I thought it might be a little interesting to start doing a look at our playoff matchups, one-by-one.? The first?in this (series?)?is the Washington Capitals ….
… mainly because if it all ended right now that’s who we would play.? As things change, which they could I’ll give other thoughts with other teams.?
What’s happening over the last couple of week’s is watching these Capital’s fans starting to jump off the bandwagon… and with no record of any success for the last decade in the playoffs, that’s completely rational, justified, and understandable. Much of this team’s recent funk started with the “my stick’s on fire” showboating dance routine put on by Alexander Ochechkin and a few of his teammates who chose to participate. Some others who were asked to join-in (Mike Green, for one)?rejected that offer which now makes many wonder if AO is the leader everyone thinks he is or that possibly he is more a wannabe entertainer than he wannabe having his name on the Stanley Cup. The Organization says it was overblown but their GM George McPhee?and head coach Bruce Boudreau?decided to call the Lightning to present their side of the situation. That’s a very strange?act from a group who felt it was no big deal.
The Capitals are in the easy swing of their schedule and really aren’t producing that well and of course excuses are surfacing that they are just playing out the season. That could be so.
The lines at their latest practice had old man Sergei Fedorov moved to the first line. Hmmm? An all Russian first line… maybe AO is calling that shot instead of? Boudreau who also has the slow-footed defenseman, John Erskine moving up and playing the wing on the fourth line… where have we’ve seen that tactic gaaf ?before, eh.
Possibly only winning three games in regulation out of the 12 games played in March does represent a funk that needs tweaked and tweaked real fast.? They are at the max salary cap and the depth they talk about in that organization really doesn’t exist.? What they have is what they will go with and it’s basically the exact team that lost to the Flyers last season.? With the addition of Jose Theodore.
This is a good first round opponent for the Penguins for many reasons… one of which is past history. Those Capitals really and truly don’t fair well against the Penguins and that’s why?in most Capital’s fans eyes the Penguins, even though we are out of their division, are their biggest rivalry.
Some of that dates back to the old Patrick Division but I think just as much is related to Penguin fans sometimes having more fans in their building than Capitals fans. Whatever, we have put their lights out in the playoffs at a high frequency… I don’t blame their fans for hating us.
Getting back to the matchup… the main reason I like this one is the ages of the players and the Fleury vs. Theodore in goal. Their signing of Theodore is still a major mystery to me. Here is a really “little” goalie… sort-of like a Gerber who has not really produced much and while some of their bloggers talk about him rising-up during the playoffs he hasn?t had a GAA below 3 in the playoffs since before the lockout. The key has always been shoot high on Theodore and they Penguins can do that very well.
Washington?s defense is also suspect as Tom Poti becomes worse every year? Pothier has returned and is but one check from retirement? Green is an offensive dynamite but really?is a slacker?playing defense. He?s more like a (very) poor man?s Paul Coffey.
Washington?s offense because of Ovechkin and Semin? and Backstrom to some extent is potent. Especially when you add Mike Green as that offensive defenseman on the Power Play. But it hasn’t been during March.? The supporting cast made up of Kozlov, Fedorov, Fleischmann, Bradley, Fehr, Gordon, Steckel and Laich really doesn?t scare anyone.
It?s really only about Ovechkin and teams that work him over and get him thinking about hits instead of goals are beating them up as of late. Rod Brind?Amour gave AO an elbow to the head in their last?game and no one did a thing about it. Not one. That kind-of indicates to me…? a team that?s not as close as the Penguins. Could you imagine if Brind?Amour did that to either Crosby or Malkin. ?There would be no waiting for another shift and we are fighting to hold on to a playoff spot where every game is important.
Anyhow? the bottom line on this is the Washington Capitals is who we would play if it ended right now. I?d take that match-up in a heart beat… and I think so would?just about any Penguin fan.
This is DR Hook?. carry on