As a new regular feature, we decided to ask two friends of NoVa Caps, Gus and Oliver to contribute regular updates on their personal opinions of how the Caps are doing. Let’s just say they tend to have different perspectives on the world, which is exactly why we think they are perfect for this new column.
And with that, it’s time to check-in with the diametric duo to see how the Caps are really doing.
Woe is me. The loss to the Rangers on Tuesday was a real eye-opener for me. The Capitals are essentially a meager 1-3 versus top-tier teams, and the one win (Chicago) came on the 2nd game of a back-to-back for the Blackhawks. As a matter of fact, the Caps first three wins were all against teams playing on the second night of back-to back nights. And the power(less) play: After an encouraging start, the Capitals power play has imploded. The Caps haven’t scored a power play goal in their last four games (last 9 try’s). Three of those games came against divisional opponents. The Mike Green void is glaringly obvious, as Ovechkin has remained scoreless on the power play, Our 3rd defensive line has struggled from the start with regards to their defensive play. The 4th offensive line has yet to do much of anything. I’m crawling back into my cave to hibernate for a while.
You’re reading too much into a handful of games, Gus. Let’s start with the power play; it was excellent early on and now it’s hit a dry spell. What changed? Nick Backstrom returned from injury and bumped Kuznetsov to the second unit. That’s not to say Backstrom shouldn’t be on the first unit but it IS what changed. Two reasons this would be a short-term problem. First, there are this would be a short-term problem. First, there are YEARS of tape on what Backstrom does on the power play and every team knows that as much as you want to stop the Ovechkin one timer, Backstrom is the key to it all. Kuznetsov simply not being Backstrom and not doing Backstrom things was an advantage. They simply didn’t know what he’d do. Kuznetsov, Oshie and Ovi on the top line also means a chemistry between those three that’s missing and trying to develop with Backstrom. The more interesting question is does Backstrom remain on the top unit or does Kuznetsov get another shot? We might see a change if the dry spell continues. As far as Carlson goes……. The unit produced quite well with him at the point in place of Green a good part of last season so that’s a moot point.
On the rest of it…… it’s early. Defensive play hasn’t been great and some good teams have exploited that. It’s not unlike what we saw at the beginning of last season. Except of course….. we’re 8-3 and burying the teams we’re supposed to beat so far this season. Have a little faith and patience. We weren’t going undefeated and if we go 8-3 through every 11 game stretch the rest of the season, we’ll have another Presidents Cup.
By Gus and Oliver