The Shootout Returns to Washington

Florida 2 - Washington 1 F-SO

One of the things most people made note of upon Viktor Kozlov's signing with the Caps was his proficiency in the shootout. Tonight, he was exactly as good as advertised. Sadly, so were the rest of his teammates. Once again, the Caps didn't do anything particularly badly (aside from a couple of bad penalties at the start of the game), but they also didn't do anything well enough to come away with two points. This is getting sort of repetitive, no?

  • I hate to trot out the tried-and-true "hot goalie" cliche, but Thomas Vokoun was on fire tonight. His save on Alex Ovechkin's power-play one-timer at the end of OT had me shaking my head in disbelief.
  • At the other end, Olie Kolzig was equally brilliant. He is in a zone right now. If only someone could find a way to close up his five-hole during shootouts...
  • Dave Steckel had a very good, if very frustrating, night. Chris Clark's goal came immediately after Steckel hustled to the corner to beat out an icing call despite being at the end of his shift. (I could note that, had he failed to beat out the icing, he would have been forced to go back for a defensive zone draw, since there are no line changes for the team that ices the puck, so that maybe it wasn't so much heroism as self-preservation. But I won't.) He also managed to create some quality scoring chances. If he could find a way to get the puck more than an inch off of the ice, the Capitals probably skate away with a regulation win tonight.
  • Both Clark and Alexander Semin were both absent from the bench during OT and the shootout. Which is foreboding, to say the least. Anybody think the Caps' chances would've improved if they could've trotted Semin out during the shootout?
  • The AP report lists the announced attendance as 10, 526, the second lowest of the season. If the actual number of butts in seats was even two thirds that, I'll eat my hat.
  • Speaking of hats, classy move by Brent Johnson, wearing the Burgundy and Gold on the bench in place of his usual RWB.
  • If I told you that both goaltenders in tonight's game had 2.85 GAAs, would you believe me? Not to mention the fact that their respective save percentages are seperated by just .009. Methinks the Caps might considering scoring a little more often.
  • Ovechkin's point streak ends at nine games. Here's hoping he starts another such streak Friday night.
Next up is Friday night in Raleigh against the Hurricanes.


So That's Why They Call It a 'Power' Play

Washington 5 - Carolina 2

If you think back to the long long ago, the before time, you may remember a Washington Capitals team that, under Glen Hanlon, would regularly come out of the locker room and dominate the first few minutes of the game, only to give up a goal on their opponent's first shot. They would then proceed to fall behind over the course of the next two periods, leading up to a frantic third period in which their valiant comeback attempt would fall just short.Last night, they completely flipped that script.

  • Olie Kolzig was absolutely brilliant in the first half of the second period, standing on his head several times to keep the Caps in it early until they could finally start generating some offense.
  • The Caps' power play failed to score on all but three of their four chances. It makes Hanlon's insistence on keeping Alex Ovechkin on the point in lieu of Mike Green all the more baffling.
  • Speaking of Alex Ovechkin, he appears to have shaved. It is a testament to his consistent excellence that I consider this more notable than his two-goal night. Don't look now, but Ovechkin is now in a five-way tie for second in the league in goal scoring.
  • Speaking of Mike Green, stop taking stupid penalties Mike Green!
  • Erik Cole certainly made Milan Jurcina and John Erskine look rather silly, didn't he?
  • If I'm going to complain about poor officiating after Caps' losses, it's only fair I point out that tonight's referees made some questionable calls in the Caps' favor, with the phantom tripping call on Matt Cullen behind the net being the most notable. It's always interesting to see the referee with a better vantage point decide not to call a penalty, only to have the trail official throw his arm in the air.
I think the general mood is pretty well summed up by this excerpt from the AP recap of the game: "'I can't tell you,' Michael Nylander said with a smile. 'Seriously, I can't say anything.'" Yes, you read that right, Michael Nylander does, in fact, have the appropriate facial muscles to achieve a smile, and last night, he had every reason to use them.

On a completely unrelated note, if you were looking for a reason to become irratinally angry at someone today, read this. Countdown to enraged reaction throughout the Caps' blogosphere in 3...2...1...


All He Does Is Score Goals: Part IV

Washington 4 - Philadelphia 3 F/OT

I didn't see the game today, so I'll keep things simple, as I'm basing my whole recap on the box score.

  • Good - Opening up a three goal lead. I don't have the stats in front of me, but I would guess that today was only the second or third time the Caps have had a lead that big at any point in a game.
  • Bad - Blowing a three goal lead.
  • Good - Not giving up after blowing a three goal lead. This is especially encouraging, as this is a team that packed it in after blowing a one goal lead in the 2nd period on Wednesday.
  • Especially good - Donald Brashear. All he does is score goals.

This is only the second time all season that the Capitals have managed a win when allowing their opponent to score more than one goal. They had previously been 1-14-1 in such games.

Hanlon 'Relieved' and So Am I

Yesterday, as you probably know by now, Capitals' GM George McPhee gave every Capitals fan something to be thankful during America's Thanksgiving, as Glen Hanlon was relieved of his duties as head coach. I recieved the news via a brief text message from my brother, and I will admit that m excitement was tempered slightly when I called him up only to find out that the team had replaced Hanlon with the team's third consecutive head coach with no previous NHL experience.

A day later, and I am decidedly less sour about the decision to install Hershey bench boss Bruce Boudreau, whose name I will have to learn to spell correctly. By all accounts, he is a more offense-oriented coach than Hanlon, which is exactly what this team needs right now. My biggest complaint about Hanlon was his insistence on playing too much of a defense-centric style despite a roster stacked mostly with explosive offensive stars. Hopefully, we can expect to see a team that, through the first quarter of the season has been, and I'm being generous here, altogether inept on offense turn things around and start scoring some goals. If not, I'm willing to give George McPhee the benefit of the doubt and assume that Boudreau's interim tag actually means "interim" instead of "if he has anything resembling success we will remove this tag so we don't have to go out and find a real head coach".

Should the team continue to underperform, the focus shifts now exclusively to George McPhee. While there are some who have been calling for his head for years, I genuinely belive that he has done a pretty good job with what he has had to work with. He spent a large part of his tenure with this team handcuffed by an owner who, at the time, was looking to become a slightly more portly version of Daniel Snyder, and we are only just now starting to see what he can do when left mostly to his own devices. His drafting has been very good of late, albeit this is due in part to the bevy of high first rounders like Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alzner. His moves during this past off season were, in theory at least, exactly what the team needed. The only way I see McPhee departing at the end of the season is if the team continues to perform as miserably as they have through the first twenty-one games and finishes in the basement yet again. Even then, though, I think he deserves at least one more season after this to finally give some of his draft picks to really gel (I'm looking at you, Karl Alzner) and free agents to finally acclimate themselves. That said, I'm still naming him the interim KHFC Whipping Boy for the time being, if only because I have no one else to pick on with Hanlon gone.

Game one of the B^2 era starts this afternoon in Philly. I won't be able to watch the game, as I have work today, but I will be checking the score obsessively when I should be doing my job. Here's hoping that the team can finally start to turn the corner.


My Feelings About Last Night's Game

Tampa Bay 5 - Washington 2



Caps' Offense Remains Mystifying

Can we officially declare that the Caps simply aren't a very good team right now? After an ugly, sloppy, painful to watch 2-1 loss to a Florida Panthers team that is pretty awful in it's own right, that is about the only conclusion I can come to. Let's move on to the quick hits:

  • 7:30 PM start times really suck. Not as bad as 8:00 start times, but still pretty awful. More awful than that? The Caps' power play, which still features approximately no Mike Green whatsoever.
  • Remember a week and a half ago, when the Caps beat the best team in the conference and had their best overall performance by employing an effective cycle in the offensive zone? Per Joe B. and Locker, Glen Hanlon tonight specifically wanted the Caps NOT to cycle the puck but to "funnel" the puck. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
  • Actually, I am saying. For the love of god, fire Hanlon.
  • Please?
  • In Hanlon's defense, Viktor Kozlov was, once again, mostly silent. Is it too early to declare his signing a bust and start praying for stem-cell research to cure Eric Fehr's wonky back?
  • It would also be nice if someone could find a cure for Tom Poti's inexplicable desire to never be in position along the blue line to keep the puck in, while we're talking about mostly useless free agents. Seriously, coach... Mike. Green.
  • You know who didn't play particularly well tonight? Thomas Vokoun. You know who made him look like he was? Every single player on the Capitals' team. What is so difficult about finishing off a scoring chance? Isn't this why the team traded away Dainius Zubrus?
  • Chris Clark looked good, I guess. I mean, it's nice to have him back and all, but the team still only managed one goal.
Between the Caps' woes and the Redskins' recent inability to score on six different attempts from inside the five yard line, I am becoming increasingly despondent over the state of my favorite teams. Which is good, I guess, if you're a purveyor of beer, wine and/or spirits in the Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood of D.C. But for the rest of us? This sucks.


Capitals 2 - Tampa Bay 5

As the saying goes: "If it ain't broke, juggle your line combinations and completely alter your overall gameplan."

Or so it would seem based on Glen Hanlon's handling of the team in tonight's 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay. After having success against the best team in the NHL by employing an aggressive forecheck, Hanlon elected to have the team play a more passive, trapping-style of game against a Lightening team that, much like the Senators, has most of it's firepower centered on one line. As a result, the Caps came out pretty flat in the first period, and were very lucky that the Lightning mailed the first period in as well. I don't think I've ever seen a more boring period of hockey played.

Hanlon also juggled the line combonations pretty drastically, at one point going so far as to send Nicklas Backstrom onto the ice in between similarly talented offensive dynamos Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley. Why? Why would he do that? There's no possible explanation for such a thing that could possibly make any sense. Although, to be fair, "The Killer B's" would be a great nickname for that line.

Okay. Rant over. Let's move on to my quick hit thoughts for the game:

  • Olie Kolzig looked kind of shaky at times. This team can't afford to have him do that. Ever.
  • Hello again, offensive-minded Mike Green. We missed you.
  • Donald Brashear, for the second time in three games, took a stupid penalty late in the game that really handcuffed any chance the Caps had of mounting a comeback.
  • Chris Bourque had 7:27 time on ice. How is it that Brashear and Bradley can get playing time with an offensive minded guy like Backstrom, but Bourque is left to languish on the fourth line and asked to fill a role he isn't really suited for?
  • After outshooting Ottawa 35-28, the Caps flipped the script and were outshot 34-25.
The Caps are now 2-5 at home, so perhaps it's a good thing that, after a four day layoff, their next two games are on the road against dvision rivals. Of course, one of those rivals are the Florida Panthers who have had the Caps' number for the last few seasons, and the other is this same Tampa Bay team. The Lightning are 6-0-1 at home, for those of you keeping score.


That's "Nicklas." With a "C."

Hi there, friends and neighbors! Let me very briefly apologize for my exceptionally long absence from the ol' blog here. I was really busy there for a while. I even missed the first three games of the season. After that, as you probably know, the Caps haven't done a whole lot worth writing about.

Tonight's win over Ottawa, however, is worth writing about. It is one thing to record a win against the team with the best record in the NHL. It is quite another to go into their home building and do it. IT's even better still when your team comes into the game mired in a soul-crushing slump that has catapulted you to the bottom of the league standings. Yet that is exactly, as you may have figured out by now, what the Washington Capitals did tonight, beating the Ottawa Senators by a final tally of 4-1.What follows here are various thoughts I had about tonight's game, organized by the player about whom I was thinking, in an easy to digest, bullet point format (including one needlessly ignorant statement), because I can no longer be bothered to string together a series of coherent paragraphs, sentences, or, on occasion, letters. Sooojruofm.

  • Alex Ovechkin - Had a good game. 1-1-2. Meh. Call me when he has a ten-goal night, because at this point, there's nothing more he can do to impress me more than he already has.
  • Victor Kozlov - He's playing much better after moving to his natural right wing position. This is a phrase I will probably write quite often. (Note to idiot coaches: Yes! I know it seems weird! But most players do, in fact, thrive when assigned to the roles for which they are best suited!)
  • NIKLAS BACKSTROM NICKLAS BACKSTROM!!!! He's playing much better after moving to his natural center position. It took him sixteen often-frustrating games, but Nick With a C finally kicks off the first six game goal scoring streak of his career. I'm assuming. (Ed. Note: How is it that I knew, almost immediately, that Backstrom had scored the goal while Smokin Al and Locker had to spend twenty minutes analyzing the replay? Because I saw Michael Nylander immediately reach into the net, pick up the puck, and skate off with a souvenir that will probably have some sentimental value for his young teammate. Because that's the kind of classy veteran Michael Nylander is. I guess what I'm trying to say is: I can't stand Al Koken.)
  • Brooks Laich - Played much of the game on the first line alongside Ovechkin and Michael Nylander, which I think is a brilliant move on the part of Glen Hanlon. If you can't put Chris Clark on Ovie's right wing, why not put his eerily similar looking doppelganger out there?
  • Speaking of Chris Clark, what's that guy's deal? He was practically invisible out on the ice tonight, almost as if he wasn't even there. Not the kind of play you expect from your captain.
  • Olie Kolzig - Had his best game of the season, I thought. His shutout against Carolina might have been better, but screw you, I missed that game because I was doing a play. I am a very busy and important person.
  • Kerry Fraser - Should not be required to wear a helmet. Period. The excess hair-product fumes that are trapped underneath that helmet seem to have done to Fraser's brain what they would otherwise be doing to our planet's ozone layer.
  • Chris Borque - Should consider plastic surgery. He could probably get more ice time on Ovechkin's line if his face starts looking more like a particular Lithuanian Devil. Of course, he'd also need to start skating on stilts. Even so, it's got to be better than the two-or-three-shifts-then-ride-the-bench strategy he and Donald Brashear employed tonight.
Did you find the needlessly ignorant statement? If you said to yourself "Biff, you moron, Chris Clark is on injured reserve", then you were right. If, however, you said it out loud, you probably should see a mental health professional.

Next game is at home Saturday night against the 0-6 on the road Tampa Bay Lightning.


An Open Letter to the City of Philadelphia

Eat it.

What The Hell Just Happened?

I'm watching the four letter network's "Countdown to Monday" or whatever the hell they call their MNF pregame show, and just now, at 8:04 PM EST on September 17, 2007, Tony Kornheiser, out of the blue, just compared 'Skins QB Jason Campbell to none other than Alex Ovechkin. Even scarier? After they threw it back to Stu Scott, Scott threw out a reference to both Ovechkin AND Crosby. Please, somebody, tell me you saw it too, because I'm still not sure I believe my ears.

Needless to say, both Scott and Kornheiser will probably be fired by tomorrow morning.


Training Camp - Day I

So it begins. Today was day number one of the Capitals' 2007-08 season as training camp kicked off in earnest, and I, as has become my custom for the past week, made the trek down to K-Plex née KCI. Unfortunately, do to some ill advised consumption of some very tasty Jameson the previous evening, I wasn't able to get there in time for all the "pregame" festivities. I arrived just as the actual practice was starting and was immediately overwhelmed by it all. The Caps had somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty hockey players spanning two full size ice sheets, not to mention all the other attractions like the Vezina, Selke, Norris and Calder Trophies upstairs, or the new jerseys (finally) for sale in the team shop. So I'll go ahead and leave any sort of in depth analysis of the first day of camp to the experts (check out OFB's liveblogging, plus updates from Tarik and Corey). I will, however, quickly note that Victor Kozlov appeared to take a puck to the face towards the beginning of the scrimmage and was not seen or heard from again for the remainder of practice. Hopefully that will prove to be nothing significant. (UPDATE: Corey Masisak strikes again.)

The most interesting part of the day, for me at least, was the "Town Hall" style meeting with Ted Leonsis and Chris Clark (Olie Kolzig was also advertised, but he didn't show). Now I'm not a fan of town hall meetings (link is to The Onion and is hilarious), but I had nothing better to do. I'm glad I went because, as it turns out, Chris Clark is a glorious fountain of great quotes. One of the people in attendance asked Clark how much he, as captain, has input into personnel decisions. Clark responded by saying that the only thing management ever asks him about is what a particular player might be like off of the ice, explaining that there are some guys who are really talented who are complete knuckleheads away from the rink. Immediately, a lady in the back asked Clark to spill the dirt on which guys he's played with were the knuckleheads and Chris, after diplomatically responding that he has been very lucky in his career, finally gave in and said "I think you guys had one here right before the lockout." He stopped just shy of adding "*cough*jagr*cough*". The comment drew immediate laughter and applause from everyone in the room.

Some other highlights from the meeting:
-Chris Clark comparing Milan Jurcina to the cast of the film 300, in response to a question about which player showed up to camp in the best shape. He went so far as to say it might be a good idea to have Milan walk shirtless past the opposing team's dressing room as a scare tactic.
-Clark talking about why his offensive numbers wouldn't necessarily go down moving to the third line, explaining that, when on a line with Ovechkin "you're always up against Chara" versus the checking line playing against some of the more defensively suspect players opposing teams have to offer.
-Clark admitted that the team had probably not taken the shootout seriously enough in practice last year and said it was something he thought they would spend more time working on this year.
-In response to a question about low attendance at home games, Clark said "we need to steal some of those Redskins fans", which garnered enthusiastic applause.
-The only thing of note that came out of Ted's mouth was some additional information about the "Rivals Package" they've set up to try to keep games against the Penguins and Flyers et. al. from turning into de facto road games. Apparently, the plan is to market these rivals plans for awhile and then jack up the price of single game tickets to the games the package applies to, thus further discouraging opposing fans from making the trip (or profiting handsomely off of them should they still decide to come). So if you aren't a season ticket holder, or at least a partial plan holder, you may want to seriously consider going in for one of those packages, if only to avoid getting gouged.

I've got a ton of pictures from today's festivities, but I'm also pressed for time and I won't be able to post them today, but I promise that I will, barring any technical difficulties, have them up for you by tomorrow morning. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to make it out to the Plex tomorrow, so I can't say whether I'll have any more updates for you over the weekend.


Caps' Media Day - Completely Fabricated Edition

Today is Media Day down at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. I was not issued an invitation, which is not surprising after I let it slip to a Caps official that my only real motivation for attending would have been to get close enough to Dave Steckel to enact my sweet revenge. But I'm dedicated to bringing you the in depth coverage you can't get anywhere else, so I wasn't about to let a little thing like a direct order from team management not to show up get in the way of bringing you a hard hitting story. So I did some investigating, and eventually, I was able to get Dave Steckel on the phone for a hard-hitting, in-depth interview, the transcript of which follows:

KHFC: So, Dave, please explain to my readers, in as much detail as possible, why you are trying to kill me?

DS: Who is this?

KHFC: Very funny. Seriously though, what's the deal with that?

DS: How did you get this number?

KHFC: Given your precarious position on the Caps' depth chart, shouldn't you really be more focused on trying to kill, say, Brooks Laich?

DS: Why would I try to kill Brooksie?

KHFC: Why would you try to kill me, you psycho?!

DS: ... (hangs up)

So, there you have it folks. Dave Steckel: a man who clearly wants to off his own teammates to ensure himself a spot on the opening night roster.


Rookie Camp - Day 5: Live From Voorhees!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited to report to you that hockey season has, more or less, arrived. Per Tarik, the gang's all here. Media day is tomorrow, followed by the kickoff of training camp down at Kettler on Friday. There's a chill in the air. And to top it all off, today, players wearing Capitals sweaters took the ice to play a full sixty minutes against a group of opponents wearing Flyers black. Granted, what we're talking about here is a rookie game. Nevertheless, it was a real game, with an announcer giving us names and numbers for the players scoring goals (or, in the Caps' case, taking penalties). There were actual people (well, Flyers fans anyway) in the stands. And the best part? Dave Steckel was no where to be seen.

As for the game itself, it could have gone better. The Caps' rookies dominated the course of play for the first two periods but did themselves in with a bevy of first period penalties. Six in the first period alone, to be exact, resulting in two Philly power play goals. In fact, through the first two periods, the power play was pretty much the only way Philly's rookies were able to generate any sort of offense. The Flyers' rookies were clearly not as talented at the Caps', but what they lacked in raw ability, they more than made up for in old school Broad Street Bully-ism. They played a very physical game, finishing pretty much all of their checks, whereas there were only one or two Caps players who seemed especially interested in throwing their bodies around. The physical play seemed to wear down the Caps' rookies eventually, and the Flyers managed to pull even with the Caps in the third period scoring two goals to put the game away.

How much can we read into the results of this game? Not much. The roster that took the ice up in Voorhees today is not a roster that will ever play in an NHL game that counts. It was a little discouraging to see the guys physically handled by the Flyers' rookies, but I think it's safe to say that it won't take too much time playing alongside the likes of Chris Clark, Donald Brashear and Alex Ovechkin will correct the problem in any of the rookies that should eventually make the team.

The most enlightening part of the day, for me at least, was the play of Karl Alzner. There's not much I can say about him that hasn't already been said. He is the real deal. I was focused on him pretty much every time he was on the ice and I don't think he ever made a mistake. There was one instance in which he and a Flyers player got in a footrace for a loose puck, and despite the fact that the Flyers player beat him to the puck clean, he still managed to somehow catch up and strip the puck, eliminating any sort of scoring opportunity. I think it is entirely possible that Alzner is already the most talented player on the team in terms of pure defensive ability. Obviously, there are alot of things he has to do besides just stopping opposing players one on one, but I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him realistically challenge for a roster spot.

With all that said, let's move on to the photos:

There was a pretty sizeable crowd.

The Caps take the ice.

Look at what theose Flyers bastards did to Sammy Lepisto's face.

Not to mention poor Sean Collins' leg.

At KCI, the Caps have banners with players whose numbers they've
retired at one end of the ice. The Flyers? Have rainbows.

Though to their credit, they've got a real Zamboni.

Tomorrow, as I said, is media day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. There are sure to be a ton of good stories coming out of that, so stay tuned.


Rookie Camp - Day 4: Scrimmage Edition

Today's rookie camp practice consisted entirely of a scrimmage. Because I know you're dying to know, here's your (probably innacurate and definitely incomplete) boxscore (question marks denote instances where I missed what happened because I was focused on something other than the play):

White Team
Francois Bouchard - Nicklas Backstrom - Dan Kronick
Maxime Lacroix - Travis Morin - Steve Pinizzotto
Steve Werner - Jay Beagle - Marty Guerin
Karl Alzner - Josh Godfrey
Sami Lepisto - Sean Collins
Daren Machesney

Blue Team
Mathieu Perreault - Justin Taylor - Brett Leffler
Andrew Gordon - Kyle Wilson - Luke Lynes
Tommy Maxwell - Andrew Joudrey - Donald Brashear
Sasha Pokulok - Jamie Hunt
Tyler Sloan - Patrick McNeill

1st Period:
WHITE - Pinizzotto (Morin, Lacroix)

2nd Period:
BLUE - Brashear (Pokulok) (PPG)
BLUE - McNeill (?)
BLUE - Lynes (Gordon)

3rd Period:
WHITE - Bouchard (Unassisted)
BLUE - Taylor (Hunt, Pokulok)
WHITE - Morin (Pinizzotto, Kronick)
BLUE - Maxwell (Hunt, Pokulok) (PPG)

1st Period:
BLUE - Pokulok - 2 minutes for ?

2nd Period:
WHITE - Guerin - 2 minutes for hooking
BLUE - Maxwell - 2 minutes for holding
WHITE - Collins - 2 minutes for hooking
BLUE - Maxwell - 2 minutes for holding
BLUE - Maxwell - 2 minutes for holding

3rd Period:
WHITE - Beagle - 2 minutes for elbowing
WHITE - Collins - 2 minutes for ?


The third period was, by far, the most entertaining. Bouchard's goal was especially pretty, picking up a loose puck along the left boards then curling and dragging towards the net. Also of note were successive tic-tac-toe passing plays on both Taylor's and Morin's goals. All in all, it was fun to finally see something resembling an actual competitive hockey game for the first time in five months. Not as exciting as it will be tomorrow, when I have a team to actually root against, but still, it was one more indication that the long, slow march towards October 5 is nearing it's conclusion.

After the rookies were finished, the veterans once again had an informal skate. My suspicions that Dave Steckel has designs on my life were confirmed when he made absolutely no attempt whatsoever to kill me.

My mortal enemy

Apparently, Steckel thinks he can trick me by lulling me into a false sense of security. But I'm onto you, Dave. Your ruse failed. Even after you tried switching uniforms to disguise yourself.

Dave Steckel in disguise

Tomorrow's game between the Caps' rookies and those of the Flyers is way out in Vorhees, NJ, seemingly far from Steckel's clutches. But I am not so foolish. Take heed, Dave. I'll be watching you, and if you try anything funny, I will make you regret it.


Rookie Camp - Day 3: Pretty Colors Edition

In case you were wondering whether I have anything better to do during my vacation than travel out to Ballston to attend Day 3 of the Caps' rookie camp, the answer, obviously, is no. I made the trek out there once again today and once again I was treated to, well, a bunch of young hockey players skating around (I swear it's not as exciting as it sounds). This time around, it was even more difficult to get a read on whether any particular players were really sticking around as, unlike Saturday, nobody had their names on their backs. They were nice enough, however, to color code themselves, which didn't actually help, but was at least a little more interesting visually. Which gave me something to do, as I tried to obtain photographic evidence of all seven colors. Ultimately, I missed only the burgundy duds:





Red and White

If I had to pick one player who particularly impressed me, I'd go with Andrew Joudrey, who had an impressive moment towards the end of practice when, during an offensive zone drill, he took the puck from the bottom of the left circle, curled around three other players to the top of the slot and then sent a backhand shot over Daren Machesney's outstretched leg and into the net.

The more interesting part of the day, though, was watching the guys from the big club skate after the rookies were done. Specifically, it was fun to watch Olie Kolzig. Having never really attended a Caps practice before, I've only ever heard the well-spoken, made-for-TV Olie, so it was a little bit odd to hear him in practice sounding, well, more like a sailor than a hockey player. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Towards the end of the team skate, as the guys were having a somewhat loose scrimmage that had less defense than a typical NHL All Star Game, Olie, after getting scored on for maybe the third or fourth time, started into a profanity-laced tirade. His complaint (and I'm paraphrasing here, attempting to translate it into a more family-friendly version) was that the scrimmage was basically a waste of time as a result of guys not taking it seriously. He urged his teammates to "pick up the... pace".

