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Are the Caps getting a free pass from the media?

By Kareem El-Alaily

Count me as one who isn’t quite so happy with the way the D.C. media treats the Caps. But not for the historic, pre-Ovechkin-era slights the Caps had to endure when they barely registered a blip on the local sports scene. Now that the Caps are everyone’s darling, getting attention is no longer an issue. What’s missing, to me, is any sort of substantive thought leadership on the team, a disservice to those of us who want to see hockey grow and become fully embraced in the D.C. area.

Most of what I’ve read or watched since last April’s playoff collapse are a few fluff pieces about how the Caps need to “stay angry” and suggestions that the Caps are right on the brink of Stanley Cup glory. Yet there is a much more intricate story than that. In-depth discussions should revolve around the Caps deficiencies at key positions, a coach who has had his lunch handed to him in the playoffs three years in a row, a team that may not be properly constructed for a Stanley Cup run, and star players that go AWOL in the post-season.

Who’s leading these discussions? I can tell you that it’s not the traditional TV, radio or print media outlets. We know the Caps very robust blogosphere is having these conversations, but how many casual Capital fans dig through the 500-comment discussions on Japers Rink to find the expert opinions? Similarly, how many have read Peerless’s dead-accurate preview of the Caps season? My bet is only a sliver of Cap fans have. That leaves a large segment of the fan base that gets their very superficial Caps coverage from the mainstream media, an outlet that isn’t applying the intellectual rigor to the subject as they should. Let me explain.

Last year’s choke job was one of the most monumental upsets in NHL history. The Caps were the top seed in the NHL and blew an unprecedented two-game lead against the #16 team in the NHL, losing two of the final three at home. This comes one year after blowing a two-game lead to the Penguins, again losing two of the final three at home. This was the eighth time the Caps have blown a multi-game series lead in 25 years.  Yet, the response from Caps management and coaching staff was that the Montreal loss was a “fluke” – a statement that touches a lot of raw nerves with some of us old-school Cap fans. Excuses abounded from top to bottom. No notable roster moves were made that addressed any of the team’s weaknesses, despite opponents exploiting them for three consecutive years in the playoffs. Compounding management’s inaction was the lack of response from the mainstream D.C. media, which granted the franchise a free pass for what was one of the ugliest choke jobs in NHL history.

Heaven forbid if the Redskins were to repeatedly choke the way the Caps have the football offseason would be a ritualistic seven-month media flogging. Yet somehow the Caps have escaped harsh local media criticism, something they absolutely deserve after the horrid finishes to the past few seasons. I haven’t read one editorial from a high-profile local sportswriter pointing out that the Caps have failed to address their deficiencies this off-season, or how coach Bruce Boudreau should be on the hot seat if he fails again this year, or if George McPhee’s trade deadline strategy was sufficient. Yet, I’ve read plenty of critical analysis of the Redskins, the Nationals (thank you Mr. Boswell), the Wizards and even non-local sports stars like Tiger Woods, Brett Favre and LeBron James. There clearly is a vacuum of any sort of Caps-related thought leadership from the mainstream media.

And that’s ironic. The Caps have always complained that historically the local media never gave the team proper coverage. They should be thankful. If the Penguins, Flyers or Rangers pulled this sort of post-season stunt repeatedly you better believe that every off-season move those teams made would be dissected with a microscope in their respective market.

Count me as one who thinks a little more pressure from the traditional media outlets won’t hurt. Chances to win Cups don’t come along frequently. In 37 years of existence there have been only three Caps teams that I’ve considered true Cup Contenders: 1985, 1992 and 2010. Those three teams collectively won one playoff series. One! This year’s team will be the fourth. But the franchise needs to pick up the urgency as these chances are not a birthright, especially in the salary cap era. The Caps know their (glaring) weaknesses and need to be aggressive and address them. The mainstream media needs to do its share and start holding the team accountable.

By Box Seats blogger  | October 13, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Kareem El-Alaily  | Tags:  Capitals, Kareem El-Alaily  
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Comments

Wayne Gretzky didn't win a championship until after his sixth year in the NHL, then won four in five years.

Ovechkin is starting his sixth season in the NHL.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | October 13, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

You can blame the lack of criticism on the fact that the bar has been set so impossibly low by the three other inept sports franchises in this town. People are genuinely excited about a 3 and 2 Redskins team which has already lost to the St. Louis Rams this season. What does that tell you?

