It’s what we like to call the Alex Semin hat trick: a goal, an assist, and a lazy stick penalty. Semin was in Semin-ish form last night. And, extending my reputation as a hockey Nostradamus, I would like to point out I said my “player to watch” of this series would be… Aleksandr Syomin. Let’s just say, I understand how Alan May felt. (And an article about this mystery wrapped in an enigma appeared in today’s Post, written by Tarik el-Bashir. I would also be remiss if I didn’t link to SWhyno’s article about Semin, which actually uses the turn of phraseÂ “riddle wrapped in an enigma,” so naturally I feel some kinship.)
I was in attendance at this game, and between the tosser sitting behind me shrieking “HIT SOMEBODY” at people like Jeff Schultz and the tosser sitting in front of me whose taunting started at “Ref you suck” and ended with “Just because you’re wearing pinstripes doesn’t mean you’re the Yankees–” at which point he was drowned out by the rest of the crowd. But when I was not distracted by incoherent heckles I was reflecting on my latest subject of obsessive study (besides hockey): Machiavelli. (Thank you Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.)
“Fortune is a woman,” he writes, “and if you wish to dominate her, you must beat and batter her. It is clear that she will let herself be won by men who are impetuous rather than those who step cautiously.” And this was turning over and over in my head during the third and overtime. Look, Capitals, I know it was the Rangers who convinced you that your balls-to-the-wall “just score one more” style of play was unsustainable, but there’s a difference between that and timidity. The Capitals were not trying to dominate Fortune; instead, they were presenting her with flowers and chocolates while she rolled her eyes. The only reason we won is because the Rangers offered her tickets to Sweeney Todd and Fortune hates Stephen Sondheim. This game, don’t let Fortune make the first move — you invite her up for coffee, and you make damn sure Marvin Gaye is already on your stereo.
The book on Lundqvist is traditionally one of two things: either “high glove side” or “if he can see it, he will stop it.” The latter made an appearance on Wednesday. Under these circumstances the graces of Fortune are imperative — especially if we are oddly reluctant to get in the crease and start banging away. Maybe he’ll be shaken and we’ll see HGL Lundqvist (I’ve never had the highest opinion of his mental fortitude), but we’re probably in for another night of low-scoring. I guess I sound like the horrible fan who directed most of Bettman’s thought processes (MORE SCORING!! MORE FRANCHISES!!), but it’s just not what I expect from the Capitals. One of the games I’ve most enjoyed watching was last season, Rangers vs. Devils, that went 0-0 and ended up with the Devils winning after the shootout went to extra shots. And that’s because a) I am obsessed with goalies and b) in a Rangers-Devils game, all I am watching is the goalies. In a Caps game, I expect a little more. (Okay, I would’ve been watching only the goalies if Varly were starting, because — and I may have mentioned this before — Varly is much much more interesting to watch.)
Neuvy gets the start again tonight. Incidentally, I learned this by bitching on Twitter “Could @Swhyno just confirm that Neuvy’s starting so I can go play Assassin’s Creed?” and his reply was VERY prompt. One more point to Whyno over Carrera! Anyway, it would be foolish to express anything other than the utmost confidence in Neuvy after that performance in game 1. I thought it was unfair the way King Henrik kept getting praise heaped on him while Neuvy was largely ignored, despite playing an extremely tight game that was of equal caliber. Neuvy did get a few posts, and Hank was facing more shots, but both certainly made eye-poppingly good saves.
All said, I reckon we won’t change things, seeing as we in fact won the first game. Apparently my trepidation in having nearly gone to double overtime in the first game against the eigth seed is entirely unwarranted.
If you’re interested in the controversy surrounding the tying goal, there’s a nice discussion on Japers, though you should be reading them religiously anyway. (NB: for those of us in the stands, the controversy was not apparent: I thought it was a case of goaltender interference, others weren’t sure if the net was dislodged, and intent to blow is of course always a possibility.) Very interesting series of videos that I wish I had known about earlier; I’m a sucker for rules. These are located at the Situation Room (the tab next to Top Headlines on the NHL website).
Also in the Post today — actually, in the WP Magazine that comes in the Sunday supplement — is a very interesting feature article on Matt Hendricks. One caveat: it’s written for the hockey layman, so you have to bear with explanations of what “fourth line” means. It also discusses fighting and the place it has in the game, which is a debate I enjoy, though much like religion, you can’t change my mind and I can’t change yours.
This story by Dan Steinberg was actually on the FRONT PAGE of the Post today, which makes me outrageously happy, because the Post hasn’t always been this forthcoming with Caps news.
Check out the sidebar for your links to SWhyno at the Times and Katie Carrera at the Post. Particular notice should be paid to this article on shot-blocking:
Itâ€™s an impressive stat and was the topic du jour at Kettler Capitals Iceplex following an optional skate, but in one discussion veteran reporter Joseph White from the Associated Press commented that it likely isnâ€™t the â€œsexiest statâ€ out there for hockey fans.
Immediately upon processing the remark, amiable Capitalsâ€™ defenseman Karl Alzner replied, â€œIt is to me.â€ It brought a bit of laughter from the rest of the media members assembled, but the 22-year-old blueliner was serious.
This is, of course, ridiculous: Karl Alzner’s sexiest stat is “beard growth.”
And of course, forewarned is forearmed: check out the competition at A Shot from Broadway.
Last minute update via @jessespector: Zuccarello and Eminger scratched tonight as Avery returns to #NYR lineup. My reaction? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS