Blog Entry

Penguins prove to be too much

Posted on: May 13, 2009 11:04 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 11:12 pm

Did the NBA take over the building without anyone realizing it?

After all this was a lot more like their playoff games have been this spring than the NHL's. A blowout. A dud. A total embarrassment. However you choose to label it, this was so one sided it would have been best served with a mercy rule.

Ugly doesn't begin to describe the shell shocked effort the Washington Capitals turned in at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. The 6-2 final score tells it was completely lopsided in favor of the Penguins, but the other numbers -- a 16-5 shots advantage for the Penguins in the crucial first period, a penalty free game for Pittsburgh, a deficit of 15 on the turnover chart for the Capitals -- tell you just how badly Washington was manhandled.

The shame of it all was that this much anticipated series finale bore absolutely no resemblance to the marvelous show these two teams treated everyone to through the first six games, which featured five one-goal decisions, three of them in overtime. It had been an incredible demonstration of just how compelling hockey can be at its best, with two talented teams led by their candidates for the best player in the game title playing at breakneck speed with passion and emotion as they lived up to ridiculously high expectations.

Until tonight that is. The start was pretty typical and actually pretty close, although it didn't take long for the first sign of how bad things would become for the Capitals to appear. About three minutes as a matter of fact. Alex Ovechkin broke past the Penguins defense and was in alone on Marc Andre Fleury, who had been less than stellar earlier in the series and was coming off the first overtime loss of his career. But the Penguins goalie came up with a great glove save, and arguably turned the game around right then and there.

Ovechkin was stopped again on another good chance by Fleury moments later, but as Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told an interviewer during a television timeout, his team's penchant for turning over pucks was already a bigger problem. That was apparent when Washington took the first penalty of the game before the 12 minute mark and was unable to clear its zone on the kill, which resulted in Sidney Crosby giving the Penguins the lead. That was bad enough for Washington, but when Craig Adams scored eight seconds later after the ensuing faceoff, the Capitals were effectively done.

Even so, Washington's rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov kept his team's hopes alive briefly with big stops off Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin before the period ended, but when Bill Guerin connected 28 seconds into the second period and Kris Letang followed with another goal less than two minutes later, it was all over and so was Varlamov's night.

Ovechkin did get his final goal of the season late in the period but Crosby got that back in the third, as the two superstars played each other to a draw in terms of statistics with eight goals apiece in this series. But this game is still all about team and in the end, it was the Penguins, with a far superior team defense and the experience of having been through this before, that made the bigger statement.
Category: NHL

Since: Apr 12, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2009 1:02 pm

Penguins prove to be too much

I for one will not forget what Varly did for us in these playoffs and I think he should be the starter next year.  HE IS 21!!! AND A ROOKIE!!!  Every goalie has bad games and a rookie is entitled to those even more so.  He has things to work on no doubt, but he will develop.  I am wondering where all the penguin fans are that were calling for fleury's head the first 6 games, do you want him back next year.  I defended both goalies all series due to the firepower they were facing.  When facing a more normal offensive team these goalies will win more than lose.  2 great teams and someone had to lose.  I am not going to throw Varly under the bus because of a bad game.  We need to get help on the defensive end before we will move any further next year.  Pittsburgh moved to easily in to our end all series and if Varly didn't make some great saves the series would not have been a 7 game series.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 12:59 pm

Penguins prove to be too much

The Pens defense was much better than the Caps.

Their forechecking was much better also.

The Caps should buy their GT a baseball glove and have him play baseball this summer.His glove hand needs to improve.

Too bad someone had to lose but it was a pleasure to watch.

Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:59 am

Penguins prove to be too much

OK Mike Zimmy.  Here you go:

"how sweet was it to see Ovechkin turning the puck over on the penalty kill and having Crosby go in on a breakaway and beat a rusty backup goaltender that should never have been put in the game like Theodore like a rented mule?"

The point was that Crosby did what Ovechkin could not.  The goaltender is irrelevant.


Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:52 am

Why are some of you defending Varlamov?

This guy isn't "up and coming" - he'll never be a quality starter in this league.  Varlamov allows terrible goals that even a junior  goaltender could stop.  It doesn't matter that he makes a great save here and there - what does that matter when he allows bad goals at bad times?  Get over it Caps fans - you'll never make it this far in the playoffs with old Alex O until you get a better goaltender - this guy is backup quality at best.

Since: May 14, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:41 am


Very true article, Wes.  I'm really hoping, however, the game 7 in this epic series between the Pens and Caps will make you a believer.  The Pens are for real.  This team is full of heart, talent, and destiny.  Last year's devastating defeat in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Red Wings still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Pens fans.  We have been awaiting this chance again for the past 340 some days.  Stop picking against the Pens because when they were down and everyone assumed them to be out, rejuvenation hit that locker room and the entire team woke up.  The Pens play the cleanest hockey out of the remaining playoff teams, which is why I strongly believe this is the year the Cup comes back to the 'Burgh.  You have to admire the character of this team, even aside from the superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but really focus on the depth of this team.  Let's start with Ruslan Fedotenko ... wow, what a playoff machine?  Last year's run to the finals included those same superstars, but a guy named Marian Hossa was in the mix.  Speaking of, the Stanley Cup Finals could be a rematch of last year's and memo to Hossa: I would say the Pens have a pretty good shot at winning it all this year. And oh, wouldn't it be sweet if it was against Hossa, who would ultimately be left without a ring once again and passed up a lot of money he could have made with the Pens. Oh well, good riddance I say because even without Hossa, the Pens are definitely capable of going all the way due to guys like Fedotenko.  A true, gritty goal scorer with enormous passion for the game of hockey.  Look for Fedotenko to have a huge finish this postseason.  Another unsung hero on the Pens is defenseman Mark Eaton.  Can't say enough about this guy ... plagued by injuries the past several seasons, this was the first full season Eaton was healthy for the majority of.  With 4 postseason goals thus far, Eaton is another player who I look to finish strong and lead the Pens to the Cup.  The last player on my "watch out for" list may surprise some readers.  Ray Shero proved his mastery once again with the aquisition of LW Chris Kunitz for D Ryan Whitney.  What a trade this turned out to be.  Whitney, once thought to be the future of the Pens defense, slowly withered away to the point of non-existence with the team.  Nothing against Ryan Whitney, I believe his future is very bright with the Ducks and am happy for him and for his time spent devoting to the Pens.  But wow, Shero made a bold statement with the aquisition of Kunitz.  Remember back at the first few games Kunitz played in a Penguin uniform.  With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup, Kunitz starred on a line with Jordan Staal and flourished with that opportunity.  Look for those two players to reunite in the final few rounds of this year's playoffs.  I am aware Kunitz has yet to score a goal this postseason, but one must look at the little things Kunitz has been accomplishing.  He has been involved with so many goals scored (assists), he is one of the most physical players on the team, and he plays his heart out every shift.  Believe me, Kunitz is saving his goal scoring for a much bigger game.  All in all, what a postseason this has been.  With so many great teams competing for the ultimate trophy in all of professional sports, it's ashame to see any one of them walk away empty-handed.  However, that is the name of the game and only one team will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup this year.  Go Pens!

Since: Feb 23, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:28 am

Penguins prove to be too much

The Penguins proved to be to much the whole series.  They actually outplayed the Caps like this for almost every game with double digit shot leads in 5 of the 7 games and 76 more shots total.  The only differance is that the Pens had a little better goaltending tonight although still not up to Fleury's play of last years playoffs.  If not for the goaltending woes of Fleury and Val playing well for some of those games this would of been over in 4-5 games.  The play was actually no different and in fact in games 3 and 6 the Pens controlled the play even more than in game 7 and in game 1 it was about the same. 

I am not saying this to be mean but the truth is I believe the Caps are far from being a true Cup contender and I will give you my reasons for this.  1.  The Caps turn the puck over way to many times and in every game the Pens seemed to have a ton of steals and odd man rushes and you can't win consistantly for 4 rounds playing that type of game.  2. The Caps D is also very poor and they let our forwards sit in front of the net all series with several shots in a row after rebounds.  3. Goaltending was good but I think it was a fluke and we will find out next season when Val has more games played.  I just saw him give up way too many rebounds and his glove hand seems suspect.  I think when more teams study his weaknesses he will get exposed and the Pens had 4 or more goals on him in those last 3 games after watching his tendencies.  I am not saying he has no chance of becoming a good goalie but he is no sure thing to be because his #'s in the AHL were nothing special and several goalies down there had better #'s and even Curry from our AHL team had almost exact #'s and I think Curry's might have been slightly better and we see him as nothing more than a back up if he is lucky. 

The bottom line is if the Caps don't change the way they play they will not go far in any year.  Anyone that watched these games objectively knows that the Pens should have had more laughers than just game 7 because they outplayed the Caps badly in every game.  The Caps had the same scare from the Rangers going to 7 even though the Caps badly outplayed them and the same thing happened this round but it was the Pens who dominated the play.

Since: Feb 2, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2009 10:59 am

Penguins prove to be too much

blueshoe - you said,

"how sweet was it to see Ovechkin turning the puck over on the penalty kill and having Crosby go in on a breakaway and beat Varlamov like a rented mule?"

Actually, how dumb are you. That was against Theodore. Varly was out by then. Learn your facts and then come back.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 10:45 am

Penguins prove to be too much

What I saw last night was a team out of gas.  Having to come back from 3-1 to the Rangers and then 3-2 to the Pens proved to be too much.  However, too be a truly great team, you gotta suck it up and find a way to get the job done.  Guess it's on to rooting for the winner of the Bruins/Canes series. 

As for Varly, he is going to be top notch.  This guy has been peppered with shots all series long.  Think we saw last night that is finally took its toll.  He'll be back.  And, they team him up with Michal Neuvirth, the Caps are set with netminders for years to come.

Now, the work needs to be done on the D, not taking so many penalties (no surprise Pitt had no penalties last night, been going their way all series) and their turnover problems.  They've got the offensive minded defensman in Green, they need some more stonewallers on D though.  Maybe Sloan or Schultzie step up.  Maybe they make a deal.  Regardless, the Caps have good, young talent and should be a contender for years to come.  

After dealing with the heartbreaks of the 80s, the unlikey Cup appearance in 98, the dreadful Jagr experiment (an aside:  Jagr = pure scumbag.  He forces his way out of the Burgh, phones it in while with DC, plays decent for the Rangers and then cashes in when the Russians come calling.  Enjoy your Rubels, Douche), and the recent last place finishes, it is now a great time to be a Caps fan.  Thanks for the great season gents. looking for bigger and better things next year.   

Since: May 14, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:48 am

Penguins prove to be too much

As a Rangers fan, The Caps and their showboat leader got what they deserve.....No more showing up the fans by jumping on their logo at Center Ice.....No more hockey for Washington- I say good for them.....

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 9:33 am

Penguins prove to be too much

The Penguines deserved to win this series and maybe this is the season when Crosby finaly wins his first Cup.

FINALLY?  The kid can't even grow a beard and we're talking about it like it's been haunting him like Dan Marino.  This is only his third playoffs, second without a broken foot, and if he wins it this year...I don't have my facts straight but he would probably be the youngest captain ever to win a cup.  If he's playing football he just got drafted, he has another 15 years in this league (SCARY to think that the Burgh will have Sid the Kid and Big Ben around for a while). 

Another Completely side note...I moved from Pittsburgh to VA after college and there are many Caps/Skins fans...I was thinking about/talking alot of s*** about the Major Metro Areas and the last one to win a title in any major sports (NOT MLS Soccer) and think that DC might be the city with the largest drought...or is it Minnesota?  Any insight?

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