Sunday, October 30, 2011

Caps/Canucks, 10/29/2011

Nobody panic. Seriously, everyone cut it out, there is no cause for panic. Two games is not even a losing streak it's like a...line segment.

This is not disaster, this is a scratch on the finish of your '65 Shelby Cobra. We still have the best team in the league--time to pick ourselves up and see what we're made of.

Of course we may have to at some point address the problem of what it is with us and Rogers Arena. I don't know if it's built on indian burial grounds or where the Caps voodoo dolls are hidden in the walls of that stadium, but it's now been ten years since the Caps have won at Vancouver. Ten years. Now that's just weird.

Anyyyway. Reluctantly to the recap. I wonder if I could fool those of you who didn't see the game and write that we won?

Probably not.

So the first period was hellish. I do not exaggerate--it was hockey like unto the hockey that they probably make you play in Hell as part as your eternal damnation, in order to drive you crazy and make you mad. The Canucks came out with all the fierceness of hungry Vancouver orcas and it seemed like we couldn't even make it out of our own zone for at least the first five minutes of play. We had puck possession for maybe a millisecond, and every time it seemed like we were putting something together, we got jumped on, dumped the puck, and spent the rest of our lives chasing it down.

Vokoun is keeping us in it at first, as I have come to expect him to do. He's quick to shake me out of this complacency by doing that weird Vokoun thing he does where he lets in that first awful, freak goal--gets out of the net to play the puck, and the puck ends up not quite where he expected it to be. Namely, on Maxim Lapierre's stick.

Yeah, see, Sasha's face right here? That was basically my face. 

Stupid. 1-0. 

The Canucks are bowling for Capitals--for some reason they've decided to hit us early, often, and everywhere. I wonder why that could possibly be. 

Hockey strategy is so great, guys. 

Perrault is getting tossed around like a rag doll--at one point he gets sandwiched between three, literally three guys. This is an entirely new viewing experience and I'm sure it's not a lot of fun for him, either. 


We're still getting very, very little zone time, and everyone is getting flattened. I'm developing an intense dislike of Volpatti. 

Brouwer draws a penalty and thank God for that, because we really need to get our feet under us, here. You'd think that a man advantage would help, but the puck gets cleared basically instantly and we're highly disorganized even when we retrieve it. I miss Mike Green. 

West coast road trips: when I swear loudly on accident while everyone else is asleep. 

All is not lost. The first line starts driving hard at the net, and the Canucks announcer calls Ovechkin a "tiger after his prey". 

Accurate. At least if his prey was a tying goal.

It's one of those hardworking, dirty goals that he's been learning about and like absolutely everything he does--he's getting good at them. He bounces, yells, runs into the glass. God, it's been awhile since I've seen him that excited, and it's fantastic to see a smile on his face.

There's a defensive play from Semin! Caring sighted in real time! But overall the goal is a bright spot in the middle of some more Terrible. We are stuck in our own end again. Send help.

We hi-stick a bitch.

Well, kind of. Very strange replay, turns out Kesler got hit in the...ribs? By possibly his...own stick? Still unsure. Regardless, I guess it's a penalty--because trying to fend off the already-surging Canucks is exactly what we need right now.

Fortunately Vancouver seems committed to wasting most of their PP wandering around in their own zone. What a long setup--but once it gets going it's got some bite to it--a few stellar saves from Vokoun but then Higgins gets a shot on goal, and the most stellar save yet--Vokoun somehow slides the whole length of the goal to get his leg across, there's a rebound and...nobody's there to clear it. Nobody's there to anything. Except Chris Higgins.


Immediately Vokoun has to save our bacon again, when there's a massive defensive breakdown from Sean Collins--to be fair, it's the first big error I've seen from him. Sean Collins is not a bad a. person, b. defenseman, but he's a stopgap. The problem is that you just can't replace what Mike Green does for this team, and we certainly felt that tonight. Easily could have been another goal and wasn't. Collins owes Vokoun a steak dinner. 

I was texting a friend during this next sequence, and the conversation went something like this: 

me: KLFSja8f9gy7au
her: WHAT? what happened? 
her: score? 
her: stick penalty? 

Yep. Stick penalty. 

There's some good work initially on the PK, and some gushing about Carlzner--I was on a Vancouver feed and it's always interesting to hear what they talk about, and in this instance they are smart enough to know that those kids are spectacular. They do spectacular things here, despite our inability to win a faceoff, and halfway through the penalty, Ryan Kesler gets called for hooking right back. 

4-on-4 hockey.

There's a scrum around the net and it seems to be mostly focused around Hendricks destroying people for getting in his netminder's face. Excellent. Not going to complain about that, except if you're Kevin Bieksa. He and Hendricks have words, and I'm sure they're about his Christmas plans, and how his mother is doing.

We get about a half a PP, and we actually take pretty good advantage of it, everything looks beautiful and Backstrom and Semin are putting on a stickhandling clinic.

Someone should tell them that they don't get any points for pretty.

So no points, then, and we go back to even strength--at least we do until Halpern gets called for tripping. This is the wrong kind of deja vu. I do not want it. There's about nine seconds left in the period, but unfortunately, it takes them only five.


17 shots against. Dear Caps: I don't know what's in your head right now, but this team is not better than you. They are not. Not this year.

In the second period, the big surprise is that Neuvirth is in goal. It's awesome to see him, and to see that he's feeling better, but this is definitely a surprise, since neither of the last two goals on Vokoun were particularly easy or "bad" goals. Strange.

This is a good period--or at least, a much better one. Ovechkin is fierce and full of energy, anyone in his path gets destroyed.

That includes the score. 3-2.

Now I know that we lost and all, but I have to say it was almost a little bit worth it just to see him play like that again, he can light up a whole stadium when he's feeling good. He loves to score goals--still--loves it, and he just hasn't had the chance to get into that in awhile.

There are dangerous shifts from dangerous lines--for some reason Vigneault is matching us first line for first line, which, okay, but the difference this period is that we are dangerous back. There's a lot of up and down the ice, both teams get good shots--there's a very pretty glove save from Neuvirth and back down the other way, Knuble gets the puck, one on one and--

Gets hauled down by Edler, in what's clearly, clearly going to be a penalty shot. Not exactly the guy we'd expect to draw our first penalty shot, but this is awesome--Knuble is not exactly a sniper but I trust him with this any day.

This is a hilarious sequence, and I mean hilarious. Luongo actually catches the shot, and then it somehow--bounces out of his glove, over his own shoulder, and then he dives after it and smothers it in the back of his net. Oh Luongo, your life is so sad.

The Vancouver crowd shrieks as if in physical pain. Tie game.

We've got the momentum and Luongo is scrambly--he can feel the crowd glaring at the back of his head. Ovechkin is looking like a charging bull tonight--captain's leading the way, and he'd really like the team to come along. 

Alex Edler has to go and ruin our momentum by scoring with assists from Henrik and Daniel Sedin. This goal is preposterously Swedish. 4-3.

Johansson tries to make it even Swedisher with a good shot on goal, but it doesn't happen. Not yet. 

Brouwer, who's been generally all over the place, takes a delay of game penalty and I am not amused. I am too frozen with fear during the PK to do anything, like you know, breathe. If we everrrr won a faceoff, that would probably really help. 

Continuing nonsense from Brouwer. Maybe it's the ex-Chicago factor. I like him and I like what he brings to our team--but he is not sleeping in the bed tonight. 

We're at 27 shots against, but the penalty is killed. We get some pressure going--the lines have been shuffled all to hell and Semin's on the top line for some reason, but whatever's happening, it's working. There's some kind of error at the Canucks bench, leaving Ovechkin with way, way more space than you want to leave Ovechkin--some lovely passing happens, Johansson gets the puck with all the time in the world, and he scores, and it's beautiful. 

Tied again.

Unfortunately the third period has a lot more in common with the first period than the second--we have a pretty good start, but the announcer is reminding me that last game-winning goal in this building was Adam Oates from Calle Johansson. Lord.

There's a kind of crazy moment when Bieksa basically tackles Ovechkin, who had basically tacked Hamhuis.

The press has their priorities in order tonight, so there is a picture of this. Fuck yeah.

There's some pressure in return because that is what Vancouver does. I am actually covering my eyes for part of this, which is a bad habit, but at least it saves me from seeing the awful offensive-zone penalty taken by Ovechkin.

