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Morning roundup: Blanked in Buffalo


(Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Morning roundup


Two nights after shutting out the Lightning in Tampa Bay, the road-weary Caps got a little taste of their own medicine in a 3-0 defeat to Buffalo.

On Monday, the Washington Capitals ascended to first place in the NHL standings for only the second time this late in a season.
On Wednesday, Coach Bruce Boudreau said some of them played as if they were content simply with getting there.
For the first 40 minutes, the Capitals didn't compete with enough energy to beat Buffalo. In the final 20 minutes, Sabres goalie Ryan Miller made sure they didn't, making 13 of his 35 saves to send the Capitals to a 3-0 defeat, their first loss in seven games and first shutout in 69. | Full story here »

*Notebook: Groin injury sidelines Varlamov

An abbreviated collection of morning links for your perusal:

*Was it complacency or weariness? (It was both.) (Washington Times)

*Put aside your allegiances for sports journalism's sake and appreciate a pretty fantastic lede in the Buffalo News gamer: "One of the world's greatest hockey players was on display Wednesday night. Oh, and Alexander Ovechkin played, too."

Game highlights:


*Junior Seau learns about hockey. (On Frozen Blog)

*Sid the Kid vs. Alexander the Great. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*Semyon Varlamov is No. 1 on The Hockey News' top 10 Calder candidates list.

*Fenway's Winter Classic setup. *drool* (NHL.com)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  December 10, 2009; 5:37 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps reassign Aucoin, Giroux

Comments

Jeez, I leave town for one night and my kids act up, the Caps let down, everything goes to pot.

Trade Ovie. Clearly we are better without him. We need more blow out victories.

Go Caps!

Posted by: crooks_c | December 10, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Had to drop one sometime. Miller was a beast in the 3rd. Sabres did a fine job. The Caps, not. Tired, distracted. eh.

I'd expect to see the Sabres run into a buzz saw the 23rd at VC.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 10, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

When will everyone learn you can not win every game? They had 35 shots on net last night, you may say they didn't play with enough energy (Tarik included) but I say they just ran into a very hot goaltender. Miller made a couple amazing saves in the first that would have most likely gone in the net on any other night which would have changed the whole game feel and it is my belief the energy would have been there. Miller stole that game and stole the life out of the Caps in the first, there are nights when you can just tell that the goalie is hot and its gonna be a long night. Last night was one of those nights.

Posted by: PhilR | December 10, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

The consensus seems to be that Miller was red-hot and the Caps were running cool.

What happened to Sloan and Steckel? I can't imagine Boudreau benching them both for a whole frame... but neither had any ice time in the 3rd last night, WITH Pothier being hurt.

The Caps had chances all over the place last night, and if Ryan Miller drove Nicky Backstrom to cursing, you KNOW he was doing a great job. 35 saves? Wow. And a lot of them were point blank range. Credit where it is due.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

@sonyask - Miller was a beast in the 3rd.

In the 3rd? Miller was a BEAST the whole game!!! I was actually impressed.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and the Sharks lost in OT last night, so we are STILL tied for 1st in the league, with a game in hand. Go CAPS!

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

This is a good lesson for the boys to learn before the post season. You gotta keep that killer instinct. Overall I'm not worried, this loss is like aversion therapy, they feel ill and won't want to do it again! Kudos to miller... For now :)

Posted by: mrszilla | December 10, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

They do need to keep their heads on a swivel, when in a vicious cock fight.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

This extended road trip will speak volumes to the mental and physical toughness of the Caps. Need to dig down deep, boys.
Go Caps!

Posted by: beeman | December 10, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty much with PhilR. I didn't see anything after the first period but there were at least three or four great chances in the first including Ovie missing an open net. Could have been a totally different story. You aren't going to score all the time and you're not going to win every game.

Posted by: truke | December 10, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

You gotta tip your hat to Ryan Miller.

Let's hope he stays this hot through February. It sure would be nice to see him backstop the USA to gold.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 10, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

@mrszilla - Aversion therapy, like in "Clockwork Orange?"

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

We definitely did not play well, but I was more impressed with Miller than disgusted with the Caps.

