Beninati: Lengthy Shootout Win

Beninati: Lengthy Shootout Win

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caps fans love it when a lengthy shootout goes their way and tonight's game gave them an awful lot to appreciate. This game had so many twists and turns. Let's work backwards from the end of the game, back to the opening period.Semyon Varlamov was exceptional in the shootout. His cat-like reflexes were on display as eleven Islanders tried to beat him and only Jeff Tambellini succeeded.The Caps were also stymied byDwayne Roloson at the other end. Alex Semin scored in round two for the home team and then Chris Clark rifled home the eventual game winner in the 11th round. Before that an Islander had the game on his stick, eight straight times to no avail.The Islanders never give up in a hockey game, so it was no surprise to see them rally to tie the game late in regulation. Trent Hunter's 30-foot slapshot was overpowering with 2:08 left, giving the New Yorkers a power play goal that forced overtime. What else is new when these two teams play? Seven of their last nine meetings have not been settled in regulation.Alex Ovechkin would have loved to play in this one. It was a wide open offensive showcase from the beginning. I don't expect Alex to play in this weekend's games. But he had to pleased when his buddy Alex Semin scored just eight seconds into the game with an evil slapshot. That marker tied the Caps record for fastest goal from the start of a game, equaling the late Gaetan Duchesne's goal against St. Louis in March of 1987.The Islanders took that early uppercut and came back with a few big punches of their own. Three goals on just five shots prompted an early exit for Jose Theodore. The only goal I didn't care for was the one by Matt Moulson. Theodore left a bad rebound off the initial shot for Mark Streit which was not a tough one to handle.

Lifting Theodore sparked the Caps to rally for their veteran netminder. A young goalie eventually proved to be the hero on a night when Verizon Center was shaking at games end. See you on CSN for Friday's game with Minnesota.

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Many changes in Redskins secondary but David Bruton healthy, ready to go

Many changes in Redskins secondary but David Bruton healthy, ready to go

 With DeAngelo Hall out for the year the Redskins secondary must adjust at one safety position, but on the other side, David Bruton feels just fine.

"I feel good," Bruton said on Wednesday. He explained that he has a few bumps and bruises, but that's normal for Week 4 in the NFL. Bruton added that after the game in New York he  iced his knee, but his hamstring felt just fine. 

The former Broncos special teams star has started three games for the Skins at safety this season. He almost grabbed two interceptions last week against the Giants, but has had other plays where he seemed out of alignment. That problem is not unique to Bruton, however, as in various spots the 'Skins defense has seem confused in different formations depending on down and distance. 

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As for the Redskins secondary expect to continue to see Bruton lined up at safety, now most often next to Will Blackmon. While Deshazor Everett and Duke Ihenacho should get more snaps than they had been, at this point, it seems unlikely Bruton's play will be reduced. Before Hall went down in New York on some third downs Blackmon replaced Bruton. Obviously, for the remainder of the season that plan won't work. 

"We have a lot of good options out there," 'Skins coach Jay Gruden said. "Not overly concerned about the defensive backfield."

Against the Giants on one near interception Bruton and rookie Su'a Cravens went for the same Eli Manning pass, and after the game in the locker room, the players joked about who was to blame for not getting the pick. On the other, it appeared Bruton pulled off a remarkable interception, stealing the ball from Giants running back Bobby Rainey in the end zone. Replay ruled the pass incomplete, prompting confusion from Gruden.

"I’ve heard that everybody says it was an interception except for the replay guy," Gruden said. "I thought his elbow was down, I thought his butt was down, I thought he had control of the ball. I thought it was a clear challengeable play, it just didn’t work out for us. I don’t know what a catch is anymore. I don’t know if anybody does."

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After shadowing Odell Beckham, Redskins have different plans for Josh Norman against Terrelle Pryor

After shadowing Odell Beckham, Redskins have different plans for Josh Norman against Terrelle Pryor

Mountains worth of words were used to predict and then describe Josh Norman's matchup with Odell Beckham last Sunday. On game day, the Redskins star corner ended up primarily covering the Giants star receiver. While Beckham succeeded in going for more than 100 yards, Norman's team got the win, while Beckham set the Internet meme machine ablaze by trying to fight a kicking net.

This week when the Redskins face off against the Browns there will be much less hype, yet another skilled wideout for the Washington defense to contend with in Terrelle Pryor.

"He’s a great athlete," Washington coach Jay Gruden said of Pryor. "He’s big, he’s got great ball skills."

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Last week in a loss to Miami, Pryor accounted for 200 total yards - 144 receiving, 21 rushing and 35 passing - to go with one touchdown. He's been a force for the Browns this season, using his athletic skill and versatility to line up all over the field. A dual-threat quarterback in college at Ohio State, the Browns like to try Pryor in different spots. Perhaps because of his ability to play all over the field, it seems the Redskins do not intend to have Norman travel in coverage on Pryor.

"We’re still working on our game plan now and [Pryor's] all over the place. He’s been a dynamic player in the NFL," Gruden said. "Team defense is gonna have to take him away, somebody different every time possibly."

Gruden called Pryor's early season success one of the "biggest surprises" in the NFL and it's clear the Browns top wideout is on the Redskins radar. Considering Norman didn't shadow Antonio Brown or Dez Bryant during Washington's contests against those two top wideouts, the decision to cover Pryor collectively seems unsurprising. 

That could change, however, if Pryor begins to pile up catches and yards like he did last week in Miami.

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