Not Again: Rangers Slam Caps 4-1

NashGoal

Photo: Scott Levy

Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the league’s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.

After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.

On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.

The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlov to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.

Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.

  • So… about those lines. Why was Jason Chimera in the top-six? Why was Eric Fehr on the fourth line? What’s the meaning of life? I can’t answer any of these questions and I’m not sure Adam Oates can either. Every time he makes a good lineup decision (sitting Aaron Volpatti) he follows it with a puzzling one. I give up.
  • However, the new third line of Erat-Laich-Ward was actually pretty good. They seemed to be the only ones getting any zone time.
  • On December 8, Philipp Grubauer got his first NHL win in a game at Madison Square Garden. A month and a half later, he’s the Capitals number one goalie, with 14 starts in the last 20 games. Well, maybe. Tonight, he got pulled for the second game in a row, allowing three goals on just eight shots. Nash’s second was a bad one, a weak shot 5-on-3 that went five hole.
  • Braden Holtby came on in relief. The first goal he allowed was poor. When the puck came the other way after a Washington power play, Bray Bray kicked out a massive rebound off a shot from Derek Moore. Ryan Callahan was served up the puck so well Carson must’ve been running things. Holts was good otherwise, making 17 saves. I have no idea who Oates will start Tuesday.
  • Coming into tonight, the Caps hadn’t scored a power play goal in the last five games, a oh-for-13 streak. With around a third of their offensive coming from the man-advantage — the highest percentage in the league — that’s a massive problem. Washington struggles to win when they aren’t scoring power play goals. But hey, they got one tonight and it was even 5-on-3. Par-ty!
  • Speaking of that goal, Alex Ovechkin is still good. His snipe was inhuman. Number 35 for the Captain. Three goals in the last four games. Ten shot attempts for him tonight. That’s just about the only thing going right.
  • We <3 Dmitry Orlov here at RMNB. Lately, though, his play has been sloppy. Tonight, he made a dumb pass to Nicklas Backstrom that was brilliantly picked off by Nash. It’s one thing if Orlov is getting beat on his defense assignments, but he should at least be able to get the puck out of zone. That’s supposed to be his thing. He was also on for the Callahan tally. That was his man. He tied him up pretty well though.
  • Marty “Alex Semin” Erat will probably be scratched again. Brutal game for him.  Three offensive zone penalties, one of which led to goal, another that negated a tally from Mike Green. He even jammed somebody in the plums with his stick. Story of the night — and the last few games — for the Caps. Solid puck possession, idiotic mistakes.

Playoffs. That’s gonna be tough. This stretch of games — with six of next seven on the road — is supremely important considering Washington’s post-Olympic schedule. They currently sit just outside of a playoff spot. If the Caps want to make the postseason, they need points now. On their longest losing streak of the season, they aren’t getting them. It sucks, but it shouldn’t come as a shock. I think the standings correctly reflect the quality of this team right now.

So when does baseball season start? I’m not sure if that’s a joke or not.

Enjoy your MLK Day, people. Peter will be back with you Tuesday.

  • Jack Conness

    Something DRASTIC has to happen. A trade. Someone getting fired. SOMETHING. This team is no good right now. I hate it. This can’t happen. Someone has to go. I’m not naming names but a move has to be made. Someone. Something. C’mon Caps. This can’t continue.

  • Dave

    Erat is unmitigated fucking disaster.

  • Matt Lauer

    I had the flu this week, so I stocked my freezer with about ten cartons of raspberry sorbet to help myself through it all. Luckily the bug came and went pretty quickly, so I can now use all those cartons to numb the pain inflicted by the Caps’ apparent penchant for losing in unimaginably devastating ways. Strangely, I began to have flu-like symptoms again after seeing the tweet about the Rags’ fourth goal. Maybe I never had the flu to begin with.

    Actually, I got the hell out of dodge after the third goal, as I’m sure we all basically did (in mind and heart, at least), because there’s nothing quite as pleasing to a fan as a puck floating into the goal at a glacial pace. I believe I scored a goal like that once. In a men’s league game. Against an 83-year-old goaltender. Who had bilateral hip replacement surgery.

