Posted by LJizzle
Things seem to be relatively calm in a city that routinely gets too high and too low about its Redskins (although it’s impossible, in my humble opinion to be too low about that team – especially since the two quarterbacks that the coach was willing to stake his reputation on – his words – are awful – doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in a head coach whose genius seems to be tied to having a gentleman whose name rhymes with John Shmelway – but I digress) with respect to the Capitals. It could be that it’s just turned to November, and people are still distracted by the Redskins, or it could be a sign of relative maturity in the fan base (though recent trips to the phone booth belie this point). So let’s take a look, given the recent two game skid, of what’s wrong with your Washington Capitals.
There is no shame in losing to the Vancouver Canucks. They were the runners-up last year, and despite what you think of Roberto Luongo (choke-cough-choke) this is a talented team. The Sedin twins, a healthy Ryan Kessler (who is one of the LJizzle’s favorite players – the LJizzle is a bit xenophobic and loves both referring to himself in the third person and uber-talented American hockey players) – this is a talented team. And the goalies can be expected to falter from time to time. The real issue with this game, and the takeaway, is managing goaltender starts. I don’t think it’s rocket science to say that you have to spot Vokoun, a 36-ish year old goaltender, a little bit more – the important games are in April and May, not October – you don’t want to burn him out. And you need to keep Neuvirth sharper by playing him more. This one’s on Gabby and GMGM to make sure their young goaltender of the future gets more PT so he stays sharp. I would start him, on average, every third or fourth game, and if he gets hot, ride him a bit. Vokoun is a professional – and he’s more likely to be there in April and May at his age if he isn’t completely overworked in the regular season.
As far as the loss to the Oilers go, you can chalk that up to two things. The first is running into a ridiculously hot goaltender. Khabibulin is goaltending like it’s 1999. The Caps threw everything but the kitchen sink at him in the third and he stopped everything. The Oilers, by the way, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberles, Magnus Paarvajjiaaarrvvvaaajjji (or whatever the hell his name is) are going to be a fun watch as they grow up the next couple of years. No, the problem was the neverending parade to the sin bin. Now, the Ljizzle is no stranger to the penalty box – he’s received as many as 50 minutes in one game (though his specialty is berating horrible referrees) – but no one is paying him to play the game. The fact of the matter is that the Caps are prone to taking bad penalties at the wrong time – have been for years – and the issue here is that there’s no accountability. The reason Semin’s Semin – floats through too many shifts – takes bad penalties – is because he’s allowed to be that way by Boudreau. A healthy scratch for Semin – while it might infuriate the poser lunatics at Verizon who insist on calling him Sasha – we get it, you have the Internet too – would send the right message to this team, as would restricting ice time for players who screw up. I’m not saying he has to turn into a raving madman like Tortorella, who lets his anger and personal conflicts limit him as a coach. On the other hand, Torts has a Stanley Cup. At any rate, any accountability would be good from Gabby, who seems content to let the lunatics run the asylum.
So, on to the Ducks tonight. Let’s see who starts in goal and how the boys come out. They weren’t going to win all 82, but it’ll be nice to see how they react to the first real adversity of the season.