Saturday, March 31, 2007

Caps @ Panthers 3-30-2007 Wrap Up/ Caps @ Ning 3-31-2007 Preview

The Local Yokels:


The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Miami Herald.

Final Thoughts:

The more I think about it, the more last night's disallowed goal exemplifies the Caps season. A better bounce (or better eyes in Toronto) or two and there isn't this pall cast over this team. 78 down, 4 to go.

Washington Capitals (26-52; 66 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 26th Overall) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (42-36; 88 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference, 14th Overall):
Caps Game #79, Road Game #40, NHL Game #1,172

St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL. 7:35 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Tampa TV: Sunshine Network. Radio: WDAE 620-AM. NHL Center Ice: Sunshine Network feed.

Tonight the Caps play for the last time in the state of Florida this season when they face the Ning in Tampa. The point the Caps earned last night moved them up one spot in the overall standings but they can finish no better than 24th overall and no worse than 29th. The Ning however are still in the hunt for the Southeast Division Title but have not yet wrapped up a playoff spot. Since the 7-1 smackdown in the Phone Booth, the Ning have gone 3-2 including last night's big win over the Canes in Raleigh.

What The Natives Are Saying: .pdf game notes.

Open Source Intelligence:

St. Petersburg Times: Big goal, big win, not for sale. Tampa Tribune: Ning battles back, still not for sale.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

In addition to the usual litany of staying out of the penalty box and getting goals on the Power Play, the Caps tonight will have to find a way to battle through the poor officiating and bad bounces and bounce back tonight and take advantage of a team coming off an emotional win. The Ning could be ripe for the picking tonight after last night's big win despite looking to avenge the 7-1 beatdown from 13 days ago. A Caps win in regulation tonight helps the Thrashers extend their lead over the Ning and puts the Rangers well within striking distance of the Ning for 6th overall.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 2
Ning 5
Winner by Richards

Editorial Note For The Loyal Readers Of This Blog:

A good friend of mine is in town and we'll be getting together later today for dinner. While we plan on hitting a sports bar somewhere in the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, I may not be able to watch tonight's game because of the Whats? Final Four game later tonight. That being said, there's a good chance that there will not be a Post-Mortem tonight, especially if my Grandmother's Ohio State Buckeyes dispatch the Whats? tonight.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Caps @ Panthers 3-30-2007 Post-Mortem

My desire to do this post is directly proportionate to the effort displayed by both teams in regulation. Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • I'm curious as to how the War Room in Toronto could come up with "inconclusive" on the review of the Caps third goal. As it turns out, that cost us the game because that puck was in. Barely, but it should have counted.
  • I think we can now safely say that the latest obstruction crackdown is history.
  • For a team needing every single point they can get to make the playoffs, the Panthers certainly didn't play like one.
  • Brent Johnson inspires zero confidence in goal.
  • If you ever needed a clearer example of how the OT loss has moved the boring hockey from the OT period to the third period, tonight was a prime example.

Even clearly "playing out the string" like they did tonight you can see that the Caps have more talent that they are currently being given credit for. I know I sound like a broken record here but what this team needs more than anything else is maturity and that doesn't come with high-priced splashy free agent signings.


Good Enough For Me!

AP Photo

Who takes the blame for that one?

UPDATE: For those of you who might be a little slow (or from West-by-God-Virginia) that isn't how you spell "Virginia"....

Not Another Fighting Post

Sorry, I'm trying really hard not to spend every single day talking about that issue.

But here's something else that deserves serious consideration.

Personally, if I had my way, I would bring back ties by doing away with the gimmick and stop rewarding teams for losing. The advent of the overtime loss has taken the "boring" hockey we used to see in the five minute OT period and moved to the last ten minutes of the third period and sometimes longer if the game was tied early in the third period.

But Frei brings up a very good point. Not only does the current point awarding system encourage point inflation, it also encourages record inflation as well. Since there are no more ties in the NHL, there is very simply one winner and one loser per NHL contest no matter how long the game is played or if a gimmick decided the outcome.

You'll notice in my previews that I add the losses together because of this. There are currently four teams, all in the Eastern Conference, who are currently selling their fans the fiction of an above .500 record. Oddly enough, all four of those teams are the "last four out" of the playoffs including tonight's opponent, the Florida Panthers. Poetic Justice? Maybe, maybe not.

Of course the official company line is "this is creating exciting playoff races." Well, again, maybe and maybe not. With 5 games left, tonight's opponent, the Florida Panther have a six point deficit to make up to get into the playoffs. Now if regulation wins were worth three points, the deficit wouldn't seem as large because that is two wins by them in regulation combined with two losses in regulation by the five teams ahead of them. Now that isn't very likely, but possible. But because Florida can only get two points for winning the game no matter what, their deficit grows. The Panthers now need three wins of their own and three losses in regulation by the five teams ahead of them. Furthermore because the five teams ahead of Florida can obtain points even if they lose the game, Florida has no real chance of making the playoffs this year.

Again, if I had my way, I would stop rewarding teams for losing hockey games. Winners get two points and losers get none. Teams play 82 games a year a piece and you don't need a winner in every single game so ties would be worth one point for each team. Furthermore, some of the most exciting hockey you will see is when two teams on the edge of the playoff race are going all out to get a win late in the season. If you're worried about "boring hockey," well shorten the season for starters. But whatever is done, the NHL needs to bring some sanity to its standings points structure.

Caps @ Panthers 3-30-2007 Preview

Washington Capitals (26-51; 65 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall) @ Florida Panthers (33-44; 80 points; 4th Southeast Division, 12th Eastern Conference, 21st Overall):
Caps Game #78, Road Game #39, NHL Game #1,161

BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, FL. 7:35 pm. Washington TV: WDCW Channel 50. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Florida TV: Fox Sportsnet Florida. Radio: WQAM 560-AM. NHL Center Ice: Fox Sportsnet Florida feed.

Tonight the Caps hit the road for back-to-back games in sunny Florida. The Caps play the Panthers in Sunrise tonight looking to salvage a little bit of pride and lock the Flyers into last place in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers are all but eliminated from playoff contention at six points out with five games to go. The Panthers have only won twice in their last five games.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. (Don't forget about the Contest!) .pdf game notes.

Open Source Intelligence:

Miami Herald.

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

Since the start of the New Year the Caps simply have not come to play against the Florida Panthers and as a result, the Panthers feel that they can beat the Caps anywhere at any time. With the way the Caps have been playing of late, why should tonight be any different?

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 1
Panther 6
Winner by Jokinen


Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Voice Of Reason and Experience

Serge Savard is anti-fighting.

Of course this means the Disciples of Don Cherry, aka the Ultimate Fighting on Ice fans, (along with Don himself) will disparage him for being French-Canadian along with their usual litany of evasions, sidesteps, and red herrings.

What is sad is the inability of the other side to engage in a serious conversation about this issue.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Caps vs. Penguin Scum 3-27-2007 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post. (Don't forget about the Contest!) Times: Early lead not enough, Caps Report.

