Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: kcarrera and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Q&A: First Things First with Tracee Hamilton, 9:30 a.m.

Join Post columnist Tracee Hamilton at 9:30 this morning for the latest edition of her daily chat, when she'll discuss the NHL playoffs and whatever else your sporting heart desires. See what's on her mind, and submit your questions.

By washingtonpost.com Sports Editor  |  May 14, 2010; 12:27 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tom Poti on eye injury: 'I was an idiot for not wearing' a visor
Next: Habs and Flyers: How did they get here?

Comments

"Mitchell 'disappointed' in NHL, Campbell"
http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=5187188

i found this quote interesting:

"I think the league needs to, along with our players' union, take a look at how they run the discipline in the league," Mitchell said. "Colin Campbell had a lot of relationships with general managers and ownership and stuff like that. It's very tough to hand down decisions on matters like this when you are friends with people."

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 14, 2010 2:01 AM | Report abuse

"See what's on her mind, and submit your questions."

I dare you to find a single question asked in the first response to this post. I'll be the first one to ask a question on this post.

Can you find a question submitted in the first post?

Posted by: hsk8er6 | May 14, 2010 4:04 AM | Report abuse

The comments sections isn't where questions are asked in the chat.

Posted by: Bagher | May 14, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I have tried to find things to like about Tracee Hamilton, but after months of attempts...nothing!

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

So, hsk3ter6, what's your question?

I doubt Tracee Hamilton could enlight many of people on this blog about anything related to hockey that they don't already know.

I liked the article, Capt_Kirk. Would love to read a response from Campbell or Bettman. Too bad it took such a hard hit on his head for Mitchell to speak out about this.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 14, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

@Capt_Kirk_in_

great article! Something needs to be done about Campbell...NHL discipline needs a makeover.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I read the article - too much of the justice handed out or not handed out has been based on "the record or reputation of the player" and thats the main problem.

I think intentional plays that happen when a player has time to think before he does something dangerous should get the book (20 games+) regardless of who and when.

The split second play that is unfortunate but accidental/careless needs another standard....and then extra punishment for 2nd or 3rd offenses.

It bothers me that David Koci of Colorado got very little discipline for hitting Green and that St. Louis' Janssen got much for hitting Bradley. Then OV got somewhere in the middle for hitting Campbell.

All different circumstances - the Koci one was the most blatant with disregard..the others I felt were hockey plays or ones that the reputation of the player determined handing out greater discipline.

Intentional retaliation is actually (like the kit on Seabrooke by the Anaheim player) are the worst - and none of those hits above qualify for that. The Adams hit on OV would have been suspendable as intentional if they used those guidelines.

Its not fair to pin this all on Colan Campbell - the system was there before he took over - and he has relationships with people in the league yes...but would you want to hire somebody who doesn't understand the game to do the same job?

Almost everyone qualified in hockey knows somebody or already works in the league.....I would suggest AHL President Dave Andrews would be a good fit for the job.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | May 14, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Tracee answered my question...first time mine was chosen...though I don't think she liked it...
Ovechkin Hater
Do you hate Ovechkin, because every time something goes wrong with his teams your headlines read what a complete failure he is. How can you really blame the Olympics on him? That was a Russian failure...not Ovechkin. And to call the round one loss a Captains failing seems very short sighted and unduly harsh. One player is not responsible for an entire team even if they are captain...and he had 10 point in 7 games versus Crosby's 3 points against the same team.
– May 14, 2010 7:03 AMPermalinkA.Tracee Hamilton writes:
Okay, if I agree to admit I was too harsh on Ovechkin will you agree to admit that I've written ONE CRITICAL COLUMN of Ovechkin in 10 months.

Except I wasn't too harsh on Ovechkin. I really do believe that. Yes, the Russian failure was a Russian failure, but please remember I was there and saw those games and he was a complete non-factor.

Crosby played poorly against the Penguins. See the above answer: I'm just not entirely sure that's the only reason they lost, and that has more to do with the Habs than the Pens.

I really don't mind being beaten up over this issue, but I also really do try to be fair. Just because you disagree with a columnist doesn't ALWAYS mean the columnist is wrong.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

This woman Hamilton is the complete bottom of the barrel. She's a twit. Just shows how the Post sports section has gone from an elite destination to a substandard one. And everyone flies the coop as soon as they can. See Kornheiser, Wilbon, LaCanfora, Ivan Carter, etc.

Posted by: poguesmahone | May 14, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"but please remember I was there and saw those games and he was a complete non-factor."

Why don't you ask Jagr if Ovechkin was a non-factor at the Olympics?

Posted by: Capsfan78 | May 14, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I read this today about how Rick Dudley acquired Dan Boyle. It looks like he took advantage of a person thinking that small defenseman are no good.

"Dudley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution a story about when he was the GM in Tampa. He said he had to convince his bosses to acquire Dan Boyle from the Florida Panthers, and the reason he could find a player at such a low price (a fifth-round pick) was because Boyle was in a bad situation. He played for coach Mike Keenan, who didn't like small defensemen, but Dudley thought Boyle could be productive if given the chance.

Of course, he was right and Boyle ended up playing a big role in the Lightning's run to the Stanley Cup in 2004."

Posted by: sgm3 | May 14, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

~Except I wasn't too harsh on Ovechkin. I really do believe that. Yes, the Russian failure was a Russian failure, but please remember I was there and saw those games and he was a complete non-factor.


she must have been watching cross-country skiing or really have no idea about hockey if she said OV wasn't a factor in the olympics. He completely changed the course of the russia-czech game with his hit on Jagr

....probably why I have never read one of her columns

Posted by: _stevo | May 14, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

To quote Tracee, "Who would go if Neuvirth makes it? I suppose Theodore, just because of age if nothing else."

Seriously, can we stop asking Tracee hockey questions? Anybody who gives a damn about hockey is well aware that Theo is a UFA and extremely unlikely to be back with the Caps.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | May 14, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Nobody cares about what Tracee "Hater" Hamilton has to say!!! She should just go away.

Posted by: Firepelosi | May 14, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@yosemite_sam

i was thinking the same thing about that response! Not only is Theo a UFA, but twice now he was pulled in the playoffs (and I REALLY thought he should have started game 6+7) so I doubt the Caps want him AND I really doubt he would want to stay. But I also hope we don't rely on Varly and Nuevy for next season.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Yeah, I was hoping to see Theo in game 6 or 7, but it probably wouldn't have made much difference since Varly was generally good in those games.

But between Varly, Neuvy, and Holtby, I don't think we need to go the veteran goalie route - if we can shore up the D corps a bit and get some better defensive play out of our forwards, that is.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | May 14, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

But I also hope we don't rely on Varly and Nuevy for next season.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

why not??

they already know they can win with them and they are in a unique situation NOT to spend 4, 5 or 6 mil on a goalie unlike most other teams.

this is a great situation for the team. look at all the high priced goalies who have either exited or been sitting on the bench in this year's playoffs. you don't need those goalies to win in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

look at all the high priced goalies who have either exited...this year's playoffs. you don't need those goalies to win in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 12:12 PM

Oh come on. What about Luon...
Ohhh, I see what you mean now.

And I agree, I think we'd be just fine next year with Varly as our #1 and Neuvirth as our #2. Although, I'd probably give Neuvirth a few more starts than a regular back up, if only to keep Varly fresh.

Posted by: Fro_ | May 14, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I am still concerned about Varly injury wise and am not ready to bank on Nuevy...he shows great promise, but is still inconsistent.

On the other hand...knock on wood...I don't think we will have a problem making the playoffs next season and if the goalie situation seems flimsy, we could always make a deadline trade.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree. Veteran goalies are overrated. All you need is a good goalie. Halak is proving that prior postseason experience isn't necessary to perform at a high level.

The salary cap ramifications may be the best reason to play both Varly and Neuvy. Even a low quality veteran goalie is going to cost at least $2M/yr. I think Varly and Neuvy are both under $1M/yr. That will help enable the Caps to acquire better players to fill the holes at 2nd line center and veteran defenseman (volchenkov).

Posted by: sgm3 | May 14, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sj9096 | May 14, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

LOVED the edited part of this paragragh!!!

But just because Sidney is gone from these playoffs, he won't be forgotten. He's sure to appear regularly shooting pucks into a dryer (one wonders if Mrs. Lemieux allows him to take target practice in their basement) or peddling some other product. Just don't expect him to stoop to an appearance on Leno, Letterman, The Daily Show, or anything else that would promote the sport and not a brand that pays him handsomely require him to exhibit an ounce of charisma distract from his preparation for next season.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Tarik > Tracee

What a joke! Get the people who cover the team 24/7 to talk about the team! Not the people who cover the team only come playoff time, what a joke!

+1 for Tarik!!!

Posted by: Semin2828 | May 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

or anything else that would promote the sport and not a brand that pays him handsomely require him to exhibit an ounce of charisma

that part was crossed out in the article...not sure why it didn't stay the same here.

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

haven't you guys heard? Sid's moving outta Mario's house now...

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

i liked this line the most:
"As the tears of Gary Bettman, Pierre McGuire, Michael "Hockey Haunches" Farber and others flood the streets to create a fourth river in Pittsburgh"

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 14, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

Sid's a big kid now! Either that or they had a lovers quarell!

Posted by: capscoach | May 14, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Sid can move back with mommy and daddy for the summer now that his season is OVER!

Posted by: PhilR | May 14, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

By the way, where are all those Penguin fans that were coming on here a week or so ago??

Posted by: PhilR | May 14, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see the stat about all the teams left in the playoffs? Whoever wins will be ending a pretty long drought for their team. It would be the Sharks first in their history. (Should that happen, it came faster than the Caps in a much longer history...boy, that sounds familiar, huh?)

