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Setting the tone in big games is a critical intangible in any sport. When searching for initial tone-setters from last night’s 7-1 shellacking of the Pittsburgh Penguins, one doesn’t have to look very far.
Setting the proverbial “tone” of a game can be a difficult thing to quantify or define. However, last night’s game had a fairly obvious leaping off point for the Capitals.
TJ Oshie’s steal & break away during the Capitals first penalty kill is definitely a top candidate for the game’s initial tone setter.
Oshie’s aggressive defense forced a turnover by the Penguins Evgeny Malkin. Oshie would then retrieve the puck, flick it north to Jay Beagle, and follow-up on the Beagle rebound for the game’s first score.
.@tjoshie77 forces the interception and finishes 🚨#CapsPenspic.twitter.com/6PBe9J1HGr
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 17, 2016
Jay Beagle should also get a nod for recognizing the shorthanded opportunity and positioning himself for the quick break away.
The goal seemed to amplify the energy level at Verizon Center, and provide extra juice for a Capitals team that was already buzzing around the puck.
Nicklas Backstrom would score the Capitals second goal just ten minutes later, and Oshie would add another just before the first period expired, and the rout was on.
Oshie has shown a proclivity to rise-up and set the tone in big games, which was first illustrated by his hat trick in game one of the second round of the playoffs last season against the Penguins. Oshie also set the tone in game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Flyers, when he immediately dropped the gloves with Brayden Schenn, who took a cheap shot on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s knees in game 4.
By Jon Sorensen
One could argue Oshie would make a good Captain.
I don’t know if I can imagine a scenario where Ovi is still a Cap and not the captain.
That raises larger questions about the real purpose (if any) of the captaincy. Is it purely for the players? Is it about being a liaison between the players and coaching staff? Is it something you give to the rising face of the franchise (Crosby/McDavid/Landeskog)? Is it purely a PR issue?
Good points, and yes, it doesn’t seem like leadership is the only driving factor. PR is a big part of it.
Oshie is a tenacious player who is very good in the offensive zone. He is one of the hardest working Caps and does a good job as a penalty killer as well. Management should do all it can to keep him after this year.