Cakes has no time for 'Panicky Pete' Caps fans

Ben Krimmel
April 05, 2019 - 10:33 am

Concerned? Nervous? Apprehensive about the Washington Capitals this season?

Well, John "Cakes" Auville has a message for you: Stop it. 

"All these 'Panicky Petes' about coach (Todd) Reirden, like does he go to the whip enough, is he tough enough. He's got them a Metro Division championship," Cakes said on The Sports Junkies Friday. "So all the people who were worried about Todd Reirden, you can all settle down." 

Yes, the Capitals clinched their fourth straight Metro Division title with a 2-1 win Thursday and look to be peaking at just the right time.

When asked to compare his state of mind heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs now to his level of confidence this time last year, Cakes went with the present.

"I feel more confident about this year's edition," he said, "solely because you don't have the goalie uncertainty that you had last year. And it wasn't that uncertain last year, (Philipp Grubauer) was the guy, because (Braden) Holtby had been struggling."

Twelve months ago, Holtby was struggling as his goals against average ticked up and went 8-7-2 in February, March, and April. But during that same stretch this year, he has gone 15-7-2 and playing some of his best hockey on the season.

"But now you got Holtby playing the way he shoulda been playing this time last year and you don't have any question marks about, probably, the most important spot on your team when it comes to Stanley Cup Finals (and) Playoffs," Cakes said. 

This level of confidence is not misplaced. The Capitals this time last year were 48-26-7. This year's team: 48-25-8. And the Caps have improved their goal differential from plus 18 to plus 32. 

While the Capitals have gotten another 50 goal season from the ageless Alex Ovechkin, his eighth of his career, the Caps true strength comes from every player being able to score. In 2018-19, seven Capitals (T.J. Oshie, Jakub Vrana, Nicklas Backstrom, Brett Connolly, Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Ovechkin) all have over 20 goals. The number was only three for the Stanley Cup Champions a season ago. 

"And I would say that they figured some things out, they figured out a winning formula last year," J.P. Flaim said Friday.

No, Cakes or J.P aren't guaranteeing a Stanley Cup repeat, but don't let the 'Panicky Petes' tell you another ring isn't possible.

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