Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Enjoying the Playoffs?

Well the dust has settled, the off season has begun for the Caps, and there are currently three teams left fighting for the cup.  Personally, I've found it hard to watch the rest of the playoffs because I hate everyone who is left.  I guess I'm rooting for the Kings if I had to pick someone.  I've been passing my time writing over at a new blog http://nats.dcsportsnexus.com/.  If you like the Nationals or just want to keep up with what I'm writing that's a place to check out.

We will try and have to Cup-finals posts here and once the off season truly gets underway we will start to cover any capitals related news.

Hope y'all are getting along in this post-captials world and as always, thanks for reading.

-Dru

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Game 7 Failure Once Again.

I don't have a lot to say about tonight's game right now.  Can't say we didn't have our fair share of chances in it though.  In the days to come I'm sure we will be able to look back and reflect on the playoffs and the season.  We will be able to start looking ahead to next year.  Right now though, blah.

I present the evolution and of my playoff beard:

Nervous right before game 7 of the Boston Series.  That will be a night to remember: 


Optimistic before game 7 of the New York Series: 

After game 7 of the New York Series.  The end of the season:

Thanks for reading and check back in a few days of give me a follow on twitter (@dru90) to read our thoughts on the season. -Dru

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bring on the Rangers!

I have to admit, going into game 7 against the defending champs, at their arena, I didn't have a whole lot of faith that the Caps would pull it out. I've simply seen too many game 7s gone wrong in the past couple of years. The most I could hope for was that, for better or for worse, the game would be over by the end of the first period. That way, at least I would be spared a nail-biting heartbreaker and the cardiac arrest that comes with that.

Of course, the Caps being the Caps, the game naturally went into overtime. But then, Joel Ward managed to bury a rebound of a Mike Knuble shot to give the Caps the victory.

Game. Set. Match. The Caps had just won the closest series in NHL history and eliminated the defending Stanley Cup Champions. This Capitals team, under Dale Hunter, maintained enough discipline and composure to stick to their system and never panicked, even managing to kill off a penalty in the last 3 minutes of regulation. It wasn't easy, it was stressful as shit, but in the end, they made it.

We won game 7. In overtime. Against the defending champs. In Boston. That is not an insignificant thing. And as my thoughts turned to potential second-round matchups, I realized something: I'm beginning to believe in this team again.

Flyers? I'm not afraid of them. Ilya Bryzgalov is certainly no Tim Thomas, and given the injuries that have ravaged their D-corps, even that isn't as scary as usual. Sure, they have a lot of firepower up front, but if our guys managed to reduce Boston's top-6 to a non-factor for much of the series (with Carlson and Alzner breaking advanced stats in the process), there was no reason we couldn't do the same to Philly. Jersey? Please. Marty Brodeur is like a million years old, Ovechkin is better than Kovalchuk, and Volchenkov is one of their top D.

And New York, which is the matchup we ended up with. Regular season Eastern Conference champions. Of course, as Caps fans, we're well aware of what that counts for in the playoffs (jack shit). Lundqvist is probably the best goalie left in the East, but we've beaten him twice before, and the dropoff from him to Thomas isn't that huge. If we can beat one, we can beat the other. Girardi? Sure, he's a good defenseman, but he's no Zdeno Chara. And their forwards? Well, they've got depth, and Gaborik/Richards is a potent scoring threat. But our top-end talent can match them. I'm confident. After round 1, I don't think there's a single team left in the East we can't beat if, in the words of Johnny Boychuck (?), "we keep playing the same fuckin' way."

Puck drops for Round 2, Game 1 any time now. Bring it on.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Awards

Here is the compilation of the awards posts.  Thanks again for sticking with us all season!
  (If your only going to read one awards post, might we suggest Last Place?)



If you want to get in touch with the artist of the awards you can find him on Twitter @andromatta, or at the email address: matt.starsoneck@gmail.com.

Awards: Closing Remarks

So that puts the final wrap on a great season of CSN hockey coverage here at Action on the Ice.  When I started this a few months ago I had no intention of seeing it through to the end of the season.  I figured it would be a fun diversion and joke the occupy my time for awhile, but people actually showed up and read what I had to say.  I got my friend Nick to join the team and we decided to finish out the season.  Now that it's over I want to thank everybody who read anything here at Action on the Ice.  If you all weren't reading I would have stopped along time ago and what fun would that have been?  

Things are going to slow down here for the next couple months.  We might put up some posts about the playoffs as they are happening.  There will probably be some off season posts that go up at random times throughout the summer as well.  If you want to keep up with whenever the blog updates during that time period, the best way is probably to follow me on twitter: @Dru90 or to subscribe to the blog on an rss reader.

Finally, if you liked the artwork of the awards you can get in touch with the guy who did them on twitter: @andromatta or by email at matt.starsoneck@gmail.com.  Everybody should do that.

So I hope you enjoyed the awards, I hope you enjoyed the posts over the course of the season, and as always Lets Go Caps.
-Dru

Awards: Last Place



Finally, we have the Last place award.  This award goes to the member of the CSN crew who accumulated the lowest point total in the Action on the Ice standings.  The winner (or loser) of this award could be none other than Chuck “the Gormley” Gormley.  Chuck managed to rack up an impressively bad -11 point total on the season, despite only appearing in a few select home game broadcasts.  Chuck managed to do this be finishing in the last star spot every time he got the chance.  If Julie Donaldson gets credit for inspiring my blog’s title, than Gormley’s consistently bad performances get the credit for giving me the idea of critiquing the CSN broadcasters.  The reasons for Chuck’s poor performance have been discussed at length.  His lack of personality, his shallow and useless stories, his ridiculous claim of being a “capitals insider”, and the list could go on and on.  On this occasion I thought instead of ragging on Chuck yet again for his obvious flaws that I would do a little bit of “hard-core” investigative journalism to uncover why Chuck is the man we love-to-hate.  Or maybe that should be hate-to-hate.  So I present, The Chuck Gormley Story. (apologies in advance for any formatting errors with the pictures.  I am not a computer wizard.)
All of this is the conjecture of an overactive imagination and should not be taken as fact in any way shape, or form.  It is purely written for entertainment and is almost certainly 100% false.       
I began my investigation as any good investigator would, by googling Chuck’s name.  The results were...curious to say the least.

The first three results were all FLYERS related.  That is odd.  Now that I think about it I remember hearing that Chuck was a connected with the Flyers before he came over to Washington so maybe the search results aren’t that strange.  I decided to snoop onward and clicked on the first link, “Chuck’s Pucks”. 

WOW.  Alright so this is clearly something of a personal webpage.  It is also starting to look like Chuck wasn’t only working for the Flyers before he came to CSN, but that he was something of a superfan of the team.  Particularly interesting is the fact that he wrote a book, a book about Flyer’s Hockey.  The fact that he wrote a Flyer’s book confirms for me the idea that Gormley was a huge Flyer’s fan.  Suddenly, Twitter comments like these from Chuck during the last week of the NHL season come off a bit differently...

Chuck’s book sticks in my brain.  A person capable of writing an entire book must have some genuine skills as a reporter/writer.  Yet Chuck constantly seems to lack those skills with the Caps.  It doesn’t add up.  Is it possible that Chuck is just phoning it in with the Caps, that his heart really isn’t in it?  No, it can’t be the reason.  I proceed to scan his web page and then I find this.

What the hell!  The section labeled “Chuck’s Blog” is still being updated with recent Flyer’s news posts.  Chuck IS phoning it in with the Caps!

After a brief break period that I used to recover from my discovery I decided to click on on of Chuck’s blog stories.  Lets see what the Gormley is actually devoting his time too.

Hmmm that one doesn’t seem to be written by Chuck himself.  In fact, none of the links I clicked on seem to be directly written by Chuck.  They are all written by “Randy Miller”.  If these stories aren’t written by Gormley why is his webpage updating to post links to them underneath the heading “Chuck’s Blog” and who is this Randy Miller guy.

Okay so Randy is the Flyer’s writer for the Courier-Post.  His back story seems to check out and for the time being I am ruling out that “Randy” is an elaborate persona created by Chuck to allow him to cover the Flyers while working for CSNwashington.  Now that I knew who Randy was, I was still left with the question, why is Chuck updating his website with these stories.  Well, Randy’s bio said he started working for the Courier-Post in 2011.  Time for some time traveling...back to those heady days known as 2011

...
After going back through the archives of the Courier-Post it appears that Chuck Gormley was the Flyer’s reporter BEFORE Randy was given the job in 2011.  This discovery left me with a new question.  Why would Chuck, a die hard Flyer’s fan and a presumably somewhat successful author of a Flyer’s fan-book leave a job covering the team he loves to work for the Capitals in Washington?
I had to look no further than Chuck’s last post, August 17, 2011.

  
Reading through his final post there is no mention of his leaving for CSN washington.  What is even stranger is the fact that Chuck was announced as joining the CSN crew on August 1, 2011, meaning he knew he would be leaving...or did he?

In light of this information I was left with one conclusion...that Chuck intended to keep working for both the Flyers and the Caps and wanted to keep this information a secret from his Flyer’s readers/employers.  The rest of the story seems pretty simple to piece together.  People found out that Chuck was two-timing the Flyers.  He was let go at his post at the Courier-Post and replaced by Randy Miller.  The aftermath of these events left a depressed and souless Chuck who had lost his dream job.  Sure, he still had his CSN job, but his heart wasn’t in it.  Now Chuck drifts along collecting paychecks from CSNwashington while wishing he could return to his true love, the Flyer’s.  My final piece of evidence to tie everything together is a few of the comments that appeared on Chuck’s final Courier-Post blog article.

Strange comments.  Three repeats heaping generic praise and promises to return to the site whenever Chuck posts again.  One claiming that they are a first time viewer and pointing out that everyone seems to love Chuck.  All of them posted in December, several months after Chuck had left and Randy had taken over.  How did these four people find their way to Chuck’s last article and why did they say the things they did.  I couldn't find any comments of these sort on an of Randy's articles.  This seems like an impossible question to answer.  However, maybe the person we should be asking is Chuck Gormley himself...


So there you have it.  The Chuck Gormley Story.  All of this is conjecture of an overactive imagination and should not be taken as fact in any way shape or form.  Congrats on your last place finish Chuck and thanks for giving us stuff to write about here at Action on the Ice!              

Awards: Underperformer

The Underperformer award is given out to the member of the CSN crew who failed to live up to expectations.  This person isn't the worst member of the crew.  They don't lack skills and talents to make them a successful broadcaster.  On the contrary they possess both of those things, but for some reason was unable to use them to score points this season.  This years underperformer award goes to Chick Hernandez.


Chick isn't a bad broadcaster.  He is pretty personable, seems to try to do his job well, and can sound down right distinguished at times during his highlight recaps.  He also gets plenty of air time, normally at least one game a week he finds himself handling intermissions.  So why did he only manage to score 1 point this season?  It is actually quite hard to put a finger on.  He doesn't normally make huge mistakes and I rarely come away from his broadcasts with anything other than a smile.  It just felt like he lacked a little bit of fight this season.  He didn't seem to WANT to win.  That is until he found out he was in danger of finishing the season without any points.  He showed up during the last game of the season and made sure he finished in the top 3.  It is that kind of attitude that he needs to carry into next season to make the most out of his opportunities.     

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The State of the NHL

We interrupt our awards presentation to discuss real live hockey issues.  Read below as my co-editor discusses his feelings on violence in hockey. -Dru

I am a conflicted hockey fan.


I love hockey. I love the speed. I love the skill: the passing, the shooting, the skating, and I marvel at the athletic abilities of the players who can do all of these things at top speed. I love the camaraderie and the team-first attitude. I love that when a player scores, the first thing he does is look around for his teammates, who pile on for the hockey hug. And I love the look of unbridled joy on the guys' faces throughout the whole moment.


I also love the violence. The hitting. The guys that pay for every inch of ice they gain with sweat and tears. The guy that holds the puck for that extra second, even though can see the a 200-pound opponent coming to hit him, to line up that perfect pass so a his teammate can bury it. The fighting. The guys who come to bat for their teammates to exact a pound of flesh for a cheap shot.


That last paragraph has become rather difficult for me to reconcile with the events of the past couple weeks of playoff hockey. As much as I love to watch a good old fashioned donniebrook, even I felt sick to my stomach after the Flyers/Penguins game last Sunday. Sometime between Arron Asham's attempt at crushing Brayden Schenn's windpipe, and James Neal taking two separate runs at two different guys on the same shift, I just felt disgusted.


And that was just the latest in a sequence of distressing events in this year's first round. There was also Shea Weber using the glass to try to crack open Henrik Zetterberg's head like a coconut. There's the Boston Bruins taking shots at Nick Backstrom's head at every possible opportunity. But that Pens/Flyers game was what finally put me over the top. What finally made me realize that this is not hockey.


This is not the game I love. Hell, it's not even the kind of violence I like to see. This is not guys making life difficult for their opponents through hard-nosed, physical play. What this is, plain and simple, is a bunch of guys trying to damage each other.


My hockey coach in high school was a man by the name of Bob Trantin. He taught me a hell of a lot about the game of hockey (and a hell of a lot about life, but that's another discussion). He taught us to play hard and to play physical, but also to play clean. And above all, to respect your opponent.


Respect. That's the key word here. And it's a concept that seems to be missing in today's NHL. At the very simplest level, you don't try to murder the guys you're playing against because you don't want them to murder you. For me in high school (and millions of other people in the world), hockey was simply a hobby. For these guys in the NHL, it's a job. A VERY well-paying job. I would think none of those guys out there playing tonight, whether amateur or professional, want to wake up tomorrow morning unable to keep playing hockey. So why, suddenly, does it seem like so many of these guys in the NHL seem to have so little qualm with putting other players' careers in jeopardy? Growing up, I always thought of hockey players as warriors. Guys who give it all they've got out there, every shift, every game, playing as hard as they can. But playing with honor. Lately, though, the honor seems to be absent. These guys aren't warriors anymore. They're thugs, using cheap shots and underhanded tactics to win at all costs. Clearly, the Code is dead.


So what can the league do to get guys to respect each other again? Well, my idea is to play off that team-first attitude I talked about in my intro. I'll use Raffi Torres' hit on Marian Hossa last night as an example. Torres charged Hossa, left his feet, and launched himself into Hossa's head. Hossa had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. The league should of course suspend Torres. And for good measure, they should suspend Keith Yandle along with him. As another example, Asham got 4 games for trying to kill Brayden Schenn. How about the league also suspends Evgeni Malkin for 4 games as well?


Of course, that's not fair. Yandle and Malkin didn't do anything; why should they be punished? Well, even if the guys taking runs at people clearly don't give a rat's ass about their opponents, we can only hope they still care about their team and their teammates. Perhaps if Torres and Asham knew that taking liberties was not only going to result in their suspension, but also in the suspension of one of their teams' top players, they'd think twice about taking a run at somebody. If not for their opponents' sake, than for the sake of their own teams' chances.


Of course, all of the above would be dependent on NHL Officiating in general and Brendan Shanahan in particular pulling their collective heads out of their asses. Until that happens, there is simply no hope.
-Murshawursha

Awards: Most Improved

The NHL season is a journey. A long, arduous, 82 game-journey. A lot can happen over 82 games. Players and teams get hot and cold. Underdogs can rise and titans can fall. Sometimes the stars carry their teams, but sometimes it's the guys you don't expect that rise to the occasion and exceed your wildest expectations. Broadcasting is no different. And here at Action on the Ice, we like to recognize those kinds of improvements. Which is why we'll be handing out an award for Most Improved Broadcaster!








And the envelope please... The winner is:


Michael "The" Jenkins (who occasionally wears a vest)!


Yes, The Jenkins wins our award for Most Improved! When we first encountered him on CSN, we frequently described him with adjectives like "creepy," and "awkward," and "trying to seem cool but not." We also spelled his name wrong (our sincerest apologies for that, by the way). But that was then, and this is now, and as of now, Jenkins has come a long way from the Eskimo Pie days.


The transition started around February 9 against the Jets. I actually vividly remember that day: We were royally pissed off at just about the entire broadcast team; Gormley was Gormley, Toland talked about Tiger Woods, and Joe B and Locker jinxed the living shit out of the Caps. We basically had the post ready to go by the middle of the third period. The only (relatively) bright spot was Michael Jenkins, at intermission, wearing red and cheering for the Caps. And despite some technical hiccups during his highlights, he laughed 'em off and powered through like a champ. But the real breakout was his postgame show. I was sitting watching the game with Dru, typing up my half of our recap and not really paying attention to the postgame. But what I overheard sounded generally pretty good. I looked up as it was ending and asked Dru, "Who was that? We should probably give them a star; that was downright good." His response? "I think that was The Jenkins." I had to do a double-take, but in fact it was.


From there, Jenkins never looked back. He wore red in almost every broadcast he covered, the awkwardness... Well, it didn't stop, but it got less creepy and more endearing, and the quality of his hockey highlight calls seemed to improve dramatically in the later parts of the year, and it seemed to us he put in some honest effort to improve his hockey acumen. After February 9, Jenkins scored a total of 7 points and didn't take last star a single time. Props and respect from us, and hopefully he continues next season.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Awards: Fan-Favorite


The next award is for the Fan-Favorite CSN broadcaster as decided by you, the fans.  All season long we have had a poll running to let you vote for your CSN broadcaster of choice.  The winner, with 29% of the vote, is Alan May.  This is Alan May’s second award for the season.  If you want to know all the reasons he is great than look no further then our post for the 1st Place award, which he also won.  The fact that you guys chose the same person we did as the best-of-the-best means we must be doing something right.  Congratulations on your two awards Alan, and thanks for making CSN great!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Awards: 1st Place


This next award is for the 1st place finisher in the Action on the Ice standings.  With a final score of 34 points, beating out his closest competition by 10 points, Alan May gets the 1st place award.  Alan May was the main studio guy for the CSN crew, a position that had him handling the pre and post game shows.  Unlike Joe B and Locker, Alan May did not have a constant presence on a nightly basis.  Some games didn’t have a pre and post game show, and those that had them did not provide May with air time equivalent to that of Joe B and Locker during the course of the game.  Despite this, Alan May managed to soundly finish in 1st place.  The reason behind his success is simply, when May got his chances he came to play, and he played hard.  In his pregame duties, May did a great job breaking down the key match ups to look for and listed keys to winning the game.  When the Caps followed his keys they almost always won.  In the postgame shows, May was unapologetically brutal when pointing the mistakes and shortcomings of the Caps, but he was also quick to hand out praise when it was rightfully earned.  He offered fantastic insight into the game of hockey with his hardnose-former player perspective.  Besides his great skills at breaking down the game, May was also a force to reckon with in the world of broadcaster bantering.  Alan May would challenge anyone on the crew to a war of words.  Once he was engaged in a back-and-forth with one of his coworkers Alan took no prisoners, (just ask Rob Carlin).  Always entertaining, and always correct (just ask Alan May) Alan May made the most of his opportunities this season and blew away everyone in his way to claim the 1st place award.  Thank you for your great work this season Alan, it is safe to say that on more than one occasion YOU, and not the team, were the most entertaining thing about the broadcast.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Awards: Editor's Choice (Murshawursha)







So this is my chance to pick whoever I want, eh? How many of you were expecting more Alan May worship? Well, you'd all be wrong. Why? Not that I don't like May, but the greedy bastard already has two awards. Plus, we've already extolled his virtues all over the pages of this blog. So I figured I'd take this opportunity to write about a slightly more unsung hero. So, without further ado, I present Murshawursha's 2011-2012 Editor's Choice Award to... *drumroll*


Dave Johnson!



Yes, Dave Johnson. Why? Well, for starters, he was entertaining in a slightly-insane-tough-guy sort of way. Probably comes from his soccer background. But regardless, the dynamic between him and Alan May was amazingly entertaining and something I would like to have seen (and see, in the future) more of. But regardless, I'm still not entirely sure how familiar he was with hockey, but even if he wasn't, he did an awesome job faking it. From the beginning, he was never afraid to offer up his opinions, and he often went toe-to-toe with Alan May and emerged unscathed. Anyone who can manage that is worthy of respect.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Awards: 2nd Place


The next award goes to the 2nd place finisher in the Action on the Ice standings.  Finishing the year with 24 points, and only just narrowly beating out Joe B, Craig Laughlin is our 2nd place winner.  Like Joe B, Locker was with us night in and night out to provide us with some great color commentary and insight on the games.  When you first think of Locker the things that come to mind are some of his favorite phrases: dipsy-doo, soap-on-a-rope, spin-o-rama; and of course his telestrations, “HOLD IT HERE!”.  However, Locker is so much more than a collection of phrases.  He provided us with great insight into the games using his perspective as a former player, but not hitting us over the head with that fact.  Locker went out of his way every night to educate us about the game of hockey and I think it is safe to say that I have a better understanding of the game after each broadcast ends, thanks in large part to Locker.  Besides his roles as color-guy and educator, Locker also frequently handled the player interviews and always seemed to know the perfect question to ask to elicit an interesting or entertaining response from the players in the short time window.  There isn’t really much more I can say about Locker that Dan Steinberg hasn’t already in his Washington Post article, so I encourage you to all go take a look at that (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/craig-laughlin-his-accent-his-phrases-his-sharpies/2012/04/02/gIQAjr2yqS_blog.html)
For his ability to make every game entertaining and informative was salute Locker and award him the 2nd place finish as a thank you for his great work throughout the season.                  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Awards: Editor's Choice (Dru)



The first Editor’s Choice award goes to, and this should come as no surprise, to Julie Donaldson.  Julie ended the year with a respectable 17 points and a 5th place finish in the Action on the Ice standings.  That isn’t bad for a person who worked the intermission reports once a week or so.  It has been no secret that my favorite member of the CSN crew is Julie.  Heck, the name of this blog was taken from a Julie Donaldson catch phrase that she used in the first half of the season, “Now lets take a look at some Action on the Ice”.  Oddly enough, Julie stopped using the phrase basically as soon as I started this blog.  If she hadn’t dropped it from her broadcast there is no telling how many points she could have racked up!  In all seriousness, I am giving this award to Julie because I think she does the best job out of all the intermission anchors.  She rarely makes a mistake in her highlight rundowns, always manages to sound really interested about she is showing us, wears great outfits that frequently rock the red, and always seems to make me smile even when things are going poorly for the Caps on the ice.  Other things that make Julie great:  she frequently shows us great hockey fights and really seems to enjoy her job.  Some of the anchors come off as extremely knowledgeable and informative, but are boring.  Others try to be exciting and personable, but don’t seem to understand the game of hockey at all.  Julie is the perfect middle ground between the two and, if I had it my way, she would be handling the intermission reports every game.  Thanks for a great season of work Julie.  Bring back the “Action on the Ice” catch phrase that inspired me to create this blog and the sky's the limit!

Awards: 3rd Place

We are going to start off the awards by recognizing our 3rd place finisher in the Action on the Ice standings.  Finishing the year with an impressive 23 points is Joe Beninati.  As the play-by-play announcer Joe B was the rock that the rest of the CSN crew relied on.  He was there for every game and always put in the effort and preparation that allowed him to provide us, the fans, with a level of game calling that is second to none.  Joe B was the voice we heard the most over the course of the season.  With such a constant presence it was sometimes difficult for him to stand out, as other broadcasters were able to do that we were less accustomed to seeing/hearing.  Joe B’s performance was also closely tied to the performance of the team on the ice in a way that was unlike any other broadcaster.  Exciting games with big moments really allowed Joe B to shine and give us signature calls that linger in our memories.  On the flip side, games that the Caps didn’t show up for left Joe B with little material to work with and this season there were more than a fair share of games like that.  Where Joe B may not be the flashiest member on the CSN crew he made up for it in his consistency.  There is also no debate that he is the best dressed member of the crew!  Night in and night out Joe B found himself in the top 3 scoring spots on Action on the Ice which allowed him to rack up the points to net himself the 3rd place finish.  From us here at Action on the Ice we’d like to thank Joe B for his excellent work and let him know how grateful we are that we get to listen to our hockey games called by the best play-by-play man in hockey.

Awards: Opening Remarks

Welcome to the Action on the Ice awards presentation spectacular!  We are going to be giving out 9 awards here, each with their own individual posting.  The posts will probably be released gradually so there isn't a ton of new material all at once.  Afterwards, we will post a compilation of the posts that will have a link to each page for easy navigation.

To commemorate each award we commissioned an artist to draw an award picture.  He did a great job and if you want to let him know or want to talk to him about doing arts follow him on twitter: @andromatta or email him at matt.starsoneck@gmail.com.

We put a lot of effort into this blog over the course of the season (some days more than others) and it is all because you guys kept reading.  So thank you and enjoy the awards.   

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Caps v Panthers (Apr 5th)

Tonight was yet another big, must win, call it what you like, game.  Basically, it was a big deal.  Guess what, the Caps actually showed up!  Neuvy went down with what looked like a really bad knee injury and that puts our playoff prospects in doubt for the future.  However, tonight the Caps won the game and clinched a playoff spot so its time for celebrating.  There will be plenty of time to look ahead tomorrow.  Check out how the CSN crew did in the last CSN game of the season:

3rd Star (1 pt):

Chick Hernandez. A surprise for the postgame show, Chick clearly wanted to make sure he finished the season on the positive side of zero in our standings. Didn’t wear any red, but gave us a solid wrap-up of the PHI/BUF game and made us chuckle when he pointed out that Rob Carlin was probably the happiest man in the studio. Why? Because if the Caps lost, Alan May would have been angry. And being stuck in a studio for postgame with Angry Alan would, I imagine, be a very intimidating experience indeed.

2nd Star (2 pts):

The Jenkins. Capped off a season that saw him grow from awkward “old Jenkins” to solid “new Jenkins” with a performance that basically showed off all the good stuff he’s been doing in the latter part of the season. Pulled double duty tonight, covering both the first and second intermissions. Came out with a dark red tie (though personally we were really hoping for a bright red vest tonight, but red is red), and both times immediately dove into the Buffalo/Philadelphia highlights, the outcome of which had huge implications for the Caps’ playoff chances (BTW, we clinched :D). Did a solid job with the highlights, and in the second intermission, also gave us a clip of Stamkos scoring on the Leafs and mentioned his quest for 60 goals. Double-kudos for that, as it’s probably the largest non-playoff-related story in the league at the moment. Well done.

1st Star (3 pts):

Alan May.  The man who lead the race all season long finishes on top.  Alan May has been a man on a mission, and that mission is to provide high quality analysis and hard nosed realism about the Caps all season long.  Tonight he was alongside his usual partner Rob Carlin.  Everything you expect of May he deliver tonight.  The highlights were Chick mentioning how the Caps victory will make Carlin the “happiest man alive” because May won’t kill him now.  Everyone fears May, with the possible exception of Locker, and everyone knows it.  During the post game show Carlin was forced to give Alan May “due credit” for correctly predicting that the Capitals season would come down to tonight’s game against Florida.  Apparently May predicted it some time ago too, so good on him.  The rest of the post game had May talking about our goalie situation moving forward and the importance of Saturday’s game against the Rangers to set the tone for the playoffs.  All post game May couldn’t help but smile, something we have almost never seen him do.  It was adorable.  In the way a bear smiles and you think it is cute, but you still fear for your life.  Yeah kinda like that.  May also gets points tonight for not jinxing us, like so many of his esteemed colleagues attempted to do.    

Last Star (-1 pt):

Chuck Gormley.  Chuck was back to give us a swan song in the last CSN game of the season.  Awkwardness?  Check.  Providing no information what-so-ever? Check.  Last place? Check.  Chuck let us know that he interviewed all the Caps players and asked them what they thought of the season.  He told us that they all used the same word to describe it.  I highly doubt that, especially since he didn’t even tell us what that word was.  I really don’t know why Chuck showed up tonight as he added absolutely nothing to the proceedings.  Maybe he wanted to make sure his last place finish was secure.  Well Chuck I have news for you, that was never in doubt.

Fact checked:  Alzner and Chimera described the season as a Roller Coaster. Brouwer did not. No quotes from anyone else.  Nicely done Chuck, nicely done.




So that is all we have for you tonight.  It was a great season here at AOTI and for those of you who stuck it out with us we can't thank you enough.  Check out the final standings on the right side and get in some last minute poll votes for your fan favorite.  We will be posting about the playoffs as they are happening and some point next week look for our big awards presentation extravaganza!  Check out the preview here, http://actionontheice.blogspot.com/2012/03/season-awards-preview.html  , and we will see you then!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dan Steinberg on Joe B and Locker

Dan Steinberg over at DC Sports Bog has a pretty... let's say illuminating piece about everyone's favorite play-by-play combo.Yes, apparently they're just as crazy out of the booth as in it.

Seriously, when those two retire, they should write a book. I'd buy it. Oh, and good on Locker for keeping his accent. He'd be nowhere near as much fun without it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Caps v Lightning (Apr 2nd)

Tonight was a pretty important game for the Caps.  Just like every game of late.  And as is the case all to often, the Caps let us down and let this game slip away from them.  They didn't even get a pity point out of it.  Nothing to do but move forward.  Two games left before we find out if this team did enough to get into the playoffs.  We sure don't make things easy on ourselves.

In CSN related news, there was some sort of emergency at CSN HQ tonight that prevented the pregame show from airing.  That really hindered Alan May and Al Koken from scoring tonight and left the door open for the rest of the CSN crew to put up some points.  Read below to see how they did:

Third Star (1 pt):

Joe B. Despite the fact that he was wearing one of the ugliest suits I’ve ever seen (though still more interesting than Harris’), Joe B managed to score solely by virtue of his comment during the first: “The 1-3-1 strangles the life out of games.” Damn f***ing straight. It’s hell to watch, and the sooner that shit is out of hockey, the better. Must be extra-painful for a guy like Joe B to call these games, seeing as he loves his firewagon hockey as much as we do.

Seriously. F*** Guy Boucher and his 1-3-1.


Second Star (2 pts):

Julie Donaldson.  Julie handled the 1st intermission and post game tonight.  She had a nice looking shirt and skirt outfit on.  Too bad it was allll black.  During her first segment she showed us the Pens-Flyers brawl.  Seriously, Julie always gets to talk about the fights when she is on, but we aren’t complaining.  She also talked about the overall playoff race picture in a quick but comprehensive manner.  Julie reappeared after the game and thankfully didn’t even acknowledge that the game had ended.  Instead she talked about a charity event that the Capitals wives and girlfriends put on recently, which put a smile on our faces for a split second before realizing that a hockey game HAD, in fact, just ended and we HAD in fact lost.  

First Star (3 pts):

Locker.  Locker returns to his scoring ways tonight with a first place finish.  Unlike Julie and Joe B, Locker wore a really nice looking suit and also had a bright red tie on.  Clearly, he came to play tonight.  Locker did an average job providing color commentary tonight while also handling the intermission interviews with Nicky and Matty.  Anytime Matty gets air time it’s a win in our book so good on you Locker.  The other thing that set Locker apart tonight was the praise he laid on the Semin-Matty P pairing.  Those two have been a consistent bright spot for the second half of the season and it’s about time people start taking notice of their great on ice chemistry.  Locker inched out a first place finish in front of Julie tonight, but it may not be enough for him to compete with Alan May for the number one spot.       



Last Star (-1 pts):


Chick Hernandez. Covered the second intermission. Didn’t mention hockey. Didn’t wear red. ...There’s really not any way to spin this that looks good for Chick. Pretty easy call on a non-Gormley night.


That's all we have for you tonight.  One more CSN game to go.  Check out the standings to see how the final game is going to have an impact on the race.  Vote in the poll to ensure your fan-favorite is recognized in the awards presentation.  Stay tuned for that coming some point next week after the dust has settled.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Caps v Habs (Mar 31st)

Tonight was the return of Nick Backstrom.  As everyone on the CSN crew let us know.  14 times.  The Caps came out flying and took an early 2-0 lead before completely disappearing until the shoot out where Hendy and Semin got us the win.  Neuvy kept us alive all night long and made some incredible saves.  Buffalo lost which gives us a 2 pt lead with 3 games to go.  Lets finish this season strong!  See below for the CSN crew:

Third Star (1 pt):

Carol Maloney. Came out with a lot of energy for the second intermission, perhaps in an effort to make up for the Caps’ lack of motivation in the second. Wasn’t rocking the red, but at least she was in blue, and if we’re being honest, just about any color of any kind would have scored her some serious points after Brent Harris’ umpteen different shades of gray in the first. Seriously Brent, your commentary is solid, but get a more interesting suit, or at least a snazzy tie. The gray is so drab and depressing. But right, this post is supposed to be about Carol Maloney.

Carol gave us a nice long look-in and fairly comprehensive coverage of the Sabres/Leafs game tonight, and made sure to make note of the playoff implications of that game on the Caps. Always a nice thing to remind us of this time of year.

Second Star (2 pts):

Smokin’ Al Koken.  Koken was a busy man tonight.  He had a pregame interview with Knuble, handled the intermission interviews, had two bites of the nite segments with the assistant coaches, and did a post game interview with Neuvy.  I really enjoyed his interviews with Beagle; which featured a replay of his goal, Hendy; in which you could feel the intensity coming off of number 26, and Neuvy; his post game comments were adorable and showed how much he cares about the team.  Koken disappeared from the scoring sheet for awhile during the middle of the season but ever since that game in which he and Rob Carlin switched places he has really seemed to step his game up. 

First Star (3 pts):

Alan May.  What can we say that hasn’t been said about this man.  His pre game coverage was solid as normal and he gave Hendy a shoutout for his great shootout skills.  In the Post game Alan May was the first man to heap tons of credit onto Neuvy and followed this up by talking about Semin and Matty P.  Finally, he gave Hendy some more credit for his tough play and shootout skills.  Basically everything positive that I thought about the Caps tonight May touched on and did so in the order that they deserved to talked about.  Neuvy, Matty Semin, and Hendy.  He did a great job not letting us forget about all the things the Caps did wrong tonight and need to improve upon if they want to finish off this push to the playoffs.  May proved tonight why he is on top of the standings and why he aims to keep it that way. 

Last Star (-1 pt):

Locker. Oh, Locker... Him and Joe B were at it again pregame and in the first, making sure to inform us how terrible MTL has been on the road, how crappy their season has been off the ice, and how bad their record was when trailing after the first period. And wouldn’t you know it, the Habs managed to claw themselves back into it and take the game to a shootout. The announcer jinx strikes again. Got some slight bonus points for coining Hendy’s awesome new nickname (“Paralyzer”) and resulting obvious theme song, but, well, if I’m being honest, Locker played himself into last place early on tonight when he predicted the Great Satan (also known as the Pittsburgh Penguins) to win the Stanley Cup this year. For shame, Locker, for shame. Not sure what’s going on with him of late; despite his strong performances throughout most of the season, he’s dropped the ball a couple of times lately and as a result looks to be playing himself out of competition for the top spot and handing it to Alan May.


That's all we have for tonight.  May made a strong statement that he intends to finish the season on top.  Two games to go until we reach the end of the AOTI race.  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Season Awards Preview!

As you may or may not have noticed the NHL season is rapidly coming to a close.  Right now there are 4 games left for the Caps, only three of which will be on CSN.  With that in mind I thought now would be a good time to let you know what to expect from the end of the season here at AOTI and what you can expect during the playoffs and off season.

AWARDS!
That's right.  Once all the CSN games for the regular season have been finished, (April 5th) we are going to run the numbers and then a few days later have a big awards ceremony post.  I'll give you a quick run down of the awards that we will be handing out:

1st Place:  The overall points leader in the standings.
2nd Place: Second most points in the standings.
3rd Place:  Third most points in the standings.

Most Improved: Broadcaster who has gotten better over the course of the season.
Fan Favorite: As decided by you, base on the poll to the right.
Editors Choice: Our favorite CSN broadcaster from this season.  Could by a split if we don't agree.

Biggest Under-performer: Broadcaster who failed to take advantage of their opportunities to shine.
Last Place: Person with the lowest amount of points in the standings.

PLAYOFFS:
If the Caps make it (fingers crossed) then expect to see capitals related posts going up randomly throughout.

If the Caps don't make it then expect to see hockey related posts going up randomly throughout.  We might adopt a new team to root for (go Preds?).

OFF SEASON:
Hockey doesn't just stop after the playoffs and neither will we.  You can expect posts talking about the Capitals, the NHL, hockey in general, and if there are any ground breaking CSN news to report we will let you know.  We won't be on a posting schedule during this time and stuff will go up whenever we get ideas and decide to write.

If you are a fan of Nationals baseball or baseball in general I am contributing over at http://woefulnats.blogspot.com/   which is a blog by Caps Basketball.  The blog takes humorous look at the Nats and my posts are going to be dealing with watching the Nats from an Orioles fan perspective.



So that is everything we have planed coming up in the immediate future and beyond.  Be sure to vote on that poll if you haven't so we have as much input as possible for Fan favorite and as always thank you so much for reading!

-Dru

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Caps v Bruins (Mar 29th)

So what is it with this team?  One night they get blown out by the team they are fighting with for a playoff spot.  The next they play the defending champs tough and win in dramatic fashion in an OT shootout.  If this season has taught me anything, it's to not ask questions.  I have no idea who is going to show up every time the Caps take the ice.  I have a feeling they don't know themselves.  Four games left until we find out if the "good" Caps showed up enough to get us to the playoffs or if the "bad" Caps paid us a visit one to many times...

I was able to follow the scores and highlights tonight but had to leave my TV after the 1st intermission.

Therefore points are going to be short and sweet and pretty seat-of-pants thrown together.

3rd Star (1 pt):

Joe B.  Joe B rarely lets us down.  He did let us down in the first period.  He also loves goals and drama.  The Caps sure gave us that at the end of the game so I'm confident Joe B had several great moments then.

2nd Star (2 pts):

Locker.  Locker had a pretty crazy suit-tie combo on tonight.  I enjoyed his back and forth with Joe B during the first period.  He was also handling intermission interviews tonight and I always find his interviews more enjoyable than Smokin Al's.

1st Star (3 pts):

Jill Sorenson.  Jill doesn't get enough credit.  She knows her stuff.  She gets air time every night, though its normally very brief for pre or post game interviews, and she probably deserves to be on camera a lot.  I am always saying she seems a little to "business" like whenever she handles the intermission breaks so I have a hard time connecting with her.  Still, she is a hell of a hard worker so she gets some much deserved recognition tonight.  Also I left after her intermission break so I apologize to whoever her partner was if they gave the broadcast of their life tonight.

Last Star:

Tonight this goes to me.  That's right, the editor in chief himself.  I left my television to go out for pizza with friends.  I have let you all down.  Actually...last time I watched the Caps they got killed.  Tonight they got a win.  On second thought, I probably did you all a favor by skipping out early tonight!


That's all I got for tonight.  Sorry for the lateness of the post.  We only have 4 games left, with the last being on NBC.  That means only 3 CSN games left!  The race is heating up and I'm pretty excited to see how things are going to turn out.  Check back tomorrow during the day because I'll be putting up a post how the end of the season "awards" are going to be handled and what to expect during the off season.

PS.  I am also writing over at   http://woefulnats.blogspot.com/ now.  If your a baseball fan/ nationals fan check it out sometime!

Thanks for reading!
-dru

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Caps v Sabres (Mar 27th)

So I am back from my vacation and decided to watch the game tonight in the midst of return to school work.  Boy did I pick a good game to come back and watch.  By that I mean I picked the worst game possible.  We really could of used a win tonight against the Buffalo, the team we are tied for 8th place with.  At the very least we needed to show that we were a playoff caliber team.  Instead we got absolutely blown out in our own building.  While the Caps aren't eliminated by any stretch, this playoff race is going to go down to the wire and we refuse to make things easy on ourselves.  Good news, Backstrom might be back soon.  A few notes on how the CSN crew did tonight below!

3rd Star (1 pt):

Joe B.  Joe had a strong game as always and was really showing his team spirit by wearing a bright navy blue suit and red tie combo.  To bad that didn't inspire our team to victory.  Also had a funny comment about being "obligated" to give out a player of the game.

2nd Star (2 pts):

Julie Donaldson.  I haven't seen Julie in awhile (like I said, was on vacation) so I was happy she was on in her normal Tuesday spot.  She had a awesome purple dress outfit on (or maybe a shirt) and like always made me feel a little bit better about the Caps horrendous performance on the ice.  She also provided some Nicky news after the game which was better then talking about the game.

1st Star (3 pts):

The Jenkins.  He has been on an absolute tear of late.  Not making any mistakes.  Not being creepy.  Having genuinely funny moments without coming off as corny or forced.  Rocking the team colors with an awesome tie.  With such a crazy turn around its almost like he reads this blog.  Hmm....

Last Star (-1 pt):

Locker.  Locker had two major blunders that went against him tonight.  First, he said the Caps were in playoff mode and we all know what that means...we are going to choke.  Lo and behold we did just that tonight.  Besides that least we forget that way back in September Locker counted Buffalo out of the playoffs.  Looks like you might have been wrong about that one Locker...  


So that's all I have for you tonight.  It's good to be back, just wish it could of been on a more winning note.  With the end of the season fast approaching be sure to look for our end of the season awards ceremony posts where we will be highlighting a variety of the CSN crew and their work over the course of the season.  Then be sure to check in during the playoffs and off season for random hockey related posts.  Thanks for reading!
-Dru