Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gameday Preview: Caps vs. Rangers (+ Nickname Contest Champion Revealed!)

Longest blog post title ever...thank you, thank you!

Who: Your Nation’s Capitals vs. New York Rangers
Where: Verizon Center
601 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
When: Saturday, Feb 10, 7:00 pm

Broadcast Info: CSN, WTEM 980 AM; MSG, 1050 ESPN Radio

Media Notes:

Local media feeling the Jurcina-Love:
Washington Post
Washington Times

Rags-Bolts Recap:
New York Times

Slooooow Newspaper:
New York Post

Last Game: December 30 in New York, Caps lost 4-1
- Continuing their knack for snapping teams out of slumps, the Caps played victim to the Rangers as the blueshirts ended a season-long seven game losing streak. The Caps in the meantime continued a slump of their own, extending their losing streak to four.
- The Caps were haunted by some old friends on the scoreboard, as former Cap Michael Nylander had a goal and an assist and fellow former Cap and general jackass Jagr added an assist against their old club.
- With all the starpower, though, it would be a new face in Petr Prucha who would draw first and last blood against the Caps.
- Ben Clymer spoiled Lundqvist’s shutout bid with just under three minutes remaining, cutting the Rangers’ lead to three 8 seconds after Prucha made it 4-0.
- As has been the case for most of the season, specialty teams would tell the tale of the game for the Caps – this time not in the effectiveness of the other team but in their own ineffectiveness. The Caps were given 8 power plays and connected on exactly none of them, while the Rangers converted one of their five chances with the extra man.
- Numbers and goals aside, this game will likely be remembered more for the fireworks than anything else. The first period was fairly mild, but as the second period unrolled the hostility ramped up, with both teams trading roughing minors throughout the period before a last minute fight between Brashear and Orr. Now cut to the third period – Shanahan, taking exception with Brash’s treatment of their precious Czech superstar, challenged big Donald to a little go-round. On their way to the penalty box, Aaron Ward said something to Brashear, who responded by punching Ward and getting ejected. Colton Orr then took the opportunity to greet Ovechkin with a cross-check to the face, drawing the ire of Morrisonn and Semin.

Things to Look for:
- Flashback to December, the rematch between Washington and Atlanta after a brawl-filled hockey game – no fights, no ejections, no payback, just good solid hockey.
- Flashback #2 – Buffalo-Washington, round 2 – one fight and a questionable spear by le Petit Briere.
- So after the final game of 2006, which resulted in fights and suspensions, what kind of fireworks can we look for? I’d love to say a lot, but frankly it’s probably not going to happen. On the one hand, the Rangers are still the Rangers...they’ve still got Orr and Kasparaitis, and have now added the ever-classy Mr. Avery to their stable of unstable stars. On the other, both teams are still in the playoff fight and may not want to risk two points on initiating any form of payback. I’d say the latter carries more weight for these guys.
- All predictions are pointing to a near-sellout crowd for this Saturday night tilt in downtown DC. Like all Caps-Rangers games, the crowd should be boisterous and unfortunately speckled with drunk Rangers fans. The hopefully boisterous atmosphere combined with the requisite booing of Jagr should create a bit of an advantage for the home team.
- The Caps are once again helped out by the scheduling gods, facing a Rangers team that is playing the second of back to back games. However, the first of the two games was a shutout victory at home, so they’ll be flying high – the Caps need to bring them down to earth right away by, what else? taking a lead early.
- Coming into last night’s game, the Rangers were again mired in a losing streak, something that the Caps tend to remedy. The good news? New York snapped it against Tampa. The bad news? It extends the Rangers lead in the standings over the Caps to 3 points...
- Despite snapping his 3-game pointless drought Thursday night against LA, Ovechkin simply hasn’t looked like Ovechkin lately. His line was effective in the win but he was not, again finding himself the victim of a defensive shadow. However – the Rangers blueline is simply not as scary as those of the teams Ovie has faced over the last week. I have no doubt that he’ll be able to skate circles around good ol’ Marek and the boys. Look for him to find the back of the net once more, maybe a few times.

- Last night the Rangers did something the Caps have been trying to achieve all season - they got almost all secondary scoring. Hollweg and Orr, not exactly known for their offensive moves as much as for their general offensiveness, each scored their first career goals. Avery rounded out the gruesome threesome with his first New York goal. Wonder when his first New York dive will surface...
- After going 0 for 4 on the power play in their last game and 0 for 15 in their last four games, Hanlon has finally promised some tweaks to the system. It looks like Semin will mercifully be taken off the point, with Zubie and Heward along the boards, Clark in front of the net, and Ovie doing whatever the heck he wants to do...let’s hope it works.

