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June 19, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
I’ve been saying it ever since they signed Jose Theodore to be their No. 1 goaltender. Theodore is so bad, he’s terrible. And he wasted little time proving it, allowing four goals on 17 shots before getting yanked in his Caps debut.
Brent Johnson came on in relief and surrendered three more goals on 14 shots as the Caps fell to the mighty Thrashers, 7-4.
Atlanta jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 13:48, getting goals from Ron Hainsey, Marty Reasoner (he’s still playing?), and Bryan Little. Alexander Semin bagged his first of the year at 14:11 to stem the tide, and the Caps made it 3-2 at 9:10 of the second on a shorthanded goal from Dave Steckel. That’s when Theodore decided to introduce Caps fans to his very special brand of suck.
Just 20 seconds after Steckel got the Caps back in it, Slava Kozlov skated into the Washington zone and whipped a wrister from the high slot. Theodore didn’t even move. Okay, well, he kind of stumbled awkwardly to his left, but it wasn’t exactly a “goaltending” movement or even remotely coordinated. The effort earned him the hook.
Mike Green then became a one-man rally, potting a pair of power-play goals 52 seconds apart. That Green boy is nifty. He’s got the goods.
And that brings us to the game’s turning point.
Four minutes into the final frame, the Caps were buzzing the Atlanta net and managed to work the biscuit into the blue paint behind Kari Lehtonen. Tobias Enstrom flopped on the loose puck, surrendering a penalty shot but no doubt preventing a sure goal.
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau chose some guy named Alexander Ovechkin to take the freebie. This Ovechkin character skated in and tried to go backhand-forehand on Lehtonen, only to bury his shot into the fabulous Finn’s left pad.
But look on the bright side, Caps fans. At least Ovechkin didn’t dump it in the corner. Or maybe he only does that move in Game Sevens.
Lehtonen’s save sparked the Thrashers, and Atlanta’s finest erupted for three goals in 2:10 to blow open the game. Little broke the tie, cruising in on right wing and wiring a shot through Johnson’s pads at 13:57. Twenty-nine seconds later, Colby Armstrong blasted a slapper from almost the exact same spot on right wing, ripping it off Johnson’s left shoulder and into the twine. Todd White capped things with a power-play marker, converting a sweet cross-ice pass from Ilya Kovalchuk.
It’s easy to overreact after getting shelled on opening night, but this wasn’t just one loss for the Capitals. This was Exhibit A. Signing Theodore was a colossal mistake. And unless the Caps are willing to admit the error and eat the contract, their season is doomed.
But this is precisely why Ted Leonsis writes all his contracts in gravy on sheets of meatloaf. Ted likes his gravy.
With the Capitals trailing 7-4 at 19:40 of the third period, Donald Brashear reminded everyone why he’s such a (sunshining) (sunshine). Atlanta rookie Zach Bogosian, who only turned 18 this past July, had the nerve to bump Dave Steckel along the boards. Brashear took this as an act of war, going right after the youngster.
Bogosian tried to skate back into the play, but Brashear wouldn’t let up, prompting the kid to turn and face the overgrown oaf. The gloves dropped, and the two wrestled a moment before Brashear started throwing bombs. Thankfully, Bogosian was able to avoid most of the blows until help arrived.
Both men received five for fighting… oh wait, I’m sorry. The 18-year-old kid got five for fighting, while the disgusting piece of (sunshine) got five for fighting and two for roughing.
Brashear is a punk. Always has been, always will be. Jumping an 18-year-old rookie in his first NHL game is despicable. Brashear should be ashamed of himself, as should anyone who ever refers to Brashear as a “tough guy.”
There’s simply no defending Brashear’s actions. There’s a code, Donald. Respect the code. And even after he perpetrated child abuse, Brashear had the nerve to skate off the ice and mock the Atlanta bench, motioning with his hand that all they do is talk.
Yeah, good one, Donald. And all you do is beat up high school kids. Hey, I hear that Hannah Montana’s pretty rugged. Is she next on the hit list?
Once play resumed, there wasn’t much time for retribution. Chris Thorburn ended up going with Matt Bradley eight seconds after the puck dropped, but this is far from over.
The Thrashers can’t let this slide. They must take their pound of flesh. Their next meeting isn’t until November 26. Sure, they should go after Brashear, but first they should pummel Alexander Semin or Mike Green.
Respect the code.