Posts tagged: Tampa Bay Lightning

Hearing About Yelling

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Way back when in ought-eight, ought-nine, when the Washington Capitals trailed by a couple goals, there was never any worry about whether they’d come back, only about who was going to be credited with the goal…and who are we kidding? It was almost always Alex Ovechkin unless it was overtime, in which case it would be Mike “Game Over” Green. It always worked out. Until April or May, at least. This season, though, and much of last season, holding a two goal lead is stressful as the wonder is focused on if they’re going to hold it, blow it, and how close it will be.

Last night was more of the latter, but a little of the former. The Capitals had to win in this game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They had the lead, they fell behind and Ovechkin won it in overtime. Of course, this was in a game against a goalie making his first NHL career start and suffering from what sounds like a pretty nasty case of dehydration. He was visibly off late in the third period and overtime, most noticeably during stops in play where it looked like he was holding onto the goal for support to keep standing. But whatever it takes, a win is a win. Unfortunately, it may be game over for green for a little while after the hit he laid on Brett Connolly, but that’s beside the point.

The theme of the night seems to have been yelling. Coach Dale Hunter yelled at the Capitals in the second intermission. Green was yelling from the bench, Dennis Wideman was yelling when shooting, and Ovi was yelling after he scored. And when was the last time we saw him jump into the glass like that after scoring? Personally, I’ve missed seeing that.

You know where to go to really read about the game, and it ain’t here. It’s over at places like Ed Frankovic, On Frozen Blog, Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, District Sports Page and such. I have some photos below and on flickr.

Friday The 13th of Firsts

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Years from now, when I talk to my daughter about last night’s game, we won’t remember that it was a critical Washington Capitals victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. We won’t remember the near epic collapse that had some striking similarity to the time when the Capitals gave up a 4-1 lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs little more than a year ago.

I’m not sure what we will remember….

It could be Karl Azlner’s first fight in the NHL. Or maybe it will be Troy Brouwer’s first hat trick in the NHL. There is an outside chance that we will remember that we sat next two friends of mine by pure happenstance for one period. But, if I really had to guess, it will probably be that she dropped her iPod, a gift from her grandparents,  down a flight of concrete stairs in Verizon Center. And that it didn’t break, crack, or suffer any other meaningful damage. Instead, it suffered just a tiny dent in a corner that may have already been there for some time.

Anyway, read about the game at Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink, Ed Frankovic, and District Sport Page. Look at my photos here and on flickr.  Thanks!

“Yikes and Wow”

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“Yikes and wow.” That was the text my wife sent me when told that Bruce Boudreau had been fired as the Washington Capitals head coach and was being replaced with Dale Hunter.

Something has seemed very wrong with the team for a while and even a fan without a clue like me knew that something had to change.

For whatever faults he may have as a coach, Boudreau is one of the people that got me to pony up for my first season tickets near the end of that amazing run at the end of the 2007-08 season. It was that all offense, all of the time, having fun scoring goals brand of hockey. . Early on in Washington, he said something like, “It’s okay if you give up 4 or 5 goals as long as you score 6 or 7,” didn’t he?

The day I bought those tickets for the 2008-09 season was the day that Alex Ovechkin scored his 65th goal of the season, and I happened to have a ticket for that game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The games back then were so fun to watch because it looked like the team was having fun playing the game. It was infectious. It doesn’t look like it’s been there for a while.

Does anyone remember the last time Ovechkin jumped into the glass after a goal?

Where is this team? The one that celebrated every goal scored like it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened? I miss that team.

It’s not as fun going to games and watching guys with the talent and skill the Capitals players have playing a trap, an umbrella power play that keeps a motionless puck on the perimeter when they’re not losing zone, won’t shoot and can’t score. It’s not as fun, but it’s tolerable if it brings wins. When the losses keep mounting, though, and the losses are coming in bunches with scores of 4-1, 6-3, 7-1 and so on… Losses that are enough to bring a child to tears (even if they took place last year).

But there were those far out fantastic games under Boudreau, too. I’ll miss them. I will miss him. The image I have of him, from his foul mouth in HBO’s “24/7,” to his fascination with ice cream (also from “24/7”), to his unkempt appearance, sense of humor and everything is one that I can easily identify with. I am really going to miss him. I wish him well and all the success possible…except when his future teams are play the Capitals.

So, Dale Hunter, eh? There’s a guy that knows how to unleash some fury. Let’s hope that’s infectious, too.

Some of my photos with Boudreau from this season and last:

This photo is from less than a year ago. Four of the nine guys are no longer here.

These three are from last Friday when the Capitals were getting beaten up by the New York Rangers. They tell some kind of story.

