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My Prediction For the Capitals: Eastern Semifinals 2011 April 28, 2011

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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For those who missed it, here were my predictions for the last round. I made a couple of goofs in there, but my final pick of Caps in five was spot-on…IF I do say so myself. :)

This time, I waited until our opponent was actually known before doing the reading. And although I would have loved to see Buffalo (worst team left), Montreal (chance for payback), or Pittsburgh (no comment required) in the second round, it’s going to be the Bolts, a team we’ve faced exactly once in the playoffs, and lost to, 4-2. So one of the Eastern Conference Finalists will be from the Southeast, we know that much right now. But who’s it going to be: us, or Tampa Bay?

Format here is the same as for the quarterfinals: I got enough of that right to not want to make any changes.

Deck: Shining Angels Tarot (Scarabeo)
Spread: Past-Present-Future Square
Question: “What do the Eastern Conference Semifinals hold for the Washington Capitals?”

FIRST IMPRESSION: There are a couple of very unusual features here. First, there are a lot of 1′s here: two Aces, and The Magician (the 1 card of the Major Arcana). 1 is the number of new beginnings, of “starting something,” if you will. That doesn’t necessarily mean starting something you don’t finish: stay far, far away from the panic button. 1 is a very high energy number: getting started with a bang, and starting off on the right foot. I suspect the Capitals, who will have had a ridiculous amount of down time after dispatching the Rangers so quickly, will come out with all guns blazing in the first couple of games, minutes, even the first couple of shifts. And I also suspect that that may not be so smart, but more on that in a bit. Number two, the right column is all court cards. That could be a very subtle way for the cards to be saying, “right people”–as in, match-ups count, watch who comes off the bench, choose the right reserves carefully, and so on. That’s something that a whole group of cards are trying to tell me here, and it’s important: THE RIGHT PEOPLE MATTER.

LEFT PAST: KING OF SWORDS (Eli Melek, God is King). The King of Swords is a bit of a mixed bag: on the one hand, while he does represent loyalty and justice, he also represents powerful adversaries and intervention from authority. (Am I ever glad to see this in the past!) I think the message here is essentially that our last opponent, the New York Rangers, were no slouch. Now, I’ll grant you that no playoff team ever is: we found that out last spring. Here’s the thing, though: John Tortorella may have grumbled a bit in his Game 5 presser that he doesn’t quite have the right personnel just yet, but I’m just not buying that. Two of the Capitals’ wins came in overtime, and the Rangers did do a fairly good job in their Game 3 win. Yes, they needed a lot of luck in Game 3, but they grabbed their lunch buckets, worked their tails off, and sent their fans home happy. As the 8 seed, the Blueshirts were supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for the #1, and you can argue that with the Caps losing only one game in the series, they almost were. But if the Rangers had stashed the OT winner in Game 4, it would have been an entirely different series. The Rangers were a better team than the results would indicate, and a better team than Torts gives them credit for. They’re not elite, but they’re certainly capable contenders already. So, congrats to the Caps for taking down a tougher cookie than a #8 seed had any right to be.

CENTER PAST: THE MAGICIAN (Archangel Fohat). Here is the first of those 1′s that I was talking about, and it’s the big 1, the 1 in the Major Arcana. And the general message here, since this is about as 1 as it gets–there being no suit influence here–is as I said earlier: getting started with all guns blazing. That’s pretty much how the Caps took care of the last series. It started with an absolute bazooka from Alexander Semin in overtime (Молодец, Саша!–if that’s not too presumptuous.) And then, Game 2, it was the Jason and Jason show at one end, while at the other, somebody forgot to tell Neuvirth that the playoffs were supposed to be hard–hope nobody clues him in anytime soon. Not only did the Caps win the first two games, they made statements with them: “Close isn’t good enough” in Game 1, “Our goalie is better, thank you very much” in Game 2. That’s as 1 of a way to start a playoff series as you’re likely to find. So, the strong–almost dominating–start was one reason the series never really got out of hand. After Game 3, I wrote that there was no way the Rangers could win that way again, and do I ever love being right. A great start led to a good finish, and that’s what’s being stressed here. As a footnote, this card does seem to suggest that there may have been some higher-level Divine assistance at work in that series.

