Monday, January 04, 2016

When adversity strikes

The Washington Capitals place on top of the Eastern Conference by nine points could not have come at a better time. The season is nearing its mid-point at 38 games and key injuries are piling up for this team. The Caps wins have come in a variety of ways, but they have also benefited from Goalie Braden Holtby’s Vezina contending season to get them on top and keep them there.  Now, with key players out the Caps get to display how they react when adversity strikes.

The injury roundup:

  • The veteran leader of the defense and for the team as the assistant captain, Brooks Orpik played his last game on November 10th and the up and down nature of his recovery is not encouraging.
  • John Carlson, the blue liner having a strong year and picking up for Orpik’s absence, got injured in Montreal on December 26th.
  • Jay Beagle, the faceoff and penalty kill specialist, had hand surgery today and is out for six weeks. The Caps are 21-0-5 when he scores. Beagle scored in his last two games and was the first star of the game twice against the Montreal Canadiens and the Carolina Hurricanes. He is the hardworking checking line forward that always puts his heart and soul on the ice. According to his Coach Barry Trotz, he is also the practice guy, motivated to practice like he is motivated to play. That help to the accountability culture will be missed.

The Caps lost their past two games to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Carolina Hurricanes. This is the first losing streak of the season for the Caps. The competitive NHL means that 9 points is nothing and can vanish in under a week. The team behind them is the Florida Panthers and the Caps recent performance against that team is not encouraging with a 1-4 loss on December 10th and a 2-1 overtime win at the end of October. The Caps need to deal with the adversity and get back to winning with a new mix of line combinations and defensive pairings.

The best news of the day is that Carlson and Orpik are traveling with the team. Neither is expected to play, but the fact that they are on the trip is encouraging.

Let’s go Caps!

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