Neuvy run over during the second period. (Photo credit: Mel Evans)
[Editor's Note: Peter Hassett wisely took the opportunity to leave DC this week. Ian Oland is in protective custody. Chris Gordon has joined the circus on the trapeze. The PuckBuddys are entirely responsible for this week's tragic events.]
“Nothing ever really goes away – it just changes into something else.” – Sarah Ockler.
There’s a last bit to that quote that we’ll share at the end. (Spoiler!) Still, we can’t help but watch the Capitals 2013 and wonder: what are they changing into? And where is this metamorphosis leading? Answers – now.
First period: Some early testing by the Caps heartens us. We like what we’re seeing on defense from Ward; once again, the Caps look dominant in the first. Can’t hear the name “Travis Zajac” without thinking about buying a vowel. Yes, that’s what we’re down to. Sadly, Jacob Josefson to Stephen Gionta (brother of Habs’ Brian) with a snapper past Neuvy puts them 1-up.
Second begins with a dash to the Caps net, gobbled up by Neuvy. Mike Ribeiro and Jason Chimera denied what shoudda coudda been. Troy Brouwer passes to no one, which is somehow emblematic of the team this year. Phew! on a Neuvy save during a Devs attempt at a shortie, leading to both teams feeling a little better about themselves, while Martin Brodeur notches another lump on his coconut. Phew! again as Neuvy (again) saves the Caps on a Devils PP. Tonight is a good night for Neuvirth, so heck, let’s give him a 5-on-3 because why not? Of course, Patrik Elias scores (nothing you can do, Neuvy) bringing Devs up 2-o. Please let this end.
Last period starts with us wondering if the mullets (*ahem Carlson*) are slowing the Caps down. Adam Oates looks sour like the Dad in “That’ 70’s Show,” which we’re coming to understand. Caps PP yields zip, and we get another shot. MoJo sends it off to nowhere, and Phew! (3x) Neuvy saves the day. Finally, Ward knocks to Ribeiro and the Caps are on the board, 2-1. And then HURRAH! Greenie sends a sizzler into the net, Caps tied 2-2 with less than three minutes remaining. An almost heart-stopper brings us to:
OT: Pushups everyone! Hero becomes the goat as Greenie gets sent to the penalty box and Caps go on PK. Neuvy is on his best game tonight: how many times can we “Phew!”? Caps kill effectively kill the penalty, while Ovechkin is sleep-skating. Twenty seconds to go and Ilya Kovalchuk takes advantage of Ovi’s slop, firing it past Neuvy and ending the game.
SCORE: Devils 3, Capitals 2.
- Sarcasm Is Still Dead: Our jousting at Caps ‘stars’ like Alzner and Carlson last night was off-pitch. We would blame our innate faulty wiring, but personally I think it’s the Nyquil. Either way, we still are not seeing high-dollar stars like Ovi and Backstrom – and Alzner and Carlson – perform where it counts, while they rely on Joel Ward, Matt Hendricks and Tom Poti. So let’s say it; some of the Caps stars appear to be over-paid…and under-performing. At least so far.
- Power Failure: Despite Mike Ribeiro’s 5-on-3 power play goal, the Caps power play still stinks. Is it anything more than guys randomly skating around? We’ll leave it to smarter people to dissect how, but it always comes down to guys not moving to keep the puck in their paint. And yes, we know what that means.
- No Sale: Win or loss, even by the first period we can say we’re still not sold on Ribeiro. OK, good head’s up play tonight – the Caps only score and still with three points on assists. But wasn’t he supposed to be the magic to bring back Ovi? What can we say, we’re not sold (not like we were buying.)
- Hold It There: So in the last four games, the Caps have been down two men three times. That’s not just bad luck or poor calls; it’s sloppy play.
- Remember Tummy Pats?: We’re finding it hard to do so. Is Ovechkin still even a Capital?
- Golden Gate Years: Wah wah, Marty Brodeur is old, shut up. Wanna talk durability? Professional jockey Russell Baze had his 50-thousandth career start today. At an average of 6 1/2 furlongs, that’s one and 1/2 times around the Earth, riding a thousand-pound rocket with hooves and teeth. The old dude is still better than anyone we have.
What Did We Learn Tonight? Over the last two years GMGM seems to have slowly broken off pieces of what used to be the Capitals. For all of those we cut (Knubs, Varly, Jose, Aucoin, Sasha, et cetera) what have we got? What exactly are we building, and why was winning like we did a few years ago so bad?
Go ahead and crawl down my throat, but I’m going to start saying it: maybe it’s time for George McPhee to go.
The end to that Ockler quote? “Something beautiful.” That’s what we want again; some beauty on ice.
What’s Next?: Sunday back at home with the Sabres. Meanwhile, we cry.
If it’s any consolation, the PuckBuddys are yielding back the keys to the RMNB Recap Car, meaning we fully expect the Capitals to start winning again. Yes, we’re taking it that personally.