Wednesday, April 09, 2014

GMGM Has No Place to Hide


General Manager George McPhee created this dreadful Capitals team. He arrived in Washington in 1997, the only year he sniffed a Stanley Cup. That happened on the back of Dave Poile's team and Olie Kolzig's inspired goal tending. Other than that high note, GMGM has not succeeded in the playoffs and the seven Southeast Division titles don't impress me.

GMGM's in the hot seat, but will owner Ted Leonsis fire him? Will he then turnaround and hire some ex-Capital because marketing is more important than the Cup? I miss the good old days, too, but I'm tired of nostalgia hires. I want a general manager and coaches that have Stanley Cup winning experience. Will that even make any difference if Dick Patrick is still here?

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Caps Coaching and Lack of Focus


What happened between the end of last year, when the Caps seemed to be gelling under Coach Adam Oates as they played hard to get into the playoffs, and this year. They're in an even worse situation for reaching the playoffs today, but when I watch them I wonder when they're going to remember that they have to play hard to reach the playoffs. Are they already scheduling tee times?

During the game against the Boston Bruins, the Caps slept walked through the first period and then, in the second period, the Bruins scored three goals with two of those in 41 seconds. The Caps lost that game 4-2. Against the Nashville Predators, the Caps shot 5 pucks at the net and had no traffic in front of the net at the end of the first period. Caps lost focus again in a 'must win' game and barely walked away with one point.

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Beagle Centering Ovie


The Caps gained 5 out of 6 points on their California road trip. I didn't think they had it in them, but stronger goaltending helps. Jaroslav Halak saved 45 shots in Anaheim. They're a team teetering on the edge of making the playoffs or going home. Sometimes they play like it. Sometimes they don't, but they surprised me on this road trip so I'll take it one game at a time.

Capitals Coach Adam Oates road trip strategy continued with some recently used and surprising line combinations, like Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin. Some of his line shuffling is due to injuries to centers and two-way players Mikhail Grobovski and Brooks Laich and some of it is due to the Caps desperate needs for wins and points. On this road trip, the strategy worked from the perspective that Ovie ended up even in plus/minus versus -2 for each of his two prior games against Toronto and Vancouver.

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Caps Need More Kuznetsov and Wilson


It's far too early to get overly excited about center Evgeny Kuznetsov, but he's been fun to watch in his last two games as a Cap. The sick passing skills and the ability to put the puck on the tape of his line mates were on display during his first star, three assist performance against the Vancouver Canucks. That first star came on 9:58 of ice time. He notched his fourth assist in his fourth game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Read more here at Two Pad Stack.

Let's go Caps!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Penner, Halak and Kuznetsov Become Caps

Since none of the above is a defenseman, the Caps are a sure bet for missing the playoffs or flaming out during the first round, as usual. The Caps defense, the one I heard George McPhee saying he likes on WTOP this past Friday, will not withstand the pressure of the Stanley Cup playoffs for longer than one series. See prior post here.

So what do Dustin Penner, Jaroslav Halak and Evgeny Kuznetsov bring to the Caps for the run to the playoffs? Penner, recently of the Anaheim Ducks, scored 32 points in 49 games this season, his best since 2010-2011, but that's because he played with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. On the plus side, Penner's been on two Stanley Cup winning teams, the Ducks in 2007 and the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, so he knows what it takes to get there and most Caps do not. Penner's a tough player and the Caps can always use more toughness, but he's known to be inconsistent and lackadaisical, at times, and the Caps don't need more of that. They've got enough, as evidenced by last night's two plus periods of lousy play against the Phoenix Coyotes before they decided to wake up and score 3 goals in a little over 6 minutes to win the game.

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Olympics End Badly for Caps Leaders

It started with Captain Alex Ovechkin's Russian team not making it to the Olympic medal round, on their home ice,  and it ended with Assistant Captain Nicklas Backstrom being kicked out of the gold medal game about 2-hours before faceoff because he took medicine for his allergies. I felt so bad for him when I heard him all choked up in interviews. And, on top of that, Ovie's father had heart surgery because of issues he experienced during Russia's win against Slovakia. They didn't tell Ovie until Team Russia was eliminated. His family means everything to him as any long-time fan of his knows. This does not bode well for the Caps.

Read more at Two Pad Stack, formerly thefarmclub.net.

Let's go Caps!

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

What if Neuvirth Played in 2011 Playoffs?

Now that Michal Neuvirth, once again, seems to be the Caps goalie du jour, I looked at a blog post I wrote in 2011 because I remember writing about him as the Caps headed to the playoffs under then Coach Bruce Boudreau. Here's what I wrote.

Did the Caps blow it? Hockey goalies are notoriously mental to begin with -- see Braden Holtby's pre-game routine or Ilya Bryzgalov's press conferences -- and all of the Caps coaches, Bruce Boudreau, Dale Hunter and Adam Oates, employed the play the hot hand strategy with the young goalies, which brings us to today. Has the goalie merry-go-round hurt all the Caps young goaltenders mentally? Would the Caps be in a better place today if they'd settled on Neuvirth in 2011? 

Read more here.

Let's go Caps!

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