Pre-après-Game: PuckBuddy Craig sorta demolished me with his last post, mixing the most potent juvenile jeers (“You smell like butt“) with contemporary culture (The Godfather) and hockey insights in the juicerizer that yours truly has been refining for months.
Whaaa…butt why dat? Well, because Craig, unlike Doug, went hunting for a stick-tap from Uncle Ted on how brilliant his pregamer was. Nice. No matter that he stole from me for months – blogging versions of the Winnipeg Head-Crash – or that I’ve been telling our opponents they smell like ass since October. But , boohoo, what’s an obvious foul between frenemies?
I kid. And yet in seriouslyness, between these partners there is no other game that divides the PuckBuddys like Monday’s test of the Caps against the Wings.
The Way-Back Machine: Honest to G-d true story. The very first memory I have of anything, ever, was being bundled up in a little-man’s coat and snowpants, hat and mittens, and sent out on the ice with skates on my feet.
I remember the wooden fence around the pond that I desperately grabbed onto; I remember the older kids, skating with abandon. I remember the squeaky leather and laces of my skates, the smell of the trees, the itch of the wool and the snout-full of ice spraying in my face…and watching my father skate like an Olympian.
Hockey goes back deep in the Johnsons, long back to when we were in Sweden. For me, before there were the Spartans, before the Joe, before Yzerman, there was Olympia. A huge, military barn of a building… loud and dark and smelly but one that pulsed and vibed on one of the greatest legacy teams ever: the Detroit Red Wings. I loved that place, and I love the Wings.
Years ago I moved from Detroit to DC. I chose this place, but can’t forget that one. Tonight, my Red Wings face my Capitals.
So we’re coming off a kick-ass performance in Vomitville, namely Winnipeg. Sure we lost, but we mostly played as hard as I’ve seen this season (except against the Pens). A bounce this way, an inept ref-call that way (there goes my Ted stick-tap) and we would clearly have won that game. The sweetest part is: we get to host the most ill-mannered, class-less bunch of schnooks very soon at Verizon. Hope you like you hard checks served cold, Winnipucks.
Voldemort vs. Harry. So yeah, the Wings run hard and long, the Caps run hot and cold. Snore. Yeah, the Wings are 28-4-2 at home (gulp) but they’ve hid the skids in the last 10, dashing six of them away. And yet both teams seem to be saddled with their Voldemorts and blessed with their Harrys.
For the Wings, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Zetterberg; they’re all genius. Filppula, Franzen and Abdelkader are all middling princes. And then there’s Todd Bertuzzi. Or Missmuchzzi. Bertooz (12G/18A plus-20) was someone who should have figured, and yet he’s been a near-zero this year for the Wings, but called back just recently. He is Lord Voldemort.
On our side, there’s plenty of Wizards (oops!) on the ice for the Caps, but the one with the magic touch lately seems to be a guy named Beags. It pains us to say, as Sasha (Prof. Snape?) has been performing brilliantly of late, as has Troy “Longbottom” Brower and Marcus “Somebody” Johnansson. But Jay Beagle (don’t look at his paltry numbers) has been stepping up, and up, of late, and we think will continue to do so, as will Keith “The Corner” Aucoin.
Beags is our Harry against Bertuzzi’s Voldemort…with Cody Eakin in guest role as Ron Weasley.
The Wings are a machine. A “Production Line,” if you will. Live in the auto city for a while and you get what that really means.
But they have been looking less like the “Imported From Detroit” brand lately and more like the “Found On Road Dead” plate of yore. (Or “Fix Or Repair Daily.” Or “Factory Ordered Road Disaster.” Or “First On Recycle Day.” We won’t continue, at our lawyers’ suggestion.) The Wings lately have been deflating during play, giving up too many shots while missing hard hits. The Caps, on the other hand, have been chipping around for second efforts, and hitting hard.
If hockey, like politics, is all about trends, the Wings are the Mitt Romney and the Caps the (fill in anyone here) of the GOP primaries, with Mittens trending downward.
Mike Green is back and, although not performing like he should, getting better. Alex Ovechkin may be (or is) under-performing for his standards, but by any measure he’s still pretty damn good. Mike Knuble is back on the ice, proving why opponents hate him hovering near their crease. Wee-player with the big name Mathieu Perreault (he’s only missing an “O”) is only clocking in a point every other game, but clearly filling in the spots where we need filling (#ahem#.)
Ultimately, though, we recognize dynasties don’t last. They may command immense respect and authority (Wings) but in time fall victim to their own success and excess.
Like the French throne. Nearly every other non-Nordic monarchy had been displaced or challenged by the 1780s, but Louis XVI not only survived but thrived. There was no greater dynasty in Europe… until 1789, when a brash lawyer (double-ugh) arose to rally the mob to power.
Ovi is our Robespierre. Mostly. Except without all the beheadings and stuff. Seriously, for all those whining about our Captain’s performance lately (and deservedly so), keep in mind he is our captain, and we believe he can convert the disorganized mob that has been the Caps on Ice into a unified machine, bent solely on defeating the Aristocrats of our time.
Monday the Caps enter the Joe. Despite our time at court, we say “Vive Le Revolution!”
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