A few more photos of Bruce Boudreau behind the Capitals bench:

Second Monday In October Drama

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It was the second Monday in October in Washington, DC and there was drama aplenty in a close decision. The Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout to cap a game that ended overtime 5-5. Those five Capitals goals would have been helpful being spread out over their most recent 4 games against the Lightning, but oh well. You can read more about the game in the regular place like Russian Machine Never Breaks, Japer’s Rink, Ed Frankovic’s blog, and District Sport Page. Capitals Outsider has something up, too, but I didn’t see a box score. 🙁

It was kind of like a return to Capitals Hockey circa 2009, which felt right because my photos are kind of like a blast back to 2009, too. Before I explain why, does anyone remember Mr. Owl asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I now know how many shutter clicks it takes to get to the end of the useful life of a Nikon D300’s shutter mechanism. That would be about 2 years and 124, 951 shutter actuations. So, as I wait patiently for Nikon to release some new bodies (hopefully by Thanksgiving) to replace the old one, I had to go back to the camera I first used to shoot Capitals games, a D200. Wow, it sucks in comparison. I guess I had forgotten just how much.  I think I’ll be sending the D300 up to Nikon in Melville to get fixed, but in the meantime, I’ll be turning up Frank Turner on my headphones to drown out the D200’s noise. Hope you enjoy the photos anyway either here or on flickr.

Was That the Last Time?

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My family has left Verizon Center a lot happier than we did Sunday night following the Washington Capitals 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of their NHL Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series. We’ve also left feeling a lot worse (at least some of us). But this is the first time since Game Five of the 2009 Semifinal Series against the Pittsburgh Penguins that we haven’t known if it was the last time we’ll leave Verizon Center until the fall. I realized this as my friend Daniel that sits next to us uttered an expletive and hoped out of his seat and down the stairs before I had a chance to open my camera bag when Vincent Lecavalier scored the overtime game winner. I didn’t have the time to process that thought last night with the subsequent events of the evening, but it’s hit me pretty hard today.  I have no fear. Alex Ovechkin said that the Capitals will win two in Tampa. Since I’ve got nothing else, I’ll take it.

More thoughtful thinking stuff can be found in the usual places like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, On Frozen Blog, and Ed Frankovic. I still can’t get enough of the Capital Outsider box score…it’s just missing “Fire, fire, fire.”

My photos are here and on flickr.

There’s But A Letter’s Difference Between Rest and Rust

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The Eastern Conference Semifnals began with a dud for the Washington Capitals when they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 4-2. I’ve been trying,but I just can’t find anything to say that isn’t being said better by others like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, and Ed Frankovic. At least there’s some humor in the Capitals Outsider box score.

I only have a few photos here and on flickr, but they tell the story.

Varlamov Was Perfect. Almost.

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The last two times the Tampa Bay Lightning visited the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, the Washington Capitals scored 12 total goals, half of them coming from Alexander Semin.  Last night, the 18 skaters for the Capitals combined for…none. Fortunately, goaltender Semyon Varlamov was perfect for 60 minutes in regulation and 2:54 into overtime before the first big mistake of the night was made and then a small St. Louis sized bolt of Lightning struck leaving the Capitals with just one point on the night.  It was a tough loss coming on the heels of the Capitals’ Winter Classic win in Pittsburgh a few days ago.

To read more about it, visit places like Japer’s Rink, Ed Frankovic’s WSNT blog, On Frozen Blog, or Russian Machine Never Breaks.  Look at some photos here or on flickr…your choice.

Hat Trick and Shutout, Must Be Friday at Verizon

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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.

Another Win By Three

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Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (#8), Alexander Semin (#28) and Nicklas Backstrom (#19) celebrate Semin’s first of three goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning during their NHL ice hockey game at Verizon Center.

In a game where the referees appeared to think the Tampa Bay Lightning could do no wrong, the Washington Capitals beat the Lightning last night 6-3 on the strength of another Alex Semin hat trick. The lopsided score hides just how close the game was until late. The Lightning took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, the Capitals were ahead 2-1 at the second intermission and it was tied 3-3 for a little while in the third.  Semin looked hungry all night and he eventually feasted with three more goals to bring his total on the year to 12, trailing the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos, who also potted one, by 2 for the NHL lead.

Matt Bradley had an odd fight. He laid a clean hit and was jumped shortly after.  He won the fight and didn’t appear to bleed at all. Cool.

My recaps are pretty awful, aren’t they?  Read some good ones in the regular places like Russian Machine Never Breaks and Japer’s Rink.  While you’re here, look at my photos below or see them on flickr.

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