After last night's game, Comcast sportscaster Lisa Hillary commented that the Washington Capitals had been outplayed by the Atlanta Thrashers for the first two periods before they came alive and won the game. In so doing Ms. Hillary seemed to imply the Caps had stolen a victory and two points during their trip to Atlanta. Facts and figures are quite contrary to the statement and the implication is wrongheaded to the point of being simply reprehensible. If anything, the contrary is true - Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta's 24 year old Finnish born netminder almost stole the game for his team in front of the home crowd.
Here's the facts -
shots on goal (SOG) period by period:
1st period SOG: Caps - 8; Thrashers - 6; Score at the end of the 1st: Caps 1, Thrashers 0
2nd period SOG: Caps - 14; Thrashers - 9; Score at the end of 2: Caps 1, Thrashers 3
3rd period SOG: Caps - 23; Thrashers - 2; Final Score: Caps 5 - Thrashers 3.
faceoffs won: (25 - 25 overall)
1st - Caps 4, Thrashers 5
2nd - Caps 12, Thrashers 9
3rd - Caps 9, Thrashers 11
hits - one of two tracked statistical categories Atlanta won for the overall game
1st - Caps 4, Atlanta 5
2nd -Caps 4, Atlanta 4
3rd -Caps 3; Atlanta 7 (relevant side note: the Caps were too busy shooting and forechecking to hit for 15 minutes of this 20 minute period).
The other statistical category Atlanta bested the Caps was takeaways (Atlanta 8 - Caps 7); however this is offset by the fact the Caps had four less penalty minutes for the game. Of particular note that is contrary to Ms. Hillary's ignorant comment are two key facts - 1) the first period ended with the Caps up in the most important category 1-0 and ahead or even in two of three categories that reflect the level of hustle and play for a team; 2) when the horn sounded to end the second period the Caps were behind 3-1 even though they were ahead in every tracked statical team category - the one they were behind for the period Save % is an individual statistic and when you look at the shot chart for the second period you can see that this period was Christobel Huet's worst as a Cap. The last statement is not an aspersion on Huet for being a human being for 2o minutes - if the Caps can resign him, they definitely should do so.
The source data for this analysis came from and is available on ESPN.com.
Visitors to the Washington Capitals website know that Ms. Hillary is now advertising for the Caps. Lisa Hillary is a Canadian and does know something about hockey. But since she either doesn't have the work ethic to the game to properly research her commentary; or she's not really a Caps fan; or like most mainstream media personages she's just trying to pass through so she get a bigger better gig by creating controversy - I say "Off With Her Head" (figuratively that is, after all she is generally better than average for a local cable newscaster). I urge all my readers to post a comment on Caps Majority Owner Ted Leonsis' blog or email him telling him to pull Ms. Hillary's advertisement and replace it ASAP. I also urge readers to write Comcast and ask that they hold their sportscasters more accountable to better research their reporting. At the very least, Ms. Hillary should be required to attend the Caps' Hockey and Heels night wearing a dunce cap.
Congratulations to Alexander Ovechkin on numbers 59 and 60 in a much needed win. LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!