Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Sabres 3, Caps 0

After working so hard to get to the top of the NHL standings, the Caps must have decided it was time to take a break. At least that's what the first 40 minutes of tonight's 3-0 loss to Buffalo looked like to me.

They didn't play with nearly enough energy. They didn't go to the net with enough passion or seek out rebounds with enough commitment. And, as a result, they got shutout for the first time since Jan. 9.

Hey, letdowns happen over the course of an 82-game regular season. And, thanks in large part to Ryan Miller, the Caps suffered one at HSBC Arena.

"The third period was Miller; he stood on his head," captain Chris Clark said. "The first 40 minutes was us not getting anything to the net. We didn't play the way we were supposed to play. We had a lot of turnovers. We didn't get the puck behind their 'D'. Stuff like that."

Asked why he thought the Caps let up instead of pressing hard for a season-best seventh straight win, Clark shrugged and said: "If we knew that, man, it would be so easy to win games. When we lose, it comes from us beating ourselves a lot of times."

With snowstorm moving in and a 6 a.m. flight looming, I've got to be really quick tonight. Check out my game story here, then come on back for a few notes that didn't make the paper:

*Brian Pothier suffered an injury early in the second period and did not return. The team didn't what happened or how he was hurt, but it might have happened when saved a goal by taking a shot off the right leg. He played a few more shifts then left the bench.

Shaone Morrisonn also left the bench for a few minutes in the second period. But he returned and finished the game.

When it comes to injuries, it seems like the Caps just can't catch a break. As soon as they get a player back, another one (or two) gets hurt.

*Miller, an early candidate for MVP, earned his fourth shutout and the first star of the night for a spectacular performance. Coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out that the Caps didn't generate enough traffic or get enough second shots on net (which is true) but I'm not convinced they would have beaten Miller, who has been between the pipes two of the past four times the Caps have been blanked.

*The Caps had led at some point in each of their first 30 games this season. That streak, or couse, is over.

*As good as Miller was, the Caps also missed a bunch of chances to score. Alex Ovechkin took six shots but misfired with an open net early while Brendan Morrison was robbed at twice, yet also missed a golden first period opportunity. It might have been a different game had they scored on that first power play.

*Nicklas Backstrom won 67 percent of his faceoffs (12 for 18) but he also was victimized by Miller, who snagged his rebound from point blank range with his glove. Backstrom doesn't usually show a lot of emotion, but he threw his head back and could be seen cursing to himself.

*Fourth liners David Steckel and Tyler Sloan didn't get much ice time at all, skating 6:46 and 4:20, respectively.

*I know I've brought this up before, but I feel compelled to mention it again. How in the world can referees call diving and tripping on the same play, like they did on Alex Ovechkin and Derek Roy tonight? Can't wrap my head around it.

Boudreau is giving his players tomorrow the day off to rest and contemplate what happened tonight.

I'm just hoping to get out of here.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 9, 2009; 11:40 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Caps at Sabres
Next: Morning roundup: Blanked in Buffalo

Comments

Oh well. Over 82 games, you'll get a few like that. Miller definitely played well, but the Caps had no legs at all. They just looked spent. Didn't help that Theo played poorly, but best just to put that one in the rearview and focus on Carolina.

It sure will be nice to have a full team at some point this season. Looking forward to Knuble's return, at least.

Posted by: Kirg | December 10, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

When Knuble returns, which wingers will get dumped to the 3rd line?

Do we assume the lines will be the following:

Ovi/Back/Knuble
Flash/Morrison/Fehr
Laich/MP/Semin
Brad/Stecks/Clark

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 10, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh well. Over 82 games, you'll get a few like that. Miller definitely played well, but the Caps had no legs at all. They just looked spent. Didn't help that Theo played poorly, but best just to put that one in the rearview and focus on Carolina.

It sure will be nice to have a full team at some point this season. Looking forward to Knuble's return, at least.

Posted by: Kirg | December 10, 2009 12:04 AM

didn't help that theo played poorly? hey numbnutz didn't you see that the WHOLE team played poorly?

Posted by: MNMNT | December 10, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

So what will the Caps do with their day off? Spend it stranded in Buffalo or in the airport trying to get back home?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 10, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

@Capsfan75

what is it to you? Can't they have a day off?

Posted by: RITdude | December 10, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

You really don't understand how both infractions can be called on the same play? It's completely reasonable. The player called for tripping trips the player called for diving, and the latter player embellishes the extent to which the trip affected him. Basically, the player would have been tripped regardless, but took a dive anyway.

Posted by: sonsofcain | December 10, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

So what will the Caps do with their day off? Spend it stranded in Buffalo or in the airport trying to get back home?

Posted by: CapsFan75

after a game like that - maybe they should take a bus back to dc. then tell them if they want to fly - they should play like an NHL team

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 10, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

sonsofcain:
i don't know how the nhl defines diving - but i thought it meant trying to make it look like tripping when it never happened. if you are tripped - it shouldn't make any difference if you do a swan dive to the ice - you were tripped

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 10, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

With Knuble back, I'd go with this lineup, capitalizing on the line that has been the big line when Ovie was out.

Ovie - Morrison - Knuble
Laich - Backstrom - Semin
Flash - Perreault - Fehr
Clark - Steckel - Bradley

Good thing about having enough quality guys to have 2 1st line caliber lines

Posted by: BBDwrestling | December 10, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Rule 64 - Diving / Embellishment

64.1 Diving / EmbellishmentAny player or goalkeeper who blatantly dives, embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor penalty under this rule.

A goalkeeper who deliberately initiates contact with an attacking player other than to establish position in the crease, or who otherwise acts to create the appearance of other than incidental contact with an attacking player, is subject to the assessment of a minor penalty for diving / embellishment.

64.2 Minor Penalty - A minor penalty shall be imposed on a player or goalkeeper who attempts to draw a penalty by his actions (“diving / embellishment”).

under 64.1 - ovi's fall could easily be viewed as Embellishment
but 64.2 seems to contradict 64.1 with who attempts to draw a penalty by his actions

i would have thought his actions were a result of the 'actual' trip - which was going to be called anyway.

so the nhl says if someone commits a penalty on you and you embellish that penalty - you get 2 min for diving.

i always thought that diving was done when no real penalty ever happened. guess i get to be wrong again

Embellishment of an injury is what they should be looking for

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 10, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to agree with Capt_Kirk it does seem contradictory. In reality all players embellish a penalty. Its (in some cases) dubbed drawing a penalty. Every player does it, they get tripped and jump a little (to probably protect themselves in the ensuing fall rather than landing awkwardly imo) but it happens. One would think embellishment is for making a non-call seem like a penalty.

Guys get whacked in the hands/gloves all the time, every now and then you see the player grimace and shake his hand out from the hit. Embellishment? Or reaction to the action. Idk, I do think there is a point where you can embellish a penalty for it to be too much, but there certainly should be leniency with it since even innate reactions could be considered witch such a bland description.

Posted by: breaklance | December 10, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought diving + tripping makes sense. The referee deemed in his mind that Ovechkin was being tripped and would probably have fallen down under his own power. However, he chose to throw his arms up in the air and spin himself around as he fell, so as to draw attention to the penalty the ref was calling.

It makes players stop diving but still punishes the player who was doing the initial infraction. That being said, while OV did embellish a little, it didn't look as flagrant as some of his other embellishments. I've been waiting for the refs to call the trip + dive on him ever since the Flyers playoff game where he was tripped, but then played it like it was a terrible trip. You can even see him spin himself after the contact rather than at the time of the contact:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh6t7McxDQc

Don't get me wrong, all plays that I've seen Ovie embellish were because there was an infraction and a normal person would probably have hit the ice hard. He just has such balance that he wouldn't go down unless he tried to. I'm also not saying he does this on every drawn penalty - there are just some where he doesn't think it looked bad enough I guess.

Posted by: Raber | December 10, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

didn't help that theo played poorly? hey numbnutz didn't you see that the WHOLE team played poorly?

Posted by: MNMNT | December 10, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey, just because the Caps had a tough night doesn't mean you've got to attack somebody. I thought @Kirg had a fine post to start this thread and I agree with him. Lighten up!

Posted by: Sonyask | December 10, 2009 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the whole team played poorly, but some more than others.

Ovie was definitely off his game. Whomever did the "Ovie bashing" in the last thread I think was a bit off because I don't think it is completely emblematic of his play generally, but instead that he really had an off-night. (There is one heck of a tendancy here to see one bad game and think it defines a team, when in fact it's just one bad game).

I agree with the observation that Giroux is wearing out his welcome. He's a nice sized guy and has had some good checks but every chance near the net is getting missed, every time. He's also not doing his part to keep the puck in the zone. Given his AHL year last year this must be excrutiating for him.

Jose looked uncomfortable from the first shot.

Semin looked good. I thought we were going to see scores from him tonight.

Schultz was also very solid on D and had a couple of good offensive contributions. Green was steady.

Posted by: Sonyask | December 10, 2009 4:58 AM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Given the weather, if the Caps took the bus back from Buffalo, I'm not sure they'd make it in time for Friday's game and have anything left.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 10, 2009 6:30 AM | Report abuse

@RITdude

No, I'm not begrudging the Caps a day off even though they lost. The weather is expected to be really bad today in Buffalo with numerous flight cancellations and delays. Lake effect snow and blizzard conditions.

So trying to getting home will be an adventure in itself for them. I would rather see then get home sometime today to be rested up for Friday's game. But if they go to the airport today and face some flight cancellations, they may not be home until sometime Friday. Nothing like a tired team at VC.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 10, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

Semin had make some nice passes to Ovi last night that Ovi couldn't bury.

Some days, the wheels just fall off the bus and last night was one of those.

(If we play Buffalo in the playoffs, I hope Miller is not uber hot every night or we're in trouble.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 10, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

It's just one game. All teams lose at times. We shouldn't make too big a deal about the occasional loss.

Posted by: kingd9698 | December 10, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I just looked the trip again, ad reall don't think OV embelished on it...I think he was trying to protect his knee that maybe is not quite 100% I do not like the call...especially because i was an actual trip. OV needs to be careful, the refs will not be giving him the benfit of the doub for quite a while

Posted by: capscoach | December 10, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Actually I thought Theo was quite good. The first goal was a redirect that he had little chance of saving.Also having played the game for years I can tell you when you are facing a hot goalie you have those games where no matter what you do, you know you ain't gonna score. OV missing an open net, same with Backs and so on, just one of those nights. Try and keep it in perspective, 2 years we were in dead last and now we are in 1st in the entire league. So we lost one out of 7 who cares.

Posted by: Iceman10 | December 10, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company