Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thanks For Coming Out, Washington Capitals

As a fan of this team since 1988, this is a heartbreaking one for me to write, but the 7th seed had their magical season ended by the top-seed in the East. While they did find a new goalie for the future, the fact that the offense is the question mark is a real head scratcher, but the Capitals will need to see how they can readjust and find a balance to be successful.

The best part about the playoff run is that, by injury happenstance, Braden Holtby became the defacto #1 goalie for the Caps. With Tomas Vokoun's flop of a season and Michal Neuvirth mounting injuries; Holtby came in and gave an outstanding performance to keep the Caps in many of the games and being the deciding factor in their wins. Should he keep his usual mantra in the net, Holtby could be the guy to take over the carousel that has surrounded the Caps since Olie Kolzig left.

Yet, the strongest point for the Caps in the past seasons was the one that many question-- the offense. Though you can look at Nicklas Backstrom being injured to stifle the offense for a bit there, but with Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin there; it should be no problem. You can say the defensive scheme hindered them-- and it may have-- but big time goal-scorers find a way to score in the situations when they present themselves. Ovechkin and Semin didn't find those situations and thus, their production was hindered. It's the last we could see of Semin in North America.

Another thing that could hinder the Caps is too many character players. You can always say that you can't have too many-- but when you have over two lines of grinders more than skill players, you limit your chances of actually sustaining much of an attack. Even though they are good for the room and you see the speed that guys like Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and the hands of Matt Hendricks have-- the fact they don't translate too much into big scoring chances will hurt in the long run.

The shutdown pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson really showed their maturity this year, with Alzner really stepping up as a stay-at-home stalwart. That said-- the task on what to do with Mike Green and Dennis Wideman will be seen. Green has been homegrown, but also injury proned. Wideman was a trade-deadline pick-up and hasn't played awful, but can you keep both or do you have to chose one?? It could all come down to dollars and cents to decide that fate.

As a whole, the Caps season was more successful than many thought going into the playoffs. With the limbo of Dale Hunter's status as head coach next year up in the air, it's something that need to be decided before you look at changing anything around. If he gets a full season, Hunter could make this team better.....or frustrated. Always a crapshoot with the Caps.

No comments: