Washington Capitals Mid-Season Awards

Idea taken from my friend(s) at First Round Bust. I always do my monthly review of the Washington Capitals but I thought mid-season awards would be a fun idea since we’re at the All-Star break now and there’s nothing going on (aka no games for me to write about). I’m sure the many other Capitals blogs are doing this too but hey, I like to waste my time by writing about sports so why not add another one?

MVP: While his production and goal totals aren’t nearly as good as they usually are, it’s hard not to say that Alex Ovechkin is the MVP of this team. Leads the team in goals, points and has taken it upon himself to play better defense and you can definitely see it when you watch him this season. Alexander Semin was making a strong case for himself as the team’s best player early in the year but since December, he’s turned back into the enigmatic player that we all know. If he had scored one maybe two goals since late November then maybe he would have won this over Ovechkin. Maybe. I will say that the offense has definitely suffered in his absence. For the first month, it was goaltender Michal Neuvirth who was keeping the Caps in pretty much every game but he’s come back down to earth since then so I don’t think you can consider him the team’s MVP. There’s plenty of names you can throw out there for a team that’s under performing but Ovechkin has definitely been the driving force behind the team and that’s had a lot to do with their struggles.

Most Improved Player: Karl Alzner always seemed to struggle during his call-ups in the last couple of years but he’s really stepped it up this year from a defensive standpoint. He’s been on ice for the less goals scored than any other regular defenseman on the team and has also contributed well on the penalty kill. Not to mention, him and John Carlson have become the team’s best defensive pairing. I think John Erskine’s play this year is also worth mentioning. He’s outperformed just about all expectations I’ve had for him and has settled in as a solid 3rd pairing defenseman, which is about all you can ask from him. He gets this award for playing tougher minutes early in the season, contributing offensively and standing up for his teammates. His fight against Eric Boulton was also one of the best of the season.

Most Disappointing Player: There’s a lot of people who could be up for this honor. I think you have to consider Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom for their lack of goals but they have been the two of the team’s offensive players so it’s hard to give the honor to them. Brooks Laich’s production definitely has tailed off this season. I feel like he’s on the verge of a break-out season every year and I thought he was close to one last season but this year, it’s not looking like it. Only 9 goals and 27 points. Mike Knuble got off to a rough start to the season but he’s picked it up as of late. I know I’ll probably sound stupid for this, but I’ve been disappointed with Tom Poti. He definitely over-performed last season but this year, he’s either hurt or playing awful. Maybe I’m just disappointed because we extended his contract. The biggest disappointment for the Caps in general this season is the powerplay, no question about that one.

Best Rookie: This is an easy one for me. John Carlson won over Caps fans last year with his game-winning goal in the gold medal game in the World Juniors and in the playoffs and he’s continuing to gain even more fans this season. Early in the year, he was playing over 20+ minutes a night while Mike Green and Tom Poti were hurt and he did very well contributing both offensive and defensively. Now him and Alzner are playing top 4 minutes nightly and are usually assigned to shut-down the opponent’s top line and they’ve done a good job at that. He’s also played well on both the power play and penalty kill.

Best Off-season Acquisition: There isn’t much to choose from here because the Caps really didn’t make any big signings this off-season. However, I do think that the late-signing of Matt Hendricks has worked out well for the Caps. He might be a third/fourth-liner but he’s definitely brought a lot to this team. Decent two-way game, grit, toughness, can play both center and wing, etc. One thing on my “wish list” this off-season was to get a cheap forward who adds toughness to the team and Hendricks fits the bill for that perfectly. He’s also not a liability in every other aspect of the game like a certain enforcer that we traded for.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: