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Caps are left to wonder...


*After a stunning first-round playoff exit in seven games against Jaroslav Halak and the Canadiens, the Capitals are left wondering about their future. And everyone has an opinion on what went wrong. Personally, I like to blame everything on global warming. It's edgy.

*Thomas Boswell: The Caps were built for the regular season, and the playoffs punished them for it.

*Ted Leonsis says there will be no blowing up of anything. (Bog)

*Deflated Caps fans get an unlikely assist. (Bog)

*Ovechkin nominated for Hart Trophy (again).

*Are the Caps facing a major shakeup? Tarik and co. weigh in:


Some additional morning links:

*Don't change a thing, Caps! (Ed Frankovic)

*P.S. Ovie is the best. (Alex Ovetjkin)

*Sergei Fedorov on the Caps: "All they need is just to take this experience and not to forget it next year, when they will be the best team again." (Puck Daddy)

*Dear Diary... (RMNB)

*Red cloud, silver lining. (Japers' Rink)

*The Caps just need to tinker in order to be better in the playoffs next season. Oh, and apparently they need to sign goalie Niklas Backstrom. (I got your 'C' right here.) (USA Today)

*Capi-who? It's all about the Bears. (Rock the Red)

Stay tuned for more from breakdown day this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  April 30, 2010; 5:48 AM ET
 
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Next: Tom Poti expected to make full recovery

Comments

This team just needs to add a couple of pieces to this puzzle. A big hulking D man and maybe a a little more veteran presence.
I agree with Feds statement that at times it appears coach BB is a little to easy and soft with these guys. Coach may want to tinker with the style of play a bit.
It stings and it hurts but the Caps will be better for it. The Red Wings didn't become a hit overnight it to Stevie Y a good while before he led his team to some cups.
Lets see what moves are made and who is brought in. Believe it or not the future is still very bright for the Caps. That being said I still think the style of play has to be altered to be succesful in the playoffs. Face it for three years now it ain't worked.
Have faith.

Posted by: jotay131 | April 30, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

I feel more heartened when I read stories about how the great Edmonton team didn't win the Stanley Cup until their 4th try with the Gretzky gang. Before that, they would lose the playoffs in early rounds (1st and 2nd)

Still, a hard loss to take

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 30, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

The story goes is that Glen Sather and the Oilers had a five year blueprint to win. They may have looked good on year 3, but they won the first one on year 5.

I think the Caps are at that 5 year mark. OVs first year (and the 2004 draft) was the platform for the 5 year plan in DC.

Add Backstrom, Alzner, Carlson, goalie.....what are we going on year 6?

The good thing is Edmonton was young and had a 7 year window even after trading guys.

The Caps are really young (the core of the team) and despite the salary cap should be in a winning window for a bunch of years - better example would be when the Quebec Nordique/Colorado Avalanche organization started winning.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 30, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

No need to panic.
Let GMGM do his stuff this summer...

This is a good/could be great team with a little tweaking like most can see and understand.

Needs:

- More and better Maturity on the ice and off the ice from its Captain. He truly needs a mentor as Sid had Mario. Sorry.
-A calming vet with a Cup ring to settle the ship when the going gets rough.
-A little more toughness in front of the net
- A part time consultant from the Oilers days of the 1980s on how to overcome adversity after taking a step backwards, then how to move to the next level and win Cups as they did.

And so very sorry to say, a coach for the occasion.

BB is a fine gentleman and has taken this squad as far as HE possibly can.
He will not change.
He cannot change at 55 and 20 years of coaching a specific style.

Unfortunately, his shortcomings were somewhat exposed last playoff year, and totally exposed this year.

His team WAS NOT ready for games 1,2,5 and an inability to adjust for games 6 and 7 was GLARINGLY evident to any hockey person.

BB is a young players coach, a friendly type, but the squad now needs a "Jacques Lemaire type" who is a brain for all aspects of the game- not just run and gun.

Money or yelling by a coach won't impress these guys, but Lemaire's {8} Stanley Cup rings would do the trick because that's something the millionaires just can't buy.

Posted by: htgolf | April 30, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

The Caps were nearly eliminated last year by the Rangers who used a tight defensive strategy similar to Montreal. Montreal was better at it. Boudreau should have been ready for this.

Boudreau said he has never seen so many blocked shots. You cannot argue with the number of blocked shots, however I saw our top players shooting when there was a blocker between the path of the goal. Its as if BB told them to shoot even if you do not have a shot. The result accounted for many shots on goals, many blocked shots, and lots of easy saves for Halak. I saw desperate and lousy hockey by the Caps because they were bewildered by the Habs' tight defense.

I did not see any deep cycles or hard work along the boards but I did not expect it either because this team either cannot play that way or they won't.

I saw Ovi and Semin turn over the puck at the blue line multiple times throughout the series. Ovi is an amazing player, but when his space is taken away he nearly always loses the puck or makes a lousy pass. It is as if they are too proud to dump the puck in.

I was not impressed with the goaltending. Varly did not face that many shots and he did not keep the Caps in the last three games. I think he should have made the save on the second shot in the seventh. One soft goal in game 5 or 7 contributed towards the loss of the series.

I think they need a major shakeup among any or all of the following departments:

1. players
2. coaching staff
3. management

Posted by: evtoi | April 30, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I hope Alzner and Carlson come up full time nest season...and maybe sign Juice again! I am not completely opposed to trading Green, Semin, or even both, but we would have to get something REALLY good in return. Maybe Vokoun and either a great stay at home defensemen or a great 2nd line center.

But angry fans...lets not pretend that Green and Semin suck...they don't and it is silly to say that.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I believe that the hard lessons of this playoff series will cause the types of adjustments needed for next year's playoff series. "Series"---plural---all the way to the Cup final series. I hope that Bruce B can learn from this. I don't believe that a 55 year old coach can't modify his ways. He deserves the chance to get it right next year, as do all the players on the team.

TEB's article today with the post mortem was complete. It helped me to understand the key factors for this series' loss.

But I'm still waiting to hear why Ovi's goal was disallowed. I believe that was a total BS call---the ref had no way of seeing what happened, and Knuble did not interfer with Halak's ability to play that puck. Halak dropped down to his butterfly position as the puck sailed past him. Had it gone in, we might have read the headline "Cardiac Caps Pull Off Win in Game 7".

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I meant "had the goal been allowed"

and interfer = interfere

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

capscoach said .. "But angry fans...lets not pretend that Green and Semin suck...they don't and it is silly to say that."


Without a doubt those guys have skill. Undeniable skill. The million dollar question is whether they can translate that skill into playoff success or whether they will continue to suck in the playoffs. The jury is still out, IMO.

Some players (in all sports) never achieve the same level of success in the playoffs that they do in the regular season. Choke? Pressure? Different style in the playoffs? Maybe a combination of the above ... but to this point, Green and Semin have a lot to prove in terms of their playoff abilities. They've been a terrible disappointment so far.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 30, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1 -
I wish they had allowed the goal but the team played 7 games and got in a position to let the refs decision contribute to the loss. Refs are human - as they say in the NFL you are playing wrong if you let one call/missed call cost you the game.

As an O's fan I still wish the ump had not given the Yankees a homerun on the fan (Jeffrey Maier) reaching on the field to catch the ball in 1996......they still had to lose 3 more games somehow....

Big picture 3-1 lead lost and we tempted fate with a 7th game probably because we underestimated that team's resolve.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 30, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

No, Semin has GREAT skill, but is a lazy rich boy (because of his phat contract) in a country that allows him to be free...

Green, HE needs a mentor that will allow him to understand what playing professional hockey as a defenseman is all about. If we had Pronger, Green probably would have been brilliant in the playoffs.

OVIE..needs to step down as Captain. You can't miss practices and have quotes in the paper that get the opposing team all fired up. Ovie is a great player, but not a leader off the ice.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 30, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

yesisaiditfirst: You are right---it was a 7 game series, and the disallowed goal was not the reason they lost the entire series. However, I really want an explanation of that disallowed goal. If we are going to be brutally honest about all factors of this loss, the refs are accountable too. I would have thought he would err the other way. Especially when thinking back to Game 7 of the first round two years ago against Philly when the most blatant and obvious interference call was NOT made, the game got tied up and went into overtime, and then a penalty was called against the Caps and Philly put the winning goal in. What's up with that goalie interference call?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I hope Ted realizes this team is the laughing stock of the sports world right now. These players have had 3 years to get it right. 3 strikes and your out. Much of them need to go, including McPhee and BB. This warm and fuzzy stuff does no good. We have sold out 60 straight games, we deserve better.

Posted by: underpants2 | April 30, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

this team has made no secret of the fact that they wanna model themselves after the Red Wings but if you watch the two teams play, their styles could not be more different.

no team shares the puck and plays as a cohesive unit like the Red Wings and no team holds onto the puck and plays as a bunch of individuals like the Caps.

unless they learn to play as TEAM, this team will never have much success in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: tess2201 | April 30, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1, please stop with the whining about the refs....the call wasn't made two years ago and it was this year....who cares?? They lost the SERIES becuase of their overall play in both cases, not becuase of one call by the refs....

@underpants2,

Wow, we sold out a whole sixty in a row!! There are many teams that sell out year in and year out and have longer droughts as far as championships go than the Caps. This fan base is not ENTITLED to anything until they sell out ten to fifteen years straight.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

this team has made no secret of the fact that they wanna model themselves after the Red Wings but if you watch the two teams play, their styles could not be more different.

no team shares the puck and plays as a cohesive unit like the Red Wings and no team holds onto the puck and plays as a bunch of individuals like the Caps.

unless they learn to play as TEAM, this team will never have much success in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443

A perfect reason to hire Yzerman as the GM. He captained that team from years, and learned for years from Ken Holland, the best GM in sports.

Posted by: underpants2 | April 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I hate breakdown day!

Posted by: LloydChristmas | April 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't care about the Bears. Any AHL team can win with guys who should be in the NHL, or with guys who have been in the AHL for years playing against younger teams....

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 30, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

And just to let you all know (because I can)...

I am not angry at George.

I am NOT angry at Ted L.

I am curious why Bruce stayed with Green and didn't make some adjustments (but it's none of my business). And I wonder why he wasn't tougher on the players and held them more accountable.

I am very angry at the players. Some showed, some could have done more, some turtled and went back into their shell when the going got tough.

I am angry at the "leadership" of the team from the players standpoint.

And Lindsay...cute joke (re: Global Warming), but it's not the time for that. It's that type of humor that the caps played with in the first round...and it cost them.

Thanks for the forum guys...hope you all have a great spring/summer...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 30, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for putting me in my place, PhilR.

Tarik had made a point of saying he would get more analysis of that ruling. I still want to hear the analysis. Why is that a crime? I think there is a lot of whining going on, justifyably so. Fans invested a lot of emotion, heart and, in ticket holders' cases, money into this team. If every aspect will be scrutinized, why not the referees? And not just that call, either, by the way.

Changes have been made to the way games are refereed based on anaylases, so why not the goalie interference call? I'm sorry, PhilR, if you are weary of me asking for the explanation. Just skip my posts if you can't take it.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The situation with great skilled players (i.e. Green, Semin, etc.) underachieving during playoffs is certainly not limited to hockey. Look at A-Rod with the Yankees - until last year he was as famous a 'choker' as there ever was when it came to 'money time' - he simply could not produce. Then there are players who 'rise to the occassion' (e.g., Reggie Jackson - an 'average' guy during the regular season but when it came playoff time - well, that's why he was called Mr. October). I suspect that the longer players like Green and Semin do NOT produce in the post-season - the greater the pressure becomes each year to do it - unfortunately, it may never happen for some of them. I don't think a major shake-up is the answer here - in fact I wonder if the slight tinkering that was done during the regular season did more harm than good. This is a team sport - and you need the camaraderie in the locker-room/off the ice perhaps more than trying to have the best skilled player at every position. This was a painful learning experience - but I seriously think they WILL learn from it - and be better for it next year. GO CAPS (and BEARS).

Posted by: hersheybearfan | April 30, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Breakdown day sucks.

Can't say it enough times, a tough, in your face coach is exactly what they need. Off ice rules, curfews and non-optional practices. I understand you need the rest from time to time, but the day before the biggest game of your life is not it. What they don't need is coach who covers his eyes after a second goal by the opposition in game 7. Call a timeout, get mad, adjust. Something. Anything.

OV himself needs to look in the mirror and decide if he wants to lead this team both on and off the ice. NHL network just talked about the fact that Crosby worked all last summer instead of partying. We need a little more of that, and little less of what we got.

Posted by: Fletch22 | April 30, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

The thing is dccitizen1 what good will the explanation do? Will it change the outcome of the series? No, the Caps are playing golf either way and we as fans have to wait until the fall to care about hockey again. Just seems petty and whiny to me, and it's not just you posting this....you just happened to be the one I decided to respond to when it really started bugging me.....nothing personal!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

The Semin conundrum!

Big decision for GMGM this summer.

Semin is a UFA summer 2011.
If not signed, it means he can go anywhere he wishes with zero compensation for the Caps!

Semin will want big bucks and a big long term deal with a Sedin type contract of at least 5 years and maybe more years and in the area of $6 million/ year.( He is a huge talent and only 26 but maybe needs a heart transplant)

GMGM also has to deal with RFA Nicky Back this summer and I would expect wants him for the long term. Nicky will also want Sedin $$$.

So what to do?

We have Ovie tied up with a Cap hit of $9,538,462 until 2020-2021.

Would it be right for the Caps to tie up about $21 million in those 3 players for at least 5 more years? OV, NB, and AS?

Trade Semin? No team would give up much with only one year left on his contract unless they were guaranteed a long term deal.

If we do trade Semin, I would love to see a straight up for Flames Iginla ( $7 mill. cap hit for 3 more years).

He is a tough as nails Canadian fella, and a proven producer in the wickedly tough western Conference. Believe he is the vet spark we need with incredible leadership qualities. DC would fall in love with this guy.

Trade Mike Green?
Not as easy as it sounds. Good PP guy on a great "season only" PP team, but exposed as immature and almost one dimensional.
His cap hit is $5,250,000 for 2 more years and could be seen as too rich for many with his limited package for now.
Get him a vet partner and he will be a force. He is only 24.

At the end, doing things and making deals is a heck of a lot harder than it looks.

Posted by: htgolf | April 30, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

if we couldn't buy a goal in last 3 games, why BB did not play Ovie and Semin together ?

Posted by: voyM | April 30, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Caps just made the 'History will be made' commercial. Not sure if anyone mentioned it. But the title was 'What if Halak hadn't been magnifique?'

It should have said 'What if OV and Green had kept their mouths shut?'

Posted by: Fletch22 | April 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The thing with trading Semin is...even if we don't get a lot for him, we save a lot of cap room and could invest in a solid goalie or D manor even a great 2nd line center. And probaly get something decent in return.

Which of our D men are UFAs or RFAs? Because it will be interesting to see what the D will look like next season.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

all series i was hoping perault could have been called up. does not happen and he scores the gwg last night. i think with his play in the montreal searies on the second line would have made a difference. i think he could be a great 3rd line guy next year keep belanger as 4th center trade steckel. small moves internally with help from another D in the free agency could be the difference next year

Posted by: samb99 | April 30, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Belanger was great in the face off circle, but did not seem to create a lot of opportunities...I would not keep him.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"What Now?"

Nothing. Haven't you been paying attention to the ownership and management in their annual post-playoff flame out mea culpa tour?

Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong with management, nothing is wrong with coaching, nothing is wrong with the system, and nothing is wrong with the players. Just, darn it, they ran into a "hot goalie." Again. Just like every year.

So, let's do everything the same and cross out fingers and really hope it doesn't happen again! Doesn't that sound like a great plan to everyone?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

Thats not what Ted said, and frankly it is VERY smart to not make harsh and rash decisions right after an emotional loss.

I thought I was handling the loss badly =, but some of you are so out for blood over a hockey game that you should consider looking at priorities and putting things into perspective.

This is not the 1st time a team has floded under pressure nor will it be the last...look at san jose...sweet 16 this year. and for those who say fire BB for his horrible playoff resume...is it really that bad? 1st season he got us in which to most people was a minor miracle and we made it to game 7. 2nd season we make it to round 2 game 7 despite hprrific injuries and lose to the future SC champs. We had a huge dissapointment this season, but Sh**t happens and I think we should take a collective deep breath and relax for a few days before calling for everybodies head.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@Feltch22

The answer to that is the same. If people really think the Habs played better after Ovie's comment then they aren't too smart.

Ovie made the comment after game 2. That was followed by the Caps best two games in games 3 and 4.

If Ovie's comment really inspired Montreal then you would have expected them to have their best games in games 3 and 4. Not to have their 2 worst games after the comment and THEN have the week old comment inspire them.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"Thats not what Ted said, and frankly it is VERY smart to not make harsh and rash decisions right after an emotional loss."

---

It's pretty much an accurate description of what he said. It's certainly what GMGM said, and it's what BB said. Have you been paying attention. They don't think that anything is wrong beyond some "minor personnel tweaks."

And yes, BB's playoff record really is that bad. He's 13-15 overall and 1-3 in series. That's pretty bad.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

My hopes for the D next year are:

Alzner/Carlson
TBA (maybe ShaMo)/Volchenkov
Schultz/Green

This would only require signing Volchenkov as a free agent which is possible. Volchenkov would be the shut down defenseman and would also be the top D man on the PK. Both necessary additions.

I think Alzner/Carlson will be the top D pairing by the end of next year.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"If Ovie's comment really inspired Montreal then you would have expected them to have their best games in games 3 and 4. Not to have their 2 worst games after the comment and THEN have the week old comment inspire them."

---

Hey we agree on somehting! *High Five*

Players chirp, it's what they do. These people might have a point if the Habs players weren't chirping as well, which they were. The reasons this team lost with as much spectacular fail as they did are way bigger than some silly comments about hand-shaking.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: capscoach
Which of our D men are UFAs or RFAs? Because it will be interesting to see what the D will look like next season.
-------------
Signed for 2010-2011:
Green, Poti, Erskine, Carlson, and Sloan are signed roster players.
Alzner is also signed.

"Roster" UFAs this summer:
Corvo, Morrison, Jurcina

"Roster" RFAs this summer:
Jeff Schultz, Zach Miskovic, Patrick McNeill

Posted by: htgolf | April 30, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I hear what you are saying capscoach but I'm sorry Green has now choked two playoff years in a row.....trade him for what we need while we can. What happens if he does the same next year.....that would be three years in a row of choking, what do you think we would get for him then?? Trade the guy and get that stay at home Dman or 2nd line center we NEED now while he still has value. If he wins the Norris all the better!

Can't remain happy with status quo here, there must be changes to make this team more defensively sound and gritty, sorry but Green seems soft to me. I would also love to see the Semin for Iginla move if we could pull it off!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

@sgm

Where are you getting the $5mil/yr. for Volchenkov?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Ted is a smart guy and he does not give up. Most of his 101 list is checked off. Ted will determine what is necessary to win a championship and he will execute. He has done a great job of bringing hockey interest to DC, but I know that he is not satisfied with ticket sales alone. He certainly appreciates and desires the sales, but he knows that interest will wane if a Stanley Cup is not brought to DC with this team. More importantly, ticket sales alone do not motivate him. He is a competitor in this sport and to an NHL owner the ultimate achievement and recognition is a Stanley Cup.

Posted by: evtoi | April 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I agree with that as well. I think he is talnted but not needed with our core of amazing forwards.

@ VTDuffman

Ted said he would not make rash decisions and frankly most of the analysts agree that the Caps need some tweaking but nothing TOO major. Like I said...you are angry and emotional right now...and in my opinion BB has done fine in the Playoffs (not counting this season of course.) Had we not had such horrendous injuries last season we would have beaten the Pens.

I would go for a good goalie to give Varly another year (or allow Holtby to prove his worth) a second line center, and a shot blocking D man like Volchenkov. I thiink as far as D goes...Alzner and Carlson will be able to step up to full time NHL. Carlson shows offensive potential but seems more responsible on the back end than Green.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen

The director of officiating explained the goal that wasn't allowed on NHL Hour last night. Its on NHL.com now if you want to hear what he said.

As Crosby was would say "like it or lump it" :)

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | April 30, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: VTDuffman

"What Now?"

Nothing. Haven't you been paying attention to the ownership and management in their annual post-playoff flame out mea culpa tour?

Nothing is wrong. Nothing is wrong with management, nothing is wrong with coaching, nothing is wrong with the system, and nothing is wrong with the players. Just, darn it, they ran into a "hot goalie." Again. Just like every year.

So, let's do everything the same and cross out fingers and really hope it doesn't happen again! Doesn't that sound like a great plan to everyone?
----------------
Was wondering if you live in trolling Pittsburgh or trolling Philly?

Why don't you provide some quotes where GMGM, BB, or any player said nothing needs to be changed, especially from GMGM???

By the way, how's the booing of airplane landings going at PHL?

Posted by: htgolf | April 30, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

You are allowed to take things however you want to, but you couldn't be more wrong if you think what Ted saud was "nothing is wrong".

There are areas in between blowing the whole thing up and not changing anything. It always amazes me when people can only see two options when there are so many.

He specifically said, more grit and more veteran leadership. Getting more grit implies a different style. Not a completely different style (they're not going to the Devils trap, and thank god), but a little different.

It sounds to me that if you were the Red Wings GM in 2006 you would have fired Babcock on the spot, traded away Zetterberg and Datsyuk and demanded a system change. Detroit did win the presidents trophy that year and lost in the first round to the Oilers. But they tinkered with their team, adding pieces and sticking with their talented, core group of players. I think it turned out ok for them.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"The thing is dccitizen1 what good will the explanation do? Will it change the outcome of the series? No, the Caps are playing golf either way and we as fans have to wait until the fall to care about hockey again. Just seems petty and whiny to me, and it's not just you posting this....you just happened to be the one I decided to respond to when it really started bugging me.....nothing personal!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 8:52 AM"

Sigh. Fair enough, PhilR. I do see your point about it (exploration of the rotten goalie interference call) being petty and whiny. I do believe if that goal had been allowed it would have changed the outcome of the game, but it's just a piece of the puzzle of this series.

I've learned a lot about the sport in the last three years by following the Caps and being an intense fan, even though my son has played hockey for 10 years and I had a basic understanding before now. For example, I never knew about "playing the trap", and knowing things like that help me appreciate and understand strategy better. So, I guess I would really like to know the basis for the ruling on the interference call, and deep down, if the call was made in error, I would like for someone to admit to that. But you're right, it won't change anything.

I don't know if I'll be watching much more of the SC playoffs. Might take some time for me to be able to stomach watching other teams go on.


Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Random Question:

Anyone else really annoyed that all of Tracee Hamilton's columns come to the same conclusion that we either won or lost becuause of Ovechkin. She seems to have ot out for him...I mean she all but blamed him for Russia's loss which is ludicrous.

As for Ovie's playoff performance...I thought he did fine (except the 1st game). He did not have a lot of support and as much as many on here want to...you can't expect to carry the entire team on his back every time they start to falter...I have yet to see Crosby carry his team on his back...he is a great player, but has an amazing supporting cast wherever he goes.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"Was wondering if you live in trolling Pittsburgh or trolling Philly?"

---

I live in Leesburg and work in McLean, and have been a Caps fan my entire life. Just because I have a different opinion than you doesn't mean I'm a "troll." Get over yourself.

GMGM was on EITM this morning, and I shut the radio off the second he started using the "Halak was amazing" excuse." That's loser talk. Did he go into how everyone was right when they said that the caps personnel and system were designed for regular season success that doesn't translate into the playoffs and that a serious examination is needed from the top down including himself? If he did, I retract my statement that he thinks that nothing is wrong.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, thanks to yesisaiditfirst. I'll check it out.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"It sounds to me that if you were the Red Wings GM in 2006 you would have fired Babcock on the spot, traded away Zetterberg and Datsyuk and demanded a system change. Detroit did win the presidents trophy that year and lost in the first round to the Oilers. But they tinkered with their team, adding pieces and sticking with their talented, core group of players. I think it turned out ok for them."

---

Why would I have done that? That was Babcock's first year. I didn't advocate firing BB or trading anyone two years ago. In his second year, Babcock and those players you mention took their team to the West Finals. In their third year, they won the Stanley Cup.

Conversely BB in his first, second, and third year has led his team to a 1st round game 7 loss at home, a 2nd round game 7 loss at home, and a 1st round game 7 loss at home after leading the series 3-1.

What was your point again?

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

In retrospect, it would have better if the Caps had lost to the Rangers in round 1 last year. (And the Rangers were one goal away from beating us.) If they had, all the Caps glaring playoff deficiencies would have come to light last year instead of this year. (The wake up call should have come when the Rangers took us to 7 games, but the euphoria a coming back from 3-1 down prevented that.)

So, now we have to go through this wake up call experience a year later.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | April 30, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if I'll be watching much more of the SC playoffs. Might take some time for me to be able to stomach watching other teams go on.

Posted by: dccitizen1

Completely agree with you there. Just can not bear to watch any games right now. The pain is just still too fresh and I'm bitter and disappointed with this teams performance.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"So, now we have to go through this wake up call experience a year later."

---

Kind of the problem though, isn't it? No one is really treating this as a "wake up call." If you do, people get all pouty and start calling you a "troll."

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

Halak was amazing...it's not an excuse, but it is a fact and was 1 of many reasons we lost. Give credit where credit is due!

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"Halak was amazing...it's not an excuse, but it is a fact and was 1 of many reasons we lost. Give credit where credit is due!"

---

Sure, Halak was great. Was he great because he's a great goaltender, or was he great because the way we play hockey gives goalies in the playoffs a better chance of looking "great?"

Last year Lundy was "great," and to a lesser extent MAF. The year before that, Biron was "great"...

Are you noticing a trend here? Do you really think that we are really just *that* unlucky that we just happen to run into the "hottest" goalie of every round in the playoffs every year? Because that is one fascinatingly large pile of poor luck, if so.

It'll be interesting to watch how the Pens attack Halak and how "great" he really is. Also to the poster above, as much as it sucks, if you watch any games, watch the PIT-MTL games. Note the differences at how they attack him vs. how we did and I think it will illustrate a lot of what many of us are saying about this team.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

And i have to agree with VTDuffman that using Halak as an excuse is just plain loser talk. Everyone from GMGM to BB to all the players need to look in the mirror and realize they are all to blame for this epic collapse and someone has to pay.

Changes need to be made, whether it be the firing of a gm or coach if they are unwilling to adapt or trade players who refuse to play the way they must to succeed in a playoff environment.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I think the wake up alarm, hopefully, will go off in the players heads come playoff time next year. Caps had the talent, obviously, to win. Maybe now they know they need to be mentally prepared. Sharks maybe have now learned how to prepare. Lets hope it doesn't take us as long.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | April 30, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

How about someone to fill the incredible void as a true second line center! If there were any true adjustments made by Bruce, it was this. I see it as the largest weakness to be found. Thoughts?? I look at free agents, I look at Hershey and I wonder who could it be? Its not looking too bright until you have something like Pitt, with Crosby, Malkin, Staal down the middle.

Posted by: capscla55 | April 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Did you see Brooks score his dirty goal with 2:16 to go? We needed that intensity from the get go. Had we done that, Halak would have melted like he did in Game 2.

Posted by: hockeypuck1 | April 30, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Also to the poster above, as much as it sucks, if you watch any games, watch the PIT-MTL games. Note the differences at how they attack him vs. how we did and I think it will illustrate a lot of what many of us are saying about this team.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:02 AM "

You're right, VTD, it will help with my hockey education. (just might not be able to keep my dinner down)

And I'll be cheering for MTL to make any adjustments they need to make to counter the Pens' strategy against the trap. And let's hope I get to see what ANOTHER team does against MTL as well.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Things went bad as soon as ELLIOTT the LOSER In The Morning started calling Carey Price and mocking his playoff performance...

EITM is a jacka$$...it's no wonder his ratings continue to fall...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | April 30, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Again...I said it was ONE of MANY factors. I am not saying that things are perfect the way they are, but any MAJOR shake up of players or coaching I believe is premature and will hurt us more than it helps. Like I said before...I am not opposed to trading Semin and/or Green, but we will always be an offensively drive team and I think if we focus just a little more on our D we should be pretty amazing.

On another note...our D was not really a problem in this series...we didn't allow many goals in the the last 3 losses despite the fact that Varly was not playing great. I mean I think they reached 30 shots on goal maybe once or twice. So we can't blame the D for this loss.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

>>Did you see Brooks score his dirty goal with 2:16 to go? We needed that intensity from the get go.

Yeah that shift had a mark of desperation that I'd waited all game for. I told pals that if we could just get through period 1 scoreless (after being down 2-0 so quickly in games 5-6), we could get over the hump.

No use crying over spilt milk I guess. But I hope they learn some way to play 60 minutes consistently next year.

I'll also be curious if the series' results affects how teams play them next year. Not that everyone has a Halak or Hal Gill, or is going to block such an insane # of shots. I just figure if teams now see this as the way to shut us down, regular season next year could be interesting.

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 30, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"I am not saying that things are perfect the way they are, but any MAJOR shake up of players or coaching I believe is premature and will hurt us more than it helps"

---

But, why? I don't see why everyone is so married to BB as coach. The Pens went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and fired their coach the next year. BB hasn't even gotten these guys out of the 2nd round.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach,

You are right, we can not blame our D for this series loss and I do not think anyone here is trying to do so. The blame comes down to the coach not making in game and between game adjustments to counteract what Mtl was doing to them and the players simply not showing the will to do what it takes to get the job done.

Not sure how you can fix those two things WITHOUT making some rather major changes...not syaing blow the team up but if BB can not shwo the ability to adapt he must go and now. Players not putting forth the effort also need to go (Semin, Green, Fleishman, Corvo) and I'm sorry if Erskine was not "good" enough to play in this series then they need to cut ties with him as well.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"I just figure if teams now see this as the way to shut us down, regular season next year could be interesting."

---

Most teams aren't going to care enough in the regular season to make such sacrifices, which is why the way we play hockey is so successful in the regular season. Playoff hockey is a completely different game, which is why there is such a stark difference in our results.

The Habs this year didn't really do anything different from the Rags last year, and we still got the President's Trophy this year. It's just not worth that kind of sacrifice in the regular season.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

@ VTDuffman

Looks like chirping from the cheap seats comes easy for you.

Now why don't YOU tell all of us what needs to be done and why.

Tell us what needs to be changed and why?
Tell us about replacing the GM by whom. The coach with whom?

Tell us about your trades and the implications towards the cap.
Tell us about your strategy of signing the UFAs or the RFAs.

Mine is above and open to criticism, but backed up by facts.

So go ahead.
Give it a shot.
Play Ted.

Posted by: htgolf | April 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The Caps do a lot to make opposing goalies look "great". It's no wonder that they "run into a hot goaltender" in the playoffs so often.

The lack of Caps players going to the net all but eliminates screens, rebounds, and deflections. Those are the kind of goals that help turn hot goalies into average ones. This is nothing new .... playoff hockey has always required a commitment to net presence. If I were going to change one thing on the Caps, this is where I'd start.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 30, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think it is interesting that in an interview, Federov said that BB can be a little too soft on his players...probably because he came up from the minors where hand holding is necessary.

The main reason I think BB deserves another chance is b/c the players seem to truly LOVE him, and I think that when you love yoour coach you play hard for him. The players feel like they let BB down and I think they are going to go to bat for him next season. Part of this loss (possibly a big part) is on BB however, no coach can force his stars to come and play. Part of this is on Semin, Green, and Flash...and I don't think it would have helped to bench all 3.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The team not showing up for 60 minutes a game also falls firmly on BB's shoulders. The more I think about it the more I think he is the cancer in this room unfortunately. The players aren't going to show the proper respect to a guy who treats them like his buddies. Love the guy but I think firing him may actually be the answer here.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The Pens struggled in the regular season last year mid-season and supposedly key players were blanching about how Michel Therrien treated them. So the Pens pulled a "Bruce Boudreau," promoting their minor league coach Bylsma, and he's been great.

Therrien wasn't canned for losing in the playoffs (the 2008 Finals to Detroit). I think if gmgm senses the players don't respond to Boudreau anymore, or that he's in over his head in the playoffs, then they might recommend a change. Maybe if the Caps falter next regular season, suffering from "playoff hangover," they might make a change.

But clearly the players love him, and he's coached them to the best regular season in Caps history. He's also 1-3 in playoff series, and its definitely fair to ask if his style/schemes can succeed in the postseason.

BB has a lot of confidence (some might call it arrogance) in his style of coaching & offense, but maybe gmgm should talk to him about evolving and learning new schemes. And if BB says "no, this is how I coach, take it or leave it," then I'd probably join this seeking fresh blood.

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 30, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

""I just figure if teams now see this as the way to shut us down, regular season next year could be interesting."


As VTDuffman says, most teams aren't going to play that style in the regular season. That kind of committed, trapping defense is very hard work. That shot-blocking commitment is often painful. 82 nights of that level of effort would be very tough.

The truth is, the regular season is almost meaningless. Doesn't really matter whether you're a 1 seed or a 5 seed or whatever. All that matters is that your regular season is good enough to make the playoffs, that you know how to play "playoff hockey", and that your team is in good shape injury wise. Give me a 5 seeded, healthy, playoff-savvy team and I'll take my chances.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

GMGM was on EITM this morning, and I shut the radio off the second he started using the "Halak was amazing" excuse." That's loser talk. Did he go into how everyone was right when they said that the caps personnel and system were designed for regular season success that doesn't translate into the playoffs and that a serious examination is needed from the top down including himself? If he did, I retract my statement that he thinks that nothing is wrong.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse


we sure have heard that kinda excuse before from Poile as well, haven't we? one year it was Smith then Vanbiesbrouck, Burke, Hrudey, Barrasso, Wregget, Hedberg on and on and on...

thought this HIGH POWER offense was supposed to overcome the likes of Halak or any other goalie...

just goes to show some things never change...

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"Mine is above and open to criticism, but backed up by facts."

---

Your what? Your solution? You didn't provide anything. All you did was post a bunch of numbers, and then conclude "stuff is hard, therefore we shouldn't do anything." Woo. way to go out on a limb there, cowboy.

Personally, I think GMGM is a lot at fault here, but I don't fire him if I'm Ted. I send him a very strong message that he has exactly 365 days to do his job or he gets his walking papers. This teams needs: solid Defensemen, better goaltending, a 2nd line center, and veteran leadership have been this team's issue for three years now. What did GMGM deliver at the trade deadline? Joe Corvo. Unacceptable. That said, the Knuble pick up was brilliant, as was the Chimera Trade. He's shown that he *Can* make good decisions and good moves. He gets one more year.

I get rid of Bruce. Look, he's a nice guy, makes a funny commercial, and produces a heck of a regular season hockey team. I don't think he can get it done in the playoffs. I beg Borrow and steal to try and get LeMaire. If he's really committed to retiring, I give Mark French down in Hershey a shot. Why not?

As for players. I agree that we're stuck with Sasha and that $6mil. If you can trade him, great, but I don't think you can. Locking up Nicky Long Term is the first priority. Try to trade Mike Green, I think he has value to a team interested in selling tickets. I accept little in return for him beyond Cap relief and use that to pursue Volchenkov. I let Flash walk.

That's what I do. I'm sorry that disagrees with your stellar strategy of "nothing."

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

Anyone who uses 2008 as a playoff failure is an idiot. The Caps had the 8th best record of all the Eastern Conference teams. They were last in the entire NHL when BB took over.

2009 was about what was expected. They beat the Rangers (it took more games, but hey won) and then they lost to the eventual SC champs in seven games. Which could had easily been different if not for one or two unfortunate bounces in OT (games 3 and 5). So pretty d*mn close to the Conference Finals.

This year was a failure. So the Caps have failed only once with this team.

That's why I am using the Red Wings 2006 team as an analogy. Babcock didn't take over a rebuilding team who was last in the NHL. He was taking over a team with talent and expecations of being the #1 team in the NHL. They then won the President's Trophy. Then they got bounced in the first round. There were rumblings that Babcock's system was not a playoff system when that happened and there needed to be an overhaul. Whoever mentioned that (I'm sure VTDuffman would hve said it at the time) looks like an idiot now.The Red Wings TINKERED with the team and system after that loss. Making improvements where needed, but leaving the core in place (top players, head coach, etc.)

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I will never listen to Mike Wise on the radio again.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

There is cap room to get Volchenkov at $5M/yr.

Most were anticipating having Flash at over $3M/yr, and that is clearly not going to happen now. In addition, if the Caps get rid of Poti(who is more tradeable now with his great playoffs and only 1 year left on his contract) that would free up even more space.

I think Schultz loss a little bit in projected salary after the playoffs too.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

If there's anything that screams "Panic!" then this headline is it.

I am glad that Ted has decided to step back and cool off before making any rash decisions. Clearly, this headline echoes the sentiment of a media and fanbase that has not stepped back, but it is understandable after three early exits. It would be terrible, 'Skins-like if you will, for the franchise to make emotion-based decisions two days after a stunning collapse. I am glad Ted realizes the poor performance of our special teams this year, especially on the PK where Montreal took their opportunities. The triumvirate will address the defense because it was the glaring blemish on this team, and the Caps will be fortunate to attract a great defensive talent.

There are some pieces right now that have become liabilities in the playoffs. I do think tweakings need to be made with next year's playoffs in consideration. Meanwhile, some guys could add more mass and adapt a more physical style of play. We need more Ovie-Knubs type of players. We were bigger than the Habs, but we never used it to our advantage.

These guys should use the off-season to prepare for completing a playoff run next year not for vacation time. For a team with this kind of talent, they fell far too short.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | April 30, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey sgm3 ... the only reason they finished 8th is because the team started 6-14-1 under Hanlon. Once Boudreau took over, the team went 37–17–7, which I'll bet was better than PHI over the last 61 games. The 2007 playoffs may not have been a 'disaster', but they certainly were a big disappointment. The Caps were the better team in that series.

Jeff

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 30, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"That's why I am using the Red Wings 2006 team as an analogy."

---

Which is fine, I disagree. In his third year as head coach, Mike Babcock had led his team to a conference final and a Stanley Cup championship. In his third year as head coach, BB has almost led his team out of the conference semi-finals.

I don't think it's an apt analogy, you do. It's silly to discuss it further.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, meant the 2008 playoffs vs PHI, not 2007.

Posted by: PensFan98 | April 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

@htgolf,

I will take my shot at this if you don't mind, if I were GM and Ted:

Sorry but fire BB and hire Lemaire....he isn't going to put up with the team taking periods off and not paying the price the way BB seems to.

Package Semin/Green/and a propect or two and get Iginla and Regher(sp?) from Calgary.

Resign Backstrom, Fehr,Schultz, and Chimera

Sign Saku Koivu for that second line center if he doesn't want a ton

Resign Belanger to play 4th line center and trade Steckel/Gordon

I'm no cap expert but if there is money left after these additions bid for Volchenkov or Hamhuis--hopefully trade Poti if any takers


So,

Ovie-Backs-Knub
Iginla-Koivu-Laich
Chimera-Perrault-Fehr
?-Belanger-Brads

Regehr-Volchenkov/Hamhuis if cap allows if not Poti if still stuck with his contract
Carlson-Alzner
Schultz-Erskine

May be a dream but I'm allowed to dream.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I suggest they hire two more asst. coaches... bring back Kono to work with the PK unit and Oates to work with the PP unit.

Posted by: joek443 | April 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"The 2007 playoffs may not have been a 'disaster', but they certainly were a big disappointment. The Caps were the better team in that series."

---

Well, and really, the degree of "disappointment" shouldn't matter. All that matters is performance. After three straight years, BB has yet to lead his team out of the 2nd round or even win a series in less than 7 games.

People would have more of a point if this was something new. Three years later it's starting to look like a trend.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Day before game 7 and your Captain, Semin and Green are not on the ice for practice. Day of the game morning skate and your captain is not on the ice for practice. I love OV as much as the rest of you on here, but something is not right. He needs to drag these guys and himself to practice and set an example that voluntary or not, you need to be there.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 30, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

all kool aid drinkers: make sure to read Tarik and Boswell's pieces. think long and hard

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

@dccitizen1 -
the goal was disallowed because Knuble slightly bumped Halak and in game 2, Backstrom's goal with Knuble in the crease with his butt in Halak's face probably should not have been allowed. Monteal complained about this. It was an even up call. Too bad the timing was so piss poor in game 7.

Posted by: bigschu8 | April 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

We seem to be on the same wavelength

@PensFan98

I am not sure if we were better than Philly in that 1st round but even if we were...we were beyond EXHAUSTED from the regular season push. Nobody is at fault for losing in that 1st round.

Some people on this site are just too angry and bitter...you all want to stay that way and blame everybody under the sun. Sure it was a HUGE upset that should never have happened but as I said before...upsets happen. There is always a reason to fire and trade somebody.

The fact is that BB ,messed up along with his players. In my opinion it is his first real upset and considering what he did the past two seasons, he deserves another shot. Philly...not his fault...Pens....injuries are to blame...he is by no means perfect, but I think he will adjust for next season. All this anger is not good for you people...be honest with yourself...we could all get an update that BB is fired, 28 and 52 are gone and you still wouldn't be happy.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Day before game 7 and your Captain, Semin and Green are not on the ice for practice. Day of the game morning skate and your captain is not on the ice for practice. I love OV as much as the rest of you on here, but something is not right. He needs to drag these guys and himself to practice and set an example that voluntary or not, you need to be there.

Posted by: capsfansince74


Sooo many people are complaining about this...Ovie was at the practices...just not on the ice and frankly I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what is best for his game...this is a stupid argument because none of us KNOWS the facts and reasoning behid it...until I see or hear a coach or GMGM or even Ted complain about Ovies work ethic, I will stand by him.

This was also the guy that flew from closing ceremonies in Vancouver and came straight to practice to be with his team...yeah...sounds like a slacker!

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"we could all get an update that BB is fired, 28 and 52 are gone and you still wouldn't be happy."

Actually that would make me happy as long as we got a no nonsense coach in here who wouldn't put up with players not showing up...and we would have tons of cap space to sign the players needed!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Pens....injuries are to blame..."

---

In the Playoffs, everyone is injured. It's not an excuse. Maxime Talbot scored the GWG in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year, and IIRC both of his shoulders were so messed up he required surgery immediately afterward.

Being "tired" after a playoff push is no excuse either. The Flyers this year needed to win a Shoot-out in their last game of the year to make the playoffs at all this year. That didn't stop them from dusting the Devils in 5 games, and they had injuries too to key players with Carter and Gagne out.

This is kind of the point. I argue that better coaching makes up for any reasons one can come up with to excuse a loss. It seems like we're developing a culture of "excuse" on this team, and that's not how championships are won.

Certainly people are angry, and certainly people are disappointed. But some of us also just disagree with you, that doesn't instantly qualify someone as "angry." There's no need to be so dismissive of people who have done nothing wrong other than share a different opinion than you.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I swear some of you retards are on crack. "3 strikes and your out" WTF! That year they were in dead last place and eneded up winning their division. That playoff was an unbelievable bonus. I was at that last game too and it was almost like winning the Stanley Cup. "Ovie needs to step down" WTF!!! AGAIN!! While it hurts they will only get better and learn from this. Go back and read the Feds article for Christ sake and stay off the board you trolls.

Posted by: Iceman10 | April 30, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Look at the 2008 team. They were a decent team but were never a SC threat. Backstrom was a rookie and was no where near the player he is now. Laich was no where near the player he is now.

Except for Ovie, no one else reached 70 points in the season.

Their defense was considerably worse since it was many of the same players but 2 years ago when guys like Schultz and ShaMo were a lot worse.

To look at that team and to say they were expected to do much in the playoffs is ridiculous.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

I have no problem with other opinions...I would argue that you are more dismissive of other opinions than me.

I find your posts frustrating because your posts seem to be so overwhelmingly negative...throughout the season.

You are upset b/c we lost to Philly when just making the playoffs were a miracle...and of course lots of players are injured in playoffs, but be honest with yourself and tell me that having two player play with a broken foot plus all the other injuries which were worse than average was not a bit extra challenging to deal with. So much good has happened to this team since BB came where before him the stands were empty and were were rarely ever in playoff contention. We have come so far and I think 2 in a half seasons of coaching this welldeserves another chance...and it will help you live longer if you don't focus so much on the negative...keeps the Bp down :)

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Iceman10,

So we are trolls for disagreeing and pointing it out but you can call people "retards on crack." Yeah, that's not troll like at all.....grow up man. If you read back through the year I have always been supportive of this team but this epic failure shows that there is need for change. I do not agree that Ovie needs to step down but do feel that BB needs to go at this point...so sorry if that hurts your feelings and you have to lower yourself to name calling.

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

again...same wavelength!

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I like the playoffs in any sport. The true stars emerge under the pressure of post season games. After all winning the Cup, the Bowl or the Series is what it is all about, not which team gets the most points or wins in the regular season. I call these players who are able to step it up a notch or two in the post season when the game in on the line "clutch and guts" guys. Obviously the Caps are short of them right now. We all know from the World Juniors and watching him last year in winning the Calder Cup and this year in an early playoff game John Carlson is one. But few others even come close on the Caps current roster.

Over the last few evenings I have listened to the Bears playoff games from Albany NY. Two players who scored game winning goals for the Bears in dramatic overtime fashion might have the elusive "clutch and guts" qualities the Caps so much need. On Tuesday night it was Jay Beagle defecting a shot from Sean Collins by the goalie late in the first overtime for the win. On Thursday night it was Mathieu Perreault not only tying it late in regulation but getting the game winner early in OT set up by Beagle and Chris Bourque. Bourque had a hand in all 5 Bears goals last night. Note these guys were not on the Bears No. 1 line but "clutch and guts" role players who came up big when it really counted in the playoff on the road to close out and sweep the series 4-0.

Now continuing on to the road to Calder Cup which is won many times by "clutch and guts" guys like a Beagle, Perreault or a Bourque, not always by the big guys with the high point totals on the first line.

Posted by: dull | April 30, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, bigshu8. That explanation, unfortunately, makes sense--a sort of "payback" questionable call. I acknowledge that Knuble might have touched the goalie, but I'll always believe that Halak simply dropped into his default butterfly position and therefore missed the flying puck. But, all in all, it isn't the main point of why the Caps lost the series overall.

I can't support calling for Boudreau's head. I can support requiring a lot of soul searching and coaching adjustments.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 30, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Capscoach - you wont see BB, GMGM or Ted come out and publicly bash Ovechkin. What good would come out of that? Most likely nothing. However, as a fan, I can say he needs to be on the ice and dragging players onto the ice the day before game 7 and the day of game 7. He seemed healthy enough to play in the game. He's supposed to be the leader of the team and needs to act like it in this case.

I dont care if he drove home from the olympics, walked home, or took a red eye to get to the first game after the break - its irrelevant to not practicing before the biggest game of the year.

Semin thinks he doesnt have to practice either? The guy couldnt score a goal all series - do you think a little extra work might help? Maybe BB needs to force the situation.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"I have no problem with other opinions...I would argue that you are more dismissive of other opinions than me."

I'm not "dismissive." I just disagree with you. Holy crap, don't take everything so personally, it's just the internet. Take some deep breaths and realize that there are people in this world who disagree with you about things, and that's OK. I never called anyone that disagreed with me "stupid" or tried to write them off as "angry" or anything like that. I simply disagree.

"I find your posts frustrating because your posts seem to be so overwhelmingly negative...throughout the season."

