Monday, December 30, 2013

Why It Sucks to be a NOVA Caps Fan

Start rant here:

Since Alex Ovechkin broke into the league, Caps fans have been crawling out of the woodwork. There are Caps fans everywhere it seems, in the DMV, Sweden, even Pittsburgh.

However, this article is for the group (which includes me, by the way) of Caps fans that are always forgotten, it seems: those of us who live in Northern Virginia.

Let me explain. Since Ted Leonsis announced the 2015 Winter Classic would be hosted in DC, many bloggers have been trying to push the Caps to host it in Baltimore. BALTIMORE!! As in 53 miles from DC. As in:
  • 79 miles from Loudoun County
  • 57 miles from Fairfax County
  • 76 miles from Prince William County
  • 84 miles from Fauquier County
  • 44 miles form Arlington County
All of these counties in Northern Virginia have sizable populations of people and Caps fans. Considering that probably around 50% of the Caps fans in the DMV are from those five counties, it seems completely illogical to host the Winter Classic in Baltimore, right? 

Yet, we have people such as Greg Whyshynski of Yahoo Sports talking about how amazing Camden Yards of M&T Bank Stadium would be, especially because it's central to the Caps and Philadelphia Flyers (because that is who we are apparently playing) fan-bases, although I don't know why the organization would push for as many Flyers fans as Caps fans, especially when there are more than enough Caps fans to fill a stadium.

Heck, even the good guys at RMNB recently tweeted that they would have preferred the game to be at Camden Yards. It was probably a joke, but it kind of proves my point: nobody cares about the NOVA guys.

The main reason this happens is NOVA is all suburbs. We just don't have the big-time city here to have a professional sports team, and therefore can't have a big time stadium here. But say blowing the top off of the Ballston mall and playing in Kettler was an option (hey, that would actually be pretty awesome. Think about it: you're shopping for whatever, and Tom Wilson comes flying and smashes Claude Giroux through the glass. I'd go see that). All the NOVA guys would love it, but there would be a huge backlash from all the Maryland fans, and I would agree that it shouldn't be held in NOVA.

Even now, when Nats Park is all but confirmed as the location, the reason is not the commute for the poor NOVA fans, but instead the opinion (a very valid one, I might add) that a DC Winter Classic should be held in DC. Not in Baltimore. Not in Landover. Not in Arlington. In Washington DC. 

Besides, Baltimore already has a special game each year. Yes, it is a preseason game, but that doesn't change the fact that the Caps already do a lot of marketing in Baltimore, when there is an untapped gold mine in Northern Virginia who the Caps should try to expand out towards.

Somehow, to the rest of the hockey fans, Caps fans are either from DC or Maryland. They seem to forget the rather large contribution we Northern Virginians make to the fan-base. Usually, that doesn't matter much.

But hopefully the Caps organization will remember that there are more fans than just those in DC and Maryland.

End rant here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Circling Back: Best Caps Games from 2013

It's hard to believe 2013 only has four more days left. Since the start of the 2013 season on January 19 until, well, today, we have seen some of the most emotional, nerve-wracking games in recent memory, otherwise knows as Caps hockey.

What follows is my opinion of the best of the best this year.

5. WAS @ PIT: Mar 19; 2-1 Pittsburgh
Why did a loss get in here? Two main reasons. Although this was a loss, this game began the resurgence of both the Caps and Alex Ovechkin, who went on a tear after the game, scoring 23 goals in the last 23 games to win the Rocket Richard trophy and lead the Caps to the playoffs. Although they lost this game, the Caps were arguably the better team, despite playing one of the best teams in the league, and this game started the Caps on a rampage where they only lost four more games, and didn't receive points in only two more. This was the most complete game of the season to date for the team, and they have been playing much better since.

4. April 23 vs. WIN: Apr 23; 5-3 Caps
This game was for all the marbles, as the top two teams in the Southeast Division went at it. If the Caps won, they clinched the final division title ever, while if the Winnipeg Jets win, well, with tough games against Ottawa and Boston on the docket, things don't look good for the Caps. However, after blowing a two goal lead, the Caps scored two straight and held on to beat the Jets and complete their stunning comeback from the bottom of the standings to win the division.

3. Game 5 vs. NYR: May 10; 2-1 Caps (OT)
One of the most heart-stopping games all year, in Game 5 of the playoff series against the Rangers, with the series tied at 2, the Caps shook off a goal by Brian Boyle in the first minute to tie it up on the power play in the second period, then after great performances by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist, send the game into overtime. Another heart-pounding nine and a half minutes ensued, with both teams getting good chances, until finally Mike Ribeiro pounded a rebound past Lundqvist to give the Caps the victory and series lead. Unfortunately, as we all know, the Caps weren't able to complete the series win, but that game at least gave Caps fans reason to cheer.

2. WAS vs. TBL: Dec 10; 6-5 Caps (SO)
Alex Ovechkin's individual effort alone sends this game near the top of the heap for the year. After going down 3-0 early to a Steven Stamkos-less Tampa Bay Lightning team, OV scored four of Washington five goals, including the tying goal with thirty second left in regulation, to send the game into OT and eventually the SO, where the Caps completed the stunning comeback to defeat the Bolts. Nick Backstrom also had a phenomenal game, assisting on all of OV's goals and adding a goal himself to boot. Although it wasn't really important, it was incredible, and that's good enough for me.

1. Game 2 vs. NYR: May 4; 1-0 Caps (OT)
Of all of the emotional, nerve-wracking, heart-stopping, or whatever other adjectives I've used so far games, this was the most. Lundqvist and Holtby stood on their heads for 68 minutes, until Mike Green's overtime power play goal off the crossbar beat King Henrik and the Rangers to give the Caps a 2-0 series lead. What made this game number one, though, was not just all of this, but the controversy that ensued with the delay of game penalties. First, the Caps killed off a slashing penalty late in the third. Then, right after that, Karl Alzner seemed to have batted the puck over the glass, but the referees decided the puck was tipped (Rangers fans are still crying about that call). Then, less than two minutes into the extra frame, the Rangers did get a power play, when Steven Oleksy went off for delay of game (irony, huh?), which the Caps killed, and then the Caps got a power play when Ryan McDonagh went off for delay of game (I'm sensing a pattern here). Green scored, and Caps fans went home happy.

Honorable Mentions:
WAS @ PHI: Nov 1; 7-0 Caps
WAS vs. BOS: Mar 5; 4-3 Caps (OT)
WAS vs. PHI: Dec 15; 5-4 Caps (SO)
WAS vs. STL: Nov 17; 4-1 Caps
WAS @ NYR: Dec 8; 4-1 Caps

What do you think? Anything else you would add? Any games you would replace in the Top 5? Tell me in the comments.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pre (Well, Sort Of)- World Junior Championship Caps Prospect Rankings

The World Junior Championship got underway today, with Canada and the USA already winning as of this writing.

Five Caps prospects are participating in the Championship also, three for team USA and two for hosts Sweden. How will the Championship change the positions of these prospects in a post-Championship list? Let's find out with the first list, a prelim.
*Note: Anybody currently on the Caps roster (including Wilson, Latta, and Grubauer) or anybody injured (Kundratek) were not included in this.

1. Evgeni Kuznetsov
2. Andre Burakovsky
3. Riley Barber
4. Madison Bowey
5. Nate Schmidt
6. Connor Carrick
7. Thomas Dipauli
8. Stanislav Galiev
9. Christian Djoos
10. Patrick Wey

Stay tuned to see how the World Juniors change this ranking, and follow the Championship on NHL Network and

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Presents for Each Team: Metropolitan

Merry Christmas, everyone! Finishing off the divisional looks at every team's Christmas wish, we come home to the Metro. Here we go:

Pittsburgh Penguins: Health for Crosby. Honestly, it's hard to find anything wrong with the Penguins right now. Despite a lot of injuries on the blue line, the Pens still hold one of the best defenses and penalty kills in the game, and obviously their offense is awesome, including a power play that is second in the league. Really the only thing they can wish for is hope their best player stays healthy, but with the wealth of weapons they have, they could probably muddle through it.

