The NHL Closer is written by Greg Wyshynski, of FanHouse and The Fourth Period. He is also the author of Glow Pucks And 10-Cent Beer.

Ass-whupping would be putting it kindly. The Washington Capitals scored six goals in the first period last night — including an Alexander Ovechkin hat-trick that gave him 52 on the season — in a 10-2 obliteration of the previously streaking Boston Bruins. But here's the real news: The Capitals run a promotion with a restaurant called Austin Grill in which every fan in attendance at a home game where the team scores six or more goals wins a free one-pound order of dry-rubbed, mesquite-grilled Austin Wings the following day. Unstoppable offense plus an uncharacteristically large Monday night crowd equals 17,189 pounds of wings today.


So I asked Ovechkin and defenseman Mike Green after the game what it felt like to deliver such a carnivorous bounty to their fans ...

Let's get the obvious out of the way first: The Romovechkin chatter is done, and the Hart Trophy discussion is at full volume for Ovechkin. Last night's performance was his Oscar clip, even if it was shown on the Buck Huntin'/Cage Fightin' Network. All the Capitals need do is make the playoffs ("Not a chance in hell." - E Staal) and the hardware is his. So, Alex, do you think the fans went home happy last night?

"We score 10 goals today, so probably happy right now. And they have, by the way, free chicken wings. A pound," he said.


I explained that it could potentially add up to over 17,000 pounds of chicken wings for the fans. And what did Ovechkin think about bestowing this delicious gift on the masses? "Pretty good."

Meanwhile, his little buddy Green (one assist) was unaware of the promotion, so I explained it again: Score six goals, and everyone in the place that has a ticket stub gets a free pound of chicken wings. So, conceivably...

"If I score six?" he asked.

No, if the team scores six, knucklehead. So, conceivably, Austin Grill might be out 17,000 pounds of chicken wings because you guys scored 10 goals tonight.

"Is that a joke?", it isn't. So how does it feel to be partially responsible for costing the good people at Austin Grill 17,000 pounds of their own precious meat?

"That's what you get, I guess, for putting something like that on the scoreboard. You gotta know what you're puttin' up there," said Green. Truer words were never spoken.

Duck That Repeats on You. Seems like old times: Anaheim beats a floundering, overmatched Ottawa team, and the Senators so something classless. In last year's Stanley Cup Finals, it was Daniel Alfredsson doing his best Elmer Fudd and taking a shot at Scott Niedermayer. Last night, it was the man who was allegedly going to lead the Senators to salvation who went nuts-o: Coach Bryan Murray was given a game misconduct after he doth protest the zebras too much. "I just kept telling (referee Wes McCauley) it was a bull—-t call. 'That's a bull—-t call you made. He said, 'Say it again and you're gone,' so I said it again," said Murray after the game. Oh, but it gets better for Ottawa: Alfredsson left the game with the ever-nebulous "upper-body injury" following a Francois Beauchemin cross-check. As for the Ducks, they're an unbefuckinglievable 11-1 since Teemu got off the couch. They win the Cup again this season, and every former 30-goal scorer over the age of 35 is going on The Niedermayer/Selanne Semi-Retirement Plan.

Craig Anderson Is Horny. Remember yesterday's Closer? Me neither. Evidently, I ran a photo of Florida goalie Craig Anderson leering at two New York Islanders Ice Girls during his 53-save performance at the Coliseum over the weekend. Well, the good folks at The Empty Netter point out this isn't the first time one of the Long Island lasses has caught his eye. Perv-o-riffic:

No Buenos Svatos. So the Avalanche lost Marek Svatos, their leading goal-scorer, for the season with an ACL tear in his left knee. And Ryan Smyth has a separated shoulder and a concussion that will keep him out indefinitely. What the hell happened to the Colorado Revival Tour to the Stanley Cup? This is like finally getting the band back together, and suddenly discovering that Matt "Guitar" Murphy has rushed back to the heaving bosom of Aretha Franklin.


Meanwhile, Adam Foote is pretty much being portrayed as King Scumbag in the Columbus media - which, incidentally, is giving the Blue Jackets so much ink lately it must believe they're a Buckeyes club team. Foote is accused of making outlandish contract demands to force a trade to Colorado at the deadline, and threatening to be "a bad teammate, a bad captain and a bad player" for the Jackets if they didn't deal him. Columbus GM Scott Howson responded harshly, vowing to take away Foote's "Dora the Explorer" DVDs and hide his woobie, before finally trading him away.

Puck Headlines

* Sean Leahy rips the Islanders for using nostalgia as a distraction from their current sad state of affairs. Isles/Rangers tonight, by the way. [Going Five Hole]


* Sean Avery and the Rangers may end up much like Sean Avery and Elisha Cuthbert. Unless his going public with news that contract talks have broken off is just a clever ploy. Sean Avery, clever. Heh. [Blueshirt Bulletin]

* Not only did the NHL finally get over a 1.0 rating on NBC last weekend, it beat out Arena Football. Eat it, Bon Jovi. [Eye on the Media]

* And finally, how does Brian Campbell endear himself to Sharks fans? 'Scuse me while he whips out this spin-o-rama goal in San Jose's 6-4 win over the Habs last night. Somewhere in Buffalo, a fan sheds a solitary wing-sauce soaked tear...