Friday, January 18, 2008

Caps Beat Oilers 5-4 in Shootout; Record: 14-7-4 Since Coaching Change

The Caps are 14-7-4 since the coaching change; if they had played this way for the entire season they'd be on pace for a 100 point season (0.640 hockey) - not too shabby. As it is they are once are in the best place they've been relative to playoff chances since about game 6 or 7 of the season. After Glen Hanlon's tenure ended on November 22nd, I figured it would take the Caps until February at best to truly be in the hint for a playoff spot. Thanks to excellent play by the Caps and the tremendous parity of the Eastern Conference (12 points separating the second best record in the Conference from the team in 14th place), the Caps find themselves out of the League Cellar and in 11th in the Conference, only 5 points out of both the Eighth spot Boston Bruins and the SE Division Leaders (Atlanta Thrashers). Additionally, the Caps have locked up their star player Alex Ovechkin (stats so far this year: 35 goals, 22 assists, 57 points in 46 games played +/- +8, shooting 14.4% as well as averaging over 23 minutes per game of ice time) for the next 13 years in the richest contract in the NHL to date.

Since Thanksgiving both the Team and Management have made major strides in proving to both their NHL colleagues and their fan base they are dedicated to achieving a winning record and a playoff spot - this year. The Caps have fought through numerous injuries and consistently demonstrated they can play with any team in the league since the coaching change. Players, Coaches, Management and Fans all seem to be enjoying the turn-around and having fun.

Throughout this season it has oft times appeared that the quality of officiating I in the NHL has eroded. Last night's game was no exception, indeed I fully embraced the several derogatory cheers direct at the referee and linesmen's ineptitude. That said in the third period while looking out from my view in section 103, after another really bad/bonehead missed call, to what to my wondrous eyes should I see? An ice cream cone being hurled from section 109 on to the ice in the zone the Caps were attacking. I won't think about appealing for this behaviour never to be repeated based on manners, etc. - frankly why bother some of my more irate cheers occasionally draw looks from nearby fans - so that would likely be somewhat hypocritical. Rather I will suggest several good reasons to never repeat the act that are very self serving. 1Since it was obviously a Caps fan who tossed the scrumptious treat (I love mixed soft serve in the waffle cones at the Phone Booth don't you?) tossing something like that onto the ice in the zone your team is attacking can only hurt your team. Your forwards can only get slowed and/or trip or get hurt. Slow play generally favors the defenders as they have more time to react. So my plea is when you root for the Caps, who are a fast paced team don't throw things on the ice it slows them down and helps the other team.

On Saturday the Caps face the Thrashers who are the Southeast Division leaders. A win brings them two points closer to a playoff spot. LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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