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McPhee, Boudreau Have Some Thinking to Do

After the Capitals' highly successful regular season and disappointing finish in the playoffs, General Manager George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau will need to sit down and figure out what -- or who, rather -- the team needs to go further in 2010.

In his story for tomorrow's paper, Tarik takes a look at four key issues McPhee and Boudreau will no doubt have to consider: goaltending (or really, who will be the backup), defense (clearing the puck, getting physical), net presence (screening the goalie, creating havoc in the crease) and roster turnover (as in, don't expect a quiet free agency).

Click here to read the story.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 14, 2009; 5:38 PM ET
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Next: Video: How Will the Caps Recover?


Re last post with lists of D to have for next year:

I see most of you all don't have Pothier on your lists... curious about the reasoning on that. Thought he came back and played well...

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

My reasoning is that I forgot about him. Sorry Pots.

Can we trade for Chara? He only makes like $7MM.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Ouch, forgot about him. That's not a good sign. Have liked him so far, but I can't tell if I'm just too emotionally attached to these guys to see who could go.

I'd totally take Chara altho I would feel like a huge hypocrite since I have so enjoyed making fun of him to my Bruins fans. Not even making fun of his skill but more because I decided once (after beers) that he is like Frankenstein and it has stuck.

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

spot on, Tarik. We're in agreement.
One more assessment: the penchant for drafting tall/avg sized forwards rather than large physical specimens. Look at Franzen for example and compare to Bouchard, go on down the list. Size and skill matter, IMO. Is Osala kozlov-esque? Or Franzenesque?

Posted by: oo7 | May 14, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

mrszilla, I don't think he meant "forgot about him" in a bad way. Pothier has been out for a while and when he came back, played with quiet efficiency. Its probably more of an "overlook" than "forgot".

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 14, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

dang...I keep daydreaming all day today what if Carolina hadn't scored 2 goals on Brodeur in the last 2 minutes of their game 7th...

what if...what if...what if...

Posted by: Andoy | May 14, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse


Yea I was kidding. Sort of.

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

mrszilla, I was justifying it to myself too. I tend to forget about him as well and I feel bad about it.

FYI, our Stingrays are up 3 games to 0 on the Cincinnati Cyclones in their conference finals. Winner of this series play either Alaska or Las Vegas for the Kelly Cup.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 14, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

could we just get boston to win today and have them beat the pens in 4 games straight. I thing then I will be able over to get over this crappy mood and funck that i am in.

Posted by: samb99 | May 14, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

jmu, right on. Still not good but somehow missed him.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 14, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

At first I thought my dream would be for the Pens to get swept in the next round, but wouldn't it be that much harder for them to get to the finals and lose again? I feel pretty evil thinking it but it's the day after, I'm allowing myself to be a little bitter before I move on.

Also, if we lost to a team that got to the finals, that would somehow make me feel better. I think.

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Bears news:
Couple of blog entries here about Q.Laing and Varly

Bears are at home Sat May 16 @ 7:00 and Sun May 17 @ 5:00
Good seats still available for anybody who wants to make the drive up.

Posted by: tess2201 | May 14, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

samb99 & mrszilla,

Samb, I must agree with you. Even before the end of this series, I have enough distaste for the cast of characters on the Pens to root for them to get swept in 4. Although, in reality, I'll settle for Boston winning the series (assuming they beat Carolina tonite.)

Mrs Zilla,

There is consolation to losing to the eventual Conference or SC winner. However, I regard Pitt as the enemy at the moment.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 14, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the side of the Penguins getting pummeled by the Bruins and losing in 4 games. There's no point in even giving the Penguins the satisfaction of knowing we'd give them the benefit of the doubt after what they did to our players.

Let's go Stingrays and Bears!

As a new fan of the Capitals as of October of last year, the scary thought has been playing in my head of seeing former Caps on other teams going head to head with our Capitals. *sigh* I don't have the attachment to Gonchar or Cooke so that meant nothing this series but realizing that it's a possibility that some of our Capitals and maybe even the Bears might end up on another team. Whoa...

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 14, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

One name I haven't heard in all the defenseman FA chatter...

Since Komisarek and his ilk are too expensive ($4 million plus), isn't Paul Mara available for $2.9? He plays a solid physical game, reminds me of a slightly richer man's Erskine and is only 29. Rangers may re-sign him, but he does seem like he might fit the bill for less money than the top guys.

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 14, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

from prior thread:
most people who posted in this blog seem to think it's a defensive issue. i know we have talked about the caps d during the season a lot. however, i think the break downs in the playoffs were offensive issues: not going to the net and not setting up a sustained forecheck (through methods i've posted about elsewhere). those issues require tweaks to the system & drills & you can do that with the core of the caps team in tact.
Posted by: am_jim | May 14, 2009 4:07 PM |

Totally agree.
PUCK POSSESSION was what ultimately won the series.
They got to the puck quicker.
Won the scrums @ both ends.
Cycled better.
Broke into the offensive zonewith speed.
All offensive techniques that our supposed skilled forwards are supposed to be able to do.

But just as we won 50 games playing euro hockey & are getting complaints, the same fools who want the old style grind it out Caps (who are a 5-8th seed or last day playoff praying) will complain it that way too.

U can tell who the newbie nitwit nannies on here are by some of their ideas & demand for change. Frustrating but comical too.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 14, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I know that Pens fans pummelled BB for saying that some of the Caps were injured---said he was making excuses, etc etc, but I'm curious about reporting injuries. Why didn't they report injuries? I mean, Green was obviously hurt and I don't understand why he was kept in the series because he did more harm than good (imho, and I could be wrong.) And, if no one is supposed to cry about injuries, why all the fuss when Gonchar got hurt and all the finger pointing at OV? I watched the hit over and over again, and maybe I'm missing something, but it didn't look intentional.

I agree with mszilla and samb99 too. I want the Blackhawks to take the cup, though.

Okay, on to next year. Keep us posted, T.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 14, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse


I haven't seen anyone post anything about getting rid of the core group or reverting back to a grind it out style. In fact most people, like Tarik wrote only want minor tweaks to the roster.

But to suggest this can all be fixed by running drills and tweaks to the system is selling the probems a bit short.

So do we not need another body to crash the net and dig in the corners? Or a defensemen willing to clear the crease and knock someone on his ass?

If it was a matter of running drills don't you think BB, having seen the defensive deficiencies all year, would have addressed it? I mean, it is possible that some players on the roster are not willing to do the things you and am_jim wrote about.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 14, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

This article said almost word for word what I have posted all day, right down to the exact figure of cap hit ($1.425M/yr) for Nylander's buyout.

Nylander buyout, unless he was injured and it expected to recover, is a no-brainer.

I still think Feds wants to come back so he can play in the Olympics. Give him $2M and tell him he doesn't need to play until Dec 1st. Aucoin is one-way and Bourque will only sign one-way. Someone blogged that Sloan was signed next year at $640K. I have him as UFA. $640K??? What a bargain that would be compared to Jurcina, Schultz or Mo, all of whom are arbitration eligible.

Kozzie? No, he just doesn't have it. Flash, Fehr? Give them a chance, at their salaries. You can always get a Geurin or Kunitz next March 1st.

I'm going to support what JSchon has been pushing since like last summer and say - SIGN KOMISAREK. OK, he didn't get good press in this year's playoffs, but he's got good numbers. He would instantly be with Green our top pairing. Then maybe Green can assume a Paul Coffey role and quit playing so much on PK so that he doesn't get beat to he!! like this year.

Green, Komisarek, Pothier, Poti, Erskine and Sloan. Then you have Carlsson developing in Hershey. Meanwhile, Mo, Jurcina and Schultz, via trade, give you draft choices to use next March 1st.

The forwards are simple. Ovie, Backie, FA Power Forward, Semin, Flash, Feds (3/4 yr), Laich, Steckel, Bradley, Clark, Gordon, Aucoin and Bourque.

I don't think they need to change the system. The right mix of players will play just like the Pens did to us and next year it's the ECF.

Theo...someone out there might have a similarly overpriced player, maybe that PF we need, maybe he has two years to Theo's one, and you make that trade and then you go with Johnny and Varly, knowing on March 1st you can always troll as required (Huet cost a #2 pick).

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 14, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Yea, just to clarify- I do not want Cindy to touch the cup. Not even his little pinky finger during one of those viewings where fans can go and have their pictures taken with it. But IMO, it would be way more soul crushing to get that close and lose, twice in a row. Would be revenge, it would just take longer to wait for. But I'll happily take a sweep as well.

Don't worry guys, I'm not rooting for the Pens, haven't taken them off my enemies list :)

Posted by: mrszilla | May 14, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | May 14, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

OK, the pain has been surpressed. It will never be gone, like the pain of O's losing to Mets and Seaver in 1969 and the Colts losing to Namath and Jets - well, do I need to encapsulate my life? - the pain will be there, another scar, a reminder that I am, indeed, a human being.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have loved hockey since watching the Red Wings in the 60s and that won't change. The Caps have my heart, I have passed that to my daughter, we share the games together, and can anyone say that father and child enjoying the sport together transcendes anything that those of us lucky enough to live in a war-free place currently experience. Her in her Green and me in my Ovechkin; a grown man acting child-like in his love for sport; remembering perhaps when he was a scrawny lad of 60 lbs skating on the Livonia MI ice and trying to play the sport.

I would like to thank the following:

The Caps, for a great season;
My daughter, for being a fine fan and going with me to games and being the best daughter around; My wife, for the pork roast; Nobilo, for their 2007 sauvignon blanc; The Allmain Brothers Band, for "Win, Lose or Draw," (1975), now wailing in the background, Dickie Betts on lead guitar; and for all of you, because you put up with me.

There are worse things in the world than when YOUR TEAM has the best player in that sport. We have Ovechkin. A great player and, it seems, a really decent guy. Really and truly, I would much rather be a Caps fan than a Pens fan. I'll leave it at that.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 14, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Not just a great comment, but perhaps the best final analysis of why we're glad to be Caps fans.

have a great summer, then ROCK THE RED!!!

Posted by: bluejeener1 | May 14, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Poti should not have been playing. We had no business playing a defensemen who had a broken foot. I know everyone is injured this time of year but c'mon. Where do we draw the line? I'd like to see the stats for players who have a broken limb that have won the cup.

Posted by: ejohnsto | May 14, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, you're right on about everything: Goaltending questions, tough defenseman needed, hard-nose forwards needed. The only thing I would add would be that one of the tough forwards also needs to be somewhat of an agitator. The only question I would ask is: If Brashear is gone, who steps up as the team "enforcer"?

As a longtime Caps fan, I would also say for fans not to be satisified with small steps each year (round one loss last year, round two loss this year, BB saying final 4 next year). There were years we had Scott Stevens, Kevin Hatcher, Mike Gartner, Dale Hunter, Dino Ciccarelli, Bobby Carpenter, etc...and back then we thought we were only a year or so away. It never happened. The talent nucleus is here now, add the correct pieces, and make it happen!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 14, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse


You are right the "talent nucleus" is here now. We only need a minor tweak on D. We don't need to change the whole team around. We will do better next season w Varly in the crease. 3ormore, Nylander, and Shultz can go. Brash stays. There is room for him. And there aren't any other enforcers to fill his skates. The current core, including Brash, have great team chemistry and we don't want to ruin that.

Posted by: capsfan01 | May 14, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Could be some changes before next year. I'd buy out Nylander for sure, depening on who's on the market probably not re-sign Kozlov as well. The guy has a lot of potential but only seems to play well about half the time if that. Wouldn't keep Shultz. I'd keep Theodore for the final year of his contract. I still don't trust that Varlamov has the stamina for a starting position yet and it might be safer not to put him under that much pressure. Look how that line of thinking turned out for Montreal with Price. A few bad games and he lost his confidence but they don't have anyone else to turn to. Johnson's a good backup and played well this year but the injury is still a concern even after surgery. I'd put a power forward with some speed in Kozlov's place on the 1st line and they will need to pickup a good 2nd line centre from somewhere. Maybe Salo and Beauchemin. Bouwmeester's going to cost too much.

Posted by: Stu_c | May 15, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals need a presence on the backline like a Chris Chelios or Chris Pronger, a physical player who is feared around the league and whose performances are consistent game in and game out.

There are also leadership issues up front.

Chris Clark may wear the 'C' but he is not the on-ice leader of this team.

I don't think Ovechkin should be the captain, but I think the Capitals need to acquire a second veteran (after the blueliner) with size and skating ability who does have that leadership quality the team needs.

Too many times this season and in the playoffs when Mike Green turned over the puck in his own end or Alexander Semin committed a costly penalty with the outcome of the game in doubt, there was TOO LITTLE internal heat.

Somebody needs to get in these players' grilles and tell them they aren't playing winning hockey and must eliminate these sloppy errors.

Right now, these guys make the same mistakes game after game and there seems to be no pressure on them to CHANGE.

A physical leader will FORCE these guys to focus and get their game faces on.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 15, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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