Lumbus beats Caps 5-1

eeyore_depressed

The Washington Capitals needed a win on Friday to avoid their third four-game losing streak of the season. You’d think they could get it against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but you’d be wrong.

To make matters worse, I’m drinking Coors Light, which is a beer in the same way John Erskine is a pro hockey player. Barely.

Tom Wilson nullified a Caps’ powerplay to make it four-on-four, and soon after that, John Carlson’s trip made it four-on-three for the Jackets. James Wisniewski made the Caps pay for that, and then Cam Atkinson made it 2-0 before the first intermission after Dmitry Orlov was unable to clear the crease.

Ryan Johansen scored for Lumbus early in the second, chasing Grubauer from net and bringing in fresh-faced Braden Holtby. With the help of Martin Erat and some traffic up front, John Carlson got a long puck past Bobrovsky at the halfway point. The Caps had a flicker of life.

Mark Letestu extinguished that flicker with a snazzy near-side goal early in the third. Then Cam Atkinson peed on the embers.

Blue Jackets beat Caps 5-1. The Caps have lost four games in a row. This beer tastes awful.

So I’ve gotta recap this shit? *Cracks open new can*

  •  Tom Wilson, I am disappoint. The Caps were coasting to a powerplay thanks to some hard work in the offensive zone, but Wilson couldn’t resist roughing up Corey Tropp, costing his team the man-advantage and setting up CBJ for a lead they were glad to take. Another bad penalty for a player we hoped had more to his game than this. Tom Wilson averages seven minutes of ice per game, so my question is this: if Adam Oates punishes him by taking away his shifts, how are we supposed to tell?
  • Milestones: Brooks Laich‘s 600th NHL game. Martin Erat‘s 500th NHL point. My first Coors Light since college. Marcus Johansson‘s first NHL PIM of the season, a weak hook if you ask me.
  • Weak calls travel in pairs, as Mike Green for a hold at the end of the second period that looked eerily like good hockey defense. Mark Letestu scored on that powerplay.
  • Wait, nevermind. They travel in threes, like celebrity deaths. Ovechkin’s weak-ass cross-check expired just as Cam Atkinson made it 5-1.
  • Alex Ovechkin had seven shots on goal. Even when stuff sucks, he’s working his ass off out there.
  • Yeah. Martin Erat returned to the lineup for the first time since January 4th and promptly got promoted up a couple lines as Adam Oates searched for chemistry. That’s not cool. That’s like when your ex brings you Qdoba even though you broke up and you’re like, “Sweet! Qdoba! I love Qdoba! Maybe we’re gonna get back together” but no. Oates still hates your guts. Sorry, Marty. I expect Volpatti back on Sunday at MSG.
  • Which is worse: That Connor Carrick got in a fight or I drank Coors Light tonight?
  • Philipp Grubauer is a promising young dude, but this wasn’t his night. Nor was it a good night for Braden Holtby, who saw ice for the first time since .545 save percentage performance on January 4th. Pretty much no one had a good night. Including me. I drank Coors Light.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

I’ll start with the positive. This team is better than this. I’m convinced of it. The Capitals’ win record in the last month is not an accurate indicator of their talent. Their potential to win exceeds their previous record.

So why aren’t they winning? An abundance of mistakes, some bad luck, incomprehensible lineup decisions, and one of the worst depth lineups in the league. The Capitals’ fourth line (when Erat isn’t on it) and the John Erskine/Connor Carrick D-pairings do disservice to the uniform. But those guys weren’t the problem tonight.

I don’t know why the Caps lost this one. I don’t particularly care. I guess that makes me intellectually lazy and bad at my job and wasteful of your time. I’m sorry. I’ll just say what I’ve been saying because I earnestly believe it: the Caps are better than this. They can– even if they have to be better in spite of their coach.

For now, this is a bad hockey team. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Personal note: I’ll be at the game in New York on Sunday, so Chris Gordon will have recap duties. If you’re going to be in the city and/or at the game, say hi. I’ll be the guy in the Matt Bradley jersey, dreaming of a better hockey team to root for, not drinking Coors Light. That’s for damn sure.

 

  • Jack Conness

    I am currently writing this with 12:10 left in the 2nd period, as I am already sick to my stomach watching this game. Let me be as straightforward as possible here. This team sucks. They aren’t good. To hell that we’ve “looked better” recently. We have lost four in a row. We have lost 8 of 10. We have lost 12 of 17. I have lost all hope. Something drastic has to happen.

    Let me start by saying NO BLAME should be given to Holtby, Gruby, Neuvy, or any goaltender that plays for this team. They have been defeated by their own defense and coaching staff. A coaching staff that continues to ruin Braden Holtby’s career.

    Brooks Laich and Troy “Safety Value” Brouwer are not top six forwards on any DECENT hockey team. They could barely crack the top nine. It disgusts me seeing these two play on the power play when a more deserving Marty Erat can’t see any ice time. What the hell is Adam Oates thinking? Laich looks better but no one can argue he deserves to be a top six forward in the NHL. He’s old. He’s slow. He’s done. I love(d) the guy but he is done. Don’t even get me started on Troy Brouwer. The man sucks all life out of any line he is on. Backstrom only has four points this month. The man provides no offense. Thank you Troy Brouwer.

    And credit to Alan May for pointing this out but Adam Oates is willing to break up one of the scariest duos in hockey (Ovi and Backstrom) but won’t move around Chimera and Wardo? What gives?

    John Erskine couldn’t play on most AHL teams. To make it even better, he is paired with Connor Carrick, who one day may be a solid defensemen in the NHL, but clearly cannot play at an NHL today. These two, especially Erskine, get burned like no other pairing around. Erskine can barely skate, let alone play defense.

    While Bruce Boudreau wins his 78th straight game in Anaheim, we will continue to see Laich and Brouwer play superstar minutes, Mathieu Perrault attempt a 50-point season, Marty Erat and Steve Olesky ride the pine (or play a random game or two), Volpatti dominate the stat sheet, Braden Holtby lose all faith in himself, Filip Forsberg tear up the World Juniors, and Tom Wilson forgetting how to play hockey since he plays a minute and a half a game.

    Thank you Adam Oates, coaching staff, and my favorite, GMGM, for providing me with a Capitals team that will waste another wonderful season from Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. If this stretch of hockey doesn’t get someone fired or traded, I give up. Input, comments, and a discussion about this team is more than welcome.

  • Mark Chaffer

    go root for the ducks then, dude.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    I’m pretty sure taking someone Qdoba is in itself a sign that you’re a terrible person who hates the recipient.

  • jaxhockey

    You win the internet tonight. This is brilliant:

    “To make matters worse, I’m drinking Coors Light, which is a beer in the same way John Erskine is a pro hockey player. Barely.”

  • Jimmie

    Peter Hassett, you are a mad, tortured genius.

    I’d tell you to stay gold, but you took the Silver Bullet tonight. So, stay silver, ponyboy.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    What giving up looks like

  • Heidi

    Well at least we didn’t play WELL and lose again.

  • Owen Johnson

    Didn’t think Holtby was too bad tonight. First goal was perfectly placed and the second he was screened (which seems like a good strategy. Why can’t the Caps ever do that?) and he made some pretty nice saves too. Who knows, if he can get his groove back he could be able steal some games for us again. The skaters sure as hell ain’t doing it.
    Also does Ovi get a minus for watching that last one go in as he stepped on the ice from the penalty box? If so, let the hate begin!

  • Rob W.

    I think now is the time we stop with the thinking that this team will go on a run. They have been too consistently inconsistent to think they will turn it around. This team needs a major change and im finally to the point where i would welcome a clean sweep from coaching staff to management. This team is the same team that Gabby complained about for feeling sorry for themselves. They get punched in the mouth and fold up like a beach chair and dont fight back. They need new blood in that locker room. Right now this team has no discipline and they are lazy on the PP. Only positive thing right now is Connor Carrick showing the most heart ive seen all year in that fight tonight

  • Drew

    Any chance Oates will be gone after the Olympic break? This is worse than Bruce’s last stand..

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Not this again. Qdoba > Chipotle. By a mile.

  • Owen Johnson

    This is pretty crappy, but if I recall “Bruce’s last stand,” nothing is less fun than that.
    On the flip side, Bruce has proven that he’s a pretty damn good coach…

  • Owen Johnson

    Your argument is sacrelicious!

  • Hockey mom

    I’m thinking this team has bi-polar disorder. How can we almost beat the Pens and then get totally demolished by the CBJs? I still don’t know why Oleksy has been sitting out, but it’s really annoying me!

  • Dave

    ***Warning: rant***

    This team just isn’t very good. They are either:

    a) not talented

    b) mismatched with each other

    or

    c) not well coached

    I’d argue all three to some extent. For talent, certainly there is great talent near the top with Ovechkin and Backstrom. Grabo and Fehr clearly belong in the top 6. Brouwer has looked pretty awful at times, as has Laich (who may have been playing through injuries). But they are either not top 6 talent, or just completely mismatched with their linemates. Certainly they were mismatched when on the same line. Brouwer had a bunch of goals last year, but now he’s whiffing on one-timers every game. Mojo is also borderline top 6.

    On D, you have a great top two in Carlson and Alzner, but after that there is shakiness. Green may “drive possession” but he’s also made many egregious mistakes that have led directly to goals against. And he certainly shouldn’t be paired with the similar skill set of Orlov. Erskine and Carrick aren’t even a suitable bottom pair. And none of the other options in Hershey are nearly top 4 caliber.

    Offensive depth is not very good either. Chimera and Ward could score goals when playing with a quality center in Grabo, but are back to their non-producing selves since he’s been promoted. Volpatti leaks possession. Wilson may get there some day, but for now he’s taking penalties and negating power plays. Erat is clearly a mismatch for Oates’ system. In general, I would also say that the organization undervalues passing accuracy, net presence, and defense. These deficiencies can be seen in the nuetral zone troubles, the high number of shots that end up straight in opposing goalies’ guts, and well, just look at the defense.

    As for coaching… Oates brought back Ovechkin’s scoring, so that’s a plus. The power play is effective, so that too. What else? It took him weeks to realize he should be playing Fehr. Then it took weeks to figure out that Laich and Brouwer were mismatched. It took months to give Orlov a chance. He seems bent on ruining the confidence of every veteran goal tender the Caps have. He has a strange obsession with handedness, which might make sense in theory but leads to odd line decisions. His system has turned Mike Green into a turnover machine. There have been three trade demands (by players or agents).

    They did show some flashes vs the Penguins and Sharks recently, but I feel confident predicting that this team will not make the playoffs unless they can turn a goalie and Erat into a legit top 4 defensive defensman. And even then, they’re probably out in round one.

  • randomcapsfan

    I couldn’t have put this better myself. Sadly, until #Caps fans stop buying season tickets and leave too many tickets for Teddy Leonsis to buy up and claim a sell out, nothing will change. This team was built as a marketing machine, nothing else. A cup is not the priority of the management team. And until the fan base forces a change, which they won’t because most of DC doesn’t know S#@t about hockey, they will buy the load of crap they are being fed by ownership and management. We have several forwards and defenseman that wouldn’t play on most NHL rosters. But don’t worry, the management of this team will tell you that injuries played a role… No one has more personnel games lost than the penguins and they do just fine. Until the #caps get serious and find a top four DEFENSEMAN, not a forward who they try to get to play defense, and make a decision about goaltending and the rest of the roster, this will only get worse.

  • Jonathan Garcia

    Oates isn’t going anywhere, so let’s just quell that speak before it starts. Sure, his decisions at times are questionable at best but the team is playing like shit anyway. Harrumph, and stuff.

  • Dave

    Also, how great was it that Alan May’s hockey fight tutorial was in a segment called “Xs and Os”?

  • Ash

    RMNB, your recaps are the only thing keeping me even somewhat happy. Thanks for always covering everything and making it funny, no matter how blackly awful it gets.

  • Marky Narc

    On a tiny bright note, Oates seems to have stumbled into a decent pairing of Green/Orlov. I use the word stumbled because I have doubts Oates could do it on purpose.

  • Ash

    Simply answered, no.

  • Jimmie

    Cafe Rio > Qdoba > Chipotle

  • Carden Hedelt

    Protip: if you DVRed the game, mute it and put this song on repeat.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAF8D0ugyVk

  • sean

    The blue jackets played harder with a 4 goal lead then the caps did at any point during the game. This is a pitiful brand of hockey.

  • Dave

    I see your rant is similar to mine. Good work.

  • Rob W.

    amen

  • Whoa Here

    The ducks are team with actual leaders and accountability to each other

  • JH

    Oates biggest success is at the expense of the rest of the team it would seem. Ovi is scoring again (not tonight) but that’s all we have – the rest of our forwards can’t score. If I were a fan of another team and the Caps were playing against my team I would get anxious whenever Ovi touched the puck, but none of the other forwards would scare me. Not one bit.

    It pains me to say this, but Laich and Brouwer suck now. They add nothing. Ward and Chimmer are appropriate talents for their line. Backstrom and Grabo are talented but need to score. Mojo…eh. I wish Erat had started on the top line this year. Alas, we’ll never know what could have been. Depressing game.

  • drew

    can you please teach us all about hockey, bro? maybe we can sit at your parents house and watch it when we dont go to games..

  • nicoley-poley

    Can it just be the Olympics already? I’m actually really looking forward to seeing Carlson play. (And Ovi and Nicky of course)

  • Hockey mom

    District Taco>>>>>>>than either of those places!!!!

  • Dave

    Up votes from Peter make me happier than they should. It’s like a teacher giving extra credit.

  • JH

    I forgot Fehr. He gets my love.

  • Jack Conness

    Real talk.

  • randomcapsfan

    I am guilty of contributing to the marketing machine having had season tickets for several years now; not renewing after this season. I tell myself every year that it will get better and sadly it doesn’t. And to think that Ted is going to fire GMGM is borderline hilarious. Grunfeld has been around the Wizards forever, despite overseeing the team through one of the more embarrassing locker room debacles. You’re welcome to try and watch the game at my parents house except for the fact that they don’t have a TV.

  • Cole

    No amount of wins could make a Coors Light taste good.

  • alchemistmuffin

    I don’t know how to describe this game at all in multiple words, but I can describe it in one word: Awful. AWFUL.

    What kind of Power Play was that? Lot of blown opportunity. Add to insult, it quickly becomes 4 on 3, and Blue Jacket scores.

    At this rate, this team is headed straight toward oblivion like last January unless something drastic is done. I’m trying to keep my hopes up, but I feel like this is already lost season overall.

    Commenter’s Note: My goal is to comment more about the game and Caps overall. I was planning on doing this at the start of the season, but my Seattle Seahawks and College Football got in a way a bit. Now it’s January, I have full time to devote myself to Hockey on Weekends. I thought about using Pathetic, but then thinking back to the Canucks game last night, I thought this was a better word.

  • Whoa Here

    Let me start off by saying this team has no leader in the locker room or accountability. Ovi is a leader by example you can pretty much tell how the team will play after his first 2 shifts. Oates has made it clear he is not big on the tough coaching and the accountability. Laich and Brouwer are nothing but hot air and cliches. The lack of accountability is also visible when players like alzner say they have a hard time getting ready to play “bad” teams. The capitals organization has a culture of losing which starts with Ted than trickles down to GMGM to the coaching staff to the players themselves. I do not see any changes coming soon.

  • drew

    if we go under 500 with 11 games left , which doesnt seem unlikely at this point, i wouldnt be surprised to see an interim coach come in to replace oates for the rest of this season..maybe its just wishful thinking on my part.

  • Whoa Here

    GMGM has done a good job at building a country club mentality at Kettler

  • Alex Hughes

    In my mind its time to drop John Erskine to the healthy scratch realm, bring back Nate Schmidt who had some really decent numbers with us and I think we should put Steve Oleksy back in for Connor Carrick. I just don’t think he is quite ready to play in the NHL yet. I’m sorry but Brooks Laich has been mediocre this year ( I know injuries don’t help) and its time we put him on the 4th line and put Erat on the 2nd line but Oates will never do that because he hates Marty and has a strange obsession with Aaron Volpatti, a 3rd line AHLer at best. Top six has a lot of talent and I just think that the 3rd line with Chimera and Ward needs a consistent center to be a consistent secondary scoring line. Also Oates needs to name a #1 goaltender just so everyone knows who the starter is and we don’t have goalie roulette. I don’t think this season is a disaster so far, thanks to the mediocre Metro and the Caps are just in a hole right now, they will dig themselves out of it I think very soon.

  • James Desautels

    Normally i comment, but this one deflated me halfway into the 2nd and so i started drinking (not coors as i am strangely allergic to beer) and watching Diners Drive Ins and Dives while having a 1 sided convo with my infant son about the problems of this team. But after reading the rants below it seems we all know whats going on and it doesnt need repeating.

    Even if we made the playoffs, we get smoked by virtually anyone else in the East. So part of me wonders if making it and promptly exiting again really helps this team in the long run? Do we want to go through another hot streak and pump the flames on the bandwagon up for the annual “suddenly Caps are THE dark horse Cup contender” convo that happens every March (as we go like 14-4 to close the year) then just get bounced by a less talented team? Then everyone keeps their jobs, our star players get another year older and talk about how ready they are to win NOW…Le Sigh.

  • alchemistmuffin

    At this point, I see no changes coming to this organization in one way or another. The GM is likely going to stay forever, as long as he sees cash in one way or another. The only way changes could happen is if someone buys the entire organization by a person who is more passionate about winning.

    Firing Boudreau two years ago was a knee jerk reaction in my opinion, and a big mistake. We’re now paying for it as a result. (Even though it’s a matter of time before Ducks explode into chaos)

  • @TimHanson26

    Del Taco (California chain) >>>>> Chipotle>>> Qdoba>>>> Caps Hockey

  • Annie Lockyer

    Are you high? Del Taco is the Coors Light of mexican food.

  • alchemistmuffin

    I thought Taco Bell was Coors light of tacos. Or is it Bud Light?

  • Annie Lockyer

    Taco Bell is the Natty Ice of mexican food – disgusting and frequently lethal.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    I was expecting a picture of Oates looking at a roster and drawing up lines with two guys who shouldn’t be in the top 6

  • alchemistmuffin

    Or Keystone Light works too. For some reason, Natty Ice tastes okay for my tastebuds.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    They’re a team with a GM that knows to make trades for guys like MP85 while giving up nothing. Instead of trading guys like MP85 for nothing to keep top prospects on a NHL roster for goon squad duty in an attempt to destroy any developmental chances they may have in developmental leagues. Or trading op prospects for guys that will ride the pine because their coach cannot find playing time for them over guys who are special teams specialists that suck the life out of any 5on5 line they are a part of.

  • Graham Dumas

    I’ve said this many times before, but hockey teams are not the nation of Cuba, and economic sanctions do not work to change their behavior. I like hockey. The caps are the only hockey team I like (even though we seem to suck). Therefore, I’m going to buy a ticket now and then, when I can afford it.

    Explain to me how your plan to starve the caps of revenue makes you a true fan, and not just another bandwagonner?

