Tag Archives: nicklas backstrom

Mikey Monday: FTW

7 May

The only reasons to be awake at 7 AM on a Saturday are you’re 1) still up from the night before or 2) buying playoff hockey tickets.  I woke Gator up with a text and we debated (read: I peer pressured her).  Something was telling me to go.  The Force was communicating.  So we went.



Mike warmed up with his helmet on, which he never does.  I guess a 12:30 start didn’t give him enough time to do his hair (reason #3 for being up at 7 AM?).  It’s not as if he wakes up looking like this:

Worth every penny. (Thanks @jlrpuck, who dropped her camera after this one.)

First Ovi scored, and the Rangers scored.  Nicky scored, the Rangers scored.  Then with just under six left in the third, Mike did this:

Be still my beating heart.

I tackled Gator like a squid and we almost fell off the upper deck.  If any single voice in the Verizon Center was louder than mine, I challenge that person to a duel.  Mike Green goals are my favorite thing in the history of things.

If I had missed living that moment, I’d be devastated-while-ecstatic and I’m not sure how many feelings I can feel at the same time and survive.

It’s not just the goal.  It’s EVERYTHING.  Okay, maybe I’m overstating it, but Mike needs confidence.  He needs to trust the judgement that made him a 70-point scorer and two-time Norris trophy candidate.  Green stepping up on offensive plays can give this team a boost it doesn’t always find on the front line.  Nicky getting on the board feels awfully good too.

Piglet Power!

Here’s Mike’s post-game interview [link] and post-practice from Sunday [link].  I love his beard – this must be his real hair color (you know he dyes that hedgehog perfection).

From NewYorkTimes.com: Afterward, in the Capitals’ locker room, Green, 26, was reminded how he, Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alexander Semin were once called the Young Guns.

“We’re not that young anymore,” he said, smiling. “But it’s good to know we can still put it in the net.”

Yeah, that’s what I she said.

On the cover of today’s Washington Post Express – I love Mondays!

Game 5 tonight at 7:30 PM.  Listen for the screaming.

Our post on Puck Daddy – NHL Playoff Beard Watch: Kevin Shattenkirk, Jaromir Jagr and other freaky efforts

3 May

Back when we listed the most common playoff beard types, you may recall we included the “Maybe Don’t” category. This is the circular file where well-intentioned and enthusiastic efforts are stored until perfect attendance awards are handed out. ‘A’ for effort and all that. Since then we have admired the burgeoning beauty of many beards.

Now that the playoffs are three weeks old, it’s time to show cards on a few manscapes that are struggling to make the cut.

Read more of our article on Puck Daddy [here]…

Ready to lead a cavlary charge.

Shanabanned: Who’s Not?

18 Apr

At Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin, TX, every Sunday night they play Chicken Sh*t Bingo.  It’s exactly what it sounds like – feed a chicken, turn it loose on a tabletop bingo board and wherever it takes a crap, that number goes on the board.

I’m pretty sure this is also how the NHL is deciding suspensions.

James Neal – 1 game for charging [Shanahan video]

The chicken really likes James Neal, because he gets away with the Couturier hit like a bank robber with a sack of money.  He leaves his feet to run two guys in one shift and manages to earn two disciplinary hearings for only 42 seconds of play!  Someone please tell me if that’s a land speed record.  You know I love the Pens & Neal (still so pissed), but even I can’t believe this. No I don’t want a huge suspension handed out to my guy – but I don’t know other players running my guys with zero fear of consequence.  This works both ways and next time, it’s coming instead of going.

To me this shows the NHL believes the Pens/Flyers series is over tonight, so the chicken did her business on the 1 because there’s only one game left in Neal’s season.  God, I hope they’re  wrong.

Be honest if you can see the sense in this: Carl Hagelin got 3 games [video] for elbowing Daniel Alfredsson and Andrew Shaw got 3 games [video] for hitting Mike Smith.  If those are 3-gamers, why is Neal’s only one?  Alfredsson was injured, Smith was not.  Neal could much more easily have avoided Giroux than either of the other hits.  And neither Hagelin or Shaw threw another questionable check less than a minute before.

Aaron Asham – 4 games for cross-checking [Shanahan video]

The chicken was angry – fine with me. This is a terrible move in a terrible game that could repeat itself tonight.  For all the bitching about Schenn cross-checking Crosby from behind a few weeks ago, this is obviously a hundred times worse and deserves a sit-down.

Nicklas Backstrom – 1 game for cross-checking  [Shanahan video]

A stick to the face for a Backstrom-less game 4?  Deal of the century!  Thanks a lot, chicken!

This play is no dirtier than a million uncalled penalties in this series.  But it is, as Shanahan calls it, “excessive and reckless” – because he can’t say “stupid and pointless.”  Nicky’s not going to fight Peverly anymore than I’m going to be proclaimed Queen of Canada.  He has been run constantly in this series – because he’s the Caps best player.  And he gave it away for nothing.   The Caps got through 40 games without Backstrom this year, here’s hoping they have one more in them.

Raffi Torres – Awaiting the Chicken

You need 5 in a row to win bingo.  Just when the NHL had suspended 7 players in the first round (only 6 suspensions in all of last year’s playoffs), Phoenix’s Raffi Torres does this.  Marian Hossa was stretchered off the ice and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, from which he was released last night [link].  He got into a waiting car under his own power.  Torres has been suspended twice and fined once in the last 13 months [link].

What do you think the chicken will have to say about this one?  If suspensions are being doled out based on some other system (say, player popularity?), where on the bingo board does this load land?

PS: You should all read The New York Times’ Slap Shot blog for this scathing piece on the state of player safety.  Writer Lynn Zinser says: “If you can follow the logic through those four [Asham, Neal, Shaw, Backstrom] — particularly how the Penguins’ James Neal earned only a one-game suspension for head-hunting two players on a single shift — you belong at M.I.T. Or Shanahan’s next dinner party.”


(un)Leashed Fury

17 Apr

Remember when Harry Potter got so angry at Dudley that he made the glass disappear and unleashed a snake into a room full of kids?  I wanted to disapparate the glass in the Verizon Center last night and let the fans go berserk.  I have never been so worked up at a game.

As the old adage goes, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t talk to opposing teams’ fans during the playoffs.”  Since I can’t say anything about the Bruins that couldn’t later be used against me in a court of law, I will instead focus on what I did and didn’t like about the Caps game 3 effort last night.

1) Karl Alzner

I love you. This was stupid in a hundred ways but I love you.  [video]

He’s the third man into this scrum for sure – just the 857th penalty not called last night, on either team, including about five in the ten seconds prior.  The Caps were already shorthanded and this could have really put them in a tough… oh wait, they lost anyway.  So I don’t care!

“I don’t even know what to say on my side to show I’m not a crybaby,” Lucic said with a laugh. “That’s a lot coming from a guy who I think has two roughing penalties in three years.”  – Washingtonpost.com

That is exactly why this was awesome. Get in there, Karl! What are you going to do, make Looch play tougher? Not possible. Make him fight you?  Like he needs a reason, and even now you’re not at the top of his list.  Overall this was harmless to everything but the fact that we’ll remember it.  Put it with the “shhhh” and the salute as a little something that can go a long way for your team.

Can't wait to see your beard in Round 2.

2) Up-Tempo Hockey

The first period was blistering.  Caps fans live in fear of the surprise appearance by that team from this season who didn’t care, the one with cement skates and a hangover.  But last night we got the zip, and we got it early.  Too bad for Ovi he used 90% of his energy in the first period, checking everything that moved, then ran out of gas.  Get him a Power Bar, Dale, and get him back out there!  Great hustle from the forwards last night – especially Brouwer and Brooks.

3) Defense

DISLIKE.  There is a Jeff Schultz-sized hole in our blueline.  Is this guy really our best option?  Every time he comes near the puck, Gator yells, “Schultz!” like Seinfeld yells, “Newman!”  Orlov is a spastic 7th grader, but at least he’s quick.  Also, Mike Green – he managed four more shots last night, but still seems to go from great play to complete lapse every possession.  The Bruins can play tighter and the Caps better figure this out before they do.

4) Cross-Ice Passes Down Low

The Caps seem to have finally conquered their demon of consistently getting into the offensive zone.  It’s not always clean, but it’s better.  Now they are hung up on cross-ice passes below the hash marks.  It nearly worked in the first, but the Bruins closed that hole.  The Caps continued to try ad nauseum – their game needs to be more adaptable/unpredictable.

5) Crash the Net

You know the game where you guess how many jellybeans are in the huge jar and if you win, you get the jellybeans?  No one can guess how many times Russian Machine Never Breaks has implored this team to crash the net all season – it’s well over a billion.  The Caps should replace #4 with this idea, because I like jellybeans.

And) Nicklas Backstrom

We know you’re frustrated, Piglet.  We know Thomas clocked you with a blocker after a whistle in game 1 and didn’t get called.  That’s why it felt so damned good when you beat him for the double-OT winner next time.  Please continue to respond as such… if you get the chance.

This is just dumb.  The game is over.  Everyone has been running everyone for free but Backstrom decides to make himself the price of a cross-check that gains nothing.  Hunter expects the NHL to rescind the match penalty and automatic one-game suspension that was assessed to Nicky because it “was not that bad.” [link]  Maybe not – I can’t tell from the video if he gets Peverly’s face or his arms.  But there’s no question that it’s stupid and he’ll be lucky not to sit the next one out.

Mikey Monday: Hint, Hint

9 Apr

Damn you, post-season!  I am having a hard time saying anything for fear of being a jinx.  Let’s try this…

How many Monday home games has Mike Green played this season?  ONE.

That sucks. (Photo by @raedanda)

Did the Caps win? YES.

A little better.

Was it also his/my birthday?  YES. (October 10, close enough.)

Mmm, cake.

Were Gator and I there? OBVIOUSLY.

We weren't even cold.

And now, what day is the Caps’ first home playoff game? (Hint: April 16.)

I see where you're going with this.

It doesn’t mean anything.  There are two games in Boston to get through first and large parts of the Caps season have been held together with popsicle sticks and Scotch tape.  But as Monday is Mike’s very own day of the week, it’s been a long time coming.  Like a goal (October 22) or an assist (March 19).   Mike hasn’t even taken a penalty since February 25.  Something’s gotta give, right?  A little help?  Just pretend you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Good job, Nicky.

Mikey Monday: Appreciation

2 Apr

Saturday night was Fan Appreciation Night at Verizon Center, and they gave us plenty to love.  First, Nicky B returned.  I wish you guys could have heard the cheer when they announced the starting lineup!

Mike looked a little extra happy too, showing off with a between-the-feet move to end warm-ups (he missed).

Best Caps photos by the lovely jlrpuck.tumblr.com!

Just seeing Nicky out there made everyone want to hug and sing “Backstreet’s Back, alright!”  (Yes, that actually happened in my brain.)

This is a real balloon! Why didn't I know this before?!

The place was packed and as loud as last year’s playoffs – thank God because we were screaming anyway.  The Caps won in a shootout, then did the “Jerseys Off Our Backs” thing.  Watching the entire team get partially undressed one at a time?  That’s our kind of party.  Here’s the video.

Not to be outdone by the celebration, Mike had possibly the seasons’ best hair night.  We appreciate you, Mike’s hair.  Hedgehogs everywhere bow down.

Remember the Flowbee?  I think that’s how this perfection gets accomplished. It’s like a topographical map.  Mike was all smiles in the post-game interview, and Nicky’s there too. [video link]

I mean COME ON.

The Capitals are not out of the woods yet.  They’re 2 points up on the Sabres with only 3 games left to play.  Tonight they face Tampa Bay.  We’ll be there Thursday night vs. Florida.  I might have to borrow Mike’s hair dye because I’m going gray from the stress.

This Friday Night…

30 Mar

Last night was not good for anyone.

Sidney took a puck to the face.  I’ve said “not the face!” many times, but never at such volume.  Sid bled everywhere and then did what hockey players do best, let it stop and kept playing.  Well, it didn’t totally stop.

He will play tonight against Buffalo, a game the Caps need the Pens to win.  Wait, what was that?  The reluctant sound of DC fans rooting for Pittsburgh?  Be still my beating heart.

We could say the Pens need the win also – Philly’s only two points back and there’s no reason to lose home ice advantage for the first round.  Sid and Co still have two games vs. the Flyers and one vs. NYR, so any game played against someone else is a bonus where you should grab all the points you can.

In the Battle of the Blog, the Capitals beat the Bruins last night 3-2 in another shitty overtime victory that I’ll take, but don’t like.  I don’t like what it says for when we meet teams that can play sixty.  Any team can struggle any night, but the Caps do it every night.

This hit by Jason Chimera on Adam McQuaid was the talk of the game.  Chimera got tossed for charging, but today the NHL has said no disciplinary hearing will be held.  Can Shanahan do videos for hits that are NOT suspended?  It would explain a lot more to me.

Chuck is not happy about that.  What would cheer her up?  How about Nicky B, possibly back in the line-up Saturday vs. Montreal.  That’s right – MONTREAL. RENE BOURQUE.  Come and get it, punk, we’ll be in section four-oh-something with our elbows up.

Also close to coming back, Jonny Toews.  Imagine how cranky he is not being able to play?  He’s probably organized every fork in his kitchen by how far apart the times are.  With a protractor.  The Hawks have won 7-of-10, but Tazer in the playoffs is a whole new kind of hot damn,

Colorado and Calgary have must-win games tonight… against each other.  WELP.  No guarantee a win will carry the victor into a playoff spot but it’s hard to see the loser of this one hanging on much longer.

Everyone is excited about EA Sports allowing, for the first time ever, a popular vote to decide the NHL13 cover boy.  Get the interns on this one!  Cast your vote(s) at www.NHL.com/CoverVote, or let the players woo you to their sides. Ton of Twitter chirping = our dream.  My favorite:

Uh, Team Claude.

It also looks like the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophy races are drawing to a close, according to my master plans.

Geno can go till June, thank you very much.  Stammer, well, it wasn’t to be this year.  But Steven keeps on scoring.  He has five goals in his last five games – 55 total, for a career high and Lightning team record.  With five games left, could Stamkos get to 60?  I say YES.  I keep yelling it at the TV.  I keep…

So here’s to tonight, as we near the end of the season, and a lot of hockey fans get ready to say goodbye to their favorite teams.  If you’re looking for someone to back in the playoffs, allow us to make a few suggestions.

From: Pants, Re: Your Pants

24 Feb

Nicky B and iCarly hosted a hockey school yesterday.  First John goes on vacation with Mike, now this? [video]  It’s like an all-out offensive being launched against me and Gator.

It’s great to see Backstrom doing anything these days.  We have not heard that he’s skating or even working out, though he looks energetic here.  Apparently iCarly’s dorky high-five doesn’t count as contact.

As happy as this makes us… Nicklas, we need to talk about your pants.  John’s are excellent color and fit, plus “distressed” or “vintage” if you must.  But yours… is that stonewash?  With black shoes?

They could almost be skinny jeans – I’m not really even sure how you got them on over those legs.  If they’re borrowed from Ovi, you should give them right back.  Unless you’re trying to make that girl in the head-to-toe shamrock romper feel better about what she wore to work.

There are certain things we’re willing to put aside for the love of hockey – Mike’s problem with ‘your’ vs. ‘you’re’ and James Neal’s personal pronoun confusion.  But these jeans and that camouflage Under Armor on Matt Duchene are close to the line.  You’re so perfect and European but even we have limits.

Regardless, we love you.  Come back soon.  Wear hockey pants, they look weird on everyone.

Mikey Monday: Casino Royale

13 Feb

Caps Care Casino Night was Friday, and Mike was there.  We were not.  Damn.

Lots of great photos at http://www.districtsportspage.com.

During the auction part of the evening, guests could bid on various high-risk scenarios with their favorite hockey players.  Like a Segway Tour with Ovi, Brooks, Knuble and Sasha Fierce, or bowling with Carlzner, Ward and Hendricks.  There is a bowling alley *right* next to Gator’s house and I’d bet money that’s the location.  Time for a new job, I think.

Sorry DSP, but no one else has photos. No one who would could afford the $250 ticket!

Mike was part of a Cooking with the Caps package, including Vokoun and Hamrlik plus a celeb chef.  I’d just like to point out that Mr. Pants is a chef, and one Food Network competition away from being a celebrity (for the record, he would kick ass).  Maybe next year I can win/rig this category?

The highlight of the night was, of course, this:

Squeal. Faint. Repeat.

More goodness at DistrictSportsPage.com and RussianMachineNeverBreaks.com.  Mike’s rehab is still “on schedule” though no return date has been projected [link]

Well, it’s not good news…

9 Feb

The always-excellent JaspersRink.com today has a translated Swedish interview with Nicky – read it here.

He hopes to be ready for the playoffs.  That’s two months away.  I know he hasn’t skated in forever, isn’t attending home games and even Mike went on vacation without him, but seeing it in print is really bumming me out.

Last night I saw someone Tweeted at Rene Bourque and briefly wondered how much I could say before it’s considered a threat actionable in court.  How many 140-character messages would it take?  GRRRRRRR.

At least it’s an update.  Get better, Nicky.  We really miss you around here!