The Capitals are beginning to find their identity early in this young NHL season, utilizing their speed by pushing the pace of games and going after opponents.
Washington’s 2-1-1, and tied with Pittsburgh for second in the Metro division with five points, four games into the 2017-18 schedule.
Veteran forward Jay Beagle was asked about this burgeoning style of play during his weekly segment with The Sports Junkies — ‘The Morning Skate with Jay Beagle,’ sponsored by Sport Automotive — Friday morning.
“Before the season when we talked to you, you said it was going to take a while to figure out the identity of this team,” said John-Paul Flaim. “What do you think it is thus far? I’m sure, from fans’ perspective, it just looks like Ovi hat tricks.”
“Yeah. No kidding, eh?” Beagle said. “That’s obviously been unbelievable to be a part of and to watch. You know, he worked really hard this summer, and to have the start that he’s had just goes to show that the work ethic that he’s put in this summer is paying off.”
“I don’t know. The identity, it takes a while to find and I don’t think we’ve found it yet,” he said. “It always takes a little bit, but I think we’re finding that special teams obviously is really key. Just with the amount of penalties that are going on around the league right now, it’s tough because there’s a couple new rules that have been enforced, and they’re more strict — you know, the slashing penalties and all that.”
“So there’s been more power play/PK,” he noted. “So that’s having a big impact on the games.”
“I think we brought in a lot of guys who are fast this year,” he said, “a lot of guys that have a lot of speed, in [Alex] Chiasson, [Nathan] Walker, [Devante] Smith-Pelly, [Tyler Graovac], those new guys, [Aaron Ness] on the back end and Djooser — all guys who can skate.
“So I think right now we’re just trying to play a speed game, and go after teams and make it hard on them. Right now, I would say that’s kind of our identity right now, early, is trying to play a speed game and push the pace against teams and go after them.”