Can you believe it? After months of worrying about playoff seeding and home ice advantage, the Washington Capitals
are one point away, or a Flyers loss -- by any means -- away, from clinching [have, with tonight's Flyers loss to Buffalo, clinched] the Eastern Conference in consecutive seasons. And it only took winning 15 of the last 18 (12 in regulation or overtime), and allowing 1.94 GA/G during that stretch, to get there.
The 2010-11 season that, even prior to its inception, was viewed as an 82-game tune up for the playoffs, finally wraps up tomorrow. Did it go down as you expected? We've seen remarkable progress and improvement on the blue line from the pair of John Carlson and Karl Alzner, and John Erskine, and some stagnation in the development of long term off-season re-signee Jeff Schultz. How do the perceived weaknesses of this team now, the potential road blocks on the path to a Stanley Cup, compare to those discussed in September? Will it ultimately come down to the ones over which the organization has no control -- injuries, officiating, and luck? How long will be the leash for whichever goaltender starts Game 1 of the first round? And how will the Caps deal with the pressure of the "home-ice trap," given the influx of veteran leadership?
After a joyous (and overwhelming!) week off due to the birth of my son, Russell and I saddle up for a new episode of JRR tomorrow morning at 10am Eastern. We welcome -- belatedly -- the new Capitals beat reporter for the Washington Times, Stephen Whyno, to get his views on all of the above, and look forward to evaluating how the Caps might match up with those teams that may still provide the opening playoff round's opposition.
Here's your question for tomorrow's show:
In the Caps' first round series, will we see more goals from (1) Alexander Semin or (2) the power play as a group?
The call in number is (917) 388-4003 and we'll take your questions @japersrinkradio.
Have a bellini, or three, and join us.
We'll end this show with a track from Baltimore-based "industrial metal quartet," Dying Design. If you're in a band based in the DC or Baltimore metro area and would like your music used in future episodes of JRR, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.