Jeff Halpern, Martin Erat and Mike Ribeiro play their former teammates.
G.I. John Carlson: A Real American Hero
There are some teams drawn together through a sense of purpose and potential, even despite the restrictions of a salary cap, that smack of destiny before they even hit the ice. This year that team sat atop the league all of the regular season with breathing room to spare. The only way to make the Washington Capitals look bad on paper is to compare the numbers to what happened on the ice night after night, or conversely, to put them in the post season. A franchise stuck in perpetual mediocrity turned into a sensation when the incomparable Alexander Ovechkin was drafted. Now with a roster boasting the likes of Mike Green, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom (all but the latter are in Washington for another year at least), a lock on first in the East and a record that makes the rest of the league look like they’re not even trying, there’s never been a more pressing need to clear some banner space on the rafters of the Verizon Center. A game seven loss to the eight seeded Habs might sting something fierce, but there’s good prescient for a good team that has to take lumps getting better. The Oilers did in it ’82, and the Red Wings did it over and over in the eighties and early nineties.
The Capitals offense has been operating with executive privilege and bagging about four goals a game. Highlight reel goals, gritty goals, clutch goals, goals goals goals. With a defense headed by Green, a surprisingly adept Theodore (at least in his regular season incarnation) and two more up-and-coming net minders waiting in the wings, the news only gets worse for the rest of the Southeast Division. The likes of Tampa and Carolina have had to share a room with the juggernaut for some time now, but the entire league is standing mouths agape watching young powerhouse John Carlson stepping up to the blue line.
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