Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caps v Bruins (Jan 24th)

Tonight when all the attention was focused on the suspension of Ovie and how the Capitals were going to get rolled by the Bruins the Caps stood tall.  They didn't roll over and die.  They stood toe-to-toe with the Bruins and thanks to a huge performance by Mathieu Perreault (a favorite of AOTI) the Caps sent the Bruins out of town with a loss.  A side story to tonight's game was Tim Thomas and how he skipped visiting the White House.  Whatever, I don't want to get into that because I don't like politics mixed into my sports.  Something several of tonight's broadcasters didn't seem to understand.  The Caps showed some heart tonight and so did these members of the CSN crew:

Third Star (1 pt):

Smokin Al Koken.  This man interviewed Matty P at the start of the game.  He interviewed him after the second period.  He interviewed him after the game.  He also interviewed Denis Widemen.  Notice anything.  Yeah that is all people who scored goals.  Big time points for that one.  Koken was also there to offer Matty a towel when he got a shaving cream pie to the face during the post game, via Ovie.  Really enjoyed each of his interviews tonight and thought he asked good questions that the players could answer.  Nice work from Smokin tonight. 
Second Star (2 pts):

Jill Sorenson.  She did appear much tonight.  In fact she only had a brief spot during the pregame.  But its quality, not quantity that matters here at AOTI.  Jill had a interview with Hunter before the game and also talked about how the team would need to step up without Ovie and Backstrom.  Jill seemed to think that Matty P,  getting an opportunity to play on the top line, might be the guy to step up.  Well guess what...she was right.  Just about as right as it is possible to be.  I’m not sure Jill thought that Matty would net three goals tonight but she believed in him and comes off looking like a genius after this game.  When you make bold predictions that come true you earn some respect (and points) from us!    

First Star (3 pts):

Julie Donaldson. Julie got first intermission and postgame duty tonight. First intermission started a little rough when the sound cut out, but she didn’t miss a beat. Made sure to talk about the fisticuffs in the Rangers/Jets highlights. Good ol’ Julie, always making sure she shows us the fun stuff. Also showed highlights from an uneventful Sabres/Devils game. Made no mistakes and signed off with a smile. Also, bonus points for not mentioning that the Caps were missing people, since that had been done to death already. Opened her postgame spot with, “Hey, who needs Ovie?” Indeed. We respect that. Certainly a nice change from doom-and-gloom “we’re-toast-without-him” kind of talk.

Other Participants (0 pts):
Alan May: Said guys needed to step up.  Guys stepped up (Matty).

Joe B:  Game intro was about "Malkin-Mania".  Yuck.

Locker: Telestrating and was all about triangles tonight.

Rob Carlin: Meh pregame.  Good postgame.  Feeding off those good team vibes as always.

Chick: Nothing terrible about his performance tonight.  Had a nice red tie on.

Last Star (-1 pt):

It’s no surprise that this spot goes to Chuck Gormley.  When he shows his face during a CSN broadcast it is almost a given that he will be in the last spot.  Two appearances ago he found himself in last but didn’t lose a point.  This is because we at AOTI felt he should decent improvement and an effort to better his craft.  However, his last time out he was back to his old ways and seemed to have regressed.  Tonight confirms that Chuck has forgotten everything he seemed to learn.  He was flat, uninteresting, and obviously reading off a teleprompter.  Its really mind boggling that CSN keeps sending Chuck back out there.  His job is to drum up interest for his blog stories.  There are two ways to accomplish this: have controversial or thought provoking topics or be a engaging and interesting dude.  Chuck consistently does neither.  His story tonight, Ovie’s suspension.  Who didn’t see that coming?  That story has been all over the news and covered to death.  Chuck’s fatal flaw tonight was choosing to compare himself to Alan May.  He opened his spot by letting us know that Alan May and Chuck Gormley are all about the old school hockey hits.  Then he lets us know that he disagrees with May on this particular topic.  This brings up serious complications.  First, it implies that Chuck Gormley has seen hockey before he got his blogging job and knows about the “old school” NHL.  Don’t buy it.  Second, it makes me compare Alan May and Chuck and makes me realize how awful Chuck really is.  Also have some courage to outline your views Chuck.  Saying “I disagree with...” isn’t telling us anything.  Take a stand and that’ll get your stories some views and inspire debate.  Finally, up until now I’m not sure May even knew who Gormley was but Chuck may have just woken a sleeping giant.  If they get into a war of words it’ll be a massacre, and that’s something that everybody can enjoy.  Just don’t kill him Alan, we need him here at AOTI.

As mentioned at the top, Matty is something of hero/fan favorite here at AOTI.  That said, here is a profession of that love:

GOLD STAR (for awesomeness):

Mathieu Fucking Perrault. So, coming into tonight’s game, the talk was all about the fact that the Caps are now playing without their two best players and two-thirds of their top line, as Nick Backstrom is out with a concussion and Ovechkin is serving a suspension. The million-dollar question from every media/blog/anyone-with-a-computer source out there was “Who’s going to step up?” Well, Matty P answered the bell in a big way tonight; he was a force almost every time he was out on the ice en route to his first career hat trick. The goals themselves were the result of hard work; the first was a beautiful passing play, the second was an unassisted wrister that started with a beautiful pickpocket, and the third came as a result of Matty going to the net and scoring on a rebound. Admittedly I’ve always been a shameless Matty P fan, but after watching his effort and energy tonight, coupled with the fact that the smile on his face after he scored that third goal was so goddamn big that there’s no possible way one could NOT be happy for him, he’s pretty much cemented himself as my fan-favorite. (Murshawursha)

Thanks for reading!  Next game comes next Tuesday.  Enjoy the All Star break and see you then!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Caps v Canes (Jan 20th)

Tonight the Caps went on the road to play the Canes.  This is a game the Caps should of been able to win and really could of used a win to solidify their place in the standings.  Alas that was not the case.  The Canes pitched a 3-0 shutout and it seemed like the only Capital who decided to show up was Voko.  Guess what, the Caps were on CSN tonight, bumping the Wizard's down to CSN+!  This is something we have been calling for here at AOTI for awhile now and we would like to take full credit for getting the Caps off the forsaken and poorly lit CSN+.   It really sucks that the game the Caps finally get onto the main station was tonight.  Come on, after all the work we put in for you guys you lay an egg like this?  Not cool.  Your making us look like idiots and we don't need any more help with that!  O well, the Wiz didn't do so great either so I guess we'll call it a wash but if the Caps get sent back to the dark, dingy recesses of CSN+ they got nobody to blame but themselves.  Next game is on Sunday against the Pens.  You know what that means, its going to be an NBC game.  We might get another awesome game coverage by JMU2012, or we might not!  Enjoy your weekend and our take on the CSN crew's performance from tonight!

Third Star (1 pt):

Kelli Johnson.  In Kelli’s second appearance she only handled the immediate post game.  She ran through some Pens/Habs highlights smoothly and was very steady energy wise.  Last time we saw Kelli I knocked her for not showing enough energy when the Caps were doing well but tonight she was able to remain very engaging even though the Caps were awful.  The second half of her spot was Wizard’s highlights.  Normally, talking about not-hockey is a no-no.  However, on a night where we were absolutely mortified at the Cap’s performance on CSN it was nice of Kelli to show us the Wiz blowing a ten point lead and losing over on CSN+.  It might not feel great to be a Caps fan tonight, but thanks to Kelli we can all take some joy in the fact that we aren’t Wizard’s fans.

Second Star (2 pts):

Alan May listed his three keys do the game during the pregame show: Outshoot, crisp breakout passes, and limit the Canes’ speed between the blue lines. The Capitals did none of these things. They were outshot (by 50%) for the I-don’t-even-know-what-number-anymore consecutive game under Hunter. The breakout passes were terrible. Too much time pinned in our own zone was a problem for the I-don’t-even-know-what-number-anymore consecutive game under Hunter. And the Caps sure as hell didn’t limit the Canes’ speed through neutral. Hell, they had more goals on our powerplay than we did. And after the game, May admitted that he chucked his phone across the room after one-too-many Caps miscues. And that, in a nutshell is why we here at AotI adore Alan May. Not only is he a studly, informative commentator, but he also manages to connect with us as hockey fans. He’s not afraid to get emotional, whether it be in victory or defeat. I know I was about ready to break something at times tonight. He does a great job of saying what we’re thinking, except with way more actual hockey knowledge than we possess.

First Star (3 pts):

When Smokin’ announced he would be doing postgame highlights, we made a pact among ourselves. Since tonight was a pretty blah night for the commentators, and even more blah for the players on the ice, we decided that if Koken could come up with a non-Vokoun Capitals highlight, we’d give him the first star. He managed to pull not one, but TWO Capitals chances out of that shitstorm, one featuring Mike Knuble hitting the post, and another featuring Eakin picking up Halpern’s rebound and putting it back on net. Both highlights from the fourth line, which about sums up how the Caps played tonight.  I also have a special place in my heart for anyone who gives the “babysitting line” some attention. (Eakin 20yr, Matty P 24yr, Knuble 39yr)

Other Participants (0 pts):
Joe B: Complained at the lack of fire wagon hockey.  Games just aren’t as fun to call as they used to be Joe B?  Also told us we would be seeing Rob Carlin post game, when in fact it was Kelli Johnson who is very much not Rob Carlin.

Locker: Not much to say about his performance, just a standard night at the office.  You could tell he was not happy with the Caps lack of shots though post game as he talked with May. Also, I can’t help but feel like Joel Ward is probably not the best guy to ask about how to avoid having your shots blocked.  

Last Star (-1 pt):

Rob Carlin.  On a night where there were no really stand out performances from the CSN crew Rob gets the short end of the stick.  He handled the first and second intermission breaks solo tonight.  He never made a huge mistake or was even that bad running through the highlights.  What lands Carlin in the bottom tonight was his complete lack of energy that he brought to the table.  There have been nights where Carlin has been my favorite guy on the CSN crew and I have been hoping he gets more shots at running the intermission breaks.  Unfortunately, the nights that Carlin is on his game are also the nights when the Caps are playing well.  Carlin’s performance is directly linked to the team on the ice and he really needs the Caps to be playing well to feed off their energy.  If Carlin can figure out how to put in a good effort on nights like this when the team seems to be sleep walking then he may be able to take his work to the next level.  Admittedly this is a difficult thing to master, keep your head up Rob!   

Thanks for reading and don't forget you can follow me on twitter for more AOTI goodness and other random thoughts @dru90.
See the top right for complete standings at this point in the season.  We also just added a new poll on the right hand side of the blog so YOU can vote for YOUR favorite CSN personality.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caps v Habs (Jan 18)

So tonight the Caps were relegated to the dark reaches of CSN+ because of the Wizards.  What do the Caps have to do to convince CSN to carry their games on their main station instead of the Wizards.  One team is good and one is god awful.  The only people on the CSN crew were Joe B and Locker so they each get a point just for showing up.

The game was a statement for the team after they put in a lazy performance against the Islanders last night.  Neuvy was huge all night and stonewalled three Habs' breakaways on his way to a shutout.  There were no signs of rust for Neuvy and he was a major reason the PK was perfect on a night they saw a ton of action.

The refs called an awful game.  They missed a ton of calls against the Caps and made some bad ones in favor of the Habs.  The result was the Habs had a ton of PP time.  However, the PK was on fire tonight and players were blocking shots all night. The PK play was highlighted by their kill of a 6 minute PP because of a Erskine triple minor. 

The offense was also clicking tonight.  Matty P got the team going early on with a shot that fans have come to expect from Semin.  MoJo got in on the action with a nice score after fighting through a few defenders, something that he has struggled with this season.  Ovie rounded out the goals for the night with an absolute blast from the point on a powerplay that found its way through a crowded front of the net.

Finally, Hendy stepped up and fought Borque a 1:15 into the game.  While he certainly didn't win the fight by any stretch of the imagination, his efforts really jumped started the team on their way to a big win.  There was really no signs of lay over from the game last night and the team really came to play.  Something to keep an eye on, MoJo limped off the ice after taking a heavy hit late in the third.  It looked bad but hopefully its nothing serious.  The Caps can't afford to lose another center.

 Caps play the Canes on Friday.  Hopefully its not on CSN+.  See you then!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Caps v. Isles (Jan 17th)

Tonight was the first game in quite a while that has actually had a fully-staffed and full-blown pre- and post-game show, and CSN apparently decided they had to make up for lost time. Alan May and Dave Johnson were aces together, and tonight certainly gets five stars for overall production value.

Third Star (+1 pts): Julie Donaldson

Did a solid job holding down the first intermission and the post-game Sportsnet Central solo. Was just okay doing the highlights, but she scores bonus points for wearing a red necklace on a night where everybody else seemed more interested in wearing purple. She also gets some sympathy points for having to run through two sets of Penguins highlights in two consecutive appearances. Ouch.

Second Star (+2 pts): Alan May
I’d make some sort of comment about Man and Johnson being a dynamic duo tonight, but I feel like Alan would probably not be amused and possibly knock my block off, so I’ll refrain. Regardless, May turned in the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from him: Strong, informed analysis and a willingness to tell it like it is when the Caps don’t do so well, which they certainly didn’t tonight. May pulled no punches in the post-game show; he felt the Caps got manhandled by a team they should have beaten, and went on to detail the list of reasons why it happened: Too much perimeter hockey with no real net pressure in the offensive zone; spending too much time in their own D zone tires them out, making it hard to generate offensive pressure; and that the Caps’ PK stood still and gave the Isles too much space. He elaborated on the latter point via telestration. Still, May knows the importance of sportsmanship, and in the spirit of being a gracious loser, he made sure to congratulate Islanders forward PA Parenteau on his first career multi-goal game. I’d congratulate him, but Alan May doesn’t need my approval. He knows he’s a badass.

First Star (+3 pts): Dave Johnson
Dave Johnson was on pre- and post-game duty with Alan May tonight. Like Rob Carlin earlier in the season, his job was basically to set up topics for Alan to elaborate on. However, unlike Carlin, Johnson wasn’t afraid to bust out some analysis and commentary of his own to round out May’s always insightful comments. Also unlike Carlin, whom May always seemed to view with a certain “we’re not friends, stop making bad jokes,” May seemed to hold a higher measure of respect for Johnson, listening to and responding to Johnson’s comments. Perhaps its because they both look like tough dudes, perhaps there’s a measure of ‘kindred spirit’ there. Or maybe May just respects Johnson’s confidence. Either way, anybody who earns Alan May’s respect certainly earns mine. First star for Johnson.

Last Star (-1 pts): Chuck Gormley
Got through his bit without stumbling, but he was still very obviously reading from a teleprompter. His subject? Last year, after Mike Green got injured, McPhee went out and got Dennis Wideman. But this year, he may stand pat. No really Chuck? Maybe that’s because Dennis Wideman is still here (and an All-Star to boot). Regardless, not a terrible performance by Chuck’s rather low standards, but it was still the worst on the night, so he has to get the last star. And unfortunately for Chuck, my editor has also forbidden me from giving out “Nice try, good effort,” awards, so Chuck loses a point tonight.

Anyway, see you tomorrow, in a game in which Rene Borque hopefully gets his ass kicked.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Caps v Canes (Jan 15th)

The Caps pulled even with Division leading Florida with a win tonight over the Canes.  The Caps have been playing great of late at home and are forcing their way back into the playoff picture.  Hopefully they can take this run of good play with them on the road after Tuesday's game against the Islanders.  Major development of the night, Alan May was filling for Koken Ice side tonight.  Check out the stars from the CSN crew tonight and read all about what we thought of May's performance. (Hint it was good!)

Third Star (1 pt):

Julie Donaldson.  This was the first appearance for Julie in awhile so I was pretty excited.  She did a good job running through highlights from the Pens-Tampa game in typical fashion.  Then she moved onto highlights from the Raven’s game.  Normally I slam people for straying away from Hockey during the games.  However, journalistic integrity be dammed, Julie was just showing off her range by talking about the Ravens!  In all seriousness though, it was a close call between her and Joe B for the third place tonight.  I guess she gets cut some slack for talking football since it was the playoffs.  Also the way she was able to make me smile/enjoy a penguin’s filled highlight reel has got to count for something.  Nice to see you, do more games Julie! 

Second Star (2 pts):
Locker.  Locker had a typically strong game.  He cracked jokes, highlighted some outstanding plays, and telestrated during the second intermission, managing to keep his Hold it Here count at 4.  Locker also made the statement that “Semin will make that shot 9 out of 10 times” in reference to a Semin shot on goal.  And guess what, Semin got a similar shot a few minutes later and he buried it.  Locker stumbled a bit when he claimed that Laich’s controversial goal would stand but hey, you can’t get them all right.  He made up for this mistake by breaking down exactly why the goal was washed out later in the broadcast.  Finally, Locker benefited tonight from Alan May.  They both know hockey and being able to talk back and forth during the game was really great to watch.  I always liked their brief back and forth during the pre and post games and uniting them during the game as well was a GOOD call.  Take note CSN.

First Star (3 pts):
Welcome back, Alan May. We missed you. Because of some basketball-related conflict, Alan was filling Smokin’ Al Koken’s normal position inside the glass. It’s a damn good thing for his competitors that May doesn’t do this full-time, because if he did, he’d finish in first every time instead of just almost every time. By now, we’re all aware that Alan May knows a thing or five thousand about hockey, and it really showed tonight. For starters, he spoke up a lot more often than Koken usually does, and his comments game significantly more insight into the game than Koken’s typically do.
We also got some interesting banter between Alan and Locker. Since it’s usually Koken inside the glass, Locker’s gotten used to being the most hockey-knowledgeable member of the play-by-play team. However, May was there to keep Locker on his toes tonight. During the first, Locker commented that Muller moved Jeff Skinner to center to keep him away from the boards since he’s just recovered from a concussion. Normally, Locker’s assertion would go unchallenged. But not tonight. Not on Alan May’s watch. May wasn’t afraid to challenge Locker’s theory, saying it was because Skinner’s such a great skater and he needed more space to use his speed and maneuverability. Locker, ashamed at his mistake, took a shot at Alan, saying, “So that’s why they played you on the wing?” But May, badass that he is, didn’t give a fuck; he was already back to watching the hockey game. But even still, he managed to get a counterpunch in at Locker, suggesting that maybe he should focus less on banter and more on paying attention to the game in progress. Zinger.
May also got to take over Koken’s intermission interview duties, and he wasn’t afraid to ask the tough, hard-hitting questions. With Dennis Wideman in the first intermission, May cut straight to the point: The Caps are getting outshot, how are you going to respond? With Johansson in the second intermission, perhaps out of respect for the fact that the latter is only in his second season in the NHL and going up against the battle-hardened Alan May was probably quite intimidating, Alan opened with a softer question about how the Caps could get more shots on net. But after letting Marcus build some confidence on a relatively easy one, May, because he  knows what the people want to know, asked  about the effect of giving up a goal in the last 16 seconds of the period. Marcus, possibly caught off-guard by May’s frank, no-BS question, appeared momentarily at a loss for words before responding, “It’s not really going to affect us.” Johansson no doubt shared the details of his interview with May upon returning to the locker room, and the team, terrified at the possible consequences of disappointing Alan May, went out and scored the go-ahead (and eventually game-winning) goal just over a minute into the third. Now that’s motivation.

Last Star (-1 pt):
Not really a bad night for Chick, but somebody has to get the last star, and tonight it’s him. Did a reasonably good job of covering the second intermission, but suffered from the fact that all he really ended up doing was repeating the same things Julie said during the first intermission. It was kind of a toss-up; if not for the fact that Julie got the first intermission instead of Chick (and a certain editor’s fondness for Julie Donaldson), it could very easily be Chick at number three and Julie in the last-place slot.

Thanks for reading.  Next game comes Tuesday against the Islanders.  Hopefully the Caps can keep the wins coming!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Caps v. Lightning (Jan 13)

Since our favorite Editor-in-Chief (Dru) is out having a life tonight, you, dear readers, are stuck with my sole analysis tonight. I apologize in advance if tonight's post lacks the standard of scathing and wit you've come to expect from AotI.

