Doubting Thomas

Craig Brownstein of the Puck Buddys gets you primed for Holtby vs Thomas. Follow @PuckBuddys …unless you hate smiles. You don’t hate smiles, do you?

So. Here we are. The Caps’ long, strange trip to the playoffs wasn’t easy, not by any stretch, and their first round opponent doesn’t look so easy either. We know what’s behind us – a roller coaster season of consistent inconsistency, and we know what’s ahead of us – the defending Stanley Cup Champions are big, physical, and chock full of talent. So this probably explains why hockey’s literati almost to the person predicts a Boston win for the series. We don’t put much stock in that, of course. We don’t because we’re homers. Homo homers to be precise.

We look at the Boston match up as a series of If – Then statements: If Ovi, Sasha, and Nicky fire, then we’ll be OK. If we can match them physically, then we don’t get pushed around. If our special teams perform, then we’ll have a real shot. If we put rubber on that creep, Timmy Thomas, get in his head and face, then we’ll score moar goals. If we crash the net, you know the rest. And it’s Timmy and his counterpart at the opposite end of the rink that we think this series revolves around.

That 70 Show

But there’s another big “If” looming in this series, and in this case, he wears #70. Just when we thought we couldn’t take anymore goalie drama, we lost Vokes. Then last week, in the blink of an eye, Neuvy went down. Braden Holtby stepped up huge in the Rangers game Saturday evening and all eyes and hopes in Washington rest on his shoulders. His stick, pads, glove, and blocker too, for that matter.

Our young net minder is certainly another factor that those scribes lean on when giving Boston the edge. Braden, the youngest of gun vs. Timmy Thomas, the experienced veteran who was instrumental in last season’s Cup run. And on paper, that makes sense, of course. But hockey isn’t played on paper; it’s played on ice with space-age composites, steel blades, and blood. We’re reminded of old racetrack chatter about race horses that may seem outclassed on paper. Two railbirds are handicapping a race and the foolish says, “The tote board says the 5 horse can’t win; he’s 30-1.” The wiser of the two responds, “It doesn’t matter; the horse can’t read.”

A lot of hockey remains a mystery to us, and most confounding are the goalies. And Braden with his Holtbyisms seem like even more of a riddle. His grace under pressure against the Rangers was a huge relief to Caps fans and we think he can handle the Boston drama and whatever they throw at him too. He has to; he has no choice and there’s no turning back. Neuvy is making the trip up there, but all eyes remain on the Caps’ Hershey (eye) candy. We liked what Braden had to say to the Post’s Katie Carerra on Tuesday:

I’m not really trying to focus on the playoffs, I’m focusing on making saves,” Holtby said. “The saves don’t get any harder in the playoffs. I’ve watched them since I was a kid. They’re the same type shots, same everything. Obviously it’s more intense but it doesn’t change your ability at all.

The kid has spunk. And we love spunk.

All Politics is Yokel

This is the spot where we’d take wicked potshots at Lil Timmy’s ill-mannered slight of the President earlier this year. But two C-SPAN veterans like us know better than to belittle someone’s ideology, no matter how half-baked and laughable it may seem to DC sophisticates. Lord knows that we’ve taken viewer calls from some of the best backwoods trailer parks and hippie communes in these United States. We don’t judge because we pretty much find everyone’s personal politics to be objectionable, and Timmy’s are no exception. Tea Party, Toga Party – who the hell cares; the Obama snub was just plain bad manners. What’s especially delicious is that it was the Boston media that hounded Timmy this week about the Obama snub. We weren’t even going to mention it, but since they started it.

Change You Can Believe In

And ever since Timmy dissed the POTUS, his numbers have taken a hit. Call it regression to the mean, we’re gonna call it The Obama Curse because that’s a lot sexier than post hoc ergo propter hoc. In the 20 games after he snubbed Obama, Thomas’ save percentage fell by 5% and his goals against went up by over half a goal per game. Peter will have more on that later.

But we’re not here to debate stats; we’re here to illustrate the more intangible differences between the pure Braden Holtby and the brutish Timmy Thomas. This actual photo from Bruins HQ of Thomas and bench boss Claude Julien says it all:

Everybody Dance Now

What’s creepier than Timmy haunting the TD Garden? Nothing – not even the Man from Another Place and the Black Lodge, the realm of pure evil that he inhabits, too.

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  • upyours gaysandfeminists

    I think Tim Thomas is right in doing what he did to the president of Russ…I mean United States.  Tim cares about his country, and unlike whimpy losers and sell-outs(see obama) he wants the best for his country.
    What I find funny though, is how the media is trying to label what Tim Thomas did as bad.
    I am a caps fan, but if the caps lose this year, I am glad it is to Tim Thomas.
    I will for sure root for him to hoist a 2nd Cup, and to really stick it to the whimpy gay loving americans.

  • This forum is about hockey

     Didn’t realize this forum had become so politically charged.  Also your comment was so hateful that I thought it was tongue-in-cheek until I read your user name.  Then I just realized you’re an asshole

  • http://www.moirarosedonohue.net/ Moira Rose Donohue

    This post was great–so clever–made my morning as I prepare myself for the nerves that are already setting in as I think about watching tonight’s game.  Rock the Red and Russian Machine.

  • Livia

    Now that I’ve read Craig’s brilliant pregamer, I’m ready for the game. (I predict Caps in 6, too!) Also, these images prove Ian’s claim that he really is the world’s best photoshopper.

  • KareeLyn

    I now feel even happier now to be on the side of the gays and feminists- particularly those responsible for this awesome blog.  I’ll save the rest of my rant in a effort to show what it’s like to act in accordance with decorum and maturity.  (Perhaps, Timmy could take notes?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/bryantpthomas Bryant Thomas

    I would like to take a moment to thank you for my new facebook cover photo (braden-holtby-painting.jpg) and the awesome pre-gamer.

  • hai

    I happen to love Timmy, but I hope he goes down in flames.  Nothing personal, of course…

    And how on earth did you get an actual picture from INSIDE Bruins HQ?  How did you get passed the bear?!!?

  • http://twitter.com/PuckBuddys Puck Buddys

    Tim – How do you have time to read Caps blogs? You’ve got a game to prepare for (and subsequently lose). #BostonTypical

  • CA

    Great article, Craig! The dancing bear was a great touch

  • Peter

    Hey — should this comment be deleted? I wasn’t sure last night.

  • serpent

    Holy crap! How absolutely prehistoric! Just crawl back into your cave and gnaw on your nice bone there,Mr. Hate.

  • threechordme

    I think it is good to leave it, by deleting it you might give this bigot some form of internal victory.

  • Rafael S.

     bigoted jackass… a shame that you claim caps fandom, you should move to texas and extract that pole out of your sphincter