By Reed S. Albers
If ESPN has taught us anything, it’s that you can power rank anything. Each week, we’d like to pinpoint the top six players who attributed to the team’s success throughout the week and hand out some other superlatives. So without further ado, here’s who we feel are the team’s top six.
1. Nicklas Backstrom: one goal, four assists, five points
Hard to imagine we won’t be writing this every other week, but the Super Swede leads the Caps in points and assists four games into the season. He also scored his first goal on Saturday night against Ottawa, his first since March 22.
2. Jason Chimera: three goals, no assists, three points
For a short while (one day), Chimera led the NHL in scoring with three goals, but it’s not just his goals that get him our top wing nod. His third line has been downright dominant and stands out as the Caps’ best set of forwards in the young season.
3. Dennis Wideman: two goals, two assists, four points
Defense hasn’t been the Caps strongest suit this season, but Wideman’s early season performance has fans hive minding over one thought – what if he had played in the playoffs? Curse you hemotoma!
4. John Carlson: one assist, one point, plus-3
His defensive partner, Karl Alzner, has more points, but its Carlson’s team-leading plus three that has us singing his praises. Carlson’s being called upon to step up against other team’s weapons and his near 20 minutes of average ice time a game illustrates his importance.
5. Tomas Vokoun: three games started, three wins, .922 save percentage
The season started with a slap in the face on opening night and three goals off his butt in his first start against Tampa, but it all turned out OK for the elder Czech goalie. Vokoun promised to bail out his team since Monday’s disastrous start and I can count two games since he’s done it.
6. Mike Knuble: one goal, two assists, three points, plus 1
I have a proposition for Knuble’s Knights. For every time Knuble teaches the young kids how to properly drive a net, like he did against the Penguins to earn his first goal of the season, you guys add a U to that awesome Knuuuuuuble sign.
In The Dog House
Alex Ovechkin: one goal, one assist, two points, minus 1
Bruce said it himself: Alex could be better. While Ovechkin has had notoriously slow starts in October, we can’t ignore that the Caps don’t want to go through another opening month without Ovi lighting up the goals column. The goals will come, but it’s not too much to want them sooner.
The Alan May Award: Jay Beagle
(Given to the player who sheds his blood for his brothers…or does something truly May-esque)
Picking a fight with Arron Asham probably wasn’t the best idea Jay Beagle ever had, but it’s hard not to notice his cojones for even standing toe-to-toe even for a few seconds with the Pens’ enforcer.