Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Game-By-Game Reasons To Watch: October

Warning: shameless rip-off ahead.

One of my absolute favorite daily reads out there is Seth Rorabaugh's Empty Netters blog over at the something-or-other Post Gazette, and Seth is currently in the midst of providing his readers with individual reasons to watch each and every game on the local team's 2008-09 schedule.

On a totally unrelated note, I thought it would be a great idea to provide Rink readers with individual reasons to watch each and every game on the local team's 2008-09 schedule. And while I could easily cut and paste "Because you don't want to miss what Alex Ovechkin might do next," that wouldn't give me six days-worth of content in late July. So without further ado, let's jump right into October's Game-by-Game Reasons to Watch:

Oct. 10 @ Atlanta: Opening Night on a Friday in Atlanta for the second straight year features Bruce Boudreau behind the bench opposite his BFF John Anderson and the NHL's top two goal scorers from a season ago. Ovechkin has more goals (20), assists (20) and points (40) against the Thrash (in 24 games) than against any other team during his three-year career, and the last time these two teams got together they produced one of the very best games of the Caps' season, so expect fireworks like these:

Oct. 11 vs. Chicago: After the Caps raise their Southeast Division Champions banner to the rafters, they'll possibly take aim at the man who helped them to earn that crown, Cristobal Huet, who failed miserably in his last attempt to stop AO. The game will showcase all three of 2007-08's Calder Trophy finalists as well as the summer's top two free agent defensemen (Mike Green and Brian Campbell). And for those who hold a grudge, the Caps' only loss in their last dozen regular season games last Spring came in Chicago in Olie Kolzig's last game as a Cap.

Oct. 13 vs. Vancouver: The return of Matt Pettinger (and his million dollar contract) to D.C. will pit the Caps against a team they haven't beaten since Valentine's Day, 2001. By the way, somehow the Blue Jackets aren't playing on Columbus Day. That's just wrong.

Oct. 16 @ Pittsburgh: Meh. These teams didn't have any exciting games last season, and there'll certainly be no major star power on display. But the Caps will be facing former teammate Matt Cooke for the first time, so tune in for that. Or something like this:

Oct. 18 vs. New Jersey: Tune in to see Fedorov... Fedor Fedorov, who will perhaps be on an NHL ice sheet with his brother for the first time, and Ovechkin, the Colin White-seeking missile (here's another example).

Oct. 21 @ Calgary: The Caps haven't lost to the Flames since March 13, 1999 and haven't lost in Calgary since March 26, 1998, where local boys Green and Jeff Schultz return home, the latter for his first NHL game at the Saddledome. Oh, and if you don't like watching Jarome Iginla play, find another blog to read.

Oct. 23 @ Phoenix: The last time the Caps visited the desert, this happened:

Oct. 25 @ Dallas: The Stars should be one of the best teams in the League in 2008-09 and will be a tough test at the end of a Western swing - as if Sean Avery isn't usually reason enough to watch a game.

Oct. 28 vs. Nashville: The Caps last played hosted the Preds back in December of 2005, when Alex Ovechkin had a mere 16 NHL goals to his credit, Bryan Muir and Steve Eminger were leading the team in ice time, and the Preds were en route to a 106-point season. Now the Predators are the prey (zing!) and the Caps have a great chance to end the month on a high note. Too bad their Goal Girls (and, presumably, Alexander Radulov) won't be making the trip.

Game of the Month: It's a tough call, but Pittsburgh is the Eastern Conference measuring stick and will provide the Caps with a good, early idea of where they are as a team and where they need to be. What do you think?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uh, we beat the Preds this year.

JP said...

Oops. I meant "hosted," not "played." Must... get... coffee.

Rage said...

I love that clip of the Atlanta game. Right after Backs scores the goal to make it 4-3, Ovy hunts him down like a cheetah and whatever the hell cheetahs eat.

hotdog88gt said...

"Overjoyed at 60". Good grief.

Shoulda bounced that one off a few people first before hand.

JP said...

@ hotdog: Yeah, for an obviously pre-rehearsed line, that one stunk out loud.

doughless said...

who would bet on the following occuring:

Oct. 25 - First pummeling for Avery as a Star at the hands of one Donald Brashear.

JP said...

@ d: I'd love to see it, but Donnie's out of Avery's weight class. Here's a list of the light-to-middleweights with whom Seany Boy has chucked knuckles.

Ogre said...

I don't really think that Pittsburgh's that much better than us. Had they called Chara for playing with a broken stick, or the Bruins for hurling the puck over the boards, or the referee not tackled Morrisonn, and Backstrom not put the puck in his own net, the division would not have been so close, no? Actually, what pissed me off the most leaving that game last year (Backstrom incident, I call it), was the sheer number of idiot Pens fans who said to me "How about Crosby getting that Game Winning Goal?"

They flat out didn't know what had happened.

Marky Narc said...

I will be at the Phoenix game; I will just happen to be out there when the Caps roll into town, and hey, how can I not go?

bigonetimer said...

my game of the month is Calgary: that's the kind of tough team we need to be able to beat. Shocked it's been ten years since we've lost to them.

Iginla and Phaneuf:Ovechkin and Green...tough call

Daniel said...

Marky -
I live in Phoenix, and someone offered me tickets to the game the last time they were in town... I turned them down.

Yeah, I don't think I'll do that again, I'm in this time.

-d

Hockey Amor said...

OV Search & Destroy = WOW!

Seth Rorabaugh said...

JP,

My lawyers will be in contact.

Seriously though, thanks for the props.

wittcap79 said...

Oh yeah, and if anyone still doubts the re-signing of Mike Green I say to you, watch Backie's first goal in the Atlanta game and come back to me with a list of d-men that can do that...

shaggy said...

You guys deriding "Overjoyed at 60" are buzzkills.
That game was awesome...

Joe said...

Thanks JP, now I miss hockey even MORE! Gahhhh, why the hell isn't it October yet?????

hotdog88gt said...

@shaggy: C'mon, Scoob, that quote really took the air out of the balloon on that goal. I heard JB say it and instead of looking forward to the replay I kept picturing Laughlin wincing and wondering how long it took JB to come up with that one. The guys in the Comcast production truck had to be rolling on the floor after that one.

Mike L. said...

One more note to the Chicago game, all three Calder finalists will be playing in the game as well... a very interesting matchup for opening weekend. :)