I hate throwing the “choker” term around, but it was hard not to do it regarding the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Young defenseman Karl Alzner didn’t dance around the shame he felt, however, saying that the team (blanked) the bed.
Such a comment brought out some amusing interpretations. The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno went standard with “expletive deleted.” Tarik El-Bashir brought out our inner giggling children by using “pooped.”
Either way, you get the idea. It wasn’t all that Alzner had to say, as Whyno shares his extended (and less amusing) statements.
“We just fell apart pretty much,” Alzner said. “It was an embarrassing, embarrassing loss.”
Alzner basically said that the Capitals played “with their tails between their legs.” Alex Ovechkin essentially said that Washington “stopped playing” after the Jets scored their first goal, according to Katie Carrera. Here’s a little more of what Ovechkin had to say, via the Associated Press.
“It’s stupid play by us,” Ovechkin said. “And we just totally stop playing after when they score first goal. And we played so different style of hockey in the third period, so they just put puck deep and get pressure and they score another one.”
Those comments bring those perpetual questions about the team’s “heart” (or perhaps their decision to play a more traditional system) into question. Yet some other reactions make you wonder if Dale Hunter is in over his head.
Greg Wyshynski passes along word from Jets coach Claude Noel that the Capitals were matching lines strictly, which took some of the natural “last change” advantage away from Washington’s home ice edge.
Brian McNally passes along a Jason Chimera quote that seems awfully damning for everyone involved, though:
Losses like these stain just about everyone involved. The Capitals are still very much in the playoff mix, but they’ll need to keep their beds clean if they want to even approach the team many expected going into this season.
Check out highlights of the game below:
New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer seems like he wants to move on from the entertaining fall-out from the riotous set of fights that began last night’s game against the New York Rangers.
That doesn’t mean he’s just going to bow down to John Tortorella’s pressure, though, as he certainly didn’t do that when asked follow-up questions by Rich Chere.
“We’ve moved on. I said what I had to say last night and I didn’t need a night to sleep on it to tell you my thoughts,” DeBoer said. “I stand by what I said and we’re moving on to play Ottawa.”
Want a little more, though? Apparently his team loves the fact that the first-year coach is embracing the bitter local rivalry, particularly Martin Brodeur, a veteran of that feud.
“I like that part of it because I think that’s what rivalries are all about,” Brodeur said. “For Pete to stand up for what he did or what Tortorella did I think is a good sign because it means you care about the opponent you play against. You get to hate them and, as a player you want everybody to be on board.
“For me being here so long you get to dislike teams and you want everybody on board. Pete is new to this. He’s new to the rivalry. We’ve had our share of success against those guys this year, there’s no doubt about that. We finished .500 in the six-game series against the top team in our conference. You’ve got to be happy about that. It’s pretty good.”
Say what you will about those “staged” fights, but the reactions to that scenario have been as enthralling as any round of fisticuffs. One could call it a lively round of verbal sparring, if you really want to be cute about it.
It’s not impossible for a Rangers-Devils series – particularly if both teams win first round series in their current situations – so we could all potentially delight in replaying these comments in the future.
Really, it would be a waste if the two teams don’t get to see each other again before next season, wouldn’t it?
Dave Bolland made waves when he called the Sedin twins “sisters” among other insults, so it comes as no surprise that he changed course a bit. Everyone has a different sniff test, but his excuse actually seems semi-feasible to me. He more or less claimed that he was hamming it up on a radio show, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for the Sedin twins and for Alain Vigneault and all the Vancouver Canucks,” Bolland said. “It was just a little bit of tongue-in-cheek that we had at the little radio show with some of the fans. I’ve got the utmost respect for Vancouver and what they do and what they do on the ice and how they do it. Both of us have a great rivalry going during this season.”
OK, so there’s a solid chance he backpedaled (er, clarified) his statements because a Blackhawks PR guy got to him, but I can picture a scenario in which Bolland felt the urge to troll the Canucks. (Then again maybe he’s stealth trolling them again with an ode to Ricky Bobby’s “Will all due respect …”)
Let’s face it though, when the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks trash-talk each other in the media, it doesn’t really change much in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it alters the material a bit (I picture a “Who are the sisters now?” taunt if the Canucks handle the Hawks on Jan. 31), but the two teams share about as much animosity as huge groups of wealthy athletes can. They can’t really dislike each other more after beating the tar out of each other in three straight playoff years, so this is really just fodder.
So in the end, it entertains us all, which I think everyone can agree is the most important thing.
Many people claim that the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals rivalry is fabricated, but the lack of a post-game handshake in the 2011 Winter Classic showed that they certainly don’t love each other. The 2012 Winter Classic has the potential to get significantly nastier, though; at least if the chirping between New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky and Philadelphia Flyers fighter Jody Shelley is any indication.
After Shelley called Dubinsky a “weasel,” Dubinsky cut to the core of Shelley’s hockey being. Here’s the highlights of what he said, via ESPN New York’s Katie Strang:
“It won’t be long before he’s out of the league, because he’s a terrible hockey player,” Dubinsky said. “First of all, if I [were] him, I’d keep my mouth shut if I don’t play, especially since I never see him on the ice. He’s usually just yapping from the bench, and I guess now he’s yapping from behind the video camera. So that’s about all I have to say.”
That actually wasn’t all Dubinsky had to say, though. He apparently called Zac Rinaldo “an idiot” and said, “He’s not really a good hockey player … they should keep putting him on the ice because he’s a liability against us.”
Judging from those spicy quotes, it seems clear that at least one Ranger won’t just spout cliches at the HBO cameras. The most surprising part is that Shelley was once a teammate of his, although Dubinsky might contend that he was only a part-timer.
Either way, Dubinsky is rattling the cage of some dangerous Flyers, which should be a lot more fun for the hockey-viewing public than anyone on the ice.
Ryan Miller wasn’t willing to discuss the nature of his “upper-body injury” after tonight’s game against the Boston Bruins. The Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports that Miller stewed in the locker room so he could unleash this pointed (and Vogl-censored) critique of Milan Lucic, though:
“I just stuck around because I wanted to say what a piece of [feces] I think Lucic is,” Miller said. “Fifty pounds on me, and he runs me like that? It’s unbelievable. Everyone in this city sees him as a big, tough, solid player. I respected him for how hard he plays. That was gutless. Gutless. Piece of [feces].”
Wow, Miller hasn’t dished on someone like that since he trash-talked his way to victory in those goofy “Yo Momma” energy drink commercials.
It’s probably fair to say that Miller’s teammates didn’t do the talking* for him, though. The Sabres responded with anger on the initial hit, but didn’t really have the “personnel” to teach Lucic a lesson at that time. Paul Gastaud was one of the players on the ice during that immediate reaction and he told Vogl that he was “embarrassed that we didn’t respond the way we should have.”
Looking at the box score, Lucic didn’t have to answer for his actions during the rest of the game either; the only fight-like disturbance happened when Patrick Kaleta and Shawn Thornton were tossed from the contest with matching misconduct penalties.
Naturally, the beautiful/scary part of this situation is that the Sabres and Bruins are scheduled to meet each other five more times this season. In case you’re wondering, their next game is on Nov. 23, which might make for a Black Wednesday for Lucic.
* – In case you were wondering, “do the talking” means “beat the [feces] out of” …