Any of you who watched the “Penguins/Capitals 24/7″ show on HBO got an earful of Capitals Head Coach Bruce Boudreau hitting below the belt on his team in the locker room following the latest in a string of humiliating losses due to lackluster play. The quote above was the most memorable of the diatribe.
As if getting checked for a hernia wasn’t humiliating enough, now we have this ringing in our heads.
Boudreau’s Capitals are doing much better since that late-December slump, now sitting on top in the Southeast Division, second in the Eastern Conference and poised to take over the top spot as Philadelphia’s fortunes continue their downward spiral. The Caps have won their last 7 straight and 9 of their last 10. It would seem as if everything was perfect in the nation’s Capitol.
Well, not so much.
Star defenseman Mike Green is out with an injury, and so are both of the two roster goaltenders that have carried the Caps this far up the standings. We’ll be facing some schmuck named Braden Holtby who’ll be white-knuckling it under the onslaught of the Blackhawks’ offensive juggernaut. Sure, the Capitals’ offense is formidable, but as with so many teams, clustered. Keep Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin off the scoresheet, and 75% of your problems disappear.
But unfortunately the Blackhawks have problems of their own to deal with. Thanks to an elbow to the head from Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina, center Dave Bolland is out with a don’t-you-dare-say-concussion. Additionally, while officially classified as day-to-day, defenseman Brian Campbell was wearing a walking boot at the White House visit on Friday, and I would be shocked to see him in the lineup.
That means newcomer Michael Frolik will move to center between Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell; forwards Fernando Pisani and Viktor Stalberg will both play, as will utility infielder John Scott in a defenseman’s role. Not what you’d call an ideal scenario going up against one of the toughest teams in the league.
This is the end of a three-game road trip for the Blackhawks, having earned only one of four possible points while in Florida late last week. A win today can give them some momentum coming home to take on the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night at the United Center. Let’s hope the President gave them a little fist-bump to help give them a little jolt coming into the last four weeks of the regular season.
We need all the help we can get, because even though we are currently 5th in the Western Conference standings, we’re only one point away from playing golf on April 11th.
Matinee today, and an early one at that: 11:30 puck drop Chicago time. Ooh, and don’t forget — we just lost an hour, you were supposed to set your clocks ahead last night! So check your cell phone, that will likely have the correct time. NBC has the TV coverage today, broadcast radio is WGN AM-720, and XM subscribers can find the game on channel 207.
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