Posted by: richmondphil | May 14, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Have to say I agree with Boswell's comments...the Penguins loss to Montreal has given the Caps their excuses for the summer: "We ran into a hot goaltender, we played great but just couldn't score, look they beat the Penguins too." With 3 games to win 1, I did not see any major adjustments by BB to try to get the Caps offense on track, therefore loss, loss, loss. It seemed as though maybe BB and staff just figured if they waited long enough, the power play would finally get in gear and the goals would come...

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 14, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

this is a great situation for the team. look at all the high priced goalies who have either exited or been sitting on the bench in this year's playoffs. you don't need those goalies to win in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 12:12 PM |

No, but it certainly helps. The problem with teams having such high-paid goalies is that it leaves obvious deficiencies elsewhere in a salary capped league.

I would certainly feel more confident with Miller, Kipper, etc, as my goalie. But in reality, their salary subtracts from either the offense or the defense, which is probably why their teams suffer.

I think Varlamov has shown flashes to rise to that top-tier level, he just needs to not get injured.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 14, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Also, a lot of the times, salary is determined mostly from regular season stats. Some of these higher priced goaltenders seem to not be able to succeed in the playoffs, like Luongo.

Some others, like Vokoun, haven't really been given a chance to show if he can succeed in the playoffs.

I think Varlamov and Neuvrith will be a great tandem to have next year, as long as they can stay healthy.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 14, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

There's no reason not to go with Varly/Neuvy next year with Holtby if an injury. They can get a vet on March 1st if need be. This team should have no problem amassing 100+ pts and sliding into a top 3 seed. That obviously isn't the problem. A guy like Volchenkov would make much more difference unless you could get a goalie like Miller. We need a Volchenkov and a top checking line winger. Trading Flash and maybe even Semin does that. The team only lacks some tenacity on the blueline and a willingness to quit free-wheeling and follow the coach's game plan. Some of that will happen through maturity.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 14, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

There, I was able to fix to my new user ID.

Hot as hades back in FL I imagine but lower 80s and dry here. Worked up a bit of a sweat hiking. It's very pleasant.

When sign Backie?

11 yrs/$71.5M. Do it soon since he's a RFA come July 1 and then someone else sets the salary.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 14, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Caps in the best position in the NHL goaltending wise. They have the two guys they like, cap hit will be less than $2m total.

They do need to sign backie prior to july 1. Some team can offer max just to screw Caps. It will cost more after July 1.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

What about the second line center, Tom? I don't think Belanger is up to the task (if they re-sign him) and I think it would be pushing things to try to slot Johansson there. They need someone with some skill to center Semin - and hopefully some defensive ability too.

Posted by: zmega | May 14, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

World Class Choke by the B's.

Game 7, take 3 give up 4 straight
Series....ditto.

All I can say is WOW!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | May 14, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Capsville Bruins fans. Laviolette actually took a team down 3 goals and made them believe they could still win.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 14, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

That's a worse loss than happened to the Capitals. I wonder what will happen to the Bruins over the summer. What is it, 7th & 8th seeds playing in the ECF and 1st & 2nd seeds playing in the WCF? It's been weird 2010 playoffs so far.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | May 14, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is 2010 is the year of schadenfreude. Thank you Sidney Crosby and thank you Boston Bruins.

Can you imagine being a Bruin fan now? Unbelievable! So embarrassing!

It's actually pretty awful that we had all these upsets. The quality of hockey we are stuck with in the Eastern Conference is shameful. Mediocrities like the Flyers and Canadiens in the semis -- who would have thought?

Posted by: cplcespod | May 14, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

That's a worse loss than happened to the Capitals. I wonder what will happen to the Bruins over the summer. What is it, 7th & 8th seeds playing in the ECF and 1st & 2nd seeds playing in the WCF? It's been weird 2010 playoffs so far.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | May 14, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

*******

Well the Bruins have the 2nd pick in the draft (via Toronto) so they will be alright.

Did you know they have lost 4 game 7's in a row? That more than Capitalesque.

Lets also correct this seeding:

Philadelphia was 15th best of the 16 playoff teams and Montreal was 16th best of the 16 playoff teams.

One of them will play for the Cup.....scary!

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | May 14, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I hate the flyers more than any other team in all of sports but they deserved to win this one. after they got down 3 games to none and 3-0 in Game 7, they didn't panic. they just played their game and made their comeback very methodically.

Most of the credit has to go to the players but a lot of it has to go to Laviolette also. This is only the fourth time a team has made such a comeback in the playoffs of four major sports and not surprisingly 3 of those have come from the SC playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

needless to say such a comeback cannot be made in the NFL so just in the history the NBA, NHL and MLB playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Re: goalies. Yes, Varly and Neuvi would probably be a good tandem for next year, and Holtby is impressive where he is. But is it safe to assume that a veteran goalie would be available at the trade deadline if we need one -- and, that we'd be willing to give up what another team would want in return?

Posted by: miseaujeu | May 14, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

@ miseaujeu

if the flyers can reach the EC finals with Boucher and now Leighton, the Caps will be fine with Varly and Neuvy.

if they can remain healthy, there's no reason to worry about trading for or signing a veteran goalie. all they need to do is win the weakest division in the NHL and not worry about the Prez trophy or anything else.

they need to start playing tougher as a team from the first game of the season and stop worrying about being the most exciting or highest-scoring team in hockey.

Posted by: joek443 | May 14, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

@joek443 I think you and I are thinking along the same lines. My question is about whether it's safe to assume we could make a trade for a goalie is probably more for

@tominfl "There's no reason not to go with Varly/Neuvy next year with Holtby if an injury. They can get a vet on March 1st if need be."

or

@capscoach "if the goalie situation seems flimsy, we could always make a deadline trade."

Posted by: miseaujeu | May 15, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

zmega: Stats based on your comment Belanger "isn't up to second line center."

Over the past few years, when people would say "Kozlov this..." and "Kozlov that..." I would put the stats for top scoring RWs and I would point out that Kozzie would be like 25th in the league for points by a RW - while playing with Ovi and Backie.

Now, with Belanger, here's the research - BMo was #57 in the league for C and belanger #58...yes, that makes both of them bottom tier #2 centers. BMo was 1.5 and Jesse 1.875 and we give Jesse intangibles for faceoffs, defense and PK.

Yes, he's not a 2-line center but at 1.875 for 3-line, checking line center? Good value.

I'm thinking 8-19-28 is still world-class first line. And I wouldn't mind Semin-Perreault-Fehr making the second line.

So now you can have Chimera-Belanger-Laich as checkers. You could also move Semin to put Laich on line #2. Either way, Flash is gone in my book and maybe Semin as they don't give us the value we need. Do you want those two or if they swap out for Volchenkov and a gritty 3-line checker are we better off?

All last summer and all last year I said the two guys we needed were "Ulf Dahlen" and "Mark Tinordi." We got neither at the deadline and we failed again. No team in the history of the league probably won because they had three scoring lines. This team has assets galore but must be re-balanced.

This team can win much easier with MP as #2 center and Volchenkov on D than with a flashy #2 center and pick your pylon on D.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 15, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

that boston-philly game was the epitome of their entire series.

Boston goes up 3-0, then philly scores 4 straight goals to take the game 4-3

just like the series, boston goes up 3-0 and philly wins 4 straight to take the series 4-3

how appropriate.

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | May 15, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

@OVIwankanOVI

I posted something similar on Japers (and on Fear the Fin).

Except I used the word "microcosm" instead as in Game 7 being a microcosm of the playoff series for the Bruins. Up 3, only to lost.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Good post, even with listing Semin on both the first line (as 8-19-28 being world class) and second line (with Fehr and MP), and possible trade bait.

In any case, either Semin or Knuble works as RW with Ovi and Backstrom. Of course, the question is, which combination optimizes our production?

But you're right in that our team does need some tweaks in the defensive front, a Mark Tinordi or Ulf Dahlen type. A fair number of people here propose Volchekov. I personally would like him, if the price tag isn't too ridiculous. Another alternative is Dan Hamhuis.

As for 2nd line center, I agree with you, at least try Perreault there. He appears to be scoring line material and the third line was productive with him centering them.

(So now you have two ID's here.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

In continuation of things:

Agree that Belanger is a good checking line center and good fit for the third line.

Laich, I assume, is on the 2nd line although he works well on the third line. Fehr is on the 3rd line but moves up with injuries. I assume he'll be on the top two lines in 2011-2012.

Flash is probably our most expendable forward at this point. I like the guy but he's the best trade bait for us. It's not that he couldn't have a role with the team but we're loaded in wingers, weaker at center, and need a slightly different mix at defense.

Morrison started off well but ran out of gas. He was a life saver for us in November (when Ovi, Knuble, and Semin were all out.) I assume he's gone after this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This was very interesting! I know it's old, but it takes you behind the scenes of what George McPhee does around the draft. This video made him look like a genius! Claiming Backstrom would be a better pick than Kessel or Staal, while also saving a pick that ended up being Varlamov.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Hy5Dah-vk&feature=related

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | May 15, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Hockey is flawed because chance factors into the game more than any other sport. The pin-balling of the puck, its randomness and unpredictability, is unparalleled in the sports world. Its low scoring nature makes for a situation where a random event can determine the outcome. Sure, puck handling, skating skills, shooting, goaltending factor in but the pin-balling of the puck will always introduce too much chance. In no other sport is the crucial focal point of the game(namely the ball/puck) so out of control.
The only way to mitigate this and to have skill factor more strongly is to base a championship on a larger sampling of games, ie the regular season. In any sport, the best team is the team with the best regular season record. But in hockey, more than any other sport, the frequency of eighth seeds winning renders the regular season meaningless, and the sport flawed. For the sport with the highest degree of chance to also be the sport with the most teams making the playoffs, is absurd.

Posted by: paulcw16 | May 15, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@paulcw16

I agree completely.

However, professional sports are about entertainment, not about determining who is the best team. One of the main reasons playoffs are entertaining because of the possibility of upsets. Not knowing who is going to win makes a game much more exciting. It is the amount of upsets which have people calling the NHL playoffs the best playoffs in sports(unlike the predictable NBA).

Then you throw in the money factor, the #1 reason it will never change.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The only way to mitigate this and to have skill factor more strongly is to base a championship on a larger sampling of games, ie the regular season. In any sport, the best team is the team with the best regular season record. But in hockey, more than any other sport, the frequency of eighth seeds winning renders the regular season meaningless, and the sport flawed. For the sport with the highest degree of chance to also be the sport with the most teams making the playoffs, is absurd.


Posted by: paulcw16 | May 15, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

now that is ABSURD. that's why they play best of 7... it's NOT a single game elimination tournament.

just because the Caps can't figure out what it takes to win in the playoffs, doesnt' mean the whole system is somehow flawed.

if you can't beat a team 4 outta 7 times, you're NOT better than the other team and don't deserve to go any further.

Posted by: joek443 | May 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

another reason the playoffs are the better measure of a team is the fact that if you play the same team up to 7 times in two weeks... which means whatever weakness you have will be exploited much more than when you face them in a regular season game.

you don't scout other teams in the regular season as you do in the playoffs... you play 4 or 5 different teams in any given two week period during the season. in the playoffs all you focus on is one team for up to 2 weeks.

Posted by: joek443 | May 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@paulcw16 & sgm3 and others,

In continuing the debate on chanciness in hockey.

This week one of my co-workers, who's a big baseball fan, mentioned that fact about the regular season being so meaningless in hockey unlike in baseball and said he meant "no offense" to me. Then again, I'm pretty annoyed myself about how meaningless the regular season seems to be in hockey and said "tell me about it". I was actually a baseball fan before being a hockey fan and baseball usually took priority for me, until Ovi and company came along.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

If the Caps were going to acquire a 2nd line center I think it would be in the mode of a 2 way center such as Plekanec.

A guy with good offense, but is a top notch penalty killer, great defensively, and a good faceoff man.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

question...all your comments are so negative...why don't you find another team that will bring you joy? Don't get me wrong...lots of your comments are insightful whether I agree with them or not, but they are so overwhelmingly negative. I was as frustrated as anyone over the 1st rond loss, but that doesn't mean this team is horrible. Lots of teams have upsets and while it is unfortunate, we are no better or worse than any other team in the league...in my opinion at least.
Go Caps!!

Posted by: capscoach | May 15, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

7 games is stiil a small sample size where chanciness can play a big part of success. Randomness is a lot more likely to be one sided than over 82 in which it usually evens out.

I'm not saying this in regards to the Caps/Habs series or any particular NHL series. This is just a point about the NHL playoffs in general.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

7 games is certainly a better test for a team in hockey than one game. But it's still a small sample size as you pointed out.

And that's not just the case in hockey. It's that way in baseball, as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@ capscoach

don't confuse me with the cstanton1's on here... I was plenty positive about this team during the season.

there's NOTHING to be positive about the way the season ended. I said before the season that this team needed to be near top ten in both PK and defense in order to have success in the playoffs.

then I got hyped up about all this high scoring offense and started to believe that they could win the cup this year. I had MANY arguments and fights with guys like cstanton1 who to his credit never wavered his view about this team even during the long winning streak.

you know what? guys like him were right.

I've lived in the area for almost 30 years and they are my team. I'm not one of those people who have 2 or 3 favorite teams in the same sport.

Posted by: joek443 | May 15, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

you don't play the same team for 7 straight games during the season. the most you play is a back to back series.

the biggest problem for this team during the season is the weak division that they're in. they don't get tested enough within the division and I really hope that carolina and tampa are much better next year. as long as they're the only team making the playoffs from the division, they're gonna have problems in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 15, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree about the playing teams for 7 consecutive times.

But I disagree with the division argument. Washington played 24 games against the SE teams. Other Eastern Conference teams played 16. But then you have to throw in the Maple Leafs and Islanders into the mix (just as bad, if not worse than the other SE teams).

Washington played 32 games against SE teams plues the maple leafs and Islanders.

Other eastern teams played 26 games against those teams.

That is 7% more games against "easy" teams. Not that much of a difference over an 82 game season.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

I agree. However, I do think there is a little more randomness in hockey than in baseball(puck deflections). Just the nature of the game. But baseball definitely has its randomness also.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

You're right, in that there are more random deflections in hockey than in baseball.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Just saw Varlamov make a big save for Team Russia.

Russia v. Germany on www.atdhe.net right now. It's in the middle of period 2 as I write. Check it out! Russia is up 2-0 so far.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin just scored. He was pretty much left alone in the slot, so it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Still, a nice shot. Russia up 3-1.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Reports are that the Russians won 3-2. From what I heard on Japers, the Russians were doing too much passing and not enough defense. (Gee, doesn't that sound familiar.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I have heard Bruce say that home ice advantage is really most utilized for Game 7. If that is the case, then why have 8 of the last 10 Game 7s been won by the road team? Why even try to do well in the regular season if it is a disadvantage to be at home?

