Look at Ward’s face. (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
The Capitals line-up has been changing lately. Brooks Laich‘s groin is acting up again, Tyson Strachan has been sent down to the AHL, Patrick Wey and Dmitry Orlov have been called up, and Alex Urbom and Steve Oleksy are regular scratches. Martin Erat is somehow back in good graces, and Michael Latta is elsewhere. Despite– or perhaps because of all that upheaval, the Capitals are making real inroads towards improving their even-strength play.
My working theory for that improvement goes like this: the less-awesome players are playing less, the more-awesome players are playing more. I know that sounds radical, but hear me out.
These are the numbers as of noon on Sunday, December 8th. My sample doesn’t include power play or penalty kill situations– just 5-on-5 play while the score is within one goal in the first two periods and tied in the third. That eliminates the effects of blowouts and comebacks, when teams are protecting a lead or desperate to get a goal back. Stats of note are highlighted in powderpuff pink and discussed below.
Note: It looks like last week’s TOI data were erroneous somehow. I’m not sure why, as the rest of the data were correct.
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