Photo: USA Today
“You just gotta to ignite the light, and let it shine.
Just own the night, like the 4th of July.
‘Cause Baby you’re a Firework, come’on show’em what you’re worth.”
–Katy Perry, “Firework”
Right now Washington Capitals fans feel like that plastic bag, drifting in the wind, wanting to start again. We feel so paper thin, like a house of cards one (game) blow from caving in. We feel so buried deep, six-feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing. However, there’s still a chance for us, ‘cause there’s a spark in us. We just need to ignite the light, and let it shine. We need to own the next game and then take it from there…if anyone can be anything…than baby, let’s be a f***ing firework.
I am a straight man in my very early 40’s (not that any age or orientation matters) as long as you be who you truly be; that’s the most important thing. But that being said I have a strange feeling Katy Perry is my spirit animal. If it is one thing that gets me through the doom and gloom of April and May (and the annual Washington Capitals heartbreaking playoff exit) it is my love of music. For whatever reason the SiriusXM in my car this morning reminded me how much I needed Katy Perry and how much the Washington Capitals need to find their spark. The lord, and Katy Perry work in odd ways.
I could honestly spend 2,000 (plus) words telling you what is going wrong with the Capitals. The bottom line is pretty much everything. There is a lot of bad luck, bad bounces, bad calls, and at times bad effort. The power play is lost, confused, and extremely powerless. The neutral zone play is lackluster. We can see that three or four defensemen are making costly errors every game. The Capitals are getting out hustled and out worked. The NBC announcing crew, the NHL, the referees…blah, blah, blah…blippidty, bloppity, blah.
The Capitals are losing games because there is no spark, and no fire. They are throwing shots at a rookie goalie from the way outside fringes of the offensive zone. The forwards are not establishing territory. The one time we got in tight on the kid, Kuzya fell on him and the series tilted to Pittsburgh on that marginal call. Then Orpik got himself suspended on a stupid play. And everything else leading to this.
So here we are Caps fans, a truly remarkable hole, against a team that has not lost consecutive games since Valentine’s Day. We used to be that team, we used to have all the momentum in this league. We used to have the spark. We gotta ignite.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Capitals still have Holtby, albeit he hasn’t been perfect this series, but bad bounces have a way of doing that to even an unflappable netminder. He’s fine folks, it is the defense in front of him that’s the huge let down in this series (and the firepower of certain forwards). But there’s still at least one more game. We win that one, there’s still a shot at the next. But you’ve gotta find some fire, light the lamp, play like you’re being chased by zombies or something. Better yet play like you’re being chased by Katy Perry zombies.
It would be really easy to skewer Mike Weber and Dmitry Orlov. In fact I should (and will) roast the offending parties once this season is fully wrapped. But for now, they still have a job to do, they still have a shred of life left. Like I said, we’ve got Holtby and we should work outward from there. Roll four defensemen for 90% of the game and only let Schmidt, Weber, and Orlov see ice when you really have to (depending on who gets a game jersey). For the record, I thought Chorney has been much better than the other three and redeemed himself from the unsavory play versus Philly. Stay out of the fricking penalty box and don’t let bad officiating get you down (easier said than done).
So building outward from a great goalie, and four capable defenders the Capitals need production. Justin Williams…playoff hero of years past, where are you? Jason Chimera…speed demon and maniac forechecker, where are you? Nickie Backstrom…puck possessor, distributor, and creator…where are you? Evgeny Kuznetsov…young wizard, where are you? We need the top line to get lit. We need a second line to possess and create. We need a third line to disrupt and grind the opposition. We need the fourth line to spell the other nine guys and beat down the Pittsburgh forwards. We need all of this.
One moment at a time, one shift at a time, one period at a time, and only one game at a time. Find the spark, start clawing away at the mountain in front of you. This 3 games to 1 comeback thing has been TO the Caps plenty of times. It is time to DO IT to one of our rivals. I think we know the odds now, and have a grasp on fate.
A reminder from game seven, round one, in 2009 – Sergei Federov finds the spark to advance the Caps to round two – the Caps were down in this series 3-1 after game four!
Own the night Capitals, ‘cause baby you’re a big red, white, and blue firework. Find your spirit animal and find it fast because I do not want to listen to “Everybody Hurts” on a loop come Sunday.
LET’S GO CAPS!
By Scott Zweibel