Image Courtesy of ESPN.com
So in my week hiatus, the Caps have dropped two straight to Northeast division foes. They looked terrible and lackluster in a 5-0 beat down in Buffalo, and seemed to shape up a little bit last night while picking up a point in a 2-1 (OT) loss in ScotiaBank Place. There are some important things we can take out of the two losses:
- Accountability: After the awful effort in Buffalo, the Caps lost their day off and were given sprints instead (a la Disney's Miracle, I'm sure...). The defense looked terrible in Buffalo, but the effort seemed much better last night against the Senators. Boudreau needs to continue to promote accountability, and stress it with ice time. If players are not giving the effort or performing up to scratch, they need to be handled accordingly. I'm not talking Ovechkin's slow start, but I am referring to Backstrom (came into camp out of shape) and Clark (who is just not the same player since missing 60+ games last season). The effort seemed better overall last night, but the team isn't in sync. Maybe a kick in the butt will put them into a higher gear.
- Poor Defensive play: On the defensive side, I still don't understand the Erskine deal, and with Morrison's poor play of late, I'm concerned for this team over the next few months. It looks like the only likely help could be coming out of Hershey, but it's disconcerting to see such lackadasical play so early in the season. Unless we consistently put up 3-4 goals per night, we'll be a .500 team at best.
- Goaltending: Johnny deserves to be the #1 guy right now. Jose has allowed too many early goals, as well as poorly-timed momentum shifting goals. Part of this has to do with the defensive effort, but Johnson's 41 saves last night were certainly heroic (even with the defense he has in front of him). We're also paying Theodore enough money to perform at that level on a consistent basis. The only time he's earned his paycheck was in the 3rd period of the Penguins game last month.
In other DC Sports news:
The Steelers game was a debacle, so I'll just chalk it up to a tired mid-season let down. I think the team looked worn-down, and I thought the game plan catered to a Pittsburgh pass rush that destroyed our old/exhausted/beat-up line. We're still a 6-3 team at the bye, but playing Dallas next week will go a long way to determine how the rest of this season will play out. Hopefully Tony Womo's wittle pinkie wont huuurt so much. Oh, and Kudos to Redskins management for putting the Meast in the Ring of Fame. I'm going to try my damnedest to be there on Nov. 30 for that one.
What the hell is Eddie Jordan doing? I've seen some of the most cluster-f*&ky lineups ever in the first 2.5 games this season. I know we're banged up, but I should have some sort of idea of what the rotation is going to be. I mean, really? In light of the puzzling coaching decisions, Nick Young is starting to look like he just might be a star. I really like the kid.
New Nats uniforms are being revealed tomorrow for the 2009 season. Will they cover up the stench of 100 losses any better than this year's unis? Maybe not, but rest assured they'll make money off jersey sales. That's all that matters, right?