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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Capitals find little to apply toward next game against Sharks

By Gene Wang

The Washington Capitals play San Jose so rarely that last night's game figured to yield at least a couple of useful nuggets for the next go-around against the Sharks. Problem was, Washington performed so poorly in a 2-0 loss that several players were nearly speechless when asked what could be applied to the next meeting in nine days in San Jose.

"I don't know. I didn't learn much tonight," forward Matt Hendricks said.

"No, not much," defenseman Scott Hannan said.

Such succinct responses reflected the predictably dour mood in the locker room just minutes after Washington's two-game winning streak ended. It also was the Capitals' 13th loss in 14 games to San Jose, which was the No. 1 seed in the last season's Western Conference playoffs and finished with the second most points in the NHL behind Washington.

After stopping the first 34 shots he faced, Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth allowed two goals on two shots in the third period, and his teammates were unable to recoup that deficit. But listening to Coach Bruce Boudreau and the players tell it, the game was veering toward an unfavorable outcome well before that stage of the third period.

The reason was simple. Washington failed to execute the dump-and-chase strategy that had provided the club with a modest win streak entering last night. The Capitals had beaten Southeast Division leader Tampa Bay, 5-2, on Thursday and arch nemesis Pittsburgh, 3-0, on Sunday by doing just that, and those wins appeared to have Washington heading in the right direction.

"We didn't stick to our game plan at all," center Mathieu Perreault said. "We didn't play like we did the last two games. We were a sharp team the last two games. Tonight we had nothing, I felt."

The Sharks, meantime, continued to flourish, winning for the eighth time in nine games. They also moved into the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference, one point behind current No. 3 seed Dallas and six in back of Detroit. Vancouver appears all but assured the No. 1 seed with 79 points, the most in the league.

The Capitals draw San Jose again on Feb. 17 at HP Pavilion, where the Sharks are 13-10-3.

"There's a lot of things we can do better, that we have done better in the last week, than we did tonight," Boudreau said. "So consistency is the main thing with us."

By Gene Wang  | February 9, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  San Jose Sharks  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Michal Neuvirth was sterling in goal -- for 51 minutes
Next: Alexander Semin's return yields mixed results

Comments

My analysis of the Caps woes is as follows: we've got highly skilled, finesse players who are now being coached to play a grinder's game.

Either get rid of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, and Green, and get more Matt Bradleys and Boyd Gordons, or go back to the successful style of play of the last three years and coach the team to play a more physical game on defense. We'll never make it past the first round of the playoffs if we can't score goals.

Posted by: DDheartsCaps | February 9, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Betteroff's thought on the last thread. The last two games have a great example of what I like to call good idea, bad idea. In both games we had a goal waived off and in the Pittsburgh game we also were shorthanded because of the poor call. How did we respond? Shortie to get it back anyway. Yesterday we have one that at no point was there even a question that it would count and what do we do? Nothing, we don't shoot more from bad angles hoping for another one we continue to have the puck in the slot and pass it toward the wall, I counted it happening at least 10 times last night. The Sharks just kept shooting and waiting for Neuvy to make a mistake and sure enough it happened. And what did we do after the first goal? We came out with our worst shift of the night and gave up another one quick to make sure we weren't coming back.

What concerns me most is the guys saying they didn't learn anything from last night. How about you have to get more then 4-5 shots a period? Or if you keep shooting eventually good things will happen? Nope, no learning and no progress.

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 9, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Perreault ought to keep the second line center position...in Hershey! That NHL experiment has failed and he may have played himself out of trade bait. What a stinker last night, by everyone! That was like watching a retiree ballet...put the Verizon Center to sleep. They look like the average team that they are that occasionally plays above their heads.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

My take on one of the major problems on the Caps----OVIE

Ever since the Olympics he has not been the same. He still can't adjust to the adjustments the opposition Ds have made to his style of play. In addition, it seems that he can't do the following simple tasks:
1---pass
2---shoot
3---receive a pass
4---skate with the puck

More & more he reminds me of Yashin & Depetrio

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

The difference in last night's game was San Jose got the puck, on both goals, to between the dots in front of the goal for a clean shot, while the Caps kept trying to pass or skate to that area and just couldn't get it done. I found it to be a tight but very entertaining game.

I don't blame Neuvirth - he played well. If the guys in front you don't score, the best result you can get as a goalie is a tie.

Posted by: sjshanno | February 9, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Not trying to argue, just pointing out the ridiculousness of the belief that a coach can ENSURE the players play exactly how he wants them.

Unless it is a video game and the coach has a controller that controls the players movement or unless a coach has Jedi mind tricks that he uses to control each and every player movement, no person has control of a player's actions.

Could a coach help encourage more or perform different actions to maybe better the chances the player does exactly as he wants? Sure.

But a player control his body movement at all times. He is the one that decides to dump or not dump the puck in. If you shorten the bench that does NOT ensure anything. I think it would be fine to try shortening the bench but to believe that shortening the bench ENSURES anything is foolish.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh is not in the Southeast. What is this, a joke?

Posted by: CalleJoFan | February 9, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Did people see the Ovie interview with him and PL on RMNB?
---

"PL – Should the NHL switch to the bigger ice surface to avoid such an avalanche of injuries?

AO – I disagree. That would lead to a less spectacular game. Yes, there are a lot of injuries, but that’s because it’s a man’s game. Everybody is fighting to make the playoffs. What’s the alternative, skate around empty ice, like ballerinas?

PL – So, injuries are the price for entertainment?

AO – I do not want the NHL game to become less physical. Then we may as well go play in China. Have a normal tournament there, everybody will stay healthy. Or you can make a career playing in a beer league.

Everybody takes risks here in every game. If Cooke was more precise, he would have shattered my knee. In hockey, you are not guaranteed anything."

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

What concerns me most is the guys saying they didn't learn anything from last night. How about you have to get more then 4-5 shots a period? Or if you keep shooting eventually good things will happen? Nope, no learning and no progress.

Posted by: icehammer97

I actually took those comments in a better way...the Caps were beyond dissapointed with themselves (good thing) there really was nothing to learn from that game...they already know what to do...they just didn't do it. Had they played the right way and still lost, then there would be something to learn from...that game last night was bogus. Nobody did what they were supposed to. My friend was watching the game with me and I just say...who is this team and what have they done with the caps.

They acted like they had no game plan and had never played with their linemates before in their life...but at least they seem as angry at themselves as I am of them

Posted by: capscoach | February 9, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This story reads like cut and paste. Same outcome, same questions, same quotes. "Not full 60 mins..." "Didn't go to the net..." "Tried to be real cute..."

Katie, where are the tough questions? What about WHIFFGATE? Ovi missed on another wide open shot last night and continues to skate around as if in a fog. Why isn't that being dug into?

And what about McPhee storming out of the locker room last week? Is there an explanation?

Give me his cell phone number. I'll call him.

On another subject, I thought it was terrible Boudreau's quotes on Neuvirth. The Baby Bird has won us more games this year with his play than any other player Would be better to throw Ovechkin under the bus because Ovi would miss!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

This story reads like cut and paste. Same outcome, same questions, same quotes. "Not full 60 mins..." "Didn't go to the net..." "Tried to be real cute..."

Posted by: tominsocal1

All true, but the thing is that this is the exact same thing that comes out of each and every NHL locker room after a loss.

Before the Caps(and BB) were an anomaly in how they spoke to the press after losses in that they often gave their honest opinions. But they were greatly criticized for what they said so now they changed to what everyone NHL team says after a loss. The same boring, pointless mush that means nothing.

I know you have heard Crosby speak after a loss. It is the exact same thing no matter what happened in the game. It is basically a speech that was written to use on those occassions. And basically every NHL player uses it.

This has been going on for many years now. It sucks as a fan because it isn't entertaining, but it is said because you can't really criticize what was said(i.e. "we need to battle" "we need to get to the net" "we need to play a full 60"). It's NHL speak.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

It is getting beyond tough to root for this team. I have been a Caps fan for 26 years, and this is the most frustrating it has ever been.

Wake up Ted. Fix this mess.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

If Chimera is a 1st Liner why doesn't he play on the PP? lol.

Posted by: Witter | February 9, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm getting pretty sick of BB and his act. I have never seen a coach play favorites with his players so much in my life. He would have NEVER thrown varly under the bus like he did with neuvy

Posted by: _stevo | February 9, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

OK not shocked...pretty much saw this coming as soon as Semin went in lineup for first time in weeks and Green didnt play.

Good thing is the attitude in that dressing room makes me think that to a man they do know why they lost.

Would be nice if the team could make significant in game adjustments - like that was a 0-0 affair and they had to open up to avoid losing 0-2 or in a shootout.

Last year when the team got behind they found a way to fight through and make a comeback.

The road trip(s) will be good for these guys..and will answer questions for us - like do we really have a shot in any playoff series.

Atleast we will all know what to expect.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@Stevo.

