Catching up/Preview

Basically missed a week on here. Oops.

Some key wins against Boston and putting away a dead tired Atlanta squad.
Malkin getting 5 points to up his season total to 102? Not bad. I'd say Malkin is definitely a legit contender for the Hart(and Pearson) at this point. In my bias I think he gets it if the season ends today...but the next 3 weeks will definitely have an impact in the voting.

Even the back to back losses to Columbus and Ottawa came with a point. The Ottawa loss was pretty awful, but the win against the Bruins helped erase that a bit. Bylsma has points in every game he has coached except the one regulation loss to the caps.

The Kings will be coming in after playing in Boston tonight. So this could be another fatigued team playing against the Pens. LA needs the points though...more than Atlanta did. Should be an interesting game. All that really needs to be said is that LA will probably be pretty sick in 2-3 years, but until then they still are going through some growing pains.

Go Pens.

-Brodeur broke the record. Congrats to him


Caps Win!

Wade Belak. Too bad he can't score as much as he can instigate fights.

The big question about the Predators was can they score with no real #1 star forward?
The answer is a resounding no.
Legwand (19 goals on the season) had 5 shots, Dumont (12 goals on the season) had 3 shots and Fiddler (9 goals on the season) had 3 shots. All other Nashville forwards had less than 3 SOG.

Arnott has 27 goals on the year, but managed 1 shot. That is in part to the fact that he left the game with injury due to a hit. That's what Nashville gets for attempting to play a physical game. Nashville begins picking fights early, continues to hit hard and sure enough the Caps respond by knocking Arnott out of the game. Well deserved.

Weber and Suter did a good job against Ovechkin, he was in check for the bulk of the game, and his shots were very often blocked or wide. Wide shots are normally because the defender has cut down your shooting angle, and the defense did this very well against Ovie. The one problem with the OV focus is that you lose track of his linemates, and that's exactly what happened in this game. The first Caps goal exploited that problem.

Kozlov dished the puck to Ovechkin, and with Suter playing the puck (Kozlov) at the point on the rush, Weber was forced to go out and quickly cover Ovechkin's shooting lanes. This led to Backstrom being able to cut into the slot, between Suter and Weber, without a problem. Ovechkin spotted him and that promptly tied the game, as Ellis was helpless on the break.

That goal showed how hard it is for opposing defenders to shut down the top line. Even when you cut off Ovie's shooting lanes, the top line can still be effective with wise passing plays and timely cuts.

Big win for the slumping Caps. I'll be in Philly on Thursday night, so look for a few pictures.


5-0 road trip and very alive

(Photos copyright AP Images)

The bulk of this post will obviously be dedicated to yesterdays Caps/Pens matchup, but before, we have a bit of catching up to do (we at dangleblog-cfpf have been lazy city--oops).

The canes have been winning non-stop, the Rangers have been picking it up since Tortorella took over/the trade deadline(I think those were terrible long term moves for the record), and the Penguins still have a ways to go to lock up a playoff spot.

So with a tough stretch of games on the road and their backs still up against a wall, what do the pens go out and do? Well...win all 5 on the road trip. This easily could've buried the Penguins season, but instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they get a solid win against the BOLTS.

Then they turn around, head south to Miami, and after outplaying the Panthers, late in the 2nd Dvorak(or as FLA calls him "D-VO") gets a garbo goal. A lump in my throat quickly forms. Then Crosby shows why he is the Captain. Guerin feeds him a pass and he streaks down the ice. 1-1. Pens don't look back in the 3rd and a huge win is in the books.

Now onto D.C. Not a must win game, but one the team wants to win. Definitely would like to send a message to the Capitals that despite the other 3 results, the Penguins can in fact skate with them on the same ice. Do not want to get the season series swept.

The Crosby love fest was on at VZC. Signs. Props. Pacifiers. It was all on display. Despite packaging tickets to try and keep the rival fans out--Penguins fans still came out in droves. I wouldn't say it was as many as in the past, but still a strong showing.

