The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
It’s a Friday here in ol’ D.C., and that means…Canucks. Yes, friends…Canucks. And you know what that means…Cap-killer, Roberto Luongo, shown here modeling the latest in Reebok goalie gear:
Luongo leads the Canucks into Verizon Center tonight in what is, for him at least, a familiar position from his days with the Florida Panthers. The Canucks are 4-6-0 and losers of two of their last three outings. And it’s not as if the Canuck netminder has been especially Luongish, either.
For the season, he is 3-6-0, 3.01, .900. But he is 14-9-3, 2.14, .933 in 28 career games against the Caps. Solving him, even in his current (for him) slump, won’t be an easy trick.
As for the rest of the team, there really isn’t much mystery about them when looking at their team statistics. For the Caps, the message is, “avoid taking penalties.” That’s not easy, as the Canucks are tied for fourth in the league in total power play opportunities (53), and they take advantage -- Vancouver ranks ninth in the league in power play conversions at 20.8 percent.
And here is perhaps an obscure statistic that the Caps might be able to exploit tonight…the Canucks are dead last in the league in taking faceoffs – 43.4 percent. No Canuck who has taken at least 50 draws has a winning percentage higher than 48 percent.
As for the Caps, The Peerless is pleased to be joined once more by Dr. Vynot Schootdepuck, Director of Advanced Applications at the Bettman Institute of Technology and Competitive Hockey. Fans of this space might remember we met Dr. V last year, when he was sharing some top-end hockey technology with us. Dr. V, welcome back…how are things going at BITCH these days?
“Zere r-r-r-really bitchin’ at BITCH….heh-heh…heh-heh-heh…”
Must be techie humor…OK, Dr. V, today’s subject is “power play,” and more to the point, what the Caps could do to improve theirs. Are you and your fellow wizards at BITCH working on anything that can help?
“Vell…ve are vurking on zum new gadgets that might just do ze trick…"
Can you share them vith…I mean with…us?
“Zhure…you might haff read zat story yezterday about ze pr-r-r-roblems mit de uniforms and dat Reebok vuz going to install a fr-r-r-ont panel to ze jersey…vell, lookee here…”
Is that what I think it is?
“No, dumbkopf!...pennels…pennels…P-A-N-E-L-S…vut do dogs haff to do mit hockey?!”
Ah, I see…so you…
“Inzert zem right here in ze jersey like ziss….”
And when the lights come on…
Genius! What else do you have for us, Dr. V?
“Vell…vut iz ziss?”
Looks like a puck.
“Ya, you’d tink zo, voodn’t you? But now, vatch venn I zhoot it…
Where did it go?
“kent zee it, ken you?”
Nope, it’s as if…
“It vennished into tin air?”
Yeah…into thin air.
“It’s ze ‘invisipuck.’ Ve took dat schtoopit puck mit de red tr-r-r-r-ail dat Fox used and applied zum light-bending technology, and Prezto!...’invispuck’...goalies vill never zee it”
Isn’t that against the rules?
“Roolz-schmoolz…dis is zyence!”
OK, so…might we see this puck making an appearance at Verizon Center tonight?
“Vell…it costs two billion dollars.”
“WHAT?!...FOR ONE PUCK??!!”
“Vhat!...you zink technology is geep?!”
OK…so what about the goalies…anything for them?
“Ah…look at ziss…zumtink for ze goalie who hess pr-r-r-roblems ztoppink ze puck…let me put ziss on…OK, zhoot ze puck.”
You sure?...I’ve got a mean wrister…
“ya-ya…you’re Gr-r-r-reztky, I know….go a-hedd.”
My goodness…is that an…air bag?
“Like it?...az zoon as ze puck hits it, ze air bag deploys…and zenn inztantly deflates beck to normal…ze referees never zee it!”
The problem isn’t pucks hitting the goalies, it’s the pucks that the goalies don’t stop.
“uh…ya. Zat alvays zeems to be ze sticking point.”
Well, Doc…as always, it’s been a pleasure. We hope you’ll join us again soon.
“oh, ya…I tink I’m busy dat day.”
As for the Caps, they’ve climbed all the way to 23rd in the league in goals scored, but that’s not the number – or rather numbers -- we’re going to pay attention to…the ones that struck our eye were, “1.17” and “0.78.” Those are the respective 5-on-5 scoring ratios for the Caps (9th) and Canucks (23rd) so far this year. In English, the Caps have been a strong 5-on-5 team, the Canucks have not. It goes with that “avoid taking penalties” message…if the Caps can stay out of the box (and taking only three minor penalties against Tampa in the last outing was an encouraging sign), they could do very well this evening. But you already knew that...
So with that, and Luongo’s penchant for giving up three goals in a game this year (he’s done it four times in nine games so far)…
Caps 3 – Canucks 2.