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1/8/11-Happy Birthday Ted Leonsis + Bruce Boudreau and How Go the Post-HBO Washington Capitals?

January 8, 2011


As the puck drops at center ice in DC to begin the match-up between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers, SFTC would like to wish Capitals Majority Owner (add other titles as you like) Ted Leonsis a very Happy Bithday and an early birthday greeting to Capitals Head Coach Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau who will celebrate is fifty-something tomorrow!! Here’s hoping the two of you get a 2-point win from your red-clad warriors tonight as a gift that needs not be unwrapped. HAPPY BIRTHDAY…and many, many more Ted and Gabby!

It’s been a challange for me of late, as is the norm to be honest, but what brings to me to the old laptop this evening is Alex Ovechkin. First off, I have a rather strong perspective on how some (or most rather) have described his season thus far. Yes, the “flare”, as Gabby says is not the same as it was last season. Agreed, however, let me put the idea out that it may very well have been all that “flare” that ultimately created the chain of events that lead to a very early end to the playoffs last season. To play in concert with the good aspect of having so many people expressing themselves on the internet in the form of blogs and the like, I feel it important to point out that Alex Ovechkin has grown-up since last season. As has Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Nick Backstrom and well, everyone else who went down in Round 1 last season.

Perhaps using words like “slump” and “worse season yet” when addressing the media or when the media is putting out Capitals related stories is not quite presenting the depth of the situation. As I can’t see or hear the team in person, day-in and day-out, I can only mention that the typical top scorers are understanding the value of assists, showing better thinking on-ice, building stronger resilience, displaying more team leadership and fewer rookie mistakes. If I want “flare”, I will go to Bennigan’s or watch the movie “Office Space”. I want the Stanley Cup. The DC metropolitan area (and a few small groups from Hockey Voids outside that metropolitan area) wants the Stanley Cup. With experience, comes tempered, more patient play. As much as we all love to see exciting Washington Capitals hockey and as much as that kind of game brings more red shirts to the (company I will not name that starts with a ‘V”) Center in the Nation’s Capital, the excitement DIES HARD and UGLY when it all culminates in a dismal run through YET ANOTHER POST SEASON.

The media attention is fantastic as of the last few seasons and the HBO 4-part , 24/7 Capitals-Pengiuns: Road to the Winter Classic gave a team that has been an NHL franchise since 1974 and NEVER won a Stanely Cup the most well produced time and attention they have yet to receive since the birth of the organization. Not to mention how vastly different the “V” Center has become since 2008. Never before in its 36 years of NHL life has the Capital’s organization been so blessed by the results all the work put in through development, the Hockey Gods and the many thousands of Red Rockin’ fans who create a human sea of red game after game. There were reports of 30,ooo Washington Captials who made the pilgramage to Pittsburgh, stayed several hours longer than planned and gave all they had to give as fans in cheer for their favorite NHL team.

I will always admit with freedom and with zero hesitation that I am a bit “odd” or “quirky”, as many of the goalie ilk tend to be more often than not. The manner and speed at which I perceive and process the action of a game may in fact put me in the “mutant” catagory. All things could indicate that I am in the tiniest of minority groups when it comes to the NHL, but still… if the Washington Capitals have to bore me to tears every single shift of every single game BUT WIN THE CUP, then I will carry tissues with me as a standard practice, juice up on coffee and praise the mundane as though it were a brick of gold bullion.

Just for the record, and as an experienced netminder, if goals don’t get scored – games don’t get won. If the defensive middle is not protected, games don’t get won. If the offensive zone middle is not populated with ANYONE with a stick who can move the puck across the ice toward the net in an attempt to get that little vulcanized rubber SOB across the goal line, games don’t get won. If a team dissengages while the puck is still in and doesn’t keep after that frozen buiscuit until play ends, games don’t get won. Every player has as game. At this point, the scoreres, the workers, the thinkers, the blockers and the whatever else-ers know who they are and what they need to do. When the Stanely Cup gets added to that mix – WHO REALLY GIVES A S#$T WHO SCORES, WHO BLOCKS, WHO WORKS, WHO THINKS OR WHO LOOKS FUNNY WITH SHORT HAIR.  As long as the team is allowed to work together every shift to put the puck behind the opposing goalie and net a goal – all the numbers in the world mean nothing if they are constantly being shoved around as the ONLY authoritative way to decide who’s “slumping” and who’s “hot”. Anyone every stop for one second that maybe Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom have been working harder on defense, passing, assists, board work, corner work and many other typical ice grinding work in a better effort to help their RED BRETHREN WORK THROUGH THE PLAYOFFS TO BRING THE STANLEY CUP HOME TO DC?

I may have to let Brooks Laich beat the living crap out of me for this one, since he is a rather staunch and rabid supporter of his head coach. Laich gets very outspoken when his coach gets criticized and has publically mentioned he would like to “have words” with anyone who does make comments regarding Gabby’s head coaching abilities that don’t sit right with Brooks. Now, I am 100% sure that he’s probably not the type of guy who would physically fight a woman and I’m 100% sure I’m not the type of person who wouldn’t even consider lifting a finger to an NHL player who has to be left unharmed in any way possible, given the nature of the sport, so he can do his hard work to win my Washington Capitals the Stanley Cup after all these many years of waiting. But, if all the rules of society did not exist and neither of us had those conditions to consider – I’D GO and I’D GO DOWN FIGHTING HARD, because every single minute corpusle in my hockey-loving, “mutant” pattern-seeing, super, mega-quick brain processing, 30-year, full-on, dork-geeking out on the study of the game of the game of ice-hockey and my experience as an intuitive human being with college degrees in behavior is SCREAMING AT ME IN THREE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES THAT GABBY IS DOING THE CAPITALS MORE HARM THAN GOOD at this point.

I am not on some “fire Boudreau” rampage, but I am so sure that he shouldn’t see the guys who play the game as “his children”. He has stated this publically in many different formats. These guys are becoming men of the game and treating them as though they do not know their game by using negative words (I’m not talking about the F’ bombs and other salty language – I encourage that and could probably make Boudreau blush with some of the things that have escaped from my mouth in moments of great emotion). There are so many things that over his tenure, Boudreau has said that make someone like me think that the Washington Capitals are in dire need of an equalizing thinker with a different perspective to assist Boudreau in seeing the damn forest through the trees of old-fashioned, traditional thought.

LET’S GET OUT OF THE BOX AND WIN SOME GAMES THE NEW AND INNOVATIVE WAY. That’s my point and I’m sticking to it – no matter what.

The Capitals have gone through some tremendous BS. If anyone remembers reading Wayne Gretzky’s autobiography, then maybe someone who reads this and has read Gretzky’s autoboigraphy can understand why scoring streaks, scoring slumps and all that are not as important to an individual player on a team striving for Lord Stanley’s end of season prize. What’s important are the total points, the plus/minus, the total points earned by the team through the season which put them in a ranking order to get their due shot at the playoffs which gives the entire Washington Capitals-verse (fans, owners, managers, bloggers, kids, grandparents, etc.) hope of having the still illusive silver trophy come home to DC where it will be received with a spectacular amount of joy and love. Gretzky knows the team that wins the championship is battered, bruised, broken and hurting from head to toe when that final deciding game is played and they hoist the chalice soon to be engraved with their names as they will stand still on that in history.

I’m doing my part in building America’s Hockey Capitals and this is the best I’ve got! Change the traditional NHL ways into the ways of the post lockout, RED M F’ing Rockers and their forward thinking, technologically aware, extremely well-versed, outspoken, students of the game of ice hockey purely devoted and commited fans. Defense and Offense are exactly the same thing if the game revolves around a little frozen puck. Can’t score without the puck. Can’t score if the puck and the stick aren’t in the offensive zone. Can’t score if the puck isn’t shot toward the net. Can’t win without the puck. END OF STORY!! No PUCK – NO CUP. Gabby hasn’t gone back to basics, he’s gone back to 1979.

Go CAPS – Bring it on if ya don’t like it Brooksie and Happy Birthday to Ted and Gabby – let’s all have a win to take home tonight – peace – mia – singingfromthecrease@gmailcom


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