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Posted at 12:40 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Line change: Was Boudreau's criticism of Neuvirth unfair?

By Washington Post Sports Editors

Coach Bruce Boudreau didn't blame Michal Neuvirth for the Capitals' 2-0 loss to the Sharks last night, but several readers seem to think he may have thrown the young goalie under the bus a little bit.

Neuvirth said he "felt pretty good the whole game," stopping 34 shots before allowing two goals on the final two shots. Boudreau conceded that Neuvirth played well for most of the game, but also offered some criticism.

"In the end he played good for 51 minutes, but if you want to be a great goalie in this league, when the game is on the line you've got to be the one to make sure you stop those," Boudreau said. "I thought both of those goals were not of the variety that should have beat him, but at the same time I thought he kept us in it the first two periods."

PhilR writes, "Way to go throwing your young goaltender under the bus there BB. How about blaming yourself for not holding your players accountable for not playing up to snuff and demanding more of them??"

seth_malaguerra adds: "Wow Bruce. Were you playing for the NHL's first ever zero-goal win? Or were you counting on another Caps stellar OT performance?"

Do you agree?


By Washington Post Sports Editors  | February 9, 2011; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Michal Neuvirth  
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Comments

Do you think that Joe Gibbs (the one in prime) would have started throwing individual players under the bus when his team was not playing well, or would he have tried to keep everyone together? BB's comments on Neuvirth and Semin are indications that panic has set in.

Posted by: zmega | February 9, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

1) I agree and disagree. Yes, for the first 51 minutes Nuevy was the difference BUT those were 2 softies
2) That said, the entire team in front of him played like it was a pre season game. Little to no emotion and listless for large segemnts.
3) In reality if they got average NHL goaltending it could/should have been a 5-0 loss

Posted by: jmol2112 | February 9, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Neuvirth's confidence has to be a bit shaken after the two goals he allowed and the subsequent comments from Boudreau. The only reason the Capitals were in the game with less than 10 minutes to play was because of their goaltender. I will say, though, that the first goal was a soft goal that should've been stopped, and I'll give San Jose some credit on the 2nd goal. At the end of the day, the saves that need to be made must be made, but how a team handles the situation afterwards is most crucial moving forward.

Posted by: dcox50 | February 9, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

boudreau is a hack. please fire him before he ruins all of our young players.

Posted by: dingram3 | February 9, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

At what point do the players take ownership of there play. The leader need to be in players faces. BB can't go out there and play for them, He can change lines sit guys out but at some point it on the players. Either players Man up or ship them out and get one who will play

Posted by: mreric03 | February 9, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

From previous thread:

@thePat: If you think Philly and Boston are the only very good teams in the East, then there's not much I can say to you other than to watch some hockey. Sure, it's possible that TB will lose first round of the playoffs, but they're still a very good team right now. And obviously Pitt isn't as good without their top 2, but they're still a very good team. And again, you have to keep in mind that we were missing a 40-goal scorer, a 20-goal scorer, and our #1 D-man. Injury-wise we weren't a whole lot better off than they were.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | February 9, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

BB definitely said something in the heat of the moment that was ill advised.

On another note, looks like NBC and Versus are keeping the NHL rights. Good, as noted in the article Bristol gives and has given the NHL second rate treatment whether they were a broadcast partner or not and teh recent NBC/Comcast merger is going to make Versus more visible. Just say no to Bristol!

http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2011/02/08/nbc-versus-likely-to-keep-nhl-u-s-tv-rights/

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | February 9, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Yogi (previous thread). Your point is what I always come back to. But we do have an additional complicating factor - the stars haven't been playing like stars for most of the year.

Posted by: zmega | February 9, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

We all know which goalie he will turn to come playoff time.

He clearly thinks Varly is the better goalie so he should just start him 2/3 of the games from this point on to get him ready for the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | February 9, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

1) BTW do the TV/radio guys get flack from the team if they ddare say anything negative?
2) On the way home from the game caller after caller made cogent points about the caps weaknesses and the commentators refused to admit to what (all of us not drinking the RED Kool-aid)that this is NOT a championship callibre team
3) One caller actually had the audacity to say Ovechkin is having a bad season. To which the response was "he's playing better lately" Really? One good game followed by 3 mediocre ones is now acceptable for the Great 8?
4) Do fans really think this team can compete win a best of 7 against a Crosby-Penguins, the Flyers, Monteal, Boston, or even Tampa bay?(One of the likely first round opponents)

Posted by: jmol2112 | February 9, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I find it a bit inane and insulting that the Post has resorted to taking choice comments made in the heat of the moment and then getting posters to react to it. Don't we already do that? As for throwing Neuvy under the bus, no, I think it was an appropriate comment. He complimented Neuvy for the good but put it out there that he wasn't perfect. As for the rest of the team not playing well, you're throwing Boudreau under the bus when you blame him for not either inserting mind-control chips into his players or mentally possessing them to get them to play the way they did in the last two games. It might be entirely possible that the players themselves didn't execute the game very well. But who am I to talk. Most posters sound like they were in the locker room with some of the speculation that goes on around here.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 9, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Listened to the game on the radio - so don't know if those were softies or not.

