Monthly Archives: February 2011

Lowered Expectations?

 

While we all wait to see even a twitch out of GMGM (which he’s not indicating anything) and for a jam packed Sunday.. I’m gonna quickly touch on something.

Read this article from our friends over at Capitals News Network.

Now I get it.. everyone wants to be a “true sports fan” and say things like, “I’m in it for the game, win or lose”, and “the players don’t’ owe us anything”.. but that’s horse shit. Individually, no they don’t. But collectively both the organization and to the fans, absolutely. I believe strongly in always being a fan of your team no matter how the season goes, but I’m not gonna cover up my disappointment with acting as if I’m some sort of sports snob and say it doesn’t bother me.

There is a big difference between entitlement and expectations and loyal fans have their expectations and they have their entitlements. I saw a comment that read something like “we as fans aren’t entitled to anything and if you’re not happy and if they aren’t winning, stop going to games”. What the dick is that?? I bet that guy is a Steelers, Yankees, Lakers, Duke fan…. from his couch.  If your fans are consistently selling out games and creating great buzz around the city, then yes, you owe them a cup. If you as an organization and team set the standard as winning no matter what… then YES, you owe your fans a cup. I know that may sound like a dickhead comment, but think about this…. Even though hockey players are known as being the least flashy in the professional world (see, “how many NHL players are on Twitter vs NBA players), they still depend on fans just as much as any other sport. The fans are just as important as the players, coaches and management. What’s the first thing you always hear any one of those in the organization say when they are given some type of award or honor… “This is for the best fans in the world” which is sweet of them right? Now I’m sure that every player in the NHL would still play even if it was for peanuts, but that wouldn’t work would it? Money makes everything function the way it should. When you buy that $200.00 sweater or pound those $10.00 beers, just think of the distant fan in Oregon that is thanking you for keeping the whole system running and keeping his game on Versus or the NHL network.

I’m ranting a tad, but the bottom line is this.. Yes, Caps fans, you are entitled to a Cup. Just as the New Jersey Devils fans, Boston Bruins fans, and even yes, The Shitsburgh Penguins fans are entitled to a cup. The day that you stop believing in winning, is the day you stop caring about the game all together.

Sorry for the jumbled post… Rizzle.

Advertisements

California Snubbed

2/17/2010

Capitals fall to a team that they haven’t been able to show up and beat at their house since 1993. Sigh. Now, this was a good, physical San Jose team that has been having a great February compared to their disaster of a January, but I honestly thought Washington was going to be able to smash through in the 3rd after looking like the better team in the 1st and 2nd.

And thanks to some stellar commentary, I give you this…

1993.. ah yes.

Breakin it down, yo.

Niemi came up big for the Sharks in many situations, including some early big saves on Ovechkin in the first which should have been goals. I’m gonna give him the win for the Sharks.

Ovie looks good in the 1st given the back to back games, and sets a physical tone right off the bat. It catches up with him at the end of the period when a big hit turns into “interference”. Good on the kill and super props to Neuvy for coming up with a monster save with about a second left in the power play.

And then… ANOTHER short handed goal. It’s terrible when I sit and start to dread power plays. It induces stress and rarely produces goals.

…. Until Ovie nets his 23rd of the season through a bit of traffic. I almost forgot what it was like to score on a pp. whoo.

Going confidently into the second. Neuvirth looks solid, the game looks like its ours to win for sure. After a ton of missed opportunities and plenty of good saves for both teams, the 2nd ends without a goal.

Still feeling good going into the third…

The Sharks get a good looking goal when Clowe stands on the crease and bats one in.. now is it me, or was the nearest Caps sweater 10 feet away at the time of the goal? I was too pissed to go back on the dvr so I’m just going to agree with myself.

And here’s where I’ll just sum it up quickly.

-Neuvirth puts a monster save on Couture.

-Erskine’s pentalty was bullshitkaki.

-Sharks get a pp goal to make it 3-1.

-I give up with 3 minutes left, Backs gets a good screen and puts one in with 1:55 putting a tingling back into my pants again… it was a text message from one of the guys over Eutaw Street.

San Jose plays LOCK DOWN defense with a minute left and we can’t even get our goalie off the ice.

Boom Bang Bam… game.

