Capital offense? Lacking

Injuries and poor puck possesssion have hurt Washington this season

Originally Published: February 11, 2011
By Craig Button | Special to ESPN Insider
John Carlson G Fiume/Getty ImagesA lack of support and poor puck possession have hindered the Capitals' offense.

Images of the high-powered offensive team fans became accustomed to seeing are an increasingly rare sight in Washington this season. The Caps were shut out once during the 2009-10 season and scored one goal on only two other occasions. To date in the 2010-11 campaign, they have been shut out eight times and scored one goal in seven of their games.

Statistically, that explains the precipitous drop in scoring from almost four goals a game in last season to less than three goals a game this season. Furthermore, Washington's power play has seen a dramatic falloff in production, going from a 25 percent success rate to 17 percent.

Caps' fans saw a glimpse of this stagnation during the seven-game series loss to the Montreal Canadiens during the 2010 playoffs. Some concluded the loss was merely a case of facing "hot" goalie Jaroslav Halak. But based on the results this season, it appears the Caps are facing a ton of "hot" netminders.

What's really wrong? I see two things that are keeping the Caps down.

Craig Button contributes regularly to ESPN Insider. Since 1988, Button has worked in the NHL as a scout and later as director of scouting with the Minnesota North Stars, becoming director of player personnel after the franchise relocated to Dallas. He later served as vice president and general manager of the Calgary Flames. He currently works as an analyst for the NHL Network.