F Street Faithful
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?
The Capitals ran their season-high losing streak to six with a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. A game with no Alex Ovechkin and a noticable lack of fans due to weather was just about as dull as possible. On to the reCap:
In what was one of their worst showings of the season, the Capitals fell 5-1 in Columbus on Friday night. Not really anything good to say about this one. On to the reCap:
The Capitals continue to struggle late in games as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguin 4-3 on Wednesday night. The Capitals led three different times, but allowed the Penguins to tie it up every time before giving up the game winner inside of two minutes. On to the reCap:
The Washington Capitals fell to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout 2-1 on Tuesday. In what was yet another well-played game by the Capitals, they were stopped by another great goaltender. At some point, you have to stop giving the opposing goaltenders all the credit. On to the reCap:
The Washington Capitals made it two wins in two nights as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. It was once again a late goal, this time from Joel Ward, that sent them home with a win. On to the reCap:
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.