Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Girls just wanna have fun ~ Cyndi Lauper
Make some fun, happy time ~ Alex Ovechkin

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas from the NHL

The NHL says Merry Christmas to the players and the fans:


That lump of coal almost looks like a pile of shit...Oh wait, it IS!!!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Opportunity Knocked

I am extremely fortunate to have a job that allows me to "sneak" away to Kettler every once in a while. So, today, the opportunity arose for me to do just that. I figured with the CBA deadline looming just a few days away, I may not get my hockey fix for a while. Kind of glad I did, but it really didn't satisfy my "photographing hockey players" itch all that much when I knew in the back of my mind that it could be a long time before I get this opportunity again.

Lucky for me, I got a chance to see a few new guys today, and it was also the first day back for Mike Green and Brooks Laich. So here are a few shots from today's informal practice. More can be found here.

Hendy being the coach

Jack Hillen

Joey Crabb

Marcus Johansson

Dmitry Orlov

Mike Ribeiro

Michal Neuvirth

Nicklas Backstrom

Stanislav Galiev

Backstrom, Ribeiro, and Crabb

Mike Green

Hopefully, these can hold us for a while...(Oh, who am I kidding?)

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Red"-headed Stepchild

I've had a few new followers email me asking how I am affiliated with the Washington Capitals. Short answer is: I am not. I am listed as a "Hockey Friendly Blog" on the Caps website and a member of the TBD Community Network, but you will probably never see a link to me on either of those sites.

I have been fortunate enough to get linked from accredited bloggers such as Japers' Rink and Russian Machine Never Breaks and even Ted Leonsis himself; but I have not asked for and do not hold credentials. I have never been in the pressbox at Verizon Center and don't expect I ever will.

Even though I've written a few posts for the Scarlet Caps, this is done as a favor to the people who run the site and my own desire to educate their readers about the team and hockey in general. It does not include any perks other than occasionally getting free admission to an event to cover it for their blog. It also does not qualify me for accredtation with the team (at least I don't think it does). All photographs taken during Caps practice are done from the public viewing areas of Kettler. (I do sometimes wish I could get over to the press area for a few, but again, I have never asked for this and probably never will.)

So why haven't I pushed my blog or myself out there to get the credentials? To be completely honest, I don't mind not having any of it. Except for the modified profile picture, I have complete anonymity. Unless you have met me in person, no one knows my name or a complete idea of what I look like so I can fly under the radar as much as I like. All opinions, remarks, thoughts, rants and photographs (unless otherwise accredited to their respective owners) are mine and mine alone, which I consider a good thing. I am my own boss; and with the rare exceptions of deadlines from Scarlet Caps; I can write whatever and whenever I want.

I am extremely grateful to those of you who have asked, and especially those of you who think I should have credentials. I'm flattered, truly flattered. I am also extremely grateful to everyone who has ever clicked on this site, no matter how you got here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You make my "job" of writing worthwhile.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Alex Semin: Misty Watercolored Memories

All stats and facts aside, Sasha is best remembered as eye candy, goofy antics and awkward faces. Thank goodness I have a huge stockpile of pics to remember him by.
Misty watercolored memories:

Sneaky Sasha

This face...oh, this face

Who's Your Daddy?

Epotime of Eye Candy

Annual Valentines Card just wouldn't be the same without Sasha

Sasha was always good for "Awkard Practice Pics"

Will I Ever Get the Soul Searching Look from Sasha Again???

Thursday, May 3, 2012

HBH - It Bears Repeating

On April 30th, I saw an announcement via an article from Tim Leone of The Patriot-News that the affiliation contract between the Hershey Bears and the Washington Capitals had not yet been renewed.

Bears President-GM Doug Yingst said a deal to extend the highly successful Washington affiliation, which began in 2005-06, beyond 2011-12 is “still in negotiation.”
This brought several questions to mind and I just had to have these questions answered.

1. Biggest question: what happens if the affiliation contract isn’t renewed? Brief answer I got was that the Caps would go in search of another affiliation, even share an affiliation with another NHL team if necessary. Yeah, thanks; that just begs for more questions.

