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Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Line change: Time for a move?

By Washington Post sports editors

Tuesday night's shootout loss seemed to hit many of the same frustrating notes that Capitals fans experienced in the first half of the season. John Feinstein attended last night's game and suggests that perhaps it's time for the Capitals to consider making a significant move before the trade deadline.

Some readers of this blog expressed similar sentiments.

MattBradley10 wrote this morning that, "We have just a few untouchables (not including any minor league players) and everyone else should be used as trade bait. ... Untouchables are Ovie, Backstrom (tough season, but I would never trade him), Carlson, Alzner, Varly, and MJ90. I still think Green is almost untouchable, but for the right deal I would move him.

And ThePat went one step further, saying, "I agree with your points. Except I dont think Varly is untouchable. I'd be willing to move any of the 3 goalies.(management probably thinks he is untouchable though)."

Meantime, over on the Box Seats blog, Ryan Cooper doesn't think the Capitals' needs can be addressed through trades and thus doesn't expect any significant moves before the deadline.

So that's today's two-part question: Is it time to part ways with a "core" player in the interest of giving the locker room a jolt? And if so, whom would you be willing to part with?

By Washington Post sports editors  | February 2, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
 
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Comments

I would trade Tyler Sloan for Shea Weber.

Posted by: cplcespod | February 2, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Is it time to part with Bruce Boudreau" is the better question. Whatever the move, we can agree this team of underachievers does need a "jolt"

Posted by: dml1077 | February 2, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely. Trade just about anyone. I'm sure a lot of folks will disagree, but this is a pretty mediocre hockey team right now. They're basically a .500 team when you count OTL. Better to be at the top of their game in April rather than now, but I haven't seen a lot this year to be hopeful about. I'm a STH holder and a big supporter either way, but this team is just average. The only real positive is that the penalty killing has been just super.

Posted by: jhamond1 | February 2, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There are very few untouchables on this team for me beyond 8 and 19. I'm convinced they are simply slumping this year and will turn it around. If this continues to this time next year, they could be very Touchable.

I also wouldn't want to trade 90 or 26 right now either, but might if the price was right. Beyond that I would consider all reasonable offers.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As Feinstein noted GMGM was pissed after the game. No surprise. He has the right to be pissed at players and coaches. But he should also be upset with himself for thinking this group can win.

Either way something major has to happen and happen soon. If we do not make a trade within the next 10 days we will finish the regular season in the 8th or 9th slot. It will depend on how bad Atlanta collapses. Carolina will make the playoffs.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm with dml1077. Two biggest assets are:

1) Trade Semin. His contract next year arguably makes him more valuable. But the question is has the team been so bad because Semin has been out? We need centers (Spezza? (that's a LOTTA contract) Brad Richards? he's probably not moving) in the modern NHL with Ovie as the wing

2) Trade Neuvy (or another goalie). Holtby is close but do you get a Brodeur or Vokoun for a run this year? Personally, I think Varly has been great and wouldn't look for a goalie, but who's the blockbuster out there?


The real question seems to be Has Boudreau run his course? This system change isn't working well enough and the identity of this team is gone. I wouldn't be afraid of playing the Caps if I were another team right now.

BB's a player's coach and great for instilling confidence in the young kids but he seems at a loss for how to get the offense to pinch at the right time or fix the power play...

It's getting awfully late to replace a head coach though (Laviolette came to Philly in early December last year). Partially depends on who is out there? But hope Caps don't regret not replacing BB at the all-star break.

It's ugly right now. 5th place isn't gonna cut it this year...

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | February 2, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I pretty much agree with MattBradley's assessment; I'd add only Kuznetzov and perhaps Orlov to that list. The problem with moving Green is I highly doubt he'd bring back what we - or more importantly, GMGM - think he would. And BB would have a conniption if you moved his boy.

However, I'd move Holtby in a second - he has slow feet, and that is a killer at the NHL level [ie., the last shootout comp vs the Rangers - it's one thing to get faked out of your jock by one guy, but all three?! Yikes.].

Slow feet are a tough trait for any hockey player; for a goalie in today's uber-deep NHL, they're fatal.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

dml1077 stated it best - "Is it time to part with Bruce Boudreau" is the better question.

I said this a week before Christmas here. BB is a good coach but this team does not respond to him for "multiple" reasons. Most of them mentioned here.

It's not too late to bring a new voice in. In fact, it is was is best action to take with this roster.

In 2000, New Jersey changed coaches in "9 games" before the post season by firing Ftorek and installing Robinson. The Devils went on to win the Cup!

On 15 FEB 07, Pittsburgh fired Therrien and
promoted Bylsma. The Penguins went on to win the Cup!

Posted by: puckman | February 2, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

RE: above date for Pittsburgh coach change - 15 FEB 09.

Posted by: puckman | February 2, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll go back to the 24/7 series. I watched with several mild hockey fans. They were impressed with Bylsma and how he led his team. Articulate, passionate, knowledgeable.

BB comes off as an oaf. Curses because he can't get the words out, says little of substance and can't motivate.

Nice guy, players like him, but he's a one trick pony.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 2, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

BB needs to go. Getting a new goalie would be a total waste. A brick wall can't win with 0 goals per game. Team needs a center that can create space and another LH shooter to put on the PP.

Posted by: chatton | February 2, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

There aren't any so called "major" moves that can be made to turn this team around. If this team was close to winning I would say go for it. But this team isn't close. They have a bigger problem then who is skating on whatever line at any given time. It is the coaching! This team needs a coach who will kick them in the ass EVERY DAY!!! BB is soft! Except for his mouth!

FIRE BB and bring in a head knocker!!!

Posted by: ekbinion68 | February 2, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps don't win the Southeast, which it appears they won't, it would be best for them to finish 6th or 7th and avoid the Pens and Philly in the 1st round.

I know, I know, everyone says they can't beat anyone, but I would like the Caps chances much better against Tampa or Boston than Pittsburgh or Philly.

After reading the story about GMGM storming out of the locker room about something, it wouldn't surprise me to see a trade of an unexpected player to shake things up.

My guess would be Brooks Laich. If Laich got traded, that wouldn resonate throughout the locker room that basically anyone could get dealt.

I say trade Laich, BGordon(if they would want him) and some prospects/picks back to Ottawa for Fisher and Chris Phillips.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

All we need to do is figure out the PP and we will be fine. If we can get one more goal a game on the PP, we will start winning these low scoring boring games.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | February 2, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Fire GMGM and bring back Poile, as I stated earlier the expansion team has had basically the same record as the Caps.

Poile has never worked for an owner with deep pocket, he will have this team playing in the Cup Finals next year.

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"I say trade Laich, BGordon(if they would want him) and some prospects/picks back to Ottawa for Fisher and Chris Phillips."

Throw in Schulz as part of this trade.

Laich, Schulz, and some prospects/picks for Fisher and Chris Phillips.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I value the opinions of the bloggers more than John Feinstein, the guy has shown he writes on hearsay while passing them as facts. I doubt he is ever met with the Caps organization or attended as many games as some of you have.

I like BB and the players seem to like him, but I think the coaching staff needs to be re-evaluated, although, I think defense and goalies are solid.

Posted by: hock1 | February 2, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Vokoun maybe, but in any case please not Brodeur, he's definitely lost a step [if not more]. He got exposed by Team USA in the Olympics, and hasn't been the same goalie ever since. [I also always felt he was maybe a little "O*"; having guys like Scott Stevens in front of him, plus responsible forwards who backcheck like madmen tends to make a goalie look pretty good].

But I agree with the larger point, goalie's not the problem; Neuvy was terrific to start the year and Varly's been lights-out the last month or so [and has already shown flashes of being a great playoff goalie].

The bigger problem is, we're not scoring goals - and the PP's the single biggest culprit. MTL showed how to stop our PP, and other teams have studied the blueprint - and we haven't seemed to make adjustments.

*Overrated.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I say trade Laich, BGordon(if they would want him) and some prospects/picks back to Ottawa for Fisher and Chris Phillips.
-------------------------------------------

would probably have to give up one of the goalies in that move...

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Wheres Mike Keenan when you need a coach to light a fire under underaicheiving _ _ _? He would be bad long term with this group of players but he would change the effort level quick.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | February 2, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Okay my biggest question is who is responsible for this change in playing philosophy?

Why was it implemented after or during the 8 game losing streak.

Looking at the Skins (Futbol) expample, they changes schemes sort of off season, then had training camp. Due to time, and players who can play scheme they still had a hard time changing over.

What made GM, and coach think that one could make this big of a change in mid season.

Before you say well it was implemented durng offseason, i would say not, team had no problem scoring in October and December.

But I agree, right now this team does not scare me let alone it would HABS, PENS or Flyers.

Pains me to say this, we keep saying pace for playoffs, but right now we are playing sound D, taking teams into OT or SO, but can not win these close games, what good is a sound D, if no timely wins?

Always loved the caps, and always will, but what a disspaointing season so far.

thanks

Posted by: hunter321 | February 2, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Fire GMGM and bring back Poile, as I stated earlier the expansion team has had basically the same record as the Caps.

Poile has never worked for an owner with deep pocket, he will have this team playing in the Cup Finals next year.

Posted by: joek443

In fairness, since the 2001-2002 season the Pens have averaged 82.12 points per season. A worse average than the Caps and Preds.

I don't think it means that much when incorporating a teams record during a long rebuild process.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

would probably have to give up one of the goalies in that move...
--------------

Holtby, for the reasons I stated above. And OTT might go for it, that GM's in hot water and they love 'em some Holtby up in CAN, would buy him some much-needed good PR.

I'd see what Kovalev would cost - he could run the 2nd PP [we need one that's a threat to do something], and I'd imagine would be pretty motivated if he came here. And he takes great care of himself.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

From what I've seen in spurts this season, the players have the capability to play with anyone. Because of the inconsistencies, I would blame motivation and that's on Bruce. I like Bruce and I think he did a lot when he first came to Washington, but he is now predictable from a player's point of view and he is not forcing accountablity (sit shifts and/or games). I hate to see him go, but the results certainly suggest that as the correct course of action.

Posted by: Blueline | February 2, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I say trade the fans.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 2, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

For all of you who actually remember watching him play (such as myself), they need Dino Ciccarelli part 2.

I kept hoping he'd suit up last night and join them on the ice. Dino was a "cherry picker" who excelled on the PP and wasn't afraid to go in front of the net and take a hit. He was big also in the back of limos but that's another story.

I see 2 1/2 Caps willing to do that: Ovie, Knubs, and Chimera.

The only way you move a goalie is to get a better one in return. I would say all three are not untouchable. Varly still gives up easy goals as he did on the first goal last night. The second one was a sloppy pass on a line change and not his fault. It seems the Caps turn the puck over at the worst possible times anymore and the other team turns it into points.

IMHO, the Caps are soft. They can make a move or 5 like they did last year but I think it's going to take an off-season to fix things including a new coach.

Juggling the lines EVERY night does nothing for me. It's February, not October. I think BB would know by now who can play and who can't.

I would still trade for another defenseman if a good one was made available but I have a feeling GMGM won't do that.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | February 2, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it means that much when incorporating a teams record during a long rebuild process.
-------------------------------

Really, did the Caps just come into this league?

Who put this team in such a position that they had to rebuild like an expansion team? You may give him a pass on that but I'm certainly NOT going to.

The Preds were a REAL expansion team, the Caps just played like one.

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

If BB's team doesn't improve its playoff performance this year, he definitely needs to go. Making a coaching change now would be tantamount to giving up on the season. The players charged with scoring need to put in the extra effort and motivate themselves. The ones who won't or can't need to go.

Posted by: papple | February 2, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The goalies that are not gialie coach Arturs Irbe's favorite are trade bait - the Caps do not need that many guys that all need to play #1 minutes...thats a luxury and every season other guys are available to be picked up if a team needs depth.

Other teams make decisions - like today TB waived Mike Smith - a move that was made possible because they acquired Dwayne Roloson.

Boston cant keep two number ones happy forever.

Plus usually teams want a young guy with a veteran as a backup....the Caps have no veteran - but in the future the ideal is a good young goalie to grow old with (Varly perhaps) - a prospect goalie to have in case (Holtby for now) and that leaves Neuvirth the extra - and I actually like Neuvirth alot but who does the goalie coach like the best and think is most teachable to develop?

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 2, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'd see what Kovalev would cost - he could run the 2nd PP [we need one that's a threat to do something], and I'd imagine would be pretty motivated if he came here. And he takes great care of himself.

Posted by: Timbo_1

Ottawa will give away Kovalev for anything. He will cost a low round draft pick.

The big negative of him is the size of his deal. Adding that would not allow the Caps to make any other moves unless the Caps moved salary.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@rmcazz

As crazy as it sounds and people will probably screem at me for saying this, the closest thing we have to a Dino type player is a guy that has been called up but never gets fair minutes. Now he's not even close to Dino in terms of toughness and tenacity, but Andrew Gordon is the one young player that will sit down there within 5 feet of the goal and get the dirty ones. Problem was he got 3rd and 4th line minutes when he was up here so most people dont think he's capable. He will take the punishment, but he wont really give any punishment. And he puts the puck in the net when given time. The problem is I think he will move on and be doing it for a different organization next year.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Really, did the Caps just come into this league?

Who put this team in such a position that they had to rebuild like an expansion team? You may give him a pass on that but I'm certainly NOT going to.

The Preds were a REAL expansion team, the Caps just played like one.

Posted by: joek443

Then where do you stand on the Pens only averaging 82.12 points per season during that time. That is worse than the other two.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"All we need to do is figure out the PP and we will be fine. If we can get one more goal a game on the PP, we will start winning these low scoring boring games."

---

We were playing BB's pattented style of "exiting" pond hockey last night. How did that work out for you? Were you excited? Were you Entertained? (ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?! lol, sorry)

We had a two goal lead and frittered it away will silly, sloppy, "exciting" play and terrible D positioning that led to turnovers and breakaways. Were you entertained?

I don't know. Watching two whole periods of the Keystone cops on ice sliding all over the place just waiting for the next horrible turnover to set up a goal wasn't super "exciting" to me. Less so after dropping a 2-0 lead.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Is Hadeed too late for the party????? The social event of the year????? Maybe BB should spend less time worrying about the size of cup holders and making commercials and spend more time in the film room studying the opposition

Posted by: dfort2004 | February 2, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I think a western conference team would give up a playoff goal scorer for Mike Knuble.

Posted by: robbie1299 | February 2, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

the Pens were bad during that time bc the team faced bankruptcy issues and was spending no money on players. That is on the ownership. Their talent level was so bad. Then they got the new ownership and things turned around. At least thats my view on it.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

- Keep Semin(Caps are 12-0 when he scores, a healthy Semin = victories)
- Remove BB
- Retire Sloan
- Trade for a legit 2C (no Ovie, Backs, Semin, Majo, Varly, Green, Kuzzy, or Eakin allowed to be moved)
- MP, Gordo x2, Holtby, Laich, Steckle, etc can all be swapped out for what we need.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 2, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I would not bring in Poile. Every other trade he makes is terrible. Let's not forget what he got for Dino and what he gave up for Forsberg. Poile basically helped rebuild the Flyers. And thanks to him we have Varly (pick from Witt deal).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 2, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"Who put this team in such a position that they had to rebuild like an expansion team? You may give him a pass on that but I'm certainly NOT going to."

I would say Poile had a lot to do with it with his horrible draft record and the few, if any, good young player the Caps had.

If they wanted to fire GMGM for putting the Caps in the need to rebuild then that would've been fine, but you do that in 2003. If you are going to let him rebuild and go through the process, there is no point being critical of the poor records during the rebuilding years. Those were to be expected as that was the path the Caps chose to take.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

the Pens were bad during that time bc the team faced bankruptcy issues and was spending no money on players. That is on the ownership. Their talent level was so bad. Then they got the new ownership and things turned around. At least thats my view on it.

Posted by: ThePat

I agree with all of that. I wasn't trying to be critical of the Pens.

The Caps were dealing with serious money problems also as they were not generating much revenue and the games were half full to 3/4 full for many of those years.

The Caps were forced to cut salary severly, as were the Pens and they both went to rebuild mode.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

General Manager George McPhee stormed out of the locker room soon after the game furious about something, certainly not happy with the outcome
----------------------

perfect. You're gonna see McPhee's true colors now. He's feeling the heat. His plan has imploded in his face. And the quiet self-assuredness will disintegrate into fingerpointing and histrionics.


The players I would consider untouchable for a variety of reasons are--

Hendricks
Carlson
Alzner
Green
Maybe Ersk
Ovechkin
Backstrom
MaJo


That's it. Everyone else including the guys who've never played in the nhl yet should be made available.

The reason I included Hendricks and possibly Erskine is that you wouldn't get back fair value. They're worth more to us than other teams and we get all we can out of them anyway at a fair price. The other guys are very good players who just need a different coach/system/attitude. No sense in dumping them.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

When Poile traded Dino it was not by choice. Pollin said get those players involed in the limo situation out of here even if its for nothing. Other GM's knew that so Poile was screwed. He has done wonders for a small market team, and Trotz is an awesome coach. They do a lot with the little they are able to spend from ownership.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The core players aren't getting the job done. It is time to part with one of them if they need to. The work ethic is not there, and our "captain" is a prime example. A captain shouldn't be taking a maintenance day from practice after having a rough game.

Posted by: GoCaps08 | February 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

In my post which is quoted up top, when I said "untouchables" I was only referring to those on the Caps roster right now, and not those in Hershey or elsewhere, as I know there are several great prospects that should not be traded...

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"Our free agent signing was Backstrom."

Ted - That's not gonna cut it.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 2, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I would not bring in Poile. Every other trade he makes is terrible. Let's not forget what he got for Dino and what he gave up for Forsberg. Poile basically helped rebuild the Flyers. And thanks to him we have Varly (pick from Witt deal).
-------------------------------

You can blame the owners that he has had to work for for all those bad deals. Do you really think trading Dino for Kevin Miller was his idea? What happened to all those players implicated in the limo incident??

When you work for cheap owners, you gotta make some risky deals to make everything work because you can't keep the players you wanna keep.

The bottom line is Poile has done a lot better job with the Caps and the Preds than GMGM has done with his team.

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton

Great list. I agree.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | February 2, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'd go with Pierre Lacroix. If he's available. He knows how to build a balanced team of skill and aggression. None of his Avs teams ever got pushed around. They always had a plethora of toughness sprinkled across every line and every defensive combo.

He also knows how to pick coaches. He won the Cup with 2 different ones.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Great, it is already silly season and now the (Com)Post has to fan the flames...

Posted by: CapsNut | February 2, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The players I would consider untouchable for a variety of reasons are--

Hendricks
Carlson
Alzner
Green
Maybe Ersk
Ovechkin
Backstrom
MaJo

Posted by: cstanton1

I actually agree with your list. Erskine or Hendricks are not untouchable(sorry vermontcaps) but, like you said, they wouldn't get back a fair value return so there would be no point in dealing either of them.

While I wouldn't call him untouchable, I wouldn't trade Varly unless the return was huge. I know he has injury problems, but when he is healthy he is a top notch goalie.

He is the type of goalie who could steal a series for the Caps and he does seem to play well in high pressure situations too(he has done well in the playoffs and looked very composed in the winter classic).

How about that, the Caps could advance because of a "hot goalie" instead of being beaten by one.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the ATL game last week b/c my cable was out during the storm, but the Rangers game and last night's game are perfect examples of the difference btw this year and last year.

I am all for a solid defense, but this team now thinks a 1 or 2 goal lead is enough so they basically shut down their offense. 1-2 goals in the NHL is NEVER enough.

Last year we win the Rangers game last week and last night's game 4-1 or something like that. We would have kept attacking and scored 2-3 more goals instead of sitting back like we have.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 2, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I would say Poile had a lot to do with it with his horrible draft record and the few, if any, good young player the Caps had.
---------------------------------------

Do you really think Uncle Abe let Poile spend a lot of money on scouting?

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

No to Poile.

But in fairness, he pulled off way better more significant deals for players than McPhee ever could. Mark Tinordi, Chris Simon, Dale Hunter, Dino Ciccarelli, Geoff Courtnall (I can't remember if he traded for Courts or signed him as a FA and fought with the Rangers over that deal).

But McPhee doesn't go looking for players like that. Players who get significant ice time and provide toughness and leadership.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else fed up with the song and dance about "we need to play 60 minutes." Or the old: "We need to play our game." Of course to the "Young Guns" that means step on the ice and you win. They have been reading their press clippings for two years and even though Montreal exposed them last spring, they have the same mentality - they can score when they need to. Well they can't now that the league has the "System" figured out and yet they still have the same mentality. They lack the characther to work at their craft and work every shift. It is a shame that they exposed themselves on a night when Dino was there being honored for his work ethic not his talent. No one is going to get rid of Ovie and Backie or even Greenie, just ask Matt Bradley. So the only guys working are those who don't have the talent to score but rather put out every shift. I guess it spells the end of BB as it should because he lacks the coourage to change or impose any discippline upon his boys, or even to bench Ovie or at least not let him shoot in shootouts. He has gone from 33% to 30 % last night and lower after that terrible effort last night. Let Erskine or Bradley take the shots at least they work. Then I will consider giving up my seats and staying at home to watch them play poorly on TV for free and save my money.They haven't been "the hardest working team in hockey" for many years.

Posted by: OldCapCenter | February 2, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Yea, this is negative points for Ovie.

When your scoring 60 goals a season - "Maintenance" days are ok

On pace for 30? - Maintenance days are def not ok.

Varly? - How did Martin Broduer feel when he started 70 games in a season year in and year out??

This team needs a new coach!

Posted by: Nats1924 | February 2, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

if i discussed goalies I woulda remembered to add Varly. But yes, he should be on that list as well.

--------------------
"Our free agent signing was Backstrom."

Ted - That's not gonna cut it.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts
--------------------

tee hee!

i just wanna know..is that defense complete or whut!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The reason I included Hendricks and possibly Erskine is that you wouldn't get back fair value. They're worth more to us than other teams and we get all we can out of them anyway at a fair price.
--------------

Using the same logic - albeit towards the other direction - I'd entertain offers for Schultz, Holtby, Laich, Fehr, Knuble and Steckel. With people like Maguire referring to #55 as "they call him 'The Big Nasty'" combined with his inflated stats from last year, I just don't see how his value will ever be higher than it is now. Every team needs a faceoff guy, Knuble's best days are unfortunately behind him, and it doesn't look like Fehr will ever put up #'s close to what he did in jrs [and if he's not scoring, his value drops sharply].

Our 3rd & 4th lines are not only not a threat to score, they don't forecheck tenaciously and make the other team's defenders expend much energy breaking the puck out.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I posted this in the Ovechkin hit on Subban segment.

Its great that Ovy can throw a hipcheck like that. But this year more than any other year, the few times he does hit its been out of retaliation or frustration. And that's not an effective way to play the game. It basically means, he's only going to be hitting when other teams deliver a stiff check to him. He needs to utilze that as his regular game.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@ fatdime

you are correct! I should know who you are because I remember that screen name. Help a brother out...

Posted by: sca187 | February 2, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

The problem, to me, wasn't surrendering the lead, it was that the Caps seem content with ANY lead and tend to sit on it. It seemed that they had numerous opportunities to increase the lead but didn't seem to really care. I have noticed that about this team for a number of years - absolutely 0 killer instinct. New leadership is required.

Posted by: Pius5 | February 2, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Our 3rd & 4th lines are not only not a threat to score, they don't forecheck tenaciously and make the other team's defenders expend much energy breaking the puck out.


Posted by: Timbo_1


another valid point that can't be overstated.

Its one thing to sacrifice scoring from your checking lines. But when 2/3 of your bottom 6 forwards don't play an all-out in your face form of hockey, you're further castrating your own team's potential. Or should I say, "impotential"

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I say trade the fans.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan
----------------

Management would have a fit if you did that, you couldn't buy better fans from a GM's point of view.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

The real question isn't who is "touchable" or untouchable, but what do the Capitals need? Is this a slump that they'll break out of, or is changed needed? Let's look at the facts. First, the Caps players are failing to follow the instructions of the coaches, and even to follow their own admonitions from locker room interviews. Second, the system change has had some good but just as many poor consequences. Players are mentally in a fog, or worse, as evidenced by their tentative play and refusal to get "involved" in the other team's goalie crease. Nothing is changing. We also know the team does not respond well to personnel changes -- except at the top. As much as I love Bruce Boudreau, let's face it, the players are now unresponsive to him, as they were to Glen Hanlon. BB's new system has, in fact, made it easier to bring a coach who can help make this team more disciplined and mentally tougher and who has a history of winning (read: Bob Hartley). Second, it's time to admit that putting the C on Ovechkin's jersey was a very big mistake. Put it on Laich's or Knuble's jersey (I opt for the latter), or go without and let someone earn it for next season. But I would not mess with personnel changes other than that right now. Nothing wrong with this team -- below the ears.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | February 2, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Caps games leading up to the trade deadline:

@ TB
vs Pit
vs SJ
vs LA
@Pho
@ Aha
@ SJ
@ Buff
@ Pit
vs NYR
@ NYI

I see a 3-5-3 record over those 11 games. The W's being vs Pit(assuming Crosby is out), @ Pho, @ NYI. Let's just say the schedule isn't easy, even if we were playing very well.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"I am all for a solid defense, but this team now thinks a 1 or 2 goal lead is enough so they basically shut down their offense. 1-2 goals in the NHL is NEVER enough.

Last year we win the Rangers game last week and last night's game 4-1 or something like that. We would have kept attacking and scored 2-3 more goals instead of sitting back like we have."

---

I disagree completely.

The fact that we didn't "shut down" when up 2-0 was the exact reason why we gave up two goals to let MTL back in it.

It can't be stressed enough that the reason Carlson turned the puck over while performing a drop pass at the top of the circle to two trailing forwards *wasn't* because he was hanging back and playing shut-down defense.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I see a 3-5-3 record over those 11 games. The W's being vs Pit(assuming Crosby is out), @ Pho, @ NYI. Let's just say the schedule isn't easy, even if we were playing very well.

Posted by: ThePat

I agree the schedule isn't easy and it will be interesting to see what happens. I'm curious to see how the team plays with Semin back healthy.

(Please don't put out posts saying "look at the Caps record in December with Semin, etc. etc.". I'm only saying that I am curious to see how the team plays now with him coming back, supposedly healthy)

It should make for interesting TV.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Even if we'd won each and evry OT game this season, what does that really mean? Ok, so we're maybe back to leading the SE div.

Does that erase the way we look when we play? I don't think so.

Lets not get hung up on OT losses. There's a bigger fish to fry. McFish.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how anyone can blame GMGM for the way the Caps have been playing. If everyone did their job, this conversation wouldn't have happened.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

First I agree with everything posted so far. BB neds to GO! He has lost this team and it is obvious to everybody but GMGM. Somebody get GMGM some glasses, please!!!

Next, you can't fire all the players and win so fire the coach and bring in a fire-plug of a coach that doesn't give maintenance days off after a loss. A coaching change will get all the players attention very quickly and over the next two weeks before the trade deadline, the new coach can evaluate the players and then trades can be made.

If a coaching change isn't made quickly, this team, regardless of who they trade or bring in by the trade deadline, will NOT, I'll repeat that, will NOT, make the playoffs and do NOT deserve to make the playoffs this year.

When GMGM stood pat this summer, that was the death nell for this team. Especially after the quick exit from last years playoffs.

Last night, I was screaming at the TV to get a third goal and all they did was give up two and then loose in the SO. This team is lousy as they are being coached as evidenced by the 24/7 HBO series and the buffon BB came across as being.

Good luck in making the playoffs. I predict this team won't get 80 points total by seasons end. They stink!!!!

Posted by: JMinVA | February 2, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I say trade the fans.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan

The troll is back.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

It can't be stressed enough that the reason Carlson turned the puck over while performing a drop pass at the top of the circle to two trailing forwards *wasn't* because he was hanging back and playing shut-down defense.

Posted by: VTDuffman

Don't forget about the Erskine pinch in the offensive zone when he pinched in a great way into the zone. That was a horrible decision by Erskine. That was not the coach's fault, it was Erskine's fault as he made a terrible read on the play.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

If we had won those games, Ted and management would be much happier bc they wouldnt have to respond to criticisms. Because as you well know, DC sports fans arent the most knowledgable in the world. They see a W they think everything is perfect, heck 80% of DC still thinks the Redskins can win the Super Bowl after every offseason, and a lot of Wizards fans think Blatche and McGee are good at basketball.

Posted by: ThePat | February 2, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Even if we'd won each and evry OT game this season, what does that really mean? Ok, so we're maybe back to leading the SE div.

Does that erase the way we look when we play? I don't think so.

Lets not get hung up on OT losses. There's a bigger fish to fry. McFish.

Posted by: cstanton1

If the Caps were undefeated in OT play this season they would be 1st in the NHL in points.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know how anyone can blame GMGM for the way the Caps have been playing. If everyone did their job, this conversation wouldn't have happened.

Posted by: j3rockstar

So the guy who goes and constructs a team which consists of folks who don't do their jobs well should be.. off the hook?

Yeah, lets keep him around so he can keep adding the same kinds of pieces back to the mix. That should fix things!

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps were undefeated in OT play this season they would be 1st in the NHL in points.

Posted by: sgm3

i don't know if that's true. Is it? And if so, who cares.
They were first last yr too.

Its HOW they play which is the concern. Not the points they rack up or leave on the ice during a shootout.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@fatdime

Dave Sheron?

Posted by: sca187 | February 2, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think Semin is the ONE that really has to go. He is the SYMBOL of caps problems. A lot of flash and talent, BUT SLOPPY and Irresponsible and NO SUBSTANCE, NO accountability and can't perform with pressure.... AND A CHOKE. I still can hear the TING of the post he hit in last year's game 7 against MON. He hit the post with a wide open net. If he scores, I have NO DOUBT we win that game. When he hit that post, I knew we were in trouble and he was a choke. I just felt like, get rid of this guy who can't perform when it matters, and bring in some SUBSTANCE...

I am not a hockey guru, But one o my favorite player is Kristich. that is how far back i watched caps hockey. To me, For some GOSH knows what reason, the puck is in our defensive zone a LOT. A LOT. why can't win the board battles and break out. why can't they FREAKIN MAKE A CLEAN CLEAR?

Trade Semin. when you are a choke, u will always be a chokce. he is prolly going to give u the best value if someone is stupid enough to take him.

Play better. clear better. win battles. and freakin quit playin so GOSH DARN SLOPPY.

and i am not sure. but the coach really needs to tell the players that the way they are playing, BB is going to be held accountable soon. if he tells them that, and they don't react, it's time for BB to go.

are they going to continue to wear that jersey from last night? it so reminded me of the caps jersey's in the 80's.... Gosh i love the caps...

PLEASE PLAY BETTER and CLEAN AND CRISP.

DAm it...

Posted by: doeshin | February 2, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I think Coach BB needs to take his bird calling skills somewhere else. Maybe sending him down to Hershey and bringing up Mark French could be an interesting move.

You had me at hello. You had me at hello!

Come on Caps, start f86kin playin like a f86kin hockey team that wants to win the f68kin stanley f68kin cup. WTF.

For this being our Nations Capital and supposedly the most powerful city in the world, we have got some teams that are mentally soft. Is it because our town is that way as well? Maybe we are not blue collared enough?? I say we take a marine corp approach within our sports teams! Work them 'til they puke!! Make them respect who they are playing for = team, teammates, fans! If a player can't deal with it...see ya. I would rather have a player that works his azz off in the offseason, in practice and during the game, then what we have seen with some of our highly overpaid players who are half azzing it all the time.

Posted by: DCSportsfanatic1 | February 2, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

My only question on the Carlson pass, was if someone [likely MP, who was trailing] called for it, they are also at fault. JC is blind to what's behind him, so you're trusting the trailer to only call for it if he's truly open, which he obviously wasn't. [Full disclosure: I bring this up because a buddy continually calls for the puck - screams actually - on drop passes, regardless of whether he's tightly covered. So you tune him out - lesson learned, the hard way].

Also, I know Gionta's fast, but Steckel didn't even make it close, he's simply gotta do better than that on the backcheck, especially when Gionta has to hold up at the blue line. But great pass by Plekanec, and great finish by him.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

i don't know if that's true. Is it? And if so, who cares.
They were first last yr too.

Its HOW they play which is the concern. Not the points they rack up or leave on the ice during a shootout.

Posted by: cstanton1

I agree about it's how you play also, but I do think it was you who quoted Bill Parcells in saying "you are what your record says you are".

The Caps didn't win those games, so they are what their record says they are.

But if they somehow did win those games, their record would say that they would be 1st in the NHL and they would be what their record would says they were.

They didn't win those game though so the point is moot.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

My only question on the Carlson pass, was if someone [likely MP, who was trailing] called for it, they are also at fault. JC is blind to what's behind him
-----------------------------

According to BB that's what happened.

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

A few things-

You have to expect rookies to play like rookies, even very good ones, not like seasoned vets. There are gonna be hiccups.

A solid portion of the team are in their first or second years, and/or are potentially bubble NHL players.

The team obviously lacks a 2nd line center with credentials. That position needs to be filled by someone who has offensive skill & a physical edge to his game & substantial size, in order to balance the lack there of on line 2. Slight specimens lacking in physical intensity are not what this team needs. They have to compete with Philly, Pittsburgh and Boston in the post, and they aren't even physically equipped enough to take care of Montreal.

Certain players are not performing. Starting with the bottom 6, Steckel brings nothing but faceoffs (if just running into the guy sends players to the infirmary for a month, then he should be more physical and intimidating). Gordon brings some defense, but lacks the physical aspect too, and no O. Chimera takes awful shots from bad angles way too much when he should be feeding the point for one timers or establishing a cycle, on top of the other things he lacks. He's best suited to the 4th line, not the 3rd because most of the time he's killing plays rather than keeping them going, speed or not. Hendricks is a bubble player, even if we like his work ethic. 3rd line center is fielded by rookies whom the team hopes will play 2nd line duty in the future. Thats 1/3 of the team; add Beagle, and there you go.

Up top,Laich is short on skill. He's a 3rd liner and is more suited to that role. Fehr isn't going to get that much better and has no physical upside despite his size. Between those two, and the carousel at center, Washington has no effective 2nd line (Is anyone really surprised that the O is down?)

Ovechkin and Backstrom are in horrible slumps. Ce la vie. Knuble is only effective on the top line. 8 and 19 slumping horribly affects Knuble. No mystery.

Semin gets one more post season shot, unless the Caps miss the post, then he needs to be flipped to bring in whats needed. He's the only one worth anything, unfortunately.

Caps need to trade for a 2nd line center. MJO is a few years away. Perrault only shines sometimes and can't be relied on if you have SC aspirations.

Who's expendable: Knuble, Fehr, Laich, Perrault, Chimera, Gordon, Steckel, Hendricks, Poti, Erskine, Sloan, Schultz, draft picks, undersized AHL talent.

realistically, its going to take a big combo to bring in the right 2nd line center, and he might not be available, whoever he might be. Its not an easy fix. its not an easy trade. Don't hold your breath. These are just lineup changes; the problems persist- the line shuffling is an epidemic, the PP coaching is cause for alarm, the lack of motivation for 60 is gobsmacking. Change the line up all you want but unless you have a wand, don't expect magic.

Posted by: oo7 | February 2, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

My only question on the Carlson pass, was if someone [likely MP, who was trailing] called for it, they are also at fault. JC is blind to what's behind him, so you're trusting the trailer to only call for it if he's truly open, which he obviously wasn't. [Full disclosure: I bring this up because a buddy continually calls for the puck - screams actually - on drop passes, regardless of whether he's tightly covered. So you tune him out - lesson learned, the hard way].

Also, I know Gionta's fast, but Steckel didn't even make it close, he's simply gotta do better than that on the backcheck, especially when Gionta has to hold up at the blue line. But great pass by Plekanec, and great finish by him.

Posted by: Timbo_1

After seeing the replay and hearing that the guys behind called for the puck I really do not think it was as stupid of a play as it first looked.

With how much open space was there for the drop pass(no Habs were very close), that pass should be executed 99% of the time. It wasn't a high risk play.

However, it was just poorly executed. The puck was a little too soft and went directly in between MP and Chimera which led to the confusion.

After reviewing it, I'm not that upset about that decision. It was just poor execution.

The Erskine pinch was a horrible decision, that was a very low percentage play he was attempting to make.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1,
If the Caps had the same goals per game as last season while playing the way they currently are in regards to the goaltending and PK, you would agree that they would be a team to go far in the playoffs, no? GMGM brought these players together and we've seen two sides of them. Score at will, and not being able to buy a goal. When they were putting the puck in the net and beating everyone (before the playoffs) last season, they were an amazing team. Now they are VERY snakebitten and are "horrible". It's pretty much the same guys that GMGM put together. I don't see how he can be blamed when they fail, yet no one says a word about him when the team won the Presidents' Trophy. If you want to point fingers, point them at the players.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

heck 80% of DC still thinks the Redskins can win the Super Bowl after every offseason, and a lot of Wizards fans think Blatche and McGee are good at basketball.
-------------

Hilarious! I do give Caps fans more credit though, most Caps fans I've come across are pretty knowledgeable about hockey. If anything I think the media's maybe a little more savvy overall in places like Minnesota, Boston and Buff [never mind Can obviously] but, being from New England originally I've been very impressed overall [with exceptions, of course!]. Hell, most Bruins fans are only now wising up to Jacobs' act, it only took a generation.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"After reviewing it, I'm not that upset about that decision. It was just poor execution."

---

A D-man never should have been making a drop pass that deep in the zone in the first place, whether it was a bad decision at that point is moot.

The result was 74 being horribly out of position and...well, what you saw.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

...with all due respect.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 2, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Only reasons I can think of that GMGM would storm out of the locker room:
1. Took offense to a reporters question. (This would be impossible as there are no reporters in the area who would ask a tough question, UNLESS a Montreal reporter asked GMGM a probing question).
2. Had words with BB. (This would be interesting).
3. Had words with a player. (Doubtful).
4. Wanted to pick up his Chinese take out and get home for CSI-NY.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | February 2, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@007

Ding! Ding! Ding! Well said.

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

A D-man never should have been making a drop pass that deep in the zone in the first place, whether it was a bad decision at that point is moot.

The result was 74 being horribly out of position and...well, what you saw.

Posted by: VTDuffman

I disagree about using terms like "never". I've seen Doughty, Big Buff, and Kris Letang make similar rushes up the ice before and do very similar things.

It's obviously not something you consistently want to do or plan to do but it only occurred because Carlson intercepted a pass at the blue line and was moving forward with speed. He was able to gain the zone easily when he moved in. He had his 4 teammates behind him when he made the pass, so good support. The game situation made it best for him to gain the zone with his speed.

If that pass connects, Green is able to get on the ice on the change(that alone would've stopped the breakaway) and either MP or Chimera would've got the puck deep or shot it on net. If the shot is on net Carlson was driving in for a rebound, if it wasn't available he turns around and heads back. Green and whoever the other winger was on the ice were back covering if the puck exited the zone quickly.

The problem was that they didn't connect on a very high percentage pass.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree about it's how you play also, but I do think it was you who quoted Bill Parcells in saying "you are what your record says you are".

---sgm--

nope. Not me. I have never said that. But I can understand that comment in its own way. It doesn't really apply to this case. Either way though, I have no idea who posted that here or in what context, but it wasn't me.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 2, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"If that pass connects, Green is able to get on the ice on the change(that alone would've stopped the breakaway) and either MP or Chimera would've got the puck deep or shot it on net."

---

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...

The pass didn't connect, the D-Man was out of position and the game-tying goal was scored.

You can say "never" as much as you want, but like you quoted "you are what your record is," you can't argue with what actually happened. Even if you can excuse that play, the D-Men were playing so far up all night, how many rushes did MTL go on in the counter-attack when 52 was literally *behind* the opposing goal? I lost count.

They were playing BB's terrible pond hockey system and a very good performance by Varly made last night's game a 3-2 OT SO loss instead of a 5-2 complete collapse.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Only reasons I can think of that GMGM would storm out of the locker room:
1. Took offense to a reporters question. (This would be impossible as there are no reporters in the area who would ask a tough question, UNLESS a Montreal reporter asked GMGM a probing question).
2. Had words with BB. (This would be interesting).
3. Had words with a player. (Doubtful).
4. Wanted to pick up his Chinese take out and get home for CSI-NY.

Posted by: kcbrichmond

If I had to guess it would #3, but I would say he had words with "players" instead of just a player.

It is possible he had words with BB about how something was run(maybe he was upset by the D pinching too much), but my guess it was with the players and their effort, or lack thereof.

If he is that upset I would say, barring the Caps lighting things up for the next 3 weeks, some sort of pretty good change will happen(either BB getting fired or a significant Cap getting traded).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

You can say "never" as much as you want, but like you quoted "you are what your record is," you can't argue with what actually happened. Even if you can excuse that play, the D-Men were playing so far up all night, how many rushes did MTL go on in the counter-attack when 52 was literally *behind* the opposing goal? I lost count.

Posted by: VTDuffman

When evaluating a decision a person made you must look at it at the time he made the decision to determine if it was a risky decision or not. Everybody can make a great decision 100% of the time if they can use hindsight.

It would be like a guy buying 10 lottery tickets every day of his life as his "investment". That would be a highly risky and horrible investment choice, but if he wins a $300M lottery 2 years in, that doesn't mean it was a great decision at the time. If you knew he was going to win the $300M then it was an awesome decision. You wouldn't go ahead and start telling other to start doing the same.

Looking back at the result of the play, we wouldn't want Carlson making that pass. But that is only because we know the outcome. At that time Carlson made the pass though, it wasn't a bad decision.

Comparing it to records of teams is not on point. For records you are just evaluating how good a team is at that point in the season. You do not need to look at the mindset of a decision maker at a certain time.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Bruce needs to skate them until they puke. If they don't respond with at least one regulation win this weekend, might be time for a new coach. Coach Hartley had the same problem in Denver.

Might be a first - I actually agree with cstanton. I'll add Neuvy and Varly to his list for the same reasons as Hendrix and Erskine.

Posted by: pch49 | February 2, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The problem was that they didn't connect on a very high percentage pass.
---------------

I wouldn't call a drop pass just inside the opposing blue line high-percentage, much as I love Johnny C. The mitigating factor for me - and most coaches I've ever known - would be if MP [or whomever was with him] called for it; he's blind in that position as to what's behind him, so you only call for it if you're 100% sure you're open.

Too bad, because it was a hell of a play by Carlson to step up and pick off that pass in the first place, great read. He's got a cannon of a shot, I'd like to see him just fire it in that situation, regardless; or take it wide down and drive the net.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"When evaluating a decision a person made you must look at it at the time he made the decision to determine if it was a risky decision or not. Everybody can make a great decision 100% of the time if they can use hindsight."

---

I don't disagree with you.

My point is that whether that particular play was a good choice or not, it doesn't change the fact that the whole team, and especially the D-Men were making horrible choices all night related to positioning and passing. It just didn't result in a goal like 74's choice did.

It also doesn't change the fact that we obviously tried to go back to BB's terrible pond hockey system last night to predictable results.

Posted by: VTDuffman | February 2, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Please, no Bob Hartley. That Avs team was so talented they should've won way more than those two Cups [and Crawford won the 1st], and Hartley had little success post-Avs [or pre-, for that matter] at the NHL level. In general, I'm skeptical of minor league coaches having playoff success at the NHL level, with obvious exceptions.

Hoping against hope that BB proves me wrong on this one.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

GMGM should be made at himself for not making moves in the offseason like Philly, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta to sure up the roster. Atlanta acquired Bgufflien (sp.), Ladd, and Eager for essentially prospects and picks in the Chicago firesale. Bgufflien and Ladd would have added scoring, toughness, and championship experience without exceeding the salary cap. Watching Atlanta play the Caps this season you can see the big difference those players added. Philly added depth to a strong team on the defensive side and had more talent on paper than the Caps.

People who think Green shouldn't be untouchable: who do the Caps have that can move the puck out of their own end or QB the power play? Green has also improved on the defensive end and is by far team's best d-man. Carlsson looked very green last night on both the PP and OT when he passed up open shots (not to mention the drop pass which resulted in the tyin goal). I'm not a huge fan of Green, but the dropoff from him is huge.

Posted by: wizfan89 | February 2, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"I wouldn't call a drop pass just inside the opposing blue line high-percentage, much as I love Johnny C. The mitigating factor for me - and most coaches I've ever known - would be if MP [or whomever was with him] called for it; he's blind in that position as to what's behind him, so you only call for it if you're 100% sure you're open."

I only called that play high percentage because MP and Chimera were wide open. They just both skated by the puck.

The drop passes I hate is when the Caps come in with three guys on a rush, and the player with the puck is higher than the other two as the other two are going to the net and then that player leaves a soft drop pass to an incoming D-man. Those are incredibly high risky because there is only 1 guy possibly back.

Even if MP and Chimera missed, as they did, the Caps would have two guys back if not for the change of the D-man.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 2, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Ah, gotcha. As for this one

"The drop passes I hate is when the Caps come in with three guys on a rush, and the player with the puck is higher than the other two as the other two are going to the net and then that player leaves a soft drop pass to an incoming D-man. Those are incredibly high risky because there is only 1 guy possibly back."

Yeah, that's a bad one alright - two guys going to the net, give 'em the effing puck! [Or just shoot it low and go for the rebound, make the goalie make a save - not into his stomach!].

There are risks you have to take obviously, and not all of 'em will work out. But dumb ones will drive ya crazy!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Alarmists! To say that McPhee has not done his job is simply a stupid comment. This is not directed at anyone inparticular, but give me a break. On opening night, and with a crushing defeat of the Devils, I doubt anybody was saying anything about the roster. A few questions about the 2nd center position maybe, but with Flash still a possibility, Johansson coming along, and Hershey players available, there was a good chance we would be covered. If not, the issue could be addressed by the trade deadline. So, here we are. The offensive production and powerplay is way down. Fault McPhee? Stupid. Fault the players maybe for not playing up to their potential or blame it on a crappy stretch of slumps and bad bounces. Once the puck drops, the responsibility rests on the players and particularly the "leaders". While we might not know what is taking place behind closed doors, it does appear that Ovie could do a better job inspiring his teammates with after-hours work, players only workouts, etc... lead by example. He has "appeared" lazy and the infection has spread. Perhaps blame Coach for not kicking some butts and benching non-performers. I think the coaching staff HAS done a great job correcting some shortcomings of last year - I almost welcome penalties because our PK is so much fun to watch, and the young D is developing into an awesome corp. All 3 goalies show long-term potential as well. There is still plenty of time. The Flyers struggled all last year, barely made the playoffs, and then played for the Cup. Keep the faith. The O and powerplay will get going and maybe "at the right time".

Posted by: gonchpup | February 2, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

In my mind the Caps have made a couple of mistakes in evaluating their own talent.

They overvalue Jeff Schultz and Tom Poti, the latter because at 33 he has been consistently injured and missed time each season in Washington. A more realistic view of these two would perhaps have lead to a different outcome than signing both to contract extensions.

Secondly, the Caps seem to believe that after falling short in the postseason since 2008 that the 'bad karma' of those finishes could be erased simply by playing harder with the current group.

Alexander Semin turns the puck over a lot in the neutral zone and takes lazy penalties in the offensive zone. He has done this for years.

Jeff Schultz is solid positionally but is a mediocre stickman and puck handler and gets in trouble with errant passes and the inability to control pucks and clear the zone on the PK and 5 on 5.

Varlamov and Neuvirth are talented players but neither seems ready to lead this team into the postseason and be on the spot as the #1 netminder full-time.

Finally, you have to look at a guy like Brooks Laich and discern whether he is what he was in 2009 or what he has been in 2010. To me he is an average player that has benefited from playing with better talent that has received most of the attention. His stats during a year when Semin has been in and out of the lineup and Fleischmann has been traded show a player that doesn't create any real scoring chances for himself. I doubt he will ever be a 20 goal scorer again unless he is put forward on the #1 line (which won't happen at RW).

None of the players I have listed are untouchable, in fact you could say they are eminently MOVEABLE if the right deal comes along.

The emergence of Carlson and Alzner on the backline also opens up opportunities to deal other players as both will need to be paid in future years.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 2, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Would Belanger have been a good number two center for the team? Or is he more of a third/fourth line guy? He had two power play goals all by himself at Colorado the game before the break.

Posted by: larryn703 | February 2, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

For this year, we should be able to get a second line center like Arnott for a playoff run. Gives you size (6'3, 220), veteran leadership who's won a Cup, and his contract is up after this year. I wouldn't think it'll take too much to get him. Certainly not a main guy off the roster.

But that's not gonna win the Cup. To me, BB has gotta go...

Posted by: SiberianTiger1 | February 2, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

GMGM built a highly talented team but too soft. If Caps don't go far into playoffs, he must go!

Posted by: jmcale57 | February 2, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@RoyHobbs - looks like a pretty solid analysis to me, overall [I might quibble that Varly's is already top-flight, if he can stay healthy, big if though; and that the pipeline with Kuz, Eakin and Orlov looks loaded]. But how, ie., Schultz went so high in the first, Fehr went over Getzlaf, etc., is beyond me. But - and more to the point - everyone makes mistakes, the real problem is when you won't admit them.

@larryn703 - Belanger really struggled as a 2C; he just wasn't able to create much for either himself or his linemates, that a 2nd center would be expected to generate, facing those better d-men he'd match up against. [See also, Fehr, Eric]. Belanger's a solid NHL 3C, but not a 2, IMHO.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 2, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

FIRE EVERYONE! GMGM...BB....SCREW IT...FIRE THE HOLE TEAM! In all honesty, as long as BB and GMGM manage this team we will never win a Championship. GMGM is a complete Girl when it comes to making moves and BB has NO CLUE what he is doing as a coach. This team will miss the playoffs....period end of story.
Until they get a coach who can coach....trades don't matter.

Posted by: joshu1 | February 2, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Trade the fans."

Trade who you want, but I am untouchable. If the Caps go down, I go down with them.

Posted by: paperboy76 | February 2, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed - Arnott would seemingly be a great addition and for many reasons. He would bring size, experience, grit, etc.... with our luck he would probably dry up or blow aout a knee or something.... ;)

As for Schultz, I still don't know why so many are still down on him. True, he is not skilled beyond belief, but one person earlier noted that he is strong positionally, which he is. One of the best on the team in that regard and therefore deserving of a spot in the lineup. He may not be elite in any category, but steady and predictable.

Carlson's drop pass? No problem with the idea and with two trailors close behind it made perfect sense. MP or the other (was it Chimera) might have called for it. The problem was execution. The pass was a bit soft and the trailors seemed in no real hurry to make anything of it. The Habs outhustled them then and throughout much of the game. No need to blame it on Carlson's decision.

Posted by: gonchpup | February 2, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone on here seriously think the Caps don't have the talent to win it all? I think they do, i see the problem being leadership. I don't think they are buying what BB is selling Maybe one less rug commercial by BB would help him, but as much as i like him - i think they need a change at the top. He's the most expendable, really.

Posted by: gs12 | February 2, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Caps are not an elite team without shedding the extra weight and deciding on some working lines. It's okay that that hasn't happened yet, but it needs to happen in the next 6 weeks and its not going to happen from within.

Trade Michal Neuvirth and Laich for C Travis Zajac of the NJ Devils. Zajac has 3 years remaining in his deal at 3.87 mil/year. He's 6'3, 200, with good faceoff ability, speed, good hands, and offensive upside. He's proven he can make his teammates better, and would fit perfectly between Semin and whoever. He's 25, has recorded 60+ points the last two seasons, and was +33 and +22 in plus/minus the last two seasons. That fits perfectly into Bruce's two-way forward approach. He's a hardworker with a big offensive upside, and someone the Caps could get at least 3 years out of, relatively cheap (as opposed to paying Richards or someone a ridiculous amount to back-up Backstrom.) I would even throw in Bradley, either of the Gordon's, Beagle, or Perreault if they want more. We have too many of those forwards as it is. Devils know Brodeur is running out of time, they could jump at Neuvirth.

Secondly, GMGM needs to make a run at a Goalie. I know the stats are pretty decent for both Neuvy and Varly, but I just don't have the confidence in them yet, game in and game out. The Caps should look into what Florida would take for Tomas Vokoun. They have a good back-up in Scott Clemmensen, and a young guy in the system, and if you've been watching at all, Vokoun is having a pretty damn good year, especially against the Caps. Yeah, we pay him the rest of what he's owed this year, but he's a UFA after the season and THEN maybe it's Varly time. But Florida probably thinks they'll lose Vokoun after the season anyway, they are in last place in the Southeast, and I think they'd be happy to bring in a Beagle/Perrault (or if we are lucky, take Poti off our hands) and a pick or someone in the system rather than lose Vokoun with no compensation in July. There is not a huge gap between Neuvirth and Holtby.

The Caps would be playoff ready, with Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble
Semin-Zajac-Fehr
Chimera-Johannson-Hendricks (x-factor line)
Hendricks, Gordon, Bradley, King, whoever we have left get worked in the rotation.

Defense is set for the year.

Vokoun and Varly compete down the stretch, providing stability and competition, and a back-up plan if Varly's groin acts up. I think Neuvirth and Varlamov are getting too comfortable in their platoon role, I don't see either making a push.

Posted by: caps131313 | February 2, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

1.this team has ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY when u dont change something after a epic choke that they had last year thats what u tell the players that its no big deal. 2 this team is not that talented when matt hendricks can come in off the street and play that says a lot about the lack of talent on your team and farm system.3. i love alexander semin but the time has come to move him he cant stay here for 6.5 million and hes the only real piece you have 4. i cant believe this coaching staff cant find some middle ground between the style they play now and the style they played last year 5.now that leonsis has the team he really wants i think he is content to rack up his 41 "sellouts" a year and pocket the money. 6.CHICAGO WON THE STANLEY CUP so what if they had to move 4 or 5 players they went through the rebuild and took there shot rather than play with themselfs in the corner like we are

Posted by: vjridgely | February 2, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Trade Bruce Boudreau for Peter Laviolette. Or at the very least a coach who's answer to under-performance isn't "I dunno why its happening, but when it stops happening you better hold on to your hat. Hopefully that is soon."

Posted by: rgm34 | February 2, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Fire GMGM and bring back Poile, as I stated earlier the expansion team has had basically the same record as the Caps.

Poile has never worked for an owner with deep pocket, he will have this team playing in the Cup Finals next year.

Posted by: joek443 | February 2, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I have watched the Caps since 1974 and I remember Poile leading us to the same places GMGM has. Decent regular seasons with playoff futility. No thanks bringing him back.

As for Hendricks being untradable. You mean the guy who can't skate and fell over himself allowing the first goal last night?

He is not untradable.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 2, 2011 6:01 PM | Report abuse

No one on the Caps' roster should be untouchable. No one.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 2, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

the big question is whether a trade is worth it. What about - drum roll - trading assets for picks and prospects?? If this team won't go deep this year - and I don't think it can - what we need is not a fill in to get us past the first round at the cost of a good prospect. I'd rather get prospects.

@Cstanton01 - I saw your list. Glad not to see any goalies on it, none untouchable. Putting Hendricks on the list made me chuckle: I don't think GM's around the league are calling GMGM to inquire about Hendricks or Chimera.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | February 2, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Semin for Iginla = Mr. Stanley Goes to Washington

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 2, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Chimera's got to go, he's go the worst hands of any Cap top-six forward since Todd Kreiger
I'd package Chimera and Green and send them to the Blues for Backes and Erik Johnson

Posted by: DMan74 | February 2, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I feel somewhat vindicated, as it was VERY CLEAR that the loss to Montreal was a BB problem and not a player problem....I hate to say it but BB lacks the ingenuity and cerebral-ness to get out of tough spots. The coaches who take their players to the Cup tend to be more cerebral/analytical and calm and less the "atta boy" screamer types. I think Ovie is the most mismanaged talent in the NHL. He is a clown and irresponsible on the ice...if I were BB I would bench Ovie for skating directly into a wall of three players and for the 100th time losing the puck....he does it countless times each game....BB is so is so in love with Ovie and feels so fortunate to have him under his tutelage that he seems incapable of actually coaching the guy. Ridiculous!! Bylsma would not put up with Ovie's antics. Nor should he. All the said, BB is a very solid coach and can take most teams from a below .500 record to an above .500 record, but he will never see a ticker tape parade EVER.

Posted by: gocaps2009 | February 2, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I feel somewhat vindicated, as it was VERY CLEAR that the loss to Montreal was a BB problem and not a player problem....I hate to say it but BB lacks the ingenuity and cerebral-ness to get out of tough spots. The coaches who take their players to the Cup tend to be more cerebral/analytical and calm and less the "atta boy" screamer types. I think Ovie is the most mismanaged talent in the NHL. He is a clown and irresponsible on the ice...if I were BB I would bench Ovie for skating directly into a wall of three players and for the 100th time losing the puck....he does it countless times each game....BB is so is so in love with Ovie and feels so fortunate to have him under his tutelage that he seems incapable of actually coaching the guy. Ridiculous!! Bylsma would not put up with Ovie's antics. Nor should he. All the said, BB is a very solid coach and can take most teams from a below .500 record to an above .500 record, but he will never see a ticker tape parade EVER.

Posted by: gocaps2009 | February 2, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I'll grant that I'm no hockey expert, but I do suspect that BB's days with the Caps are going to end soon. How could they keep him if the Caps hit the wall in the playoffs for a fourth straight year (or worse, fail to qualify)?

Now having thrown BB under the bus (and I will give him credit for the Turnaround and how things were going up until the playoffs last year), the question then is who to replace him with? You don't just fire someone without a plan for what to do next. What has happened now is that the Capitals will be a lot more attractive to potential head coaches when you can point to some of the elite players, the sold-out games, etc. We will be a lot more attractive as a market than before the lockout, when all Ted had to sell was potential. Now there is some solid recent history to back it up. One of those small roster of really good coaches won't mistake Washington for say Toronto or Detroit, but they also won't feel like they are going to the hockey backwaters either.

Posted by: dcunitedfan3 | February 3, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

its funny how people think we can get something for nothing (or very little). Two simple facts: One, we are unlikely to pull off a deal with anyone in playofff position in the East. Neither GM is going to give a potential playoff opponent an advantage. Two, our biggest need, an upgrade at center, is not likely to happen through trade becuase there arent any decent upgrades out that have a surplus of quality centers. No one in playoff contention is going to short themselves at that position unless they also have a glaring defecit on defense, which none do. The teams not in playoff contention don't have any centers that would help us.

The best we could hope for is an upgrade at left wing on the second line. Having a scorer on both sides of MJ90 may help him develop into a quality second line center by the time the playoffs get here, but that is no garauntee.

Posted by: akmzrazor | February 3, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

its funny how people think we can get something for nothing (or very little). Two simple facts: One, we are unlikely to pull off a deal with anyone in playofff position in the East. Neither GM is going to give a potential playoff opponent an advantage. Two, our biggest need, an upgrade at center, is not likely to happen through trade becuase there arent any decent upgrades out there as no teams in playoff contention have a surplus of quality centers. No one in playoff contention is going to short themselves at that position unless they also have a glaring defecit on defense, which none do. The teams not in playoff contention don't have any centers that would help us. The market is nearly dry in that regard.

The best we could hope for is an upgrade at left wing on the second line (with Semin playing RW). Having a scorer on both sides of MJ90 may help him develop into a quality second line center by the time the playoffs get here, but that is no garauntee.

Posted by: akmzrazor | February 3, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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