the NHL trade deadline came and went on Monday, and Washington Capitals GM, George McPhee, decided to stick with the team he assembled in the last off-season. on paper, they are good enough to contend for the Stanley Cup, but wouldn’t even qualify for the playoffs, if they started today.
dumping Bruce Boudreau for Dale Hunter did not yield the desired results. Anaheim is a team with similar talent, that has played better than the Caps, since the coaching changes were made. the Ducks are 20-12-6 under Boudreau, while the Caps have gone 19-17-4 under Hunter.
they benefit from playing in the weakest division in the Eastern Conference, and are 1 point behind Winnipeg for 8th spot, and 3 points behind Florida for the Southeast lead, as they begin a 5-game homestand tonite against the Islanders. if the Caps wanna give me any hope that they can turn this season around, then no fewer than 8 points is acceptable.
Ovechkin is on pace to have the lowest point totals of his NHL career; Semin only plays when he feels like it; the goaltending has been inconsistent; Knuble has been a no-show; Green is injury-prone; I thought they were gonna make a move, when they put Backstrom on long-term injured reserve, thus freeing up $6 million in cap space. I also thought they might’ve dealt unhappy defenceman Roman Hamrlik, which would’ve cleared another $3 million. at the end of the day, McPhee made some calls, but said there wasn’t a whole lot out there.
the Caps are the sixth best team in the conference, behind Boston, the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Philly, and New Jersey. if the Caps do make the playoffs, chances are they’ll hafta face either one of those last three teams I mentioned. Philly and the Devils are both coming in on this homestand, so we’ll get a pretty good idea of whether this Caps team is capable of contending. the way they are playing, I don’t see them making it past the first round.