Saturday, October 18, 2008

Look Ahead to Tonight's Caps vs. Devils and Some Random Observations

If you want a great look ahead to tonight's Washington Capitals game there are two I came across in the "blogshpere." So since I hate being redundant my recommendation is to go over to "Caps Blue Line" or "Japer's Rink," both have good insights and I really would have just said much of the same thing that DMG says at Cap's Blue Line.

[Ed Note: I had hoped to finish some original analysis and commentary of the Caps first four games but my work schedule has been quite hectic and I spent some of today catching up on the 3 projects I'm in the middle of at my "day job" at ICx Technologies, where good things keep happening even though it is crowding out my available time for this avocation. I now doubt I'll get that finished and I will be traveling 3 1/2 of the four days next week so I might have to come up with another angle and will certainly need to update everything I've already done to stay current, timely and relevant. In the meantime, I'll try and keep this blog lively and interesting by offering some alternative perspectives on things that don't require so much thought or "homework". Sorry to disappoint my fellow Caps enthusiasts who follow this blog.]

Look ahead item number 1: On one hand, Alex Ovechkin has been held pointless in the Caps last two games so "he's probably due." On the other hand, Ovie has just three goals in his career against future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. Which hand will win out - this writer is betting on Ovechkin, in front of what could be a sell-out crowd at home.

Look ahead item numbers 2 & 3: Chris Bourque returns to the Caps lineup for the first time this season and Sergei Federov will play defense due to the injuries to Tom Poti and Donald Brashear who will be scratches tonight. Given Bourque's intensity in training camp and the preseason, here's betting the feisty prodigy of Hall of Famer Ray Bourque flys and makes himself a factor whenever he's on the ice. Given Federov's great play on the Blue Line so far this season, look for another solid game from him tonight. The real issue is how long can the 39 year old Federov log 20+ minutes of ice time a night before he needs some rest. Granted, "Feds" keeps himself in phoenominal shape, uses his body judiciously, and employs his phoenominal "puck sense" to conserve energy throughout a game; but, a 39 year body isn't a 27 or even a 35 year old body in Professional Sports.

Look ahead item number 4: Tonight's game will be another classic battle of two different systems. No one plays "The Trap" better than the Devils, who despite only having scored 6 goals this season are 3-1-0. On Washington's side of center ice, you'll find no more exciting team to watch in the NHL. Capital's coach Bruce Boudreau, may have single-handedly brought all out aggressive forechecking back to NHL Eastern Conference hockey. Other team's watched the Caps late season resurgence last year and have adopted this season. The result, in this writer's opinion, is the most fun to watch professional sports in DC. Here's hoping, the fun to watch Caps best the Devils if for no other reason than to again affirm the fun to watch, exciting brand of hockey they play is winning hockey, just as it was in the third period against the Penguins.

Look ahead item number 5: Will the other Caps who've gotten off to a great start (Semin, Fleischmann, Nylander, Green, Bradley, etc.) keep it up? Yes they will. However, look for all of them, especially Green as one of only six healthy defenseman in the lineup, to be a little more conservative against the "trapping Devils", especially in light of the injuries the Caps are now carrying. The Semin-Nylander pairing has been on fire, so look for the Devils to be prepared and give them the same respect they give the Backstrom - Ovechkin pairing,. Even with Kozlov and Brashear out and Federov on defense, the Capital's forward lineup is still loaded and will put three solid "scoring lines" and one "checking line" on the ice tonight. The "rebuild" is certainly over - "ain't it great?" How will "Flash" react to having recieved the hard hat from his teammates against the Penguins - I'm betting very well.

Look ahead item number 6: Speedy Brian Gionta and how the Caps counter him will be a key to the game. If the Caps let Gionta loose, it could be trouble. However, if they have guys like Bourque, Fleischmann or Steckel stay on him, Gionta could have a long, unproductive night.

All in all it will be a great game - now some random but relevant thoughts.

Random Thought Number 1: Over at "The Red Skate", as is often the case pepper has it right: Don't be that guy! There's 20 minutes intermission between the periods isn't that enough time to check you blackberry. Of course if that's a Caps fan texting a friend or spouse with "Hey Ovie just laid another great hit on Malkin" in the picture we both have some egg on our faces which lead to random thought number 2...

Random Thought Number 2: Some people really need to either lighten up or just get some cooth and class or both. I am a rabid Caps fan, I pay a fair amount for our two season tickets - granted they aren't the most expensive seats in the house and I've split them this season with a friend - but two seats in the lower bowl in the corner are over $5,000. I follow the team religiously, this summer I watched two days of Rookie Camp at Kettler, etc. I feel the Caps Organization basically owes me nothing more or less than I'm getting. Well actually that's I think the Caps give me great value for my investment when I compare it to the value I would get from a similar investment in the other pro sports teams in the DC Metro. However, that's almost besides the point, as a human being, I figure I owe other human beings the same respect, compassion and consideration I want them to give me. What's he talking about you're thinking about now, especially since it's highly unlikely the offensive individuals are folks who follow this obscure, off the beaten track blog. I'm talking about the fact that apparently, even more than in the past, and despite three direct requests to the contrary, a bunch of "muttonheads" deluged Ted Leonsis' email address with out of line, disrespectful, non-constructive emails during the first two periods of the Caps - Pens game. You know while they fell behind 3-0. My thoughts - first and foremost - it's just a game. Really I care as much as anybody and more than many but, why in the world would you let it make you act like a horse's backside? Second, I don't know of and doubt there is any other pro sports majority owner who puts himself out there and makes himself so accessible. In fact I'm fairly certain there's no other. Think about it - do you or can you easily get Dan Snyder, Abe Pollin or the Lerner's email addresses? Let alone if you do and send them an email what do you think the odds of you getting a response from any of Leonsis' peers, with the possible exception of Mark Cuban, if you send them an email? He's done that for years and now he rightfully feels he's put a very competitive team of exciting young players on the ice to watch and is providing the best pro sports entertainment value in the area to watch so he ought not to be deluged with disrespectful emails every time someone scores a goal on Jose Theodore or Brent Johnson or any of the skaters gets a penalty or take away. I agree and I posted a note on his blog as a comment thanking him for his great work, here, I urge and hope anyone who reads my blog will do the same. Finally last item on this topic, my inclusion of Mr.Abe Pollin's name here is not meant in any way to show diminished high regard for a person who has given so much to the DC Metro Area, only to highlight that not even a great, civic minded guy like him puts himself out there as much as Ted Leonsis.

Now kids, let's go out there, play nice, watch the "potty mouths" and bad words, and have a really fun and great evening.

LETS GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Also Let's Go Nittany Lions, right now they're up 19-17 after trailing most of the game so far.)

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