It's Thursday, December 1, 2011, and if you're in Washington, D.C., you know what it means. You can hear people talking. You can see the anticipation in their eyes. You can even smell the fear. All of us here at GTOG will be in attendance tonight to take in what for us is just another Pittsburgh Penguins regular season game, but what for many of the Verizon Center faithful is no less the biggest game in the history of the Washington Capitals. With that backdrop, let's get to our game.
- In a surprising move given that the Picard/Bortuzzo pairing was serviceable enough on Tuesday, Simon Despres is in the lineup tonight. Exhibit A that the Penguins do not consider this Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
- Suitably impressed at how little just-fired coach Bruce Boudreau was able to do with a supremely talented Capitals roster, the Anaheim Ducks apparently reasoned that if Boudreau could do less with more, it's only logical that he can do more with less. So they fired Stanley Cup-winning coach Randy Carlyle and hired Boudreau overnight, seemingly without much deliberation. Early reports out of Anaheim are that Ducks players are thrilled at the prospect of hearing Boudreau say something profound in the locker room between periods. This could actually be a good hire for the Ducks in the short term. If they had the potential to be a legitimate contender, it would be a terrible move, but if they're just looking for a spark, they could do worse.
|"F**kin' you could do worse than me, f**kface!"|
- We remember the reports linking the Capitals with steroid use. And, like everyone else, we noticed Alex Ovechkin's precipitous statistical decline in the wake of those reports. But we never really connected the dots. Then we saw this tweet on Wednesday from @Dejan_Kovacevic: "Why is it only OK to question PED use when it comes to baseball players? Are we really that naive to think they're not in other pro sports?" He followed that by acknowledging that we have no way of knowing whether Ovechkin did anything. Of course we don't. But do we wish we had thought of that? Of course we do. This is why Dejan is the best sports reporter in town.
- No pressure on Ovechkin tonight.
- GTOG's keys to the game: 1) Staying out of the box. The Penguins penalty kill is suddenly faltering badly. Whatever the state of the Capitals, you don't want them on the PP with no Zybnek or Letang; 2) Flower. Always Flower.
We'll be at Gordon Biersch at 5:30 pm. Come join us if you're in the area. Just look for the aura of confidence.
|Much like Mario, we will all be in 5-button suits.|