Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sunday Roundup

"Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's six months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium." - Crash Davis in Bull Durham

For some reason, that quote keeps banging around my head these days when I think about the difference between making and missing the playoffs. It's going to be close. How close? Who knows. But in this year of mediocrity parity, you can bet that it will be five points or fewer.

Know what the difference between, say, 88 and 93 points in the standings is? It's five losses in overtime rather than in regulation, okay? There's six months in a season. That means if you get less than one more game per month to overtime before losing - just one - an extra save in the last thirty seconds of regulation... you get a clear into the corner rather than into your own net with 28 seconds left... you get one puck past a mediocre goalie in sixty minutes... you hold on to a tied game for four more minutes in a game in which your goalie, 50-feet from the net, fans on the puck... you - rather than the officials - get to decide the outcome of a game... you get a call or a bounce, just one more call or a bounce a month... and you're in the playoffs.

Each of those five games referenced above was a Caps loss... in regulation. In total, the Caps have twelve one-goal, sixty minute losses (and ten one-goal regulation wins). The Caps may still make or miss the playoffs, but either way, it's going to be closer than even the standings might indicate.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Damien Cox thinks Alex Ovechkin is a "talented loser" if the Caps miss the playoffs by a point, but the Hart winner if they're in. Tom Benjamin thinks Cox is a talented loser, minus the talent. I think "Damien Cox" sounds like a horror-porn actor.... Finally, one year ago today we briefly (and I mean briefly) recapped a Caps loss, watched an outstanding old school brawl and followed-up on the "fighting" post, and two years ago today we recapped yet another Caps loss and defended poor, defenseless Ovie.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jarome Iginla (3G, including the game-winner, +2, 7 SOG, 3 Hits, 2 TkA, 0 GvA)
  • Ross: Eight players tied with 3 points each
  • Norris: Dion Phaneuf (G, 2A, +4, 8 SOG)
  • Vezina: Dan Ellis (37 saves on 38 shots against in shootout win)
  • Richard: Jarome Iginla (3G)
  • Calder: Sam Gagner (2G, including the game-winner, +2, 8 SOG)
  • Aiken: Jose Theodore (3 goals allowed on 8 shots against in just 14:29 of work)


erica said...

Seems we have a weekend off for ruminating. Well, to your litany of on-ice what-if's, I'd also add an off-ice missed gorp. Something about the Caps' brass waiting an extra week or two, two lost weeks too too long, to bring in Bruce Boudreau. I'm not privy to their behind-the-scenes discussions, obviously, but those that dithered, if they did, must be doing some teeth gnashing right about now too.

On another matter, OFB
pucksandbooks writes
as if that Ovie quote that you have Boudreau relating -- "Just get on my back and we’re going to go." -- is a real quote! That Ovie actually said it!! By golly!

b.orr4 said...

Yep,those five losses were killers, but if the Caps had just gone 9-11-1 instead of 6-14-1 at the styart of the season, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. For everything McPhee did well this year, not pulling the trigger sooner on a friend may have cost this team the playoffs.

TJ said...

I agree with Benjamin's post, but he says something that bothers me. Specifically, he refers to the Caps as a mediocre team. Since Boudreau took over, the Caps are on a 102 point pace. How can anyone playing that well be considered mediocre? This isn't like montreal going on a tear at the end of the season last year - the Caps've been playing this well since Thanksgiving.

Just something i've been thinking about lately. Would love to hear others' opinions on that.

Brunella said...

I totally agree with you TJ: that "mediocre" tag Benjamin used sure stung me too. Yet, standings tell the story in most folks' eyes. Most folks gummed up eyes. It's also an indication of how abysmal a hole 6-14-1 was.

bil said...

1. I think pucksandbooks is high. Bruce was expressing his opinion, not reporting the facts.

2. What might have killed the Caps was the first win against Ottawa. Lose that game, and the coaching change happens three, four games sooner--perhaps the two or three missing points the Caps will need.

2A. Speaking of pulling the trigger, the Caps knew they needed some help at 2nd line C (as well as goal)--couldn't GM have offered a little bit more and picked up Federov and/or Huet a week earlier?

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing about where we are that gives me the creeps. Tonight I have to root for the Isles and the other night I was rooting for the Pens.

Erica said...

Ya know, while we're all ruminating away here, let's give tip
of the hat
to oft-overlooked (at least oft-overlooked by me) Viktor 'Big Dog' Kozlov. Okay, yeah, it's easy to be a plus guy when you're skating with Ovie, but +24 is really quite good. (Nicky is only +10.)

Thank you, Kozzie, for doing your job well every night.

(Sheesh, I sound like it's all over and I am thanking my support staff. Yuck! Stop me! It ain't over!)

Ogre said...

I noticed this last night, had *just* the Boston game on March 8th gone different (I.E. no hooking on Erskine, Chara gets called for his playing with a broken stick, yadda yadda) the Caps would be in 7th right now.
That said, bitching about officiating in that game likely doesn't happen if Brash doesn't decide to go crazy on a guy (Which, 99% of the time in the previous year, I wouldn't have cared.)

Anywho, the season isn't over. Let's have fun instead of mulling. And Damien Cox is a moron. The "playoff" scenario should only apply if you have two players with very similar stats, play the same position, and one is the only player on his team and he pulls his team into the playoffs. Case in point, if Lecavalier had similar stats to Ovechkin this year, I'd say Ovechkin deserves the nod, because he's pulled the Caps along, and Lecavalier isn't in.

But there's not another player this year who has similar stats to Ovechkin. So fuck that argument.

dmg said...

"Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's six months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium."

Which is part of the reason batting average is actually not a very good measure of performance...

Perhaps a bit off topic, but still.

Anonymous said...

"Let's have fun instead of mulling."

Easy for you to say. (((sniff)))

JP said...

Just to clarify, I agree that "the story" of the season is waiting too long to fire Hugs. I'm just saying that even with that, the on-ice difference between in and out is so small. That's all.

Soulie said...

Since we're talking about firing Hugs too late, here's another what-if.

What if the Caps aren't injury-riddled to start the season? Do they get those few extra wins? Does Hanlon get the axe sooner? There was an awful lot of "We don't know if it's coaching or injuries" waffling going on in November. Correct me if I'm right, but wasn't Poti, Nyls and Clark all riding the trainers table early on?

Regardless, this is the first March I've given a damn about the Caps since forever ago. Bring on the Canes and the Kitties.

NS said...

Islanders not helping us out tonight....down 4-0 to the Flyers. Hate.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

JP: Neat post. I've always loved that quote and the way Kevin Costner delivered it. My thoughts are we could all drive ourselves crazy with "shoulda, woulda, coulda's" or we could all just unanamously agree that Damian Cox is just something you can't fix - stupid.

Either way the last six games of the season will be fun to watch. LETS GO CAPS!!!!


1) We posted an opinion piece on Mr. Cox last fall. This just cements the opinion that we had back then.

Rage said...

Hey guys!!1 Come visit mmy blog plz!!

Thanks! And if you visit right now, you can have a salad spinnner for only 19.95!!!11 I the only one getting annoyed with the links?

erica said...

"Hey guys!!1 Come visit mmy blog plz!! " I did, Rage, and there is nothing posted there. Nice try with the salad spinner. (I fell for it.)

Here is another item for the rumination mill: Which dirt bags are conspicuous in their absence with regard to publicly congrats for Ovie on #60? You guessed it! (a) The Devil Incarnate 666 Smarmy Mario and (b) his boytoy Ya-ya.

Phooey on both of them.


1) Don't like links? Don't click on em'? Easy fix. Seems there are sooo many other bigger problems than that Rage, no?

PPP said...

JP - Re: Cox - Imagine having him write stupid articles like that about your team EVERY DAY and then you'll know about my personal hell ;)

a mike said...

As a "what if" I'd love to see a playoff matchup for the east teams if you remove all the games before the coaching change for the Caps, and the same # of games from the start of the season for the rest.