a vague collection of daily struggles, hourly arguments, minute concerns, and secondary impulses.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

olie's all-stars.

the Capitals' season is grinding to a halt, just as the team appears to be gelling and scoring, albeit against dead-end teams that had no business having playoff aspirations. cliched phrases aside, next season is bubbling with promise; the arrival of Alexander Ovechkin went nicely with career years from Dainius Zubrus, Chris Clark, and Matt Pettinger, and the usual near-Vezinicty of Olaf Kolzig. late season addition Rico Fata showed signs of life that may make him worthy of his high draft position a few years ago. (contrast him to the skating toolbox known as Patrik Stefan, on display for Atlanta last night.) hopefully the Capitals will shake off some dead weight (Matthieu Biron, your brother you are not) and sign another mid-to-low-range free agent to go with Alexander "I'll Come Back This Time, I Swear" Semin.

last night's game (WAPost) (WATimes), their last of the season at the Verizon Center, was Fan Appreciation Night. those in attendance were treated to goals, saves, pulled groins, a few scrums, and random prizes, as well as a Capitals practice jersey. T and I attended this game separately, which bugged me out for no fewer than the first 20 minutes.

this night marked my seventh Capitals game of the year, and sixth in the warm confines of Chinatown. Zubrus had managed to score a goal in each of the previous six games, so after managing to steal back my Lithuania flag from my brother, and squeezing myself into a small tie-dyed shirt circa the 2000 Olympic games, I was ready for some magic from number 9. there were a few scuffles, penalties, and shots, but Zubie finished the night with "just" another assist to bring his career year's totals to 23/33/56. the OV/Zubie chemistry is amazing to see on the ice; they remind me slightly of those spike and chester cartoons with the two dogs: zubrus is the large, quiet, immovable spike, nearly impossible to knock down, whereas ovechkin is the smaller, animated chester, bouncing back from every knockdown and setback, hungry for more.

the fact remains that, standings-wise, the Capitals were awful, but there are two silver linings to that conclusion: first, Glen Hanlon guessed a statistic whereby the Capitals had lost about 30 one-goal games, and two, their placement will again result in a good draft position, no lower than fourth, and with about the same chance of winning the #1 spot in the lottery as they had the year they nabbed Ovechkin. had Semin actually shown up this year (or, had his replacement, Jeff Friesen, worked out for 20 goals like the team had hoped), we could have been looking forward to the first round of the playoffs in the petty Southleast. a quick exit at the hands of Ottawa, maybe, but at least two home games' worth! there has to be at least one decent winger who would take a paycut (and ego check) to try and round out the Ovechkin-Zubrus line.


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