2. Why wouldn’t the Capitals renew their contract with Hershey? As found in past history, many times an NHL changes its affiliation if an AHL team folds or is losing money. Got to think neither of these is an issue with Hershey reporting this on 5/1/12:
The HERSHEY BEARS announced today that the club has once again topped the American Hockey League in attendance, setting new club records in the process. The announcement was made by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.
And the banner on the Bears home page does boast #1 AHL Regular season attendance 06-07,07-08, 08-09, 09- 10, 10-11, 11-12. That’s a lot of seasons of being #1 folks. Yeah, don’t think that is the issue.

So, could it be a falling out between the two franchises? Could another NHL team be trying to woo the Bears away from the Capitals, or vice versa? While proximity to the parent club is a factor for any affiliation, it isn’t the “be all – end all”, but the convenience of having call-ups close by is important. Without that proximity, a NHL team might have to carry a couple extra players on their roster to make up for it, which really messes with the salary cap. But in that case, it is what it is. It’s happened before.

3. What happens to players under NHL contract playing in the AHL if the affiliation contract isn't re-signed?

Also from Tim Leone was this:
Washington Capitals under contract: Cody Eakin, Dmitry Orlov, Braden Holtby, Cameron Schilling, Mattias Sjogren, Tomas Kundratek, Philipp Grubauer, Garrett Mitchell, Brett Flemming, Brandon Anderson, Ryan Potulny, Patrick McNeill.

Washington Capitals unrestricted free agents: Keith Aucoin, Dany Sabourin, D.J. King, Joel Rechlicz, Sean Collins, Christian Hanson, Chris Bourque, Zach Miskovic, Jacob Micflikier, Kyle Greentree.

Washington Capitals restricted free agents: Mike Carman, Kevin Marshall.
That’s quite a few guys who have no clue where they are going to be if the affiliation contract isn’t re-signed.Yes, players still under contract with Washington would be moved to whatever AHL team becomes the new affiliate. Does that bump players from those rosters? Without going into tremendous detail, let’s just say it would have ripple affects all around the league. What a clusterfuck that would be! But again, it's happened before. Usually team affiliations between the NHL and AHL are shortish contracts, usually one or two years at a time. Look at the history of any AHL affiliation and you'll see most of them have "changed hands" several times throughtout their history. Even the Bears have been affiliated with 9 different teams since 1938.

4. What would happen to the Hershey Bears if the affiliation contract with the Washington Capitals is not renewed? I found one answer from 2009 in a letter from Jason Chaimovitch, Vice President of Communications, American Hockey League the on the HFBoards that is probably still applicable:

As part of the initial AHL membership application a potential owner must have an NHL affiliation in place, but the league’s governing documents do not necessarily prevent an existing franchise from continuing to operate should it lose its affiliation.

And this:

The league's constitution, by-laws, regulations or policies do not necessarily prevent an existing franchise from operating independently should it lose its NHL affiliate, but considering (a) there are 30 National Hockey League teams who need an environment in which to develop their top prospects; (b) there is not a surplus of AHL franchises relative to the number of NHL franchises; (c) the additional costs that would be incurred if an AHL owner had to pay all of its players' salaries and other expenses; and (d) it would likely be difficult to ice a competitive product using a talent pool that doesn't include NHL-contracted players while still being guided by the AHL's development rule; I don't think it's likely we would see it happen.

Does Hershey go looking for another NHL affiliation? With 30 existing affiliations between the NHL and the AHL, this becomes an even scarier proposition for HBH. But it brings me back to the question of the possibility of them being wooed by another NHL franchise. Keep an eye out for candygrams and flower deliveries at Giant Center folks ;)

As you can see, I actually did a bit of research here (surprise, surprise). The more I ponder this, the more I hope that the delay in re-signing the contract between the Hershey Bears and the Washington Capitals is nothing more than waiting for the Caps post-season to finish before delving into negotiations. But many of my questions are still unanswered. Several times in the past, the contract renewal between our teams wasn’t signed until the summer, so until we get some definitive answers from the organizations, we’ll all just have to wait it out. Yeah, fun times.

Author's Note: 5/23/2012 The Capitals and the Hershey Bears announce they have extended their affiliation through the 2013-2014 season. Read the HBH press release here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shortest Blog Post Ever

Playoff hockey is like sex; sometimes it's great, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad; but it almost always gets your juices flowing and makes you want more.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sneaky Sasha: Semin vs Backstrom - A Different Kind of Battle

Although "tragedy" struck at Caps practice today, there were also lots of smiles, shoulder punches, goofy guys and practice battles on the ice. Here's one that caught my attention:

The rest of the pictures from practice are here. And no, I didn't catch a picture of Ovi and Knuble's ka-boom, got there a few minutes late and didn't have my camera in my hands yet.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Rulz

Recently, I’ve gained a bunch of new followers. If you are one of them, let me say: Hi! If you are wondering why I have not followed you back yet, let me explain. You’ll see from my Twitter following count, I am not one of those people that automatically follows everyone back. For some reason that I really don’t get, some people have a hang up about follower counts. Seriously, in my mind, Twitter should not be a popularity contest, its quality over quantity that matters to me. Anyway… after writing multiple social media posts, ranting and bitching about it ad nauseam (just click Social Media in the “Tag, You’re it” column in the sidebar if you want to read some < gratuitous self-promoting plug >), I guess I still need to explain my follow/unfollow “policy” and the rules I play by. Because I actually do have reasons why.

I might follow you back if:

  • We have some actual meaningful conversations. I consider Twitter to be the “social” tool that it was created for, not to further some agenda. But that will probably require you to say something to me, since I tend to get distracted easily, sometimes staying off Twitter for a day or three just to keep from being overwhelmed or because my actual job gets in the way. Don’t worry, I try my best to answer as many @’s that come my way as I can, so if we have lots of great discussions, you’ll probably get a follow back in the near future. But if I don't, we are still interacting, right? Isn't that enough?
  • We have something in common. Since I’m cautious, I usually check out new followers; their tweets, bios and who is following them back. If you share the same interests as I do (i.e. hockey, beer, photography, travel, etc.), there’s a good chance I may decide then and there to follow you back. If not then and there, at least I'll pay closer attention to when you @ me, so chances are improved for a follow back.
  • If you are followed back by some of the same people I interact with on a regular basis. But, you do need to interact with them too (remember, I check tweet streams). I have a lot of people that I’ve followed for a long time, many I’ve even ended up meeting in real life, so I trust their tweets. If you have somehow flown under my radar, I’ll remedy that.
I might not follow you back if:

  • Your bio is blank and/or you have very few (if any) @ replies in your tweet stream, I’ll bide my time.
  • You tweet negative stuff all the time. (Actually, I’ll probably never follow back).
  • You have your account locked. I know that doesn’t seem fair, but if I can’t check you out, I have nothing to go on. It’s ok to have a private account, just go back to my first reason above and that could change from a “might not” to a “might”.
  • Your only way to interact with people is to retweet them or brown-nose them. Honestly, false flattery isn’t the way I roll. You need to speak up in your own voice, that’s what I’m going to look for.
  • You beg me to follow back. Seriously, go reread this post from the beginning. I follow a lot of people who don’t follow me back because if I send them an @, they reply to me. Whatever their reason for not following me, they still interact with me. Don’t beg, please. Get busy being social and you’ll have tons of followers in no time.
 I might stop following you if:

  • You’re nuts. I don’t know if you started acting nuts after I began following you or if you were always a nutjob and I just missed it, but once I realize it, I’m history.
  • You’ve pissed me off. Come on now, would you continue to stand around listening to somebody who makes your blood boil? Since I can’t reach through the screen to smack you upside your head, unfollow is the next best thing.
  • You’ve stopped interacting with people and have begun your own personal campaign to further your own cause or political agenda. That’s not what I want from Twitter, sorry.
  • You’ve stopped tweeting. It’s ok if you’ve run out of things to say, but since there is nothing left to listen to, I’ll move along. If you’ve stopped tweeting, you probably aren’t even on Twitter anymore, so that should be a moot point. But, if you come back at some time in the future and wonder where I’ve gone, now you know.
  • You’ve never responded to any of my @’s to you. If you can’t be bothered with me, I can’t be bothered with you. (And if you only tweet to advance your own blog, news articles, website, business or product, shame on you for not replying. If you are going to use Twitter to promote a “product” but don’t respond to your target audience, you have very flawed marketing skills and don’t deserve followers anyway.)
Truth be told, I’ve been unfollowed lots of times. Once or twice I even asked the person why, and their answer gave me the clarity needed to accept their decision. Some of them I still follow anyway. I’m quite sure I’ve pissed people off by not agreeing with them, or my incessant live hockey game tweets were flooding their tweet stream and they just couldn’t take it anymore. Once I get over the initial “WTF?” moment, I’m usually ok with it. Even though I may not always understand why they unfollowed me, in the grand scheme of things, it usually works out for the best.

I know there are going to be some people that have a problem with this whole post. I don’t claim to be a social media expert, and these rules are not about how everybody should use Twitter, just how I use Twitter. And, if by reading this, you decide I’m just too high and mighty to be worthy of continuing to follow, may I just say: “Buh Bye”. My game - my rules, that’s how I roll…Any questions?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Was It Worth It?

With the trade deadline looming, lots of fans and pundits are quick to speculate on the Capital’s needs for players to support them as they try to get into and through the playoffs for yet another year. This got me to thinking about two trades in previous years that still kinda bug me and make me ask, were they worth it?

First up, Tomas Fleischmann, who was traded to Colorado for veteran defenseman Scott Hannan on November 30th of 2010. At the time, Flash wasn’t having a great start to the season; he had only scored 4 goals and 6 assists in 23 games and his ice time was down to 14:17 during that same period. But, the previous season, Flash scored a career-high 23 goals, so the skilled forward was certainly trade bait for GMGM. Hannan was to bring grit and experience to the team, especially to help the progress of John Carlson and Karl Alzner. So how did they each finish out their seasons? Flash played 22 games for Colorado, with 8 goals and 13 assists. Hannan played 55 games for Washington, with 1 goal and 4 assists. But, here is where it gets interesting, Fleischmann, now on the Florida Panthers currently has 20 goals and 25 assists, and may be having his best season ever if he continues with this success. Was it worth it?

The next trade that still sticks in my craw; David Steckel. While I wasn’t Flash’s biggest fan, I really was a fan of Stecks, (aka Ohio State). On February 28th of 2011, the Capitals traded Stecks to New Jersey for veteran center Jason Arnott, just moments before the deadline ended (oh, and a 2nd round draft pick was involved in there as well). Steckel is a skilled center with a great faceoff percentage and is willing and able to crush opponents against the boards whenever necessary. (Not to mention, accidently hitting the Caps fans most hated player; Sidney Crosby.) And, Arnott (aka The Sasha Whisperer); while a good acquisition; really didn’t have as much impact in the stats. With only 11 games for the Caps, Arnott tallied 4 goals and 3 assists, but his leadership in the locker room was well documented. Maybe that in itself was worth it? Anyway, neither Steckel nor Arnott had the best finish to their season in 2011; maybe those trades shook them up a bit. And while Arnott seems to be thriving a bit better on the St Louis Blues with 13 goals & 14 assists so far, Steckel doesn’t seem to be doing as well. Poor Dave has only 7 goals and 1 assist so far with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and that assist stat is really one of his worst in his career. Maybe he misses good old DC? (hmm, I wonder if he would come back?) Overall, yes, we did trade a center for a center, but, since we seem to be in need of a center now, was it really worth it?

The most interesting thing that both Hannan and Arnott said after their trades to Washington? They both were willing to come to a team with the chance to win a Stanley Cup. That worked out well, didn’t it? Another interesting thing? All of these players only lasted on their respective new teams one season. All four of these players were really just rentals. Kinda think that wasn’t what any of them wanted either.

So, IF GMGM does do any trades before the deadline ends tomorrow, I really hope they are worth it, because no matter who gets traded, I’m sure there are going to be more than a few Caps fans who will be disappointed, one way or another. And, if it does happen, I really really really hope none of the new guys say they look forward to playing for a team that stands a chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m kinda tired at laughing at that joke-turned-jinx.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Penalties by the Replay and the Rule Book

If you watched the Caps game against San Jose on Monday, you may have noticed two occurrences that were a little out of the norm for a regulation NHL game. One that seemed to take forever and one that happened in the blink of an eye.

The first was the goalie interference penalty against Joel Ward that was delayed for almost one minute of play. Here’s how it began: Two minutes into the first period, Joel Ward crashed into the Sharks goalie Thomas Greiss. (Speculation from Caps fans was that Ward was actually pushed into Greiss by Sharks center Logan Couture; at least it looked like that to the Caps faithful watching the replay.) So, at the 18:00 minute mark on the clock, the ref raises his arm to signal a penalty will be called. So, why didn’t he just blow the whistle then instead of waiting until the 17:03 mark? Here’s why.

Per the NHL rulebook:  Should an infraction of the rules which would call for a minor, major, misconduct, game misconduct or match penalty be committed by a player of the team not in possession of the puck, the Referee shall raise his arm to signal the delayed calling of a penalty. When the team to be penalized gains control of the puck, the Referee will blow his whistle to stop play and impose the penalty on the offending player or goalkeeper.

What this breaks down to is this; when the penalty against the Caps occurred, San Jose was in possession of the puck, and upon review of the game footage, kept possession of the puck for another 57 seconds. It wasn’t until San Jose made an attempt on goal that was deflected by Braden Holtby and Roman Hamrlik, that the puck was finally no longer in San Jose’s possession. Yes, it seemed like the delay lasted forever. I actually rewound the DVR several times just to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. So, while we all may disagree with the penalty itself, the delay of the penalty for 57 seconds was by the book. The NHL rulebook, that is.

The second out of the norm occurrence was the 10 minute misconduct penalty called on Joel Rechlicz. How can a guy who only played on the actual ice for 1:30 do something worthy of a 10-minute penalty? To explain that, you need the replay and a little history. Joel “The Wrecker” Rechlicz is a right wing on the Hershey Bears and is known for the enforcer role he plays. (He even dropped the gloves with Donald Brashear back in 2010 when Wrecker was playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers). Apparently, Coach Hunter brought Rechlicz up from Hershey for this Sharks game to keep Brad Winchester from being a factor in the game, as he had previously when he was penalized for charging on Alex Semin in January. Per Dale Hunter after practice on 2/14, “The Wrecker eliminated any effect from Winchester”; so, job well done.

But, as to the misconduct penalty, we really have to go back to the replay, because if you blinked – you missed it. At the 16:23 mark in the second period, Ovechkin is skating along the boards when he comes in contact with Ryan Clowe. “Contact” meaning the usual forceful body hit from Ovi that sends Clowe flying. A few seconds later, Clowe tries to return the favor by slamming Ovi into the wall along the Caps bench. Now, you have to watch really closely to what see happens next. While these two hits occur, you can see Rechlicz standing up from his seat on the bench. Just after the hit from Clowe, Rechlicz appears to take offense to Clowe’s hit and seems to be having words with him. Before you know it, the commentators announce Rechlicz and been removed from the bench for a 10-minute misconduct penalty, and nobody seems to know why.

So, what constitutes a misconduct penalty?

Per the NHL rulebook:
75.4 Misconduct Penalty - Misconduct penalties shall be assessed under this rule for the following infractions:
(i) Any player who persists in using obscene, profane or abusive language directed towards any person after being assessed a minor or bench minor penalty under this Rule.
(ii) Any player who deliberately throws any equipment out of the playing area. At the discretion of the Referee, a game misconduct may be imposed.
(iii) Any player who, after warning by the Referee, persists in any course of conduct (including threatening or abusive language or gestures or similar actions) designed to incite an opponent into incurring a penalty.
(iv) When a penalized player challenges or disputes the ruling of an official after he has already entered the penalty bench and play has resumed. 

(v)  In general, participants displaying this type of behavior are assessed a minor penalty, then a misconduct penalty and then a game misconduct penalty if they persist.

While fans may never learn the full story of what exactly transpired, we could probably assume (iii) was the reason why.  But what may be more important here is the affect The Wrecker had on the game. Looking back, ten minutes in the locker room isn’t too big a price to pay to ensure the opposition knows who and what they are dealing with.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ladies, What Do You Want?

As some of you may know, I occasionally write posts for Scarlet Caps. Once again, they have asked me for a post submission. Knowing how a majority of my followers feel about the website and its posts, I thought I'd give y'all a chance to let me know what you would actually like to read on the Scarlet Caps blog. And, if you've never read any of the blog posts there, what would send you there for the first time?

So, serious question: Is there a topic you really want to know about? I'd love to hear any and all suggestions. I'd like to write a post for them that you all would actually read and maybe even comment on! If you really couldn't care less about the blog posts on Scarlet Caps, I totally understand, no problem, carry on. Just one thing though, as a writer for Scarlet Caps, I do not get any insider information, personal access to players or private interviews. It has to be about something I can research for you or something you always wondered about in regards to hockey, stuff like that.

And if you're thinking I'm being lazy about coming up with a topic myself, all I can say is...maybe.

So, since my usual signoff on posts is a sarcastic "Any questions?” this time I would really love some actual questions from you. Hit me with your ideas/suggestions/questions/comments in the comments, or on Twitter at @Caps_Girl or on Facebook (if you came here through there), or by email if you have my address, whatever. If Scarlet Caps is really about hockey from a woman's perspective, let's make it happen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Can’t a female hockey fan get a little respect? Holy cow, it’s bad enough that the NHL Shop tries to convince us to buy and wear glittery pink hockey jerseys, but we also have to put up with snarky remarks from commentators too?

I’ve heard the little snarks before, but I just have to say, I’m damn sick and tired of it. What ticked me off tonight? Well, I’ll tell you. Here I am, calmly watching the Caps vs. Bruins game on my TV, when CSN decides to show a group of four female fans talking to each other in their seats at Verizon Center. Joe Beninati describes the scene in this way: “Ladies –chatting - I’m sure about the breakout, I’m sure it has to do with the breakout.” And then he and Craig Laughlin chuckle.

Now, some readers who may have seen this might just think “What? That’s nothing”, and you’re entitled to your opinion. But speaking as a woman hockey fan, who also works in a male dominated business, that was snark directed at female fans. Frankly, if I were one of those ladies in that group and knew this was said on television about me, I’d be irate. Just seeing it unfold on my television was bad enough. So, here is an open letter to Joe Beninati, Craig Laughlin and CSN:

Dear Sirs,

While you think it is entertaining to make any kind of comment about female hockey fans attending a game; no matter your intent; you are in fact perpetuating the absurd myth that women cannot be hockey fans. Shame on you, I hope Jill Sorenson, Julie Donaldson, or Kelli Johnson smack you upside the head. All jokes aside, any comment you make regarding any fan attending a professional sporting event should never have the slightest hint of ridicule, regardless of their gender. But, directing these type of comments to female fans in particular, smacks of narrow-mindedness and chauvinism. Your lack of respect towards female fans is not only rude; it is an antiquated view of women. I happen to have a great deal of knowledge about a hockey, and consider myself to be a serious fan of the game, as do many other women. We deserve to be treated with dignity, not derision. Also, these fans are the people you hope to attract to your broadcasts as viewers. You are representing your company, and doing it poorly. Fortunately, fans of professional sports have options when it comes to listening to commentators of a game. From this point forward, I think I’ll be exercising that option. Maybe you should just go back to talking about food? On second thought, how about just talking about the game?



Any questions?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great Expectations – My Reality Check

Upon further review of recent events by the Washington Capitals, I find it necessary to give my great expectations a little reality check.

Caps vs. the New York Islanders: Yes, that was a total stinker game, a shit show if I may be so bold. Caps looked like they either couldn’t care less or couldn’t get their shit together. While it was a train wreck to watch, I especially felt bad for fans at Verizon Center who didn’t even get to see one goal from our boys. Shutouts are even harder to watch then losses; shutouts feel like the team didn’t even show up to play, while a loss, hopefully, usually includes some viable effort. So, while it would have been nice to see at least one goal in that game, maybe the team wasn’t into it because they didn’t feel the need to be into it. My reality check: Maybe the team was thinking “Which is more important; we beat the Islanders or we beat the Habs?” I heard all the interviews after the game. Everybody saying how badly they played, etc., etc., etc. But what if  they were just focusing too much on the next game in Montreal? Not fair to the fans but certainly feasable. Dunno for sure, but a little reflection made me change my mind. A stinker is still a stinker though.

Caps vs. Montreal Canadiens: Much better effort here. So much so that the Habs fans were the ones feeling the disappointment of a shutout. But, at least they got to see their team fight and claw to the bitter end. But my reality check here concerns the desire to mete payback for the hit to Nick Backstrom by Rene Bourque on January 3rd. Hubs and I were betting on Erskine to dole out the punishment, but Matt Hendricks answered the call instead. We all knew Bourque would be expecting it and at the end you may say he prevailed, but payback was completed. My reality check: It’s a hockey game, not a 10 round title fight. Additional payback; while desired; is not reasonable. Yes, I have a high regard for Nicky and want to see retribution for those who hurt him, but if another member of the team had tried to punish Bourque again after the “bout” with Hendricks, we would have looked like a bunch of goons. But it does kind of validate my reality check from the previous paragraph.

Nick Backstrom’s injury: I seem to recall Nicky saying that he felt ok after that elbow to the head from Rene Bourque. I did hear that, right? So why is he still out? While concussions are no laughing matter, if he feels great, let him play is the common theme from some fans. Yes, concussions should take precedence, but what if there were more to the story? Could Nick also have an undisclosed injury that needs time for recovery? Many a time we have heard after-the-fact of players playing with an injury during the post-season. Naturally, these injuries would not be disclosed until later since opposing teams would obviously try to take advantage of them when a player does return to the ice. My reality check: IF the aforementioned WERE true, what better time to give Nick a chance to recover from an undisclosed injury while leading everyone to believe that his scratches are concussion related. Furthermore, we all know of Nick’s migraine problems, so let’s add this to the list of possible problems as to why he isn’t back in the game. As much as I miss Nick in the game (and I think the team misses him as well), if he needs to sit, he needs to sit, no matter the reason given. Get well Nicky and come back when you are 100%. (While I was writing this post, an interview from Sweden with Nicky was translated by Malin for Japers Rink. Frustration and headaches were mentioned, go read it if you haven’t already.) Have to admit, though, I am grasping at straws just a bit.

Player scratches and call ups: We’ve all seen it since Dale Hunter has become the coach. Certain players are being scratched game after game after game. Yes, I am talking about Jeff Schultz in particular. I jump to the conclusion that because he was obviously one of Boudreau’s boys from Hershey, he isn’t appreciated the same way now that Hunter has the reins. Ever since Hunter has arrived, we’ve seen the team try to become more physical, which I certainly appreciate. I’ve been asking for bodies against the boards for ages, so it’s great to see this addition to the Caps style of play. But if you’ve watched Jeff Schultz play, he isn’t a huge checker. And without Green to be paired with, he looks like he’s a little lost out there when he does get a chance to play. When Orlov and Kundratek got called up, many fans asked why, since we already had Erskine and Schultz. My reality check: I have absolutely no clue the exact reason why players are getting healthy scratches. Maybe that's ok. It is possible they just aren’t Dale’s or Jim’s cup of tea; it is possible they are having difficulties adjusting to Dale’s system, and it is possible that it’s none of the above. When it comes to Schultz, jump to the conclusion of a possible trade if you must, you could just be right. Since Jeff is technically tied up by contract for a couple more years, I’d bet on a trade by the end of February. (Since I’m terrible at gambling, don’t lay any actual bets on that statement, I’ve been known to be wrong.) This reality check is more of a shoulder shrug/meh/whatever for me.

Caps must win every game/all the time: Come on, really? Time for you to get a reality check if you really think that.

Since math really hurts my brain there are no stats to back any of this conjecture up, just a few reminders to myself that a good dose of reality makes watching the Caps a little easier at times. So, that being said; what color is the sky in your world?