With the 2nd half of the Washington Capitals season kicking off, I thought it would be a good time to get a little DCLS survey of thoughts on the team. The Caps entered the break as the #5 seed in the East, aligned for a first round playoff matchup against the Penguins - yikes. Here are the thoughts of DCLS contributor ResidentOslo.
For starters, GOD F***ING DAMNIT!!! I bother to watch these games a day delayed half way across the world and a little piece of me dies every time I do so. Is Backstrom carrying cinder-blocks in in his pants? Did Ovie get a penis enlargement procedure in the off-season that is now causing his wang to interfere with his stride and acceleration? I don't know, I'm not a doctor. But what I do know is that I'm sick and tired of grasping on to my fading optimism as it gets slowly beaten to death on an almost daily basis. I'm actively embracing the other end of the scale at this point: Despair here we come!
Power play looks to me like paralysis by analysis. Too many offensive guys on the ice at the same time all worrying about whether or not they are hogging the puck or shooting too much, or passing too much, or not shooting enough, etc. Put Ovie on the half-wall, put Green and Carlson on different PP lines, actually run two completely different lines, and just be more decisive and aggressive. This is a coaching failure of the highest magnitude since it is mental, BB has failed to instill the proper mentality in his players. BB does not define the culture and mentality through sheer force of will, as a good coach should, and instead should be delegated to a position concerning tactics, not leading or coaching a team. This extends further into the the overall play and mentality of the team which is best characterized as flaccid. If Laich doesn't think they're coasting then that is simply an indictment of the standards to which they are holding themselves to (Editors note: this refers to an interview this week Brooks Laich gave to WFAN in which he took offense to the idea that the Caps are coasting). No more excuses, you are mediocre and weak willed, accept it and deal with it.
The problems with this team is not something a mid-season trade will fix........let's not turn into the Skins here. BB, as much as I like him and appreciate the success he has been apart of the past 3 years, has got to go (although most likely won't). He is like the Charlie Weiss of hockey, great offensive mind but not head coach material. A good coach would've gotten Ovie to adjust his game now that D-men shut him down with ease and regularity. A good coach would've figured out how to get such a "talented" and "skilled" team to enter the zone more consistently without resorting to just dumping the puck in every time. It is uninspired.
All that being said, I still think we've got a good shot at getting to the cup if nothing else based on the defensive nature of the playoffs and the overall crapshoot that is small sample sizes. As bad as we are, we're still performing better than half the league. Good goalies and PK enough to take us through the playoffs? Luck eventually turning our way? Or maybe we're just the Jim Kelly Bills: destined to fail on the main stage. Time to take my schizophrenia meds.
(Image courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com)