The Caps offer:

1. The only chance to see a home team win more often than not

2. The best gameday experience, bar none (this one isn't close)

3. Homegrown personalities with long tenures

In short, the Caps are a revelation. I want them to win a Cup as much as anyone. But frankly, sometimes I'm just happy they don't suck. Maybe I'm not alone.

Posted by: bryc3 | October 13, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I hate the idiots that bring up the previous choking Caps teams that didn't have a single player that is currently residing on this roster. What difference does it make if they choked in 1987, 1992, or 2003? Those were completely different players and teams. There is no magical choking osmosis that comes with putting on a Caps jersey. This group's only true choke was last year. Losing to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia the prior two years in seven games was nothing to be ashamed of. This group has approximately ten more years together and they cannot be judged until their time is winding down. If they have choked numerous times at that point then fine, I'll jump on the choking bandwagon but until then it is entirely premature.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | October 13, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I like how the 1998 Caps (the only time they went to the Finals) aren't considered Cup contenders.

Posted by: Bagher | October 13, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Tony Kornheiser blasted them for years and it did not do any good. Your assuming caps fans pay attention to the media, I believe they read blogs like japers, dump and chase, ed frankawhatever

Posted by: 545t3g434g3 | October 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

1992???

But seriously, the "glaring weaknesses" have been discussed ad naseum, even in this publication. Second Line Center, Shut down defenseman, consistent scoring from the right side for the first line.

And as a former/retired blogger myself I will tell you, no amount of yipping from any corner of the media will change any of that or spur the franchise to "make the obvious moves." The D.C. Sports media pounded Vinny Cerrato's player-personel decisions for years before Dan Snyder finally did something about it.

Remember how Jagr was supposed to be the guy to "get us over the hump."

Yeah, it's easy to sit back and say how if the team does this then the Cup is locked down, I've done it myself, but things rarely if ever work out that way. Hades, heading into the playoff last year, hardly anybody believed that the Flyers would make it to the Finals and most "knew" that Chicago's goaltending wasn't going to hold up.

Are there flaws on this team? You bet. However, we can sit here and come up with ironclad reasons why every single NHL team WON'T win the Cup this year.

Playoff hockey isn't about the best team, the most talent, or even "the greatest desire." It about having good matchups and a few breaks go your way.

Finally, I (partially) agree with the team's management assessment of last April. The series was lost when the Caps pulled up in Game 5 and Halak simply stole Games 6 and 7. Furthermore, of all the Game 7's I've seen the Caps play (and I've seen all of them), last April was by far the best they have ever played, yet they lost. Captain A.O.'s game-tying goal doesn't get waived off because of goaltender interfernce, the Caps probably win that game and move on.

But how firing the coach, firing the GM, getting a second line center, a shut-down defenseman, and installing a new system will prevent a team from getting fogged in at the airport until 5 am or do away with the NHL's arbitrary and capricious officiating standards is beyond me.

Posted by: CapsNut | October 13, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

So sounds like your suggestions are:

1) More negativity from the media
2) Blow up the team

No thanks to either suggestion.

Posted by: hatrik22 | October 13, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Gambrills4- Last years choke job brought up the previous years choke jobs. After a while choke jobs become labeled to the crest on the front not the names on the back (Look at the cubs).

Bagher - the '98 caps team was lucky (minus Essa) - and no disrespect to Olie cause he was on fire.. but that caps team was the 4th seed and the top 3 all lost in the first round. All of the sudden they had home ice advantage. The Contender's he's talking about (I can't speak for 85 cause it was before I became a fan) 92 and last year choked hard cause they were true contenders. That had opportunity and talent to compete. But they didn't. (yes I'm still bitter)

All he's saying is it would be nice for the media to call out the caps. Put some accountability back on the team (mngt & players) instead of saying 'oh it was a hot goalie' and nobody call them out... even when our PP still sucks 6 months later.

Posted by: goskinsgo | October 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the writer but I think the problem is the lack of commentary/analytical writing about the Caps on both a macro and micro level. The writer focuses on the lack of articles on the macro level - big overriding issues. But there is also few, if any, articles analyzing the Caps play, strategy and use of specific players on a micro level. For example, in the Wash. Inquirer today (a free newspaper) there was a lengthy Skins article analyzing how the Skins D doesn't allow many points despite giving up a lot of yardage. It detailed the use of certain players on the goal line, extensive use of dime packages by the secondary, etc. In other words, the writer demonstrated keen knowledge of football intracicies and taught his audience as well. Conversely, the Caps articles by the major print media are always very superficial where you can tell the writer knows very little about hockey and so doesn't really do any analysis or teach the audience much of anything. One commenter mentioned the Tony K articles of the past, but Tony K criticized on a superficial level because he knew little about the game of hockey or the Caps. Same with Mike Wise. The big print media in northern cities and Canada have writers who know much more about hockey, and so can do substantive analytical and critical articles, and their newspaper editors give them space on the pages to do it. Not here in DC for the most part, except by the knowledgeable and hard-working bloggers.

Posted by: Monty2 | October 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't disagree with the opinion that the Caps get an easy ride from the mainstream media. But that has nothing to do with the Caps and everything to do with the lack of hockey expertise at the MSM outlets in town. When the only major newspaper in town keeps putting sportswriters with little to no NHL experience on the Capitals beat, and every other commentator in the sports section is a football or basketball person, there is no one qualified to do in-depth analysis of the Capitals.

So the real news is in the blogosphere. Be grateful that we have Japer's Rink and Peerless in town.

Posted by: Hockey4Life | October 13, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, I think the blogs go too far in the other direction. There's a lot of mass mouth-breathing, hyperventilating hysteria out there about every little thing right now, less than five games into the season. Frankly, I think most of my fellow Caps fans need to switch to decaf. I for one am proud that the front office isn't buying into the whole BLOW UP THE TEAM ZOMG bullshit you're spouting. They actually stopped to think before wailing.

You want analysis? Why don't you start.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 13, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

goskinsgo,

I agree with the crest comment to a certain extent but like the Cubs it should be treated like more of a curse. It's ridiculous for a group of very young players that have choked in the playoffs for the first time to be treated with the "same old choking dog Caps" banter. It was completely fair when referring to the earlier clubs because there was quite a few players that spanned across that time but the slipper doesn't fit this group at this time.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | October 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me for asking - but I seen the comments bring up blowing up the team and starting over- but when did the writer say he wanted to start from scratch?

Posted by: goskinsgo | October 13, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

goskinsgo,

I agree with the crest comment to a certain extent but like the Cubs it should be treated like more of a curse. It's ridiculous for a group of very young players that have choked in the playoffs for the first time to be treated with the "same old choking dog Caps" banter. It was completely fair when referring to the earlier clubs because there were quite a few players that spanned across that time but the slipper doesn't fit this group at this time.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | October 13, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The hot goalie excuse was insulting BS. We lost that series for many reasons. Poor power play, Habs players willingness to block pucks,Mtl's speedy forwards,the continued disappearances of Semin and Flash,etc. But GMGM's overall point is correct. You don't make drastic changes because of 5 bad days in April. They needed to tweak the roster more then they did so I'm witholding judgement until the trade deadline. The local media could care less about the Caps the only reason they get the coverage they do now is the Wiz incompetence and the Deadskins are usally done playing meaningfull games by Thanksgiving.

Posted by: bukaki23 | October 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I have a little long term perspective on the Caps (I watched Langway when he was still in the AHL), so I don't buy the hereditary choke theme. Just doesn't pass down unless there is a continuum with the front office and players. Not so with Caps.....yet. Let's see what 2010-11 brings. Then maybe. Montreal was not exactly a fluke last year. They took the Pens in the 7th game on the Pens' home ice. Philly did defeat them in 5; but after winning two 7 game series as an underdog, that might have been expected.

All that said, a little critical examination is not often a bad thing.

Posted by: prestoj | October 13, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

So if a media person provides a different analysis of the Caps' playoff performances, both recent and ancient, from your hyperbolic paragraph about choke jobs then you believe that they are giving the Caps a free pass from criticism.

Sorry I find the whole discussion far more nuanced than that.

And I am a fan who goes out and gathers my information--yes I do check Japers' and Peerless among other sites on a daily basis--for a more complex discussion of the Caps and what they need to do to bring the Cup to DC.

However, I am delighted that the traditional media markets are paying more attention to the Caps. I am also confident that more criticism and greater analysis will soon develop. It's a learning curve. I am listening to The Fan now simply because they are actually discussing the team. The analysis and knowledge will get better with time.

Besides we always have Wilbon and Wise to bring the negative.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | October 13, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Kareem is a hack who can't come up with anything original. Trying to refute his arguments feeds the fire and strokes his ego. It's clear he just wants to be a contrary voice so he can say "I told you so" if the Caps don't win this year (since statistically, they have a 1 in 30 chance right now, thats not very bold).

Montreal also wasn't the 16th best team in the NHL. I think when ranked 1-30, as Kareem suggests, they fell around 19th or 18th because teams in the west who missed the playoffs had better records. But hey, why do anything with facts, despite the fact that they'll make your argument look better. I guess it's hard enough just copying and pasting assorted tired arguments that Kareem collected from April through October and assembled them into a crappy blog post.

Posted by: GFisher1 | October 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

So four notes I want to address here:

1. Implying that I want more media negativity assumes there is any media negativity towards the Caps. There isn't. The media treats the Caps with kid gloves and the team got off very easy after last spring. It's not negativity I want, it's an equal amount of in-depth coverage that is afforded to other pro teams in the area.
2. Monty2's comments are dead-on as to why the Caps are under-covered from an anlytical perspective.
3. I don't expect the media to ever sway any of the Caps Management thinking. But I would like the media to take their coverage of the Caps up a level so that our large, growing, newbie fanbase can understand the sport better and not just gulp the superficial fluff they're spoon-fed.
4. I have never recommended blowing up the Caps. That's utterly absurd. Someone tell me where I have ever writtem that we need to gut this team.

Kareem

Posted by: topshelf_22304 | October 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I second the 106.7 comment. During the Caps season I listen to them over 980 simply because 106.7 actually acknowledges that there is a hockey team in town. 980 still thinks it's 1992 when there were three teams in town and the hockey team was an afterthought.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | October 13, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

There is no micro level analysis of any of the teams in print or on radio outside of the Redskins. Nobody is calling a radio station to pick apart why Riggleman pulled Dunn for defense in the 7th inning of a 2-run ballgame. Nobody is debating the pros and cons of Ovechkin playing the point on the power play. That just isn't going to happen. Print and TV/radio will always remain very high level when talking about these other teams.

There absolutely should be at least a recognition of the pressure that should be on Boudreau. We have three playoff years under Boudreau in the books. There have been four series; all have gone to Game 7. The Caps have lost three of them, all on home ice. The Caps have not looked particularly good in any of the series. Sure, they have won games and looked OK in spurts, but on the whole, they have been outplayed badly. The Montreal series wasn't just a bad six days in April. 1-for-33 on the power play isn't just a hot goalie. It's repeatedly jamming a square peg into a round hole without stopping to consider that something else is wrong.

Boudreau declared before the Montreal series that he wanted to show the way they play is the right way to play and can win in April. The evidence clearly shows that it does not. Once again, we're heading down the same road to see a movie we've all seen before, hoping somehow the ending will be different this time.

Posted by: Zornado | October 13, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Kareem,

Still puzzled on how criticism of the team from the media will make it better. Also if you dig down deep into the comments on the blog sites, youactually get lees and less expert analysis.

Posted by: boomer44 | October 13, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have needed a veteran blueline anchor and a second line defensive forward in the mold of a Selke Award finalist for several years now.

We all know that.

But in reviewing last year's team, perhaps the greatest disappointment was in goal.

Here you had a veteran in Jose Theodore who finished 30-7-7 during the regular season and was set to face the team that traded him away in disgrace several years earlier.

But instead of rising to the occasion and playing his best hockey, Theodore went into a shell and collapsed.

Again, Varlamov had to come in relief and play the majority of the series.

THAT failure to get a clutch performance from a player who HAD in previous years shown up for the postseason definitely affected this team negatively IMO.

It might not have shown up the same night the switch to Varlamov was made but it was one more doubt placed on a roster that had failed the past 2 years to win a decisive game at home.

The Caps did't acquire any name veterans in the offseason.

So, the hope for this team is that clutch younger players like Carlson and Neuvirth who seem to be guys that step up and do well with the lights on them, will help alter the chemistry from within.

But it is a tall order for 20 and 22 year old players.

From what I have seen so far and from what folks that know more about hockey than I ever will have said to me, John Carlson IS the future of the Washington Capitals on the blueline.

Mike Green is likely to be the player that is traded at some point down the line when changes are made.

But for 2010-2011, we will have to hope the team does well enough that opportunities exist at the trade deadline to add some pieces that can make a difference at not too great a cost.

Showcasing additional depth during the season can create those opportunities for trades later on.

Does this team win the Cup in 2010 in retrospect with Chris Pronger or Jay Bouwmeester in the lineup?

Again, I don't think one solid player changes the outlook of an entire roster.

