Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Less Than Auspicious, But Classy End to A Great Season

I'm not here making any excuses, looking for reasons yes, making excuses no. That part of my core values won’t go away but it’s not making excuses so I have to say this next statement first and get it out of the way. No doubt about it - last night the Pens did and the Caps didn’t. The result hurt if you're a Caps fan - when since Boudreau took over as coach have we been down 4-0 let alone in a game that mattered so much? The Caps season is over and I won't go check on what I just stated so it could be wrong, but I can't recall the last time I saw any team score 4 let alone 5 goals before the Caps scored their first.

I also can't recall when the Caps failed to adjust as well to differences and changes between periods at least as well or better since Boudreau arrived. Last night it happened in the second period. The period started with the Caps needing a goal to get things moving, instead the Pens scored two quick ones to go up by four. How they and we as a crowd managed to keep it together and with a little class given the fact that up till then this last series was "nip and tuck" every minute of pretty much every game - before i get a ton of comments I know there were lulls and lapses, the Caps more then the Pens - but it was the first time in the series one team dominated the other for an extended period. However that's the way last night went. If you were a Cap or a Cap fan it wasn't your night, the clock had run out. To make matters worse, Pittsburgh, knowing what was at stake knew they could show no mercy. Until first five minutes of the third period had been played they kept the pedal to the medal and for the subsequent thirteen minutes they kept the pressure full bore on the Caps. The Caps never got going last night and that was the really sad part. I've been a Caps STH for 5 years now and a hockey player and fan for 40 years, it was clear the Pens, Sidney Crosby and ALL the Pens had no intention of letting the Caps recover or get any momentum. They played well, our Caps for whatever reason last night did not.

However, maybe not from last night's game but from these two playoff series several more good things came to light when you look ahead. Dave Steckel came of age. Sergei Federov, showed he's 39 years old but he's still got it if he wants to come back again - I hope he does. John Erskine, totally validated the contract extension he received. Mike Green proved that a hurt Mike Green is still an asset we are more than happy to have around. The "Alexes" awoke this AM tied for 1st and in 9th in playoff scoring so far, unfortunately given they also awoke with their seasons ended they won't be in the lead when the Cup get's raised - not this year, it wasn't to be.

Look I really don’t like Crosby’s style - it’s too … well Canadian for my taste - I’m a brash American… I like Ovie, I think Malkin is as important to the Pens as Crosby, maybe Gonchar and Fluery are too … the only Pen I really don’t like is Orprick - I was also surprised Blysma played Crosby and Malkin till less than 2:30 left - doesn’t that say that maybe for all the trash talk the Pens, including their coach respect the Caps just a little? I mean they were up by four goals, the ice was clearly soft and chippy. Mike Green didn’t take a shift in the third period, yet the Pens felt they needed to keep their bootheel on the Caps neck until the 2:00 mark.
I’m not dissing the Pens, I’m just saying it was a great series between two great teams. The Caps are in pretty good shape re the salary cap and free agency this summer. Our Caps will be back, no doubt from what they showed last night the Pens will be.

I won’t wish them luck, no malice I’m just “adopting” the Blackhawks this next round and hopefully the rest of the way. I feel they are the underdogs, or the biggest underdogs since I can’t bring myself to root for the ‘Canes even though they just knocked the Bruins out of the playoffs in a game 7 OT ... and what was that about the Southeast Division being the weakest in the NHL again?

Oh no... with the quote below from OV last night there could once again be rumours about OV wanting to play in Montreal: "Our fans, right now I think they're better than Montreal. They're just awesome." -- Alex Ovechkin

Just kidding I'll be back intermittently between now and training camp - hopefully between now and then someone will tell me how I get my Federov Jersey autographed so I can place it above the bar in the basement....especially if he decides he doesn't want to come back or for some reason GMGM decides he can't afford him...

Final note - 99.9% of the Caps fans at the game were very classy and the ovation at the end of the game as well as the reaction to the few Penguin fans in attendance seemed very good. Still very, very proud to be a Caps fan...

LETS GO CAPS!!!! 2010 is the year!!!!

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