Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Morning Hockey Musings ... 3/25/2012

Well Caps fans this morning we arise with "our team" still firmly lodged "on the bubble in 9th place in the Eastern Conference and 2nd Place in the Southeast Division. Here we are just 7 games from the end of the 2011 - 2012 NHL regular season and surprisingly the more things changed this season the more they remained the same. Overall the Caps have amassed 82 of 150 possible points in 75 games thus far (0.547) and they have the game they need to move up from 9th to 8th in hand, in fact they will play that game this evening here in DC at Verizon Center against the Minnesota Wild. How that game will go is likely anybody's guess, the 2011-2012 Washington Capitals have not been predictable, I have no idea or desire to prognosticate as to any individual game or it's results these days. I know my abilities to do so relative to the Capitals is entirely inadequate. After all on Friday Night if anybody had asked me after the first period the likely result of that game against the Jets, I would have confidently said it was going to be a two point night for the Capitals. Silly me, Trix are for kids....

Well what is there to say? I have one thing to the fellow Caps fan walking down F Street after Friday's game who said to me and others loudly: "They don't deserve to be in the playoffs" - I'll say this: if the Caps or any other team in the NHL makes the playoff cut when the 82 game season ends - they sure as heck do deserve to be there. Eighty two games is grueling. The Caps like any other team in the NHL have had more than their share of trials and tribulations over that period. For me, I can't wait and only hope that Nicklas Backstrom makes it back into the lineup this season sometime before the Caps stop playing hockey games, whenever that is. I'm glad to see Mike Green returning to form albeit with a slightly changed game. I'm ecstatic that over the last five games Ovie has been Ovie. I was very glad to see Alexander Semin out on the ice on Friday and even happier he had a good game after missing a couple. I could go on about everything I'm glad about with the Caps but I think I've made my point, if you make the playoffs you deserve to be there, so enough of that negative stuff fellow fans. No I'm not suggesting that we all celebrate the fact that on Friday the Capitals let what is now a very precious standings point "get away" - NOT AT ALL. All I am saying is if they do make the playoffs, I'll be very happy about it, I'll be at Verizon Center for the games, and I'll know it's a "second season" and "anything can happen."

So what's it going to take for the Caps to make the playoffs - This morning I'm thinking that if Buffalo keeps going the way they are going (7-1-4 in their last ten games) and Ottawa keeps playing 0.500 hockey, the answer is 92 points, which is pretty much what it's taken every season since the "lockout" to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. That's 10 more points than the Caps have right now and it means the Capitals have to play 0.714 hockey the rest of the way or they will need some help. Winning five of seven games in the NHL is never easy, winning them this time of year against playoff quality teams is even harder. The Caps seven remaining games have them playing playoff quality teams 4 of those 7, but make no mistake any one of those games could be a chance for the other team to be "a spoiler" and all professional athletes have a lot of pride to drive them this time of year. So once again I say the Capitals are in a position where "win and they are in" - they are still in control of their own fate. They need to take control of each of these remaining seven games and play like they can play for all sixty minutes. That's 420 minutes of solid, tough, in control hockey - 420 minutes of dare I say it - playoff hockey. It all just means that for the Capitals, the playoffs have already started. They need to win 5 out of the next 7 games, that's just one more game than they'll need to win in any of their playoff series this spring. As Ralph Kramden would say "Mere bag of shells, Norton." So enough of the negative stuff fellow Caps fans .....

One question though - what is a "wild" anyway?


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