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Posted at 9:01 AM ET, 02/26/2011

Positives from Capitals' road trip a distant memory

By Gene Wang

The Washington Capitals spent a week on the road trying to become a more steady outfit, and most recently with three wins in four games away from Verizon Center, it appeared they were on to something. Then over 60 minutes last night, all that equity evaporated.

Gone and forgotten it was in a 6-0 loss to the New York Rangers, who continued their mastery over the reigning Presidents' Trophy champions. The Rangers have beaten the Capitals three straight times, including a pair of victories in which they outscored Washington by a total of 13-0.

The postmortem in this instance included Washington being shut out for the ninth time, falling five points behind Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division and drawing the ire of fans understandably intolerant of a sloppy and uninspired showing from beginning to end.

"Absolutely not happy," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Our fans deserve better. . . . We deserve to get get booed there. It's not fun when you come home and you've got the best fans in the world, and you play like that, even though I thought quite frankly we competed harder than the 4-1 game against Los Angeles [at home on Feb. 12]. I thought we had better chances. It looked like we were skating. It's just not acceptable, and it's embarrassing."

Before last night's debacle, the Capitals had embarked on the road trip bent on reversing their fortunes following consecutive home losses to San Jose and the Kings. And although the trip began with a 3-2 loss to Phoenix, Washington outlasted Anaheim, 7-6, and lost to San Jose before coming back East to take games from Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

Those final two victories came by a combined 3-1 margin, and the thought was perhaps Washington finally had become fluent in the defensive-minded game plan they've been implementing. The reward in part included two days off after coming back to the area, underscoring the team's puzzling lack of punch against New York.

"I think we started well, and I had a couple chances to score goals, and I didn't score," left wing Alex Ovechkin said. "They scored right away after my chance, and they just kept playing their system, and they scored goals, and we didn't."

It's a system the Capitals may face again in the postseason, and it ought to be a growing concern considering they have been outscored 14-1 by New York over the past three games. So demoralizing was this loss that Rangers center Erik Christensen was able to score twice for the first time this season, and New York had no issues putting the game away despite being without top-line defenseman Marc Staal.

It was hardly the outcome the Capitals had envisioned as the superior team in talent -- "We're not the skilled group that they are up front," Christensen said -- especially against an opponent that had dropped eight of 11 coming into Friday night. The Rangers now are one point behind Montreal for the No. 6 seed and trail Washington by four for the fifth spot.

"They just came out and played like they wanted to make the playoffs," Capitals forward Mike Knuble said. "They're on the bubble there, and they came out and outworked us and got two goals [in the first period], and that was pretty much it. Then they just capitalized on the power player a couple times, and next thing you know it's 4-0. They played like they wanted to be in the playoffs, and we just played like we were content where we were."

By Gene Wang  | February 26, 2011; 9:01 AM ET
Categories:  Alex Ovechkin, Bruce Boudreau, Mike Knuble  
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Next: Home losing streak stretches to three in a row

Comments

Ted the fans are mad you need to fire McPhee . Get your fat lazy a@@ up and away from the table and do the job that a good owner should do . Fire that stupid no good MF today . Your hockey F@@king is a joke . Your coaching staff could not compete on a DIVii level. The team needs to be guted of all D men except 3 all others clean your junk out and go ba to your sheity countries. Ted did you know Mcphee is banging semen and thats why he signed him for one more year. Cut that lazy russain now ! There are 1oo Matt Hendricks out there and all they need is a chance go get them . And please tell Laich to shut the F@@k up everyone is very tried of him running his mouth and saying the same ole crap over and over. And one last thing Ted if you think you are teaching your childern how to be great leaders of this city please stop because you haven;t really done anything to be named in that honor . Do your fing job Ted. The fans are booing your team ted .
Dog Breeder
New Carrollton,Md
Posted by: doggydodo | February 26, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse
I understand the frustration but some of the statements made just sound like a mindless rants. "Your coaching staff could not compete at the Divii level." Really? The Caps are in 5th in the conference and 9th in the league, the National Hockey League. I like having Matt Hendricks on the team but he is a role player. If you have more than couple of them you end up falling like Atlanta has. I am on board with removing BB but he's not a bad coach, he has been successful at every level, he's just lost this team. It happens to 99.9% of the coaches. Jacques Lemaire stepped down after a massive collapse in last year's playoffs. Laviolette was fired in another city for his ineffectiveness. Mike Keenan has won a Cup but was fired on multiple occasions. I could go on and on. I know BB hasn't won a Cup but this is his first gig in the NHL. If/when he's fired here get ready to see him somewhere else in the NHL some day. He's won about 100 more games than he has lost so someone will give him another shot.
Posted by: fanohock1 | February 26, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 26, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This is frustrating. How are they really going to compete for a cup with inconsistencies like this?

