Friday, November 16, 2007

Caps: 2, Tampa Bay: 5

Capitals 2, Lightning 5

Another day, another loss, another few decibels that the 'Fire Hanlon' chorus ratchets up.

To their credit the Capitals came out hard, looking like the desperate team that they are and were the better team for the majority of the first forty minutes. The Capitals could have easily been up 2-0 and in control of the game after the first period were it not for a stupid penalty by Schultz that lead to blue-line slapshot goal from superhuman Vincent Lecavalier, and Milan Jurcina doing his best Bryan McCabe Tom Poti impression, handing the puck over the Jan Hlavac in the process (thought Brent Johnson must bear some of the blame here - Hlavac let go a weak shot that trickled through the five-hole).

This game we out of reach for Washington with defenseman Paul Ranger's goal with 28 seconds remaining in the second. With that goal the Capitals seemed to lose all their confidence; you could see in their body language in the third period that they just didn't think they could win. With the way they have been piling up the losses recently and how much difficulty everyone not named Ovechkin has had scoring this year that is somewhat understandable and I can't say I didn't have the same reaction. But just because it's understandable doesn't make it acceptable and like so much else that's been going wrong with the Capitals you have to look at the bench boss first.

McPhee is slow to fire coaches - when Cassidy went on his infamous rant in the middle of a road trip with the team struggling he wasn't fired until the trip's conclusion. Given that I think there's very little chance Hanlon gets the boot before the conclusion of this ten-games-in-sixteen-days bit that ends December 1. That said if the Capitals don't either pick up a good number of points or win the last three or four in that stretch I think McPhee will send Hanlon packing. It'll be a shame in a lot of ways - Hanlon is good guy and has done a lot of good for this team over the last couple years and it will be a loss for the organization to be without his attitude but the reality is he is not getting the job done. And injuries can no longer be the excuse.

Capitals goaltender rankings for last nights game:

  1. Alexander Ovechkin
  2. Mike Green
  3. Brent Johnson
Quick Hits
  • Tampa' home uniforms are horrible. They look like ninja costumes you'd buy an eight-year-old for Halloween.
  • Can someone get Donald Brashear some pine tar? He seems to drop his stick every shift.
  • That play in the first period where Kozlov failed to bury the rebound from Ovechkin's shot on the PP is one of those plays you just watch and say 'Of course. That's exactly how the season is going.'
  • He's more than willing to scrap with the big boys but I've never felt Andre Roy could match up with the top-tier fighters in the NHL.
  • The NFL instituted a new rule so that throwing the ball after the play now results in a penalty. I don't think it would be a bad idea for the NHL to follow suit, at least in cases where it's out of frustration (I'm thinking of when Lecavalier whipped the puck against the back board after being called offside).
  • As earlier noted the Ducks put Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers today; the sense I got was that Caps fans were wishy-washy about whether they wanted him to replace Johnson. I wonder if anyone changed their mind after last night?

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