Thursday, January 15, 2009

More than a statement win...

Anyway, allow me to put on my homer goggles for a second.

The Capitals victory over the Penguins was not a personal victory for Ovechkin and Semin, but rather a victory for the entire Capitals organization.

Sure there were a few hits between Ovechkin and Malkin as well as some taunting of the benches, but we've come to expect that from every Caps/Pens matchup.

If anything, this game represents a stunning change in this rivalry, a change where the Capitals are the bullies and the Pens the bullied. A flip-flop of years past.

The Caps went down 1-0 and spent the majority of the game going back-and-forth with the Pens. It was the prototypical Caps-Pens matchup: the Caps would get rolling, only to have to fight back.

That changed in the third period when Alex Ovechkin exploded in a Hulk-like fit of rage, netting two goals and an assist. Let's not forget that Backstrom had a huge night too, earning a quiet three assists and a plus-three on the night.

The Capitals were the better team that night, just like they were on Oct. 16, and they weren't about to let subplots defer them from their goal, two points.

In the past, the Capitals would have lost this game in a shootout, overtime, or by simply giving up, say, four goals in the third period. That all is changing as it seems the Caps are delivering those soul-sucking defeats that they are accustomed to.

The Caps victory in October? A blown three-goal lead Pittsburgh held. That sounds a lot like the Caps of 2005-2006. The Penguins aren't necessarily turning into the Capitals of years past, but rather getting a taste of their own medicine. What goes around comes around.

While the optimism is high in Capital-land, the reality is the Caps are still "in-the-hole" against the Penguins during the Ovechkin-era. They sport a 3-10 record with Crosby/Ovechkin in the lineups, but the Caps of three years ago that blew game-after-game are not the Caps of today.

The Caps may not be the best team every time they meet the Penguins, but they certainly sent a message last night.

Editors' note:
I write this as Woody Paige on Around the Horn just won the day by claiming Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL and is "more real, more sellable, more fun." Obviously Paige didn't watch last night's game. Moron. Oh and now Tony Kornheiser wants the Winter Classic on the Reflecting Pool...


  1. Capitals/Penguin relationship is/was kinda similar to Finland/Sweden. Lost games, lost 4 goal leads, non exist self-confidence...

    It should be illegal to put words like "Crosby" and "more fun" into same sentence... I almost choked on my apple crisps

  2. Crosby is "more fun?" Yeah, in the same manner as a digital prostate exam is more fun than a colonoscopy.


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