Washington Capitals Mailbag: Kuznetsov, Backstrom, Crosby Vs. Ovechkin, Johansson

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Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Kuznetsov Vs. Backstrom

This question comes from Ryan from West Virginia.

"The Caps are pretty darn lucky. They have Kuznetsov and Backstrom. Which one of the two have you been more impressed with so far this season?"

That’s a great question. I’ve been impressed with them both. I knew Kuznetsov was going to be good. I knew that he was going to be a viable first line center option while Backstrom recovered from his hip injury. I had high expectations for Kuznetsov because I know how good he can be. He has exceeded those expectations. He has emerged as a leader on the first line. He developed immediate chemistry with Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. He was magnificent against the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

I’ve also been impressed with Backstrom. I had my concerns about how Backstrom would play away from Ovechkin. I wondered if Backstrom could be the alpha male on a second line that needed someone to take charge. Backstrom has done that so far. He’s being more aggressive with the puck. He’s shooting it. He’s scoring goals, something that he hasn’t been doing much of the past few years. Being the second line center lets him participate more on special teams. He tends to shine on special teams, so obviously that’s a good thing for the Washington Capitals.

I’ve been more impressed with Kuznetsov. My feelings about Backstrom are closer to “pleasantly surprised” than “impressed”. I know Backstrom had it in him to return to his goal scoring days. The Washington Capitals are blessed to have them. Most teams struggle to find one excellent center. The Caps could have two of them.

Next: Has MoJo found his mojo?