Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Caps/Bruins, 1/24/2012

I have a confession to make.

I thought we were going to lose this game.

I know, I'm awful, I didn't believe nearly hard enough--but the Bruins are a pretty good hockey team right now (in January, when it definitely counts) and the Caps were hurting bad, they were stripped down. If this were a game of Jenga, this would have been the part where some asshole took a bunch of bottom foundation pieces out and wrecked the structural integrity so that the next person to touch it sent it all toppling down.

Except it didn't. Everything stayed up, and the Caps came away looking awesome instead.

I love hockey so fucking much.

I probably didn't breathe until at least five minutes into the game. I was waiting for the domination. We were promised domination, we put it on our flyers and everything--after all, the Bruins were coming to town, and everyone is so goddamned terrified of them, they're supposed to be so scary.

Not so much.

Here's the thing--the Bruins have a lot of attitude right now, but not attitude like in a Steve McQueen way, in a way like they've just hit adolescence and they're going to sneak out of their bedrooms and go drink with their friends, fuck yeah, they're so cool. They've certainly mastered jackassery and theatrics and a lot of other things that aren't actual hockey skills, but when it comes to the rink all you need to do is what you do with any schoolyard bully, and just push back.

I expected massacre. It didn't come. Instead I got to watch my team do much, much better than I expected them to do--there were shots on goal, there were even scoring chances. That small, speedy first line somehow avoided disaster. Knuble was being the best player on the ice and wanted nothing more than to fuck up some Bruins.

They hung in there. In fact, they nearly made it to the first intermission tied at zero, but then just to make sure they didn't get too complacent, minor disaster struck. Karl Alzner swears he was trying to clear that one. His stick had other ideas.

What a dumb goal. Rest assured that Karl Alzner is very ashamed.

The second period is different, because in the second period, the Caps are aware that they're in this. No quarter is given. Brooks Laich is checking Zdeno Chara. Tomas Vokoun is being his usual frustrating self. He never lets us down, except for a few times that don't count.

Probably nobody's watching Cody Eakin. Cody Eakin makes them feel pretty stupid for that. 1-1.

You aren't even done celebrating this yet when another beautiful thing happens. This goal brought to you by Alex Semin's ridiculous hands--fantastic job by Perreault putting it away but I hope you had an eye on Semin making shit happen all night. Size issues regardless, that first line has enough pure offensive talent to make you sick. Dale Hunter is looking like a mad genius. 2-1.

Tyler Seguin ruins the whole mood. It's a goal, I guess.

I continually get the impression that Mr. Seguin thinks he's pretty hot shit. This is probably something to do with all the fifteen-year-old girls constantly proposing marriage, but hopefully all of this is not going to his head, because what a lonely, empty place that must be.

Wooooo take your shirt off.

Tie game.

Most Ovechkin goal not to be scored by an actual Ovechkin: Boychuk gives the puck away to Perreault, who needs no other invitation tonight. He goes in on a breakaway and scores like he does this every day. Hats? On. We believe.

Oh Brad Marchand. Did you somehow think that you weren't annoying enough without a goal against us? I promise you, you were annoying enough. This is just overkill.

Whatever. 3-3 game at the second intermission. This is the most exciting game of your life.

The Verizon Center sounds like a fucking Thunderdome for the next 20 minutes. All the people there in Boston jerseys are feeling pretty stupid. The team is looking fierce, winning battles, taking advantage of opportunities, yeah that's right, John Tortorella. Opportunism leads to goals.

Perreault takes his second penalty of the night for high-sticking...Zdeno Chara? All right. This is very bemusing as there's nearly a foot of height difference between them, but if Perreault was actually able to accomplish the infraction they called him for, he deserves a high five, not two minutes.

He's not done.


You probably made some pretty strange noises. God knows I did. The only good thing about low expectations is that when something else happens instead of the defeat you thought, it feels downright miraculous.

An empty netter for Mr. All Star, just to show the Bruins just how fucking good he's doing without them, and the Caps win, 5-3. Sorry, I can't schedule anything for the next week because I'll be busy watching replays of this game.


Dare I say best game of the season? It's up there. There were no two ways about it, the reason this hockey game was being played was to see what the Washington Capitals were made of. At least for now, you have to say we've answered those questions--and hopefully, the boys have answered it for themselves, too, remembered what they are even when all the chips are down.

