The Pregame: With Doug on IR (day-to-day, lower body – but we won’t say how low), I’ll take a stab at pregaming what could be one of the more critical games on the Caps schedule. And by take a stab, I mean a stabby-stabby and hate-fueled screed. Belittling all things Bay State is one of our favorite indoor sports, but there are so many Boston hFadlines today, we hardly know where to start.
Monday afternoon’s Bruins visit to the White House elicits only groans from us. We all know our Kenyan Marxist president would rather be honoring a Canadian team. As everyone knows, Canadians are generally far more receptive to Obama’s brand of socialism, with their noted embrace of socialized healthcare and flamboyant homosexual hockey fans .
Had the Canucks won the Cup, Michele “Let’s Move” Obama would’ve been swanning amongst the tables of a Canucks State Dinner (music by Nickelback), but instead, the Bruins were shunted off to the side, virtually ignored, and allotted only a crappy POTUS photo op that saw just about any scribe ::cough wyshynski cough :: getting credentialed for it. We’d give anything for the chance to hear those long gone, Grande Dames of the briefing room, Helen Thomas, Sarah McClendon, and Trude Feldman shriek at Claude Julien! More on the missing Bruin later.
Speaking of pucks and politics, we can only hope the Bruins will soon follow the trajectory of another Massachusetts Miracle, former Governor Mitt Romney. The South shall rise again, and rise it did over the weekend, by raining all over Mittens’ inevitability parade in South Carolina. Now limping around the Sunshine State, Mitt Romney, high-sticked plenty for his faux Bruins fandom (no record of him ever attending a game while Governor), just may end up following in the footsteps of other successful Massachusetts Commanders –in- Chiefs: Presidents Dukakis and Kerry. [Note to David Axelrod: Get Barry to the Booth if you want to sew up the hockey vote, and consider hosting a Dem Caps fundraiser and auction the rights to burn that schmata of a Bruins sweater that they gave your boss].
Yesterday’s heart-breaking OT loss to the Pens was followed by the Ravens debacle (cue more Beantown braying). Even from our hardened underground bunker, we could hear the shrill, self-satisfied bloviating of Boston fans everywhere. We’ll have to endure two more weeks of their unnerving smugness, but a Caps win on Tuesday night may be just the thing to shut their five-holes. On February 5, Stupor Bowl Sunday, we host the Bruins again at Verizon and we recall last year’s NFL Championship day, one that saw the Caps downing the Pens – ominous foreshadowing of what would happen to the Steelers later that day against the Pack.
Jeez, I’ve riffed so much on the Boston sidebar stories, there’s little room left to talk hockey. Consider yourselves lucky. We’ll deviate from the normal format a little because I’m… a deviate?
The Puck Drop
Against the backdrop of the ever-shaky Caps having to face the top team in the L’Eastern Conference (31-13-2, OK – 2nd place, tied for points with the Rags, whatevs Mr. Fancystats), we’ve got injuries galore: (Nicky, Greenie, do we even mention Poti anymore?); illness with Po MoJo and weirdness (Sasha “uncomfortable” at the end of the bench yesterday – and by uncomfortable, we don’t mean those awkward hugs). And now we’ve had a brush with the law. Sheriff Shanahan, farming out the Ovi decision to the Casey Anthony jury, nailed our captain with a severe and draconian 3-game suspension.
Did Ovi leave his feet on that Zbyxněksickhahahah Michálek hit on Sunday? Maybe a little. Regardless of Shanahan’s Kangaroo Courtfindings, let’s put that controversial hit into much-needed perspective: 1). Despite the altitude achieved, to us (always the kneejerk Caps apologists), it looked like a hockey hit plain and simple, demonstrating Ovi’s leadership on the ice. 2.) Remember the Prague Spring? Russians are sooo loving of the Czechs that they sometimes get carried up, up and awayyyy. Ovi could’ve called in a column of tanks, but instead opted for an air strike. Michálek was so unfazed by the Ovi hit that he went head hunting for Hendy later in the game, and got off with nary a finger-wagging from Brendan “Bull Connor” Shanahan.
Even before the Pens game, we thought that Ovi should take a pass on the ASG – that the time would be better spent team building, sack grabbing and getting everyone’s heads and asses wired together. Eighth is too tenuous a spot in the standings for the Great 8 or his team. Captain Crunch could also use the time moving into his new digs. He just bought into the charming hamlet of McLean (5BR, 7.5BA, 11,000sf, $4.4M), increasing his commute but removing himself from the urban rat race that is Arlington.
What Makes Them Hot
1. The Whole Megillah: What can you say about a defending champion team that shrugged off their Cup hangover pretty quickly and has been playing excellent hockey? Let’s just leave it at that. These guys scare the crap out of us and for good reason – what they lack in individual goal and points leaders, they make up in depth, deep depth, very scary deep, dark and foreboding depth. In fact, we have the bends as we scribble this out. While the Bs have the best goal differential in the NHL, none of the top-20 point scorers call Boston home (Tyler Seguin is #25). As far as overall points, Tyler leads the Bruins as well and is in 24th place, just ahead of our dear Angel, the ailing Nicky Backstrom. As an aside, leaving Steven Tyler out of the equation, are there any Tylers that aren’t hot?
2. Rasputin: Zdeno Chara is so big he blocks the sun and so heavy that he has his own gravitational pull. He’s so ugly, he’s got ugly he hasn’t even used yet. We can’t stand this guy and if it was up to us, we’d give the go-code to Hendy, Erskine and maybe Dale kick the crap out of him. It might take all three.
3. Net Positive – Nut Roots: We don’t know who gets the call for Tuesday, but either of Boston’s netminders would be formidable. Are we the only ones who scream “TIMMAY,” in our best South Park voices whenever he’s between the pipes? My God, we hate Tim Thomas and that was before he snubbed the President on Monday. Turning down a White House visit, no matter who resides there, is classless, and Glenn Beck fan or not, hockey should trump politics. Timmy should get his ass run mercilessly on Tuesday night for that serious breach of good manners and protocol. Timmy’s Crayola’s communique to explain his absense did little to help his cause. The brain-addled Unabomber scribbled out a far more coherent statement than the jibberish Lil Timmy posted on Monday. [Note to Timmy: The Bay State goes Deep Blue in November, despite your childish theatrics and temper tantrum, and the Dems probably pick up a Senate seat, too].
What Makes Us Hot
1. Out of Body Experience: Was that our Sasha with the Knublian-style, greasy goal from the doorstep against the Pens? Was that our Sasha getting in on a skirmish, too? Whoever that was, keep it up! Love that dirty water? Make it filthy, Sasha. You’re due and there’s no one better to humiliate than the Bruins. With Ovi out, it’s time to step up. Sasha – it’s your time, it’s your calling, it’s your destiny.
2. Czech Mates: It’s hard to fault either Vokoun or Neuvy lately, and we’d be comfortable with either getting the call on Tuesday night. They’ve been bringing it, far more consistently than earlier in the season, but still need help in front of them. Had the Hammer not been so far out of position against Geno during the OT, the Caps may have exited CONSOL with the two points. We say give the start to the Raccoon – and we say to the rest of the team, protect him at all costs. Tuesday night would also be ideal for a goalie fight (hint – hint).
3. Screw Tim Thomas. Go back to Bumtown, you bum!
Keys to the Game
Bruins: OK – maybeee I had some help putting this together. Besides the gentle nudges to include some stats and hockey things from a colleague (Hi Peter!), noted Bruins blogger, Sarah Connors of Stanley Cup of Chowder gave us some insight on what the Bruins need to do to win the game:
First and foremost discipline – when the Bruins keep their cool instead of retaliating like idiots, they win by a ton every time. Case in point: yesterday’s s-show (6-5 SO win over the Flyers) and the Canucks game (4-3 loss) are two good examples of them being idiots. We haven’t played the Caps since 2010; there were no Bruins/Caps games in calendar year 2011.
Sarah also laid down a challenge for Tuesday night, but we did not pledge RMNB to this, however: Whoever loses the game has to swap out their twitter avatar for a week, with the winning team’s logo. For the love of God and all that is holy and Leonsis, please Caps, SCOAR MOAR GOALS, CRASH THE NET, PLAY 60 MINUTES OF FLAWLESS HOCKEY, HIGH STICK – LOW STICK, WIN BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!!!
Caps: We can only repeat what Alan “The Oracle of CSN” May, has been saying, tweeting and screaming, “SHOOOOOOOT!”