05 October 2007

"Raised banner means raised expectations"

1 - 3

Talking to myself during the game. Read on.

First period

The banner ceremony was sooooo cool. It wasn't too long, it wasn't drawn out, it was short, sweet and it's cool that the only 4 original season ticket holders held it while it was raised.

Nice to hear Hartley talk about how AWESOME Kari and Heddy are - "maybe THE best goaltending duo in the league."

Some quick notes about the Caps. Sasha Mocha (Ovechkin; as opposed to Sasha Vanilla, which is Semin) is still the shit, and always will be, I'm sure. It's just awesome as hell to watch him get better every year. He was going in for a change, saw the open puck, faked out Ex and went after it like that. He's amazing. Nylander 's looking pretty good, although I still hum a circus song when I watch him skate though. I'm always a bit struck that most of the same dips are still on that team. The Caps, with like, I dunno, 5 exceptions? Are streakier than Mark Smith's hair. Half the time they couldn't collectively finish a Milky Way (side note: although that was Nylander last time he was in DC. The team would be on the power play, and he'd get possession, and everyone would groan and sit down - time with Jagr improved him it seems). Other times, there are streaks of brilliance. I still doubt they'll make the playoffs, unless Backstrom is really the shit in between the Sashas, and Olie stops being so god damned streaky. Lot of streaky in that team.

Awesome article up at Dump and Chase about the Thrashers rooks.

2-0, end of first

Second period
Nice save by Kari on Sasha - he got the puck out of nowhere on a clearing attempt. Kari must never take his eyes off the puck. Or Sasha. Probably both.

2 goaltender interference penalties for the Caps halfway through the 2nd, lets see how many more they can rack up.

What the hell? Hoss in on a breakaway, Eric misses on the rebound, Kozzie misses on the rebound, dear god. ON JOHNSON?! Of the enormous 5-hole?! Jesus christ. I know it's a bouncing puck and it's hard to control but damn, y'all! I must say though, so far the power play does look a little anemic.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Awwww, Brian Little! his first NHL goal! Damn, that's a money goal too. Gorgeous backhand pass on the off-wing from Kovy just behind the goal line, Little knocks it in off Johnny's right leg pad on the backhand.

Perrin rode Poti off the puck, behind the net. Good moves. I like seeing him coming on balls out in the first game. Show 'em what ya got, Perrsy!

Interesting trivia: all 5 members of the Thrashers' captaincy are European. As are both of their goaltenders. Which is funny given that there's 12 North Americans on the team.

2-1, end of 2nd

Third Period
Interesting they're talking about it being a big night and the players having friends and families in the building and being over-amped for the game, a little in need of settling down. I believe they're talking about Sterling, but I thought of Lehts, who surely has his parents there, if not his brother and sister as well. I wonder if that's part of how those first two goals got in. I don't recall where they went in, but like I said, high glove side a distinct possibility.

Enstrom's got great instincts with his passing.

It's very unusual for me to see the Caps on the frenzied attack and defence, and the Thrash looking rattled. You know what else the Thrashers need to work on is keeping to their positions. Even on a goal-mouth flurry, there should be 2 guys back on point a bit, or at least to keep stray pucks in the zone, but no.

Going back and forth now with most of the play in the neutral zone. 6:00 remaining and the Thrashers need a goal. They're too passive on the attack. Actually, there is no attack, they're just passive.

3:05 remaining and it's becoming something of a cluster fuck in the defencive zone. They need to get out of the zone and on the attack, and not let the Caps pinch and then send them on a dump and chase.
1:25 and Kari heads for the bench for an extra attacker.
1:00, regrouping in the d-zone.
:40 battling deep in the offencive zone.
:30 Sent into the Thrasher's zone. Ovechkin is sniffing around.
:20 Dumped deep.
:10 Thrash scrambling desperately behind the net
:00 Game over, Caps win, 3-1.

The Thrashers need to work on their discipline more than anything. The team didn't seem entirely comfortable together yet, no great flow of chemistry except on lines with familiar teammates. One thing I think maybe the team didn't consider is that they raised the SE division banner in front of one of their division rivals. Might as well be rubbing it in their faces. A gritty, blue collar team like the Caps would take that to heart, and let the Thrash know they're not going to lay down and be run over again this season. Good for the Caps for finally stepping up, let's see if they'll keep it up all season. The Thrash's goaltending was mostly great, as said, the only goals Kari allowed were shots he was screened from. 40 shots, 37 saves. Not a bad night's work.

Well, that sucked. Let's try it again tomorrow night with the Bolts, and see how we do.

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