Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last Nine Days: Caps Go 1-1-1 Before the All Star Break & Re-Sign Alexander Semin

Well it's been a busy week and a half at work for me so I haven't had time until now to really look at and reflect on anything to do with the enjoyable diversion that following NHL Hockey is for me. In that time the Caps played three games and now we're in the All Star Game Break. My last blog post recapped a 2-1 win by the Caps over the 29th place New York Islanders on Thursday January 20th, in Uniondale, NY in front of 9,119 fans - that's right under 10,000 were at the game. The next game the Caps faced off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday January 22nd and came away with a 4-1 win in front of 19,554 fans. Then on Monday January 24th, the Caps hosted the New York Rangers at Verizon Center and lost 2-1 in Overtime, though that game was their fifth in a row where they captured at least one point. The Caps last game before the All-Star break was against the Thashers in Atlanta where they lost 1-0 in regulation, despite throwing 36 shots on goal at Thrashers' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec and getting a 0.958 SV% (23 of 24 SOG) performance from Semyon Varlamov.

All in all the Capitals closed out the month of January with a 5-3-4 record (0.583), and went into the All Star Break with 63 points in 51 games played (0.618) and on track for between 99 and 105 points depending on how you choose to base your extrapolations. That's all good, of course there's plenty to worry about the biggest worry has to be where has the Capital's prolific offense gone - in the 12 games they played in January they've averaged only 2.00 GF/Game. Two ways to make winning points in the NHL hard are to score 2.00 goals or less per game and giving up the first goal to your opponents. I've already covered the fact the Caps have averaged only 2.00 goals/game in the 12 games in January; they've also given up the first goal and had to play "catch-up" in 7 of their 12 games in the month. In many ways and for many reasons I think the root cause for both issues, at least during the first half of the month were the same - just not skating hard enough to the net at the start of the game. Fortunately, since the 15th of the month the Caps have played hard and during the last six games of the month have scored first 50% of the time, now if they could just score one more goal at least half the time. The truth is the Caps are on track to make the playoffs but they really do need to get some more offense going and of course there's the power-play or lack there of to worry about. It really makes one wonder how the Caps managed to grab 14 points this past month.

In off ice news, the Caps signed left wing Alexander Semin to a 1 year contract extension for a reported $6.7M for the 2011-2012 season. Now we can only hope that when play resumes after the All Star Game break, #28 is healthy and re-finds his scoring touch. I am very happy to see Semin's contract extended.

Next up will be the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center on Tuesday, February 1st. I'll be there and am quite excited looking forward to the game.


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