Washington Capitals: DE-FENSE! All Caps fans know the chant right now. Despite having an offense that's just rolling right now, and a goaltending squad that hasn't been bad, with all three with a save percentage above .910. However, the Caps need to improve their defense. It's not for lack of stars, as much as it is for lack of good shutdown defensemen. Their giving up more than 30 shots against per game, second worst in the league. The Caps probably have been asking Santa Claus for somebody to help out with that for a while now.

Philadelphia Flyers: Goalie Depth. The Flyers have only played two goaltenders so far this year, and other than Steve Mason who has been excellent, their backup is Ray Emery who has been, well, not. Their offense and defense, while not great, has not been bad, in the middle of the pack in most important stats. Mason has done much better this year than he has for much of the past few years. Emery on the other hand has a save percentage at .885, and is probably best known this year for his beat-down on Braden Holtby. The Flyers need somebody more capable of backing up Mason.

New York Rangers: Five-on-Five Play. There are two main problems with this team: their lack of consistent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (although his backup Cam Talbot has been fantastic), and their even-strength play, which is even worse than Washington's. Their defense under Alain Vigneault has been fantastic, and their power play has not been bad either, but their even strength play must improve or the Rangers will be in for a long season. Without a doubt, their wish for Santa is someone (or something) to help them out with that.

New Jersey Devils: More Offense. The Devils have one of the best defenses in the league, allowing the least shots per game in the league, the only team allowing fewer than 25 shots against per game. However, they are also dead last in shots per game, with just 25.4 shots per game. The Devils don't have any young offensive talent to help out; their leading scorer is 41 year old Jaromir Jagr. If I'm the Devils, I'm asking Santa for someone younger with better stamina and lots of skill to help the offensive production.

Columbus Blue Jackets: More Shots. Right now, the Jackets are carrying a fairly unsustainable shooting percentage. They are 13th in goals per game, but 25th in shots per game, with a team shooting percentage of about 10%, which is pretty high for a team. Especially considering this is a team without many offensive stars, this is a huge problem. The only way Columbus can claw its way back in the playoff race is by increasing the number of shots they send on goal. The best way to help that is probably by getting back Marian Gaborik back and healthy, which should be Columbus's main Christmas wish this year.

Carolina Hurricanes: Better Defense. Another team in need of a way to improve their shots against per game, which is 23rd in the league. Their offensive production, while not great, hasn't been bad either, and while Cam Ward has struggled a bit, his backups Justin Peters and even Anton Khubodin have been really good. What the Canes really must be asking for this Christmas is somebody to help their defense. Only 2 of their 8 defensemen have a positive plus/minus; yes, this is a flawed stat, but it doesn't change the fact that better defensive players aren't necessary to help this team.

New York Islanders: Goaltending. For as bad the offense and defense are, it doesn't change the fact that the team save percentage is less than .900, and only one of their three goalies have a save percentage above that threshold, and he, Evgeni Nabokov, has a save percentage of .901. The Isles really need somebody to help their goaltender depth, and that should definitely be their Christmas wish.

Here's wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a happy rest of the holiday season!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Presents for Each Team: Atlantic

Continuing with our divisional look at every team's Christmas wish list, we move over to the Eastern Conference, starting with the Atlantic Division. Here we go: 

Boston Bruins: Health. Quite honestly, the Bruins have been living the good life so far this year. They have had fantastic goaltending, solid offense, and little in the line of losing players, other than Shawn Thornton's 15 game ban. Really the only thing they need is a guarantee they won't lose anyone important, especially Vezina candidate (probably) Tuuka Rask. Other than that, though, the B's are in awesome shape.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos. Despite the injury to star Stamkos, the Bolts are humming right along and playing really well thanks to lights-out goaltending from Ben Bishop. However, without Stamkos, the Lightning are depending on Martin St. Louis and Valtteri Filppula, which is not a bad pair, but would be better with Stammer. The defense could also use an upgrade, but right now Stamkos is more important to this squad, especially if they want to challenge the Bruins. 

Montreal Canadiens: Better Defense. The goaltending has been stellar for the Habs, with Carey Price and Peter Budaj posting save percentages close to or better than .930, and the offensive output has been pretty good too. However, the defense has let them down so far this year, and the best Christmas gift they could have is a better defensive squad shutting down the other team. This is not the extremely defensive team we saw in 2010, but the Habs still have to get back to focusing on defense more than the have been.

