I am writing this during what looks like it may be another loss during this streak this season. The Washington Capitals have been having another one of their roller coaster seasons, and one can only assume that something that is going to happen where they will make a late season run, be a low seed heading into the playoffs and find a way to lose in another Game 7 agains a Metro division rival.
“Fire GMGM” or maybe not…
Lately, that has been enough to keep the fans happy, but I feel that this season may be different. Lately, if you look online and follow the team, there has been a lot of “Fire GMGM,” or “Fire McPhee” talk, especially on nights like this where the team looks beyond lackluster. That leaves the team in a huge bind. Is firing McPhee really what the team needs right now? I understand the sentiment, I really do. I want the Capitals to be more than just a team that reaches the playoffs but does nothing there. I am a big Ovechkin fan as well, and I want him to be more than just a scorer, I want him to be a champion. I want that engraver to have his name on the cup. But firing GMGM may not be the best option.
Think about the implications, think about what could happen if the team does that. They will immediately be in rebuilding mode. That could mean at least 2-3 years of rebuilding, and no guarantees that any of the current team sticks around. Now, I’m sure that some people won’t have that big of an issue with that, but I do. The Caps young guns aren’t so young anymore. Ovi is already 28, the team needs to find its heart and overcome whatever is holding them back right now.
I am not saying I agree with everything that George McPhee has done, I think that last year’s trade to bring in Erat was smart at all. I thought it then and think it now, it was a terrible move. The proof has come through more and more the longer that Erat is on the team, he has been more than a risk the entire season and I am truly convinced that the “mistakes” he is making aren’t complete mistakes.
Who is scoring?
Here is a breakdown of the top 6 scorers right now:
- Alexander Ovechkin, RW – 49 Points, 35 goals, 14 assists
- Nicklas Backstrom, C – 49pts, 11 goals, 38 assists
- Mikhail Grabovski, C – 33pts, 12 goals, 21 assists
- Marcus Johansson, C – 32pts, 7 goals, 25 assists
- Joel Ward, RW – 27pts, 13 goals, 14 assists
- Mike Green, D – 26pts, 5 goals, 21 assists
Totals (top 5): 190 points, 78 goals, 112 assists
Now, lets compare that to the league standings leader, the Anaheim Ducks:
- Ryan Getzlaf, C – 59pts, 25 goals, 34 assists
- Corey Perry, RW – 56pts, 27 goals, 29 assists
- Nick Bonino, C – 39pts, 16 goals, 23 assists
- Andrew Cogliano, C – 29pts, 16 goals, 13 assists
- Cam Fowler, D – 29pts, 6 goals, 23 assists
Total: 212 points, 90 goals, 122 assists
The reason I bring in the Anaheim Ducks is not because I have any affinity or ‘fandome’ of the team, it is more a way to compare the Capitals to the best team in the league right now. The reason I threw Mike Green on there is to show how quickly the goal scoring drops after you get past the top 5 guys. What really strikes me as a difference between these teams is the difference in who is actually scoring. As great as it is to have Ovechkin on the team, I don’t like that he is the only one who has really dented the net. When you get past him, the rest of the team cannot seem to beat the goalie.
That is not meant to be a slight against Ovechkin, he is doing his job and scoring. He is also doing it while drawing plenty of guys each time he is on the ice. What it tells me is that the Caps don’t have any real big scoring threats on the team. Backstrom is probably the best all around player on the team, and I am a big fan of Grabovski and Marcus Johansson, the make plays a lot. But the team is lacking more big play threats.
Since Ovechkin has been out, the Caps haven’t had anyone that can fill his void, and that is very well shown on the power-play where there seems to have been a new line combination each time they have gone out there, and no results.
I am not claiming to have the answers, If I did I would be in the office doing this as my job, but I can see there are more problems than there are good things right now. Hopefully before the trade deadline the Capitals can gain some offensive depth and that the defense can step up and help the goalies.