All Tomorrow’s Penalties: Canucks beat Caps 3-2

Jonathan Hayward

Photo: Jonathan Hayward

Man, it is late. Are you awake? Okay, just stick with me for a minute and then you can go to bed.

It’s been a long, tough road trip for the Capitals. Western Canada has been mostly forgiving to the team’s softer features (e.g. like everything that happens in their end of the ice), but the Caps needed a win over Vancouver in this final game to get  back to .500 on the season. The thing about wins, though, is they require your team to score more goals than the other team.

Zack Kassian beat the Caps 4th line to a loose puck and scored the game’s first goal. Jason Chimera knotted the score a bit later with a Kanooblian goal up in Luongo’s face. After a scoreless second period, Jason Chimera dived to feed Mikhail Grabovski on the go-ahead goal. Ryan Kesler nullified the lead soon after with a lay-up on a loose puck, and then Daniel Sedin put the Canucks up after a lengthy O-zone occupation against the Caps top line.

Canucks beat Caps 3-2.

  • From the NHL rulebook: 24.1 Penalty Shot – A penalty shot is designed to restore a scoring opportunity which was lost as a result of a foul being committed by the offending team, based on the parameters set out in these rules. At first it seemed odd to me, but the more I think about it, the more the penalty shot call on Alexander Edler‘s trip of Alex Ovechkin is a solid interpretation of that rule. Ovi duffed the attempt.
  • I don’t know if I should chalk the Zack Kassian goal up to bad luck, bad defense, or the universe’s mandate the Capitals must not score first.
  • Speaking of the universe as a sentient thing concerned with the Capitals, maybe if we don’t talk about Jason Chimera‘s goal streak (3 in 3 straight games), it’ll keep going. Here’s how John Walton ululated it:
  • Mike Green blocked a shot with his lower leg, and I freaked out. Green takes a ton of minutes for a Caps D corps that, let’s face it, isn’t very good. Green hasn’t played more than half a season since 2011, so he should be really wearing bubble wrap out there.
  • Best thing about games in Vancouver is their loyalty to local boys done good, Japandroids. “Nights of Wine and Roses” is a Rogers Arena staple, and for good reason. That song is great.

  • Not Alex Ovechkin‘s night. Through the halfway mark, he had just one shot on goal and one miss (ringing the post) despite nearly four minutes on the power play. Ovi’s lifeblood is shot volume, so that worries me. He finished the game with 3 shots on goal.
  • Tom Wilson has spent a little over 80 minutes on the ice and 25 minutes in the penalty box. But Plymouth would have been a waste.
  • Then again, the Capitals penalty kill is inhuman rampage right now, so maybe all those early penalties weren’t so bad. The excellent PK makes the womp-womp 5v5 defense even more confounding for me.
  • My favorite Lou Reed song was definitely “All Tomorrow’s Parties” off the Nico album. I love that song and every girl I’ve met who loved it too. What’s your favorite?
  • The Canucks absolutely pwned the Capitals in the possession game, particularly in the second period, when Vancouver attempted 29 shots to Washington’s 12. Thank goodness for Michal Neuvirth.
  • Facebook comment of the night from Tom K: “You can’t spell Steve Oleksy without Evokes Style.” No, seriously. I checked. Okay, go peep those wobble GIFs again.
  • Bask in the splendor of the Chimera to Grabo goal, via welshhockeyfan:

grabogoal

Joe B suit of the early morning

Joe B suit of the early morning

When I think about where this game went wrong, I keep coming to the conclusion that Capitals’ decision not to play offense was a contributing factor. Without offense, an Algonquin word meaning oh for eff’s sake it’s game 12 get it together, the Caps probably didn’t have a sporting chance. That’s not me trashing the Caps forwards, though there is blame to be distributed there (where was Ovi tonight?). Mostly, it appears to me that Washington’s problems start in their own end.

No, I’m not going to talk about John Tortorella’s coaching style because I hate it and him and right now I hate you too.

I’m sorry. It’s late.

It’s the end of October and the Caps are two games under .500. The Caps defense needs an overhaul or a rebuild or a CPU overclock or I dunno what.

At least Alex Ovechkin got the night off.

bastianPersonal note: My friend Crystal is a great doggy mother, but her pup Bastian got hurt real bad the other night. Bastian had to have an amputation, and the bills are staggering. Crystal is doing the right thing in taking care of her pup, but she could use some help. If you’re a dog lover or just have a big heart, please consider donating to Bastian’s medical bills. Thanks.

We’re off until Friday, when the Caps will host visit the Flyers. The Flyers are still awful, right?

  • Chris Cerullo

    Different game, same narrative. #FreeDima

  • Buck

    trade mike green.

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

    okay if you made it down here you can go to bed now

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

    naw

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

    I could list a dozen things wrong with the team before I got to Green. He’s not a stud anymore, but he’s not killing the team. Second best possession score tonight if that matters to you.

  • Bob

    when our D decides to play D, we could be a good team. The thing is, i dont see a move that would make the D better. Orlov would be good on the offensive side but he would not be an upgrade in terms of stopping teams from scoring. We are just a soft, lazy D

  • Josh Carey

    This team just isn’t that good anymore.

  • Mark

    I’m not worried about Ovi. Torts is pretty familiar with him and he’s bound to have an off night once in a while. On the other hand that D… Are the Caps the only team that actually loses momentum after scoring a goal?

  • Ben Reed

    Someone convince me Adam Oates is a good head coach.

  • Chris Cerullo

    This, and the fact that the value we’d get back wouldn’t be worth it at this point IMO

  • Ben Reed

    He looks injured to me. No one’s natural give-a-shit level can be so low, right?

  • Red

    Watching the 3rd period was like watching a self-destruct sequence in slow motion. Our defense is simply atrocious. When a goalie is having a monster night like Neuvy was having, you’re supposed to win.
    Green might as well have had a blue jersey on tonight. I don’t understand why Oates kept him on the ice the whole game.

  • Anela

    Don’t we play the Flyers in Philly (not in DC) on Friday?

  • Chris Cerullo

    IMO Orlov is 10x better than Oleksy. Steve has just been pretty awful this year besides his first couple games.

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

    yes! I’ll fix

  • Barry

    DIDN’T THEY KNOW I HAVE TO WORK IN THE MORNING

  • Freedoooom

    Trade Backstrom, sign Henrik and Daniel.

    I’m really tired of this pathetic soft loser holding Ovechkin back. He got dominated by Henrik Sedin, he’s not even close to the level that Henrik is on, he’s a product of Ovechkin.

  • Anela

    It’s late no worries! Your recaps always have less mistakes than the Caps D does right now. =P Good recap as always!

  • Jim Kelly

    Ovi is number one in scoring.

  • Josh Carey

    Right, but that’s not a valid argument for Oates being a good coach. His job is to make the team better, not to make the best player on the team betterer.

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

    He definitely helps individual players at tactics, and his PP work is unimpeachable. I don’t think he’s got the right hand to guide the defense, and I don’t think his line combinations are the wisest, and I’m not sure he’s using the available information effectively.

    But yeah, I think he’s a good coach.

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

    See, I don’t think it’s a care/compete-level/laziness thing. I think it’s a modestly weak defensive roster playing a defensive system that I don’t fully understand. That results in lots of breakdowns, long zone times for the other team, bad breakout passes, and bunches of dropped assignments.

    (Calle Jo is not my fave)

  • Josh Carey

    I didn’t say he was a bad coach, I was just pointing out that making your best player superhuman wont cut it. He’s definitely done a lot more good than bad in my opinion, however uhh. I’ve got nothing….defense.

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

    Thank you!

  • Fencedin

    I also wonder how a team can have such an awesome PK and such terrible D. Is that not an oxy moron? And why does the D decide that a Caps goal means free skate for 10 minutes. It’s almost getting painful to watch them score because you know a give away goal is coming shortly after.

  • Ben Reed

    He is probably a better instructor/teacher than head coach. There is a skill to developing an on-ice system and maximizing talent. The evidence is mounting that he is not so good at the latter.

    The roster isn’t top 5 in terms of talent at this point, but it’s also not as bad as it’s been playing. I see cause for concern.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    “I don’t know if I should chalk the Zack Kassian goal up to bad luck, bad defense, or the universe’s mandate the Capitals must not score first.”

    That one was bad goaltending. Bad angle, no open pass, no screen, and lets it in short side. The second goal was pretty bad too as he fails to glove it, then didn’t make himself big on a shot sitting a few feet in front of him. But, Neuvy kept a lot more sure things out than he let softies in. Was screened all night from what I was seeing.

    If your 3rd line is your best 5 on 5 line, your power-play clears more pucks by itself than it shoots towards the net, and you get heavily outshot and outchanced every night… You’re going to have a bad time. 41 shots to 18 shots… Eesh. Comcast also put up that scoring chances infographic. We had 1 chance in the 2nd and about 3 in the 3rd. Altogether they had 18 for the whole game, that is as many shots as we got on net.

    Neuvirth was the only reason we were in this game. Noticing a trend lately? We should be getting destroyed, but goaltending is keeping us in the game.

    Urbom showed why he should be playing over Erskine: he can actually skate.

    Oleksy had a bad night. It even seemed like he only had one skate blade at times.

    Green too his usual beating because he holds onto the puck entirely too long.

    I’m hoping we beat the Flyers at this point, not expecting to beat the down and out Flyers. I mean after all, aren’t the Rangers a really bad team and they shut us out?

  • dylan wheatley

    holts plus a 1st to ottawa for joe corvo

  • William

    Biggest difference I noticed was how good Vancouver was in their end. They get the puck out and to the forwards quickly in transition. Seems like a lot of Washington’s problem is that they play lackadaisical defense and then have a tough time getting it out which then turn into zone time, shots, and of course goals.
    I will say Vancouver dominated Washington in our end and in the neutral zone.

    3rd line played well again. The rest not so good.

    As much as I like Oleky’s decision making, he is very limited by his skating ability and stick skills (minus that toe drag, lol) . Urbom with him was much better than Erskine however.

    Carlzner is far and away the our best defensive pairing-(Alzner is sound positionally and does not give time and space on rushes, and Carlson adds an element of skill and physicality even if he makes positional errors that lead to goals at times.)

    Green and Schmidt have been in their own little world-Green has been playing very poor defense of late; he needs to step it up in his end.
    As much credit as Schmidt has been getting, (and some rightfully so) I think he is not quite ready for the nhl. He makes positioning errors that lead to goals that are clearly indicative of a lack of NHL readiness. Getting to the point, he has the ability to be a solid 2nd or 3rd pairing defenseman in the future, but at this point the only reason he is in the nhl is the capitals lack of defensive depth.

    Neuvirth was very typical-not quite nhl starter performance but won’t ruin the game for the team. I hope someday he will stop letting in those 1 or 2 leaky goals that lead to losses. He can be better.

    All in all, Vancouver is a much better team

  • Ben Reed

    Fitting image here. The Caps were meandering down the bunny slope while big bro VAN was shredding a black diamond.

  • Freedoooom

    Oooh love the tweet. Thanks for the exposure.

    Can’t deny the reality that Backstrom did nothing defensively to stop the Sedin cycle and got dominated by Henrik in the face off circle.

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

    I’ve been thinking about that too. Here’s my hypothesis.

    When you’re playing 4v5 defense, your goal is to clear the puck. Simple, and all four players are involved.

    When you’re playing 5v5 defense, your goal is to a) break up the play, b) get out of the zone, and c) get the puck to your forwards at center ice.

    I think item’s B and C are problematic for the defense– resulting in the awful possession disparities we’ve seen and some of the sloppy breakouts that lead to turnovers.

  • Red

    You comment here a lot, but I’m beginning to think that you never actually read any of the articles, because if you did, I wouldn’t have to tell you how many things are wrong with what you just said.

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

    You’re right about that. It wasn’t a good game for Nicky.

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

    fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

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

    Great comment

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

    I think you got it on all points

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    i tired.

  • dylan wheatley

    you’re right we’d need to sweeten the deal let’s throw in kuzya’s rights

  • William

    I wouldn’t place the blame on backstrom, he is an elite center and has proven that year after year. Even if at times he doesn’t put up massive points he is dominant in puck possession on the PP and in the offensive zone. I don’t know of many players in the nhl who are better at holding possession than backstrom. This is one of the main differences between backstrom and johansson in the skill department.

    At worse he’s had a couple of bad games in an otherwise solid season. I think he would be a lot more productive player with a winger with more goal scoring ability. As much as I like johansson I’m not sure hes a first like wing, particularly with backstrom already playing the center position.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    oh wait. how ’bout that chimmer.

  • William

    Yeah that one was clearly a soft goal. Gotta catch that one. I think neuvy needs practice high glove.

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

    he is whatever the opposite of an escape goat is

  • Fencedin

    Sure, lets trade the guy carrying the team. Makes sense.

  • Bob

    yes yes yes times 10, if i wasnt so frustrated i think i would have said something similar. I thought i was alone in thinking Calle wasnt very good for our guys.

  • dylan wheatley

    joe corvo will carry this team my friend

  • Freedoooom

    It’s not Johansson’s job to help stop the Sedins behind the net, its Backstroms.

    It’s the number one reason why they lose to the Rangers, Tortorella has Backstrom figured out, he won’t go behind his own net to help stop the cycle.

  • William

    I agree backstrom played poor defense on that shift and has the last couple of games (EDM/Cal/Van) but in the main he is responsible in his end and is excellent on the breakout.

    Obviously he played a terrible shift there, but I don’t that is enough to say he is a bad player or a product of ovechkin. (which I have always felt is only marginally true.)

  • Scott Mallon

    Gonna have some nightmares about getting trapped in our zone tonight.

    If our top forward line gets cycled even one more time in our own zone this season I’m going to flip out. This has already happened an entire seasons worth already. We should trade with Nashville for Roman Josi, GMGM would probably salivate at the thought of another trade rape. I think I’ll go off and play nhl14 now until i pass out that way i can at least pretend the caps are winning. Tootles.

  • Scott Mallon

    btw the kassian goal was definitely the universe’s mandate that the capitals must not score first. just thought I would clear up that one real quick.

  • Dan

    Loved him as a Cap, not quite sure what he is doing as a coach.

  • William

    Yes, Orlov is a significantly more talented player physically.

    I am assuming the capitals don’t want to rush orlov’s development to hinder future value.

    It’s hard to watch the caps play defense at the moment and have Orlov sit in the minors though

  • Scott Mallon

    sarcasm level: noob.

  • EugeneVC

    Stop worrying about Ovi. Other teams start getting used to him on the right, so Oatsy decided to move him to Chimera now.

  • William

    On a side note to the RMNB edits-seems like your analysis is a lot better than the Washpost or Examiner. Lot more comments on this page than on washingtonpost.com

    Keep it up, I love this blog.

  • Owen Johnson

    I work until midnight usually and DVR the games. So you guys stayed up until 1 watching this shitty game, I stayed up until 3. Not fun. It was only by the grace of God (who I guess tonight is Neuvy) that this was a 1 goal game.
    Also, who are these Wizards that everyone is talking about? Does DC have a Quidditch team now?

  • kemiisto

    Yes, he is. The problem is, that the team is mediocre. We need an excellent and experienced coach, not just a good one. But with GMGM it will never happen.