RIGHT PAST: KNIGHT OF CHALICES (Beth El, House of God). If I ever have to pick one card in the deck to represent myself, this is it. The Knight of Chalices is kind of a hopeless romantic, and that, readers, is me to a T. He’s the idealist, the dreamer, the eternal optimist, and anyone who knows me well would say that I’m like that more often than not. Anyway, enough with that digression. The impression here is one of coming home, and that’s pretty much where the last series ended. In fact, by the time they head down to Tampa for Games 3 and 4, the Caps will have had nearly two solid weeks of home cooking. My sense here is that all this extra time at home will ultimately be the ace in the hole that tips the series in the Caps’ favor. The Lightning just wrapped up their 7-game series in Pittsburgh Wednesday night, and now it’s on to Washington for another couple of playoff road games. While anyone can look at the teams’ schedules and say that the Caps should be fresher early on, it’s a little more subtle than that. The Caps have had a lot of time to gather themselves in mentally, emotionally, and spiritually; the Bolts are just off the plane from a Game 7 squeaker, having faced elimination in the two games prior to that. That’s not only a physical grind; it also weighs on you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The upshot of all of that–and what this card is emphasizing here–is that the time at home that the Caps earned with their quick win over the Rangers will be paying dividends well beyond the first few games.

LEFT PRESENT: THE EMPEROR (Archangel Metatron). Last round, there was only one Major Arcana card in the entire reading, and it was in the present. I said then that that was a point of stress: Be in the moment, focus on the Now. That’s being re-stressed here, and with added emphasis, by The Emperor. The Emperor is somebody you don’t mess with. His word is law, thank you very much, and when he says “Jump,” you ask how high. That said, he’s not a bad guy: he’s ultimately exercising that solid control in the service of a greater good that everyone agrees on. It’s not his authority that you ultimately defer to: it’s his benevolence, the fact that he’s on the side of the Light. You defy The Emperor, and you defy the Ultimate Good. Now, what that means as far as the present goes, could be a couple of things. There may be something going on behind the scenes at high levels of either one of the teams, or the NHL as a whole. This is something that we’re probably not going to find out about in the stands, but which could subtly influence the series nonetheless. I don’t think it would be a matter of on-ice officiating: that would be Justice, not The Emperor. This is high-level authority we’re talking about, not just the lesser authorities of any one contest. Another possibility is that the authority that has been used so far–previous roster moves, league discipline, that sort of thing–could be an influence on the series. Another possibility: there might be some shenanigans in this series that would require a senior hand to straighten out. I’m going to be wrong in there somewhere, and I don’t like that, but I’m getting too many impressions with this card to make sense of them all. The bottom line is that Authority will be part of the series.

RIGHT PRESENT: KING OF PENTACLES (Gad El, angel of affluence). The King of Pentacles, in a way, is Mr. Moneybags. This could mean that there’s a wealthy individual who’s going to make a huge difference in the series. If that’s true, somebody’s high-paid star is going to perform like somebody’s high-paid star. And that could go for either team, or both teams. Another possibility here, if I just take this as a straight rank-and-suit read, is one of great material abundance: lots of good players, or lots of good health, either of which could be a huge boost for the Caps. They’ve had a lot of time at home to rest and heal up; the Bolts will be coming in not 48 hours removed from a tight Game 7, on the road, and will not have had nearly as much time to get their resources back together. So this could be either one, although given the center card, I think it’s an indication of star players being star players. But more on that in a minute.

LEFT FUTURE: ACE OF CHALICES (Manah El, Gift of God.) Love and happiness–that’s what this card represents. Again, though, note that this is a 1 card, an Ace. So, here again we have new beginnings. And Chalices represent the emotions, so I suspect this may end up being a more emotional series than the Rangers series. While there was plenty of nail-biting during Game 4 against New York–especially as overtime wore on–the overall mood of the series seemed to me to be one of quiet confidence. The no-doubt-about-it performance the Caps put on in Game 5 was pretty much emblematic of the entire series: they had that one, they knew it, they played like it, and they won it. There may be a lot more emotional uncertainty against Tampa Bay. This series should be neither fast nor easy. The general tenor of this spread is positive, and I believe the Caps will ultimately prevail. However, it could get very emotional before it’s all over. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Caps might fall behind here and have to come back. I admittedly said that last round against New York, and man, did I get that one wrong (thankfully). However, the next card over does show trouble ahead. So, let’s look at the bad news, shall we?

