The Washington Capitals’ humiliation at the greasy hands of the Philadelphia Flyers is only the latest chapter in an ongoing saga whose truth has gone unspoken for too long. Up until now, the so-called Mainstream Media Discourse has not allowed discussion of the Real Problem plaguing this team, relegating Enlightened Peoples to the only forum that would have them: RMNB’s menchies.
These jerseys are cursed!
— Ryan Haffner (@Haffman500) February 9, 2020
it’s the 3rd jerseys, not Dowd’s fault
— MARGE 🏒 (@Margefro87) February 2, 2020
@russianmachine Can we have the alternative Jerseys banned from use….have we won a game with them on?
— Brian Slaughter (@ride_va) January 12, 2020
It’s the jersey
— L-B (@anggrainiLB) January 12, 2020
BURN THE THIRD JERSEYS!!!
— Logan Dougherty 🇺🇸 (@LoganDougherty) February 9, 2020
''What a mess. Burn the tape. Burn other things too.''
Like those 3rd Jerseys, Burn them ALL! This team not only is obligated to buy Holtby Dinner after this one, but also full in gas for him for the rest of the season
— Eddy DRG (@DrgTwo) February 9, 2020
The Caps need to stop wearing the throwback jerseys.
— Dalton (@Dalton95037924) February 9, 2020
Anyone notice the jerseys?
— Andrew Scanlon (@Scanlon_11) February 9, 2020
Okay. Fine. Let’s talk about it.
Here’s the Washington Capitals record when they’re wearing their third jerseys:
(jk, I did not actually look this up.)
I don’t care about the jerseys. I super duper don’t care about the jerseys. The gravitational force of my not caring about the jerseys is knocking over your houseplants.
Please stop asking me to look up their record with the third jerseys. Ask Pat instead. The Caps aren’t playing bad hockey because of their third jerseys. They’re not playing bad hockey at all — not really — not overall.
But you are definitely seeing something funky going on with this team. As dominant as they’ve been, both in the standings and underlying stats, they sure have been inconsistent. Check out these two line graphs, using Natural Stat Trick’s reckoning for expected goals. The red line is the team’s cumulative expected-goals percentage, but the humpy blue line is the same stat in five-game segments.
For whatever reason, this team keeps fluctuating from being a super dominant team to being less than mediocre. Their overall success is because those fluctuations stabilize around 52 percent, which is darn good.
Still, this is a dangerous game for the Caps to play. If the Caps walk into the playoffs in one those xG troughs, they’re gonna get bounced in the first round. Identifying and solving why the team has been playing so unevenly should be the team’s biggest mission from here on out. This is even more important to the team’s fortune that a trade deadline move that may have only a marginal impact.
This is a good roster. This is a good team. And in a perverse way, that their biggest weakness appears to be variant performance is encouraging. That’s very fixable. Players, coaches, and support staff can get together, work candidly to figure out what’s going wrong, and emerge a focused, superior team.
Or, they could start wearing these.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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