The one thing you can say about this Capitals team is that, on a daily basis, you have absolutely no idea what they might do, and it will never have any relation to what they did in their previous game. Like, zero.
Get routed in Chicago? That will naturally flow directly into a rousing road win in Detroit. Blow a three-goal lead at home to a playoff rival? Naturally that begets an impressive shut-out win. There’s just no carry-over, and if you try to make any predictions whatsoever, you will invariably look stupid.
I finally learned my lesson, which is what led to this exchange on Tuesday’s Post Sports Live. (Yes, I’m transcribing myself here.)
LaVar Arrington (feeling positive): “Again, I think that for all the criticisms that have been lobbed their way, for everything that has gone wrong, they still find themselves in striking position....”
Dan Steinberg (feeling negative): “Don’t do it, LaVar! Don’t do it! You’re gonna say that, and they’re gonna come out and lose 5-0 tonight! You’ve got to just say, I have no idea what’s gonna happen.”
Well, that was Tuesday afternoon. The Caps lost 5-1. I was close.
“It’s impossible to know, night to night, which Caps’ team will show up,” Mike Wise wrote today. Indeed.
(As long as I’m linking to Wise’s column, he also sort of focused on Dale Hunter’s calm demeanor, lack of fire and sparse communication as potential problems. Turns out Brooks Laich addressed these same issues Wednesday morning on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies.
“He’s always very composed, but he’ll tell you straight out what we need to do,” Laich said of Hunter. “It depends on the situation, but he’s very good at keeping the big picture in mind. He could have broken a gasket and said all hell broke loose or whatever [Tuesday] night, but he still wanted us to focus.
“Once the game got to 5-1 and it was out of hand, then it was time to focus on get your game back, move your legs, do whatever you can to help you prepare for Boston. Leave the rink somehow feeling good about yourself. He’s always very positive and he keeps that big picture in mind.”)