Well, last week other than Tuesday's blacked out 5-4 shootout victory against the Nashville Predators at the VC that was my ST partners game there was no other Caps hockey to watch or report on. Suffice it to say I was pretty darn busy, didn't listen to the game first hand and like the folks reading this blog, caught up on the results by studying the stats and reading other blogs. That was fine since for me it was a busy week at work and I was actually okay with the limited availability of access to the diversion that Caps hockey provides from life's pressures, since there just wasn't much time for it in my life last week. The week is over and I'm back to 2 1/2 "jobs"/concurrent focus items for ICx Technologies, a very manageable amount. The week also ended with our son Chris coming home from the USMMA, for his between trimesters' break. Now tonight, the Capitals 15 game November schedule kicks off at 7PM EDT, against the Buffallo Sabres at HSBC Arena. Of course, once again the Caps will be without the services of Alexander Ovechkin, 2007-2008 MVP, but it will still be a Rockin' Red game.
Over the course of this past week, a lot is starting to be made of Alexander Semin's interview over at Puckdaddy last week. Me? I thought is was/is awesome! As are the other blog-posts indicating that the time has come to announce the full fledged arrival of "SEH - man" on the scene and the retirement of the moniker: "the other Alex." I concur here too also, so nevermore on this blog will there be a reference to "Number 28" as "the Other Alex." Of course, the main issue now is what should Alexander Semin's moniker be? After all his friend and teammate Ovechkin has so many good ones: "The Great 8"; "Alexander the Great"; etc. What is a fitting set of primary monikers for Aleaxander Semin, one reflective of the singular, unique skill mix he is bringing to the Capital's offense this season and his own exciting style of play? Now about that Puckdaddy interview, Semin's comments about Sidney Crosby and his basic approach of talking some smack or perhaps just offering his own unbridled opinion on some of the other great players in the NHL today. Unlike the Toronto Sun, I thought it was great and he was right on target. As somebody else once said: "I don't know. But, this is just my opinion."
Now on to tonight's game and a look ahead to the faceoff that is just a short hour away. I really think it'll be a great game but the Caps should come out on top. Looking at the match-ups and factors, to me the game looks like this. 1) Intangibles: the Caps are generally on the upswing and positive; and the Sabres are a little flat after a blistering start. 2) Forward Lines: even without the likes of Ovechkin in the lineup, Washington matches up favorably with the Sabres. Add to that the fact that after their last two games, Buffalo Coach Lindsey Rupp felt the need to shake up the Sabres lines and the Caps have once again found their scoring touch after relatively lackluster scoring during their West Coast/National Horse Show Road Trip and it seems the Caps have the edge in this category. 3) Defense: tonight will likely have Tom Poti back in the Caps lineup, a definite positive for the Caps, but in this category, you still have to give the edge to the Sabres with Lydman, Tallinder, Paetsch, Numminen, Spacek, and Sekara. While there may not be a superstar among them, there are also no "weak links" either. Finally 4) Goaltending: conventional wisdom would give the edge to Buffalo's Ryan Miller over Washington's Jose Theodore. However, over the past three games for each, they are comparatively similar. Miller is 0-2-1 with a GAA of 4.00 and a Save Percentage of 87.63%. Theodore is 2-1-0 with a GAA of 3.33 and a Save Percentage of 89.25%. In fact JT60 and Brent Johnson's efforts since a shaky start in Atlanta have not been responsible for any of the Caps losses so far this season, and more often then not, when the Caps have been a little flat goaltending has kept them in the game. So I call this one at worst a draw and actually give a slight edge to what should be a confident, well rested Theodore. So overall, I'm looking for the Caps to leave Buffalo with two points. Also, in case you didn't notice the winning goaltender in Tampa Bay's 5-2 defeat of the Sabres earlier this week, it was none other than Olie Kolzig who stopped 29 of 31 shots and had a save percentage of 0.9354. Not bad, not bad at all.
Well on with the game. LETS GO CAPS!!!!