23 April, 2014


It Feels Like … Preseason

Wins in preseason expire stats-wise in a matter of weeks, but for a team that’s gone 5-1 and 4-2 in the last two preseasons, a first win in four games has to be somewhat important, right?

The Capitals’ Jay Beagle thinks so.

“We play the game to win, so, preseason or not, you want to win,” Beagle said after the Capitals’ 3-1 win against the Blue Jackets Monday. “We kept saying, ‘It’s a long week, we’ve got four games, so let’s start it off on the right note.’”

Perhaps most encouraging was the revival of the Capitals’ power play, which went 2 for 5 Monday.  Veteran defensemen Dennis Wideman (goal) and Roman Hamrlik (assist) complemented the play of some of the young guys trying to make the roster – Chris Bourque, who had two power play assists (and one at even strength), and Matthieu Perreault, who had a power play goal (he also had an assist on Cody Eakin’s even strength tally).

Beagle’s seat to observe the power play is as good as anyone’s.

“I think just those little passes,” Beagle said when asked what he thought clicked for the power play that evening. “Not trying to pass through too many guys … it looked like those guys were keeping it simple.”

Overall, the scoring for the Capitals came mostly from the grassroots up.  Top liners Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom logged no points, although they were on the ice for one Caps power play goal and the one tally by the Blue Jackets, who sat many of their regulars. Ovechkin and Backstrom’s linemate for the night, Troy Brouwer, did get an assist on a power play goal. Wideman logged the most power play time, and Mike Green had none at all. Of the young players trying to make the roster, Bourque had far and away the most power play time with 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, outside and inside the Verizon Center, you could tell it was preseason. Around the arena, there was an army of red sweaters, despite the August-like weather. Inside, a huge contingent of NHL starters roamed the press box, not the ice.

But the Capitals won, and that felt a bit more normal.



5 Comments

  1. Sam wrote:

    How did those two 5-1/4-2 preseason seasons end? I’d rather them lose every preseason game if it meant that they were working on improving the system and getting things in order. That would be better than going 6-0 and winning each game 10-0 simply because they try the same old style that has proven to be ineffective in the past.

    27 September, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  2. OvieTracker wrote:

    The preseason is strictly for giving a second look at players who could make the roster on opening night or as a callup during the season if there are injuries. Preseason games also give borderline players some experience in quasi NHL games, and generally for coaches to experiment with different line combinations and defense pairings. Other than that, I don’t think preseason games tell us a lot about how a team will perform in the regular season, much less how they will perform in the playoffs. Didn’t the Bruins lose more preseason games than they won last year? We all know how their season turned out.

    27 September, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  3. Dark Stranger wrote:

    #OvieTracker,

    Your right on preseason results. The Bruins went 1-4-1 in the 2010 preseason. Meanwhile, Vancouver had gone 3-5 in preseason last year. So, no correlation.

    29 September, 2011 at 1:14 am | Permalink
  4. Appreciate the feedback/comments. I think my mindset writing the article is that winning is a habit, and I was curious as to what the Caps themselves were thinking, since this is new territory for THEIR organization in the preseason. I think all of us have known people who are competitive and like to win no matter what–whether it’s finishing first in a three-legged race or winning in preseason.
    And I think some of the reasons you win/lose in the preseason are legitimately reasons why you’d win/lose in the regular season — a working power play, for example, which is what most of the piece talks about. I agree the actual win stats won’t matter in a few weeks, and obviously it’s not your full lineup. I should have communicated all this better in the piece above! Feedback duly noted ;-)

    29 September, 2011 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  5. kelly chuba wrote:

    Chris Bourque got cut

    :(

    29 September, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink