Florida Panthers Pregame: Deal The Card

Doug Johnson is a Puck Buddy. Read Puck Buddys. Follow @PuckBuddys. Obey.

The Pregame: True story. Florida’s Everglades have become so overrun with non-native Burmese Pythons, imported by one simpleton New Jersey retiree couple on Hoverounds, that they’ve eaten just about everything good and natural to the region, leaving the entire ecosystem on the edge of collapse. Really.

And yet, we are so overcome with issues of real import (Caps fail) that we cannot even fill in the punchline here. The easy, made-to-order, South Florida punchline. The joke that Dave Barry has penned a hundred times (and Gene Weingarten a thousand.)

THAT is precisely how dire our current situation is. To make it clear: if two well-educated, middle-aged gay men can’t make wry comments about South Florida, you know it’s fer realz.

The Puck Drop

Max Ernst, The Barbarians (1937)

Mark my words: this is what happens when you introduce non-native species to new environments. Everything goes to hell and all that’s good dies. Example: hockey team – not one but two! – invades the southern-most peninsula of America called, accurately, Boca Raton. Result: real hockey is swallowed into a faceless maw of oblivion.

You know, as tired as you are of the silly face-washing jokes we roll out here, and as tired we are of coming up with new ways to describe how putrid our opponent’s cities are, let’s admit it. Hockey in DC looks tired. Tired and ready for a nice nap.

We’re paying no attention to the kerfufffling between Wides and Ovi at Thursday’s practice: humm-haww. If sniping words were hockey sticks, my place of employ would resemble an underground fight club. Memo to NHL pros: we expect you to act angry on the ice.

Yet angry is something we’re not, what with the Caps ranking at the lowest ends of penalties and fights in the NHL. Really? Under Dale Hunter?

Hot? Not? How To Decide?

Rene Magritte, Listening room (1953)

Brian Eno used to advise bands he was producing that when they hit a brick wall, they should do something totally different. “Oblique Strategies” he called them. Something totally unexpected. He even produced a deck of cardsthat anyone, facing a loop of losses, could just pull from the shuffled deck and muse on the nonsensical advice.

“Ask your body,” reads one. “Try faking it!” another. “Use an old idea.” “Work at a different speed.” “What to increase? What to reduce?”


Exactly. It’s not about fact. It’s not reason. It’s what you bring to the problem, and how you answer the question to solve the problem.

So. You’re going to find plenty of so-called smart talk about what the Caps need to do, what the Cats have done, where we all are in the standings and how to bash down our opponents, and what needs to be done to get us to the playoffs. We’ve written some of that in the past, as have our colleagues. Didja see where it got us?

So tonight, to Hell with Hot, and Not. To Hell with prescriptions of what the Caps need on the ice. To Hell with the bookies and the smarties and the babies and everyone whimpering about what should be.

Tonight, we draw from the deck and discover:

“Cut a vital connection.”

End Game

So, Caps.  What is your “vital connection”?  What would you say it is?

Put aside every injury report, data sheet and sharpie analysis. Put aside emotion. Put aside what everyone has said, and consider for yourselves: what is our vital connection?

We’ll be back tomorrow to look forward to Saturday’s game. For the moment, let’s rethink what we’re doing, and think about something new.

Jackson Pollock, Number 1 (1950)

  • dpierce

    that was good.

  • Art for art’s sake, hockey for God’s sake.

  • Colin

    Underground fight club indeed Doug 🙂

  • Batsnowls

    I listened (no TV in Montana mountains) to a WHL game between the Ice and Hit Men. In the 3rd, there were 5 Ice players in the penalty box , 6 in the Hit’s box and Calgary’s coach had been tossed from the game. Ice won 4-0 with 45 total penalty min.to the Hit’s 93 min. Hell of a fun game! Maybe that’s where all the fire and will to win are,eh, in the minors?

  • Homer4Hendy

    Here’s hoping that after the game, the Caps’ hockey shot chart looks just like the Jackson Pollock painting… Coming from everywhere!

  • Bob

    That was even more informative and asute than your typical pre-game analysis.

  • Peter

    tone detector readings inconclusive