Merry Christmas, family! Season’s greetings to you and yours and theirs. This past week the Caps unwrapped a home-and-home with Flyers, splitting it right down the middle likely a finely roasted chestnut. Let’s take a ride with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
QUICK TAKES: Last Week: 1-1-0
Philadelphia Flyers – Win 5-4 (SO) - Holtby pooped his pants early on and had to be pulled. Grubauer performed admirably in relief, and Ovechkin tied the game at the buzzer to send it to OT. This was one of those “fun” games.
Philadelphia Flyers – Loss 5-2 – This was not one of those fun games. This was one of those bad, sloppy, violent ones. This was the drunken uncle of games. Tom Wilson Did the Wrong Thing, and the Caps gave one right back to the Flyers.
Nothing ventured, nothing lost this week for the Capitals – except for Tom Wilson, most likely. Speaking of Tommy Boy, let’s take a look at what’s making news in Washington this week.
I Rock Tom Wilson
Well gee, since NO ONE ELSE is talking about TOM WILSON’S HIT ON BRAYDEN SCHENN, I guess I will.
There are two fundamental truths of the situation: Wilson had no business charging that far to make a hit, and Schenn made a bad move curling back into the boards once he saw Wilson coming. It was a hockey play, absent of malice, but intended to be violent. The hit occurred when the Capitals were languishing in their own zone unable to clear the puck. Erskine finally escapes to the bench and on hops Wilson, fresh legs and all, looking to energize his team.
It was a bad, dangerous play, made by an inexperienced but talented rookie. It was nothing more and nothing less than that. Wilson dodged the Shanahammer and hopefully he learns that he can’t do that again – which is after all the point, right? So cast aside your pitchforks, Philly, and crumple your tear-smeared apologies, Washington.
Using the Torch as a Total Burn
This is less Capitals-specific, but have you seen the official Olympic delegation the United States is sending to Russia? Normally a cavalcade of honor featuring the President, Vice President, First Lady, etc., this year’s delegation will instead feature one up-turned middle finger. Not really, but no one higher than the President’s assistant-cum-gopher, and THREE gay former Olympians among the other five.
But, if the mere presence of three well-meaning people - Olympians at the Olympics, even! – is an affront to your government, your government should probably go suck it. Oh and, ho ho ho.
Mind the Net, Please
Well, our goaltending situation seems to be a murky mess. Braden Holtby, good looks and all, has been as dependable as a Yugoslavian motor. I feel like a scorned lover with Holtby, because his brilliant streaks are Mensa-level but his doldrums are timpanis. He’ll save fifty shots one night, give up five goals the next, pitch a shutout the following game and get pulled in the next.
Meanwhile, Philipp Grubauer has looked pretty darn good. Grubauer – who, if you can believe it, was born in nineteen-freaking ninety-one – has a .931 save percentage, and a 2.06 goals against average. He has quite honestly looked better than Holtby over the past week or two, and Grubauer’s name is much more fun to angrily bark in a German accent.
I suppose we should be counting our Christmas blessings that Hershey Claus continues to leave so many talented young goaltenders under our tree (yes, please), but for every Christmas Hershey bar there is a New Year’s hour on the treadmill. Essentially, this won’t last. There’s no way it can; Washington sports teams can not be that lucky. Hopefully Holtby will find his groove and boogie down the rest of the season, but until he gets his head right, Grubby Grubes will fight back the tide.
With that, let’s turn to a special half-sized holiday to-go edition of the segment a South African interpreter called “Squid Pants Knuckle Fleece Giggle Lips:”
LIABLE TO LIABLE: A BAKER’S HALF-DOZEN LIES ABOUT THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS
1. Carolina teammates and brothers Eric and Jordan Staal used to ask Santa for new hockey sticks, while brother Marc would ask for a fourth brother to play with.
2. Alex Semin asked Santa for a one-way ticket back to Russia so he never has to shop in another Piggly-Wiggly.
3. Hurricanes center Tuomo Ruutu asked Santa for a consonant.
4. New Jersey Devils lifers Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr asked Santa for more of the unicorn blood, virgin tears, and shredded up old winning lottery tickets they blend together and freebase to stay dominant into their forties.
5. The State of New Jersey asked Santa to take the Devils instead and give them the Nets back.
6. Center Stephen Gionta asked Santa to bring him the royalties Dreamworks owes him for using his likeness in Shrek.
7. New Jersey governor Chris Christie asked Santa to bring him less Devils merchandise, and more devil’s food cake.
And there you have it, sports fans. As 2013 draws to a close, take a breath and a second and be grateful for the people – and the hockey team – you love. So whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus or Leonsisvus, grab yourself an eggnog, get nice and holly-jolly, and enjoy some hockey. And for the last time this year – Goodnight, good luck, and go Caps!