Wisdom Beyond Their Years

Mike Green signing autographs

I believe the children are our future, so when I was at Kettler for Saturday’s practice I asked some of them, “What’s wrong with the Caps?

“They’ve been losing.” – Sam, 7 1/2 years old

It doesn’t take decades to get wisdom, it takes seven and a half years. They have been losing. We all remember the eight game losing streak this year and through 45 games last season they only had 12 losses. This season they have 14. That’s almost 17% more, which is unacceptable. Start winning or Sam and I are looking for a new team.

“Need to use all the weapons they have.” – Jason, 8

I am going to assume he means skaters on the ice and not a Grenade Launcher +5, but Jason clearly has a point: get everyone involved in the offense. Try different line combinations. By my count, there have been only 168 different line combinations used at even strength that have been on the ice for at least one scoring chance. Not including goalies, there are more than 8,000 possible line combos. The season is more than half over; what are you waiting for, Boudreau??

“Not shooting at the net too much. Don’t know how to fix it.” – Noel, 11

In the last three games, the Caps have been outchanced 40-60– all losses. I gave Noel homework and the admin password for RMNB, so when he does figure out to fix it, he will let us know. We’re rooting for you, Noel.

“Power play needs work. Not creating enough opportunities.” – Emily, 17

13 chances during the last 15 PP opportunities is not enough? That’s almost a whole chance per PP opportunity over the last five games. I think your expectations are a bit high. Back when I was your age, we were lucky to have half a chance per power play opportunity. Now get off my lawn.

“What isn’t wrong with the Caps this year?” – Emily, 18 and fan of RMNB

Oh Emily. You are a fan of this blog.

  • VaMedic

    Today on RMNB I learned that school children know as much as most hockey bloggers. Grin. Very Cool Post

  • TradeMikeGreen

    Please please please, when will Mike Green learn to play defense? We have two rookie defenseman who are already better than him. It’s time for Bruce to end this ridiculous loyalty to Green, bench him during crunchtime, because all that happens are hooking penalties that end the game.

    I would love to see some sort of statistical analysis exposing his awfulness.

  • http://make-lemons.com Michelle

    Thanks for making me laugh :D

  • Fedor Fedin

    Great answers from my peers and younger ones!

  • abrlcklnthewall

    Nobody said that Alex was fat? Clearly these kids aren’t paying enough attention.

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  • Green52fan

    Another Green hater……. *sigh*

  • hockeyUSA

    TradeMikeGreen

    Yes, let’s trade the two time Norris trophy finalist at once, what a great idea!

    Here, why don’t you read this for now.

    http://www.japersrink.com/2010/11/5/1795412/is-bruce-boudreau-hiding-mike-green

    I’m not saying Green is infallible on defense. He does make mistakes but all defensemen do, even the good ones. Did you watch Dave Bolland’s goal last night against the Preds? He made Ryan Sutter look silly. Top defensemen play a lot of minutes and Green plays 26+ min a night (5th most in the NHL by a D right now) so of course they are going to make some bad plays and take penalties. Also, Carlson and Alzner are currently the shutdown pair for the Caps and doing a great job but I don’t see that as a knock against Schultz and Green’s defense, that just means that Carlson and Alzner are really, really good and well suited for that role. I’ll never understand why some Caps fans focus so much on Green’s mistakes but ignore all the good plays he makes every night. IMO, his work on the PK this year in particular has been great. While Green’s greatest strength will always be his offense, I think he has improved on defense every year despite never having a vet or mentor as a partner to help him out. I mean Shawn Morrison was terrible and Schultz is good but he is also younger than Green and still learning as well. Green has never had a player like Seabrook, Weber, Scuderi/Mitchell, Pronger, etc. to play with. The biggest knock on him of course is his playoff performance in the past two years. He really needs to get it together in the post-season. If he does that I think a lot of the unfair criticism of his defense will subside.

  • breaklance

    That article on Green was written earlier in the season. Once Shultz went down Green went down hard. Possibly the side effect of playing with newly acquired Scott Hannan but also in the last 5 games he’s +/- 0 with 3 points and 13 SoG. Not too shabby normally but it marks the end of a trend. In his last 3 Green has 0 points and is a -3 with 6 PiMs with also 4 shots.

    John Carlson is our best defensemen. In part because Green has been slumping all season, but Carlson is also very good.

    Whats wrong with the Caps this year? Too much dump not enough chase. Standing still on the PP and constantly sending high risk cross rink passes. The PK is constantly moving and challenging and has been quite successful all year and that’s a huge difference. The top scorers are all slumping for no real reason why. It doesn’t appear to be a x+y=z thing in that they are just missing on variable. But it has roots in the lack of a net presence, effort level, not working down low, and being stagnant.

    Last night, I only watched replays, but 2 of the 3 goals came on a breakout-like set up. Laich’s goal was a direct result of dumping the puck low, Ovechkin and Mojo putting pressure on the defensemen to cough up the puck into the slot. Chimera’s goal was dumping behind the net, he comes around with it and catches the goalie leaning. Neither goal, atleast what I viewed, didn’t come from setting up in the off zone playing shiny.

    That may be the run and gun part of the caps still alive, but good break outs lead to scoring chances and all year this has been plagued by poor breakouts or not finishing chances.

  • Neil – RMNB

    @breaklance

    - – Once Shultz went down Green went down hard. Possibly the side effect of playing with newly acquired Scott Hannan – -

    Hannan did struggle with the new system, which was the reason for Green’s decline, not Green’s play overall. In fact, Green/Hannan have prob seen tougher competition than Carlzner these past few games – which you’ll see in an upcoming post – but for now take my word.

    - – John Carlson is our best defensemen. In part because Green has been slumping all season, but Carlson is also very good. – -

    Define “best.” I am not saying I disagree, but define “best.”

    - – The top scorers are all slumping for no real reason why – -

    There is a VERY real reason why, and I called it in October: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2010/10/25/pdo-and-why-the-caps-may-be-struggling/

    - – all year this has been plagued by poor breakouts or not finishing chances – -

    Not sure this is accurate. As noted in some of my earlier posts, esp during the L8 streak, the Caps were outchancing the opposition, just not converting to goals. However, “finishing ability” is NOT a repeatable skill like generating scoring chances is, so it should concern fans less than when they are repeatedly outchanced, like they have been these last 3 games.