Friday, March 26, 2010

Reasons Caps Fans Hate The Penguins

As Caps fans, we're a bitter sort. We've only ever made the Stanley Cup Finals once (and didn't win), we seem to blow playoff series leads like bubbles, and as great as some of our teams have been, the Pittsburgh Penguins always seem to be better at exactly the right time. Thus, Caps fans hate Pittsburgh. But not for the reasons you think. Here are the REAL Top 10 reasons Caps fans hate the Penguins:
10.) Jaromir Jagr's hair. When the Caps signed Jagr, we expected his vintage 1993 Penguins hair. We were robbed.

9.) Ulf Samuelsson. If you keep your knee away from Cam Neely in 1991, you know you never make it to the Finals. Everyone knows it.

8.) Matt Bradley. You just had to have him before us, didn't you?

7.) 1994 Playoffs. The ONE year we win in the playoffs, the NHL decides it's time for the Rangers to win a Cup. I blame you Pittsburgh.

6.) Colin Campbell. He was a Penguin before his new job: Ovechkin Suspender

5.) The Cartoon Penguin Logo. I hate cartoons now, thanks to you. You've ruined all my good childhood memories. Screw you Go-bots.

4.) Ron Tugnutt. You know why, Ron. You know why.

3.) 66. Because double numbers over 55 are silly. Come on Mario...

2.) Zarley Zalapski. As hard as we tried with Zednik, Zettler, Zezel, Zinger and Zubrus, we could never find a truely awesome 'Z' name.

1.) Ping Pong Balls. Not that we ever wanted Crosby, but you and I both know that ping pong ball said 'Phoenix'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On Frozen Blog called me Judas

Last night, I watched the Caps/Penguins game from a friend's basement while my 4 season tickets were being used by... someone. I sold my ticketson the Caps' Ticketmaster Ticket Exchange site to someone willing to pay for them. Every time I use that site, I worry that my tickets will be going to an opposing team's fans and that they will terrorize my season ticket-holder neighbors (and thus, begin to hate me). It honestly worries me, every time.

This morning, I head on over to one of my favorite blogs, On Frozen Blog, and find a rant against selling tickets to the "devil-enemy". Ok, it was written by the intern, but the words still stung.

The Caps make serious money off the Ticketmaster fees associated with re-selling Season Ticket Holder tickets at a mark-up. The practice is part of the STH sales pitch: based on the face values of the tickets alone, the price of a season ticket package could easliy turn you a profit. How is it my fault if, by using the Caps-endorced site, my tickets end up in the hands of an opposing teams' fan?

Thanks to the birth of my first child, I've given my fair share of tickts this season to friends and family. I love that I can do that. I also love that I can bring my 3 month old to a game and not fear for him. But for certain games, I'm glad I have the option to not subject the little guy to deafening noise levels. Last night's game was one of those games.

One of my fellow STHs is from Pittsburgh and will root for the Penguins if we meet them again in the playoffs. That is his right. He roots for the Caps, loudly and proudly, every other game. At the end of the night, I'll share a beer with him regardless of the score. We both decided to sell last night's tickets to whoever wanted them. It might have been a Caps fan or a Pens fan, or someone douche in a suit who constantly asks who Ovechkin is.

In other cities, home fans invite other teams' fans into the battle. Both sides trade insults, finger points, or friendly banter. But in the end, like the game of hockey, it almost always ends in a handshake or a beer. Caps fans? We taunt, berate, and swear when we're winning. When we're losing, we get bitter, quiet and ref-blamey. We can't take the taunting back. We're offended that these outside fans are in our building. Other teams' fans consider us a bit of a joke. Sometimes, we deserve it. Yes, it's the Penguins. But Caps fans do this stuff at every home game.

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 Pens fan in front of you the whole game... the rea of red looks a whole lot bigger when you see how small the pockets of black and sky blue look in comparison. Stop hating other teams more than you love your own.

Until us Caps fans can reach a level of Hockey Fandom that more closely resembles the game of hockey its self, especially among the band-wagon fans, we're just a bunch of complainers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Harder Than It Looks

After last night's Caps game, several 'media' pundits (blogs, newspaper beat reporters, etc.) called out Semyon Varlamov for not being able to stop the game winning goal. Some even called it a 'dribbler'. Nevermind that Whitney was allowed to skate unopposed into the slot and wind up for a slap shot, the following graphic describes the dificulty in stopping a shot from that distance and with that velocity. So shut up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Example

Several times during last night's Caps/Canes game, I caught myself wondering aloud what in the hell Mike Green was doing. As beautiful as it is to see the game's best offensive defenseman put two goals behind Manny Legace, I couldn't not help but be overwhelmingly pissed off at almost everything else he did during the game.

On what seemed like countless occasions, Green forced passes through opposition-occupied ice, botched simple D-to-D passes behind the net, failed to look up at a wide open wing and instead throwing the puck away, and one-on-oneing way too many forecheckers in his own end to not turn over the puck a half dozen times. It's frustrating because Green is much better than this. It's frustrating because the Caps would be even better if he could only put his ego in check and simplify his game.

It's pretty clear to me that Green will pocket 20+ goals again this season, possibly even flirting with 25+. He has great hands, above average speed and a rocket for a shot. But Mike Green also has an ego bigger than Ovie and Semin combined. There is no other way I can explain his penchant for passing up the easy play to attempt the highlight reel version. Ovie does this all the time. Semin too. But they're wingers and Green is a Defenseman. When Ovie messes up, there is time to get back. When Green messes up, it's a breakaway against.

I don't want Green to change his game from center ice in. Sneaping in on the far side is an art, and Green is great at it. I just want him to CARE when he has the puck in his own end of the ice. Give it up to the wings with simple passes. Back the puck up and restart the breakout. Lift your head up every once in a while. Green is just careless in his own end. His boneheaded pass directly to a Cane last night turned instantly into a goal. That is unacceptable.

If I were the coach of the Washington Capitals, I would sit Mike Green for a game or two. I would let it be known that it wasn't because of him needing rest or nursing an injury. "Mike Green is in the press box this week because he's forgotten what simple, smart hockey looks like. I figured, from up in the press box, he should have a great vantage point to see what it looks like." As much as I love Bruce Boudreau, I think he treats Green with kid gloves. He's said before that he sees Green as a son. Unfortunately, I think that keeps him from openly criticizing Mike.

A Caps Cup will require Mike Green to be an offensive threat and play solid defense while being more careful with the puck and simplifying his game. If that means benching him for a change in perspective, I'm all for it.