Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2008-2009 Caps Season Wrap-Up, Part I

Ok folks, we've put the guitar controller down for now and are now turning our attention to reviewing and wrapping up the 2008-2009 Washington Capitals season. And as we picked through the debris of a season brought to a crashing halt and put back together the wreckage of a season ended too soon for many, we've come to a few conclusions;

#1. Things are not as bad as they seem. Folks, we never drank the Kool-Aid that the Caps were Stanley Cup contenders this season. We knew that the Caps were not going to win the Cup so that meant that the Caps would likely lose in the playoffs. We really wish it hadn't been to the Penguin Scum but somebody had to end our season. Last year we felt that this would be the season that the Caps broke through and made the playoffs. The Caps surprised everybody and crashed the NHL Post-Season last year and while they only lasted one round, they were expected to do better this season and they did. They posted seven more victories in the regular season for 14 more points in the standings. The Caps wrapped up a playoff spot and the division title early and held the #2 seed in the East, #4 overall. The Caps also got into the Second round for the first time since 1998. That is nothing to sneeze at while they also lit the town on fire hungry for a winner.

But that's not all folks because:

#2. Better days are ahead. The players who are easily defined as "the core"; A.O., Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander "Slappy" Semin, and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green are 23, 21, 25, and 23 respectively. That means they can and should get even better than they are right now. If you happen to be in Darwin's Waiting Room for some reason, ignore the bozos who claim that their primes are being wasted. These guys haven't entered their primes yet which is what makes this so scary. Furthermore, when you look at the list of injuries, you should realize just how good this team really is and like us, can only imagine what this team could have done at full strength. Because with a hurt Green and A.O. the entire time, they came back from a 3-1 deficit to win in the first round and took the Penguin Scum to the distance before finally running completely out of gas.


#3. There is still a lot of work to be done. We don't envy the job of General Manager George McPhee in not only trying to keep this team together, but to also find upgrades and improvements with little room under the salary cap and not much more room coming this season and the very real possibility of even less room in 2010-2011. We should also note that the Caps have not yet acquired the hard-hitting stay-at-home defenseman that they've needed since trading Brendan Witt. Furthermore, the scoring right winger to play alongside A.O. is still missing as well. John Carlson may be the defenseman we've been looking for but he isn't expected to be here full time until 2010-2011. Who the right winger will be is anybodies guess and would be our focus with the 24th pick in the upcoming draft. Finally, while the core is young, they also need maturity. That will come with time but until these players are no longer concerned with how they will celebrate their goals or what their hairstyles are going to be, they will lack the maturity that they need in order to be successful. We're not saying that these guys can't have fun. We want them to have fun, but we want them to focus on the game more than style points.

So folks, over the next few days we'll go through the lineup and assign some grades. Some guys will get different grades for the regular season and playoffs while some will get only one grade. We'll let you know which is which.


'Roid Rage

Well, if there was anything that could snap us out of our funk over the abrupt ending to a promising season (oh, who are we kidding, we bought Guitar Hero for our P.C., trust us folks, this isn't a pretty site which is why we haven't been around lately) it was the reports of the Caps and Natinals being sold steroids.

We happen to be a little too jaded and cynical (shocking, we know...) to think that this is just the ramblings of a desperate individual who now finds himself in deep, deep trouble with the law. So what he's an accused felon and by definition, is a slimeball? Does anybody dispute that Jose Canseco is slimeball but absolutely 100% correct about his allegations against his fellow Major League Baseball players?

We don't think so.

We happen to put the odds of this guy telling the truth at 50-50. And should the coin flip work in his favor, we can't say we're surprised. We'd be very disappointed but not all surprised.

First of all, six mostly former Natinals players were named in the Mitchell Report with one other getting bust that the IOC for a substance that was not banned by MLB at the time. Jose Guillen was the only player to be accused of doping while playing with the Natinals and it certainly explains his explosive temper. The idea that a Major League Baseball team has now or had at one time a player doping is not far-fetched at all.

As for the Caps, well, aside from the obligatory denials and requisite weasel wording it wouldn't be too far-fetched either. First of all, yes, we said "weasel wording" because the explicit "past two seasons" gives the Caps cover for anything prior to the 2006-2007 season. If you've read the stories, the dealers have been in business for 10 years. That's eight years the NHL and the Caps weren't looking and who knows what was going on. As a matter of fact, of the players who were on the opening night roster for the 2003-2004 season only Alexander "Slappy" Semin remains and he was a healthy scratch that night. Michael "Meadowlark" Nylander (who was on injured reserve when the season began and was traded at the deadline), Brooks "and Dunn" Laich, and Shaone Morrrissonnn also appeared that season but in limited roles. Again, who knows what was going on then or earlier.

And don't think that all dopers have to look like Big Head BALCO Barry Bonds* either. Floyd Landis who tested positive for steroids and Lance Armstrong, who has been under constant suspicion, are anything but big muscled brutes like Big Head BALCO Barry Bonds* or Roger Clemens. The fact that Tomas Fleischmann gets knocked over by a stiff breeze does not mean he could not possibly be doping.

Now before anybody tries to get us in trouble, we are NOT accusing any current or former Caps of being dopers. We are listing these names to establish the possibility that this guy could be telling the truth. First of all, Viktor Kozlov and Sergei (#3) Fedorov have off season homes in Florida. Former Cap and current Islander Brendan Witt also maintains an off season abode in the state. Again, we are not accusing these guys of being dopers, we're just saying that these guys live in the same state as the arrested dealer and could possibly be clients. We don't know for certain and quite frankly, we hope that isn't the case.

But remembering like the Venerable Off Wing Opinion did how the NHL's drug testing policy was ripped by the World Anti-Doping Agency President and reading in Sports Illustrated about how the NHL had to clean out Sudafed from its locker rooms in advance of the 1998 Olympics (Sudafed contains pseudo ephedrine which was a banned stimulant under the IOC at the time, it is now regulated by the WADA) the idea that doping at the NHL level becomes less and less far fetched.

We do however feel that the Caps and the NHL are handling this situation appropriately, at least in public. They should conduct through investigations including former players. We should also note that many of the star players have played in international competitions in recent years (Kozlov 2006 Olympics, Fedorov 2008 World Championships) and few if any have ever come back with positive tests. Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore tested positive for a masking agent but not a PED. What this tells us is that the star players aren't very likely to be the culprits. If we were bettors, we'd bet that the lesser players, the NHL equivalent of a Nook "LaLoosh" Logan being caught instead of the superstars.

However at this point, the idea or accusation of performance enhancing drugs in a professional sport should sadly no longer be a surprise.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 5-17

  • We've been having too much fun (if you want to call it that) catching up on sleep and general life since the Caps were eliminated by the NHL on Wednesday night. We had wanted to do a full preview for the Conference Finals that started today but never got around to it. After going 8 for 8 in the first round we cooled off and only went 3 for 4 in the second round. So to give you the condensed version of the previews we were planning, Chicago is an Original Six Rehabilitation Project that hasn't been fully tested in the playoffs. They'll get one now. The Red Wings got a wake up call from Brad Watson against the Thug Ducks (who blew our perfect record) in Game 3 but slipped a little bit and still needed seven to finish off Anaheim. That's why we think Detroit in six is a safe bet. As for the East, whenever New Jersey and Carolina meet in the playoffs, the winner has gone on to the Stanley Cup Finals. Underestimate Carolina at your own risk. The Penguin Scum are coming off of two series against two rivals, how much is physically and emotionally left? We happen to think that Carolina plays the game that Pittsburgh is trying to play now under Blysma, only better because Carolina is bigger and stronger and will hit the Penguin Scum defense, unlike the Caps. We really think Carolina in six if the NHL keeps it on the level, otherwise Carolina will likely need seven.
  • We have to say, after watching today's Natinals 8-6 loss to the Phillies, we feel it is really only a matter of time before Manny Acta is fired. Not that any of this is Manny's fault but considering the turnover in the bullpen that still can't get the job done with any consistency and defense that flat out self-destructs, there's no other way to get the players attention than to get rid of the manger. That said, this lineup can really hit the ball and should get more attention from the fans because that means they'll never be out of games. Just don't expect them to win many games.
  • Anyway, this is quick this week because we're about to head off to bed for night but this week Stan Kasten will actively sell to all the Pittsburgh fans who felt slighted by Ted Leonsis as the Pirates come to town and then Stan tries to convince the Baltimorons that Nationals Park is just like Ralph Cramden Yards.
  • The email address here is "capsnut" over at gmail dot com.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Game 7 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-13-2009 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: painful end, get what they wanted, quick finish, good season, bad end, high praise, final farewell. Times: flattened, quest finished, value added, throwing daggers, rocked out, actions speak, peace and quiet.

The Neutral Observers: recap, more battles, rising up, big save, disappointing, splitting up, returning impact, fan salute. AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: moving on, chasing, following the rules. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: chased off, always cocky, spark provider, the best medicine, playing through pain. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

We don't think anybody who followed this team this season was in the least bit surprised by the injury list partially revealed after the game last night. Looking at three of those four names, A. O., Alexander "Slappy" Semin , and Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green; you really get a sense of just how hard and how well the Caps played just to keep up with the Penguin Scum. Had those guys been out of the lineup for this series (throw in Tom Poti for good measure after Game 1) like they should have been under normal circumstance; this series would have been over a lot sooner. If you don't understand now who the better team really is, then you never will.

As for the real nattering nabobs of negativism, no longer can they say with any credibility that the Caps are not built for the playoffs or that certain key players are soft.

So Penguin Scum fans, thanks for stopping on by. Go out and do your little superiority dance like you did after the joke that was the Super Bowl. We don't expect any less out of you people.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Game 7 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-13-2009

Well folks, we knew we shouldn't have bothered going to the game tonight. Our heads told us not to go tonight. Our guts told us not to go tonight. But our hearts were insisting that we did.

So much for listening to your heart...

We knew right away after finding out that Martin Brodeur had choked away the series to Carolina that we were going to lose to the Penguin Scum. We knew the NHL would not allow us to win.

Oh come on Caps Nut, you can't be serious??? How do you fix a 6-2 game???

Pipe down... We'll get there...

But first, some of you have noticed and call us out for a change in tenor on this blog. Back when we first started this thing, the Caps were just plain awful. There was all kinds of negativity surrounding the team as the losses piled up. We however tried to focus on the positive. We tried to stay upbeat in the dark times knowing full well that better days were ahead.

Then last year when the Caps fired Glen Hanlon and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau, things started to turn around. However, while we noticed the improvement, we didn't believe that the Caps were a playoff ready team. We didn't think that the Caps could come from as far back as they did to make the playoffs.

Then the Caps hosted Carolina on April 1st, 2008. When we saw Alexander "Slappy" Semin layout Eric Staal with a clean, vicious, and brutal open ice shoulder check, we began to think, they could just actually do this.

Falling behind 3-1 to the Flyers in the first round was a wake-up call, but we didn't fully heed it as we watched the Caps force a Game 7.

Uh, Caps Nut, what does this have to do with tonight???

Shut up, we're getting there... This is called "decompressing" ok???

We thought, "these guys could really do it, maybe this is a team of destiny." Then like a ton of bricks the shoe dropped first in the form of Shaone Morrrissonnn getting tossed into Christobal Huet and the refs looking the other way as a goal was scored on the interference. Then other shoe came with a ticky-tack tripping call to Tom Poti in overtime after 60 minutes of "let 'em play" hockey.

In short folks, we got blindsided and we weren't going to let that happen to us again.

This wasn't at all like 1998. The breaks were not going our way against the Rangers and it was our sheer talent level that got us through. If this had been a replay of 1998, Sean Avery would have been the one suspended for six games, not Mr. Donald Brashear. If this had been a replay of 1998, the Penguin Scum would have been the ones getting marched off to the penalty box in droves. Not the Caps. If this had been 1998, Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov would not have melted down and cost us 3 games with his play.

Add in the that the fact that we never drank the Kool-Aid that the Caps were a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and you should understand why we've been a nattering nabob of negativism. Sorry folks, but when John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles is considered your big hitting defenseman who scares the opposing forwards, you aren't going to win the Cup. When Viktor Kozlov, Eric Fehr, and Tomas Fleischmann are your go-to goal scoring right wingers, you aren't going to win the Cup.

But we'll wrap the season later.

Back to tonight.


Get out of here...

How in the world the NHL assigns the "senior" referees from the two worst officiated games of this series to Game 7 is beyond us. But again, it was a sign that the NHL wasn't going to allow the Caps to win this game. After all, they tried rather hard on Monday night but the Caps just wouldn't cooperate.

The game got off to a decent enough start. We were expecting "let 'em play" hockey until at least the third period. But we only got 11:29 of it. Long enough for the Penguin Scum to weather the early Caps storm and get their legs under them. Morrrissonnn gets called for a slashing call that was ignored when Evgeni Malkin-Lindros did the exact same thing to Sergei (#3) Fedorov in Game 4. (Fedorov you might remember then had to tackle Malkin-Lindros because he didn't have his stick anymore and got called for holding.) Power Play goal Penguin Scum and things were off and running.

Throw in a bad night for Simeon "the Saviour" and the snowball effect got underway.

There were other opportunities for Bill McCreary and Dan O'Halloran to "even things up" but nope, just to make sure that the Caps could not get any momentum heading into the intermission, a dive that certainly rivaled anything ever done by Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby, by Brooks Orpik drew a penalty on Sergei (#3) and put an end to any of those ideas.

After Boudreau finally yanked Simeon "the Saviour" after allowing two goals on two shots to start the second period, there was really no need to call anymore penalties on the Caps unless of course it involved protecting the NHL's Golden Girl, Lowblow Cindy. Jealous of Orpik's header, Cindy couldn't help herself and took a header herself off a high stick from Brooks "and Dunn" Laich 26 seconds into the third period. Laich was assessed four minutes for the gushing head wound he opened up on Lowblow Cindy and any hopes of a third period rally were snuffed out.

To give you an idea of how bad the officiating was tonight folks, the Caps couldn't even get a sympathy call/token Power Play tonight. Four penalties called on the Caps. None, zip, zilch, nada, zero, nothing called on the Penguin Scum. If that is not indicative that the fix was in tonight, then nothing else will. The 6-2 score just provides cover because the Caps would have had to play out of their minds to win this game, and even then that may have not been enough. The Penguin Scum played like a team that knew it could do just about anything it wanted, the Caps played like they were afraid to take another penalty after the first two penalty calls.

However ladies and gentlemen, we have to admit. We take a perverse pleasure in tonight's game.

Huh? You enjoyed watching your team take a hose job you knew was coming???

We said get out of here...

After bestowing this series the title of "Greatest NHL Playoff Series, Ever" before the Series was even officially over, tonight's game was as Anti-Climatic as they come. There was standing room only in the Phone Booth Press Box tonight but we guarandangtee you that all over the United States, Canada, Russia, Africa, and the rest of the world, TV's were be changed en mass 2:12 into the second period for something else. Only the folks in Pittsburgh and the sadists in Washington were sticking around for this one and some of the folks in Pittsburgh were heading outside to get a head start on burning their couches in celebration.

In short, this was a joke of a game befitting a joke of a league properly won by a joke of a team. Marc Andre Fleury literally gave away a tailor-made shutout tonight and we had a feeling that whoever ended up winning this series wouldn't have anything physically or emotionally left in the gas tank for the last month of the playoffs. Because as we said, we didn't think the Caps were Stanley Cup contenders and with the advantages and breaks afforded the Penguin Scum in this series, there's no way you can take them seriously as Cup threat either, because let's be honest here. With all the calls and breaks going their way, they still needed 7 games and two deflections of our own sticks to win the series. That isn't the sign of a better team.

But hey, at least we didn't blow a 3-1 lead, that was our worst nightmare.

So in the coming days we'll pick through the rubble of this season and come up with some grades. We'll also preview the Conference and Stanley Cup Finals.

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Game 7 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-13-2009 Preview

Series J: Washington Capitals (56-38; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) vs. Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (52-41; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #7, Caps Game #14, Home Game #8, NHL Game #227

Verizon Center, Washington, DC. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Pittsburgh TV: Fox SportsNet Pittsburgh. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: CBC, RDS (French).

Tonight, the greatest second round series in the history of the world finally comes to an end. The Caps are looking to improve upon their 2-5 record in Game 7 and are 0-2 against the Penguin Scum in Game 7, meeting them in a Game 7 for the first time since 1995. The Penguin Scum are 5-4 All-Time in Game 7, including a 3-0 mark on the road.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: doing it again, stepping up, keep it clean. Times: ghostbusting, other contributions, another big night, preview.

Neutral Views: preview, memory wipe, mood swings, drama king, Game 7 stats, no changes, trying to play, good line, epic in the making, pain killers, improvement needed.

Open Source Intelligence:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: variable answers, overexposed, been there, jawing ahead, standing by his man, attention hog. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: gaining experience, could return, his turn, historical advantage, predictable debate, higher ratings, using the whip.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, the NHL hype machine got what it wanted, a Game 7 in this series that is already being branded as "epic" and "an instant classic" before the puck even drops. Taking a narrow view of Game 7, the current crop of Caps clearly have more experience and history on their side simply because the main players for the Caps have played in and won a Game 7, something the main players for the Penguin Scum have never done. However, two weeks ago when the Caps played the Rangers in Game 7, they came out very flat and very tentative despite playing in front of a raucous home crowd. For almost two periods that night the Caps did not show up and play with any purpose. If the Caps do that again tonight, it will be a quick evening as the Penguin Scum are much more dangerous than the Rangers. As for the Penguin Scum, an honest observer has to say that they have no idea how this team will respond to playing in a Game 7. You certainly can get some clues but nothing compares to playing in an NHL Game 7 where both teams are facing a do or die situation. The big key for the Penguin Scum is the play of both Evgeni Malkin-Lindros, who is the true leader of the Penguin Scum, and Marc Andre-Fleury. We have no idea how Malkin-Lindros is going to play but do know that if he has one of his better games, the Penguin Scum will be very tough to beat because the Penguin Scum feed off of his play more than Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby. Marc Andre-Fleury has been a non-factor this series and is about due for an exceptional game. If Fleury has it tonight, then the Caps could very well be sunk. However, Fleury has a troubling history of coming up amazingly short in large situations. A win tonight can help put that to rest. Finally, there is the x-factor for tonight that has been an underlying storyline throughout this series and that is the officiating. First of all, who will get this marquee assignment and how will they call the game? CW says that tonight will be one of the old fashioned "let 'em play" games which means that Power Plays will come at premium tonight. But as we've here in DC have seen, that often gets thrown out the window at the most inopportune times. Especially when it comes to advancing the agenda of the NHL Hype Machine.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Penguin Scum 3
Winner by Scuderi

(5-8 in the playoffs)

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Game 6 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-11-2009 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: still alive, game savers, scoring touch, highly rated. Times: deflected, going the distance, itchy, doing other things, perfect timing.

The Neutral Observers: recap, the cavalry arrives, effective, second times a charm. AP wire. CBC.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: off script, going all the way, another close call, rising up. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: dropped, meeting the hype, reinforcements, fitting end, still out, unmotivated. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

3 down, Game 7 and a case of Maalox to go...

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Game 6 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-11-2009 Post-Mortem

This morning in our haze of anger, we made a major mistake.

We forgot to check the NHL Schedule and without a Caps win tonight in the land known for its offensive odor; the NHL wouldn't have a game on Wednesday night.

We here at Bleatings From a Caps Nut regret this oversight...

Though we did keep true to our word and didn't watch the entire game. But we did hear Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin complaining about the officiating; something they rarely do so you know things had to be especially bad tonight.

Wrap Up in the morning!

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Game 6 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-11-2009 Preview

Series J: Washington Capitals (56-38; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) @ Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (52-41; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #6, Caps Game #13, Road Game #6, NHL Game #226

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Pittsburgh TV: Fox SportsNet Pittsburgh. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: TSN, RDS (French).

Tonight the Caps face elimination for the 7th time in the past two season when they make their final trip for this season up to Pittsburgh. The have a 1-4 record All-Time in Game 6 against Pittsburgh.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post. Times: better when bad, taking it personal.

Neutral Views: AP Wire Preview, on the line, enjoying the highs, familiar road, more redemption.

Open Source Intelligence:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: not quite over, the Saviour could rise, block party, much experience. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: happy to here, mental health, so simple, giving credit, into the fire. Penguin

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

What else? A Pittsburgh win to grow the legend of Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby. On the off chance the Caps are allowed to force a Game 7 tonight, it would only be because the NHL feels it needs some more fake drama of a Game 7 for this series.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 1
Penguin Scum 3
Winner by Lowblow Cindy

(5-7 in the playoffs)

Editorial Note for the Dozens of Readers of This Blog:

Don't expect a Post-Mortem tonight. We'll probably start watching this game tonight but odds are pretty good we won't finish watching the game.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 5-10

  • We've heard the saying about the NHL before that it "is run by Canadians, for Canadians." No better example of that is that of the 39 referees currently used by the NHL (the list does include Don Koharski and Rob Schick who have retired) all but 5 are from Canada (4 if you consider that Chris Ciamaga is from as city that likes to think it is Canadian) and none from outside of North America. Of the referees still working, only Dennis LaRue is NOT from Canada and has only worked three games so far in the second round, seven for the entire playoffs including tonight's games. Does the NHL really think that only Canadians are qualified to officiate their games? There isn't a single European official working NHL games despite just over 25% of the players in the league being from outside of North America. We are fans of diversity for the sake of diversity, but almost 90% of the referees being from one country in what is an international sport is a joke.
  • And speaking of pulling the race card, Michael Wilbon did not disappoint when he attempted to tackle the "acceptance" of fighting in hockey. You might remember Wilbon's slur from almost two years ago when he was caught up in the David Beckham (who wants out of MLS now) hoolpa that soccer had passed hockey in America. Wilbon has also defend the decision to ignore hockey by stating that only 1.5 million people, as compared to over 5 million, bother to watch the sport on U.S. National television. We've already submitted to tomorrow's Wilbon chat the following question "We weren't surprised to see you pull the race card off the bottom of the deck in last week's chat in regards to fighting being an accepted part of hockey but not other sports, most notably basketball. But Michael, you've said yourself that soccer has passed hockey in terms of popularity in the United States. You've also defended the decision to ignore hockey by saying something along the lines of "when 5 million people watch instead of 1.5 million, then we'll pay attention." So how can you really say that the American public approves of fighting in hockey when so few people tune to watch it in the first place and you consider soccer a more popular sport? Isn't this a classic example of "people voting with their feet" or more specifically their remote controls and entertainment dollars? Furthermore, every four years when the Winter Olympics come around, the Olympic hockey ratings far outpace anything the NHL ever does. People know that the gloves aren't going to be dropped in an Olympic game where it is always a distinct possibility in an NHL game. Again, people vote with their remote controls and time and again, will chose hockey that they know does not have the indiscriminate violence. Race has nothing to do with it." We fully expect Wilbon to duck the question which is why we're throwing it out here.
  • Of course, we would be very remiss if we attempted to this Smorgasbord and not comment on the situation in Phoenix with the Coyotes. Boy has this turned into a prime mess. Rather than bore you with a recounting of the details as we know them so far, we happen to think that this is a grand game of chicken for Gary Bettman. It should not be forgotten that he holds the final trump card in this whole process in that he could revoke the Coyote franchise, leaving Jim Balsillie holding an empty bag. The only potential remedy to that is a court in the U.S. or Canada ordering the NHL to give Balsillie a franchise which would be a judicial overreach of the highest order. (Though we wouldn't be too surprised to see that.) Al Davis has shown that a league other than Major League Baseball cannot prevent a franchise relocation so any votes on relocation and territorial claims are downright moot. We have to say though, it would help Bettman's PR case if he was willing to let everybody know what his objections to Balsillie really are.
  • The worst part about the Coyotes going bankrupt are the self-appointed hockey purists who insist that this failure is an indictment on Bettman's "Sun Belt Plan" and salary cap. First of all, their debts didn't just start piling up after the salary cap was instituted four years ago. Secondly, the anti-cap forces conveniently forget to mention the unprecedented salary floor that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for. So while Phoenix has 27th overall payroll, they are forced into a position of spending $$$$$ they don't have in the first place in order to come into compliance, partially defeating the purpose of a cap in the first place. As for the failure of Bettman's "Sun Belt Plan," we have to chuckle at the self appointed hockey purists who seem to think that increasing the number of teams in Canada is a great idea. Why? Well the self-appointed hockey purists also rake Bettman over the coals for losing ESPN as a television partner for the league. Do these people honestly think that a smaller footprint in the Southern part of the United States and more Canadian Franchises will make the league more attractive to U.S. broadcasters like ESPN? The answer to that is no, the NHL would NOT be more attractive U.S. broadcasters like ESPN with more Canadian franchises simply because ESPN has no reach in Canada and even if they get airtime on ABC, Canadian TV ratings do not count in the United States. Finally why did the franchise move from Winnipeg to Phoenix in the first place? Because the small Canadian market wasn't profitable. So how could another small Canadian market be profitable? This is madness and the best answer to this problem is contraction or a move to Kansas City.
  • Though we would not be surprised in the least to find Caps fans counting on Phoenix moving to Hamilton (or somewhere else) as the basis for cooking up their own hair-brained realignment schemes where the Atlanta Thrashers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes are all shipped out to Western Conference or Northeast Division and the Caps are magically placed in a Division with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and the Rangers and Islanders.
  • Enough about hockeynow. Let's bust up the Natinals! They carried a three game winning streak into today's game but couldn't overcome crummy pitching today and saw their streak snapped. We were really hoping for a sweep of he Diamondbacks because Arizona fired their manager before the series even started. We have to say, even with winning today's cripple fight, the new guy does not seem to be much of an improvement over the old guy because the Natinals remain by far the worst team in Major League Baseball. While the Cleveland Indians have a slightly worse winning percentage (.344 to .345) the Natinals have played three fewer games than Cleveland and can anybody really think the Natinals would win 2 of those 3 games? Winning two one run games this weekend is a good sign but the Manny Acta's best hope of winning, and keeping his job, is simply out slugging everybody which is very tough to do.
  • We have to admit, we're intrigued by these Brett Farve to Minnesota rumors. First of all, did anybody really think this guy would stay retired? Though we do think he is providing a valuable lesson/service for every other professional athlete in demonstrating how not to handle the end of your career. However, as long as there are media types and NFL teams willing to stroke his ego and give him the attention he clearly craves, this is going to continue. No amount of interceptions or poisoned locker rooms will ever get the message through to him.
  • Finally this week, the Caps season will hopefully come to a merciful end tomorrow night in Pittsburgh so the Penguin Scum fans can continue to do their superiority dance over another rigged outcome. If by some there's a Game 7, it would be on Wednesday night in D.C. Though right now we aren't likely to attend it. The Natinals are in San Francisco until Wednesday and get Thursday off to recover from the jet lag. The day off also gives Stan Kasten time to invite more Phillies fans to D.C. for the four game weekend series starting on Friday featuring a day-night doubleheader on Saturday to make up for the rainout on April 15th.
  • And as since the first day of this blog, please send all comments, criticisms, corrections, questions, suggestions, and gloating to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com. Just a word of caution though, all death threats will be forwarded onto the appropriate authorities.


Game 5 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-9-2009 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: tripped up, bitter, bad memories, playing on. Times: on the brink, same old song, injury replacement, steadiness, yet again.

The Neutral Observers: recap, two Russians, no luck, already fixed. AP Wire. CBC.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: stolen, still believing, still out, defensive. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: on the verge, been there, done that, for Gonchar, notes, ignored. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

This is going to take awhile folks because we still have a lot to get off our chests...

First of all, let us once again reiterate, we don't get as upset with calls that are made against us as what is not made against the other team. Was Evegni Malkin-Lindros tripped? Yes, no doubt.

However our problem with the call is primarily two-fold.

#1. The wrong player was penalized. It was Sergei (#3) Fedorov who did it and not Milan Jurcina. Eric Furlatt had no idea what he was looking at.

#2. The penalty came 25:41 after the last penalty resulting in a Power Play, an automatic too many men on the ice penalty against the Penguin Scum, was called. The Power Play before that one came at the 16:05 mark of the first period. You had essentially 60 minutes of "let em play hockey" which we respect in an important game. And it wasn't as if there weren't clear cut opportunities for more calls either. You had Ruslan Fedotenko high stick Tom Poti in the face right in front of Eric Furlatt with no call in the second period. Right before the "penalty" on Juricna, Alexander "Slappy" Semin had somebody put their stick blade into his skates as he tried to cut back and tripped him with no call. And then after the "penalty" was called and the Penguin Scum were on the Power Play, Boyd Gordon gets cross checked/interfered with and was taken out of the play as the final rush started.

Oh, and before we forget, Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby running over Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov in the crease, knocking Simeon the Saviour's helmet off and causing a stoppage in play in the process. Goaltender interference anyone?

The there was Maxime Talbot in the first period started running around trying to stir something up. First he tried to land a head shot on A.O. but missed when A.O. sidestepped him. Talbot responded by punching A.O. in the back of the head anyway after the puck was long gone. Talbot then went after, and missed, Nicklas Backstrom. Frustrated by his in ability to hit anything that was moving, Talbot then slashed Backstrom on the ankles. This touched off the melee at the end of the first period. A.O., John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles, Malkin-Lindros, and Brooks Oprik all ended up in the penalty box with roughing calls because of it. Talbot however didn't get called for anything.