The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Playoffs clinched, Penguin Scum notebook. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Playoffs clinched, coach of the year, improvement. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

The interesting thing about all of that 40+ point improvement on the part of the Penguin Scum is that only the 1992-1993 San Jose Sharks won a playoff series, the rest were one and done. Of course should the Caps mimic that next year (don't bet on it), the same nattering naboobs of negativism will be complaining about how we haven't won a playoff series since 1998 as the reason to get rid of George McPhee. 77 down, 5 to go.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Caps vs. Penguin Scum 3-27-2007 Post-Mortem

Gee.... didn't see THAT coming... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Great start to the game by the Caps jumping out to a 2-0 lead off of great finishes and chances. Too bad we couldn't finish more but the chances were there tonight.
  • Normally I rip the Power Play unit and it may not make much sense praising them when they went 0 for 3. However the Power Play unit tonight on all three chances got the shot they were looking for. They just couldn't get the finish. For a Power Play that often has Herculean issues just getting the puck into the offensive zone under control, the fact that they got something set up deserves honest praise.


  • The Penalty Killers were officially 2 for 5 tonight. That is beyond ghastly and what makes it worse is that our best Penalty Killers were on the ice for 2 of the three power play goals. The fourth goal came 11 seconds after a penalty expired.
  • Brooks Orpik got the drop on Mr. Donald Brashear and Mr. Brashear took exception. Sorry, that was a clean hit. That is a prime example of why I think "The Code" is now "The Crock." There's no excuse for clean play leading to fights which that did.
  • Shaone Morrrissonnn gets the Sergei Gonchar "Score on Your Own Team" Award for tonight.
  • The Penguin Scum was using Sergei Gonchar on A.O. all night and A.O. couldn't beat him.


  • Downright horrible officiating tonight by two referees, Tim Peel and Kerry Fraser, who should know better. I could understand if Blaine Angus and Dave Jackson were working tonight but for about 58 minutes tonight; the referees only called the one penalty on the Penguin Scum they absolutely positively had to call and that was Jarkko Ruutu's cheap high stick on Alexander Semin (Semin was on his knees and I don't think stuff like that should be a penalty, but it is). While the Caps got away with a lot, the Penguin Scum got away with every hook, every hold, every trip, and every interference except for one and that was called at 17:23 of the third period. Oh, then there's Rule 53.2 "A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper on the ice who throws his stick or any part thereof or any object in the direction of the puck or an opponent in any zone, except when such act has been penalized by the assessment of a penalty shot or the awarding of a goal." Now who did that in the final seconds of the game and got away with it????????

Once again the Caps outplay the Penguin Scum and once again the Caps lose. Sorry, but the only time the Penguin Scum looked even remotely dangerous was when they had a Power Play. Considering how bad the officiating was and you have to begin to wonder if this game was on the level. This game tonight was won on the Power Play because at even strength, the Caps either dominated the Penguin Scum or were dead even. But what can you say? At least the Penguin Scum bandwagon made its first appearance in D.C. in five years.


HIGH-larious Defense of Fighting

Wow, just when I thought the Ultimate Fighting On Ice fans couldn't get any worse, we're treated to this steaming pile of garbage.

Take note the "How to win an argument" section:

"I don't want my children to watch a game in which I have to tell them that fighting is acceptable."
First of all, most fights are a response to a perceived wrong. Do you really want your kid to turn the other cheek to everyone he meets in life who tries to take advantage of him and his friends?

More importantly, this is professional sport. If your kid watches NASCAR, does he expect to drive bumper-to-bumper at 200 mph down a city street? If he watches wrestling, does he expect to be allowed to deliver forearm shivers and body slams? Professional sports operate under a specific set of rules.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

NASCAR operates in a controlled environment and not on public streets. Pro wrestling is fake.


"That fight last week probably cost Todd Fedoruk his career."
If it weren't for fighting, Fedoruk wouldn't have had a career.

And this proves what? Maybe Fedoruk needs a different career????


"Hockey is the only sport that allows fighting."
It's also the only sport that uses a puck. Baseball is the only one that uses bases. Each sport has its own peculiarities and fighting has always been a part of hockey.

Typical UFOI fan evasion. Ever notice how when the batter charges the mound he doesn't take his bat and that the players who come out of the dugout to join the fight don't bring their bats to the party either? Maybe it is because they know that doing so would get them a suspension more than three times as long as Chris Simon got for his stick swinging.


"The NHL Players' Association should step in to curb fighting in order to prevent injuries to its members."
The fighters are PA members, too. How can the PA follow a course of action that would deprive them of their jobs?

#1. Which is the exact problem with the NHLPA. They shouldn't be so much concerned about jobs but about player safety.

#2. They should also realize that the goon dropped off the roster and out of the ranks of the Union would be replaced by a skill player so the Union membership remains the same.


"This is 2007. These barbaric acts belong in the past."
Then watch figure skating. There's no constitutional requirement to watch hockey. The people who attend games, and the people who play the game, are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping fighting.

The fact is that the vast majority of people who complain about fighting in hockey don't watch the games. Furthermore, there's no evidence that they'd watch if fighting were eliminated.

Which is why when the Olympics come on, the coverage and the ratings outpace the NHL, but the Olympics don't have any fighting in them.

Though I will grant you, if you want to have your Federal Hockey League, you can have it. We won't complain about it nor watch it.


"Too many fights are staged. They're not part of the game, just two guys who agree to go after each other."
There's some truth to that. But hockey is, above all, entertainment. When the fights — even the staged fights — occur, the rink comes alive. Fans love it. These two guys are willing co-combatants.

What's the problem?

What's the problem? Well aside it from being a "barbaric act that belongs in the past," it undermines the whole "polices the game" and "rights a wrong" that you clowns love to spout.

So is it vigilante justice or is it entertainment?


"Too many players are getting hurt in hockey fights."
The problem is much more complex than that. Too many players are getting hurt. Period. Some of it has to do with equipment. Some of it has to do with the fact that hockey is a high-contact sport and injuries are inevitable.

The game is such these days that a lot of players don't care whether there's a puck on the ice or not

They're just out there to run other players. And they're causing injuries.

In an earlier era, those players would have been held accountable. But with the instigator rule, and the low-scoring games that put a premium on power plays, they're left alone. If the league scraps the instigator rule and keeps the fighters, those guys would think twice. And there would be fewer injuries.

In the long run, fighting doesn't cause injuries; it prevents them.

Ah yes, shift gears again and blame the equipment along with the rules.

Once again a UFOI fan comes up woefully short in defending the craft. Don't worry though, I'll be moving through the rest of their mealy mouth arguments.

Oh, and I voted about three times already in that poll on that article BTW.


Will The Slander End?

Not bloody likely.

After all, you can't be an Ultimate Fighting on Ice fan to begin with and be bothered at all by the pesky facts.

While this should end the complaints about the "Bettmanization of the league" it won't. Idiots like Brett Hull and Ray Ferraro still need a punching bag and Bettman is a great target in their eyes.


Caps vs. Penguin Scum 3-27-2007 Preview

Washington Capitals (26-50; 65 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall) vs. Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (43-33; 96 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 5th Eastern Conference, 11th Overall):
Caps Game #77, Home Game #39, NHL Game #1,134

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTEM 980-AM. Pittsburgh TV: Fox Sportsnet Pittsburgh. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Tonight the Caps come back home before heading out for two more games on the road. While the Caps have lost three in a row, they've won their last two on home ice. The Penguin Scum however have won two in a row themselves after dropping two consecutive games and start a three game road trip tonight.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. (Don't forget about the Contest!)

Open Source Intelligence:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Road warriors (it's an accounting trick), "historical" hat trick. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Elbows Malkin-Lindros shooting for an award (not the Lady Byng), ticket sales, career-high, scouting the Caps. Penguin

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

A long caravan of mullets will be making its way down I-270 tonight into the city as the Bandwagon Penguin Scum fans finally have something to cheer about as they sit tied atop the worst Division in the NHL. Only New Jersey and Nashville have more wins in their Division than the Penguin Scum do. This is a team that, like the Caps early on in the season, is flying high with confidence right now. However their goaltending is more than suspect as Jocelyn Thibault and Marc-Andre Fleury have been tag teaming the job in recent weeks. Thibault is not the answer and Fleury is a well known choker. The Caps have a chance to spoil the Penguin Scum's designs on clinching a playoff spot tonight. When the Caps win in regulation, the Penguin Scum will be prevented from locking up a playoff spot. A win in regulation will also help the Devils who are tied with the Penguin Scum atop the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. The Senators are two points ahead of the Penguin Scum for fourth place. Both New Jersey and Ottawa are in action tonight as the Devils visit the Islanders (any Islanders loss combined with any Penguin Scum win or an Islanders loss in regulation combined with a Penguin Scum overtime or gimmick loss puts the Penguin Scum into the playoffs) and Ottawa hosts Boston.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 6
Penguin Scum 3
Winner by Ovechkin


Monday, March 26, 2007

Of Sidesteps and Red Herrings, Part I

Just because the NHL's much ballyhooed "questioning" of fighting is nothing more than a rhetorical question for PR sake doesn't mean we can't sit back and pick apart the arguments and squash the red herrings of the Ultimate Fighting on Ice Fans.

Now we all know that our UFOI brethren will NEVER admit the failure of the NHL in the 1970's and 1980's to meet the standards they seek of the league today. Just to recap for anybody who is joining the party late; the NHL in the 70's and 80's had NO network TV contract in the United States. The league was kicked off the "Gold Standard" for cable TV sports, ESPN, and consigned to an even worse "network" (and that's being very charitable) at the end of the 1980's.

They don't want to talk about any of that. As a matter of fact, they pretend it didn't happen. They start talking about things like, "well, if they are so concerned about players getting hurt, they should look at today's equipment." They also claim "take fighting out of the game and players will be getting hurt more because of more cheapshots. Fighting prevents the cheapshots and protects players." (Which of course is why I ask why A.O. continues to take spears to the gonads?).

Today we'll look at that last "argument" for fighting. The idea that the game will become much, much dirtier than it already is. I find this one almost as laughable as the reliance on internet based polls to show support for fighting.

This one is blown out of the water very easily, if taking fighting out of the NHL does lead to more cheapshots; then the solution is simple, the NHL Front Office along with their on-ice officials will have to step up to the plate and actually do their jobs. The UFOI Fans have no problem denouncing the actions of Marty McSorely, Todd Bertuzzi, and Chris Simon (but they insult our intelligence, that's another post) but they think that the careers of these guys shouldn't be "tainted" or "ended" by these incidents. It is clear as day that the 23, 20, and 25 games respectively has had no effect on other players because these incidents are occurring all too often.

Biff is right, even with fighting in the game, it is the responsibility of the NHL Front Office and the on-ice officials to properly police the game to prevent players from becoming the victims of cheapshots. If it is that they are unwilling or unable to to properly do their jobs, then they should be removed from them, period. Players who step over the boundaries of fair play and respect and resort to dirty tactics should be dealt with harshly. And when I say that, I mean they should be thrown out of the game for good. The fact that Todd Bertuzzi was able to deliver such a disgusting black eye to the league and is still allowed to play in it is a disgrace and proof that the NHL does not really care. People get this and tune out the league as a result. When word of "the question" got out, talking heads around the sports world were pretty much unanimous in asking "what has taken the NHL so long?"

No other professional sports league allows this kind of vigilante justice. Don't give me this "it is ingrained in the roots of the sport" Barbara Streisand. Sorry, but not only do the Olympics thrive (and more so than the NHL IMHO) without fighting so does NCAA hockey, so does the IIHF World Championships, and so does the IIHF World Junior Championships. These games are carried on with more regularity than the Olympics are and there's no fighting in any of them. There's no excuse, if the NHL can be shutdown for a full season and come back; it can remove fighting and continue on just as well.

Next time I post on this topic, I'll tell you how the UFOI fans insult our intelligence and I'm not talking about their stupid internet polls either...


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Caps @ Canadiens 3-25-2007 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post. (Contest update: yes "overmatched" counts.)

The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Montreal Gazette: Treading water, spousal inspiration.

Final Thoughts:

Instead of singling out individual players for regressing, maybe we should consider that the team as a whole has regressed. Folks, we traded Dainus Zubrus and Jaime Heward because we weren't going to be making the playoffs in the first place. That's the only reason why we entertained the thought in the first place. 76 down, 6 to go.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Knew It

Fear not Ultimate Fighting On Ice fans, Colin Campbell was just on the Hockey Night In Canada pre-game show and basically admitted "the question" is just pro forma.

Colin Campbell himself basically said that there's no real movement to take fighting out of hockey but that the NHL "has to ask the question" in what really amounts to a PR move. But rest assured UFOI Fans, your precious fighting will remain and the NHL will continue to be niche sport whose niche is growing smaller and smaller.

I'm not surprised. I thought this is why the NHL was opening up the question in the first place and the fact that there is no real desire to remove the sideshow violence comes as even less of a surprise. Though it is amazing to me to watch these past 24 hours. Folks who have no love for the brand of hockey that the NHL puts forward seemed to be willing to give the NHL the benefit of the doubt on this issue; should the NHL had actually been serious about trying to clean up the game.

But "the old guard" prevailed. Furthermore, Campbell said that Gary Bettman has never said anything to him about taking fighting out of the game. So my advice to you UFOI fans is quit complaining. It is clear as day that the NHL isn't going to anything about fighting and cleaning up the sport. You've won the day and your fears that "the game you love" will be further and forever ruined by the likes of Bettman are clearly unfounded.


