“Heaven And Hell” – a Round 2 Caps playoff preview (Part 2)
We continue with Part 2 of my Caps Round 2 playoff preview…
5. “Wishing Well”
Sabbath – A little bit different a song than you would expect from Sabbath. It’s a lot bouncier, almost pop in its approach.
Caps-Bolts – The Caps are hoping the week-plus long layoff between the end of the Rangers series and the beginning of this one will give some time for some injured players to heal. This includes crease-crashing veteran Mike Knuble, who missed the last two games of the New York series with a hand injury; puck-moving defenseman Dennis Wideman, who missed the end of the regular season and all the Rangers series with a leg hematoma; and Green, who took a puck to the head in Game 5 of the Rangers series and has battled concussion issues since the All-Star break in February.
6. “Die Young”
Sabbath – Probably the most progressive song on the album, with its fast and heavy beginning and end, and slow, keyboard-heavy middle portion. Dio said the lyrics dealt with consumerism and modern life.
Caps-Bolts – No doubt, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau is either going to live or die young with 22-year-old Czech Michal Neuvirth in goal. Neuvy was outstanding against the Rangers. The team loves his cool, calm demeanor. He’s not a flashy goalie, but Neuvirth is always in position, handles rebounds well and makes sure to make the first save. To win the cup, you don’t necessarily need your goalie to make highlight reel saves all the time – although it certainly helps – you just need him to stop the shots he needs to stop.
Keep in mind, Neuvy has never lost a playoff series as a starting goalie in his professional career, including back-to-back championships with the Caps’ top farm club, the Hershey Bears. Like Biff Tannen with Gray’s Sports Almanac, he’s not just lucky.
7. “Walk Away”
Sabbath – Along with “Wishing Well,” probably the weakest song on the record. But still an enjoyable track that leans towards the more melodic side of Sabbath.
Caps-Bolts – Walk away should be the buzzword for Boudreau and his team when it encounters the pint-sized pest Downie.
In hockey parlance, Downie is what we would call a “(expletive deleted) disturber.” He’s a weasel, just like Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke, Dallas’s Steve Ott, Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta, New York’s Sean Avery and Philadelphia’s Dan Carcillo.
Like those gentleman, at his best, Downie can be a very effective player, a forechecking menace who can chip in with the occasional goal and get under the opposition’s skin. He’ll be looking to get some Caps to punch him in the face to draw penalties.
At his worst, well, let’s just say that Downie’s best-worst is a one-man conga line to the penalty box and his worst-worst is cheap-shotting somebody into the hospital. Downie has already been suspended for a game this postseason for a dangerous hit on Pittsburgh’s Ben Lovejoy.
If you’re the Caps, you want Downie at his best-worst, taking stupid penalties that give you lots of power play opportunities.
8. “Lonely is the Word
Sabbath – The closing track is vintage Black Sabbath, with a slow, doomy rhythm, accented by Iommi’s power chords and Dio’s soaring vocal range.
Caps-Bolts – Even though they got out of the first round this year, there are still high expectations on this Caps squad to go deeper in the playoffs. Should they fail against Tampa, they won’t necessarily be lonely, they’ll just have a virtual armada of media and bloggers questioning their ability to win when it counts, and a fan base that will once again wonder whether its worth it to deal with the heartbreak this franchise seems to deliver with the consistency of a Domino’s deliveryman.
The pressure isn’t on Tampa, a young squad with modest expectations going into this season that exceeded everyone’s predictions. It’s on the boys in red, white and blue, who are looking to deliver for a city starved for a winner. The Caps didn’t seem burdened by that pressure or expectations against the Rangers. Hopefully the machine-like approach that worked in that series will continue against Tampa Bay.