The amazing thing was the seemingly instant change in the atmosphere. What had been a light-hearted game of shinny suddenly turned into a hard-fought battle. As hard-fought as an informal pre-training camp skate can be, anyway. It is one thing to hear the players talk about how much of a team leader Olie Kolzig is, and another to see them play at a higher level when he is on the ice as opposed to Brent Johnson of Frederic Cassivi. But it is another thing altogether to witness it in person. It was a moment that made me appreciate Olie's presence on the team that much more.

On a more light-hearted note, I am convinced that David Steckel is trying to kill me. It wasn't enough that he "accidentally" fired a puck directly towards my head (thank goodness for plexiglass), he then had the audacity to flip a puck up over the netting that hit me in the shin. Not only that, but he managed to do it at a moment when I was looking away from the ice, leaving me with absolutely no proof whatsoever that he was the one who shot it. He who laughs last, laughs loudest though, and my revenge is, as always, swift and severe. Dave Steckel, congratulations, you are the newest KHFC Whipping Boy©.

The grisly results of Dave Steckel's viscious attempt on my life.


Rookie Camp - Day 1

As promised, I made the trip out to Kettler today to attend the first day of Caps' rookie camp, or, as I like to call it, "Prelude to a Training Camp". It was the first time I've stepped foot in a building with an ice rink since April and, despite the fact that it was excessively early for a Saturday, I was instantly transformed from a groggy, slightly hungover mess into a giddy fan. It was the first time I've been to KCI (which is a beautiful facility), as well as the first time I've ever actually attended any sort of Caps practice.

What I quickly discovered is that watching hockey players practice is not nearly as entertaining as watching hockey players play hockey. To be fair, there were some particularly fun moments, but for the most part, what we saw out on the ice today was still a pretty lame imitation of the game that has me longing for this month to be over. As such, it's pretty difficult to report any sort of "news" from today's skate. Nicklas Backstrom, obviously, was one of the real standouts. This was the first time I'd seen him in action and he is definitely deserving of all the hype. During one drill that involved a scrum in front of the net the puck popped up into the air, and his ability to stick with it, find the puck and manage to get a shot off while spinning around to face the goaltender was quite impressive.

That said, my impression of Backstrom may have been colored by the fact that the KCI staff apparently failed to properly disinfect the Caps' dressing rooms, as many of the players on the ice appeared to be suffering from Zubritis*. During one breakaway drill, it seemed like Backstrom was the only player who managed to even get a shot on net, with most of the guys shanking pucks over the crossbar and off the glass, or else well wide. In J.P.'s (paraphrased) words "These really are Capitals prospects."

On the defensive side of things, I was impressed enough with Sasha Pokulok that I made an effort to learn to correctly pronounce his name (it's pronounced sort of like "potluck" only with an "uh" in the middle). First of all, the guy is huge, but he also seemed to be pretty sound positionally, and I saw him use some excellent stickwork to disarm several forwards of the puck during drills. As with any young, large defenseman, I'd like to see him throw his body around a little more, but I think he, along with Jeff Schultz and Milan Jurcina, could one day be part of a physically intimidating Caps' backline.

The best part of the day though, for me at least, was playing the role of pseudo-journalist, as I snuck back to the locker room area with CapsChick and J.P. and Ken. Even though I had nothing to do but stand and stare, just being that close to a guy like Nicklas Backstrom was definitely an experience. I still have no desire to sit in the press box during games, but I think I could really get into this whole "interviewing players at practice" thing.

Unfortunately, I managed to forget my camera when leaving my apartment, but I'm sure there will be pictures at Japers' Rink, A View From the Cheap Seats or DCSportsChick, all of whom had cameras.

(*Webster's Dictionary defines "Zubritis" as "a sudden inflammation of the tendency to play like Dainius Zubrus")

PROGRAMMING NOTES - Due to the fact that I have a matinee performance tomorrow, I won't be able to attend Day 2 of rookie camp. I'll be back at it for the rest of camp, though, including (possibly) a trip to New Jersey on Wednesday to see the kids take on the Flyers' rookies.

Another important note is that my next entry will be #100 for me here at the KHFC. With my 100th post will come some slight changes to the blog, in the form of rookie KHFC contributor DefDude, who is going to start helping me out around here when my acting duties prevent me from being as involved as I'd like. Or when I get too lazy to write anything. Or whenever he feels like it, really. So just be prepared for a sudden onslaught of awkwardly censored vulgarity and strange paragraph structures.


Some Programming Notes

For those of you who are keeping track of such things, we are less than a week away from actual professional hockey players skating around on the ice surface of the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The ending of the summer doldrums is also going to provide me with an opportunity to finally get back on track with this here blog.

I've planned my vacation time at work to coincide, more or less, with the opening of rookie camp (as well as the opening of my latest play) and last through the first weekend of training camp. Which means you can expect the KHFC to be transformed from a sparingly updated blog lacking in any real substance, to a frequently updated blog lacking in any real substance. But at least I can promise you daily updates (And pictures, too! Probably!) from KCI. In fact, there are even plans in the works for a journey up to New Jersey to see the kids take on Philadelphia's own obviously inferior group of rookies.

So stay tuned, because everything is about to get a whole lot more interesting around these parts.


Let's Play a Game

For those of you who haven't noticed, it is still, in fact, August. It feels like it has been August for several months now. Even though training camp is less than three weeks away, the wait still feels interminably long. So, to help pass the time, I've decided to play a little game, and I encourage you to join in in the comments section. Here are the rules:

Pick one, and only one, retired former Capital whom you would most like to have on the current Caps' roster if he were still in the prime of his career. The catch? You cannot pick any player who has had his number retired, nor can you pick any player who has been, or is likely to be, inducted into the Hall of Fame. Also, once people actually start giving their picks in the comments, you can't pick a player someone else has already picked.

The first pick, of course, goes to me.

Alex Presents...

Did you know that Alex Ovechkin has his own corner of the CCM website? I didn't.

I don't know how, exactly, it is that I had never seen this before. I blame my fellow bloggers (except Garrett at Puckhead's Thoughts, who showed us this months ago), whom I expect to keep an eye out for these types of things so I don't have to.

Anyway, I suggest you check it out if you haven't seen it already. There's some funny stuff.



If you were to mosey on over to the Express' 'Free Ride', you might notice that they are reporting that work has begun on dismantling the Phone Booth's existing scoreboard. The new scoreboard will be a huge improvement, apparently:

Over a 1,000 feet of linear [light-emitting diode] fascia will bring to life the entire upper level of the arena bowl, while 400 feet of full motion signage will continue to animate the lower level of the arena bowl. Four additional LED displays will also light the top corners of the arena bowl with statistics, 3D graphics and advertisements, thus completing the entire digital display system.
Woo-hoo! Finally, the upper bowl will finally be brought to life! As opposed to... I don't know, I guess the only seats that most fans can afford must be the ones that attract the lifeless corporate drones. As opposed to the lower bowl, which was apparently already "animated". Thank goodness Abe was able to push through an entirely pointless tax increase on Verizon Center tickets to pay for all this. It's nice to know that the increased price I'll be paying for Caps tickets means that we'll be getting "a new state-of-the-art high-definition one hanging high above center court, just in time for the start of the Wizards' season this fall".

Wait... the Wizards?! You mean the team whose season doesn't start until October 31st? Three and a half weeks after the Capitals' home opener? Fascinating.


Blogs v. MSM: Round LXXVIII

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This entry was posted during my lunch break at work, which runs from 1:00-1:30 PM. As such, it was posted before this. Dan Steinberg stole my entry title. Sort of. He shall experience my wrath.)

Nothing like a good old media war to get us through the hockey doldrums of August, huh?

As anyone who regularly checks this site has probably figured out, I don't feel particularly motivated to spend too much time writing about the Caps during the offseason. But the current war of words between Ted Leonsis and WTEM's Steve Czaban has really piqued my interest. At issue is Leonsis's annoyance with the negative light in which Czaban and his cohorts consistently paint the NHL (or, in this case, football soccer), versus Czaban's insistence that devoting coverage to hockey and other such "niche" sports is inherently unprofitable. The reason I find the whole thing so fascinating is that, for all the hemming and hawing, both Ted and Czaban are right.

Granted, Ted is more right. He is absolutely right to call out 980 (and any other media outlet) for continuing to dump on hockey the way it has. The original incident that drew his ire, Czaban's disdain for soccer fans in spite of what can only be called a hugely succesful night for the MLS, is especially galling. However, his argument that WTEM should be nicer to the Caps simply because the Caps pay WTEM for the opportunity to broadcast their games is puzzling. Ted is not stupid, and surely he must realize that, while sports radio is first and foremost a business, it is also, to a certain extent, a news outlet, and giving any subject favorable treatment based on their monetary contributions would compromise the station's integrity far more than the consistent ignorance of their on-air talent. Just look at ESPN for an example of what happens when a media outlet is more concerned with hyping its own product than objectively reporting the news.

On the other hand, we have Czaban arguing the point that hockey's scant airtime is purely based on economics, and he's absolutely right. If there were enough hockey fans to support it, the station would cover more hockey. Likewise, if enough people were to stop listening because of a lack of hockey, the powers that be would fix the situation right quick. But neither of these scenarios is ever likely to come to pass in Washington DC. Czaban correctly asserts that DC is not New York, Boston or a slew of other cities that, by sheer size, are guaranteed to have a large enough base of fans to sustain coverage of just about any sport, no matter how niche. The problem with Czaban's retort is that it fails to address Leonsis's main point, that the media is unjustifiably unfair towards hockey or soccer. In fact, Czaban takes several opportunities to perpetuate the injustice right there in his rebuttal, taking numerous swipes at Ted and the Capitals.

Ted is not asking that Sports Talk 980 devote more airtime to the Capitals or hockey. He plainly states that he thinks there are more people reading blogs than listening to the radio anyway. He is arguing not for increased exposure, but a decrease in negative exposure. His point that the derision towards sports like hockey and soccer alienates fans and equals less listeners. It is telling that, in response to a genuinely well-thought out criticque, Czaban felt compelled to respond with little more than name calling while side stepping the heart of the issue altogether.

For more, and probably better, coverage, head here or here or here. Or, more importantly, here.


As If Reading What I Have To Say Wasn't Bad Enough

Earlier today, Rebecca from A View From the Cheap Seats and I were guests on Allen Popels' CapitalFantic.com Show. Among the topics we discussed: Chris Clark's extension, qualifying offers for Steve Eminger and Brina Sutherby, the second wave of UFA signings, Michael Wilbon's unprovoked attack on hockey, and of course, Harry Potter. Head on over to Popels' site to listen. I think you'll find that Rebecca and I managed to mostly avoid making fools of ourselves.


But What About the Children?

I first read about Derek Boogard's offseason hockey fighting camp was over at A View From the Cheap Seats. At the time, I didn't think very much of it, because it kind of makes sense when you think about it, as CapsChick pointed out. But then Eric from Off Wing Opinion wrote this entry over at the FanHouse, in which he says he felt "a sense of revulsion at a very basic level" after seeing this picture. To which my response is, of course, "Why?"

Eric admits, at the top of the entry, that "[i]t's not often that I find myself in the same corner as critics of fighting in the NHL." As a proponent of keeping the fighting in hockey, he asserts that it is a part of the sport. The question, then, is what is so bad about the image of two young kids going at it with boxing gloves if it is okay to expose them to images of two grown men pummeling each other in a bare-knuckle fight? I am generally not someone to ascribe violence in young people to the violence that they see on TV, but that is because I generally have enough respect for most children to assume that they can tell the difference between the fictional violence they see on the screen and what is acceptable in real life. The fighting in hockey is undeniably real (just ask Todd Fedoruk) and, if you ask most hockey fans, it is not only acceptable, but encouraged. So why not let the kids join in? Especially, in this case, if it's going to be a dumbed down version of a real hockey fight where the players are wearing boxing gloves and have a NHL player twice their size close at hand to intervene if anything gets out of hand.

I agree with Eric, in that I, too, was rather disturbed by the picture. Unfortunately, as long as the NHL continues to embrace the sideshow fights as a "part of the sport", situations like Boogard's camp are the sorts of things that are a completely logical offshoot.


DC Deadspin Pants Party

I don't know how many KHFC reader(s) also read that little site called Deadspin, but I nevertheless feel compelled to make you aware of the impending Washington DC Deadspin Pants Party, if only because my good friend and one-time collaborator, is organizing it. Also, because there will be drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. And I, for one, don't want to be the only hockey fan amongst this particular crowd of dipsomaniacs inveterate drunks.

So, you know, check your schedules and such, and do try to make it out to RFK on August 4. I mean, you were already planning on going anyway, seeing as how it's Thomas Jefferson Bobblehead Night.


Aaaaaaaaaand... We're Back

It is amazingly frustrating coming home every night to find that your computer and the internet are still fighting. Over the past two weeks or so, I've missed out on a chance to regale you with my opinions on so many things, that it would be rather fruitless for me to try to catch up all in one post. So here goes...

The Draft - I thought McPhee did a good job. Especially with Karl Alzner, whom I am rather excited about.

Free Agency - I thought McPhee did a good job. As someone who had relentlessly (and only somewhat tongue-in-cheek-edly) insisted to anyone who would listen that the Caps absolutely needed to sign Sheldon Souray regardless of the cost, I was really impressed with the way McPhee handled everything. Frankly, I didn't see a single contract handed to any of the "big" names that looked like it was actually worth the money/cap space. (That said, Souray has supposedly signed with the Oilers, so for all I know, he may already actually be a Washington Capital.) Especially now that the Penguins and SC have set the bar at close to $9mil/year for Ovechkin's salary negotiations.

Rookie Camp - Ummm... a bunch of guys who are all, frighteningly, younger than I am skated around at KCI. I, meanwhile, had to work my awful retail job. Good times.

The KHFC Whipping Boy - Daniel Briere's face has been staring at me almost even longer than the dramatic chipmunk's, so I figured it was time for a change. The new KHFC Whipping Boy is none other than Edmonton Oilers' GM Kevin Lowe, for making the whole Nylander situation needlessly complicated. Congratulations, Mr. Lowe!

The Schedule - The NHL, as you know, released the 2007-08 schedule. The season will open with the Anaheim Ducks hosting the LA Kings. In London. England. I can't possibly imagine why the NHL would do something like this aside from "because that's what those foozeball guys are doing".

But more importantly, and more to the point, the Caps schedule is out which means I can safely announce the 2007-08 season's first...

Caps Bloggers Happy Hour!
October 5th, 2007
Location TBD.

Seriously though, I don't suppose I need to tell you to mark your calendars for the Caps' season opener. Just make sure you put a little note next to the mark that reminds you to check back here so you know where to go to meet all your fellow Caps fans. Unlike all the previous incarnations of the CBHH, I'm thinking about possibly making this one a simple party at somebody's house, rather than an excursion to an alcohol-serving establishment. Because I feel that the first night of hockey season should be enjoyed away from the prying eyes of all the jackasses at the bar who would rather we turn on a football game. If anyone of my loyal reader(s) would like to volunteer their home (or somebody else's), or has any better ideas, the e-mail address is koreilly (at) gmail (dot) com. (I may also try to organize a pre- and/or post-game CBHH the following night for the home opener, assuming nobody does anything crazy like book a private room at Clyde's.)

That's all for now. Thanks to a still-occasionally-shaky internet connection and a general apathy towards offseason news, you can expect this blog to go back to it's stunning, post-a-minute pace you've come to expect over the summer.


Sartorial Musings

So... I don't know if you've heard, but the Washington Capitals are switching over to new uniforms this season.

I know, I know... Please, try to contain your shock and surprise.

Anyways, I promised myself that I would wait to pass judgement on the new duds until we got confirmation that the ones that got leaked earlier this week were the real deal. As per Tarik, and now the Caps' site, we have, in fact, seen the real deal, which means it is time now for me to pass judgement...

They're alright.

I'm not especially enamored of the sweaters themselves, but I am ecstatic that they went with the stylized update of the old logo. The monstrosity of a shoulder patch is something which I'm willing to ignore. The problem is the sweater itself. Hopefully, much like with the heinous yellow pit stains on the Buffaslug sweaters last year, I'll eventually get used to the needless white panelling under the arms as well as all the garish blue piping, but if they wanted to have a mix of different colors, why not go with horizontal stripes? With any luck, once the blue pants are added into the mix it'll look a little better, as it right now is a little too much red for my taste, but with the Post article mentioning blue socks with red and white stripes, I'm not especially optimistic on that front.

All that said, these could've been alot worse. The Firebird logo with an oil can up its butt that's sitting on the shoulders could have ended up on the chest. And that, friends, would have been a sad day for us all.

UPDATE: Ack! Those socks! Also, Ack! $169.99! (In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't the slightest idea if this is actually expensive or not. I've never, technically, purchased a Capitals sweater, as I'm very good at convincing people to buy them for me for Christmas. That said, it's probably way more than I can reasonaby afford to spend. I am, after all, an actor.)


Islanders Bloggers Sent to the Box

There are two reasons I never applied for a press pass to a Capitals game like many of my fellow bloggers. The first, and most important, reason was that my blog isn't all that good or regularly updated or anything like that.

But the MAIN reason was that I would never, ever, be able to comply with the "No Cheering" policy. My brain is hard wired to make me jump in the air and start yelling any time a puck crosses a red line between two red pipes, whether I be yelling in jubilation or yelling a string of profanities. So I think this is a brilliant idea, and I'm kind of disappointed in Ted for not thinking of it first.

EDIT: Be sure to check out the Venerable Off Wing Opinion's take on the whole thing. Obviously.


It's Like Waiting For Godot, If Didi and Gogo Were Caps Fans

In a rare display of poor judgement, CapsChick elected to instant message me during the first intermission of tonight's game of the Stanley Cup Finals. The following is the transcript (edited to protect the innocent, all times Eastern):

Biff (9:18:11 PM): oh look, there's a hockey game on
Biff (9:18:47 PM): only a few more of these left.. gotta take advantage
CapsChick (9:20:36 PM): ouch...5-1 bulldogs
[Start of 2nd Period]
Biff (9:21:47 PM): i love how olczyk keeps going on about emery's "dive" yet there is no mention whatsoever of the blatant missed call when Anaheim shot the puck over the boards
CapsChick (9:22:06 PM): right? they're ridiculous tonight
CapsChick (9:22:10 PM): ...for a change
CapsChick (9:22:23 PM): did you see that save? or something?
Biff (9:22:28 PM): i absolutely can't stand either of them
Biff (9:22:38 PM): i like pierre though
CapsChick (9:22:47 PM): he's good but I miss Joe B.
CapsChick (9:22:55 PM): the other two suck
Biff (9:23:26 PM): all i'm saying is that Al "Do You Believe In Miracles?" Michaels works for NBC now
CapsChick (9:23:45 PM): and they roll out these two losers? great...
CapsChick (9:23:58 PM): I'm feeling particularly well-spoken tonight, by the way...I'm sure you can tell
Biff (9:24:21 PM): of course
Biff (9:24:36 PM): dive by Moen!!!
Biff (9:25:02 PM): in the interest of fairness, i'm going to yell that at my television screen every time ottawa takes a penalty
CapsChick (9:25:09 PM): awesome
Biff (9:25:24 PM): only instead of "Moen" i'll probably yell someone else's name
Biff (9:25:33 PM): unless it is moen
CapsChick (9:25:33 PM): uh...dive by giguere!!
CapsChick (9:25:52 PM): good plan
CapsChick (9:25:58 PM): I yell nonsense at the screen nonstop anyways
Biff (9:26:16 PM): i'd also like to work in a joke about daniel briere, just because i don't like him very much
CapsChick (9:26:35 PM): stupid french mime
CapsChick (9:27:42 PM): nice penalty kill
CapsChick (9:27:52 PM): I forgot what that looked like
Biff (9:29:41 PM): you just can't go in offsides right there
CapsChick (9:29:53 PM): that looked like the caps, didn't it?
Biff (9:29:59 PM): a little
Biff (9:30:16 PM): so you're saying the Caps look like an Easter Conference Champion?
CapsChick (9:31:05 PM): more like the Eastern Conference champion looked like the caps, which isn't good for anyone
Biff (9:31:13 PM): everything is funnier with pirates
Biff (9:31:20 PM): it's good for the ducks
CapsChick (9:31:47 PM): true, true...poor pierre trying to yell over the ottawa crowd
Biff (9:32:03 PM): May is a diver!!!
Biff (9:32:17 PM): look at him stick his arm in the air!
[Anaheim's First Goal]
CapsChick (9:36:14 PM): crap
Biff (9:37:34 PM): who was that standing in the goalmouth for the Sens?
Biff (9:37:49 PM): what's the point of standing there if you're just going to flail your arm at the puck?
CapsChick (9:39:10 PM): seriously, they've got caps-itis
CapsChick (9:39:12 PM): whoa
CapsChick (9:39:15 PM): scott stevens
Biff (9:39:51 PM): never heard of him
[Anaheim's Second Goal]
Biff (9:39:52 PM): jesus
CapsChick (9:40:00 PM): that was pretty...damn it
Biff (9:40:25 PM): oh, anton volchenkov
Biff (9:40:29 PM): that was embarassing
CapsChick (9:40:33 PM): aka gonchar
CapsChick (9:40:45 PM): I'm in a caps-centric mood right now for some reason
Biff (9:40:54 PM): yeah, what is that all about?
CapsChick (9:41:10 PM): well...I see a team sucking, it brings it out in me
Biff (9:41:29 PM): so, ummm... are they gonna send someone to the home dressing room to ask the senators why they haven't come out yet?
CapsChick (9:41:50 PM): they'd better hurry, this is getting ridiculous
Biff (9:42:17 PM): i don't get it though... they were really solid in the first
CapsChick (9:42:32 PM): they were incredible in the first
CapsChick (9:42:40 PM): calm down eddie
CapsChick (9:42:41 PM): yeesh
Biff (9:43:52 PM): "You know what I like about Getzlaf? He competes, Ed."
Biff (9:43:56 PM): what does that even mean?
CapsChick (9:44:20 PM): um...that the rest of them don't compete
CapsChick (9:44:30 PM): don't try and make sense of the commentators, it'll make your eyes cross
Biff (9:45:28 PM): say what you will about the ducks, and lord knows i have, but j.s. giguere is a damn good goaltender
Biff (9:45:48 PM): he and selanne are the only reasons i won't throw a large, hard object at my tv if the ducks win the series
CapsChick (9:46:26 PM): true, giggy's the man, and selanne's a classy guy...if chris pronger wins, though...
CapsChick (9:46:28 PM): ugh
Biff (9:46:44 PM): i have a hard time getting too worked up about pronger
CapsChick (9:47:04 PM): see, for me I just don't particularly like him, although I have no idea why
CapsChick (9:47:09 PM): the hits are beside the point to me
Biff (9:47:33 PM): that's very mature of you
CapsChick (9:47:46 PM): please - have we met?
Biff (9:47:53 PM): hee
CapsChick (9:48:24 PM): what...is...going...ON
Biff (9:48:33 PM): is that post #4 for the ducks?
CapsChick (9:48:38 PM): at least
CapsChick (9:48:47 PM): spezzzzzza...you suck. get off the ice
Biff (9:49:05 PM): if the nets were a little wider (no, gary, NO!) this game would be 6-1 right now
CapsChick (9:49:26 PM): god - that would be horrible...emery looks horrible tonight
Biff (9:50:13 PM): this is what happens when you don't face a single shot for the first 13 minutes yet your team fails to score
CapsChick (9:50:45 PM): exactly - I think the sens got a little cocky after that first period
CapsChick (9:50:48 PM): they need to stop that
[Emery makes a spectacular glove save]
CapsChick (9:51:19 PM): WOW
Biff (9:51:20 PM): i don't think emery's playing that badly
Biff (9:51:23 PM): case in point
CapsChick (9:51:25 PM): yeah, I take that back
CapsChick (9:51:32 PM): he had a crazy save in the first, too
Biff (9:51:32 PM): he's just getting hung out to dry
CapsChick (9:51:47 PM): and the comparisons to the caps could continue...but I'll refrain
Biff (9:52:27 PM): well, they have disappeared in the second period
Biff (9:52:39 PM): presumably they'll come out for the third firing on all cylinders
CapsChick (9:53:10 PM): they've been doing that all postseason, having one bad period then coming back
CapsChick (9:53:13 PM): they'll be fine
Biff (9:53:28 PM): and then daniel briere will spear one of their star players in the crotch
Biff (9:53:37 PM): there it is! i knew i could slide one in there
CapsChick (9:53:51 PM): nicely done
CapsChick (9:54:05 PM): why are they telling us the weight of that line every freaking night?
Biff (9:54:21 PM): that's for DirecTV subscribers
Biff (9:54:42 PM): there's a little known clause in the DirecTV contract wherein you pay by the pound
[Ottawa's Second Goal]
Biff (9:54:44 PM): !!!!!!!!!
CapsChick (9:54:48 PM): HELL YEAH
Biff (9:55:00 PM): heatley and alfredsson so far... it's about time
CapsChick (9:55:01 PM): hey, look - Heatley is playing in this series! who knew?
Biff (9:55:33 PM): heatley shanked that one, too
CapsChick (9:55:44 PM): yeah - wow, pierre, picking on getzlaf a bit
Biff (9:55:52 PM): deservedly so
CapsChick (9:56:16 PM): oh, I agree - just funny...it sounds like he's yelling at him because he has to scream over the crowd
Biff (9:56:37 PM): poor pierre... can he and ed olczyck switch places?
CapsChick (9:56:48 PM): yes! GRAPES
Biff (9:57:02 PM): and by "switch places" i mean "ed olczyck goes away and is never heard from again"
CapsChick (9:57:10 PM): if only wishing made it so
Biff (9:57:12 PM): crazy ol' don cherry
CapsChick (9:57:17 PM): he's a nut
CapsChick (9:57:17 PM): ooh
CapsChick (9:57:18 PM): fisher
CapsChick (9:57:20 PM): yay
Biff (9:57:20 PM): that should be fun
CapsChick (9:57:43 PM): sorry, the puckbunny in me jumped out for a minute when mike fisher was on the screen...I'm back now
Biff (9:58:24 PM): i'm gonna go look at pictures of JP's ice girl of the year now
CapsChick (9:58:30 PM): ew
CapsChick (9:58:36 PM): I'm pissed it wasn't danielle briere
[Daniel Alfredssonshoots a puck at Scott Neidermayer]
[End of 2nd Period]
CapsChick (9:58:41 PM): what is eddie yelling at?
CapsChick (9:58:45 PM): wow
Biff (9:59:34 PM): you know what? neidermayer was directly between alfredsson and the far corner, which is generally where one would dump the puck
Biff (9:59:54 PM): plus, neidermayer is a DIVER!!! a DIVER i say!!!
CapsChick (10:00:30 PM): YES! true - they didn't need to freak out about that, alfie isn't that type of player
Biff (10:01:36 PM): but you're talking about a guy who accuses chris neil of being a diver after what appeared to be a stick to the "groin" in the first period
Biff (10:02:06 PM): i would like NBC to flash a little light in the corner of the screen every time olczyck is about to talk so i can mute my television
CapsChick (10:02:13 PM): thank you! I was saying the same thing
CapsChick (10:02:32 PM): oh yeah, absolutely...I predicted on the blog today that he would freak out about at least 2 penalties
CapsChick (10:02:37 PM): so far I way underestimated
Biff (10:03:20 PM): GRAPES!!!
CapsChick (10:03:52 PM): excellent
CapsChick (10:04:02 PM): not a completely crazy suit, I'm a little disappointed
Biff (10:04:24 PM): in retrospect, alfredsson did stop a first shot and doble pumped to aim it at neidermayer
CapsChick (10:05:06 PM): whatever - a team with brad may and george parros shouldn't bitch about "gutless" plays and "cheap" shots
Biff (10:05:09 PM): aaaaaaand... we're talking about fighting
CapsChick (10:05:12 PM): of course
CapsChick (10:05:17 PM): oh, grapes is losing his voice
CapsChick (10:05:18 PM): darn
Biff (10:05:59 PM): this is painful to watch
Biff (10:06:15 PM): brett hull may in fact be functionally retarded
Biff (10:06:54 PM): and i don't mean to insult the mentally handicapped there, because it's unfair to imply that they are as dumb as brett hull
CapsChick (10:07:21 PM): that would be hard to do, to be honest...
CapsChick (10:07:33 PM): jesus christ
Biff (10:07:56 PM): okay, we get it, harcore hockey fans like fights
CapsChick (10:08:08 PM): oh, the smile on emery's face...creepy.
Biff (10:08:13 PM): everyone else thinks hockey is a joke because of the fights
CapsChick (10:08:44 PM): exactly - some fans might like it (I don't hate it) but when everyone knows that joke about going to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out, you know its bad
CapsChick (10:09:02 PM): I have a blogger friend who works at NBC sports and she's told me some crazy stories about hull, by the way
Biff (10:09:11 PM): oooh... do tell
CapsChick (10:09:26 PM): let's see - [redacted]
CapsChick (10:09:47 PM): [redacted]
Biff (10:09:59 PM): "all swedes are great soccer players"... jesus, brett
Biff (10:10:04 PM): that's actually kind of neat
CapsChick (10:10:18 PM): oh goody - football season...woo.
Biff (10:10:21 PM): i love crazy stanley cup stories
Biff (10:11:05 PM): my favorite is the time it was left sitting on a frozen rideau canal overnight
CapsChick (10:11:30 PM): you just wonder if these guys should be kissing it when they win...you know, knowing where it's been
CapsChick (10:11:42 PM): I don't care how much you clean it, some things can't be removed with silver polish and soap
Biff (10:11:55 PM): holy water is the trick, i've found
CapsChick (10:12:21 PM): oh, okay - so you've got experience with this kind of thing...you should be the keeper of the cup
CapsChick (10:12:27 PM): that would be an awesome job
Biff (10:13:21 PM): yeah it would... one of the only jobs better than "zamboni driver" i bet
Biff (10:13:28 PM): did i mention i used to drive a zamboni?
CapsChick (10:13:37 PM): um...maybe once or twice
CapsChick (10:13:40 PM): oh here we go with the diving
CapsChick (10:13:51 PM): neil's wasn't a dive - emery's was, but can you blame him?
Biff (10:14:06 PM): i love that... "you certainly don't expect that from a guy like chris neal"... so why are you assuming it was a dive?
Biff (10:14:18 PM): gah!
CapsChick (10:14:19 PM): exactly my point - he didn't dive...losers
CapsChick (10:18:04 PM): ew - I hate these commercials
Biff (10:18:25 PM): which ones now?
CapsChick (10:18:34 PM): cialis
Biff (10:18:54 PM): oh
Biff (10:19:00 PM): yeah, they're good fun
CapsChick (10:19:51 PM): I much prefer creepy smilin' bob
Biff (10:20:21 PM): that guy frightens me
Biff (10:20:45 PM): i don't care what kind of help that pill could give me, if it meant walking around like i'd been brainwashed, i'd run screaming
CapsChick (10:21:11 PM): I don't think most guys share that opinion, I'll be honest with you
[Start of 3rd Period]
CapsChick (10:22:03 PM): oh my god! it's not like alfredsson tried to decapitate anyone, let it go!!
Biff (10:22:27 PM): you must understand, the ducks, clearly, are helpless victims in all of this
CapsChick (10:22:51 PM): oh, of course - it's not like he was on, say, SKATES and could move out of the way
CapsChick (10:23:04 PM): oh, gee, a penalty they actually agree is a penalty
Biff (10:23:11 PM): c'mon PP goal...
CapsChick (10:23:29 PM): come on come on come on
CapsChick (10:23:45 PM): breathe pierre
Biff (10:24:02 PM): sounds like doc emerick
Biff (10:24:21 PM): how did heatley not score there?
CapsChick (10:24:32 PM): duck voodoo magic
CapsChick (10:26:24 PM): um...ew. "if it's wood it's good"
CapsChick (10:26:28 PM): are you freaking kidding me?
Biff (10:26:47 PM): i believe they were talking about hockey sticks?
CapsChick (10:26:54 PM): god I hope so
Biff (10:26:55 PM): i hope
Biff (10:27:17 PM): either that, or some subtle product placement for cialis
CapsChick (10:27:26 PM): hockey's a dirty game...my roommate and I are apparently 12 year old boys, too, because we giggle when they say "he couldn't get it up"
[Anaheim's 3rd Goal]
Biff (10:27:44 PM): curses
Biff (10:28:17 PM): i sat behind a novice hockey fan once at a caps game where they couldn't sustain any sort of offensive zone pressure and he yelled "girls won't like you if you can't keep it in!"
CapsChick (10:28:34 PM): ooh, dirty...that's funny
[J.S. Giguere pushes an already dislosdged net further off its moorings]
Biff (10:30:32 PM): Delay of game, ref!!!
CapsChick (10:30:54 PM): Giguere's a DIVER!!
Biff (10:32:11 PM): this is quickly becoming depressing
CapsChick (10:32:28 PM): I can't handle a Ducks win, I really can't
CapsChick (10:33:49 PM): why is zach braff doing voiceover work for Wendy's?
Biff (10:34:11 PM): i can't know
Biff (10:34:19 PM): it's kind of disappointing really
Biff (10:34:33 PM): and i don't knwo why, because i love zach braff and i love wendy's
CapsChick (10:34:53 PM): but the two together, not so much? it's just weird
Biff (10:35:19 PM): he just doesn't really have a voice-over voice
CapsChick (10:35:43 PM): no, he really doesn't - although it is instantly recognizable, maybe that's why they used him
Biff (10:36:20 PM): i think that's actually the problem
Biff (10:36:29 PM): i like it better when i don't immediately realize
Biff (10:36:38 PM): like james spader's work for acura
CapsChick (10:36:57 PM): he does voiceovers for acura??
Biff (10:37:02 PM): yup
CapsChick (10:37:16 PM): huh - I see your point, I had no idea
Biff (10:37:26 PM): listen closely next time you see an acura commercial
CapsChick (10:37:48 PM): I totally will
CapsChick (10:37:52 PM): COME ON
Biff (10:37:57 PM): get a shot off!
Biff (10:38:04 PM): for crying out loud
Biff (10:38:30 PM): who do you think you are, dainius zubrus?
Biff (10:38:39 PM): but seriously, i do love picking on the Sabres
CapsChick (10:38:48 PM): aw, zubie - it's so fun to do, really
CapsChick (10:38:52 PM): I try and do it daily
CapsChick (10:39:21 PM): wait, that sounded wrong
Biff (10:39:51 PM): who doesn't, though?
CapsChick (10:40:37 PM): true - it makes the world go 'round
CapsChick (10:40:45 PM): even giggy's getting his freak on at the bench apparently
Biff (10:41:17 PM): his freak on? are we still talking about the same thing?
CapsChick (10:41:27 PM): no idea - probably not
Biff (10:41:28 PM): cause that's icky if we are
CapsChick (10:41:50 PM): he was getting a massage at the bench, I thought it was funny
Biff (10:42:30 PM): paging jason spezza. jason spezza please report to the ice surface.
CapsChick (10:42:40 PM): WHAT WAS THAT
Biff (10:42:46 PM): turnovers are probably a bad idea
CapsChick (10:42:52 PM): you think?
Biff (10:43:02 PM): unless they are of the apple variety, yeah
CapsChick (10:43:18 PM): ha....ha...
CapsChick (10:43:22 PM): hi brian murray
CapsChick (10:44:52 PM): shit - hershey lost 5-2
Biff (10:46:10 PM): they're down 2-1 now right?
CapsChick (10:46:30 PM): yup - wow...they had 11 power plays, scored once, hamilton was 3 for 5
CapsChick (10:46:33 PM): wow emery
Biff (10:46:35 PM): if the sens lose, it is not ray emery's fault
Biff (10:46:49 PM): people are quick to question him, but he has been rock solid
CapsChick (10:47:15 PM): I think he has too, all postseason - he just looked a bit shaky earlier, but I take back my "emery looks horrible" comment
CapsChick (10:47:28 PM): game 2 he was the only reason they lost by just 1
Biff (10:47:50 PM): problem is, he's got probably-soon-to-be-two-time-conn-smythe-winner j.s. giguere at the other end
Biff (10:48:17 PM): breach was a damn good film
CapsChick (10:48:22 PM): breach?
Biff (10:48:40 PM): if i had any say, chris cooper would win an automatic oscar for that movie
CapsChick (10:49:02 PM): didn't see it...it's good though? I'll have to check it out
CapsChick (10:49:07 PM): I'm really behind on my movies
Biff (10:49:27 PM): will the puck please go in one time?
CapsChick (10:50:08 PM): um, please clarify that - into the ANAHEIM net...I tend to say that stuff and it goes the other way
Biff (10:50:20 PM): well, yeah... obviously
CapsChick (10:50:30 PM): hey, they need it to be spelled out, trust me
CapsChick (10:50:48 PM): we have powers you know, you have to be careful
CapsChick (10:50:55 PM): COME ON SENS
Biff (10:50:58 PM): i know i don't
CapsChick (10:51:20 PM): I'm pretty sure I do, but not good powers
CapsChick (10:51:32 PM): teams should pay me not to root for them
Biff (10:52:08 PM): although, one time, i didn't go to a single caps game all year, so they just kept winning playoff series until i finally showed up
CapsChick (10:52:29 PM): what is this 'winning playoff series' you speak of?
CapsChick (10:52:33 PM): it is foreign to me
Biff (10:52:42 PM): i know... 1998 was nearly a decade ago
CapsChick (10:53:04 PM): I thought about that a few months ago - they're going to make the playoffs to commemorate the anniversary
Biff (10:53:14 PM): one can only hope
CapsChick (10:53:47 PM): the year right after the lockout, my roommate and I went on a losing streak when watching games together
Biff (10:53:54 PM): i think once they trade for patrick marleau they should be in good shape
CapsChick (10:54:11 PM): oh, man - I would love to have marleau
CapsChick (10:54:19 PM): I'm just scared of who they'd need to give up
Biff (10:54:48 PM): i trust GMGM
Biff (10:54:59 PM): if there's one thing he's particularly good at, it's trading
Biff (10:55:13 PM): not so much with the drafting and the free agents
CapsChick (10:55:43 PM): he's gotten better at that lately, but yeah, trades are his strong point
Biff (10:56:00 PM): remember that time he traded for milan jurcina?
CapsChick (10:56:14 PM): that's going to go down as the best trade in history - milan's the man
CapsChick (10:56:29 PM): I remember reading about jurcina playing with chara at the worlds...now that's a scary blue line
[Ottawa calls a time-out]
Biff (10:56:57 PM): oh right, the stanley cup finals
Biff (10:57:04 PM): i'm gonna watch this right quick
CapsChick (10:57:13 PM): yup, good plan
Biff (10:58:07 PM): damn you, jean sebastien
CapsChick (10:58:19 PM): stupid straw in the stupid water bottle
[Ed Olczyck says something stupid]
CapsChick (10:58:24 PM): ...human velcro?
Biff (10:58:59 PM): you never played "velcro puck"?
[End of 3rd Period]
CapsChick (10:59:47 PM): damn
Biff (10:59:49 PM): game, set, match, methinks
CapsChick (10:59:58 PM): this is not good
CapsChick (11:00:32 PM): the only good thing about this...the ONLY good thing...is that if this series went 7 I would miss game 7
Biff (11:00:48 PM): i would miss game six
Biff (11:06:38 PM): also, i'm going to miss the draft day party
Biff (11:06:43 PM): which is depressing
Biff (11:08:03 PM): i need to find someone with a camera phone to send me pictures of the new sweater
CapsChick (11:08:23 PM): you're not going to the draft day party?
Biff (11:09:02 PM): i have a performance that night
CapsChick (11:11:06 PM): aw - well, I can take a picture for you and e-mail it, but I don't have a camera phone
CapsChick (11:11:08 PM): maybe [DCSportsChick] does
Biff (11:11:22 PM): acting and sports fandom don't mix too well
Biff (11:11:33 PM): i shall have to post a request on the KHFC
CapsChick (11:13:44 PM): good plan - I'm sure one of the OFB boys has a camera phone
Biff (11:13:58 PM): i don't know if i trust them with my phone number
CapsChick (11:13:58 PM): or you could just wait for me to e-mail you a regular picture like a normal person
Biff (11:14:03 PM): those crazy people
CapsChick (11:14:06 PM): good point
Biff (11:14:10 PM): i'm kind of impatient
Biff (11:14:40 PM): i've been waiting over a decade for these things
Biff (11:14:47 PM): and they had better kick ass
CapsChick (11:15:23 PM): I'm not too optimistic
Biff (11:15:33 PM): yeah, me either
Biff (11:15:50 PM): i've seena few mockups that were just stylized versions of the old RWBs
Biff (11:15:59 PM): which i think would be awesome
CapsChick (11:16:29 PM): that would be - the old ones are very 70s, a nice update would be good...I'm keeping my expectations low, though
CapsChick (11:16:35 PM): that's the only way to be a caps fan
Biff (11:19:57 PM): the one i saw was really nice... it was almost exactly the same, only a little more modernized... i think they need to take note of the popularity of the sabres third jersey this year
Biff (11:20:38 PM): granted, part of that was because their regular ones sucked so bad
CapsChick (11:21:06 PM): yeah, compared to the slug the islanders' old third jersey with the fisherman was a work of art
Biff (11:21:41 PM): as is the spaghetti stain on my carpet
CapsChick (11:22:06 PM): hey, is it red white and blue? maybe they could use that...take a picture, send it to them
Biff (11:22:28 PM): what spaghetti do you eat that there's blue in it?
CapsChick (11:22:59 PM): I'm not a very good cook, what can I say
CapsChick (11:27:13 PM): hey, question - I'm not going to do nicknames next season (stop jumping for joy) and I'm not sure what to do for gameday stuff...any suggestions?
CapsChick (11:27:25 PM): or are you going to keep them to yourself for use on your own blog?
Biff (11:27:29 PM): have you seen my blog?
Biff (11:27:44 PM): i don't think i've ever done a gameday preview
Biff (11:27:49 PM): i'm not that hardworking
CapsChick (11:27:51 PM): yeah, but despite your blog you're funny, you should have some ideas
CapsChick (11:27:54 PM):
Biff (11:28:22 PM): i figure you should probably just break down each game based on which team has more attractive players
Biff (11:28:27 PM): that seems appropriate
Biff (11:28:45 PM): you should wear a pink version of the new sweaters while you write it, though
Biff (11:28:52 PM): to get an authentic experience
CapsChick (11:29:26 PM): I would sooner wear a danielle briere slug jersey than a pink jersey
CapsChick (11:29:34 PM): I would sooner cheer for the penguins
Biff (11:29:51 PM): jeez... that bad?
CapsChick (11:30:32 PM): ugh...yes. and as for the attractive players thing, I do that already...just not on the blog
CapsChick (11:30:39 PM): I'm REALLY not a puckbunny, I swear
Biff (11:31:31 PM): that's fine


Checking In

Hello, everybody. Nice to see you again. Did you miss me? No? Okay then.

With a weekend that saw the Ottawa Senators succeeding where the Capitals once failed (eliminating the Sabres in Game 5 of an Eastern Conference finals) and the Red Wings falling to within one game of being sent to the golf course, I thought I'd quickly check in to let you know that I am, in fact, not dead. Also, I just wanted to reinforce the fact that I am genuinely gleeful that the Sabres are out of the playoffs. Gleeful, I say!

Also, I'm way behind on this one, but I'd like to issue a belated welcome to Capital Addiction.

Hockey talk aside, I'd like to return to my regularly scheduled shameless self-promotion. Because, no matter how much hockey blogging I do, I'm still an actor. So feel free to check out these reviews of a play that I may or may not be featured in. And be sure to note the use of the word "scintillating" in the WaPo's headline.

Reviews From People That Matter:
-DC Theatre Review
-The Examiner
-Potomac Stages
-The Washington Post