When in doubt, draw from past experiences! That’s exactly what the Washington Capitals did last night. They broke from a losing streak and goal scoring slumber to down the Anaheim Ducks 7-6. This wild, run and gun game, looked more like the Capitals from years past. It didn’t take defense to break the losing slump, it took offense!
Alexander Semin scored his 7th career hat-trick, nailing the last two goals of the 3rd period, to cap the win. Alexander Ovechkin scored in the 1st period for the Caps. It was a vintage Ovi goal – shooting as he went to his knees from the high slot. Brooks Laich, David Steckel, and Mike Knuble (short handed) each scored for the Caps. Karl Alzner had 3 assists on the night.
Semyon Varlamov got the start in net, but was pulled after the 1st period (after being down 3-2), in favor of Michal Neuvirth. Neuvirth didn’t fair much better, giving up 3 goals on 12 shots during the final two periods. It wasn’t the goalie’s night, but collectively, the Caps reverted to it’s old scoring ways to pull this one out.
I’ve written that the Caps need to trade potential long term talent for a player(s) who have proven winning playoff experience. I believe the second line of Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich and Mathieu Perreault are all viable trade bait players, individually or collectively. The Caps don’t lack size, speed, or scoring ability. What they are missing is winning Playoff experience. The kind on experience that gets a team through a game 7, or past the Pittsburgh Penguins for that matter. So who can bring the Caps a winning edge during the playoffs?
Need #1 – A proven power forward – Jason Chimera isn’t it. Chimmer has the speed and grit, but he’s a proven minus (+/-) player and has hands of stone. One of the top two lines needs a heavy weight who can score, has intense playoff experience, and who isn’t afraid of taking on a leadership role. How about a trade with San Jose, which would bring Patrick Marleau’s size, experience, and scoring talent to Washington. In return, the Caps could ship out Chimmer and Laich. Note to us Caps fans: there are 300+ players in th NHL who take the place of Chimera and Laich, but not many truly productive power forwards in the game. The Caps NEED a guy like Marleau.
Need #2 – A strong scoring second line center – I immediately think of Brendan Morrison of Calgary. He spend all of 2009-2010 with the Capitals… could the second time be a charm? He’s scored 9 goals and has added 28 assists in 60 games this year. He’s sound defensively, and it would allow the Capitals to move Mathieau Perrault back to a third line center (assuming he isn’t traded). Morrison signed a 1 year deal with Calgary, so he could be a short playoff fix. If he does well, the Caps could resign him for a couple of years. Morrison could be picked up for a song! Okay, a couple draft picks and a bag of pucks!
Need #3 – Playoff experienced offensive Defenseman to compliment Mike Green. Bryan McCabe (Florida) and Tomas Kaberle (Toronto), could fit the bill. McCabe has appeared in 53 playoff games, has 10 goals and 16 assists, and has toughness. Kaberle has been in the playoffs 6 years, scoring 6 goals and 22 assists.
Who else could be trade bait? Look no further than the goaltenders… Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov. These guys are having decent years, are relatively inexpensive, and pretty much split time in goal. One of these two goalies can be a clear #1 for the Caps. So who needs a goaltender? Ottawa, Toronto, and Calgary are all need a change of talent. Ottawa can’t seem to fix it’s endless goalie issue. Toronto thought it had it’s goaltender issues solved, beginning this season… but it’s not been a good year for Giguere nor Gustavsson. In Calgary’s case, Miikka Kiprusoff is 34 years old and has shown signs of age in his play earlier in the year. Each of these three clubs has a power forward, scoring center and/or defenseman that could fit the bill nicely for the Washington Capitals.
About the Author
Written by Dennis Patchett
Huge NHL and soccer fan! Love Columbus, Ohio sports! Buckeyes, Crew, Blue Jackets! Also, the Washington Capitals are my new adopted NHL team!