The End

Defeated. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Tampa Bay Lightning. Washington Capitals. Season on the line.

Malone from the backdoor on the PP.  Marco Sturm up front on the PP.  Bergenheim puts it high. Bergenheim on the rebound. Erskine from an impossible angle. Martin St. Louis all alone up front. John Carlson off the faceoff. Bolts beat Caps 5-3.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have swept the Washington Capitals.

That does it for the 2010-2011 Caps season. It was one of the most tumultuous in franchise history with nosebleed highs and gastrointestinal lows. Stars faded and new stars were born. Unforeseen complications tripped the team in mid-stride.

Towards the mean the Caps regressed. They hit it and kept on falling. From an offensive lean to a defensive pose, the Capitals transformed themselves because they had to. And then they hit the postseason at full speed. Into a wall of Lightning.

The Caps didn’t do a bad job against the 1-3-1 Tampa defense. The alternate formation– an aggressive two-man forecheck– was what really gave them trouble. That and the surprising depth of the Lightning. Sean Bergenheim has a free pina colada waiting for him somewhere right now.

Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. Vanished.

Alex Ovechkin. Furious and fruitless.

Michal Neuvirth. Stoic and overwhelmed.

Bruce Boudreau?

Joe B's last suit of the night

So here we are. I’m gonna hit Publish on this bad boy and shave off this pathetic beard while you guys unleash the fury in the comments. There’s a lot to talk about, and it’s going to be ugly but we’re going to get to it all.

But please, keep this in mind: you are fans of this team. I know you’ve got criticism; we all do. But temper your words with appreciation and admiration. Say something nice somewhere within your seething tirade.

And now: summertime. A desolate and humorless stretch. Don’t be a stranger.

Crash the net.

  • http://twitter.com/ngreenberg Neil – RMNB

    Before we unleash the fury, want to thank EVERYONE who reads, comments, argues, curses and otherwise just loves this team so much it makes them cry. You are awesome. We appreciate you and thank you.

  • Greg

    Love you all at RMNB and LOVE my Caps.

    Next October, nets will be crashed.

  • Greg

    I’ll be rocking my Ovie jersey tomorrow. Clean shaven.

  • Andy

    Classy handshake line at the end. That’s more than we got at the Winter Classic!

  • Ted

    I should have known better, but I thought this year was different.

  • http://www.peacelovecaps.com Melissa

    It’s been a pleasure reading your blogs and tweets throughout the season. Looking forward to reading them again next season.

    Sucks that this season had to end so quickly, but I will forever be a real and true Caps fan.

    Until then,
    Have a good summer and Peace, Love and CAPS!

  • Benjamin

    Awesome post, with an awesome ending. Sums up my feelings on a bitter end for season, for the best team in hockey (still).

  • Mr Beverage

    Excellent work all season long, dudes!

  • Craig

    I’m going to refrain from screaming and say – thanks for a very enjoyable season of articles, pictures, great analysis etc… You guys kick ass.

  • Diana

    Thanks Neil, Ian, Peter and everyone, and keep up the excellent work. I have really enjoyed meeting fellow fans this year and branching out as I never did in several years of following this team. You throw great parties, and you’re all very cool people. I already can’t wait to see you in October! GO CAPS!

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    Like Neil, I want to thank all of you for reading this year. Without you we wouldn’t be doing this. Your support is much appreciated. Thanks, guys.

  • holidayblues

    First time ever watching hockey and the Caps. It was fun :)
    “Nosebleed highs and gastrointestinal lows” sums it up perfectly.
    See you all next season.

  • Annie

    The thing is, I wasn’t even surprised. Was anyone who watched the past 4 games? We didn’t change a thing and were so predictable to Tampa…
    There were so many coaching mistakes I don’t even know where to begin… Starting a tired/shaky goalie on a back to back game for one? smh… I’m thinking this is the end for BB, three strikes and you’re out.

  • Brooke

    Not just about the Cup – it’s also about the 82 game season… Caps gave us an exciting one. Thanks guys. Maybe next year we’ll get a hold of the postseason.

  • Amy D

    Thanks for a crazy season Caps. Just a shame to go out like that. Caps gave up too soon and it’s just heartreaking.

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

    At least I can still cheer on the Bruins (my childhood team).

  • ExPat

    Let’s look at the positive side. Now the Caps have more time to try and lower their golf handicaps.

  • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

    Plus … I love this blog … it’s my favorite place to keep up on all things Caps. Thank you for all the different kinds of stuff you throw at us … I love it.

  • Mike

    Well a good start, then a pathetic finish. As much as I love Bruce as a coach, I don’t think he has the fortitude to be a tough father figure to the players. That’s what we really need. I’d say try and re-sign our pick ups, trade Semin and Varly, fire Bruce and pick up a sterner herder of the sheep ( I know its a drastic view but meh).

    Well I get over the downess in a couple of days, then I can at least sit back and watch all of the other series as a true fan of the sport.

  • Tara

    I randomly stumbled upon this site (I live in Kansas, can’t remember how I found it), and it helped turn my slight interest in hockey into a big fan. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the posts, and I look forward to next year! Cheers :)

  • Josh

    Can’t help but wonder how things would have gone if we could have gotten just one bounce or break along the line. Usually those things tend to even themselves out, but not this series.

    I am still in disbelief that 4 games in a row, Tampa was able to blindly throw a puck to the front of the net and bounce it off a skate.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    I’d like to echo what Chris and Neil said. The support we’ve received from all of you guys over the year was humbling and I really had a blast this year. I have so much pride in this damn blog and I’m deeply appreciative for anyone who spends time on here and has contributed to the community we’ve developed. I sincerely believe the Capitals will win a Stanley Cup some day. We just all have to be patient and keep our heads up until the hockey gods allow it to happen. I love being a fan of this team, and I love being a fan with you. Have a great summer, and please continue to visit us often!

  • 28ISGREAT

    I saw a rainbow on my way home from work today, and I thought, “you know what, maybe thats a good omen.” It gave me a little hope.

    Now I f*cking hate rainbows.

    …sigh…

    Thanks for a great season RMNB! Hope you post during the off season – but understand if you don’t.

  • Fedor Fedin

    Thanks everybody!

  • Leah

    As much as this disappointed me, I went to my first two games at the Verizon Center this season and I really, really enjoyed it. I also watched the boys play in Detroit and Buffalo and it was a great experience. I won’t lie by saying I’m not angry about this loss, and it’s frustrating that it’s happened in all of our playoffs, but I still really appreciate all that they did for the fans and the show they put on every time they step on the ice.
    I also really liked BB, he was nice to me as a fan and just as entertaining to watch, so it will be sad to see him go if he does.
    And RMNB was so sick. Can’t forget that!

    See you in the fall, boys.

  • lilmikeymom

    I’m new to Twitter and found this site only a few months ago. I feel like I found a home. somewhere to vent and cheer….somewhere to scream and cry. Somewhere to ask stupid questions! (i do that a lot) A place to get to know some people from Russia! Thank you thank you thank you! I am so sorry it ended this soon…but I love my Caps and always will! Next season will be the one!! Go Caps!! You guys are asesome!

  • Rob

    Three Words.

    Blow. It. Up.

    I might a bit foggy here, but this team, despite all its regular season success, has won exactly two playoff series in four seasons. Yes, there is talent, but its in the wrong places, there are too many divas / guys who don’t give their all every night.

    There’s a core here – Ovechkin, the goalies, the young D – but outside of that, no one should be untouchable in the offseason. Getting Arnott back is a MUST, and yes, Boudreau has to go. The players love him, but at this point, that doesn’t mean beans. They need a coach who can go to the whip and be a bastard. Boudreau looks and acts like he’s afraid of hurting someone’s feelings far too often.

    Blow. It. Up.

  • Josh

    Also, for all of the “fire Boudreau”s, who else is available that will make the difference?

  • Gracie

    Trying to think about the good points this year. Celebrating 1/1/11 in Pittburgh with fellow Caps fans was probably the highlight of my caps fandom. Until Ovi hoists the cup it will stay as the highpoint.

    Thanks RMNB for your tweets, blogs, youtube vids, and legendary eulogies have kept us smiling even through the rough times.

  • SentientCheese

    #CAPSin8!! in all seriousness…. Its the bittersweet feeling of knowing i actually have a team to root for that makes this hurt all the more.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danielpholt Daniel

    Just wanted to say thanks for your hard work over the past (well since this place started up). The first thing i do after every game is read your post game post.

    As for the game. Well, i think we all kind of knew before today that we needed to win last night. We didn’t and to a certain degree i’d accepted we’d lose tonight.

    Its been fun.

  • http://www.suzlon.com WyomingKev

    Yeah, as much as I love BB and want him to stay and win and redeem himself, I think he’s going to go. And, what if Backstrom stays cold? Eakin’s about to come up, and you know he’s going to be great, if Johansson gets better, which he will, he’s going to be another Nikky, (good Nikky), will we have to get rid of one because of Backstrom’s contract? Nikky better rebound or we’re screwed. I was so happy about Nikky’s contract, and then he pulls this. Neuvy didn’t get cold, he got really unlucky and no help from D besides Carlzner, our only consistent pair, who are going to get even better. Still lots to look forward to guys, we’re still young, and I can’t wait for Eakin, and Orlov, and Kuznetsov. I’d get rid of that softie schultz, boyd gordon god bless him, and trade semin for another Hannan-Type.

  • Rachel

    I, like ever other Caps fan, really wasn’t ready for it to be over so soon. I’m extremely disappointed in how the season ended, but I thoroughly enjoyed being a Caps fan this year….the Winter Classic was awesome!! We made some necessary changes this season and we’ll make more for next year. The cup WILL come to DC!

    Thanks RMNB for your tweets and blogs! Looking forward to catching up with you again next season.

  • http://www.thepuckdropshere.com Sarah

    I’m the team journalist for the Hershey Bears and a die hard Caps fan…win or lose. Yes, this is disappointing. Yes, it feels painfully similar to last spring. But kudos to the guys for all of the things that they did right this year, despite all of the criticism that they are about to receive for the things that they did wrong. Fire Boudreau? I hope not. What this team needs is some heart; they just didn’t want it as desperately as the Bolts did. So here’s to the Caps and here’s to next year…and in the meantime, try to enjoy the summer.

  • Liz

    Planning on wearing my Ovechkin jersey tomorrow just to show people that I am and always will be a Capitals fan.

    The Capitals are my team. And they always will be. Win or lose, you have to support your team. And I firmly stand behind them, through good and bad. And this blog has really helped me to get to know my team a lot better! Thanks for the great season, guys! Can’t wait ’til next year!

    CRASH THE NET! Go Caps!

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/caitlin.radek Caitlin

    Thanks you guys for all of the awesome posts this season. Even in posts after disappointing defeats you always seem to bring in a bit of humor and fun into your writing. Thanks for sharing the Caps love with everyone on here. It will take awhile for the sting of this to go away, but in victory & defeat I still love our boys. C-A-P-S! CAPS! CAPS! CAPS! See you all in October.

  • OKLA_CapsFan

    Watching the Caps on Center Ice was my saving grace in the horrible, nasty, ignorant, smelly, boring, and stupid city of Jacksonville, FL. Watching Caps games also helped entertain my husband through 3 ACL surgeries (He relates and sympathizes slightly with Malkin) and his recovery/rehab.

    I look forward to watching the Caps again on Center Ice next season, but this time from Tulsa, OK.

    I can only hope that somewhere this team can show passion and heart next post-season.

  • Bryan S

    19 years, 3 months, 9 days since the last DC Championship… I was born in Sept. of 1990, do the math.

  • teresa

    I know I certainly cried, going to rock the red one last time, one thing I am thankful for is cinco de mayo tomorrow going to drink my grief away. Until next season Let’s Go Caps!!!

  • http://puckbuddys.com/ Craig

    Huge effort from the whole RMNB team. Our thanks for your hard work – and the great parties.

  • Dan

    Need more grinders, and guys to force turnovers in the neutral zone.

    While Bruce may not survive this, I would also be willing to have him start another season. Otherwise, who would you bring in? Boughner? Hitchcock? Keenan? Muller?

    The Caps need some grinders who play with urgency. I’m a Nashville fan, (grew up a Caps fan, first jersey was a Bondra royal blue) and how they play can be replicated by just about any team if the desire is there. Coaches don’t instill desire any more than what a player already has. There is potential, and Hershey is loaded.

    Love this site, love this blog, will always love the Caps.
    -Dan in Nashville

  • Jimmy C

    Thanks to my fellow Caps fans, the players, and the management for the exciting season.

    Did anyone else feel like the Caps played like the Rangers did during the first round? (garbage goals, no ability to skate through the neutral zone, skating in slow-mo)

    On the positive side, since I live in Pacific Time Zone, I won’t get busted for leaving work early anymore to catch the games.

    Enjoy the beach, Caps players.

    Rock the Red!

  • Rob

    Look at it this way…. This version of the Caps are like a bad marriage / relationship that has really great sex but you hate each other the rest of the time. There are times where it is awesome, mindboggling, intense and unbelievable. But the rest of the time (the majority of the time), when it counts, it just doesn’t work and you KNOW it just needs to end. But you really don’t want to end it.

    Blow. It. Up.

    Give Dale Hunter a shot behind the bench perhaps. I don’t know. But history doesn’t lie. This doesn’t work, and it’s not going to.

  • Natasha

    Guys at RMNB, you can’t even imagine how much I appreciate your work and love you all. You’ve been great the entire season and made the life of all Caps fans much funnier. Thanks a lot!

    Now I need to say something less nice about the actual Caps. I’m a diehard fan, I’m almost fanatically obsessed with this team. With all their postseason misfortunes I continued to love and support them. I thought nothing could be worse than the last year’s collapse. I was delusional. This one is not only heartbreaking, it’s embarrassing and humiliating. Tampa was the better team overall this series and we must admit it.

    Now, I’m not a revolutionist and never supported calls for radical changes, but we need a fresh breath in the room. I like BB, he accomplished a lot with this club and the loss is not only his fault, but there is no way he stays after such excruciating sweep. I just can’t see the next season with the same guy behind the bench promising the holy lands yet again.

    I know some of the fans have 30+ years of experience with Caps’ postseason misery. I’m 26 and given the fact that the core of Caps players is of the same age I don’t want to spend the rest of my life watching them collapse year after year. So, we definitely need a change. It’s going to be painful, but in a bigger perspective it will serve well this team.

  • Mily

    Thank you RMNB for providing recaps that make me laugh, soothing the losses for me, and for the statistics. I really enjoyed these.

    As a new Capitals fan, I feel disappointed but I know there’s always next year (and the year after that, the year after that….). But now I can focus on finishing the rest of school (or else I face suspension!).

    Congratulations Tampa, I hope you move on till the Stanley Cup finals.

  • Joe Realistic

    Pensblog is going to DESTROY the Caps in their Puck Daddy eulogy. It’s going to be bloody and we fucking deserve it.

  • JJR

    Your website featured tasteless paintings, over the top manworship of a over-rated Russian with a cute name like ‘Ovi’, and what else, the balls to act like the clowns you are. Your website is the epitome of swamp ass. Great job at painting yourselves into a corner you effeminate enuches. Now go suck your thumbs. I live in DC, and believe me, I want a good sport franchise like anyone else. Hope your get your heads out of your asses, and yes The Russian Machine is Broken and go fuck yourselves.

  • JJR

    Oh wait! I forget to add that as you shed your tears you’ll aways but wiping your runny noses because it buried between your pompous ass-cracks. The Capitals absolutely blow. Worse then even you, ‘Russian Machine is Broken’ bloggers could ever imagine. Fucking hilarious. Sniff sniff wa wa wa whine whine hilarious!!!

  • Dark Stranger

    JJR, that was a truly classless comment!

    Neil, Ian, Peter, I enjoyed reading your posts. They were fun to read, even if the team is not necessarily worthy of such awesome coverage.

    I presume Bruce is gone soon. While he’s a master strategist, he is not necessarily the best leader on the field. New leadership is needed for the team. And this failure was probably so catastrophic that I would not be terribly surprised if some blockbuster trades involving some of our core players take place as well.

  • Dark Stranger

    @Natasha, you’re the age of my first child. I’ll admit that fact has contributed to why the guys are so special to me. My first kid is, in many ways, like Sasha. And I was also a fan of Star Trek’s Russian who Ovi reminds me of in so many ways.

  • sean

    Thanks RMNB for the great posts this year. I expect many changes before we start next season. Stay classy RMNB.

  • http://www.sweetesthockeyonearth.com/ Kyle M

    What an amazing season for the Caps organization in general. This is going to be a weird feeling for everybody as we don’t have the Bears to watch into June. Thanks everybody for such a fun year for us at SHOE and RMNB. Everybody’s hugs are in the mail.

  • http://twitter.com/chukwukamso Jack

    I first found you guys in December, and now, RMNB is one of my most-visited websites. You guys are now part of the gameday ritual for me – whether I’m reading at home, or on the metro on the way back from Verizon Center. You guys are hilarious. I’ve cracked up countless times reading both tweets and articles from you guys. I love how you guys manage to get some more serious opinions across too. You guys were valid in calling out that NBC scrub for telestrating how that ref tripped, and for the Dubinsky commercial. I’m glad I stumbled across you guys, and I’m looking forward to your coverage of next season, as well as what is sure to be a tumultuous offseason for our boys.

  • Josie

    Thanks RMNB for the write ups all season long. You’ll stay on my bookmarks and I’ll see you next season.

  • Matt

    Thanks for putting together an excellent blog for the Caps. A great resource for observations and analysis on the team we’ve all loved since whenever.

    Ovie had a point per game this year, and the other Sasha had his dual personalities in full effect. Gotta find a way to manufacture depth scoring, the lack of scoring on our 3rd and 4th lines in the post season has done us in twice now (in the post season).

    Thanks again, guys. Keep up the awesome work, I’ll keep reading.

  • Amarlesana

    JJR, you are a fucking loser. It takes some real balls to come on the internet and talk smack, right? Haha. Get back to your job flipping burgers. :)

    Anyway. Thank you, RMNB, for keeping us up to date with your awesome write-ups and I’ll miss your tweets! See y’all next season. <3

  • JJR

    Well, another year and another blow-out. Give it up you verbally masterbating losers at Russian Machine is Terribly Fucked up. You’re all a bunch of clowns. Hilarious loss. I absolutely savor it all. Hopefully you douchebags will understand you can lose and lose and lose and lose again next year and anytime going forward. I think what really did you in is when you had the eight year kid stand in front of the White House wearing that dress holding a lollipop in his hand. Absolutely tasteless crap. I hope you Hockey losers actually get laid someday.

  • schmotze

    it’s broke. sorry.

    blow. it. up.

  • Tom

    Way to back up your “Pens Eulogy”. All I have to say is… KMA, dickweeds, we took the Bolts to seven games, and without our two best players. Good show, Yappers!!! At least you gave me another team to root for, at least for 4 more games!!!

  • Heather K.

    Thank you, RMNB, for giving the Caps-obsessed something of quality and substance to read every day. As I sit here in my hotel room (in Pittsburgh, no less) bemoaning the fact that I will not get to watch another Caps game with my husband this season, I take solace in the fact that there are others like me, who will cry our eyes out or punch holes in the walls tonight and come back tomorrow prepared to cheer our lungs out for the boys in red. The Caps are dead. Long live the Caps!!!

  • Darla

    Um, yeah, it’s the Russian Machine’s fault when his teammates fail him. Yeah, right. Very practical way to place the blame. Brilliant of you, JJR. What an excellent analysis of the issues.

    /sarcasm

  • Pat

    Lets hope boston wins the cup this year, so as to support the pattern that Whomever wins the winter classic, wins the stanley cup the NEXT season.

    October can’t come soon enough………. :/

  • GoPens

    Loved your ‘eulogy’, which was really only a jealous angry rant about a team that has seen much more success than yours. Pens took the bolts to game 7 without their biggest stars and your stacked, rested team got swept. It’s so hilarious I can’t even begin to explain. Can’t wait for the Craps eulogy. I was wondering why you hated on Geno so much but then I realized: Geno: Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe. Ogrekin: Nothing. See ya later.

  • Pens Fan

    That’s it? Where’s your long, drawn out eulogy for a team that needs to be cremated? You certainly had a lot of stupid, stuck-up shit to say about the Penguins. Well at least the Pens took their team to 7 games WITHOUT their stars against the team that swept your asses! Enough said. Caps are out once again!

  • http://www.threewireguy.wordpress.com BigNed

    @Tom, @GoPens – It’s not like any of us are on the ice. We cheer for a team, we want them to do well. I don’t cheer for the Pens, but I don’t hate their players. I sometimes get annoyed at what I perceive as some favoritism for Crosby, but I’m grown up enough to know that doesn’t mean he actually gets special treatment. I’m also happy to trade jibes with fans of other teams who can maintain some perspective and class. I work with a Rangers fan, Devils fan, Flyers fan, Blackhawks fan, and yes, a Pens fan. We have fun with the rivalries but you know what we don’t do? Insult each other. Make a game that other people play an excuse for being an asshole. Kicking a guy when they’re down.

    I won’t pretend that all Caps fans are all-classy all-the-time, but I also won’t support them when they aren’t. I also won’t pretend that I truly think deep down that you’re going to read this comment and rethink the way you approach being a fan of a sport (especially the part about how that’s more important to you than being a decent human being). But on the off chance that what I’m saying glances off a skate and into the metaphorical net by which I mean your conscience, I thought it was worth saying.

    Best of luck to the Pens next year, this rivalry is better when both teams are good.

    @JJR – The word is “masturbating”, even when you’re as good at it as you clearly are. Oooh snap!

    Seriously, I am racking my brain trying to figure out what kind of emotional trauma or stunting you must have endured in your life that allows you to rationalize what you post on this blog. How can you possibly consider the publishing of such hate-filled sociopathic rants to be even remotely in the realm of acceptable behavior? I know that it’s fun to get attention by being insulting, and it probably makes you really happy that you’ve gotten under my skin enough that I am taking the time to write this. You know what that makes you? A bad person. You are a bad person. Not evil-bad, skill-level-bad. You do not do being-a-person well. You might want to work on that.

