Saturday, November 21, 2009

Checking in with the Capitals: Too Much of a Good Thing?

I found out earlier this week that the NHL Network carries live games - very dangerous information. Versus is becoming more and more irrelevant all the time!

Caught a decent portion of the Caps' 2-1 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening, including Ovechkin's goal. Washington has had a great start to the season, currently boasting the best record in the Eastern Conference. I wonder, however, if they are playing Ovechkin more than they should. I know he's the second coming and I'm sure he's delighted to get so much playing time. But I worry that letting him take such long shifts is an injury risk. Besides, I think they'll be a better team come playoff time if they build some trust in other players and other forward lines. Ovechkin recently missed six games due to injury and the Caps went a perfectly respectable 4-2 in his absence. Why not build on that?

It has been my experience that hockey fans feel a greater devotion to their game than do followers of other sports. Moreover, watching tonight's pregame festivities reaffirmed my belief that the Canadian love for hockey exceeds the love we Americans feel for any of our games. And yet, amazingly, no Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since 1993. Canadian teams claimed seven consecutive titles from 1984-1990 but only the one since. NHL lineups are still loaded with Canadian-born players but the local teams aren't what they used to be.

Perhaps even more astonishing is the fact that Toronto hasn't won the Cup since 1967 and doesn't appear likely to end the drought any time soon. The Maple Leafs hold the second most championships all time, trailing only mighty Montreal. But this proud franchise boasts only four wins thus far in the current season, against 17 losses (six in overtime).

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