There are rumblings in DC that Caps Coach Glen Hanlon could be fired if the team continues to play poorly. Before tonight’s 7-1 win in Toronto the Caps had lost 6 of 7 games and at times looked like a lost team on the ice.
Michael Nylander is finally showing signs of life getting points in each of his last 5 games including 3 helpers tonight. Hanlon needs to keep Nylander playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin since that combination seems to click.
That was a vicious shot from Ovechkin that Chris Clark took off the ear last Friday night against Vancouver. Clark is a classy guy and a tireless worker. He is one guy I think Flames GM Darryl Sutter wishes he had back from the team that went to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. Getting Clark was one of GM George McPhee’s better moves.
Speaking of Caps moves, the recent contract given to Alex Semin (reportedly $9.2M for two years) seemed like an awfully steep price to pay. The Caps do have salary cap room and are desperate to keep any player with skill so they had no choice but to overpay Semin. Semin must get himself healthy and in shape if the Caps are going to have any playoff hopes this season.
Olie Kolzig stopped 32 of 33 shots tonight and will need to carry this team for awhile. Brent Johnson was awful in St. Louis on Saturday and can’t be counted on for consistent goaltending.
Notes around the rest of the league:
Jose Theodore seems to only be able to play well against Calgary. The former Vezina trophy winner has stopped 56 of 58 shots against the Flames but in his two other games (against Chicago and St. Louis) he has saved only 41 of 49 shots. If Colorado had consistent goaltending they would be the favorites to win the Northwest division. By the way, 38 year old Joe Sakic still looks like he could easily play 5 more years.
Anaheim is really struggling right now. With F Ryan Getzlaf out with an injury they only have one line that can score (Chris Kunitz-Andy McDonald-Corey Perry). GM Brian Burke needs to do something quickly to turn this team around.
In the here we go again category: Marian Gaborik is hurt once again (groin) and it is no surprise that Minnesota has cooled off losing their last 3 games. Pavol Demitra’s injury does not help the situation.
Toronto is currently in 5th in the Eastern Conference with 13 points but that is misleading because they have played a conference high 13 games. One NHL scout recently told me he thought the Leafs were a bad team and when you get beat 7-1 in your own building by the Caps then you are a team in serious trouble. The Leafs are giving up a disastrous 4 goals a game. GM John Ferguson MUST make the playoffs to even have a chance to stay around next year but there are many in Toronto who want him out now.
Montreal is off to another fast start at 6-2-2 but they started fast the last two years before fading down the stretch.
Most surprising stat of the year so far: The Rangers only have 19 goals in 11 games.
Last week I blogged about the Flyers needing to lower the number of shots they are giving up. They did not do a good job of this allowing 42, 26, and 39 shots in the first 3 games of their 8 game road trip (The Flyers went 1-2). Goalie Martin Biron will eventually wear out at that pace.
Can’t miss NHL Game of the Week: Toronto at Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night. In addition, you get Coaches Corner with Ron Maclean and Don Cherry after the 1st period. Cherry’s outfits alone are worth tuning in to see.