Shaky start to the game, Pens weren't able to get too much together, and then it happens. Odd man rush for the Pens, Guerin passes the puck past a sprawled out Schultz to Crosby. Advantage Pittsburgh.

(Photos copyright AP Images)

CF-Tabaracci was none too pleased with Schultz's work on the play, but nonetheless...1-0 game.

Caps come back to tie it up before the end of the period after Letang made an ill-advised pass. As I was urging Letang to take his time, he does just that, but then inexplicably instead of firing the puck up the boards, he chips it right into Backstroms chest. Pass to Semin. Bang 1-1.

The rest of the period was definitely tilted the Caps way.

In the 2nd period though, the Penguins showed what they were made of. On the PP Gonchar fired home a solid top corner laser. Pens get the lead back.

Then Guerin gets the puck just inside the blue line, toe drags the puck, snipes it home top corner. Sick goal that almost shocked me. Guerin still has some touch left and looks to be having a good time so far. 3-1.

3rd period, the game turns into choke city for the Penguins. Ovechkin snipes with that ridiculous wrist shot he has. 3-2.

And then not a minute later, a poor line change turns into a breakaway for Brooks Laich. Laich looses the puck momentarily, makes a solid move, beats Fleury. New game.

Theodore has a sick save on Crosby somewhere in there, and another on Malkin. He wasn't messing around.

The caps had all the mo' after that. Poti later in the period hits a crossbar, fans think it goes in, review shows that it was absolutely not a goal. Caps have another swarm around the Pens net before the period ends. Nothing doing.

Headed for OT.

Caps definitely took it to the Penguins in OT, and had another swarm in front of the net, where Fleury came up big. Somehow the Caps didn't find the net.

Shootout central.

Semin first. Surprisingly he comes in with a weak move, and Fleury keeps it out.
Letang's next. No dice.

Next up Kozlov. Fleury stands strong again.
So then Crosby's up. The boobirds are out. The anti-crosby schwag was waved. Yada Yada.
Crosby slides in, forehand, backhand, forehand, goal. Sid gets the last laugh.

(Photos copyright AP Images)

And it all comes down to Ovechkin fan vs Fleury fan. Ovechkin pulls out his patented head fake deke, Fleury wasn't biting, save. Game. Pens win. Big 2 points.

5-0 roadtrip. Coach Bylsma off to a stellar start. Now a huge homestand ahead, gotta still win games at a 2 out of 3 pace, as the field has tightened. But encouraging signs regardless.

Good stuff.

-- Sykora sat out with an upper body injury, he hopes to play tuesday against the Panthers (another huge game), but is day-to-day. For Geno's sake, hopefully Sykora isn't out too long.

--After the game, Caps fans were complaining that they felt it wasn't a loss because of the shootout. Caps did play hard, and with a bounce here or two, could've won. Fair enough there. The rules are what they are though, and the Pens still got 2 very important points, so from my perspective...not much can be taken away from the win.

--Fleury=2 legit 2 quit.


Rangers Are Buyers. Who Would Have Thought?

The Rangers have wisely gone out on Trade Deadline day and spent away prospects like Dawes and Prucha for Derek Morris. Gave away a second round pick and a conditional for Nik Antropov.

Wow. The Rangers carry the torch for the Yankees in baseball offseason. Big stunner.

Are these 2 players going to fix the lack of production that the Rangers currently face? I doubt it. The reason the Rangers "needed" to go out and get these players is because of the fat contracts they currently have with Gomez, Drury and Redden. Trading for 2 average players and selling away future assets to get them isn't going to fix past blunders. This is a lesson learned the hard way by the Capitals. In 2002 the Capitals bought Jagr, bought Lang and tried to buy a stanley cup. Much like the Rangers have been doing. That failed big time, so the Caps rebuilt. Look where the Capitals are now, a division leader (with no one close) and a team fighting for first in the conference with its best days still to come.

The Rangers on the other hand have accrued a team good enough to lose in the first round of the playoffs, keep pushing the salary cap with overpaid underperforming players and secure a draft pick in the bottom 15 of every draft, giving them average prospects, until the team is firesold.

Many teams in the east have gone the way of re-building. Pittsburgh and Washington have rebuilt and are on their way to stanley cups, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders are currently in stages of the rebuild. The rebuild takes patience and foresight. These teams are building the painful and time consuming way.

The Rangers just don't get it. Stop spending to make the playoffs, start building to win championships.

Rangers trade deadline grade: F-


Pens fan check in on trade deadline eve.

(Sweet jersey there Tampa--image from NHL.com)

I go out of town for the weekend, and come back to CF-Tabaracci running the show on dangleblog-CF/PF. Give Caps fans an inch--just kidding--good to have the caps spin on this blog up and running.

Although the Pens have a big game against the Panthers coming up (good lord, I can't believe I'm typing that) they can't look past tonight's tilt with Tampa. The cliche has been thrown out there daily, but at this point gotta win games at a 2 out of 3 pace for the most part.

Sid is out for the 4th consecutive game...which by the way, the Pens are 4-0 thus far without Crosby this year. TRADE CROSBY FOR A BAG OF PUCKS!!!!11

And in a CFPF sidestory, we should hand out contributing blogger job apps to the BOLTS, because as CF-Tabaracci has pointed out, they are essentially the TB Capguins(a look at the score sheet will show: Eminger, Hall, Halpern, Malone, Melichar, Pettinger, and before tonight Roberts--and I also forgot Heward, Kolzig and Recchi, good call CF-Tabaracci)

As shown in the pic above, the BOLTS have unreal 3rd jerseys, I wouldn't say they are quite up there with 90s StL Blues jerseys...but still pretty hideous.

Go Pens.

Trade fan vs Deadline fan: The countdown is on for the 3 pm(EST) deadline tomorrow that has snuck up on CF-PF bloggers fast.

From the Penguins front, they waived Satan today, and it seems to be a move intended to get his attention. Although he has picked it up recently, he hasn't been gritty, he hasn't been a two-way player(think Kovalchuk only a tad less talented) and he has been an enigma to say the least. His 3.4 mil cap hit will most likely deter anyone from grabbing him, hence why it is most likely a message. I doubt Shero will be upset if he has an extra 3.4 mil of cap space before the deadline is over though...

Other than the big rumors out there, and names being thrown around as "deadline movers," the deadline has been relatively quiet. We will definitely be keeping an eye on what the Florida Panthers do, they definitely have a say in how the EC Playoff picture is going to look in the coming week.s

In general NHL news, VS mentioned that Roberts was released, Backstrom (G for Wild), Avery officially joined the Rangers and that Vanek was coming back.

Also, this being my first chance to chime in on the Whitney trade...I must say thus far Kunitz has impressed me. Losing Whitney hurts, yes. But, it was starting to look like he just may not live up to his expectations year in and year out. Tangradi could turn out to be the centerpiece of the deal...Shero says he is very raw, but definitely has some upside and ability as a power forward, but this all remains to be seen.

PS: Idea...any thoughts on liveblogging games for both teams? Probably not every game, but some of the more important ones, playoffs, etc. My worry is it may cramp the main page, but with links and jumps(things we are working on--be patient)...could work. If CFPF team isn't able to make it down to Verizon(I'm sure Ted would prefer only 1/3 of the blog there) for the game this Sunday, maybe a good time to test run the idea. Feedback greatly appreciated.


1st pick?

Who would you take with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft? There are 2 consensus picks, John Tavares of the OHL and Victor Hedman of the Swedish Elitserien.

John Tavares - A very highly skilled forward. Dubbed "the next next one" by the Canadian Media (apparently Crosby is the next one). Tavares was the star in Canada's gold medal victory in the world junior tournament. Tavares broke Gretzky's 25+ year old goal record for most goals by a 16 year old in the OHL. He is touted as a player who will come into the NHL and score 100 points immediately, much the way Crosby and Ovechkin did.

Victor Hedman - A well rounded defenseman who has had his game compared to Nick Lidstrom. Currently in his second season in the Swedish Elite League, playing as an 18 year old against grown men, he has 21 points in 43 games and is a surprising +22 on a team that has allowed 24 more goals than they have scored. Keep in mind that in Europe, leagues use a larger ice surface that makes scoring less abundant.

I guess it would depend on the team that has the luxury of drafting 1st overall. A team like the Islanders needs everything except goaltending, they have used a 1st overall selection in the past to select DiPietro and then promptly signed him to a 15 year deal despite his history of injuries. They basically need EVERYTHING else. Right now, they'd be a competitive team in the AHL, and they're looking to deal players like Guerin and probably Weight and Witt as well.

If you take an example like the Blues or the Kings, both of those teams would almost certainly take Tavares because both of them have gone through re-builds where they have stocked VERY high end defensive talent with the likes of Pietrangelo and Erik Johnson in STL and Doughty, Hickey and Jack Johnson (trade from CAR) in LA. When you look at these teams upfront, both of them could use a 100 point center. The only center in STL projected to put up 100 points in the future is.......? Berglund? No dice. The Kings have a better option in Kopitar but after that, who's next on the list? Moller? Boyle? Not much depth. Tavares for STL or LA.

If you look at a team like Pittsburgh or Washington (neither will be in the top slot, but it's an example) both of these teams would certainly take Hedman. In fact Washington has taken Hedman before, just not the more skilled of the 2 brothers. Both of these teams are STACKED to the teeth in offensive talent. Players such as Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Backstrom and Talbot. Ok, maybe not Talbot, but you get the idea. These teams don't have many blue chip defensive defensemen. In fact I'd say the only top tier prospect defensive Dmen in either system would be Alzner (Orpik is young, but not a prospect or a blue chipper). These teams have the offensive rearguards in Green, Letang and Goligoski, but these players lack the true 2-way value that Hedman projects to bring.

Do you take the mentality that you would draft the best player available? Do you draft the best player for your system? Do you draft based on your immediate needs? If you are the Islanders, who do you take and why?


Caps Lay One Down at Home

Offense sells tickets. Caps have 11 straight sellouts.
Defense wins championships. Caps take 6 minor penalties to the Panthers 2, reflecting the final. Panthers 6 Caps 2.

1st period summary: Caps take 3 penalties, Panthers score 3 PPG. Ouch. Remember that Boston post the other night? I detailed the PK troubles, and how if the Caps stayed off the PK, there was a chance for a regulation win? Caps give up a PPG inside 5 minutes left in the 3rd to allow Boston to steal an OT point. Caps stole one with a Semin floater on Saturday. Not so lucky on Sunday.

I still like Neuvirth in net. Kid seems pretty sound technically. Have to like how the team is built in net with Varlamov and Neuvirth. Both net minders have looked very solid at the NHL level, both are VERY young, both play a different style of goal and both seem to be ready for duty. Also a great thing is that neither were drafted before the 20th overall pick, kudos to GMGM and the scouts on that one.

I'll leave this one on a high note. The ONLY good thing about today's loss is that giving the Panthers 2 more points makes it that much harder for the Penguins to get into the playoffs. Who would have thought after last year that we would be saying that this late in the season? While Pittsburgh enters Monday sitting in the 8th spot, remember that Buffalo is behind by 1 point and has a game in hand. Carolina is 1 point back with no games in hand but they do meet with Pittsburgh in Carolina on Saturday April 4th. Canes and Pens have Friday April 3rd off, but Pittsburgh will be in Florida the next night, Sunday April 5th, and the Panthers will be sitting waiting with Saturday April 4th off and will have been at home since Sunday March 29th. Carolina also sees the Capitals 3 times in March, so the Penguins will be doing some indirect cheering.


A little bias?

Please watch Don Cherry make an ass of himself. This is the most biased opinion I've heard since the last time I talked to a Yankees fan. "Act like Joe Thornton (Canadian), Sakic (Canadian), Iginla (Canadian), Shanahan (Canadian), Bobby Orr (Canadian), Yzerman (Canadian), guys (Canadians) like that." "Act like Jason Strudwick (Canadian)."Who would have guessed that Cherry could roll Canadian names off his tounge in a matter of seconds?


Yeah. Everyone.

Ovechkin is a "goof" and conducts himself along the same lines as Sean Avery. .....Seriously? Avery? The same Avery that was demoted from the NHL when the Stars were struggling?
Placing Avery and Ovechkin side by side and attempting to compare them is a joke. Both of them are flamboyant, and that's where the comparisons end. Ovechkin is a world class talent, Avery is a world class moron. The best comparison to Sean Avery isn't Ovechkin, it in fact is Don Cherry.

Both of them are flamboyant idiots. Both of them publicly bash people who DON'T deserve to be stepped on. Both of them lack appreciation for world class players. Last but not least, NEITHER of them are appreciated by the American hockey fan base.

Questions of the Week: Will Don Cherry ever praise Ovechkin's goal scoring ability or his leadership?
What would Don Cherry do if Ovechkin won the Conn Smythe? Suicide Watch?


Big Trip to the Hub of Hockey

Boston is riding high in first right now, and I'd love to say they're being chased, but they're really not. Especially if the Caps fail to come out of Boston with a regulation win. Boston(92 points) is currently sitting 9 points ahead of the Capitals(83 points), 11 ahead of the Devils(81 points) and no one else in the East is even close to the 3 division leaders. Its staggering to think that Boston has lost a mere 12 out of 62 games in regulation this season (second to SJ's 9). Having seen these point totals, its needless to say that if the Capitals don't leave Beantown with 2 points and none left on the table for the Bruins, 1st place becomes VERY unlikely.

Good news for the Capitals is that both Lucic and Savard are questionable for the Bruins lineup on Saturday. Among all players, Savard enters Saturday 7th in assists and tied with Iginla for 8th in points. Savard also has 44 points in 34 career games against the Capitals. He's a player that Caps fans won't miss seeing on Saturday. Lucic is an emerging power forward, he's basically Iginla with about 1/2 the skill (and 1/2 the points). Lucic is young quality player who is capable of digging the puck out of corners and dishing off to the skilled players like Savard to make plays happen. He's a vital cog for physical presence on the forecheck. He's a player the Caps defensemen won't miss seeing on Saturday.
As typical with good teams, when injuries strike, someone will step up. That player has been Michael Ryder. He's got 4 goals in his last 4 games and 7 points in that span. Ryder has four 2 goal games accounting for 8 of his 22 goals, oh and 7 of his 22 goals are GWG, however only 2 of his GWG have come in the 3rd and he has not scored in OT. He has 9 goals and 15 points in 17 games against the Capitals. He has 21 goals in 40 games that Boston has won and a mere 1 goal in 14 games that they have lost. If Ryder is a non-factor, that does not sit well for the Bruins.

Caps come in after a 4-3 win over the lowly Thrashers. It was all powerplay for the Caps in their last game. The Caps scored 3 on the man advantage and gave up a shorty. The powerplay remains red hot and is 3rd in the league, behind SJ by 0.1%. Speaking of special teams, the Caps have got to eliminate penalties in Boston because their powerplay sits at 5th, and the Caps already gave a game away in Boston in OT while shorthanded. The Capitals are currently an unimpressive 20th in the NHL on the penalty kill at 80%. Needless to say the PK unit needs to stay off the ice. The Capitals are 3rd to last in Powerplay goals allowed with 61, ahead of only the Ducks (62) and the Thrashers (68). I'll say it again, the PK needs to stay off the ice. Think of any team in the NHL not in Anaheim or Atlanta and they've allowed less goals on the PK than the Caps. Islanders?...Lightning?...Senators? Yeah. PK is hurting.
On a positive note, Ovechkin has 16 points and 7 goals in 15 games against Boston. Backstrom has 7 points in 7 games against the Bruins. Nylander scored in his last game against the Bruins and he has 33 points in 37 career games against Boston. Love to see him get back on track........wait, get ON the track. To say he has struggled would be underestimating. Hopefully Brashear and Thornton throw fists, its always fun to see 2 of the NHLs best fighters go at it. Brashear had a great fight against Boulton on Thursday.