Amen. A couple bad goals, but that may happen when you are worn out and mentally tired from facing 50 shots. 2 goals against wouldn't matter if you score 3!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 9, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

My analysis of the Caps woes is as follows: we've got highly skilled, finesse players who are now being coached to play a grinder's game.

Either get rid of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, and Green, and get more Matt Bradleys and Boyd Gordons, or go back to the successful style of play of the last three years and coach the team to play a more physical game on defense. We'll never make it past the first round of the playoffs if we can't score goals.

Posted by: DDheartsCaps | February 9, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse
================
Great post and you are right on the money. The Caps will need some rebuilding if they want to go back to the Hanlon days with this system. The Caps remind me of when Hanlon was coaching them now, where they played more of a grinding game, before BB came in and told them to be aggressive. So now we go back to the future and expect different results.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I also did not think it was right of BB to throw Neuvy under the bus. Neuvy played well that game. It was loss due to the poor play of basically every player on the ice except for MJ(who I thought played another strong game).

Posted by: sgm3 | February 9, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

@Steveo

I said the same thing last night. Its pretty sad that he'd do it. The 18 guys in front of the goalie have to show up for him to have a chance. If it wasnt for Neuvy it would be 5-0 last night. That being said the 2 goals he let in, he could have had, and he'd tell you that. But he's definitely not close to being the reason why they lost.

Posted by: ThePat | February 9, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

underpants2
Agreed, but me for 37 years. Actually make that 38 as I greatly anticipated their play as soon as DC was awarded a franchise.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

BB makes bad decisions about who gets ice time. This team is chock full of poo-boys (28,39,27,55,85,21) and yet when the chips are down and toughness/grinding is needed, FatBoy gives of the lightweights the ice time. The last five minutes of the game last night needed guys banging in front of the net. But what happens: OV shooting from outside the circles, Carlzner making stupid passes or not clearing the puck, Steckel getting pummeled.

Maddening. What is almost more maddening are the brainiacs on this blog that want to trade the very guys that work as a team and bust their humps night in and night out (10,15,22). These are the guys that work the cycle, go to the net and work the corners/boards. Exactly what the Caps need MORE of!! GEEZ!!!

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman & no underpants...you have been a fan of the Caps that many years and this is the most disappointing? really?

Posted by: boomer44 | February 9, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

All you donks moaning about a change in offensive scheme should have caught Craig Laughlin on the Sports Junkies this morning. What he said was that the Caps offensive scheme really hasn't changed. The difference is (in Locker's opinion) is that the team is not executing. I would add to that that others NHL teams have tightened up on how they play the Caps. The point is that their is no going back to the mythical offense of the past. The overpaid babies that are the "young Guns" need to play up to the big salaries they are collecting. 3rd and 4th line guys are doing their part.

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman & no underpants...you have been a fan of the Caps that many years and this is the most disappointing? really?

Posted by: boomer44 | February 9, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I actually said frustrated.

Posted by: underpants2 | February 9, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman

Your take on the Caps problem is 1/4 correct. Obviously, if Ovie were scoring goals at the pace he was in previous years they would be scoring more goals, hence, winning a few more of the close games.

The rest of your assesment is dead wrong. He's one of few players that skates hard every shift and is physical. He's actually passing the puck ALOT more than he ever has but the guys aren't finishing for whatever reason. Don't know why. He also is skating with the puck, always has, while being double teamed. Although, he is getting alot of his shots blocked but his adjustment seems to be coming along.

Watch the games. Don't comment based on the box score or losses. Again, as fans (not bandwagoners)we need to be patient--it's frustrating to see them not win every game but it's not like they're in last place or been eliminated from the playoffs. They're playing better now and more importantly, playing good defense. The goals will come--hopefully, in the playoffs when it actually counts. In the end, if we were so smart about plays, acquisitions, salaries (Cap space), we would be employed by one of the teams.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 9, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

jtorre9:

if you watch the games at the Phone Booth, you might second guess your post (..skates hard every shift...).

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

In the end, if we were so smart about plays, acquisitions, salaries (Cap space), we would be employed by one of the teams.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 9, 2011 10:56 AM

Not true. In the case of some of us, couldn't take the cut in pay.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 9, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

After watching the Caps debacle last night I switched over to the Net for the Kootenay Ice game to get some relief. What a pleasure it was to listen to the play of Caps prospect Cody Eakin.

In between periods the Ice play by play team described Eakin as a "home run hitter" for them so far. With the Ice down 2-1 his shorthanded goal was called the turning point to tie the game early in the second period. The goal, high to the glove side, was called "unbelievable" by them. In the previous game, when Cody was the First Star, he scored shorthanded the fastest goal in Kootenay Ice history to start a period.

