I totally agree. This team knows that the only thing that matters is winning the SC, not getting Presidential Trophies. I at least expect the Caps in the Conference Finals. In years past, toughness was a question for me. I like the additions of Hendricks and Beagle. We have to remember we have rookies playing this year as opposed to last year. This is one reason why I give the Caps a break so far. As for Ovy and Backstrom, I do know they are the best things to come to the Caps and they will figure it out. Those players are just too skilled to continue below their potential. Carlson and Alzner have been playing wonderfully so far and Johansson has been impressive too. What's not to like about the goalies? I rather have Varly or Neuvy in goal than some of the other options out there. My main concern is adding another defensive defenseman. I agree with the poster last week, I fear the lightning more this year than next. I'm curious to see how we play the NYR coming up. That will be a character game.
While I remain optimistic about how the Caps will perform in the playoffs (mainly due to the full-time additions of Carlson and Alzner and the addition of Hannan and the likelihood of a legit second line center at the trade deadline), and not to pick on you, but in this and other threads from time to time I hear two things that I find ironic because I recall hearing them in previous seasons.
First, I recall two seasons ago, in the last month of the season the Caps play tailed off considerably, but we kept hearing the Caps say that they were focused on the real season - the playoffs - and were just saving themselves and getting ready for the real season. Then the playoffs began and the Caps looked unready, and were extremely fortunate to eke out a seven game series win over a much more inferior Rangers team. During the Rangers series there was criticism that the Caps had not been playing well previously and could not expect to just turn it on for the post-season. Now this season with the Young Guns, particularly Ovie and Backstrom, playing well below their abilities, we are hearing the same retort from fans and the media, that maybe they are just coasting because they are really saving themselves for the playoffs, when they will really turn it on. Really?
Second, late last season when the Caps continued to roll through their schedule with victory after victory, all the Caps were in unison about how despite all the regular season success, they knew the season that really mattered was the playoffs. When they were awarded the President's Trophy near the end of the season, the Caps standing on the blue line appeared to just shrug it off as ho-hum because the season that really mattered was the playoffs and this time they were going to be ready. And then we saw how ready they were. Now this season the Caps aren't exactly playing like a President's Trophy team but all you hear is that it is because they realize that the regular season doesn't matter, and all that matters will be the playoffs, so they will coast now but be ready for the playoffs. Really?
Monty, it is more of me wanting to believe they will pick it up for the playoffs than if they are actually going to do it. I have to believe at some point the big guns will ignite. I don't believe they lose talent overnight. All I can do is what everyone in Caps land can do, hope they elevate their play and watch the development of the younger players. I can't think of anytime in Caps history where we had this kind of youth depth. I guess we could go back to when Peake, Allison, Kono, and Witt, but that isn't a fair analogy to this current group of players and prospects. Tonight's Vancouver showed me the big guns appear to be breaking loose for the second half. That is the funny thing about sports, you never know what the outcome will be. I can't say enough good things about Carlson, Alzner, Johansson, and both the goalies. I think there are holes to fill, but this NHL season tells me the Caps are right in the mix as anybody else for SC contention. The only team that I fear in the East is the Flyers. If Tampa pulls off some kind of big trade for their glaring holes, they would be scarier in the post season. Other than that, maybe the NYR due to having Lundqvist. There is just so much hockey to play yet and I'm like most of you, waiting on the playoffs. With that said, I sure hope Fehr is ok after tonight's game.