Caps need 2 in regulation to keep the 1st place hopes alive. Lets go Caps.


PF-Wed Preview/Roundup

Lots of stuff going on right now around the league and with the pens.

Sabres, Panthers and 'Canes all lost last night in regulation, which makes these 2 points that much more important. Pens fans know the Isles always seem to play the penguins close and hard. They are not a team that will simply roll over, just because they are dead last in the league. 

To make matters worse, Sid is out for the game with a sore groin. On the other hand, the oft-maligned Ryan Whitney is out for personal reasons. Pesonen has been called up, and it is a safe bet that Bylsma, who worked with Pesonen up with WBS a lot, will certainly give Peso more of a crack than Therrien did. But lets not underestimate that Pesonen may be running out of NHL tryout's. If he can't start getting it done soon, he most likely will be on his way back to Finland before the end of summer. 

Bylsma's run and gun/aggressive style didn't pan out against the Isles a week or so ago, and it should be interesting to see where it gets the pens this time. 

Otherwise around the league and other misc. stuff going on:

-Rangers visit the Leafs tonight. Tortorella is behind the bench for the blueshirts as they try to get revenge for the loss the Leafs handed them at MSG. Silver lining for the Pens throughout all of this is that the Rangers have been tanking hard. If things keep up, it won't require as dramatic a turnaround for the Penguins to make the playoffs--just consistency, even mediocre consistency.

--Chris Cooley (oh, him?), who apparently is now the expert on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, dumped him in his blog (which pensblog points out is basically run by his brother) and in a moment of shock...went on to make the oh so ballsy claim that Crosby is overrated. Gee, how original. Pensblog went on to carve him out a new one. So Cooley's brah and Chris himself took to the internet and airwaves to throw themselves out there as martyrs for the cause. Big mean Penguins fans picking on the poor old DC sports scene.  

--Trade deadline is right around the corner...no huge rumors yet, but I'm sure ridiculousness isn't far off.

Go Pens.


A second referee! Over there on that.....

Ted Leonsis.

Smart. Personable. Philanthropic. Pompous Hypocrite.

Why is it that every philanthropist thinks that their ability to part with a fraction of their gazillions of dollars gives them license to be as blindly hypocritical as possible?

In the latest rendition of Ted’s Take, aka the propaganda machine that the Capitals and their fans are the moral compass of the NHL and the quintessential purveyors of class and dignity, Ted is on his high horse again stating the Capitals are the victims of the referees, but do not ‘whine’ about it. Sure Ted, no Capitals ever talk back to referees. Gary Bettman, in his grassy knoll skybox in Verizon center, has made sure that the referees have been instructed to keep the Capitals down at all costs. This is why the Capitals have not won a cup yet. There can be no other reason.

Maybe I need to reexamine a few games to really determine the extent of how much or how little the Capitals react to penalties called on them. This is provided I can drown out the din of whining done for them by their fans and owner.

Ted, you are a good owner and a benefit to the community of Washington. However, stop pretending the Capitals and its fan base are morally superior to anyone. I know you want to believe that you have built a “city on a hill”. What you have a built is an extremely talented hockey team and given the true Capitals fans hope of a Stanley Cup (Yes, real Capitals fans, I am almost happy for you if I did not despise your team. However, this “almost sentiment” does not apply to the multitude of Capitals fans that don’t know a blueline from a tan line-- the ones that are only Capitals fans, but not fans of hockey).

However, they are a team like any other in the NHL. The Capitals have the same moral pitfalls, cheap shot artists, and complaining issues like every team in the NHL. Furthermore, you have a fanbase with a large chip on their shoulder from years of disappointment. They are just as virulent as other fanbases (the obvious exception being the Philadelphia fanbase; those kind hearted folk are in a class all their own), proven irrefutably with all of the Crosby venom.

