Since the beginning of the season, the Washington Capitals have been forced to deal with struggles both on and off the ice. Recurrent injuries, enigmatic changes in lines, and faltering special teams have been just a few of the troubles plaguing the Caps–and maybe the Hershey Bears–as of late.
Even among a myriad of concerns, the Capitals’ consistently inconsistent play takes the cake for most alarming. At Capital Games, Adam Vingan breaks down the team’s inability to channel their emotions into whatever game is at hand. Read and decide: has the Caps’ history of adopting a self-pitying mentality set the tone for future games? [Capital Games]
While we’re discussing the mental discipline behind hockey, revisit Braden Holtby’s dreadful performance against the Carolina Hurricanes. In the event you forgot (or you want to reopen the wounds time has healed), see where it all went wrong. Then, move on, which the Caps don’t seem to be capable of doing. [Capitals Insider]
“Special” Teams (Hint: We Don’t Laich Them)
Another pressing worry is the downward spiral of Washington’s special teams, particularly the penalty kill. The power play is still the NHL’s fifth-best, but bear in mind the Caps have had 14 man advantages in their past four games. Of those, they’ve scored three times. Their most recent success came from Mike Green, who had been held scoreless all season, even on the power play. Apparently, Adam Oates has asked Greenie to focus more on the defensive side of his game (to which I cheer amen.) [Pro Hockey Talk]
Yet, patience paid off, and Green notched his first tally of the season after being demoted to the second power play unit. While it’s nice to see him step up, the issue remains: Washington has become remarkably disjointed whilst playing to its (previous) strengths. [WaPo]
The special teams are struggling as a whole, but Oates likes that Eric Fehr is a part of both units. It’s tempting to liken him to Brooks Laich in that the two players are versatile forwards who command high expectations. While Fehr has been meeting many of them, the same can’t be said for Laich. [Over the Boards]
Can his disappointing performance be attributed in part to his recurring groin-related injury? Regardless, we hope for his swift recovery. Maybe having an adorable nephew will speed up the healing process. [DC Sports Bog]
Hot n Cold
Fun fact: the season thus far has been chock-full of ups and downs. The performance of several players mirrors this hellish roller coaster, for better or worse. Talk The Red examines who’s hot and who’s not. Hint: Holtby is cool, literally and figuratively. [Talk The Red, SB Nation]
Young Guns 2.0
On a slightly brighter note, a handful of Caps prospects will represent the United States at the international level. Among them was Connor Carrick, who spoke of the contributions he hopes to make while wearing “the most beautiful jersey in the world.” [Penn Live]
Congrats to #Caps prospects Connor Carrick, Riley Barber and Thomas DiPauli who were named to US National Team roster today.
— Sergey Kocharov (@SergeyKocharov) December 4, 2013
Of course, one can never tire of discussing prospects (unless Kuznetsov drama is involved.) Sorry to disappoint you, folks. If the current Caps have got you down, look to what could be a brighter future in Washington. [Bleacher Report]
Trouble in Chocolatetown?
Were you surprised when Martin Erat made known his request for a trade? Eh, maybe? What about Dmitry Orlov? The latter has stated through his agent that he doesn’t plan to re-sign with the Caps next season. It’s going to take a lot for that plan to change. Similarly, Erat seems hellbent on being dealt elsewhere. A trade is in the best interest of every party involved, and it’s possible that Erat and Dima could be a package deal. [Bleacher Report]
With a record of 7-7-2-3, the Hershey Bears have been experiencing tension akin to that of the Capitals. Apparently, the strain was enough to cause a fight between captain Dane Byers and Cameron Schilling. [Penn Live]
Lest I be accused of ending on a low note, here’s a friendly reminder that the Caps Canine Calendar is out now! If there are any left, I suggest you pay an immediate visit to Kettler. Enjoy. [Washington Capitals]
The canine calendars are here!! Get them while they last!!! pic.twitter.com/LrvtjABNNz
— Capitals Team Store (@Shop_KCI) December 3, 2013