Seems like the Caps are feeling generous lately. Once again they were winning in a game and then decided to give it away like a father does with his ugly daughter at her wedding.
I had a baaaaaaaaad feeling about this game going in. The Leafs were on something of a skid, having just lost Joffrey Lupul to a broken arm and Phil Kessel struggling to get going so far. And of course, they have the most reliable goaltending tandem in the league. So reliable in fact that they're reportedly the top contestant so far in the Roberto Luongo sweepstakes. So they seemed like easy pickings, eh? Yeah, sure...I knew otherwise. So I figured I'd stay away from watching because I just couldn't bear to witness yet another debacle.
As it happened, I was with Mrs. Blueliner in her new house and the cable hadn't been set up yet. Without my asking, she was periodically checking on the game through her mobile phone as we were enjoying the view of the unpacked boxes. Out of sheer morbid curiosity I asked her how it was going. To my surprise, the Caps were making a game of it. But I will never forget the look on her face as she shook her head each time she checked her phone.
The reason for this was because every time you turned around, there were Washington Capitals going to the penalty box like it had an open bar in it. Five minors in the first period and three more by the end of the second. I've said this before--this is not football...you cannot have eight men in the box!
By the way, the last two penalties are worth mentioning: Troy Brouwer for smothering (presumably the puck) and Jay Beagle for holding. Smothering and holding? What the hell were these two guys doing? Trying to go on dates during a hockey game?
Amazingly enough, they only gave up one power play goal during all that mess. It just happened to be during Jason Chimera's double minor. OK so six out of seven power plays killed, Alex Ovechkin scores on the power play, Mike Ribiero and Joel Ward continuing to contribute. Lots of good things happening so they should have come away with the win, right? Wrong. More checking the phone, more shaking of the head.
Here's my list of what I call the "Ain't Gonna Cut It" s:
Eight penalties called in total for seven power plays given to the opposition
Forty shots given up
41% faceoff percentage
And for the gazillionth time, leading after two periods and blowing it in the third
All of that "ain't gonna cut it."
Still plenty of time, still more than enough hockey to be played where they can make this all look like a happy accident. But they're starting to run out of time and, worse, they're starting to look like a team that will never learn from its mistakes. And they're in danger of making it look like they're having an accident--all over themselves.
The disdainful look on Mrs Blueliner's face during and after the game said it all. If only she hadn't broke my camera when I tried to take her picture.