24 April, 2014


About Last Night: Quick Thoughts on the Caps and Pens

The Capitals are now 6-0-1 in their last seven regular season games against Pittsburgh. It was a streak continued Wednesday night by virtue of Mike Knuble’s first-ever shootout success.

Admit it — when Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby tallied in the shootout while Nicklas Backstrom failed, and it was left to sub-30-percent-shootout-shooter Ovi to keep it alive, you thought it was curtains.

  • A real turning point Wednesday night was Alexander Semin’s third period, shorthanded strike that knotted the game at 2. If the Penguins instead convert on that man advantage, you have to think we’d likely have seen a different final frame, perhaps even a different outcome.
  • Mega-weird stat: the Caps are now 7-0-1 on the season when allowing 40 or more shots on net.
  • John Carlson had a strong game, in this blogger’s eyes. While Gabby in his postgame comments didn’t seem to think it was his best performance, Carlson did have a shot ring off the post and played two solid shifts in overtime. The longer he stays in Washington the stronger he seems to get as a player, and JC himself said he is getting more comfortable with the NHL by the day.
  • Alex Semin had a one-track mind, all on the offensive track. He sure didn’t play a good two-way game last night, but Semin was stellar in the offensive zone. Between taking it coast-to-coast to score a shorty and his numerous chances, he was the team’s best offensive threat. Without him, there is no way Washington pulls out the win.
  • Can there really be said to be any uncertainty, and drama left with the question as to who will enter the postseason no. 1 in net for the Caps?
  • Did Jason Chimera suddenly forget how to shoot? Several fans may have thought he had after he passed up several golden opportunities in order to pass the puck. Some of Chimera’s errors included passing to no one, passing in front of a wide open net, passing somewhat carelessly across the ice, passing to the other team, and just straight up not shooting. He easily left one or two goals on the ice.
  • As of the start of last night’s game only four Capitals were negative skaters in +/- on the season, and three of those four didn’t start the year with Washington. Joe Corvo, Scott Walker, Jason Chimera and Tyler Sloan are the only players on the Washington roster who are currently negative on the year. Corvo has the lowest +/- at -7. Of the four, only Sloan and Corvo are negative during their time with Washington, at -1.
  • Finally, while Verizon Center was wonderfully redded-out Wednesday, shame on all the Caps’ fans who sold their seats for a few bucks, and whose seats fell into the hands of the devil-enemy. I know the economy is rough, but one should never ever do a deal with the devil-enemy. The fan breakdown at the Verizon Center was probably 80 to 85 percent Caps fans and 15 to 20 percent Penguins’ fans. It should be closer to 95 percent Caps fans in a rivalry game. Let’s hope all of you Judases who sold your tickets charged them at least quadruple the face value price. But I also think it’s fair to question your loyalty with such a transaction. If you’re called out of town for business as pucksandbooks was this week, how about offering the tickets to family or friends who haven’t attended a game this season, or even better, donating them to an under-priviledged youth association or the like? I have to think there’d be no shortage of hockey fans in Hershey who’d have made the trip down mid-week for the big game. Let’s hope this virus isn’t replicated in any postseason showdown with the Pens.


25 Comments

  1. James wrote:

    Amen about the Judases. Made me sick when I saw and heard all the Penguins fans. Reminded me of the Skins game vs Steelers, though thankfully, not nearly as bad – but MORE painful.

    25 March, 2010 at 5:41 am | Permalink
  2. John wrote:

    Been out of work 3 months. Sold my tickets for 4x face. Sure Caps fan bought them but don’t like your passing judgment on me dude. I can at least pay the electric and gas bills this month. I’d sell to Crosby’s mother at this point if the price is right.

    25 March, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink
  3. Jeff wrote:

    Since we’re making generalizations about the “loyalty” of fans who sold their tickets, I will go ahead and assume that Andrew, a college student, is not a STH and will question his loyalty as well.

    25 March, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  4. JessMan wrote:

    andrew’s got a good point though

    25 March, 2010 at 7:54 am | Permalink
  5. Cathy W wrote:

    I hope Andrew realizes that using TicketExchange to resell season tickets, the seller has no idea who buys the tickets. The seller has no interaction with the buyer. I am not going to pass judgment on someone who resold their season tickets or question their loyalty. I know a STH who lost their job and has to sell tickets. This is one game that will sell and some need to sell games in order to afford their season tickets or playoff tickets. Prices are going up next season and playoff tickets are higher in price. Don’t assume that everyone is in a financial situation where they can afford to give their tickets away for free or have “friends and family” that will pay at least what the STHs paid. And I hope Andrew realizes that there are also ticket brokers that are season ticket holders, but I guess just calling individuals STHs “Judases” and questioning the loyalty of individual STHs is better copy. And BTW, 85% Caps fans is STILL better than several years ago.

