The Washington Capitals were the worst team in the league at the start of the 2012-13 season. They played crummy and then star captain Alex Ovechkin got his head in the game. The Stats Guy (@TH2NSTATSGUY) tweeted on 4/16/13: “Since St. Patrick’s Day @ovi8 has 17 goals……No other player has more than 8.” This was one of the hottest topics. Ovi dominated the offensive zone, and came out of his post-lockout shell. He led the Caps to the playoffs, where they were defeated in the first round. This team has a great chance at repeating a playoff run, and here are three players who need to step up and be rising stars this season.
Joel Ward was the story of the 2011-12 Stanley Cup run, with a great game/series-ending goal in the playoffs. He didn’t receive much love though. Twitter was on fire with hateful things said about him including terrible racial slurs. He just kept playing, which was the best thing to do. Last season, he smacked in 20 points in 39 games. In his 7 playoff games, he snatched 4 points and was tied for first with a +4 rating (tied with Martin Erat and Mathieu Perreault). This season, I believe, he will be a big player. His stats are pretty evenly split, with 8 goals and 12 assists. I think he will continue to be that kind of player, and he will have about 30 goals and 30 assists next season.
If you know the name Tom Wilson, there are three reasons. 1) You live around the Plymouth, Michigan area and watched him play for the Whalers; 2) You are a huge Capitals fan; or 3) You watched the Capitals in the playoffs. His big moment in his 3 playoff games came when the blade came off his skate, and he stumbled to the bench. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Plymouth, and he can skate. He is also a big fighter. In his 3 OHL seasons, he recorded 125 games, 35 goals, 56 assists, 91 points, and 316 penalty minutes. He can score points, and he can stand up for the team. He’s going to be one heck of a player.
Mike Green is one of my favorite Capitals players. He is a big, strong defenseman who can make his point with a hit, and can nail a shot from the blue line. He had notched 26 points (12G, 14A) in 35 games last season. He was also good in the playoffs, scoring 4 points in 7 games. He is one of the better defensemen in the league, and he is going to do great things for the Capitals this season. Expect to see big numbers in the goals and assists columns for this guy. I think he can hit 30 goals and 50 assists.
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