Let’s just take it all in, mope around for the next day or two like red-rocking Eeyores, and wallow in the wah wah wah (that’s what a sad trombone sounds like). It’s not fun; no, but we need to give the grieving process time to do its thing.
I don’t know how you guys are coping, but I am doing poorly. A playoff series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers seems constitutionally incapable of being stress-free. Game three’s penalty problems continued in game four, and the Caps struggled with special teams and other complex ideas such as shooting and passing. The Rangers seemed to be able to summon a lead on a whim, leaving the Caps to mount a comeback pretty much throughout.
Despite the Caps getting better (and more desperate) as the clock wound down, the Rangers won another game on home ice.
On April 20, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Francois Lacasse
The Washington Capitals’ final road game of the season was a demonstrable blowout. The Montreal Canadiens, purportedly a good hockey team, played like a troop (sorry, troupe) of clowns led by their porous ringleader Carey Price. The Habs got just one past Braden Holtby, and the Caps served wings and discount pizza to their loyal fans.
Thursday night against the Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals continued their march up the Eastern Conference standings with some Ovi scoring and Brouwer yelling (what else is new) as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes. Tonight, they looked to extend their six-game winning streak against another flailing Southeast Division team from more humid parts, the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did. It was fun ’cause the Caps scored a lot of goals, until Tampa did that too.
It started with a Brouwitzer, then a Hillen blast (just kidding), and then some Russian dude with a missing tooth. In the second it was JASON FREAKING CHIMERA, Panik for Tampa, Panik puns for people on Twitter, and a Fehr tap in. The third, as usual, was where the Caps screwed things up, with two St. Louis goals, another for Panik, and one for Purcell. However…
OVERTIME = GAME OVER GREEN.
In the end, there were wings for the people in the stands and two points for the people on the ice. Caps edge Bolts 6-5 (OT).
Troy Brouwer’s return to the score sheet for the first time since March 30th came in three parts. First was the power play goal, a zippy shot from the slot set up by Mike Ribeiro. Then came the empty-netter, in spite of Alex Semin’s cross-check, sealing the deal with only seconds to spare. And finally came the trash talk: Troy Brouwer letting ex-teammate and international man of mystery Alex Semin know what he thought of — well something, I guess. Lipreading is not our bag. If lipreading is your bag, give it a try in the comments below.
On April 11, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
The Carolina Hurricanes lost 9 of their last 10 games before visiting the Washington Capitals for their final meeting of the season. Since re-signing a contract for too much and too long, Alex Semin had cooled off in a way that literally no one on earth could have expected, but the team was motivated to climb out of their rut on Thursday night. Dominating the early minutes, the Canes seemed to have a handle on the game until Verizon Center released the long-dormant kraken of secondary scoring.
The Washington Capitals think they have a shot at the Stanley Cup. This season began with a pitiful start under new head coach Adam Oates, but the team is better now. They’re used to his system, they’re healthier, and they’re picking up pieces to help them in the short-term.
“We weren’t going to be sellers,” said George McPhee yesterday. “You never know once you get in. Let’s see what happens.”
“We have a good thing going here,” said Mike Ribeiro. “We know how good we can be.”
“I have complete confidence in the guys in this room,” said Troy Brouwer. “We have the ability in here to make a splash in the playoffs.”
“I want to play for the Stanley Cup,” said Martin Erat. “Washington is one of the places where you have a chance.”
On Thursday, the Caps moved into playoff spot for the first time this season.
Early Morning Skate: So, the last time we were here, we were there. Filthy Philadelphia, needing a solid road win, and feeling optimistic to start. In fact, we were all, like, yay here we gowhattheflipwasthat?! and c’mon Holtbeast get it together and then yay Groooouuubsie and boooo Max Talbot grrr grrrr and ow that traffic-cone orange makes my soul weep and that was pretty much the best summary of that ugly mess of a game I can imagine.
Mmmm…tastes like Cheez Whiz
What exactly was it that happened that terrible, cold February night at the F-U Center? Where, exactly, were manimal Troy Brouwer and Captain 8 (despite being probably the best in Red on the ice that night) and John “Towelie” Carlson and the Millionaire and his wife and the nameless rest? Certainly not there to play hard, or at least battle back through a tough start. And why was it, exactly, the Lord Supreme in His wisdom didst create that dung-heap of a burg to begin with?
Now this is our idea of a hot Fly team. Really.
You see, I’d like to chalk up that bumbling bungle of a game simply to our visiting the giant spirit suck that is Philly and its moronic fans. Like to, but cannot. Yeah, there were a couple fluky puck bounces and what-not, but those things give as much as they take. No, what we saw was a failure to launch by the Capitals after a dis-spiriting start. It was not, in any possible permutation of the concept, ‘good.’
The Puck Drop: But it’s Spring, and Easter (for some) or Maru (for others) or Passover or Nowruz or we’re just going to stop this now. Traditionally, it’s a time for rebirth and renewal and rejuvenation and reloading and all that. For the Capitals’ flock, it’s once more the race to the playoffs.
For several years now, the Capitals have demonstrated fine mettle in April, much like the pale gossamer jonquils besotting the landscape, if those jonquils were angry, snarling, forechecking, glass-smashing monsters made of steel and laser beams.
In short, there’s two ways this ends. One: we leave Filthydelphia redolent of Whiz, covered in soot and chagrin; or two, you can eat me Peter Laviolette. No wait, that’s a given. Oh yes; or two, we bounce outta Barftown and kick it into grinder gear for the coming match-ups against the Canes and ugly Islanders (revenge want now) and be the team that showed up to rub Winnipeg’s nose in its own dark, dark shame. I know which one I’m hoping for.
On March 30, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Bill Wippert
The Washington Capitals came out ice-cold against the Buffalo Sabres in a game they should’ve been highly motivated to win. With the playoffs still possible, the Caps let the Sabres run away with a two-goal lead before mounting their comeback. The Caps ran the cycle — with goals by Ovechkin on the power play, a shorthanded goal by Brouwer, and 6-on-5 goal by Mike Green.
Overtime couldn’t decide the game, so to the shootout we went. Ovechkin won it. Because he’s a big damn hero, sir.
Players get older; they slow down. Elite goal scorers drop off as they enter their late twenties. It’s time to realize this has happened to Alex Ovechkin. He may have the same name as the guy who scored 65 goals five years ago, but he is far from the same player. And it’s not his fault.
Nine of Ovechkin’s 15 goals have come off the same shot from the same spot: a one-timer from the circles. Seven of those have been on the power play. More remarkably, Ovechkin has not held the puck for more than a second on any of his goals this season save for one. He no longer scores on the rush.
The Washington Capitals invested $123 million dollars in Alex Ovechkin. They cannot have him not score. If he isn’t scoring the way he used to, they will adjust the game plan for him. That’s exactly what first year head coach Adam Oates has done. The new power play he instituted is designed to get Ovechkin the puck at any costs — and it works brilliantly. Ten of his 15 tallies this year (2/3) have come on the power play, the highest ratio of power play to even-strength goals of any player with more than 10 markers. He leads the NHL in man advantage goals.