    25 March, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  6. Andrew, you didn’t didn’t experience those horrible STH years, when getting a few bucks back for a ticket you couldn’t use was like striking oil. Nor did pucksandbooks for that matter (since the last bullet is clearly pucks’ voice).

    While I agree that one shouldn’t sell directly to the opposing team — though John’s comment above is a good counter-argument — THE CAPITALS THEMSELVES promote using TicketExchange. Read that again: the ads for TicketExchange are all over the Capitals’ own website. How does someone assess affiliation of the buyer when you never find out who just made the purchase? Are you questioning Ted’s loyalty as well for providing that service?

    So yes, sell tickets to friends and Caps fans — they deserve a chance to see the Caps play before anyone else. Donate them to charity if you can afford it. Don’t knowingly handing tickets to the opponents.

    And y’know, if your tickets do sell to the opponent, expect to take some abuse from friends & neighbors in your section. I took my abuse last night sheepishly and at least somewhat deservedly.

    But leave the self-righteousness out of it.

    25 March, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  7. TG wrote:

    All mine this year were sold through the Caps’ Ticket Exchange. So far, most have been bought by Caps fans. Last night they were bought by “a nice Penguins fan and his neutral girlfriend.”

    But look at it this way, even if they are bought by fans of the other team, at least if I sell them through Ticket Exchange the Caps get a piece of the sale.

    25 March, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  8. Jill wrote:

    Wow, this is quite an indictment. While I personally wouldn’t dream of selling my tickets to the opposing team’s fans, look for many more Caps fans to do so in order to cope with next season’s astronomical price hikes — which will have the greatest effect on the individual ticket buyers IMO. I know a number of STH who will have to sell off numerous games in order to afford their plans next year. And if they need the money, they can’t always be choosy in whom they sell to. I don’t like it, but I understand it and I can no longer condemn them for it as I have in past seasons.

    25 March, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink
  9. Hittman wrote:

    Wow I thought this was going to be a discussion of the game! A discussion about how I had to listen to it on AM 1500 in the car and nearly drove off the road when Semin scored on the PK and then in the SO. Oh well.

    25 March, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  10. Sonja wrote:

    Yeah … we had one really annoying Penguins puck bunny sitting in our section. Couldn’t keep her fanny in her seat or her overpermed hair out of our way. And another guy who kept telling the Caps fans to shut up and sit down. WTF? Go home to P-burgh.

    OTOH … we also had an absolutely adorable young Caps fan sitting behind us who is on his way to being an announcer or commentator one day. He was about 10 or 11, knew all the players, many of the plays and had an unswerving adoration for Ovechkin. He more than made up for the many annoying birds sitting around us.

    25 March, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink
  11. Mike wrote:

    Hittman, I was hoping the same — amazing game, thrilling finish, and Andrew brought up some interesting points for discussion. It’s too bad that conversation was derailed by the final bullet’s rant.

    25 March, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink
  12. penguin pete wrote:

    maybe i’m crazy, but (as a pens fan)i’d love to sit next to a caps fan at mellon arena while the pens light them up.

    unfortunately, in my hypothetical situation, it looks like i’d be watching that caps fan whoop it up…

    25 March, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  13. Mike wrote:

    Agreed Pete — it is certainly fun watching silent and downcast opposing fans during and after a win! :)

    25 March, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink
  14. Alex wrote:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was so ticked off by this post. Paying for my Caps season tickets is no small expense on my budget — I’m a young professional working in an industry that’s bleeding ink by the barrel and doesn’t pay well in the best of times — so you’ll excuse me if I occasionally sell off my ticket in order to cover other expenses, like, say, the upcoming playoffs. And with the cost of my tickets in 426 increasing by more than 150 percent next season, it’s just something I grudgingly have to do if I’m going to keep my tickets. I don’t subject every purchaser to a Caps Loyalty Quiz like it appears the author would like me to; if the money’s green, I’m making the deal before I ask what color the buyer’s wearing. I don’t renew my tickets year after year because it’s easy to make a few bucks on the prime games; I do it because I love this team, and have loved it since I was old enough to find Ron Weber on WMAL. But go ahead, OFB, question my loyalty.

    25 March, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  15. Danny wrote:

    I understand the money thing, and I find it fantastic that all those Pens fans paid top dollar to watch their team get beat, but it’s the Penguins! It’s a bitter rivalry, and I’d hope our fans would try to be there.

    25 March, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  16. Sam wrote:

    I didn’t have tickets, but I would sell them to Penguins fans in a heartbeat simply so they can see how awesome the Verizon Center is when the fans are rocking the red. And, of course, so they can see Sid’s Daddy up close.

