Lately it seems like someone new jumps on the Caps bandwagon every day. Our newest traveling companion, though, is the most unlikely of supporters - Damien Cox. Yes, the man who has consistently berated and mocked and belittled this Caps team is finally on board with a staggering statement: the Caps are so much more than just Ovechkin.
A team that was the NHL's worst in November and not much better as the calendar flipped over from 2007 to 2008, the Capitals are now demonstrating that they are about more than just trying to sneak into the No. 8 seed. They certainly are not just a team being carried on the back of a single man toward the franchise's first playoff berth in five years.
Ovechkin, with the Art Ross (leading scorer) and Rocket Richard (most goals) Trophies both sewn up, is surely making a compelling case for his candidacy for the Hart (league MVP), regardless of whether the Caps qualify for the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs. But to suggest Washington is a one-man team would be wrong. For starters, you don't win nine of 10, as the Caps have done at the most important time of the season, if you don't have more than one weapon.
Second, Ovechkin was there for the first 21 games under then-coach Glen Hanlon, and the club started 6-14-1 and looked headed for a lottery draft pick. Clearly, the tactics and decisions of Hanlon's replacement, Bruce Boudreau, over the past 59 games has had an awful lot to do with the resurgence of the Caps.
Finally, GM George McPhee might as well take a bow now, for it appears that while other teams were busy landing bigger-name players, he made the best moves at the February trade deadline. In Tuesday's crucial game against Carolina, the players McPhee acquired -- goalie Cristobal Huet, winger Matt Cooke and center Sergei Fedorov -- all played significant roles.
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