Monday, October 22, 2007

Hots 'n' Nots...October 22nd

With the weekend complete, it’s again time to take a look at who is hot and not. And we’ll take a look at who among the Caps’ opponents this week fits the category.

Pascal Leclaire. OK, he’s not an opponent this week, but his performance to date merits some mention. He had three shutouts in his first four games this year before being lit up (comparatively speaking) for three goals on 18 shots against Vancouver last night. He’s the leading point getter in the NHL three-stars-of-the-night contest, but The Peerless thinks that is a function of the TSOTN staff's unsettling devotion to Alfalfa, of “The Little Rasccals.” But Leclaire’s 1.61 GAA and .932 save percentage for a club not thought to have much of a chance for the playoffs this year pales compared to…

Tim Thomas. OK, so he’s not an opponent this week either, but he is 3-1-0 thus far with a 1.26 GAA and a .962 save percentage. If he needs a career after his playing days are over, perhaps he might consider being a stunt double for Drew Carey on “The Price is Right.”

Daymond Langkow…he finds himself tied for second in goals so far, but what sets the Flames’ center apart is that he’s done it on only 18 shots in eight games.

Vaclav Prospal is on the schedule this week, and he’s gotten off to a fast start…7-2-9, +3 in six games. Maybe it’s a cyclical thing with him…last year, in his first six games, he was 0-1-1, -3. The year before, 3-4-7, +3.

Sedin…doesn’t matter which one, pick one. Either one. They’re both hot, and their Vancouver Canucks visit the Caps on Friday. Dan-rik Sedin is a combined 5-12-17 so far. But here is the cloud surrounding the silver lining…they’re also a combined -6.

Markus Naslund…we bring him up, because like his fellow Canuckians, Nas is hot on the points side (3-4-7 in six games), but is a -5.

Manny Legace…he’s the goaltender for the moment in St. Louis, and he’s made the most of that opportunity. He’s 3-2-0, but he’s bringing a 2.01 GAA and .930 save percentage into the week. He and the Blues host Washington next Saturday.

On the other side of the ledger…

The early leader in the Bill Mikkelsen Trophy sweepstakes is Steve McCarthy of the Atlanta Thrashers. Goalless, assistless, and -10 in eight games is no way to go through life, son. Actually, any number of Thrashers might find themselves in the running…Jim Slater (0-0-0, -8)…Eric Perrin and Brad Larsen (both 0-1-1, -5)…it’s been a difficult start for the Thrashers.

The Capitals’ third line…Matt Pettinger, Boyd Gordon, and Chris Clark have 18 man-games among them. They are 0-0-0, even. They’re not asked to score as much as they are to keep others from scoring (even isn’t a bad place to be for these guys), but they have to score some…

Trevor Linden…you all remember him, right? Part of the most talked about trade in the history of the Caps, or so it seems. Well, he enters the week 0-0-0, even in five games this year. And it’s not like he’s making much of a mark elsewhere on the score sheet…no PIMS, two shots on goal (not per game, that’s “total”), and only 11 minutes and change a game. He hasn’t hit his stride yet…

Brad Isbister…remember when this guy, back in about 2000, was thought to be maybe the next big thing as a power forward? He was 22-20-42 in 64 games for a bad Islanders team. Since then, it’s been a slow descent into obscurity. He’s 0-1-1, -1 for the Canucks with less ice time than Linden is getting.

Tampa Bay’s goaltending…ok, we knew this going in, the Lightning had goaltending issues. Well, they still do. Combined, Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis have a save percentage of .890 (neither are north of .900). Good thing the Lighting can score…

Doug Weight…he’s not had the history of being a slow starter, at least not over his last five seasons (no fewer than five points in his first six games), but he’s 0-1-1, even, in his first six games this year. He’ll be looking to get off the schneid before the Caps visit St. Louis on Saturday.

So there you have it…some of the “hots ‘n’ nots” to watch this week, including some who will be trying to stay hot or get hot against the Caps this week.