But, even if those were 2 softies by Neuvy - you don't blame your goalie for a loss where your team gets shutout.

Had they lost 8 to 7 - they could blame Neuvy all they want.

Posted by: CF11555 | February 9, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Do fans really think this team can compete win a best of 7 against a Crosby-Penguins, the Flyers, Monteal, Boston, or even Tampa bay?(One of the likely first round opponents)

Yes, because they can. They can beat any team in a seven game series. History has proven that time and time again. The real issue and better question is:

Do Caps fans think the team as currently constituted can win the Stanley Cup? I certainly don't.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | February 9, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Neuvirth was the only player on the ice who looked like he had his whole head and heart in the game. Those were 2 unfortunate goals, but BB needs to spend a little more time criticizing his offense and not his goalie. Neuvy had a good game; the rest of the team did not.

Posted by: katybissell329 | February 9, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I am a firm believer in you can't blame the defense unless your offense did its part. The Caps scored 0 goals. Therefore you cannot lay blame on the defense or goalie.

I will say that if you defense/goalie were to put you in a huge hole early, it will affect your team the rest of the game. In that sense you could blame them in a shutout, but that's clearly not the case here.

Posted by: SFcapsfan | February 9, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The first goal was through a huge opening 5-hole. The goal cam showed it.

Posted by: Cletus_P | February 9, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

From now on the Caps should mention whether or not they will actually show up to play or going to take the night off in the game notes that they send to season ticket holders before each game.

It would be really helpful.

Posted by: LesGrossman | February 9, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau's comments may have put the pressure on Neuvirth, but given the situation that's not a bad thing. Both Neuvirth and Varlamov are well trained and exceptional athletes. What will make the All-Stars and eventually Hall of Famers (along with some luck in avoiding major injuries) is overcoming pressure and fatigue and maintaining focus for as long as the game is on the line. I think Neuvirth even more than Varlamov takes responsibility for every goal that gets past him, but having the coach say you've let in soft goals when you've let in soft goals reenforces the principle. Spreading the blame or excusing the goalie weakens it.

Posted by: IrishBear | February 9, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@DoubleAlex

@TheDoubleAlex

Yeah I dont think I need to watch more hockey, I watch enough.

To me "very good teams" are locks to win their 1st round matchup regardless of who is on the other side. Right now in the East that is only Philly and Boston.

If you think TB and Pitt(w/out Crosby and Malkin) are locks then you are the one who needs to watch more hockey.

So maybe you think there are 8 very good teams in the East alone, to which you need to redefine what you think is very good. Bc you think half the league is very good then considering the West is better than the East for the most part.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Throwing Neuvy under the bus or lighting a spark? BB seems to know how to push different players buttons. This team is still looking for one of these two young goaltenders to be consistent. A little public recognition is the spark both need.

Posted by: BalancedThought | February 9, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Boudreau is probably losing his cool even earlier than usual this year. Last year it happened in the immediate run-up to the playoffs, where he was sounding clueless and indicisive about whether or not to sit players to avoid pre-playoffs injuries. Now, he's publicly questioning his rookie goalie after a 34 out of 36 save performance where his team laid a goose egg on offense. I guess BB doesn't really coach the goalies, so he certainly can't blame himself for Neuvy not getting a second straight shutout... I guess it's also just easier to publicly question your goalie's ability to come through in the clutch and risk hurting his confidence going forward than to, say, bench star players who refuse to adhere to the team's game strategy.

Posted by: bbposter09 | February 9, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh give me a break. First people complain that BB is too protective of his players. Now people claim he's "throwing Neuvirth under the bus". BB didn't do or say anything wrong. If that goalie wants to play in this leage he has to stop both of those shots - especially in a 0-0 game with under 10 minutes to go in the 3rd period. Neuvirth should know that. And he should know that despite playing well for 90% of the season, he's let up some very soft goals throughout the year as well. Much like the team, he needs to put in 60 minutes. The Caps can't afford to give up any soft goals. If he had let in a tough one, it would be a non-issue. But the fact remains that his good work early in the game is worthless when he lets in two softies with the game on the line. It's all about making the right save at the right time. Neuvirth has consistently had trouble doing that this year. Until his head is in the game for 60 minutes he can't be considered a number 1 goalie.

No BB didn't throw him under the bus. The comment wasn't even that bad to begin with. He should have come out and flat out said "he cost us a chance to win the game with two crap goals against." If Neuvirth can't take his coach justly criticizing him, and he can't stay focused and on top of his game for an entire game, then the hell with him. Ship him out of here. He needs to toughen up now. This team can't afford a mental midget between the pipes.

Posted by: DisgustedinArlington | February 9, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As for NBC and Versus keeping the rights, phock. Hate their broadcasters and their inability to remain impartial. And apparently, jmol2112, you should stop watching the Capitals. They'll disappoint you consistently and provide you little to no pleasure. Don't bother looking for an answer about how the Capitals would stack up against Crosby and his back-up singers and the other hockey teams. At most, we could say they can stack up against them if we play our game right, but you wouldn't be happy with that.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 9, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Neuvy knows as well as BB and those of us watching the game that both were soft goals. Doesn't undermine what he did to keep the Caps in the game but it does emphasize that he's got to stay on top of his game for all 60 minutes. If a few comments from his coach destroy this young goaltender, then he's not the answer to the team's needs in goal. Fortunately, I have no doubt that he is much tougher mentally and more confident in his abilities than all of us arm chair critics seemingly wringing our hands over every blip. Athletes aren't immune to human frailties or sensitivities but they're hardly as sensitive as the fans who react to every quote or news article, especially those players who have played for the coach before.

Posted by: McKinley2 | February 9, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It's been a long time since I've posted on here- it took a bunch of typically dumb comments but more importantly, a couple positive ones to get me to come out of the shadows...

@LeftCoast

I agree completely with you and BB as well; Neuvy did have a great game up until the point he let the first softie in. There's no harm in being honest and stating to the media the way he felt about his performance. Deceiving Neuvy in any way isn't going to help him progress as a goaltender.

@hateisnotafamilyvalue

I also agree with your optimistic views for the postseason- with the exception that I believe the Caps have a legitimate shot at the cup this year.

Overall, the game last night was pretty evenly played. There's no doubt in my mind that the caps could have easily won the game had a couple of plays gone in their favor (i.e. the early whistle blow on the would-be Semin goal, the Steckel chance and Knuble chance respectively). Obviously, these plays did not go in the Caps' favor and they lost the game as a result. There is NO need to panic. I truly believe that a season riddled here and there with struggles will benefit our team greatly in the postseason. Look at the last three years of our post-season performances: we went the furthest when we barely made the playoffs-having to play our hardest and best hockey up until the last game of the regular season. Also look at Chicago from last year, or the Pens from two years ago. Both teams endured hardships and ultimately took the cup home.

Here's to some optimism for our team and a strong run into the spring!
-AP

Posted by: apollak8 | February 9, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoastFan and IrishBear are spot on. just a little heat from the coach, he's given it to others when they deserve it too.

And this is a ridiculous content-generating trick by the Post, this Line Change thing, having readers react to other readers.

a mindless attempt to keep up with Japers, which WaPo is not

Posted by: capsfan7 | February 9, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Totally unfair. When you are facing 50 shots- two may get through even if they were "soft goals." First one, maybe. Second one is our Captain's fault for not covering his d-man sneaking in. If your goalie only allows 2 goals, than you are doing pretty well in this league. Score three goals and no one is having this conversation today. Lazy, uninspired effort by the team in front of him. Maybe, BB is tired of repeating himself, and decided it was time to pick on the one guy that held them in the game.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Totally unfair. When you are facing 50 shots- two may get through even if they were "soft goals." First one, maybe. Second one is our Captain's fault for not covering his d-man sneaking in. If your goalie only allows 2 goals, than you are doing pretty well in this league. Score three goals and no one is having this conversation today. Lazy, uninspired effort by the team in front of him. Maybe, BB is tired of repeating himself, and decided it was time to pick on the one guy that held them in the game.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

BB is too soft then BB is too hard...wtf is with posters on this site....make up your mind what u want to blame him for....ps it still gets down to lazy euros that dont produce and not enough desire from the entire squad on a regular basis

Posted by: wendel2 | February 9, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It is not as though BB came out and said the team played great but Neuvy lost it. He spread blame out and pointed out that Neuvy kept us in ot for two periods while acknowledging the two goals he allowed were ones he should have stopped. Why do so many people ignore the rest of the statements and only key in on the Neuvy statement?

Posted by: _Mark | February 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon

I agree completely. If he is going to say Neuvy should have had the 2nd one, that how bout calling out Ovi saying he should have been covering his man.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Boudreau pointed out that Neuvirth's play was only one of the problems last night. The whole team sleep walked through the game until they were 2 goals down. The Caps consistently play without any intensity and are the worst passing team in the NHL right now. Most of the passes are not crisp and don't connect to the intended target. I know the Caps are trying a new system and I hope it all falls into place before the playoffs, but I have to say that I am worried.

Posted by: JAMNEW | February 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Boston sucks. For all of the talk about the Caps choking in the playoffs, at least they didn't blow a 3-0 lead.

When was the last time Boston or Philly won a SC? 1975. Yep, all that toughness hasn't gotten them crap. Big F'n deal. This isn't the '70s anymore.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's time to scrap this "defense-first" new system. It's an absolute failure with the personnel we have. This team did not lose to Montreal or Pittsburgh the last two years because they weren't tight enough in the defensive end. They lost to Montreal because they couldn't score on the power play. They lost to Pittsburgh because their strategy to get the puck out of their own zone is beyond horrible. It remains horrible even with this new defensive bent. We still clear the puck up the boards to a waiting opponent forward who just dumps it back in.

But while the new system creates a much better defensive environment it completely eliminates any offensive advantage we have with the great skill players we have. We are generating an astoundingly low number of scoring opportunties and almost no odd-man rushes right now. As for being better suited for the playoffs, who in their right mind thinks that this will get better in the playoffs when checking gets tighter? It's a complete overreaction and unfortunately the wrong fix. If we fix the zone escape strategy we fix much of our playoff problems.

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 9, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I thought BB's commment was harsh, but I'm sure he was angry at the time and the game went down the tubes once those went in. In Neuvirth's defense, the 3rd period was defensive chaos and chances are good any goalie will give up a softie when there's that much consistent pressure. And yeah, you can't win if you don't score.

Posted by: jepper | February 9, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@ katybissell329 & jmol2112

Not sure what game you guy watched last night but I know from sitting behind elmo for 2 periods ......... while he kept us in it for the 1st and 2nd period his puck control was horrible. With the rebounds he gave up we should have been in a serious hole at the end of the 2nd.

As to him being the only play with his head on .......... really maybe you should submit your name for the free lazer surgery.

Posted by: bqts | February 9, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

As an ex-collegiate goalie I can say one thing, Neuvy doesn't need to be kicked.....he is kicking himself. That was a horrible goal to give up and he knows it. Coach B knows it also. So his criticism is fair, that being said you won't ever win a game if you don't score so the finger pointing should neither start nor end with Neuvy's performance.

Posted by: us11231 | February 9, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Wow, lylewimbledon

You clearly don't understand Boudreau's message, or professional sports psychology.
1) BB isn't laying BLAME on Neuvy- he is simply stating the fact that he did let in two goals towards the end of an otherwise stellar performance. You are right, however, that the offense should and does carry the blame for the loss, due to the fact that they were unable to capitalize on their chances.

2) This isn't Peewee hockey. It IS about winning, and not protecting your players' feelings. BB must be blunt when he has an opinion (as long as this comment won't result in a fine from CC and his goons)- this tough love will ultimately help his players to improve.

Posted by: apollak8 | February 9, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I dont think they are good because they are tough. Philly by far has the best lineup top to bottom in the East. Do you really think you can argue that?

Boston has great C depth even with Savard out. Not to mention they have Chara who is one of the 3 best D in the league. And they have 2 very good goalies that can carry them. That is why I think they are the two best teams in the East and the only two that are locks to win their first round matchup.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If we all think there is any chance of a coaching change, visit Teds Take blog and see the posting agreeing with the article that believed BB is a candidate for Adams Trophy.

Maybe the rose colored glasses are red enough to be considered a Caps color? Next game-red jersey and rose colored glasses to "Rock the Red"-it may help us get through games like the San Jose ones.

Posted by: AADCDERM | February 9, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I don't think anyone is a lock to win a series in the NHL. Not any more. There is too much parity for teams to be locks.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

the Caps offense is not producing because other teams know what to expect. They don't give space, clutter the neutral zone and prevent the outlet pass to spring a forward. people here keep perpetuating this myth that the offensive system has changed. it hasn't

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

It's complicated. They were two softies, no way around. If he stops them, we get a point and maybe finally win an OT game.

But, you better criticize the forwards just as much for failing to score, which BB did.

No big deal. If Neuvie's confidence is shaken by this to the point it affects his performance, then he isn't cut out for the NHL anyway and better to find out now.

It was an off night. Hopefully we bounce back Saturday and play like we did the last two games.

Posted by: Avar | February 9, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Bruce Boudreau for finally having the balls to say something -- your goalies suck. All three of them are nothing more than average. And I know ALL the people on here who claim to know anything about hockey will jump all over this and talk about the lack of scoring and how "unfair" it is to criticize a player. You know what? This is a business. These players are paid a lot of money, and the fans pay a lot of money to come watch them. And yes in fact all of this poor play can be blamed on the pathetic goaltending on this team. Just like last season when everyone was scared to say something about Theodore because of what happened in his personal life. THIS IS A BUSINESS!!! If you sucked at your job and were costing your boss money, wouldn't you likely be fired? You know what wins in the end? Chemistry. The chemistry on this team is so bad right now, most nights this team is beaten before the national anthem is even over. Pull the trigger, get a goalie, and watch how much better this team plays. Look at Tampa Bay! Where are the people that scoffed at the idea of getting Dwayne Roloson??

Posted by: pssummers70 | February 9, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

that is fine that you think that and its understandable. My point is all that those two teams are a step above the rest of the East in terms of being built for the playoffs. I dont see how the last time they won a Cup has anything to do with anything. If you disagree that they are the best built for the playoffs currently than that is fine.

I think the order in the East goes:

Boston
Philly

then you have 3 teams that really have no identity but have talent:
Washington
Tampa
Montreal

Then you have teams that work hard but dont have the talent:
Carolina
NY Rangers
Atlanta
Florida
Buffalo

Pittsburgh if Crosby is healthy probably falls between Tampa and Montreal. If he is out then they are down between Atlanta and Florida.

That is how I'd currently rank the East.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

If I was actually ranking those in order Philly is obviously ahead of Boston, but other than that I think that order works.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time for the Caps to start looking for another coach. The team obviously isn't responding to his swearing anymore. If BB was really doing his job, the offense would be scoring, power plays would be working, and the defense would be playing better. When the Caps' goalie is facing that many more shots than the other team's goalie, and still has them in the game, the problem is not with the goalie. You need to score to win games!

Posted by: joplinpbgv | February 9, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

seeing rumors that the Caps are inquiring about available goalies

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

If Neuvy only played 51 minutes that was much more time than almost any other Cap. I watched Ovechkin just stand still for several seconds (seemed much longer) in the third period. Was he waiting for a play to come to him? Where is the guy who used to actually make plays?

Posted by: pirate1 | February 9, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I think right now Philly is playing the best and is the favorite to come out of the East.

I'm not as high on Boston, I think their lack of offensive skill(especially with Savard out) and their lack of a puck moving defenseman hurts their chances of making a long run.

They will keep games close with their D and goaltending, but then it will come down to scrums in front of the goal and bounces.

Right now I have Philly playing better than the rest of the East teams. After Philly would be in some order:

Caps, Pittsburgh(if Crosby comes back), and Boston

After that I have

Tampa, Rangers, Montreal and Carolina

Every team needs to be on top of their game to make a deep run into the playoffs. I'm hesitant about Tampa's D and their depth up front, but they have enough talent to win any game and win a series or maybe even two if they get hot.

However, I could easily see any of those teams winning or losing in the 1st round.

My comment to the Bruins and Flyers past was to the posters who keep on using those teams and their past(mostly the Flyers) as teams/GMs to copy.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

BB is doing a good job, and getting the team prepared for the playoffs. They will be a lock-down shut down team, with a scary amount of talent to score which is underperforming at the moment...

They are 4th in goals against..for christ sake...you wanted better d..you got it..

Posted by: SA-Town | February 9, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Ok, I missed that post about people bringing up their past. Apologies on that.

@SA-Town

You are right, I wanted better D and I am happy to see it. You still have to play at the other end of the ice though. I dont think its a coaching thing, I think its the top players not performing. You see they can in games when they want to. They just take too many nights off and right now its getting too close to the playoffs for them to keep playing like that.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The goalies are the LAST ones on this team that should be thrown under the bus...I can think of several guys who are JUST as accountable as Varly & Nuevy...BTW, the 1st goal last night should've been ruled offside.

Posted by: R617 | February 9, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The goalies are the LAST ones on this team that should be thrown under the bus...I can think of several guys who are JUST as accountable as Varly & Nuevy...BTW, the 1st goal last night should've been ruled offside.

Posted by: R617 | February 9, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

ThePat

That's a very good evaluation.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Here is the truth to it all: BB knows he has but 3 more months to make this team a winner. And by that I think that means a conference final appearance. Anything less and we will be bashing the next guy behind the bench next year. BB has NOTHING to lose by calling dudes out. He should do more of it.

Posted by: rdondero123 | February 9, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

As much as I am ready to see Boudreau go, if he keeps this up, I may change my mind. He is exactly right here. Those were two weak goals that, if Neuvirth had been playing right, would not have gone in. The defense bailed him out a lot of times on bad rebounds, and the Sharks bailed him out with a lot of bad shots that Neuvy had no chance of stopping. He is one of those goalies, much like Theodore, who is not as good as his record suggests. Boudreau needs to start throwing more players under the bus if that is what it takes to get these guys playing again. Or just fire BB and let the team play the way that they know best.

Posted by: Boushed | February 9, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Tampa Bay's record against Philly, Pitt, and Boston:

Philly - TB leads series (2-0)
Pittsburgh - Pitt leads series (1-2)
Boston - Boston leads series (1-2)

As of now a combined 4-4. Seems like TB could win a best of 7 against any of these teams?

Posted by: padre123 | February 9, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Again another defeat where the Caps can't score and BB blames the 20 year old goltender for keeping you in the game 50 minutes (on his own)...?? when it's really BB's fault. He's a good coach but not the kind that brings you a Stanley Cup win (i.e. a smart coach will never changes lines after the win, he broke a very solid line to send a hard working player to enjoy hershey sweets and who was a big part of two last wins in favor of lazy russian millionaire which brough down the whole team). I have realized if they need a Stanley Cup, it’s time for changes. FYI - currently L.Robinson is available or at the end of the season J.Lemare (unless he returns to the Devils), they both know how to win a SC as player/coach and the historical play of the Devils with them in charge proves it.

Posted by: bigcap | February 9, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

bb is a fat bald piece of garbage figure out how to get your team to score some goddamn goals before u blame the goalie that kept u in the game to start with like i said last week zero accountability its never his fault

Posted by: vjridgely | February 9, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they were soft goals, and yes the team was flat. How about the comment section? First to flower with admiration when the team wins. First to say it's the worst team in the leauge when they lose. The Caps are a good team, and can make some noise in the May if they play up to their potential. Do you work at 100% everyday? And please don't mention money.

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 9, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@ouvan59: "We still clear the puck up the boards to a waiting opponent forward who just dumps it back in."

This wouldn't be a problem if the caps wingers were in position. As Bylsma said in the 24/7 series, the caps forwards take off way to early and you need to watch them going for breakaways (i.e. they are not there to assist in clearing the puck out of the zone where they should be and instead are waiting for a long stretch pass). Maybe I'm wrong but I don't hear BB criticizing players for this.

Also, it is true the caps have a lot of offensive talent (may not have seen it lately) but they should be able to score even in a defensive system. Bondra played on a defensively minded team and still scored. Ovechkin did not have a problem scoring prior to BB either. Sure it's easier to score with a more offensive system but they should still be scoring with a more defensive system (maybe 40 goals instead of 50 but more than enough to win reasonably consistently)

Posted by: BorntoHula | February 9, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, they were soft goals, and yes the team was flat. How about the comment section? First to flower with admiration when the team wins. First to say it's the worst team in the leauge when they lose. The Caps are a good team, and can make some noise in May if they play up to their potential. Do you work at 100% everyday? And please don't mention money.

Posted by: coastallp74 | February 9, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is Neuvirth was probably the Caps best player last night.

I'm sure someone else merited the criticism more.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Mixed feelings but I am leaning to NOT thinking it was that harsh.

It is true that truly great goalies would have gone one step further, after 51 perfect minutes. How many times have we played against "Halaks"--goalies we cannot solve or shut us out. It is not often that we reverse roles and we steal wins because our goalies cannot be solved. The kids are excellent and I think will be great in time, but they are not quite there.

From just a human relations perspective, it was harsh for BB to single out the best player in that game. But the rules are different in athletics. Not hurting feelings is not a big consideration. Remember how harsh the coach was on the goalie in "A Miracle on Ice?" The goalie was very good but he had to push him to a different level to win gold.

I say if it is part of how BB develops and motivates players, I don't see it as harsh. I do see it, however, as a little desperate, like in his frustration BB throws little temper tandrums and vents rather than give an analysis or extract lessons or whatever else is constructive.

Posted by: caraveli | February 9, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Soft goals? The whole team is soft, I mentioned it earlier. Worst overtime record in the league and only 3-8 recently against playoff teams. And if you want to know why the team is soft, look no further than the foul-mouthed muppet in the office that says "Coach" on it.

Posted by: FulhamDC | February 9, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Maybe GMGM or Ted should start publicly critiquing BB's coaching decisions?

There is nothing wrong pointing out mistakes the players make, but everything doesn't need to be said to the media.

Posted by: ablake70 | February 9, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

As usual, BB calls out his players and refuses to own up to this own shortcomings. When your offense fails to score a single goal and is shut out for the 6th or 7th time (correct me if I am wrong) this season, goal tending is hardly the culprit. Such criticisms can potentially destroy the confidence of any player, and produce the opposite effect. He needs to stop being so arrogant and try humility and modesty for a change. After all he hasn’t taken his team past the second playoff round in his NHL tenure and has lost three consecutive game 7s at home.

On a side note, my stomach turns whenever I see Bruce's commercials although a year ago those same commercials gave me a good chuckle.

Posted by: Gr8_8 | February 9, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@Gr8_8
Your off just a bit. The Caps have been shut out 8 times this season. So far.

Posted by: FulhamDC | February 9, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Please, all those fire BB people. There are so many coaches that have won SCs that throw mention players in the same context. Who you ask? Torts does it all the time. How about Keenan? Bylsma does it except he does it to players on the other team.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | February 9, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh, Green Bay Packers - 6th seed in the playoffs, up & down regular season, lots of injuries, got hot in the playoffs and won the SB...need I say more? Caps just need to get in the playoffs however they can...then play like a championship caliber team...that's when it counts...not now...

Posted by: RiSKybizness | February 9, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

NBC and Versus should have the inside track on retaining NHL rights. ESPN dropped the NHL and left them hanging.

I already addressed this several topics back. IMHO some of BB's comments regarding Neuvirth should have been made in private.

Regarding the goals and the softness: You've never seen an NHL goalie have issues with bouncing pucks? You've never seen an NHLer with a wide open shooting lane blast a puck past a goalie? I have. In the early 90s there was a game in which the Caps were down late. Face-off in the Caps defensive zone. Kevin Hatcher got the puck and fired it. It was bouncing and went in. A puck that was shot from 175 feet away. In the '98 playoffs Bondra had a wide open shooting lane and ripped a shot past Dominic Hasek. Just sayin'.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFedorov | February 9, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

pssummers70

You sir are an idiot. The goaltending on this team is a strong point considering the age of all of them. They are solid and will get better as time goes on. Fix the power play and and even up scoring and this team is ready to compete. No score - No win.

Posted by: ballgame21 | February 9, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@BornToHula: "Also, it is true the caps have a lot of offensive talent (may not have seen it lately) but they should be able to score even in a defensive system. Bondra played on a defensively minded team and still scored. Ovechkin did not have a problem scoring prior to BB either."

-----------------------------------------

I'm not saying a defensive system. I'm saying this defensive system. Most great defensive systems stress the neutral zone and create offensive chances by creating turnovers. Our defensive system is completely focused on the defensive end. We are doing a very good job of limiting quality scoring chances by our opponents but the result is zero offensive chances on the other end.

As for Ovechkin, he did have his worst season under Hanlon and was on pace to have an even worse one (23 points in 21 games) when Hanlon was fired. I'm not saying that Ovechkin is having is worst season this year because I don't think Ovechkin is having as bad of a year as a lot of people think in many areas. He's not scoring nearly as many goals, obviously, but he's doing most other aspects of the game very well. But we just aren't producing enough scoring opportunities and it turns every game into a coin flip as to who is going to get the most lucky bounces.

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 9, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow this is literally the first time I have ever been pissed off at of lost my patients with Boudreau. A goalie giving up two goals on 36 shots is nothing to be scoffed at. As a matter of fact it's damn impressive. Neuvy had a .944 save percentage against the Sharks and somehow that's not good enough? Should we be pissed off every time he doesn't get a shut out? It doesn't matter if those goals were soft, hard, or anywhere in between cause he could've let up 10 goals and we wouldn't have been any closer to winning.

If your roster consists of Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, and Green and you're getting shut out 8 times in a season there's a problem. And that problem isn't bad goaltending, or running into hot goalies, or simple bad luck. 8 times is a problem with the system, and there for it is the coach, or on the very outside the players, who must be held accountable, and not the goalie. I love Boudreau, but no blindly, and I sure as hell don't love him scapegoating a 22 year old goalie who played his ass off.

Posted by: dcfury | February 9, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Ballgame21 --

I can promise you I understand this game, and have been with Stanley Cup winning teams before. But sit there in your own patethic, empty and clearly mentally retarded world and say "smart" things like, "fix the power play and and even up scoring." Gee -- talk much? You say "and and" in a public forum and I'M the idiot??? And "fix the power play," huh? How do you suggest fixing it? And "even up scoring" -- what does that even mean? People like you shouldn't even have access to a cumputer, much less a public discussion on hockey...

Posted by: pssummers70 | February 9, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Ballgame 21 --

One more brilliant point you brought up - age. So you're suggesting these 3 goalies have played well this season, "considering the age." So you think it's ok to use the 82-game NHL season as a training ground for unproven talent? Isn't that what Hershey is for? How much hockey would you say you actually watch?

Posted by: pssummers70 | February 9, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

How about asking Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, Knuble, etc. to earn their paychecks first before criticizing a rookie?

In watching the San Jose game, it seemed as if the Sharks were on a power play for almost the entire 60 minutes.

They possessed the puck, entered the Caps zone and took shot after shot.

Meanwhile the Caps were icing the puck and earning small victories in getting things out to neutral ice.

You can also look at the breakaway that Steckel had and with the goalie down failed to lift it over him for a gimmee goal earlier in the contest.

If you are going to play a tight checking defensive game, then your bread and butter is the turnover or long pass that gets a guy or two in on the goalie with a chance to score.

When you don't put those in, you lose.

Montreal was running the same system in last year's playoffs. The difference was when Gionta or Plekanec got that odd man rush, they cashed in and scored a goal.

No way they would have beaten Washington down 3-1 without the ability to convert on the odd man rush.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 9, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Bruce knows more about hockey than anyone posting here.

I think his comments were completely justified.

That said, from a fan perspective, I don't blame Neuvy at all for that last. The defense was weak, and the offense was uncoordinated.

Neuvy stood strong all game. When they double the Caps number of shots on goal, law of averages dictate that one of them is going to get into the net.

Those pucks passed by a lot of other players and sticks before it ever got passed Neuvy.

Number 30 deserves to be our goalie through the playoffs. I don't think it'll happen, but it should.

Posted by: PhilCollins1 | February 9, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

They have been shut out 8 times his year. They have scored 110 less goals this compared to the same time as last year. Pin the blame on your young goalie Bruce. Bench Fehr. But the blame lays with YOU and the so-called Super Stars on this team.

Your #1 line was out for both goals last night. Ovie was floating like he always does and you call out the young kid. Grow a pair and tell it like it is, you don't know how to tweak, you can from run and gun to 4 corners, and you top players are pooping the bed.

Posted by: themightyzep2000 | February 9, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Saw the press conference and Bruce's comments about Neuvy really annoyed me. He is hard on the goalies, esp. Neuvy, but not so much on the other players. His comment about not getting after the tram between the second and third period because they were down (in spirit) made throwing Neuvy under the bus that much more annoying. Would like to hear BB take responsibility instead of always pointing the finger at someone else or having some excuse like hot goalie.

Posted by: NovaCath | February 9, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Second goal was tougher, one-timer from one of the best offensive defenseman in Dan Boyle.

But yeah, that first goal was an absolute softy.

Posted by: Liebercreep | February 9, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I hardly thing BB's comments constituted throwing Neuvy under the bus. If anything, it represented gentle, reassuring, and constructive criticism. I didn't see the game last night, but if those were soft goals, there's nothing wrong with BB telling Neuvy that he knows he's capable of better

Posted by: j762 | February 9, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

I hardly thing BB's comments constituted throwing Neuvy under the bus. If anything, it represented gentle, reassuring, and constructive criticism. I didn't see the game last night, but if those were soft goals, there's nothing wrong with BB telling Neuvy that he knows he's capable of better

Posted by: j762 | February 9, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Question -- how often is .944 the save percentage of the losing goalie in games in the NHL? What's the breakdown where the goalie faces more than 30 shots on net?


Posted by: miseaujeu | February 9, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Sure he was a successful minor league forward, but Bruce doesn't know how to critique, much less coach and motivate an NHL goalie. He should keep his mouth shut.

I was at the game and the best player on the ice was Neuvy. The others on the team skated half halfheartedly. To this fan, it appears that the players only listen to BB when it suits them.

The problem is BB; the problem is leadership.

Funny thing is - I didn't hear BB address the leadership issue at the post game press conference. He lost the room.

So he blames the goalie. Nice job. Quality leadership

But here's the best part. After only 25 shots, zero goals, $8 beers, and three periods, each of our three tickets were $135. Bring on the Kings!

Posted by: hlalor | February 9, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

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