Thursday, April 4, 2013

Caps Make a Playoff Push!

With a compressed season, the Capitals were given two choices: cast away rentals or make a playoff push.  Having gone 9-6-1 in March and opening April with a 5-3 win over division rival Carolina to split a tie, and riding Ovechkin's 9 game point streak (10 goals, 5 assists), the Caps decided to bring in some help.

The biggest hole on the team, as usual, is a top line winger.  Enter Marty Erat, a decent two-way player who consistently ranked among Nashville's leaders in ice time among forwards.  He is a good skater and a great playmaker, who if given the chance, could complement Ovechkin and Backstrom well.  His versatility is useful to as he has played both wing positions in the NHL.

Unfortunately, he is not the answer physically.  The team could use more grit, especially for a playoff run in the Eastern Conference this year, and Erat is not well known for his toughness in the corners.

Overall, he should be a solid asset to a team that could use more goals.

Also acquired in the deal was Michael Latta, a guy that McPhee likens to "a modern day Dale Hunter" (sorry, no citations; I saw it on Twitter).  The team has badly needed grit and went about that in a big way (reacquiring Recker, and bringing in Dane Byers as well).  Latta is a tough center who's good enough to play in the NHL and big enough to make a difference.

We are hoping the minor league additions will help the Bears make a solid playoff run, and with Latta and Wilson competing for roster spots, training camp should be exciting too.

Losing Forsberg is tough, but the assets the Caps acquired are good enough to call this a win-win; for now.

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