How Good Is This Team? I Talk Directly To Caps Fans

Michael HoffmanCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

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In the past two Capitals home games I went beyond the locker room and ventured out to get the opinions of Caps fans at Verizon Center, because of course who knows this team better than you. And through the course of my conversations with fans, I got to meet some great people including the guy who started the cowbell movement and a number of fans who told me they were fans from the very beginning of the franchise.  I hope you enjoy.

Because I conducted these interviews before his return, you will read references to the team being without Ovechkin. I left this in because I thought it was interesting to hear how Caps fans felt that hindered or even helped the team learn to play without him at the time.

Susie McCulkin
If you had to give this team a grade, what would you give them? I’d give them about a B; I think there is always room for improvement.
Biggest strength? Lately I’ve noticed how well they’ve played without Ovechkin. I was convinced without him I thought they’d really start to tank but I think they’ve shown how strong they are even without him.
Biggest weakness? I would like to be able to see them not to have to go into so many overtime. I wish they were able to kick it into full gear and play a full game, seems like they have to tie it up at the end.
Grade? B+, because we’re still playing below our potential.
Strength?  Ovechkin of course.
Weakness? Consistency.
Are they a Stanley Cup Contender? Certainly.
Steve Farell
Grade? At least a B maybe a B+. They haven’t even looked their best but they are tied with points with Pittsburgh in the division. Especially without Ovechkin they are coming together more as a team I think.
Biggest strength? I think they play as a team more than individuals.
Biggest weakness?: Obviously still goaltending. They’re both running around 3 goals against average. It be nice to get a lead and know that you can hold it. They’re also falling down in the third period. A bunch of young guys should be better conditioned than teams with older players.
I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan. They play well in the second half obviously a well conditioned team, so I think one of the Caps problems is conditioning. I don’t know if Boudreau is  making them work real hard in practice or not. I don’t know what’s going on, but you can’t complain about what’s going on right now.
Janet Farell
Grade? A-. I think they’re awesome. They have good bones, they have great players they’re just an all around good team and the spirit here is unbelievable and with the fans backing them. The way they play I think they have everything going for them.
Grade? Probably an A-. They’d be an A plus if they didn’t give up third period goals and have offensive zone penalties in the third period.
Biggest strength: They play of the third fourth line and the play of Steckel in faceoffs.
Grade: I’d give them about a B-. They’re potential is much higher than what they are playing too. In a sense it is very hard to keep that intensity up and frankly the competition they’ve faced is probably not the best in the league.
Strength: Probably goal scoring right now.
Weakness: The forwards are not playing defense well enough.
Anyone in particular gotta step their game up? I’dsay Semin, it’s not just him though.
Are they a Stanley Cup Team: Yes they have the potential to be, if they keep playing like this though they’re not. They can play better and if they do, they are.
Bill- Who tells me he has been a fan since the team first came to Washington in 74.
Grade: I’d give them about an 87. I think they’ve played hard and learned how to win without Alexander Ovechkin. They play with spirit they play with heart.
Strength: I would say Bruce. (Boudreau)
Weakness: I would say they are a little weak defensively. But I think they are coming around. They work hard.
Do you think they are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender? I think they are a legitimate playoff team. If they can get around 1 or 2 rounds, sure. It depends on how well the defense comes around. If they get by Pittsburgh I think they can win it all.
Susan- Very passionate fan who was screaming C-A-P-S as I walked up to her and who admitted that she grew up a Red Wings fan in the 80’s. As she told me, hockey is in her blood but we are very happy to see Susan rocking a different type of red today.
Grade: B+. They’ve been playing well. There are a few loses but not many.
Biggest strength: Offense. Scoring goals. It’s been a lot of fun to watch everyone else (Not Ovechkin) step up. We got a lot of good personalities, a lot of guys who love the game. They’re all like Ovy and more.
Biggest weakness: Goaltending.
Frank Compilario- The guy who claims he started the “cowbell movement.” I believe him.
Grade: I’d give them a solid B, but we need a solid defenseman I think this is a cup contending team. 
So there you have it folks. People correctly love the offensive ability of this team but think the Caps can work on consistency. Seems pretty accurate to me. Thanks to everyone who allowed me to interview them. You folks were more than kind in dealing with some random guy with a recorder. Thank you so much!