Monday, October 20, 2008

Pre-Game Thoughts: 10/21/08 Washington Capitals at Calgary Flames

For 27 year old defenseman Tyler Sloan, Hollywood itself could not have delivered a better script. The rugged Calgary, Alberta native has been a career journeyman through the ECHL and AHL ranks, not yet having a chance to suit up for NHL action, excluding preseason.

Until tonight

And what better way for Sloan to get his first crack at the bigs than in his home town in front of his family and friends.
"I didn't think it was going to be this soon, but I'm ecstatic," Sloan said of the call-up. "I'm going to Calgary, my hometown, you can't ask for any more than that."

Sloan will indeed have his work cut out for him, joining a depleted defensive corps who is without the veteran leadership of Tom Poti. Poti is sidelined with a groin injury and will not suit up for tonight's game. This will give Sloan an opportunity to see ice-time both at even strength, and most probably on the penalty kill as well.

Sloan will not be the only home town boy in a Capitals uniform tonight fellow defensemen Mike Green and Jeff Schultz also hail from The Stampede City.

Washington will be taking on a Calgary Flames club that hasn't quite lived up to their standards so far this season. A team that prides itself on defense has yet to find a way to put it all together, sputtering out to a 1-3-1 start to their year.

However the off-season acquisitions of Todd Bertuzzi and Mike Cammalleri seem to be paying off as they are both producing at a point per game status.

It will be important for the Capitals to perform as they did against Vancouver, in regards to using their offense as their best form of defense. In that game they held the Canucks to only 10 shots on goal, and coasting to an easy 5-1 win. Given the injures to not only Poti, but Viktor Kozlov and Donald Brashear, Washington will have to use their strong fore check and team play to cover for their lack of man power.

So far this season, Jose Theodore has paralleled A Tale of Two Cities, a Charles Dickens classic to many a Caps fan. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That has essentially summed it up for the French Canadian net minder who has shown flashes of brilliance, but also hasn't erased the memories of the last three seasons of the Olaf Kolzig era (1995-2008). His play has been indicative of his confidence, which seems to fluctuate as the game progresses. It will be interesting to see if he can put in his first well rounded performance of the season tonight.

For the Flames, word is that Curtis McElhinney may get the start tonight, but that has yet to be confirmed nor denied, so for the time being we will assume it will be Mikka Kiprusoff in the pipes.

Here's hoping Tyler Sloan writes himself into the record books in a very special way.


I Rock the Red said...

DAMN, that was a nice hit for Sloan. Too bad they couldn't capitalize on the NINE MINUTE power play that him getting jumped afterwords generated for them...!

TJ CAPS8 said...

Agreed, in my eyes they really didn't show much urgency all game and it ended up costing them.

Hopefully they can get their game on track for the next 2 road games.