Washington Capitals 2008-2009 Regular Season Review
Slapshot, the Capitals mascot, leads the team out of the tunnel for the start of another home game.
The Capitals will start the post season campaign at home against the New York Rangers on Wednesday Apr 15.
The Capitals accomplished many new team milestones this season, and here are a few regular season awards, highs, lows, and notes. Enjoy!
Team MVP, League MVP, One and the Same
Call him what you want. A pure goal scorer, a determined competitor, a hard-hitting grinder, a showman, or maybe savior. We call him Ovie, the Great 8.
Not only is he a back-to-back Rocket Richard trophy winner, but Alex Ovechkin "should" win the Hart trophy as league's MVP as well. He led the team and the league in goals and shots on goal. He hits, he double-shifts, he triple-shifts, he never quits.
The opposition throws their best shut down defenders on Ovie every night.
The Unsung Hero
You don't hear much about the "glue" guys. They're always in the shadows, working the corners, grinding it out, and doing the little things.
These guys hold the locker room together. They help lift the team with a big defensive play, or a garbage goal on the doorstep. Brooks Laich, is a glue guy.
He topped 20 goals this season playing with a different line every night. He didn't receive a lot of top power play time, but he'd be out there blocking shots and killing penalties.
The Rising Star
He's "Game Over Green," "Lambo-Greenie," or just "Greenie." Or he's just that good.
Mike Green will be a finalist for the Norris Trophy. He led the league in goals, power play goals, and points by a defenseman (despite missing 13 games with injury). He led the Capitals in average ice time. He runs the power play, he skates like the wind, he's got the hands of a forward.
Mike Green is a huge factor in the rising stock of the Washington Capitals. Thankfully, he's also signed for a very long time.
Will the real Jose Theodore please stand up and make a save?
Who knows who this guy is, or could be? Some say he is a former MVP, and on a few occasions this year he looked like one. Others, this writer included, think he's a head case who lost his game years ago.
All I do know is that Jose may hold the key to a decent playoff run for the Washington Capitals. He needs to make all the saves that are routine, and make a good number of the highlight reel saves that win games.
Jose, if you are out there, we need you now and are willing to forget your regular season faults if you can help us win in the playoffs. Are you listening?
There's a small group of guys on the Washington Capitals that played night after night, but didn't make a huge contribution this season. All of these players need to find a role, and make an impact on the playoffs.
Matt Bradley fought a few times this year, and tried to establish himself as a fourth line grit-guy. His goals and points fell off the map, and he really didn't serve more than a second squad penalty killer.
Viktor Kozlov, for all of his size and skill had a pretty poor offensive season. He played on the wing with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin for most of the year, but he lumbered through the campaign quietly, and was rarely a force in games.
Top Play of the Regular Season
Feb 18., 2009. Caps versus Montreal. Alexander Ovechkin picks off an indirect pass (backwards) off the neutral zone boards, and spins, loses one defender, powers past another and scores a highlight reel goal. The Caps go on to win in a shootout.
Dec 23., 2008. The New York Rangers roar out to a four goal lead on Washington's home ice. After a dismal first 30 minutes of play, the Capitals find out what they are made of, and storm back for a 5-4 OT win (Ovechkin had two goals, and an assist on the night).
The Caps topped the franchise record for points accumulated in a season with 108 (107 was the previous mark by the 85-86 Capitals).
Washington also finished the regular season with 29 home victories, one shy of a team mark. The Caps were second in power play effectiveness, third overall in goals in the league, had the third best home record and shattered all previous marks for attendance and sell-outs.
The Capitals won consecutive division titles for the first time in over a decade, and finished every month of the season with a winning (plus .500) record for the first time in franchise history.
So far, this has been a rather exciting season to be a Capitals fan. Though I will agree with Coach Bruce Boudreau, who states loudly "We have not accomplished anything yet. Our goal has always been to win the Stanley Cup, and until it (the Cup) is ours, we've yet to do anything."
Good luck to the Caps in the playoffs. Let's Rock the Red! C-A-P-S...CAPS, CAPS, CAPS!