If you’re looking for excellent, thought-provoking coverage of the Washington Capitals, look no further than the Capitals Extra podcast.
By Glynn Cosker
DCpuckDrop Managing Editor
The Capitals Extra podcast – available from your favorite podcast provider – airs the day after every Washington Capitals game and features host Rob Carlin and his NBC Sports Washington colleague (and former Capital) Alan May. Carlin and May share some of the thoughts and commentary that they usually dilute while appearing on television, and it makes for good listening:
“The [Nicklas] Backstrom – [T. J.] Oshie combination is on a long, painful drought … Backstrom, at least, is a world-class player, and for him to go seven straight games without a point now is almost mind-blowing. I don’t know that I remember a streak where Backstrom’s gone seven straight games without a point – it’s nine straight games without a goal; Oshie is now eight straight games without a goal. They have to figure something out.” ~ Rob Carlin, host of the Capitals Extra podcast.
On Wednesday’s podcast, studio guest J. J. Regan confirmed that Backstrom’s pointless streak is the longest of the center’s prestigious NHL career.
Capitals Extra Podcast: Shutdown Forwards
“One of the reasons that we don’t see Backstrom and [Alex] Ovechkin reunited yet is because the role of Backstrom’s line this year is to be more of a shutdown line, more than anything else, because the Caps don’t have the same depth on defense that they’ve had in previous years; and Backstrom is one of the best shutdown forwards in the NHL,” stated Regan, eluding to the Capitals’ departed defensemen who left the team in the offseason: Kevin Shattenkirk (to the New York Rangers), Nate Schmidt (to the Vegas Golden Knights), and – most costly of all – Karl Alzner (to the Montreal Canadiens).
“The problem is,” added Regan, “is that you [the Capitals] also don’t have the offensive depth you’ve had in recent years, and the way it’s playing out, is you’re taking two of your best offensive players out of the offense; and it’s great that they’re shutting down teams’ best lines, but Oshie and Backstrom need to produce as well.”
‘Anyone Can Back-Check’
Regan was 100 percent accurate with his commentary during the podcast which echoed DCpuckDrop’s own analysis of the Capitals’ current top-six problem. Earlier in the season, the top-six did all of the scoring, while the bottom-six failed to find its footing. In the last eight games, that trend has reversed. May offered some of his own sledgehammer analysis in Wednesday’s Capitals Extra podcast:
“They paid those guys [Backstrom and Oshie] a lot of money; it’s not to be back-checkers. Anyone can back-check; I could come out of retirement and back-check, guys,” stated May, and later – when referencing his current disdain for the lack of physicality within the NHL these days: “When you’re paying $100 to sit in the upper level at Capital One Arena, you don’t want to watch soccer … hockey is a physical, passionate game, and the league has to let the players play the game.”
The second half of Wednesday’s podcast was dedicated to the controversy surrounding the Capitals’ four back-to-back games so far this season – in which backup goalie Philipp Grubauer was let down by a team that Capitals forward Tom Wilson called ‘kind of tired’ (supposedly from traveling and the lack of rest between two straight games). Each member of the podcast panel was spot-on with their analysis of that situation.
Listen to the current Capitals Extra podcast episode, and stay tuned for further episodes to air the day after each Washington Capitals game.