It's easy & obvious to point your finger at the fact that the Washington Capitals are taking too many penalties. But, until now, nobody has taken a serious look at "why" this is occurring.
Let's face it - the Washington Capitals are a slow team. Marcus Johansson & Jason Chimera are probably the only players I would classify as 'fast' on this club. The Capitals, as a whole, have trouble keeping up with faster skating clubs (which is just about every other NHL team).
When you skate slower, you are always "chasing" or "pursuing." With the exception of fighting, this is where penalties most often occur - trying to prevent the 'holder of the puck' from doing good things.
I've stated on this blog many times before that the core of this roster unit is "lazy." This is why they rarely play a solid, consistent 60 minutes of hockey.
When getting lazy, this team has a tendency to sit back when (on rare occasions) they get a lead. They lack the "killer instinct" to bury an opponent. This, in turn, leads to the 'chasing" effect that I described earlier.
What's The Answer?
We can start with a complete rebuild, but that won't happen.
The Capitals need better on and off ice leadership. This means stripping Alex Ovechkin from his captaincy. Brouwer, Laich or Hendricks would clearly be a better fit for the post, but that too probably won't happen.
Pray. Sounds crazy, but really what else is there left to do with this mess?
Has The Train Wrecked Yet?
I hope that this is as bad as it gets, but I get a feeling that the Washington Capitals have not bottomed out yet.
There is way too much 'core talent' here to be the worst club in the NHL, but the questions are: Is Adam Oates an NHL-caliber coach?, & will the Capitals ever figure out his so-called "system?" Can/will this happen before it's too late?