Friday, October 22, 2010

A Calling Out From The Top

Last year at this juncture of the young NHL season, the Washington Capitals were 3-2-2 after 7 games. This year they are slightly better after 7, at 4-3-0. Ah, but simple wins and losses do not tell the full story, as they rarely do. Belying these better numbers, are some rather troubling statistics if you dig a bit deeper. This year, after 7 games, the Capitals have:
  • Two regulation wins
  • Scored first once
  • Scored more than two goals in regulation once
  • No leads after one period
  • One lead going into the third period
  • Have scored a paltry 4 power play goals in 30 opportunities (13.3%) good for pedestrian 17th in the NHL.
So, if it seems like the Capitals have struggled, even when they have won games, you are not alone in noticing this. These seemingly small little facts, coupled with some rather visible on ice struggles have caught the eye of not only us the fans, but the Capitals biggest, most important fan, owner Ted Leonsis, as well.

Today on his blog, Ted's Take, the Caps top boss called out the team, and deservedly so. Simply put, he has said what many of us have been thinking for most of this week.

"It isn't them, its us. We aren’t a very good team right now. We have a lot of work to do in practice. We have to heal up as we seem to lose a player in every game to injury that jumbles up the lines. We are what our record says we are and right now, we are just an average NHL team."

These are just a few of the very candid thoughts Leonsis had on the current state of our beloved Caps today. You can click the link to his blog above to read the rest. The Caps are missing the services of several key players, not the least of which is top defenceman Mike Green. However for a team with the supposed depth the Caps are touted to have, this should not be too big of a hurdle to overcome. Suffice it to say, that all eyes will be watching very closely when the Atlanta Thrashers, the team that handed Washington its first loss of the season and an 0-1-0 start, come calling to Verizon Center on Saturday night.

After handing 2 straight wins and 4 standings points over to the Boston Bruins it will be interesting to see if the Capitals can get things together and will have revenge on their minds. You can find the box score for the debacle in bean town here, as well as the Washington Post and Capitals own postmortems here, and here respectively, and here is Bruce Boudreau's post game presser:

It should be noted that there has been one very bright spot thus far this season, and that is the Capitals penalty killing. At least it was until last night. Going into last nights game the Capitals were a perfect 24 for 24 (100%) on the PK. That all came crashing down last night, allowing goals on all 3 Bruins power play chances. Let's hope that was just a fluke because if the PK starts to struggle, the Caps are in some real trouble.

That said, this bad stretch is not the end of the world, but could it be an indication of things to come? Perhaps the Caps are not as strong as they were last season? What do you think? Can we handle the injuries and still play like the 2010 presidents trophy winners? Or should they possibly look into bolstering the blue line, or perhaps add a slightly less soft scorer? Or, are the Caps just simply snake bitten right now? Unable to find virtually open nets or capitalize on rather glaring mistakes of the opposing teams goaltender or defence? Let me know what YOU think. The comments are open. Let the fun begin.


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Which team is the Capitals biggest threat in the Southeast division this season?