Last week, NoVa Caps launched a new column in order to provide a platform for two of our favorite Caps fans, Gus and Sal, to speak their minds on a regular basis, and to tell us how the Caps are REALLY doing. With that, lets toss it to the “diametric duo” to see how things are going with 16 games in the books:
Cripes Caps!! This team has got me in the dumper again. Last night’s defeat on home ice to the lowly Calgary Flames (6-11-1) was a tough one to swallow. On top of that, consider:
- The Combined record of the Caps opponents to date is 113-125-24, a winning percentage of 0.475. Not a very stout schedule to this point.
- Only three of the Caps 11 wins are against teams with a record better than .500.
- The Caps slow starts to games continue. The Caps have given up the first goal in seven straight games.
- The Caps are 1-3 against “top-tier” teams.
- The power play has been struggling for so long now, I’m beginning to wonder if this is more than just a slump, and is this more of a reflection of the offseason changes the Caps made.
- We are missing Ward, Brouwer, Green and Fehr.
Gus, you’re looking into things too much. As for the slow starts, the good thing is that the team has recognized them and have picked up their game. Their no-quit attitude has enabled them to come back in games and that’s something we wouldn’t have seen at this time last year. They’re finally starting to put everything together and Gus, I can assure you that this team will start stringing together some “W’s” in the next couple games.
While their opponents’ combined record seems bad, the fact of the matter is that their opponents aren’t at .500 and even though they are 1-3 against what you call “top-tier teams”, it is still very early in the season and their schedule hasn’t really given them chances to play those types of teams.
While I too miss seeing Ward, Green, Brouwer, and Fehr in Capitals sweaters, the numbers show that TJ Oshie, Justin Williams, Dmitry Orlov, and Nate Schmidt have actually become better options. Ponder this:
- Fehr has played in just six games and has only registered three points (one goal, two assists). He missed the start of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
- Brouwer and Ward have been productive for their new teams, but Oshie is a first-line right winger and Brouwer has played on St. Louis’ third-line. But neither Ward nor Brouwer have the playoff success of Williams (aside from Brouwer’s ONE Stanley Cup to Williams’ THREE), or have the skill and speed of both Williams and Oshie.
- While Green was a fan favorite, he is injury-prone and is 30-years old. Both Orlov and Schmidt have stepped up this season and have gained confidence each game they’ve played. Schmidt has been trusted by getting playing time on the TOP-PAIRING with John Carlson. And he handled it pretty well. Orlov’s confidence has gotten higher and he will soon begin to put up points with more ice time
So Gus, before you start getting down, think about the positives. We’ve got two promising young blueliners, an even better forward group, and an elite goaltender that will contend for the Vezina Trophy this year.
By Gus and Sal