Caps @ Canadiens 3-24-2007 Preview

Washington Capitals (26-49; 65 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall) @ Montreal Canadiens (38-37; 82 points; 3rd Northeast Division, 9th Eastern Conference, 18th Overall):
Caps Game #76, Road Game #38, NHL Game #1,121

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Montreal TV: None. Radio: CJAD 800-AM. Canadian National TV: RDS (in French). NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Tonight the Caps finish off a three games in four nights road trip in Montreal. The Caps still haven't won on the road for exactly one month losing six in a row on the road and their last two overall. Montreal is involved in a death struggle for the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens have won their last six games at home and three overall. In their most recent outing, the Canadiens won 6-3 in Boston.

What The Natives Are Saying: .pdf game notes.

Open Source Intelligence:

Montreal Gazette: Dangerous opponent, flu bug hurts season.

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

The Caps fortunes tonight will rest upon whether or not the Caps can stay out the Penalty Box. That will mostly be up to who the officials are tonight. The Caps are still working out the penalty killing while Montreal is ranked #1 overall on the Power Play. A Caps win in regulation tonight will provide help to the Hurricanes and Rangers who are all tied for 7th in the Eastern Conference with the Habs giving up a game in hand to both teams. The Islanders trail by one point but have two games in hand on the Canadiens and Maple Leafs are two points behind with a game in hand on Montreal.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 3
Canadiens 5
Winner by Souray

Editorial Note For The Loyal Readers of This Blog:

Due to a prior engagement, I will not be able to watch tonight's game. Therefore, there will be no post-mortem after tonight's game.


Friday, March 23, 2007

More Conversion Experiences

Let me start out by saying it is rather sad that when Kris Newbury was left in a pool of his own blood and carted off the ice on a stretcher that nobody really batted an eyelash.

But now it happens in New York's Madison Square Garden and people start to take notice. People start realizing, "Hey, maybe this isn't the best thing for the NHL. Maybe there is something called "bad publicity.""

JP offers a compromise on this and he gets bombed. He's automatically lumped in with the anti-fighting crowd and stripped of his hockey fan credentials.

Well, Ultimate Fighting on Ice Fans, where do you stand on Colin Campbell? Odds are that he'll have an uphill fight on his hands because of GM's like Brian Burke who are in favor of more on-ice thuggery. But the fact that the NHL "is taking a look into it" at least shows that the NHL understands that there is a problem in the public perception of the league. While the NHL might not (and in all likelihood doesn't) think that there is problem, the fact that they recognize that their reputation is rather low and are concerned enough about that to take at least token gestures marks a big change.

Whether or not you agree with fighting in the NHL there a money quote in there that needs to be understood:

But what's changed is what people find acceptable

We all may not like the fact that we now live in politically correct times however they are the times that we live in. Why in the world UFOI fans think that the NHL can survive without changing when EVERY OTHER PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUE HAS TAKEN STEPS TO CUT DOWN ON THE GRATUITIOUS VIOLENCE IN THE LAST TWENTY YEARS is beyond me. The NFL has increasing restrictions on late hits and shots to the head. The NBA instituted NHL like rules concerning players coming off the bench to join an on-court fight and they throw the book at players who do fight. MLB has taken steps to cutdown on the beanings that lead to bench clearing brawls in baseball.

The NHL has only done away with the bench clearing brawls and instituted an instigator penalty. Oh, and you have to make sure that your jersey doesn't come off. The NHL doesn't want you to have an unfair advantage over your opponent.

That's it. Fighting is technically "illegal" in the NHL because it does get you at least five minutes in the penalty box. Fight in an NFL game, you get ejected and suspended. Fight in an NBA game, you get ejected and suspended. Fight in an MLB game, you get ejected and suspended.

Am I the only one who sees the disconnect here? "Oh well Caps Nut, the fans love the fights. Can't you hear them yelling, screaming, and cheering during a fight?" Yeah I do. I also hear it in the NFL, NBA, and MLB when fights break out in those sports as well. So are you saying that the NFL, NBA, and MLB should allow more fighting because the fans go crazy when it happens? "Well if you were a real hockey fan Caps Nut, you would know that fighting serves a purpose. Fights keep things clean. Fights protect the star players. Fights provide energy. Fights can turn momentum in a game." Uh, huh. And so why bother with the referees and supplemental disciplinarians like Colin Campbell? If "the players can handle it" let's give them carte blanche. Skate in offside, "drop the gloves." Trip the guy with the puck, "here comes the enforcer." If fighting provides energy, why the hushes when a guy gets knocked out and carried off on a stretcher? If fighting turns momentum in a game, how come the Caps are 6-17 in games where they have at least one fighting major? If fighting protects the star players why has A.O. taken another shot to the gonads this season?

"Well Caps Nut, you'll just have to accept the fact that you're wrong. Every time TSN, ESPN, CBC, NBC, Versus, The Mickey Mouse Club does a poll on their website about fighting in hockey, it gets at least 80% of the vote if not 90% or more!" Ok. If you want to be a special kind of stupid and believe in internet based polls that nobody else does (because they are unscientific and unreliable because people have multiple computers on which they can use to vote multiple times. Some users are also computer savvy enough to delete the cookies and open a new browser page to vote multiple times like us Caps fans did last year on the "Goal of the Year" voting on the NHL Network website or the whole Vote for Rory Campaign which allows them to vote forever or create programs that do it for them.) I can't stop you. But I will either shake my head ruefully or just point and laugh at you for being that special kind of stupid.

I'm not going away on this folks. The players themselves aren't speaking out on this because they don't want to violate "The Crock" mean "The Code." But I bet there isn't a single one of them who wants to be carried off on a stretcher after a fight and I am very certain that not a single one of them wants to give up their life in a hockey fight either.

Just remember, there was a point a very long time ago when Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States. Now I don't think any of our UFOI fans would call T.R. a "yuppie," claim "he was beaten up as a child," or just flat out call him a whimp or sissy. When Roosevelt was President in 1905, 18 football players were killed while playing the game. President Roosevelt threatened to ban the game of football if it wasn't cleaned up. Look at football now folks, you can't deny that the continual cleaning up of the game has done nothing but allowed it to grow beyond anything anybody ever imagined in 1905.


New Contest!

Ok folks, Caps Chick isn't the only one who can do pithy little contests to get us through the rest of the season...

Yours truly, Ol' Crazy Uncle Caps Nut, has an idea for a really good and fun contest. As we all know the, the Caps have 7 games left in the season. And in 3 of his last 4 articles, Caps (Com)Post beat writer Tarik El-Bashir has referred to the Caps as "undermanned," "injury-riddled," and "trade depleted."

Now your mission should you choose to accept it is to guess how many of those terms that Tarik uses in the final two weeks of the 2006-2007 season. The cut off for articles will be April 10th to allow Tarik to do a "season wrap up." Every mention of "undermanned," "injury-riddled," and "trade depleted" will count as one single reference. So for instance, in today's screed, the official count is three references.