Posted by: mja712 | May 15, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Hockey is flawed because chance factors into the game more than any other sport. ...
The only way to mitigate this and to have skill factor more strongly is to base a championship on a larger sampling of games, ie the regular season.
...
But in hockey, more than any other sport, the frequency of eighth seeds winning renders the regular season meaningless, and the sport flawed. For the sport with the highest degree of chance to also be the sport with the most teams making the playoffs, is absurd.
Posted by: paulcw16 | May 15, 2010 12:12 PM |

I choose to think about the NHL differently than I guess you're "supposed" to. I think the Presidents' Trophy actually means something in and of itself, above and beyond the fact that it signifies home-ice throughout the playoffs. I look at the playoffs like a separate tournament. They are two different animals, I enjoy them both, and I choose to believe that neither of them are essentially pointless.

Seedings for any tournament have to be determined somehow or other--but I don't really understand the point of view that says that the only point of playing 82 games for 6 months is just to determine (a) whether you suck bad enough to not be amongst the top 16, and (b) if you don't suck that bad, then where you are going to be seeded.

The NHL, before the Presidents' Trophy was invented, used to allow the best team in the regular season to call itself "NHL League Champions." This, in my head, is what the Capitals are. Here's an example of one such banner: http://www.classicauctions.net/Default.aspx?tabid=263&auctionid=23&lotid=4

One quibble, though. I will put it in my next post.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

When you say eighth seeds win frequently, I know you're not talking about winning the Stanley Cup. In the 29 seasons since 1980 when the number of playoff teams was increased to 16, no team that was either sixth-, seventh-, or eighth-best in its conference has won a Stanley Cup.

It breaks down like this (and I'm not thinking about any kind of bonus seeding for winning a division, or really any kind of seeding at all--just talking about which teams had which records during the regular season, with ties in points being broken by most wins and then the other normal NHL tiebreaking procedures).

Frequency of Cup-winning by conference rank since 1980:

#1 - 41.38%
#2 - 27.59%
#3 - 10.34%
#4 - 13.79%
#5 - 6.9%
#6 - 0%
#7 - 0%
#8 - 0%

Frequency of Cup-winning by league rank:

#1 - 34.48%
#2 - 10.34%
#3 - 6.9%
#4 - 13.79%
#5 - 10.34%
#6 - 10.34%
#7 - 6.9%
#8 - 3.45%
#9 - 3.45%

I haven't double-checked these numbers, so I might have made like one mistake somewhere. But, it's clear that lower-ranked teams really suck at winning Cups.

For finals losers, I think it's a different story though. I will say more about finals losers shortly.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Russia could have easily flattened Germany 8-0 or more if they tried, but Russia plays Denmark less than 24hours from now, they coasted out there so they wouldnt be tired for that game. Normally Denmark is no challenge, but they surprisingly beat Slovakia 6-0 and had the day off today. Malkin & Gonchar havent played since the first round of the playoffs :) so look for Russia to sub 2 tired players out of the lineup for them. Also, look for a tired German team to lose to Belarus tomorrow as a direct consequence of running around too much today.

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | May 15, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Finals losers since 1980 when the league started allowing 16 teams in the playoffs stack up as follows.

Frequency of finals-losing teams since 1980 by conference rank:

#1 - 31.03%
#2 - 17.24%
#3 - 10.34%
#4 - 10.34%
#5 - 3.45%
#6 - 10.34%
#7 - 13.79%
#8 - 3.45%

Frequency of finals-losing teams since 1980 by league rank:

#1 - 13.79%
#2 - 10.34%
#3 - 10.34%
#4 - 10.34%
#5 - 0%
#6 - 6.9%
#7 - 3.45%
#8 - 10.34%
#9 - 6.9%
#10 - 0%
#11 - 10.34%
#12 - 3.45%
#13 - 0%
#14 - 6.9%
#15 - 0%
#16 - 6.9%

Again, this is just rank during regular season I'm talking about. In a couple of cases, a finals-losing team actually had a worse record than a team that didn't even make the playoffs. Not 100% sure how often this happened, but I think it was just the two times that 16th best teams made the finals--each time I think they were actually the 15th seed in the playoffs.

Anyway, if by "winning" you're talking about merely making it to the finals, it does seem to happen a lot to low-ranked teams. But they rarely, or never, win the Cup, depending on how low you're talking about, at least so far.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

I think those numbers go to support what he was saying. The regular season, since it is so many games, does determine who the better teams are, and a better team is more likely to win the SC than a worse team.

In the playoffs, the better teams will generally win. It is not equal. But the randomness of hockey combined with parity combined with home ice almost being meaningless means that a worse team might still have a 40% chance of winning a series.

For one single series that means a worse team would advance 4 out of 10 times. Statistically, that is not that bad of a chance.

With home ice advantage being meanginless a team does not get a distinct advantage if they finish at the top of the conference. Playing the teams that aren't as good is about the only advantage.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

If you're just talking about winning series, sure I'll go with the notion that lower-ranked teams win too much. And when a bad team wins a series, they present less of a challenge in the next round, and so on, making us less sure about whether the Cup-winner really deserves the honor.

If you're trying to say the playoffs tournaments rarely result in the elite teams winning the Cup, that's a different story.

One of the reasons I do look at the Presidents' Trophy like a real title in and of itself, and at the playoffs like a separate tournament, is that very reason though--hockey has a lot of randomness.

After 82 games, if you win the Presidents' Trophy, you can make a decent case that you were the best team that year. After four playoffs series, 16 to 28 games against just four teams, some of whom aren't necessarily the best opposition, it's much harder to make that case (unless of course you also won the Presidents' Trophy).

Of course, things would be better still if regular season schedules were perfectly balanced (so that you played all of the other teams the same number of times). But it's good enough, as is, for me, especially now that we're not playing divisionmates a million times apiece each year.

I still think the Capitals were the champions of the regular season, and got beat mostly by the randomness of hockey in the playoffs (plus a good goalie, a good PK, and a myriad of other small factors and failings). Because of the imbalanced schedule, of course you can still argue the Sharks were, or the Hawks, who won their season series against the Sharks and lost the conference by a point. It's not perfect. But it's better than the playoffs, and I still celebrate this, the first time the Capitals ever finished with the best record.

As far as the intensity level, though--the fact that the teams and players find the Cup so meaningful does seem to amp things up a bit, which tends to make for more entertaining viewing. Plus the overtime rules in the playoffs are very excellent compared to those in the regular season, y'know, potentially infinite sudden death. Both regular season and playoffs have their merits and demerits. I like both of them, but view them as separate animals.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm saying you could still argue the Hawks or the Sharks were the best team during the regular season. (It sounded like I was saying that you could argue that they won the Presidents' Trophy, which is silly). But, regardless of that, I will always celebrate and will always remember the Caps' regular season championship this year, no matter what anyone says, despite the not being able to figure out how to beat one particular team more than three times out of seven in the playoffs.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 15, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I follow sports like hockey and baseball BECAUSE there is a possibility of random events changing the outcomes. As they say "that's why they play the games."

There's a way to take randomness out of the equation -- and that's run computer simulations. It should be possible to construct an algorithm that would account for variables such as injuries, trades, ice conditions, travel issues, coaching changes and so on and so forth. Such an algorithm could also eliminate any bias associated with match ups or divisions, and with enough tweaking, could also deal with officiating variations.

Of course, by the time we're done, the news will go on a science page rather than a sports page...but at least the sports wouldn't be flawed (sarcasm intended.)

Posted by: miseaujeu | May 15, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

I pretty much agree with everything you said there. We are on the same wavelength.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@miseaujeu

No one is promoting changing anything. Just pointing out facts. That's all.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: The only way to afford Plekanec's sure to be $5M salary is to move someone like Semin. And, if we moved Semin, I'd rather get Volchenkov on D than go for a top #2 center. The Caps right now have too much salary on forwards and not enough for defense and goalies. We are like a navy with lots of battleships but not so much in anti-sub weapons to stop them from pummelling our battleships. You look at the way the US constructs the military and it's designed to ensure victory over a weaker opponent. You want to have just enough of all facets of the game so you remove the "randomness of chance" from the equation. The Caps are unbalanced with regards to the amount of offensive firepower as opposed to defense. When your military is thusly constructed, you open the door so that the randomness of chance (a "lucky bounce") can see a weaker opponent (rated by strength of individual pieces) defeat a superior one.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 15, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

One thing about the playoffs is you can do things to give the higher seeds some advantage more than a 4-3 home ice edge. Look at football. The top two seeds get a week off and than a home game in a best of one. And basketball. The playoffs are same format as hockey except that the best players for each team generally play almost the whole game.

Hockey is unique due to the seedings and the goalie. The only player in the other major NA sports similar to the goalie would be the pitcher in baseball, but the most a starter will ever pitch is a best of 7 series is three games out of 7. One hot goalie can obliterate an entire year's worth of great play.

The top 2 or 3 seeds in hockey should get more of an advantage in the Playoffs, I just don't know what would be right.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 15, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I agree with you that getting a top tier D man like Volchenkov is priority #1.

I haven't worked out the entire salary structure and what would need to be done, but I was saying acquiring a Plekanec type player. Due to his presence as a UFA, you are right, he will make too much to be a Cap.

But I would think there could be trade possibilities for a 2nd line center of similar quality but maybe a lower salary at this point in time. I would be up for trading Flash and possible draft picks, prospects, roster players for that 2nd line center.

Maybe an option to free salary space would be to have an AHL propsect replace Bradley. This isn't a criticism of Bradley. I think he is a very good player whp serves a valuable role, but with the salary cap you have to make cuts. Could that role be filled by an energetic young player from Hershey such as Pinzotto, A. Gordon, Beagle? I don't know the answer to that. Maybe one of those prospects can also fill a role as the 3rd or 4th line LW (whichever Chimera isn't on). Now might be the time to use that Hershey depth to limit the salary cap space to add a top defenseman and a quality 2nd line center.

I do like the idea of MP and Belanger being centers on the team (assuming Belanger can be re-signed for less than $2M/yr). That would mean letting B. Gordon walk and even possibly Steckel.

I like both of them but they may make too much money for the role they play.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 15, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

You raise some interesting possibilities on who to trade and how to replace some of our assets.

Would personally like to see us get Volchenkov (who I refer to as Vulture and who I've heard referred to as A Train on other blogs).

Someone on Japers raised the possibility that the Vulture would probably require a really long expensive contract and thinks he'd probably be worth it for the 1st couple of years and then be an albatross contract after that. (I hope we wouldn't need to sign him to a super long term.)

Think Flash is the most logical person to trade away although I like the guy myself.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Trading Bradley saves only pennies as he makes only $1M.

I don't have the spreadsheet w/me to publish but there was like only $820K of room with Fehr and Schultz around $2M, Backie at $6.5M and Flash I think at $3.3M. Plekanec I'm sorry doesn't fit.

You can fit Volchenkov by trading Flash and Poti. If you sign Volchenkov long term, he only fits beyond next year if Semin isn't in the equation.

I believe Volchenkov at $5M/yr gives the Caps much better balance then Semin at $6M+. My navy battleship example works here. You need AC, destroyers, fighter jets, subs and small support craft or else your battleships will be nothing more than tin cans to be picked off by a much smaller navy.

See: Battle of Falkland Islands.

The Caps have more talent than probably any team at the league but it's concentrated at wing. No team has ever won the Cup I'll bet because they had the league's best LWers. If this were a fantasy team and you were the owner, what would you do?

You'd balance it out.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 15, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

This year's Eastern Conference finals, with the seventh and eighth seeds, is perhaps the worst ever in terms of quality of the teams. And has there ever been stronger evidence that the NHL regular season is completely irrelvent?

Posted by: poguesmahone | May 16, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Went to Bears game last night. Easily the worst officiated game I've ever seen, and game got pretty close to out of control. Neuvy looked good, and Carlson was clearly the fastest player on the ice with the best rink vision. Bears power play was anemic, Manchester goalie was getting to nearly everything - it was a bit too deja vu. Bears did win in overtime on a Bourque goal that may have gone into a dislodged net.
It was an effective methadone fix for my Caps withdrawal symptoms.

Posted by: bluejeener1 | May 16, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I think it all starts with trading Semin and Flash. I like Flash but I would rather have a guy like Fehr back if I had to choose. Fehr is an all-around better hockey player than Flash. Flash is a scorer and if he isn't on(like the playoffs) than he is worthless to this team. I think we could add a 2nd line center or top-flight defenseman or even a very good winger that isn't as expensive as Semin. I think Semin needs to be traded.

Another topic, the goalie situation. I think it is nice that we have Neuvy and Varly but we might need a vet. It is always nice to have a veteran around to tutor the young guys. I know Irbe is kind of like having a vet goalie but I think it would be nice to have a vet goalie to turn to if the young guys struggle. This could also be acquired at the deadline but you could get a guy like Nabokov or Turko.

Any thoughts? Just rambling because I am interested to see what happens this offseason.

NOTE: The Cavs have the best record in the NBA and lose in the 2ND ROUND(NOT THE FIRST ROUND LIKE THE CAPITALS) and they are going to fire their coach. I guess McPhee is going to give Boudreau another couple years to losee in the playoffs before we fire him.

Posted by: capsfan5252 | May 16, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hershey bears up 2-0 in series, i was at the game last night, drive two hours to watch some hockey but it was worth it, i hope some players such as carlson, alzer, perreault borque among others get a shot on the caps next year but the game was horrible officiating at its best, i felt like i didnt know what a penalty was

Posted by: skinsst21 | May 16, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Tracee Hamiliton has as much to offer about the Caps or hockey in general as I do about the future of NASA.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | May 16, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

1. http://www.smalltrade.net
2. Jame shoes $40
3. Air jordan(1-24)shoes $33
4. Jordan Spizike shoes $35
5. Jordan 2010 shoes $40
6. Nike shox(R4,NZ,OZ,TL1,TL2,TL3) $35
7. Handbags(Coach lv fendi d&g) $35
8. Tshirts (ed hardy,lacoste) $16
9. AF tshirt $25
10. Jean(True Religion,VERSACE,coogi) $30
11. Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $16
12. New era cap $15
13. FREE sHIPPING
14. http://www.smalltrade.net

Posted by: itkonlyyou59 | May 16, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company