Last night Cody was the third star with a goal and two assists for a plus 2 in the 7-4 Ice win. Cody now has 7 goals (3 shorties) and 9 assists for a plus +8 in only 9 games for the Ice.

Posted by: dull | February 9, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

jtorre9

I think that you need to reread my post. I didn't say anything about Ovi not playing hard (physical) or not skating with the puck. I did say that he constantly loses the puck through mishandling of the puck either when he is skating with it or trying to receive a pass or trying to complete a pass. It is you who need to watch the game. I sit there & wonder each time he handles the puck how he is going to screw it up. Make a real effort to concentrate on this next game.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

boomer44

I guess after so many years of disappointment, I was pretty much resigned to the Caps never doing anything significant---UNTIL last year. At that time, I thought that finally it was their time. This even after their meltdown in the Mont. series. Now this, yea probably the most disappointing.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I started to write a comment last night immediately after the game but didn't because I was too negative. GMGM packs the team with quality offensive players, but constantly seeks defensive help. BB installs a defensive system without having the defensive talent to do so. In so doing, he makes the players play a system that turns OV into a buffoon, slows down Backie and turns a goal scoring machine into a coffee grinder. In football when quality players can't be made to execute, the coach gets the axe. Okay, I get it now: all we need is Hadeed to clean up this mess. I knew there was a hidden message in that commercial! Dance anyone? That must be a big can of beer that BB wants to put in the "cup holder", eh?
Rock the Red, Unleash the Fury, what's next Two to Tango? See, I'm not so negative this morning!

Posted by: Jrlobo | February 9, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

@sidehillman
Maybe your message was misinterpreted but this is what you wrote, so I took it the way I did:

My take on one of the major problems on the Caps----OVIE
In addition, it seems that he can't do the following simple tasks:
1---pass
2---shoot
3---receive a pass
4---skate with the puck
More & more he reminds me of Yashin & Depetrio

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 9:21 AM

I actually watch EVERY game. Have done so for the past 23-years. If I can't watch it live, I record it. You're right, he loses the puck quite a bit because he's either moving too fast, its poke checked or his stick breaks. I think he's still good at taking it thru the neutral zone or skating it in the offensive zone himself, if not, he passes it off. This, is not what you said. Although, this season he seems to be pressing a little bit so you're right, he's not receiving the passes as well as he used to.

The major problem like you did say is adjusting to the double team's. I believe he'll get there--he's too talented. I do think he plays hard (on most shifts) and set's an example for the rest of the team. He's just not scoring ALL the goals like we've grown accustomed to.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 9, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Quote: "We didn't stick to our game plan at all," center Mathieu Perreault said.
=======================================

The big question buzzing around inside my brain right now is...WHY NOT?!?

Posted by: AmyS1 | February 9, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

jtorre9

I think we are not too far from agreement. I stand by what I said in general, I am not saying that he won't adjust & regain some of his control. I think that his play as I described it is more a matter of him trying too hard. At no time would I suggest that he is not trying---very hard.
I too have been watching the Caps for many years---37 to be exact. Of course, most of the ones I saw in the early years were live as there was little tv coverage.

Posted by: sidehillman | February 9, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

@underpants...my mistake, but I don't believe the team is a"mess" , they are still a very good team, and could peak coming down the stretch...last year may have been an anomaly, probably the best regular season ever by a Caps team, so we may never see those kinds of goals and wins, but I will take playoff success any day

Posted by: boomer44 | February 9, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@sidehillman...last year was a freak type of year, but hopefully this years Playoffs will end on a higher note

Posted by: boomer44 | February 9, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

All you donks moaning about a change in offensive scheme should have caught Craig Laughlin on the Sports Junkies this morning. What he said was that the Caps offensive scheme really hasn't changed. The difference is (in Locker's opinion) is that the team is not executing. I would add to that that others NHL teams have tightened up on how they play the Caps. The point is that their is no going back to the mythical offense of the past. The overpaid babies that are the "young Guns" need to play up to the big salaries they are collecting. 3rd and 4th line guys are doing their part.

Posted by: doughless | February 9, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse
================
I listened to Craig and what he actually said was the main thing is that the Caps aren't executing, not that the system had not changed.

As much as I hate the system, as long as the Caps had their PP going, they would win alot of games. I happen to believe the funk at the PP is a side effect of this cautious defensive system.

I agree there is more than just the system at play here. They primary scorers are all playing below their abilities as well. Some of this can be attributed to the system however and some just their own play.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 9, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Bruce is a putz

Posted by: hlalor | February 9, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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