The Washington Capitals were one of the best teams in the league this season and did so despite missing Alex Ovechkin and many key players for parts of the year (Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, TJ Oshie, Lars Eller, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Justin Schultz, and Ilya Samsonov).
NHL.com writers are apparently not impressed. Friday, the league posted Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions from 16 writers. Fifteen of them picked the third-seeded Boston Bruins to upset the second-seeded Capitals in the first round of the playoffs.
Folks, this is bulletin board material.
Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Capitals beat writer Tom Gulitti
Shawn P. Roarke
Only Tim Campbell, who I will now give the RMNB bump to, was courageous enough to pick Washington.
While going with the Bruins is an understandably trendy pick — they landed Taylor Hall at the trade deadline and dominated (somewhat bad) teams down the stretch — having 93 percent of your newsroom pick the same team on what amounts to a no. 2 vs. no. 3 seed tossup, seems a little absurd.
Meanwhile, over at The Athletic, “a veteran NHL executive, longtime NHL coach, and long-time NHL scout who have literally thousands of NHL games on their collective resumes” all picked the Bruins to win the series.
“I’m not disrespecting Washington,” the anonymous executive told Scott Burnside before disrespecting Washington. “But there’s something off here. Maybe their best goalie is Craig Anderson. Seriously. Maybe they should have played him more.”
So even though the Capitals played well all season, are the higher-ranked seed, and now have Alex Ovechkin back fully healthy, they are the underdogs.
We’ll see about that.
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