Are changes coming for the Washington Capitals?
Four Questions for a Rangers Blogger
Capitals Outsider spoke with Fansided brother Adam Herman of Blue Line Station, and traded questions about our teams.
Also, read my answers to his questions about the Capitals. He thinks I have a man-crush on Sean Avery.
1. Why do the Rangers only show up to play when the Caps are slumping?
I don’t know if it’s so much that the Rangers only show up when the Caps are slumping, but that we know how to take advantage of a slumping Caps team. There’s not much doubt that, when the Capitals are playing at their best, they’re the best team in the Eastern Conference, and the standings reflect that. However, we all know that as much potential as there is for the Capitals to win the Stanley Cup, there’s just as much potential for a 1st round meltdown. Maybe the Rangers have lucked out a few times in finding the Capitals on their schedule at a time when the the Caps were slumping, but I also think the Rangers are just a bad fit for the Capitals, especially during a slump. Lundqvist is as calm of a goalie as there is, and it seems like Lundqvist gets into the heads of the Capitals more than they get into the head of Lundqvist. If the Capitals play up to their potential then it’s safe to say that they’re going to win this series. But any signs of slumping early on, and the Rangers are in a good position because, as they’ve proven this year, they’re pretty good at kicking you guys while you’re already down.
2. What dick move will Sean Avery do this series?
Not sure what he might decide to do. Do you think Dale Hunter might have any ideas for him?But in all seriousness, I don’t know how much you’ll be seeing of Sean Avery, if anything at all. He’s been a healthy scratch for half the time in the last handful of games and has only eclipsed 10 minutes of ice time three times since February 20th. It’s pretty well documented that Tortorella isn’t exactly Sean Avery’s biggest fan. In our series with you guys in 2009 Avery was a real difference maker, questionable antics aside. Now, he’s kind of just another forward. We’re a team with much more depth now, so Tortorella doesn’t have to resort to Avery by default like he did two years ago. Brandon Prust has sort of taken Avery’s role on the team (though with less of the BS). I’m not sure if Tortorella is going to want to risk Avery taking multiple penalties, so I doubt you’ll be seeing to much of him.
3. Will John Tortorella fight with another fan at Verizon Center?
Well, after Boudreau’s infamous tirade on 24/7 Tortorella might feel the need to one-up him again. Perhaps running up to the broadcast booth and choking Joe Beninati isn’t out of the question. But I think the Tortorella of this year will be different from the one you saw during the 2009 playoffs. To be fair to him, there was plenty of reason for him to be frustrated and pissed off. We had guys like Redden and Drury and Gomez who were underperforming compared to what was expected of them. I’ve always liked Tortorella, but there’s no doubt that he can have a tendency to be irrational or do something stupid in the heat of the moment, such as threatening a fan with a hockey stick. Though he’s still a straight forward, no nonsense coach, he’s a lot less harsh now. Right now he is solely concentrated on helping this team go as far as they can in the playoffs. You might see him screaming at refs after questionable decisions or blowing off Larry Brooks, but I don’t think you’ll see anything like that incident. Looks like our drunk fans will have to protect our bench from your drunk fans this year.
4. What’s with letting Carolina determine your playoffs in the last game of the season?
Far from ideal of course. You never want to leave your fate in the hands of someone else. We had a few chances late in the year to really separate ourselves from Carolina and even Buffalo, but we blew them. Give the team credit, though. We had what was essentially a must win game against the Devils and we played a great game. We got some help from the Lightning for sure, but whatever it takes. It was one of the few breaks we’ve gotten from other teams. For instance, the Thrashers came to MSG and played a flawless game against us, and then didn’t even show up the next night when they were hosting the Hurricanes. Former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said that the Rangers got in because they “deserved to.” That teams that work hard the whole season and put in a consistent effort ultimately get some luck. Of course it would have been nicer and less stressful to not put our fate in the hands of Tampa Bay, but ultimately we accomplished our goal.