Today, the Penguins waived supposed enforcer Steve/Phillip/Joe Macintyre. "BigMac's" tenure is notable as he is the largest person to ever achieve the feat of being totally invisible. In ten games, he racked up an impressive 0 points, and 2 penalty minutes. I can't blame the guy, though, since his ice time was roughly enough to yell "hey everyone, look at me", and then get back on the bench. Hockey is past the days of fighters who can't play, and I think this is a good thing. The instigator rule has made it impossible for the big guys to do their job, which is police the ice and destroy anyone who even sneezes in the vicinity of their superstar. While I'm all for protecting superstars by punching people in the face, it isn't a bad thing to see players on the ice who can skate, score, AND relocate someone's jaw. The Penguins are lacking grit right now, so I'm hoping this move opened up a couple hundred thousand bucks for them to get someone who can score and beat the hell out of somebody.
On to the Capitals.
I loathe the Capitals with every fiber of my being, yet they are a mere shell of the team that used to scare the hell out of me. Sure, they still show up to play the Pens (and pretty much nobody else), but names like Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom, don't carry the weight they used to. When Jason Chimera is their best player, you know their season isn't going as planned.
Tonight's game will be one between two teams who currently suck, but for different reasons. The Capitals just don't care, really, and their record shows that. Washington is currently tenth in the Eastern Conference, with a 21-17-2 record, and are 5-4-1 in their last ten games. For a team with so much talent on paper to be behind teams like Winnipeg, Toronto, and yes, Pittsburgh in their current situation, is laughable. They have put up 118 goals (7th in the conference), and given up 120 goals, for a differential of -2. Their last game was a big loss to the revitalized Los Angeles Kings, who have gone 6-1-3 in their last ten, after hiring their new head coach. The Penguins are struggling due to injuries, and look to have given up a bit, themselves. After a year of nothing but injuries, kicked off by Sid's concussion in the Winter Classic on January 1st, 2011, there's not much more they can do. Take one step forward, regarding injuries, then take two steps backwards. It's amazing, really, that they've managed to hold on for so long. Tonight is going to hurt. Best case scenario, the Penguins put up two early, then Flower shuts the door on the Caps.