Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caps Drop Fifth Straight Game in Loss to Avalanche in Hard-Hitting Affair

Last night's loss was a bummer but HM walked away (as I hope did many fans) with a renewed sense of optimism. While many were clamoring that it may be time to hit the 'panic button' after the lethargical losses to Atlanta, Toronto and Florida, last night saw a Capitals team playing with the energy and sit-your-rear-in-front of the net type of shots they've been missing thus far in this losing streak. Speaking of 'panic buttons' I have to digress and relate a pretty funny experience from a local high school hockey game I attended on Friday night. I'm sure you are all familiar with Staples big red "Easy" button they feature in their ads. Well, the rowdy high school hockey fans for the team I went to watch had crafted a huge "Easy button" of their own on a ginormous piece of poster board which they held pressed up to the glass. Whenever one of their players scored (which they did quite frequently, 7 times I believe, including a hat trick) the spirited students held up the sign and the scorer skated over and high-fived the "Easy button". HM thought that was a pretty cool idea and was so excited to see so many fans get involved in high school hockey, even though it is a club sport in these here parts.

Back to the Capitals. First the positives on the evening:

  • Big props to Mike Knuble (who was one of the guys called out by Gabby after the loss to the Panthers) on netting the 250th goal of his career and breaking out of his own little slump with a goal and an assist!
  • I'm liking the grit the boys have shown this season (Matt Hendricks has helped out greatly in that regard). It was the other Matt (Bradley) dropping the mitts for the guys in red last night.
  • Lots of hits against a young but physical Colorado defense. The Great8 was doing his typical bull in a china shop imitation and led the team with five.
  • Crashing the net. Crashing the net. Crashing the net. How many times do you think they've heard that from the coaching staff this week? The boys did a much better job of getting in front of the crease and Matt Hendrick's third period power play goal was a perfect example (and he scored with a backwards between the legs shot while screening former team mate Craig Anderson no less).
  • Stellar third period effort. The boys outshot the Avs 17-5 in the final period and it seemed like every guy in a red sweater had the sense of urgency that we see on a nightly basis from fan fave Matty Perreault.
Now for the bad. I'm sure everyone will agree with me when I award the Bonehead Play of the Game award to Sasha Semin. Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles got under Semin's skin at 6:07 of the second period and Semin proceeded to cross-check his opponent in the head. His hot-headed actions drew a five-minute major, his tossing for a game misconduct and led to a Colorado power play goal.

Of course, the other not-so-positive note is that the loss marks the first time they've lost five in a row while under bench boss Bruce Boudreau. The team travels up to the Big Apple today to take on the New York Rangers in what is always a chippy contest. See you a 7 p.m. for that one...

In other on-ice action today, former Capitals Alan May and Peter Bondra will be on hand at the Reston Town Center Skating Pavilion to host the Mites on Ice Outdoor Classic from 8 a.m. - noon.

The event will start out with a series of cross-ice hockey games featuring mini mite teams from around the area. This is the second outdoor event the Washington Capitals have taken part in this week as the buildup continues for the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day in Pittsburgh.

Following the mini mite games Bondra and  May will hold a brief skills demonstration where fans will be able to go on the ice and learn to shoot from the Caps alumni. After the skills demonstration the skating pavilion will provide a two-hour public skate at a discounted rate from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bondra and May will be in attendance during the skate to interact with fans. Throughout the skate the Red Rockers and Slapshot will hand out giveaways and provide entertainment. The rink does have an open air cover so the event will take place rain or shine (and unfortunately kiddos, looks like cold rain so bundle up and have fun)!

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