I know others think they beat me to the punch on using “Hatty for Matty,” but I’ve wanted to use that as a title since Mathieu Perreault scored his first NHL goal against the Florida Panthers in november 2009 (one of my favorite photos) and I almost immediately thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to see this guy score a hat trick? A hatty for Matty? Aw, man, that’s lame, but I gotta use that some day, if he ever comes through with a hat trick.” So with respect to Mike Vogel (the first public use of “Hatty For Matty” I can find, but I suck at the Twitters, so maybe someone else got it in first), I gotta go with what I gotta go with.”
Pretty cool game. Nice to see the Washington Capitals rally without Alex Ovechkin in the lineup and play some dominating hockey against the defending Stanley Cup winners and generally dominating team, the Boston Bruins, at times. Of course, that use makes it even more frustrating when we spend so much time watching them fumble on getting the puck out of their end for super long stretches. A win is a win is a win, so no real complaints. That’s about the limit of my insight that I’m willing to try and share. I’d just embarrass myself compared to Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, Ed Frankovic, and On Frozen Blog (who, by the way, featured one of my favorite photos of this season in a great post about statistics the other day and I missed it being busy with real life). And some pics and more at Capitals Outsider (but strangely missing their Young Guns II poster).
So, my photos are below and on flickr.
Better late than never, right? I’m not sure if that applies to the vintage 2009-10 performance the Washington Capitals turned in against the Anaheim Ducks last week or to this blog post with my photos from that game last Wednesday. Could be both. If any of you on the east coast were still awake for it, it must have been nice for you too see them score seven, but you know what was better? Being there. As we’ve all endured the vanishing offense and started becoming used to a return of Y2K-era-like trap-based hockey, the game against the Ducks was the most exciting game I can remember attending in a long time (Winter Classic not withstanding considering its special circumstances, although the hockey itself was kinda boring).
A few notes from Anaheim… I’ve never been approached by as many people in or around an arena with as many comments, questions, chirps, cheers as at the Pond (it was Arrowhead Pond when I lived there and Honda Center just doesn’t ring true). One of the Redskins Hogettes sat behind us. It felt like a third of the people in the Pond were wearing red or Winter Classic gear. The in house announcer was no better than the guy in Phoenix a couple days before. If these are the types that @WesJohnsonVoice has to compete with, he should have lifetime job security at Verizon Center. Drives “home” are better after a win.
The game was so long ago now that the Capitals have played two and a half games since then (I write this as the second period of Capitals-Penguins in Pittsburgh comes to an end), I’ve flown across the country, retuned to work, and spent a great weekend with my family. If you want to read about it, try Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks, The Peerless or any of the others out there. Read the box score from Capitals Outsider. @ikeastan was there, too, and she posted some great photos on flickr. You can see my photos here or on flickr. There’s a lot more than usual, I hope you enjoy them!
Slapshot wore a suit while carrying the Capitals flag before the NHL ice hockey game between the Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center.
The Tampa Bay Lightning came to Verizon Center in Washington, DC last night riding a five game winning streak, scoring 22 goals along the way. Yeah, Semyon Varlamov put a stop to that by pitching a shut out. Alexander Semin scored a hat trick…just like the last time the Lightning came to town. The Capitals defense didn’t help only by limiting the shots getting through to Varlamov to just 17, but added three goals of their own from John Carlson, John Erskine, and Tom Poti.
After the game, I was walking down the stairwell about two strides behind the Capitals General Manger George McPhee. I was torn between two things I wanted to say to him. One was a simple, “Thanks,” for building a team that has been so much fun to watch the past few years. I still remember the night late in the 07-08 season I had “the talk” with my wife about buying season tickets for the following year. It was during their late season run to the playoffs. It felt like something special was about to happen and I wanted to be there for it. I’ve been to 95 regular season games since then and maybe only seven of them have been duds (thankfully, most of the duds seem to come on the road…although one of those seven duds was the game I watched in person in Los Angeles last January). Even when Alex Ovechkin appears to be just another player on the ice, the Caps are a fun team to watch. For some reason, whenever I see McPhee, I want to thank him for that.
The other thing I wanted to say to him was about Ovechkin. While he maintained his position as the third leading scorer in the NHL by adding two assists but still seems off. If the Captials keep playing like this as a team, maybe it doesn’t need to be fixed, but some Ovie-Tine still wouldn’t be a bad thing. Not that I would expect a meaningful response from McPhee, I’d still like to ask just to do it. Or maybe it’s just me and every other team the Capitals are playing have found the magic needed to shut him down. Yet he’s put 18 points up on the board in 13 November games while the Caps have posted a 9-2-2 record, so, who knows. Is there anyone else playing in the NHL scoring over 1.3 points per game on a winning team that can leave you asking about a slump?
But, of course, I said nothing to McPhee about any of it.
Anyway, read some good recaps (instead of this drivel) at Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks or your favorite other Capitals blog. Some of my photos below or on flickr.