The Washington Capitals shocked the hockey world last night when they pushed all their chips to the middle of the table and bet on themselves in this year’s playoffs. Adding Kevin Shattenkirk to an already stacked team was both unexpected and devastating to their closest opponents. As it happened so late at night (and with so many conditions), reactions are still pouring in from media across the country.
- T.J. Oshie may have had the best reaction, tweeting out a welcome message to his old St. Louis teammate. Oshie and Shattenkirk have played together on the world stage as well, suiting up at both the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
- Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy writes how this move is directly related to falling at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins a year ago. The Capitals are after a championship surely, but they first need to make their way through the defending champs and get the playoff monkey off their backs. Shattenkirk will help that tremendously.
- Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press writes about the growing trend of playoff conditions and has some choice quotes from GM Brian MacLellan.
- Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post was on the conference call with the general manager and relayed his explanation, saying that Shattenkirk was the only “Grade A” option out there in what is a rental-only market.
- Craig Button on TSN’s TH2N last night spoke about the possibility that Shattenkirk leaving could open the door for the Los Angeles Kings to sneak into the playoffs. Weakening the Blues—who are still currently in a playoff spot—is good for everyone in the Western Conference playoff push.
- Also from TSN is Frank Seravalli’s take which agrees with Wyshynski on the Caps going after the Penguins’ title this year. Seravalli also mentions how the Blues have a ready replacement in the towering Colton Parayko. Parayko is set to burst onto the NHL scene with a larger role and should be watched closely this summer when he is a restricted free agent.
Indeed, getting Shattenkirk will increase the Washington Capitals chance at the Stanley Cup this year, and with it they’ve build perhaps the best right-side on any defense group in the league. Matt Niskanen and John Carlson already gave teams matchup issues in the top four and the addition of Shattenkirk makes it that much more impressive.
Any team in the East should be worried now that any addition they make is useless. They’ll have to go through the Caps to get in—that is unless those pesky Penguins get to them first.