  • Diller M

    This attitude does not help. the organization has a philosophy, flawed or not, of trying to build through the draft and Ted is notoriously loyal. To say that a cup is not the priority is not fair to the people involved. This is not a Snyder situation, the caps were a shit show just a few years ago under Polin. Ted has done an excellent job of building a consistent product which is exciting to watch. The fact that there are high renewal rates is something to celebrate! If we get back to the point where there are no fans in the stands, we can only expect things to get worse. Are we one of the top 10 teams right now? No. Is that frustrating? More then I am proud to admit. But you cannot fault a management that has always been transparent and open about their philosophy, they believe that you build the best team possible through the draft with few free agent acquisitions, they believe that as long as you are making the playoffs, then you have a shot at a cup. I personally believe in this philosophy, even if recent results have been disappointing. The owner of a team SHOULD MAKE MONEY, if they don’t you end up with a defunct franchise (see the Atlanta Trashers). This franchise has been one of the most consistent franchises over the last 6 years. You also cannot fault GMGM for everything, is it his fault that Kuz wanted to stay in Russia for two additional years? Is Poti’s hip his fault? Laich’s groin? Do you believe they are happy with this season?
    Sport is a fickle beast, if the caps catch a few breaks in the 09 pens series (if letang’s game 3 winner is a quarter of an inch to the left it clangs out), then we move on, possibly to the cup, what then? Is GMGM a genius, the architect of a team who brought a cup to DC? Give me a break. These guys are doing the best they can. This is not Edmonton, we are not a disaster. Things just are not going well right now, continue to support your favorite franchise or go cheer for the Panthers, because clearly you would rather have an empty stadium full of hockey knowledge, than a passionate, loud as hell fan base who want to rock the red.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Glad I decided to get trashed on microbrews instead of watching this one on a bad internet stream. The stream quality would probably have been of higher quality than the caps play I gather.

  • Graham Dumas

    BAJA FRESH,!!! Oh whatever

  • Jack Conness

    You are missing the point.

  • Diller M

    Its interesting to see charts like this, because it reminds me that these guys are human after all. We’ve all had those days at work where we just coast to the end of the day, this was obviously one for the Caps. Brilliant post Pete.

  • Diller M

    *from megaphone* PUT DOWN THE BEER AND STEP AWAY FROM THE BELOW AVERAGE BURRITO

  • Diller M

    Peter, lets be honest, we both know that neighbors on Port Republic was stocked with Natty Ice and BEAST not Coors light on Thursday and Friday nights. So unless you went to some fancy parties I was not aware of, then I think its safe to substitute Beast everywhere that says Coors light in this recap.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    All of you are hilarious and I love you.

  • Diller M

    If someone had told you before the game that one of the teams would go 2/4 on the PP, have their leading scorer add an even strength marker and an assist, shut out the other team on the PP, and carry the bulk of the possession for the game, who wouldn’t have signed on for a breakout CAPS win with the way this team has been playing. Just goes to show you the inconsistent nature of this team. I’m lookin’ right at you HOFer

  • Matt Lauer

    The only thing for which I can positively credit Oates at this point is the power play — which is a good thing, indeed, because if the power play were a bunch of crap-ola, this season would *uuuuuuugggg-ly*. U.G.L.Y.

    The line arrangements have been a disaster. Weren’t we all dreaming of the J-O-B line backed up by a strong Fehr-Grabo-Erat line basically from the very beginning of the season? Instead were are left with Brouwer, a Hawks reject, on the second line. He isn’t that good, nor has he really ever been. Laich is basically a third line player (we all sound like broken records now, no?).

    I think I’ve posted about the general unacceptability of Erskine’s play about fifty times on this site. He skates like a geriatric rollerblader. His two egregious gaffes in Game 7 last year should have earned him a permanent benching. A Schmidt-Oleksy combination would be infinitely better.

    The truth is, looking back, I’m not so sure that the team has ever really been fully developed, I think we’ve overrated a lot of players way too consistently, and we’re paying for it now with a lineup that lacks footspeed and puck skills in crucial places.

  • BPThomas

    We should call it Gorelov

  • Diller M

    Letting go of Bruce was a huuuuuuuuge mistake, and I was screaming about it at the time.

  • Matt Lauer

    I disagree. There was dissent in the locker room and the message was lost. The change wasn’t so much chosen as it was necessitated.

  • Diller M

    i like orleen

  • Matt Lauer

    It’s a valid point. I think it’s crossed all of our minds. I think that missing the playoffs could be a strategic boost for the team. That way, we can bounce GMGM, shed some of the inflated salaries for slow skaters/inaccurate passers/mediocre shooters, and just retool through free agency.

  • Diller M

    Somebody just has to get Oates mention that he has lost the room and it will be a boot out the door.

  • Diller M

    On a brighter note, the Caps seem to be trying to help me with my new years resolution of getting back into shape. I’ve already had three post loss walks this week!

  • Matt Lauer

    Yes. A thousand times, yes.

  • Tommy

    Caps looked almost as panicky as Oates in the presser…guy is awkwardly unwatchable

  • Diller M

    can we get #erskinetonachoduty going?

