It’s time for a new Capitals Mailbag! You can read Wednesday’s Part 1 here.
Check out Part 2 below.
Have a Caps question you want to be answered in the next mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com.
Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.
Bo H. writes: Why are people already panicking? I mean there are issues to sort out but 6 out of 8 possible points? All against teams that made it further then them in the playoffs? Including the champions? But you read through some comments and it's like we're San Jose or something.
We can’t have anyone freak out out there, OK? We’ve got to keep our composure! We’ve come too far! There’s too much to lose! We’ve got to keep our composure!
Fans are going to fan. The Caps have not lost in regulation, they are 2-0-2 despite not having Evgeny Kuznetsov for three games or Michal Kempny for any of them and yes, people are upset because the team has lost two games in a row in overtime.
There is no doubt that the early season has shown some problems the team needs to sort through. The power play still looks bad, though it is tough to judge given that Kuznetsov only just got back. Pretty much everything behind the top defensive pair remains a question mark especially the second pair. Michal Kempny’s continued absence still looms large over the defense. The only offense the third line has provided is Kuznetsov’s goal and he has already been moved up to the second line. I knew Carl Hagelin and Richard Panik were not going to light things up, but the team needs more than the zero points they currently boast.
Having said that, we are just four games into the season. Relax, everyone. Problems are going to come up over the course of 82 games.
Stephen H. writes: That loss the other night to Carolina isn’t sitting well with me. With the Penguins in decline and the playoff result last year, are the Hurricanes our top rival now?
They have played one first-round playoff series and one heated preseason game. That's it.
Admittedly, I'm biased. I grew up watching the Dale Hunter, Peter Bondra Caps battle against the Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr Penguins, I will never acknowledge any team other than Pittsburgh as Washington’s biggest rival. Ever. Even when the Caps and New York Rangers met in the playoffs five times over the course of seven years, never once did it cross my mind that the Rangers were a bigger rival than the Penguins. If anything, those series grew tiresome after a while (yet another reason why the NHL's current playoff format to force the same matchups over and over again is dumb).
I don’t think the history between Washington and Pittsburgh or the Alex Ovechkin - Sidney Crosby rivalry can be eclipsed by one first-round series matchup and a mouthy head coach.
I'm not saying there isn't something brewing with Carolina. Geography says these teams should be rivals, but it never really clicked until last season. It’s not just the fact that they played a series, it was Warren Foegele’s hit on T.J. Oshie, Ovechkin’s KO of Andrei Svechnikov, Justin Williams, the fact that the Hurricanes ended Washington’s Stanley Cup defense, a Game 7 double-overtime game and Rod Brind’Amour chirping throughout. Add in what was a crazy preseason game and it looks like there is suddenly a rivalry there.
Then again, the home opener lacked a lot of the juice and fireworks we expected so who knows? But no, to me no one will ever top the Penguins as the Caps’ biggest rival.
John F. writes: Is Alex Alexeyev injury prone or just unlucky?
I feel like it’s both for most players who get saddled with the label of “injury prone” except for Michal Neuvirth who seems to be taken out of the lineup every time the wind changes direction. I get your point though. Alexeyev’s junior career ended because of a knee-on-knee hit and he did not play at all in training camp because of a dirty hit to the head in the Prospects Showcase. There is nothing he can do about that.
The fact remains, however, that Alexeyev never played a full season in the WHL so ultimately we won’t know the answer to this question until after some time as a professional. Let's see how he handles the AHL which, at times, can be more a more physical league even than the NHL.
@NathanSprenger on Twitter writes: Which team ownership is worse? Ottawa Senators or Washington Redskins?
Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be answered in the next mailbag, send it to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com or use #CapsMailNBC on Twitter.
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