Thursday, March 12, 2009

So Excited

Joffrey Lupul sure looks excited, doesn't he? You would be too if you got to play Washington tonight.

It's kind of a secret, but the Capitals are kind of awful. Since the Flyers and Caps last tangled on February 24th, the Capitals have had only one regulation win in seven games, and that one win was against Atlanta. That's pretty sad.

So what has been their downfall? Two obvious things, and one thing that hasn't gotten talked about a whole lot.

The first is a complete lack of secondary scoring, which JP wrote about just yesterday over at Japer's Rink (which is probably the best team focused blog in the NHL blogosphere). The scoring they have comes almost entirely from four guys they were able to get with first round draft picks: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Mike Green, and Nicklas Backstrom. Of the four, all but Green were obtained with picks that were so high because the Caps were so bad. Green was the 29th pick in the same year as Ovechkin (2004), a draft year where the Caps enjoyed three first round picks.

The second issue is goaltending. Some are in denial about the problem, but it's there. Jose Theodore is currently rocking a less than mediocre save percentage of .900. He has won all of zero second round playoff series in his career, in four attempts. The last three times, his team got swept. For a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, that's a disaster.

Martin Biron, on the other hand, has won 80% of his career second round games. Booya.

There was sort of a goalie controversy with Brent Johnson earlier in the year, which ended with a decent streak from Theodore and Johnson's injury. Simeon Varlamov showed a lot of potential, but they sent him back to Hershey for reasons I don't know.

But as I see it, the real problem the Caps are having stems from a lack of potent veteran leadership. They've been without a real captain all season with Chris Clark out so much. Ovechkin is a great energy guy and a good scorer, but he's not much of a leader, and his game revolves so much around how he dominates individually that he's not much of a captain-type. Sergei Fedorov is the only real veteran to speak of, but he's definitely not someone with any sort of leadership qualities, having been in the league so many years and never developing into a great locker room guy. The Caps don't have any players outside of Fedorov who know what it takes to win Cups, who know what it's like to go wire-to-wire as a favorite. And the wear of that seems to be proving to be their downfall.

Brooks Laich is a hell of a player and a real likeable, team guy, and he really should get the C before the playoffs start. That might help. But they're in trouble. A lot of trouble.

Can't say that I mind one bit.

As long as they don't completely roll over and gift the Penguins into the second round. That would suck.

10 comments:

Sean Hogan said...

Varlamov was hurt for a while...nothing serious, just a minor knee injury. He's back in Hershey now and I assume that once he gets back in rhythm, he'll be back in DC.

Here's the link to the game story from his return from injury: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5i3xh1SdK1fYI_WE_KC04874AINog

Anonymous said...

"It's kind of a secret, but the Capitals are kind of awful."

Its not really a secret, they are awful. Its just that they have more points than the flyers, which would make the flyers just plain horrible.

Chuck said...

There may be only one emotion that runs through me stronger than my love for the Flyers, and that is an acute hatred of the Washington Capitals...

I am a DC area resident for my whole life, an I have hated the Caps since age 5 (I am now 33)

The Caps have no history, no pedigree, and no future. Sure, this town may think it's a hockey town after one year in the playoffs, but let's see what happens when OV goes down with a long term injury (happens to everybody, it seems).

They all "Rock the Red" down here. But it's posturing. The Skins suck, the Wiz suck, the Nats suck. This area is starving to stay relevant sports wise. This may even be the first year in rememberance with no area teams in the NCAA tourney.

Their sweater makes me sick, the fact they think they are good because they win the SE makes me sick, and the ridiculous notion that somehow they are building a team is ludicrous. Anytime you finish last 5 years in a row, and garner high pick after high pick, you are bound to see some results.

Let's see what happens when they lose some guys to FA....this team will be back mired in mediocrity by 2011.

Eff the Caps in perpetuity.

Steve said...

"The Caps have no history, no pedigree, and no future. Sure, this town may think it's a hockey town after one year in the playoffs, but let's see what happens when OV goes down with a long term injury (happens to everybody, it seems)."

No history? The Flyers haven't won a cup in your lifetime. Don't pretend like you know anything about history. And no future? Are you kidding? You must have been drinking the lead-water in DC.

Chuck said...

And have the Caps ever won anything in anyone's lifetime you ponce?

I remember going out to Cap Centre and watching all the buses arrive from Philly and I remember opening MCI Center with about 12K Flyer Fans to like 3K Caps fans...so don't talk to me about any type of tradition.

This town could give a crap about hockey, buncha Jenny Come Latelys is what you are.

Go ahead and win another SE title against 4 teams who never make the playoffs...

The Caps were shamefully dismissed from the Patrick division and relegated...and yet, they still finished last enough time to get 5 years of top 5 picks in a row...were annually trade deadline sellers...and even got bounced from their ex-owner from home ice advantage one year because the circus was in town.

Your franchise is a joke, always will be.

Finally, if you are keeping score, you ignoramus, we have sent the Caps home in April at least 5x while the Caps managed one win back in '88.

Your revisionist history is consistent with all these other red clad dickless homos around here...do you really want to be lumped in with them?

I laugh and cry for you at the same time...Caps fan.

Chuck said...

For you Sean Hogan...

The definition of ponce, since you are obviously learning disabled...

Ponce: An individual who attempts to fake having intelligence, class, or culture.

Sounds like most Caps fans I know.

Chuck said...

Oops! HAHA

Sorry, I meant that was for Steve, not Sean Hogan...see how worked up that red sweater gets me...

Steve said...

Congrats, Chuck, you can read the Caps' Wikipedia page. Too bad that doesn't change the fact that the Flyers still haven't won shit in your lifetime. You can call Caps fans all the names you want, but saying they have no future destroys any credibility you might have.

What's wrong, did Ovechkin steal your girlfriend?

Chuck said...

Ummm...the Caps WON'T be able to retain all the draft picks...there is a salary cap.

Ovechkin didn't steal my girl, but I drank your FUCKING MILKSHAKE last April you douchey ponce...

As for Wikipedia, I believe I was probably already drinking in the parking lot of Flyers/Caps games when you were on your mom's tit...

So, I hope we see you in April again...just like i was in the building all those previous Aprils that we whipped your faggy asses...

Sorry you support FAIL...all Caps fans eat shit...

Chuck said...

Oh, and I can almost die happy knowing we OWNED you my entire life...regardless of the Cups we squandered playing 4 of the best dynasties ever:

Late 70s Canadiens
Early 80s Isles
Mid 80s Oilers
Wings in 97...

At least we are relevant, or haven't you noticed we are on National TV 5x in a 2 week span...

Take your weak shit someplace else...

Ban this fucking Caps fan, Salmon!