VIEW FROM THE TOP: Washington Capitals

As the self-appointed spokesmen/woman of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, we are using the idea of "To the victors go the spoils" quite seriously. What we will do between now and the night the Stanley Cup banner is raised in the United Center is point out the shortcomings of all the teams that won't have four crisp new banners in their rafters. We continue this series with the Washington Capitals.

Where were you in 1998? 15 years ago seems like such a long time...

K-Ci and JoJo were letting you know what they were waiting for all their lives, Will Smith was getting jiggy with it, we were on our 4th Lethal Weapon movie and our first Rush Hour. "Friends" was there for you, and Adam Oates was there for Peter Bondra. That was the last time the Washington Capitals got beyond the second round of the playoffs, making it to the Stanley Cup Final before getting swept by Detroit.

Now Oates is coaching the Capitals, and there is another Russian goal scorer - although Alexander Ovechkin has yet to become the Blackhawks Legend that Bondra became. Now, after smacking around the horrendous Southeast Division for 5 first place finishes in 6 years, they find themselves in the Metropolitan Division, where they will have to compete with the Penguins, Rangers and emerging Islanders for playoff position. Their cakewalk into a top three spot is over.

So how will things go in DC this winter? Let's see:

FORWARDS:

Any discussion of the Capitals begins and ends with Captain Trampstamp. After a very un-Ovechkinlike 20 points in his first 24 games, he poured it on over the second half to finish with 56 and the Rocket Richard & Hart Trophies.  Niklas Backstrom got to be the Capital last year who saw his Geico ad go a lot deeper into the playoffs than he did. Mikhail Grabovski will center Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer, forming a line that will not cause any NHL goaltender night sweats. Their bottom 6 forwards can most accurately be described as "a bunch of guys".

DEFENSE:

Fuck yeah, Mike Green on his scooter.



GOALTENDING:

Braden Holtby looked like he might become a thing a couple years ago. He got invited to Team Canada's orientation camp, probably to make sure there would be enough goalies for practice. In all seriousness, there might not be a worse goaltending gig in the NHL The Caps' entire defensive strategy is keeping the puck 200 feet from their net, which only works when Ovechkin is on the ice.

MUNDANE FACT:

The Washington Capitals are hosting the 2015 Winter Classic. Which is great, except for the fact that the best part of them being on 24/7 last time is now coaching in Anaheim.

ARE THEY BETTER THAN THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS?:

Fore!





 

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