Sunday, October 21, 2007

Already On Shaky Ground

There are things about the Capitals' recent play that concern me. A lot of you have been saying, "It's too early to tell," or "It's a marathon not a race." That is true, we still have a long way to go. But how I see it, the Caps are in real trouble.

Let's say the last 7 games were a playoff series. The Caps would have lost the series 3 games to 4. They would have been outscored by a 14 to 19 goal margin and lost their last 4 straight (including two home games). That would have put the Caps on the links. For every seven games the Caps lose 4, they lose.

It was almost a must win against the Penguins with everything in the Caps' favor. They were at home, they had a day off while the Pens played the night before, and they were facing a shaky goaltender up to that point. The fact that they had the fresh legs and still couldn't pull a win out, that concerns me. If the Caps won 3 of every seven games that would be a horrendous record on the season (it would give them 35 wins - 70 points - a record the Capitals have had in the previous two seasons).

If the expectations of this team are to make the playoffs, this is a bad way of doing it. I understand that this team is going to lose games, but how a team responds to a loss is so important. This team has not responded well to their losses, they are not learning from their mistakes to this point. Lucky for them, they have 75 games to make it right. Let's hope they do.

So I will be watching the next series, the next 7 games. The more the Caps can win those stretches the better their record will be. For the success of any team, in any sport, is to win those regular season series. Then in the post season, when the games really count they can draw on the experiences of winning games after mild setbacks.

The Caps have to win their games at home too. A 1-2 record is not something to be proud of. If the Caps can't put the fear in visiting teams at the Verizon Center, then it's going to be a long season.

Fun with Numbers:
-4 Micheal Nylander's plus/minus rating so far this season. Obviously he is not here for his defensive skills.

59.7% Boyd Gordon's face off percentage, not too shabby. But Matt Bradley's is better at a perfect 100%.

37 The number of shots Alex Ovechkin has taken. Nylander, Viktor Kozlov, Matt Pettinger and Tom Poti are all tied for second in that department with 16.

6 Number of games missed by Alex Semin.

No comments: