Hello. I’m Peter. This is the snapshot column. Since 2013, this is the place where we check in on how Washington Capitals skaters are playing by using numbers, except we try very hard not to be boring in the process. The numbers are just the starting point, and from them we find interesting stuff and then maybe go a level or two deeper by asking why or how the numbers came about. Sometimes that gives us suggestions on how the Caps could play better, or maybe explanations for why they’re doing poorly, or just highlight some stuff for us to watch for in future games. In any result, it’s an exercise for exploring what we know and what we don’t about hockey.
The Capitals are 27 games into the season, and I’ve deliberately waited until now to begin this column. For a bunch of reasons, I had not put much faith into the data until now. In addition to the usual small-sample-size skittishness, I was irked by the absence of the Washington core due to COVID protocol, and a little concerned about how trustworthy early returns could be when the Caps were facing the same three teams every other night for three weeks. To me, January and a bit of February were just exhibition hockey, but now that the team is mostly healthy and they’ve got a lot of games under their belt, I’m finally ready to talk about it.
In this week’s snapshot, I’m finally ready to talk about how Peter Laviolette has fixed* Evgeny Kuznetsov.