Archive | November, 2011

Grab your sacks, Caps fans

28 Nov

We have a new, back breaking coach in town. Who will hopefully break some Russian ass (not naming who…) and have his players show up. His mname is Dale Hunter, legendary ex-Capital who quit his job as an OHL coach for the London Knights to come coach his former team.

Was this the right move by McPhee? Business wise, possibly. Boudreau, had lost his players. As much as I hate to admit it, no one’s listening because Ovie’s not listening. Bruce is a good coach and it hasn’t been all his fault at all for the Caps early exits and losing streaks. He can’t get on the ice and play for them, they have to actually show up and play with some god damn heart. Which they haven’t done the past few years and haven’t done recently. He can change the lines, curse, just do whatever! But if the players don’t decide to play themselves he may as well be speaking gibberish while doing the hula. The players aren’t motivated and it shows.

Emotions wise? Bruce was like Bald Santa, for christ sake! How do you not love the guy? He worked hard, it wasn’t his fault the players stopped listening. Also, it’s impossible not crack a smile at him doing bird calls or jazzercise. The guy was a total teddy bear who wanted to win. He just played “good cop” for too long.

What can Hunter expect as Coach of the both best and worst team in the league? With the Caps level of caring so sky-high lately, I don’t expect much. Here are some of my predictions, call me crazy;
1. Caps don’t make the Playoffs, they finally fell off the cliff they’ve been edging closer to and the coach really wasn’t the determining factor in their failure. The players were.

2. GMGM get’s the ax, Hunter was his last resort and will fall through like a cheap pie crust.

3. Boudreau will (somewhat) quickly find another coaching job and will win the Cup before the Caps. (While I get to give Ovie a nasty smile and say “this is what you wanted” >:))
4. Semin and Ovie get traded over the off-season. Ovie hopefully to a the Blues (they need a team player like him, don’t they?) and Semin to a frozen hole in the KHL.

5. All players, coaches, and fans alike  lost (at least) a little respect of Ovie for pulling that dick move of getting his Coach fired for wanting him to adapt and become a team player.

Thoughts and comments on my crazy predictions?

Oh those Broadway Blue Shirts…

25 Nov

The Caps lost to the Rangers with an embarrassing score of 6-3. To be quite honest, there really wasn’t a good facet of the game. No one really played all that spectacularly. That is, on the Caps.

The Rangers really kicked some Washington tuchus in the second period. Not that it’s surprising, the Caps have this knack of letting other teams roam free during the second period. Tonight was a prime example, as the Rangers scored an impressive four goals. While Washington only managed to tally two, via Brouwer and Carlson.

The Caps defensive coverage was forgettable, as usual. They had no presence whatsoever and during a few goals, a couple of select players were just standing there letting the puck go in. The Caps know what needs to change here, but they clearly haven’t put into place how they’re going to do it. Let’ s hope it’s soon, because what’s happening now is clearly not working for anyone (but the opposing team) involved.

Their offense wasn’t abominable, but when playing against the likes of Richards, Callahan, Gaborik and Lundvquist, mediocre isn’t going to cut it. Not to mention the (depressingly) usual penalties by the usual suspects, when one of your teams best Penalty Killers is out, is it really a good idea to take stupid penalties?  The Caps were simply not capitalizing on their (rare) opportunities, due to the fact the Rangers were simply out playing them. It’s never a good sign when the road team is out playing and capitalizing on chances more than the home team. 

As far as Neuvirth, it isn’t entirely his fault the Caps lost. Considering a goalie is only as good as his defense, he did have a good excuse for a majority of the goals. But a few of the goals that went in should have been stopped by him, crappy defense or no crappy defense. Which, in his case, was crappy defense. Goalies can’t win games by themselves, fellows.

All in all, the Caps definitely have areas they need to work on. As exhibited by their 6-3 loss, but it’s not something you can just blanket on one or two people. A team is a team; you win as one and, unfortunately, lose as one. Don’t use Ovechkin or Boudreau as the easy scapegoat. Look at the entire teams performance. They’re all accountable.

A for Accountability

23 Nov

You probably heard from your Twitter timeline, or saw during the game; number 42 was noticeably absent from the game. It wasn’t because he was taking dumb penalties or was taking shifts off. Nope, it was because he missed a team meeting.

This may seem trivial, and I guess you could be right. But the Caps are focusing on a different aspect of their game these days; accountability. Boudreau has come to realize you win when your team and players are accountable for their actions on and off the ice. Whether it’s stupid penalties, taking shifts off, etc. He’s employed a “cause and effect” style of coaching. Here are some examples;

You are on the ice when the other team scores a goal less than 30 seconds after our team scores a goal, you don’t play your next shift (Nashville, anyone?).

You have the most dumb penalties on the entire team, you get benched a game. When that doesn’t work, and you get yet another few dumb penalties (diving? really) free press pass (coughsemincough).

You accidentally (We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) sleep in when there’s a team meeting? You don’t play the next game (Someone get Ward an alarm clock for Christmas, please).

This concept is new to the Caps and fans alike. Some may not like it because of it’s seemingly harsh consequences. But does it work? I like to think 2 fairly solid wins are proof in the pudding. Keep up the work Caps, you have a long road ahead of you.

Lucky game 601

23 Nov

Tonight was another successful game for the Caps, with a 4-3 OT win against the Winnipeg Jets. While the win was great, as usual. Some other aspects of the game could be considered just as sweet.

After receiving a press pass the other night; Semin came out ready to show Boudreau nachos were not to his liking. Semin tallied first just over 5 minutes into the period via a beautiful pass from Ovie. How’s that for effort, Bruce?

While Chimera didn’t score on his 600th game, he made sure his 601st game counted! After Winnipeg scored to tie the game at 13:21, Speedy Feet came in just 12 seconds later as the Caps regained the lead.

Near the bottom of the second, Niklas Backstrom scored with 3:08 left, to have Washington regain the lead yet again after Winnipeg’s Wellwood scored at the bottom of the first. Not a bad 24th birthday present, eh Nicky?

The Jets tallied again, making it a tie game at 3-3, which eventually lead to OT. Caps fans best friend, I assure you. To quote Joe B “Pavelec will be seeing some more of Washington’s number 25 tonight, I’m sure” He couldn’t have been more true as Chimera scored lucky number two of the game with 1:52 left in OT.

Not only did Chimera get the GWG, he now leads the Caps with 8 goals. It may not have been Chimera’s 600th game, but number 601 will sure be one to remember.

Much ado about Semin

21 Nov

After the Caps embarrassing game against the Leafs ,you can’t slice or dice that game any other way. Boudreau has decided something needs to change (I’m glad someone’s listening to me!)and his idea of change is to bench Semin. And by bench I mean make sit in the press box and eat nachos.

I don't think he likes nachos...

Was this a good decision by Boudreau? I like to think so, Boudreau’s message clearly wasn’t getting across before, so if making him eat nachos for one night works, and he plays up to the caliber of talent he has, it was totally worth it. You can’t disagree with me, Sasha fans.

My two cents?

Semin is a really, really talented player and I truly respect him for that. But his (sometimes) seeming lack of effort is very frustrating to watch. Especially when it looks like everyone else is playing hard.

Another important note I’d like to point out, Semin did score a goal in our game against Winnipeg. That was great, but if you look at his play outside of that game, you’ll realize something has to change.
Whether he gets a wake up call or it’s the rest of the team. Anyway you slice or dice it, somebody or something has to get the Caps refocused, energized, and ready to compete at their highest caliber.

Canada 3, Caps 0

18 Nov

Canada pulled another win on the Caps yet again. But I must note, and to quote the great Holden Caufield, Semin played like a “sexy bastard” during the first period. And he wasn’t the only one, if hockey games were only 20 minutes long we would have so had that one in the bag! (or at least a pity point).

It doesn’t work that way, though. Sadly. you know, I could just go on and on about the Caps defense and how they were left in Nashville,scratch that, first round against the Rangers in the Playoffs last year. But I’m not, it was so blatantly obvious the players might have well just not been on the ice.

what I’m going to address is effort and accountability. Those are two things the Caps are severely lacking in, which they really shouldn’t be.

It’s one thing to be playing good, smart,a nd hard hockey and lose. No one’s going to be extremely pleased about it, except the opposing team, but no one’s going to pitch a temper tantrum and throw their shoes at the wall.

It’s a completely different matter if you’re playing like a bunch of girl scouts, standing there looking like an idiot watching a guy go one-on-one with your goalie and score.

I’ll give you one guess to figure out what way the Caps played last night, and if you watched the game, I don’t really think you need to guess. The Caps played pitifully last night, I’m honestly shocked every player on the Jets roster didn’t score a goal! We had absolutely no presence in that game. Effort? unheard of.

If the Caps just played like the team they’re capable of playing like, our losses would be less frequent (I know we’d still lose games) and a little bit more close. Unlike a 4-1 loss that wasn’t even a game after the Jets scored their third goal. It was a game we could have easily won! but maybe that’s the problem, we get cocky with a lead and blow it. But I would think after dancing around this barn, game after game and Playoff crap out after Playoff crap out, they’d figure it out! Clearly not.

That leads to my next point, accountability. No one can make the Caps play, no matter how many times Boudreau goes on a F-bomb laden rant until his face goes blue, no matter how many bag skates he makes them do, and no matter how many wackadoo line combinations he makes.

It’s not going to do a damn thing unless the players themselves commit to playing every game like it’s their last and just playing with heart and grit. Honestly, Ovechkin has never been the kind of player to be a Captain and never will be. He’s a fantastic player, but he isn’t Captain material. I don’t care that he’s the “face of the Caps franchise”. The Caps need a real leader who’s going to actually motivate them, because that’s what’s going to motivate them.

Until we have a real leader who makes his players accountable for their actions and makes them go out and play like a respectable hockey team, they aren’t going to play any harder or any better.

Hey Caps, there’s a game going on…

17 Nov

I am absolutely disgusted by the Caps right now (now being the end of the second where the Jets scored 3 goals). I have never seen such a lack of effort, heart, or play by any team I have ever watched. Much less the so touted “best team in the NHL”. My PE floor hockey team play better than these guys and 3 of the players don’t even play!

How is it that we have some of  the, arguably, best players in the NHL but we fail to win game after game to easy opponent after easy opponent. And for chrissake, our defense isn’t even at the game! Did we lose them at the airport? If our defense is so lacking in depth that one player makes or breaks the team, then we need to reevaluate the players we have.

Last year we had our infamous eight game losing skid; something changed, the Caps finally got the message, playing Ottawa of all teams. This isn’t an eight game losing streak, yet. But with the way the Caps are playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if we finished at the bottom of the league.

Something has got to change. At this point, I don’t care if it’s players, coaches, or whatever. Some thing has got to get across to these 22 players that they have to play hard, every damn minute they are on the ice. I don’t care if we’re winning by 50 goals with 10 seconds left.

Someone has got to get the point across to them, you don’t win by standing around in your zone watching pucks fly into the net. are they going to get that message, for the 50th time? I damn sure hope so.

Incase you weren’t aware…

15 Nov
There are THREE count them THREE periods in a hockey game Caps! AND GUESS WHAT!? If you don’t play all three you get screwed and lose. ANOTHER THING rounding doesn’t work in the NHL, if you play 55 mins. you can still lose 3-1 to the Predators!
Also, just because you get the lead late in the game doesn’t mean you’re just automatically going to win taking the last few minutes off. The defense has to show up, and you know, PLAY! And the offense can’t skate in circles either, you have to be present and playing hard until that final buzzer goes off if you expect to win.
I am utterly disgusted with the Caps effort of late. It’s not Boudreau’s fault either, he tries everything under the gosh darn sun to get these guys to play! They’re the ones on the ice making the plays, not Boudreau. He can yell, gnash teeth, pull hair, and eat Hageen Daaz all he wants; but until the players show up it’s about as useful as doing the hula.
Ovie, Knuble, and the like can talk all they want tonight; calling their team various names. But until the attitude on the ice changes, it doesn’t matter anymore than what I ate for breakfast.
If we keep playing like this, with the amount of talent we have, we aren’t even a prayer to do well in the Playoffs. Hell! even make the Playoffs. Yes, it really does matter now, because this is when we really see what teams are made of. And I can tell you this much; the Caps are about as impressive as the Florida Panthers were last year.
The only redeemable thing tonight? Vokoun standing on his head and Troy Brouwer’s goal, at least two people showed up tonight.
The message is simple; show up to games and play hard for 60 minutes. Are the Caps receiving it?

It all started with the Saber tooth tigers…

15 Nov

Helmet? Check. Intense look? Check. Movember mustache? Double check!

That’s right folks! Onthe  first “real” road trip the Caps face the Predators. Sounds scary, right? Their 8th place in the Western conference? not so much. That’s not to say they aren’t a good team, they are 3rd in their division (that ain’t saying much) and have Defensive fire power Shea Weber.

That’s not to mention the suddenly Pekka Rinne who’s save percentage is an impressive .929%  and has 8 of their 16 wins under his belt. And last but not least, the Preds offense. Well, lack thereof… It seems the Caps have found the Preds kryptonite seeing as their offense (minus 3 players) has shown up about as much as the Caps defense. Yeah, not so hot.

Does this mean this game will be a piece of cake? not at all. With a hot goalie and equally hot defense, we’re going to have to stay on our offensive and defensive toes. you aren’t off the hook either Vokoun! If the Caps stick to their guns and just play good hockey, we should be fine. But without Green *gulp* things could get a little hairy from time to time. I’d also love for Brucie to get the memo his crazy line changes AREN’T working and just causing Caps fans minor heart attacks. Can we win this game? Yes. Will we? depends on who shows up and, most importantly, time.

Caps vs. Devil wears Prada (3-2 SO)

14 Nov

Better late than never, no? With Hugh Grants “Pop Goes my Heart” blaring in the background infused with baby wails; I recall that late and cold night.

The Caps did part two with the christmas ornaments Devils in the Phone Booth this past Saturday. You read that right, folks. The Caps played the Devils back to back. Don’t ask me why, Gary Bettmen’s the one with all the crazy scheduling ideas.

the second game went down as you might expect; the Devils were tired and angry. The Caps were also tired and angry, just about different stuff. The Devils were angry about losing and the Caps were angry about accountability. Different messages, same vein, eh? At any rate, the Caps came out strong in the first making it 2-0 via Speedy feet Chimers and Brouwer.

The Devils decided that just wouldn’t do as they came back with a presence in the second and third periods to make the score tied at 2-2 by Skyora and Carter. While the Devils had it going on, clearly, the Caps were about as mobile as my Great Grandmama in a wheel chair. Not so much. They recorded just 2 shots on goal! I’m pretty sure my high school’s A team could do better than that.

If you thought the second was drier than the Grand Canyon, you’d be wrong. The third period was icecapades lead by, your favorite, #6 Dennis Wideman! Someone give that man a sticker, preferably sparkly. The Caps and Devils had a total of 9 shots on net. Either they were really tired or the defense was spectacular. I’m just going to go with the first due to our recent issues…

With no score in the last 20 minutes of regulation; the Caps were headed to fan favorite, Overtime! Overtime was even more depressing as both team only recorded one shot on net and no score resulted. You know what that means folks, Shoot out.

Was this the part where I switched to watch Pineapple Express because Shootouts always make me super nervous? I can neither confirm nor deny this. Either way, the Devils ended up with one more goal via David Clarkson with the fourth shootout goal.

All in all, it was a decent game. I wasn’t impressed with the second or third perod but considering they had worked their butts off the night before and were dead dog tired, I give them a pass. Also, a pat on the back for Wideman. Really great job, you workhorse. And a pat on the back for the other hard workers, you know who you are.

%d bloggers like this: