Sunday, April 06, 2008

Here Come The Flyers

Never count on the Penguin Scum for anything. Given a chance to tank and get the Ottawa Senators for themselves, the Penguin Scum did exactly that and just lost to the Flyers 2-0. We should have known better, the Penguin Scum have a long and storied history of tanking at the end of the season to get the playoff matchup or draft pick they want.

So the Flyers are at the Phone Booth for a likely Thursday and Sunday games (schedule will be released later tonight) while the Penguin Scum get the reeling and imploding Senators. Montreal grabs the first seed overall and get to deal with Boston while New Jersey and the Rangers face each other in the Eastern Conference's other first round series.

Out West Detroit and Nashville, San Jose and Calgary, Minnesota and Colorado, and Anaheim and Dallas are the pairings.

But getting back to the Caps. Congratulations to A.O. who takes home the Rocket Richard for most goals in the league (65) and the Art Ross for most points (112). If there was any further debate about whether of not he deserves the Hart Trophy for MVP, there shouldn't be as the lame "he's got to get his team into the playoffs" excuse is no longer valid. Hades, not only did he lead this team into the playoffs, led them to a Division Title. I have no doubt that A.O. is going to win the Pearson which is the MVP as voted on by the players themselves and the Hart debate should be over as the last four winners of the Art Ross Trophy have also won the Hart Trophy. Furthermore, Bruce Boudreau should be the Jack Adams winner for Coach of the Year. I understand and agree that Barry Trotz did an amazing job in Nashville under very trying circumstances, but Boudreau did something nobody else has ever done in taking a team in dead last place and making the playoffs. Boudreau should be Coach of the Year.

As for the matchup with the Flyers, well all time the Caps lead the Playoff Series against Philly 2-1. All three series have been first round matchups. The Flyers won the most recent series in 1989 4-2. The Caps swept Philly 3-0 in 1984 and who could forget the 1989 series where the Caps came back from 3-1 down to win on Dale Hunter's breakaway goal on Ron Hextall in Game 7 (after trailing 3-1 in that game too). Overall in playoff games the Caps lead the Flyers 9-7 outscoring the Flyers 65-55. The Caps are 6-3 at home (which was the Old Cap Centre) and 3-4 on the road (which is the old Spectrum).

But as I'm sure you've noticed, it has been 19 years since the Caps and Flyers met and 20 years since the Caps last eliminated Philadelphia from the playoffs. We all know that the Caps have not won a playoff series in 10 years and are just 5-12 in playoff games since appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998. The Caps are just 2-7 at home and 3-5 on the road. The Caps have lost their last 5 home playoff games.

The good news? Well before the Flyers-Penguin Scum game ended, there were only scattered single tickets left for Games 1 and 2. It looks as if the town has responded or the Flyer fans were hedging their bets. We'll find out on Thursday night. One of the most overlooked stories of this past week was that the Caps packed the Phone Booth three times with Caps fans. While Carolina, Tampa, and Florida fans didn't have much to cheer about, you had no idea any of them were even there if they did. For those of you who couldn't figure it out, that picture in the post below was the ticket windows at the Phone Booth last night as we were leaving the building. A woman asked us if there was a line or if it was just a mob. We told her "it looks like mob" she asked if we were in the mob and we replied "we already have our playoff tickets, we're season ticket holders."

Finally, teams must step up their game come playoff time and we see no reason not to do the same. Check in everyday as we plan to continue with our regular Game Day Previews, Post-Mortems, and Wrap Ups but on the off days we'll have Daily Intelligence Briefings where we'll give you links to the local media of our playoff opponents so you can see what bulletin board material they're giving us. We'll also do our own preview of the other playoff series taking place as well as the cockeyed predictions you've come to love and expect. (We won a contest last year but the blind cat with no tail that lives behind our building that helped us out so much last year got swept up by Animal Control last December so we're on our own here this year.) Because folks,

It's not just hockey... IT'S PLAYOFF HOCKEY!!!

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