Stop me if you've heard this one before - the Caps got badly outshot, but Olie Kolzig kept them in the game. Unfortunately they didn't get any offense from anyone other than Alex Ovechkin and, as a result, they lost. The Caps are making life too easy for recap writers. In Miami last night, Kolzig faced a season-high 49 shots against, including a whopping 28 in the second period (which is more shots than five different NHL goalies faced in 60 or more minutes Thursday night), and allowed only two power play goals and a shortie (on an absolutely miserable play by Jamie Heward). Olie even added a helper on Ovechkin's second goal, but yet again one bad period doomed the Caps (this time it was a second period that looked like one long Florida power play, despite the Panthers only being a man to the good for 25 seconds) and the team fell, 3-2.
In case you're keeping track, the Caps have yet to win a road game (0-3-0). Heward's play ("I just didn't make a good play." Understatement of the season so far.) and Nolan Yonkman's pathetic excuse for defense (hey, Tiny - hold on to your stick, not the opponent) were noticably awful, and I am of the mind that Kolzig should have stopped goal #3, but am willing to cut him a little slack since it came during the second period onslaught. As for positives, Ovechkin's two goals on 10 shots and plus-1 rating, Brian Willsie's plus-2, Steve Eminger's assist and plus-1 rating and Yonkman only skating four shifts (though he committed a penalty that led to a goal on half of those). Next up for the Caps, home to Carolina on Saturday night.
The WaPo recaps the game here, the WTimes here (memo to editors: it's "Olie," not "Ollie" - probably Rink pet peeve #1). On another media note, have you ever noticed how often Craig Laughlin calls Joe Beninati "Partner" during a broadcast? Pay attention to it next time. It's quite aggravating.
In other NHL news:
- The Thrashers got killed again, gooned it up again, and have now been outscored 24-2 in their five games against teams that don't make their home in our nation's capital. While it boggles the mind how this team can have so much trouble generating any offense, more troubling to the hockey world is Bob Hartley's stunning lack of sportsmanship, tonight manifesting itself in the form of an Eric Boulton cheap shot on Tampa blueliner Paul Ranger. NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell ought to sit Hartley down and put an end to it now before someone gets seriously hurt. By the way, Hartley is awfully tough for a guy who never played a minute in the NHL.
- Speaking of ugly, the Pens lost for a change, running their start-of-season winless streak to seven games. I'm beginning to fear that they're going to be bad enough to get in and rig another lottery. So at some point I'm going to have to start rooting for them to win games, but that is still a ways off. For now, let's savor each embarassing defeat, shall we?
- Brian Leetch has now been on the ice for the Bruins' last six goals against. He's still getting it done offensively (4 points in 8 games), but if this continues, the Bruins may have some tough decisions to make.
- The classic line of the night belongs to Jaromir Jagr: 3 goals, minus-1, team loss. At least he's not ashamed to admit that he's not a leader and cares only about individual statistics.
- Question: why is it that every NHL arena has "Thank You Fans" stenciled on the ice, but at the Air Canada Center they have "Thank You Leafs Fans"? Maybe they should have that at one end of the rink and "Screw The Rest Of You" at the other end.
- Hart: Vincent Lecavalier (G, 3A, +4)
- Ross: Vincent Lecavalier (G, 3A)
Norris: Lubomir Visnovsky (G, 2A, +4)
Vezina: Miikka Kiprusoff (W, 28 saves on 29 shots against)
- Richard: Jaromir Jagr (3G)
Calder: Alexander Ovechkin (2G)