    In all seriousness, I’d be inclined to say that this game was a giant geyser of crap and shame, though I’d lose objectivity points if I did since I obviously wasn’t there to, yaknow, see it all unfold before my eyes. Orlov was kind of meh tonight, and Erat seems to have earned himself another return to the sidelines with all those penalties. Backstrom, who I thought looked lethargic the past few games, at least seemed to have taken half a Red Bull beforehand, though had some issues with turnovers at points. Otherwise, the usual problems, the usual culprits, defense sucks, shooting isn’t good enough, blah blah blah…….

  • Annie Lockyer

    The Capitals are so awesome… at making me glad I didn’t have my cable hooked up this week.

  • Jay DeLancey

    what the hell is with the spatial awareness???? did i miss something from Oates?

  • MuzzMuzzington

    I have been a GMGM defender for the past few seasons. But, I think it is time for him to hit the road. Bruce didn’t lose this team, this team lost Bruce.

  • ace willis

    Is oates over coaching?

  • Alex Hughes

    Martin Erat can’t score goals but he can sure prevent them. Example: Mike Green’s Goal

  • Jay DeLancey

    but it won’t. Ted is too comfy with GMGM, and its the trainwreck that has been coming since the loss to MTL in the playoffs back in 2010

  • wtf

    What in the flying fuck is Oates doing? Why can the man not just go back to basic and play lines that he knows work?! Why do we have three goalies? Why is Erat still on the roster? There will be no FA that will want to come to this team if we have so many problems. I am honestly afraid Kuzy will come over and end up getting the Erat treatment and just leaving to the KHL.

    I am quickly thinking this is a management problem that is causing roster issues which is causing losses. It needs to end now. Something needs to change and it is NOT the lines!

  • James Desautels

    At 4-1 i put the game on mute and fired up Breaking Bad on the ipod. Yes, I am the 1 guy who didnt watch it all happen live on Sundays the past 5 years.

    The positive from tonight-i was able to wrap up season 2 this weekend.

  • Mark

    I only read this to make sure you guys get some site hits after that awful game. I don’t want to relived it anymore….
    Trying to get something positive out of it all…I think I’ll use the extra free time I’ll have in April golfing. What about you guys?

  • VeggieTart

    Except for that one lousy rebound, Holtby played fairly well. If he doesn’t start Tuesday night…well, I don’t know what to say.

    Scratch Erat, send Grubi and Carrick back to Hershey, bring up Latta and Schmidt.

  • James Desautels

    His spatial awareness is off the charts. He is a trained engineer.

  • Jack Conness

    Breaking Bad is awesome.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Instead of watching the caps disaster unfold, I turned in my mancard to watch bridesmaids with my fiancee…please oatesy bring us back!

  • Alex Hughes

    I think that we should give Michal Neuvirth more of a chance, he has played two fairly decent games and it would be good to give him more games. I once again reiterate that John Erskine is about as fast as Jeff Schultz on the ice and he is a liability on D. I personally prefer him to be up in the press-box with someone like Nate Schmidt playing instead. I think Martin Erat is officially done as a Capital after the garbage performance he put in tonight. He just doesn’t want to be here and Oates sure as hell doesn’t want to play him. I think the lines could be a bit better especially the second line which should be Brouwer-Grabovski-Fehr who put up points when they were on the same line. This season is not a disaster yet. I’m still not panicking yet. As frustrating as some of these games are, especially the last two I still think the Caps will get out of this rut. I mean the only way is up after these last two games.

  • James Desautels

    I assume you are referring to the Nash 2nd G….very mens league. Gaping 5-hole changeup with virtually no heat on it from an angle that basically screams, “i only have 1 possible shooting angle here Grubi”. mens league, and that dude who is wearing an old jofa bucket and leather coopers and calls pants “breezers” scored it. I should have known better than to keep watching.

  • Myan

    Teddy needs to wake up and realize that GMGM is an accountant by trade who knows how to turn a profit but he’s shown that he has no idea how to put together a championship caliber team or even one that seriously challenge. I can appreciate his hands-off approach to managing his coaches but let’s get one thing clear: Adam Oates is no Bruce. Bruce showed that he can utilize his assets well and manage a competitive team vs Oates whose only success thus far has been reinvigorating Ovechkin. Getting Ovi back to MVP form is nothing to sneeze at but there are serious holes in our team that continue to be exacerbated by Oates’ seemingly experimental decision making.

  • Roman Z.

    I don’t know what bothers me more: The fact that Erat wears our colors while practically sabotaging the whole game or Oates’ nonchalance while his team eats 4 goals …

  • Kevin F.

    Callè Johansson,GMGM,Erat,Brouwer. There’s some names

  • Rob W.

    This team is a complete mess and it clearly looks like they have thrown in the towel. Im actually embarrassed for them because of how bad they look. They dont show any fight or any heart. But all is well because GMGM “likes this team”.

  • Jack Conness

    Yeah…if and when the Caps fall out of contention, I don’t want GMGM behind the trigger. I would love to have someone else do the trades. Not him.

  • Chip

    Best thing the Caps could do right now is miss the playoffs, in my opinion. As brutal as it would be to piss away another year of having Ovechkin in his prime, I think it’s the only way we’ll ever see genuine change in this franchise.

  • Marky Narc

    “over-coaching”? No. “Over coaching”? A Caps fan can only dream.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    The broadcast said he taught a course in it at RPI.

  • http://twitter.com/1bscarbro Benjamin Scarbro
  • Will Dobud

    Grubi is still the hot hand.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    I’d prefer Schmidt-Oleksy to Erskine-Carrick. I agree with you on not panicking just yet. Mistakes are correctible. Whether they actually do that however…

  • Matt Lauer

    Absolutely. We need a sensible rebuild based on footspeed and passing accuracy. It probably wouldn’t have to last that long. McPhee’s size complex needs to go out the window.

  • oryp

    Slow down everybody, “if [you] knew anything about the game, [you’d] be in it”

    Seriously, when will it end. I’ve tried to be hesitant to call for GMGM’s head, but I think the time is coming. It should be at least, but Ted won’t do anything.

  • Myan

    You can add Oates & Erskine to that list. I have a hard time believing that this team trusts Oates and his decision making. Fehr only scored you the GWG vs this team last time, let’s play him on the 4th line.

  • VeggieTart

    After the last two games, how can you say that? He allowed 3 goals on 14 shots in Columbus and 3 goals on 8 shots tonight. That first goal tonight was absolutely HORRIBLE.

  • Matt Lauer

    Dude this is perfect.

  • Jay DeLancey

    think his comment was made in complete sarcasm

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

    I am not a “hey let’s fire this guy” type of blogger but this team has reached a point where something needs to change and it needs to change right now. It could be a call-up, a trade, a coaching change, a GM change, heck – I’d even take a GMGM press conference during Ovi’s Today show appearance. But something needs to be done right now.

  • Jimmie

    I wonder how many players on this team not named Ovechkin know exactly where they stand with their coach? That number has to be less than five and that seems to be the biggest problem with the team right now.

  • Pat Magee

    Maybe we can work on that epic draft pick… Connor McDavid would be awesome, and since he’s Burakovsky’s center in Erie, they’ll be an epic rookie pair with tw43 on there.

  • Matt Lauer

    I agree that a GMGM firing wouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of solutions, but how much more can a fan take of his team-building philosophy? You are seeing the results in games like this.

  • https://twitter.com/Haddaweezy Holy_Cal

    Time for the Grubauer experiment to end.

  • Steve

    Yes! I feel like a simple trade.for a DECENT defenseman or 2 would be it. A lot of problems out there….but a decent defenseman who won’t make idiotic mental mistakes combined with strong puck possession numbers will go a long way….may be the way to turn it around the quickest without drastic changes.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Living in Texas, I only get to see this train wreck a few times a year on TV. This year they probably aren’t going to be seen during late April. Sadly I decided to turn the game on for a while instead of watching the good football game.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    This game was more depressing than the endings of the Road and Marley and Me combined.

  • Annie Lockyer

    UGH I’m a 49ers fan too – don’t even talk to me about football right now. This night was such a disaster for me.

  • OVECHKING

    Not including the shootouts which are most often a 50/50 coin toss in terms of winning or losing,

    Adam Oates is now 41-45 as an NHL head coach over the past two seasons.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    GMGM is the reason we have one NHL defensive pair, three goalies, and our top prospect playing goon duty.

  • Dave

    That should read:

    Erat is *an* unmitigated fucking disaster.

    Damn my Sunday hangovers…

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Skins, A&M, Caps… This year has been a disaster filled with awful defense…

  • Heidi

    I wonder what other questionable decisions the Caps will make?

