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A Few Random Observations: vs DET, 10/22/11 October 23, 2011

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So I didn’t jinx it after all. How ’bout that.

When the Caps hold the Red Wings to 1-for-2 in 5-on-3 situations, and oh-fer everything else, I think it’s safe to say they played a damn fine game.

How did all those Red Wings fans get in the building? I’m just asking…

One of the Caps sales reps was asking me if I did a reading before the game, and I said that I hadn’t. He asked for one, and I drew the 10 of Pentacles. The 10 of Pentacles usually indicates fortune. A 7-1 whuppin’ of the best of the West sure sounds like fortune to me.

That game might have been the biggest thumpin’ to take place in DC since the 2010 congressional election.

Mike Green took a puck to the melon and ended up with a 4-point night. Now, that is hockey tough. Toward the end of the 3rd, with the game essentially over, he was open at the blue line, and it looked like he and the Detroit guy in front of him were playing chicken there for a couple of seconds. “Hat trick?” “Block?” “Double-dog dare ya…” That’s what it looked like, at least, and I thought that was kind of amusing.

Perreault was playing like he never wants to ride a bus to an away game ever again. He’s certainly going to have to work for it–he’s the shortest guy on the roster, and he might weigh 200 pounds if you covered him in mud–but when he’s going, he is GOING. Two red lights is a very good night at the office for #85.

Tomas Vokoun is playing like he wants a long-term contract with the Caps. If he keeps playing like this all year, he’d better pay for George McPhee’s resultant Nexium prescription while he’s at it.

Said it before, will say it again: enjoy the run, long may it last, great to be the #1 team in the league and all that, but this whole run will be a curiosity if the Caps get stopped before the Conference Finals.

And I have to think that expectations just inched up a bit higher after tonight. While the expectation coming in this year was almost Stanley Cup or bust, a game like this is going to raise that expectation even higher, if that’s even possible. Taking a powerhouse team like Detroit to the woodshed shows how good this team really is. And while the Wings did have a game Friday night against a division rival, you can only credit so much of the Caps’ success to fatigue on the visitors’ part. No, the Caps really were that good tonight. And if they’re this good in October against an elite squad like Detroit, they’ve now GOT to follow that up in April and May with similar command performances. I suspect they would have done so anyway, but after a romp like tonight, there can be no excuses next spring. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada, nix, nought, zot.

I’m still trying to figure out why Howard got the start against Columbus, and Conklin got the nod against the Caps. I know division games matter, but if any team in the Central is beatable by a backup, it’s the Jackets. Can someone explain why Detroit started their #1 goalie against a team that had yet to win a game, while saving their backup for the team that had yet to lose a game? On the surface, that makes less sense than all the track work that Metro is doing this weekend.

Every skater for the Caps was a plus tonight. Every. Single. One. When was the last time that happened? I’m just asking…

Meanwhile, the Caps have several days off, while second-place Pittsburgh has a home-and-home with the Islanders. The 3-3-0 Islanders. While the Islanders aren’t the doormat of the East this year–that’s probably going to end up being Winnipeg, given their brutal travel schedule–I still think it may be hoping a bit much of the blue and orange to beat Pittsburgh twice to keep us in first. Divisional game, though, so you never know. And the Penguins have already got ten games under their belts, so they might be slightly the worse for wear. In fact, Sunday and Monday are the first time this season that the Penguins are going to have more than one day between games, and they’ve even had to deal with two back-to-backs on top of that. So…maybe the Caps might hang on to the 1 spot after all.

Next up for the Caps is a brief visit to the Northwest Division, against an upstart Oilers team on Thursday, followed by the reigning Western Conference champs, the Canucks. Ah, nightcaps…don’t ya love ’em…

Speaking of nightcaps, I need to quit pulling one and wrap this post up.

Ah, it’s been a good night to be a Caps fan!



Of Starts, Streaks, Statistics, And Sculptures October 21, 2011

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I’m going to say this right up front: I’m not trying to jinx anything here. This just needs to be written.

The Capitals are off to their best start in franchise history, currently standing at 6-0-0 on the season. Their opponent for Saturday night’s contest is going to be the Detroit Red Wings, who will be hosting division rival Columbus on Friday night. Worse for the Wings, the game is a 7:30 start time, which is going to mean the game will let out around 10, 10:15 PM or so. Let’s assume an hour from game end to the plane getting off the ground, an hour and a half flight time, and thirty minutes from landing in DC to in their hotel beds. That would mean the Wings would be hitting the hay in DC at 1 AM or so, and if there are delays, that could be even later. Fatigue may be a factor for Detroit, especially if the Capitals play it smart and get some extra rest tonight.

And based on how the Caps performed against Florida a couple of games back–again, a back-to-back for the visitors, while the Caps had gotten good rest at home–one has to suspect the advantage may end up with the Caps, and that the home team will be skating out of Verizon Center with a 7-0-0 mark.

That would be no small feather in the Caps’ caps, to be sure, and I hope they do indeed run it up to lucky seven tomorrow night.

That said, a 7-0-0 start to October would be a footnote if my prediction is off and the Caps disappoint again this spring. I think they’ll win it all, and quite honestly, however long this streak continues, it would simply make a great opening chapter to the story of the season if the Caps are indeed victorious this year. If not, the current run of good fortune will be but a footnote.

I’m reminded of the Buddhist tradition of creating elaborate sculptures out of butter. Symbolically, the butter represents how transitory life is: it’s beautiful, yes, but only for a little while. Eventually, it will melt away. Such is the human condition: the elaborate sculptures we make of our lives are, in cosmic terms, only temporary. As fleeting as a butter sculpture is when compared to humanity, such is humanity when compared to the eternal.

Let us compare a win streak to the design of a sculpture, and the time of year to the material in which it is sculpted.

The value–the permanence, if you like–of a win streak in hockey depends in large part on when it takes place. Winning four in a row is a nice lift in November; in June, it’s immortality. Thus, the later in the season it gets, the more permanent the material. So, a win streak in June we could equate to a sculpture carved in marble: hard, solid, and about as eternal as we mere mortals are capable of creating.

A win streak in October we could equate to a sculpture carved in butter: we can, and we should, admire the artistry inherent in its creation. However, we must bear in mind how momentary it is. 82-0 is only possible in video games and cell phone commercials. At some point, the Capitals will lose a game. At some point, they will likely lose more than one in a row. I’d love to be wrong here, and I’m not trying to jinx it here, but let’s be realistic. Just as an Ovechtrick is nothing more than a funny concept for a cell phone commercial, so to are the Capitals not going to have an 82-0 season. I’d love to be wrong on both of those, don’t get me wrong, but come on: those commercials only worked because everyone knew how outlandish the concepts were.

But getting back to my main point: unless the Capitals do what I predicted they’d do this year–i.e., win the Stanley Cup–then the team’s current good fortunes will be little more than a curious stat line in a future Capitals media guide. Again, a sculpture of butter, it being October. But if the Capitals do carve their legacy in the permanent marble of a championship, then the current streak will add even further detail to the finished work.

One does not set out to do a 1:1 scale replica of Michelangelo’s David in butter, and then put it straight outside in Las Vegas in July. Let’s be grateful for the Caps’ winning streak while it lasts, certainly, but we do need to remember that early wins–even in bunches–won’t long be remembered when the season of more permanent media rolls around. Doing David 1:1 in butter means nothing if the best the Caps have for “marble season” is a 2-inch chess piece.

Not that I anticipate that by any means. My point is that we shouldn’t think that coming out of the gate like gangbusters is going to mean anything permanent in and of itself. It won’t. If the Caps manage a masterwork in marble, however, we can look back on October and say that we were happy to see the storybook ending get started with a terrific opening chapter.

All that having been said, however, there is good reason to be quite pleased indeed with the Caps’ opening streak. It involves a bit of math, however, so if numbers aren’t your cup of tea, well, grab a Red Bull for this next part.

For those of you who do have a knack for numbers, follow me on this. The Capitals still have 164 points available to them. Losing games means you can’t score as many points; and when 8 other teams have scored more points than you can possibly earn, then you’re officially playing out the string at that point. Winning games keeps those maximum possible points in play; the more you win, the more leeway you have down the stretch. Also, being out in front of the pack makes you more of a master of your own fate. If you’re losing, then more wins by teams ahead of you that already HAVE more wins, means you could be out of the hunt even if you DO make a Cinderella run.

So from the standpoint of getting into the playoffs–which is all the regular season is about, anyway–racking up a lot of wins means you have more wiggle room in the event of a skid (or another team catching fire). Did-wins in October can ultimately translate into fewer should-wins and must-wins in February and March. Given a choice between:

a) starting very well, having lots of points to give, and having unforeseen trouble in the stretch; or
b) starting off merely okay, and having a great team in the stretch that’s got no margin for error;

I’ll take a great start any season.

In the end, it’s definitely a good thing to have a terrific opening run, and long may the Caps’ current winning streak last. But a season-opening streak requires perspective. I’m happy to see the team winning, absolutely; all Caps fans should be, and far be it from me to argue with the Caps’ success. But let’s not get too high just yet: it is still October, after all. Admire and be happy for the team’s success, yes; stake out your sidewalk for the Stanley Cup victory parade, no. It’s a long season; it’s only getting started; and it’s still a long way to April, never mind June.

So Believe, certainly; show gratitude for the team’s success, absolutely; but don’t get carried away just yet. To everything there is a season; and October is not get-carried-away season. There’s lots of hockey left to play.

The first game of the rest of the season is Saturday night against Detroit. See you all at the rink.


A Few Random Observations: vs FLA, 10/18/11 October 19, 2011

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It’s official: this is the best start to a season in Capitals franchise history. Would that we also enjoy the best finish to a season in franchise history this year, as well.

Tomas Vokoun has been getting better and better since his debut, and tonight he was flawless. If he keeps up this trend, the other team may end up with a negative score or something.

I was wondering before the game if the Panthers could possibly have much left in the tank after hanging a 7 spot on the Bolts last night. And while it looked that way in the first period, something got said (or consumed) at the first intermission, because the Panthers came out guns blazing, which seemed to put the Caps back on their heels a bit. No harm, no foul, though–the Caps hung on in the middle stanza, and took care of business in the third.

Alex Semin’s wrist shot may be the sneakiest shot in the NHL. One second he launches what looks like a harmless little shot from somewhere near the concession stands, and the next, it’s bedlam as the lamp comes on.

How much perfection was there tonight? Well, the Caps are 5-0-0 (perfect record), after getting a shutout (perfect goaltending). They were obviously perfect on the penalty kill (2 for 2, and against the league’s best PP unit, to boot), but they were also a perfect 1-for-1 on the power play (for what it’s worth, referees Furlatt and St. Laurent pretty much let ’em play tonight, doling out an aggregate ten PIMs combined for the entire contest.) So, four different flavors of perfect on one night. I like it.

What I didn’t like was the number of close-but-no-panatella moments served up by the Capitals. Remember that scene in The Matrix where Morpheus tells Neo, “Stop trying to hit me and hit me”? There was a point in the second where I just had to holler down, “Stop trying to score and SCORE!” If some of those nifty plays had worked, the Caps would have won by a touchdown, not just a field goal.

Jack Skille’s antics in the second were not appreciated. There was a Greyhound bus leaving for San Antonio at 10:55 tonight, and I hope Skille was under it.

There’s no such thing as an easy shutout, but the Caps pretty much made it look easy. And when it looks easy, that’s usually a sign the players are playing hard. I could probably count on one hand the number of times the Caps got bottled up in their end of the rink and were having trouble getting out. Now, THAT is a step in the right direction for the defense. A huge Bravo Zulu to the blue line corps tonight.

How does “Your first place in the NHL Washington Capitals” sound? I know it’s October, but I think it sounds just fine, myself. Now, would that we could be saying the same next June.

I know those green-shirted shutterbugs on the concourse are working on quota, but does every single one of them need me to pose? There are other fans who are much more likely to buy those, prints, and not just take up space on the roll.

Speaking of shutterbugs, I have no idea who that cute little kid was who came running up to me and gave me a hug, and then asked for a picture, but she totally made my night, and that was before warmups even got started. I sure hope the picture came out okay.

No need to stop at five wins, especially with a visit to the City of Brotherly Shove coming up two nights hence. How long can the Caps keep this up? We shall see!


