Archive for the ‘Washington Capitals’ Category

Gut Reactions: Washington Capitals

September 1, 2009

Pictured: The magnificent gut of Randy from Trailer Park Boys.
Being that I’m still trying to come up with an interesting concept for our “real” season previews, I thought it would be important to start getting into game shape for the season. So on a semi-daily basis, I’ll roll out these unsolicited opinions on various NHL teams.

Keep in mind that these are assessments made without painstaking research and are not meant to be “official” predictions. Whatever that means, anyway …

There is no denying that Ovechkin is an absolute force of nature. His goofy personality, penchant for borderline head hunting and unmatched goal scoring ability make him the true ambassador to the Sportscenter generation.
What makes the Capitals especially intriguing, though, is that their second and third best forwards have every reason to take another step toward becoming elite players. Both sublime passer Nicklas Backstrom and enigmatic sniper Alex Semin are entering contract years, making it far from improbable for three Capitals forwards to flirt with 80-plus point outputs.
(And let’s not forget the faux hawked Paul Coffey in training Mike Green, who tallied a stunning 73 regular season points playing something vaguely resembling “defense.”)

After getting worn down by the relentless forechecking of Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke, it seems like the Capitals are beginning to lean a bit more toward the Canadian farmboy grit that frequently makes a difference in the playoffs. It’s debatable whether they wanted Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov to go overseas, but for my money I’d rather have young, hungry Europeans rather than old Europeans with little to gain.

Mike Knuble, in particular, could end up being quite the find for a team that already had an insane powerplay.

Ultimately, the issues come in a still-questionable defense and a still-troubling goaltending situation.
Simeon Varlamov (or whatever he’s going by these days) showed a ton of moxy in the playoffs last year, but it’s unclear if he’s truly ready for a big time workload. Jose Theodore is rapidly approaching Andrew Raycroft/Jim Carey territory.
That being said, the Capitals are clearly the class of the Southeast Division and very well may improve simply because Ovechkin and his talented colleagues are a year older. After all, it might not matter if a cheesehead/Dan Cloutier is in net with all the goals the Capitals should pile up.
Lightly researched, impulsive prediction: #1 in the Southeast Division; #2 in the Eastern Conference
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Storming the Crease decides who should NOT team up with Ovie

July 1, 2009

Rob from Storming the Crease has been a long-time contributor to Cycle like the Sedins, providing us with deep, interesting takes on the Washington Capitals. He’s been one of the busier bloggers during free agent time, writing three fantastic posts on Caps UFAs today alone. Make sure to follow his Caps-related pursuits.

They should be an interesting team to watch for the next decade (or however long Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is).

Raise your hands if you were the only guy in DC with a lower approval rating than George W.

1. Which player, for the love of God, do you NOT want to see in your team’s sweater in the 09-10 season?

Michael Nylander. The problem is that Nyls is signed for another two years and has a contract that epitomizes dead weight. GMGM has tried everything to get rid of this guy, who right now is a $5.5 million scratch (at least for the playoffs). Granted, there’s still a little more than three months until the season starts, but Nylander stands out more than just about anybody.

(If you get the sense that I pick on Nylander at every opportunity, you’re right. But he’s really dead weight at this point. Seriously, I’d rather have an AHL player on the team than this guy. The Caps should have let him be Edmonton’s problem when they had the chance.)

2. Conversely, pick a potential move by another team that would just crush your soul/favorite team’s chances.

It would be AWESOME if the New York Rangers and/or Philadelphia Flyers continued their free-spending ways. Oh wait, that happened already with the Flyers totally overpaying for an aging Chris Pronger. GM George McPhee thankfully wasn’t baited into another bad deal (see Jagr, Jaromir) and passed on trading for a good player, albeit one who is past his prime.

Storming the Crease discusses the Washington Capitals draft scenario

June 26, 2009

Storming the Crease is yet another one of the most CLS-friendly blogs out there. Rob, the blog’s faithful editor, was a reliable source of Capitals perspective in a mini-blog for the Pens-Caps series. Make sure to check out his great blog.

1. What direction do you expect Washington to go in with this year’s draft? What’s your preference?

GM George McPhee has done well with picking players either later in the first round or with subsequent selections. Granted, since the team wasn’t that good for a while, the Caps did benefit from some high selections such as Alex Ovechkin first overall in 2004.

