WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals’ start has not been ideal to say the least. It seems that the going has only gotten tougher, as a myriad of major injuries, inconsistencies and more factors have made it difficult for them to find their footing.
With the early adversity, Washington has gone 5-4-1 and lately has been showing more battle and the ability to string together a full 60-minute effort. The Capitals are currently at a .550 points percentage as they go into the second game of a back-to-back against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. And before puck drop, Vegas bench boss Bruce Cassidy had some things to say about teams like Washington hovering around .500.
“I think early in the year, everyone’s relatively healthy, relatively fresh mentally, in a good place. And then what happens, I’ve always found, is after about four to six weeks, teams start coming apart, then they just start sliding just for whatever reason,” Cassidy said after the Knights’ morning skate in D.C. “They realized maybe they weren’t as good as they thought they were, or ‘here we go again,’ or you know, there’s a lot of different reasons.”
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While the comment spoke volumes, Cassidy asserted there was no malice behind it. He also didn’t name names.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to some franchises; that’s just the way it happens,” he explained. “Early on, everyone has juice and lots of jump. The teams that skate well early tend to do well. And then some of the physicality catches up to those teams as well if you’re not bigger or can’t handle that kind of game… that’s how I usually see it.”
Cassidy, who’s in his first year with Vegas after being relieved of his duties behind the bench with the Boston Bruins, has seen his team get off to a red-hot 8-2-0 start. The Golden Knights are tied with the Bruins atop the standings with 16 points, and they are the top team in the Pacific Division and Western Conference overall.
The Capitals, meanwhile, are looking to climb up the Metropolitan standings after escaping PNC Arena with a point after a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes one night earlier. They are also coming off a rough news day, as Connor Brown has now been ruled out for likely the entire season after undergoing ACL surgery. Washington will be without five key forwards (Brown, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin) and could also be missing John Carlson (day-to-day, lower-body injury) against Vegas.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET at Capital One Arena.