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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ReCap 1/22 vs Winnipeg: Home Cooking Tastes Terrible

Any one who saw last night's game, well...there's not much that can be said.  The way they played pretty much said it all.  It was yet another Classic Capitals Collapse.

What bothers me is, as much jump as they seemed to have in the season opener against Tampa, they were severely lacking in any urgency or energy last night against the Jets.  Save for perhaps Matt Hendricks (one assist short of a Gordie Howe hat-trick for his efforts).

Al Koken astutely pointed out several key issues during the second intermission.  The two factors contributing the most to this now 0-2 hole are:  1.  The dearth of players that are in actual game shape  2. The complete 180 degree turnaround the team has been asked to do in terms of the system of new coach Adam Oates.  Regarding the latter, it may not be surprising that two of the newcomers (Woltek Wolski and Mike Ribiero) are having the least amount of trouble keeping up with the play, at least in the offensive zone.  Unlearning something and then learning something new can be a million times harder than just learning a new skill.

Losing a home opener and going into a 0-2 hole to start the season is uncharted territory for the Caps.  This 48-game season is going to prove anything but conventional for the entire NHL.  Given that, it would obviously behoove this team to knuckle down and figure things out as quickly as possible.  There are 10 games left to the first quarter pole of the season and it will be there that a true team evaluation can be made.
It's not presumptuous to say that if the Caps aren't faring much better by then, the playoffs may be out of reach.

Look, I get that I'm playing the role of Mr. Obvious here.  But if it were really as simple as correcting the problem, it would have been done by now.  Time is against them, but will also help cure their problems.  As in time spent together as a team and learning where everyone will be on the ice.  Right now, they're still bumbling  like Keystone Kops in their own end.  And we all know what happens then. Also right now they still have the advantage that the other 30 teams haven't pulled away just yet.  But that won't last very long. Especially if this trend continues.

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