The Caps played three games in five nights, and I managed to fit a wedding somewhere there in the middle. Forgive me if this one is a little scattershot.
On The IceGotta love the fact that the home team is racking up the wins where they can.
Of course, if they could avoid some of the drama, that would be appreciated. Giving up three goals to start the third period in two consecutive games against the Maple Leafs and Bruins is a little worrisome, and certainly is a setback to the "Quest for a 60-Minute Effort" that we all hope they're on. However, finding the resolve to take those games back is admittedly encouraging. Finishing strong on Sunday against a pretty strong Philly team, without Brooks Laich (even if it did take a little help from Chris Pronger's wayward stick) was good to see.
Now, if they can find a way to start keeping games away from the fire in the first place, instead of having to pull them out of it in the end…
In The StandsIt felt as though everybody in the house was just mentally somewhere else during the opening 20 minutes on Wednesday night. Even a near-goal (two, if you count both chances in the same sequence) from Mike Knuble didn't jumpstart anything in the stands for long. A fight that felt staged and unnecessary between DJ King and Colton Orr followed a few minutes later, and the indifference from much of the stands was palpable. Thankfully, the Caps had their big outburst in the second, and that got the fans into it enough to spur them on even after they surrendered the lead in the third. Although I was on the concourse (per usual) those who remained in their seats seemed to enjoy the gimmick.
There was one particularly noticeable Leafs fan in section 108, who almost seemed to be the driving force in Toronto's comeback effort early in the third. He was routinely standing up and hollering, both for his team and almost pointedly at several fans around him. Kind of surprised, but glad, that it didn't get ugly over there.
Friday night had its ups and downs as well, but wasn't quite as apathetic to begin with. A good chunk of me and my wife's friends and family were in town for the game, so I was hoping they would get a good taste of how much energy the crowd at the F Street Arena can provide, and those in attendance did not disappoint. Obviously there was more grumbling when the three-goal lead evaporated, but things reached a nice crescendo towards the end. All of our personal special guests had a blast.
Sunday games are always just a bit different, at least for me, because the start time is usually, um, unusual. The home crowd brought it pretty strongly for a late afternoon game. Having the Flyers in town probably helped a good bit, and it always makes me happy to see and hear. Big thanks to my man The Horn Guy for doing a lot of the heavy lifting at the Flyers game, as I was still a little groggy from the festivities the day before. That may have also contributed to my mini-rant at Mike Green at the end of regulation, who quickly shut me up with his GWG not 40 seconds later. Well done, sir.
I've seen it mentioned on a couple of blogs in the last few days, there sure seemed to be more visiting fans over this home stand than there have been in a while. Certainly nothing like it was before the Caps became the hot ticket in town, but a little out of the recent norm.
Above Our Heads And BeyondWednesday night, from the opening drop of the puck while the strobe light was still going off in the Olympia ice resurfacer's home corner, I could feel that there was something just a little "off" in the air. Overly-long TV timeouts (thanks, TSN) that began and ended awkwardly, and slightly mistimed announcements just added to the "out of wack" vibe. Even the second-earliest unleashing of the fury--during the first TV timeout of the third--didn't quite reach its usual grandeur. Oh well, there's bound to be an off-night here and there.
Friday night was a bit of a return to form, and a return of the cool metal weagle sign that they let me hold up on opening night. I was a little surprised that there was no attempt to unleash fury that night. Guess it was an instance of "holding it back to keep from wearing it out." Special thanks, as tweeted on Friday night, to the fine folks on the Game Entertainment crew for finding a place for ZO2's "Red Line Highway" in the musical rotation! Thanks as well to my outstanding ticket rep Justin for helping me secure the tickets for the visitors, and the shout-out on the matrix boards.
I can't even think about anything else, entertainment-wise, beyond the picture at the top of this post and the sequence it was involved in. The "Clyde's Fan Of The Game" segment fires up, and who would happen to be up there but my lovely new wife, looking mortified to be on camera, followed by a quick cut to the picture above, and then it was time for me to make the usual ass out of myself. Heh! Big thanks to Wes and the rest of the gang involved in that one. It really was a perfect end to a great weekend.
And So…I could not have asked for a better week/weekend from the Caps both on and off the ice to surround the best thing that's ever happened to me. Well, I guess if I was being greedy, I could ask for them to have avoided the shootout on Wednesday, but that just seems unreasonable.
I took long enough to post this that I actually finalized it in the post-game glow of the Caps win in MSG. Now I'm really looking forward to Thursday!