Thursday, January 12, 2006

41 Down, 41 To Go

NBC came out with their schedule of NHL games. No surprise that the Capitals were left off national coverage of the games. Not that it would have been nationally broadcasted as the games are localized. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Detroit Red Wings appear 4 out of the 6 Sundays NBC broadcasts.

The Caps are officially branded the worst team in the league. The question now remains, where do we go from here, and who gets to come? Rumors have been flying of the trades of Olie Kolzig, Brendan Witt, and Jeff Friesen.

As the Capitals start their second half of their season tonight at Dallas, it will be interesting to see if George McPhee makes to move for a more veteran squad or if he will once again squander veteran players with future prospects and draft picks.

What the Capitals have to accomplish this second half is to work on their consistency. Which means, I would guess, is to either be consistently good or consistently bad. At least gain some consistency.

The Caps must give Alex Ovechkin some kind of goal support. Allow a threat to open ice for the talented rookie to do more damage. The team also must find more than one line to produce offense. I would even consider shaking up the CBS line as they have gotten to some kind of stalemate, neither producing goals nor creating many chances.

The team needs more experience. That is the bottom line. Whether it’s in their cards to find more stable, consistent players will be seen as the trade deadline looms and the teams jockey for better playoff teams.

If I were to play general manager of the Caps I would look at what I need to build a successful team around Kolzig and Ovechkin. I would need to find a playmaker to wing with Ovechkin. Then I would strengthen my defensive core and look for a suitable back up for Kolzig that can one day take starting duties after Olie takes his leave.

Right now McPhee has some leverage with trading some good players for draft picks and maybe future considerations to teams that want to win now. I would put Jeff Friesen and Andrew Cassels on the market for a playmaker. Then I would look for solid draft picks for Witt (because I don’t think I could get a better defenseman with a player to player trade).

Whatever does happen, the Caps will have a different look next year and even by the end of this year. It sucks to talk about trading players so soon for the Capitals, but at this point, with half the season gone, the Caps have only won 13 games. Not a lucky number for Hanlon’s squad.

Capitals at Dallas tonight 8:30 pm.

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