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Posted at 8:12 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Boudreau says 'a lot of things not going right' for Capitals' slumping stars

By Katie Carrera

Against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, Alex Ovechkin had more attempted shots blocked (5) than reach the net (2) but he also broke at least three sticks, maybe more, when taking aim for others.

There's no question that Ovechkin, and several other players who were among the Capitals' top scorers last season, are slumping, but after the 3-0 loss to the Lightning, Coach Bruce Boudreau commented on the uncontrollable factors that contribute.

One of the odder moments at St. Pete Times Forum came when Ovechkin came out of the penalty box and had what might have been a clean breakaway into the offensive zone and well, here's Boudreau:

"Ovi comes out of the penalty box, the puck instead of bouncing forward -- I don't know how in the hell -- it bounced backwards on him or he has a breakaway," Boudreau said. Nicklas Backstrom "gets chances in the slot and it flubs off his stick. Ovi breaks sticks when he's shooting. There's a lot of things not going right for them and they're pressing really hard but [their slumps are] not for a lack of want and will.

"it's tough when you've got a team that's used to scoring. There's a lot of guys that's used to scoring a lot of goals, being up at the top in a lot of categories, and when they're not scoring they get frustrated."

By Katie Carrera  | January 13, 2011; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom  
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Next: Semyon Varlamov settles down against Lightning

Comments

Backstrom and Optional---both guys who didn't skate the morning skate.

Both had opportunities all night where they flubbed shots.

Again, if they are hurt, sit them till they heal.

However, if they are playing...maybe the morning skate can be a time where they see how the puck sits on the ice, or bounces in different situations.

The stick thing, I am not buying that one bit. Let's not start MIKE GREENING the situation.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity! You make your own luck! Sick of the excuses!!! Fire that $%#^

Posted by: joshu1 | January 13, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

for the first time, i gave up and changed the channel to watch anything and settled on a re-run of family guy that i have seen at least once before. so sad so very sad...

Posted by: ebolean1 | January 13, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

One play that epitomizes the Caps self-centered, let's-avoid-confrontation-at-all-costs mentality was when Malone smoked Backstrom along the boards in the 3rd period. I would never advocate for retaliating against a player for a clean hit (wink wink), but since this is the "new" NHL that kind of thuggery is obsolete.

Wait a minute, in the post-lockout era that's become the norm....guy makes a good, clean hard check and winds up having to fight immediately after. Well, at least that's what has been happening throughout the league and it's got to make the guy who got smoked feel like he's valued by his teammates and the team has his back. Backstrom had to love how his mates really gave it to Malone...oops, nobody even so much as looked at him.

Does everyone remember when Erskine smoked someone on the Bolts with a clean hit and Malone immediately went after him? Johnny put a quick beat-down on him and guess what? THAT'S THE LAST TIME WE BEAT THE BOLTS.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 13, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

jwash4472 said: "The results for the last four games is ludicrous. 1 point out of 8 total and all four games vs. SE teams."

I am going through withdrawals because I am probably one of the biggest Kool-aid drinkers in here but haven't sipped any lately. C'mon though. If you're going to complain at least pretend you watch the team. The Caps have 4 out of 8 points in their last 4 games. 1-1-2. OT loss to TB, beat FLA in regulation 3-2, lost to FLA in OT, and then lost last night to TB.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 13, 2011 8:42 AM | Report abuse

for the first time, i gave up and changed the channel to watch anything and settled on a re-run of family guy that i have seen at least once before. so sad so very sad...

Posted by: ebolean1

First time I gave up watching this season as well...I can handle when they are losing, but two games of crappy play was enough for me.

No one was in front of the net, and the D did not block out the middle of the ice. I really thought the Caps would at least start the game really up beat...it was their chance to take back the SE. But again we get a mailed in first period. Very dissapointing.

Whats worse is now they have only 1 out of a possible 4 points and Vancouver is up next...if they don't bring their "A" game to that one we are looking at another 7-0 spanking.

I bet Poti wasn't even hurt...he was on for the first two goals...I bet BB just told him to stay in the locker room!

All right...that was my vent...lets rebound with a good game against the Canucks! they are the best in the league right now, and the Caps need to prove to themselves that they can still play with the best. C-A-P-S caps caps caps!

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Same old, same old. It can't be more obvious that the Caps no longer hear what the Coach is saying. They have not recovered from last year's playoff drubbing (aka coaching failure)and have no team spirit whatsoever. After failing to clear their own zone for a minute or two, finally a Cap gets the puck down the ice and shoots the puck off the goalie's chest. Meanwhile the rest of the team is heading for the bench. The other team gets the puck, takes it back to the Caps end and controls the puck for a couple of minutes or more and ... etc. etc. etc. The Caps are Mediocre, Predictable and Boring. Sorry, die-hards, but the Caps will be lucky to make the playoffs, if they don't make a coaching change.

Posted by: tw46 | January 13, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

but the Caps will be lucky to make the playoffs, if they don't make a coaching change.

Posted by: tw46 |

PLEASE! that is beyond hilarious! I love how people assume they know what the players and coaches are thinking/feeling!

First off...it is way to late to make a coaching change...maybe nest year though. Second...we are pretty far ahead of the 9th place team, so it is early for that kind of talk...

We have some really tough games coming up...Vancouver and Philly. This is the Caps chance to prove to themselves what they can do.

and why do certain people only come on here when the Caps lose...didn't see many of you after we beat Pitt and went a whole bunch of games where we played well.

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I attribute their horrible loss to just sloppy play. Before this game started Caps players said this is going to be a playoff game and they are going to play it like a playoff game. Well, hell if they play this sloppy in the playoffs were not getting past the first round again.

Anyway, playoffs are still a few months away, I really hope they find their groove again and start scoring.

Posted by: navidw | January 13, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

First off...it is way to late to make a coaching change...maybe nest year though.

Posted by: capscoach

Really. I seem to remember the Devils firing their coach right before the playoffs one year and winning the Cup that year. It is not too late to fire Mr. Commercial.... HE HAS LOST THE TEAM !!

Posted by: paulpastro | January 13, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

@ebolean1
First time I had to change the channel too. Too painful to watch.

Posted by: navidw | January 13, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

@ capscoach

"and why do certain people only come on here when the Caps lose...didn't see many of you after we beat Pitt and went a whole bunch of games where we played well."

Come on you know these boards and the true posters around here. The certain people you refer to are the ones with season tickets or season couch spots at fed ex field and now they have nothing to complain about its all over for them so it has to be all over for the CAPS too, in their minds anyway

Posted by: bqts | January 13, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Excuse after excuse after excuse. Tampa Bay has a rookie owner, a rookie GM, a rookie coach, and a revamp lineup, along with a journeyman goaltender. And they beat us twice, shutting us out. Ya, and the puck bounced. Melrose/Barnaby: Pretenders, not Contenders. I think I am starting to agree.

While the record might be good, no one can like the quality of play EVEN if we get a point of the win.

Forget keeping an eye on the top playoff spot; start looking at the 8th playoff spot.

Posted by: trfnews | January 13, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

capscoach,

The Caps are exactly 7 pts out of 9th place, that is not "pretty far ahead" IMO!

Next, the Pens fired their coach in February a couple years ago and made a run to the Cup so it is not too late to fire Caillou.

Posted by: PhilR | January 13, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

That was a horrible scrimmage vs. Tampa last night. Hopefully, they will not play that poorly when the regular season starts and the points matter.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | January 13, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I love how when we win its just "the regular season" ...but when we lose people are jumping off bridges.

The CAPS will make the playoffs...if u dont think that either you dont watch enough hockey or you are just nuts.

Does BB deserve to be fired? I really would love to know what the players think.

In watching every game over the past 2 seasons its obvious that last year EVERY bounce went our way, every loose puck, every deflection...tape to tape passes..u name it...its not going our way this year nearly as often. Our PP is garabage and last year we were #1 by a mile. If we were the #5 PP this year we'd be in great shape, we still are in good shape nonetheless.

The Caps havent played their best stretch of hockey yet...and still are only 2 pts out of 1st in the SE. Life could be worse. Hopefuly the PP gets fixed b4 the playoff...i'd rather it be a disaster now than later.

We will beat Vancouver Friday in a big showdown...cruise past the Sens and then in an E.Conf battle we will eek out a win vs Philly on Tuesday. The pitchforks will be put back in the barn. U heard it here first.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | January 13, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@bqts

but they bug me! :)

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

ebolean1, me too - though I picked up a book. Does anyone seriously believe that this team can win the Cup?

I am seriously thinking of tuning out sports all together for a while. I am sick of the disappointment. I will at least watch my Ravens on Saturday - not expecting much there either.
Depressing...

Posted by: kkd76 | January 13, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh jeez, here we go. Two consecutive losses and the "fire Boudreau" crowd comes back out. Where were you guys (tw46, joshu1, etc.) on January 2?

Posted by: sabredc | January 13, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Well I did notice at least one refreshing new change last night:
BB's newest commercial shows him at a Mercedes dealership, and I assume this replaces the old 'bird call' commercial.

Now if only the Hadeed commercial would RIP...

Posted by: PSD1 | January 13, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are exactly 7 pts out of 9th place, that is not "pretty far ahead" IMO!

Posted by: PhilR

Absolutely true.

On the other hand, the Caps are only 4 points out of 1st place in the East. That is even less far ahead.

I have to point out again that the Caps are tied for the SECOND BEST RECORD in the NHL over the past 10 games at 6-1-3(15 points). Only Vancouver has been better over that stretch. Boston has been equal.

That's it. So to say their results of late have been horrible is completely wrong. Is it time for the other 27 teams to fire their coaches and get rid of all of their players?

There are problems that the Caps need to improve upon. They need to do that. I also agree that BB is definitely on the hot seat. If the team performs poorly through the end of January I could see him fired. His coaching tenure may have run its course. It just seems how hockey is, coaches are good for a few years and then need to leave as their message stops getting through.

However, the overreaction to one game in January on here is ridiculous. I really hope none of you are in a proefession that demands leadership because that would be scary.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@Redskins

I like your attitude! The Caps have not looked good the past two games, went through an 8 game slump, and are still running neck and neck with the top teams.

I personally think that a coaching change might be helpful after this season (let's wait and see how the playoffs go first)

Last night was just a terrible game...the players simply did not show up, and I don't think you should use the worst games or the best games to judge a coach. The players are accountable as well...they did not follow a game plan last night...

We need a center...Backstrom just isn't setting stuff up right now. People like Joek443 say well Ovie isn't helping Back either, but at least OVie is getting chances...he is in the right spots...broken sticks, and bouncing pucks will eventually work themselves out if you are in the right spots.


Do I see us winning the Cup this year...of course not (it is a crap shoot even for the best teams) but Bruce is working with a ton of rookies, no second line center, and a new defense oriented game. He really isn't doing that bad...and neither is the team. With some luck, maybe Ovie, Bakcs, and Semin find their game in the next month and we peak for the playoffs...maybe we don't, but we have a decent team and I am going to just enjoy them as best I can.

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"First off...it is way to late to make a coaching change...maybe nest year though. "

---

PIT fired Michel Theiren (sp?) 57 games into the season, and went on to win the cup that year.

Theiren had taken the Pens to the Stanley Cup finals just the year before. BB hasn't taken this team past the 2nd round.

It's not "too late" for anything.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

jwash probably did watch the game, he just can't do math ;)

Posted by: rachel216 | January 13, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Ok all you people that are screaming about the 3-4 times a coach has been fired late in the season and gone far in the playoffs...well thats fine...but go get the numbers on when the coach was fired and it did NOTHING or made it worse...please the NJD THIS YEAR!

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@ capscoach

"and why do certain people only come on here when the Caps lose...didn't see many of you after we beat Pitt and went a whole bunch of games where we played well."

--------
maybe it's because people have lives!

Posted by: rachel216 | January 13, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Real winners make their own luck.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | January 13, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"Ok all you people that are screaming about the 3-4 times a coach has been fired late in the season and gone far in the playoffs...well thats fine...but go get the numbers on when the coach was fired and it did NOTHING or made it worse...please the NJD THIS YEAR!"

---

Ummm...no one is "screaming" about anything. You made an inaccurate statement, and were corrected. It's not that big of a deal. You can acknowledge that there's a precedent for this and still think it's not the best choice for the team, but the reality is that you were wrong when you said it was "too late to fire BB" it simply isn't.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"PLEASE! that is beyond hilarious! I love how people assume they know what the players and coaches are thinking/feeling!"

No offense, but when the players are playing as sloppy as they are right now that means a lack of discipline. BB comes out with new excuses every week, it's getting old. According to him this only happens to the Caps and no other HNL teams.

It seems like the Caps "stars" are tuned out right now, they aren't listening. They haven't been listening for a while now. They play great games against Pittsburg and nobody else. Why? They are motivated by the rivalry. Everybody else, not so much. I am hoping this translates into playoff wins, but they gotta make it first.

That all falls on the coach. BB isn't going to fired this year, but to me he's clearly one of the reasons they look like crap. You can't keep flip flopping lines like he does and expect to be consistent. That doesn't work in ANY sport and it's not working for the Caps.

BB is PART of the problem. The Caps clearly have other problems as well.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 13, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

The CAPS will make the playoffs...if u dont think that either you dont watch enough hockey or you are just nuts.

------
um anything can happen. if they go through a slump like the 8 game losing streak, they could possibly not make it. it's not a given. this is sports... nothing is guaranteed. i think that statement is nuts. they are only 7 points ahead of the 9th seed, plus carolina's has two less games as well.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 13, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we can call the lack of goal scoring a slump anymore. A slump is a few games...this has been going on for about 2 months now. It's not a slump, it's reality. They are playing a more defensive system now, but I'm not sure they have the right players to do that. They have no identity anymore and teams are no longer intimidated by their ability to scores goals. This team needs a big time shake up. They won't get rid of BB, so they need to make a big trade.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | January 13, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@rachel216

"maybe it's because people have lives"

Or maybe you only enjoy being rude to people on ocassion.

@VTDuffman

I respect the other side of the argument. I simply want to point out that sighting a few extreme cases that have worked out well does not mean that more often than not it doesn't work. I get why people think the way you do...I myself would probably not object to replacing BB after the season is over if we don't at least play well through the eastern conf. finals.

Posted by: capscoach | January 13, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Time to bring in Hunter, Langway, and Olie to sit down with Optional and teach him what a leader is.

Then you can have those guys meet with Backstrom and Laich.


As I have said, the coach is probably going nowhere, as is the GM.

But the players...that is a different story.

Also either Gordon or Steckel. They are the same player, just different heights.

I think we will start winning games now that Poty is out and Erskine is in.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Clearly this team has quit on its coach and only outstanding play by its rookies game after game who are just glad to be in the NHL is keeping the games from becoming blowouts.

Posted by: dull | January 13, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"I respect the other side of the argument. I simply want to point out that sighting a few extreme cases that have worked out well does not mean that more often than not it doesn't work."

---

More often than not, it doesn't work because the team is terrible to begin with, which is why the coach got fired.

I think the point that some of us are trying to make is that - this team isn't terrible. There is playoff caliber talent on this team, it just needs to be lead by a playoff caliber coach. That's why we cite analogous examples to our situation.

The I think that our situation is a lot closer to 08-09 PIT than it is when some Coyotes team sucked, their coach got fired mid-season, and they didn't get any better.

You disagree, and that's cool.

I just think this season is starting to act as a treatise on the shortcomings of BB as an NHL Coach. It gets more obvious with each game.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

haha that's what you call rude? stop calling people out for being here "only" when they're losing.

Posted by: rachel216 | January 13, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"However, the overreaction to one game in January on here is ridiculous"

I guess such a one-sided loss to a former whipping-boy is too much to take... Fact is TB was missing some key players in the first two games and they are a much-improved team--"new owner/GM/coach, etc" notwithstanding. Obviously the last two games mean it's GAME ON! for these two teams. Legitimate competition is a good thing...

Posted by: MoeLoog | January 13, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"and why do certain people only come on here when the Caps lose...didn't see many of you after we beat Pitt and went a whole bunch of games where we played well."

--------
maybe it's because people have lives!

Posted by: rachel216

I don't see how people posting for hours, whining incessently, only when the Caps lose, then posting nothing when the Caps win, shows that they have a life.

I find it too coincidental that the only time these posters with lives aren't busy is when the Caps happen to lose.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

That said, I'll concede this:

The stick breaking thing is weird. He's always kind of had a broken stick issue, but it seems to be on a whole new level this season. That and flubbing passes. He can't receive a pass at all anymore, it's so odd, it seems like half the time he receives a pass it rolls right over his stick.

I don't accept excuses like equipment issues, but have they changed sticks or anything recently? It seems like no one can receive a pass.

Maybe they just need to do that passing drill with the egg like on "The Mighty Ducks."

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"and why do certain people only come on here when the Caps lose...didn't see many of you after we beat Pitt and went a whole bunch of games where we played well."

--------
maybe it's because people have lives!

Posted by: rachel216

I don't see how people posting for hours, whining incessently, only when the Caps lose, then posting nothing when the Caps win, shows that they have a life.

I find it too coincidental that the only time these posters with lives aren't busy is when the Caps happen to lose.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 13, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

When a coach sees that everyone has figured out his offensive scheme and announces to all of North America, Europe and Russia that he is switching to a defensive scheme, the team has got a problem. Wasn't Hanlon canned in part because he tried to "impose" a defensive scheme on a team filled with offensive players?

Incidentally, the defense may be doing a pretty good job of preventing other teams from scoring, but they are not doing a very good job of clearing their zone and consequently, by the time the Caps get possession of the puck, the players are wiped out and not available for the offensive action. How many times this year have you seen a controlled entry into the offensive zone by the Caps? Not that many.

Last night I had a familiar experience of wondering whether the other team had 7 or 8 players on the ice: they seemed all over the Caps in their defensive zone and all over the ice in the offensive zone. That means 5 guys were aggressive on D and very quick to get on the O. With no one floating around waiting for something to come to him, if you knOw who I mean.

Posted by: tw46 | January 13, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

By the way, it is an incentive to post when the Caps don't just lose, they embarass themselves and their fans. Like last night. And listening to BB do bird calls in the process just makes things worse.

Posted by: tw46 | January 13, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

VT...

Option uses CCM...everyone knows that is the worst stick in the industry next to Sherwood...

He should switch back to Bauer (like he did for a good stretch in the middle of last year)

Posted by: SoaringCaps | January 13, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Thats it? Comcast only aired BB's post game interview a dozen times last night so these comments are nothing new. Please please please dont let this blog sink into wasteful regurgitation. Never thought I'd say this, but where is Tarik??

Posted by: CalleJoFan | January 13, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Here's a Bruce quote from AP's coverage of last night's game.

"When they scored that first one, we knew we were in for a tough night," Boudreau said.

If that's what these guys are thinking, we're going to slip into another losing streak.

Would they EVER have said that last year???

