Buzzwords

Posted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel

On the day after the Caps dropped their fourth straight and were shutout for the third time in their last 11 games, these were the buzzwords around Kettler: “flu” and “panic.” Five Caps players didn’t partake in practice today because they were felled by the flu. Perhaps as many made it through practice despite feeling some of those same symptoms. Anytime the talk turns to hockey and the flu, I am immediately transported back to four years ago this month when an upstart Caps team, led by sophomore left wing Alex Ovechkin, jumped out to a surprising 15-10-7 start through the middle of December. That 2006-07 Caps crew didn’t have the depth of today’s team. Injuries started to take a toll in mid-December, but then a brutal stretch of schedule – four games in five nights in four cities, three of them on the road – combined with an outbreak of the flu that ravaged the room combined to kill the hope that Washington accrued in the first third of the season. The Capitals went 6-15 in their next 21 games. Here are a few links from the way back machine, also known as the archived version of the previous incarnation of this blog. The entries detail what was going on with Washington as it tried vainly to fight through that post-holiday flu bug and playing four games in five nights – for just the second time in 23 years – four years ago. Dec. 29, 2006: Flu Bug Bites Dec. 29, 2006: Swamp Sickness Dec. 30, 2006: Spending Doesn't Equal Winning Dec. 30, 2006: The Latest From MSG Jan. 1, 2007: Some Vindication For Washington Let's hope this year's flu bout turns out better than the '06 Rout Bout did. The other buzzword today was “panic.” A poll was posted at Capitals Insider today inquiring: “Is it time to panic about the Caps?” The team is in its worst stretch of the Bruce Boudreau era at 4-5-2, and it has lost four straight (0-3-1) for just the third time in Boudreau’s 255 games as coach. But “panic”? To me, it’s a strong word. Here’s the definition. If it was determined that this is indeed the time to panic, how exactly should we go about doing so? That question is only partially rhetorical. The original question spurred a bit of Friday afternoon debate on Twitter between myself and some followers, and I enjoyed the distraction until a couple of consecutive meetings forced me to quiet down on the topic. At one point during the discussion, it was implied that I was telling people not to panic. I wouldn’t do that. People are different, and that’s one of the many things that make the world such a great place to live. (That, and where else are you going to go??) So if there are those who are inclined to panic, and those who will only feel better with a good panic, then they should definitely do so. Me, I find things like “sudden overwhelming fear,” “hysterical or irrational behavior” and “[loss of] self-control” extraordinarily unappealing. Your mileage may vary. Anyway, as is so often the case, the whole process brought me back to another time just before Boudreau was hired. The 2007-08 Caps won their first three games, then lost a pair. A bit of “panic’ ensued on message boards and among the regular listeners of our “Capitals Report” and “Pre-Cap” podcasts. I wrote a blog post that asked for some patience, some sanity and a willingness to let the sample size grow. As we now know, things got far worse. That 0-2 run veered into a 3-16-1 stretch the resulted in Glen Hanlon’s dismissal and Bruce Boudreau’s hiring. Plenty of folks were laughing at me for trying to be the voice of reason, and there were a lot of “I told you so”s. When it was all said and done, though, the Caps made the playoffs that season. And that’s what it was all about, that season. Merely making the playoffs won’t be good enough for this 2010-11 group; we all know that. They’ve had some ups (8-0-1, six-game winning streak) and some downs (4-5-2, four-game losing streak). I expect there will be more of both. In the meantime, here are some of my fave responses from today’s panic tweet-fest: “When I feel panic coming on, the only tried and true solution is easy to find: More beer!” – davezeile09 “no panic - 50 games to correct problems. Better this happen now than in April.” -- Caps406F “I handle panic by clutching my HitchHiker's Guide and chanting "There's no team like @washcaps " – ardentdelirium “I don't panic until they're up 3-1 in the playoffs.” – GeorgeD4

next up:

Less Than Even

January 14, 2013

Much has been made of the Caps’ failure to score on the power play in Thursday’s 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers. Washington was 0-for-8 with the extra man in that game, failing to score on any of the single-game season high 17 power play shots it generated in 13:54 of extra man time. The Caps

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