Knee-jerks: @ Carolina, 1/26/07

kneejerk.jpg Carolina is good, and right now, the Caps aren’t. That’s the main lesson from last night. Now, any team losing two of their top six defensemen is in for a bit of a bad ride, but all the talk of ‘effort’, ‘playing smart’, etc, is ringing a bit hollow right now. In the end, however, the loss falls on a lack of talent, pure and simple. Vice the usual bullet-points, I’ll keep it short, less-than sweet and quick. The defense was bad. So bad that I don’t know how many of the goals I can pin on Brent Johnson, who also made some good saves.
The hole in the second line center position again stands out — Klepis can’t stop taking penalties, and Beech is an AHLer. This leads to a bigger question – how much did Nicklas Backstrom’s decision have to do with the way the Caps’ brass approached this season? If Backstrom had decided to play for the Caps this season, would that have accelerated the rebuild? Would the Caps try to make a strong push for the playoffs? Again, difficult to say, and not really pertinent to last night’s game.
The Caps and ‘Canes go again tonight, this time in the Verizon Center, and without a significant improvement in health and effort, the Caps may be in for another long night.

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