Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where It All Begins Again

Metallica said it best.
Here we are.  The Capitals have been through one heck of a season, not always for the right reasons.  They have been through one of the worst losing streaks in their history, had the character of their captain questioned, and the job security of their coach scrutinized.
But they have rebounded from that losing streak terrifically, won the Winter Classic, and implemented a defensive system that quiets games down and emphasizes team over individual.
They have beaten teams down emphatically, they have ground games out admirably, and they have been beaten down in spectacular fashion.  But in the end, they did what few expected them to do on March 1: they put together the best month in franchise history to jump from fifth to first in the Eastern Conference standings and claim the top seed for the second year in a row.
They will face a team that made the playoffs on the last day of the season in the first round for the second year in a row.
To some, they will be favorites for the second year in a row.

But this is the playoffs now.  As the Capitals learned all-to-painfully last year, regular season success means absolutely nothing in the playoffs.  Everyone is zero and zero.  Everyone is hungry.  And as Bruce Boudreau said in his post-game press conference after Saturday's loss, everyone is good.
There is a reason that the NHL playoffs are the best, most electrifying tournament in sports.  Every goal is a huge momentum shift.  A save can change the course of the entire postseason. So can a power play, a penalty kill, a shot block.
All the teams are equal and they all have the burning desire for that big, tall, silver chalice that has been touched by the most hallowed hands in the history of the game (except Matt Cooke).
Make no mistake about it, this year's postseason will be a defining moment for many players on the Capitals.  They have grown as a group since last year and they know they can overcome adversity.  This year's model is a better one than we had last year.
It's all for one and one for all, and it's finally time.  Buckle up.

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