jump to navigation

Better Find That Panic Button January 30, 2013

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
trackback

No, Caps Nation, don’t HIT the panic button just yet. But make sure you know where it is, because we may have to hit it pretty darn soon.

Like most of you, I saw the ending of the Ottawa game, a 2-2 tie broken by a power-play goal off a sketchy call. It wouldn’t be a full official season of Capitals hockey without at least one game being stolen by the officials, or so it seems as of late.

But with 1/8th of their season already in the books, the Capitals have managed all of 3 points. That puts them on pace for 24 points, which would nearly bring the team full circle to its historically stinkeroo inaugural season.

With Alexander Ovechkin, a former 4-trophy player, on the roster.

So, yes, this is very, very bad. How bad? Here’s the current playoff chart for the Eastern Conference, and please don’t run away screaming when you see it.

Team Max Pts Curr Pts Magic Num Which Does What? C/E
BOS 95 11 +75
FLA
+Clinch
14E
N/A
TBL 94 10 +76
FLA
-83
BOS
+Clinch
14E
+Clinch
4SE
-Elim
1E
N/A
MTL 94 8 +78
FLA
-83
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1NE
-Elim
3E
N/A
NJD 94 8 +78
FLA
-83
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1E
N/A
OTT 93 9 +77
FLA
-82
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1NE
-Elim
3E
N/A
WPG 91 7 +79
FLA
-80
BOS
+Clinch
14E
+Clinch
4SE
-Elim
1E
N/A
NYI 91 7 +79
FLA
-80
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1E
N/A
NYR 90 6 +80
FLA
-79
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1E
N/A
TOR 90 6 +80
FLA
-79
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1NE
-Elim
3E
N/A
PIT 90 6 +80
FLA
-79
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1E
N/A
CAR 90 4 +82
FLA
-79
BOS
+Clinch
14E
+Clinch
4SE
-Elim
1E
N/A
BUF 89 5 +81
FLA
-78
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1NE
-Elim
3E
N/A
WSH 87 3 +83
FLA
-76
BOS
+Clinch
14E
+Clinch
4SE
-Elim
1E
N/A
PHI 86 4 +82
FLA
-75
BOS
+Clinch
14E
-Elim
1E
N/A
FLA 86 2 -75
BOS
Elim
1E
N/A

NOTES:
TOR/NYR tie break is head-to-head
WPG/NYI tie break is head-to-head
MTL/NJD tie break is ROW
TOR/PIT tie break is ROW
Current PT favorite CHI not considered this East-only chart

Okay. So, right away, some good news: the Caps aren’t the worst team in the East, and they’re actually ahead of Philadelphia in terms of points available. Don’t forget, the Panthers charity-pointed their way to the division title last year, and the Flyers, well, are the Flyers, who you normally expect to see much higher up the chart.

Small comfort, that, but at this point, I’ll take whatever I can get.

Notice that as of right now, there’s not a lot of wiggle room between 1st place and 8th place, or between 15th place and 8th place. And with a conference-only schedule this year, every team’s win is going to be someone else’s direct loss. This isn’t a season where you can write 2 points off to a Western Conference powerhouse because, well, you’re not going to be playing anyone in the West. It’s also not a season where you can hope for help in the standings off of inter-conference games: if there are two teams ahead of you, and they go to overtime, you fall that much further behind, no questions asked, with not as many games available to hold your position.

The bottom line is that with the Caps standing 13th in terms of points available, they’re already in a position where they need to win, win a lot, and do it now. And they could soon find themselves no longer in control of their playoff destiny if they keep losing.

I don’t like being an alarmist, but at this point, I can’t argue with the math. And here’s what the math is telling me right now:

If the Capitals continue at the pace they’re now on, they will be eliminated from playoff contention on March 24th.

Yes, you read that right. If they keep playing like this, we’re going to end up with a month of meaningless hockey games here in the District. Not exactly the way to continue (ahem) a sellout streak.

Now for some good news.

The Caps will play a majority of their February games at home, which should–I hope!–give them time to hold position, and hopefully pick up a few spots in the standings. They’ll need every point they can spare, as they’ll only have half a dozen home games in March. And while the Caps are slated to spend the majority of April at Verizon Center, that home cooking isn’t going to mean much if they’re out of contention and the fans decide they’d rather watch the Nationals.

Look, I’m not a panic-monger by nature. I’m usually quick to offer some variant of “keep calm and carry on my wayward son.” (Which might make for a nice bumper sticker on the back of a Chevy Impala…)

But this is no ordinary season due to its shortened length. And even though the Caps, by all appearances, seem to be rebuilding, they cannot afford to take too many more notches in the L column if they still consider themselves contenders. They need to win, they need to win a lot of games, and they need to do it now. There is simply no time left to lollygag.

Gentlemen, either go hard, starting now, or just admit you’re playing for ping pong balls so we can get ready for the Nationals to start Spring Training. You have no margin for error, for the rest of the season. Get it together, now, or admit right now that this is going to be a rebuild year. And since I know you’re too proud to quit, then that leaves exactly one option: get it together, gentlemen.

This isn’t panic time, yet. But it is definitely very highly concerned time.

I want to wish the Caps all the best Thursday night in Toronto, and then on through the upcoming homestand and beyond. I believe this season can be salvaged despite the rough start, but the turnaround needs to happen soon.

CAPITAL SPIRIT
EXTREMELY WORRIED

About these ads

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 177 other followers

%d bloggers like this: