Friends, I am having a bit of a day: Flat tire, bad weather, nasty cold, traffic jams, wah wah wah. In short: everything sucks.
But then I remember overtime, and Eric Fehr seizing victory from the jaws of mediocrity, and I can’t help but think: Man, that was awesome.
Maybe being badly-needed is an essential property of Awesome. Maybe, when things suck, awesome things become even more precious. In this week’s awesome index, only the most indispensable awesome things shall be indexed. And you’re damn skippy I am starting with Fehr.
OH SNAP I TRICKED YOU! And you fell for it, ya noob.
We trash Brooks Orpik (or, to be precise, his contract, deployment, and fashion choices) a lot here, but just check out this play right here.
It’s perfect because it’s so unlikely, and it’s that unlikeliness that enhances the awesome. Orpik takes a low slapper, which isn’t a huge deal, but consider this: Brooks Orpik is one of the least shoot-y defensemen in the entire league (273rd out of 283 in individual unblocked shot attempts over last three years, bottom quintile from that “Orlov Myth” story this summer). That was just his 13th shot of the entire season. In this game-winning play, Orpik recognizes the open space and puts the shot not just towards the net, but right on Mike Smith‘s pads, creating the rebound that net-crash-y Eric Fehr was so eager to pick up.
That’s the absolute right read and absolute right play. Orpik executed it flawlessly, and Fehr and Brouwer were right in position. Double clutch.
If Orpik has more awesomeness in him, we’ll write about it. Maybe even tonight.
But look what’s happened. Hotlby has put up four excellent performances in a row. His dismal save percentage is now a plucky .913, ranking him about 20th out of 30 full-time-ish goalies in the league. If Holtby hadn’t wandered away from the net two times in his last two starts, he’d be in the top ten.
He cost his team some wins earlier in the season, and he will cost them more in the future, but Braden Holtby is a good goalie– and time is bearing that out to be true. Meanwhile, ex-Caps goalies Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth are injured and on garbage teams.
It’s not awesome to say “I told you so.” But it’s awesome that you all know what I’m thinking right now.
I felt pretty good about the second week in October, when the nascent Trotz!Caps went up against Florida, Edmonton, and Calgary in that order, but the Caps won just one of those games in #rego.
This week, the Caps face Arizona (big old W right there), Colorado, and Buffalo. Those teams are all in the bottom ten of the league. Buffalo might be the worst hockey team in decades.
So let’s see some standings points now, while they’re still cheap. Did you know that two points over Buffalo is worth the same as two points over Chicago? That’s dumb, but it’s also awesome.
After a week of disappointing play, the Capitals were justifiably happy about their win on Tuesday. They could’ve played better, sure, but they deserve to celebrate. It makes me happy to see them happy.
And what a way to do it, a reception line to the coach full of fist bumps. Baseball legend Stan Musial is often credited with the revival of the pound. Musial knew that handshakes and high fives were a bigger vector for disease transmission than the fist bump, so he encouraged the latter. He was smart. So the Caps aren’t just bonding, they’re protecting themselves from norovirus and mumps and whooping cough. All by doing bones. Or whatever you call it.
My buddy Johnny, who made me a hockey nut, calls them “caulk.” Like “caulk it up, bro.” Sometimes he just says “dap it.” We don’t talk like people anymore. Phones calls are just “Daaaaaap.” “Caulk it!” “Consider it caulked, dude.” “Bro, you see Beags?” “Yeah bro. He’s ain’t hurting like Tim Burton.” “He ain’t achin’ like Kevin Bacon.” “Exactly bro.”
Johnny is a father now, by the way. Newborn baby in NYC. Future Caps fan, I’m sure. Can’t wait to dap it up with the little guy.
Life is awesome. I don’t even care about the flat tires and the traffic jams and the head colds anymore.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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