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Nylander’s Out of Caps Line-up and My Thoughts on Pulling the Netminder

January 17, 2008

Good morning from the Great Hockey Void. The Washington Capitals will have to find a way to compensate for their missing center, Michael Nylander. It seems that #92 had been playing with a torn rotator cuff. The tough Swede had too many problems and made the decision to have surgery to fix his shoulder. He is said to be out for about 3 – 6 months. I’m sure Capitals fans join me in wishing him well. The word is that he was supposed to have his surgery yesterday. If so, I hope it all went well. I was thrilled when I discovered that the Caps had signed Nylander last year. There has been some speculation, as overheard on the Metro, in my seat at the Verizon Center and various other places, that Nylander is getting too old and that he can’t perform as he once did. I’m not sure if that all coinsides with Nylander’s recent injured-play, but I don’t agree with those speculations. I had my suspisions that he was playing hurt and when I heard that he wasn’t attending some morning skates or practices, I figured it wouldn’t be long before he went back on the injured list. Regardless, he played for as long as he could and some of the reports stated that he was unable to sleep because he was in a lot of pain. If there’s one person in the world who can understand what lack of sleep can do to a person – it’s me. There’s no way I can’t be sympathetic to that dilemma. Best wishes to Michael Nylander and to the Capitals in their efforts to move forward without him in the line-up. GO CAPS!

I’ll be attempting the trip to DC this afternoon to see the Caps take on the Oilers. Judging by the weather report, I’ll have to leave my home a lot earlier than normal. The sale of my “good” vehicle last year (to pay for my 1st move and medical expenses) left me without a vehicle for a couple of months. I did get hooked-up with a mechanic who was able to find me a total piece of crap vehicle for very, very little money. I absolutely love my “newsed” beast. It reminds me of a “first” vehicle that a teenager might get. As a matter of fact, when I get a work vehicle, my ’94 Jimmy will actualy become someone’s first vehicle. She won’t even have the ability to drive until October, but she’s already excited about getting my Jimmy. This vehicle runs fine and the breaks are safe – BUT – when it rains or snows, I still have to get used to driving an automatic transmission and anti-lock breaks. During weeknight games, the commuters can get a bit rowdy on the roads. Plus, Marylanders have a joke about how other dirvers have no idea how to drive in bad weather. There have also been a few occassions when I stalled out at the Toll and had to push my POS over and wait until it started up again. Long story shoretened, It’ll take a while to get to DC this time around. Hopefully, I’ll be rewarded for my drive when the Capitals beat the Oilers!! Go Caps.

It’s a SWEEP! The Washington Capitals swept the Senators in their regular season meetings. I noticed something at the end of the game as far as pulling the goalie is concerned, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Johnson (Washington) and Emery (Ottawa) both got the call to the net last Saturday for the Caps-Sens fourth, and last, meeting of the regular season. The Capitals had control of most of the game, but the Sens showed some spark here and there as well. It was a good win and as a Washington fan, I have to mention that WE SWEPT the highest ranked team in the Eastern Conference. If this doesn’t make the hockey world take a second look at the Capitals, then hopefully the OV contract does.

I have made my thoughts about pulling the goalie at the last minute or so of regular season games (even playoffs when certain circumstances are present) known in the last two incarnations of my blog. Now I will make it known in this incarnation as well. It completely boggles my mind why (most) coaches have not made adjustmets in traditional thought with regard to pulling the goalie at the end of games. I’m not sure if some individuals have noticed, but the NHL is now operating on post lock-out rules and regulations. The game has changed enough to re-evaluate systems and player strenghts/weaknesses, yet NHL coaches, for the most part, still believe in pulling the goalie for an extra skater at the end of most games. “Locker” (Washington’s Color Analyst) was commenting on the fact that Ray Emery was stuck in the goal and couldn’t be pulled at the end of the Caps-Sens game. If only “Locker” could have heard me commenting, passionately, to my TV while he was making comments about Emery, who he said couldn’t be pulled and who was”stuck” in the net.

I’m a goalie watcher from WAY back and I’ve just really had my fill of the “pull the goalie at the last minutes of a game” tradition. I believe I first saw a goalie pulled JUST BECAUSE it was the end of the game when NJ was in the play-offs after the lock-out. New Jersey was not doing well on the PP and they were out-skated through most of the game. Brodeaur was pulled and the outcome was a third point ahead (empty-net) for the opposing team. I’ve seen the same thing many, many times since. It makes absolutely no sense to me to pull a goalie when a team has been out-worked for the majority of the game and the team is more than 1 (ONE) point behind. If the team has been battling back and has had some success on the PP AND that team is only 1 (ONE) point behind in the last 2 minutes of the game, THEN it makes sense to pull the netminder for an extra skater. Otherwise, the odds are that pulling the goalie does not help and usually leads to an empty net point for the other team. If anyone would like to take the time to check out the games that have been played over the last two years in the NHL, I can safely say that said person could not argue with my point. It is only on very rare occassions that pulling a goalie when the team is two points behind actually gets an extra point – but then not a second point. I’ve seen more than two hundered games this season, and I truly do not believe I have seen a team pull a goalie and even get ONE point, let alone TWO. Pulling a goalie for an extra skater just doesn’t do it anymore. I doesn’t usually spark the six skaters. It usually gives the other team an opportunity to add an empty-netter. It’s not the most productive way to push ahead during the last few minutes of a game. To me, it seems more reasonable to change up the lines to include only offensive-minded skaters during the last minutes of a 2-point losing game, than it does to pull the goalie. Maybe someone out there has some insight for me about why it still seems viable to pull the goalie at the end of a game? It just makes me nuts! Please feel free to prove me wrong or add your comments, because I’m lost on this one.

It’s interesting to read other hockey-related blogs sometimes. There are so many different types of blogs out on the internet these days. This season, I haven’t had a lot of inclination to check the Capitals discussion boards. I think the reason for that stems from events that occurred when I decided to post on the boards, prior to the lock-out, to get some feedback about the Comcast issues. Many Capitals fans have come to know what it’s like to be a cable customer and be denied certain Capitals games. I was in the “Leased Access-Not CN8 Baltimore” category. I think the Baltimore CN8 channel felt that AHL hockey and locally produced news, talk and informational shows were more interesting to their average viewer at that point in time. I posted when I discovered that NHL Center Ice blacked-out the Capitals games, even though certain markets within 50 miles of the game were not showing the game.

At first, there were many posts that indicated to me that I was not the only person who was pretty upset about not having the chance to see several Capitals games. But then, some of the posts got a little nasty. I made the thoughtless mistake of addressing some of those posts. That lead to even more nasty posts that were very rude and that sniped at me, and some of the others on the boards for not being “fan-enough” to move closer to DC so that I could see the games. Some of the posts became single-word comments and others became long diatribes describing what “makes” a “real” Washington Capitas fan. The entire thing went far, far out of the realm of my original post. Even after I stopped addressing other posts, the “thread” went on and on, deteriorating into something similar to a contest as to who could post the fastest and with the most upper-case letters. I haven’t posted since.

I know that there are many very kind and civil Capitals fans, so I’m not soured by my discussion board experiece. However, I am soured by some of the things I read on other blogs by known Capitals fans. I am soured by some of the things I hear in passing while going to Capitals games. Granted, this hockey season is completely different for me than others. I have changed certain perspectives, from my view, because I am very ill and most things about my life have dramatically changed over the last year and half. I agree with the position that blogs help get the Washington Capitals more coverage and attention. I agree with the position that blogs are useful and are here to stay. However, some of the blogs that focus on Washington Capitals hockey have been looked upon as “Washington Capitals” blogs. Well, they aren’t always very kind to the organization. They don’t always have the correct information. They aren’t an authority. They are fans who like to “publish” what they believe is important or pertinent about the Washington Capitals. Some of them, unlike my blog, have a very large readership. I will never say that blogs don’t help get the “word” out to the public. However, I will say that some readers are not able to decide if what has been “published” on certain blogs is opinion, fact, the “inside scoop” or fiction. There are two specfic blogs that have mutiple entries which include some very poorly reasoned opinions. These two blogs are NOT run by the Washington Capitals organization. While the “owners and associates” of the blogs may have access to the press box and are probably more in touch with the day-to-day of the organization, they are still publishing personal thoughts and opinions. Basically, there is no actual control, regardless of blogger guidelines, so the unknowing reader can easily be swayed by some of the conjecture, opinions and educated guesses of the publishing contributors of these two blogs. Some of the opinions on these two blogs are very, very one-sided, subjective and just plain the Capitals Organization in some way. To me, it isn’t the best idea to have blogs associated with a team, if those blogs aren’t held to certain organizational contraints. I know a NY Rangers fan who thinks is really, really funny that even “The Washington Capitals Blogs” think the Capitals suck. How many people in the Capitals organization think “bad press” like that is better than no press at all?

Anyway, I will make it clear that my blog is a personal blog and I do not claim to have any “in” with the Washington Capitals. If I did, my information would be very carefully published and would not include my opinions. I am a very well-studied Washington Capitals fan – but that’s about all. GO CAPS!!!!

Be safe on the ice and the rhythm will get you if you let it – peace – mia

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