Vokoun reacts after letting a Dustin Byfuglien shot from the red line go in. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
After Monday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks, the Capitals are 2-4-1 in February and find themselves in ninth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Caps have clearly struggled without superstars Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, but the most bizarre aspect of the Capitals recent play has been their propensity for giving up goals from center ice.
The first goal of the Caps’ 5-3 loss to the Sharks was marked as having been scored from 69 feet since the puck deflected off Joe Pavelski, but the fluke bounce that got behind Braden Holtby came from another 80-foot shot that turned into a goal against. The terrible part is that we can say “another” — Pavelski’s goal Monday was the third puck shot from at least 80 feet that’s resulted in a goal this month. All three Caps starters in net this month, Michal Neuvirth, Tomas Vokoun, and Braden Holtby have allowed one each.
Let’s review this bizarre phenomenon.
The Puck Drop: Hey everybody! It’s a pajama party! Whooot! ZOMG, we’re gonna stay up late, an we’re gonna make popcorn, an an we’re gonna have hot chocolate! An an an we’re gonna get in our PJs and an an an we’re gonna watch the Caps! Squeeee!!!
News Update! Dit-dit-dit-dah-dit-dit-deee-dit! Realignment on hold! Flash – Icers cry Foul on Fall festivities! Yups, the players union has turned nose down at the realignment plan handed down from on high. We’ll have more in the coming days. Stay tuned to this station…and now, we return you to your regular programming.
Anze Kopitar celebrates a goal last year against the Blackhawks. (Photo credit: Harry How)
Editor’s note: You can win a 1-year subscription to ESPN Insider and a $25 gift certificate to Front Page VA by guessing Neil’s first two draft picks tonight. Check out the details on our Facebook page.
As part of ESPN.com’s NHL family, I was invited to participate in their fantasy hockey draft this past Tuesday. Just me and guys like Craig Custance, John Buccigross, and Scott Cullen.
Victoria Matiash has already given a bird’s eye view of the draft, but I thought I would run through my thought process on various picks and give you some ideas for your fantasy draft. Plus, you can see how I do for the season because we are making the results public.
Here were the ground rules for the draft:
Participants included, in original order, Craig Custance, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Buccigross, Pierre Becquey, Michael Hume, Victoria Matiash, Neil Greenberg, Sean Allen and Scott Cullen. Categories include goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal and average time on ice for skaters and wins, save percentage and goals-against average for goaltenders. Slots to fill include nine forwards, five defensemen, one “utility” skater, two goaltenders and a five-man bench.
My philosophy was simple: grab young, healthy, talented players with upside. Let others worry if Patrick Kane would be healthy or if Sergei Kostitsyn can once again score 20 goals on less than 100 shots.
I had the eight pick. With my editor Mike Hume drafting before me (he knows which players I fancy) and Cullen having back-to-back picks behind me I knew I had to make strategic decisions.
Photo credit: Tony Avelar
Coming off an insane, 13-goal affair in Orange County late Wednesday night, the Caps headed to Silicon Valley Thursday to take on the Sharks. It’s been nine long days since the Capitals matched up against San Jose in the District and the question was: which team would show up Thursday night? The Capitals that have been anemic offensively as of late and the squad that was bested by S.J. on the 8th? Or would it be the cardiac Caps reminiscent of last season who decided to pop their head up against the Ducks?
Well, it looks like we’re right back where we were before the Anaheim goal-fest.
The first period was rather uneventful. That is for about 19 minutes. After Ben Eager was called for a tripping penalty at 18:40, Washington headed to the power play. But it would be Joe Pavelski of the Sharks who score first on the Caps man-advantage, converting on John Carlson’s turnover with just over a minute left in the frame. Alex Ovechkin, however, would take matters into his own hands. Ovechkin threaded the needle to put the puck past San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi just 22 seconds after Pavelski’s tally, knotting the score at one.
The second period was a somewhat of a snooze-fest. Nether team racked up more than 10 shots in the frame and no penalties were doled out, giving fans little to cheer for. Five minutes into the third period, Ryan Clowe put home Kyle Wellwood’s rebound, giving the Sharks the lead. Dany Heatley would extend San Jose’s advantage midway through the frame when he deflected Danny Boyle’s attempt from the slot. With just under two minutes remaining, Nicklas Backstrom gave Capitals fans some hope when he ripped a wrist-shot over Niemi’s shoulder. However, the rally would stop right there. Sharks beat Caps, 3-2.
With Tomas Fleischmann’s arbitration hearing looming in the next few days it doesn’t look like the two sides will come to an agreement beforehand. GMGM moved pretty swiftly to avoid the courtroom drama with Fehr and Schultz indicating, at least to this writer, that the two sides are VERY far apart.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.