Tuesday, February 06, 2007

There are No Bears in Boston!

Okay, that's not me. That's a quote from one of the Mensa candidates sitting behind me during tonight's game. Did you know there were no bears in Boston?

Gee, there are also no Rangers in New York and no Penguins in Pittsburgh...huh. But enough trivia for the insane, on to the game.

I hate shootouts. I just absolutely hate them, even when the Caps win. Sure, they're exciting and I'll stand up and hold my breath like everyone else - because the game is literally being decided by a skills contest. That extra point hangs in the balance as each skater goes in one on one until someone wins it.

I blame the guys behind me for the outcome, by the way. They sat down in the second period and decided they wanted to see a shootout - a statement that was followed by a conversation about Jim Carrey...you know, the goalie who used to have Godzilla on his mask? Yeah, maybe upon reflection that whole "$21 ticket and a free pizza" deal for college students wasn't such a great idea.

In between the intellectually stimulating conversation, almost being beheaded by a puck, and then pulling a muscle in my neck trying to avoid said puck, there was also a hockey game.

And despite the outcome and gimmick used to achieve it, I thought the Caps again played pretty well. It's really amazing how much the defense has improved with the arrival of Jurcina, who again played a strong game against his former team. Olie made some great saves to back up his defenders but in the end he would let in one two many. Ben Clymer seemed particularly scrappy tonight, mixing it up with some pushing and shoving followed by a fight, and also managing some pretty decent play in the offensive zone...guess that night off woke him up a bit.

I'm not quite sure what's going on with Ovechkin, but it seemed like he just wasn't on the ice all that much and in the third period he started on a line with Fehr and Laich, with Semin taking his spot on the "first" line. I don't know if that was meant to be a demotion for Ovie or a promotion for Fehr and Laich, who each had strong games and a goal apiece. Maybe it was just Hanlon's way of trying to wake them all up (and maybe get Ovie away from Chara, which didn't work), but it still didn't seem to spark Ovechkin. Semin likewise looked lackluster at times, with the few shots he was able to rifle off going wide or being knocked out of harm's way by Thomas. Maybe it was the Bruins' defense, maybe both players were just having off nights. It's really hard to say.

So a good effort, not a great effort - and that difference right there is your extra point. The Caps played okay but against a team like Boston that has been struggling over the past few weeks and is desperate for a win, simply playing okay hockey isn't going to cut it. For some reason the Caps seem to come up with the remedy for whatever is ailing teams and players in slumps, and tonight was no exception.

They got lucky and picked up a point, but Boston still leaps over the Caps and into 12th place with the win. Things around the league don't look so good, either, as once again there seems to be no help from anyone. Every single team in action tonight that stands between the Caps and 8th place either won or picked up a point in a shootout. Next up on this homestand are the LA Kings - they may be struggling and it would be easy to overlook them, but let's not forget that they blanked the Panthers 7-0 just the other night.

It just goes to show that any team on any given night can win...just not the Caps.

It's been a 1 point night. Yay.


Netsrak said...

Almost beheaded by a puck? You weren't down in, oh, 103 or 104 when a puck went flying in that direction sometime late in the game, were you?

I too overheard quite a few people sitting near me who did not seem all that familiar with the sport of hockey, or familiar with any of the players beyond Ovechkin. But as annoying as dumb commentary may be, maybe it's a good thing... Perhaps these folks will come back, learn more, and eventually turn into rabid fans who voice their opinions all too frequently on blogs and message boards. :P

CapsChick said...

I was actually in 111...it was funny because no one could find the puck, so people were digging through coats and crawling on the floor for about 15 minutes before someone located it. I think it's the first time in years that a puck actually came into those seats while I was in them - it scared the crap out of me.

Hmmm... Having fans come back to games = good. Having more blogs and crazy people (no offense!) on the message boards? The jury's still out!

Shelby said...

It sucks to hear people who know nothing about hockey, especially as a player. Still, attendance is coming up and that's what our team needs. Maybe all the clueless ones just need a game or two (and maybe an informed fan) to teach them and make them true fans.

It was AMAZING to see Laich get a goal. He has been working hard this season and has performed well, although under the radar. He's also one of the nicest people I've ever met and seeing him do well always makes me happy. Ovie, on the hand, just looked off. Was it just me or was putting him in the shootout not the brightest idea? I don't know if Hugs was watching the same game we were.

(I've been thinking, what'll be the fate of Gordo around trade time? I have a feeling other teams are going to be impressed by our secret PK weapon. Will we be able to keep him, I hope?)

CapsChick said...

It's true, attendance is up and there was a pretty good crowd there last night - I shouldn't be such a snob :) And to be fair, most new fans aren't as obnoxious in their cluelessness...these guys were just extra entertaining!

I thought Laich had another great game and I was excited to see him score - you probably know he's one of my faves! Ovie is struggling, and I agree, he probably shouldn't have been in the shootout. Of course, people have come to expect him to be there, so that may have been the thought process...

I think Gordon's place is pretty secure because the coaching staff seems to like what he's doing. I'm more concerned about Bradley and Clymer - they've each been healthy scratches and haven't done a whole lot this year...I'd expect at least one of them to go before the deadline. The way Clymer was playing last night I'd say he knows it, too. Definitely looked like a man fighting for his job, which is good to see.

Brit said...

Glad to see you didn't get beheaded! I could never get to a Caps game when I lived in DC (last year), it depressed me that I was so close but yet couldn't go. I hate school. LOL

The conversation sounds stimulating behind you... almost as stimulating as the conversation that the people behind me at a Lightning game were having about religion, while the game was in overtime. (I understand you blaming him, I blame the guy that said 'Kipper is getting a shutout' for the Flames loss. He said it, and 30 seconds later the Blackhawks scored)

Victor said...

In 113, I'm two rows in front of where Yvan Labre frequently sits, and two rows behind where opposing-team reps frequently sit in their comp seats. I swear, I'm in the comp-seat section.

BTW, you forgot to mention the Caps profiled Horn Guy during one of the TV timeouts.