Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Capital Offense

I enjoy watching hockey, but certainly don't follow it with the same fervor as I do baseball. And ordinarily the pink-slipping of Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Cassidy would be a story I'd pass over swiftly.

Except that I watched the Caps play earlier this year, live and in person, at the MCI Center in downtown Washington. And what I saw made it clear even to these untrained eyes that the Capitals suck. As crude and unsophisticated as that verb is, in this case it is entirely warranted. In the game I saw, sitting way up top with Shallow Center's Washington and South Jersey correspondents, the Caps were thoroughly abused by the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was like watching the Mighty Ducks -- not the NHL team; the squad of kids coached by Emilio Estevez -- take the ice against the Soviet Red Army. It's a wonder Cassidy lasted 28 games this season.

The Caps' biggest draw is Jaromir Jagr, the former Penguin and until recently one of the top five hockey players in the world. In our game was saw him make one nifty, Jagr-like move, which led to a sweet goal; other than that, we could barely even tell when he was on the ice. The rest of the team appeared to be playing with their skates tied together.


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