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Slapshots: Caps won’t win much in 2013

6 February 2013 By Alena Schwarz, Sports Editor No Comments

With the NHL officially back in action, it’s time for a new column devoted to the great sport of hockey.

I’m a Washington Capitals fan. Technically born in Baltimore but raised in D.C., I’m a Washington sports girl to the end. That being said, this column is devoted to all hockey. But since most people reading this column are likely Capitals fans, I’ll start with them.

Despite the poor start to the season, Washington is not out of luck yet. This team had six days to learn a new system from a new coach. Not to mention many of these players hadn’t played since last May. Then there was Tom Poti who hadn’t played an NHL game since 2011.

Those who thought this season was going to be successful, or at the least expected the same level of play as last year, are downright foolish. There’s no way any team can be successful with so little time to prepare.

Adam Oates will not get fired if the team doesn’t have a winning season. Washington is not expected to have a winning season and certainly isn’t expected to win the Stanley Cup.

Sure, a system doesn’t control a player’s physical ability to shoot the puck or a goaltender’s ability to stop one, but it does change a player’s mental process. Goaltenders can’t just save pucks because they don’t know whether the defense will be there to clear any rebounds. Players can’t just shoot the puck because they don’t really know whether they’re supposed to shoot or pass. And they don’t know who to pass to.

Noticeable progress is being made game after game, but don’t expect anything special out of the Caps this season.

Ask any of the Caps and they’ll say they understand the system and they just need to pick up momentum. But they’ll also say this is like getting a new coach in the middle of the season.

Athletes are creatures of habit and don’t easily adjust to change. Yes, this team is making progress, but with such a shortened season, if they don’t start clicking soon, they’ll be out of the playoff hunt before the end of the month.

Let’s hope something good happens soon, but don’t expect any miracles.


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