Monday, May 3, 2010

A Capital Collapse

So the dust has settled. The Caps choked in only a way the Caps can. Up 3-1 against an 8 seed, the Caps found a way to lose. Three times straight.

So, how do we move forward from here? Who do we can, who do we keep, who do we kill? For a President's Trophy winning team with a two time MVP, no one is to be spared. Let's start from the top:

General Manager: George McPhee

Why we keep him:

Tenure - he's been the boss since '97.
Success - Five Southeast Division Championships, seven playoff appearances in twelve seasons. One Stanley Cup appearance (97-98).
Drafting - A lot of NHL regulars were drafted by GMGM. Included (in order of draft year, not prominence or impact with the Capitals): Boynton, Barch, Beech, Sutherby, Pettinger, Paetsch, Oduya, Eminger, Semin, Gordon, Fehr, Ovechkin, Schultz, Green, Lepisto, Tim Kennedy, Backstrom, Varlamov. Neuvirth, Chris Bourque, Mathieu Perreault, Alzner, and Carlson are all in the works, and have some decent NHL experience under their belt.
Trading - Some of his better trades include: Carey, Allison, Carter, and a 3rd for Oates, Tocchet, and Ranford; future considerations for Craig Billington; 3rd round pick for Kristich; Zednik, Bulis, and a 1st for Linden, Zubrus, and a 2nd; Linden and a 2nd for the 1st that became Semin; Oates for Maxime Ouellet, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks; Witt for Beech and a 1st (Varlamov); Ted Ruth for Fedorov; (NHL scoring leader) Lang for Fleischmann; Nylander for a 2nd; Gonchar for a 1st, 2nd, and Morrisonn; Bondra for Laich and a 2nd round pick that was traded to the Avs; a bag of pucks for Jagr.
Free Agency - Pothier, Brashear, Kozlov, Poti, Knuble, Morrison

Why we can him:

Tenure - So what?
Success - Seven playoff appearances in twelve years for a team that had that much talent, and in that soft of a division. The Capitals lone Stanley Cup appearance in (97-98), though he inherited the team. One series win in the eleven seasons since.
Drafting - Overall it's been very positive. No one's perfect, but GMGM is pretty damn good.
Trading - Jagr.
Free Agency - Nylander. And the fact that Pothier and Poti are considered highlights.

The verdict:

Keep him. He's had mixed success, and built this current team from the ground up. He was given a fresh start after the lockout, and he's more than proven his weight with his drafting and trading track record. The Capitals were never very active in the free agency market, and that has to change. McPhee needs to pursue some free agents, and throw some money around. He's got the biggest draw in the world by having an already strong team; all he has to do is go after the right people. More on this to come.


Head Coach: Bruce Boudreau

Why we keep him:

Tenure - He's been with the kids since 05-06.
Success - His only two full seasons with the Bears, he appeared in two Calder Cup Finals, winning one. He's also won a championship with the ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves (apparently Mississippi has ice). With the Capitals, he inherited a team that was quickly maturing, and implemented a "fun style". Couple that with the fact that he was coaching a bunch of players he was coaching a year prior in the NHL, and you have a player's coach. The players trust him. Or at least the young ones do.

Why we can him:

Tenure - What tenure?
Success - I could coach the Caps to 50 wins in the pathetic Southeast. "Hey Ovechkin. Put puck in net. Go."

The verdict:

Fire him. He's a player's coach, but he's not a great coach. He doesn't really seem to have a stranglehold on what it means to coach playoff hockey, and he doesn't really seem to care that his team can't even spell defense.

Bring in a disciplinarian. Bring in a guy who's hardened. But make sure it's a young coach. A guy who's willing to work with what he's got, and cultivate a guy like Semin into a hard worker. Or make Green a better defenseman. Yes folks, I'm talking Rick Tocchet. The guy that resurrected Steve Downie's career. The guy that brought Stamkos to the next level. You remember, Stamkos, the Rocket Richard winner who's not ready for the NHL. The guy that inherited a team riddled with problems from the ownership on down, and took them to respectability, even though they weren't even supposed to compete for a playoff spot.

And he did this with a rag-tag group. Imagine what he could do with the softest team on the planet.


More to come, I'm tired.


  1. I Disagree over Bruce. He came in on a Hanlon induced team that was something like 2-14 by thanksgiving with the playoffs out of the conversation. bruce came in and they nearly had an undefeated 2 months and stormed into the playoffs and lost to philly in 7.

    It's not all the coaching. the types of players are also the issue.

    What does finesse do?
    It certainly does not get you through the playoffs.

    What is the one most glaring advantage washington has over everyone? Speed. They are the fastest team on the ice. when YOU'RE Playing the fastest men on the ice for 7 games.. how do you intend to beat them? everyone scores 40 goals a season in washington now. you beat them up. bruise them. go ahead. lose 3 of the first four. they will be so slow by game 5 that you are now on their level, and will easily take the series. our guys don't fight back. we don't instigate. we don't piss off their best player and put him in the box.

    A milan Lucic and daniel carcillo would be a nice addition.

    trade green. nobody can teach him to play defense. He's an idiot. i had been begging for his trade since before the trade deadline allll year. I'm sure boston would trade away lucic and chara for green and two other scrubs.


  2. Welcome to the site BT.

    Green needs to stay. I'll post more on it in two days, but I really like what he brings. He just needs to get a good partner.

    Chara and Lucic for Green and some scrubs? That's not going to happen, ever. That's such a one-sided trade in our favor. Remember, playoff experience counts huge when making trades, and Green has none. Chara went to the Cup a few years ago. Lucic is a fan favorite, wants to stay, and signed an extension. Chara doesn't want to go either. Plus, Boston wouldn't purge their roster. And the Caps won't take on that kind of salary.

    Speed works, especially in the playoffs. Look at a guy like Darren Helm. He was a gem last year because of his skating. In the new game, you need speed, and tons of it, from several lines. The Caps have good penalty killing because of their speed. It can turn a bad line change into a good scoring opportunity.

    The problem isn't the Caps mobility, rather, it's their inability to make the other teams immobile. They can't stop anyone in the slot, and rely on their offense to save the day.

    I'll fully address my opinion on the Caps needs later in this series.

  3. Green's value has to have taken a hit after these playoffs. Sure he's got O, but no D. I'm not sure you could get anything elite in exchange.

    Speed works, but not alone. Look at Buffalo. Look at NJ's scorers. Look at Alexander Semin.

    BTW, the girl on The Daily Line on Versus is hot as shit. First time watching this, not that bad a show.

  4. Green's value definitely took a hit, but he's not going to be traded. You don't trade a superstar, and he has to be considered one. Anybody nominated for two Norris Trophies, no matter your opinions on him, is a superstar.

    I think it's fair to put him in the same draw as a guy like Kessel. Maybe two firsts and an NHL ready prospect. He's got good defense in the way that a guy like Brian Campbell does. Great skating, great puck control and passing, and decent positioning, but relying too much on catch up speed. Not particularly physical, and pretty much always yields the ice and plays the puck, not the body. A lot of teams look for that, and it's a fair assumption to say that Green will develop into a guy like a Leetch or Boyle. The only difference being that Green's entire career, except for one partial season, will be played in the push and fall NHL, not the hook and hold.