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All-Star Break Miscellanea January 25, 2012

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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Well, with the season at its unofficial midpoint, there’s a bit of time to reflect on the sprint to the finish that will be getting underway next week.  I’ve had a few random musings bouncing around lately, none of which were developed enough to warrant a full post, so I’ll run them all together for whatever they may be worth.

On Ovechkin:  Several things I’ve considered over the past few days.  To begin with, when I saw the replay of his hit on Michalek, I was thinking that it looked egregious enough to warrant five games or more in the press box.  If that had been one of the Penguins jumping up to send one of our men face-first into the glass by way of a head shot, we’d have been screaming bloody murder, and justifiably so.  I know I’m in the minority here, but quite frankly, that hit looked ugly enough that I thought a three-game suspension was a remarkably restrained ruling.

Ovechkin’s decision to skip the All-Star Game has been called pouting by some, but I just don’t see it.  I seem to recall reading somewhere that players get paid extra for being there, but I’m not sure what the circumstances for that are, or if any apply to Ovechkin.  Now, if the rule is that every player who plays gets a bonus, then skipping it to sulk makes no sense financially, as Ovechkin’s suspension left him several figures lighter in the wallet already.  He doesn’t need to leave money on the table to sulk that much, does he?

Seeing Ovechkin’s production on the rise as of late has me a bit more optimistic these past few games.  Here’s hoping it continues once he’s back.

Depth:  If you had money on Perreault getting a hat trick against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, then congratulations.  Go collect your winnings, and then go see Gamblers Anonymous right after that.  Joking aside, it was good to see one of the lesser-known players get rewarded for working as hard as he does.  And even better for him to be recognized for it–1st Star league-wide, thank you very much, which jumps him in front of several of his teammates and some very big names from out of town.  That’s not too bad for a guy who’s a good mud bath short of 200 pounds.

But that does point out–if admittedly for just one night–that the Caps do have some good organizational depth.  Some of the men on the Bears’ roster could fit right in on almost any given night, and some have already shown they’re NHL ready when needed.  A good sign?  Gee, ya think?

All-Star Weekend:  I enjoy the current format of two captains drafting their teams from among the best in the game.  In a set-group vs. set-group affair–East vs. West, North America vs. the World, whatever–there are certain players that would never play with or against certain others, even in an All-Star Game.  Frankly, seeing the Sedins playing against each other for the first time in their lives last year was what sold me on the format, as quirky and non-traditional as the format is.

And here’s an offbeat idea to make it even quirkier.

Though I understand the logic behind naming the teams after their captains, why not have, say, ten rotating sets of All-Star team names that would only be used during All-Star competition?  Such as: Honor vs. Glory,  Heroes vs. Conquerors,  Victors vs. Champions…you get the idea.  Use names that indicate the special nature of the All-Star Game, which would be overly pretentious if used by a team in standard competition.  Each team could have its own basic logo design, in both red and blue versions, and both home and away versions.  That way, it would take forty years to get all the way through all the possibilities, and every player’s All-Star jerseys would always be unique (unless they stayed in the league as long as Chris Chelios or something.)  I know they’re unique already, but why not go for the gusto?

Screwball idea, I know, but I just wanted to fix an oct Americano and see if anyone would drink it, so to speak.

I may end up watching the skills competition strictly to see what they do with Dennis Wideman.  Oh, who am I kidding–that’s just so much fun to watch that I was going to watch it already.  But it might be fun watching the draft to see where he gets picked…

Caps’ playoff chances:  Sports Club Stats has the Caps at an 80% chance of making the playoffs, with an expected seed right now of 5.5.  Not exactly President’s Trophy territory, but remind me how far that got us against Montreal?  No disrespect to the bunch that earned that honor, but regular season prowess doesn’t always translate into playoff success–and mediocre regular seasons don’t always mean instant doom.  If the 2006 Oilers could come from the #8 seed all the way up to spend nearly 18 minutes in the 3rd period of Game 7 of the Finals within one goal, then any team that gets in has got a shot.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to see the Caps getting into the playoffs with the highest seed possible.  And, to be honest, given their road woes this season, I do worry about the prospect of the Caps having to steal one on the road to win a series.  But for now, we are in Just Win Baby territory.  Look after each shift, and the game will take care of itself; and if enough games take care of themselves, then the standings will take care of themselves.

Enjoy the All-Star festivities, everyone.–CS


A Rant: Glad I DVR’ed That Game January 12, 2012

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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Because I sure didn’t see very much of it at the arena.

I spent most of the game watching the heads of the idiots in front of me, who were leaning so far forward that I have to wonder in print if they were trying to hug the fans in Row C or something.

For better or worse, the seats to my right were empty.  I hope my comrades in arms in seats 18 and 19 are all right:  I have to suspect an emergency for those seats to be empty with the Penguins in town.  But as they were empty, I was moved to the aisle, which at least got me a mostly unobstructed view of the Caps-shoot-once end.  But I still couldn’t see anything on my left, so I had a word with the usher.

The usher told the leaners to sit back, and they gave him a colorful earful.  The usher got his supervisor; she ended up getting her supervisor; and by the time the 3rd period was over, there was a good-sized contingent of event staff at the 417/418 portal.

NOT that it helped me see the game any better.  Despite my pleading with the supervisor–complete with pictures from my cell phone showing most of the rink being blocked–I was told the best they could do was tell these jokers to sit back–which they plainly had no intention whatsoever of doing.

I made do as best I could, but I was starting to wonder in the third period if I might get a better view from a sports bar than I was getting from the seat I (ahem) pay for in Section 417.  Being told by event staff that there’s essentially nothing they can do is not the right answer.  When you’re saying that the only thing you can do is ask someone politely to do something they obviously have no intention of doing, you’re saying there’s nothing you can do.

After the game, I went to my Guest Services rep and showed him the photos on my phone.  He told me that if that happened again, grab Guest Services–they apparently have more options than the Verizon Center staff, if I understood it correctly (which I might not have, being as incensed as I was by game’s end).  But Guest Services has no locations close to 417.  I either have to go downstairs to 115, or all the way to the other side of the upper concourse in Section 402.  Meaning I either have to get there at the intermission, or miss a good chunk of the action to go there–which is cutting off my nose to spite my face in a situation like that.

Long story short, Caps shut the Penguins out, Vokoun is making a full peal’s worth of ten-bell saves, Hendricks wins his bout, Caps pick up two points in the standings, the Penguins get zero power plays, the Pittsburgh faithful are pretty much silent all night, and instead of coming home happy as a clam at a good Caps win–over the PITTSBURGH PENGUINS, no less–I’m steaming like a bushel of crabs at the selfish dorks in front of me who are blocking my view of the ice, and an event staff that’s telling me there’s nothing they can do to stop them.

Wishing those selfish leaner jerks would die in a fire would be too cliche, and also too kind.  No, I’m going to have to be out-and-out nasty:  I wish them upon themselves, and may the government learn their names.–CS