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!