A time machine.
We had too much to dream last night. Blame the cough syrup. Either that or this stuff really did happen. We’ve got dazed and confused recollections of hotwiring a hockey time machine, tripping back to the past and then ahead to the future. We saw Gordie Howe play (when men were men), Steve Yzerman (when he was hot), and the Great One (when mullets were cool). We took in a few Penguins games of yore (when a young Sidney Crosby taught us all how to laugh) and even dialed it back further to when Bruce Boudreau was slim …mer. Go Fort Wayne Komets!
Before dropping the contraption back off back at RMNBHQ (with a full tank), we bounced ahead to Friday morning to see how tomorrow’s game against the Pens turned out. So this is in effect a pre-review, we promise only a few spoilers. If Thursday’s game doesn’t go as we witnessed it, that’s because Chris has been screwing with the space-time continuum-thingie again. Ugh, kids.
Friday morning, 8am. Despite the drizzle, we’re feeling happy. Another Caps win, another game with too much drama, but hey, a win’s a win. Right from the get-go, Coach Douche-hat, AKA Dan Bylsma, pushed his squad hard– getting over their tarring by the Edminton Oilers the other night and sustaining the intensity of their 4-2 win over the Panthers. They were a little full of themselves after beating down the Cats without their star players of Malkin and Crosby. Bylsma is reaching deep to get a robust squad on the ice– Sidney is still sporting his “Please Don’t Hit Me” pin (pissing off Jeremy Roenick), and Geno remained sidelined with “soreness,” whatever that is. What is it exactly with Eastern Europeans and their sensitive groins? Nevermind. We thought we shipped our groin problems to the Avs. Regardless, the Pens fire well even when without their top-shelf talent.
There were a number of standouts, though. Among them were 6-foot-nothing defenseman Kris Letang, too hot for hockey by half, and clearly hot on the ice of late. The Montreal native was young enough (25) and skilled enough to challenge our boys. “Lefang” has also spent his entire NHL career as a Penguin… which sorta explains our abject dislike for him. Also on defense were chief Pens Pests, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Orpik continues to be irritating, and Niskanen was every bit deserving of the few attending Caps fans chanting, “F— you, Matt.” [Ed. Note: Get well soon, Geno. But F– you still.]
On offense (as if everything about this team isn’t already offensive) we zeroed in on three players: Chris Kunitz (21 points in Scrabble), James Neal, and Tyler Kennedy. None are really considered major stand-outs, but all have proven up to the task of filling in while the top-dollar skaters are recuperating. If we have one message from the future, it would be this: watch out for Kunitz, Neal, and Kennedy. Which sounds like the ambulance-chasing law firm that Bill Shatner pimps during “Judge Judy.”
Which brings us to some Pens we like the least: Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke. Staal is just one of the many bunnies produced at Canada’s fertile Staal Farms, but somehow the most annoying of the bunch. He proved as dangerous to the Caps as litter-mate Eric proved a few nights back. Or was it Eric last night and Jordan earlier? Who can tell – they all look the same: twitchy, blonde, and pink, beady rabbit eyes. 23 and sporting the “A”, the 220-lbs Staal showed his worth against the Flames, the Panthers, and again against the Caps. Whatever type of Bunny Chow they’re feeding them up in Thunder Bay, we want in on that trough.
Beyond Staal is Irritant #1: Matt Cooke. If Iran wanted to hire a hitman to ice that Saudi diplo dude, why not contract with Matt Cooke? The Pens felon has so far evaded Shanahan’s wrath this season, so giving him a kill team gig makes complete sense. On any given night, Cooke makes
Slasha Sasha look like a demure choirboy. On Thursday, Matt dished out low blows and high hits like Don Cherry serves up incoherent ramblings. Unfortunately, Cookie the Anger Penguin also dishes out the puck to the twine, leading to drama.
In the end, our boys rose to the Penguin challenge and Thursday night looked like playoff hockey (not typical Caps playoff, you know; the good kind. The kind that makes us happy, not catatonic). The bigger problem is what happens when Crosby and Malkin return, quite possibly in time for the next match up at the Booth on December 1. But the future is the future, the past is slightly messed up, and we’ve got other
fish thugs to fry before then– like the Flyers, just one week away.
Is it October yet? Holy crap, yes it is. And like Dippin’ Dots, we swearing off cough syrup forever.