King Leonsis sent to Washington and brought George McPhee, whose mother was a hamster and whose father smelt of elderberries. McPhee was skilled in all different kinds of hockey management but in this case Leonsis demanded a rebuild. So McPhee came to King Leonsis and did all the work assigned to him.
He began by drafting two Russian forwards, each with the ability to score many goals - the presence of either individual on a line instantly made it a viable option to score. On the day each was drafted McPhee had the player pull on the jersey of the Capitals, making them pillars of his team. A network of players were then brought in around these two Russians. He brought in a veteran player and first round pick to play with each of them. He did this for each one. The Captials who played with the two Russian pillars almost always look good and will eventually profit accordingly. Whenever these pillars are sent out to the ice in Washington's Temple there is now always about 20,000 present to take in their glory. The first pillar was named Ovechkin and the second was named Semin. The Capitals were soon at the top of their division, the rebuild flowering. And so the pillars of the rebuild were complete.
Washington Capitals (21-8-6) @ Edmonton Oilers (15-15-4)
Rexall Place, 8:00 P.M. MST
Visiting Team Scouting Report: It's not like you need me to tell you this but the Washington Capitals are a fantastic hockey team. They have the most exciting player in the game. They play in a division that doesn't have a lot of good teams or teams that play a really physical style (though Henrik Zetterberg might disagree). Pretty much every player on the team can skate well and they almost all have good size to boot. The club has a plethora of support players who can play hockey and don't have any major concerns with regard to the cap. I think everybody except for Rod Brind'Amour picked them to finish first in the Southeast division this season and everyone except for Rod Brind'Amour has been correct. It's been a tough year for Rod.
Edmonton Oilers (15-15-4):
Penner - Gagner - Brule
Nilsson - Horcoff - Stone
Moreau - Potulny - Cogliano
Jacques - Stortini - O'Sullivan
Gilbert - Souray
Smid - Visnovsky
Grebeshkov - Staios
Washington Capitals (21-8-6)
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Knuble
Semin - Morrison - Laich
Fleischmann - Wilson - Fehr
Bradley - Steckel - Clark
Green - Schultz
Poti - Morrisonn
Alzner - Erskine
Behind the Numbers:
- Alexander Ovechkin is tied for third in the league with 21 goals on the season but his goals per game rate is tops among the top thirty at 0.78. Marian Gaborik is second at 0.73.
- The Capitals are one of six teams with two of the top twenty-five goal-scorers (Ovechkin and Semin). The others are San Jose (Marleau and Heatley), Tampa Bay (Stamkos and Malone), Anaheim (Perry and Ryan), Ottawa (Fisher and Michalek) and Long Island (Tavares and Moulson).
- The Capitals have eight of the top twenty-eight players players in the NHL for +/-. The Oilers are one of only five other teams with at least two. The others are New Jersey, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
- I'm a big believer in looking at a team's record in a games decided by more than one goal as a measure of team quality. The Capitals record? 13-5. The Oilers? 8-11.
- The fact that this game is the second of a back-to-back for the Capitals bodes well for the Oilers pulling out a win this evening but bodes poorly for those excited to see Ovechkin have an incredible offensive performance.