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Everything posted by top-shelf-1

  1. MAD CHAD GETS IT DONE!!! PP looked better but we're still more eager to dump or just shoot than to gain the zone and get everyone in position so we benefit from the extra skater and apply the nonstop pressure that wears the defense down. We wasted a lot of time chasing pucks back to our end, and that let them get fresh killers on the ice. I know, I know, we won by four goals and I'm complaining! Nice effort tonight, guys, especially on the D end.
  2. Or what if Ovechkin had? There's a larger point here that has to do with being willing to lead. Do you think Brindy -- or Cullen, or Cole, or Samsonov -- would have just sat there? No way.
  3. You and stormrider both make my point -- instead of Wallin standing up for Staal, this was a perfect case for Eric doing that for himself. His wuss-out may have been the "smart" thing to do in the moment, but in the long run he and AO need to settle the score. Why not do it early in the biggest game of the year? stormrider, due respect, but the frequency of superstar confrontations isn't an issue. Rare though they may be, they have their time and their place, and I simply can't fathom a better time than the most important game of the year or a better place than the home ice of the team you're trying to beat for the division championship. If Eric isn't willing to stand up to AO under those circumstances, it's not unreasonable to wonder if he ever will.
  4. Sure he could. He stands up and gives AO a face wash. If you watch the replay he had plenty of time, and all he could muster, as Irish Ice noted earlier, was a sheepish look whilst sitting on his keester. Can we please stop making excuses for Eric Staal?
  5. I hear you, up to a point. Yes, the Canes have fought through a loss of manhours the likes of which few have ever seen. That said, I wouldn't call changing coaches in midseason, making key aquisitions and climbing from worst to (tied for) first in your division easy. There were many times this year that we remained at or near the top in spite of ourselves, when our poor play was matched or exceeded by divisional rivals.
  6. I guess you weren't paying attention for the first 15 minutes, because that's exactly what the refs did, and the Caps took advantage by finishing EVERY check, CLEANLY. Gleason did the same for us, but when his teammates came out in the second the game was already over, and they'd squandered their chance to "play." From that point on the refs saw our futile attempts to get physical as cheap -- and many of them were. We made our own bed last night and we layed in it, and this conspiracy stuff is a load of @#$%.
  7. My point exactly. When the refs didn't buy in, Staal needed to stand up for himself and send a message to AO. It wold also have been a message to his own team. That's what leaders do, and Eric let yet another opportunity to do it go by.
  8. Exactly. A franchise player with a Stanley Cup ring needs to come up swinging after that kind of cheapness whether his coach condones it or not. And frankly I don't think Lavi would have had any problem with it. And don't even get me started on Corvo. It's like, "O.K., got the hattie against my old team, where's the first tee?" BTW, Happy Birthday, Irish Guy.
  9. The elephant in the room is this: E. Staal did not show up. He's either our leader now or he isn't, and that's not a decision he can make on a game-by-game basis. I know he's still a kid, but you know what? So is Ovechkin, so is Ward, so is Crosby... and the list goes on. Captain Tripps is really vocal(over the top, if you ask me) about Eric's contributions immediately after he scores or sets someone up nicely ("Hoooowwwww about the contribution of Eric Staal since the All Star break???"), but the silence when he shrinks into the dasherboards like he did last night is deafening. One would have thought there'd be something in Eric that would want to challenge Ovechkin, to live up to the MVP status he earned in the All-Star game. If ever there was a moment for that Eric to show up it was last night. He was not in the building, and he needs to get called on it.