A Few Random Observations: vs OTT, 10/15/11 October 16, 2011

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Far be it from me to argue with success. A 4-0 start is good, a regulation win is good, and a goalie out to prove something is, well, something. But this game had a lot of glasses that were half-something-or-other. In no particular order…

  • I’m calling shenanigans on the Sens’ training staff. They must have snuck into the Caps’ dressing room at some point in the first period and swapped the Gatorade for Drank, or something. Because that’s the only reason I can come up with for the Caps’ play going from “Bravo Zulu” to “Whiskey Charlie” in the space of seventeen minutes.
  • Alex Ovechkin one-on-one used to be money, but it wasn’t tonight. I hope the Great Eight isn’t turning into the Very Good Eight before our very eyes.
  • Before I forget, about the anthems. “O Canada” was pitch-perfect, but “The Star-Spangled Banner” was not. Patrick Mason sang the first line in D, went flat on “by”–he sang an E when he should have been on an F-sharp–and then did the rest of it in C. This is not the first time he’s started in D and gone flat, and he needs to either work on staying in D or just set out to do the whole box of crayons in C from the upbeat. If he’s going to end in C, he may as well start there. Don’t start in a showoff key, go flat, and then go for a splashy high at the end. And especially don’t do that more than once.
  • But back to the game…I knew the Sens were throwing everything they had at Tomas Vokoun when I saw the Red Rockers come on the ice at the end and have to walk around the kitchen sink that was lying in Vokoun’s crease. I jest…but only just.
  • Alex Semin forechecking? Did I really see that? Long may it last! Molodyets, Sasha, if I may say so.
  • It might have been just me, but it looked like a lot more misdraws than usual tonight. It’s been a while since I’ve been so conscious of players getting excused from the faceoff circle.
  • Alzner for boarding? Huhwhat? The man just flat-out doesn’t take penalties. He had all of two dozen PIMs last year, and he played the full 82. So far this season, it’s 4 GP and 4 PIMs, which is a career-worst pace. Something’s odd here.
  • The power play did a passable job tonight, but there’s still a little bit of room to improve. Ottawa came at the Caps with a hyper-aggressive PK, and actually looked like a shorty threat on a couple of occasions. That seemed to knock the Caps back a bit, and the power play had to settle for 1-for-3. And while a 33% PP unit is not a bad night at the office by any stretch, I thought the Caps could have been able to do even better if they’d gotten back in the Senators’ faces and tried to catch one of their PK men out of position.
  • Not that either side got much of a chance on special teams: after Kuba had a seat for tripping at 2:46 of the 2nd, the refs let ’em play for the balance. Quibble with some of the noncalls if you want, but the penalties were 3 for the Sens and 1 for the Caps, so I wouldn’t complain too loudly about the officiating–especially since both teams looked to be behaving themselves. Having Chris Neil dressed for the Sens, and DJ King on the ice for the Caps, meant both teams had their own cops on the beat, so the game ended up being (for the most part) politely played. (Although I don’t think Chris Neil missed a single chance to get up in Vokoun’s grill.)
  • Glass half-empty: the Caps spent almost the entire 2nd period getting outworked, outhustled, outskated, and outplayed. Glass half-full: the Sens still ended up with nothing to show for it. So for all the Caps’ coulda-woulda’s, the Sens still ended up with shoulda-didn’t. That’s good work on balance, but let’s not forget that that was the Senators we were playing, and not anybody good. So while that worked in Game #54, it probably wouldn’t work as well in Series O.
  • A regulation win! Yay! I was starting to worry that the Caps were playing so much OT so far that they might effectively end up with an 83-game schedule if they kept it up.
  • Oh, and to the twerp who screamed “THOU SHALT NOT PASS!” at me behind my back: why, pray tell, did you have to act more ridiculous than I look? Hm?

All in all, I’ve seen better efforts from the Caps over the years, but a win is a win is a win, 4-0-0 is 4-0-0 is 4-0-0, and having a shot at a franchise record for best start to a season is…well, you get the idea. I hope tonight was just a case of getting the bugs out of the system so they won’t be playing like this come April. And even despite not playing their best tonight, the Caps now have the 2nd-best record in the entire NHL as of tonight (behind Detroit), and are tops in the East. So while tonight’s win wasn’t exactly John Milton, it also wasn’t exactly William McGonagall, either.

See you all Tuesday night.


A Few Random Observations: vs TBL, 10/10/11 October 11, 2011

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  • I’m not sure if that game was one for the scrapbook, or one for the scrap heap. But I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt since we picked up two points.
  • The mark of a good team is that they win games they have no business winning. With under five minutes to go in the third, I don’t think many fans were expecting the Caps to get out of there with any points at all, and never mind two of them. The Caps’ never-say-quit attitude tonight is duly noted.
  • Tomas Vokoun is going to get a pass from me for tonight’s obvious case of debut jitters. Historically, he’s a much better goalie than what he showed tonight. That might be the ugliest W of his career, but he did earn the win, fair and square, in the shootout. Some of the goals that got past him tonight will no doubt be routine saves by February. That said, debut jitters only get you off the hook once. He needs to do better when next he takes the paint.
  • Lots of goals from the depth guys tonight. Just as well, because the stars seemed a little less bright tonight. Alex Ovechkin, you’re more than welcome to start lighting the lamp whenever you prefer.
  • Oh, the power play. OH, the power play. Oh for SEVEN, the power play. The extra-man units were clearly in early-season form tonight. If the Caps can’t make the other team pay for their cheap shots on the scoreboard, then they’d better get used to taking a lot more cheap shots. And for that matter, tonight’s game wouldn’t even have gone into OT had the Caps gotten so much as a single PPG. I’d say that they at least didn’t give up any shorthanded goals against, but that would be damning with faint praise.
  • The third and fourth line guys deserve a lot of credit for making the Bolts’ lives miserable when they were on the ice.
  • Didn’t see the disallowed goal in the second from my vantage point. There was no red light, and the ref waved it off right away. Did not hear the explanation, though–the ref’s wireless mike sounded a little bit wonky tonight.
  • Matt Hendricks is shootout gold. The man does more jukes on one shootout attempt than a month’s output at Wurlitzer.
  • Alexander Semin in Round 3, for the whole kit-caboodle? Hey, it worked, so second-guess it I won’t. Semin seems to have come back this season acting (and playing) like he’s got something to prove. His passing tonight was better than I’ve seen in the past. He still has a ways to go, though: he was a team-worst -2 on the night, and that hooking penalty he took in overtime looked like it might turn out to be the deal-breaker. It wasn’t, though, and netting the clincher (though Hendricks had the GDG) has a way of making partial amends for an otherwise average night.
  • Give the Caps all due credit for keeping the Bolts’ big names off the score sheet. Lecavalier, St. Louis, and Stamkos combined for the princely sum of zero points. ZERO. There’s something to be said for that.
  • There is a standings penalty for winning games in a shootout. The two standings points are as good as any other two standings points, but winning in a shootout hurts you on the ROW (regulation/overtime wins) tie break. That doesn’t mean much when we haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet, but down the stretch, too many shootout wins can come back to bite you if you end up tied in points. I know it’s early, and I know it’s arcane, but as of right now, the Caps would be the mathematical 5 seed in the East, although their Southeast lead gives them the 3 spot for the moment.
  • Next stop: Pittsburgh. It’s a bit early in the season, I think, to be renewing acquaintances with the tuxedoed terrors, but I’m not on the scheduling committee, so what can I say?
  • All told, it was an ugly win, but it was a win no less, so on balance, it was a good night at the office for the boys in red.


For Those Who Missed Me October 9, 2011

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I don’t miss Opening Night easily.

Had a couple of people wondering where I was, so will post this and have done with it.

I was actually in the emergency room last night, dealing with a bad case of gastroenteritis. And I mean bad. Judging by the clock on my room’s wall, it would have been right in the middle of the national anthem when I engaged in some, shall we say, therapeutic ralphing. That’s what my nurse actually called it, by the way, with a bit of a grin. She’s seen it before, God love her.

So, if I’d actually been there, most of the first five rows of 417, and maybe even a few unlucky souls down on club, would have ended up with a dry cleaning bill, and housekeeping would have had less than 48 hours to Fabreeze the place to death. Just as well I wasn’t there, yes?

I’m feeling better, so I should be there Monday night as intended.

I’m told I missed a heck of a hockey game, so I’ll make sure I’m there for the rest of the home slate.

Your prayers and well-wishes are appreciated. See you all Monday night.–CS

2011-2012 Capitals Predictions: Part X, And Conclusion October 1, 2011

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Well, this is it…the day when I reveal the final two cards, my interpretation of them, and give my assessment of what that means for the Capitals’ forthcoming season.

If you haven’t read Parts I through IX, please go back and do so. I know the focus is going to be on the bottom line, but it’s a long way from Opening Night to…well…when is the season going to end?

Believe it or not, I’ve actually got a timeline on that. If you’ll recall, the Ace of Wands showed up a couple of positions back. On a Celtic Cross spread, an Ace in a forward-looking position can sometimes clue you in on the time a significant event is going to happen. I will get to that shortly, but first, let me take a look at the two cards in the Outcome position: the KNAVE OF CHALICES and the 3 OF CHALICES.

Whoa, a court card! This is the only court card in this reading, as it turns out. A Knave could refer to a person, or an event. If it’s a player, it would be a very young player–I usually put Knaves (or equivalent) on 2 years or less of NHL experience. This is a player who would represent the element of Water: emotional, sensitive, and creative would be some key descriptions here.

The other possibility is that this Knave could represent news of some kind. In medieval times, young people (which is what Knaves or Pages represent) would often be used as messengers. So, this card may not be referring to a player; it might, instead, be a harbinger of good news of an emotional nature. Emotional good news? Hmmmm…hold that thought.

The other card in this position is the 3 of Chalices. Remember back in Part VI, where I said that the 3 of Swords is one of the saddest cards in the deck? Well, the 3 of Chalices is one of the happiest cards in the deck. Some words associated with the 3 of Chalices: happiness; achievement; victory; celebration.

As the outcome of the Capitals’ 2011-2012 season. Do you see where this is going? And are you as excited about it as I am?

Now, as for that ace timeline. To work out a timeline in a Celtic Cross spread, you take the season indicated by the ace, and take the number in the Outcome position for the number of weeks into that season. Court cards have no number, so the only number I have to work with in the Outcome position is 3. You’ll recall that the ace looking forward was the Ace of Wands. The Ace of Pentacles is looking backward, not forward, so we don’t use that. The Ace of Chalices is in the present, not the future, so it’s not considered for the timeline, either.

For the Ace of Wands, you start your count at the beginning of June. Meaning the time the Ace is giving me…is the third week of June.

I can think of only one combination of emotional good news, together with celebration, taking place in the third week of June.

My heart is in my throat as I write this. Does that really mean…?

I need to throw two big, big caveats out there, however. One is a technical caveat, and the other is a spiritual caveat.

First, the technical caveat. An ace timeline is only supposed to work in a Celtic Cross spread. And while a Celtic Cover is, at heart, nothing more than a Celtic Cross with a lot more information on it, I am not certain that an ace timeline works just as well on a Celtic Cover as it does on a standard Celtic Cross. I went back to where I learned how to read a Celtic Cover, and was unable to either confirm or rule out the validity of ace timelines on a Celtic Cover. If Ace timelines are just as valid on a Celtic Cover as they are on a Celtic Cross, then that timeline–the third week of June–should be correct. However, I am not sure about that. I can’t say it’s right for certain; but I also cannot rule it out straightaway. So either the timeline is the third week of June, or there’s no timeline being indicated at all. That does not, however, change my interpretation, and I’ll explain why in a second.

However, I need to put the spiritual caveat out there before I go any further. Part of this reading–Part VIII, to be exact, and if you haven’t read it, do so–involves us, the fans of the Capitals, being the full-throat spiritual support that the Capitals need us to be. As fans, we cannot just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. I’d love to say we can, but that’s just not the case. We, the fans, have work to do, too. We need to be the force for good that our team needs us to be. If the Capitals really do have Archangel Uriel interested in their work this season–a possibility I discussed in Part VII–then we have to align ourselves, as a fan base, with the greater spiritual good. I’m going to say that in a generic sense, because I know my readers are going to have a variety of faith traditions. But when you get right down to it, it all comes back to Love–capital-L Love. Faith can move mountains, certainly, but love conquers all. And that is our task outside the glass: to be the source of Love that our team needs, in order to get out on that ice and, yes, conquer all.

Now, with all that having been said, here’s my final read on the Outcome position. Even if the Ace timeline doesn’t work out, the cards in this position still speak of emotional good news (Knave of Chalices), and celebration (3 of Chalices). That the suit of Chalices is being repeated here only underscores the cards in this position. Both cards, then, speak to an emotionally satisfying outcome to the season ahead. I don’t know any way to read these, other than to say that these cards are expecting ultimate success.

Don’t forget, a tarot reading is not set in stone. Just because I say what I’m about to say now, does not necessarily mean that it must happen. There are a lot of free will decisions to be made this season. This is simply what the outcome looks like, as of now. It’s not guaranteed: it still has to be earned.

Also, we must do our part. We need to be the force for good that will give the Capitals the spiritual edge. If we can do that, then I think we really will be celebrating in the third week of June…and possibly throughout the summer.

I am absolutely terrified to be going out on this, the skinniest limb of them all, but a celebratory outcome only happens for one reason. And so, God help me, but I’ve got to say it:


Of all the readings I’ve ever done, this is one I really hope I get right.

This has been a fun series to do, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. You folks have no idea how badly I want that Outcome to be true.

I’ll see you soon at Verizon Center. It’s time.


A Few Random Observations: vs BUF, 9/30/11 October 1, 2011

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That wasn’t exactly one for the scrapbook, but at least the Caps’ come-from-behind game seems to be working.

  • There’s an old hockey adage that says, of goals, that they don’t ask how, they ask how many. Of leads, then, we can say that they don’t ask how long, they just ask when.
  • Memo to future anthem singers: Rendering “The Star-Spangled Banner” in D means most of the crowd can’t sing along with you. So if you mess up, it will be picked up on. If you’re going to start out in D, you’d better finish there. Don’t start in D, go flat to the point where you’re in C, and then try to make up for it by nailing a showoff high note at the end.
  • Didn’t see what Matt Hendricks got four for–was looking the other way–but since it was Rooney’s call, I doubt I missed much.
  • Both goalies had their moments, but they also had a few miscues. Although, in Vokoun’s defense, you can make a case that his defense hung him out to dry on all three of the regular goals. In the end, Miller had one more miscue than Vokoun in the shootout, and there was your final.
  • Speaking of the shootout…while I can appreciate Matt Hendricks’ ability to shake and bake like San Francisco in 1906, I’m not sure how many more goalies he can fake out with that routine. Miller certainly didn’t bite tonight.
  • Also…Cody Eakin in the sudden death part of the shootout? Against Ryan Miller? That was–I’ll be diplomatic–an unorthodox move, though it would have been pure genius if it had worked.
  • Now, then…if you’re going to try to sit your entire group in seats you’re not all ticketed for, don’t come waltzing in an hour after the game starts, go to the seats with the puck in play, ask if anyone’s sitting there, and then look at me like I ought to drop dead when I tell you to sit down fast because the puck’s in play.
  • And memo to the event staff: “If they’re not causing trouble, we’ll leave them be” is not the right answer, in my book.
  • As a follow-up: the Georgetown banners were right where they ought to be.
  • As for who was voting for “Weird” Al Yankovic at the intermission: don’t look at me. I didn’t vote for any of those, to be honest.
  • I’m sorry, but Kanye West cannot do Daft Punk better than Daft Punk.
  • Missing “Salute to the Troops.” No feature runs forever, but that one is one that I miss.
  • My take on the netting controversy: the black netting was a welcome non-sight tonight.
  • Back to the game, though. You’ll notice that I’ve had little to say about the game itself tonight. Well, nothing really stood out, for better or worse. The game moved quickly, special teams did okay, the officiating wasn’t completely execrable, and nothing really jumped out at me as “WHOA! Did you SEE that?!” But by the same token, I wasn’t exactly doing facepalms all night, either. Yes, there were some extremely close calls throughout at both ends of the ice. But overall, this one seemed like just another notch in the preseason gunbelt, at least as seen from the rafters. Now, maybe if the Caps hadn’t been playing from behind most of the night, more might have stuck in my head. As it was, most of my attention was on the “Can they come back?” question. In the end, they did, but only just.
  • One thing I can recall from late: the Caps did seem to have gotten bottled up in their own end during the overtime. They were ultimately saved by the shootout, but that doesn’t happen in the postseason. A lot of defensive zone draws in overtime is one thing in September; it’s quite another in May.

All told, I’ve seen more impressive games at Verizon Center, but I’ve also seen much worse. The Caps got a good come-from-behind win that kept the Buffalo fans from parading around like they own Verizon Center, so I won’t complain. Not every game is going to be one for the scrapbook, and a good night’s work is a good night’s work, even if I’ll forget all about it by the time the puck drops on Sunday.

Just a few hours until my final predictions go up. Hope to see you then.