New York Islanders v Washington Capitals

“Forced Watching” is a weekly feature where the loser of the wagering game on the podcast is forced to watch the least interesting game on the schedule (in the opinion of the winner), and write about it. No offense if your favourite team is involved. Well, some offense.

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Welcome to the first Forced Watching I’m actually looking forward to. I actually thought I was going to win this week. I was so close. If you think you’re disappointed you have to deal with me again this week, you can’t imagine how I feel.

Anyway, Give me your Tavares, your Moulson, & your Ovechkin. Hoping for a good game that gets done quick because I have tickets to go see Lucero tonight. Let’s do this thing.

1st Period

20:00 - Let’s get it started with Washington’s feed just cause. I feel like the nine goals Ovechkin scores (shhh…I’m being optimistic…it’s weird) will be more exciting with a hometown announcer.

20:00 - Thanks to the wonderful invention that is Wikipedia I have learned that my announcers for this first period are Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin. Cool.

20:00 - Aw, no commercials on Gamecenter. Lucky for all of you, sad for me.

20:00 - Opening faceoff brought to you by Papa John’s. There are some people in theScore’s offices who could totally get behind that.

19:26 - Eric Fehr is out tonight so we get to watch the Polish Pistol Wojtek Wolski instead. I’m pretty okay with this.

18:33 - Great little dangle from Ovechkin in front but it gets poke checked away by Nabokov. Liking that start to Ovechkin’s night.

17:47 - Keith Aucoin sighting! He does exist.

17:10 - Marty Reasoner is left all alone infront of Holtby but shot the puck wide. I’m honestly not sure how he didn’t at least get that on net, he was all alone in front. Islanders gonna isle, I guess.

16:26 - Man, how did Brad Boyes not become absolutely amazing? He was such a great prospect for my boys and had a great year with the Bruins and that one fantastic, 40 goal year in St. Louis. I really thought he was going to be one of the next big things in the NHL. I know he’s not bad or anything but I thought he’d be a perennial 30 goal guy. I still have faith he could become that but that home fades a little bit every day (though 27 points in 31 games this year is nothing to sneeze at).

14:36 - Michael Grabner buries his 11th goal of the season. A really nice pinch by Aucoin to gain possession against the boards and whipping it cross ice to Grabner to buy the opening goal of the game. Somewhere on King street, Bourne is smiling and he doesn’t know why.

12:53 - Man, Mike Green. Never forget.

12:04 - Another Isles goal. Josh Bailey this time with his 5th. 3 Capitals go behind the net to try and get the puck from Nielsen and all 3 miss which left Bailey all alone in front to absolutely rip a one-timer top corner past Holtby. 2nd goal of the year against the Caps for Bailey which means…I don’t know what it means. Something?

11:04 - I really like that the Washington announcers call Ovechkin “our Ovechkin” when talking about him being the star of the week. It’s quite endearing.

10:22 - Caps only have 3 shots as of yet and haven’t even come close to making Nabokov work save for that one move by Ovechkin which was more of an impressive move than a real chance. Islanders are pretty much dominating them so far. That is not a sentence I thought I would type tonight.

9:40 - I have a conundrum. I would like this game to be over as quickly as possible for personal reasons but I also really want to watch Franz Nielsen in a shootout. I am torn like Natalie Imbruglia. Though I am neither naked nor lying on the floor. CHUM FM from the ’90s joke, y’all.

8:08 - Nice toe drag from Boyes that goes nowhere. I still believe in you, buddy!

7:35 - The Isles are doing a really good job at deflecting shots away from Nabokov. They haven’t made any real big shotblocks yet but they’re doing a good job of getting their sticks on the puck and taking the onus off Nabokov to make a play which is probably a good thing.

6:41 - That being said, the Caps just kept the puck in the Isles zone for almost 2 minutes which leads to an icing. This is a long shift for the Islanders’ top line. Luckily for them, John Tavares may not be human so he should be fine.

6:41 - Caps are 13-3-1 in their last 17 games against the Islanders. Wouldn’t know it so far.

5:31 - The Capitals are going to the game’s first powerplay after the Isles get called for everyone’s favorite penalty: delay of game. Unrelated, I am a huge fan of Casey Cizikas for a really weird reason. A few years back I was really into gambling on NCAA Basketball and, for some reason, Nevada was always a team that did well for me led by Nick Fazekas. His name kind of sounds like Cizikas. This is literally the reason that I really like Casey Cizikas.

3:43 - Pretty lifeless powerplay from the Capitals save for some nice passing between Joel Ward and Marcus Johansson that resulted in a good chance but Nabokov was able to make the save. The Caps don’t seem to have any life tonight, really. Lots of puck watching and chasing, not a whole lot of getting set and actually executing their system.

1:42 - Caps seem reluctant to try and take it right at Nabokov. Lots of passes just inside the blue line rather than trying to get a strong rush or a shot for a rebound. It’s the Islanders, guys, I think you’ll be okay.

1:11 - Trivia time! Who scored the Caps’ first ever OT game-winner? The announcers don’t even seem sure they know the answer and I’m pretty sure someone told them. Laughlin is pretty sure he was on the team when it happened but he can’t remember who it was which is pretty hilarious. I like these guys.

0:00 - And we come to the end of 1. I’m sticking with the Capitals’ feed because I really want to know the answer to that trivia question. I hope they don’t give the answer during the intermission I am unable to watch.

2nd Period

20:00 - No mention of the trivia question. I better not have missed it. I suck at this kind of trivia, for the record. Listen to our early podcasts to see just how bad.

18:27 - Mike Green might not have the scoring touch he once had, nor is he as highly touted as he once was, but the guy can still move the hell out of a puck in his own zone.

18:15 - Caps powerplay, let’s see how this one goes.

17:41 - Grabner breaks out on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with my boy (Cizekas) but Cizekas can’t finish the pass to put it in the next as it goes off the heel of his stick and wide. So far, not going super great for the Caps.

16:20 - Another uneventful powerplay for the Caps and they continue to not generate any real chances. Credit where credit’s due to the Islanders thus far as they’ve done a good job of taking away all angles and opportunities the Caps may have had.

15:06 - We’ve yet to see a shot in this period. It’s been really exciting.

14:30 - The Caps have our first shot on goal for the second period as Nabokov is forced to make a nice shoulder save. Seriously, though, what the hell is the answer to that trivia question?

11:52 - Matt Hendricks misses the net with a shot and gets caught on camera swearing (not audibly) which is one of my favorite things that happens in live sports because I’m 12, apparently.

10:37 - “Grabner has his skating shoes on tonight” – Um, I’m pretty sure those are called skates, Joe.

10:09 - Matt Martin blows a tire and goes into the boards because Matt Martin which almost causes an odd-man rush for the Caps. Mostly I just like watching big people on skates fall down. Imagine how entertaining Zdeno Chara would be if he was terrible.

9:51 - Caps goal! Possible trade target Mike Ribeiro makes a great move to get around Reasoner and puts it past Nabokov to cut the lead in half and give us a game. Which, I mean, this hasn’t been a bad game by any means but thank God. I really didn’t want Bourne to be right in assigning me a game. I don’t like it when Bourne is right. About anything.

7:33 - Oh good, my Gamecenter went to a commercial (or lack thereof) in the middle of play. Thanks?

7:11 - Brooks Laich gets a good opportunity and Nabokov shows some veteran vision in keeping track of a bouncing puck. This Capitals team has shown such a marked improvement since Laich returned. And even better, he’s not Jay Beagle (I really don’t like Jay Beagle. I have no reason for this).

6:32 - Carlson scores! A shot from the point that Nabokov didn’t see but probably should have. Nice shot from Carlson but the puck must have struck an edge or something as it skipped under Nabokov’s pad. Ballgame!

5:55 - Next 5 for the Caps – Sabres, Flyers, Canes, Islanders, Panthers. The Capitals are totally making the playoffs.

3:27 - Johansson makes a nice move to bring the puck in on the wing towards the net (finally, guys) but Visnovski makes a nice play to knock the puck off of his stick and eliminate the chance.

2:11 - Aaron Volpatti’s name makes him sound like he could be a character out of Harry Potter. Needless to say, I’m a fan.

0:00 - We come to the end of 2 tied at 2 and I still haven’t got the answer to that trivia question which leads me to believe I either missed it somehow or it was revealed at intermission. If anyone knows the answer, please post it in the comments. I’m legitimately curious. Yes, I know I could just look it up but that’s not as much fun.

3rd Period

20:00 - Hey, a DC United promo. I have a buddy who maintains that if I lose more Forced Watchings than Bourne over the whole season (which I’m pretty sure is basically a guarantee) I should have to FW an MLS game. I don’t like my friends.

20:00 - Trivia answer! Alan Haworth or Mike Gartner are Laughlin’s guesses. Haworth it is! Laughlin is pissed he wasn’t on the ice. Awesome.

19:35 - Tavares forechecks in hard, almost running into Holtby behind the net. Tavares looks like he’s turned on his other gear. Yes, I’m aware it’s been 25 seconds. Calling ‘em as I see ‘em.

18:57 - Couple nice saves from Nabokov on Ribeiro as play starts to open up a little bit. I hope the next 19 minutes are like this.

18:01 - Beninati and Laughlin seem like they might actually be friends. They’re talking about Beninati’s best calls of his career. I like these guys a lot. They’re no Ralph and Razor (though who is) but they’ve been nothing but entertaining throughout. Thumbs up.

16:13 - Caps are owning possession so far but still haven’t been able to generate a chance since Ribeiro’s early on. Islanders are still doing a good job of getting in front of pucks. Their team defence has looked great tonight. A couple miscues, sure, but for a team that has the 28th ranked defence in the NHL, they’ve been pretty impressive.

14:10 - Nice save by Nabokov to kick away a good, hard Ovechkin shot. Still waiting for that super nice Ovechkin goal tonight. Don’t let me down, here.

13:16 - Joel Ward has an rocket of a wrist shot. He just missed the net and the smack of it coming off the boards was crazy loud.

11:09 - Ovechkin does the “hold possession in the offensive zone, cycle around the net and find a man at the point for a shot” play better than pretty much anyone in the league. Such a treat to watch him skate.

10:43- Power play for the Islanders. This is getting interesting.

8:30 - 3 shots on the PP for the Islanders despite some really good chances that drew Holtby completely out of position but a couple of shots that went wide of the net keep it a 2-2 game. And now it’s the Capitals turn to go to the power play. Good game, this. Ha ha, Bourne.

7:07 - The Capitals have some trouble connecting their passes in front of the net and haven’t been able to generate any real chances on Nabokov. Some nice set-ups and some plays that looked like they could lead to a real chance but nothing materialized.

5:18 - GOAL TAVARES! Green loses the puck in his feet, Moulson picks it up and flips it to Tavares who uses that beautiful Tavares shot to take the lead for the Islanders. Tavares has been pretty invisible tonight, I have to admit, and hasn’t shown any of his usual dominance yet he still finds a way to be in position to make the play that the Islanders needed. Crazy.

4:57 - The Caps’ broadcast’s “Turning Point” is called the “Window of Opportunity” which is so wonderfully passive aggressive it makes me laugh really hard. Nothing but good things to say about CSN right now.

3:16 - Winnipeg is currently up 4-1 on the Canes (hm, I wonder who predicted that one?) which means that this could end up being a huge game for the Capitals. They need some points to try and gain ground on the Southeast Division leaders. This could hurt.

1:38 - Dangerous icing chase between Okposo and Carlson. Both guys racing for the puck, Carlson ends up touching it up for the icing, and almost (accidentally) crushes Okposo’s head between his shoulder and the glass. Hybrid. Icing.

1:27 - Empty net. Yeehaw.

0:00 - That’ll do it. Caps had a bunch of chances (or at least possession) with the empty net but kept it mostly at the point, trying to find their shot. That old powerplay look. Pass, shot fake, pass, shot fake, repeat. Never understood that. You’re down one, goalie’s pulled, just put it on net and see what happens. Worst case they score. You were going to lose anyway. Oh, well. Fun game. I’m going to go drink whiskey and watch a rock and roll show.

See you next week, I’m guessing.