On the surface, the St. Louis Blues might seem like a hard team to get fired up for - they come into tonight's game as the worst team in the Western Conference (but they try hard!), are seriously banged up (cry us a river), and don't have any particularly detestable, flashy, or for that matter interesting players on the roster.
The Caps have only played the Blues twice in the past five years (a home win in January of 2006 and a road loss in October, 2007), so there's no recent animosity between the franchises, St. Louis leads the all-time head-to-head series 36-34-12, and, other than Brent Johnson, there's not a single player on either roster who has played for both organizations. And hell, how pumped can you get for a team whose name is synonymous with depression?
The answer, of course, is that whatever the motivation, the Caps had best be very pumped for tonight's game, especially after being publicly admonished by their general manager for failing to be adequately focused on Tuesday night. As GMGM put it:
"We didn't play well enough last night. We didn't respect our opponent, and we didn't play hard for the entire game. You could see early in the game that we had a couple of players that were playing far too cute. It was our grinders that got us through. We expect and demand a lot from these guys now."
And while "far too cute" can be a good thing (see Hough, Julianne), it's most certainly not here, and it most likely has led to a break up of the top line (at least it was that way in practice yesterday).
So we'll see if the latest challenge for the team to play to its potential will be heard, and, if it is, we can expect a two-point night for the home team. If not... get ready to skate, boys.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Alex Semin is looking for a redhead... Pierre LeBrun has AO winning the Richard Trophy. He also predicts Barack Obama will be our next President, Chrysler will be in some financial trouble in early 2009 and that Jim Carrey's new movie is going to be horrible.... Speaking of Ovi, I have to disagree with Chris Botta - there's a bigger different between the Caps and Isles than Alex Ovechkin.... Some good discussion of Bruce Boudreau early in this interview.... Holy crap, a list of the NHL's most overpaid players that doesn't include Jose Theodore.... If you read of an organization in which "[t]oo many prospects, for a variety of reasons, are falling short of expectations and potential[,]" how many teams would you guess it was referring to before you guessed the Caps?... I suppose the Caps don't need anything, since they're giving when everyone else is receiving.... Cap of the Day: A former Cap and Blue.... It's time to do some voting for All-Stars at the AHL level, if you're into such things.