Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!! -- Caps vs. Rangers, December 30th

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!

This is a special medical edition of The Prognosto, featuring a panel of esteemed medicos – Dr. Marcus Welby, Dr. James Kildare, Dr. Victor Ehrlich, and Dr. Ben Casey.

(They’re all dead, Peerless)

Uh, no their not, Kildare is still around somewhere, and Ehrlich it tooling around in his hybrid car.

(ok…whatever you say)

So, doctors…we have a number of Caps on the shelf with illness and injury. What do you prescribe to get them back on the ice?

Dr. Welby: “Leech”

Dr. Casey: “Welby, you always say ‘leech’”

Welby: “No, you idiot, ‘Leetch.’ The defenseman? Don’t you follow hockey, Casey?”

Dr. Kildare: “Or?”

Welby: “Or what, sonny?”

Kildare: “No, Doctor…’Orr.’ He was great when I was an intern.”

Dr. Ehrlich: “They have medicine when you were an intern?”

Kildare: “That’s not very professional…”

Casey: “Could they use a ‘pronger?’”

Welby: “you surgeons, always wanting to use fancy instruments…”

Casey: --rolls eyes—

Kildare: “maybe the problem is no Klemm”

Welby: “phlegm?”

Kildare: “No, you ossified fart, ‘Klemm’ . . . plays for the Stars”

Ehrlich: “Phaneuf”

Everyone: “gesundheit”

Well, so much for the masters of medicine, how about the game? . . . The Washington Bearitals come into the back half of yet another back-to-back on a 1-5-0 run and slipping through the standings. They dropped to tenth in the conference last evening, but could – with a win against the Rangers tonight and losses by Ottawa, the Islanders, and the Bruins – climb all the way into a tie for sixth in points in the East. Such is the crowded situation these days.

The Bearitals come into this game with the possibility of having to fill multiple slots with call-ups from Hershey. Matt Pettinger, Brian Sutherby, and Steve Eminger missed last night’s game with the Devils due to stomach flu. Chris Clark, Mike Green, and Brian Pothier played under the influence of that bug. John Erskine remains out, as do Bryan Muir and Matt Bradley with injuries. Begs the question, who does Hershey ice in a first-place showdown against Norfolk tonight?

However, the story here is the Rangers. If you haven’t been paying attention, they’ve lost seven in a row. That isn’t the half of it. In that streak, the Rangers were shutout in their last two games (2-0 to the Islanders, 1-0 last night to Ottawa), Michael Nylander was benched for the entire third period of the game against the Islanders, Jaromir Jagr has only two goals and is a -4 in the losing streak, they are 4-for-37 (10.8 percent) on the power play in their last seven, 22-for 33 (66.7 percent) in penalty killing, Brendan Shanahan has only one goal in his last ten games. If there is a light at the end of the Rangers’ tunnel, it is that goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been excellent in the two shutout losses, stopping 63 of 66 shots (95.5 percent). But even that has a down side. Since Lundqvist has played in the last three Ranger games, the second half of their own back-to-back might call for Kevin Weekes to get a start. Weekes has had some problems in this stretch of Ranger futility – 0-3-0, 4.24, .857 in four appearances.

These are two teams fumbling for a way out of recent misery. They have different problems, though. The Rangers haven’t been able to score much – 11 goals in seven games. The Bearitals haven’t been able to stop anyone – 25 goals allowed in their last six contests. So, it’s the resistible force against the moveable object tonight. Who blinks first? Well, the difference could be the level of effort and the crowd. The Caps haven’t lacked for effort in this slide, and the Ranger crowd could be in the mood for red meat – wearing blue jerseys. A fast start would do wonders for the Bearitals’ chances here, and Alexander Ovechkin likes a big stage. It could be ugly for the blueshirts, especially given that wounded Washington is served up as a remedy for their own recent woes. 2006 ends on a good note for the good guys . . .

Caps 4 – Rangers 1.

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