I didn't want to write a negative column after such an uplifting win last night, but a couple of things were on my mind (and now on your screen), so here's a quick look at some guys who aren't pulling their weight in the early goings for the Caps:
Brian Sutherby. Suts is billed as a solid two-way center and future leader, but through seven games he has a minus-4 rating, no points, has taken only three shots on goal and has been in the penalty box for three of the 14 power play goals the Caps have allowed. By comparison, four teams have allowed three or fewer power play goals so far this year.
Mathieu Biron. It didn't take long for this guy to make the s**tlist, did it? Biron has a minus-5 rating, has taken two penalties that have lead to opposition power play goals, and has already been healthy-scratched once. Unacceptably bad.
Jeff Friesen and Andrew Cassels. These two supposedly skilled veteran leaders, have combined for one goal and four assists in 14 man-games. I'll cut the two (and linemate Petr Sykora) a little slack as they've been skating together for all of two weeks, but they need to step it up, especially on the power play.
Ben Clymer, Matt Pettinger, Boyd Gordon. Obviously this trio is not looked to to score often, but in 17 man-games none of them has registered a point and the three are a combined minus-10. Come on, boys. We need something, anything out of you.
Now, to end with the positive: even with a brutal blueline, horrid penalty killing (24th in the League), ill-timed and all-too-frequent penalties (most PIMs in the League), shaky-at-times goaltending and an ice-cold power play (scoreless in the past three games), the Caps are just one game under .500, Steve Eminger
is starting to emerge and Alex Ovechkin
is undeniably the real deal. Oh, and the Caps' three wins are three more than a certain western Pennsylvania team has. Which is nice.