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