Friday, March 30, 2007
Well, here is another reason, made painfully evident in last Tuesday's "home" game against the Penguins. It is 246 miles from Mellon Arena to Verizon Center.
The closest Caps "rival" in the Southeast Division -- the Carolina Hurricanes -- play in RBC Center . . . 274 miles away.
Hard to generate much in terms of rivalry -- and the attendance in each others' arenas -- with that kind of proximity. This isn't the western half of North America, where large distances between points is a fact of life. This is the Eastern Seaboard, the home of neighborhoods . . . and the rest of the Southeast ain't in the neighborhood.
The “six” are bunching up. Three points separate six teams, and all have played 77 games, save for the
Today’s theme is “potholes,” and every one of these teams has some deep ones to get across if they are to survive . . .
The Rangers sit atop the “six” with 87 points, and they’ve had superb goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (9-1-3 in his last 13 decisions leading up to the Montreal game), but he was shelled in his last outing (four goals on 15 shots in less than 30 minutes of work)...is that the first sign that he's running out of gas?
The Islanders, with 84 points/36 wins, are almost a "feel-good" story with the hijinks in the front office before the start of the year. But they're such a chippy team, it's hard to root for them. They have a game in hand on every club in front of them, but on the other hand they're likely to lose tiebreakers on the basis of wins (they have the fewest among the six).
Two games this weekend involve “four-point games” – games pitting two of the “six” against each other:
The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!!
That’s right, boys and girls, TPP is here to prognostify you to your heart’s content. Tonight, it’s the Caps heading to balmy south
If there is a theme to the Panthers over their last ten games, it is “doin’ the two-step.” They’ve alternated two wins with two losses throughout this last ten-game stretch (6-3-1, to be precise), and seeing how they are coming off two wins, you’d think the Caps are in position for a win.
Olli Jokinen is the embodiment of “hot” (no, not his looks, unless you like that mug-shot of a deranged menace look). Ove his last ten games, he is 7-9-16, +11. That’s a good month for a lot of people; Jokinen did it in less than three weeks.
Nathan Horton has chipped in another six goals (6-1-7, +1), and Josef Stumpel has gone 4-4-8, +4, to fall into second among the Panthers’ scoring over the last ten games.
Ed Belfour is no the man in goal. He’s figured in nine decisions in the last ten games and is 5-3-1, but has offered up a 3.42 GAA and a .891 save percentage, neither of which calls to mind Ken Dryden.
For the Caps, let’s face it . . . there are all sorts of factors pointing south for this contest. There is their record against
Nevertheless, there are guys playing now who are auditioning for a spot on next year’s roster. In a sense, they are auditioning to keep playing in the NHL, if you concur with the argument that if a guy can’t make this club, he’d have trouble latching onto another roster.
It is with that in mind that The Peerless is averting his eyes and typing . . .
Caps 5 – Panthers 4.