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Destiny Deals Caps Fan A Cruel Fate!

By Rodger M. Wood

Tortorella

While many believe the Caps overachieved in the 2012 playoffs, if the truth was better recognized, destiny dealt the Caps and their fans a cruel fate. Like Ulysses, their ship was lured into a shipwreck on the rocks by beautiful beckoning Sirens.

Fate mistreated us when we came within 6 seconds of beating the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Gardens in the 5th game and stopped us from going home to the Verizon Center with a 3 games to 2 advantage.

A matter of inches beat the Caps in Game 5 when Joel Ward’s stick drew Hagelin’s blood and a double minor penalty, in the last faceoff , when Brooks Laich’s stick missed winning the face-off , and on Rangers Brad Richards tying goal, when John Carlson’s left arm didn’ block the shot.

Fate teased us again when the Caps took control of the 6th game when Ovie scored in the first two minutes of the game, and Chimera at the 10:59 mark of the second period. In this game and Rangers Marian Gaborik’s goal in the last minute didn’t tie and force them into overtime like in the 5th game.

Had fate gone differently, the harder working Caps would have won the series 4-2 in six games with the home win in Game 6, and gone onto play the New Jersey Devils in the Conference Finals.

The tone was set for a well deserved Caps series win in the 7th game at New York, but fate dealt us another cruel blow when Brad Richards scored a goal at 1:32 of the first period to set the tone for a Rangers 2-1 win.

It was a one goal game until 10:05 of the third period when Del Zotto knocked Ovie off the puck to score the Rangers’ winning goal.

Thirty-seven seconds later the Caps were teased again when Caps defenseman Roman Hamrlik scored to make it 2-1 at the 10:43 mark of the third period.

They were taunted with a man advantage at the 11:19 mark, when Rangers Fedotenko was waved off the ice for a two minute delay of the game penalty, but couldn’t organize their power play to even off the score..

It was a series of inches, and the Caps deserved better. They may not get a better chance fto win the Cup for several seasons.

When they look back on this year’s series, they’ll have to remember fate manifested on the sneering faces of Rangers coach John Tortorella, who probably sold his soul for another Cup win, and the celebrating Rangers fans who had last won a Stanley Cup in 1994.

Another long hot summer awaits Caps fans. It may take a life time for destiny to reward our long loyalty with a Stanley Cup, but all will feel right again when we do.

Lets hope our road to triumph includes a series win over Torotella and the Rangers so we can once and for all wipe clean those sneering faces of fate.

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Capitals News

Win A Couple For The Gipper!

By Rodger M. Wood

The Caps loss of Game 5 in overtime 3-2 may just be unjustly blamed on our hard working hero of the Bruins quarter finals, right winger Joel Ward for a high stick penalty on Rangers forward Carl Hagelin with 22 seconds remaining in the game and the Caps ahead 2-1.

Ward drew a double two minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers pulled their goalie for a 6-4 man advantage, and Brad Richards scored to tie the game 2-2 with 8 seconds remaining. Marc Staal scores the winner on the same penalty at the 1:35 mark of the first overtime period.

Some folks are faulting a player deserves better treatment. There were horrible racist Tweets leveled at him when he beat the Bruins and yet he ignored them. We should also be loyal to him, especially when he may have been duped into the penalty.

I urge the referees, fans and teammates to look at a replay of the penalty high stick play. You may see how Hagelin brought his stick under Ward’s and up into his own face deliberately, maybe a predesigned play to draw a high stick penalty and minuscule blood. If injured, it is amazing how fast Hagelin got across the ice to show the referee the blood.

It all looks suspicious to a hockey fan like me, but I’m told this is becoming an increasing tactic in the NHL, especially late in the game to draw a high stick when behind or in overtime.

The referee and linemen ignored Ward’s lack of intent and gave the game to the Rangers by their oversight.

In any event, the Caps are behind in the series three games to two and needing to win the 6th game at home Wednesday and 7th at New York Friday. It would be great if the Caps could rock the Rangers at the Verizon Center and then go on to stick it to them in their arena.

Maybe, the Caps could dedicate their efforts in beating the Rangers to their much aligned teammate and win a couple games for the Gipper.

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Capitals News

Coach Hunter Leads the Caps Home

By Rodger M. Wood

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The Caps play the Rangers in Game 3 of the semi final playoff series at the Verizon Center tonight after coming off a dramatic second game 3-2 win at the wildly partisan Madison Square Garden to even the series off at 1-1.

Ovie quieted the taunting NY fans, scoring the winning power play goal at 7:27 of the third period, while 22-year old Braden Holtby did the same, stopping 26 of 28 Rangers shots, many of them on break aways and point blank range.

While the Caps get credit for the win on the ice, Coach Hunter and the coaching staff deserve the credit for coming up with the strategy for bringing home the bacon.

When executed error free and supported by good goaltending, the team’s defensive system has been styfling. The Rangers had only 4 shots on net in the first period of the first game, 4 in the second period, and six in the third, and a total of 26 shots in the second game. The Rangers scored two of their 5 goals on Caps’ bad line shifts.

Ovie scored the second game winner after only 13 1/2 minutes ice time. Hunter has been limiting the superstar’s ice time because of his defensive limitations, and probably also to keep him fresher for those offensive bursts like the game-winner late in the game. This move is paying off dividends so far and Ovie likes the system as long as the team is winning.

Also, the hot goalie strategy is paying off. In the beginning against the Bruins, Holtby was the only available goaiie, but after the third game of the quarterfinals, which the Caps lost to the Bruins 4-3 and an admittedly average game for Holtby, Hunter, showing his confidence in the young goaltender, still chose to start Holtby over the now available “veteran” Michael Neuvirth in the nets.

The result has been a hot rookie goalie outmatching the 2011 Stanley Cup MVP goalie Bruins Tim Thomas in the 7 game quarter finals and holding his own against a 2012 season Vezina Trophy finalist Henrik Ludqvist in the first two games of the semi finals.

Hunter is also making moves to maximize his players’ strength. He likes the veteran players and has given defensemea Roman Hamrlik a lot of minutes in tight defensive situations in the waning moments of the game. He has put 40-year Mike Knuble back on the ice to score goals and block shots.

He likes team effort blocking shots and uses players like forwards Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, Matt Hendricks, Mike Knuble, Brooks Laich, and defensemen Karl Alzner, John Erksine, Mike Green John Carlson and Hamrlick, who are willing to sacrifice their bodies.

The coach likes big bodied players to block or clear out the nets, and speed to get into the offensive zone quickly and has organized his lines to maximize that advantage.

The Mike Knuble/Joel Ward combo won the last game of the Bruins series with a goal in overtime, and scored the first goal of second Rangewrs game.

Speedy Marcus Johannson and Jason Chimera have performed on both ends of the ice, with Chimera scoring his third goal of the playoff in the Caps second game win.

The Caps penalty kill unit has been stingy, with the Bruins scoring only in twice in 26 man advantage opportunities, and the Rangers once in the second game in an odd man situation. Niklaus Backstrom, Matt Hendricks, Brooks Laich, John Carlson, and Karl Azner have done the job killing penalties.

Under Hunter in the playoffs, the Caps have played the best hockey seen around Washington in 38 seasons. The team plays like the coach did in his heyday, stopping pucks, forechecking and backchecking, playing for the team and sacrificing the bodies.

Win or lose the fans know they’re getting 100 percent from their team, and maybe, just maybe, the Caps will get deeper in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than ever before.

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Capitals News

Complete Game Gives the Caps a 3-1 Win! Off To The Second Round.

Alexander Semin
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Capitals News

Rangers Outgoon Caps 3-2

By Rodger M. Wood52 Mike GreenThe Caps retaliated to Rangers goon tactics in a hostile Madison Square Gardens, got caught and gave up too many power plays, forgot how to check and block shots, and lost a Gotham street fight 3-2.While the Rangers scored on only one of them, the young Caps gave up eight power plays, two of which were 5 on 3’s. Boyd Gordon and the penalty kill unit were worn down chasing down the likes of Erik Christensen, Marian Gaborak, Brandon Dubinsky, Bryan McCabe, and Vinny Prospal.In the first period, the Caps penalty kill unit held on to kill a 5 on 3 in the last minute and a half of the period. At the buzzard, the score was still 0-0, and it was the third playoff game in a row between these two teams in which there was no goals scored in the first period.At the 5:30 mark of the second period with Mike Green off in the sin bin for a hook, Erik Christensen broke the Caps long penalty kill streak and the Rangers got their first power play goal in the last thirty – three attempts to go ahead 1-0.The parade to the penalty box continued in the second period with John Carlson (cross check), Alex Ovechkin (hook), and Scott Hannan (hold) going off to the penalty box, effectively killing any momentum the Caps could build up in the period.However, at the 19:00 mark of the second period, Alex Ovechkin, assisted by Jason Arnott and Mike Green, raised our hope, putting the puck past Henrik Lundqvist, to tie the game up at 1-1.As Ovie was scoring the goal, “tough guy” Marc Stahl clobbered the side of the head of Mike Green, who just returned to the lineup from a concussion three games before. In defense of our Capitals, this was not the last time Stahl hit Green in the head in the game and was the type of play they retaliated to because the referees didn’t make the calls.At the 8:01 of the third period, Ranger center Vinny Prospal put the Rangers ahead, but after taking advantage of an “unusual” Ranger mistake on Marian Gaborak’s cross check penalty, Mike Knuble, assisted by Alex Ovechkin and Niklaus Backstrom, tied the score 2-2 at 14:48 mark.The game looked like another overtime contest, until Ranger forward Brandon Dubinsky carried the puck to the Capitals net at the 18:21 mark, cut into the crease, and shot the puck off Caps defenseman Karl Alzner’s shoulder and deflected by Ovie’s stick, into the net behind Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth to give the Rangers a dramatic win in Game 3.The Caps lost the game in the trenches. The Rangers outhit them 41- 29 for the night.While Caps goalie Neuvirth lost the duel to veteran adversary Henrik Lundqvist, he stopped 32 of 35 shots, and didn’t have a chance on the three goals that got past him. Failing to block shots and protect the young goaltender like the first two games, the Caps just allowed too many shots to go through on net.Before next game, the Caps need to regain focus, composure, remember how to check cleanly and block shots and not take so many penalties if they want game 3 to be in their win column. When they have won three games and are ahead 3-1 in a fourth game win with ten seconds to go in this series, Coach Boudreau can put DJ King on the ice across from Stahl. Maybe then we can see how tough Staal is.Playoff hockey is like a chess game. You have to change your moves every game, or the opposition catches up to you. The Rangers changed their moves last game and won. Let’s hope the Coach Boudreau changed the Capitals at practice today.The Caps/Rangers 4th Game is at 7:30 Wednesday at New York.Bookmark and Share

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