Everyone has voiced their opinion about the NBA and resting players. It’s a touchy subject. The old school is saying the new class is weak, not to mention the science and trainers are pushing coaches to rest players. Really, the issue is the season is so long, it’s natural to try and find way to fight fatigue. If you want your team to perform come playoffs, sacrifices need to be made. There are plenty of ways to keep teams fresh and competition at a higher level, but let’s be honest…none are easier than resting a player.
Enter the NHL. Just like the NBA, the NHL has 82 games a season. Coach Barry Trotz has been “resting” his top line for most of the season. Yes, I am aware that playing 17 minutes instead of 19 is not the same as sitting a star player during a marquee primetime matchup, but the concept is the same.
The Washington Capitals are getting ready to fight it out for first place and secure 1st place in the Metropolitan division. Thankfully our coach had the foresight to rest his stars. Consideri the month of March; Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie are logging more than 19 minutes per game. This may not seem like a lot from their average of 18.30/game but it’s making a difference. Each one of those guys has been hitting the ice harder and their productivity and skills are shining through.
Tonight’s game versus the Blue Jackets is a pivotal Metro division clash. Entering Thursday’s games, the Caps have 102 points, the Penguins with 101 and Jackets clocking in with 100. A win tonight will give us some much needed breathing room. It would also help eith that whole playoff seeding format. A win tonight would help ensure dont face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. If you’re familiar with the Caps, you know we don’t like the penguins come playoff time.
Tonight’s game will be 4 out of 5 between the two teams. Last game we snapped the Blue Jackets 16-game win streak. Translation — tonight’s game won’t be a walk in the park. A division rival, a close playoff race, a bad taste in Columbus’ mouth, all with one more matchup come April 2. Thankfully our coach rested our players and can now play more minutes in these important games.
The Washington Wizards are standing at 42-26 with 14 games remaining in the 2016-2017 season. With only 4 games left at the phone booth. The Wizards are hitting a critical point in the season. The Wizards hit a little road bump this week losing back to back games against the T-Wolves and the Mavericks this week, but I would still consider this team in good shape. Currently in 3rd place in the East but can they really catapult into the top 2 seeds? Here are 5 observations I have come to from this week:
- Scott Brooks knows how to motivate his players. We have seem time and time again with multiple players Scott Brooks knows how to light a fire under his players. Just a over a week ago Jason Smith was keeping the bench warm but when called upon he stepped up to the plate and knocked it out the ballpark. (Nats season is quickly approaching, so excuse the cliché.) Jason Smith started last nights game and scored 17 points and 7 boards playing 37 minutes. Scott has kept bench players ready, and when they are ready they can come out and contribute when called upon. You can say the same about Kelly Oubre. It seems like Scott recipe for sparking the bench is sitting key bench players out for a couple games. Let’s see if this works for Tomas Satoransky. At least for Jason Smith, I think he’s shown he deserves more minutes.
- John Wall is racking up the T’s. To my count John Wall racked up 2 technical fouls this week. He is only 3 technical fouls away from having to sit a game. This is a big story line that we will have to monitor. John is too valuable to the team to have to sit a game, especially down the stretch. After picking up technical number 16 he then has to sit another game after every 2 techs, so it’s not going to get any easier. John has to keep his emotions in check down the stretch.
- Bogdanovic is a still stud. It seems like the guy just doesn’t miss! Bojan or Bogie as he is called by the great announcers, Buck and Phil, has been an awesome spark off the bench. He is a killer from 3, has been better in the paint, and hasn’t been the liability on defense as we all feared when he was signed. The one game that stands out the most is in the desert where he scored 29 and had a +/- of 20. His ceiling is high and his shot is lethal. What a great addition to this bench, exactly what was needed. Thank you Ernie!
- The Wizards need to be more consistent. The Wizards went 4-1 on their last west coast road trip, but they built themselves big holes in the first quarter of many of those games. The Wizards need to find it within themselves to start off strong and play a full 48 minutes.
- Defense is key. Defense is the key to consistency. The Wizards have been letting teams rack up points on them. At this point this is the most concerning thing about this team. The Wizards haven’t held a team to under 100 points since before the all-star break. That is very concerning. Reports are that Coach Brooks had to cuss this team out earlier this week due to lack of effort on defense. This goes 2 fold, the starters are probably playing too many minutes and are fatigue, and the Wizards seem to play to the level of competition. Both the T-Wolves and the Mavericks are not top tier teams, probably barely middle of the pack. They should not have scored 104 and 107 points respectively. It’s crunch time and you can overlook any team.
Let’s fill up the phone booth for the last 4 games at home, and ride into the playoffs exerting energy into OUR Washington Wizards. Besides, its time to stop putting our energy into our struggling football team.