Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/11/10 at 05:21 PM ET
from Darren Eliot of Sports Illustrated,
On Saturday, I watched the Capitals dismante the Thrashers, 8-1, in Atlanta. I was positioned between the benches for that one, getting an up-close glimpse of a wildly talented and confident bunch from Washington. The win pushed the Southeast-leading Capitals to 9-1 against their division.
It’s easy to characterize Caps vs. Thrashers as Alexander Ovechkin vs. Ilya Kovalchuk, but Washington’s wonderfully gifted, newly-minted captain sits atop a bedrock foundation comprised of Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Eric Fehr and David Steckel. Where they once had to scrap for every last point in two successive 70-point campaigns (2005-06 and 2006-07), the Capitals now have a rangy, gritty and determined nucleus. Laich, Bradley and Gordon are veterans of those lean seasons (both fifth-place finishes in the Southeast) when Fehr (11 games in 2005-06) and Steckel (7) made their NHL debuts before earning regular roster spots a few years later.
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