If you want to take the real high road Ted, stop churning out illusions of ethical grandeur and standing about your team. Embrace the fact that you have brought the Capitals into the hockey forefront, with all the same flaws that comes with putting together a bunch of dexterous barbarians that swing sticks.

Your team is like any other Ted. Be proud of what they are, and not what you would magically make them in your head.


P.S. This will be the last Caps oriented post by me for awhile. I think these last two posts should be enough to get Caps Fans and me off on the wrong foot. Stay tuned for Penguins coverage.


P.P.S: Don't worry Caps fans, he's not always this full of hate. The lack of sunshine on the U.P. could be deeply affecting Flex. We think. His Pens insight is rather keen, not to worry.  -PF-Lupashuck

Keystone of the Capitals: Sidney Crosby

I suppose there was one victory for Penguins fans yesterday; it has exposed the Crosby attention conspiracy for what it mostly is: a fabrication created by Captials fans and supported by select other fans from around the league. Now, I am certainly not denying that the NHL used Crosby as their poster boy and billed him up plenty. However, if you examine a random sampling of innocuous threads in relation to the Penguins and Crosby with no mention of them, you will find a surprisingly large portion of the threads turn to Crosby hating rather quickly.

Case A:

Headline: Capitals defeat Team X

You won’t have to scroll far before the first “Did you see that Ovechkin goal…So much better than that cry baby Crosby’s non-goals.” Or you will find some equally trite or juvenile comment in regards to “OVECHKIN Pwning” and “Cindy Cry-Baby”.

Alright, let us step back a moment. Maybe Capitals fans have been living so vicariously through Ovechkin that they have felt extremely slighted by the NHL’s coverage. Therefore, every achievement of Ovechkin’s is seen through Crosby-shaded glasses and cannot be separated from Crosby’s.

I present Case B:

Headline: Team X defeats Team Y

Even a large portion of these which have no mention of Crosby or the Penguins suddenly spark Crosby hate-a-thons. Some of these are started by random Crosby hating fans around the league, others by Capitals fans trolling other places. It isn’t even related to Ovechkin at this point.

Here’s some food for thought:

2 years ago Crosby was the Art Ross, Hart, and Pearson award winner. Last year his team was spanking teams in the playoffs until they ran into the brick wall that was the Red Wings. So the coverage he received was well deserved. Now that Ovechkin has won a round of trophies, the coverage on him has been upped. Today, there was more Ovechkin coverage than Crosby coverage and the clowns that are Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury (aka the black sheep of HNIC) said that Ovechkin is by far the best player in the league. Surely the wrongs have been righted for Capitals fans and all is well in the world. WRONG! The Crosby nonsense continues.

The reality is most of the Crosby coverage is a result of: are you ready for this? CAPITALS FANS. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; don’t point your finger squarely at the NHL execs. Capitals fans bring up Crosby more than Penguins fans. In fact, I have met more Crosby haters than Crosby supporters. Maybe the Crosby haters are just more vocal. This would again support my point that the Crosby attention falls squarely on the haters’ shoulders.

Capitals fans who are vocal about their hatred for Crosby are like the middle-aged women plopped on their couches that bitch about how Paris Hilton is on the news again while they flip open their National Enquirer and turn on TMZ.

Dear Capitals fans,

Crosby is more important to you than he is to the Penguins’ fans. He is your sacred pariah that you can accurse at the water cooler each day with your coworkers. His failures are more important to you than Ovechkin’s successes. Your views of him exemplify the consequences of predisposition and selective criticism. He unites your fans under a banner of hate. And when you go home from the playoffs early, he will be the one crutch, the one consolation, the one cure for your disappointment. The Crosby coverage phenomenon is your doing Capitals fans, and apparently it is something you can’t live without.



Pens Fan-Recap 2/22/09 Game

Pens lose 5-2. Drop to 29-26-6

Fleury has played 10 million straight games. 
The power play had about a weeks worth of chances.

Just came off an emotional game in Philly with 2 points in one hand, and Scott Hartnell's fro in the other.

Caps laid down at home against the Avs...this wasn't going to be a breeze. Sounds like a list of excuses, sure, but...it is what it is.

