By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Perhaps the early struggles and late run to the playoffs should have been predictable for a rookie head coach, especially given the lockout and shortened training camp. In looking back at his first season running a team, Adam Oates might take all summer to hone his craft for next year and beyond.
Because the Washington Capitals were done before the final horn in Game 7 Monday night, those watching had some extra time to contemplate general manager George McPhee's work this offseason. But after the Caps became the only NHL team to make the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past six years and not reach at least the conference finals, don't expect much to look different when they open the 2013-14 season.
Against a team with a more functional power play, Washington would already be done. The Rangers are 2-for-26 with the man advantage (including 0-for-3 when up five-on-three) through six games.
Washington again failed to take a 3-0 series lead, a feat that has never been accomplished in 21 playoff series in franchise history. Instead, the Rangers have life going into Game 4 Wednesday night.
It's hard to believe Rule 63.2 would make the difference in a playoff game, actually in the Caps' favor. Though as they showed in Saturday's Game 2 overtime victory against the Rangers, they're well-positioned to take advantage of one of the few times officials can't swallow their whistles.
The power play did yield a goal by Alex Ovechkin that tied the score in the second period, but it was a gritty penalty kill that turned things around and gave the Caps the series lead over the Rangers.
Holtby was one of the biggest stories in the playoffs last year as he helped carry the Caps to within a victory of the Eastern Conference finals by putting up a 1.95 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. At 22 years old, he showed the poise of a veteran.
John Carlson had a cousin run in the Boston Marathon a year ago, and the Washington Capitals defenseman recalled his aunt and uncle going to watch the race. The Natick, Mass., native still has friends and family there and called Monday's bombings "terrible."
There is more to the Capitals' win streak than the play of those expected to play at such a high level. Steve Oleksy's play on defense, Jack Hillen's solid defense as well as his scoring surge, Jason Chimera showing he still has "it" – pretty much the entire roster is playing at a high level.
Before Sunday night, the Washington Capitals' backup goaltender hadn't played a game since March 16, and he hadn't started at home since Feb. 5.
Sometimes it's difficult to quantify what happens to the Washington Capitals when Alex Ovechkin is producing like one of the best players in the world. Sometimes it's very easy.
Several elements of the Caps' game will get some fine-tuning Thursday and Friday, including the NHL's No. 1-ranked power play. That unit went 0-for-3 in the loss to the Islanders.
Adam Oates knew it could be a problem. The Washington Capitals were playing their only home game sandwiched between seven on the road, against a New York Islanders team that can be easy to overlook. So when the Caps fell behind two goals in the first eight minutes it was no surprise. But when they erased the deficit in the second, the flat start was nothing but a memory.
When Capitals coach Adam Oates played with the Boston Bruins, he watched defenseman Ray Bourque work his way to legendary status, and now he's transferring some knowledge over to Mike Green.
John Erskine hopes to play by the weekend. Tomas Kundratek could be close to returning. Soon the Washington Capitals could have just about a healthy blue line again, which could require some roster juggling.
"He left positive messages in our heads the whole time," defenseman John Carlson said. "He was almost to the point where sometimes you just wanted to get yelled at."
“I think they lowered the glass,” defenseman John Carlson quipped with a knowing smile.