Line Change Mistakes = Coaching Failure
Not that there aren't many other reasons the Caps are failing in the playoffs, once again, but line change mistakes are killing them in this series. It led to the overtime goal that put the Caps down in their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 0-2 last night. Atrocious line changes during Friday's game contributed to that first game loss, too. The coach doesn't get all the blame for this failure as the players play a role in making effective line changes, but he is the bench manager. Scott Hannan, however, made the line change mistake that led to the overtime goal on Friday. But, this is "hockey for dummies" stuff and why the Caps can't get this right is beyond me.
Other reasons why the Caps still stink in the playoffs...
The Caps power play. It's been ineffective for over a year now and that the coaches can't fix it means this could be a short series. The Caps can't set anything up, they continue to disregard the effectiveness of putting big bodies in front of the net and they get cute, far too often, passing when they should shoot more.
Alex Ovechkin on the point during the power play. It doesn't work and I'm tired of watching the puck go over Ovie's stick back into the neutral zone when he's on the point. Why the coaches continue to try something that hasn't worked in over a year is maddening.
The disappearance of Nicklas Backstrom. Where in the world did your game go Backie? I don't know if he's struggling with the new way the Caps play, but, prior to this year, he's been one of the more consistent star offensive players. It's so unusual to watch a consistent player's production go down the toilet. It's a head scratcher.
The defensive pairing of Jeff Schultz with Mike Green. Schultz ended the night minus-2 and Green was minus-1. No other player on the team was worse in defensive play than these two. Schultz was on the ice for all three Tampa goals and Green for two. Seeing them together drives me insane because they're a huge liability together. Schultz is struggling to keep up with the speedy Tampa players and looked horrible all night and in Friday's game. I miss Dennis Wideman because he would be a huge help to the Caps with Tampa's speedy players and the power play. Plus, the coaches could break up this awful pairing.
Tampa's coaching staff is out coaching the Caps, which is eerily reminiscent of the series against Montreal last year.
I have little faith that the Caps can win this series if these problems persist, but I also hope they prove me wrong.
Let's go Caps!