So take a guess as to how many references to "undermanned," "injury-riddled," and "trade depleted" by Tarik starting with any article that appears between tomorrow, Saturday March 24th, 2007 and Tuesday April 10th, 2007. References on Tarik's Capitals Insider Blog will not count towards the final tally nor will weekly (Com)Post internet chats. If somebody other than Tarik has the byline in the (Com)Post, references will not count. Only references in the (Com)Post Dead Tree Publication credited to Tarik El-Bashir will count towards this contest.

You may enter as often as you like however the cut off for entries is 11:59 pm Eastern Time on April 6th, 2007. ONLY YOUR LAST ENTRY WILL BE COUNTED, SO CHOOSE WISELY!

Please send all entries to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. The Winner is the one who correctly guesses the number of references WITHOUT GOING OVER the earliest. The Winner shall receive a mention in this blog. Family members of the blog owner and employees of the (Com)Post are not eligible to enter (especially Tarik El-Bashir should he read this blog). The owner of the blog reserves the right to add additional terms to the contest at his discretion until noon on April 6th, 2007. The final count of the blog owner is final and indisputable. Disputing the final count complied by the blog owner will result in disqualification so don't try it bub.


Caps @ Canes 3-22-2007 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:


The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Raleigh News & Observer: Persistence pays off, sponsoring youth teams. Durham Herald-Sun.

Final Thoughts:

Instead of stating the obvious I'll just say that 30% shooting accuracy is red hot. 75 down, 7 to go.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Not A Bad Idea

I give JP full credit, he's trying to find a bridge to the gap between the Ultimate Fighting on Ice fans and those of us who are tired of the circus-sideshow dragging down the sport of hockey.

He offers a compromise in light of the most recent player being taken off the ice on a stretcher after a fight. And I have to say, the idea has some potential however I have a few problems with it.

  1. In order for something like this to be effective the NHL MUST improve the quality of its on-ice officiating. Wayne Gretzky has complained about the lack of calls for violent fouls and I noted the problem myself back in November. Seeing as how we're told by the UFOI crowd that fighting "controls this," if anything is officially done to curb fighting, then the men in the zebra stripes need to step in and take their place. No, I don't want to see Don Koharski or Mick McGough trading punches with Georges Laraque, but I would like to see the book thrown at noted cheapshot artists like Sean Avery every time he tries to pull one of his stunts. Sorry, but the current crop of NHL officials are inconsistent at best with their calls.
  2. And when the NHL on-ice officials fall down on their job, the NHL's off-ice officials need to be more consistent and stricter when it comes to violence in the game. It is pretty well established that you can expect about a five game suspension for an unnecessary hit to the head. However spears to the gonads are ok. Why is that? Secondly, the Jordan Tootoo suspension is also wildly inconsistent with other similar situations that have occurred so far this season. Is it any wonder that the violence that plagues the games persists when the disciplinary functions themselves are inconsistent?
  3. The biggest problem of all is that fighting would still exist. Yeah, it would get rid of the pointless stuff like last night's Mr. Donald Brashear-Andrew Peters fight or the Laraque-Ivanas fight (full of emotion, passion, and energy as you can see when Laraque wishes Ivanas "good luck" before the fight) but it would still exist. It won't stop a clown like Lindy Ruff from sending his guys out to "run" the other team's skill players because his own captain is too stupid to securely strap his own helmet to his head. As long as fighting remains with any kind of a wink and a nod, the casual sports fan who is dismissing hockey as a thug sport will continue to dismiss hockey for the very same reasons.

Look, is this better than the "slow bleed" currently being tried? Yeah, it certainly is. Is this moving in the right direction? It has to be and for many different reasons. While I certainly expect the usual suspects to pan this up and down the street; it is a lot better than dismissing arguments out of hand and avoiding the tough issues you don't want to confront because you can't dismiss them out of hand.

But the point that JP makes that should resonate throughout the whole anti-fighting debate is that the culture of hockey has to change and he's right. A classmate of mine and myself were chatting with our professor a couple of weeks ago before class. My professor is from New England and is only a couple of years younger than my father is. The prof was telling the both of us that he played pond hockey growing up (we're talking 50's-60's time frame) but that his father wouldn't allow him to play the organized stuff. Why? His father regarded the kids who played the organized hockey as thugs. Folks, hockey can't grow with that reputation.

But let me reiterate, you have to start somwhere and this is a good start. While I don't think JP wants to see fighting gone like I do, he's going to be branded as one of us who does. JP I hope you're ready.


Here We Go Again...

Another day, another player taken off on a stretcher after a fight.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing, NOTHING brings energy and emotion to a hockey game like a player being wheeled off on a stretcher.

"Business as usual in the NHL."

Problem is, "business as usual" now gets buried on the TSN NHL page.

Keep up the good work guys. Soon the WNBA will have higher ratings.

Caps @ Buffaslugs 3-21-2007 Wrap Up/ Caps @ Canes 3-22-2007 Preview

The Local Yokels:


The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Buffalo News: Streak over, Power restored.

Final Thoughts:

I'm beginning to wonder if a self-fulling prophecy is forming. The Caps have beaten these guys and have been able to stay with them. I'm not saying that the Caps are as good as the Buffaslugs, not by a long shot, but this tome of "they had no chance" is getting a little old. The Caps weren't totally outclassed or run out of the building. 74 down, 8 to go.

Washington Capitals (26-48; 65 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 26th Overall) @ Carolina Hurricanes (36-37; 80 points; 3rd Southeast Division, 8th Eastern Conference, 17th Overall):
Caps Game #75, Road Game #37, NHL Game #1,103

RBC Center, Raleigh, NC. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Carolina TV: Fox Sportsnet South. Radio: WWMY 102.9-FM. NHL Center Ice: Fox Sporstnet South feed.

Tonight the Caps sit on the brink of official playoff elimination as any kind of loss tonight will formally eliminate the Caps from making the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The opponent tonight is the Carolina Hurricanes. The last time the Caps faced the Canes, the Canes pitched a 3-0 shutout at the Caps. The Canes have split the four games since then with their most recent outing being a 7-2 beatdown of the Devils in the New Jersey swamps.

What The Natives Are Saying: .pdf game notes.

The Other Side:

Raleigh News & Observer: Final countdown, Eye on the Canes. Durham Herald-Sun.

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

The last time these two teams met, the Canes were holding onto the playoffs by a thread. While the Canes are in a better position now than they were 12 days ago, they are by no means out of the woods yet. If the Canes play like they are capable of, the Caps are in trouble, no matter what lineup the Caps put out there. A Caps win in regulation would help a host of teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Toronto and Montreal are tied with Carolina. The Canes have the tiebreaker on both teams and a game in hand on Montreal. The Islanders trail the Canes by one point but have a game in hand on the Canes. The Rangers are three points up on Carolina but the Canes have a game in hand on them. I hope you memorized all of that because there will be a quiz later.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 3
Canes 2
Winner by Semin

Editorial Note For The Loyal Readers Of This Blog:

Once again a meeting a church has been scheduled in conflict with the game tonight. Therefore because I will miss a large portion of the game, there will be no post-mortem later tonight.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Caps @ Buffaslugs 3-21-2007 Post-Mortem

I don't have a lot to say tonight. Not because our performance was all that bad but mostly because I'm that tired right now.
  • Decent start to the game got ruined by a senseless penalty.
  • It's nice to see that our luck on offense returned tonight.
  • And speaking of bad bounces, two of them ended up in our net again.
  • Steve Eminger had a bad night.

Well, they're back in action tomorrow night in Carolina, we'll have to see if there is any carryover effect from tonight.


Know The Truth

Couldn't be worse timing for Day Fay huh? Yesterday, he angrily claimed Nicklas Backstrom (the #4 overall pick last year and projected second line center for next year) would not be coming to the NHL anytime soon.

Today, JP first reported and now Tarik of the (Com)Post confirms that negotiations have begun/are ongoing with the Swedish Center.

I know that Dave has been ill and away from his regular job as the Caps beat writer for awhile but there's no excuse for sloppy and baseless rumor-mongering. I also realize that the article may have been written weeks ago before negotiations began and held from publication until yesterday, but that is still no excuse for the excessively negative tone.

Anyway, as Col. Hannibal Smith of the "A-Team" used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together."


Caps @ Buffaslugs 3-21-2007 Preview

Washington Capitals (26-47; 65 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern, Conference, 26th Overall) @ Buffaslugs (46-26; 99 points, 1st Northeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference, 2nd Overall):
Caps Game #74, Road Game #36, NHL Game #1,096

HSBC Arena, Buffalo, NY. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTEM 980-AM. Buffalo TV: MSG Network. Radio: WWGR 550-AM. Canadian National TV: TSN. NHL Center Ice: MSG Network feed (I'm sorry).

Fresh off back-to-back wins at home, tonight the Caps start a three games in four nights road trip in good old Buffalo. Our old Buffaslug friends have lost their last three games at home and are coming of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers this past Sunday afternoon. The Caps on the other hand have lost their last four road games.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times. .pdf game notes.

Open Source Intelligence:

Buffalo News: Zubrus wings it, returning players. .pdf game notes.

Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

The Caps offense has finally broken back out and what makes it all the more encouraging is that A.O. is not part of the renaissance. The Buffaslugs have been up and down recently so the Caps have a good chance tonight. The Buffaslugs broke a four game losing streak last Thursday night and won back-to-back games in Florida before losing in overtime on Sunday. However, there isn't much for the Caps to spoil tonight. The Buffaslugs have sewn up a playoff spot and have comfortable leads in their Division and in the Conference. The only thing a Caps win in regulation tonight would do is keep the Buffaslugs one point behind Nashville in the race for the President's trophy. The key is to get out early on the Buffaslugs, when the Caps beat them in December the Caps chased Ryan Miller after 3 goals on 9 shots in the first 8 minutes of the first period. The Buffaslugs returned the favor right after Christmas chasing Brent Johnson with four goals on six shots in seven and half minutes of work.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 4
Buffaslugs 6
Winner by Drury.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Increased Renewal Rates?

Now, I admit, I don't have access to the books, but I find it odd that Ted is claiming increased renewal rates compared to this time last year.

Why? Because I haven't seen my renewal notice yet and every other season ticket holder I've talked to has said the same thing. I asked one of the sales reps at the game on Friday night when would they be going out. I was told that there was a hold up and that "they should be going out soon because it is on the right desk awaiting a signature."

Apparently some ticket prices are going up according to this sales rep and he denied it had anything to do with Dishonest Abe Polin's ticket tax hike.

But this begs the question, if Season Ticket Holders have not gotten their renewal packages (and therefore haven't had a chance to renew) yet, how can Ted say that renewals are ahead of last year? It doesn't add up.

He's So Cute When He's Angry

Regular and longtime Caps beat writer Dave Fay of the Washington Times returned with an article today blasting the Caps for their lack of improvement. It should be noted that when Dave left the Caps beat due to illness about two and half months ago, the Caps were in serious contention for a playoff spot. Now while the Caps are not going to improve very much on last year's 29 wins and 70 points, the fact that this team spent a good part of the season contending for a playoff spot does show improvement. In the two seasons prior to this one, the closest the Caps got to a playoff spot was when they were tied at 0-0 with everybody else in the league at the start of the season. At least this year, people got to dream about a playoff run.

Now I am not going to bother with a takedown on Dave Fay because JP does a very good job of that himself. But I will point out the old curmudgeon has offered his bad advice before. Thankfully, for a number of reasons, the Caps passed on putting Michael Peca in a Caps jersey. But the idea of Peca's leadership leading the Caps into the playoffs this season is downright comical, especially after Captain Chris Clark's puck in the mouth trick earlier this season.

The only thing an article like this does is get the Chicken Little's in Darwin's Waiting Room spun up over baseless rumors and e-mailing Ted "I told you so, I told you so!" (BTW, I like the idea of boycotting a game, we've already had one "protest" fizzle out this season and even if these guys were successful in getting the word out and getting people to cooperate, who could tell that fans were boycotting a game?) But does it offer a serious look at the problems on this team? I highly doubt that for no other reason than Fay failed to identify a single problem that wasn't already well known. There's enough turmoil around the team and the fan base right now, there's no need to further fan those flames.

Finally, Ty Conklin an upgrade over Martin Biron??????? Oooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkk........

Somebody Needs To Explain This To Me.

When Ronald Petrovicky left Kris Newbury in a pool of his own blood after a fight, the Ultimate Fighting On Ice fans cheered and the NHL looked the other way. Petrovicky got a five minute major for fighting and that was it.

Yet a little over a month later, when Stephane Robidas (who was penalized 2 minutes for charging) gets carried off on a stretcher courtesy of Jordin Tootoo, Tootoo gets suspended for five games. Huh?

I could understand if Tootoo sought out Robidas and punched him without provocation as has happened too many times. That would certainly justify a suspension. Even Colin Campbell acknowledged:

In reviewing this incident, Stephane Robidas appeared to be initiating a confrontation by approaching Jordon Tootoo.

DUH! I seriously doubt Robidas was skating over to ask Tootoo for advice about which club to go to after the game. But declaring that "Mr. Tootoo's forceful blow to Robidas' head was an overly aggressive and inappropriate response" kinda overrules that a player has a right to defend himself. A player can only defend himself with appropriate force? How does one define that?

Furthermoer, couldn't this same logic have been applied to the Petrovicky-Newbury fight? How many other "gloved single punches to the head" have been thrown in the NHL this year? Mr. Donald Brashear did it himself just two weeks ago on Long Island. There was no suspension for Mr. Brashear either.

This is why the NHL's disciplinary system is so ineffective. A player like Chris Simon, gets 25 games for a deliberate stick swinging incident which is only two more than what the previous offender got. Now a guy who is defending himself from a potential fight gets five games. Players who have done the same thing this season (gloved punch to the head) have had nothing done to them. Other players have been carried off on stretchers as a result of a fight this season and nothing was done to their assailant either.

Now I understand why these UFOI fans are so confused. They THINK (which is part of their problem in the first place) that the NHL is trying to cut down on fighting. While suspensions such as this gives some credence to that line of thought, the big picture shows the reality that the NHL isn't. When more Jordan Tootoo's are made an example of, then and only then will I believe that the NHL is serious about cracking down on its gratuitous violence.


Monday, March 19, 2007

It Isn't A "Code", It Is A "Crock"

Once again the Ultimate Fighting on Ice (UFOI) fans are playing defense again. This time they have to rise up in response to Jordan Tootoo (yes, that's his real name) on Stephane Robidas. (I was distracted this weekend by Maryland in the NCAA and a take-home exam for class.)

And why are they doing this? Well you see Jordan Tootoo is one of those "tough" and "gritty" hockey players. He does not discriminate when it comes to hitting players on the other team. Here in this clip, he hits Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars and apparently Stephane Robidas takes exception to that and Tootoo greets him with what some are calling a "sucker punch."

Was the hit late?


Was the hit dirty?


Was Modano hurt by the hit?

Clearly not because Modano got right back up and tried to grab Tootoo himself.

Now the UFOI fans continually accuse the likes me of trying to remove all hitting and all passion and all emotion from the game of hockey. (Hey, the red herring works when you don't want to answer the tough questions about UFOI's failure to sustain the league.) However, it is nonsense like this that takes the hitting, the passion, and the emotion out of the game. "The Crock""The Code" says that you don't hit the star players. Well, I'm sorry, if the star players on the ice and if hockey is a tough game played by tough men, then the stars are going to be and should be hit. I’ve got no problem with that along as it is clean.

It is one thing to respond to cheapshots but another to go crazy over clean and legal play. We're even now seeing this type reaction to hits on "non stars" like Chris Simon.

If you aren't happy with the lack of hitting in hockey today, don't blame Bettman, don't blame me, blame your almighty "Crock""Code."


Caps vs. Ning 3-18-2007 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post. Times: Blowout, Caps Report.

The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

St. Petersburg Times: Looking for amnesia, crucial homestand. Tampa Tribune: Horror show, tough on the goalies.

Final Thoughts From The Ron Webber File:

Until yesterday, our largest margin of victory this season was four goals and we had done that four times. The six goal margin is our largest since a 12-2 beatdown of the Florida Panthers at the Phone Booth on January 11th, 2003 though we have had four wins since then with a five goal margin of victory (most recently, January 16th, 2006 in Phoenix). The Caps chased both Panther goaltenders in that game too. 73 down, 9 to go.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Caps vs. Ning 3-18-2007 Post-Mortem

Where were these guys for the last two months? Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...


  • Tomas Fleischmann seems to be settling in on the second line rather nicely. He had a Chuck Woolery today (2 and 2) along with the game winning goal to go with his goal on Friday night which now gives him 5 points in his last 4 games. Now if we can get Eric Fehr to work on the first line, we might be onto something once we get real centers.
  • Alexander Semin's natural hat trick (his second hat trick of the season) gets the hat that I wore at home games from 1999 until they switched to the black jerseys at home thrown to the ice.
  • The final line Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis is no goals, no assists, six shots combined (none for either in the second period), a combined -3, and no real threats today. Great job by the checking line of Captain Chris Clark, Boyd Gordon, and Brooks "and Dunn" Laich and the defensive pairing of Milan "Jerky" Jurcina and Shaone Morrrissonnn today. They were a combined +10.
  • The Penalty Killers kept the 6th ranked Power Play off the board going 3 for 3 today.
  • Always fun to chase both goaltenders. Marc Denis did not make a single save on three shots in the second period.


  • What's deal with welcoming the Baltimorons in the crowd and showing the Ratbird's Defensive Coordinator? I thought this was Washington D.C. and not Bhawlmuher?
  • Bringing the Disowned UVA Pep Band (you have to scroll down on both articles to get to the story) to the game. The Yahoos still don't know when to shut up as they played over the action throughout the third period and while the rendition of Taps was nice with about a minute to go; you can certainly bet that it did not sit very well with the Ning. We play these guys again in 13 days. Please Ted, don't bring these clowns in anymore.
  • After all he's been through this season, Olie Kolzig deserves a shutout and missed out on one again today.


  • Dan Boyle:

About a month ago now, I said that this team was going to break out of their offensive slump and it would be a sight to behold. Well, today was that day and it was a sight to behold. Sure we'll be reading tomorrow about how the Ning played an awful game and there's no doubt in my mind that they did. However, just last week we had a team shut us out 3-0 and complain that they didn't play their best game either. The nattering naboos of negativism will say that this is too little too late, but concerns that I had that the team had given up on this season are gone and I for one am very glad.

It has been... A TWO POINT DAY!!!


Caps vs. Ning 3-18-2007 Preview

Washington Capitals (25-47; 63 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (39-33; 82 points; 2nd Southeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference, 14th Overall):
Caps Game #73, Home Game #38, NHL Game #1,080

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 1:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Tampa TV: Sunshine Network. Radio: WDAE 620-AM. Canadian National TV: NHL Network. NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed.

The Caps wrap up a three games in four days and a quick two game homestand by hosting the Ning this afternoon at the Phone Booth. The Ning are still in a dogfight with the Atlanta Thrashers for the Southeast Division title that looks to go down to the wire. The Ning are two points back but have a game in hand on the Thrashers who host the Buffaslugs this afternoon. The Ning have lost two in a row by a score of 3-2 including Friday night's game in Tampa against the Buffaslugs. After today's game, the Ning have only two of their remaining nine games on road as they open up a four game homestand Tuesday night.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Street closings today (Pay close attention, there will be a quiz later.)

Open Source Intelligence:

St. Petersburg Times. Tampa Tribune. (Don't worry, it should change, they've been using the same page all season)

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Today?:

The Caps won on Friday night. If they win again today it will be two in a row. If they win again today and on Wednesday it will be three in a row. It's called a winning streak and it has happened in the past... The Caps are not officially eliminated from the playoffs yet and the Ning are looking to secure home ice for a probable first round matchup with the Thrashers. The Caps are once again fighting the injury bug as Brian Sutherby is gone now with a thumb injury so the odds increase on this team more.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 2
Ning 3
Winner by St. Louis


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Survive and Adavance 2007 Round II

You live by the three, you die by the three and (The) Butler (did it) hit enough three pointers so get past Maryland 62-59.

The lack of a true inside presence along with atrocious free throw shooting, going 7 for 15, did Maryland in. The bench also failed to provide any spark for the Terps who did not have a very good game today.

In addition to See-BS keeping the local TV markets on the Ohio State-Xavier game long past the start of the Maryland game, there were certainly some questionable calls as I don't think Butler's guards were called for their push offs or "hooks" as the drove to the basket all game.