  • Annie Lockyer

    I’m seriously ready for baseball.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Bridesmaids is very entertaining. Much unlike this team.

  • OVECHKING

    Its a shame guys like Hillen and Kundratek both got hurt before the season started. The caps might have actually had a decent third pair on a consistent basis with those two. Infact, if hillen played well, you could have had Orlov slide down a pair to the 3rd pairing and allow him room to make mistakes and not cost your team. When Orlov is playing with green, he will essentially see the opposing teams first line most of the time.

    Alzner – Carlson
    Hillen – Green
    Orlov – Kundratek

    Not as bad as putting 19 year olds out there.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Grubi has more wins in the games he has started than Holtby has in games that Grubi has started!

    Checkmate Atheists.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Hillen is probably the 4th best defender on this team. Which is depressing.

  • Brian Thomas

    Everything is magnified during a stretch like this so I try to avoid overreacting, but the bottom line they make too many mistakes and fail to capitalize enough on mistakes made by the other team. The roster and overall approach of the organization has been a disjointed mess ever since we were Halak’d in 2010. President’s Trophy, up 3-1 on Montreal, we blew it but Halak truly played out of his mind and we overcorrected severely based on three games with a goalie going apeshit. We panicked, and it’s been downhill from there. Suddenly the next season Bruce is trying to reign in the most explosive offensive team in the league. I understand the approach, but it didn’t fit with the roster we had and I’ve always blamed GMGM for that.

    That is why I’m in favor of getting rid of GMGM, the panic attack after 2010. Not that GMGM has helped himself any since, aside from Oates. I like Oates, I still support him…but I agree that his tinkering may be a bit out of hand. Put Green back on the top PP unit, no one feeds Ovie like he does. Let’s maybe not try to change everyone’s sticks and style of play (Holtby) in the middle of the season. But otherwise, GMGM is the one who should go, if someone does. The Erat trade was obviously horrible…especially because Oates didn’t want him at the time, he isn’t his type of player. I don’t know that it’s been confirmed but it’s been suggested that Oates was not consulted about Erat. The idea that Erat was going to push this team deep into the playoffs versus the long-term upside of Forsberg is and was comical. Erat is a decent player but never that good, and is an east-west guy when Oates wants north-south.

    I guess my view is firing GMGM is something that needs to happen anyway, a little overdue if anything, so it might as well be now, it’s a ridiculous cliche but it might wake the team up a little, and aside from rosters moves which are going to be hard to achieve based on salaries and non-performance, it seems like the best option we have at the moment. Roster-wise, I prefer Latta over Beagle, I am not a fan of Brouwer whatsoever, Erat is obviously not a fit, Oleksy/Schmidt and/or someone in another organization seem to be better options than Erskine at this point…I like Carrick but think he should maybe develop a bit more in Hershey. But again, good luck making any significant moves with Erat and Erskine contracts versus their play, Brouwer who knows maybe some team would take him based on his ring but I doubt you get much back, Beagle is a great dude but not going to get you anything in return. Which again leads us back to GMGM, who has created a roster of highly paid underperformers or just plain old underperformers, leaving us pretty hamstrung when it comes to making significant moves. So, while it’s often stupid to make drastic changes in the midst of a bad run, can his ass. He has had it coming before now and that’s why he should go.

  • OVECHKING

    In terms of defensive zone awareness, I’d put him at least on par or even ahead of Carlson and Green. Would have really stabilized the top 6. Unfortunate when Mcphee found out hillen had season ending surgery, he was not proactive.

    Mcphee and his tendency to always “wait for the best deal” with trades has, once again, blow up right in his face. He waited long and Erat’s stock is as low as it can get. Not tradable.

  • OVECHKING

    Good post. Speaking of panic attacks, trading a top overall prospect in the most recent draft for an aging veteran is also another “panic move” that Mcphee made to make sure the caps got into the playoffs. That move should have been his last straw and after the caps bowed out, he should have been let go. But nope, here another season and in position to possible make ANOTHER panic move.

    The worst kind of a GM is one that is possibly under stress of losing his job which Mcphee must be feeling atm.

  • OVECHKING

    There’s nothing wrong with being “lets fire this guy” type of blogger in a sports town where an Owner inherited a team and decided to keep a prior general manager who is now going into his 17th year with the franchise. You could construct a list of pro/cons and the cons would be exponentially larger than the pros for mcphee.

  • Jack Conness

    Took the words right out of my mouth lol

  • Stardawg

    I think it is, and has been, glaringly obvious that this team need an experienced coach that can motivate and stand up to the players. GMGM has hired nothing but rookie coaches, Cassidy, Hanlon, Boudreau, Hunter, Oates. He has drafted some great players and built a competitive team but motivation has always been a problem for this team. We’ve been consistently outcoached in the playoffs and struggled to find the ‘killer instinct’ to finish teams off in the playoffs, last year the most obvious example. Something has to change and either a complete management and coaching overhaul is needed or GMGM has to save face and get an experienced coach to fix this team. Once again, the coach has lost this team, a team that is way too talented to be in the bottom half of the league.

  • Matt Root

    The thing with George is that he can draft extremely well. Whenever I’m frustrated with the (mis)management of the team I always see the prospect pool and seemingly fall into the GMGM team-building excitement trap. Unfortunately, I feel like his downfall comes from every other aspect of roster moves / upgrades area.

    The most frustrating part is how in a success-driven field, GMGM has managed to maintain his job for 17 years without producing the end-game result or anything close to it. I love my Caps, I loved watching them pile up southeast titles, but man I want to see them hoist that cup and, most notably, Ovi hoist that Cup. If GMGM’s job is what’s needed to spark some sort of re-tooling process then I’m certainly all for it.

  • OVECHKING

    I’m afraid by the time those two are ready to be impact NHL players, Ovechkin will have kids and grey hair.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Shitty tumblr gifs?

  • RESmith

    “Every time he makes a good lineup decision, he replaces it with an equally puzzling one. I give up.” Well said, Mr. Gordon. Well said.

  • Ben Reed

    Watching this game I was thinking about that Moneyball scene where Brad Pitt sees Jeremy Giambi dancing after a win, then throws a tantrum to silence the locker room, pauses, and says “THAT’S what losing sounds like.” Then trades Giambi.

    Then I thought: that will never happen with this team.

    The organizational approach to leadership is all carrot, no stick. GMGM will just never be that guy. There has been, and never will be, accountability.

  • Matt Root

    Yep. George wanted to make a “Bruins-esque” style of power, size hockey while literally not changing his roster from their run n’ gun days. That has been one of the most absurd acts I’ve seen from him and it’s cost the organization greatly.

  • Owen Johnson

    What is this “baseball” you speak of? I’m in Hershey right now. The Bears won a nailbiter. This was anything but.

  • RESmith

    If Caps come out and play the next two games like they played against Columbus and the Rangers, I am comfortable in saying that Oates has already lost this team.

    However, at the end of the day, this is about the players. There is something missing and they just don’t seem to get the level of intensity needed at times to be a consistently elite team. It is going to cost people their jobs.

  • Diller M

    I would be willing to bet real money that one legged Jack Hillen would beat Erskine to a loose puck

  • Matt Root

    Backstrom’s seemingly routine post-game “leaders need to step up” is getting pretty stale. I love Backstrom, but these comments seem unnecessary. For one, he is one of the leaders.. not sure if he’s aware of that. Secondly, the Captain has been one of two or three players a night who is putting in the effort.. so that leader is leading by example as far as I’m concerned. And lastly, I’ve heard this way too many times from Nicky about a leader needs to rally the troops. It just irks me. This team has been together for so many years. That encompasses more than just the core “Young Guns” (R.I.P Sasha). And on top of that, I don’t think grown men need some rah-rah Braveheart speech to get things going.

  • VeggieTart

    Because everyone knows the goalies are GREAT at helping with the scoring.

  • Diller M

    I’m glad someone else is feeling my pain. I hate it when both teams loose on the same day.

  • rotational

    I refuse to believe that Oates put Erat back out there after the 2nd period willingly, not after benching Green when he put on his penalty collection display a few weeks ago. And frankly, Green has stepped up his game since then. Unless Oates is trying to make a point to GMGM that Erat doesn’t belong on the team – in which case the team has an even bigger problem if the coach and GM are not seeing eye to eye.

    The Forsberg trade has been an unmitigated disaster, full stop. Erat has accomplished the following with the Caps: Get hurt, get butthurt, demand trade, do dick with the minutes he gets, and the cherry on top is the impressive collection of penalties tonight. He’s soft on the boards and has no obvious chemistry with anyone else on the team. Him acting surprised at the penalty calls tonight was laughable, especially trying to neuter Boyle (not that I’d be hugely upset by that but…).