Why, team? Why?

But yet another great kill--if you want lots of ice time on the Washington Capitals at the moment, be a penalty killer. Joel Ward is a hero and shot blocks without a stick. The word "fearless" is used.

Neuvirth appears to make a save, there's a lot of shoving in the crease and--goal? Apparently that's a good goal? Replay shows that Neuvirth thought he had it in his glove and it somehow squeaked out to the other side, and also shows Carlson LEAPING over the top of Neuvirth in an attempt to save it. Amazingly, there is a picture of this too.

I am so happy.

Not with the score, of course, which is now 5-4.

We get some plays going again, the first line is making some things happen and FUCK WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU'RE SCORING AGAIN. 

We are doing our best impression of flies hitting a windshield. Our little guys are spending a lot of time on their asses, but nobody's giving up yet. 

Salo gets called for holding. Stop giving me hope, hockey, this is cruel. 

The goalies we play seem to have no issue finishing lately--whatever hilarity had occurred earlier with Luongo, he seems to be just fine now. 

He takes away my captain's hat trick with a truly ridiculous save, which has to be actually, morally wrong on some level. 

Lapierre scores. Caps are up past their bedtime. 

I assume some hockey happens beyond this, but it's a little fuzzy because I was in the pit of despair. There's definitely some parts where the Vancouver crowd chants "Ovi", which is puzzling both because he has scored two goals on you tonight, Vancouver, and if you want to make him mad, paying a lot of attention to him is probably not the way to go. It's sort of awesome in a way that he's that guy again--that lightning rod, because this was a pretty good game for him, loss regardless. 

And it was a loss. 

Honestly, I'd rather lose like this than like we did to the Oilers--they outplayed us, and to some extent we outplayed ourselves, but there was nothing about it that seemed unfair--it was a fast, exciting game that broke the wrong direction. There were plenty of errors but they're easily identified, and that was not even close to our best. When we start losing on our A game, then I'll panic. 

We lost. We'll be okay. Now's not the time to mope, it's time to patch up what's broken, and try not to do any more damage in the meantime. Championship teams aren't the ones who never lose. Don't be silly. Championship teams are the ones who lose and get over it, so let's do that instead. 

Ducks Tuesday, and we're at home. Get some sleep, Caps. Kiss your wives, tell Mike Green and John Erskine how much you miss them. 

Let's go Caps. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

le positivity

  • Two goals from Ovechkin, and the kind of light-up exuberance that I haven't seen from him in what feels like forever. 
  • Hilarious penalty shot goal by Knuble. HILARIOUS. 
  • Fast, crazy hockey game. Fun to watch except the losing. 
  • Did someone screencap Chimera being totally unconcerned about Bieksa getting in his face, because I want a screencap of that. 
  • Vancouver crowd chanting "Ovi". Well okay. Don't you know he likes attention? 
  • There was no give up in the last ten minutes of play there. None. 
  • Back home again. We are just not west coast birds. Home will be better. 

    Calm down. Deep breath.

    Caps will never lose again.

    thirty second soapbox: visors

    Issue: Visor use in the NHL. 
    For or against?: For. 
    Why?: Because maybe they make it harder to see, but so does a hockey stick through your face. 
    Solution: Make visors mandatory. Even if players whine. 

    Exhibit A: 

    Exhibit B: 

    Exhibit C:

    Most recent incident: Brooks Laich taking a puck to the face in the Oilers game that missed his eye by about a quarter of an inch. 

    Personal bias: I have an eye injury phobia, and I certainly don't want to see anyone lose an eye when I'm watching sports. 

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Caps/Oilers, 10/27/2011

    Oh, right, losing. That's how it feels, again.

    Remember how graceful of a winner I am? Yeah, I'm an even worse loser.

    So I was halfway into a road trip for this game, meaning that for the first time this season I was listening to it on the radio, which is bad luck I guess? Either that or it was that I didn't have my lucky shirt on for the first time this season, which is definitely bad luck. Either way, the streak is broken. Unfortunately, it was broken in a terrible, stupid, ugly, badly officiated game and I feel so sorry for the people who had to be in the car with me while it was going on, but oh well. We've been worse off--and we didn't die or anything. Caps will never lose again.