Detroit Red Wings: Offensive Consistency. When you think of the Wings, you think of a star-studded team that gets it done no matter what, and is always the best at everything. This year, however, they are simply in the middle of the pack. Their power play: 16th. Their even strength play: 15th. Their defense, although not great, hasn't been bad either, and their goaltenders have been good as well, posting a team save percentage of above .910. What the Wings need more than anything else, other than luck, is some form of consistency, the kind they had in the 90's and early part of the century. Without that, they may not be able to rise to the top of a crowded Atlantic Division.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Better Defense. And you thought the Caps defense was bad. The Maple Leafs are worst in the league in shots against per game (yes, even worse than the Caps, who sit at 29th). Their goaltenders have been very good, posting save percentages above .920, but when facing that many shots every game, a goalie can't be expected to post shutouts or 1-goal games every day. The Leafs, despite veterans like Dion Phaneuf, newcomers like Morgan Rielly, and other capable D-men to go along with a strong offense, have been losing too many games by giving up too many shots. Toronto's Christmas gift would be along the lines of trading for a good shutdown defenseman.

Ottawa Senators: Defense and Goaltending. In all honesty, there's no reason the Senators should not be top of the division right now. They have good defensemen, Bobby Ryan has been awesome, and they have a goaltender in Craig Anderson who was terrific last year. Instead, the defense has been allowing 34 shots a game (almost as much as the Caps) and Anderson hasn't been helping much, with a save percentage of .901. Robin Lehner, Anderson's backup, has been better, but is not really proven yet. The Senators need to step up their defensive game, and maybe shop around for a new goalie, because without fixing those two aspects, post-Christmas will be a long rest of the season.

Florida Panthers: Better Goaltending. Honestly, this was a tough call, because everything needs to be fixed for this team. They're dead last on the power play, second-last on the penalty kill, there is nobody on their team with more than 9 goals or 19 points, and their defense; well, it hasn't been horrible, but it's not that great either. In the long run, though, I settled on goaltending. They have played three goalies so far this year, none of whom have been doing exceptionally well. Tim Thomas is at a .909, Scott Clemmensen at a .892, and Jacob Markstrom at a .874. Without the goaltending improving, it doesn't matter how well the offense and/or defense is; this team will continue to struggle.

Buffalo Sabres: Young Talent. This team is a train wreck right now. They're almost as bad as the Caps in shots allowed per game, and although the goaltending has been good from Ryan Miller and Jhonas Enroth, two olympic hopefuls, the offense has nothing to show for it. As a team, they have 66 goals combined, less than the top three individual goal-getters in the league (Alex Ovechkin, Alex Steen, and Patrick Kane) combined by ten goals. Think about that; three players together have ten more goals than one team. To put this into another perspective, Ovechkin's thirty goals are one less than Buffalo's top FIVE goal-scorers COMBINED. Nobody on the team has more than eight goals. This offense is just putrid, the defense is pathetic, and quite honestly they're going nowhere right now. The Sabres are going to have to go aggressively after as many prospects and draft picks they can (which would also be a nice Christmas gift for them; you reading this, Santa?), because otherwise this team is just going down a spiral of doom.

Happy Christmas Eve to all, have a safe Christmas morning, and if you've got time, come back tomorrow for Metro Division gifts. Otherwise, Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Presents for Each Team: Central Division

Continuing the division-by-division look at each team's Christmas list, I travel to the Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks: Goaltending help. Stanley Cup star Corey Crawford is injured, and the Hawks are relying on Antti Raanta. He has done pretty well, but he is unproven and probably won't do very well for too long. The longer Crawford is out, the more the Hawks will need a better goalie than Raanta.

St. Louis Blues: Continued Production from Alex Steen. Steen has been fantastic this year, already matching his career best for goals with 24. The Blues have been getting good production from other players, such as David Backes and Chris Stewart, but in the long run this team is going to depend on Steen. He will have to live up to his expensive extension by continuing to score goals and help the team.

Colorado Avalanche: More Offense. The Avs' defense and goaltending has been phenomenal this year, but the truth is Colorado is doing what the Montreal Canadiens did in the playoffs a few years back: relying on sensational goaltending and score just enough to win. It's worked so far, but will not continue for much longer. The Avs only have three players with 10 or more goals so far this year. That number must change for Colorado to truly challenge Chicago and St. Louis in the Central.

Minnesota Wild: Secondary Scoring. Two people (Jason Pominville and Zach Parise) account for nearly 40% of Minnesota's goals so far this year; they are also the only two players on the team with more than 7 goals so far this year. To really put their problem into perspective, 8th on the team in goals, with 5 of them so far this year, is Matt Cooke. High-priced defenseman Ryan Suter has not scored yet, and secondary scoring in general has been a big issue. They have to step that up, and may want Santa to bring them someone who can help fix that problem.

Dallas Stars: Goalie Depth. The offense could use a boost, but honestly it hasn't been bad for the Big D. Their main problem is goaltender depth, or rather the lack of it. Kari Lehtonen has played very well so far this year, posting a 13-8-6-1 record with a save percentage of .920. However, behind him are Dan Ellis, who hasn't been bad, but hasn't been great either, and Jack Campbell, who gave up 6 goals in his first, and so far only, career start, against Anaheim. The Stars will be in the market for something to help them with this issue.

Winnipeg Jets: Power. Overall, the Jets have been playing very well, with lots of scoring, both primary and secondary, surprisingly good goaltending from Ondrej Pavelec and Al Montoya, and a penalty kill which, although not spectacular, has been pretty good. However, their power play is 25th in the league, which shouldn't be the case with Evander Kane, Bryan Little, and Andrew Ladd among other players. The Jets will need to find a way to get their power play on track, and that's the best they can ask Santa for.

Nashville Predators: Goaltending. This is an issue for most teams in the league, but it is extremely pronounced in Nashville. Superstar goalie Pekka Rinne is out with E-coli, and the Preds have been relying on Marek Mazanec, Carter Hutton, and Magnus Helleberg. Although Mazanec and Hutton have performed admirably, they have not done all that well, both posting save percentages barely over .900. The Preds badly need somebody who can fill in for Rinne and play at a high enough level to make up for Nashville's scoring woes. No goalie with Seth Jones and Shea Weber playing in front on him should be giving up so many goals.

So here are the wish lists for the Central Division. Read it, Santa, and come back tomorrow as I travel to the Eastern Conference. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Presents for Each Team: Pacific Division

Christmas is almost upon us. Most of us have already picked out what we want and sent our lists to Santa Claus.

But what does each hockey team want? Let's go through a division-by-division look at what each NHL team needs Santa to bring them for Christmas, starting with the Pacific.

Anaheim Ducks: A breakthrough. The Ducks are number one in the top division in the league. They need something to help push them past the Sharks and Kings for the division crown.

Los Angeles Kings: Dustin Brown. The Kings captain has been struggling so far this year, although nobody has really noticed that with the rest of the offense doing great and the goaltending absolutely phenomenal. However, it's not likely that kind of play will continue, and Brown will have to step it up the rest of the way to help the Kings in the tough division.

San Jose Sharks: Health for Hertl. Tomas Hertl has been arguably the best rookie in the league so far this year, and is probably the frontrunner for the Calder. However, he got injured a few days ago. Although the Sharks have more than enough offensive firepower and good goaltending to make up for it against most teams in the league, against LA or Anaheim they will need as much star-power as possible.

Vancouver Canucks: Goaltending depth. The Canucks are depending on Roberto Luongo right now for their goaltending, and while he is certainly good, he is also inconsistent. His backup is unproven Eddie Lack. Nobody knows why exactly the Canucks traded Cory Schneider to New Jersey for a first round draft pick (which they didn't even use on a goalie), but that trade is looking pretty bad right now. The Canucks may be in the market for a new goaltender, and they'll want Santa to get them a good one (maybe like a certain backup Caps goalie who apparently wants out...)

Phoenix Coyotes: Exposure. Quite honestly, the Coyotes really don't need anything on the ice; sure, they could always use more offensive depth, but the most pressing issue for them is the lack of attendance and all the problems they are having with marketing. Santa, if you read this, help these poor guys out, won't you?

Calgary Flames: Prospects. The Flames are officially in rebuilding mode, and although they have some of the best prospects, including Johnny Gaudreau, Sven Baertschi, and Sean Monahan, they need more young talent to officially continue their rebuild. They need to stock up on prospects and draft picks, and that's really what they need the most right now.

Edmonton Oilers: Goaltenders. Any goaltender is better than who they have now (OK, maybe not anybody; Rick DiPietro may not exactly be an upgrade). Devan Dubnyk is not a starting goalie in this league, and the Oilers really need to be going all in for a goalie like Vancouver.

Well, these are the Christmas lists for the Pacific Division. Stay tuned for more in the upcoming days, and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Where Could OV Get To?

Today, OV scored his 400th career goal, becoming the 6th fastest player in NHL history to reach that sensational milestone.

Alex Ovechkin is still only 28, and still has seven years left on his contract after this year. He could easily play until he is 40. Assuming he does, what could be his goal-scoring ceiling?

Usually, the great players produce less after the age of 28. Still, Ovechkin scored 400 in a little more than eight years, and has a little under 12 left if he plays till the ripe old age of 40.

Assuming a gradual decrease in production over these next years, when does he hit his next major milestones?

500 goals: OV could easily end with about 430-440 goals season. If OV scores 50 goals next year, hitting 500 will be easy for him in 2015-2016.

600 goals: He will probably end 2016 with about 520-530 goals. If he averages 'just' 40 goals per season the next two years, he would reach 600 in 2018. More likely he will average about 45 per year.

700 goals: He could reach 700 easily by averaging more than 40 a year for the next two years, and he could easily hit 700 in 2020.

At this point, OV is just 34. Even if it takes him a few more years, he could still hit 700 by his contract expiry in 2021, at the age of 35. From then, assuming he plays for another 5 years (hopefully for the Caps), even averaging 20-30 goals a year, he could easily hit 800-850 goals, and end his career in second place all time in goals.

We're taking a lot of assumptions here. For one, we're assuming he doesn't get injured, as well as that he plays another 12 years and continues to produce during that time.

Still, it's nice to think about.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Breaking Down the Tom Wilson Hit or Why the NHL Got It Right

Against the Flyers Tuesday, forward Tom Wilson crushed Brayden Schenn into the boards, resulting in ejection and Schenn missing the rest of the game.

Immediately, everybody was sure Wilson was a dirty player and would get suspended. However, even the most biased Flyer's fan, after watching the replay a few times, would have to agree that is not the case.

Today, the NHL decided not to punish Wilson. The full video can be seen here:

Here are some key points:

  • Although Wilson came a long way from the bench, he only started to go towards Schenn to hit him when he was already deep in the zone, or as Brendan Shanahan says, what a forward is supposed to do.
  • At first it looked as though Wilson hit Schenn in the back. However, the replay clearly shows he got him square in the shoulder.
  • Schenn actually puts himself into a vulnerable position right before the hit arrives by turning just a little bit. As Shanahan likes to say, this was  'a hockey play gone bad.'
I didn't think it was worth a suspension when I was watching the game, and I certainly don't think so now. I don't always say this, but,

The NHL got one right.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ranking the Caps Comebacks So Far

In one week, the Caps have rallied from two three goal deficits to escape with a win in the shootout. Neither game did they deserve to win, but win they did, and we'll remember it come playoff time.

So far, the Cardiac Caps have treated us to some of the most gut-wrenching hockey in recent memory. What has been the best of the worse, so to speak, so far? Here are my personal faves:

Honorable Mention: November 15 @ Detroit (4-3 SO). The Caps were down two entering the third, but rallied to tie it up with less than 10 minutes left and went on to win in the shootout. The highlight was obviously Michael Latta...

Honorable Mention: November 29 vs. Montreal (3-2 SO). Trailing late in the game, Mikhail Grabovski tied it up with a little over 5 minutes left, and the Caps went on to win again in the shootout.

Honorable Mention: October 3 vs. Calgary (5-4 SO). Down 3-0 in the first, the Caps rallied from that and a 4-1 deficit in the second to tie it up on Nick Backstrom's goal with 5 minutes late, then went on to win in the shootout.

5. November 7 vs. Minnesota (3-2 SO). The Caps were trailing until barely 3 minutes were left, when MoJo tied it up with his second goal of the year, and once again the Caps went on to win in the shootout.

4. November 12 vs. Columbus (4-3 OT). The Blue Jackets took the lead with 5 minutes left and seemed to be heading to a comeback win of their own, but Grabovski tied it up with less than 2 minutes left to send the game into OT, where OV did his thing and got the Caps the win.

3. November 30 @ New York Islanders (3-2 OT). The Isles took the lead on a controversial goal with less than two minutes left, and when Mike Green took a penalty (saving an empty-netter in the process), the game seemed all but over. However, Backstrom scored short-handed with 49 second left, and OV scored another OT game-winner to send the Caps to a thrilling victory.

2. December 10 vs. Tampa Bay (6-5 SO). Until today, this would have been number one (getting to that in a minute). Alex Ovechkin already had a hat trick when, with 33 second left, he tied it up with his fourth goal of the game and the Caps stunned the Lightning in the shootout.

1. December 15 vs. Philadelphia (5-4 SO). The Caps found themselves in a 4-1 hole with less than 10 minutes left in the third, when Green scored to make it a two goal game, Dmitri Orlov scored with three minutes left, and OV did it again by tying it up with 48 seconds left in regulation. The Caps capped off the thrilling victory with another shootout victory.

What do you think? Anything I missed, or any changes you'd make? Tell me in the comments, and lets hope we don't have 49 more games like this.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Soccer Standings for the NHL

In any soccer league in the world, wins count for three points, ties are one, and losses are zero obviously.

How would this emphasis on wins affect the Metropolitan Division? Let's find out. Obviously, OT/SO losses were substituted for ties.

First, the regular standings:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: 21-10-1 (43 points)
2. Washington Capitals (Yay): 16-12-1 (34)
3. New York Rangers: 15-15-1 (31)
4. Carolina Hurricanes: 13-13-5 (31)
5. New Jersey Devils: 12-13-6 (30)
6. Philadelphia Flyers: 13-14-3 (29)
7. Columbus Blue Jackets: 12-15-3 (27)
8. New York Islanders: 8-18-5 (21)

Now, the soccer standings:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: 64 points
2. Washington Capitals: 49
3. New York Rangers: 46
4. Carolina Hurricanes: 44
5. Philadelphia Flyers: 42
6. New Jersey Devils: 42
7. Columbus Blue Jackets: 39
8. New York Islanders: 29

As you can see, although the placement would not change much, the spread would. There would be a much bigger gap between first and second place, and the Flyers and Devils switched spots because Philly has played one less game than New Jersey. What does this mean?

I don't know. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Caps Carols

It's Christmas season! It will be tough for you to walk around without hearing Christmas carols on the radio or from recordings, etc.

So I got to thinking, what Christmas carol goes with a Caps person? The results are here:

Auld Lang Syne: Nicklas Backstrom. This carol is an ode to long-standing friendships, so obviously Backstrom would sing this to Alex Ovechkin. The next time Adam Oates splits them up (which is hopefully never), Backstrom may have to bring this up.

Deck the Halls: Adam Oates. This carol is all about new stuff, so obviously Coach Oates and his love for changing up lines and finding new combinations fits in with this.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas: Evgeni Kuznetsov. This carol is about how things are starting to look pretty awesome. Kind of like a prospect who has held out on the squad a long time but finally looks like he will join the squad.

Jingle Bells: Alex Semin. Come on. "Jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to ride..." It's so passive. It's so Sasha.

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree: Alex Ovechkin. This song is all about having fun. Alex Ovechkin is all about having fun. Carry on.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town: Braden Holtby. He has given the Caps some gifts so far this year in forms of amazing saves, and that is most likely going to continue (I hope).

We Wish You a Merry Christmas: GMGM/Ted Leonsis/management. These guys always wish us a good year. Unfortunately, it does not always happen.

White Christmas: Us. All of us always wish for a white Christmas "Like we used to know." We also always wish for a good team that can carry us deep into the playoffs. "Like we used to know."

What do you think? Any carols I missed? Other opinions? Tell me in the comments.