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The Washington Capitals trounced the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1 this evening.

With eight straight wins, the accountability level on the team continues to grow. No one wants to be the guy that slips up. For one he’d have to face his teammates. But on an even more tense note, they could get called to the office of general manager, George McPhee.

Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post

When former captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina were traded to Columbus for left wing Jason Chimera, it triggered many things. It caught a talented but comfortable team off-guard. Even though the players said all the right things, it distracted them and it showed on the ice.  It also saved the team around $2.2 million in regards to the salary cap. Add it up and McPhee made a shrewd move that opened the window for an even bigger trade before March 3.

And that’s where we stand now. The players know the reality of the business, but they also don’t want to make it an easy decision to move them elsewhere. Who would want to get traded off such a talented team primed for another playoff run?

No one.

And now every shift is an audition and chance for each player to show how valuable they can be for this team. Defensemen John Erskine and Shaone Morrisonn are scoring. Right wing Matt Bradley is flying over to jump in and fight so Ovi can’t. Right wing Alexander Semin is scoring goals and making so many incredible plays that sports highlight shows could soon be forced to extend their normal run time. Winning face-offs, changing natural positions, battling for loose pucks – this is AWESOME team hockey!

And it will likely stay that way, as not one of the current members of the Washington Capitals would prefer to sport a different sweater this season.