Before I get into the recap of last night's game, you may recall that yesterday I mentioned the Asian guy who rocked the arena with his smooth dance moves during The Hockey Song. Well, through the magic of the internets I can now show you the video (though it doesn't do the performance justice, since it was the surprise of the whole thing that made it so great). Still, here it is. Enjoy.
Now on to last night's action on the ice and what a way to end the season for the Caps. The closest the Caps could come to playing spoiler on Tuesday night was to beat the Lightning in their own building and force them to play first place Ottawa (against whom the Lightning were 0-4-0 during the regular season and were outscored 16-6) in the first round of the playoffs rather than the Candycanes (against whom Tampa ran up a very impressive 5-2-1 record).
The Caps got great goaltending from Brent Johnson and a couple of goals from captain Jeff Halpern en route to a 4-1 win in Sunrise. Interestingly, according to the WaPo it may very well have been the last game in a Caps uniform for both of the unrestricted free agents. The win gave the Caps an even 70 points on the season and ends the year with three straight division wins, victories in four of the team's last five games overall and a 7-3-3 record in the team's final 13 games. I'll have a more complete season review in the days ahead, but certainly the way this team ended its season is encouraging. I, for one, can't wait for next year.
On a sad note, The Rink would like to pass along our condolences to Olie Kolzig and his family who lost Olie's father late Tuesday night. According to the WTimes,
Axel Kolzig, the 64-year-old father of Washington Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig, died Monday night of an apparent massive heart attack in his Union Bay, British Columbia, home.All of Caps Nation's thoughts and prayers are with you, 'Zilla, and I'm sure your father couldn't have been prouder of you as a hockey player or, more importantly, as a human being.
Axel Kolzig watched his son win his 20th game of the season earlier in the evening on television and turned on his computer to read about his son's victory on the Internet. His wife, Renata, discovered him shortly thereafter.
Thread of the Day: Official End Of The Season Thread
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
- WashingtonCaps.com has a nice thank you message for the team's fans on its front page.
- Do you get the sense that no one - especially within the Southeast Division - likes Bob Hartley and
his team of hot dogs and thugsthe Atlanta Thrashers? According to the WaPo,
After beating Atlanta on Monday, both [Capitals Head Coach Glen] Hanlon and [General Manager George] McPhee received phone calls from their Tampa Bay counterparts, John Tortorella and Jay Feaster, respectively, thanking them for defeating the Thrashers. The Capitals' victory clinched a playoff berth for the Lightning.For some reason, I don't think that call would have been made had the Caps locked up a playoff spot for Tampa by defeating, say, the Leafs.
- In a successful attempt to draw attention to his column by writing something stupid, CBS Sportsline's Wes Goldstein thinks Dion Phaneuf should win the Calder Trophy, primarily because the two forwards most often mentioned for the award played for horrendous teams while Phaneuf's Flames are a contender built on defense and he's a defenseman. Huh? Don't get me wrong - Phaneuf is a great player who had a great year. But we're supposed to be more impressed by a blueliner that fit in on one of the best defensive teams in hockey (a Stanley Cup finalist, no less) than by the 3rd-best rookie point and goal totals ever or the youngest player to hit the century mark in points? I, for one, am not buying it.
- If you like numbers, the NHL has some it's crowing about, namely those related to attendance and scoring.
- Happy 19th Birthday Maria Sharapova. What, that's not hockey related?
- Hart: Brian Gionta (2 goals and an assist in the most incredible game of the night and win streak of the year)
- Ross: Paul Kariya, Mats Sundin (4 points each)
- Norris: Mike Van Ryn (2 goals, including the game-winner, +1, in 2-1 win)
- Vezina: Martin "The Good" Biron (33-save shutout win in Carolina)
- Richard: Paul Kariya (3 goals)
- Calder: Sidney Crosby (Goal, assist)
- Aiken: Chris Osgood (Loss, 6 goals allowed on 30 shots against)