May 9, 2009

Another Tough Loss for the Caps

After looking to have the series under control, the Caps lost another game in OT tonight to go down 3-2 to the Penguins.

That's 7 straight playoff overtime losses for Washington. Also, after winning 5 straight games, they've dropped the last 3.

Other than Ovechkin and Varlamov, the Caps don't seem to have anyone who can step up when they need it. They're reeling now, and need to regroup fast to have a chance to win the series.

Pens Begin to Solve Caps Goalie Varlamov

Over the first three games in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, rookie Caps goalie Simeon Varlamov not only kept his team in the series, but helped them build a 2-1 lead in three one-goal games. He was spectacular in front of the net bailing out a Capitals defense that broke down more often than a Chrysler LeBaron.

On the other hand, he let some cheap goals through. Those goals tended to be slap shots or hard wristers from between the faceoff circles that were slightly deflected and crept through holes in Varmy's pads or under his arms.

The Pens were paying attention. In Game 4, they launched shots any time they had an open shooting lane. It paid off with a 5-3 win, at least three of those goals qualifying as bad.

The issue with Varlamov seems to be that he has excellent reflexes, but he also tends to freeze. He appears to be quickly picking up shots from farther out, but then when the puck dips or is slightly deflected, he is still frozen in the initial position. To borrow a baseball saying, he's swinging at where the ball used to be. The Caps were lucky that many of the attempted shots hit traffic in front and never made it on net.

If my observations reflect the truth, the Caps are in a seriously tough position. The cannot expand their defense out to the faceoff circles because the Pens have players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Ruslan Fedetenko who are agile and can cut through seams in the defense, as they've shown in the series already. Because the Caps have struggled with puck security, they have tended to keep the defensemen held in tighter to the net. They have faced an extraordinary number of odd-man rushes already in the series.

I think they're in a no-win situation. Either they let the Pens bomb away from the high slot out to the faceoff circles, or they risk putting Varlamov in impossible two-on-one and breakaway situations.

The only "good" news for Capitals fans is that the Pens' best defenseman, or at least their best shooting defenseman, ex-Cap Sergei Gonchar is not likely to play in Game 5 today, and possibly not again in the series. Alex Ovechkin took him out with a knee-to-knee hit that looked possibly intentional, but was probably just ambiguous enough to avoid any league discipline.

May 6, 2009

I Woke Up the Penguins

I called out Fedetenko. He scored. I called out Malkin. He scored.

Thank god Staal didn't score or I'd feel like I woke up the non-Sid the Bitch Pens.

At least now the Caps can close it out on home ice.

May 5, 2009

Idol Recap 5/5/09

Your author, circa Halloween 2002

This marks a first. In over 1400 posts on this blog total, this is the first time that Brien, Russell, J-Red, or I, have ever felt compelled to post any form of self-portrait or picture in which one of the four of us may even be in for a small bit. I possibly feel comforable doing this because nobody could ever recognize me in it.... and most of our 6 readers know me anyway.

What could possibly be the impetus for such an earth-shattering event? Well, the appearance of MY rock idol, Slash, as a guest mentor on American Idol. Appetite for Destruction was the first CD I ever puchased (along with Pocket Full of Kryptonite with a Sam Goody gift certificate). I own every single Gn'R CD, including, unfortunately, the Spaghetti Incident, as well as a few bootlegs (I have not purchased Chinese Democracy because it's not a Gn'R CD, no matter how it's advertised). Slash to me is a musical genius, a God, a rock icon, and I defy you to listen to his riffs on Estranged (track 11 on Use Your Illusion II) and tell me otherwise. I could not have been any more psyched when I heard about this episode of Idol.

It's incredible that clean-cut American Idol now is going with a guest mentor who used to supply all of West Hollywood with heroin. True insanity. Slightly disturbing for those of us who love Gn'R. That said, the possibility for unintentional comedy was higher tonight than for any guest mentor possibly ever before. However, FOX doesn't allow for that much unintentional comedy given how strictly they edit down the video of the contestants with the guest mentor. And Slash was remarkably coherent and gave some sound advice out. He paid attention. He critiqued honestly and positively. In short, maybe every week Idol should go with a formerly drugged-out rock star guest mentor.

Ryan starts us off tonight with shocking news that for the first time in Idol history, there was no dress rehearsal because of an on-set accident with a set piece that weighs many hundreds of pounds and is dangling precariously from the ceiling. Meaning that the judges actually have to watch the performances. And meaning that we all keep our eyes on the screen hoping secretly that the set comes crashing down.

So we start the episode in The Roxy on the Sunset Strip... could Danny Gokey, the nice, clean-cut, church music singer look any more out of place? Interestingly, they feature Slash only playing Velvet Revolver songs. Probably because Axl wouldn't clear any Gn'R songs for the show. I'm amazed Slash could even use Gn'R videos.

Thanks Kara for bringing out your leather and the updo in front for rock week. You're authentic now. Really. We feel you as a rockstar.

We start the performances with Adam Lambert who actually performs better than 90% of the professional recording artists who have performed on results night. As androgenous as he looks, he just blasts the ever-loving hell out of Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love. I mean, he killed it. No doubt about it. Tremendous performance. We knew Adam would live up to rock week. We knew he'd own it.

Next up is Allison who does Janis Joplin. Probably the best contestant to take on Janis since Amanda Overmeyer last season. Allison needs about 20 more years of pill-popping and other substance abuse to destroy her voice enough to carry Janis. Allison still does a damn good job, but just has the misfortune of going after Adam and being in his shadow. I do think we'll remember her performance and it looked better in the rear view mirror especially in the long run after watching some of the other performances, and especially given her duet to close out the show.

Next is another Idol first. Wow, so full of them tonight. Set disasters. A blogger posting a self-portrait. No dress rehearsal. And a duet between Danny and Kris covering Styx' Renegade. It was decent, but you had to feel bad for Kris. He has like 1/10th of the power in his voice as Danny. The two were better together than either would've been individually. I still think these two will be fighting for 3rd and 4th at this point. Personally, I, like Eric Cartman, would prefer to hear Come Sail Away if I'm going to hear Styx.

Third comes Kris Allen, who appears totally out of his element doing the Beatles Come Together. He does a decent job for earlier in the competition, but not such a great job for this late stage of the competition. I disagree with Simon, who appears to think Kris is going home at the expense of Allison. I think Kris is going to be saved by Danny's primal screetch in his version of Dream On (see below). Kris performs like he's scared to death to have to try to play rock and roll and totally ignores Slash's advice to play a little more animated.

Danny "Okey Gokey" (thank you Allison) finishes off the individual performances with performer suicide... he goes with Dream On by Aerosmith. Wow. It was pretty horrifying for me. I should also, since I've talked so much about myself in tonight's review, qualify my review by saying that I've seen Aerosmith live four times, including my very first concert back at the Capital Centre, and they're one of my favorite rock artists ever (speaking 70s Aerosmith, not necessarily the 2000's Aerosmith). Danny took a risk and fell pretty hard. It's like seeing the ski jumper in the Olympics take one jump that's too far and not quite make it and crash on his face, skidding to a stop 150 feet down the slope. That's pretty much how I felt for 90% of Gokey's performance.

Finally, we have a foreshadow of this season's Championship Tuesday - a duet between Allison and Adam. Who can be more glam? The two of them looked like they were having a blast singing together. And we found that out for sure when they gave each other a bear hug afterwards. This was definitely one of the best performances I've ever seen on the Idol stage. They were nothing short of awesome together doing Foghat's Slowride.

So whose hometowns do I think we're going to be visiting next week?

I see us visiting Allison's furniture store where she performed on Sundays to crowds searching for their favorite armoires to put on layaway.

I see us visiting Kris' hometown in smalltown Arkansas.

I see us visiting Adam's favorite drag bar in Hollywood.

I think that it's the end of the road for Danny Gokey. One risk too big to take on. This week though, everybody but Adam is in danger.

May 4, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins MIA

It seems the Penguins have an offensive force to match Ovechkin in Sidney Crosby, but they're lacking the Scottie Pippen to their Michael Jordan.

If only they had an Evgeni Malkin, or Fedetenko.

If only they had a David Steckel.

The series is now 2-0, and the teams have played pretty evenly. Sid the Bitch and Alex Ovechkin have each scored 4 goals in two games, but yet the Capitals have taken the edge.

Since, as a lawyer, I know "wherefore" means "why", I'll ask the obvious question. ¿Dónde está Malkin? ¿Dónde está Fedetenko? ¿Dónde está Staal?