The pundits' assault on the Capitals continues with Scott Burnside's live Q&A session held at ESPN.com.
Here's the Capitals-related questions.
Dustin (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): Malkin or Ovechkin? Who is your Hart Trophy Winner?
Scott Burnside: Great question, great race. Two points separating the two of them with a week to go. I was all Malkin when he was 11 points up on Ovechkin; now it's a little tougher. Still, I like Malkin's all-around game and I think he has become a better two-way player and may edge out Ovechkin in the final voting. Malkin it is.
Both are deserving, but I think we've gone over why this "Ovechkin doesn't backcheck" nonsense is void.
Greg (Herndon, VA): Environmentalists have made their choice for the Norris, "We think the Norris should Go Green this year"...Mike Green that is. How bout you?
Scott Burnside: Hard to vote against Mother Earth, but I think the vote will ultimately come down to Green's offensive acumen against Zdeno Chara's all-round game and leadership for a Boston team that just clinched the conference title. I think Green will win it. Just not sure yet he should.
Green is a +24, and Chara is a +24. Green has 48 takeaways, Chara has 27. Anyone else tired of this "Mike Green is good at offense so he can't possibly be good at defense!" meme?
Marc (Malden, MA): If the playoffs started today, Pittsburgh is the 6th seed. So for it to be PIT/BOS in the East Finals, Montreal has to beat Washington, any chance that happens?
Scott Burnside: That is the problem with trying to guess now who will end up where. But I do think the Caps are vulnerable against a team that can score and who has the potential to throw out a hot goaltender (Carey Price anyone?) Plus I wonder about the mental part for Jose Theodore having to face the Habs and the fans in his hometown. Hmmmm. That would be some great drama.
Not buying this one bit. Don't make me link to the Japers' post that proves Theo has been a top 10 goalie since turn of the New Year...
Neal (San Carlos, CA): Scott, which of the top teams (DET, SJ, BOS, WASH) do you see as most vulnerable to a 1st round upset?
Scott Burnside: Neal, good question. I would say the Caps given their propensity for giving up lots of goals. See my earlier response to a possible Theodore homecoming in Montreal. That said, if he can get on a roll the Caps could be in for the long haul. That's a pretty big if though.
Theodore shutout the Canadiens in November and won his second start against them. Also, using GA to choose your "loser" isn't too informed. He should look at Detroit's GA and think it over. Next please.
Craig (D.C): Any reason for the dislike of everything Caps? No Ovie for MVP? Don't think Green deserves Norris? and ready for them to be bumped in the first round?
Scott Burnside: Hey, they were my Team Can Dream a year ago and they got all kinds of love from us.
Sounds like someone lost a bet...
Funny how a few bad games in March have turned the Capitals into the whipping boy for hockey analysts.
The world is not sunshine and lollipops. We accept that the Capitals are not going to waltz to the finals or through any round of the playoffs, but none of these projections make much sense.
The Caps may fall in the first round, but so could the Sharks, Red Wings, Bruins and Devils. Burnside is usually a decent commentator on the game, but he's not really using any thought here that suggests his points have merit. Most of what he's spewing out, has been disproved on many a Capitals blog.
Jose Theodore isn't mentally prepared for the playoffs? Mike Green can't play defense? A Montreal team that is barely hanging on is going to trounce a Capitals team who has one more goal allowed than the Stanley Cup champions?
Chip officially on shoulders.
Let's Go Caps