Now the Terps season is over and if at the start of the year you told Terp fans that they would finish in a tie for third in the ACC and get within 3 three points of the Sweet Sixteen, I certainly would have taken it. This was a Maryland team with a lot of good role players but no stars and zero real inside players so hat's off the job that Gary Williams did this year. The Terps graduate six players off the roster so they'll be a very young team next year but their returning guards have NCAA tournament experience which will help them a lot next year.


Caps vs. Maple Leafs 3-16-2007 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post. Times: Leafs blown, Caps report.

The Neutral Observers: AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Toronto Globe and Mail: Capital punishment, photo gallery. Toronto Star: Opportunity wasted, Peca return, returning Leafs, Dale Hunter suspended (again). Toronto Sun: Stuck in 9th, no time, Peca wants back.

Final Thoughts:

One certainly hopes that the frustration of the nine game losing streak and the 14 of 15 skid was alleviated somewhat last night. With 72 down and 10 left to go, we can't afford another nine game losing streak.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Caps vs. Maple Leafs 3-16-2007 Post-Mortem

Oh, so THAT'S what it feels like to win a hockey game... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • I see that the crack staff at the Phone Booth "fixed" the boards in the end the Caps shoot at twice again as Alexandre Giroux get his first career NHL goal off a funny bounce that eluded Andrew Raycroft.
  • Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green laid out Darcy Tucker at the Caps blueline. That my friends was a thing of beauty.
  • We didn't blow a lead at all tonight and only looked really out of sorts after giving up the goal to Nik Antropov.
  • Penalty Killers were 1 for 8 but killed off two 5-on-3's.


  • Yeah, he was +3, scored the game winning goal, had two assists, and was named the first star of the game but could somebody please tell me just what Alexander Semin is doing? He cherry picks on defense and when he gets the puck, he often heads back towards his own goal now. What is he thinking?
  • And speaking of enigmas how good could Kris Beech be if he tried?


  • A 1-for-9 showing on the Power Play. While there were some decent flurries, all too often our Power Play just runs two minutes off the clock. This is still something that needs a lot of work in the off season.
  • Your typical Dave Jackson officiated game. I personally liked the high sticking call on Mr. Donald Brashear when Donald's stick never came in contact with Darcy Tucker.
  • Pavel Kubina:

So we finally snapped the losing streak and helped out a Divisional foe in the process. It was far from perfect and we've played better games. But the important thing is that we won for the first time in ten games and now have some small reason to feel better about ourselves. Lets hope we now settle into the role of spoilers and can get heading back in the direction we need to.

It has been... A TWO POINT NIGHT!!!


Caps @ Bruins 3-15-2007 Wrap Up/ Caps vs. Maple Leafs 3-16-2007 Preview

The Local Yokels:


The Neutral Observers:

NHL AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Boston Globe: Another gimmick win, moving moment. Boston Herald: Vital gimmick win, potential goal scorer, slow starting.

Final Thoughts:

71 down, 11 mercifully left to go.

Washington Capitals (24-47; 61 points; 5th Southeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference, 27th Overall) vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (34-36; 77 points; 3rd Northeast Division, 9th Eastern Conference, 17th Overall):
Caps Game #72, Home Game #37, NHL Game #1,063

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C. 7:05 pm. Washington TV: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WTNT 570-AM. Toronto TV: LEAFS TV. Radio: CFMJ 640-AM. NHL Center Ice: Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic feed.

Tonight Caps attempt to break their losing streak against the pushovers from Toronto. The Maple Leafs shutout the Caps 3-0 on their home ice last Tuesday night and have won two of the three games since then and have only lost twice in five games since Cam Janssen knocked out Tomas Kaberle.

What The Natives Are Saying: .pdf game notes.

Open Source Intelligence:

Toronto Globe and Mail: More injuries, Kaberle still out. Toronto Star: Chance at history, Kaberle optimism, preview. Toronto Sun: Tucker no fool, Peca's experience at losing in the playoffs, Kaberle skates.

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

What Do I Expect Tonight?:

Can the Caps lose all of their remaining games? It certainly seems that way but there are too many games left in this season and the law of averages says that they won't. At some point in time, pride has to take over and total team effort to end the losing streak will emerge. Toronto has been off since Tuesday night's 3-2 win over the Ning in Toronto and they have were waiting in D.C. last night while the Caps were in Boston. A Caps win in regulation tonight will greatly assist the Hurricanes who currently hold the 8th and final playoff in the east by one point over Toronto. However, the Leafs have two games in hand on Carolina.

Caps Nut Official Washington Predict The Score Contest Entry:

Caps 3
Leafs 5
Winner by Tucker

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Caps @ Bruins 3-15-2007 Post-Mortem

Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Captain Chris Clark with the Hat Trick (a natural is done all in one period) one even, one on the Power Play, and one Shorthanded.
  • Boyd Gordon going 15-5 on faceoffs and leading the Caps who won 60% of the faceoffs tonight.


  • I think the fact that Alexander Semin was having another one of his lackadaisical games is the reason why he rang the post in overtime with backhand.
  • The Power Play was 1 for 6 but had the wonderful habit of taking penalties on the Power Play to negate the advantage.
  • Matt Bradley's stupid fight and needless fight with Andrew Alberts. Not only did he allow Alberts to wake his team up, he killed a developing 2-on-1 for the Caps. That's the kind of intelligence normally seen out of John Erskine Bowles.


  • Not only do the Caps blow a 3-0 lead, they give up all three goals on the Power Play. The Caps inability to stay out of the penalty box did them in tonight more than anything else.
  • The game was decided by a gimmick.

So looking on the bright side, the Caps come away with a point and now only need ten more in their last 11 games to surpass last year's total of 70. But that's just about it aside from the play of the usual suspects on the team. It is almost getting to the point where the Caps are going to need an act of Congress to get any kind of win. At least Dook lost...


Survive and Advance 2007 Round I


In a game that was a lot closer than it should have been, Maryland kills the popular upset pick by downing Davidson 82-70. Davidson coincidentally is now 0 -6 in the NCAA Tournament since former Maryland Head Coach Lefty Driesell won an NCAA game there in 1969. Lefty departed after that season to take over the job at Maryland.

The first half looked like playground basketball and Maryland tried to self destruct in the second half by refusing to run their offense for the first few minutes and then profusely throwing the ball away for a few minutes.

However, if you live by the three, you die by the three and Davidson couldn't hit three pointers as the game wore on finishing 10-37. Some of it was fatigue but Maryland also tightened up on the defensive end, especially in transition.

Finally, I don't know what was more painful. Was it the officiating that called everything on Maryland and only about half on Davidson (almost making All Carolina Conference Refs look competent) or the play-by-play and color commentary of Kevin Harlan and Dan Wetzel?

I think I'll go with the See-BS announcers because I'll have to endure them again on Saturday when Maryland plays the winner of (The) Butler (did it)- Old Dominion in Buffalo.