  • Owen Johnson

    Also, did anyone else notice that after they showed the shot totals as 14-1, or something like that, in the 2nd Period, Joe B said “that is not a misprint,” they showed the faceoff totals as 21-1? Clearly was a misprint (although 21-11 still sucks pretty bad)

  • kemiisto

    Yep. When “The System” is all about being outscored 2 times nearly each and every night, something is wrong. Badly wrong.

  • kemiisto

    Neuvy is not playing enough games and hence he is not in the shape right now. The only thing I don’t understand is why Holts is #1. He doesn’t deserve it, he is not better the Neuvy. Goalies should be rotated right now. But, yeah, in Oates’ System one doesn’t rotate goalies.

  • JenniferH

    I disagree; he is better than Neuvy. Neuvy actually had better defense in front of him than Holtby normally does (which admittedly isn’t saying much). Holtby makes spectacular saves on such a regular basis that it’s pretty much taken for granted now. I’m not saying Neuvy is bad because he’s not, he’s a very good goalie. But Holtby is better.

  • kemiisto

    Holtby makes spectacular saves? :O This season, you mean? Seems like we are watching different games…

  • JenniferH

    As are many a commentator and writer around the sports world, but to each their own, I suppose.

  • sal go

    Chimmer and Ward’s line deserve mad props. Hardest working line.

  • riggorules

    Looking forward to the CalleJo breakdown article

  • JH

    The second and third periods were appalling in their one-sidedness. Even though Ovi only had three shots on goal, it didn’t seem like he had a lousy game. He was a presence out there. I thought the Caps, when they DID get in the o-zone, crashed the net pretty well. Can anyone account for why the quality of our D, never tops in the league, seems to have plummeted off the precipice?
    PS: Favorite Lou Reed song: SO hard to pick just one, but I’m going to go with Take a Walk on the Wild Side. I know it’s not the “obscure-look-at-me-I-really-know-Lou-Reed” choice, but every time I hear it, it takes me back.

  • JH

    PPS: Re: goaltending and Neuvy being screened. I mean WTF? The beer league team I played against Sunday night did a better job of clearing screeners from the crease than the Caps did last night. I forgot to mention that. Horrible.

  • Uncle Phil’s Beard

    Kind of an arbitrary question, but can someone explain to me why Henrik Sedin got 3rd Star & not Chimera?

  • Graham Dumas

    Two out of the three goals last night I found myself thinking distinctly that Holtby would have gotten that. That said, I was really impressed by Neuvy, and I don’t understand why Oates relies on Holtby so hard.

  • Graham Dumas

    Get us Orlov!

  • Pat Magee

    They both have their strengths and weaknesses….. The defense being their biggest weakness!!!

    Neuvy is ice and Holtby is fire. They should compliment eachother perfectly, but the team in front doesn’t seem to wanna win……

  • Pat Magee

    Another game in which Wilson was benched. I guess it doesn’t even matter who we draft? I dislike Oates more and more each game……. I really wanna like him, but his system is convoluted and stupid.((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  • VirginiaPatriot

    All of this blathering about an early season game and no one mentions Bastian? I appreciate the work that went into this blog piece, but my heart goes out to Crystal and Bastian. If you enjoy the FREE benefits of the great stuff we get from RMNB, get your butts over to the link and pay it back with a little help for Bastian!! What are you still reading this for, GET OVER THERE, NOW!!

  • JenniferH

    I agree that Holtby would have gotten those most likely, and that’s partly why Oates relies on Holtby. Also, Holtby is just such a reassuring, dynamic goalie. And that is something that does help the team. When they know they have him in the net, they don’t have to worry about the goals being scored normally. I’m not saying that Neuvy isn’t good, he is, Holtby is just better.

  • crystalgroves

    <3

  • VirginiaPatriot

    I see Bastian is home and pooping! Good news!