Kukla's Korner Hockey
"Every team is getting better and tightening up. They get up to play us, we're on TV and we're in the playoffs a lot. We have to understand -- and it's not something new -- that teams are ready to play against us and I think that showed the first part of this season.
"As a group, we can all do better."
-Duncan Keith fo the Chicago Blackhawks after losing to the Washington Capials last night. Read more on the Blackhawks from Mike Spellman of the Chicago Daily-Herald.
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
As the Washington Capitals unpacked their fifth straight defeat, encouraged by stronger puck possession yet hounded by the bounces that again cost them at home Tuesday night against Calgary, Coach Barry Trotz addressed the disconnect between dominating shot differential metrics and the losses that, since Oct. 25, have followed.
“The only thing that really matters in the game, in pro hockey, are the numbers on the scoreboard, and we’re not winning those,” Trotz said. “But the numbers tell you that if you have the puck more … It’s not rocket science. But it is mathematical odds. And if you go by the mathematical odds, if we’re doing all those things better, then we should have better results.”
“I don’t know if it’s staying with the game plan or whatever, but you’re in a battle. You can’t just say, ‘Okay I’m going to stop battling.’ We had a good first period or whatever. The other team’s coming out. Sometimes I get the feeling we want to play as hard as we just need to. That’s not how I operate. That’s not how you win in this league.”
-Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals head coach after losing to Arizona 6-5. More on the game from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider.
Here is an Orpik hit from last night...
from Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post,
Before the Washington Capitals hired Barry Trotz as coach this May, the outside noise surrounding Mike Green had reached him in Nashville. A disappointing 2013-14 season created questions that blared like sirens across the league:
Should Washington trade its highest-paid defenseman, with one year left on his contract? How about exercising a compliance buyout? Would he even be around long enough — or play well enough — to negotiate an extension?
“You shouldn’t assume things,” Trotz said after practice Friday morning. “What you hear and what you think are you hear are two different things.”
During Washington’s recent trip to western Canada, Green quietly ignited a scorching start. His seven even-strength points lead all NHL defensemen, despite missing the season-opener. His even-strength shot differential — Corsi-for percentage, it’s called — ranks sixth. He regained the confidence and form some worried had been lost.
Detroit/Washington, not only was the goal waived off, but Luke Glendening received 2 minutes for interference...
Then in the Nashville/Edmonton game...
If you missed what Glenn Healy said, you can start here....
Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington answered some questions,
what's the caps odds of finishing top 4 in the metropolitan division? Or is too early to tell?
If the season ended today, the Capitals would be preparing to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs while the Pittsburgh Penguins would be polishing their golf clubs for an early summer vacation. From the start of training camp I’ve been saying the Caps are good enough to finish in the top five or six in the conference and I still believe they are good enough to nail down one of the top three playoff spots in the Metro.
I thought the Penguins would struggle out of the gates with new coach Mike Johnston and they’re off to a 3-2-1 start, just one point off the playoff pace.
I thought the Islanders improved themselves dramatically with the summer additions of goaltender Jaroslav Halak, center Mikhail Grabovski and defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk and they’re off to a 5-2-0 start.
The Ottawa Senators [4-1-0] and Detroit Red Wings [4-1-2] have been pleasant surprises so far, but I’d be shocked to see both teams get into the playoffs, especially with the Bruins and Penguins expected to rise to the top of the conference.
The Caps are off to a solid start under new coach Barry Trotz and they should get better as they grow more accustomed to his way of playing. So, yes, the Caps should finish in playoff position and, quote honestly, should not shoot any lower than a Metropolitan Division title.
more Washington related questions....
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
Sportsnet has a debate segment on its NHL coverage called “To The Point” in which Nick Kypreos and Glenn Healy argue different perspectives on hockey’s most pressing issues. Or if they run out of them, “Is Alex Ovechkin coachable?”
That was the topic on Wednesday night* during the Washington Capitals’ game at the Edmonton Oilers, one of the few games this season in which Ovechkin went scoreless.
Kypreos took the “I believe in Ovie” side, although he said Ovechkin is “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” and said it’s “his last chance to prove he’s not a coach killer.” Which sounds really ominous, until you consider that it doesn’t really mean anything except that he’ll get another coach or two or 10 before his contract runs out.
Healy attempted to make that point, although it was like giving a filet mignon to a hot dog vendor to cook. Here’s Healy on Ovechkin’s coachability:
continued and/or watch the segment below which also includes more topics...
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
We’re still in the honeymoon of this relationship, with the Capitals unbeaten at 3-0-2 as they open their three-game Western Canadian swing against the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Yet it seemed fitting to ask Trotz, Washington’s fifth head coach since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005, how he plans to get the 51 goals out of his superstar winger, but shore up the minus-35 defensive rating.
“Dominik Hasek used to say, a star player starts each year at minus-10,” began the coach, referring to the desperate situations near the end of games, when a team goes all out to score and so often gives a goal up. Or the fact that the best players face the best competition, and thus, are bound to surrender more goals than someone playing against the other team’s fourth line.
“So star players start out at minus-10. How (Ovechkin) got the other minus-25, I’m not quite sure,” Trotz said with a laugh. “There are some things in his game that he is committed to change. Not all of (his deficiencies) were Alex’s fault. Some of the things he was asked to do, it probably took away from him defensively. The player that I know has been very good in all those areas.”
Normally in a column about Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals, it’s right around now where one points out that nothing this club does in the regular season matters anymore.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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