We May Not Know Who The Caps Will Play In The First Round of The Playoffs Until Tomorrow .. But ...
We Will Know Who The NCAA DI Men's Ice Hockey Champion Is Today
Today Sunrise, Florida the game between the Capitals and the Panthers is in one respect a "don't care." The Capitals have a lock on second place in the Eastern Conference and cannot overtake the Bruins, the Panthers cannot overtake either the Rangers or the Canadiens for eighth place and a playoff spot. However, in an opposing aspect, the game is all about what really matters when men "Man Up" - RESPECT - and both teams could care - A LOT - about the game and it's result, despite the fact it will have no impact on what they do when they wake up tomorrow. Except how they feel about themselves.
The Panthers have had a solid season, and it really is too bad they can't and won't make the playoffs. However, the FlaCats are playing a Division rival who they have a 2-3-0 record so far this season. If the Panthers win they do two things of note: i)split the season series with the winners of their division and, ii)end the season at home in front of their fans showing them they have the ability to beat a solid playoff team. A Capitals win also does two things of note for the pucksters from the Nation's Capital: i) it gives the 2008-2009 Caps 110 points - the most ever in franchise history; and, ii) it also means the Caps finish the regular season on a four game winning streak ... and how many games does a playoff series take to win ... that's right hockey fans, FOUR.
Interestingly at the end of today we Caps fans may not know who the Capitals will face in the first round of the playoffs - the NY "Blueshirt" Rangers or the Montreal "All Stars," sorry I meant to say Canadiens. The following last games of this season matter to both Eastern Conference teams in them relative to playoff seeding:
1) Pittsburgh @ Montreal, Saturday at 7PM - what a finale for the regular season of HNIC, eh, I can just hear Don Cherry pointing out how if the Pens win and Canadiens loose it will be because the Canadiens have too many Europeans on the team and/or Sid "The Kid" Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury made it all happen for the Pens, despite the fact Malkin carried them on his back when they were out this season.
2) NY Rangers @ Philadelphia, Sunday @ 5PM. If the Canadiens fail to gain a point today, the Rangers will finish 7th on the basis of more wins, regardless of whether they win or loose on Sunday. However, if the Habs get a point or two, the Rangers have to match or better the Canadiens point total for 7th place at the end of their game against the Flyers. The Rangers will win the first tie breaker - most Wins, the head to head series is tied 2-2-0 but it can't come to that, since the Rangers start the day with one more win than Montreal. Depending on the results of today's Hurricanes vs Devils game in NJ, and today's Flyers vs Islanders results, the game may or may not matter to the Flyers.
So....you guys down there in sunny Florida:
LETS GO CAPS!!!!!
NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship To Be Decided Today
Here in the district fans in search of live, playoff style hockey can get a large helping of hockey excitement at Verizon Center today, even though the Capitals are out of town. After watching two exciting semi-final games with my friend Dave, in which my adopted teams - the underdogs - lost, my regular wingman, home from college for Easter Weekend, and I will be in Section 118 watching the Boston University Terriers take on the Miami University of Ohio Redhawks for the NCAA Championship. On Thursday Dave and I, who started out the afternoon with seats in Section 424, adopted the Bemidji State University Beavers at their pre-game gathering point - the Gordon Biersch Brewpub at 9th and F street. The mood was exciting and we were able to but tickets in one of their sections, section 118 from a fan who had some extras and had come from Minnesota. As Peerless noted, for a school of only 5,000 BSU did NOT lack in any way for fan support. Also I have to say, these are really nice people and they are pretty much totally into supporting their team. It's a total shame they didn't make it to the finals, but both they and the RedHawks played a hekuva game. In the end the RedHawks skated as well as the diminutive team from Bemidji and this time even continued great play from Bemidji's Sophmore sensation - goalie Matt Dalton, wasn't enough to drive the Beavers to victory. The RedHawks won 4-1 (the last goal being an empty netter). The first period was awesome though and both Dalton and the RedHawk goalie was awesome. In the second period the forwards on both teams came alive and the game continued at a frenzied pace in the third though, sadly for the folks seated around me the RedHawks seemed to dictate the pace of play most of the third period. Here's an interesting side note - the Music at the Beaver's end of the ice was provided by the George Mason University Band - how's them apples our local Cinderella University helping out the first 16th ranked team to make it to the Frozen Four? They even played the BSU fight song twice - way to go!
In the second game of the day the #1 ranked Terriers from BU, whose fans are also at the end of the ice I was sitting in. raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. However, the Catamounts from Vermont roared back until a late goal by the Terriers gave them a 5-4 victory and propelled them into the finals against the Red Hawks.
The atmosphere is awesome, it's not a "Rockin' the Red" atmosphere it's different - it's big time college sports at it best kind of atmosphere. The "tailgate" yesterday at Gordon Biersch was awesome, our waitress, Shaz saw my Caps Jersey and said - "Caps game nights are pretty wild, but these guys take it to a whole nother level, man." I told here "Yeah, but wait till the NHL playoffs, we'll be crazy too." That said I really, really got into it with the BSU Beaver Fans, urging the "Little Engine that could on to victory and was disappointed when "our team" lost.
Now it's off to the Phone Booth for my first DI NCAA Championship game!