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Posted at 8:33 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Scott Hannan steps into a leadership role for Capitals

By Katie Carrera

Scott Hannan didn't come to Washington necessarily expecting to be an off-ice leader, but after 30 games with the Capitals this season, that's the way his teammates see the veteran defenseman. He is arguably the team's most vocal player on the ice and possibly off it as well; when the team put forth an unacceptable effort against Los Angeles this past Saturday he got things started in the players-only meeting.

Players declined to discuss the specifics of the meeting but it's safe to say it centered on accountability, consistency and the ability to follow things through. One thing that's immediately noticeable after a few conversations with Hannan is that he puts a premium on giving a complete effort every single shift and that he's always (to use a phrase from D.C. sports past) medium. Everything is in perspective.

Hannan is one of only two players -- Mike Knuble being the other -- on the Capitals' roster who have played in a conference final series in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He's been on good teams, struggling teams and he believes consistency in execution of small details, regardless of the outcome, is a learned trait.

"I think it's just about being on an even keel, it's one thing that you want to do when you're in the playoffs and on the road to winning championships. That's kind of the trick here," Hannan said. "You're going to go through games and times in the season where things aren't going to go your way.

"You can have good games, you can have bad games, but you want to try to stay on an even track," he continued. "That's what it is in the playoffs, you're going to go through things in a seven-game series that can get you down and you can't let it get you down or away from the plan. Running into a hot goalie can't be something that gets you down, you have to work hard and do the things that it takes to score on goalies like that. That comes down to doing the little things right, day in and day out. That's what wins championships."

Hannan's attitude reflects much of what Coach Bruce Boudreau has said at times during the season and how Boudreau characterized Wednesday's game against Anaheim, when the Capitals must show they are unphased by losing after playing well in Phoenix.

"It's unfortunate [losing to Phoenix] but like I told the guys, take a deep breath," Boudreau said. You can "say, 'Ah, we're never going to score.' Or you're getting close to knocking the door down and now it's time to push it through. That's what
I'm hoping we're doing."

The fact that Hannan, 32, has come in and taken up a role as a leader is not all that surprising. He has years of experience that the majority of Washington's roster doesn't and is respected for it. Mike Green has played with Hannan sporadically this season and talked then about how he enjoyed being paired with a chatty defenseman and absorbing the more experienced blueliner's tips.

"You never know how guys are going to step up when they get to a new team but he's really elevated the leadership in this dressing room," Green said. "That's something that we needed and when he speaks, everyone listens, and that's important for us right now."

Another one of Washington's young defensemen, Karl Alzner, called Hannan a 'stabilizing force' because he's able to remind the rest of the team to not get too excited when they win or too down when they lose.

"We've had a fair bit of success but with a lot of young guys that haven't been a whole lot of places in the NHL," Alzner said. "So we need a guy who's experienced a little bit to help us out."

"He's just very even keel all the time," he added. "He's calmed us down when we're getting a little too wild and down on ourselves when things go wrong. He's been the guy to come up and say: 'OK, look guys, to be a winning team this is how it's got to be.'"

By Katie Carrera  | February 16, 2011; 8:33 AM ET
Categories:  Scott Hannan  
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Next: Caps seeking another complete effort tonight vs. high-scoring Ducks

Comments

Despite their troubles, I haven't given up on the ultimate mission.

However, regardless of wins and losses there are a lot of troubling things going on over the past 4 months.

1) Ovechkin can't score.
2) Backstrom is non-existent for large stretches of EVERY game (except Tampa).
3) Too many shutouts
4) Too many periods where we have less than 10 shots on net
5) Our powerplay couldn't score on a Bantam AAA team.
6) Mike Green has few points and is generating NO offense.


These are bad signs. I'm ok with 2 of the above happening. But ALL 6 at one time? And I'm talking over a period of 40 games.

That is what is most frustrating.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 16, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Another fluff piece by Katie.

Why don't you go and ask McPhee why he thinks his team is in the state that it is in? Or why he thinks Ovechkin and Backstrom are in the funk that they are in?

To tough of a question?? I'm sure.

Posted by: rblatch45 | February 16, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Uhm, the Capitals are 11-19 in their last 30 games. Even without the losing streak at the start, that's still under .500; and their play in their own end has been horrible, exposing this new "defensive style" for the sham that it is. So why are we praising Hannan for "leading" them to such a crappy record? Has he shown our young defense the way? Has he led the team to new heights overall? Has he made the team's effort more consistent? No, no and no! And IIRC, Hannan is one of the main guys we see quoted after every game talking about how the team needs to "play a full 60 minutes" and "go to the net more" and how he doesn't know why they just don't seem to do it -- and then the next night it's the same thing. What smacks of leadership about that, being willing to run his mouth?

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 16, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Folks lets try to be more positive today. Also folks enough with the personal insults of the players and the coaches. Critical should be allowed and venting but this personalizing things on these boards is getting out of control. I like the spirited debates but people calling BB fat and Green gay seem a little petty. Lets try not to act like Flyers fans. Civilized and lively exchanges are great but insulting is just not cool. The team does deserved to be knocked around for their horrendous play but in the right way. And Mcphee and BB deserve the business of this board. And the stars absolutely deserve the hazing on this board. Lets confine it to hockey or their lack of playing the game with spirit.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

pkme,

I don't believe I've degenerated into personal attacks and name-calling. But I'm fresh out of positivity with this team. When it reaches the point that I feel like I'm talking to a 5-year-old about Santa Claus when I try to come up with a realistic scenario involving playoff success, that tells me it's time to ditch the kid gloves.

I don't know that anyone who matters really cares but they will get nothing but heat and gallows humor from me until they show me something worthy of a positive outlook.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 16, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

@fanzee -I agree. I'm not getting personal at all, I'm just frustrated by what's not changing with this team and hearing the same excuses over and over again.

But then again, I'm just hiding on these boards anyway, right LCCF???

Posted by: jwash4472 | February 16, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

@ fanzee71,

Hannan is no Pronger. All they had to give up was Flash to get him.

If you want a Pronger, you gotta be willing to PAY UP.

Posted by: joek443 | February 16, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting to get tired of how everyone keeps saying its a 'young' team. These guys have had 3-4 years together now. That does not classify as young. Chicago accomplished the ultimate goal in less time with all their young guys.

Posted by: Joe69 | February 16, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

So boston trades their 2nd round pick (Caps' 2nd went to Carolina last year, for ah, Joe Corvo) for a gritty 3rd line center in Chris Kelly. GMGM continues to watch as the top teams in the east add depth. Depth that will likely push their young center, Tyler Seguin (No. 2 Overall pick) into the pressbox.

Posted by: brian58 | February 16, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

@fanzee71

Sure, the Caps have been terrible for a while now, but if you are blaming Hannan your blame is certainly misplaced. He had a tough stretch to start out as he was adjusting to a new team, but he's been exactly what the Caps expected since he's settled in, a steady defensively responsible dman who has excelled at both even strength and on the PK.

I'm actually disappointed that the Caps most likely will not offer him a contract after this season is up. They could certainly use him going forward, but GMGM foolishly signed Poti to an extension already.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 16, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

jwash and fanzee,

I was not talking about you guys. My post had nothing to do with you. It had to do with the some of the garbage I was reading on other CI blogs. Some person stating Mike Green wearing his slippers and riding his Vespa and hanging out in Dupont Circle too much. That was a veiled gay reference. Or the continuous fat jokes about BB. Trying to get folks to think before they write their thoughts down. I liked both of your posts and no I am not the blog police. Like I said these guys do deserve some jazz from us but we need to keep it clean and in reference to hockey. Oh and all of us ragging on each other I think is pretty good stuff.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are not young.

I would say Laich, Pearrault, and Fehr need to be moved.

I asked earlier, who is in their last year of a contract for the Caps, they will need to be moved too, to clear some space...

Backstrom, Semin and Ovechkin are killing the salary cap....22 mill OUCH!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | February 16, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@brian58

Hate to break it to ya but Chris Kelly is not the droid the Caps are looking for.

The Caps have plenty of 3rd and 4th line center types that contribute next to nothing offensively.

The trade made sense for the Bruins because they wanted to add center depth with Savard gone for the season. Now, instead of have Seguin center the 3rd line, they can use him at wing on a scoring line.

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 16, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

i don't necessarily want kelly. i just hope gmgm does something to improve the team. two of the top teams in the conference just went out and got better. just hoping gmgm keeps pace.

Posted by: brian58 | February 16, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

This is pathetic. This team had such a lack of leadership that a guy who has been here for ONLY 30 GAMES has become the "stabilizing force" and the one to lead players only meetings. What is OV doing? What is Backstrom doing? Laich talks a big game about caring so much but what is he doing? Sure, Hannan and Knuble are the most veteran NHL'ers on the team, but if the core of this team (8, 19, 28, 52, 21, etc) haven't learned yet how to handle the ups and downs and how to lead their team then this team is even worse off then they have appeared on the ice lately.

Posted by: CalleJoFan | February 16, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Also on the Agenda for CI posts later today:

Caps try to find a way to "get the powerplay going"

Long road trick will require "more hard work"

Bruce Boudreau says players must "commit to the system" if we are going to win games

Posted by: chatton | February 16, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

sgm (from other thread):

I don't see where you get that Caps have so much cap space.

http://www.nhlnumbers.com/teams/WAS?year=2011

This site says they have below $1M. Of course, they are accounting fully for Alzner's bonus, which he will earn and which you should account for (or you pay next year. see: Blackhawks).

If they put Poti and Fehr on LTIR the rest of the year, they'd have more space (but you don't put people on LTIR when you are below the cap, only over, and they aren't). Anyway, $700K in cap space on March 1st mulitplies times 5 to give about $3.5M in contract value you can acquire.

If Poti is then put on LTIR balance of season you'd have $7M in contract you can bring on.

And, if you unwisely discount Alzner's bonus, yes you can add about $3.3M in contract value March 1st also.

I think the site you read wasn't counting the bonus, that's how you got your number.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 16, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The question is whether Alzner's (or others bonuses) are going to vest. I have no idea what their bonuses are and what they have to meet to get to them. But I'm guessing GMGM does know whether they vest or not.

I got my numbers from capgeek.com, they do a very good job and I think many writers even use the site to get an idea of the cap situation.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 16, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Did people see Ray Whitney's comments from Monday? I'm not making any statements toward the validity of them just that how last year the Caps were playing so great(at least record wise) and then Umberger said what he said in criticism of the Caps. Now the Caps are playing like crap(especially record wise) and then Whitney says this:

"Well, after playing against them the last five years in Carolina, eight [or] six times a year, this is a totally different team," he said. "They still have the same skill level, but you can tell that they've made a conscious effort to play smarter defensively. And [that's] not really what I was expecting out of them, but they're certainly doing a good job of it....

"This is kind of our style of play. and we're kind of comfortable with it. To see them doing that is surprising, but I think also they're on to something. I think that's what's gonna, as a group, maybe take them up to that next level."

Sort of funny.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 16, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

joek443,

You're right. Hannan's no Pronger. He's not even in the same league. If you've somehow inferred that I implied he was, you're mistaken and I'm not sure how you got that impression.

cainoo7x, I'm not blaming Hannan for this team's failures. Like CalleJoFan was saying above, the fact that the guys who have been here for years are calling him the leader tells you more about them than him. My complaint is about why he's getting praise for his leadership. No one on that team deserves any praise for leadership, IMO. The ship's been taking on water since Thanksgiving and not a single player or coach has been able to successfully step up and demand that it stop. All we see is the same lackadaisical play (except against Pitt) and all we hear are the same tired excuses. Frankly, I think it's sad that this is what we're getting from CI with so much going wrong. But I know how the business works; the answer we'd get from KC and her editors is, that they can't crank out bad news all the time because too many readers will be turned off and hits will go down. That's just the way it is.

Posted by: fanzee71 | February 16, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I like this piece by Katie...we learn about the dressing room of the Caps from this - Hannan has quietly stepped in and done his job and the defence and PK effort has been exceptional on the whole since he arrived. I agree he settles down the young D players.

It puzzles me that its a new guy who had his own things to worry about like moving his family and settling in....

Still wonder who of the core leadership steps up really if any...does Knuble have an influence on any of them. Or will limelight of playoffs wake all those guys up any?

There are alot of things fixed on the team in goal and in defensive work...but alot not inspired up front...a little like last years Calgary Flames and last years Boston Bruins before the playoffs.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 16, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Trade Semin for Iginla

Posted by: griz0615 | February 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@tom. 1)nhlnumbers is a poorly updated site capgeek.com is much better

2) The Caps have about $1.4M in space which since it is only calculated by taking the remining days left means we can take on someone with around $5.1M in total season cap hit right now and waiting until deadline day that moves up to just under $6.7M (and more when you include we will be doing something with a roster player if we make a trade)

Posted by: icehammer97 | February 16, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

i'm calling it. if the team drops the next two games - BB is gone by the time they touch down in Buffalo........

Posted by: CF11555 | February 16, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

use capgeek.com for your salary cap information. They keep it up to date and do a much better job than nhlnumbers.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

icehammer/sgm: OK, the only question I ask is does the $1.4M in space you get from capgeek count Alzner's bonus or not? Generally, because I use both sites, nhlnumbers counts the bonus and capgeek does not. I believe in playing all year Alzner will earn all/most bonuses. Just guessing though. And I don't mind if they spend over a little for the right piece. The cap has been going up and up each year by about 8%.

I just looked at capgeek. Says they have $1.473M but if you highlight the icons it doesn't count the $850K Alzner bonus. Yes, $1.473M turns into $7M in salary if you wait until March 1st to acquire the new contract. Being fiscally conservative though, I don't believe generally in spending over on the bonus and then paying next year.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 16, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

ThePat: See my above posts. The two sites are pretty close except one counts the bonuses and one does not. They are about $800K apart which is about exactly the bonus.

KATIE: Any chance you can provide us Alzner's vesting schedule on his $850K bonus? Ramification is potentially (x5) an extra $4M in contract amount that could be picked up March 1st.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 16, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Not that I agree with doing this, but anyone else think GMGM is waiting to see how this road trip works out before making a move (player or coach)?? I really think they need 6 of possible 8 pts on the final 4 games, which will not be easy.

I have a feeling that it may be too late to make a good move for a 2C if GMGM does wait that long. Other teams are being MUCH more aggressive.

Posted by: MattBradley10 | February 16, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Come on Ducks! Give us one more lose tonight,that in past 31 games we will be 11-20, so Ted will come up with another excuse about what went wrong. One day, he will run out of the list of his excuses and will do one and only one right thing to and will fire the KUKU guy.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 16, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone (including myself) needs to just take a deep breath and sit back. No trade deadline acquisition is going to magically turn this team around. Look at this roster. It's one of the best in NHL (on paper). When they start clicking, the start clicking. I like BB, and I think he's a good coach, but it may be time to go with someone else here. The team was built (drafted) to be a run and gun powerhouse, changing the system with the same players is going to be hard, if not impossible. It will take time.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 16, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

can't we retoactively put fehr and poti on LTIR to save some cap space? Should have done that with semin too

Posted by: _stevo | February 16, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

you are right I dont think capgeek counts the bonuses. As most teams will roll them over if it happens. The one thing I will say, it is HIGHLY HIGHLY doubtful he will be reaching any of those bonuses. He might reach a games played one or something but that would be it.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

McPhee and Boudreau should be asked how they expect to make the playoffs with two guys who have been alternating playing second line center with six assist each this season. Bet no team has ever made the playoffs let alone won anything with 2L centers who can not set up any offense. Even Steckel would be better as a second line center because he can at least win a face off in the offensive zone.

Aucoin won the Bears game last night with a goal and this season and last season has 110 assists in 109 regular season games at the AHL level. But that make too much sense to give him a shot here!

Posted by: dull | February 16, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@steveo

LTIR does nothing unless you are picking up salaries that would take you over the salary cap. Fehr will be back within the week.

Poti if he is going to be out for the regular season you can put him on LTIR and you can go over the salary cap by his proprated salary number to the point he went on LTIR. Otherwise LTIR is pointless.

Posted by: ThePat | February 16, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps this article isnt "fluff" as someone said, but rather Katie's cryptic way of possibly showing us who might be involved in the alleged "locker room divide" that might be happening.

Maybe he is calling people out on their game/holding them accountable and said people get upset. After all, only a few players ever get called out by BB publicly (Semin, Fehr, Neuvy….hmm not BB’s golden boys though).

I agree, Chris Kelly was a smart move for Boston, wouldn’t have been for us.

@sgm, I like your trade acquisition roster and agree those 2-3 would prove very beneficial.

BB still needs to go, he’s done what he can and its time to take it to the next level (which he cannot seem and has proven he cant do).

I disagree (a post or 2 back) that Aucoin is the answer for 2c. No chance.

Cstanton (and others that watch a lot of Bears’ games)…what’s your take on McNeil the call-up?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | February 16, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

_stevo: No. Sometime enjoy the pleasure of reading through the CBA. You can't accumulate extra cap space by building up LTIR.

It works like this, I'm almost certain:

1) Say cap is $60M.
2) Let's say your team payroll is $58M.
3) Let's say one of you players making $6M goes on LTIR. As far as I can tell from reading, you can replace him with up to $6M in players w/o a cap hit, but not replacing the whole $6M (bringing up a $500K Hershey guy) doesn't get you any cap savings points to be used later.

If you payroll is $58M and you put someone on LTIR, your payroll is still $58M. You still only have $2M in space (that becomes $10M then at deadline). LTIR is only to allow teams that would be over, counting injury replacements, to get temporary relief.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | February 16, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@pkme

Well said...let's not become like Flyers fans. Booing after a bad period at home? Bashing our guys on blogs? That's not uplifting to any team. Yeah, we may not be completely happy with the product but that's not way to treat our guys. Let's look at the ultimate goal. May fans around the league would kill to have the guys we have...

One person earlier listed Green's lack of offense, yet, last year when he did generate offense and didn't play defense everyone was SOOO critical.

Goals will eventually come--learning defense is key.

*Kume if that's you--wuddup.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 16, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@thepat & tom

ahh thanks, forgot about that....although I can pretty much say that I won't sit down to read the CBA anytime in the near future

Posted by: _stevo | February 16, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

what da hell/ did uncle Ted give away some kind of kool-aid this morning?
"Goals will eventually come--learning defense is key." really?? I thought winning is a key. I lost count this season how many games Caps didn't score a single goal in a game, I think 8 now, last season we had just ONE game, and it was against Buffalo.

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 16, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

So I read this in the paper while have dropping my daughter off for her transfer bus this morning and I had to roll down the window to get some air. I thought I was going to get sick from all the fluff.

Is this what we have to resort too? Our veteran leader/nhler Scott Hannan, WTF????? Really, this just highlights how far in the hole this team is.

Not to long ago there was this guy who played for us, no. 91, a center come to think of it, who was a leader but GmGm in his wiseness let him go bye bye. (I am no fool I know age and speed were a huge part in this one)

Then he replaced him with another guy, no. 9 (?), who was also a center and a leader, finished last year with +23 and is have a pretty good year this year too in CGY.

So in sort GmGm replaced our vet CENTER with Hannan. And what is everyone screaming for?????? Let me think, oh yeah a 2nd line center.

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

don't worry boys and girls...ovechkin has got his hands on the switch...and he is just waiting to throw it the day the playoffs start. then the whole team will suddenly score with abandon and defend with gusto. all our players will magically transform from pylons to pythons who strangle the life out of the opposition. i'm sure all those practices that ov has been skipping have been spent in the gym and in studying the weaknesses of their possible opponents. he turns up for a game or two, here and there, to remind you that he can still do it. the overweight sot thing is just a disguise to lure opponents into a false sense of security! don't give up hope! believe in the switch!

Posted by: dingram3 | February 16, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

beforeitstoolate,
What can you do? We can complain until we're blue in the face. What will happen, will happen. We all want this team to be successful...but it's out of our hands. Just support the team and keep drinking the Kool Aid.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 16, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dingram3 | February 16, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse


I want to smoke the same stuff as you did while writing THAT. LOL!

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 16, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

News Flash !!!!!!!!!!!

Ted announces the Caps have changed marketing slogan for "Building America's Hockey Capital"

To, wait for it,

"BELIEVE IN THE SWITCH!!!!"

Posted by: bqts | February 16, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 16, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

first thing as we fans, gotta start cheering BB must go! I remember that worked with Hanlon, after Atlanta kicked our a--, almost whole VC was chantting that. Next day Hanlon was gone. BTW, I just noticed that both Anaheim and SJ got 68pts, same as Capitals. Thats a bad sign, cause Caps got a chance to play teams like Islanders(wow@Grabner), Sens and Laffs twice a year, most of the time thats free points.

off-topic, what do you guys think about the Islanders, thats a really fun team to watch!

Posted by: beforeitstoolate | February 16, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@beforeitstoolate

Really. And this not entirely directed towards you.

Last year was Run & Gun, where we scored 5-6 goals/game. Where did that lead us? To an early playoff exit. We also won alot of close games, that this year are not going our way (e.g. Ovechkin's goal with 2 seconds left vs. the Devils). Last year was last year. Let's let it go. It's the 2010-2011 season now.

Defense and a hot goalie are necessary in the playoffs. I believe the majority of the fans and media whined about this after being eliminated last year. BB and Co. made the switch to a more defense oriented system. Just wish the fanbase would support the team instead of always griping.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 16, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

beforeitstoolate,
It looks like the Islanders are tired of being pushed around and aren't going to take it anymore. The last few games have been amazing, if not a bit ridiculous. Can you believe that the Islanders were just able to pick Grabner off of re-entry waivers for nothing. You know Dale Tallon is still kicking himself for that one.

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 16, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This is the way I see things: After losing to Montreal in the playoffs last year all we heard from the so called experts is that the Capitals style of play would never win a Stanley Cup.Personally I feel that a goal here or there against Halak would have won the series, however that was not to be. So what happens - panic sets in and we discard a sucessful style for a new way of playing that the "old boy Canadians" would approve of. So now we have extremely talented offensive players who are being coached to think defense first. And that's the key word - think. Our players are not playing on their instincts. When there is a loose puck now they have to take a split second to remember to be responsible defensively first intead of acting instinctively and going after the puck. In that split second of indecision the other team gets the puck and our opportunity is gone.

I'm not sure whose idea it was to play this style but we need to take the gloves off. Our best players are not adept at playing this style. They cannot take time to think about should I or should i not go after the puck - it's too late by then.

My fear is that it may be too late to change things.
The only problem I have with BB is that he should see that his team is better in the run and gun . Losing last year with the best offensive does not prove that it is the wrong way to play. I'd like to see them try it again this year.

Posted by: uncledino | February 16, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

BB words all seem like De Ja Vu to me from the long 8 game losing streak.

As some have said the problems with this team are beyond a trade deadline fix.

This team is spiraling out of the playoffs.

The blame is to be shared. With all due respect to Ray Whitney's comments, this new system sucks for the Caps. GMGM stated on NHL Live how the Caps needed to change the way they played. So this has been blessed all the way up to the top. BB should not be getting all the blame. In fact, I think privately he really hates the new system and I think alot of the players do.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 16, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

jtorre9:

Hey jtorre9,

Caps had 3 games where they scored only 1 goal against the Canadians. The Caps lost to the Canadians because they couldn't put the puck in the net enough.

Their defense was fine.

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 16, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

uncledino,
That is a great observation. I agree with you. Now, I'm just a fan, far from an expect on the game of hockey. But I remember a few teams that have won The Cup playing a run and gun type system. A few of them were even dynasty teams (I'm thinking of the Coffey/Gretzky Oilers and Islanders of the early 80s).

Posted by: j3rockstar | February 16, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Prediction The Caps will win tonight. They are due for a good win. I also think they will beat The Sharks and are going onto a tear. mark my words. Semin also is going to have a huge night and Backstrom also.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Even if they turned on the "switch" in start for the playoffs, are the Caps going to switch off again during the regular seasons from now on? Hmmm not a good business model if you ask me.

Posted by: RITdude | February 16, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@theAnswerIs42

True. But they also had 4 games where they gave up 3+ goals. In the playoffs, that sometimes doesn't cut it.

But I agree, they ultimately lost because they didn't put the puck in the net, especially those last three games where the only scored 1 goal.

Posted by: jtorre9 | February 16, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@pkme

I hope you are right. Would definitely make staying up well past my time worth it.

Posted by: eorr | February 16, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I think tonights game is going to be very exciting. They are getting pressure from every direction. This is one of the most crucial games of the year. The media, fans and I am sure coaching is jumping on top of the guys. If they come through and pounce on The Ducks it will show something. And if they pay back the Sharks tomorrow we could be looking at the turn around.

Posted by: pkme | February 16, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@jtorre9 :

In the games where the Caps defense allowed the Canadians to score 3 or more goals, the Caps were 2 wins and 2 losses.

In the games where the Caps scored just one goal, the Caps were 0 wins and 3 losses.

*MTL (3) - WSH (2) OT*
MTL (5) - WSH (6) OT
FINAL WSH (5) - MTL (1)
WSH (6) - MTL (3)
MTL (2) - WSH (1)
*WSH (1) - MTL (4)*
MTL (2) - WSH (1)

Posted by: theAnswerIs42 | February 16, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The difference with this years team is as simple as this:
07/08 Roster included:Kolzig, Johnson, Huet, Brash, Clark, Cooke, Fedorov, Kozlov & Nylander.
08/09: Johnson, Theodore, Brash, Clark, Fedorov, Kozlov & Nylander
09/10: Theodore, Knuble, Clark (honorable mentions):Belanger, Walker & possibly Chimera

This year: Knuble (honorable mentions: Hendricks, Hannan, and again a stretch to Chimera)

We are missing a lot of seasoning!!!!!!

I know it's been said before, but we are going to have to wait 'til the deadline/off-season to addess this because there are not enough players stepping up to fill these holes.

Posted by: agclaston | February 16, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

As talented as everybody says we are, you have to admit (in reference to my previous post) there really aren't that many gifted players after the top four or five. They were pups during our better runs and now we've added MP, Majo, Alzner and Carlson. While Alzner and Carlson have performed, there is a huge drop off from years past, in net and battle tested experience.

Posted by: agclaston | February 16, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Give him the "C"....

Posted by: festus75 | February 16, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

We need more Hannan-type players on our team. He actually communicates on the ice, which I hardly see the other Caps doing. Other teams you see talking all the team before faceoffs. This team doesn't communicate verbally enough on the ice. I hope McPhee picks up another gritty veteran before the trade deadline.

Posted by: jmarks09 | February 16, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

We need a big time GOALIE. When that happens everything else will fall into place.

Posted by: JunkGoal | February 16, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

you might dispute that the caps are young in years, but they are short in the tooth when it comes to playoff experience

i'd be curious to know how many other teams have only two players on the roster with a conference final on their resume

Posted by: mcintire_will | February 16, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hannan certainly can be a leader despite how long he has been here - He accomplished a lot prior to be here and that affords him quite a bit of respect. As for his contributions meaning nothing - the Caps are ranked 6trh in the league in goals against and 3rd on the Penalty Kill which are the ares he is going to help.

Posted by: vinnie55 | February 16, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

So Hannan saw a need to 'step up'. Knuble saw a need to step up not long ago. Neither 'stepping' worked.
Just wondering here...isn't that the Coach's role? Or, perhaps, the captain's role?
It isn't going to work folks. We have an offensive-minded coach TRYING to establish a defensive system with offensive-minded players. Again, practically the entire squad (and the coach, really) got to the NHL through their OFFENSIVE success. Now, everybody has to change. Nope...

Posted by: scmonty1 | February 16, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Hannan certainly can be a leader despite how long he has been here - He accomplished a lot prior to be here and that affords him quite a bit of respect.
-------------

What, exactly did Hannan "accomplish" prior to coming here? He had one good playoff series [covering an in-his-prime Forsberg, no small task to be sure] but since then [as the game sped up] he's been mostly a #5-6 d-man, who plays 16-17 mins per game. The guy ain't Markov, let's be honest here.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | February 16, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm in concurrence with those who say BB will be gone sooner rather than later. It's clear he was forced to install the new system by GMGM. The transition has been painful. GMGM will be looking for someone who can work this scheme better than BB can and someone who will instill some much needed discipline and order.

It's no surprise that Hannan is providing leadership considering the leadership vacuum we had. He may not be Pronger but he has been a good signing so far and a fair trade for Flash.

Posted by: congero | February 16, 2011 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"First thing as we fans, gotta start cheering BB must go! I remember that worked with Hanlon, after Atlanta kicked our a--, almost whole VC was chantting that. Next day Hanlon was gone."

I agree.

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | February 16, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

uncledino -- your post is spot on.

In fact, GMGM spent months telling us that they should call the game "goalie" sometimes instead of hockey, and that they were extremely confident of our chance had we gotten past Halak.

So either GMGM, Ted and the whole gang were flat out lying, or the changes makes absolutely no sense. An ESPN writer made a good point about the change -- look at the Phoenix Suns when Terry Porter tried to change them from run and gun to defense first -- they sucked, which is the same thing the Caps are doing. These horses weren't bred to play a defensive game. Ovechkin and Semin? Come ON!

Posted by: wahoo_Mike | February 16, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

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