Well, now we’re going to see why it is that the Caps aren’t at all a sure thing to make the playoffs this year . . .
The Caps lost a game last night to a good, if not great Devils team – the product of the play of a great, not just good goaltender, Martin Brodeur. But that was incidental to the bigger picture – as Tarik El-Bashir reports in this morning’s Post, the Caps are without the services of Matt Bradley (broken finger), Richard Zednik (abdominal surgery), Bryan Muir (broken foot), John Erskine (broken foot), and Shaone Morrisonn (flu). All except perhaps Morrisonn will be out for a stretch of games.
A young team that loses almost a third of its starting skaters might not be expected to maintain for any significant length of time the performance level they’ve enjoyed (in this case, the Caps are still the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference this morning). Holes get filled by the likes of Alexandre Giroux (three NHL games of experience) and Jeff Schultz (first NHL game last night). Another call-up from Hershey is expected before the Caps take the ice against
The Caps’ problems were evident last night. The Devils executed their game plan – take advantage of the power play (2-for-4), shot down the Caps’ power play (0-for-4), make things tough for Alex Ovechkin (five shots, but not a large factor for most of the game).
On the other hand, the Caps put forth a credible effort and had some chances, especially early in the contest, but it was a case of having too few bullets in the gun to compete at the same level with a veteran team such as the Devils.
This is a dangerous part of the schedule for the Caps coming up. From now until their next division game (
. . . provided they incur no other major injuries.
That’ll do it for The Peerless until next week. Here’s hoping you and yours enjoy a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanzaa, and many hours of happy hockey thoughts . . .
“He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
“He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!”
-- Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol,” December 1843