Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!!! -- Caps vs. Canadiens, January 31st

The Peerless Prognosticator is ON THE AIR!...

And today’s subject, dear readers, is…”running up the score.”

It seems some folks in Caps Nation are a bit peeved at the behavior of the Montreal Canadiens at the conclusion of Tuesday?s 4-0 whitewash of the Caps. To wit, they believe that the home team was looking to pad their stats at the end by sending out their top line in the last minute when the score was 3-0, and the matter had been settled.

Well, the notion of “running it up” inspired us to ask some of the more famous “runner uppers” about their motivation in engaging in such behavior. We begin with George Halas, who didn’t “run” up the score…he sprinted up and down the field with it as his Chicago Bears drubbed the Washington Redskins, 73-0, in the NFL championship game of 1940. Coach, welcome…

“Yeah, glad to be here…”

Coach, 73-0…did you think of that as “running up the score?”

“Hell, yeah, it was running up the score. If we played a fifth quarter, I’d have made sure we scored a hundred…”

You still seem perturbed.

“Look, thesaurus boy, that idiot of an owner the Redskins had thought he’d be brave and all by calling us crybabies and quitters when we lost to them, 7-3, a few weeks before the championship game. Well, we got the last laugh…it was so bad, they even ran out of footballs for us to kick extra points…made us run for conversions on the last two touchdowns. Haven’t heard much out of ol’ George Preston Marshall lately…”

Uh, Coach…he died in ’69. OK, so what about a different kind of “running up the score?”…For that, we have to ask Crazy Horse about the Battle of the Little Big Horn…uh, shouldn’t we be talking to Sitting Bull?

“Huh…’Sitting Bull’ is right. He just sat around in camp spreadin' the 'bull' around while Red Horse and I did all the dirty work in battle.”

About the battle…you really laid a whuppin’ on George Armstrong Custer didn’t you? (why are all these guys named, “George?”)…

“Yeah, thought we were just a bunch who wouldn’t put up a fight…even split up his forces. It’s about respect. You have to respect your opponent. And when he doesn’t, you just think enough is enough, and running up the score is the thing to do.”

Well, it’s an interesting take on “running up the score,” but it even shows itself in college football. Coach Barry Switzer, you were often accused of “running up the score” on much weaker opponents when you were at Oklahoma to boost your rankings in the polls. Did you pass late in games to pad your score?

“Ha-ha…they should know better…at Oklahoma we’d throw the ball to keep the score down.”

Speaking of football, what about you, Bill Belichick?...Your New England Patriots not only went 16-0 in the regular season this year, but you set an NFL record of scoring 589 points. More than a few coaches have suggested that you ran up the score in games…care to comment?


Well, that adds some needed and welcome clarity to the matter, and it is left to the Capitals to ponder whether the Canadiens did, in fact, look to pile up some garbage-time goals. What they will do about it tonight will be interesting to watch unfold.

Of relevance here is the fact that the Caps have lost nine games in regulation since Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench. In the previous eight, the Caps record in games following those losses is 6-0-2, outscoring opponents 25-16. But here is the statistic that might have the greatest bearing on this game tonight. In games following regulation losses, the Caps have tightened the screws in penalty killing, skating off 25 of 27 shorthanded situations (92.6 percent). Given Montreal’s potent power play, this is the fault line upon which the game will be decided.

If you’re looking for more trends, you can look at the prognosto for Tuesday’s game…the same keys still apply. But tonight will have a happier result…

Caps 5 – Canadiens 3.


Snktimoniuz said...

I seem to recall the Caps being accused of running up the score against the Panthers back in 2002-2003 or 03-04. The final score was around 12-2 and the FLA coach made a remark like "These players may not always be in Florida but they won't forget their treatment at the hands of this team.".

The Peerless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Peerless said...

That was Jagr's high-water mark with the club (3-4-7). But the thing is, the last score in that game came with more than ten minutes left in the contest, and Jagr sat for most of that last period. He played barely 14 minutes in the game.

Hooks Orpik said...

I don't think they were really running up the score.

To be certain, the game's outcome was clear in the final minute, but aside from the "they're all professionals" and the fact Montreal was at home and trying to put on a show for their fans, consider:

Their powerplay was, to that point, just 1 for 5. Which isn't very good for the league's 2nd best unit.

For momentum's sake (especially know you'll see the Caps in a few days again) if I were the Montreal coach I probably would have put the #1 PP out their too....Now if the score was 5-0 or 6-0 perhaps it should be a different story.

3-0 is hardly a blowout, even if the game's was decided it wasn't over and I think a team in the Habs position had every right to keep the pedal to the medal.

DMG said...

3-0 in the last minute with the losing team on the PK is clearly a decided game.

Re the Capitals 12-2 win over Florida - Peerless makes good points and I'm like to expound on them a little. In a game like that, where one team takes control in the first couple minutes, I don't fault a team for continuing to score. I mean if you're up 6-0 in the second period, you don't need to be pinching in the 'D', swatting at covered pucks, ripping slapshots or celebrating when you do put one in the net, but you should keep playing the game; to not take a shot when it's open to you because you're blowing out the other team is insulting as well.