I didn’t spend a second on the ice, I lost no teeth, my personal Power Play is working just fine, thank you. Nevertheless, I am a little red-faced today over the infamous, notorious and historic Washington Capitals collapse last night.
There is a tremendous irony here that leads to a few suggestions for next year’s Washington hockey team. This would not be such a horrific embarrassment for the entire city or for Washington area sports or specifically for the Caps, if they had not done so well in the regular season; if they had not fashioned one of the best regular-season records in the history of the sport.
So noting the trends from the first round of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, here are my suggestions for next year.
Home Ice Does Not Matter
There is no advantage to playing at home. In fact, as three of the four division winners in the Eastern Conference can attest- home ice is actually a disadvantage.
Having the Best Record in the Regular Season Does Not Matter
All it gets you is home-ice advantage. See above. And it guarantees you will play a dangerous team that has nothing to lose.
The 82 Regular Season Games You Play Mean Absolutely Nothing
Other than to qualify for the post-season, play mediocre hockey and just barely squeek into the playoffs. This will give you both the away-ice advantage and tremendously reduced expectations.
You Don’t Need Such a High-flying Offense
It masks your defensive liabilities. If one hot goalie can shut down your entire offensive juggernaut in the playoffs it doesn’t really matter how many goals you scored in the regular season.
Lights, Sirens and Fights
If you really like the sounds of the siren going off and the little flashing red
light- activate them during intermission between periods. To make up for fewer goals
get into more fights. This will make the games more entertaining and emotional.
Get a Really Hot Goalie
And you don’t have to pick him up until a week before the playoffs. Remember- you don’t want to win a whole lot of regular season games. The real season is from April through June. The rest of it is all window dressing.
I think that about covers it. In an effort to win fewer regular season games, you can probably shed a lot of high-priced stars who, as it turns out, didn’t show up for the playoffs anyway.
In their place, get guys who block shots and goons who beat the crap out of people. That will also require less emphasis on the Power Play and more on Penalty Killing. But that’s cool because it’s a lot easier to slap a puck away to the other end of the rink than to fit it through a tiny slit and past a goaltender and into a fairly narrow net.