Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Finding New Scorers

There had to have been some concern in Mudville, aka Washington DC, when the mighty Ovechkin was given a three-game suspension for leaving his feet and checking Zbynek Michalek's head into the boards a couple of nights ago. After all, the vast majority of Washington's offence seems to filter through Ovechkin, and with Backstrom on the shelf and Semin doing his best Harry Houdini disappearance trick, there was every reason to believe that Washington's next three games could set them back. Tonight's game against the Bruins could have been considered a lost cause with the way the Bruins have been playing, but the Capitals should really consider looking to Hershey when the chips are down and they need a shake-up.

Mathieu Perreault was a star with the Hershey Bears last season, and earned himself a few call-ups to Washington that resulted in him seeing action in 35 NHL games. He had 11 goals and 24 assists in 34 games with the Bears, and then used his limited action in the NHL to put up seven goals and seven assists in the 35 games he got in the NHL. His efforts last season and in training camp this season earned him a roster spot with the Capitals, and he showed why the Capitals have faith in him on Tuesday night.

Mathieu Perreault scored his first NHL hat trick in helping the Capitals beat the Bruins by a 5-3 score. Perreault scored two in the second period, including one on a breakaway, and the third tally in the third period. Perreault's accomplishment shows that while he can play a more defensive role as a thrid- or fourth-liner, he certainly deserves an opportunity to step into a scoring role when given the opportunity.

While Perreault was a star with Hershey for the Bears, there are a number of other players that the Capitals could call on in times of need. Keith Aucoin is having himself an outstanding season thus far, amassing 11 goals and 59 assists in 43 games. Winger Chris Bourque has 21 goals and 43 assists in 43 games, while Jacob Micflikier has 19 goals and 29 assists in 44 games. The Capitals have one of the deepest farm teams in recent memory, yet they rarely call up these fantastic offensive players.

Granted, some of the players on the Bears would need to clear waivers in order to play with Washington, and that would be a detriment to the AHL club if the Bears were to lose a great player on the waiver wire. But the Capitals are spending money on players down their roster that they really don't have to pay when they could simply sign some of their highly-talented minor-league talent to play up.

There could be opportunities in the future, though. Mike Knuble will turn 40 on July 4 while Jeff Halpern will be 36 on May 3. If the Capitals need these two players replaced, they may need to only make one phone call. And that call could bring in two players with a high offensive ability that the Capitals simply aren't getting out of their grizzled veterans right now that they can desperately use.

All in all, Perreault had himself a whale of a game, and he looked like he did in Hershey for the last few seasons. Great jump from the former Acadie-Bathurst Titan in notching his first hat trick of the season! Here's hoping the Capitals lean on their farmhands a little more if they find themselves in need of some scoring!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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