Monday, October 31, 2011

The Boudreau Effect

"We had a bad first so the coach comes in and yells," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Our team comes out and has a better second. They come back out, and we knew what was going to happen in the third as far as effort, and they got the first one, so it generates more energy in the building. We sort of sagged for five minutes and the game's over."

At first glance, this quote seems harmless. Awful first period for the Caps (much like their second period against Edmonton), Boudreau rants in the locker room, and the team comes out and ties the game up. Makes sense doesn't it? Maybe if we were talking about a high school team. These players are professionals. No doubt they have been self motivated their whole lives, meeting and beating challenge after challenge. Why does it take a locker room lecture to get these guys to play? Maybe it's just tough to get up for regular season games when the playoffs are all this team cares about. How about treating each game like it is a playoff game? Each year the Caps come out saying they are focused on one goal: bringing home a Stanley Cup. Last year Ovechkin claimed all year he was "saving himself for the playoffs." I think after last year we can all agree that you can't take the regular season for granted and all of the sudden come out and turn up the heat for the playoffs. The regular season still means something, otherwise the NHL would just rank each team at the beginning of the season and then go straight to the playoffs.

Alright, I'm done ranting for now, its still only 9 games into the season, 73 more to go. Too early to get upset right? We're still 7-2-0, 1st in goals per game, 3rd in power play, 1st in the Southeast division, the Redskins fan in me says relax, Vancouver didn't sack the Caps 9 times. . .yet. That being said, lets see what we can take away from the first 9 games of the season:

The Good

  • Marcus Johansson is coming into his own: 4 goals in the last 5 games.
  • Ovi, Backstrom, Semin are all averaging around 17 minutes of ice time and still producing
  • 3.8 Goals per game thus far
  • 25.7 power play percentage
The Bad

  • 77.1 penalty kill percentage
  • Mike Green is still Day to Day with a lower body injury
  • 2.6 Goals Against Average

The Ugly 
  • Jeff "Pillows" Schultz is still wearing a Caps jersey
Next game: Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1) vs Washington Capitals (7-2-0). Tuesday Nov. 1st, 7:30pm.