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Now this is a tough one, fellas. Obviously I root for the Caps under all circumstances and nothing can shake my fealty to America’s Hockey Capital etc etc… but the Leafs haven’t been mathematically eliminated and wouldn’t it taste delicious for them to finally make the post season and and…
Okay, they’ve been doing this late season playoff push for the last, what, three years now, so they’re not going to make it and it’s not worth meaningless treason just to be disappointed. But I liken it to my relationship with Germany: my loyalty to the US is purely accidental, in that I was born in America to American parents and hold American citizenship. Yet somehow I’ve fallen in love with Germany, for completely arbitrary reasons. I’ve lived in various parts of Virginia nearly my whole life, which is the only reason I’m expected to be a Caps fan — and there’s something so delicious about the Leafs. The passion of their fans, their long and celebrated history, the trials and tribulations that have delivered them to this moment.
Or maybe, like all good Americans, I’m a sucker for the underdog. Man I love a good sad sack.
Seedwise, we have the exact same record as Philly right now: 46-22-11. The breaker would be non-shootout wins, of which Philly has exactly ONE more than us. Meanwhile out West the Canucks have roughly 150 more points than anyone else in the conference. And people say the East is weaker… So yes, a win tonight would be tasty, especially since the Flyers are playing the Senators and therefore will pick up 2 points.
Onto the pre-Cap!
Tyler Sloan left the ice against Buffalo for reasons known only to him, Boudreau, Woods and Evason, the trainers, McPhee, and various other members of the Capitals organization. But, most importantly, not to us laypersons just trying to write a story. At least he was healthy enough to give away the jersey-off-his-back for Fan Appreciation Night, and reports indicate that he will skate tonight. As will Johnny Erskine, which leaves just Green, Poti, and Wideman out on the blueline. That’s manageable. Or at least, we’ve been managing it of late, so things haven’t changed much.
Big ups to Arnott for his 400th point, especially getting it in the utterly clutch way that he did. What a good move by GMGM. And we’re not getting any flack for screwing over the Penguins now that Dave Steckel from Ohio State is on the Devils! Also of note is that Knuble got goal 22 and Semin goal 28 on the season. Backstrom had 18 goals, so I’m extremely annoyed he didn’t take the opportunity to fall into the pattern.
Oh yeah, and cut out the Cardiac Caps bullshit, okay? You guys don’t need to make hockey MORE exciting.
No insight into the line combos tonight, which would seem to imply there’s not a whole lot of changes. Boudreau went with 8-90-22 against the Sabres, which proves he’s treating these games as experiments for the playoffs. And I realize that Mojo has his adherents around these parts (and he certainly deserves them! I’m not just saying that because if I were to state otherwise BridgetDS would no longer let me use her photos), but I’d feel more comfortable with Backstrom centering Ovechkin. I do, however, fear change.
The big story this morning is Semin sitting for a “maintenance day” which really should be considered a non-story. The playoffs are in 10 days and Sasha is notably fragile. The upcoming schedule is Leafs-Panthers-Panthers. I’d be comfortable sitting just about anyone. Boudreau says that he would play if today were a playoff game, making this story somehow even less interesting.
On the goalie front we’ve had Neuvirth start the last two. So I ask: does this mean we’re resting Varly for the playoffs by having Neuvy take all the starts against admittedly weak opponents? Or are we making sure he’s warmed up for the playoffs, especially since there’s a pretty good chance we play Buffalo in the first round anyway? At this point it’s not even worth speculating. MAYBE WE WILL PUT TYLER SLOAN IN NET. (And in the interest of being actually informative, I should mention that according to Whyno (@SWhyno) it is in fact Neuvirth starting.)
On the Leafs front it is of course Reimer, Reimer, gotta be starting Reimer and if you haven’t heard this glorious parody by Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown, why, you gots to hear it right away! I would like to say I’m not actually familiar with the song it’s a parody of, but I can only assume it’s better. He was also Player of the Month for March, and is a Mennonite. Kessel has a 27 points in 26 games (and fun fact: the writing sample I submitted to Aerys for this blog was about the Kessel trade and the outcome thereof, and literally the exact opposite of it happened. It was like anti-vindication. Is there a word for that?) and is on a 7-game point streak.
My prediction last game was that Semin would get more points than penalties, and it seems to me… yes indeed, 1G 1A and 0, yes, ZERO penalties! I’m like Nostradamus for the hockey world. The OU according to playnow.com/sports (which is run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, so I wouldn’t actually bet through it) is 5.5 – I’m taking the over. A high-scorin’ affair between these two teams!
Drink of the game: Cheerwine. You’re in the south now, baby! Okay, so I live in what can barely be called the south, but it’s rural enough that you can still get Cheerwine, which is a decidedly country drink. It’s a cherry soda with no cola elements, and it is delicious. Sorry Yankees!
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Leaf it to Her – Maple Leafs on Aerys Sports