Furthermore, after last night's shenanigans, the Caps are now 14-21 All-Time in Overtime Playoff games. You should already know that the Caps have dropped seven straight of those, but did you know that this is the fifth time in the last eight Caps Overtime Playoff games they have lost while trying to kill a penalty?

We have last night, Game 7 vs. Philadelphia last year, Games 3 and 6 against the Ning in 2003, Game 2 against the Penguin Scum in 2000, and for good measure the infamous Game 4 against the Penguin Scum in 1996 (that four overtime game, St. Calle Johansson was in the box for hooking when Petr Nedved scored with 45 seconds remaining).

Yet, we can't remember the last time the Caps even had a Power Play in overtime of a playoff game, lettalone won an Overtime Playoff game with a Power Play Goal. If somebody wanted to dig that up for us, the Power Plays for and against the Caps in Playoff Overtime, we'd be really interested to see how that breaks down.

So go ahead folks. Say we're "whining." Call it "sour grapes." Tell us we're "poor losers." Call us "kooky konspiracy theorists." Laugh at us. Do you honestly think that this hasn't happened to us before?

But ask yourself, why did Las Vegas treat Game 5 like it was a Professional Wrestling match?

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Game 5 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-9-2009 Post-Mortem

Well folks, here are once again.

Just like last year against the Flyers.

Just like 2003 against the Ning.

Just like countless number of times against the Penguin Scum.

We're left to sit here and wonder just how in the world the Caps keep getting the screws put to them in overtime in the playoffs.

Don't act like you're surprised either.

Don't act like you've never seen this before.

Sure, General Manager George McPhee launched into the officials before Game 4 but look at what it got us.

Ok, the Power Plays were 2 for each side tonight but one of the penalties on the Penguin Scum was automatic (the too many men on the ice call) and darn near not called either.

The deciding penalty call came after a no-call at one end.

That Power Play then featured another no-call that lead to the final rush.

We seriously doubt Ted is going to speak up.

Maybe he'll post a video again but the words will never actually leave his lips in public.

On the record for all to see.

You want to tell us this is on the level?

Just like that interference call on Ken Klee in Game 2 of the Penguin Scum series in 2000?

Or the roughing and then elbowing calls on Jaromir Jagr and Ken Klee in Game 3 of the Ning series in 2003?

Just like Game 7 against the Flyers last year, 60 minutes of "let 'em play" hockey and then whistles start to go in overtime.

On just one team though.

We abandoned all hope when we saw Bill McCreary was assigned to this game.

We knew a fair shake wasn't coming our way.

You want another kick in the pants?

It wasn't Milan Jurcina's stick that got the skates.

It was Sergei (#3) Fedorov's.

Which means, the officials somehow didn't see the play.

They made a call they did not see.

That's inexcusable.

We were informed shortly after the game began tonight by our parents, who are spending their retirement (among other things) in Las Vegas, that after crowning the Caps as favorites in Games 1 through 4, there was no line set for tonight's game.

In other words, Las Vegas knew the fix was in and wasn't taking any bets.

Just like Professional Wrestling matches.

Just like this past Super Bowl.

Only Vegas didn't have enough time to sniff that one out.

We did on the opening drive.

But back to the NHL, it's over folks.

If the NHL has any decency and mercy, they'll have it end on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

We have no desire to go see another Game 7.

That's cruel and unusual punishment.

We don't know how we're going to proceed from here.

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Game 4 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-8-2009 Wrap Up Game 5 Caps vs. Penguin Scum 5-9-2009 Preview

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: coming home, not going well, goalie issues, called up. Times: bad night, out tonight, missing touch, tougher test, big test, Caps +.

The Neutral Observers: recap, forgettable, toxic twins, paying the price, likely without, Russian interest. AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: tied up, papering the house, taking the blame, play of the game, bad ice. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: evened up, survival of the fittest, notes, wings taking flight. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

2 down, 2 still to go.

Series J: Washington Capitals (56-37; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) vs. Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (51-41; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #5, Caps Game #12, Home Game #7, NHL Game #225

Verizon Center, Washington, DC. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Pittsburgh TV: Fox SportsNet Pittsburgh. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: CBC, RDS (French).

Tonight somebody will take the lead and somebody will be on the brink of elimination as the Caps and Penguin Scum go at it again in Game 5 in Washington, DC. If you were already feeling bad about the last two games, here's even more bad news, the Caps are 0-7 All-Time against the Penguin Scum in Game 5.

What The Natives Are Saying:

Neutral Views: AP Wire.

Open Source Intelligence:

Sorry, got nothing for ya here. This is Pittsburgh we're talking about here...

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, in some ways this is not all that surprising on a number of accounts. First of all we'll own up to predicting Penguin Scum in six so we just happened to see things very well in advance. Secondly, can anybody think of instance when breaks and calls and other actions didn't go in the Penguin Scum's favor when playing us? The officiating has been varying degrees of bad in this series ranging from downright awful to simply embarrassing. We knew we weren't going to catch much if any breaks in this series and that has pretty much been the case. Some of the penalties we've been called for have been a direct result of uncalled penalties by the Penguin Scum. And how in the world have the Penguin Scum avoided unsportsmanlike conduct penalties? Every whistle and perceived non-call against them draws all kinds of hysterics. Furthermore, when you take the X-factor out of it, these are two pretty evenly matched hockey teams. One may have a slight advantage over the other but for the most part, these two teams are just about mirror images of each other on paper. Finally there's the fact that the Caps simply don't play their best hockey until their backs are up against the wall. Sure, the Caps played very poorly in Game 3 but still could have won because of Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov. Last night Simeon the Saviour had a bad game but the Caps didn't help him out very much either. In neither game up in the largest city everybody moves out of were the Caps feeling any pressure, any desperation, like their backs were up against the wall. Will the Caps feel that tonight in Game 5? We hope so. Either way the task should be easier with Sergei Gonchar not being expected to play. The Penguin Scum had serious trouble generating offense after he went down and only got going when the Caps started pressing in the third period. The Caps shouldn't need to press from the start tonight and can wear down the remaining Penguin Scum defense. However, regardless of tonight's outcome, the pressure on the Caps is going to increase. Should the Caps lose, they'll be bombarded with "how did you let a 2-0 lead slip away and now end up on the brink of elimination?" Should the Caps win it will become "will you be able to overcome the franchise history of being unable to close out the Penguin Scum." The big question before tonight's game however is how long will the suspension for A.O. be? We know how arbitrary and capricious NHL discipline is to begin with. Mike Brown of the Thug Duck and Chris Kunitz of the Penguin Scum each escaped suspensions so there's little doubt in our minds that the NHL will seek to make an example of A.O. and suspend him in spite of the fact that he's one of the players they're heavily promoting in this series. That more than anything can even things up for these two teams tonight.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Penguin Scum 5
Winner by Satan

(4-7 in the playoffs)

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Game 4 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-8-2009 Post-Mortem

The more things change... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Now that Game 6 has been assured, we'll see Mr. Donald Brashear in this series and the Caps could certainly use his muscle in the lineup.
  • After waiting for three games, the Caps finally got the memo about hitting the Penguin Scum defense. It lead to some turnovers and ragged play by the Penguin Scum defense. The Caps need to do more of this in Games 5 and 6 if they want to win.


  • For the third time this season the Caps get a goal on their first shot of the game less than a minute in and for the third time this season, the Caps lose that game. For whatever reason this team lacks a killer instinct and wastes fast starts.
  • The Power Play unit went 0 for 4 but more disturbing was it only generated 1 shot on goal. That isn't going to be good enough.


  • Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov had a really off night tonight. You could kind of see thing coming after his great performance in Game 3 but with Game 5 coming in less than 24 hours, we really think that Bruce Boudreau has no choice but to start Jose "Alvin, Simon," Theodore tomorrow night just to give the kid a rest before Game 6.
  • With the Caps trailing by one and pressing for the tying goal early in the third period, John "Coach's Pet" Erskine Bowles gets left all along on defense by Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green and plays a two on one about as badly as it could be played to allow what ended up being the game winning goal to be scored.
  • A.O. accidental knee-on-knee hit on Sergei Gonchar was ugly and what has us really concerned is the potential 10 game suspension he's likely to get from the NHL. We're not kidding, being sarcastic, or facetious. We wouldn't be surprised at all to see the NHL throw the book at A.O. for the incident "just to set an example." A.O. is not a dirty player and was trying to make a play on the puck when the injury occurred. However, we doubt that will pacify any of the Penguin Scum fans who are undoubtedly calling for his head.
  • Alexander "Slappy" Semin has become just about totally invisible and turned in a -3 tonight. The Caps cannot win this series without him contributing in a positive way.
  • Penguin Scum fans wonder why their team has a reputation for whining yet was there a single call (and for that matter, non-call) tonight on the Penguin Scum that was not greeted with hysterics? And how in the world did Brooks Orpik avoid an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty in the third period?

Well the worst case scenario has come to pass as we're now in a best of 3 series starting tomorrow night. The Penguin Scum's momentum could very well be blunted by the Gonchar injury as they had some difficulty getting out of their zone and generating speed through the neutral zone after he went down. They didn't get things going again until the Caps started pressing for the tying goal in the third and were able to take advantage. And even if the Penguin Scum manage to pull out a win tomorrow night, the Caps will still be in the series as the winner will take a 3-2 lead back to land that employers ignore. For whatever reason the Caps play much better with their backs against the wall and tomorrow night, their backs will be up against the wall.

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Game 4 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-8-2009 Preview

Series J: Washington Capitals (56-36; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) @ Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (50-41; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #4, Caps Game #11, Road Game #5, NHL Game #224

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Pittsburgh TV: Fox SportsNet Pittsburgh. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: CBC, RDS (French).

Tonight, the Caps once again will look to put a hammer lock on the Series with the Penguin Scum with a victory in Game 4 up in Pittsburgh tonight. All-Time against the Penguin Scum in Game 4, the Caps have a very respectable 5-2 record.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: being themselves, official complaints. Times: back to form, official complaints, ca$hing in, Game 4 Preview.

Neutral Views: AP Wire Preview, discipline, simplicity, desperation, did it all themselves, did it to themselves, wake up call, still leading. AP Wire: history lesson, death threat.

Open Source Intelligence:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: taken seriously, death threat probe, very cocky. Pittsburgh Tribune- Review: back-to-back, cockiness, inspiration, critical complaints, seen this before, teen in trouble.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

We've said it before and we're going to repeat ourselves in that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between being down in a series 3-1 as opposed to 3-0. So that means tonight's Game 4 is a MUST WIN GAME for the Penguin Scum and it is hard to imagine them playing any better than they did on Wednesday night. Conversely the only way for the Caps to play worse than they did on Wednesday night is for Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov to have bad game. So this one could very well be a donnybrook. Three games into the series and the team that has scored first has lost every single game so far. Is this something we want to test tonight and allow the Penguin Scum to score first again? Maybe, because the Penguin Scum have yet to show any respect to the Caps and give them any credit for building a 2-1 lead. We can and have admitted that the Penguin Scum have played well and that the series is a close one, but the Penguin Scum are walking around as if this series is already decided in their favor. Should they jump out to a lead tonight, they very well could get even cockier and give the Caps the chances that they need to beat them. As for the Caps working the refs yesterday? The numbers speak for themselves and while recent history suggests that the squeaking wheel gets the oil, it could backfire on the Caps the way it did on the Penguin Scum. The Caps tied up Game 3 on a moving pick call on Pascal Dupuis (very similar to Sean Avery's moving pick on Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green all the way back in Game 1 of the Rangers series) that isn't called very often but was brought to the forefront by Pittsburgh's whining. Special teams could end up deciding this one.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 3
Penguin Scum 2
Winner by Semin

(4-6 in the playoffs)

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Game 3 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-6-2009 Wrap Up

The Local Yokels:

(Com)Post: inevitable, deserved, playing through it, no power. Times: fell, no shots, slump busted, circus act, classic series, Caps +.

The Neutral Observers: recap, staying the course, outplayed, slump busted. AP Wire.

The Other Side:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: OT win, large toll, pleased, understands, knows his role. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: solved, back in form, communicating, limiting, strengthening, notes. Penguin

Final Thoughts:

2 games down, 2 still to go.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Game 3 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-6-2009 Post-Mortem

7 will eventually beat 5... Onto the Battle Damage Assessment...

  • Simeon "the Saviour" Varlamov is quickly becoming the MVP of this series. 39 saves tonight on 42 shots against. You can't ask any goalie to do much more than he did tonight. Two of the Penguin Scum goals came from bad bounces off the defense in front of him and the third goal was a classic case of a player camped out in the crease that the NHL does not bother calling anymore.
  • After a pretty sloppy game where the Caps seemed content to sit on a one goal lead for most of the game, Nicklas Backstrom finally got a second goal with just under 2 minutes to play to force overtime. With the way the game had been heading, you had no right to expect that the Caps would force overtime after giving up the go-ahead goal with about 5 minutes to go.


  • Somehow the Caps were only charged with 3 giveaways but the Penguin Scum got 10 takeaways as the Caps continue to have trouble with the Penguin Scum's forechecking.
  • Bruce Boudreau out coached himself tonight. We understand that Sergei (#3) Fedorov got dinged up in the second period but when it became obivous that he was fine in the third period and overtime, there's no reason why A.O. should have stayed with Backstrom and Alexander "Slappy" Semin. If Boudreau wanted to jump start A.O. with Slappy, that's fine, but why hasn't Fedorov been the center on that line considering the success that line had at least year's World Championship and earlier this season before Fedorov got hurt? Fedorov centering Viktor Kozlov and Tomas Fleischmann is just a waste.
  • On a night where Marc-Andre Fleury was clearly not on his game, the Caps could only generate 23 shots on goal and didn't sustain any pressure on him. Talk about your missed opportunities.


  • When we complain about the officiating, rarely is it about what is called against us. Instead we usually have huge issues with what isn't called against the other team. Not so much tonight because the penalties on Slappy for hooking and Simeon the Saviour for slashing were bogus, plain and simple because they could have been called on both teams all night long. Furthermore, 7 Power Plays to 2 gives you an idea just how lopsided this officiating job by Mike Leggo and Dan O'Halloran was. While some of it had to do with the Caps skating in quicksand for most of the night, a good chunk of it had to do with the refs looking the other way when the Penguin Scum comitted fouls, especially tripping calls.
  • Alluded to earlier, 42 shots on goal allowed tonight by the Caps. 24 in the second and third periods and then another 8 in just 11:23 of overtime. At some point, Simeon the Saviour isn't going to be able to stop them.

Ok folks, if any of you had any notions that this was going to be easy or that the Caps could sweep this series you have lost them now. But before you go jumping off that cliff, not everything here tonight is bad. The Caps have been playing with fire so far in this series and now that the five game playoff winning streak is over, the Caps have plenty of incentive to get back to basics. Furthermore, as we mentioned during the first round and we'll say this again early Friday morning, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between being down 3-1 as compared to 3-0. The Penguin Scum are still in desperation mode and we can easily see complacency setting in on them on the basis of this one win because it is clear that they have little respect for the Caps. There were bad bounces all over the place tonight that lead to goals for both teams. The Penguin Scum got more of them than the Caps did tonight and as we said back in the preview, as evenly matched as these two teams are, that very well could end up being the difference in this series. So all that has been accomplished right now is that there will be a Game 5 in D.C. on Saturday night. The CBC is certainly happy for their traditional Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

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Game 3 Caps @ Penguin Scum 5-6-2009 Preview

Series J: Washington Capitals (56-35; 108 points; 1st Southeast Division, 2nd Eastern Conference, 4th Overall) @ Pittsburgh Penguin Scum (49-41; 99 points; 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 8th Overall):
Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #3, Caps Game #10, Road Game #4, NHL Game #223

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA. 7:08 pm. Washington TV: None. Radio: WJFK 106.7-FM. Pittsburgh TV: None. Radio: WXDX 105.9-FM. U.S. National TV: Versus. Canadian National TV: CBC, RDS (French).

Tonight, after three straight games at home, Caps head up to the land that employers forget about when the Series shifts up to Pittsburgh for two games. Historically against the Penguin Scum, the Caps Game 3 record is a carbon copy of their Game 2 record which is 2-5.

What The Natives Are Saying:

(Com)Post: high stakes, puck bunnies, getting it. Times: all-round whiner, third line offense, staying medium, getting physical, Game 3 Preview.

Neutral Views: AP Wire Preview, staying medium, happy to be home, cheap shot, looking ahead, even footing, still cocky, no comparison, no practice, very happy to be home.

Open Source Intelligence:

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: must win game, nothing else to do, staying focused, whah, whah, whah. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: being picked on, stick issues, injured, been here, done this.

What Do We Expect Tonight?:

Well folks, as was the case when the Caps were down 2-0 to the Rangers heading into Game 3, these two games in Pittsburgh are MUST WIN GAMES for the Penguin Scum. That means that the Penguin Scum are going to come out and play with a desperation that they have not had before in this series. The Caps have to be careful not to get complacent and think that they have a game or two to play with here because their 2-0 lead could turn into a 2-2 tie or even a 3-2 deficit in a hurry with three games in four nights being scheduled here. The Caps are saying that they're keeping focused and know just how fragile a 2-0 lead can be. However, they need to come out and play like they're down 2-0 in order to match the Penguin Scum. A good way to do that is to score first, which the Caps have yet to do that in this series. Another thing to keep in mind is that while the Caps have built a 2-0 lead, they have done it, like the Rangers did, with two one goal wins. We were a little disturbed with the ending of Monday night's Game 2 because after taking the first 2 goal lead of the series, the Caps sat back and tried to run out the clock. That's why Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby was able to complete her hat trick; the Caps let off the gas pedal and let her wildly swing her stick around the net. This series isn't over, not by a long shot, even if the Caps pull off a win tonight.

Caps Nut Official Prediction:

Caps 2
Penguin Scum 5
Winner by Fedotenko

(3-6 in the playoffs)

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