Long, Strange Trip: The past few months have been a roller coaster for the team and fans alike. As the regular season was winding down and points were becoming ever more precious, the playoff picture was coming into focus for a lot of teams that were not named the Washington Capitals. That sucked. The last month or so was a teeth-grinding, butt-clenching, freaky-outy nightmare. Night after night, we saw our playoff chances dissipate in loss after loss, points squandered, a team in name only, flailing about the ice with no apparent sense of mission or urgency.
Early Morning Skate: Our doctor advises those of you with heart issues, temper problems, or who are prone to premature catastrophization to avoid watching the Capitals Thursday night. In fact, why not just turn the TV and iPad off and curl up into a little whimpering ball right now.
The rest of us? We few… we lucky few… are ready for, and this is no hyperbole, the single most cosmically important game for any team since the beginning of time. That said, will the Capitals be ready as well?
Saturday’s win over the Canadiens was way too close, but two points were gained and that is all that matters. Now, in this final week of the regular season, six points remain available. The Caps kinda need all of those if they want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
That means getting two tonight in Tampa.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Somehow, inexplicably, the Caps won on Thursday. It was a manic mess of a game, like something the Flaming Lips would do if they played hockey. In case your blood pressure is returning to normal and bowels are solidifying, here comes another cataclysmic hockey game to freak you out all over again.
So it all comes down to this. A season full of mediocre and substandard Caps performances could very well hinge upon Tuesday night’s tilt against the Sabres. Or, as we like to call them, the godless and heathen Sabres. Tuesday night at Verizon is when we glance up into the rear-view mirror and see all those squandered games and lost opportunities receding into the distance. Had the Caps gotten their heads and asses wired together at any point between November and say, last Friday’s night’s OT loss to the Jets, we wouldn’t be on pins and needles headed into Tuesday evening, or in my particular case, on lithium and Maker’s Mark.
The other Nick Backstrom. (Photo credit: Doug Benc)
Healing Breath: So alright, everybody feel safe now? Good. Now, everyone, breathe in….and blow it out. Good; that’s good. And let’s just stick with “blow” for a moment, shall we?
Friday was basically the Mir of hockey games (look it up, noobs.) We all watched, incredulous, as our Hero Caps slung their way to 3-0, only to slump to end 4-3, mostly during the last third, as the flaming wreckage fell back to Earth. Honestly, that last stanza? Blowing chunks all over that very pretty, expensive Verizon sheet. In a phrase: everybody was Byfuglian-en.
OK, cleansing breath now; suck it in….and, blow it out. Blow hard…good.
The Pregamer: As a cure for our Capitals PTSD (Post Traumatic Suckage Disorder) we slopped out to Kettler today to see just wha’ what was up with the what wha’. We learned several things.
The Jets are five points behind the Caps with one less game played. They have the worst road record in the Eastern Conference.
And since this happened, Alex Ovechkin has scored four goals in three games. Thanks a bunch, Winnipeg!
It’s been a long time since Verizon Center has seen their boys. How will we greet them? And how will we welcome the Jets, whose fans have been so snarky lately?
A few suggestions:
- Let’s go Thrashers! CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP
- P-A-R-K / Your kids got no place to play / Winnipeg ooh ooh Winnipeg!
- Jets, you suck! Jets, you suck! ExceptforyouEricFehryou’recool! Jets, you suck!
Pre-après-Game: PuckBuddy Craig sorta demolished me with his last post, mixing the most potent juvenile jeers (“You smell like butt“) with contemporary culture (The Godfather) and hockey insights in the juicerizer that yours truly has been refining for months.
Whaaa…butt why dat? Well, because Craig, unlike Doug, went hunting for a stick-tap from Uncle Ted on how brilliant his pregamer was. Nice. No matter that he stole from me for months – blogging versions of the Winnipeg Head-Crash – or that I’ve been telling our opponents they smell like ass since October. But , boohoo, what’s an obvious foul between frenemies?
I kid. And yet in seriouslyness, between these partners there is no other game that divides the PuckBuddys like Monday’s test of the Caps against the Wings.