If you’re a hardcore Caps fan you might be split in your emotions right now.
Part of you wants to lash out in anger at your team’s poor start to the season. The last time DC hockey had a bad regular season was 2013-2014 when they failed to make the playoffs.
Part of you might remain composed. It’s a long season and all that. Plenty of time for Ovie, Kuzy, Oshie, and company to right the ship.
Hell, there is even a chance you’re optimistic. You might buy the line that “this team starting slow is exactly what they need in order to get in prime form later in the season and carry more momentum into the playoffs.”
The team has lost in the second round of the Playoffs each of the last three seasons despite amazing regular season play, so there is logic to that last claim.
I’m torn though.
The boys who “Rock the Red” in the now Capital One Center have a lot to improve upon.
Their main problem in the playoffs has been poor hitting ability and too many long stretches where Braden Holtby has to endure barrages of opponents shooting in his direction.
Through the first 20 games of 2017-2018, these problems have been further exemplified.
The team is allowing the eleventh most shots in the league while putting up the second fewest.
That is an awful sign for a group that truly only thrives in having long, productive settings in their own offensive zone.
The thing about their regular season success is they have never struggled in generating offense through great passing and long possessions.
Yes, that has dissipated when they play team’s like the Penguins in the playoffs who hit hard and make possessing the puck tough.
But the fact of the matter is, if Washington can’t do that in regular season play, which is typically slower, more patient, and less violent than the playoffs, it doesn’t bode well at all for this year’s team.
Reportedly after last nights loss to the Avalanche, the team took longer to open their locker room doors to reporters.
That means they are likely taking more time to talk after the loss, which is a good sign. They need to regain their old form while still finding a way to adjust better in the style transition that occurs between the 82 games played in the regular season and the postseason run at the Stanley Cup.
They can’t just abandon who they are and hope that solves everything.
Fans should be concerned and they should get on Barry Trotz.
He has built a great regular season contender that is just one or two pieces away from being able to take the next step in the playoffs.
First they need to return to their identity that allows them to get there.