    25 March, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink
  17. TheMermaid wrote:

    I spent the game sitting directly behind a Lemieux jersey like the one in the photo and scarcely contained my instincts to have an “accident” with some beer or hot sauce. I think the eyesore in front of us was a friend of the season ticket holder sitting next to him — inviting a pal for some “friendly” rivalry. Hard to blame the guy for taking him up on it, but the red-clad guy who invited him is another matter. Unfortunately, there probably were some fans in attendance who wear red EXCEPT when they roll out the Penguins regalia when their home team comes to town. BAD!!!

    25 March, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink
  18. Kevin wrote:

    Penguins fans will find a way to get tickets. So will Rangers fans and Flyers fans. It’s OK. Look around next time instead of staring in anger at the 66 in front of you the whole game… the sea of red looks a whole lot bigger when you see how small the pockets of black and sky blue look in comparison.

    25 March, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  19. Katie wrote:

    I thought it was curtains when we headed into the shootout. The Pens have a great shoot-out record and ours is so-so. What a fantastic surprise! Your indictment of ticket sellers seems to have really stirred people up. I thought about selling my tickets last night because I’ve been out of work for months and just started a temp position and knew I’d be exhausted today, but I decided I couldn’t sell for fear of them going to a Pens fans. Also, I knew I’d be kicking myself if I missed a victory against our big rivals. The thing about Pens fans is that I don’t blame them for coming to DC for games. They live in Pittsburgh. Good sports team are really all they have. Still hate seeing them though..but love watching them go home sad!!

    25 March, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink
  20. Joran wrote:

    @Katie

    Yup. I said to my wife “We better win it in OT, because we suck at the shootout.”

    I’d admit also that I was whining to the wife after 2-0 in the shootout with Ovie coming up. “Why does Boudreau keep sending Ovie out there? He’s terrible at the shootout.”

    Then tied up 3-3, I started going through all the other forwards and thinking it was probably Flash. I’m sure every other Caps fan was thinking what I was thinking: “WTF?! KNUBLE?!” Then I saw his record in shootouts and was even more despondent. Should have known: “In Gabby We Trust”

    @Hittman

    I was listening to 1500 during the Semin goal and then the Fehr goal. I couldn’t stop laughing; I just knew the Caps were going to come back in the 3rd. It feels so good when you’re right.

    25 March, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  21. Eric wrote:

    Everyone is a bit sensitive about this aren’t they? It’s America folks. Buy and sell, bulls and bears, and all that BS.

    I didn’t even watch the game. I went to the rink to play pickup hockey instead. There were Caps and Pens fans there. We all got along and had a good time. Count us in the, #justanothergame column.

    Playoffs cannot start soon enough.

    25 March, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink
  22. Uriah wrote:

    How good is Carlson going to be? It’s getting to the point now where every time he gets the puck I get that “ok something good will happen now” feeling, as opposed to the “just don’t screw up kid” feeling from a few weeks ago.

    He’s super quick. He carries the puck with confidence. His outlet passes are crisp and accurate (how cool is that little wrist flick he does on the long passes?).

    His shot looks accurate and strong also, with a little luck he’d have 2 or 3 goals by now.

    He needs to win more battles on the wall in his own zone, that’s true, and just get better defensively in general, but it’s not like he’s a liability out there.

    Sky’s the limit on this kid.

    25 March, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  23. Angie wrote:

    I would never allow a non Caps fan to sit in my seat, not ever. It makes me ill to even think of it. We’ve given 3 games away that we could not make this year and they were to friends that are Caps fans and that haven’t been to a game. I think there needs to be a resource for fans to make sure they are only selling to other Caps fans, maybe something through the STH member area. I know several STH that have spilt their tickets with others and they are always looking to get tickets to the games they don’t have. One of our neighbors actually insists on meeting the person near VC to hand off the tickets to be sure it’s a Caps fan!!!

    25 March, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  24. Grooven wrote:

    What an exciting game it turned out to be. Never should have gone into overtime though. And the officiating was so bad we didn’t even really talk about it in the stands — it was just understood. And man, Semin’s goal was a pleasant surprise. Good hockey. Good victory.

    It seems intent-to-injure isn’t really intent unless the hit lands. (Good thing it didn’t.) Not that I’m surprised. But I was expecting a couple roughings to have been called.

    There weren’t many Pens fans in my section at all — maybe fifteen total. A far cry from the lean games of years past, and certainly not enough, by numbers, to get me riled up. (A couple of them individually needed a bit of security intervention, but most of them were actually okay.)
    Nor will I refrain from bringing my Flyers friend to Caps games, for example. Nor will I use that same logic in converse to NOT go to games in other cities. [I seem to recall posts espousing great dialogue with fans from opposing teams -- perhaps that's just all for show.]

    25 March, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink
  25. Danny Neckel wrote:

    Should the Caps even want to meet the Pens in the playoffs? http://dneckel.blogspot.com/2010/03/would-capitals-want-to-face-penguins-in.html

    26 March, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Permalink