Monday, February 21, 2011

GTOPG: Caps Win Elusive Third Straight Stanley Cup; Pens Lose 1-0

By Finesse

I'm not one for moral victories or "good losses," especially where you don't even earn a losers point like the Pens got Sunday against the Blackhawks.  The Pens lost, the Caps won, and now the lead for that valuable 4th seed is down to three points.  We said after the Geno injury that the Pens would probably fall out of the 4-spot.  It looks like we may be on our way.

But despite the loss, the Pens played a really strong game.  The Pens dominated in the offensive zone, winning almost every puck battle and doing a great job keeping the zone.  Of course, if you listened to the Versus announcers slobbering love all over the Caps for their improved team defense, you would have thought the Pens had lost to the '85 Bears.  The announcers must have forgotten that the Caps had just given up 39 shots to the likes of Joey Vitale and Ryan Craig.  But whatever canned, pre-packaged, easy to digest story line that Versus wants to peddle for two hours is apparently what we have to deal with at this point.

What sucks about this loss is that somewhere in some basement in Fairfax City, VA, a 16-year-old Caps fan in a Mike Green turtleneck is thinking, "Look, we beat the Pens three times in a row.  That means something."  I say to that kid, "if those wins mean something, that's more than we can say for your existence.  Or Keith Jones's."

Sour grapes on our part?  Probably.  This would have a been an extremely fun game to win, but, alas, it wasn't meant to be.  So we face that fact, start googling James Neal, and congratulate the Caps on their third Cup in 2011.  Albeit this was basically a Calder Cup, but still.

A few other thoughts...

- Brian Strait was solid as a replacement for Paul Martin, and although it was just one game, this is why we have confidence in Shero's decision to part with Goligoski.  We were coming around on GoGo, but we also know that Shero wouldn't have moved him if he didn't have a full pipeline.  Apparently, he does.

- If Strait was solid, Kris Letang was spectacular.  He played almost 28 minutes and was a positive factor on every shift.  He is built for the playoffs because his level of play rises with big minutes.  What a player.

- Michal Neuvirth was good for the Caps.  A lot of the Caps fans are still skeptical about their goaltending, but I think that is way down their list of needs.  Their biggest problem heading into the playoffs isn't on the ice.  It's in their heads.  They get too high and too low.  Slow and steady wins the race.

- Brett Sterling, hands of cashmere.  Max Talbot, feet of cinderblocks.

- Finally, no Bachelor tonight for GTOG.  The journey will continue later this week.  Stay tuned.


  1. According to the Versus announcers, so...many times...the Caps were without the services of Mike Green as well. It was just a testament to their team defense that they were able to pull this one out, especially with the power play goal. Was it a futile effort for them to mention that the Caps were essentially playing a team without $34.8M of contracts (

    And just for fun, the total cap hit of the team the Pens had on the ice last night was $31.65M.

  2. I can't explain why, but I just read Ron Cook's column on the Gogo trade. I haven't read his stuff in years. I do enjoy the Ron Cook Poetry, though. Reading that piece got me wondering if sports editorialists serve a purpose. They aren't insightful - they are inciteful. When I read a piece by Dejan Kovacevic I feel informed. When I read something from Ron Cook's ilk I feel insulted. I appreciate discursiveness as much as the next guy but sports editorial writers add no value or entertainment for me. Come to think of it, some beat writers can be pretty insulting (HOF Dave). Do they have to write as if we have no previous knowledge of anything and that we have 8th grade comprehension skills? Is overstatement and oversimplification the new black?

    Sorry to complain but I feel better now and that is really all that matters here.

  3. You're preaching to the choir, George. Our first post ever was about how easy it is to be a columnist. It literally takes 25 minutes to do what Ron Cook does - trust us, we've actually tried. I think that they can still serve a purpose in the right format, but there are three main problems: 1) there are rarely any good ones left; 2) their story lines are too predictable; and 3) they aren't immediate. Think about it. If the Steelers play at 1pm, but you can't read the PG's column's until the next morning, do you even still care? Not sure what they can do about it, but people want reaction immediately. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing is still up in the air.

    Here's our post on this:

  4. That Ron Cook 101 post is a wonderful example of 'insightful'. My problem is that I want these sports journalists to be more like Mark Twain and less like Stieg Larsson. That addresses your points one and two. As for immediate, I can understand it but I have yet to advance to that point (I don't have a smart phone nor am I on twitter) but I don't rail against such things.

    We all should be more careful with our words. If we had to pay for every word we spoke or wrote there would be fewer mindless cliches. Sports journalism and all of us that consume it (must be over 145% of Americans) would be better people. Pretty impressive, eh? Dejan and GTOG set fine examples.

  5. George, thanks for the kind words. I'm watching the Bachelor right now because Artistry was foolish enough to go on vacation this week and leave GTOG in the hands of just me. Good to know the support is out there. And also good to read something that actually makes sense while I'm watching the Bachelor - a show that makes no sense and that I really don't know why I'm watching.

    As for Steig Larsson, the Dragon Tattoo books we solid, but not spectacular. If you ever see the Swedish movie version of the first book, the girl who plays Lisbeth is great but the male lead (Blomkvist) may be the worst actor in history. Just a warning.

    Ok, back to Bachelor.