Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breaking news

Washington Capitals hire Jim Johnson as assistant coach and let go of Bob Woods. He played 121 games with the Caps along side Dale Hunter in the 90's. Johnson has experience in coaching at the AHL and NHL level.

Caps suffer 3rd straight loss

Everyone can take a deep breath and relax because it is just Dale Hunter’s first game behind the bench. He hasn’t even implemented his drills in practice and his styles of play yet. Yes I know all Capitals fans including myself thought the players would be inspired by the coaching change and come out with a win vs. the St. Louis Blues. The first game jitters from Hunter and the rest of the team are in the rear view mirror.
Let’s talk about the game a little bit. The Caps suffered a 2-1 loss to the Blues and were outshot 30-19. Less than 20 shots is just not going to get it done especially when your star player Alex Ovechkin only logged one of those shots. The Great Eight has to start finding ways to score because if he does as captain, the whole team will follow by example. It’s as simple as throwing pucks at the net and crashing. Nicklas Backstrom supplied the lone goal in the first period giving Washington an early lead. Ovechkin assisted on the goal after he beat a few defenders entering the offensive zone. He struggled through most of the game but was the only Washington player with a positive plus/minus (+1).
The Blues’ T.J. Oshie tied it off a rebound that Tomas Vokoun couldn’t control off the crossbar. In the second period Matt D'Agostini would score the game winner on a wrap-around. Vokoun challenged the original shot from the point which he saved, but couldn’t freeze the puck. He can’t make those mistakes beyond the crease. The biggest let down was that this go ahead goal came after a 5 on 3 penalty kill for the Caps. St. Louis had four PP chances that they didn’t convert on. Washington wasn’t man up all game until 20 seconds remaining in the third period. You could almost say it was a pity call from the refs for not getting a power play all game. In the end Jaroslav Halak was just too much for the red sweaters stopping 18 of 19 shots.
One play that angered me towards the end of the game was when John Carlson casually skated back and got beat to the puck which cancelled out an icing. With three minutes left, trailing by a goal, you have the chance for an offensive zone faceoff, and you don’t bust your ass. Not acceptable in my book, and I hope Dale Hunter let him hear it after the game because your better than that Carlson. I’d like to give Dmitry Orlov some credit for playing in his fifth game. He has been physical, defensively sound, and showed us some dangles in the offensive zone tonight which surprised some people.
On a positive not it was nice to see Matt Hendricks drop the gloves for the fourth time this season. The fight was short lived with Hendy barely landing a punch, but we appreciate the effort. I also loved not seeing Jeff Schultz on the blue line because he was healthy scratched. The Pittsburgh Penguins come in Thursday to the Verizon Center for a much awaited rivalry game. Not to mention it will be the first time Sidney Crosby has faced the Caps since the Winter Classic. Ovi vs. Sid is back, and hopefully this game will spark Ovi because he always plays his best game against the Pens. Don’t give up Caps fans! Rock the Red!
Player of the Game: Nicklas Backtrom (1 goal, solid on PK)
Stat of the Game: Blues PP 0 for 4 (Caps PK)
Unsung Hero: Matt Hendricks

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'M BACK!! Hunter hired as head coach

Well Caps fans I am back to blogging again and for good reason. This season Alex Ovechkin and the boys got off to a record start with seven straight wins to kick off the regular season. Since that the guys in red have lost 10 of their last 15 and have been struggling on all levels. Ovi is off to his slowest start in his career with only eight goals in the first 22 games and the Caps have given up 31 goals against in the past seven games. Need a change in the locker room? Well Bruce Boudreau tried being strict with his team this year starting with benching Ovechkin late in a game earlier this season. Then BB scratched Alex Semin for his poor play and Joel ward for missing a team meeting. GM George McPhee seemed to support this kind of coaching strategy but couldn't continue any longer after this past weekend's two losses 6-3 to NYR and 5-1 to BUF.

Early Monday morning McPhee made the rumors of head coach Bruce Boudreau being fired a headline in the NHL. Don't get me wrong Boudreau has done great things for this organization in the past four years which include: expanding the fan base, winning four Southeast division titles, and the President's trophy. What's missing? His ability to escape the 2nd round in the playoffs and a Stanley Cup is missing. I have no hard feelings but it was definitely time for the "fat f*ck", to go as Ovi would say. Alright kind of harsh but thank you Bruce for your four successful but stressful years. You have definitely made this city a hockey town with all 201 of your wins.

The Washington Capitals organization welcomed new head coach Dale Hunter to the team immediately at practice today. So who is this Dale Hunter guy? Oh, not a big deal his #32 jersey is just hanging in the rafters in the Verizon Center today. Hunter has been coaching the London Knights in the OHL for the past 10 years and has had tremendous success. He is credited with the quickest to achieve 300 and 400 wins as a coach in the OHL. Hunter has also coached many current NHL stars that include two players he will become quite familiar with in John Carlson and Dennis Wideman. It is an added bonus that he is already been in the Washington Capitals system when he played 12 seasons in red and captained for five of them. Dale Hunter is an obvious leader and successful winner so far in his coaching career. Expect to see some change in the way the Caps play the game on both ends.

Now many people are asking who will get the "C". Does Ovi keep it with the way he's playing? George McPhee talked to the team today and stated that there would be no captain change. All I know is that Alexander Ovechkin didn't get along with BB and it became very evident this season. Hopefully this coaching change sparks The Great Eight and the rest of the team because quite frankly the games in the past few weeks have been difficult to watch. Tomas Vokoun needs to quickly get back to his roots in stealing games single-handedly for the team because his performance has been sub-par. Injuries have been rough on Washington this season keeping defenseman Mike Green out for more games than expected, but he did skate with the team today.

This coaching change came at the right time in my opinion. I wouldn't be surprised to see some players being moved, Alex Semin, if things do not get better. Dale Hunter was a hard-working player and I wouldn't expect anything else from him as a coach. Do not panic Caps fans! We have just entered a new era and at this point we can only go up. Rock the Red!!!