A little Swede on Swede action at last year’s Caps Wings match
About that recent little jaunt to the land of moose and Anne Murray that was supposed to be a skip through the daisies? Exactly. And let us never speak of it again.
For the most part, the Caps are still playing their best in several seasons, we’re seeing skill from young and old alike, and our goaltending worries appear to be over. But tonight we face a team that’s also resurgent, skilled, and with new blood in the net.
The Red Wings should worry you.
They’re older than us by nearly five decades, they’re Cuppier than us by about everything, they’re Swede-ier than us av en skit belastning, their unis are hands-down the best anywhere, and they’ve got octopi. We’ve got Winger.
But they do have to live in Detroit, so there’s that.
Being a Detroiter is sort of like hitting your thumb with a hammer, repeatedly and hard, until you not only expect each blow but you wait for it…even look forward to it. Again and again. All those ruin porn sites and dumb late-night teevee jokes and blow-hard OxyContin-sniffers scoring points off an American tragedy? Detroiters need that stuff. Your mockery just makes them stronger.
And hey, it may be little more than pockets of Williamsburg-hipster surrounded by a shrieking expanse of suffering, but there are some things the city gets right. Like corruption. Chicago has its machine, but when it comes to sheer cartoonish venality, Detroit politicians take the cake…literally. And Devil’s Night. I was about 20 before I realized that the rest of the nation didn’t burn down their neighborhoods the night before Halloween.
For the lowdown on Motown, we caught up with Kyle Mcilmurray, former professional roadie, lover of dogs, and blogger extraordinaire at the amazing Wings blog Winging It In Motown. He’s got a sharp sense about the game, for being a Wings fan and all, and he shared some thoughts about tonight’s match.
First off, what’s the best thing for you about being a Wings fan…and about being a Detroiter? Any specific events or memories pop out?
The obvious thing to say is that they have won four Stanley Cup Championships since I was born. But I think the best thing for me is watching the team rebuild itself from what it once was. Call me crazy, but it’s interesting to watch how Ken Holland and company handle it. Whether I have my words about it or not.
Being from, and living in the Metro-Detroit area brings me a great amount of pride. I love the city, love the people. Sure, we have our glaring issues, but something about cities that are “rough around the edges” just do it for me.
The Wings are often called “classy.” Would you describe the fans the same way, and do you think others see you as a little snooty?
Eh. I hate that word a lot. The team, yeah that makes sense. We’re not a drop-the-gloves kind of team, and I am thankful for that. Fans here are likely the most spoiled fans in the entire NHL next to what is happening to fans in LA and Chicago. That’s what dominating an entire league for a decade and a half will do to a fan base.
You’ll truly see the fan base of the Red Wings eat itself alive when the team has to face a rebuild, or a total regime change. It’s just not something that the casual fan really understands, I guess. I can’t wait. It’s gonna be a s#!t-show.
Alright, hockey. How are you settling into the Atlantic; the East, and how have you had to adjust your play?
It’s alright. I like not having to wait to watch my team play. That is really neat. It has also opened me up to a whole new world of fan-hatred. Have you ever dealt with Boston fans? My god. It’s like a slew of %&@#! who actually root for their demented s#!@head players.
I wrote a piece about Milan Lucic and how he is a fart-smoking ass-hat clown-dick last year, and I still get rogue tweets from Bruins fans calling me homophobic slurs, and the ‘P’ word. Whatever. Screw them. I hope they win the McDavid lottery and trade him away for intangibles like they have with all of their other good players. Morons.
Also, Leafs fans. The only thing more annoying than Leafs fans is possibly the fact that they are the perennial organization in the league, just because of income, and the market they are in. I have never seen a group of idiots overvalue such feebly untalented players before. Phil Kessel is amazing, and he deserves better.
Caps vs Wings is all kinda new, but we’re roughly in the same divisional spots in early going. What’s working for your team this year, and what needs work?
The PK seems to work pretty well, I guess. Our top line is going on all cylinders thanks to Pavel and Henrik.. But the egregious need for improvement stands to be the ghastly train wreck that is the power play. I don’t get it. They just can’t score. I think at this point I would literally stay at 5v5 for 60 minutes.
Both squads seem tighter this year and relatively healthy– unlike last year. What are the keys to keeping this Wings team in the hunt?
Goaltending, and the “kids” to continue pushing. Last season was Jimmy Howard’s worst season of his career. He was utterly funereal. Sure, the defense didn’t help, but he didn’t help himself either. Thankfully, Jonas Gustavsson makes saves off of miracles and helped us stay afloat. I still think Gustavsson isn’t good, but hey what do I know.
As for the kids, last season we saw Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, and Tomas Jurco all make strides and push this team into the playoffs. I think it’s going to be imperative that at some point, Detroit shuffles the blue-line and moves up a smart, young defenseman like Xavier Ouellet to bolster this team. He had a terrific summer, and I think he’s well-due to make the jump to the big show.
What do you see as the resurgent Capitals strengths so far, and what’s the best way for the Wings to play through that?
Make sure number 8 doesn’t have the puck, and if he does, make sure he’s not in our zone. Canadian hockey media tells me that he is a coach-killer, so we should probably keep him away from our bench too.
HA! No, in all honesty, I think Washington has a strong core of players, you have arguably one of the best setup guys in Nick Backstrom (who can amazingly score 15 goals in 15 seconds), with hands-down the best goal scorer in the league. Mix that in with a great goalie like Braden Holtby, and you have yourself a pretty decent hockey team. I think the Caps have a lot of scoring depth though. Joel Ward is extremely underrated and knows how to bury it. I like that guy a lot.
The key to beating the Caps is deployment and matchups. Simply put: Make sure Pavel Datsyuk, Gustav Nyquist or Tomas Tatar are on the ice when Brooks Orpik is. Also, score a g*d damned PP goal.
Prediction: how do you see this match playing out, and who comes out on top and by how much?
The game will either be really close, or not really close at all. (ha ha) Personally, I think Detroit might fumble a bit here. They have an all-time losing record when playing on the road in Washington. However, if Jimmy Howard can continue to perform well, I think they have a pretty good chance.
The defense has been somewhat consistent, being lead by Niklas Kronwall. The team desperately needs Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist to start putting up points. They’re due to heat up, so why not start?
Hey, remember that time Sergei Fedorov scored five goals on you guys? I was at that game. I was like, 9. It was hella cool. You should let Pavel do that, or something.
[Ed. note: No, we’ll pass on that offer. Thanks.]
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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