Monday, February 20, 2012

things that Caps fans were eating and drinking or order to dull the pain

That sucked. Here's how you were dealing with it:

You can't give the Canes credit for winning this game, but you can give the Caps credit for losing it. Every game you watch they are tripping over their own feet. They are very confused by basic concepts of hockey, such as skating and passing a puck from one player to another. I know this is painful to watch. But the Caps are better than they have shown, and hockey is a sport that favors unlikely events, so it's likely a few good things are still going to happen this year, even if they are just by total fucking accident.

Keep watching.

I love the Caps, and yeah, it's the unconditional kind. Arguably right now it may even be the unrequited kind. That doesn't matter. Being a hockey fan is less conditional upon merit than it is a one time choice. The Caps are the Caps and so I love them.

Try not to let this get under your skin too much, because this is a bad one. Eat something that's terrible for you and get drunk and get on with your life. More hockey to come.

Let's go Caps.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

come off the ledge

It's going to be okay.

I mean that.

This is going to be more uphill than anything we have seen in a good few years, but it's not like the Washington Capitals haven't been here before, and you know what, we didn't die or anything. At the moment the Caps need some crazy improbable things to start happening in order for them to survive, but if you are looking for crazy occurrences, you have picked the right sport. That shit happens all the time in hockey.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. There, you have learned the meaning of life from a hockey game. We all stopped breathing and probably cried a little about Brooks Laich's knee but if you think Brooks Laich would want his team to curl up in the fetal position and die just because he's out, he would not be very pleased with you. That is not the Brooks Laich way.

The Caps have been saving up all their hardship for this season, perhaps. That is okay. We're going to play some hockey here even if we have to put John Erskine's dog at center.

Have faith in GMGM. Stock up on alcohol. You'll get through this.

Here's a picture of a tiny cupcake on top of a bigger cupcake. This will help.

Deep breaths. Have some pride. You're still here, which makes you better than the jerks who are refusing to wear their Caps gear until they start winning again. 

When they do start winning again, you will have earned it. 

Faith. Let's go Caps. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Caps/Habs, 2/4/2012

Apologies for the radio silence, Capsland. I came down with the death flu and also as you may have seen, RMNB was silly and suicidal enough to invite me on board. Rest assured I will still be writing here, because they are professional hockey media types and such and I shouldn't say "fuck" on their blog and ruin their reputation.

That game was a train wreck, but since it worked out for the Caps and we won the game, I have zero complaints. 3-0 again in Montreal, deja vu shutout. The Habs probably hate us so fucking much by now but I have no sympathy whatsoever. They will never be forgiven. They know what they did.

The first period was so godawful on both sides that really the only way a goal was going to be scored was going to be a stupid, ridiculous freak kind of goal. Luckily, this happened in the Caps favor instead of against them.

Dennis Wideman took a totally harmless shot and it fluttered over Budaj's shoulder and then seemed to change direction midair. It is in your interest to watch this replay. You will laugh yourself sick.

Dennis Wideman never told us that he had the power to control the puck with his mind. I know he has to keep this under wraps so that the normal humans don't come for him, but I wouldn't be opposed to him using this secret ability again in the future. 1-0 Caps.

The Habs like to think that they're a pretty team--don't argue with them, they don't have very much right now, but when the Caps play them they tend to get jealous, and Caps faces are always in danger. Tonight, it was Dmitri Orlov taking a puck from Max Pacioretty right to the face. His nose was definitely broken--you know a hockey nose when you see one. Despite this, he barely missed a shift, and was on the ice regularly for the rest of the game. There's something to be said here about Russian machines and their overall durability.

We got a late power play, but if you have been watching the Capitals lately, you know that this is not necessarily a good thing. The Caps spent more of their power play time chasing down the puck in neutral zone than anything else. You could have been forgiven for thinking that they had never seen this small black vulcanized rubber thing before in their lives. Oh, boys.

Fortunately, this was one of those games where no matter how bad the Caps were, the Habs managed to be worse. They came to play hockey today in order to show us how much worse things could be, in fact, and to tell the fanbase to quit bitching all the time. We were very grateful.

Troy Brouwer was awake tonight. This should surprise no one, since he has gradually started to show us what a goddamn steal he really was. One pick for a guy that can score, pass, crash, and make the ladies swoon while he's at it? Don't mind if we do. He had a good chance in front of the net that was thwarted by Peter Budaj losing his grip on his stick and basically throwing it at him. It was a penalty shot.

No matter how glorious Troy Brouwer has been lately, though, he is not really a penalty shot kind of guy. Maybe if he could have stood in front of Budaj and screened him while taking the shot at the same time, this might have worked. No goal. Penalty shots still thrilling, news at eleven.

Another power play. It looks a bit better with Ovechkin back, and Keith Aucoin didn't fuck up at things, but mostly it was just a bunch of useless flailing and people making one, or two, or three extra passes. Goodness gracious.

But oh, the Caps think they have a bad power play? OH HO HO. The Canadiens will show you what a bad power play looks like. They went after that shit like it was a competition.

It was pretty bad. I think they won.

There's a LOT of scrambling and potential danger at the end of the second period, though, that Pacioretty-Desharnis-Cole line is destroying lives trying to make something happen. Vokoun doesn't bat an eye. He knows the deal with Caps games now. He knows how this goes. He played goal for the Florida Panthers for four years, for God's sake, like he's never seen this shit before.

It's a good time for an intermission though. Intense glaring from Dale Hunter all around. He's got a new tie tonight. He means business.

For the first part of the third period, it's back to the crazy free-wheelin' fun-times bad hockey on both sides at first, with the Habs getting a few more chances but nothing that would actually, you know...have even been a slight danger to go in the net. Vokoun is not concerned.

The grinders are showing up lately in a big way. There are all these joke lines that you can't believe were put together and seem like really terrible ideas, but then those are the lines that keep producing. Hard work > a lot of things, there, you have learned a lesson about life today.

Brooks Laich tries to stuff it in--the puck bounces out right onto Hendricks' stick in front of basically an empty net. It's his second in a week. Soft Hands Hendricks.


For awhile it's back to nonsense hockey. Then Tomas Kaberle hooks Alex Semin on a breakaway and can it be? Two penalty shots in one game? You are getting your money's worth tonight.

I love Troy Brouwer, but facing down Alex Semin on a penalty shot is not the same thing as facing down Troy Brouwer. He skates right down into Budaj and slaps it, and it's one of those Sasha comets that no one will be able to stop, ever.


Twitter explodes. 3-0.

The only one not panicking in the last few minutes of the game is Tomas Vokoun. He's in his zen place, nothing is getting through tonight.

Win. Shutout win.

If you win three shutouts back to back in Montreal, don't you get to take something home with you? The stadium? Some poutine? A Hab? I refuse to believe there's not some kind of prize for this. Someone check on this for me.

The Caps have come away with 6 of the available 12 points in the last six road games. They're 5-3-2 in their last 10. Slowly but surely, things are starting to be okay again. Please don't go looking for a flash-bang fireworks turnaround. That is not this Caps squad, this season. But they will fight and inch their way towards where they need to be.

Quality of competition doesn't matter any more. Points are the most important thing in the world. We're fighting for every win right now, we're not wasting time thinking about anything else. It's probably be like this until the playoffs, so settle in.

I love this team.

Let's go Caps.

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.