There’s a Mike Green-shaped stain on the glass at Denver tonight.
The Capitals’ 6-1 domination over the Avalanches shouldn’t be reduced to a single nasty hit, but our journalistic spidey sense tells us that if it bleeds, it ledes. We’ve worried in the past that the team depends too much on Mike Green‘s ice presence, and perhaps other teams are starting to notice, too. In a moment of impotent rage, 240-pound David Koci smeared D-man Greenie into the glass. The poor man’s Chris Cooley did not get up for some time, and did not return to the ice. Russian Machine Never Breaks World Headquarters (located several stories beneath the Green Turtle in historic downtown Frederick) is outfitted with a dedicated, secure phone line for a situations just like this. As soon the Green phone rings, we’ll update you.
What else happened tonight? The Caps beat the living snow out of Colorado.
- Continuing the pattern of giving an AHL call-up the greatest night of his life before unceremoniously dumping him into the wilderness of Pennsylvania, birthday boy Kyle Wilson had two assists and two decent scoring attempts tonight. In his first attempt, the newb practically rushed the net. Great, kid. Don’t get cocky. (Actually, this is the freakin’ Washington Capitals; get as cocky as you want.) The Hershey Bears farm team remains one of the Caps’ best assets, and that’ll mean a lot come springtime.
- Tomas Fleischmann and Alexander Ovechkin cannot occupy the same talent level at the same time. When Ovie was out, Flash marked up exactly one metric butt-load of goals, but he has produced less in games where Ovie took the offensive lead. The Great 8 did not score tonight, but Tomas damn near snatched a hat trick. If these two players were ever to be superlative at the same time, the basic physical laws governing our universe would cease to be, and you’d be able to smell time or something.
- Once they were three or four ahead, particularly after Matt Bradley‘s goal-by-attrition, it became evident that the Caps were no longer interested in scoring goals, but just enjoyed frequent “hugging parties” behind Anderson’s net. Yes, it was fun and games in Denver. Surely, nothing could spoil this playful night of hockey shenanigans.
- Oh yeah. David Koci‘s bloodthirst. Wow. For the first half of the game, the Caps looked restrained and well-tuned. Part of Jose Theodore’s success tonight is owed to the fleet of blueliners not allowing rebounds or soft shots. Add to that: our offense was finding every which way to get behind Alexander’s pads. With that level of domination, it’s not surprising that the frustration would get to the Avs. It is surprising, however, that David Koci would lash out the way he did– viciously boarding Mike Green and running Shaone Morrisonn. Koci’s thuggery represents the kind of hockey the Caps have gotten away from recently, but everytime something like this happens, we have to have the same debate over again. The Caps don’t play hockey the way Alan May, Chris Simon (all praise be upon him), and Donald Brashear used do it; and that’s probably for the best. Enforcers don’t protect, they retaliate. If we’re worried about our most-skilled players getting hurt, we’ll either be too meek or too protective to play effectively. For now we must put our faith into the sage hockey elders, high up in their ivory towers in Toronto, trusting in their infinite wisdom that we will not see Koci again until he’s many thousand dollars poorer and on the NHL-equivalent of work release.
- The thanks of a gracious Caps nation go out to John Erskine, who probably knew going into the fight that Koci would clean his clock. John has stepped up and dropped gloves a few times this season, probably hoping to get noticed by management. Even if the hands holding the purse strings haven’t noticed, we have.
It’s after 1 am here on the east coast, and we’re just now getting updates on Shaone (iffy for Friday) and Mike’s (headache/eye could swell shut tomorrow) injuries. If they are unable to play this weekend, we will be down two defenders. Semyon Varlamov is still out, presumably nursing his irritated crotch with exotic sea-salt baths and oversized boxer shorts. And we’re only one game into our three-game jaunt to the frozen north. The Caps have already lost four of six games against Canadian teams (5 if you consider the Sabres to be Canadian like we do), so this may end up being one of those tough, character-building weeks. The kind of thing we’ll laugh about come June when we’re all sipping National Bohemian out of Lord Stanley’s Cup.