    It took me a good five minutes to find the game on the radio, and I tuned in just in time to get entirely the wrong impression about what kind of game it was going to be.

    Alzner goal! Love it. Alzner's not the kind of player who scores very often, nor do we really need him to--that's not his job, he's the one who makes things safe and steady and rock solid and lets other people build on that. Still, that makes it all the much more fun and cool when he does. Great PP setup, good screen--Joel Ward makes a better door than a window.

    Spoiler alert! This is the Caps' only lead of the game. After this, things start to go downhill fast.

    Matt Hendricks gets tripped, thank God there's a penal--WHAT DO YOU MEAN, DIVING? THIS IS MATT FUCKING HENDRICKS, YOU DON'T EVEN. WHAT IN THE.

    I hate this stupid call--I feel indignant and huffy, as if Hendricks' honor has been called into question somehow. Nothing to be done. Incidental minors and we go to four-on-four.

    Our penalty kill's been stellar, so if that was the worst thing that happened this period we'd probably be okay, but we can't catch a break. Semin gets called for hooking and we're down again only minutes later. Bad news bears. The Oilers are not a particularly lethal team, but when they're given this much of a handicap there's cause for worry, because they can shoot, and they can skate.

    But we kill it, because we are the best.

    Smyth slashes MJ90 and we get a penalty of our own, though Johansson goes down the tunnel holding his wrist and it almost seems not worth it if he's really hurt. It hardly gets off the ground--Carlson gets called for delay of game, and then Hamrlik for hooking, and our man advantage is pulled out from under us like a rug in a rude and outrageous manner. I get the feeling that the refs would like some attention.

    My emotional state over this two minute period as expressed by emoticons: :D to D: to :| to >/


    The PK does its best, but fuck me, it's a four-on-three and we are beleagured. Eberle to Hall, cross-crease, Vokoun's got no chance.

    There is no picture of Hall scoring so here is a picture of Hall getting hit instead. Kinda better anyway.

    We still outplay them by a good bit over the whole first period, shots are 9-5 despite the penalties. MJ doesn't come back out the rest of the first and so I am anxious to see if he's on the ice for the second, but he is. Tough kid.

    The second doesn't get off to much of a better start--Hamrlik and Wideman get stuck out on way too long of a shift--you know, that thing we usually force other teams into, that doesn't usually happen to us.

    More downhill. Schultz is called for hooking and I am not a happy Caps fan. These are not all the ref's fault anymore, but there are other things not being called on the Oilers and it's unbelievably frustrating. Ana Rage Level: huffy.

    Luckily the Penalty Killahs are on point. We hold them off, but these PK heroes have to be getting tired. Shots are 11-6 for us, but we look lost defensively and there is no offense to be found in all of the land. We can't catch the rhythm of this game and it's really not surprising.

    Andy Sutton is needlessly fucking with MJ, which is all that Andy Sutton is good for. No call. Cross checks, elbows, no call. Andy Sutton literally punches Johansson, no call no call no call. Ana Rage Level: swearing like a sailor.

    Meanwhile Brouwer is headed to the box, which TOTALLY MAKES SENSE. Refs. Fucking. No one approves of this shit.

    Eberle scores. Ana Rage Level: Looney Tunes. The kind where your eyes go in spirals and smoke comes out of your ears. About a minute later, Johansson closes his hand on the puck, and this isn't one of those boring other sports where you catch things with your hands and run around on solid ground in cleats and things--that's a penalty. On the positive side, it means that MJ's hand is probably all right, on the negative side it is our seventh, count 'em, seventh penalty of the night.

    We kill it. Thank God for the brave men of our shutdown units, but the nightmare is not over yet. Penalty to Perrault for WHO EVEN CARES ANYMORE. EIGHTH PENALTY. CAN WE PLAY HOCKEY OR.



    Ana rage level: VOLCANIC.

    The intermission comes before I go on a tri-state killing spree. I cool down slightly. Threat level orange. I need a new period to start though, because this has turned into one of those games where my irrational feeling of injustice has made it feel like a must-win. We need redemption. We need to stop taking penalties. 

    Ovechkin skates the first shift like he's on fire--he's been bottled up for the better part of two periods, because he doesn't penalty kill and that's alllll we've been doing. The first line attacks with a righteous fury, and in fact everyone is looking very good--but we don't need good at the moment, we need goals.

    Penalty called on Smid, and we get our first PP in twenty-five minutes--the refs are sorry, but they're not fucking sorry enough. MJ is slow getting to his feet once again, Smid's elbow might have made contact with his head. Sic 'em, Shanahan.

    We still look good, but Khabibulin is unreasonably solid tonight--I'd seen him on the league leaders board a few times but hadn't thought anything of it, since being Khabibulin, he will likely implode at some point pretty soon. Unfortunately it is too early in the season for this implosion, and he is just being infuriating. On the PP he risks his life by taking away my game-tying goal. Robbery.

    Shots are 9-0. Caps will raze this place to the earth and salt the ground for a goal.

    Brooks Laich takes a puck to the face, and the conspiracy against Caps faces continues. Laich's face may not survive the season.

    We get 500000 chances and they're not going in. Halak Khabibulin is stopping them all. This is painful. We get another PP but it's futile and everything is terrible--the universe gives Wideman a great shot that rings off the post, just to mock us.


    Call us when you make the playoffs, you good-for-nothing teenage hoodlums.

    So that wasn't fun. I'd rather lose a game--well, basically any other way than that. We certainly didn't get outplayed, except maybe by their goalie, and that means it's the kind of loss that just doesn't settle well--but hey, this is our first loss of the game. This isn't even close to desperation, shit was just lame and the Oilers got a blowjob from the officials. Happens.

    We're back down to earth, we're mortals again--but this is a good thing, because I am not sure if hockey gods are eligible for the Stanley Cup. This is just a scratch, and it's motivation. Vancouver Saturday.

    Let's go Caps.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Caps history according to me

    From time to time I find myself feeling like I have to apologize for not having been a Capitals fan for all thirty-seven years that the franchise has been around--mostly because I haven't even been alive for thirty-seven years, but also because I grew up in perhaps the least sports-inclined family in the history of the world. If you are one of those people who think true fandom is determined by how long you have been a fan, as if fans are cheese or wine or some nonsense, then you may show yourself off my blog because I do not have time for your crying. 

    Like many other Caps fans, especially those suddenly enlightened to the existence of the Best Hockey Team In the World by the bright shining light of the Ovechkin Star--most of my knowledge about the franchise is self-taught. And so I present to you my understanding of Capitals history in graphic form, as built on a haphazard combination of research, anecdotes, video montages, excellent friends, and experience. Any resemblance to actual history or persons is entirely coincidental.

    * hi-res links under each picture, because I'm pretty sure you can't read any of that as is.
    ** unless you are an eagle or something I guess

    Ana vs. the Big Deal bar

    Unnecessarily dramatic title.

    Spoiler alert: I win.

    But no, all that's going on in this post is that on my road trip to Canada, I found one of the new Ovechkin-endorsed Big Deal bars in a gas station convenience store, was entirely too thrilled about it, and purchased it on the spot to squirrel it away in my purse back to America.

    Where I promptly forgot about it for three weeks.

    --Until my laptop wouldn't fit in my purse right and I discovered the candy bar again at the bottom, slightly melted but intact. So here we are. The time has come to find out if I can indeed Be Big Deal like Ovechkin by eating the candy bar that assures me that I can.

    Of course I choose to explore this via the medium of terrible webcam pictures. Sorry, blog. I continue to ruin the quality of you.

    This is what it looks like uneaten.

    Well, more or less what it look like. Imagine it slightly less deformed. It looked very nice in the shop, I promise. Very nice yellow color, very eye-catching. Ovechkin's-Laces-Yellow.

    And this is what it looks like opened. Once again slightly deformed on account of being melted at some point, so I have no idea if this is actually what it's supposed to look like or not--but obviously it's some kind of chocolate, which therefore means that it is good.

    This is what it looks like in the middle--couple layers of wafers and what looks like caramel, and it turns out that the weird texture on the outside is pieces of peanuts covered in chocolate.  NONE OF THIS IS BAD.

    What it tastes like: ....a candy bar.

    ...No, seriously. The wafers are a nice touch, it's very crunchy and there's a couple of different flavors I can't put my finger on. Vanilla? Maybe? It gets a little boring as you keep eating it, but it's not at all bad. As endorsements go, this one is a LOT more fun than Bauer or Nike.

