Monday, January 19, 2009

Caps may not win pretty; but win nonetheless

The Washington Capitals have faced two glaring obstacles this season. The first being a rash of injuries that decimated the roster through the early part of the season. The second would have to be their inability to beat inferior opponents.

However, in spite of their marginal victories against the leagues bottom dwellers, the Capitals still manage to win. It might not be a pretty headline, but it's pretty in the standings column.

Capitals fans need to realize that this team is not going to play lights out hockey for an 82 game season. That is just not realistic.

Nor is believing you're going to get a quality offensive output from your star players game in and game out. Sorry, the NHL just doesn't function that way (unless your name is Alexander Ovechkin).

Capitals fans are spoiled by the talent level their team possesses, and their ability to explode for six goals on an opponent any given night. And no, any given night should not to be confused with every given night.

Every NHL team will go through a slump, or play down to their opponents. This is not a Washington Capitals exclusive. Scorers will go through droughts, while defensemen and goaltenders can go hot or cold within a moments notice. Thus is the parody of the NHL.

To illustrate my point, earlier today, Boston lost to the lowly St. Louis Blues (15th in the West) in shootout.

Yesterday the Calgary Flames got hosed 6-2 by the Colorado Avalanche (11th in the West).

Hell, even the Tamp Bay Lightning (12th in the East) trounced the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 last week.

While it is true the Capitals normally play down to the bottom tier of the league, the same can be said of them playing "up to" the standards of elite teams.

The Boston Bruins lead the East, but have fallen twice so far to the Capitals. Washington is also 2-1 in games against the Montreal Canadiens, 3-0 against the Atlantic leading Rangers and 2-0 against the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.

As the second half of the season gets underway, there are already a handful of teams that are destined to miss the playoffs. But be sure that when the Capitals, Bruins, Sharks or Red Wings come to town, they're going to give them their best.

So please, don't be upset how the Capitals won today's game.

Just be glad they won.

NOTE: With his two goal performance, Alexander Ovechkin has taken over the lead league in scoring (31).

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