Yeah I've fallen behind a bit. I love my Caps, I love writing, I just seem to sometimes hate writing about my Caps at least when it feels more like a chore and a passion but forgive me I'm still early with writing about the team.
That said let's go to a recap of the first four games of the season. Opening night against the Hurricanes was a game you came to expect out of last year's Caps. Caps start slow, fall behind, take lead allow Canes to tie it up, Caps take lead then allow them to tie it in the final moments which leads to overtime...yay free hockey. Biggest concerns heading into OT were that Staal scored twice and both were on the Power Play. Semin was the best player on the ice, except for that stupid penalty he took at the end of regulation and Chimera showed off his speed on his goal with 21 seconds left in the 2nd frame.
In OT the Canes couldn't capitalize on their PP and gave the Caps one and while on the PP Mr. Game Over, Mike Green, rocketed one basted Boucher to send the fans home happy. Neuvirth got the surprise nod to play, which didn't sit well with Vokun, and he wasn't great but got the win. The belief is Neuvy got the nod because of it being the home opener and what he did for the team last year.
Game 2 vs the Lightning was not for the faint of heart. Vokun got the start and Mojo, who sat the first game because Coach wanted to send a message, took the lesson out on Roloson with a beautiful goal to tie the game at 1. The Caps trailed 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 5-4. Lucky for the Caps their fourth and fifth goals were scored by Jason Chimera who passed 100 career goals. The game went through OT with the Caps not only shorthanded for a portion of it but then the majority because of Too Many Men on the ice...you'd think that is one thing this team would work on as it seems to happen more than I've ever seen since Boudreau took over. In the shootout the Caps escaped with the victory as Vokun came up BIG. While at least 3 of the goals scored, maybe 4, came from at or behind the red line and deflected in off of a player (Green) in front or Vokun himself it was the Caps going 0-7 on the PP that really highlighted the teams struggles. Both needed to be worked on with Pitt up on Thursday.
Thursday it was Caps and Pissburgh and the Caps got flat outplayed for the second straight game but even more so. Malkin wasn't expected to play for the Pens but he did and the Caps D had to stick to him like glue. For the 3rd straight game the Caps gave up the first goal, to James Neal, and again it was a soft one by Vokun and it was the first shot by Pissburgh...oh how it felt like it would be a long night. If this kept up the Caps may have to turn to Braden Holtby because Neuvy was out with an undisclosed lower body injury (possibly foot). In the second the Caps tie it up in the third the Caps take the lead after a blast by Green is deflected by Ovie. At first the ref waived it off, emphatically, but after the next stoppage the replay showed the puck did indeed go in the net and pop out. Late in the third Jay Beagle is hit by Kris Letang and hits him back, high and knocking his helmet off. Next thing you know here come Aaron Asham to confront Beagle. Asham says Beagle came to him and started it but come on a guy with 0 fights isn't going to challenge a guy with 60-70 career fights. Well the gloves drop and Beags starts getting some solid hits on Asham while Asham tried to get his right arm loose and all I could think was please don't let it get that far. Unfortunately for Beagle, Asham got that arm free and got two hard shots to the face of Beagle. The first stunned him, the second sent him face first to the ice. "He's dead!" is what I'm thinking but luckily when they pull Beags face off the ice he's awake, but blood started pouring out of him and onto the ice. As he skates off, looking dazed and I still fully believe he was concussed, he takes out his mouth guard, more blood, and possibly a tooth. Pens tie it up on a PP, again James Neal. So to OT we go. After penalties were virtually non-existent for the Pens they picked some up quick in OT, Green had Johnson beat but hit the post. A few second later Wideman blasts one past Johnson and the Caps are 3-0-0 with all 3 games going to OT.
After the game the Caps took exception to Asham's taunts at the end of the fight, he made a sleep, gesture. Asham quickly apologized and even reached out to apologize to Jay Beagle. Brooks Laich also commented on the leagues concussion policy saying they are babied by the league. Sorry Brooksie but its not just about knowing the risk and possibly nutting up. This is for long term health and look no further than Crosby. Better to be safe than sorry and don't let your testosterone and "masculinity" or ego get in the way of it.
Game 4 I attended with my cousin Pam. We sat in Section 105, Row Q...18 Rows behind the glass and just behind GOAT...who my cousin and I really creeped on and I feel really bad about. Anywho the Caps started the game off strong, though I can't figure out why on their first offensive zone faceoff they didn't have the top line out there but whatever. Backstrom got the scoring started on the PP and less than 4 minutes later Mojo came around the net for a wrap around and the Caps took a 2-0 lead. With less than 30 seconds left in the 1st the Caps failed to clear the puck, Vokun was down and out and somehow, after some near misses, the Senators were able to make it a 2-1 game. The Caps outplayed the Sens in the period, as they should have, but in the 2nd and 3rd it was all Ottawa. The Caps couldn't clear the zone and the Sens kept applying pressure and Volun was more than up to the task even with a late flurry by the Sens in the final two minutes. Throughout the game the refs missed quite a few penalties including a few boarding, tripping and interference calls while at least one was looking directly at the play or all 3 were looking somewhere else. It was quite pathetic honestly. The Caps also lost Wideman and Chimera to knee injuries but both quickly came back. Wideman actually turned the puck over while limping around and Chimera lucked out after crashing into the boards. In the end the Caps won and OT was finally not necessary.
One thing I couldn't figure out with the game though was why DJ King played, especially in the 3rd. I get that Ottawa was coming off a 7-1 loss to Colorado and may be frustrated but they're a quick team and Perreault would have been there with speed instead of the guy that just lumbers up and down. That said only put King on the ice if he's going to fight.
Most of the entertainment during the game came from the stands. One moron wore a Flyers Briere jersey and was sitting down behind the glass...oh and he showed up late. GOAT kept giving him shit which all of those around him loved. We later learned that some other moron was wearing a Malkin jersey in the 400 level seats and 3 different sections were giving him shit. Good job Caps fans.