Heard on Episode 3.31 of AFITC
So who isn’t happy to see the Washington Capitals get a shot at the post season? After starting the year with a discouraging six wins in their first twenty one games which led to the firing of head coach Glen Hanlon, it looked like it was going to be yet another season of spinning the wheels for the Washington Capitals. Then, Hanlon was replaced with Bruce Boudreau and suddenly the Capitals started to come together in a hurry.
Of all the teams that made late season playoff pushes – Edmonton, Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto, maybe even Phoenix – Washington started from the farthest back. On the strength of a seven game win streak to conclude the season along with wins in eleven of their last twelve and points in forty four of their last sixty one games, the Capitals jumped from ninth to third after beating the Florida Panthers in game eighty two of their season. Without question, numbers like that show Washington is the hottest team in the league. Why shouldn’t a team like this make it after a team like Ottawa limps through the back door only to clinch a spot on the strength of a Bruins loss. Nothing like charging through the gate with confidence eh?
Now that the Capitals are officially in the playoffs, it also ends the debate for the Hart Trophy: Alex Ovechkin…end of discussion. Led the league in goals with thirteen more than the next highest scorer, led the league in points, led the league in game winning goals, led the league in excitement. Watching the final twenty seconds as the Capitals headed toward a playoff birth with Ovechkin on the bench, it was tough to tell if he was a player or a cheerleader. This guy loves to win and wants to win and players like that belong in the playoffs. Without Ovechkin, the Capitals still would have been in the race though. The race for the top draft pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. But hey, all that was just rigamarole.