    GMGM has to go. He’s proven himself not capable of giving any coach, Oates or otherwise, the assets needed to be a serious contender.

    Also, in no particular order: For god’s sake get Oleksy off the bench already. Erksine is done. Get Latta back up here. I saw Schmidt in Hershey twice in the past month and I don’t think he’s quite ready yet. Orlov owns that first Rags goal, he needs to get his head back in the game. Either trade Neuvy or send Grubauer back down, and treat Holtby like the starting goalie again (note: I’m convinced the goalie mess is also being driven by McPhee).

  • VeggieTart

    I’m thinking at this point, he’s your compliance buyout. Laich and Erskine may be spewing hairballs on the ice, but Erat…there are no words. And as he’s UFA after 2014-2015, it wouldn’t be too big a hit.

  • Chris Cerullo

    I don’t even have a witty comment or really anything to say anymore….. It’s just bad right now. This reminds me of how I felt with the pre-Winter Classic losing streak.

  • Diller M

    My son was born right in the middle of that losing streak which really helped take the sting away. No such panacea this time

  • Diller M

    I really appreciate the passion fueled desperation in this post. Good stuff. As long as fans don’t go away completely we’ll be ok.

  • kemiisto

    If I remember correctly The Penguins changed the head coach someday in the middle of February in 08–09 season and eventually won the Stanley Cup. So, chances are it can work for us also.

  • Diller M

    Did anyone check the NY police reports for a DC hockey blogger dressed in a Bradley jersey hurling himself to the ice from the cheap seats? Possibly with a Coors light in his hand? Just wanna make sure everyone is alright….

  • OVECHKING

    Golden quote from Ovi

    Ovechkin: “What am I going to say? ‘Wake up everybody’ Or something like that? We say too much, go out there and do it.” #Caps

    That was actually spoken like a true captain. I honestly wish he had a better supporting cast.

  • James Desautels

    Im with you on this point. I am not a guy who thinks a firing is a positive thing, especially mid season, but this team has more problems than what we see on ice. We have enough talent within our core that winning shouldnt be that hard most nights. I question heart and desire at this point after so many years of this team repeating the same problems. If you look at other teams who have won Cups in recent years you can clearly see the emotion and intensity on the ice with every shift and every player, superstar or role players alike. I watch a lot of NHL games, and I can clearly see a different level of hockey out of teams like CHI, BOS, LA, PIT, etc. year after year these teams make legit runs and they battle the same streaky plays, injuries, long road trips, etc that everyone else does. On paper these teams have talent in key areas and then a team of players filling their roles and matched up together consistently and in a way that best promotes their skill set. We clearly dont have that right now. We have talent in the right spots, we have for years, yet something is missing when it doesnt come together consistently. I cant believe its the players not burning to lift the Cup, so it has to fall on the leadership behind the players at this point.

  • Ben Reed

    He is amazing, and his talent is going to fucking waste. (He did appear hungover at the beginning of this game…but still managed to pot one. His bad games are good.)

  • OVECHKING

    Only because its compared to the rest of this roster.

    I saw most of the hawks and bruins game earlier today. Every few minutes when I heared one of Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook or Marchand, Lucic, Krejic, Bergeron, Eriksson, Chara, Rask names, I thought to myself, my god, these teams all started their “rebuilds” at the same time or after the caps did and they didn’t luck out with a generational talent yet they have constructed deep rosters with numerous all star talents.

    These teams have at least 7-10 guys heading to the olympics. That’s the supporting cast that any one player you identify/isolate on each of those rosters, whether it be toews, kane, Bergeron,Krejic has to work with. They are not alone. Thats why these teams have won cups and are perennial contenders.

