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Posted at 8:02 AM ET, 02/10/2011

Statistical analysis: Are more shutouts ahead for Capitals?

By Neil Greenberg
Statistical analysis

Tuesday night's 2-0 loss to San Jose was the eighth time this season the Washington Capitals have been shut out, the most since the 1999 season, when they were kept off the scoresheet 11 times. With the franchise record (12) a possibility, is it time to panic?

Goal scoring in hockey is a Poisson process, meaning goals are relatively rare and can occur at any and all moments throughout a game. As a result, we can determine the probability of a team being shut out based on the average goals scored per game for the season.

For example: During the 2008-9 campaign the Capitals averaged 3.3 goals scored per game (GF/gm), giving them a 3.6 percent chance of being shut out, or exactly three games out of an 82-game season. They were shut out three times. In 2009-10 they averaged 3.9 GF/gm, for which we would expect them to be shut out once or twice over the course of the season. They were shut out once.

Let's take a look at Washington this season as eight-game moving averages. I am using eight games to coincide with the eight-game losing streak they had this season, because I think we can all agree that was the low point of the season (so far).



The blue line shows the probability of a shutout based on the goals scored average in eight-game chunks, so the first data point is for games 1-8, the second is for games 2-9 and so on. The yellow line is the chance of being shut out based on the Capitals' season average of goals scored (6.5 percent) and the chance of a shut out during the eight-game losing streak (25.3 percent) is shown by the magenta line.

We can see the chances of a shutout regressed pretty quickly back to the mean after the eight-game skid, which was why I didn't see any reason for panic despite the poor on-ice results. What is worrisome is the offense has, at best, a 7 percent chance on any given night to be shut out and its recent performance suggests it could be as high as 10-15 percent -- which means another two or four shutouts on the horizon. Compare that with some of the other teams in the league:

Probability of shutout Expected times shut out over 82 games
Top 5 teams in standings 4.0% 3
Top 10 5.1% 4
Bottom 10 7.7% 6
Bottom 5 9.3% 8

This season we would expect the Caps to be shut out only four times through 55 games based on scoring 2.7 GF/gm, yet they have already been whitewashed eight times - which is what we would expect a bottom-five team to average over the course of a season.

Looks like the trade deadline just became a little more important.

Neil Greenberg also writes for Russian Machine Never Breaks. You can follow him on Twitter.

By Neil Greenberg  | February 10, 2011; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  Statistical analysis  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: After loss to San Jose, Caps searching for a spark
Next: Alexander Semin skating with Ovechkin, Backstrom

Comments

This team has seemed lethargic at time this year...are we all to blame? At the start of the year I said that winning in the playoffs is all that matters this year...do the players feel the same way? Are they less inclined to give it the 110% until playoff time? One can only hope..

Posted by: SA-Town | February 10, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

These boys are coasting here and there, but still talented enough to get to the playoffs and maybe make some noise. Work to be done. Got to make a least one big trade. A talented center who can score, and control the puck. Maybe another big body forward who can get to the net. It's not impossible for the Caps to make a good run, but seems to me like they need a bit more to make it a long run.

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 10, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

After hours of doing my own statistical analysis, I reached the mathematical conclusion that Semin returning to the lineup the other night helped the team 0.0000.0001%. Wow, I'm tired. Your welcome.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The team, as constituted this season, lacks a consistent work ethic. Call it what you wish; spark, energy, purpose, it all boils down to work ethic. In the most recent games against Tampa and Pittsburgh, there was a sixty-minute effort.

I thought they worked reasonably hard against San Jose over the first two periods night before last. In the third, they simply did not work as hard and the result was that most of the period was played in the Caps' defensive zone. It took the Sharks a little over 11 minutes of having the Caps back on their heels to cash in with a soft goal.

I find it troubling that this team doesn't yet show consistency of effort. Talent is great, but effort is priceless and often trumps talent.

This year's team reads like a book. When they dump the puck and the forwards are digging in the corners and behind the net, good things happen for them. When they try to finesse the puck, it's usually one and done and then they are chasing back down to the defensive zone.

Players and coaches keep talking about "doing the little things right". It doesn't get much simpler than out-working your opponent. Not saying it is easy, it is just simple to understand.

Posted by: prestoj | February 10, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Semin was the one of the only players with a great chance. He had a goal washed out and a point blank off balance shot that was stopped by a great save. For his limited time on the ice he was one of the better players at creating opportunities.

Hopefully, a couple more days of practice and rest will bring him back up to full speed. GO CAPS

Posted by: Caps4Life1 | February 10, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

This team has seemed lethargic at time this year...are we all to blame? At the start of the year I said that winning in the playoffs is all that matters this year...do the players feel the same way? Are they less inclined to give it the 110% until playoff time? One can only hope..

Posted by: SA-Town

I think that is a big part of it. There is very little to gain for the Caps if they give a 100% effort during the regular season. They will not get any more praise than they received last year and everything will be based off of playoff success.

If the Caps go in as a 5-seed on 80% effort, they still will only be judged by the success they have in the playoffs. The expectations will be the same either way.

Even the majority of the fans have said "We don't care what you do in the regular season, you must win in the playoffs. That's all that matters."

If that is your mindset from day 1 and that is the mindset of your organization and your entire fan base, it is highly unlikely you will get up for most of the regular season games.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals had 3 issues coming into the season - in goal, on defense and at center. Generally speaking, they have been solid in goal and Carlson and Alzner have exceeded expectations. The hole that is taking a huge toll on this team is a bonafide #2 center. The Capitals need to give up what they must to grab a top center. A viable second line changes everything for the Capitals. Right now, other teams just stack up against Ovechkin because they do not fear the other lines. If the Caps don't solve this problem, they can forget a long playoff run.

Posted by: bill_in_damascus | February 10, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I have no problems with Semin's performance against San Jose. After being out for so long, he STILL looked like the most motivated offensive player on the team, constantly moving his feet, getting off good shots and creating chances for himself in all 3 periods. I definitely saw a lift in his line's play that was missing before he returned to the line up. Im wondering if it isnt simply time to accept that we HAVE to add a 2nd line center who is big enough (MP is not) and experienced enough (MOJO is not) to maximize the talent of our second line forwards like Semin, Fehr and Knuble. It is the one acquisition that will effect a widespread segment of the team whereas another tough grinding forward is not going to do anything to help get more points out of what should be a more productive 2nd line.

Posted by: opticlguy | February 10, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Do you really believe this team is waiting for the playoffs, and will suddenly flip the magic switch that will roll them to the Stanley Cup? Must be the new drink at Starbucks this morning: Sumatra Grande with 4 sugars, 2 creams, and a 1/3 cup of Kool Aid, it's called the Red Fantasy!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

When the Caps top players and the top lines are committed to playing a cycling game, this team is pretty good. When they eschew dump-n-chase, grinding the boards, moving their feet, setting screens, they are pretty weak. The Caps need better leadership and a bonafide 2C who knows how to play dump-n-chase effectively. That's why I like Umberger, Arnott, and Guerin as possible trades/acquisitions.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 10, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Goal scoring in hockey *can be modeled* as a Poisson process....

Let's not take the magic out of our beloved game.

Posted by: reddup | February 10, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@reddup I'd argue the fact it *is* Poisson = the "magic" but I think we're mostly on the same page.

@JIMALLCAPS2 I too like Umberger as an option, but I think the salary $ is too high next year. I would also float out Marty Reasoner (FLA) as an option - can score, take defensive FOs and drive puck possession - plus he is a UFA.

@kcbrichmond I'm with you - I don't think players can "turn it on" in playoffs. Even wrote about it on RMNNB: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2011/01/06/can-star-players-turn-it-on-in-the-playoffs/

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 10, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Umberger is probably a pipe dream, but Fisher and Veersteeg may also be good acquisitions

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 10, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS2 I personally don't think GMGM takes on salary with Kuz lighting up the KHL, do you?

Assuming I am correct, then the 2C market is almost non-existent when you factor in the target needs to come from non-playoff contender AND be a UFA.

If I am wrong, then who gets traded? I don't see one of the three goalies going (for their friendly cap hits, upside and rash of brittle groins in the org) and I don't see MJ90 being dealt. Maybe MP85? Tough call on who else can bring something back.

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 10, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

How about Tim Connolly as a late season rental for the second line center? Speedy, clever set up guy, good on the PP. Solve the PP and most of the goal scoring problems are solved, IMO. He's too injury prone as a long-term solution but he's only 29 and had his best season last year.

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Posted by: Mansealy | February 10, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@NeilRMNB

I guess you missed it the other day but Kuz said he was probably going to sign a contract extension in the KHL bc he doesnt think he is NHL ready.

So he is at least two years away if he was being serious in that interview. So GMGM should not even think about him at the deadline.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Neil -- so how many MJ's, MP's, Eakin's, Kuz's do the Caps need for this year and next year's playoff runs as 2C. I would argue none. A vet for this year and next would be a big upgrade. Trade a pick and one of the following: Steckel, Gordon (either), Beagle, King, or Schultz.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 10, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Stats are interesting, but the root cause is this: The caps have shifted to a defensive scheme, but seem unable to effectively transition to offense and sustain offensive pressure using this system.

I'm not saying abandon the system, but surely there are some "tweaks" to make to open up the offense and allow defense to join the rush with Green/Carlson??

btw- if I'm coach - these are my lines:

OV - Backs - Knuble
Fehr - Laich - Semin
Hendricks - Johannson - Chimera
Bradley - Steckel - DJ King

I would trade Perrault and Gordon. Perrault is too small, and Gordon too often injured these days. I would keep Beagle and Andrew Gordon around.

Defense:

1. Green - Shultz (who I hate)
2. Hannan - Carlson
3. Erskine - Poti
4. Alzner - ?

the bottom 3 are fairly interchangeable. My goal would be to have two defensive pairings with a touch of toughness with Hannan/Erskine making up for Carlson / Poti. Green has usually played with Shultz, so I leave it untouched. I would waive Sloan and bring up Fahey or? I think I'm forgettting someone but surely I will be corrected.

Goaltending - Varly/Neuvirth/Holtby...what else can you do? I'd be giving Holtby some more starts down the stretch with the expectation Varly will be unfit to play come play-offs.

Boudreau - canned. Bring back Cassidy. :)

Posted by: Jaymagz | February 10, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@JimAllCaps

I'd also throw in Brooks Laich. The fact he hasnt signed an extension yet is kind of odd to me. I doubt the Caps deal him but if they got an offer for him they would seriously consider it.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Alzner behind softies Schultz and Poti? Carlson has been the weakest link lately, trying to do too much

Semin is more of a LW than RW, and Fehr is more a RW than LW. You really think Laich will be an effective 2C?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 10, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat, If the Caps trade Laich, they lose one of the few guys willing to pay the price in front of the goal and actually score. Laich is probably the Caps best leader, should have the C. I would not trade Laich if I could help it as armchair GM

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | February 10, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Stat question: Is there a statistical correlation between the circumference of Boudreau's belly and the effort level of the players?

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@NeilRMNB

I agree that a player cannot "turn it on" in terms of being more talented. But a player could definitely "turn it on" in terms of effort.

This is true because ALL players do it. That's why playoff hockey is so much fun to watch because almost all players are giving 100% on every play. If they did that during the regular season there would be no difference between regular season hockey and postseason hockey.

The question is then how much less effort are the Caps players giving. 90%, 80%, 50%? I don't know, but it seems considerably less than the previous years.

@ThePat

I did see that about Kuz. The funny thing is, is that he said the exact opposite about a week earlier. In addition, it would make no sense for him to sign an extension with his KHL team as he already has a contract in place there.

I'm just guessing, but I think he is using a negotiating ploy to help ensure that he will not be playing in the AHL next year when he comes over. I don't think it is a guarantee he is coming over, but I still think it is more likely than not that he plays for the Caps next year.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The analysis looks not complete. It would be interesting to see how it applies to Flyers and Bruins who becoming premier teams of NHL, score a lot, but also have been already shutout 4 and 5 times. So, may be additional factors also contributing in team performances and shutouts. Furthermore, they have probably 5-8 games when they score more then 5 goals per game. Would be interesting to see the probability of such games.
After last year disappointment, especially for Bruins, and in contrast to Caps, they taking regular season very seriously, providing to their fans a lot of excitement during home games. I can only repeat, if you giving paid performances you should perform. Otherwise, Ted should drop the ticket's price, so that more then 700K fans attending the VC during regular season, and who actually paying for the team and all trades, will know that, at-least, in half of regular home games Caps will give so-so performances. If people who filling Kennedy center would know beforehand that it would be so-so performance they will never buy any tickets in the first place. Which means that there are no even such problem as work ethics. It should be embedded in players mind from the beginning of their professional career.

Posted by: yuvk03 | February 10, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@JimAll

So you'd be willing to risk losing him for nothing on July 1? He hasn't paid a price this season until the last 3 games either. He hasnt really been in front of the net much at all this season. I know thats where hes supposed to be but it hasnt happened.

To me he is much more of a talker than a doer right now.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat Didn't miss it, I just don't buy it - yet.

@JIMALLCAPS2 Don't disagree AT ALL - however, I don't see GMGM pulling the trigger. Do you?

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 10, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

it might be a negotiation ploy to play with the Caps. Or its one to get more money out of the team over there. If he can get $3M for a 1 year extension over there, there will be a very small chance he comes to play for the Caps. At least thats how I'd play it if I were his agent. Get $$$ over there for one year extension before he comes here and isnt making as much money.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS - acutally - I hate Poti and Schultz, but not sure you could pair Alzner with Green. Just remember - "The defense is complete".

I would see if the leafs would trade me Komisarek for Schultz. Even though Komisarek hasn't had a great season, I'd gladly take his toughness and ability to fight over Schultz fictional +50 and poke checking game.

Posted by: Jaymagz | February 10, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

@yuvk03 We'd expect Flyers to be shut out twice and score 5+ goals 7 times thru their games played. We'd expect Bruins to be shutout 2-3 times and score 5+ goals 5 times thru their games played.

I don't have the sched in front of me so I don't know if this is high or low or on the mark. I will say this: A team that should be shutout -2-3 times and is blanked 4-5 is ALOT different than a team we would expect to be SO 4 times but in reality is EIGHT.

Posted by: NeilRMNB | February 10, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

it might be a negotiation ploy to play with the Caps. Or its one to get more money out of the team over there. If he can get $3M for a 1 year extension over there, there will be a very small chance he comes to play for the Caps. At least thats how I'd play it if I were his agent. Get $$$ over there for one year extension before he comes here and isnt making as much money.

Posted by: ThePat

True, it could be a negotiation ploy both ways.

One of the main reasons for a young player to play earlier is that it allows his entry-level contract to end a year earlier, which means he hits RFA quicker and UFA quicker.

However, like you said, if his KHL team offered him a boat load of money, then he may stay.

Me and you have no idea what Kuz wants to do(i.e. what his professional and personal goals are) and that is what it will likely come down to as he will have options on both sides of the pond.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 10, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Physically, Kuznetsov makes Fleischmann look like The Incredible Hulk.

He clearly seems to have speial talent but I don't see him filling out enough from the last time we saw him to be ready for the NHL next season. He probably knows it, too.

There should be no rush. I suppose it isn't impossible that he works hard and fills out over the next several months but I don't see it. He's nowhere near even Johansson in terms of his build. Kuznetsov has good height b ut seems to have a small frame comparatively and would need to be hitting the weight room like a mad man to have any chance of being NHL ready physically anytime soon.

Posted by: tmac2yao | February 10, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

you are right we have no idea. But for him to say the one thing like you mentioned, then to turn around like that in a short time. Makes me thing the agent is telling him more money is available there. And if he gets it, he may never leave. They could make him the face of the league, which would pretty much stink for us.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Orlov though appears to be coming over to play with Hershey as soon as his season ends over there which will be a nice addition.

Posted by: ThePat | February 10, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond: How'd you come up with your assessment that Semin's return was inconsequential? Did you watch the game? I didn't so I just wanted to see what thoughts you put into it? Also, could you let me know if your poo smells like roses? 'Cause even I can smell your b.s. thousands of miles away over here in California and it stinks. Next time, try taking into account that Semin had a goal that was waived in that last game against the Sharks. So right there, your statistical crap fest on Semin was incorrect and stupid. I get it, whenever you get the chance, you'll crap on Semin and he provides moments where you're justified (doesn't mean it's warranted or appropriate but whatever. you're from richmond. already one reason to feel sorry for you.) But, when he actually does something right, don't think you'll get away with making a smart aleck remark and not get called on it by people who'll give him credit when it's due.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

LeftCoast
I was basically joking, that his return didn't result in an overwhelming Caps win. Sorry my opinion is different than yours. Uh, supposedly free country. Wow I was called on my "smart aleckness" by you. I will now go to my room and try to do better next time. I am assuming you're another Pollyanna thinking everthing GMGM and BB say is the gospel. However the great thing is you are free to think that way. I, however do not have the same rights as ordained by you. Sorry.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 10, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Can't be a pollyanna about it since I know better than to get my knickers in a twist over something I have no control over. Yeah, I said it, we all have our "opinions" and have the right to express it but surprise, with the amount of gusto some of you put into your "opinions" gives me the sad impression that you honestly think it really matters in the bigger picture. Newsflash: it doesn't. Dislike every move McPhee and Boudreau make. Just short of having the powers to see the future, there is nothing they can do that will produce the exact result they're expecting or hoping for, much less the result that will give them any sense of respect from you. Joke away.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 10, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Can't stop thinking about that Bruins-Habs game last night. Incredible game. I am really beginning to think that Boston has put together a team that could seriously make a run in the post-season. They are set in goal and play great team defense. They kill penalties well and are fantastic 5-on-5. Their one weak spot is on the Power Play, especially now that Savard is out. But refs call fewer penalties in the playoffs, and so the Bruins stellar play at 5-on-5 will be magnified come playoff time. They score off the rush, they can cycle the puck, their defensemen shoot the puck routinely on net, and they are creative as well. They can skate and forecheck with the best. They have puckmovers at the back end (Seidenberg, Chara, Ference, Kampfer). They also do not give up too many odd-man rushes against them in the process.

But what impresses me most with this team is its physicality, grit, and teamplay. This team sticks up for each other. Every player answers the bell when called upon. They absolutely pummeled the Habs last night. (On a side note, I can guarantee that the Habs will be looking for some more grit before the trade deadline. They have to, because if they play Boston in the playoffs they will physically be beated down and out.) On defense, Chara, McQuaid, Ference, and Boychuk can all hit, skate, and fight. At forward, Lucic and Thornton are great fighters (sometimes I think I am watching Cam Neely when I watch Lucic). Horton is tough as nails. Campbell hits and fights. Marchand is an agitator with some great skill and finesse. They also have experienced, playoff tested veterans like Recchi. They remind me a lot of Anaheim from a few years ago.

I am NOT saying that an ability to win fights wins in the playoffs. What I AM saying is that a team filled with players willing to lay down their lives for each other at all times (witness Krejci vs, Pouliot last night, foolish or not) will be extremely difficult to beat over the course of 7 games. Especially when it's a team fully capable of filling the net with pucks.

I shudder to think of my Caps facing a team like this. We would probably fare worse than Montreal last night. We would be beaten down into a pulp. We would play timid, scared, defeated hockey against a club like Boston over a 7-game series. The Caps have no one who can deal with Lucic on defense. Schultz? Alzner? Poti? Erskine will try, but Thornton or McQuaid would step in to deal with it.

I really do not like the Bruins (or any Boston teams) at all. However, look out East. The B's with their efforts recently vs. the Stars and now the Habs are seriously putting the league on notice.

GMGM, look at how a playoff team is constructed ... look at the Bruins. Goaltending, team defense, good 5-on-5 play, tons of heart and snarl, never backs down, willing to give blood (and draw it) to win the battles. Fun to watch too ...

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | February 10, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

To NeilRMNB: It looks like Flyers and Bruins. and a matter of fact Caps are all doubling the expected number of shutouts this year, may be some corrective parameter will give the mark.
Related to Caps it seems, they just slacking this year a lot, unfortunately in VC also, which suggest some psychological team problems. But I'd be on Kings game this Sat. Funny, but from Xmas, by some reasons, Caps are 6:0 on weekend games and 3:9 on weekday games, like last disgusting game with Sharks. This also suggest some extra factors (national TV, food, absence of morning practice??), may be affecting the mind state of our primadonnas.

Posted by: yuvk03 | February 10, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Ok, so for the last two seasons for this particular team the stats meet expectations. This year does not. What about other years and other teams? How often do the number of actual shutouts follow the statistical expectations?

Posted by: Rainier1 | February 10, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Since, weekend/weekday difference can't be statistically explain, I think I have found the roots of Caps problems. May be during weekend, more wifes, girlfriends, friends and relatives present at the games which give more inspiration to perform a front of them for our Caps primadonnas). So, this is solution for all shutout, slacking problems: Ted Leonsis should obliged every Caps player's wifes, girlfriends, etc. to be at every game. And before the game Caps management should deliver this message to each player in the locker room!!

Posted by: yuvk03 | February 10, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The Bruins haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1972 and their recent teams have been upended in the playoffs even when seeded #1 overall as they were 2-3 years ago.

So, I would not say they are a model franchise.

What the Caps are doing right is drafting and developing talent so that new players are readying each season to compete for a job on the parent roster.

What the Caps are not doing right is calculated WHICH free agents to sign and which trades to make to use some of that talent to fully balance out the roster and create a team which does not have glaring weaknesses that are exposed against the better teams.

McPhee said before the Hannan trade the club was finally able to acquire a defensive defenseman after looking for the past 2-3 years from outside the organization.

Huh?

Did McPhee miss Pronger being traded? Did he miss Hal Gill and Scuderi leaving Pittsburgh? Did he miss Phaneuf being dealt?

There have been anchor defensemen and second line centers and veteran goalies out there the past 2-3 years who have become available.

The Caps either failed to move on a few of these players fast enough or decided as I think is the case that they like their own players so much they are loathe to deal any of them.

You will notice that Pittsburgh and Detroit don't have that problem. Each year if there is a chance to upgrade or a guy goes down these teams are in the market for a replacement.

With an established core (just as the Caps have had with Ovechkin, Backstrom, etc.), these teams are not going to wait 2-3 years for younger players to save the bacon.

They are going to try and compete for a Cup now.

That urgency is lacking in McPhee's approach and Boudreau due to his term in Hershey with most of the players now on the parent club, doesn't look like he is in any hurry to change the chemistry.

Perhaps he is not sure how well he will handle veteran players from other clubs and systems at the NHL level.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 10, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Your sample size is too small, and should include all of last season, in which 8 of the Caps had career years, which is an outlier. This season is a regression to the mean. This is expected, given the number of goals scored last year, which was unsustainable, as was proven against Montreal.

Posted by: flynnie321 | February 11, 2011 1:43 AM | Report abuse

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