Friday, October 02, 2009
If the NHL weren't so Canadiocentric, Alex Ovechkin would not only be the best player, he'd also be the biggest star. He's just better than Sidney Crosby at everything. He's an exciting player, and actually has a personality.
Last night, the Capitals were in postseason form, the Bruins were still stuck in the preseason. The B's dominated the first 5 shifts of the game, but still couldn't finalize their attacks. After those opening 5 minutes, Washington settled down, the Bruins remained shaky.
There was no forechecking. Pucks dumped into corners were quickly shoveled out by a Capital, keying their ferocious transition attack.
There were stupid penalties. Too many men on the ice is inexcusable. And while Chara was penalized 2 minutes for treating Ovechkin like a hockey player, he shouldn't have risked putting his team down a man to the best power play unit in the Universe. Then there were the offsides calls, a nasty habit the B's picked up in the middle of the Carolina series, and one they have yet to quit themselves of.
Bad passes from guys like Krejci. Sturm getting used to playing a new position with new linemates.
The shots from the blue-line annoyed the hell out of me. If the players were crowding the net, then by all means shoot and hope for the deflection. But 10 feet of space isn't enough to justify a shot. The Capitals' defense is ALWAYS poised for the counterattack, so don't take shots that have little chance of getting through. It's essentially a turnover. High rebounds in the slots are a good thing against most teams, but not against the Caps.
Jose Theodore sucks. He looks like he's guessing all the time. You get a body in on his crease, you will get a rebound and will score. But the Bruins' offense was limited to breakaways only. There weren't any extended periods of attack. Theodore drifts out of position second by second. If you just pass the puck around a bit, he'll wind up in the corner, and you'll get an open net.
Speaking of passing, the Bruins were far too casual with theirs, especially on the power play. That's a good way to surrender 4 goals.
The good news is that Marco Sturm is fast as hell. Patrice Bergeron has his scoring touch back. And this team showed some nice fire at the end of the 3rd period. They'll work these kinks out.
The Hurricanes come to Boston Saturday night.
AP Photo/Winslow Townson
Jon Lester's status was a question mark until last night, as he went 6.1 innings, striking out 7, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk. Although it wasn't against anyone formidable, and Cleveland manager Eric Wedge is beyond "lame-duck" status, the fact that he could go out and throw 84 quality pitches after taking a line drive off the knee is what's important.
It was also nice to see the Red Sox win a game. It's amazing how much a day off helps.
Jeremy Sowers vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka tonight.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa