Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Best of The Peerless

It's a dreary Sunday here outside of Peerless Central, and it gave us an opportunity to go to the back of the closet to clean up some old files. And what did we come across but some entries from a bygone day -- before the lockout. Since we're sort of bored, we decided we'd bore you, too, with a blast from the past, from January 2004...

Welcome to another . . . yeah, another, as if it matters any more . . . edition of The Peerless Prognosticator, this time brought to you by NFDA, the National Funeral Directors Association, its members dedicated to giving you the best burial service for your team’s hockey season.

Re”Cap” of Caps versus Coyotes . . . well, we’re into that part of the season where the attraction is the other team’s stars or the other team’s achievements . . . Phoenix came to town looking to get Brian Boucher an opportunity to tie a goaltending record set before there were the widespread use of masks and Michelin Man padding. Was there ever really any doubt? The Caps skated with a gimpy Peter Bondra, were missing Dainius Zubrus, and saw Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang skating around as if they’d gotten a free roll of tickets to the carousel on the Mall. Three-zip, courtest of a nice wrister from Shane Doan, the increasingly ubiquitous soft serve goal on Olaf Kolzig, and an empty netter.

Tonight, it’s the Carolina Pan . . . uh, Hurricanes (excuse Peerless . . . he’s in a haste to get down bets on the weekend NFL games) . . . hey, fans get to see Eric Staal and watch Ron Francis grow another gray hair. Spellbinding . . . well, let’s get on with it . . .

Pre-Game . . . uh-oh . . . bad sign . . . The Peerless has a guest commentator tonight . . . a prissy fellow with slicked back hair and a dainty way about him. A real blast from the Saturday Night past . . . Leonard Pinth Garnell. We might be in for a “storm” of bad hockey . . . get it? . . . get it?

First Act . . . uh, Period . . . take it away, Pinth . . .

Thank yew, and welcome to an episode of the deliciously awful drawma, “The Washington Capitals versus The Carolina Hurricanes” . . . Oh, and here we have the “Caps defenseman,” played by Mr. Rick Berry skating . . . skating skating skating, and . . . there, missing a hit and landing face first into the glass . . . oh, that was excrooooshiatingly bad.

Our next scene finds the . . . the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the atrocious Capitals, if you will – Sergei Gonchar and Brendan Witt – commiserating over which one of them shall defend against the onrushing Eric Staal . . . look here . . . Gonchar turns to Witt . . . Witt turns to Gonchar, and behold! . . . The red light is flashing . . . truly a pitifully bad effort.

Stage left, the collection of fellows wearing the white jerseys with the hideous red trim are playing their own brand of dystopian hockey . . . Radim Vrbata, who apparently suffers from a wickedly bad case of vowel deficiency in his last name, and Sean Hill, he of the regretfully bad looks, collide, allowing the underachievingly bad Jaromir Jagr to skate to the net and plop the puck past Kevin Weekes, doing an unspeakably bad imitation of a cod flopping on the deck of a fishing boat. Oh, my . . . these teams are bad beyond belief! I must compose myself, so it is a good thing that the intermission is here . . .

First Intermission . . . JOE GIBBS UPDATE! JOE GIBBS UPDATE! JOE GIBBS UPDATE! . . . He is having a diet cola and popcorn with his wife Pat as they settle in to watch “NFL Total Access” on the NFL Network on satellite.

Second Period . . . And here are our bad performers taking to the ice once more . . . what terrifyingly bad hockey might we see in this act? . . . Let’s watch . . .

In this vignette, the gentleman in the striped shirt with the howlingly bad hair . . . Fraser, I believe he is named . . . blows his whistle . . . and here are Jesse Boulerice and Brendan Witt bumping one another . . . again . . . oh, and would you look at that abusively bad sneer on the face of Witt. It is of a type that would scare . . . well, no one, I suppose.

We move forward to a stoppage in play, and we are treated to the achingly high decibel badness of that abomination called “rock and roll” . . . perhaps by a band with an obscenely bad name like, “Fetus Casserole With Potato Chip Topping” or something like that . . . my, but it is bad.

We return to the hockey, if that is really what it is, and catch up with Vladimir and Estragon . . . uh, Gonchar and Witt, as they fumble the puck between each other . . . Jeff O’Neill, who is having a truly bad year, picks up the puck and skates in alone on the frustratingly bad Olaf Kolzig . . . as he closes in on the net . . . there goes the puck . . . rolling harmlessly into the corner . . . a truly, truly bad effort deserving of the golf-clap of applause.

Meanwhile, over where the players congregate, we see a horde of black-jerseyed Capitals jumping onto the ice to join their teammates . . . none of whom are leaving the ice . . . ah, here comes the badly combed, sprayed and lacquered hair of a referee to inform us of the infraction . . . too many men on the ice. Well, that hardly seems all that bad, but we’ll take the referee’s word for it.

As the play then unfolds, we see the white-jerseyed team of Hurricanes skating around the Capitals net . . . I do believe I saw a salchow in there somewhere. Their skating isn’t in the dingiest category of bad, but if the object of the exercise is to shoot, then I’d have to call them, well . . . bad. But, as dependably bad as the Wizards who also occupy this building, here comes another penalty . . . “roughing?” Does one call that gentle placement of the glove in the face of an opponent, “roughing?” Well, my bad . . . I didn’t see it, but now the Caps have TWO men sitting in the penalty box . . . this should be monstrously bad. Oh, but before we can entertain our guilty pleasures, it seems another intermission is in order.

Second Intermission . . . JOE GIBBS UPDATE! JOE GIBBS UPDATE! JOE GIBBS UPDATE! . . . Joe dialed up the thermostat at his house after Pat complained that she was “chilly.”

Third Period . . . When we left, the Hurricanes were about to begin what hockey aficionados refer to as a . . . five-on-three, which sounds vaguely obscene. We watch as Eric Staal passes to Ron Francis . . . who passes back to Staal . . . who passes back to Francis . . . who passes out to Markov . . . who passes over to O’Neill . . . who passes back to . . .

- in the interest of time, we move forward to later action -

. . . back to Francis . . . over to Staal . . . out to . . . oh, my, that was a flagitiously bad pass . . . Mike Grier escapes with the puck and heads the other way . . . he’s off by himself . . . no one within an area code of him . . . the Mars Rover has more company . . . and he . . . he . . . loses the puck . . . oh, how insufferably bad! . . . but here is Joel Kwiatkoski to snare the puck and loose an arrow of a shot past the hoisted glove of Kevin Weekes, who is doing a laughingly bad imitation of the Statue of Liberty. A shorthanded goal . . . on a “five-on-three?” I cannot speak to being a hockey “expert,” but I would think this is unconscionably bad. I think I’ll get myself a liquid beverage to celebrate . . . uh, how much for a beer? . . . for a domestic beer? . . . now that is BAD!

The play is winding down, and the Hurricanes are playing with the desperation borne out of true badness. They scurry hither and yon, flitting to and fro, trying badly to squirt one puck past the pads of Olaf Kolzig. The clock is ticking away (it’s digital, I know . . . humor me), and Ron Francis winds his creakingly bad bones for one last shot . . . the puck is hurled toward Kolzig, low upon the ice . . . Kolzig gets a piece of it between his pads, but it skitters softly toward the line . . . there is a pile up of players . . . sticks are flailing . . . bodies are writhing . . . the Bad Haired Ref is perched on the back of the net . . . the horn sounds! . . . what happened?

We have to go to the video judge to look at the replay . . . he goes back to review the last 10 seconds, but all he gets is static . . . somebody forgot to plug in the camera . . . bad . . . badbadbad.

So there we have it, an appallingly bad performance of the drawma, “The Washington Capitals versus The Carolina Hurricanes,” wherein the Capitals defeat the Hurricanes, 2-1. Tune in next time to another episode of “Bad NHL Hockey.”


We should note that the game did not turn out this way (the Caps actually won this game, 4-1), but it was our long-drawn out version of a prognostication. Don't be alarmed.