Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One last time

Reposted from March 26, 2007, during a season in which the Capitals finished with 28 Wins and 70 points and did not qualify for the playoffs. How far we've come. Just win this one boys.

Just win this one

It's been quite a year for Caps fans, from the peaks of the opening third of the season to the valley of the post-all star losing streaks and the abominable road performances. But as a Caps fan who believes in the rebuiling process, and sees light on the horizon, I only want one more thing this year.

If the Capitals go out and beat the Penguins tomorrow night, I'll be perfectly happy with the season.

So go out there and do it for all the fans that have had to endure the busloads of bandwagon-hopping Penguins fans that were dumped in front of the Capital Center for all those years. Do it for the great Capitals teams of the early 90s that were stopped in the playoffs by Crybaby Lemiux and his gambling degenerate sidekick Jaromir. Do it for the Caps fans that have had to endure year after year after year of hearing Penguins chants and cheers for opposing team goals. Do it to erase the memory of that ugly third period collapse earlier in the season (the Deuce is still convinced Bettman made a call from the league office and told the officials to make the game more... even for TV purposes.)

But most importantly, do it for yourselves. This is a young Pittsburgh team. They're going to be competitive in this conference for the next few years. The Capitals need to get it in their heads that they can beat this team. Because we're going to be seeing a lot of them in the playoffs in the years to come.

So come on, Capitals. Get it done. For the fans. For the team. For yourselves.

Beat the @#$*! Penguins!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Calling it a day

Well, everyone might have guessed this was coming, seeing as we've posted only once this December... we're closing up shop here, as all three of us have changed positions or jobs in the past year and simply haven't been able to keep up with everything. Never fear, we'll still be at every home game, as loud as ever.

We've enjoyed writing, and hopefully you're enjoyed reading. Happy New Year to all (except Flyers fans, of course).

-Derek, Roger, and Roger
3 Grumpy Caps Fans

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Depleted D

If there was any question about how much the injuries on defense have affected the Capitals style of play, one need only look at the Caps game Tuesday night against the Panthers. Usually a team that plays a defense first, trapping style of play, the Panthers came out with an all out blitz of a forecheck, constantly pressuring the Caps defense for all three periods.

It paid off big time.

The Capitals simply don't have the bodies or talent to compete in the defensive end in their current form. The Caps defense without Tom Poti, Mike Green, Sergei Fedorov, and to a lesser extent Jeff Schultz and John Erskine is now a mirror of what it was during the Caps first post lockout season. Which is not good. At all.

The current defensive lineup doesn't feature a single defenseman that should be playing top 4 minutes in the NHL for any team. Uber prospect Karl Alzner is still adjusting to the NHL game, and needs more seasoning before he's ready to assume a role as a top tier defenseman. Milan Jurcina refuses to play the body unless it's away from the play for a penalty which renders him basically useless. Shoane Morrison gets outplayed and out muscled near the front of his own net on almost every play. And Lepisto, Helmer, and Sloan, with respect to the effort and determination they've shown, are third pairing defensemen at best.

For the Caps to be successful, they must keep the puck out of their own end as much as possible. And with Alexander Semin still injured, the burden for keeping puck possession falls to Michael Nylander and his line. The Caps first line has always been solid at controlling the play in their opponents' end as soon as they gain possession. For the Caps to take the burden off their crippled defense corps, the second line needs to be just as strong to give their defense the relief they so desperately need.

If the Caps top two lines can maintain possession and control the play and allow the defense to bend without breaking, they have a chance to beat the Islanders tonight. If not, it's going to be a long night.


Oh, and remember to skip lunch today so you can enjoy as many dollar dogs at the arena as possible. I'm thinking I can take down at least 5... blogger competitive eating contest, anyone?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I got yer closed hand right here.

Starting the third period last night the contest with the Minnesota Wild seemed all but over. The Caps had been decimated by injury, looked worn down by their West Coast swing, were down by two, and had no offensive rhythm. And yet there was still plenty of time left for the game to turn. And then the referees inserted themselves into the game by calling what might have been the most pathetic and laughable calls of the season.

