

    This is the Twilight Zone world of the Caps, where good play results in demotions and releases and trades, where captains have zero leadership skills, where good lines are immediately broken up, where bad play is labeled as “the system takes time.” Up is down, bad is good and the Caps stink right now.

  • Akay15

    Honestly, I can’t imagine how the players feel. We may be pissed but this is the one thing they really love and it’s just not working. Sigh. I’m still repping my Backstrom jersey.

  • M

    could’ve sworn it was carlson who had a miscommunication on the first goal and hendricks who was a bloodhound on the boards

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42211077 Owen Johnson

    “Caps at Pens on Thursday. That’ll be fun. Like going to a dinner party at your ex-girlfriend’s new mansion and her boyfriend is a state senator and you’re wearing zubaz and crocs.”
    … but when you kick his ass it makes it all the more satifying. Amitrite? GO CAPS!!!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Definitely Poti on the first goal, but it might’ve been Hendricks being a bloodhound!

  • kemiisto

    hunter hockey loose championships. Washington proves it.

  • http://twitter.com/Isaac_Jacob1 Mordy

    He had a half season as a coach and got us 1 goal from the conference finals with a lineup similar we have now.

  • kemiisto

    There is no difference between 1 goal from conference finals and 4 goals from conference finals. Yes, Boudreau was a coach for nearly 2 seasons at that time and Hunter didn’t have any whole season. But why do you think Hunter’s system can do better in terms of outcome? Seriously, you refer to London Knights who won OHL (and even Memorial Cup) only in the 4th season under Hunter coaching.

    Honestly speaking I don’t care about outcome when team plays Hunter anti-hockey. I don’t even want to watch it. Especially when the outcome is the same – 2nd round.

  • vahockeymom

    I’m with you on the Hunter hockey. Painful. So hard to watch. And really, since Hunter pulled the plug after half a season, did he think it would work with this team?

  • vahockeymom

    He’s on my list too. And you forgot the part where he tried to hand Steckel an empty net goal last night. Yeesh.

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

    I liked this this … but only because of that last sentence. That game is going to be one enormous debacle.

  • serpent

    Loved Joe B.’s Ravens colors! Maybe we could get Ray Lewis in to pep talk our guys. That man could talk a snake into buying sneakers.

  • Barrett

    I’m leaning more on the coaches with the problems the Capitals, then GMGM for his player management. Why split up Ovechkin and Backstrom? Why split up Carlson and Alzner? Why is Mojo playing wing and not center? Why is Poti playing over Hamrlik when he hasn’t played in 2 years? Why matchup your number one scoring line against the oppositions first line, use your shut down line (Hendricks, Beagle, Crabb) a la Dale Hunter. GMGM let’s Alex Semin walk and the team cannot score goals…there’s a reason he has been the 2nd leading scorer for 6 seasons. Injuries to Hillen and Laich aren’t helping, but they aren’t saviors once they return.

  • excap man

    SEMIN was tthe best playier caps had

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    Or at least Sasha Minor! (but I know I’m very much alone on that one) It was so much more fun being a dysfunctional team with him around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.combs.94 Jacob Combs

    you are not alone i love sasha minor!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.combs.94 Jacob Combs

    I desperately want oatesy to be a successful coach for the caps. But he doesnt instill discipline in the boys. He is fucking up the lines too and it shows. But all of our problems boil down to having almost zero team chemistry. every single problem you can name can all be traced back to team chemistry