See ya on Sunday.

California Love

I’m back and I want to apologize (to whom you may ask? No one in particular) for my absence from TCL. Due to national security policy, I was “banned” from using any type of technology for 3 months. Long story, but it’s all good now. Really? No.

I’m gonna keep my post all related to tonight’s game as we know that we could write 300 pages on the past month or so. (eh hmm, Nastey Nate)

Some would say that this was a “fun” game to watch… and I would disagree. These are the scenarios that I would call “fun”:

*A Caps win by 4 plus goals. (extra fun if it’s against NYR, Pitt, TB etc.)

*Any Penguins loss… especially with these results

*Any game that involves full ice brawls

*A close, physical game that doesn’t end with the scoreboard looking like a football game.

Nothing is fun about your team allowing 6 goals. Nothing.

Anyway… I’m just gonna point out the highs and lows of the game… not that they weren’t obvious

Highs – A win against the West.

-Ovie goes five hole, while falling down on a beaut of a breakaway… thus increasing my girlfriends odds of having another hot dream about him (I’ve created a HOvechkin).

-I was totally pissed at Laich and Carlson for the first PP goal BUT…. Laich redeems himself by keeping his cool and tossing the puck in the net from point blank. Lesser gents would have bobbled the puck and been stuffed like a homeless shelter on Thanksgiving.

-Johansson corrals a somewhat off pass brilliantly and chucks it to the front of the crease. Semin gets the goal and if you watch the replay, it bounces off his gut and he smacks it into the net.

-Backstrom gets the Ducks 5th goal..  Good news for Socal residents : Participating Hooters gives out 5 free wings tonight… Thanks Nicki!

-Johnny draws blood. Tight.

-Knuble gets a bad ass breakaway goal .. shorthanded. Now stats won’t show shorthanded because he scored a second into being full strength, but the break was before hand.

-Semin looked fired up in the 3rd… gets his second goal of the night.

-And then his third… welcome back, Sir. My hat’s off to you… eh?? eh?? booyah.

 The lows.

-The Ducks score with 30 seconds left in the first. Unacfuckingceptable.

-Ovie got “Ovied” on the Ducks shorthanded goal in the second. Same goal, Neuvirth stands completely still and doesn’t attempt to stop the puck or anticipate the shot at all. Not sure what that was all about but I’m sure Varly was feeling a bit better about himself.

-Our defense looks awesome… totally.

COUPLE NOTES

 I don’t know why, but I think the way Matt Hendricks wears his bucket is awesome. Seriously.. this dude wears his helmet like he’s shitfaced. Also, I love watching Carlson push people around after the whistle] –  I’ve been to the Duck pond or whatever they are calling that joint now and if you think it was just the broadcast made it look tame, thats because it is.. I think the Californians are just too cool to lose thier shit and act a fool cause that place is like a library. – PS- Lemieux is a douche

T-Rizzle

The Opening Salvo

I am here to pop my capslock cherry, and also to announce that rumors of the Caps demise have been greatly exaggerated. The fact of the matter is that Alex Ovechkin and the Caps spoiled us the last two seasons by playing a style of hockey that not only made them Presidents Trophy winners, but also made them the most exciting team to watch in the NHL. Unfortunately this style was blamed for their premature exit from last seasons playoffs, and the Caps listened to their critics. In the beginning it seemed to be a mistake, but as a wise man once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”

The funniest thing about all this is that the critics weren’t just the national and mainly Canadian hockey media. Caps fans were highly critical when the team lost a game 7 at home for the third season in a row. This caused Caps fans to push the same company line we heard about the Caps every time they were talked about, ” They need to become a better defensive team” and ” You can’t expect to win 5-4 games in the playoffs”. Defenseman Mike Green seemed to be the poster child for the teams struggles in the postseason, and evidence that maybe a shift in strategy was necessary.

Well the fans got what they wished for, and the team decided to change its identity seemingly on the fly. From the wide open style through which they swarmed opponents with their seemingly overwhelming talent, to a more conventional style of play. The games were no longer as exciting, and to make matters worst the results weren’t coming in the same matter fans grew accustomed to. The Great 8 was no longer putting together a personal highlight reel every night and offense that seemed to be the best in the NHL now seemed merely average.The Caps had gone from being lauded for being an offensive juggernaut that considered defense an afterthought to a team that struggled to score 3 goals a night and played a style of hockey usually suited for the mid-90s New Jersey Devils. This all happened seemingly in a matter of two months.

Obviously it doesn’t help when you have a December like the one the Caps had. Their 5-6-3 December also included a stretch where they went winless for eight straight games. However the misconception was that the style of play was to blame. Fact of the matter is that the team was not putting forth the kind of effort necessary to play that brand of hockey. If any lesson should have been learned by this team in the three straight losses to the Canadiens its that you have to earn it. Now it seems that over the three weeks the team has seen the error in their former ways. The effort level is up and while the team may not be playing the exciting brand everyone loved them for, the results are starting to improve.

While the transition has not gone as smoothly as a lot of people would have liked, there is clearly light at the end of the tunnel. With the trade deadline on the horizon GMGM is likely to add another piece to the puzzle, and the push for the Cup will be soon after that. A team that at times seemed disinterested and hopeless in December now looks like a team that knows that their chance for redemption is on the horizon. The chance to silence the naysayers who question their mental toughness, and a chance to make DC home to a champion for the first time in what seems like ages.

Fake Juice

F*ing Restless

Dear Washington Capitals,

Please forgive my short-fuse with you this season. Despite the text messages I send out [seemingly every game night] that read ‘These guys fucking suck,’ or ‘It feels like the Caps just kicked my dog,’ or ‘I’d rather take a haymaker from Fedor Emelianenko than watch another Caps shootout,’ I’m not going to jump ship to another team anytime soon, or ever really. But I, along with many Caps fans (it would appear), am getting fucking restless for a Cup.

Maybe it’s living in the DC area for coming up on 25 years now. The last time a major franchise won a championship in DC was when the Redskins won in ’91*. I was 4 years old and barely remember the house I lived in, much less the Skins hoisting Joe Gibbs after winning Super Bowl XXII. The previous time before that? Again the ‘Skins in ’87 and I had lackluster motor skills and was deucing all over  myself at 9 months old.

The Wizards/Bullets have made it to the playoffs 7 times in my lifetime. They have made it out of the opening round once. They are currently in the midst of a “skid” where they have lost 25 games in a row away from Verizon Center. Their overall win percentage is .271. There’s a better chance of a sequel to Kazaam being released before the Wiz bring home a Larry O’Brien.

The Washington Nationals are still like a new puppy to me. I can’t get mad at them for losing because some schmuck in Montreal destroyed their franchise after the strike. At least they are living up to their expectations, as low as they might be, on a yearly basis. But even before then, when the Orioles were the local team for DC fans, there’s been few chances for a World Series banner around here. Since 1997, the Orioles and Nationals have combined for 19 seasons without finishing above .500.

Maybe I am taking it out on you, Washington Capitals, because you are arguably the most talented DC franchise I have seen in that span. You were the best team in the National Hockey League last year over 82 games, then shit the bed in games 83-88. The roster this season is largely unchanged from last year’s. Lost a few, gained a few, but the nucleus of last year’s President’s Trophy team remains in tact.

Take a page from New England here. The Boston/New England area franchises hadn’t won a championship in 15 years prior to the Patriots’ 2001 Super Bowl. Since then they have added 2 more rings, the Celtics have won a championship, and the Red Sox have two World Series trophies. Six titles for one area in 9 years isn’t bad. Maybe the Capitals and their talent are the spark the other franchises could use to spawn more titles.

So what do you say fellas? How about you start playing with as much energy that Verizon Center crowd gives you on a nightly basis? How about we play full 60-minute games? How about we start winning games prior to overtime where we are 4-5 [dropping 5 straight before we head to the shootout].  And if we should have to go to a shootout, how about we do a little better than the abysmal 2-6? I assume you’ve all grown up playing hockey – how many times in your life have you gone one-on-one against a goalie? It certainly isn’t anything new. Those are 11 points left on the board after going into OT, guess how many point we’re behind for the top spot in the NHL? Crazy coincidence.

Just something to think about.

You shitbums.

Love,

Lester Averman

* I realize DC United has won the U.S. Open Cup twice since the inaugural 1996 season. I also realize I said “major franchise.”