Monday, February 28, 2011
Time to Flip the Switch, Boys
19 regular season games left for the Caps, and I still don't know what to make of this team. Just when you think they are about to turn the corner, they drop a performance on you like they did Friday night, with a 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Rangers. The Caps 3rd straight loss at Verizon, 4th out of their last 5 at the Phone Booth, getting outscored 15-6 during that span.
Then on Saturday, a gutsy come from behind win against the Islanders, spurred on (yet again) by (team MVP???) Matt Hendricks. For the second time in 3 weeks (at Tampa, Feb. 4th), when the Caps were on the road and playing total lack luster, horseshit hockey, #26 dropped the gloves when his team needed a spark, and in both instances, the Caps came from behind, and went on to win the game.
As a whole, the Caps problem continues to be the inability to put the puck in the net. They rank 22nd in total scoring, and an abysmal 25th on the power play. Try this on for size-> The Great Eight hasn't scored a power play goal at home all season!
Scoring is a common denominator as it pertains to winning Lord Stanley's Cup. And for Caps fans like ourselves, who hope they will just (very soon)flip the switch, you might want to turn away from your computer monitor for this next nugget.
The last 5 Stanley Cup Champions- Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Anaheim, and Carolina, all finished well within the Top 10 for regular season scoring. Chicago, Detroit, and Carolina were all 3rd in regular season scoring during the seasons in which they each won their respective Cup, with Anaheim having the lowest regular season scoring average (8th), of the last 5 Champions.
That's not good, Caps fans. But lets not dwell on the numbers. (that's Greek for 'fan in denial')
Keys for the Caps moving forward:
Settle on a goaltender. It's great to have two young goaltenders that you feel can be your #1, but come playoff time, it's got to be a one man show. It would be nice to settle on that guy now, so he can roll right into the playoffs. Right now, it appears Neuvirth is that guy.
Trade for a second line center by 3 pm today. Mathieu Perreault has already been sent back down to Hershey and Marcus Johansson is probably another year away from really being ready to fill this role. Johansson is going to be a very good player, and I would not even be thinking about trading him, but improving at this position would benefit this team in the postseason.
GET HEALTHY! It's imperative that the Caps get guys like Mike Green, Backstrom, and Varlamov healthy as we head into the playoffs. Green, for all his shortcomings, does bring an element to this team that they can't replace. Backstrom seemed to dodge a bullet the other night with his thumb injury, but he has not been taking faceoffs since.
Last but not least, put the puck in the net. And do so more frequently then they have thru the first 3/4 of the regular season.
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