Who: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Where: Verizon Center
When: Tuesday, April 1, 7:00 pm
Broadcast Info: CSN, FSN-South
And so it all comes down to this.
In a week, a month, a season full of "biggest games", this one really is the biggest of them all. Win and the Caps are still alive for both eighth and the division; win and it puts pressure on all the teams they're chasing to also win; win and it brings the Caps into a tie for first in the division, an automatic third place entry into the big show.
But lose...and we might as well call it a night. No pressure, right?
The last time these two teams met, a week ago tonight, the result was an all-out, physical grudge match with the Caps holding the upper hand offensively. It was for most of the game a Caps win - everywhere but on the scoreboard, where two fluky Carolina goals balanced out the two nicer ones by our Russian duo.
Skip forward a week and the Caps have pulled to within two points, the Canes are on the run, and the intensity just got ramped up to danger level. Washington is playing desperate hockey right now and will continue to do so - but they'll be facing a healthier Carolina team who should see Justin Williams and Ray Whitney back in the lineup.
So the Caps are certainly feeling the pressure to finish out the season with three straight wins, including one tonight. But what about the Canes? They're not giving away much. Their quotes are fairly mundane and veiled, revealing little of what's going on underneath the polished surface.
...until our Cheap Seats hidden camera uncovered the ugly truth:
[Erik Cole walks into the players' lounge staring at a newspaper.]
EC: Tsk, this quandary in the Mesopotamian region is really becoming cataclysmic. [flips to the sports page] Oh my goodness!
[Eric Staal enters, chuckling to himself.]
EC: Hey, Staalsy, did you...what's so funny?
ES: [looks confused] Uh...
EC: [sighs] Did you hear a joke?
EC: See something funny? Maybe a picture of a monkey?
EC: ...did someone say "butt" in front of you?
ES: Heh! Hahahahahahaha! Butt! Erik say butt, hahahaha...
EC: Right. Okay. Bananas are on the counter, buddy. [Ray Whitney walks in.] Hey, Whit, did you see this? The standings?
RW: Yeah, I did. The Caps, eh? They're starting to get hot.
EC: Indeed. Their éclat is quite disturbing.
RW: Yeah, and the fact that they keep winning ain't good, either.
EC: [under his breath] Imbeciles...
EC: Er, I said, um...unbelievable. That the Caps...keep winning.
[Rod Brind'amour strolls past, lifting dumbbells as he walks]
RW: Hey Brindy, did you see this? We're only two points up now.
RB: Keep working hard. Push it. Push it.
RW: Uh, Rod?
RB: Come on, feel the burn. That's how you beat them. Feeeeel the burn. Yeah, baby.
RW: Okay. Clearly he's...busy. Well, don't worry too much. We'll get 'em on Tuesday, Colesy.
EC: I suppose.
[They both glance up as Patrick Eaves wanders over nervously.]
PE: So...the standings, eh? Pretty intense.
EC: Sure, Patrick.
RW: I guess, Patrick.
PE: Uh, you can call me Eavesy, guys, it's okay.
EC: That wouldn't be fitting, Patrick.
EC: Due to your recent accession we aren't ready to use anything but formalities.
RW: You're still new, kid. We don't use nicknames for new guys.
[Joe Corvo walks by and waves.]
EC: Oh, hey, Joey!!
RW: Corvs, what's happening, man?
PE: Hey, hang on - Joe is new, too! He came at the same time I did, remember?
[Ray and Erik exchange a look.]
RW: Right, well...um...
EC: Whits, did you see there's a DVD sale at Sam Goody this weekend?
RW: Get out! I've been jonesing for some new flicks, we should go.
[Patrick wanders off, muttering angrily to himself.]
RW: Whew, that was close.
EC: I know, right? Hey, who is that in the state of repose over there?
RW: Sleeping? That's Wes. Hey, Wes! Wake up, man.
[Glen Wesley sits up and looks around, confused.]
GW: Wha-...what? What do you want?
RW: You were sleeping. Hey, have you seen th-
GW: [interrupting] How could I have been sleeping? Damn whippersnappers running around making all this racket, how the hell can anyone get a minute to think around here?
EC: [glancing around at the almost empty room] Glen, everyone's gone. It's quiet.
GW: And turn that music down! Crazy rock and roll you kids play is driving me nuts.
RW: [whispering] Erik, there's no music playing.
EC: Shhh, just leave it alone. [loudly to Glen] Okay, Wes, we'll have them extinguish the cacophany.
GW: Exting the what-any? Speak English, youngster! None of this phony baloney German or French or what have you. I tell you, in my day there was only one language and we were proud to-zzzzzzzzzzz...[he falls back asleep]
[Rod walks back the other way, still lifting his dumbbells.]
RB: Yeah, push it. Push it good. Ahh, push it. Push it real good.
EC: Let's...go into the other room, Whit.
RW: [eying Brind'Amour warily] Yeah. Yeah, good idea.
[The two wander out of the room and push open the door of the changing area.]
EC: So in order to hold off the Caps we'll have to OH MY GOD!
Bret Hedican: Shut the door! SHUT THE DOOR!!
RW: W-what the hell are you wearing?
BH: I said, shut the door!
EC: It's...you're in...oh my god.
RW: Bret, is that one of Kristi's skating costumes?!
BH: [sinking onto a bench with a sigh] Maybe. I just...I wanted to see what it felt like. But I'm taking it off now, I swear!
EC: Thank GOD! We'll wait out here. Come on, Whit.
[Ray starts to follow but stops as Erik exits and looks back at Bret.]
RW: So...how did it feel?
BH: [shrugging] Eh, not bad actually. Supportive. Breezy. Moves with you.
RW: [nods] Cool.
[There is an awkward silence before Ray turns and quickly walks out again, meeting up with Erik in the hallway.]
EC: I'm feeling quite anxious at the moment. My nerves are fraying. Did you see that roseate spangled ensemble he was attired in??
RW: It was quite sparkly and pink. Sit down on the couch for a minute, relax. Try not to think about it.
EC: Oh, the sparkles...the sparkles!
RW: I said try not to think about it! Here, read the paper for a bit.
EC: Oh, the Caps...the Caps!
[Rod makes another pass through the room, still working out. Staal wanders in after him looking perplexed as usual.]
RB: You can do side bends or sit-ups...but please don't lose that butt.
EC: [jumping to his feet again] That's it. I need to vacate the premises, get some air. Let's go out for lunch.
RW: Good idea. Staalsy, want to come get something to eat with us?
RW: How 'bout barbecue?
[The three exit, Ray guiding Staal through the doorway before he runs into the wall.]
Special thanks to Margee over at SportSquee, whose brilliance in pioneering this type of insanity far surpasses whatever I have concocted here...
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Who: Washington Capitals vs. Carolina Hurricanes