(We asked five simple questions to our friends from across the blog isle about tonight's Rangers/Capitals matchup and Scotty Hockey, an actual-paid-to-write journalist and friend of CLS, was nice enough to pen responses. )
1. What will your team need to do to beat Washington?
Eh, nothing much. Just shut down Alexander Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and Mike Green while avoiding the fearsome fists of Alexander Semin. Lose the battle of who is the worse defenseman, Tom Poti vs. Wade Redden. Remind Sergei Fedorov and Michael Nylander that that they should be enrolled in the AARP, not the NHLPA. Have Sean Avery find a slutty heiress for Jose Theodore to keep his mind off the game. Have Bruce Boudreau write WASHINGTON LOSES on a napkin.
2. What would need to happen for Washington to win?
Washington can't resuscitate John Druce so five letters: OV MVP. If the Rangers can keep Captain Caveman on the perimeter and off the scoresheet, then they have a better chance. Early in his NHL career, Ovechkin said in an interview with ESPN2 that the difference that he found between Moscow and DC was that the cops in DC couldn't be bribed. So no allowing Ovechkin an easy way out, the Rangers - likely Freddie Sjostrom and Chris Drury - need to play him tight and make him battle for every inch of ice.
3. Fan Favorite - One word:
Avery. The popular pest has proven his dedication to his craft and his dedication to the fans. He is universally loathed outside of New York for much of the same reasons he is loved. On the ice (and occasionally off) Avery never stops - not skating, not talking, not causing trouble. He would go through a wall to make a play or get an opponent off their game and we love him for it. It also helped that he came up to sit with fans and sign autographs when he was out with injury and that he has played foil to the top villain in Gotham - Martin Brodeur.
4. Your team's Goat-to-Be
Wade Redden. At $6.5 million for six years, Redden is the single worse signing in hockey history. A past-his-prime defenseman, Redden can't play defense. He fumbles the puck, makes bad passes and doesn't play the body. He hardly shoots and often puts teammates in bad positions. When pared with Dan Girardi to start this season, he set the youngster's progress back by years. Because of the sheer size of his contract, coaches feel obligated to give him ice time that he wastes away, especially on the power play. He is the biggest reason why the Rangers led the NHL in shorthanded goals against and is the bane of the fans' existence.
5. Top storyline
Ovechkin vs. Lundqvist. The top scorer in the NHL takes on the top goaltender.