    @RMNB – I am a Caps fan from back when they were Ice Shakers who has moved away from the area to Wisconsin. This blog has helped me fell like I’m still connected as a fan, and I’ve learned a lot (too much math Neil, my brain haz owies) about the game and the whole team as a result. Thank you for that. Thank you for being unapologetic about your fandom while still giving credit to opponents when it is due. Thanks you for being funny and creative and for taking the initiative to sponsor events that make it fun for other people to be Caps fans as well. I was hoping to catch a game or a get together or something RMNB related during a visit to town in a couple of weeks. Maybe next year? In the meantime, keep doing what you’re doing here, it’s a good thing. And try to figure out how to make millions off a self-improvement course based around the motto Crash the Net, because that would be epic.

    @The Capitals – I’m not going to lie and say I’m happy with the way the season ended. But then again, I daresay neither are you. I won’t lie and say I appreciate the effort on the ice 100% of the time. Then again, I’ll bet you’re thinking back right now wondering what more you could have given. I won’t lie and say I liked every coaching move this year both in the regular season or during the playoffs. Then again, I’m probably going to be able to sleep tonight. Quite frankly, as a hockey team I think you’ve got a lot of work to do.

    But you know why I am going to wear my Caps sweater to work tomorrow and hold my head up high? Because in every way that matters to me, you are the kind of people I want to cheer for. You are open and available to your fans. You are honest about your own failings. You smile, and change tires, and make Wishes come true. You avoid cheap shots. You are sportsmen. You make personal sacrifices for the good of the team. You are good men, and that matters a lot more to me than being great hockey players. It even matters more to me than seeing a Cup come to DC.

    Promise me one thing, please. Don’t get angry. Don’t stay angry. Don’t spend your offseason obsessing over “what went wrong”. Hang out with your families, guilt-free. Laugh a lot. Learn to surf. Enjoy being somewhere where the only frozen water is cooling off your favorite adult beverage. Relax. Enjoy. Rest. And next year, should you Rock the Red for us once more, maintain your joy. You are so much more fun to watch and root for when you’re so focused on enjoying the game of hockey that playing becomes its own reward. If you don’t win, no one dies. So be fearless, there is nothing to lose.

    Thanks for a great season.

  • Bernie

    First off, found this blog through Twitter people I started following. Love it. Going to be coming back more often.

    Secondly, love the team but this year did nothing to wipe away last year. As much as last year sucked, getting swept by Tampa Bay is far more embarrassing. Last year was all run-n-gun while this year they tried to play more defensive minded. It worked, at times, but I don’t know if this team with this talent can do it 82 games. Hell, 62 games. Let’s be honest, no team ever plays their system every night. I’m going to be patient with GMGM, BB and Teddy. I’m sure “things will get poppin’”, to quote George Steinbrenner, very soon.

    Finally, it shows how sad and pathetic Pittsburgh fans are when they have nothing better to do than come in here and talk smack. Go watch the Pirates play.

    Thanks for all your hard work guys. Looking forward to next season already.

    P.S. For some reason, I really want us to sign Christian Erhoff.

  • Avtopilot

    Hello, brothers&sisters.

    It’s time for the Caps fans to show what they are made of.

    It was a painful experience again, but i think, that this year the team is better, than a year ago.
    I saw no problem with motivation or work ethics, the team did their best. Ovi has more leadership and is more responsible, than a year ago.
    Now it’s time to improve the coaching and then work on tactics, physics, work on the little things and do some teambuilding.

    Thanks to all the fans.
    We are the LOUDEST
    :-)

  • Avtopilot

    @GoPens, PensFan

    Hello guys. Do you expect to see the hardcore Caps fans to cry, so, that you can feed on the dark emotions and cure your wounds?

    MUA-HA-HA.

    Fail.

  • J.P.

    Thanks for the awesome work y’all always do. Best recaps out there. See ya whenever.

  • Leslie

    Is there a reason you don’t filter garbage like JJR. There are comments and then there is ignorant foul mouthed trash from an obviously pathetic classless individual?

  • je

    Limitless talent.

    No guts, no leadership, no discipline.

    Something has to change, beginning today.

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the great content and the entertainment. Looking forward to next season!

  • Jessica

    Shout out to RMNB for their awesome coverage of the Caps — you guys are the best! Also a shout out to all the loyal Caps fans who post on the site — the comments (with some notable exceptions) are thoughtful, positive, and free from the vitriol that on-line world sometimes provokes. So as RMNB said yesterday, remember that hockey is fun! And maybe after I have a few Cinco de Mayo margaritas, I’ll have fun thinking about what off season moves GMGM and TL should make. LET’S GO CAPS!!!

  • roybus

    First off, thanks for a great season. To push through the slump and turn it around bought us lots of hope and promise but we’ve come up short once again. Dust yourselves off, get healthy and come back stronger, faster, and mentally tougher in October.

    Now, on to the rub. In sports, whenever you have has just happened in the past two seasons, the coach is always the sacrificial lamb. Yes, you could trade players and sign players and find a new coach but we have a “core” group of players lead by #8, that have to be the ones to get this team to a cup. Boudreau can draw up the best laid plans but if these guys can’t execute them with heart, passion and energy, you get bounced at this time every year.

    Sloppy puck handling, poor defense and lack of passion killed this team and the fear that I had after last season has come true. This team is not mentally tough enough to win. Bruce can’t teach heart and desire. He can only motivate but so much and then it becomes the player’s responsibility to bring the rest.

    Ovi with all of his previous greatness, has to be the one to become that “Michael Jordan” of this team and become that stone-cold assassin and inject that into this team. He also has to be the one to lead this group in improving on their fundamentals. Puck handling is terrible on this team and it, IMO, is one the things that killed them in this series. And until it is addressed, they will continue with no clearing the puck and losing the puck in the zone and whiffing on shots. Maybe this team needs a guy that has a nasty attitude and will do whatever to win. Maybe this team has too many Dwight Howard’s. Super talented but too happy go lucky.

  • @CapFans1426

    Neil, Peter and Ian;

    It been said over and over. Thank you. To use a Joe B phrase “You guys do yeoman’s work on here.” And it doesn’t go unnoticed. The humor, analysis, and videos are great and make being a part of this fan base that much more enjoyable. You guys too deserve some time off to rest those fingers and get ready for the fall; next season is only One hundred and forty days away!

    Regarding the organization; changes need to be made, and no doubt WILL be made. The one thing I can assure you is this; Uncle Ted and GMGM are not “hot heads” they will give the media time to lash out and settle down, before actions are taken. And when it is all said and done, whether it be by training camp or the 2012 trade deadline the Caps will be a better team.

    Everyone, enjoy your summer. See you in September

    Go Caps!

  • roybus

    First off, thanks for a great season.  To push through the slump and turn it around bought us lots of hope and promise but we’ve come up short once again.  Dust yourselves off, get healthy and come back stronger, faster, and mentally tougher in October.

    Now, on to the rub.  In sports, whenever you have has just happened in the past two seasons, the coach is always the sacrificial lamb.  Yes, you could trade players and sign players and find a new coach but we have a “core” group of players lead by #8, that have to be the ones to get this team to a cup.  Boudreau can draw up the best laid plans but if these guys can’t execute them with heart, passion and energy, you get bounced at this time every year.  

    Sloppy puck handling, poor defense and lack of passion killed this team and the fear that I had after last season has come true.  This team is not mentally tough enough to win.  Bruce can’t teach heart and desire.  He can only motivate but so much and then it becomes the player’s responsibility to bring the rest.

    Ovi with all of his previous greatness, has to be the one to become that “Michael Jordan” of this team and become that stone-cold assassin and inject that into this team.  He also has to be the one to lead this group in improving on their fundamentals.  Puck handling is terrible on this team and it, IMO, is one the things that killed them in this series.  And until it is addressed, they will continue with not clearing the puck and losing the puck in the zone and whiffing on shots.  Maybe this team needs a guy that has a nasty attitude and will do whatever to win.  Maybe this team has too many Dwight Howard’s.  Super talented but too happy go lucky.

  • Alfred

    I agree with Rob above (post 43), you gotta blow it up. BB has to go his undisiplined coaching cost us games…..From bad line changes, penalties, and too many men on ice!
    Semin is just a below average player that disappears during the season and playoffs. Backstorm signed his big contract and also disappeared. Brooks is a scrub and needs to be traded ASAP. He doesnt want to get in the trenches! I said this before Green is NOT a D-man!! He cant play D just place him at forward somehwere. Trade Varly, he;s injury prone and get a decent player that is committed to the new coaches methods.

  • Laura

    Thank you RMNB for being the best Caps blog out there and really giving us Caps fans a sense of community. Thanks for rallying us, making us laugh, and giving us great insight.

    See you guys next season! Go Caps!

  • Pingback: Capitals season ending aftermath « DC Pro Sports Report

  • http://capslove.wordpress.com Dazey2

    Allllll the way up with the 4th comment, @Andy, you’ve said it right.

    @RMNB, thanks for a great season of commentary, pictures, and fodder. May next season be just as, if not more memorable. It’s been swell.

    Go…..O’s!

  • AshleyDC

    The Let’s Go Caps office window project is coming down today. It’s surprisingly cathartic to pull about 70+ sheets of 8.5×11 paper off your windows.

    Thank you RMNB for a place to share the joys and frustrations of this season. I’m going to cry to my Canadian Ice Daddy now…

  • Andy

    RMNB, I found you guys through Japers and I always picked you out of the clips line-up when taking in my daily Caps. Keep up the great work here and on Twitter, you all make my day. We need another RMNB party. I missed them and want to experience one before next season, let me know what you thnk.

    Caps? You could almost feel this after Game 1. I cheered on, encouraged, hoped, and yelled at the Caps (read: television) over the past few days and still felt like Game 1 was the end. It just started the unraveling of all things positive from this season. Everyone has pointed this out already and I won’t be the last to, but the Caps just didn’t have the same spark as the friggin bolts. They won the battles, the races, the important faceoffs, and the games. We need more heart next year. Maybe we can borrow some from a team with some extra. Bolts or Preds maybe.

  • Bart

    I’d like to see an injury report, especially on Backstrom, Green, and Semin.
    Backstrom had some sort of broken finger, no? Green looks to be injury prone and we don’t know about Semin.

    As for the latter, Winter hat tricks don’t help in the Spring, other than making you the number one seed; and we know what happened there.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    This is the best fan blog of all time, ever, and nobody should ever forget that.

    I’m gonna miss Brucey, all purple and yelling and looking like somebody put a suit on Grimace. I agree that it’s time for him to go, but we’ll have fond memories. (BBQ sauce beard.)

    As a longtime Semin booster, I’m scared to talk about disappearing acts. His performance in both series was markedly better than last year’s, but my judgment is clouded by stalker-like admiration, and I’m probably still somewhat drunk. I suppose ~$6 million should buy more consistency. Also, something is clearly going on with Backstrom, and I’m sure it’s more than just nerves. I hope fans aren’t too quick to make him the redheaded stepchild of 2011. Semin’s still around for that.

    All in all, I’m sad, but I always have a huge Caps boner. It’s a medical condition, and it’s only going to get more obvious next year. Capslove never dies.

  • 28ISGREAT

    @Bart – Winter hat tricks helped get you another SE Division banner to hoist in the Fall. Is it a Cup? No. Is it an Eastern Conference title? No.

    But its better than nothing. Some may call it a fancy party decoration, but it does mean something. It means we’re still the dominate team – and look to stay that way for years ahead.

    I’m one of those fans whose happy to take something over nothing. Lower expectations mean less disappointment and more satisfaction.

    A problem of late, IMHO, has been too many rabid fans buying into the narrative of only a Cup matters and as a result lose sight of the forest for the trees. We’ll get our Cup. Be patient and try to enjoy the ride.

  • JH

    Let’s not forget that this team is the only perennial contender in DC. I hope whatever is done in the offseason, they don’t blow up the whole thing and start from scratch. I think cool heads will prevail.

    I thought last year’s implosion was the result of a lack of maturity in the locker room – we missed having wise old Federov in there, big-time. I was delighted when they got Arnott – a Cup winner, a greybeard who could get in people’s faces if necessary and had instant respect. Well, that wasn’t the problem evidently, or it wasn’t the only problem.

    I thought Ovie played his heart out and tried to compensate for others’ shortcomings, making him less effective than he might have othewise been. God love that guy. I <3 8.

    Green was heroic and up to snuff in the first series but not all there in the Tampa series. His constant injuries are getting to be a concern. I know everyone wants to trade him, but he is the best PP quarterback we have.

    I remain mystified as to how Backstrom and Semin could be so ineffective, and the PP so anemic. I love BB but it has to be the coaching, doesn't it?

    My head tells me it's time to bid adieu to Gabby, but my heart says give the man one more year. I do believe, however, if the Caps let him go, he will end up winning a Cup with a franchise at some point. He's still a hell of a coach, but maybe he's not the right coach to get THIS team through the playoffs successfully.

    One final positive note: We have a crop of prospect studs coming up. The future remains sustainable and bright!

    GO CAPS!

  • http://twitter.com/jennrubenstein jenn

    thank you rmnb for an incredible season – thank you for the recaps that made me literally laugh out loud, especially after a loss when i most needed it.

    i also thank the team for a roller coaster of a season – the dark days in december, the incredible road-trip to pittsburgh, the feeling of community at the hofbrauhaus on new year’s eve, the drama of the hbo series (blu-ray?! PLEASE!!!), the devastation i felt when my favorite player was traded (i still love you, stecks!) juxtaposed with the thrill of the emergence of ASCID aka the semin-whisperer (brilliant trade, even coming from my land of buckeye-colored bias), the 3 home games in the quarter finals (section 421 was amazing!) and the game 4 gamewatch at union jack’s, with the epic comeback that ridiculously landed me on the front page (above the freakin fold) of a newspaper i would otherwise never, ever purchase.

    i posted the following on both twitter and fb late last night, and i stand by it: “never ever EVER accuse me of bandwagon ANYTHING. as a native washingtonian and life-long dc sports fan, I HAVE EARNED IMMUNITY!!!!!”

    our time will come. if it was easy, it wouldn’t be as fun. if we wanted it to be easy, we’d all be yankees fans. (sorry, chris.) the agony of defeat will make the sweet taste of victory that much more meaningful.

    looking forward to RMNB party 4, hoping it’s sooner than later… see everybody then. much love, and LET’S GO CAPS!!!!!

    jenn

  • Laura

    My question is who will be the first player to return to Twitter and what will it say?

