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A Couple Of Random Notes December 3, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Re the officiating at last night’s game in Dallas: that was bad. That was really bad. Ted Leonsis can take the high road, I’ll take the low road, and I’ll get to Scotland…oh, never mind.

Coach Boudreau’s “What do you want me to say that I can’t get fined for?” has got to be the line of the night. Instant catch phrase for the ages? Well, stay tuned.

I could be diplomatic, and say that it’s that kind of officiating which tends to have Caps fans reaching for their heavily-used tin-foil hats. Game 7 against Philadelphia in 2008, that goal stands, and the Flyers win in overtime. Last night, it got waved off, and the Caps are on the losing end of the decision again. And then there was Ovechkin’s waved-off equalizer in Game 7 against Montreal last spring. Someone with better investigative chops than me might want to see how often that’s happened in Caps games since the lockout, and what the differential is on how often those waved-off goal calls have gone the Caps’ way. Off the top of my head, I’d guess that the Caps are a double-digit minus in goals waved off. And then again last night, there was Alexander Semin’s non-penalty shot. It’s frustrating; it’s infuriating; and it creates an appearance of league-sanctioned favoritism. There may, in fact, be none such. But I can’t help but think of a proverb chiefly concerned with the ambulations and articulations of Anatidaeans.

I could be diplomatic and leave it at that. But I’ll be blunt: the last time I heard about a pooch getting screwed that badly, Michael Vick ended up getting sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. The Caps got jobbed, the NHL knows it, and Caps fans are never going to get an explanation for it.

Closer to home, check out my Magic Numbers chart. As of 12/2, there’s an interesting trend going on. Two-thirds of the Eastern Conference is now on the board, with only five teams being over 100 points from any decision. If the Caps win on Saturday night, at least two more teams will be on the board for sure, and it could be three if the Islanders beat the Rangers in regulation tonight. Yes, I know, the Rangers are at home, but that doesn’t matter when these two teams play: any game of theirs could go either way, and that goes double after their recent 6-5 thriller. On the other hand, if the Rangers get a point tonight, they’ll be +100 against New Jersey anyway. So the Rangers will more than likely be on the board at some point this weekend. Or, maybe New Jersey loses at Philadelphia on Saturday. (Considering the standings, ya think?) So it’s not hard to imagine that most, if not all, of the Eastern Conference will have magic numbers to track by the end of this weekend.

But look at the Western Conference. Detroit has 34 points, and even that’s not enough to have them under 100. The only Western teams that have numbers under 100 are the Flames and Oilers, and those are up against Washington for the President’s Trophy. The Western Conference is extremely tight, as many have noted recently, and there are only a dozen current points between first place and last place. (In the East, the spread is 23 current points.) And after you get below Detroit’s ridiculous 154 top-end score, the spread between 2 and 15 is only 11 top-end points. Right now, no one in the West is out of it. You can’t even count the Oilers out of it just yet, if they keep playing like their last three games.

So the West is bunched up, the East is spread out, and trying to figure out who in the West is going to end up where come April, at this point in the season, is a fool’s game. It’s less so in the Eastern Conference, as you can see when you look at who’s where on the Magic Numbers chart.

See you all at the rink tomorrow night.



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