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Scott Walker on Caps' loss: 'It's time to learn to win now'

I'm working on my story for tomorrow's Post. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share some of the best quotes from today's breakup day at KCI.

Scott Walker

"If you're not learning from disappointments and losses then the experience is worthless. Some people say you have to learn how to lose to learn to win. But it's time to learn to win now."

"When you're a younger team and you're so good, you always assume - and I'm not saying we did it - guys say next year we'll be good. Next year we'll win it. Which is true, this team is going to be good for awhile. But, eventually, as an older player, I can tell them that you run out of 'next years.' You have to make it while you can. When you have a team this good, you can't wait till next year. You have to do it while you can. You can't look ahead. You have to prepare like champion, right here today."

Matt Bradley

"I don't know if it's a matter of we didn't change enough or if we did change. I just think we did some good things and we didn't do some good things. We had a good game plan set out by the coaches for the series. Some of the time we didn't follow that like we should have. Montreal followed their game plan to a 'T.' It just goes to show that when everybody buys into your system and plays a full 60 minutes, any team can beat any team."

"I don't think we played a full 60 minutes every game, let's put it that way. There's really no excuse for that in the playoffs. To not be ready for a playoff game shouldn't happen. We didn't work hard enough, enough."

Alex Ovechkin

"I don't know why, but I think how we play in the regular season and how we play the last couple of games in the playoffs, it was two different teams. We
didn't score goals. In the regular season we score lots of goals and if
we're losing 3-1 or 4-2, we know we can come back and win the game, but
we didn't score the goals and that's probably our mistake."

"It's fair. It was my fault. We need to score goals, and I have the chance to score goals, I didn't score goals. Sometimes you have to take this moment in your hand, and it's pretty hard when you see how we fight and how we played and we have a chance but we didn't score. Maybe it was -- I don't know how to say it -- but if
you have a chance to score goals and you didn't score, it's 'Like, Jesus, OK, next time I'm going to score.' Next time you have a chance, you're like, 'Oh, what happened.' Then next time, a lot of pressure go to your mind, and it's very hard." (More here.)

Nicklas Backstrom

"We have the whole summer to figure it out. It is a sign we have to do something a little bit different. We lost in the first round. I think the organization and us as players has to think about what we can do better and do it next year."

"I haven't heard anything, but if [people] give [criticism] to us, I mean, I guess we deserve it. We were first overall and we can't do better in the playoffs. That is a little bit embarrassing, I have to say. You learn something about it, and we have to take this with us and go through it and do better next year."

GM George McPhee on Mike Green's struggles

"Not as good as we were hoping for or he was hoping for, but he's a really good player. And sometimes guys try too hard, and he was certainly trying too hard in Game 7, because he came out trying to hit everything in sight. We were trying to get to him. I know Bruce talked to him on the bench, just, settle down. Just play. You don't have to hit everything. Just play. That's not your game.

"But that happens. I was talking to Scottie Walker, he said, 'I remember I was in a series a couple years ago and I was so worked up for a couple of the games, I couldn't function. I did nothing out there. When I settled down, I was a lot better.' And that happens to young players. These are the experiences that they need to make them better."

Green did not speak to reporters today.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 30, 2010; 3:46 PM ET
 
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Next: Boswell on the physical pain of hockey

Comments

Haha, yeah I'm joking when I say I want 100% turnover.


Word from my connected Sens fans is that if Anton doesn't re-sign with the Sens, he will be a Cap.
http://apture.s3.amazonaws.com/00000126c061c909b0195260007f000000000001.96595861.jpg

Also, I keep hearing the Flames might be open to sending Regehr away, which if he is shopped, I would hope GMGM is all over.

There's also Mike Weaver from the Blues. He'll probably be re-signed, but if not, I want GMGM to target him. Same for Hamhuis and Kubina on the Preds and Thrashers respectively.

We need guys who know how to defend...not guys who are still learning how to. (The kids aside)

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 3:59 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

with green, seems much more like a trend than a fluke. maybe stevie Y should be our GM. if he wins the norris, bobby orr may croak

Posted by: fnkyniedls | April 30, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Also, speaking of Nicky, there is one good thing about us exiting early....Nicky will sign his extension sooner than later.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

with green, seems much more a trend than a fluke. if he wins the norris, bobby orr may drop dead wherever he is

Posted by: fnkyniedls | April 30, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 -

Your defensive personnel plan sounds good. I think "TBA" to go with Volchenkov would likely be Poti.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | April 30, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Everyone quit bashing Semin!!! He was one of our better players in the playoffs. No goals, but had the shots. Semin had 44 shots in the playoffs, which was number 1 on the team! Ovechkin was 2nd with 34.

I could understand the bashing if he didn't show up at all, but to have the most shots on the team.....get over it guys!

Go CAPS!

Posted by: OviFan08 | April 30, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

On a perserse take of if you can't beat them, join them, how about if they beat you, sign them.

Tomas Plekanec is a UFA center. He could slot in well and as long as MTL doesn't go to far wouldn't break the bank. Only 26 years old too.

Yeah, I'm in off season mode. Over it already. Just keep repeating that to myself. Could draft Dave Christian's neaphew Brock Nelson.

Seriously though, I'd love to see Plekanec on the Caps so he could say he was just kidding about the goaltenders.

Posted by: lornemyoung | April 30, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Yea..we need to know how to defend...

3 goals in game 5,6,7 and a good stay home like Hal Gill would of really helped us out...

Come on people...Defense and goalie didnt cost us like all the genious writers and Pens fans said it would...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 30, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Pleks is going to re-sign with MTL.

I think we may have to trade for our 2nd line center. Not many attractive UFAs out there.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

fwiw, I saw a nice photo of Anton V. (who's Russian) skating with Ovy and Semin I guess after a Wash.-Ottawa game and they looked like they get along great. I'm sure Varly would welcome a Russian D who's a shot-blocking machine.

But if gmgm and BB still want more "puck mover" D-men, they're not going to give someone like him a 5-year, $23M-$25M (or whatever) contract to come here imho.

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 30, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@blackjack65

Check that link I posted...

_____________________
3 goals in game 5,6,7 and a good stay home like Hal Gill would of really helped us out...

Come on people...Defense and goalie didnt cost us like all the genious writers and Pens fans said it would...

Posted by: SA-Town | April 30, 2010 4:21 PM |

Is this post serious? In each of those games you mentioned, the Habs scored early. What did this do? It allowed them to collapse in their own zone, relegating any Caps shots to the outside, blocking them, or letting Halak see them.

The 2nd goal in game 7 is what killed us. We tied the game if that goal didn't go in. Carlson was lazy and Green didn't play it better.

Maxim's goal, the 3rd goal, which sealed the deal in either game 5 or 6. I've never seen a professional hockey team allow players to take clean shots so effortlessly off the rush.

Defense is the team's problem, and if you can't see that, I don't think you don't know much about hockey.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I also put the PK and a 3rd backchecking forward under the collective branch of defense.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

That may be true. Plekanec would be an excellent addition, but with the playoffs he is having it looks like he will get more than the Caps can afford.

Trading for the 2nd line center looks to be the likely path. I can't think who would be available. Any thoughts?

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

While I agree that the defense needs to greatly improved I don't think it was the downfall of the Caps team in the playoffs this year.

The 2nd goal in game 7 was with 4 minutes left when the Caps were pressing incredibly hard to score. It was a poor play by Carlson, but every player makes a few poor plays.

Allowing 2 goals in games 5 and 7 should have been enough to win. And I think 2 of those 4 were PP goals also.

The main problem in the Mtl series was the Caps inability to porduce on the PP. There were many other reasons, but the lack of production on the PP was #1.

However, I am in absolute agreement the defense needs to be improved along with the PK. Volchenkov is the primary target to improve both, followed by others also.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see us keep Walker

Posted by: casser | April 30, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Watched the whole interview with McPhee. Level headed and logical, as usual. Agree with every word. We're in good hands.

As I've said a few times already we played great in the last 2 and as George said had Halak been just above average instead of extraordinary we would have won 1 of those for sure and all this ridiculous criticism from overemotional nitwits would not be flowing like a river right now.

Or even if we got 1 or 2 good bounces. Chances were with the amount of shots we had a few would take crazy deflections or bounce to an open Caps player leaving Halak with no chance. It didn't happen. On top of that we had that goal disallowed which was an iffy call at best.

People get frustrated and judge based on the final result forgetting 99% of what happened. There's no reason to make any drastic changes to our team. It's still a very, very good one.

Also, saw some very level headed analysis from Duhatschek of TSN (you can watch it on their site). He reminded everyone just how young these Caps are and how long it took the Oilers to mature before they won 4 straight Cups in the 80's. I also really liked the bit about when it really clicked in the young Oilers heads what it takes to win in the playoffs. They walked past the Islanders locker room after losing their first final to them and saw how beat up all the Isles players looked. Then they looked at themselves and didn't see a scratch. Next year was their first of 4 Stanley Cups in a row.

Posted by: ranndino | April 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I agree, the defense can and should be improved, but it wasn't the reason they lost three straight games to end the season.

The biggest thing I took away from games 5, 6, 7, was the overall lack of physical presence by Caps. I'm not talking about a "net presence" like a Knuble or Laich. I'm talking about what you see from teams like the Flyers and Red Wings. When the other team's puck movers move the muck puck, they should be hit through the glass. That's something you will see in every other playoff series, but didn't see with the Caps.

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | April 30, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The 2nd goal in game 7 is what killed us. We tied the game if that goal didn't go in. Carlson was lazy and Green didn't play it better.

Maxim's goal, the 3rd goal, which sealed the deal in either game 5 or 6. I've never seen a professional hockey team allow players to take clean shots so effortlessly off the rush.

Defense is the team's problem, and if you can't see that, I don't think you don't know much about hockey.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 30, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

and whose fault would that be? they had 82 games to put in some kinda defensive structure and did NOT accomplish much in that area... what they basically play is pond hockey. hey as long as we win games, who cares about defense??

they win a ton of regular season games because they have more skilled players than anyone but when it comes time to play TEAM HOCKEY in the playoffs, they can't do it because the coaching staff let the players do whatever they want during regular season.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore the Boston Bruins, one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL, were able to get by the Buffalo Millers in 6 games... somehow they figured out a way to score enough goals against the all world goalie.

so I don't wanna hear anymore about how incredible Halak was in the last 3 games of the series... that's just another tired-old excuse.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think we played a full 60 minutes every game, let's put it that way. There's really no excuse for that in the playoffs. To not be ready for a playoff game shouldn't happen. We didn't work hard enough, enough."
-------------------

too bad that was a player who said it and not a coach or GM. Because that would reflect worse on the coach and GM if they ever admitted their team didn't give an acceptable effort in the series.

"I know Bruce talked to him on the bench, just, settle down. Just play. You don't have to hit everything. Just play. That's not your game."

good coaching Bruce, you're gonna take one of the weakest hitting teams in hockey with a defense thats even weaker in the hitting dept, and tell them to settle down. Awesome! For a team that can barely get to the 20 hits mark in every game, I love to hear a coach diminish the importance of hitting.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 30, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm just going to come out and say it: we need to get rid of Ovechkin.We will never win The Cup with him as the foundation of our team. Backstrom is the best player on the team and has much more upside.
Would Messier or Yzerman miss the morning skate of a game 7? I'm not arguing Ovechkins effort on the ice-it's second to none. His leadership skills are what I question.He just doesn't have IT.
It's no secret that he practilly lives at The Russia House on Connecticut Ave. An 82 game season and all of the travel require players to take care of their bodies. Green,Semin,and Ovechkin are too busy being rock stars in this town.Alan May said in an interview yesterday that when Crosby goes on the road he doesn't leave his hotel room. ov should take heed.
When Clark was traded the "C" should have been given to Laich,Knuble, or someone similar. I would bet BB would do so if he had the choice again.
I know this is a sensitve subject- I would appreciate if my hockey knowledge or my allegiance to The Caps not be questioned.This is just my opinion.

Posted by: markfromparkville | April 30, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

SInce when does not scoring first kill the #1 offense and power plays chances of winning a game? Look at the entire body of work..Caps dont score 3 goals with the guys they have, they dont deserve to win.

3 goals in any of game 5,6,7 would of won this series easily....

Posted by: SA-Town | April 30, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

How about Mike Fisher from the Sens for second line center? I think he's due like $4.5 mil and they like the new kid Regin. If they don't sign A-Train, then I would think they would resign Fisher.

They have too many centers. Maybe they'll take Flash off our hands while they're at it.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 30, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's my thoughts on mike green...

He's a good player... just not a "smart" player. do i think he got better defensively this year, yes... but he's still not there yet. He is still young and I wish we had someone here that can really show him the ropes on how to play defensive, aggressive hockey. I can't stand how he waits to be hit in the corners and then he decides he's going to make his move.

He is still a kid and the problem is he believes his own hype. It doesn't help that BB coddles him and doesn't challenge him enough to be a better defenseman. Why did it take not being put on the olympic team for him to want to shore up his game?

Develop better hockey sense. Learn to not just wave your stick at the person standing next to the net. Learn to make the play before you're being forechecked and for god's sake nothing stupid at the blueline. you're playing with other NHLers. they can actually handle hard passes, not lazy ones that puts them in a vulnerable position.

I agree with people that we need volchenkov and reduce green's minutes. he's not a number 1 guy. let's take the pressure off of him.

so mike green, the balls in your court. do you want to continue to have faux hawks and drive lambos and be flashy or do you want to be a champion? it's time for a lot of priorities to change.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 30, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@oviFan - agreed, enough bashing of Semin, he was nowhere near as bad as people are claiming. But he is capable of more - I say this as a supporter, watching on the DVR.

One thing I do believe he has to do - he has to learn english he has to communicate with coaches in English. Otherwise, where's the accountability? He can hide behind his language thing and I don't think it's healthy. But I'm for #28, and I accept his oddness. But a sense of buying in from him would really help.

I think GMGM's comments about Green apropos for the entire team and it goes hand-in-hand with Ted's thing about hockey IQ. This team was too impatient, tried to always force things when they weren't there. Sometimes there is no immediate chance to score, you have to know how to play hard but calm, to take what the game is giving you and seize the chances when they come...They didn't lack effort, if anything they tried too hard and burned it unwisely, which just made them get desperate.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 30, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

OV SAID: "In the regular season we score lots of goals and if
we're losing 3-1 or 4-2, we know we can come back and win the game, but we didn't score the goals and that's probably our mistake."

Alex, your mistake was NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT FALLING BEHIND IN ThE FIRST PLACE. As you say, this was a SEASON LONG issue. Indeed, comebacks are fun to watch and amazing and all of that. How about NOT FALLING BEHIND IN THE FIRST PLACE CAPTAIN?

Posted by: caps1974 | April 30, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I really wish they would have played Walker more. Seems a waste to bring him in for nothing. This is still such a young tea. Having Walker's presence on the ice & in the dressing room alone would have helped.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 30, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

hot da*n, I must not be looking in the right places b/c I go to Russia House all the time and so do my friends and I have never seen him there and weve never heard a wiff he's there.. so he can't "live" there .. if he does my attempts to eventually meet him are epic failures. I have seen one of the other Russians once.. when he was injured and out for a few weeks..
Everybody is different.. Crosby thrives on brooding.. you cant brood in a bar.. Ovi does much better when he is relaxed..

I am sure he goes there but come'on troller..

Posted by: kmr2r | April 30, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

This team rarely played 60 minutes in games this season, relying on one big period to overcome deficits or cement wins. Players like Semin and Fleischmann were feast or famine, going games without scoring and then netting them in bunches.

The playoffs merely mirrored the regular season. The Caps didn't play a 60 minute game against Montreal. Semin and Fleischmann remained as cold as ice. And the defense continued to turn over the puck in the neutral zone, just as they did during the regular season.

Tigers don't change their stripes.

The Caps danger signs were there in the regular season and McPhee, Boudreau and the team didn't take them seriously enough.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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