May 9, 2012, 11:41 PM EDT
The Washington Capitals were supposed to struggle after dropping a triple-OT loss to the New York Rangers; instead, they won pretty handily. Yet after the Rangers “pulled the tights” for another OT stunner in Game 5, people really thought they were done. Instead, the Capitals followed Dale Hunter’s advice to just play hockey and wiped the floor with New York in a deceptively close 2-1 Game 6 win.
“Everyone, I think, counted us out,” Chimera said. “This is the way we are. We don’t really crack.”
John Carlson echoed his sentiments, backing up the belief that – however you feel about the team’s shift from “skill” to grit – they’re totally on board.
“Everyone’s committed, and everyone knows when they look left, look right and look across, that people want it,” Carlson said.
In nerdy hockey circles, the wisdom of shot-blocking strategies is in serious debate. But one thing seems pretty clear about the strategy: if you have a lot of them, it’s clear that you’re willing to fight through pain in the hopes of winning.
The Capitals’ new worldview doesn’t generate the prettiest hockey, yet seeing a team that was seemingly falling apart earlier this season come together like this is a beautiful thing.
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