Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Boswell: Time for some tough questions


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)


After last night's unceremonious playoff exit, columnist Thomas Boswell writes that the Caps must decide whether the crowd-pleasing offensive system they've built is so at odds with the rugged nature of playoff hockey that it must be changed.

You can say the Caps choked. You can ask whether the coach should be fired. You can wonder whether Alexander Semin or Mike Green should be traded. You can apologize for the Caps by saying a hot goalie beat a near-great team. You can even whine about a call that negated a goal.
There's some truth in all of it.
But the Capitals have a bigger problem.

Click here to read the column.

And for a guaranteed dose of much-needed happiness, here's what Brooks Laich did after Game 7.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 29, 2010; 2:31 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ovechkin named finalist for Hart
Next: Caps are left to wonder...

Comments

Here is how it is.

"It's not really the goalie. Halak can look very average against certain teams during the regular season. If he was as talented as he seems right now, the whole Price vs Halak thing would have long been over. The issue is what people have been saying all along, and why I thought Washington is questionable to go far.

It all boils down to structure and the style of game that the team wants to play. Washington's attack was based around simplicity. Rush down the ice, rocket a shot around the defense, or curl back and look for an east-west pass to an open man.

Montreal anticipated this, perfected their game plan to defend against it and the Capitals simply didn't adapt. It's not coincidence that Halak got to see every shot and Montreal closed off any open lanes to the puck, and it's not much of a coincidence that they kept their back checkers in passing lanes. They did exactly what they wanted to do in order to defend and they kept the difficult shots that Halak saw to a minimum.

Montreal typically struggles against puck controlling teams who like to run a heavy cycle. Their defensemen aren't that mobile and can get caught out of position, and their forwards are rather small and can get outworked along the boards. Every time Montreal plays Toronto, they have a devil of a time doing it because Toronto likes to cycle the puck around, and chip the puck behind the Defense.

The reason why Washington lost is primarily due to coaching and not having a well constructed game plan to take advantage of Montreal's deficiencies. Boudeau simply had the Caps playing the way they've played all year, and it pretty much played into Martin's hands. Special teams are where this really shows, where coaching makes itself most notable. 1 for 35 on the PP is simply unacceptable.

You could make a case that there are a couple deficiencies on the roster, but they're pretty minor if you ask me. I also don't think that the players lost because of a lack of trying. There was a ton of emotion in that game, and the players were frustrated as hell. They simply didn't know what to do, and didn't have a game plan to execute that would allow them to win.
"

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what article this came from but my friend sent it to me and it makes sense.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 29, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Already posted about what I think in previous threads. Here's one more comment on some specifics of many people's criticism.

Mike, you're a good writer and are always trying to be controversial, but unfortunately often without facts getting in your way.

What more could the Caps do in the last 2 games? They dominated puck possession & territory. They outshot the Canadiens 54-22 & 42-16! They worked extremely hard getting first to almost every loose puck. They limited the Canadiens to below 5 shots in a period a few times! That's about how defensively inept they are supposedly... you can't play much better D than that! They did all they could & yes, the credit does fully go to Halak. In over 20 years of watching hockey I have not seen a goalie play that well for 3 games in a row. The level he played at was just not human!

Also, I'm sick and tired of everyone bashing Semin and saying that he didn't try and didn't do anything. Yes, he was unable to score on Halak due to the goalie's brilliance in this series, but man did he try! Semin was one of our best players, in fact. He was not clamped down at all! You don't get clamped down & have 44 shots on goal in 7 games! 44 shots! That's by far the most of any player in the NHL in the 1st round! 10 more than Ovie! What more could you ask a guy to do to try to score? It just didn't happen for him, but he played his butt off so the ridiculous amount of criticism he's gotten is completely unfair.

Lastly, if anyone should be criticized for game 7 loss it's our new golden boy John Carlson. I love what he's done, but the game winning goal is on him. Watch the replay. Green eliminated his man, but the guy Carlson should have had is the one who scored. John was skating back like he was on a leisurely stroll. Had he skated back hard he would have had every chance to check the goal scorer or even would have picked up the loose puck after Green's hit on his guy. A terrible mental error by a an otherwise extremely good rookie and yet everyone completely missed it and made a pinata out of Semin and Mike Green.

Posted by: ranndino | April 29, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm still heartbroken. I feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest. This summer is going to be painful. I don't know how much of the playoffs I will watch. I don't know if I can bear watching other teams compete when my team is not there. This will be even more heartbreaking if I see the Penguins beat up on the Canadiens and Halak starts giving up 5 goals a game. But I want to see how Pittsburgh plays them compared to the Caps. That will be interesting.

This team is so talented, no doubt, but they have ways to go. A lot of growing up to do, a lot of maturing to do as well. Some guys should not of opened thir mouths. Learn to respect your opponent and don't underestimate them. So Montreal wanted to start the war of words by saying Theodore was no Brodeur or Miller, just let it go. No need to respond "Jagr?" Just let them do the talking if they want to. Then Ovechkin making the shaking hand comment about Halak. He was squeezing water out of the water bottle, it wasn't a big deal and Ovie, being captain, needs to know that's something unecessary and a comment you keep to yourself. Captains don't say immature things like that. Then there's Green, who decided to get cocky and say "Montreal has nothing." Yeah. No words need to be said during a series. Just play the game and WIN. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. The guys decided to talk but couldn't back it up with their play.

They had talked so much during the regular season how they were so ready to take the next step, so ready to get that bad taste out from last year. The fact that there wasn't any urgency in game 5 (the turning point of the series) is what was disappointing. I hope they learned a valuable (but costly) lesson. We had them on the ropes, down 3-1, in our own building, came out slow and the game was over, and essentially the series. It should've been done at that point. Next playoffs, cut the trash talk down, keep focus at all times, play more consistently, and quite frankly, rise up to the moment. Everyone's gotta step up in a big game. No more "passengers." Every player on this team needs to pull their weight and there were too many "passengers". Sucks for me to say this, but they need to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins gradually got better every year. A year after getting knocked out in the Stanley Cup Finals, they won it.. They are a great example to learn from and I know the Caps want to be where Pittsburgh is.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The only positive in this debacle is that Backstrom's stocks fell about 25%, he's not the 8-9M/Yr guy anymore.

Posted by: guer_j | April 29, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I get tired of Boswell showing up once a year and acting like an expert. Also, the last goal was 100% on Green. He didn't need to go out of his way to hit someone at that point. The key there was to get to the puck and get it up the ice ASAP. His play was stupid and typical of his decision-making throughout the postseason. Carlson's job was to cover the middle of the ice to prevent someone from getting open there in prime scoring territory. Very rarely do you want two defensemen on the same side of the ice in your own end.

Posted by: slowe0738 | April 29, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@guer_j,

How do you come to that conclusion??!! He was arguably the best player on the ice for the Caps this series. He put the team on his back in game two and refused to let them lose.....how does that lower his stock??!!

Posted by: PhilR | April 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

No the last play was on Carlson. Green made the correct play to go over to get the puck and Carlson should have skated to the middle to cover for Green. Carlson stopped skating and stayed on the boards.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with PhilR. Personally, the only time I felt comfortable about our holidng on to the puck for more than 3 seconds and that like something positive could actually develop on the ice (and that there wouldn't be an immediate shot block, poke check, or stupid turnover) was when Backstrom was handling the puck.

He also put up good numbers, including a HAT TRICK! Hard to see how that would knock the guy's stock down.

Posted by: BigRed8 | April 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

it is just too easy and convenient for any of us to blame Green, Semin, Flash or any of these guys or a play here and there... what it should NEVER have come down to a couple mistakes by anyone.

in my opinion the problem goes much deeper... it's an indictment to their whole system and attitude - it just does NOT work and is not suited for playoff hockey. I believed it could work but realize now that it does NOT.

it's time for them to realize the same thing as well.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Is this the first time Boswell has written about hockey? I'm sorry, but I generally speaking, opinions from general columnists like Boswell and Wilbon aren't worth the excrement I produce while reading them. Go back to analyzing the Redskins line and the Bullets back court and leave hockey analysis to those of us who understand the game.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 29, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Also posted on Boswell's column:

I know Boswell isn't the resident hockey expert, but he at least knows that the stick is supposed to hit the ice before the puck on a slap shot, right? The sentence about Ovechkin's broken sticks leaves me wondering.

Posted by: capsfan15 | April 29, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

they have been playing like this all year, the only difference is they usually score 3 or 4 goals to cover up all those mistakes... it's kinda like spraying lysol to cover up the odor from your trash can.

when they stop scoring goals, all those problems really get exposed.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

George McPhee is the worst GM in hockey.
Plain & Simple.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

People don't like the fact the Caps get enough coverage and when articles are written they say they never should have been written at all. The irony.

Posted by: larryn703 | April 29, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

Which of Boswell's points, specifically, did you disagree with? It seemed like a pretty accurate assessment to me.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 29, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@randino - good post, in agreement. Semin tried extremely hard too hard knocks, created some prime chances for himself and others. They didn't go in. He was a plus player. His crime, I think: doesn't speak English.

@VTDuffman - I thought Boswell's article fair. I'd like to get a more detailed breakdown of what happened systemically. It seems we did not adjust. Is that because players don't listen and adjust or because coaching staff not able to do so? I wouldn't fire BB for that - he can get better at it.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 29, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For all the hoopla RJ Umberger had it nailed. I doubt even he could have envisioned a 3-1 series lead slipping away.

Posted by: FLDave | April 29, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

For all the hoopla RJ Umberger had it nailed. I doubt even he could have envisioned a 3-1 series lead slipping away.

Posted by: FLDave | April 29, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216 - alas, to be sweet, life must be cruel (from a great flick). That's what being a fan is all about: getting your heart broken. Look at the great Red Sox fans, after all.

If BB goes, I'll miss him. I like the wild, half-coached style of this team, the wierd moody players, etc etc. That's why I root for them. We needed a bit more shape and structure to be sure, but in the playoffs when someone plays all-out defense - and most teams do not - it can make things tense and unpredictable. We'll see this in the summer during the world cup. Great teams will be taken down by minnows who do what Montreal did - pack em all in by the goal.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 29, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

some more comments.

GMGM - he moved up to draft Carlson at #23 (one of the best picks in that draft), he nabbed both Neuwirth and Varlamov, got Flash and Chimera on the cheap, and he's assembled a strong organization capable of finding and developing good talent. He stays.

We need something more. Maybe it's just time. You cannot force it. All of the best decisions in the world might not have mattered because the race is not always to the swiftest.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 29, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | April 29, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef - GMGM is the worst? Seriously that is completely ignorant. Good grief. Quit having a Cerrato/Redskin reflex.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

its funny how the "writers" come to the same conclusion that many of us have written about ad nauseum for years and years.

gee..we're not built for the playoffs? hmm!
i wonder if Boswell reads these boards. I don't think I've ever read any DC news writer who actually put in print the difference between a regular season hockey roster/style and a post-season one. First time ever I think. baby steps

the game has changed the game has changed the game has changed blah blah blah.

the game has not changed in its important elements. Get someone in here who understands that. Then you can start tweaking the roster. I have no urge to trade Mike Green or anyone else noteworthy except for Semin and Flash. Under a different system and direction, guys like Green, Ovy etc will be great assets. The amount of tinkering should be minor. The only overhaul should be in mindset. Not personnel.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Up 3-1 going home and end up losing to the worse team in the playoffs. Heads need to roll.

Posted by: rockbroker | April 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

McPhee has been given on the job training for over a decade, this guy sucks.

Building by losing is nothing to boast about.

How many more coaches and players will take blame ?

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

George McPhee is the worst GM in hockey.
Plain & Simple.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 3:31 PM

---

Ever heard of Don Wadell? Garth Snow? Randy Sexton? Paul Holmgren? Vinny Cerrato? (oops, did I say that out loud?)

I could go on, but that would be too rational of me during a very emotional time as a Caps fan.

Posted by: paperboy76 | April 29, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

You know what? Boswell is mostly right.


If you want to understand how a team like Montreal can (and often WILL) beat a team like the Caps, I highly recommend reading this article:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

How David Beats Goliath: When underdogs break the rules. By Malcolm Gladwell.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 29, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

If Flash is tradable, yeah, definitely. Semin...I dunno. I'd like to get value for him, but by trading him to a Western Conference team. Green...no way. He's young and dumb. He'll get older and smarter.

And yeah, "GMGM is the worst" is just blitheringly ignorant.

Didn't Umberger said the Caps would get chewed up by breakouts? Yeah, that's exactly what happened. Brilliant coaching career ahead of you, RJ.

Posted by: Landru | April 29, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Cassidy, Glen Hanlon and countless players that never played up to potential.

This is too easy

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

McPhee has been given on the job training for over a decade, this guy sucks.

Building by losing is nothing to boast about.

How many more coaches and players will take blame ?

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 3:59 PM

I am not even sure how to respond to this.

Do you think GMGM is the worst GM? Who do you replace him with? What personnel decisions do you disagree with? Please be more specific.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1 -- I agree with you on the personnel. This is mostly not a personnel issue, it's a coaching issue. That said, I would spend the Semin and Flash money on some different pieces to make the team less one-dimensional.

To all the people who want to throw Mike Green under the bus -- he may not be the shutdown defenseman you want him to be, but he is an irreplaceable player. Do you still think it was a good idea to get rid of Larry Murphy??

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 29, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The reasons why the Caps lost : Ovie has a hard slap shot , but is not a leader or a winner. He has nothing else. Neither is Greene or Semin. To leave Alsner, who was playing in his first playoff game, holding the bag and left alone to face the music after the game shows what kind of " leaders" there are on this team. The Caps organization , and the league have made a LOT of effort to make Ovie the focal point of this team , and to some extent the league. He was missing during the game so it's no surprise that he ended up missing after the game too. Bruce B. could not get Ovie away from Gill or Georges , even though he had the last change ? With about 8 minutes left in the 3rd period , the score was still 1-0, a loose puck was in the Montreal neutral zone . Semin and Greene flew into the zone , and each player tapped his stick on the ice for the dish pass. Should'a been a two -on one . Instead , it was another wasted scoring chance. Somebody needed to be the " little" guy on the team and get the puck. Thanks Caps for setting the table for the Pens to make a third run at a Stanley Cup.

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

The only overhaul should be in mindset. Not personnel.

Posted by: cstanton1

Have to admit that I wouldn't object to a little less finesse and a little more grit. That might require a change in personnel as I don't see some of the redundant finesse guys willing to muck it up.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, tossing out names irrelevant to the team's current situation is too easy. Backstrom, Ovechkin, Green, Alzner, Carlson, the goaltenders...yeah, he's the worst ever.

Posted by: Landru | April 29, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

This team does not need to be blown up but it does need to lose some soft baggage (eg, Flash and maybe Semin) this year and, more importantly, it needs to get back to fundamentals. This team was way too far out ahead of itself. Notwithstanding the fact that they they have won nothing (at least nothing that matters -- as the marketing goes), they have been marketed like rock stars and champions. I love the fan experience at the VC, but this whole organization, from top to bottom, needs to get back to basics. Quite talking about the Stanley Cup. You've been nowhere near it so why even bother. Ditch the player profiles, fast car pieces, and glamour shots. And ditch the soft players and bring in those that want to work for a living. Take it one game at time. Show up to practice (even the optional ones), roll over teams, show genuine passion but ditch the choreographed stuff. Most importantly, get some mental toughness and act like you've been there before. That is the stuff of champions and you can't market your way there.

Posted by: SameOldCaps | April 29, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

So clear how the Caps GM is the biggest joke in hockey.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I think the two most important acquisitions is a defender (Volchenkov) and a #2 center (Plekanec?).

A possible defense next year:

Alzner/Carlson
TBA(maybe ShaMo)/Volchenkov
Schultz/Green

I'd be happy with that. You? Volchenkov being the key man on the PK.

Now acquiring a 2nd line center may be more difficult and could require a trade. I don't think the Caps have the cap room to get Plekanec. But trading Flash opens up some cap room.

I'm open to trading Semin but the return would have to be worthwhile. If the Caps could somehow acquire a 2nd line center in a trade while keeping Semin then that would be great.

Fehr is improving every year and should be even better next year. The same goes for most of the young players. People cannot discount possible improvement when judging if the Caps should keep certain young players.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cheef, long time no see.

Humor me, if you were GM, what changes would you make in the off season? Please keep cap constraints in mind.

Thanks

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

P@ssies never win the war- CHOCKING DOGS!

Boz is absolutely correct.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 29, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

So clear how the Caps GM is the biggest joke in hockey.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:14 PM


Wow, that sure did clear it up. Way to support your argument.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

P@ssies never win the war- CHOCKING DOGS!

Boz is absolutely correct.

Posted by: lylewimbledon


So you have been posting this all day. Could you please mix it up a little? Something other then CHOKING DOGS!? (And if you are going to stick to one thing, spell it right)

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The only way they will ever get close to the Cup finals will be under a new GM.

The big bonus will be the Wizards, hopefully big Ted will be so interested in basketball that it will allow for hockey people to finally do their job, without a big fat distraction.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna take a LOT of $$$$$$ to get Volchenkov. Every team in the league is dreaming of signing him.

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Cheef, long time no see.

Humor me, if you were GM, what changes would you make in the off season? Please keep cap constraints in mind.

Thanks

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 4:18 PM

The time was now, this team was set to make a push and they blew it.
Oddly enough, they had too many players at their disposal.

Unless the owner fires the GM ASAP to finally send the message that it's about winning, they will never ever come close.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef -- yeah, Leonsis has really run the Caps into the ground, hasn't he?

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 29, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Without Hanlon, Cassidy, et al, there would be no Ovechkin in Washington. What would the impact have been on Washington hockey if they drafted in the mid to late rounds in 2004? Alexander Radulov? Wojtek Wolski?

Ovechkin is transcendent, and because the Caps were in a position to pick him up, he made hockey relevant in this town. He made the Caps relevant in the hockey world. Find a list of all successful franchises, and you'll find that they were built from losing.

Keep things in perspective. Today, the Caps have one of the best farm systems in all of hockey, thanks to George McPhee. Yes, they also have an outstanding NHL team that fell short, built by George McPhee. Such is in the DNA of the Capitals franchise. The difference now is that there is no David Poile being handcuffed by Abe Pollin. There is an owner in Ted Leonsis committed to winning. He's not afraid of asking the tough questions, or of making the tough personnel decisions. He will bring a Stanley Cup to Washington.

Posted by: paperboy76 | April 29, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@jerryc57

I agree. Over $5M/yr. But one advantage the Caps have in selling Volchenkov is his close friendship with Ovie and Semin (if he stays). If the Caps can offer similar amounts of money the rumors going around is taht Volchenkov wants to play with Ovechkin and Semin.

So I think it is possible he will sign in DC. Poti would have to be moved though which could definitely happen because Poti was by far the Caps best defenseman in the playoffs so I'm sure he has some value.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef -- yeah, Leonsis has really run the Caps into the ground, hasn't he?

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 29, 2010 4:28 PM |

Depending on how you look at it.
Correct me if I'm wrong, as of today he's a loser in the post season. A big loser.

So yes, he's killing the chances of winning a cup by retaining a loser GM.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@paperboy76

Well said.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The attempts on this board to justify an epic failure is amusing.

Great farm, great picks, blah blah blah.

Have a nice summer sheep :)

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef

So the Oilers were killing their chances of winning the Cup when they kept their team and GM together after losing to the Kings in the first round in 1982?

That was so idiotic of them. How dumb to keep those losing idiots like Gretzky and others. So dumb.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef

So the Oilers were killing their chances of winning the Cup when they kept their team and GM together after losing to the Kings in the first round in 1982?

That was so idiotic of them. How dumb to keep those losing idiots like Gretzky and others. So dumb.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef -- you're full of something

This franchise was losing money, no one was coming to games. It was BAD. Leonsis is arguably the best sports owner DC/Baltimore has ever had (too early in his tenure to make the call, but he's certainly in the running).

The Caps are built to go to the playoffs every year for the next 5+ years. There is still room and potential to grow and improve. They've shown they can get there, now they need to make some adjustments to win once they're there.

Posted by: butcherbaker | April 29, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I thin Semin is a phenomenal player (if you couldn't tell) but I will like him on another team if it meant the Caps win a Cup. My concern is that without him, Ovi is the team's only offensive threat. So who do you guys think we could get to fill the Malkin role if Semin is traded?

Posted by: ablake70 | April 29, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The attempts on this board to justify an epic failure is amusing.

Great farm, great picks, blah blah blah.

Have a nice summer sheep :)

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010


Do you seriously enjoy being a Pens....I mean jack***? How many more times do you want to say the same thing? That GMGM is no good, needs to be fired, and will not get this team to a Cup. Yet, you offer no specifics.

Just go away, your annoying.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

thin=think

Posted by: ablake70 | April 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

When you stop comparing everything and actually are part of something that's built unique to their situation, maybe an open dialog can take place.

Keep looking everywhere else to justify this pathetic GM's existence.

Keep thinking there is a set playbook for success, you'll only fail.

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef

Who are you to criticize anyone here on this board. Your intellect is so vast that you are only able to reach conclusions when taking into account 1 factor.

I guess we are all so dumb by taking all factors into consideration and weighin them accordingly instead of looking at one factor.

That sort of narrow minded viewpoint is always highly regarded in intellectual circles. I'm glad we have someone like you who is able to help us intellectual minions out.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

man, it really was the only window with these guys. looking at the cap numbers all we can do is resign our rfa's (unless nylander magically disappears). if we trade poti and flash we might have just enough room to sign volchenkov and a vet center.

looks like we'll stand pat, regress a little and play more youth, next year. might as well give bruce another year in that scenario. then look to trade semin or green next year and make 2012 the goal. we'll have just enough time to win a cup before the world ends.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | April 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

When you stop comparing everything and actually are part of something that's built unique to their situation, maybe an open dialog can take place.

Keep looking everywhere else to justify this pathetic GM's existence.

Keep thinking there is a set playbook for success, you'll only fail.

Posted by: Cheef


Man that was deep. Thanks Confucius.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

As soon as the Caps got the puck across the blue line they took a shot. Nobody to screen in front of the net , no attempt to work the puck down low for the angle shot , no changes in philosophy in the last three games.I guess the Caps thought they had this series won when they were up 3-1 . You give this goaltender , or any other goaltender in the playoffs that kind of good look at the puck , and their confidence level will soar after stopping the first ten or so shots. After that , forget it. You are as good as beaten.

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

you do have to wonder - how many years does McPhail get a free pass?

12 years and counting with the following results:

1. Fluke Cup Run in 1998
2. One First Round Play-off victory in 2009 after being down 3-1 in the series to the Rangers.
- every other season Caps have not qualified for play-offs or been eliminated in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Canes and Lightning have both won Cups from the SE division.

McPhail must go!

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey sgm3:

Hockey IQ can't be learned.

"keep it simple stupid"

It's comments about intellect that tell the entire story

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Have a nice summer sheep :)

Posted by: Cheef

You too Bo Peep.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many people made an account with WashingtonPost.com to spew their nonsensical drivel on Caps Insider after last night's loss.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | April 29, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey Magz.

You still playing ?

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

McPhail must go!

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 29, 2010


Ha ha ha. McPhail? You Pens fans are hilarious.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef

I guess that quote was directed to you.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - CHOKING DOGS

Posted by: lylewimbledon | April 29, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Cheef is RIGHT! Is this team actually talking about another 5 year Plan? Even talking or thinking about getting rid of BB is utterly ridiculous but par for the course for the kool aide drinkers. gmgm is the so called architect of the one and done team, non-playoff performing team. Boudreau is responsible for turning this team into a contender with what he has, gmgm is responsible for acquiring, or in his case NOT, talent or a blue line which is not one dimensional. Look at the back line starters, each guy is the same. NO Bruising D man, (just one example) AKA Hal Gill who was available at the trade deadline prior but gmgm did not have the pills to make a move. Let’s go back and see how that has worked out. Gill w/ Pens eliminate caps in game seven, following year, Gill w/ Montreal, and eliminate caps in game seven. Bryzgalov, passed on during waivers, now up for Vezina. The list is continues as long as the requests for “one more year Ted, another five year plan will get us to the cup this time…..” Stop playing around and bring in Dale Hunter to run this organization! Let us see this team succeed, the fans have shown they want it!

Posted by: rgallagher1 | April 29, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I believed it could work but realize now that it does NOT.

it's time for them to realize the same thing as well.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

here's a thought. Next time save yourself the trouble and just listen to me :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

We miss you Rod Langway.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | April 29, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I realize its just the AHL, but Alex Giroux scores like crazy, BOTH in regular season and playoffs....Is there no way he can help us next year??

I wouldn't have minded seeing him here for more then just a game or 2 this past season, to see what he's got....

Just a thought...

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 29, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@aadamkatzen

He is in his 30's. He just doesn't have the speed and/or size to make it in the NHL.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bos lost me when he called GMGM an "elite GM."

He certainly hasn't lived up to his own billing - that is plainly evident. You want examples? We need a shutdown d-man - and have for 3 straight seasons, and counting. He brings in Corvo. We need a #2 center - he brings in BMo, then Belanger.

How do teams like the Wings keep getting guys like Zetta, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, etc. in the later rounds - and we grab Alzner #5, overall? How does that happen? Who have we found, in the later rounds, who's a game-breaker? Who?

We're supposedly a "finesse" team - yet we got completely outskated by a team that barely made the playoffs. The game just keeps getting faster, but our GM drafts for height, and place of birth [OV fell into his lap] - we have guys playing in key positions who too many times get caught up ice because they just can't keep up [examples? ok: Schultz, Fehr, BMo, Corvo, Steckel - shall I continue?]

Everybody's calling for Flash's head on a platter, or BB's, or Semin's [even Backstrom's for crying out loud] - it's a long list, but it never ever seems to include GMGM - why is that?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

SGM I agree with you but I'd go a step further.

Volchenkov provides a good model for defensive physicality and reliability. Of course hopefully he's playing in a different system because as you saw even our stay at home defenders were caught up ice way too much this year.

I'd trade Semin and Flash and I wouldn't be averse to trading Schultz either. He wasn't an issue per se but with his market value if you can get a different element back I'd do it. The teams that are looking to aggressively improve would be teams like the Rags and the Flames. Teams who were close and have big expectations.

Dubinsky, Staal, Giordano, Nystrom etc etc. Go after reliable aggressive players with character.

We need physical reliable stay at home defenders (2) and at least 1 strong two way center with size or at least a guy who plays big. Then bring in AGordon on the RW on the 3rd line and let him play on the 1st line also. He's more tenacious than Knuble and what he lacks in some size he makes up with his strength. And he's got great hands around the net, he's very quick. Start him on a checking line and then move up as necessary. And Pinizotto on the 4th line and PK.

you gotta fix that PK and by bringin in some quick aggressive forwards and stay at home defenders we'll get some better balance. Also wouldn't mind a pure energy momentum kid like Brandon Prust to provide some better toughness than you get from a Bradley. And he can pull a reg shift too.

Go target the Rangers - Dubinsky, Staal or Del Zotto, Prust.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

adam, he's had a couple of chances the last two years. He can't put the biscuit in the basket.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

There is a very hot GM candidate available. If we act fast, this is the best job in hockey. His name is Steve Yzerman. He will be getting a job, probably in Tampa. Because Holland is in Detroit, he will never get a chance there. He has learned from the best. He has got assets, and he is a HOFer. That is the guy we need to be contacting asap. He is a winner.

Posted by: underpants2 | April 29, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

btw, including Semin on my trade wish list isn't so much calling for his head on a platter. Its that he has trade value. And I would rather hold onto a kid like Fehr who showed me a lot of growth this year in the playoffs and deal Semin whose effort is hit or miss. And he's a guy who can bring back good value from some of these defensive teams lacking in pure skill.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

You gotta get players that hate to lose if you want to win . I want players that are pi$$ed off after a loss , not sitting there shaking their heads mumbling.

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

@rgallagher1:

First,
Thank you for saying something other than GMGM sucks, and thats it.

I give GMGM one more year. The deadline this year really bothered me. It was obvious, painfully obvious, that we needed a scrappy shutdown D-man. And we picked up Corvo. While I don't have a big issue with Corvo, he was not what we NEEDED.

To say that GMGM needs to go now is premature. To say that GMGM has accomplished and done nothing, is insane and absurd. The age of the corp group of this team is very young and very talented.

Now he should have balanced that young group during the offseason with a veteran shutdown D, like Gill, similar to signing Knuble to the forward group.

Posted by: jackstraaw | April 29, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

@rgallagher1 - I couldn't agree more. Very well-stated. I'd completely forgotten all those other guys he passed on [esp. Bryzgalov, available for cheap] as well. Brilliant. Going to games before BB's arrival was like going to the morgue.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, I'd like to see what Fehr can do with more minutes.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, Semin has High Value. He is a 40 goal scorer, they do not grow on trees. Look what Toronto gave up for Kessel (2 firsts and a second). Teams like Florida need to win now. We need to swing a deal with them. Let them sign Semin long term, and we get the number 3 overall. Adding a dmen that high to what we have would greatly change the makeup of this team. Imagine:

Green/Cam Fowler
Alzner/Carlson
Poti/Schultz

Also, we would free up a ton of money to sign another offensive player. No one the caliber of Semin, but someone tough and who can score 25 goals.

Posted by: underpants2 | April 29, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@underpants - I don't know about Stevie Y as GM here. I really questioned some of his calls for Team Canada; Crysby saved his bacon [actually, Iginla did the dirty work on that one].

Although, it looks like he made the right call on D, I'll give him that.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The Caps needed somebody with pills to stand up and guarantee a win in game # 7 .

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I guess I would hold on to Schultz because I think he is going to improve even more next year, like he did this year. He seems like the type of defender that will reach his peak in a few years.

His game is based on good positioning and using his long reach to poke check (sound familiar, Hal Gill). I think he is going to get significantly better with the more playing time he receives.

The only fear I have with getting rid of Semin is losing that second scoring threat. Semin needs a quality center though. So if the only way to acquire a good 2nd line center is to trade Semin then I would be for that.

Getting better down the middle is a must. I don't think getting an old center is the answer either.

Semin for Dubinsky, Staal, (Del Zotto may end up being very good but he still has a few more years of growing pains, the Caps will have enough of that with Carlson and Alzner), and Prust is interesting.

Is there any way we could get Callahan too. ;)

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Tough day (maybe tough months) to be a Caps fan. My personal opinion is that Boswell has written a pretty insightful argument here. Despite his misunderstanding of how to take an correct slapshot, he hits on some key issues here that must be addressed. Primarily, can the Caps win the Stanley Cup with this kind of system? It is a great question because so far the Caps have demonstrated that they can't ... not even close.

Many bloggers on this site (and I will say that there is a wealth of hockey knowledge in many of the posters here) have expressed time and again this season our concerns with the system and personnel of the Caps to be successful in the playoffs. The band-aid approach of slipping a few players in here or there to make us a little tougher, a little better in the face-off circle, and so on did not prove to be the answer.

The answer is deeper than that, and I think Boswell has discerned this properly.

To make a football comparison, the Caps need to develop a system akin to a "Red Zone" offense in football for the playoffs. The Red Zone offense is designed to be effective against a defense that stiffens in a compressed area of the field in which points are harder to come by as a result. You do away with flea flickers and crazy reverses in the Red Zone (note to Jim Zorn wherever you are) because there just is not enough time and space for them to be effective. You utilize screens a little more, fade patterns, quick-hitting hitches and slants, and a power rushing attack to be successful.

In the same way, the Caps need to move towards a scheme that can be successful against the "Red Zone" defenses of hockey in the playoffs -- such as the Trap -- games in which defenses stiffen, they allow less space and time to maneuver, and guys are laying down their lives to block shots (e.g., Laperriere). Scoring off the rush is a rarity in the playoffs -- garbage goals like Laich's goal last night are the norm.

In sum, I agree with Boswell. The system needs to be dumped which means some of the personnel needs to change as well. I believe Ovechkin can alter his game, and possibly Green as well; I highly doubt Semin or Fleischmann can. Get the cap space by moving them and look to find some hard-nosed stay-at-home types on defense and some go-to-the-net power forwards and we will be on our way to what we need.

Sorry for the length. Thanks for reading.

Posted by: coveredwithhisdust | April 29, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

underpants,

Semin's value isn't that high. 1 year of him vs 7 years of the #3's services is pretty lopsided. He's made it clear that he's going to see what offers are out there 7/1/11.

Posted by: Steve_R | April 29, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

First off GMGM is one of the best GM's in the NHL! He has built what should be a dynasty. But the problem is BB, there is a reason that he's been in the minors for what...30 years! BB needs to pack his bags and take the Aneritel triplets, the gieco caveman, all the bank commericals, the mercedes benz commercials and take his "Big time Hockey coach, fiscally conservative" chubby cheeked bald head out of town. He was given the pieces of the puzzle by GMGM and he failed to put the puzzle together! Several players need to leave also to inlcude: Semin (floater), Green (thinks he's in the NBA take a look at his website, welcome to my crib, check out my lambo) and most definetly "Flash!"
P.S. Cheef, you are still mad at GMGM because he fired Sluggo ( good riddens) years ago, why don't you be a man, step up to the plate and tell him yourself! Tough Guy! yeah I'm still mad about last night and you can bet GMGM and uncle Ted are too!

Posted by: Squigsfan83 | April 29, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Was thinking about you last week while drinking Cabo-Wabo. haha

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I love Steckel and how he plays but I think replacing him has to be a consideration.

He is just too slow. It really hurts the Caps PK.

Bradley is another guy too. Again, I love how he plays but a younger, faster, more aggressive version may be needed. Speed, size and aggression is needed for forechecking and cycling by a grit line. Bradley may be losing some of that with his age.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

GMGM resigned Steckel to 3yr $1.1 mil per deal, so he will be hard to move.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 29, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

btw, including Semin on my trade wish list isn't so much calling for his head on a platter. Its that he has trade value. And I would rather hold onto a kid like Fehr who showed me a lot of growth this year in the playoffs and deal Semin whose effort is hit or miss. And he's a guy who can bring back good value from some of these defensive teams lacking in pure skill.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 5:01 PM

i would hate to see semin (and his 40 goals) go - but if they could get a top tier dman, how could you pass that up.
if you were to question: how do you replace 40 goals - give fehr semin type minutes and he's in the mid 30's in goals. i think we have some guys in hershey that could get ~20 goals if they play fehr's minutes.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 29, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Boswell is right, especially regarding ....

"The Capitals have a bigger problem. They have to decide whether the creative, free-wheeling, crowd-pleasing offensive system they've built around Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and Green and Semin, is so at odds with the rugged, tense nature of NHL playoff hockey that it must be fundamentally changed. Not tweaked. Not enhanced with more goal-mouth tough guys. But a whole team's on-ice personality radically altered.

The current team "personality" is well suited to the regular season, but is a horrible fit for playoff hockey. The sooner the team accepts that and makes the necessary adjustments, the sooner this thing can turn around.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 29, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

Good point. Forgot about that. Maybe they could get a draft pick for him, possibly a low one.

If not, then I guess the Caps will have to keep Stckel as the 13th forward and/or move him to the minors.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - so, you're basically saying we move Semin for Dubinsky, plus? Dubinsky had 44 pts this year - and his linemate was Marian Freaking Gaborik! Gabby had a shot at 50 on a team that struggled mightily to score goals; a stiff could get 50 assists playing alongside Gaborik.

OK, I realize you're probably not calling for a straight-up trade, but we're talking about a 40-goal scorer here - do you have any idea how rare those guys are? And Semin's almost touched 40 twice before. And each time without a centerman!

At some point, we're going to have to get through Pitt - and down the middle they go Malkin-Crosby-Staal. And we answer with Backstrom [fine]-BMo-Belanger???

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Timbo ... a 40 goal scorer is worthless if he can't deliver in the playoffs. Better to have a 20 goal scorer who is well suited for playoff hockey.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 29, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

don't look at it like you have to replace Semin's 40 goals. Hockey doesn't work like that, neither do trades. By getting back a different player or two you change the overall chemistry of your team, it has a ripple effect (hopefully a positive one). No single player has to make up those 40 goals. You don't have to end up scoring the same # of goals next yr that you did this past yr to be successful. The goal isn't to replace the goals. Its to become a better balanced, better defensive team. And one that can do a better job of manufacturing goals when space and time becomes more limited in playoff action.

The more important consideration of losing Semin is simply taking the heat off Ovechkin for any type of secondary scoring. But with the right teammates, you can field a better group of forwards all the way thru your lineup. And you never know what type of offensive contributions you may get from other players who get more increased ice time on the PP etc when Semin is gone.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I think he said Semin for Dubinsky, Staal, and Purst.

Trading Semin for Dubinksy would not be smart. That is not nearly a good enough return for Semin's value.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love all the Thursday afternoon qb's that know everything.
If they would have won you wouldn't see them on here but since they lost it's
"I told you so" Go climb back under your rocks.

Posted by: ludeman95 | April 29, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

@Squigsfan - so, BB's the problem, and GMGM's a genius, right?

Q: What, exactly, has GMGM's record been, in seasons without BB as coach? And his record with BB?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@Jeff - the point was, he needs somebody who can deliver the freaking puck.

For all the trash some talked about the Habs - and it wasn't just Green, but he sure stood out - they have some terrific playmakers [and not just the obvious guys like Markov, Plekanec, etc.]. We have one centerman - one - who can make plays and find open guys. And our PP QB is apparently, not the brightest bulb.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

Semin is more than a goal scorer, he is also a playmaker. He's one of the main reasons that guys like Laich and Flash reached the 20+ goal marker. He's a guy the attracts the opposing teams D, leaving his linemates open. Fehr has had an impressive year on the third line against the bottom pairing D. The Caps cannot declare themselves contenders by replacing him with some grinders and an injury prone defenseman. If this team is going to trade Semin they need someone that fills his role.

As for the Habs series, who knows what could have been had BB left Laich-BMo-Semin together. They looked good in game 7.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 29, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I told my brother [who's still a faithful B's fan after all these years, Jacobs' and Sinden's handiwork notwithstanding] of your recent proposal to swap Semin for a few of the Bruins "gritty" guys. He told me they'd gladly take Semin off our hands.

Look, I understand the frustration, I'm not saying Semin played his best hockey. But, at least from where I sat, the effort was there - they just weren't going in. That happens - hell, the same thing happened to Malkin a couple playoffs ago, Cherry and Melrose [never mind Asshat Maguire] were killing him. So, the next year he wins the Conn Smythe.

Without Malkin, Crosby does jack. You need two top lines for the playoffs, you really do - one scoring line just ain't gonna cut it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Right now , the league and the Caps have to hope that the Pens don't get to the Cup finals and win again, or next year the " rivalry " will be between Crosby and Kane , or Sedin. Crosby pulled ahead of Ovie by getting the game winning goal for the gold medal in the Olympics , and Ovie is getting smaller and smaller in Crosby's rear view mirror every series that goes by.

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

We'll have to agree to disagree. The Habs aren't loaded with playmakers. They were a very marginal team that limped into the playoffs (8 losses in their last 11 games), and had no business beating the Capitals. Semin is the poster child for the Capitals shortcomings, i.e., not interested in getting dirty, not interested in hanging out by the net or digging pucks out of corners, not interested in physical contact, etc. Those attributes make for an awful playoff performer.

Yes, he has skill, and in the run-and-gun regular season, he can give everyone a nice show and lots of ooooohs and ahhhhhs .... but when it's time for the playoffs, he's pretty worthless.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 29, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

underpants,

Semin's value isn't that high. 1 year of him vs 7 years of the #3's services is pretty lopsided. He's made it clear that he's going to see what offers are out there 7/1/11.

Posted by: Steve_R


The team he goes to will have to sign him long term before the deal gets done, but its happened before. Pronger did it last year. Semin is on par with Kessel.

Posted by: underpants2 | April 29, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Semin...is a playmaker....

Okay, that's it, I've gotta leave town for a while. To your credit, it's not remotely as preposterous as "GMGM is the worst ever," but...wow.

Semin has a congenital inability to make the right decision about whether to shoot or pass. Given that he's a 40-goal scorer with a reasonable number of assists, I'm not sure whether he could be better if he made better decisions. But his thought process when he's carrying the puck is obvious, painful, and often futile. He dangles when he should shoot, he passes when he should shoot, he shoots when he should pass or dangle. If he's a playmaker, some serious re-evaluation is in order.

It's also possible that some of what I see as seriously problems with the guy is actually a coaching issue. I'm still wallowing, so it's hard for me to process that right now.

Posted by: Landru | April 29, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

@ PensFan98

Laich, Knuble, Fehr, Gordon, Chimera, Bradley, Steckel, are all supposed to be the grinder types that like to get their noses dirty. But at the end of the day, the only one that tried to go to the net consistently was Knuble.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 29, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@ablake - good point, Semin is a very underrated passer, a ton of his assists are primary assists.

Very good point about Fehr, as well - yes he's a big body and has great hands, but he's just too slow when he goes against a top-4 d-pairing. In my opinion.

GMGM hates to acknowledge this I realize, but the Western Hockey is not the NHL, speed-wise. By a tad.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@Jeff - yeah, you're right - Markov and Plekanec suck as plamymakers, that's why MTL's PP struggled so badly all year. Oh, wait.

I suppose Halak's awful, also?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@Landru - hang in there dude. If the Boston Red Sox can do it, believe me, this young Caps team definitely can*.

*Confession: I say this as a generational fan o' the Sox, and may have - if the truth be told - sworn off baseball [well, tried to anyway] after some of those playoff losses. Aaron Boone in particular.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 29, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

not interested in getting dirty, not interested in hanging out by the net or digging pucks out of corners, not interested in physical contact, etc. Those attributes make for an awful playoff performer.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 29, 2010 5:45 PM

this applies to a few other players besides semin. the problem is that semin will be making 6m next year. it would take moving that much salary to get what they really need. flash is the other guy that plays soft - he has the talent and if he can be kept for under 2m, he could be worth keeping. building (and retaining) a team requires weighing production vs cost.
theo is not worth the 4.5m he makes - i like what he can do for the team but not so much at that price.
imo:
semin at 6m = no
nyls at 4.8 = no
green at 5.2 = not this year

if you want to tweak the makeup of the team - you have to evaluate what you are getting for your money.

i would keep the current roster intact if BB was willing to preach a bit more grit/defense and the players executed it.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 29, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

As disappointed as we all are, here is an amazing statistic, consider this for a moment:

I may be off by a point or two, but I just looked through the schedule, and I think the Caps earned 21 points this year in games in which they allowed 4 goals or more IN REGULATION.

That is amazing. It encapsulates the weaknesses of this team so well. Not that they couldn't play good defense on any given night -- they certainly could. But on nights where their defense was horrible, they still had anout firepower to win games 6-5, 5-4, etc. We won a lot of games this year where we didn't play well. A lot. Game 2 against Montreal was a perfect example. And that came back to bite us in a big way, when Montreal tightened up and we didn't adjust.

Posted by: jhamond1 | April 29, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Guys, i know you don't want to hear this but i'm a HABS fan and to tell you the honest truth i'm stunned that the Caps didn't run us over.

Ovi, was taking shots from the blue line and him being who he is, should have been crashing the net. Definitely not standing on the Blue line!

Green was way too emotional last night, going after checks instead of the puck.

I don't understand the coaching, so much fire power and yet you limit it to 1 line? You split the trio up and give the guys room to not know what you're throwing at them.

I expected game 7, that the caps would have change some structure and made it more unexpected, but it was the same thing three games in a row.

I would like to say tho, that all of you didn't give a single chance to the Canadiens. We talk about respect for the other team, but i didn't see anything like that.

The one huge difference that you'll see, is that the Pens will come out flying, composed, ready and not taking any chance for granted. They will put us in the ground if they have the chance to do it. They won't be cocky and talking badly about the other team. Simply taking the task at hand and sticking it to the HABS ON THE ICE!!! not in the PRESS!

Enjoy the Green's and we'll see you next season. GO HABS GO!!!

Posted by: mbruzzone | April 29, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

so what are BB, GMGM and Leonsis doing today anyway? having a meeting with spin doctors??

I know it's probably wise to take a day off and think thru what you are gonna say to the media and the fans but what other sport lets you wait a day after the season is over??

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Timbo: Been hanging in for 35 years (and before that, hung in on another team until the Caps got here--at which point that other team won the Cup). No worries. Today's difficult, is all.

Habs person: Congratulations. Good luck. And do enjoy your fantasy life wherein no Hab spoke ill of the Caps to the press.

Posted by: Landru | April 29, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

You do realize that the HABS are press and bad talking central. i never said that we did say stupid comments to the press but you guys let yourselves get overwhelmed by it and frustrated.

You guys lost out to number 8 with a 3-1 lead not the HABS. lol but thank you for the congratulations!

Posted by: mbruzzone | April 29, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Since a few of you asked. My disagreements with Boswell (in no particular order).

1. I categorically reject the notion that you have to recreate the 1995 New Jersey Devils to win in the playoffs. Yes, defense works. Offense works too. When the season started I told people that this team would win by scoring more goals than the other team, not by making the other team score less than them. Here, the caps failed at scoring more, yet only let up 2 goals last night, right about (or slightly below) season average. Offensive teams who have won the cup in recent memory: Tampa, Colorado, Dallas. Defensive teams: New Jersey, Anaheim. "Mixed" teams: Detroit, Pittsburgh. There is no "formula" for playoff success.

2. To that end, BB isn't the problem. I do think he needs a better anecdote for the trap than "Alex, go around those guys". Dump and chase is the traditional way to do that, but I haven't seen any indication that the Caps can play that way.

3. Hot goalie always help. There is no reason (especially using Boswell's defense wins theory) why the Devils should have lost to Philly. Except Brian Boucher player like Marty - 15 years ago. Sure, the Habs blocked a lot of shots, but Halak was amazing. When you play the same team seven times in a row, sometimes all you need is a stud in net. So, I'll withhold discussion on dismantling the team pending watching what else Halak can do. Hypothetically, if the Habs win the East, is everyone still panicking? I think not.

Also, I'm still waiting for Tarik's post-breakdown day article. I'm curious who, if anyone was hurt, and how badly. Not making excuses, but may that's an issue.

Boswell makes reasonable points. But, they are fairly traditional points. And, they would carry more weight if I had any indication, outside of bandwagon season, that Boswell knew or cared anything about hockey. If I want to hear tired analysis of why the Caps lost, I'll let Don Cherry explain to me that the problem is there are too many Russians on the team. Boswell's insights are just as trenchant.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | April 29, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Clueless panicky Boswell has no sense of hockey history.

Now is NOT the time to panic!
What is needed is cool clear thinking….and some tinkering.

If one has followed the history of the NHL, where the Caps find themselves today after 3 playoff appearances is eerily similar to where the Edmonton Oilers found themselves after the 1981-1982 season. Yes, those Gretzky/Messier Oilers.

That year, they won their division, won their conference, and had the 2nd best total for points….

And guess what? They were eliminated in the 1st round by the LA Kings. A huge shocker upset of almost historic proportions after having progressed the 2 previous years with young swashbuckling guys. Sound similar?

Allow me to quote from that time:
” But youthful lapses of discipline led to a first round upset at the hands of the Kings.”

Sound familiar?

The following year was better, but more heartbreak losing in the Cup finals.

After that, they went on their run winning 5 cups the next 7 years!

It took the Oilers 5 years to get to the promised land. The Caps are in year 3.

We all know that is almost impossible to accomplish again with the new Cap era, but the story should not get lost because the emotion of panic sets in.

The Caps have assembled an elite group of young and learning assets.

The keys will be the proper tweaks-not a complete overhaul that some media and fans are barking for only 24 hours after the heartbreak.

Sometimes in life getting knocked down off one’s horse forces reflection and builds character.

Good Luck Caps and keep the faith!

A cup winning, ring bearing vet who can calm the ship when storm clouds assemble, along with a robust D man or 2, is basically all that’s needed to take the next step!

Posted by: htgolf | April 29, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef, Lloydahole or whatever his name is:

Has me recall a Dice clay quote:

"People are pri#ks"

On to more valuable things: What are people's opinions on BB and standing quote with not matching lines and using that advantage. I never have understood his philosophy that if we have the greatest player, he will find a way to beat you.

Why not put him against lesser competition and he may be able to do even better? Thoughts...


Posted by: ralCapsFan | April 29, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

DC hockey is alive and well. We will recover. We will overcome.


Posted by: CF11555 | April 29, 2010 12:56 AM

@CF11555: I want to believe that you are right about that. I really do.

Defensive "deficiencies" and goaltending "questions" aside, I honsetly believed that the Caps had finally turned a corner, had FINALLY arrived at a point where they were a good enough team that they would no longer be at the mercy of bad calls and bad bounces.


Even after 24 years of heartache and disappointment I can't stop being a fan of this team.

Yes, I would have wanted nothing more than a Cup this year.

But the good feelings from this entire season of seeing the Caps win more often than not CANNOT be entirely erased by that disappointment.

That said, I now vent:

GMGM did not FAIL
Coach Bruce did not FAIL
Even Mike Green did not FAIL
Blowing up the team and firing/trading everyone will NOT make the stuation better.

However:

--Someone should find RJ Umberger and beat him severely for jinxing our team.
--I can't beleive that after Tom Poti suffered a career-threatening eye injury and Eric Belanger sacrificed ¼ of all the teeth in his head, people are saying the Caps' players "didn't sacrifice". What a crock!
--As reluctant as I have been to admit the possibility these last 24 years: God may, in fact, hate this franchise. I can find no other explanation.

God may hate the Caps after all, but--call me crazy, call me a homer, call me whatever--I still can't.

For me, THIS--more than holding season tix for years, more than owning a jersey of every player, more than painting one's face red and screaming one's lungs out--is what it means to be a Caps fan.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 29, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

the Oilers didn't lose a 3 games to one lead in that series tho and it was a best of 5 series. The Oilers got simply out-gunned in that series by the Kings, losing 10-8 in Game 1 and 7-4 in Game 5.

the Caps only scored a goal/game in the last 3 games of the series... this is a little harder to swallow I think because that's not supposed to happen to this "high scoring machine" of a team.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

y'all just need to listen to me and not argue.

don't worry about trading goals in a trade, thats not how you gauge trades.

And Steckel is fine. I can name you a bunch of guys who play like Steckel in this league who are valuable. He got hosed playing on the wing, he's not a winger. He's performed very well as a center in every playoff series he's been involved in so far (Rags, Flyers, Pens).

you don't just give up a 6ft5 defensive center who can skate decently for his size and is strong on faceoffs and isn't a total oaf on the ice.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

people are saying the Caps' players "didn't sacrifice". What a crock!
---------------------

it was all a little too late

I don't blame the players as much though. Attitude always starts at a level above the players. In every sport thats consistently true.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

remember we can score a LOT LESS GOALS next season and still be a better team if we address other needs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

what i find the most insulting part of all this is that we had to endure the arrogance of an organization that was convinced they could reinvent the wheel and do things their own way. They basically turned their nose up at the tried and proven standards and they got burned for it. And so did we.

whoever said you can't improve your hockey IQ at the GM level, I'd tend to agree. McPhee must go. Even if he makes the right changes, he'll slowly revert back. And we'll end up with the same type of team we have currently. The coaching is a totally different issue altogether. How Boudreau will ever change his coaching stripes is anyone's guess. maybe he adapts, maybe he doesn't. Or maybe he adapts for a while and also reverts to what he's most comfortable with.

and if we micromanage this and bring in defensive specialists as assistants etc, that would be akin to how the Redskins operated until recently.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

blah. blah, blah. Thats all i here. fire him, trade him do this and do that. Its really simple....
the caps still havent learned how to score playoff goals..we they learn that then they will truley be dangerous..

Posted by: cptjack70 | April 29, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

remember we can score a LOT LESS GOALS next season and still be a better team if we address other needs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 7:35 PM

agreed - won't need to score as many goals IF the d is better and gives up fewer - i could live with that trade off

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 29, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

you do have to wonder - how many years does McPhail get a free pass?

12 years and counting with the following results:

1. Fluke Cup Run in 1998
2. One First Round Play-off victory in 2009 after being down 3-1 in the series to the Rangers.
- every other season Caps have not qualified for play-offs or been eliminated in the first round.

Meanwhile, the Canes and Lightning have both won Cups from the SE division.

McPhail must go!

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 29, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse


Not really sure what Orioles President Andy McPhail has to do with the Caps

Posted by: CPortisRun | April 29, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

@ cheef

Yep - still playing and having the odd cabo wabo.

you playing?

Posted by: Jaymagz | April 29, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, all of the idiots are really on the board today. We have a great, young team who just got fluked in a 7-game series against a hot goalie. It happens. ! bad playoff run does not define all of these very young players for the duration of their careers. Yes, some have now had 2 bad playoff seasons now, but it's hard not to say we dominated play the last couple of games and should have won this series somewhat easily with how we controlled the games. How about we give this team a chance before we start firing everyone and ruin the foundation that has been building here for 3-4 years now?

Posted by: CPortisRun | April 29, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

To all of the Cap players....Great season and keep it in the fairway....looking forward to battlin' you guys next year.......got to get ready for the next series......Lets see....hmmmmm......Pens in 5.....LETS GO PENS!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Good lord, people! What is this, the Caps version of the Burgundy Revolution? Or should I say, "The Red Revolution?"

They had the best regular season in team history and they choked in the first round of the playoffs against the one team in the East that was arguably their worst possible matchup.

Now everyone is crying for drastic changes! Chill the F*** out! Was this season a failure? Unequivocally, yes.

HOWEVER...

We have a team that will be contenders for the foreseeable future. It's not as if this team backed into the playoffs as the 8th seed, only to miss the playoffs each of the next several seasons. We will be there EVERY SEASON for years to come. Not long ago, this team was broken up and the playoffs were a pipe dream. People complained then. Now we have a perennial contender, and still people complain.

Personally, I have to believe that they will learn a lesson from this, more so than in the last two playoff exits. This was so humiliating for them, top to bottom, that I believe they have no choice but to adapt. What those adaptations should be, I know not, for there are hockey minds far brighter than mine within the Capitals organization. But I do agree that changes must be made in some capacity.

You can accuse me of whatever you want, but this is the best that the entire organization has looked in a very long time. Best owner in the NHL, best player in the NHL, best offensive defenseman in the NHL (except in the playoffs), arguably the best playmaker in the NHL. A former Jack Adams award winner. Plus the team has shown that it can keep winning even when missing key players. When was the last time there was a Caps team composed like this? Heck, when was the last time there was a DC sports team composed like this? This team is not a fraud. They are for real.

And before anyone accuses me of being a kool aid-drinking blind homer optimist, let me point out that I was vocal in my opinion that the team should have rebuilt after the 1998 Cup run. I was prepared for this team to lose for them to win. I did not like the Jagr deal, and I criticized the Redskins-style approach to building the team.

I hate that this choke happened (again). But I see good things from this club. I am excited with the direction they're going, and I look forward to memorable playoff battles for years to come.

I am PROUD to be a lifelong WASHINGTON CAPITALS fan, and I stick with them NO MATTER WHAT.

Seriously, it could be worse. Look at Atlanta and Florida.

Posted by: paperboy76 | April 29, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

HABS in 7 against the PENS!!!

Posted by: mbruzzone | April 29, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef - GMGM is the worst?
Good god man, if this is your opinion of McPhee, then you know diddly squat about hockey. The man has been brilliant in his draft choices and trades. Look at the number of kids--yes kids--on both the Caps and up in Hershey. The Caps may have faltered in this round, but my guess is that they will be a force to reckon with for many years to come. And for that we can thank GMGM. So Cheef, quite crying in your beer, and as one commenter said, get rid of your skins/Cerrato complex.

Posted by: RogerNoVa | April 29, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Pens in five.....you heard it here first....write it down!

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

mbruzzone:

You make a good point here: "I expected game 7, that the caps would have change some structure and made it more unexpected, but it was the same thing three games in a row."

I think NOT adapting the structure of our playing to the playoff style and the Habs' strategy was our downfall. Boswell makes a similar point.

In terms of respect, both teams exchanged their share of trash talk against each other. Remember the Canadians' booing of our national anthem? But it wasn't too bad as rivalries go. Nothing compared to the hatred between the Caps and the Pens, for example. We all acknowledged that you ended up being the better team.

Now MAKE SURE YOU BEAT THOSE PENS. We'll be rooting for you.

I would like to say tho, that all of you didn't give a single chance to the Canadiens. We talk about respect for the other team, but i didn't see anything like that.

The one huge difference that you'll see, is that the Pens will come out flying, composed, ready and not taking any chance for granted. They will put us in the ground if they have the chance to do it. They won't be cocky and talking badly about the other team. Simply taking the task at hand and sticking it to the HABS ON THE ICE!!! not in the PRESS!

Enjoy the Green's and we'll see you next season. GO HABS GO!!!

Posted by:

Posted by: caraveli | April 29, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Sid the Kid is going to be playing ALL home games this series . I doubt the Hab fans will cheer for him like they did when he was playing for team Canada in the olympics . Maybe they will ?

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

GAME TIME! gotta go.......one more time....LET'S GO PENS !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jerryc57 | April 29, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

@mbruzzone

I hope your playoff prediction on Round 2 is correct even though I'm not counting on it. If you're right, I'll have to figure out a way to get tickets to a game in Montreal next year to root FOR them against a bitter Caps rival of some sort.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 29, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

@paperboy76

Great post. It shows more reason than I felt after last night.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

I've heard a few people say the Pens in 5 on here today so hate to break it to you jerry but you aren't the first... I agree with the prediction tho, the Pens have had enough playoffs battles in the last two years so it won't take them too long to figure out how to dispose of a team like Montreal.

the people who think this is no big deal and just part of growing pains as a team are outta their minds. There is a reason why a number one seed with a 3 games to 1 lead never lost to a 8 seed before last night. This is a flawed team badly in need of a new direction/system.

I've heard someone said earlier that they played their hearts out but their system just wasn't working against what Montreal was doing. That about sums up how I saw it as well.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

One particularly stupid thing I keep hearing is that it takes a different kind of team to win in the playoffs than in the regular season. There is a reason that nearly 1/3 of the Presidents' Trophy winners have won the Stanley Cup that season. What is successful in the regular season works just as well in the playoffs. Before you start saying "What about the Caps?", look at the stats. They split the season series with the Habs, and did nearly as badly on the PP then as they did in the playoffs.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

Boswell's article was pretty analytical on the Caps. But, of course, he's more of a traditional baseball writer.

Your disagreements with him were well put.

Granted, Bruce had not figured out the way to cope with the Habs.

As you pointed out (and I also recalled), the Devils were dumped in Round 1 also by a badly decimated Flyers team with less than stellar goal tending.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 29, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

One particularly stupid thing I keep hearing is that it takes a different kind of team to win in the playoffs than in the regular season. There is a reason that nearly 1/3 of the Presidents' Trophy winners have won the Stanley Cup that season. What is successful in the regular season works just as well in the playoffs. Before you start saying "What about the Caps?", look at the stats. They split the season series with the Habs, and did nearly as badly on the PP then as they did in the playoffs.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

1. their regular season record against the Pens last didn't do them any good when it actually MATTERED.

2. this team has won almost 70 percent of the games since BB took over but is two games under .500 in 28 playoff games... enough said.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I would like to also say that the sting of the defeat must have seriously unraveled some people. So some of you would fire BB, GMGM, Semin, Green, Flash and others; cold-shoulder Ovie's nomination for MVP; declare Crosby the best player in the league and so on because of 4 bad games. Great plan!

I do agree with Boswell and believe 100% that becoming a better play-off team is our next phase development. So what! It took the Oilers and the Wings several years.

I love BB and the exciting team he created. I agree that he needs a different strategy and structure for the playoffs. It would be extremely sad (as well as surprising) if he was not able to adapt his style to the playoff needs. It would be equally sad and disasrous if the team lost the character that defined it and endeared it to millions during the regular season to become a less creative and exciting defensive machine.

I would like to ask my more knowledgeable blogger colleagues if you think that BB can expand his skills to develop a better playoff strategy; and also if there are Stanley Cup teams that kept their offensive character but became better defensively. Weren't the Oilers in that category?

Posted by: caraveli | April 29, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I would like to also say that the sting of the defeat must have seriously unraveled some people. So some of you would fire BB, GMGM, Semin, Green, Flash and others; cold-shoulder Ovie's nomination for MVP; declare Crosby the best player in the league and so on because of 4 bad games. Great plan!

I do agree with Boswell and believe 100% that becoming a better play-off team is our next phase development. So what! It took the Oilers and the Wings several years.

I love BB and the exciting team he created. I agree that he needs a different strategy and structure for the playoffs. It would be extremely sad (as well as surprising) if he was not able to adapt his style to the playoff needs. It would be equally sad and disasrous if the team lost the character that defined it and endeared it to millions during the regular season to become a less creative and exciting defensive machine.

I would like to ask my more knowledgeable blogger colleagues if you think that BB can expand his skills to develop a better playoff strategy; and also if there are Stanley Cup teams that kept their offensive character but became better defensively. Weren't the Oilers in that category?

Posted by: caraveli | April 29, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I would like to also say that the sting of the defeat must have seriously unraveled some people. So some of you would fire BB, GMGM, Semin, Green, Flash and others; cold-shoulder Ovie's nomination for MVP; declare Crosby the best player in the league and so on because of 4 bad games. Great plan!

I do agree with Boswell and believe 100% that becoming a better play-off team is our next phase development. So what! It took the Oilers and the Wings several years.

I love BB and the exciting team he created. I agree that he needs a different strategy and structure for the playoffs. It would be extremely sad (as well as surprising) if he was not able to adapt his style to the playoff needs. It would be equally sad and disasrous if the team lost the character that defined it and endeared it to millions during the regular season to become a less creative and exciting defensive machine.

I would like to ask my more knowledgeable blogger colleagues if you think that BB can expand his skills to develop a better playoff strategy; and also if there are Stanley Cup teams that kept their offensive character but became better defensively. Weren't the Oilers in that category?

Posted by: caraveli | April 29, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

paperboy76: I see what you mean, and they are a joy to watch during the regular season but they haven't had any playoff success. You're right in that they will be in the postseason almost every season in the forseeable future but if they don't take the next step then what's the use? I don't think it's complaining. They set the bar so high this year, and failed miserably. No more excuses about the bad matchup, the hot goalie... blah... It's time to step it up, I know this team is young but the Pens are young too. Look where they are.

I agree with joek443, some adjustments need to be made this offseason. It's not a coincidence that the last four series have ALL gone to 7 games and we are 1-3 in those game 7s. We just suck at playoffs.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 29, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@ Jaymagz

Good to hear, we should get together sometime, been a while.
Still playing (without getting tossed), for the most part :)

Posted by: Cheef | April 29, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

@ caraveli

I don't think the current Caps have a strong defensive anchor such as the Oilers did in Kevin Lowe. Coffey got all the headlines for his offensive skills but Lowe was their Langway.

I can see Alzner developing into such a player but we shall see.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

1. their regular season record against the Pens last didn't do them any good when it actually MATTERED.

2. this team has won almost 70 percent of the games since BB took over but is two games under .500 in 28 playoff games... enough said.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 9:25 PM

1. When you look at the Pens they faced in the playoffs, they were 0-1. Different coach than the first 3 games, differewnt system, different players.

2. Again, look at the matchups. All 4 series have been teams they didn't match up well against.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

By the way, where was Goat last night? I traded up by season tickets and ended up right behind the goal where Habs shot twice, right about where he usually sits, and my wife and I were thinking, where is he? How could he miss Game 7?

Posted by: jhamond1 | April 29, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

2. Again, look at the matchups. All 4 series have been teams they didn't match up well against.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

well 16 teams make the playoffs each year and 8 in each conference... they've been in 4 playoffs series going the distance in all 4 and losing 3 of them.

All you can say is the matchups were all bad? well who do you expect them to face in the playoffs, the trashers??

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

joek, let's look at the matchups. 2008, Flyers. Caps barely made the playoffs (and wouldn't have even done that if not for winning the division) and were totally outmatched. 2009, Rangers. Caps beat them, but were facing one of the best goalies in the NHL. 2009, Pens and refs. Caps got the entire series called against them, and STILL almost took it. 2010, Montreal. One of the few teams in the playoffs who has a tied/winning record against the Caps. And, for whatever reason, the one team the Caps PP was totally ineffective against. All 4 series, the Caps have ended up against teams who have the perfect tools to match them. If it had been the Flyers or Rangers this year, it would have been a totally different matter. I don't think it excuses the Caps this season, but the only team that would have been worse for the Caps was the Devils.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Not trying to rub it in or anything, because I'm as disappointed as the rest of you about the loss last night, but...the Bears are moving on to Round 3:

Hershey Bears beat Albany 5-4 in OT to sweep
By TIM LEONE, The Patriot-News
April 29, 2010, 9:57PM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Mathieu Perreault's goal at 2:23 of overtime lifted the Hershey Bears to a 5-4 victory over the Albany River Rats Thursday night in Game 4 of the East Division finals at Times Union Center.

Hershey swept the best-of-seven series 4-0 to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Hershey, trailing 4-2, got goals in the final four minutes of regulation from Alex Giroux (power play) and Perreault to force OT. Chris Bourque scored two power-play goals for Hershey.

Jerome Samson scored two goals for Albany. Chris Terry and Zach Boychuk also scored for the River Rats.

Bears goalie Michal Neuvirth made 17 saves to improve to 6-0 in the 2009-10 postseason.

Posted by: tess2201 | April 29, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

@ timmyv38

I think that just underlines the main problem with their system. In order to win 4 playoff series and the Cup, you're gonna have to adapt and adjust on the fly.

if you have a strong defensive system/structure, you can adapt/adjust more easily in the playoffs because you have a stronger foundation.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

basically even if everything else fails and you can't find the scoring touch, you can always fall back on the defense and shut the other team down if you have a strong defensive structure.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I would agree, their defense is their main weakness. Some of their individual players, Green and Flash being the ones who most come to mind, cannot seem to get over the nerves of being in the playoffs. However, the team as a whole is built to be able to succeed in the playoffs. If everyone could get their game even up to their average regular season level (not what they had during their long win streak, but just what they usually did), the Caps could make a deep run.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

You guys need to get over it. It's not like caps have 3 cups in recent history. Hopes were crushed, but expectations??? They were nonexistent. Caps will win a cup the way the penguins did. You gotta lose a championship before you can win one.

Posted by: RickyM2 | April 29, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"It's not really the goalie. Halak can look very average against certain teams during the regular season. If he was as talented as he seems right now, the whole Price vs Halak thing would have long been over. The issue is what people have been saying all along, and why I thought Washington is questionable to go far."

Whoever wrote that article is ignorant of hockey. During the regular season, Halak was 4th in save % and 9th in GAA. He hadn't gotten the starting job until recently because the Montreal front office doesn't want to make it look like they did a bad job with their 1st round pick back in 2005.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Dan Snyder with all his faults you can't say he's shy about spending money to improve the team even if he always seems to make the wrong moves.

there's a salary cap on the players but there's no salary cap on the coaches and the front office personnel. I'm not saying BB needs to go and they need to go hire a high priced headcoach but how about better/more assistant coaches to help him?

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what his contract situation is with the Avs but I sure would like to see Kono back here as an asst. coach to help with the PK/defense.

Posted by: joek443 | April 29, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

PK is the one major area we need a better coach in. Bob Woods definitely helped with the defense - look how improved they were during the regular season. And Kono is definitely a guy I'd love to see around again - he was one of my favorite Caps to watch back in the day.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino

From top to bottom, this team and organization failed. All of them. You win as a team, you lose as a team, and they just lost on a monumental, never done before scale.

-Don't call RJ, call his agent, tell him we'd like his services here in DC. His hockey IQ is higher than anyone we seem to have here, and he was 100% correct. Is he a center? Hmmm, think we need one of those. And when he played in Philly he was a monster in the playoffs.

-Sacrificing isn't getting accidently high sticked, or have a puck deflect and hit you in the face. Sacrifice is hurling your body in front of slapshots (see: Ian Laperriere, Montreal Canadiens), or standing in front of the net and taking the beating (as opposed to floating at the top of the circle in the offensive zone).

That said, no way they blow up the team. Get rid of a guy like Flash, who stops playing when the checks stop coming, get a tough minded shut down defensemen, and add some grit and toughness up front. See how Semin does next year, if they're not feeling it, trade him at the deadline. I'm willing to be patient with Green. He's still young.

Posted by: Fletch22 | April 29, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

only 154 days until Oct 1

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 29, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"-As reluctant as I have been to admit the possibility these last 24 years: God may, in fact, hate this franchise. I can find no other explanation."

Only if by God you mean Bettman and Campbell. And all the refs.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I think when you look at BB and their successes and failures you shouldn't look at the 2008 season because there were no expectations that season and point wise they would've been the 8 seed if not for the division title. It would be like judging the Pens for their 4-1 loss to Ottawa in their first playoffs.

Then looking at last year, it was disappointing that they went to 7 games with the NYR, but they won(all that matters). Then they brought the future Stanley Cup champs to seven, and if not for an unfortunate bounce or two off of Cap players in OT (games 3 and 5) it may have been different. So I wouldn't call that playoffs a failure by any means.

This season, yes, it was a failure to lose to the 8 seed.

So I really only look at it as one failure of BB and the Caps. Failure being no where near meeting expectations.

Teams do fail in the 1st round. The president trophy Red Wings did it in 2006 to the Oilers. They didn't change their system, coach, or core players because of it and they turned out ok.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

That said, no way they blow up the team. Get rid of a guy like Flash, who stops playing when the checks stop coming, get a tough minded shut down defensemen, and add some grit and toughness up front. See how Semin does next year, if they're not feeling it, trade him at the deadline. I'm willing to be patient with Green. He's still young.


Posted by: Fletch22 | April 29, 2010 11:33 PM |

I'm with you. Flash has no place on this team now - they have 6 forwards who will definitely be back next year who are better (Ovie, Backs, Semin, Laich, Knuble, Fehr). He really isn't much use on the 3rd or 4th line. Maybe see if we could trade him and a pick/prospect for a decent 2nd line center. Then, have:

Ovie-Backs-Knuble
Semin-?-Laich
Chimera-Steckel-Fehr
Bradley-Gordon-Laing/Walker (if Walker is still here)

These lines are assuming neither Belanger or BMo re-signs.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 29, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

One positive that comes out of losing in the first round is that it will force BB to adjust his system (or make sure it is properly executed). Of course, the drawback is that changing the culture will probably lead to more regular season loses and lower playoff seeding. Are the fans willing to accept this if it means moving closer to the Cup? I know how upset some posters are after one loss. Will we still support our team if they start of next season is similar to the 2009-2010 Flyers? In hindsight I would gladly sacrifice a few regular season wins for the Caps to switch places Flyers now.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Teams do fail in the 1st round. The president trophy Red Wings did it in 2006 to the Oilers. They didn't change their system, coach, or core players because of it and they turned out ok.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 29, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I just heard Al Koken say that he talked to a Montreal player after the game and he told Koken that there wasn't enough pucks on the ice for the Caps.

if you watch the Red Wings, the team the Caps wanna model themselves after, none of their guys hold onto the puck like Semin, Ovi, Backs or Green. They just pass the puck as soon as they receive it and go.

I'm not sure the Caps really have a cohesive system at this point.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

I agree with those future lines. I think the key will be acquiring a very good, two-way, 2nd line center, who is in their mid to late 20's. So a veteran, but not an old guy. Possibly Plekanec?

Then maybe have MP be the 3rd line center.

Trading Flash can be used to maybe acquire a third or 4th line forward who is a good forechecker and an excellent penalty killer (look for teams who need offense as a possible trading partner)

I'd really love if the Caps are able to sign Volchenkov because then the D would be:

Alzner/Carlson (will be the #1 pairing by the end of next year)
TBA(possibly ShaMo)/Volchenkov
Shcultz/Green

Volchenkov would be the leading minute defender on the PK. In addition, this would help reduce the minutes of Green while also decreasing the pressure.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree there needs to be adjustments made, and the cohesion point you mention is an area that needs improvement.

You hope that is something that might come with age and experience. Possibly adding a veteran 2nd line center, like Plekanec, could help. The key will be for the coaches and stuff to teach the guys in the offseason where they need to improve.

In addition, it would be great if Ovie and Semin could spend more time with Fedorov and learn the things that Bowman taught Fedorov that made him into such a good playoff player. Maybe Ted can give Fedorov a lot of money to come over here to coach. Fedorov is a very good influence on Ovie and Semin, IMO.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

That's a good point. Everyone will support them if they KNEW it would bring more playoff success, but if the Caps are a 6th seed next year, no one will be thinking "yeah, that must mean they are going to do great in the playoffs"

But I think many fans will stick.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

The Wings have run their system for years. When young guys join the team, they are mentored by the vets of the Cup winning squads. Our guys didn't have that luxury. They are learning on the fly. To me, that is the biggest difference between Ovi and Sid. Sid has Mario and Ovi has no one.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

2010-2011 season
reg: 82-0-0
playoffs: 16-0

anything less would be a complete and total failure

if i were Ted, i would insist on perfection and flawless execution

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 30, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

Good point. If Ted is serious about Ovi being the Jordan and not the Barkley of hockey, maybe he should try to bring Feds on as an assistant.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

For all this talk about our terrible blue line, of our four losses, our defense allowed only two goals through the end of regulation in three of them. Pittsburgh conceded two or fewer goals twice. Chicago and Detroit also each did it twice. We were obviously far from perfect defensively, but we didn't lose because we couldn't play defense.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | April 30, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

We are trying to take baby steps. I will accept

82-0-0
15-1

Anything less and I am done with this team for life!

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

jaycane40oz:
i agree - the cause was not the defense. imo what played more of a roll was not being more physical with a much smaller team, their woeful PP for the series and allowing mtl to take early leads in the games

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 30, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Also, I think it needs to be noted that teams like this year's Caps don't come around all that often. Kind of like the Suns in their mid-2000s heyday. There's something to be appreciated in a team that was this much fun to watch all year. Obviously, winning the Cup would be better, but even if you make all the changes people on this board are asking for, it's still no guarantee we'll win it all.

I don't believe we have to be built to score 40 fewer goals to win the Cup, and frankly, I love watching this team and would prefer to stick it out with them (obviously minor changes are necessary). You gotta be careful not to read too much into three bad games, especially when we dominated the last two of .

Posted by: jaycane40oz | April 30, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I said it at the end of the regular season that our special teams being so subpar would kill us.
That being the case, I was sick to my stomach last night.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan1 | April 30, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

I know this is a time for contemplation so as I put away my Langway jersey I wore all day yesterday, it will take alot from the Caps next season for me to give the kind of support I've given to the boys the last few decades.

I'm spent guys.

Have a good one and take care.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan1 | April 30, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

@sgm - brilliant idea bringing Feds over to coach, I would love to see that. He can get through to "Sasha" like none other than OV, along with OV himself. One quibble though: Feds was groomed in the old Soviet system, where everybody played two-way hockey, but especially your center. Stevie Y's ass was firmly planted on the bench for a couple years after Feds arrived, before "The Captain" figured he'd better learn to backcheck as well.

I'd love to see a true playmaking center between Semin and Laich, or whomever's on that wing. Plekanec certainly would fit the bill, he was outstanding for Czech during the Olympics as well [as was Krecji].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

2010-2011 season
reg: 82-0-0
playoffs: 16-0

anything less would be a complete and total failure

if i were Ted, i would insist on perfection and flawless execution


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 30, 2010 12:31 AM

--------

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

We are trying to take baby steps. I will accept

82-0-0
15-1

Anything less and I am done with this team for life!

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:42 AM

-------------------------------

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ and ablake70:

As sick as I am about The Collapse (and will probably continue to be so for at least a few more weeks), I am also glad to see that SOMEONE on these boards has begun to recover their sense of humor.


You were both joking, right?


Of course, if my interpretation of your posts is inaccurate and you are serious about those numbers...then I must respectfully ask you both:

If the Caps don't lose some of their games next year (but not too many, of course), then how does this prepare them to recover quickly if/as/when they do lose one?

I'm not saying anyone should ever give less than their best winning effort to every game, but no team in NHL history--not even the storied Habitants has ever gone undefeated for an entire season. It just isn't humanly possible.


While I do agree that this debacle is--to put it mildly--extremely diasppointing, the fact is that we watch sports for how it makes us feel. And quite frankly, in the last two years the Caps have made me feel good more often than not.

So, then:

Bitterly gut-punch heart-break disappointing? Yes. Absolutely.
Total "Fail"? Not so much.

Like I said in my earlier post: Even if it turns out to be conclusively proven that the Almighty despises our Caps, I just can't bring myself to do the same.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 30, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company