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Photo: B. Bennett

“Some things are destined to be – it just takes us a couple of tries to get there.” – J.R. Ward. 

Hey guys and gals! The bosses at RMNB foolishly once again gave us access to their site, and in return, we hope to spill a little insight– and fabulousness– about what comes tonight. And not inspire too many hate-filled emails to their box. Not that we care…we don’t get them, so anger-type away!

So, pre-season? Done. Debate about Trotz? On hold. Season opener against the Habs? Mmm, done, and extra soggy. Caps fans exiting extra-pouty? Nothing new.

But this is a season all about new, we thinks. We are witness to a team in transition; a squad searching for its future. And if the early portents are to be believed, we are in for a smashing season. Ish.

OK, in our first season opener Thursday night, we rather unraveled. And…against the Habs. Sure, they were all that last season, but so was Macklemore, and look where he is now. (As in performing at North Dakota casinos?)

The Caps bring a refreshing assortment of new talent (and by new, we’re only grudgingly admitting Orpik) adding to the seasoned talent. That said: Montreal is one thing. Boston is a completely different affair. Or marriage, if you catch our drift.

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Caps at Bruins Pregame: Green Gets the Green Light

The Trotz Caps played a good first game on Thursday but got just a single standings point to show for it. At TD Garden at 7 PM tonight, the Caps will have another chance to prove their mettle, this time against last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winner, the Boston Bruins. To sweeten their chances, the Caps have added last year’s best possession player, Mike Green, to the lineup.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 0-0-1 NotBad% 0.0% 100%
Boston Bruins 1-1-0 TooSoon% ??? 16.7% 85.7%

(Yeaaaah, I’ll get the stats figured out soon.)

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Habs at Caps Pregame: We are Back, PK Subban is Gassy

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For the first time since April somethingth, here comes actual, meaningful Caps hockey! Live from Verizon Center at 7 PM and on CSN Washington. It’s time we got our first real look at the Trotz Caps. Oh snap.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 0-0-0 Infinity% n/a DIV/0% NaNo%
Montreal Canadiens 1-0-0 Whoknows% ??? 0% 66.7%

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No One Cares About Penguins-Capitals Games Anymore

caps pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals used to be a big deal, but that was a long time ago. It’s over now– Caps vs Pens is just #anothergame. When the world’s best playmaker, Sidney Crosby, faces off against the world’s best scorer, Jason Chimera Alex Ovechkin, all we can muster now is a yawn.

I can’t even remember the time Crosby and Ovechkin scored matching hat tricks in May of 2009. I have just the vaguest memory of comparing Alex’s three Hart Trophies to Sidney’s one, or comparing Sidney’s Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold to Alex’s really hot and altogether delightful fiancée. I couldn’t recall the Snowvechkin game if you dropped 75 inches of snow on me. And would someone please give me a quick refresher course on the time or seven the Penguins knocked the Capitals out of the playoffs over the last 25 years?

That’s my attempt at a counter-counter media narrative. I’m doing the sarcasm thing again, sorry.

Despite less-than-earnest protestations to the contrary, Penguins-Capitals is still the biggest thing going. And for the first time in eons, Crosby and Ovechkin will meet while the former is healthy and the latter is sick unbelievable))).

Rather than being cynical at the media hype, we should be grateful that we’re so lucky as to witness a good game between these teams again.

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Boston Bruins Pregame: Last Ride (PuckBuddys Preview)

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Illustration by Rachel Cohen

[Ed. note: Jason Rogers offers his final pregamer of the year. Follow @PuckBuddys if you dare.]

As Boston’s Samuel Adams proclaimed to the city as he read the first draft of the Declaration of Independence from Independence Hall: “King George is a fah-kin’ bastahd, Go Sawx.” And thus from these auspicious beginnings bloomed the blue-collarest, working-classiest, chowdah-guzzlingest town in the country. Boston is a city that spurns academia in favor of arm wrestling, subtlety in favor of soup, and charisma in favor of crème pies. On Saturday, the Goon Squad known as the Bruins lurches into DC like a particularly undeveloped ape.

Last game of the season, folks; let’s go for one more ride. 

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[Ed. note: Oh my. Here we are, once more, teetering on the precipice. Wisenheimers will tell you stat this and odds that. But the PuckBuddys roll different. Yes, PuckBuddy Jason Rogers is back again - you think you could scare him away? - with searing insights into the coming game. Which is, we all agree, big. As in... big. Like nobody frackin' breathe until we wrap this one up. It's a messy job, but someone has to do it. Even former Premier William MacKenzie King is watching. Here's Sperm Whale Jason.]

BradenHolbeastThe Morning Skate: I don’t mean to rain, sleet, or snert on anyone’s victory parade, but the Capitals play in a garbage division. It’s a division so abysmal that next year it will be forever struck from the NHL pantheon, and utterance of its name will be forbade as heresy. But, I believe the Capitals are far and away the best team in the Southeast, the veritable creme d’ la crap, if you will. This game against a very good Habs team will provide a measuring stick for how far the Caps might go in the playoffs. So let’s hope that distance is measured in good ol’ American miles, and not kilometres (freakin’ socizlists.)

The Puck Drop: Secondly, this game matters because we mere mortals get to watch Alexander Ovechkin play hockey again. Now tied for the lead league in goals, OBESTkin is scoring all over the place like Maria ain’t watchin’ (BOOM.) Dale Hunter was content to use him like a tarp, lazily casting him across the penalty kill and hoping he made something happen… somehow. Adam Oates is using Ovi’s precision and power like a shotgun that shoots micro-scalpels.

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[Ed. note: Jason Rogers, Sperm Whale captain and hockey Hemingway, is back for your amuse bouche. But be warned: do not take his insights as mere foam on the web: so far, he's been more spot on than Vinnie "Legs" Baggodonnouts. You are warned. Follow him now here. Thus endeth the editor's finger-wagging.]

Sasha needs an image consultant.

Sasha needs an image consultant.

The Early Morning Skate: Like a piece of old taffy or an oft-abused Slinky, this season is reaching its final stretch. The Washington Capitals sit a few points out from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and on Tuesday the good guys from DC take I-95 South (avoid the mixing bowl!)  to North Carolina to face the Staal & Staal Traveling Circus, featuring “Sasha the Incredible Human Enigma?”

This will be the fourth of five meetings this season between our Caps and the Tropical Depressions, and it is time for this Washington team to decide whether it wants to spend May playing hockey or golf. Watch and learn.

The Mourning Skate: What is the length of one point? Is it the width of one puck crossing or not crossing the goal line? Is it the size of one of John “Towelie” Carlson’s skate edges slipping and giving the other team a breakaway? Is it the distance between wherever the first round of the playoffs is held and Jeff “Sgt.” Schultz’s favorite local golf course?

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ilya

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.

Mmmm...tastes like Cheez Whiz

Mmmm…tastes like Cheez Whiz

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?

Now this is our idea of a hot Fly team. Really.

Now this is our idea of a hot Fly team. Really.

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.

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[Ed. note: Craig Brownstein, PuckBuddy and resident film scholar, provides this look at our dance with the Buffalo Slugs, as imagined through the lens of Ingmar Bergman. You expected different, maybe? Read, learn, and tweet his nose here.]

Cries and Whispers: I scored last-minute tickets to the Isles game courtesy of a lovely young lady, and we sat in the #415 Lounge, just one seat from Sam Wolk, a distinct pleasure in and of itself. (My left ear has finally stopped ringing). Down by two in the early going, I met some friends on the concourse during the first intermission. Cue the hand-wringing, nay-saying, and rending of garments. Third period hopes were soon dashed, slipping between Mike Green’s skates. It was like a bad movie. Make that a depressing movie, think Cassavetes, or in honor of our stoic Swedish players, Bergman may be more appropriate.

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[Ed note: Hockey Hemingway Jason Rogers is back for you to love and adore. Talk to him via the Tweetaz at @HeyJayJRogers. Any and all credit goes to the PuckBuddys.]

15 minutes of ice time

15 minutes of ice time

Andy Warhol Says*: Everywhere you look, you see Pittsburgh fans. In Andy’s view, “…it’s all so beautiful.” Of course, he was hopped up on horse tranqs.

But this is Pittsburgh. And at the first insinuation of bandwagon chasing, they all claim family ties to the city. First of all, you cannot all be from there. It is just not a big enough city for every Yuengling-guzzling bar rat to crawl back to. And even if they did all somehow come from Pittsburgh, you know why they’re here now? Because they got the hell out of Pittsburgh as soon as they could. There’s even a website devoted to the phenomenon. And so with the sacred camaraderie of refugees from a land not worth returning to, the Penguins wander about the NHL landscape. On Tuesday the Capitals take the fight to them, and you can bet they’ve had their road Whites mustard-proofed.

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