  10. Pissing and moaning about the officiating is not the answer. I've been watching hockey at all levels for 40 years, and what happened tonight is OFTEN what happens when one team comes out and quickly establishes a physical presence and the other team doesn't even ATTEMPT to respond until it's way too late: wrong though it may be, the refs see it as retaliation. These suggestions of a vast conspiracy to get the Caps in are a lot of malarkey. It was clear from the opening faceoff that the refs were going to let these teams play and we failed to bring it. Washington finished every hit in the first period, and cleanly. Gleason was the only guy on our roster doing the same and it showed on the scoreboard at the end of that period. We can cry in our beers all we want about how this and that call was unfair in the second and third periods, but the bottom line is this: the game was over after one, Walker's tremendous individual effort notwithstanding. His was the only line that consistently looked like it had a clue all night long; Bayda and Aucoin continue to amaze. Both teams knew what they had to do, but just one came out and did it. Now our backs are against the wall, and we have to do the same.
  11. Yeah, I pretty much lost all respect for what now passes as "the hockey media" when Bill Clement, whom I'd always thought to be the best prepared and best informed of the lot, said on XM back in December that the Canes' hopes were dimming, in part because of "what may well be a career-ending injury to Justin Williams." No attribution, no mention of what he was basing it on. He just hung it out there and went on to the next thing. Before any of these guys sit down behind a mike they should be required to listen to replays of at least 10 games called by The Great One: Gene Hart.
  12. ditto, and I gotta disagree with Melrose on the "big draws" thing. Staal may be in the game for big draws, but I'd be a lot happier if he'd start winning them. I thought he had it figured out about a week ago, but his third-period performance vs. the Bugs was abysmal. That's gotta get better and fast, because faceoffs are usually where playoff games are won and lost.
  13. I'll pretty much second this. It was a hard-fough game and Ramo was on fire. My only real concern is that PP looked completely different than it has recently, especially in those three big chances late in the third. Corvo would gain the red line and slam the puck deep, too fast for our forwards to get possession back. And when we had the 6-on-4 situation (PP and Cam pulled) we never set up properly, keep just two guys up high (no umbrella). Three guys get you clear shooting lanes. With three guys down low creating traffic in front, Ramo's job gets a lot harder. Call me a broken record, but one fact is inescapable: Our PP is exponentially better when we gain their blue line with the puck.
  14. I have to disagree, king. Laying blame at the feet of a line that is 2/3 AHL but able to consistently keep the puck in the O-zone (Aucoin/Bayda/Walker) ignores Tuesday's mediocre play of Sammy and Staal, two guys who had been great recently but pretty much took the night off. Cole was the only guy on that line who worked hard all night. If you're referring to the other AHLers now with the club, I just don't see it. They've contributed an edge which makes clear the Canes are no longer a team opponents can beat up on without consequences. The point we won Tuesday was a gift from Wardo and the D. The overall performance of the O lines was pretty much what I expected after the time off, and the way Cam and the back end kept us in it all night long speaks volumes about the strides made on that end of the ice. The offense will be just fine as we go down the stretch, and I'm expecting it to make a huge statement next week in Landover.
  15. Just a little more info for you, Badger, he led the team in plus/minus when he went down. He skated well against Ottawa (pretty much everybody did, though). I'd expect him to play against the Caps Tuesday.
  16. Remember, y'all -- you heard it here first!!! GO CANES!!!!
  17. You don't do well in hockey without solid goaltending. It's been my argument all along that, while Cam is still learning, he is a solid goaltender fundamentally. That being said, for me, it's not about a single player, it's about the first five minutes of every game. As the Buffalo game showed, Cam will not make saves if he's hung out to dry, and as the Ottawa game showed, giving up the first goal means nothing if the team has the will to win. The most important thing this team can bring to the rink every night is a real hunger to win. Or as someone once said: WHATEVER IT TAKES.
  18. Yeah, I'll take a double helping on that one too -- although I will say that at the time, Eric deserved everything he got. Glad he's finally playing like we all know he can.
  19. Many will remember my (in)famous post last year, "Stick a fork in us, we're done." Much as I hoped to be wrong, it didn't turn out that way. I have to admit, I was within ONE GAME of saying it again this year, after our Jan. 17 loss to the Senators. It was our fourth straight loss and the depth of our PP's disappearance. The next night, we came home and totally tanned the Oilers. (Get it? Tanning Oil!? ) I've been glad I held my tongue ever since!
