Judge Christopher Kulik was told to puck off, when he tried out for the Capitals.
Monumental moments forged by legends.
While I was growing up, sports wasn't really my thing. The one exception was pro football; I never missed an opportunity to watch the Redskins. I never got into hockey largely because the Capitals, well, sucked. Since their first Stanley Cup appearance in 1998, however, they have greatly improved, as evidenced by Warner Bros.' release of Washington Capitals: 10 Greatest Games.
Fans may scoff at the selection being offered here, as the majority of the games are from 2005 and later. Nevertheless, to newcomers and hockey fans in general, we have an adequate overview of the Caps' rise to prominence. Here's a rundown of the games being offered in this set:
• Patrick Division Semi-Final vs. Philadelphia Flyers (04/16/1988)
• Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (04/17/1996)
• Eastern Conference Final vs. Buffalo Sabres (06/04/1998)
• Regular season game vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (10/05/2005)
• Regular season game vs. Philadelphia Flyers (11/23/2007)
• Regular season game vs. Montreal Canadiens (01/03/2008)
• Regular season game vs. Florida Panthers (04/05/2008)
• Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. Philadelphia Flyers (04/11/2008)
• Eastern Conference Quarterfinal vs. New York Rangers (04/28/2009)
• Eastern Conference Semi-Final vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (05/04/2009)
The only real objection I have about this set is the fact that these are all games where the Caps emerged victoriously. To the NHL, a "greatest game" evidently means one where the team has won, period. I'm sure fans would insist on the greatness of other games where the Caps lost yet still fought long and hard. Additionally, the burden for most viewers is that the final scores are never in doubt, thus eliminating all suspense. It then becomes a waiting game to see when the goals are made and by whom; a couple of games here have scoreless third periods, making them utterly pointless to watch. There's no denying the Caps struggled for over 20 years since their debut in 1975, but it seems kind of arbitrary to only include winning games. I'm sure most fans would have at least wanted a few of the '98 Stanley Cup games where the Capitals lost to the Detroit Red Wings.
Still, I must admit to garnering a great amount of respect for the Caps and the franchise after viewing all 10 games. Highlights include the 1996 Eastern Conference Quarter-Final, where the team was suffering 4-1 on the road, and pulled a huge upset on the Penguins with a 6-4 win. The 2005 game vs. Columbus is important because it's the game where current secret weapon Alexander Ovechkin played for the first time. The Canadiens game is also noteworthy in that Ovechkin suffered a broken nose, yet still slapped the puck in the net four times. Other notable players include Dale Hunter (a major force in the first three games of this set), Olaf Kolzig, Peter Bondra and Mike Gartner.
Warner Bros. presents all 10 games on separate discs. The packaging is no different than an NFL set, where most of the discs are lumped together in one center holder which can easily be damaged. The picture quality slightly varies from game to game, with the one from 1988 having a generous amount of grain and anomalies. The first eight games are presented in full-frame; the last two are in 1.85:1 anamorphic, as they were filmed with HD cameras. Audio for all games is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and, disappointingly, there are no extras; aside from that, fans should have few complaints.
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