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In Caps' team meeting, Boudreau preaches consistency

Rather than put the team through a grueling practice this afternoon at the Saddledome, which wouldn't have been all that surprising had it happened, Coach Bruce Boudreau opted to call the Capitals in for a lengthy team meeting.

They watched film and, as Karl Alzner said, saw "how ugly that game really was" against Minnesota on Thursday night. Here's what Boudreau had to say about the choice in lessons following the all-around lackluster game.

"It's a tough call. I mean I'm thinking, okay, should we go out there and give them a no-pucks shellacking? Would that be better than [focusing on Saturday's game]? Or if you do that, and some guys have got injuries and they're not allowed to participate; is it worse because then you've got three fourths of the team out there?...Or do you just watch video and make some threats? We chose to at least watch some video and go over last night's game, and hopefully they get the idea of what I'm talking about."

Boudreau still wasn't happy with the performance against the Wild and reiterated how disappointing it was to not be able to get "half a dozen players playing at their top."

Asked what message he wanted to impart upon the Capitals as they try to find some consistency heading into the final game of this three-game road trip, Boudreau said:

"It's all about the will and the want, and if you want to do, it you do it. And if you don't, you become a spoiled little player. You decide where it goes....Winning, winning properly is [about] creating good habits. You can only be successful as those good habits are continuous. Anybody can win on talent on one night in awhile, but it's good habits that will make you win continually."

--Also, Boudreau said that, "unless I have a drastic change in my mind," Michal Neuvirth will start in net.

By Katie Carrera  | October 29, 2010; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  Bruce Boudreau, Calgary Flames  
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Next: Boyd Gordon to return to Caps lineup against Flames

Comments

PRIMVS!

Posted by: Rhino40 | October 29, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Well, this sounds like a good thing. I guess I imagined that the team would have a "movie watching" session aftert as many games as possible. I would think it's the norm, not the exception. Each game has good, bad and ugly and playing the film and pointing it all out would be good coaching. You don't even have to mention names, you can just say, "That was not the way we have drawn it up on the chalk board" and "That's not the way they teach it starting with mites" and stuff like, "really good decision there."

BTW, that one giveaway by Sloan where he then did the penalty was as boneheaded a move as Jurcina ever did. That was simply a brain fart the size of Texas.

CTCapsPhan: Left you a note on the other thread apologizing for any misunderstanding.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

I know it is still early in the season but it is very refreshing to see the Cap's GAA in the top 5 at 2.27 per game. As Mike Green reiterated on the Lavar and Dukes show, the Capitals are really trying to clamp down on defense and not really worrying about the offense because it will eventually come around. If the Caps are using the regular season to practice playing a tighter Defense while learning how to incorporate their offense in this new style, I can definitely live with this experiment. Things are very positive since they are still winning despite Ovechkin, Backstrom, Knuble, Laich, Fleischmann and Fehr not scoring at all. Eventually one, if not several, of those players will start scoring and that is a given.

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 29, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Just watched Ovie interview after the video session and I couldn't tell if he was just dejcted over the loss and bad play or if he has a cold...hope he isn't getting sick.

Posted by: capscoach | October 29, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

This sounds all too familiar. Caps play poorly, BB yells. Caps play poorly, BB puts them trough grueling practice. Caps play poorly, BB talks about desire and will. Heres a new one, Caps play poorly BB shows videotape. I'm thinking team could have used a few more veterans who don't mind speaking up in the room...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | October 29, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"Winning, winning properly is [about] creating good habits. You can only be successful as those good habits are continuous. Anybody can win on talent on one night in awhile, but it's good habits that will make you win continually."

This is exactly right, Boudreau.

The problem is why do these bad habits exist and why is their a lack of certain good habits?

It's not hard to figure out. Look in the mirror.

Either McPhee is bringing in uncoachable players or you don't know how to teach them the right habits, individually and as a team.

We are one of the most unstructured and undisciplined teams in the league in terms of how we execute the little things in all 3 zones, from our breakouts to our forechecks to our positioning on the ice in all 3 zones to how we work along the boards to the forwards defensive awareness and on and on and on...

McPhee doesn't have the vision to build a championship-caliber roster but that isn't the only problem.

Even with roster issues, a good coach can teach good habits and get his players to play the right way.

You see it all the time where less talented teams seem to be "outexecuting" and "doing the little things" better than the Caps.

When was the last time somebody characterized the Caps as a "smart" hockey team that "plays the right way?"

You don't hear that and for good reason. We aren't smart and we don't do enough of the little things (just a few touched on above) and we don't play responsible 3-zone hockey with all players doing the right things on and off the puck.

And these particular issues start and end with coaching. The roster issues just make it even worse.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 29, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Did you guys see the way the Wild support the puck as a team in all 3 zones, particularly the defensive and neutral zones?

They aren't constantly looking for stretch passes through sticks and bodies.

When the puck is in deep in their own end, their forwards are coming back hard and getting in position to support the breakout.

That's just one example. You could go on and on about how well they play as a team off the puck and in the neutral zone compared to us.

This was just another example of another team doing the little things, paying attention to detail, playing the right way, etc...

This wide open, stretch pass thing where forwards don't support the puck and in the d-zone makes from some sloppy play and us getting so often pinned in our own end by good forechecking teams.

Not every d-man has the skillset of Green to maneuver the puck out of trouble in his own end. Even Green often gets in trouble because his forwards are a 100-feet up the ice looking for the hail mary.

It's not all the forwards but too many of them and it happens because of the coach.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 29, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

And I wasn't referring to last night about a good forechecking team.

The Wild aren't aggressive offensively and are far from heavy on talent. If they had a little more skill, they would have done more to capitalize on their total dominance in the neutral zone and their d-zone.

We were lucky to be down only 2-0 for most of the game. A more skilled team would've been up 4-0 by the 3rd period. It would've been absurd if we snuck a point out of that one. I'm glad the Wild won. They deserved it. More importantly, we didn't.

And if you want to blame fatigue, go for it. The issues the Caps have exist when they're winning or losing, fresh at home or playing the back half of a b2b on the road, this season or during their Pres. Trophy winning season, etc...

There are real problems with how they play hockey and the way that the GM builds his rosters. These things are holding the team back and wasting away the most talented core this team has ever had.

They need a GM who can better surround the core players with the right role players and a coach who teaches a better brand of hockey if they even want to begin thinking about running through 4 good hockey teams in the postseason.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 29, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@ Steve R, saw your post on the previous blog and yes, you are so right.

@tom, saw the post. I was hoping it was somewhat in jest. I have been on the CI for several years now and you have always been above that.

I actually don't post on any other blogs (no Japer's Rink, etc.) but I do communicate offline with several highly hockey intelligent Caps fans.

In terms of name calling. I don't know, I still see quite a bit of it. Usually it is aimed between certain people and some of those seem to have left.

I just like to talk hockey without insults.

As for the BB team meeting, I hope something gets into the player's heads for more than a game or two or else I agree with whomever posted earlier that they need to sit people. However, I do think it would be foolish to sit OV.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | October 29, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

The time is approaching to evaluate BB and his coaching
skills. Enough of the AHL BS, this team at this point isn't showing team skills but continues individual play.
This is a TEAM SPORT! As much as I'm a frustrated Caps fan, I see them exiting early again this Spring

Posted by: arbeja666 | October 29, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

The time is approaching to evaluate BB and his coaching
skills. Enough of the AHL BS, this team at this point isn't showing team skills but continues individual play.
This is a TEAM SPORT! As much as I'm a frustrated Caps fan, I see them exiting early again this Spring

Posted by: arbeja666 | October 29, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The Caps need to make a move. Waive Gordo, sign Guerin. It is not the answer to our problems, but we need some new blood. We could also use a veteran presence.

I like Boudreau, but he is gonna have to be the fall guy here. The failure is with McPhee.

Posted by: underpants2 | October 29, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

tmac: The Caps have played this way since BB came aboard. I'm just not sure what to think. The difference in PP efficiency is alarming. And, even though what all you wrote seems true, on the surface, the defensive proficiency is better this year.

Yes, the Caps take chances. The question is do you keep dancing with the girl who brung you or do you dump her for another?

I'm am thinking the problem still gets back to BB failure to adapt. Well, first, let me say, as I've said since last spring, McPhee failure to acquire the right pieces was and is part of the problem (too many snipers, not even tanks). Other teams though are using a defense designed to thwart Caps run n gun. In footvball they talk about a coach making a halftime adjustment. BB had seven games against Montreal and now ten this year and it looks the same. Mark French knew how to adapt when Hershey was pressed last year by Texas.

One of the things Sather I think it was imposed on the Gretzky-led Oilers when they slumped was a direction that all five on the team touch the puck in the O zone before shooting on goal. It was a way to reinforce fundamentals. Other coaches, John Thompson in college BB, made his team do a full-court press to turn up intensity when required.

The Caps are like a football team that says, "We never have to run the ball, because we pass so well, and that's more fun anyway, so we just aren't going to run it."

Sometimes in baseball when the team slumped Earl Weaver would pick the batting order out of a hat. Maybe Boudreau should do that with the lines. Maybe that would mean Ovi-Hendricks-Bradley one game. Maybe that wouldn't be bad.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao - 100% right. /thread

I've noticed this for the last several seasons, and thought their O could overcome it, but last year's playoffs was the perfect example of why it will never work.

We must change fundamentaly how we play. Not sure how to go about doing that. Maybe that's what they've been told behind closed doors this season, and why they're starting slow (I hope).

They have the entire season to learn how to play the right way. They only need to finish 8th or better to go to the dance again. OVi needs to forget about individual awards this year.

So it starts with BB, but OVi is just as important. He must buy in and forget about the individual accolaids.

To Tominsocal1-

That's a lot of analogies!! But all true. I especially like the football one.

Posted by: floms | October 29, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is bringing their "A" game to play the Caps, which is good if we want to move deep into the playoffs.

I like Bruce, but I don't think he can really kick these guys in the can. He's a players coach. This is where the Caps decide if they are serious about a cUp, or they just love those big paychecks.

This is the "stay angry" year ??

I think Bruce needs to go. (But GMGM has really created the problem with his "heartless" player choices.) Knuble do you really want to win a cUp, because you're playing like an old man ? Fehr, will you ever play your size and shot ? Or, are you just another super talented Cap who will eventually float from team to team in the NHL, due to lake of "effort".

Now, is when we win the cUp. This turns around now, or this team will be blown up after another early exit.

Also, Backy is not playing at his usual level. He's either hurt, or knows Bruce's style is going to be dumped.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | October 29, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting post, tom.

I think what we may be seeing on a larger scale is what we saw on a series level but I don't think it's just simply his failure to adapt.

That's definitely part of it but I think that before the discussion of adaptation comes the fundamentals of how he has coached and what he has taught (and hasn't taught) this team from day one.

We may have had a lot of success but the fundamental issues were just being masked by indvidual talent and this loose, undisciplined style of play paying dividends. Now that teams are getting more and more familiar with those flaws and bad habits, not only does the inability of BB to adapt come into play, it raises questions about the foundation that he has put in place.

My underlying point is that despite the good things that have happened over the past few years, there were fundamental flaws in what he was teaching (and not teaching) this team that have become ingrained and exploitable habits.

I don't know if Boudreau ever had the ability to teach the little things and implement a lasting brand of hockey. These shortcomings were just masked by a high-risk style of play that is proving to be unsustainable now that the league has had time to adjust to it.

This team really needs to unlearn certain habits and learn/re-learn some fundamental parts of the game, both on an indvidual and team level, and I see no reason how Boudreau will be able to take us in that direction since he is largely the one that is responsible for those flaws.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 29, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

tmac: OK, before I embrace what you are saying, perhaps turning my back on the pitcher of Kool Aid, and joining PhilR at that midnight ceremony where I don my black robe and quaff from the demon grail of fresh, warm goat's blood, rivulets of crimson stained liquid now running down both sides of my mouth, and proclaim in finality that Boudreau must be fired, I need to ask someone, please, who was familiar with Boudreau when he was at Hershey, did he exhibit these same tendencies or was he adaptable?

Because I really have no clue.

Boudreau has had success with Kelly Cup at Mississippi and Calder Cup there with the Bears. A great coach molds the pieces into a team that has become much more than the sum of the individual parts. We saw that when he first came on board and even last year during the regular season. Now, however, it is as though the mojo is gone. But, OTOH, we see each year even the eventual Cup champion, at some point, has a really rotten streak where all looked lost.

Chuck Thompson, a wonderful announcer, who broadcast Orioles games with Bill O'Donnell that I would listen to for many years when I was younger, would say, "You're never as good as you look when you're winning nor as bad as you look when you're losing."

So what is it with the Caps? Are they not as good as last year; not as bad as this year; or is that a bunch of hokum and they are, as someone posted earlier today, an average team with a couple of superstars?

If I'm Ted Leonsis, I'm somewhere right now, in one of my many, fine homes, drinking better wine than I am (and mine's a $20 bottle) and I have this knot in the pit of my stomach because I'm afraid, whatever I decide, it might turn out very unpleasant. And that includes doing nothing.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

was that Big Buff or Bobby Orr that just score in OT for the Thrash?

I thought they were making a mistake by playing him at D but he looks pretty good back there.

Posted by: joek443 | October 29, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Carlson can't cover a guy in front of the net, defenders refuse to step up on the rush, offense refuses to do different things to gain the neutral zone and blue line...yet people are talking about the coach. Anyone who thinks a change in coach will change the play of the team this season so far is delusional. Playoffs may be another story, but until I see the players start to look like they care on the ice and still lose, i'll avoid the easy answer of blaming the coach.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 29, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

God forbid they should actually go out and get a coach who holds everyone accountable... perish the thought!!!

Posted by: joek443 | October 29, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

" please, who was familiar with Boudreau when he was at Hershey, did he exhibit these same tendencies or was he adaptable?"

Tom, when Hershey won the Cup in 2006, Bruce had alot of these same guys on that team -- Green, Schultz, Fehr, Steckel, Flash, Gordon. And they played this same run and gun, free wheeling style. Greenie quarterbacked the power play, Steckel and Laing were awesome on the PK. Flash and Fehr were racking up points. It was alot of fun to watch. The next year a few of the names changed, but we pretty much waltzed through the regular season and went to the finals again. And there we ran into - you guessed it - a hot goaltender. Montreal farmhand Carey Price. Our team was totally outplayed in the finals and didn't adapt. I would imagine losing to Halak and Montreal last season was like deja vu for Bruce. I know it was for me.

Posted by: tess2201 | October 29, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting quote by announcers on the Ducks - Devils game re: Kovalchuk having played over nine minutes in the first period, to paraphrase:

"When players know they are going to play those kind of minutes, sometimes they turn down the tempo, and that just doesn't work in this league."

One of the things I've ridden Boudreau on most since all of last season is his propensity to ride his stallions into a foamy lather while a stable full of ponies idled themselves in the corral.

I think that Greenberg writer put some data up earlier this week about Ovi's minutes vs effectiveness.

One of the things Earl Weaver was best at was getting all 25 players on the roster fully involved. Everyone had a role, knew their role, and was prepared to perform to their role.

Can DJ King say that?

I hope the next coach, whenever that happens, does a better job parcelling out the minutes.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau has had success with Kelly Cup at Mississippi and Calder Cup there with the Bears.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 10:17 PM

i wonder if BB has the ability to develop/motivate young players and encourage them so they can get a shot at the next level - get the maximum out of each player. since there is no 'next level' - is it possible that BB has achieved as much as he can?
i hope not - {just my musings as i sit sipping my kool-aid awaiting the next caps game}

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | October 29, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Tess: Thanks. I almost don't know what to make of your post. OK, when you have much more talent than the other team, you win until the other team figues you out?

Was Price hot like Hasek hot or hot like Halak hot (never having to face too many high-percentage shots)?

To get back to the subject of "too many minutes" and "shift length," we saw vs Wild on the Caps only or one of two PPs that Ovi and Green were the whole two minutes and then the Wild broke out at the end of their PK as the penalized player came out of the box and the Caps (again!!!) were faced with transitioning to defense and then having to PLAY defense with a wiped out group of players.

How many times does this have to happen before they make it stop?

Since I've neem watching hockey, there's maybe one player I'd trust to play full two minutes on PP and then be able to pull a full shift back on D before getting off for a change.

Alex Ovechkin? No.

Ray Bourque. OK, maybe Neidermeyer also.

These 2+ minute shifts need to stop yesterday.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks a change in coach will change the play of the team this season so far is delusional. Playoffs may be another story, but until I see the players start to look like they care on the ice and still lose, i'll avoid the easy answer of blaming the coach.

Posted by: richmondphil2 | October 29, 2010 10:46 PM

r-phil2: Call me dillusional, but from 46 years of following sports, changing the coach ALMOST ALWAYS changes the team's play.

In the last two years, we saw Pens and Flyers as prime examples. In my own early times, the Orioles firing Hank Bauer and promoting Earl Weaver was a clear example. That was my first example and it was crystal clear.

It almost never happens in football due to complexities of the "playbook."

In hockey, basketball and baseball though it's all about shifting lines or line-ups and about fundamentals and motivation.

The Caps need a task master who's steeped in defensive hockey tradition. Actually, all teams need that. Boudreau apparently is a master at the high octane attack, and when that doesn't work, it's the Wizard telling Dorothy not to look behind the curtain.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 29, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Tom, I guess my point is, that second year we really didn't face much competition in the playoffs till we got to the finals. Round 1 we beat Albany 4 games to 1. Round 2 was Wilkes-Barre 4-1. Round 3 was 4 straight against Manchester. It was like it was too easy. Then came Hamilton. We didn't roll over and die. Price faced a lot of shots and was just incredible. Even though I hated him, I begrudgingly admit he was so good. We lost game 1 0-4, came back to win game two 4-2, then lost the next three 2-5, 2-6, and 1-2. I think with each game the guys became increasingly frustrated. And I don't know what Bruce said or didn't say to try to change that, but it didn't work. And I don't know if Hamilton would have won it without Price. I hate to use the hot goaltender reasoning, but in that case I think it fits. The next season we started off strong but we lost Bruce to Washington at Thanksgiving and Woody took over. We didn't win anything that year (2008), but then won the Cup again in 09 with Woody.

Posted by: tess2201 | October 29, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Tess, that is good info. One thing about judging re: AHL is, and this makes me sound like Mr Negative, but the Caps have always spent a bundle of money on players at Hershey who were on NHL contracts. Aucoin has been at Hershey 3-4 years now and he's been earning $500K I think the whole time. That one defenseman (Collins?) is NHL contract $650K. Hershey roster, over the past five years, has been filled with three groups of players it seems:

1) Legitimate Caps prospects;
2) Guys on NHL contracts sent down and being paid a fortune;
3) Guys like Boyd Kane who are paid handsome AHL contracts and aren't going to make it to the NHL but fill out Bears roster anyway.

I don't follow AHL so I don't know but I'm just guessing the salaries of the Bears are WAY HIGHER than the average AHL club. One who grows up following baseball remembers Orioles and Rochester Red Wings and how the sole purpose of the Wings was player development for the major league club. Seems in hockey, at least with the Caps-Bears arrangement, player development is only part of the equation. Apparently having a winning team in Hershey is also of prime importance. I recall again O's-Red Wings how Orioles would call to Rochester and ORDER a certain player to a certain role to see how then that player might perform for potential MLB promotion. OTOH, we see guys on the Bears geting first line minutes (Giroux) when they have NO FUTURE with the big club and it's only for Bears to win.

What I'm saying, bottom line, is it's hard to judge coaching perf at Hershey because Caps & Bears seem to have a different arrangement than almost every other major/minor team with which I'm familiar.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 30, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

We are now in a different southeast division.

Posted by: underpants2 | October 30, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Thank GOD, midnight has come and gone. My fears are allayed. I must tell you all, I fell alseep earlier, just for a nap, and these demon dreams filled my subconscious:

Alfred Hitchcock: "Good E-vening."
Rod Serling: "Don't touch that dial!"
PhilR: "Tom, over here, we've got your robe."

With that firm hands grab my own and twist them behind me and I am ushered - no, pushed - along a rocky trail with freezing cold air I am bitter cold now with shorts and sandals and my toes split by hard rocks on the trail and shoved now hard and, ahead, a fire burning in the absolute black otherwise night and, as I approach, an animal being turned on a spit over the fire and hooded figures surrounding the campground.

"We thought you'd never get here."

Was that cstanton?

"Here, put on your robe."

Jesus - God - is this my decision point?

"Baaaaaaaaaah."

No, please, God, don't let them kill it!

In the darkness the sound of a knife being unsheathed from it's case. The glimmer then of fire shining on knife.

"Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" as the poor goat has no clue.

A robed hand reaches out in the darkness and grabs the young goat by the top of the head and yanks the head backward. The goat squirms as the knife is put against its throat.

"Just say the word, Tom, and the blood will flow."

"No, NO, NO!!!"

I awake to realize I was not awake before. It's all really messed up. In front of me near the keyboard a pile of animal crackers and a little box of Austrailian red licorice. A tumbler of vodka, Paul Newman's Virgin Lemonade and Langer's Cranberry Juice sits watered down with ice melted. Outside the windows are open and the cool air still blows and the wind chime still tinkles.

In the distance: "Tom, if you'd rather, we have some Kool-Aid."

No. I don't want any fkn Kool-Aid and I don't want the God-forsaken Goat's Blood. I just want them to play like a normal hockey team. Is that too much to ask?

I have this feeling, inside, you know, the kind of feeling before your girl friend disappears, when you look back later and tell people you knew she was leaving, and that feeling tells me with the Caps it will get worse before it gets better.

Maybe I'm just full of hokum. Maybe it's the vodka. Maybe it's the bottle of Argentinian cab we had first.

Or maybe it's just that Boudreau looks a wee bit too much like Alfred Hitchcock.


Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 30, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

It's a great day when I wake up to a classic tominsocal1 riff! Thanks, Tom!

I'd like to believe that the reason for the Cap's recent poor offensive success is that the Caps are working on defense. It seems like a very different team this year, but maybe with a couple of moves (hires, trades) and time they will be the Caps team I love to watch.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 30, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

I know the Caps under BB have a winning percentage, even this year. That being said, the stretch pass, floating forwards, uneven minutes system seems destined to April failure. After the Caps won the President's Cup, coaches watched film, esp. film from the playoffs. The anti-Caps system consists of a nuetral zone trap, standing up at the blueline, pulling back all 5 with heavy back-checking when the Caps go up ice, and strong fore-checking with a forward parked in the crease. The result for the Caps is a low percentage shot without rebounds, one shot (if any) for the Caps on the rush, multiple shots for the other team deep in the Caps zone with screens, and very uneven zone time favoring the other team.

Just watch the teams that pin in the Caps in their zone, and you'll see a tight game. The Caps may win on talent in OT, but win playing their monolithic system in regulation, nope. Paul Maurice tried to play run and gun with the Caps and lost bad, so he did not getor read the memo. Doubt he'll make that mistake twice.

It's time for a change, Caps' nation, cuz BB ain't got the discipline to get these guys to play a playoff style system and he ain't got the smarts to adapt his system to support his goalie and defense and wait for his offensive horses to have high quality oppurtunties charging up the ice with speed and numbers.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | October 30, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Guys (and ladies) - everyone is letting a loss to a hot goalie colour their thinking way too much here. In a seven game series, anything can happen. We were a better team than Montreal, Halak just got hot. It happens. In fact it happens all the time. We need to change NOTHING about the way we operate. And McPhee has done a PHENOMENAL job in assembling a roster that is built not just for one run (check out Pitsburgh - no wingers at all to support Crosby and Malkin, check out Chicago - cap destruction last off season), but MANY runs at the Cup.

You don't win every single year. That's just the way it is. All the teams are too close together in talent. It comes down to variance (luck). We will have a roll of the dice EVERY YEAR for the next 10 that Ovi and Backstrom (and soon to be Carlson - just watch he'll be locked up long term next, and then that will be it for those type of deals) are here. No other team will have that many shots in that time frame.

Don't get discouraged with a one year fluke. That is all that happened last year. Tiger Woods used to say that if you give yourself enough chances on Sunday afternoon at the Majors, you'll eventually get one.

And Phil Mickelson used to say, in response to questions about winning his first major, that he never planned on winning only ONE...

This team is going to be a MULTIPLE YEAR Stanley Cup champion. Just a matter of time.

(oh any older Caps fans out there are pining away for Hunter to come swoop in, take BB's job and turn us into winners, well, A - you're crazy - BB's style is EXACTLY the correct one for the new more offensive focused NHL, B - Hunter is hardly the person to get Ovi to minimize his shift length and rely more on four full lines - I know, I'm a London Knights season ticket holder and Dale is the King of running his top 2 forward lines into the ground and leaving the bottom guys to sit on the bench. Plus, the majority of the Knights success can be traced to Mark (the GM) and his acquisitions of talent, not Dale's supposedly great coaching acumen.)

Posted by: DaleDUI | October 30, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

I don't think its a stretch to say most teams that are less talented would opt for the Montreal Canadiens approach to attacking the Caps offense. This season we have seen it game in game out. And why not, it works. Not every team will employ it, but the more the Caps face it the better. There is simply too much one-on-one play going on. The team is trying for too many tic-tac-toe passing plays that usually work when they complete the passes (man they have been getting stoned on those plays) but many times the plays get broken up.

They are not playing simple. Get the puck down low and pound the opposing D men. Ovie is a freight train. A soft dump in to the corner then rush in and flatten the d-man. Pound those d-men long enough and see how many turnovers you get. The #1 line does not do this enough. If nothing else to give opposing d-men something else to worry about.

Posted by: jimc93 | October 30, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

@daleDUI
Thank you for the comments on Hunter. I AM an older Caps fan, but I cringe every time I hear someone say that he should be coaching the Caps.

Posted by: tess2201 | October 30, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Hate when people say we lost to a hot goalie...Halak was on fire, yes. BUT if you let him see every single shot he is going to stop them, and if you dont cycle the puck and forcheck wearing the other team down and making them go the length of the rink each time your not gonig to be do well in the playoffs. Halak was hot but the team got away from doing the things above that they did in games 2-4.

Posted by: Bobbyp2 | October 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Fair point Bobbyp2 - I still contend we lost to a goalie who played at an unsustainable level, but I certainly grant that making the other team work harder against us will always be a good thing.

I guess I just find some of the comments about the Caps completely changing what has been successful for them the last 3 years into some other style a bit wrongheaded. Was our shooting% too high in the regular season last year - yes. It was due to regress to the mean. LIttle did we know it would go the other way in the playoffs (see our PP). But the Caps style is correct. Only minor tweaks are required, not, as many seem to suggest these days, a full bore change.

Don't let a couple of game 7 losses make you lose your faith in this team. TALENT wins out...eventually.

Posted by: DaleDUI | October 30, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

you know how to beat a hot goalie? SHUT OUT the other team, that's how.

sometimes you just gotta be able to win a 1-0 playoff game and this team CANNOT.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

one more year of playoff failure and you will see a Dale Hunter type coach behind the bench... guaranteed!!!

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

the amount of pressure the Caps seem to be able to dial it up, at the end of games, makes one wonder if they'd been coasting during the game.
And there isn't much forechecking and puck hog'n going on.

Posted by: Hattrik | October 30, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

on their way to SC Finals last year the Flyers had 5 shutouts in the first 3 series of the playoffs... 2 SOs by Boucher and 3 by Leighton.

NOT exactly Vezina-winning goalies between the pipes... Leighton's shutouts were against the sainted Halak!!!

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

> Did you guys see the way the Wild support the puck as a team in all 3 zones, particularly the defensive and neutral zones?
Sure did.

> They aren't constantly looking for stretch passes through sticks and bodies.

>When the puck is in deep in their own end, their forwards are coming back hard and getting in position to support the breakout.

> That's just one example. You could go on and on about how well they play as a team off the puck and in the neutral zone compared to us.

> This was just another example of another team doing the little things, paying attention to detail, playing the right way, etc...

> This wide open, stretch pass thing where forwards don't support the puck and in the d-zone makes from some sloppy play and us getting so often pinned in our own end by good forechecking teams.


> It's not all the forwards but too many of them and it happens because of the coach.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 29, 2010 7:37 PM

This post is pretty much spot on--unusual for these WP boards. I do disagree on one point. The coach is not the problem, although it appears he is due to his stubbornness.

I don't like Boudreau much. It appears he's being outmaneuvered by other teams. He's stubborn and reacts too late to an opposition maneuver. In addition, the Minnesota game made it clear the Capitals have not resolved their issues with the trap. Not by a longshot.

I suspect over the last 30+ years, Boudreau learned exactly what to do against the trap. I also suspect he's relayed that to the players, and they're well aware of what he wants. They just don't do it because they play their individual games.

The weakness in this team is the lack of consequence if they tune out the coach. They won't be traded to hockey oblivion. Instead, the Capitals trade their captain, the player most likely to do what the coach says. We laugh about Flash being Boudreau's pet. Flash does what Boudreau wants him to do, and that's why he's sticking around. Semin, well that's another story. It's like watching two sets of players: The coached team and the individual players.

If the Capitals want to get better, they might consider dealing one of their players who won't or can't do what their coach wants. If Boudreau gets sacked, I'd like to see McPhee get behind the bench--then these guys would have some fear that if they tuned him out they might be gone off to the Islanders or Minnesota.

Only total support from the GM makes a team a playoff winner, and that isn't the case in DC. Changing coaches does nothing if the players continue to play their own game.

Posted by: pga6 | October 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Anybody here watch the Carolina game the other night? Was I dreaming or did the 4th line get us going by cycling the puck and then scoring a goal? And was I still dreaming or did the 1st line then start cycling?

DaleDUI those are some nice sounding words. But if really watched Carolina and then Minnesota games you will have seen what I saw, and that was a team that TRIED one night night and then DIDN'T TRY the next.

That can only go on so long and if it doesn't get fixed, the coach gets axed. Like it or lump it, as Cindy says, that's how it works in every major sport.

I'm not saying BB must get fired or even that GM must be canned. I'm just saying something must change and the team MUST be able to adapt to what the other team does.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | October 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Good to see Cody Eakin back off the self last night and scoring the tying goal on the PP in the Broncos 4-3 OT win over Prince Albert.

Posted by: dull | October 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The Caps should replace BB. But the next question is who? Last year after the playoffs I have been consistant that I thought BB should be terminated and unfortunately we are seeing a meltdown of the team. Remove OVi as Captain and replace him with Laich. Fire BB and make a couple of trades for some more guys like Hendricks. As far as I can tell he is playing with more heart than just about anybody on the team. I will also say and folks may disagree that I think the play of Semin in playing two hockey has been the best on the whole team.

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The Caps will probably lose tonight. Calgary wil choke them defensively and with the forecheck.

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

what does Laich do well other than sound good in front of a mic??

if you don't like Ovi being Captain, you gotta give me someone better than Laich. Messier was perhaps the best captain/leader in hockey in the last 30 years but he didn't wear the C when Gretzky was on the team.

Is Laich Messier?? Not in this lifetime.

Posted by: joek443 | October 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Joek443. I agree with you absolutely about Messier. He is one of the greatest players in NHL history and one tough son of gun. First they will never take the Captain role from OVI. We all know that. OVI is the face of the franchise and the most marketable personality in hockey. Strangely Messier and OVI are similiar players in some ways except OVI is a better skater and has a much better shot. My only point is to shake things up a little bit. I like OVi and lets all be honest the Caps would frankly be a less interesting and exciting team without him. All this nonesense about BB being a good coach. Remove OVI and I wonder how this team would look.

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

laich is absolutely no Messier.

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

A must read about kerry frasier. Pretty funny. One of the all time great REfs. Always liked him. Would let players play the game.

http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/36016-THNcom-Blog-The-night-Kerry-Fraser-gave-enforcer-Jim-McKenzie-a-bonus.html

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't mind see Dale Hunter behind the bench. I would rather not wait until another playoff failure to make a change either. GM can hit the bricks as well. Get a GM that can find some players who play with heart and guts to complement the skill on this team. Players that thrive in the playoffs. Ship some of our soft players to places where they don't care about hockey and won't have to play in the playoffs, like New Jersey.

On a separate note, I was watching the Pens/Flyers game last night and of the opening face-off Mike Richards fought Matt Cooke. That's something I'd like to see from OV, drop the mitts once in a while and get the team going. I've seen quite a few captains do this, I'd like to see it from OV.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

A hot goalie was the deciding factor? Yes, but in typical Cap fan's fashion, the wrong goalie was identified.

Neuvirth was the difference: without his play, the Caps lose that one 5-1.

Face it: the Caps were outhustled, beaten on the forecheck and @ center ice most of the night, and beaten by a team that's pretty middle of the road in the West.

NHL players are like college students: they're supposed to be schooled enough so as to be able to teach themselves. In the NHL, this means that they have the ability to adapt to different systems. Too many are one-dimensional on the cap's roster.

Couple this with coaches and management that are like professors that don't know what to assign, and the result remains the same: inconsistant play and a multitude of square pegs in round holes.

Posted by: btcg | October 30, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@pkme, thanks for posting that. Great link. Always though Fraser was the best, and was sad to see him go. He was as honest as they come, and he let the boys play. Too many of these younger refs are too busy trying to get their face on tv. The story about McKenzie is just further proof that most all hockey players are good guys.

Posted by: Fletch22 | October 30, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are still avoiding the obvious, the team needs a change in chemistry and that means shaking up the roster a bit and bringing in a leader or two who can exhibit the type of 100% consistent effort that Boudreau is calling for.

You have to have some veterans in the locker room who hold everyone else accountable.

This team doesn't have those players.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 30, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

DaleDUI sounds like a Dallas Cowboys fan. After all, they've got the most "talent".

Exactly why I left this fandom for redder waters.

Posted by: slurpeesarecool | October 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I do think the Caps should make a strong attempt to get Soray on this team. the fact that this guy throws down and fights at the minor leagues given he is an All Star NHLer tells you how passionate he is about the game. Sure he has a big mouth but nobody can doubt his dedication to being a great player. Trade Flash and Sloan. Soray would be a real difference maker.

Posted by: pkme | October 30, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

So last year after 10 games the Caps were 6-2-2 for 14 points.

This year after 10 games the Caps are 6-4 for 12 points.

And they are playing much better defensively, if only because Neuvirth is better than Theodore.

Maybe everyone is playing the style that Montreal played against the Caps in the playoffs, if so, the Caps have still managed to win 60% of the games they have played. Do that in the playoffs and you win the Stanley cup.

I am personally not concerned right now. I am interested to see how the Caps do against Calgary tonight. Once the Caps break out of their offensive slump, with the improved defense they seem to be playing, we could see the team go on a long win streak.

All that it is really going to take for them to make the playoffs is to go on a couple of 5 game win streaks and play .500 hockey the rest of the season.

Posted by: piratusus | October 30, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Can we please get an update!? It's GAMEDAY...I can't take the suspense...

Posted by: Wagnerchristopher | October 30, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the lack of updates lately is really sad. I know Calgary's two hours behind, but it's almost 1pm there, so the morning skate should be over and stuff.

Feel much less connected this season.

Posted by: NickG32 | October 30, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey since she won't give an update...I guess let's start our own discussion...who starts in goal tonight?? Nuevy??

Posted by: Wagnerchristopher | October 30, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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