And the theme for this installment is…
Mullets Through the Ages!
What with the Caps hosting the New York Rangers on “80’s Night” and a offering a mullet wig to the first 5,000 fans, it behooves us to stop and pay our respects to that misunderstood, disrespected icon of coiffure…
It is important to note that the mullet can be traced to the very beginnings of the Republic. Not only did Ben Franklin find time to invent the “bifocal” glasses, odometer, and lightning rod, he managed to sport a mean precursor to the modern mullet that revved up the revolution…
...and there was the husband and wife team of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette who always celebrated a new “moo-lay,” as they say in France, with a nice big wedge of cake.
The mullet even found its way into the intelligentsia, giving a bit of whimsy to those who might otherwise have seemed dull…and they could be combined with what might be called “early Don King” for a truly unique hair experience.
But the mullet achieved its zenith in the 1980’s. Whether sports, entertainment, or just the guy changing pins at the bowling alley, you could count on seeing mullets of every color, shade, and sheen. You could never confuse one with a gray mullet, even though these are much tastier.
But the mullet found its true calling in the world of sports. While the mullet was often referred to as “hockey hair,” it was all the look in baseball…whether on short, fat guys…or long, tall guys…it was every bit as much required as a chaw of tobacco on the diamond.
It even found its way into tennis, knowing no difference between the genders, making it hard to see…well, the difference between the genders.
Hockey, though, is where the mullet found its true expression…who could forget the flowing locks of Ron Duguay – the proto-mullet as it were. Or a young Barry Melrose, whose combination of mullet and thoughtful finger resting on the cheek fairly screamed, “I’m a doofus! And I’m proud of it!!”
As time passed the mullet faded into obscurity, although every once in a while, it gains a new respectability when sported among the thespian crowd. Even a two-time Academy Award winner such as Tom Hanks can sport the style without the slightest hint of self-consciousness (although having Audrey Tautou at one’s side might do wonders for that, too), even if his modified style might be more appropriately termed, “mul-lite.”
But in the end, we must pay homage to he who took the mullet to the next level of “what the...?" And it is he who we honor tonight with our donning the mullet wig. His locks flowing as he streaked across the Pittsburgh Civic Arena ice gave rise to the term, “puck bunny” as thousands of Pittsburgh school girls swooned at the very thought of running their nicotine-stained fingers through his mane.
Jaromir Jagr would forsake the mullet to achieve some measure of erudition, but we must never forget that Jagr never won a Stanley Cup with shorn locks. The mullet gave him strength and purpose. And now, in this, his worst season since his rookie year, he must ponder the question…to mullet?...or not to mullet?...
Jagr’s Rangers (does that sound like some Saturday morning kids show on public access?) visit Verizon Center to see if they can halt the Capitals’ rush to respectability. Since completing a five-game winning streak with a 4-3 overtime win in
For the Rangers, the problem is one they endured all year. They can’t score goals. They’ve scored two or fewer goals in eight of these ten games. What that means is that while they’ve given up a respectable 26 in these ten games, they’ve been on the low side of .500.
You would think a team with Jaromir Jagr, Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, and Brendan Shanahan (that’s $24.65 million of cap space eaten up, kids) would have scored more than a combined 29 goals in 30 games. It’s been somewhat better over the last ten games (12 goals, combined), but what it means is that the Rangers have been suffering a bit of the same problem that has plagued the Caps for much of the year – not getting scoring from their support players.
But it is Jagr’s performance that has been most perplexing. The idea was that with a couple of high-end centers to feed him the puck and get out of the way, he would have the kind of year that could lead the Rangers to a Stanley Cup. It isn’t turning out that way. Head coach Tom Renney has struggled to find the combination to unlock Jagr’s production this year. At his current pace, Jagr will finish the season 19-38-57, -14. That would leave him far short of any of the statistical triggers on the option year of his contract. If anything, the club must be quietly contemplating moving him at the trading deadline, even if the Rangers are still in the playoff mix.
What might be a bit more ominous for the Rangers in the short term (as in, “this game”) is that they took three on the chin (outscored by a combined 14-4) before stopping the bleeding with a 1-0 overtime win against the Devils on Sunday.
Henrik Lundqvist – who took two of those three losses, giving up eight goals in the process – figures to get the start. He’s 7-2-0, 2.25, .920 in nine career games against the Caps and is 2-0-0, 0.50, .982 this year.
The problem for the Caps is solving Lundqvist more than it is stifling Jagr and his buddies – they’ve done a pretty good job of doing that to themselves in a lot of games this year. This is the pivotal game of the four-game homestand. Win, and they have had a successful one – one upon which they can build. Lose, and they risk a split when
It says here that the Caps will have one of those infrequent games in which Lundqvist looks mortal, and the Rangers won’t have enough fire power to make up the difference. The Caps will play the role they have to play on this night...
Caps 4 – Rangers 2.