While you’d expect a team to be at their worst at the end of a long road trip, the Canucks and their crew of sleep doctors have frequently pointed to the first game after the trip as the truly bad one. The experts have said it; the Canucks have shown it.
The infamous, 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in November of 2010? That was the first home game after five away, and after the debacle, we learned that the sleep doctor had tabbed that contest well in advance of the shellacking as likely the ugliest outing of the year. April 20th of last season, the Canucks returned from another five-game trip to muster an unacceptable 14 shots in a game versus the Detroit Red Wings. They won, unbelievably enough, thanks to Cory Schneider and some luck in the shootout.
That in mind, it will probably take a little more luck for the Canucks to escape Monday night’s visit from the Washington Capitals with both points. After seven games in the East, this one has all the trappings of a bad night out for the boys in blue.
But the Canucks can increase their luck by doing one very important thing: shutting down Alex Ovechkin. It’s easier said than done, of course. The Capitals’ sniper has 32 goals in his last 32 games, 15 more than the next guy. He’s got a league-best 10 in 11 games this year, and even has people talking about him scoring 50 in 50. So yeah, you want to beat the Capitals? Don’t let Ovechkin score. If the Canucks can get him to play like he tweets — which is to say, terribly — for just one night, their chances improve exponentially. Here are a few strategies for shutting him down:
• Depress him by pointing out that he has never won an Olympic medal of any colour. Even better: have Luongo, the Sedins, and Kesler all wear their Olympic medals during the game, just flaunting them.
• Somehow replace the Capitals’ current coach with Dale Hunter. That worked really well in 2012.
• Since Ovechkin does most of his damage on the powerplay, take no penalties. It seems difficult, but just tell the referees the team in red and white is the Canucks.
• Stack all the players on the ice in front of the goal to form an impenetrable wall.
• While you’re at it, tell the referees Ovechkin is a Sedin. Then it will be legal to crosscheck him.
• When he’s not looking, crazy glue a beard onto his face, thus infringing on his weird, creepy endorsement deal with Gillette that requires him to be clean shaven at all times. He’ll have to leave the ice immediately to get that dealt with. He has slightly more flexibility in Movember, which “could provide an opportunity for Ovechkin to showcase Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide Styler”, but fortunately for the Canucks, they get him just before October ends. Remember: don’t board him. Beard him.
• Have Kesler shadow him. He’s good at that. Once, Kesler was so committed to shadowing Ovechkin he followed him to an NHL.com interview.
• Replace all of his hockey sticks with tootsie rolls.
• Spend the entire game tucking his jersey in so he gets a bunch of delay of game penalties.
• Don’t want Alex Ovechkin to score? Simple. Tuck the puck safely away in your own net every time he comes over the boards.
• “We’ve secretly replaced Nicklas Backstrom with Marc Chouinard. Let’s see if Ovechkin notices.”
• And finally, play Ovechkin’s rap video during every stoppage in play. This probably won’t hurt his production, but it’s still a great idea.
Tags: Alex Ovechkin, Blogs are for lists, Questionable Comedic Content