Sports Fix, The Features

A Little Brains, Heart and Nerve: Say Goodnight, Washington Capitals

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

I could wile away the hours,
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consultin’ with the rain,
And my head I’d be scratchin,’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’ …

The Bruce Boudreau Era is done.

Make no mistake about it. Heading into the postseason the question was not so much about how far the Caps would go but more about how they performed once they got out of the first round. “Does Boudreau lose his job if the Caps do not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals” was an unfair question. The Stanley Cup is perhaps the hardest trophy to win in all of American sports, outside of the horse racing Triple Crown.

Washington just needed to play respectably, up to its potential and level of talent. No choking, no dramatic series losses after being up big. From the Eastern Conference semifinals on, if the Caps played well but got beat, that would have been an acceptable outcome.

That is not what happened.

Getting swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning was simply appalling. There is no excuse for it. It looked like Washington had found a way to win in the playoffs after the New York series. They were motivated, they played tight defensively, were opportunistic when they needed to be and, most importantly, they looked like they were focused and playing together. Sheer talent and determination should have been enough to get them through the semifinals.

A very good friend of mine, Erin, said that the Caps would be swept. She is an evil genius. Most pundits picked Washington to win anywhere between five and seven games. Myself, I thought Washington could eke it out in seven. I was not going to be one of those writers who dismissed the Lightning as too young or too raw. Tampa has a superbly talented hockey team not to be underestimated.

What I did was overestimate the Washington Capitals.

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capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Features

Halfway There: Capitals Midseason Review

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courtesy of ‘bhrome’

At the beginning of the season, many fans of the Caps pretty much wanted to fast-forward to mid-April and get going with the playoffs. Going into this year’s campaign, the Caps looked pretty good on paper and were predicted to be yet again runaway winners of the Southeast Division and one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Now? Well, it’s not all doom and gloom – but reality has definitely sunk in.

The Caps currently sit second in the Southeast Division, one point behind the current leader, Tampa Bay. And two points behind the Caps? The surprisingly strong Atlanta Thrashers. This year’s division race will not be a repeat of last year, when the Caps had sealed their division title before the Ides of March with a thirty point cushion. It will come down to the wire again, much like 2007-08, when the Caps wrested the title from the Carolina Hurricanes on the last game of the season.

When comparing the first half of this season to the last two, the Caps are virtually in the same spot. Currently sitting with 52 points this year, it’s only three points less than last season and five points less than two years back. True, it is “less than,” which annoys many fans to no end. But considering the adversity and issues the team has had to deal with so far, the fact that they’re not less than 10 or 15 points back is something to take a bit of pride in. Or is it?

Let’s break the team down so far and see what we can see. Continue reading

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Features

Capital Drafting: 2010 NHL Entry Draft

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‘Mighty Mites!’
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

The NHL 2010 Entry Draft occurred in Los Angeles over the last three days and after seven rounds, the Caps exited this year’s draft with five new prospects. Selected by the team are Evgeny Kuznetsov (Russia), Stanislav Galiev (Russia), Philipp Grubauer (Germany), Caleb Herbert (U.S.), and Samuel Carrier (Canada). The five selected picks cover the range of ice positions, from center to goalie, and will be entering an already well-stocked prospect larder. GM George McPhee has gotten a great handle on building the team’s future depth, in large part due to the experienced Capitals’ scouting squads.

Let’s take a look at the new blood, shall we? Continue reading

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Features

An Open Letter to the Washington Capitals


Dear Ted, George, Bruce, and Alex:

I know right now you’re dealing with a lot of crap from pretty much every corner because of Wednesday’s loss. So I just wanted to toss in two words you may not have heard much over the last 48 hours:

Thank you.

Those two words are pretty well drowned out right now, given that in true DC fashion, everyone’s getting busy on offering their opinions on what went wrong and what you guys need to do to fix things. And don’t misunderstand me – I have my opinions on the matter as well, but now’s not really the time to list them. I really just wanted to take a moment during all of the hubbub and let you know how I feel as things settle down. They’re simple words, but they need said.

THANK. YOU. Continue reading