The current Caps are all about winning the Cup now. That means the most drama emanating from the team’s table in Montreal will revolve around trades, specifically focusing on Michael Nylander and Jose Theodore. Both players seem to be headed out of town, assuming McPhee can swing a deal. It probably wouldn’t involve the team’s first-round pick, but you never know.

McPhee is great about keeping the proverbial cards close to his vest — and this year is no different.

2. Looking back, discuss some of the highest and lowest draft moments in Capitals’ history. What are some of the “steals” and groan-inducing moments that Washington fans will never forget?

There’s little debate that the Caps’ all-time draft steal came in the 1990 draft: Peter Bondra, the franchise’s all-time leading goal-scorer, was selected in the eighth round, 156th overall. Bondra scored 472 goals in 14 seasons with the franchise.

Other late-round values include Richard Zednik (10th round, 249th overall in 1994) and Gaetan Duchesne (8th round, 152nd overall in 1981).

The busts started at the franchise’s beginning: Greg Joly, selected first overall in 1974, scored just 21 goals in nine NHL seasons. Other disappointments include 1995 first-rounder (17th overall) Brad Church (two NHL games played) and 1996 first-rounder (fourth overall) Alexandre Volchkov (three NHL games played).

Soapbox time: take this opportunity to discuss the Caps and/or NHL in general.

There’s no doubt the Caps are still steaming from the 6-2 game seven loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year’s playoffs. But in order for the Caps to follow the Pens’ path to a title, they need to do more than just stew. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

That means the team needs to add an offensive-minded veteran center and a defensive-minded defenseman (or two). The Caps also need to become more consistent—which means no more nights off, no more 3-1 series deficits and no more thinking that “flipping the switch” when facing a deficit will earn them a Stanley Cup.

The Caps need to emulate the Pens and Detroit Red Wings in work ethic and determination. Adding new players will help, but the main source of the change has to come from the current roster.

Playoff Pet Peeves

May 15, 2009

1. “He must be injured or out of shape.”

Am I the only hockey fan who’s tired of Lazy Announcer Crutch #4,056: assuming that a player is struggling because of a mysterious injury or unable to bounce back from the fatigue of a longer season? The most recent example is Mike Green. That’s not to say he wasn’t playing hurt, but it’s just so tired to assume that is what is happening.

Could it be that a young player simply isn’t used to playing in the playoffs? Maybe they are on a slump because all that open regular season ice has been strangled away by better defense, familiarity and higher stakes (more shot blocking, stricter matchups, better competition since you don’t get any more easy games against Tampa-like teams).

While the usual “list of previously undisclosed injuries” is always an interesting read, let’s give the opposition’s shut down forwards, top D and coaches a little credit, OK?

2. Diving (and complaining about diving)

It’s hard to say what’s worse: players acting like they were run over by a Buick from a light tap of a stick or the people who constantly bitch about flopping. I’m all for people making Crosby diving jokes, as long as they’re funny. But after watching Alex Ovechkin flop with equal vigor, let’s leave that out of next year’s round of “Ovechkin= totally better” columns, mmmkay?

2b. Excessive penalty bitching

Man, that Caps-Pens series really tried my patience after a while. To some (not all by any means) Washington fans, the refs beat the Capitals, not the Penguins. Even though the Penguins played better team D, blocked more shots, took more shots, enjoyed superior puck possession and actually showed up to Game 7.

Earl Sleek’s (relative) stoicism toward penalties as a Ducks fan showed me a lot. Whiny, losing teams let penalties derail their focus; winning teams persevere.

Want a compelling case of corrupt officiating? Watch the NBA.

3. Marc Andre Fleury handling the puck

We anoint thee “Bizarro Hextall” as you are both jolly while Hextall was grumpy and a train wreck playing the puck while Hextall was an artiste.

You still have the mouth of Gary Busey, though.

4. No more Anaheim Calling, Hockey Blog Adventure or Storming the Crease

Thanks again, everyone. Your contributions made a crazy thought turn into a reason to check CLS a few times a day. The door’s always open.

5. A nearly inevitable Red Wings repeat

Shit.

The Final Countdown

May 13, 2009

Not much to say about Game 7 of Penguins-Capitals that hasn’t been said yet. I’ll (unfortunately) be watching the game on a two to three hour delay so obviously there’s no sense starting a liveblog tradition tonight. Here’s a big collection of links about the game that will start in less than an hour (and stop many hearts).

Rudy Kelly’s sweet, sweet hate

May 2, 2009

Rudy Kelly breaks down everything (and everyone and every reason) to hate about Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and more in the Capitals-Penguins series. Click on the beefcake photo (or right here) to read it. Here’s a couple highlights:

Hate Marc-Andre Fleury… because his name is Marc-Andre Fleury. Don’t you have a joust to get to or some peasants to beat, you landed fuck?

Hate Sergei Fedorov… because he has boned Anna Kournikova and now he looks like he has AIDS or tuberculosis.

Hate Jordan Staal… because people are lazy and say, “Crosby, Malkin and Staal” when it should be, “Crosby, Malkin… and then that one weird albino with the pinhead.” Also, hate him because Penguins fans refuse to admit they made a mistake drafting him instead of Jonathan Toews or Phil Kessel because he plays defense, which is like saying, “Yeah, I’m glad I went blind because now I have a good sense of touch.” Wait, it’s not like that at all. Moving on…

Round 2: Who’s under pressure?

April 30, 2009

With the second round set to begin in Vancouver tonight, the stakes are rising for the remaining 8 teams. Still, expectations and future outlooks play a huge role in how a team’s playoff run is evaluated. Taking that into account, which teams have the most to lose (and gain)? Are there any teams “playing with house money”? Let’s take a look.

1. Boston vs. 6. Carolina

Both teams defied expectations this season. For the Bruins, that came early, as Boston went from being a nice little 8th seed last year to a squad good enough to make people wonder if they could go toe-to-toe with San Jose and Detroit. In Carolina, the Hurricanes went through most of the regular season looking like their typical selves (limping through stretches, remaining thoroughly mediocre … the ultimate bubble team) and then all of a sudden became arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Hockey fans will probably remember the Canes stunning two goals in 1:20 to shock the Devils for years to come. At this point, Carolina is the perfect foil for a number one seed: they’re playing their best hockey of the year and just seem to have everything falling in place. If they lose, no sweat, really. Right?

One thing that stands out for Boston is that they have some tough salary cap decisions to make. David Krejci and Phil Kessel are RFAs this summer. Marc Savard only has one year left on his contract and will certainly command a bigger cap hit than his current $5 million.

The B’s are a nice story, but the startling depth that made them such a juggernaut won’t last forever.

Bruins have way, way WAY more to lose than the Hurricanes.

2. Detroit vs. 8. Anaheim

The second of two “behemoth vs. Cinderella” match-ups, although the Ducks have more to lose than the Hurricanes (and the Red Wings are probably yawning at the pressure of being heavy favorites).

Anaheim will have a lot of questions to answer this off-season, particularly when it comes to Scott Niedermayer. Could this be the last year of the Norris brothers?

Still, the Ducks can’t sweat it too much when they look at their young forward trifecta: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan make up quite the nice group of sub-25 threats. With Getzlaf and Perry wrapped up for a long time at a low cap hit, Anaheim isn’t crazy to wonder if the sky is the limit.

And if they get bounced, it will at least make Jonas Hiller easier to re-sign.

It’s difficult, however, to muster much fervor for the Red Wings. Yes, it would be a letdown if Detroit blows this series but they won the Cup last year. They have a mountain of talent wrapped up for below market value prices. If they screw up this year, they’ll be a top-3 seed for the next decade anyway.

Ugh.

Detroit has more to lose than Anaheim, but they both have bright futures.

2. Washington vs. 4. Pittsburgh

No doubt about it, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have a lot to lose in this series. They are the two faces of the league and will suffer from harsh Photoshops, mouth-breathers in comments and a predictable “I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!11” mentality. Evgeni Malkin can obviously swoop in and show that perhaps he should be the Hart trophy winner instead of Ovechkin.

Hell, even Alex Semin has plenty to prove after his “Kane over Crosby” comments from earlier this year.

If you had to choose, the slight edge in pressure might go to the Capitals. They are the higher seed with home ice advantage. After barely beating the Rangers in a 7-game series – and getting, honestly, severely out-played at times in that decisive game – the Capitals need to show that they’re not just a weak willed collection of gorgeously talented Europeans.

The Penguins have “been there” before, putting up a cute little fight against the Red Wings in the SCF last year. In some ways, that means that they have quite a bit to lose, as they don’t have the excuse of inexperience.

The Capitals and Penguins face extreme pressure to deliver on all the media hype, with a slight bit more on the Caps’ shoulders. Either way, someone’s getting flamed in a message board before this one is done.

3. Vancouver vs. 4. Chicago

The Canucks are an odd story this season. On one hand, you have disappointments like Mats Sundin and the hot button issue of re-signing the Sedin twins. There’s also the oddness of Roberto Luongo being the first goalie to be a team captain since the railroad industry was thriving.

That being said, there’s the “aha!” season of Alex Burrows and the assorted flavors of hard scrabble two-way forwards this team provides. Will Kyle Wellwood make you pay for that fat joke? Shall Ryan Kesler show us why he’s a Selke finalist? Lots of sneaky good guys on this team.

One story I promise to beat to the ground is that the Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t be so loosey goosey this year. Everyone seems to think that the BLACKHAWKS ARE A TEAM OF THE FUTURE. While that would be great, it might not be so easy.

Martin Havlat and Nik Bulin are all but gone, barring some crazy hypnosis-based contract signings. As I wrote before, the team might have a devil of a time re-signing its talented trio of Kane-Toews-Keith between now and the 2010 summer.

Yes, the Hawks are still in their cliched “losing to learn how to win” season, but they might want to think about skipping that process altogether. Things might get a lot tougher for this team in the future.

The Canucks are under more pressure, but the Blackhawks are under more pressure than you’d think.

Five Questions: New York vs. Washington

April 15, 2009

Scotty Hockey and Rob Yunich were cool enough to take part in our Five Questions series.

You can read both missives at our Rangers/Capitals mini-blog.

Go ahead and click won’t ya? You wont be any smarter after reading it but we promise you wont be any dumber either*

*offer void if post is read off of a computer screen

If you were the GM (Southeast Division edition)

March 3, 2009

(With the trade deadline upon us, Cycle like the Sedins decided to ask about 30 or so friends in the blogosphere to represent his or her team and answer the question: “What would you do if you were the GM during the trade deadline?”

Since things change in a heartbeat, the date of each person’s submission is listed next to each entry. So before you start screaming “BUT THEY TRADED HIM!” while food spills out of your mouth, we’re showing what they thought at the time.

Don’t like it? Then don’t buy it! Now get outta here you kids!!! This isn’t a library!!!)

Florida Panthers

(MAR 2)

Whale4ever from Litterbox Cats

If I were running the show, Jay Bouwmeester would be a Panther until July 1st. I understand the potential lunacy of allowing the guy to walk for nothing, but I’m firmly in the camp that demands keeping the team intact through the end of the season.

The Panthers desperately need playoff action, no secret there. The revenue, the local media focus, blah blah blah…all the usual tired reasons. Might make a depth move, but the club is pretty solid from top to bottom. Could really use a number one center (insert Olli Jokinen joke here), but again, I don’t blow it up.

If the Cats somehow don’t make the post-season, as Jacques Martin, I’m out of work.

Chris Kontos: This is the eternal debate… at least for the 2009 NHL Trading Deadline. Should Bow stay or should he go? Yes, the Panthers very well could make the playoffs this season and experience the revenue, money and local media windfalls. But when he signs with another team July 1st… will the Panthers make the playoffs next year? Ask the Atlanta Thrashers how that one year in the playoffs has paid off for them.

James O’Brien: It all depends on what they can get for Jay Bouwmeester. Honestly, they MUST receive at least one suitable roster player plus prospects. Is anyone willing to give that up? Perhaps we’ll find out tomorrow. The Panthers are on fire right now – way, way WAY more than the Thrashers ever were – and perhaps a playoff run on the team that drafted him would melt some of the ice off of Bow’s heart. Very thin ice for the Panthers.

***

Atlanta Thrashers

Totally awesome Photoshop from Aaron Brown of Blueland Outsider:

***

The Falconer from Bird Watchers Anonymous
(2/25)

The Thrashers have several pending Unrestricted Free Agents (Reasoner, Perrin, Havelid) all of whom are likely to be dealt. If I were GM I’d offer both Reasoner and Havelid one year deals for next season and if they decline trade them for draft picks or prospects.

As far as the non-UFA Thrashers, there has been some trade chatter about Colby Armstrong but the Thrashers have made clear they value what he brings and a team would have to overpay to get him in a trade. On the other hand, Erik Christensen who was obtained from Pittsburgh one
year ago has been mostly invisible all year, he’s probably available if anyone wants him. Others who could be available if the offer was right include Todd White (C), Jim Slater (S), Eric Boulton (W), Brett Sterling (LW), Garnet Exelby (D), Nathan Oystrick (D) and perhaps Johan
Hedberg (G). Note: Slava Kozlov has a no trade clause and from what I hear is not inclined to waive it.

(2/25)

Mortimer Peacock from Blueland Chronicle

Niclas Havelid and Marty Reasoner to playoff contenders for draft picks. One of the goalies needs to be moved; what we get depends on whether we move Lehtonen, Hedberg, or Pavelec.

Chris Kontos: Just trade Kovalchuk and get on with it. Yikes, when Marty Reasoner is your most tradeable asset things are either really good… or really bad. In this case… really, really bad.

James O’Brien:
Don’t, under any circumstances, trade Ilya Kovalchuk. Kidnap him from Russia to extend his contract next summer if you have to. Without Kovie the Thrashers might as well move to Kansas City. Seriously.

***

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cassie from Boltsblog
(3/01)

If I were GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning in time for the trade deadline….

The first thing I’d do is put the ownership on waivers, but not really expecting anyone to pick them up. I’d send them down to the minors after they’d cleared waivers so they can screw up an AHL team instead while they’re trying to get the hang of this ownership/management thing. Then maybe I’d give them another go here in the next couple of years – see how they mature in the minors and all of that, you know.

Okay, here are some trades that I think could benefit the Lightning:

LW Pettinger & C Craig (TB) for D Weber (Nash.)

Saw I and Saw II (TB) for D Skoula (Minn.)

RW Hall, a draft pick, and all of ESPN’s Lightning bashing this season (TB) for D Hutchinson (Dal.)

C Lecavalier for all of the Montreal Canadiens – as well as all 24 of their Cup wins, Beliveau, Richard, Blake, Robinson, & Geoffrion (all that history is just weighing them down, and who needs that?)

All of the constant Canadian hockey press bashing of the Lightning & the Southeast Division for an automatic 8th seed in the East

The entire Edmonton Oilers team (players only) for all of the Tampa Bay Lightning – except for Lecavalier and St. Louis, of course

Owner Len Barrie & GM Lawton to Canada for some poutine & beer

Fort Lauderdale should trade the entire Florida Panthers organization to Portland, Oregon, for some environmental know-how – the Lightning need a larger fan base in the state of Florida

Chris Kontos: I love the idea of creating an automatic 8th seed for the team that comes in 2nd in the Southeast Division. Also, the first 2 Saw films for Skoula would be an excellent pick up.

James O’Brien: Wow, what a brutal year for Tampa Bay. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis both have pretty solid contracts. So, keep Lecavalier and St. Louis along with Mike Smith and Steve Stamkos. Everyone else is fair game.

***

Washington Capitals
CAPS chick from DC Cheap Seats
(2/28)

“If there was a way to get rid of Nylander, that would be my first move – there’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that he just doesn’t fit into the Caps lineup anymore. Sadly short of driving him out into the middle of nowhere and leaving him there, that doesn’t seem like a possibility. He’d probably just find his way back anyways, the little scamp.

Top of the list would be a vocal veteran presence and/or a puck-moving defenseman – someone like Kaberle or Pronger might be nice if they don’t ask too much in return. Package a prospect like Chris Bourque, maybe a pick or two or even one of the Caps’ current young defensemen for either one. And if a backup goaltender surfaced for the right price it might be worth exploring; Neuvirth and Varlamov have four games of NHL experience between them and that’s a little scary with the playoffs looming.

Of course, there’s always the old standby…more Russians!!”

Chris Kontos: Senator, I’ve seen Jose Theodore. I’ve known Jose Theodore. Jose Theodore is the goalie for the Washington Capitals. Jose Theodore… you are no playoff goaltender.

James O’Brien: This Capitals team is scary. It would be pretty cool if they made a Marian Hossa-type splashy signing only for a big name D guy or a UFA goalie. But it’s probably not going to happen.

 ***

Carolina Hurricanes
Cory from Canes Country
(2/27)

A rational person who watches a team all season knows whether or not the team has “a shot.” This incarnation of the Hurricanes, in my mind, has little chance to win the Cup. That being said, a hot goalie can go a long way toward strengthening a cause — as people who watched the Hurricanes in 2006 know. But given the play of the team this season, I’d stand pat.

If the Hurricanes were going to win, it would be riding the waves of Cam Ward and Eric Staal, not on some mid-level rental player. With the farm system improving, it wouldn’t be prudent to sacrifice a prospect or draft pick for a player like that.

The team’s trade-able assets (Dennis Seidenberg, Chad LaRose) probably wouldn’t fetch enough return to justify removing them from a team that wants to make the playoffs. Anton Babchuk and Tuomo Ruutu are RFAs at season’s end, but the team will definitely want to make an effort to keep Ruutu and will likely do the same for Babchuk, which means it would take an impressive offer to pry either out of Raleigh. Now, if some former Plymouth Whaler becomes available, Jim Rutherford might possess me and make me do the deal. I wouldn’t be responsible for any move like that.

Chris Kontos: Excellent analysis from the deep south. Carolina is a decent team that would serve no benefit from a playoff rental.

James O’Brien: Could the Hurricanes benefit from a cheap trade for one of their old Stanley Cup run rentals? Maybe go after Doug Weight, Cory Stillman or Mark Recchi just for old times sake? Overall this team is pretty bland and should probably just hope for some kind of random lucky break.

Deirdre on Club Scarlet, aka the Washington Capitals all-female fan club

February 26, 2009

(Editor’s note: Cycle like the Sedins is glad to welcome Deirdre back into the fold. If things go as planned, she should provide the female perspective [but not just the female perspective] twice a week in order to sprinkle a little logic in our meathead stew. Puck Daddy featured a pretty solid summary of the Scarlet Club if you need to get up-to-date.)

Cameraman to Fedorov: “Make the face you made when you walked in on Anna Kournikova and Pavel Bure.”

So I’m a girl. Now that’s out of the way, I can also say I’m a hockey fan. Or maybe I’m a female hockey fan. Or a fan that happens to be female. Or the dreaded hockey scarlet letter “puck bunny.”

I have to admit, sometimes it’s maddening. When men like the sport and know a reasonable amount of information about it, it’s nothing special. Yet if I can hold an intelligent conversation about last night’s game, some men feel the need to balance a biscuit on my nose and tell me what “a good girl” I am.

As Beyonce says so aptly, if I were boy, all of this wouldn’t freakin’ matter (I may have paraphrased that a little).

I hate to admit it though, and men, brace yourselves for the shocker of a lifetime…women are fickle. Plain and simple. What one woman loves; another will hate and decry as “sexist.” What offends one; will thrill another.

I am a perfect example of this. I loved hockey from birth. It’s in my blood. I was born in Pittsburgh to a father who lived and died everything gold and black especially when it was on ice.

It wasn’t about how dreamy a young Mario Lemiuex was or Ron Francis’ ripped abs (can’t believe I just wrote that), but about spending time with my dad and genuinely growing to love the game.

Ronnie Francis: Clearly the inspiration for those ill-fated tight fitting Reebok jerseys.

During my prouder moments, I have explained icing and off-sides to clueless men, won three fantasy hockey championships in predominantly male leagues and cursed dumbass officiating to the point that would make even the saltiest sailor blush. I hate that “female” jerseys are pink and gag when women show up to hockey games in high heels and dresses because they think they are on a “date,” when really the guy they are with just wants to go to the damn game. But at the end of the day, I am still a girl, so there are those moments that I am not proud of…at all.

These are those moments that some men wait for because it erases credibility faster than a Mr. Clean magic eraser. I personally, as James can attest to, am a recovering hockey beard addict (see Peter Forsberg). In fact, I believe it was James who coined the phrase “you’d be all over him like he was made of beard.”

I notice that men go for the metaphorical low blow when women like players they find less than worthy (looking at you Todd Bertuzzi). Again, another classic James/Deirdre argument about Bertuzzi ended in James saying that “you just want to pork that ogre.”

But I can’t deny that some of these players are downright good looking. I think some of you guys need to get a grip and admit to that fact too. It’s the equivalent of me saying that Maria Sharapova is a great tennis player, but just OK looking. I would be a liar and delusional. The key is that good looking men aren’t the reason why I watch hockey, it’s a pleasant side effect.

I think the funniest thing is that people assume all women find the same thing attractive (insert that fickle comment here). When I checked out Club Scarlet, I laughed when I realized I was looking a glamour shot of Michael Nylander giving me his best soap opera stare.

A few years back, Jason Arnott (for the record reasonably good looking guy but not my type) got into a scuffle on ice that left him pissed off, sweaty and bleeding from a gash along his hairline. I am pretty sure I went through puberty again watching them escort him off the ice. That was a man right there.

So Alex Ovechkin can have his GQ photo shoot in a tuxedo with white tigers laying about, but I say give me the real sport any day of the week. There is no one size fits all idea for the elusive female hockey fan. At the end of the day, I say try anything and everything, even if it is goofy pink jerseys and Club Scarlet.

Because for the love of god, the sport needs some more fans and if it gets asses in seats then so be it.