Photo: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
December 23 is the day that the non-commercial holiday of Festivus is celebrated, and one of the practices of Festivus is the Airing of Grievances. And even though the Capitals are off to a pretty good start this season, there are grievances to be aired.
So without further ado, here are the grievances related to the NHL in general and the Washington Capitals in particular for 2021.
Their Most Recent Loss
The Caps lost to the Los Angeles Kings on December 18, a loss so bad it deserves multiple grievances aired about it.
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
- They were playing a mediocre team just below the middle of the Pacific Division. The Kings were playing their second game of a back-to-back set and started Garrett Sparks in goal. Sparks hadn’t won at the NHL level for nearly three years AND was one of the many substandard backup goalies that the Toronto Maple Leafs used to employ. This should have been a golden opportunity to win and pick up two standings points.
- The Capitals held a 2-0 lead with three minutes to go in the second period and still managed to lose the game in regulation. The Capitals were 0 for 6 on power play and gave up a short-handed goal. This leads us to Grievance number two.
The Pitiful Pathetic Powerless Power Play
The Capitals power play has been more than subpar for most of this season and not just in their recent loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
- The Capitals currently rank 28th in power play percentage with 15.56% which is five percentage points worse than the league average of 20.26%. They are only ahead of the Penguins (a shock and just barely at that) and the New Jersey Devils, the Montreal Canadiens, and the Arizona Coyotes, who all have a conversion percentage less than 13%.
- The Capitals have scored only ONE power play goal during the entire month of December in 19 power play opportunities. That is a conversion rate of just over 5%. Note: the league record for worst power play in a season is 8.94%.
- The power play has generally been in a long-time decline on a season-by-season basis since 2016-17, except for the shortened 2020-21 season. Their power play percentages were: 22.98% in 2016-17, 22.54% in 2017-18, 20.76% in 2018-19, 19.44% in 2019-20, and 24.84% in 2020-21. Maybe it’s time for a new scheme or assign a different person to coach the power play. It appears the rest of the league has figured out the Caps’ system.
- The Capitals had four games this season already where they scored NO power play goals, but gave up a short-handed goal.
Overtime Games Have Been A Lost Cause
A Capitals game going to Overtime this season is a guaranteed loss, or at least a guarantee they will not win in the 3-on-3 portion of the game.
- The first five games that went to Overtime were all losses that ended in the 3-on-3 segment. The Caps would generally lose possession, get trapped in their defensive zone, and the other team would strike against their tired players. They finally changed strategies and at least got to the shootout, only to lose in the shootout and finally won two shootouts. Their record in Overtime is 2-7. They lead the NHL in Overtime losses.
- The only other teams who have not won in overtime are the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and New York Islanders.
Once again, COVID-19 has disrupted the NHL season. It’s hurt the Capitals, as they had multiple players in protocol at the same time they’ve had players out with injuries. Since 15% of NHL players are now in Covid protocol, the NHL has paused the season for the holiday break earlier than normal and now the NHL will not be sending any of their players to the 2022 Olympic Games in China. The Caps had Tuesday’s game with the Philadelphia Flyers postponed due to Covid.
Connor McMichael’s Ice Time
Connor McMichael was considered to be one of the Capitals best prospects prior to this season and is currently considered to be a full time NHL player. However, as of late, he has been getting low ice time.
- In the Caps loss to the Los Angeles Kings, McMichael had 6:18 of ice time, less than recent callup Joe Snively and Brett Leason who always seemed to be the guy chosen for any “paper” transfers to Hershey. Snively and Leason were both sent to Hershey on December 21. This low ice time was during a game where he was one of the players who scored a goal.
- In their recent game against the Winnipeg Jets, the only player who got less ice time than him was Matt Irwin, the seventh defenseman. Show me a seventh defensemen under Peter Laviolette and I’ll show you a defenseman who almost never plays.
ESPN Plus Exclusive
One more grievance to air. Games on ESPN Plus are less accessible than they were when NBC had the rights to broadcast NHL games. It forces people to subscribe to a streaming service, such as ESPN Bundle. Many people with older TV’s needed to purchase a Roku device since their TV’s did not have the appropriate apps.
By Diane Doyle
Love this. Not sure why all thinks CM should stay up. Not that I don’t necessarily, especially with covid issues and injuries, but for me those are the only reasons – he is a year away and now him staying up all year could stunt his future success.
Power Play coach must be let go or responsibilities shifted around.
It’s surprising McMichael gets less ice time than the guys who are yo-yo’ing back and forth from DC to Hershey. Agree they need a new PP coach.
Looks like he is going to be a good one if he stays or goes time and patients are on his side
They play down to their competition. Have no killer instinct. Up 2 to zero, you should want it to be 3 zero. ,not sit back. If you think having backy back on pp will cure all, your wrong. Have to sometimes attack from behind the net.
the pp hasn’t changed in years. every entry is the fucking drop pass, passing around the perimeter, and no pace.
your right that they lack the killer instinct and lavi lets them sit back way to much on leads
Got to get rid of Forsythe, get a new set of eyes in there to fix it. Hate the slingshot stuff, I much rather see them dump and chase the puck if they’re getting blocked at the blue line.
Yes, they lack the killer instinct, to stick that dagger in their opponents heart and lock them down. McCarthy needs to do better in getting the team not to relax on D once they have leads. To be fair, this has been a problem preceding the Lavi era
That’s a Personal grievance of mine, DC.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
This is a good list of grievances. Agree with all of them. Might even add our lack of physical play but we are winning so that can be forgiven. I’ll take a fast defense that lacks physicality versus large pylons who hit those standing still.
I too would like to see McMichale go to Hershey and get 16-20 minutes per game and play special teams. It is clear that Protas is going to play more minutes and be versatile. Keep Sprong and Sgarbossa as 12/13 on forwards.
agree with the physicality. Would like to see them be a much harder hitting team. For as much as fans hated Orpik’s lack of speed, that guy tried to hit as much as possible and make the forwards in the corners pay for it. loved the hitting in the Cup run….but I guess there needs to be a balance between the speed game and going heavy?
Orpik is a hall of famed!
Dimitri Orlov does the same with offensive skills but that bald headed coach shut him down and got rid of Mike green another hall candidate.
about the Kings game: did you see our lineup that night? They got a lucky goal and they were back in it. My biggest gripe in that game is that we leaned way to hard on Ovechkin and we can’t keep doing that if we want him to last all year. And, about the PP. With that lineup we could not expect an effective power play. No Kuznetsov, no Backstrom, no Wilson, no McMichael. (No wait, he was there but they wouldn’t tap him on the shoulder. HCPL sent him a package of coals for Christmas.)
About the PP. Carlson is ailing and no longer able to be the force at the right point he once was. Without that force there, the Ovie’s office configuration has too many blanks in the chambers to be a problem for defenses. Blame Forsythe all you want, the big question is whether or not it’s time to ditch the Ovie-in-the-left-circle setup. It doesn’t work when he’s the only credible shooting threat. I don’t know what else they can change to improve the PP if you keep Ovie’s office the same. If you like Ovie’s office, you like the current power play. If so, the problem is not coaching but personnel. Who do you put in at the right point when Carlson is not Carlson and no one else is either?