Saturday, December 13, 2008
Stretching the Limits
The prospect of having to fall back on website producer Brett "Stretch" Leonhardt would definitely have been bad. But boy would it ever have been cool.
When word started to leak out hours before the game that our esteemed co-host of the Capitals Report was getting a jersey, I thought to myself simultaneously " Oh shit, that's awesome". I'll bet that's pretty much what it felt like for him as he sat on the bench in the first period. On a night when there was so many things worth writing about, I just couldn't start anywhere but here.
But, there's plenty to talk about from a game where all the breaks went the Cap's way. Make no mistake, the Sens play was not reflected in the score. It makes me think back to the mildly annoying clip that gets run on the Jumbo-tron where Al Pacino says "The inches we need are all around us". Ottawa just couldn't find the inches on this night and Washington seemed to have a tape measure full of 'em.
What a difference it makes when the SOB line (Semin, Ovechkin, Backstrom) is back together. I firmly believe that this line is the most lethal combination this city has ever seen. How crazy is it that Backstrom could get three assists and Ovechkin could get two goals and neither of them could crack the "3 stars of the night". That's when you know things are going well for you. OV was his normal self, but Nicklas just shined against the Sens. Confidence is just oozing out of this guy right now. He seems to see every opportunity on the ice, and now that he's shooting more often, opponents are that much more tentative about how to defend him. The power play goals by OV and Green were essentially composed by Backstrom's wizardry.
And what a joy it is to be able to watch Mike Green do his thing. After watching Tyler Sloan struggle to make a smart outlet pass out of the defensive zone, it's such a change of pace to watch Green, who doesn't even need to pass it out. Put the puck on Mike Green's stick, and it's nearly a guarantee that it's gonna end up safely in the offensive zone. I'm not saying he's Paul Coffey, I'm just sayin'...
Welcome back Sergei! Now it's starting to look like the Washington Capitals again. Apparantly the old fart hasn't forgotton how to play the game. With all the skills he brings to the table, I like our teams chances even if Stretch was playing in goal.
But it wasn't Stretch against the Sens, it was number one goalie and number one star Brent Johnson. He and his posts denied almost every opportunity that Ottawa had (and as I mentioned earlier- there were plenty). This guy is playing at an unbelievable level right now. I didn't think he had this kind of talent in him. Not only is he strong positionally, but he has displayed some remarkable imagination on how to keep pucks out of the net. I hope this guy can stay healthy enough to extend his streak of brilliance.
Hockey Night in Canada featuring the Washington Capitals again. They can't get enough of this team up there. And neither can we.