Pens started off with a solid effort. By the time the 2nd rolled around, it became apparent that a win was not in the cards. 

Theodore was good enough to get a win, bad enough to give up a fairly juicy rebound to Max Talbot in the 1st. 

Ovechkin-Semin-Fedorov pretty much ran the show. Gonch continues to prove why he was sorely missed for most of the season, despite getting 'whooped' the whole game. Which for the record...what is that all about? 

Gonchars gameplay thoughts: "Ok, grab the pass, ok, dish it out of the zone....OH CRAP, turnover! Foiled again by that intolerable 'whoop' noise...UGH!"

We think it went something like that. 

Speaking of ridiculous. NBC. I swear, Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire change who they claim to be is "the best player in the world" every 3 months. This Sunday it was their turn to fawn over Ovechkin. All fine and good, the penguins have had their fair share of fawning over by the national hockey media. And don't get me wrong, Ovechkin should be in the conversation of best players...but I have a hard time believing a man who traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish. K?

Enough wasting pixels on NBC's inept broadcasts.

PF (pens fan) silver lining: Pens still aren't out of it by any stretch. They continue to rack up shots under Bylsma. Despite the inconsistencies, I still have some good vibes about this team for them to salvage something. Some encouraging signs are there for sure. Still waiting for that consistency though.

Need 2 huge points from Weds game. Isles always seem to play the pens hard...at least Malkin thinks so. Hopefully Bylsma learned something from the last game against the Islanders as well as the loss on Sunday and will tailor the game plan a bit.


3 Clowns talking hockey.

Who in the hell are these clowns?

First things first. This blog will be starting off with three bloggers with ties to the D.C. area, two of which are penguins fans, one of which is a caps fan. A menage a trois of sorts. Between all of us, we have each either played or watched hockey for over a decade now, so that must count for something. Right?

A half-assed roll-call:

Clown 1: Ross Lupashuck- Pens fan A, has been into the penguins ever since he went to game 5 of 1996 EC quarterfinals. The game where Schoenfeld/Trottier/Johnston did the reach around fight. Has been pretty devoted since, Rico Fata, Ross Lupashuck and Ramzi Abid included. Has not been the same since Ian Moran left town. (Note: I am NOT the great Ross Lupashuck--just an alias)

Clown 2: Tabaracci For Vezina -The lone Caps fan on here will be putting his spin on the Caps, NHL and anything else hockey. Has followed the Caps since the days of Bondra and Johannson. Finds Chris Neil to be the epitome of on ice class. Sleeps with his signed Ulf Dahlen stick.

Clown 3: Flex_Point- Pens Fan B, a DC area native, has been part of the Pens' faithful since as long as he can remember. He apparently seeks conflict since he promptly shipped himself to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after the Penguins' loss to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals in order to continue his endeavors in rocket science (which he unabashedly doesn't let people forget). He lives in constant fear that Kip Miller will come to reclaim his skates that Flex_Point bought and continues to use.

What the hell is this?

Why are three clowns with ties to the D.C. area blogging about the Capitals and Penguins?
Why a blog with two teams? I thought the Penguins main rival isn't even the Capitals(and debatably vice-versa)? Why not?

Bettman, Leonsis, Pens ownership and fanbases of both franchises have been pumping this up post-lockout...so we figured it was time to get this going. Now that both teams are playoff contenders(well...both are expected to be), and things seem to be heating up between the two franchises...now seemed to be the time.

Crosby/Ovechkin, Malkin/Semin, etc etc.

And if these two teams meet in the playoffs? This place will light up faster than Phelps at a frat party.

This will be the place for game breakdowns, general team news, debate and just plain old good trash talk.

So keep the comments civil, have fun, and enjoy watching this blog evolve alongside the rivalry.

Breakdowns from today's game are coming from both sides as well as other garbage as we get the chance. Stick with us as we labor through getting this thing off the ground. Enjoy, and welcome on board.

Recaps from today's game and on-topic crap coming soon.

-CFPF Team