Okay, kids, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for...the conclusion of the first ever NAME THAT PLAYER contest! Can you feel the excitement?

First of all, I have to say there were lots of great submissions. There were also a few bad ones :)and some that I’ve used before, but all entertaining nonetheless. Because of the sheer volume and high quality, I felt it was only right to augment my own creations with the contributions of you, the loyal readers. I tried to include at least one from every entrant, but if you don’t see your name this time around, have no fear – I feel another contest coming on in the near future, stay tuned.

So without further ado, I present your Nickname Champion...

Boyd “Muffin” Gordon, submitted by
the Peerless Prognosticator!

This entry wins the prize for being creative yet slightly obscure, plus having great word of mouth – I had at least three people mention it to me along with their own entries. Great job as usual, Peerless! Fabulous prize to follow (as soon as I’ve figured out what it should be...)

And to everyone else, a hearty thanks for making this somewhat bizarre competition a rousing success! Your nicknames and mine appear below:

Possible Lineup for the Caps
8-Alex “Wodka Cranberry” Ovechkin, 9-Dainius “Tap-In” Zubrus, 17-Chris “Lois &” Clark
28-Alexander “Slippery On Ice” Semin, 21-Brooks “Clark's Look-a-” Laich, 14-Eric “County” Fehr
18-Matt “Princess of All Things” Pettinger, 15-Boyd “Muffin” Gordon, 20-Richard “Butt Rockets” Zednik
87-Donald “He Was Asking for It” Brashear, 16-Brian “Pop-Up” Sutherby, 27-Ben “Wrong Gloves” Clymer

44-Steve “McQueen” Eminger, 55-Jeff “Charles” Schultz
23-Milan “Sea” Jurcina, 26-Shaone “Caonnery” Morrisonn
6-Jamie “Billy Goat Gruff” Heward, 52-Mike “It’s Not Easy Being” Green

1-Brent “Not-So-Magic” Johnson, 37-Olie “Piercing Glare” Kolzig

Possible Lineup for the Rangers

81-Marcel “Stop Calling Me Marian” Hossa, 82-Martin “Squeaky” Straka, 68-Jaromir “Hugh Jass/Puffnuts” Jagr (That was a tie...both made me laugh)
14-Brendan “Jagr’s Babysitter” Shanahan, 92-Michael “Tricky Mickey” Nylander, 16-Sean “So Obnoxious Hollywood Kicked Him Out” Avery
25-Petr “the Newest Cap-Killer” Prucha, 5-Matt “Eat Fiber for a Healthy” Cullen, 41-Jed “Farmer Boy” Ortmeyer
44-Ryan “Fixing a” Hollweg, 19-Blair “Place Your” Betts, 28-Colton “Ovie’s Personal Dentist” Orr

3-Michal “Scarecrow, I Think I’ll Miss You” Roszival, 8-Marek “One Lucky Move” Malik
4-Aaron “The Mouth” Ward, 23-Karel “Rocky” Rachunek
46-Daniel “Beaver Fever” Girardi, 51-Fedor “Rootin’” Tyutin

30-Henrik “Cover Boy” Lundqvist, 80-Kevin “Two” Weekes “Notice”


Netsrak said...

The Peerless got "Boyd 'Muffin' Gordon" from an Olie Kölzig quote, so I think Olie deserves partial credit. You should buy each of them half a beer.

I'm extremely disappointed that "Sean 'Élysées' Avery" didn't make the cut. And come on, "Michael 'Knights Who Say' Nylander"-- that's classic! :(

And I'm bummed that the Rags' scratches means that "Jason 'Half Koala, Half Frog' Krog" had to go unused entirely.

I'm going to go cry now. :(

CapsChick said...

Don't cry - there's going to be another one soon enough! And I figured that some of your names would show up in the comments. ;)

Believe me, if I could get close enough to Olie to buy him half a beer...darn that pesky restraining order. (Of course, Peerless may have a restraining order, too, so I may not be buying anyone a beer!)

Netsrak said...

The Peerless is shrouded in mystery.

It is known that he likes beer, but my guess is that you'll have to arrange some sort of covert drop-off operation-- you know, "Leave the beer in a plain paper bag behind the speed limit sign in front of the Sterling post office at exactly 4:43 PM. Come alone, leave immediately after making the drop, and no funny business." Something like that.

hockeygirl said...

Oh man.

Alex "Wodka Cranberry" Ovechkin. I'm glad I saw that YouTube clip or it wouldn't have made sense. That said, I almost fell off my chair laughing!

I'm glad to see some of mine made the list. *air punch*

BTW, my word verification is ZBERSUS which I think should be Zubie's new name.