When the Caps host the Panthers tonight at the Verizon Center, something's gotta give. The Caps have lost their last six home games to the Cats and their last six overall to Florida, but the Panthers enter tonight's game with the NHL's third-worst road record (8-21-5 - only the Caps and Pens have fewer wins away from home) and Joel Kwiatkowski in their top six defensemen.
Since it's the opening Saturday of March Madness (a special Rink "thank you" to the Spartans of Michigan State for sinking my brackets this year, by the way) and since the Redskins traded their backup quarterback for a sixth round pick, neither the WaPo nor the WTimes has chosen to cover the Caps today. But fear not - there's been some unexpected media coverage of the team over the past day or two, including an ESPN.com interview with Olie Kolzig and a little FOX Sports.com blurb about the team travelling old school to and from Gotham earlier in the week. And, for what it's worth (a.k.a. jack squat), Scott Burnside has deemed the Caps worthy of the first pick in the draft, should they fall into such wonderful luck, but manages an unnecessary jab at the team anyway ("Washington, a team that features Alexander Ovechkin and 19 other players with sticks, is always tough to play against and also would be deserving of the first pick"). Oh, to see any of those 19 sticks crammed down Burnside's piehole...
Thread of the Day: What Franchise Model Should The Caps Follow? (see which franchise has the most Caps fans envious)
Elsewhere 'round the rinks:
- In Nashville's three games since the Brendan Witt trade, the Preds have yet to give up a goal while the formerly-mustachioed one is playing. The three goals the Music City Kitties yielded in Witter's first game with his new team all were allowed after Brendan was excused from the match for not playing nice with the other boys.
- Speaking of not playing well with others, "that other rookie" admits he is prone to throwing temper tantrums. But this "unplanned, unintentional expression of anger, often with physical and verbal outbursts" isn't unheard of behavior for an 18-year-old, as "[a]nyone can have a tantrum, even an adult." [emphasis added] Luckily, "[t]emper tantrums usually last 30 seconds to 2 minutes," which, coincidentally (or not), spans the length of an average Penguins' penalty kill.
- Fantasy line of the night: Vinny Lecavalier (Goal, assist, 5 shots on goal, 31 PIMs)
Hart: Andy McDonald (2 goals, +2 in critical 2-1 win)
Ross: 8 players tied with 2 points each
Norris: Darryl Sydor (2 primary assists, +1, 4 blocked shots)
Vezina: J.S. Giguere (Win, 22 saves on 23 shots against)
Richard: Andy McDonald, Ryan Craig, Miroslav Satan (2 goals each)
Calder: Ryan Craig (2 goals)
Aiken: Robert Esche (Loss, 5 goals against on 24 shots)