Ed note: I've lived about a mile away from the Capitals practice rink for the past two years. I've gone to a lot of practices, met players at bars and watched a lot of games, so I think I have a handle on these guys....We all know Ovechkin shoots, Backstrom passes and Green sneaks in on the power-play, but here's a look at the "other" players that are going to play a huge role in the upcoming series
|2008 - Chris Clark||32||1||5||6||-3||32||0||0||0||0||36||2.8|
Who he is: Usually a team captain is this team's best player which goes hand in hand with a leadership role. This is not the case in Washington, where their best leader (who's a good hockey player) is the captain.
Chris Clark has been snake bit lately with a myriad of groin and wrist injuries requiring multiple surgeries that have limited him to 50 regular season games in the past two seasons. But with Donald Brashear's suspension, Clark got back in the lineup for Game 7 and played a fast game, not showing signs of rust.
Getting Clark (a former 30 goal scorer in 2006-07) going would be a huge boost for the Caps. Although he's in a 4th line role now, the Caps have several wingers like Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann and Viktor Kozlov on higher lines who often give inconsistent efforts and have unsteady production. As Clark gets back into game shape, it's clear that he'll be a larger and larger part for the Caps.
How the Pens can neutralize him: The Pens can't back down, Clark gives an honest effort, and if he's as healthy as he looked for Game 7 against the Rangers, he's going to be a handful when he forechecks and finishes checks on Penguins. Pittsburgh doesn't have to necessarily target Clark, but they need to finish their own checks on him whenever possible, just as they will and should against any opponent in the playoffs.