Coach Barry Trotz’s stated strategy to beat the Florida Panthers
on Saturday night, after a sluggish start by the Caps, was to “put a worker on
every line.” The Caps looked like they were skating in quicksand after playing
the Columbus Blue Jackets the prior night.
create a spark, Trotz broke up his hardest working trio of Jay Beagle, Tom Wilson
and Jason Chimera and spread them
among the top three lines. Those are not the only line changes he made as that
spark happened early in the 3rd period when Beagle tied the game
assisted by Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams. The Caps won that game
in overtime, thanks to the continued magic and hard work of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s offense, assisted by his fellow Russians Ovie
and Dmitry Orlov. The Caps responded
to their coach and won the game. That is encouraging.
is all about accountability and effort and that has been evident since he
arrived in Washington last summer. He increases ice time when players play well
and sends them to the press box when they are not playing the game the right
way. That is polar opposite of the Coach Bruce Boudreau country club atmosphere
days when the Caps players were more concerned about their activities off the
additions of T.J. Oshie and Williams
this season and Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen last season show how
serious General Manager Brian MacLellan
is about fixing the problems the Caps have had getting past the 2nd
round of the playoffs in the Ovechkin era. He has brought players to Washington
that understand how team effort and team play are the most important qualities
for winning championships in any professional sport. This group did not bring
just their offensive and defensive skill to the Caps, which was also sorely
needed, but they brought the leadership intangibles that teams need.
recently acquired Caps, along with homegrown prospects like Tom Wilson, who is already exhibiting
leadership qualities in his play and the words he says, and Kuznetsov, who is
so humble in his interviews bodes well for the Caps. It take all of these parts,
in addition to the highly skilled players, to make it work. With a couple of
exceptions, it has also made the Caps fun to watch.
Let's go Caps!
Labels: barry trotz, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jason Chimera, jay beagle, tom wilson, Washington Capitals