Trotz Rewards Beagle's Dogged Play
The three most consistent Caps in terms of effort this season are league leading goal scorer and captain, Alex Ovechkin, net minder Braden Holtby, who has saved the Caps on nights when they’re not playing their best, and the undrafted 2008 free agent acquisition Jay Beagle, who works hard every single shift. Coach Barry Trotz rewards Beagle’s dogged play with more ice time and more roles, like first line right winger, when needed. Beagle skates while other higher ranked players, like Jason Chimera, sit in the press box watching the action instead. He skates because every single night he acts like it might be the last chance he gets to lace them up and he does not want to waste the opportunity.
Coach Adam Oates also played Beagle on the top line with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. He seemed a head scratching choice for that assignment at that time, but his effort and defensively responsible play makes him more of an asset than a liability on the top line, particularly, for certain match ups. Trotz puts him on the top line when he needs a better defensive player opposite Ovie and Backstrom.Trotz’s faith in Beagle is showing up on the score sheet, this season, as his 9G-8A-17P is almost twice his 9 total points last season, with 25 games left in the season. He’s playing with confidence as his first star career high 3-point night, 2G-1A, versus the San Jose Sharks showed. Caps fans saluted Beagle during his penalty kill performance against the Edmonton Oilers as he tied up three players while burning time and ensuring they had no shots on that penalty kill. He deserves the recognition he’s getting from his coaches, his teammates and the fans.
It will be great if Beagle keeps it up all season and continues to soak up more and more from this coaching staff. Given his track record and eagerness to learn, it should not surprise any Caps fan if that ends up being the case.Let’s go Caps!