Photo: Evan Vucci
Everyone sees how tough the Caps schedule will be after the Olympic break. It’s not pretty. Fortunately, the team won three of its four games this week. Those six points are going to matter, big time, come April.
But now we’re at a moment of reflection. With no games until Thursday the 27th, we’ve got an abundance of data to pore over before we see any more actual Caps hockey. Looking at the ledger this morning, I find myself surprisingly optimistic for the team’s future. Not because the Capitals have a strong roster or winning corpus of tactics; they don’t. But because the distance from here to there isn’t that far.
I’m not saying it’ll happen and I’m not even saying I’m confident it will. All I’m saying is a combination of not-all-that-major trades, some deployment adjustments, evidence-based lineup decisions, a few prudent scratches, smart goalie management, and one massive defensive systems overhaul could put this team back where we thought they’d be at the end of last summer.
Well, now that I type it all out, it seems like a lot.
Shucks. Oh well. Let’s take stock of the team one last time before we go crazy with Olympic fever. (Go USA!)
These are the numbers as of a little before noon on Sunday, February 9th. The sample is restricted to 5-on-5 play while the score is close. That means within one goal in the first two periods and tied in the third. That way special teams, blowouts, and comebacks don’t color the data. Stats of note are highlighted in powderpuff pink and discussed below.
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