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Capitals-Sabres features a lot of disappointment

Dec 26, 2011, 9:47 AM EDT

Alex Ovechkin, Christian Ehrhoff Getty Images

If things played out in real life they way they did on paper, tonight’s Caps-Sabres game in Buffalo would be the post-Christmas treat. Like Ralphie ultimately getting his Red Ryder BB gun in “A Christmas Story,” we’d be watching Alex Ovechkin and the soaring Caps battle Ryan Miller and the reborn Sabres.

Instead, we’re treated to a pair of teams failing to live up to expectations and disappointing everyone in their hometowns.

Oh, fudge.

The only questions hinging on tonight’s game, instead, are who are the most disappointing players on the ice? The easy candidates are quick to be found. For Washington, you can take your pick amongst Tomas Vokoun, Alexander Semin, or even Ovechkin himself.

Vokoun was thought to be the top guy in net but he’s been miserable. Making those matters worse is that Michal Neuvirth hasn’t been able to seize the spotlight making the Caps goaltending a serious sore spot. Semin’s struggles are all too well known while Ovechkin is trying to get his game figured out under Dale Hunter. When things are going badly, everything looks ugly.

Buffalo’s hit list is immense. Ville Leino and Ryan Miller are equally goat-like with Christian Ehrhoff continuing to make people wonder why Sabres GM Darcy Regier gave him a ten-year contract. Thomas Vanek has been a source of inspiration for the Sabres, but now he’s banged up. If Miller were living up to expectations and not busy complaining all the time, maybe the Sabres wouldn’t have such worries.

Instead, times are tough in Buffalo yet again and Lindy Ruff too is busy voicing his displeasure about things other than his team’s play. If tonight’s game set up the right way, both teams would beat each other’s faces in to get a win and start turning things around. Don’t consider our hopes up too high though, we’ve been burned doing that already with these two.

  1. danphipps01 - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Buffalo’s got the excuse that like a third of their roster was missing at the same time. The Capitals have everyone of note but Mike Green. They just find ways to suck despite that.

  2. rabidbillsfan - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I would like to say, that since the trip over-seas, the game against Toronto on thursday was the absoulute best I have seen this team play all season. I saw tons of energy, even though a bit reckless at times, but that is alot better than the lead-foot effort we have been getting. In the last two games, Miller has woken up, something has clicked I think and he should turn things around. The Ottawa game was a prime example of what Miller can do when he is on his game. All three goals in that game were a result of the other guys on the ice taking time off, Miller was stellar. The Toronto game was more of the same, except that last goal was on him. Sure, we could take the easy way out and say the injuries have killed this team, but I won’t. Kassian, Adam, McNabb, Tropp, and Szechura have stepped in and, as far as I’m concerned, have upgraded this roster. Heck, I’d even say with a straight face that the Top-5 guys are Vanek, Pominville, Ellis, Adam, and McNabb, with Kassian in the mix there as well. This team will be in a strange situation when guys start getting healthy, and that can only be good news.

  3. stakex - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    The Caps problems are pretty easy to figure out.

    First of all, they don’t have a goalie thats worth a damn right now. Sure the team hasn’t played great in front of either Vokoun or Neuvirth, but both have struggled to make simple saves at key times this year. Nothing hurts a struggling team more then seening your goalie give up a weak goal in a close game… and thats happened quite a few times this year for the Caps.

    Second, their offense was built to be a run and gun race horse that could out score anyone they played. The problem? For the last year and a half now that race horse has been put in the stable and asked to play defense… and we are seeing how well that works out. If Hunter wanted to look like a hero he would think about taking the Caps back to their “best defense is an over powering offense” days. Sure the Caps never actually won the Cup under that system (personaly I never blamed their old system for their post season issues), but at this point they don’t even look like they are going to make the playoffs trying to play defense first hockey.

    • gianthatr - Dec 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      Wow I couldn’t agree more with what you said….Draft a run and gun team and then ask them to play defense? I don’t get it. Can’t tell if that is coming from Leonsis or McPhee?

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