Now, Cap fans, we will know whether Puxatawany Ted will see his shadow for an early spring, or not by Monday afternoon.

Upsetting. 1 or 2 nothing, that's one thing, but to get blown out (at home) that is another.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 26, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Mike Keenan. Wouldn't that scare the feces out of these players? I'm not suggesting it, just a thought. I'm still 100% on board with BB and GMGM. What I don't understand is all the shutouts and total lack of emotion, focus, etc. This team also fails to come to each other's rescue. Once the Rangers realized that we weren't going to fight back or retaliate for Greeny, they just went on a tear. No other top flight NHL team would have allowed that indiscretion to go virtually unnoticed and unpunished. Something is just not right with the "chemistry" on this version of the Caps. Three cheers for Louis Robataille!

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 26, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

This is getting like Ground Hog Day!

We have to play 60 minutes.
We have to get more presence in front of the net.
We played harder than we did.
Their goalie made some great saves.
They scored and we didn't.
We gotta play better.
Etc... etc... etc...

It's Ground Hog Day!

Enjoy the clip form this classic movie. At least you can laugh from this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7NHCy13ZLk

Posted by: puckman | February 26, 2011 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Charlie Sheen is doggydodo all aside Ted really needs to get off his high aol ass and start redoing this team by starting with himself

Posted by: jp14710 | February 26, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

First of all, honeymoon is over for Ted. Rockin the Red isn't enough anymore. We were made to believe you want a cup. Let's just see how bad you want it.

Second, McPhee has been a miserable failure. If he doesn't make major moves, he should be removed. This team has Zero chance. You need to show the fans you are trying.

Third, Alex Semin cannot stay here anymore. He is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with this team. He is gutless, heartless, lazy, and hockey stupid. This has been obvious, for years now, but never addressed.

Fourth, enough with these role players. Gordon? 25 goals in 342 NHL games? I think we have seen what he is capable of. His defensive game isn't very good either. Why is he on the team?

Lastly, BB,he has been just awful. That being said, he has never had the horses. Schultz, top pair. We have run everyone else that has worn 55 out of town, why is he still here?

Put up or shut up time Ted. Otherwise, you are nothing but a liar.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 26, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

and some of you Caps fans are hypocrites...

When steckel hit crybaby everyone said it was clean.

Now someone hits softie Green and its dirty.

Would you people make up your mind. Look at the game itself, not the jersey's the guys are wearing.

I think BOTH hits were clean. And Tough SH for Crybaby and Green.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 26, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure Ted follows these blogs, you might wanna try him at his aol account, he will respond back...I have said before Mcphee is great at finding talent in draft just not at making the bold moves at the trade deadline.. I think GMGM and BB are gone after this season if we don't make a deep run into the playoffs

This team is in need of atleast two major moves, before Monday. We need another D-man and a 2nd line center. I have tried not to jump on the "trade Semin" bandwagon, but I am all for it now. He needs to go, Brooks laich needs to be moved off the second line, he is not a top six forward.I would go as far as to trade him.He his a third liner at best... Boyd Gordon I think is what he is.. A fourth line player, good for 3-4 goals a season. He works hard along the boards, however I would agree his time in Washington has run its course. It time to find fourth liners that play a little more with and edge.

I also must say some of the Caps fans at Verizon have about as much heart as Semin... Some fat caps fan in section 403 try to fight me for telling Ranger fans to shut up and sit down... I love hockey and the Caps but hate all these Politically correct fans...BTW I didnt back down, security stepped in..

Lets go boys, bring home a win tonight...

Posted by: CapsBaby | February 26, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@SoaringCaps

Stecks hit on Crosby was one player trying to get up ice, was a clean play..

The play on Green last night was two player fighting for position. It was a head shot, but I don't think the dude ment to hit him in the head. It being a head shot and that he lifted he elbow, might get him a fine since it connected with Greens head..

Posted by: CapsBaby | February 26, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

GMGM has been a "miserable failure"???

There's a GM that has drafted better in the last 7 years? Who, pray tell, is that? (And, if GMGM is that bad, there needs to be 20+ GMs who have drafted better players as a group than he has...)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 26, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I read the posts (always entertaining, btw and I really admire the passion) more than I post, but I can say now as a 35 year Cap fan starting from my childhood, I'm completely fed up. Had more fun watching workmanlike teams that played with heart and guts than this crew. Something substantial needs to change in the next 48 hours. Semin needs to be moved, he's no longer a fit for this team's style of play. Needs are well documented, 2nd line center, one more depth defenseman, and a crease crashing forward with nasty.

I'm not spending any more hard earned $$$ that could go to my kid's college fund to watch this garbage.

Wake me in April for the playoffs...if we're in them.

Posted by: rnscaps | February 26, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Fact: This team is young, soft, and lacks leadership.

Posted by: Doom_and_Gloom | February 26, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

GMGM has been a "miserable failure"???

There's a GM that has drafted better in the last 7 years? Who, pray tell, is that? (And, if GMGM is that bad, there needs to be 20+ GMs who have drafted better players as a group than he has...)

Posted by: RedLitYogi

Last 7 years? You realize the guy has been here 13, right?

Posted by: underpants2 | February 26, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I have an idea, let's put OV on the point for all pp minutes, that should break him out of his slump. Time to think outside the box BB. Sometimes your best players are not your best players.

Posted by: Freez | February 26, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Semin to LA?........This is what's being speculated now? Wow, who in return? Ryan Smyth? Wayne Simmonds? All smoke and mirrors right now. I think it is increasingly likely that Semin is on the move. When it comes down to it, I concur with underpants, as usual. It's just odd that GMGM was such a scrappy player and BB's Hershey clubs were rough and tumble. Now they both seem to have shied away from that. Whether or not you like or dislike the "gutsy" part of the game, it's ingrained in hockey and will always be there. Successful NHL teams never say no to a challenge.

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 26, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I know the prevailing theme around here is that the Caps are butter soft, but there are many teams that wouldn't have responded to the Green hit. The mighty Bruins just picked Marc Savard off the ice after Matt Cooke elbowed him in the head. It wasn't until the next game that Thorton after Cooke. Even the Pens didn't respond when Steckel hit Crosby.

The Stephan hit was not dirty. I like Green, but he skated right into that hit. The guy has made a habit of skating with his head down.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 26, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

You did not answer RedLitYogi's question.

Posted by: Rocka | February 26, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Knuble played hard all game, including the last shift. If only a few players would takes a cue from him.

Ovie's one-on-one moves were working last night for the first time all season. Had someone been crashing the net, it may have helped score with rebound, mucking type goal.

I actually saw Semin lay a few hits last night. I was shocked. Awed. But then he gets his lazy hooking penalty resulting in a Rags PP goal. For $6.7m, move you damn feet and skate!

Schultz is a poor skater and is too soft. His reach is his only asset. He cannot shoot to save his life. He is smarter than Sloan but his deficiencies (noted above) hurt us badly. We need an upgrade there.

Marty P tries hard but his size kills him. If you so much as pass wind near him, he sprawls out on the ice. Give me Beagle every day of the week. You lose some skill but gain a lot of much needed grit.

What surprised me the most last night was the inability of the Caps to execute a basic skill: a tape to tape pass. Fans were screaming for the Caps to shoot on the PP but they could not since every pass required the receiving player to adjust their body and stick to accommodate a poor pass to them. As pros, that is simply unacceptable.

Someone put out an APB for Chimera. I knew he had no hands but now it appears that many other aspects of his game have disappeared. Skating real fast only gets you so far.

I think our 2nd and 4th lines killed us last night. 2nd liners did nothing and 4th liners lost too many face-offs and did not create the havoc that they are paid to generate.

Okay. I'm done. Go Caps.

Posted by: phknlwyr | February 26, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@yogi and rock a

Pokuluk, Gustafsson, Fehr, all first round picks in the last seven years. This drafting success you speak of is absurd. He steps on his d!ck as many times as he finds a gem.

But the gm role goes well beyond drafting.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 26, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hit on Green wasn't dirty, possibly interference, at the worst. This team cannot put together a game-length response to any adversity it encounters.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 26, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

Every GM has bad picks. You don't seem able to name one with a better record.

Posted by: Rocka | February 26, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@ seth malaguerr
Hit on Green wasn't dirty, possibly interference, at the worst. This team cannot put together a game-length response to any adversity it encounters.

Maybe so. However, you don't go lay in the corner and lick your nuts either!!!

Posted by: Cayugalaker | February 26, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@rock a

First of all, Yogi said there hasn't been a better drafter in the last seven years. So the first 6 years I guess don't matter. The 3 guys drafted, all in the first round have been busts. But to answer the question, the guys below:

Ken Holland, Doug Wilson, David Poile, Lou Lamerello

Posted by: underpants2 | February 26, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@doom_and_gloom
"Fact: This team is young, soft, and lacks leadership."

In a nutshell, that pretty much sums it up.

@ablake70
"The Stephan hit was not dirty. I like Green, but he skated right into that hit."

Frankly, I wish more of our forwards would throw some weight around instead of just absorbing the oncoming hit. If DJK did that to Letang and was disciplined for it, I'd be screaming that Letang shouldn't lead with his face when going into the boards.

The hit on Green, much to Caps fans' dismay, did not warrant an immediate response. Erskine was there, and everybody knows he won't hesitate to do the right thing. I'm sure he saw what the refs and I saw: good tough play along the boards. Also, if Green is going to crosscheck a player into the boards moments before, he'd better be ready and prepared for a little payback by the same player. I'd offer that BB erred and worked Green back into the lineup prematurely.

However, after Stepan ran at Ovi someone should've stepped-up and put him in his place. Maybe Brads/Hendricks were worried that they'd have to answer to Prust if they tried to exact a pound of flesh.

After last night's game, fans of any other team would be guaranteed to see DJK in their lineup. HE BETTER BE IN THE LINEUP TONITE!!

***i've got a favor/question to ask of anyone skilled at researching data/facts: when was the last time a Caps player received two fighting majors in the same game?

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 26, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Maybe so. However, you don't go lay in the corner and lick your nuts either!!!

True - Green needed to either stay in a crumpled heap and pray for the whistle or get back in the play. He went halfway in both directions, so - no whistle, no D, easy Ranger goal.

GMGM only drafts one kind of player, then he puts them on his NHL team whether they deserve to be there or not, then we have a one-dimensional team.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 26, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think the consistency is the thing that kills me and that falls back on the coach for not making his players accountable.

Semin needs to go if for no other reason then to show the players this crap won't be tolerated.

Huge Brooksie fan for his shtick is getting old.

With there being so many buyers the asking price for players is completely inflated. Hemsky is not worth a 1st rounder. GMGM better not trade screw the pooch this year.

Posted by: jake81 | February 26, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I think the consistency is the thing that kills me and that falls back on the coach for not making his players accountable.

Semin needs to go if for no other reason then to show the players this crap won't be tolerated.

Huge Brooksie fan but his shtick is getting old.

With there being so many buyers the asking price for players is completely inflated. Hemsky is not worth a 1st rounder. GMGM better not trade screw the pooch this year.

Posted by: jake81 | February 26, 2011 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@tominvermont: I'm going to disagree respectfully you on this one. Stepan hit on Green was way worse than Bradley hit on Cooke, yet Pitt went after Bradley immediately and then made him throw down. We meanwhile let Stepan run wild last night (he almost put a dangerous hit on Ovi) and then left the slot complteley open (unlike every club that plays us) so he could get a tap-in gimme in the 2nd period.

Retribution isn't just for the dirtiest hits.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 26, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

***i've got a favor/question to ask of anyone skilled at researching data/facts: when was the last time a Caps player received two fighting majors in the same game?

Posted by: vermontcaps | February 26, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Answer: Dec. 12 2010,last time we got blown out by the Rags. My hero, Matt Hendricks. http://capitals.nhl.com/club/boxscore.htm?id=2010020438

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | February 26, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

From the "what have you done for me lately" perspective, look at the current standings...

3th - Detroit(Ken Holland)- Hard to argue. Is he available?

6th - St Jose(Doug Wilson) - Like Caps can not seem to go far in the playoffs.

9th - Washington(George McFee)

16th - Nashville(David Poile) - They might make the playoffs, if they are lucky.

27th - New Jersey(Lou Lamerello) - Your kidding, right?

Posted by: Rocka | February 26, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Correction: that, of course, should be
6th - San Jose(Doug Wilson) - Like Caps can not seem to go far in the playoffs.

Posted by: Rocka | February 26, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Boudreau should be able to coach his team to counter the Rangers system. Period. The fact that we can't adjust mid-game is pathetic.

Posted by: blueblonde | February 26, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

My hometown team 1. FC Köln has won. That is a very good start for the weekend - so I am optimistic for the Caps ...

Go Caps!


... and it will be Dornfelder once again ;-)

Posted by: FCKoeln1 | February 26, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

@blueblonde - I agree

The hall mark of Joe Gibbs' Redskins was that no matter what happened in the first half, he made the necessary adjustments in the second half. That's how you win championships.

He practiced dumping the puck before the last game against Tampa - with success! I also remember one or two ocassions when BB seem to be matching lines - again, with success! Normally, it's next line on the bench goes out.

Adaption is key to the survival of the fittest.

Posted by: Rocka | February 26, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Semin needs to be traded away. I hate that guy. I prefer Beagle over him any day. He used to play for my college, that's probably why i like him so much. Hendricks isn't so bad. I don't like BB and if the caps have a early exit, i see a firing. We need to trade for somebody good, and hopefully for somebody that doesn't take away from our defense, like i read somewhere.

Posted by: bartlettbears1 | February 26, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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