Early Morning Skate: So, the last time we were here, we were there. Filthy Philadelphia, needing a solid road win, and feeling optimistic to start. In fact, we were all, like, yay here we gowhattheflipwasthat?! and c’mon Holtbeast get it together and then yay Groooouuubsie and boooo Max Talbot grrr grrrr and ow that traffic-cone orange makes my soul weep and that was pretty much the best summary of that ugly mess of a game I can imagine.
What exactly was it that happened that terrible, cold February night at the F-U Center? Where, exactly, were manimal Troy Brouwer and Captain 8 (despite being probably the best in Red on the ice that night) and John “Towelie” Carlson and the Millionaire and his wife and the nameless rest? Certainly not there to play hard, or at least battle back through a tough start. And why was it, exactly, the Lord Supreme in His wisdom didst create that dung-heap of a burg to begin with?
You see, I’d like to chalk up that bumbling bungle of a game simply to our visiting the giant spirit suck that is Philly and its moronic fans. Like to, but cannot. Yeah, there were a couple fluky puck bounces and what-not, but those things give as much as they take. No, what we saw was a failure to launch by the Capitals after a dis-spiriting start. It was not, in any possible permutation of the concept, ‘good.’
The Puck Drop: But it’s Spring, and Easter (for some) or Maru (for others) or Passover or Nowruz or we’re just going to stop this now. Traditionally, it’s a time for rebirth and renewal and rejuvenation and reloading and all that. For the Capitals’ flock, it’s once more the race to the playoffs.
For several years now, the Capitals have demonstrated fine mettle in April, much like the pale gossamer jonquils besotting the landscape, if those jonquils were angry, snarling, forechecking, glass-smashing monsters made of steel and laser beams.
In short, there’s two ways this ends. One: we leave Filthydelphia redolent of Whiz, covered in soot and chagrin; or two, you can eat me Peter Laviolette. No wait, that’s a given. Oh yes; or two, we bounce outta Barftown and kick it into grinder gear for the coming match-ups against the Canes and ugly Islanders (revenge want now) and be the team that showed up to rub Winnipeg’s nose in its own dark, dark shame. I know which one I’m hoping for.
So let’s git ‘er done.
Who’s Hot and Who’s Snot
- Let’s just get this out of the way: what is it with you and first names, Flyers? Maxime? Jody? Zac? Zac?! Fine if you’re a British boy band, but Zac? Ugh, sign two players named Herp and Derp and you’ve got a full house.
- There’s an old adage that goes ‘What comes up must come down’, which is patently untrue if you are helium or the Blackhawks or Lindsay Lohan’s legal bills. We prefer ‘What goes down stays down,’ which we just made up but will use to prove our point. The Flyers haven’t so much been stumbling of late as they have been losing, while the Capitals overall (let’s not quibble, shall we?) have been demonstrating real hockeytude across the squad. The Flyers must therefore lose, QED.
- The Flyers do have some genuine stand-outs – Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux and a Schenn or something – who can be good deal sealers. But like we saw in their recent outings with cross-town rivals the Pittsburgh Flightless Stenchbirds, the energy and kick appears bottled up in just a few players, while the Pens (and oh how I hate myself for saying this) work well together across the squad, and that was before getting Iggy. We were suffering from this dread condition earlier in the season, too, but have at least mitigated it. Which is better: a few star talents and a bunch of mugs, or a more even distribution of skill? Capitalism or soshulizms? Hmmm?
- I have it on good authority that Jesus would particularly like a Capitals win today.
- To be “fair and balanced” – ha! – it is true that the Crapitals have some players who feel a little like large leaden weights tied around our ankles while we’re trying to swim. Marcus Johansson appears to be skating with one eye scanning for the door. Jeff Schultz (who is probably among the most decent people around, so, sorry) might as well be eating Doritos out on the ice, and Mike Green…oof, where to start. I’ve seen more spunk among members of the Whitehills Senior Center’s “Jeopardy!” fan club. (If you’re reading, Mr. Trebek, I love your show!) Is this a “Tale of Two Teams” moment? “It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.”
- Conventional wisdom – which is never wrong I’ll have you know – has it that Adam Oates has at least one more good year here to show progress before GMGM hits the ejector button, while Coach Laviolette – which actually means “smelly cheese” in French, look it up – has but a few more games. Oooh, everyone’s getting a little snippy, aren’t they? I wonder what could be on people’s minds. I wonder…
- Rough trade. Is what’s on people’s minds, I mean. You know, like the trade deadlines? What…what did you think I meant? Ohhh…and on Easter Sunday, of all days. Hmmph. Oh, one last thing:
- JINX! Jinxjinxjinx. Doublejinx! There, you silly nannies, for those who believe in ‘jinxes’ we’ve just double-finger-crossed the jinx spirits and you can put your delicate little heads to rest now about the PuckBuddys curse, OK?
The Late Line:
While intubated in the emergency room following the Hinckley assassination attempt, President Reagan scrawled a note to one of his nurses. Cribbing from W.C. Fields, it read “All in all, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” It was touch-and-go, but he survived.
On the whole, I’d rather we not have to be in Philadelphia. There should be a law against having to travel there on a High Holy Day, or a birthday, or any day with a “y”. But here we are. At least Jaromir Jagr isn’t around anymore (tee hee.)
Flyers lead early, Caps battle back, 4-3, but close, kids.