Nearly $200 is still a pretty high average cost, but Capitals-Islanders playoff tickets are down in price versus recent Caps first-round playoff matchups. I imagine this is because the Islanders don’t have the fanbase of the Rangers or Bruins, but it should be a good series nonetheless.
Either way, get in tonight for Game 1 starting at $35 by clicking on the image above.
Caps correspondent Brad Parker (@StoptheHats) returns to preview the Caps-Isles series. He’s joined by his longtime hockey teammate and friend LJ, who is a diehard Islanders fan (apparently those still exist). Brad asked the questions, LJ gave the answers. We thank them both.
1. The Islanders led the Metro division for most of the season. Why?
Main reason has to be the offense. The Islanders were 4th in the league in goals for.
An improved defense as well. Garth, who gets killed as a GM, made two incredible acquisitions before the season started in early October on the same day. Nick Leddy was acquired for a very good defensive prospect (Ville Pokka) and a pick, and Johnny Boychuk for a couple of second-round picks. The fact that Stan Bowman traded Leddy rather than Oduya is insane — Leddy would be the best defenseman on the Blackhawks not named Duncan right now. It goes to my theory that NHL coaches are by and large morons. Quenneville didn’t trust Leddy as much as he trusted others, and during their Stanley Cup and playoff runs, he was relegated to a sixth- or seventh-defenseman role.
Boychuk, meanwhile, given a first pair role after playing behind Chara and others, was also deemed expendable for salary cap purposes by Boston, and he shined with career highs in most categories. Ask Claude Julien whether he would rather have had Boychuk or Zach Trotman coming down the stretch. Boychuk is what Caps fans wish Brooks Orpik could be. As a plus, his brothers might be the funniest in the NHL family on Twitter (outside of Luongo).
Ovi got to 50 on the season the other night and 472 on his career, tying Peter Bondra for No. 1 in Caps history. A few cool stats/bits of trivia to celebrate the occasion, starting with:
Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur, and Mario Lemieux are the only other players to hit 50 goals six times. And they all played in eras with significantly more goal-scoring.
Putting 50 goals into further perspective for the modern era:
And from a few years ago, Via Daily Sports:
Stick it, Crosby.
I was 11 or 12 when this poster became a thing, but I didn’t see it ’til yesterday (via @japersrink):
Based off of the goal totals/puck pyramids, this must’ve been during the offseason of ’89. Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall and Mike Ridley would go on to score 106 goals the next season, one that ended with a run to the conference finals.
Twenty-five years later, Ghostbusters III still hasn’t been made, though it is in production for summer 2016.
Previously: The Early ’90s Redskins ‘Posse’ Poster
The Worldwide Leader unveiled a rather cool feature yesterday, The Great Analytics Rankings, sorting all 122 NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams by “the strength of each franchise’s analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics.” I don’t know what biometric data is, but this is interesting nonetheless, at least as it pertains to our favorite teams.
We’ll start with the good. The Nats and O’s are both labeled as “believers,” meaning they rank somewhere in the top half among MLB teams. For the O’s, it’s thanks to “GM Dan Duquette, manager Buck Showalter and pitching coordinator Rick Peterson, all of whom are respected for their analytical thinking,” though “they need a more coherent, holistic approach and a stronger investment to compete with division rivals Tampa Bay, Boston and New York.”
I’m not sure if this is actually an *annual* ranking of the five major D.C. pro sports teams, but it is a nice time of year to do such a thing.
5. Washington Redskins
As Tom Boswell so kindly points out, the past two Redskins seasons were the franchise’s worst since 1961. Incredible.
But! Short of Dan Snyder selling the team, the best possible thing that could happen just happened: They finally hired a real GM. And a highly regarded one to boot!
Of course, he has a drinking problem, and this is the Redskins. Our enthusiasm is curbed by hopelessness. Continue reading
Here with a look at the ticket market for Caps-Blackhawks on New Year’s Day is Mr. Irrelevant Tickets partner TiqIQ.
The average price for tickets to the Winter Classic at Nationals Park on New Year’s Day is $487, which makes it the third-most expensive Winter Classic since TiqIQ started tracking the market five years ago. The only Winter Classic with more expensive tickets came at Citizens Bank Park in 2012 when the Rangers visited the Flyers. That year, there were plenty of Rangers’ fans who made the trip down 95, which was a big part in driving ticket prices above the $500 mark. This year, only the most die-hard of Blackhawk fans will be making the 700-mile trip to D.C. to see the Blackhawks play in their second Winter Classic.
After years of waiting, we finally get to see 2010 first-rounder Evgeny Kuznetsov lace ‘em up for the Caps. Enjoy his top 10 KHL goals (old but awesome) and read Tom Boswell and Puck Daddy before tonight’s debut.