The Washington Capitals are running out of time to earn a playoff berth. Berth is a weird word. It just means anchor, but it sounds a lot more… obstetrical. Like once you clench a berth, you are supposed to take a hot shower and replace electrolytes.
Stuff is looking dire for the Caps, but here’s a spot of good news: they get to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday! With a 22-26-11 record, the ‘Canes are the worst team in the eastern conference and the closest thing our team will have to a sure thing from here until April.
Falling down in the same general area as someone is almost the same as hitting. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)
The Caps have not scored a single goal yet in a game that I have recapped. I am placing a phone call to the Capitals organization tomorrow to ask why they hate me personally.
I’m sorry you had to watch that game. I’m sorry I had to watch that game. Here’s how it happened.
Eric Staal stripped a puck from Carlson and sent it to Jussi Jokinen for an easy shorthanded goal. In the second period, Jokinen made it 2-0 on a rebound and officially became our least favorite Cane of the night. Jiri Tlusty scored an absolutely ridiculous falling-down goal that we are all so excited to see on every highlight reel for the next week. Caps lose, 3-0.
The Pregame: So you gotta give credit where it’s due. Whatever your political leanings (ours is usually doubled over, holding our stomachs, in the loo) that ol’ Newton Leroy Gingrich gets points for some sassy thinking. Seems then-Speaker Stay-Puft, some six years into an affair with a young House staffer (and Tiffany connoisseur) named Calista, basically told his wife Marianne that she would need to “share” him with his mistress. (There we are in the loo again.) At least, this according to ex-wife Marianne – no, not the one he divorced while she was in the hospital, that was a totes different wife! – who basically told Newt to get stuffed. He dumps her, marries the mistress who promptly begins a powerful benziodiazepine regimen (we’re making that part up) and now all is lollipops, the end.
We bring this up, in part because it’s still a larf-riot, but also because we’re doing some sassy thinkin’ of our own. Let’s just say, completely hypothetical here, that you’re the GM of a professional sports team with loads of potential but some underperforming talent. What to do? You want to keep him; sure, who doesn’t? But maybe you could also find a comely, pliable team somewhere else that may just want to share a little of his upkeep and tending while making you look genius. Everyone wins, right?
And thus American civic life dies a muffled death.
Tuomo Ruutu is a pest. From picking on Nicklas Backstrom to giving Dennis Wideman world’s grossest injury, the dude is flat out annoying. So in the third period of the Caps’ 2-1 win over Carolina, Alex Ovechkin — after losing an edge — decided to take his anger out on the 28-year-old Finn. As Ruutu dumped the puck in the Capitals’ zone, Ovi leveled him into the boards with his titanium left shoulder. The hit was so powerful, in fact, that it took out both Ruutu and the linesman beside him. After the officials disallowed Laich’s second period goal, this is the kind of accident that’s nice to watch over and over on replay.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals have won six straight at home. During that stretch, they’ve outscored their opponents 19-7 and have never trailed. Their recent dominance in front of their home fans has put the Caps back into contention for *gasp* — not only a playoff spot — but the Southeast Division lead as well. In fact, with a win tonight, the Capitals overtake world-beating Florida.
After a scoreless first period, Brooks Laich Alex Semin started the scoring off in the second period with a high, short-side blast by Cam Ward. 2:46 later, Jussi Jokienen knocked in a pinballing puck on the power play. Dmitry SCOARlov scored his first NHL goal in the third period. And that, my friends, would be the game-winner. Caps beat Canes 2-1.
On November 4, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Gerry Broome
The Washington Capitals last met the Carolina Hurricanes at home for the first game of the season. That game established the 2011-12 Caps as the scoring force we’ve been waiting for. Tonight was more of the same. More delightful, delightful same.
Right after the faceoff, Anthony Stewart redirected a Jay Harrison shot that Neuvirth wasn’t ready for. Jeff Halpern dove for his goal in the second. Soon after, Marcus Johansson provided a gorgeous saucer to Troy Brouwer, who scored effortlessly. John Carlson slapped a big one home on the power play. Cody Eakin scoared his first NHL goal halfway through the third thanks to a smart pass from Alex Semin. Alex Ovechkin slid the puck gracefully to points-leader Nick Backstrom, who executed the layup. Caps beats Canes 5-1.
The Post-Mortem: So, everyone happy? At least those with Ward and Backstrom shirseys? Luv U Caps, but we’re tired of writing the “Tale of Two Caps” (See: Hassett, Peter) – you know, the bedraggled guttersnipes everyone wrote off after the 1st period who then come back to show their true mettlel? Memo to Bruce Boudreau and team: We don’t need drama. We don’t want drama. Please, enough of the plucky comebacks by the adorable yet overlooked (*cough Nicky cough Greenie*) boy heros. Dickens did it before, and better. (Although, Coach, you’d make a memorable Fezziwig). Memo to Ovi: “In addition to Russian, we’re learning how to lip read. And then we’ll learn how to lip read Russian. быть осторожным!
The Caps had a couple of busy days off after the Ducks game. While Ovi was managing ‘Bench-gate,’ Brooksie, Sasha, and Coach Woods visited the Kent Gardens Elementary for a hockey clinic in the school gym. They had Air Slapshot in tow – if ‘tow’ is the right word to describe dragging along an inflatable mascot (which looked like it had become untethered from a Pink Floyd show). The video and the pics from the day were adorable. However, reports from our McLean bureau (and the school nurse’s office) tell a different story – three school kids ended up on the wrong end of some O zone penalties. Neither the players or coach addressed ‘Stick-gate,’ but Sasha was heard muttering something in Russian (“Чувствительная кожа”), as he was hurried away from school grounds.
On October 8, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Nick Wass
It’s been a long time. The Washington Capitals are back in action, opening up their 2011-2012 season at home. Hosting the Carolina Hurricanes, the Caps have a lot of drama in their rear view, and a lot of questions to answer. Goalie drama, Alex Ovechkin’s return to glory, Sasha cares, the new guys, offensive doldrums. You’ve heard it all before. Get ready for some answers.
In the second period Eric Staal put the puck past a sucked-out Michal Neuvirth. Hooked up by a smart outlet pass from John Carlson, Alex Semin guided the puck in to tie it up. That near-goal Jason Chimera breakaway thing happened for the billionth time, but Jason finally hit his target. But Eric Staal tied it up early in the third by waiting in the right spot. On a climactic 5 on 3, gorgeous Brooks Laich returned the rebound. But with the extra skater, Jussi Jordache Jokinen snuck one past Neuvy. In a penalty-ridden OT, Mike Green served the puck into– and beyond– Boucher’s love-making region. Game over. Caps win 4-3 (OT).