Saturday, September 15, 2007

Day Two at The Plex...

Day 2 . . . it was more like the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Alexander Semin and Matt Pettinger got tangled up at the end boards in the second half of today’s scrimmage right in front of The Peerless, and it wasn’t pretty. Semin appeared to be cut above his eye, and although he left under his own steam, the trail of red stains on the ice behind him as he skated off was not the most pleasant thing for Caps fans to contemplate. For his part, Pettinger looked a bit stunned, himself, but returned to action.

Before that slice of scariness, today’s session was full of things to ponder. First, Semin was having quite a day before his injury. A move that looked for all the world like a behind-the-back dribble in basketball left the crowd “oohing” appreciatively (note to Peerless….new nickname for Semin: “Meadowlark”). It wasn’t the last of his stickhandling wizardry, as he seemed to be in mid-season form as far as such things go.

Nicklas Backstrom gave indication of why he will be a centerpiece of this team, and also why fans will be scratching their heads wondering if he’s all that good. During the scrimmage he was the picture of calm with the puck and earnestly played defense. He does both at what The Peerless would call a “low temperature.” He might give the impression to some of not being especially intense or not putting forth a top-end effort. Well, The Peerless suggests you get a little closer to the glass and watch him over a whole shift or two. He certainly has some moments when the smaller rink seems to give him a bit of difficulty, but this is a kid who plays such a seamless, fluid game, that you could watch the game for ten minutes and wonder if he was out there. The Peerless suspects that as time passes, he’s going to have the quietest three-point games you’ll ever see. It would have been nice, though, if he’d buried that breakaway he had after picking off Tomas Fleischmann’s iffy pass.

Karl Alzner plays a similar kind of game. But he’s more noticeable in the same way a cornerback in football is more noticeable – he’s on an island of sorts. But Alzner just isn’t often in a position where he has to scramble to recover. One watches him out there, and it just doesn’t register that he won’t be 19 until the 24th of this month.

Sasha Pokulok had a moment that might have had fans’ hearts in their throats, given his recent physical problems of other sorts. He took what appeared to be a knee-on-knee hit (The Peerless wants to say with Brian Sutherby, but is not sure about that). He did make it back to his feet, but the youngster was clearly feeling it and favored the leg for the remainder of his shift.

Chris Bourque and Milan Jurcina got tangled up on a couple of occasions. Jurcina is a very large man. Bourque, alas, is not. It was a bit comical to watch (but easy to appreciate) Bourque’s sticking his nose in there. And The Peerless thought he was a hard-working cuss out there, too.

The morning skate on the Capitals’ Rink, administered by Coach Hanlon, looked to be at a much more up-tempo pace than yesterday, and the guys looked like they were feeling the effects of it, too.

The Peerless witnessed what might only be called, “The Kolzig Bloom.” After being beaten a couple of times in the first session over at the Public Rink, Olaf Kolzig swung his stick under the crossbar and popped a dozen or so pucks high into the air – it looked like a flower blooming.

And now, your Caps Snaps for today:

Frederic Cassivi shouting, "DOWN IN FRONT!"

You don't see any of that crap in front of Olaf Kolzig....his reputation preceeds him.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Goaltender

No comments: