The Caps new nastier direction
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04-19-2013, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Berzerkeley, CA
Originally Posted by
Their puck movement and support isn't that strong/bright. When the pace picks up it gets exposed and they don't really have an answer aside from trying to keep play to the outside defensively. Overall their hope is that the opposition lets them dictate the tempo and largely they've been able to recently. Upping their own tempo in a controlled manner is essential and something that likely has to wait until next season to fully address.
Volpatti did truck Gonchar there in the third but fairly isolated incidents of toughness doesn't make a team tough. There's also a strategic usage of toughness that this team doesn't employ. They've never been a strong dump and chase team nor do they really have the size on the back-end to be that stout in diffusing cycles. Fundamentally they're built to be a higher pace finesse puck moving team yet still don't have the habits to pull it off convincingly from top to bottom.
That game should be an eye-opener but I'm not sure they can do much aside from trying to tighten up a bit more defensively and generally support one another on the ice better.
They needed to be way more physical. Ottawa's D weren't one bit worried about paying a price. That would have helped them dictate the tempo. It's not about the other team letting them do it; it's about taking it by force. They did that earlier in the streak, but not yesterday.
And yet, both goals were softies. Holtby had a weak and great game all at once, and they were in it to the end, dictating the play much more late. Losing Nicky hurt them and shows how much they really rely on him.
They got outplayed but the only goals against were softies and they had a chance to win. It wasn't pretty, but as losses go, I've seen much worse.
Obviously, whether they rebound and play MTL hard tomorrow will be an indicator of what kind of team this really is, but how they play the Sens on Thursday will really be a huge tell. Can they adapt and learn or do they just keep banging their heads against the wall?
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