Normally Caps fans do not cry because this his hockey and we have a reputation to uphold. But this is different. This is pride crying.

I love this fucking team. 

Let's go Caps.

Monday, January 23, 2012

give that back please.

Help. Someone has taken our Alex Ovechkin.

Three games is too long. One game is too long. Five seconds would have been too long. It's not that I think that the hit wasn't suspendable because it very much was--like it or not, Alex Ovechkin has more edge to his game than any other player on the roster. It's just that in their current incarnation, and ever since Ovechkin stepped onto the ice in Washington for the first time, the Caps to some extent have been Alex Ovechkin, they've been nearly synonymous. We don't like being without him, it doesn't feel right.

It's going to be very, very weird without him, especially because he's just joining the list of those the Caps have had to do without--Backstrom is still out of the lineup, so is Green, the core of this team has been systematically dismantled--hopefully not for good, but at least for now.

I need to dig deep to find reasons not to despair, but I think you know I can do it.

As Mr. Ovechkin himself would say, it is what it is. The team will get through it somehow, because they have to. It's not good or even functional to be missing three major offensive components of your team, but it's not like they have other options--they're going to play three games without them, because they have to. They'll play some very good teams, and they'll play teams that are hurting as badly as we are. You're going to see players step up because they're needed, and you're going to see small moments of brilliance that wouldn't have happened otherwise. It might not all be pretty, but at least it'll all be very, very new.

Three games. It's going to stretch out over an inconvenient amount of time, but it's only three games. Backstrom will come back. Ovechkin will come back. In the meantime it will be hard, but like my dad used to tell me every time I bitched about things being unfair--we can do hard things.

Go Caps.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Caps/Pens, 1/22/2012

Anyone who is crying about that hockey game, don't bother reading the rest of the recap, because I loved it. There was a lot against the Caps going into this game, and judging from their play in the first period, some of the issues should have been insurmountable.

They weren't. The Caps stepped up in a huge way and sustained themselves seemingly on sheer hate for the better part of forty minutes. They tied up the game, and then they took a lead. They forced overtime. They did all of this with one--one--natural center on the ice.

This was a character game--namely, if you've been doubting that the Caps have it, they came out to prove you wrong.

Shortish recap because if you weren't watching this game, you're certifiably insane. The first period was a disaster. Nothing was connecting. Nobody knew what was going on. Turns out that playing hockey with nearly an entire position missing isn't the best idea.

Kris Letang scored in the first eight seconds of the first Pens power play. Boy it would be nice to have a puck-moving defensemen around. Sob.

James Neal made it 2-0 because he's a motherfucker. You probably thought the game was over.

It wasn't.

I don't know what happened in the intermission between the first and second period. Maybe Dale Hunter glared them into submission. Maybe they shook off the weirdness of the 12:30 start and woke up. Maybe they had 110 volts of electricity channeled straight into their bodies. Whatever it was, they came out with a vengeance and wanted nothing more than to destroy every Penguin on the ice.

It was a very good thing that you didn't turn off the TV, because you would have missed Mike Knuble with some actual stickwork--there was a deke, people. Knuble on the first line is a good idea. Tell your friends.

Brooks Laich is the king of timing. It hasn't been great that he hasn't scored in awhile, but he's been doing lots of other things for the team in the meantime--and he sure as hell stepped up when it counted. 2-1.

If you didn't lean forward, you're not a Caps fan.

Ovechkin had an ugly hit on Michalek in the second period that may or may not be looked at by supplemental discipline--Michalek was falling already so that may get him out of it, but he did leave his feet on the hit. Uh...vintage Ovechkin?

Michalek chose to retaliate with a head hit on Hendricks, thus surrendering any high ground that he could possibly have had.

Alex Semin saves our lives by tying up the score at the end of the second period. You can't believe it.

NBC still unaware there is more than one Russian on the ice, news at eleven.

Alex Ovechkin made a compelling case for the contrary in the third period with a beautiful, beautiful goal--his third point of the night--and the Caps were briefly winning the game. There is no reason that that they should have been able to do that. This lead brought to you by anger and stupid blind hope. But it happened.

Unfortunately the game did not end here, and I hate James Neal. The Caps lost. I am sorry to tell you this--it would have been an amazing miracle and your entire week would have been made, but you know what? It was a tiny bit amazing anyway.

It's not that losing is okay. I am not one of those new age parents who's all "oh, everyone's a winner." Losing is never acceptable--but this was the best loss of the year, this was thrilling, tough hockey. Caps ground a point out of it, despite the fact that they shouldn't have even been able to get the puck up the ice.

I loved my team today. I'm stupid proud of them. And I hope they're learning.

Let's go Caps.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Caps/Pens pregame

Judging from recent history, tomorrow's game should be a 3-0 Caps shutout.

The ups and downs of being a Caps fan this season are getting a bit exhausting, huh? The good news is, it's not all downs--maybe you're a little frustrated right now, but that means you still care--and if you can't care about a Pens/Caps game, you probably don't have a pulse anymore.

Even if we lose 45-0, there will be no better way to spend your afternoon tomorrow than watching the game. But we won't. The Caps win games against Pittsburgh like it's their job--because it kind of is.


Who the fuck plays hockey at 12:30 in the afternoon? 

Nobody, that's who. Whose idea are these early starts? Because they're fired. Caps won't even get to hold practice, and you just know they'll be all thrown off and confused, like usual with these mid-day games. To add insult to injury, the game is on NBC, so prepare yourself for a broadcast full of information that you already know, or is wrong!

EDIT: @CapsHockey18 points out that this is probably a bit of a workaround for NFL playoffs football tomorrow. This sounds like A Reason, but the inability of the universe to revolve around hockey is constantly astonishing to me. Talk about misplaced priorities. 


Pittsburgh is on a five-game winning streak. However, it's worth noting that the last team that they lost to was Washington, and who doesn't like some neat bookending? 

We especially like beating the Penguins in their own house, and since it's the last time we're going to play them all season--yes really, the schedule maker got overexcited and stuffed all the Pens/Caps into one half of the season--let's close this out with style.


Is he still relevant? Maybe. At the very least, he is still leading the league in douchey haircuts, and now he has douchey facial hair to match. We're all so pleased. 

No but really, the Pens roster is starting to slowly, slowly limp back into the lineup--Letang's playing again, and so is Dustin Jeffrey. This is fine because we don't really get the same mortal-enemies vibe from a roster full of AHLers. Kris Letang's stupid face is fuel for the fire. 

Caps are trying your patience, I get that. This season might be easier if you make a lifestyle change to masochism and just start enjoying the pain. I am looking into this and will let you know. 

In the meantime, the Caps are going to win this game, because it's against the Penguins, and that's a biological imperative. 

Let's go Caps. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Caps/Canes pregame

Oh lord, this again.

Divisional rivalries are interesting no matter what, but I can't help feeling that the Canes are the annoying, pesky little brothers of the Southeast--not really dangerous but always around, bothering people, tracking mud onto the carpet, bringing bugs into the house. They just don't go away. 


With the, uh--controversial never-shoot style of hockey that the Caps have been playing lately, every team is a potential threat, and as Coach Muller showed us last week, these are not your grandmother's Hurricanes. They're worth keeping an eye on--they haven't beat the Caps yet this season, but last game they outshot them 24 to 44, which was in fact a season high for the Canes. 

I know both our goalies are playing well again, and that's great, but it's still not very nice to do that to them. If the Caps really loved them, they'd make a little more offense happen tonight. 


This is fact. 

I know he still looks the same--all rosy-cheeked and cherubic, snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, but please do not be fooled. This boy has crossed to the dark side. Remember his slashing and chirping from last game? Remember the unnecessary scrum he started after the game ended? Mr. Skinner is going through his teenage rebellion phase on national TV, and we are witnessing it. Caps should probably just kind of assume that he's going to be a problem, because chances are he's going to try some shit. 


Alex Semin scored the last time we played the Canes, which is basically the same thing as saying that the sun rose in the morning. Semin has 27 goals in 39 career games against Carolina, more than he's scored against any other team. 

Alex Semin will probably score. And you will like it. 

Our division lead has gotten just slightly, slightly less precarious--we're hanging on by our fingertips now instead of just our fingernails. Every game is important right now though. Every game is a character game, there's not really much time for trial and error anymore--and points. I warned you. From here on out, I'm obsessed with tiny numbers and the way they add up. 

So win another hockey game, team. We love it when you do that. 

Let's go Caps.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caps/Habs, 1/18/2012

Welcome back, Michal Neuvirth, eater of pucks, destroyer of worlds.

Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone was highly impressed with the talent of our goaltending tandem? Get ready for them to be impressed again. This last stretch of games have seen Vokoun standing pretty tall for the Caps, and tonight Neuvirth came out to remind us that he may not be the starter on this team, but he's nobody's backup.

I have to admit, there was a tiny, tiny part of me that wanted the Caps to just ignore Rene Bourque completely, act like they had no idea who he was. Just to freak him out.

And then jump him in the last minute and destroy his existence, of course. Justice must be served.

This obviously isn't the way things turned out--in fact, Bourque was on the ice for exactly nine seconds before Hendricks challenged him to a fight, and made him pay for the elbow on Backstrom by hitting Bourque's fists multiple times with his face.

Take that.

The fourth line was very, very mysterious tonight. We are told that Perrault is in the lineup, and then at the last minute we're told that he is out and Jay Beagle is in.

And then Perrault scores, and it's beautifully unexpected and hilarious. I try to explain this to a Habs fan friend, and she does not get the joke.

After being more or less invisible for a good stretch now, this game was all about number 90--not all of it was good, but it was Mojo night in Montreal. All Marcus Johannsons get free drinks on the house.

He makes it 2-0 within the first ten minutes. He is adorable, in a deadly sort of way.

John Erskine takes an interference penalty early on in the game, but I sincerely hope you saved all your frustration or indulgent affection for John Erskine for later, because by God did he have a second act coming.

Some people might say that the Habs had power plays. This depends on your definition of "power play". Nothing was actually accomplished. This is mostly due to the extreme awfulness of the Habs' PP, but we cannot discount the brave men of the penalty-killing units--Laich, Knuble, and Wideman all get gold stars of merit for goalie-like behavior.

Ovechkin decides to show them what a real, functioning power play looks like.

Habs are weirdly unappreciative of this. Don't they know that's Alex Ovechkin? He probably would have given them autographs if they'd asked nicely, but they pretty much blew it.


Apparently no more shots on goal are necessary for the rest of the game. I love Dale Hunter with all of my heart and soul but I am starting to suspect that the plays he is drawing up on his white board are all "don't, under any circumstances, ever shoot the puck."

Erik Cole side-swipes Hendricks with a knee-on-knee hit. His surprised face fucking sucks. If Hendricks is hurt from this, there are going to be words.

There is some kind of triple penalty on Erskine. .....This is new. It's funny because we're already winning the game, and why not, the PK units need to stretch their legs again--if we'd been down or tied, I would have been enraged. It was a dumb call. Most of them were from there on out. By the end of the game the refs are on their knees blowing the Habs and you feel kind of awkward, like you're intruding or something.

Habs can't even catch up with a handicap.


So! Progress. We won on the road, which I thought would never happen again, and better things happened tonight overall, though not necessarily because the Caps did anything different. The goaltending is back, the scoring was there, but the shots on goal have been left for dead in a back alley after being stabbed multiple times.

Unsolved mystery.

But I do not complain on nights that we win, and especially not on shutout nights. Two points. 3-0. That score sure looks pretty.

Yay team. You didn't lose, and I love you. Go Caps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Caps/Montreal pregame

So, uh...nowhere to go but up, right?

That's the theory anyway. If you watched the game yesterday, I know you're probably not feeling like turning on another Caps hockey game today, they didn't really make a convincing case for that.

But that was against the fucking Islanders. I know there's no excuse for that kind of effort, but it helps to remember that some teams are so totally useless that the Caps are much more likely to become useless in return.

Most importantly, it's not like the season is over just because one game really sucked--there's always more hockey to play, and even if the season did end today, the Caps would be in the playoffs. Yes, really--we're still in eighth place, and even when you have a game as bad as that one, they still don't take more than two points. Things are maybe not quite so lost as you felt like they were last night.

Right back on the horse. That's probably a good thing.


The Caps' record on the road is not good this year--to put it very, very lightly--but considering how awfully they played yesterday at home, where they've been stellar, who the hell knows, maybe it's opposite week.

Four of the Caps' next five games are away; six of their next ten games are away. At some point, if we want to be a playoffs team, we're going to have to start picking up some points on the road.

Now seems good. Is now cool with everybody? Yeah, me too.


Everybody knows the Rene Bourque thing is coming. Washington knows the Rene Bourque thing is coming. Rene Bourque knows the Rene Bourque thing is coming. 

I'm sorry, but you don't just get away with concussing our MVP and best player without the entire universe conspiring to drag your ass back to face the music for it. I know the Caps don't exactly have any bone-crushing, legendary enforcers on our team, but we do have Hendricks, and we do have Erskine, and we've got Brouwer's angry words from when Backstrom got hurt that he's going to need to back up. 

Sometimes people confuse the Caps not being fucking undisciplined hoodlums with the Caps not being able to defend themselves. This is a mistake. It's like the difference between being Wolverine and being John Wayne. We don't need to be flipping our lid every five seconds, because what the fuck kind of team does that, but when it's necessary, I feel pretty confident that the Caps can take care of business. 


Montreal is a mess right now, and a well-publicized one. There isn't really any part of their game that's working, which should make them fairly easy to play, but the Caps will have to be careful not to fall into the same kind of trap as they did with the Islanders.

I get too much mileage out of Katie on this blog, but I can't help including this quote from her a moment ago that illustrates exactly what could be the pitfalls of taking the Habs too lightly: "The Habs are a team that has the potential to be very good and instead have decided to die."

Let's not be that kind of team. Let's beat that kind of team. 

Care about this game, Caps. Care about hockey, or forget the playoffs. Realize that you have to work for it. Don't get frustrated and stop playing when things go wrong. Realize that all the talent you had two seasons ago is still there. It didn't go anywhere. 

Good things will happen. I am personally guaranteeing this, you heard it here first. This week is not going to be a dud because I won't allow it. 

Caps will never lose again. 

Caps/Isles, 1/17/2012

Wooo, so this is what the big time feels like.
Success will definitely go to my head.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Caps/Isles pregame

So far the Caps are 3-for-3 on our Softball Homestand, going for about the last easy two points we'll see this season. The Islanders played yesterday, at home, and are traveling to see us today. The Islanders got beat by Nashville yesterday, 3-1. If you're going to win anything, you gotta win these ones.

Up to this point, Vokoun the Caps have been delivering. It's time to make it a clean sweep.


Mike Green is having abdominal surgery, and will be out four to six weeks. Sob. 

I hate to say that we're getting used to life without him, but we're getting used to life without him. I would love nothing more than for him to come back, healthy and strong, in fact if I meet a genie this will be the first thing that I ask--but in the meantime, he's going to be out for awhile, so I hope that Wideman and Carlson and Orlov are ready to step up long-term. 


Guy is on a nine-game point streak. It's not going to get any longer. You can take that to the bank.

Sometimes I feel bad for John Tavares because he has to play on the Islanders, but then the Islanders play us and I don't feel that bad anymore. It's worth keeping an eye on this punk. He's always getting scorey and dangerous with us--plus, his eyebrows freak me out. 


Blue-chip prospect Nino Niederreiter has been spending a lot of the time on the fourth line with very limited ice time, which sounds like a great idea to NOBODY WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, ISLANDERS. 

NYI's idea of development does not resemble our Earth idea of development at all. However, this can only work in the Caps' favor, as he's playing with pretty poor talent and that line has become a defensive liability for the team overall. They were on the ice for the first two goals against in the Nashville game, and are a combined -27 for the team on the season. 

Basically what I'm saying here is hey look, Caps, a wounded gazelle at the watering hole. Feel free to pounce.  

The Caps got knocked out of their temporary division lead by the Bruins' inability to win a game the ONLY TIME IN THE SEASON that I wanted them to, which just figures. If we want want that good third-place feeling again, they're going to have to win this game. Not to mention, after this one they're headed out to--cringe--the road again, and given our record there, a little bit of a buffer would make me feel much more comfortable.

Two points. Two points. I am a woman obsessed. Islanders suck. 

Let's go Caps. 

i'm pulling for Carlzner

The problem with anything that is absolutely, flawlessly perfect is that if there's ever any regression, if there's so much as a single step back, it's noticeable. That doesn't mean that what used to be perfect is now completely useless and terrible--it mostly means that we're spoiled, but when you're aware that a defensive pairing is capable of being stalwart, productive, responsible, completely precocious for their age and then suddenly they're looking a little average, you can't help but wonder what's going on.

Carlson and Alzner have always been there for us--they've been there during the ugly playoffs series, the losing streaks, they were there during the dark nasty November somehow putting up positive +/- and Corsi ratings in blowout games and generally letting us know that there was nothing to worry about, they had this covered. Perhaps that's why it's so strange to see this pairing on the ice for bunches of scoring chances in recent games, to see them looking confused and out of place sometimes, to see them give up goals. That's not Carlzner, or at least not the Carlzner we're used to.

