Thursday, January 20, 2011

Caps 2 Isles 1 1-20-11

Well, not the home coming that Kyle was looking for, but considering how long it has been since he was in the line-up, he did just fine.

Okposo played a little over 18 minutes and had a total of 8 shots, 1 on net, 5 blocked and 2 that missed. Not bad for a first game back. He handled the media well during the post game interviews as well. His team mates had nothing but great things to say about him. They're happy to have him on the ice as well as in the room.

Frans Nielsen admitted to a little rust. "Definitely not my best game." He played 16:27 and only had 3 shots. He spoke to Stan Fischler in a quiet tone, as most of them do after a loss. He's looking forward to tomorrow. "It's always nice to have a game the next day when you lose. You forget about this, and think about tomorrow."

The room was bear and quiet when we entered as Shakey and his crew hurried to pack gear for the trip to Buffalo. Michael Grabner stood in front of his bear stall as the lone goalscorer for the Islanders. His speed is superb. His vision is improving.

Matt Martin was sitting in his stall mixing his protein shake. I looked over and smiled at him. He has the best sneakers I've ever seen. They have Islander logos on the tongue and orange & blue stripes. I want a pair.

It was Konopka's turn to get crushed by the cameras. "We gotta find a way to get points." But big Z felt they did compete. It's not easy to keep the Capitals to only two goals, both of which came off of Alexander Ovechkin passes. But the defense kept on Great8 like white on rice, holding him to those two assist points. "We battled, we hit, we got to the loose pucks. We have to find a way to find the back of the net."

He said they have to be ready tomorrow. "We have to go in there with a chip on our shoulder. We can't be happy to just show up."

If the problem is slow starts the team is experiencing, then Zenon Konopka attributes that to youth. Jack Capuano didn't quite agree. "They're professional hockey players." But Jack knows, in this league you can't take a second off or it will hurt you.

He wants them to get to the net. As he always says, "Manage the puck, manage the clock." Tonight, they tried, but couldn't manage that tying goal to send the game to OT.

Rick DiPietro, who would have been peppered with questions about his wanderlust tonight did not stay in the room to speak to the reporters. He undressed, Mike Dunham came in to speak with him and then he walked out. The room was told that Rick would not be available for questions because he was "on the table getting IVs."

My personal opinion was they could have just said he wasn't going to be available. But it seems that Rick did not make the trip tonight as they rushed out to beat the snow to Buffalo.

So who will start tomorrow in net? Lawson or Poulin? Because it obviously won't be Ricky.

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