Several fans of the Washington Capitals- lifers and bandwagon alike - have been looking at the results of the first three games against the Thrashers, Devils and Senators as a watermark for the remaining 79 games of the 2010-11 season. There may be some truth to that- Michal Neuvirth's .916 Sv% is the highest of his career, Alex Ovechkin leads the league in shots - there are several reason it is also absurd. Read on as Rock the Red performs triage on the team that is building America's hockey capital.
Possible reasons for concern:
- The Caps' power play has converted once in it's 13 attempts with the extra man. Where is the team that converted over a quarter of it's attempts last season?
- Young Center Marcus Johansson (right) is 10-for-28 in the face off circle, winning 35.7% of his draws. Even Tomas Fleischmann is doing better than that.
- In John Erskine's 3 games this season, he's taken bad penalties, been out of position, given the puck away like candy on Halloween, and holds a team-low -3. At least we can say he has held onto his stick the entire time?
- Mike Green has played in nearly half of every contest this season, and is second in the league in TOI. After crashes at the end of the last two seasons, I thought that's why we brought up John Carlson?
- Keeping with the defense, I thought that rookie d-man hazing was last night when Bruce Boudreau moved Carlson with Erskine and Karl Alzner with Tyler Sloan. I don’t like setting kids up for disaster. As David Getz of Japers Rink put it, "I'd strongly consider putting the two defensemen together ... rather than creating two weak pairings."
Slow your roll, panic-mongers:
- Nicklas Backstrom has yet to find the score book this season. It'll happen people.
- Eric Fehr still battling for ice time as he ranks third lowest on the team in shifts per game (15.3) and TOI/G (12:54). He's still getting it done with 2 goals and an assist, so his time will come.
- The Real American Hero's roller-coaster of a season. He's been able to chip in offensively, but has also been out of position for several of the Caps' goals against. At 20 he's still very young, still getting adjusted to the game on the NHL level, and has played with many defensive partners. As the season settles in, so will he.
- Even name and number changes can't help Semyon Varlamov escape his injury filled past as you can set your watch by a Varly lower-body injury. While his lack of ability to remain healthy is an overall concern for me, he will be healthy in time to spell Neuvi when he needs it later on this season.