McPheeInauguration

Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz rid the Metro, look miserable because they are on the Metro.

Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz ride the Metro, look miserable because they are on the Metro.

Caption contest! (Photo credit: @tombeline)

The Washington elite and tourists turned out in droves on Monday, filling the nation’s capital for the second inauguration of Barack Obama. Revelers packed the mall and filled (most) of the streets along the parade route. The crowd downtown reached around 800,000 by the time people finally got off their Metro trains, down from the estimated 1.5 million people four years ago. Members of the Washington Capitals were no exception. General Manager George McPhee — a dual citizen of the United States and Canada — scored a spot at the Canadian Embassy, a prime viewing area near the intersection of Constitution and Pennsylvania. From my view next door at the Newseum, the scene looked festive with our friends from the North putting up a large “Canada salutes Barack Obama” banner and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling their sovereign land.

McPhee wasn’t the only Cap in attendance. Matt Hendricks, an American, posted a picture of Canadians Karl Alzner and Jeff Schultz stuck on MetroRail with approximately 348,236 other people on their way downtown to view the celebrations.

The parade wasn’t much to write home about. Sadly, there were no massive inflatable Muppets. There were, however, a bunch of high school marching bands and a 40 minute delay. And then another couple thousand high school marching bands. But that’s neither here nor there. This was a day to come to together and freeze as one.

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Proposal: Let’s Ditch Plus-Minus …and Introducing Ice Tilt!

Photo credit: Flickr / catrinamariee

[Editor's note: Over the next however long, we'll be pondering a few ways to brighten up the hockey world. Sometimes silly, sometimes not: here are our proposals for the 2012-2013 season... whenever that may happen.]

Goals, assists, plus-minus. That’s supposed to be how you tell how good a hockey player is. When a skater’s name pops up on the CSN-Washington chyron, they show goals, assists, and plus-minus. ESPN, Yahoo, and NHL.com place plus-minus among their marquee stats for ranking players. But the more we learn about hockey and statistics, the more we know that plus-minus kind of sucks at measuring talent.

Proposal: This season, let’s throw out the plus-minus stat. In this article I’m gonna tell you why I think plus-minus has gotta go, and I’m gonna pitch a stat to replace it.

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2011-12 Year-End Review: Jeff Schultz

Jeff Schultz has a good, strong German name with lots of consonants, which makes it very satisfying to yell. This is fortunate, since we yelled his name a lot this season. If you yell it angrily enough, it almost feels like swearing, doesn’t it? We appreciate the small blessings.

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Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

After the grueling march of disappointment that was Game Three, we expected a rallying effort from the Caps. But we weren’t naive enough to expect a different kind of game. We know by now that the Capitals are capable of playing only one-goal games. What we didn’t know is that they could get goals out of Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom, and Mike Green in the same game. It was like 2009 up in here.

Here’s how it went:  After a battle in the corner, Alex Ovechkin ripped a one-timer that beat Lundqvist’s glove for the game’s first goal.

Artem Anisimov tied it up early in the second by beating Braden Holtby, who was left helpless when Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin couldn’t block a weirdly bouncing pass. Nick Backstrom reasserted the lead by tenderizing Artem Anisimov and then putting Chimera’s pass in the net. Artem Anisimov won an icing race against Jeff Schultz and set up Marian Gaborik for another tying goal through Holtby’s five-hole.

Mike Green put the Caps up with a powerplay goal late in the third. It was the game-winner. Caps beat Rangers 3-2.

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Prescriptions for Game Four: Win It For Nicky Signs

Photo: Chris Gordon. Guy on TweetDeck: Adam Vingan

The Washington Capitals had only a 38% win percentage on the road this season, so getting the W Thursday night is crucial; they just can’t depend on victory away from Verizon Center. But Monday’s home loss to the Bruins was an ugly affair, and the once well composed team fell to shambles. To win Game Four, the Caps are gonna have to dig deep.

I have compiled a series of modest steps the Capitals should take to make it happen. And then we threw in the secret weapon. (Okay, we’ll tell you: more posters.)

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From the exasperated facial expressions of babes… (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

How many times have we said “this is the worst game all season”? It seems like it’s been half a dozen times at least, maybe more. Someone make a slideshow of this and get back to us, complete with sad eighties breakup music.

I don’t know if this was The Definitive Worst Game of the Season, if only because it has so much competition, but it was pretty bad. Please come down from the ledge and let’s talk about it. We’re here for you.

Zach Parise scored a pretty PP goal on a pretty pass from Patrik Elias. Michal Neuvirth let another Parise shot trickle through to make it two goals on four shots. Former Cap Dainus Zubrus closed out the first period with a slapstick falling-down third goal. Parise scored a third for the hat trick, but no hats were forthcoming at the Verizon Center, no sir. Patrick Elias capitalized on a shorthanded chance on a Caps PP. Devils beat Caps, 5-0.

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New Jersey Devils: Where Dat Rally Balloon?

The PreGame: Close your eyes for a moment. Now fling your head out the window.

Wait. Stop that. Open window, fling head, close eyes.

Better. Breathe deep…deeplier deep. Now, what do you smell out there? Summer? Winter? Victory? Streak?

Us? We get mulch, daffodils and notes of flattened street rat. But we much prefer these others. Summer – remember buoyancy and cautious cockiness? Winter; well, early winter means Christmas, and Christmas last was a Capsmas miracle against the Devils, so thank you Baby Jesus!

Victory? Contrary to Maj. Kilgore, victory doesn’t smell like napalm in the morning.  Rather it’s a man-handling of the Habs, a swift start and sustained margin against the Leafs, and a ‘You-Ain’t-Gonna-Win” sass against the dreadful Islanders, all in a row. Yum.

And Streak? Actually, we haven’t really smelled that this year for a long, long time. But still, I think I might recall…

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Caps Beat Isles 3-2 (OT), Ovi’s OTGWG IS FTW

Screengrab by: @recordsandradio

If I had told you in October that a late-February game against the Islanders would be one of the most important games of the season, you would have laughed yourself sick. This one was big, though. All of them will be from now on. The Caps hung in there, didn’t stop fighting, tied up the game in the most completely improbable fashion possible — and then they won. You might not have seen that one coming.

Josh Bailey glided right through a defensive breakdown and scored the first goal. Matt Moulson deflected a long shot in front of Neuvirth to make it 2-0. Brouwer scored one Knuble-style in front of the net with the clock winding down. Brouwer then officially became a certified hero by tipping in a second goal with seconds left to go and took us to overtime. Alex Ovechkin ended it with a five-hole beauty, and you know what? We might believe. Just a little bit. Caps win, 3-2.

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Canes beat Caps 5-0

You thought you’ve been through the hard times already, right? Wrong.

The Washington Capitals’ pathetic bumbling against the Carolina Hurricanes was their worst performance that I’ve had the dubious honor of documenting. This was the kind of game that costs people their jobs. Or at least it should.

No goal summary for you. Hurricanes beat Caps.

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Recap: Caps’ Russian Rockstars Beat Panthers, 2-1


Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter

Two sweet, sweet regulation points.

By winning this game, the Caps pulled within two points of division-leading Florida, and shockingly we were even able to keep them from getting a loser point! We gather this is basically their whole strategy this year, but the Caps are finally starting to crowd their space again. Watch your backs, Florida.

The Caps left Tomas Fleischmann completely open in front of the net to score the game’s first goal. Mike Knuble created some great crease havoc on the power play for Alex Ovechkin to bat it in. Alex Semin fired one of those comets over Theodore to make it a two-Sasha game. Caps win, 2-1. 

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