The Red Alert, ‘Caps are the only Game in Town’ edition
By PennSkinsFan | January 8, 2009
The Washington Capitals 2008/09 season is now half complete, 41 games under the belt, and the Capitals sit in first place in the Southeast Division and only 5 games out of the Eastern Conference lead. They are also riding a 7 game winning streak and are winners of 11 of their last 12 games. Impressive indeed!
In essence, 2008/09 taught us something else, DC is and will be a Hockey Town! Let’s face it, it has been awhile since Washington DC had a big time winner to get excited about. And this season, considering how poor the Washington Nationals were, how inconsistent and non-exciting the Redskins were, and the injury riddled Washington Wizards barely breathing, the Washington Capitals are the only game in town, and an exciting energetic, and fun to watch game at that! So gear up for what promises to be a thrilling second half to this memorable 2008/09 season.
Brian McNally provides his mid-season grades. He gives forward an A, defense a B, goal tending a B-, and special teams B+.
All seem fair, except, I would probably move Defense to a B+. Why? Because the capitals goal tending hasn’t been the sharpest at times, yet the defense has seemingly limited shots on goal. They have done so with tons of injuries that actually at times led to forwards Sergei Fedorov and Brooks Laich to play a bit of defense. Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, John Erskine, and Mike Green all spent some good time on the side of the rink nursing injuries, and call ups like Brian Helmer, Tyler Sloan, Karl Alzner, and Sean Collins filled in perfectly. Good eye by Brian on the special teams. The power play and penalty kill this year has been consistent and effective and a big part of the Capitals success. The power play is the 4th best in the NHL and that is predictable considering Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and sniping defenseman Mike Green spend a ton of time on the power play unit.
Good read. Link over and read it.
As good as Karl Alzner has played in his rookie year here in Washington, he could be facing off against AHL team, soon. Not for quality of play, but for salary cap purposes. It is no secret when Federov returns, the Capitals will have a salary cap issue with Alzner on the roster. Alzner understands as wel . . .
“I’ve thought about it the last few days,” Alzner said. “I am nervous every time I come to the rink because I know my time could be dwindling here. I’m still hoping something can get done because although Hershey is fun, I’d much rather be here.”
HC Bruce Boudreau knows Alzner is NHL ready as well . . .
“You look at our [15-4] record with him in the lineup,” Boudreau said. “You look at the guys he makes better, and I think that is a big part of it. I think good players make guys around them better. Karl is still young, and he’s going to get a lot better, but from what I’ve seen he’s done a really good job.”
One of the interesting things to watch, if the Capitals do not come up with a creative way to keep Alzner is what effect it has on D Milan Jurcina. Alzner and Jurcina have formed the most consistent defensive tandem over the last 15 games for Washington, a tandem that has led the Capitals defense in ice time minutes. Azlner has increased the energy and level of play of Jurcina, and Alzner will admit he has learned a ton from Jurcina. Gotta be hard for Boudreau to break up that defensive pair.
How about Tom Boswell? Boswell! Writing about the Capitals! Are we serious? Yup, you can read it here. And guess what, Boswell’s converting.
Sure, I’m climbing on the Zamboni a little late. Okay, a third-of-a-century late. But why not? Like this whole town that has awakened in the last 10 months to its sizzling young hockey team with a sudden and unexpected explosion of puck passion, I’ve gotten Capped.
But that’s the point. All over Washington, just when few thought it would ever happen, Caps craziness, Rock-the-Red fever, a region-wide Great Eight debate, has exploded.
One thing Boswell points out, well, it is all so true …
Apparently, even in a deep recession, Washington will pay for — what is that elusive word — oh, a winner.
he’s right. Washington DC has proven time and time again that if a good product that wins is put on the diamond, court, rink, or field, fans will come. Problem is, until the Capitals of last season, DC has just not put good products on the field in any professional sport. In fact, before the Capitals, it was becoming a professional sport dead town.
Granted the Nationals are new. But, they are also awful and the Lerner Family, who owns the Nats, have yet to put their money where their mouth is. This season looks as promising as last season, meaning, forget baseball. As for me, I must admit, I don’t have the same confidence in the Lerner’s that I had when Abe sold the Caps to Ted Leonsis. I don’t have the same vibe.
The Redskins. Well — Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato are in command. Enough said. Again we were treated to disappointment, mediocrity and otherwise average to less than average football that was neither exciting or energetic. In fact, the only entertainment we had was the budding rivalry between RB Clinton Portis and HC Jim Zorn. How sad is that?
The Wizards, well, they are taking applications off the street for players, any players. If you are over 18 and under 65, go apply! The teams best two stars are out with injury. It isn’t the Wizards fault. Their hurt. Very hurt. And without Gilbert and Stevenson, forget it. They stink.
Then there are these Washington Capitals, who are 27-11-3, 18-1-1 at home, winners of their last 7 in a row, and winners of 11 of their last 12. Did we mention just 5 points from overall first place in the Eastern Conference?
But, and this is important, it is NOT JUST the winning. It is these Capitals. The team is thrilling to watch, they score, and score a ton of goals, they are fun, energetic, enthusiastic and these players have a mix of great characters and personality! Oh, and they have the best damn hockey player in the world, Alexander Ovechkin, otherwise known as, GREAT 8! But, that is not even the best part. The best part is, this team has proven, it is more than just GREAT 8. This team has budding stars Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom. critical role players in Dave Steckel and Boyd Gordon, important pieces in Shaone Morrisonn and Brooks Laich, and even better, a crap load of super prospects waiting int he wings. In other words, DC has a team that is good, damn good, but a team that will likely be damn good for years to come! That’s what DC has in these Capitals.
At an economic moment when competition for the entertainment dollar has never been more intense, the Caps picked the ideal time to (finally) be both excellent and exciting. For total event experience, they now crush the too-often tacky Redskins. With the fourth-best record in the NHL, the Caps lap the Wizards, who have the NBA’s second-worst record. As for the Nationals, please note, a better team draws much bigger crowds.
The Caps’ TV ratings are up 130 percent. Merchandise, which leapt last season with new jerseys and logos, has jumped another 40 percent. The average time-per-viewer at the Caps Web site is the highest in the NHL. In part that may be because of Web-centric owner Ted Leonsis.
Hear that Ted and Mark Lerner. Good teams draw. God teams win. Winners fill Parks. Get it? And Snyder — well, forget it. You won’t get it.
“This is cool,” my wife said. “It feels like a sports event that’s not in Washington.” Okay, that hurts.
And now, Like Bos says, the Capitals fan base is growing with a bunch of new fans who are not only pleased with these Caps and enjoy these energetic games, but curios and intrigued at this sport of Hockey. So for you all, if you want to brush up on the rules of the NHL a bit, to learn a little bit more, here you go, they are all online.