When Tom Poti and Alex Ovechkin were whistled for closing their hands on the puck within seconds of one another, the duo of Rob Shick and Chris Ciamaga essentially said "this game is about us and not about the teams playing." They put an undermanned team down 2 players, and the Wild promptly scored to go up by 3. The Wild went on to score again and go up 4-0, and the game looked to be over. And if they had been playing most other teams, the offensively bad pair of calls by the officials wouldn't have mattered.

Most teams can't break through the Wild's suffocating trap and get pucks past rock solid goaltender Niklas Backstrom. But the Caps are not most teams. They roared back in the third and scored not once, not twice, but three times to bring the game to within one. That they could not find the net for a fourth time should not have mattered. They shouldn't have had to.

All human beings make mistakes. Referees are human beings. So it follows that referees can and will make mistakes. That's forgivable. What is not is involving yourself in a game simply for the purpose of involving yourself. Calling obscure delay of game penalties that are practically never enforced not once, not twice, but three times in a game AND TWICE ON THE SAME TEAM WITHIN A MINUTE is grandstanding, plain and simple. And it cost the Capitals a point tonight.

I don't pay for my season tickets to watch referees insert themselves into games. I pay to watch the players. Period. Other than the families of Rob Shick and Chris Ciamaga, I bet every hockey fan feels the same way. And last night's display was an absolute embarrassment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Out of gas

The formula is simple:
The Caps flew cross country two days ago, played one day ago, and then faced a Kings team that was playing at home and had rested since Sunday.

The predictable result - the Kings thoroughly outplayed the Caps for all but a few minutes in the third period, handing the Capitals a 5-2 loss (that was really a 3-2 loss with a couple empty netters). The Caps needed a some lucky bounces and a poor goaltending effort from the Kings, and got neither.

Not having Mike Green clearly affected the team's ability to get the puck out of the zone quickly, as the Caps had a noticeable uptick in the number of failed breakout attempts. If Green doesn't mean go for Saturday's game against San Jose, the Caps will be at a significant disadvantage.

The Caps simply have to put this game behind them, get some rest, and gear up for tomorrow. You can't jump into a shark tank at less than full strength and expect to avoid getting bitten.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Of sticks and measurement

On the surface, tonight's West Coast opener looks like a pretty good matchup for the Caps. Anaheim has one less point in two more games than the Caps, and they're a bit long in the tooth. Both teams play some fairly weak competition in conference (Phoenix, LA, Dallas in the Pacific, and Tampa, Florida, and Atlanta in the Southeast). But here's the big difference:

Anaheim plays in the Western Conference.

Surprising? Not if you look at a map (or have a fourth grade grasp of US Geography). But it is important, because the Western Conference is, without a doubt, superior to the East. Pittsburgh fans will no doubt point to their miracle comeback against Detroit as evidence to the contrary, but that game was an abberation (for a number of reasons). Look at a list of Stanley Cup Winners from 95-96 to the present. The West owns 8 Cups to the East's 4 during that period, and if the league actually called penalties during the playoffs it wouldn't even be that close (we're looking at you, New Jersey).

The simple fact is this: San Jose and Detroit are BY FAR the best teams in hockey (and anyone who has read this blog before knows how much I despise Detroit). After that, the next group of teams (Minnesota, Anaheim, Calgary) would all be likely division leaders in the East.

That's why this road trip is so important to the Caps. If they want to call themselves an elite NHL team, they need results out west. A solid victory against a tough Anaheim team would go a long way towards establishing the Caps as a team to beat (alas, beating LA will not). A win against San Jose would... well, lets see how the Caps fare against Anaheim and LA first.

In short, if this team is for real, this road trip will show it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is one of those nights

This is a night that Caps fans have always dreamed of. Your first line stats:
1, 2, 3, +4,
1, 3, 4, +4,
2, 3, 5, +4.

Now lets all hope Brent Johnson isn't for really real injured and that this is just a slick coaching move by Coach B to get J.T. (admit it, it sounds better that Joo-say Theey-oooo-dooore) some minutes without being under the gun.

Oh, yeah, and Carolina... you're old.