Photo: Amanda Bowen
Barry Trotz has been singing Nick Backstrom‘s praises since he took over as coach of the Caps. He’s basically called shenanigans on Backstrom never receiving the Selke (awarded the the league’s best defensive forward) and also called him the best two-way forward he’s ever coached.
Last season, Backstrom finished 11th in Selke voting. If voters are paying attention in 2015-16, they may notice Backstrom’s making his best case for Selke yet.
In this week’s snapshot, Peter offered his assessment of the Caps’ chances this Spring in the playoffs:
However they looked in October and whatever hot streaks we’ve seen this season, the Capitals are not a championship team. (Or, if they are, we haven’t seen evidence of it lately.) They’re not bad like under Adam Oates (and for that I am grateful) but they’re not great. They’re just good. They’re a good team with a good coach.
Unless the bounces go bad or they draw a tough team, these Capitals should make it into the second round of the playoffs. No further.
I tend to agree with Peter. The Caps are a solid team. And while anything can happen once you get into the playoffs, I wouldn’t put any kind of money on this being the Caps’ year. They are a good team, but they are not currently a Cup-caliber team.
But, like I said, anything can happen once you’re in the playoffs. So let’s look at three reasons the Caps could win the Cup, beyond the fact that hockey, much like life, is often more random and unpredictable than we can comprehend. And then to be end on a downer, we’ll look at three reasons the Caps won’t win the Cup.
Photo: Alex Brandon
The Washington Capitals have one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history in Alex Ovechkin. One of the main ingredients in Ovechkin’s success is his ability to generate an insane amount of shots. Since entering the league, Ovechkin has 2252 shots on goal during 5v5 play, 553 more than the next player, Rick Nash. In terms of shot attempts, Ovechkin has 4326, which is 1,479 more than the next closest player. Here’s one stat I can’t wrap my mind around:
Since 2005-06, if you rank 1,371 forwards by 5v5 shot attempts, and only count SOG for Ovechkin, he'd rank 20th with 2252. WHAT.
— Pat Holden (@pfholden) March 15, 2015
This season is no exception. Ovechkin is once again pacing the league in shot attempt rate.
But here’s the problem: After Ovechkin, the 2014-15 Caps’ forward corps struggles mightily to generate shot attempts.
The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing number: Zyrtec.
Okay, Let’s talk about Nick Backstrom.
|19.3||Average time on ice per game|
|49.3%||Shot attempt percentage during 5v5|
|42.3%||Goal percentage during 5v5|
|7.2%||On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5|
|91.2%||On-ice saving percentage during 5v5|
The scourge of performance-enhancing allergy medicine be darned, the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission has decided to award Nick Backstrom his silver medal (PDF).
As you recall, Backstrom was prohibited from playing in the gold-medal game two hours before puck drop due to the results of a urine test four days earlier. The test showed that Backstrom’s urine contained more pseudoephedrine than was acceptable. Sweden lost the gold medal game to Canada, and Backstrom’s medal status was in question until like just now.
Here’s to consolation prizes.
Photo: David J. Phillip
Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Sunday’s gold medal game against Canada. Originally reported as suffering from a migraine, we later learned Backstrom tested positive for a banned substance. Swedish hockey officials have stated that drug is an allergy medicine.
Here’s everything we know so far.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Sweden has released its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and a familiar face is right in the middle. Caps center Nick Backstrom shares the roster with the Sedin twins, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, and Daniel Alfredsson. Marcus Johansson did not make the roster.
Photo: Tony Gutierrez
The Washington Capitals wrapped up the first week of the new season with a Saturday night date with the Dallas Stars. The Caps’ blistering power play kept on cracking, but the team looked aimless at even strength.
Alex Ovechkin did the power play thing, scoring the game’s first goal from his favorite spot. Following an unwise hard-around in the D-zone, Star Erik Cole tied it up from the slot, and Alex Chiasson (playing in his 8th NHL game) gave them the lead on a 3-on-2. A late-game delay of game from Tyler Seguin yielded some excitement in the final minute, but no goal.
Stars beat Caps 2-1.
The first puck of the 2013-14 season will drop in exactly 30 days, so we’re going to spend the whole month reminding ourselves of all the good things coming our way on October 1st. I thought I’d start with this little gem: Everybody’s healthy. For once.
Over the last two seasons, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, and Nick Backstrom have combined to play just 63.5% of games. Concussions and #brittlegroin have cost those players a combined 142 man-games, probably a big factor in the Caps’ struggles since 2011. After successful rehab for all three, we’ve got reason to think those troubles are behind us now.
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