Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 2/14/12

Just two days ago, an article entitled: “The Washington Capitals — Time Is Running Out” chronicled the Caps’ precarious position in the Eastern Conference standings and stated that the game on February 13th against the Sharks would give us a clue as to whether Washington’s players — especially their quote superstars unquote were willing “…to give 100% for a full sixty minutes each and every game day, and a commitment to the team and each other.”  Sadly, if yesterday’s results were any indication, they clearly are not.

The final score of 5-3 in favor of the Sharks in no way indicated how poorly the Capitals played.  Despite the fact that they led in most statistical categories (hits, shots, takeaways, faceoffs), Washington was outplayed by San Jose.  They were, at best, lethargic for much of the game and looked as if they had no idea of what to do with the puck during their power play opportunities.  For much of the time during their penalty killing opportunities, the Capitals allowed the Sharks to have a player in the vicinity of the goal not challenged by anyone wearing a red sweater.

The photo at the lead in of this article shows Marcus Johansson being taken down by one of San Jose’s finest.  It’s incredibly indicative of the way the Capitals played.

So now, the Capitals team management has a decision to make.  Their owner, Ted Leonsis, has hinted in his blog to watch for Washington to be very active as the trading deadline — now less than two weeks away — approaches.  The question is: Are they buying or selling?  Conventional hockey wisdom says that if they are going to make a playoff run, they will buy the best talent they can find from teams that are already out of it.  On the other hand, if they are writing off the season, they will dump a significant amount of their higher paid non-producing talent in order to maximize their headroom under the salary cap.

Rumors are already flying — the most prevalent one during the past week has been the venerable Mike Knuble, who recently played in his 1,000th NHL game and received more accolades than you can count.  The fact that he has been a healthy scratch for the last three games lends credence to this possibility.  His trade would be very unfortunate in the view of this correspondent given that what Knuble brings to the locker room is maturity, experience, and leadership — all of which are currently lacking.

As the Caps head off for a four game road swing, three of which are against Southeast Division opponents including the division leading Panthers, keep a close eye on who is playing and who’s not.  Some of the trade rumors will certainly become a reality.

Let’s Go Caps!

 

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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