F Street Faithful
So, earlier tonight, I was sitting on my couch getting ready for the Caps/Wings game tonight for Wednesday Night "Rivalry." Naturally, I flipped over to watch the pregame show with Liam McHugh, Keith Jones, and, of course, the ever-lovable Mike Milbury. Unsurprisngly, the current pointless streak (4 games going into tonight) of Alexander Ovechkin was up for discussion. And, then, this happened:
Earlier today, I shared some not so nice views on the Caps' decision in signing Brooks Orpik to a 5-year, $27.5 million contract. Well, the new GM obviously wasn't done as the Capitals have come to terms with another former Penguin, Matt Niskanen, on a 7-year, $40.25 million contract. With Niskanen's $5.75 mil per season on the books, it leaves the Caps with just over 1 million in cap space.
When the Capitals made the announcement that former Assistant General Manager Brian MacLellan would be taking over his old boss' place, there was a fair amount of concern that we would be getting the same old deal. With today's mega-signing of Brooks Orpik, I think we are seeing something different in the new GM, but it isn't the good kind of different.
As Paul posted earlier this morning, it appears that the Washington Capitals will being facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2015 Winter Classic, venue still to be decided, but I'm assuming it will be Nationals Park. This certainly has the potential to be a fun game, but I have to wonder why the NHL would go with a non-conference opponent with whom the Capitals have no history.
As most people have learned as they have returned to non-holiday life, the Washington Capitals announced their new general manager and coach yesterday. Barry Trotz comes in as the new coach while former assistant GM Brian MacLellan moves into his former's boss' office. My initial reactions were rather polarizing (Trotz=! MacLellan=?), but a night's sleep has brought both back from the edge.
It is seen as pretty much a foregone conclusion that in two weeks' time the Washington Capitals and Adam Oates will part ways. The hall of famer looks to be leading the team to their first playoff miss since 2007, and looking rather listless in the process. While I was a one-time supporter of Oates, I simply can't argue against his firing. The question that is left, then, is where did things go wrong. What was it that Oates failed to do?
In the first period of today's game between the Washington Capitals the Philadelphia Flyers, Nicklas Backstrom's shot trickled through Steve Mason and was heading into the net until Mark Streit cleared it off the line. When play eventurally stopped, the referees held a lengthy review. Eventually, the call on the ice of no goal was upheld, much to the chagrin of Capitals fans. Using some crude tools around my house, I'll show why the referees were correct.
As has been the case for at least the past month or so, murmurs are once again circulating throughout Twitter (ultra-reliable BTW) that the Washington Capitals are at least somewhat interested in acquiring Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller. This has been generally met with an air of disbelief among fans and writers, and yet, the rumor stays alive. It doesn't help when your General Manager publicly points out how much better off your team would be if the goaltending was better. Since I like to tell myself that we, as fans, know less than a GM or a coach, it made me wonder today if maybe I'm not seeing the team performance correctly. So, I decided to sit down and rewatch every single even-strength goal the Capitals have allowed this season. Here's what I saw.
In years gone past, it's been pretty clear which defender on the Caps' roster drew the ire of the fans. He might have once put together a +50 season (as if it really means anything), but Jeff Schultz was generally disliked by the fanbase. With Schultz have been bought out this past summer, there had to be somebody step in a replace him. It has become clear the John Erskine has stepped in to fill the void, and he might surpass the mark.
Anybody who has even paid marginal attention to the Washington Capitals over the past couple of weeks knows they are in trouble. They are in the midst of a season-worst seven-game losing streak. In those six games, they have been outscored 19-8. They are currently playing the worst hockey of the stretch, having gone four straight games without scoring more than one goal. This has sparked a plethora of outbursts from fans directed towards the coach, GM, and the players. While it is clear the players are not performing well, are these the right players from which to expect success?
About F Street Faithful
Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
You can follow me on twitter @FStreetTate but I must warn that I do tweet about more than hockey. You can also e-mail me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.