Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thrill Ride

Many are lamenting the slow pfffffffffftttttttt of the scintillating Crosby-Ovetchkin series on Wednesday night. Indeed, the 6-2 pantsing the Pens gave my Caps was the most stunning "buildup-to-disappointment" moment since I first heard Miss America Vanessa Williams had posed nude for Playboy, to when I actually saw the photos with my own adolescent eyes. (Ewwww. Airpit hair!)

Instead, let's give Caps-Pens a standing ovation for the thrill ride it was.

For 92% of the series prior to Game 7, the game was played within a 1 goal margin. Amazing. A total of 5 one-goal games, three overtimers, and a dueling hat-trick game between the two stars.

Mix in a tour-de-force effort at home by Malkin when the Pens needed it most (Game 3, down 2-0) and some controversy and bad blood on Ovetchkin's knee-on-knee hit to Gonchar, and you've got a nearly perfect Stanley Cup playoff tussle.

The only other black mark was the unfortunate schedule hiccup that put Games 4 and 5 on back to back nites thanks to a Yanni concert, and the NHL's move to delay the series for NBC's sake.

Penguin fans can legitimately say they have the better team, although the argument over who is the "World's Best Player" has not been resolved. Crosby is undeniably great, even more so in my eyes after watching him play in person. Plus, he delivered scoring this series, which was a small point of contention during the regular season with some of his detractors.

Ovetchkin was electric too, and one can only imagine what it would be like if it was Crosby and Ovetchkin together, not Crosby and Malkin.

Pens fans may now believe that this is indeed "their year" even though they languished out of the playoff window entirely much of the season.

I can't honestly say Caps fans ever felt that THIS was indeed "their" year. It was a "why not us" year. But not "theirs."

Clearly, they need more blue line help, and they need to figure out what to do with a great defensive scoring weapon like Mike Green when the playoffs dictate a more stay at home philosophy.

The goaltender of the future is now here and ready. And if Semin can have a slightly better playoffs next spring, all the elements are in place.

All told, though, better teams than ours, have lost a lot sooner than this.

Thanks Ted Leonsis for "putting away the stupid pills" as owner. (His words.) Thanks George McPhee for patiently putting the pieces of this team in place. Thanks to Coach Boudreau for emerging as a gem of a bench boss, and a very likeable one at that.

Thanks to maybe the best hometown TV and Radio voices for one team in any sport. Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin are network quality, and they are all ours. Steve Kolbe belts out the radio call with the best of them.

The fans last night stood and applauded for a good 90 seconds as the blood drained out of the season. It was a season to appreciate, and they are a team we can really embrace.


  1. Whew! the way the post started I thought you were actually disappointed to hear that Williams had posed nude. Perfect transition to see that it was really the hype with the let down of the actual viewing of the photos.

  2. Czabe, I love your show and I love the Caps. I don't want to knit pick, but Ovie's name does not have a 'T' in it. It's Ovechkin.

  3. Czabe,
    Any real Caps fan will tell you they wished Ovie played both ways, not just doing figure eights waiting for a break out pass to go the other way. It is not 1992. Ovie is a scoring machine, no doubt, but truly great players like Sid do not hesitate to back check or go into their own corner and try to get the puck away from opposing teams. Nor do they try to head hunt and leave their feet to try to injure opponents.

  4. Nice blog entry, although I strongly disagree with your statement, "Steve Kolbe belts out the radio call with the best of them". He is the worst local announcer I have ever heard. He is amateurishly bad. Perhaps a big of a digression from your blog entry though

  5. I have always loved "He put the biscuit in the basket!"
    Good stuff

  6. I would like to see the Caps get a bit more scoring to go with Ovechkin. Someone like Marion Hossa would fill a nicely with this team. Plus that would just get Penguin fans fuming at the Caps again.

    Disappointed in the results of the series. Especially starting off 2-0, but as disappoint as the results were, the game action was all the better.

    Looking forward to the rest of the playoffs, and I am ready for early October already.

  7. Totally agree with Fred Jones... Ovie is not (yet) a two-way player. I personally believe that Malkin is the best two-way player in the game, but isn't as marketable to the NHL due to his language barrier. As a die-hard Pens fan it's been just great listening to the rest of the hockey world lament what a 'dud' game 7 was, but for me it was the best game seven ever! Any playoffs where we can beat both the Caps and Flyers makes me feel content.