Monday, March 5, 2007

Monday Morning Thoughts

Let's face it, this team is in dire straits right now. Not only is it going to be hard for this team to win games the rest of the season, it's going to be hard for them to even be competitive.
(Photo Courtesy of Jason Cohn/Reuters)

Last Thursday night's surprising performance against a streaking Lightning team provided a glimmer of hope, that this team could still string together some solid games and at least continue their reputation of being a hard working team that is tough to beat. But injuries to Matt Pettinger and Boyd Gordon that night severely depleted an already thin lineup. The result was a 6-2 trashing at the hands of the N.Y. Islanders Saturday night that saw the Caps over matched by the playoff bound team. And the team was hit by the injury bug again as Kris Beech left the game after a blocked shot hit his left knee.

It's hard to believe that an injury to Beech could be so devastating given the fact that he was a regular healthy scratch earlier in the year. But with the recent trades and roster moves, Beech ended up centering the team's first line between Ovechkin and Semin. Now the Caps are left with just 2 regular centers, Brian Sutherby and newly acquired Jiri Novotny, on their roster.

Their schedule will only get tougher from here on out. Nine of their next thirteen games will be played away from the Verizon Center where the Caps are 2-12-1 in their last 15 road games. Plus they are coming off of a winless (0-2-2) homestand.

What once looked like a season that was going to be much improved over the previous one, now even that is in question. With 16 games to go Washington needs 10 points to match it's total of 70 last year. That might be a hard number for this team to reach.

Caps in the news:

Prospect Mathieu Perreault is having an excellent year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Daily News, a Halifax newspaper, reviewed the league's season and gave out awards. Perreault was recognized multiple times.

BEST PLAYER: Tie, Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst) and Thomas Beauregard (Bathurst), three votes - The Q is divided on who is the better player, but Perreault, the playmaker, and Beauregard, the trigger man, form a devastating line. They're the highest-scoring duo in the Q, with 106 goals and 125 assists for 230 points in just 64 games. Other: Withheld.

BEST PLAYMAKER: Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst), five votes - The Washington Capitals draft choice (177th overall in 2006) has 76 assists in 61 games. His slick passes have helped Q goal-scoring king Thomas Beauregard net 70 goals. "He'd make any player score goals," one GM said. Others: Withheld.

BEST STICKHANDLER: Mathieu Perreault (Bathurst), five votes - As clever a playmaker as Perreault might be, the five-foot-nine, 155-pound centre is equally adept with the puck on his stick. He can flat-out dangle and makes defenders look silly. Others: David Perron (1), withheld (1).

MOST DANGEROUS ON POWER PLAY: Thomas Beauregard (Bathurst), five votes - Beauregard is the centrepiece of the league's best power play, which operates at better than 26 per cent. He leads the division with 26 power-play goals and has an uncanny knack for finding open ice in scoring areas. Others: Cam Fergus (1), Mathieu Perreault (1).

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