CENTER FUTURE: 6 OF SWORDS (Iah El, God Eternal). Oh, no, not Swords in the future! PANICPANICPANIC! Um, no…not quite. This isn’t quite as severe as some of the other Swords cards. The message here is more along the lines of, “Obstacles ahead; be careful.” It means caution, not danger (and certainly not disaster). Earlier, I said that an all-guns-blazing start might not be such a good idea; this is what I was looking at when I wrote that. Be careful is the message. This, frankly, shouldn’t be a news flash: Tampa Bay gave us fits during the regular season, and Dwayne Roloson just shut the Penguins out in their own barn to end their season. Meanwhile, the Bolts have had to win three straight just to get here, so they know quite well how to play with their backs against the wall. That’s something these Caps haven’t had to do just yet this spring. The Bolts are no slouch: they led the Southeast for most of the regular season, they’ve got a lot of weapons up front, their goaltending is solid, and they’re quite familiar with how the Capitals play. The 6 of Swords is cautioning that this will be a much tougher series than the Rangers series. Granted, that is to be somewhat expected as you advance in the playoffs. But this could be a raise in the difficulty that’s a little more than just a one-round advance. Long first-round series notwithstanding, these Bolts are coming ready to play, and they’re going to give the Caps one serious run for their money.

RIGHT FUTURE: KNAVE OF CHALICES (Hazri El, return to God). This card is one of unexpected guests and good news. Tampa Bay is quite an unexpected guest: these two teams have only played once before in the postseason. For a while, it looked like Buffalo, the lowest-remaining seed, might be our opponent; the Flyers had other ideas. Could Montreal pull the upset, and give us a chance to avenge last spring? Not if the Bruins had anything to say about it. Hey, maybe the Penguins will win Game 7 at home and set us up for another Caps-Penguins classic! Nope again. Of all the teams we could have expected in the Conference Semifinals, this is probably the least expected. Given that, I have to suspect that the good news part of this card applies as well. Add to that the Ace in the other Future position, and I think the Capitals should ultimately win this series. How many games? Well, one last card before I get to that.

CENTER CARD: ACE OF PENTACLES (Gamali El, reward of God). Another Ace, and this one representing the team as a whole. That’s good, Caps fans. That’s VERY good. Once again, we’re looking at the 1 energy of new beginnings. But this time, we’re also dealing with the influence of the physical and material, which is what Pentacles represent. Now, I said earlier that the King of Pentacles could represent material wealth, or star players playing like star players. I think this Ace here is a stronger indication of material wealth, so I’m going to take the King of Pentacles to mean star players playing like star players. But back to this Ace: you could also look at this as a fresh start in the material sense. The team has had a lot of time to rest up and prepare, and should be–in physical terms–fresh as a daisy for Game 1. Also, don’t forget that the Ace of Pentacles has to do with resolved difficulties, earning it, and ultimately, winning. The Caps are coming into this series as winners; they’re playing like winners; and I think that, once the dust settles on this series, they ultimately will be the winners.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: The Capitals just defeated the Rangers, a team that was much better than they were given credit for (King of Swords). They came out with a bang, taking a commanding lead that proved too much to overcome (The Magician). They then came home for some very well-deserved rest (Knight of Chalices). Past, and possibly future, decisions by those in high authority will come into play in this series (The Emperor). I expect the star players on both teams to play like the stars that they are (King of Pentacles). Looking ahead, this series could prove a bit more emotional than the Rangers series (Ace of Chalices). There will be obstacles in the way, and caution is strongly advised (6 of Swords). However, even though this isn’t quite who we expected to play, the outcome should be favorable (Knave of Chalices). The team as a whole is coming into this series playing like winners, and despite the obstacles they will face, should ultimately win the series (Ace of Pentacles).

MY PREDICTION: CAPITALS IN SEVEN.

CAPITAL SPIRIT
I DO HOPE IT’S SHORTER, THOUGH!

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