Game-planning for a play-off series is an immense and multi-faceted effort, with planning required on many fronts. In fact, game preparation is 24/7 for the life of the series, and this includes developing plans for individual players.
Kris Letang has been known to succumb to the physical and mental rigors of a game and a series, and the Caps are well aware, making it a component of their game plan. This plan has been no secret, implemented prior to puck-drop for game 1.
The Caps have been hitting and chipping away at Letang since the puck-drop in game one. The overall plan being to wear him down, with an overarching goal of a depleted Letang for games later in the series (games 5-7). The constancy of the dominate physical attacking style of play for 60 minutes, each game has been getting to Letang, both physically and mentally. One could even make the case that the relentless pressure assisted in Letang’s poor in-game decision-making, with his late hit on Marcus Johansson. The Caps have started reaping the rewards with the one-game suspension issued to Letang for his hit on Johansson. Rest assured, when he returns, so will the pressure and the constant hits and chips.
The Caps have been applying pressure to Letang off the rink as well, taking jabs at Letang through the media.
Tom Wilson: “I’d love to be able to go out there and drop the gloves and grab Letang, but it’s a new age.”
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) May 3, 2016
It will be interesting to see how the plan unfolds and how Letang responds when he returns to the ice for Game 5 Saturday night at Verizon Center.
Continued on-ice pounding with a 90% chance of public trolling in the press.
By Jon Sorensen