Here are his observations of the Caps' win over a New York Rangers team seeking retribution for an at-home whupping a week earlier (details have been edited to protect the innocent):
Emergency Guest Blogging:
Caps 2, Rags 1
Can there be any better proof of the friendly fraternity that is Capitals' bloggers than my appearance here today, filling in for Hockey Mom?
Saturday night I was seated (sober) in the Verizon Center press box, making observations and collecting notes for my own file for On Frozen Blog. Hockey Mom however was enjoying Hockey Night in Washington -- a big game against the vengeance-minded Rangers -- as part of a girls' night out, down in the stands, with some fellow hockey moms. They had a few puck sodas. Near 10:00 Hockey Mom sent me a text message, which read, "Will you blog for me? I am having 2 much fun."
She was half serious, but this was the first such request I'd fielded from a fellow blogger buddy, and it struck me as a fun exercise. Far from rendering any adverse judgment against this devoted and intrepid blogger Mom, most particularly during the holidays, I fairly envied the girls' exuberance and celebration and messaged back my delight at the request.
However, I don't believe in conforming. I can't and won't be Hockey Mom. Instead, I have to be my blogging self and try and have fun, and invite you to indulge us in this exercise.
Saturday's was an enormous victory for the home team. But before we get to that let us savor another wondrous development Saturday: the Pittsburgh Penguins -- your defending Eastern Conference Champions -- will awaken Sunday morning in 9th place in the East, out of the playoffs were the season to end today. At OFB, we call this a Category 5 celebration moment (generally speaking, it suggests that bartenders make out well on our tab).
If you've read OFB, you know that we channel some Capitals' fan enthusiasm for schadenfreude at all that ills Steel City skaters. Every chance we get. We also have a bit of an issue with the NHL's myopic marketing of # 87.
Speaking of which, during the Pens' 6-1 loss to Florida Saturday afternoon the Penguins' captain ambushed Florida Panther Brett McLean. You can check out the unsightly and cowardly footage here. What kind of poster boy is this?
Anyway, let us all have another to the news that the Pens are in a freefall and that their captain soon may be losing endorsements from his embarrassing behavior.
Alexander Semin got into his own unfortunate tussle Saturday night, with New York's Marc Staal. Our standout left winger earned a game misconduct when he lost his sweater in the fracas. I was seated near the WTOP radio team when Capitals' General Manager George McPhee came by and informed us of the league's arcane rule. Semin had his sweater pulled off by Staal, but he had failed to secure it to his pants with his fight strap. So he won't be making that mistake again, I wager.
For me this incident is more evidence that Semin is being targeted by opposing teams, getting rough with him to try and throw him off his world-class game. It's up to Bruce Boudreau and the coaching staff to make Semin aware that more of this nonsense is coming his way (as in Tuesday night, when Philly visits).
Jose Theodore faced just 22 shots Saturday night, but I was particularly impressed by how aggressively he challenged Ranger shooters. He really seemed to come out of the net quickly and decisively and cut off shooting angles. Certainly he appears to have found a winning groove of late. But my concerns about his consistency remain. I was also impressed by Dave Steckel's game. He was really active in all three zones.
The game was played with little flow but high intensity. Pucks were bouncing all over the place. There was a basketball game played at Verizon Center at noon on Saturday, and that imperils the ice quality no matter how cold it is outside. I asked around a bit in the press box about what determines who plays when when two sporting events take place at the Phone Booth on the same day, but I couldn't get a sure answer. Note that when Detroit visits the Phone Booth on Saturday, January 31, faceoff is at 12:00. That probably is to accommodate NBC. But I wish the NHL could come to an agreement with the NBA and college basketball, to the extent possible, to have hockey go first on such days. Basketball floors never really suffer from earlier hockey games, but ice sheets always stink 4 or 5 hours after the hoops end.
The Caps have now won six straight games, and vengeance becomes their theme when Philly pays a visit on Tuesday night. They'll be seeking to atone for the 7-1 shellacking they endured on the road on December 20. Expect another raucous and full Sea of Red in Chinatown for that one, as well as a "paying attention to the details" Hockey Mom covering it.
Many, many thanks to pucksandbooks for helping out a hockey mom who doesn't get out much! So here are Hockey Mom's own observations of last night's contest:
- Alex Ovechkin (with another short-handed goal) continues to rock! I've said it before, but the fact that he is not in the starting line-up for the 2009 All-Star game is a travesty and the League should be embarrassed that they allowed this to happen.
- Alex Semin - you rock, too but please just stick to scoring. Or at least ask the "Donald" to give you some pointers. Last night's "fight" reminded me of the scene from my favorite movie "The Christmas Story" when Ralphie takes on the feared Farkus.
- Jose Theodore is on a roll - let's hope the streak continues as we will be facing that high-scoring Flyers club from Filthadelphia again on Tuesday.
- Hockey Mom had the privilege to meet a young player on the NOVA Cool Cats hockey team who was kind enough to give me one of his neat hockey pins. The team got to meet Mike Green and AO on New Year's Day and they were super excited. This is a fabulous program for special needs kids to get involved in the game - be sure to check it out! And good luck to the Cool Cats as they face the Montgomery Cheetahs today!
So that's it from here - up next, the Flyers on Tuesday. Let's make it 18-1-1 at home boys!