It has to be me. Since my last post my favorite NHL team - the Washington Capitals - have posted two straight losses in regulation IN A ROW ...AT HOME, and my adopted NCAA Team the Bemidji State Beavers lost to Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. It must be me, it couldn't have been both of them, coult it? I mean a curse or something like it has to be at the center of the whole "flumux" that my hockey world has become.
First on Thursday evening 3/25 the Caps loose, AGAIN, to the Carolina Hurricanes in overtime 3-2. Then on Saturday, the BSU Beavers loose 5-1 in the first round of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Ice Hockey Tournament in Fort Wayne, IN to Michigan. Michiga, coached by former Saint Louis Blue Red Berenson simply overpowered the Beavers. BSU coach Tom Serratore was quoted as saying: "That's the hottest team in the country and it might be the best team in the country right now." after bigBlue tore up his Beavers. Just 24 hours later though the Blue had fallen to the Redhawks from Top Seeded Miami of Ohio, the team they beat in the CCHA tournament to earn their berth in the NCAA's. Oh well the Frozen Four is now down to: Miami of Ohio (last year's runner-up); who will face the Boston College Eagels in their Semifinal and the number 3 seed Wisconsin Badgers facing off against this year's Cinderella team, the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers at Detroit's Ford Field on April 8th. The final insult to my prowess as a "charm of a hockey fan" came yesterday when the Washington Capitals lost to the Calgary Flames at HOME in REGULATION 5 - 3 after having a first period that they finished behind 4-0.
So how do I feel today you might ask? Quite glad that I'm not one of those folks who gets too, too emotional about "their teams." Seriously I know folks who are Redskin fans that come into work depressed or mad on Monday's after the 'Skins loose the prior day. I just don't see that. I would say though, that I agree with Coach Boudreau, there's rarely, if ever, a reason to boo your team at home, let alone when they have what is really an infrequent off day/game; you really can't just "turn it on and off" that easily. What I mean is, isn't it about time to stabilize the roster with the one you feel will be "THE" roster for round one of the playoffs and start to let guys get in a grove? Sure I'd distribute the ice time more than you might otherwise do in the playoffs - no reason for ANYONE to play more than 21 minutes TOI in a game between now and April 11th. However, shouldn't the line-up be configured within maybe the occasional 1 person or two, if we count the goaltenders as well, of the expected/planned lineup for game 1 of the playoffs? To me, that means that Milan Jurcina, John Erskine and Tyler Sloan get little if any game time on the blue line right now. It also means the lines up front stabilize as much as possible so instead of shuffling the forward lines all around if a guy like Brendan Morrison is out, then the guy playing in his place plays "his regular line and regular shift" instead of shuffling the rest of the lineup, etc.
Fact, even though I'm a jinx and the Caps lost yesterday, they still clinched the Eastern Conference Championship thanks to the scores elsewhere around the league - in other words when the Devils lost 5-1 in Philadelphia yesterday that meant the Caps locked up the Conference Crown. Am I frustrated the Caps have failed to gain their 50th win of the season in their last two outings - yes. Would I like to see them have Home Ice Advantage throughout the ENTIRE playoffs, no matter how far they go - sure. However, right now the Capitals are locked for the # 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and are 5 points up on the San Jose Sharks and 10 points up on the Chicago Blackhawks for the "President's Trophy" - the Sharks have 6 games left to play, the Caps have 7 games left and the Blackhawks have 8 games left this season. My point is Boudreau is right, but as I said, not everything is rosy at Kettler and Verizon Centers. I'm all for the Capitals using these last 7 games to get ready for the playoffs, but maintaining that winning attitude and that "aura" of a really tough team to beat is very important. I think it's as important as anything else in the playoffs. Time and again, the team that finishes the season playing well and playing hard goes deep into the playoffs - look at how far Carolina went last season?
So it's settled, I'm a jinx and the Caps are aching and ready to turn things around. No need to panic, it is only two games but I'm sure the guys want that 50th win as bad as we fans do. I'm also sure the team next up - the Ottawa Senators are as motivated as the Calgary Flames were on Sunday. That means the Caps need to play like THEY not Ottawa are the 5th place team in the Conference fighting for their division title - after all that is what Ottawa is and will be doing. For sure they can't play a period of hockey as uninspired and unmotivated as Sunday's first period - well it's not impossible - but it is highly unlikely - thank goodness.
So let's all get with the "Zen" program, do a big cleansing breath as we get into the Lotus position and chant our mantra - sending positive vibes to the Capitals ....UMMM..UMMM....UMMM...
LETS GO CAPS!!!!