  20. Glad to see this thread, I was one of the incensed masses in that cluster... uh -- well, you know. Absolutely agree with the previous poster re the Raleigh PD's impersonation of DOT employees. Three cars and five cops standing around to block entrances when a 1:1 ratio would have sufficed and freed up others to address the problem. Wish I'd had a box of donuts in the car, I maybe could have at least coaxed them into entertaining motorists while we waited for the line THEY CREATED to move. Worst traffic control/parking experience I've had entering any event, and that includes when I lived in Philly.
  21. A sure-fire recipe for being out of it by the sixth minute? No pursuit of the puck in the first five minutes, against a team that had just been fired up by its coach. There's a lot of hockey left to play, against teams with a real chance to catch us. Let's put this behind us and come out strong against the Sens, who'll be riding high after beating Les Habitants.
  22. Amazing, no? A few short weeks ago we were all decrying that this team only wins by a combination of playing one decent period and the grace of the Almighty. Now their slack periods are three times better than any of those "good" ones used to be, and their good ones are straight-up artistry. Way to go, guys. ON TO SLUGGALO!!
  23. Good thread. The two main things that have changed on the PP are the two most basic, and they're the things that got us into trouble in the first place: The way we gain the zone and what we do once we're in it. From almost the first game of last season, we began to dump the puck into the zone instead of carrying it across the blue line. That in itself isn't always a bad thing, if you do it right. But way too often, our Dmen would carry the puck to center ice and then fire it in around the boards with so much mustard that all the opposing keeper had to do was stop it behind the net and leave it for his D to shoot back out, because the puck was in the zone waaaay quicker than our forwards could skate. Frustrating as that was, what we did once in the O-zone with possession was even worse. On those rare times that we would gain the zone by dumping in the right way (lobbing the puck to a corner while our forwards flooded the zone), or, and this was rare, carrying the puck in, somebody would shoot immediately. No screen, no puck movement, nobody crashing the net for a rebound. Rebounds seldom came anyway, since the keeper was not pressured. He'd again leave the puck for his D to fire the length of the ice. Now, we carry the puck in MUCH more often, and when we DO dump it we're a lot smarter about it. Better yet, we keep it simple once we're in the zone by keeping our priorities straight: (1) maintaining possession, (2) creating high percentage shooting opportunities, and (3) closing the deal. Our most complex cycling happens behind the net, and we tend to flex the opponent's defensive box with long passes from down low or the half boards to the points, often diagonally across the zone, which is less predictable and opens shooting lanes as their box flexes to maintain coverage. Finally, our puck movement is fast. Lots of one-touch passes, especially up high. It's been great to watch.
  24. Ten minutes of energy in the second period won't get it done. That said, here's my take: Positives: Samsonov. Quite possibly the best stickhandler in the East, maybe the league. Cole: True grit. Cam: He never saw the puck on the first goal due to the slick cross-grain setup, and Kabs, like Forslund said, HAS GOT to find that puck in the crease. Scotty W: consistently terrific, along with his NHL linemates. Negatives: Cam: (yes, here too.) Butterfly keeper or not, he MUST stop taking the knee so soon. If he remains upright on the first goal, odds are good he blocks it with his upper body DESPITE not seeing the puck. And as good as Shanahan's shot was, if he's standing on that one too, we've still got wind in our sails. Staal: He needs to start showing up every night, and can we PLEASE give that "he does the little things" stuff a rest? He didn't do any of them last night, from winning key faceoffs to maintaining possession in the Dzone to putting high percentage shots on net (that backhand miss was unforgiveable, and the ones he puts on net from in front lately have been too tight to have a decent percentage of finding open spaces). C'mon, Eric, we know you've got the talent. It's your time to shine! Overall: If we had to have a letdown it's better we have it against a non-division team. But please, let's not do anything rash like start Crackers next time out.
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