Splat goes Tom Wilson
Every season it’s the same. It begins, invariably, with a euphoric burst of optimism that somehow, this year, this season, everything is going to work out. The team will be saved and we’ll all rejoice. Their journey will have come to an end, and the world will be a better place.
Sure, there will be lots of scrapes along the way. While the team that has sustained us for multiple seasons now will lose several beloved but under-performing members, the core players will remain. We’ll have some feels about saying goodbye to a few, but we’ll also pick up a few new members along the way. And, at least at the start, they’ll have a lot of promise.
But one thing never changes. Disaster, often from an unexpected source, will find a way to enter the narrative– you can be sure of that. And when it does, it will look and feel awful…perhaps even fatal.
Yet everyone will dig deep, deeper perhaps than they thought they could, and we’ll survive to fight again. We may not have found the promised land yet, but there’s always next season. What’s important is moving forward. Pressing on. It’s essential. It feels, in fact, like life or death.
Of course, I’m talking about The Walking Dead. What did you think I was going on about?
Photo: Alex Brandon / Associated Press
It’s “Rivalry Night”, kiddos, and there’s nearly no better rivalry in the NHL right now than the Capitals and the Rangers.
Last time around– can you believe we’ve only played them once this season? — didn’t go so hot. We were fumbling and they were ascending. Things have turned around a bit, but tonight’s match is really just the beginning of the end of regular season play. We’ve only got three chances to nail these guys, and chance one starts tonight.
Both teams are coming off wins, but very different ones at that. The Sabres’ face-plant against the Caps was hardly a meaningful test, unlike Tuesday’s Rangers’ win over the Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders. Add in the Pens, and you’ve got a fairly tight bunch at the top between those four teams.
We’re both playing well, although the Caps have been getting a might sloppy of late, and both squads are in relatively decent condition, considering how deep we are into the season. On the Rangers side, handsome ol’ Henrik Lundqvist is still out, healing his pretty, pretty face, but so, too, might be Mike Green and Brooks Orpik, who are two D-men we do not want to lose.
Less meaningful, but more irritating, will be the likely flood of Rags fans who will pollute Verizon tonight. Some things are simply, self-evidently, inescapable. Death and taxes. Daylight Savings Time is stupid. And right up there, Rangers fans are just awful.
We reached out to the decidedly non-awful Neill Fowler — writer, owner, operator and bottle-washer at New York Rangers Blog — for some insight about the Rangers, and the second of what we expect will be several more meetings before this whole thing is through. He was good enough to share his thoughts after a tense, but ultimately successful, evening for the Rangers last night.
This is literally every picture ever of the Caps and Flyers.
As if back-to-back matinees weren’t enough, today’s game against the Flyers comes hot on the heels of one of the best games we’ve seen in quite a while. In fact, we just canNOT wait for today’s match-up, so let’s get right to it.
It might feel easy to write off the Flyers this season, but not so fast. They can still surprise, both for being amazing and, alternately amazingly bad, so you just never know which team is going to show up.
For a little insight into this Jekyll/Hyde team, we were lucky enough to chat with Collin Mehalick, editor over at the excellent Flyers blog Broad Street Hockey and all-around smarty-pants about all things Philly, about today’s game, and just what sort of squad we’ll be facing at the Wells Fargo Center.
Let’s hope this goes better this time around (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports)
Pity poor San Jose. So close to San Francisco, and yet so powerfully, profoundly uncool. So flooded with tech start-ups and venture capital money, yet unable to afford anything interesting downtown. So little meth, so much meh.
The exception that proves the rule in this case is the San Jose Sharks. Even before the era of the awesome Todd McLellan, the Sharks were and remain perennial challengers in the playoffs. Their roster isn’t exactly packed with brand-name star power, but that hasn’t held them back any– this year or those previous. Hey, any team that takes the ice through the mouth of a giant shark while Metallica blares is OK in our book.
Both the Sharks and the Caps might enter tonight’s game thinking they’ve got a little something to prove. For our part, Sunday’s smothering by the filthy Flyers at Verizon stung– at least, we hope it stung enough for the Caps to step up their game.
Today we have the treat of hearing from David Pollak, who covers the San Jose Sharks like a blanket for the San Jose Mercury News, with his views of Todd McLellan’s squad, and how things might shake out at the Shark Tank tonight.
Pollak is one of the sharpest hockey reporters around, and better still, he didn’t make fun of us for our lame questions.
Another day, another chance at redemption.
First off, nobody’s panicking here. I said NOBODY’S PANICKING HERE but maybe just a teensy and perhaps a little urgency might be good?
Last night, playing against the Blue Jackets and their preposterous annoying cannons (can we dump those in a river pleeeease), we didn’t see as much of the sloppy play visited upon us since mid-January. Still, we did see too many penalties and overall our game still isn’t looking as tight as it had been looking. Time for a little more yelling we think, Coach Trotz.
It’s here, and there’s no use chirping at the other squad at this point. Except to say…we dare not say anything at the moment, actually. Other than the CSN-Chicago lady we ran into who told us how f*%#@ing cold Chicago is, we’re just not going there. That, and our contributor today actually likes DC, and so now we’re feeling like jerks to whizz all over Chicago…which is, in the end, a great city.
Sad Lundqvist is sad.
‘Tis the holiday season and we’re just going to go ahead and assume you’ve all been enjoying the pretty presents being handed out by our Capitals. Greenie going great, Ovi being unbelieoviable, Nicky being all under-stated and awesomely Swedie and such; Brooks and Braden and Beags and every other present that we really really REALLY want this year. (You know which one, Santa.)
We want those sweet, sweet holiday goodies to keep flowing – so no being naughty for us! At least until it’s safe to be smug jerks again. Thus we dispense with the reminders of the smelly awfulness of the Rags (we’re being nice!) and introduce you instead to Joe Fortunato, resident smarty and managing editor at Blueshirt Banter, for his thoughts on tonight’s tilt.
The Swedish Machine, doin’ his thing with the Florida Cats
You know that scene in the Star Wars movie? The first one…or, the fourth one which was actually the first? The one that was good?
Luke and Han are blasting away at all the awful spaceships that are swarming around outside, and Luke is missing and missing and just shooting impotently away, pew pew pew, until he actually gets one? The one that was headed directly toward him in a straight line at about 10 miles an hour? And he’s so happy and Han says “Don’t get cocky, kid”?
Oh, I can hear you all now, sighing “There goes Doug who knows nothing about hockey and is just a huge wet blanket and shut up.” I mean, those very few of you who actually read these things. Hey, I’m super fantastic happy about how the Caps are playing these days, and I loved seeing Nick “Swedish Machine Never Smiles” Backstrom get a hattie in regular season. And we’re playing the Florida Panthers tonight, who aren’t 1/2 the team Tampa is, or us probably, so there’s no need to worry, right?
Call me Eeyore, but I just can’t get too comfortable with this team. As awesome as they are, I’ve just seen too many times great play slide suddenly into crap.
Speaking of, I’ll say this about Sunrise, Florida, home of the Cats: at least it’s not Fort Lauderdale. Since starting in the 90’s expansion, Panthers management have done just about everything they could to alienate their fans… sorta like another professional sports team that’s become a tire fire since being acquired by a certain weasel, which needs not be named. Even down to the location of BB&T arena where we play tonight, which is located literally ACROSS THE STREET from the marshy, anaconda-filled Everglades. Nice move, Panthers.
It’s a peculiar character trait that, sometimes, after having tempted the Fates only to inexplicably emerge unscathed and victorious, one seeks not only to dare the test again, but to do so confidently, even buoyantly. I first knew this the moment after I went skydiving – solo, there were no tandems back then – and mere moments after touching back to Earth I eagerly began planning the next date to fling myself out of an airplane that was perfectly sound.
Such is my mood today as we head into our second tilt in a week against Tampa Bay. Tuesday’s match was a thriller, to be sure, and one that I’m not so sure we had all that locked up. We played like champs nearly the entire 60 minutes, and hooray, we won and bailamoed. Three in a row and we looked great.
But sometimes greatness is a quirk; or worse, a passing wind that blows in only to melt away into the uncaring ether. So poetry.
Hey, we’re going to the game tonight– for that and more I would lurve to see a repeat performance. But the Bolts are still a really good team– consistently so. They’re really just so infuriatingly consistent that I don’t feel like tempting the Fates further by mocking Tampa Bay as being a city so old that “boarding” nearly always appears next to the word “shuffle.” I mean, the GOP 2012 convention actually lowered the city’s median age for about a week is all I’m saying. But not tempting fate.
A little Swede on Swede action at last year’s Caps Wings match
About that recent little jaunt to the land of moose and Anne Murray that was supposed to be a skip through the daisies? Exactly. And let us never speak of it again.
For the most part, the Caps are still playing their best in several seasons, we’re seeing skill from young and old alike, and our goaltending worries appear to be over. But tonight we face a team that’s also resurgent, skilled, and with new blood in the net.
The Red Wings should worry you.
They’re older than us by nearly five decades, they’re Cuppier than us by about everything, they’re Swede-ier than us av en skit belastning, their unis are hands-down the best anywhere, and they’ve got octopi. We’ve got Winger.
But they do have to live in Detroit, so there’s that.
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