Posted by: capscoach | December 10, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Bummer of a loss. I'm going to just toss this one out the window. If you're looking for positives though, Theo's 3 goals allowed lowered his season GAA (was at 3.06 before the game).

I'm reaching.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 10, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts:

Yes, we lost, and that sucks, BUT...

1) We still lead both the EC and the League, with a game in hand.
2) We were one of the last teams in the NHL to suffer a shutout loss this season. Oh well...
3) If you knew you had to lose one game by a shutout--but otherwise had absolute control of the circumstances--wouldn't you rather it be against the NHL's best (statistically speaking) goaltender rather than some nobody who just decided to have a "career" night when he faced the Caps?
4) We STILL have the fewest regulation losses in the NHL (don't we?)
5) Any way you slice it, winning 6 of your last 7 is nothing to be ashamed of...just a "burp".

We will beat CAR, and we will have our vengeance on 12/23. Write it down.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 10, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

ØGee...I sure hope this dosen't cost us our spot in the Power Rankings!Ø

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 10, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Despite the lack of energy, I thought they played well. Miller was really hot last night. There were 3 or 4 instances where I jumped off the couch, sure the puck would go in, only to have Miller snatch it out of the air.

Posted by: hockeynewb | December 10, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

peeee-ewwwwww- what a stinker!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 10, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I felt it was going to be along night after the puck rolled off Ovies stick for the fifth time in the first period and on the pps.And when he missed that one timer into the open net,I knew this wasnt going to be our night.But it was definatly Miller time last night against most other goalies we would have potted a good 3-5 goals.Theos bad play also was a deflator for the boys goals 2 and 3 were all on him.

Posted by: avischecter | December 10, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Theo was NOT as horrible as people would like to think he was last night. Jeez. Give it a rest! When the team can't put a puck in the net to save their lives, you cannot blame the goaltender for everything.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Pretty much a non-descript game and it's going to happen sometimes. I didn't think they played too bad, just one of those nights. Miller was outstanding.

Next.

Posted by: saintex | December 10, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

My observations from last night:

Despite as well as he played, the Caps had Miller beat a few times and just didn't bury it. BMo in particular had at least 2 chances with an open net and instead of taking the shot with the backhand, he tried to get it to the forehand for the shot giving Miller time to recover. Ovi has had some missed opportunities in his career, but last night he had the whole 6x4 and flubbed it. Two of these missed opportunities came early in the game, along with the squandered power play. They convert some of those opportunities and it's a totally different game.

Theo had no chance on the first goal, but the second one was soft and the third was scored off a bad rebound he gave up.

Finally, the Caps had only one power play for the game which tells me they weren't skating and working the puck the way they are capable of. I agree with Alan May last night when he said they really missed Brads and Perrault out there.

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 10, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

theo should not have allowed the second goal, plain and simple. has to make that stop. while he got no support from anyone on the third goal, he should not have given up the fat rebound right in front of the goal. clearly though, miller was the difference and nothing short of a stand on head performance by theo would have given the caps a chance. but i would have much preferred to have them down only 1 going into the third vs. down 3.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | December 10, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Theo was NOT as horrible as people would like to think he was last night. Jeez. Give it a rest! When the team can't put a puck in the net to save their lives, you cannot blame the goaltender for everything.

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------

He wasn't THAT bad, but the outstanding play by Miller def. didn't make Theo look very good. The 2nd goal hurt for sure, I know Theo was kicking himself for letting that squirt through at the post. Oh and as good as Miller was when he needed to be, it looked like the puck just didn't want to cooperate with the Caps last night. I remember quite a few whiffs as well as pucks bouncing over stick blades... Oh well, some nights are going to be that way right?

Posted by: Chad8 | December 10, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It was disappointing game for me because my buddies and I went to the game last night. Having to drive from Rochester to Buffalo in a windy and snowy night, then having to sit with Sabres fans, and followed by the Caps being shut out. So, not a good night.

Posted by: RITdude | December 10, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame Theo's net-minding, but his lack of offense. That's why we didn't win last night. I mean, thinknig back, when was the last time he even scored a goal? Slacker.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 10, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Have any of you looked at the SI NHL page? The header says "Streak Stoppers" the picture is from the Sabres first goal from last night and the caption reads...

"Steve Montador (No. 42) scored past Jose Theodore to help Buffalo take over first place in the Northeast Division"

I know I am nitpicking but Montador is #4 while Gerbe (the one who scored their 2nd goal, all 5'5" of him) is #42. Really I just wanted to point out how stupid the media (outside of Tarik, Lindsay & Corey of course) can be.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Correction: It was a disappointing game...

Posted by: RITdude | December 10, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Get this folks... John Buccigross (sp?) just said that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are better than Ovechkin (and Backstrom).

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Bucci,

I was watching the NHL Network, and they had the news conference on with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith signing new long-term deals. It got me thinking, who do you believe is the better young NHL threesome: Toews, Kane and Keith or Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green? Second question: Which is the best line in the NHL? San Jose's Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau, Washington's Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alexander Semin or Chicago's Toews, Kane and Marian Hossa?

Brian
Maryland

Wow. That's a tough one. For the first question, I probably would go with the Hawks because Toews and Kane might be the two best all-around players in that group. If Ovechkin and Green can add some maturity to their off-the-ice preparation and on-the-ice focus, they could be among the best in the game.

For the second question, I probably would go with the Hawks again. Hossa is such a high-level two-way player, Toews offers around-the-net toughness and Kane has a gigantic hockey IQ; that gives them a very slight edge.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Like BB said - a lot of passengers - oh well, can't win em all...I'm sure they will show up on Friday.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 10, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@JSchon

I saw that, too. I think the only way to settle it is to have Ovi, Nicky and Greenie play Kane, Toews and Keith 3 in 3 in steel cage death rink and see who wins.

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 10, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The 2nd goal hurt for sure, I know Theo was kicking himself for letting that squirt through at the post.

Posted by: Chad8

Chad the 2nd goal went between his legs. He had the post covered. Basically Gerbe tried to stuff it but the puck slipped off the end of his stick and caught the inside of Theo's right leg and deflected into the goal when he tried to tighten up. It sucked but it was a fluke thing. Theo was in the right place and the guy got lucky.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Ask the fanbases in each city whether or not they would trade one for other...

Washington's fanbase would never trade Ovechkin for anybody...

Chicago's fanbase would probably be split if asked to trade Kane or Toews straight up for Ovechkin.

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@ Jschon

Bucci has an opinion and (no matter how wrong!) he's entitled to it. However, what really bugs me is the following comment he made.

"If Ovechkin and Green can add some maturity to their off-the-ice preparation and on-the-ice focus, they could be among the best in the game."

Let's see. Who was it that had an altercation with a cab driver last offseason? Ya, let's talk about maturity off the ice.

Posted by: cainoo7x | December 10, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin gained 15lbs of russian bear in the offseason and Green lost 15bls of jumbo slice pizza in the offseason....

Posted by: JSchon | December 10, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

BTW- Tyler Myers is going to be scarey good if not already.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 10, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The 2nd goal hurt for sure, I know Theo was kicking himself for letting that squirt through at the post.

Posted by: Chad8

Chad the 2nd goal went between his legs. He had the post covered. Basically Gerbe tried to stuff it but the puck slipped off the end of his stick and caught the inside of Theo's right leg and deflected into the goal when he tried to tighten up. It sucked but it was a fluke thing. Theo was in the right place and the guy got lucky.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

----
Noted, thanks for the correction... the flukiness makes me cringe less I suppose. :)

Posted by: Chad8 | December 10, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

he should not have given up the fat rebound right in front of the goal.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

i said this last night and will repeat it again. that rebound was off of his chest - those can not be 'controlled' like ones off of the pads or blocker. even miller left a big juicy rebound about 10 ft in front of the net in the third on a shot from ovi that went off of his chest. the real difference was that the caps d did not clear the puck like they did in tb.
that was not a 'bad' rebound

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 10, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@Chad8 - Yeah but just a little. Theo has been much better this year but he sometimes has a tendency to turn into the town tramp letting everyone get between his legs.

(Not bashing but I heard that last night and it made me laugh so I wanted to find a way to share it)

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

don't blame Theo's net-minding, but his lack of offense. That's why we didn't win last night. I mean, thinknig back, when was the last time he even scored a goal? Slacker.

Posted by: Fro_ | December 10, 2009 10:56 AM

@Fro_: Düüde, you forgot to use your Sarcasmé marks!(that's "Ø", boys & girls)

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad you did share it! I needed a chuckle today.

Posted by: Chad8 | December 10, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

FYI for those fortunate enough to get NHL Network:
7:00 PM An Ovechkin Ovation: Alex's Greatest Goals
http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=509279

Maybe not the best timing, but it should be a fun half hour, after which we can watch the Canadiens take down the Penguins (hopefully).

Posted by: yosemite_sam | December 10, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@Fro_ - (Tongue firmly in cheek here, but I feel like being a stats geek today... don't hate me, LOL!)

This year, Theo is not alone in having no offensive game. In fact, there's not one goalie in the entire NHL who's scored a goal yet this year. So far. Steve Mason, Tuukka Rask, and Craig Anderson each have two assists, and a bunch of guys, including our own Semyon Varlamov, have one.

Last season, Theodore was 3rd in the league with 3 assists, behind Martin Biron (4) and Marty Turco (5). There were no goals for goalies all year last year, either.

In fact, I had to go back to 2005-06 to get a goal scored by a goalie. Nashville's Chris Mason got one that year. :-)

Thank you for this entertaining diversion! :-)

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@pkendrick - LOL! That's bad. Funny. But bad!

Posted by: irockthered | December 10, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@cainoo7x, good goaltending means making a big save. Great goaltending often results in making teams take bad shots. The Caps had a few chances to bury those pucks, but Miller forced them to press a little.

Sometimes the goalie does get credit for making 'em miss.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 10, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@irockthered - You just quoted me exactly from what I said to the guy I heard say that.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I think BB deserves some of the blame for this loss. He's gotten into a bad habit of playing his top guys too much when the other lines are injury-depleted. Sloan, Steckel, Giroux, and Clark all had less than 10 minutes of ice time (most of them much less). Even Flash, Fehr, and B.Mo only got 15 mins (and B. Mo looked like our best offensive player last night). Where was our energy last night? Sitting on the bench.

Without a balanced attack, it's easy for the opponent to clamp down on one particular line. OBS does not play well with heavy defensive pressure because they try to force too many passes. BB needs to run a more balanced attack or break up OBS.

Posted by: butcherbaker | December 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@yosemite_sam: Thanks for the heads up on the Alex's Greatest Goals show. I will be setting the DVR for that.

Posted by: eorr53 | December 10, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker - If by "best offensive player" you mean guy who should have had 2 goals except he hit the outside of an open net on one side and took too long to bang in one on the ther side then yes he was the best.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@butcherbaker - If by "best offensive player" you mean guy who should have had 2 goals except he hit the outside of an open net on one side and took too long to bang in one on the ther side then yes he was the best.

Posted by: pkendrick | December 10, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

-----------

When you get shut out, the bar is pretty low :D. He certainly looked much better than Ovi missing the empty net and sending shots wide from the blue line.

Posted by: butcherbaker | December 10, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo did a great job tying up the neutral zone and not allowing the Caps to get any flow going. Also in the embellishment debate, sometimes when someone trips you up or hooks you it catches you totally off guard and it throws your body thus looking embelleshed but not so. I am pretty sure OV didn't want to fall down in front of the crease.

Posted by: Iceman10 | December 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Japers Rink had a nice discussion regarding whether or not Ovi embellished the trip and deserved to go to the box.

I'll give my two cents and be done. First of all, it was a stick and a left foot (slew foot right?) that clipped the back of his right foot. It was his right leg he suffered the injury on just 10 days ago. Now, he's in the slot and Backs has control of the puck in the corner just below the goal line. Why would Ovi embellish and take himself out of a play while in the slot when a passing magician has control of the puck? I don't think he would. The question is why did he look so funny and spin around. IMO his recent knee injury made him think more about falling once he was going down. Think about this too, if someone lightly poked the back of your knee when you don't expect it, don't you lose your balance badly, even when not on skates?

Anyhow, I don't think Ovi is getting any respect from officials now.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 10, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

YIKES...bad first 40 and last 20 was a Miller highlight reel!

Posted by: NatyBG | December 10, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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