Doug Johnson is back to amuse and torment. You know him as one-half of the PuckBuddys. The first one to get them to 3K Twitter follows probably wins a car or something.
The Morning Skate: Gentle readers, before we [CENSORED] all over our Bruins friends, let us pause a moment, as you scramble in blind panic preparing for snow that will never, ever come again, to consider the hazards of making predictions. Especially about the Caps.
For example, if I predict no snow Wednesday, it’s gonna get all crazy 20″ up in here. Conversely, I stone cold guarantee that if I dash to the store today to buy a terror shovel, we will be mopping our brows and sipping Mint Juleps on our verandas by Friday. The point is: predictions can go so wrong. Britain’s Lord Kelvin (he of Downton Abbey, we guess?) said heavier-than-air machines could never fly. Harry Warner said no-one would pay for talkies. The Skipper predicted a three-hour tour. Boom.
The past decade has seen the United States involved in two wars — one in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. We’re all aware of them, we’ve seen the headlines. But for most Americans, the country’s battles are an abstraction. It’s something on the news, not part of the stories of other human beings.
Some Americans, though, can’t remove themselves from them — the wars have taken members of their family. Husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers: the all have loved ones who will never come home. This has unfolded thousands of times throughout the past 12 years.
While the Washington Capitals got outplayed in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Jets, they came out strong in the second , scoring some goals and getting a little cocky. I love it when my favorite team gets cocky. Particularly because it can lead to a line brawl, one started by five-foot, ten-inch (yeah right) French Canadian Mathieu Perreault.*
After absorbing a legal shoulder-check from tough guy defenseman Zach Bogosian, Perry decided to get a lil’ saucy and slash Bogosian in the legs. Bad idea.
The Washington Capitals looked like a troubled team before Saturday’s game at the Winnipeg Jets. With a grinder on their top line, a goal-scorer in Wojtek Wolski scratched in favor of a tough guy, and more injured players than you can shake a groin at, expectations were low for the early afternoon rumble in Manitoba. For twenty minutes, those expectations were met, and then the Capitals took control of their destiny and looked like a damn fine hockey club.
For example, take a look at Thursday’s game against division rival Tampa. The Capitals gained a 4-1 lead, only to surrender two third period goals and barely escape with a win. There were missed poke checks, goals scored from a seated position, and lots of enthusiastic coaching. You know: Caps hockey.
One day in 7th grade, I was playing basketball at recess with some friends. After I missed a layup, one of my female friends made fun of me and I called her a not-so-nice word. She responded by tapping me on the shoulder and then kicking me in the business. The next three hours were spent in the nurse’s room, wailing and applying an ice pack to my nether regions.
On Tuesday night, Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks did everything I couldn’t back in middle school. His grit on full display for the 168th game in a row, Hendricks broke his nose during a second period scrum and didn’t miss a shift. Instead of yelping in the corner like a normal human, Hendricks had a superb game in which he put two shots on goal, had five blocks, and won three of four face-offs.
Spotted by the media after a practice in Tampa Wednesday, Hendricks showed off his stitches and guessed at how many times his nose had been recalibrated.
On January 22, 2013, In Game Recap, By Doug Johnson
This pretty much sums up the night. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
So our dads Peter and Ian decided to give your humble PuckBuddys the keys to the RMNB-car for recaps over the next few games. Ha! We promised them not to drive at dangerously high speeds with the top down while stealing people’s mail and laughing wildly. We promise you we won’t keep that promise.
Speaking of a wild ride, Tuesday’s geshrey was whether Adam Oates would pull his Caps back together under his new system, or whether they would revert to old ways/panic. Would this be the first home opener loss since the turn of the century? Would we rally from the Bolts shellacking and figure out our PK? Would Ribiero perform? Would Lady Mary really marry cousin Matthew? We have our answers.
10:02 in the 1st, Matt Hendricksgets the pass from Nicky for the first home score in almost a year, with a big crash o’ the net. That’s answered at 12:34 into the first, on a power play when the nasty Evander Kane sunk one on Holtby, unassisted. Andrew Ladd sinks a direct bullet at 16:26 – right through a non-existent Caps defense and a tired-looking Holtby (there, I said it.)
Second frame brought out a little toughness from both sides, with hopes on a Dustin Byfuglian penalty, yielding nothing. Kane knocks to Blake Wheeler, who then taps in at 14:32 to take the Jets up 3-1. PuckBuddys start crying. And then oh-noes: with less than a minute left, Slater tips in a dribbler for a boo-bird 4-1. Everyone grab your junk as Hendy puts Slater down after the horn; Verizon hall yawns.
In the third, an early Capitals power play nets Troy (handsome) Brouwer in the bin and washes out our chances. Remember when we were up in this game? haha. Caps swarm to save Braden Holtby half-way in, which almost raises our spirits. Hendy tries to rally the team; nothing juicy follows. A spit more than 1 minute left, Troy-Boy (off Ribiero) swags it in but gives the Jets a PP.
Last season, it took Matt Hendricks 30 games to score his first goal of the season. This year, it took The Paralyzer two.
In the first period of the Washington Capitals home opener, Hendricks — slow to leave the ice on a shift change — joined first-liners Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin in the Jets offensive zone. As Ovechkin passed to Backstrom at the top of the circles, Nicky then immediately sent a pass to Hendy camped out in the crease. Hendricks, unable to get his stick on the puck, did the next best thing: he deflected the biscuit towards the net with his skate blade. The puck then careened into the air, went off of the shaft of Hendy’s stick, and into the net. Legal goal!
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.
On Monday, the second day of Caps training camp, Hendricks debuted a new wrinkle. As the wagon commits to a backhand shot, which many goaltenders would expect, Hendy dekes back to his forehand while in the crease.
Michal Neuvirth, who was prepared for the move, couldn’t stop it. He was so faked out he knocked the net off its moorings.