Behind the times as usual, I finally got out of the house on Sunday night to see The King’s Speech. Great movie, I now understand why there was such a buzz and why it won so many awards.
During the middle of the show, I got a text message from my son: “Semin, OT winner for Caps. DIRTY!”
Alexander Semin dirty? Really? I’ve heard Semin called all kinds of things, but never dirty. Come to find out, “dirty” is some youthful slang that means wicked sweet or beautiful or incredible or some such.
If you haven’t gone to the Capitals’ web site and watched this goal, do yourself a favor and do it now. I’ll wait. I may even go watch it again. It is, indeed, a “dirty” goal, or a thing of beauty if the modern slang isn’t your style.
From a personal rather than professional standpoint, my two favorite sports to watch are baseball and hockey. Two completely different experiences.
Baseball has that slow, sometimes sleepy pace. I can go with the kids and get caught up on their lives and take in the game. It’s been my Father’s Day gift the past few years. An afternoon with the kids is enough of a present. Throw in some baseball and it makes it complete.
Not that baseball doesn’t offer some excitement now and then. In three seasons of attending games at Nationals Park, I’ve seen five game-winning home runs: Ryan Zimmerman the night it opened, Wil Nieves (who?) against the Cubs, Ronnie Belliard against the Orioles, Josh Willingham against the Orioles and Adam Dunn with his farewell blast against the Phillies. That’s a lifetime worth of “walk offs” for some.
Hockey, meanwhile, is a constant stomach churner, a sport that keeps you engrossed save for those two intermissions. Blink and you miss something crucial. One of the most entertaining nights of my life came during the 2010 playoffs when the Caps rallied from 4-1 down to win the second game against Montreal in overtime. It was days before my heart rate returned to normal. I walked out of there convinced the Caps would win the Cup (how’d that work out?).
The Caps are especially entertaining - and especially frustrating this season - because they have so much offensive talent. They can be so explosive. Being down 4-1 didn’t seem like a big deal.
Which brings us back to Semin’s “dirty” goal against Florida on Sunday. It was a split-second view of what makes this team fun to watch. Marcus Johannson dug out the puck, got it to Semin and off they went. Semin made a quick pass back to Johansson. Two defenders turn their attention to Johansson for a moment. That’s all it took. A touch pass right back to Semin. By the time the defense realized the puck had been redirected, Semin had shot, scored and started to celebrate.
It’s a perfect example of the beauty of offensive hockey. You wouldn’t want to blink and miss that.