Hello Hockey Fam!
It has been a rough go for the Capitals since the All-Star break. The team has lost 4 out 6 contests and just look all out of sorts in multiple facets of the game. The power play execution is spotty, the defense continues to turn the puck over at inopportune times, and goaltending has been less consistent as of late.
Call me crazy but I am HAPPY the Caps are enduring a rough stretch of games. They had gotten away with winning multiple games this season that they had no business getting points in and really just creating a false sense of security. The Caps have 10 third period comebacks and lead the league in extra man 6 on 5 goals. Yes, that is a fantastic stat and I have spoken on this before. The real underlying issue is that the Capitals are constantly battling from behind to pull off miracle comebacks. That just won fly in the postseason. If the playoffs started today, there is a good chance the Capitals would lose in the first round. I would prefer the team face some adversity now rather than later when there is less margin for error. With upcoming games against COL (I am going!), VGK, PIT, ARI…I expect the next few weeks to be somewhat rough but hopefully they smooth it out come March and go into the playoffs clicking.
The biggest issue by far is the Defense. They have played some of the worst defensive hockey I have seen in quite some time. What do they do to fix it? Acquire a player before the trade deadline or seek help within? The Caps recently called up defenseman Martin Fehervary from Hersey and he has actually played quite well in opinion. He hasn’t been perfect but its clear the future is bright for the former 2018 2nd round draft pick. While he has been okay, I do not believe he did enough to warrant future playoff minutes and the team will likely look to make a trade to add a depth defenseman. Seeing a team like Pittsburgh make the expected move for Zucker just further puts pressure on the Capitals to address this weakness or risk getting bounced from the playoffs early.
Some very different options that may be available:
Brenden Dillon – SJS
Ron Hainsey – OTT
Dylan DeMelo – OTT
John Manson – ANA
Lets hope the Capitals can grow from this adversity and use it as strength and momentum going in to the playoffs. Adversity is important. If you don’t experience it, you end up like Tampa Bay last year who lost to the CBJ in the first round. This season, Tampa Bay experienced some very early struggles and look at them now, they are the Vegas Odds favorites to win the Stanley cup. How will the Capitals address their issues prior to the deadline? What will this team be playing like come playoff time?
Thanks for reading my rant,