Capitals vs Devils on Thursday did not go well. Chris Gordon did his best to delight you while holding the RMNB reins, but nothing could salvage a very bad night for the home team.
Except maybe this.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
A few weeks ago I published a piece explaining why I wasn’t freaking out the Capitals. My point was that bad luck had been quashing good possession numbers, a trend that I predicted would soon reverse. That did not happen.
The Caps have just two wins through eleven games, making them the worst team in the league. During media time on Friday, General Manager George McPhee primarily blamed that record on bad goaltending and undisciplined, “selfish” penalties. CSN’s Alan May agrees.
I admitted on Thursday night that I was baffled by why the Caps were losing, so I thought we could use this time to figure out what exactly isn’t working. Because I’m pretty sure it’s not the penalties.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
For the Capitals, there’s a lot to keep track of right now. We’ve noticed Alex Ovechkin’s scoring slump, a whole lotta penalties, and some bad breaks for the goalies. One thing we haven’t noticed is Marcus Johansson, and that’s a big problem too.
In 2011-2012, Johansson scored 14 goals and 32 assists, shooting a pretty boss 15.6%. That was enough to make him the team’s third best scorer behind the Alexes, a crucial piece of a lean team.
Not so much this year. Through seven games, Johansson’s stat line looks like this: 0, 0, 0%.
The Capitals are 1-4-1. They’re in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, 7 standings points behind the Southeast Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning.
I’m not panicking.
Despite how desperate the standings look, the Capitals are actually playing darn good hockey right now according to their underlying numbers. Let’s take a look at those together and then have a warm glass of milk.
No more waiting. Hockey is here. Are you ready? Perhaps not. It’s been like 252 days since the last Caps game. To help acclimatize you, we’ve polled the RMNB crew and asked them what they expect from the upcoming season. Behold: our predictions for the
2012-2013 NHL season.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Since the Caps last played hockey– sometime during the Medieval Warm Period, they’ve lost a few guys. Alex Semin left via free agency for Carolina, Mike Knuble returned to the exotic beauty of Michigan, Tomas Vokoun made a pit stop in Breezewood before heading up to Pittsburgh, and Dennis Wideman got such a ludicrous and undeserved payday in Calgary that you’d think he had left congress to start lobbying for the MPAA.
You’re gonna see some new faces on Saturday night, so here’s a quick refresher on the additions the Capitals made just before the lockout sucked the last ounce of joy out of the universe.
No big. Anyone can score on a Philly goaltender.
Robert Vollman of Hockey Prospectus called the Washington Capitals’ new forward Wojtek Wolski enigmatic. Heaven help us; that whole thing is supposed to be over. But here we are: dealing with an all-new, all-Polish, puzzling player.
Wolski earned between $2.5M and $4M over the last four seasons, but his deal with the Caps is for just $600,00. This could either be an epic bargain on a top-six forward or a waste of time and money. I’m not sure yet what we can expect from him next season, but maybe we can figure it out together.
There was a point during the Capitals’ 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers when it seemed like victory was within reach. That moment came at the close of the second period.
Brooks Laich skated the puck into the Rangers’ zone with ten seconds left to go. He had a decision to make. Leading a 3-on-2 break in the closing seconds, he could have either pulled up and shot the puck from the perimeter, hoping for Jason Chimera to convert the rebound, or he could send a lateral pass over to the Capitals leading scorer, Alex Ovechkin, and see what magic he could make.
Instead, Laich opted for option C: a high-risk, high-reward hailmary saucer pass to Jason Chimera that would have to travel over two defenders’ sticks and somehow find the tape of his stick.
He chose C, and he made it work. Let’s review.
The Washington Capitals have pulled the New York Rangers for their opponent in the second round of the playoffs (check the schedule here). This will be the sixth time in history that the Caps and Rangers will square off in a best-of-seven series. But unlike recent years, the Rangers are no underdogs. They finished in first place in the Eastern Conference, just barely missing the President’s Trophy after a loss to some no-name team in the final game of the regular season. Meanwhile the Caps are the scrappy team that no one expected to slay the dragon in round one. It’s going to be a big series between two old Patrick Division rivals.
In preparation, we peaked back at last year’s quarterfinal series between the Caps and Rangers in hopes that it might give us a glimpse at the future. No matter their predictive value, these five games were a freaking blast. Join me for some good memories behind the jump.
Photo credit: Elsa
A few days ago in a post entitled “How to Solve Tim Thomas in the Playoffs,” I pointed out that the Capitals have had a tough time scoring on Tim Thomas in the regular season. When they did score in regulation, there was an obvious pattern:
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