Tonight's game was a rather entertaining affair right from the drop of the puck. Two early PPGs by the Caps (one from the Captain and one from Brouwer, the first goal of his first career hat trick) set the tone. It's a shame it was buried on CSN+, with no pregame or postgame show, and no Sportsnet Central intermission reports, which rather limited tonight's cast. On that note, fuck the Wizards. Seriously, how does the team with 1 win in 11 tries, in last place overall in its league, warrant higher billing and more coverage than the Caps, who are at least keeping their head above water? Lame shit man, lame shit. Anyway, to the recap!

Third Star (1 pt):

Smokin’ Al Koken. Koken had a solid if unspectacular night, doing his Bite
of the Night thing and two intermission interviews. Interview subjects were both totally relevant (Wideman and Brouwer) and he asked all the right questions, about tonight’s scoring, and made sure to ask Wideman how it felt to be an All-Star. I did find it rather amusing that at the end of the game, Smokin’ was talking to Joe B and Locker while standing on the Capitals’ bench and the players near him just acted like he wasn’t even there.

Second Star (2 pts):

Joe B. Joe B also had a solid night, though without any real home-runs, which is why he settles into the second star slot behind his partner. Called a good game, participated in the Wideman love-fest, and only mentioned the fact that Mike Green (and Backstrom) was injured one time. Strong performance for Joe.

First Star (3 pts):

Craig Laughlin. As soon as the first period started, Locker scared the crap out of me by mentioning that he Caps had won 5 straight home games against Tampa, and Tampa was on a 5-game road losing streak. Seriously Locker, trying to jinx us in the first minute? But my worries turned out to be for nothing (Tampa’s last-minute flurry nonwithstanding) and the Caps came away with two points, so I can’t fault Locker for that observation. Called out Tampa Bay for their dumb penalties early on, saying that they tend to burn you, and tonight they certainly did, so points for that. Lots of love all around for All-Star Defenseman Dennis Wideman. Locker even gave us a nice telestration in the second intermission and kept the “Hold it here” count down to a nearly-miraculous four. Also during the second intermission, Locker and Joe B talked with Ivan Carter and another guy whose name I missed (sorry) about their new sportstalk show. The segment was entertaining, and I’m at least interested in watching it, so good job there. It culminated with some video clips of Ivan Carter skating with Alan May. Locker pointed out that Alan just beat up on him. That’s because Alan May does whatever the fuck Alan May wants, to whomever he wants, whenever he wants. Locker gets it. To cap off the night, after Tampa scored their first third-period goal and play continued, Locker said he was 100% certain that the puck was in. Upon review, he turned out to be right. He also made sure to call out the All-Star selection committee for snubbing Nicky B. A well-deserved first star goes to Locker on a night on which he was clearly firing on all cylinders.

Last Star (Usually -1, but tonight -0 pts):
Chuck Gormley. Odd as it sounds, I’m actually going to be nice to ol’ Chuck and not deduct a point for his last-place finish tonight. Why? Well, for starters, I missed half his spiel because the delivery guy showed up with my Pork Fried Rice right as he came on, and pork fried rice is fucking delicious. Also, the latter bit of his appearance (which I did catch) seemed improved. He looked at the camera and delivered his message without stuttering or stumbling over his words. The topic, Rene Borque’s trade to the Montreal Canadiens and its impact on their next meeting with the Caps, actually sounded kind of interesting. The only reason I even have him slotted here is because there were only 4 broadcasters tonight, so he gets it by default. Any other night, he probably lands a neutral finish. Also, nice guy that I am, I want to reward his improvement. I still can’t stand the dude’s voice, but at least his delivery is getting better. So there you go Chuck, try to keep up the better work and your freefall through the standings might stop.

So that about wraps it up for tonight. Next game is Sunday at 5pm against Carolina. Hopefully Alan May will be back, because it's been over a week since I've seen him and a week without Alan May is just too long.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Caps v Pens (Jan 11)

Tonight is a special installment of Action on the Ice.  John, who goes by JMU2012 on twitter has joined the team here as a backup blogger to cover games that we can't for any given reason.  We don't normally cover NBC national games, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce John to you guys.  Plus those "broadcasters" over at NBC have gone unchecked long enough!  Enjoy the running commentary from tonight's Caps victory over the Pens and come back Friday for a return to regular format. (ALSO Enjoy the stupid pictures of Milbury I dug up!)

Hey guys, my name is John and I’ll be doing your commentating coverage tonight.. We all know NBC sucks at hockey coverage, but I’m here to make fun of them anyway!

Pregame: Doc’s voice continuing to be annoying. Unlike Craig, I have never adjusted his pitch and probably never will. As we switch back to the studio, the sight of Mike Milbury in the booth causes an irresistible urge to punch something, preferably Milbury’s face. Somehow according to NBC the Penguins will have no problem in turning things around. Do they know something we don’t? Maybe they should look up what happened to that Boudreau guy. Oh, don’t forget guys, the Pens “play hard”. I hope someone plays Matt Cooke really hard into the boards tonight. Oh boy, back from commercials and it’s our hourly “Crosby update”. Did you know that the Caps have a concussed center too? At least they’re paying attention to Mike Green, and the news they delivered is very troubling. Talking about surgery? Now they’re talking about a WILD player who has a concussion. Does ANYBODY care about Nicklas Backstrom? Poor guy. Brought up that good ol’ PK stat at home, which assures that the Pens will score a power play goal tonight. Playing solid defense is “I guess what you would expect” from Dale Hunter’s team, according to Milbury. You could just HEAR the contempt dripping from his voice. Oh boy, back to Doc and co. That would have been a cool promo if it wasn’t your annoying voice. Crosby is actually WATCHING the game from the Pens box, what a trooper! I’m sure he will totally make an impact on the game from there, which is what you’re supposed to be discussing right now, Doc.

First period: The game has finally started, which means at least 60 mins of Doc. Wait, this was supposed to be a positive. Apparently Doc doesn’t know how to travel, or something. Hendricks is labeled as an “energy guy who knows what he’s supposed to do”. I’d just call him one tough son of a bitch. By the way, Hendricks totally kicked Adams’ ass there. The Caps weren’t very happy with that West Coast trip? Well YA DON’T SAY! Okay, we get the point, FLUERY CAN’T HANDLE THE PUCK, talk about what’s going on on the ice already. If our dear announcers would take a look at the standings, I think they would realize that the Caps AND Pens aren’t very happy about the way things have gone so far, so there’s no need to imply that it gives one side an edge. Doc goes to commercial reminding us there hasn’t been any minors, but there has been a fight. What about the scoring chances? Isn’t the goal to get the puck in the net? A not-so-subtle reference to Doc’s playing days and age results in an awkward chuckle and silence. Nice going. Somehow Matt Cooke’s 17 games in Washington are worth a mention as he comes on the ice. NBC just really knows what makes us tick, huh? GOAL! Chimera scores on a 3 on 1 and the VC goes nuts. Milbury of course is the one to go at Semin for missing a mostly open net. Despite causing Chimera’s goal, Malkin has had a “dominant” first period. Not that he hasn’t been good, but c’mon man. And that’s the end of the period.

1st intermission: I like how hockey players can “mute” plays. Where’s my hockey remote? They also can’t stop talking about who the Pens don’t have. Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom, obviously, are dead to them. 

2nd period: Oh hey, now we have to relive the 2009 playoffs. And there’s Crosby! To the NBC’s credit it is the first time he’s been shown since the pregame. And then they blow it and talk about how much Crosby just being there means to them, the “moral support”. I think I’m gonna be ill. Doc is now rambling about Brooks Laich’s hometown. This is totally relevant information to this hockey game. What is relevant, however, is how both goaltenders can’t handle the puck, but we’ve already had this fact beaten into our brains already, so it’s getting annoying. Is ANYBODY surprised this is only a 1-0 game? Have you taken a look at the lack of shots on goal so far, Doc? Kennedy hits Vokoun and gets called for interference. Clearly this is the result of “trying too hard” and not “stupidity”. Some hard hitting analysis from our crew: if you win a faceoff in the offensive zone, often times you get a good shot on goal! Once again our lovable announcers going off on a tangent coming off a break that runs into game time. But that’s okay, not like there’s a game going on or anything. Doc states that there have been no giveaways by the Penguins in the game, despite the fact that the Caps goal came off a Malkin giveaway. Sometimes these guys just leave you speechless for all the wrong reasons. Apparently we are playing some “national anthem” hockey, aka between the blue lines. It would be easier to coin this phrase as “blue line” or “neutral zone” hockey, but what does Doc care about little things like that?

2nd intermission: We begin with yet again bringing up the poor ol’ Pens and ignoring Backstrom and Green. This is really getting old. Milbury has the bright idea of hoping that the Pens get a power play in order to tie up the score. Well Mike, if you were paying attention to the pregame, you would know how much teams struggle to score on the Caps PK at home. But we all know you’re not really paying attention, so whatever. 

3rd period: “The players who have a reputation of getting hits are getting them.” Doc Emrick, everybody. Ovie gets a shot and Milbury JUMPS on the fact that it’s his first shot on goal. I hate you so much Milbury. HENDRICKS HIS THE POST and Doc’s voice gets even higher pitched. My poor, poor ears. Fluery is “as big as a house” right now according to Milbury. All these missed chances to make it 2-0 are driving me insane. The Caps power play fizzles out and honestly so am I. Doc is losing his shit as Vokoun makes some fucking miracle saves. This is the Vokoun I thought we signed, welcome to the team buddy. Pens just pulled Fluery so I’m expecting Doc’s voice to get to an even higher pitch. The Caps clear the puck a final time and win! Doc is busy talking about “two points” going to the Capitals like it was an overtime game. Great ending to an overall dull hockey game.

Postgame: We begin with ANOTHER SHOT OF CROSBY IN THE BOOTH! Malkin is “maybe a little lackadaisical” on the giveway. Right. They chose Mike Knuble to interview. Pierre, you’re an idiot. Do you realize what Dale Hunter’s gameplan for EVERY game is? It sure as hell AIN’T Gabby’s version of open end to end hockey. Mike Milbury is still an idiot, and I’m getting sick of listening to him. Pierre is giving an interview and of course Milbury butts in to critique Ovie. And finally, the pain is over.

