“Shoggoth” by Craig J. Spearing
It’s f@$&ing freezing here and I didn’t eat dinner. My dog is being an @%^$*. A water main exploded up the street from me, so there’s a river of ice outside my door that has its frozen heart set on shredding my #brittlegroin. Everything sucks and so do you.
Here’s my recap of the Washington Capitals at the Columbus Blue Jackets. Read it at your peril.
The first-period Caps gave up a pair of shorthanded breakaways, the second of which resulted in a Columbus goal. Then Ryan Johansen escaped some decidedly dainty defense to make it 2-0. Brandon Dubinsky’s softy on Braden Holtby early in the second period made it 3-0, and Ryan Johansen got his second goal a little after that.
I drifted into rage blackouts and delirium, but I came to momentarily as Joel Ward got a shorty of his own halfway through the middle frame. Eric Fehr tricked one past Bobrovsky to make it 4-2 and somewhat interesting, but Cam Atkinson extinguished the rally with a quick-response goal.
Blue Jackets beat Caps 5-2.
Burn the tape, don’t read the recap, purge your mind of the irreconcilable horrors of Caps at Jackets. Thinking too loud on the incomprehensible, non-Euclidean wretchedness of this game just might turn you into a fish person. I’ve seen it happen.
- The powerplay withers. Alex Ovechkin had to trip a dude to stop a shorthanded breakaway, and then McKenzie outdueled John Carlson to open up 100 feet of ice and a shorty for Lumbus. You want money, you go to the bank. You want shorthanded chances, you go to the Washington Capitals. At evens and with the man advantage, the Capitals leaked odd-man rushes like the scions of R’lyeh leak an viscous black oil from the eyes and ears.
- Alex Ovechkin was on the ice for every Columbus goal. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. His plus-minus shall forever be etched in the Necronomicon.
- In the stagnant swamps of New Orleans we find an eerie green statue of Tom Wilson. Wilson put a late hit on Nikita Nikitin after the latter, whose name rules, dumped the puck into the offensive zone. That was a pointless hit, but it went unpunished– at least until Nick Foligno forced Wilson into a fight on the next shift. Since October I’ve been worried Tom Wilson’s talent would be wasted as a sideshow. Now that Wilson is getting more ice time and better linemates on the third line, he’s still being wasted. The Nikitin hit didn’t affect the game one iota, but it did start a fight, and it probably gave Bruce Jenner a “they started it” excuse for this next bullet…
- Boone Jenner smeared Mike Green into the glass in the first period. It was an awkward but innocent collision until Jenner smeared Green’s head into the glass. Green, who has a history of concussions, did not return to the game. The Caps defense isn’t remotely good enough to withstand his absence. We must hope Green isn’t disabled like a German submarine, filled with dead soldiers, rotting at the gates of the city of the dead.
- Let’s look beyond the Capitals, to the unimaginable and infinite blackness of space, to talk about the night’s big signing. Colorado extended Semyon Varlamov for five years at six million per. That’s a lot of money to spend on goaltending (and a goaltender whom I think is overrated), but I guess the Avs are banking on the salary cap going up a lot soon. If that happens, it won’t be such a bad deal. Either way, it’s probably a credit to George McPhee that he rarely overspends for goaltending– opting instead to spend that money on scoring or defense.
- Connor Carrick, the Deep One, had four shots, more than anyone not named Eric Fehr.
- The creeping mists and unholy chain lightning of quick-response goals have not receded. Whatever flicker of hope the Caps and their fans had after Ward’s and Fehr’s goals, Cam Atkinson dumped seawater upon it until it went dark. Dark like ink. Like the inky, putrid discharge of some twisted, tentacled thing waiting off the craggy shore of Innsmouth.
So, not a good game.
Raise your hand if you like the way the Caps play. Chime in if you enjoy watching your team chase the puck, give up breakaways, and fight out of frustration. Holler at me if you think Adam Oates has a handle on this thing. Hit me up on my pager if you’re psyched by watching the Caps get outshot by more than 150 so far this season. Send me a Snapchat if Alex Ovechkin’s goals are enough to quench you. Scribe me an illuminated manuscript if you prefer the Caps goalies to deal with a half dozen odd-man rushes or more every night. Put up a smoke signal if you believe Connor Carrick and John Erskine are enough to get this team to the Cup.
The Capitals aren’t bad, but tonight they were atrocious. Puck possession, shooting and save percentages, special teams– pick one; they were all atrocious. But the thing that keeps irking me is this team’s proclivity for letting the other team get a run on them. The odd-man rushes are an infection– one that Adam Oates’ system seems to invite.
When I say the team’s puck possession is trending up (which it is, aside from this stinker of a game), my subtext is that it’s happening in spite of this team’s corpus of tactics and roster shortcomings. No one anywhere thinks this team as constructed will see any meaningful postseason success without an embarrassing abundance of dumb luck.
Fhtagn. Bad things fhtagn. Trade fhtagn. Upheaval fhtagn. Change, glorious change: fhtagn.
I’m growing impatient.