Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
Bragging is not The Maven’s forte.
With that in mind I’m not suggesting that my prediction of a Rangers opening series victory over Washington was underlined by their stirring win in Game One.
But looking ahead to the second game in our nation’s capital on Saturday, it is apparent that the Capitals may very well be a paper tiger and not necessarily a playoff scoring machine.
As I told you over and over again in my previews of this fascinating match-up, the Caps are so weak in goal and so deficient on defense that all the Ovechkins and Semins and Greens cannot compensate for a goalie so riddled with doubts — and deficiencies — as Jose Theodore.
from Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post,
The Capitals are expecting some antics from Avery, prepared for it, actually. “Wouldn’t you do what you do best?” asked Coach Bruce Boudreau. Avery’s role in the first-round series between the Capitals and the New York Rangers will be to agitate Ovechkin if he can, and in general to be “a really good thorn in our side,” Boudreau predicts. They’re braced for his irritating act, the swaggering belligerence clad in a high-fashion wardrobe—will he wear Dries van Noten to the game, or Alexander McQueen?—and the combination of raw knuckles and condescension.
Avery’s tactics are all about control; it’s as if his hand is on a dial manipulating the temperatures of others. He upsets his victims with crudeness, but what should bother them most is his calculation. It’s all a set-up, he goads others by questioning their toughness, gets the best of them by honing in on their insecurities, then leaves them regretting the loss of self-control, and often walks away the winner.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
Of all the concerns surrounding the Capitals’ feasibility as a real contender—maturity, toughness, the psychological wound from being one-and-done against the Philadelphia Flyers a year ago—No. 1 is Theodore’s inconsistency. It’s why the Rangers have just one on-paper advantage heading into this series—Henrik Lundqvist in goal.
Again, Theodore doesn’t have to be what Arturs Irbe was to San Jose 15 years ago; that otherworldly goalie, making out-of-body experiences a reality on ice.
But more than even a hard-checking opponent or a stingy goalie across the ice, Theodore can stop Ovie and a hungry Capitals team from going as far as they want to this postseason. If they have real designs on Lord Stanley, it’s up to the guy in goal. This postseason is on him.
from Stan Fischler of Game On,
I’m sitting in the barber chair getting my locks clipped, while reading the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Lo and behold, my eyes drifted down to the Eastern Conference predictions made by Pierre (What Doesn’t He Know) McGuire. Alas and alack, Pierre selected Washington over New York in six games. Poof! Just like that; my doubts about the Rangers were erased.
Since Sports Illustrated’s predictions are always right, about 20 percent of the time, I immediately knew that everything will be just hunky-dory with the Blueshirts. If Sports Illustrated picks them to lose, it automatically means that the Rangers will win.
But I also know that my loyal and intelligent readership wants more than that little SI snippet to prove my point, so I’ll move on to The Fischler Guaranteed to Work Game Plan.
from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post,
The biggest question facing the Washington Capitals as they prepare to open the Eastern Conference first round against the New York Rangers is whether José Theodore can catch fire after an uneven regular season in which he temporarily lost his starting job.
Playing behind the league’s third-best offense but an inexperienced team that’s prone to exposing its goaltender to prime scoring chances, Theodore won 32 games this season, second only to his 33 victories with the Montreal Canadiens in 2003-04. In every other category by which goaltenders are judged, however, the 32-year-old’s statistics were unimpressive despite a second-half rebound.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted’s Take,
I have already started to receive angst-filled emails from certain Caps fans pining away for the good old days and concerned about our D; our goaltending; our playoff readiness; our toughness; our overabundance of skill; our lack of heart; our size; our skill level; our leadership; our grittiness; our speed; our GM; our coach; our ownership; our lack of secondary scoring; lack of tickets available; the price of tickets; the food; the traffic; the Metro schedule; the ushers; and the ice. One fan even said - and I quote - “I am 95 percent sure you will lose this series because…”
Ninety-five percent? Why not 96 percent? What was the algorithm that created that prediction?
Rather than complain, let it all hang out now. Send them all my way. Do it today and all day tomorrow….
from Red Fisher of the Montreal Gazette,
While the players will insist during the next few days it doesn’t matter which team they’ll be facing, I suspect they would prefer taking on Washington in the first round, and to do that they must finish as the No. 7 seed.
Why the Capitals? Why a team that has the NHL’s best player in Alex Ovechkin? A team that almost surely has this season’s Norris Trophy winner in Mike Green?
It starts with Jose Theodore.
from Welcome to the Show,
Here is something you may have not seen involving Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. In addition to being an expert hockey tactician, Boudreau is also well-skilled in the art of doodling. Boudreau is one of the celebrities to partake in USA National Doodle Day, which everyone knows falls on May 7 this year. Boudreau’s hockey doodle is a one-of-a-kind sketch featuring the Capitals rink and the Stanley Cup with the words “The Dream” written beneath the most prestigious trophy in sports. He listed the numbers of ten current Capitals on the ice, but listed Mike Green’s No. 52 twice, presumably because Green covers more ice than any other player in the NHL. Boudreau also encourages fans to Rock the Red and calls Washington The “New” Hockeytown in his doodle.
... On Frozen Blog breaks down Puck Daddy.
Just in time for the Stanley Cup™ Playoffs, today Energizer Canada Inc. announced a new sponsorship arrangement with NHL™ superstar Alex Ovechkin. While the full program is gearing up for a Fall 2009 launch, it centers around Energizer’s Ultimate Lithium product *“The World’s Longest Lasting ‘AA’ Battery in High-Tech Devices”
“With our Ultimate Lithium product offering 8X the power of our premium alkaline, it only made sense to partner with The Great #8 as he is the World’s Best Player (in my view)” said Kent Hatton, Brand Group Director of Energizer Canada Inc. “Alex is known throughout the league to play with incredible energy, determination and intensity, a perfect fit with the Energizer Bunny and our Keep Going® brand promise”.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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