Either the one player has to be a legitimate star that the other players look up to and will follow or the changes have to be MULTIPLE to have the desired effect.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 13, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, but the responses like bryc3 and esp. CapNut are even better.

We've seen it before, unbelievably great team losing in playoffs. it's all woodoo. Now everyone praises Flyers for trading for Pronger, but they were one one puck bounce away of not making the playoffs.

GMGM did an excellent job before tradeline, he did everything possible to make the run as deep as possible.

BB is not a trap coach and he never will be. That might cost him his job and Stanley, but Caps are fun to watch. By all standards they are the most exciting team to watch in the NHL.

In the era of cap restrictions you can't just go and pick up a player to address your weaknesses. That's why I think Caps have made the right decision to find the solution within. And what is the most important? These players are not the same players as year before. They have learned a lot, they know they can blow a 3:1 lead, that's part of learning how to play playoff hockey.

Give them a chance.

Posted by: CodePoetry | October 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In general fans, specifically hockey fans, can handle a lot more in-depth information/analysis/criticism than the media seem to think we can. The analysis we do get from the "mainstream media" starts to get repetitive very quickly. I don't think we need more "negativity." We do need more critical thinking--we want it and we can handle it. That's why we turn to the blogs.

Posted by: Bass1 | October 13, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The 1998 Caps aren't considered a Cup contender because they weren't one. They were the 4th seed in the East and only advanced to the Finals because New Jersey, Philly and Pittsburgh got knocked out in the first round. Not hard to advance when you play the 5th, 8th and 6th seeds in your conference before you get to the Finals.

Posted by: jcreech1 | October 13, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I think the Montreal series exposed weaknesses, and I think they were recognized at the time.

1) They bottled up Ovie and he didn't change his game. I see other teams now using the same defensive scheme against him, i.e. the Senators on Monday. Ovie had a lousy game even though he had the winning goal in OT.

2) Semin and Green. Where were they? Big question as to whether these two can bring their A game in the playoffs.

3) Turnovers in the defensive end (see Mike Green), and the lack of the aforementioned lockdown defenseman. Maybe Carlson will be the man.

4) Overconfidence. The Caps figure they can score in the playoffs the same way they did in the regular season. Not happening.

And yes one can make a good case that Boudreau was out-coached because he was.

All that plus a super-hot goalie. And you lose to team you have no business losing to.


Posted by: InTheMiddle | October 13, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Not hard to advance when you play the 5th, 8th and 6th seeds in your conference before you get to the Finals."

I don't know about that... last year's Caps didn't fare too well against a #8 seed.

Posted by: muddapucker | October 13, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

This is too funny. A writer writing about how things should be writen. LOL. A writer mad that negative articles are not written about a team that by all rights was the best team in the world for 6 months last season. A team that has performed better an better each of the last several seasons.


They got beat by a hot goalie in 7 games. Get used to it. That is hockey. If you have a hot goalie you can beat anyone. The Caps played exactly one bad game during the Montreal series and lost in 7 games. Just what accountability are you looking for. Noone disappeared last year, they just didn't score. The year before Mike Green got taken to task for his play and we later found out he was playing hurt.

The team could be better witha veteran blue line defender or two, but I have to tell you I was at the game Monday nad Mike Green looked much better on defense and the PK and Carlson is the real deal too. We are still one of the yougnest teams in the league and have founs a way so far to retain every young player on the team as they grow together.

Exactly what is it that you expect from them. i know what i expect and i have gotten it every year. Improvement from the young players. We now have players with a couple of years of playoff experience to draw on. Barring injury this is the year the team was pointing to anyway. last year and the year before were over acheiving success stories. It is time to put it together and go deep in the playoffs or all the way, but we have 6 months of rocking the red to enjoy before we have to worry about us. Let us enjoy it killjoy.

C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS!

Posted by: dbrine1261 | October 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

LOL, so the lack of media criticism is the reason that the Caps haven't won the Cup??? That's a new one. And the fans should hold this team accountable for chokes that occurred before they were associated with the team? Really? Really?

There hasn't been media criticism because there are only a handful of media types in this area that really understand hockey. None of the regulars on talk radio really understand it so they can't truly discuss it. And furthermore, to truly understand hockey you have to actually watch the game. You can't pick up anything from a boxscore like you can from football, baseball and basketball. And none of the talking heads watch the Caps so they can only talk very basic hockey.

As for this team, each of the last three seasons has been distinctly different. In 2008 both Mike Green and Alexander Semin played very well in the playoffs. The last two years, not so much. In 2008 they had no experience and it showed in games 2-4 against Philly. By the time, they started figuring out what was necessary they were behind the 8-ball. But they still played a heck of a game 7 and almost pulled it out. Hardly a choke. Two years they played a very good Pittsburgh team and lost in 7 games. The defending champion Detroit Redwings did as well. Last year they lost because their PP, which was by far the best in the league, couldn't convert. If you want to call that a choke fine but it hasn't been one consistent problem that has done them in.

But if you feel the need to take this team to task just so you can get attention, feel free. I would love to hear what steps you would have done to improve the team and be specific.

Posted by: ouvan59 | October 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The Caps SHOULD be called out. Ted is getting a pass. They are 1-3 in games 7's, ALL AT HOME. Excuses are made and excepted. Their weaknesses are there for the hockey world to see, but aren't addressed.

Bruce doesn't make adjustments but makes 20 commercials a year. Montreal embarassed the Caps and McPhee answers by resigning Fehr, Flash, bringing up to rookie d-men and signing two 4th liners. The same players disappear come playoff time (Flash, Semin and Green) but nothing is done.

Fanny's are in the seat and that is all Ted cares about. They don't want to make to moves that it takes to build a winner. McPhee hoards draft picks. This is a team that might make it to he 2nd round, if it's lucky. I'm a season ticket holder that won't be renewing next year, Ted won't care as along as people show up. Bring in a real GM and a coach that doesn't get outcoached every playoffs. A coach that runs the show and doesn't have "optional" practices.

Posted by: themightyzep2000 | October 13, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I just gotta ask season ticket holder, why did you renew this year if you are so angry with the Caps? Myself, I don't think finishing with the best record yet losing to a hot team that almost made it to the cup finals is reason enough to pull my hair out... Cheer up, maybe if you call Ted will give you a refund...

Posted by: rds128 | October 13, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

More negativity in the media? NO.

More second guessing the team from armchair idiots? NO.

Finally, more opinions that don't matter, from people who have no real experience in the NHL? No.

No, thanks. Back to Japers for me.

Posted by: CapsKnewbie | October 13, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Great post by CapsNut.

Seriously, Kareem, you think that last year's choke job was worst than what the Boston Bruins did a round later? Granted, Mike Green's dumbass penalty was . . . well, you know.

And, what is "thought leadership"? From the mainstream media? Huh?

Posted by: js84 | October 13, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@ rds128

The wife wanted to go to the playoffs last year and in order to get playoff tickets we had to renew. Haven't been to a game yet this year and have no plans to go to one. Been a season ticket holder under Ted's multiple 5 year plans.

It's getting stale what comes out of the front office's mouths. Hot goaltender, Green complaining about his sticks and then gloves. Semin and Flash disappearing. The blueprint to win the Cup is there. GMGM thinking for some reason he "out skill" the other team doesn't nor hasn't worked.

Watching the Stanley Cup finals, do you really think the Caps could have hung with either team?

Posted by: themightyzep2000 | October 14, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I have no idea who you are but in my opinion, on the issue of why the Cap's choked last year and largely got away with it, you are 1,000 percent correct.

On the other hand, the hack job the Post did last year on Langway fell into the same void.

Let's both stay focused on what's important.

Posted by: tslats | October 14, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree with @bryc3. I'm just happy the Caps don't suck. I've been a fan since I was a little kid and we got the Caps. I've been to "Guaranteed win night". Even with the first round playoff loss, last year exceeded anything I could have imagined as a season ticket holder. Exciting games, young guys who are skilled, enthusiastic, and good citizens? This formula works for me. I am proud to be a Caps fan. And yes, the regular season does count. I pay alot of money to go to those games and I feel it was worth it.

Posted by: didnik | October 14, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Not that it matters, but the team that won the President's Trophy has lost in the first round 3 of the last five years, including two years running.

Suggestion- go talk to Washington's goaltending coach (Arturs Irbe), who backstopped a San Jose team to a first-round upset win over Detroit in 1994 (the year prior San Jose won 10 games in an 84-game regular season) that everyone figured would be a cakewalk what with San Jose having never made the playoffs(the intra-division play in the first two rounds had been done away with for the first time in 1993-94 so Detroit was seemingly given a free pass in avoiding their old Norris Division foes in CHI, STL and TOR). It took Gretzky numerous failures (see the "Miracle in Manchester" game when EDM blew a 5-0 third period lead over LAK). It took Steve Yzerman almost 10 years to win a Stanley Cup. CHI and PHL both had bouts of good luck (you need this) to get to the final this year.

Posted by: jcurrin | October 14, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Kareem should strap on some skates and fill our "glaring" weakness at defense. I've seen every Caps game this year. Even went to the preseason game against Columbus where there were 5 fights. In a preseason game! The 3rd period of the NJ game was crazy and I think it shows that the Caps are not going to be billed as "soft". DJ King got into it right away against Gilly last night. Both tough kids. While I agree this team needs pieces (2nd line center, stay-at-home D, more scoring on RHS of 1st line, etc) NO team has had every piece it needs and no team ever will. To bring in a football analogy - the Patriots were 18 -1 in 2007 but the one they lost was the Super Bowl. What piece were they missing? The piece of duct tape on David Tyree's helmet!

Posted by: david_P | October 14, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Last season was the first TRUE upset for BB! We lost to the eventual SC champs in 7 games before that, and they were the better team that year! The year before that BB performed a minor miracle just GETTING us into the playoffs. We went from bottom in the league to a 7 game playoff series...that was an acomplishment. Upsets happen in ALL sports. It is time to move on!

Posted by: capscoach | October 14, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I would like to offer everyone a history lesson. Many of you are critical of Bruce Boudreu and George McPhee because of you feel Boudreau isn't a good enough coach and George McPhee isn't a good GM. Yes, the Caps blew what we all believe was a golden opportunity at winning the Cup last year. However, for those of you who might be new Caps fans let me offer you all something to think about.

New York Islanders
- Four consecutive 100 point seasons from 1976-1979. Presidents Trophy winners in '79. How far did they get in the playoffs those years? Three second round defeats and a first round loss in 1978. How many Cups did they win? Four in a row from 1980-83 and a fifth straight Finals appearance in 1984.

Edmonton Oilers
-111 points in 1982 which was the second best record in the league behind only the Islanders. Their fate that season? A first round sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings. What happened after that? Six Finals appearances from 1983-1990 which resulted in five Cup championships. The Oilers also made it to the Conference Finals two additional times in 1991 and 1992.

Detroit Red Wings
-1992-1994, 98 points, 103 points, 100 points; furthest they got in the playoffs those years? Two second round losses and a 7 game first round loss to the San Jose Sharks in 1994. What were the Sharks seeded that year? 8th
-1995 and 1996; swept in the Finals in '95 and a loss in the Conference Finals in '96 after a 62 win, 131 point regular season.
We all know what happened after that.

Relax, guys, this team is still very young and don't think for a second that McPhee won't get rid of certain players if it will improve the team.

Posted by: jcreech1 | October 14, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with david_P's comments. Rather than yet another "Caps choked in the playoff and need to be more heavily criticized" discussion, sit in the stands or watch THIS year's Caps on TV. How about the 15-15 penalty kill? How about the vastly improved defense without spending a fortune on a free agent acquisition. How about assuming that Ted doesn't just want our money as some proclaim. Let's assume the coach and GM are, in fact, competent and working to improve the team. Let's assume the players really do want to win The Cup. I've seen enough negativity from the blogs and media, some deserved and some downright moronic. Judge the team by their current play, not by rehashing the same old choke crap. Bemoaning the fact that the Caps aren't getting enough criticism in the media? I think a lot of us have had enough of the media's cynical overly critical crap that is shoveled in our direction by the so called journalists. Kareem-try throwing on a pair of CCM Ultralights, grab a stick and pay your money for a stick-and-puck session at your local ice arena before you jump on the hpercritical hockey bandwagon. In the meantime, we are having FUN at the Verizon Center.

Let's Go Caps.

Posted by: AADCDERM | October 14, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with david_P's comments. Rather than yet another "Caps choked in the playoff and need to be more heavily criticized" discussion, sit in the stands or watch THIS year's Caps on TV. How about the 15-15 penalty kill? How about the vastly improved defense without spending a fortune on a free agent acquisition. How about assuming that Ted doesn't just want our money as some proclaim. Let's assume the coach and GM are, in fact, competent and working to improve the team. Let's assume the players really do want to win The Cup. I've seen enough negativity from the blogs and media, some deserved and some downright moronic. Judge the team by their current play, not by rehashing the same old choke crap. Bemoaning the fact that the Caps aren't getting enough criticism in the media? I think a lot of us have had enough of the media's cynical overly critical crap that is shoveled in our direction by the so called journalists. Kareem-try throwing on a pair of CCM Ultralights, grab a stick and pay your money for a stick-and-puck session at your local ice arena before you jump on the hypercritical hockey bandwagon. In the meantime, we are having FUN at the Verizon Center.

Let's Go Caps.

Posted by: AADCDERM | October 14, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Kareem and Monty2 are absolutely right.

Without reasonable, critical analysis, the Caps will never be truly taken more seriously then the novelty that the region's media outlets currently view them. Analysis that informs and provides historical hockey perspectives will only aide and add to a deeper knowledge by the fans and casual observers. For instance, if it works for the Caps all season to have Mike Green join the rush and he sets records for offence by a defenceman, why then does he completely change his game in the playoffs and stinks it up? It is time for Washington, D.C. sports journalists to grow up and be big enough to recognize that there are other sports then the Redskins and to treat them maturely.

Posted by: Landshark | October 14, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

"Last year’s choke job was one of the most monumental upsets in NHL history"

Except the exact same thing happened in 08-09. Go ask San Jose.

Posted by: PonMan | October 14, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Or, it could be that your assessment is entirely wrong. I usually find that's the case when I have an opinion, look around, and see now one else next to me.

Posted by: JimmieBise | October 14, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows the strengths and weaknesses on this team. While I know they aren't perfect, I also know that they are legitimate cup contenders going into every year, and will be so for the foreseeable future. How many other DC teams have we been able to say that about? Though I would love for them to go further in the playoffs, what would be the point of the Washington media constantly pointing out their deficiencies for a 6 month long, 82 game season? Especially considering the state of the other sports franchises in this town.

Posted by: Constantine26 | October 14, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

>>Once again, we're heading down the same road to see a movie we've all seen before, hoping somehow the ending will be different this time.

BwaHa. New PK? Check. Smarter Ovechkin? Check. Faster Nicky, healthy Fehr, room on the roster for two excellent, young, cheep defensement to climb a 70 game learning curve? Check, check, and check. How about Less Walker and more Hendricks? How about Matt Bradley to the undercard and DJKing to the Stomper Room?
Whine all you want about last year's ashes. This roster is better, smarter, and tougher than *the one that thrilled you for 6 months last year*. On top of that, Caps have maneuvering room under the salary cap, and an impressive AHL stockpile.
I hated last April as much as anyone who's not on the team. But of all the idiotic times to post a flashback, this really takes the cake.

Posted by: redlineblue | October 14, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Who is this nutjob again? And how relevant is his ranting than any other schmoe who thinks the Second Coming is tomorrow? For the record, I think the organization gets the message - they got stuff to work out. Last I checked, beating a dead horse didn't do much, but please, Kareem, be our guest. You'll excuse us if we point and laugh at you. The Capitals will do what they can to address the deficiencies. You, and every other person who thinks if they chastise and rebuke the Caps for what they're doing, will get the change they're whining about, should just sit down and realize they could only effectuate change by being in the organization. Not by calling for a pitchfork and torch mob to Kettler for change. Stick with a sport you know, Kareem. You'd look less incompetent.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 14, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Come on, Caps fans. Stop hating. Kareem clearly knows what he's talking about regarding the team. You're all just too in denial to admit it. Once we settled our shot differential dispute following his first post (which he later helped to clarify in the comments section), he's been dead-on with everything else he's written on the Caps. He's already been more insightful than MOST of the Caps blogosphere, to include Japers, which is highly overrated when it comes to critical analysis IMO. Keep up the good work, Kareem. I, for one, am appreciative of your efforts.

Posted by: glb8p | October 14, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I think the author is onto something here. How can one improve without a third party auditing your quality? Does the Emporer's New Clothes ring a bell?

I love the Caps, but the team smells of entitlement. Someone needs to make that visible. The entitlement starts with the man wearing the 'C' and cascades down from there. His interviews carry an air of...I just want to win the Cup because I deserve it. Bad news OV - you have to EARN it.

And this is where the media comes in. Write an article that challenges his ability to lead - call him out - and see if he responds. Herbie Brooks did it to his kids and look what happened.

Criticism has a value, provided that you don't go to that well too often. But never going to well leaves you wearing an invisible suit.

Call out the Captain, Washington media. Then, wait and watch for the response - it will be great.

Posted by: langwayRULES | October 15, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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