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.