  • Dan

    I know a lot went wrong tonight. But I just don’t get why everyone loves Wilson. As far as I can tell, all he does is get penalty minutes–often leading to a goal. I’m no fancystats maven, but it just seems to me like he’s a net negative.

  • Joe

    Fantastic recap from Peter tonight. Props to RMNB for bringing a smile to my face even on the rough nights for the Caps.

    As for the team, the lineup decisions are beyond frustrating at this point. How Martin Erat ends up on the 4th line, I’ll never know. Wilson is another wasted asset on the 4th line, with his only “contributions” coming from big hits that often end up being illegal. Erskine and Carrick playing over Schmidt and Oleksy makes no sense at all! Also, the 3 goalie rotation is ridiculous. And Oates splits up that Ovi-Johannson-Backstrom line? Didn’t that line dominate on our run to the playoffs last year? I also agree with most here that Laich and Brouwer simply aren’t worthy of their playing time at this point. I thought Brouwer turned a corner last year…but yeah no. And Laich is simply not the same player as he was before the groin injury…Jesus that sucks to say.

    I’m picking up on this (as well as many others, obviously) from my couch, yet the guys running this team can’t see the absurdity in what they’re doing. I’m no expert at this but I do follow this team religiously and this last month has been brutal. I know the run last year was against much weaker competition, but something similar has to happen now or we’re going to find ourselves out of the playoffs. And I don’t care what anyone says, the NHL playoffs are awesome and I want my team there every year, even if we go out in the first round. I think our window can stay open if we make the smart roster moves and grab another D-man, somehow.

  • Dominic Kreiner

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR5jpciGHfU&feature=youtube_gdata_player After three attempts at very angry, well reasoned comments- this is all I’ve got

  • Jack Conness

    The problem is he isn’t really given a chance. Right now, he is just making big plays (hits) because he is only getting very limited ice time. He wants to go out there and make something happen. I believe if he was given 15 minutes or so on the ice, he would play smarter and be a much better contribution than Brouwer or Laich.

  • Dan

    Maybe that’s right. But Beagle, for example, doesn’t get much of a chance either–yet he wins face offs, gets some good shots off, and doesn’t have a huge PIM/ice-time ratio. I guess I just haven’t seen what the fuss is about.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Not true, even a natty boh in the shitiest seat in Camden yards tastes fantastic.

    Coors is just gross Molson, not that I’d drink it though.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Haha VALID

  • Myan

    OMG Ian, I can’t believe you just said that. ARE YOU HIGH?!

  • Myan

    The only thing that makes me feel marginally “better” is knowing that these people live in fucking Columbus and their jerseys/logos are fug. Pretty glad that Tennessee is the treasure trove of whiskey tonight…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I’ve had both, no comparison really. Qdoba’s wins every time. ALSO, DEFINITELY NOT HIGH. (I’m about as straight edge as it comes. How else would I churn out this much content everyday? Haha.)

  • Myan

    You do churn out gold on an everyday basis but your “analysis” of Chipotle vs Qdoba is just wronggg. How can you beat the char-grilled chicken and fajita veg at Chipotle? Qdoba makes you pay extra for fajita veg…those heathens!

  • dylan wheatley

    this is such a well thought out and understanding post that i very much doubt that you are in fact an internet hockey fan

  • Barrett

    First to blame is George McPhee, he built this team. He made the bad
    trades, bad free agent signings,bad contract extensions and coaching
    changes that put this team in a bad position.

    Second is Adam
    Oates. I don’t know what the hell he is doing. You don’t separate
    Backstrom and Ovechkin. You don’t break up the Chimera, Grabovski, Ward
    line. Orlov should have been the first man up after injuries to Jack
    Hillen and Tomas Kundratek, not Schmidt and not Carrick. Erskine is a
    decent defenseman, but he’s a seven or eight guy, not a five. I like
    Grubimonster, but he shouldn’t be receiving the playing time. Holtby and
    Neuvirth need to be in net (some Kolzig Germanic influence here??). He consistently looks to be out-coached in every matchup.

    Tossing out some line combinations :

    Erat – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Laich – Johannson – Fehr
    Chimera – Grabovski – Ward
    Latta – Beagle – Brouwer

    Alzner – Carlson
    Orlov – Green
    Erskine – Oleksy

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Diller’s killing it, being all rational and stuff. Love this guy.

  • dylan wheatley

    the man certainly has my ear

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Only if you go with me, but deal. I’m always willing to re-evaluate.

  • Myan

    If you’re ever in Nashville, Justin and I will take you out for the best tacos and margaritas your face has ever experienced. Get ready.

  • Eric Schulz

    Brouwer was on pace for like 33 goals and 55 points last season. He’s a good player, he’s just having a horrible year. I’m not sold that Laich is done, but I do think he should be on the 3rd line. I’d have him centering Erat and Ward, probably. (Top line: Johansson, Backstrom, Ovie; 2nd: Fehr, Grabovski, Brouwer… I wouldn’t hate swapping Brouwer with Wilson since Brouwer’s been so ineffective this season so far, but he isn’t a bad player. Maybe just swap him with Ward, since Ward is having the better season.)
    I agree that GMGM has screwed up the team; trading Forsberg was much worse than trading Perreault, and both moves were incredibly stupid. What’s worse is that I still think we are fine at forward (the bad year so far makes it look worse than it is; about a week ago, Ovie’s linemates had been shooting 1.8% on the season, that’s a crazy, crazy low percentage, and is clearly driven by bad luck and nothing else). It’s our defense that looks AHL caliber, and we didn’t get blueliners in either the Forsberg or Perreault deals. Just indefensible. The only reason he should’ve been contemplating moving a prospect of Forsberg’s caliber was if we were getting a young, cheap, top-4 defenseman back.

  • Eric Schulz

    Loyal?! Then why did we make the stupid, stupid decision to let Semin go? We had the best team in the league, and we only needed a goalie to win the Cup. Instead, it’s like GMGM looked at this team, decided we had too much skill, and let Semin go, then FIRED Boudreau. Does a loyal guy do that? You and I must have different ideas as to what that word means.
    Also, building through the draft? Then how come he moved our best or 2nd best prospect in Forsberg IMMEDIATELY after we were lucky enough to have the 2nd best player in the draft fall to us at 11? Instead of thanking our lucky stars that we got him (I thought, entering the draft, we had literally ZERO chance he’d fall, I was hoping we could get Girgensons), we flipped him for a 2nd/3rd line winger, something we had in abundance, but at least he is so overpaid that we now have the least cap space in the NHL. We need one thing, and that’s DEFENSEMEN.
    If you think that the point is to put out the best team that you can, and then let the cards fall where they may, I AGREE. That’s why I wanted to keep rolling with the Ovie, Backstrom, Semin trio up front, and just let them keep trying for the Cup. The reason we didn’t win the Cup wasn’t because Semin is Russian, it’s because we kept throwing out rookie goalies every year, but GMGM made Semin and Boudreau the scapegoats. Nope, not buying “loyalty.”

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s called “voting with your wallet.” You ever heard of the Blackhawks? Check out what they did once they got new ownership. Worked out alright.

  • Eric Schulz

    How DARE YOU!? Taco Bell is awesome!

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s just Oates’ 2nd year as a head coach (1st full), so to some degree I’m a little more forgiving. I’m trying to focus on the positives and hope that he improves on the negatives. The lineups are frustrating though; they don’t really make sense. He isn’t giving them any time to develop familiarity, but that doesn’t even bother me that much since I don’t like them anyway. Other than that, I’m not going to get too bent out of shape with Oates.
    I blame GMGM quite a bit more. The trade demands fall more on him than Oates, I think. It seemed clear at the time that we didn’t have a place for Erat on the team (which was only the THIRD reason that was a horrible, horrible, horrible trade), and although moving Forsberg for anybody would’ve ticked me off, we could’ve at least acquired a top-4 blueliner. Getting a freakin’ WINGER just bottles the mind. Were I him, I also feel like I would’ve moved Neuvirth a few weeks ago. Obviously, without knowing what offers are out there, it’s hard to judge, but we can’t keep rolling with 3 goalies, and Oates isn’t in a great spot with them. I don’t like how he’s handled it (Holtby needs to play more), but it’s a bad spot for him to be in. He screwed up the Orlov situation, of course.. but I don’t know what led to that. I’d like to hear his explanation for why the team kept dicking Orlov around. Hard to imagine it wasn’t on Oates, but GMGM has earned himself zero benefit of the doubt.

  • Diller M

    I think Ted is the loyal guy ( see McPhee and Grunfeld. I agree that the Budreau move was a mistake ( see below), but I think Semin had to go, and I was a huge fan of his even before Ovi showed up. I think we learned a lot about his motivation ( money) and his work ethic (zero) and decided it wouldn’t work. I also don’t think that Ovi’s resurgence coinciding with Semin’s departure is unrelated. Carolina is seeing what happens when Semin gets a big long term contract.

  • Jack Conness

    I agree. But Beagle has been in the league for years now and knows what he is there to do. He also doesn’t have huge upside like Wilson does. I think Wilson, as a rookie, is trying to make a splash. People are expecting a lot out of him and he has to do what he can in limited playing time. Is he making dumb mistakes? Absolutely. But I think if they give him a shot and give him more minutes, I think we will see a more offensive-minded Wilson who doesn’t go after just big hits.

  • Graham Dumas

    It’s called “post hoc, ergo propter hoc,” and it’s a logical fallacy. Just because: a) Hawks fans starved the team of love and funds, and b) the ownership changed hands, neither of those things is directly causally related to their c) current makeup or record. They’re each independent variables.

  • Pat Magee

    I know GMGM is going to re-sign if we get to the first round of the playoffs, but what if we don’t make it?

  • Diller M

    If you’re ever in Nashville, try to talk Polie into taking Erat back

  • dcsportsfan85

    The Capitals have too many complimentary players in their top 6. Brooks Laich was a great fit for a line with Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischmann because he was the defensive conscious of the line and was capable for pitch in decent offensive numbers. He cannot be relied up to drive the play, score and set up teammates without being surrounded by very skilled offensive talents. He and Brouwer have no reason being on the same line together unless it is the 3rd line.
    Adam Oates is absolutely killing this team with his ridiculous line combinations. I don’t know if he hates some players or if he thinks he just such a genius. He’s probably going to play Kunzetsov at defense or something absolutely absurd.

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s called a double-standard. When Blackhawks fans do it, it’s “voting with your wallet,” when Panthers and Thrashers fans do it, it’s “not being true fans.” My point is, do what you think is correct, there is no right answer.

  • Eric Schulz

    Ovie’s resurgence didn’t coincide with Semin’s departure… it coincided with Oates’ hiring. Ovie’s assists have PLUMMETED since Semin has left, and that’s not a coincidence either. Semin made the team more dangerous, and we badly need that. Granted, I don’t know what we would’ve needed to give him, in terms of money or length (and as you point out, the length is the more troubling), but RMNB just posted that we shouldn’t be looking to trade Green, partially because we can’t get fair return for him. Well, we let Semin go for nothing, and we clearly haven’t been the same team since. Also, I think it was a sign of a shifting philosophy; even though we were the best team in the league over a 3 or 4 year span, we didn’t win the Cup, so GMGM decided that we needed to change from a skilled team, to a grinding team, so he overpaid Ward, then traded for overpaid guys like Brouwer and Erat. I’d rather put out the best team we can, and if we don’t win it all, that sucks, but it’s better than looking at a ridiculously small sample size, and making moves based on that; it’s even worse when the guy making the moves is GMGM. It’s not JUST losing Semin, it’s also the philosophy change (although losing Semin too).

  • Diller M

    I agree with the bulk of your point. I just think it was time for Semin to go. I totally agree that knowing we were not going to re-sign him would, he should have moved him, but I think, as we saw, there just wasn’t a market for him.

  • Eric Schulz

    In 475 games when Semin was a Capital, Ovechkin put up 313 assists, and 614 points. That’s .66 assists per game, 1.3 points per game. In the 174 games since Semin left, Ovechkin has 66 assists, and 172 points. That’s .38 APG, .99 PPG. Semin’s final year was the year Ovie still put up 85 points. His first year gone, Ovie only mustered 65 points IN A FULL season! I mean, he had 56 last year in 48 games, and has 51 this year in 48. That year was a crazy aberration. His goals jumped back up from 32 to 38, but his assists plummeted from 53 down to 27. He’s one of the top 20 passers in the league, but nobody on this team can help him out. Last I checked (I saw on this site, probably 2 weeks ago), his linemates were shooting 1.8%. Certainly that’s unsustainable, but you think that’s the case with Semin? Again, I don’t know if we could’ve retained Semin, maybe it WAS an untenable situation, but I’ll never give GMGM the benefit of the doubt, because he’s done nothing to earn it.

  • Eric Schulz

    I didn’t mind the addition of Brouwer; I wasn’t a fan of the Ward signing. Had it been for just one year less, I’d’ve been fine with it, I just thought the years and money combined were too much. Had we been able to knock off about half a million, I’d’ve been okay with the length. It wasn’t awful, but it was signing him after a career best (goals in playoffs), so we bought high, a GMGM staple. There is nothing on the planet outside of things that actually matter that I hate more than the Erat trade. Losing Forsberg hurts, A LOT. Adding Erat didn’t help at all, because I didn’t see where he helped us, we already had enough 2nd and 3rd line wingers. Adding Erat’s contract murdered our team, because now we can’t really add anybody; if you want to be generous, you can say it merely badly hamstrings us, because we can make a trade if the contracts line up. Also, we badly need a top-4 defender, and I’m not sure we have the assets to get one now that Forsberg is gone. I really, really, really didn’t want to trade Forsberg, but had we gotten back a top-4 defender, I’d’ve at the very least understood it.

  • Diller M

    Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge Semin fan, but I think they were too close, there was too much off ice stuff there. I think Ovi has become a better leader since Semin left. Of course we have done nothing to replace him and that is a big issue that we are dealing with now. But the stats you refer to were largely built up during the Bruce era and that included career years for guys like Flash, Laich, Nickey, and Green. Ovi and Semin rarely played on the same line outside of the PP.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t agree that they didn’t play together too much, but that’s probably just a semantic argument with regards to “rarely.” I WOULD like to see how many times Semin assisted Ovie, and more importantly how many times Ovie assisted Semin, but I’m not sure where I could find it.
    As far as the off-ice stuff, I can’t speak to that much, so I tend to mostly ignore it. But also, Ovie’s 28 now, so I don’t really know how much of his growing has to do with that, versus the departure of Semin.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Oh I’d argue that Ovi’s resurgence had less to do with Oates than that. I’d say Marcus and NIck figured out how to play with him more than any other factor.