Saturday, January 31, 2009

Caps vs. Red Wings 1-31-2009 Post-Mortem

It's a good thing we didn't do something like donating blood before going to the game today... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Alright, let's get the A.O. rundown/update out of the way. 2 more goals today including the game winner, but what is surprising is that the two goals came on just 5 shots taken, all on goal. No shots of his were blocked and none missed everything. He's now up to 196 goals in his career in just 293 games. He's tied with Bengt Gustafsson for 4th on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list (Gus, needed 629 games to get those 196 goals, five of which came in one game). A.O. now has 372 points in his career and is now 23 points behind Bobby Carpenter for 14th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list.
  • Nicklas Backstrom skating on the second line tonight with another quiet two points. But more importantly, he was 6-3 in faceoffs tonight.
  • The much maligned Penalty Killers came through today when it counted the most. Facing an eternal 5-on-3 with a two goal lead and the Detroit Goaltender pulled, the Penalty Killers simply got the job done and that is why the Caps won today.
  • Despite tickets being available early and often through various channels, no more than 1/3 of the Phone Booth today were Detroit Refugees/Bandwagoners. We had to admit we were expecting much, much worse.


  • The return of Sergei (#3) Fedorov has not changed Alexander "Slappy" Semin's game very much. As a matter of fact, it looks as if the positive influence that Federov had on Slappy has completely worn off. This isn't good news.
  • We can't complain too much about John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles being caught out of position and looking slow against a faster team because it is a well established fact that he's slow and often caught out of position. What we can complain about is that Bruce Boudreau continues to put him in situations where his slow feet and dim-wittedness can be exposed. Especially paired with Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green. There's no way Green (or anybody else for that matter) can feel comfortable leading or jumping into the rush with Erskine Bowles back there on an island.


  • Too many penalties taken today. Again, the penalty killers got the job done when they needed to, but how much did Detroit miss Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom? The Caps played with fire today and got lucky.
  • Tom Poti gets the John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award today for shooting the puck over the glass while trying to kill a 5-on-3 created when Brooks "and Dunn" Laich committed the same crime. Poti's clearing attempt may have been deflected, but not by much and Poti should have been more careful with the puck in that situation.
  • Why do we always give up a goal to a guy making his NHL debut?

Because the Caps are so tough to beat now on home ice, home ice could be an important factor in just how far the Caps go. Of the teams ahead of the Caps in the standings, only New Jersey has been able to pull off a win at the Phone Booth, and that came in a gimmick. Still, the main problem that was identified, taking too many penalties, still plagues the Caps and needs to be corrected. From what we've been able to see and read, it looks as if the Penalty Killers have been more a victim of bad luck and bounces than anything. However the underlying point of putting themselves in a position where the Penalty Killers have to deal with bad bounces and bad luck remains. Taking 7 minor penalties against the league's top Power Play is not a recipe for success. If this team really wants to go far in the playoffs, they'll have to find some discipline or else, this could be another season of "what if."