    My theories:
    1. Mike Green about his charity work or eating at Front Page
    2. Ovi about meeting someone random and famous (or him shirtless)
    3. Karl Alzner clean shaven pictures
    4. Eric Fehr being excited about something local

  • homovechkin

    hahahahahahahah… dont hear you guys cracking jokes now!!! ovechkin easily the most overated player in the league. have fun with fat as boudreau and texas ted…. oh wait i forgot, you guys only care about the presidents cup…. damn you guys didnt even win that this year… i guess you can always hang another “southwest community college 2nd semester march 2010 champions banner” you morons make fun of the pens all you want, we actually have stanley cups instead of horns and bells and whistles and sirens and yoyos…. CHOKE

  • 28ISGREAT

    @LAURA

    5. John Carlson celebrating the Playstation Network being back online

  • andrew harman

    eric fehr has no reason to stay.. i honestly dont want semin traded he scores more than anyone else.. people only complain about him cause they want grinder play styles.. but he isnt that kid of player he plays with finesse and scores for us backstrom has looked hurt for a while we really just need to get our defense figured out nuevy is our goalie in the future i like our grinder line with hendricks gordon and bradley i like our other lines too and to be honest the offense was there against the lightning our defense was not.. mike green schultz too he hasnt looked the same since the injury. hannan wideman erskine alzner and carlson and hopefully a new defensemen skate for us next year if we wanna have a defensive mindset we need better defensemen not offensive defensemen that pretend to play D mike green! line changes were sloppy throughout the playoffs needs to be fixed.. outside of that we really did see offense through the series just no help for neuvy
    when ovi said they dominated he meant on the offensive side which i think they did.. the d just let the lightning pass in in front of the crease and take one times from point blank range caps looked like the better team but the defense gave no help good luck next season

  • http://www.twitter.com/jennrubenstein jenn

    @ “homovechkin”:

    the caps organization is standing up against homophobia in hockey. too bad the pens organization isn’t doing the same. http://glaadblog.org/2011/04/13/pro-hockey-team-to-put-anti-gay-taunts-on-ice/

    stay classy, pittsburgh.

  • JH

    Let’s put in perspective the Capitals and the Age of Ovechkin, who has had 6 seasons in the NHL, by comparing it with the Detroit Red Wings and the Age of Yzerman, who played 23 seasons.

    Why the comparison to the Red Wings? Well, most hockey fans can probably agree that the Detroit Red Wings have been the most successful franchise in hockey, in terms of being a perennial contender. They have made the playoffs a record 19 years in a row. I think most fans would love their teams to have had the success the red wings have had for the past two decades or so.

    Well, it wasn’t always thus – between 1967 and 1983 the Dead Wings made the playoffs only twice. So, they were far worse than the Caps were in the 20 years preceding Alex Ovechkin. Let’s just take a stroll down memory lane.

    1983 – The Red Wings draft Steve Yzerman.

    Year 1 – 83-84 – 3rd Norris, first round 1-3
    Year 2 – 84-85 – 3rd Norris, first round 0-3
    Year 3 – 85-86 – 5th Norris, DNQ

    1987 – Yzerman is joined by players such as Klima, Oates, Gallant, Veitch and a new coach, Jacques Demers.

    Year 4 – 86-87 – 2nd Norris, 1st round 4-0, 2nd round 4-3, conf finals 1-4 (Oilers)
    Year 5 – 87-88 – 1st Norris, 1st round 4-2, 2nd round 4-1, conf finals 1-4 (Oilers)

    1989 – Yzerman scores career-best 65 goals.

    Year 6 – 88-89 – 1st Norris, 1st round 2-4
    Year 7 – 89-90 – 5th Norris, DNQ

    1990 – Bryan Murray becomes coach; Sergei Fedorov joins.

    Year 8 – 90-91 – 3rd Norris, 1st round 3-4

    1991 – Vladimir Konstantinov, Nicklas Lidstrom join.

    Year 9 – 91-92 – 1st Norris, 1st round 4-3, 2nd round 0-4

    1992 – Ray Sheppard joins.

    Year 10 – 92-93 – 2nd Norris, 1st round 3-4

    1993 – Coffey, Kozlov become regular contributors. Scotty Bowman becomes coach.

    Year 11 – 93-94 – 1st Central, 1st round 3-4
    Year 12 – 94-95 – 1st Central, 1st round 4-1, 2nd round 4-0, conf finals 4-1, cup finals 0-4

    So, Yzerman played 12 years before he even made it into a Stanley Cup Final, only to get swept by the Devils. Federov waited 5 years. But wait, there’s more.

    1995 – Wings add Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov and goalie Mike Vernon via trades.

    Year 13 – 95-96 – 1st Central (62 wins), 1st round 4-2, 2nd round 4-3, conf finals 2-4
    Year 14 – 96-97 – 2nd Central, 1st round 4-2, 2nd round 4-0, conf finals 4-2, cup finals 4-0

    So, Yzerman didn’t win a Stanley Cup until his 14th year in the NHL; for Federov it was his 7th year. Wow. And they broke a 42-year drought for the franchise.

    Of course we know they repeated in 97-98, sweeping our Caps in the Cup Finals, and they won the Cup again in the 01-02 season, after picking up legends like Hasek, Robitaille, Hull, and Datsyuk.

    Now the Caps in the Ovechkin Era:

    Year 1 – 05-06 – 5th SE – DNQ
    Year 2 – 06-07 – 5th SE – DNQ
    Year 3 – 07-08* – 1st SE – 1st round 3-4
    Year 4 – 08-09 – 1st SE – 1st round 4-3, 2nd round 3-4
    Year 5 – 09-10 – 1st SE – 1st round 3-4
    Year 6 – 10-11 – 1st SE – 1st round 4-1, 2nd round 0-4

    * Boudreau becomes coach 11/2007

    Does this put things in perspective for anyone? Anyone?

  • Elle

    Defense is key. Defense Defense Defense. Sit on top of the goalie and shove the pucks in. Dirty hockey. We’re getting better, but still need to work on it. Healthy defensemen would help too. Wideman, we are lucky to keep you for the next few years buddy. Sloan. You can leave. And then there’s Ovi. That poor guy does everything he can but the team around him can’t put anything together. Granted Ovi makes a few mistakes here and there but he generates the points and puts his heart and soul into every game.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Wow, JH.

    Great comment. Thanks!

  • Tom

    @BigNed

    Ahhh, did we hurt your feelings. Caps fans can dish it out and not take it, eh? We are soooo sorry.

    OK hockey fans (Including anyone from Pittsburgh), let’s take a moment of silence in respect of our heart broken hockey friends in D.C.

    dum, de, dum….

    hmmm, hmmm, hmmmm…..

    Ohhh, now wasn’t that nice….

    BTW, I am a hockey fan all out, and root for all teams and watch whenever I can (Thank You Center Ice!!). No where can you find another sport that is this exciting, fast, physical, and yet so graceful and beautiful to watch. It just happens that my primary loyalties go to the Pens, for reasons you or this webmaster probably would not understand based on the “analysis” made in the posting of the “Pens Eulogy”. I can even tell you all the names of the players on the Pens AHL affiliate (although I admit, having about 1/2 of them called up this year helped significantly ;-) ) I even rooted for the Caps, until I saw the eulogy post on this website. Made me root for the boys down south all the more. Just interesting that most of the “faults” stated about the Pens (lack of powerplay, etc) were duplicated by the Caps in the series, except for the fact that you probably do know most of the players names on your team… Similar to the Pens, the Caps found a way to break the 1-3-1 zone and even enter the zone with puck “in hand”. Then we change to a dump and chase or attempt a 90 footer on net and hope to outrace a faster team to the puck. Come on!!! Seems the Caps also tended to go away from their defensive minded game that worked so well during the year, and try to play run and gun versus a defense that is a perfect match against it. Like I said, not that the Pens did that much better at times. The 5-1 and 8-2 drubbings at home that I attended (with a 4 hour drive each way, no less) were by no means what I would expect from a team that is giving 110% effort on the ice for 60 (or more) minutes, which can be just as influential in winning a game as having 18 Ovechkins in your lineup (he can’t play goal, no way!!!)

    Given that, I am still watching the exciting hockey that remains, and will do so until the Cup final.

    Rooting for the Pens will have to wait until next year, and I’ll probably even root for the Caps once in awhile — but not against the Pens — someone has to feed my extreme Caps fan co-worker’s gambling habits! :-). Go Hockey!!!

  • DCRedHawk

    Great post JH, I do think perspective is needed. And as much as I personally like Boudreau, I don’t know if he’s the right man to take them to the next level. When Detroit became a powerhouse, they were adding key pieces most years and they never made it to the SCF until Scotty took over.

    The Caps have a very solid foundation and should not think about “blowing it up.” However, they can’t stand pat. They need to add pieces to the puzzle. I think that they will get there eventually though.

    - Also keep in mind that there was no salary cap until the lockout. This, more than anything, is why I’m not exactly opposed to trading Semin or at least seeing whats out there. I just wonder if he’s worth the 6.7 million hit (>10% total cap), but I recognize the talent he has when he’s on.

  • Andrew Jonynas

    Don’t despair people. There are 29 teams with fans who will cry themselves to sleep every playoff run. Some like I in Ottawa, were actually happy to see the season end. In 2006 the Senators had the same regular season Juggernaut as the Caps only to go down without a fight to Buffalo. I have been a fan of the Caps ever since I saw them on a vacation in your fair city. I was angered by what I saw last week, but like the Sens in 2007, they will realize what the Cup demands in physical and mebntal pain. If they have anything, they will stew all summer, and come back next year to pay the price.

  • BobbyG

    First of all, thanks to RMNB for providing a place for Caps fans like me to share our thoughts and be there for each other in good times and bad. This certainly has been a roller coaster season. And even though I’m in a deep emotional trough after the Caps got eliminated from the playoffs, I’m comforted by the words of support from posters who remain upbeat about this team’s future. I’ll stop by from time to time to visit and see what’s up while I wait until next season to start. I agree, October can’t come soon enough. For now I’ll lick my wounds, but I know the pain will ease with time. Tomorrow the sun will come up, one day closer to another Caps campaign. I’m still a huge fan no matter what.

    GO CAPS!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    #100!

  • Bob

    The Red Wings parallel is intriguing, and it seems to be gaining traction here and elsewhere, but their is a major factor being overlooked. That was pre-lockout, before there was a salary cap in place. It’s unlikely that the Wings could have kept all of those players for that long a window with a cap.

    The other thing that I find interesting is the call for personnel changes beyond the usual churn from free-agents. I’d be interested in some analysis from others on the board regarding free-agents, etc. It’s clear that personnel changes are needed.

    It seems like they’ll let Arnott and Sturm go. Arnott’s leadserhip is great, but unless he’s behind the bench coaching, they need someone who can still do it on the ice. They’ll obviously re-sign Alzner. Unfortunately, Laich might be tough to keep. My guess is that Poti has a buy-out in his contract, hence GMGM’s suggestion that his career is in jeopardy. Hannan seems like a crap shoot (it seems like Hannan, Schultz and Erskine all struggle a bit in the mobility department).

    There is lots of talk about moving players. Laughlin has a post about it in fact. I can certainly see them moving one of the young goaltenders. I’m sure they’d like it to be Varlamov, but goalies with a history of groin injuries usually don’t do that well on the trade market. Laughlin and others want to see Semin moved. My guess is that someone would take a flyer on him given his immense talent and that he is relatively young. And there is talk of moving a defenseman. Which of their defensemen, besides Carlson, Alzner (both untouchable), and possibly Wideman, have much trade value? Half the fan base wants to move Green, but they won’t get much back given the concussion problems and the rap that he can’t play in the playoffs (we was fine against the rangers).

    It seems like the players with the most trade value are the ones who are still prospects. There comes a time when you have to look at trading prospects. Of all of them Kuznetzov looks to be the only untouchable. Is MP the next MSL? It didn’t look like it when he was up, and MaJo has looked much better. Eakin is a small forward, similar to Majo, and MP. They need more size and grit on the second and third lines. Not sure where he fits. Orlov is a small offensive defenseman. Do they need another offensive D with Carlsson, Green, and Wideman? They really need a more experienced version of Alzner. A stay at home guy who can still move the puck and skate, to replace Hannan, Schulz, or Erskine. They’d probably pair that guy with Green. And of course, if Arnott is gone, the second/third line center problem re-emerges.

    Thoughts?

  • DCRedHawk

    Bob – I agree, that the lack of a salary cap was a huge factor in keeping the Red Wings of the 90s and early 2000′s together. They have also been good at getting veteran players to join up below market rate with the hopes of competing for the cup one last time.

    Green will be hard to move, but I think an offensively starved team might be willing to to take a chance on Semin and see if he might fare better elsewhere. Getting their contracts off the cap will open up a lot more flexibility. I do think they try to resign Hannan at least.

    One interesting thought- although my gut tells me he’ll sign an extension with Nashville, Shea Weber is a RFA this year, and if he signs a one year offer, a UFA next year. He’ll likely command around 6-7 million year. This is what Semin is making, but Weber would be infinitely more useful. This, however, is likely a pipe dream. A top 4 D of Carlson-Alzner and Hannan-Weber would be great though. Along with Erskine and Wideman as the final pairing.

    As for second line center – is MoJo ready to step up? Center is one of the most important positions, especially in the playoffs, where they have to create offensively, battle for the puck, and play tight defense. With Eakin, the team has 3 undersized centers (MP and MJ). I just don’t know if this is a recipe for success at the center position.

    The team has a lot of questions heading into the off-season.

    Also – Kuznetzov wouldn’t be over here until 2012-2013 at the earliest, right?

  • Kris

    Thank you RMNB for letting us express our joy and vent our sorrows on everything Caps hockey!

    First off, I’m already in the process of getting over that brutal and devastating sweep and starting to look forward to the Caps future. I guess time really heals all wounds….oh and alcohol helped too in this situation…

    but anyways, really anticipating the changes that will be made, whether it’ll be the coaching staff or the roster itself…it’ll be sad to see some of the players go but i guess thats the price we have to pay to hoist dear Lord Stanley’s Cup!

  • Bernie

    Christian Erhoff.

  • sean
  • Bob

    This picture of Green should be an eye opener for Leonsis and McPhee. It tells you everything you need to know.

    They can’t move him though. He’s pretty much untradeable for anything but a used puck bag at this point. This is a reason for making a coaching change. Although, Green is who he is now, and I’m not sure you can make a guy like that care. He’s not 19 anymore.

    My sense is that he and Semin don’t care. Ovie and Backstrom, for all the criticism they are getting, do.

    Semin and one of the goalies are probably the only guys on the current roster they’ll move this Summer. They can use prospects to trade as well. Time for McPhee to realize that you stockpile prospects for 2 reasons…for the current roster and to trade.

    I like having a foundation for winning. But the future is now. And except for Kuznetsov and Holtby, there aren’t any superstars in the making in the system.

  • And Now the Nats

    Caps fans: Do not turn into whiny babies like the Red Sox fans were prior to winning the World Series (“boo hoo–our team doesn’t have a recent championship, just a long streak of winning records and hall-of-fame players”). Having your team lose in the playoffs does not suck nearly as much as cheering for a team that never has a winning season and has no reason to hope for a winning season (like the Pirates that those smug Penguins fans have to read about all summer).

  • Rhino40

    WHAT NOW, FOLKS?

    Used to be the Caps couldn’t get it done because they “weren’t scoring enough to keep up with the NHL’s elite teams”. So they went out and scored a ton of goals…

    …but then they couldn’t get it done because they “neglected their defense and couldn’t kill penalties”…

    …so they went and tightened up the defense, fixed the penalty kill, added the grit and toughness that so many were clamoring for and started winning the close games…

    …and, for a while, it seemed like it might actually work! Through all of the adversity of an eight-game losing streak; to a new commitment to team defense; to vanquishing a hated foe under the white-hot spotlight (and rain-soaked rink) of the Winter Classic; all the way to peaking at the right time and ending the regular season once again atop the Eastern Conference.

    It was, in many respects—not all of them statistical—the best, most complete season of Washington Capitals hockey in recent memory. Indeed, when the Caps came back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 4 against the Rangers in double-overtime, it seemed a huge monkey was finally off the club’s collective back. Then, when the Caps subsequently applied the coupe de gráce to dispatch the Blueshirts in Game 5…Well, they even had some of the most obnoxious naysayers believing that this might finally be The Year.

    The Caps did so many things right—not least of which was defeating a first-round adversary in fewer than seven games, leaving the team relatively rested and able to heal prior to facing the next enemy.

    …and then the Caps got swept by a team they had basically owned, all but twice throughout the regular season.

    Suddenly—inexplicably—they looked like boys playing against men. Every Tampa pass ended seemed to end up on the tape of a Tampa stick—as did seemingly every other Caps pass as well. Where the Caps had to work, grind, crash the net and execute fundamentals for every goal they scored, Tampa’s scoring seemed to come from one bad turnover/lucky bounce/double-/triple-deflection after another. Everything Tampa tried seemed to work magically. Nothing the Caps tried seemed to work at all.

    It was like the Bad Old Days against the Penguins, when Super Mario and his Buy-A-Vowel Line always, always, always found a way to beat our Caps.

    Out-coached by Verizon-Face? I’m not so sure. Given Guy Boucher’s apparent inability to display any passion or emotion, I’m not entirely certain he is really even a human being. C’mon, the guy never played in the NHL and brings what? college hockey coaching experience? Maybe he’s actually just a remote-controlled robot used for the application of Steve Yzerman’s Red Wing Magic—after all, they say that winning does beget winning.

    Whatever. The Caps didn’t deserve this. We, their fans, didn’t deserve this either. I, being an actual human being myself, can’t rationally justify throwing any member of this organization under the bus at this point. But what to do now? There aren’t any easy answers, folks!

    Blow up the team? Uh-uh. Been there.
    Fire the coach? Nope. Done that.
    Get rid of the GM? Sorry, tried that too.

    The hard, unfortunate, indisputable fact is this: The persistent, annoying, wriggling, squirming, heartbreaking escape of Stanley Cup glory from the grasp of the Washington Capitals for three and a half decades cannot—repeat, cannot be attributed to any single individual or group within the current organization. Any attempt to do so would be a cop-out at best; irrational and counter-productive at worst.

    Despite herculean efforts to the contrary, this franchise seems to find itself unwittingly setting a new and different precedent for postseason futility—not only within the NHL but across all major professional sports—every single year. You can’t script this, you can’t plan this, you can’t possibly make this $#1+ up (even the Bad News Bears eventually won a title). It stinks, and as much as we all want to blame someone—anyone—for our misery, we really can’t.

    “Bad luck,” you say? I’m sorry, but there aren’t enough horoscope-charts-of-doom or venomous reptiles in the entire history of this planet for a team to be as star-crossed and snake-bit as this one seems to be.

    Has failure become institutionalized to where it permeates the very brick and mortar that constitute the Phone Booth—to the point where it is beyond the ability of any man or group of men to overcome? Don’t think so: these playoff outcomes were much the same back when the team called Landover home.

    The only conclusion I can come to is that the Hockey Gods for some reason harbor an enduring hatred of the Washington Capitals, and get their jollies from tormenting the team and its fans.

    The questions then become: “Why?”, followed by “What can be done about it?”.

    I don’t know, folks, but I think destroying every extant copy of the ASC “Cupholder” commercial might be a good start—such tremendous hubris just simply had to be a jinx.

    After that, I don’t know…I just. don’t. know. All I can do is keep rooting for this team, and continue to hope, knowing that when they finally do “hoist”, it’ll be that much sweeter. Two things are certain though: Martin St. Louis is no longer my favorite non-Caps player. And I will hate Shawn Bergenheim forever…

  • DCRedHawk

    Here is a hypothetical scenario for next years roster – and entirely fan made from someone who played hockey and loves the sport but never approached the NHL level or operated GM or is in any way qualified to run a hockey team thinks.

    My opinion keeps the core foundation in tact, just makes some changes to help the team become more complete.

    1. Get Semin’s contract off the books via trade. This gives the Caps roughly 20 million in cap room to work with.
    2. Resign Brooks Laich. He’ll command potentially up to 4 million a year and will have suitors, but he’s worth it. (16 million cap room) remaining
    3. Sign Michael Handzus, the center from the Kings. He can play second or third line. He didn’t have a great season, but I think he will bounce back to his 2009-2010 form (20 goals, 42 points, 12 goals and 30 points in 2010-2011, but he will be surrounded by more talent with the Caps). I think he can be had for the right price. He’s also 6’4″ and 220 lbs.
    4. Make a run at Kevin Bieksa from Vancouver. He’s tough, gritty, and plays defense well. He will probably command around 4 million a year, which is doable if Semin’s contract isn’t eating up space. A top four D of Bieksa-Hannan and Alzner-Carlson would be better than anything the Caps have had in the past four years.
    5. Move Mike Green to forward. This may seem ridiculous, and I’m not insulting his defensive capabilities, but he and Wideman offer the same attributes on defense. They both move the puck well, make some questionable decisions, and are righty shots. Green, however, has an offensive flash that Wideman never will. Green could be a perennial 30 goal scorer and Selke candidate at forward. He’s at his best when he’s creating for teammates and joining the rush anyways, and if the D got in a pinch due to injuries or anything, Green could fill in.
    6. I think Beagle is ready to anchor the 4th line at center. He’s relentless, has shown offensive potential, and I think he’s ready to step up.

    After that long-winded explanation, here’s my idea:

    Forwards:

    Ovi – Backstrom – Knuble
    Laich – MoJo/Handzus – Green
    Chimera – MoJo/Handzus – Fehr
    Bradley or Gordon? (one wing spot on the 4th line will have to be filled) – Beagle – Hendricks

    Defense:

    Hannan – Bieksa
    Carlson – Alzner
    Erskine – Wideman
    Poti? seems to be fighting for his career with his groin injury

    Goalie:

    Neuvirth
    Holtby

    sorry Varly – if you could stay healthy, you would be up there.

    I like this plan because it keeps the core together, shores up the D, and adds grit to the forward lineup. And because I created it with my ample free time. Any opinions?

  • Rhino40

    I Like…too bad it would cost us Sasha Minor

  • http://twitter.com/chris_gordon Chris Gordon

    @Ian – Really? “#100!” I can’t believe you would stoop to such low levels to make the comment count higher. I, however, will make at least pretend to be doing something else — like this.

  • Roadworrier

    Sasha and Varly need to be gone. I doubt Arnott will be back – he was acquired by GMGM in order to win THIS YEAR. Obviously not the case now. I think Backy needs to focus on offense again and maybe putting Green at forward would help. I think a long-term oversized 2nd-forward is still a definite need.

    I think Ovi’s C needs to come off his jersey in favor of someone else who can lead in the locker room and on the ice. Maybe Knubs, maybe Brooksie (if re-signed).