After finishing the fourth game in their first round match up with the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals head home to play the potentially series-clinching game on Saturday. With Coach Bruce Boudreau's comments about Madison Square Garden sparking a media frenzy earlier this week - one is left to ask if either franchise really has an edge over the other.
1. Post Season History
This is the 6th post season meeting for these two teams, with the Caps leading series wins 3-2.
Result: Caps. Especially because looking this up allowed me to watch the video of Fedorov's blast again.
Bruce Boudreau, head coach for Washington is a former Jack Adams Coach of the Year award winner. He brought the Caps all the way back from the basement his first year of coaching to a playoff berth. Has won four consecutive Southeast Division titles and the Presidents' Trophy in 2009-10. Coached the Hershey Bears to a 2006 Calder Cup championship. Replaced a former Ranger (Glen Hanlon) in becoming coach.
John Tortorella has lead his teams to 6 post season berths, including winning the 2004 Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay. Also coached the Rochester Americans to a Calder Cup championship in 1996.
Result: Rangers. As much as I love and respect Gabby, winning the Stanley Cup weighs pretty heavily in my decision.
Result: Washington. Quien es mas macho.. a bald eagle or nothing?
4. Team Colors
Red, White, and Blue against Red, Blue, and White
Result: Draw. Do you know which team is which? Yeah, me either.
5. Stanley Cup Wins
New York: 4, first franchise in the United States to win the Stanley Cup
Result: Rangers. Looking to move one step closer to evening out the tally this year.
6. Team Name
The Washington Capitals were named after the nations capital, which is located in Washington. The New York Rangers were named by the press after the owner, Tex Rickard (Tex's Rangers).
Result: Capitals. Both equally dull, but America always wins in my book. F-Yeah!
7. Team Logo
The Capitals logo features 3 stars- signaling Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC. It was made to resemble the flag of DC, which in turn was based off of George Washington's coat of arms. The New York Rangers logo carried over from their time as the New York Americans, a name chosen to sound... American.
Result: Draw. I do love the fact that the Capitals got rid of the oh-so-ugly black/blue/gold combination, but picking them would result in a direct violation of the result for #6. The best I can do for the good guys here is a draw.
8. Player That Even Non-Hockey Fans Know
Alex Ovechkin. Gold medals in World Junior championships and World Championships. 5 consecutive First All Star teams. 2 consecutive Rocket trophies. Calder, Art Ross, Hart, Pearson, Kharlamov Trophy winner. Rookie of the year, 2006. More records than I care to type here.
Sean Avery. Has a rule in the NHL handbook named after him. Best agitator in the league. Dated/made controversial comments about Elisha Cuthbert and Rachel Hunter. Has a screen play coming out detailing his "double life" interest in sports and fashion. General Managers have been quoted as saying he has a lack of respect for the game.
Result: Ovechkin/Washington. Avery goes to fashion shows and interned for Vogue. How's that for intimidating?
9. Franchise Start
Capitals: Joined the league for the 1974-75 season and promptly went 8–67–5, setting NHL records with lowest winning percentage (.131), most road losses (39 out of 40), most consecutive road losses (37).
Rangers: The New York Americans NHL franchise was awarded to Thomas Duggan and William "Big Bill" Dwyer, of bootlegging infamy, becoming the first NHL team in New York. The franchise got it's start stealing players from the Hamilton Tigers, whose season was suspended because they struck for higher pay. The Americans outfitted their team by offering higher salaries to sway the players.
Result: Draw. Outbidding competition is the New York way to gain players, but setting a record for most losses isn't exactly glamorous either.
And, in lieu of recent comments, the coup d'etat:
10. Location of Play
The Capitals play in the awesome arena that is the Verizon Center. Repeatedly known for its amazing fans (including the cheer inducing Horn Guy and Goat), the VC can get so loud the players can't hear themselves think. Exhibit A: Fedorov broke his stick during a shift in the first game of the 2007-08 postseason, yet didn't realize it until he returned to the bench.
The Rangers play in the hallowed Madison Square Garden. As cool as MSG is, you can't stand up or use the restroom without being cursed at. And according to Ovechkin, the Garden "smells no good."
Result: Verizon Center/Capitals. Slightly biased result, but a result nonetheless.
Verizon Center: Allows for 18,398 for Capitals games.
Madison Square Garden: Allows for 18,200 for Rangers Games.
Result: Verizon Center/Capitals. Size matters.
10c. Food Selection
Verizon Center: Attendee's choices range from guilty pleasures such as BBQ and cheese steaks to healthier items with kosher and vegetarian options. Of course, all of them would be covered in mice droppings.
Madison Square Garden: According to their website they offer a "variety" of fare from hamburgers and hot dogs to pizza and French fries.
Result: Madison Square Garden/Rangers. Unless you like the "chocolate" dip-n-dots.
10d. Beer Selection
Verizon Center: Offers over 30 choices and makes their beer list readily available on their website, complete with vendor location. Oh yeah, and there's this thing.
Madison Square Garden: Couldn't find a beer list. On either website.
Result: Verizon Center/Capitals. Kudos for incorporating some local beverages along with regional macro and micro breweries. Who needs two websites, anyway?
FINAL EDGE: WASHINGTON Besides, we were able to pawn off Jagr on the poor saps and start the re-build that is the team we are watching right now. LETS GO CAPS!