If this were a Superman comic, this would be the time to start looking around for Kryptonite somewhere in the frame.

There are plenty of possible reasons for this. There's Jim Johnson's new, demanding man-to-man defensive system, there's the world-class lines they're matched up with every night, there's even good old-fashioned regression--after their rockstar season last year, maybe there wasn't anywhere to go but down.

I don't believe that. I'm not looking for reasons to hate anybody on my team, and I'm certainly not going to do it after a short stretch of bad games. Carlson and Alzner need to step up, but I believe that they'll do it. I believe they're going to be a franchise pairing for years to come, and I love them. That doesn't mean that the way they're playing right now is excused, though--the boys need to refocus and get their act together. This is probably how to do it:

I don't want either of them traded. I don't want the pairing split up. I just want them to play like I know they can, and I have complete confidence that they will.

Sooner would be better than later.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Caps/Canes, 1/15/2012

For a random game in the middle of January, this one was ridiculously important. Win this game and we're on top of the Southeast Division again--win this game and we're in third place again.

Well--it wasn't exactly easy, but IT HAPPENED. Do yourself a favor and go look at the standings right now on Go ahead. I'll wait.

Beautiful, isn't it? But like I said, this was hardly a blowout--this was yet another white-knuckle not-breathing squeaker. The Caps are all about those lately. They're addicted to the adrenalin.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that nothing happened in the first period. Nothing at all--or at least, nothing good. Vokoun doesn't take any time to warm up tonight, because there isn't any time available. The Canes attack like a team that was NOT playing the Boston Bruins less than 24 hours ago, and obliterate the net behind Vokoun in very short order. He doesn't bat an eye and worries about freezing the puck instead. It is a good sign.

Carlson goes to the box for delay of game. The Caps don't have a shot on goal to this point, but we're used to this. It's a rare night when the Caps have more than 20, 25 SOG anymore. This is still terrifying, but we're adjusting.

The PK is beautiful, aggressive, beyond reproach. No problems there--the problems come with 5-on-5. Puck possession? What's puck possession?

Ovechkin is doing some things but they don't result in pucks in the back of the net, though he does adeptly duck under a crossbar at one point to avoid concussing himself, which we appreciate. Other than that, forecheck seems like something that you daydream of wistfully, but never actually happens anymore. By the end of the period, the Caps are being outshot 13-4.

At the beginning of the second period, Joel Ward has a great chance in the front of the net but the puck is rolling on him. No dice. Then Matt Hendricks tries to get into it with Joslin, and Joslin says no. I don't blame him. It's Matt fucking Hendricks.

Laich crashes the net, and there's no doubt in your mind that it's a goal--but it's such a powerful and aggressive method of scoring that the refs feel the need to review it. You're not worried--but then those same refs somehow lose their fucking minds and decide that this is somehow not a valid goal.

The fuck.

Cody Eakin draws a penalty, and there's an Angry PP. Brooks Laich is growing more thunderous by the moment.

No score. Knuble slashes Skinner, whose sticks are just as fragile as his teenage self-esteem. He goes to the box, and the Caps kill it, because thats a thing that we do these days.

Ovechkin is doing his damndest to wake this game up, and there's even some Alex on Alex action, but at first it's all foreplay. It takes awhile to actually get a coherent play going in the zone, but then suddenly--Mojo to Semin, Semin to warp speed.

Sasha with the money shot.

Beagle goes to the box a few seconds later for elbowing, and for awhile on the PK, and this one is scarier than the other ones, the Canes are buzzing around like the annoying interdivisional fucks that we already know they are.

Vokoun makes a great point-blank save on Ponikarovsky, but the puck skitters out right to Jokinen's stick in front of an open net. It's a layup. Locker later tells Joe B that even he probably could have scored on that one.


We've all been waiting for Orlov's first NHL goal. It feels like we've been waiting forever. He rewards us for our patience, though, by showing us that he was waiting for right exactly the right perfect moment to score and be horribly endearing, and win the game for us. The sight of him screaming in his teammates' faces and then nearly losing his balance at the bench is beautiful.


Monster shift from Carolina directly afterward--Orlov's goal is somehow negative momentum.

Ovechkin protests this by stepping right into Ruutu and checking him within an inch of his life. It is not his fault that a referee happened to be in the way at the time.

Kundratek gets called for tripping. It's not the best possible timing, but the PK units have got his back. At the very end of this kill, Harrison slashes, and Hendricks responds with a body slam. It results in incidental minors. It is worth it.

Caps are getting outshot to a ridiculous extent. I would call it a thrill ride, but it would have to be the kind of thrill ride where the ride might break and kill you at any moment. There's still eight minutes of hockey left.

According to Joe B, Cam Ward is resisting the advances of the Caps, which is silly. Caps have been wooing so gently, I don't see a reason for it. It's not like you're going to get any better offers, Cameron.

But he keeps his legs closed.

Skinner with a scoring chance. Oh my god, Jeff Skinner, oh my god, I love you, sign my Teen Beat poster.


He follows it up with another scoring chance, and then he tries to jaw with Wideman for a moment. Wideman responds with some mildly amused skepticism back. Jeff Skinner, you are intimidating to exactly no one.

Somehow, somehow, the Caps hang on, and once again the miracle comes in the form of Tomas Vokoun. Haters can no longer feasibly hate. This man has been standing on his head for the Caps for so long now that the blood has all rushed to it, I am sure. At some point, hopefully the rest of the team will decide to play hockey in front of him again, but for the moment, he's got this end of the ice locked down.

Carolina tries to start some shit after the game ends for some reason. No one approves of this, Canes--especially since it leaves Vokoun standing all alone instead of getting his hugs.


Except for Sasha. Sasha's got him covered.

My friend Alexis has pneumonia and she said that the Caps should win and that would probably cure her, so I have to go call her now and see if that happened. But seriously, please enjoy the Caps' position in the standing right now. That may or may not change with games played this week, but it's a good moment to remind yourself that there's nothing wrong with the season that can't be fixed by a win streak.

The world is right again. Happiness.

Let's go Caps.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Caps/Canes pregame

What a game on Friday, huh? Any game where we get to throw hats is automatically a good one, though the last minute suspense was a little unnecessary. The Caps are in the top 8 now, but Eastern teams are still all awkwardly bunched up together--it's going to be a dogfight just to stay there.

There is no more fun team to strip two points from than the Carolina Hurricanes, though, so I vote we keep the ball rolling. Go go gadget win streak.


The man responsible for a lot of the frustrating defense that we remember from the Montreal/Washington series is now the boss in Carolina, and this is the first time the Caps will have a chance to play them in the Kirk Muller era. Much like the new Hunter Caps, they're still in transition to some extent, but they're starting to show flashes of being really fucking annoying--such as last night, when they beat the Bruins 4-2.

Let's hope the Caps are ready to remind them where their place is in this division--the very bottom of it. 


If this picture of a three-legged dog made you sad or sorry for him, then you are not in the right mindset for this game.

Once again the universe is providing the Caps a team that's struggling badly--fighting the Islanders and the Lightning to stay out of the basement of the East, sitting at a glorious .424 win percentage--and once again, a team on their second night of back-to-back hockey. At this point, these guys need to rebrand from Hurricanes to Mild Tropical Winds, because they ain't blowing over shit. 

Please do not mistake this as an opportunity to sit back, relax, and lose the fucking game, Capitals. By all means, kick them when they're down. This is war. Or it's hockey, which is basically the same thing.


Everyone's favorite dreamboat, Jeff Skinner, may make his return against the Caps--he's been out with a concussion, so we're glad to see him healthy again, regardless of how much more difficult he might make things. 

It's also a good excuse to revisit the beautiful thing that happened the last time the Canes came to town.

(via Dimagus)

The gif that keeps on giving. 


I usually don't even try to goal-call, because I'm bad at it, but Matt Hendricks has had some monster shifts the last few games, a few goal posts--this guy wants to score a fucking goal. I'm going to say it happens. Bet you a case of beer. 

None of this listless hockey shit. None of this letting-them-get-back-into-the-game shit. We've filled our quotas of both of those kinds of games this season, no more are necessary from this point on. Florida has held the lead now for long enough that they're probably getting funny ideas about who runs this division, and a win tomorrow would finally--fucking finally--tie us up for first place in the Southeast. 

So how about two points, yeah? We would love that, and so would the team. Everyone wins. 

Let's go Caps.