Wednesday night’s Washington Capitals victory over the New York Rangers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the perfect relief for fans from their heartache following their loss in Game Five in New York on Monday. That loss brought the kind of fan depression that can only be cured by the next win. With this win, the Capitals stay alive and force a Game Seven. Oh Boy.
After the game that wouldn’t end finally ended Thursday morning, I wrote something about an “I got this” vibe from the Washington Capitals. Saturday afternoon’s game validated that feeling. The Caps had it and defeated the New York Rangers by a score of 3-2. Thankfully, it was in regulation time, too.
There are three photos I’m especially happy with from yesterday’s game. One is the feature photo in this post of Nicklas Backstrom’s fist pump following his goal. We don’t get that kind of celly from him very often.
While I couldn’t quite tell how the Alex Ovechkin hit on Dan Girardi went down, but it was one of those rare times that I shot an in-focus, not-too-motion-blurred photo of a moment like that.
Then there is the photo of the sombrero on the ice in front of the Chipotle dasher board ad in front of a fan holding a sign reading “Rangers Are in Danger” with the puck sliding by for some Cinco De Mayo spirit.
I had always wanted to be at one of those marathon (this is the word everyone agreed to use, right?) multiple overtime NHL playoff games. I always figured that if it was at one and the Washington Capitals were playing, the Caps would, you know, lose because Capitals. This left me prepared, so it was easier to accept the outcome. Karl Alzner may have a had harder time, though.
The toughest time I had last night was watching the girl sitting in front of us. She was bouncy. Very bouncy. Not like a bouncy personality (well, I don’t know, maybe she does…I just don’t know her), but physically bouncy. Bouncy in her seat. Bouncy while standing. It was as if she could not contain herself.
When my youngest daughter was four years old, she would run in a circle through the kitchen, living room, dining room, and foyer screaming at the top of her lungs, “I CAN’T STOP! I CAN’T STOP!” and she couldn’t. Bouncy Girl last night reminded me of her. She blocked our view, was distracting, and not someone I would willing chose to sit behind (and be afraid to sit in front of lest she spill her beer). We asked Bouncy Girl a couple times to not lean so much and everything. We could tell she tried, but just couldn’t manage. It was different than the Masshole Boston Bruins fans two weeks ago. We wanted to see the game, but we were also being entertained by the show she was putting on. It was quite bizarre. Then, as the overtimes melted into more overtimes, she lost some steam and turned into the Not Quite As Bouncy Girl. It was alright.
For the broader Semifinals series, I’m a little surprised at how optimistic I am after that loss. Over the past year or two, almost every time the Capitals have taken a lead in a game there has been a tension in the air that, somehow, the Capitals would find a way to cough up that lead. For the few years before that, when the Capitals were playing dynamic, exciting hockey, being down a couple goals was never a worry. The Young Guns carried the air of “We got this,” and would pull out super exciting finished on a regular basis. Never any worry.
It’s probably just me, but that feels like the feeling in the air again. The current Dale Hunter brand hockey sure isn’t exciting like the Bruce Boudreau era, but what we want are wins, right? At least in the playoffs. So the Capitals are down 2-1 in the series. Braden Holtby and Matt Hendricks and everyone else last night sure were playing with the “Don’t worry, I got this” attitude.
Or maybe I’m just fooling myself.
To read more stuff about the game, you know where to go: Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page, Ed Frankovic, and On Frozen Blog. Unfortunately, it looks like the box score was too big for Capitals Outsider to handle, so none of that.
We know that winning is better than losing. What else is there to say? When the Washington Capitals play like they did last night against the New York Rangers, they win. When they don’t…bad things happen. It’s not a question of whether they can do it. We (and they) know they can. Every night we ask will they? Last night they did. And that was cool, because you heard it here first (unless I missed seeing it on Twitter or someone else said it or something), the Capitals are undefeated this year when Jay Beagle plays. Welcome back.
Read real thoughts and observations at Japer’s Rink, On Frozen Blog, Russian Machine, District Sports Page (and see their pics, too), Ed Frankovic and the others that I apologize for not having enough time to read.
My photos are below and on flickr. Hope you enjoy!
The Washington Capitals played the New York Rangers yesterday. Or, at least, they were scheduled to play them. Instead the Capitals got played. Maybe it was a Thanksgiving turkey hangover. Maybe it was replacing the morning skate with shopping for doorbusters at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Maybe it was that I forgot to wear my lucky shoes. Maybe it was that my mother was in the building for the first time since…it was built? I don’t know. I don’t really need to know. But someone needs to know.
What I do know is that Alex Ovechkin was doing some cool things, like laying down to block shots, bouncing pucks on his stick as he started a rush from center ice. It made me think of when Sidney Crosby did it in Buffalo in the first Winter Classic. Except Ovechkin ended with a roughing penalty. Remember when Ovechkin used to do stuff like this and score. Like, every night? At least we got to see another marginal Alexander Semin stick penalty. I don’t know.
I was part of a combination family reunion and merging of the tribes kind of thing in a suite and a few of cycled through some front row seats. The family thing was fun. The watching the game things was not so fun. Bizarre connection time. Someone in my family that was not at the game (because he’s not in town) was in a television ad on Thursday that aired during the football games. He didn’t have any lines in the English language version (he just sat there), but had an English line in the Spanish version: “Did that just happen?” How many of you found yourself saying that multiple times on Friday afternoon?
If you want to read more not-so-fun-stuff about Friday’s game, check out On Frozen Blog, Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, Ed Frankovic, and the others. I think I got some cool photos this time. See them below or on flickr. Of course, when I was able to sit on the glass, the Caps could barely get the puck into the zone…and then couldn’t keep it there. Sigh. At least we get to see the throwback Winter Classic-like jerseys tonight. On TV. Not in person. Sigh. I’m not helping myself. See you on Wednesday after the game against the Blues.
The Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers for the fourth time in five games to win their NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals playoff series yesterday by a score of 3-1. Who the Capitals will play next is still to be determined as all the other Eastern Conference series are still underway. Watching the game was something of an odd experience for me as I was lost in a fog of allergies, a head cold, and medicines to fight them both off. The fog was so thick that I completely missed the Rangers scoring their goal in the waning moments of the game. I’m also unsure whether it was my condition or if this vibe actually existed, but it seemed like the Capitals and the Verizon Center faithful took a big step forward in this victory by acting like we’ve all been here before.
Two years ago, when Sergei Fedorov scored late in the third period of game seven against the Rangers, there was huge release of massive pent up longing from the crowd as it began to look like the Capitals were going to win their first playoff series since 1998. It was a first. It was new. It’s nice that the Capitals won this time, but we’ve won before, recently, yet failed to get much further. It’s great that “we are louder,” but there is still more to do. This time, it felt like there was recognition that this was only of many hard steps between the regular season and the end of the second season. With so many steps towards maturity that the Capitals have taken in the past seven months, this can only be a good thing.
Read more about the game at the regular places like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, and The Examiner (McNally). Check out my photos below or on flickr…and also check out more photos by @ikeastan on flickr and @Piratical_Turk‘s gallery.
The featured image for this post is a little different than normal as it’s an image solely of the other guys, but I really dig what it represents. I hope you do, too!
On Friday night, the Washington Capitals picked up right where they left off on Wednesday in their Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers and won by a score of 2-0 to take a 2-0 series lead. Good times, good times. I didn’t quite see how it happened…or at least the scoring part. i was a little busy getting my children squared away with food, drink and squeezing lime into a Sprite after my family was invited into a suite for the second and third periods. It’s an experience a little different than I’m used to and my children had a blast. The coolest part was spending some time with some family that we don’t see very often and we all appreciated that opportunity. So, the Capitals won and I didn’t get pics of the goals or celebrations. There will be more chances later. For now, why don’t you read about the game at places like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks, and On Frozen Blog. Capitals Outsider provides the box score direct from Springfield and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
See my photos below or on flickr.
It’s games like last night’s that almost make you wish the Stanley Cup Playoffs were a single game elimination format. Almost. And perhaps only if you’re a Washington Capitals fan. Lots went on in the game. The fans were loud engaged and showing their spirit in ponchos, red body suits and more. The Capitals and New York Rangers players were fully engaged all game. It didn’t look like any players for either team took off a single shift throughout the game…although some looked tentative in the first period. It was amazing watching the Capitals fail to take advantage of opportunity after opportunity, but not have it come back to bite them. The goals they finally scored were good ones. Alex Ovechkin went ugly in the third to tie the game at one and Alexander Semin scored a beauty from the top of the slot on a pass from Jason Arnott.
Read more better stuff from the regulars like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, and On Frozen Blog and be sure to check out the Capitals Outsider box score. Good, good stuff, indeed. Look at my photos here or on flickr.
While all Washington Capitals fans were no doubt disappointed about last night’s 6-0 loss at Verizon Center to the New York Rangers, none may have been as devastated as my eight year old daughter. When my wife dropped me off at the Metro garage to retrieve my car, my daughter begged to ride home in my car. It was clear as day just how profoundly affected she had been.
“Why couldn’t they score just one eensy weensy teeny tiny little goal?” By the time we reached my car, I heard all of these questions, statements and more:
- “I know they won’t win every game, but just one goal.”
- “Isn’t that Alex Ovechkin’s job? Or Alex Semin’s?”
- “Even Nick Backstrom! He didn’t take any face-offs, so he should have been ready to score a goal.”
- “I mean, come-on!”
- “Know how bad it was? I wanted you and Mommy to turn the radio off in the car.”
- “And, Daddy, when was the last time they scored a power play goal at home?”
I. Had. No. Answer.
I reminded her that she had fun. That the CSN camera guy shot her again during warmups and the kids at school will probably soon fawn all over her again asking how she got to be on TV. I reminded her how she got to ride the zamboni on her birthday last year and was also given a puck during warmups at that game. I reminded her how she’s been able to meet most of her favorite players, get their autographs, and Backstrom (her favorite) smiled at her.
While at this point in the season, many of us old enough to have children of our own have probably entered a state of resignation that the good old days that ran from Thanksgiving 2007 through the end of the regular season last spring are gone for now, but still hold hope for the post-season knowing that success there will make the regular season of 10/11 worthwhile.
My daughter knows this at some level. She explained how it’s more important that the Capitals win in the playoffs than any single regular season game. “But the playoffs are hard. If they can’t win now…” her words trailed off. I don’t know if she has really understands what it means, though.
She reminded me of the purity of a child’s experience at a sporting event. When paying attention to the game (instead of playing games on an iPod during a boring stretch), it’s all so immediate and consuming while I sit there in games like last night’s just feeling the hope for the evening drain and just wait for it to be over. It does not seem like it was almost three years ago when I took her to her second hockey game…Game 2 against the Flyers in April 08 and she screamed her throat raw in both “Let’s go Caps!” and “Flyers Suck!” chants.
It was tough to watch her go through this last night, but this is how children form bonds with their teams. I wasn’t much older than her when my dad took me to Game 1 of the 1979 World Series. There are four things I remember about that game:
- The rain.
- Thinking my dad was going to get in a fight when he was pelted in the face with peanuts thrown by a guy a few rows in front of us who would not put down his umbrella and many people around us were tossing peanuts on him.
- The Orioles losing that game.
- Three dozen parking tickets on his car’s windshield after the game.
But I remember and those memories are indelible. While I don’t pay a lot of attention to baseball these days, I still keep a small look on the Orioles out of the corner of my eye. Someday, my daughter will remember this, too, and she will be better for it.
In other news, my six year old daughter apparently got herself engaged to a seven year old Rangers fan sitting in the row behind us in the third period. Yeah. It was that kind of night.