Jan 19 :: Storming the Capital (Capitol?)

Remember this crazy son of a bitch? Also, I’m sorry 
to display a picture that might have given you a seizure. 

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Red Wings @ Capitals. 7pm. Wings Wings Tuesday. Have you ever driven in DC? It’s a nightmare. In fact, when I was working at Travel Channel, I wrote a (required) crew blog post about my experiences shooting in DC. Give it a read and then comment more on this post than those crazy Travel Channel fans did for that one.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. The Wings are coming off of two heartbreaking shootout losses, but this is an interconference game and, though its against one of the better teams in the East, the Western Conference has been having it’s way with the Eastern Conference this season. Let’s hope that continues.
2. This spot was reserved for the announced starting goaltender. We haven’t been told.
3. Alex Ovechkin has thirty goals on the season. Thirty. For reference, that’s the same amount Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Johan Franzen have. Combined.
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Caps played on October 10th, the fourth game of the season (strangely, it followed a Blackhawks game). Detroit won by a score of 3-2, with Chris Osgood in net. The goals were scored by Homer, Leino, and Jason Williams. It was the first game the Wings played without Johan Franzen.
OH, HI AGAIN 
Former Red Wing and Michigan Wolverine Mike Knuble is now a Washington Capital. Here’s an odd bit of trivia that I uncovered: of all the former Red Wings still in the NHL, he has been gone the longest. He was traded to the Rangers in 1998 for a second round draft pick (which became the one, the only Tomas Kopecky).
Capital Tomas Fleischmann was a Red Wing draft pick that went to DC as part of the Robert Lang deal. The other parts were a first round pick in 2004 (which ended up being Mike Green) and a fourth round pick in 2006 (which ended up being Luke Lynes).

MEMBA ME?! 
There are currently no former Capitals on the Red Wings.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Alexander Semin. No, I’m just kidding. That’s a horrible name. I’m going to go with Jason Chimera, since it sounds like it’s the name of some horrible man-made disease from a Michael Crichton novel.
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit lost, in a shootout, to Chicago on Sunday. I died on the inside just a little bit.
–Washington defeated Philadelphia, 5-3, on Sunday. Everyone who is supposed to score, did. It was like NHL 94 ’round that bitty. Interesting: Alex Ovechkin’s goal came on the 2,000th shot of his career, giving him a career 12.45% shooting percentage. NASTY.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 24-16-8 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 10-9-5 on the road.
–Washington Capitals :: 30-12-6 (1st in Southeast, 1st in East) :: 16-3-3 at home.
CAPITALS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Nicklas Backstrom :: Eric Fehr :: Brooks Laich :: Quintin Laing :: Baton Rouge :: Brendan Morrison :: Alexander Ovechkin :: Alexander Semin :: Mike Green :: Tom Poti :: Semyon Varlamov
Also of note, Team USA defenseman and World Junior Championship hero John Carlson has been called up from Hershey. He’s played the last two games for the Caps (going a mediocre +4 in the process).
EXPECTED LINEUP
I haven’t heard any news, but I’ll be shocked if Brad May is in tonight. It’s about time to give Leino another shot (in Babcock’s book) and he can’t possibly be worse than Brad May. Also, haven’t heard which goaltender is going, and frankly – neither would surprise me. Watch how I play Devil’s Advocate with myself: It could be Jimmy Howard because it’s clear he’s the man. It could be Chris Osgood because Howard looked a little frustrated after the back-to-back losses. That said, maybe Babcock feels like he needs to go with Howard so Howard doesn’t think it was his fault. But, if Osgood doesn’t play after a losing streak, when will he? Washington’s one of the top teams in the league, so you have to play your starter (Howard). However, they’re an Eastern Conference team, a much safer bet for your backup.

Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Bertuzzi

Miller — Filppula — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Abdelkader — Maltby
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Meech — Stuart
Lebda — Ericsson
Howard / Osgood
Nicknames courtesy of Ernie Capadino.
Scratch
Ville “See How It Works Is, The Train Moves, Not the Station” Leino
Injuries
Andreas “No Skin Off My Ashtabula” Lilja
Johan “Well Then! This Would Be More, Wouldn’t It” Franzen
Jason “If I Had Your Job, I’d Kill Myself” Williams
Niklas “I Hate When They Get Attached to Me Like That” Kronwall
Tomas “Hey Cowgirls, See the Grass? Don’t Eat It” Holmstrom
QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Whoever plays goal is going to have a hell of a day. 52 shots from the Caps are possible.
2. Nicklas Lidstrom has two goals in his last three games (also, two goals in his last 46). We touched on it in the newest podcast, and though I don’t think the drought had any effect on his confidence, it’s gotta feel good to get off the schneid and maybe he keeps rolling.
3. The Capitals are a team that has unbelievable firepower. If they’re going to keep up offensively, they’re going to need guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk to counterstrike when they get the chance, because the Caps defense is questionable at best. That said, guys like Flip, Eaves, and even Darren Helm might be the ones getting the chances – and it’d be swell if they finished on them.
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Blackhawks
Patrick Eaves is a badass.
CAP WE COVET (JJ Special)
It’d be easy to throw a dart at this roster and hit a talented player. In a perfect world, every team would have it’s AO. I’ve always loved Knuble, and Morrison, but I’m not sure they’d fit in on the current squad. If I could poach one current Capital and make him our own, it’d be Brooks Laich. He’s a fantastic locker room guy, a gritty go-in-to-the-corners and sacrifice your beautiful nose for the team kind of player. He’d be welcomed with open arms in a blue collar town like Detroit.

17 thoughts on “Jan 19 :: Storming the Capital (Capitol?)”

  1. I'm excited for this one. If the pace of the game tonight is anywhere close to where it was on Sunday, it'll be a good one.

    I'm also excited to see what fights might surface out of this game. Will Eaves do what Brad May attempts to do again? Will Ovie play another reckless game(I hope not a little with the Wings already having so many injuries this year)? I'm anxious to see.

  2. You have the DC driving experience totally right, Michael. It's only 1 1/2 hours from where I live, so I've had my fair share of driving there. When I was a naive kid, I thought that all major cities were like that. No way. Because of all the bypasses around the historic buildings and monuments, you end up on exit ramps and freeways and interchanges you didn't even know existed, as they are not known to mankind or to maps. And they don't warn you that you're leaving one street for a bypass, nor do they include any signs telling you what you're on. So frustrating. Parking is no easier. My trips to the Verizon Center always involve the Metro.

  3. Please allow me laugh…*waits a minute*.. ok I'm done.

    Michael, have you ever been to Europe? Or you know any big city that has grown organically? In Europe the street names normally have absolutely no system, the roads criss-cross all over the place and it's full of one-way roads, no-left-turn here's etc etc. In Oslo we even have quite a few streets that seems randomly closed off for everything that isn's busses. Try to drive in Paris, then I'll allow you to bitch about directions… 😛

    On the Leino/May thing. As I wrote on my blog this morning, the obvious answer to this question is Mattias Ritola

  4. Kalyn, I'm beginning to think that it's more likely that you or I get in a fight tonight than Brad May. We were joking on TOV about the possibility of going into the penalty box if I win the raffle, but being that close to Bertuzzi is frightening — particularly since we all know Brad May isn't going to help me. HA

    Natalie, DC is a goddamn nightmare. I was only there for four days to film an episode for the Travel Channel, so I'm sure it gets easier, but I'm directionally retarded anyway, so it hurt my brain getting around.

    Andy, I've been to Europe, yeah — only a handful of different nations, though. Dare I say that DC is much more confusing than anywhere I've been on the other side of the planet, too.

  5. Michael, I don't think it gets easier because there's no easy way to get to anyplace there, even if you know exactly where you're going. The Va suburbs are a nightmare, too.

    Sorry, Andy, but I'm with Michael. I'm sure the places you describe are difficult, but if you've never been to DC and environs, particularly during rush hour, you probably shouldn't laugh.

  6. Datsyuk's going to have a big night. He's money against other big-name Russians and Ovechkin is just the challenge Dr. Dangle likes to see.

    All you city folk have no idea how painful country commuting is. Just this morning, I was caught at a four-way stop for two hours while two people sat there waving for the other person to go first.

  7. The traffic issues in DC are compounded by the fact that the city was originally PLANNED by our nation's founding president and a world renowned civic architech. And they even anticipated expansion! The roads were designed very wide to support growth. I don't blame George and L'Enfant, though, for the one-way streets, stoplights every four feet, and poor signage. That's Harry S. Truman's fault! Guy couldn't do anything right, I tells ya!

  8. Mauvais gardien de but

    You guys are making me a little nervous about my trip to DC this weekend… I'm serious too. I'm driving out on Friday (7 hour hockey road trip! wooo!) and going to the Caps/Coyotes game on Saturday. I'm very good with directions. I have driven most major cities. Am I still screwed anyway?

    Also, the Expected Lineup Jimmah/Ozzie debate is exactly what goes through my head all day at work. I haven't come to any conclusions either.

  9. Natalie, thanks for having my back. Also missing from DC in the Paris Conversation is the beauty of, ya know, Paris.

    JJ, the only thing more painful than long stretches of country driving in the District of Columbia. HA!

    Wade, did you see the shoutout to YOU in the Travel Channel blog I linked to? Where else would I get that random info?

    Mauvais, get a GPS and you should be alright. Relying on Mapquest or Google will make you want to kill someone from Google, and yourself. Also, never assume that "I'll just take the next street" when you miss your turn, because it's like Labyrinth. All of a sudden, you're arguing with two door knockers as Huggle takes your rubies. Without, of course, the benefit of seeing David Bowie's package as he dances with babies.

  10. Mauvais gardien de but

    Michael, so can I blame your for getting Magic Dance stuck in my head for the rest of the day?

    You remind me of the babe
    What babe?
    The babe with the power
    What power?
    Power of voodoo
    Who do?
    You do
    Do what?
    Remind me of the babe!

    Also, all I need to do is get to the hotel and park so I'm hoping it won't be too painful. I won't be doing any more driving during the weekend since my hotel is in walking proximity to the Verizon Center.

  11. DANCE magic DANCE magic DANCE magic DANCE! Put that magic jump on me! Slap that baby, make him free.

    Wait a minute, that's horrible.

    Also, Nothing? NOTHING? Nothing tra la la?

  12. I have doubts that there is any city as bad as Paris when it comes to driving and parking. On the other hand I also doubt there is another city as beautiful (maybe Dubrovnik, Croatia, but it only has 80 000 people so it doesn't count)

  13. I haven't driven in Paris, but I have been in cabs there, and it seemed to me that the point was just to remain moving at all times. Forward, backward, sideways, whatever. It's actually kind of entertaining, as long as you aren't trying to get anywhere at a specific time.

  14. @jennbikegirl

    That might be the point, I don't know. Another thing about Paris is that their parking is insane. They get into spots that are smaller than their car! It's the only place people gather around to see someone park and then applauds as the parking is completed. Needless to say, my father was allowed to take over the car when I was about to park.

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