Posted 04 September 2012 - 01:43 AM
I wanted to make an observation. While at the end of the day our team has still failed to win a Cup in the Ovechkin era and analyzing the various reasons as to why isn't going to change the fact that we lost. I still wanted to make note that my opinion of the teams performances and the reasons as to why we did things changed as I actually want back and saw the team during the President Trophy year for example.
This year I was under the impression that the team switched to all defense, not completely trap, but patient aggressiveness. I figured Ovechkin had lost some of the magic while still being a solid player and that the team had begun to struggle to score simply because we aren't in synch or didn't have the chemistry we used to have. After watching games from the last good 4 seasons my opinion on our performance this year has changed even more so. We talk all about the goals that were scored during the early Ovechkin era and President Trophy season as if it was all due to team chemistry and how awesome our offense was. Yet...I see pretty passing plays consistently this past seasons that either get beaten by solid defense or by a great save.
I've come to the conclusion that the NHL is simply not what it was even two seasons ago. When watching games then where we kept scoring and scoring..goalies were playing that are not anymore. Teams were not playing as strong on the defensive end of the puck and the teams that did? We ended up playing low scoring games. A lot of the goals we scored during the hayday are from shots that I still see from the last season Caps that simply do not go in anymore. A lot of this is on Ovechkin, but also so much is the rest of the team. While injures certainly hurt us, as well as lack of center depth etc etc. But my observation is this. The NHL was better this past season than before. The Caps broke out as an offensive minded team that was good with the puck and sly/slick with how they could score goals. A lot of that feeded with Ovechkin but most of it was fed by an up tempo style of hockey. The league and it's teams were both weaker, and had not really seen what we were doing for many seasons. Not until now.
Teams now have tons of footage to go through of what our team is capable of doing. What our skill players are capable of doing. Not a lot of our team is different at least this past season than what it was even 2 seasons ago. A lot of our players do similar moves, we try similar plays. Yeah we learned to block a few more shots this past season and dump and chase a bit more...but we still consistently tried stick handling through the center and into the zone, we still tried tons of passing plays.
It isn't the whole reason obviously and there are tons of other factors. But I've come to the conclusion that the primary reason why this Caps team struggled with offense this past season is because the league as a whole has adapted. Look at the teams that score a lot. They don't do it the way we did even in our scoring seasons. The NHL changes and adapts to how the game is played every season. A lot of this is because all the bottom feeder teams hunger to get better at the game, and work hard to be better.
Anyways, just my two cents.
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