    Most importantly, do I feel like a big deal now?

    ...Yes. Yes I do. But it's probably the endorphins.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    dear people who keep telling me that it's only October:

    Thank you for for your helpful tip! I do in fact own a calendar, but if am curious at any point during the year as to what month it is, how far it is from the playoffs, etc, I will be sure to consult one of you.

    There seems to be some questioning of why the Caps' hot start is a big deal, and overall it seems to be from the same kinds of people who will tell you not to take the preseason seriously, as if there's really any part of the season that can be discounted. But if you're curious about why it is that I'm excited about the Caps' seven-game streak, I will explain it to you!

    • Winning is better than losing. 
    • Winning is better than losing, even if it's only October.
    • It would be more significant if it was April, but seeing as I do not own a time machine, there is nothing I can do about that. 
    • When you win hockey games in the NHL, they award you these things called points. These points are then accumulated over the course of a season and used to determine who does and does not get into the playoffs. Believe it or not, these points are awarded for games played even in October. 
    • These are also used to determine what seed a team is in the playoffs, which is also important! 
    • Points are good. 
    • So is winning. 

    If you think that I'm overexcited now, you should see me in April. Hockey is about excited--it's about getting jacked up on Hockey Feelings and yelling obscenities at your TV, that's why I watch it instead of say, golf, or televised poker. Beware, anyone who tells me to not make a big deal about this--it is a big deal, and if your team was 7-0, you'd be excited too. 

    We can only play the games that are in front of us. As much as people seem to think we should only be concerned about the playoffs, we can't skip ahead. While I recognize that this is an incredibly small sample size and our current level of play is likely impossible maintain, that doesn't mean that it's not happening. If I'm not allowed to take any numbers seriously until the playoffs, it is going to be a long fucking season. 

    So yep. I'm excited. Wait, I'll get my glitter text. 


    Winning is good. 

    Don't worry, the Caps are human. I'm sure at some point things will go downhill, and you'll get to throw all the criticism at them that you want--at the moment, though, it just doesn't make sense. 

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Caps/Wings, 10/22/2011

    Twelve hours later and I am still swanning around, humming to myself, smiling at strangers, laughing to myself for no reason. Winning is a powerful drug, and at seven-oh, we are as high as could be.

    Caps Nation is officially the sunniest and most beautiful place in the league. Please note that it is also a lovely vacation destination, so for those who have not yet visited, consider this your official invitation onto the Caps bandwagon.

    Here is a video of my current mood:

    I hope every one of our players' mornings went exactly like that. They deserve it. Great things are happening here and we get to watch them, and it is so fun.

    Perhaps this is the moment that I should take a step back, realize how much longer we've got to go, and temper my enthusiasm, but I refuse. In fact, here is a large glitter text about my feelings:

    But to the recap!

    Not all of this game was as pretty as the scoreboard implies--in fact, almost none of it was. Detroit is a very dangerous team, and they didn't let us forget that, not from the moment that the puck drops. There's a shot by Cleary more or less instantly that by some miracle of God doesn't go in. Kiss your goalpost, Vokoun.

    On the other hand, this appears to be that one scary shot in the first minute of the game that wakes Vokoun up, and this time, we didn't even lose a goal for it. Good deal.

    Not that anything becomes safer, because it doesn't. Detroit is sieging the castle with everything they've got, and we are flailing haplessly. Every moment in our zone is a disaster waiting to happen.

    There's an audible "Let's Go Wings" chant in the crowd. Go fuck yourselves. You don't come into our house and do that.

    Goat to the rescue. Chant replaced by "Let's Go Caps". Now we can move on.

    Not that there's a lot of "going" happening here. Ovechkin almost gets to the net, but there are about four Red Wings there. They're doing a good job covering him overall, in fact, he's wearing Ian White like a sweater. Annoying.

    Of more concern: Red Wings in our end. It's bad, it's like an infestation. Datsyuk gets an open net and I am absolutely, one hundred percent sure that it's a goal, but somehow Vokoun gets across. It takes another replay for me to understand how it did not go in--unbelievable kick save. Our goalie is a human Slinky.

    And another great save within thirty seconds. These are cool to watch, and all, but I am wishing that he wasn't having to make quite so many of them. This is not my favorite first period ever.

    At the break, the Verizon Center acknowledges Nick Lidstrom's 1500th game. We applaud, because we are classy bitches, and because if you don't like Nick Lidstrom, you are literally a bad person.

    Back into the fray. Johansson gets what may be our first actual scoring chance, but mostly we're still flailing. Cleary gets in Vokoun's face, and Vokoun smacks him upside the head with his blocker. Awesome. For a few moments there's some actual coherent play occurring, and I realize that it's our fourth line. Of course it is.

    Breaking news: Todd Bertuzzi still a jerk, news at eleven.

    Mr. Class and Charm tries to kill John Carlson on icing for no reason, and then acts completely shocked that there's a rule about this. Go to the box until you're sorry. Asshole.

    Full disclosure: I am on a Red Wings feed, which is sometimes fun, I always learn a lot of really great things that I already know. For example, did you know that the Caps have struggled in the playoffs? Or that Ovechkin is occasionally a scoring threat? Journalism!

    Right now I am learning that Green has a hell of a shot from the point.

    This is accurate.


    How about that power play, huh?

    The Red Wings get moving again pretty quickly, Vokoun has to make another save on Cleary. Guess who I am already sick of tonight? Gonna go watch that video of Pronger destroying him to feel better.

    See? Much better now.

    The bothersome thing about playing the Red Wings is that the Red Wings don't make very many mistakes--it's a frustrating system to play against, they're just incredibly competent and consistent with occasional flashes of brilliance. The important part is that when they do make mistakes, we need to take advantage of them.

    Maybe they're tired, but a giveaway right in front of then net isn't the kind of chance we usually get. We take advantage--Knuble swipes it, sends it to Mojo, and he takes the shot. Score.

    Remember that time he was a healthy scratch?

    Me neither.

    There's time for one more heart-stopping moment before the period ends--Mike Green gets in the way of Darren Helm's shot and takes a puck right to the face, goes to the ice. Lord. This man stops more shots just using his head than some goalies I could name. Why does this always happen to Mike Green? I am muy confused.

    I don't know what the issue is lately with Caps faces, but the opposition seems to be targeting all the most beautiful ones. League-wide conspiracy.

    Hudler follows Bertuzzi's example with some ungentlemanly behavior on Wideman, we go to a power play. Why is it that this game is turning dirtier than the Flyers game?

    This power play is basically useless--Caps get some kinda weak chances, Knuble gets a pretty good one at the end that goes off the goalpost.

    I thought you were on our side, post.

    During the intermission, news breaks that Marco Sturm has been traded to Florida, meaning that the next Panthers game will be even MORE awkward. Poor Sturm. Fourth trade in two years. 

    In the second period, Green is out and skating with his chin stitched up. Who needs faces? They're not important to hockey.

    Datsyuk's got miles of clear ice and he shoots. Vokoun stops it. "Vokouuuuuuuuuun" from the crowd. Awkwardly, I have been informed yesterday that this is not actually how you pronounce his name, but he's probably used to this.  

    Wings continue disqualifying themselves from the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and high stick Perrault in the face. Seriously, Wings--I know you're not used to losing, but there's no reason to get nasty. Use your words. 

    This time the power play takes a little longer to get going, but the result is the same. 

    Mike Green, king of all power plays. Rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. 

    There are a lot of Caps fans that have a problem with Green, so let's get this out of the way: Mike Green is awesome. Yes, I realize that some fans don't appreciate him because he hasn't always been the most solid defensively, isn't the most physical, etc. Those fans are wrong. Mike Green is awesome, and we're getting vintage Mike Green play here tonight. Green is fixed, the power play is fixed. Does anyone really think this is a coincidence?

    Nothing on the ice looks like we're up three goals--Wings are snapping at us, getting point-blank chances, but Vokoun battles them off, and I mean battles. This was a different kind of goalie performance for him, he's not making routine saves here, he's making saves on shots that by every measurable law of nature, should have gone in. This game should be 5-3 Red Wings, but it's not.

    The fourth line gives him a hand and there's some good defense around the net for a moment, and then it tips over the line from "good defense" to "penalty", and we go on the kill.

    This is a terrifying PK at first, but then Carlson catches the puck and sends it out, Knuble chases it and all nine players are down in our end for some reason. Wings bring it back, and try so hard and so desperately to shove in an almost-frozen puck that the net comes off the moorings and it turns into one of those "fuckers need to get OFF" situations.

    Hamrlik is being kind of manhandly, I guess that's a penalty--but I'm glad to see we're defending our goaltender. Wings have thirty second of 3-on-5, dammit, dammit. I hate those things. Well--I hate them when they're on us.

    Caps are are aggressive on the kill, but this is going to happen.

    3-1. Kronwall.

    But something's missing in the game. I'm not sure what it is, I've just got this feeling there's something that we haven't done yet.

    Oh, right. A Semin stick penalty--and then, horrendously, another penalty halfway through it, making this the SECOND FIVE ON THREE OH MY LORD. Caps are trying to throw this game away. Our grinders are being beautiful, Joel Ward takes the puck all the way down to the other end and kills some time. Helm has an open net, it hits someone who is not a goaltender but is behaving as such.

    We're being outshot 15-4 this period. This should be a total disaster and isn't, thank your penalty killers, thank your goalie. 

    Perrault gets a weak chance, but it surprises Conklin and gets through his legs. He really should have had that. 

    Our fourth line is the scoriest ever. In the future this should create HUGE opportunities for Ovechkin, because once teams start realizing they need to cover all of our lines, they're going to get spread pretty thin. 

    4-1. And in the last eight seconds of play, no less. E'erybody getting Lasik. 

    In the intermission, more ex-Caps things happen--Bradley scores his first Panthers goal! I can be uncomplicatedly happy about this now because he apologized, also, he's not playing us. Go get 'em, tiger. #needsmoreBradley

    Monster shift from our third line to start the period, Brooks Laich is steamrolling Datsyuk--he loses his helmet in a scrum with Laich, keeps playing. Oh, but they don't just shut down, oh no, that's not all they're good for. 

    Waaaaard. And great work from Brooks Laich, great puck control, and guess who was on the ice? Datsyuk. Cleary. Zetterberg. Our third line is schooling your first line, that kinda sucks. Green gets an assist, and that's the fourth point for him, making this his third career four-point game. Fuck yeah Mike Green. 

    5-1. FREE WINGS. Free everything tonight. 

    Down four goals, Ian White decides that this would be a good moment for a tripping call. Wings fans put on suicide watch across the nation. We take pity on them and do not score on this power play, but Detroit is not at the bottom of the hole yet, they're still digging. 


    Weirdly the Wings are still playing with okay energy after this, perhaps they think there is a possibility that they can score five goals in under seven minutes. Bless their hearts. 

    Hendricks throws his body in front of a slapshot with four minutes left, up by five. Unbelievable. He really never stops playing for a second. 

    We're not done. We've got that killer instinct this year, the one we struggled with last year--we don't beat teams, we bury them. 

    SEVEN GOALS. One more on a beautiful shot from Backstrom. I AM FILLED WITH GLEE. 

    Seven and seven. Everybody take a shot. How can anything possibly get luckier than that? 


    Standing ovation for the boys, and I can't stop grinning. Closeup of Mike Babcock looking thunderous--sorry for ruining your night, Lidstrom, we'll meet you at 2000. 

    Wings, you can turn in your "undefeated" cards at the door. 

    So here we are, faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive. Green is growing some kind of facial hair, maybe it's good luck. Maybe John Walton is good luck. Maybe Joel Ward is good luck. Maybe that third line is good luck.

    Or maybe, just maybe, we have four competitive two-way lines, three solid, balanced defensive parings, and an extraordinary goalie. Depth? You'll drown in it. Every hole has been patched.

    This is the time for showing ourselves what we're capable of, and the answer is: everything. We aren't throwing the parade just yet, but every win is fantastic and when they start stacking up like this, even better.

    No hockey till Thursday, booo. On the other hand, that gives the boys a chance to go out last night and celebrate, and I certainly hope they did. Oilers next week and then Canucks, set 'em up, knock 'em down. The league record is ten straight wins, so there's our new goal to shoot for. Win eleven. Win them all.

    Let's go Caps.