Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Wednesday Roundup/Gamenight: 'Canes @ Caps

[AP Preview - Preview - Official Game Day Thread]

Strap yourselves in for tonight's game four of the Caps five-game mini-series with the Whalers Candycanes. To recap, the Caps took the first two games in Hartford Raleigh, then dropped the third in OT. Now it's back to the Verizon for some home cookin'. One hopes that the intensity of Monday night carries over to tonight, but one also hopes that the rebounds and poor defensive coverage do not.

Speaking of poor coverage, how about this from the Raleigh News & Observer:
But [Mark Recchi, Ray Whitney and Doug Weight] were brought aboard to do more than score, something Weight showed during the second period. After Washington's Jeff Friesen fought Staal, Weight invited Friesen to fight when he returned from the penalty box, even though the two are friends.
...and even though Friesen was traded to Anaheim nearly a month ago? Don't newspapers have editors anymore, or is this just a Southern thing? [Thanks to Netsy for the RNO link, and if the rest of you aren't checking out his previews at the top of the Official Game Day Threads, you're really missing out on some great humor and information, as well as perhaps the best avatar you'll ever see.]

Back to the game at hand, twenty-five years ago tonight, Dennis Maruk potted a hat trick to become the first Capital to score 50 goals in a season. Could the Caps induct a new member into the 50-goal club tonight? Regardless of if/when Alex Ovechkin reaches that milestone, Martin Brodeur says the young Russian "will easily win the Calder." But I'm on to you, Marty. Your Jedi mind tricks won't work in these parts, and just for that, I am positive that you'll get a shutout tonight against Pittsburgh. You're impenetrable. Unbeatable. Shutout, shutout, shutout.

And while we're talking about the Calder Trophy and Penguins getting shutout (man, I'm on fire with the segues today), how does Sidney Crosby feel about winning the Rookie of the Year? Apparently he can do without it. Which is good. Because he'll have to. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's article all but conceding the rookie scoring race (newsflash!) intimates that Ovechkin is a selfish, shot-happy puck hog while Crosby is a selfless playmaker, and to back up that implication the article notes that Sid's shooting percentage is a whopping 1 percent higher (13.7% to 12.7%) and that Crosby has more assists (51 to 47 in one additional game played). Maybe Sid is the better distributor. Or maybe he's been playing with much better players all year. You can decide for yourself, but on your way to doing so, consider that Ziggy Palffy - who retired in mid-January - would still be third on the Caps in scoring this year.

Today's Roundup has been all over the road, so I'll tidily wrap it up with the local coverage, an article from the WTimes on AO's impending milestones (the WaPo doesn't have any new Caps coverage online, which is fine - just leave that Kornheiser article on the front page of the Caps coverage for another day. That'd be great. Thanks.) and leave you to ponder this quote from the WTimes' article:
When he's not causing headaches for opposing goalies, Alex Ovechkin always seems to be planning some sort of mischief. He often tips his hand with a not-to-subtle glance in the direction of a potential victim. He hides his moods with the finesse of a leprechaun.
What the hell does that mean?

Thread of the Day: 'Canes Living, Skating Proof That New NHL Works (not everyone is sold, however)

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
  • Here's a great stat to get you in the mood for the playoffs: Martin Brodeur has 9,000 career minutes played in the playoffs while the rest of the starting goalies for the current Eastern Conference playoff teams have a combined total of 165 playoff minutes (145 minutes for John Grahame and 20 minutes for Baby Food from back in 2003, which means that five Eastern Conference goalies will likely be making their playoff debuts). So don't count the Devils out quite yet... (thanks to fjc33 for the stat)
  • Who was the NHL's most clutch skater in March? I'll give you a hint: his name is Alexander Ovechkin.
  • Ray Emery is your Rookie of the Month for March, beating out the forementioned AO. Why might this be a good thing for Ovechkin? Here's the theory: the better Emery does down the stretch, the more votes he splinters off from fellow goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who is AO's biggest competition for Rookie of the Year - if voters are thinking of casting their ballot for a netminder, their decision is made all the more difficult the more acclaim Emery gets, although Lundqvist's numbers on the season are much, much better. It may be a stretch, but losing the Rookie of the Month to Emery could actually help AO in the Calder race.
  • New to the blog roll is Mr. Irrelevant's Sports Blog. A highly complimentary link to The Rink while listening to The Flaming Lips will get you on the roll just about every time.
Daily Awards


Anonymous said...

my favorite part of the wtimes article was:

What will he do this summer after his longest season ever?
"I will go home, go to bars, drink and start fights with guys"

(and just fyi, your link to the article is off)

JP said...

Fixed, thanks. Glad to see someone actually reads my rantings!

Spe said...

Not as good as... "No, I go home, spend a couple weeks with my family then go to ocean, sea, visit friends."

d-lee said...

You got an early look at the on-line edition of the News and Disturber. The miscue (Halpern, not Friesen) was fixed. As you should know by now, even huge media outlets 20 times the size of Raleigh's paper sometimes get things wrong. We've seen it from and others this season. On-line editions are especially vulnerable to errors, but they almost always get corrected in due time.
I don't have a hard copy of that day's N&O, but I'm sure the mistake never made it to print.

JP said...

The first rule of Japers' Rink is - there's nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others.

The second rule of Japers' Rink is - there's NOTHING more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others.

Btw, looks from your picture as if you're in front of the Verizon Center. Are you a Candycane fan living in Capland or were you just up for a game?

Anonymous said...

There may be media outlets 20x the size of the N&O - but none, regardless of size, that enjoys their cultrual and political reach.

If I'm the owner of that paper I'm firing the first five people I see this morning.

As the saying goes, as Raleigh goes, so goes Charlotte etc.

d-lee said...

Your playoff goalkeeping minutes stats sure are interesting, but I know of one example off the top of my head that would make your stats meaningless. Heading into the 1986 Stanley Cup playoffs, Montréal had a young goalkeeper with no playoff experience by the name of Patrick Roy. They won the Cup that year, and young "unproven" Roy won the Conn Smythe.
I'm just sayin'.

Yeah. That picture was taken in front of the then MCI center when you guys handed us our only loss in January. I'm a Canes season ticket holder in NC and was up there just for that game.

JP said...

Here's another off the top of mine: Giguere in 2003.

It's just a stat, not a forecast of impending doom for any team not carrying a seasoned goalie or one with a goals against under 2.67 and a save percentage better than .909.

Anonymous said...

It's as good as won - Where do you think Carolina will take the cup first?

If I'm Justin Williams I'm hitting every WaHo and Sizzler on the mid-atlantic coast.

Then they should fill it with pbr and drink till dawn on Steve Chiasson's grave.

Then they should prank call "congratulations" to Ron Francis's house.

JP said... posted an article on this very topic this afternoon. Check it out.