Monday, January 29, 2007

The Peerless Prognsoticator is ON THE AIR!! -- Caps vs. Senators, January 30th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

It doesn’t exactly get easier. The Caps head up to Scotiabank Place a couple of weeks after enduring a 5-2 loss to take on the Ottawa Senators, 12-2-1 in their last 15 games.* What is odd about that is that the Senators have suffered both regulation losses and the overtime loss at home. Of course, when the club has played 11 of those last 15 games at home, perhaps it’s not so unusual. Some fun facts from those 15 games:

- Ottawa outscored its opposition 59 - 29
- Power Play: 13/68 (19.1%)
- Penalty Kill: 55/60 (91.7%)
- 17 different skaters share the 59 goals scored
- Seven times the Senators have scored five or more goals
- More than a third of the goal production has come from two players: Dany Heatley (10-14-27, +17) and Daniel Alfredsson (10-13-23, +16)
- Ottawa scored first in 11 of the 15 games and went 10-0-1 in those games.
- Ottawa finished strong in games; their scoring by period was 14-21-23-1. By comparison, goals allowed by period were 7-9-12-1.

The Caps are a mirror image of the Senators over their own last 15 games . . .

- The Caps are 5-10-0
- Washington was outscored by its opposition 58 - 48
- Power Play: 14/80 (17.5%)
- Penalty Kill: 66/79 (83.5%)
- 14 different skaters share the 48 goals scored
- Four times the Caps have scored five or more goals
- Almost half of the goal production has come from two players: Alexander Semin (14-5-19, -3) and . . . Chris Clark (8-3-11, -5)
- Washington scored first in five of the 15 games and went 3-2-0 in those games.
- Washington started poorly in games, getting outscored 26-15 in the first period over the last 15 games.

And here is your big number – well, two actually . . . 18 and -20. That would be the number of goals the first line (Alex Ovechkin, Dainius Zubrus, and Chris Clark) has scored and their combined plus-minus over the last 15 games.

Gosh . . . you’d think it might not even be a good idea to make the trip.


The Caps are 13-9-0 against teams that had at least 100 standings points last year. OK, so 4-0-0 of that is against Philadelphia, who are exploring new vistas in suck. The Caps are 2-1-0 against Ottawa this year, outscoring the Senators 12-10. The Caps have shown an ability to compete with talented clubs. The obvious key here is in who scores first. It has been Ottawa’s defining winning ingredient over the last 15 games, and it has been the Caps’ downfall over the same stretch. And what gets folded into that is keeping Alfredsson and Heatley quiet while getting the top line off on the plus side – it can’t be just about scoring for those guys. For all that, the player to watch is goaltender Olaf Kolzig. This is a club against which he has struggled – 8-13-3 lifetime, 3.46 GAA, .886 SV. But the last time he faced this club – 35 saves on 37 shots in a 6-2 win on December 6. If he can help keep Alfredsson and Heatley quiet until the Caps get their legs under them, this could be a good night.

Caps 4 – Senators 3

* Note: this was written before the Senators' 3-1 loss to Montreal last evening...

You want to be this goalie?

That was the unfortunate Jeff Frazee, goaltender of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, failing to contend with the bouncing puck off the stick of Robbie Bina of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (insert politically acceptable name here) last Saturday night.

Jeff? . . . meet Sebastien Caron.

The tough row to hoe

The Caps have completed 50 games -- 32 remain on the regular season schedule. In those 32 games they have to find a way to climb past four teams to makeup a five point deficit between themselves and eighth place. Here is the challenge . . .

The 32 games remaining involve opponents against whom the Caps have a combined record of 14-18-5. The Caps have been outscored 132-114, not including shootout losses. If one weights these numbers for the number of times the Caps have yet to play each of these opponents, the task appears even more daunting.

It is in this context that the Caps have to win, in The Peerless' estimation, at least 43 points in the 32 remaining games. That would give them 92, the number of the eighth-place finisher last year.

Is it doable? Yes. But what it means is that there are no longer teams on the schedule that the Caps should beat. Those teams are now in the "must beat" category. Given last year's results, there are probably no more than 10 regulation losses in the Caps' remaining schedule that can be sustained (and this assumes no more than one more shootout/overtime loss -- points cannot be left on the table at this point).

A tough row, indeed.

What do the following have in common?

HGTV's "Design on a Dime"
Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters"
Bravo's "Top Chef"
Food Network's "Ace of Cakes"
TV Land's "The Andy Griffith Show"

More people watched them than the NHL All-Star Game last Wednesday night.

Hey, The Peerless thinks that there are worse things in life than gazing at Padma Lakshmi talking about food, but this is past ridiculous, it's embarrassing.

The league got cost certainty in its collective bargaining agreement. It got it at the expense of anyone actually watching the game. Praise the Commissioner for one, if you wish, but what does one do about the television situation?

Draw your own conclusions, dear reader.