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Sunday Roundup

"Know what the difference between hitting .250 and .300 is? It's 25 hits. Twenty-five hits in 500 at bats is 50 points, okay? There's six months in a season, that's about 25 weeks. That means if you get just one extra flare a week - just one - a gorp... you get a groundball, you get a groundball with eyes... you get a dying quail, just one more dying quail a week... and you're in Yankee Stadium." - Crash Davis in Bull Durham

For some reason, that quote keeps banging around my head these days when I think about the difference between making and missing the playoffs. It's going to be close. How close? Who knows. But in this year of mediocrity parity, you can bet that it will be five points or fewer.

Know what the difference between, say, 88 and 93 points in the standings is? It's five losses in overtime rather than in regulation, okay? There's six months in a season. That means if you get less than one more game per month to overtime before losing - just one - an extra save in the last thirty seconds of regulation... you get a clear into the corner rather than into your own net with 28 seconds left... you get one puck past a mediocre goalie in sixty minutes... you hold on to a tied game for four more minutes in a game in which your goalie, 50-feet from the net, fans on the puck... you - rather than the officials - get to decide the outcome of a game... you get a call or a bounce, just one more call or a bounce a month... and you're in the playoffs.

Each of those five games referenced above was a Caps loss... in regulation. In total, the Caps have twelve one-goal, sixty minute losses (and ten one-goal regulation wins). The Caps may still make or miss the playoffs, but either way, it's going to be closer than even the standings might indicate.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Damien Cox thinks Alex Ovechkin is a "talented loser" if the Caps miss the playoffs by a point, but the Hart winner if they're in. Tom Benjamin thinks Cox is a talented loser, minus the talent. I think "Damien Cox" sounds like a horror-porn actor.... Finally, one year ago today we briefly (and I mean briefly) recapped a Caps loss, watched an outstanding old school brawl and followed-up on the "fighting" post, and two years ago today we recapped yet another Caps loss and defended poor, defenseless Ovie.

Daily Awards
  • Hart: Jarome Iginla (3G, including the game-winner, +2, 7 SOG, 3 Hits, 2 TkA, 0 GvA)
  • Ross: Eight players tied with 3 points each
  • Norris: Dion Phaneuf (G, 2A, +4, 8 SOG)
  • Vezina: Dan Ellis (37 saves on 38 shots against in shootout win)
  • Richard: Jarome Iginla (3G)
  • Calder: Sam Gagner (2G, including the game-winner, +2, 8 SOG)
  • Aiken: Jose Theodore (3 goals allowed on 8 shots against in just 14:29 of work)