Filed under: Musings of a Random Nature
My best friend Kim’s sister Mel posted a comment on my blog saying that her husband Eddie is disappointed I haven’t posted about the no-goal on-ice ruling made against the Washington Capitals in game 7 of their playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Ask, and you shall receive.
One reason I haven’t posted anything about the Caps’ recent playoff devastation is that the only people who read this blog are my friends, and they don’t really care about hockey. Does this suggest that I should seriously reconsider my choice in friends? Yes, yes it does. Does it also say something about what a fucking fantastic friend I am that I try to please my friends/readers by not posting about things I know they don’t give a crap about? Absolutely. In addition to that, my friends either see me in person or talk to me using methods of communication that aren’t my blog, meaning they already hear me brag/gush/lament/curl up in the fetal position and cry about the Caps on a regular basis. So I didn’t post about it mainly because I was being considerate. I know, I’m awesome.
Also, until recently, it was simply too soon. I had to go through the 7 stages of grief first, in my own time, and I think I’ve finally reached the acceptance/hope stage. The Capitals had an amazing regular season and I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing it up close and personal. When a team has a banner year like that, expectations going into the playoffs are high, and when said expectations aren fallen (ridiculously) short of, it’s a little bit soul-crushing. I’m not going to lie; there were tears. But like I said, I feel like I’ve healed enough that I can talk/write about the situation, so here goes:
First, let me say this to Eddie: I have a hunch that you want me to discuss the no-goal call in game 7 because you assume that I didn’t agree with the call and think they would have won the game if the call had gone the other way, and you are simply trying to bait me into a tin-foil hat wearing Caps conspiracy theory tirade. Do I think that the penalty disparity in the series last year against Pittsburgh was suspect? Um, very much so. Do I think the no-goal call in game 7 against the Habs was bullshit? Yes. In general I think the NHL suffers from glaring inconsistency issues when it comes to penalty calls, goal decisions like the one in game 7 and disciplinary actions. I don’t, however, think that is the reason we lost that series or even that game. Had that goal been deemed a good goal, we would have tied the Habs at that point, and I think we still would have lost. We came up against a seriously hot goaltender in Jaroslav Halak, and I think at best, we would have gone into OT had that goal been allowed and our OT record is shoddy at best. More importantly, in my view, we lost that series when we failed to close it out in Game 5. We had a 3-1 lead in the series, having beat the Habs in their own arena twice and having chased Halak in Game 3. Instead of maintaining that momentum and heading into Game 5 on home ice with a killer instinct and putting the series away, we came out flat and allowed 2 goals in the first period. The momentum shifted, and as Halak tends to do, he just got more and more confident as the game went on. I knew then that it was over.
To sum up, I think it was a bad call, and I recognize that it’s not the first time in recent years that a controversial no-goal call against the Caps in a Game 7 has occurred. But in my opinion, the major factors contributing to the loss of the series were 10 terrible minutes in Game 5, ridiculous shot-blocking abilities by the Habs, the strange and unexplained disappearing act pulled by our power play, and Halak the hot goalie. And pure, old-fashioned bad luck. Good and bad bounces in hockey can make or break a game, and for those last 3 games, we just couldn’t get a good bounce. It happens. It sucks a big fat one, but it happens.
And now, I’m forced to choose between rooting for the Pens (deep-seeded, historical, intense hatred) or the Habs (new-found bewildered hatred). I’m rooting for the Habs, because when it comes down to it, Pittsburgh offends me as a city and not just as a hockey team. But since my dad spent time in Boston and I have family in that area, I’m now rooting for the Bruins, who are currently kicking some serious Philadelphian ass, to take it all this postseason. A wise man (aka the Caps announcer at the Verizon center) once said, “Nothing does my heart good like seeing Pennsylvania fans go home sad.”
Truer words were never spoken.
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