Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 13 - Washington Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues

Blergh. The Capitals put together a much better all around effort tonight. Jose Theodore made some amazing saves, the defense was actually playing, Knuble scored two and Semin scored on another sweet wrist shot, and yet, the Caps lost in a shootout.

I think this is a much better way to go into the Olympic break than with the past two games, but I wish it could have been a win. The St. Louis team was way better than I expected them to be. Since we only play them once a year, I wasn't that tuned into them.

Coach Boudreau seems pretty angry about the hit on Matt Bradley... and I don't blame him. I hope Bradley is ok and has time to rest and heal over this break. I also hope the player who hit him - whose name escapes me - gets a lengthy suspension.

There are rumors that GM George McPhee is looking at some trades before the deadline, which could mean this was the last time the Caps as we know them played together. At least they put together a solid effort. I hope they don't change the team too much - I do love these Caps.

Tonight's viewing was a bit lonely. Neil's in Morocco for work and it was just me and the dogs (my mom is visiting, but she was in the other room on the phone). I'm looking forward to watching some Olympic hockey, but it's sad to think there are no Caps games until early March! I am sure there will be some hockey blog posts soon...

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 18 - Washington Capitals vs. Ottawa Senators (at Ottawa)

Third game in a row with a hat trick! This time it was Alex Semin and his goals were a thing of beauty... and yet, the Capitals still lost. :(

Bruce Boudreau was seriously harsh on the defense and Varlamov after the game last night... and I agreed with him. All game I kept wondering why they didn't pull Varly. It's a bad sign when your team scores five goals including a hat trick and you still lose in regulation. The Capitals are better than that and they could have shored up the defense and kept a few of the Senators' six goals out of the net.

I really hope the Caps win on Saturday in St. Louis. It would be good to head in to the Olympic break remembering how to win.

February 17 - Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens (at Montreal)

And the streak is over. This was a wildly entertaining game and the Caps mounted a huge comeback which included Brooks Laich's first ever hat trick. He scored his third goal with mere seconds remaining in the third period and forced the game to overtime and Neil, Erik and our friend Ambrose and I were on the edges of our blizzard-bound seats.

There were more high fives in my living room on Wednesday night than any night in memory as the Capitals scored goal after goal and came back to tie. And yet, they lost. Ovie had a goal in the second period that was disallowed after being called a goal and to many, the call seemed questionable. If the goal had been allowed, the streak would have continued and history would have been altered.

The team has definitely been loose on the defense and there have been many comeback situations that could have been avoided if the Caps hadn't allowed quite so many goals.

As a fan, the streak was magical. It is amazingly fun to watch your team win game after game after game. It's sad that the streak has ended, but it's also OK for the Caps to face some adversity now - all the better to build more character and use it to win the Cup in June. Let's go Caps!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7 - Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Wooooooo! The streak continues! The Capitals are 14-0 and they beat the Penguins today!

The win and the streak were in serious question after the first period in which Sidney Crosby scored on the Caps twice and the Caps couldn't seem to put anything together. Then Ovie got a goal, but it was followed by two goals from Penguins and at one point the score was 4-1. Ugh.

Fortunately, at some point in the second period, the Capitals woke up. Eric Fehr got a great goal when he followed his own rebound and crammed it between Fleury's legs. That goal was followed by two more from Ovie and the game ended in a tie. There were some seriously bad calls by the refs including a call within the last 4 minutes on Jeff Schultz for slashing that was completely fabricated. Somehow, the Caps pulled through. At one point in the game they lost Knuble for 10 minutes and later Backstrom got a 10 minute misconduct (both for sticking up for teammates when the Penguins started fighting). The team also got through a 5 on 3 without letting the Penguins score. Thanks to some kick-ass defense, some truly amazing saves by Theodore and Ovie's hat trick and Fehr's goal, the Caps got a shot at overtime and Knuble scored the game winner.

Neil and I were in our seats (or on the edge of them) up in 419 unable to relax the entire game. Neil did catch one of the Capitals parachutes with a T-Shirt attached during the second intermission. :) I am now the proud owner of a very large red shirt that says Rock The Red with the Caps logo - I will use it as a nightgown (not to mention the parachute... what does one do with a Capitals parachute? I want to tie things to it and drop it from my 6th floor balcony...)

There were way too many Penguins fans in attendance today. The theory we came up with is that many Caps fans couldn't get to the game because of the 24" of snow (more in some places) and sold their tickets last minute to Pens fans who lived closer to Verizon Center. Who knows. The good news is that in the third period, it was hard to remember that there were any Pens fans in attendance. The Caps fans got loud and stood up and made the presence of a few Penguins fans unimportant.

After Crosby got two goals early in the game, all I could think was that Ovie needed three. I am so thrilled he got them. There has never been any question in my mind as to who is a better player, but the media always makes a big deal of it. So there. Ovie ended the game with three goals and an assist.

It's so good to beat a hated rival. It's even better to win 14 games in a row. This was the last home game before the Olympic break. I sure am going to miss these Caps.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

February 5 - Washington Capitals vs. Atlanta Thrashers

Best sign I saw at this game read "We Beat The Snow for 13-0".

And 13-0 it is!

The Caps beat the Thrashers 5-2 in an exciting game that started when you could see DC's streets and ended with several inches of snow on the ground. Part way through the game the announcer came on to warn people that DC's buses were stopping at 9 and the metro was ending above-ground service at 11. What was most impressive was how full the arena was in spite of the terrible weather. All of DC has been panicking about this storm for several days, the grocery stores are empty,  and yet, Caps fans showed up.

Michal Neuvirth had 43 saves and an amazing performance. Ovie scored a sweet goal on the power play. Green had a great, nearly full-rink empty netter. Backstrom scored another beauty and Semin and Chimera scored 68 seconds apart in the beginning of the third period. But the victory was really due to Neuvirth.

The majority of the crowd stayed through the end of the game and left the arena to find some significant snow on the ground.

Neil in the middle of F Street as we began our walk home

 The hockey fans heading out into Snowvechkin.

Trees on our walk home. (This morning some of them had broken limbs that were weighed down by the snow.)
The Penguins' arrival in DC is in question. I still want to go see the game tomorrow at noon,  but it's looking like that may not happen.

Meanwhile, as the snow continues to fall this morning, the awesome cover from yesterday's Washington Post is still on display in neighborhood newsstands.



Aahh.. Snowvechkin...

February 4 - Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

And now it's 12! This game looked in doubt for a while, but then the Caps did what they've been doing and stepped on the gas and scored some goals. The most amazing was Ovie's at the tail end of the second period which brought the score within 1 again and gave the Capitals hope of pulling off #12.

I think this is my favorite Ovie goal so far this season. It was also the goal which got Ovie to 500 career points. He is one of few players to get 500 in his first five seasons and he's not done yet.

This game was closer than some of the recent blowouts and the Caps gave up four power play goals, but the good outweighed the bad and the streak continues!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red Rocker Fail - Her Favorite Book is Facebook???

Red Rocker Sarah says her favorite book is Facebook. Oh dear.

I was torn when the Red Rockers arrived at Verizon Center last year, but I liked that their uniforms covered most of their bodies and they didn't seem to be pushing negative ditzy female cheerleader stereotypes forward. I have always wondered about the female entertainment at sports games - do men really need hot women to look at when they're supposed to be focusing on the game and cheering for their team? I get the athleticism of cheerleaders and I like it. I respect them. I like when female skaters come on the ice during Capitals intermissions and I am totally cool with a Capitals spirit squad - the Red Rockers. It's nice having excited people jumping up and down throwing out t-shirts and Chipotle burritos... I believe it adds to the ambiance at the game. There is even at least one male Red Rocker. Way to go Caps!

However, I have found that the interviews of the Red Rockers that are shown on the big screen at games, and certainly Red Rocker Sara's little online Q and A seem to oversimplify these women and make them seem unintelligent. If Sarah is a financial analyst, she must have brains. I am guessing she was joking with the Facebook comment... but oh how I wish she made it more clear.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 2 - Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins

11 in a row!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neil, Andy and I watched most of the game from the Front Page in Arlington, right across from the Caps' practice facility. Neil had a 9:45 hockey game of his own at Kettler, so we wanted to be close so he didn't have to miss much of the Caps game.

When we arrived late in the first period and sat down at our table, I was concerned. The Caps had 5 shots to the Bruins' 13 and the Bruins had a goal. Not good. However, I had a feeling they would come back from the first intermission with a little something extra. I believe in these Capitals and, more importantly, they believe in themselves.

So it wasn't the Caps' best game, but that's almost silly to even say because they won 4-1. The victory was due in large part to the amazing play of Jose Theodore. If he keeps playing like this (41 saves!) the Caps are going to have to re-sign him for next season.

The Capitals goals came from Knuble, Laich, Gordon and an empty netter from Ovie. It's so fun to be a Caps fan right now. It must be out of this world to be a Capital right now.

The Caps are in NYC with their dads today and play the Rangers tomorrow night. I hope they make it 12, but even if they do not, I hope they remember what it feels like to win like this come Stanley Cup time.

Ovie Drives Slower - Thank God

Ovie talks to Bruins CSNNE reporter after the morning skate on February 2, 2010.

Alex Ovechkin was asked if he should have a special speed limit. "Right now I'm driving slow," he said. "It's bad weather. I try to drive safe."