Thanks for reading this far if you did. I hope it was funny and managed to help ease the pain of having to watch the Caps on NBC. Until next time!

Written by backup blogger John, @JMU2012 (Twitter)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Caps v Kings (Jan 9)

Well that sucked.  Had to stay up late to watch a poor excuse for a hockey game.  The players didn't seem to want to play and really didn't give the CSN crew much to work with.  Still accountablitly must happen and its not going to be pretty.


JENKINS! Just are creepy as always.  Being forced to handle both intermission breaks was just too much Jenkins for one night. (Even one is too much).  He also didn't even mention hockey during the 2nd intermission so not scoring any points on that one.  Don't feel to bad tonight Jenkins, you got company at the bottom. 
LOCKER! Said the key to the game was for the Caps to score first.  It wasn't.  Not even close.  Also talked about the Kings PP sucking.  It didn't.  Showing an old highlight of him scoring a goal for the Kings did not save Locker. 

JOE B! Talked about Mike Green being hurt a lot and how much the Caps suck in California.  Thanks captain obvious, are you trying to make up for Gormely not being on?  Sorry, that was a low blow.  You didn't do a good job of keeping me awake so your still not getting a pass.

Locker: 11
Joe B: 7
Jenkins: -3

Well so much for that.  Caps come home to face the Pens on Wednesday.  That'll be a national broadcast so no CSN crew!  Look for the next post to come Friday as the Caps take on Tampa.  Its a home game so expect a full CSN crew, plenty of hot sexy Gormely action, and a better effort by the Caps, the CSN crew, and myself!

P.S.  Keep Tebow and Tebowing out of hockey!

See you Friday,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Caps v Sharks (Jan 7th)

The Caps fell to the Sharks in San Jose and Mike Green got the injuries again. Whomp, whomp. It was also to barest of bones crew covering the game tonight. Three men entered, and three men left with some kind of points by default. Next game is Monday against LA, expect another skeleton crew for that game!

3rd Star (1 pt):

Joe B. Joe B. seemed to have written this game off as a loss before it even started. At least through the first two periods, he made sure to remind us every couple of minutes that the Caps were historically terrible against the Sharks, especially in San Jose. Nobody likes a downer, Joe B.

Second Star (2 pts):

Locker. Locker put in a solid effort. Just looking at him at the top of the show, we could tell he came ready to play, doing his best George Clooney impression in a dark suit with a purple tie that combined with his gray hair looked positively elegant. For the most part, Locker called a strong game. Highlights included a wonderful bit of alliteration in the first period when he mentioned that San Jose had the “Big Bomber on the Blueline, Brent Burns.” Amazing. He also put in a valiant effort at telestrating on the road with clearly inferior equipment, literally telestrating over top of game footage and not the normal overhead view. Despite less-than-ideal circumstances, Locker knew what the people wanted and was determined to give it to them.

The only thing keeping Locker out of the top spot is the fact that he jinxed the living shit out of us in the third period. After the Caps scored early in the third to tie the game at 2, Locker pointed out that it had been 6 games since the Caps gave up a third period goal. Literally two seconds later, San Jose scored. At least Locker had the good sense to acknowledge his mistake, commenting, “I’m gonna stop talking now.” But it was too late; The damage had already been done.

First Star (3 pts):

Dave Johnson. New guy around the Caps coverage. The internets tell us that he is the play-by-play guy for the DC United and the Washington Wizards. We assume that Dave probably begged the CSN bigwigs to let him cover someone other then the winless Wizards and so they stuck him on a late night Caps game. All by himself. That’s right, Johnson had to hold down the intermission breaks solo tonight. He didn’t really mess up during the highlights and had a pretty sweet sounding voice. We attribute this to his play-by-play experience. Even after a loss, Johnson tried to keep us upbeat by coming out for the (admittedly not very substantial) postgame show with a ton of energy. On a bare bones night, Johnson takes the top spot in his first appearance with the CSN Caps crew for not fucking up and not being annoying. Interested to see what he can do and how he will score alongside a full game day crew. He showed enough tonight to make him an interesting addition to the Action on the Ice competition.

Participants for the Night:
Locker: 12
Joe B: 8
Dave Johnson: 3

That's all we got for tonight. See you Monday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Caps v Flames (Jan 3rd)

On a night where the Caps could get back into the playoff picture with a win they did not dissappoint.  The came out and dominated the Flames and got the W.  Also Mike Green is finally back but Nick Backstrom took a nasty elbow to the head and is being evaluated.  Hopefully everything is okay with him!  The CSN crew had a newbie in their ranks tonight for the coverage.  Read about it below!

Third Star (1 pt):

Kelli Johnson.  She is a new face to the CSN broadcast crew for Caps games.  After some quick research I found out that she normally serves as the CSN field reporter for the Redskins.  I guess since that gig is over for the time being she has been brought on board to do some Caps coverage.  She handled the second intermission break and smartly wore bright red to score some easy points.  She did a good job with the highlights and didn’t make any mistakes, which is impressive for a newbie.  She came off as very professional and never seemed like just a pretty face/ airhead.  She really reminds me of Jill Sorenson in her delivery, very professional but lacking emotion.  However, some of that lack of energy could be due to it being her first time out with the Caps crew.  It is notable that she showed a lot more energy in the CSN show after postgame live and raised Chick’s energy level as well.  I expect she will be getting more opportunities now that the Skins are done and I think she will be able to put in a consistently good effort and grab better finishes now that she has her first one out of the way.

Second Star (2 pts):

The second star goes to Rob Carlin.  He was in his normal spot alongside Alan May for the Pre and Post game coverage.  During the pregame, Carlin set up May nicely to talk about all the major points of interest for the game.  He brought up what Green’s return meant to the team and how it would impact specific players like Hamrlick and Orlov.  He also gave Hamrlick some well deserved praise for his nice play of late.  Carlin also brought up the goalie fight between Voko and Kipper and touched on Iginla’s pursuit of goal number 500.  In the post game Carlin came out excited.  He talked about Ovie’s great performance of late and uses a nice “back down in Chinatown” rhyme to throw the coverage back over the Joe B and Locker.  Carlin tag teams the game highlights and does a nice job.  Carlin seems to feed off of the Caps successes.  When the team is playing well and winning Carlin takes his performance to another level and really shines.  If he can figure out away to bring that same energy and passion to the broadcast even when the team is playing poorly he’s going to move up in the standings quickly.    

First Star (3 pts): 

Alan May.  Solid performance tonight for CSN’s resident hockey tough guy.  Did a good job during the pregame show covering all of the stories and topics along side Carlin and doesn’t get stuck talking only about Mike Green’s return.  He telestrates and makes it look so easy.  Really, Alan May telestrations look effortless whereas Locker makes it look like a struggle.  Alan’s keys to the game tonight were for the Caps to be better than the Flames at everything.  Can’t argue with that logic!  Favorite part of the pregame coverage from May was he saying “I wouldn’t mind seeing a fight tonight” in response to Carlin’s comments about the Voko-Kipper fight.  During the postgame May does a nice job hitting on the high and low points of the Caps performance.  He also went through the game highlights with Carlin very smoothly.  He makes sure to give Voko his due, on a night when really nobody else mentioned his great performance.  May talks about how Ovie has been hot as of late and gives credit to Hunter for giving him a lot of ice time, something he says Bruce did not do.  Carlin tries to make it seem like him and May are best buds by making a comment about watching the game together.  May shrugs him off and gives him a look that says “its our job to watch the game and yes we were in the same room, but we are not friends”.  May ends the postgame show with a crack about Carlin forgetting his suit and having to borrow one.  May takes no prisoners!  He also takes the lead over Locker in the Action on the Ice standings.

Other Participants (0 pts):
Smokin Al Koken: Handle the interview duties.  No Bites of the Nite and lost out of an intermission interview because of Joe B's interview with the head of the AHL.

Chick:  Came out flat tonight.  Picked it up as the night went on but not enough to get into a scoring spot.  Saw him pulling double duty doing the Wizards game.  If I was forced to watch that team I would be a little flat myself.

Joe B:  Part one of the dynamic Mike Green is back duo.  Mentioned that Green was back from injury 20+ times.

Locker: Part two of the dynamic duo.

Last Star (-1 pt):

Chuck Gormely.  I think some criticism has reached Chuck’s ears.  Maybe he’s reading this blog.  I suspect someone told him people think he sucks and has zero personality because he tried to change it up tonight.  He really tried to put in a better performance when Joe B tossed the broadcast over to him in the 1st period.  Unfortunately, for Chuck this meant that he just talked real fast and slurred his words.  Soon enough the good old, slow and monotone Chuck was back.  He told us that he was talking about Iginla on his blog and his chances at the Hall of Fame.  I seriously doubt that Chuck has heard of Iginla before tonight because he didn’t have a lot to say about the dude.  If you don’t have at least a minute of material you can use when talking about Iginla then how are you a professional covering the NHL.  Chuck felt that Iginla wasn’t good enough to fill up his brief time sport so h crammed another topic in.  His second piece of super insider and breaking news was that there is a thing called the Winter Classic and it might come to Washington at some point.  This is a topic that any halfway decent Capitals fan has heard once or twice before.  While I appreciate that Chuck tried to do something different tonight, he still feel on his face with his topics and delivery.  ‘atta boy Chuck, welcome back to the bottom.

Points of Participants to date:
Alan May: 12
Locker: 10
Joe B: 7
Carlin: 7
Smokin: 3
Chick: 2
Kelli: 1
Chuck: -4

See the complete standings in the top right of the page!

Hope you enjoyed the post.  The next Capitals game is against the Sharks at 10:30pm on Saturday.  Saturday also happens to be my birthday.  If anyone out there has been dying to take a crack at covering the CSN crew for a game I'd be willing to give them a shot at doing Saturday's game.  Its away so there won't be to many people to keep track of.  If interested leave a comment or shoot me a tweet @Dru90 and we can work something out.  See you Saturday.