  • James Desautels

    Just for funsies-look at LA or BOS rosters and find a single generational talent like Ovi who can be counted on to carry a 30-50+G average like he has. They have Kopitar and Bergeron as their top scoring players, both great players but not Ovi caliber. Go down the list from those players and its many GOOD players built to play specific roles, and excellent goalies to lean on. When put together they play great team hockey. We have arguably more scoring talent, especially in the Boudreau days for sure, and we certainly have seen that the truer Holtby form is a great, possibly game stealing goalie. How are we doing less with arguably more talent than some teams who have won Cups recently or that have came agonizingly close? While I totally agree our D corps needs a boost, we still have Carlson, Alzner, Green (who is still a top 4 talent), and Orlov (who has shown flashes of great potential but still needs consistentcy). We have more than enough to put forth a much better performance than a meddling 5-6th place team set for an early exit, if we make the playoffs at all. Its so frustrating as a fan to watch GMGM bumble around with the wrong pieces to the wrong puzzle for so long. If Ovi, Nicky, Semin, Green, etc were in LA, BOS, DET, CHI they would have prob won 5 Cups by now.

  • James Desautels

    Pretty much exactly what i just said below. These perennial contenders have arguably the same, if not less (CHI is NOT LESS) talented core or top 4-5 players than we do, yet they built perfectly around the talent so every man has his role and look what it does? Cups, or at least the odds on favorites year after year to be the in the end.

    We have a coach and GM who cant decide who to play or how to utilize and grow the skill sets so we are left with 2 guys (Ovi, Nicky) trying to do everything while everyone else gets bounced around various lines and units and doesnt know what their role is.

  • Brian Thomas

    GMGM is kind of schizophrenic, he’ll make some solid moves like Wilson and plenty of others that I cannot remember at the moment because I’m too annoyed, but then he’ll go out and make terrible moves like Erat that counteract the positive things he’s done. It’s just stale with him at this point, and he’s gotten this team into a situation where they are not good enough to win and have few options to improve themselves.

  • Alex Hughes

    Schmidt-Oleksy, I’d Even take Kundratek

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    In hindsight, that wasn’t really English. Oh well, you get the point.

  • gustafsson16

    Let me be clear before I start – I find alot of GMGM’s moves (particularly around the trade deadline) as baffling and nonsensible as the rest of you. The failure to obtain another quality defense (or 2) has been a glaring weakness for years. That being said this is no ‘team’. I would rather lose every game and at least have our boys play hard and cite a lack of overall talent than see the effort Ive seen the last two games. Leadership isnt something you can just learn by throwing a ‘C’ on your chest. And Im not just calling out #8. All of those guys – Backstrom, Green, Laich, and Brouwer should be leading the charge. I dont just mean making blanket ‘strong’ statements in post-game interviews. There is no team cohesion anymore. We dont have a Federov, Kozlov, Arnott, Knuble type anymore. The young players have grown up, but not taken up the mantle. I can live with in-play mistakes (Orlov’s intercepted pass out of the zone, soft goals by Gru/Holtby, over-exuberant penalty on Wilson, etc.) but playing without effort is ridiculous.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    He’s hurt, sadly. Otherwise we probably would have seen him on the ice tonight.

  • B. Jasper

    I agree 100%, because there is a Dump ‘N’ Chase, Throw-the-puck-in-front-of-the-net, Canadian style bias in the NHL. As oppose to fasted paced, European style, individually skilled hockey.

  • dylan wheatley

    its because ovi isnt canadian

  • Reece Parks

    Watch the replay again. If Erat doesn’t bowl the defender over there is no goal in the first place, because Green’s shot would have hit the guy. Can he really prevent a goal he caused?

  • Barrett

    The Callahan shorty is in Orlov, not Holtby. The player who shot the puck put it far side and low, which forces Holtby to kick out the save. There is no way to corral that puck. Orliv HAS to do two things: gain body position on Callahan and cancel out his stick, he did neither. Not a good game from Orlov.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    If I had a nickel for every time I heard that!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    Adam Oates might not think so.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    I think his hair is already showing flashes. He should endorse Just for Men.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    <3 u

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    I agree with you there. The penalty caused the goal.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Chris Gordon

    I don’t think this is a coaching issue. The problem is that the players aren’t good enough.

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

    Great recap, Chris!

  • Daniel Walker

    Washington has become the darkest black hole in the sporting
    universe and the problem is the owners. We all know Daniel Snyder is the human
    incarnation of all things terrible and nothing good will ever happen to that
    team with him at the helm. The Caps problem is the exact opposite. Ted appears
    to be one of truly good guys in sports. He is uber loyal and runs his sporting
    empire like its Uncle Teddys Family Bakery. Look at our current and recent
    coaching staff. Olie, Calle, Dale, and Oatsie. These guys are all Caps legends
    and certainly hold a special place in Ted’s heart for the tremendous
    contributions they have made to this team on the ice. Understandably, Ted wants
    to reward the guys who have brought him success in the past. It’s not that hard
    to imaging his vision…. Ovie hoisting the cup with Oates, Calle and Olie in the
    background. All the demons of the past being erased in one glorious moment. Retribution
    for that ’98 team that played so admirably above its skill level and
    confirmation that this incarnation is truly the greatest version of the Caps to
    ever take the ice. The problem is these legendary players are currently ill-equipped
    to coach in a league that does not allow for a learning curve. Much like a
    business owner who leaves his empire to his sons only to watch it crumble under
    the weight of inexperience and the blind love a father/mentor has for their
    progenies, this team is heading for ruin. Just look at the Caps greatest
    current weaknesses. Goaltending and defense. Both managed by two of my favorite
    Caps players of all time. Both an epic disaster. Neither Calle nor Olie had the
    resume that would warrant them being put in the positions they currently hold
    and their ineptitude’s are becoming more and more apparent every day. Oatsie’s
    coaching resume on the other hand does hold up, still I am not sure he was the
    right man for the job, nor do I think he would have been chosen as Dales successor
    had he not played so admirably for this organization. GMGM is by far the
    clearest example of how our owner’s loyalty and family business mentality has
    lead us astray. I have to imagine Ted looks at George as a bit of a mentor in
    spite of their respective positions in the organizational hierarchy and similar
    ages. Ted came into the NHL admittedly as a basketball guy and it is my guess
    that in George did a great deal of mentoring and teaching his boss in the ways
    of hockey and the NHL universe. It has to be hard to turn you back on a guy who
    has helped you establish yourself professionally. Now here we sit. A franchise
    in turmoil. An owner facing the difficult decision of either remaining mediocre
    or perhaps having to fire and alienate three of the organizations favorite
    sons. That being said….. I am proud to be a fan of a team/organization that is
    run with loyalty as on if its highest values. I am glad Ted is our owner. I wouldn’t
    trade him for any other owner in sports. I believe he will find a balance
    between loyalty and success. I just hope it sooner rather than later. The winds
    of change have been blowing for three years now and we have been pissing
    directly into them. It’s time to turn around.

  • johnnymorte

    Great recap but I don’t get the Marty “Alex Semin” Erat. With Alex Semin in the lineup, we would’ve still had a chance to win the game at 4-1. I’ve seen enough Erat now to understand that this guy will never fit in to this system. He belongs on a defensive minded team.

  • Will Dobud

    Sarcasm

  • RT23

    Excellent points about the over-reaction in 2010. I’ve been saying the same thing ever since it happened. Halak was just ridiculous. We completely outplayed Mtl but everything hit him, even shots he never saw. I still say if they don’t make the bogus in-the-crease call on Knuble we win the game, and probably the Cup. The fans and Mgt freaked out and started pressuring Bruce into changing to a D style with run+gun players. That was doomed to fail. If we had stayed on that course there’s no guarantee that we’d have won the Cup(s) but we’d be a lot better off than we are now.

  • RT23

    I forgot all about Kundratek. He looked promising last year. Until we can get him and Hillen back from IR we should just ironman our top 4 and just give our 5th and 6th D very limited minutes and only when paired with one of the top 4.

    Similarly, our 4th line is terrible. We should just roll 3 lines until we have a 4th that can contribute. Those extra 3 can be plugged into other lines after PP’s and PK’s or if someone needs a breather but as a 3 man unit they are a black hole.

  • RESmith

    Agreed. By “lost” I don’t mean that Oates is poorly coaching this team. I am saying that his message of making the simple, high percentage play is not sinking in with most of this team. It’s been two halves of a season now and players still look overconfident in their skill set and routinely ignore his coaching by trying to force the higher skilled but lower percentage play. It makes you wonder as someone looking from the outside if it will ever sink in for any of them if they haven’t picked it up by this point.

    I respect that Oates respects the professionalism of the players not call them out publicly, but I hope he makes it clear behind close doors that it is his butt, not theirs, that is on line if they continue not to play well and not play within the system he has drawn up.

  • Dan

    Have the Caps won a single game in their third jerseys all season? I know that sounds like crazy talk, but I cringe every time I see them dressed in those sweaters.