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


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 1-11

  • Now that all but a couple of NHL teams have played half of their schedule, we feel rather confident to start looking at the Playoff Picture and make these declarations. Barring a historic collapse of some sort; Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Montreal, the New York Rangers, New Jersey, San Jose, Detroit, Calgary, and Chicago will make the playoffs this season. That's six teams in the East and four in the West. Buffalo, Carolina, Florida, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Anaheim, Phoenix, Colorado, Columbus, Minnesota, Edmonton, Nashville, Dallas, and Los Angeles are "on the bubble." That's four teams for two spots in the East and a whopping ten teams for four spots in the West. Toronto, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Ottawa, the New York Islanders, and St. Louis are looking towards the lottery barring a run like the Caps put on last year. What makes the West so wide open is that Dallas sits at 40 points, 5 behind Colorado who currently has the 8th seed with 45 points but the Stars have two games in hand. The Avalanche have two games in hand on Vancouver who sit at the 5th seed with 49 points. Now teams like Dallas and Los Angeles have their work cut out for them and one long losing streak will pop their bubble very quickly, but for now they have an outside shot.
  • Division wise; Boston, Washington, Detroit, and San Jose have comfortable leads and should win the Northeast, Southeast, Central, and Pacific divisions respectively. The Atlantic and Northwest Division titles will go down to the wire.
  • We were able to watch the end of the Penguin Scum losing 4-0 to the Rangers this past Monday and are really surprised that Head Coach Michel Therrien hasn't been fired yet. We say that because after the empty net goal that cemented the Penguin Scum's fate, the close up of Therrien on the bench showed the world a coach with a "deer in the highlights look." That was the exact same look Glen Hanlon had towards the end of his tenure here in Washington. The Penguin Scum visit the Flyers before hosting the Caps and Anaheim this week and losses in at least two of the three games should put an end to his tenure. Otherwise, the Penguin Scum ownership/management is really out of touch.
  • We along with many other people thought that the Arizona Cardinals were a prime example of a Fattened Record Against an Underwhelming Division Squad, but after the beatdown they laid last night on the Panthers in Carolina, the Iggles need to come ready to play next Sunday despite being and early three point favorite. Of course, after predicting a visiting team sweep last week and going 2-2, Vegas did even worse this weekend as only one of the four favored home teams won. This goes to show that the "Any Given Sunday" principle still applies in the NFL Playoffs. Somewhere, Pete Rozell is smiling.
  • We're nothing if not brutally honest and reflective and willing to admit when we make mistakes so we feel as though we were too hasty last week when we asked if the Caps had enough blogs. Our brains have been churning and we respectfully submit for Ted's approval the following additional Caps blogs; a Guest Services blog where reminders for the various season ticket holder benefits are chronicled and announced. Customer service issues could also be addressed here. A marketing blog for the sole purposes, of well, marketing the team and announcing the various gimmicks and tricks to get fans into the arena. A blog for the Ice Squad. Finally, an ice crew blog where we can be told how great the ice is at the Verizon Center and that we're only imagining the puck bouncing all over the place and players falling down for seemingly no reason.
  • This week, the Caps host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday before paying their final visit this season to the Penguin Scum. The Caps then host Boston on Saturday before the Obamessiah's Coming shuts down the city except for the bars that will be staying open until 4 am. The Terp Men take an early Spring Break when they play two ACC games in Florida when they visit Miami on Wednesday night before heading up to F$U on Saturday. The Terp Women visit Dook tomorrow night on ESPN2 at 7:30 pm and then head to Klempsun on Thursday night before hosting the Hokie-Pokies on Sunday. Ourselves will be dragging our-you-know-whats to the airport at Oh-Dark-Early on Saturday Morning to get out of dodge ahead of the Obamessiah's Coming. We're heading out to visit out parents who are spending their retirement (among other things) in Las Vegas.
  • As always, please send all comment, criticisms, corrections, questions, suggestions, and other ideas for official Caps blogs to "CapsNut" over at gmail dot com.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Caps vs. Flyers 1-6-2009 Post-Mortem

You could almost reach out and touch the hate tonight... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • On a Tuesday night after the end of the Holiday season, a rather packed house viewed this game tonight. Will the Caps fans start to get the respect they deserve?
  • The Caps at least got a goal in the first period this time in spite of not having the huge advantage in shots like they did a few weeks ago.


  • Thank Gary Bettman for the loser point and creating a third period worthy of being a cure for insomnia. The Flyers weren't interested in winning the game in regulation and the Caps, well... get to them later.
  • The Caps were outshot 6 to 1 in overtime. That cannot be allowed to happen.


  • The game was decided by a gimmick.
  • The entire Caps team looked to be skating in slow motion all night. For a team with a motto of "Good is not good enough", there should be Hades to pay for this performance.

We've said it before and we'll say it again, if there was a game that deserved to end in a tie, it was this one tonight. However, that wasn't the case so the Caps get to "extend" their winning streak to seven games overall and nine at home. However, neither team deserved to win this game tonight. Furthermore, if this is a team that the Caps absolutely hate, then we really don't want to see how they would play against a team they merely didn't like. Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore was solid once again but that was about it. We got more adrenaline walking out of the arena before the gimmick to our car than we did out of this game. Hopefully, we don't have much more of this to see this year.

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


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 1-4

  • All four home teams in the NFL Playoffs this weekend were underdogs and two of them still won. It goes to show just how much Vegas knows but is also a clear indication that the NFL has pretty much achieved the parity that it longs for. Oddly enough, it was the six seeds Bhawlmuher and Philly that lived up to the expectations and now face the number one seeds next weekend. However, all four home teams are the favorites and don't expect all four to win next weekend either.
  • And speaking of playoffs, if it is the New Year, it must be time for the "unbiased" media to once again complain about the College Bowl System, more specifically, the BCS which it played a large hand in creating. We feel no sorrow for Michael Wilbon or any other media type who couldn't watch the Orange Bowl or any other Bowl game on New Year's Day because it was "meaningless" when we know that Wilbon was a part of the "unbiased" media chorus who complained up and down the street about games like the Orange, Rose, Sugar, and the Cotton Bowl failing to give us a matchup of the two top teams in College Football year after year. When the Bowls got together with the schools and attempted to achieve that, it wasn't enough, we now need a "Playoff" in order to validate a College Football Championship. However something tells us that even if a playoff were established, it still wouldn't be enough for some of these guys. They would still find a way to complain about how unfair it is. Hades, you see College Basketball Coaches and media mouthpieces advocating the expansion of the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament from 65 to 128 teams. Here's an idea (because we're heading down this road anyway), why don't we just crown every team in every NCAA sport National Champions?
  • From the "No We Won't Let It Die" file we couldn't help but notice that Darwin's Waiting Room now has an official sponsor. But the Ice Squad still doesn't, in spite of the sponsors insisting upon it during the offseason. No point being made here other than, just pointing it out for all to see.
  • And by the way, we noticed in addition to the endless list of Caps Fans blogs, the Caps Media Relations Team launched their own blog. This is in addition to Senior Writer Mike Vogel's Blog and Ted's own blog for "official news" from the team. We have to ask, why? Why do the Caps need three official blogs? We get that Ted's isn't just about the Caps, but is Vogel leaving at the end of this season? Did the On Frozen Bozos go completely rogue and finally burn all bridges with the organization? (We wouldn't know, we've been banned from reading that blog) Seriously folks, with all this coverage on the Internet and in the "new media", how in the world could the Caps seriously complain about being under covered especially with Ted lustily documenting the fall of "traditional media"? And how much more coverage is needed? We tip our caps to Kate Carrera over at the (Com)Post for picking up our slack and posting Morning Reading lists over at the (Com)Post's Capitals Insider like we used to do with the Game Previews and Recaps. However this whole thing is just becoming entirely played out here and is falling into the category of "too much information."
  • While everybody is talking about the Caps and their record through 40 games and noting the 9th "sellout" of the season, are any of the NHL Media types who decried Washington as a hockey town undeserving of a talent such as A.O. going to offer mea culpa's to Washington D.C. now that attendance is at 95.9% capacity or are we still undeserving rubes? We know which one it is which is why we're not holding our breaths either. And since we're on the topic of attendance, we feel obligated to point out that after insisting on a more "balanced" schedule that included more inter-conference games and fewer intra-division games, because in part, it just wasn't fair that players like A.O. would only visit rinks like Los Angeles, Anahiem, Phoenix, and Columbus only once every three years; that this year the Caps played in front of 92.4%, 93.6%, 84.1%, and 96.2% capacity in those rinks respectively. Of those averages so far, only L.A. and Columbus had higher than average attendance so far this season when the Caps rolled into town. There are many different reasons for this but the idea that that the schedule was "bad for business" is downright hogwash. Chalk up another victory for the "unbiased" media who created a problem that nobody else noticed.
  • And speaking of the "unbiased" media, we love columns like this which easily lead one to believe that the the Washington Redskins, not the Detroit Lions, became the first team to ever finish a season 0-16. Since when was 8-8 with a rookie Head Coach who had never handled play calling duties before a bitter disappointment? Furthermore, we welcome those who finally figured out what we did a long time ago that the Redskins can only expect to hover around .500 with those excuses for an offense and defensive lines. Now that it has become glaringly obvious, let's see what Dan Snyder and Vinnie Cerrato do this off season. We've heard people yelling and screaming for years to build through the draft and yet, clowns like Feinstein insist that one good draft class and some shrewd free agents will make the Redskins an elite franchise. This isn't the case folks and we're sick and tired of Snyder getting dumped on for the one smart move he's made in the ten years he's owned the Redskins, namely getting rid of Norv Turner as Head Coach (who continues to underwhelm at every Head Coaching stop he's had since then) and Charlie Casserly (who created the mess that the Houston Texans still haven't been able to get out of). Finally, we found the talk of firing Jim Zorn after one season entirely unfounded and unhinged. Problem was, it was all generated by the "unbiased" media and there wasn't a single source cited in any of the talk surrounding Zorn's future. The closest we came to getting a "source" on the talk of Zorn being fired was Cerrato not commenting on Zorn's future a week after the rumor mongers started talking. Is all right in Redskins Nation? No, but the circus atmosphere is greatly exaggerated by a press with an ax to grind against an owner they bitterly dislike.
  • We've all seen Miracle and heard the famous Herb Brooks quote "more like a couple of monkeys trying to hump a football" describing a fight. Well, that is exactly we think of Canadian Diving Team Captain, Low Blow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby's latest attempt to fight. At least this time, Low Blow Cindy kept her hands above the belt and didn't go all Andrew Golota on McLean. However, what do you expect from Mary-OH's protege? Mary-OH! learned quickly to attack from behind when they aren't looking when it comes to fighting in the NHL. And before you Penguin Scum fans get your mullets out of whack, we're all laughing at "Slappy" Semin ourselves instead of defending him the way you are with Cindy so put a sock in it.
  • And since we've sunk ourselves into talking about fighting, we feel we should mention that the Caps are currently fourth overall in the NHL, and are currently tied for second fewest fighting majors in the NHL (Detroit is third overall) once again disproving the "link" between "toughness" and "winning" in the NHL.
  • This week, the Caps host the Flyers on Tuesday before starting a twin set of back-to-back games. The Caps host Columbus on Friday before visiting Montreal for another Hockey Night In Canada appearance on Saturday night. The Terp Men have one more Non-Conference tune up at home against Morgan State on Wednesday night before opening up the ACC Schedule at home against Georgia Tech on Saturday at Noon. The Terp Women open up ACC play too when they host Wake Forest on Thursday night
  • As always folks, please send all comments, criticisms, corrections, suggestions, questions, and shots to the gonads to "CapsNut" over at gmail dot com.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Caps vs. Rangers 1-3-2009 Post-Mortem

The fluke was that they fell behind 4-0... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • The last time A.O. scored shorthanded was in a 7-1 loss at Ottawa on March 2nd, 2006, needless to say, it didn't double as the game winner. For now he is the official League Leader in goals scored (he's tied with Jeff Carter of Philadelphia, but Carter is currently playing, if Carter does not score tonight in L.A., A.O. takes over on the tie breaker which is fewest games). A.O. has now tied Adam Oates for 15th on the Caps All-Time Scoring list 363 points and is now 32 points behind Bobby Carpenter for 14th place and is three goals behind Dave Christian for 5th place on the Caps All-Time Goal Scoring list.
  • And speaking of Shorthanded goals, the Penalty Killing unit more than got the job done with getting the Game Winning Goal but also going 3 for 3.
  • From the looks of things, with the return of Alexander Semin and Mr. Donald Brashear, the Caps didn't lose anybody else to injury tonight. This is a minor miracle considering the pathetic condition of the ice tonight.


  • Milan Jurcina had a tough game tonight and his -1 reflected that.
  • Eric Fehr made some questionable decisions early on in the game and has picked up Tomas Fleischmann's inability to finish scoring chances.
  • Despite going 1 for 4, the Power Play was once again "special" as the Caps had trouble getting set up. Heaven only knows why the Rangers got away from pressuring the puck when it is clear as day that our Power Play unit cannot handle pressure.


  • If we're going to have fighting in the NHL, can we please at least leave it to the professionals? Semin's fight tonight was as embarrassing as Canadian Diving Team Captain, Low Blow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby's was earlier today. While Semin got the Game Misconduct for not having his jersey tied down, he should have been given the game misconduct for those girly slaps to Marc Staal's back.
  • And speaking of fighting, just what in the world are we paying Mr. Brashear $1.2 million for? When Semin got into his fight with Staal, Mr. Brashear was on the bench. However, Mr. Brashear was on the ice when Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander got into his scuffle with Scott Gomez and didn't look too concerned about "doing his job."
  • Scott Driscoll blew an offside call on the Rangers lone goal of the night.

After the sloppy effort on Thursday night, the Caps needed a solid win like this to cap off the best 40 game start in franchise history. As the intensity of the season starts to pick back up, the Caps will need to continue to raise the level of their game as well. But let's not kid ourselves here, the Caps match up very well with the Rangers. The real test is going to come on Tuesday when the Flyers show up. If the Caps can play like this against the Flyers, then they could be onto something.

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


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Caps vs. Ning 1-1-2009 Post-Mortem

That was UGH-LEE.... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • With a goal and two assists (giving him 26 of each on the season, how's that for balance but it does not earn a star?) A.O. is now one point behind the Bad A.O., Adam Oates, (we never liked him) for 15th place on the Caps All-Time scoring list. Bad A.O. racked up 363 points in 387 games with the Caps.
  • Speaking of balance, 11 Caps registered points tonight as all four lines netted at least one goal and all three defensive pairings registered points. And we feel it should have been 12 Caps with points tonight as Alexandre Giroux was robbed of an assist because the puck deflected off his skate to Boyd Gordon for what turned out to be the game winning goal.
  • Congratulations to Sean Collins for scoring his first NHL Goal.


  • Up 3-0 after the first period, the Caps let the Ning back into the game and were only up by one after the second period, giving up 3 goals on 11 shots and playing as sloppy and lackadaisical as they've played in a long time.
  • The Power Play was 0 for 3 tonight. Great teams will use the Power Play to put away inferior teams.
  • The Caps were beat in the faceoff circle tonight 28-31 with Nicklas Backstrom getting drubbed, 3-6.


  • And speaking of Nicky-B, his poor giveaway at the blueline in the second period lead directly to the Ning's first goal and made this game much more interesting than it should have been. That's why it is tonight's John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles Bonehead Play of the Game Award Winner in spite of the Ning's Keystone Kops routine in their own zone.
  • A.O.'s hit on Jamie Heward was not pretty and neither was seeing him rolled off the ice on a stretcher. We understand it's just a concussion and that these days, the trainers and doctors err on the side of caution; but no matter who it is, friend of foe, class act or common jerk, you don't like to see those things happen and we hope that Heward (who has suffered ugly injuries at the Phone Booth before) will recover quickly.
  • We don't know for for a fact but we would bet that a phone call from Toronto was placed to the officials locker room a the Phone Booth tonight during the second intermission telling Marc Joannette to get his head out of his you-know-what after he totally botched the call on Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green and awarded Adam Hall with an undeserved Penalty Shot. Joannette has to be the only one not to see that Green got the entire puck before taking out the skate. Furthermore, Toronto probably placed another call to the Phone Booth to upbraid the video goal judge (what was the deal with the Boston Celtics jersey?) for violating Rule 78.6 "When a team scores an apparent goal that is not seen by the on-ice officials and play continues, the play shall be reviewed by the Video Goal Judge at the next stoppage of play." In other words, the Video Goal Judge does not have the authority to stop a game in progress to properly count a goal like they did in the third period tonight. This is why you cannot take the NHL seriously as a professional sport when this kind of garbage from its officials goes on.

