Big Lead Sports Bar

3/09/2008

Koz: Sometimes It's Better To Be Lucky Than To Be Good

PENGUINS 4
CAPITALS 2

by Koz
koz@insightbb.com

To be fair, the Capitals scored four goals to the Penguins' two on Sunday afternoon. After the Caps took a 1-0 lead off a Brooks Laich deflection, the Pens were recipients of a fortunate bounce off Laich's stick to help Petr Sykora score the Pens' first goal. But the story of this game was the deciding score put in by Colombian soccer player... er... Calder Trophy candidate Nicklas Backstrom. The goal helped the Pens stay in the hunt for the Eastern Conference lead and might be the nail in the coffin for Washington's playoff hopes.

Malkin had three assists to inch closer to Ovechkin (two assists) in the scoring race. Crosby scored his first goal since returning from injury to give the Pens the second period lead and was credited with Backstrom's own goal to give him 22 for the year (that's 22 for Crosby, not 22 own-goals for Backstrom... my God, he'd be on suicide watch, wouldn't he?)

Thou Shall Not Charge: Charging (Rule 47) -- Charging shall mean the actions of a player who, as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner. A "Charge" may be the result of a check into the boards, into the goal frame or in open ice. (a) A minor or major penalty shall be imposed on a player who skates or jumps into, or charges an opponent in any manner.

Apparently, Rule 47(a) isn't enforced on the Sabbath. The consistently poor NBC color commentators failed to recognize this at any point during the game. The most obvious was during Ovechkin's “big hit” on Malkin in the first period. Jarkko Ruutu could have been called once or twice later in the game. I'm all about big hits, but leaping into people as Ovechkin did is reckless.

Red flags: The Penguins were severely out-shot (38 to 26) and were atrocious on face-offs (36%). Since the trade deadline, the Penguins have been out-shot by their opponents 261 to 188. Assuming the league average is around 28 shots per game, the Pens are at least two and a half games worth of shots behind their opponents over this stretch. Getting out-shot and out-dueled in the circle will not win hockey games in May.

Hossamania: Hopefully. Hossamania will run wild on Mellon Arena this Wednesday, with yours truly in attendance (send me a text message on the scoreboard!). NBC showed video of Hossa from the Sunday morning skate. He didn't appear to be in any obvious pain, so a few more days off might be just what the doctor ordered. It would be an electric atmosphere with #87's homecoming doubled by the home debut of Marian Hossa. In the meantime, say your prayers, drink your milk and take your vitamins.

1 comment:

John said...

DC is not a hockey market. They get more attendance for the WNBA team than they do for the hockey team.

The area has a ton of transplanted Yinzers, and they call come out to root for Penguins. Easily half of the crowd roots for the Penguins. They shouldn't even call it a road game. The other half hates the Penguins with a passion because a) the obnoxious Penguin fans, b) Crosby-Ovechkin and Malkin-Ovechkin rivalry, and c) the Capital's historical playoff chokes in the early 90's. Makes for a tense atmosphere.

The Penguins didn't look all that great. The Penguins defense men appear to think their job is clear the puck by passing it to a Capitals defense men in the neutral zone.

I was disappointed Brashear didn't elect to get beat up again. He seems to enjoy eating Laraque's fists.