From Nation's Capital Blog: "Although the boys from Washington didn't have their "A" game, they definitely weren't sloppy or disinterested. 45 shots is a pretty good indicator that they were getting their chances (not to mention all the near misses that didn't make it on goal). Some nights, 'ya' just don't get the breaks."
From my favorite The Peerless Prognosticator: "What?...You thought they’d go 39-1-1 at home? The Caps lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, 3-0. Why? ... [See Large Picture of Blue Jackets Rookie Goalie Steve Mason stopping one of 45 shots by the Capitals on the way to his 4th shutout of the year]. ..... Later Peerless states] ... Jose Theodore did not have a poor game, just a very average one. A rebound that got away, a deflection, and a scrum in front. But it stood in such stark relief against what was going on at the other end that it had the look of a poor game."
From Puckhead's Thoughts: "...There is not much I would have liked the Caps do differently in this game, except for the bad penalties toward the end that stymied the Capitals' offensive push and allowed two BJ power play goals late in the second and third periods. Those were pretty bad penalties. ... The Caps do end a four game home stand with a 3-1 record and 6 points out of eight possible. Now they hit the road to Montreal, where confidence is abound in the Habs. ..."
From Capitals Kremlin, the headline " Worst. Birthday. Ever." says it all but the picture and sentiment is pretty cool too.
My personal reactions are mixed and I have a few more concerns apparently than others after watching last night. Sure it was a great game by Steve Mason, I counted at least three really, really good driving scoring attempts by the Capitals that normally would have gone in no matter who they were playing. Not fancy stuff but real digging down low kind of stuff with multiple scoring attempts; and yes Mason was the sole reason the Caps didn't score on those attempts. The concerns I have are in fact with the frustration the Caps displayed and their reaction to it. It seems like the Capitals absolutely felt two things that came through both of which have been covered elsewhere but bear repeating: a) the Caps felt the should win the game and b) they felt "snakebitten" from the start with the injury to Gordon before play even started. The frustration came through after the Blue Jackets scored their second goal when the Caps took some just "dumb" penalties. A normally smart Donald Brashear going off for a double minor when the team is trying to come back just shows how frustrated the Capitals were. All that said I think Caps forward, and former Blue Jacket, Sergei Federov got it right on when he was quoted in today's Washington Times as saying "It is easy to say we were frustrated, but we still have a job to do. You have to respect the opponent and work as hard as they are - if not harder." It's the highest level of the sport and on any given night pretty much anybody can beat anybody else - that's why they play the games on the ice not on a computer. Well as Coach said - good teams bounce back - how about tonight?
And from around the other league's bloggers - over at Sean Leahy's Going Five Hole there's a bizarre supposed interview with Jaromir Jagr supposedly saying he would play for the Penguin's for the NHL minimum if Mario Lemiuex asked him because he owes Mario everything. This blogger's reaction...yeah sure, why not...I'm betting the interview never happened like it was reported, but if you hit the link, you had to love the mullet, I did so I'm putting up here for you to see. No matter how silly or bad some of Ovechkin's pics look they'll never beat this one (don't get mad at me now - I love Ovechkin, especially the way he plays, but he does show up in some bad pictures, you have to admit.)
The usual hockey related silliness abounds over at The Wonderful World of Loser Domi, today they poke fun at Maple Leaf's goaltender Vesla Toskla. So that's not too original given his efforts of late, come on, be nice now everybody.
And before we look ahead at tonight's foe - the All Star heavy Montreal Canadeans, I just want to point those of you who like slightly weird blogs from brash young hockey manias over to another new blog - though not totally devoted to the Washington Capitals - that so far seems to be written by someone with a pretty good sense of humor - "Nochnaya huligana - hockey gone wild" - don't worry about the title it is written in English. Well that is if you think this blog is written in English.
Tonight's game look ahead it's simple....It's for two points in the standings and a LOT of pride, even more so than last night's chance for the Caps to show the hockey world there should be at least three Caps on the All-Star roster. The math for the second coaching spot behind the Eastern Conference All Star bench is simple - tonight's game is for it. Caps win and the second spot behind the bench belongs to Bruce Boudreau. Habs win, it's Guy Carbonneau, the last thing this year's All Star Game needs is another Canadean on or behind the Eastern Conference; no disrespect intended to the Canadeans' record or play so far this season.
The Habs are playing well and having a fine season so far. Additionally, tonight they will be playing for their fourth straight win since loosing to New Jersey in Newark on January 2nd. They won their last home game 6-2 at Bell Centre on Thursday and will be rested and ready to face the Capitals. The last time the two teams played each other was December 13th in Montreal and the Caps took that game in a closely played 2-1 win on a late third period game winner from Michael Nylander and a solid net-minding game by Simieon Varlamov, who is now back at Hershey. So far this season the Caps lead the series 2-0 having won the first game on the back of Jose Thodore's only shutout so far this season. Rest assured the Canadeans will be woring very hard for the two points, their coach's "honor" and to avoid going down 3-0 in this season's series against the Capitals. As for the Capitals, here's to hoping Michael Nylander has a great game after a night off last night, the Caps Defense got things sorted out on the flight to Montreal, and Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, and Mike Green all get a chance to show why they all should be in the All-Star lineup and Caps coach Bruce Boudreau is the right man to be behind the bench at the All Star Game.
According to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post's blog, neither Boyd Gordon or Sergei Federov will play tonight and Brent Johnson will likely get the start. The Habs come into the night just three points behind the Capitals and have both Philadelphia and the Rangers on their heels as well. This is a game that matters for several reasons, look for both teams to "bring it" and "bring it with their A games."
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!