Posted by: justbrewit | January 13, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Soaringcaps: Watching the Caps is an option too. The top players from EVERY team skip touching the ice for optional skates all the time. I don't care if Ovechkin skips optional practices. He throws his body around and works his tail off every game. Everyone can complain or whine that he isn't producing but to tear into his character is foolish. Doesn't matter how much any of us care about the Capitals ups and downs, if you anyone in here thinks WE care when they lose or that our star players are not producing more than Ovechkin, Backstrom, BB, or any other Capital is goofy.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 13, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I was watching NHL Network after the game and K. Weeks made an interesting point. He stated (paraphrase) that the Caps look confused. They aren't sure if they are playing offense or defense. They aren't sure if they should dump & chase, stickhandle or pass into the offensive zone.
A moment of indecision in the NHL allows the defense to react. The entire team seems to be taking that extra moment because they aren't sure of the system.
IMO changing systems is much easier when you change the coach. I'm sure BB isn't constant with his "defense first" system. Confusion at the top (coach & lines) leads to confusion on the entire team. I like BB but, (as I have said for 2 months) without a coaching change, the Caps have no chance to win the Cup this year.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 13, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Henceforth I will be doing all my posting here wearing a paper bag over my head. Also, I will be wearing all my Caps gear inside-out, so the logo doesn't show.

Posted by: zmega | January 13, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the "regular season does'nt count crowd?" The CAPS will make the playoffs barring multi-injuries. Where they will be seeded is the question. Not terribly important except when it is.

Posted by: adhardwick | January 13, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Where are the "young guns"? The core of this team is Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. The grinders can't win every game. These guys are getting paid a lot of money to produce and so far this year they stink. We need these four to start putting pucks into the back of the net or it is time for a trade.

Also, how about less INDIVIDUAL and more TEAM! Come on guys. Get it together. Go Caps!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 13, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Just a question: after watching HBO's 24/7, did anyone find BB's dressing room exhortations to be as inspiring as I did? (not)...

Posted by: MoeLoog | January 13, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Too late to make a coaching change? When did the Penguins get Bylsma?? I believe it was early February...

Bob Hartley still available.
Boudreau has indeed lost the team!!!

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | January 13, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

zmega: Why don't you just go back to what you did prior to the run in 2008? That means you won't go to Caps games or even know when they play. There you go, problem solved.

Posted by: fanohock1 | January 13, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps don't play hard for a FULL 60 MINUTES of hockey against Vancouver, Ottawa and Philly in their next three games then either Coach Boudreau has to go or a trade is needed to shake things up. We could be hitting another crisis point in the season. Isn't this fun! Go Caps!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 13, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The problem with this team is readily apparent.

Almost every time they get the puck in the defensive zone they attempt to enter the offensive zone the exact same way. Either three forwards across, with puck on the wing, attempt centering pass, have it taken away. Other times, two forwards will enter almost side by side and once across blue line, the carrier will pass to the non-carrier and he will blast from the perimeter.

Even on controlled break outs they have no patience or creativity in entering the offensive zone. EVERY team in the league knows exactly what they are going to do when they have the puck.

This is why the only times we score are when the 3rd or 4th lines are pressuring the opponents top lines in our offensive zone and they cough it up.

Until someone can design and implement a variety of methods to enter the zone and get these guys to work with each other, fore-check, and be patient, this is as good as its going to be.

Does anyone else happen to notice that when there are loose pucks are top players tend to reach for them rather than go to them?

Posted by: LesGrossman | January 13, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Les: So what you are saying is the "Flying V" doesn't work.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 13, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Actually a flying v would be an improvement seeing that the carrier would have someone o drop it back to rather than trying to center it directly to the opponent.

Posted by: LesGrossman | January 13, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Being a long-time Caps fan, 25 years or so, I think I have a decent perspective on todays team. While they have a good record over the last ten games, let's look at the last twenty. In the last twenty games Ovi and the boys are 8 wins 12 losses (8-8-4, an overtime loss in the playoffs is a loss). With the exception of the Classic, their recent wins appear to be more by accident than design. This team is trying to play gritty hockey with finesse players which will not work. Look at how Phila. and Boston win, they will beat the heck out of you in front of their net, and take a beating in front of the opponents net in order to score. This team, under the current leadership on and off of the ice, will be lucky to make the playoffs.

Posted by: MoCoRepublican | January 13, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, nor a hockey player, but I am a fan who has seen my share of games and been watching this franchise since the days at the Capital Centre.
All of a sudden, what appeared to be a great team, now look like a bunch of offensive-minded players made to play defense...and as we're seeing, it doesn't work. Sort of like a football team with a '4-3' type roster switching to a '3-4'.
This team looks lost. Not allowed to play their free-style, up and down hockey, now it seems that they're thinking every second about their new responsibilities and where to be on defense. It's like they're not allowed to attack, not breaking out when they should and being hesitant. These guys look totally out of sync, with no direction...and poor coaching.

Posted by: scmonty1 | January 13, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm no expert, nor a hockey player, but I am a fan who has seen my share of games and been watching this franchise since the days at the Capital Centre.
All of a sudden, what appeared to be a great team, now looks like a bunch of offensive-minded players made to play defense...and as we're seeing, it doesn't work. Sort of like a football team with a '4-3' type roster switching to a '3-4'.
This team looks lost. Not allowed to play their free-style, up and down hockey, now it seems that they're thinking every second about their new responsibilities and where to be on defense. It's like they're not allowed to attack, not breaking out when they should and being hesitant. These guys look totally out of sync, like amateurs with no direction...and poor coaching.

Posted by: scmonty1 | January 13, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Caps play in a sloppy system. When they win either the skilled players make something great happen or the scrappy players get a greasy goal. But they always seem to be scrambling while the other teams are smooth and disciplined in their own systems.

Caps need more discipline in their system and everything will come together. Look at Pittsburgh and Detroit for examples of excellent systems. Caps need to emulate that.

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 13, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I always defend the Caps, but I must say that was absolutely depressing. It's like our guys forgot how to play. We created absolutely nothing while Varly had to stand on his head just for us to lose 3-0. I haven't said this before, but I'm really starting to think that changing the system to a more defensive one is the problem. I know everyone was whining about how offensive we were & our lack of D. So we got our D to improve, but our offense looks absolutely terrible now & we went from one of the most exciting teams in the NHL to watch to a boring one. Is that what we wanted? This team is built around great offensive players & that's the way it should play win or lose. Be true to yourself & don't listen to the critics. And we won a lot more than we lost with that style. In fact, on most nights we completely dominated teams peppering their goalies with great shots. Now we can barely get any shots on goal. I say screw this experiment & go back to the way we were playing. Just because we happened to run into a ridiculously hot goalie in the playoffs (while dominating in terms of play) doesn't mean we have to completely change our style of play. I'd rather watch us lose an entertaining game than watch this crap.

Posted by: ranndino | January 13, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Well, wait now.

"I can handle when they are losing, but two games of crappy play was enough for me."

Translates to: I can't handle when they are losing.

Something appears to be getting lost in all this: THEY ARE PLAYING DEFENSE. Getting upset about the occasional 3-0 glitch against a top team translates to: I can't handle when they are losing.

They are trying to change, fundamentally, the style of play that got them kicked out of the playoffs by the eight seed last season. Strong indicators are that that is coming around. There will be issues. Ask the Golden State Warriors team that took its lumps in the regular season by playing pretty much everybody on the bench...and then kicked an overwhelmingly favored Washington Bullets team out of the finals in a four-game sweep by, well, playing pretty much everybody on the bench.

Or, look at last year's Canadiens, pretty much same story.

Most sports fans did not major in history, though.

Posted by: poorskins | January 13, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

sgm3 wrote: "I find it too coincidental that the only time these posters with lives aren't busy is when the Caps happen to lose."
---------------------------------------
Actually rachel isn't far wrong. When the Caps lose it is rarely due to bad luck or an off night. It is almost always due to lack of intensity, lack of focus, and a lack of will.

On paper the Caps are the best team in the league. Better than Tampa, Philly, Detroit, AND Vancouver. They have the raw talent to kick the living **** out of any NHL team.

The problem is that their coach lacks the ability to organize 19 men to play like winners. We fans watch opponents night in and night out out hustle, out work, and out play our beloved team. The last two games are perfect examples.

So when they lose, it is time to vent. That's why you see so much on these blogs after a 3-0 loss to Tampa and not after a 3-1 win in Pittsburgh. Other than rubbing the Steeltown Scourge's nose into the dirt, time is better spent on more pressing things in life rather than rah-rah'ing a team that phones it in night after night.

Posted by: bryanmcoleman | January 13, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok Caps Fans first of all the caps record doesnt reflect thier play it has been horrible for a while not the last 2 games. They play a dump and chase mentality and that's why it's boring. Last year they carried the puck into the zone with tick tack passing and now dump chase fight in the corner if they win it goes to the point 1 shot that hits the goalie in the chest and done. They do this over and over and over it has not just started it's been going on for a while that's why when they win they barely win. Also since we started this type of play are european players have falling off, this is not their style of hockey, you don't want to get rid of any players except Poti who has suck every game out, the players have to much talent to trade away you just need a coach to lead them in the type of play that suits them all around and BB can't seem to do it. I said he needs to go for s long time now and now I see slot of others saying the samething his coaches days are numbered .

Posted by: fs02 | January 13, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The Caps will never be confused with the Flyers...they are not natural "net-crashers"...why crash the net...that's where the goals are...and when the goalie is set for the long shot...shoot at a teammate for the front door deflection...and when the "D" is constantly in your face...skate...skate...skate...and oh yeah...forwards HAVE to get back on defense...the Canucks are in town...at the half-way mark...let's regroup...grind and go...

Posted by: AMGABBER | January 13, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

BB is a reactionary coach, he heard all the talk after last year's loss to Montreal and went over the edge with this ridiculous system change. I mean yes we lot to Montreal, and to a VERY HOT goaltender, however it wasnt for lack of defense! Christ Montreal could barely score 2 goals a game against us. The problem we our own inability to adjust offensively to the fact that the Havs sought to block every shot we took. Show me where our defense was the problem in last year's early exit! Now we have this ridiculous system where we supposedly are playing better defense yet now suddenly two of the most dynamic offensive players in the league (OV and Backs) are incapable of doing ANYTHING. Are we supposed to believe it has nothing to do with this idiotic system? That they just coincidentally both are in prolonged slumps at the same time? Get real. BB has made a mess of a good thing. Instead of tweaking what he had, which was an offense that put up points at a lights out pace, he went totally overboard in the other direction and foisted this crap scheme on a bunch of super talented offensive players who now cant even get off a shot without breaking a stick or stumbling or losing the puck...if you think last year's first round exit was bad, wait til April this year lol...

Posted by: opticlguy | January 13, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

After reading all this, and thinking it over, and thinking it over again, I came to one solid conclusion.

If the power play was working, this team and its record would be much better. The defensive scheme is for 5-on-5 hockey; on the power play, you put your scorers on the ice with a "quarterback" who finds the open scorer and they take shots until one goes in.

Get a power play that's going at 20% instead of 10%, and you win games that you otherwise lose by one or two goals.

But I'm not enough of a hockey person to figure out what's wrong with the power play. I was thinking that they need a power play consultant to look at it objectively and tell the coaching staff what they see. It's like that old math problem in school that you couldn't solve for twenty minutes in study hall. Your friend comes over, looks at it, and tells you that you just have to divide here and everything falls into place, and you kick yourself in the head mentally and say "why the heck didn't I see that?". The reason is that you boxed yourself into one way of thinking and that closed out the alternatives (i.e. "think outside the box") that were the way to a solution.

So this isn't advocating a coaching change, it's just advocating asking for some advice, and maybe getting some that might work.

Posted by: OakdenWolf | January 13, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@opticlguy

Completely agree. Defense wasn't the problem against Montreal last year. It was lack of adjustments on offense, i.e. crashing net, screening goalie, getting dirty goals instead of weak unscreened point shots right at Halak's chest with no traffic in front of him. And also the atrocious power play which continues to be awful. Our defense is fine, it is OFFENSE we need to focus on!

Posted by: jmarks09 | January 13, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@Caps coach..

i am sorry but you have no clue. tw46 is right. First of all, its not too late to fire the coach. That is ludicrous. See 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins and Stanley Cup champions. Second of all, we do not have a big advantage over 9th place. Its 7 points , over Carolina, and they have games in hand. Last of all, we dont have to KNOW what the players are thinking or feeling. When Tomas Fleishmann has been the most successful players over the last 20 games (by 5 points by the way) OOPS, i forgot , he was traded away---then you know it is not the players. I guess 28,19,8, 14, and the rest of the team forgot how to play hockey?? This message is tired and old. He does not have an answer to anything. We keep wanting to give the players time to get the system. Jacque Martin figured out how to beat the Caps 3 times in a row LITERALLY OVERNIGHT. And if you are a good team or a good coach with this much talent, you dont get shutout 6 times in 45 games---especially when you were the best PP unit and offense in hockey less than a year ago. Get real, and just wake up. ITs enough, and its time for someone else to be given a shot BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. I dont want to hear anymore excuses for BB , or the PP, OR AO, or Semin, OR Ovie, or GMGM for that matter. Win or get off the pot.

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@Caps coach..

i am sorry but you have no clue. tw46 is right. First of all, its not too late to fire the coach. That is ludicrous. See 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins and Stanley Cup champions. Second of all, we do not have a big advantage over 9th place. Its 7 points , over Carolina, and they have games in hand. Last of all, we dont have to KNOW what the players are thinking or feeling. When Tomas Fleishmann has been the most successful players over the last 20 games (by 5 points by the way) OOPS, i forgot , he was traded away---then you know it is not the players. I guess 28,19,8, 14, and the rest of the team forgot how to play hockey?? This message is tired and old. He does not have an answer to anything. We keep wanting to give the players time to get the system. Jacque Martin figured out how to beat the Caps 3 times in a row LITERALLY OVERNIGHT. And if you are a good team or a good coach with this much talent, you dont get shutout 6 times in 45 games---especially when you were the best PP unit and offense in hockey less than a year ago. Get real, and just wake up. ITs enough, and its time for someone else to be given a shot BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. I dont want to hear anymore excuses for BB , or the PP, OR AO, or Semin, OR Ovie, or GMGM for that matter. Win or get off the pot.

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious that this team is run by Ovechkin and the first line forwards in Semin and Backstrom pay some attention to Boudreau but only in passing.

Boudreau is not in charge of this team or it would be a LOT more consistent on the ice game to game.

The Caps may be 6-1-2 in their last 9 games but the schedule was soft and games against Carolina, Florida, NJ and Ottawa should not have been the nip and tuck as they were.

When this team does win it always seems to be 3-2.

You can't tell me the Panthers really are that close to the Caps in overall talent.

So, the 'X' factor is motivation and focus.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | January 13, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

and to follow up, the Devils fired their coach the last week of the season and won the Cup about 10 years ago. When DC stops tolerating the ownership and stops supporting the losing mentality, then the team might figure it out. Between the Wizards (30 years?? ) the Caps (12 years) and the Redskins (20 years) we have not even played for a an Eastern Conference Title in 62 years. Not sure if you can do the math that way, but you get the point. Ted Leonsis has made up pretty uniforms and a nice building, but the product on the ice has no success. He lucky bounced his way into 1 series win in 12 years vs NYR (See Semin's first period lucky fluke goal on youtube) . They have choked away more 2 game series leads than any franchise on the planet. God forbid someone get the cajones to step up and hire someone with some fire and knowledge. I cant watch one more commercial of BB, OR here one more interview from Ted when he has accomplished exactly nothing. And we are too nice of a town to call people out for failing. If you want to win, then step up to the plate and see what is right in front of your face and get your act together. This team is a joke right now. They dont scare the freaking Florida panthers and they have been waxed 5-0 by the Devils this year. What more do you need to see???????????

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

and to follow up, the Devils fired their coach the last week of the season and won the Cup about 10 years ago. When DC stops tolerating the ownership and stops supporting the losing mentality, then the team might figure it out. Between the Wizards (30 years?? ) the Caps (12 years) and the Redskins (20 years) we have not even played for a an Eastern Conference Title in 62 years. Not sure if you can do the math that way, but you get the point. Ted Leonsis has made up pretty uniforms and a nice building, but the product on the ice has no success. He lucky bounced his way into 1 series win in 12 years vs NYR (See Semin's first period lucky fluke goal on youtube) . They have choked away more 2 game series leads than any franchise on the planet. God forbid someone get the cajones to step up and hire someone with some fire and knowledge. I cant watch one more commercial of BB, OR here one more interview from Ted when he has accomplished exactly nothing. And we are too nice of a town to call people out for failing. If you want to win, then step up to the plate and see what is right in front of your face and get your act together. This team is a joke right now. They dont scare the freaking Florida panthers and they have been waxed 5-0 by the Devils this year. What more do you need to see???????????

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

and to follow up, the Devils fired their coach the last week of the season and won the Cup about 10 years ago. When DC stops tolerating the ownership and stops supporting the losing mentality, then the team might figure it out. Between the Wizards (30 years?? ) the Caps (12 years) and the Redskins (20 years) we have not even played for a an Eastern Conference Title in 62 years. Not sure if you can do the math that way, but you get the point. Ted Leonsis has made up pretty uniforms and a nice building, but the product on the ice has no success. He lucky bounced his way into 1 series win in 12 years vs NYR (See Semin's first period lucky fluke goal on youtube) . They have choked away more 2 game series leads than any franchise on the planet. God forbid someone get the cajones to step up and hire someone with some fire and knowledge. I cant watch one more commercial of BB, OR here one more interview from Ted when he has accomplished exactly nothing. And we are too nice of a town to call people out for failing. If you want to win, then step up to the plate and see what is right in front of your face and get your act together. This team is a joke right now. They dont scare the freaking Florida panthers and they have been waxed 5-0 by the Devils this year. What more do you need to see???????????

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau still cannot get this team to play 60 minutes.

In recent games the Caps have been 20-30 minutes in before they start to move their feet and create opportunities.

The difference now is that unlike 2009-2010 the top forwards are not putting in 3-4 goals in the third period to make up the margin and win the game.

The league has caught up to Washington and the Southeast Division is no longer afraid of the Caps as recent games have shown.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | January 13, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

And please, before you respond at all, know all of your facts.

1. The pp was 1 for 33 last year in the playoffs, and has been near the bottom if not the worst in the league for the past 2 full months.

2. The team regularly shows up for only 40 minutes or less.

3. The team (yes you Semin) takes alot of dumb penalties--not goal saving penalties, but TMMOTI, or offensive zone penalties.

4. The best players are all simultaneously having by far their worst year ever.

5. The team choked away 2 game series leads each of the past 2 seasons. Not only that, in 6 games under BB to clinch a series, the team is 1-5 with a combined total of 9 goals. 5 of those 6 games came at home, and 3 of the goals came late in a game after being blown out. They have never once even scored 3 goals in a game under BB with a chance to win a series.

6. The team REGULARY over 2.5 years either spots the other team a 2 or 3 spot , or races out to a big lead and lets the opponent back in. They have also had approximately 25 games in the past season and a half where they , at some point in the third period, blew a lead they held. I counted them a month ago.

7. There is nothing positive . The talent alone on the team will keep them at .500. This was supposed to be our year.

6.

6 .

Posted by: sickoflosingindc | January 13, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Finally people are getting it hope someone sees these blogs. Start toPlay offensive hockey the way they were. And worry about defense after they score or BB needs to get out of town this team will be ruined if it stays this way

Posted by: fs02 | January 13, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

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