Monday, October 19, 2009

Sluggish Start?

There is no real need to panic. So why is everyone acting like there is? Could this team have real problems with finishing games? Could it be the Redskin effect (great talent, marginal effort)? Could it be we are just too Cup fixated just 8 games into the season?

In the first eight games of the Capitals' season they have faced teams that have averaged 113 points last season, and six of those teams made the playoffs (four of those were division champions). It's easy to say that the Caps faced some of the league's toughest teams and the result was above .500. Also, they have yet to be blown out of a game (lost with a margin of two goals or more).

Compare that to someone who has a 7 and 1 record like, um... let's say the defending Stanley Cup Pittsburgh Penguins. In their first eight games, they have faced teams that had an average of 82 points last season and only three of those teams were in the post season last spring (none of which were division champs). Talk about a team easing into a schedule.

Part of the problem to this whole panic thing is we know how good the Washington Capitals can be. With convincing wins against teams like Boston and San Jose, fans have seen the best and want that result every time. But we haven't seen the Caps lose a game in total disaster. There haven't been 6-2 losses and the Caps have yet to be shut-out this season. All their games where they have fallen have been one goal games.

Small mental mistakes mostly do the Capitals in. Whether it is a bad penalty here, a must-stop save that isn't or a break down in defensive structure, the Caps do have the propensity for being human. These small errors in judgment are frustrating to witness because they end up resulting in a goal for the bad guys.

I am pretty confident that the Caps will be able to shore up those problems as the season progresses. The power play will show their bite against teams that don't have a great penalty kill unit. Mike Green will take advantage of those teams that can't handle the fourth man into the zone and Alex Ovechkin will feed on goaltenders that are destined to be back ups. That is why the Caps and a few level-headed fans are not worried about the sluggish start of the season.

Caps Notes:
  • Redskins' Chris Cooley took in a game Thursday night at the Verizon Center and as he was coming out of the locker room he was heard saying, "Isn't this environment so much better than ours? The people are so nice here."
  • If you think that the Caps' games are sold out, think again. According to the Washington Times, the Verizon Center can squeeze in about 800 more souls to see Ovi do this.
  • Caps finally face a team with in their division (to be honest, I didn't miss it). They play the hot Atlanta Thrashers who are off to their best start in franchise history Thursday night.

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