Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday Roundup/Gamenight: Bolts @ Caps

[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Another day, another "biggest game since Abe Pollin was in diapers" (the first time around, that is). Sure beats the hell out of the alternative, but I swear it's having an adverse impact on my digestive tract (wow - two sentences and two awful images... we're off to a great start today).

Anyway, the Bolts come to town having done the Caps no favors by rolling over for the 'Canes last night. But Tampa is 4-7-1 in the second of back-to-back games, they have the League's worst road record and are 13-21-4 following a loss, so hopefully they'll be as gracious to their hosts tonight as they were in Carolina.

The last time the Bolts beat the Caps in a regular season game in April was in 1999, four such games ago. Extending that streak to five would set up a likely all-or-nothing Saturday match up with the Panthers, but let's take things one step at a time and dispense with Tampa first.

I'm reminded of Herb Brooks's inspirational pregame speech prior to the gold medal game back in 1980. Guarding against a let down after pulling off the Miracle on Ice, Brooks simply told his boys something to the effect of, "If you lose this game, you'll take it with you to your [expletive] graves." After all the Caps have been through this season, a loss to lowly Tampa would stick with them all summer - a summer which, in all likelihood, would begin on Sunday.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Thanks to Jack Davies for passing along a link to D.C.-based rapper WALE's MySpace page, which features a track called "Back In The Go Go" in which the rapper gives Alex Ovechkin a shout out. Sidenote: I'm really lame and white.... Michael Farber (who may or may not have played the father on Family Ties) isn't all that impressed by anything any Caps have done this year, other than one game AO had.... Allan Muir has an interesting take on the MVP debate in that he wouldn't give Ovie the hardware based on - gasp! - the merits.... Carey Price was named Rookie of the Month for March. I, for one, am glad he was given the opportunity to play as much as he did.... Finally, one year ago today we covered some fashion news and sorta previewed that night's Caps game while pimping our ragin' year-end party, and two years ago we previewed that night's Caps/'Canes game and linked to the CBA, which for some reason seemed revolutionary.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Chad LaRose (Hat trick, including the game-winner, +3, 4 SOG)
  • Ross: Chad LaRose, Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Pat Kane (3 points each)
  • Norris: Sergei Gonchar (G, 2A)
  • Vezina: Marc-Andre Fleury (W, 26 saves on 29 shots against)
  • Richard: Chad LaRose (3G)
  • Calder: Pat Kane (G, 2A, +2, 3 SOG)
  • Aiken: Dominik Hasek (L, 3 goals allowed on 6 shots against in just 7:52 of work)

41 comments:

NS said...

"Washington, should it make the playoffs, could be one of those late-arriving squads that even the top teams in the conference wouldn't want to have to face early in the playoffs. Ovechkin would be a major reason. But, gradually, people in the game are coming to understand there are many other reasons to fear the boys from Washington." - d.cox

nice to see the rest of the crew getting some credit.

JP said...

Nice quote, and spot on - one guy doesn't carry you to a ~107 pace. And considering that only Pittsburgh has more points in the Eastern Conference since Thanksgiving, I should think every team in the East would rather not have to take their chances with the Caps.

ted said...

I am really hoping Florida is our friend. Getting the division title has so much going for it especially after watching the Flyers and Pens beat each other to a bloody pulp.

A first round match up in the playoffs between those teams would be great to watch and it would be interesting to see if Pittsburgh could survive the cheap shots and rough stuff. They'd have to be hurting even if they did. Then the Caps would have their turn with them.

Scai said...

Aside from the Carolina victory yesterday's games went quite well for the Caps. If the Caps win out and tomorrow's OTT-BOS game ends in regulation the Caps get in, no matter how the other games go.

Ryan said...

So after leaving the phone booth after Tuesday's game, I decided to celebrate the huge win by knocking back more than a couple...ummm...adult beverages. I don't really remember the end of the evening, but when I woke up yesterday morning I saw an order confirmation from Ticketmaster for a ticket in row A of section 110. So, if you're watching on TV and see a tall dude with a Craig Laughlin jersey and massive beard (and light wallet) banging on the glass like a maniac, that's me!

Brunella said...

Finger crosses, prayers said, knock on wood, hope for the best ..... I am totally confused by the standings, vacillating irrationally between hope and gloom.

(No quotes lately from Olie, bless his heart. You know he'd give anything to be playing in one of these two remaining games. He is the quintessential team guy. I love him dearly and will miss him grievously if he goes.)

b.orr4 said...

That door that was just open a crack is suddenly starting to swing a lot wider. I'm no math major, but Philly's regulation loss and Boston's OTL opens all sorts of possibilities for the Caps to get in. Now if Ottawa just continues their nose dive tonight along with Tampa, tomorrow could be one of the best Friday's in a long, long time.

ted said...

@b.orr4:

I agree, the math is looking good even with the Carolina win. Winning out will probably put the Caps in the playoffs. Gotta get those two points tonight though.

JP said...

Here, per the Caps, is where things stand right now:

Washington enters its last two games of the regular season within reach of the playoffs, but possibly needing some assistance from other teams – and in all likelihood, two victories – to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002-03. If the Capitals win their last two games, they would make the playoffs if any of the following occurred:

- Carolina loses in regulation or overtime to Florida tomorrow

- Ottawa loses one of its two remaining games in regulation or loses both in overtime

- Boston loses one of its two remaining games in regulation or loses both in overtime

- Philadelphia loses one of its two remaining games in regulation or overtime

Boston and Ottawa play each other tomorrow in Ottawa. If that game ends in regulation, the most one of those teams could earn is 94 points, and the Capitals hold the tiebreaker against both of them. That means that as long as that game is decided in regulation the Capitals control their own destiny.

Miker said...

Looking pretty good so far, although I'd not bet on the #3 spot.

If it ends up that Carolina locks the Division by beating Florida in regulation Friday, but the Caps lock any other spot based on a win tonight and some combination of positive-for-the-Caps results from Ottawa/Boston/Philly before Saturday's game vs. Florida, do you start Olie Saturday? I'd say so.

And I agree w/ ted - a Pitt vs. Philly round in the first would be a hell of a series.

hotdog88gt said...

I stopped reading Farber's "musings" after the first paragraph: Most complete player: Jarome Iginla, Flames. He won't win the Hart Trophy, but no one plays more parts of the game than this right winger. Iginla is a modern Gordie Howe with similar passion, toughness and humility.

Iginla could still win the Hart, and I wasn't aware that humility wins games. Besides, SI is the LAST place I'd go to for any having to do with hockey.

dmg said...

JP, your last post fills me with optimism. It's hard to me to believe that not at least one of those scenarios will occur.

Of course, the Capitals still have to take care of things at their ends and while they should beat Tampa and Florida there are guarantees.

terpz said...

hotdog, you mentioned SI is the last place to go for hockey, so where is a good place (besides jp's rink, of course)? I swing by espn but their coverage isn't good either. that cox article that ns quoted was terrible in my opinion. Yeah the caps wouldn't be anywhere near the playoffs if everyone on the team didn't do their part, but there's no reason to praise them at the expense of Ovechkin. "So while the D.C. crowd was serenading Ovechkin with chants of "MVP, MVP!" ... the truth was that Ovechkin was merely a peripheral contributor on this night." Sure, if i hadn't seen the game and just checked out the boxscore i would believe that. But he was burying the canes defensemen into the boards every shift; staal was a non-factor after Ovechkin decked him for the tap on Huet; and he drew a penalty in the 3rd that killed any hope of a Canes comeback. Combined with 24 mins of ice time, I wouldn't call that a peripheral contribution.

so yeah, where does everyone go for their hockey fix?

ted said...

Terpz and hotdog88gt are wondering where to go to get the best coverage. I don't know about anyone else, but Japer's Rink is always my first stop.

Look no further than here my friends.

grapejoos said...

Agreed ted. Jaspers' is my first stop, but I check out Tarik and On Frozen Blog for other Caps news. Don't know a great league site. For a little humor, Deadspin's NHL Closer is usually amusing enough.

dmg said...

For Caps stuff, JP, On Frozen Blog, A View From the Cheap Seats and Peerless Prognosticator.

For general NHL stuff I like Kukkla's Korner, James Mirtle and Illegal Curve.

Re tonight's game: if anyone is going here's one more reason to support the "Red Out".

Tyler said...

Here, followed by here, here and here. Only then do I even *think* about Barry Melrose Rocks and the NYT's Slapshot blog.

Paul Nichols said...

With apologies to any ladies on the Rink and to those with sensitive constitutions:

That guy from SI is obviously a pu**y.

Humility? Oh, give me a break. His whole article sounds like it was written by some limp-wristed queer who bristles at all the "violence" in hockey, and who obviously wishes there was a more European style played over here.

Pansy.

Anyway.

JP's is THE place for Caps hockey. For other news, I just go to NHL.com. At least they don't treat the sport in a condescending fashion like so many other "outlets".

yossarian said...

Believe it or not, last night's results hurt our chances of making the playoffs (albeit by 0.89%):

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern/Southeast/Capitals.html

However, 54.2% ain't bad, right? Right?

I still think we get in (I have a feeling Ottawa is toast) but the numbers are against us.

JP said...

Paul, thanks for the kind words, but the misogyny and homophobia aren't welcome here.

yossarian said...

Whoops. Sorry about the link.

Tyler said...

Thank you, JP.

bill ball said...

SI's Fambly Ties stand-in is clearly a left-coast hockey fan. We can probably leave it at that.

grapejoos said...

yossarian,
Interesting site. It's worth noting that if the Caps win tonight, those chances jump to 77%.

Last night's games didn't help in the absolute sense, but it certainly diversified our bonds, so to speak. There's now 4 legitimate paths in. I have to think that if we can take care of our own business, the math will work out in our favor.

Scai said...

I like Canadian outlets for general hockey coverage:

www.thehockeynews.com features some interesting opinion and blogs, while www.tsn.ca/nhl and http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/ got some nice videos. Obviously it's all a little Canadian biased but generally good quality, imo.

Paul Nichols said...

Mea Culpa JP. No offense intended.

The only phobia I actually had has been treated - Alex signed that contract....

Brunella said...

JP and everyone --- Is the 1st round schedule available anywhere? If not, when will they finalize it? Any and all help on this appreciated, gents.

Tyler said...

If memory serves, first-round schedules come in a little bit late because arena availability is sometimes a factor. You can get some irregularly scheduled first rounds as a result.

Brunella said...

Oh, and thank you JP for your 'where things stand right now'. Clear and concise and, now that I have a good grasp on the situation, I am STILL vacillating irrationally between hope and gloom.

Brunella said...

Thanks, Tyler!

Extrapolating from last spring ---> the regular season ended on Sunday, Apr. 8 and the playoffs began on Wed. Apr. 12. The first round was over by Tues., Apr. 24. This year, I am thinking we --opps, I mean they-- will begin on or about Wed., Apr. 9 and the 1st round will be concluded by Apr. 22.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) Is it an ominous sign that Pothier is still listed "Day to day", yet Morrisonn is listed as 'week to week'?

Tyler said...

Just checking: Anyone else's STH rep reporting a non-arrival of renewal/playoff materials? Or is it just me and my seatmate?

moby said...

@faux

The thing about Mo's shoulder (or upper body) is that it has a known timetable for recovery. The thing about concussions is that they're as quirky as warts - you have no idea when the symptoms will come and go. For all we know, Pothier could wake up tomorrow feeling perfectly fine.

Sparky said...

"The thing about concussions is that they're as quirky as warts - ..."

I don't find warts to be all that quirky. Maybe it's just me!

terpgrrl said...

Brunella - I just saw a Versus commercial saying that the playoffs start on Vs. on April 9th.

Hope that helps!

I will say that I come to this site first for all my Caps news. Then maybe I'll check out On Frozen Blog or Cheap Seats.

Keep up the excellent work JP!!

juan said...

Just wanted to mention, just so we have someone to blame for "jinxing" the Caps if something goes horribly wrong in the next 3 days, but it appears to my google translator assisted eyes that a writer for SovSport.Ru thinks the Caps are "Stanley Cup Favorites"

Oly_for_Olie said...

@terpz

You are at the best spot for hockey info and commentary (if you ignore the stray dog or two that wander through). Not only do I enjoy the insight of those that go to the Caps games, but lively discussions ("Alex Semin, Puck Bunny").

If you want to see the best of what's out there, JP, KB, etc list "What We're Reading" and that's a fascinating set of links.

Soulie said...

@Tyler - Just you. My bundle o' playoff tickets arrived today. Even if they don't make it, I'm giddy that they even had reason to print them. Giggity.

Ogre said...

Wow, the Bolts have class.

Anonymous said...

yeah boys! I just can't believe we are 10-1 in our last 11 and still need help to get in. I have this sick feeling that Boston is going to beat Ottawa in OT and Philly beats NJ tomorrow. We need Montreal to keep the pressure on Pitt. Oh, and of course we need to beat FL.

Anonymous said...

Locker, I don't think Vinny went off with a broken wrist. I'd say Cooke busted his ribs.