Monday, March 17, 2014

Toronto Maple Leafs 2 at Washington Capitals 4 - March 16, 2014

This post took me a while to get out there, because I was alternately angry or depressed when thinking about the game, not to mention most of the day. First, the city of Washington closed the roads into the city for the St. Patrick's Day Parade just as we needed to return the rental car. It took us an extra 45 minutes to get into the city, during which my poor friend Sharpy had to listen to me give him crappy directions as Google Maps was not equipped to deal with the closures, which were not signed either. I understand the need to close roads, but add some freaking signs to direct motorists! It is not like Washington has no tourists! There were cops blocking the ramps into the city though, bored and useless in their cars instead of giving directions. Frustrating.

Anyway, we finally dropped off the car (kudos to Enterprise for leaving their office open a few minutes past closing time) and headed to our hotel. We had PDF tickets which meant we needed to print them out. Did you know that season tickets are only sold in PDF form for the Capitals? No more souvenirs, and of course, for those who travel, a computer and printer have to be found. We made our way to the hotel's business center (a FedEx/Kinkos) and of course, one of the computers did not work. It took us several minutes to get the second computer operational, at which time it began to charge my credit card while I printed out 3 tickets. Total cost: $6.70. Yes, I realize this isn't much, but if you charge people for Internet usage, make the Internet connection fast!

Suitably irritated, we walked over to the Verizon Center, a pretty nice venue that I've seen a few times now. The big news was Capitals wore green shamrock jerseys during their warmup and these were silently auctioned off during the game. No idea how much they went for, but Ovechkin's jersey started at $500, while most were at $350 to begin.

As I watched the warmup from our seats (about 12 rows from the ice and a bargain on the secondary market at less than half the $190 face value), I noticed that the Capitals had much more jump than the Leafs. This is not necessarily meaningful, but with the Leafs coming off their 3-game California road trip and missing Jonathan Bernier, I expected a blowout, and sure enough, Washington scored thrice in the first nine minutes, including two on the power play. The one goal scored at even strength went in off Jason Chimera's skate in the crease and still counted, as the NHL desperately tries to increase scoring. Chimera did not kick the puck in, but having watched the replay, it certainly seemed like he intentionally directed in with his skate. Good goal?

The Leafs fought back with a late first-period marker from Troy Bodie (above) and then made it close when Dion Phaneuf threaded a seeing-eye goal midway through the second but that was it. An empty-netter for Washington made the final a depressing 4-2.  At least it wasn't a blowout after all.

I saw five Leaf road games this season and the 3-1-1 record in those tilts is worth noting, but there was no solace for me this Sunday afternoon. I blame Sharpy, who missed those first four games and his bad mojo ruined the point streak. He is no longer invited to Leaf road games. Sorry Sharpy.

Not all was lost though, we did meet another Stadium Journey writer, Jason Bullock, after the game, and we enjoyed a nice meal at the District Chophouse and Brewery during Selection Sunday. Highlight for me was telling a couple of guys at the bar where Mercer University is (Macon, GA). I know because I went there once. All of my sports road trips proved worthwhile when I saved these gentlemen 10 seconds as they didn't have to look up the information on their smartphones.

Next Up

My long journey to Club 122 is almost done. I head to New Orleans and Florida next week to add the Pelicans and Magic to the list and thus become a member. There will also be a Blue Jays spring training game, a Gator game in Gainesville, an ECHL tilt in Orlando, and a couple of games in the Blue Jays opening series in Tampa. Check back for updates next week!



1 comment:

  1. Sean, You crack me up. Since I have also inflicted on you and all of Leaf-Nation the origins of the latest Leafs 18 wheeler leaving the road, I now exile myself from watching live any future Leaf Game with anybody, anywhere. As for the skate rule, unlike from our youth, you are now allowed to direct the puck into the net with a skate, but you can't make a kicking motion to do so (Kadri did this soon after in a game against the Red Wings and the two rule interpretations were discussed). Sharpy NBF(Now Banned Forever)