So remember my mid-season Capitals’ report? Well, one of the analysts I was trying to get commentary from was ESPN’s John Buccigross, who’s participated here a couple of times before. Deluged with letters and his blogumns during the holiday weekend AND the NHL’s Winter Classic, my question list slipped right on by.
Fortunately, he was nice enough to post his answers in his weekly mailbag column on ESPN.com. Here’s the specific questions I asked and his answers for your enjoyment:
Biggest surprise from the Caps’ season so far?
Bucci: Nicklas Backstrom. He has brought his game to another level and, as he improves, brings the whole team to another level. That’s the power of young, elite players.
Player to watch (aside from Ovechkin) as the season grinds into the second half?
Bucci: Whoever the goaltender is.
Take on the Clark/Jurcina for Chimera trade?
Bucci: I thought it was cruel. Chris Clark represents everything good about a hockey player. They save a few cap pennies, and if that’s the difference in adding a defenseman, I guess it’s OK.
Best upcoming matchups on the schedule?
Bucci: At Chicago, March 14; it could be a preview of the Stanley Cup finals this spring. That game, and all of the games against the Penguins.
Biggest disappointment so far?
Bucci: I was hoping Boyd Gordon would score a goal so I could call him Oil Can Boyd Gordon on “SportsCenter.”
Many thanks to Bucci for going the extra mile and making sure our burning Capitals questions are answered!