Capitals concerns?

A 4-3-0 start isn’t something to sneeze at by any means but the Washington Capitals haven’t exactly looked 100% to start the year. Is it something to be panicking over? No, because it’s only 7 games into the year. Is it a cause for concern? Of course. After how well they played last year and how it ended, there is reason for fans to be worried. Every team is going to have it’s flaws and the Caps are no different but I have to believe that some of these problems will be corrected soon.

– The first line has looked off all year. There’s no doubt about it. Ovechkin has been putting up points but Backstrom and Knuble are struggling. Backstrom has been making uncharacteristic turnovers and taking bad penalties, which really isn’t like him. They did look slightly better in the game against Boston in terms of getting shots on net and chemistry but they definitely need to pick it up a little. I have to think they will though.

– Powerplay struggles. Mike Green being out for the last three games has a lot to do with this. Taking nothing away from Tom Poti, but Green is one of the best powerplay quarterbacks in the NHL and his absence is definitely hindering the way the Caps generate momentum with the man advantage.

– Lack of defensive depth. Only two weeks into the season and we’ve seen injuries to Mike Greena nd Tom Poti, two defensemen who usually play around or over 20 minutes a night. This has caused us to have two rookies, John Erskine and Tyler Sloan to take up their minutes instead and it hasn’t’ exactly been pretty. Brandon Fahey’s debut against Nashville didn’t go so well either. This is a big reason why I wanted us to pick up a cheap defenseman this off-season to take Shaone Morrisson’s place.

– Faceoffs. Everyone but Backstrom is struggling here big time but Tomas Fleischmann is the biggest one. He was recently demoted to the third line, too but I think that’s mostly because he has better chemistry with Eric Fehr. Needless to say, we need to get better with this.

– Not adjusting to what other teams are doing. Example: To respond to our aggressive, rolling PK, the Bruins forechecked heavily during the powerplay and didn’t allow us to clear the puck or get a line change. Meaning our penalty kill wouldn’t be as effective and we got pierced for 3 goals in Thursday’s game. Boudreau didn’t notice this and didn’t make adjustments so the same thing kept happening.

– Passing. It’s looked plain awful but this is usually the case.

– 2nd line center. Marcus Johansson was already promoted to this role and he looked pretty impressive in Thursday’s game. Whether or not he can keep it up is the question but I really like what I’ve seen out of him. However, the fact that we’re already juggling lines 2 weeks into the season isn’t a good sign.

All of these things can be fixed and I’m hoping that we see some better play out of the Caps in the next few weeks.

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