- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Capitals patiently await first-round playoff opponent
Senators, Rangers, Maple Leafs or Islanders could face Washington next week
Question of the Day
Adam Oates still has a game to prepare for, so it’s not yet time to worry about whether his Washington Capitals will face the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs or New York Islanders in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that begin next week.
It’s one more game that has no bearing on the Caps’ seed, and in the meantime the Caps are left to wonder who their Eastern Conference quarterfinal opponent will be.
“They’re all good hockey teams,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “They’re all difficult in their own sense to play against, so there isn’t going to be any easy matchup, it doesn’t matter what seed they are. We may have a few teams that we’d maybe prefer to play because of the success that we’ve had against them but once it gets to the playoffs, there are no easy games.”
Judging from the regular season, none of the four possible matchups are easy or favorable for the Caps. They went 0-2-1 against the team they’re most likely to face, the Senators, 1-2 with a shootout victory against the Rangers and Islanders and 1-2 against the Maple Leafs.
“It doesn’t matter,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “What we’ve done at the end of the year is the team that we are right now. We’ve beaten everyone that we’ve played, I think. So it’s not really at the back of our heads, we’re not too worried about it. Other than Ottawa I think.”
The Senators have handed the Caps their only two losses in the past 12 games, one in regulation in Ottawa last week and one in overtime at Verizon Center on Thursday night. Ottawa has two games left (home against the Philadelphia Flyers and at the Boston Bruins) and appears to be the most likely visitor when the playoffs open in Washington either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Obviously you’re looking at the standings, but it’s not in our control,” Hendricks said. “So it doesn’t really matter; nothing really matters until everything is done and over and we know who we’re playing.”
Because the Senators‘ game at the Bruins had to be rescheduled until Sunday night because of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Caps might have to wait that long to figure out which team they’ll face.
“It is kind of different, but it just shows how tight things are at the back end of the conference for the playoffs,” Hendricks said.
Players insist they’re not worried about things that they cannot change.
“There’s not really a team that it’s a glaring difference,” goaltender Braden Holtby said. “They all have their strengths, they all have their weaknesses, so whoever it is, we’ll be fine with.”
It figures to reason that the Senators and Islanders would present the most difficult matchups, based not just on results but how those teams played the Caps during this shortened regular season. It’s worth noting that while they’re 3-8-1 against possible first-round opponents, three of those losses came as part of a 2-8-1 start.
Washington is 24-10-2 overall since then, and Oates likes to say that his team is much different than it was even a couple of months ago.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- Houston mayor: Sorry that police put man's blind dog on road to die
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors