Chad LaRose (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)
The Post-Mortem: So, everyone happy? At least those with Ward and Backstrom shirseys? Luv U Caps, but we’re tired of writing the “Tale of Two Caps” (See: Hassett, Peter) - you know, the bedraggled guttersnipes everyone wrote off after the 1st period who then come back to show their true mettlel? Memo to Bruce Boudreau and team: We don’t need drama. We don’t want drama. Please, enough of the plucky comebacks by the adorable yet overlooked (*cough Nicky cough Greenie*) boy heros. Dickens did it before, and better. (Although, Coach, you’d make a memorable Fezziwig). Memo to Ovi: “In addition to Russian, we’re learning how to lip read. And then we’ll learn how to lip read Russian. быть осторожным!
The Caps had a couple of busy days off after the Ducks game. While Ovi was managing ’Bench-gate,’ Brooksi
The Puck Drop: I think it was William Faulkner who penned the immortal line: “The South is a foreign country you always return home to.” Or was that Yakov Smirnoff? Whatever. The Caps are back on the road for back-to-back games, starting first with a trip down to the land of boll weevils and cornpone to play the Hurricanes.
It’s our second dance with the Canes this season, but the first in their barn. Skinner, Staal, Kaberle, and Ward figured to figure then, and are slated to rate this time around as well. Bieber Skinner was outstanding against the Bolts, (except for the fact that perma-puberty he’s dealing with), but there are other Canes we need to watch closely.
The Set Up: Last time around we caught some flak for suggesting this place called North Carolina was little more than myth. So we did a little research. Turns out, there is a North Carolina, and it’s just north of South Carolina. Think Branson, with a sour attitude and less culture (and less Yakov Smirnoff).
The natives speak something called Carolingian, which is like how English would sound if your mouth was stuffed with hominy and fatback (as it turns out is the case). They worship an odd Hoop-God, pretend to have “colleges” and “cities”, and make money by renting out flea-infested disease shacks (called “ocean-fronts”) to pale-skinned dopes from the North, while they sleep in trees. To this fetid mix we add the Hurricanes.
The Canes 5-4-3 start suggests both weakness and toughness (a neat rhetorical trick that we think would make Orwell spit up). Weakness by evidence of losing nearly ½ their outings; strength in knowing how to hang in tough at the end. To what do they owe this paradox?
What Makes Them Hot
1: Like We Said. Staal, Ward, Skinner and Kaberle are all standouts this season. Between the four (uh, three, ‘cause Ward can’t exactly get points) they’ve got… well, hella points for the Canes so far. Generally speaking, any of these guys on any given night can be good. On a bad night – for us, say – they’re all impressive. Staal has dreams of his team contending on the big stage. We’d like to laugh derisively in his face (assuming we had a step-stool) but can’t, as these four on one team could be lethal. What they haven’t developed so far is true cohesion. But…
2: Like We Didn’t. Erg. You would think a bunch of bumpkins like the Canes would be polite enough to pay attention to our earlier picks. The rest, settling down like Junior Samples on Hee Haw. Not really so much. Chad LaRose (that is NOT a porn name– we checked), a 29-year-old smoker from southern Michigan (swoon) already has 11 points – most of those assists, which makes him a genuine threat. There are others… but frankly they’re not nearly as hot. So…Chad LaRose. (Next appearing with Maxime LeStick, we imagine.)
3: Upswing. Short and bitter. Carolina went into Chicago ready to be pecked apart by the Blackhawks, and – like Tippy Hedrin – they came out the victor. Then Tampa, which has long bedeviled the Canes, was disposed of. There’s nothing we like less than an opponent building a streak while we have to defend ours. Jerks.
What Makes Them Not
1: Jussi Jokinen. Normally we’d be calling him things like the Finnish Flash, the Kalajoki Cracker or just “Here’s My Card, Sailor.” Not now. The 28-year-old left winger with more talent than should be legal (did we mention he’s totally got it goin’ on?) will be out for the next three or four weeks with a leg injury. Looks like he twisted it bad in the Tampa game. Poor guy, but good for us.
2: Division and Conquer: Nine games under their belt and they hadn’t won a single one in their division until Tuesday’s game against the Bolts. Staal may aspire to greatness, and may in fact find it in the future. The Canes –for the foreseeable future – we declare out-classed in the Southeast. Have at it, h8rs.
Crash the Net: We’re going on record as not liking the whole “Stink the first part/comeback the second part/nail-biter in the third” thing, yes? We’re not always on the best ice in other cities. The Canes (and Bolts) particularly have deviled us over the years. We think it’s all the pig-barbeque fumes. Whatever: Caps, strap your pork tight (Carolingian for ‘grab your sacks’), and play hard and fast from the outset. There, I guess we’re qualified to do a guest segment with Paula Deen now, eh?
The OT: Oh, that quote wasn’t Faulkner. Or Eudora Welty. Or Bear Bryant or Bocephus or any other giant of Southern “culture.” We just cold made it up. Boom! See that, South? That’s how we play up here! Oh, and please feel free to use that quote liberally in the future.
As Seen On TV: Tune in at 7:00pm on CSN for another episode of The Bickersons, starring Joe B. and Locker, and for viewers down on Tobacco Road, point your backyard satellite dish up towards the heavens and pray you get a signal.