Holiday partying during Saturday’s you’re-a-dolt-if-you-missed-that-one in Ottawa, I managed to catch Jonathon Warner’s post-game ebullience on 3WT making my way home, and thereby felt as if I hadn’t missed a thing. Confession: I’ve done a terribly poor job of touting Jonathon’s talents, both with his “Saturday Night Caps” program and his superb post-game roundup. This is all the more unforgivable in light of the fact that Jonathon was gracious enough to¬†invite Eric McErlain and me on his Saturday show earlier in the season.
At¬†one point during the post-game show last night Jonathon had Nicklas Backstrom on¬†the phone from the Scotiabank visitor’s room, and at the end of the exchange Jonathon told his listeners, “You could just hear Backstrom’s smile [on the call].” Great radio personalities showcase an empathy with their guests and listeners, and this Jonathon regularly does, most particularly with his callers.¬†¬†
A game like last night’s makes fans want to reach out and connect with the rest of the supporting community, in something more personal than message boards, and a program like Jonathon’s allows precisely that. Perhaps a figure like Jonathon suffers from commerical radio’s larger decline the past decade-plus, but if the Caps make a notable push in the standings in the season’s second half, Caps’ fans are going to want to hitch a ride on this radio program. Bruce Springsteen has a catchy little diddy out these days titled, ‘Radio Nowhere,’ but last night, listening to Jonathon’s program, I felt like I was lodged in Radio Somewhere Warm, Informative, and Fun.
I was¬†Blackberried during the Saturday night¬†family holiday gathering, and the required 36 or 38 third-period updates I could have done without. But once home, I was able to have every goal, and some other notable plays, replayed for me by visiting the Caps’ home page and¬†streaming the video¬†highlights found in¬†the game recap box. I hadn’t been in a position this season to need that before, but now I appreciate it.
Donald Brashear’s now legendary maiming of Chris Neil, however, was not included in the package. I’m going to have to ask the Caps’ communications folks about either the oversight or some more sinister reason for excluding it. I mean, it’s Christmas time.
From my chum Marleen this morning I received not only a faithful blow-by-blow summary of the slow dance — “Brash uncorked 18 straight haymakers on Neil’s head . . . the announcers claimed just 15, but I counted, rewound the Tivo and slow-motion counted, and it was 18 glorious noggin-knockers” — but a powerful sense of my needing to make the YouTube retrieval of this medieval deathmatch my Sunday obligation. It took a bit of digging, but oh was it ever worth the effort, and now it’s recorded, as it should be, forever for posterity at OFB.
JoeB, previously noted appropriately for his astute call of Alex the Gr8′s greatest-ever goal in Phoenix his rookie year, rises again to the occasion in Scotiabank Saturday night.
“Oh my goodness . .¬†. gracious . . . Chris [Neil] go down already.
“Chris Neil ate about 15 [Donald Brashear] lefts.”
We can¬†forgive JoeB, during all that excitement,¬†for not fact-checking the fist-throw count with Marleen¬†in real time. ¬†
Tarik’s lead this morning, I thought, was letter-perfect:
“If Alex Ovechkin was less than 100 percent because of stitches in his thigh, it wasn’t evident Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.”
One might have attributed last month’s 4-1 triumph in Ottawa to the Sens taking the then victory-starved Caps lightly, but what now? Tuesday’s third matchup of the season between the teams will tell us¬†a lot, I think, about the sort of mettle Bruce Boudreau’s players will take into the season’s second half, for they’ll host one ornery Sens’ squad in a late matinee then. But win or lose Tuesday, the Caps have already delivered an interesting potential storyline between these clubs. If — if — the Caps could somehow scratch and claw their way into the East’s eighth spot at season’s end, they’d¬†very likely face the Sens in the postseason’s first round. And regular season MoJo between clubs often influences playoff karma. An interesting, thought, no? ¬†¬†¬†
I could get used to these kind of winter-time Sunday mornings.