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Leonsis says it isn't time to blow things up


Ted Leonsis spoke at great length with Comcast SportsNet's Russ Thaler on Thursday, both about the Wizards and about the Capitals. He did so, he said, because "if you want to provide leadership to your fan base and to your employees, you've got to face the music, and we have to face the music. We didn't meet our goals. And the first part of improving is to recognize that."

There are lots of interesting moments, and I'd encourage you to go watch the fuller clips at CSN's website. Above is the edited highlights, including the best sequence, which came when Thaler asked Leonsis about his blog post that said his team's "hockey IQ seemed low" against the Habs.

"I think they froze under some pressure," Leonsis said of his players. "And some of that comes from maybe never being in that kind of position, where you're so programmed for success. And the [opposing] goaltender's playing great, they're playing a trap, they basically outmaneuvered us and let us make our own mistakes....

"We set our goal to win a Stanley Cup this year, and we didn't get past the first round, so it's a failure. And we have to internalize that, and I think we will as an organization moving forward. The biggest disappointment was we didn't score. I mean, everybody's criticizing us for maybe over-indexing on offense, and we ended the season the highest scoring team in the league by far, with the best power play, and we couldn't score on the power play.

"And so that just has to do with some players really not performing under the bright lights well enough, so that's what we have to look at. Do we add some veteran leadership? Do we need more grit? But it's not a systemic [issue] -- fire the coach, fire the general manager, trade Alex Ovechkin, trade Mike Green. Probably five percent of my e-mails today are from people [saying], blow it up, start all over. And that's certainly not what we're going to do."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 30, 2010; 12:11 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

FIRE THAT SORRY AZZ INCOMPETENT GRUNFELD!! HE HAS DONE AND WILL DO NOTHING TO FURTHER OUR CAUSE!! JUST LOOK AT GIL'S BLOATED CONTRACT!! HE IS A SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE PLAYER AT BEST!!

IF YOU THINK HE'S A SUPERSTAR...like he's paid.... YOU ARE A FOOL, PERIOD

Posted by: iubiquity | April 30, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering what you were going to talk about the next few weeks with no local team playing anything. Answer TED ok got it

Posted by: remaxjon | April 30, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

The Bog on the FRONT PAGE of the Washington Post... What is the world coming to!

(Brooks Laich's Tire Changing, lower left corner of today's front page)

Posted by: Shiipon | April 30, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Good to see that our ownership has a clear understanding of some of the problems we encountered, and that he can articulate it an a way that shows he understands the game (which we knew all along anyway).

I hope all this team really changes is developing a stronger defensive system to support our offensive breakouts, and a system for defeating stay-at-home defense. Let's not forget caps fans, that we were beating the Habs 3-1 in the series. Our subsequent losses wern't due to lack of effort, horrific goaltending or defensive meltdowns, etc. It was because we didn't have a clear strategy to counter the adjustments the Habs made. That is mostly a strategic coaching problem, a problem that I am sure Bruce and the team will work on and stew over for the next season. While I am by no means happy with how we waltzed into the playoffs and failed to make critical adjustments, I must believe that we will improve.

Remember Gretzky's Oilers were in the EXACT same situation before the Oilers won the cup (look up how their seasons ended before they won - exactly the same as the caps).

Posted by: genestad | April 30, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"I hope all this team really changes is developing a stronger defensive system to support our offensive breakouts, and a system for defeating stay-at-home defense"

---

What would make you think they are going to change any of that? Haven't you been getting the message? Absolutely nothing is wrong with the GM, the Coach, or the players, they were just "unlucky" enough to run into an "amazing goalie."

You know, like they have done ever year for the last three years, it's one fascinating string of bad luck, I tell ya.

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

at the least, let's hope this opened the eyes a little more..it sure seemed that just about the entire team, including the coach, thought they'd breeze through the first round or two..shouldn't they of learned from the rangers series last year? there should be nothing more humbling than losing a series after being up 3-1 over an 8 seed

Posted by: jdwood84 | April 30, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Don't worry Caps fans...the Red Wings were tagged as a underachievers with Datsyuk and Zetterberg...then they won the Cup. It takes time.

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

"Don't worry Caps fans...the Red Wings were tagged as a underachievers with Datsyuk and Zetterberg...then they won the Cup. It takes time."

Exactly.

It's just one series...sheesh!

Relax people.

- Ray

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

@VTDuffman
"You know, like they have done ever year for the last three years, it's one fascinating string of bad luck, I tell ya."

The caps weren't supposed to make the playoffs 3 years ago. Finally coming out of rebuilding they had one hell of a run to make the playoffs.

Last year (while they barely beat the rags) they took the eventual Stanley Cup champs (won't mention their name) to seven games.

This year was a weak exit, the last two were not.

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

Fatty Teddy email should hire Charlie Casserly to run the team. That'll fix everything.

Posted by: rev_ollie | April 30, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Lots of stuff coming out about certain prominent Capitals being real hard partyers, including late nights before game days. Wise was talking about that on his radio show yesterday. Maybe Leonsis ought to look into that

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 30, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"of rebuilding they had one hell of a run to make the playoffs.

Last year (while they barely beat the rags) they took the eventual Stanley Cup champs (won't mention their name) to seven games.

This year was a weak exit, the last two were not."

Thank you for talking some actual sense, BorntoHula. This is the first year the Caps went out before they should have. Thus far, they've only dealt with success; now they have to deal with adversity. That's ultimately what makes a champion a champion. It took Jordan's Bulls years to break through. Lebron hasn't broken through yet, and he's as good as it gets. Why should it be any different for one of the world's best players on a hockey team?

Now, if this group flames out again next year in the first round, you talk changes. As it is, GMGM and Boudreau have earned the right to try and recover from this and to lead the team back next year.

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

im sorry but u dont blow up a 121 point team with 54 wins and a president trophy you fine tune it, u maybe add guys with more playoff experience or hope Green Semin Flash still develope there games because hate them now but there still young players so, relax and breathe Cap nation one bad playoff run happens. it took gretzky awhile to win so, lets just chill. I think Leoniss should talk NHL about moving them to the Atlantic because obviously the Southis ruining the competitive level

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

im sorry but u dont blow up a 121 point team with 54 wins and a president trophy you fine tune it, u maybe add guys with more playoff experience or hope Green Semin Flash still develope there games because hate them now but there still young players so, relax and breathe Cap nation one bad playoff run happens. it took gretzky awhile to win so, lets just chill. I think Leoniss should talk NHL about moving them to the Atlantic because obviously the Southis ruining the competitive level

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

You certainly don't blow this team up. That's a ridiculous suggestion. But the Caps did basically fall into a classic rope-a-dope situation and it took them out of their usual style of play. Montreal just collapsed on defense and countered effectively every time an opportunity presented itself. This is a great regular season team - the fine tuning needs to be turning it into a great playoff/second season team. I have high confidence in George McPhee and Ted Leonsis, and Bruce Boudreau.

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

This Caps team remind me of the young Detroit Red Wings who was supposed to win the Cup for four years before they finally won it all in 1997.

Posted by: coolboarder | April 30, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

to b honet which team who plays number 1 all season actually wins the cup? not many

Posted by: cjdwolfpack | April 30, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Those calling for blowing up the team or trading some of our best players, well, to be nice I will say they are remarks out of frustration, but saying it plainly, they are remarks from people who knows zilch about the game. So ignore them.

To place the defeat solely on the players is just as erroneous as the crazy remarks by some fans. It was a team failure, coaches and players. I do not dare compare my knowledge or hockey savvy against BB or any coach, but from my point of view, as just an spectator, I would say one of the biggest problem was BB failure to establish his lines, specially the second line. The lack of cohesiveness on the second and third line really showed on the playoffs, a lot of individual play. The second problem I put on the coaches was the lack of adjustment in the PP. It was stale, it was basically the same all year long, successful early on but putrid after the other teams figured it out. There was very little puck movement, and almost zero player movements, statues, no one was circling, the shots came primarily from one or two guys, the goalie and defense knew exactly what the Caps intended to do easily defending it.

To say that coaches or that the GM should be fired, is stupid as stupid can be.

Posted by: hock1 | April 30, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

If anyone was overconfident going into the Canadiens series, I suspect it was more the fans and media (and more the new ones than the old) than the players or organization. There certainly is reason to reexamine all the pieces but I agree with all the others, including the owner, who scoff at the need to blow it up and start over. With what?

Posted by: McKinley2 | April 30, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ted, Thank YOU! Thank you. You are not firing the best coach Bruce and do not trade your best players. Our time will come. They already bit all team records for you.

Posted by: Piligvinn1 | April 30, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The DC sports fan's acrid reaction to the Caps losing is a long and painful reaction to a losing mentality for ALL professional sports in the area. The last time DC won anything resembling a championship was in the early 90's with the Redskins. We've had a 20 year drought. (I know DC United won back to back, but honestly unless you are of a Latino heritage, MLS does not count as one of the top tier professional sports). The CAPS fans are the same people that have been abused by Snyder Redskins. We have the "beaten spouse" syndrom. No matter how well our teams play, we always feel like we are going to get sucker punched in the end..... Sad to be a DC native....

Posted by: skinfannomore | April 30, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

The Caps and we as fans should stop whining about the loss. This team was good enough to have the best record in the league, so obviously they've done a lot of things right. They lost to a team that seemed to be hungrier, better coached and clearly had better goaltending. Study the films, see what went wrong and address the issues. Quit feeling sorry for yourselves, you bunch of babies.

Posted by: randysbailin | April 30, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

the common denominator is the the arena. more importantly, the arena's corporate sponsor: first MCI (hmmm, haven't seen them in a while), now Verizon....time for a change.
Secondly, and totally unrelated, it's hard to take seriously the words of a business man who wears a goatee.

Posted by: BlueberryRuffin | May 1, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Give Montreal credit for playing beautiful defense. Everytime a Caps player took a shot, there were 4 players shielding the goalie.

Posted by: marble3 | May 1, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

yeah it takes time unless your the pens with Crosby evidently. First year in the playoffs at 19 makes the playoffs knocked out by Eastern Conference Champs Ottawa. Come back the next year paste the Senators at 20 leads the team to the finals against an excellent veteran Wings team bow out in 6 with the tying goal a few inches from going in. At 21 stanley cup champion against the wings. So make execuses or recognize what Sidney Crosby is doing as opposed to AO. AO losing at home in humiliating fashion to the Pens last year, losing to a pathetic 16 seed Habs team, going to seven against a crap Rangers team last year for his first playoff win with no points in game seven. And in 08 lose to the crap flyers who Pitts has spanked the past two years. And listen to AO talk pathetic umm i need score goals I no score goals. Seriously. Does he not have a hockey game. SOmone mentioned hockey IQ and that is where there is no comparison between him and the younger captain of the pens.

Posted by: vhull | May 1, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Great season, not so great ending. Make it happen next year. Remember the Redskins lost in 1973 then won three Superbowls in later years. It's hard to get over the hump on the first championship. Get back and kick the door in next time, and take no team for granted.

Thanks for a GREAT season !

Posted by: bfjam | May 1, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Next year keep them out of the Cornerstone. They have no business in there trying to pick up 18-19 year olds.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 1, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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