For the duration of this season, I'll be attempting to write something about every single game played. But since my son's bedtime often falls in the middle of a game and I coach every Tuesday evening, it may take me some time to see every minute of every game. So, rather than provide my version of a game recap for every game (something done better by dozens of other bloggers and MSM outlets out there), I'm going to focus on 3 individual Capitals for a 3 game stretch. My hope is to be able to show a player's improvement, trends in his play and hopefully notice something insightful.
For Games 1-3, The Three were Marcus Johansson, Jason Chimera and Tom Poti.
Johansson - Can Marcus play the NHL game already?
In one word: raw. He's making some great plays with the puck, plays a very heads-up style, isn't afraid to forecheck and finish his checks and is finding teammates open. He probably should have a few points by now and I'd expect he'll start finding his offensive touch soon enough. Defensively, he's honest in his own end and covers the slot quite well. But he's also making some bad decisions with the puck in his own end (Jersey's 2nd goal came directly from such a decision) and will need some time to adjust to the speed and creativity of NHL players.
The one thing that jumped out at me was how much he reminds me of a certain player. No, not Nicklas Backstrom. It pains me to say, but when Marcus has the puck he reminds me of Sidney Crosby. Except, you know, likeable.
Chimera - How would Chimera do starting his first full season as a Cap?
Not since Al Iafrate has there been this combination of size and speed in a Caps jersey. Springing from the box and blowing a shot past the best goalie ever, beating out icing calls, forechecking relentlessly, standing up for teammates and doing so without one hair on his head. Chimera is playing like the perfect complimentary piece for this Caps team. He's taking advantage of having defenses focus on the two lines in front of him, exactly as a good 3rd liner should.
Chimera's play through the end of last season and these first 3 games is making GMGM look quite smart in making his controvercial trade to obtain the speedster. Chimera fits.
Poti - Donning a visor for the first time, would there be an adjustment period?
Playing in only 2 of the first 3 games, Poti seemed quite confident handling pucks in his feet (frequently an issue for those new to a visor). He was on the ice for 2 goals against in his two games (both in game 1), played ~19 minutes in each contest and blocked 2 shots. Poti missed game 3 with an undisclosed injury, but he doesn't appear to be hindered by last season's injury or the visor.
With the only set defensive pairing being Green/Schultz, Poti's experience is an asset in helping both Alzner and Carlson develop. Hopefully his injury is a minor one.
For games 4-6, The Three will be Tomas Fleischmann, Jeff Schultz and Karl Alzner.