Friday, December 24, 2010

Caps, Penguins -- We'll puck again soon

Hockey fans were begging for more pucking after last night's Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins game needed a seven-round shootout to decide the score. Pittsburgh ended up winning 3-2, but that, by no means, meant that Washington didn't show up.

Finally coming off their eight-game losing streak with a comeback 3-2 victory in Ottawa and returning home to destroy the lowly Devils 5-1, the Caps were handed the Penguins for a Winter Classic preview and test to see if they were truly back. The game write-up is on The Hockey Writers.

It was definitely good to see Mike Green get a goal on the power play, especially for all the flak he gets for being an nontraditional type of defenseman. With Schultz returning very soon and now the "weight off his shoulders" as Bruce Boudreau put it, Green should be back to his old scoring-with-defensive-improvement self. That might also help other slumping players such as Backstrom, Semin, and Ovechkin to get back on their game as well.

Regardless, the atmosphere in the locker room remains positive. The Caps are really proud of themselves for not being so emo anymore, and that's a great thing. Green, who was my favorite interview of the night because of his bluntness, believed the team's best aspect of the whole night was their "Overall competing."

"We competed to the max, and we need more consistency with that," said Green. "If we can do that we're going to be successful, and we're going to get some bounces and we'll start winning. We have the skill and the talent and the vision -- we just need to work hard."

When I asked him if this was just another game in a long season, or if it was more than that because it was against the Penguins, he said it was a little bit of both.

"It's a bigger game in the sense that it was a good challenge for us and that we're a good hockey team. We wanted to come out and test ourselves," said Green.

On the flip side, "at the end of the day, it's a regular season game and we learn from our mistakes and we move on. And that's the great thing about 82 games."

Definitely a fun game to watch even as a neutral observer.

Can't wait to go to Pittsburgh in less than a week for the Winter Classic and see Round Two.

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While some may have recognized me on television during the post game as I was walking behind Karl Alzner (I got 2 texts this morning about it), I'm hoping that next week's HBO 24/7 episode will feature Bruce Boudreau's post game news conference, as I did see the HBO cameras in there filming it.

The significance of this is my puck-up in my question by using the word "foreshadowing" to talk about the next few games. Watching it on the video on the Caps' website was even funnier, as I watched his face tremble with disdain for my question. He blurted, "I don't know what 'foreshadow' means, so..." I put my head down, kind of laughed, apologized, and then rephrased my question.

Afterward, I got the looks from the other writers, some "womp womps," and sarcastic "nice jobs." But for the most part, I laughed it off. He hit me in the nuts with that one, but Boudreau couldn't get me down for long. It was funny, and it happens to the best of us; the words of wisdom from Caps News Network's Dave Nichols on Twitter later on. Fellow THW and now-Capitals Outsider writer Keara Dowd keeps me chuckling on the matter as well. So no worries. A Caps reporter's growing pains haha.

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