Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Caps Fall to Cats at the End of 11 Player Shootout

Capitals 1, Panthers 2 (SO)

Earlier this week I said that the Caps should look to pick up four points in their games
two games against Florida and one against Carolina before heading into a lengthy break in which they could fully absorb Boudreau's new system. After picking up a point in the shootout loss last night the team can still do so, but they missed their best opportunity for two in their home game against a mediocre (but streaking) Florida team.

Florida ought to consider itself lucky to have picked up the two points. I'll give them credit enough to deserve one, but the Capitals should have had 1:59 of 5-on-3 to close out the overtime session. They refs managed to catch the Cullimore trip but they blew what should have been an easy roughing or interference call as Nylander was hit from behind and knocked down in front of the Panthers net. Maybe it was one of those situations where the refs were being lenient because another penalty had already been called, I don't know. But an infraction as blatant as that one needs to be picked up no matter what. As it was the Caps had seven overtime shots; with a 5-on-3 and nothing to lose you'd have to like their chances of picking up a goal.

The Cats also lucked out when Clark and Semin became unavailable for the shootout. Semin would have shot no matter what; Clark may not have, but you'd have to think he'd go before Pothier, Poti or Steckel.

In non game-related thoughts I'd have to say that I'm pretty sure Craig Laughlin is crazy. He was saying in the game tonight (and has said in the past) that it's an advantage for a shooter to be the opposite handedness of a goalie, i.e. that a left-handed shooter will have an advantage over goalie who catches with his right hand. I'm usually ready to agree to disagree and accept that other people's opinions can differ from mine, but let me tell you here - Laughlin is wrong.

As someone who played goalie for years let me tell you that it's easier to stop a puck with your glove have. That hand is lighter, there's no stick to make it awkward, you can catch with it and it's easier to make the play with your palm facing outwards that in towards you. As a shooter it's easier to not have to come across your body; for a right handed shooter (like Ovechkin or Semin) to shoot high-glove on a left-catching goalie (like Kolzig). Thus if the blocker is worn on the opposite hand of the handedness of the shooter, it's an advantage to the shooter. Come on Laughlin, why do you think the majority of NHL players shoot lefty? Why do you think Canadian coaches and parents tech their kids to shoot left, resulting in ridiculously high levels of left-handed golf club sales north of the border?

Quick Hits

  • As much as I love Donald Brashear, the Caps may need to look for another enforcer in the offseason. Brash obviously has trouble keeping up with the pace in the NHL at his age and has taken a lot of bad penalties this year.
  • The Capitals honored Sean Taylor before the game.
  • I hear Dave Andreychuk used to do a drill where he would dump a bunch of pucks in and around the crease and practice snapping them high into the net as quickly as he could. Someone should show Viktor Kozlov this drill.
  • Boyd Gordon's shootout goal beautiful. How beautiful? I got so excited I jumped up, pumped my first, and wrenched my back.
  • The ice at the Verizon Center seems to be getting worse every game. Can it get any worse than last night's game? I doubt it. I mean, how can you make worse ice than when it doesn't even freeze?
  • Of course the terrible ice can work to your advantage - Nylander nearly won the game with his bouncing dump-in on Vokoun. Just think of it as a home rink advantage.


No comments: