This team has gone from sputtering, to good, to very good, to great. Connelly and Eller have transformed the team into what appear to be a practically unstoppable force, along with Kuzy really taking off again, and Oshie finding his groove. The defense and goaltending are the best in the league, bar none. They are breaking records, and approaching the dominance of the 91-92 Pittsburgh Penguins. They aren't just beating people, they are literally bludgeoning them. I think they said in the last ten games, they've outscored their opponents 45-6. That is insane...record setting. Of course, to win a Stanely Cup, you have to have a decent amount of luck. Last year, they were derailed in game 3 of their series with Pitt when Pittsburgh had about as many lucky breaks as a team could have despite being utterly dominated by the Caps, which turned the series.
I've been watching hockey since the early 80's, and I don't recall many teams(maybe two ever) that dominated the way the Caps are right now. ESPN said the only thing that can stop them right now is boredom. They are that much better than the rest of the league. Well, hyping it up like this, I've probably jynxed the hell out of them right? (I mean, I post about the Terps and sure enough they drop two straight that they should have won...grrrr). But damn...this is exciting to watch.
What I see now is a team that has learned some serious fundamentals that they previously lacked. You know, last year, they won a lot of games, but it was a lot of close games. Often, they'd score, and allow a push back right away to let a team back in. They've progressively gotten better about that, and there are a couple of things that really stand out:
1.) They consistently win the 1-1 battles for the puck. They do a terrific job of just out-muscling, out hustling their opponents. When two players are going for a puck, you can almost bet the Caps come away with it.
2.) They have become masterful at passing. They catch pucks on their skates, something they never used to do very well at all. Long passes, short passes, tick-tack-toe, they are masters at this, by far best in the league. The improvement of the 3rd line is something that they desperately needed, and now they have got it. They can score at any time, with any line.
3.) They don't over skate and bunch up too much on offense...and it's because they begin their entire plan with defense. They commit to defense, and pick their opportunities, and surgically slice a team apart when the time is right. Reminds me an awful lot of the Pengins last year...hmmm...seems they learned something, but really that is all Trotz.
4.) They intercept a lot of pucks. Trotz has them playing some seriously great defense, be it pushing the puck outside, stealing it, or, most importantly, doing a great job of disrupting anyone taking the puck into the zone by lifting the stick. Fundamentally, this is a great defensive team.
5.) Lastly, goaltending. Need I say more? Holtby and Grubauer might not just be the best tandem, they might be the best TWO goalies right now. If they continue like this into May, the Caps won't need any luck to win the Stanely Cup.
Now watch them go into a freefall since I've posted this
The time has come for a centrist political party. Rational Americans are not comfortable with extreme views to the left or to the right, and our current parties have no intentions of ever abandoning their ever increasing distance from sane, reasonable thinking.