Thursday, February 5, 2009

Visitors from Hollywood - Caps Versus L.A. Kings

The countdown to the weekend has begun and the Thursday night Caps fanatics were out in force (18, 277 to be exact) to witness the rare visit from the boys from Hollywood - the Los Angeles Kings.

Now Hockey Mom is a bit like Dustin Hoffman from the movie Rain Man in that she sometimes can't remember whether she locked the door or not, but I can recite the names of almost every goalie in the League, with the exception of the Kings' net minder. That one always stumps me.

So I don't know a lot about this young squad other than they've won 4 out of their last 5 games and Kings' center Jarret Stoll dates a former supermodel (Rachel Hunter) - an older woman, I might add! Oh, and one of their leading scorers, Anze Kopitar is a big fave in HM's household as he wears the same number as one of my twins (#11). The other twin is #7 so we've got the 7-11 theme going on - just don't ask for a burrito or Big Gulp...

Before I go further, I want to give a ginormous shout out to ALL of the brave members of the military as tonight the Capitals are recognizing our country's real heroes during Military Appreciation Night. We all appreciate the tremendous sacrifices that you and your families make to defend our freedom.

This show got started early, like within 15 seconds of the first puck drop, with a five-hole Caps goal by Alex Semin, assisted by Brooks Laich. Early in the first, both teams went 4 on 4 as Mike Green found himself in the sin bin for slashing and Ivanans for the Kings went for hooking. Then at 7:23, David Steckel took a tripping call. As Hockey Mom is known to yell loudly during Pee Wee games, "Keep your sticks on the ice for crying out loud, boys!"

The Kings tied it up with a power play goal by #11 Kopitar, as Jose Theodore was screened by big man Dustin Brown and lost sight of the puck. That power play was a result of a delay of game call on Shaone Morrison. For all of you wonderful hockey newbies out there, a delay of game is called when a defensive player is cited for shooting or flipping the puck over the glass in the defensive zone.

The second period opened with a lovely defensive breakdown and it was payback time for the Kings - Anze Kopitar netted his second of the evening only 14 seconds into the period! Minutes later the Caps gave away a short-handed goal to the King's Michal Handzus giving the purple-clad opponents a 3-1 advantage. Don't worry sports fans, they don't call Mike Green "game over" for naught - Green cut the King's lead to one as he rocketed one in on goalie Jonathan Quick (not so Quick in this particular instance)!

Kopitar was a force to be reckoned with this evening as he was credited with the assist in the King's fourth goal from Ryan O'Sullivan. Is it just me, or does Kopitar bear a strong Shrek-like resemblance to that other sniper Caps fans love to hate, Evgeni Malkin?

The men in red couldn't stay out of the darn sin bin this evening, with back-to-back penalties from Shaone Morrison and Nicklas Backstrom causing the guys to kill off a 5 on 3. The tempers and frustrations were flaring in the second as the Caps' Matt Bradley dropped the gloves and danced a round with the King's Matt Greene.

The fireworks continued as Michal Handzus took a high stick to Alex Semin - who didn't care too much for that action and subsequently retaliated for a roughing call.

Third period, after "unleashing the fury", Alex the Great made a fabulous unassisted goal to again cut the Kings' lead to one. Yet Kyle Calder of the Kings scored with 1:33 left. Mike Green tried for "game over" with another last minute goal.With 29 seconds left in the game there was a wild flurry of activity as the Caps tried to force OT but alas it was too late. Alex Ovechkin made history yet again by scoring his 200th NHL goal, which he didn't seem too excited about in the disappointment of the game's outcome.

Final score: Kings 5 - Caps 4.

Yet another one the boys should have won...Gabby was none too pleased with this one. His comments at the post-game press conference: "The first period wasn't pretty, but the second period was downright ugly." After telling Hockey This Morning yesterday that he doesn't believe in the morning skate - he may want to consider the "bag skate." "Bag skate" for all you new fans is when the coach skates you so hard you may need one of those nice little bags the put in the back of the airplane seats by the end of the practice.

Before I forget, happy birthday to Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry who turns 75 today. If you haven't had the chance to witness some of Cherry's wild and wacky suits, you are missing a real fashion treat. I wonder what eccentric ensemble he wore as his birthday suit? Wait a minute - HM didn't really want to go there. Happy birthday Don and we hope we get many more years of your fascinating wardrobe and sharp wit....

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