Posts Tagged ‘malkin’

Best in the World?

In case you missed it Tuesday, the NHL nominated Ovechkin and two other guys for the Hart Trophy. The Capitals’ captain and centerman is up against Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure they only added Malkin and Iginla because they had to have three nominees.

Yes, yes, I’m solidly in favor of Ovechkin snagging this trophy, despite being a solid Penguins supporter. But I also acknowledge talent; Ovechkin personifies the essence of the Hart and he deservedly should win it.

It’s indeed fortunate that Washington made it to the playoffs – I highly doubt Ovie would’ve been nominated otherwise, though that travesty would’ve been unforgivable, I think.

We’ll find out for sure on June 12 in Toronto, when the 2008 NHL awards are doled out. And if you didn’t know, Nicklas Backstrom is up for the Calder Trophy for top rookie, too – but he’s going to lose that to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews.

Another Capitals member is an awards finalist – Bruce Boudreau was tagged today as a Jack Adams finalist, which goes to the coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.” Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon in late November last year, where the Caps lay belly-up in the Southeast cellar at 6-14-1. Since then, he led the Caps to a 37-17-7 regular season mark (with seven straight wins at the end of the season) and three hard-fought playoff wins before succumbing to the Flyers in Game Seven. He was also the fastest coach to 20 victories (34 games) in Caps history.

Ovie’s already snapped up the titles for most goals (65) and points (112) on the season. The sole reason the Caps even made it into the playoffs by a hair was because Ovechkin carried them on his back. If Ovie wasn’t playing, the Caps would deservedly be in the dregs of the league along with Tampa and L.A.

Ignila makes sense as a nominee – second career 50+ goal season, 98 points total, and spearheading the Flames’ own run into the playoffs. But he didn’t electrify his team or the home crowds like Ovechkin did.

The sole player at a shot of sneaking away with the Hart is the Penguins’ Malkin. And really, despite locking in 106 points with 47 goals – 46 points and 20 goals during a 28 game stretch that kept the Penguins on playoff afterburners when Crosby went down – the only real reason he could skate away with it is if the Penguins win the Cup.

But even I don’t think that’s likely to happen. I foresee quite the Caps ‘sweep’ of the awards in June.

So my heartfelt congratulations to Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Caps for an electrifying season. I truly hope you all keep that fire lit for next year; it’ll make some awesome match ups for me and my Penguin friends to look forward to.

Win for the "Home" Team!

So Sunday was the highly-anticipated Pens-Caps showdown, at least for my household. We managed to secure some last-minute seats thanks to a timely cancellation and firmly planted our Penguin-bedecked selves squarely in Section 428.

Penguin fan central.

Though our section was admittedly more tame than that of 423-425 – sections we’ve sat in previous times we’ve journeyed to these intense rivalry games – it was still wonderful to behold.

See, Penguin fans since time began – ok, since our continual playoff clashes in the ’90s – have always made it a point to flood the MCI/Verizon Center to support our flightless birds of black-n-gold. Sunday was no exception. The idea of making the rival arena our ‘temporary home’ is always appealing. We’re like a virus, after all. Albeit a black-n-gold one.

Though I will admit, the playoff possibilities have energized Cap fans to actually, you know, show up for these games now. No longer do our “Let’s Go Pens!” chants dominate the arena. Still, from where we sat, it was like being at the Mellon Arena all over again….though decidedly more updated, with a nicer scoreboard and bigger sightlines and…

Ok, fine. I’m jealous. Until the ‘guins get their new arena, that is.

Still, I’ve always loved Pens/Caps games. The energy both sides bring to the game is just phenomenal. And wonderfully respectful. I mean, there are grumpy drunks on both sides of the fence, but at least the attacks on each other remain in the verbal realm. No need for either of us to mimic Philly fans, after all. (No offense, Philly readers. But, well, you know.)

The game was electric. Ovechkin, Semin, Crosby and Malkin were all spectacular. And for it to be decided by Backstrom’s errant shot…well, that’s the breaks in hockey. I was, at least, looking forward to an intense OT period and hopefully, a successful shootout afterwards. Though I can live with the actual outcome, too.

Needless to say, though, I do hope the Capitals can pull it together for the playoffs this year. Their trades at the deadline were magnificent, Ovie’s in top form… Yeah, I can honestly say I’d love to see the Caps get into the second round at least.

Because then they’ll face the Penguins. And oh, what a series THAT will be. So never fear, Cap fans – I’ll be rooting for you for the final three games I have tickets for (Atlanta, Boston, Tampa).

Selfish? Of course! After all, I *am* a Penguins fan.

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