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Posted at 6:53 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Caps trying to learn from past mistakes

By Katie Carrera
Morning Roundup

On Monday against Toronto, the Capitals not only failed to find their killer instinct but stopped playing. Shift lengths grew longer, positioning became lax and nearly every bad habit in the book surfaced for Washington en route to a 5-4 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.

The Capitals are still 12-0-1 when leading at the end of two periods, but in a season where the manner in which they win -- and how finely tuned they can be by the postseason -- matters just as much as how many victories they claim.

"Like [assistant coach] Dean [Evason] said, last year none of this stuff ever happened," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. Depending on how you handle it -- if you handle it as a learning tool and it becomes valuable by the end of the year. If you don't learn from it, it just becomes same old same old."

Washington faces the Florida Panthers, who are on a two-game winning streak thanks to an overtime and shootout victory, for the first time in the 2010-11 season Thursday. They're the last Southeast Division opponent to face the Capitals this year and it's a big opportunity for Washington to get back on track.

"We want to beat everybody that we play," Boudreau said. "That's what the message is [Wednesday at practice]. We are not here just to wait until the playoffs, because if you don't play good, you're not going to make the playoffs. I think we're six points up on eighth place right now, something like that. It can all change in a week, so we've got to turn it around."

FROM THE POST
It's time for another video Q&A today at 12:30 p.m. Submit your questions here.

Looks like a "well-groomed" Alex Ovechkin is holding up his end of the deal with Gillette. (D.C. Sports Bog)

AROUND THE WEB
Sweetest Hockey on Earth talks to goalie Braden Holtby about his stint in Washington, his relationship with Michal Neuvirth and more.

Some food for thought on how power plays relate to playing with a lead. (Japers' Rink)

The Caps certainly aren't getting a free pass from the NHL Network analysts for their recent play. (Examiner)

Kukla's Korner takes a look at the Southeast Division.

By Katie Carrera  | December 9, 2010; 6:53 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Scott Hannan will help lessen the blow of Jeff Schultz's absence
Next: Live Caps Q&A: Today, 12:30 p.m.

Comments

Pens beat Leafs 5-3, Crosby scores 2, and their streak is at 11.

Caps lose 4-1 lead in SO loss, OV gets 1 goal (1 game after a 9 game skid), their streak is at -3.

One team and one captain are going in the right direction and one team and captain are going in the wrong direction.

I hate to say it, but the Caps keep this up and they'll get embarrassed on Heinz Field in the Winter Classic and in the playoffs. I have questioned OV as captain for some time. He is a great player, but the best player is not always the best captain. The Caps consistency in the playoffs and this season is inconsistency. They need a real captain and a disciplinarian coach. Also, Sid has improved every year, but I cannot say the same for OV, particularly this year and last.

Ok, let the flying monkeys start flinging poo at me and BigGameSid say, "I told you so."

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 9, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Didn't the Caps and the Sens go on long winning streaks last year? Hasn't Ovi had periods when he's gone on scoring tears?

What the Pens and Crosby are doing is great, but as their fans have repeatedly told us, it doesn't matter if the team can't get it done in April, May, and June. I think this team would be happier with the Cup than the Richard and Ross winner.

Posted by: ablake70 | December 9, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm, sounds as if Bobby Holik (a guy who has actually won the Cup a couple times) is siding with the folks that are calling for changes to the team. But I'm sure that everyone here that thinks this team will win it all as is knows more than a guy that has made multiple trips to the promised land.

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

A risky trade...

Semin and Fehr for Richards.

Fehr would basically be a salary dump.


Or, I would package Alzner, Fehr, and Matt Perrault...for Richards.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | December 9, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

For the last 13 games, the record is 6 wins & 7 losses. I don't care what you call it---overtime loss---it is still a loss.This constitutes a record of .461.
As far as Ovi is concerned, his showing this year is just a part of a progression of what has been happening for the last year & a half. He shows absolutely no signs of being able to change his game. At times he just looks baffled at what is happening to him.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 9, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Ovie is not a good captain. I've said it for about 9 months now.

We will sink because of on-ice leadership...

They won't take the C away, we only can pray that Hannan teaches Brooks how to be more vocal and direct all the attention to them...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | December 9, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Problem with this team right now is not AO, whether he is Captain or not. Would it be nice if he was scoring more, of course, but the fundamental problem with this team is consistency and showing up every night, every shift. I think BB lost this team last year and they don't have confidence in what he's preaching.

Posted by: vafan3 | December 9, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Now BB's message is: "...not waiting for the playoffs". Uh, ok. For a team that hasn't won anything but a President's Trophy, that's the message you have to send? You lost in the 1st round to the 8th seed (sorry "HOT" goaltender), now this season you're waiting to prove something in the playoffs? Play #@%&# hockey! They'll come out now, reel off a few wins, BB will smile...then the cycle will start over again...2 dud performances, BB will be "mad", and so on and so on.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 9, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

everyone of the posts i've read on this thread are SPOT ON! All's not lost yet, though, but IT IS TIME TO SINK OR SWIM.

CO CAPS, KICK FLORIDA'S A@@!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | December 9, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond

That seems to be the trend this year. I know it's only December, but I'm worried about the way this team is so up and down. I agree they are lacking leadership and direction. We need to find a good leader and let OV just go back to being a scorer.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | December 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

nhl analysts were correct, especially bobby holik. the capitals does not know how to win right now. they're so inconsistent. ovi had some bad choices this year, particularly the GQ article. his popularity decreased as shown in the all-star voting. he's got to mature and he's got to learn from this. he's got to make himself better as a hockey player. he always said that hockey is his life, then he has to do something about it, otherwise he will turn out to just like other people who were young,got rich and popular but grew old and forgotten and left with nothing because of bad choices. He does not have to change his rugged game but he has to make intelligent choices. Ovi, whether he likes it or not will be role model for the young people. But he has to make a choice whether he likes to be a good or a bad role model

Posted by: capsfan2007 | December 9, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Peaks and Vally's.....dont get to hi when things are going good, and dont get to low when things are not.

I read and interesting thing about teams and leadership the other day and I'll share of few of them with you :

1. The worse the crisis the more people will tend to think as individuals rather than as members of a team.

2. Luck favors teams who trust one another

4. Successful crisis management is best achieved when people are truthful with one another- immediately.

5. Having funs helps reduce pressure.

6. Maintain a good sense of humor. You don't always want your team to see you with furrows in your head.

7. You do not necessarily beat fear with a hug.sometimes you have to attack the hell out of it.

8. Confidence can be extremely effective weapon against fear. Show strength hide weakness.

9. Anger is okay if it motivates you to do something good.

10. A leader's job is to create oppertunities. A leader has to find a way to win.

Anybody know who these "tips" were quotes from??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 9, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Inconsistancy can be tied directly to lack of discipline which falls directly on the coach and veteran players of the team. Thing is, who are the veteran players on this team besides Knuble, Poti and recently added Hannon? So then that issue falls on the GM (and his build through the draft philosophy) for not putting enough veteran leadership on the team. There is plenty of blame to go around for this debacle and I hope they can straighten it out soon or we are going to be watching another early exit this spring.

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Inconsistancy can be tied directly to lack of discipline which falls directly on the coach and veteran players of the team. Thing is, who are the veteran players on this team besides Knuble, Poti and recently added Hannon? So then that issue falls on the GM (and his build through the draft philosophy) for not putting enough veteran leadership on the team. There is plenty of blame to go around for this debacle and I hope they can straighten it out soon or we are going to be watching another early exit this spring.

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post, stupid CI website!

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Capsfanmiss,

Sounds like something that would have come out of Bill Gates?

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

As a team, the Caps are mediocre, face it. They may listen to the coaches, but they apparently don't hear them any more. That would explain their slow reactions on the ice - thinking too much instead of acting instinctively. Remember Ron Wilson? They no longer heard him either. It just happens for some reason and the winning GMs go out and get a guy who'll be heard. Laviolette comes to mind.

Posted by: tw46 | December 9, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Good gosh,
it's december
we still have one of the better records in the league and will make the playoffs with ease (at least top-3, SE winners...)

Ovi, if anything, has become a better leader this year as seen through his coming to the aid of marcus johansson and his banging penalty glass box with Derrik King in there...this team is just a little tired, if you look at the teams we play, theyre all coming off 2-3 days rest and we play back-to-back...and there is A LOT of parity in this league...

We're in fine shape, and this team is well-constructed and set for years even in the salary cap age thanks to not holding onto over-priced veterans...everyone needs to stop treating this season like football where if you lose 3-in-a-row youre out of the playoffs and start to remember that there are 82 friggin games...

GO OVI'S CAPS

Posted by: cotelloer | December 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

cotelloer,

I'm not worried about making the playoffs but the way the team has seemed to learn nothing from last year. You do remember what happened last April correct?

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Why would anyone call the Caps "mediocre?" That means average, which would be 15th or 16th out of 30 teams.

As a for instance, last year, Montreal was mediocre.

Oops, bad example.

Seriously, Caps have as much talent as anyone. The talent just needs to be channeled. The question is whether or not BB can do that. There's also perhaps the issue of maybe exchanging a bit more of the talent for a bit more grit. The question is whether or not McPhee can do that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

That's mediocre "as a team." There's so much emphasis on individual "talent" that the team often disintegrates into a bunch of really hard-trying individuals. That may save a few games here and there, but the team will not go far that way. Yeah, everyone gets his own bobble-head but what happens when you wake up one fine morning and realize that ... you didn't even make the playoffs. Sound crazy? Maybe.

Posted by: tw46 | December 9, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

tominsocal1

good questions.

Posted by: sidehillman | December 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Just for the record those jumping off the Ovie/BB bandwagon will not be allowed back on next spring when the Caps are deep in the playoffs gunning for the Stanley Cup. Thanks.

Posted by: rademaar | December 9, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

rademaar,

So you are a bandwagon fan? That's good to know, thanks for informing everyone.

Posted by: PhilR | December 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Here's an important lesson to remember:

Don't let a guy stand unmarked for 20 seconds on the far post with 30 seconds left in the game and leading 4-3. That would be a great improvement.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 9, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR-

Nope.

Posted by: rademaar | December 9, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Please. For three years this organization, from ownership down to the guys who sharpen the skates, has been talking about how they've learned from past mistakes. The truth of the matter is this: they haven't learned a thing. They are the same group of immature, unfocused players who think that they can get by on talent, at the expense of hard work. When things come easily for them, as it did in the first two periods against Toronto, they become unfocused and mediocre. That's been their MO for more years than I care to remember. Talk is cheap. I am tired of their excuses.

Posted by: dingram3 | December 9, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You would think choking to the Habs in the playoffs would be a semester's worth of these lessons? Dog days of the season, but these points count just the same as in March.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 9, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"10. A leader's job is to create oppertunities. A leader has to find a way to win.
Anybody know who these "tips" were quotes from??"
Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 9, 2010 10:15 AM

Not sure, but I know he/she wasn't a very good speller.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | December 9, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't let a guy stand unmarked for 20 seconds on the far post with 30 seconds left in the game and leading 4-3. That would be a great improvement.
-----------

C'mon oldtime, it's not like that's ever been a problem for us in the past. Hell of a play and sublime pass by Grabhovksi, but that was clearly a one-time thing.

Oh, wait.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | December 9, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Nice, Timbo. I sit in Row B on that side. Goal 3 was a sick tip off the shaft. Even good defensive play isn't enough sometimes. Goal 4 I started going "no, no, no, no....." before the pass even was sent.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | December 9, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@capsfannmiss

I believe Joel Kurtzman wrote that in his book "Common Purposes"...or it's quoted there as well.

Good points, all of them.

Posted by: geniak | December 9, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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