It is certainly nice to know that against a team like the Ning, the Caps can play as badly as they did tonight and still win by three goals. And let's give credit where credit is due, if it wasn't for the Ning's Keystone Kops routine in their own end with the puck, this game would have been a lot closer than it was as the Caps had two wide open nets to shoot into tonight. Of course, we remember some Caps teams that missed those kinds of wide open nets. But at this point in the season, two points is two points and Bruce Boudreau has more than enough time to get this garbage out of our system. Let's hope he does because this stuff won't fly in the playoffs.

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


Where's the Real Larry Brooks and What Have You Done With Him?

They say that even a broken clock is right twice a day which is why weren't too surprised when on November 30th Ol' Lar joined us on "the dark side" and agreed that fighting should be banned from the NHL. His reasoning? Well it actually made sense too in that, if the NHL is looking to outlaw hits to the head in the normal run of play, how could they continue to allow hits to the head during a fight?

Not exactly the reason we want to see the thuggery end but hey, any port in storm right? We agree that this concern for the health of the players has to include fighting especially when fighting majors are on the rise with even clean, legal, open-ice hits now becoming cause for dropping the gloves. (And the UFOI knuckle draggers say that we want to take hitting out of the game...) Of course some of the commenter's said Larry was just seeking to protect his boyfriend, Sean Avery, from ever having to defend himself instead of addressing the logic as obvious as the nose on their own faces. But it sure beats the red herrings of no touch icing and "softer" equipment.

We had just recovered from the shock of Larry actually agreeing with us when on December 14th he said the NHL should freeze ticket prices. Larry is 110% absolutely correct. The NHL would score a PR coup by freezing ticket prices for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2009-2010 Season Ticket Packages, and single game prices. We don't know (and neither does Larry) if it will actually stimulate ticket sales with certain "Hockeytowns" having trouble selling tickets at their current prices to begin with, but we do know that NHL needs all the good PR it can get.

What makes this so amazing is that a Union Thug Mouthpiece like Brooks suggesting the NHL freeze its best revenue source under a Collective Bargaining Agreement where the players receive a guaranteed portion of the revenue. How bad does the NHL economic outlook have to be in order for Larry to say that something needs to be done now? Because folks, we all know the "I told you so" column is coming when the salary cap takes a huge step backwards.

But what has made us forget all probabilities and seriously wonder if somebody has hit Larry over the head, hard, is last week's plea to get more coverage of A.O. out of the NHL. This isn't the first time Ol' Lar has joined the backlash against the Canadian Diving Team Captain, Low Blow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby, but this is by far his strongest argument since his love letter to A.O. from last year. We too get that the NHL wanted to ensure a sellout of its First Winter Classic in the U.S. (well, if you consider Buffalo part of the U.S. because Buffalo doesn't) and wanted to help revive an original six franchise with this year's game; but we again agree with Larry that there's no excuse not to have the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers playing next New Year's Day in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

The NHL would only have to sell a minimum of 46,000 tickets (5K more than what they're selling at Wrigley Field today) with the current configuration of RFK and could sell up to 5K more if the ticket demand warranted. Furthermore, the folks at the Eagle Bank Bowl have already gone ahead and dubbed RFK as "Historic"; something the New Yankee Stadium does not have going for it. Finally, when Caps fans get the stadium bouncing it will more than make up for the lack of a "snow globe effect" because you're not likely to have a snow storm in D.C. on January 1st. You'd have the best player in the NHL going up against an original six franchise, you might even be able to get the Obamessiah to come and drop the ceremonial first puck (forget that, we can't mix politics and sports), and we would love to see certain heads explode around here as the NHL does up a commercial with Frank Herzog's famous "and now the stadium is rocking" call as "Hail to the Redskins" plays in the background that is endlessly repeated.

But we digress folks, if Larry keeps this up, we'll have to find a new punching bag. So could somebody please hit Larry over the head, hard, again and give us our old Larry back?

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