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Posted at 12:43 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Line change: Readers weigh in on how to motivate Caps

By Washington Post Sports Editors

Yesterday, we asked readers what it might take to motivate these Capitals, particularly the stars, to get back to playing inspired hockey.

Here are a few of the popular responses:

1) Go back to the old system. scmonty1 writes: "IMO, let Coach Boudreau coach his system. Let the players skate to their abilities and utilize their offensive talents. And IF, and emphasis on IF, McPhee can get the missing pieces -the defensive defensemen and wingers- we should be back to normal."

2) Fire Coach Bruce Boudreau if it gets much worse. saltine182: "This road trip will define the season. If they falter here, they need to bring in a new voice who commands respect, has been through the fire before, and has an offensive background."

3) Nothing. trfnews: "What would I do to motivate the players? The coach? The GM? I would do ... nothing. Let them determine their own fate through the end of the season and, if they make it, through the playoffs. Then deal or keep, based on performance. ... I don't think you threaten right now. This generation does not respond well to threats. If the opportunity for the Cup does not motivate them, then get rid of them."

4) Make a big trade. houseoflords: "The only thing that is going to shake this team up is trading a core player. Trading a prospect, a rookie, or a 4th line player isn't going to do the trick. It has to be someone that will shock the team"

5) Fix the power play. ajtrue78: "Don't fire anyone and don't make an 'example trade.' I think if you fix the PP, confidence will follow and passion will be a side effect."

By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 15, 2011; 12:43 PM ET
 
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Comments

I'm with houseoflords !!!!!!!!!!!

There appears to be this feeling of "We are untouchable" that has to be changed

Posted by: bqts | February 15, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Again...3-1 over Montreal in 2010 playoffs- then you choke 3 games in a row. What other motivation do they need? Seriously? Isn't being "choking dogs" enough?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the "fix the power play and everything will fall into place" logic by Uncle Ted and the poster above?

Would it help to have a successful power play? For sure. Could it help them when a couple more games? Probably. Is it going to be the magic wand that frees them from the offensive purgatory they are wallowing in - No!

Posted by: bloodontheice | February 15, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

One positive is that BB kept the same lines the entire game. I know he wanted to put Chimera or Laich on that top line, but he showed restraint. Baby steps!

As for a big trade to wake up the team, been there, done that. Remember Tomas Fleischmann? The guy that was outscoring the Caps big guns with a 2nd year center before his injury? Meanwhile, the Caps went on a losing streak from which they've never really recovered.

A trade for the sake of making one isn't going to right the ship. The Caps need a scoring line center, a scoring winger (or 2), and most likely a new coach.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 15, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't know any other line of work where you can just not listen to the boss and do what you want and then he sums it up with, "Well, they just didn't listen today," and they go on from there.

Can you imagine Patton making an excuse, "We ran into a hot enemy."

Oh well. To get to the game in Phoenix I drove through the Mojave Desert and then the Sonoran Desert. That's driving through TWO deserts for ONE game.

Then drove back afterward straight 400 miles to get home. I would have spent the night in PHX except my one daughter had to work this morning.

The area around the Phoenix arena is really beautiful. The old arena was downtown but this one is out in Glendale, 10-12 miles from downtown Phoenix. The problems for locals I guess is it's on the far west of down, so east-siders like Capt Kirk have quite a trip (kind of like Landover was good for some but bad for many).

Can you imagine if Katie's boss told her to write a story a certain way and, instead, she just looked up stuff on Wikipedia and didn't get real quotes and wrote some sloppy piece?

Editor: "Well, when they don't listen that's what we get - a bad story."

There was some effort last night. I will have to watch the DVR to see. My wife watched it and said they blamed Ersk on goal #3. Poor vermontcaps would be so sad except he's in Costa Rica. He's lucky he went on that trip to save him the misery of watching his boy mess up.

And like my daughter said, everytime Backie gets a penalty it's in the last 5 mins when we are losing. For the Caps, their biggest enemy is themselves. As a group, strung together, they wouldn't make the brightest and shiniest Christmas lights.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@alltheGMGM haters

I have a question for all of you, I've seen many times on here somebody put something the effect of "gee guess who hired BB" as a way of saying GMGM's an idiot for hiring BB.

Did ya think that 1 month after his hire? Were ya thinkin that when we made it to the playoffs 3yrs ago on the last game of the season? Were you saying it at all last yr before the playoffs? When we were breaking scoring titles?

Ok, so if he was good then what happened? The bottom line is BB is a good coach but his tenure here should end everybody knows it. So don't critisize the hire, critisize the fact that he's still here. That's the problem. He took us as far as he can. He's an offensive coach and if you're not gonna play that system then get somebody here that can teach it, breathe it and live it. I'm sorry but if it's a player or 2 struggling that's 1 thing but when you've got an entire TEAM, and an entire PP unit that is below NHL standards then the coach has to go. You want to see an inspired team play hockey, watch the 1st game played under the new coach. It happens every time. This team doesn't lack talent it lacks direction. They have an offensive coach trying to teach them how to play defense. That's like asking Joe Gibbs to run Buddy Ryan's 53 defense. It isn't gonna work and you see the results on the ice.


Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@Tom

Welcome back buddy! Sorry I couldn't be there. Just too much going on.

Question: so are you saying the players aren't listening to the coach? or who isn't listening to who?

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

For the past 3 months, I've gotten on here every day hoping to see the headline bruce boudreau is fired. I continue to be disappointed.

Posted by: chatton | February 15, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

Bruce is a good coach. He can coach all styles. GMGM is a good GM, he just doesnt have the balls to make the moves that it takes to get a team over the hump.

The problem is that in sports eventually players beging to tune out the coach regardless of whether he is a great coach or not. It just happens. Whether that is the case right now with BB or not I dont know. But something isnt right. The only people that have a clue as to what is wrong are the guys that are in the lockerroom and around the team all the time. And if they dont know what is wrong, well than thats bascially when you need to do something drastic.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, another thing, it was probably beat to death last night (didn't read through), but...

You're down one goal with 1.9 seconds left and you put Steckel to win the draw (was perfect, except puck was bouncing) and you set it up to go to...

Chimera???

As in, Jason "Hands of Stone" Chimera?

And he whiffs? Are we surprised he missed? I'm not. He's though probably the LAST person I would have put out there.

Good thing I'm not coach since I have no clue. Guess that's why I'm "not in the game."

I guess now we'll start seeing "Chimmer" in the shootout too!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

is it somekind of Aprils fools day today?

"5) Fix the power play. ajtrue78: "Don't fire anyone and don't make an 'example trade.' I think if you fix the PP, confidence will follow and passion will be a side effect."
WHAT CONFIDENCE?! Team is clueless of what to do on ice, they are just running around without game plan. WHat confidence is that person talking about when he puts Chimera two seconds till the end of the game and team is down one goal. I am seriously starting to worry if some of us is watching different teams, but no caps. cause some comments are seriously BIG time clueless

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 15, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@ chatton
well put and you are not the only one my friend.

The answer is obviously #2, id be interested to see a new poll of the best options for the caps, big trade or BB fired or w/e. I have a hunch it will be slightly higher then the poll that was run during the infamous losing streak.

Posted by: thesmartone | February 15, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: I have posted many, many times that McPhee is a middle-of-the-pack GM. He made very good trades to dismantle and rebuild. Trades are good and bad. His drafts 98-01 were atrocious. Ted forced the Jagr trade but the team McPhee built around Jagr (plus Cassidy) had mismatched pieces, just like we have now. He has never brought in a gritty, talented player.

I don't criticize hiring BB, but I agree with you the message has worn out. Then we get comments like, "When they listen, we win, and when they don't, we lose."

In kindergarden when we didn't listen we got sent into the corner. I guess BB never went to kindergarden.

And I sure hope to God Mrs. Boudreau raised those kids.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What is the point of the "Washington Post Sports Editors" interrupting the conversation that was already going on with a new post that has absolutely no content in it besides what I was already reading in the previous posts?

Some reporting might be useful instead like, at least, what are the Caps doing today?

Posted by: yosemite_sam | February 15, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey folks.

I've long been a big cheerleader for the team and for BB, but I too for months have been wishing for the day I open this blog and "Coach Fired" greets me. Great coach, but his time is over.

We're lost. It's late but not too late. Please let's make a run before this team is completely dismantled. We do not have a prayer as it is. New coach.

Posted by: Justafan | February 15, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

You want to make a splash trade, unload Semin. The announcers on VS had it right last night, the guy plays when he wants to. He takes stupid penalities, passes when he should shoot, and shoots when he should pass. Ship him to the west coast where we only have to see him once or twice a year, and get that center we need.

Posted by: panthro34 | February 15, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface -What the heck are you smoking? Please share.

GMG was a good GM in the instances you mentioned. It's the past offseason where he lost all credibility. He "stood pat" after this team choked when up 3-1 against the Habs.

How does the saying go? What have you done for me lately? Or, those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Pick one, they're both applicable here.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 15, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@ beforeitstoolate

Agreed :), I had versus on last night, i don't know what channel everyone else was watching.

Posted by: thesmartone | February 15, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

should have never replaced # 53......down hill since then

Posted by: wendel2 | February 15, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@Wendel

That's a good point.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

3 for the last 43 on the power play. Let's put that in perspective.

1) Caps have some of the best talent in the world.

2) 3 goals in the last 80 or so mins on PP (not all are 2 mins) is an average of 2.25 goals per game. Can you imagine playing the entire 60-min contest 5 on 4 (sometimes 5 on 3) and only getting 2 goals?

It's unfathomable. One thing's for sure though - our experts, those people "in the game," McPhee and Boudreau, with 35 years each, should be able to put their finger exactly on the problem.

(What good is management if a problem has been festering since last summer if they can't explain what's wrong and how to fix it? Are any of you managers at work? If something goes wrong time and again and sr mgmt asks you for root cause and corrective action and you can't explain it and fix it, what will senior mgmt do? That's right, they will put someone else in your job. And it's been that way on Earth ever since Noah fired his foreman for being two days behind schedule.)

"We need to go to the net."

"We just need a 60-min effort."

"We need to get back to Caps hockey."

"We just need a lucky break."

"We need to stay angry."

Same quotes, same results.

Stay angry? He11, maybe if they'd just get angry once in a while it would help.

And I have to say, the WaPo stories are getting fluffier and fluffier. There's meat and potatoes somewhere but all we get is pablum.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

lylewimbledon: Good article there from Puck Daddy. I have asked on here time and time and time again (and even some more) for Katie to investigate and explain WHIFFGATE.

By that, I mean the times this year over and over and over he whiffs on shots, whiffs on passes, gets easily pokehecked off the puck and even falls in a collision (where in past he ran over other player).

Something is WRONG with Ovechkin. The article nails it - either his conditioning id down or he's disinterested (i.e. doesn't care). Well, there's a third possibility, an injury of some type the team has been hiding.

Whatever, we need locals reporters to jump on this story, but that would mean ruffling some feathers maybe!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@panthro34--I couldn't agree more. The guy is talented, but he epitomizes the style that got us bounced from the playoffs last year: shots from the outside; and too many fancy Dan plays with not enough grit. I have to think he is Exhibit A when BB talks about guys not doing what they're told.

With OV going to the crease last night like a fullback at the goal line, what was Semin doing? Trying to fish the puck out of the paint while avoiding getting hit. I just don't see him as a guy who will ever be willing to pay the price to score tough playoff goals.

Anyway, he's already signed for next year at a decent price. Maybe a team enamored with his talent would take him off our hands for a piece or pieces we need? At the very least, it could be addition by subtraction.

Posted by: Fletch_F_Fletch | February 15, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

tonimsocial if u want the answer look up the russian word for lazy

Posted by: wendel2 | February 15, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2011/02/15/taking-a-wrecking-ball-to-capitals-country-club-part-i.html

No punches being pulled here

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I won't get those few minutes back. That was a worthless collection of words. The NHL schedule alone is brutal on the body regardless of whether they are flying first class or not. Did you see the apartment Ovi grew up in? I've never lived in such a small place. I don't think he has to be reminded where he came from or what he has endured to get where he is today. Do some of you really believe these guys just show up for free flights and equipment and put little work into their craft? To play at the NHL level, take the physical abuse (hitting someone or being hit while traveling 15-20mph on skates hurts, regardless of how much equipment you are wearing), the mental abuse of trying to figure out that the F is wrong with you and your team, is something we don't deal with in our offices on a daily basis. I equate it more to the deployments I did in the military both on the ground and at sea. Most people NEVER deal with it.

The players on these rosters have worked their tails off to get where they are and the relative ease at which NHLers do the things they do on skates makes us all think it is easy. The downtime these guys take is just as important as the time at the rink. To go full out for months on end is counterproductive. I know I will get blasted but I don't care. For any of us to think we care more, unless you are clinically insane, cares more than one of these players or coaches is being ridiculous. When I turn off the game and get engulfed in things at work, or turn my sites on another NHL game, NBA game, College basketball, etc, I break away. I would bet my paycheck that some of these guys cannot even sleep at night.

Posted by: fanohock1 | February 15, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

While I agree that "example trades" probably won't do much to help, "example scratches" might. Boudreau simply needs to stop playing favorites and follow through on his words that he will scratch people based on their performance. He needs to scratch Ovie or Backstrom or Knuble for a game. Otherwise, it's simply "Theo has a long leash" hot air. I'm a BB supporter but he needs to follow through on his threats.

Bruce has no problems scratching Fehr if Fehr goes offsides... he needs to hold the superstars to the same standards.

Posted by: sabredc | February 15, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal
This team always hides injuries...as we learned in 24/7...whatever with Ovi he is not able to adjust to circumstances within a game with any grace (this season)...I see him swearing more on his way to the bench ...it could be an injury or the weight of the world.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 15, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Something is WRONG with Ovechkin.
*tomsinsocal*
-----------------------------------------
Maybe they should shift their focus to his Center. Once they get him fixed then OV will be fixed too. Or get a new coach and everybody starts with a clean slate.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@Poker

Hard to move Backstrom around since he is the only legit center on the team. Now, if they had 2 or three centers, then maybe a new center for Ovi would help break the funk for both of them.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Washington Post, for this new feature, which in my honest opinion based on some of the characters that regularly post here, is akin to you guys holding rooster fights in your back yards. Maybe if you change the title, people won't mistake this for a worthwhile column. Let's call it what it is "*itch and Complain" Time. I can't hate the Caps. It is what it is. This column has been nothing but venomous negativity and it reaks of *hit. I'd rather the players go to teams and cities that appreciate them more than the lot of people who choose this as their personal forum to sling poop at them. Great job for focusing the spotlight on these morons, Washington Post! Disappointing.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 15, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

In kindergarden when we didn't listen we got sent into the corner. I guess BB never went to kindergarden.
*tomsinsocal*
-----------------------------------------
Do you really mean this in a literal sense or am I getting ready to get suckered into answering something that everybody knows already? LOL! :)

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@Leftcoast

Not the WP fault that fans have opinions. go to some other "cite," that has baby animals, rainbows, and butterflies, or whatever else makes you feel happy on the inside.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@Leftcoast

I agree that theres a lot of negativity on here but can you answer me a question. What exactly is there to be positive about? Their play since Dec 2nd has been terrible. I look for positives each game and there are very few. When there are, I point them out.

So what do you see as positives from the last 3 games?

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@ Lylewimbledon

Maybe he like site that banish you for saying anything negative about the caps , such as Japers. I posted about Flush there the week before he was traded and I got this message "play nice or we will kick you out of the sand box". After No 66 comments last weekend I figured he was a regular on there too. (I'm gonna take my puck home of you guys don't apply the rules)

hee hee hee

Posted by: bqts | February 15, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

IMHO the Caps will belucky to get 1 one on this 5 game road trip. As many have posted over the last few weeks: BB needs to go.

However, IMHO GMGM won't make any trades nor will he fire BB until the season is over. The Caps will NOT make the playoffs as they are in total free fall and will miss the playoffs for the first time since BB took over as coach.

Ted will fire GMGM and the coach after the season is over and season ticket holders revolt on him. He will hire a new GM who will hire a new coach and the house cleaning will start before the draft.

I wonder how many of these predictions will come true? Anybody want to guess?

Posted by: JMinVA | February 15, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@Left
Funny how you always comment on the negative posters by being so negative yourself. It's still a somewhat free country (even at the WaPo), if somebody wants to write on a hockey blog "Fire the Coach" or "The team stinks", that is their right. You obviously post what you want. Live and let live!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 15, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Well said, fanohock. I don't think most fans appreciate the work and sacrifice it took before these guys were paid one nickel for their efforts. At this level, no one is getting by on God given talent.

tominsocal- Does anyone really believe that 18 guys decided not to listen to BB even though he has the winning strategy? Once again, I think the guy is just trying to deflect responsibility.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 15, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@Lyle

I'm not saying they should or shouldn't move him around. I'm just saying Backy is struggling just as bad if not worse than OV. I've always thought that Backy was the engine that made this team go. Well Backy isn't going so this team isn't going. I think Backy not being Backy is more of a mystery than the Kennedy Assassination!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

poker: Maybe I should be clear. BB tells the team, supposedly, "how to play." Which style, whatever. Then, after a loss, we get quotes from his that the players "aren't listening." We get quotes like he tells them to go to the net but they did "cute passes" instead. But what does he do about it? My example, in kindergarden, you don't listen, you are punished. With BB, a short list of players might get benched for a game, but the majority can take a game off and nothing happens. I guess my point is we all have a supervisor, if you are employed, and you have to do your job the way the supervisor says, i.e. you can't just "do fancy passes and lose the game" and have your boss say, like Boudreau, "Oh well, maybe tomorrow he'll listen."

You don't have to enforce discipline like in the army, but at least the players have to respect the coach and follow his direction. Are the Caps doing that? Or are they taking advantage of a softie?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I would have given up what the Flyers did for Versteeg. I'd also give up the same for Penner. Flyers didn't overpay. Holmgren trades his first round picks a lot. He knows when a draft is deep, he doesnt think this one is so he moved the picks.

Posted by: ThePat

I would definitely give up a 1st and a 3rd for Penner. I am on the fence about that for Versteeg. That may have been a little much(remember it costs the Caps more than the Flyers as the Caps picks will be higher) I think more highly of Penner than Versteeg.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

How can people think the power play doesn't have an effect and wont boost the team?

We are 3-43 on the PP recently and have been horrid for a longer period of time. This team should have around 10-13 goals in stead of 3 the last chunk of games. The close games we lost, the overtime losses, PP goals would turn those into wins.

Converting those PP goals could possibly have given us 5 more wins, and were looking at 78 points instead of 68.

Posted by: digster1013 | February 15, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Poker

I agree...he is having a bad year. He and Ovi need a right wing...no one on our team seems to be able to fill that huge void. As Tarik pointed out yesterday...all of the "young guns," needed to step up their game. Part of the problem, especially with Semin on the right wing, Backstrom has to come back so far in our zone to make up for the lazy defense of Ovi and Semin...hard to make plays from your own goal line. Not making excuses for any of them...something is wrong on that team.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Trade someone significant. I say Knuble. Who wouldn't want someone like him mucking it up in front of the crease? But he isn't doing that for us, so why do we need him? I guarantee some other team would take a chance on him with his playoff upside. Laich can do his job, and other teams are desperate enough for someone like him to give us someone big for him.

Posted by: robbie1299 | February 15, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I understand that we keep on reading the same quotes, but what do you really expect? It's not like any quote BB or a player makes to a reporter is going to motivate the team. ALl that matters are the quotes BB is giving his team behind closed doors.

Apparently those are not working either though(just judging by the results) and that is the reason to get rid of BB.

I never understood why people get all up in arms from a one line quote to a reporter. They are meaningless. What are the other options for the players to say. They can say "hey, we just have to try harder and do better" (basically what every team says).

Or they could say "hey, we are just not good enough, we give up". It seems as though some people on here want to here them say that. What would be the point of doing so? What purpose would it serve?

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat, @pokerface1208

There has been talk that the Caps dressing room is divided. I'm curious if anyone knows who is on what side of the divide?

Is it Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, Varly, Green on one side and Lacih, Knuble, Carlson, Alzner on the other?(I have no idea, just guessing).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Versteeg is a clutch player. He's been through it all and won and he is only 24. So to me a 1st and 3rd for him is fair even from the Caps perspective. The fact he has done those things is why I dont see Penner being worth anymore than him in a trade scenario.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

ablake: Some games the Caps cycle and work hard and some games they don't and shoot from the perimeter instead. I don't think 18 guys get together and vote before the game if they will work hard or mail it in. I don't know. Someone pointed out a few weeks back that the Caps have one type A personality and the rest type B. I don't know all that stuff. What is your answer? After our good start (I think 16-4) we've had more poor games than good ones. The talent is there, mostly the same talent that last year was 8th team in NHL history with at least 120 pts (Oilers never even did that). Now they are listless. Coach yells and gives orders. They don't listen (obviously, look at the results, unless you believe every game is a "hot goalie").

Bottom line is coach says, "Go play hard," but they don't. So coach then says, "Well, the boys didn't listen, hopefully they will next game."

And then he shuffles the lines.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I have no idea. But something is up. I dont even think its that big of a divide. Maybe 2 or 3 people are an issue would be my guess. Thats all it takes.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ The Pat: The positives about the whole situation? We all have lives. It's not us out there skating and getting beat night after night and facing a city full of people calling for our heads because they aren't happy with our performance. Someone said it best and that's the team is probably harder on themselves than we are. The luxury we all have is that we can leave the awful game behind us, go home, and then go to work. They have to live it the next day and the day after next. The negative posters heaping on top of that their own personal pile of dung isn't motivating. It's senseless and self-absorbed.

@ lyle: Try finding something productive to do than nag about the gameplay. I guarantee you it's a lot more self-satisfying than complaining about their game play, of which you have no input in. That should not come as a surprise to you since you neither play for the team, nor coach it, nor manage it, nor own it. You're entitled to your opinion though, as am I. Don't dismiss me for wearing rose colored glasses. I just know when to let go of my frustrations with the team.

@kcbrichmond: I don't deny their right to but I personally think it's inane that posters already post their negativity at the end of the articles and then the WaPo concocts this "Line Change" article to incite even further negativity. When Tarik was on the beat, we got informative articles that already encourage discussion, negative and occasional positive feedback. This season, we got some uninspiring play from our team and the Post does its best to mimic that and presents to us "Line Change"? Someone mentioned that the DC area will always be a football town and not a hockey town. I can see why since the typical Caps fan will be quick to call for a new team every time they lose. Being dedicated and devoted to a team shouldn't be maddening but it seems like some posters have lost their marbles ages ago.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 15, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

hire Al Saunders as a power play consultant.

Posted by: capscla55 | February 15, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This morning, St. Louis and Stamkos came out early for practice to work one-timers...can you imagine Ovie and Semin doing that? Nope...no dedication, no such commitment.

Posted by: jakopz | February 15, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

what are marbles?

:)

Posted by: bqts | February 15, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Versteeg is a clutch player. He's been through it all and won and he is only 24. So to me a 1st and 3rd for him is fair even from the Caps perspective. The fact he has done those things is why I dont see Penner being worth anymore than him in a trade scenario.

Posted by: ThePat

Good points. I hope I didn't sound like I was being dismissive of Versteeg, as I think he is a good player, just that I'm on the fence of him being worth a 1st and a 3rd. But I completely understand anyone who thinks he is.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@Tom

That's the whole point. That's why he has to go. Nobody is listening anymore. There's a difference between skating to an area b/c that's where you're supposed to go and skating to an area with the intention of making a play. Nobody's skating now to make a play so they're a step behind. Why? Because the coach has lost the team. If they don't believe in what they're doing then it's hard to put 100% effort 100% of the time. Some will say oh well they're pro's they shouldn't need any motivation and to a point that's true. But there is a deeper level to that. It's a very long season and you go through many things in a seaosn. It's not as simple as, Knuble you didn't go to the net on your 3rd shift in the 2nd period so you sit next game. If that were the case everybody would sit. These are humans not robots and the other team is paid to play too. Every player makes mistakes in every game. Some are minor, some are major depending on the result of the mistake. It's a learning thing AND an execution thing.

So Tom I don't know if that helps at all. All I can tell you is I've seen this a million times in my 40yrs of life and it's always turned out where the coach goes. Things won't change in the long term until that happens. That's why I said the other day that from this point on we will only be a .500 team or less until BB is gone. You can't fire the whole team. Did you know the NHL has the shortest life span for coaches in all major sports? Sorry BB and I wish you luck in your next position but your time here is over hopefully sooner rather than later. I'm sure you'll land on your feet quite well.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@jakopz

Don't subscribe to the optional practice argument please. You're much better than that.

As a side note, I'll bet 100% it wasn't an optional practice.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

gmgm built this mess not bb....he brought in dj king signed sloan etc etc

Posted by: wendel2 | February 15, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@leftcoastcapsfan

way to avoid the question....if you could explain positives that are occuring on the ice then respond. If you cant then you realize why people are upset and just dont like the tone people take.

The team should be hard on themselves. Its what they do for a living. I am hard on myself at my job. If people want to critique my job on a message board, I wouldnt care neither should players.

If you think its a luxury that we can put games behind us as fans, then you simply dont take it as seriously as some people. Which is fine, I understand that. But just bc other people take it more seriously doesnt make them wrong in doing so.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@Leftcoast

Not dismissing your positive attitude. What bothers me is you insult all of us for having opinions and then the WP for providing a forum (that you obviously use) to express those opinions. It's nonsense.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

No you didnt sound dismissive. Just wanted to give my reasoning as to why I said it to begin with so you could understand my thinking. Also Penner could easily go for more than that the closer it gets to the deadline the price will go up obviously.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The Caps PP actually looked organized for the first time in weeks last night. Lots of crisp passes, traffic in front, and no holding of the puck looking for the perfect play. I counted 3-4 sure fire goals where the goalie made a great save or missed an open net (Knuble). The coach can only put the guys in position to make plays - they need to execute. Ray Whitney scored on the Coyotes one power play that mattered and Knuble was off net on a shot from the same spot into a wide open net.

I agree with Ted that the Caps confidence will grow once they fix the PP. The Caps played a strong 60-minute game last night and it took a great goaltending effort to win it. The Caps made one mistake that cost them a goal (Erskine) and another questionable penalty call gave Phoenix their PP. This one was a tough one to lose but the effort was there. I'd expect a similar effort on Wednesday and Thursday, before people jump off the bridge.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 15, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I seriously believe that Ovi has been playing with an injury (or injuries) for quite some time, coinciding with the HBO 24/7 series. There was no way the Caps could sit the star during that time with the Crosby/Ovechkin hype machine going full blast. Ovechkin is an elite athlete, and he comes from an athletic family---parents who know what it takes to be the best in a sport. Also, Semin was playing with an injury until it finally became clear he HAD to stay out of the game to heal. Fehr has been out with an injury as well as Poti. There is no way the injuries don't affect the team.

Having said that, there is still the spark (or team work or offensive aggressiveness) missing from the team that was there last year. Probably due to more than one factor. Endless tinkering with the lines is NOT helping.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 15, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@Leftcoast

Not dismissing your positive attitude. What bothers me is you insult all of us for having opinions and then the WP for providing a forum (that you obviously use) to express those opinions. It's nonsense.

-------lyle---

aha, i see you've caught onto Lefty's shtick. What you said pretty much sums up his total contribution to this board.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 15, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

So yeah...the day before we have back to back games, BB decided to make it an optional practice in Anaheim.

19-28-21-22-23-52 are not practicing.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the "fix the power play and everything will fall into place" logic by Uncle Ted and the poster above?

Would it help to have a successful power play? For sure. Could it help them when a couple more games? Probably. Is it going to be the magic wand that frees them from the offensive purgatory they are wallowing in - No!

Posted by: bloodontheice

all true. tHe first step to improvement is admitting you have a problem. The Caps aren't even to this step yet. Maybe this offseason will be the beginning of a new rebuild plan. Or at least a tweak plan.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 15, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1.
Agree. Probably some surgery needed and doesnt want to lose the season to it.

Posted by: capscla55 | February 15, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

19-28-21-22-23-52 are not practicing.

Posted by: ThePat

I expected Green not to practice because of his injury.

______________
On the PP and Ovie not playing the point. Remember that Ovie scored on the half-wall against Tampa with Green and Carlson on the points. Then Green got hurt in the 1st period of the next game. With Green out Ovie has to play the point. The Caps really have no one else who can play the point on the PP when Poti and Green are both out.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I have no problem with Green not practicing. Nor do I have an issue with Knuble and Hannan due to their age and back to backs coming up.

But if the other two are healthy they should be practicing. If they arent healthy then sit them down for a few games.

@cstanton

McPhee went in and made adjustments with BB to the PP over the all-star break. The adjustments lasted two or three games before BB went back to his old ways. They had the umbrella going for the first couple of games after the break.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Do you think that Scottie Bowman would give the Capitals an optional skate today if he were in Bruce's position?

I highly doubt it!

Posted by: puckman | February 15, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1, putting Chimera in for the last shot was great coaching & it worked great!

Just think of Phil Jackson down by 1 with no time on the clock and 2 techinal free throws. Here is what he says in the huddle: "Okay, we'll let Shaq take the free throws"
The team, the fans, the announcers, Shaq's mom: "Really BB, him? (opps, Coach Jackson)"

Posted by: chriscaps | February 15, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

> The Caps really have no one else who can play the point on the PP when Poti and Green are both out.

Well, I think Alzner and Carlson played the points together a fair amount in Hershey and that might be worth a try here. Really don't want Ovie taking two minute long PP shifts.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | February 15, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Looks like "Big Buff" likes it in Atlanta. Just signed an extension there.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Actually, this was Atlanta's reaction to us resigning Poti! Buwahahahaha!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

There were signs last spring of Bruce losing control of this team in the playoffs. Problem isn't that Bruce doesn't ask the team to make adjustments during the game. The problem is that the players didn't listen to the coaches and tuned them out. I fear the same mentally amongst the players has been occurring all season. It is safe to say that this is Bruce's last chance to get this team to do something in the playoffs (if they get in) Anything less than the 3rd round appearance in the playoffs, Bruce is gone in the off-season.

Posted by: madflava | February 15, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

gmgm built this mess not bb....he brought in dj king signed sloan etc etc

Posted by: wendel2

100% of this team's failures and successes should be attributed to GM. The coach is merely an extension of the GM.

eventually its on Ted. But if you want to look at the hockey side of things, this is GM's baby and no one else's.

Coaches on most teams don't have any say in who gets drafted either.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 15, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

poker: Agreed.

btw, the call on Hannan was awful last night. It was just a solid check. The ref 10-15 feet away, looking at the play, made no call. Van Massenhoeven, who couldn't even see Hannan (the Coyote player was directly in between VM and Hannan) makes the call from 30 feet away.

That said, can't complain, Caps still had more PPs.

OK, obviously traveling last few days, Versteeg was traded. Did anyone see how Flyers fit him under the cap? Maybe I need to go check that, but for now it's off to the wine store.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 15, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

poker: Agreed.

btw, the call on Hannan was awful last night. It was just a solid check. The ref 10-15 feet away, looking at the play, made no call. Van Massenhoeven, who couldn't even see Hannan (the Coyote player was directly in between VM and Hannan) makes the call from 30 feet away.
*tomsinsocal*
------------------------------------
That's a big thing in hockey as far as WHO makes the call. Some refs say, don't call anything in my zone I won't call anything in yours etc. Typically in the NHL it's more of a, you better be 100% sure to call something in my zone. That being said the call shouldn't have been made. It was completely bogus. Down low ref saw it and the top ref blew it. Nothing you can do about it but it happens.

They'll get a call tho if nobody from officiating was there last night. Those things are always discussed and reviewed. Believe it or not, refs watch videos too.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | February 15, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

You know what I'm amazed at?

that with all the overly critical people on here, no one picked on poker for misspelling critisize... twice!

I'm proud of you guys/gals... you are getting better...

carry on! :-D

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 15, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

George McPhee is the worst GM in hockey.

Could he run the bench ? NO
Can he run a practice ? NO

I can see him out there at practice wearing that scarf though. What a disaster.

Posted by: LarryDavid | February 15, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, to your dismay, I don't live and breathe by your words. Just like I've said about the negative irrational posters on here, at the end of the day, hockey isn't your life. It's theirs. So, calling for their firing or their dismissal just to soothe your dismay/disgust/hatred for their less than stellar playing, I don't buy into it. Call it a schtick. The board is familiar with yours. Some people like it. Even I've learned a few things from it when you're not too busy acting like you're the God of Hockey. Others have called you on your own share of emotional condescending b.s. so I don't see the need to remind you of it. Here's the part where you're reminded of how insignificant you are in the Capitals world.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 15, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Brooks might be banged up. The phoenix defender turned him into a pretzel on that one play. Should have been a penalty as VS. announcers pointed out.

Trade is possible though. He would probably be the best bargaining chip. Teams don't want Semin, except maybe LA but caps don't match up well with them trade wise.

Posted by: O-V-P | February 15, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Positives on the ice: Despite our losing streak, we're still in the pack of teams, if we were to head into the playoffs now, gunning for the Stanley Cup.

We get scoring from our 3rd and 4th line even though that's generally not what we expect from them.

Despite the fact that the team is using a completely different system than what they've used since Boudreau came on, we're not out of the Cup race yet.

Except for a few games where the other team skated off with the puck and repeatedly scored goals on us, the Capitals have kept scoring down to a minimum, where if not for a lucky bounce, maybe we would have tied it or even beaten them.

I didn't see the game last night but from what I've read, it doesn't sound like the Capitals were sluggish and lacked any motivation. They played well. They didn't win. Let's move on to the next game. Personally, I can't see how anyone who's sorely disappointed with them now can get up and have hope they win the next game and the next. It's like bringing Debbie Downer to the party and no matter what party you bring her to, she isn't going to like it. So the question becomes if you really don't like the Capitals right now, why watch, if you've got in the back of your head that they don't have what it takes this year to win the Cup or that the Coach is lazy and plays favorites or they're going to let in 10 easy goals into their own net?

@ lyle: I apologize if I insulted you. I don't mean to intentionally. I admit some people can be constructive in their criticisms (like yourself) while others, just tend to insult the team and anyone who even bothers to hope the team doesn't screw up the next game.

@ bqts: hahahaha! =)

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 15, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@LCCF -HUH? Or is it more like DUH!!! As fans, we can call for firings or dismissals all we want. I really don't think anyone in the Caps organization really reads what is on these boards.

If they do, they're not doing their jobs.

The last I checked, this was for the fans to discuss the team they root for.

I like reading other peoples opinions. I might not agree with all of them or "take them to heart" as you put it, but I find it interesting to see other peoples' views on here.

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 15, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

And it appears Boston is close to acquiring Kaberle. So the 2nd best team in the East gets better. Shocker.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

@leftcoast

the only thing positive out of last nights game was that our PP looked better. And no right now going into games I do not expect them to win. Why do I watch? Bc like you I am a fan, and am a die-hard one. I watch every single game.

The only game I expect them to win on this road trip is in Pittsburgh. I expect them to get to OT in one or two of them. Do I hope they win more than that, of course I do. But Im sorry that I look at things in a realistic way. If you call that Debbie Downer thats fine. But at least I have a realistic grasp of what is going on with this team.

Ive said since December that this team needs two top 6 F's to actually be competitive for a Cup. And I stand by that. This team will still most likely make the playoffs but it will be eliminated in round 1. That is the current realistic view of the Washington Capitals.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2011/02/15/taking-a-wrecking-ball-to-capitals-country-club-part-i.html

No punches being pulled here

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to start. Having played HS hockey in the area and travel and knowing many players through both I have never known a single team that practiced before school. Almost all people in professional sports are very careful about what they put in their bodies, if they ate what was suggested in this junk you would see the flattest team in NHL history. Comparing a HS sesason (which only lasts 10 games in Virginia) to an NHL season is a joke in itself. And yes many in the DC area are up at 7:30 on their way to work but they were not doing their job at 8,9,10pm the night before. Even if these horrible ideas somehow worked it would make sure that no matter who our GM is we would not be getting any even decent free agents. You think any player looking for a team would want to come here? Some people don't even think before they write a blog.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 15, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

5 years 26 million for big buff....seems a touch to steep

Posted by: _stevo | February 15, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@stevo

might be a touch steep, but they like the guy and the guy wanted to stay. Very important in Atlanta given all the talent that has wanted to leave. So I applaud the Thrashers for stepping up.

Chicago now has to give Seabrook a similar deal basically or be open to trading him.

Posted by: ThePat | February 15, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Kaberle to Boston? For Boston's #1 maybe while they keep the Leafs #1?

Posted by: Steve_R | February 15, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Where is this kaberle news coming from?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 15, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Zherdev is rumored to be waived by PHI in the coming days. Contract is up at the end of the year ($2 mil). Do we need another RW, I don't think so. Unless Semin plays the off wing.

Posted by: puckman | February 15, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

While I agree the general overall play of the PP last night was a positive from last night, I do think there were a few more.

I really liked how Ovie was skating and playing last night. He was moving very well and creating a lot of plays, especially on the PP. That is about as fast as he has looked all year.

I also thought the backchecking by the forwards was very good. Knuble had a few great backchecks on Pyatt, Ovie had that one, MJ had a few, and all others seemed to be backchecking well.

I thought the D zone coverage was pretty good too, with all the forwards coming back into the zone to help get the puck out.

@puckman

Please don't bother bringing up Zherdev, we don't want to unleash the hounds from this board on that one.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 15, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Kind of agree people really are ripping into every part of The Caps. I am mellowing in my old age. Not that old.

Posted by: pkme | February 15, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

icehammer97, we practiced before school. Man that sucked.

Good luck getting free agents if they don't coddle the players? Get a few Cups here & you'll get the players. Do you think Bill Belichick has problems getting players because he is a hard coach?

Posted by: chriscaps | February 15, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

@jwash4472: Hiding behind the old adage that "no one reads this" doesn't make the comments less insulting to the organization that you're rooting for, I'm assuming. But if it makes you feel better when you post, more power to you.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 15, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

1- Trade Semin, he's a head case
2- Take the C away from Ov, let him spend his time and energy on self-discipline
3- Eliminate the term "optional practice'. Coaches call for practice, players show up, period, stop.

Posted by: bluejeener1 | February 15, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

@LCCF -Are you saying I'm hiding? No hiding here. I have nothing to hide from.

Never did, never will. What else you got?

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 15, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The Pat & Pocker Face have the best analysis of all. Whether it is because BB is only an offensive coach or because teams tune out coaches after a while, the team is not responding to either the coach or the system. I think there is some truth in both positions. I do believe that BB's heart is in an offensive, risk-taking style. Additionally, time and repetitiveness have worn out the spark of a coach change.

Bottom line: neither the team nor the coach seem to enjoy or trust the new system. Their heart isn't in it. They don't believe in it. They haven't taken ownership. They seem uncomfortable and lost in it.

Either BB should go back to what he did but reinvent it, improve it--take it to the next level--so he re-ignites players or, better, anothe coach comes in who knows how to build on what BB achieved and move it forward. Everything else (power play, player attitude etc.) are symptoms rather than causes.

Posted by: caraveli | February 15, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

2) Fire Coach Bruce Boudreau if it gets much worse. saltine182: "This road trip will define the season. If they falter here, they need to bring in a new voice who commands respect, has been through the fire before, and has an offensive background."

last year they needed a defensive coach because BB only cared about fast break goal scoring hockey and no D. now they need to fire him because he has them in a different system to play more D and less fast break ..the Caps do lead the NHL in 1 thing...stupid fans..

Posted by: heathdog1119 | February 15, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

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