Throughout the season I was pretty positive and certainly enjoyed the regular season ride. I was more than willing to answer the "Can BB's system work in the playoffs" and finally prove the doubters wrong. Well, the results are in and the answer is - no, it can't work in the playoffs. That's fine. It's not a good or a bad thing, it just is what it is. I think Bruce is a great guy, but he's not my brother, dad, or friend. He's a guy who has been coaching the team I have rooted for my entire life for a couple of years. That's all. I think the team would be better served with someone else coaching, and I've listed why many times. You don't and that's cool too. We disagree.

(cont.)

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@doughless

If you read the eulogies for the other teams you would realize they are all meant to be derisive. That is supposed to be the charm of them.

But do you agree with the writer that it was dumb to bench Flash for Scott Walker in game 7?

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"You are upset b/c we lost to Philly when just making the playoffs were a miracle...and of course lots of players are injured in playoffs, but be honest with yourself and tell me that having two player play with a broken foot plus all the other injuries which were worse than average was not a bit extra challenging to deal with. So much good has happened to this team since BB came where before him the stands were empty and were were rarely ever in playoff contention. We have come so far and I think 2 in a half seasons of coaching this welldeserves another chance...and it will help you live longer if you don't focus so much on the negative...keeps the Bp down :)"

---

I'm not upset about the Philly Loss two years ago. This is what I'm talking about. Stop ascribing emotions and all this nonsense to my posts and argue the content of them instead. The Philly Loss was a Loss. The PIT loss was a loss. The MTL Loss was a Loss. You can excuse any of those losses for any number of reasons. But any team can excuse any loss for any number of reasons. The difference between champions and losers is that champions don't settle for excuses.

As for "focusing on the negative," when the topic of the thread is "What went wrong," that's what you do - you ruminate on what went wrong. A Championship program identifies their weaknesses, addresses them, and moves on. That's all. The only difference between you and me is that we disagree about what the weaknesses are.

And then with the "bp" comment. I don't understand why you feel the need to characterize those that disagree with you as angry, excitable, or somehow unstable. I just disagree with you. There's no anger here.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@VTDuffman

Enough of this....your opinions aren't going to hurt my feelings. What would thi site be if there weren't different opinions.

Posted by: capscoach | April 30, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

PhilR,

fire BB and hire jaques lemaire? really, how'd his second seeded team do this year? this is the same guy whos teams have lost in the first round three times in the last six years and missed the playoffs the other three years. you think a trap style would work well for this teams personnel? besides, he retired.

trade a two time norris trophy finalist and a 40 goal scorer for two over thirty guys with a combined cap hit of $12M over the next three years? really?

trade steckel and gordon? two still young and cheap defensive centers? really? gordon was arguably our best forward in the playoffs, certainly on the defensive side.

saku koivu? really, second line center...at 35.

seriously, step back and relax. let GMGM do his thing.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 30, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

i realize they are derisive or satirical, but that is just a literary tool to highlight something that contains some truth. i think the person that the eulogy tools on that no one wants to call out at all, is the great 8. read the quote from brian engblom in tarik's article.

walker should have been put in in game 5.

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

we need strong 2nd line center, 2nd or 3rd line winger, defensive defenseman or 2, adjust on the coaching staf (if not Boudreau, then the assistants to offset his offense first bias).

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Enough of this....your opinions aren't going to hurt my feelings. What would thi site be if there weren't different opinions."

Where did I ever say that my opinions were going to hurt your feelings? I just don't understand why you feel the need to characterize those that disagree with you as "angry," it doesn't make any sense to me.

You haven't really addressed anything I've said, all you've done is attempt to characterize me as some sort of insane person on the brink of a coronary, and I have yet to understand why.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

It's going to be interesting what the Sens do in the off-season. I don't think they can keep both Volchenkov unless they trade someone like Spezza or Fisher. Spezza is a bit too rich at $7mil a year but if they want to trade Fisher (and keep A-Train), that might be a good fit. Plus, they're real high on that kid Regin so he can take Fisher's spot at a much lower cost.

As someone said earlier Koivu could be interesting as well.

Posted by: Moose33 | April 30, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I know, we are pretty much agreeing on everything.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"trade a two time norris trophy finalist and a 40 goal scorer"

---

I think the point of contention is that the two time Norris Trophy Finalist and the 40 goal scorer have a disturbing habit of disappearing in the playoffs when it matters. I think an argument can be made that their combined $11mil could be better served on players who can contribute better to this teams goal of playoff success. There's no doubt those two players are very fun to watch in the regular season. Their regular season trophy nominations and regular season goal totals, as you mentioned, are indicative of that...

But perhaps its time to start investing in the next step towards the Organization's ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Find Sergei Fedorov's comment interesting. Though he didn’t want to stay in Washington. What could it have been if he was the second line center. We would have still be in the playoff, perhaps?!

Posted by: instinct227 | April 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

A few of you, namely htgolf/VTduffman/PhilR have recommended bringing in Lemaire. Do you guys need to be reminded that HIS team was just bounced as the 2nd seed by a team that qualified for the playoffs via a shootout on the last day of the season in only 5 games? Why couldn't he motivate the Devils? Why didn't his system work in the playoffs? Lemaire has won the Stanley Cup as a coach exactly 1 time way back in the 1994-95 season. Since that Stanley Cup win he has made it to the Conference Final 1 time, never even back to the Stanley Cup Finals.

As the Devils coach 1st time around after he won the Cup in 94-95 his seasons went like this:

1995–96 82 37 33 12 — 86 6th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
1996–97 82 45 23 14 — 104 1st in Atlantic Lost in second round
1997–98 82 48 23 11 — 107 1st in Atlantic Lost in first round

Then he went to Minnesota, and granted he had to build a team but once he did, they didn't do well in the playoffs either.

2000–01 82 25 39 13 5 68 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
2001–02 82 26 35 12 9 73 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
2002–03 82 42 29 10 1 95 3rd in Northwest Lost in Conf. champ
2003–04 82 30 29 20 3 83 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
2005–06 82 38 36 — 8 84 5th in Northwest Missed playoffs
2006–07 82 48 26 — 8 104 2nd in Northwest Lost in first round
2007–08 82 44 28 — 10 98 1st in Northwest Lost in first round
2008–09 82 40 33 — 9 89 3rd in Northwest Missed playoffs

One could argue that Lemaire's system works well during the regular season, but not in the playoffs except for 1 Stanley Cup and 1 Conference final. His Stanley Cup was won with a young Brodeur that stole A LOT of games that year during the playoffs.

My point is that heart broken and ticked off fans would make knee-jerk reactions if they were in charge right now. I get it, but now is not the time to do that. One coul


Posted by: fanohock1 | April 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@dcsportfan1,

Another guy who gets all bound up because someone has a different opinion than he does. OK big boy....what would you do? Stand pat and let the team continue to lose every year in the playoffs because they have no grit? Everyone has opinions, don't care if you don't like mine in the least but at least have an idea to counteract my suggestions instead of just "really" and dismissing due to age/cap....come up with solutions and then we can talk. And Koivu would make a fine 2nd line center in a two year contract..if you don't see that than I dismiss your "hockey knowledge" simply based on that....and if you wouldn't want Iginla on this team....well, see above!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis didn't assign blame when he wrote, "we didn't adjust well on the ice to the new schemes coming our way." But Engblom and Weekes both said Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau's seeming lack of adjustments to his team's scheme -- as well as a certain star player's resistance to change -- was a problem.

"If you just play at one speed, one tempo all the time, which they do, at 100 miles per hour all the time, it becomes predictable," Weekes said. "They live and die scoring goals off the rush, and they got frustrated."

Engblom said he was stunned by Boudreau's lack of adjustments Wednesday, particularly his forward line combinations.

more....
Ovechkin finished with five goals and five assists, but he was held to a goal and an assist in the final three games. In Washington's Game 1 loss, he was held without a shot or point for the first time in his career.

"He's going to have to learn to adapt, too," Engblom said of the two-time MVP, who was nominated for the Hart Trophy on Thursday. "From eight feet outside the Montreal blue line to inside the zone, he was constantly trying to beat people on his own. They ate him up. They knew what he was going to do."


Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"One could argue that Lemaire's system works well during the regular season, but not in the playoffs except for 1 Stanley Cup and 1 Conference final. His Stanley Cup was won with a young Brodeur that stole A LOT of games that year during the playoffs."

---

Except for his One Stanley Cup and his One Conference Final? Well, yeah I suppose if you exclude his Championship, and his playoff successes, you could conclude it doesn't work.

Personally, I just used LeMaire as an example. I honestly don't care who it is and don't feel like researching every possible coaching candidate out there. I'm strictly talking about BB here and whether or not he should keep his job. "I can't come up with a better option off the top of my head," personally, isn't necessarily a good reason to keep him.

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@doughless

I did read the article. The first thing that jumped out was their conclusion that no overhaul or drastic changes are needed. Just some tinkering.

On Ovie, he was the Caps best player throughout the series. He had 5G 5A and was a +5. In addition, when the team was down 1-0 in game 7 at the start of the third period, Ovie came out hard and scored a goal in 24 seconds (later wrongly ruled a no-goal). He made that big play when the team needed it. It was a garbage call that should be considered when talking about Ovie's contributions.

I do agree that Ovie needs to work on some of the small things such as defensive positioning, handling the puck at the point on the PP (he needs to practice keeping the puck in with hi backhand when it is coming out along the boards).

So he needs to make improvements, absolutely.

Personally, even before I read the Fedorov article, I think the best coaching change the Caps could make would be to hire Fedorov as an assistant (pay him whatever). Then have Ovie and Semin spend a lot of time with Fedorov so Sergei can teach them all the stuff he learned from Scotty Bowman in Detroit. I think Fedorov would be the perfect mentor for Ovie and Semin and he seems to be able to calm them down when needed.

Posted by: sgm3 | April 30, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Caps owenership needs to look the team, coaching staff and system and bring some balance to the overall product. If you keep doing the same thing, people are going to figure it out.

Ovie needs to learn the word team.

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

lets stop making excuses, Semin is a headcase. Sign Backstrom longterm, look for a deal for Semin. Is the hit for trying to sign BAckstrom and Semin to longterm deals woth it???

The Caps have too much talent at the AHL level that can be brought up to lock all of the money away to make Backstrom AND Semin deals. Chalk it up to experience and send Semin to a team that could use his regular season production knowing that he is a ghost at playoff time. also, bye bye flash.

Posted by: doughless | April 30, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Life goes one.

Two things happened in this series:

1) the special teams were horrible, and we all know that. if they go 5-of-33 the series would have been different.

2) Halek was amazing.

The D and GT, which gave up (in regulation and without EN goals): 2, 5, 1, 3, 2, 3, 2 goals. I can easily live with that in playoff hockey.

Things I'd like in order:

1) an assistant who is fully responsible for the ST play. A lockdown coach who will manage the PP and the PK with full responsibility for deciding who is where and whether they are there or not. If you suck, you sit.

2) Mike Green for Volchenkov, straight up. I like Mike Green but this team doesn't need a high-scoring defenseman at the expense of actual defense. This isn't a wild, one series, judgement and we all know that: he hasn't showed up in the playoffs and it's a problem, a huge problem. For his money, resign Anton to a 3 year $15m deal, let our offense be our offense and get a shot blocker and true defenseman. I know it sounds counter-intuitive since the offense flamed out in the series but I think #1 above is a better solution to that than expecting Mike to suddenly become a better defender.

Aside from that, see everyone next season. It was a gas and a horrible ending.

Posted by: saintex | April 30, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportfan1,

Another guy who gets all bound up because someone has a different opinion than he does. OK big boy....what would you do? Stand pat and let the team continue to lose every year in the playoffs because they have no grit? Everyone has opinions, don't care if you don't like mine in the least but at least have an idea to counteract my suggestions instead of just "really" and dismissing due to age/cap....come up with solutions and then we can talk. And Koivu would make a fine 2nd line center in a two year contract..if you don't see that than I dismiss your "hockey knowledge" simply based on that....and if you wouldn't want Iginla on this team....well, see above!

Posted by: PhilR | April 30, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

my suggestion was to let gmgm do his thing. you are entitled to your opinion. so long as you are willing to make them public then i'm entitled to let you know my thoughts. you made some pretty specific suggestions, which are patently absurd. sorry, my opinion.

if you want to make trade suggestions, at least have some reality behind them. and the reality is that you dont trade young players like green/semin plus "a prospect or two" for old expensive players like regher and iginla. how do you expect to sign backstrom long term, plus alzner, carlson, varly, neuvirth, etc with 25% of your payroll tied up in those guys? hmmm?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | April 30, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

2010-2011 season
reg: 82-0-0
playoffs: 16-0

anything less would be a complete and total failure

if i were Ted, i would insist on perfection and flawless execution


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | April 30, 2010 12:31 AM

--------

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

We are trying to take baby steps. I will accept

82-0-0
15-1

Anything less and I am done with this team for life!

Posted by: ablake70 | April 30, 2010 12:42 AM

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

@Capt_Kirk_in_AZ and ablake70:

As sick as I am about The Collapse (and will probably continue to be so for at least a few more weeks), I am also glad to see that SOMEONE on these boards has begun to recover their sense of humor.


You were both joking, right?


Of course, if my interpretation of your posts is inaccurate and you are serious about those numbers...then I must respectfully ask you both:

If the Caps don't lose some of their games next year (but not too many, of course), then how does this prepare them to recover quickly if/as/when they do lose one?

I'm not saying anyone should ever give less than their best winning effort to every game, but no team in NHL history--not even the storied Habitants has ever gone undefeated for an entire season. It just isn't humanly possible.


While I do agree that this debacle is--to put it mildly--extremely diasppointing, the fact is that we watch sports for how it makes us feel. And quite frankly, in the last two years the Caps have made me feel good more often than not.

So, then:

Bitterly gut-punch heart-break disappointing? Yes. Absolutely.
Total "Fail"? Not so much.

Like I said in my earlier post: Even if it turns out to be conclusively proven that the Almighty despises our Caps, I just can't bring myself to do the same.

Posted by: Rhino40 | April 30, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

As a huge hockey fan (and diehard Caps fan), it bothered me all year that the team played so passive and never initiated physical confrontations to change a game's momentum. Chris Neil, Rick Rypien, Cam Janssen, Matt Carkner, Brandon Prust,(even Jarko Ruutu, Steve Ott, or Sean Avery types)are what we need.....even Detroit had Darren McCarty to handle the rough stuff; who did the caps have this year? No wonder we didn't get far in the ultimate "man's league,"...too bad the organization has denied the fanbase the one aspect of the sport that makes it unique: fighting. Fortunately for me, I still have the Bruins to root for. With Chara, Thornton, Lucic, and now Mcquaid not too many teams take liberties against them. Unfortunately, I cant say the same for our nice team

Posted by: vermontcaps | April 30, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"this team has made no secret of the fact that they wanna model themselves after the Red Wings but if you watch the two teams play, their styles could not be more different.

no team shares the puck and plays as a cohesive unit like the Red Wings and no team holds onto the puck and plays as a bunch of individuals like the Caps.

unless they learn to play as TEAM, this team will never have much success in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443"
___________________________________________

Couldn't agree more. Combined with lack of heart/true desire, and you have your deadly combination for collapse.

Posted by: bess1 | April 30, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Here's my thoughts on mike green...

He's a good player... just not a "smart" player. do i think he got better defensively this year, yes... but he's still not there yet. He is still young and I wish we had someone here that can really show him the ropes on how to play defensive, aggressive hockey. I can't stand how he waits to be hit in the corners and then he decides he's going to make his move.

He is still a kid and the problem is he believes his own hype. It doesn't help that BB coddles him and doesn't challenge him enough to be a better defenseman. Why did it take not being put on the olympic team for him to want to shore up his game?

Develop better hockey sense. Learn to not just wave your stick at the person standing next to the net. Learn to make the play before you're being forechecked and for god's sake nothing stupid at the blueline. you're playing with other NHLers. they can actually handle hard passes, not lazy ones that puts them in a vulnerable position.

I agree with people that we need volchenkov and reduce green's minutes. he's not a number 1 guy. let's take the pressure off of him.

so mike green, the balls in your court. do you want to continue to have faux hawks and drive lambos and be flashy or do you want to be a champion? it's time for a lot of priorities to change.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 30, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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