By Stu Krantz
Well, it all comes down to tonight for Dale Hunter and the Caps. A loss could, possibly, maybe mean a blowup of the team, and a near guarantee that Hunter does not return next season. A win could keep the team intact, for now, and perhaps earn Hunter some more years as the Caps’ bench boss. Speaking of which…
1. Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington says Hunter needs to be kept on board next year, regardless of whether Washington wins or loses tonight. Unless they get blown out tonight, the Caps have played better in the Playoffs under Hunter than they ever did under Boudreau. They’re doing all the right things: blocking shots (3rd in league), etc. Plus apparently everyone’s bought in to “the system.” If that’s true, it’s good for Hunter, but scary for the future of hockey. Who wants the Dead Puck Era again?
2. A really, really boss series rewind and game 7 preview video from CSNNE, via Russian Machine Never Breaks. I guarantee you’ll be pumped up for tonight after watching this:
3. Kevin Klein over at Sick Unbelievable says that Boston’s home-ice advantage tonight, and in this series, is as “important as nipples on a breastplate.”
4. Puck’N Hockey’s game 7 preview. “Neither team has been able to show home ice advantage as each has won two games in their opponent’s building. Simply put, game seven could go to either Boston or Washington. It all depends on which team can execute under the pressure.”
5. Troy Brouwer talks to Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times about Game 7s. Interesting perspective from a guy that, obviously, won the Cup with the Blackhawks a couple years back, and was part of a Game 7 in the first round last year when Chicago faced Vancouver. Chicago, the away team much like Washington is tonight, went into Vancouver after rallying from a 3-0 deficit but lost Game 7 in overtime off the stick of Alex Burrows. As a fan of the team who the Bruins eliminated in Game 7 overtime last year, it hurts. A lot.
7. Also from the Times: Jeff Schultz will take the place of John Erskine in the Washington lineup tonight. please dear god noooo
8.From DCist, via WTOP, Braden Holtby jerseys are nearly nonexistent after the young goalie’s Playoffs breakout. With good reason, too…
9. Ernie Grunfeld will be back with the Wizards. (Which is a disaster.) The only possible reason I can think of that Grunfeld would be extended is because he’s doing what Ted Leonsis wants him to. If that’s true, and keeping in mind the fact that the Capitals are a hundred times better in their sport than the Wizards are in theirs, there’s no doubt in my mind that McPhee will be back. Which could mean no rebuild, for now.
10. I still remember this from last year, and it still pains me to the core to watch it. Let’s hope it doesn’t end like this, Caps fans: