Brooks Laich being out with an injury isn't helping, but the struggles are largely due to the fact that the Capitals do not have a true captain.
Alex Ovechkin started off his career on fire, but ever since the first round of the 2009-10 NHL Playoffs, opposing teams have figured out a formula to stop him.
Funny enough, that was the same year the Capitals promoted Ovechkin to captain.
Ovie likes to take the puck down the left wing and use the defender to screen the goaltender and snipe one low.
Defenders learned they can either poke check Ovechkin or block his shot. It has completely ruined his confidence that he doesn't have his main move to rely on. It's easy to tell.
His body language on the ice says it all.
When players see their captain moping around the ice with his head down, it rubs off on the rest of the team. No one even looks like they are trying in Washington at this point, and their captain is not doing anything to fix it.
You can put the blame on plenty of things, including the shortened season, the new offensive system the coach is trying to implement, the brief training camp or whatever you want to blame it on.
It really doesn't matter. There is no excuse whatsoever for the way the Capitals are playing right now, considering the amount of talent they have. Regardless of whether or not guys are out of shape, they shouldn't be. They are being paid a minimum of six figures to show up on the ice and perform.
They aren't being paid top-dollar to huff and puff around the ice like people who have never hit the gym in their lives.
I had the Capitals as my surprise Cup favorites this year, and I thought Ovechkin would turn things around. Boy, have I been wrong.
He can't get anything going. The team would be better off without him as the captain.
He has one move, and it's clearly not going to work anymore in this league.
New head coach Adam Oates tried to throw him on the right wing and that has hardly done anything aside from complicate things even more.
Not to mention, it seems like the whole focus of the team is to get Ovechkin going. It's understandable, considering the Capitals are stuck with him for a while due to a large contract he signed for over $100 million a couple seasons back.
But, the longer they attempt to do that, the further back they will push the franchise. Ovechkin is leading by example in an awful way. He needs to mold himself into more of a team role because he will never be the explosive scorer he once was.
The Capitals need to focus on getting the rest of the team going rather than one player. They are taking lazy penalties that can easily be avoided.
These dumb penalties have resulted in seven power play goals allowed on 18 chances in just three games. The fact that they have committed an average of six penalties per game is just mind-blowing.
Something needs to change in the nation's capital. They should designate someone else as the captain.
Perhaps Troy Brouwer? He is the only guy on the team who has won the Stanley Cup. That was with Chicago in 2010. Brouwer has been one of the only guys to speak about the Capitals poor start to the season.
“Embarrassing is almost the right term right now,” Brouwer said following a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. “Pathetic is probably a better one.
“I feel bad for the fans. I’d like to finish a game with at least 50 percent of the fans still in the stands. Their reaction is completely warranted, booing us. We haven’t earned any of their respect. We haven’t earned any of their passion. We’ve got to turn this around and we’ve got to do it fast.”
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