Photo credit: J Pat Carter
Less than twenty minutes into the contest between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers, the Caps’ big trade deadline acquisition, veteran winger Martin Erat, went awkwardly into the boards courtesy of a reckless shove by hulking young defenseman Eric Gudbranson. A few anxious seconds later, Caps fans were holding their breath as Marty was helped off the ice by his teammates, clearly favoring his right leg. Later on, the team referred to it as a “lower body injury.” Nothing to be happy about, of course, but it could have been so much worse, especially given Erat’s extensive concussion history.
“Wait! What concussion history?,” you may ask, and rightfully so. After all, Marty has been an NHLer for over a decade, and in all that time the Nashville Predators (his team since his debut in 2003) released exactly zero statements mentioning Martin Erat having a concussion. The ubiquitous “upper body injury” appears numerous times, but never a concussion. In fact, a Google search for “Martin Erat concussion” yields references to just one suspected case – an injury Erat suffered during the last World Championship. So, no worries then, right?
But what if someone actually asked Marty? Because someone did.
Not Alex Ovechkin. (Pic via capitals.com)
For those of you who like the All-Star Game, good news: this game was just as loose and ridiculous as you could have possibly dreamed. For those of you who dislike the All-Star Game, good news: it’s over.
We return to real hockey on Tuesday and thank goodness for that, but it was a nice weekend of rest for most of our team, and a nice weekend of dumb, mindless spectacle for hockey fans. I expect to see the rest of the Caps come back with suntans, and Dennis Wideman to come back with a smile on his face. As silly as most of the actual events of the weekend are, recognition is and always will be one of the best feelings in the world, especially for a guy like Wideman that rarely gets what he deserves.
It’s still official Dennis Wideman Day for the rest of Sunday, and then after that you can go back to your regularly scheduled Caps fandom.
The Pre-Game: Oh Lordy, we hate being right. Especially if it involves Canada. Not as in: their single-payer health care system is far more efficient than our insurance company-laden poop pie. More like: there’s no more dangerous team than an underestimated one with shelves of talent and an insane fan base. (Either way, it’s a poop pie, frankly.)
So here we are, game 3 of 3 of the road trip, landing us square in Squaresville: Toronto. (Wagging finger in old maid mode:) We warned you about those teams! We cautioned against squads whose numbers didn’t quite look right, yet had piles of skill ready to dump on the ice! What, you didn’t listen? You think you know better? Are you listening to me?
Uh, no, chances are, you’re not. At least not based on the last few Caps’ book in Vegas. We think that changes Saturday.
What can’t Knuble do? (Photo credit: Graig Abel)
In their first game of the final back-to-back of the season, the Capitals found themselves in Air Canada Centre to face the surging Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the All-Star break, the Leafs have gone a ridiculous and improbable 18-7-5, riding mid-season call-up James Reimer’s (Oops, sorry!) Optimus Reim‘s incredible goaltending back into playoff contention.
Unfortunately for the Leafs, their chances of still making the playoffs were about as likely as Jason Chimera having a 50 goal season: less than one percent. To stave off mathematical elimination for one more night, they had to have either a regulation or overtime win against DC and a loss from Buffalo.
“They have to have every point,” winger Brooks Laich explained to the media after the Capitals pre-game skate. “They have to have every point in regulation the next three games and then hope for the best. This is an elimination game for the Leafs and they’re going to show us their absolute best.
Photo credit: Greg Fiume
No jokes. Nothing cute. The Washington Capitals, deep into a slump, host the Anaheim adjective-less Ducks in a regular season game with a lot of additional gravity. Our hopes are high, our loins girded, our hearts full.
Brooks Laich first marked up the board with a chip-in off of John Carlson during a first period powerplay. In the second, the oddly vowelled Joffrey Lupul put a bounce in the net– also while on powerplay. And it stayed that way until overtime, when Ryan Getzlaf escaped John Carlson’s coverage to wrist the game winner past Semyon Varlamov. Ducks beat Caps 2-1 (OT).
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