14: Number of games for the Washington Capitals in the month of March
8: Number of home games for the Caps
6: Number of away games for the Caps
11: Number of games against Eastern Conference opponents
3: Number of games against Western Conference opponents
2: Number of back to back games (3rd/4th and 24th/25th)
7: Number of games against Southeast Division rivals
5: Number of games against teams in playoff contention (Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Ottawa)
2: Number of games against teams currently leading their division (Chicago, Ottawa)
2: Number of promotions this month (Pick-a-stick on the 6th, Trading card giveaway on the 12th)
6: Number of games Nationally broadcast
0: Number of games not on TV
Game I’m most excited for: vs. Rangers, March 6th
Before you say anything, yes – I am excited about the Penguins game later in the month, but the Rangers matchup on the 6th just has a little Je ne sais quoi surrounding it. Maybe it’s the allure of the pick-a-stick. Maybe it’s because the Capitals will be wearing patches on their sweaters celebrating the organization’s 35th anniversary. Maybe it’s because of the mind-blowing comeback the Capitals orchestrated the last time these two teams met. Or maybe, its just Olli Jokinen‘s fu manchu.
Game I’d travel to see: at Blackhawks, March 14th
In what could be a preview of this season’s Stanley Cup finals, the Caps head to the United Center to take on the young, talented Blackhawks squad. I love how the ‘hawks play, and I’ve heard that witnessing the Star Spangled Banner at the United Center is one of the most amazing sporting traditions you can witness. The final score of this game could be 9-8, and I’m pretty sure I’d sell a kidney for tickets.
Player I’m most excited to see: Jarome Iginla, March 28
Much like the “Game I’m most excited for” section, this can be filled with names that read like an All-Star Game roster: Ryan Miller, Marian Gaborik, Patrick Kane, Johnathan Towes, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Miikka Kiprusoff, Anton Volchenkov, and 4 or 5 of the Staal brothers. That being said, I am most interested in seeing Calgary’s Jerome Iginla take the ice on March 28th. We don’t see nearly enough of the two-time Rocket Trophy winner being in the Western Conference, but he is a beast on the ice (as evidenced in Vanouver) and a class-act off. He also has more middle names than Jamaica has mangoes.
Game I’d be okay with missing: at Florida, March 16th
Not only have the Panthers found their way into the cellar of the Eastern Conference, March 16th is the first game of 2010’s March Madness. Sure it’s the ancillary play in game, but for many of us it’s the last chance you’ll have to fill in your bracket using the “which colors I like better”, “which mascot would win in a fight” (the answer is always Joe Finley), or the “where would I rather visit” methods.
Game to pad the +/-: vs. Carolina, March 10th
The Carolina Hurricanes rank 27th in the league in goals allowed per game (3.12) which only increases when they take to the road (3.37). Although their PK is middle of the road (17th – 81.1%), they are tied for fifth in short handed goals allowed (6). Carolina is also 28th in the league in +/- at -23, all of which was accumulated on the road. A smackdown on the 10th would also provide some sort of vindication for the last time these divisional rivals met – a 6-3 loss in the Phone Booth on December 28th.