TSN has been running a “30 Teams in 30 Days” season preview, profiling a different NHL team each day. TSN turned their attention to the Washington Capitals this weekend and, while posting an encouragingly positive assessment, they fall well short of the sort of analysis one would expect from this Canadian outpost of hockey expertise.
Starting with the positive: It’s always heartening to see Ted Leonsis get well-deserved praise from those outside the D.C. hockey community, and TSN’s preview certainly accomplishes that: “Ted Leonsis is the type of owner that every NHL team deserves. He is passionate about the game and completely dedicated to giving his team all the tools that they need to win.”
Overall the article is complimentary to the Capitals’ chances this year . . . though it’s not hard to predict good things for a team featuring Alex Ovechkin and a supporting cast ranging from future Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov to Rookie of the Year runner-up Nicklas Backstrom. It’s also easy ‚Äî and not, mind you, necessarily inaccurate ‚Äî to be concerned about Jose Theodore’s ability to lead the team deep into the playoffs.
But the Theodore discussion is just one example of lazy reporting in this preview. A brief discussion of Theodore’s up-and-down seasons, and the Caps’ lack of “Plan B” in net this season, is all they mention. How many teams have two starting goaltenders? Obviously if Theodore has a sub-par or injury-bitten season then the team is in trouble; but that holds true for most NHL clubs’ starting netminders.
For one of Canada’s leading sources for hockey analysis, one would expect something with a little more depth. For example, Theodore doesn’t control rebounds like Huet does, and that could present problems for the Caps’ young defensive core (at least that’s one of my concerns). Lacking a Plan B in goal? Well, sure, and ice is slippery too, thanks for sharing.
Yet the analysis gets weaker. Here’s a gem:
A healthy Brian Pothier should also help. The former Senators’ defenceman missed the last 41 games of the season with post-concussion symptoms. If fully recovered, Pothier should be able to take some of the offensive strain off of Green from the back end.
An 80-goal season from Tom Poti would help as well, and that’s more likely than Pothier taking the Phone Booth ice any time soon. The return of Pothier, a hard-working guy whom the Capitals certainly missed, is a pipe dream at this point; sadly, the prognosis is not good for him to resume his NHL career any time soon, if at all. TSN would have been better served by focusing on the players who’ve actually skated with the team in camp than to make vague assumptions that Pothier is returning. We wish him well, but including Pothier in plans for this season or beyond is silly.
Perhaps the most egregious error in the preview is the following: “By February, Washington had snatched the lead in the Southeast Division and did not look back.” Um, what? Technically the last part of that sentence is true; the Capitals did not look back, since they had to look forward at Carolina and didn’t secure the division crown until the very last day of the regular season. It’s surprising to see such lazy reporting sneak past TSN’s editors, particularly now . . . how much sloppier will their articles get when there are¬† actual regular-season games to talk about?
The article smacks of a thrown-together last-minute term paper written by a hung over college student ‚Äî do some slapdash Internet research, throw together a few seemingly safe conclusions, and don’t waste time with fact-checking or actual analysis.
Hey TSN, I enjoy Oktoberfest as much as (maybe more than) the next guy; but let’s keep the steins lidded while on the job, okay?