Occasionally, KOL will provide postgame analysis and feedback throughout the season. Tonight, Adam attended the preseason game against Columbus (many thanks to On Frozen Blog for the free tickets) and here are his thoughts. This is Caps Wrap. Not to be confused with Caps Rap.
– Eric Fehr was tonight’s first star and rightfully so. Fehr, for lack of a better term, is an absolute stud. Both of his goals came from right in front of the crease and he led the team with six shots. Fehr makes top-six money, but will probably make his living on the third line. What a steal for the Caps.
– Michal Neuvirth definitely showed flashes of brilliance tonight, making plenty of acrobatic saves. The goals he surrendered were caused by heavy screens, so he can’t be held completely responsible. ESPN made a bold fantasy prediction earlier this week by saying that Neuvirth will supplant Semyon Varlamov as the starter by the end of the season. Based on his preseason, it is definitely possible.
– Both Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault display amazing speed and maneuverability. David Steckel might be the odd man out come the regular season.
– The Caps’ feistiness is refreshing. Throughout the preseason, players like Matt Hendricks and D.J. King have stood up for their teammates. Tonight, Tyler Sloan, John Erskine and even Alexander Ovechkin defended teammates. Sloan dropped the gloves in defense of Hendricks, who was knocked out of the game early on by an open-ice hit. After Mike Knuble took a hit along the boards, Ovechkin sprinted across the ice and scuffled with Columbus’ Nick Holden (ironically in the same spot where he got into a fight last season against Columbus and got injured). A degree of grittiness will go a long way for this team.
– However, said grittiness can lead to dumb penalties. The Capitals were shorthanded seven times and gave up two PP goals. The penalty kill has been a source of frustration and a primary focus for the Caps so far, but this game wouldn’t have been as close if the Capitals didn’t “fall off the wagon” as head coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. Roughing penalties were a reoccurring theme throughout the night. The Caps should be rough around the edges, but not all over.